New York state briefs

Staff reports

Elmira teacher charged with public lewdness

ELMIRA – An Elmira elementary school teacher has been suspended after he was charged with public lewdness Tuesday.

Chris A. Troncone, 40, of Lawrenceville, Pa., is accused of exposing himself and making lewd comments Tuesday at a rest area off Interstate Highway 86 in Campbell.

Little Falls' unique street lights getting repairs

LITTLE FALLS – Little Falls officials met with National Grid’s Tom Higgins, the city’s account manager with the company’s offices in New Hartford, and his assistant, Candy Carvey, Tuesday. Along with resolving issues of repairs, the city was also made aware of its unique street lights.

Little Falls Luminaries can be found all over the city, around Shopper’s Square, South Ann Street and Rotary Park.

“They are the only lights of their kind in New York State,” Mayor Robert Peters said he was informed. “For that reason, they are called Little Falls Luminaries.”

About 50 street lights within the city had issues that required repairs, something that had been an issue for several years, according to Supervisor of Public Works Rick Zilkowski, Police Chief Gregg DeLuca and Peters.

Since last week, a one-man crew has been assigned by National Grid to repair most of, if not all, the lights. The same one-man crew will be assigned, effective immediately, to check the lights in the city once a week at night and repair those in need.

Students tackle taxes for free

CHILI — Roberts Wesleyan College students have stepped up for the fifth year in a row to help local folks do their taxes. Until April 12, families with incomes of less than $40,000 a year can go to the college to have their taxes prepared — free of charge.

If they do, they’ll meet students like Craig Walter.

“I like the opportunity to help people with what I’m studying,” said Walter, a senior accounting student who is one of the project’s site managers.

Walter and the other 10-or-so students working on it are members of Roberts Wesleyan’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, which sets up shop two days a week for tax preparation. SIFE is a global, non-profit organization that helps college students use their financial — or business — skills to create economic opportunities for individuals and their communities while gaining real-world experience.

Ballot-marking device available for Feb. 5 primary

HERKIMER — In order to conform with federal guidelines, the Herkimer County Board of Elections is making an accessible ballot marking device available to any member of the disabled community that may choose to vote in this manner.

The device will be available for Tuesday’s primary election, which is for all enrolled Republicans and Democrats only. Voters may use the device at the Board of Elections office on the third floor of the old county office building at 109 Mary St. in Herkimer. The building is handicap-accessible.

The ballot marking device that is in use now uses a card reader and a touch screen to mark ballots. The system has capabilities for sip and puff, as well as devices such as headphones and an adjustable screen for visually and hearing impaired voters.

“Tuesday’s presidential primary will mark the fifth election that the device will be used,” said Republican Commissioner Marty Smith. “After this election we will no longer use the equipment, as by that time we will have selected new voting machines that will be used for all elections.”

Smith added that just last week the state Board of Elections approved three machines for counties to choose from.

The approval was part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which seeks to make voting accessible to everyone, regardless of disability.

Penn Yan School Board hears about new guidelines

PENN YAN – Penn Yan Central School teachers and staff will have some new rules to follow for managing the funds for extracurricular activities.

At last week’s regular school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Carolyn Benedict provided an update on corrective action for managing the special activity funds and for internal controls.

The district’s auditing firm recommended changes be made to the way activity funds are managed following allegations that funds were diverted for private use by a Middle School teacher.

Ronald Dailey, a tenured seventh grade Social Studies teacher, has been suspended with pay following his Dec. 27 arrest on charges that he took funds from Middle School activity accounts.

Footwear removed from phone lines

UTICA - City Parks Department crews removed about 50 pairs of footwear that were hanging from telephone lines throughout the city, Public Safety Commissioner Daniel LaBella announced today.

Residents told LaBella during a neighborhood meeting this month that they were concerned about sneakers and boots strung from overhead cable and telephone lines. City crews corrected the problem in more than 30 locations, LaBella said.

“If we’re going to make our neighborhoods safer, we’ve got to start with attacking quality of life crimes,” LaBella said in a news release.

Police warn of door-to-door scam in Gates

GATES – Gates Police are asking residents who may have donated money to the “Urban Youth Foundation” to contact them. The department is investigating the legitimacy of the organization, which is headed by Kerry Norton, 40 Romayn Street in Rochester.

In mid-January, police received a call from a resident of the Horatio, Tibbles and Hinkley Lane neighborhood reporting an individual going door-to-door soliciting donations for the “Urban Youth Foudnation.”

Together, Gates Police investigator Josh Bowman and investigator Chris Holland of the New York Attorney General’s office have reviewed paperwork and other information provided by Norton.

According to a release issued by the Gates Police Department, “to date the ‘Urban Youth Foundation’ has not been able to produce any evidence that indicates monies collected have been deposited or donated to any charitable group or organization. Although this group filed a “DBA” with the county of Monroe, the Gates Police Department has not been able to establish that the “Urban Youth Foundation” is a legitimate charitable organization.”

The New York State Attorney General’s Office continues to investigate this matter. Anyone who has  made a donation of any kind to the “Urban Youth Foundation” is asked to contact the Gates Police Department at (585) 247-2262.