Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mobile Food Pantry coming to Schuyler County

Foodbank of the Southern Tier’s Mobile Food Pantry will be at the Schuyler County Human Services building every fourth Thursday of the month.

The event will be held “rain or shine” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at 323 Owego St, Montour Falls, NY 14865.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier “is committed to creating a future without hunger where access to healthy food by all is recognized as fundamental to the well-being and success of individuals and the foundation of a strong, vibrant society.”

Their service area includes Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties, covering nearly 4,000 square miles. Through partnerships with member agencies in 2016, the Food Bank distributed 11,553,304 pounds of food and grocery items.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

New York State Court system’s annual report released

The New York State Unified Court system has issued its annual report for the previous year.

Among the issues addressed in the report for 2018 are:

• Reducing Backlogs and Delays
• Providing Access to Counsel
• Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility
• The New York State Justice Task Force
• Transforming Litigation with E-Filing
• Embracing Electronic Testing
• Ensuring Access for Persons with Disabilities

The New York State Unified Court System is administered by the Office of Court Administration (OCA) under the authority of the Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge. OCA provides financial management, automation, public safety, personnel management and other essential services to support day-to-day court operations throughout the state, including Schuyler County.

A complete copy of the report is available here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

$62.5 Million announced in settlement credits for Spectrum customers

New York State officials have announced that Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) has begun to issue credits to New York consumers under Charter Communications, Inc.’s 2018 settlement agreement.

Under the terms of the settlement, Charter is required to issue monetary relief to qualified subscribers and offer certain video streaming services at no charge:

• Current subscribers who subscribe to both internet and cable television from Spectrum will have a choice of either three (3) months of HBO OR six (6) months of Showtime. (Note: This benefit is available to subscribers who do not already subscribe to both of the offered services through Spectrum.)

• Internet only subscribers will get one (1) month of Spectrum TV Choice streaming service—in which subscribers can (depending on their location) access broadcast television and a choice of 10 pay TV networks—as well as access to Showtime for one (1) month.

It is estimated that qualified subscribers will receive $62.5 million in bill credits. Subscribers will not have to fill out any documents to obtain the credit, but must contact Spectrum to receive the streaming services.

Consumers will have until May 30, 2019 to select the no extra charge premium services.

Charter delivers its TV, internet and voice services to residential and business customers through the Spectrum brand.

For more information, on this settlement and your rights thereunder, click here.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Appeals court upholds Schuyler severe abuse case; Schuyler man's parental rights terminated.

A New York State Appeals Court has upheld the termination of parental rights of a Schuyler County man who was found to have severely abused and/or permanently neglected his children.

In a decision dated February 21, and posted to Westlaw thereafter, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department agreed with the office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman that the children were permanently neglected and that a finding supported termination of the man's parental rights, thereby freeing the children for adoption.

“This Court found a sound and substantial basis in the record to support the findings of abuse and neglect,” the court held. “In 2015, the (man’s) daughter sustained severe injuries (including) a spiral fracture of her left tibia in March 2015 and a life-threatening subdural hematoma and bilateral retinal hemorrhages in May 2015.”

“(The) Family Court's determination to terminate respondent's parental rights was supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record,” the court held, noting that the father had failed to work with county agencies to rehabilitate himself.

“Despite the provision of numerous services, repeated reminders to engage in same, a court order requiring his cooperation and participation in such services and the passage of nearly three years from when respondent's children were removed from his care and the date of the dispositional hearing, (the father) had not completed parenting education and, more importantly, had only recently engaged in mental health treatment.”

The court’s decision, Getman said, means that the children can be adopted by fit and willing adoptive parents.

“We are happy that the court upheld the decision to terminate parental rights,” Getman said. “The injuries described in the original petition were horrific.”

“We want these kids to be safe and ready to have a loving and safe family take them in permanently,” Getman said. “The Commissioner of Social Services, JoAnn Fratarcangelo, is working to ensure that happens as soon as possible.”

The Schuyler County Department of Social Services is the lead civil investigative agency for cases of alleged child abuse and neglect. The Schuyler County Attorney is the prosecuting attorney for all county agencies involving civil cases, including family court matters involving abuse and neglect.

The names of the man and his children were withheld to protect the innocent.

The Office of Steven J. Getman, Schuyler County Attorney, represented the Department of Social Services. The father was represented by McGraw attorney Lisa K. Miller. Pamela Gee, of Big Flats, served as attorney for the subject children.

The complete decision can be found here

Matter of Logan C by on Scribd

Monday, March 11, 2019

Third National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference announced

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) is hosting its third National Domestic Violence Prosecution Conference on May 15-17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

The conference will focus on three domestic violence related themes:
• Staff Management;
• Practical Skills;
• Solutions & Innovations.

Faculty members will facilitate discussion and train participants on practical strategies and model practices.

The registration fee is $305 for APA members and $345 for non-members.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Schuyler County officials warn seniors of “grandparents scam,” other frauds

Schuyler County Office for the Aging Director Tamre Waite and Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman are warning area seniors that the “grandparents scam” and other frauds may be making the rounds of the area.

At least several local residents have reported being a victim of the grandparents scam, in which the scammer calls or emails the victim posing as a relative, usually a grandchild, in distress or someone claiming to represent the grandchild (such as a lawyer or police officer), they said.  

“The scammer tells the victim he or she is in trouble and needs the victim to wire them funds or send a prepaid debit card that will allegedly be used for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills or another expense,” Getman said.  “The caller adds enough details to make the story seem believable.  Sometimes, the caller begs the victim ‘please don’t tell my parents.’”

The scam resurfaces every few years in various communities throughout the country, he noted.  Scammers often mine emails, Facebook and other social media for the necessary information to pose as the grandchild, Getman explained.

Often, the scammer works with a partner, Waite said, who gets on the phone and pretends to be an authority figure, with instructions on where to send payment.

“Grandparents will do anything for grandchildren, so they’re a vulnerable target,” Waite said.  “These scammers are very good at playing on our emotions.”

Waite and Getman said the scam can avoided with a few simple steps:
·      Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills, especially if it comes late at night;
·      Beware of requests to send debit cards or wire money, as these are scam artists’ payment method of choice;
·      Verify the person’s identity by asking questions someone else couldn’t possibly answer, such as the name and species of the grandchild’s first pet;
·      Before sending funds, independently contact the grandchild or another relative at their regular phone number to verify the details of the story;
·      Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts and safeguard your email by using antivirus and anti-spyware software;

Seniors who have been victims of this scam, or who suspect a call is a scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement.

Other scams that may be targeting the area, Waite and Getman said, involve fraudulent Social Security  and Medicare calls.

“We are also receiving reports from individuals who have been the target of Social Security and Medicare scams,” Waite said.  

“Apparently callers are targeting Medicare recipients telling them that their Medicare card has been suspended and must be reactivated and in order to do so, they must pay a fee,” she explained.  

“They then tell the person they must provide their social security number and payment information. As another fear factor, they are telling people that their assets will be frozen until this is cleared up. People are complying out of fear they will lose their coverage.”

Getman warned seniors to be suspicious of any calls that seek personal information over the telephone.

“If you are a beneficiary of Social Security or Medicare, be aware these agencies do not call you to ask you to disclose financial information to get a new card,” he explained.  “Never give out your Medicare number or any other personal information to someone you don’t know.”

“When in doubt, hang up,” Getman said.  “Legitimate government agencies will usually follow up with a written request.”

Waite and Getman said Medicare consumers who provided information to these callers should review Medicare statements closely and call 1-800-MEDICARE or 877-272-8720 immediately if they see anything unusual or suspicious. They may also contact their local law enforcement agencies.

The Schuyler County Office for the Aging was established as a result of the Older Americans Act of 1965 with the core function being provision of information, referrals and services for county residents age 60 and over, as well as their caregivers.

The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor for county government, including the Office for the Aging, Department of Social Services Adult Protective Unit and other county agencies serving the senior population.

For more information on avoiding tricks and scams, click here.