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Tioga County to hold first COVID-19 vaccination clinic

OWEGO — Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will have a chance to get their first dose thanks to a vaccination clinic being organized by the Tioga County Public Health Department.

The vaccination clinic will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Owego UHS Primary Care Clinic, located at 42 West Main Street in Owego.

This clinic is ONLY for individuals that are in the Phase 1A Priority Population, which includes:

  • Emergency Medical Services Personnel
  • Medical Examiners, Coroners, and Funeral Workers
  • Agency staff and residents in congregate living situations run by the Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Hygiene (OMH), and Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)
  • Urgent Care Providers
  • Any staff administering COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • All outpatient/ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Home care workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program

To register, visit https://apps.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=50501464.

“Again, this clinic is ONLY for eligible individuals who are on the list above. Proof of eligibility will be required at the clinic. Appointments will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additional clinics are planned for the coming weeks, and information will be released once finalized,” a press release said.

“It’s been a pleasure working with our partners at UHS, who also are acting as the Regional Hub for Vaccine Distribution and Coordination. They have been very supportive and have assisted in addressing the logistical concerns of a small local health department like ours. We are very excited to start administering vaccines to our community, and we’re grateful to our partners for being able to make this happen,” Katie Wait, Public Health Educator, said about the process.

Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital recently welcomed the first baby of 2021. “Congratulations to the new parents!” Guthrie said in a press release. Baby boy Connor Harry Smith was born at 9:12 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021 to parents Kiara Lain and Casey Smith from Leraysville, Pa. He arrived weighing in at 8 pounds and was 21 inches long.

Athens Township officials asking residents to clear snow from fire hydrants

ATHENS TOWNSHIP — Officials in Athens Township are asking the public for help in order to make sure the Athens Township Volunteer Fire Company can do its job during an emergency.

Supervisors are asking township residents to clear snow or other debris from around fire hydrants that are located on or near their property.

“The Athens Township Supervisors would like to enlist the help of township residents that have fire hydrants located on or near their property. In order to help with fire company response in your immediate vicinity, we are asking that you clear the snow or other debris around these hydrants to help facilitate fire company access in an emergency situation — if you are able,” a press release said.

Township officials also asked neighbors to help each other get this done.

“If you have a neighbor who may not be able to clear their hydrant, you might be able to help them out — or know someone who can,” the press release said. “We are fortunate in Athens Township to have residents who do look out for others in times of need, and do what they can to help make our Township the best it can be. Thank you for helping to make our Township a safer place for all of us!”

Twitter bans Trump, citing risk of violent incitement

Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Twitter has long given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behaviors. But in a detailed explanation posted on its blog Friday, the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The social platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following the Wednesday violence. On Thursday, Facebook suspended Trump’s account through Jan. 20 and possibly indefinitely. Twitter merely suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s Twitter persona has long functioned as a mix of policy announcements, often out of the blue; complaints about the media; disparagement of women, minorities and his perceived enemies; and praise for his supporters, replete with exclamation marks, all-caps, and one-word declarations such as “Sad!”

He has fired numerous officials on Twitter and his posts, like his speeches at rallies, are a torrent of misinformation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to make CEO Jack Dorsey available and had no further comment.

The official account for the President of the United States, @POTUS, remains live. In fact, Trump, who issued a statement Friday evening that denounced Twitter as an enemy of free speech and floated the idea that he might build his own “platform,” also posted it on the @POTUS account, where it was quickly deleted.

Twitter says using another account to evade a suspension is against its rules, and that while it won’t ban government accounts like @POTUS or @WhiteHouse, it will “take action to limit their use.”

Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina, said the move lets Twitter try to curry favor with the incoming Biden administration. Trump “only has two weeks left in power, and that certainly makes it easier to deplatform the president,” she said.

In the Trump tweets cited by Twitter, Trump stated that he will not be attending the inauguration and referred to his supporters as “American Patriots,” saying they will have “a GIANT VOICE long into the future.” Twitter said these statements “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”

Twitter said its policy enables world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts “are not above our rules entirely” and can’t use Twitter to incite violence. Trump had roughly 89 million followers. Twitter shares fell roughly 4% in after-hours trading, reflecting concerns that the Trump ban might reduce usage and advertising sales.

Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday that banning Trump was an “excellent step” and “a fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol.” The ADL was part of a coalition of civil rights and advocacy groups on Friday calling for Twitter to ban Trump’s account.

Twitter, long accused of treading the president with kid gloves, began policing Trump more aggressively starting in the early days of the general presidential campaign, when the company began aggressively labeling his false tweets about supposedly widespread election fraud as disputed. An actual permanent suspension had been all but unimaginable — at least until he lost his bid for re-election.

In May, after Trump tweeted the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests in Minneapolis, Twitter added a warning label to his post for the first time. Tensions between Trump and Twitter only escalated from there.

Drought watch lifted for Bradford County

The drought watch/warning was lifted for 20 counties including Bradford as of Thursday’s update from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Neighboring Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Wyoming counties were removed from the watch list along with Bradford, which has been on the list since the start of October.

The warning was also lifted for Cameron, Columbia, Cumberland, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Snyder, Union and Warren counties.

The only counties currently being monitored are Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties, although the report noted that Clinton’s conditions have improved from drought warning conditions.

“We’re getting close. Recent rainfall brought good news for many counties,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “But three counties have a little ways to go to return to normal conditions. We ask all water consumers on drought watch to remain mindful and continue to reduce their water use a modest amount.”

Residents of Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties are asked to reduce their water use 510%, or 3-6 gallons a day.

According to the DEP, several public water supplies within those counties are requiring residents to cut back on their water use and/or requesting voluntary reductions. The corresponding list of suppliers implementing this can be found at www.dep.pa.gov/drought.

Fetterman taking steps toward running for US Senate in 2022

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, is taking definitive steps toward running for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022, likely bringing his outsized personality and frame back to a busy campaign trail.

Fetterman said Friday that he is exploring a run for U.S. Senate. Previously, Fetterman had said that he was looking at running for either governor or U.S. Senate in 2022.

But Fetterman, 51, told The Associated Press that he is no longer interested in running for governor, an office that his fellow Democrat, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is widely expected to seek. Instead, Fetterman has begun asking for donations to a campaign account he set for a U.S. Senate run and said he will have a final decision in the coming weeks.

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat could be one of the nation’s most hotly contested in 2022, and a chance for Democrats to pick up a seat. In 2016, Pennsylvania’s race shattered the then-record for the most expensive U.S. Senate campaign, at about $180 million.

The governor’s office and a U.S. Senate seat are both opening in 2023 in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is term-limited and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, has said he won’t run again.

No one else with name recognition has announced a run for U.S. Senate yet.

Two-term U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Chester County, a Democrat, has said she is considering running, a spokesperson said Friday. The Republican field for both offices is wide open at this point, as would-be candidates explore the matter behind the scenes.

Fetterman, the former mayor of tiny, impoverished Braddock, near Pittsburgh, came in third in 2016’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate before running successfully for lieutenant governor in 2018.

As lieutenant governor, Fetterman has forged a symbiotic relationship with Wolf.

He has supported the governor’s platforms while taking a special interest in his own campaign to legalize marijuana for recreational use, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, undo unduly punitive prison sentences and laws that unfairly targeted racial minorities and outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

Fetterman is unconventional as a politician.

The 6-foot-8, bald and tattooed Fetterman typically sports a goatee and lives in a restored car dealership in Braddock with his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, and three young children. There is also his choice of dress: He prefers short-sleeve work shirts, cargo shorts and high-top shoes.

He is tattooed with Braddock’s zip code — 15104 — on one forearm and, while he was mayor, the date of every slaying in the town as he worked to prevent crime in the town.

For months around the Nov. 3 election, he has been a regular face for Democrats on cable news shows and the campaign trail. On Twitter, he is plainspoken and ever-present, accusing Trump-supporting Republicans of “simping” for President Donald Trump’s approval and lying about the validity of Pennsylvania’s presidential election.

In recent days, he crossed swords on the floor of the state Senate with the chamber’s Republican majority and, last year, drew the ire of Republican lawmakers for hanging flags supporting pro-marijuana legalization and LGBTQ- and transgender-rights flags from his second-floor outdoor balcony that overlooks the state Capitol’s broad front steps.

Even before announcing his first run for Senate in 2015, the Harvard University-educated Fetterman was a media darling, garnering profiles in national publications and appearing on some of TV’s most-watched nightly talk shows.

He had gained national attention for his unconventional efforts to reinvigorate Braddock, from starting youth programs to attracting artists, farm projects and edgy new businesses to buildings and lots left vacant by the collapse of the steel industry.