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WACK News Update

In The News

Friday, February 12th, 2016

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Watch for Wayne, Monroe, Cayuga, Ontario, and Oswego counties which is in effect from late Friday night through Sunday morning. As some of the coldest air that has been felt in the Finger Lakes since last February enters the region, some dangerous snow squalls will also be possible with the entrance of the Arctic air.

The Wind Chill Watch was issued the National Weather Service in Buffalo, due to wind chill values that will sink as low as 30 below zero, starting Friday night — through Sunday morning. Starting Friday night, temperatures are expected to hover at, or barely above zero degrees, which in combination with the 15 to 35 mph winds will create harsh conditions throughout the region — even in areas where a Wind Chill Watch is not in effect.

A stubborn house fire in southern Cayuga County – first reported around 11:30 yesterday morning, kept mulitple fire companies busy throughout the day and into the evening as flames re-ignited on two separate occasions. The most recent flare-up – blamed on strong winds – had firefighters back at the scene as of 9:50 PM.

Sheriff’s Deputies report that the fire that destroyed a home on Creek Road in the southern Cayuga County town of Genoa was finally fully extinguished around 10:15 PM last evening.

Firefighters had to return to the scene of the fire on two separate occasions after gusty winds fanned the embers of the earlier fire to rekindle and re-start the blaze. When the fire was originally called in at 11:34AM in the morning, crews from the Genoa Fire Department arrived to find the home fully engulfed. Eight other fire companies provided assistance in battling the fire.

The the female homeowner was able to escape the fire without injury. Her children were reportedly away at school at the time. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Whiteout conditions are the expected cause of numerous accidents on the Thruway between Exits 39 (Syracuse / I-690) and 40 (Weedsport) in Cayuga County yesterday (Thursday). One accident involved two tractor-trailers and one passenger car. A 52 year old man was hurt and was transported to Upstate Medical Center for treatment.

The Thruway Authority closed all westbound lanes for a time, diverting traffic at Exit 39. Motorists travelling the thruway dealt with extended delays. The Thruway re-opened again around 1:00pm.

A State Trooper responding to a domestic dispute near Canandaigua was injured in a traffic accident this morning at the intersection of Routes 5 & 20 and Route 21. State Police spokesman Mark O’Donnell says the trooper had her lights and sirens on when the accident happened.

The Trooper was taken to FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. She has since been released. The other driver was not hurt. The accident happened just after 8AM.

CANANDAIGUA — The case involving the Hopewell man accused of having sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old girl, and then refusing to eat while incarcerated on the accusations, is headed to trial.

In Ontario County Court late Thursday afternoon, Clement Hill, 29, of Hopewell, was denied one last opportunity to take a plea deal that would have had him spend 10 years behind bars in exchange for an admission of guilt.

With the denial, if Hill is found guilty by a jury on the top count in the indictment against him — predatory sexual assault against a child— he could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. That trial is scheduled to take place April 4 in Ontario County Court.

The Ontario County District Attorney’s Office put the deal on the table in the early stages of the case. Hill, who was arrested last August, has repeatedly displayed no interest in the offer.
As defense attorney Aaron Sperano has said, Hill has consistently denied the allegations filed against him.

Aside from the accusations against him, Hill’s case was complicated when the 29-year-old began to refuse to eat at the Ontario County Jail and also denied medical treatment for his diabetes. The choice to deny sustenance led to what a medical expert deemed as a life-threatening situation for Hill. The inmate was moved to a private room at Thompson Hospital from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25, a situation that required a personal guard shipped over from the jail.

Due to the life-threatening situation Hill faced, along with the tens of thousands of dollars it was costing the county to keep Hill at the hospital, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office filed a petition requesting forcible feeding measures — including the potential use of a feeding tube— if Hill continued to deny sustenance.
The request was granted by Ontario County Judge Frederick Reed. Hill has since been housed at the Auburn Correctional Facility, a state prison, that has the capacity to handle the force-feeding and force-medicating measures. During Thursday’s appearance in court, he appeared to have recovered from his physical decline.

Hill is being held at the Auburn Correctional Facility on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond.

A coalition of local elected officials, business professionals, healthcare workers, and members of Gas Free Seneca descended on Albany, Thursday, with an appeal to Governor Cuomo to make sure the DEC blocks a Texas-based company’s application to store liquid propane and butane gas in the salt caverns on Seneca Lake.

In their message to the Governor, the group explained why storing gas in unlined salt caverns is so much riskier than storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs like the ones that caused the recent natural gas disaster at Porter Ranch in California:

The DEC has not taken action on an application that would allow Crestwood to store 88.2 million gallons of propane and butane gas in three salt caverns on Seneca Lake. The group contends that the gas could conceivably migrate a few miles underground and endanger the entire community of Watkins Glen.

Campbell says that’s exactly what happened in Hutchinson, Kansas in 2001 when gas stored underground migrated about eight miles into a number of empty brine wells and caused explosions in and around the city.

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