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Currier Plastics in Auburn plans $9.9M expansion project

Currier Plastics wants to expand — again. 

The Auburn plastics manufacturer has applied for a $1.8 million grant and $180,000 in tax credits through the state's regional economic development council initiative to support its proposed $9.9 million expansion. 

The project would require the purchase of a 165,000-square-foot building. John Currier, president of Currier Plastics, said the company is looking at two properties in the Auburn area. 

"We want to keep it local," he said. "That's a good thing for the community, but it's also a great thing for us so that we can staff it with local people." 

Currier revealed why the manufacturer is looking to expand for the second time in five years. The company is aiming to expand into markets within the medical industry. 

Currier Plastics offered some products for the medical industry, but it wasn't a large portion of its portfolio. That began to change in the last year when Currier Plastics landed two new customers. 

One need for the medical industry is plastic products for fluid analyzing equipment. With its expansion, Currier Plastics could manufacturer containers to hold blood and urine samples and parts for the equipment. 

The containers for the blood and urine samples are consumables, Currier said, because the products are used once and discarded. 

"That's a great thing for us because it results in good volume," he said. 

While acquiring another building is a major part of the expansion, Currier Plastics also plans to buy new equipment. The new machinery would be specifically for its medical product manufacturing. 

The electric-powered equipment would be used in place of older hydraulic machines. The newer machinery would help achieve two goals needed for medical equipment: cleanliness and high precision. 

Additional training is included in the expansion plan. Currier Plastics offers design and engineering for some of its products and that will be expanded for its medical manufacturing.

"It's a big deal for us," Currier said. "We're very excited. We've already landed a couple customers in these segments. The market is absolutely huge and we're just going to nick a corner of it for now." 

The project is expected to create 20 new jobs over three years. The expansion will allow Currier Plastics to retain 150 existing employees. 

Currier Plastics won't know until December whether it will receive the state's support. The regional economic development council awards are usually held at the end of the year in Albany. 

The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council endorsed Currier Plastics' expansion as one of its 38 priority projects. 

The company received state funding for its last major expansion. The $21.75 million project was supported by a $1.75 million state grant. 

Tracy Verrier, executive director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and one of the county's regional council representatives, said the expansion will have another benefit: Currier will begin exporting its products. 

"It just puts them on a different playing field," she said. "That company is very community minded and if they are invested in Auburn and they want to stay in Auburn, we want to help them do that." 

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen 

Students gawk at King Ferry firefighter Brian Hamill dressed in complete turnout gear during Fire Prevention Week at Emily Howland Elementary School in Poplar Ridge Friday.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen 

Scipio Fire Department's Sandy Allen demonstrates life saving techniques.

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Man suing Auburn police, Cayuga County DA arrested on felony weapon charge

An Auburn man turned himself in Thursday on a charge of threatening someone with a butcher knife, the Auburn Police Department said.

Tyrone Tyreek Matthews, 41, 35 Lansing St., Apt. 1, was arrested on an arrest warrant and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class D felony, and second-degree menacing, a class A misdemeanor.

The APD said the victim called Sept. 22, saying Matthews was outside her residence carrying the weapon. He was not there by the time police arrived. 

After a warrant for his arrest was issued, Matthews, formerly of Rochester, turned himself in to Auburn City Court Thursday afternoon, when he was arraigned and remanded to the Cayuga County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. His next day in court is Oct. 18.

Two weeks before the incident, Matthews had filed a lawsuit against city and county officials in federal court claiming his rights were violated in the handling of a drug case in which he was acquitted of selling drugs but found guilty of possessing them.

Attorney Jarrod Smith filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court on Matthews' behalf Sept. 8, suing the county, the city of Auburn, the Auburn Police Department, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Department, the Cayuga County District Attorney's Office, District Attorney Jon Budelmann and Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Valdina. 

In response to the lawsuit, Budelmann said Matthews' charges and prosecution were justified, pointing out that Matthews had four previous drug selling convictions and that there was strong evidence against him in the most recent case.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen 

Christopher Acosta-Castillo gets feel for the jaws of life during Fire Prevention Week at Emily Howland Elementary School.

Tyrone T. Matthews

Comptroller's office: Some New York schools not reporting bullying

New York state schools are not doing enough to protect students from harassment and discrimination, according to a report from the state comptroller's office.

The office said Friday that many schools districts are underreporting bullying incidents, according to a press release.

The office looked at how the state education department has gone about ensuring school districts are reporting harassment incidents and if district policies align with the Dignity for All Students Act. The act is meant to ensure students are not singled out or attacked for factors such as race, sexual orientation, religion or weight.

According to the report, the comptroller's office visited 20 schools — all outside of New York City — and found some schools didn't include enough critical details or simply did not report incidents. In one case, a school did not report on a cyberbullying situation despite police involvement.

Schools reported problems identifying what situations warranted reporting, along with different conceptions of what qualifies as "bullying," according to the report. Seventeen of these schools said they had issues interpreting and carrying out dignity act guidelines.

For the school year ending on June 30, 2016, 16,938 harassment incidents were reported, along with 2,471 cyberbullying incidents, the comptroller's office said. A review of incident records by the comptroller's office also revealed unreported incidents and a lack of substantial details in many reports. The office also also found some schools were unable to determine which incidents were reported to the education department.

For the 22 schools in Cayuga County from 2015-2016, a total of 51 non-cyberbullying harassment and discrimination incidents and three cyberbullying incidents were reported under the dignity act. 

Six schools in the county reported zero dignity act incidents from the 2013-2014 school year to 2015-2016.

The report included the education department's response to the report and to the three recommendations made by the comptroller's office. The department pledged to promote school compliance with dignity act requirements under the act's new reporting structure for the 2017-2018 school year.

The department also said it will meet the office's recommendations to augment dignity act training — including what details should be included in incident records — and to remind school and district officials of dignity act record requirements.