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PUBLIC HEALTH
State sewage pollution analysis shows drastic increase in overflow reporting

Statewide sewage overflow reports have increased nearly 270 percent since May 2013, showing that at least 3.8 billion gallons has been discharged into waterways since then, according to a newly released analysis.

That amount, however, may be a fraction of what's actually dumped into the water.

Environmental Advocates of New York released an addendum to its 2016 document, "Tapped Out: New York's Clean Water in Peril," showing that the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act of 2012 is making the reporting of sewage discharges more consistent and accurate. The group, however, says there's still room for improvement.

Between May 2013 and June 2015, 2,696 sewage overflows were reported. As the act's final regulations have fallen into place, the report shows that between May 2013 and June 2017, about 10,687 overflows were reported.

According to the document, however, one-third of overflow reports did not include the total volume of sewage, showing that 3.8 billion gallons is likely a fraction of what's actually released into waterways. 

"The increase in reporting is a positive sign that implementation of the law is beginning to meet the intent of the law — ensuring members of the public are informed of water contamination so people don't get sick," the report said. "This also provides elected officials and members of the public a clearer picture of the extent of sewage overflows in the State, drawing attention to the importance of fixing old infrastructure leading to these problems."

The Environmental Advocates of New York highlighted recommendations, too, to make sure there's cleaner water in the future. Those recommendations include providing additional staff funding for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to help municipalities comply with sewage reporting and protect the public's health. It also called for more grant funding devoted to water infrastructure projects and for the state to provide more financial support to communities for monitoring sewage discharges.

The full report can be viewed at eany.org/sites/default/files/documents/tapped_out.pdf. The addendum can be viewed at eany.org/sites/default/files/documents/tapped_out_addendum_final_1.pdf


Associated Press 

People prepare to fish beneath a bridge where a combined sewage overflow pipe empties into the Hudson River in Troy.


Local
COMMUNITY
Pioneering physician at Auburn hospital recalled as 'an icon'

Auburn Community Hospital recognized a man this week who was an instrumental pioneer in the hospital's development. 

Dr. Donald W. Delahanty, who died last month, was recalled in a proclamation that was read at the hospital's annual Christmas dinner.

As the first orthopedic specialist in the area, Delahanty effectively brought orthopedics to Auburn when he arrived in 1956, said Dr. Rick Nangle, a retired physician who worked with Delahanty. Before Delahanty began working at the hospital, all orthopedic care was done by general surgeons.

“He was an icon in the medical community,” Nangle said, adding that not only was Delahanty “instrumental in building up the orthopedics program,” but he was also instrumental in building up other doctors and orthopedic surgeons.

"He was a true gentleman," Nangle said. He worked exceptionally hard, but "you never saw him angry or complaining.

“I would do anything for Donald Delahanty because he did everything for everybody,” Nangle said.

Delahanty served as the hospital's chief of surgery before he retired in 1993. In June of 1996, the hospital debuted a library on the second floor, where the orthopedics unit used to be, named after him: "Donald W. Delahanty, MD, Library." Delahanty was also honored with a "Lifetime Leadership Award" at Auburn Community Hospital's 2013 annual gala.

Dr. Delahanty passed away peacefully at his home on Nov. 4, 2017 in Winchester, Massachusetts. Delahanty lived in Auburn for 60 years, beginning in 1956, according to an obituary submitted to The Citizen. Delahanty was active in his retirement and enjoyed to play tennis, golf, and even went snow skiing at the age of 91. Last year, Donald and his wife, Jacqueline, moved to an assisted living facility in Massachusetts.


LEGAL
Concealed carry print

The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits possess a firearm in any state with similar laws. 

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed by a 231-198 vote. It was supported by most Republicans and a half-dozen Democrats. A vast majority of Democrats and 14 Republicans opposed the measure. 

The bill's main provision allows gun owners to carry concealed firearms across state lines if they are eligible to possess the weapons under federal law, have a valid photo identification and a valid concealed carry permit issued by their home state. 

U.S. Rep. John Katko, an original cosponsor of the concealed-carry gun bill, compared it to an individual who has a driver's license. Once they have a driver's license, they are able to drive in another state while abiding by the laws in that state. 

"The same thing holds true here," he said. 

A federal ban on possessing firearms in school zones would not apply to those with concealed carry permits. And they may carry concealed handguns on federal lands that are open to the public, according to a summary of the bill. 

The National Rifle Association, the leading gun rights group, supported the legislation. After the bill's passage, the group called the achievement "the most far-reaching expansion of self-defense rights in modern American history."

"This vote marks a watershed moment for Second Amendment rights," said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action." 

However, critics of the bill question how it would impact states' rights and predicted it would lead to an uptick in violent crime. 

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded in 2011, slammed the House vote. 

"Congress has failed the American people," she said. 

The bill also includes a provision supporters say would help to prevent tragedies like the massacre at a Texas church in November. The gunman who killed 26 people in that mass shooting had a prior domestic violence conviction while serving in the Air Force. However, the Air Force failed to enter the conviction in a federal crime database. 

If the Air Force properly reported the conviction, the shooter would have been prevented from legally purchasing guns. 

The legislation seeks to address the problem by encouraging federal government agencies and states to improve reporting of criminal offenses. The goal is to ensure the crime database has the most up-to-date information available. 

"If you're a felon in the United States, you're not allowed to possess a firearm," Katko, R-Camillus, said. "And if someone is a felon, we damn well better know about it when the guy goes to the counter to buy a gun because we'll make sure it keeps it out of his hands." 

Despite the strong support for the bill in the House, its fate in the Senate is unclear. Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate and most Democrats oppose expanding concealed-carry rights. 

There is bipartisan support for boosting the federal crime database to ensure those with felony convictions can't buy guns. A standalone Senate bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, would address the criminal database concerns. Cornyn also backs concealed-carry reciprocity, but he introduced that as a separate bill.


Local
CRIME
Cayuga County Sheriff's Office: Genoa man raped child

The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office arrested a 33-year-old Genoa man for alleged sexual contact with a preteen girl.

Ira B. Thresher, of 8752 Route 90, is facing two felony charges after an investigation by the sheriff's office and child protective services revealed he had been engaging in ongoing sexual abuse against a child, according to a release.

Thresher was arrested on Dec. 4, but the sheriff's office believes the abuse began sometime this past summer.

Thresher was charged with first-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act, both class B felonies. He was arraigned in the Town of Owasco Court and remanded to the Cayuga County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. 

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Fred Cornelius at (315) 253-6562. Tips can also be left at cayugasheriff.com and may be anonymous.