Every Monday, we recap some essential local news we reported on 1290 AM/92.1 FM WNBF, our Townsquare Media Binghamton sister radio stations on-air, our websites, and social media platforms.

Catch up here on local, regional, or state news items in a short recap we reported on for the week of March 18th, 2024, from various agencies and news reporting from WNBF's Bob Joseph, Don Morgan, and the Townsquare Media staff. For the complete article (if available), click on the headline.

Binghamton's Iconic Red Oak Restaurant Springing Back to Life

(Bob Joseph)
A diner that was a fixture in Binghamton for several decades is about to reopen. The Red Oak Restaurant at 305 Front Street in the First Ward closed its doors in October 2020. Kapogiannatos told WNBF News that he's been busy getting the place ready in recent months. He said he plans to reopen the restaurant on April 2.

Exciting Renovations Underway At Endicott's Grippen Park

(Don Morgan)
As WNBF reported on January 5. 2024, construction work on a long-awaited park improvement project in the town of Union was expected to get underway in the next several weeks. That time is now. A groundbreaking ceremony at the park occurred on March 15, with Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, members of the Broome County Legislature, and other elected officials in attendance. Grippen Park is located at 607 South Grippen Avenue, Endicott. The total project which will cost $4.3 million, includes newly renovated restrooms, concessions, a new indoor track, and 5 new pickleball courts for the spring and summer seasons, alongside a new recreational ice rink for winter use.

Washington Avenue Building Removed for Endicott Development Site

(Bob Joseph)
A single-family house on Endicott's Washington Avenue has been torn down as efforts continue to redevelop the site where a hotel once stood. Developer Justin Marchuska said the building was demolished to "expand our footprint" for a future project. The vacant two-story house at 218 Washington Avenue was acquired for $90,000 less than a month ago. Marchuska told WNBF News on Monday he envisions a mixed-use project that could include commercial space on the street level and market-rate apartments on the top two floors.

New Turnout Gear Unveiled For Binghamton Firefighters

(Don Morgan)
On March 15, 2024, new turn-out gear for the Fire Department in the City of Binghamton was unveiled. 30 complete sets of firefighter turn-out gear which comprises a helmet, a cancer barrier prevention hood, turn-out coat and pants, gloves, boots, and bail-out systems. City of Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham noted at the news conference "This new gear will allow the men and women of the Binghamton Fire Department to continue working to protect residents and do their jobs safely.”

Pothole on Route 17 in Vestal Damages Vehicles, Ties Up Traffic

(Bob Joseph)
At least three vehicles sustained damage from a crater-like pothole that opened up near a bridge on Route 17 in Vestal. The trouble developed around the start of Monday's late-afternoon commute in an eastbound lane of the expressway. Vestal police received calls from three drivers who reported their vehicles were disabled after striking the massive hole. The problem spot was on the west end of the Route 17 bridge over Vestal Road. Police said tires blew out on a couple of the vehicles. One car sustained undercarriage damage that caused an oil leak. The woman driving that vehicle left the highway at Exit 68.

Some Binghamton Area School Dismissals On Tap For April 8th

(Don Morgan)
Many school districts in New York State are either giving their students a day off or early dismissal due to the solar eclipse. It ranges from giving the students a chance to be home to observe the eclipse or because that school would be letting out around the eclipse cycle time, and it would be best to avoid the anticipated heavy traffic during that time. Since the Greater Binghamton area will be close to a total eclipse, some local schools have also opted for early dismissals.

Dunkin' Demolition: Donuts On Hold at One Southern Tier Shop

(Bob Joseph)
The Dunkin store on Route 434 in Apalachin was demolished on Tuesday to make way for a new unit that will rise on higher ground. The new Dunkin' shop will have about 2,000 square feet of space. Christian said the building will be about three feet higher than the previous store in order to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements. The new Apalachin Dunkin' store is expected to open by the end of June.

New York State Lawmakers Pass Bill To Strengthen Fracking Ban

(Don Morgan)
A bill to expand New York State's fracking ban would prohibit gas drilling companies from using an extraction method that involves injecting liquid carbon dioxide into the ground was passed on March 20, 2024, by lawmakers. Southern Tier Solutions, a company from the State of Texas was looking to lease land in the Southern Tier last fall for drilling, attempting to use a loophole in the existing fracking ban law by drilling with carbon dioxide instead of water. The New York State Assembly passed the bill on March 12th, and now it has landed on the desk of Governor Kathy Hochul to sign or reject it.

Repairs Completed Under Binghamton Bridge Damaged by Arson Fire

(Bob Joseph)
A Broome County bridge that sustained structural damage in a blaze set in a homeless encampment has been repaired. The fire under the VFW Memorial Bridge on Bevier Street on Binghamton's North Side occurred on December 13. The bridge was closed to traffic for a short time after the incident while engineers assessed the structure for potential safety issues. The inspection revealed the fire had caused some melting and warping of the steel on the east end of the bridge.

Stay Safe & Informed: New York State Police's Eclipse Preparedness

(Don Morgan)
According to the New York State Police, Troop E in Canandaigua will be the headquarters for all State Police operations. The goal is to minimize any adverse effects associated with the large influx of visitors to the areas in the path of the solar eclipse. NYS Police note that during an eclipse in 2017, some areas experienced a 100 percent increase in population. Officers will monitor traffic during the event and will be ready to respond rapidly if needed.

Stadium Upgrades Nearing Completion for Rumble Ponies Opener

(Bob Joseph)
Construction crews are working to finish improvement projects at Mirabito Stadium in downtown Binghamton ahead of the season opener for the Rumble Ponies. Two new scoreboards have been installed at the stadium. The Daktronics electronic displays replaced units that had been less-than-reliable in recent seasons. Although the new scoreboards will be the most obvious change at the Henry Street stadium, the biggest project during the off-season was upgrading the facility's drainage system. Temporary underground water storage tanks were installed at the stadium last month to deal with the aftermath of summer rainstorms. The system is designed to capture water that otherwise would collect on the field and around the dugouts.

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