Every week, 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 on local and regional news items in a short recap we reported on for the week of May 6, 2024, from WNBF's Bob Joseph, Don Morgan, and the Townsquare Media staff. For the complete article (if available), click on the headline.

Man Accused of Stomping on Head of Johnson City Walmart Shopper

(Bob Joseph)
Authorities say a man suspected of a vicious attack on a shopper inside the Johnson City Walmart store also tried to choke a village police officer. Police were called to the store on Gannett Drive around 12:50 p.m. Sunday to investigate the assault on a 69-year-old man. Investigators said when officers arrived at the scene, the man reported he had been "randomly assaulted" while he was shopping. Officers spoke with witnesses and reviewed the store's surveillance video recordings. The video showed a man approaching the shopper and then starting to punch him until he fell to the ground. Then the attacker was seen "stomping the victim in the head with his foot." The suspect, identified by police as 33-year-old Angel Vasquez, was charged with third-degree assault in connection with the store attack.

$3 Million In New Funding For Greater Binghamton Airport

(Don Morgan)
On May 6, 2024, Congressman Molinaro announced the Greater Binghamton Airport will receive an additional $3 million in federal funding for airport terminal upgrades, from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Airport Terminal Program. The additional funds will go to expanding the Greater Binghamton Airport's passenger hold room, along with the other projects that will soon begin or are already underway. Jason Garner, the Broome County Executive noted that “The award of these funds shows our strong partnership with our state and federal officials. It puts on full display the importance and impact of this project in our community.”

Fixing the Avenue: Endicott Drivers, Businesses Cope with Project

(Bob Joseph)
Motorists and business operators are making adjustments as Endicott's Washington Avenue reconstruction project moves forward. Mayor Nick Burlingame told WNBF News last Tuesday that the contractor has advised village officials that things are "right on schedule" for the long-awaited upgrade.  Burlingame said crews now are working on water lines block-by-block. That means one block of the Avenue is closed at a time as workers replace water mains and lateral lines. After water system work is completed, one-half of the street will be out of service when the focus turns to the sidewalks and pavement.

Binghamton School Odyssey Of The Mind Team Advances To The World Finals

(Don Morgan)
According to the Catholic Schools of Broome County, at Binghamton's St. John the Evangelist School, a team consisting of first, third, and fifth-grade students has advanced to the Odyssey of the Mind 2024 World Finals to be held in the State of Iowa May 21st through the 24th, 2024. These talented students placed successfully in the regional and state tournaments, which earned them the advancement to the World Finals. The St. John's team is the only one from Broome County who will be at this year's World Finals.

West Endicott Eyesore: Red Carpet Inn Finally Being Torn Down

(Bob Joseph)
Demolition crews started the process of removing an abandoned motel in West Endicott last week. The old Red Carpet Inn on West Main Street near the En-Joie Golf Course had languished in recent years, becoming a neighborhood nuisance as redevelopment efforts failed. Broome County acquired the property for $600,000 last February. A New Jersey man, Rakesh Shroff, had bought the vacant motel in 2019 with plans to renovate the building. Broome County Executive Jason Garnar told WNBF News the place was "a key eyesore" that needed to be removed. When the place first opened as the 61-room Royal Coachman Motel in April 1963, it was hailed as "ultramodern." News accounts described it as the first "all-electric" lodging place in the Southern Tier.

Help Rebuild Owego New York’s Iconic Strawberry

(Don Morgan)
One of the icons of the Strawberry Festival that has greeted visitors and residents of the Owego community, is the bright red, wooden Strawberry that sits on the Front Street bank of the Susquehanna River. Unfortunately, due to exposure to the many weather elements over the years, along with bird and insect invasions, the once proud beacon of the Strawberry Festival is showing its age. Due to deterioration, it will soon become unstable and unsafe according to a news release. The owner of the property where the Strawberry sits, Kim Trahan, is heading up an effort to replace the icon. For more information on the campaign, visit the 'Save the Strawberry of Owego' link. For information about the 3-day event, visit the Owego Strawberry Festival website.

Johnson City Square Deal Arch Project Paused Pending New Tests

(Bob Joseph)
Work has been halted on the long-awaited project to repair and stabilize the iconic Square Deal Arch on Main Street in Johnson City. The pause comes only a few weeks after crews from Lupini Construction started the first phase of rehabilitating the structure that has stood for more than a century. Joshua Holland, the village's director of public services, said work on the site stopped last Friday after it became clear the arch's condition is worse than initially believed. Holland said the discovery came after some of the concrete pieces were removed from the steel structure that supports the arch. Holland briefed members of the Johnson City village board about the condition of the arch Tuesday evening. He said, "It's not in good shape." For now, the work is on hold until the pending assessment of the structure and how the project should proceed.

Ride Your Bicycle On The Watkins Glen Race Track 

(Don Morgan)
According to a new announcement from race officials, something different is about to be offered to the general public on the Watkins Glen International Race Track. On Saturday, May 25th, the general public will have the opportunity to ride their bicycles around the 2.45-mile track. Only manually operated bicycles will be allowed on the Watkins Glen race track. That means no electric bicycles, skateboards, electric skateboards, or any motorized vehicle. Everyone who participates will be required to wear a bicycle helmet while riding on the track. Track officials note that kids 12 and under can ride for free while adults can participate for $15 per person.

Attorney General: BPD Officer Used Excessive Force in 2023 Arrest

(Bob Joseph)
An investigation by the New York State Attorney General's office has concluded that a Binghamton police officer used excessive force on a city man on New Year's Day 2023. Attorney General Letitia James on Friday released a report on a review of the arrest of Hamail Waddell across the street from the city police station. The 24-year-old Waddell was taken into custody after he was involved in a fight near State and Hawley streets as downtown bars were closing shortly after 3 a.m. on January 1, 2023. According to the attorney general's report, off-duty police officer Brad Kaczynski had been working as a security guard at Dillinger's bar. Kaczynski, who was wearing his police uniform and body-worn camera, started to arrest Waddell with the help of another officer. The report said Waddell was brought to the ground and was handcuffed. It said while Waddell was face down on the sidewalk, Kaczynski knelt with his knee and shin on the man's upper back and neck area for about 70 seconds.

Boating Safety In New York: What You Need To Know

(Don Morgan)
Before you head out, no matter what type of boat you have, think about safety first. Always have a life vest when boating, no matter what kind of boat you are on, and that goes for anyone else accompanying you. Here's something you may not know, according to the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, as of this year (2024), all operators of motorized vessels born on or after January 1, 1978 need to carry a safe boating certificate while operating. And, beginning January 1, 2025, a safety certificate will be required of all operators, regardless of age. New York State notes that the Safe Boating Course teaches basic boating skills and encourages common sense and courtesy to all who share the water.

Deposit Man Charged in Death of His 3-Year-Old Son

(Bob Joseph)
A 26-year-old Deposit resident faces felony charges in connection with the death of his young son. Authorities say state troopers were sent to a home on Fair Street in the village of Deposit on Friday to investigate a report of an unresponsive toddler. According to the New York State Police, investigators determined that James Christ Jr. had recklessly caused the death of the 3-year-old boy. Christ was arrested late Friday on charges of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault. Christ was arraigned Saturday morning and ordered held at Delaware County Jail without bail.

Construction Continues on Long-Delayed Vestal Swimming Pool

(Bob Joseph)
Vestal residents should be able to cool off this summer in a new public swimming pool. The old facility on Clayton Avenue was closed in 2019. The site didn't open the following year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pool - which had been in use since 1965 - continued to deteriorate and never reopened. The old structure was removed and construction started on a smaller replacement pool last August. The new pool will be 80 feet long and 40 feet wide. The complex will include a splash park, a shaded seating area, and a pool house. When details of the $3.7 million project were announced last summer, town officials said they expected it would be completed in May.

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