(WETM) – The year 2021 brought both joys and challenges to the Twin Tiers in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine and the Corning Inc. vials made right here in the Southern Tier brought a new chapter to the pandemic as family and friends reunited after months of isolation.
18 News is taking a look back at some of the top stories from 2021 as determined by you, the viewers. These are the most-read stories on MyTwinTiers.com from 2021.
March 11: Gov. Cuomo lifts NYS Travel Restrictions (185K Page Views)
On March 11, 2021, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted domestic travel restrictions for New York residents. Travelers were no longer required to quarantine after entering New York from any U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1, 2021, as the vaccine rollout hit New York.
Nov. 8: What a La Niña winter means for New York (95K Page Views)
A La Niña winter was predicted but what exactly does that mean for New York state? 18 Storm Team Meteorologist Nick Guzzo provided an explanation for what New Yorkers could be in store for this winter.
April 22: Steuben County Sheriff’s Office puts out statement on “National Rape Day” (87K Page Views)
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office released a statement condemning a social media report of “National Rape Day” on Apr. 24, 2021. The “day” was created on TikTok and Facebook stories which claimed some type of organized sexual assault program would take place across the country.
Sept. 14: Chemung County Torture-Murder Case (144K Page Views)
The Chemung County Torture-Murder case captivated readers across the Twin Tiers and upstate New York as four people were arrested for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Juan Jose Gotay.
Thomas Bovaird, Eddie Marte, Malik Weems, and an unnamed minor were arrested in connection to Gotay’s death in January 2021. 18 News first reported Gotay’s body being discovered in Potter County, Pennsylvania, and the arrest of several of the suspects involved.
The suspects in this case remain in custody and have appeared in court, but a trial has not yet been scheduled.
Oct. 15: Steuben County Child Killer Eric Smith granted parole (111K Page Views)
Eric Smith, nationally known for killing 4-year-old Derrick Robie in 1993, is set to be released after spending 27 years in prison.
Smith remains in prison as he awaits an approved address from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Smith made national headlines in 1993 when, at 13 years old, he lured 4-year-old Derrick Robie into the woods in Steuben County, strangled him, crushed his head with a rock, and sodomized him with a stick. A jury unanimously found Smith guilty of second-degree murder.
Feb. 4: NYS Department of Labor warns of potential scams (77K Page Views)
Internet and phone scams reached peak levels during the COVID-19 pandemic as scammers attempted to use the pandemic as leverage to scare or trick people into turning over money or personal information.
On Feb. 4, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor warned residents of people who have been posing as the DOL through email, text, and social media to prey on New Yorkers who need help.
Feb. 26: When is Donald Trump speaking at CPAC? (53K Page Views)
In his first major public appearance since leaving the White House and the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The former President spoke on February 28 and residents from across the Twin Tiers checked to see what time he would be speaking.
March 13: US treasury begins sending stimulus checks (52K Page Views)
The United States Department of the Treasury, through the IRS and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, began processing the first batch of $1,200 stimulus checks approved through the CARES Act. Several other rounds of payments went out to assist citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn.
Dec. 4: What were those strange lights in the sky? SpaceX satellites, most likely (48K Page Views)
On Dec. 4, people across the Twin Tiers looked into the night sky to find a string of lights or orbs.
So what were these lights? According to a sister station meteorologist in Johnson City, TN, Tyler Allender says they were most likely SpaceX Starlink satellites.
Aug. 27: Suspect dead, Trooper injured after foot chase in Elmira (47K Page Views)
An Elmira man was shot and killed in Woodlawn Cemetery during a shootout and foot pursuit involving several police departments. One New York State Trooper was injured during the incident when her leg was impaled on a fence at the cemetery.
Police said the 53-year-old David Wandell brandished a weapon when officers fatally shot him.
June 30: Watkins Glen road rage assault suspect arrested (46K Page Views)
A Beaver Dams man was arrested after a road rage assault in Watkins Glen. Michael Crosson Jr. was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault in the third degree and disorderly conduct for the incident that was partially captured on camera.