ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – At a meeting of the Chemung County Legislature on Monday, more than 30 people showed up to voice opposition to a new “sticker shop” on the corner of South Main Street & Pennsylvania Avenue. The location is across the street from the Chemung County Family Fitness Center, which provides services for hundreds of seniors and kids. The County’s Department of Social Services is on that same block.
“I’ve been told it’s going to be used for some dope or marijuana stuff,” said a concerned senior who spoke up at the public legislature meeting. “I think that’s asinine because we have lot of school kids that come in there.”
“It’s a major danger for young children,” said another concerned senior. “People coming to DSS for Social Services, it’s not safe for them. It’s also going to draw a lot of traffic to that little triangle. I don’t think it can handle that.”
“We have some seniors that are afraid to walk into this building now,” said Sid Whitney, the Director of the Chemung County Family Fitness Center. Whitney says some seniors have been parking at the location across the street for more than a year while the property was vacant. Whitney told 18 News there was a recent confrontation with the new owner that led to a police response.
“On June 23rd, when my second class let out, some of our members had already left that area. Chris Mickinkle came over, I had two cars left. He started to put caution tape up while two of my seniors still inside the parking lot. I went over to get our seniors out, and I pulled the caution tape up. I just wanted my two individuals out. I was threatened, three of us were threatened to be shot at. He didn’t have a gun. He threatened to spit on me. His language was disgusting, I can’t even say it to you. He also had disgusting language with the police officers.”
18 News spoke with Christopher Mickinkle, the owner of 420 Novelties. He also has two other locations in Elmira and one in the Town of Horseheads. Mickinkle declined to speak on camera, but said he was putting the caution tape up to let people know the location was now a private property. Mickinkle denies threatening anyone. He told 18 News he was the one who was attacked when a senior grabbed his arm.
“One of our members touched his arm so Kathy could get into her car. He threatened that we were trying to steal his 40,000 dollar watch.” said Whitney. “He could of asked us nicely. We did not assault him.”
I spoke with City Manager Michael Collins to ask him if the City of Elmira is enforcing a statewide crackdown on unlicensed cannabis sales. Mr. Collins declined to comment on camera and referred me to the Chemung County District Attorney’s Office. I reached out to District Attorney Weeden Wetmore. I did not hear back before publication.