VERTICAL SOUND.... A sound coming down from heaven!




 Written By International Author Nolan J. Harkness


WETM NEWS  in Elmira NY certainly seems to have favorites when it comes to the upcoming November 5th  County Sheriff election. Perhaps they are mimicking some of the national news channels, who pick favorites and then proceed to promote very slanted views of their candidates, offering them prime air time and plenty of it.


Recently, candidate Art Laurey was invited to be a guest on a local TV program “Coleman and Company” hosted by Dr. Stephen Coleman, longtime Elmira College  now retired  professor of Political Science. During the interview, Art Laurey an employee of the Sheriffs office for 27 years stated that the county sheriffs office, currently under acting Sheriff William Schrom, was not being transparent concerning things that have gone on inside the sheriff’s department that few people know anything about. Art’s convictions back about ten years ago became so strong he decided to run for Chemung County Sheriff himself.


Art knew the risk. He had witnessed first hand the negative pressures and nepotism of a strong-armed incumbent leadership. Having raised five children he still had two teenagers at home dependent on his income and work benefits. Art back then reports that he was forced to take an early retirement or face possibly losing his job and all benefits that his family depended on. So then began his years of following every opportunity to run for the office of Chemung County Sheriff.


Art realized recently that the four suicides within a eighteen month time period under William Schrom’s leadership were way above state and national averages. Exact ratios are hard to calculate but enough is known to realize that these four suicides are seven to ten times the national average for county jail inmates.


Arts statement that the County Sheriffs office was lacking transparency with the public merely was a statement of a reality in William Schrom’s case, of not owning up to the fact that these suicides took place under his watch. According to her parents this last girl that committed suicide family pleaded with the sheriff’s office to keep her under constant surveillance after being admitted into the jail. The parents pleading with recorded phone calls went unheeded. Then she did commit suicide that night.


WETM’S bias is blatant. After WETM’s prerecorded an interview of Art and his wife Mary, conducted in an informal setting, WETM  chopped off more that half of Art’s explanation of his position on the topic. In addition Art was not invited to come on as was William Schrom, for a newsroom interview to explain his statements. Art was also recently informed of a debate that was scheduled for 7 PM on October 22. The debate was scheduled with no prior coordination with him. It appeared to Art that WETM didn’t seem to care if he had a schedule conflict. He was told the debate will be held whether he could be there or not. In a world of public media where there should be fair reporting of both sides of a story, WETM is leaning hard toward William Schrom’s candicy and obviously prejudicing Art Laurey’s communications.


If WETM wanted to level the playing field they would invite Art Laurey to come in to their news room for a evening news interview, the same that they have done for William Schrom. By doing this they would give Art the same chance to explain his statements as they have given William. This would enable Art to prove that he is not misinformed and that he is not grossly misrepresenting problems regarding the secrecy and lack of transparency of the Chemung County Sheriff’s office.


There is no question that William Schrom has a staff of well-trained and highly qualified individuals under his command who do their best to assure the safety off all Chemung County Jail inmates. Mr. Schrom should not be so quick to assume that Art Laurey has misguided information when Mr. Laurey has not even been given yet the opportunity to speak about the information which he does have. Let’s all hope our confidence in WETM news is not misplaced. We depend on WETM to provide well- balanced reporting on such important things as a very interesting race for Chemung County Sheriff by two highly experienced men. There is still time before the voters to the polls for WETM to provide balanced coverage for this race. May our clear constitutional freedoms not be clouded by the political priorities of any local news agency.



Nolan J Harkness is a long time resident of Chemung County NY and is a well established author being published weekly in the largest Christian Newspaper in the world called “The Christian Post” out of Washington DC. He is an ordained minister and spent most of his life working with teens and troubled youth in the Chemung County area. He is the former host of a syndicated radio broadcast called Teen Talk Radio.

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