Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on May 31, 2022
United States and Canadian regulators are investigating a hepatitis outbreak that may be linked to fresh organic strawberries. In a joint weekend statement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Public Health Agency of Canada say at least 27 illnesses have occurred after people ate FreshKampo and H-E-B brand strawberries. The strawberries were purchased between March 5 and April 25 at various retailers, including Aldi, Kroger and Wal-Mart. Of course, the strawberries are past their shelf life, but consumers who froze them to eat later should throw them away. There have been 17 illnesses and 12 hospitalizations reported. Ten cases and four hospitalizations have been reported in Canada. In a statement on its website, Texas grocer H-E-B said it has not received or sold organic strawberries from the supplier in question since April 16. H-E-B said anyone who still has the strawberries should throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased. Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease and, in rare cases, liver failure and death. Illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. Consumers who ate the potentially affected berries in the last two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A should immediately consult with a physician, the FDA said.
The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors will be considering the O-AT-KA Milk Products proposal this Thursday night when they meet: OATKA wants to expand their facility by 3,200 square feet. The $3.1 million proposed investment would be home to two new 18,000-gallon tanks intended to increase capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions. The project proposal includes a request for a little over $208,000 ($208,109) in property, sales and mortgage tax assistance. Upon completion, it’s estimated to generate $3.5 million in local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.
After dealing with weeks of increases, Western New York drivers are finally seeing steady prices at the gas pumps. According to Triple A, in our region, the average cost for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.88. That’s the same price as last week but is 60 cents higher than this time last month and a $1.85 more than a year ago. The state average is $4.93 a gallon while nationally it’s $4.62. In Batavia, the average price per gallon is $4.83, down a penny from yesterday. Governor Hochul has pledged that the state tax will be suspended starting tomorrow, saving upwards of 16 cents per gallon. Several counties including Erie and Monroe are also dropping their gas tax on top of the state tax for another 12 to 15 cents off. The gas tax relief will be in place until September.
The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming June primary is just a few days away. Folks have until this Friday, June 3rd to register through the state DMV website or in-person at their local Board of Elections office. Anyone who wants to mail in his or her application must make sure it’s postmarked no later than June 3rd and received by the Board of Elections no later than June 8th. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28th.
Members of the state Senate and Assembly are back at the Capitol in Albany today as this year’s legislative session winds down. Lawmakers are reportedly planning to address several key issues including guaranteeing access to abortion services and strengthening the state’s gun control laws. They might also vote on a measure that would switch local elections for certain offices outside of New York City to even-numbered years. The legislative session is currently scheduled to end on Thursday.
The Mega Millions jackpot hasn’t been won in a few weeks, and players of the game are hoping to claim a huge prize tonight. The jackpot for this evening’s drawing has grown to at least $170,000,000. The price of a ticket for Mega Millions is $2.00; tonight’s drawing will be streamed live online. Please play responsibly.
FeedMore WNY has announced it’s going to be holding additional food distribution events for Buffalo residents who have been affected by the ongoing closure of the Jefferson Avenue Tops. One of those distributions will take place on Wednesdays from 3:00pm until 7:00pm at the Resource Council of WNY. Food is also going to be distributed on Fridays from 3 until 7pm at the Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion. People can also have meals delivered by calling 716-822-2002.