Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on August 19, 2022
A Batavia woman, who applied for and received unemployment benefits connected to COVID-19 relief programs that she was not entitled to, has been sentenced to six months in federal prison. 37-year-old Danielle Tooley must also pay $18,000 in restitution to the federal government. Law enforcement found six New York State unemployment benefit cards during a traffic stop, when she was arrested for alleged criminal possession of a controlled substance. Further investigation revealed that Tooley consistently withdrew money from bank accounts associated with the cards.
Governor Hochul announced today that New York’s college Tuition Assistance Program is now available to part-time students. Previously, the program was available only to people enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester. Last year, 250,000 students across the state got financial support through the program, with an average award of $3,300. With this change, students attending public state colleges in the SUNY or CUNY system and those in private, nonprofit New York colleges taking as few as six credits are now eligible for the assistance.
The cost per gallon of gas continues its downward trend. According to Triple A this morning, the national average price for a gallon of regular is $3.92. In New York State, the average is $4.28. So why do gasoline costs differ so much from one area to the next? Economists attribute it to many different things related to supply chains, the local cost of doing business, taxes and environmental policy, among other factors. Crude oil is a global commodity, whose prices are set by supply and demand. But it also has to be transported to a refinery, processed and then shipped to individual fuel stations, which have operating costs of their own. Each link in that chain is reflected in what consumers pay at the pump, and that cost varies significantly depending on the location. With all of this in mind, in Batavia as of this morning, the average cost is $4.36. That’s down 6 cents from a week ago and a quarter from a month ago.
The clock is ticking down for New Yorkers who want to cast their ballots ahead of the upcoming primary. The early voting period that started last Saturday comes to an end on Sunday. There are primary elections being held for Congress and state Senate. In Genesee County, the only early voting location is at the ARC Community Center at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia. The hours vary each day so check the Genesee County Board of Elections page for early voting hours. Primary Day is Tuesday, August 23 and polls that day are open from 6am to 9pm.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans says that the gun violence state of emergency presently in place, will remain in effect for a few more weeks. Evans said that the order has been extended until at least September 17th, noting that the reason for his decision is connected to what’s being called unprecedented levels of gun violence in the city.
Starting today, police across the state will be taking part in the latest “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” STOP-DWI campaign. Police are going to be increasing patrols through September 5th in an effort to get drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol off the roads. According to data from the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, the number of police-reported impaired driving crashes went up by 11% between 2020 and 2021. During last year’s campaign, more than 2500 people statewide were arrested for impaired driving.
The stars of the NASCAR Cup Series are going to be doing battle in the Empire State on Sunday. Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch among others will be competing in the Go Bowling At The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Harvick has crossed the finish line first in the last two Cup series races at Michigan and Richmond and is looking to make it three victories in a row. The green flag will wave Sunday shortly after 3pm.
The man who is accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie has been indicted by a grand jury. Prosecutors say 24-year-old Hadi Matar attacked the 75-year-old Rushdie last week at the Chautauqua Institute. Rushdie survived the assault but suffered severe injuries to his liver, arm and eye. In court yesterday, Matar’s attorney asked that his client be released on bail while he’s awaiting trial but the judge denied that request. Matar was also told that he could not participate in any more media interviews.
The Buffalo Bills take the field tomorrow as they continue to prepare for the upcoming NFL season. The defending AFC East champions will host the Denver Broncos at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. The Bills won their first preseason contest last week, beating the Indianapolis Colts 27 to 24. Kickoff for tomorrow’s game with Denver is set for 1:00.