Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on September 7, 2022
A three-person Farm Laborers Wage Board voted 2-1 yesterday in a recommendation that the state reduce the overtime threshold for New York farm workers in a gradual phase-in from 60 to 40 hours a week. New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher cast one of the three votes and he opposed lowering the threshold. Fisher said the report is flawed and doesn’t reflect the data and witness testimony in hearings that he said showed lowering the OT threshold would hurt farms and farm workers. The reduction is proposed to be phased-in over a ten-year period, with reductions of four hours on a biannual basis. The phase-in schedule would begin on January 1, 2024, with the threshold set at 56 hours; on January 1, 2026, with the threshold set at 52 hours; on January 1, 2028, with the threshold set at 48 hours; on January 1, 2030, with the threshold set at 44 hours; on January 1, 2032, with the threshold set at 40 hours. Once the board delivers its report, Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon will have 45 days to review and announce her decision.
The City of Batavia Fire Department has released Community Connect, that’s an application focused on protecting residents and their property in the most effective way possible during an incident or major disaster. Community Connect is a safe, secure online platform. It’s easy to use and allows residents to share critical information about their household in order to aid first responders and emergency service personnel to respond more efficiently and effectively. Community Connect is completely voluntary and residents are individually able to decide which information they are comfortable sharing. Residents simply create a profile and enter critical property and occupant information, which is then made available to public safety agencies at the time of dispatch. To learn more about the program and to create your profile, click the following link. https://www.communityconnect.io/info/ny-cityofbatavia
This Friday is the day that our local Valu store will begin the process of closing down; that’s the day their inventory liquidation sale starts. Out of 16 stores across the region, the chain decided to close the doors at three under-performing locations. Besides Batavia, the other stores closing are in Chataqua County (Fredonia and Lakewood).
It looks like National Grid customers are going to be handing over a lot more money if they want to stay warm this winter. That’s because the utility company today predicted the average household would pay $943 for natural gas heating during the season, an increase of 39% from last winter. National Grid says this jump is mostly due to record natural gas prices and higher gas delivery rates. The company says people who are worried about paying their bills should check and see if they’re eligible for its Energy Affordability Program or the federal Home Energy Assistance Program.
Governor Hochul is immediately lifting the mask mandate in several spaces across New York State, including public transit. Yellow signs will be placed at transit hubs notifying people that masks are now optional. The Governor says this was a data driven decision. Masks will no longer be required in shelters or corrections facilities, but a mandate will remain in place for health care centers and hospitals. It comes as health officials report major declines in COVID-19 hospitalizations while pharmacies start rolling out targeted coronavirus boosters, possibly as early as late this week.
The Buffalo Bills are once again teaming up with Fisher-Price and Wegmans to help raise money for kids who are being treated at Oishei Children’s Hospital. Fisher-Price has released Little People characters featuring Bills quarterback Josh Allen, head coach Sean McDermott and wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Fans can purchase the Go Bills! pack at Wegmans stores across the region. They cost $19.99 each and all net proceeds will go to the foundation that helps support the hospital.
One of the biggest professional wrestling companies in the country will be making its debut in Buffalo this evening. The stars of All Elite Wrestling are going to be at the KeyBank Center for a live broadcast of AEW Dynamite and their taped show AEW Rampage that airs on Friday. Among those scheduled to perform is Buffalo native Daniel Garcia who is taking on Wheeler Yuta for the Ring of Honor Pure championship. Tickets for the show are still available and can be bought at the box office or through Ticketmaster.
The number of monkeypox cases has increased once again Monroe County. The latest data shows that a total of nine people have now contracted the illness since the outbreak started. One bit of good news is that cases in both New York State and nationally have been falling as of late because more people can get vaccinated. Monkeypox is often spread through exposure to an infected individual’s lesions or respiratory droplets. People who develop a sudden rash on any part of their body should contact their doctor and avoid being around others until they can be tested.
30-year-old Cassandra Elmore of Batavia is in trouble again. She’s the individual who was charged over the summer when it was discovered her dog had ingested illegal narcotics. And now, during a traffic stop, it was discovered she was driving with a suspended license. Police also found two sets of metal knuckles in her car with drug paraphernalia. Elmore was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, obstruction of governmental administration, aggravated unlicensed operation, driving an un-inspected motor vehicle, and insufficient tail lamps. She was processed by City Police and released with an appearance ticket.