Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on December 22, 2022
An Oakfield man who repeatedly sexually assaulted a child has been sentenced in Genesee County Court to 14 years in state prison. 58-year-old Robert Ritchey pleaded guilty in October to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Ritchey also was sentenced to 15 years of post-release supervision. He was arrested in April and had more charges filed against him in June after the state police investigation. There were a total of 14 charges against Ritchey that involved a child under age 11.
31-year-old Christopher Say of Stafford has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for attempted third-degree arson. There were multiple charges filed against him stemming from an altercation that happened the day after Christmas last year. Firefighters were initially called to a Main Road address in Stafford for a report of a garage fire. Upon first responder’s arrival, Say was uncooperative and barricaded himself inside the garage. He threatened firefighters, deputies and state police, saying he was going to blow up the garage. Route 5 was closed for a period of time. Say eventually drove a car backwards through the garage door, hit a fence and slammed into a patrol car; he was then taken into custody.
23-year-old Tarrance Williams of Batavia entered a plea deal this week. He was charged with possessing a handgun during an incident in the area of Ellicott and Court Street in September, at a time when he was awaiting sentencing on a drug possession conviction. As part of the plea, the cases were consolidated so Williams could be sentenced on both convictions simultaneously but by law will need to serve sentences on both convictions consecutively. He faces up to seven years in prison on the weapons charge; he could also be placed on parole for seven years and fined up to $5000. He’s also eligible for probation. Williams was originally going to be sentenced on Tuesday afternoon, but because of a timing conflict with an ongoing, unrelated trial, Williams will be sentenced on a later date.
Plans are currently in the works to increase the safety of students, teachers, and staff at Buffalo Public Schools. The district is going to install new weapons detection systems that use advanced imaging technology and artificial intelligence to find weapons quickly. The first demonstration of the new system will be tomorrow at the International Preparatory School. Superintendent Doctor Tonja Williams says the district is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for students.
Members of the New York State Legislature will be back at the Capitol building today for a special session. Both the Assembly and Senate are expected to vote on a measure that would increase their salaries from the current $110,000 a year to $142,000 a year. There’d also be limits placed on the amount of money that lawmakers can earn outside of their position as an elected official. If approved, the salary increase would go into effect on January 1st.
Governor Hochul has signed off on a brand new law that will make it mandatory for employers to list the salary ranges for every advertised job and promotion. The goals of this legislation are to provide workers with important information before they apply for a position and to reduce discriminatory wage setting and hiring practices. The U.S. Department of Labor says that in 2020, women made 83 cents for every dollar made by men. The governor believes the legislation will usher in a new era of fairness and transparency for New York’s workforce.
Erie County officials say the cost of cleanup efforts from the massive snowstorm that slammed the region back in November has surpassed 11-million-dollars. The storm ended up dropping several feet of snow between November 17th and the 20th and five deaths were reported across Western New York. President Biden authorized a federal emergency declaration but funding hasn’t reached communities in the county just yet. That money can be used to help cover the cost of things like snow removal and plowing roads.
The latest data from the state shows the spread of the coronavirus is on the rise once again in our region. The seven-day average infection rate is now at 6.15%. At this time last week, the infection rate was at 4.88%. Anyone who wants to receive a COVID-19 shot or booster dose can schedule an appointment online at vaccines.gov.
Tomorrow night’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning has been postponed due to severe weather that is predicted to affect the area. The contest has been pushed back to Saturday, March 4th at the KeyBank Center. People who have tickets for the game will still be able to use them. The next game for the Sabres is set for December 27th when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.