Late Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on December 30, 2021
Governor Hochul announced today the success in awarding $900 million in Child Care Stabilization Grants to child care programs statewide. The Office of Children and Family Services awarded funding to nearly 15,000 eligible child care providers from August through November. The funds are intended to help cover costs of personnel, rent or mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, mental health supports for children and employees, and more.
WBTA News has learned from our news partner, The Batavian, that a local man, James Simonds has been indicted on counts of burglary and false report; characterized by false reports of fire, explosion, hazardous substance on school grounds, and endangering the welfare of a child. He is accused of entering John F. Kennedy School in Batavia with intent of committing a crime. While there, communicated false or baseless information of dangerous or hazardous substances on school grounds. He is accused of knowingly acting in a manner to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child.
New York State Fair officials have announced a major change to the smoking policy for the 2022 event. For the first time, smoking is only going to be allowed in some outdoor areas. The fair director says there have been complaints about smoking and this decision was made to make the fair as comfortable and family-friendly as possible for everyone. Smoking inside of buildings on fairgrounds property is already banned. The 2022 fair will run from August 24th until Labor Day, which is Monday, September 5th.
The Genesee Community College campus in Albion is hosting a COVID testing center. This announcement comes as the US is hitting its highest amount of people testing positive for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. The CDC scaled back their estimate from over 80 percent which they said on Tuesday. Experts are saying this is good news since Omicron results in 80 percent fewer hospitalizations than COVID and produces immunity in the same way. Vaccinated people seem to be catching Omicron at the same rate as unvaccinated people but vaccines and boosters appear to lower the severity of the symptoms.
The University of Rochester says all students who are eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot will need to get one before the start of the Spring semester. Anyone who currently isn’t eligible to get the additional vaccine dose must receive it within 30 days of becoming eligible. Students with a valid medical or religious exemption won’t have to meet the requirement. Information on how students can submit proof of their vaccination status is going to be released in the next few days.
A Stafford man has been charged with multiple felonies in connection with an incident on Saturday that led to Route 5 being closed to traffic in both directions for several hours. Residents who live nearby were evacuated. Christopher Say of Stafford was arraigned in Stafford Town Court and charged with five felonies. Making a terroristic threat, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief in the second degree, attempted arson, and criminal mischief in the 3rd degree. Say was remanded to the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail, $40,000 bond and $80,000 partially secured.
The investigation continues into a shooting in Rochester that left a man seriously hurt. Police say the 31-year-old victim was shot once in the upper body on McNaughton Street yesterday. He was driven to a nearby hospital in a private vehicle and is being treated for injuries that aren’t considered to be life-threatening. Police believe the victim may have been targeted and that there’s no ongoing threat to the public. They’re asking anyone with information on the shooting to dial 911.
The Buffalo Sabres played their first game in nearly two weeks last night, but unfortunately they didn’t come away with a win. The Sabres fell to the New Jersey Devils by a final score of four-to-three at KeyBank Center. Buffalo hadn’t taken the ice for a game since December 17th due to the NHL putting the league on pause following several COVID-19 outbreaks. The Sabres will be on the road tonight to battle the New York Islanders.