Midday News Brief

Written by on February 22, 2022

The combination of wind, rain, snow and floods made this past weekend especially challenging for Western New Yorkers. And some more wet weather is here. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the GLOW region that will be in effect this afternoon through tomorrow evening. With flows on area creeks and rivers already running high due to last week’s rainfall, more rain and snowmelt is expected tonight. On a positive note, we are not expecting as much rain this time around as we got last week, we still could see between a half-inch and an inch of rain through tomorrow morning. As always, stay with WBTA for the latest weather information from 13 WHAM meteorologists.

The Batavia City School District Board of Education voted unanimously last week to support two state Senate bills. The bills are sponsored by Senator Edward Rath, III and designed to change state law to address increases in harassment made through the use of electronic communications. The bills would change state law to include a provision that a person who engages in a repeated course of cyberbullying of a minor will be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor. The amendment to the state’s law will include contacts via text, private message, direct message, or email or other electronic communication. The Batavia City School District’s Code of Conduct already expressly prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying.

This week, the Oakfield volunteer fire department honored Robert “Buck” Hilchey in celebration of his 50 years of service. He joined the department in 1971, serving alongside many family members. Hilchey was the Chief from 1979-80 and again, from ’87-’92. His dedicated service was highlighted during an award ceremony last night.

This morning, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, thus providing a fast-track for existing New York hemp farmers to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. Under the law, conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must meet certain requirements, including safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization. With a conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation license, farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the issuance of the license. It also allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023.

The number of Empire State residents who are hospitalized due to the coronavirus has fallen to its lowest level in weeks. According to Governor Hochul’s office, there are just over 2500 people receiving treatment for the illness which is the smallest total since right before Thanksgiving. The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped below 2% and the 7 day average infection rate in Western New York is slightly under 4.3% percent. Governor Hochul is urging people not to let their guard down against the illness and to get vaccinated or a booster shot if they haven’t already.

City firemen responded to a call early in the evening last night at 167 Vine Street and found that the one-family home had a large volume of smoke throughout with fire in the basement. Neighbors and City Police assisted an older woman who uses a walker, to vacate the building; she was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation. Firefighters report that the blaze was somewhat difficult to fight because it was difficult to identify the specific location of the fire in the basement. Extensive fire and smoke damage to both structure and contents was reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A record number of people participated in last fall’s Shop Wyoming and Win contest. The local shopping promotion is conducted annually in November and December by the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Participants submit shopping receipts from businesses within the county. They receive one drawing entry for every $50 of purchases. A total of over 1100 (1,164) people participated in this year’s contest. The receipts totaled more than $1.3 million; 18% of the shoppers were from Genesee County. Four people from the region won prizes; the drawing of winners was conducted Feb. 8 at the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors
Meeting, in Warsaw.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he’s planning to call a vote in the Senate next month on a bill that would put a cap on insulin prices. During a stop in Buffalo yesterday, Schumer said right now, insulin costs hundreds of dollars per vial, but this proposed legislation would limit that expense to 35-dollars per vial. Schumer also says that because insulin prices have risen in the past several years, some people have had to ration their medication. Over 1.7 million New Yorkers currently are diabetic.

A new task force is being created in Monroe County to crack down on the growing number of catalytic converter thefts in the area. The sheriff’s office says several of the devices were recently taken from a car dealership and from vehicles in Brighton and Irondequoit. Once they’re stolen, thieves bring the converters to area scrap yards where they sell the parts for a large amount of money. Anyone who sees any suspicious activity in their neighborhood should contact their local police department immediately.


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