Morning News Brief
Written by Tom Tharp on June 8, 2022
30 years in prison and 1 million in fines for taking COVID relief money that wasn’t hers. That’s what 37 year old Danielle Tooley plead guilty to Wednesday at a US district Court. Tooley pled guilty to wire fraud from July 9th through December 4th 2020 where she applied for and collected unemployment benefits connected to federal COVID relief programs that she was not eligible for. Her crime was discovered during a traffic stop in Bergen on Nov. 24, 2020 by New York State Police. A trooper found crack cocaine in her car. As her vehicle was being prepared to be towed, troopers found six New York State unemployment benefit cards issued to individuals other than Tooley. An investigation discovered Tooley withdrew money from bank accounts associated with the cards several times.
A report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found that 90 percent of New York schools don’t offer mental health training or provide insufficient training. All faculty and staff working in New York’s 800-plus school districts are required to receive annual safety and mental health training with the 12 components outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the New York Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act, or the SAVE Act. The law requires school administrators to develop a comprehensive, districtwide safety plan to address crisis intervention, emergency response and management for staff and students. School districts were audited between July of 2020 and June of 2021. Many of the schools audited said they didn’t know about the mental health requirements or that COVID had forced them to prioritize student’s health against the virus instead of mental health.
Students going to SUNY and CUNY schools will be able to select “X” as their gender and have their chosen pronoun protected by a new policy that was announced Wednesday. Campuses will be required to have all operational systems reflect a student’s chosen name and pronouns, including campus portals, class rosters, email addresses and more. Governor Hochul said “Every person, regardless of their gender identity or the name they choose to go by, deserves to have identity documentation that reflects who they are.” The changes go into effect at the beginning of the fall semester.
Kill the eggs. That’s what New York Department of Environmental Conservation representative Justin Perry says people can do about the spongy caterpillars that eat trees and other plants. He says to scrape off the spongy looking eggs from the trees and soak them in soapy water to destroy them. There are also sticky bands you can put around the trees that will stop some of the caterpillars from being able to climb the trunks. Perry also said that the caterpillars should be gone in a few years and will be dormant for the next 15 to 20 after that.
One of the new businesses going into the parking lot of the Kmart on Lewiston and Park Roads is a Starbucks. The property owner Benderson Development, LLC, made the announcement Wednesday morning. The company shared that they are working closely with three other tenants and will provide additional details once leases are signed.