Morning News Brief

Written by on June 23, 2022

Genesee County Ways and Means Board has approved 55 thousand dollars for the Spectrum Health and Human Services to provide after hours mental health services till the end of the year.  Director of Community Mental Health Services Lynda Battaglia had previously said that the county’s day treatment program was closed, and funding for that will be redirected to the after-hours, on-call mental health needs of the county.  Staff had said that, due to staffing shortages, fully running the mental health services, especially after regular hours, would be impossible.  Spectrum Health is located in Orchard Park and their contract with the county was set to run out June 30th.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety spiked up at least 25 percent due to the COVID pandemic and its associated lockdowns and the New York State Attorney General’s office is looking for ways to help.  Attorney General Letitia James hosted a several hour open forum Wednesday.  Most of the participants were mental health professionals.  Their biggest suggestions were more funding and more beds in mental health facilities.  The number of emergency visits related to mental health went up by 31 percent last year, specifically in adolescents.  James said her office would review the suggestions and move forward from there.

Looking for a summer job?  Governor Hochul announced that there are over 15 thousand job opportunities available in New York State covering a variety of industries and in every part of the state.  Interested applicants can find the listed openings on the department of labors seasonal works site or by following the link at  There is also help with filling out the applications split up by age group.

New York State is increasing the pay for lifeguards this year as the state has had a shortage for the past several years.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this is to combat a staffing shortage at state park beaches and pools as well as campgrounds and day-use area beaches.  Starting pay for lifeguards at upstate facilities will increase 34% from $14.95 per hour to $20 per hour.  The new pay rates will go into effect immediately for lifeguards at swimming facilities operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Environmental conservation.  Lifeguarding can start at 15 years old.

Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern announced a change in leadership with Robert Harker taking the reins.  Harker was announced as the new executive director on Wednesday and he hopes to promote agency growth, and expand services, allowing it to be of even greater service to people in need in the Genesee / Orleans County areas.  Donations, volunteers, and ideas are always welcome. Bob can be reached at (585) 589-9210.

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