Morning News Briefing

Written by on January 20, 2021

Since its last update, Genesee County has confirmed 168 new positive cases of COVID-19. Health officials say eleven people are hospitalized with virus-related complications. Two of the new cases are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. In Orleans County, 56 new positive cases were reported since Friday and Wyoming County has logged 23 new cases.

The search continues for two young children taken from their foster home in Greece Monday night. Three-year-old Shekeria Cash and five-year-old Dimitri Cash Jr. were taken under circumstances that led police to believe they are in imminent danger of serious harm and/or death, according to an Amber Alert. The abduction happened at 805 English Road around 8:40 p.m. Monday at a foster home where the children were staying. A total of seven children under the age of 10 were living in the foster home; Shekeria and Dimitri have been living in the home for the last two years. Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe called it a planned and targeted abduction.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a proposal to boost partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to New Yorkers who return to work part time. The plan will ensure unemployed New Yorkers who accept part-time work are not penalized by basing their partial unemployment benefits on the hours they actually work, rather than the number of days they work in a given week. This change will inject more money into New York’s economy while helping businesses fill part-time positions.

Congressmen Chris Jacobs, Tom Reed and several of their colleagues are calling upon Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) to apologize for his comments denigrating members of the National Guard. In a statement, Jacobs said “Representative Cohen’s reckless comments attacking members of the National Guard are disrespectful and divisive. These men and women proudly serve our nation and have been working non-stop for the past week to ensure our safety and that of the incoming administration.”

U.S. Senator’s Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced an additional $1.4 billion in federal funding for New York state’s private, public, and proprietary institutions of higher education. The funds are allocated to the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The funding is in addition to federal funding already allocated from the CARES Act in March. Genesee Community College will get $5.2 million.

New legislation is being advanced in New York State to further support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Senate Majority announced on Tuesday that they plan to advance major legislation to help support small businesses in the state. The action will build upon legislation passed in July 2020. According to the Senate Majority, the new legislative package will include protecting small businesses from eviction and foreclosure, protecting restaurants from third-party delivery fees and establishing a partial-unemployment system.

New York State United Teachers have called on the state Education Department to request a federal waiver of grade 3-8 and high school testing requirements — just as New York was granted last year — amid the ongoing challenges students and educators statewide are facing related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter, the union noted that the pandemic has continued to disrupt the normal education process, as schools have vacillated between hybrid, in-person and remote offerings.

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