Morning News Briefing
Written by Michael Baldwin on March 17, 2021
An anticipated plea from Michael S. Tomaszewski in his funeral home fraud case has been delayed until April 13. During the virtual hearing, the judge and attorneys mentioned a prior off-the-record discussion about the case without indicating what was discussed but it seemed to have some bearing on Tomaszewski’s decision not to enter a plea on Tuesday. There is no indication that Tomaszewski won’t accept the plea deal that’s been offered by the District Attorney’s Office. Tomaszewski, who operated the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home and Cremation Chapel in Batavia for more than a decade, faces more than 200 charges stemming from accusations that he took money from customers who intended to prepay for funerals and, instead of depositing the money in appropriate accounts, he allegedly used the money for other purposes.
Genesee County reports ten new COVID cases. Seventeen of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been removed from the isolation list. Two of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. Two of the new positive individuals are inmates at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center. Two new cases were reported in Orleans County with three hospitalizations. Officials in Wyoming County report three new cases.
NY officials have announced toll plaza removal and interchange reconstruction will resume on the New York State Thruway’s former ticketed system this week and is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by the end of summer. This next phase of construction is the second and final portion of the $355 million cashless tolling design-build project which went live on Nov. 14, 2020 and was immediately followed by the removal of toll plazas at six high-volume interchanges statewide. The second wave of removal and road reconstruction is scheduled to begin at Exit 47 at LeRoy and Exit 48 at Batavia.
***Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced nearly $15 million has been awarded to support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 147 farms. The funding supports projects that address water quality challenges in priority watersheds and protect the environment. $264,000 was awarded to the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Lake Ontario Watershed. This project will construct a concrete manure storage facility to improve waste collection and management.
Genesee County deputies report the arrest of 33-year-old Christine Jones of Hutchins Place in Batavia. She was charged with felony counts of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. She allegedly filed SNAP benefit applications that either omitted or had false information on them resulting in her receiving more than $17,000 in benefits. Court action is pending.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested 54-year-old Dawn Puleo of Maple Street in Batavia. She was charged with felony grand larceny and four felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing. She allegedly obtained more than $4,500 in questionable SNAP benefits. She was arraigned and released pending further action by the court.
NYS officials announced more than 4.5 million New Yorkers have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. More than 134,000 doses have been administered across New York’s distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days.
New York Farm Bureau members continued to make generous food donations during a challenging year for so many families in need. This past weekend, American Farm Bureau Federation recognized New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program for its efforts to donate more than eight million pounds of food to the regional food banks across the state last year. That was the second highest donation total in the country for 2020, behind Florida.