Morning News Brief

Written by on April 15, 2021

With New York ranking 12th among the states with the best school systems and some schools in the state holding online-only learning due to COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2021’s Best Public High Schools in New York State. WalletHub compared over 1,200 institutions across 26 key metrics. Two area schools made the top 500 list…Le Roy and Medina.

Teachers at Batavia High School have proposed three new courses that were approved by the city school’s Board of Education this week. The courses, two in Social Studies and one in English will only go forward if students show sufficient interest in taking the elective classes. The new courses are Sports and Race Relations through Digital Media; Law and Justice in America I and II will provide students an overview of the various areas of Civil and Criminal Law in our American legal system and 1960s Literature, Lyrics and Culture.

Southern Tier State Senator Tom O’Mara has introduced legislation that would require Governor Andrew Cuomo to seek the approval of the State Legislature before extending or modifying any of his existing COVID-19 executive orders. O’Mara said that the legislation, known as the “Stop Continuing Unnecessary Orders and Mandates At Once Act,” represents an ongoing effort to restore legislative checks and balances in state government.  It would require the governor to provide a five-day notice to the Legislature for any modification or extension of an existing executive order and provide legislators the opportunity to vote on whether the governor can move forward.

When Genesee Country Village & Museum opens its doors on Saturday, May 8, it will mark the 45th season of connecting visitors with history, art, and nature. Many guests don’t realize that the 68 historic buildings that comprise the picturesque Historic Village were all painstakingly moved there from locations around Western New York. The Museum is also hosting weekly discounted days for seniors and families, to give everyone the opportunity to come out and enjoy a day in the 19th century.

Batavia school district voters will head to the polls May 18th to cast ballots on the proposed budget adopted earlier this week. The budget doesn’t increase the district’s tax levy over the current budget. With rising property values and other factors, most property owners should see the education portion of their property taxes going down next year. The proposed budget calls for spending a little more than $52 million.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Buffalo has ruled that three debts of former funeral director Michael Tomaszewski cannot be discharged under bankruptcy law. The three debts are part of more than $3.2 million in liabilities Tomaszewski listed when filing for bankruptcy in February 2020. He initially filed for Chapter 11, a reorganization of debts, but changed the filing to a Chapter 7, forgiveness of all debts not covered by available assets, last month. In his ruling, the judge cited a section of federal bankruptcy law that says a debtor cannot discharge any debt that was the result of fraud or misrepresentation. In criminal court this week, Tomaszewski entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial.

Genesee County reports 15 new COVID-19 cases. Four people are currently hospitalized with virus-related illnesses. Orleans County reports 13 news cases while Wyoming County reports seven new cases.

A Warsaw man is dead after he crashed his ATV early Wednesday. 24-year-old Gregory E. Kersch died when he was trapped underneath the machine on Miller Road near the Railroad Crossing in the Town of Warsaw. Investigators said he struck the railroad crossing signal light post at the railroad crossing.  Gregory Kersch was ejected and the ATV was on top of him.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says hours for New York’s curfew rule for bars and restaurants amid COVID-19 are being extended. Starting Monday, establishments will be able to remain open until midnight. For months, these establishments could be open no later than 11 p.m. Catered events will also gain an hour of operation, and will be able to run until 1 a.m.

Congressman Chris Jacobs joined a bipartisan group of representatives and senators to call on President Biden to prioritize funding and policies in his budget proposal that bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains. Jacobs says “China is investing billions of dollars into developing this technology and mass manufacturing. We cannot afford to rely on them or other foreign manufacturers.”  Specifically, the letter calls for prioritized investment into initiatives outlined in the CHIPS for America Act that was enacted into law as part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation creates incentives to support semiconductor research and development and the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

A chilling crime-story update from the Southern Tier in Allegany County… A Wellsville teenager is expected to spend the next decade in state prison, under a plea deal, for his role in the savage beating death and torture of 23-year-old Nicholas Burdge inside the victim’s Main Street apartment March 21, 2020. His lifeless body was then dumped into the Genesee River. The teen is one of eight defendants; three have already been sentenced. Justin L. Darden of state Route 417 pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to first-degree Manslaughter, a class B felony. We were the only media in the courtroom. Judge Thomas Brown told Darden that “Youthful Offender status is off the table.” Outside the courtroom, ADA Michael Finn said he was satisfied with the plea. Another defendant, Brandon J. Poemel of Wellsville, is expected to plead guilty next Wednesday to first-degree Manslaughter and will accept a 15-year prison sentence. Howard Burroughs of Wellsville is expected to go to trial.

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