Morning News Brief

Written by on April 20, 2021

A Genesee County Grand Jury has indicted Juan M. Mendez of Holley for first-degree rape, a Class B violent felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 4 at Genesee Community College in the Town or Batavia, Mendez engaged in sexual intercourse with another person who was incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless. Mendez was also indicted for the crimes of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D violent felony and third-degree sexual abuse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic may be the source of a new criminal investigation by the New York attorney general’s office. In response to allegations that the governor used state resources to produce and promote his book, state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli sent a letter to state Attorney General Letitia James requesting a criminal investigation into Cuomo’s actions. DiNapoli’s office released the letter, dated April 13, on Monday. It authorizes the attorney general to investigate whether the process of writing and promoting the book violated state laws. James’ office said it received the referral letter from the state comptroller but didn’t comment further.

Here’s the latest on the New York State COVID vaccination efforts. Officials say more than 131,000 have been administered across the state’s distribution network since Sunday and nearly 1.4 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The Finger Lakes Region has surpassed 358,000 people who have finished the complete vaccine series.

A Grand Jury has handed up a seven-count indictment against Rachelle N. Laney. The top count is criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 10 in the Town of Le Roy, Laney knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug — fentanyl — with intent to sell it.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is railing against the Assembly Majority after they tabled a bill he sponsored during a Ways and Means Committee meeting that would have exempted veterans over the age of 85 from paying state income taxes. The cost to the state in lost revenue from excluding veterans over 85 years old from state income taxes is estimated to be about $6 million. Hawley called the move shameful.

The proper way to dispose of medications will be the focus of Thursday’s quarterly meeting of the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force. The meeting will be livestreamed via Zoom, starting at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to last for an hour. Scott Wilson, superintendent of the Orleans County Jail, has agreed to make a presentation on National Drug Take Back Day, which is scheduled for this Saturday, with locations in the three counties. This meeting is open to the public and the community is invited to join and share any questions they may have.

Staff training will impact some services Wednesday and Thursday at the Batavia City Clerk’s office. For those two days, the office will be unable to issue marriage licenses, copies of birth and death certificates, new dog licenses and fishing or hunting licenses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s favorability, job performance and re-elect ratings all continued to head in a downward trend. At the same time, a majority of New Yorkers continue to say both that he should not resign and that he can effectively do his job as governor…that’s according to a new Siena college poll. By a 44-22 percent margin, voters think Cuomo has committed sexual harassment, with 34 percent undecided.


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