Morning News Briefing
Written by Michael Baldwin on May 26, 2021
The local unemployment rate hit its lowest level in April at 5 percent, more than 10 percentage points down from what it was in April 2020, the worst month locally for the job market during the pandemic. The 5 percent rate is still a point-and-a-half or so above the 3.6 percent rate of April 2019. The Labor Department reports 27,900 people in Genesee County’s labor force, which is the aggregate of everybody employed and everybody seeking work. Of those, 26,500 have jobs and 1,400 are looking for jobs.
Two people are facing charges following a pursuit Monday night in Genesee County. The Sheriff’s Office says the chase began on Route 63 in Oakfield. When the deputy attempted to pull the vehicle over for speeding, the sedan reportedly did not stop. The vehicle continued onto Route 262 and Fox Road. At the intersection of Fox and Maltby Roads, deputies say the sedan drove through a stop sign, went airborne off the shoulder, hit a tree and drive into a field. At this point, deputies say a passenger in the back seat jumped out of the sedan while it was still moving. The vehicle allegedly kept traveling northwest, into a crop field nearby. Deputies say an illegal weapon and scales containing residue were found in the vehicle. The driver, 38-year-old Jason Fitzpatrick of Michigan, was wanted as a parole absconder out of Michigan. He also faces several charges locally. 22-year-old Samantha Makar of South Carolina was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and obstructing governmental administration. Deputies say the back seat passenger complied with the investigation and was ultimately not charged.
New York’s statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has declined for 50 consecutive days, dropping to 0.89%. Hospitalizations have declined to less than 1,400, with 307 patients in an Intensive care Unit. On Monday, just 16 new deaths were reported.
Picnic in the Park, scheduled for July 4th at Centennial Park in Batavia, will be cancelled this year due to COVID. Beyond the issues of COVID regulations, sponsors of the event have had to pull their funding, as a result of the restraints COVID put on their budgets.
This Memorial Day weekend, the average price for gas will be the highest since 2014. The national average for the price of gas is just over $3 per gallon. The forced shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline after a cyberattack is still partly to blame, along with an increase in demand. AAA predicts 37 million Americans will travel by road and air this holiday weekend.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced $3.5 billion in assistance for renters and small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rental assistance program makes emergency rental assistance available for struggling New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the program will be accepted starting June 1 for eligible New Yorkers who are behind on their rent and have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19. Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide assistance with up to 12 months of past-due rent, 3 months of prospective rental assistance and 12 months of utility arrears payments to eligible New Yorkers. The program is expected to serve between up to 200,000 households.