Morning News Brief

Written by on June 2, 2021

A proposed half-billion-dollar cheese plant expansion project in Allegany County has reportedly been abandoned by the developer…and numerous sources say Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese has turned its attention to Batavia. There has not yet been local confirmation. The expansion in Allegany County has been filled with issues, including a highly controversial eminent domain seizure of farm land. According to one source, the bottom-line reason for the bad news was reportedly “a death by a thousand cuts.” State Senator George Borrello said in a statement the he and others have been working behind the scenes with company executives and state officials to help resolve some of the complicating issues.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors will consider approving final incentives for a $345 million solar project in the Town of Byron, and construction of a campus-wide electrical substation at the Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP). Both matters will be discussed at the agency’s board meeting tomorrow. The meeting will be conducted via videoconference and can be viewed online at

A traffic stop in the Town of Oakfield resulted in a felony charge for a Cheektowaga man. State Troopers say they arrested 29-year-old Frederick Simmeth. He was charged with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of DWI and having a blood alcohol content above .08%. He’ll chat with a local justice at a later date.

New York’s average COVID positivity rate continues to drop to new lows. The rate has declined for 57 straight days. It now stands at 0.65%. The 7-day average positivity rate in every region in now below 1.5% for the first time since September 25th. Currently, there are 1,032 people hospitalized with virus-related complications.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.05, up 1 cent from last Monday. One year ago, the price was $1.98. The New York State average is $3.08 – up 1 cent from last Monday. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.18. Prices in Batavia have remained unchanged during the past week. Pump prices increased slightly over the past week as demand increased with Memorial Day travel. Motorists were able to avoid drastic holiday hikes at the pump following large increases in prices when the Colonial Pipeline was offline. Analysts had predicted lower prices by Father’s Day, but demand continues to increase.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is joining his colleagues in the Assembly Minority in calling for the passage of a legislative package known as the “Restore Order” initiative, which would restore elements of judicial discretion eliminated by the “bail reform” law passed in 2019 by the Assembly Majority. The package would also increase the penalties for particularly hateful and violent crimes, such as shooting into a crowd, among other measures. These bills were drafted in response to a widespread spike in violent crime that has persisted for months throughout the state, which Hawley and others attribute to limitations placed on the ability of local judges to exercise their judicial discretion by previously passed “bail reform” laws.

Special Olympics New York and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association are proud to celebrate an ongoing 2021 Unified Basketball season as teams across the state have been back on the courts in recent weeks, following a year-long hiatus due to the global health pandemic. In Unified Sports, athletes with and without disabilities compete together as teammates. In New York, most Unified programs offer bowling and/or basketball. Statewide, Special Olympics New York partners with nearly 250 Unified Champion Schools and 10,000 participating students.

RESTORE Sexual Assault Services, a program of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, is recruiting volunteers for an upcoming training cycle in July. There is an urgent need for volunteers in Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Volunteer Advocates are responsible for taking crisis phone calls from their home and providing information and advocacy to sexual assault survivors at a hospital or police station. All applicants will be screened and must complete 32 hours of training prior to beginning their volunteer commitment. The training will take place in a virtual setting. For further information about volunteering with RESTORE, email:

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