Morning News Brief

Written by on June 21, 2021

49 years ago, this week…the rain started and the devastation began. Hurricane Agnes was like a house guest that just wouldn’t leave. The region was ravaged for five long days beginning the night of June 20, 1972. Lives were lost. Infrastructure ruined. In New York, the headlines featured the Allegany County village of Wellsville, where a record-setting crest of the Genesee River caused the west wing of Jones Memorial Hospital to collapse. The National Weather Service Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center said the most significant destruction caused by Agnes occurred in the Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the New York State Department of Public Service has commenced an investigation into National Grid’s downstate gas business after several former National Grid employees were charged in a bribery and kickback scheme involving contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. A federal complaint unsealed against five former National Grid managers employed in the company’s facilities department with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for steering contracts to certain Long Island-based contractors with whom the company did business. One contractor, according to the complaint, secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts from the company during the time that the contractor was paying bribes to the defendants.

Hang onto to your hats…The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Genesee and Orleans Counties. The alert is in effect from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Winds could gust to 50 p.m. and some power outages could occur. Severe thunderstorms are also possible this afternoon.

Governor Cuomo has signed legislation establishing clinical staffing committees in general hospitals. The staffing committees, which will be jointly composed of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff members providing direct patient care, and hospital administrators, will be charged with developing clinical staffing plans that include specific guidelines on how many patients are assigned to each nurse and how many ancillary staff are assigned to each unit. The first plan must be adopted by the committee and submitted to the New York State Department of Health by July 1, 2022.

Batavia police report the arrest of 30-year-old Robert L. Williams. He was charged with felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, driving while intoxicated, unlicensed operation and driving a vehicle without a court-ordered ignition interlock device. He’ll respond to the charges in court tomorrow.

New York’s COVID positivity rate has dropped to the lowest point since the start of the pandemic. The statewide 7-Day positivity rate is now 0.38% and has declined for 76 consecutive days. The statewide vaccination rate is 70.9%. Only 258 new positive cases were confirmed on Sunday.

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