Morning News Brief

Written by on August 18, 2021

The NYS COVID positivity rate is now 3.94%. 91 more people have been admitted to hospitals and seven others have been admitted to intensive care. 18 new deaths from COVID have also been reported in the Empire State. The Finger Lakes positivity rate has declined slightly to 4.20% after reaching 4.25% on Sunday.

Reversing course, the New York State Assembly will continue its broad investigation of Gov. Cuomo and issue a report with its findings. This is coming from lawmakers following speaker of the assembly, Carl Heastie announcing on Friday that lawmakers would close their investigation of Cuomo and would no longer move to impeach him, despite finding “credible evidence” regarding allegations made against him. Last week’s announcement prompted major bipartisan backlash over the decision to suspend the inquiry. Both Republican and Democratic legislators say that the assembly has a duty to, at the very least, make the findings of the investigation public. On Monday, Heastie and Charles Lavine the chairman of the judiciary committee leading the investigation, issued a statement saying it will continue.

The lawyer representing Michael Nolan, the former chief operating officer at Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., is suing the public benefit company for $14.5 million following his client’s termination last December. The 23-page document was filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. The suit is asking for Nolan to receive $4.5 million for violating his First Amendment rights, another $4.5 million for breaking the state’s Civil Service Law and an additional $5.5 million for emotional pain and suffering. Nolan, who lived in Elma at the time of his employment, now resides in West Palm Beach, Fla. The lawsuit is requesting a jury trial.

The University of Rochester is continuing its initiative with the Wilmot Cancer Institute to Promote Health. Prevent Cancer through free, virtual classes on cancer and chronic disease prevention. Promote Health. Prevent Cancer., an initiative with UR Medicine’s Center for Community Health & Prevention and Wilmot Cancer Institute, empowers participants to make healthy lifestyle changes. Participants take part in eight free classes, one per week, over Zoom that consist of 40 minutes of nutrition education and 20 minutes of exercise. These lifestyle changes have been shown to lower the risk of certain cancers and other chronic diseases, while increasing overall health. The classes begin next month.

Another statewide STOP-DWI “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is about to begin. The New York State Police and local law enforcement will be increasing patrols to target impaired driving from Friday through September 6. There were 378 fatal impaired driving crashes in 2019, compared to 408 fatal impaired crashes in 2020, according to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, and far more serious injuries as a result of those avoidable crashes.

The New York State Comptroller’s Office says the governor has officially filed for retirement, effective Sept. 1. As the law stands right now – Gov. Cuomo will be eligible to receive a state pension. The comptroller’s office says, as of July 31st, he has a little over 14 and a half years of service credit – which could translate to a payout of about $50,000 dollars a year. Some state lawmakers are trying to enact legislation that would strip the pension of anyone who is convicted of impeachment charges, but it’s not clear how much support that has.

New York’s legalization of recreational marijuana means it will be allowed at the New York State Fair. A Fair spokesperson confirms that anywhere tobacco use is permitted, adult use of marijuana will be permitted. The 18-day New York State Fair begins Friday and ends on Labor Day.

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