Morning News Briefing

Written by on August 27, 2021

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the selection of Brian Benjamin for Lieutenant Governor. Senator Benjamin and Governor Hochul have previously worked together on several key issues, including fighting the opioid epidemic and boosting addiction recovery programs and making it easier for New Yorkers to vote. Senator Benjamin previously served as the New York State Senator for District 30 – which encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side – Chairman of the Senate Committee on Revenue and Budget and Senior Assistant Majority Leader, where he distinguished himself as a leader in criminal justice reform and affordable housing. Senator Benjamin remains heavily involved in his community in Harlem.

Governor Hochul said she wants to impose a school mask mandate in New York State. Many parents in the area have voiced their concerns, both in favor and against masking, and even local officials seem to have differing opinions. Since New York is no longer in a state of emergency, Governor Hochul cannot officially impose a school mask mandate herself. But, in her recent address this week, she said she is directing the health department to instate a mask requirement. This would make it mandatory for all New York Schools to comply. The New York Department of Health was supposed to issue guidance to schools but they decided to leave that responsibility to local officials when there was only one month until school started.

New York is having a successful recovery from new unemployment claims, with last week’s claims lower than in the same week in 2019, according to WalletHub’s updated rankings for the States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest. Weekly unemployment claims in New York decreased by 11.49% compared to the same week in 2019. This was the 8th biggest decrease in the U.S.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund voted against board directors at companies that failed to meet the Fund’s expectations for board diversity and filed shareholder proposals calling on companies to address investors’ concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion during the 2021 proxy season. The Fund’s ongoing efforts to hold publicly traded corporations and their top executives accountable received strong support.

Ken Barrett, owner of Ken Barrett Chevrolet/Cadillac in Batavia, surprised the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office with a $2,500 donation to the K-9 Fund. Barrett says he heard though a long-time employee, salesman Bob Mullen, that Mullen’s grandson, Deputy Andrew Mullen, advised that his K-9 partner Frankie just returned home from a weeklong stay in the hospital after an illness. The unexpected stay will deplete the K-9 fund, with only a few thousand dollars remaining. Barrett says his business has always tried to support local law enforcement and has made prior donations. He says the dealership plans to continue to support the K-9 fund in the future.

Following an investigation into a physical domestic at Six Flags Darien Lake Theme Park, deputies arrested 43-year-old Antonia Santiago Jr. of Rochester. He was charged with second-degree harassment. Santiago allegedly punched and pushed the victim. He was arraigned and will return to Town of Darien court on September 30th.

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