On Monday Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi of Nassau County announced his candidacy for governor of New York.
- A self described “common sense Democrat,” Suozzi formerly held the positions of Nassau County executive and mayor of Glen Cove. Suozzi has taken a more moderate course, discussing the need to reduce property and income taxes, restore the federal deduction for state and local taxes, and give judges the discretion to deny bail to violent offenders. Suozzi said his middle of the road approach outlines a “clear difference” between him and others in the race, which includes Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, and potentially New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that global risks posed by the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus were “very high.” The highly mutated variant, first identified last week by researchers in South Africa, has led to a deluge of border closures and travel restrictions. The W.H.O. stressed the need for countries to accelerate vaccinations against Covid as rapidly as possible, particularly for vulnerable populations and for those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Experts have stated that it could be two weeks or longer before more information about the variant’s transmissibility, and the severity of illness it causes, is available.
Major League Baseball started a “defensive lockout” of its players at 12:01am on December 2nd.
Covid-19 transmission in Erie County continued at the highest rates at any point during the pandemic last week, with 4,271 new cases among residents. Erie County health officials are now warning that family gatherings over the holidays may be unwise. Given the consistently high number of cases in the area, Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein advised: “People should think twice about holding those gatherings. You might want to postpone them until our numbers go down.”
Several former UB students are under federal investigation for drug trafficking on and near North Campus. Students allegedly involved in the drug ring used Snapchat and other social media sites to sell a wide variety of drugs to other UB students, including cocaine, counterfeit Xanax, counterfeit Adderall with methamphetamines, counterfeit Oxycodone with fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, and mushrooms. The investigation revealed that the narcotics were obtained from the dark web and students were recruited to sell them. The drug ring has operated at UB since at least 2018.
On Thursday county legislators approved the 2022 Erie County budget proposed by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, with minor changes.
- The $1.8 billion budget preserves and grows Erie County services, slightly increases property tax collections and maintains the county’s financial shape. The budget was approved in a 7-4 party-line vote. “We are making critical use of county resources and available federal funding to invest in Erie County infrastructure, small business, health and more,” Poloncarz said in a statement.