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SBA aims to raise Economic Injury Disaster Loan limit to $2M in coming months

An increase would follow the agency earlier this year raising the cap to $500,000 from its original $150,000 limit.

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St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga reopening its emergency room

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sisters of Charity Hospital on the St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga is reopening its emergency room.

The hospital served as a COVID treatment center for Catholic Health during the darkest days of the pandemic.

Catholic Health has updated the rooms at Sisters Charity Hospital and installed new flooring.

State Senator Tim Kennedy says the hospital performed an essential role during the worst of the pandemic.

“It was St. Joe’s Hospital that set the model for the rest of the state and the nation. And it’s the heroes behind me that led the charge into the medical units to help those in the most vulnerable situations of their lives,” Kennedy said.

Leaders with Catholic Health say even though the hospital will now take more of a secondary role, Sisters of Charity isn’t switching to urgent care and will remain as a full-service emergency room.

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Niagara Falls man arrested after leading Sheriff’s deputies on chase

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Deputies with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office say a 28-year-old man from Niagara Falls is in custody after leading deputies on a chase.

According to the sheriff, deputies pulled over Jose Correa on Lockport Road and noticed the odor of burnt marijuana.

Police say Correa showed signs of impairment and gave a false name. When he was asked to step out of his car, Correa took off.

He was eventually taken into custody after being found inside a house where the car was parked in the driveway.

Correa faces multiple charges including unlawful fleeing a police officer
in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, false personation, and aggravated unlicensed operation.

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Cuomo: Remaining COVID restrictions to be lifted once state hits 70% vaccination rate

(WIVB) — Governor Cuomo says when the state vaccination rate hits 70%, the remaining COVID restrictions will be lifted across commercial and social settings.

In today’s press conference, the governor says New York State is currently at 68.6%.

The restrictions Cuomo is referring to includes capacity, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, health screening, and contact information for potential tracing.

He says mask requirements remain consistent with the CDC guidelines, and some institutional restrictions will continue (large venues, schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional and healthcare facilities).

Cuomo also announced the state is no longer mandating schools to require students to wear masks outdoors. The individual decisions will be up to local school districts, he said.

According to the governor, the numbers show that the risk of transmission by children is “extremely low,” especially when the state positivity rate is “so low.”

The governor says he spoke with the CDC, and they said they are not changing their policy on schools nationwide for several weeks, but the state will align school and camp guidance.

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Festival organizers, city leaders raise Juneteenth flag in Niagara Square

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Juneteenth Festival organizers, Mayor Brown, and other local leaders were in Niagara Square this morning to raise the Pan-African flag in honor of Buffalo’s 46th Annual Juneteenth Festival.

The national theme for this year’s Juneteenth is “The Continual Evolution of Juneteenth.”

Here in Buffalo, 2021 marks the first time Juneteenth will be an official paid holiday, and City Hall will be closed on Friday, June 18 for the new holiday.

Mayor Brown said he’s asking all Buffalo residents to reflect on the many ways a diverse and inclusive community enhances and enriches the lives of all of our residents on Juneteenth.

“On this Juneteenth, I am proud that my administration has the most diverse workforce in the history of the city of Buffalo. I look forward to building on all of our actions and continuing to make Buffalo a model for racial equity, social reconstruction, and opportunity for all,” Mayor Brown added.

Organizers tell us the mission of the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo is to actively preserve and promote the broad spectrum of African American heritage through educational and cultural activities that benefit the community as a whole.

M&T Bank is partnering with the City of Buffalo and others to present this year’s festival.

The 2021 Buffalo Juneteenth Festival will once again be virtual.

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Niagara County holding outdoor career fair on Wednesday

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Niagara County’s Department of Employment and Training is holding an outdoor career fair on Wednesday at Oppenheim Park.

County leaders say more than 35 companies with open positions will be taking part in the event.

Legislator Jesse Gooch says, “with nearly three dozen companies participating in the job fair, there has never been a better time to find a job, whether you are currently unemployed or looking for a change.”

County Director of Employment and Training Donald Jablonks tells News 4 the event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Businesses will use the picnic shelters to display company info and meet with job seekers. The county says no appointment is necessary.

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Rising costs haven’t sunk Ellicott Development’s Locker Room project

Rising development costs could increase the project’s price tag 20% from its original $18 million.

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Dive into water-safety basics

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — With beach and pool season underway, it’s a good time to go over some water-safety basics with kids.

“Western New York provides so much access to local beaches, boating, pools,” said Goldfish Swim School Regional Manager, Courtney Richardson.  “So it’s so important that these families are learning all these safety skills so they have a fun safe summer.

Goldfish Swim School on Transit Road in Williamsville offers indoor swim classes, year- round.  Those as young as 4 months up to 12-years-old can take a dip in the 90 degree water and learn the basics.

These classes are something the Carson family is taking advantage of. An important skill they’ve been working on is perfecting the back float, giving them a chance to take a breather if they are struggling.

They’ve also learned what to do if they were to fall in the water.  “They’re either going to turn around and grab the wall behind them or they’re going to roll over on their back. What we want to do is teach them a muscle memory, for them to turn around and grab the wall behind them,” said Richardson.

Older students are also taught to tred water.   “Drowning is the leading cause of injury related death in ages 1-4 which is heartbreaking,” said Richardson.  “So we want to make sure that our children are learning these important safety skills and really bring attention to that.”

For parents Matt and Sarah Carson, sending their three little ones to Goldfish, provides them some peace of mind. “If something were to ever happen, she knows how to get out of the water already and she’s only 2-years-old,” said Sarah Carson.

For more information on classes,  head here.

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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Albright Knox announces creation of new mural at 201 Ellicott Street

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Albright Knox and Ciminelli Real Estate announced the creation of a new mural at the 201 Ellicott Street project.

Officials say Texas-based artist Josef Kristofoletti will create the mural on the building’s north side.

Kristofoletti is expected to begin work on Tuesday, and officials tell News 4 it will take approximately 18 days to complete.

President and CEO of Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, Paul Ciminelli, said, “this mural adds a special vibrancy to a highly anticipated project at 201 Ellicott. Public art projects bring excitement and energy to the street level and strengthen the fabric we are all working so hard to build upon.”

“Each year brings with it a full slate of new projects, and this year is no different. We are thrilled to be working with an artist of Josef’s caliber and can’t wait to see his design completed,” Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at the Albright Knox, said.

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How you can enjoy summer drinks at home while supporting Hospice Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo invites the community to participate in its “Hospice Summer Affair” by taking the party home instead of gathering in person this year.

Officials say the public can purchase a cocktail kit, beer box, or raffle tickets to support Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo. 

The $50 cocktail kit includes everything you need to make Hartman’s Distillery Co. Bee’s Knee’s, including a bottle of Hartman’s American dry gin (makes 12 drinks), honey, lemon bitters, cocktail instruction card, coasters, cookies, swag bag, and more.

Hospice says the $50 beer box includes a six-pack of Resurgence beer, a 15% off coupon for any Resurgence four or six-pack of beer, two Resurgence beer glasses, coasters, koozies, cookies, a swag bag, and more.

Kits and boxes can be pre-ordered online here and picked up outside of Resurgence and Hartman’s during the week of July 19. 

According to officials, the community can also support Hospice by participating in the raffles.

Hospice tells News 4 the Wheelbarrow of Booze raffle has liquor, beer, and wine, and the Summer Fun raffle will feature gift cards, yard games, and more.

You can purchase tickets online here, and the Drawing will be on July 22.

Officials say proceeds from the Summer Affair benefit Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo and also helps provide comfort-focused medical care, social, emotional, and spiritual support for patients and their families.