EDITORIAL

It’s About Time

If you’ve read the article on page 4, you’ll see that New York State has finally come to its senses and is allowing visitors to see their family members who are in nursing homes. Since March, the patients have been without the personal care and attention that family members offer when they come to visit — little things like bringing items from home or favorite treats, or simply a hug. That can stave off the loneliness and depression that often comes with the isolation of living in a facility. While employees of nursing homes fill many needs, they cannot offer the same feeling of hope that waiting for a visit from your spouse, son, daughter, or grandchildren can bring.  There are many who have passed away in nursing homes while waiting for the restrictions to be lifted a little.  Families have visited through the windows of the first floor residents and waving or talking through the window on their cell phones — not unlike a prison visit. Meanwhile, our Governor was placing COVID-19 patients in the spare beds of these same facilities. Many of us scratched our heads with confusion at this decision. It didn’t make much sense to keep healthy, COVID-19 negative family members from their loved ones, but put COVID-19 sufferers in close proximity inside the building. We, at the Orange County Post, applaud the decision by New York State Health Commission, Dr. Zucker, for listening to the families and taking this action. More importantly, we applaud the people who lobbied for this change and can now help heal their loved ones by simply visiting, holding hands, sharing a meal, and yes, a simple hug.

Can Each Of Us Give Just A Little More

Few communities are as fortunate as ours to have a philanthropist as generous, as Bill Kaplan to help out during hard times, emergencies, and in times when we see a neighbor, community or business in need of help.  He gives meaning to the word “magnanimous”, and every penny or dollar is carefully thought out as to whether its use is worthy.  A former corporate  magnate who co-founded A.C. Moore and a famous international line of handbags, his dedication to the community he grew up in is inspirational and should be a reminder to us all to look inside, and, especially during these very difficult times think whether we can dig a little deeper to do things for others.  It doesn’t have to be financial. What each of us gives can be within our means.  Whether it’s donations to a cause, a hug for someone in sorrow, offering to help look after a neighbor or friend’s children when they have spent much of their time staying home with them all Summer, or helping as we see residents in the City of Newburgh picking up trash that someone else has thoughtlessly thrown by the sidewalk, we all can do just a little more. 

Bill Kaplan did not start on Easy Street. He’s a World War II veteran who fought in a war and was successful in business because of hard work and dedication.  At 92 he is still working, so that he can help his community.  So let’s toss that change into a tip jar, give a few more hugs to family members and friends, work a little harder so there is more to share with others, and remember those like Bill Kaplan who leads the way when it comes to generosity, as he has shown with his grant to the Town of Newburgh for the Desmond

Some May Have, But WE Will Never Forget

New York Officials may have forgotten , but our local firemen and police officers, and especially those who served in NYC on 911 and the many local families who lost loved ones both at the time and since due to  exposure to toxins have not and will not forget.  It took our police and firemen barely 24 hours to declare that one way or another the blue lights would go up.  A fundraiser was started by the Sergeant’s Benefolent Association, which has Washingtonville members,  and the Steven Stillers Tunnel To Towers Foundation which also has numerous local members.  Kevin Radday and other area first responders immediately organized connections to  a  “Bring Back the Light Tribute” fund (one of many that area responders regularly contribute to). The Tunnel To Towers Foundation said that if the city’s electricians would not be able to do it, they would do it themselves. The Town of Blooming Grove, Village of Washingtonville, Village of South Blooming Grove and Town of New Windsor ALL have First Responders who worked at Ground Zero and lost friends and colleagues and risked their own lives to save others.  And many still work for NYC Police and Fire Department units.

The Bring Back the Lights group already has 172,651 members. Frank Stiller announced the very next day that “It was clear to us that the light tribute could be done, done safely and within CDC Guidelines.” The plan was in motion. “We want Americans to know that When the Tunnel To Towers makes a promise, we keep it.”

 All  Americans are invited to participate and shine a blue light in honor of those who lost and risked their lives on 911.

Anyone wanting to contribute can go to http://www.tunnel 2towers.org
or follow the links on Kevin Radday’s FB page.

GIVE SCHOOLS A CHANCE

Governor Cuomo gave the order that communities could open their schools, but with the caveat that they had to submit a plan to the state, one that includes mask wearing and social distancing.  Fine, but now he has come out with a lengthy list of schools who have apparently not filed their plans yet, and he has given them 2 more days to ‘get it done’.

This is an extremely complex task, and children’s lives depend on it.  Most schools are opting for a part “In Person”, electronic plan with 3 days learning by video or Zoom classes.  Parents are pleading for at least interactive video so children will have some human interaction. Fine, but many parents have lots of questions about how the “In Person” part is going to be controlled.  What happens when one child comes down sick. Do they send all the others home while they wait for days to find out whether it’s COVID related.  Are temperatures being taken at home, before they arrive at school buildings? What about schools that have gone to great trouble setting up desks that do automatic distancing and with Plexiglass dividers?  If a very young child is separated by both Plexiglass and distance do they STILL need to wear a mask all day?  What is the teacher to do if they refuse?  Do they get put in a truant or nurse’s office until someone comes to pick them up? And what if the teacher has some generic symptoms that will take days to determine whether they are COVID related?  Must all of the children under her care be quarantined until they find out. We have learned over the past 6 months that there are MANY asymptomatic carriers, and of those some have quickly appearing fevers, while others do not.

So while hundreds of parents are e-mailing, texting and making calls to their schools to try to find out the rules, and are supposed to decide this week (in some instances by yesterday), whether their child(ren) will do any In Person classes, they wait and wonder whether they will be excluded if they refuse to make a commitment before knowing all of the facts, or if their entire school will be precluded from opening if they have a plan that is still incomplete.

This is why at least 170 NY schools are having trouble filing their plans with the State.  How can they file a plan before they know how many families/children will be participating? And some of these schools are still doing renovations and/or complex negotiating over extra space in a gym or auditorium, or ANYWHERE they can find enough space for children to be safely distanced.

Governor Cuomo needs to have a little more patience with schools that are still struggling with these overwhelming challenges.  Sure, he needs to put a little pressure on.  But why not give a few extra weeks for those who are still working on an achievable plan?  Or let them choose an alternative opening date at the end of September or October?

Otherwise, and it has started already, many parents are opting out of the In Person option, because they don’t have enough facts to be confident their child will be safe.  This will impact many families who will have wage earners that will not be able to go to work

.COME ON GOVERNOR CUOMO. USE GOOD SENSE AND HAVE A HEART!

GIVE SCHOOLS A CHANCE

Governor Cuomo gave the order that communities could open their schools, but with the caveat that they had to submit a plan to the state, one that includes mask wearing and social distancing.  Fine, but now he has come out with a lengthy list of schools who have pparently not filed their plans yet, and he has given them 2 more days to ‘get it done’.

This is an extremely complex task, and children’s lives depend on it.  Most schools are opting for a part “In Person”, electronic plan with 3 days learning by video or Zoom classes.  Parents are pleading for at least interactive video so children will have some human interaction. Fine, but many parents have lots of questions about how the “In Person” part is going to be controlled.  What happens when one child comes down sick. Do they send all the others home while they wait for days to find out whether it’s COVID related.  Are temperatures being taken at home, before they arrive at school buildings? What about schools that have gone to great trouble setting up desks that do automatic distancing and with Plexiglass dividers?  If a very young child is separated by both Plexiglass and distance do they STILL need to wear a mask all day?  What is the teacher to do if they refuse?  Do they get put in a truant or nurse’s office until someone comes to pick them up? And what if the teacher has some generic symptoms that will take days to determine whether they are COVID related?  Must all of the children under her care be quarantined until they find out. We have learned over the past 6 months that there are MANY asymptomatic carriers, and of those some have quickly appearing fevers, while others do not.

So while hundreds of parents are e-mailing, texting and making calls to their schools to try to find out the rules, and are supposed to decide this week (in some instances by yesterday), whether their child(ren) will do any In Person classes, they wait and wonder whether they will be excluded if they refuse to make a commitment before knowing all of the facts, or if their entire school will be precluded from opening if they have a plan that is still incomplete.

This is why at least 170 NY schools are having trouble filing their plans with the State.  How can they file a plan before they know how many families/children will be participating? And some of these schools are still doing renovations and/or complex negotiating over extra space in a gym or auditorium, or ANYWHERE they can find enough space for children to be safely distanced.

Governor Cuomo needs to have a little more patience with schools that are still struggling with these overwhelming challenges.  Sure, he needs to put a little pressure on.  But why not give a few extra weeks for those who are still working on an achievable plan?  Or let them choose an alternative opening date at the end of September or October?

Otherwise, and it has started already, many parents are opting out of the In Person option, because they don’t have enough facts to be confident their child will be safe.  This will impact many families who will have wage earners that will not be able to go to work.COME ON GOVERNOR CUOMO. USE GOOD SENSE AND HAVE A HEART

Negative Impacts of COVID-19 On Small Business – Opinion Editorial
by Colin Schmitt

COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives. The effects range from the immediate health and safety concerns to long term economic impacts. In particular our small businesses, the backbone of our local economies, are suffering immensely. Many are near or at the point of not being able to stay in business. Doing all we can to ensure our small businesses survive and thrive is of utmost importance to me as a lifelong resident of our community and as our State Assemblyman. 

I have been advocating on several fronts to bring all possible relief and assistance for our local businesses. Through direct advocacy on the Federal level, we were able to achieve modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program to increase the usefulness of this program to more local businesses. On the state level, I am laser focused on advocacy for our businesses and pushing for additional needed relief legislation and funding on top of steps and actions already taken. 

Businesses of all industries have faced restrictions in operating normally or at all since the pandemic began. We must get to the point of where all businesses, using proper COVID-19 safety modifications, can operate. Over the course of this pandemic I have been able to help fight industry by industry specific to get businesses back up and running and our neighbors back to work. From restaurants to dentist offices and everything in between a business can not sustain itself while it is closed. Sadly, for some industries that have not yet realized the ability to even return to any operations at all. Until all small businesses have the ability to open and operate using appropriate COVID-19 health modifications no amount of additional action will be able to keep them alive. I will continue to press the Governor until all industries are able to do businesses again in our state

Legislatively we must pass the “Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020.” The act which I introduced with my Assembly Minority Conference colleagues would provide assistance to New York State small businesses. It would reduce regulations and fees, provide tax incentives and provide deadline extensions for payment of state imposed expenses. The pinacial of this act is my proposal to direct New York’s $890 million dollar state settlement reserve fund be used for our local small businesses. 

These settlement funds are already earmarked for use during economic uncertainty and this crisis fits that criteria.  The monies would be distributed by the state through grants, loans and emergency assistance relief to New York State small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.We have a responsibility to provide this assistance and ensure that our small businesses have every opportunity to succeed during this time of crisis. My conference and I have offered this relief package as an amendment during session and will continue to push for its adoption. Together, we can beat this crisis and ensure our small businesses and all of our community comes back stronger than ever before.

Take A Deep Breath

Today is a day that parents all over New York State have been anxiously waiting for.  Governor Cuomo is scheduled to announce whether at least some schools in the state will be allowed to open.  People are generally anxious and soewhat frightened about how his decision, and those of their school district, will impact their children and their family as a whole.  Their first concern is the welfare of the children…..will they be able to be safely protected from the COVID-19 virus?  But the associated concern about whether parents, especially of single-parent families, will be able to go back to work or not, looms just as large.  While some can financially “get by” for a few more months, whether on unemployment or what savings  they have, others cannot.  And they worry how long these children can go without having permanent effects from lack of free play and social interaction, and the burden of fear they carry at a young age.  Some are lucky and parents have been able to counteract resulting loneliness and depression. But some children keep it buried deep inside, and some parents don’t know how to ask.

We encourage our readers to take a deep breath and be patient for just a little more time.  As states go, New York has been one of the luckiest places to be if you’re going to be in a pandemic in the US.  Careful step-by-step planning is what kept us safe.  And careful step-by-step planning is what will get children back to school safely.  In most cases it will be a hybrid of continued video study from home and little by little entrance back into a classroom. But also, in most cases, if parents are reluctant to have their child back in school, they will have the option to do home study with them.  There will be at least one more stimulus check coming to help ease the financial burden.  Meanwhile each school district is formulating a plan they believe is best for their students.  And for parents who cannot wait to go back to work, child care options and financial support for them are popping up. And a vaccine will be on the way, as soon as it is safe and effective.  This nightmare may be over relatively soon, if we are patient. Be patient with your children. They may be feeling more stress than you know. Tell them it’s ok to worry now and then, because that is how we learn to work through problems and get past them.

So, we have had enough worry over the past 6 months.  Take a deep breath.  Better times are coming.

Where Will The Money Come From

The amounts of money already doled out during this COVID crisis are astounding.  Of course much of it was needed to keep the wheels of busiess and government going, save people’s lives, and make sure that those who are in unfortunate circumstances are fed, clothed, and have a place to stay.  But now more and more programs are coming out of the woodwork….. to cover months of back rent (whether it was paid or not), to help not just the homeless but those at risk of becoming homeless and other COVID related stress.  Hospitals are spending massive amounts of money on advertising, sometimes because people are reluctant to go where they think the virus might be, but more often because they fear the cost.  The State of New York now says it will give $1.7 Million to hospitals that have been financially stressed by the pandemic.  Lose of sales tax will be a burden on towns and will be passed on to their residents.

When does it end.  Just where is all of this money going to come from.  Likely it will be paid mostly in taxes paid by you and me.  Some of the giant corporations will contribute big checks here and there, but if you are not one of the lucky ones that will benefit, well, too bad. 

Recent statistics show that barely a handful of Orange County cities, towns and villages have increased their population over the past few years.  Almost ALL have lost homeowners.  Why?  It’s not because this is not a nice place to live.  It’s because they simply cannot afford to stay.  Sure, some residents are moving up from the city and suburbs, but will it be enough to cover the massive costs the rest of us have borne, and will bear due to likely rebuilds of schools and hospitals to make them more virus safe. 

If you think many or at least some of these costs will be shared by the Federal Government, you may be right.  But don’t be fooled that you see one hand offering goodies, while the other has already taken them back. We pay for it ALL.

A Return to Some Normalcy

With the New York Air Show and Little League games scheduled in the near future, life feels more normal for many than it has for more than half a year.

A version of going out for dinner and friends, and going to the mall for a shopping spree is putting smiles on many ladies’ faces. Grocery shopping may not be 100 percent normal, but the shelves are much better stocked, face masks are getting more attractive and more comfortable, and new virus treatments and a vaccine are not that far away.In general, going places does not feel frightening as it did a month or two ago. In fact, we are (most of us) having some actual “FUN”.

But we’d better not take these new freedoms for granted.  We got them because most people in New York used good common sense and followed safety precautions.  But there is plenty of virus still around.  If we continue to follow sensible guidelines, chances are that we can move forward to holiday gatherings with family and friends, some privacy time for parents with children in school at least part-time, successful return to work, and yes normal life celebrations .

Or, if we toss caution to the wind for a day or two, we could lose it all and take a leap back to the horrors of March.  So let’s broaden those smiles a little, enjoy our new freedoms, but don’t lose sight of how high the stakes are.

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