Month: November 2020

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Posted 7 November 2020 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Posted 21 September 2020 at 7:00 am

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Orleans has 3 more deaths due to Covid, now 67 during pandemic

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 6:21 pm

Orleans also reports 29 new Covid cases, while Genesee has 55 more

Orleans County today is reporting three more Covid-related deaths, with two at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina and the other a community member over age 65.

Both residents at Orchard are over age 65. That facility has now had 26 residents pass away due to Covid during the pandemic. The county has 67 deaths total from Covid, according to the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

In Orleans County, there are also 29 new Covid cases to report today for a total of 1,862 positive cases since March.

The positive cases reside in the West Region (Yates, Ridgeway, Shelby), Central Region (Carlton, Gaines, Albion, Barre) and East Region (Kendall, Murray, Clarendon).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Of the new cases, 7 were on quarantine prior to testing positive.

Orleans also is reporting that of the new cases 2 are residents of Orchard Rehabilitation and

Nursing Center, and 2 are inmates at the Orleans Correctional Facility.

The county also is reporting today that 38 more individuals have recovered and been removed from the isolation.

Orleans currently has 18 residents hospitalized due to Covid.

Albion Central School reports today that one remote student from Middle School has tested positive for Covid-19. Due to the fact the student is remote, there is no need to contact trace any additional staff or students, the district officials stated on its website.

Medina Central School is reporting one high school student has tested positive for Covid-19. The district is in process of notifying the families of anyone who may have come into close contact with the student.

In Genesee County, there are 55 new positive cases to report today for a total of 3,288 confirmed cases since March.

The new positive cases reside in the West Region (Alabama, Darien, Pembroke), Central Region (Alexander, Batavia, Bethany, Elba, Oakfield) and East Region (Bergen, Byron, LeRoy, Pavilion, Stafford).

The individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Genesee County did a drive-through testing clinic on Thursday. Of the 600 tests, 42 tested positive, including 38 from Genesee County.

Genesee also has 72 more people recovered and removed from the isolation list.

There are 9 residents from Genesee currently hospitalized due to Covid.


• Data Update – There will be no reporting or map update on Monday, which is the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday. Check the state site for updates. To review the raw positive data for each of the counties, click here.

Governor wants to prevent people from buying guns if they have an active warrant

Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:37 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his proposal to prevent individuals with active warrants for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense from purchasing guns as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda.

Under the Governor’s proposal, New York State will close a federal loophole that was created when the Trump Department of Justice reinterpreted an existing firearms law to mean only individuals who have fled from one state to another for the purpose of evading prosecution while subject to an active or imminent arrest warrant would be prevented from purchasing a firearm, while those subject to an arrest warrant who remain in state are free to buy guns.

With this action, someone who is subject to an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense, but who has not crossed state lines to evade arrest, would once again be flagged in the National Instant Background Check System and be prevented from purchasing a gun.

“As Covid-19 continues to exacerbate the gun violence epidemic in America, the state of New York is continuing to build on the strongest gun safety laws in the nation and putting more safeguards in place to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Cuomo said. “We will do everything in our power to protect our communities and combat this violence and destruction in all of its forms.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, including the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in 2013, which prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for those who use or possess illegal guns, and imposes the toughest assault weapon ban in the country.

Area continues to vote red and blame Cuomo, even thou region’s woes predate current governor

Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:28 pm

Editor:

First, I would like to give credit to Mr. Harker for essentially republishing Mr. Shaw’s letter to the editor.

Having spent my entire life in rural Western New York, I have observed enough in my years to understand that politics and religion rarely function well together. This relationship often reveals the true hypocrisy that is often the root of the “holier than thou” attitude Mr. Harker speaks of.

Raised Catholic, I always found it odd that so many conservative Christians championed pro-life rhetoric and the care for unborn fetuses. Once that child was born, it needs to pull itself up by the bootstraps and better itself, just like the rugged Americans who came before it. A group that claims to be pro-life has its ranks filled with many who find the death penalty acceptable, are fine with placing kids in cages while depriving them of basic human rights, or labeling them as “bad hombres” and criminals if they attempt to escape violence and persecution in their homeland (and no this is not representative of all Christians).

Mr. Harker claims that he does not feel powerless, but in the same breath places the blame on New York’s economic woes on Andrew Cuomo. I wonder if Mr. Harker supports efforts to break Upstate New York away from New York City? A movement that is rooted directly in feeling voiceless and powerless in an increasingly liberal state.

I am old enough to recognize that Albion and parts of Orleans County look the same as they did twenty years ago. That the economic downturn of the rust belt predates Andrew Cuomo, yet the one enduring political aspect of our region is our commitment to voting red. So please do lecture us about the Democratic downward spiral of the state. We can always hang our collective hat on our esteemed recent history of Congressional Representatives:

Chris Jacobs of Delaware North and Boston Bruins family fame. A man who threatened the longevity of the US Postal Service because he could not tell the difference between the Yes and No buttons.

Chris Collins, the original Trump lackey convicted of insider trading, later resigning in shame, and later being pardon in greater shame.

Chris Lee, the esteemed Representative who resigned after soliciting a woman on Craigslist.

A rather impressive list of “common folk” who demonstrate good, Christian values I suppose? At least you didn’t elect that Marxist, Communist, Socialist Democrat Nate McMurray, right?

Mr. Harker steps forward to criticize Mr. Shaw’s quotation of Biblical verse. Despite the early verses being directed at slaves, husbands, and wives, it is not out of context as the final verses of 1 Peter 3 speak to all Christians. Peter calls Christians to unify around the way of Christ (not Chris), be sympathetic, love one another as family, demonstrate compassion, and be humble. I believe that is what strikes at the heart of Mr. Shaw’s letter.

In closing, it was not the weather that made me leave for North Carolina. It was not the taxes, nor the fear of losing my guns, nor Andrew Cuomo himself. A simple drive through the countryside, perhaps the flags that Mr. Shaw spoke of, encouraged the move.

Matthew Ballard

Statesville, NC (formerly Clarendon, NY)

Albion photographer earns 1st place in international photo contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:13 pm

BARRE – Bruce Landis, an Albion photographer, won first place at the 2021 Professional Photographers of America International photo competition with this photograph titled “Aloha New York.”

Plane owner and professional pilot Chris Caruana from Grand Island was flying out of the Pine Hill Airport.

The photo by Landis, one of the images selected from over 5,000 entries, will be on (virtual) display during the 2021 Professional Photographers of America annual convention from Jan.17 to Jan. 19. This is Landis’ third similar award received for airplanes in flight.

He is the owner/photographer of Photos by Bruce and Associates on Ridge Road in Albion.

Albion receives STEM grant from Crosby’s, ExxonMobil

Posted 15 January 2021 at 4:02 pm

Photo and information from Albion Central School: Albion High School Principal Jenn Ashbery, second from left, accepts $1,000 for the high school from representatives of Crosby’s in Albion.

ALBION – The high school today received a grant of $500 from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program. Reid Petroleum and Crosby’s matched this with an additional $500 for a total of $1,000 to be used to support math and science education.

As noted on their website, “Exxon and Mobil are fueling young minds and helping create aha moments through the Educational Alliance. Since its inception, we’ve committed over $34 million to this national program, which funds math and science programs at schools in need. It’s part of our ongoing effort to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education within the communities we serve.”

The Albion funds will be put to use in support of STEM instruction at the high school.

“We are appreciative of the additional opportunities this presents for our students,” High School Principal Jennifer Ashbery said.

Last year, the funds were used to purchase MakerBots, which introduces students to the technology involved in 3D printing and helps encourage students to develop innovative solutions and designs.

In the coming weeks, Ashbery plans to meet with teachers in order to decide how these new funds will be used to support math, science and engineering for our students.

Norris says ‘Business Emergency Relief Act’ priority for Assembly Republicans

Posted 15 January 2021 at 3:31 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Mike Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C,I-Lockport) is proud to share that following the launch of his new legislation known as the New York Business Emergency Relief Act, the Assembly Minority Conference announced today it has chosen to include the entirety of the plan in its omnibus 2021 pro-business package, Jump-Start New York: A Plan for Economic Recovery.

“I am proud to work together with my colleagues to get New York back to work,” said Norris. “This bill would get people back to work, and our larger plan helps protect businesses and jobs for the future. It’s a real, substantial plan to get our economy back on its feet. After months of a shutdown, unemployment, uncertainty and talk, New Yorkers need and deserve action. I hope our colleagues across the aisle will take action on this plan to help us move New York’s economy forward.”

Aiming to help employers who were forced to close through no fault of their own, the New York Business Emergency Relief Act of 2021 would provide businesses that were deemed “nonessential” with direct aid grants to offset lost income as a result of the governor’s executive orders.

These businesses could include small retailers, historic sites, barber shops, gyms and movie theaters, among others. Funding for these grants would come from redirecting unused state settlement funding awarded to the state or repurposing economic development funding from programs like START-UP NY, a program that many even questioned the effectiveness of to begin with.

In addition to the New York Business Emergency Relief Act of 2021, Jump-Start New York: A Plan for Economic Recovery includes 17 other economic development initiatives, and proposals which would restore legislative authority and remove the governor’s temporary expanded powers and calls for federal actions such as direct aid to schools and local governments. Further, the plan would expand local authority in times of emergency and create a Joint Senate/Assembly Emergency Operations Committee to provide direction and oversight during future state emergencies.

The plan also would allow nursing home residents to designate a loved one to be their “essential person” that would be able to visit and check up on them, even during times like those our state has experienced during the past year.

Other economic development proposals in the plan include repurposing the Regional Economic Development Councils, reevaluating red and orange zone designations, increasing rural internet access, supporting the agriculture industry, waiving certain licensing or fees, providing aid to landlords, extending or waiving certain regulations and providing tax credits. A full copy of the plan can be viewed by clicking here.

Greek Cuisine restaurant in Hartland damaged by fire this morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 2:07 pm

HARTLAND – The Greek Cuisine Restaurant located at 7790 Ridge Rd. in the Town of Hartland was damaged in a fire this morning.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s office said firefighters were dispatched to the restaurant at 6:51 a.m. There was an active fire in the kitchen and the building’s fire suppression system was activated.

The fire was subsequently extinguished by members of the Gasport, Hartland and Wright’s Corners Volunteer Fire Companies. The building additionally sustained heavy smoke damage throughout due to the fire.

The restaurant was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and an estimated value of loss is not available at this time. An investigation by the Niagara County Origin and Cause Team is continuing.

“We will be closed until further notice due to recent events,” Greek Cuisine posted on its Facebook Page. “Although this has set us back we hope we will be able to pull through and make a comeback. We at Greek Cuisine want to take the time to thank everyone for your support.”

Lyndonville school to hold virtual forum on remaining $25K in tech funds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 12:21 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The school district will hold a virtual forum on  Jan. 19 to hear from parents about the district’s plan for spending the remaining $25,000 from the Smart Schools Bond Act.

Lyndonville school officials want to use the $25,000 to create a replacement cycle for Chromebooks.

The forum will be from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. To sign up for this virtual forum on Google Meets, email aslack@lcsdk12.org to confirm your participation.

Lyndonville was approved for $733,151 as part of a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, which was passed by NY voters in 2014. (In Orleans County, the five school districts were approved for about $7 million combined in technology aid with $2,238,441 for Albion; $1,311,463 for Holley; $967,959 for Kendall; $733,151 for Lyndonville; and $2,000,222 for Medina.)

The state has approved several projects for Lyndonville as part of the Smart Schools Bond Act, including $89,900 in February 2020 for classroom technology. The state approved $315,600 in July 2017 for “connectivity” with new routers, network improvements, switches, wireless access points, and classrooms hardwired for computers. Those improvements put in computer infrastructure to allow Lyndonville to add laptops, desktop computers, computer servers and more white boards.

The state Education Department in August 2016 also approved $165,000 for Lyndonville with classroom technology, including interactive white boards, said Jason Smith, the school district superintendent.

Libertarian leader opposes Assembly bill to ban body armor

Posted 15 January 2021 at 11:19 am

Editor:

I demand Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, D-Newburgh, (104th Assembly District) withdraw his bill, A352, which seeks to ban body armor and make possession of body armor a felony. This bill would turn innocent residents into criminals and disproportionately harm marginalized peoples.

This bill is completely unnecessary. No harm is done to any individual or any property through the mere act of owning a body vest. There is no victim when someone wears one, so why make it illegal?

Assemblyman Jacobson is trying to create another victimless crime, for which innocent people will be branded as felons and be carted off to prison. Is sending people to rot in a cage for wearing protective gear really a progressive ideal?

This bill is shockingly tone-deaf. District 104 encompasses a diverse population, including people of marginalized identities. Unfortunately, the present socioeconomic conditions of this country put people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, autistic people, the disabled, and other marginalized peoples, as well as women, at an increased risk of encountering violence, and thus they have a greater need to have any and all tools at their disposal, including body vests, to help defend themselves.

This bill would take away a very useful tool for self-defense and make already vulnerable peoples more susceptible to violence perpetrated against them, including violence perpetrated by the state.

A352 exempts police officers from this ban. Why should cops, whose acts of abuse grabbed the headlines and sparked massive protests throughout the previous year, get to wear protective gear, while ordinary citizens are jailed for the same action? Since when are cops better than anyone else? In this country everyone is supposed to be afforded equal treatment before the law. Either everyone gets to have access to body armor or nobody does.

It’s also worth noting that should this bill become law, it will be more heavily enforced against people of color, just like gun control and drug laws. They will be at greater risk of arrest and will receive harsher sentences. I don’t think that’s the future of New York State progressives envisioned.

People have the right to defend themselves. Wearing a body vest is a harmless way to do so. Turning ordinary people into criminals is tyrannical. Bill A352 would do just that.

Assemblyman Jacobson, let the people protect themselves with body armor. Withdraw this bill at once!

Chase Tkach

Carlton

Orleans Count Libertarian Party Chair

New group of volunteers step up at food distribution this morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 9:55 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Volunteers, nearly all for the first time this morning, help distribute food in Albion from the parking lot at the Main Street Thrift Store.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program nation-wide. It is expected to continue locally through February.

The schedule for the rets of January includes:

  • January 22nd, Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4-H Fairgrounds, 12690 NYS Route 31, Knowlesville, entrance is on Taylor Hill Road and not on Route 31. The line on Taylor Hill will need to go south away from Route 31.
  • January 29th, Community Action Store, 113 South Main Street, Albion

John Kurtz of Albion, left, carries a box of food with produce, meat and dairy this morning. Jesse Underwood of Clarendon is at right. He volunteered as a member of ABATE, a local group of motorcyclists.

Cars started to line up around 6, about two hours before the event started.

Kurtz and Underwood were among a new group of volunteers at the event coordinated by the Orleans County Office for the Aging and Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

“There are a lot more people in need right now,” Underwood said.

Leslie Spofford of Clarendon also volunteered for the first time this morning at a food distribution, which has been happening most weeks locally since April. Spofford had the day off from her job as Runnings in Brockport and wanted to help.

By 7:30 this morning the line of cars was down three streets in Albion. This shows vehicles on East Park Street. They were also waiting on McKinstry and Chamberlain streets.

About 300 boxes of food are given away at the events. The start times are approximately 8:30 a.m. (If the Foodlink truck is there and unloaded, the event may start sooner.) Organizers are ask people not to line up before 8 a.m. due to possible winter weather conditions.

Oak Orchard Harbor, Johnson Creek on the state list for dredging

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Oak Orchard Harbor needs to have sediment removed to make the channel more navigable for boaters. The harbor is pictured on Aug. 29, 2019. Local officials want to ensure the harbor is regularly dredged of sediment.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2021 at 8:26 am

The Oak Orchard Harbor and Johnson Creek in Carlton, near Lakeside Beach State Park, are both on a state list to be dredged.

The state has a $15 million regional dredging initiative the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday said dredging harbors along Lake Ontario remains a priority. Dredging started at Little Sodus Bay, a navigation channel in Cayuga County used by boaters to access Lake Ontario from Little Sodus Bay.

File photo: The dredging barge is near the breakwall at the end of the Oak Orchard channel when the harbor was dredged in August 2014 for the first time in 10 years.

The dredging project will remove built-up sediment from the bottom of the waterway to allow for continued safe passage of watercrafts to support the tourism economy and preserve wildlife in the region.

The Oak Orchard Harbor dredging is scheduled to start in June 2021 and the Johnson Creek Harbor will get attention in July 2021, the state has previously said.

“We’re building the resilience of communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to prevent flooding and ease maintenance of vital navigation channels for years to come,” Cuomo said. “This dredging project is essential to protecting not only New Yorkers who live and work in shoreline communities but also the wildlife in the coastal habitats of the region, while also boosting tourism by ensuring safe recreational access for boaters.”

To date, the State has completed four REDI dredging projects, and removed approximately 15,000 cubic yards of sediment, to provide recreational boaters with safe access to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The completed dredging projects include Port Bay, Blind Sodus Bay and East Bay in Wayne County, and Sandy Pond Inlet in Oswego County. Through Phase I and II, the dredging initiative is tackling the necessary dredging of 20 harbor navigation channels. Upon completion of the project, over 100,000 cubic yards of sediment is anticipated to be dredged, Cuomo’s Office said.

Future regional dredging initiative sites include:

  • Oswego County: Salmon River/Port Ontario
  • Niagara County: Olcott Harbor, Golden Hill State Park
  • Orleans County: Oak Orchard Harbor, Johnson Creek
  • Monroe County: Sandy Creek, Braddock Bay, Long Pond Outlet, Irondequoit Bay
  • Wayne County: Bear Creek Harbor, Pultneyville
  • Jefferson County: Clayton French Creek Marina, Henderson “The Cut”
  • St. Lawrence County: Ogdensburg “City Front Channel,” Morristown Navigation Channel

During Phase III, the State will provide counties with the information they need to update, expand, and implement an existing Regional Dredging Management Plan to keep the channels operational over time.

In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Cuomo created REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region.

Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.

The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission, Cuomo’s Office stated.

“Addressing the damage and erosion from high water events and wave impacts are essential elements of Governor Cuomo’s REDI initiative that is creating stronger communities along Lake Ontario’s shoreline,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Citizens should use language carefully and know what they’re talking about

Posted 15 January 2021 at 8:03 am

Editor:

This is a big week coming. An inauguration, as impeachment and an investigation into  insurrection. I respectfully submit we should focus on ourselves, language – how we use and it and what we listed to! Voltaire said, “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

The recent storming of the Capitol was done by a lot of misguided people. No one can get a mulligan for going into a restricted area, destroying federal property and/or threatening our elected officials. First, while I disagree with MAGA types some of them were not insurrectionists but simply were around because they believed some absurdities they had been told.

But more importantly were crazy QAnon Trump supporters who thought that Jan 6, 2021 was the “Storm” and it was time to kill Congressmen and install Trump as the permanent dictator.

Then, just as deranged, there was the ever present white supremacists and Bro Nazis who only care about overthrowing the US. They think there are hoards who will jump up and join them if they kill enough to be taken seriously. (Their new hero Trump let them out of the bottle which had held pretty well since 1995 when they killed hundreds of children in Oklahoma City.)

Who did what will have to be sorted out. And our Senate will have to decide what to do about President misleading them, summoning the crazy people amongst them to DC and telling them all to commit serious felonies and advance into a restricted security area – many openly and also illegally in a security area packing guns for a fight.

But really with an inauguration and a new start its gives us a moment to look at the words which inflamed many of these people and got them in this trouble. There are dozens of examples but I will write about socialism and free markets. Those are two of the many words I see thrown about without definition or understanding – absurdly inciting people over nothing here in the US!

The words Capitalism and the Free Market are great words when used correctly. The plain truth, however, is that the only “unregulated” “free market” is the underground Black Market! And the plain truth is that the only economic system that does not use capitalist economics is Communism!

Honestly, since the US makes it easy for a. hidden charges, b. false or misleading advertising, c. products with hidden problems, the US is a major violator when is permits skirting the rules of capitalism requiring transparency in order to accurately price what we buy.

The real debate is really who, what, where, when, why, how much and if we want to do any job properly.

Similarly, everyone knows that Switzerland is most capitalist country in the World! But the fact is that Obamacare is just a watered down version of the Swiss subsidized private insurance system. (Did not know that? Ha.)

While some say all people deserve access to health care others accurately point out that it’s also cheaper to have insurance than leaving people without any assistance at all. So what is the beef? The beef is so many on this and many other issues get taken in by people crying “wolf”.  In this case it led to people dying and others soon going to prison.

Speech is a powerful thing. To use it responsibly you have to know the subject matter. We are at a time with a new administration when I believe is time to listen and learn, not fight reflexive based on absurdities. Biden’s goal is to make the marketplace for everyone. That is not absurd.

Conrad F. Cropsey

Albion

Legislators, Athletic Administrators press Cuomo to allow High Risk sports to play

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 15 January 2021 at 7:59 am

With neighboring states already well underway with their full winter sports seasons athletic administrators across the state and state legislators this week stepped up pressure to get Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow the “High Risk” winter sports of basketball and wrestling to begin their seasons.

State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt from New Windsor introduced legislation to “compel the New York State Department of Education and the NYS Department of Health to allow interscholastic sports to be cleared to play this year using proper COVID-19 safety protocols.”

Assemblyman Schmitt stated that “interscholastic sports are an integral part of the school experience and a way to maintain a semblance of normalcy in an upended world.”

Schmitt continued that “currently some sports are being played in New York while others like basketball, football, ice hockey and more are not allowed, despite a majority of states, including neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut allowing basketball competition to begin this week.”

He added ” New York’s student-athletes should have equal opportunity to safely compete in all sports just like students in a majority of states in our nation. Medical and scientific data prove interscholastic sports using the proper protocols is safe during Covid-19.”

The New York State Athletic Administrators Association likewise sent a very pointed letter to the governor imploring Cuomo to “reconsider the decision to forego “high-risk” sports for the Winter and potentially for the remainder of the school year to permit play to begin immediately so these athletes can salvage a small season as some end their high school athletic careers.”

The letter continued “as a professional association, we ask for this with the knowledge that those sports are not only safe to run, but will be overseen by Athletic Administrators that have worked tirelessly to develop protocols to deal with the COVID-19 virus should there be an isolated case.  There are many documents authored by groups concerned directly with maintaining a safe environment for students, staff, and the surrounding communities and should be considered as a guide to the opening of a full sports program.  We have followed the NFHS, CDC, and DOH guidelines to the letter to begin our limited seasons and now feel confident that after seeing how the rest of the country has celebrated successes, it is time for New York to lead again.”

Additionally the letter stated to the Governor that ” you will note that many states have conducted research on the rate of transmission directly correlated with the number of cases and subsequent quarantines causing cessation of contests.  In every study there were less than 1% new cases and a much lower percentage resulting in suspensions or cancellations of contests.  There is no valid, scientific reason to assume that interscholastic sports are dangerous at any risk level. In fact, those state’s health departments seem to vary on which sports are actually “high-risk” and those that are not.  New York, for some reason, has a much different, subjective assessment in place.”

The letter continued that “furthermore, surrounding states have seen the necessity of keeping school sports programs operating and have identified mental health and increasing the socio-economic gaps as potential factors in cases of student depression and lower grades while engaged in some form of virtual learning. Student health and growth academically, emotionally, and physically are what is a part of every child’s life and we are the experts that contribute to that growth.  The Educational Framework for Athletics, a New York State Education Department document, is the lifeblood of our association and we see the benefits of our programs far beyond the classroom.”

In addition another lawsuit is being planned by the Buffalo law firm of HoganWillig demanding that the state to allow youth and high school “High-Risk” sports to begin playing. That is the law firm  which  this week successfully sued New York State to allow Erie County restaurants which are in an “Orange” zone to resume serving customers inside under “Yellow zone limitations of 50 percent capacity.

Time though is now certainly a factor in getting approval for the High Risk winter sports to begin as the so-called “Fall 2” season for the postponed High Risk Sports of football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading is scheduled to begin on March 1 to be followed by the regular spring sports season starting in mid April.