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Hawley says Albany needs ‘A-game’ as state recovers from pandemic

Posted 15 May 2020 at 6:29 pm

Editor:

Since the Covid-19 outbreak hit New York, I’ve been a strong proponent of keeping people safe and healthy. It’s one of the few things I agreed with our governor about. Now that the worst seems to have passed, we need to look back at what was done wrong and try to start making right what we can.

The Assembly Majority makes it seem like that’s what they’re trying to do too, with their most recent virtual hearing focusing on small business advocacy and small business laws. What they fail to realize, amazingly, is that the policies put forth by their leadership and their votes are why many New Yorkers are struggling so much today.

The Assembly Minority Conference, on the other hand, isn’t just now getting back to work. From day one, I’ve been on the phone with constituents, on the ground with aid and assistance, and working tirelessly wherever I could to help my neighbors push through this pandemic. I didn’t sit at home and blame Washington for not giving us more.

I didn’t vote down legislation like the Small Business Recovery Act, which would have used the state’s $890 million reserve fund and redistributed it to struggling local businesses accompanied with zero interest recovery loans. I didn’t agree or support the one-solution-fits-all regional plan that the Majority and governor introduced at the start of this crisis, which in turn stalled state response significantly. That’s what the Majority did.

The Majority sat by and let the state flounder during this pandemic. They gave unilateral power to the governor to make decisions for the entirety of the state with plans based around one city. With so much to do in the coming weeks, we can’t let this continue. For the good of everyone’s health, for the good of our nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, public service men and women, we followed the plan set forth by the Majority and governor in order to get through the worst this pandemic had to offer. We’re clearly past the worst now.

As we see positive cases subside and the state beginning to reopen, we need to make sure everything returns to the way it was, including the structure of power in the state. The governor did what was necessary to get us through that rough patch. He must now return power to the Legislature, and the Legislature need to get back on its A-game.

From the Department of Labor getting better at giving out unemployment checks to the Department of Health becoming more involved in local investigations of nursing homes, there’s a lot of work to be done moving forward. We are ready to get back to work. We don’t have any interest in blaming Washington. We simply want to get results for those who matter most – the people.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Batavia

Assemblyman Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, most of Orleans and part of the western end of Monroe County.

Has the U.S. been doing a good job with Covid-19? Not really

Posted 15 May 2020 at 9:49 am

Editor:

A medical acquaintance, with whom we consulted about the NY Health Plan, told what he called a “cautionary tale.” Patients of his were saying that the Covid-19 scare was a “hoax.”

He contracted the disease, ran a very high temperature for 10 days. He lives by himself, his family living thousands of miles away. “I was very frightened. I’m still very weak.” “I’m here to tell you: this is not a hoax.”

According to the CDC, the US, as of 5/13/20, has 1,364,061 reported cases and 82,256 deaths. We’re about 1/18th of the world’s population. Yet we have close to a third of the cases, and more than a fourth of the deaths, world-wide.

There are those who claim we’re doing a good job. Compared to whom?

Now maybe our percentages are high, because we are testing more? And we are. But according to Worldometer, there are 41 nations testing at a higher rate per populaton. And according to another source, South Korea had done nearly a half million tests, before we got started.

Maybe, if some of us hadn’t been minimizing and calling it a “hoax,” we could have saved many lives and even somewhat spared the economy, the implications of which will take even more lives, especially among the poor and elderly, who will lose incomes and homes.

How is this “Pro-Life?”

Bob Golden

Kent

Federal government has left states to handle pandemic, without providing much money or help

Posted 13 May 2020 at 2:59 pm

Editor:

The federal government has placed the burden of fighting the coronavirus infection on to the states. Business Insider reporter Sonam Sheth, (3/16/20), wrote “President Donald Trump on Monday told a group of governors that they should get vital equipment to treat coronavirus patients on their own.”

While the federal government has placed the responsibility for fighting the Covid-19 outbreak on the states, Republicans have balked at helping state governments recover from the financial burden. Lockport Union-Sun & Journal writer Connor Hoffman reported, (5/5/20), “Niagara County could lose up to $12 million, or 20% in sales tax revenue for the last three quarters of 2020.”

In another article Mr. Hoffman reported that “School districts across New York State might face a cut in state aid as much as 20% if further federal stimulus money is withheld from New York State, and local district leaders feel the cuts could seriously challenge their operations.”

Republican leader Mitch McConnell told Hugh Hewitt: “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route.” I am perplexed why a “welfare state” like Kentucky would want to hurt a “donor state” like New York.

David Frum in the Atlantic, (4/25/20), explains: “A federal bankruptcy process for state finances could thus enable wealthy individuals and interest groups in rich states to leverage their clout in the anti-majoritarian federal system to reverse political defeats in the more majoritarian political systems of big, rich states like California, New York, and Illinois.”

Republicans are more interested in helping themselves than the citizens who elect them. That is why former congressman Chris Collins stated: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’”

Republicans feel fealty only to their rich donors. That is why many Republicans don’t respond to letters from constituents or hold town-hall style meetings. We need to hold our representatives accountable, and to do that we need to elect Democrats. We need to vote for responsible government; vote for Nate McMurray for Congress.

William Fine

Brockport

President is seeing country through pandemic, Democrats’ double standards

Posted 12 May 2020 at 10:12 pm

Editor:

I know that any time I write a letter it is going to draw out of hiding the ire of those with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

That is why I slap my knees while I’m writing thinking who will be the next leftist that peeks up from under the rock. This time it is Mr. Ballard. Mr. Ballard claims that I sound like a propagandist for North Korea. I love my country and I love President Trump. How you prove my point at how a liberal sees everything backwards.

By the way where were you when the “Messiah” was shredding the Constitution and running our economy into the ground? Not to mention the 8 years of blaming Bush for his failures.

I will agree with you that we are led by the worst of the worst and I will include some Republicans that side with Democrats. But by far it is the Democratic Party, the ideology you seem to embrace that has brought more destruction, poverty, perversion, and misery to the world. It seeks totalitarian control of the institutions and citizenry of this country and to the world in general.

The wealthiest corporations that leftists complain about are those that embrace leftist ideology. Facebook and Google, to name a couple. More people have died under far left wing control in the world than all of the world’s wars.

I agree that those senators that sold their stock should have to resign and go to jail like Chris Collins. But that won’t happen because Democrat Feinstein is involved. The Democrats will never allow her removal. I don’t expect much. You have seen how backwards the standards with Democrats are between Kavanaugh and Biden on the sexual assault charges? Probably not. Fake News.

The left wing media lies. They get their order of lies from Pelosi and all parrot the same talking points. She admits this. Is proud of it. This President actually stands up to them and their inflammatory questions that have nothing to do with news of the day. Liberals are not treated like this. The “Messiah” was never attacked, never asked hard questions. Given a total pass while he ran roughshod on the Constitution and the country.

It’s not the Presidents fault peoples’ 401ks are down. Our economy was roaring. Not in NY due to liberal policies but around the country. Blame China for its lies and secrecy. The Democrats in Congress are in control of the appropriations and put in all kinds of unrelated pork not related to Covid-19. They also held up the distribution of the piddly $1,200 checks to Americans.

The do-nothing Democrats will pay a heavy price for what they have done come November 3rd. Future generations will be paying this off for the next 50 years. The student loan lending was taken over by the “Messiah.” The banks have been out of it for years. Blame Democrats for that one. Blame the liberal education system that tells everyone they have to go to college to obtain a worthless liberal arts degree. Blame big education for the cost. They rob the taxpayers and the students blind. No one wants to touch that.

People will be back to work soon. No one in this country can be turned down for care. Hospitals are going broke because people are staying away. Yes, Mr. Ballard “God forbid” we talk about Universal Basic Income. “Messiah” appointee Andrew Yang ran for president on that and it went nowhere like him. Bernie too. We are a capitalist society not European or Globalist. You must be one of those millennials the future is fearing.

The Republicans in the House and Senate are finally acting like they are supposed to. On the other hand, the Democrats have descended to the lowest form of humanity. Thank God President Trump is on the job during this pandemic. The left will never give him credit but come election day he will be re-elected and Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House.

We should be concentrating on unleashing the economic stranglehold on our area and the need to get back to work. My condolences to the families affected by this pandemic. Unfortunately everything is political and when people engage in political debate the ball will keep rolling. I do enjoy debating those with TDS.

Paul Lauricella Jr.

Lyndonville

Multiple layers of government make no sense

Posted 11 May 2020 at 1:04 pm

Editor:

Dennis Seekins and Jack Capurso are so right on, words fail me. I can say that this NYS policy of endless duplication of services and layers of similar government jobs is just plain idiotic.

My uncle was district superintendent in Bergen County, New Jersey for all students, all county. It amazed me when I moved here to see each tiny berg have separate government, school superintendents, highway departments, etc. No one could ever explain it to me.

At least now I can commiserate with others who see the stupidity of this, and hope springs eternal. I have to erase in my head the image of an elderly lady being interviewed regarding consolidation, saying “Medina will lose its history.”

Words truly fail me now.

Deborah Rodrigues

Medina

Barre election results in November shouldn’t be viewed as a community in favor of turbines

Posted 11 May 2020 at 11:18 am

Editor:

I am getting tired of some Barre Town Board members and another individual at the town meetings saying that the majority of the Barre’s residents support the wind turbine project due to the election results.

The election was not a referendum on the turbine project. The results of the survey and petitions demonstrate that equating the election with approval of the turbine project would be false. Copies of the survey cards and petition were sent to the NYS Sitting Board to be made part of the official record.

Is it not time that we put a stop to this project due to the health risks it may pose to our residents? Haven’t we as a community already seen enough death and devastation from the coronavirus?

We know the turbines will affect the appearance of our serene and tranquil surroundings and have a negative impact on the wildlife. Are your politicians going to gamble with your health for a few dollars? Wind turbine syndrome is real.

Please call or write the Siting Board and the state legislators to tell them that you do not want this project. It is now up to each resident in community to voice his and her opinion – not just the lease holders and their families!

Please take note of the below facts and figures related to the Industrial Wind Turbine Project:

The Town of Barre has about 2,000 residents.

Election Results from November (675 total votes). This is not just about the Heritage Wind Project.

Town Supervisor: Sean Pogue, 377 votes – 56%; Gerald Solazzo, 282 votes – 42%

Town Councilperson: Margaret Swan, 319 votes – 24%; Kerri Richardson, 304 votes – 23%; Cindy Burnside, 279 votes – 21%; LuAnn Tierney, 248 votes – 18%; and Brad Driesel, 109 votes – 8%. (Driesel dropped out, but his name was left on ballot, drawing off votes that could have gone to a real candidate, possibly changing the outcome of the entire election!)

1. Town Survey conducted in regards to the Heritage Wind Project (290 surveys accepted):

44% Supportive

39% Opposed

8% Neutral

7% Need More Information

2. Citizens for a Better Barre, Post Card Canvas – Total 538 responses

Supportive: 25 or 5%

Opposed: 425 or 79%

Number not sure: 14 or 3%

Number refusing to commit: 29 or 5%

Number who moved: 41 or 8%

Note: Canvas did not include Town Board members or individuals who have leases.

3. A petition to stop the turbine project was also circulated in Barre with a few people not living in Barre who signed it because they would be affected due to their location. Over 500 signatures were gathered and given to the Orleans County Legislature.

4. Individuals have attended Town Board meetings and shared that they chose to move from our community due to the potential construction of industrial wind turbines.

Alex Nacca

Barre

Pastor cautions on push by some state legislators to re-open churches

Posted 11 May 2020 at 8:35 am

Many congregations have large numbers of senior citizens, who are vulnerable to virus

Editor:

Assemblyman Hawley and Senator Ortt, along with other elected colleagues, in an article carried by the Hub on May 9, want to speed up the opening of churches and religious institutions as soon as possible.

As a pastor, I, too, wish for churches and other religious groups to be able to re-open, but I approach any plan to re-open with a great deal of caution.

Churches often have significant numbers of older participants, who may also have pre-existing conditions, making them more susceptible to the severity of Covid-19. The concentration of Covid-19 infection in adult care facilities, should give every church with elderly participants pause. Any one of us could be carrying the virus without knowing it and putting others at risk, including members of our own families.

The original belief was that Covid-19 had had its worst effects among the elderly, but there is plenty of evidence emerging that children are also vulnerable. Children are the most challenging to contain by physical distancing protocols, and we would not want to give a false impression that the safety of children can be maintained in social settings like churches.

I would not look forward to reopening our building, knowing that at least two populations could not be safely accommodated at the present time, the elderly and children.

The urgency felt by these elected officials to open our churches does not trump the need to protect our most vulnerable neighbors. One thing I can say with certainty: Assemblyman Hawley and Senator Ortt have not requested my input about any of this. Ortt’s most recent mailing on the virus was nothing more than a campaign ad with some safety tips and Hawley’s most recent mailing was a survey that  did not even mention the virus. I am not sure how it is that they have assessed the opinion of the religious organizations that they seem to want to advocate for.

Religious groups planning to reopen their buildings need to have a clear plan for disinfecting all surfaces that people touch – door knobs, bathroom fixtures, tables, pews and chairs, even hymn books and Bibles. How often will this cleaning be done, who will do it, and who will oversee it?

Religious groups love their singing, especially organized choirs and bands, but have we fully analyzed the adequacy of a six-foot distance when people are singing this close to each other? I don’t want anyone coughing near me, and that probably goes for singing, too.


‘Counterintuitively, we are drawing more people to worship than we did before in-person services were cancelled. We mail Sunday School lesson packets to families with children through the mail, and the number receiving them has been growing.’


Our church building has a number of structural issues to contend with: entries and exits are fairly narrow in our old building, bathroom facilities are few, and our sanctuary might not have enough room to seat people with adequate distances between them. Physical distancing in old buildings like ours will be especially challenging.

Yes, there are some measures we could take, like hand sanitizer in every pew, masks available at the door, plenty of gloves to hand out as well, roping off certain seats, teaching people how to cough and sneeze more safely, no hand-shaking (or elbow bumps), no passing of the offering plate from hand to hand, and as yet to be determined risk-diminishing ways to celebrate the intimate rituals of communion or baptism.

But here’s something that worries me: Whose job will it be to “enforce” our safety protocols? I can imagine at least a few who might enter our building refusing to follow our precautions, tell us that our fears are exaggerated, that they are willing to accept the risk, that face masks are actually dangerous, insist the virus is “fake news”, cite discredited studies as rationale for non-compliance, take a Facebook friend’s posting as gospel truth, or declare their rights without regard to responsibilities.

My congregation, of course, is missing the weekly gathering in the church building. The weekly gathering is the heart of who we are. For the time being we have shifted to “virtual” worship through Zoom. We offer plenty of time for people to socialize before and after the service. It’s a bit chaotic when the microphones are unmuted during these times, but it is beautiful to behold to witness the enthusiasm.

Counterintuitively, we are drawing more people to worship than we did before in-person services were cancelled. We mail Sunday School lesson packets to families with children through the mail, and the number receiving them has been growing.

We have established a way for people to contribute their financial support on-line, though most people are quite adept at sending checks through the mail in place of the weekly offering. Our sewing group has been creating face masks for church families, the wider community, and also local farmworkers. We encourage food donations to a neighboring congregation that distributes food to the community.

Our members are generous in staying in touch with others, and seeing to their needs. Who would have guessed that in time of crisis we have become more effective in our ministry, stewardship and outreach?

Rather than feel the urgency of the political leaders cited in the article who seem to think our religious life is threatened, we are doing better than we imagined. We cannot come to church in the present time, but we are being the church!

Of course, we are eager to return to what was, but we will take the time to get it right. In fact, we will never return to what was, but we are already becoming what we will be. In my tradition we consider this a season of resurrection. What appeared to be dead and gone is very much alive and growing.

Rev. James R. Renfrew

Clarendon

Clarendon couple, married 71 years ago today, spending anniversary together at The Villages

Posted 10 May 2020 at 12:14 pm

Provided photo: Charlie and Carol Robishaw were married 71 years ago today. Mr. Robishaw is a retired game warden. Mrs. Robishaw worked as a corrections officer at the Albion Correctional Facility and then in security at Brockport State College.

Editor:

Carol and Charlie Robishaw are celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary today, May 10th.  In these days, this is especially a cause to celebrate.

For long-time Clarendon residents, Carol, 91, and Charlie, 92, this will be their fourth anniversary spent together at The Villages of Orleans.

Charlie has been a resident there for a few years, as was his mother, Evelyn, years before. Carol joined him a few years later, even sharing a room.

For years and years before this, the Robishaws were at the gym three days a week – up and out before 6:30 a.m. regardless of the weather. They believe firmly in quality of life and had worked for it for this very moment! A beam of light in an otherwise dismal scenario.

We love you, Mom and Dad! Happy Anniversary!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! We are praying for you both.

Our love and prayers also to the staff at The Villages for their dedication and care during this difficult time.

Randy and Joni Robishaw

Clarendon

County-wide school system should be explored

Posted 8 May 2020 at 12:15 pm

Editor:

Jack Capurso and I both graduated in 1960 from Orleans County schools and both wound up in Washington, D.C. suburbs. He in Loudon County, VA – me in Montgomery County, MD. Montgomery County has one school system for over 150,000 students. It is the largest in the state of Maryland, and 14th largest in the country.

Montgomery has one superintendent of schools. Orleans has how many? Montgomery County has one highway department and one head thereof. Orleans has how many?  So, why don’t Orleans County Republicans (who all hate big government) get together and have only one school district and only one highway department?

I’ve been back up here for 20-plus years and have seen some discussion on this issue but much more is needed.

Dennis Seekins

Lyndonville

Donna Rodden made a big difference for Albion

Posted 7 May 2020 at 8:49 pm

Editor:

What a wonderful tribute to the Honorable Donna Rodden (click here). I had the privilege to be a student of hers at Albion High School while she was the librarian.

I was also a supporter of her as she was the Mayor of the Village of Albion. She fought some very difficult opponents, but always rose above the politics and carried her positions with grace. It was a honor to have known this great woman. She always had Albion, her students, and the greater community as her focus. She did us all well!

It is overdue that her biography and accomplishments are so eloquently displayed in print. Thank you!

Steven Kast, ACS Class of 1975

Churchville