WCP Story of the Week

THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY PRESS

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This week's stories...

NY Offers Assistance to States Experiencing COVID Spikes -- 5 Regions Entered Phase 4 of Reopening

Our strategy for reopening has been to reopen in phases—following the data and opening broader as it dictates. We also have a strategy of test, trace and isolate. The contact tracing program allowed us to quickly identify two clusters related to COVID-19 in Upstate New York — one at an Oswego County apple packaging plant and the other at a Montgomery County aluminum manufacturing plant. The total number of COVID hospitalizations hit another record low. Total hospitalizations fell to 951, from 996 the previous day. Our numbers are good, but, with Coronavirus on the rise in many states in our country, we must continue to be vigilant. Reopening does not mean letting our guard down. Here’s w

2020 Census Update: Counting Votes and Response Rates

(Publish 06.29.2020) From dawn to dusk to evening to night, regardless of lines and waiting times, determined voters cast their primary election ballots in-person, while exercising social distancing protocols, with masks, during a pandemic. Voters who did not vote by mail did so at polling sites scattered throughout Westchester County or not at all. Thanks to the Westchester County Board of Elections, the overwhelming majority of votes have been counted. As reported, some newcomers are in and some incumbents are out. The unofficial tally of election results is available online: https://www.westchestergov.com/boe99/ linkcounty.aspx. With Tuesday’s primary election in their rear view mi

Attorney General James Helps Win Supreme Court Case Guaranteeing Women’s Access to Abortion Coverage

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today helped win a major victory at the U.S. Supreme Court that will protect the ability of women across the nation to maintain access to safe, legal abortions. Attorney General James led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the case of June Medical Services v. Gee, in which a medical provider sought to overturn a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that upheld a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The law at issue was identical to the Texas law that the Supreme Court invalidated in Whole Woman’s Heal

“Plan A: Don’t Go In a Crowd. Plan B: If You Do, Make Sure You Wear a Mask.”

“Look at the guidelines. The leaders, the governors, the mayors, the local leaders at the county level - look at the guidelines. Many of the governors and the mayors are doing well, but it’s the people that are out there that are not listening because, as you said, they’re pent up. Please restrain that. If you follow the guidelines and do it slowly and discreetly and do it very carefully, we’ll get through this.” -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health Weeks ago, as some governors began to lift stay-at-home orders against federal guidelines, the National Urban League urged people to stay home. In a joint statement with other civil rights organ

Andrea Harris and the Fight for Minority Business

Andrea Harris was not well-known, but she should have been. She was the co-founder of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Business Development, an advocate for social and economic justice, a champion for historically Black colleges and universities, and a Bennett Belle (Class of 1970) who passionately loved her college. After a brief illness and a stroke, she made her transition on May 20. The death of the well-connected woman who made it her business to link others together has drawn tributes and accolades from former North Congresswoman Eva Clayton, from other North Carolina legislators, from many of her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters, from her alma mater, Bennett College (ww

Harris Statement on Vote Against Republicans’ Policing Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a lead co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act, on Wednesday released the following statement after voting against the motion to proceed to the Republican bill on policing: “Our country is demanding an end to the constant loss of Black life at the hands of police. Americans are demanding an end to Black Americans having to live in fear that their sons, daughters, grandchildren, students, or loved ones will be next. And it is Congress’ duty to meet this movement by putting forth a solution that will achieve police accountability and take meaningful steps to end these horrific killings.

Past Due Time for American Healthcare System to Protect Black Americans

Today, Americans are facing unprecedented times. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, our country has fallen into an economic recession, and hundreds of thousands are protesting police brutality and racial injustice. But there is another epidemic in this country that must be addressed, and it must be addressed now. CNN’s Don Lemon said it best – “there are two deadly viruses killing Americans: COVID-19 and racism.” Because of the systematic racism that is rooted in our nation, racial disparities in American healthcare have caused illness, injury, and death in minority communities across the country. Black Americans suffer the most at the hands of the American healthcare system. Now, w

AG James Sued to Block Trump’s Unlawful Diversion of Funding to Pay for Border Wall

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court decision that found that President Donald Trump’s attempts to use 2019 military appropriations and funding to build a border wall were illegal: “The courts have again flatly rejected President Trump’s illegal attempt to divert critical military spending to a wasteful border wall. We are grateful that this manufactured national emergency and the illegal maneuvers employed to pay for it have been blocked for 2019. But we know the president continues to push to subsidize this project year-after-year. The president’s abuse of power

NY Congressional Primaries Could Produce as Many as Three New Black Members

We won’t have official counts in these races until June 30th because of the extensive use of mail-in “pandemic” ballots, but the two incumbent Congressional Black Caucus members from New York appear to be marked safe. Rep. Gregory Meeks handily defeated his opponent, Shaniyat Chowdhury, in the 5th Congressional District, which is mainly based in southeastern Queens with a tiny part of Long Island's Nassau County. Yvette Clarke barely won two years ago, edging Adem Bunkeddeko by 1,800 votes, but appears to have trounced him in the June 23rd primary. Early results in two other races show that New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres and progressive lawyer Mondaire Jones are each in a strong po

County Executive Latimer Introduces Members of Police Training Task Force

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Earlier this month, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced the formation of a police training reform group. Today, he gave an update on the group’s work, introduced its leadership and outlined how it meshes with new guidelines from Albany. Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Westchester County acted quickly and pulled together a working group of various stakeholders to review procedures and policies at the County Police Academy. Latimer said: “We know that it is not enough to rally, it is not enough to express heartfelt anger and frustration – and it really isn’t realistic for a white man to try to channel what is being felt in the Afri

STSI to Host Its 11th Annual Summer STEAM Camp for Girls – July 6-17

Sister to Sister International, Inc. (STSI) announces its 11th year of empowering Black and girls of color in the lower Hudson Valley Region in the area of STEM, STEAM and Health Careers during the organization’s Virtual Summer Camp. Participants must be middle and high schoolers, (12 to 18 years of age) who attend school or reside in the region. Cheryl Brannan, STSI STEM program architect, stated “STSI extends special thanks to AT&T our Gold partner along with Jack and Jill, Westchester Chapter, our Silver partner who together enable us to offer this camp complimentary for the first twenty-five accepted students. We appreciate their investment in our community and girls.” During the

WESTCHESTER CHILDREN’S ASSOCIATION SURVEY FINDS DISPARITY IN LEARNING AT HOME

Response reveals the need for additional mental health services WHITE PLAINS, NY – Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) has released the findings from two online surveys the group conducted this past May to determine how parents and their children and school districts were faring with learning at home. The Superintendents Survey received responses from 28 school districts (there are 40 districts in the county). The response to the Parents Survey, which was released in English and Spanish, was overwhelming with a total of 969 responses submitted by the time the survey closed. Together these two surveys revealed that, although school administrators are doing their best to address the issu

Attention Tenants and Homeowners

Do you have chipped and peeling paint? Was your home built before 1978? Do children under six years old or pregnant women live in the home? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be eligible for the Lead Safe Westchester (LSW) Program. Applicants must provide proof that they earn at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Westchester County (about $100,000 for a family of four). If lead is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed into the body, it affects the brain and developing nervous systems of young children and fetuses, which can lead to learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Westchester County received a $4.1 million grant from the US Department of Housing and U

The Shifting Supremes

- In two recent decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, two right leaning Justices opted for the left side of history. Chief Justice John Roberts tipped the scales of justice in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. The oddly parsed 5-4 decision setback efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Known as DACA, the 2012 Obama era program protects people brought to the United States as children by shielding them from deportation and letting them work. Rather than lean on substance and “decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the majority of the Court relied on procedural grounds when concluding that the

LOOTERS, LOWLIFES, AND LIARS

According to the Washington Post, the 45th President told 19,126 lies between his inauguration in 2017 and June 1, 2020. By now, the number has likely edged toward 20,000, as his Tulsa “rally” yielded dozens more. This President has no allegiance to the truth, but that’s no surprise. Leading up to his ill-timed gathering, amid the coronavirus, he projected more than a million attendees. Instead, the Trump campaign could not even fill the 19,000 seat stadium. And because the Trump campaign ha no one to blame but itself for its spotty turnout, 45 instead blamed “bad people,” the media, and others. The President’s bizarre bloviation was more evidence of his instability, but also illustrat

Continental Societies Announces 2020 Scholarship Winners

The New York Chapter of The Continental Societies Incorporated is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 Scholarship Awards to three deserving college-bound students from Brooklyn, Staten Island and Stony Point all residing in New York. The NY Continentals Societies Incorporated also announced the renewal of scholarships to two 2019 winners from Manhattan and Queens who both maintained a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The total scholarships awarded in 2020 were $15,000.

NASCAR Joins Growing List of Those Taking Stand Against Racial Injustice

Since protestors and demonstrators have taken to the streets around the globe in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many businesses and organizations have issued statements and taken measures to communicate their stand against racial injustice. On Wednesday, June 10, NASCAR joined that ever-growing list with the announcement that it’s removing the Confederate flag from all of its events. “The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR officials wrote in a statement. “Bringing people together around a love for rac

ONE BAD APPLE SPOILS THE BARREL

Today there is a roiling debate in the United States over whether police departments should be disbanded and replaced with civic structures that better serve their communities. This debate was sparked by the shocking videotape of George Floyd being casually murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. The obvious cruelty and disregard of George Floyd’s humanity by Officer Derek Chauvin appalled not only the nation but people around the globe. Chauvin had 17 complaints against him for misconduct during his 20-year career. Despite that record, he was allowed to remain on the Minneapolis Police Force and act in a supervisory role. Nationwide protests arising from Chauvin’s killing of Mr. Floyd

House Leaders Demand Details on PPP Small Business Loan Program

As the remaining days dwindle for small businesses to apply for loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), both banks and federal officials are being challenged by several House leaders to explain how the $670 billion program intended to aid the nation’s small businesses has actually been operating. Although more than $130 billion remains, the program’s application deadline is June 30. In two separate but related Hill hearings convened on June 17, the nation’s fiscal status, and how taxpayer dollars dedicated to PPP are being used were the focus of congressional inquiries. Jerome Powell, the Chair of the Federal Reserve testified before House Financial Services Committ

2020 Census Update: Based on Data and Response Rates

(Publish 06.22.2020) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo capped more than three months of COVID-19 pandemic briefings on Friday, June 19, 2020. During the 111 straight days of explanation and observation, which included anecdotes about Cuomo’s family, each presentation was filled with graphs and categorical data. As the data began to demonstrate that New Yorkers consistently flattened the curve, Governor Cuomo consistently stated that phased reopening plans would be “based on the data.” Now that New York has begun to implement reopening plans across 62 counties, COVID-19 data points will continue to be viewed with an eagle eye, albeit on a local level. While carefully managing the phased reopeni

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