THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY: TRIBUTE TO COLUMBUS AND THOSE INTREPID ADVENTURERS WHO CAME AFTER HIM.

WPCNR COLUMN FROM THE PAST IN HONOR OF COLUMBUS

This column originally appeared on WPCNR on February 1, 2003, and celebrates the Dreamers, the Achievers, the High and the Mighty, of whom Columbus was one–the man who kept a frightened crew together and a mission of three ships across unchartered waters to open half the world. I wrote it about the Apollo 11 Crew, but the sentiments expressed aptly fit Columbus the man and the achievers who risked the unknown:

The Space Blazers:

 The Apollo 11 Crew: Nail Armstrong, Michael Collins,  Buzz Aldrin, Jr. Mr. Armstrong set foot on the moon 51 years ago July 20, 1969(NASA Photo)

The exact hour  was  20:11 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). That was the culmination of the last great American achievement  – the personal computer and the internet were to come as the next great American achievement conquering space — when Apollo 11 with Armstrong in command, with astronauts Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. blasted off to the stars  for real becoming the Flash Gordons, Buck Rogerses, Tom Corbetts and Captain Videos for all-time.

Their mission was a success.

But there have been the tragedies associated with striving for the stars and being the best, achieving the best, working for the good. Those are the persons who keep the dreams alive by their deaths and personal sacrifice. I wrote the following after the explosion of the Columbia Space Shuttle upon reentry after 19 days in space in January 2003.

The fatal Columbia Space Shuttle accident killing all 7 astronauts aboard when the historic spacecraft broke up over East Texas at daybreak on a Saturday morning began a period of national mourning. 
The expected media speculations have started, guessing at the cause of the reentry that went bizarrely, awfully wrong.
The truth is the civilized world takes absolute scientific miracles for granted. We do not appreciate the courage and skills of the men and women creating the future.
Those of us with cell phones, internet connections, high-speed trains, satellite communications and entertainment (all products made possible by the space program), do not realize the magnitude of daring achievements that you and I have come to accept to be executed like clockwork.
I first learned of Columbia’s fate late that Saturday afternoon when my wife mentioned that instead of sports programming being videotaped on our television, there was coverage of a live NASA event on ABC.
(Incredibly, the radio station I had been listening to on the way from a sports clinic had not reported any hint of the accident. That station was Z-100, the most listened-to station in the New York metropolitan area. America Online also on their first up page did not mention the missing craft as of midday. That kind of communications misjudgment is sad.)
As I watched the close of Mr. Jennings’ coverage at about 3 PM, he signed off with no recap, no names of astronauts, and some parting words about what he thought was the cause of the disaster.
I’ll say what he should have said.
Columbia’s seven astronauts who died — we know their names: they were

Columbus, Magellan, Cook, Lewis, Clark, the Wrights, Lindbergh, De Laroche, Earhart, Markham, Gruber, Chaffee, Grissom, White, Gargarin, Komarov, the Challenger Crew, the crew of Soyuz 11. They are a handful of the hundreds of brave men and women who went into the unknown.

Appollo 11′s Crew turned the dreams of the 1950s visualized in television shows like Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (above, Astro, Roger and Tom) and Captain Video, “The Master of Science” below  into reality.

America’s Spacemen and Spaacewomen and the explorers before them are the people who trust in their ability and their vessel to expand the world’s horizons, to know the unknown, whose legacies build a better world. Whose deeds inspire and achievements are the catalysts for achievement to come.


From Cook’s fragile vessel which sailed the Pacific, to the marvel that was the Columbia, the captains courageous who sailed the Roaring 40s, blazed the Oregon Trail, discovered how to fly, and flew the oceans, journeyed to the stars, knew the risks they were taking. 


The media  trivializes their courage, their skills, and the difficulty of what they did and wanted to do, to concentrate on the causes of their failure, as if knowing the cause will make their loss acceptable.

The Magnificent Seven


I do not know Columbia’s Magnificent Seven. I just see their smiling faces in their photograph, and I regret the loss of every one. They had achievement on their faces, pride in their demeanor. Their eyes shown with the glow of being alive and striving to do the great things they set out to do.


Civilization has been created because of people like the crew of the Columbia’s Magnificent Seven, not the incompetence we see demonstrated daily today where technology is concerned.


The Columbia itself had flown 26 missions since launching in 1981. It was guided and outfitted with the best 2003 communications and equipment had to offer.

Not like Captain James Cook’s bark, Endeavour, a 100-foot ship powered by sail that conquered the “space” of his time, the Pacific Ocean. It was the Columbia’s Magnificent Seven’s Endeavour. They were tracked, they were backed up, but they perhaps more than anyone here on the ground knew the high dangers of the shuttle mission.

Liftoff, as their predecessors, The Challenger crew fell victim to, is fraught with risk. Reentry, which needs to be negotiated at precisely the right angle of attack, is equally risky. Soyuz 11’s spacecrew of Dobrovolskiy, Volkov, and Patsayev died in 1971 on reentry, when the Russian cosmonauts took too long to descend.


No guarantees in real life. Machines sometimes run out of miracles.


The magnificence of the explorers’ sacrifice and dedication, is that they accept the risk of “the endeavor.”


They accept the challenge, bear it alone, seizing challenge with an indomitable spirit and confidence, facing death when it comes with the satisfaction that they made the effort, and I suspect analyzing, coping, trying to fix it until the end, the very end.

They never give up.

Columbia’s Magnificent Seven, after 16 days in space, are gone now. My sorrow is with their families who will miss these Magnificent Seven, and who know in their hearts that they died trying to reach the pinnacle of their aspirations.


They are only human.


They tried their best, achieved their best, and experienced what they longed to experience. They dared to live the great adventure.
Not all of us have the courage to follow our longed-for adventures and make them real. You can watch movies that attempt to give that experience by transference. That’s why, I believe, you and I take it so personally when we lose heroic personalities of our time. We wonder what they are like. We glorify them, rightly so.


“Follow Me! ” They Say.


I wonder how those Magnificent Seven felt, how satisfying it must have been, to be at your best, doing what you love, coping with the risks.I envy them that.


The Columbia Crew is the Miracle.


In reality it is not machines that conquer, it is the intrepid personalities, each unique, each contributing, who perform the miracles with God’s help. That they fall short is an example to us, not to take ourselves, our fates, or our existences for granted.


This is true of the everyday people we take for granted: the firefighter, the policeman, the train engineer, the airline pilot, the construction worker. All are highly trained disciplined workers, executing precise tasks for which the non-expert has no feel or understanding . What makes for the desire to achieve? What is out there or up there that leads them on?

The Feel of the Unknown


I took Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s biographical adventure diary, Listen! The Wind down from the bookshelf.

She was the young bride of the aviator-pioneer, Charles Lindbergh. She navigated for him in his aircraft, and ran his radio communications on his many exploratory flights around the world.

In a passage she describes a night flight over the ocean, in which she was operating the radio for her husband Charles, who was at the controls. Mrs. Lindbergh is describing the feelings she has as she tries to tune in the South American coast at sea in the dark of night in 1933, 80 years ago.

The feeling, the courage of the adventurer, the explorer has not changed. This is great:

“Night was the hardest. It would be all right once it was day. I kept saying…We began to hit clouds. I could tell without looking up, for the plane bumped slightly from time to time, first one wing down and then the other. And the moon blackened out for short periods.

Then for longer periods. I could not see to write my messages. I stiffened, dimly sensing fear – the old fear of bad weather – and looked out. We were flying under clouds. I could still find a kind of horizon, a difference in shading where the water met the clouds. That was all. But it seemed to be getting darker.

Storms? Were those clouds or was it the sky? We had lost the water. We were flying blind. I turned off the light quickly (to give my husband a little more vision), and sat waiting, tense, peering through the night. Now we were out again. There were holes through which one could see the dark sky. It was all right, I felt, as long as there were holes.


More blind flying. This is it, I thought is what people forget. This is what it means to fly across the ocean, blind and at night. But day is coming. It ought to be day before long… Daybreak! What a miracle. I didn’t see any sign of day and yet it must be lighter. The clouds were distinguishing themselves more and more from water and sea.


Daybreak—thank God—as if we had been living in eternal night—as if this were the first sun that ever rose out of the sea.

Note: This column originally appeared February 1, 2003 on WPCNR

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. October 12, 2020:

Dear John, 

From day one, testing has been among the most vital tools we have to accurately assess — and slow — COVID-19’s spread in New York. Today, we are building on our nation-leading testing program by deploying an initial 400,000 rapid result test kits in every corner of the state. These rapid test kits — that take 15 minutes to get a result and do not require sending a specimen to a lab — will be available to every county in New York State, including to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers. 

The rapid tests can be used to control new outbreaks, conduct surveillance testing and help schools in “yellow zones” test students and staff, one of the new requirements of the Cluster Action Initiative to monitor COVID-19 spread.

These rapid test kids will assist health care institutions throughout the state to quickly spot outbreaks and keep families and communities safe. Rapid testing is one tool in our battle with this virus. As always it must be used in combination with mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.
Together, using all tools, we can stop the spread.  

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Coronavirus newsletter will not publish on Monday, October 12. We will resume our normal schedule on Tuesday, October 13. In the meantime, stay up to date on Twitter

Here’s what else you need to know Monday morning:

1. We are carefully watching the total COVID hospitalizations. Yesterday, there were 779 total hospitalizations. Of the 139,300 tests reported yesterday, 1,526, or 1.14 percent, were positive.

The average positivity rate in the 20 hot spot ZIP codes in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Orange Counties was 5.4 percent.

The statewide positivity rate, excluding these ZIPs, was 0.90 percent. (1.1 is the infection rated required to maintain a stable control of the COVID spread.) Sadly, we lost six New Yorkers to the virus.  

2. Search to see if you live or work in a Cluster Action Initiative Zone. As part of our Cluster Action Initiative, there are new restrictions in six clusters in the State, which allow us to stop the spread from these clusters and protect our progress in the fight against COVID-19. Look up your address to see if you live or work in a COVID-19 Hot Spot Zone where there are new restrictions. Maps of the six cluster zones can be found here.  

3. Ads from the “Mask Up America” campaign have been seen 38 million times. The national campaign, with videos featuring the voices of Paul Rudd, Billy Crystal, Ellen Pompeo, Anthony Mackie and more, have aired on TVs across the country more than 115,000 times. Watch the entire PSA campaign here.  

4.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You aren’t trapped because of COVID. If there is an issue where you face imminent harm, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you need help, you can call the State’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906, or text 844-997-2121.  

Coronavirus Updates here. 
Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 
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BOYKIN ON THE TUBIOLO COVID-19 SITUATION. All Legislators covid negative at this time.

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. October 9, 2020:

On the morning of Thursday, October 8, the Board of Legislators was informed that Legislator David Tubiolo has tested positive for COVID-19.Legislator Tubiolo is doing well and has been isolating since learning of his positive result on Wednesday.

He is working with the Westchester County Department of Health and contact tracers to identify those he has been in contact with.

The Board of Legislators offices will be closed for deep cleaning. Legislator Tubiolo was last in the Board office on Thursday, October 1.

All Legislators and Board Staff that have been in contact with Legislator Tubiolo beginning on October 1 were tested for COVID-19 on Thursday, October 8 and the Board is working the Department of Health to ensure that the appropriate protocols are followed for the health and safety of legislators, staff and the public.I, along with the Board Staff that have received results to date have all been negative.

Thank you for the concerns that you have expressed for County Executive George Latimer (who tested negative), his staff and for the Board of Legislators and our staff.

We will keep you informed as conditions evolve.If you attended the Italian Heritage Flag Raising event outside of the County Office Building on Thursday, October 1, please contact the Westchester County Health Department (914-995-5800) or your medical provider as soon as possible (if you have not been contacted) to determine if you need a COVID-19 test.

Sincerely, Benjamin Boykin,

Chairman of the Board of Legislators

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ABSENTEE BALLOTS BEGIN TO ARRIVE IN WHITE PLAINS

THE ENVELOPE TO WATCH FOR
WHAT’S INSIDE: LEFT, THE ABSENTEE BALLOT. RIGHT, THE BALLOT ENVELOPE

YOU ENCLOSE THE FILLED IN BALLOT INTO THE BALLOT ENVELOPE AND SIGN YOUR SIGNATURE (AT THE X) WITH DATE YOU ARE RETURNING IT.

PLACE THE SEAL,ED BALLOT ENVELOPE INTO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS RETURN ENVELOPE, LOWER CENTER,

THE RETURN ENVELOPE PROCEDURE: YOU ENCLOSE THE FILLED-IN BALLOT (WITHIN THE SIGNED BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE, UPPER RIGHT, AND SIGN YOUR SIGNATURE AND FILL IN DATE YOU ARE MAILING (AT “X”), AND ENCLOSE THE SEALED SIGNED BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE, SEAL AND YOU ALSO MUST PLACE A STAMP ON THE RETURN ENVELOPE
THE ABSENTEE BALLOT
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ABSENTEE BALLOT WHERE YOU FILL IN YOUR CHOICES. USE BLACK PEN, PENCIL OR BLUE BLACK PEN TO FILL IN THE CIRCLE BY YOUR VOTER CHOICE.
SLIP YOUR COMPLETED BALLOT IN THE BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE ABOVE SEAL IT AND SIGN THE BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE WITH YOUR SIGNATURE AND WRITE IN THE DATE ON THE LINE NEXT TO THE SIGNATURE BOX.
OTHER SIDE OF BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE
RETURN THE SEALED (SIGNED AND DATED) BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE IN THE ENVELOPE AT LOWER CENTER OF THE PICTURE ABOVE…AND ADD A FIRST CLASS STAMP TO ASSURE POSTMARK..
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Westchester Single Home Sales Rise 12% in Third Quarter. Total Residential Sales down 1.3% due to Sharp Drop in Condo, Co-op, 2-4 Family Home Sales. “The Optimism is Back.”

WESTCHESTER THIRD QUARTER REAL ESTATE SALES (From Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

WPCNR REALTY REALITY. From the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. (Edited) October 5, 2020:

Weschester County saw single family residential sales increase 12% in July-August-September over 2019

A sharp drop in condo, co-op  and multi-family (2-4 family homes) caused an overall decline in  total Westchester  residential sales of  1.3%, to 2,949 units from 2,988 in the third quarter of 2019. The market is being driven by demand for single family homes.

The median price of single family homes were up in all counties in the region: Bronx County, Sullivan County, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties. The Westchester County single home median price rose 15.9% to $810,000 from $699,000 in the third quarter of 2019. The average price of a single home sale in the third quarter was  $551,353—down 1.8% The difference in the median and the average price indicates how higher priced luxury homes dominated sales.

Westchester Co-op Sales  previously a leader last year, were down 25.7%, however the co-op price did not drop rising to $237,500 median price (up 8%), and average price of  $277,883 (up 14.7%)

Westchester Condo sales continued down, while condo prices continued to trend up. The average Westchester Condominium sale was $363,672, up 18.3%, the median condo tag was $312,500 an increase of 11.6%, indicating lower price condominiums are retaining attractiveness to the house entry market.

HGAR analysts point out that multi-family sales were down across the board, specularting that decreases in condo sales (down 19.7%) and multi-family (dropping 24.8%), and  Co-ops (off 32.2%) were “more of a function  of Covid-19 related issues than lack of buyers and/or interest.”

HGAR laments “Lack of inventory continues to hamper sales in all residential categories,” but notes “Recently listing activity has increased  as buyers become more comfortable with the measures put in place to protect them from exposure to the Covid virus as well as the vibrancy of the market.”

Commenting on the housing market HGAR observes,

“It is difficult to predict market conditions going forward. In the short term the market remains strong with the number of properties in contract exceptionally high at this point of the year. These contracts should represent closed sales before the year’s end. Interest rates remain at historic lows, which contributes to affordability. Migration to the suburbs has created huge demand. What is difficult to evaluate is how long a complete recovery will take and how   that will impact the market going forward.

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GOVERNORS CUOMO AND MURPHY INTRODUCE SPEEDY “EXPOSURE APS” TO AID TRACING, STYMIE SPEED OF SPREAD,show the spread case by case.

WPCNR CORONAVIRUS INTELLIGENCE. From NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phillip Murphy. October 1, 2020:

Download the App Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy today announced the launch of COVID-19 exposure notification mobile apps in their respective states that will serve as crucial tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure.

The apps, COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ, notify users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security.

With today’s launch, New York and New Jersey join Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional COVID Alert app network that operates across state lines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Connecticut has also announced it will launch the Exposure Notification System in the coming weeks. The app can be downloaded here.

The free mobile apps-available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in New York or New Jersey-are available for download from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. COVID Alert NY is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Russian and Haitian Creole.

“We have a very exciting announcement that has taken a lot of work and it’s really creative and smart and I think it can make a big difference. This is a technology-based contact tracing app. Testing is only as good as your contact tracing,” Governor Cuomo said. “Testing is to identify a person, so you can isolate and quarantine that person and then find the connections from that person, and that’s contact tracing. We have about 15,000 people statewide who do contact tracing, they call them disease detectives. But we’ve been looking for a technology-based solution. And today, we are announcing an app that you can download for free from the app store called COVID Alert NY.”

“Over the course of our public health emergency, we’ve called for a shared sense of personal responsibility to support our contact tracing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “With the launch of COVID Alert NJ and our regional app network, New Jerseyans and residents in our neighboring states can support our fight against COVID-19 simply by downloading an application on their phone. The app is free and secure, and your identity, personally identifying information, and location will never be collected. The more phones that have the app, the better we can fight this pandemic.”

Governor Lamont said, “This is another critical tool in our toolbox to help our state keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay. With our states using similar technology it recognizes, yet again, that the virus does not recognize boundaries, and that we must continue to work together to take all of the steps necessary to keep our residents safe. Our efforts on contact tracing have been successful, and this will supplement those efforts.”

The apps use Exposure Notification System technology developed by Google and Apple to strengthen New York and New Jersey’s contact tracing programs statewide. The COVID Alert apps will notify users if they have been in close contact – within six feet for at least 10 minutes – with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure can help individuals quickly make a plan to stay safe, including contacting their physician or the State Health Department hotlines to get more information about quarantining and testing to prevent community spread.

COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ are completely anonymous and do not track or collect any location data or personal data from your phone. The COVID Alert apps do not use GPS location data. The Exposure Notification System uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to detect when another phone with the same app is within six feet. Proximity is measured, but not geographic location. COVID Alert app users must explicitly choose to turn on exposure notifications – and can turn it off at any time.

COVID Alert apps serve to strengthen New York and New Jersey’s contact tracing programs. After downloading the app, users must opt-in to receive “Exposure Notifications.” As individuals go about their day, the app will use Bluetooth to sense any “close contact” – other app users who are within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes. When the app senses a close contact, your phone will exchange a secure random code with the close contact’s phone. Of note, your location, name or personally identifiable data are never disclosed. If you test positive for COVID-19, a public health representative from the local health department will call as part of the states’ contact tracing programs and ask if you are willing to anonymously notify your “close contacts” by uploading your app’s anonymous close contact codes. Each day, the app will compare your list of close contact codes to the list of codes associated with positive COVID-19 app users. If there’s a match, you will get an Exposure Alert, along with appropriate next steps to stay safe and prevent community spread like self-quarantining and getting tested. COVID Alert apps never reveal the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual.

The COVID Alert NY app will work in conjunction with similar apps in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allowing New Yorkers to continue to receive exposure notifications when exposed to residents of those states. If a New York State resident travels to one of those states and is exposed to someone with COVID-19 who has an equivalent app, the resident will receive a notification.

COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ provide users with the latest information about COVID-19 in their states, including publicly reported testing data. In addition, the app features a Health Log where users can anonymously record daily symptoms.

COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ were created with software developer NearForm. COVID Alert NY is a partnership between Google, Apple and Tech:NYC. 

“New York State has led the nation in our pandemic response, and we are thrilled to augment our already robust contact tracing program with this innovative technology to keep New Yorkers safe and their privacy maintained. The COVID Alert NY technology complements the work of our contact tracing teams and will speed up the process by which New Yorkers are notified of potential exposure and provided with helpful resources on testing and social services from the State Department of Health. We urge all New Yorkers to take the simple steps to download the app today,” said New York Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

“The launch of COVID Alert NY is a win for New Yorkers. It will equip people with one more tool to protect themselves from the pandemic, and help us all keep the curve flat. This app took a lot of time and effort, and I applaud the Governor and our tech partners for their innovative and collaborative work. This is proof that New York can accomplish anything when its political, business, and community leaders come together,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC. “COVID Alert NY will not alone stop the spread of COVID, but I am hopeful it will play a constructive role as one of several components to our pandemic response strategy. Privacy and transparency are ingrained in the app, and I strongly urge everyone to download it.”

“Built with privacy at its core, the COVID Alert app puts power in people’s hands to fight against COVID-19. In using open source peer-reviewed technology, interoperable with Pennsylvania and Delaware, the States of New York and New Jersey will allow citizens to engage, protect each other and break transmission chains. This privacy preserving approach has already been successfully rolled out across borders in Ireland and parts of the UK,” said Cian O Maidin, CEO, NearForm.

Visit ny.gov/covidalerts for more information about COVID Alert NY. The app is available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Visit covid19.nj.gov/app for more information about COVID Alert NJ.

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20 On the Rise Covid-Hot Communities Continue Spread. Show 5.5% Infection Rate. Get Tested If You Live in these 20 ZIP CODES

WPCNR CORONAVIRUS REPORT. From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 10 P.M. EDT September 30, 2020:

We continue to aggressively track clusters with a particular focus on the 20 ZIP codes with the highest infection rates. Within these 20 “hotspot” ZIP codes, the average infection rate is 5.5 percent.

If you live or work in one of the following ZIP codes please get a test: Rockland County (10952, 10977), Brooklyn (11230, 11204, 11219, 11223, 11229, 11210, 11234), the Bronx (10465, 10462), Manhattan (10040), Queens (11374), Staten Island (10306, 10304), Suffolk County (11717, 11746) and Nassau County (11580). 

The rate of infection for the rest of New York State, excluding those 20 ZIP codes, is 0.82 percent. While these 20 ZIP codes accounted for almost a quarter of yesterday’s positive cases, they represent only 6 percent of the state’s population.
Areas with high positivity rates now have access to rapid testing machines that the State has made available.

Table of the Day: If you live or work in one of these ZIP codes please get a test. Here’s what else you need to know tonight

1. New York’s COVID positive test rate is hovering at just over one percent. Yesterday (Tuesday) , there were 605 total hospitalizations. Of the 97,960 tests reported yesterday, 1,000, or 1.02 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost nine New Yorkers to the virus.  

2. Cost should not be a barrier for essential workers to access mental health services. The State Department of Financial Services is extending its emergency regulation requiring NY health insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs, including cost-sharing, deductibles, copays and coinsurance, for in-network mental health services for New York’s frontline essential workers until November 27. 

 3. The state is working with Orthodox Jewish community leaders to develop an action plan encouraging community members to follow Coronavirus guidelines. I had a productive meeting with leaders of the community today to discuss how we can all work together to contain the spread of COVID that we’re starting to see in some religious communities across the state. We will develop an action plan to protect the health and safety of these New Yorkers. 

 4. The State has issued updated guidance for taxis, for-hire vehicles and other transportation services. Drivers are encouraged to transport passengers with the windows down to increase ventilation, and to implement physical barriers between rider and driver, in addition to the mandatory mask wearing requirement for both drivers and passengers. See the updated guidance here 

5. National Governors Association Vice Chair Asa Hutchinson and I called on Congress to prioritize state and local aid. The pandemic is a national problem, affecting all states, and it demands a bipartisan and national solution. Read our joint statement

 Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: When the pandemic hit New York City, many food truck vendors put their businesses on hold — but they did not stop cooking. To help combat food insecurity in New York City, the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project has worked with food truck vendors and found a way to keep the grills on. Food truck vendors have since whipped up 6,500 meals that have been distributed throughout Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The program, which ends on Friday, has helped many immigrant-run businesses stay afloat while providing many tasty meals to New Yorkers in need.  If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State’s Coronavirus Updates here. Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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COUNTY POLICE INVESTIGATION OF MOTORCYCLE FATALITY ON HUTCH–ANOTHER WARNING ON MOTORISTS’ MOTORCYCLISTS’ DRIVING BEHAVIOR ON COUNTY PARKWAYS

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. September 28, 2020:

The Westchester County Police released the following media advisory over the weekend:

“(Hawthorne, NY) – A motorcyclist was killed Friday night in a three-vehicle collision that occurred on the Hutchinson River Parkway near East Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon.

The collision, which occurred about 9:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of travel, involved two automobiles and a motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle was ejected off his vehicle, went airborne over the center divider and landed in the southbound lanes of travel. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His identity is being withheld pending notification to his family. The full circumstances of the crash are under investigation by the Westchester County Police Accident Investigation Team.

Westchester County Police are also continuing the investigation into another deadly crash that occurred early Friday morning on the Cross County Parkway in Mount Vernon. In that incident, three persons were killed about 2:30 a.m. when the driver of a Toyota lost control of his vehicle, causing it to strike a guard rail and roll over.

The deceased in that crash are identified as: Garibaldi Reyes-Jerez, 22, of West 170th Street, Manhattan; John Pena-Martinez, 24, of Creston Avenue, Bronx; and Maria Vasquez-Guzman, 16, of Grand Concourse, Bronx. They were passengers in a vehicle driven by Yordany Bautista-Hernandez, 21, of Tiebout Avenue, Bronx, who suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time. Anyone who witnessed the crash on the Cross County Parkway is asked to contact Detective Brandon Amlung at 914-864-7728 or via email at bma1@westchestergov.com. All calls or emails are confidential.

These two accidents are not isolated.

As a person who drives the Taconic Parkway regularly on the weekends, I am surprised there are not more of these tragedies. I have never seen the speeding, impatience, and poor judgment of impatient motorists and motorcyclists on the parkways of Westchester County than I have this year.

Motorists unhappy with vehicles ahead of them going 60 to 65 miles per hour (10 miles over the speed limit), routinely tailgate, look for an opportunity to cut into the lanes to the left or right of the slower car ahead (often cutting to the inside) and explode around the car ahead of them.

They narrowly miss cars they are cutting in front of to floor it more than the 65.

The wary driver, has to look frequently in the rearview mirror to be able to avoid or get out of the way of the Taconic cowboys heading for an early ticket to Heaven.

There is very little speed enforcement.

In the 40 miles I drive northbound and south bound, I see a lone Trooper Car, once in awhile. But obviously the trooper cannot catch too many. And getting into traffic, moving on out, to catch the cowboy, is not always safe or easy to do. They have a tough and dangerous job.

It is time the Westchester County put Overhead Speed Freeze Photo cameras on the Sprain, the Saw Mill, the Hutchinson River Parkways and the Taconic, and Route 9.

A speed camera would pay for itself even more than redlight cameras. Westchester County could wipe out its $150 Million deficit a matter of months and turn a surplus.

The fines would be increased and the violations would be amazing up.

Another behavior that skilled motocyclists seem unable to resist is flying up the highway as fast as they can possibly obtain. Hopefully not with your daughter riding behind the dashing young man. Hopefully no aging motorcycle enthusiast with a family would do that.

We have all seen the lone motorcyclist in the review mirror flying out of nowhere with the thundering whine and his cycle cutting in front of you narrowly missing the car he is cutting in front of. These are “closies” that often have a cyclists’ life saved by the prudent braking of the car the motorcyclist cuts off.

Another phenomena are the groups of weekend motorcycle friends roaring up the Taconic as a pack and they want to stay together and weave in and out of the passenger car traffic at a higher speed enjoying the freedom of the choppers. Most do this responsibly but at a higher speed. Sometimes the last cyclist in following the group, just manages not to get clipped by the car being bypassed.

I love the social distancing and comradeship the motorcycle convoys represent and the Harley mystique and the motorcycle jacket with the club names. But please be careful on the mass passes on your love of the openroad.

Motorists, you are the biggest offenders. You have to realize that if you tailgate at 80 you have no margin of error when you pass.

The happy individual motorcyclist obsessed with his or her speed and the adrenaline of flying down curvy Westchester highways and two lane roads, must realize this not a movie, you are going 90 miles an hour down a dead end street. When there’s sudden slower traffic ahead, to avoid you have no margin, and they may clip you. You are roadkill.

24 hour video tape cameras on the same overpasses can observe frequent motorist reckless behavior and have trooper technicians issue mail summonses, by the way.

I mean no disrespect to motorists in a hurry or motocyclists out for this romantic and satisfying experience.

I am not trying to take away your rights or your right to experience the edge of performance.

Just perform responsibly.

The County might consider motorcycle Saturdays on the Bronx River Parkway. Imagine thundering through Scarsdale the BRP all to yourselves.

The County though could open a supervised motorcycle park of tracks and paths strictly motorcyclists and bicyclists (on separate hours.)

Remember no one wants the next motorcycle or motorcar trip to be your last.

Posted in Uncategorized

GOVERNOR’S COVID 19 SATURDAY- SUNDAY UPDATE

1.00% Percent of FRIDAY’S Tests were Positive

Confirms 1,005 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 454,760; New Cases in 51 Counties

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Saturday updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

“It’s vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight COVID-19 as we move into the fall and flu season. Wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands make a critical difference, as does the deliberate enforcement of state guidance by local governments,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’ll continue to closely monitor the data and keep New Yorkers updated so they can make educated decisions for themselves and their families. We can move through COVID-19 if we stay New York Tough and if we do so together.”

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,480 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 3 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday’s observed violations is below:

  • Suffolk – 3

Today’s data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization – 527 (+16)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 95
  • Hospital Counties – 34
  • Number ICU – 164 (+10)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 75 (-1)
  • Total Discharges – 76,528 (+72)
  • Deaths – 4
  • Total Deaths – 25,450

Of the 99,953 test results reported to New York State yesterday, 1,005, or 1.00 percent, were positive. Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

REGIONWEDNESDAYTHURSDAYFRIDAY
Capital Region0.5%0.7%0.7%
Central New York1.3%0.9%0.6%
Finger Lakes0.7%0.4%0.4%
Long Island0.7%1.0%0.9%
Mid-Hudson1.5%1.7%1.6%
Mohawk Valley0.3%0.6%0.5%
New York City1.1%1.0%1.1%
North Country0.5%0.1%0.2%
Southern Tier0.7%0.7%1.2%
Western New York1.9%1.1%1.3%

The Governor also confirmed 1,005 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 454,760 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 454,760 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany3,08219
Allegany1063
Broome1,55037
Cattaraugus2591
Cayuga2113
Chautauqua5687
Chemung44025
Chenango2491
Clinton1591
Columbia5913
Cortland1712
Delaware1330
Dutchess5,1157
Erie11,30857
Essex1673
Franklin660
Fulton3341
Genesee3192
Greene3230
Hamilton150
Herkimer3343
Jefferson1670
Lewis500
Livingston2071
Madison4931
Monroe6,00217
Montgomery2320
Nassau46,57671
Niagara1,7737
NYC242,311429
Oneida2,4077
Onondaga4,34221
Ontario4712
Orange12,01459
Orleans3322
Oswego4834
Otsego3383
Putnam1,5973
Rensselaer9083
Rockland15,10055
Saratoga1,0365
Schenectady1,3991
Schoharie841
Schuyler410
Seneca1060
St. Lawrence3220
Steuben40417
Suffolk46,34552
Sullivan1,5832
Tioga2345
Tompkins4091
Ulster2,2561
Warren3776
Washington2962
Wayne3161
Westchester38,05150
Wyoming1361
Yates620

Yesterday, there were 4 deaths due to COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 25,450. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

Deaths by County of Residence
CountyNew Deaths
Erie1
Kings2
Oneida1

1.02 Percent of SATURDAY’S COVID-19 Tests were Positive

6 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

SLA and State Police Task Force Visits 1,604 Establishments; Observes 9 Establishments Not in Compliance

Confirms 866 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 455,626; New Cases in 44 Counties

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

“COVID-19 remains a force to be reckoned with throughout the country and around the globe, and we cannot drop our guard. While our numbers remain relatively flat, we continue to closely monitor the data daily as always,” Governor Cuomo said. “I urge New Yorkers to keep wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands, and local governments must continue to enforce state public health guidance. By staying vigilant and smart, we can beat COVID together.”

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,604 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 9 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday’s observed violations is below:

  • Queens – 1
  • Suffolk – 8

Today’s data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization – 541 (+14)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 88
  • Hospital Counties – 34
  • Number ICU – 155 (-9)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 59 (-16)
  • Total Discharges – 76,595 (+67)
  • Deaths – 6
  • Total Deaths – 25,456

Of the 84,770 test results reported to New York State yesterday, 866, or 1.02 percent, were positive. Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

REGIONTHURSDAYFRIDAYSATURDAY
Capital Region0.7%0.7%0.5%
Central New York0.9%0.6%1.1%
Finger Lakes0.4%0.4%0.7%
Long Island1.0%0.9%1.0%
Mid-Hudson1.7%1.6%1.6%
Mohawk Valley0.6%0.5%0.2%
New York City1.0%1.1%1.2%
North Country0.1%0.2%0.2%
Southern Tier0.7%1.2%1.4%
Western New York1.1%1.3%0.7%

The Governor also confirmed 866 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 455,626 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 455,626 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany3,09513
Allegany1060
Broome1,57222
Cattaraugus2601
Cayuga2154
Chautauqua5735
Chemung46121
Chenango2490
Clinton1601
Columbia5910
Cortland1710
Delaware1341
Dutchess5,1205
Erie11,34234
Essex1670
Franklin660
Fulton3351
Genesee3212
Greene3230
Hamilton150
Herkimer3340
Jefferson1703
Lewis500
Livingston2070
Madison4930
Monroe6,02624
Montgomery2320
Nassau46,64367
Niagara1,7774
NYC242,693382
Oneida2,4125
Onondaga4,36523
Ontario4732
Orange12,03622
Orleans3353
Oswego49310
Otsego3380
Putnam1,5992
Rensselaer9113
Rockland15,16767
Saratoga1,0448
Schenectady1,4023
Schoharie851
Schuyler410
Seneca1060
St. Lawrence3220
Steuben41612
Suffolk46,38742
Sullivan1,5918
Tioga2351
Tompkins4134
Ulster2,2604
Warren3814
Washington2960
Wayne3182
Westchester38,09847
Wyoming1371
Yates642

Yesterday, there were 6 deaths due to COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 25,456. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

Deaths by County of Residence
CountyNew Deaths
Bronx2
Cattaraugus1
Manhattan1
Onondaga1
Orange1
Posted in Uncategorized

WPCNR NOW PRESENTS WHITE PLAINS WEEK-ENDS.

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS “WEEK-ENDS.” September 27, 2020:

White Plains Week Friday News Roundups of White Plains beginning this week are now on www.wpcnr.com.

White Plains Week in its 20th year of reporting of county, state, and national news is a penetrating analysis look of the important developments Mr. and Mrs. White Plains need to be aware each week and the effect on residents’ future.

Each new Friday program going forward will now be rebroadcast worldwide right here on www.wpcnr.com, after each new program produced Friday is aired on White Plains TV countywide on Verizon Fios ch 45 and in White Plains on Altice Optimum channel 76

Now that White Plains Television has opened the new White Plains Community Media studios in the White Plains Library and production is in smooth glitchless stride with no hiccups or malfunctions from the first day, WPCNR is pleased tor introduce the Friday, September 25 telecast with John Bailey and Jim Benerofe in the video below.

Click arrow, lower left to view the September 25 edition of White Plains Week.
Posted in Uncategorized