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Yesterday, on Holocaust Memorial Day, I visited Auschwitz in Poland, representing New York at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.
Words alone fail to describe the experience of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and being there together with Holocaust survivors. Auschwitz was an unimaginable hell come to life, and it is now a symbol of what the Jewish people have endured and what this world allowed to transpire.
During this visit I met survivors and heard their stories of pain and suffering. I stood on the ground where millions of Jews and countless others were tortured and killed.
But I also learned of the hope and resilience of the Jewish people. At a time of rising anti-Semitism, the lesson of Auschwitz is especially important today.
As part of my 2020 State of the State, I have laid out a strong agenda to fight this wave of hatred. These proposals include passing a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law and expanding our school curriculum to make sure every child in New York is educated on diversity, tolerance and religious freedom.
New York is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. When any New Yorker is attacked for their identity, it is an attack on all of us. It is our duty to speak out and combat hate whenever and wherever we encounter it. We must bear witness and remember the stories of the Holocaust, and vow to never let what happened over 75 years ago to happen again.
WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey January 27, 2020 UPDATED JANUARY 28, 2020:
Mayor Thomas Roach, the solar pioneer in Westchester County, announced to the Common Council at their work session Monday evening an agreement with Distributed Solar Projects LLC, a spinoff company of General Electric Solar for installation of solar panels on 8 city-owned buildings and facilities.
The city released details on the agreement Tuesday morning. The agreement, pending Common Council approval is for 26 years with payments to the city of $960,000 per year, a total of $25 Million over the life of the agreement. The panels are installed by Distributed Solar Projects at no cost to the city. All eight installations are expected to be completed in March, 2021. The annual fee paid to the city will be used to “advance additional sustainability initiatives, facilities and infrastructure in the city.”Distributed Solar Projects pays for all maintenance of the facility.
WPCNR believes this is the first such municipal solar panel site lease of city-owned property in the county. The Mayor introduced the historic deal, completed in about one year this way:
The Mayor introduced Commissioner of Public Works Richard Hart who explained the process by which the properties were selected:
Mayor Roach added that the city has another program that is reaching out to commercial property owners who might wish to include solar panels on the roofs of their properties.
In a news release from the Mayor’s office, the city reported
“The community solar model produces solar energy that goes back to the grid and allows residents who enroll in the program to receive a credit on their bill every month. This program is expected to generate approximately 6 megawatts of power annually which is enough energy to power 4,800 homes per year. This equates to a reduction of 46,400 tons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to removing 8,900 passenger cars from the road.”
Mayor Roach issued this statement: “As most people have come to recognize, we are in a climate crisis. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to reduce our reliance on carbon-based fuels. I am pleased to see the solar program move forward. It is the culmination of hard work on the part of our staff and a commitment on the part of our administration to institute a program that is not only environmentally beneficial, provides a community benefit to the taxpayers as well.”
WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. From the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. January 27, 2020:
The following statement may be attributed to Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU and leader of the union in the Hudson Valley:
“By lifting the injunction against the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule(Monday), the Supreme Court is allowing the creation of an immigration system that discriminates against the poor and middle class.
Not only can the administration deny a green card to anyone who has accessed the most basic healthcare, housing, and nutrition benefits, they can also deny a green card to anyone who might seem ‘likely’ to need those benefits in the future.
As one of the nation’s largest unions with majority immigrant membership, we are appalled at how this rule will especially impact immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
This rule is racist and classist because it targets, mainly, immigrants who are integral parts of black and brown neighborhoods and economies. Though the rule will now go into effect, we will continue to support all ongoing court challenges to its legality.”
WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. January 27, 2020 UPDATED JANUARY 28, 2019 :
At Common Council Work Session Monday evening, WP Development NB LLC owners of the 52 North Broadway (the former Good Counsel property) announced the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has according to the White Plains City Consultants stated the controversial landfill on the property posed no threat to residents based on DEC rulings on the landfill conditions.
This finding clears the way for further consideration of the development by the Common Council of a zoning change for mixed use of the property reducing the scope of the original proposal, presented by WP Development NB Development Monday.
WPCNR notes that should the Common Council of White Plains eventually approve the new proposed site plan and any subsequent variations, the final Council- approved site plan would be subject to final review by the DEC.
The developer’s new plan significantly lowers the heights of the proposed buildings; extends the bucolic ambiance of the property fronting North Broadway; introduces 28 town houses split between the Ross Street southern border of the property and the northern border of the property; lowers the heights of what will now be workforce housing at the rear of the property;proposes an assisted living facility on the southeast section of the property, site of the previously controversial landfill
Traffic flow has been rerouted to be primarily circular through the properly eliminating entrances from Ross Street.
The proposal will now go to the Common Council for further consideration.
Councilman Justin Brash suggested that though capacities of the proposed buildings and heights were lowered there would still be almost the same number of residents in habiting the new design as the original plan proposed.
Spokesperson for the developer, William Null, noted that assisted living units were not counted the same in resident impact in state calculations.
Council President Nadine Hunt-Robinson cautioned that though the major residential component was workforce housing, She said that the city regulation of 50% affordable housing for any new residential rental development should be a consideration.
Thursday there was a pedestrian accident on Central Ave. Friday, there was another pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle on Tarrytown Road (This is the 8th pedestrian accident in recent months in the town of Greenburgh. These accidents are sad
The Greenburgh Town Board, Police, planning and Public Works department are giving traffic safety significant attention. At next Tuesday’s Town Board work session we will devote time to address some safety concerns.
Chuck Conroy who is Highway Safety Program manager of the Governor’s Traffic Safety will meet with the Town Board and discuss ways the state can be helpful to the town. Among initiatives: more pedestrian, motorist safety education. Many of these accidents were not caused by sidewalks or crosswalks.
Status update: effort to get traffic light on Central Ave near Lawton (Sacred Heart Church)—site of a pedestrian accident this summer involving 2 pedestrians
Next steps: Fort Hill sidewalk, crossalk enhancements and other safety initiative–
Education initiatives being organized by police
Digital speed signs –requesting purchase and placement around town
Seeking state legislation to allow speed camera’s
Traffic Safety Advisory Committee
Prioritization of sidewalks to be built by the town—Commissioners of Public Works and Planning are working on a priority list which should be released to the Town Board in March.
We are all very upset by what is happening. We are not alone –other communities are also experiencing pedestrian related accidents.
Our Town Board work session starts at 4:30 PM on Tuesday. The meeting will be televised on public access TV and streamed live (and archived) on the town website: www.greenburghny.com
WPCNR COUNTY HEALTH ADVISORY.From the Westchester County Department of Communications. January 23, 2020:
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closely monitoring an outbreak caused by 2019 novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, the Westchester County Department of Health is ready for the possibility that travelers with the virus could arrive in the County.
The County Health Department is working with state and federal partners to learn more about this virus, is sharing information with local medical providers and has created a web page on coronavirus for the public. The County Health Department would coordinate any local response with the New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local hospitals, medical providers, and emergency medical services.
“While the risk to residents is low, our training prepares us to handle emerging disease outbreaks like this,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health. “Anyone who has symptoms and recently traveled to Wuhan or has had contact with someone from Wuhan should first call their health care provider and await further instructions to avoid exposing others.”
The first U.S. case of this new coronavirus was identified in a Washington state man who returned from Wuhan, China, on Jan. 15, before federal health officials initiated airport screening. Measures are now in place to screen and monitor travelers from this region at five U.S. airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Cases of novel coronavirus have been identified in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, as well as China and the U.S.
Symptoms may include runny nose, headache, fever, cough, sore throat and a general ill feeling. There is no specific treatment for illnesses caused by coronaviruses. Most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. To relieve symptoms, people with the virus can take pain and fever medication, use a room humidifier or take hot showers to help ease a sore throat and cough.
Coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands, or rarely, fecal contamination.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day January 27 January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Please consider participating in the following events to commemorate the 75th year of liberation.All events are free and open to the public.
Judith Altmann and Dr. Moshe Avital of our Speakers Bureau are featured in the film. AIR TIME
January 26th, 9PM The History Channel Death March Escape Book Discussion Congregation Emanu-El, Rye The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaustwith author Jack J. HerschMore Information
United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony Please visit the United Nations website to view their full 2020 Holocaust Remembrance Calendar of Events.
At yesterday’s News Conference, The County presented the first ever Lois Bronz Award to the Woman’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). WEDC CEO Anne M. Janiak (Center) accepted the award. WEDC empowers entrepreneurs to build successful businesses by providing high quality training programs, advisory services, and assistance with MWBE certifications and loan applications to generate economic growth in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. The award recognizes organizations that go above and beyond to promote women in business. The award is named after the late Lois Bronz, who was the first African American woman elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators. For more information on participating and taking advantage of the MWBE PROGRAM go to: www.westchestercatalyst.com/work
WPCNR COUNTY-CLARION LEDGER.From the Westchester County Department of Communications January 22, 2020. The Westchester County Office of Economic Development today announced important changes to the County’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises program (MWBE).
“Westchester County is committed to creating a level playing field where all small businesses can succeed. The County’s MWBE program provides minority and women owned businesses the opportunity to compete in the marketplace by gaining access to County contracts,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer, (Far left in above photo)
“Whether your business is just starting out or is a long-established business, the MBWE program is an excellent resource for minority- and women-owned businesses. The changes announced today will further enhance the many benefits of the MWBE program,” said Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons.(Second from right in photo).
Among the important changes to the MWBE program is the establishment of percentage goals for County contracts with MWBEs for construction, professional services and goods.
The goals are 20 percent for construction; 20 percent for professional services and 10 percent for goods. These goals were established based on an analysis of prior percentages achieved and will be increased over time to be aligned with the NYS goals of 30 percent. Percentages achieved will be monitored quarterly and a corrective action plan will be established for those not meeting their goals.
Another change in the MWBE program is the re-establishment of the Technical Assistance Plan Committee which is tasked to develop an educational, technical and informational assistance program targeting MWBEs. Technical Assistance Plan Committee Members are Sherry Brook, woman business owner; Susan Lara, Hispanic business owner, and Wiley Harrison, African American business owner, and County employees James Ferrara, Finance; Kerry Higgins, Parks; Patricia Sayers, Public Works.
There was also be an update on the MWBE registration process which now includes a short form for those businesses already Certified as an MWBE by New York State, and a longer form for those who are not. The Office of Economic Development is actively encouraging MWBEs to obtain NYS certification and will assist by providing a list of resources available.
Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, (Far right in photo) chair of the MWBE Task Force, discussed the importance of the Task Force that was formed in 2018. “The MWBE Task Force serves as valuable platform to listen to the difficulties that face MWBEs and how best to improve the County’s program for the future,” he said.