COFFEE with WHITE PLAINS WEEK THIS MORNING-THE FEB 23 REPORT AT 8:30 AM EST ON FIOS CH 45 AND WP OPTIMUM CH 76 AND WWW.WPCOMMUNITYMEDIA WORLD WIDE

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TONIGHT BREADLINES IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY  AND THEY ARE GROWING COUNTRY’S RICHEST COUNTY.

 

THE STATE OF THE NEW YORK OFFICE FOR PERSONS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES WAITING LIST AND GOVERNOR HOCHUL’S 5 YEAR PLAN. FOR GRAPPLING WITH THE NEED TO HOUSE DISABLED ADULTS WHOSE PARENTS CAN NO LONGER HANDLE THEM THE ASTRONOMICAL COST OF HOUSING THE DISABLED

WESTCHESTER’S WISH LIST FOR ALBANY

JOHN BAILEY AND THE NEWS

EVERY WEEK ON WHITE PLAINS WEEK

SINCE 20O1 A,D,

 

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MEDICAL DOCTOR CHARGED WITH HEALTH CARE FRAUD, KICKBACKS TOTALING OVER $20.7 MILLION IN FALSE, FRAUDELENT CLAIMS TO MEDICARE FOR LAB TESTS, INCLUDING CANCER GENETIC TESTS

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WPCNR FBI WIRE. From The Federal Bureau of Investigation. FEBRUARY 23, 2023:

A federal grand jury in New Jersey returned a superseding indictment Wednesday,  charging a medical doctor with allegedly engaging in a health care fraud and illegal kickback scheme that involved the submission of over $20.7 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for laboratory tests, including cancer genetic tests.

According to court documents, Alexander Baldonado, 68, of Queens, New York, allegedly received cash kickbacks from a laboratory representative and others in exchange for approving orders for laboratory tests billed to Medicare. As part of the scheme,

Baldonado also allegedly participated in COVID-19 testing events at which he authorized COVID-19 tests as well as expensive and medically unnecessary cancer genetic tests that patients did not request, that were not used in the patient’s treatment, and for which the patients rarely received the results. Baldonado also allegedly billed Medicare for lengthy office visits that he never provided to these patients.

In addition, Baldonado allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by soliciting and receiving cash kickbacks and bribes from an owner of a durable medical equipment supply company in exchange for ordering orthotic braces that were medically unnecessary and ineligible for reimbursement.

Baldonado is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud, two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks, and one count of soliciting health care kickbacks.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and soliciting health care kickbacks, and a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Naomi Gruchacz of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Assistant Director in Charge James Smith of the FBI New York Field Office made the announcement.

HHS-OIG and FBI are investigating the case.

Assistant Chief Rebecca Yuan and Trial Attorney Hyungjoo Han of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program.

Since March 2007, this program, currently comprised of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes.  More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated February 22, 2024
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RESPIRATORY ACTIVITY SEEN STRETCHING TO MAY. MEASLES, RAW MILK. COVID HIGH ACROSS THE USA

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Si quiere leer la versión en español, pulse aquí.


State of Affairs: Feb 22

Respiratory activity Stretching to May? and… measles? And… raw milk?

Slowly but surely we’re moving through the 2023-2024 respiratory season. I’m also adding a measles section to the State of Affairs because… well… here we are in the 21st century.

Let’s dig in.

Influenza-like illnesses: Moderately stubborn

The rate at which people are going to the doctor with a fever, cough, or sore throat is stubborn—stalling at a very inconvenient rate. But a two- or three-hump season is very normal (i.e., in pre-pandemic times). This could stretch out to April or May.

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Increased activity is driven by our kiddos. Outpatient visits among 0-24 year olds continue to increase, while visits among other age groups are receding.

Percent of Outpatient Visits for Respiratory Illness by Age Group (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Covid-19: High

Covid-19 wastewater levels are high nationally. And, in fact, higher than they were this time last year. Although national rates are declining, the South has a very weird pattern. We don’t know why.

Wastewater Viral Activity Levels (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Covid-19 hospitalization admissions are stalling after a nice decline. We remain at fewer hospitalizations than last year.

(Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

CDC and WHO are paying attention to another highly mutated variant in South Africa. However, there have only been 9 cases, with no impact on wastewater or hospitalization trends. This seems like a dud, which is great news. No other huge variants are on the horizon; JN continues to be king.

Flu: Still high and stabilizing

The rate of hospitalizations due to flu remained stable compared to last week. Flu can stretch out, sometimes to even May, so this is unsurprising. It’s not too late to get your flu shot!

Weekly rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations among cases of all ages, 2014-15 to 2023-24, MMWR Week 6(Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

RSV: Plummeting

RSV continues to go down nationally. It’s clear we’ve hit our season’s peak.

Percent positive RSV tests in the United States, by week (Source: CDC)

More good news with RSV: many babies (40%) got monoclonal antibodies this winter. This could certainly be improved, but given the rough access issues, it is a decent start.

Measles: More outbreaks

This may be a bad year for measles (see why in my previous post), so many epidemiologists are carefully watching the data.

So far, in 2024, we’ve had 20 cases across 11 states. This is about twice as many cases as this time last year.

Data is delayed, so this doesn’t include a few recent cases making the news:

  • Ohio reported its second case of the year, which exposed a number of people at a grocery store.
  • Washington also reported a case, which is likely from international travel.
  • An elementary school outbreak in Florida has infected six so far. Florida allows non-medical vaccine exemptions, which has increased since 2021. And Florida is below the herd immunity threshold, with ~90% vaccination rate (we need 95%). The worst part is the Florida Surgeon General’s letter to parents ignoring standards of practice and suggesting schools and parents should “choose their own adventure” with measles containment. It is egregious. Expect a full YLE post on this soon, but here is my initial reaction. I wasn’t happy.

Other things I’m paying attention to:

  • E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk cheese.
    • At least 10 cases across 4 states, with 4 people hospitalized and one developing a serious kidney condition.
    • There is a reason we pasteurize dairy, people. This method was developed 160 years ago to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination and foodborne illnesses. Please don’t fall for wellness misinformation. Raw milk has zero additional health benefits.
  • Next week, ACIP—CDC’s external scientific advisory board—is meeting to discuss all vaccines. I will report back on Covid-19 and RSV. I have two big questions:
    • What is the spring plan for Covid-19 vaccines? U.K. (and local U.S. jurisdictions like Los Angeles) have announced that older people can get a spring Covid-19 vaccine. I assume this is coming for the U.S.
    • What does the safety profile look like for the older adult RSV vaccine? Some questions were brought up during clinical trials. We really need real-world data.

Bottom line

This respiratory season continues to march on with few surprises. Unfortunately, it’s happening amidst a backdrop of misinformation, which will increasingly cause a mess, like measles and e-coli outbreaks.

Vaccines. Masks. Ventilation. Tests. Treatment. Isolation. We can do things to keep ourselves healthy. For high-risk folks, this may also mean changing Spring Break plans to avoid a measles outbreak or two.

Love, YLE


“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” is written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, M.P.H. Ph.D.—an epidemiologist, wife. During the day, she is a senior scientific consultant to several organizations, including CDC. At night, she writes this newsletter. Her main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health world so that people will be well-equipped to make evidence-based decisions. This newsletter is free, thanks to the generous support of fellow YLE community members. To support this effort, subscribe below:

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BREADLINES IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY USA: HOW THE OTHER HALF EATS.

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WPCNR OBSERVATIONS & COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. February 22, 2024:

I could not figure out what persons were lined up for at this location Wednesday morning.

Over 100 persons were lined up on the sidewalk  on this boulevard waiting for something.

When I left my appointment, I saw this scene was still there.

A truck from Feeding Westchester was unloading pallets of foodstuffs, one after the other, and persons were coming in to pick up bags of needed food.

With horror I realized this was a breadline.

At this time, 9:45 in the morning,  I counted 75 people: men, women, children in that line.

The temperature was 35 hard edge cold degrees.

UP CLOSE AND VERY PERSONAL HOW OFTEN DO THE POOR AND HUNGRY HAVE TO DO THIS? THEY ARE THE REFUGEES OF WESTCHESTER, CITIZENS NOT IMMIGRANTS BUT RESIDENTS OF THE COUNTY FOR THE MOST PART. 

You didn’t want to be out there for a short walk let alone 2 hours.

The only thing missing was trashcans with fires lit to warm hands.

If you are comfortable and have food and a home, you are not afflicted by the cold. If you have a job you probably are not afflicted by the cold

This breadline, and I imagine there are others like them at Feeding Westchester pickups all over the county are a disgrace.

They are a Westchester tragedy.

The county and county businesses have to look hard and do better.

I have never seen this before in my adult living in this county.

The non-profits of Westchester, most notably, Feeding Westchester are doing their best, but this scene should not be.

Those 100 people or who knows how many could get frostbite in this weather.

Hunger, breadlines in the open, lack of childcare, it is all being compounded in exponential misery in persons who are laid off, sick, and hungry all the time, and no matter they are not eating right, and they are tired all the time. Discipline slowly disappears daily, as hunger does not go away and despair intensifies, just deteriorating their lives.

If this is prevalent all over the county, the county must pay more attention to it. These people can’t pay for the high cost of food.

This was commented on just yesterday in an article in The New York Times business section about how food companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Shake Shack are seeing less business in their snack products and burger businesses. The article says that overall inflation peaked at 9.1% and now is  3.1% the first of January.

The companies the article asked about pricing only included one grocery, Walmart. The others were softdrink and snack companies. Does this mean the poor subsist on soft drinks, sugar shakes and burgers? Those companies the article said are planning to raise prices this year 2.5% for Shake Shack,  and Walmart a $100 Billion dollar company increased sales 4.3%.

This tells me that the people on the county breadlines cannot afford supermarket prices.

Does this mean that Coke, Pepsi and the restaurant chains make up the diet of the poor?

What is missing from this report on food inflation, which in itself is quite revealing about the insatiable and downright cruel greed of big food, (raising food prices to make up their costs even though it is hurting people to do so), is surveys of supermarket chains, supply chains.

The other obvious but very often overlooked inflation analyses by inflation commentators is the compounding effect of price increases. Admittedly, I am no economist, but every price increase is cumulative.  Economists in rose-colored glasses and financial commentators, report gleefully inflation is down to 3% a year.

Please, the consumer is no fool.

We know the food is costing more and is not going down.

Nine percent inflation last year, now down to 3% a month. That means the cumulative inflation is 12% in 13 months. Three  percent increases a month just keep making things worse at the supermarket. Thee percent increases a month is 36% compounded in a year. All you need to know about economy measure is who is making money and who is not

This “Huzzah”  that the food companies are not going to raise prices as much by the business press as being a wonderful thing food companies are doing is simply business cheerleading.

The people on that breadline are not making money enough to go to the supermarket. Instead the softdrinks, the snacks,the shakes, the Big Macs are making the poor unhealthy.

Meantime, the root cause of hunger is not having jobs. Not having hiring months. Refusing to hire minorities, or letting immigrants take jobs while awaiting asylum judgments.

I also think that food distributions have to make distribution points inside.

Westchester winter has been a cruel cold in the 20s and mid-30s during the day. In summer the poor, the hungry, the sweating masses will be faced with sweltering, dehydrating heat.

Distribution points should be located at places to shelter the 100 or so coming for the Feeding Westchester distributions: The County Center, Urgent Care centers (which can check the waiters for symptoms and overall health), Gymnasiums in schools, warehouses.

Breadlines.

They remind me of just how close you and I can be to being just like those poor souls, if we have an accident, get fired, or companies keep making money at our expense and make it impossible to eat.

There are several women who come to my neighborhood on recycling days to collect discarded deposit return cans, that is how poor they are.

Breadlines..

In 2024.

This is America in the 1930s, not the 2020s.

The press should be asking those who would be leaders, how can we deal with poverty, hunger, killer drugs, medicare looting hospitals, usurus  banks, and robber barons

 

 

 

 

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THE ROLANDI FORECAST: THE SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY

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WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2024.  By Dr. Stephen Rolandi . February 22, 2024:

This Saturday, it is South Carolina’s turn in the pre-Presidential convention season. In the Republican Primary, it is basically Donald Trump vs. former Governor/Ambassador Nikki Haley, plus a number of minor candidates who have either since ended their campaigns or are relative unknowns.

This primary permits Democrats to cross over, where Ms. Haley has gained significant support.. She has hit her stride and I expect that she will exceed expectations. Enthusiasm for the former President seems to have ebbed somewhat, in what is expected to be a relatively low turnout.

My call is: TRUMP 58%/HALEY 42%/Others 2%

It’s on to Super Tuesday! It should be noted that both Ronald Reagan (1976) and Joe Biden (2020) lost several primaries before winning primary contests.

What will be Ms. Haley’s off-ramp?

I would not be surprised if she seeks an independent candidacy under the banner of the No-Labels/Forward Party, who as yet do not have a Presidential candidate for the fall. Time will tell.

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THE NEXT GENERATION LIFTS LIFTING UP WESTCHESTER 2024

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PROTECT, NOT DAMAGE WP RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. February 21, 2024:

Dear Common Council and Planning Board members,

For the past 45 years we have enjoyed living and raising our family in White Plains.  And are delighted that our 3 daughters also currently live in different WP Residential Neighborhoods.  At one time White Plains was referred to as the “City of Neighborhoods” because of the success and strength of our Residential Neighborhoods. . .where few of our houses look the same and individual home owners beautifully maintain and invest in their own properties.

In our view the successes of the City’s Downtown area have been more spotty and less permanent.

And we always wondered with all the large building projects completed over the years and for those still in progress. . .  why more affordable housing near public transportation was never developed, particularly for City workers including police, fire and school employees?

With the proposed Comprehensive Plan changes, when you take away all the bells, whistles and wishful ideas, we hope there will be specific and long-lasting Affordable Housing for the Downtown area close to transportation and other appropriate services.

We have a couple of suggestions for the revised Comprehensive Plan that relate to Residential areas:

1.  Do review the proposed Comprehensive Plan with “each” Residential Neighborhood Association and incorporate their ideas and suggestions.

2.  Do include in the updated Comprehensive Plan the requirement that for all large developments in Residential areas that the impacted Neighborhood Associations must be included from day one on all discussions and plans.

We include this because NYS Land Use Regulations require all major projects to fit into the “Character of the Neighborhood” and no one knows the Character of their own neighborhood better than the people who reside there day in and day out.  And keep in mind that the main reason the prior FASNY Development failed was because the City excluded local Gedney Residents from all of the detailed plans and discussions.

 3.  Don’t make any zoning changes for the Residential areas unless it is requested by a specific Neighborhood Association for their own area.

  We believe Residential Zoning protects the value of individual properties.  And if the City weakens Zoning it will result in lower property valuations and tax revenues for the City, County and School District recipients as well as harm individual homeowners who spent years building valuable equity.

So, we ask our City Leaders to protect Residential Zoning and involve Residents early in large developments planned for their own Neighborhoods.  For the City it’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for your consideration,

Marie and Ron Rhodes

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SETBACK FOR DEMOCRACY OBSERVATION BY PAUL FEINER. SAVE THE PRESS.

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. February 19, 2024:

 

The loss of three local weekly newspapers (the Scarsdale Inquirer, Rivertowns Enterprise and Bedford Review Record) is a setback for democracy.
These  local publication provided area residents with important information about the community.  The  election coverage they provided made it easier for non incumbent candidates to get known and for their concerns  to be taken seriously.  They sent reporters to meetings of school, town and village Boards -giving residents information about controversial issues.
The scrutiny and investigative reporting of all government entities helps keep government more honest.  The letters to the editor sections offered readers the opportunity to air their commentaries about topics of interest to the community. And they covered sports, entertainment, the arts and profiled interesting residents.
I am very appreciative of the efforts of a former opponent of mine, Lucas Cioffi, who is leading the effort to find a way to either save these publications or to encourage the start up of new weekly print newspapers. Mr. Cioffi- along with Sandra Nam, Quiqo Chat Inc and the Westchester Youth Congress organized a very impressive virtual community meeting on February 1st that was attended by over three hundred residents..
The virtual meeting encouraged the community to think of creative initiatives that could help a new local weekly publication survive. The meeting was democracy at its best –informative with  excellent ideas presented. Everyone who wanted to speak had an opportunity to express themselves.  And -after the meeting detailed minutes were sent to participants.  Finally, follow up  progress report  e mails have been sent to participants.  I’m optimistic and hopeful that independent local journalism will continue to be an important part of our community in the future.
If a new weekly newspaper gets off the ground – Lucas Cioffi deserves lots of credit for leading the way. I’d also thank Lucas Cioffi for his efforts in recent years advocating for pedestrian safety improvements in the town and for organizing the Westchester Youth Congress—involving students in our democracy.  Democracy depends on oversight, citizen participation and respect for different ideas. Lucas Cioffi is making a positive difference in our community.
PAUL FEINER
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
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FLU RATE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS RISE IN NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA. COVID IN SLOW DECLINE IN NY

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Force of Infection

NORTHEAST
Outbreak Outlook – Northeast – February 19
FEB 19, 2024

BY DR. CAITLIN RIVERS

(REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION)

Welcome to the Northeastern edition of Outbreak Outlook! It is only available to paid subscribers. If you wish to become a paid subscriber and access region-specific information, please click the Subscribe now button below. Thanks for reading! -Caitlin

Subscribed

Respiratory Diseases

ILI

Flu season is not over quite yet for the Northeast. Outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses held roughly steady, instead of declining as hoped, and influenza hospitalization rates are on an upward climb in about half the states in the region.

The rate of both new hospitalizations for influenza and proportion of outpatient visits for ILI held roughly steady in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New Jersey.

 

Spotlight on New York: In New York City, the percentage of visits to the doctor for fever and cough or sore throat is still very high at 8%. It is declining, but very slowly. It’s been a very long flu season in NYC. Other parts of the New York State are struggling more. Confirmed influenza cases have increased in recent weeks in the Central, Capital, and Western parts of the state, and hospitalizations are rising too. The season is not over yet, so continued caution is warranted.

Massachusetts held roughly steady for outpatient visits, and saw a decrease of 0.6 points to 5.5 per 100,000 population for influenza-related hospitalizations.

Rhode Island and Vermont are mixed: they had moderate decreases in the proportion of outpatient visits for ILI but also saw moderate increases in new hospital admissions for influenza.

Maine saw a slight increase of 0.4 points to 3.2% of all outpatient visits for ILI, and continued the upward trajectory in hospital admissions that it has been on for a few weeks, increasing by 0.9 points to 5.7 admissions per 100,000 population.

New Hampshire (+0.5 to 3.2), and Connecticut (+0.9 to 4.0) also reported moderate increases in new hospital admissions for influenza.

COVID-19

The number of new weekly hospitalizations for Covid-19 has improved steadily since the holiday season, though current levels remain elevated. Wastewater concentration of SARS-CoV-2 has dropped considerably in the Northeast, too.

More recently, in the past week wastewater concentrations remained relatively stable in the region, though the Northeast continues to have the highest wastewater concentration in the country.

At the state level, Vermont stands out in a good way this week: it had a 31% drop in new hospitalizations in the past week, and now has the lowest regional rate of hospitalizations as well: at 4.7 per 100,000. (Caveat: States with smaller population appear to have larger fluctuations due to the smaller number of individuals involved.)

New Jersey (-13% to 7.5 per 100,000) and Connecticut (-5% to 7.0) also logged notable improvements in hospitalization rates in the past week.

Rates remained roughly stable over the past week in New York (8.6 per 100,000 population), Massachusetts (7.8), and Pennsylvania (6.3).

RSV

PCR test positivity for RSV continues to improve. After a peak in December, positivity has now decreased to below 4%.

 

Stomach Bugs

Norovirus activity remains elevated, with test positivity over 15%. The Northeast has the highest test positivity in the country. The next month or two is peak norovirus season, so be cautious. Norovirus spreads very easily from person to person, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent transmission.

Food recalls
The following foods are being recalled because they are contaminated. Please check your cupboards and throw out any of these items:

New

Raw Cheddar Cheese (more info)

Multiple other product recalls associated with the queso fresco and Cotija cheese recall from last week, including taco kids. See the full list here.

Ready to eat meat products from Don Novo, including chorizo and smoked pork ribs (more info)

Previously reported:

A big recall of Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese is affecting numerous consumer products: (more info)

Trader Joe’s Chicken Enchiladas Verde, Cilantro Salad Dressing, Elote Chopped Salad Kit, Trader Joe’s Southwest Salad (more info)

Cilantro Lime Crema, Everything Sauce Fiesta, Cilantro Cotija dressing, Poblano Caesar dressing, Cilantro Dressing, Street Taco Express Meal Kit sold at Trader Joes, Don Pancho and HEB (more info)

Rojo’s Black Bean 6 Layer Dip (more info)

Cheese, Yogurt, Sour cream by Rizo Brothers California Creamery (more info)

Robitussin Honey CF Max cough syrup products (more info)

Charcuterie meats sold by Fratelli Beretta and, newly, Busseto (more info)

Tons of different granola and oatmeal products from Quaker (more info).

If you have food allergies, you may wish to review these FDA safety alerts and USDA alerts for foods with undeclared allergens.

In other news
A measles case was reported in a child with a recent history of international travel in Toronto, Canada. While not technically in the Northeastern census region, I couldn’t find much else to share this week.

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PRESIDENTS DAY AND WEEK: GEORGE WASHINGTON THE FIRST AND THE BEST.

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WPCNR MILESTONES. Reprinted from the WPCNR ARCHIVES. February 18, 2022: Thursday, February 22 is George Washington’s Birthday. The time when we remember the first leader and the best. It is instructive to look at our first leader, George Washington, the father of our nation — America — that used to be. One cannot help be reminded of the snowy winter at Valley Forge, when the bedraggled, poorly equipped rebel army suffered but held together, and attacked the German troops in Trenton on Christmas Eve, 1776, crossing the Delaware River at night. What kind of man was he that George Washington could inspire his troops against all odds? What kind of men were they who would risk certain death if wounded (no med-evacs in 1776) for an idea: rights and freedom? Washington was a man of tremendous character. Of principle. Where did he get this character? He specialized in self-control at an early age. That congressmen, lobbyists, and pundits and yes, Presidents,  means mind-control, reason and responsibility, and humanity. According to  the book, The American President, Washington, at sixteen, had formed a code of conduct. He had written a book of etiquette with 110 “maxims” to guide his conduct in matters. In this etiquette book he had written: Every action done in company ought to be done with a sign of respect to those who are not present. Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not when others stop;…Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave…Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise. The character sketch provided by the authors of The American President, indicates this personal “rulebook” was a book that Washington wrote over the years and referred to it often, for, they write, for the following reasons: “for self-control, to avoid temptation, to elude greed, to control his temper. Reputation was everything to him. It had to do with his strength, his size, his courage, his horsemanship, his precise dress, his thorough mind, his manners, his compassion. He protected that reputation at any cost.” Earning respect by example. Quelling rebellion with a few words. He sets an example today for those who would take advantage of America’s weakness and seize power by opportunism. Washington inspired by example.
John Vorperian with “George Washington” at Purdy House where General Washington stayed during the Battle of White Plains.
He lived with his troops. He shared hardships with them, and there was so much respect for him that he was able to talk them out of armed rebellion at the end of the American Revolution. Washington had been asked by the army to join them to overthrow the Continental Congress, and make himself King. Washington had been asked by one of the officers of the rebels to join them, and he wrote them, You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable. Banish these thoughts from your mind. Hearing that the rebels who were planning insurrection (back in 1783, they knew what insurrection was) against the new country due to paid  withheld by the Continental Congress, Washington rode to Newburgh, New York, (not far from White Plains, NY,USA) on March 15, 1783, to meet with the dissident insurgents. Washington spoke to the rebellious group, saying, “Gentlemen, as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common Country; as I never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your Distresses…it can scarcely be supposed …that I am indifferent to your interests. But…this dreadful alternative, of either deserting our Country in the extremest hour of her distress, or turning our Arms against it…has something so shocking in it that humanity revolts from the idea…I spurn it, as every Man who regards liberty…undoubtedly must.” The would-be rebels fell silent, digesting what he had said. Then Washington withdrew a letter from Congress, but could not read the text, withdrawing some eyeglasses from his tunic, remarking, “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” The men present were reported to have tears in their eyes at this gesture of Washington’s and abandoned their plot out of respect for their leader. Washington retired from the military, surprising the entire new country. His action surprised King George III of England, who was astonished that Washington had refused to hold on to his military authority and use it for political or financial gain. The defeated King of England, remarked, “If true, then he is the greatest man in the world.” Washington was. Seeker of Diverse Views. How to pick a cabinet. As President, George Washington invented the Presidential Cabinet, whom he referred to as “the first Characters,” persons who possessed the best reputations in fields and areas of the jobs he was filling. Washington said on political appointments: “My political conduct and nominations must be exceedingly circumspect. No slip into partiality will pass unnoticed…” Washington tolerated the relentless clashes between Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, but lectured them on the necessity for tolerance and moving beyond partisanship: “I believe the view of both of you are pure, and well meant. Why then, when some of the best Citizens in the United States, Men…who have no sinister view to promote, are to be found, some on one side, some on the other…should either of you be so tenacious of your opinions as to make no allowances for those of the other? I have great esteem for you both, and ardently wish that some line could be marked out by which both of you could walk.” The Constitution Should be Protected When George Washington left office after two terms, he made a farewell address which warned future generations of Americans about foreign entanglements and partisanship in the republic: I shall carry to my grave the hope that your Union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the Constitution may be sacredly maintained; and that free government…the ever favorite object of my heart…will be the happy reward of our mutual cares, labors and dangers.” Washington died in 1800, three years after leaving office in 1797. He was saluted on the floor of congress as being First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He was the first and best. The ultimate role model for any leader, February 22, 2024 is a day that tries Americans’ souls. It is hoped that some of our “leaders” in Westchester, in Albany, in Washington might read the words I have quoted above and take them to heart in future deliberations. Work a little. It’s not all about you. It’s about doing what is best for us all. George Washington’s vision of his country is being challenged by those who know not what they do. Or want to do to voices that disagree with them But we who remember, and read these words must refocus. I hear you, Mr. Washington, and we heed, so help us God.
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