All posts by Ken Jackson

More than a Day Off: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021 Civil Rights today is Living History


Delivered at a meeting of what was known as The Hungry Club Forum in Atlanta, created by the Butler Street YMCA. Black leaders and white politicians would meet in secret. The speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. May 10, 1967 recognized Three major evils in the world —the evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war.

“And we must face the hard fact that many Americans would like to have a nation which is a democracy for white Americans but simultaneously a dictatorship over black Americans. We must face the fact that we still have much to do in the area of race relations.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

US Capital under siege

The aforementioned quote could have been written today in response to events of January 6th extolling the problems we face as Republicans have aggressively tried to delegitimize millions of Black votes. These votes were from four key states, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the Republican operatives went after urban voters. If accepted by the courts, these challenges would have disenfranchised millions of black and brown voters. The documented instances of voter suppression; once clandestine, are now delivered with a wink and a nod on video streaming devices.

Regardless of losing at the Ballot Box and failing in 60 of 61 voter fraud challenges in court, President Trump continues to have an 87 % approval rating within the Republican Party with only 11% disapproving.  Their only victory was the assigned distance allowed to view the process of vote counting in one jurisdiction.

Racism was on full display as Black Lives Matters was mischaracterized in efforts to delegitimize the movement. Black voters participated in record numbers. Now, somehow there’s a “problem” with voters and voting. Claims of “massive voter fraud” by many Republican elected officials were never substantiated.

Poverty

SNAP

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the disparity between the haves and the have not’s has simply increased. As the service industry shrinks due to closings and reduced capacity, those who were once living on the margins have fallen. The sight of winding food lines are becoming commonplace as many American families struggle with food insecurity.

“You see, the gains in the first period, or the first era of struggle, were obtained from the power structure at bargain rates; it didn’t cost the nation anything to integrate lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation anything to integrate hotels and motels. It didn’t cost the nation a penny to guarantee the right to vote. Now we are in a period where it will cost the nation billions of dollars to get rid of poverty, to get rid of slums, to make quality integrated education a reality. This is where we are now.” Dr. Martin Luther King

War on Protestors

NYS Attorney General Latitia James

The evil of war could be interpreted today as the war on people participating in urban protests. New York State Attorney General Letitia James has sued the New York City Police Department for how they treated protestors participating in civil rights themed actions during the summer of 2020. These protestors were predominantly African American, and techniques used on these protestors are coming under legal review.

January 6th tensions boiled over allegedly, demonstrators after listening to the President of the United States, stormed the US Capital Building.  Video capturing the event shocked the nation as this was no ordinary “protest”. Participants broke into the Capital, using flag poles with American flags still affixed, blue Trump campaign flags, crutches and apparently anything they could fling at the vastly understaffed Capital Police. Five People lost their lives in this so-called act of civil disobedience.

Sedition, “incitement to rebellion” if you consult a dictionary, what occurred on January 6th was far from a demonstration, this was a rebellion.  Stories of people storming the massive complex seemingly knowing their way to the most senior of elected officials, some of these offices are hidden in a Lambeth of corridors and tucked away spaces. The rebellion participants according to published reports moved through the maze of offices as if they knew the layout. Now, there are accusations that some Republican House of Representative members may have given tours; some of these people were able to provide reconnaissance enabling quick access to fleeing Senate and Congressional members and leadership. If true, the identity of those individuals will eventually be known as video surveillance information is reviewed.

Republicans and their Obsession with Black Lives Matters  

Hours after the breach Republicans again were stirring up the bottom of the aquarium. Some equating what was just witnessed at the Capital with Black Lives Matters protests, despite studies that have shown 93% of the BLM protests were peaceful.  A study, “The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported violent demonstrations.”

Even President-Elect Joe Biden weighed in by stating “”No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” adding. “We all know that’s true. And it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.”

This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not a time to relax and reflect, the “Day” is alive like a houseplant, that must be tended. As Dr. King stated in 1967, there are Three major evils in the world —the evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war; the message is as poignant today as it was in 1967.


John Katko (NY-24) Will Vote to Impeach “To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy”


Syracuse area Congressman John Katko was the first Republican member of the House of Representatives to openly state that he would vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump. Within a short period of time after Katko’s announcement came the bombshell from Rep. Liz Cheney (R) that she would be voting to impeach. Cheney’s announcement along with Upstate New York’s John Katko is expected to open a flood gate through which republicans, upset by the presidents handling of the attack on the Capital building may have found cover.

U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) released the following statement regarding tomorrow’s anticipated vote on Articles of Impeachment:

“To impeach a sitting president is a decision I do not take lightly.  The U.S. Constitution outlines its use only when a high crime or misdemeanor has occurred.

“As a former federal prosecutor, I approach the question of impeachment by reviewing the facts at hand.  The facts are this: last week, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob intent on disrupting a Joint Session of Congress and preventing certification of the Electoral College results.  Consequently, the U.S Capitol Police were overrun.  Insurrectionists stormed and vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulting those who stood in their way and leaving five Americans dead.  One law enforcement officer was killed and approximately 50 others were injured.  Many of those officers were severely beaten by the mob.  For the staff and police officers who were in the Capitol that day, this event will forever haunt them.

“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection – both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day.  By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division.  When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.

“We take oaths to defend the Constitution because at times, it needs to be defended. Without the peaceful transfer of power and the acknowledgment of election results, we can’t sustain our political system. Congress is tasked with holding the Executive accountable.  As the Ranking Member of House Homeland Security Committee, country always comes first.

“To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy.  For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President.

“The divide in our country is more clear than ever before.  I hear my Republican colleagues in their argument that impeachment only further divides our country at a time when we must move forward.  I agree.  There must be a continuance of government and a peaceful transition of power.  But I also believe firmly that I must follow the law and the facts and hold this President accountable for his actions.

“Finally, ahead of tomorrow’s vote on impeachment, the House will this evening consider a non-binding resolution requesting that the Vice President invoke the 25th amendment to remove this President.  Vice President Pence has made clear he will not do this, and believes elected representatives should be tasked with this effort, not acting and remaining cabinet members. Accordingly, I will not support this effort.”


Mayor Walsh Appoints Erica Clarke to Fill Vacancy on Syracuse City Court Bench

Appointment hailed as a “Brilliant Choice”

Syracuse, N.Y. – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced the appointment of Erica T. Clarke to fill a vacant seat on the Syracuse City Court. Clarke, a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, has worked in the local court system for the past decade. She has experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney and an assistant corporation counsel.

She earned her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fl., in 2010. After interning in the Office of the Public Defender in Jacksonville, Clarke returned to Syracuse working as a Law and Appeals Intern in the Onondaga County Office of the District Attorney. In 2011, she became an assistant district attorney working in the City/Municipal Court Bureau handling misdemeanor and violation level offenses. In 2013, she moved to the Felony Vehicular Crimes unit prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses, including preparing and conducting jury level trials and hearings.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh

According to Mayor Walsh, “When I looked at her resume I was impressed, because I felt like she had the right balance of experience. Between spending the first part of her career on one side of the courtroom, as a prosecutor in the D.A.’s Office. The most recent part of her career on the other side as a Criminal Defense Attorney, in between she was here in City Hall.  When I interviewed her and learned more about her life experience and her story, it became evident to me that it was the perfect balance of work experience, and life experience that would make her uniquely qualified to be a judge. The things that she’s been through in her life, from growing up with a teenage mother, and then becoming one herself. Persevering, putting herself through college and law school. It’s inspiring, but it’s also very relatable to what a lot of other people in our city are going through. So, when individuals come before her in court, often times she’s going to be able to relate to them in a way that I never could, and a lot of others can’t. While that’s really valuable, it can’t be just about that, you need to have the legal chops to back it up.  So, it was really the combination that set her apart.”

Alan Rosenthal, criminal defense attorney and activist said, “From a lawyer perspective, from a community activist perspective, I think that this is one of the most significant appointments to a judgeship. It harkens me back to the Langston McKinney appointment. What I thought Judge McKinney brought to the bench, some of the qualities that aren’t particularly characteristics of people that get appointed to the bench. When I think about Erica, and gotten to know her as a mentor, in her recent career path as a defense attorney. She is, in lots of different ways, the non-traditional mold of a judicial appointment. And I say that in the most positive sense. She brings with her, life’s experience that isn’t the normal path to law school, and to lawyering.  It’s unusual to find somebody who’s a judge who grew up in the school of hard knocks. With a working-class background, with a real sense of what racial struggles are about. With a real sense of how difficult life can be, how harsh and traumatizing poverty can be. So those are the kinds of things that allow a person to view their clients or in the case of a judge, in a much more human and respectful way.  Because they understand so clearly, ‘There but for the grace of God, go I.’ It’s something Judge McKinney brought to the bench. Judges have to do some harsh things, but almost to a person, if you talk to a defendant who had to appear before judge McKinney, it was; “This is the first time I’ve walked into a courthouse and felt like a human being.”

Syracuse City Hall

Laura Fiorenza, quality enhancement attorney with the assigned Counsel program, Onondaga County Bar Association; has worked with Erica T. Clarke and was excited about her appointment as a Syracuse City Court Judge,” I think that Erica was probably the most brilliant choice that Mayor Walsh could have made. Erica brings to the bench a strong depth of knowledge and experience in criminal law. She’s practiced criminal law for over 10 years. And she’s an exceptional trial attorney. But I think even more importantly, is that Erica understands the people that come before her. Erica grew up in Syracuse, she did not grow up in a family that was well connected, or well off financially. She moved a lot from rental to rental as a child, she went to all Syracuse City Public Schools. And she had a lot of obstacles in life that she overcame. She has a multi-racial family; she knows what it’s like, the fear that she has, to have a son of color, and she’s had to have “the talk”. But she’s also worked on both sides of the criminal justice system, so she’s got a very unique view, and I think a view that is of benefit to anybody that is a citizen of Central New York. She finished her schooling with a GED as a teen mom. She worked hard to raise her son and work her way through college and Law School. For people that are in front of Erica, they might feel like things are hopeless or that they don’t have a bright future. Erica is a beacon of hope, she can inspire youth in the city, who find themselves in an environment not commonly associated with bright futures.”

“I am honored to serve my City as a judge,” said Clarke. “It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to help others through some of the hardest times in their lives and to work with them in navigating a system that can be very complex and intimidating to those who are not attorneys. I will work every day to serve the people of Syracuse in the pursuit of justice and fairness.”

Clarke worked as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Syracuse from 2017 to 2019. She represented the City in state and federal lawsuits, including preparing and conducting jury trials and managing all aspects of civil litigation. She currently owns and operates her own law practice, Clarke Law Firm, PLLC, which focuses solely on criminal defense.

Clarke attended Franklin and Danforth Elementary schools, Clary Middle School and Fowler High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Keuka College in 2007. Clarke also worked for the Onondaga County Health Department and Department of Social Services.

Clarke fills a City Court seat vacated by the Hon. Rory McMahon who was elected to State Supreme Court this fall. She will be one of nine judges on the court and will be sworn in as a City Court judge in January.


Former Onondaga County Legislator Monica Williams is Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

  • The creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion marks a major step for Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon

    Former Onondaga County Legislator, Monica Williams is Onondaga County’s Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The position provides an office with staff empowered to tackle one of our areas most pressing issues, Inclusion.  As part of its mission, “Onondaga County values a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace, where individual differences are respected and promoted.”

    Onondaga County is focused on “initiating and adopting strategies to expand the applicant pool and open job opportunities for minorities, for those with disabilities, and respected veterans.” The department is an umbrella under which many programs and initiatives will originate. According to Ms. Williams, “our focus will be to create and sustain a County-wide culture that understands that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to our mission and continued excellence.”

    Regarding operating during the pandemic, “One of the things we have done. We have had two Zoom Meetings with our MWBE’s. Trying to create a One-Stop-Shop, we’re also making our website a little stronger. Where they can go to become a Certified MWBE, we’re not a certifying agency but we can give them direction.”

    Why a Diversity Officer and why Ms. Williams?

    Monica Williams is there to ensure that there are coordinated efforts as Chief Diversity Officer as directed by County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with teeth. As a former member of the Onondaga County Legislature Williams has a position that is empowered by the legislature therefore, her selection makes sense. There must be a relationship with the Onondaga County Legislature for Opportunity Programs.

    Williams continues, “We make sure that our goals are adhered to, 18% MBE, 12% WBE. If we find there are times when they aren’t, we have methods to withhold payment.  We require a MWBE Participation Plan, we attend the pre-bid meetings; we let them know, we are going to monitor the project from start to finish.”

    When asked for details, Ms. Williams was specific about her goals as she provided the following bullet points.

    • Build relationships with diverse organizations through community outreach and engagement
    • Update our Diversity training model and focus on strategic initiatives
    • Develop metrics and accountability for recruiting and retaining minority workers, and strengthen Minority Women and Business Enterprise (MWBE) opportunities
    • Increase awareness about the rights of people with limited English Language Proficiency
    • Ensure accessibility of County facilities, programs and services for people with disabilities
    • Continue to be an important resource to the public for information and assistance with human and civil rights matters, related compliance efforts, and intergroup communication
    • Ensure that the Justice Center Oversight Committee handles complaints received in a timely fashion,
    • and continues to generate recommendations to the Sheriff for consideration for the wellbeing of all staff, individuals housed in the facilities, as well as the community.

    The creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion marks a major step for Onondaga County as more tangible steps are being taken to ensure opportunity for all, as said in their mission statement, “Onondaga County values a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace, where individual differences are respected and promoted. County government will be enhanced by initiating and adopting strategies to expand the applicant pool and open job opportunities for minorities, for those with disabilities, and respected veterans.”

    Now, there’s an Onondaga County Office dedicated to making the promise of opportunity in Onondaga County a monitored, tangible reality.


    2020 in Review – Activism Matters: City of Syracuse, Syracuse Police Department, and the Commitment to Transparency in Response to Summer Protests


    Dashboard created to monitor commitments and corresponding actions provide tangible milestones as negotiated with local area protestors.

    Hundreds, if not thousands of people took to the streets this summer, demanding police accountability. These protests eventually generated a list of demands, which were presented to the Walsh Administration. The administration agreed to a set of demands, executive action was taken.  The Syracuse Common Council voted on legislation, in direct response to actions taken by those committed to holding both the Syracuse Police Department and Syracuse City Hall accountable.

    There are those who would never be satisfied unless the chants of “Defund the police” were taken and acted upon literally. As African Americans are statistically victims of crime, one slogan; taken out of context has caused people to really believe that one day you will pick up your phone and the police will not come.

    Syracuse Police Reform web portal

    Most protestors were adamant about their opposition to the militarization of our police.  Defunding simply meant placing funds in areas that truly help reduce crime, especially violence. Not every incident is a crime, mental health has emerged as a major contributing factor in some cases. Demands are for having adequate resources to handle mental health, and to structurally change how policing is done in Syracuse.

    A month of daily protests. The visceral community-wide call to action created the atmosphere, generated the creative tension, results of which can be monitored. Links below are to articles on urbancny.com which details the city’s commitment along with associated revisions to policies and procedures.

    The issues that caused a nation to convulse resulted in; a Mayor, a city, a Common Council, and a Police Department to respond to the will of the people. There’s even a way to check on their progress toward agreed upon goals. It’s called transparency, something we’ve never had from previous Syracuse City Hall administrations, regardless of how “Progressive” they appeared.


    Photo Annabele Hine Otts


    Onondaga County and the Battle Against COVID-19 High Daily Numbers and Preparing for Vaccine Distribution

    County has experienced a growing number of daily cases reported as Local Emergency Orders are Extended

    Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon gives his briefing on COVID-19. Today’s briefing includes information regarding vaccines. Many of our front-line workers are receiving the vaccine. Next will be our nursing homes. McMahon outlines new methods for contact tracing, including text messaging.

    He also touched briefly on the new stimulus package emerging from Washington. Outlining several bullet items; PPP program for small business owners, Rent relief – related to those impacted by the pandemic and Schools & Colleges. The County Executive is clearly frustrated by the lack of funding for state and local governments.

    J. Ryan McMahon II County Executive

    McMahon, “we’re happy that this will help potentially deal with any budgetary holes that these schools and colleges had. Obviously, we’re very disappointed that local governments continue to be used as a bargaining chip. Being one of the largest employers in the community that has been fighting this pandemic, being the front-line employer fighting the pandemic, not to get the help we need is kinda ridiculous at this point.” McMahon’s states that lost revenue alone for Onondaga County is around 100 million going into 2021. “We had to make a lot of difficult decisions, you need to look at all employers, not just your favorite employers.”

    The following are numbers of COVID-19 cases in Onondaga County

    Monday, December 21 #COVID19 Press Briefing

    • 17,408 Confirmed cases (+304)
    • 3,459 Active cases (-349)
    • 13,594 Recovered cases (+647)
    Extension of Onondaga County Local Orders 1, 9, 12, 13 & 15.

    Local Emergency Order of The Onondaga County Executive Issued Pursuant To Proclamation Of Emergency Order No. 1-DDD Issued December 19,2020 Pertaining To Purchase Cards LO #1-DDD (signed)

    Local Emergency Order of The Onondaga County Executive Issued Pursuant To Proclamation Of Emergency Order No. 9-ZZ Issued December 20, 2020 Pertaining To Criminal Enforcement And Business Violations LO #9-ZZ (signed)

    Local Emergency Order of The Onondaga County Executive Issued Pursuant To Proclamation Of Emergency Order N0.12-PP Issued December 19, 2020 Pertaining To Face Coverings At The County Workplace LO #12-PP (signed)

    Local Emergency Order of The Onondaga County Executive Issued Pursuant To Proclamation Of Emergency Order No. 13-00 Issued December 21, 2020 Pertaining To Outdoor Dining LO #13-OO (signed)

    Local Emergency Order No. 15-11 Of The Onondaga County Executive Issued December 21, 2020- Pertaining To Employers’ Obligation To Provide Employee Roster To Health Department, If One Or More Employees Test Positive For COVID-19  LO #15-II (signed)


    Governor Cuomo provides Dec.10th Update to New Yorkers on State’s Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic

    5,164 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

    994 Patients in the ICU; 539 Intubated

    Statewide Positivity Rate is 5.15%

    92 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Wednesday

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 10th updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    “As we continue to see the number COVID-19 cases surge across the nation, it is beyond critical that we ensure hospitals, and hospital systems as a whole, have developed additional capacity and are prepared to work cooperatively with each other to prevent any one facility from becoming overwhelmed. With this work already underway through the state’s Surge and Flex program, we also continue to fight to ensure the vaccine’s distribution is as fair and equitable as possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine will undoubtedly go down as one of the most massive governmental operations in history, yet the federal distribution plan remains misguided and completely overlooks underserved communities. If this distribution of the vaccine is to truly be successful, the federal government must improve its plan immediately and ensure black, brown, and low income communities are not left behind. The time is now to make these corrections, we simply cannot wait any longer.”

    Today’s data is summarized briefly below:

    • Test Results Reported– 197,406
    • Positive Test Results – 10,178
    • Positivity – 5.15%
    • Patient Hospitalization– 5,164 (+171)
    • Patients Newly Admitted– 765
    • Hospital Counties– 55
    • Number ICU– 994 (+42)
    • Number ICU with Intubation– 539 (+18)
    • Total Discharges– 89,600 (+511)
    • Deaths– 92
    • Total Deaths– 27,498

    The regional hospital bed capacity and occupancy numbers, including the number of hospitalizations as a percent of the region’s population, is as follows:

    Region
    COVID Patients Currently in Hospital in Region
    COVID Patients as Percent of Region Population
    Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region (7-Day Avg)
    Capital Region
    253
    0.02%
    26%
    Central New York
    319
    0.04%
    24%
    Finger Lakes
    604
    0.05%
    27%
    Long Island
    804
    0.03%
    18%
    Mid-Hudson
    694
    0.03%
    25%
    Mohawk Valley
    174
    0.04%
    25%
    New York City
    1578
    0.02%
    19%
    North Country
    44
    0.01%
    46%
    Southern Tier
    157
    0.02%
    41%
    Western New York
    537
    0.04%
    27%
    Statewide
    5164
    0.03%
    22%

    The regional ICU bed capacity and occupancy numbers are as follows:

    Region
    Total ICU Beds in Region
    Total Occupied ICU Beds in Region
    Percent of ICU Beds Available in Region (7-day Avg)
    Capital Region
    313
    180
    44%
    Central New York
    290
    197
    33%
    Finger Lakes
    506
    274
    56%
    Long Island
    834
    611
    25%
    Mid-Hudson
    744
    378
    49%
    Mohawk Valley
    129
    97
    24%
    New York City
    2351
    1830
    25%
    North Country
    73
    33
    52%
    Southern Tier
    129
    91
    33%
    Western New York
    520
    290
    48%
    NYS TOTAL
    5889
    3981
    35%

    Yesterday, 197,406 test results were reported to New York State, and 5.15 percent were positive. Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

    Region
    Monday
    Tuesday
    Wednesday
    Capital Region
    4.80%
    5.11%
    5.51%
    Central New York
    5.86%
    6.25%
    6.41%
    Finger Lakes
    7.02%
    7.72%
    8.03%
    Long Island
    5.68%
    5.70%
    5.71%
    Mid-Hudson
    6.19%
    6.28%
    6.41%
    Mohawk Valley
    6.92%
    7.42%
    7.83%
    New York City
    4.13%
    4.11%
    4.10%
    North Country
    4.63%
    4.45%
    4.23%
    Southern Tier
    2.16%
    2.48%
    2.39%
    Western New York
    6.96%
    7.18%
    7.22%
    Statewide
    5.01%
    5.13%
    5.17%

    Each New York City borough’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

    Borough
    Monday
    Tuesday
    Wednesday
    Bronx
    4.86%
    4.87%
    4.75%
    Brooklyn
    4.13%
    4.08%
    4.07%
    Manhattan
    2.50%
    2.52%
    2.52%
    Queens
    4.61%
    4.56%
    4.61%
    Staten Island
    6.49%
    6.53%
    6.35%

    Of the 743,242 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

    County
    Total Positive
    New Positive
    Albany
    7,392
    216
    Allegany
    1,306
    20
    Broome
    6,238
    78
    Cattaraugus
    1,594
    80
    Cayuga
    1,324
    42
    Chautauqua
    2,099
    72
    Chemung
    3,595
    64
    Chenango
    781
    14
    Clinton
    586
    12
    Columbia
    1,157
    18
    Cortland
    1,335
    44
    Delaware
    477
    7
    Dutchess
    8,629
    173
    Erie
    31,282
    563
    Essex
    348
    14
    Franklin
    398
    23
    Fulton
    742
    22
    Genesee
    1,452
    59
    Greene
    832
    7
    Hamilton
    65
    2
    Herkimer
    1,020
    34
    Jefferson
    878
    17
    Lewis
    521
    11
    Livingston
    1,017
    46
    Madison
    1,381
    56
    Monroe
    21,267
    619
    Montgomery
    683
    12
    Nassau
    67,978
    775
    Niagara
    5,378
    112
    NYC
    344,344
    3,370
    Oneida
    7,066
    267
    Onondaga
    13,945
    347
    Ontario
    1,851
    87
    Orange
    18,923
    203
    Orleans
    788
    32
    Oswego
    2,204
    45
    Otsego
    821
    17
    Putnam
    3,560
    71
    Rensselaer
    2,351
    82
    Rockland
    23,505
    197
    Saratoga
    3,065
    100
    Schenectady
    3,371
    99
    Schoharie
    279
    4
    Schuyler
    370
    6
    Seneca
    444
    36
    St. Lawrence
    1,206
    24
    Steuben
    2,238
    43
    Suffolk
    71,043
    1,047
    Sullivan
    2,376
    29
    Tioga
    1,312
    17
    Tompkins
    1,451
    27
    Ulster
    4,103
    74
    Warren
    710
    24
    Washington
    518
    12
    Wayne
    1,532
    45
    Westchester
    56,995
    623
    Wyoming
    771
    31
    Yates
    345
    7

    Yesterday, 92 New Yorkers died due to COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 27,498. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

    Deaths by County of Residence
    County
    New Deaths
    Albany
    2
    Bronx
    2
    Broome
    1
    Chemung
    1
    Dutchess
    2
    Erie
    16
    Genesee
    1
    Herkimer
    1
    Kings
    8
    Livingston
    1
    Manhattan
    1
    Monroe
    11
    Nassau
    7
    Niagara
    2
    Oneida
    5
    Onondaga
    5
    Orange
    2
    Oswego
    1
    Queens
    4
    Richmond
    2
    Rockland
    2
    Saratoga
    1
    Schenectady
    2
    Steuben
    1
    St. Lawrence
    1
    Suffolk
    4
    Wayne
    1
    Westchester
    5

     


    Under Siege: “Rona” and the Syracuse Black Community


    When we look at Onondaga County COVID-19 Hospitalizations to date by Race; Black or African American are at 20.2% while making up 11.4 of the total population. That should come as no surprise as nationally, COVID-19 aka “Rona” has hit black and brown people disproportionately. Syracuse/Onondaga County is no exception. Working as a community to “bend the curve” we were successful in seemingly beating back the initial onslaught. Restrictions were eased, people began to relax their COVID-19 safety protocols. The result has begun to show up with steadily increasing numbers of those testing positive, for the ‘Rona virus.

    In Syracuse, 45.6 % of those with confirmed cases are under the age of 29 years old. Our COVID-19 statistics were steady until late October when numbers began to creep up from 70 daily positive test reports, into the hundreds.

    Orange Zone chart

    There are zip codes in the city of Syracuse that have seen higher levels of those testing positive than adjacent geographic areas. 13210 which includes Syracuse University, has recorded 1,055 confirmed cases, while 13214 had a low number of 85.

    13205 has been particularly hard hit with 705 confirmed cases and 506 recoveries, the Southside of Syracuse lost 199 people. 13204 was next with 641 confirmed cases, 486 recoveries, the Near Westside, Far Westside lost 155 people.

    For several months Onondaga County has been aggressive about releasing information identifying where someone may have been exposed the COVID-19. It could be a convenience store, barber shop or big box store; the public was notified.  The list, updated daily included name of business, location and times where someone testing positive or actually suffering from the Coronavirus may have been working.

    By late November, the rise in the number of community acquired and household contact COVID-19 levels made it impossible to provide detailed, location specific information. According to Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, “Assume COVID-19 is everywhere”.

    This past week, over a span of six days, Onondaga County reported a total of 26 deaths with 5 occurring Saturday December 5th

    Micro-Cluster Strategy Yellow and Orange Zones

    Parts of Onondaga County and our region

    As testing increased, the State of New York imposed a Micro-Cluster strategy creating COVID-19 Focus Zones based on positivity rates in that geographic area.  The information is tabulated daily and there’s a 7-Day Rolling Average. Onondaga Yellow-zone focus area 6.00% positive and Onondaga Orange-zone focus area 6.27% positive.

    A cursory review of retail institutions in the aforementioned zip codes show an absolute disregard for the Onondaga County Mask requirement. Not only were stores ignoring the requirement, customers of all ages, come and go without any protection from a pandemic that has claimed over 254 lives in Onondaga County. Out of 11,580 total cases there have been 9,261 recoveries. We now have 2,065 active cases.

    Onondaga County has been aggressive in testing. As our number began to rise, the strategy became clear, test, test, test. The Onondaga County Health Department and others set up a variety of locations and methods to test as many people as possible. Those tests tell us how we are or aren’t containing COVID-19 in Onondaga County. So far, the results aren’t good as our 7-day running average has both of our Micro Zones at levels of 6%.  Ideally those numbers should be below 3% in order to see actual community containment, as opposed to our current “hot spots” that requires additional restrictions of indoor activities; such as dining, and the operation of Barber shops just to name a few impacted by the designation of Orange and Yellow Micro-Zones.

    The purpose of this information, including the links below, is to emphasize how important it is to observe the health official’s warnings and directives regarding the “Rona”.  The information is so vast and voluminous I provided guidance as to how to find information for yourself. COVID-19 Testing, testing locations, dashboards, municipal and city data.

    As we are rapidly testing these numbers change, in fact by the time this information is posted there will be an entire set of new statistics. The preliminary indication is that it will not be good news.

    Onondaga County COVID-19 Testing: Tests Reported 12/2/20
    • Persons Tested 7,314
    • % Positive (Daily) 5.1%
    • % Positive (7 Day Rolling Average) 5.2%
    Confirmed COVID-19 Cases to Date Data updated daily, last update: 12/4/2020
    • New Cases 257
    • Total Cases 11,580
    • Active Cases 2,065
    • Recovered Cases 9,261
    • Confirmed Cases 254
    • Presumed Deaths 5

    Onondaga County maintains two COVID-19 Dashboards displaying cases by municipality and by ZIP code (within the city of Syracuse). 

    These dashboards are accessible by clicking the buttons to the right. Please note the Syracuse ZIP code dashboard includes only cases that fall within the boundary of the City of Syracuse and do not reflect all cases within that zip code.

    COVID-19 Testing

    Anyone can now get tested for COVID-19. Call your primary care physician, search for a test site near you, or visit one of the test sites below.

    See details for registration requirements.

    Asymptomatic Testing – The Oncenter

    NOTE: This registration is for asymptomatic people only. If you are a contact of a case and are under quarantine, you should NOT register for this Oncenter location–please register for one of the Symptomatic/Exposure testing options below or through your primary care doctor.
    Onondaga County is now providing testing for residents who are asymptomatic and have not had direct exposure to a positive case. This testing is being held at the Oncenter Convention Center, 800 S. State Street, Syracuse. Enter at the corner of Montgomery and Harrison Streets. Please note that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
    Appointments are required, and please do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time. Click here to register.

     Asymptomatic Testing – Community Locations

    NOTE: This registration is for asymptomatic people only. If you are a contact of a case and are under quarantine, you should NOT register for these community locations–please register for one of the Symptomatic/Exposure testing options below or through your primary care doctor.
    Onondaga County is now providing testing for residents who are asymptomatic and have not had direct exposure to a positive case. These community locations are available upon registration. Additional locations will be added. Please note that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

    Appointments are required, and please do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time. Click here to register.

    Symptomatic/Exposure Testing

    Testing is available through Cayuga Health for Onondaga County residents who are symptomatic or have had direct exposure to a positive case. Appointments are required, click here to register.

    • CNY Regional Market F-Shed, 2100 Park Street, Syracuse (please enter from NBT Bank Parkway)
    • Monday-Friday, 9am to 1pm
    • Please note that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
    • Insurance information will be collected, but there will be no out of pocket costs
    • Results provided in 24-48 hours at mycayugahealth.cayugamed.org.
      -Click on the “Sign-Up” link and complete the enrollment information
      -When email confirmation is received (will be instant), create a login/password
      -Click on “Health Record” and then “Results”
      -If you need assistance with your account, please send an email to mycayugahealthsupport@cayugamed.org or call 607.319.5708

    Symptomatic/Exposure Testing for K-12 Schools

    Testing is available through Cayuga Health for K-12 students, teachers, and staff who are symptomatic or have had direct exposure to a positive case. Appointments are required, click here to register.

    • CNY Regional Market F-Shed, 2100 Park Street, Syracuse (please enter from NBT Bank Parkway)
    • Monday-Friday, 9am to 1pm
    • Please note that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
    • Insurance information will be collected, but there will be no out of pocket costs
    • Results provided in 24-48 hours at mycayugahealth.cayugamed.org.
      -Click on the “Sign-Up” link and complete the enrollment information
      -When email confirmation is received (will be instant), create a login/password
      -Click on “Health Record” and then “Results”
      -If you need assistance with your account, please send an email to mycayugahealthsupport@cayugamed.org or call 607.319.5708

    On-Site Proactive Testing for Schools

    Onondaga County is offering on-site proactive asymptomatic testing to teachers and staff at school districts throughout Onondaga County. School districts will announce when testing is available at each school building.

    • This is pooled saliva testing. Testing is voluntary and there are no out-of-pocket expenses.
    • Pre-registration is required at suny-covid-test.com
    • Pooled results are provided to each building. Anyone part of a positive pool will require individual testing (the same specimen will be utilized and another test does not need to be performed). Insurance information is collected to pay for all necessary individual testing.
    Syracuse Community Health Center Testing

    Syracuse Community Health Center provides symptomatic and asymptomatic testing. Walk-up and drive-thru testing is available without an appointment at Syracuse Community Health Center, 819 South Salina Street in Syracuse, every Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm (closed 12-1 for lunch).

     


    Quality of Life: It Begins at City Hall ‘Stop Blue Bin Tossing’


    With great fanfare, again we are focusing on “Quality of Life” Issues in the City of Syracuse, again. There was a time when I would welcome the news as a step in the right direction. However, when conditions wax and wane like phases of the moon, it becomes difficult. (Insert sound of chirping crickets here) At a time when some politicians want to take over the maintenance of sidewalks city wide, we can’t even take out the trash.

    This isn’t a new occurrence; in fact, it’s happened to the point of me purchasing a camera just to document the art of Blue Bin tossing. This doesn’t occur only in my neighborhood; it happens throughout the city. Perhaps ESPN could add this to their list of new localized sports; Blue Bin and Garbage Can Tossing.

    I’ve witnessed an elderly woman in her mid-80’s attempt to retrieve a recycle bin that was tossed, sometimes it lands in the middle of the driveway. Another homeowner on the far eastside on more than one occasion had their Recycle Bin tossed into the middle of the yard, in the snow.

    Perhaps, the City of Syracuse, DPW could start Quality of life improvements by returning Recycle Bins and Trash Cans to where they got them.


    Thanksgiving 2020: Don’t Bring the “Crazy” with the Cranberries

    My favorite holiday of the year is here. Thanksgiving a time to see friends and family all in the same place. Usually a peaceful time, but for some, holiday time is not the bringing of good tidings but it’s a time when someone brings “crazy” as a side dish to a festive occasion. Mental health officials chill for a moment, everybody knows of some family where there’s an individual who manages to make the holidays miserable for those around them.

    COVID-19 has made these holidays stressful, with many families altering their annual gathering plans or cancelling them altogether.

    Before embarking on that over the river and though the woods trip, be mindful of what you’re walking into, “mom loved you most”, “I don’t like her!” and the old standard, “when are you going to…. (Fill in the blank a perceived human deficiency of choice.)

    Some pick holiday time to get something off their chest, like they’ve been depositing emotions in a savings account and now it’s time to withdraw funds and spend some. Whatever the occasion there’s bound to be some tension, take deep breaths and count or if the event is that disturbing don’t go, stay at home -but don’t bring side dishes to your family’s event that people are allergic to.

    If you’re unemployed use the holidays as an occasion to get information on who may be hiring. Family and friends are good sources of information. Wipe your feet and leave your problems on the door mat as you enter a home where people are gathered.

    Don’t feed into despair, being depressed is a trap that’s easy to fall into. Thanksgiving’s about being thankful for what you have and even what you don’t have, some struggle with an added burden of having some disease that limits their life expectancy. Be thankful that you got up this morning some people didn’t make it through the night.

    So this Thanksgiving Day if someone brings their negative issues to the family table, take a moment, breath and make sure not to add to their crazy, instead, why not offer to pass the cranberries with a bit more relish than usual, “Care for some cranberries!”