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Urban CNY News

Alzheimer’s Association Education Programs Intended for Caregivers and Individuals Living with Dementia

Spring 2021 Caregiver Education Series – Alzheimer’s Association Central NY Chapter partnered with their sister chapters in New York to present a series of education programs and conferences, featuring expert speakers and engaging topics to education and empower caregivers. Learn more and register today.

Call 800.272.3900 or click the program link to register and receive login instructions.


Upcoming Support Groups

While our support groups are identified geographically, they are open to all caregivers seeking peer and professional support. Call 800.272.3900 to register and receive call-in instructions.

  • May 11, 3 p.m.: Syracuse LGBT Caregiver Support Group
  • May 11, 5 p.m.: Rome Caregiver Support Group
  • May 11, 6:30 p.m.: Baldwinsville Caregiver Support Group
  • May 12, 1:30 p.m.: Chapterwide Chapter Support Group #1
  • May 12, 10 a.m.: Long-Term Care Caregiver Support Group
  • May 12, 5:30 p.m.: Syracuse Younger-Onset Caregiver Support Group
  • May 12, 6 p.m.: Cazenovia Caregiver Support Group
  • May 13, 6 p.m.: Little Falls Caregiver Support Group
  • May 14, 1 p.m.: Vestal Early-Stage Support Group. Support group for individuals with early-stage dementia and their care partners. Advanced screening is required prior to attending by calling (315) 472-4201.
  • May 18, 1:30 p.m.: Owego Caregiver Support Group
  • May 18, 3 p.m.: North Syracuse Caregiver Support Group
  • May 18, 6 p.m.: Solvay-Geddes Caregiver Support Group
  • May 19, 12:30 p.m.: Cortland Caregiver Support Group
  • May 19, 4 p.m.: Johnson City Caregiver Support Group
  • May 19, 4:30 p.m.: DeWitt Early Stage Support Group. Support group for individuals with early-stage dementia and their care partners. Advanced screening is required prior to attending by calling (315) 472-4201.
  • May 20, 10 a.m.: Lowville Caregiver Support Group
  • May 20, 6 p.m.: Norwich Caregiver Support Group
  • May 21, 1 p.m.: Ogdensburg Caregiver Support Group
  • May 21, 10 a.m.: Canastota Caregiver Support Group
  • May 24, 5 p.m.: Chapterwide Chapter Support Group #2
  • May 25, 4:30 p.m.: Watertown Caregiver Support Group

Jubilee Homes Southwest Community Learning Farm Community Day

On Saturday, May 22 , 2020 from 10:00AM to 1:00PM, we invite you to participate in our annual Jubilee Homes Southwest Community Learning Farm community day. This event will provide a socially distanced atmosphere and will adhere to COVID-19 protocols.  During this event we will be filling raised beds, planting seedlings and sowing seeps, weeding, sheet mulching and repairing raise beds.   Food and refreshments will be provided to volunteers. To sign up to volunteer register at or for more information contact Twiggy Billue at 315-428-0070.

Click on image to enlarge.

Governor Cuomo Proposes Legislation to Stop Discrimination Against Individuals Who Have Been Vaccinated

Governor Cuomo: “I want to propose a law that says you can’t discriminate against a person who has a vaccine…I understand the anti-vaccine argument. In my opinion, there is no science to it. There is no science to it. You can have a theory, you can have a belief, but you can’t use that to make public policy without science and without data.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today proposed new legislation to stop discrimination against individuals who have been vaccinated.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

There are some situations where people are discriminating against people who got a vaccine, which is almost inexplicable to me. There’s a situation with summer camps saying if you are vaccinated, you cannot go to that camp. If you’re vaccinated, you can’t be a staff member at that camp.

We can’t be in a situation where we we’re full-throated encouraging people to get a vaccine and then have people saying if you get a vaccine, you can’t participate in this activity.

I want to propose a law that says you can’t discriminate against a person who has a vaccine. I understand the anti-vaccine argument very well – we’ve been through this before, Dr. Zucker and I, when we mandated the measles vaccine a couple of years ago. I understand the anti-vaccine argument. In my opinion, there is no science to it. There is no science to it. You can have a theory, you can have a belief, but you can’t use that to make public policy without science and without data.

Everything You Need to Know About the May 17 Tax Filing Deadline

New York State Tax Department Offers Free Filing Software and Assistance

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns that the deadline to do so is Monday, May 17. To date, the department has processed more than 9 million returns and issued 4.7 million refunds. Eligible taxpayers who still need to prepare and submit their returns can do so for free at

“The extended tax filing deadline—May 17—is fast approaching,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller. “Our website offers a range of resources to guide you through the filing process and help ensure you submit an accurate and on-time return.”

File your tax returns for free

Free File software is available at the Tax Department website, Taxpayers with income of $72,000 or less in 2020 can electronically complete and submit their federal and New York State income tax returns online at no cost.

More than 192,000 New York taxpayers have used our Free File software so far this year. To be directed to the free filing options, simply click Free File your income tax return on the Tax Department’s website. It’s easy, fast, and secure.

To ensure you’re not charged a fee, you must go to the Tax Department’s website to complete your return. You’ll save on preparation fees, prevent costly errors, and ensure that you receive any refund you’re owed in the most efficient way possible.

Need assistance?

If you need filing assistance, free help is available. If your federal adjusted gross income in 2020 was $72,000 or less, Tax Department representatives can guide you through the free tax preparation software to help you electronically prepare and file your 2020 federal and state income tax returns at no cost.

To register, see Register for a virtual FSA session.

Receive your refund faster

You can receive the refunds you’re owed up to two weeks sooner by e-filing your return and choosing direct deposit.
E-filing is safer, faster, and more efficient than sending paper returns through the mail. And you’ll receive your refund faster if it’s directly deposited into your bank account rather than mailed as a paper check.

To use direct deposit, simply check direct deposit on your tax return, then enter your bank’s nine-digit routing number and your account number. For checking accounts, this information is available on your checks; for savings accounts, contact your bank.

Check your refund status

Taxpayers can also quickly view the status of their New York State tax refund anytime by using the Check your Refund application on the Tax Department website: It’s the fastest and most convenient way to know when to expect your refund. It’s updated daily and provides the same information available to our phone representatives—only without the wait!

You can also find out when your refund will be issued by signing up for Tax Department email alerts. Visit the Tax Department homepage at and select Subscribe under the Connect With Us heading at the bottom of the page.

Get your questions answered

Tax Department representatives are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET at 518-457-5181 on weekdays. Additionally, representatives will be available until 7:30 p.m. on the filing deadline Monday, May 17 to answer last minute questions.

Before you call, however, consider that the most efficient way to obtain tax filing guidance and information, including answers to common questions, is to visit the Tax Department’s website, Our Filing season resource center is a good place to start.

Onondaga Community College Will Host Three Socially Distanced Commencement Ceremonies Saturday

Graduates of Henninger High School, Liverpool High School, and Native of Brooklyn Selected to be Student Speakers

Onondaga Community College will celebrate its 58th commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 15 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. in the SRC Arena. Over 400 students total will participate in the three ceremonies. These students completed their coursework in either the fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021 semesters. To meet all social distance requirements the following procedures are in place.

Saturday, May 15 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m.
SRC Arena and Events Center, Onondaga Community College, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY 13215-4585.

  • All event attendees must have either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within three days of the ceremonies.
  • Each student may bring a maximum of two guests.
  • Graduating students were divided up for the three ceremonies based on the schools their degree programs are in.
    • 9 a.m. ceremony
      • School of Art, Design, Media & Music
      • School of Computing & Applied Technologies
      • School of Math Science & Engineering
    • 1 p.m. ceremony
      • School of Education
      • School of Liberal Arts
    • 5 p.m. ceremony
      • School of Business
      • School of Health
      • School of Public Safety & Community Service
    • Rather than the standard commencement-type seating on the floor of the SRC Arena, each student will be assigned his or her own table where they will be joined by their two guests.
    • The SRC Arena will be cleaned and sanitized between each ceremony.

Watch Commencement Live and Later:

  • The ceremonies can be viewed live on Onondaga Community College’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The entire production crew will be comprised of current and past OCC Broadcast Media Communication students and faculty.
  • The ceremony will be rebroadcast on WSYR TV’s “Antenna TV” Saturday, May 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Antenna TV can be found at 9.2 with a digital antenna, Spectrum Cable channel 1240, Verizon Fios channel 470, and New Visions cable channel 23.

Student Speakers: Each year Onondaga Community College selects a graduating student to deliver the commencement address. This year we have three speakers, one for each ceremony. (Click on image below to enlarge.)

9am Commencement Speaker: Cristian Pompey is a Brooklyn native who earned a degree in Mathematics & Science. During his time on campus he served as an RA in the residence hall, a member of the Unity Day committee, vice president of the Makerspace Club, a student ambassador for Extraordinary Men of Distinction, worked in the office of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, and was supported by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Cristian will transfer to the University of Buffalo and pursue a degree in Computer Engineering.

1pm Commencement Speaker: Si Po Ra immigrated to the United States from Burma, graduated from Henninger High School in 2019, and enrolled at OCC where she earned a degree in Humanities & Social Sciences. SUNY named her one of just 45 students statewide to receive the Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence. The award highlights outstanding students in the Educational Opportunity Program for their academic excellence and strength in overcoming significant personal obstacles throughout their lives. Si Po is transferring to Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where she will major in International Relations.

5pm Commencement Speaker: Hunter Scholl is a 2019 graduate of Liverpool High School who is receiving a degree in Communication Studies. He was a member of the College’s chapter of honor society Phi Theta Kappa which was recently ranked in the top ten in the world for the third year in a row. Scholl will transfer to SUNY Geneseo and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Because he was born in Russia and adopted when he was 13 months old, Scholl plans to one day work with adoption agencies and help orphans.

Honorary Degrees: The honorary degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the State University of New York to persons of exceptional distinction. OCC is honoring four individuals who have exhibited professional excellence, meritorious and outstanding service, and whose accomplishments serve as examples of the SUNY system’s diverse student body. All of the honorary degrees will be awarded at the 9 a.m. ceremony:

  •  Mantosh Dewan, President and SUNY Distinguished Professor, Upstate Medical University, for his leadership and critical guidance to both Onondaga Community College and the entire SUNY system throughout the pandemic.
  • Joseph Geglia, Executive Director, Elmcrest Children’s Center, for being a compassionate leader whose work has touched the lives of thousands throughout his career.
  • Bethaida “Bea” Gonzalez, Retired Community Leader and Educator, for her extraordinary service to the community both as a public officeholder and for ensuring the academic success of countless students.
  • Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner of Health of Onondaga County, for her efforts leading the community through the COVID-19 pandemic which include

Mayor Walsh Welcomes Children’s Book Author Anne Sibley O’brien to Syracuse Citywide Book Club Reading

Syracuse, N.Y. – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today welcomed children’s book author Anne Sibley O’Brien, the author of “I’m New Here,” as a guest of the 2021 Citywide Book Club. In the pre-recorded segment, Mayor Walsh introduces the author ahead of the reading with community reader Brent Sears of 41 Prospects. The segment will stream on the Syracuse Citywide Book Club Facebook page at 7 p.m.

“Having Anne Sibley O’Brien participate in the virtual session is such a treat for our community and families,” said Mayor Walsh. “I love Anne’s personal story and think it resonates with many children in Syracuse who have moved here from another country.”

Anne Sibley O’Brien is a children’s book creator who has illustrated and written more than 30 books. Her parents were medical missionaries who moved to South Korea when she was a child, so a lot of her passion for multicultural work comes from her personal experience. Sibley O’Brien appears virtually from Maine where she lives with her husband. Brent Sears is a partner at 41 prospects and an avid advocate of the Onondaga County Public Library system.

The Syracuse Citywide Book Club began in April and is focused on the theme of quality of life. The selected books in the series examine quality of life through the lens of diverse residents. The Onondaga County library system has made copies available of all the books in this season’s collection. Families can also ask their local libraries about activities and supplemental readings related to books in the Citywide Book Club series. The public is encouraged to follow along at

Other books in the series include:

Children/Young Adult Selections
  • “I’m New Here” by Anne Sibley O’Brien
  • “My Diary from Here to There” by Amada Irma Pérez
  • “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi
Adult/Civic Selections
  • “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue
  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Soft City: Building Density for Everyday Life” by Jan Gehl and David Sim
  • “New Chocolate City: Hip-Hop Architecture in Washington, DC” by Sekou Cook

New York State Announces More Than $200 Million in Additional Food Aid for May

All SNAP Recipients will Continue Receiving the Maximum Food Benefits for their Household

More Than $2.1 Billion in Supplemental Benefits Distributed Since Last Year

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) on Friday, announced that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive at least the maximum allowable level of food benefits for May. For a fifteenth consecutive month, these emergency supplemental SNAP benefits are being provided to individuals and households already enrolled in SNAP.

“We recognize that many New Yorkers continue to struggle in the wake of COVID-19 and that it is especially difficult for those who already been struggling to feed themselves and their families,” said Mike Hein, commissioner of OTDA, which administers SNAP in New York State. “This additional assistance is providing much-needed relief and helping hundreds of thousands of individuals and families to put healthy, nutritious food on the table.”

The emergency assistance supplement is provided to all SNAP households. SNAP recipients that that do not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month, which varies by household size, and is $234 for an individual and $782 for a family of four, receive a supplement to bring them up to that level. Since April, SNAP households receiving the maximum monthly benefit, and those that had been receiving an emergency allotment of less than $95 per month, now receive a minimum supplement of $95.

The additional food benefits will be distributed starting May 10 and continuing through the end of the month.

Nearly 1.6 million households in New York State will receive the supplemental allotment later this month, which will result in a $200 million infusion into the state’s economy.

As with the prior months, the payments will be delivered directly to recipients’ existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) account and can be accessed with their existing EBT card. Like regular SNAP benefits, the supplemental benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores. Any unused SNAP benefits will be automatically carried over to the following month.

The additional SNAP benefits have provided more than $2.1 billion in much-needed federal dollars to local retailers throughout the state since April 2020. Struggling New Yorkers continue to rely heavily on SNAP as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As of February, there were more than 2.7 million SNAP recipients throughout the state, a 7.8 percent increase from March 2020.

For more information on the emergency supplemental SNAP benefits, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit New Yorkers can check their eligibility for SNAP and apply online by visiting

Police Report Suspicious Death, Respond to Stabbing at Family Feud

Police Respond to Stabbing of Family Member During Dispute – On Saturday, May 8th, 2021, at around 11:06 P.M., Officers responded to the 100 block of Washington Square for a stabbing call. Upon arrival, Officers located Straughter Hosea, 40, male, who was stabbed in the arm and chest.  Hosea was transported to Upstate Hospital, where he is expected to survive. The investigation revealed a suspect, Sherea Hosea, 35, female.  It was discovered that Sherea stabbed Straughter, her brother, during a dispute that the two were having.  Sherea was arrested and charged with Assault in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. Sherea was lodged at the Justice Center.

Syracuse Police Report Suspicious Death on Milton Ave. – On Saturday, May 8th, 2021, at around 12:15 P.M.,  Officers responded to a residence in the 1200 block of Milton Avenue for a death call. Upon arrival, Officers located a 51-year-old female who was dead on the scene. The death is being investigated as a suspicious incident.  The investigation is active and ongoing; anyone with information is asked to call the Syracuse Police Department at (315) 442-5222. ​ Provides a Link to Onondaga County Employment Opportunities. See banner in Opportunity Section.

Urban CNY maintains a banner link above to Onondaga County Personnel section of the county’s website where employment opportunities are now posted on a regular basis. The link above will take you to the site where you can search for current listings.

“click” on the opportunity banner above

The following positions have been recently added to the database of Employment Opportunities with Onondaga County:

  • Chief Governmental Accountant
  • Systems Accounting Manager
  • Account Clerk III
  • Administrative Officer
  • Accountant I

These positions will be located in the County Comptrollers Department. For the following positions please have them submit their resumes to me no later than Friday May 14th.

Monica Williams
Chief Diversity Officer
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
John H. Mulroy Civic Center, 15th Floor
421 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, New York 13202
315-435-3565 (office)

Senator Mannion Announces New Jobs Program to Bolster Professional Workforce that Cares for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled New Yorkers

Senator Mannion secures $100K for AccessCNY and Onondaga County Community College pilot program to recruit and retain Direct Service Professionals (DSPs)

NYS funding will support tuition credits, better salaries, mentoring, and paid internships

Syracuse, NY – Senator John W. Mannion (D-Geddes) today announced a new jobs program that will bolster the professional workforce that cares for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled New Yorkers.

The new pilot program is a partnership between AccessCNY and Onondaga Community College. It is funded through a $100,000 appropriation in the state budget secured by Senator Mannion. The state funding will support tuition credits, better salaries, mentoring, and paid internships to recruit and retain new individuals into the Direct Service Professionals (DSP.)

The ongoing effort to address the critical shortfall in the number of DSPs includes a long-overdue cost-of-living pay increase that Senator Mannion successfully fought for in the state budget.

“Working with the I/DD community is as rewarding as it is challenging, and we are seeking caring and compassionate New Yorkers to answer the call,” said Senator Mannion. “We are meeting the demand for more DSPs by increasing their pay and creating new career pathways. I applaud AccessCNY and Onondaga County Community College for piloting this innovative partnership that will serve Central New York job-seekers and the I/DD New Yorkers who depend on reliable and loving care.”

“A crisis is coming to a head across the state and here in Central New York,” said AccessCNY Executive Director Paul Joslyn. “Individuals with disabilities rely on staff called Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to succeed in our community. The work of DSPs is difficult, underappreciated and undervalued by too many. A lack of state funding has led DSP wages to fall behind over the last five years and caused an erosion of the workforce. Today, non-profit providers of services for those with disabilities are struggling with vacancy rates of twenty percent or more. DSPs cannot live off the wages offered and agencies can’t operate without DSPs. We applaud Senator Mannion’s effort to meet this crisis head on by helping restore a much needed Cost of Living Adjustment for DSPs and being open to new and innovative ideas to address this crisis.”

“At Onondaga Community College we like to tell people ‘community’ is our middle name. As Central New York’s partner in education for success, we are constantly in contact with our colleagues in the community, inquiring about ways in which we can assist them. AccessCNY needs trained, direct support professionals to serve growing needs in the community. We are committed to work with them on a solution which will be beneficial both for those who utilize AccessCNY’s services, and our students interested in a career which they can begin pursuing in the family of new programs we are developing in our health care and human services disciplines,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

For AccessCNY and similar providers, recruiting and retaining staff is one of its biggest challenges. DSPs provide vital and intimate supports that help people with disabilities succeed at home and in the community. The new workforce development program will allow AccessCNY to invest in staff education in partnership with OCC, enhance pay, and create career pathways within the organization. The program will be available to AccessCNY staff based on a competitive application process.

To improve the quality of care for people with disabilities, create a more stable and robust workforce, and develop a career ladder within AccessCNY, the program provides the following:

  1. Tuition credits. Funding would allow AccessCNY to offer course credits for staff to attend OCC or other institutes of higher education. Staff would take classes that would enhance their overall education with specific curriculum aimed at careers in the human service field. The goal would be to obtain an Associates or Bachelor’s degree to advance their career.


  1. Enhanced pay: As staff complete credits their hourly wage would increase. This tiered system incentivizes learning and rewards them for their efforts. This enhanced pay would remain in effect so long as they remained an employee in good standing with AccessCNY.


  1. Leadership Mentoring: Staff enrolled in this program would be assigned AccessCNY mentors. The first round of mentorship would be with an experienced DSP, with a subsequent placement with a Leadership level staff. Mentoring will deliver hands on experience, but also a continued dialogue on educational progress and career exploration within AccessCNY.


  1. Paid Internships: Funding would also be used to support paid internships in partnership with OCC. These internships would be available to those pursuing human service degrees who are not currently employed by AccessCNY. The internships would allow students to learn about and explore various programs across the agency before narrowing their internships to one or two departments. The goal would be to make AccessCNY an attractive employer to the intern.