Below are the Top 5 items from July 2020
1. CONTINUING TO MONITOR COVID-19:
A month into Phase IV of reopening in the Southern Tier, we continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community. Across the state, numbers of new cases remain low and hospitalizations continue to decrease. Locally, we’ve seen an uptick in cases over the last few weeks; some are connected to hot spots at local adult care facilities, but we’ve also seen an increase in community spread. While we expected to see some increase as more things reopened, it is important that we do not get complacent with the progress we’ve made in flattening the curve. We now know that many people who are contagious can be asymptomatic, so even if you “feel fine” it’s important to continue wearing masks in public, practice social distancing, and limiting the number of people at gatherings.
While many activities have resumed, certain businesses are still waiting for guidance on re-opening. These include non-Native American casinos, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and gyms, among others. While the balance between public health and impacts on our economy is delicate, I can understand these businesses’ frustration with the lack of information. I have been communicating their concerns to the Governor’s Office and advocating for guidance so they can begin their reopening. Many of these businesses have already implemented safety plans to ensure social distancing and cleanliness of their facilities. We can continue to reopen safely, knowing that our numbers locally and statewide are being closely monitored.
2. SANITIZER DISTRIBUTED TO LOCAL YOUTH SPORTS, FIRE STATIONS:
Johnson City Little League & the Endwell Fire Department were among those to recently receive hand sanitizer from Assemblywoman Lupardo’s Office.
As our essential services continue to operate, and as activities resume, everyone’s health and safety is a top priority. My office was able to secure hand sanitizer from the State Assembly to distribute in the community. Earlier this summer, I helped hand this out to local farms and non-profit agencies for their employees. This past month, my office provided Johnson City Youth Sports with sanitizer for their Little League Baseball and Softball programs. I also was able to send hand sanitizer to each volunteer fire department in my Assembly District. Whether it’s protecting our community, or providing a much-needed recreational activity for families, it’s important that we help keep them safe.
3. LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAPS UP:
After a session unlike any other, the State Legislature wrapped up its work on July 23rd. Modified rules allowed us to conduct business virtually, holding committee meetings, conferences, and floor voting via Zoom. We passed several important bills, many of which were related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 21st, the Assembly passed a bill I introduced to help strengthen the state’s food supply chain. It passed the Senate the following day and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
The pandemic exposed a number of weaknesses in our food supply chain. This bill will help the state’s agriculture industry adapt to similar disruptions in the future. There is no reason we should ever experience the bottlenecks in processing and distribution that occurred this year, causing food to be disposed of while food pantries and grocery stores struggled to keep up. The legislation would establish a working group comprised of representatives from farming, food processing, food retail, food service, wholesalers, food transporters, labor, emergency food providers, academia, government representatives and others. You can read more about this bill by clicking here.
4. ROUND TOP SCENIC OVERLOOK OFFICIALLY OPENS TO THE PUBLIC:
Assemblywoman Lupardo and Broome County Executive Jason Garnar at the new scenic overlook at Round Top.
Residents and visitors can now once again enjoy one of the best views in Broome County. On July 14th, I joined County Executive Jason Garnar as the scenic overlook at Round Top Picnic Area was officially opened to the public. I was happy to have secured a $700,000 grant to fund the restoration at Round Top, as well as a number of other riverfront improvements in Western Broome. In addition to the overlook, funding is also supporting new boat launches, the construction of new walking trails, and other recreational amenities.
This spot is a special place in our community’s history. It was the site of the only Revolutionary War skirmish in Broome County and, later on, a favorite spot of George F. Johnson who loved to take in the beautiful view from the top of the hill. With the clearing of some trees and brush, along with new benches, tables, and rails, Johnson’s experience has been fully restored for a new generation to enjoy. If you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend stopping by.
5. STILL TIME TO COMPLETE THE 2020 US CENSUS:
As you know, the US Census helps determine how federal funding is allocated to local communities for things like public safety, infrastructure, healthcare, and housing. It also determines our Congressional representation and redistricting of state legislative seats. Given the financial challenges our state and local governments will be facing due to the pandemic, this year’s Census count is more important than ever.
Some parts of Broome County have had an above-average response rate, while other Census tracts have struggled to complete the questionnaire. Broome County as a whole is slightly ahead of the statewide response at just over 60%. Within my Assembly district the rates for each municipality are as follows: the Town of Vestal, 71%; Town of Union, 63.5%; Village of Johnson City, 56.8%; Village of Endicott, 52.6%; and City of Binghamton, 49.4%. The good news is there’s still time to complete the 2020 US Census. Households can still respond to the Census online or by phone: www.my2020census.gov 1-844-330-2020. There are also a number of mobile questionnaire assistance events taking place over the next few weeks throughout Broome County. For a list of locations, click here.
Households that do not respond can expect a visit from a Census worker, who will be identified with an official badge and will never ask for your social security number of money. To help limit the number of in-person visits, please complete the Census online or by phone today.