Dear e-News Reader:
Apologies for the delay in sending out our May E-News. Our Legislative session ended three days ago and all of my attention was on making sure local concerns were addressed. The next update will provide some of the highlights of the session. In the meantime, I am very happy to be back home where my attention will turn to attending local events and convening conversations about pressing local issues. Our community also comes to life with all of the festivals that are finally coming back. Fortunately, I got back home in time to attend the Greek Festival Saturday night. The food alone should not be missed.
Best wishes to all,
1. Recognizing EMS Recognition Week with UVEMS
May 15-21 was National EMS Recognition Week. I was honored to join the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad (UVES) during their recognition picnic and presented them with a Resolution passed by the Assembly and Senate commemorating EMS week in NYS. Upstate ambulance services are in need of additional support in order to continue their critical mission. I plan to prioritize ambulance service in the months ahead, working with our EMS providers to provide additional funding and finding solutions to challenges they are regularly facing.
2. Gas Tax Holiday Runs through December
Last week, Broome County residents saw some relief at the pump due to actions taken by the Governor, the State Legislature, and Broome County to address out of control gas prices. The final state budget included a 7 month gas tax holiday. This holiday will cut the state’s tax in half which amounts to a savings of 16 cents a gallon. The state budget also allowed local governments to reduce their share of gas taxes, which Broome County cut as well. Regardless of the price per gallon, the County tax will be calculated as if the price per gallon is $3.00 or less. Overall, this tax cut will put $585M back into the pockets of New Yorkers across the state and will save Broome residents around 20 cents per gallon.
3. Food Centers at Local Schools to Expand
Food insecurity is a reality for hundreds of families across Broome County. With a $75,000 Assembly grant I was able to secure, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier will be able to expand the availability of healthy foods to children all over the county. I joined the Food Bank and County Executive Garnar to announce the expansion of the Broome County School Food Center program across the county. These centers allow students to bring home nutritious foods to their families while also having the opportunity to volunteer in their school’s center. Currently, the Food Bank runs 5 centers; the grant I secured, along with a grant from Broome County, will support expanding the program to every school district in the County. To learn more about the Food Bank’s various programs, you can visit here.
4. Teaming Up With CCE for Victory Gardens
With planting season underway, I teamed up with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County to sponsor Victory Gardens for Broome for the 3rd year. We handed out seed packets and gardening information at the Regional Farmers Market on Upper Front Street, in the Town of Dickinson. The program started during the pandemic to inspire local gardening and provide support for our local greenhouses and seed suppliers. For more information on how to start your own garden, visit the Broome County CCE’s website here.
5. Local Student Invents Lyme Disease Prevention Tool
I joined Windsor CSD 6th grader Delaney Dixon to debut her “Tick Stik,” a tick removal tool with a camera meant to help stop the spread of lyme disease. Delaney is receiving technical assistance from Binghamton University students from the Watson School of Engineering to develop the product further. She was inspired to invent the device after contracting Lyme disease herself. You can learn more about the “Tick Stik” here.
Lyme disease, like many other tick-borne illnesses, can affect the skin, joints, and cardiovascular and nervous systems. According to the CDC, one quarter of Americans infected with lyme disease over the past 5 years were New Yorkers. To learn more about this disease and how you can protect you and your family, visit the CDC website here.