109 YEARS AGO TODAY, THE TITANIC WAS SAILING THE HIGH SEAS

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The view leaving Southampton in 2015 much as it was when the Titanic sailed from the famous port in 1912 into eternity.

WPCNR ACROSS THE EDITOR’S DESK. By John F. Bailey April 11 2021:

If you were an immigrant from Third Class Steerage to the United States in 1912, or a millionaire and millionairess of the Titanic  gentry strolling the wide decks of the most famous luxury liner of all time  taking in the salt air you had a freshening breeze in your faces,  a calm sea basking being rudely parted as Titanic steamed towards New York.

 The eternal waves in a quiet chop in brilliant sunshine at 11:30 AM, April 11, 1912, 109 years ago, when Father Brown took this photo in 1912 on the deck on the voyage from Southhampton to Queensland Ireland. Looking out on a sun-splashed sea at the disappearing emerald isle of Ireland, you had no idea it would this would be the last land you would ever see.

The Titanic, 882 feet long, 92 feet wide was the largest ship ever built by the White Star line. It is dwarfed by the cruise ships of today. But everyone who sails the ocean has heard of the Titanic and she is in their thoughts today.

The Titanic, no question is one of the most remembered disasters of the Twentieth Century because of its claims: Unsinkable! Fastest ship on the sea! But it is now remembered for its horror, hubris, heroism, cowardice and sacrifice, grippingly, horrifyingly portrayed in books, cinema and exploration.

Last night 109 years ago The Titanic had picked up passengers in Cherbourg, France and with all its decks aglow in this picture taken by Father Brown gives you an image of what she looked like as she made her way across the Atlantic and on the night when she sank on April 14 this coming Wednesday at 2 A.M. in the morning, carrying with her to the bottom, 1,500 souls rich to poor. 715 passengers and crew were rescued.

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WESTCHESTER COVID POSITIVES BELOW 3% FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS (THRU FRIDAY). NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SAYS COVID VARIANT B.1.1.7 PRESENTS NEW CHALLENGE. CURRENT VACCINES VERY EFFECTIVE DEFENSE AGAINST B.1.1.7. MIDWEST FINDINGS SHOW. URGE FIRST SHOTS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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WPCNR CORONAVIRUS ROUNDUP. By John F. Bailey From New York State Covid Tracker and Article from National Geographic. APRIL 11, 2021:

From Tuesday, April 6 through Friday April 9, Westchester County lowered the number of new Covid infections to below 3% for the first time in two months.

The 3% of the total 49,789 tested those four days yielded 1,482 covid positive persons, which can still mean 64 new hospitalizations by next week at a 4.3% hospitalization rate.

Previous to those four days, 25,042 people were tested half the 49,789 tested Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday, (and county persons testing postive had been 4.3% on April 5, 3.7% on April 4 and 3.6% on April 3. On those three days numbers of positive covid persons was 942, which could yield 40 hospitalizations next week added to the 64, meaning about a hundred new cases hospitalized. Saturday the 10th infection results will be out this afternoon.

The reduction of the infection rate by almost a full percent over three days is positive despite the 1,483 covid infections (because more persons were tested) is significant.

The troubling factor is how spreading of disease, either through Covid-19 or the new variant highlighted by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Friday is that the spread of the disease has spread ominously to the more lightly populated suburbs which are fueling the infection rate by no enforcement whatsoever accept voluntary restrictions recommended by the County Department of Health.

Notice the town by town figures on infections the past two weeks compiled by WPCNR from the Westchester County Covid Tracker by towns and cities. The town infections are rising.

THE NEW VARIANT B.1.1.7 PROFILE bY Dr. Sanjay Mishra.

The following article by Dr. Sanjay Mishra, Mishra, a child psychiatrist in Carmel, Ind., and a partner and medical director of Indiana Health Group, a large medical practice specializing in mental health was circulated to WPCNR.

This article appeared in Saturday’s edition of National Geographic and appears on the NG website. Dr. Mishra delves into the reasons why the new variant arriving in New York is perhaps more serious than the first Covid, requiring continued covid precaution:

The coronavirus variant known as B.1.1.7, which studies show is both more deadly and more transmissible than the original version of SARS-CoV-2, is now the most common strain circulating in United States, and its growing prevalence has alarmed prominent epidemiologists.

Earlier in the pandemic, not many children were becoming infected with the coronavirus, and they did not appear to be major sources of virus transmission to other age groups. “That changed with B.1.1.7,” says epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. “We’re now seeing substantial numbers of outbreaks in schools and in school-related activities.”

In a study conducted in the U.K., where this variant was first detected, more children were infected with B.1.1.7 than other SARS-CoV-2 variants, compared to older age groups. The same scenario is now emerging in the U.S.

A rapidly growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Carver County, Minnesota, has been linked to school-sponsored and club sports activities. In a study done by the Minnesota Department of Health, researchers produced a detailed map of COVID-19 transmission showing that the B.1.1.7 variant caused about a quarter of these cases. A similar outbreak was reported in Wisconsin, where all the children at a Dane County childcare center who tested positive were 6 years or younger.

The upside, if there is one, is that one study suggests younger children were less likely than adults to pass the virus to others. In addition, the current vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are effective against B.1.1.7 and can help us reverse the course of the pandemic, as long as people also continue to limit exposure by following the current public health precautions and restrictions.

“If you need another reason to get vaccinated, here it is,” says William Schaffner, a physician and professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Not only is it more contagious, but when you are infected with it, you’re more likely to get serious disease. And so we’re concerned about it.”

A more contagious virus enters the U.S.

In early December, as optimism was rising about the U.K.’s ambitious vaccine rollout, British scientists and public health officials were seeing a surge of cases in Kent County in southeastern England. While only 4 percent of those cases were sequenced, almost half were found to be the new variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Because this variant, now called B.1.1.7, is much more contagious, it spread quickly worldwide, and by December 29 the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment reported the first case in the U.S. However, several studies have now shown that B.1.1.7 likely entered the U.S. multiple times between November 2020 and January 2021—earlier than previously thought.

In early February, Karthik Gangavarapu, a graduate student at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, co-authored a study that predicted B.1.1.7 would become dominant in the U.S. by late March 2021.

“Based on what we had seen in other parts of the world with this variant, there was no reason for us to believe that this wouldn’t happen in the U.S., and I think, for most epidemiologists, this is not a huge surprise,” Gangavarapu says.

Currently in U.S., the number of cases caused by B.1.1.7 is increasing at a rate of about 7.5 percent per day.

Researchers believe the variant spreads so rapidly because B.1.1.7 accumulated a large number of genetic changes17 in total—including eight in the virus’s hallmark spike protein. The spike protein attaches to the ACE2 receptor protein, which is found on the outer wall of 72 types of human cells. After the virus latches onto the ACE2 receptor, it can enter the host cell, make more copies of itself, and trigger infection.

By binding more tightly to the ACE2 receptors, “these mutations provide selective advantage to B.1.1.7, so that’s why now it is spreading everywhere” says Olivier Schwartz, head of the Virus and Immunity Unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. “It’s a kind of a Darwinian selection process.”

A study analyzing more than 100,000 people who had been infected with either B.1.1.7 or the original strain also shows that the new variant is more deadly.

When the researchers compared the two groups of patients, B.1.1.7 had greater mortality by somewhere between 32 and 104 percent, says team leader Robert Challen, a clinician at the University of Exeter in the U.K.

Some researchers believe that B.1.1.7 behaves so differently from the original strain that it can even be “treated as a separate epidemic,” says Ravindra Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge.

B.1.1.7 also been causing problems in other ways. It carries a couple of genetic mutations in the spike protein called deletions, because they eliminate part of the genetic code, that help this variant escape antibodies during the body’s immune response after an infection.

These deletions can also cause certain commercial testing kits to give a false negative result because they fail to detect its spike protein gene. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued recommendations to address possible false negative results that arise due to increasing prevalence of B.1.1.7 and other deletion variants in the U.S.

Implications for kids

The risk of B.1.1.7 to children, and subsequently to their families, may not arise as much from higher transmissibility, but from kids’ inability to maintain social distancing and masking and avoid contact sports, says Osterholm.

According to Schwartz, since the virus is more infectious for all age groups, children can now get infected more easily because of close contact in schools and day care. Then they can transmit more virus to each other, and to their families at home.

Because of increasing demand to reopen schools, there is now higher transmission of the B.1.1.7 variant among kids. That means more schools will have difficulty maintaining in-class learning.

The good news is that people who have been vaccinated, or people who were previously infected with another variant, have antibodies that will still neutralize B.1.1.7, says Schwartz, who led a study showing this to be the case. Already, vaccine makers are releasing clinical data showing that the available shots protect children age 12 to 15, and studies in younger children are forthcoming.

“The challenge is we’re not going to have nearly enough vaccine fast enough” to rein in the pandemic unless people stick to safety restrictions in the meantime, Osterholm lamented. “If we don’t limit our exposures to this virus, and try to defy viral gravity, we will not be able to do that.”

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WEATHER WHITE PLAINS 9:30 A.M. EDT: 55 FOGGY HUMID WPCNR DEGREES

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Today Showers. Patchy fog before 10am. High near 58. East wind 7 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Tonight Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low around 45. East wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Monday Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 51. East wind 8 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. (From National Weather Service)

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK APRIL 9 REPORT ON ON wpcommunitymedia.org (SCROLL DOWN THE PROGRAM WALL TO “WHITE PLAINS WEEK” AND PULL UP A CHAIR.

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WHERE THE NEWS IS
JOHN BAILEY AND THE NEWS
MASTER PLAN–HERE WE GO!
URBAN RENEWAL RIDES AGAIN
GATEWAY II COMPLEX APPROVAL, 701 HEARING. HOTEL ON CENTRAL AVE
BUDGET LIGHT AND BALANCED TIGHT BELTED
THIS WEEK IN COVID–INFECTION RATE LOWERS. CASES UP-MIXED MESSAGE
MULTITUDES GATHER TO PRAY FOR DMX

INSTANT LINK TO THE WHITE PLAINS WEEK PROGRAM:

http://wpcommunitymedia.org/white-plains-week–2/04092021-693

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JONES OF THE 37TH ON PRESIDENT BIDEN CALL TO REFORM THE SUPREME COURT–ADD TO NUMBER OF JUDGES

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WASHINGTON, DC — Today, after President Biden announced the creation of a Presidential Commission to examine reforms to the Supreme Court, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) released the following statement:

“Today, the President of the United States acknowledged that it is time to reform the Supreme Court, following the example of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant.

By convening this commission, President Biden has spoken clearly: The question is no longer if we will reform the Supreme Court, but how we will reform the Supreme Court.

The answer to that question is equally clear: to restore our democracy, we must expand the Supreme Court. Anything less would leave the future of our nation, our planet, and our fundamental civil rights at the whim of a far-right supermajority that is hostile to democracy itself.

Of course, many Americans will rightly be skeptical of a commission composed almost entirely of people protected from the real-life consequences of the Supreme Court’s right-wing extremism. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that the commission will join our rising movement for Court expansion.

In the meantime, Congress has the power, and the constitutional duty, to set the size of the Court, as it has seven times throughout our history. My colleagues and I need not wait for the findings of a commission. We already know the obvious: we must expand the Supreme Court, before it’s too late.”

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Planning Forum Sponsored by League of Women Voters ZOOMING APRIL 22

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SAVE THE DATE!
White Plains: Who Are We Planning For?

A Zoom Roundtable Discussion
Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. 
Register Now!
As part of the League of Women Voters of White Plains mission to promote an informed and engaged electorate, we invite you to join us on Thursday April 22, 7:30 p.m. for a Zoom roundtable discussion, “White Plains: Who Are We Planning For?”.  

One year into the pandemic and with local elections for mayor and common council later this year, now is a good time to consider the future of city planning here in White Plains. What are the needs of White Plains going forward, how can competing needs be balanced? How has the pandemic influenced thinking about the needs of our city? What can residents do to influence the direction of development in our city?

We have invited Mary Cavallero, former member of the White Plains Planning Board, David Schiff, retired city planner, and Chris Gomez, commissioner, White Plains Planning Department for a lively roundtable discussion. 

To register and receive a link for this Zoom program click here. We will take audience questions in advance.

For further information contact lwvwp.info@gmail.com
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HOME SALES “STAGGERING” !!!!

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NUMBERS OFF THE CHARTS
REAL ESTATE KEEPS ON MOVING FAST AND UP
(ALL Charts courtesy, HGAR)

WPCNR REALTY REALITY. From the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. (Edited) April 7, 2021:

 Residential home sales in the lower Hudson Valley for the first quarter of 2021 were staggering.

Sales in Westchester were up 35.3% or 2,462 units as compared to 1,819 units in 2020.

The median price in Westchester County, rose 10.8% to $708,995 from $640,000 last year.

Homes are in demand county to county, up and down the valley

Orange County experienced a 54.2% increase in sales going from 896 units in 2020 to 1,382 units in 2021 first quarter.

Putnam and Sullivan counties were each up over 62%,

 Putnam with 427 sales compared to 263 in 2020 and Sullivan County with 362 units sold from 223 units in 2020.

In Rockland County sales increased 36.5% to 823 units from 603 in 2020.

Bronx County increased 31.6% at 567 units sold compared to 431 units in the first quarter of 2020.

.The median sale price for a single-family residential unit in Orange County rose 22.5% to $340,000 (from $277,450 one year ago) exceeded by an increase of 36.2% in Sullivan County to $221,00 from $162,250 one year ago.

.The median sale price for a single- family residence rose in Putnam County by 16.4% to $390,000 (from $335,000), in Rockland County by 14.4% to $525,000 (from $459,000), in Sullivan County by 36.2% to $221,000 (from $162,250) and in Bronx County to $541,000 (from $520,000) as compared to the first quarter of 2020.

 The residential market is normally cyclical with seasonal low sales in the first quarter as sellers begin to prepare their homes for the traditional “spring selling season”. This did not happen. The buyers kept on buying.

Covid-19 has served to create a marketplace that defies that predictability.

While first quarter sales in 2020 last year were relatively strong, a reflection of activity that occurred in late 2019, the true effects of the pandemic were seen in the second and third quarters of 2020 when sales, not unexpectedly, took a strong hit.

During that time, however, a migration from city to suburbs began taking hold as people felt the need to escape the close confines of city living and working from home created a need for larger living spaces.

Co-op sales have been lagging in both counties for the past year but rebounded in Q1, 2021. Condominium sales were up in every county except Sullivan.

It is likely that this Co-op rebound can be attributed to the dearth of choices in other housing types as well as the fact that co-ops remain an affordable alternative, at a median sale price of $192,750 in Westchester County and $244,000 in Bronx County.

Buyers and other potential purchasers unable to afford rising single family home prices.

While the overall economy has been struggling during the pandemic, real estate isn’t.

The suburban real estate market has seen increasing sales, rising prices and increased demand.

THE PURPLE BAR IS THE FIRST QUARTER 2021 SALES.

 This raises questions about the sustainability of the current market.

At what point will prices become too high, at what point will a lack of inventory (choice) discourage some buyers and while interest rates remain at historic lows, ameliorating some of the effects of rising prices, there have been recent upticks in mortgage rates which will affect affordability for some buyers.

This being said, current properties in contract remain high indicating that the market will remain strong in the near term.

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PLAYLAND WILL INTERVIEW CANDIDATES FOR SUMMER JOBS VIRTUALLY THIS SATURDAY APRIL 10

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(Rye, NY) – With the green light from New York State to open amusements parks in place, the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation plans to reopen Playland Park this year and is looking to fill seasonal positions.

Virtual interviews will be held on Saturday, April 10.

County Executive George Latimer said: “Working at Playland during the summer is a tradition for many young people in our County, their energy makes our park come alive. We look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones.”

Job seekers are encouraged to explore Playland’s job board and apply ahead of the virtual interview day.

Open positions include:

·         Cashier

·         General Office

·         Park Supervisor

·         Lifeguard

·         EMT

·         General Maintenance

·         Beach/Pool Attendant

·         Admissions/Greeter

·         Housekeeping

·         Custodial

·         Ride Operators

Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Kathy O’Connor said: “Our staff makes the operation of our parks possible and they have done an outstanding job the past year, despite many challenges. We are looking for dedicated applicants who want to enhance the experience of our parks for our guests.”

For more information visit https://playlandpark.org/ or call (914) 813-7019.

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WHITE PLAINS COVID CASES UP, MAYOR WARNS ON COVID CALL. NEW WESTCHESTER CASES HIT 2,824 IN ONE WEEK MONDAY TO MONDAY

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WPCNR CORONAVIRUS REPORT. By John F. Bailey Statistics from NY Covid WorkBook Tracker and Westchester County Covid Tracker. April 7, 2021 UPDATED 5 PM EDT

:

Mayor Thomas Roach of White Plains warned residents that coronavirus cases and a new strain of the Covid killer virus is affecting the city. In his weekly Covid Call, Mayor Roach said:

“There are currently an estimated 347 active cases in our City, up 38 from our call last week. Over the last 7 days we are averaging 24 new cases per day. 

CDC data is showing that COVID-19 cases throughout the country, including in New York, are on the rise.

Part of the reason for this trend is the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant. This variant appears to be affecting younger people in greater numbers.

It remains critical that we all double down on the common sense safety measures that have proven effective: Continue to wear a mask when you are within 6 ft. of others and practice social distancing. Taking these precautions, along with expanded vaccine eligibility in New York, is what will ultimately get us across the finish line safely.

As of today, New Yorkers age 16 and up are eligible for the vaccine. Given that the B.1.1.7 variant seems to impact younger people at a higher rate, this expanded vaccine eligibility is Great News for all of us. I strongly urge you to make your vaccination appointment as soon as possible for whichever vaccine is available to you.  All three vaccines authorized for use in the United States are safe and effective. Delaying your vaccination in an attempt to obtain a particular vaccine will expose you to risk unnecessarily.

How do I get an appointment? 

  • Check vaccinefinder.org for local pharmacies, clinics, and other locations that have received doses of the vaccine and schedule your appointment online or call the provider directly for an appointment. VaccineFinder was developed by Boston Children’s Hospital with support from the CDC.
  • Check the State website, ny.gov/GetVaccinated for appointments at state–run vaccination sites. Check the site regularly, as new appointments become available throughout the day.
  • Go to Health.Westchestergov.com, to check availability and schedule an appointment at the County-run vaccine clinic located at Westchester Community College. 
  • For those who need assistance securing an appointment, call our White Plains COVID Angels at (914) 422-1378 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Our next call is on Tuesday, April 13th. Until then remember, we’re standing together by staying apart.”

On the County Covid Tracker, Westchester County recorded 2,824 new covid cases through Monday April 5.

The County daily infection rate continues to be slightly below 4% (3.8) testing positive each week.

Of 73,736 tests administered in Westchester County March 30 through April 5, , 2,824 tested positive.

Looking ahead, in 10 to 15 days at a 4.3% hospitalization rate, this would put 121 persons into Westchester hospitals. Currently according to the state hospitalization tracker, 40% of Westchester County Intensive Care beds remain open and available. It is unclear whether occupancy of ICU beds is going up or staying the same. This reporter’s guess is the continued infection rate, if not keeping ICU bed occupancy steady could fill more beds in two to three weeks than the present levels.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: At 2 PM today the results of positive tests for Tuesday, April 6 showed 346 New persons testing positive for covid of 10,999 tested the lowest infection rate since Friday, 3.1%. That brings the total newly covid-infected in 8 days in Westchester County to 3,170 testing positive of 84,735 tested, an Infection Rate percentage of 3.7%

In perspective the 3,170 new infections of covid in 8 days at a 4.3% infection rate could generate 142 new covid hospitaltions in 10 to 15 days in Westchester ICUs.)

County Executive George Latimer warned WVOX audiences Tuesday , Covid infections have been going up for a month on his weekly 7:10 radio interview on the Dennis and Tonny Good Morning Westchester program. He said that the more persons are vaccinated and complete their doses will stay the spread of new cases by June.

These are the cities and villages where the most infections are, for the last two weeks. March 24 through April 5:

YONKERS: 1,276 CASES , 62 NEW DAILY

NEW ROCHELLE, 511 CASES, 25 NEW DAILY

MOUNT VERNON–439 NEW, 20 NEW DAILY

WHITE PLAINS — 347 NEW, 33 NEW DAILY

MAMARONECK TOWN, VILLAGE, LARCHMONT–221 NEW. 8 NEW DAILY

PORT CHESTER– 217 NEW, 13 NEW CASES DAILY

GREENBURGH– 208 NEW CASES, 17 NEW CASES A DAY

HARRISON — 184 CASES, 15 NEW CASES A DAY

THE OSSININGS– 155 CASES, 10 NEW A DAY

MOUNT PLEASANT –148 CASES, 8 NEW CASES A DAY

RYE CITY AND RYE BROOK– 139 NEW CASES — 10 NEW A DAY

NORTH AND NEW CASTLES– 113 CASES, 8 NEW A DAY

PEEKSKILL– 115 NEW — 6 NEW DAILY

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Jones on Fully Funded Foundation for School Aid

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Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) released the following statement on the New York State legislature’s agreement to fully fund Foundation Aid. (Editor’s Note: In his news conference today on the State Budget, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the foundation aid to school districts is funded for the next two years, providing the SALT Reduction Act is repealed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives).

“This is a monumental moment in the fight for education equity in New York State.

After nearly a decade, New York is finally making good on its court-mandated obligation to provide full funding under the Foundation Aid formula to ensure that every child in New York State receives the sound, basic education to which they are entitled under the state constitution. Complete funding will be transformative for the Harmed Suburban Five school districts, including Ossining and Port Chester, which are in my district. It will also be a major boost to school districts like East Ramapo, North Rockland, and Peekskill, among others, which have for too long been unjustly denied the level of state funding to which they are constitutionally entitled.

To be clear, this victory was made possible by the tireless work of parents, educators, activists, and Democratic state legislators who organized for years to get the state to make good on its moral and legal obligation to our young people. Justice should never have been delayed, and thanks to their dedication, today, our students are finally getting the investment they deserve. I was proud to fight alongside this coalition as a community organizer before I ran for Congress, and I’ll continue to work in partnership with them to ensure we invest in our children.”

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