There is a 3 hour delay for Salisbury Central School only this morning (Monday November 30)
WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM TO 10 PM EST MONDAY
Southeast winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph
Region One received notification that an HVRHS student tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected individual was last in the school building during the week of November 16th and has been in quarantine/isolation since that time. This student was identified as a close contact of the Salisbury Central student about whom we notified everyone on November 17th. There has been no close contact (within six feet for more than fifteen minutes over a 24 hour period) with any other staff members or students. School will open as planned today.
A message to Region One Families and Staff:
I am writing you today to reinforce the need to reflect on holiday events as you plan to return to school tomorrow and to request that you follow these guidelines to protect the health and safety of all of our students and staff:
● For those of you who have traveled, please consult ct.gov to be aware of the current list of states that are on the Travel Advisory list. Please be sure to complete the travel form and be sure to quarantine or be tested upon your return from any of these states per the most current Connecticut recommendations. Distance learning is available to ensure that your child(ren) are able to continue their learning while they quarantine. We urge you to make this choice if you have traveled. If/when you receive negative test results, your child(ren) may then return to school. Please contact your school as soon as possible to let the staff know about your choice for distance learning.
● For those of you who celebrated the holiday with individuals outside of your regular “pod” of contacts, please be sure that there has been no incidence with COVID-19 among the members of your group with whom you and your family attended festivities. Additionally, please be sure that there has been no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or more over a 24 hour period) with individuals who were found to be positive for COVID-19.
Should you have any questions about the travel advisory guidelines or about COVD-19 in general, please contact the school nurse, who can help you decide about the safety of sending your child(ren) back to school.
Vintage bell newest addition to the Canaan Union Station
BY RUTH EPSTEIN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
CANAAN – A visit to the Connecticut Railroad Historical Association’s museum at the Canaan Union Station won’t be complete without a pull of the rope to sound the newly installed bell. Its peal will bring back memories for those who traveled the rails in years past, as well as thrill a whole new generation.
Coronavirus cases surge 27% in New York.
New coronavirus cases leaped in New York in the week ending Saturday, rising 27.3% as 43,615 cases were reported.The previous week had 34,272 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19. On Saturday, New York’s infection rate hit 4.27%, the highest since May.New York ranked 42nd among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.Seven COVID-19 deaths reported over weekend in Berkshires
Seven COVID-19 deaths reported over weekend in Berkshires
A grim weekend for the coronavirus brought reports of seven deaths in Berkshire County, one as of Saturday and six on Sunday, according to the state Department of Public Health. The deaths brought the total lost to the virus to 61 since the pandemic began. On Sunday, 69 new cases were reported, pushing the total to 1,600. In the last 11 days, Berkshire County has added 449 confirmed cases, well more than a quarter of all the cases since March.
The DPH said 46 new deaths were reported in Massachusetts on Sunday, and 40 on Saturday, pushing the statewide total to 10,487. Deaths including those listed as probably caused by COVID-19 is 10,722. Confirmed cases rose 2,501 as of Sunday to 217,163. According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, 155,473 people in Massachusetts with COVID-19 have recovered.
AREA MEETINGS TODAY AND TOMORROW
Sheffield, Ma Board of Assessors 2:00pm Select Board – Working Meeting2:00pm
North East NY Conservation Advisory Council Meeting November 30, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00
December 1st, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 59 FIELD STREET TORRINGTONCT DRIVE THROUGH FOOD DISTRIBUTION TO AREA RESIDENTS. BOXES WILL CONTAIN FRESH PRODUCE, DAIRY AND MEAT PRODUCTS
December 1st, 2020 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Lee H. Kellogg School Board Of Education\
Cornwall CT 7:00 pm : Inland Wetlands/Water Courses – Zoom 7:30 pm : Board of Selectmen
Dover NY Zoning Board Regular Meeting @ Town Hall Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – 7:00pm to 8:00pm
NY COVID-19 tracker: Test positivity rate neared 4% on Friday
Jon Campbell New York State Team
ALBANY – COVID-19 has been on the rise in New York, with some areas of the state getting hit harder now than during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April. On Saturday, New York reported 6,063 new coronavirus cases from the previous day, pushing the state’s total past 630,000 confirmed cases since the start of March. It’s the latest in a string of daily infections that rival those seen in late April in New York, when a huge number of cases in New York City and the surrounding area hit the state harder than anywhere else in the country. The increase is part of a large national surge in COVID-19 cases, with most states faring far worse than New York right now. But that’s likely of little comfort to western New York, central New York and the Finger Lakes, where coronavirus hospitalizations are at or near all-time highs.
Census delays could hinder NY redistricting
By Kate Lisa Johnson Newspaper Corp
Potential U.S. Census Bureau delays may hinder New York’s redistricting process as the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission embarks on a multi-year process to redraw all state Senate and Assembly and
U.S. congressional lines free of political influence. Last week, Census Bureau officials announced they cannot complete state population totals and the allocation of congressional districts by the statutory Dec. 31 deadline, which is expected to delay governmental programs, funding and decisions based on updated census numbers. A group of 100 demonstrators gathered at Columbus Circle in Onondaga County on July 7 to voice their opinions on redistricting. Th Redistricting Commission has met several times this fall to discuss logistics, but has not started redrawing legislative district lines.
Census data will remain the focus through New York’s redistricting process — concerning commissioners and officials about the delay in updated population counts because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lenox now listed in state’s COVID-19 ‘red zone’ due to cases at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center
By Clarence Fanto Eagle correspondent
LENOX – With a record 27 active coronavirus cases, Lenox is now the only Berkshire County community in the statewide high-risk “red zone,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Health’s weekly report released Friday night based on data through Wednesday. The state’s updated community-level data on the pandemic lists any town with a population under 10,000 and more than 25 cases in the highest-risk category. There are 80 other cities and towns in the “red zone,” all of them east of the Berkshires.
Even in a pandemic, the Christmas Village rolls on
BY BRUNO MATARAZZO JR. REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Courts stay open as virus cases rise within
BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hudson Valley on Wednesday
Chris McKenna Times Herald-Record
A huge surge in COVID-19 test results reported on the day before Thanksgiving turned up 991 Hudson Valley residents with newly diagnosed cases, the highest one-day total in the region since April 24. Some 24,201 test results came back on Wednesday, the largest single day of testing in the seven counties since the pandemic began. The positive rate was 4.1 percent, bringing the seven-day average for positive results to 3.9 percent, according to state figures. Orange County had 177 new infections and a positive rate that day of 6.1 percent, the highest in the region. Westchester led in total new cases with 477 and had a 4 percent positive rate. Ulster had 39 new cases and a 2.2 percent rate; Sullivan had 14 positive tests and a 4.1 percent rate.
American Airlines leaves Stewart International Airport ‘indefinitely’
Ryan Santistevan Times Herald-Record
American Airlines will not be returning to NY Stewart International Airport, according to the airline. Brian Metham, AA spokesman, said the company is always evaluating its network due to supply and demand. In October, the airline suspended service to 15 markets, citing “low demand” and the expiration of requirements under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
As cases in Torrington rise, hospital forced to relocate testing
BY BRUNO MATARAZZO JR. REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital plans to move its COVID drive-thru testing site to the parking lot of J.C. Penney at 211 High St. in early December as the hospital deals with an influx of patients. The hospital has been handling between 400 to 500 tests per day in recent weeks as the region goes through a second wave of the virus. In Litchfield County, the number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases increased 129% since early September, going from 1,752 on Sept. 9 to 4,015 on Wednesday, according to the state’s COVID-19 data website. Torrington is the hardest hit municipality in the county with 1,200 COVID cases since March, which is about 30% of the county’s cases. In COVID-related deaths, Torrington saw 98 since March, which makes up 60% of the county’s 160 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the data website.
NY COVID-19 tracker: New York tops 3,000 current hospitalizations
Jon Campbell New York State Team
COVID-19 has been on the rise in New York, with some areas of the state getting hit harder now than they did during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April. On Thursday, New York reported 6,265 new coronavirus cases from the previous day, pushing the state’s total past 619,000 confirmed cases since the start of March. It’s the latest in a string of daily infections that rival those seen in late April in New York, when a huge number of cases in New York City and the surrounding area hit the state harder than anywhere else in the country.
Gillibrand pushes fair COVID-19 vaccine distribution
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., increased political pressure on congressional leaders Tuesday to include legislation in the next federal COVID-19 package to train a national health force to ensure an approved coronavirus vaccine will be equitably available for all Americans.
Gillibrand sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Speaker U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to include the Health Force and Resilience Force proposal.The proposal, led by Gillibrand and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and supported by Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, who all signed the letter, would invest $40 billion in local public health infrastructure to create a national health force of hundreds of thousands
of Americans to bolster the U.S. health system to ensure equitable distribution of a COVID-19
Jury trials, delayed by pandemic, could move to Berkshire Mall
The state trial court system has been doing some pre-holiday shopping. At the Berkshire Mall, of all places. Though mothballed for more than a year as a retail outlet, space in the mall could serve, early next year, as an alternative courtroom, as prosecutors work to whittle down a pandemic-driven backlog of 2,098 cases in district court cases and 197 cases in Berkshire Superior Court. For months, public health precautions have rendered jury trials impossible. Court administrators now say trials will resume in January for “Jury of 6” proceedings, but only in courtrooms whose layouts are considered safe for juries, court workers, lawyers and the public.
Supreme Court blocks NY limit for religious services in COVID hotspots
ALBANY – The U.S Supreme Court blocked New York from enforcing its strict attendance limit for religious services in areas with high rates of COVID-19, ruling late Wednesday it likely violates the First Amendment.
The court voted 5-4 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization Agudath Israel of America, which sought a temporary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the 10- and 25-person limits in “red” and “orange” zones, respectively.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented the capacity limits when he unveiled the state’s “micro-cluster” strategy for combatting the coronavirus, which designates different colored zones with varying levels of restrictions when the state identifies higher-than-normal levels of COVID-19 in a particular geographic area.
20/20 program to highlight Boeing crashes that killed Sheffield native
SHEFFIELD — An exploration of the Boeing 737 Max airliner tragedies, one of which claimed Sheffield native Samya Stumo, will air Friday night on ABC’s 20/20, coinciding with the recent release of the jet fleet that had been grounded worldwide. The installment, to air at 9 p.m., is the result of a yearlong investigation, according to a statement from 20/20. Stumo’s parents, Nadia Milleron and Michael Stumo, who live in Sheffield, are interviewed along with other families of victims. It will also focus on fallout for Boeing, including federal investigations and congressional hearings.
HVRHS Holiday Store opening
The holiday store run by the agriculture education students at
Housatonic Valley Regional High School is now open and will sell holiday products until Wednesday, Dec. 23. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day. The students are selling holiday trees, wreaths, roping, poinsettias, centerpieces, Cabot cheese, Hudson Valley fresh milk and FFA apparel. All staff, students and customers must wear a mask and
practice social distancing while at the store. Curbside pickup
will also be available for those who request it. This year there is also an online store at http://www.ffa.hvrhs.org
Adopt-a-Family in Millerton still accepting donations for the holidays
Donations are still needed for the holiday Adopt-a-Family program, which provides support for families of children ages 13 and below in the
Webutuck and Pine Plains Central School Districts. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, gift cards rather than new toys will be given to families, so
they can purchase basic necessities at local stores, as well as toys
and warm winter clothing for their children. Call 518-789-4508 or send
a check to: Adopt-a-Family, P.O. Box 880, Millerton, NY 12546.
Stissing Mountain history teacher receives honor
The Pine Plains Central School District community extended its congratulations last month to Neil Murray, a longtime history teacher at Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School, when Murray’s work in conveying a love and respect of history in his students was honored with the 2020 Eileen Mylod Hayden Award for Excellence in History Education. As noted on the district’s website, http://www.ppcsd.org, the Eileen Mylod Hayden Award for
Excellence in History Education is designed to recognize “teachers at middle or high school levels who effectively impart a love of history in their students.”
Stanford Grange Penny Social
Stanford Grange #808 will host its Annual Holiday Penny Social on Friday, Nov. 27. Due to COVID-19, things will be different this year. Prizes will be displayed inside the Grange Hall. Bidding will take place between noon and 6 p.m. at the Grange Hall; only five bidders will be allowed at one time. A live drawing on the Grange’s Facebook Page will start at 7 p.m. For details, call 845-663-7778 or 845-868-7869.
Coronavirus Updates: 45 new COVID-related deaths reported; positivity rate nears 6%
On Tuesday, there were 109,152 coronavirus cases reported, up 1,872 since Tuesday. Out of 31,232 tests administered, 1,872 came back positive. That leaves a positivity rate of 5.99 percent. There were 45 new coronavirus-related deaths reported on Wednesday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic at 4,926. Hospitalizations increased by 77, bringing the total to 968. The number of tests performed since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 3,075,502, an increase of 31,232 since Tuesday.
COVID testing in yellow zone would be too much for Dutchess schools to remain open
Katelyn Cordero Poughkeepsie Journal
If a region in Dutchess County is put under “yellow zone” restrictions by the state, the county would not have the testing capacity necessary for a school district in the zone to remain open. That’s according to Dr. Anil Vaidian, commissioner of the county Department of Behavioral and Community Health.
Any school in the yellow zone would be required to create a testing program in which 20% of its in-person student and staff population were sampled on a weekly basis. Otherwise, it would need to switch to remote instruction
“While the Governor has said that he doesn’t want to close schools, he has imposed on the schools a testing requirement that, with the existing resources, health departments and local school districts are not able to meet,” Vaidian said Tuesday during a Hyde Park Central School District virtual town hall.
11 24 20 COVID-19 Update Salisbury Central and HVRHS
Dear Region One Families and Staff:
We have received notification that a family member in the Salisbury Central School community has
tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person is the caregiver for one of the
middle school students about whom we reported last week in our letter of November 18th. As you
know from that letter, there is also a sibling at HVRHS, who is currently being tested. The HVRHS
student is symptom free and has not been in school since last week. The affected family member
has never been in the school building and has had no contact with any staff or students other than
the aforementioned students. The family member and the students will remain at home in
quarantine/isolation according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health District.
There has been no additional close contact in the schools so there is no need to change plans with
regard to reopening school on November 30th.
Everyone who has been in close contact with the positive case (outside of the school community)
will be contacted by the Torrington Area Health District and will be quarantined for fourteen days.
We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we
receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is
allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable
sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in
We are doing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us
by maintaining vigilance in your homes as well. Please communicate with Mrs. Magyar, Mr.
Strever, Mr. Schibi or me regarding any concerns as they arise
Two Housatonic Valley Regional grads earn prestigious award
FALLS VILLAGE — Mari Cullerton and Lauren Murtagh are now part of an elite group. The two University of Connecticut students and graduates of Housatonic Valley Regional High School were presented with the American FFA degree. Just one half of 1% of FFA members around the country earn the prestigious designation. During a virtual ceremony put on by the local FFA chapter last week, Housatonic’s David Moran, chairman of the ag-ed department, said the two were among those recognized for their accomplishments before the 70,000 members who attended the remotely held National FFA Convention in Indianapolis this fall.
Lamont increases fines for violations of limits on gatherings in state
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday increased the fine for restaurants, stores and other businesses for violating COVID-19 capacity and gathering limits to $10,000.
Lamont also authorized the state commissioner of public health to enforce reopening rules and other state laws and regulations in any town or city where local officials are not effectively compelling compliance.
The new penalty for violating capacity restrictions, gathering limits and other reopening rules is 20 times the previous maximum of $500.
“While the overwhelming majority of businesses in Connecticut have shown an incredible amount of leadership and have been fantastic partners in this front, we have seen a small number of businesses in flagrant violation of these public health rules, and that’s all you need to cause a super-spreading event that leads to a large number of cases and hospitalizations,” Lamont said in a statement. The governor’s office said the increase in the fine is a response to reports from municipal leaders, local health officials, and even members of the business community.
Connecticut lawmakers propose plans to legalize marijuana in 2021
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
The incoming Democratic majority leaders of the House announced a two-track plan Tuesday to pursue legalization of marijuana in the 2021 legislative session outside the Rocky Hill headquarters of CTPharma, a medical marijuana producer. If Connecticut fully legalizes marijuana, CTPharma has the capacity to expand production beyond medical marijuana to also supply a recreational market, company leaders said Tuesday. The route for legalization could be through legislation authorizing the production, distribution and retail sales of cannabis for adult use. The alternative, longer path is a constitutional amendment to authorize full legalization that state voters would ultimately have to approve.
COVID forces school, business closures; 3 more Dutchess residents reported dead
As Thanksgiving approaches, students of all ages prepare for a break and families reunite, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt throughout the region.
At least one Dutchess County resident died for reasons relating to the illness for five consecutive days, according to the most recent data available through Saturday on the county’s online COVID Dashboard. Three resident deaths were recorded on Saturday, marking the first time more than two had died on any given day since May 29.
Meanwhile, more county residents have been confirmed to have the virus already in November than any other month since April, colleges and schools are continuing to grapple with the illness, government buildings have been forced to close and at least one small business in the area added itself to the list of establishments that has had to close temporarily due to a case.
Man accused in mugging outside Great Barrington pot store held as dangerous
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
GREAT BARRINGTON — A New York man accused of mugging a disabled customer in the parking lot of a cannabis dispensary has been ordered held without bail for 120 days, while his accomplice remains at large. Shane Adams, 21, of Pine City, N.Y., was held as dangerousness after a hearing Friday in Central Berkshire District Court, according to Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh. Adams was arrested Nov. 13 for allegedly pushing a man who was using crutches as he left Theory Wellness on Stockbridge Road that afternoon, and stealing a small amount of cannabis that he just had purchased.
Connecticut prepares to reopen COVID recovery facilities
New guidance from the Dept. of Public Health on Tuesday said families should not be taking loved ones out of nursing homes for Thanksgiving Day gatherings. This is just one of the steps the state is taking steps to try and limit outbreaks in nursing homes. One of those steps is to reopen COVID-19 recovery facilities around the state. Right now, the facilities can take 334 patients. Public health officials are looking for more, especially in eastern Connecticut. However, they also think 400 should be sufficient, because they’ve learned a lot about treatment since the spring. The state has already identified four facilities: Torrington Health and Rehabilitation Center, Quinnipiac Valley Center in Wallingford, Westfield Care and Rehabilitation in Meriden, and Riverside Health and Rehabilitation in East Hartford. Those four sites will house a combined 334 beds, including 90 at both Riverside and Westfield, and 120 at Torrington. The facilities will help nursing homes that aren’t able to isolate patients and contain a spread. The state is also taking other steps to prevent outbreaks. Nursing homes can seek help from the state to accommodate visitors, applying for grants of up to $3,000 for things like tents. The money is made available from the federal government through fines previously paid by nursing homes.
Hartford HealthCare purchases freezers to prepare for COVID-19 vaccine
Connecticut hospitals are already preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive. On Tuesday, Hartford HealthCare announced they recently purchased three freezers to store the vaccines in when they come out.The director of Infection Prevention said the freezers will serve an important role in making sure as many people receive the vaccines as possible.Other Connecticut hospitals have also purchased freezers recently.There are already about 10 large freezers set aside for vaccine storage throughout the state.
Police: Woman charged after 1-car crash
By Bill WilliamsColumbia-Greene Media
CLAVERACK — State police Tuesday charged a Columbia County woman involved in a one-car accident last Thursday. Ashley L. Williams, 24, of Claverack, was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. Williams was given appearance tickets for Claverack Town Court for Dec. 15. Three people, including Williams, were taken to Albany Medical Center by Greenport Rescue Squad with non-life-threatening injuries.The other two occupants were an unidentified man, 26, from Albany, and an unidentified man, 25, from
MILLBROOK, New York, November 2020 – A vote by the Village of Millbrook Board of Trustees has removed the last major legal impediment to conversion of the landmark Thorne Building into a community center serving the Village and all of central Dutchess County.
The move completes a process that began in March 2019, when the Board of Trustees voted pending resolution of two provisos – to transfer ownership of the historic edifice to the non-profit Thorne Building Community Center (TBCC). The non-profit organization’s website has been newly revamped and expanded to provide additional information, and now includes a timeline of the project’s progress. To learn more about the Thorne
Building Community Center
Experience the Joy of Nature with Sharon Audubon Center Sharon, Conn. — November 23, 2020 — Audubon is pleased to announce the following offerings from the Sharon Audubon Center (located at 325 Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, CT 06069). While our center building remains closed due to COVID-19, our grounds, aviaries, and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Experience the joy of nature with Sharon Audubon Center—the Northwest Corner’s gateway to the greater outdoors! For more information about the center and full event listings, visit sharon.audubon.org.Thankful for Wildlife Trail Check out the latest themed, self-guided trail at Sharon Audubon Center. Stop by and enjoy our Thankful for Wildlife Trail, open daily from sunrise to sunset through December 1. Come follow the signs on our grounds, take in some fresh air, and enjoy expressions of gratitude for our local wildlife. We also invite visitors to please share YOUR appreciation for wildlife too by using the hashtag #Thankfulforwildlife2020 and tagging us (@sharonauduboncenter) on Facebook or Instagram after walking the trail!Trail Web Page: https://sharon.audubon.org/visit/thankful-wildlife-trail
Oliver Wolcott Technical School in Torrington
This weekend, our school has a presumptive case of COVID. Because of the need for quarantine, longer wait times for tests, etc, the school now has a staffing shortage. Because of this, we have decided to move into Phase 3, full-time distance-learning for students from Monday November 23 to Wednesday, November 25. At this point, we hope to return after the Thanksgiving Holiday, but a decision will be made later this week. Please stay tuned for further communication.
Academy Building in Salisbury village gets a makeover
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-AmericanNovember
SALISBURY — The Salisbury Association owns a gem and its members just completed a project to help better showcase it.The Academy Building, a brick structure that sits prominently in the center of Salisbury village, is steeped in history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sarah Morrison of the Salisbury Association spearheaded the project that included new doors that would be appropriate for a mid-19th century academy. “But we also needed an entry door with glass panels and a banner that would be welcoming and attract attention to the Salisbury Association, but not detract from the building.”A striking banner hangs on the building’s corner, proudly announcing the Salisbury Association’s mission.
The Academy Building was built in 1833 when citizens raised $1,250 to build a private academy. Younger students sat downstairs and older children were taught on the second floor. Later it was converted to a public school that was used until 1929
Goshen Fairgrounds gets ‘new landmark’ archway entrance
BY JOHN McKENNA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
GOSHEN — A dream of a first-class entrance at the Goshen Fairgrounds was realized by the Goshen Agricultural Society on Saturday.
Agricultural society President Scott Fraher and society members Dan Belmonte and Rick Wadhams worked with representatives of Ram Welding of Naugatuck to attach a 2,500-pound steel archway onto concrete pillars at the main gate of the fairgrounds.The archway features “Goshen Fair” in gold letters and stands above a new stockade-style swinging gate that is attached to the concrete pillars. The pillars were built last spring and the gate went up during the summer.
COVID forces school, business closures; 3 more Dutchess residents reported dead
Geoffrey Wilson Poughkeepsie Journal
As Thanksgiving approaches, students of all ages prepare for a break and families reunite, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt throughout the region.
At least one Dutchess County resident died for reasons relating to the illness for five consecutive days, according to the most recent data available through Saturday on the county’s online COVID Dashboard. Three resident deaths were recorded on Saturday, marking the first time more than two had died on any given day since May 29.The Mid-Hudson Region’s seven-day average infection rate as of Sunday was 3.8%, behind only Western New York (5.1%) for the highest in the state. Ulster (2.2%) and Dutchess (2.7%) have the two lowest rates among counties in the region, though they still dwarf the sub-1% rates of the late summer and early fall. While Marist’s outbreak continued to decrease over the weekend – as of Monday its online dashboard showed just 13 students in isolation – two other local colleges had a brush with COVID as students leave campuses.
SUNY New Paltz announced 15 students had tested positive as part of the school’s mandatory testing of more than 3,000 students before they were allowed to end the semester. The school said 12 of the students live off campus and three live on campus; all 15 are now in isolation off campus.
As of Monday, 46 total students tested positive through the fall semester in addition to six employees, the school said.
As of Sunday, Vassar College’s online dashboard showed 15 students had tested positive on Friday, and the state’s online school report card for the school showed 14 total confirmed cases for the two-week period that began Saturday and stretches to Dec. 4. However, the number of positive cases on campus was just one on Monday, according to the school’s dashboard. That, the school said, was the product of an error in the laboratory testing the students’ samples
NY Senate Democrats, riding absentee wave, claim a supermajority victory
ALBANY – State Senate Democrats say they’ve seen enough: They will have a supermajority when they return to Albany in January.
On Election Day, a strong showing from Republicans had party leaders claiming they would cut into the Democrats’ majority in the Legislature’s upper chamber, billing it as a repudiation of one-party rule in New York state.
Then came the wave of absentee ballots that overwhelmingly broke Democrats’ way, making clear the party would actually gain seats despite the Republicans’ boasts.
By Monday, Senate Democrats claimed victory in 42 of the Senate’s 63 districts, enough to claim a two-thirds, veto-proof majority that will give them crucial final approval over legislative redistricting in 2022.
Thanksgiving travel down about 65 percent at Bradley Airport
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont urged people to stay home this Thanksgiving, and if they do gather, to gather small. To make it convenient for travelers getting off an airplane at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, there are now two COVID-19 testing locations. One is outside. The Connecticut Airport Authority and Hartford HealthCare just opened the outdoor drive-up testing site on Friday. It’s in parking lot three. It is available to the public without an appointment. Of course, travelers are welcome too. The other location is inside at baggage claim.Despite the increase in testing capabilities, many people said they’re opting to simply heed the governor’s, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s, request.The Connecticut Airport Authority believes it will have a slight increase this week, but still down from last year at this time. We are seeing 38 percent more than what we have been seeing over the last four weeks, but if you compare it what we normally would see this time of the year and what we have seen last year, it’s about 65 percent down.
Connecticut Teachers, school staff unions propose remote learning through Jan. 18
HARTFORD — Unions representing teachers and school workers are proposing a shift to all remote learning unless statewide COVID-19 protocols they are demanding are established and schools are fully staffed.
The Board of Education Union Coalition is seeking more detailed reporting of COVID-19 spread in public schools, changes in responses to detected coronavirus cases, and more consistent safety standards and enforcement statewide.One the union demands is that public schools with state assistance provide regular COVID-19 testing of students and staff to check for both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. Unless the recommendations are followed and schools are fully staffed, the unions said public schools should switch to all remote instruction after Thanksgiving through Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18.
Winter heating costs on the rise. What to do if you cannot afford to heat your home in New York.
Local leaders are worried the number of Mid-Hudson residents having trouble heating their homes will skyrocket this winter as the pandemic socks the economy and heating costs remain high.County officials and local poverty experts are touting various resources including the Home Energy Assistance Program known as HEAP – government aid to help low-income locals cover heating costs.Compared with last year, they think the local recipient totals for HEAP, which helps nearly 100,000 Hudson Valley residents, could rise sharply during the pandemic.Altogether, in 2019 benefits for HEAP, a state-funded, county-administered program, helped 34,738 in Westchester County, 16,275 in Orange County, 14,574 in Rockland County, 12,063 in Ulster County, 11,901 in Dutchess County, 6,256 in Sullivan County and 1,543 in Putnam County, according to the state.A single individual can earn up to $2,610 per month to be eligible for full HEAP benefits, two- and three-person households can respectively earn up to $3,413 and $4,216, while a family of four can’t exceed $5,019 to get the most available funds.Other factors also may be considered for eligibility, including the primary heating source and the presence of a household member who is younger than age 6, who is age 60 or older or permanently disabled, according to the state website detailing HEAP
Game Farm sold for $1.9 million
The former Catskill Game Farm, a beloved blast from Catskill’s past that attracted visitors from all over the world, sold last week for just under $2 million. The 150-acre site was home to more than 2,000 animals, including the celebrated April the giraffe, from 1933 until the business closed permanently on Columbus Day, Oct. 9, 2006, after 73 years of operation. Ben and Cathy Ballone purchased the former Catskill Game Farm property in 2012. They offered self-guided tours, camping and transformed the former giraffe house into a luxurious inn. “We want to thank you all for your tremendous support and following over the course of the nine years we have had the privilege of owning this local landmark,” the Ballones said in a statement on the Old Catskill Game Farm’s Facebook page. “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to shift our focus to other endeavors.” Cathy Ballone plans to focus on her wedding planning business, Cathy’s Elegant Events, according to the
CDC Thanksgiving guidelines: How to stay safe and coronavirus-free over the holiday
Low risk holiday activities
The lowest risk for contracting the highly infectious virus or spreading it is simply celebrating Thanksgiving in your own home with members of your household and/or virtually with extended family, the CDC said.
“Understanding that everyone has this traditional, emotional, understandable, warm feeling about the holidays — and bringing a group of people, friends and family together in their house, indoors — that’s understandable,” Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told ABC News during an interview Thursday. “But we really have to be careful this time, and each individual family evaluate the risk/benefit of doing that.”
People can prepare holiday food for non-household family members — especially those at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, and neighbors — and deliver it without contact. They can also host a virtual dinner as a means of mitigating any risk.
Moderate risk holiday activities
If you are going to host a Thanksgiving dinner, the CDC recommends organizing an outdoor event with family and friends from your neighborhood.
“Gatherings with more preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing … pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented,” the CDC advises.
The US should expect 20,000 more coronavirus deaths by the end of the month, former CDC director says
The US should expect 20,000 more coronavirus deaths by the end of the month, former CDC director says
Holiday activities with moderate risks for catching the coronavirus include visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard where people are using hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks and social distancing. Attending outdoor sports events, even with coronavirus safety measures in place, still poses a moderate risk of infection.
High risk holiday activities
High risk holiday activities include those where the probability of catching or spreading the coronavirus is greatest, the CDC said.
Large, indoor gatherings, dinners or parties, especially with people from outside your immediate family, pose the highest risk.
“Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings,” the agency said. “Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors.”
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on, but only in TV land
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on, but only in TV land
Gatherings that last longer are more dangerous than those that are shorter. And the more people, the higher the risk.
Traveling during the holidays, on planes or public transportation, increases the chances of catching and spreading Covid-19 because it increases exposure to the virus, the CDC said in its holiday guidelines.
“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” the agency said.But if you do plan to travel, take as many precautions as possible. Wear a mask, engage in social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others, wash your hands frequently, avoid anyone who is sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
78 COVID-19 cases in Berkshires over three days
The number of COVID-19 infections in Berkshire County jumped over the weekend, rising 44 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. Including Friday’s new cases, the number of new infections in the county rose 78 in three days.
According to the group CovidActNow, over the last week, Berkshire County averaged 32 new confirmed cases per day. The group notes that if sustained over the next year, that rate would bring 12,000 cases. The county’s confirmed case count is now 1,260. Meantime, the county’s death toll was unchanged over the weekend at 52, the state Department of Public Health said.
Cornwall selectmen to consider funds for group seeking high-speed internet
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
CORNWALL – A request for town funds for the Internet Committee was put off until further exploration by the group. Gary Steinkohl and Johan Winsser came before the Board of Selectmen last week. They are part of a group of volunteers who are working to find ways to bring high-speed network to all residences and businesses in the town. “This is not just nice to have, it’s a necessity,” Steinkohl told the board, which was missing First Selectman Gordon A. Ridgway, who was under the weather. He spoke of how connectivity is needed for telemedicine, commerce, communication and education. “It’s required to bring young families to Cornwall.” He said if Optimum or Frontier don’t come up with a plan, he hopes the committee will eventually have something to present to the town. The first step, said Steinkohl, would be a survey to determine what gaps in service there are, which would then lead to long-term planning. He said they were also going to ask about cellphone service, but decided not to. “We decided that wasn’t a mandate we felt we should take up.” Their hope is to get the survey out in January. The pair said they are seeking $500 to put an insert into the Cornwall Chronicle, the monthly newspaper that goes to all residents. They’d also like another $700 for a mailing. The plan is to compile and publish the results in early March. Selectwoman Marina Kotchoubey said she thinks people ought to be queried about cell service. “That’s an issue that needs to be looked at.” She said maybe the town could collate those responses if the question is added to the survey.
Once again the threat of COVID-19 strikes Region One with this note from superintendent Lisa Carter a few minutes ago￼ COVID Positive Notice Salisbury CentralDear Region One Families and Staff:We have received notification that a middle school student has tested positive for COVID-19. The affected student is symptom free and has been a distance learner since Friday 11/13. Close contacts (within six feet for longer than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period) include a staff member and a sibling in the elementary school. The student, who is symptom free, and the individuals who are close contacts will remain at home in isolation/quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health Districtand the Region One Medical Advisor.We will review the data about the positive cases in the middle school with the Board of Education tomorrow evening within the context of current safety protocols and discuss the need for any modifications.We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.Thank you for following the mitigation guidelines included in our correspondence earlier today. We are doing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us by maintaining vigilance in your homes as well. Please communicate with Mrs. Magyar or me regarding any concerns as they arise.
Minor earthquake reported in Massachusetts
A minor earthquake was registered Sunday in Massachusetts in roughly the same area where a more significant one struck earlier this month, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The agency’s National Earthquake Information Center reported a magnitude 2.0 earthquake about 5 miles from the Bliss Corner section of Dartmouth at around 1 a.m. No damage was reported as a result of the earthquake, according to Christopher Besse, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. A 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered off the coast of New Bedford struck on Nov. 8.
Enrollment in Connecticut’s schools drops 2.9% statewide as parents weigh their options amid the pandemic
BY MICHAEL PUFFER REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
The state has seen an 2.9% drop in public school enrollment, a relatively dramatic drop for a state that has seen enrollments inch downward for years.
The sharpest drops have been in pre-kindergarten, leading state officials to believe COVID-19 concerns have prompted parents to delay entry into early childhood education. There has also been a big increase in home schooling.
According to a recent state release on the decline, officials have begun collecting enrollment and attendance data monthly — rather than yearly — in an effort to identify patterns and apply interventions earlier.
Connecticut State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said this approach has helped educators cut the rate of disengagement among students who have opted to attend classes exclusively online during the pandemic, rather than attending classes inside of school buildings.
The state’s analysis found students from groups who typically struggle — those with special needs, those learning English as a second language and those eligible for free or reduced price meals — had lower attendance this September than in September 2019.
The biggest declines in early childhood education enrollments were seen in the state’s 33 “Alliance Districts.” These are the state’s lowest performing districts, which receive additional state funding and oversight, including, among others, Waterbury, Torrington and Naugatuck.
Enforcement of restrictions increases in Connecticut as COVID-19 cases surge
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
If you have more than 10 people for Thanksgiving dinner, a police officer isn’t likely to come knocking on your door, and any out-of-state guests traveling by car needn’t fret about dodging police checkpoints or roving patrols to get there. If you own a bar or restaurant, however, you better watch the state’s COVID-19 rules. Households in Connecticut are being asked to voluntary follow the state-mandated gathering limit on Thanksgiving, and, while 45 states are subject to Connecticut’s coronavirus travel restrictions, there is an exception for visits of less than 24 hours. People flying into the state also could find it costly to get caught violating the travel advisory’s reporting and quarantining requirements A few dozen travelers and people returning home from states with high infection rates found out the hard way. They paid fines ranging from $100 to $2,000. Unlike some states, there is no coronavirus curfew in Connecticut right now. Instead, the Department of Public Health is recommending people stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The time frame is most certainly targeted at the bar and restaurant industry, where health officials worry close interaction and the casual atmosphere could contribute to the spread of the virus.
Many in NY plan multi-family Thanksgiving gatherings despite Cuomo’s pleas
Jon Campbell New York State Team
ALBANY – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree: Gathering for Thanksgiving with friends and family from outside your household is a bad idea in the COVID-19 era.
Millions of New York residents seem intent on ignoring their advice.
A recent Siena College poll showed 41% of New York residents intend on gathering in person for Thanksgiving with people they do not live with, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and increasing infections across the state and country.
A larger share, 52%, said they are not gathering in person with friends or family, while 7% said they were unsure.
But the results suggest a significant portion of New York’s 19 million residents will flout state and federal pleas to forgo multihousehold Thanksgiving dinners this year, which Cuomo has warned will lead to a spike in COVID-19 infections in the weeks following the holiday.
Tradition, but modified: Thanksgiving being served to-go this year at the Guthrie Center
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
GREAT BARRINGTON — Not even COVID-19 could cancel this Thanksgiving meal.
This year, the annual free community dinner at the Guthrie Center will be served takeout style to accommodate for the pandemic. Samel’s Deli and Catering in Pittsfield is still cooking up and donating the feast, as it has for more than a decade. The Old Mill in Egremont is sending the apple crisp.
It’s all going into biodegradable containers, and ones that separate the gravy from the dessert, said George Laye, the center’s director.
So far, more than 60 people have made reservations for the meal that will be distributed on Thursday morning, and there’s food enough for 150 according to Laye. To make a reservation for a meal, call the Guthrie Center at 413-528-1955.
North Canaan Parade of Lights
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2020 AT 5:30 PM
A socially distanced event to allow the Town of North Canaan to unite in kicking off the holiday season by showing your spirit ! Decorate ANYTHING that can participate in the moving parade. Line up for the event will take place behind Stop and Shop at 5:30 PM. The parade will begin at 6PM and follow the following route of travel.Left onto N Elm to Route 44 and 7NRight onto 7N to Pease StLeft onto Pease then to Bragg then left on W Main StStraight onto Route 44 ERight onto Route 7S to 99 S Canaan Rd (Geer Nursing)
COVID-19 Update Sharon Center School and Sharon Daycare from Lisa Carter:
Dear Region One Families and Staff:We have received notification that the school nurse at Sharon Center School tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). During the time she may have been infectious, this nurse had limited contact with staff and students and no individuals have been identified as close contacts per CDC contact tracing guidelines (within six feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period). The staff member was mildly symptomatic and will remain at home in isolation according to direction provided by the Sharon Health Department and the Region One Medical Advisor. Since there has been no close contact in the school, there is no need to close the school or any classrooms at this time. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children to school given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.The affected individual visited the Sharon Day Care Center and may have had CDC-defined close contact with some of the staff and students at the daycare. Thus, out of an abundance of caution, the Center will be closing until December 3rd. Any staff as well as families whose children were in close contact with the affected individual are being contacted and the staff and children will remain in quarantine per CDC guidelines, the advice of the Sharon Department of Health, and the Region One Medical Advisor. Sharon Center School students who are siblings of children who attend the day care can attend school on Monday.We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we have received from the individual case. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy.As many of you may know, the number of new cases of Covid-19 nationally and particularly in Litchfield County have risen significantly in the last several weeks. As a reminder, COVID-19 is spread mainly via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. We urge everyone to continue to follow preventive measures with your children and family members:● Wash your hands frequently, but especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips. When soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.● Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze inside the elbow of your arm.● As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.November 21, 2020● Wear a face covering (mask) whenever there is a likelihood that you or your family members will be in the presence of others.● Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) between yourself and others when outside of your home.Below is the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which everyone should monitor in their family members:❑ Fever (100.4° Fahrenheit or higher)❑ Chills or shaking chills❑ Uncontrolled new cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough) ❑ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath❑ New loss of taste or smell❑ Congestion and cold-like symptoms. For additional information on COVID-19 symptoms, please see:https://www.cdc.gov/…/symptoms-testing/symptoms.htmlStaff and students exhibiting any of the above symptoms, or feeling ill, should remain home and call their medical provider to report their symptoms and ask about testing prior to seeking in-person care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital.We thank you all for continuing to be vigilant about daily screening, for following the safety guidelines and for communicating any concerns as they arise. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Manning, Carrie Ann Olsen or me. Sincerely,Lisa B. Carter
COVID cases in Germantown, Taconic Hills schools
By Natasha Vaughn Columbia-Greene Media
HUDSON — Several potential positive COVID cases have been identified in the Germantown school district and four positive tests have been conducted in the Taconic Hills district.
The Germantown district will be switching to remote learning until Nov. 30, the district announced in a statement. Two staff members were tested after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The results of those tests were not known Friday afternoon. All students will be remote learning on Monday and Tuesday, the two remaining instructional days before Thanksgiving break.
Seventh- to 12th-grade students at Germantown Central School District switched to remote learning after a student tested positive Tuesday. The remaining schools will move to virtual classes until the conclusion of
the holiday break, the district announced. The Germantown district is expected to return to in-person learning Nov. 30, after the Thanksgiving break concludes.
Taconic Hills announced two students and two staff members tested positive for the virus. District Superintendent Neil L. Howard Jr. wrote in a letter to district families that 13 students and six staff members are under mandatory quarantine. “We encourage you to offer your full cooperation if you are contacted by a representative of the Health Department or the district,” Howard wrote. “If you are not contacted there is no further action needed.
While I understand that you may want additional details, privacy laws restrict us from disclosing or confirming any personally identifiable information.”
Drive Thru COVID19 Testing Site Monday November 23rd Kent Town Hall
We will be standing up a drive-thru COVID19 testing site this Monday, November 23rd in the parking lot at Town Hall from 10:00am – 2:00pm. New Milford VNA will be conducting the testing. This is a PCR test and you will receive results in approximately 48 hours. Please keep in mind that due to current lab capacities, testing is prioritized for those who are symptomatic or have had a known close contact with a positive case.
For planning purposes, please register using this hyperlink to choose either the morning or afternoon session.
Once you have registered, download the COVID19 Testing Consent Form. Forms also available at the Kent Station Pharmacy. Complete the fillable form, print out and sign it. Bring the completed form, along with a copy of your insurance card, with you. If you do not have insurance, just bring the completed form. ***PLEASE NOTE DOCTOR’S ORDER IS NOT REQUIRED***
Note: be prepared to wait in line. Due to demand, testing is on a first-come-first-served basis. New Milford VNA will have two nurses and they have conducted hundreds of these tests so the flow should move fairly quickly.
Other testing locations: There is an obvious shortage of testing sites in the Northwest corner. The State Department of Public Health recently reported that they are looking to add some sites in the coming weeks in our area.
If you are looking for testing and cannot wait to get tested on Monday here in town, visit the State’s 2-1-1 website and enter your zip code to see on a map nearby testing location.
Connecticut’s next budget plan projected $4.3B in the red
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature will have to close projected deficits of $4.3 billion in the next two-year budget plan, according to a new estimate released Friday.The legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis is also projecting a budget deficit of $901.7 million for the current 2021 fiscal year that will end next June 30. The combined $4.4 billion shortfalls over the next three fiscal years will exceed the currently projected $3 billion balance in the budget reserve fund.The OFA included the deficit projections in an annual budget forecast provided to the legislature’s two budget committee on Friday.The state Office of Policy and Management also released a separate report to the Appropriations Committee and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee providing its projections for the current budget year and the three succeeding fiscal years. OFA analysts said its budget outlook reflects the serious damage that the coronavirus pandemic has done to the state economy.
Hudson Hall Winter Walk
Cancel Winter Walk? No way! Do it safely? Absolutely! For the past 23 years, Hudson Hall has produced Winter Walk, Hudson’s beloved winter street festival. What began as a one-block party grew into Hudson’s most colorful event of the year and an important evening of trade for many local shops and restaurants. In 2020, we need Winter Walk more than ever. Our local businesses need support, and we know our community needs extra cheer and joy. We want to bring you Winter Walk: The Hudson Safe Edition – but we need your help! Please help us reach our goal so we can keep the Winter Walk spirit alive this December. Instead of a single night, it wll be 20 days of festive cheer! To Shop Local, Dine Local and Enjoy Hudson for the Holidays during Winter Walk with these Hudson Safe activities:
Fireworks (can be seen for miles, watch in place)
Sax-o-Claus solo improv down Warren Street
Late night shopping & dining at your leisure
Decorated shop windows
Santa’s Village at 7th Street Park
Christmas Tree & Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremonies
A COVID-safe Rip the Nut installation for families
Virtual visits with Santa from the North Pole
Free gift-wrapped books for every child
Please help meet the costs to bring Winter Walk 2020 to life by donating at this link
$60,000 grant awarded to Housatonic Valley Association
The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, a supporting fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, has awarded Housatonic Valley Association a $60,000 Habitat, Land and Environmental Protection Grant for its Follow the Forest conservation initiative.In announcing the grant, Tim Abbott, regional land conservation director at HVA, said it will allow HVA and its conservation partners in Northwest Connecticut to redouble their efforts to protect one of the most significant wildlife habitat corridors in the Eastern United States.
Section 1 delays swimming, track, gymnastics, skiing, bowling until Jan. 4
Rockland/Westchester Journal News
Just a few days after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association delayed high-risk winter sports until Jan. 4, Section 1 made a similar move with the other sports played during the upcoming season.The section’s executive committee Friday announced the expected decision to postpone low and moderate-risk winter sports until 2021.The move will push back the state date for indoor track, swimming, gymnastics, bowling, skiing and fencing to Jan. 4; they had been eligible to begin practice Nov. 30.
Connecticut passes 100,000 cases since start of pandemic
The state has now surpassed the 100,000 level in total cases of coronavirus, according to the Dept. of Public Health, as the Friday update provided no good news in Connecticut. The total number of deaths attributed to the virus is inching up, as well, although the rate of deaths is still far lower than it was in the spring at the start of the pandemic.
New York COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise. See the latest numbers
Jon Campbell New York State Team
ALBANY – COVID-19 remains on the rise in New York, with some areas of the state getting hit harder now than they did during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April. On Friday, New York reported 5,468 new coronavirus cases from the previous day, pushing the state’s total past 585,000 confirmed cases since the start of March. It’s the latest in a string of daily infections that rival those seen in late April in New York, when a huge number of cases in New York City and the surrounding area hit the state harder than anywhere else in the country. The increase is part of a large national surge in COVID-19 cases, with most states faring far worse than New York right now. But that’s likely of little comfort to central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, where coronavirus hospitalizations are at or near all-time highs.
State to repair bridges on I-90 in Becket, Otis
By The Berkshire Eagle
State crews will be repairing bridges on Interstate 90 in Otis and Becket from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Bridge repair operations in Otis will take place on I-90 eastbound mile marker 23. The work will require intermittent low-speed lane closures, according to a news release from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. In Becket, the repairs will take place at mile marker 15.9, and there will also be some low-speed lane closures. Drivers traveling through these areas should expect delays, reduce their speed and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and may be impacted by an emergency.
Great Barrington board appears poised to reject airport expansion permit
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
GREAT BARRINGTON — In what has been a long, lawyerly run-up to a likely decision Monday, the Select Board is poised to reject a special permit that would allow the construction of six hangars at Walter J. Koladza Airport.
At a seventh continuation of its public hearing, three of the four board members who can vote indicated that this permit will not fly, based on the legal standard set by the town’s bylaws.
“The benefits do not outweigh the detriments,” Vice Chairman Ed Abrahams said at the Nov. 9 hearing.
“We really don’t have much we could control,” said member Bill Cooke, speaking to state aviation rules that prevent the town from limiting, for instance, how many aircraft can be stored there.
Member Leigh Davis said she agreed on these points; Chairman Stephen Bannon remained neutral. Member Kate Burke had, at the start, recused herself since she lives near the airport.Four years after Berkshire Aviation Enterprises Inc. submitted a first permit application and dropped it amid controversy, it resubmitted the paperwork in March with a new plan for five hangars to hold 33 planes
The Planning Board vetted the proposal in August, and found that storage on concrete pads indoors is safer for the environment than tying them to the ground, as most aircraft are now. One concern is the aquifer beneath the airfield that runs the length of the town to the Connecticut border.
In a flood of letters to the board, residents and aviators say the roughly 90-year-old airfield is a community asset that should be supported. They say safety would be improved by keeping planes inside garages.
REGION 1 COVID-19 UPDATE 4 PM 11 19 2020
Please see the letter below from Superintendent Lisa Carter reviewing the current situation with respect to the rise in positive COVID-19 cases and the Region’s plans going forward.
I hope that this letter finds you and your family well. Given the recent series of letters that you have received from our schools and from my office, it is a good time to review the current situation with respect to the rise in positive COVID-19 cases and Region One plans going forward. As you know each one of the school districts has experienced at least one positive case of COVID-19 as
The most recent cases have emerged on the heels of one another and in the midst of overwhelming State and national news, so it is not a wonder that we may all be feeling anxious by their appearance. These cases are concerning as they indicate the presence of some community spread, but as has been true since the beginning of the school year, there has been no transmission within our schools. As we have communicated to you in the past, our students and staff are distanced from one another, everyone is wearing a face mask and washing hands frequently. Where possible, students are placed in grade level cohorts and their movement throughout the buildings is limited. Our facilities management and custodial staff adhere to strict expectations and
routines with regard to cleaning. Finally, only staff and students are allowed in the school buildings. When cases do arise, they are readily identifiable and containable and we have made safe and conservative decisions with regard to closing school and/or classrooms. We feel that the mitigation strategies are working
and that our staff and students are as safe as they can be while in school.
In addition to the mitigation protocols that we follow in our buildings, I meet several times a week with the CT State Departments of Education and Health, the Torrington Area Health District, the Litchfield County Superintendents’ Association (LCSA) and with our Medical Advisor, Dr. Suzanne Lefebvre.
They know our School District Month Total Number of Cases to Date
Canaan – Lee H. Kellogg October 1 community member
Cornwall – Cornwall Consolidated School August 1 staff member Kent – Kent Center School November 1 student 2 community members
North Canaan – North Canaan Elementary School October
November 4 students, 2 community members
1 staff member, 3 community members
Region 1 – Housatonic Valley Regional High School October
November 1 student 3 students
Salisbury – Salisbury Central School November 1 student, 1 staff member
Sharon – Sharon Center School October 1 staff member
At this time all of these groups are recommending that, based on our relatively low town and school numbers,we keep our schools open for in-person learning. However, the advice remains that we should be prepared to make a shift to distance learning if we see a serious uptick in cases that are widespread in any of our communities or if we begin to see untraceable transmission in our schools. An additional variable that may impact our ability to continue in-person learning is a lack of staff on any given day, now that the cold and flu season has begun. As we all know, the symptoms for these illnesses overlap with those of COIVD-19.
Teachers and staff have been instructed not to come to school when they are experiencing any symptoms of illness. The short list of substitute teachers may cause school closure if schools experience staff shortages due to teacher absence. Thus far, this has not been an issue. Administrators and teachers have collaborated to cover classes and we thank them for their efforts in this regard. All of the published literature that is about the pandemic and its impact on children indicates that it is better
for our students to be in school learning with their peers.
We also know that in-person learning is benefiting our students’ social, emotional and physical well-being. The CSDE and DPH do not think that arbitrary, date-based closures of school are warranted at this time. We will continue to consult with and work with school districts, local health departments and medical advisors
on individual decisions around closures, but are not recommending that districts proactively close for a prolonged period of time in anticipation of changes in disease prevalence. In-person education is too important for our children to disrupt their education further, unless and until local conditions specifically dictate the need to do so.
We are monitoring schools on a town-by-town basis and will make decisions with regard to the specific needs of each community. I am regularly in touch with Board of Education members to ensure that we are all in agreement about how to proceed as our situation changes. We respect the fact that the uncertainty regarding if or when any one of our schools may pivot to distance learning is unsettling; however it is a difficult time to plan beyond the hour or the day. We are doing the best we can to communicate with each
other and with all of you and to provide as much information as we can to help everyone understand the situation within each of our schools. Please be assured that we are poised to make a decision to switch to distance learning when necessary and that teachers and staff will work hard to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible.
Please reach out to me, your building administrators, or your Board of Education members if you have any questions. Thank you for your continuing vigilance with respect to protecting the health and safety of your families
As COVID cases mount, NY school districts go remote in advance of Thanksgiving
Katelyn Cordero Poughkeepsie Journal
At least eight school districts across the mid-Hudson Valley are closing the doors to their schools early for Thanksgiving break due to confirmed cases of COVID-19. All of Millbrook’s students and Arlington High School students were sent home early Thursday when the districts received positive reports of COVID cases in the morning Those schools will remain closed until after Thanksgiving weekend, Monday, Nov. 30. That’s the plan several districts are following, while engaging in remote learning on planned school days. However, some are already looking beyond the weekend. Pine Plains announced its high school will stay remote until early January. Spackenkill plans for one of its schools to remain remote following Nov. 30, and warned parents other schools may also go that route. School leaders have cited positive cases within school buildings, staffing shortages and an increasing infection rate across the region as the reason for full remote learning. According to state data and cases reported on district sites, as of Thursday public schools in the region have seen roughly 83 positive cases. As of Monday, the number was 49.On Thursday, eight districts in Dutchess County notified families that either the entire district or individual buildings will go full remote through Thanksgiving. “We have been in person learning for 10 weeks now and I believe, given the limitations, we are doing a great job providing a safe and wonderful learning experience,” Dover Superintendent Mike Tierney said. “… Currently I have not made any recommendations or decisions about a prolonged closure after Thanksgiving, we will monitor the positivity rates and requirements needed for us to decide our next steps.”
NY expands microcluster zones as virus spreads
By Kate Lisa Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Additional coronavirus microcluster zones expanded downstate Thursday, joining a growing list of areas across the state with stricter COVID-19 regulations to prevent significant community spread of the disease.
Rockland, Orange and Westchester counties have new, yellow precautionary zones for health officials to target with thousands of rapid diagnostic coronavirus tests. Zones were expanded to include areas such as New Rochelle, Ossining, Tarrytown, Yonkers and Peekskill in Westchester; Pearl River, West Haverstraw, Stony Point and Suffern in Rockland; and Newburgh, New Windsor, Middletown and Highland Falls in orange.
A yellow precautionary zone establishes a 25-person maximum for mass gatherings, requires schools in that zone to test 20% of students, faculty and staff, and permit a maximum of four people seated at a table while
dining.State Coronavirus Task Force members map each new COVID-19 case and study other factors, including thecause of the cluster, before designating a focus zone, said Gareth Rhodes, a leading member of the state task force and deputy superintendent and special counsel with the state Department of Financial Services.
Four Berkshire school districts opt in on rapid COVID-19 testing
By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
Four Berkshire County schools or school districts will take part next month in the rollout of no-cost rapid COVID-19 tests. In all, 134 school districts, charter schools or special education programs will take part in a program that’s likely to expand as part of the Baker administration’s drive to support in-person learning. Tests will be administered to students or staff who show symptoms of the disease while their school is in session. Only schools that have some form of on-site instruction were eligible to take part. Locally, the Berkshire Hills, Central Berkshire and Southern Berkshire regional school districts will take part, along with the Clarksburg School, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
ABC Recommendation for superintendent reccomondation
The Region One all Board Chairs Committee is recommending to all Boards the appointment of Lisa Carter to the position of Superintendent
Torrington closes all six public schools
BY LANCE REYNOLDS REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
TORRINGTON — A sharp rise in COVID-19 cases over the past week has spurred closure of all six public schools in the city. The Board of Education on Wednesday accepted Superintendent Susan Lubomski’s proposal for the entire district to transition into distance learning today through Dec. 4. Students and staffers will return to in-person learning Dec. 7. Those who want to stick with remote learning will have that option. After winter break, which begins Dec. 23, students and staffers will engage in distance learning the week of Jan. 4. In-person sessions will resume Jan. 11.
Berkshires logs 50 new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday
Berkshire County saw 50 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, but no increase in deaths. The confirmed COVID-19 case count climbed to 1,151, the state Department of Public Health said. The past three days brought 124 new confirmed cases in the county. As of Wednesday, 52 people in the county have died as a result of the highly contagious disease in the course of the pandemic.
COVID Positive at Salisbury Central School Update 4:50 PM 11 18 2020
Dear Region One Families and Staff:We have received notification that a middle school student at Salisbury Central School has tested positive for COVID-19. The person affected is one of two siblings of the student who attends HVRHS and was reported as a positive case yesterday. The other student/sibling has received negative test results. All close contacts (within six feet for 15 minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) have been notified and have been remote learning as a part of the action that was taken last Friday 11/13. The individuals who are close contacts and the student, who is symptom free, will remain at home in quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health District and the Region One Medical Advisor
COVID-19 CASE LOAD STILL RISING IN N W CT
Confirmed 2 Probable 0
Confirmed 13 Probable 0
Confirmed 40 Probable 2
Confirmed 28 Probable 9
Confirmed 495 Probable 77
Confirmed 17 Probable 1
Confirmed 67 Probable 4
Confirmed 38 Probable 2
Confirmed 29 Probable 0
Confirmed 955 Probable 48
HVRHS Family Member COVID Positive
Dear Region One Families and Staff:
We have received confirmation that a family member of an HVRHS staff member has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person does not live or work in Region One, has never been in the school building and has had no contact with any staff or students other than the aforementioned staff member. The HVRHS staff member has not been in school since last Thursday (11/12/20) and will remain at home in quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health District. There has been no close contact in the school so there is no need to close at this time. This case is not related to the notification that you received yesterday. We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.
Connecticut’s Coronavirus Updates: State’s positivity rate at nearly 6%
As of Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont said hospitalizations were at 816. Cases totaled 97,028. Deaths were at 4,784 since the start of the pandemic in Connecticut. Out of 34,135 tests administered, 2,042 came back positive. That leaves a positivity rate of 5.98 percent
Hartford HealthCare set to open second testing site at Bradley Airport
MIKE SAVINO, KAITLYN NAPLES
Hartford HealthCare is opening another coronavirus testing site at Bradley International Airport. The new site will be located at ‘parking lot 3’ at Bradley. Hartford HealthCare expects the new site to be up and running by Monday, just in time for holiday travel. It’ll be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Germantown goes remote for 2 weeks
By Natasha Vaughn Columbia-Greene Media
GERMANTOWN — Students in seventh through 12th grade in the Germantown Central School District will switch to remote learning until Nov. 30 after a positive COVID case. A secondary-school student tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the switch, the school district announced Tuesday. “The temporary change for just the secondary campus, which is seventh through 12th grade, is due to 12 staff members being in contact with the positive student, per the New York state guidelines,” said Germantown Superintendent Benjamin Bragg. “So they need to be quarantined to prevent any possible spread, since this
is the case where there is insufficient staff to manage in-person classes at the secondary campus at this time”.
New York COVID-19 test positivity hit 3.4% Tuesday, highest since May
Jon Campbell New York State Team
ALBANY – COVID-19 remains on the rise in New York, with some areas of the state getting hit harder now than they did during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April. On Wednesday, New York reported 5,088 new coronavirus cases from the previous day, pushing the state’s total past 570,000 confirmed cases since the start of March. It’s the latest in a string of daily infections that rival those seen in late April in New York, when a huge number of cases in New York City and the surrounding area hit the state harder than anywhere else in the country.
State ID’s fire-suppression system issue in fire at Jacob’s Pillow
BECKET — The state Department of Fire Services confirmed Wednesday that there were problems with a fire-suppression system at Jacob’s Pillow, where a fast-moving blaze Tuesday morning destroyed one of the venue’s two indoor stages. A cause has not been determined, and the fire is being investigated by the Becket fire and police departments and State Police assigned to the state Fire Marshal’s Office. An underground pump that pushes water from a small pond to the Pillow’s hydrants and sprinklers had failed, and so crews drafted water directly from the pond, said Mark Hanford, a retired Becket firefighter and former fire chief. An insurance company is investigating “issues with the fire suppression system,” the news release from the Department of Fire Services stated.
Please see the letter below from Interim Superintendent Lisa Carter regarding a COVID positive case at the North Canaan Elementary School.
Dear Region One Families and Staff:We have received notification that a staff member in the North Canaan Elementary School community tested positive for COVID-19. The classroom teachers, staff and students have followed all of the school safety guidelines with regard to social distancing and wearing face masks. However, out of an abundance of caution, all second grade students will engage in distance learning from Wednesday, November 18 through Tuesday, December 1. Students may return to school for in-person learning on Wednesday, December 2. The person affected and all close contacts (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a twenty-four hour period) associated with this case are quarantining and are symptom free. These individuals will remain at home in quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health District and the Region One Medical Advisor.We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that to share more than that would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. You may also keep your children at home to engage in distance learning should you feel that is a safer choice.
Jacob’s Pillow Statement on Doris Duke Theatre: as of 1pm, Tuesday November 17th
It sounded like a tornado: Fast-moving fire destroys theater at Jacob’s Pillow
Tuesday morning there was a fire on the Jacob’s Pillow campus in Becket, MA. Firefighters arrived around 7am and as of 1pm, were still on campus. The fire was contained to the Doris Duke Theatre and did not spread to any of the other buildings on the Jacob’s Pillow grounds; the entire theater is lost. No one was injured in the incident. A cause has not yet been determined. Jacob’s Pillow Staff are working closely with local officials on next steps. The Doris Duke Theatre opened in 1990, the second of the organization’s two indoor theatres on its 220-acre campus. For 30 years, thousands of dance artists, arts professionals, and audiences have created and experienced beautiful, transformational art in Doris Duke Theatre. “While we have lost some precious, irreplaceable items, those experiences and memories will last forever. We are heartbroken and we are relieved that no one was hurt. On behalf of everyone at the Pillow, we are grateful for the firefighters and officials who have responded so quickly to this devastating emergency on our grounds. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world we have already received. We will rebuild,” says Pamela Tatge, Jacob’s Pillow Artistic & Executive Director. “The Becket fire department was first on scene,” according to Becket select board vice chair Michael Lavery C. “The fire was a six alarm fire and six towns including Monterey were involved. The fire resulted in a total loss of the one building.”
Democrats see boost in Dutchess as absentee vote count nears completion
Saba Ali Poughkeepsie Journal
Democrats are seeing the boost they expected as the Dutchess County Board of Elections works through absentee votes submitted.The board, as of the end of the day Tuesday, had counted about 75% of the 30,928 absentee votes, excluding those not sent in on time or cured as per the state’s executive order, said county Democratic Elections Commissioner Beth Soto. They hope to finish up the county by Thursday. Though results are unofficial, the count has already provided some insight on who is expected to win their races, including which Presidential candidate was favored by county voters.Though President Donald Trump held a nearly 2,000-vote lead following in-person voting — a margin that was trimmed after Election Night when the board discovered there was an error uploading a small portion of its results — President-Elect Joe Biden picked up 17,094 absentee votes, as compared to Trump’s 5,602. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney more than doubled his lead on Republican challenger Chele Farley through absentee votes in the 18th Congressional race. The Democratic incumbent has picked up 7,796 votes in Dutchess to Farley’s 2,551, after holding a 133,198-126,956 edge in in-person voting. Maloney has already declared victory. Rep. Antonio Delgado has also declared a reelection victory in the 19th Congressional District race, and he, too, has seen his margin jump on Republican Challenger Kyle Van De Water through absentee ballots in Dutchess. After holding an in-person edge throughout the district of 7,248 votes, Delgado has added 8,634 absentee votes in Dutchess, compared to Van De Water’s 2,712. In the 106th State Assembly District, Democrat Didi Barrett is the unofficial winner. After holding a roughly 4,600-vote edge on challenger Dean Michael on Election Night, Barrett has added 6,503 absentee votes to Michael’s 2,023.
‘Boys will be boys’: Monterey man facing explosives charges says officials overreacted
MONTEREY — A man facing a slew of charges for allegedly making and selling homemade explosives says he and a friend created the devices simply for fun, using them to celebrate the Fourth of July.Gregory Murphy, 60, told The Eagle the devices were to be used as fireworks, not weapons, and only for the men’s personal enjoyment.There’s nothing to be concerned about,” Murphy said. “[Authorities have] blown everything out of proportion.”Murphy was summonsed to Southern Berkshire District Court on Oct. 22, after a concerned neighbor who saw what looked like “dynamite” tipped off police the previous week. A search of his home turned up an array of devices like “cherry bombs,” and materials that could be used to make explosives or start fires.
At his arraignment, Judge Paul Vrabel set a condition for Murphy’s release that he cannot possess firearms. Police say they removed the devices and detonated them at a secluded area, alarming residents with early-morning blasts.
Another new report out of Kent Connecticut on COVID-19 in the Kent Center School community:
Dear Region One Families and Staff:
We have received notification that two elementary school students in the Kent Center School have had close contact with a part-time caregiver who has tested positive for COVID-19. The affected person is symptom free, has never been in the school building and has had no contact with any staff or students other than the two aforementioned students. The students will remain at home in quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health Districtand the Region One Medical Advisor. There has been no close contact in the school so there is no need to close any additional classrooms at this time. This case is not related to either of the most recent notifications that you received yesterday and today.
We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital closes ER to visitors
TORRINGTON — Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is not not allowing visitors to its emergency room because of COVID-19. The hospital said it updated its policy Tuesday as an additional safety precaution. Visitors are still allowed for inpatient areas and are required to enter through the main front hospital entrance at 540 Litchfield St. All individuals will be health screened and have their temperature taken. Also closed is the hospital’s outpatient/blood draw entrance and Turner Coe Annex entrance.
The hospital’s medical office building at 538 Litchfield St. and all other CHH offisite facilities and provider practices including the Center For Cancer Care are not affected at this time. Inpatient visiting hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends. No visitors are allowed under the age of 16. One visitor is allowed per patient at a time for one-hour visit. For information, visit hartfordhealthcare.org/coronavirus. Updates are also available by texting keyword COVID19 to 31996. In addition, the hospital offers a 24-hour coronavirus hotline, 860-972-8100 or 833-621-0600.
Connecticut Gyms, restaurants, churches could be impacted if COVID-19 cases continue to rise
With the increase in COVID-19 cases, Governor Ned Lamont is taking a closer look at gyms, restaurants, and churches. Right now, restaurants and gyms are at a limited capacity and have lost money and continue to lose. Lamont mentioned during this news conference on Monday the possibility of scaling back on gyms, churches and restaurants. “We’re going to be looking at gyms, indoor dining. We’ll be looking at churches if we have to going forward. Those are areas where you have a little more likelihood of spread in comparison to retail and workspace,” Lamont said.
Columbia County holds third police reform meeting
By Natasha Vaughn Columbia-Greene Media
HUDSON — Columbia County held its third police reform panel meeting to consider changes the community wants to see in the county sheriff’s office.
The final 10 panelists spoke Friday at the meeting. “Collaborative is a key word,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell. “It
would be a mistake to frame this discussion as adversary process or an effort to impose top-down extension. Issues must be aired, but solutions must be crafted. The collaborative process should review the needs of the community by police agency and evaluate the department’s current policies and procedures.” Panelists were given five minutes each to share their thoughts and suggestions about police reform.
Here is an update from Region 1 Superintendent Lisa Carter with follow-up information on a COVID positive case at Kent Center School.
We have received confirmation that a family member in the Kent Center School community has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person is not a Region One student, has never been in the school building and has had no contact with any staff or students other than a
middle school student who is a sibling. Both individuals are symptom free. The family member and the student will remain at home in quarantine according to the direction provided by the Torrington Area Health District. There has been no close contact in the school so there is no need to close any additional classrooms at this time. This case is not related to the notification that you received yesterday. We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we
receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in
distance learning. Thank you for following the mitigation guidelines included in our correspondence earlier today. We are doing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us by
maintaining vigilance in your homes as well.
Connecticut Virus update: Hospital total at level not seen in state since late May
The spread of the coronavirus in Connecticut worsened since Friday with over 4,600 new cases reported (5.4% positive test rate). Furthermore, the total people hospitalized by the virus increased to a level not seen in the state since late May (757). Gov. Lamont, who reported that he tested negative on Monday after possible exposure, said the state is on pace to hit 100,000 cases this week (currently just over 93,000 since the start of the pandemic).
The town of Sharon has received a STEAP grant in the amount of $125,000
The town of Sharon has received a STEAP grant in the amount of $125,000, which will be put toward improvements of the Town Hall parking lot and the town-owned building next door, pictured at left, that houses Robin Hood Radio. First Selectman Brent M. Colley said he will seek a match of $60,000 from the town. The project will address drainage issues and allow for expanded parking spaces.
Lamont negative for virus
A quarantining Gov. Ned Lamont reported that he tested negative Monday for COVID-19 after a top aide tested positive for the viral disease late last week. The 66-year-old Lamont and several senior staff members remained in quarantine Monday after learning late Friday that Max Reiss, the governor’s communication director, had received a positive result from a routine test Thursday. Paul Mounds Jr. and Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief of staff and chief operating officer, said they were awaiting results from additional tests Monday. Mounds said he tested negative last Thursday, and a second test Saturday also came back negative. Geballe said he tested negative Thursday, too. The governor and senior staff are generally tested every Monday and Thursday.
Dutchess County COVID-19 active cases top 500; residents with symptoms asked to stay home
Ryan Santistevan Katelyn Cordero Poughkeepsie Journal
And 11 different municipalities within Dutchess County have at least 10 active cases of COVID-19. As of the last day of October, the county had 186 active cases. As of Saturday, the most recent day for which the county has posted data on its online dashboard, the county has 519 active cases. It’s total confirmed cases for the first two weeks of November, 620, outnumbers the county’s total for any full month since May. And while the county has seen an outbreak at Marist that topped 100 confirmed cases, at least 38 cases tied to a Fishkill rehabilitation center, and individual cases that have closed down area public schools sporadically, the full extent of the problem is not being attributed to organized gatherings. “The spread is coming from individuals who are getting really relaxed with friends and family,” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro told the Journal Monday, pleading for residents to increase their vigilance. “Individuals who do have some symptoms are not taking the appropriate cautions to distance themselves and to not interact with individuals whose health would be threatened.” Molinaro said it will take time and patience before normalcy returns to the region, as the infection rate remains high two weeks after Halloween and less than two weeks before Thanksgiving. According to the state, Dutchess’ seven-day average infection rate was 2.4% on Monday, more than double what it was a month ago but still the second-lowest rate among the seven counties that encompass the region. The Mid-Hudson region as a whole had an average infection rate of 3.6%.
New York’s COVID-19 restriction prompts cancellations at Mass MoCA
By Francesca Paris, The Berkshire Eagle
NORTH ADAMS — The parking lot at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art has fewer out-of-state license plates these days, with more than half of the states bordering Massachusetts now on its mandatory quarantine list.
New York joined the list of higher-risk states on Saturday. That addition meant cancelled tickets for the contemporary art museum in North Adams.
New York “represents a significant portion of our ticket buyers,” said Jenny Wright, the museum’s director of communications. “And we certainly saw an increase in refunds and cancellations over the weekend.”
She said she did not have an exact number because it was not clear which cancellations were directly related to the new restriction.
New York residents are now required to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Massachusetts or provide proof of a negative test result. The announcement from the state came Friday, just a day ahead of an “Auditory After Hours” event at the museum Saturday night.
Wright said the museum had to call reservation-holders from New York and ask them to self-report whether they had quarantined or taken a test. For those who replied they had not taken either of the two measures, she said, Mass MoCA cancelled the reservation and sent a full refund.
COVID HVRHS UPDATE 11/16/2020 4 PM
Dear Region One Families and Staff:I am writing to follow up with news about the two HVRHS students who were in close contact with a symptomatic family member last week. One of the students has tested positive for COVID-19, and the other is negative. The small number of individuals who were in close contact with the two students have been quarantined and will remain at home for fourteen days as per therecommendation of the Torrington Area Health District and our Medical Advisor. There is no further action to be taken. Thank you for following the mitigation guidelines included in our previous correspondence. We aredoing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us by maintaining vigilance in your homes as well. Please communicate with Mr. Strever, Mr. Schibi or me regarding any concerns as they arise.
COVID Positive Notice – Kent Center School 11/16/2020 4 PM
We received information today regarding a student in the Kent Center School middle school who tested positive today for COVID-19. The student has not been in school since last week and has hadlimited exposure to other KCS students and staff. However, out of an abundance of caution all students in cohort 6D will begin distance learning tomorrow Tuesday, November 17 and willreturn to school for in-person learning on Monday, November 23. Classroom teachers will be in contact with the families in this cohort as soon as possible with regard to log-in and schedulinginformation. Siblings of students in cohort 6D should come to school tomorrow, November 17. All close contacts with the student (students and staff) have been contacted and are quarantining forfourteen days according to the evaluation of the information provided to the Torrington Area Health District and our Medical Advisor. The student has a sibling in the elementary school who issymptom free and has been in quarantine since last week. Thus, there has been no close contact with other students or staff.We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPPA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what isallowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage indistance learning.
Connecticut governor Lamont asks Trump to extend National Guard virus support
Gov. Ned Lamont has requested that the National Guard be allowed to continue supporting the state’s coronavirus response efforts through the middle of next year. The governor, in a letter to President Donald Trump, also requested that the federal government pick up 100% of the cost of using those troops. The current authorization is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. More than 1,000 members of the Guard have been deployed in Connecticut during the pandemic, performing tasks such as setting up field hospitals, distributing personal protective equipment, assisting in nursing home inspections and helping to run COVID-19 testing sites. Between April 2 and Sept. 30, the federal government picked up the entire cost of those deployments Since Oct. 1, the state has been responsible for 25% of the cost.
The governor’s office said Monday that change is estimated to cost the state $2.5 million during the current authorization.
Cuomo: NY ready to tighten COVID rules
By Kate Lisa Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the possibility Saturday of implementing additional heightened COVID-19 restrictions in New York as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily increase as the pandemic rages with double-digit infection rates in more than 25 U.S. states and territories. The state Coronavirus Task Force and Cuomo’s top aides consider science and COVID-19 data when establishing new pandemic rules to help curb the expected spread of the virus through the fall and winter.“If the numbers go up, and they’re increasing, then you have to restrict activity,” Cuomo said Saturday afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “… It’s human behavior, and if those numbers go up, we stand ready to tighten the valve.”
So long to the NY Thruway toll workers. These are their stories.
Jon Campbell Brian Sharp New York State Team
ROTTERDAM –Terrie Fyvie is used to the curious looks she gets when she’s out and about. Sometimes people seem to recognize her but can’t quite figure out where from. It’s happened to her at the grocery store, at jury duty, anywhere she sees people from around town. Fyvie spent 25 years in a toll booth on the New York State Thruway, personally interacting with thousands of motorists as they entered or exited the state’s 570-mile superhighway system. For the last 10 years, she’s been a toll plaza manager. She’s developed relationships with her “regulars” — the commuters you can set your watch to, who pass through each day at the same time — and watched as their infants grew into kindergarteners and then into teenagers. Fyvie will enter retirement on Thursday, a well-earned end to a 35-year career. But it’s not entirely by choice.On Saturday, New York will flip the switch on an automated, cashless tolling system, ushering in a new era designed to improve efficiency and decrease congestion on the historic 66-year-old highway system connecting New York City to Albany to Buffalo. The long-awaited change, however, comes at a significant personal cost: About 1,100 toll collectors will be put out of work, marking the end to yet another basic human interaction — however fleeting it may have been — in the name of technological advancement.
Second suspect still at large in alleged mugging at Great Barrington pot shop
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
GREAT BARRINGTON — One man was arrested but a second suspect is still at large after police say the pair mugged a disabled customer Friday afternoon as he was leaving the Theory Wellness cannabis dispensary and retail shop on Stockbridge Road. New York State Police that evening arrested Shane Adams, 21, of Pine City, N.Y., and are searching for another man, according to a statement from town Police Chief William Walsh. Adams was held in jail over the weekend and will be extradited back to Berkshire County to face the charges. Police say that around 3 p.m. Friday the alleged victim, who uses crutches, was in the parking lot with his purchase when the pair rushed at him, and “one pushed him and ripped the product from his hands and fled in a car.” Great Barrington officers Samuel Stolzar and Tim Ullrich responded, and the alleged victim’s wife gave them the license plate number of the car in which the men fled. New York State Police out of Claverack worked with town police. Both Stolzar and Ullrich are continuing the investigation
Marist College lifts campus pause, sees decline in COVID-19 cases
Ryan Santistevan Poughkeepsie Journal
Marist College is reporting a decrease in COVID-19 cases relating to its community following an outbreak in which more than 100 individuals tested positive, including at least three employees. The school on Monday resumed in-person instruction for the first time in more than 10 days, but kept other restrictions in place with more than 71 active cases remaining relating to the school, according to its online dashboard. That included 17 students in isolation in campus housing and 54 in isolation off campus or at home. The school noted it has conducted more than 4,000 tests as part of the outbreak, the largest Dutchess County has seen at any individual entity while cases have soared across the county overall. The school has not specified how many total cases it discovered; After listing 39 total cases for the semester, including one employee, as of mid-October on its college dashboard, it was up to 168 cases as of Monday, including four staff members.
Power outages: Nearly 13,000 without electricity in Hudson Valley
Ryan Santistevan Rockland/Westchester Journal News
Nearly 13,000 Hudson Valley customers are without power after an overnight storm led to outages Monday morning.Con Edison is reporting 172 outages, with 3,795 of its customers without power. The estimated restoration time for Westchester County is 3 p.m. Tuesday with 2,753 customers without power. Of NYSEG’s outages as of 7:23 a.m., 447 of Dutchess customers are without power, including 64 customers in Putnam, 320 in Sullivan, eight in Ulster customers and 1,942 of Westchester customers.
Conn. judge denies bond reduction for Sandisfield sex offender
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
SANDISFIELD — A repeat sex offender remains in a Connecticut jail after a judge declined a request to reduce his bond so that he could be released while awaiting trial for allegedly stalking a teenager in August.
A public defender for Brian Hohman, 56, asked Judge Michael Wu in Torrington Superior Court to reduce the bond from $250,000 to $100,000. He said Hohman has a heart issue and high blood pressure, and that his father is ill and that the family needs help.Jongebloed argued that upon release, Hohman would be outfitted with a GPS monitor, and “scrutinzed to the fullest extent.” He would return to the family home in Sandisfield, where he has lived for two years. Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Eschuk said the bond is “very appropriate,” given that Hohman “is the subject of criminal investigations in two states.” In the stalking case, she added, Hohman continued to pursue the teen after he “made it clear that he was not interested in a relationship.”
Hohman served a six-year prison sentence, and his record shows 47 arraignments in the Berkshires on sexual assault charges, including rape of a child, that stretch from 1993 to 2017. In 2019 he was found not guilty of groping a young man outside a gym in Pittsfield.
Substitute teachers offered pay increases in Torrington
BY LANCE REYNOLDS REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
TORRINGTON – Finding enough substitutes amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for the city’s school district.To make substituting more appealing, the Board of Education has approved pay raises for building substitutes and classroom substitutes.Kim Schulte, director of human resources, told the school board’s budget subcommittee last week the district’s substitute fill-rate this school year has been around 42%, which has forced regular classroom teachers to sub in for those who are out of school.She said the district’s fill rate is about average compared to other districts across the state. In normal school years, the fill rate would be over 60%. The school board accepted Chairwoman Fiona Cappabianca’ proposal for daily wages to be $125 for both building substitutes, and classroom substitutes who are state certified. Classroom substitutes who don’t hold a state certification will get a pay boost to $115.
Virtual book talk slated for Thursday
KENT — —Kent Memorial Library and House of Books will sponsor a book talk virtually with author and Cornwall resident Roxana Robinson on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. She will be discussing the new edition of her biography “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life.”
New York to suspend new jury trials amid COVID surge
Joseph Spector New York State Team
ALBANY – New York courts will not convene new jury trials as the state faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks wrote in a memo to court staff Friday that any ongoing criminal and civil jury trials will continue, but new ones will not be held starting Monday. The move also allows the courts to comply with a directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week that limits indoor, private gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Sandisfield petitions state to allow fire, police employees older than 65 to work
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
SANDISFIELD — With a fire chief who has passed the age at which state law says he must retire, and with a police chief and most firefighters nearing it, voters at a Thursday special town meeting approved a petition to the Legislature to ask that it waive a law that forces public safety officials to retire at age 65 and push it to 70.In a 59-5 vote by secret ballot at the Department of Public Works garage, residents approved the petition that said that as long as the employee is mentally and physically able, they can continue to work public safety jobs.In the case of current Fire Chief Ralph Morrison, who turned 66 last month, liability concerns would change his role to a “fire chief administrator,” and prevent him from fighting fires, Select Board member George Riley told The Eagle.
Cuomo, northeastern states holding emergency virus summit this weekend
- By Michael P. Norton, State House News Service
Calling COVID-19 policy alignment among states ideal, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said he had called governors from the states surrounding New York to participate in an emergency summit this weekend. “I believe this situation is going to continue to deteriorate over the coming weeks,” Cuomo said, expressing concerns about “living room spread” over the holidays and the growth in cases among European countries. The weekend summit, he said, would involve the six northeastern states, their governors and their staffs. “The teams have been working together,” Cuomo said. “We want to make sure that we can align policies as much as possible, or at least be aware of what the other states’ policies are. The ideal is alignment. That is not a reality because different states do have different situations and they’re in different positions. But we believe we’re going to have to be taking additional steps and to the extent we can share information and align action, we’ll do that.”
Kent Town Hall to remain closed to the public
BY LYNN MELLIS WORTHINGTON Republican-American
KENT — Town Hall will remain closed to the public and business will continue to be conducted via phone or email to help ensure safety from COVID-19, town officials said. “You cannot, as a member of the public, come into the building, but we’re delivering every service that we need to deliver,” First Selectman Jean Speck said. Speck estimated 98% of town halls across the state are doing it the same way. She said any in-person meetings are being held outside the building.
Cuomo: NY ready to tighten COVID rules
By Kate Lisa Johnson Newspaper Corp
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the possibility Saturday of implementing additional heightened
COVID-19 restrictions in New York as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily increase as the
pandemic rages with double-digit infection rates in more than 25 U.S. states and territories.
The state Coronavirus Task Force and Cuomo’s top aides consider science and COVID-19 data when
establishing new pandemic rules to help curb the expected spread of the virus through the fall and winter. “If the numbers go up, and they’re increasing, then you have to restrict activity,” Cuomo said Saturday
afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “… It’s human behavior, and if those numbers go up, we stand ready to tighten the valve.”
Another new COVID-19 notification from region one this time the North Canaan elementary school
Dear Region One Families and Staff:We have received notification that two family members of a middle school student in the North Canaan Elementary School community have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected persons have never been in the school building and have had no contact with any staff or students other than the student who is in their care. The middle school student has tested negative and has not been in school for several days. The family members and the student are all symptom free. Per CDC protocol, they will remain at home in quarantine for fourteen days. There has been no close contact in the school so there is no need to close classrooms at this time.We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPPA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.We feel that it is helpful to continue to remind families about COVID-19 symptoms. Please monitor your child(ren) and yourselves for the development of these symptoms. If your child or anyone in your household begins to exhibit any of the noted symptoms, or are feeling ill for any reason, please call your medical provider to report symptoms. Testing for Covid-19 should be discussed with your healthcare provide
REGION 1 UPDATE ON COVID-19 AT HOUSATONIC AND SALISBURY CENTRAL
Mr. Strever and Mr. Schibi have completed their contact tracing and have notified a small number of individuals who were in close contact with the two students, who are still awaiting their test results. All of these individuals have been directed to self-quarantine until we know the results of the tests, at which time we will assess their return to school. If the tests are positive, those individuals who were in close contact with a positive case of Covid-19 will quarantine for fourteen days (close contact is defined as being within six feet for longer than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period).
Based on the results of the contact tracing and in consultation with Dr. Suzanne Lefebvre, the Region One Medical Advisor, we will be reopening HVRHS for in-person learning (following the regular hybrid schedule) on Monday morning, November 16.
Salisbury Central School
The affected middle school teacher has had limited contact with other middle school staff and students. However, out of an abundance of caution and after consultation with Dr. Suzanne Lefebvre, the Region One
Medical Advisor, we are making the decision to switch to distance learning for all middle school students
through the Thanksgiving holidays. Thus the school schedule is as follows:
● In-person learning will resume for students in grades PK-5 on Monday, November 16 at the regular
● In-person learning will resume for students in grades 6-8 on Monday, November 30.
All individuals who have been identified as close contacts with the COVID-19 positive individual have been contacted and will be in quarantine for fourteen days. We have notified the Torrington Area Health District
and have provided them with the information they require for contact tracing. Thank you for remaining vigilant about virus mitigation by following the guidelines and protocols that have been included in previous communications. Please communicate with me, Mr. Strever, Mr. Schibi or Mrs. Magyar if you have any questions.
Lisa B. Carter
WEBUTUCK UPDATE ON COVID-19
Webutuck Families and Staff
On the morning, November 9, 2020, the District was made aware of another
individual of our school community that has tested positive for COVID-19. This case was from our Webutuck Elementary School community. As you know, we have been preparing for this event for many months and have excellent collaboration with the health department as well as internal protocols. We continue to follow these protocols consistently to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff.T hat the expected return to our hybrid model will be scheduled for Tuesday, November 17. If there is any
update to this, we will inform you.
Dover Union Free School District Communication from the Superintendent All School Remote Learning
ALL SCHOOL REMOTE LEARNING
All Schools Remote Learning 11-13-2020On November 12 , we received information that a student at Dover Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. In line with our health and safety protocols, all Dover Schools will move to remote instruction. We are now conducting comprehensive contact tracing and will keep you informed as additional information becomes available.
PINE PLAINS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT COVID-19 UPDATE
Dear Parents and Guardians:
The junior high school grades 6, 7 and 8 began hybrid learning this week.
Thus far, things have gone smoothly.
I need to speak for a moment about our online health screener. You may have noticed that this week the questions in the screener changed slightly. The format is a little different and a question was added regarding whether or not your child is going to school that day. This information is extremely important to continue providing a safe environment for students. We ask that every parent complete the screener for their student(s) every day that they are to attend school.
I have stated in several of my letters that we hoped to have the high school return in the hybrid format on November 30th..the November 30th date is being reconsidered. While COVID cases in the Pine Plains area remain low, cases in Dutchess County and in the rest of the state are rising sharply. Schools in the County, including several of our neighbors have had cases among students and staff that have resulted in schools and in some cases the entire district returning to full remote instruction. Between now and Thanksgiving, students are returning from colleges that have, in many cases, gone full remote as a result of COVID outbreaks. Those students are potential sources of infection. The availability of testing has not improved and, in fact, the rise in the number of cases is making the wait for the more accurate PCR test to
be longer. As a result, of all of these factors, the district will reconsider whether a high school return on November 30th is the best course of action. We will look at the trend for the factors listed above and make a decision
on the high school to give parents time to plan.
HVRHS will shift to remote learning for all students on Friday, November 13. HVRHS COVID-19 UPDATE
Dear Region One Families and Staff:Thursday we were informed that two HVRHS students have been in close contact with a family member who is symptomatic and who tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution and to provide time to clean and organize contact tracing, HVRHS will shift to remote learning for all students on Friday, November 13. Mr. Strever and Mr. Schibi will alert everyone who has been in close contact with the students and they will follow up with information about student test results when they receive them. Per our established protocol, we will also be working closely with the Torrington Area Health District and Dr. Lefebvre, the Region One Medical Advisor.Mr. Strever will communicate with HVRHS families with regard to the reopening of school as soon as he has the information he needs to make that decision.From the latest news reports, you are likely aware that the number of positive COVID-19 cases is rising throughout the State. Thus, it is extremely important to remember that COVID-19 is spread mainly via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge everyone to continue to follow these preventive measures:● Wash your hands frequently, but especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips. When soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.● Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze inside the elbow of your arm.● As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.● Wear a face covering (mask) whenever there is a likelihood that you or your familymembers will be in the presence of others.● Maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) between yourself and others when outside of yourhome.Below is the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which everyone should monitor in their family members:❑ Fever (100.4° Fahrenheit or higher)❑ Chills or shaking chills❑ Uncontrolled new cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough) ❑ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breathNovember 12, 2020❑ New loss of taste or smellFor additional information on COVID-19 symptoms, please see:https://www.cdc.gov/…/symptoms-testing/symptoms.htmlStaff and students exhibiting any of the above symptoms, or feeling ill, should remain home and call their medical provider to report their symptoms and ask about testing prior to seeking in-person care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital. Please remember to email the nurses, Pat Rimany at email@example.com or Karen Grimaldi at firstname.lastname@example.org to report any news about symptoms, testing and test results.We are working hard to keep our students in school and thank you all for being especially careful at this time. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact any of us.Sincerely,Lisa B. Carter Ian Strever Interim Superintendent Principal, HVRHS Interim Superintendent: Lisa Carter198People Reached31EngagementsBoost Post