Thursday, December 3, 2015

Surprise! Medicaid benefits children

By Alex Ayala

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y —Bernie Sanders has advocated for a single payer healthcare in during his run for the democratic nomination for president.
Many Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio already disagree with the idea of Obamacare, thinking that it will not provide antiquate coverage for Americans and add to much money to the
This same mindset is what some think of Medicaid.
"Medicaid gets a really bad rap," Harold Pollack a healthcare policy expert said in a Los Angles Time article. "
Medicaid is full of misconceptions that some have including it's for people who don't work, just for poor people who do not work and that it is not as good as private insurance.
"We have almost 13,000 people in Clinton County on Medicaid" said John Reddon Commissioner of Social Services in Plattsburgh. “The majority of those 13,000 is probably without looking I might guess 90 percent are working or elderly.”
A survey from 2003 to 2013 of more than 80,000 children by the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins showed that Medicaid gives just as good if not better health care coverage for children. 
In the survey, children under Medicaid were "significantly more likely to received preventive medical and dental coverage then private insurance."
Of the children surveyed, more than 57 percent have private insurance, 13.6 percent  had Medicaid, 18.4 percent were covered by the government's Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP and 10.8 percent were uninsured.
And with 28 percent of children in Plattsburgh living in poverty according to the 2014 Fiscal Profile of the City of Plattsburgh by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, knowing this shows the success of the program no just in America but in the Plattsburgh. 
So why do Republicans like Cruz and Rubio and those who dislike it want to see it shut down?
The main problem with programs such as Medicaid is money. Reddon said in Clinton County alone, Medicaid cost $17 million a year.
‘If you want to lower Medicaid, the employer has to give higher wages,” Reddon said. “They need to provide medical coverage. They need to not put the stigma.”
And because of the misconception with Medicaid, people think the coverage is nowhere close to the coverage the private sector.
“The coverage is good if not better.” said Reddon. It’s probably better than most private.”
One example Reddon gave is the Heroin and Opium epidemic in Plattsburgh.
He said many private insurance companies for inpatient ones have a fail first philosophy. You have to fail an outpatient then they will consider you for inpatient. Or if you are an inpatient, the patient might be allowed only two weeks.
With Medicaid, you are given whatever you needed for help until things get better.
So what can people do to get rid of the misconceptions for Medicaid?
“It’s community response,” Reddon said.
Education Reddon said is one of the ways to tackle the misconceptions.

 “Its health insurance for low income people but their working low income people,”Reddon said. “We have an ethical obligation to provide the best health coverage that we can and it shouldn’t be based on by poverty or wealth.”


Local Club is more than just for breakfast

By: Alex Ayala

PLATTSBURGH, N.YBradley M Provost is a simple, honest, working man.
He works in retail, has a wife and two adopted kids and just moved to Plattsburgh four years ago from Vermont.
"My life revolves around four walls," he said.
Now he's the President of the Kiwanis Breakfast Club in Plattsburgh.
"It's the best thing to ever happen to me," he said.
The Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers who hope to create change to children and communities around the around. The Breakfast club was formed on Oct.1 1990 as part of more than the 7,700 clubs worldwide.
Don't confuse it with the Kiwanis Plattsburgh Club; The Breakfast Club is for those who can't make it to lunch.
The Kiwanis Club has their meetings at 12:15 pm, Thursdays at the Perkins Restaurant on Route 3 and the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm.
The Breakfast Club meets at 7:30 am every Tuesday.
The Kiwanis Club was also charted on April 11, 1929.
But though the club is young and small, that hasn't stop the club from donating and volunteering to many organizations in Plattsburgh.
The Breakfast Club, with only 15 members, help out with other community programs like Joint Council for Economic Opportunity in Plattsburgh, Ted K center, Boy Scouts, Head Start and many others.
One event is the JCEO Backpack program where the club help fill children's backpacks with food in the Plattsburgh City School District to help fight child hunger.
According to Feeding, a domestic hunger-relief organization that has more than 200 food banks, more than 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2014.
Twenty percent or more of the child population in 38 states and D.C. lived in food-insecure households in 2013.
Another event the club does weekly is Head Start reading, where a club member goes to the United Methodist Church on 127 Beekman St and read children books to the kids at the church.  
"We donate to so many different things it great to be involved with a group that is able to donate to so many different programs. It's very amazing," Provost said. "You hear these things and you think they only happen in large cities but it's happening in Plattsburgh."
The biggest fundraiser The Breakfast Club host is Dozerfest, where children get inside Dozers, move around the buckets and pick up dirt and rocks. They basically drive them with an instructor. Last time the even happened, the club raised more than $30,000.
Provost heard about the club because his wife is really involved in the community. His wife was involved with a project with the Kiwanis and when Provost came along to help, well let just say he joined when his wife did.
"I guess when she joined, I joined," Provost laughed.
And ever since then, it has been a life changing experience for Provost.
"It's just for the kids. It's always for the kid," he said "It about bettering out community and kids as a whole."
But beyond the club meetings and the events, nothing makes Provost smile more than seeing the kids have fun and getting excited.
"My favorite part is the smile on kids’ faces. That's my favorite part and knowing that we just made a kids day.”


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How far is too far when it comes to “SNAP” and other government funded assistance programs?

By Madison Winters

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.,— The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is a civil service program available through Clinton County. The program
Colleen Jennings works for the department of civil service. Jennings said there is a list of criteria that people have to meet before they can even apply for assistance.
Eligibility is dependent upon house hold income, being elderly of disabled, receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), receiving public assistance (TANF) or being homeless. Owning a home or car doesn't prohibit assistance.
If you meet the requirements the next step is filling out an application, this step is extremely important because if you are given assistance it is computed from the day you filed your application Jennings said.
Justine Conti and her husband Marty have received SNAP assistance for just over a year. The couple said that the decision to apply for assistance was a difficult decision.
Justine Conti said she didn't want people to think that she was just “taking advantage of the system.”
She thinks that some parents are afraid to ask for the assistance that they really need because they are worried about how that could affect the way other people view them.
“After I had my second child we really struggled to put food on the table every night,” Conti said. “It was embarrassing to apply, but I'll deal with a little embarrassment if that means my kids can go to sleep without being hungry.”
Mark Conti said that the hesitation to apply put the family in a tough position, they wouldn't have enough money to last up to 30 days until they could receive assistance.
“We asked them if there was anything we could do to receive assistance sooner,” he said. “When they explained the expedited snap to us and told us that we qualified it was like a gift from heaven.”
Usually it takes up to 30 days to receive assistance but if you qualify for expedited SNAP you can receive SNAP within 5 business days. You do not need to be out of food to apply for expedited SNAP.
According to Jennings Conditions for eligibility include, a household with less than $100 cash and other available resources, Will get less than $150 in gross income during the month that of application, if the household income and available resources are less than the cost rent or mortgage, plus heat, utilities and telephone or if the applicant is a migrant or seasonal farm worker.
SNAP is trying to make receiving assistance more convenient for their clients through the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. The card is very similar to a regular debit card that you could have through your local bank. The new system works is by provides the client with a card that is easy to use and much more discreet, giving the user anonymity that wasn't possible with the old system. Mary
Waters has just started using the EBT card, she thinks that the card takes a lot of the “shame” out of going to the grocery store for the who are on an assistance program.
“There's always the people that look at you like your just some scum looking for a free hand out,” she said.
Water's thinks that there a large portion of people who receive assistance and use it for things like beer, cigarettes and other non-essential items. Waters said that people who make those purchases with their assistance benefits give the entire process a “bad name”.
“Now I can just swipe my card and the only person that knows what I'm doing is the cashier,” she said. “I only use my card for food that my family needs but still it's nice not to be grouped with people like that.”
There are a few requirements that come along with receiving assistance, if you qualify for SNAP, you may require to see the New York Works councilors at Clinton County Employment and Training Administration (CCETA). The CCETA conducts interview of prospective clients and places them in a Job Readiness program that requires the client to be present for a total of 21 hours a week. The clients are also given 4 to 6 week window for training.
Alexandra O'brien works with Job Readiness program. She said that during the orientation clients are informed of the realities of present day job markets, expectations and guidelines that are necessary to gain and retain employment.
“We talk about child care and transportation and then it gets down to the real stuff,” she said. “Like labor market, assistance with interview skills, assistance with resumes, assistance with job application and dress code and conduct.”
O'brien said that it makes her proud to see some of her clients years later and see how far they've come and how much the assistance and the benefits that go along with it have changed the lives of beneficiaries.

“At the end of the day we could all use some help sometimes,” she said. “The important part is realizing it's OK to ask for it.”

NCAA rule change meeting

By Kyle Richardson

PLATTSBURGH—Over the summer of 2015, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel meet and approved a collection of proposals and areas of focus in men's and women's basketball for the upcoming season. Officials will be looking to improve the pace of play, a more balanced offence, and a reduced physical aspect to the game.
            The main areas that will be changing are shot-clock changes, perimeter defense play, physicality in post play, moving screens and freedom of movement for off-ball players. 
            Officials are being told to emphasize no hands when defenders are playing perimeter defense.  Defenders are expected to move their feet more instead of using hands to keep who they are defending in front of them. This change is concerning for some coaches.
“I feel this is great for ball handlers however, not every official calls fouls the same way so one game officials may let guys play and another game refs will all every hand check. That slows down the pace of the game,” said Plattsburgh Men's Basketball assistant coach Derrick Denteh.
Post play is another key change the NCAA made for this season. Defenders can be more physical in the post and can now use an arm-bar when getting backed down in the post. This change was enforced in efforts to evening the playing field for defenders. 
“The arm bar was a great change in my opinion, it allows post defenders to use our strength more efficiently in the paint and doesn't give offensive players the advantage,” said Majestic Griggs, center for Plattsburgh State.
Another change in efforts to improve pace of play is the shot-clock change. The new shot-clock is 30 seconds instead of 35.  The last time the shot-clock was reduced was 1993 when it changed from 45 seconds to 35 seconds.
Denteh approved the change in shot-clock. “Being a team that likes to get out and run the floor, the change doesn't really affect, the biggest impact it has is on defence because we like to press and when we press, it gives the offense less time to set up offence.”
In the past, players were not allowed to dunk during warmups. If a player dunked and the refs saw, it was a technical foul and the opposing team would get two free throws prior to the start of the game. This season however, players are now allowed to dunk freely without penalty. 
“This change allows players to loosen up more during warmups and put on a little show for fans, however I see how some refs may not like it because you risk injury or breaking the rim before the game even starts,” said Shamoy McIntosh, student assistant coach pr Plattsburgh State.
In women's basketball, the biggest change was the switch to quarters instead of halves. Two 20 minute halves was the norm for college basketball; however now in women’s basketball, there are four 10 minute quarters. This change was endorsed by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors. Teams will now be in a two shoot bonus after the fifth foul in each quarter.
“It makes the game so much longer and more stop and go rather than consistent up and down play.  The biggest plus is the removal of media timeouts,” said Jalyn Brown, women’s basketball player at CW Post University. Media timeouts used to be called every four minutes and with the change to quarters, the media timeout was removed.
Ailayia Demand, point guard at Lemoyne College sees the change in a more positive way. “I think it give teams a chance to regroup after each quarter and evaluate the game rather than waiting until half time.”

  The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel made these changes in efforts to improve the game. This year is a big experimental year and the panel will be evaluating how these changes affect the game.  


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Games for the greater good

By Madison Winters

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The first Special Olympics International Summer Games took in 1968. The organization has grown into 226 worldwide locations serving hundreds of thousands of volunteers and participants. The Olympics feature over 30 Olympic-style individual and team sports that provide individualized training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
According to its website,, the goal of the organization is to “Encourage people with intellectual disabilities to discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success.”
Rogers is the communication liaison for the national branch of the Special Olympics. Rogers is responsible for connecting regional branches to venues and providing the funding necessary to execute the events.
“At any given time, we're planning 45-50 Special Olympic events,” she said. “Whether it’s a pancake breakfast for local participants and sponsors or the Olympics themselves, there's always something in the works.”
Rogers said that seeing the athletes find happiness and gain a sense of accomplishment it what gets her though the stressful days at work.
Martha Rhodes is the manager of the capital region branch of the Special Olympics.
Rhodes works with athletes, coaches and volunteers from Albany, Columbia, Greene, Hamilton, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie Washington and Warren Counties.
Rhodes first encounter with the Special Olympics was in 1981 during her sophomore year of college.
Rhodes was newly inducted into a sorority and was looking for community service hours.
“My professor’s son was participating in the games that year, he knew that they needed more volunteers so he mentioned it during class,” she said. “I went straight to the community service office and signed up for a variety of tasks.”
Rhodes said that after seeing the smiles on the participant’s faces and noticing how much this organization really does change the lives of so many people, make her change career paths. Rhodes graduated with a degree in business and began her career with the Special Olympics two weeks after graduation.
Rhodes day to day responsibilities center on communication with the national board for the organization. She sends approximately 100 emails each day. She said that each day she receives 10-15 “Thank you” messages. She said that those messages are what motivate her to work harder each day to make each event one that each participant, family member and onlooker will remember for a life time.
Plattsburgh resident, Katie Conelly, has grown up attending the Special Olympics and fund raising event's for the organization. Conelly looks forward to attending the Special Olympics each year because she understand the lasting impact they can have on participants, family member and people who come to show support.
“The morning of the games, I wake up with a smile on my face,” she said. “being a part of something so special to someone that I love means the absolute world to me.”
Conelly's younger brother Noah, born with Downs Syndrome, participates in the Special Olympics each year. The family attends event for the Olympics year round, but nothing compares to the excitement on the day of the Special Olympics.
“I can never sleep during the night before the Olympics,” Noah Conelly said. “When I wake up I eat a big breakfast so I can run really fast.”
Noah said that the two hour drive to the venue where the Olympics is very serious. Noah doesn't speak because he wants everyone to think that he's thinking about his events.
“But I'm just too excited to talk really,” he said.
Noah said that volunteers, like his sister Katie, are what really make the games “so fun.”
Katie said that each person volunteers for a different reason but at the end of the day its all about making the day special for the participants.
“Some of them count down the days until the event for an entire year, you have to make their dreams come true,” she said.
Emily Defrancesco attended Plattsburgh's polar plunge this past Sunday at Plattsburgh City Beach to support a friend’s uncle who has Down Syndrome. Defrancesco said she really enjoys the event because it shows how much people really do support the organization and all that it does.
“Waking up early to jump into freezing water certainly isn't my idea of a perfect morning,” she said. “Watching the wall of people run towards the ice cold water with smiles of their faces, that to me is what makes it all worthwhile.
This year marked Martha Matthews fifth, participating in a polar plunge. Matthews, a Plattsburgh resident, works with children diagnosed with intellectual abilities. Aside from participating in fundraisers and donating to the organization, Matthews volunteers every year at two separate Special Olympics.
Matthews said that the atmosphere of the polar plunge is what really sets it apart from other events.
“There's always music, people are dancing and singing,” she said. “Seeing the group costumes are one of my favorite parts, some people are so creative.”
Matthews said that while running toward the water she enjoys seeing the smile on the faces of the Special Olympics participants. After the plunge, there are always enough hugs and towels to go around she said.
Matthews said that her daughter participated in the plunge last year and forgot to bring a towel, so she took Matthews while she was still in the water.

“I was freezing. I felt a little hand touch my back and I turned around and saw a little boy holding a towel, a hat and some hot chocolate.” Matthews said, “He looked at me and said “Thank you for doing what you did, I really like playing sports and you are helping me do that.”


Child advocacy center

By Noelle Tedford

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.--The Clinton County Health and Safety committee meeting was held on Monday Nov. 9, 2015. The committee consisted of Robert Hall, public safety and county legislator; Jonathan Beach, county legislator; John Gallagher, county legislator; Pete Keenan; Michael Zurlow, county administrator; and Robby Timmons, legislator elect.
            During the meeting Richelle Gregory spoke about the Child Advocacy Center. The CAC is a child-focused center that facilitates the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse while helping abused children heal mentally and physically. Gregory runs the CAC for Clinton County, Essex County, Franklin County and St. Regis Mohawk County.
            “Our mission is to decrease trauma to victims for children of sexual and severe physical abuse,” said Gregory. “We decrease trauma by having a child-friendly interview station, instead of in the home where the perpetration probably occurred.”
            Gregory works with a team of professionals including: Department of Social Services, state police, city PD, mental health, probation, medical home, pediatrician, and the District Attorney. Outside of her disciplinary team Gregory partners with Beekmantown Central School. Technology has provided a breakthrough for CAC with the process of reporting abuse. Across the street from Beekmantown Central School is a room with a satellite feed to the school. This allows for victims to report abuse without people in the school becoming aware of CPS and CAC conducting an investigation. This helps the child remain more discrete during their reporting process. Beekmantown is the first case study to do this.
            The CAC opened in 2009. In 2010, 90 children reported being victims of abuse. That number is up to 230 for 2015 states Gregory. With the use of CAC centers children feel safer and more secure.
            “It’s about creating a safety net for these kids and the better our net gets the more children we can bring in with community education and better services,” said Gregory.
            Rich Holcomb, the Deputy Commissioner at Plattsburgh Department Social Services explained that the relationship between DSS and CAC is a very strong one.
            “CAC works closely with our CPS unit,” said Holcomb. “They provide a nice environment for kids to help reduce trauma.”
            Another member of the DSS is Christine Peters. Peters is the Director of Legal and Services for the Foster Care branch.
            “Basically the CAC is designed to minimize impact of trauma on children. We try to be the single point of access interviewing at CAC in a child-friendly environment,” said Peters. “Our review team coordinates any examination or procedures that need to be done right at the CAC.”
            Eliminating multiple interviews and examinations is a huge benefit for the abused child’s psyche. Instead, children are brought to the CAC where they tell their story to their assigned case manager. While the story is told law enforcement, lawyers, and CPS listens from behind a mirrored glass window. This way the child feels safe and is familiar with the case manager. The hope is to minimize trauma and proactively seek the appropriate measures to begin the healing process.
            Recently the CAC was given a new vehicle for transportation.
            “How are you making out with the new vehicle,” asked Hall at the Health and Safety meeting.
            Gregory explained that she decided not to detail the new vehicle with the CAC logo for confidentiality purposes. The CAC wants children to feel as safe as possible in every aspect of recovery. With her annual grant, Gregory recently brought in Cory Jewell Jensen. Jensen has been working with child abuse cases for over 50 years. Jensen travels around speaking to and educating communities on how to treat and protect from child abuse.
            Legislator Zurlow said: “The program has been good and it hasn’t cost us a nickel yet.”
            Child abuse is a delicate matter that must be approached with the utmost caution. Gregory and her team at CAC are providing a safe-haven for children to go and recover from seemingly devastating situations while, at the same time, working with the abusers to make sure the abuse doesn’t continue.


A different type of christmas gift

By Vicky Scott

This year, 104,000 children are in need of a very special Christmas gift; the gift of a home. The U.S. foster care system in Plattsburgh is looking for people to give this gift this season.  
Prospective adoptive families don't have to have a lot of money or own their home. Parents can be married or single. A prospective adoptive family must demonstrate that they can provide a permanent home for a child or a sibling group, and they can provide a safe environment and support the child’s physical health, mental health, and educational and social needs. Could you be the perfect parent to one of them?
Breanna Miller, a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh with a 4.0 GPA in the hospitality, tourism and restaurant management program, was in foster care until the age of 5, when she was adopted by Jamie and Brian Miller. Breanna was only placed in two other homes before she met Jamie and Brian. During Breanna’s time with them, her birth parent’s parental rights were terminated and she was eligible for adoption. After spending over a year with her, Jamie and Brian knew they wanted to make her a permanent member of the Miller family.
“It was a lot of paperwork and course work to ensure we knew what we were signing up for; it was certainly worth it,” said Jamie. Brian explained the process took 15 months between the orientation, preparation classes and home study requirements but was easier because Breanna was already in their home as a foster child, making the transition smoother.
Martine Lamar, a retired police officer, explained that transitions from home to home are usually not as smooth when there are serious custody issues or the child has experienced abuse from their original home. “I can not tell you how many times I was called to locate a missing child who was in foster care and ran away from home. It is very disheartening, they need some place they feel safe and welcome,” said Lamar. Foster care and adoption are not for everyone, said Lamar, which is why it is crucial for people to undergo the orientation and classes to fully understand what it is like to bring another person into their family.
If the experience is poor for the child, the behaviors at home will carry over into their school day.
Chelsea Strong, a childhood education major at SUNY Plattsburgh, has experienced this first hand. While she has worked in a handful of the local schools, she has noticed which children have been struggling academically and socially because of tension at home. “We do everything we can for them while at school so they can feel accepted and safe. We are aware of the students who are in foster care or are in the process of being adopted and we do our best to make the transition smooth for them in the classroom,” said Strong.
“I was so lucky to have a smooth transition from foster care to being adopted,” said Breanna, “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” Jamie and Brian helped Breanna get involved in basketball and lacrosse at a young age and would help her with homework after family dinners. The Miller family visited Plattsburgh and Breanna has been excelling since she arrived. Brian said, “We are very proud of everything Brea has accomplished; we are proud to call her our daughter.”


Skunks, foxes, and raccoons, oh my!

By Sarah McMullen

PLATTSBURGH N.Y.- Seven Plattsburgh City council members gathered around a mahogany table on November 12, 2015, at 5:30 in the evening. The members began rapidly tabling, approving and denying possible events, projects and laws. There was little hesitation when many topics arose. However about half way through the meeting there seemed to be a disagreement about a pending law.

            The law pending law being discussed was in regards to wild animals being a nuisance is the surrounding community. The law states, “ Harboring, Keeping or Feeding pigeons, and Other Animals Unlawful “No person, firm corporation, or association shall intentionally feed, harbor, or keep any pigeons and other wild animals, including but not limited to raccoons, deer, skunk, opossums, coyotes, birds, squirrels or fox within the City of Plattsburgh, New York. This section does not apply to bird feeders.”
            City council member, Mike Kelly stood his ground when the subject of the pending law came up. Kelly was unsettled by the wording of the nuisance declared. “The unnatural present of pigeons, and other wild animals, including but not limited to raccoons, deer, skunk, opossums, coyotes, birds, squirrels or fox, in the City of Plattsburgh, New York is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, the same being a menace to the health of the community.”
            Kelly felt that skunks and a few of the animals listed should not to be known the community as a nuisance. Kelly said, “ I even find skunks to be enjoyable from a distance.”  Kelly persisted that the wording of the nuisance declaration be changed so that it is more respectful to the animals and so that the law would not be taken out of context by residents.

            Kelly’s remarks were quickly countered by city council member Dale Dowdle. Dowdle agreed with the nuisance declared. Dowdle brought up a few instances when community members had found the animals stated in the law a nuisance. Dowdle said, “Someone thought a fox killed their dogs. There was evidence because of the paw prints in the snow.” Dowdle also went on to say that there had been times when skunks have gotten in people’s houses and that created havoc.

            However, veterinarian, Sarah Cutler, voiced the importance of watching your animals when they are outside. Throughout Cutlers years of practice she has seen the worst animal attacks on both dogs and cats. Cutler said, “Though it is your property it is still nature and wild animals don’t know a property line. They could possibly see your animal as a threat and that is why many domestic animals are attacked.” Cutler stressed that feeding wild animals can also contribute to the level of comfort and dominance that wild animals have around your property.
            A Resident of the local area, Katie Laporte, who also attended the council meeting that night was in agreement with Dowdle’s remarks. A few nights earlier prior to the meeting Laporte was walking to her apartment’s parking lot when she noticed a fluffy black and white animal hopping between the parked cars. Laporte’s car was parked on the other side of the lot so she had to walk in the complete opposite direction to reach her car. Laporte was also in a rush and found that the skunk’s presence was frustrating. Laporte said, “It was so annoying. I had to walk around my entire house to get to my car because I was afraid I was going to get sprayed.”
LaPorte isn’t the only resident having problems with animals being where they shouldn’t.
            Nicole Hoffman, a local to the area explained her experience with a squirrel  coming into her house while she was unloading groceries one day. Hoffman said, “One day I was taking the groceries out of my car when a squirrel ran inside my house while my front door was open. It took me about an hour to finally get it out of my house.” Hoffman was completely agitated because of the amount of germs that a squirrel has and how she had to clean her house because she didn’t want to take any chances getting sick.

            The adoption of this law was passed with a 3 to 2 vote. There is now a strain on the residents’ interaction with the wildlife. This law stresses to let the wildlife be, so that the residents will no longer be bothered. Locals hope that these animals will return to seclusion so that resident’s everyday activities can continue to be uninterrupted by such nuisances.


Child support enforcement

By Kyle Richardson

PLATTSBURGH—Children are the focal point when it comes to enforcing Child Support.  The purpose of Child Support is not to punish or inconvenience a parent, but to ensure children receive the necessary financial support from both parents.
            According to, If you are a teenage father, your child and New York state sees you not as a teenager but a father, therefore you are responsible to provide for your child. You are required to pay child support until your child is 21 years old, even if you are a student or do not have a job. Even if the mother gets married or receives temporary assistance you are still obligated to pay child support. 
            “Child support should uplift the family and sometimes hurt and emotions from divorce or separation stand in the way of doing what's best for the child,” said Derrick Denteh, Plattsburgh resident and school counselor. “If the amount asked is incompatible to the financial stability of the parent then I think there should be a compromise, in some instances parents have used it for their own benefit.”
            To apply for child support you have to go to your local Child Support Enforcement Program and they will help you find absent parents, legally prove who is the father, obtain child support orders, enforce child support orders and collect and pay out child support. 
            You are required by law to pay your child support.  If you do not pay, the amount you owe adds up and is called arrears which collect interest. Child support collects arrears and interest by garnishing your wages, take your state and federal income tax refund, seize your bank account, suspend your driver's license, deny your passport renewal, suspend your professional and occupational license and request jail time.
            Jade, local resident, agrees with child support but acknowledges flaws that may be in the system. “I agree with child support; however, as far as the system is actually run, the sole beneficiary should be the child and there are many flaws that don’t make it fair for not only the parents but the children as well.”
            The Kansas Supreme Court adopted new child support guidelines this year.  Child support payments are expected to increase up to 3.5 percent under these new guidelines. Federal law requires states to update their child support guidelines every four years. Although the new guidelines won't affect existing court orders, it is still a topic of concern.
            “It just depends on how good the relationship between the father and mother is.  If he or she is willing to have an agreement upon visitation and money, there no need for a court to get involved.  No court should have a decision on how parents should raise their child,” said Jalyn Brown, student at Long Island University.
“I agree with child support, but mothers should have to prove that those payments are spent on their child,” said Majestic Griggs, student at Plattsburgh.
Many people have the mindset that child support only favors mothers.  The system says that its sole purpose is to benefit children; however, most children are in the custody of their mother who is the one receiving the checks.  The problem people have is that there is no system in place to prove those checks are being spent on the child.
            In the entertainment industry, this is a big concern. Women seeking out wealthy men and reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the median household income was $51,759 in 2014. Where is all that extra money going?
            The inherent bias in the child support system is a growing concern for men in this society.  Although all women aren't seeking personal benefit, the system leaves room for manipulation.

New projects coming from board meeting

By Laura Schmidt

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The Plattsburgh Public Library Board of Trustees held a meeting late Oct. to discuss ways to improve the standards of the library environment for the upcoming year.
            Shirley O'Conner, vice president of the Board of Trustees, called the meeting to order on Oct. 27 in the smart room of the public library. Since all of these meetings are open to the public, individuals such as members of the library staff and other representatives were present as well.
            Seven men and women of the board sat at a round table underneath a new lighting fixture the library just installed. The meeting was called to order at 4:32 p.m. by O'Conner.
            The meeting began with a call for concern about a vacant librarian position that needs to be filled immediately. Joseph Dugan, who works in the children section of the library, voiced his opinion on the pertinence of filling the position.
            “I think we should hire the new librarian as soon as possible,” Dugen said. “We could always use more employees to help make the library more functional and fun for everyone.”
            A library page, Don Little, who is responsible for putting books and other items in the correct place and keeping the library orderly, stood behind Dugen's statement. Little explained how the library “is short-staffed enough as it is” and it would be “really great to have new faces around here.”
            After brief whispers, the board unanimously agreed with the statements of all who spoke and decided to make to a priority to begin the process of taking applications and resumes in order to hire a qualified individual.
            Jennifer Creed, a member of the board, started the next discussion of installing an interactive whiteboard for the library and when it will be officially purchased and put in. A few members weren't agreeing completely with the big purchase but others quickly explained how it would be a worthwhile purchase.
            “It would be $1,300 plus installation which would be a bit more than we usually spend on one item,” Kerry Lee, member of the board, said. “But I think it would be a wise investment down the road.”
            “I agree,” O'Conner said. “I believe we should continue through with our current plans to try and get it installed by mid-December.”
            The board went on to discuss things such as the upcoming 2016 budget and how buying the whiteboard, hiring new employees and other expenses may affect the new year.
            The next big expense on their list for the upcoming year is a new security system. The system is rather expensive, about $10,000 to be specific. The board’s resistance seems natural but with certain grants they hope to have the money available within a few months.
            “The new security system is definitely necessary,” Creed said. “The one we're using now has too many glitches and shuts down too much. It isn't safe.”
            The meeting then began bouncing ideas around of how to create revenue for the library. Some offered the idea to extend invitations to frequent visitors to take part in activities held such as small group painting classes and poetry days.
            After another short discussion to brainstorm possible dates for these events, the meeting began to end.
            The board has a lot of big plans towards revitalizing the library and using what resources they have wisely. O'Conner believes 2016 will be “a growing year for the library.” The Board of Trustees meeting will be held Nov. 24 in the smart room of the Plattsburgh Public Library and, as always, all are welcome.


Higher education equals better experience

By Angela Lince

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Plattsburgh’s YMCA will be hosting an event, “Kids Night Out”, this Saturday Nov. 21st, which will allow school-aged children, 5 through 12, to swim, rock climb, play games and enjoy crafts while eating pizza. A fee of $13 will be given to members. Non-members must pay a fee of $15. Along with the YMCA’s enjoyable, stress-free environment, other programs in the Plattsburgh area target the same ideal concept: Child Day Care that enriches the lives of children.
                 Provided by the Clinton County Department of Social Service program, there is a “Child Care Development Block grant to working parents receiving financial assistance (TANF) or as a low income subsidy in an effort to assist them in becoming more self-sufficient. The family's eligibility for a child day care subsidy is based on their need and their household income. Child day care services are provided on either a formal or informal basis,” according to the Clinton County Department of Social Services website.
                 “Have the providers been given background checks? How do you know it’s safe? Is the education-portion of the day-care beneficial to my child?” These are very important questions you should be asking yourself before sending your child off to a local day-care facility.
                Executive Director at Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, Jamie Basiliere, is your guide to seeking out the best child-care options. Through the child-care and referral program, she provides on sight technical assistance to people and recruits child care directors. Basiliere explains that meeting qualifications in order to teach are very important. Depending on the situation, someone looking to pursue in a family day-care in their own home, must be 18 years of age, obtaining a high school diploma. You must attend an orientation / information session, complete an application packet, as well as, also becoming certified in CPR and 1st aid (up to date). The potential provider must also attend the 15 hour health and safety course. Once registered in all mentioned above, the person must have 30 hours of professional development, which must be done every 2 years.
                Basiliere also introduced the situation in whether a person wants to work for a child-care center. A child care center is similar to SUNY Plattsburgh’s on-campus day-care, as well as the YMCA’S Bright Beginnings program. For these positions, you must have a college degree. According to the NYS Office of Children and Family Services’ regulations for child-care services, a group teacher for preschoolers (3 to 5 years old) must obtain only an Associate’s degree in either Early Childhood, Child Development or a related field. For a group teacher for infants/toddlers (6 weeks old through 2 years), you must have the same educational requirements as for preschool caring, except you must have one year experience related to caring for infants and toddlers.
                Group teachers for school-age children (5 to 10 years old) must have an Associate’s degree in Child Development, Elementary Education, Physical Education, Recreation or a related field. Assistant teachers (all age groups) must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. There are other educational qualification choices for all potential teachers listed. Child-care center employees undergo a series of training, like one with family care would provide. Both share similar qualifications.
                The Plattsburgh’s YMCA’s School-Age Child Care Director, Christina Santor, is responsible for the school-age child morning program. For the three years of her service there at the center, she’s been responsible for most of the enriching activities. She’s able to pick and choose which candidate would be right and able for job openings as well. When looking at a perfect resume, Santor expects to see “previous experience, a degree in education, human services, or any other that is equivalent.” If the person applying is still a student, for example, SUNY Plattsburgh’s education-opportunity for students called, “Project Connect”, she sees they can apply what they are currently learning to the job that’s being offered.
                Human Development and Early Childhood Lecturer at SUNY Plattsburgh, Nancy Hughes, is a small part of something bigger at the college. Hughes prepares students for the real world of child-care. Her courses offer students the ability to understand child development (physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally). She teaches her students how to; develop plans, set up environment plans, develop schedules, understand the appropriate environment and materials, store things appropriately, as well as guide, prevent, and intervene a child’s behavior/misbehavior. From there, the course covers a child’s motor skills, as well as the math, science, literacy, art/music/drama criteria. Most importantly, the communication and work system held between the teacher and parent, as well as the understanding of children with special needs.
                Hughes goal as the student’s professor is to “give them the capability of setting up an appropriate program for preschool children.”
                “Misbehaviors are opportunities for learning,” Hughes says, stating how the quote has always stuck with her. “It’s a frequent reminder,” she adds.
                Before teaching, potential employees must also undergo a series of background checks. Both Basiliere and Santor emphasized the importance of these precautions. There are mandatory criminal history statement form one must fill out (which is accompanied with a review), finger printing, external phone calls to professional references, and much more. All of these requirements make sure your child is safe.
                Director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Child Care Center, Sally Girard, says, "The ability of staff to provide young children with safe, healthy and good learning environments is clearly linked to their education and training in early childhood development, and their experience.”


A long road ahead to replace Short

By Anthony Calabrese

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.- Plattsburgh City District Superintendent James M. Short has announced his plans for retirement for the next school year. He has served as top school administrator since July 2006.

The Plattsburgh City School District Board of Education will begin the search for a new superintendent. According to Jay Lebrun, Associate Superintendent Plattsburgh School District, the search process is expected to take at least four months.

David Barooduy, Plattsburgh High School Assistant Principal said, “The Board of Education will initially meet and discuss a variety of topics including, should they use a search firm? What type of candidates should they be looking for? And what process should be used to screen/evaluate possible candidates?” 

“We will do a statewide search which will involve sending out information to certain media sites, we will set deadlines, pay scale, and qualifications. We will form committees to do the interviews and help the Board in our Ultimate decision,” said Tract Rotz, Vice President Plattsburgh City School District.

In addition, Baroodey and Lebrun note that the roles and responsibilities of the Plattsburgh school board of education include picking groups to interview prospective candidates, and determine the costs for the entire process.

Short said, “The Board of Education is working with Dr. Mark Davey, BOCES Superintendent for his services to conduct a state-wide Superintendent search. BOCES Superintendents commonly perform this service for local schools. A position advertisement brochure and series of media posts will be developed in the near future and should be out circulating just prior to the December break. Advertising will continue through February.”

Once applicants have been narrowed down in February, to two or three, a next step is to have “The Board of Education and series of smaller committees conduct longer interviews with final few candidates.” said Lebrun. “Perhaps one with Teachers, one with Administrators, one with support staff or one with parents. This may also include a visit to the candidates' home district to meet colleagues.”

“During March the Board will conduct a series of interview steps involving the greater school community. The plan is to have the new Superintendent named by April. Most schools require administrators to provide a 90 day notice if they are leaving for another position. April allows for the person to be ready to begin in Plattsburgh by July 1” said Short.

Lebrun agrees, “In March the board appoints the selected candidate and approves the negotiated contract.  The chosen Superintendent will then spend April, May and June meeting with various staff and community members, working with outgoing Superintendent, etc., before beginning work on July 1.”

Some of the challenges discussed by the Plattsburgh City School Board of Education that the New Superintendent will walk into include taking care of the merging of athletics in Plattsburgh and Chazy schools, and also the High Stakes tests that they are making all the school take.

“Although Local area mergers, such as the one between Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis Central schools are not an immediate concern to the new candidate.” Dawn Stetz, Secretary to Superintendent & District Clerk said, “We haven’t and are not in the process of doing so.” As soon as a new superintendent is picked he will begin to look into all of these last minute problems that need to be solved.