The month of April may have left you believing that summer is a long way off. Soon, hopefully, though, we will be able to start enjoying the outdoors, as well as the warm weather. In those travels, I hope you will be able to visit some of our local state parks.
As we continue to battle the heroin and opioid epidemic here in Central and Northern New York, the conversation is most often focused on the users, the dealers, rehabilitation and law-enforcement. While these conversations are critical to helping our communities rid themselves of these drugs, I cannot help but think that there is one other aspect that may not be receiving the attention it deserves, how is this problem affecting children?
From a child using a book that opens their imagination, to a job seeker learning the skills needed to enter the workforce, libraries have long been the foundation of our local communities. However, just as times have changed, so have the needs of our public libraries and the demands of their patrons.
I will never forget the day my father got the call. In need of a new kidney, a match from a donor had been found. It was one of the happiest moments my family has ever shared. After a successful transplant, my father’s improved quality of life, and my family’s ability to enjoy it, has meant the world to all of us.
Over the last decade here in the United States, the number of children diagnosed with autism has more than doubled. Statistics show one out of every 68 babies are born with some form of autism, and some 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. However, we are now more capable than ever when it comes to understanding and treating those on any level of the spectrum.
All throughout our state, and right here in our region, there are remarkable women in our midst whose work or every day contributions make our communities better, make our families stronger and serve as a special example to others. Whether a trailblazer in business, academics, and civic life, or someone who has performed heroic or selfless acts, or have personally excelled against difficult odds, these women deserve to be recognized for the tremendous impact they make.
Traditionally, men have dominated the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). However, over the last decade or so, women are not only getting involved, they are finding out just how successful they can be in each and every one of these fields. That is why I encourage you to join me this month of March to celebrate “Expanding Girls’ Horizons in STEM Month.”
Found in some 30 different local products, maple syrup is not just for pancakes anymore. There is maple candy, maple popcorn, maple jelly and even maple pepper. If those and of course maple syrup sound like “sweet” treats you might want to try, I highly encourage you to find a nearby sugarhouse taking part in upcoming “Maple Weekend” events.
Throughout time, women have played a major role in our nation’s history. First celebrated in 1987, Women’s History Month, observed every March, is when America comes together to pay homage to those women who have blazed trails and made our world a better place. New York State has an exceptionally strong connection with women’s history.
Our region is home to nearly 30,000 selfless men and women who proudly wore the uniform and fought for our nation’s freedom. Every time I think about the adversity our military veterans faced during their service, and the sacrifices they and their families have made, I am inspired. I also know I am not alone. This region, our home, is one that takes tremendous pride in our veterans and their families.