With decorations up and festive music dominating the airwaves, it’s no secret, the holiday season is in full swing. The same goes for the gift-giving season. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American shopper will spend $737 this Christmas. That translates to a total of $602 billion spent nationwide during the 2013 holiday shopping season.
How does hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket each year sound? If you’re a homeowner, that’s what you could be receiving through the state’s STAR program, which provides 2.6 million homeowners in New York State, including nearly 85,000 in our region, with savings on their school property tax bills each year.
From 1941 to 1945, more than one million New Yorkers served in the military and each and every one of them has a story to tell. That’s what I discovered through my “Veterans Voices” program, an initiative designed to preserve veteran experiences for future generations and create a permanent record of service.
From friends and family to good food and gifts, for many people, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. However, for our brave troops serving overseas, they can be the loneliest. In an effort to send a “touch of home” to our troops, I’m once again calling on Central and Northern New Yorkers to participate in my “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.
October, also known to many as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, lasts just 31 days. However, the efforts to diagnose, prevent and treat the disease occur year round. While great strides have been made there’s still a long way to go: more than 40,000 women and 400 men die annually of breast cancer.
On November 5, people across the country will held to the polls to exercise this right. Here in New York State, people won’t just be casting their votes for candidates on Election Day, they will also be making decisions on amendments to the New York State Constitution.
Since its creation in 1861, more than 3,400 Medals of Honor have been awarded to some of our nation’s bravest Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Next week, William Swenson, a former Army captain and Fort Drum soldier, will join the ranks of these brave men and women.
To many people, fall is more than just a change in the weather. It’s everything from apple picking and fresh cider to homemade pumpkin pie and taking a drive to see the change in colors. Here in Upstate New York, we’re lucky to have an abundance of fall flavors and activities right in our backyard.
“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”
It’s hard to believe that students are gearing up for the start of another school year full of fun and new challenges. Just like students who will be studying hard, I’m working hard to ensure our children are getting the quality education they deserve and that parents and taxpayers receive the value they expect. A big part of working to improve educational opportunities is listening to your opinions and ideas when it comes to our schools.