Today, June 19, 2020, is Juneteenth, marking the 155th anniversary of the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. This news of liberation came to a quarter-million slaves in Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.
On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making Juneteenth a holiday for state employees this year. An excerpt from the order states, “...the observance of Juneteenth honors the history, perseverance, and achievements of African Americans, and celebrates America’s progress and continuing commitment to realizing the principles of liberty and equality upon which our nation was founded.”
You can read the entire executive order here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-204-declaring-juneteenth-holiday-new-york-state-employees
Governor Cuomo has also proposed legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday starting next year, joining other states in moving to make the day an official holiday.
On yesterday’s Monroe County conference call, Dr. Michael Mendoza shared that as a community, we are now in a “containment mode” for managing the spread of COVID-19. We have emerged from Memorial Day and subsequent gatherings without any troubling spikes of the virus. This is assuring and demonstrates that physical distancing--and especially the noticeable use of masks by many--is making a substantial positive impact. He stressed that the primary takeaway from this good news is that the practice of wearing face coverings is making a big difference and we need to keep it up. Being in containment mode means that when new cases of COVID-19 emerge, health officials will find, isolate, and work to contain the spread. When appropriate, they will issue a public advisory as they did recently when an exposure was traced to a bar in Rochester. He noted that we will see more of these containment advisories as we move forward.
The town board adopted a resolution at the June 17 legislative meeting to amend the 2020 budget to purchase and install an inclusive playground at Rothfuss Park. This playground will replace older equipment at the park. The Town of Penfield was awarded a State and Municipal Facilities Program grant in the amount of $50,000 through Assemblyman Mark Johns towards the construction of the playground. The Penfield Rotary donated $5,000 toward this inclusive playground project, and the 2020 Budget includes an appropriation of $60,000 for playground equipment projects. Further, the town board authorized the appropriation of $25,000 from the Town’s Recreation Trust Special Revenue Fund toward equipment and site preparation. The new playground equipment should be delivered the first week of July. Installation will start upon delivery. I will keep you posted on the progress of this project.
I would like to thank a resident who asked me to remind drivers in Penfield to “consider going slower” when traveling through neighborhoods, regardless of permitted speeds. With more people staying close to home, school officially over, and the wonderful summer weather, there are many people walking and bicycling throughout our neighborhoods. To walkers and cyclists, please take responsibility for your own safety and make sure you can see, hear, and be seen. Wear reflective and colorful clothing, keep pets on leashes, and pay attention to your surroundings. If listening to headphones, don’t let them distract you from your environment. Safety on our roads is everyone’s responsibility.
Happy Father's Day to all Penfield dads! May you enjoy your weekend activities and family time. To all families, if you are celebrating dad this Sunday please show you care for every family member by wearing face coverings when called for. We can honor all fathers by continuing the good behaviors of masking and physical distancing.
Find COVID-19 resources at www.penfield.org. Direct questions or concerns to the Monroe County COVID-19 hotline at (585) 753-5555 or COVID19@monroecounty.gov.
Stay home, stop the spread, save lives,
Penfield Supervisor R. Anthony (Tony) LaFountain