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WAER News Round up: Week of Feb. 28

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1. New York's school mask mandate ends

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a COVID-19 briefing at the state Capitol.
Mike Groll
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Office Of Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a COVID-19 briefing at the state Capitol on February 27, 2022

Masks are no longer required in New York schools as of Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul's policy comes after low infection rates and new guidance from the CDC.

2. New State Park in Ulster County named after Sojourner Truth

Kingston
Mike Groll/Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
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February 28, 2022 - Kingston, NY - In recognition of Black History month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced today a new State Park planned for more than 500 acres along the Hudson River shoreline in Ulster County will be named for 19th century Black abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth. This will be the first State Park in the City of Kingston and the first new State Park to open since July 2019. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Ulster County can expect a new state park named after abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth as early as this spring. This comes as Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the 500-acre project as the first state park in the city of Kingston and the first new state park to open since July 2019.

3. Syracuse finally OKs $250K in COVID relief funds for mural program

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Tarryn Mento / WAER News
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A man walks in front of a mural in downtown Syracuse.

Syracuse Common Councilors approved $250,000 in federal pandemic relief funds for a city-wide mural program. This program can provide opportunities for area artists who’ve struggled economically due to the pandemic.

4. NY Republicans choose Zeldin for governor, but he faces primary challenges

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Karen DeWitt
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WXXI News
Rudy Giuliani signs his son Andrew's petition for governor.

New York Republicans met to nominate Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin as their candidate for governor. Delegates chose Zeldin as the GOP’s choice to face Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is seeking election to the post she filled when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned in a sexual harassment scandal. Zeldin told the delegates that he is on a “rescue mission” to save New York.

5. Syracuse Police note increase in juvenile crime after afternoon robbery at Destiny USA

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US Embassy Canada
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Wikimedia Commons

Juli Boeheim, wife of Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim, was robbed outside Destiny USA mall. Reflecting the continuing increase in juvenile crime rates since the change in state bail reform laws.

6. Peace and social justice groups call for diversion of military spending to human needs in the U.S.

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Max Mimaroglu
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WAER News
An activist prepares to burn a defense "contract" and calls for the diversion of funds to domestic priorities in the U.S.

Activists called for diverting military spending toward housing, hunger, and education needs in the U.S and promoting diplomacy and non-violence between Russia and Ukraine.

7. Between arrival and employment, this funding helps Afghan refugees make CNY home

interfaith works
Katie Zilcosky
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WAER News

It took Omer Farooq only days to flee Afghanistan when the Taliban took over. But then it took months to start a new life, and he and his family are still facing struggles even after safely resettling in Syracuse.

8. $100K grant to Upstate aims to boost mental health treatment across CNY

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Tarryn Mento
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WAER
An exterior view of Upstate Medical University.

Upstate Medical University will train Central New York physicians to better address mental health disorders thanks to a new $100,000 grant.

9. Syracuse and Onondaga County 'ready, willing, and able' to host refugees from Ukraine

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Maxwell Mimaroglu
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Signs, flowers, and flags fill a small traffic barrier infront of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church Syracuse, NY, Feb. 28th (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced that the region is prepared to welcome refugees from Ukraine.

10. Low insulin costs are on the agenda for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

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Health care costs — including for things such as an insulin kit, for instance — can be catastrophically high for millions of Americans, even those with health insurance, a study finds.

Upstate New York-based health insurance company Excellus BCBS is part of an effort to make insulin more affordable.