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COVID-19 an unwelcome holiday presence; may 2022 bring a more stable "new normal"

Lohud | The Journal News
Lohud | The Journal News
 2021-12-31

Hello everyone. I’m writing this as we close out 2021. Like many of you, I’m having a hard time reconciling that our holiday season was again dominated by COVID-19. I send my best to everyone who is disappointed by aborted plans , is struggling with never-ending uncertainty or who is grappling with sickness and loss. If you are traveling this Sunday, I wish you a safe and timely journey home. Let’s all hope that 2022 brings a more stable “new normal.”

Even without COVID, the holidays are never normal, with everyone’s schedules upended. To catch you up, here’s a selection of stories from the past 10 days curated especially for subscribers.

I’m hoping you are reading this before a meal, as Jeanne Muchnick’s roundup of the best dishes of 2021 is sure to make you hungry. Jeanne has done a terrific job reporting how our local restaurants have coped through pandemic protocols, worker shortages, supply-chain issues, closures and other unrelenting stresses on the industry. I look forward to her 2022 discoveries .

It was another tough year for some major retailers across the Hudson Valley, too, including REI, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kmart, which all closed stores. Longtime staples Sears and Macy's closed their White Plains locations, as well. Both were mainstays in the city for generations.

At the same time, other businesses announced openings, including ShopRite and the highly anticipated Trader Joe's location in Yorktown.

In political news, a last-minute raise gave County Executive Ed Day a 14.3% pay hike for 2022, making him the Hudson Valley's highest-paid county executive on Jan. 1. David McKay Wilson rounds up other area county executive salaries in his Tax Watch column.

After running to shake up the status quo, the Lower Hudson Valley's two outspoken congressmen, Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Rep. Mondaire Jones , who represent large portions of the region, may be cut from the same progressive cloth, but they've taken diverging paths while navigating their first year in office.

Gary Stern continues to provide top-notch, exclusive analysis on the education beat.

In a wide-ranging interview, Regents Chancellor Lester Young and Education Commissioner Betty Rosa discuss the opportunity they see in the coming year to improve education on a variety of levels .

But my favorite story of Gary’s was his heartwarming profile of Mike D'Abruzzo, the “hero” animal science teacher at the Center for Career Services in Valhalla, one of 20 career and technical education programs offered by Southern Westchester BOCES for high school juniors and seniors.

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I guarantee it will lift your mood to read about D’Abruzzo, a teacher to a group of students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities, and a National Guard veteran who treated wounded soldiers under live fire In Iraq.

He is one of countless dedicated teachers for whom we can be very grateful.

As always, we in the newsroom are grateful for your support, too.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Mary Dolan

Executive Editor

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: COVID-19 an unwelcome holiday presence; may 2022 bring a more stable "new normal"

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