Columns/Opinions

Thu
28
May
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Stimulating Charity

With the coronavirus pandemic having battered our economy, the federal government has been issuing Economic Impact Payments, colloquially known as stimulus checks. These payments, averaging $1,200 per person, are being made to taxpaying citizens through the Internal Revenue Service as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These payments have been a welcome boon to the many who have been hard hit by the virus-mandated shutdowns of “non-essential” businesses – and life in general.

We recently had a call from a generous reader who wondered what he might do with his stimulus check, which, he confessed, he didn’t really need. Being in sound shape financially, he said, he wished instead to donate his payment to “someone who could really use it.” We thought this was a lovely idea.

 

 

Thu
14
May
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Another Pandemic “Victim”

Last month, the Memorial Day Parade Committee made the sad decision to cancel Livingston’s annual parade. This week, the July Fourth Committee made a similar announcement, cancelling Livingston’s Independence Day festivities.

2020 has been a year like no other, and so many things have been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fourth of July is just the latest celebration to fall “victim” to the virus and the regulations in place to combat its spread.

 

 

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Thu
14
May
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Talking It Out in Public

Two weeks ago, we applauded township, county and state officials for their transparency in reporting the facts and figures associated with COVID-19. While we ran out of space in that editorial, we would be remiss not to mention the transparent public discussions we have watched (online, via livestream) regarding our upcoming Board of Education and Township Council budgets.

Any television commercial will be first to tell you that right now, we are living in “challenging and uncertain times.” We have budgets that are due, but have no idea what the next year will look like, as this pandemic runs its course. Yet, all involved must make educated guesses and pass them on schedule in order to pay the bills.

 

 

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Thu
07
May
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Memorializing the Memorial Day Parade

Memorializing the Memorial Day Parade

It came as no surprise last month when the Memorial Day parade committee cancelled this year’s event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But just because this decision didn’t come as a shock, that does not mean we were not disappointed by the news. The Memorial Day parade – and the veterans’ ceremony

The Memorial Day parade – and the veterans’ ceremony that precedes it – are events many in town look forward to each year, signaling the unofficial start to summer. It’s one of those traditions that make Livingston a large town with a small town feel. Neighbors gather along Livingston Avenue and wave flags as the parade passes by. Residents cheer for their friends who are in the parade, and once the last float has gone by, lawn chairs are folded up and families walk home together. The scene is something you’d expect to see in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Thu
30
Apr
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Transparency Amid Uncertainty

Last week, township officials released a detailed breakdown of the number of COVID-19 cases in town. These statistics were released, in large part, due to residents’ concerns expressed on the topic in recent weeks. It may not have been all the information that health officials are briefed on, but it sure was a heck of a lot.

The information revealed the average age of those who have died from the virus in town, which was in the mid-80s. It also showed what had been suspected but not backed up by facts. Many of the fatal cases in Livingston were coming from our long term care facilities. In fact, the vast majority of Livingston’s deaths – and nearly half of all township cases – have stemmed from the area’s nursing homes. According to the report, nobody younger than 55 had died from COVID-19 in Livingston as of last week. Four residents under 75 years old had died, all with at least one of those cases involving an underlying medical condition.

 

 

Thu
23
Apr
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Budget Meetings

Next week, the Township Council and the Board of Education will both hold discussions concerning their respective annual budgets. The Council will present theirs at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 27, during a livestreamed meeting. Comments may be submitted to livcomments@livingstonnj.org. At the same time, the Board will hold a public hearing about its budget, also livestreamed. Comments can be sent to budgetquestions@livingston.org.

 

 

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Thu
23
Apr
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About Those Numbers

Each morning, for the past few weeks, the West Essex Tribune has posted the latest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Livingston on our Facebook page. We also report the number of cases and deaths in Essex County, the amount of negative tests in the county, and the state counts, along with any additional information we receive that day. In addition, we publish the most up-to-date of those figures in this paper each week, along with the national and global counts.

Lately, however, we have started to receive comments about what we report, what we do not report, and why we report these numbers at all.

 

 

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Thu
16
Apr
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Hate Has No Home Here

As Livingston residents continue to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, following the guidelines of township and state officials and generally doing their best to support one another, there are, unfortunately, a few who feel compelled to bring hate into our community. Specifically, there have been some reports of hate speech and racist remarks on social media, directed prominently at our Asian community. We would be remiss to ignore this.

This should go without saying, but nobody in Livingston is to blame for our current situation. In fact, we have printed pages and pages of stories of members of this particular community doing everything they can to support our first responders, health care workers, and fellow neighbors. That they are doing this while also enduring grossly hateful, offensive, and misguided insults makes their actions all the more laudable.

 

 

Thu
09
Apr
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Virtual Meetings

While COVID-19 is undoubtedly the first, second, and third thing on most people’s minds lately, there is still other business to attend to, some of which necessitates public meetings. As a result, there have been several public Township Council and Board of Education meetings held while residents have been advised to stay home.

These meetings have been streamed live for anyone to see, ensuring that business continues and critical information is shared with residents, even if we cannot all currently occupy the same room. It’s not perfect, but it works, and we appreciate that everyone involved with staging these meetings understands the importance of public access to them.

 

 

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Thu
09
Apr
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What We’ve Lost

As we approach the one month mark of “social distancing” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the breadth of all we are missing continues to sink in.

At first, it was easy to see what we could no longer enjoy in our daily lives. It began with avoiding crowds of 50. Then ten. We lost the NBA, the NHL, the MLB, and the March Madness Tournament, along with countless concerts and festivals. We were no longer allowed to dine out at our favorite restaurants and bars, or patronize many of our local small businesses. Gyms, movie theaters, even parks were forced to shutter.

But sadly, as we are still realizing, that was just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t even grasp the things we are missing until they happen, or, rather, they don’t end up happening and the date passes by as we all continue to wait this out in our homes.

 

 

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