Education Reimagined

Teaching aid Sally J. Beeles checks, from left, Eleanor, then 4, and Hadley Parody’s, then 7, temperatures as their mother Sara watches before saying goodbye on their first day back at school on Sept. 8, at LaFargeville Central School. Kara Dry/NNY Business

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2021 Employment Outlook: What will the permanent or long-term effects of the pandemic have on the north country?

Rainbow Crabtree owner of Nature’s Storehouse. Christopher Lenney/NNY Business

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COVID-19: Important Documents to Consider

Timothy Doolittle

It is always important to have estate planning documents in place to face the unknown that the future holds. During a pandemic like the one the world is facing now, it is even more important, one may argue essential, to have the proper estate planning documents in place. Generally speaking, any adult would do well to have the following documents in place:  

1) Last Will and Testament  

This is the document most are familiar with. In a will, an individual describes exactly how they wish their assets to be distributed upon their death. The individual will also appoint a person to serve as the executor of their estate when the individual passes away. The executor serves in an administrative function, filing the paperwork with the Surrogate’s Court and ensuring that the deceased individual’s wishes are carried out as specified in the will. 

    An individual with minor children will also appoint a guardian for their minor children. This is a monumentally important position that can be appointed through a will so that the parent’s wishes are known. Planning with minor children in mind usually also entails creating a trust to receive the child’s inheritance if they are under a certain age when the parent passes away. This is to protect the inheritance until the child reaches a mature age to handle the inheritance.  

2) Durable Power of Attorney  

The durable power of attorney is a document in which the individual appoints a person to act as the individual’s “agent”. The power of attorney is designed to give the named agent(s) the authority to act on the individual’s behalf in connection with personal, financial, legal, and business matters. This document becomes a very important instrument that can save a lot of time and money in the event the individual becomes incapacitated for any period of time and is unable to manage their finances. 

    Many parents with adult children either in college or just out of college may do well to arrange for their children to complete out a power of attorney (and health care proxy) naming one or both of the parents as the agent(s). This allows the parent to step in to assist the adult child should something happen while the child is away from home.  

3) Health Care Proxy (or Health Care Power of Attorney)  

The health care proxy is another document in which the individual appoints a person to act as the individual’s “agent”. The health care proxy authorizes the named health care agent to make health care decisions for the individual in the event the individual is unable to make a health care decision due to any sort of incapacitated state. Again, parents would do well to have their adult children execute a health care proxy naming the parents as agent to assist with any medical decisions that need to be made if the child is unable to make them herself. 

    The above documents are simply a bare minimum of what every adult should have in place to protect against the unknown. Speaking with a qualified attorney about your own unique situation could reveal the need for additional documents or procedures that need to be put in place. As the past year shown us, the future is not certain and making sure you have an appropriate plan in place is essential. 

Timothy Doolittle is a member of the Wladis Law Firm, P.C., located in Syracuse, New York. Contact him at 315-445-1700.

Westelcom Expands And Grows During Pandemic: Acquires Washington State telecommunications company

Paul Barton, president and general manager of Westelcom Family of Companies.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY WESTELCOM

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COVID-19 Pandemic Hits Home: Tri-county hospitals respond

Faith Allen checks appointments on her computer at the Samaritan Medical COVID-19 Testing Site located on Summit Drive in Watertown. Testing is available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES FILE PHOTO

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20 Questions: River Hospital Strength

Emily Mastaler, CEO of River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, poses for a portrait in front of Boldt Castle, which the hospital faces along the St. Lawrence River. Sydney Schaefer/NNY Business

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A ZOOM Call Away: Telemedicine in NNY during the pandemic

Dr. Nathanial Miletta, who is in the dermatologic surgery department at Samaritan Medical Center, participates in a Zoom call with a patient in his office. Sydney Schaefer/NNY Business

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Defining Courage

Lt. Col. Jamie Cox

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.” Synonyms for courage include bravery, fearlessness, gallantry, guts, heart, heroism, intrepidity, valor and virtue.   

    In the first 54 years of my life, which was celebrated this past February, I had the opportunity to witness dozens of acts of raw, pure courage. The U.S. Marine aviator successfully landing a helicopter with an engine on fire and a cabin full of infantrymen on a ship at night. The female Navy corpsman who ran through machine gun and mortar fire to perform triage on me during the battle of Fallujah. Individuals of great integrity taking a stand in the face of overwhelming odds. The company CEO who prioritizes employees over profit.  

    In the 60 days since my birthday, I have witnessed more than a hundred acts of courage. Ordinary people in every community performing extraordinary acts that have changed the trajectory of Northern New York.  

    The stories that capture the headlines in the media beautifully articulate the heroism of our doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians. Their sacrifice and courage in the face of this pandemic has inspired a nation.  

    In March 1945, Admiral Chester Nimitz, reflected on the battle of Iwo Jima, which was fought between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japanese army, by saying, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”  I believe that quote – referencing the men who fought a horrific, bloody battle – runs deep in our north country blood.  

    Consider these snapshots of simple valor in our community:   

  • The cashier at Price Chopper supermarket, who only makes minimum wage, running her check-out register without a protective mask as everyone panicked to purchase food and supplies in late March.  
  • The gas station employee, who does not receive benefits, working without protective equipment to ensure that we’re all able to purchase gas and other necessities.   
  • The school bus driver and teacher who ran endless routes to deliver food to children and families – jumping out of the bus at every home to drop off meals with a wave and a smile.  
  • The school district superintendent who didn’t bat an eye when asked for $10,000 to help the North Country Library System provide online educational tools for children and parents.   
  • The agricultural small business owner who delivers his high-end, organic produce to food pantries and schools throughout Northern New York for free, and is keeping his employees working and paid despite no revenue coming in the door. 
  • The nonprofit company executive director who slashed her own pay to keep more of her staff from getting furloughed. 
  • The general manager of a local television network outlet who has donated significant airtime to public service announcements and is hosting a benefit concert on his own dime. 
  • The nonprofit employee who has continued to risk his health by providing critical services and food to more and more families each day. 
  • The young reporters from our news station and newspaper who are in the field every day to find uplifting stories to keep our morale high. 
  • The volunteer drivers, who put their health at risk by transporting residents without vehicles or the ability to drive to grocery stores or medical appointments.  
  • The guy in front of me at the store yesterday who purchased groceries for the elderly lady in front of him, and then carried them to her car. 

    Away from Washington, D.C., and Albany, patriotism comes in every shape and form. Love for the north country resides in our hearts, regardless of race, religion, or creed. While our economy struggles and residents are suffering, we are witnessing some of the finest acts of kindness and courage.   

    I hope and pray for the end of the pandemic and a healthy economic recovery.  But I know that when we get to that point – sadly – partisan finger pointing will return to our discourse, drowning out the heroics we’re witnessing today. I hope you’ll join me in taking a moment to recognize the special heroes during this crisis. 

Staying The Course: Navigating pandemic guidelines

Robert Peluso, manager at Thousand Islands Country Club on Wellesley Island, poses for a portrait on the golf course green. Sydney Schaefer/NNY Business

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