JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES THE BEGINNING OF ONLINE SALES FOR STATE FAIR TICKETS

The office of Joe Robach announced this week that New Yorkers can, for the first time ever, buy tickets online to attend the Great New York State Fair. The Fair, which is themed “Summer’s Best in Show” and runs from August 21 to September 1, has debuted a new online purchasing page on its website that offers tickets at a 40 percent discount over the price at the gate.

“It is easier than ever before for visitors to go visit to Syracuse and discover and enjoy all that the Great New York State Fair has to offer,” Joe Robach said in a press release sent out by this office. “Fairgoers will find great local food and beverages at this year’s State Fair and can now save more than forty percent on advance ticket purchases. This year’s fair is one that New Yorkers won’t want to miss.”

The secure website sells five products including the single-day ticket, which will be mailed free of charge to buyers:

•A single-day advance sale ticket, for $6. That’s a 40 percent savings over the $10 charge for admission at the gate during the Fair.
•A Frequent Fairgoer ticket book, which contains 6 days’ worth of tickets, for $30. That’s a 50 percent savings over the full general admission price.
•A single-day rides wristband voucher, for $20. The voucher saves $5 over the weekday price and $10 over the weekend price. The wristband allows a fairgoer to ride the all-new Wade Shows Midway rides all day.
•A voucher for the Mega Pass, for $70, which allows a fairgoer to ride Midway rides all day every day of the Fair.
•A daily parking pass for $5.

Joe Robach also explained that this is the first time that the Frequent Fairgoer ticket book and parking passes have been available beyond the State Fair Box Office. The online site joins a massive network of grocery and drug stores, including nearly every Wegmans, Price Chopper, Tops, and Kinney Drug, that last year sold more than 300,000 advance sale tickets. Select stores also sell one-day ride wristbands.

The New York State Fair is operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and showcases the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment. This year’s tagline, “New Attractions, Old Favorites, Timeless Fun,” highlights the more than two dozen new events and attractions and the expansion or enhancement of several Fairgoer favorites. The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year.

A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website at http://www.nysfair.org/. Those who are interested in attending may also find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE REMINDS RESIDENTS OF STATE POLICE FOURTH OF JULY CRACKDOWN ON IMPAIRED, DISTRACTED AND SPEEDING DRIVERS

The New York State Police will increase DWI and distracted driving patrols during this 4th of July weekend. The crackdown, beginning on Thursday July 3, through Sunday July 6, comes with a warning to motorists on the severe penalties and dangers of DWI and distracted driving. Additionally, more than 500 electronic message boards across the state will include “Don’t Drink and Drive… it’s the Law” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” notices.

“This is holiday weekend, and our State Police will be out in force to crack down on dangerous drivers,” Joe Robach said in a press release issued by his office. “The 4th of July is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and through this statewide campaign we are working to keep our roads safe for all travelers. As we celebrate this important holiday, all New York drivers are urged to drive responsibly and obey the rules of the road.”

In an effort to prevent tragedies caused by impaired, distracted, aggressive or reckless driving, the New York State Police will once again initiate special traffic enforcement efforts during the holiday weekend. During the enforcement, drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols and underage drinking and sales to minors’ details during the campaign. Drivers should also remember to put down their electronic devices and also “move over” for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road when they travel New York roadways.

During the campaign, Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the operation. These vehicles allow Troopers to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

Joe Robach Office pointed out that the New York State Police issued more than 10,000 vehicle and traffic tickets during the 4th of July weekend last year. That’s compared to just over 3,200 in 2012. On 4th of July weekend in 2013 alone, Troopers ticketed 2,000 more speeders, and made 100 more DWI arrests than in 2012.

DWI Penalties

In New York State, the penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term. Depending on the violation, drivers face up to seven years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines and permanent revocation of your license.

Distracted Driving Penalties

If a driver is caught using a handheld device behind the wheel, drivers face up to 5 points on their license, up to $400 in fines and a $93 surcharge, depending on the number of offenses.

Penalties for Young Drivers

For drivers with a probationary license, Class DJ, MJ or a learner permit, conviction will result in a mandatory 60 day driver license or permit suspension. A second such conviction within six months will result in a revocation of at least 6 months of a probationary license or revocation of at least 60 days for a Class DJ or MJ driver license or learner permit.

Data shows that the Fourth of July holiday period is especially deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the July 4th period in 2012, there were 179 people killed in crashes, and 44 percent of those crashes were alcohol-impaired.

Joe Robach, the Office of The New York State Police and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
• Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
• If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
• Use your community’s sober ride program;
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
• If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES SENATE PASSAGE OF BILL ADDING TWENTY FIVE NEW FAMILY COURT JUDGES

The New York State Senate gave final legislative passage last week to legislation (S7883), sponsored by Senator John Bonacic (R-C-I, Mount Hope) and supported by Joe Robach, that would help alleviate a backlog of cases in the state’s family courts by creating 25 new family court judgeships. One new judgeship would be established in each of 16 counties, and nine in New York City.

In a press release issued by his office this week, Joe Robach noted that family courts across the state are struggling to handle larger caseloads and more complex cases, and that strain is having a huge negative impact on children and families who need immediate intervention or are seeking justice. Joe Robach supported the addition of 25 new judgeships by saying “It will go a long way toward addressing this problem by giving the state’s family justice system the resources it needs to protect vulnerable children and families.”

New family court judges would be elected in 2014 in Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Franklin, Nassau, Oneida, Oswego, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties, and take office January 1, 2015.

New family court judges would be elected in 2015 and seated in 2016 in Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, and Warren counties.

This would be the first major increase in the number of family court judges in New York in more than three decades.

According to the office of Joe Robach, the bill was also passed in the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Cuomo earlier today.

Joe Robach encourages anyone with questions to contact his local office.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE HELPS ANNOUNCE NEARLY $76 MILLION FOR ROAD SAFETY PROJECTS ACROSS THE STATE

Joe Robach Office this week announced $75.6 million in federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funding for 33 projects that will enhance mobility and safety on roadways across the state. Projects for this highway safety funding are selected through a competitive process designed to support initiatives that have the greatest ability to reduce traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

As Chair of the Transportation Committee, Joe Robach said, “Strengthening vital infrastructure across the State is critically important to ensuring the safety of our communities, both today and for future generation. With these projects we are providing modern safety improvements that benefit everyone on the road, from drivers to bicyclists and pedestrians. Working alongside our partners in the federal government, our administration will continue to upgrade essential transportation networks in every corner of the State in order to make our communities safer for all.

Federal funding was made available to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), which administers the Highway Safety Improvement Program. Information on the Highway Safety Improvement program is available on the NYSDOT web site at https://www.dot.ny.gov/safety.

The Office of Joe Robach outlined the following projects as were awarded to the Finger Lakes region:

• $706,500 for a NYSDOT project to improve traffic safety on State Route 252, Jefferson Road, at its intersection with John Street/Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road in the towns of Brighton and Henrietta. Jefferson Road will be unchanged, but John Street will go from two lanes northbound with shared left- and right-turn lanes to a single north-bound lane with dedicated left and right turn lanes. Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road will change from two lanes southbound with shared left and right turn lanes to a single southbound lane with dedicated left and right turn lanes. The Jefferson Road traffic signal will be upgraded to allow a flashing yellow arrow configuration at the Jefferson Road left turn lanes.

• $250,000 for a NYSDOT project to enhance highway signage and pavement markings at select highway entrance ramps in Monroe County to discourage wrong-way driving crashes.

• $250,000 for a NYSDOT project to install Center Line Audible Roadway Delineators (CARDS) along 60 miles of highway in Livingston, Ontario, Wayne and Monroe counties to restore pavement markings, enhance visibility and retroreflectivity, and reduce cross-over vehicle crashes.

• $7.6 million for a NYSDOT project to improve Route 531 where it intersects with Routes 36 and 31 in the towns of Ogden and Sweden, Monroe County. Traffic calming features will be added to slow traffic such as chicanes, raised medians, left hand turn lanes and acceleration lanes. This will reduce speeds and provide a transition from the high-speed expressway to the rural, two-lane section of the roadway. Pedestrian safety improvements include new sidewalks, countdown timers and 8-foot wide shoulders to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Congressman Tom Reed said, “Safe, reliable transportation infrastructure is critical to jobs in our area and a fair investment for the taxpayers whose dollars are going to care for our local roads. We have made local infrastructure improvements a priority in our office by hosting regular meetings with local highway officials and infrastructure experts – listening to their needs on the ground and working with them to make projects cost effective. Our aging rural roads and bridges cannot be overlooked and we will continue to work with Governor Cuomo to make improvements a reality for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.”

For more information on these projects and others, Joe Robach encourages residents to contact his office at 585.225.2650.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE HELPS DECLARE HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN NEW YORK STATE

Joe Robach helped designate this week as Hurricane Preparedness Week in the Empire State and urged residents to know the risks of hurricanes and take appropriate precautions for the possibility of extreme weather. New Yorkers can prepare for the 2014 hurricane and coastal storm season by reviewing their family emergency plans and checking on emergency supplies they have at home, in their cars and at work.

Joe Robach reminded residents that Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee showed how Mother Nature can quickly disrupt lives and damage communities. Those storms taught a valuable lessons about the importance of planning ahead when a disaster strikes, and with another hurricane season approaching, the office of Joe Robach urges all Monroe County residents to prepare themselves and their families for any possible emergency. “Together we can be the first responders in our own homes and neighborhoods and ultimately build a stronger, more resilient New York.” said Joe Robach.

Hurricane Sandy is the most costly disaster to ever hit the shores of New York State. 61 residents lost their lives, more than two million people lost power, more than 300,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed and more than 400,000 residents of New York City and Long Island were evacuated from their homes.

Joe Robach encouraged all residents to take the time before a storm occurs to learn the appropriate actions that can protect their home, office and loved ones before, during and after a hurricane:

• Know how to contact all family members at all times. Identify an out-of-town friend or family member to be the “emergency family contact.” Then make certain all family members have that number.

• Designate a family emergency meeting point, some familiar location where the family can meet in the event the home is inaccessible.

• Prepare an emergency phone list of people and organizations that may need to be called, including schools, doctors, child/senior care providers, and insurance agents.

• Know the hurricane / storm risks in their areas, and learn the storm surge history. • Learn their community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.

• Make sure your family has an evacuation kit with supplies for the entire family as well as pets, well in advance of an emergency.

• Stock up on emergency supplies, non-perishable food and water. Try to plan for 7-10 days without access to basic lifesaving supplies.

• Make arrangements on where to relocate pets during a storm. • Have your family learn basic safety and first aid measures. If you can, stock up on prescribed medicines and have supplies for persons with special needs such as the elderly and infirm.

• Practice the Plan! Additionally, New Yorkers should familiarize themselves with basic hurricane related terms such as:

  • Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.
  • Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 74 mph or more.
  • Hurricane Warning: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
  • Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. •
  • Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours. • Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) is possible within the specified area within 48 hours.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ENCOURAGES VETERANS TO APPLY FOR NEW LIFETIME LIBERTY PASS

This week Joe Robach encouraged New York State Veterans with disabilities to apply for the new Lifetime Liberty Pass, which permits qualified disabled Veterans discounted use of state parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities operated by the Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The launch of the Liberty Pass comes as an attempt to improve services to Veterans and military families. It also is an attempt to support the state’s efforts to improve and celebrate its many outdoor recreational opportunities as we head into the summer tourism season.

“New York’s disabled veterans put their lives on the line for our state and nation, and providing them with lifetime access to our parks is one small way we can continue to extend our gratitude for their service,” Joe Robach said in a statement sent out by his office. “I encourage all qualified veterans to take advantage of this new opportunity.”

Joe Robach pointed out that New York has a wide array of natural resources. The intent of the new Lifetime Liberty Pass is to remove barriers for a key population, valued Veterans with disabilities, making it even more affordable for a lifetime. This enhanced value is another example of how New York State is improving services to Veterans while promoting outdoor recreational opportunities.”

The Lifetime Liberty Pass benefits includes free vehicle entry to State Parks and DEC-operated day-use areas, as well as numerous State boat launch sites, historic sites, arboretums and park preserves; free golf at 28 State Park golf courses; free swimming pool entrance at 36 State Park pools, and discounted camping and cabin rentals at all 119 State Park and DEC campgrounds. Numerous historic sites and parks in the State Park system commemorate the service of Veterans.

To qualify for the pass, the Veteran must provide State Parks with written certification from the United States Veterans Administration or the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs that the appli¬cant is a Veteran with a 40% or greater service connected disability. Visit the State Parks website for more information and an application: http://nysparks.com/admission/lifetime-liberty-pass.aspx.

New York State Veterans with disabilities who currently hold a valid Access Pass may continue to use their pass for its duration. Prior to expiration, the pass-holder will only need to send in a new picture and a copy of their valid NYS driver’s license or non-driver ID. If the pass holder wishes to have the Lifetime Liberty Pass sooner, they will need to send in their current pass before the new pass can be issued.

The Veteran’s Summit held earlier this month focused on creating a comprehensive approach to improving services to Veterans and military families in New York, including the areas of affordable housing, employment, education, benefits, and mental health. It included the participation of leaders from 36 Veterans groups, 11 representatives from military bases in New York, 28 administrators from educational institutions, and 18 executives from private businesses. The Lifetime Liberty Pass is one of multiple initiatives announced that will provide Veterans and military families greater access to affordable housing, employment, and educational opportunities throughout the state.

Joe Robach encourages all residents with questions to contact his office at 585.225.3650.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCE COOLING ASSISTANCE TO HELP INDIVIDUALS WITH HEAT-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

Joe Robach announced this week that $3 million is being made available to provide air conditioners to eligible low-income New Yorkers with documented medical conditions that are exacerbated by extreme heat. The Cooling Assistance Component of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) will begin May 1.

“State is helping New Yorkers in need remain safe and cool in their homes,” Joe Robach said in a press release sent out by his office. “HEAP is a critical resource for low-income New Yorkers with medical needs to get air conditioning and maintain a healthy living environment. I strongly encourage any eligible families in need to apply today.”

This program will help provide relief from the oppressive summer heat for some of New York State’s most vulnerable individuals, including senior citizens and children with illnesses that are aggravated by high temperatures. Joe Robach encourages all households in need of this assistance to apply soon so the air conditioning units can be installed before the higher temperatures arrive.

$3 million in HEAP funding has been set aside to provide air conditioning units to eligible households statewide. To qualify, households must meet 2013-14 HEAP income guidelines and have a household member that suffers from a documented medical condition exacerbated by extreme heat. Written documentation from a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner clearly indicating the need for an air conditioner is required and must be dated within the previous 12 months.

HEAP cooling assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis beginning May 1. Local departments of social services will be accepting applications for assistance.

2013-14 HEAP Income Eligibility Guidelines
Household Size Maximum Gross Monthly Income
1 $2,175
2 $2,844
3 $3,513
4 $4,182
5 $4,852
6 $5,521
7 $5,646
8 $5,772
9 $5,897
10 $6,023
11 $6,461
Each additional Add $503

Joe Robach encourages residents to check if they may be eligible for SNAP, and numerous other programs and benefits, by answering a few questions online at myBenefits.ny.gov or by calling his office at 585.225.3650.

MEASLES OUTBREAKS REACHING HIGHEST NUMBERS IN YEARS, JOE ROBACH OFFICE REMINDS RESIDENTS OF IMPORTANCE OF OBTAINING VACCINATION

With the number of measles outbreaks for the first four months of 2014 at the highest level since 1996, Joe Robach and the office of the State Department of Health alerted New Yorkers about the importance of being vaccinated to protect against the dangerous disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that measles has infected 129 people in 13 states in 2014, the most in the first four months of any year since 1996; 29 of those infections have been in New York. In 2013, an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City was the largest reported localized outbreak of the measles in the U.S. since 1996.

ABOUT MEASLES

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus It is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. You can be infected by measles virus suspended in the air for an hour or more after the infected person has left the room. The most common complications of measles are diarrhea, pneumonia, and ear infection, but it may also cause brain damage and rarely death. It is particularly harmful to persons with immunosuppression, pregnant women and very young children.

Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages:

• In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.

• The second stage begins on the third to seventh day, and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.

Joe Robach reminds residents that the single best way to prevent measles is to call their doctors office and be vaccinated. Most New Yorkers have been vaccinated, but if unsure, they should check with their healthcare provider. Individuals should receive 2 doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to be protected. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is routinely given at 4 to 6 years of age, but may be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. Anyone at any age who is not immune to measles, and has no condition that would prohibit receiving the vaccine, should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart.

Individuals are not at-risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is considered immune if he or she has received two doses of MMR vaccine, or if he or she was born before January 1, 1957, or has a history of laboratory-confirmed measles, or has a blood test confirming measles immunity. Any of the above confers immunity.

It is also important to note that travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations; since January 2014 there have been 34 cases of measles reported in the United States from travelers to foreign countries.

More information about measles can be found at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/measles/fact_sheet.htm.

More information about vaccine safety and the importance of vaccines can be found at:

http://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization/vaccine_safety.

Joe Robach encourages residents to contact his district office at 585.225.3650 with questions.

Joe Robach Office Host Forum on Heroin and Opioid Addiction

Joe Robach and other members of the Senate Majority Coalition hosted a public forum on heroin and opioid addiction this week at the Monroe County Office Building Legislative Chambers in Downtown Rochester.

The hearing was part of the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction that will hold forums across the state to solicit input from stakeholders and experts about addiction prevention and treatment options, the rise in heroin and opioid use, and the potential for drug-related crimes and other negative community impacts. The task force will then develop recommendations that will be used to draft legislation to address the issues raised.

The recently enacted 2014-15 state budget included $2.45 million for initiatives to provide prevention, treatment and addiction services to address the growing problems of heroin and opioid abuse. Also in March, the Senate passed legislation to help save lives by allowing authorized health care professionals to increase public access to Narcan/Naloxone which, if timely administered, can prevent an overdose death.

In a press released sent out by his office, Joe Robach said “It’s very concerning to me, not only as a State Senator but as a father of three, to see the recent increase in heroin usage and addiction in our state. We need to do a better job of educating the public, particularly our youth, about the dangers of heroin and all other dangerous recreational opioids. It’s my hope that this task force will help us create measures to prevent future drug addiction.”

The task force will also examine the crimes that accompany increases in illegal drug activity. In February, the New York Times reported that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) heroin seizures in New York State increased 67 percent over the last four years. The DEA’s New York office “seized 144 kilograms of heroin, nearly 20 percent of its seizures nationwide, valued at roughly $43 million.”

Joe Robach encourages anyone with questions or suggestions on how to combat this epidemic, to contact his local office at (585) 225.3650.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCE $40 MILLION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO MAKE ROAD REPAIRS

This week Joe Robach announced $40 million in State funding to help local governments make necessary repairs to highways and bridges following this year’s exceptionally harsh winter. This funding, passed as part of the 2014-15 Enacted Budget, is a special one-time allocation to compliment the $438 million in existing State support for local transportation infrastructure. All counties, cities, towns and villages will receive capital assistance through the program. Joe Robach noted that his office has received countless calls by concerned citizens regarding pot holes, roads in need of repair and other deteriorating road conditions.

The 2013-14 winter season was particularly punishing, with a state of emergency bring declared on eight separate occasions and many local roads and bridges sustaining damage to the pavement surface, due to frequent plowing and bitterly cold temperatures. Localities will be able to use this funding on capital projects to repair and improve infrastructure and to complement their core construction programs. To help brace for future storms, longer lasting roadway surfacing and overlay projects are eligible expenses.

In a press release sent out by his office this week, Senator Joe Robach said, “I’ve heard from countless constituents, businesses and other public officials who have expressed concern about wear and tear on public roads compared to past winter seasons. This additional money will lessen the burden local governments will feel when budgeting for road repairs, and is particularly important for Upstate governments, whose residents depend so heavily on safe roads on a daily basis.”

The capital grants for extreme winter recovery will be allocated in accordance with existing formulas for local capital transportation aid (the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS).
For more information, Joe Robach encourages residents to visit his website here or call his local office at 585.225.3650.