Some victories

Some victories for animals and the environment in NYS legislature
by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English.

After years in which the NYS Senate typically failed to pass legislature to protect the environment, a change in the political makeup of the body resulted in several wins for environmental protection this legislative session. Perhaps the biggest win was passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This establishes strong targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and prioritizes renewable energy. It also intends to provide green jobs, especially in disadvantaged communities (which have often suffered the greatest impact from climate change and from polluting businesses in their communities). This was the culmination of years of lobbying by NY Renews, a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations. It was a cliff hanger as to whether the NYS Assembly, the NYS Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo could negotiate a settlement for a final bill before the end of the legislative session. I was one of hundreds of people who traveled to Albany to fill the State Capitol with passionate people who demanded action (See attached photo of Stephanie Hitztaler and myself).

On the animal front, the League of Humane Voters of NY played a major role in passing the Anti-Declaw bill out of both the Senate and Assembly. As of this writing, Gov. Cuomo signed into law the ban on declawing of cats, it will prevent untold suffering of felines across the state by prohibiting declawing. This is the first time this legislation has made it to the Governor’s office! In prior years, it was held up in committee. New York is the first state to prohibit declawing.

Another bill which awaits Gov. Cuomo’s signature would require hospitals and nursing homes to provide vegan options for people upon request.

Code Red / Code Blue passed the Senate but did not move in the Assembly. This legislation would protect domestic animals from extreme weather conditions whenever there is a national weather alert. It would require the owner or guardian to remove their animal from these conditions.

The bill to prohibit wildlife killing contests was reported out of the Environmental Conservation Committee favorably. It’s now in the Codes Committee and will be picked up there in January when the legislature convenes. This was the first time in the history of this bill that it made its way out of the most vulnerable committee.

For information about additional bills and to be added to a list to stay informed, contact:

Jeffery Termini
Legislative Director
League of Humane Voters® of New York
(716) 380-7667
League of Humane Voters® of NY
New Paltz, New York 12561, USA

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights. One of our activities is to keep our members informed about state and national bills regarding animals and the environment, and we were happy to share the alerts from the League of Humane Voters with our PAR e list. We also have public events (speakers, films, cooking demos), vegan socials and a physical newsletter. For a brochure about PAR and a sample of our newsletter, contact PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or

How a local historical landmark is Supporting Latin Culture in Syracuse

by Maximilian Eyle

If you drive down James St. in Syracuse, you will come across a gorgeous piece of local history – the Barnes Hiscock Mansion. The house was built in 1853 by George and Rebecca Barnes and served as a part of the Underground Railroad. Both George and Rebecca were passionate abolitionists and used their wealth and resources to help fight against slavery and help escaped slaves. The Mansion, which has been beautifully preserved, is now serving as a venue for Syracuse’s Argentine Tango community. Each month, a public milonga (social dance) will be hosted there.

The Mansion is currently maintained and owned by the George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation which was started in 2005 to preserve the house and its history. Despite being over 150 years old, it is in beautiful condition and stands as a reminder to Syracuse’s proud history as a center of the abolitionist movement. George and Rebecca Barnes fought hard against the Fugitive Slave Act, and even posted bail for those arrested during the famous Jerry Rescue of 1851. While preserving the history of the Mansion remains the primary purpose of the George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation, they have decided to allow part of the space to be used to support the local Argentine tango community.

Argentine tango also has a long history in Syracuse. It brings together an eclectic mix of dancers of varying ages, abilities, and backgrounds and even attracts dancers from Ithaca, Rochester, Buffalo, and other cities in New York State. They host a weekly práctica on Wednesday nights at the Sky Barn on the Syracuse University Campus, as well as their milonga which happens on the second Saturday of each month at the Barnes Hiscock Mansion.

It is exciting to see Syracuse’s local institutions supporting one another and joining together to encourage the appreciation of art and history in our community. The inclusion of tango into the legacy of the Mansion only adds to its diverse history, while also serving to educate dancers about that part of Syracuse history. For more information, please visit or

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at

Latino Village at the NYS Fair

by Miguel Balbuena

The event that many New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors alike have been impatiently waiting for about a year is finally just around the corner. The Latino Village at the Great New York State Fair is scheduled to take place this year between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2. Due to increased popular demand, it has been expanded one extra day from its initial three-day run during last year’s inaugural Latino Village, which, in turn, was the same amount of time that it stretched for under its original name, the seminal La Feria in the Fair, in 2017.

This longer footprint is a milestone toward achieving an objective stated by the Latino Village Superintendent Elisa Morales, who is also executive director of the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County.

In her welcoming message to last year’s event guests, Morales said: “I believe that Latinos add the spice to America’s melting pot. We are thrilled to share the beauty of Latino, Hispanic, Latinx culture, music and food with everyone. The New York State Fair has provided the perfect platform for Latino Village to create a unique cultural experience for all Fair goers. Everyone is welcome to join us for the fiesta. Our goal is to develop the area and expand our presence to all 13 days of the Fair.”

Fair Director Troy Waffner added, in a press release, that the Latino festival “helps us to show the diversity of our great state to all fairgoers. Hispanic and Latino people make up nearly one in every five New Yorkers and contribute wonderful things to our culture. We’re excited to see this celebration grow and prosper.”

Waffner and Morales arranged for some changes to be made in the format of this year’s Latino event, compared to the previous two, in which it was held on the opening weekend of the fair. Now it’s slated for the closing weekend plus Labor Day. In addition, the administration has moved the event’s venue from the western end of the fairgrounds, at the Empire Experience Stage, to a zone next to the Talent Showcase Stage, located in front of the 4-H Youth Building and close to the recently constructed Exposition Center. This 136,000-square foot building is advertised as “the largest expo facility north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland.”

Ursula Rozum, a neighbor from the predominantly-Puerto-Rican Near West Side in Syracuse, said that the placement of the Latino extravaganza during the past two years felt “marginalized” to her since it was situated in a distant corner of the fair.

The new site is likely to increase the fairgoers’ exposure to Latino culture as more foot traffic from passersby run into the Talent Showcase Stage.

There’s still time to find innovative ideas to promote civic engagement and public participation in regards to the New York State Fair. My proposal would be to organize a Naruto run with its starting line in Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse and its finishing line at the fair. The Clinton Square area already serves as the departing point for the annual Mountain Goat Run, which occurs on the first Sunday of May, and for the yearly Paige’s Butterfly Run, which happens on the second Saturday of June.

A Naruto run is a very peculiar way of racing, named after Naruto Uzumaki, a young Japanese ninja possessed by the spirit of the Nine-Tailed Fox. This anime and manga character has received special attention from both the print and digital media precisely because of his aforementioned peculiarity. USA Today described it as “running with his arms stretched out backward and his head forward”; Unilad described it as “running with his arms angled behind his body.”

A Naruto run to the fair would be a first in central New York and perhaps in the whole world, and an excellent way to enhance the visibility of the Great New York State Fair.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields
(in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

Expansion of Expedited Removal and Trump’s new rule

Expansion of Expedited Removal and Trump’s new rule that other Hispanic countries are deemed “Safe third countries”
by Jose Enrique Perez

Every month, new rules and new rules and new rules by this administration and everything is against immigrants. Some advocates are telling me, “this is exhausting!”. It really is, but we will keep fighting Trump’s racism. Whatever it takes! Immigrants are here to stay! This is our country too! We are not going back anywhere!

Expedited removal is when an immigration officer, without a judicial hearing or order of deportation, quickly deports immigrants who are undocumented. Expedited removal applies to individuals who are “inadmissible” to the U.S. because they either:

1. Lack valid documents showing they were authorized to enter the U.S.
2. Committed fraud or misrepresented a material fact to obtain admission, or
3. Falsely claimed U.S. citizenship.

Under the prior policy for years, ICE could only use expedited removal for individuals detained within 100 miles of the border and who had been in the country less than 14 days. Under Trump’s new policy, ICE can use expedited removal anywhere in the country (no need of 100 miles) and for anyone inadmissible and who cannot prove they have been in the country the last two years (not 14 days).

This new policy will lead to thousands more deportations and an increase in illegal deportations by ICE. Estimates place in at least 20,000 will be targeted for immediate action. They will be deported without a chance to have their day in court. No judge will rule about any potential relief. The immigration officer will make that determination without regard to any claims for relief, humanitarian reasons or otherwise.

Also, in July, the Trump administration passed a new asylum rule in an attempt to slow the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country en route to the U.S. must first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the U.S. border. The rule basically means that Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico or even Nicaragua are safe third countries in which immigrants who are crossing through in order to come to the United States, must apply for asylum there, or they will be denied asylum here.

The same day that the policy was going into effect, two separate Federal District Court reached different results. One enjoined the Trump administration from moving forward and the other allowed the Trump administration to apply the rule. We will have to see how appellate courts will solve the dilemma.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about potential immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with representation before immigration courts, USCIS or ICE. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez has now moved and is located at 659 West Onondaga Street, Upper Level, Syracuse, New York 13204. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the September edition.

Young Heroes

by Elizabeth Ammirato

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from all across North America. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors a diverse group of 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive impact on people or the environment.  Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education. For more information, visit

Here are some recent winners of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes:

Alex Mancevski, age 17, of Austin, Texas founded a non-profit working to eradicate preventable diseases, especially pediatric Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. In the past two years, he has recruited 150 student volunteers from six local high schools to mentor 1,500 children each month at 20 elementary schools. His volunteers act as science coaches for underserved students, promoting health awareness and teaching the material needed for kids to participate in science fairs – a staple of the fourth- and fifth-grade curriculum nationwide, but an opportunity that many low-income students don’t have

Armando Pizano, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois created a tutoring program in Chicago to provide students in under-resourced communities with free weekly after-school tutoring and mentorship. His non-profit matches elementary students with high-achieving high school-age tutors. During the past school year, his program paired 100 tutors from five high schools with over 300 students at four elementary schools in the same neighborhoods. Raised on Chicago’s South Side, Armando believes the high levels of crime, gang violence, and poverty that often
characterize his Back of the Yards neighborhood stem from a lack of academic support and scarcity of role models. His tutoring program addresses both issues.

Mercedes Thompson, age 17, of Baltimore, Maryland co-founded an organization to reduce trash and plastic pollution in their city on the Chesapeake Bay. In the past year, their non-profit of more than 500 students, many of them young people of color, has convinced the Baltimore City Council to pass a citywide ban on Styrofoam food containers. They’ve also convinced Baltimore Public Schools to switch to compostable lunch trays. Mercedes and her co-founder began their work two years ago after learning that Baltimore incinerates most of its trash, including plastics, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. They were also tired of seeing their school’s Styrofoam lunch trays floating in the waters of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The girls decided to take action.



Our Closest Star

by Nilsa Ricci

Summertime – a word that rings loud with excitement and warm promises for many people. For those living in Central New York, summer means that the snow is 100% gone (knock on wood).

In all the fun happening under the sun, it can be easy to put a pause on health precautions. However, the sun is unforgiving and our decisions can have lasting health consequences.

In the United States, melanoma of the skin is the fifth leading cause of cancer.1,2 In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 96,480 new cases of melanoma and that 7,230 people will die.2,3 Compared to Caucasians, Hispanics are less often diagnosed with melanoma.4 However, a higher percentage of Hispanics diagnosed with melanoma die, often because they are diagnosed too late.4 This discrepancy is due, in part, to the lack of: medical care access among many Hispanics, awareness about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure, and adequate skin protection.4

While there are several different types of melanomas,5 ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most of them.1 The most harmful UV rays from the sun are UVA and UVB rays.6 UVA rays can indirectly damage the DNA of skin cells and are associated with skin damage (like wrinkles), as well as with some skin cancers.6 UVB rays can directly damage the DNA of skin cells, causing most sunburns and skin cancers.6 Since UV rays are strongest from 10am – 4pm, try to limit your exposure to direct sunlight especially during these hours.7

Sunscreen, when used as directed, is able to reflect or absorb most of the harmful sunrays.8 The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 (filters ~97% of UVB rays), broad-spectrum coverage (protects against UVA and UVB rays), and resistance against water.8 It is recommended to use the “teaspoon rule” when applying sunscreen: 1 total teaspoon of sunscreen for the face/head/neck, 1 teaspoon for each upper extremity, 2 total teaspoons for the front and back torso, and 2 teaspoons for each lower extremity.8 Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, reapplied every two hours (at least), and reapplied after sweating or water exposure (even if the sunscreen is labeled as “water resistant”).8

Everyone should self-examine skin spots and moles for the following ABCDE features9:

A = Asymmetry: One half is different from the other half.

B = Borders: Undefined or irregular boundaries.

C = Color: Varied pigmentation that may include shades of black, brown, tan, red, white, or blue.

D = Diameter: Larger than 6 millimeters across (although some melanomas may be smaller).

E = Evolving: Looks different from your other spots/moles or is changing in size, shape, or color.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of these features. Remember that early detection and treatment can improve the rate of survival.

Let’s enjoy our closest star in a safe way. Happy summer!


Nilsa Ricci was born in Florida to a Colombian father and a Peruvian mother. She graduated in 2016 from Columbia University in the City of New York with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior. She is currently a medical student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA).

Buying Produce In-Season- How to find A Farmer’s Market Near you!


Choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season is a great way to stretch food dollars. In general, locally and regionally grown produce is less expensive than produce from out of state.

  • Food that doesn’t have to travel long distances may retain quality longer.
  • Out of season fresh fruits and vegetables may cost more due to transportation and storage requirements.

The freshest, in-season food can best be found at your local farmer’s markets. There are many benefits to buying fresh, nutritious, delicious and locally grown foods at a farmer’s market. Here are some of the benefits:

  • The produce is picked at the peak of freshness, flavor and nutrition.
  • Knowing where your food comes from.
  • The taste is so much better.
  • Farmers offer some great recommendations on how to prepare fresh produce.
  • Purchasing fruits and vegetables from the markets directly supports the farmer.
  • Consumers anticipate what’s coming in season.
  • Buying in-season, local produce connects the community with the environment.

Use your EBT benefits and Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program coupons at participating farmers markets. Vendors will post signs to share what type of coupon benefits they accept.

In Syracuse, both the Downtown Farmers Market on Tuesdays (8-1 pm) and CNY Regional Market on Park St. (Thursdays and Saturdays 7 am- 2 pm) accepts EBT benefits and Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program benefits. Stop by the Visitor center to redeem benefits for special tokens that can be used at the Regional market all summer.

Visit our nutrition educators from Cornell Cooperative Extension at the CNY Regional Market on Park St. each Thursday this summer between 11 AM-1:30PM. Sample seasonal produce recipes, learn tips to select, purchase, prepare and store produce picks of the week!

In addition to farmer’s markets, you can find fresh, local produce at road side stands or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).

Try this tasty, low cost recipe for fresh sweet corn! No cooking is needed!

Fresh Corn Salad

 Makes 6 – 3/4 cup servings

5 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off (do not cook)

1 red onion diced

1 green pepper, finely diced

3 Tbsp.  olive oil

3 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves- cut into thin strips

  1. Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the onion, green pepper, olive oil, vinegar,

salt and pepper.

  1. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil.
  2. ENJOY!!!