A couple of heavy snow events and below-average temperatures that have frequently dipped into the freezing range have made it feel a lot like winter already in the Cayuga County area, but the calendar says fall will still be around for a couple more weeks.
So as autumn 2018 winds down, our sports department has been busy getting the annual fall high school sports all-stars series prepared. The goal is to launch those features at the end of this week.
All-star packages are always some of the most popular local sports features we do every year. For each of the high school sports across the three athletic seasons of the school year — fall, winter and spring — sports reporters Justin Ritzel and Jeremy Houghtaling, along with photojournalist Kevin Rivoli, work to produce presentations that include a player of the year profile and portrait photo, along with the names and photos of the most accomplished student-athletes.
Each sport is different in terms of the number of athletes honored, but by the time the series has been completed over the course of roughly a week and a half, we will have honored well over 100 local sports participants.
The all-star packages can be seen in both the print edition and online at auburnpub.com. Our typical approach is to post a new feature in the early evening on the website, with the print version appearing in the following day's print editions.
Print edition readers may have noticed in recent months a number of specially designed national content packages in all of our sections: news, sports and lifestyles/features.
Some of them are put together to amplify an existing national story, such as special presentations related to the recent death of former President George H.W. Bush.
Others have been featured pages and half-pages that appear in regularly, like a weekly health package and a National Football League Sunday review page.
This week we debuted a new weekly content package in the sports section devoted to a sport that has extra popularity in our region: men's college basketball.
With the storied Syracuse University basketball program in our backyard, we've always tried to give our readers a healthy of dose of NCAA hoops coverage because Orange fans want to follow not only the local team, but also keep tabs on other top programs around the country and in Syracuse's conference.
The weekly NCAA page will be published on Wednesdays, and it will include content specific to the Atlantic Coast Conference. I think it will be an informative and engaging fixture for our many basketball-loving readers.
Plans to expand current programming and host additional events at Emerson Park's Deauville Island are moving in a positive direction, and the county is taking the right approach by taking plenty of time to formalize any changes.
The Cayuga County Parks and Trails Commission is ready to move ahead with a $200,000 study to determine the potential number of visitors and the related infrastructure needs for hosting events such as large concerts. The idea has great potential, and could become another piece of the broader plan to make the park a more-notable destination.
The island at the park is already undergoing upgrades, including a brand-new playground, a pedestrian bridge on the north side to connect it with White Bridge Road, and nearly 4,000 feet of pedestrian and bicycle paths that are expected to be completed before the summer 2019 season.
As for the future, the county is taking a careful approach, and the Deauville Island study is a can't-lose proposition, because it's being funded by a grant from the Emerson Foundation, not county taxpayers.
The old carpentry expression "measure twice, cut once" exemplifies what the county is doing in this case. Rather than make quick decisions that might later be regretted, a detailed study to find out what is most likely to succeed at Deauville Island will provide the proper guidance about how best to proceed.
We hope the study gives county planners all the information they need to successfully implement upgrades on the island as Emerson Park continues to become a more attractive place to spend some time.
The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.
"Capitol Watch: Pot heats up" (The Citizen website, Nov. 24) shows we need a state run monopoly if cannabis is to be legalized, so profits can mitigate public health damage, not private corporate profits. The Onondaga County Medical Society unanimously passed such a resolution with cannabis legalization seemingly imminent.
Eight states currently have legalized recreational marijuana, sold by for-profit companies. Tort law regarding injuries from a defective product has specifically excluded producer/sellers of addictive drugs. Income from tobacco in the United States is $124 billion/year and costs to taxpayers are $300 billion, including $170 billion in direct medical care, income from alcohol is $223 billion and costs taxpayers are $249 billion (Sacks et al, 2015), including $1.7 billion in medical costs to New York state.
For-profit sales of addictive drugs encourages development of drug delivery innovations and recruiting children to use the drugs. In 2016 one in four students in grades six through 12 were vaping nicotine with e-cigarettes. Of those, one in four middle school students and one in three high school students, were also vaping cannabis (Trivers et al, 2018). The frightening consequence is a significant minority of children leaving high school already addicted to two drugs using the lung as the route of administration.
The cost of providing medical care for complications of marijuana use are likely to be approximately equal to the income derived from sales of marijuana. Cannabis use produces psychosis in vulnerable persons (Bagot & Chang, 2018). The main burden will be doubling the cost of schizophrenia, currently $156 billion in the U.S. (Miller, 2016). Other costs are expected to be the care for in utero exposure complications, vascular complications such as stroke and myocardial infarction, hyperemesis, the pulmonary damage caused by using the lung to get marijuana to the brain, more addiction due to wider availability, accidents caused by intoxication, increased emergency visits for emotional complications of intoxication such as panic.
We know public health measures, such as sales of addictive drugs by a state monopoly, have been successful. For example, all alcohol in Ontario, Canada, is sold by a state monopoly, and they plan to do the same with cannabis.
The state of New York should sell marijuana rather than allow private companies to sell marijuana legally. This approach will contain, regulate and discourage use, and provide addiction treatment at point of sale. Suggested site of sale is the public health department of each New York State County. All revenues will accrue to the state to fully compensate citizens of New York State for the direct and indirect costs of legalizing an addictive drug.
MaryAnn Millar, Dr. Brian Johnson and Dr. Sunny Aslam
MaryAnn Millar is president, Dr. Brian Johnson is immediate past president, and Dr. Sunny Aslam is on the executive committee of the Onondaga County Medical Society.