Weekly top reads: COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Cayuga County, Auburn businesses affected by virus, Cayuga County crime stories
The Citizen staff
The Citizen's top 10 most-read stories of the week.
Auburn nursing aide and new mother, 24, on life support due to COVID-19
Kaylee Gabak tested positive for COVID-19 on Christmas. The next day, she gave birth to a new life. But now, the 24-year-old Auburn nursing aide is fighting for hers.
Gabak has been intubated at Upstate University Hospital since Dec. 30. After regular ventilation failed to improve her condition, she began receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
The treatment gives oxygen to Gabak's blood so her feeble lungs don't have to. Her fiancé, Cody Clink, said ECMO is "the most life support that they could possibly give" in an interview with The Citizen.
"She's backed into a corner as far as she can be," he said. "But they say she's getting better every day, and she's still stable. Upstate has been the best. We couldn't give them any better praise."
Gabak is a certified nursing assistant at The Commons on St. Anthony in Auburn, where she worked her last shift before maternity leave on Dec. 16.
Prior to leaving, she was pulled aside by her supervisor and told that the last resident she put to bed that night had just tested positive for the virus, said her mother, Cortney Haberlau, in an interview with The Citizen. More than 100 Commons residents have tested positive, and 10 have passed away, since a COVID-19 outbreak began at the Auburn nursing facility last month.
After carefully removing her scrubs and sanitizing, Gabak thought she dodged a bullet, her mother said. But a week later, Gabak threw up her dinner. Then she had leg pain. Her doctor thought both were symptoms of her pregnancy, but when she went into labor at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 25 at Auburn Community Hospital, a rapid test confirmed she had COVID-19. A chest X-ray showed she had pneumonia.
Gabak was in labor for about 21 hours, two of which she spent pushing. The next afternoon, she gave birth to a healthy 7-pound, 10-ounce and 21-inch baby girl. Charlotte Joelee Clink is her and Cody's first child together. Due to the hospital's visitation policy during COVID-19, they were the only family allowed in the room to welcome her. Cody and Charlotte have since tested negative for the virus.
Charlotte is perfectly healthy, he said, and gives him and her grandmother no problems. They think that's because she knows what's going on with her mother, they joked.
Gabak went home Monday, Dec. 28. But the next day, breathing became so difficult that she returned to the hospital. On Wednesday, she was intubated and transported to Upstate.
Haberlau was texting and talking with her daughter that morning, so her sudden downturn in the afternoon took her by surprise. While intubated, Gabak is medically paralyzed to reduce the amount of oxygen she needs. Still, her mother arranges with hospital staff to FaceTime with her, and Cody is finding his fiancee's favorite books so Haberlau can read them to her during her treatment.
"The nurses probably think I'm crazy," she said. "But I believe she can hear us."
Since Gabak began ECMO on Sunday, the updates have been fewer. The treatment is doing its job, Haberlau said, and doctors believe Gabak's young age will allow it to finish that job sooner than later.
In the meantime, friends of the family have launched a GoFundMe to support them. Along with the costs of having a baby and treating Gabak for COVID-19, neither she nor Clink are working, as he's caring for their newborn daughter for the foreseeable future. The campaign has raised more than $15,000 of its $20,000 goal from 242 donors in under 24 hours.
The family is overwhelmed by the support, Haberlau said, and grateful for it. Clink added that he's heartened by the churches praying for his family and the strangers leaving gifts on his doorstep.
At the same time, Haberlau isn't entirely surprised by the support. Her daughter has always been selfless, she said, having worked at Unity House of Cayuga County, Mozaic and other local service organizations before becoming a certified nursing assistant. And whether or not that service is being paid back, Haberlau said her family plans on paying it forward.
"People need to watch out for each other," she said. "If Kaylee's story can help even one person, it's worth it."
COVID-19 outbreak affects more than 100 residents, kills 10 at Auburn nursing home
For nine months, Cayuga County avoided one of the worst aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic: An outbreak in a nursing home.
That changed in late December.
On the same day that The Commons on St. Anthony began administering COVID-19 vaccines to employees and residents, the nursing home revealed that it was in the midst of an outbreak. On Dec. 22, there were 26 residents affected by the outbreak. As of Monday, the number grew to 115 positive cases among residents at the facility. Ten residents have died after contracting the virus.
There were 259 residents in the facility when vaccinations commenced last month.
Julie Sheedy, a spokesperson for Loretto, which operates The Commons, said Monday that droplet precaution is in effect for the entire facility. Employees must wear full personal protective equipment — face shields, gloves and gowns — when caring for residents. A schedule has been established to test residents for COVID-19 and, as required by the state, employees are tested every week.
"Our team is always deeply affected by any loss of life, and our hearts are with the families of these individuals," Sheedy said. "While infection control protocols are in place to reduce to the lowest potential for transmission, it's still a highly contagious virus."
Until the Cayuga County Health Department reported the first nursing home deaths last week, the county was one of six in New York without a COVID fatality in a nursing home. Cayuga has four nursing homes: Auburn Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Finger Lakes Center for Living and The Commons in Auburn, and Northwoods Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Moravia. There have been positive cases among residents and staff at the nursing homes, but they were largely isolated to one person or a small group.
Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association, a statewide group representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities, said what's happening in Cayuga County isn't unique.
"When there is an uptick of COVID in the community, inevitably it enters into health care facilities," he said.
Cayuga County had 2,024 confirmed COVID-19 cases in December, its worst month of the pandemic. There were 14 deaths, including five at The Commons.
The uptick in COVID-19 cases hasn't slowed in the new year. By Saturday, the number of active cases topped 1,000 for the first time. There are more than 7,500 county residents — about 10% of the population — either in isolation due to a positive test or quarantined because of exposure to the virus.
Despite the spike, Hanse believes there is "light at the end of the tunnel" because of the vaccine's availability. Nursing homes, through a federal program, partnered with pharmacies to administer the vaccine to residents. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday 288 of 611 New York nursing homes that participated in the program have already completed the first doses of the vaccine. (It requires two doses, the second of which is administered three weeks later.)
Sheedy said 193 residents at The Commons — about three-quarters of the residents at the facility — and 113 employees received their first dose of the vaccine in late December. More employees will get their first dose during the second vaccination clinic on Jan. 12.
"Our staff continues to do everything it possibly can to keep COVID outside our doors, and our employees have made tremendous personal sacrifices to limit their own exposure," Sheedy said. "But they still need to go to grocery stores in order to feed their families. Their children need to go to school and daycare. And many of our employees rely on public transportation.
"We NEED the community to stay home whenever possible and follow the recommended safety guidelines, including wearing masks, washing or sanitizing your hands, and social distancing."
Auburn restaurant, taproom close temporarily out of COVID-19 caution
Two Auburn businesses decided this week to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lewis' Restaurant on the city's west end and Thirsty Pug Craft Beer downtown both announced on Facebook that they are closing for the safety of their customers.
"Increasing (COVID-19) rates and growing risk of exposure are serious threats to the community," Thirsty Pug owner Mike Sigona posted on his business's page.
"We have decided a temporary closing is the most responsible move to keep our customers, staff, friends and family safe."
The craft beer taproom and bottle shop will be closed for at least a couple weeks, Sigona told The Citizen.
Lewis' will likely be closed until February, said Gina Kustyn, daughter of the restaurant's owner, Theresa Kustyn.
Gina, who works at Lewis' as a waitress, baker and cook, told The Citizen that she and her mother are particularly worried about its older customers, as they're more vulnerable to the deadly virus.
At the same time, many of those customers started to stay home when the pandemic began surging in Cayuga County in December, Kustyn said. Others began dining at the restaurant less frequently, like once a week after church instead of every day. Some told Kustyn they have concerned family members who asked them to stop coming, and some are concerned about the pandemic themselves.
"It's tough for them to come out," she said. "You can't control who walks through the door."
So while temporary closure is in the best interest of the customers, Kustyn said, it also makes business sense. Right now, there simply isn't enough revenue to cover payroll, supplies and other expenses.
This "demand shock," which is affecting all manner of businesses during COVID-19, also influenced Sigona's decision to close Thirsty Pug. He said his beer sales were down "dramatically" this holiday season, which is traditionally his best time of the year. January, on the other hand, is one of his slowest times. So for him, it also made business sense to close, in addition to common sense.
"It doesn't make sense to put people at risk," he said.
Both Kustyn and Sigona said their closures are subject to the course of the pandemic. As vaccines are administered, they hope the number of positive cases slows to the point that it's not just profitable, but safe for them to reopen soon. If not, Kustyn fears for the future of small local businesses like Lewis', which has been in Auburn since the 1960s.
"I just hope that this ends soon and us small businesses in town don't shut down," she said. "Everyone's really struggling right now."
'A balancing act': Cayuga County holds first COVID-19 vaccine clinic
Doses were limited, but the Cayuga County Health Department administered the COVID-19 vaccine to hundreds of health care workers and first responders on Saturday.
The clinic, which was held at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES in Aurelius, was open to a broad group of workers in health care fields, including emergency medical technicians, funeral home employees and individuals working in congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities.
More than 300 people received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is one of two — Pfizer manufactured the other — approved by federal regulators.
The health department had to comply with the state's phased rollout of the vaccine. In phase 1A, health care workers are prioritized. In the next phase, 1B, a larger group of first responders — corrections officers, firefighters and police officers — and residents who are age 75 and older will be eligible to receive the inoculation.
"We're really pleased to have this to offer our community members," said Kathleen Cuddy, the county's public health director.
A second vaccination clinic will be held Monday, and anyone who is eligible in phase 1A can get the vaccine. On Tuesday, another clinic will be held at the BOCES campus, and people in two groups under phase 1B are eligible to participate: law enforcement officers and teachers. An appointment is required. To sign up, go to cayugacounty.us/health and click on "COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics."
The vaccination clinic on Saturday was the first public clinic in the county. Auburn Community Hospital and East Hill Medical Center received their first doses of the vaccine before Christmas and began inoculating employees. Cayuga County nursing homes participated in a federal program that allowed them to partner with pharmacies to administer the vaccine.
But as more residents become eligible for the vaccine — in phase 1B, there could be thousands of residents in the county who could receive their first dose — the health department will need partners to administer the inoculations. On Friday, 25 members of the Auburn Fire Department participated in a training session to become vaccinators. Other emergency medical technicians are being trained to vaccine residents.
Auburn Community Hospital will be involved, too. Along with health department staff, the additional help will allow for more clinics in the future.
"That is our intention as time moves forward and the eligibility phases open up," Cuddy said.
Having more vaccinators won't just be useful for public clinics. Cuddy explained that they also want to ensure access to the vaccine for vulnerable populations, such as residents of senior centers, who may not be able to attend a public clinic.
For now, though, the focus is on the first phase. The health department and others who receive the vaccine must follow strict federal and state guidelines. In New York, there could be penalties for health departments, hospitals and other providers that administer vaccines to groups who aren't eligible to receive it in phase 1A.
Cuddy called it a "balancing act" because while there is a push to get as many people vaccinated as possible, they need to exercise caution to ensure they aren't violating any of the state rules.
"We know that there are other people who desire a vaccine," she said. "We know that there are other people who will benefit given the nature of their jobs. But we have to follow the criteria set forth by the state government."
'The saddest thing': Beloved Auburn musician dies after COVID-19 diagnosis
The life of Richard "Dick" Howard was loud.
Now, the family of the beloved Auburn drummer is coping with the fact that his death was so quiet.
Howard, 83, passed away at The Commons on St. Anthony on Dec. 29 — less than 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19.
Due to the state's ban on nursing home visitation during the pandemic, his family couldn't be with him during his final hours.
His daughters, Julie Howard and Lynette Wilson, told The Citizen that they tried to reach him after his diagnosis. But the facility was too busy responding to the outbreak of the virus there to arrange a call that day. The last time they talked to their father was his birthday, Dec. 14, through FaceTime. The last time they saw him in person was before the pandemic began in the U.S. in March.
That's why Wilson has some advice for anyone who, like her, learns that a loved one in a nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19.
"Make sure you talk to them immediately," she said. "That's the saddest thing, is that we couldn't say goodbye or be with him. People say he didn't die alone. But to us, he did."
Wilson said there will be no autopsy on her father, so his exact cause of death will remain unknown. He had underlying conditions: diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But she and Julie were still able to talk to him weeks ago. He was sad, his eyes visibly tearful even through the pixels of their video call, after months apart from his family. But he was there.
The Commons nurse who called at 9 a.m. Dec. 28 to deliver the news of his positive test was tearful as well.
Wilson immediately realized it was "a death sentence" for her father, she said — one he almost avoided, having just received the first of the two shots required to vaccinate him against the virus.
She spoke with nurses at the facility three more times that day. They said Howard was doing well. But when they checked on him at 2:40 the next morning, he was gone.
He is survived by his daughters and two sons, Jeffrey and Richard, the latter a drummer and teacher just like his namesake. They gave their father five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Wilson knows his death was almost as difficult for the facility's staff as it was for his family. Howard lived there for four years.
"They took really good care of him, and loved him," she said. "We really want to thank them. We feel bad for them right now."
Also grieving Howard is the music community in Auburn.
Julie Howard, who followed in his artistic footsteps with a career as a singer and teacher, said the outpouring of love from her father's bandmates, students and more has eased the pain of losing him.
"Everybody had the same exact thing to say," she said. "He smiled all the time and was the easiest musician to work with."
Among the musicians paying tribute to Howard since his passing was Bob Piorun. The longtime Auburn guitarist and teacher was a high school freshman when he first met Howard in 1961.
By then, Howard had studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and returned to his hometown to teach drums at The Auburn Music Store on East Genesee Street. He would later form The Music Mart with fellow performer Frank Borza, teaching there and at Speno Music, before moving his noisy classroom to the Auburn Musician on Grant Avenue from 1976 until his retirement.
Soon after meeting Howard, Piorun began accompanying him to a Syracuse club, the Intrigue Room. The young guitarist sat in the audience and studied Howard behind the kit for five hours a night.
"He was the personification of the cool jazz guy," Piorun told The Citizen. "To me and my generation, he was our musical inspiration. He was so enthusiastic about music, it spilled over to you."
Piorun eventually went from pupil to peer, joining Howard in bands like Cloudburst and Breezin'. Their jazz gig at the Springside Inn lasted from 1988 to 2002. In all, they probably played 1,000 shows together, Piorun said. But he and Howard also became close friends. Before they began teaching students, they spent their mornings getting breakfast together, singing notes over the table to warm up.
The other musicians Howard played and recorded with over his six-decade career "are too numerous to list," his family wrote in his obituary. They include Chuck "Rubber Legs" Hayden and the Rockin' Esquires in the '50s, the Herb Nelson Trio in the '60s and the Butch Strong Duo in the '70s. In the '80s, he toured with Richard Nader's Rock and Roll Revival, a showcase that featured Chuck Berry, Ricky Nelson, The Shirelles and more at venues like Madison Square Garden. One reason his resume is so varied is because he could play just about any genre of music, Julie Howard said of her father.
"He could go from a country beat to a rock beat to jazz," she said.
Howard always played for the song, Auburn guitarist Mark Doyle added. He wasn't showy, and was sensitive to the needs of the music.
The drummer hired Doyle to teach guitar at the Music Mart when he was 15. It was there that Doyle met his longtime collaborator Joe Whiting, as well as countless others under Howard's tutelage.
That's why Doyle considered him the heart of the Auburn music scene at the time, he told The Citizen.
"He was such a mentor to everybody," he said. "And he was so proud of his students. It was like 'Mr. Holland's Opus.'"
In the '90s, Doyle joined his father, Bobby Doyle, and Howard in The Jazz Minds. The band was scheduled to perform at a morning taping of "All-American Jazz" at WCNY in Syracuse. But Howard, a night owl, didn't trust himself to make it to the studio on time. So he arrived at the parking lot the night before and slept in his car, Doyle said, to the amusement of his bandmates that morning.
Howard would also make Doyle laugh with a shuffle beat that he loved. The drummer flashed a knowing grin that said "I know this is the s---" whenever he played it, Doyle said.
"Every time I played with him he just emanated so much joy," Doyle said. "He loved music and he loved playing."
Howard's family, who said goodbye to him at a socially distanced funeral Saturday, hopes to share his love of playing music by establishing a scholarship fund in his name. The scholarship will be awarded to students in the music program at Auburn High School. To raise funds for it, the family will host a tribute to him. But in order to do that, Julie Howard said, COVID-19 has to be under control.
"It's not a fluke," she said. "Wear a mask and wash your hands so we can get through this."
Man injured, vehicles, structures damaged in Auburn shooting incident
A man was shot, and structures and vehicles were damaged, during an incident early Monday at an apartment complex in Auburn.
According to a press release from the Auburn Police Department, at approximately 2:40 a.m. Monday, officers were dispatched to the area of the T building of Oak Creek Town Homes for a shots fired complaint.
Police said a man, whom they did not identify, sustained non-life threatening injuries after being shot. The victim was transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse where he was treated and later released.
Officers also determined that the numerous rounds had been fired and struck some structures and vehicles.
Auburn police ask anyone with information to contact lead Detective A. Rivers at (315) 567-0073 or the Auburn Police Department non-emergency line at (315) 253-3231. Callers may remain anonymous.
Cayuga County judge denies drug dealer's request for 10th sentencing delay
A woman was sentenced in Cayuga County Court after her sentence had previously been delayed nine times — though she argued for a 10th postponement.
Nicole Gerard Heidemann, 39, whose last know address was 1326 W. Townline Road, Phelps, was before Judge Thomas Leone for a virtual sentencing Thursday. She admitted in January 2020 to third-degree sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony, and fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance, a class D felony.
In December, Jason Housel, Heidemann's attorney, asked that her sentencing be adjourned after it was delayed eight other times, in that case to allow her to spend the holidays with family following a last-minute medical emergency Heidemann had in October.
Leone said in December that "against my better judgment," he would delay the sentencing until Jan. 7, but added that she had to report to the Cayuga County Jail by 5 p.m. Jan. 6 in order to be in the jail when Leone sentenced her. The judge warned Heidemann that if she wasn't at the jail by that time, she would face 16 years in prison — seven years for the fifth-degree sale felony and nine years for the third-degree sale felony, running consecutively.
On Thursday, Housel said Heidemann is pregnant and wanted a delay of her sentence until she gets through her first trimester. Housel said he told her that "sentencing was on for today, I would relay her wishes to your honor, and naturally, all of this, your honor, can be backed up with documentation, which I don't have in my hands at this point."
Leone responded while also addressing Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann, who was also on the call Thursday. Budelmann advocated for Heidemann to be sentenced in December, though he said then he wasn't unsympathetic to her situation.
"Mr. Budelmann, don't even turn on your microphone (to speak); I'm going to deny that request, so we're going to go forward with the sentencing here today," Leone said on Thursday.
Budelmann said Heidemann pled guilty on Jan. 3, 2020. Housel said she turned herself in on Jan. 6 and consistently arrived for court, even when she was sick. Housel added she had a productive life, was employed and wasn't involved with any critical activities, up until a few years ago, when she developed a gambling addiction that led to a drug addiction. He praised her current progress, saying she has now been "trouble-free for a great period of time during our adjournments." Housel also noted medical issues Heidemann was dealing with.
Heidemann also advocated for herself to Leone.
"I just want you to know I don't live that life anymore, I'm a married woman, I've changed my whole life around," she said. "I'm going to be 40 years old in a few weeks, it's really my last chance to have a baby." She said she will need "a high level of care" for the pregnancy.
Leone said he wasn't trying to be cold and unsympathetic to Heidemann's medical issues, but sentenced her to a previously agreed-upon sentence of 4.5 years in prison, followed by 2.5 of post-release supervision for both charges, running concurrently, along with a shock camp order for both.
"Nicole, I know you're not real happy with me right now, but I truly wish you the best of luck. You will get good medical care with the (state) Department of Corrections," Leone said. "You may not believe that, but you will get good medical care."
Also in court
• An Auburn man was arraigned and indicted on several drug charges.
Charles E. Williams Jr., 44, was before Leone virtually Thursday. Williams' attorney, Samuel Tamburo, entered not guilty pleas for each count. Williams was charged with second-degree possession of marijuana, a class D felony; third-degree possession of marijuana, a class E felony; fifth-degree conspiracy, unlawful sale or possession of dangerous substances, second-degree using drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, all misdemeanors. Williams participated in the call at the jail Thursday morning.
Budelmann said he doesn't believe any of Williams' charges are "qualifying or eligible offenses" for bail under the state's bail reform laws. Budelmann said Williams has two prior felony convictions, one of which is considered a violent felony. Tamburo also noted none of the charges were bail qualifying offenses and Williams is doing a parole bid.
"When he finishes his parole bid, he'll be in the community, he's got a family here, he has a job, he's not planning on going anywhere other than defending these charges," Tamburo said.
Leone said he was going to release Williams "because I don't have any other option, to be quite honest with you" due to the bail laws, but he will have to report to the Cayuga County pre-trial release program within 24 hours of his release from the jail, or he would be violating his release condition. In that case, Leone continued, he would issue a bench warrant for Williams, who would be jailed for contempt of court.
However, Leone noted he would recuse himself from Williams' case going forward. Leone said after court he made the decision due to knowing the family of Williams' co-defendant, who is Williams' wife, Jessica Cosentino. A copy of Williams' indictment said that on or before Oct. 1, 2020, one or both of the defendants obtained and then both had around one pound on marijuana, and one or both packaged into bags of around one ounce in order to resale. At around 9 p.m. Oct. 1, the indictment continued, both people possessed "a substantial quantity of synthetic drugs, which acts as a stimulant, quantities of (marijuana) packaged for resale, digital scales, plastic bags, numerous cell phones and other indicia of drug sales in their residence."
Williams' next virtual court appearance is March 11.
Cayuga County schedules more COVID-19 test clinics
Cayuga County has announced two asymptomatic COVID-19 test clinics this week.
Appointment-only clinics for asymptomatic residents are set to run 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, and Thursday, Jan. 7, at the Emerson Park Pavilion, 6843 E. Lake Road, Owasco.
These are rapid-result tests; attendees should be prepared to wait at the site for up to 30 minutes to get a result.
A mask must be worn at the test site and social distancing will be enforced. Attendees are asked to park in the parking lot and not in the circle in front of the pavilion. There will be signs to direct visitors to the clinic.
An appointment is required to be tested for any of the county's clinics. To schedule an appointment, go to cayugacounty.us/health and click on "COVID-19 Clinics." When making the appointment, you must provide your legal name, email address, home address, phone number and insurance information. If the insurance policy is in someone else's name, you should provide their name and date of birth. If you don't have insurance, write "no insurance" in the relevant fields.
The county health department asks people not to book appointments unless they intend to keep them.
Fingerlakes Mall: New businesses, events and more in 2021
Well, 2020 is over and 2021 is finally here. We faced many challenges in 2020, but we are moving forward into 2021 with high hopes for a better year. We would like to thank all of our essential workers for their continued efforts to keep our community safe. We also appreciate those who are the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a step in the right direction toward putting an end to this pandemic. In the meantime, the safety of our shoppers, tenants and employees is our priority. We are regularly disinfecting all surfaces, including the restrooms and dining areas. We also want to remind everyone that masks are required at all times in the mall, unless seated in the food court to eat.
We would like to welcome our new tenant, B. Davis Photography and Big D’s Auctions. They are owned and operated by Damian and Bernadette Davis. They are located in the Great Outdoors wing of the mall, across from Teddy Mountain. B. Davis Photography offers a variety of family photo packages with amazing backdrops. Visit her page on Facebook at facebook.com/BernieDavisPhotography to see some of her work, or to book an appointment. Big D’s Auctions offers a large assortment of new and used items. He has an auction coming up on Jan. 8, and to see some of the items available, visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/BigDsAuctions.
Al Dente’s Pizza, Pasta & More opened last month in the Food Court, and they are doing great. With a large selection of chef-quality pasta dishes, pizza, appetizers and more, you will find something to suit everyone’s appetite. Owner Matt Balamont has over 25 years of experience as a chef, and has helped to open numerous Italian restaurants in Syracuse. He also has experience teaching his culinary skills to others. So make Al Dente’s a destination for lunch or dinner and enjoy your meal in a spacious, clean environment. Catering is also available for any type of event. Call Matt at (315) 916-2101 for more information, or to place an order.
After a great meal at Al Dente’s, visit Track Cinema for a great movie. Despite Regal Cinema and other theaters being closed, Track Cinema is open and offering great deals. Every week they also offer a different family-friendly $1 movie. So, stop in and support the family-owned and operated Track Cinema.
Matt Balamont knew he wouldn't have much competition opening a restaurant in Fingerlakes Mal…
While our country is moving forward with the new COVID-19 vaccine, we are still in a state of uncertainty. However, we are not giving up. We are moving forward and tentatively scheduling events in 2021. On Jan. 29, the American Red Cross will be having a blood drive in our Community Room from 2 to 6 p.m. There is a severe blood shortage so we encourage all those who can to donate. Visit redcrossblood.org for more information, or to schedule an appointment to make a donation.
In February, the Cayuga Lake Rabbit & Cavy show is returning. Stop in and view a large variety of rabbits and cavies of all breeds and sizes, and don’t miss their costume contest as well. In March, we have Speed World returning with multiple cars, vendors and more for all those race car enthusiasts. The Cat Fancier’s Association Cat Show will be here in March as well, with numerous show-stopping cats displaying their beauty and talents for everyone. May brings the return of the Syracuse Stamp & Scrapbooking Show. They offer a number of activities, displays and vendors from all over for crafters. Life Line Screenings will be here May 11 in the Community Room. They offer a number of non-invasive medical screenings for things such as plaque buildup, irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease and abnormal bone density. These screenings could help you find medical issues you weren’t aware of, and could even save a life. Visit lifelinescreening.com/community circle for more information, or to sign up.
We have been offering vendors and nonprofits the opportunity to set up in the mall every weekend to sell their items, or promote their organizations. These have been highly successful, and we have decided to continue these events. If you are interested in registering for a weekend, or would like more information, please contact me at (315) 255-1188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit our website at fingerlakesmall.com. There, you can find flyers for our events, sales flyers, store hours, contact information and more. Contact me at (315) 255-1188 or email@example.com with any questions or concerns. Again, we wish everyone a healthy and prosperous new year.
What you should know about Cayuga County COVID-19 vaccine clinic
The Cayuga County Health Department has received doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered at a clinic on Saturday.
The clinic is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, 1879 W. Genesee St. Road, Aurelius. Appointments are required for those receiving the first dose of the vaccine.
The vaccine will be administered based on the state Department of Health's prioritization plan. The state is in phase 1A, which covers health care workers, emergency medical services personnel, medical examiners, coroners, funeral workers and ambulatory care providers.
Employees and residents of long-term care facilities and congregate facilities overseen by the state Office of Addiction Service and Support, Office of Mental Health and Office of People with Developmental Disabilities are also eligible to receive the vaccine at the clinic.
Other people who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in phase 1A include:
• All ambulatory and outpatient frontline high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care or are employed in a position in which they have direct contact with patients. This includes private medical practice employees, hospital-affiliated medical practices, public health clinics, specialty medical practices of all types, dental practices, dialysis workers, diagnostic and treatment centers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, phlebotomists, behavioral health workers and student health workers.
• Frontline high-risk public health workers who have contact with patients, including performing COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 lab specimens and those who are administering vaccinations.
• Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides and consumer-directed personal care workers.
• Residents and staff of adult care facilities, nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.
"At this time, the vaccine cannot be used for any other populations or groups other than those listed above," the health department said, which added that there is "limited amounts" of COVID-19 vaccine available.
To schedule an appointment for the vaccination clinic, go to cayugacounty.us/health and click on "COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics." If you aren't eligible to receive the vaccine in this phase, the health department says do not schedule an appointment. You must show proof of eligibility — an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or a pay stub — at the vaccination clinic.
Anyone who is in mandatory isolation or quarantine won't be admitted into the vaccination clinic. If you feel ill on the day of the clinic, the health department asks you not to attend.
When you arrive at the vaccination clinic, you should remain in your vehicle until your appointment. You must complete the vaccine eligibility attestation form prior to the clinic. The form can be found at forms.ny.gov/s3/vaccine.
Masks are required and social distancing must be maintained. You will be required to stay for observation for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
More vaccination clinics will be held in the coming days, according to the health department.