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Cornell Researchers Aim to Advance NY Winter-Storm Emergency Response

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ITHACA, N.Y. – Partnering with community organizations, Cornell University researchers are developing and planning a hyperlocal weather forecasting system designed to improve winter-storm emergency response and enhance natural disaster coordination for New York state’s rural communities.

Max Zhang, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will lead the federally funded effort this spring.

The work is part of the new Civic Innovation Challenge, an $11 million effort led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The four-month challenge seeks to empower communities to achieve necessary local weather and disaster solutions, so that one day such plans may be scaled up regionally or nationally.

 

“In case of a winter storm or other kind of natural disaster, there is a suite of actions that must be prioritized,” Zhang said. “As upstate towns usually have a limited budget, we’re tying together technology and actions plans.”

For example: “Information is critical for the highway departments to decide where to send the plows and salt trucks first, and decide the correct priority of actions,” he said. “We aim to develop a transferrable priority-action model for all of New York and then perhaps to the rest of the U.S. through the national cooperative extension network.”

Zhang said his group will be partnering with civic and community partners across New York, attempting several innovations integrating computer vision, numerical weather forecasting and Internet of Things-based sensing packages.

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Rev. Richard Deats, Long-Time Global Peace Movement Leader, Passes Away

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Rev. Richard Deats, a long-time global peace movement leader and one of the most influential teachers of the philosophy and practice of nonviolent action in 20th-century movements, died in Nyack on April 7 from complications related to pneumonia, according to his son, Mark Deats. He was 89.

“As a long-time leader of the global peace movement organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and editor of Fellowship magazine, Richard Deats was one of the most well respected, well connected, and most influential peace movement leaders in the United States and the world during the last half of the 20th century,” said Rev. John Dear, a close friend and former executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, or FOR.

“Deats worked closely with peace leaders around the world, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jim Lawson and other civil rights leaders, several of Mahatma Gandhi’s heirs, Thich Nhat Hanh and various Buddhist leaders, Rev. Daniel Berrigan, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu,” Dear said. Deats joined Mrs. King at the White House when Ronald Reagan signed into law the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the early 1980s, Deats helped organize and present hundreds of workshops on nonviolence attended by tens of thousands of people throughout the Philippines which laid the groundwork for the People Power nonviolence movement that brought down the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in 1986. He also led 13 peace delegations to the Soviet Union in the 1980s that helped ease tensions and build relations at the height of the Cold War.

The Rev. Richard Deats died April 7, 2021. (Courtesy of the Deats family)

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Arthur R. Aldrich, Publisher of OurTown Newspaper, Passes Away at 83

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Suffern – Arthur R. Aldrich, a respected newspaper publisher, died peacefully Monday, April 12th, at the age of 83 with his family by his side.

Born in Yonkers, Arthur graduated from White Plains High School and went on to attended New York University.

He worked as editor of several newspapers including the Customart Press, the Eastchester Record, and the Rockland Leader.

After marrying Elaine (Nardeccia) in 1965, the couple moved from New Rochelle to Suffern NY where they quickly became active members and leaders in the Rockland County community, and Unitarian Society.

In 1973 Arthur started a weekly community paper called “Our Town” based in Pearl River. The paper was widely respected for journalism and creative writing including their popular restaurant reviews.

In the early 90s he expanded his business outside of Orangetown to include other parts of Rockland and Bergen when he acquired the publication of “The Home and Store News” based in Ramsey NJ from John Dater.

Arthur was happiest when behind the keys of the piano and organ. He would perform regularly at Good Samaritan Hospital as a volunteer.

Arthur was also a professor and educator, teaching college classes in advertising, marketing, and business. In later years he offered defensive driving classes to many. He had a love for books, classic music & film, as well as the theater.

In his leisure time he would produce lecture series on historical events, cultural arts, and the history of radio broadcasting that he would give through the Elder Hostel organization, and at local libraries.

Arthur also worked as stage director for many local playhouses, and volunteered his time every year to Camp Venture to help raise money for their ongoing effort of providing opportunity and family-like care for people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Arthur is survived by his wife Elaine, son Arthur and his wife Christina, and grandchildren Daniel and Alec Aldrich. He also leaves behind niece Jean Migdal, nephew Michael Migdal and his wife Jane.

He continued working right up until the time of his death and will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and community.

A public memorial service is being planned for a later date.

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