Community News Coronavirus Opinion Politics

I wish there was more information on Chester City worker layoffs

I’ve been laid off a few times. It’s humiliating and confusing, especially if it’s your first time. Once you’ve been through it once, you are less stressed and somewhat comfortable navigating all the baggage that unemployment dumps on you.

I’ve always struggled with the term ‘laid-off.’ A lay-off could be seasonal and have you out of work until business picks up. I guess that’s called a temporary lay-off these days. Yet, folks get straight up fired with no hopes of being rehired and it’s still called a lay-off. And then there’s something called unpaid leave. Somehow, that’s different from a temporary lay-off.

Regardless of how they describe it, when you’re laid off, you are out of work.

Community News Coronavirus Health Opinion

Chester gets 2 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Chester had a couple COVID-19 cases last week but they turned out the be bogus for some unexplained reason (or at least none I came across). Now, we have two new cases I don’t think are related to the last two cases. I’d love to research that more, but this is all the available information out there I know of.

The Delaware County COVID-19 map is on fire. On Tuesday when the county was at 84 cases, I asked if we’d get to 168 cases by Friday. Today is Thursday and we’re at 159. What do you think?

No signs of flattening the Delco curve, yet.


Business Coronavirus Opinion

What is an Essential Employee now that coronavirus is shutting everything down?

A couple people I know are asking what is an essential employee and who makes that determination?

During this coronavirus period, we are hearing the term essential apply to employees, industries, and job functions. They all have their own definition and no matter how they’re defined, it’s as ambiguous as the people who come up with what’s essential or not when they’re left to make that decision.

Coronavirus Opinion

‘Black News Channel’ doing better with coronavirus coverage

Since I started subscribing to the new Black New Channel, I was curious where the rest of you get your news. I’m glad I procrastinated on doing this post because news watching has gone to a whole other level since the coronavirus landed.

I thought I’d do a piece on the new Black News Channel and see if I’m the only person watching. I figure I probably am the only one watching. I’ll get to my thoughts on the channel later.
According to Axios, a new survey from TV analysis company Magid finds 51% are increasing their consumption of news amid the coronavirus outbreak, with 49% checking on the news multiple times a day. Is that you?

Community News Coronavirus Opinion Politics Technology

Chester City Council Meeting via Facebook Live

Due to the coronoavirus and the need to shut down City Hall from the public, today’s City Council meeting was held in an empty chamber and broadcasted on Facebook Live. With the number of people who viewed it, this seems to be an effective way of reaching far more people than can sit in chambers and see a city council meeting in person.
It lasted about 15-minutes and they agreed to keep the State of Emergency Declaration going; demolish Pulaski School to make way for a recreation center; and approved something with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
No one emailed or called in any public comments.
I imagine they’re recording on a Smartphone which gives a decent image, but it’s hard to hear what they’re saying most of the time. Speaking louder would help or get one of those mics you can plug into the phone to pick up sound a lot better.
These mics are well under $100. Here’s what they look like.
iphone mic

Community News Coronavirus Crime Opinion Politics

Advocates for the incarcerated want the same thing regardless of race

There are a lot of Black people incarcerated across America making up about half the jail and prison population while representing only 13% of the United States population. Any talk about how to manage the incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic obviously involves close to as many white inmates as it does Black and Brown inmates.
In today’s Delaware County Daily Times, Kaabeer Weissman, co-founder of DelcoCPR, advocates for the release of prisoners held at the Delaware County prison. Her ask is almost identical to what the Congressional Black Caucus proposed in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer last week in hopes that Black people’s issues are considered in the next package of federal resources for individuals, families, businesses, and communities.

“The goal has to be to release as many people as possible as soon as possible,” said, Kabeera Weissman.
She called on police officers to file criminal complaints rather than making arrests when possible.

I get where she’s coming from, but if her intent is to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the prisons, letting criminals roam free, especially in poor communities, is the last thing that needs to happen.
If there’s ever a time a city like Chester needs more protection, it’s now. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and people are going to get more desperate as time passes. Many people in this community are already in poverty; working pay check to pay check if they are working at all; struggling to eat and feed their kids out of school; and may not qualify for a check from the government for one reason or another. There’s probably going to be relief for mortgage payers but I don’t hear anyone talking about providing relief for renters. You may not get evicted now but you still owe your rent.
I assume she isn’t advocating for the worst of our violent criminals going unchecked, but is that what the criminals are hearing when she says stuff like this? Should a police officer have to make a decision on the spot on what applies now as opposed to what applied last month when it comes to taking a criminal in? Is all these new policies going to be figured out in the next 20-minutes and rolled out across the board by tomorrow? If not, let’s spend our energy elsewhere.
As the funny lady on the YouTube video says, ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that.’
I’m am not a fan of GEO, but I have to side with them with this statement…

“These are unprecedented times when we all need to work together to combat COVID-19 (coronavirus). We have been working around the clock with state and local health officials to stop the spread of the virus and we are strictly adhering to all CDC guidelines. It is with hope that individuals and groups would be more focused on being part of the solution instead of political agendas in times of crisis.”

How prisoners live is not much different than how real people live in row homes, public housing, senior living centers, apartment complexes, high rises, or anywhere else people are stacked on top of or next to each other. What we learn from how prisons handle coronavirus can be applied many other places.
I’m all about prison accountability and watchdogging, and it surely should take place during this pandemic. We’ve got to trust they’re going to do what they can to protect their employees and the inmates. When it’s all over, we’ll look back and study the decisions they made, measure the results, and demand policy adjustments where needed.
Below is the Congressional Black Caucus’ ask to Congress regarding the incarcerated. It’s an interesting read…

Millions of currently incarcerated individuals are at risk of COVID-19 without the ability to take any steps to protect themselves. They are our responsibility and we must take actions to ensure their health and safety. Unlike the general population, correctional staff, personnel, and incarcerated persons cannot practice social distancing due to overcrowding and the restrictive nature of detention facilities. As a result of close confinement, the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in these facilities remains high.

Measures must be immediately implemented to protect the lives of the men, women, and youth who are currently in custody and the newly arrested, as well as to protect the staff and personnel who are responsible for their care.

We must:

    • Release all juveniles who have committed a non-violent crime;
    • Ensure all incarcerated individuals and staff are tested for Coronavirus, including everyone in custody, those going into custody, and those who are scheduled for immediate release;
    • Prioritize releasing incarcerated individuals in prisons, jails, and detention centers through clemency, commutations and compassionate release;
    • Allow immediate temporary release to home confinement of individuals who are a low-risk threat to the community, but to whom COVID-19 is a high-risk threat, which should automatically include (1) pregnant women, (2) adults over the age of 55, and (3) those with serious medical conditions, but could extend to those who are near to completing their sentence, low risk offenders, and those who have not begun their sentence, unless they pose a risk of serious injury to a reasonably identifiable person;
    • Provide $4 billion for Second Chance Grants, with priority given to community based non- profit organizations, to ensure individuals released from custody have the resources needed to successfully reintegrate into their communities;
    • Limit transmission in Bureau of Prisons (BOP), State and local correctional facilities by immediately providing the resources necessary to implement CDC protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as functioning sinks with antibacterial soap, hand sanitizers, and unlimited paper towels, increasing laundry services for clothing and bedding, as well as instituting measures to protect individuals responsible for providing laundry and cleaning services;
    • Agree that solitary confinement is not medical care and establish a Medical Emergency Plan with designated housing areas, including the tracking all suspected cases of COVID- 19 and available hospital beds and necessary equipment, the hiring of medical professionals capable of responding to COVID-19 inside facilities, and the development of a plan to transfer those who need intensive care to hospitals;
    • Employ technology to preserve families and their visitation needs, including providing video conferencing and calls free of charge; and
    • Provide Paid Sick Leave for personnel who are unable to work as a result of exposure to COVID-19 and require the establishment of an emergency contingency plan for the effective operation of facilities.
Business Coronavirus Opinion

Can Kimberly-Clark spare a few rolls of toilet paper to Chester folks?

There’s a big factory that makes toilet paper on the Chester riverfront. I’m not sure what they give to the Chester community besides some good jobs and a lot of polluted air from burning coal. How cool would it be if we could get some of that toilet paper?
It would be public relations gold for Kimberly-Clark across the country if they were seen offering every Chester household the opportunity to pick up a couple rolls of Scott-1000 toilet paper. My insiders there say they have a lot a cases of ‘recycled’ toilet paper, or rolls that don’t have the cardboard center, that employee take home.
I personally don’t understand the need to hoard toilet paper, but when there’s a factory right in your city making the product and shipping it across the land, don’t you think it would be a win-win if they could find a way to share a few rolls with at least the people in most need around the city of Chester?
Has anyone asked? Does anyone care?

Coronavirus Opinion

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Chatting with a guy, we agreed that COVID-19 won’t get real for most people until they know someone who gets it.
That very guy called me today to tell me we know someone who got it. She experienced a bad case of migraine headache, went to the hospital, and look what they found.
She lives near Denver, seems to be doing well, and is expected to have a full recovery, but it just got ‘real-real’ for me.
Unless you’re in a deep state of denial, every day seems like a slow burn creeping up on all sides. As one guy put it, when someone sneezes now, we don’t even say God Bless You. We give em a dirty look and walk briskly away.
Bob Marley asks, ‘Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?’ In this day of damn near martial law, his verse goes…

Nobody now give you no break
Police now give you no break
Not soldier man give you no break
Not even you idren [brethren] now give you no breaks

Whatcha gonna do?

Coronavirus Health & Fitness Humor Opinion

Chitlins may be a COVID-19 early detection tool

Chitterlings is their government name, but Black folks know them as chitlins. Anyone who has experienced the smell of chitlins being cleaned or cooked know how badly they stink.
Chitterlings are cow or pig intestines that were common peasant food in medieval England and made their way to America as a slave’s delicacy. I am proud to say that my generation may be the first in the slave lineage that has stopped eating chitlins.
Many of our parents and grandparents included chitlins with the holiday meals. I hated when my mom would stink up the house cleaning and cooking chitlins. Just the smell alone made me never want to eat that stuff. I watched the older folks devour chitlins at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in disbelief.

Gut of pork in the tray at market
I know y’all hating me right about now

I’m ashamed to admit while at my favorite aunt’s house with all my cousins sitting around the large table, she slipped chitlins on our dinner plates. I wasn’t tipped off because they were prepared when I wasn’t there and the smell goes away after they’re cooked. My dumb ass thought they were noodles. I ate them and actually liked them. All of a sudden it hit me – ‘These is some damn chitlins. I been got!’
I never ate them again and never will, but I hear there’s a Chinese restaurant in Wilmington that serves a huge helping of chitlins for take-out for those of you jonesing to get your slave taste buds reacclimated.
The reason I mention chitlins is a report by Axios that says the loss of smell could be an early detection sign of COVID-19. They quote an AP article which says…

  • There’s evidence from South Korea, China and Italy for loss or impairment of smell in infected people.

  • In South Korea, some 30% of people who tested positive for the virus have cited loss of smell as their major complaint in otherwise mild cases.

  • That might serve as a useful screening tool — a way to spot infected people without other symptoms like fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

If you’ve got a tub of chitlins in the icebox, this might be the time to pop the lid, get a little vinegar, clean a small portion, and see if someone in the house doesn’t complain. That would be the one in need of a COVID-19 test.

Community News Coronavirus Health & Fitness Opinion

COVID-19 must make you forget where you live

Last evening I checked the county map of COVID-19 case and noticed the 2 cases in Chester were reduced to 0. Was it an error removing them off the site? Did these two ladies get miraculously healed in 24-hours? Did they just disappear off the earth (but not die because they would be listed as COVID-19 deaths on the map)?
I wanted to ask someone but I had no clue who to ask. The few people I thought to ask have been too busy to answer my other questions and I didn’t want to call the local hotline because my curiosity wasn’t an emergency.
The Delaware County Times comes to the rescue again this morning with an article stating…

The city Office of Emergency Management announced Monday night that two cases in Chester had been reported in error. The city currently has no identified cases.

I think we deserve an answer as to why they were reported as Chester cases and all of a sudden they’re not Chester cases. It stains the reputation of the map if errors like this are widespread or at least not explained.
Chester gets wrongly blamed for a lot of stuff. Looks like COVID-19 cases are the latest stain on the city.
There is good news from the mistake. Finally, Chester’s Mayor, or Health Bureau, or Emergency Management team, or all of the above, are talking about a testing site located in Chester.
Maybe those two ladies forgot where they lived, but at least they gave Chester the gift of a potential COVID-19 testing facility.