States Step Up Funding For Planned Parenthood Clinics

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: Planned Parenthood / YouTubeHARTFORD, Conn. — Several states have begun picking up the tab for family planning services at clinics run by Planned Parenthood, which last year quit a $260 million federal funding program over a Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions.States including New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii already are providing new funding, and Democratic governors in Connecticut and Pennsylvania have proposed carving out money in state budgets to counter the effects of the national provider’s fallout with the Republican presidential administration.The proposals have stirred political debates over abortion at the state level, with some opponents claiming it’s a government endorsement of abortion and an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont earmarked $1.2 million for Planned Parenthood in his new budget proposal. The executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, Christopher Healy, criticized it as a purely political act. “Where is the pressing need here to do this?” Healy said, arguing Planned Parenthood does not need taxpayer money. “They have the ability to raise money.”Lamont said he wants to help cover an expected shortfall for Planned Parenthood to ensure women in Connecticut have access to all the health services they need. A spokesman for Lamont said the administration doesn’t want the abortion debate to stymie access to things like contraception and cervical cancer screenings.“Look, this is the law of the land. Here in a state like this, we believe that abortion rights are right, and we believe they ought to be affordable for folks who otherwise might not have that availability,” Lamont said. “So I think it’s the right thing to do.”Nationwide, about 4 million women across the U.S., many low-income and uninsured, were receiving services last year under the Title X federal program, including STD testing, various screenings, education and wellness exams. Planned Parenthood and some other providers decided to withdraw from the program rather than comply with what Planned Parenthood calls the Trump administration’s “gag order,” which bars clinics that participate in Title X from referring women for abortions. The move caused a money crunch for some clinics.Since then, some of the rejected federal funds have been replenished by state or local funds in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California and New York. Hawaii’s current fiscal year budget sets aside $750,000 to partly cover a $2 million loss in Title X grant money.In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation authorizing up to $8 million. In California, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors last year voted to cover a $482,000 expected shortfall for six Planned Parenthood clinics serving 36,274 patients. And Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, has included a $3 million line item in his proposed 2020-21 budget to also help offset the funding loss for Planned Parenthood providers.In Oregon, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rule, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the agency has been “working closely with state officials to create critical backstops and protect access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X,” and commended Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, for prioritizing funding for reproductive health services.Abortion opponents have accused governors of providing the money to gain favor with an organization that often supports Democrats at election time.In New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy last month signed legislation that set aside $9.5 million in state money for family planning at Planned Parenthood, New Jersey Right to Life called it a disgraceful money grab.“The taxpayers of NJ should not be forced to fund abortion -– and make no mistake -– that is what this bill will do,” Marie Tasy, the group’s executive director, said in a written statement.Title X regulations prohibit funds from being used for abortions, with some narrow exceptions, and the money Lamont has proposed would fund Title X services and not on abortions, according to Connecticut’s Department of Public Health.Abortion opponents in Connecticut have argued for years that state funds should not be used for abortions or abortion referrals. The state’s health insurance program paid for 6,995 abortions in 2018. A Department of Social Services spokesman said Connecticut is under a court order to pay for any abortion for a Medicaid-covered woman that she and her doctor have determined to be necessary.The state money budgeted by Lamont would not go toward abortions, as it would fund only Title X services, according to state health officials. But opponents say that regardless of where it goes, the money for Planned Parenthood makes it appear the state is outwardly advocating for abortion.“I’m disturbed by it, that it’s now state policy to outwardly advocate it no, matter what,” said Chris O’Brien, executive director of Connecticut Right to Life.It’s unclear how long the help from states will continue.Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said it’s “encouraging” that governors and state legislators are trying to fill the gap, but said the state-by-state efforts cannot replace the nearly 50-year-old Title X program.“While we applaud leaders in the states for taking these temporary but critical steps, we must continue fighting for a nationwide solution,” Ayers said. “Only Congress has the power to permanently stop this harmful rule, and people across the country are continuing to call on them to do so.”last_img read more

Cattaraugus County Reports Four New COVID-19 Cases Saturday

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) LITTLE VALLEY – Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Cattaraugus County on Saturday, while Chautauqua County’s case number has not changed.Officials say the 16th case is a female resident who lives in the southeastern part of the county, she has no significant travel history, who was a close contact with a known positive COVID-19 person.“She developed fever, chills, cough, and lightheadedness, she was tested by the department on April 8 because she was symptomatic and a direct contact,” said officials. “The result of her test on April 11 indicated that she was positive for COVID-19.”The 17th case is a male resident who lives in the southeastern part of the county, he has no significant travel history, who was a close contact with a known positive COVID-19 person. “He developed fever, chills, cough, and shortness of breath, he was tested by the department on April 9 because he was symptomatic and a direct contact,” said officials. “The result of his test on April 11 indicated that he was positive for COVID-19.”The 18th case is a male resident who lives in the southeastern part of the county, he has no significant travel history, who was a close contact with a known positive COVID-19 person.“He developed a cough and body aches and was tested by the department on April 9 because he was symptomatic and a direct contact,” furthered officials. “The result of his test on April 11 indicated that he was positive for COVID-19.”The 19th case is a woman who lives in the northeastern part of the county, no significant travel history, who was sent home by her employer because of an elevated temperature. Shortly thereafter, she developed headaches and congestion and contacted her medical provider who ordered a COVID-19 test for her on April 9. The result of her test on April 11 indicated that she was positive for the virus.“The patients are resting at home, and now under quarantine with their families,” explained health officials. “They will be assessed for any medical support that we can provide and we will monitor their symptoms closely.”The health department is now conducting contact tracing investigation for those individuals that they have been in contact with and the places that they visited.“We continue to ask our residents to bunker down, and avoid any non-essential travel, especially to areas where there is community wide spread of COVID-19 otherwise, you place your family and other Cattaraugus County residents at risk,” said officials. “If travel is necessary, please wear a homemade cloth face mask while in public and maintain social distancing, at least 6 feet away from other people.”Those with questions or concerns are asked to contact the Cattaraugus County Health Department at 716-373-8050.last_img read more

New COVID-19 Case Reported Today, Additional Patient Recovers From Virus

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) JAMESTOWN – One new case of COVID-19 was reported in Chautauqua County today, with one more person recovering from the virus.Officials during their Wednesday update said the new case involves a woman in her 60s.Currently, there are 4 active cases with patients continuing to recover in quarantine, 33 total confirmed cases, 26 recovered cases and three deaths related to the outbreak.“Forty-eight cases under quarantine/isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored,” said officials. “Not all of those being monitored are confirmed to have COVID-19 but have either shown symptoms, are awaiting results, or have risk factors.” Health officials say that common sense can go a long way in the effort to stop the outbreak.They say those with fever, respiratory or other flu-like symptoms – coughing, shortness of breath, body aches, diarrhea or other new symptoms of illness, especially if they have recently traveled, should let their primary care provider know because they need be tested for COVID-19.As of 4 p.m. Cattaraugus County has not yet provided their daily COVID-19 update. This report will be updated when they do.last_img read more

WNY Bank Offering Free Digital Courses To Area Residents

first_imgPixabay Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – One of the largest banks in Western New York is working to help those economically impacted by the pandemic by helping them gain free digital skills part of new online courses.Leaders with M&T bank have launched a program called WNY Tech Skills Initiative.Launched in response to persistent unemployment and underemployment exacerbated by the pandemic, the company says the initiative offers virtual training experiences that will connect community members with access to in-demand skills.The training will benefit people interested in careers in technology, as well as those who want to gain digital skills to make themselves more marketable when pursuing jobs in other fields. The virtual training programs are free for residents of Western New York, offering three learning phases:Open access, self-led skills training: Virtual, project-based learning pathways that will introduce participants to various technology and digital skill areas, such as data analysis, digital marketing, UX design and software engineering.Virtual tech skill workshops: One-hour to day-long courses that allow for tech career path exploration through foundational training.Virtual upskilling programs: Part-time, instructor-led courses that offer advanced training designed to enhance participants’ readiness for careers in tech.Initially, the open-access, self-led skills training will be available for up to 3,000 people, with subsequent training phases made available soon after students complete a portion of phase one training.Candidates for the virtual upskilling programs will be reviewed by General Assembly for eligibility based on participation in the first two phases and proficiency in applicable technology skills.To learn more visit Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tony Poll Top Three: Idina Menzel’s 11:00 Number is Fans’ Favorite

first_img Star Files The 2014 Tony Awards came and went, but not before dazzling us with a bevy of live performances. Audiences were treated with tunes not only from this year’s musical nominees, but also hits from other new tuners of the season, glimpses of upcoming shows and of course, numbers from the song and dance man himself, our emcee Hugh Jackman. We asked fans which performance from Broadway’s biggest night they thought was the biggest showstopper. The votes are in, and here’s what you had to say! Want to go back and revisit your favorite? Check them all out here!1. If/Then — 26%Wait, Idina Menzel won a poll? Who saw that one coming?!  The Tony winner, who was nominated for her performance as Elizabeth in the Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey tuner, single-handedly brought down the house with her big 11:00 number, “Always Starting Over.” With her powerful anthem receiving an impressive 26% of the vote, maybe that’s enough incentive for Menzel to rock Radio City with this number again on June 16. 3. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder— 11%The charming trio of Bryce Pinkham, Lauren Worsham and Lisa O’Hare performed “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” the refrain of which will likely linger in your head for weeks to come. A hysterical introduction from fellow costar Jefferson Mays as three of the D’Ysquiths made the performance from this year’s Best Musical victor all the more rewind-worthy. View Commentscenter_img 2. Hedwig & the Angry Inch — 23%Tony winners Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall broke all sorts of rules with their energetic performance of “Sugar Daddy.” For instance, licking Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses is usually a no-no. But that doesn’t stop Hedwig, who also leapt from the stage to carwash Orlando Bloom, give Sting a lapdance and make out with David Burtka (shh, don’t tell Harris!). Idina Menzellast_img read more

Jackie Hoffman Joins the Broadway Cast of On the Town

first_imgJackie Hoffman will join the previously announced Tony Yazbeck, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Clyde Alves in the upcoming Broadway revival of On the Town. Directed by John Rando, previews will start at the Lyric Theatre (formerly the Foxwoods) on September 20, with opening night set for October 16.Hoffman will play Madame Dilly. Her Broadway credits include The Addams Family, Xanadu and Hairspray. Her screen credits include The New Normal, Girls, The Good Wife, 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm.First seen on Broadway in 1944, On the Town follows the adventures of three sailors on leave in New York City. Based on the ballet Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins, the musical features music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Toe-tapping hits from the show include “New York, New York,” “I Can Cook Too,” “Lonely Town” and “Some Other Time.” Yazbeck, Johnson and Alves will be reprising their roles from the 2013 Barrington Stage Company production of the tuner.The cast will also include Megan Fairchild, Alysha Umphress and Elizabeth Stanley. On the Town Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 6, 2015 View Comments Related Shows Star Files Tony Yazbecklast_img read more

Happy Broadway Opening to On the Town!

first_img On the Town In addition to Yazbeck, Johnson and Alves, the portrait features Megan Fairchild as Ivy, Jackie Hoffman as Maude P. Dilly, Michael Rupert as Pitkin, Elizabeth Stanley as Claire, Allison Guinn as Lucy Schmeeler and vlogger Alysha Umphress as Hildy. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 6, 2015 Hello, sailors! On the Town is back on the Great White Way in a new production helmed by John Rando, opening on October 16 at the Lyric Theatre. Tony Yazbeck, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Clyde Alves star in the classic Bernstein, Comden and Green musical as Gabey, Chip and Ozzie. To celebrate, resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson sketched this portrait of our favorite men in uniform and colorful New Yorkers. Related Showscenter_img About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. Congratulations to the cast of On the Town! Have a helluva show tonight. View Commentslast_img read more

World Premiere Musical The Fortress of Solitude Will Release Cast Album

first_img Based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude is a coming-of-age story about 1970s Brooklyn and beyond. It tells the tale of two teenagers obsessed with superheroes who believed that maybe, just maybe, they could fly. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 16, 2014 The cast includes Kyle Beltran, Adam Chanler-Berat, Ken Barnett, André de Shields, Carla Duren, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Jahi Kearse, Kevin Mambo, David Rossmer, Conor Ryan, Kristen Sieh, Brian Tyree Henry, Alison Whitehurst, Malaiyka Reid, Noah Ricketts, Britton Smith, Akron Watson and Juson Williams. The production will run through November 16. The Fortress of Solitude World premiere musical The Fortress of Solitude will record a cast album on November 18 and 19 for release on Ghostlight Records later this season. The show is currently running off-Broadway at the Public’s Newman Theater. Directed by Daniel Aukin, the new tuner has a book by Itamar Moses and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. Related Showslast_img read more

Trace the History of Fun Home, From Graphic Memoir to Broadway

first_imgFamily DynamicsBy the time Fun Home officially opened at the Public Theater on October 22, 2013, Gold had attracted an outstanding cast led by Malone, Cerveris, three-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn as matriarch Helen Bechdel, Alexandra Socha (who left before the end of the run, replaced by Emily Skeggs) as teenage “Medium Alison” and 10-year-old powerhouse Sydney Lucas as “Small Alison.” Critics were ecstatic, praising the show’s beautiful, character-driven score and script, Gold’s expert staging and the actors’ sensitive performances. An original cast album was released in February 2014, and the show won five Best Musical prizes and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. At Home on BroadwayTheater message boards buzzed for months with rumors about where and when Fun Home would transfer to Broadway. The show’s producers chose to wait more than year, and Gold made the bold decision to restage his work in the round at Circle in the Square. (Fortunately Sydney Lucas, who sings in seven production numbers and garnered rave reviews, did not outgrow her role.) Reflecting on the appeal of Fun Home, Judy Kuhn told, “It tells a profound story that everybody can relate to because we all come from families that are functional and dysfunctional—it’s really about love and forgiveness. It is not like anything I’ve ever seen or been in, and I think the world is ripe for this story and the way it’s being told.” Fun Home Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 10, 2016 Welcome to Our House“Fun Home is a memory play, and the mechanics of how the memories behave has changed several times,” actress Beth Malone wrote in a 2013 essay for As the adult narrator through multiple workshops, Malone recalled, “I’ve had about five opening numbers and an entire library of speeches and deleted scenes.” Raul Esparza and David Aaron Baker played Bruce in early presentations, followed by Tony winner Michael Cerveris. “Before I got involved, [director] Sam [Gold], Jeanine and Lisa went through a lot of versions involving projections and images from the graphic novel, but at some point, they realized that trying to re-create the book on stage was not going to work,” Cerveris told “The process became figuring out the theatrical equivalent of the book.” The storyline of Fun Home doesn’t scream (or even whisper) “Broadway musical,” but that’s exactly what makes the show is such a thrilling surprise. This coming-of-age tale centers on a young lesbian whose closeted father pursues inappropriate relationships with boys in his high school English class. He also owns the local funeral home, where his kids do odd jobs and play among the caskets. The sum of these unusual parts, based on cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, opens on April 19 at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre after an acclaimed debut at the Public Theater. Read on to learn more about this moving family saga. Secrets and LiesAs a child in rural Pennsylvania, Alison Bechdel kept a journal about growing up with a controlling, perfectionist dad and quietly unhappy mom. Bruce Bechdel fought his daughter’s tomboyish tendencies and micromanaged her burgeoning talent as an artist, but the only thing he really loved was the family’s 19th-century Gothic Revival house. By the time Alison entered Oberlin College in 1979, she realized she was a lesbian. When she called her parents to share the news, her mother blurted a shocking response: Dad is gay, too. Bruce sent a cryptic letter expressing envy of “the ‘new’ freedom” on college campuses. “In the fifties, it was not even considered an option.” Four months later, he stepped into the path of an oncoming truck. A Life in PicturesStruggling make sense of her peculiar background, Bechdel became “a careful archivist of her own life,” according to an author bio. She launched the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1983 and, in 2006, published Fun Home, subtitled A Family Tragicomic. The book’s 232 pages of meticulously observed drawings and captions present a lifetime of love, sadness and missed connections, “a masterpiece,” according to Time, “about two people who live in the same house but different worlds.” Bechdel examined the other side of her heritage six years later in Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama? In 2014, she received a $650,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. Related Shows Page to StageAmong Fun Home’s many early fans was actress/playwright Lisa Kron, who, like Alison Bechdel, transformed her quirky family history into art in plays such as Well and 2.5 Minute Ride. Although she had no experience writing librettos, Kron pictured Fun Home as a musical, and she passed the book to four-time Tony-nominated composer Jeanine Tesori, who quickly agreed. For the next five years, Kron and Tesori developed the show (including a residency at the Sundance Theater Lab), struggling to translate the thoughts and actions of a cartoonist and her troubled family to the stage. In the end, they decided to present Alison at three ages, a conceit Tesori had previously toyed with in Shrek and Violet. View Commentslast_img read more

Culturalist Challenge! Who Should Play Cher in the Clueless Musical?

first_img View Comments The staff is crazy for Culturalist, the website that lets you choose and rank your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank. We’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Show every Wednesday.Last week, we were so excited about the release of Magic Mike XXL, we asked you to rank the Broadway studs you’d love to see headline the forthcoming musical version of Magic Mike. The results are in, and Hedwig hunk Darren Criss came out on top! This week, after hearing the news that the Clueless musical is definitely in the works, we started dreaming about stars who could play Valley girl Cher in the new adaptation. Features Editor Lindsay Champion posted her top 10 picks here!STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button.STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button.STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button.Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list.Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Show!last_img read more