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New Year’s Eve in Times Square Still On, With Smaller Crowd

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NEW YORK (AP) — Revelers will still ring in the new year in New York’s Times Square next week, there just won’t be as many of them as usual under new restrictions announced Thursday as the city grapples with a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Viewing areas that normally accommodate about 58,000 people will be limited to about 15,000 to allow for more distancing, and everyone in attendance must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news release announcing the changes.

“There is a lot to celebrate and these additional safety measures will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year,” de Blasio said, noting the city’s success in getting residents vaccinated while also keeping businesses open.

The added precautions for New Year’s Eve in Times Square were spurred by the rapid spread of the omicron variant in the Big Apple, where lines for testing have snaked around blocks in recent days.

On Wednesday, the city set yet another one-day testing record with 22,808 new cases, though a true comparison to the number of cases during the initial COVID-19 surge in spring 2020 is impossible because tests were very limited at the time.

Because of vaccinations, hospitalizations and deaths from the current surge are far fewer than at the pandemic’s height.

The new wave of cases has led to the cancellation of concerts, sporting events and Broadway shows, but de Blasio has shown a strong preference for having the annual Times Square ball drop go on as planned — the last major event of his eight-year tenure, which ends Jan. 1.

Little more than a month ago, de Blasio gleefully announced that a fully vaccinated crowd of hundreds of thousands of people would be back at the iconic celebration — donning goofy 2022-themed glasses and watching a crystal-clad ball drop at midnight — after it was limited last year to small groups of essential workers.

But that was before omicron caught fire, forcing city officials and event organizers to rethink just how many people they wanted to squeeze into the bright, billboard-lined tourist haven known to some as the Crossroads of the World.

On Tuesday, the Fox network gave its verdict, pulling the plug on a planned live broadcast from the New Year’s Eve event. Other networks plan to air the festivities, including Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC, the stalwart now hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

De Blasio said along with Thursday’s announcement that the city is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and could impose additional precautions if needed. Among the other changes announced Thursday, revelers won’t be allowed into viewing areas until 3 p.m., much later than in past years.

On New Year’s Eve last year, Times Square was mostly empty, with Jennifer Lopez and other artists performing behind police barricades. After vaccines became widely available in the U.S., the city allowed crowds back to the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and other events.

“New York is the best place in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve and now it will be one of the safest against COVID as well,” Mayor-elect Eric Adams said in a written statement endorsing the new precautions. “New Yorkers and visitors alike can now enjoy Times Square and the rest of our city as we ring in 2022.”

Original Source: wsvn.com

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Rosenberg Says He ’caused Discomfort for a Valued Colleague,’ Leading to Departure As FIU President

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A statement from the now former president of Florida International University has provided new insight into his sudden departure.

In the statement, issued Sunday, Dr. Mark Rosenberg thanked the community for their concern and alluded to inappropriate conduct toward a colleague.

He said his exit from the post he held since 2009 came after years of being the caregiver for his wife.

Rosenberg wrote, “Rosalie, a Type 1 diabetic on insulin for 45 years, has advanced dementia, [multiple sclerosis], and is largely wheelchair bound. I have been her nightly caregiver for over a decade. But Rosalie’s condition entered a new stage in just the last few months, resulting in further cognitive debilitation. When I finally realized the impact that her condition had on my personal well-being in late October, 2021, I sought professional mental health services and am still under a specialist’s care.”

He went on to write, “Regrettably, these issues spilled over to my work, and I caused discomfort for a valued colleague. I unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement. I have apologized. I apologize to you. I take full responsibility and regret my actions.”

Rosenberg then explained that, “In consultation with the Chair of the Board of Trustees, I realized that an immediate change would be healthy for all parties.”

Rosenberg’s departure on Friday night stunned students on campus.

“Honestly, I didn’t see it coming,” said FIU junior Maria Aguirre.

Rosenberg was the fifth president at FIU, taking the helm in 2009, and he was the first faculty member to ascend to that position. He’s credited with increasing enrollment to 58,000 students and improving the graduation rate by 23%.

“He was a really good president. I’m definitely going to remember him,” said FIU junior Katherine Cadavid.

But despite rave reviews and more than a decade of leadership, conspicuously missing from Friday afternoon’s Board of Trustees emergency meeting to appoint a new president was any mention of Rosenberg’s long list of accomplishments. In fact, his name was never mentioned at all.

The board addressed the matter in their own statement, also issued Sunday.

Dean Colson with FIU’s Board of Trustees wrote that Rosenberg’s statement “provides insight into why the Board did not believe Friday was the appropriate time to celebrate the many accomplishments of FIU the past 13 years. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the events requiring his resignation.”

The only FIU official to mention his name publicly was the school’s new interim president, Dr. Kenneth Jessell, during a taped video message released Friday night.

“I want to thank former President Mark Rosenberg for his leadership and hard work in helping to make FIU what it is today. I know that we will continue to elevate our university to new heights.”

Rosenberg said he is now seeking additional help for his wife through the “inevitable progression of her condition.”

Original Source: wsvn.com

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Carvalho Hosts Last Meal Distribution in Miami Before Move to Los Angeles

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Alberto Carvalho hosted his last meal distribution as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

M-DCPS on Sunday provided 1,000 meals to local families who continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, held near Northwest Eighth Street and 80th Avenue in Miami, is Carvalho’s last community feeding before he takes over the reins as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Through the Family Meals-on-the-Go program, M-DCPS has partnered with individual donors, local organizations and local restaurant owners who donate funds to purchase food from local restaurants.

Article: wsvn.com

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Miami-Dade School Board to Interview 3 Candidates Amid Superintendent Search

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Who will be Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ next superintendent? An upcoming meeting will likely prove instrumental to the three candidates currently vying for the position.

The Miami-Dade School Board has set up a special meeting on Monday afternoon. The applicants will be interviewed during the meeting.

Outgoing M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho will be replaced by either Dr. Jose Dotres, Dr. Rafaela Espinal or Jacob Oliva.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the School Board Administration Building in Miami.

Article: wsvn.com

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