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We Need To Be Counted

I know we’ve been been distracted.

I know we’ve got a few things on our minds.

But… and I say this with all due respect… we have to take ten minutes out of our lives and complete the Census.

As of two weeks ago, our numbers have been miserable.

Here’s the snapshot I was given.

(as of 5-13-20)

percentages for:

National                       59%

Florida                  56.6%

PBC                     57.4%

Delray Beach       48.1%

Tract 65.02          37%

Tract 74.10          37.7%

Those are pretty abysmal stats.

The national, state and county numbers are poor considering how important the census is and how easy it is to fill out.

Delray’s completion rate is less than 50 percent and if you live in the tracts listed..well let’s just say you have some catching up to do.

The Census is extremely important and if we don’t get it right we have to wait 10 years until we get another bite at the federal apple so to speak.

Census numbers not only determine our representation in Washington but it also affects how many dollars will flow our way in areas ranging from social services to health care.

The Census Bureau has gone out of its way to make responding easy.  For the first time, you can choose to respond online, by phone, or by mail.

So there’s really no excuse.

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

So this is important stuff my friends

Visit Or call 844-330-2020 and please spread the word.

Your neighbors are counting on you.  No pun intended.

Monday Thoughts

Random thoughts….
Question: how are we going to get a vaccine by the end of the year if we haven’t yet figured out a way to stock toilet paper in our stores?
A friend texted me the other day and said he hated the term “new normal.”
I agree.
We can’t think that we will be living in a pandemic forever. We just can’t. We will get back to living life which includes socializing with other humans.
What do I miss most?
Hugs. Giving them and getting them.
There is no acceptable excuse to avoid a Zoom call or Zoom Happy Hour. What are you going to say, ‘I’m busy’—it doesn’t fly.
The press is not the enemy of the people. It’s the guarantor of our Democracy.
I hate inaccurate reporting as much as the next person and have been on the receiving end of bad reporting. But our First Amendment sets us apart and we must get back to a place where we can agree on objective facts.  PS There is some remarkable journalism being practiced today. Look no further than the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and right  here at home I’ve been impressed recently by the work of C. Ron Allen in the Boca Tribune.
It’s alarming that Palm Beach County is one of three counties nationally considered high risk thanks to increasing infections.
We took a ride downtown over the weekend and didn’t see a lot of social distancing. Complacency in these times can get you and others in trouble. It can kill you.
One of the saving graces of staying at home in 2020: streaming services.
Can you call imagine how long the nights would be without Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime?
Here’s a few recommendations: “Never Have I Ever” on Netflix, “Upload” on Amazon and “I Know This Much is True” on HBO.
Also don’t miss “The Last Dance” on ESPN.
There is some talk about moving the start of hurricane season to May from June.
Between coronavirus, murder hornets, locusts and toilet paper shortages I would argue that we can do without hurricanes this year.
We’ve got enough on the plate for a while.
On a personal note, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming support after we posted about the loss of our beloved golden retriever Teddy last week.
We received flowers, cards, comforting messages and even a poster featuring Teddy.
He was the best dog imaginable.
I believe he’s in a better place, free of pain and that we will see each other again.
Thank you for all the love and concern. You are the very best.  And again of you can rescue a pet please do so. You will find that they rescue you.

Love & Loss

Our golden Teddy will live in our hearts forever .

I lost my best buddy yesterday and the sadness in my heart actually hurts.

Our magnificent, handsome, loving and sweet golden retriever Teddy passed after an 18 month battle with bone cancer.
While we knew the end was inevitable—the cancer had returned after surgery, chemo and radiation—I never dreamt it would happen so suddenly.
While Teddy had visibly slowed down, he was still full of life; playing  with other dogs, climbing stairs, taking car rides and eating like a champ right up until the end.
But Monday evening, he got up from his perch in front of the TV made a strange face and walked to the corner where he refused to move.
It was like a switch went off and he went from healthy and happy to sick and very weak.
The next morning he couldn’t stand, refused to eat and it was over. Our beautiful boy was gone…
We were assured by Dr. Jim Grubb that it was time. And I could see in Teddy’s soulful brown eyes that he was ready.  I think that was Teddy’s final gift to us, he let us know.
We love Dr. Grubb and his staff. They love our pets and that love is genuine. We knew it was the right decision.
But that doesn’t mean saying goodbye is easy. It’s not. It’s really hard. I held Teddy’s sweet face for the last time, caressed his ears And looked into his big brown eyes and thanked him for being such a good dog. I said it was OK and that I would see him again. And I believe I will.
Diane, his mom and my wife, petted his hair and comforted him. He was at peace. We were heartbroken.
But I don’t want this to be just about Teddy’s death. I want to celebrate his life.
And I want to encourage you to adopt or rescue a pet because they save us, we don’t save them.
We adopted Teddy from Golden Retrievals, a terrific non-profit in Boca run by Linda Ripps.
Linda has become a great friend. She has a heart as big as a Great Dane and has stayed in our lives since the adoption. We are so thankful for her.
The first time I saw Teddy I fell in love. And I fell hard. I’ve had two other pure bred Golden’s and a golden mix so I was already enamored with the breed’s traits which can be summed up in one word: goodness.
Golden’s are just good through and through.
Teddy was a handsome young boy of 5. He smiled, was a complete gentleman and instantly warmed up to Diane, the kids, our birds (who would land on his head) and our other rescue Randy, a high strung but super cool Chihuahua mix that we adopted 16 years ago at the Delray Affair. Randy is still going strong (sort of) at the ripe old age of 17. He’s blind, hard of hearing but still an alpha.
Our friend Rebecca, who has always helped with our dogs, was touched by Randy and Teddy’s relationship. She saw how Teddy tried to help Randy and thought he was so sweet for doing so. But that was Teddy, gentle, caring, courteous.
Yes, dogs can be courteous.
Teddy loved kids especially the Paterson children next door who showered him with bones and hugs.
He loved car rides and would drape his head across the back seat, close his eyes and enjoy the wind in his hair. I’ve never seen that. It was so endearing and a reminder for us to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures.
We would tool around Delray, cruise Atlantic Avenue, tour A1A and sometimes make a pit stop for a treat or a shopping trip to a pet store.
But he would get very interested when we’d get back home to Delray Lakes. He knew and loved his neighborhood and would stick his big head out the window to watch our neighbors as we drove by.
He watched TV, would react to animals he saw on the screen and seemed to understand English.
He never begged for food, but was happy to sample any handouts.
He had several “looks”—worry, a smile, even a snake eye if he stood by the door and you told him to wait until the next commercial.
He loved going to local parks, enjoyed shredding paper and stuffed animals and was devoted to our kids often stealing looks at their phones and laptops as if to say “what can be more interesting than looking at or petting me?”
Teddy loved to watch Diane exercise “helping” her by getting in the way, politely but doggedly demanding toys and rooting her on by rolling around on his back kicking his big feet in the air.
It was a daily show.
He was adorable. He was so good.
He was more than a dog, he was a beloved member of the family.
He stole my heart. I happily let him have it.
And now that he’s gone, he took a big part of it with him.
It’s a bond that I don’t have the words to explain. I’ve felt it before with Rusty, Snowball, Tina, Casey, Sophie, Sunny, Magnum and Randy. So this feeling and this heartbreak is familiar to me.
In time, the good memories will crowd out the crushing sadness of yesterday. It’s not fun to see your big, perfect, strong and loving friend at the end of his time on this Earth. But I know in time, I will remember all the good and there was so much. All the love and there was so much. All the laughs and all the comfort of having a great dog in your life.
“Pet people” will get that. We are heartbroken today and will be for a while. But in time, because of good boys like Teddy and his wingman Randy, we will dare to love again.
I believe, firmly, that dogs know when they are loved. And if you allow them in your heart, as we do, they will love you unconditionally in a way that will enrich your life immeasurably.
Thank you Teddy. No more cancer. No more pain. But I will tell you my buddy …the love will remain.

Preparing For Recovery

I moved to Delray Beach just when efforts to revitalize the city were beginning to kick into gear.

The year was 1987, so I had just missed Mayor Doak Campbell’s Atlantic Avenue Task Force, an effort that served as an important precursor to the massive efforts that were about to be launched.

But I was there for Visions 2000, the Decade of Excellence, Visions 2005, Sharing for Excellence (which focused on the city’s schools) the Downtown Master Plan and a host of other efforts that created modern day Delray Beach, a three time All America City, that has earned national acclaim for its redevelopment efforts, successful downtown, events, culture and food scene.

It’s been quite a ride—turbulent at times, but joyous too.
Now in the midst of a pandemic I am reminded every time I drive down Atlantic Avenue about those early years when downtown was dead and buried in a lot of people’s hearts and minds.

Delray came back as a result of careful planning, massive public investment, risky private investment and a playbook that included everything from a downtown tennis stadium and festivals to a focus on culture and a big bet on food and beverage as a driver of commerce and branding. A strong commitment to Community Policing was another indispensable tool. If people don’t feel safe, they simply won’t spend time or money in your city.

In a pandemic, most of those tools are largely off the table—- for now at least. So I wonder how we will fare in the short and long term.
Long term I think we will find a vaccine and effective treatments that will give us the confidence to venture out again and be among people.
That’s what downtowns do best if they are healthy. They bring us together.

But short term it may be a while before we see restaurants packed and feel comfortable enough to attend festivals with thousands of people.

Thanks to societal changes, retail doesn’t appear to be viable option especially in a high rent environment.
Pineapple Grove has done well as center of personal services and hopefully salons, gyms and the like can safely re-open soon.

We never quite had a huge office component downtown and one wonders where that sector will be in the wake of the coronavirus. Many companies are realizing they can effectively operate remotely and may not require the large offices they now occupy.

Still, there are opportunities at Atlantic Crossing and the IPic building to bring workers downtown.
In time, it will also be important to get anchors such as Old School Square and the Arts Garage up and running again.
The arts are a morale booster and an economic development engine.

I also think  there is  a great opportunity to introduce educational uses downtown and perhaps someday (post vaccine) that will be possible too.

Tourism is a huge part of our economy and we finally have a critical mass of hotel rooms after years of lacking capacity.
In time, if the hotels can stay alive, that sector will bounce back and be a critical piece of our economic recovery.
My belief is we need a short term survival plan because long term we can bounce back because the fundamentals are there. But it will be harder to bounce back if we lose too much of what we had prior to the pandemic.
What’s probably needed is a local city specific Marshall Plan.
Is that an overreaction? Maybe, but what we seem to be facing is an economic event unlike any we’ve experienced since the Great Depression.
So in my estimate, it will take big and bold thinking to restore a sustainable local economy that has the potential—if done right—to be better than pre-Coronavirus.
Tall order?
But we are starting with a decent foundation this time.
Back then, all we had were good bones and a lot of dreams.
A slew of visionaries made it happen then, we can do it again.

Ingenuity in Crisis

There’s a little bit of Edison in all of us.


“The value of an idea, lies in the using of it.” -Thomas Edison.

There’s no amount of perfume that you can put on this pandemic to make it smell good.
So I won’t try.
This stinks.
It’s scary, surreal and tragic.
But I’m heartened somewhat by some of the things I’m seeing and experiencing.
As I work the phones, email, Zoom and Chime I’m impressed by the ingenuity, resilience, generosity and innovation I am seeing.
People are doing all they can to make it work, to stay alive and to survive if not quite thrive.
Companies are figuring out how to work remotely, charities and arts organizations are figuring out ways to raise funds and stay relevant and schools are digging deep to find ways to educate their students.
Make no mistake, the pandemic is taking a toll and I’ve had my fair share of calls from friends worried about their businesses and jobs.
I’ve had other calls from friends concerned for their health and the health of their loved ones.
But I’ve also had a lot of conversations about life. And they’ve been good.
I think the pandemic has made us appreciate some of the simple things in life that we might take for granted.
From going to the beach and the gym to visiting local restaurants and stores, it will be a long while before we take these simple pleasures for granted once we are able to return to these places.
As for me, I miss my office mates, the kibitzing, the daily debate over where to eat lunch and the great feeling that Friday brings.
Right now, I don’t even know what day it is.
I miss movies, shows and walking the mall with my brother in law and sister in law.
I miss Saturday night.
You know date night…right now every night is date night which is cool but I’d much rather have a romantic evening at La Cigale than watch (yet) another episode of “Say Yes to the Dress.”
But I digress.
There’s a whole lot of discussion of what comes next and how things won’t return to normal.
So here’s a few general predictions.
Remote meetings are here to stay but I think as soon as it’s safe we will want to congregate again. We are social creatures and let’s face it, we miss each other.
I think the Eat Local, Shop Local ethos is also here to stay and that’s a very good thing.
There’s nothing better we can do than to support local businesses.
It’s not only good for the civic soul, it’s good for the economy as well. Buying local ensures that our money will circulate right here at home.

There will be a lasting appreciation for doctors, nurses, medical workers, restaurant staff, delivery drivers, first responders, grocery store staff, teachers and others who truly make our world go round but are rarely appreciated or compensated for their work. Let’s hope this newfound —or in some cases rediscovered —appreciation leads to meaningful policies that will make people’s  lives easier in terms of housing, health care and compensation. It may take a while but let’s get started.

There will be a lot of focus on local manufacturing, farming  and public health. Long, long overdue. Let’s build that infrastructure, let’s get after it.

Some will rediscover respect for expertise.
Some will acknowledge that Ronald Reagan’s tired old “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem” philosophy has proven to be ridiculous.
Of course, government isn’t the answer to all problems. But good government is necessary, good government is important and let’s face it when the poop hits the fan we look to government to provide answers.
We need to improve government not destroy it. We need public service to be respected and we need to attract the best and the brightest to the field.
We humans are interesting. Once we absorb the shock, we get about the business of making things work. The best of us seek to help, educate, volunteer and innovate.
I can’t wait to see what this crisis will yield. I do believe with all my heart that it will be a different but better world.

Master Class in Leadership

The coronavirus crisis gives us all an opportunity to take a master class in leadership.

The governors and mayors receiving high grades for handling the crisis exhibit a similar  set of traits.
—A reliance on facts, data and science over politics.
— An ability to communicate effectively.
— Genuine empathy for the plight of their communities.
— A willingness to work and advocate tirelessly on behalf of their cities and states.

They also take responsibility for mistakes and are quick to credit others.
They are clear in their thoughts and actions and willing to take the heat for decisions that aren’t always popular.
Sadly, those leaders who are laying an egg (you know who they are) are doing the opposite.
Refusing to take responsibility. Waffling on decisions. Undermining their own policies. Denying reality. Ignoring —or in some cases— punishing scientists.
Social distancing has done its job. But it was never meant to rid us of the virus. It was meant to buy us time so that our medical infrastructure could ramp up to deal with the crisis.
We need four things to beat the virus and sadly Washington has failed miserably on the two things they should be taking the lead on.
(I’m not counting the stimulus which has also been shaky with exhausted funds, big companies scarfing up money meant for small business, hospitals not getting relief because the idiot running the Department of Health and Human Services can’t seem to get anything right and a host of other issues).
The two things the Feds should be doing are testing and contact tracing. The Feds should also be coordinating purchasing of medical equipment but because they refused, states and cities were forced to take the lead and compete with one another. That ship has sailed.
But testing and tracing is still not  happening to the levels we are going to need to re-open our economy.
Why is this important?
Because if  we don’t know who has the virus, we can’t stop it from spreading without resorting to stringent social distancing measures.
We still don’t have enough swans and other materials necessary for testing and no way to coordinate between labs that have excess testing capacity and communities struggling to meet testing demand.
Where is the national strategy?

Instead, we have been fed the lie that there is adequate testing when every doctor, hospital and scientist says there isn’t?
Who do you believe?
I read the other day that it would cost $3.6 billion to hire 100,000 people to run a national contact tracing program. Sounds like a good investment since it may get us out of this mess and put 100,000 people to work.
The other two things we need: a vaccine (sorry my old friend in California) and effective treatment falls on the scientific community who I have faith will crack this. Hopefully sooner than later.

But back to leadership for a minute.
Pay attention to those telling you the truth. Beware those who are peddling nonsense. And remember those who have disappeared during this trying time.
Leaders steer toward crisis not away from it.
I was reminded of that by my dear friend Bill Mitchell who told the story of the Unsinkable Molly Brown on the most recent edition of Boca Lead, available online.
Now is the time for all of us to lead in any way we can.
Whether it’s helping a shut-in, checking on a neighbor, shopping and dining local, calling friends to check on their welfare etc. We can all play a role in getting through this crisis.

I do know that I will value true leadership and expertise more than ever from here on out. I hope we all do.
We need real leadership now more than ever.

Seizing the Golden Hour


Have you heard about the golden hour?
The golden hour is the period of time following a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical and surgical treatment will prevent death.
In a crisis, I have a hunch that there’s a golden hour as well.
While in medicine, the golden hour is literally an hour, in other endeavors we are given a longer time to seize the moment. Not forever. But a season perhaps. 
For America, life post Covid-19, whenever that may be, will be different. But will it be better?
It can, if we want it to be. 
The crisis laid bare some real weaknesses. 
Our public health care system was caught unprepared for this pandemic. We lacked resources and equipment and we found that when we needed to replenish our stocks we had to look overseas. 
We now have an opportunity to strengthen our health care system and recapture our manufacturing capacity to ensure our national security. 
We also have an opportunity to reconsider some of the people we’ve forgotten in our society. 
Teachers, hospital workers, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, restaurant workers, pharmacists and support staff, first responders , farm workers (many foreign and undocumented) are essential to our society. That has been made clear by this crisis. Yet many live paycheck to paycheck often without health insurance. During this pandemic, we have asked them to risk their lives to keep us afloat in our time of need. Maybe, just maybe, we will begin to think of these important workers differently. Maybe, just maybe, we can find it in our hearts, to extend them healthcare, a living wage and an affordable place to live. 
Prior to this we haven’t done those things have we?
Maybe now we will look at policies and attitudes that have prevented tens of millions from climbing the ladder and sharing in the American Dream.  
And if we think this work is for someone else to do we’d be wrong. 
Sure, the president and Congress have a role to play and to date they’ve failed to stem the forces that have kept so many from living a secure and stable life. But we have a role too. 
On the local level, we have an opportunity to be better citizens. We have an opportunity to support our schools and our teachers. We have an opportunity to support our first responders and front line workers by advocating for policies that support housing near jobs and transit. 
We can be smart consumers and shop local. 
Delray’s economy is built on real estate, food, beverage, tourism and culture. 
There are other industries in town and they are important. 
 We need to diversify for sure. 
But we also need to cherish what makes us who we are. 
The chef Jose Andres was on 60 Minutes last week discussing his heroic efforts to feed the hungry in America.
The hungry in America.
Digest that for a moment.
The richest nation on Earth has people who are hungry and homeless. Lots of them. 
We have people who struggle and live lives of quiet despair. We can and should seek to help these people. We have the solutions. Do we have the will? 
Will we seize the golden hour?
Mr. Andres says the local restaurants in our community represent our DNA. When we support these establishments we support the men and women who work there, those who fish, grow our food and deliver it to our homes when we decide to take out. 
I think that’s true. 
Restaurants are the largest U.S employer supporting more than 15 million jobs that add about $1 trillion to the economy according to the Wall Street Journal. This month, they are expected to lose $50 billion in revenue. 
We are seeing a yeoman’s effort right now to support and save our local restaurants. 
It’s heartwarming.

But when this crisis passes, will we care about where these workers live? Will we show concern for their health care needs and whether they have a path to a life of stability? 
I hope so.
It’s our choice. 

Remembering a Local Legend

Bert Fashaw


We lost a local legend last week and in this time of pandemic, I fear that these losses will pass without the notice they deserve.

Bert Fashaw passed last week. He was 83. He leaves behind a large family and a whole lot of friends and fans who remember him fondly.
Mr. Fashaw worked for the City of Delray for 33 years and also served the School Board for 34 years.
He was a Parks Ranger for Delray and spent many years guarding the parking lot during City Commission meetings.
From his post, he saw it all. All the players, past and present, all the crowds during contentious issues and all the characters that make up Delray Beach.
  I got to know him when I was a reporter assigned to cover Delray and later as an elected official. He would deliver to my home my packet of mail and the agenda for the next commission meeting  every Friday night and we would often chat about all things Delray.
Mr. Fashaw was funny. He was wise and he had a great way of putting issues into perspective.
I enjoyed every one of our interactions.
I especially enjoyed our chats pre and post meeting. I would pull into the City Hall lot and Bert would give me his read for the evening based on what he was seeing and feeling.
“Going to be a long night,” he would often say if he felt we were in for a night of trouble. Or “don’t worry, nothing much is going to happen” if he thought an issue was over blown.
I don’t think he was ever wrong.
I guess you pick up a lot about a place if you work there for three decades or more as he had.
He had community ties too and knew the pulse of the city.
My lasting image of Bert Fashaw was him in his Park Ranger uniform complete with hat and an ever present cigar.
We felt he had our backs when we walked out to our cars sometimes very late at night or in the wee hours of the morning after long meetings.
If we got out early, we could always count on a few good words with our friend.
A former city commissioner sent me his obituary and I noticed that there was no service as a result of the coronavirus. It mentioned the possibility of one at a later date.
And I thought how sad to pass during this time of international crisis. How sad it is that we  can’t gather to say goodbye, share stories, pay tribute and otherwise remember a loved one.
What a sad, sad time.
Let’s do our best not to forget those we lose during this dark season.
Thanks Mr. Fashaw for your service and your friendship. You will be missed.

A Time to Evolve

In business, what’s dangerous is not to evolve.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO.

I thought of that quote as I see the businesses in our communities rise to the occasion during this unique period of peril in our world.

Sit down restaurants pivot to a takeout model, delivery services cope with a monumental increase in volume, hospitals and their workers perform heroically, auto companies retool and crank out ventilators, educators figure out ways to reach their students and schools find a way to feed families.
It’s breathtaking.
Yes, finding  toilet paper can still be a challenge, but Americans by and large are rising to the occasion.

It’s heartening to see because I suspect that our political dysfunction obscures our sense of what’s possible.
So this is a good time to observe how entrepreneurs in all walks of life figure a way forward. That’s not to say that everyone is going to make it, this pandemic is a monumental challenge and there will be plenty of businesses that won’t make it.

The Palm Beach Post ran a poignant story this week outlining the toll the pandemic has had on new businesses. We are seeing how hard it is for newspapers and magazines to pivot to digital. You can report online but finding a business model that pays for good journalism is hard.
Still, companies large and small are not going down without a fight.
And it’s that fighting spirit and our innovative chops that will ultimately get us out of this mess.
It will come at a cost. A high one at that, in terms of lives, illness, mental stress and trillions of dollars but we will get out of this and we will thrive again …someday.
Speaking of evolving, this is a good time to look at our leaders and see if they are evolving too.
This crisis will force leaders in business, government, education, health care, the non-profit world and the military to adapt and evolve.
Some will have to evolve their leadership styles. Others will have to adjust their governing philosophies or their business models.
Those that do, will succeed. Those that don’t, won’t make it.
This is a time when leaders communicate more and in better ways. This is a time when real leaders cast a wide net and ask for help and advice even from their rivals and competitors.
It’s an era that will require strength and empathy, vision and attention to the day to day blocking and tackling which just got a whole lot harder.
Leaders are defined by how they navigate challenges. It’s easier to be in charge in good times when investment is pouring in and opportunities are abundant. It’s hard when everywhere you look is a minefield and the path forward is shrouded in fog.
Partisanship aside, I’m impressed with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He strikes me as someone steeped in facts, willing to take responsibility, empathetic and wholly human. He’s providing us a real time master class in leadership.
In business, I’m liking what I’m seeing out of GM CEO Mary Barra who is reconfiguring factories to crank out hard to make ventilators. Her workers and engineers are amazing.
I’m also impressed by our Firefighters Union for stepping up and pooling their cash to support local restaurants and their recent public appeal not to buy them meals or coffee but to save those efforts for families in need.

We often see our unions slammed during election season. But this proves what I’ve always known (because I’ve worked with these men and women) that these people are dedicated professionals who are loyal to our community. Sure they care about their pensions and benefits ( as they should)  but they also care about us. They have always gone above and beyond and that’s to be commended and cherished.

Same with nurses, doctors, teachers, restaurant workers, grocery store employees and those who deliver packages.
We are fortunate.
Yes, even in this horrible time of pandemic, we are fortunate.

Finding Inspiration In Crisis

Jonas Salk


PBS has been running a great documentary called “The Polio Crusade.”

If you are looking for hope and inspiration in these dark days of Covid-19, I highly recommend you watch this remarkable program which is part of the American Experience series.
It traces the amazing story of Jonas Salk and his successful quest to develop a polio vaccine.
Salk was an interesting man.
Described as “super ambitious” by his fellow scientists, he was a man who thought big and who had great faith in his ideas.
Of course, like many of the great ones, he had his share of detractors one of whom described him as a garage chemist. But the critics did not dissuade Salk. He was determined to stamp out polio quickly and sure enough he did.
The coronavirus has some eerie parallels with the polio epidemic. Images of people in iron lungs is reminiscent of the images we are seeing of people on respirators and ventilators.
The fear we are experiencing is also reminiscent of the polio era.
Surveys at the time said Americans feared polio almost as much as they feared nuclear war.
They craved  a vaccine and officials at the time were willing to take risks to conquer the disease. They were willing to have their children take a vaccine that nobody was sure would work. Well maybe nobody but Salk.
This was 1954, a different moment in American history, a time when people trusted their government and trusted science.
They were willing to try.
In 1955, when the results of the field trials were released the entire world waited with baited breath.
Factory whistles blew, children cheered and parents wept when  it was learned that the Salk vaccine worked.
Twenty years of efforts. Twenty years of giving dimes to fund research paid off.
It’s an uplifting story.
Today, we need history to repeat itself.
And I’m confident that somewhere, a brilliant scientist or team of scientists, will come up with an effective cure and treatment for the scourge we are experiencing today.
  More than 140 experimental drug treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus are in development worldwide, most in early stages, including 11 already in clinical trials. Counting drugs approved for other diseases, there are 250 clinical trials testing treatments for vaccines for the virus. Hundreds more are planned.
Until then, we wait. We pray. We hope and we support those on the front lines of the coronavirus.
While the coming weeks are predicted to be grim, watching the “Polio Crusade” gives one hope and faith in human ingenuity. There’s an answer out there and it will be found.