Velis: It is ‘imperative’ to stay vigilant with COVID precautions

Hello Everyone,
I hope you all had a great week and are staying safe and healthy during these difficult times.
It is clear from this week’s data reports that the rate of COVID-19 cases in our communities is rising. Currently Southwick, Chicopee, and Holyoke are designated as red communities, while Westfield, Agawam, and Easthampton are designated as yellow communities. It is imperative that we continue to stay vigilant as we move into these winter months. While news surrounding a vaccine is extremely promising, we are not there yet, and we need to be mindful of the interactions we are having with others.
This past Friday, the Senate and House came to agreement on a final FY2021 budget after differences between the two chambers were worked out in conference committee. I was proud to vote for this final legislation, which provides critical support and investments to our community while remaining fiscally responsible. I am also glad that my amendments providing funding for the Holyoke Soldiers Home, the Holyoke and Westfield Boys & Girls Clubs, Baystate Health and the Agawam Police Department survived the conference process and are included in the final bill. Now the budget will go before the Governor for his consideration.
Tuesday morning I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony of Compass Recovery in Agawam, where I was honored to present them with a Senate citation in recognition of their opening. The treatment center will provide partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services for those struggling with substance abuse disorders.
On Wednesday I attended the services for Staff Sergeant Mark Johnson, a 2015 graduate of Agawam High School who recently passed away while stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Sgt. Johnson served as a Squad Leader in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve in Romania and was a recipient of numerous military honors. His service inspires us all, and his passing is a tragic loss for our entire community.
Thursday morning I joined federal, state, and local officials for the grand opening of Vanguard Renewables’ new Organics Recycling Facility in Agawam. The recycling facility’s innovative process converts expired and unsafe food waste into renewable energy. Vanguard Renewables is the largest organics recycler in the Northeast and will process nearly 500,000 tons of organic waste into renewables energy in 2021. It was truly incredible to tour the facility and learn more about how this process works firsthand.
As always, if there is anything I can do to assist you, please never hesitate to reach out to my office. I can be reached at my email: [email protected] or by phone: (413) 572-3920 and you can find me online at senatorjohnvelis.com.
John C. Velis

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