Male cardinal. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Three things I want to tell you about today. 

The first is of a friend who knocks on my window each day that the sun is out. At first, he annoyed me, distracting me from my keyboard or my Zoom screen. But as the social distancing and the isolating in place have continued, I changed my tune. 

When he doesn’t come, I miss him for he keeps me company. He has brought color to my winter world with his improbable crimson feathers easy to spot among the brown limbs of the naked trees and the often slate sky. By now you have probably guessed that I am referring to a cardinal, one who calls my property his home, too. 

He is not just content to share my trees, however. He wants in to my house. Well, not exactly. When the sun is shining, he sees a reflection of my surrounding bushes in my glass windows and thinks he can just continue to fly in their direction. I give him a high mark for determination because he tries over and over again. 

At the same time, I have to give him a low mark for intelligence because he doesn’t seem to learn from his abrupt crashes that the way is blocked for him. I guess the term “bird brain” would be appropriate, but I don’t want to discourage him since he reminds me that there is life outside my house, and he doesn’t seem to cause himself any damage with his efforts.

The second thing to share is that we have binged our way through the eight episodes of “Bridgerton,” a new historic series on Netflix, and I would give it a B+. It’s a little slow and talky, in the way of Jane Austen, but it has real worth for some of its subject matter. The main theme deals with the impossible position of upper class women in 19th century Europe.

The poor things had but two goals in life: to marry well and to produce heirs. This was for the good of the family and only incidentally for their own benefit, so they suffered from lots of family pressure and control. That’s old hat, though, for us 21st century viewers.

However, the series is somewhat original for populating London in the 1800s with a totally integrated cast. The Duke is black and the debutante is white, but that’s just for starters. The one theme that’s absent is any discussion of racism. There is none. You can pretty well guess how the love story ends up, but it’s fun watching the couple and their supporting cast get there.

The third subject is more serious and important to share. You know by now that our new president is making it mandatory to wear face masks in federal buildings and on planes, trains and buses that cross state lines. He is also urging the rest of us to wear masks at least for his first 100 days in office. “Observational studies have suggested that widespread mask wearing can curb infections and deaths on an impressive scale, in settings as small as hair salons and at the level of entire countries,” according to an article by Katherine J. Wu in the Science section of this past Tuesday’s The New York Times.

Now comes further advice about mask wearing. Double-masking is even better and for obvious reasons. In order for the droplets that carry the virus to get to our nose and mouth, they have to work their way through the tangle of threads in a cloth mask or the filter in a surgical one. Double the masks and we double the difficulty. The best arrangement, we are advised, would be a face-hugging cloth mask over a surgical mask. As if one weren’t miserable enough, now we are urged two.

Yes, the vaccines are here and more are coming, but it will take a while for the logistics of delivery to get ironed out. And the numbers of patients stricken with the disease keep escalating, so we have to continue to maintain our distancing, our hygiene and yes, our masks.

The women’s basketball team celebrates one of its many wins in 2020. Photo from Stony Brook Athletics

Few will shed any tears about turning the page on 2020. Yet, despite the absence of sports for more than eight months, Stony Brook Athletics had reasons to celebrate during the calendar year.

Among the highlights …

BANNER YEAR: The women’s basketball team produced a 22-game winning streak, 28-3 overall record, and its first America East regular-season and postseason titles — despite the conference tournament being called off entering the finals.

ORANGE SLICE: The women’s lacrosse team sent notice of its national title aspirations by beating fourth-ranked Syracuse, 17-16, in the Carrier Dome in the season opener. Ally Kennedy, who had four goals and three assists in that victory, now returns for a second senior season. She recently was named US Lacrosse Magazine’s national Preseason Player of the Year for the upcoming 2021 campaign.

OVER-ZEALOUS: Coach Anthony Gilardi’s first season at the helm of the men’s lacrosse team included three overtime winners from Caleb Pearson en route to a 5-2 record. Harrison Matsuoka was rewarded for the team and his individual success by becoming a first-round pick of his hometown Calgary Roughnecks.

PERFECT ENDING: Right-hander Dawn Bodrug tossed a perfect game against Cornell in Madeira Beach, Fla. — the softball program’s first since 2012, and only the fourth in the program’s Division I era.

ON TRACK: The track and field teams captured three individual titles on the final day of the America East Indoor Championships. Vann Moffett earned gold in the 3000 meters with a time of 8:12.69. Luke Coulter’s time of 2:24.56 in the 1000m gave him a first-place finish. And Amanda Stead’s career-best run in the 200m crowned her a conference champion.

FLYING COLORS: Swimmer Michal Liberman clocked in with a blazing time of 54.24 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, lowering her own school record while claiming the America East title. The win marked the first individual title for Stony Brook since Renee Deschenes won the 100 backstroke in 2011.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT: When baseball alum Travis Jankowski made his first appearance for the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day, it marked the 20th season a Stony Brook product appeared in a Major League Baseball game.

HIGHLIGHT PERFORMANCES: Mouhamadou Gueye already appears in the top 10 in blocks in men’s basketball program history. Gueye also set the pace for Stony Brook appearances on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays over the past year (if you allow us to dip a few days into December 2019).  After being featured twice in the same countdown for highlight-reel plays against Virginia just before New Year’s a year ago, he earned another spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 for a thunderous dunk at Vermont on Jan. 8.

PLAY BALL: Sports are back! When the women’s basketball team stepped onto the court on Nov. 25 to face Fordham, it marked the first Stony Brook intercollegiate sporting event since the Seawolves baseball team defeated Merrimack all the way back on March 11 — a gap of 259 days without action.

Here’s to a much more active 2021!

Ally Kennedy

The Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team has national-title aspirations in 2021.

Standout midfielder Ally Kennedy has the loftiest of expectations being placed on her as well. US Lacrosse Magazine on Dec. 28 named Kennedy its Preseason Player of the Year. It marked the first time in program history that a Stony Brook student-athlete received that honor.

Kennedy last week was named Preseason Midfielder of the Year as well as a Preseason All-American by the publication.

“I’m really excited for Ally,” coach Joe Spallina said. “I have watched her grow and put her heart and soul into being the best she could be, and it is incredible to see her be acknowledged. She plays with an unmatched intensity and passion. And while she scores a lot of goals, she does it all for us — draw controls, assists, ground balls and, most importantly to me, as one of the best captains this program has ever had.”

Kennedy ranks second in program history in draw controls (242), fourth in goals (193), fifth in points (248), fifth in ground balls (133) and 10th in assists (55) as she enters her second senior season.

She tallied 15 draw controls against Princeton last March 8, one shy of matching the program record set by former teammate Keri McCarthy in 2018. Kennedy registered seven points in that game, as well as in a season-opening win against Syracuse last season. 

She notched 22 goals, five assists, 47 draw controls, eight ground balls and three caused turnovers during the abbreviated five-game season.

A North Babylon native, Kennedy was an IWLCA first-team All-American as a junior in 2019. Inside Lacrosse recently had ranked Kennedy as the No. 3 player in college lacrosse today — man or woman.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition, and is more motivation for this upcoming season,” Kennedy said. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to finally get back out on the field with the team and show everyone what we are capable of,” she added.

Photo from Pixabay

By Barbara Beltrami

Since it’s the New Year, since many of us are determined to counter the damages of holiday bingeing, since lentils are considered one of the five most healthful foods in the world and since they’re also inexpensive, I’m going with them for this first column of 2021. When I went to the internet to find out why they’re considered so healthful, I was quite impressed by what I found. Not only are they rich in protein and fiber, but they’re also rich in iron and vitamin B1. Note: Because the cooking times of lentils vary, I cannot give exact numbers Figure on anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Lentil, Kale and Goat Cheese Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1 1/2 cups black or green lentils, soaked in cold water overnight or for several hours

4 scallions, white and green parts separated, and sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 lemon

1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, almonds, walnuts or cashews, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound or one large bunch lacinato kale, washed, de-stemmed, chopped and massaged to soften

6 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1 cup pitted, coarsely  chopped black olives

Coarse salt to taste


Cook the lentils in boiling salted water until  al dente. Do not overcook. In a small skillet combine the white parts of the scallions, the garlic, three wide strips of lemon peel and the olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring a few times, until garlic starts to brown and lemon peel curls, about 3 minutes. Add nuts, cook and stir frequently another 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in cumin and pepper flakes. 

Strain mixture into a small bowl; discard lemon peel and garlic but reserve oil; transfer  mixture to a large plate and spread out. Sprinkle with salt,  let sit until cool. In a large bowl combine kale, goat cheese, olives and green parts of scallions. Drain lentils and add to mixture. Toss with reserved cooled oil, juice of the lemon and salt to taste. Serve immediately with pita or flat bread.

Lentil-Leek Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 large leek, cleaned and sliced thin

1 cup chopped onion

1 large celery rib, cleaned and sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

7 cups chicken, beef or veg. broth

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


In large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add leek, onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are golden, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Add broth, thyme, bay leaf, lentils and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover again; cooks until lentils are al dente; remove and discard bay leaf. Stir in vinegar and serve immediately with rustic bread and a green salad.

Baked Lentils with Chorizo

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 celery rib,  chopped

1 large frying pepper, seeded, chopped

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound lentils cooked al dente in salted water

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice

1 pound chorizo sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch slices


Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a large casserole or Dutch oven. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, celery, pepper, garlic and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion and celery are translucent, pepper is a little soft, and garlic starts to brown; remove and discard garlic. Combine mixture with lentils and tomatoes in prepared casserole or Dutch oven and lay chorizo on top. Halfway through cooking, turn sausages. Bake until mixture is bubbly and sausages are brown on all sides, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with rice and a green vegetable or salad.

Stock photo

By Nancy Marr

The United States is an outlier in family care policies. It is one of the few wealthy democracies without national provision of paid parental and sick leave. New York has established a better record at protecting working families, from the women’s Equality Agenda to the landmark paid family leave law, to this year’s statewide paid sick time law. During the pandemic, workers who need to care for themselves or a sick loved one have been protected by the family leave and sick time laws. But there is more to be done.

Child care providers across the state have closed, leaving the child care workers without jobs and asking parents to stay home to care for their children. With schools largely virtual, parents have had to use family leave time or leave their jobs to stay home with the children. Women were twice as likely as men to report leaving work due to caregiving duties; a large percentage were low-wage workers, many of whom faced discrimination or might not be eligible for family leave payments. (To be eligible they had to have worked 40 hours a week for at least 26 weeks, or 175 days for the same employer if they were part-time workers.)  

Ending this care crisis is a crucial step toward gender equality and racial justice. Workers who are themselves experiencing COVID-19 deserve the same rights. Under the Disability Benefits Law, employees are eligible for benefits of 50 percent of their average week wage but no more than the maximum benefit of $170 per week for a period of 26 weeks. The benefits cap, raised last in 1989, must be raised. 

The paid family leave act, which will reach full phase-in in 2021, must be updated to remove exceptions and ensure coverage for all private and public sector employees, including part-time domestic workers. Workers who move between jobs or face unemployment should be covered, and we should expand the definition of family to include all those whom workers consider family.  

The New York Human Rights Law should be updated to expand the prohibition on familial status discrimination to encompass all forms of caregiver discrimination. It must ensure that domestic workers, who are predominantly women of color and immigrants, can benefit from all of the law’s protections, and we should fully fund the Division of Human Rights to ensure robust enforcement.

In 2021, the New York State Department of Labor must enact strong regulations for the paid sick time rights. There needs to be outreach and education to ensure all workers know and can use their rights.

New York must also lead the way to insure that workers have meaningful access to alternative work arrangements, including telecommuting and part-time work. Workers, especially in low-wage industries, should know in advance what their schedules will be, and have a say in planning them. Worker-protective legislation on misclassification and fair pay for all New Yorkers is also needed.  

The financing of long-term services and supports for older Americans and people with disabilities has come chiefly from Medicaid and private long-term care insurance, neither of which are available to the average middle class person. 

Direct care services for the elderly or disabled, either in nursing homes or at home, are among the fastest growing jobs in the economy, but, like child care, have low pay and few protections. Women of color are the most likely to be in this cohort, and are the most likely to leave their jobs to perform uncompensated care at home. Home care, whether by an outsider or a family member, should be paid for and protected.

Funding for family leave and disability pay comes from payroll deductions from employees and employer contributions through insurances held by employers. We need to find ways to assist employers of domestic and part-time workers to comply with regulations or seek help from the Department of Labor in order to guarantee the eligibility of their workers for benefits. More information can be found at

Contact New York State Governor Cuomo (, NYS Senate Majority Leader and Temporary President Andrea Stewart-Cousins ([email protected]) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie ([email protected]) to let them know you care about worker and family rights.  

Nancy Marr is first vice president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit or call 631-862-6860.

Illustration depicting Falcatakely amid nonavian dinosaurs and other creatures during the Late Cretaceous in Madagascar. (Credit: Mark Witton)

By Daniel Dunaief

Dromomeron and Falcatakely lived nowhere near each other. They also lived millions of years apart, offering the kind of evolutionary pieces to different puzzles that thrill paleontologists.

Left, Alan Turner holds a model of the maxilla of Falcatakely, with a CT reconstruction on his computer screen.

These two creatures, the first a three-foot long dinosaur precursor discovered in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and the second a crow-sized bird fossil discovered in Madagascar, have taken center stage in recent scientific circles.

What they have in common is Alan Turner, Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.

The discoveries, which were made over a decade ago, were recently parts of publications in consecutive issues of the prestigious journal Nature. “It’s really exciting,” Turner said. “I definitely feel fortunate” to contribute to these two publications.

Turner, who is not the lead author in either study, emphasized that these papers were only possible through teamwork. “These large, collaborative efforts are one of the ways these really significant discoveries can happen,” he said.

The work that includes Dromomeron, in particular, is one that “any one of our groups couldn’t have done [alone]. It hinged on a series of discoveries across multiple continents.”

Each paper helps fill out different parts of the evolutionary story. The Dromomeron discovery helps offer an understanding of a major evolutionary transition from the Triassic Period, while the Falcatakely find offers a look at the diversification of birds during the Cretaceous Period.


Starting with the paper in which Dromomeron appears, researchers used a collection of dinosaur precursor fossils to study a smaller group of animals called lagerpetids, whose name means “rabbit lizard” or “rabbit reptile.”

These creatures lived during the age of the earliest relatives of lizards, turtles and crocodylians.

Above, a reconstruction of a pterosaur, a lagerpetid from the Triassic Period/Rodolfo Nogueria

Pterosaurs, which have a characteristic elongated fourth finger that forms a large portion of their wing, lived 160 million years ago, which means that the earlier, flightless lagerpetids roamed the Earth about 50 million years before pterosaurs.

Turner discovered Dromomeron in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico 14 years ago. Since then, other scientists have unearthed new bones from this prehistoric rabbit lizard group in North America, Brazil, Argentina and Madagascar.

Scientists involved in this paper used micro-CT scans and 3D scanning to compare lagerpetid and pterosaur skeletal fossils to demonstrate overlaps in their anatomy. The shape and size of the brain and inner ear of these lagerpetid fossils share similarities with pterosaurs.

The inner ear, Turner explained, is particularly important for animals like the pterosaur, which likely used it the way modern birds do when they are in flight to help determine their location in space and to keep their balance.

Lagerpetids, however, didn’t fly, so paleontologists aren’t sure how these ancient rabbit lizards used their inner ear.

Turner said the Dromomeron discovery was initially more of a curiosity. In fact, when researchers found it, “we had a blackboard in this collection space where we were working,” Turner recalled. “It was unceremoniously referred to as ‘Reptile A.’ There weren’t a lot of things to compare it to. At that point we knew we had a thing but we didn’t know what it was.”

A colleague of Turners, Randall Irmis, Chief Curator and Curator of Paleontology, Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, traveled to Argentina, where he noticed a creature that was similar to the find in New Mexico.

Irmis’s trip “allowed our team to confirm our comparison [between Dromomeron and Lagerpeton] first-hand. From there, we were able to build out the larger evolutionary context,” Turner explained in an email.


Meanwhile, Turner and Patrick O’Connor, Professor of Anatomy and Neuroscience at Ohio University and lead author on the study, shared their discovery of a bird they located in Madagascar that they called Falcatakely.

The bird’s name is a combination of Latin and Malagasy, the language of the island nation of Madagascar, which means “small scythe” and describes the beak shape.

Right, an artist reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous enantiornithine bird Falcatakely forsterae with its unique beak/Sketch by Mark Witton

The scientists found a partial skull in a quarry in Madagascar. The fossil was embedded in rocks. Turner and O’Connor analyzed it through CT scanning and through careful physical and digital preparation by their colleague Joe Groenke, laboratory coordinator for the O’Connor lab.

The discovery of grooves on the side of the face for a beak took the researchers by surprise.

“As the face began to emerge from the rock, we immediately knew that it was something very special, if not entirely unique,” O’Connor said in a press release. 

“Mesozoic birds with such high, long faces are completely unknown, with Falcatakely providing a great opportunity to reconsider ideas around head and beak evolution in the lineage leading to modern birds.”

As with the Dromomeron find, the discovery of Falcatakely didn’t provide a eureka moment when the scientists found it 10 years ago.

“We didn’t know [what we had] when we collected this material,” Turner said. “It wasn’t until we CT scanned the block in an effort to begin the preparation that we said, ‘Wait a second. There’s something really weird in this block. The flat part turned out to be the side of the face.”

Turner originally thought it could have been the breast bone of a larger dinosaur. During the pandemic, he has come back to projects that have been sitting around for several years. Some have “probably danced on the periphery that have now come to the dance,” in terms of his focus.

In looking back on the ingredients that made these two Nature papers possible, Turner added another element. These publications underline “the importance of investing in long term field work expeditions,” he said.

This week’s shelter pets are Batman, Joker, Penguin & Wonder Woman, six- month-old siblings up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. These kittens are shy with strangers, so they are overlooked time and again. With a little time and patience, they are sweet, playful and loving. 

The quartet come spayed or neutered, microchipped and are up to date on their vaccines. If you are interested in meeting  these DC Comic Cats, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with them.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Shelter operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the weekend. For more information, please call 631-360-7575 or visit

Start the year out right by substituting green leafy vegetables for breads and other baked goods. METRO photo
Simple modifications can help you achieve your health goals

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

2020 has been a most unusual year. In some ways, it’s been a case study in new habit formation, as many of us altered our routines to adapt to a COVID-19 world.

As our thoughts turn to a brighter 2021, many of us will make resolutions to develop healthy new habits – and in some cases to undo bad habits we’ve picked up during the past year. If this is you, cheers!

Changing habits can be incredibly difficult. You can make it easier on yourself, though. 

Set a goal that is simple and singular. Don’t overdo it by focusing on multiple resolutions, like eating better, exercising more and sleeping better. Complexity will diminish your chances of success. Instead, pick one to focus on, and make the desired impact part of your goal, for example: improve your health by substituting green leafy vegetables for breads and other baked goods.

Manage your environment. According to a study, people with the most self-control utilize the least amount of willpower, because they take a proactive role in minimizing temptation (1). Start by changing the environment in your kitchen. In our example resolution above, that means eliminating or reducing the breads and baked goods in your home and keeping a refrigerator stocked with leafy greens you like.

If one obstacle is the time available to cook when you’re hungry, consider in advance the ways you can make in-the-moment food preparation simpler. This could be as simple as pre-washing and chopping greens when you arrive home from the store or while watching your favorite TV program, or it could be as detailed as precooking meals.

The latter is my personal favorite, and it’s easily accomplished by cooking more than you need for a single meal. For example, rather than chop and roast just the tray of broccoli we’ll eat tonight, we’ll prepare two trays at a time – one to eat today, and one to have in the fridge. I try to always have at least one prepared healthy meal at the ready for reheating, in case we don’t have the time or energy to cook later.

Rally your support network. Support is another critical element. It can come from within, but it is best when reinforced by family members, friends and coworkers. In my practice, I find that patients who are most successful with lifestyle changes are those where household members are encouraging or, even better, when they participate in at least some portion of the intervention, such as eating the same meals.

One reason so many have turned to baking during their at-home time is that it provides a fun group activity with a shared outcome. You can produce the same experience by experimenting with new greens-intensive recipes together. Making pots of vegetable stews and chilis, vegan spinach lasagnas with bean noodles, bean-and-green tacos, and cheeseless eggplant/spinach rollatini can be more fun as a group – with the same delicious outcomes. Bonus: if you double the recipes, you can refrigerate or even freeze the leftovers for reheating later.

Be consistent. When does a change become a new habit? The rule of thumb used to be it takes approximately three weeks. However, the results of a study at the University of London showed that the time to form a habit, such as exercising, ranged from 18 days to 254 days (2). The good news is that the average time to reach this automaticity was 66 days, or about two months.

Choose a diet that targets your health needs. U.S. News and World Report released its annual ranking of diets this week (3). Three of the diets highlighted include the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet, the Ornish diet and the Mediterranean diet. These were the top three for heart health. The Mediterranean diet was ranked number one overall – for the fourth consecutive year – and the DASH diet tied for second overall with the Flexitarian diet. The Flexitarian and Mediterranean diets tied for the top spot for diets that help manage diabetes.

What do all of the top diets have in common? They focus on nutrient-dense foods. In fact, the lifestyle modifications I recommend are based on a combination of the top diets and the evidence-based medicine that supports them.

Of course, if you’ve tried to change your diet in the past, you probably know that not every diet is easy to follow, even after you get beyond the “changing my eating habits” part of the equation. Choosing a diet that works for both you and others in your household can be tricky. And, let’s face it, no one wants to make two meals – or more – to accommodate everyone’s needs.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the easiest to follow are the Mediterranean diet, which took the top spot, the recently redesigned WW (Weight Watchers) diet, which took second place, and the Flexitarian diet, which came in third. If you’re not familiar with a Flexitarian diet, which we noted also tied for the second-best diet overall, its name is a combination of “flexible” and “vegetarian,” and its focus is on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and minimizing – but not necessarily eliminating – your intake of animal products. For many, this lack of rigidity can help, whether the goal is to transition to a complete vegetarian lifestyle eventually or to manage different palates around the table.

I encourage you to read more about each of these diets and select one, in consultation with your physician, that will help you meet your personal health goals – from both nutritional and manageability standpoints.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2021!


(1) J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012;102:22-31. (2) European Journal of Social Psychology, 40: 998–1009. (3)

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit 

Photo from Pixabay

Not every publication out there is “Fake News.”

During last week’s insurgence at the U.S. Capitol, a photo — taken by a journalist — has made its way around social media, memorializing the words “Murder the Media” written on a wall inside The People’s House.

That’s disheartening to say the least.

Now more than ever, facts are important — whether you like us or not. 

The fact that journalists, reporters and photographers down in D.C. are now sharing their stories about that Wednesday’s events — how they were attacked, name called, hurt and threatened — is a terrifying thought.

The media has always had a rocky relationship with readers. A lot of the time, many people don’t like what is being reported on or how it’s being said. That is something this field has dealt with since the first newsletter came out centuries ago.

But the last four years are on a different level. It’s a whole new battle.

There have been many times that reporters at TBR News Media were harassed on assignment, also being called “fake.” 

We are your local paper. We are the ones who cover the issues in your backyard, who tell the stories of your neighbors that you live beside, and we showcase your children, whom you love, playing their favorite sports. 

We aren’t commentators or analyzers, except on our opinions pages that are clearly labeled.

We are the eyes and ears of our community, and we do the heavy lifting when you have questions. We interview your elected officials and bring awareness to issues other larger papers or TV stations forget to research or mention.

How is that fake? 

Now more than ever, we ask you to support what we have put our hearts and our livelihoods into. 

Next time you might think that the media had it coming to them, just remember that those reporters who have been hurt and humiliated don’t come into your workplaces, breaking your equipment and ridiculing you for what you do.  

We serve all the public and are proud to do so.