Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Sandy McIntoshThe three of us—Albert, Tom and me—were seated on the steps of the Academic Building at New York Military Academy, reminiscing about our school days there in Cornwall 50 years ago and our friendship with Donald Trump. In the shade of the summer sun, we speculated about the possible near-future, when Donald might win the presidency and take up residence in the White House.“When we were in school,” Tom said, “John F. Kennedy had just been elected president. There was a big to-do about the transformation of the White House from Eisenhower’s day.”“When Ike and Mamie were there,” Albert said, “the high point of their day seems to have been TV dinners on little trays in front of the television.”“But when the Kennedys arrived, that changed,” I said. “They called the Kennedy White House ‘Camelot.’”“Jackie Kennedy could speak French, I think.”“She hired museum people to redecorate the White House.”“The place was full of culture.”“But then Kennedy died and Johnson set up a spit in the Oval Office and roasted a hog. Didn’t he?”We didn’t think so. Not quite.“So what will the Trumps do when they’re in the White House?” I asked.“First thing, they’ll put up the big TRUMP sign on the White House roof, right? So big and shiny you’ll be able to read it from Mars!”“I don’t think they’ll let him do that.”We sat for a while, the sun slowly setting behind us.“You don’t think he’ll try to redecorate the White House in the style of his casinos? Faux Greek statuary everywhere, and everything made of gold?”We groaned.Related: “Culture of Hazing: Donald Trump, Me, & The End Of New York Military Academy”“Maybe they’ll work at creating a Trump Camelot. I mean, JFK had his famous PT-109 rescue, and his book, Profiles In Courage, to build on.”“But what does Donald have to build a myth on?”“Mar-e-Lago, Maureen Dowd said. That’s not in bankruptcy yet.”“But that’s slim pickings, for a myth, I mean.”“Let’s think about it. He’s still a handsome guy, hair and tan aside. And his family is beautiful!”“I saw a picture of them at a Sunday dinner in his condo. All of them dressed to the nines. The kids so neat. It took me back to our family dinners in the 1960s. Something so retro.”“And they all have such white teeth.”“Yes. Shining. Reflecting the sunlight.”“Perfection!”“Don’t get carried away,” said Albert.“Well, Trump’s White House won’t be Camelot,” I said.“What will it be?” said Albert.“I got it,” said Tom, clearing his throat. “Not Camelot. More like Ken and Barbie’s Dream Castle!”“Ah!” one of us sighed. But we all saw the vision: the little plastic people on the White House lawn. And Vladimir Putin, perhaps, a snotty kid sitting there kicking the pieces around, creating his own little dream worlds, showing us how it’s supposed to be done.Related: “For Artists and Poets, the East End Is No Dead End—Just Another ‘Hole in the Ocean’”———–Sandy McIntosh first met Donald Trump at the Atlantic Beach Club in 1961. They spent the next four years together as military school cadets. He’s written about these formative experiences for the Long Island Press and The Daily Beast, and subsequently been interviewed by Le Figaro (France), Die Zeit and Zeitungsverlag (Germany), Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), Politico and The Washington Post, as well as Israel’s Channel 10, German Public Television’s ZDF, and for an upcoming Frontline program set to air on PBS Sept. 29, 2016. He is the author of 13 books. He has taught creative writing at Hofstra University and Long Island University. His A Hole In the Ocean: A Hamptons’ Apprenticeship was published in February 2016 by Marsh Hawk Press.
Indianapolis, in. — The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana is hosting a series of town hall meetings in 2018 to discuss public health issues plaguing the state. Between April and October, the State of Our Health Road Show will stop in 17 Hoosier cities, from Fort Wayne and Evansville to East Chicago and Madison. The tour kicks off April 13 with the Indiana State of Our Health Summit in Indianapolis. The Road Show will bring together local leaders, health care providers, and elected and other public officials for the purpose of sharing ideas to combat tobacco use, infant mortality, opioid abuse, and obesity. The town hall meetings also offer attendees the opportunity to hear about the Alliance’s plans for 2018 and beyond, with a focus on tackling tobacco use, which is the leading cause of preventable death in Indiana and costs the state $7.6 billion annually.“The Alliance and its partners are committed to improving Hoosier health, but we need support and engagement from concerned communities to achieve our goals,” said Bryan Mills, CEO of Community Health Network and chair of the Alliance. “Our hope is that by meeting citizens and community leaders where they live and work and providing a forum for sharing ideas, we will build significant grassroots support for the Alliance and its priorities heading into the 2019 legislative session.”The Road Show could not come at a more crucial time for the health of Hoosiers. Indiana ranks 38th in the nation in overall health, according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings’ annual report. This low ranking can be attributed to the state’s poor performance in many important health metrics, including tobacco use, obesity, infant mortality, and opioid abuse.“We cannot afford to take baby steps toward tackling the epidemics of tobacco use, obesity, opioid abuse, and infant mortality,” said Dr. Paul Halverson, founding dean of the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “We are taking our message statewide to make it clear that now is the time to make meaningful strides toward a healthier Indiana.”One of the ways that Indiana can improve its health rankings—and in turn, its economy—is by investing more in public health and adopting laws that encourage healthy behaviors. Indiana has consistently ranked at the bottom in public health funding and currently ranks 49th, and it’s taking its toll on Indiana businesses. Taken together, tobacco use, the opioid epidemic, and obesity cost Indiana more than $10 billion in additional health care costs.“Indiana’s poor health rankings and paltry funding for public health initiatives are detrimental to Hoosier health and the state’s economy,” said Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “Poor health rankings contribute to higher health care spending, which poses challenges in both expanding current businesses and recruiting new business to the state. We encourage anyone who is passionate about making Indiana a healthy place to live, work, and raise a family to show their support at a Road Show town hall.”The State of Our Health Road Show meetings are free and open to the public. Space is limited, and registration is required. The Alliance is looking for partners who are committed to addressing the public health issues affecting Hoosiers. For more information on the State of Our Health Road Show and becoming a partner, visit online here. · Indianapolis, Summit, April 13· East Chicago, May 1· Gary, May 2· South Bend, May 3· Fort Wayne, June 12· Muncie, June 13· Richmond, June 19· Connersville, June 20· Lafayette, July 11· Logansport, July 25· Evansville, August 1· Terre Haute, August 9· Vincennes, August 10· Columbus, September 11· Bloomington, September 12· Madison, October 11· Sellersburg, October 12