Native American confirmed as head of National Park Service
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the nomination of Charles “Chuck” Sams III as National Park Service director, which will make him the first Native American to lead the agency that oversees more than 131,000 square miles of parks and other landmarks.
Oregon illegal pot grows: More calls to send National Guard
On the same day last week that a southern Oregon county declared a state of emergency amid a sharp increase in illegal cannabis farms, police raided a site that had about two tons of processed marijuana and 17,500 pot plants. The raid illustrates that the proliferation of industrial-scale marijuana farms has gotten so bad and so brazen that Jackson County Commissioners asked Gov. Kate Brown to send in the Oregon National Guard “to assist, as able, in the enforcement of laws related to the production of cannabis.” During last Wednesday's raid in Medford, Oregon, police found a vast outdoor growing operation, plus harvested plants hanging upside down on drying racks and 3,900 pounds (1,800 kilograms) of resinous buds stashed in huge bags and in stacks of plastic storage containers.news.yahoo.com
Overwhelmed by illegal pot, Oregon county declares emergency
A county in southern Oregon says it is so overwhelmed by an increase in the number and size of illegal marijuana farms that it declared a state of emergency Wednesday, appealing to the governor and the Legislature's leaders for help. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners said law enforcement officers and county and state regulators and code enforcers are overwhelmed and warned of an “imminent threat to the public health and safety of our citizens from the illegal production of cannabis in our county.” Illegal marijuana grows have been a persistent problem throughout the West, even in states like California that have legalized pot.news.yahoo.com
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announces outdoor mask mandate
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday announced a new statewide outdoor mask mandate requiring people to wear masks in most outdoor settings regardless of vaccination status.State of play: Starting Friday, Oregonians will be required to wear masks outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. While the mandate does not apply to outdoor gatherings in private residences, masks are "strongly recommended" when people from different households cannot remain socially distanced. Get market news wonews.yahoo.com
Parents get coached on how to escape mask and vaccine rules
An Oregon school superintendent is telling parents they can get their children out of wearing masks by citing federal disability law. A pastor at a California megachurch is offering religious exemptions for anyone morally conflicted over vaccine requirements. While proponents of these workarounds say they are looking out for children's health and parents' rights, others say such stratagems are dishonest and irresponsible and could undermine efforts to beat back the highly contagious delta variant.news.yahoo.com
COVID-stricken Oregon deploys National Guard to hospitals
Oregon’s governor said Friday she will send up to 1,500 National Guard troops to hospitals around the state to assist healthcare workers who are being pushed to the brink by a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said the first group of 500 Guard members will be deployed next Friday to serve as material and equipment runners in the most stricken hospitals and to help with COVID-19 testing, among other things. Troops will be sent to 20 hospitals around Oregon.news.yahoo.com
New Oregon law suspends graduation testing requirement
A new Oregon law that suspends a requirement for a basic-skills test in math, reading and writing to graduate high school is being praised by advocates as a way to rethink education standards and sharply criticized by others as a misguided effort that will hurt children’s learning in the long run.
COVID: Oregon issues mask mandate, warns of hospital surge
Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced a statewide indoor mask requirement in Oregon as coronavirus hospitalizations and cases reach record high numbers in the state and health care systems are overwhelmed. Beginning Friday, everyone who is 5 years or older in Oregon — regardless of vaccination status — will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The newest coronavirus health and safety measure in Oregon applies to all indoor public spaces, including businesses, grocery stores, indoor entertainment venues and gyms.news.yahoo.com
Oregon to order indoor mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents across state
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) will resume a statewide indoor mask mandate for all residents, regardless of their vaccination status, to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases, her office announced Tuesday.The big picture: Oregon is the third state, after Hawaii and Louisiana, to require residents who are fully vaccinated against the virus to wear masks. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Oregon, which has recorded some of the lowest numbers of cases and deaths fromnews.yahoo.com
California fire prompts evacuations; Oregon blaze balloons
A rapidly growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe jumped a highway, prompting more evacuation orders and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada on Saturday as critically dangerous wildfire weather loomed in the coming days. The Tamarack Fire, which was sparked by lightning on July 4, exploded overnight and was over 32 square miles (82 square kilometers) as of Saturday evening, according to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It has destroyed at least three structures, authorities said, and was burning toward the Alpine County Airport after jumping a highway.news.yahoo.com
Oregon among blue states slow at lifting COVID restrictions
Even as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved earlier this month to ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, some blue states like Oregon and Washington are still holding on to certain longtime coronavirus restrictions.
GOP governors ignore Biden's latest plea on mask mandates
But Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison announced Tuesday he is dropping the state’s mask mandate immediately, a day earlier than previously announced. Gretchen Whitmer to ask whether the White House has considered surging additional vaccines to states with rapidly increasing infection rates. Kay Ivey intends for her state’s mask mandate to end on April 9 as planned, though she urged people to wear masks as a matter of personal responsibility. Eric Holcomb, to reconsider dropping the state’s mask mandate.
The Latest: Navajo Nation extends "safer at home" order
That increased the state’s totals to 839,334 confirmed cases and 16,912 confirmed deaths. Ad___RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil accounts for a quarter of the daily coronavirus global deaths, more than any other nation. AdThere have been 12.4 million confirmed cases and more than 307,000 confirmed deaths in Brazil, second only to the United States. AdPakistan has reported 649,824 total confirmed cases and 14,158 confirmed deaths. The nation of 10.7 million had 1.5 million confirmed cases with 25,639 deaths.
The Latest: UNLV now plans in-person spring graduation
(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)LAS VEGAS — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is changing course and now plans in-person spring graduation ceremonies in May as the coronavirus outbreak slows. UNLV President Keith Whitfield on Friday announced the change from plans announced in February to hold graduation virtually. ___LONDON — The U.K. says half of the country’s adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. AdThe government on Saturday reported cases topping the previous record in June. AdJust one third of Italy’s 7.3 million vaccine doses administered so far have gone to people in that age group.
The Latest: Michigan makes homeless people vaccine-eligible
Vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sit in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution early Saturday, March 6, 2021, in east Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DETROIT — People who are homeless will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan starting Monday. The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the two-shot Moderna vaccine are approved for individuals 18 and older. But Limassol city authorities aren’t letting the festive spirit completely wither away, organizing some events that comply with virus restrictions. Ad___COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX program.
New California law aims to put kids in class. Will it work?
Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday to try to pressure districts to reopen classrooms by the end of March. I don’t know,” said Dan Lee, a father in San Francisco, a city that sued its own school district to reopen classrooms. Chicago and New York City, the nation’s largest school district, have now reopened classrooms to elementary school students, but neither city has a plan for high school students. Newsom signed it via Zoom, unintentionally mimicking how most of the state’s 6.1 million public school students have been learning for the past year. That's prompted fears that some districts could return students just one day per week and still be eligible for the money.
The Latest: Navajo Nation new virus cases on downward trend
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation has continued on a downward trend in the number of daily coronavirus cases. Canada regulators have approved AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. Gavin Newsom expects California to start administering the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week. Addition of the J&J vaccine would come as California is seeing dramatic drops in virus cases and hospitalizations after record highs in early January. While they only comprise about 48% of coronavirus cases, they account for 74% of vaccinations.
Hundreds of thousands without power in Northwest ice storm
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – A winter storm blanketed the Pacific Northwest with ice and snow Saturday, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power and disrupting travel across the region. Freezing rain left roads, power lines and trees coated in ice in the Portland, Oregon, region, and by Saturday morning more than 270,000 people were without power. The “unsettled winter conditions” would likely continue throughout the week, the National Weather Service said Saturday morning. Rain falling on accumulated snow raised the possibility of urban flooding happening Sunday night or Monday in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Idaho's neighbors to the east were blasted by brutally frigid weather, with the National Weather Service warning of dangerous wind chills in Montana and Wyoming.
The Latest: N.C. senators OK bill to force schools to reopen
Authorities in Greece have extended a curfew in the country's two largest cities after a new rise in COVID-19 cases . ___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:Spain surpasses 3 million coronavirus cases, seventh highest total in the world. The governor got his Pfizer shot along with Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and several other state officials who are newly able under Louisiana’s latest eligibility criteria. Health officials reported 1,526 new confirmed infections Tuesday — half in the greater Athens region — and another 20 deaths. AdAcross the state, officials have started to vaccinate people 65 and older and some workers who can’t do their jobs remotely.
Role of race in US vaccine rollout gets put to the test
Its recommendations are not binding but offer key guidance on vaccine distribution. AdThe committee was formed with the goal of keeping fairness at the heart of Oregon's vaccine rollout. Some, such as Tennessee, proposed reserving 5% of its allocation for “high-disadvantage areas,” while states like Ohio plan to use social vulnerability factors to decide where to distribute vaccine, he said. Ad“The point is not, ‘We want to make sure that the Obama family gets the vaccine before the Clinton family.’ We don’t care. It’s not about race, it’s about race and disadvantage.”In Oregon, health leaders are working on a social vulnerability index, including looking at U.S. census data and then layering on things like occupational status and income levels, said Rachael Banks, public health division director at the Oregon Health Authority.
VIRUS TODAY: US vaccine appointments canceled amid shortages
An increasing number of COVID-19 vaccination sites around the U.S. are canceling appointments because of vaccine shortages in a rollout so rife with confusion and unexplained bottlenecks. However, state officials did not explain how regional per capita virus cases and transmission rates that also were released might influence how much ICU space will be available in four weeks. Last week, state health officials told The Associated Press they were keeping all the data secret because it is complicated and might mislead the public. State health officials said Monday that the Brazil P.1 variant was found in a specimen from a Minnesota resident who had recently been to Brazil. Health officials are also worried about variants that were first reported in the U.K. and South Africa.
Who goes first? Vaccine rollout forces stark moral choices
Crowley submitted public comments to Oregon's vaccine advisory committee to criticize the state's controversial decision to vaccinate its teachers and early childhood care givers ahead of its oldest residents. Oregon's decision underscores the difficult moral dilemma facing local and state public health officials as they weigh which populations need the vaccine most urgently amid a nationwide dose shortage. Now, the state's vaccine advisory committee is wrestling with how to prioritize the next groups. Dr. Kalani Raphael, a kidney specialist at Oregon Health & Science University and a Native Hawaiian on the advisory committee, said minority communities' health care experiences are often invisible, particularly with COVID-19. While Oregon health officials grapple with who will be eligible next, vaccines started Monday for teachers and early childhood educators.
The Latest: Arizona COVID-19 cases down despite high rate
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)PHOENIX -- Health officials say the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Arizona are declining despite the state having the worst infection rate in the country. Lucky few get COVID-19 vaccine because of rare extra doses in U.S. New Chinese film praises Wuhan ahead of lockdown anniversary. Members of Idaho’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee met Friday to help clarify exactly who should have first dibs on the state’s doses. ___SEATTLE -- A suburban Seattle man who advertised a supposed COVID-19 “vaccine” he said he created in his personal lab, has been arrested. At that time, there was no authorized COVID-19 vaccine on the market.
Biden vows rapid steps to battle virus after inauguration
Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet. At his inauguration Wednesday, Biden will also deliver an appeal to national unity, expected to be a central theme of his speech, Klain told CNN’s “State of the Union" on Sunday. — In West Virginia, small businesses are being hailed for helping the state to emerge as an early success story in the nation’s otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout. Now more shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state. ___Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
Democratic governors accuse Trump administration of misleading them about vaccine stockpile
Several Democratic governors are criticizing the Trump administration for apparently misleading public health officials about holding a stockpile of Covid-19 vaccines in reserve. The newspaper, citing state and federal officials, said the Trump administration had already started shipping its available supply in December. The Democratic state leaders say the lack of a federal reserve will upset plans to increase the speed and scope of their vaccination campaigns. It's time for the Trump administration to do the right thing and help us end this pandemic," the governors wrote. We started releasing those second doses at the end of December so people could get their second doses.cnbc.com
Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call
Military leaders spent chunks of Thursday evening and Friday calling states in an unprecedented appeal for more National Guard troops to help lock down much of the city in the days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Kate Brown said she turned down the federal request to send at least 100 more National Guard troops to D.C. “I didn’t think that we could safely fill that commitment,” Brown said. Oregon has already agreed to send 30 to Washington, but state leaders are worried about violence at the state capitol in Salem. At that point, the new round of calls to the state governors and military leaders began. Roy Cooper initially agreed to send 200 Guard, and on Friday spokesman Ford Porter said the state will send 100 more.
Governors' anger grows as federal vaccine stockpile vanishes
(AP Photo/John Raby)CHICAGO – Here’s what’s happening Saturday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY— Several governors expressed exasperation at the Trump administration after being assured that the federal government had enough vaccine stockpiled to speed up or expand state rollouts only to be later told those reserves don't exist. Kate Brown, were left scrambling to alter plans to expand the rollouts in their states, including to senior citizens. Other World Major marathons are also connecting their runners virtually. That shot up to $146 million in August, $152 million in September and $157 million in November. ___Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
The Latest: China reports a few new cases of COVID-19
The 311 deaths reported in the week since Jan. 10 were a pandemic one -week high for Nevada, surpassing the 299 deaths reported the previous week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The state health department on Saturday reported 3,621 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths for confirmed totals of 351,665 cases and 2,952 deaths. It ranks third globally with 8.9 million confirmed cases in a nation of 211 million people. India has registered 10.5 million cases, second highest in the world behind the U.S. at 23.5 million. The Department of Health Services reported 8,715 cases and 208 deaths, increasing the pandemic totals to 666,901 confirmed cases and 11,248 confirmed deaths.
‘Deception on a national scale’: Governors complain over pace of COVID-19 vaccine shipments
FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2020, file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I. Uncertainty over the pace of federal COVID-19 vaccine allotments triggered anger and confusion Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in some states where officials worried that expected shipments would not be forthcoming. Kate Brown said those plans are now in disarray because of “deception on a national scale” by the administration. Late Friday, Oregon health officials said a case of the variant had been diagnose in the Portland area in a patient who had no travel history. “What we’re seeing is fully in line with the dysfunction that has characterized the Trump administration’s entire response to COVID-19.
Ex-foreign correspondent reflects on risks for US reporters
There is increasing concern for the safety of journalists covering protests at state capitals across the U.S., and in Washington. This week, now as a reporter in Oregon, I attended virtual training by the state police on what to do if there's a shooting rampage in the Oregon Capitol. The Legislature’s leadership, for the first time, included journalists in the training after several were assaulted by rioters outside the state Capitol in December. What has happened at the Oregon Capitol is a clear example of how those divisions have become sharper and more bitter. Until last year, protests at the marble-sheathed state Capitol had been relatively mild.
The Latest: Mexico hits another record for COVID-19 cases
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)Mexico posted a record spike in coronavirus cases on Friday, with 21,366 newly confirmed infections, about double the daily rate of increase just a week ago. The National Health Commission said 90 of those confirmed cases were in Hebei province, adjacent to Beijing, where the country’s biggest recent outbreak occurred. State health officials announced this week that vaccine eligibility would be expanded to educators and seniors beginning Jan. 23. But federal officials have since said the stockpile was exhausted when those promises were made and governors can’t expect any windfall shipments. President Donald Trump had invoked the Defense Production Act to address various aspects of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Defiance of virus dining bans grows as restaurants flounder
Kate Brown's COVID-19 indoor dining ban in their county despite the risk of heavy fines and surging coronavirus cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists indoor dining as a “particularly high-risk” activity. We are better than this,” said Brown, who banned indoor dining last spring and then reinstated it with limits over the summer before the latest shutdown. It's impossible to know how many Oregon restaurants have heeded the call to reopen because many are keeping quiet about it. In Pennsylvania, the state closed 109 restaurants over violations during a ban on indoor dining that expired Jan. 4 and sued 50 establishments.
State capitols reassess safety after violence at US Capitol
But if the U.S. Capitol — a shining symbol of democracy with a dedicated police force— can be overrun by a violent mob, could state capitols be next? Protesters in Idaho temporarily derailed a special legislative session last August. In Oregon, where Trump supporters burned a life-size puppet of Democratic Gov. “Pretty sure more #txlege members are going to start carrying inside the Capitol,” Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted Thursday, a day after the Capitol grounds were abruptly shuttered as hundreds of Trump supporters demonstrated outside without any reported incidents. Mike Parson is planning for more than a thousand guests to gather Monday on the lawn of the state Capitol for his inaugural ceremony.
The Latest: Australia moves up vaccination start to February
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is advancing the start of its coronavirus vaccination program to mid-February, with plans to inoculate 15% of the population by late March. Mexico’s vaccination effort continues at a glacial rate, with about 7,500 shots administered Wednesday, a rate similar to previous days. John Bel Edwards and public health officials said Wednesday that efforts are being made to speed up vaccinations for the coronavirus. So far, state officials have administered 126,602 of the 522,550 doses the state has received. More than 329,000 people have been vaccinated in Florida — or about 1.5% of the population — almost all of them either health care workers, residents in care homes, or people over the age of 65.
Oregon orders two-week 'freeze' across state amid 'alarming spike' in Covid cases and hospitalizations
Kate Brown on Friday announced a "two-week freeze" on most activities and nonessential business across the state to curb what she described as an "alarming spike" in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. "One week ago, I announced a two-week pause on social activities to slow the spread of Covid-19 in several of our counties across the state," Brown said. "Unfortunately, since then, we've seen an alarming spike in both cases and Covid-19 hospitalizations." As the virus resurges this fall, state and city officials have taken more targeted action to address the rise in cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon state epidemiologist, said Covid-19 hospitalizations are up 50% in the past week and 100% over the past month.cnbc.com
Oregon supreme court reinstates coronavirus curbs
(Reuters) - The Oregon Supreme court stayed on Monday a ruling by a Baker County judge that had invalidated statewide curbs imposed by Governor Kate Brown to rein in the coronavirus. The move comes after Wisconsins supreme court struck down a sweeping stay-at-home order last week, saying state officials did not have the authority to unilaterally confine residents to homes or bar them from working. After the Oregon supreme courts order, Brown said the emergency statewide orders would remain while the court heard arguments in the case. With 3,687 infections and 138 deaths by Monday, Oregon has extended its state of emergency through July 6. (bit.ly/2TjCGjh)Shortly after the county court ruling to overturn Browns orders, the governor had said reopening too quickly without sticking to physical distancing norms could jeopardise public health and cost lives, decrying such a move as irresponsible.feeds.reuters.com
Will Congress help California? Governor's budget banks on it
Gavin Newsom may call California a nation state, but he's hanging his hopes for avoiding drastic state budget cuts squarely on the federal government. Outlining his budget proposal Thursday, Newsom laid out in stark terms the problems California faces as it reacts to falling revenues and increased spending from the coronavirus pandemic. His budget is a draft, and he now enters negotiations with state lawmakers ahead of a June 30 deadline. California already expects to receive $186 billion through four approved congressional bills, according to budget documents. Sanjay Varshney, professor of finance at California State University-Sacramento, said as states line up for federal help, there may not be enough to go around.
Food 2 Go-Go: Oregon strip club brings burlesque to coronavirus carry-out
As in many states locking down commerce to curb the spread of COVID-19, the governor allowed carry-out and deliveries. Boulden said in a weekend interview with Reuters that in desperation he suggested in a Twitter message that the club would send its dancers out to deliver food. An exotic dancer wears personal protective equipment while taking a tip in a drive-through go-go dance tent offered by the Lucky Devil Lounge strip club in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Portland, Oregon, U.S. April 24, 2020. PPE AND PAISTIESThe clubs drive-through, promoted on social media with the hashtag Food 2 Go-Go, drew a steady stream of cars on Friday night. Its a safe way to have some fun, said one of them, Dani Valdes, who works in Seattle-area bars and restaurants and follows some of the Lucky Devil dancers on social media.feeds.reuters.com
Oregon declares emergency as coronavirus cases double to 14
FILE PHOTO: Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem, Oregon, February 20, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola(Reuters) - Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a 60-day state of emergency on Sunday as coronavirus cases in the state doubled to 14. We will do everything in our power to keep Oregonians safe, Brown said at a news conference.feeds.reuters.com
New Oregon law will let students take 'mental health days'
When Oregon students go back to school this year, they'll be able to take mental health days without risking an unexcused absence because of a new law that was proposed by a group of high schoolers. Kate Brown signed last month, lets students have an excused absence if they miss school because of their mental or behavioral health. Students from across the state came up with the idea at a leadership camp last year and worked with lobbyists and mental health professionals to push for the change. Hailey Hardcastle, one of the student advocates, said mental health problems could be just as dangerous as physical ailments and should get the same consideration. "That caused me to have a ton of anxiety, and so sometimes, throughout high school, my parents would let me [have] a day off -- a mental health day.
Truckers, loggers circle Oregon Capitol amid climate fight
A parade of trucks and tractors circled the Oregon Capitol on Thursday in support of Republican lawmakers who have walked out to block emissions-lowering climate legislation in a political crisis that stretched into an eighth day. Hundreds of farmers, loggers and truckers rallied at the Capitol in solidarity with the Republican senators, pushing them to stay away until the legislative session ends Sunday. The climate plan has exposed lingering tensions between cities like Portland and more rural areas of the state. Miller announced in May that he would lay off at least 60 timber workers at a mill near Portland in anticipation of the climate legislation and other policies pursued by Democrats. Democrats say the legislation is critical to make Oregon a leader in the fight against climate change and will ultimately create jobs and transform the economy.chicagotribune.com
Oregon Republicans in hiding to prevent vote on climate bill
Salem, Oregon Republican state senators in Oregon haven't shown up for work since last Thursday when they went into hiding to block Democrats from voting on a climate bill. State Democrats even made a wanted poster, evoking the days of the wild west. "I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon," he said. She said she had no choice but to send the state police to find the state senators who are in hiding. With just five days left in the legislative session, the Senate president said there won't be enough votes to pass the climate bill and urged Republicans to return.cbsnews.com