Saturday, May 29, 2021
|Medical workers in protective suits stand outside a quarantined building amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Hanoi|
HANOI (Reuters) -Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants and spreads quickly by air, the health minister said on Saturday.
After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is grappling with a spike in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total 6,713 registered cases. So far, there have been 47 deaths.
"Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK," Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said in a statement.
MADISON - Federal education officials are warning Wisconsin may lose more than a billion dollars in funding for schools unless the Legislature provides more state support in the two-year budget lawmakers are crafting this summer.
In a letter Friday, a U.S. Department of Education official told State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor that action taken Thursday by the Legislature's budget-writing committee puts at risk $1.5 billion in federal pandemic aid for schools.
The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee dedicated $128 million in new funding for K-12 schools and set aside $350 million in a separate fund that GOP lawmakers said would be used for schools but was not yet appropriated as such.
“I am happy to be able to open City buildings to the public once again after more than a year. Making sure a majority of our staff was fully vaccinated was key to re-opening our buildings. I hope that more and more community members will also get vaccinated so that we can lift the safety measure we have in place. I look forward to having a summer where our residents can enjoy our community centers, browse the Library, or come visit the Clerk’s office to get register to vote,” said Mayor Cory Mason.
Friday, May 28, 2021
Thursday, May 27, 2021
On Wednesday, WSMV reported that a woman in eastern Tennessee was arrested after she drove recklessly through a drive-in COVID-19 vaccination site to protest the administration of the vaccine — nearly hitting several health workers in the process.
"Deputies arrested Virginia C. Brown, 36, of Greenback, TN, on Monday morning after she drove through a vaccination center set up at the Foothills Mall," reported Chuck Morris. "Deputies assigned to assist at the site saw a blue Chrysler SUV traveling at a high rate of speed through a closed cone course and through an enclosed tent with several Health Department and National Guard personnel working under the tent. The deputy observed the Chrysler SUV exit the tent and continue to drive recklessly through the cone course. A deputy was able to follow Brown after she drove through the site and arrest her. She was charged with seven counts of felony reckless endangerment."
According to the report, workers reported that she shouted something that sounded like "No vaccine!" as she blew past them, and after being apprehended, she denied driving recklessly.
"While sitting in the back of the deputy's car, she made several statements to deputies about wanting to protest the vaccine," said the report. "She said she was driving through the course and once she got to the tent, she told the personnel working she was not there for the vaccine. She told deputies she was only doing 5 miles per hour through the tent."
As of this week, half of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, although rates vary considerably from state to state. Historically, paranoia and conspiracy theories about vaccines have occurred across the aisle, although recent data suggests Republicans and Trump supporters are the largest anti-vaccine group.
The average temperature on Earth is now consistently 1 degree Celsius hotter than it was in the late 1800s, and that temperature will keep rising toward the critical 1.5-degree Celsius benchmark over the next five years, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.
Milwaukee Health Department faces questions on lifting health order as swath of city remains unvaccinated
Less than a week before Milwaukee's COVID-19 health order and mask ordinance are set to expire, members of the Common Council questioned the wisdom of the decision in light of lagging vaccination rates, especially among the city's Black residents.
"It, to me, just opens up the floodgates, particularly for the Black community here in Milwaukee," Ald. Milele Coggs said.
Mayor Tom Barrett and Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced last week that the city's health order would expire on June 1 instead of June 15, as had been previously announced. The city's mask ordinance is only in effect as long as the city's health order is in place, meaning the mask mandate will also end that day.
The announcement followed a change in guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said Americans who have been fully vaccinated may forgo masks and social distancing outside and in most indoor settings.
The shift at the city level caught members of the Common Council off guard, and on Wednesday they expressed frustration with what they said was a lack of communication from Barrett's administration before the announcement the order would be lifted.
But much of the conversation focused on the decision to lift the health order as vaccination rates in swaths of the city's north and northwest sides are well behind those of the city's overall rate of about 48.6% of residents having received a single dose.
In some census tracts, the percentage of residents who have received a first dose is in the 20s or 30s. The lowest, in the 53208 ZIP code, shows 20.7% of residents ages 16 and older have received a first dose.
MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is hiring retired police officers to investigate aspects of the November election, joining with Republicans from around the country who have questioned President Joe Biden’s victory.
Vos, of Rochester, said he recognizes Biden narrowly won Wisconsin and is not trying to change the results with his taxpayer-funded investigation.
He said he hopes the investigators can get to the bottom of issues Republicans have raised unsuccessfully in court, such as how the state’s largest cities used more than $6 million in grants from a private group to run their elections.
Vos in a Wednesday interview said he was giving the investigators a broad mandate to spend about three months reviewing all tips and following up on the most credible ones. In addition to the grant spending, he said they may look into claims of double voting and review how clerks fixed absentee ballot credentials.
“Is there a whole lot of smoke or is there actual fire? We just don’t know yet,” Vos said.
Ann Jacobs, a Democrat who leads the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said she was worried the investigation would undermine confidence in an election that was conducted properly.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
|Guards surround the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China during a visit by members of the World Health Organization on February 3, 2021.AFP via Getty Images|
Former President Donald Trump claimed in an interview Tuesday that “it was obvious to smart people” that the coronavirus emerged from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“I had no doubt about it,” Trump told Newsmax host and former adviser Steve Cortes. “I was criticized by the press because China has a lot of people taken care of. They took care of Hunter [Biden]. They took care of Joe. They took care of everybody, didn’t they? And people didn’t want to say China. Usually, they blame it on Russia. It’s always Russia, Russia, Russia, but I said right at the beginning it came out of Wuhan.”
Trump took a victory lap earlier Tuesday after Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to undertake a “transparent, science-based” investigation of the origins of the virus.
“Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus,” the former president said in a statement. “To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying ‘He was right.’ Thank you!”
Mothers' lawsuit says Racine Unified School District's summer school plan discriminates against poor, minority students
A pair of mothers say the Racine Unified School District is discriminating against poor and minority families in its choices of where to hold summer school with COVID relief money.
According to a federal lawsuit filed Monday, the district planned to open three of its four K-8 schools for summer school, where students who may have fallen behind during the coronavirus pandemic might catch up.
One of the chosen summer school hosts, Gifford, has a student body that's about 73% white and less than 30% economically disadvantaged.
The elementary schools the plaintiffs attend, Julian Thomas and Knapp, are not set to hold summer school.
Almost 89% of Julian Thomas students are Black or Hispanic, and more than 94% are economically disadvantaged, according to the suit. At Knapp, those figures are about 67% minority and 87% economically disadvantaged.
In the lawsuit, Miketra Larry and Brittany McKenney serve as the named "next friends" of the actual plaintiffs, their five minor children, who range from 6 to 11 years old, according to the suit.
On Tuesday, the Racine Unified School District announced some changes to its summer school plans that a spokesperson said should address the lawsuit's concerns.
The suit states that "RUSD also decided to not provide bus service for the majority of students wanting to attend the three K-8 schools slated to be opened summer school 2021."
And even if they could get to the three schools, the more distant children can't get spaces in the after-school enrichment activities there because they are full with waiting lists.
The result is violations of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the suit contends. The children are represented by longtime civil rights attorney Anne T. Sulton.
July 3 lakefront fireworks show canceled, but not because of COVID. Milwaukee County doesn't have enough workers.
People watch the Milwaukee lakefront fireworks display from the patio of the Milwaukee War Memorial Center on Wednesday night.
Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee's famous July 3 lakefront fireworks show has been canceled for this summer — not because of financial concerns or the COVID-19 pandemic, but because there aren't enough workers to stage the event.
It's yet another example of a tight labor market that's also hampering the restaurant, tourism and service industries, as well as businesses that support those industries. Seasonal jobs with modest wages, in particular, are being left unfilled.
Milwaukee County Parks Executive Director Guy Smith in a statement said the county does not have the staff and resources necessary to prepare for the lakefront fireworks and clean up afterward. The event "should" return in 2022, the Parks Department announced Tuesday.
"Canceling this event was a difficult decision that we’ve been discussing for months with everyone involved, and we also looked at the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, but it comes down to simply lacking the resources and staffing needed to prepare and clean up from such a large-scale event," Smith said.
The July 3 display has taken place for more than 50 years, according to the department. It usually attracts more than 100,000 people to Milwaukee's lakefront. Many stake out prime viewing spots by camping out the night before. The event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
|This Stooge's house is nothing to laugh at.Getty Images; Realtor.com|
This Stooge’s house is nothing to laugh at.
“Dead to Me” writer Liz Feldman and her wife, singer-songwriter Rachael Cantu dropped $4.75 million on a 1925 Spanish Mediterranean architectural gem that once belonged to comedy royalty: Larry of Larry, Curly and Moe in “The Three Stooges,” The Post can exclusively reveal.
Larry Fine, known for his wild yet balding head of hair, lived in this stucco Los Feliz home at the height of his career from about 1941 to 1959 with his wife Mabel and their two children, Johnny and Phyllis. Before buying their stucco LA home, the Fines lived in hotels due to his wife’s dislike of housekeeping, according to IMDb.
Columbia Pictures ended “The Three Stooges” movies in 1957, nearly forcing Fine into bankruptcy, according to IMDb — which may have contributed to Fine’s decision to sell the home with a terracotta-tiled roof and arched windows and doorways.
GREEN BAY - Given a nationally televised chance Monday night to refute any standoff between him and his team, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed.
He also did not retire.
Instead, in an interview with ESPN SportsCenter host Kenny Mayne, Rodgers was careful to leave all options open for his future.
"Anything's on the table at this point," Rodgers said in his first public comments since ESPN reported April 29 that there was a rift between the star quarterback and the Packers.
Rodgers did not arrive at voluntary organized team activities Monday when the Packers opened that phase of their offseason program. He is unlikely to be the only Packers player not participating in OTAs, given the leaguewide movement among players to skip voluntary workouts this offseason. But Rodgers has consistently been a participant in OTAs throughout his career, until now.
by Racine County Eye
With pandemic restrictions being lifted, more motorists are expected to be on the road enjoying all Wisconsin has to offer during the summer months. Today through June 6, Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) officers will join law enforcement agencies statewide and nationwide, for the annual Click It or Ticket mobilization effort. They will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours to reinforce one safety message – BUCKLE UP.
“We’re glad to see people traveling again, and we want them to do it safely,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “The single, most important way motorists can protect themselves and their passengers, is by making sure everyone’s buckled up, for each and every trip.”
What is Click It Or Ticket about?
Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law, in place since 2009, allows law enforcement to stop and cite motorists for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. Penalties are higher for transporting unrestrained children. Failure to fasten a seat belt is among the most common traffic violations in Wisconsin, resulting in more than 27,000 traffic convictions last year.
“We aren’t handing out tickets for the thrill of it. Wearing a seat belt is not only the law, it can save your life,” Superintendent Anthony Burrell said. Currently, 89% of Wisconsin motorists wear safety belts. The 11% who fail to buckle up accounted for 43% of all the drivers and passengers killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2020.
Over the next two weeks, WisDOT also will use designated federal funds to support enhanced law enforcement efforts, TV, radio, and other public education messages, many featuring Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading receiver and Click It or Ticket spokesperson Donald Driver. Electronic message signs along major highways also will display buckle-up reminders.
When Wisconsin’s secondary seat belt law was enacted in December 1987, the state’s seat belt use rate was just 26 percent (under secondary enforcement, police can issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another traffic infraction). The seat belt use rate was 74 percent when the state’s current primary seat belt law was enacted in June 2009.
“We’ve made great strides, but our goal is 100%,” Thompson said. “Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family-member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction.”
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.