Mar 04, 2021

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Is a Ludicrous Undersea Delight

By Stephanie Zacharek
  • Around the time of the first Shrek movie—roughly the early 2000s—it became de rigueur for animated films to include assertive, winking jokes targeted at adults, gags or pop-culture references that would sail right over the kiddies’ heads while eliciting knowing chuckles from the grownups.
  • Gary has been snatched by the nefarious one-eyed villain Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) and turned over to vain sea god Poseidon (Matt Berry), who has run out of the snail slime he needs to maintain his youthful complexion.
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Metra UP-N trains stopped after person struck near Lake Bluff

A person was struck by a Metra train March 4, 2021, near Lake Bluff. | Sun-Times file photo The person was struck by the train just before 7:50 p.m. near milepost 29 between the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff stations, a Metra spokesperson said. A person was struck by a Metra train Thursday near Lake Bluff, halting all service on the UP-N line. The person was struck by the train just before 7:50 p.m. near milepost 29 between the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff stations, Metra spokesperson Meg Riley said. A coroner was called to the scene, Riley said, and the collision was likely fatal. Metra Alert UP-N – Inbound and outbound train movement has […]Read more >Similar articles >
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The World Has Failed Myanmar, So Now Its Youth Are Stepping Up

By Brian Wong
  • With the democratization of its institutions supposedly underway, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the helm in the form of Aung San Suu Kyi, the world for many years assumed that Myanmar was on the path toward a liberal, more inclusive future .
  • The international demonization of Suu Kyi —over her failure to protect the country’s Rohingya minority from bloody persecution—left Myanmar’s leader critically weakened at home.
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Midwestern universities announce plans to restore in-person learning this fall, return normalcy to campuses

By Madeline Kenney
  • Colleges and universities around the midwest are predicting the campus experience will be closer to normal this fall, with reopened residence halls, increased student activities and even face-to-face instruction for most classes after a year of largely remote learning.
  • Some universities, including DePaul and Marquette, are planning to reopen campuses this fall, giving students better on-hands learning experiences while also providing much-needed financial relief for the institutions after college enrollment plummeted.
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‘I Cannot Be Intimidated. I Cannot Be Bought.’ The Women Leading India’s Farmers’ Protests

By Nilanjana Bhowmick
  • “Something snapped within us when we heard the government tell the women to go back home,” says Jasbir Kaur, a sprightly 74-year-old farmer from Rampur in western Uttar Pradesh.
  • Their labor is immense but invisible,” says Jasbir Kaur Nat, a member of the Punjab Kisan Union, who is mobilizing farmers in Tikri, the protest site at the border of Haryana and Delhi.
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Hogan releases vaccine equity plan, Montgomery County still wants mass vaccination site

  • The plan’s rollout comes as leaders from Maryland’s most populated county continue to demand the state work with them to create a new local mass vaccination site.
  • “Today, to build on all of the months of comprehensive effort, we are announcing the very first vaccine equity operations plan of any state in America to further address health disparities and the issue of equity and to get more vaccines to people in every community who need them most,” Hogan said.
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COVID KO’d a Rita Rudner residency at Caesars

  • Rudner has been a headliner for decades in Vegas, from her early years at Rivera Comedy Club through strong residencies at New York-New York and Harrah’s Showroom, continuing on to Sands Showroom at The Venetian.
  • While she awaits the return of live performance, Rudner and her husband, Martin Bergman, have created a $2,500 grant for the SoHo Playhouse’s row of four off-Broadway theaters in downtown Las Vegas.
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Diocese of Austin speaks on moral integrity of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • AUSTIN, Texas — After Catholic leaders across the country have started advising their faithful that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is "morally compromised" because it was said to be produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus, many appear to be in disagreement.
  • "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has deliberated on these concerns thoroughly and specifically clarified that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not derived from cell lines originating from fetal tissue of aborted babies.
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Push for in-person classes gains final OK in Utah Legislature

By Bethany Rodgers
  • The final version of the measure, SB107, would require higher education institutions beginning in August to offer at least 75% as many in-person classes as they did in the second half of 2019, before COVID-19 forced many students online.
  • The proposal also seeks overall to keep K-12 students in the classroom as the pandemic wears on, by allowing those who test negative for COVID-19 during an outbreak to return to class and requiring those who test positive to stay home.
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Salt Lake County leaders denounce councilman’s ‘culture wars’ comments, affirm commitment to diversity

By Leia Larsen
  • The day after Salt Lake County Council member David Alvord took to Facebook to claim the “left” wants a world filled with people with the same “light brown” skin tone who are all bisexual, but also neither male nor female, county leaders from both sides of the aisle are releasing statements denouncing his views.
  • Mayor Jenny Wilson, a Democrat, issued a joint statement with Diversity and Inclusion Officer Efren Corado Garcia and Diversity Affairs council chair Corey Hodges reaffirming the county’s goals to create a welcoming community for all.
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Massachusetts mass vaccination sites at Fenway, Gillette costing $1.1 million a week

By Erin Tiernan
  • Mass vaccination sites at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium run by Cambridge-based startup CIC Health are costing taxpayers more than $1.1 million per week, according to contracts obtained via a public records request.
  • For-profit companies that popped up amid the pandemic are raking in millions of dollars per week running the state’s mass vaccination sites, but lawmakers are raising questions about whether private vendors are “up to the job.”
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Cuomo accuser: ‘I thought, he’s trying to sleep with me’

  • Charlotte Bennett, the second woman to go public with sexual harassment allegations against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, says she thought the governor was trying to sleep with her and she was deeply uncomfortable with questions he asked.
  • And I’m deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,” Bennett told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell in an interview.
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AOC and fellow progressives counter push for Puerto Rico statehood, propose self-determination

By Alexi McCammond
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez are pushing ahead with a bill in Congress that would let Puerto Rico decide its future — a proposal threatening Gov. Pedro Pierluisi's determination to pursue statehood for the island.
  • The bill, drafted by Ocasio-Cortez and Velázquez, calls for self-determination to decide the island’s future and doesn’t advocate for one solution, like statehood.
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Northwestern’s president to step down next year

By Tom Schuba
  • The announcement comes just months after Schapiro faced condemnation and calls for his resignation after he criticized student protesters following demonstrations demanding the disbandment of the university’s police force.
  • The announcement comes just months after Morton Schapiro faced calls for his resignation after he criticized student protesters demanding the disbandment of the university’s police force.
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When the mask mandate ends, here’s where face coverings will still be required in D-FW

  • "To protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce, and to ensure the continuity of Government services and activities, on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines," the order says in part .
  • Masks will still be required in a number of places across North Texas when the state's mask mandate ends on March 10.
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Political Notebook: Pima County wins World View case; Kozachik faces challenger; and more

  • Tucson City Councilmember Steve Kozachik pushed back on Mayor Regina Romero after she came out Wednesday in favor of pausing the controversial Reid Park Zoo expansion.
  • Kozachik, who has had an ongoing rivalry with Romero, though both are Democrats, wrote a response, noting he's been working on an improvement plan for Reid Park to try to address public concerns.
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Legislature narrows state ban on price gouging during an emergency

By Taylor Stevens
  • Rep. Rex Shipp, R-Cedar City and the bill’s House sponsor, said Thursday that he decided to run the bill after constituents of his were contacted by the Division of Consumer Protection for violating the price gouging act as they sold food online that was left over when Las Vegas casinos shut down.
  • That problem came, he said, because current state code doesn’t take into consideration the price of obtaining a good or service — such as shipping costs — in the markup a seller can charge.
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Scoop: Biden to meet with India, Australia, Japan, signaling focus on allies to counter China

By Hans Nichols
  • President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Busloads of asylum seekers begin arriving in Tucson as Biden border policies take effect

  • So far, the arrival of asylum seekers in Tucson has not strained resources at Casa Alitas, which collaborates with the city of Tucson and Pima County, said Diego Piña Lopez, program manager at the shelter.
  • To prepare for that possibility, county officials asked for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency like one that is being used in San Diego to rent hotel rooms for asylum seekers, Huckelberry said.
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Colorado judge lets public defender off the hook for refusal to attend in-person trial during pandemic

By Shelly Bradbury
  • An El Paso County judge on Thursday threw out a contempt charge he’d previously leveled against a public defender who refused to show up in person for a jury trial due to COVID-19 concerns, saying he believed the attorney learned his lesson and needed no further punishment.
  • Lowrey found Steigerwald in contempt of court in October during a spike in COVID-19 cases in El Paso County when the lawyer violated the judge’s order that everyone involved in an Oct. 27 trial be present in the courtroom for the proceedings.
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Letters: High-speed rail | Micro-zoning | Vilifying teachers | ‘Obstructionist’ unfair | For the People Act

By Letters To The Editor
  • As a parent and teacher, I would like to address the editorial “ No more excuses – time to return to the classroom,” (Page A6, March 3).
  • To label teachers obstructionist in your March 3 editorial (“Now that California Public school teachers have been moved to the head of the vaccine line, its time for them to end their obstructionist resistance to reopening classrooms,”) is wrong.
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Pres. Biden approves major disaster declaration for Idaho

WASHINGTON — FEMA announced federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Idaho to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by straight-line winds on Jan. 13. The President’s action makes federal funding available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the straight-line winds in the counties of Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai and Shoshone. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Thomas J. […]Read more >Similar articles >
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On Fox News, Dr. Seuss Is the Latest Battle in the Cancel Culture Wars

By Caleb Ecarma
  • Even as the coronavirus pandemic approaches its one-year anniversary this month, and more than half a million people in the U.S. have died and counting, Fox News is preoccupied with fighting back the woke mobs who are hellbent on erasing every cultural signifier beloved by conservative America.
  • “I haven’t gotten past the assassination of Mr. Potato Head,” said Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz earlier this week, adding that the same people were now “trying to take out Dr. Seuss.”
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Oldest Denver jail inmates to start getting COVID-19 vaccine soon

By Meg Wingerter
  • Older inmates of Denver’s jails and detention facilities could begin to get COVID-19 shots in the near future through a partnership between the sheriff’s office and Denver Health, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Thursday.
  • Daria Serna, spokeswoman for the Denver Sheriff Department, said the agency had only recently received permission from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to begin vaccinating inmates, and hadn’t yet been shipped any doses.
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Letters: Support clean energy | Scapegoating teachers | Talking sense | Voter rights | NASA budget

By Letters To The Editor
  • Thiessen praises Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for championing 2017 legislation that took away teachers’ collective bargaining rights and for signing legislation mandating immediate reopening of all schools without vaccination of staff or proper safety measures.
  • Finally, we have a politician, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, coming out strongly based on science, instead of simply providing lip service (“ We can reopen our schools and keep our teachers safe,” Page A12 Feb 21).
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Lake Superior ice disappears as fast as it formed

By Brooks Johnson
  • After open water lingered well into February following a warm start to winter, Lake Superior was about 50% covered with ice on Feb. 19, following the polar vortex that kept temps below zero across the region.
  • Lake Superior on average does not fall below 20% ice coverage until April, though last year the lake had even less ice coverage on March 4 and was never more than 22% covered with ice.
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Denver Public Schools plans to reopen middle, high schools “as close to full strength as possible” after spring break

By Tiney Ricciardi
  • Denver Public Schools plans to expand in-person learning for middle and high school students after spring break, following other districts in the metro area that are working to bring older kids back full-time before the end of the semester.
  • To do so, the district will be making several changes to how schools currently operate, including increasing the cap on class sizes from 17 to 35 kids and removing the limit on how many cohorts a teacher can interact with during the day.
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It’s a safe bet: Utah’s liquor store employees will be getting raises

By Kathy Stephenson
  • A bill that would boost the hourly wages at Utah’s state-run liquor stores — and ensure that employee pay keeps pace in the future — cleared the House on Thursday and now awaits the governor’s expected signature.
  • Currently, the starting salary for a full-time clerk at most of Utah’s state-run liquor stores is $11.32 an hour — several dollars below the average pay at most retail outlets.
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Donald Trump’s Georgia Rewrite

  • “The Wall Street Journal editorial page continues, knowingly, to fight for globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers, and they fight for RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.
  • It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and thus the Senate majority.
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19 Massachusetts communities at high risk for coronavirus, Revere and Brockton exit red zone

By Lisa Kashinsky
  • Revere and Brockton, long two of the hardest-hit cities in the state, fell out of the high-risk red zone for coronavirus transmission this week.
  • Blackstone, Chicopee, Clinton, Fall River, Freetown, Hadley, Haverhill, Lawrence, Ludlow, Lynn, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Plainville, Springfield, Sterling, Sutton, West Bridgewater and Weymouth are all in the red zone.
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The latest QAnon-inspired threat on the Capitol was thankfully a dud

By Aaron Rupar
  • On the day that the House is shut down because of a threat of violence, pro-insurrection Sen. Josh Hawley rails against National Guard troops being stationed at the Capitol pic.twitter.com/LIjTKmzbFU
  • On Thursday, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — both of whom supported Trump’s efforts to overthrow the election — went on Fox & Friends and argued that despite the active threat at the Capitol, they saw no need for the National Guard’s continued presence.
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A Chip Problem of Detroit’s Own Making

  • American auto makers face a shortage of computer chips, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow blames the “decision” of “a single company in Taiwan, which has reduced its shipments.”
  • Germany’s minister for economic affairs and energy, Peter Altmaier, wrote to Taiwan’s minister of economic affairs, Wang Mei-hua, asking her government to consider pressuring chip manufacturers, primarily the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to prioritize shipments to German auto companies also suffering from a shortfall.
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Vaccine exemptions would be granted to college students under bill headed to governor

By Becky Jacobs
  • Sen. John Johnson, R-Ogden and a Utah State University professor, said he supported the bill, adding, “I don’t think that our schools should require somebody to put something in their body.”
  • K-12 students in Utah’s public schools can already receive a vaccine exemption for medical, personal or religious reasons, according to Sen. Michael Kennedy, R-Alpine.
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The ‘perfect fit’ for children with special needs and disabilities in western Kansas

By Kaisha Batman
  • "In a child with Autism, something that a typical brain knows is socially inappropriate, an Autistic brain does not understand that," said Trista Fergerson, Co-Founder and President of Perfect Fit Foundation and CEO and Director of Operations of Perfect Fit Therapy Clinic.
  • The idea originated after Trista Fergerson, a mom of two, was struggling to find her son Dax the proper resources and therapies he needed to cope with his Autism.
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Wisconsin nursing homes see a 97% drop in COVID-19 cases since the first week of vaccinations

  • In the week from Feb. 15 to 21, only eight nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest data reported by Wisconsin nursing homes to the federal government.
  • New coronavirus cases in Wisconsin nursing homes have taken a nose-dive since the first week of vaccinations and were in the single digits in the latest week reported to the federal government.
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Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump’s account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships

By mmiller@thehill.com (Maggie Miller,Chris Mills Rodrigo and Rebecca Klar)
Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE.Follow our cyber […]Read more >Similar articles >

Major parties in Robert Indiana lawsuit reach settlement

By Bob Keyes
  • The settlement, announced in a brief letter to the court on Wednesday, was reached among the Morgan Art Foundation, the Indiana estate and the Star of Hope Foundation, whose representatives have signed an agreement “that should fully resolve all claims” stemming from Morgan’s May 2018 lawsuit, filed in New York, against Indiana and his caretaker and personal assistant, Jamie L.
  • Left out of the settlement agreement is New York-based art publisher Michael McKenzie, who also was named in the lawsuit and accused of making fraudulent artwork in Indiana’s name.
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Minnesota family caregivers turned away for the COVID-19 vaccine despite being eligible

By Glenn Howatt
  • Curfman has been providing letters to parents of Down syndrome children that have helped some get vaccinated, but she's also been talking to pharmacies and local public health agencies to make them aware of the policy.
  • Caregivers are eligible to receive the vaccine under state guidelines, but some clinics and local public health agencies aren't aware that they are included in the highest priority group, which includes health care workers and long-term care residents.
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Norton adviser resigns after antisemitic remark about judicial candidate

By Ann Marimow
  • Norton’s 12-member Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission screens candidates for judicial vacancies, as well as other federal law enforcement leadership positions in D.C. The members, who are lawyers and non-lawyers, pass on recommendations to Norton, who in turn makes recommendations to the Biden administration.
  • During a commission meeting held online Monday, after interviewing a candidate for a judicial vacancy, Rice referred to the person as a “slick Jew,” according to another person with knowledge of the meeting.
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Social media moderation would require notification, appeal process under Utah legislation

By Bryan Schott
  • SB228 requires social media platforms to clearly state their content moderation policy, and inform Utah users within 24 hours when they run afoul of it.
  • Legislative attorneys advised that HB228 may violate the First Amendment by compelling speech through requiring these companies to provide information about their moderation practices, although that may not be an impermissible burden given their vast resources.
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Mad dash over early for Massachusetts coronavirus vaccine appointments

By Joe Dwinell, Lisa Kashinsky
  • Around 12,000 new appointments at mass vaccination sites for next week were posted and booked quickly with the system placing early risers in a waiting room before letting them sign up for shots.
  • Baker said the number of new first-dose appointments posted online Thursday was “lower than usual” because slots were taken up by people needing to return for their second doses and because about 13,000 appointments were booked through the state’s call center .
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CTU claims Passages Charter School is forcing teachers back without safety agreement

By Sam Kelly
  • In a statement, Passages said the school has “reached agreement on a significant number of proposals with the CTU that ensure a healthy and safe working environment for teachers and staff, on matters ranging from the amount of personal protective equipment to be provided to the extensive deep cleaning that will occur in the building on a regular basis.”
  • But Passages said the school has “reached agreement on a significant number of proposals with the CTU that ensure a healthy and safe working environment for teachers and staff.”
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Harassing the Hammonds

  • The Obama Administration teamed up with green groups to harass many small businesses and private land owners, and the Biden Interior Department is now carrying on the tradition.
  • President Trump pardoned the father and son, and in January his Interior Secretary David Bernhardt finalized a 10-year permit for the Hammonds to graze on public lands.
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Austin City Council passes resolution addressing racial discrimination — what does it mean?

By Tahera Rahman
  • The resolution tasks the city manager, Spencer Cronk, with figuring out what resources have been denied to Black people in Austin and just how much that and other policies have harmed their community.
  • "You cannot ask a community to pull itself up by its bootstraps when it can't even afford the boots it's been long denied,” said mayor pro-tem Natasha Harper-Madison during a virtual press conference before the city council meeting.
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Texas schools won’t lose state funding this academic year for coronavirus attendance declines

  • Texas will fully fund school districts that have seen student attendance drop during the pandemic, as long as they maintain or increase the rate of students learning in person, Gov. Greg Abbott and state education officials announced Thursday.
  • Texas funds its public schools based on the number of students who attend, whether they are learning in person or virtually.
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The Perpetual Covid Crisis

  • “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his statewide mask mandate and restrictions on businesses.
  • Democrats are applauding Mr. Biden, but imagine if Donald Trump had attacked Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown as “Neanderthal thinking.”
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Tri-County region to receive 5,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

AURORA | Health care providers in the Tri-County Health Department jurisdiction are expected to receive 5,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week, along with 49,120 Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses, according to Tri-County. The FDA authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use over the weekend before shipping it all over the country. Unlike the other vaccines on the market, it’s administered in a single shot.Colorado is set to receive 45,000 doses. A Thursday news release from Tri-County said that regional providers will begin using the vaccine this coming weekend and early next […]Read more >Similar articles >
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How Disney decides which content gets ‘offensive’ disclaimer

By Hannah Frishberg
  • In November 2019, when Disney launched its Disney+ streaming service, the company added content warnings ahead of its animated classics “Dumbo” (1941), “The Jungle Book” (1967) and “Aladdin” (1992) to warn audiences that the movies “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
  • The disclaimers are not a signal that the films have been canceled, Ben Mankiewicz, a host on classic TV network TCM, told the Reporter.
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One and done: Why people are eager for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

By Noah Weiland
  • Since Johnson & Johnson revealed data showing that its vaccine, while highly protective, had a slightly lower efficacy rate than the first shots produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, health officials have feared the new shot might be viewed by some Americans as the inferior choice.
  • In North Dakota this week, health officials are sending their first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to pharmacies and urgent care clinics, where people who don’t necessarily have a regular doctor can get the single jab.
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Masks, well-ventilated classrooms, and other precautions are key to reopening schools

By Rahul Rao
  • But in many places, including lower-income areas in the US, schools remain shuttered, and research says, quite emphatically, that the closures are taking a mounting and potentially catastrophic toll on student well-being.The good news is that public health experts say there is a path to reopening schools while keeping risks low—as long as schools stick to proper mitigation measures.
  • As the vaccine rollout accelerates and spring approaches—and with an end to the pandemic possibly in sight—some schools are slowly starting to open their doors, even if partially, beginning with younger students first and alternating in-person attendance with virtual to maintain adequate social distancing.
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Maryland delays state testing until fall and cuts back on length of exams

By Donna St. George
  • Standardized tests planned for the spring in Maryland have been scaled back and pushed until the fall, as part of changes adopted Thursday by the state board of education.
  • Students in third grade to eighth grade and high school will now be given diagnostic tests in math and English once intended for the fall of 2020 — a kind of abbreviated version of the state’s standardized tests, called MCAPs, for Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program .
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Senate Republicans are trying to drag out the stimulus process in the middle of a national emergency

By Li Zhou
  • Senate Republicans — beginning with a reading of the entirety of the stimulus package on Thursday — are trying to drag out the legislative process on the bill as much as possible in an effort to make things uncomfortable for Democrats.
  • And on Friday, Republicans are gearing up for a “vote-a-rama,” where they will offer amendment after amendment as part of a stacked series of votes the Senate has to hold — so much so that some lawmakers think it could be the longest one the chamber has ever endured.
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M Health Fairview, HealthPartners, Mayo among health networks freeing up (some) spots for seniors age 65 and over

By Frederick Melo
  • M Health Fairview and other health networks celebrated an unusual and uneven milestone on Thursday, announcing that for the first time, COVID-19 vaccination appointments are now available, to varying degrees, for patients ages 65 and over.
  • Mayo’s threshold will soften a bit on Monday: “Vaccinations will begin the week of March 8 for patients age 65 and older who meet specific high-risk conditions as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Health and have a primary care provider at Mayo, have been seen within the past two years and have a residence in Minnesota.”
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Readers Write: End-of-life issues, Dr. Seuss books, Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

  • As has Dr. Steve Bergeson ( "Aid in dying is not the help sick Minnesotans need," Opinion Exchange, March 3), I have cared for many dying patients and, in addition, serve on a hospital ethics committee where we grapple with the complexities, tension and moral discomfort of end-of-life decisionmaking by patients, families and their medical treatment teams.
  • That is why medical aid in dying is completely optional; that is, no physician, patient, pharmacist, hospital or health care system is required to participate.
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Ala. governor extends mask mandate, but only so far

  • Ivey’s remark came as she announced that the state’s broader “Safer at Home” order, which includes the mask mandate and other measures, would be extended until the evening of April 9 instead of expiring Monday, as previously scheduled.
  • Alabama’s statewide mask mandate to curb the coronavirus is being extended to April 9 — but it won’t be extended after that, Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday.
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Pritzker unveils COVID-19 pilot program to get vaccine to overlooked areas: ‘It truly can’t come soon enough’

By Rachel Hinton
  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that his administration will partner with hospitals and health care centers in targeted areas for a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program in order to better reach underserved communities across the state who have “too often been denied health care that should be their right.”
  • “These additional vaccines that will be here at Touchette Hospital, that’s huge in communities like Centreville, where, in 2018, the USAToday deemed [it] the poorest city, not in Illinois but in the United States.
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Justice Roberts’ court hates election cases

By Noah Feldman, Bloomberg Opinion
  • Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments in a major voting rights case portend what appears to be the future of election law: The continuing withdrawal of the court from the role of policing elections for racial fairness.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts has been pushing the agenda of judicial disengagement from voting rights issues since 2012, when he wrote a landmark decision in the case Shelby County v.
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Brendan Walsh says Maxfield will need his ‘best run’ to win the Big ‘Cap

By Art Wilson
  • Instituted this year, the connections of any horse that sweeps the Big ‘Cap, the Hollywood Gold Cup (May 31) and Del Mar’s Pacific Classic (Aug. 21) will earn a $1 million bonus on top of the purse money for winning those Grade I stakes races.
  • Maxfield, a 4-year-old son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, was considered one of the favorites for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita when he had to be scratched just days before the race because of a bone chip in his right front ankle.
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Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page COVID relief bill and Democrats blast his move

  • USA TODAY reported that Johnson told reporters he felt badly for the Senate clerks who are going to “have to read it,” but it was “important” to delay the process and read the bill aloud because “so often we rush these massive bills” which few lawmakers have time to read.
  • As promised, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson raised an objection Thursday on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.
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The Future of Money Is Digital, But Is It Bitcoin?

By Andy Mukherjee
  • Although this is no different from traditional dollarization that occurs in countries plagued by inflation and exchange rate volatility, the convenience and accessibility of central bank-issued digital cash could enable “substitution at a faster pace and larger scale,” according to Tao Zhang, a deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund.
  • Sure, governments will borrow some elements of the distributed ledger technology behind private cryptocurrencies, but they will very much want to retain control of what circulates as money in their economies.
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To account for winter storm impacts, Austin Water temporarily reducing rates

By Alyssa Goard
  • Austin Water leaders clarified for the council Thursday that for the current billing period, Austin Water would use historical averaging to determine customer's bills.
  • Austin Water leaders told the council these measures were designed to avoid having customers receive high water bills as a result of burst pipes or other consequences of the severe weather.
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State agency helps Oklahomans affected by COVID-19 secure job training opportunities

By Hunter McEachern
  • "For some people who qualify, we actually provide supportive services like help with rent, child care, if you need anything involving a uniform for your new job, steel toe boots, nursing shoes, that sort of thing," said Morris.
  • To help those impacted get back on their feet, the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development is offering several job training opportunities.
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The Pandemic’s Future Hangs in Suspense

By The COVID Tracking Project
  • The decline in cases has been a point of confusion in the past week, as daily reports briefly jogged up after a large drop following the long Presidents’ Day weekend and disruptive winter storms in mid-February.
  • (On November 8, California did not report data in time to be included in our daily compilation.) Cases may plateau or rise at any point, and a close watch of the numbers is essential as vaccinations roll out alongside the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants.
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Archdiocese of Denver advises Catholics to avoid Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

By Jessica Seaman
The Archdiocese of Denver is advising Catholics not to take the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, citing the use of abortion-derived cells to make the doses. The stance is in line with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said earlier this week that if a person has the option to choose a vaccine, they should pick the shots developed by Pfizer or Moderna, which do not use such cells. Catholic bishops have questioned the morality of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it uses cells that are descended from tissue from an elective abortion performed 36 years ago, The Washington Post reported. When […]Read more >Similar articles >
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CytoDyn expects to release COVID trial data, stock price seesaws

By Hannah Ray Lambert
  • The company -- and investors -- are betting big on its potential on multiple fronts, and the stock price has taken a wild ride in the last year from .81 cents to a high of $10.01 and everywhere in between as bets were made on whether the drug would prove to be a viable treatment.
  • If the FDA approves the EUA, Pourhassan said the company will have to ramp up production.
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Don’t just ‘rethink’ I-94 through Rondo

By Jerome Johnson
  • Other challenges include: re-contouring the Rondo "ditch" left by I-94 to foster effective parkway, transitway and housing options; I-35E/AMR right-of-way acquisition; and the mitigation of environmental impacts from rerouted traffic.
  • But you wonder what would be possible if Interstate 94 were removed, not just hidden, and 70 developable acres between Western Avenue and Hamline Avenue were repatriated to a Rondo community given short shrift by the tone-deaf highway planning practices of yesteryear.
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Southern California adopts plan to build 1.3 million new homes by 2029

By Jeff Collins
Southern California leaders voted Thursday, March 4, to adopt a new housing plan for the 2020’s that will triple its future homebuilding goals, acting over repeated objections from public officials that the number is too big. Thursday’s vote by the full membership of the Southern California Association of Governments – made up of elected officials from 191 cities in six counties – officially requires local governments to draft plans to zone for 1.34 million new homes by the end of 2029. That’s equivalent to adding almost as many new homes in the region as now exist in Orange and Ventura counties combined. In addition, SCAG’s governing body […]Read more >Similar articles >
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After winter storm, 430K Austin Energy customers to get a $10 credit towards their bill

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austinites continue to recover from the historic winter storms two weeks ago, city council approved several measures Thursday aimed at giving customers some added relief with their utilities. Joint oversight meeting Wednesday to address storm’s power, water issues At times during the storm, when the most significant outages were happening, more than 200,000 of Austin Energy’s approximately 430,000 residential customers were without power. To help those customers, the council approved a measure that would give a $10 credit to every Austin Energy customer on their first bill after March 19. A graphic from Austin […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Sen. Tina Smith supports ending filibuster

  • WASHINGTON – Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith said Thursday she supports abolishing the Senate filibuster, as tensions mount over whether Democrats should make a greater effort to throw out the 60-vote threshold now that they control the chamber in the early days of Joe Biden's presidency.
  • But with Democrats now holding a razor-thin majority by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris' ability to cast a tie-breaking vote, the issue has become more timely, Smith said.
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Lawmakers uncork criticism of bottle bill changes, advance proposals anyway

By Perry Beeman
  • Mathis said issues include payments to redemption centers, the need to apply the deposit to bottled waters and other products not on the market when the anti-litter law took effect in 1979, and making sure returns are easy for consumers.
  • Separate legislative bills that would change Iowa’s 42-year-old beverage container deposit law advanced Thursday after lawmakers said the fight is far from over.
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New University of St. Thomas institute will train teachers to identify, respond to student trauma

By Ryan Faircloth
  • Campbell and MayKao Hang, the dean of St. Thomas' Morrison Family College of Health, will lead the new institute, which is supported by funding from the Carolyn Foundation and the Sauer Family Foundation and is slated to launch in May. The two St. Thomas deans began envisioning the effort years ago in response to what they viewed as a shortage of trauma-informed educational offerings.
  • A new Institute for Trauma-Informed Education at the University of St. Thomas will seek to address this pressing need, training current and aspiring K-12 teachers and staff to assist students experiencing trauma.
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Boston equity chief resigns amid mayoral rumors

By Sean Philip Cotter
  • Boston Chief of Equity Karilyn Crockett has resigned amid rumors she’s considering a mayoral run.
  • City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell have been running since September, and in the two months since Walsh became President Biden’s pick for Labor secretary, they’ve been joined by City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, state Rep. Jon Santiago and, just Thursday morning, former city economic development chief John Barros.
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Vaccine appointments will open to teachers and those older than 50 this month

  • Starting next week, those in Phase 2A, which includes teachers and school staff, will start getting vaccines through the Regional Public Health Network, Gov. Chris Sununu announced at a press conference Thursday.
  • Because Phase 2A only has about 50,000 people, Sununu said people in Phase 2B, which includes those 50 and older, will be able to register for their vaccination appointment starting March 22.
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Iowa lawsuits against Tyson on hold as company faces potential SEC probe

By Clark Kauffman
  • The meat and poultry giant has been hit with several lawsuits from the families of Iowa workers who died after allegedly contracting the coronavirus in the company’s plants.
  • Tyson’s claim is that because it has been helping the government produce food needed “for the national defense,” and because President Trump ordered meat processing plants to continue operating during the pandemic, the federal courts are the proper forum for resolving each lawsuit.
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Woman to start paying nearly $2M in Great Danes neglect case

  • Her case was put on hold as she appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, saying her privacy was violated when authorities allowed the Humane Society to take photos and video as it helped gather the dogs from the house.
  • She had been sentenced to pay the bulk of the money to the Humane Society of the United States, which took in, cared for and found homes for most of the 84 dogs seized from her 13,000-square-foot Wolfeboro residence in 2017.
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UTPD first to receive cultural competency training through new Law Enforcement Innovation Center program

  • Officers with the University of Tennessee Police Department spent the week learning about how to better serve the Volunteer community and examined their perceptions, stereotypes and cultural assumptions in a new training program.
  • Officers with the University of Tennessee Police Department spent the week examining their perceptions, stereotypes and cultural assumptions.
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Free online music festival offers performances from more than 50 homegrown acts

By Ross Raihala
The online music festival Land of 10,000 Streams returns for its second marathon weekend of music with more than 50 homegrown musical acts set to perform Friday through Sunday. Music starts at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon Sunday, with each band or solo artist live-streaming a 30-minute set via landof10kstreams.com and the festival’s Facebook page. It’s free, with listeners encouraged to give tips to the musicians using PayPal or Venmo through provided links. Musical genres include blues, rock, soul, indie and hip-hop. Annie Mack, Chris Koza, Nur-D, Dakota Dave Hull, Twain, Mark Mallman, Joyann Parker, Katy Vernon, Dan Israel, Martin […]Read more >Similar articles >
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NFTs, explained

By Terry Nguyen
  • Last year, a representative from KnownOrigin, a digital art marketplace powered on the Ethereum blockchain, approached Arc on Twitter and he agreed to give the platform a try.
  • Digital marketplaces like Open Sea and Known Origin have simplified the process for users who don’t want to get in the weeds of blockchain technology.
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Lauding mayoral control of schools is misguided and dangerous

By Letters to the Editor
  • As a fellow with EmpowerEd in D.C., I have worked for the past three years to tackle D.C.’s teacher turnover crisis, the gap in teacher diversity and a lack of responsiveness to community concerns such as principal firings — which all stem partly from our top-down system of mayoral control.
  • Even though mayoral control is complicated, research from Rutgers political scientist Domingo Morel shows that when states take power away from elected school boards, the change is primarily about race and power rather than the false facade of concerns over academic progress.
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Q&A with state epidemiologist Ben Chan

  • There are some really good and promising trends but it’s important to know that the overall levels of community transmission still remain high not only New Hampshire but really across the country.
  • You talked about the overall vaccine efficacy of this new Janssen vaccine as being 66% to 67% efficacious but in the US, it’s no closer to You know, 72% effective at preventing, you know, COVID-19 and the reason for those differences in numbers is because these vaccine trials are conducted around the around the globe.
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Democrats seek closure of youth center amid abuse claims

  • “We were devastated to read the latest accusations of unspeakable physical, sexual and mental abuse perpetrated against children at the Sununu Youth Services Center,” the lawmakers wrote.
  • Cindy Rosenwald and Becky Whitley wrote to Sununu on Thursday, three days after The Associated Press exclusively reported the number of men and women who allege they were abused as children by 150 Youth Development Center staff over six decades had grown to 230.
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Prosecutors conclude Chauvin was on Floyd’s neck for at least 9 minutes

By Amy Forliti
  • As the trial approaches for a white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, prosecutors are putting the time Derek Chauvin’s knee was on the Black man’s neck at about nine minutes.
  • The narrative in the initial complaint filed May 29 by the Hennepin County attorney’s office says Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds.
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New Hampshire considers separate children’s services agency

  • She praised reforms overseen by Joe Ribsam, director of the Division for Children, Youth and Families, in recent years, but said that children’s issues must remain on the front burner.
  • Currently, child protection, foster and adoptive care, juvenile justice and programs to support families are part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the state’s largest agency.
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Canada lawyer says Trump comments shouldn’t halt extradition

By JIM MORRIS
  • VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Comments made by former U.S. President Donald Trump do not meet the standard to halt an extradition hearing of a senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies, a Canadian justice department lawyer argued in a court Thursday.
  • Canadian justice department lawyer Robert Frater said there was no evidence to suggest the former president’s words had any impact on the fairness of the proceedings against Meng .
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Republicans’ rhetoric on H.R. 1 is apocalyptic. Are they that afraid of democracy?

By Editorial Board
  • The bill that has these politicians frothing is H.R. 1, a long piece of legislation with a noble purpose: making it easier for Americans to vote and encouraging the government to be more responsive to the people.
  • In his screed against H.R. 1, Mr. Pence claimed that the last election was marked by “significant voting irregularities” and that “it is time for our nation’s leaders to help America heal.”
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Tons of K-pop artists have been purged from Spotify. It’s part of a much bigger problem.

By Aja Romano
  • On February 28, hundreds of K-pop artists — encompassing a huge range of genres and styles, from older hits to brand-new albums — were purged from the music streaming service.
  • The reason involves a complicated licensing dispute between Spotify and a South Korean distributor, Kakao M, which is now one of Spotify’s direct competitors thanks to the latter’s recent launch in the country.
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Susan R. Madsen: There’s no excuse in 2021 for the lack of gender diversity in boardrooms

By Susan R. Madsen | Special to The Tribune
  • It’s time we make deliberate decisions to have boards, commissions, and committees reflect the larger population by nominating, appointing, and inviting more women and people of color to join the conversations.
  • Our research at the Utah Women & Leadership Project and vast research around the globe say the same thing: Gender diversity in boardrooms improves performance.
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St. Paul gets $6.3 million state grant for port development

By Bill Salisbury
The St. Paul Port Authority will receive a $6.3 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to help replace 1,450 feet of dock wall at the city’s Barge Terminal 2, MnDOT announced Thursday. The grant is one of four port development projects totaling $14 million to support freight movement on the state’s waterways. The other projects are in Duluth and Wabasha. “The projects funded through this program maintain and expand critical commercial connections, promote local economic development at Minnesota ports and support statewide jobs through expedited freight movement, including agricultural and other commodities,” Bill […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Despite Losing Power for Days, Texans Will Pay Higher Power Bills—Perhaps for Decades to Come

By Loren Steffy
  • One week after the storms, the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which collects payments from retailers and makes sure they get to the proper electricity sellers, was short about $1.3 billion in payments, stoking concerns about the liquidity of the power market and the possibility that many retail electricity providers will file for bankruptcy.
  • Paula Gold-Williams, CEO of CPS Energy, the San Antonio–owned municipal utility, which supplies both electricity and gas for heating, said the impact of skyrocketing prices is “going to be huge.”
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Seven Kenosha activists, including Jacob Blake’s uncle, embarking on a 22-day fast for climate justice

  • Seven volunteers, activists and elected officials, including Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake, who was shot by Kenosha police in August, are embarking on a 22-day fast to demand the state Legislature pass Gov. Tony Evers' climate initiatives.
  • The group announced plans for a 22-day fast last week and took their final bites of food Thursday morning outside Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha.
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476 new coronavirus cases reported in Massachusetts schools as more districts reopen

By Alexi Cohan
  • A total of 476 staff and students in Massachusetts schools have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week in a continued downward trend that mirrors state figures, according data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • The weekly report published on Thursdays shows 343 students and 133 staff tested positive for the coronavirus from Feb. 25 to Wednesday, according to DESE.
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