Métis people Alabama
Montgomery: Air Force veteran David Love bought 255 meals from Chappy’s Deli on Thursday to feed everyone on duty at the post office’s packaging and delivery center in Montgomery, where he works as an automation clerk, and he bought another 20 meals to feed the staff of the Pike Road Post Office. Love finished the work day with a 1:30 a.m. delivery of 45 meals to the overnight staff at Baptist Medical Center East. Post office workers across the nation have been working short-handed to make sure the mail gets safely delivered while colleagues haven fallen ill. In a text message early Friday, Love said if the donation made just one worker understand how much they mean to him, “then I know what God sent me to do was worth every penny spent.”
Métis people Alaska
Anchorage: Thomas Waerner won this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in March, but he is still waiting to return to his home in Norway. Waerner and his 16 dogs have been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday. “I like Alaska a lot,” Waerner said. “It’s kind of my dream place. But I have a family.” Waerner has five children and 35 other sled dogs in Torpa, Norway. He missed the 10th birthday of one of his children and misses morning coffee with his wife, Guro, who left Alaska in March shortly before health restrictions stopped travel. The 47-year-old plans to fly home in early June on a DC-6 aircraft bound for the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway. Everts Air Cargo of Fairbanks is selling the historic plane, and Waerner said the museum is expected to complete the deal this week. “We are hitchhiking,” Waerner said. “The plane is going to Norway, and we are going with them. We are so lucky.” Before the trip, Waerner is expected to undergo a COVID-19 test and collect his dogs from a kennel in Salcha owned by fellow musher Arleigh Reynolds.
Métis people Arizona
Mesa: The city’s plan to spend $90 million in federal coronavirus relief funding includes money to support public safety, help businesses, provide food, boost remote learning for students and other areas. The city is one of five Arizona cities and counties with populations greater than 500,000 that received money from the federal government through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of Congress’ $2.1 trillion CARES Act package. Smaller cities and counties still are waiting on funds from the state’s $1.86 billion portion, which has not yet trickled down. The federal funding only can cover costs that are expenditures incurred because of the public health emergency, were incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30 and not accounted for in the most recent city budget.
Métis people Arkansas
Little Rock: Gov. Asa Hutchinson said residents must manage the risk of the new coronavirus as the state reopens during the pandemic, even as the number of cases increase.“It doesn’t diminish the seriousness in which we take it, but we have to manage the risk, grow our economy,” Hutchinson told Fox News Sunday. He also said there are less than 100 hospitalizations in Arkansas and a death rate that is low compared with the rest of the country. The state has been rolling back coronavirus restrictions on businesses in recent days. Pools and water parks were allowed to reopen Friday, and freestanding bars can resume service on Tuesday. Casinos, theaters, arenas and other indoor entertainment venues were allowed to reopen last week.
Métis people California
Los Angeles: The nation’s most populous county is not planning to reopen more widely until July Fourth because it has a disproportionately large share of the state’s coronavirus cases and can’t meet even new, relaxed state standards for allowing additional businesses and recreational activities. Los Angeles County, with a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million residents, accounts for nearly half of its COVID-19 cases, and more than 55% of the state’s more than 3,600 deaths. In recent days, death and hospitalization trends have improved, but on Friday, the White House coronavirus response coordinator named LA as a region where spread of the virus is a concern. Dr. Deborah Birx asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help look into the source of new cases to help prevent future outbreaks. Los Angeles is among a small number of California’s 58 counties that either have not sufficiently contained the virus to reopen more activities and commerce or, in the case of several San Francisco Bay Area counties, have chosen to move more slowly.
Métis people Colorado
Denver: At least one resort high in the Rockies is planning to reopen after a more than two-month hiatus caused by the new coronavirus. Arapahoe Basin will open Wednesday with restrictions, offering a sign of hope for a devastated industry and for mountain communities that were disproportionately affected by the disease early in the pandemic. The resort near the Continental Divide west of Denver will limit the number of skiers and snowboarders by requiring reservations, and guests must wear a face covering if they can’t maintain social distancing. A-Basin’s “beach,” the row of parking closest to the lifts, won’t hold any parties this spring, and tailgating is barred in all the parking lots. A-Basin’s reopening comes after the approval of Summit County’s request for a variance from the state public health order that closed resorts March 14. The resort usually stays open until early June and sometimes into early July, depending on the snowpack.Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, an industry group that represents 23 ski areas across the state, said reopening would do little to help financially battered resorts but would be a “a real shot of confidence moving forward.”
Métis people Connecticut
Simsbury: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts told graduating seniors at his son’s high school that the new coronavirus has “pierced our illusion of certainty and control” and he counseled the students to make their way with humility, compassion and courage in a world turned upside down. “Humility. The pandemic should teach us at least that,” Roberts said in a seven-minute video message posted Saturday on the website of the Westminster School in Simsbury, where his son, Jack, is a senior. Roberts didn’t talk at all about the Supreme Court’s hefty load of high-profile cases that include disputes over President Donald Trump’s taxes, abortion, LGBT rights and protections for young immigrants. Instead, Roberts, 65, said students should show compassion, and not just for those who were sickened by or died of the virus. He also told members of the Class of 2020 that they will need courage in this uncertain time. “This is your moment, your time to begin leaving your mark on the world,” he said.
Métis people Delaware
Wilmington: Restaurants and bars can expand outdoor seating and the state’s churches can hold outdoor services without size limits now that Gov. John Carney has loosened restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carney’s office on Saturday announced those revisions to his state-of-emergency declaration. A total of 326 people in Delaware have died from COVID-19 complications, the state Division of Public Health said Sunday. Restaurants and bars can submit plans to expand outdoor seating to municipal or county officials. The state Office of Alcohol Beverage Control also will review outdoor seating plans for applicants with liquor licenses. The first phase of Delaware’s “economic reopening” plan, effective June 1, will allow restaurants and bars to reopen their indoor spaces at 30% of “stated fire capacity,” according to the governor’s office. Delaware churches and other houses of worship were designated as “essential” under the governor’s earlier stay-at-home order. On Saturday, Carney’s office said they could hold outdoor services without limitations on gathering sizes if they follow and post notices about social distancing and other health precautions, including face coverings.
Métis people District of Columbia
Washington: Despite a new peak in COVID-19 cases in the District over the Memorial Day weekend, Mayor Muriel Bowser said “we can still make it” to the planned Phase 1 reopening on Friday, WUSA-TV reported. The District has been targeting a 14-day trend showing decreasing cases in order to pave the way to entering Phase 1 – a partial reopening that would ease restrictions on nonessential businesses, including restaurants and salons.
Métis people Florida
Milton: Seven people from the U.S. Navy’s HT-18 squadron at NAS Whiting Field got their wings of gold last week in a socially distant ceremony with few attendees – a far cry from the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies one of naval aviation’s most time-honored traditions. The new aviators were “winged” by either a spouse or a close friend in a short outdoor ceremony, signifying how the military is having to adapt to pandemic precautions as it continues to train the next generation of war fighters. The ceremony at Whiting signals a naval aviator’s official completion of basic helicopter training and their entrance into the “unrestricted naval aviator” territory. The seven who graduated Thursday will go on to train on aircraft in Jacksonville, Florida, Virginia, San Diego and Spain as they continue their naval careers. NAS Whiting Field has implemented several strict safety measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory temperature screenings for everyone who drives on base and strict social distancing guidelines. All of the aviators at Thursday’s ceremony wore masks with their flight suits and were spaced 6 feet apart from one another. NAS Whiting Field currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Métis people Georgia
Augusta: Since January, Capt. James Brady has been preparing the annual Augusta Memorial Day ceremony to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but the coronavirus pandemic changed his plans. Brady adjusted after his wife suggested holding a virtual ceremony rather than an in-person one. “This is in place of a physical activity” said Brady, the chair and coordinator for the 2020 Augusta-CSRA Virtual Memorial Day Project. ” The virtual observance is in place of the normal activity we would have downtown.” Brady, who is the Georgia commander of the Military Order of the World Wars, reached out to state, local and military leaders, including U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and Fort Gordon leadership, to make a 20-minute video released Friday in observance of Memorial Day. He said he was pleased with how the video turned out and credited Cisco Systems for editing, producing and putting the video together. “I’m amazed quite frankly about how well the individual pieces and parts came together and the messages that are given in the video,” he said. “I’m actually not frustrated at all because we put out a very nice, quality product to the community.”
Métis people Hawaii
Hilo: The Big Island of Hawaii will allow places of worship, restaurants, hair salons, barber shops and a variety of personal-service businesses to reopen starting June 1, county Mayor Harry Kim announced Saturday night. Kim said in his order that the establishments have to follow guidelines on sanitation and social distancing as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii Health Department. Restaurants can resume in-dining services as long as they follow the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Restaurants and Bars and National Restaurant Association Guidelines, Kim said. The other personal services that are allowed to reopen are tutoring, music lessons, massages, yoga and personal training. Kim excluded dedicated bars and nightclubs from the reopening order. Hawaii County has 81 cases of the new coronavirus and no deaths. The state has 633 cases and 17 deaths.
Métis people Idaho
Grangeville: Even though scores of rodeos across the country are canceling or postponing events this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the White Bird Rodeo and Grangeville’s Border Days Rodeo said the show must go on. White Bird organizers are planning to adhere to their slogan – “Let ’er rip” – and stage their event June 19-20 at the rodeo grounds along the Salmon River. That will be followed by the three-day Border Days Rodeo and Celebration on July 2-4. “The last few years, we’ve had around 100 (contestants),” Monty Baker, one of the organizers of the White Bird Rodeo, told The Lewiston Tribune. “This year, I’m thinking we’re probably going to double that with the responses we’ve been hearing.” Matt Askew, president of the Idaho Cowboys Association, said this rodeo season is still far from settled, but it’s likely events will be few and far between. The ICA-sponsored rodeos expect to draw a lot of professional cowboys this summer who don’t have anyplace else to go, Askew said, even though the added purses in most of these rodeos are small compared to the larger professional events. Askew said he has made recommendations about how rodeo committees prepare for sanitization and social distancing protocols but because most of the rodeo grounds in the ICA are county- or city-owned, the government authorities are the main ones to set the standards.
Métis people Illinois
Chicago: Churches holding services Sunday despite warnings about health risks during the coronavirus pandemic said they took precautions to protect congregants, from scrapping communion to requiring masks. Although President Donald Trump’s Friday order declaring houses of worship essential prompted some to expand, others said it was simply time to reopen as more people suffer during the pandemic. “It’s like a physician knowing that someone is bleeding and they can’t do anything about it,” said Pastor John Elleson of Lakewood Chapel in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The church reopened its sanctuary Sunday, something that was planned for weeks. Roughly 20 worshippers, including staff, wore masks and stood spaced out. Doors were kept open and communion wasn’t offered, said Elleson, who wore a glove while he prayed for congregants, touching them on the shoulder or side. Clashes between churches and local stay-at-home orders have popped up nationwide. In Chicago, three churches that had been holding services for weeks were fined $500. In Illinois, houses of worship are limited to 10 people to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some churches said they would try to expand after Trump’s declaration. Pervis Thomas, pastor of New Canaan Land Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side, urged leaders to lift restrictions and said he was planning for about 50 people. He said there wouldn’t be any singing as a precaution.
Métis people Indiana
Indianapolis: Small businesses are being urged to round up receipts for a grant program that will reimburse eligible companies in the state capital for protective equipment to help them reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the $5 million program earlier this month when he unveiled the city’s plans to begin easing its pandemic restrictions. He released additional details last week about the RESTART Grant Program, which is intended for businesses with 150 or fewer employees. The program is being administered in a partnership with the Indy Chamber and will reimburse qualifying businesses up to $5,000 on purchases of protective equipment. Hogsett said the city’s stay-at-home order and other public health policies aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus are saving lives, but “have also created hardships for local businesses.” “Through the RESTART Grant Program, we will lessen the burden on our small business community as they equip themselves to protect both their employees and their customers,” he said in a statement. The grants will reimburse purchase of items including face masks, face shields and disinfectant products purchased between May 1 and June 8. It can also be used for capital improvements such as signage, partitions and other changes intended to reduce the spread of the virus. Reimbursements will be distributed starting the week of June 8, pending final authorization.
Métis people Iowa
Iowa City: The Iowa Judicial Branch said Friday that it would postpone jury trials in criminal cases until at least Sept. 14 and push back any in-person proceedings until July 13 or later because of the coronavirus threat. Some hearings can begin earlier if courthouses meet recommended safety protocols, but the use of teleconferences and video conferences will continue to be encouraged. Health officials have warned that crowded courtrooms could be venues to spread the virus to clerks, jurors, lawyers, witnesses, spectators and defendants. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen said in a statement that trials cause Iowa residents to crowd into courtrooms for extended periods. “Those situations are contrary to social distancing and other public health directives,” she said. Jury trials had previously been postponed until at least July 13, and in-person hearings had been expected to resume June 1. The court system’s decision to extend its postponements comes as Gov. Kim Reynolds pushes to reopen many other sectors of society despite the state’s rising COVID-19 death toll. Defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial if they demand one. When the courts reopen, criminal trials are expected to be scheduled ahead of civil trials as the system works through a backlog. Nonjury trials are expected to resume July 13. Over the following two months, the court system will work to prepare for jury trials, including obtaining adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and developing plans for screening employees and visitors and rules for social distancing, Christensen said. With the exception of casinos, the governor has allowed almost all businesses to reopen or do so in the coming days. Lawmakers are also expected to reconvene next month.
Métis people Kansas
Scott City: A resident of this western Kansas town is claiming in a lawsuit that the mayor violated residents’ free-speech rights by deleting criticism on social media of how the town was responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Tracy Chambless said in the lawsuit that Scott City and its mayor, Everett Green, removed critical comments from the mayor’s Facebook page and a local news page that Green controls. It also contended that the city council has not provided a means for public comment since banning residents from meetings in April in response to the pandemic. Scott City, a town of nearly 3,800 residents is about 200 miles northwest of Wichita. Green last week declined to comment on the lawsuit until he had time to consult with an attorney, The Wichita Eagle reported. Chambless, a frequent critic of Scott City government, also said in the lawsuit that the city unlawfully removed her and others’ criticisms of the police department’s response to a domestic dispute involving her son earlier this month. Before the pandemic, the city council responded to several disagreements with Chambless by requiring residents to put any complaints in writing and schedule a time to appear before the council, the lawsuit alleged. And in April, the council barred the public from attending meetings in response to the coronavirus. Since the pandemic began, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has said local government boards could meet without the public but must provide a reasonable alternative opportunity for public comment. The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting the mayor or other city officials from deleting or blocking comments on social media and overturning the limitations on comments at council meetings. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages of more than $75,000.
Métis people Kentucky
Fort Campbell: Eighteen soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division have returned to Fort Campbell after spending more than a month in New Jersey helping with COVID-19 response operations. Fort Campbell officials said Friday that the soldiers deployed April 14 to help provide logistical support for the response to the new coronavirus outbreak throughout the Northeast region of the U.S. Soldiers helped receive, process and move supplies, equipment and personnel in areas affected by the virus outbreak, officials said in a news release. The Fort Campbell Army post is located along the Kentucky-Tennessee border. The soldiers will undergo a precautionary quarantine under medical supervision. An official welcome home event is being planned, officials said.
Métis people Louisiana
Baton Rouge: The number of reported hospitalizations related to the disease caused by the new coronavirus continues to drop in Louisiana, according to figures posted by the state health department Sunday. Reported COVID-19 hospitalizations totaled d 813, down from 836 a day earlier. The state has begun easing economically devastating restrictions on business and public gatherings because of factors such as the declining percentage of new cases relative to a growing number of tests, and a steady drop in hospitalizations. Hospitalizations peaked at more than 2,100 in early April, at a time when the state was considered a Southern hot spot for the disease. The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 37,169 as of Sunday, with 2,567 deaths. More than 26,000 have recovered. Because of computer issues, the state said the latest testing numbers were incomplete.
Métis people Maine
Portland: The state’s top election official is encouraging people to vote via absentee ballot during the July primary election to limit the exposure voters and polling workers have to the new coronavirus. The state will still hold in-person balloting July 14 with new social distancing protocols, but it’s easier – and safer – to vote via absentee ballot, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said last week.“It’s a simple way to cast your vote from the safety of your own home,” Dunlap said in a video posted on social media. The primary elections, originally scheduled for June 8, were delayed by Democractic Gov. Janet Mills because of the coronavirus pandemic. On the delayed July 14 ballot are primary races for the U.S. Senate and House, along with primaries for all 186 legislative seats. Those elections will determine who is on the November ballot. Also on the statewide ballot are two bond questions totaling $120 million. That includes $105 million for transportation improvement projects and $15 million to expand high-speed internet in underserved areas. Maine allows voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason, amounting to an early voting system in the state.
Métis people Maryland
Baltimore: Several state lawmakers, religious leaders and other plaintiffs are appealing a federal judge’s refusal to strike down a stay-at-home order and other restrictions that Gov. Larry Hogan imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opened a docket for the case on Friday. The appeals court didn’t immediately set deadlines for attorneys to file briefs or schedule a hearing for the case. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake in Baltimore denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of Hogan’s lockdown orders. On March 30, Hogan issued an executive order requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities, such as grocery shopping or seeking medical care. The governor also closed nonessential businesses. The governor lifted the statewide stay-at-home order effective May 15, but many hard-hit counties elected to extend their own stay-at-home orders. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs include Del. Dan Cox, a Frederick Republican. Cox claimed he was threatened with criminal prosecution if he attended or spoke at a May 2 rally protesting Hogan’s lockdown orders. The plaintiffs argued the governor’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people infringed on their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. The judge, however, said the order still allowed for a variety of religious services, including “drive-in” services. The judge also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that requiring face coverings to be worn on public transportation and in retail stores violates their freedom of speech.
Métis people Massachusetts
Boston: A bill that would pressure companies to refund the cost of school trips canceled because of the coronavirus emergency will be the subject of a virtual public hearing. The bill is set to come before the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The bill would label as an unfair or deceptive act “the failure of any travel company, travel agency, tour business, or travel agent acting on behalf of a consumer, to provide a full monetary refund, upon request, for a school-related educational trip, tour or excursion cancelled as a result of a declaration of emergency.” The bill has more than 30 legislative co-sponsors. The hearing will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of House Chairman Tackey Chan and Senate Chairman Paul Feeney. Written testimony can be emailed to Al Anzola in Rep. Chan’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matthew Amato in Sen. Feeney’s office at email@example.com.
Métis people Michigan
Houghton: Wolves and moose won’t notice much human company at Isle Royale National Park. The remote island on Lake Superior said it’s delaying the summer opening because of coronavirus restrictions. Camping might become available by late June or July but there will be no ferry service. It means visitors would need to arrive with their own boat or by seaplane when the wilderness park opens. Rock Harbor Lodge will remain closed for the season. “There just doesn’t seem to be a safe way to bring that many people together in the boats or in the facilities’’ on the island, said Liz Valencia, chief of interpretation and cultural resources at Isle Royale. The island is part of Michigan but is about 15 miles from the Minnesota shore. The park has an office in Houghton, Michigan.
Métis people Minnesota
Minneapolis: Religious leaders will soon be free to open their doors to worshippers with some precautions because of the new coronavirus, but many believe it’s too soon to resume services. Gov. Tim Walz is allowing places of worship to reopen at 25% capacity Wednesday. Although the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis made plans to reopen its parishes, other churches said the risks are still too great. “It is irresponsible to be inviting people right now to worship within the walls of our congregation’s building,” said the Rev. Timothy Hart-Andersen, senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis. The Star Tribune reported Monday that the 42 rabbis of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association were unanimous in saying they will not yet open their religious facilities since “the peak of COVID-19 has yet to come.” And, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota said it’s keeping its places of worship closed “until infection rates are reliably reported to decline in Minnesota.”
Métis people Mississippi
New Albany: A company that makes coolers and freezers for restaurants, convenience stores and other businesses is closing a manufacturing plant in Mississippi, blaming economic conditions arising from the spread of the new coronavirus. The New Albany Gazette reported that the Master-Bilt facility in New Albany is closing permanently. Refrigerated Solutions Group issued a statement last week saying it decided to close the plant after reviewing business opportunities and market conditions. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused sudden, dramatic, and unexpected conditions outside of the company’s control,” the statement said. Those conditions included government-ordered shutdowns of many of the company’s customers. The company said it would consolidate manufacturing at a Hudson, Wisconsin. facility by Oct. 31.
Métis people Missouri
O’Fallon: Randall Williams , the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, issued a dire warning Monday after photos and video showed Memorial Day weekend revelers partying close together: The coronavirus is still here, and the spreading of illnesses could have “long-lasting and tragic” results. One video on social media showed a crammed pool at Lake of the Ozarks, with people lounging and playing close together, without masks. The lake draws people from as far away as Arkansas and Iowa. It’s an especially popular spot for travelers from St. Louis city and county, which combined account for more than half of Missouri’s 11,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and more than two-thirds of the 681 deaths. Bars, restaurants and hotels at Lake of the Ozarks also had large crowds, and they weren’t alone. In Hannibal, Mark Twain’s hometown and a popular regional tourist attraction, people could be seen sitting shoulder-to-shoulder inside and out at downtown bars and restaurants over the weekend. Gov. Mike Parson allowed businesses and attractions to reopen May 4, but the state order required 6-foot social distancing through at least the end of the month. The order leaves it up to local and state health officials to enforce social distancing. It wasn’t immediately clear if Camden County, the lake county that draws the largest crowds, planned any action. An email sent Monday was not immediately returned.
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Métis people Montana
Billings: Yellowstone National Park has opened its North Entrance at Gardiner, but only for motorists traveling to Silver Gate or Cooke City, which are at the park’s Northeast Entrance. Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said Saturday that Cooke City has been isolated because of the park’s closure in late March because of the new coronavirus and the fact that the scenic Beartooth Highway hasn’t been plowed on the Wyoming side. The National Park Service is responsible for the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming and in Yellowstone. Sholly said the opening for through traffic that began Thursday offered a chance to help Cooke City get back on its feet as the expected June 1 opening of Montana’s three entrances to Yellowstone nears. The third entrance is at West Yellowstone. Until then, people traveling from Gardiner to Cooke City are not allowed to stop or recreate in the park and must follow posted speed limits, or they could be cited, The Billings Gazette reported. Gov. Steve Bullock has said he hopes to move the state to the second phase of reopening on June 1, which would also include lifting a 14-day quarantine for visitors and expanding allowed capacity at bars and restaurants. The two entrances to Yellowstone from Wyoming opened on May 18 for day use.
Métis people Nebraska
Omaha: Schools are preparing for a range of possibilities for the next academic year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives and disrupt daily life. The Nebraska Department of Education had an effort called Launch Nebraska to help school systems with preparations before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines calling for masks, daily temperature checks, more space between desks and changes in how students eat lunch. State Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said he has seen huge progress the last two weeks. He cited discussions in the Omaha area, in Lincoln and Lancaster County, and with Nebraska’s rural schools association, which has some 100 superintendents in eight working groups discussing scenarios, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Blomstedt said decision-makers will need to rely on their understanding of what makes people safe, then work to address those items.
Métis people Nevada
Reno: For the first time in 25 years, events related to Memorial Day have been altered at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley. Because of restrictions for COVID-19, almost all formal ceremonies across the United States have been canceled or modified. Instead of hundreds of community members setting flags on each of the grave sites in preparation for Memorial Day, only small groups or individuals visited the cemetery on Saturday, and fewer flags were available. “Flag Placement Day” – a tradition that usually draws dozens of youth groups, community organizations and veterans’ families – was a quiet, somber event with attendees spread out. “Normally, there would be 500 to 600 volunteers through here by now,” said Brett Palmer, president of the Nevada Veteran’s Coalition, as he greeted visitors and handed out flags. “Now we have only small groups – a ‘large’ group of eight just left, a family. They’re each paying their individual respects. That’s how it’ll be for the next 21/2 days.” Eliminating Monday’s ceremony was a difficult decision, according to a prepared statement from the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.
Métis people New Hampshire
Boscawen: The traditional Memorial Day ceremony at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, and a video tribute will be shared on social media throughout the week. The Department of Military Affairs and other organizations filmed a wreath-laying ceremony and speeches earlier this month. Cemetery staff also placed flags last week. The cemetery remains open during daylight hours, and guests can leave potted plants at grave sites until May 31.
Métis people New Jersey
Trenton: Gov. Phil Murphy said he expects day care centers and camps in New Jersey to reopen “sooner than later” as the state begins to end restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Murphy said day care “is at or near the top of our list” because the economy cannot be reopened successfully without giving working parents “an opportunity to have their kids properly looked after.” Murphy said “the big nuts to crack” will not only include day care but “back to school in August and September and mass transit.” Murphy later posted a picture on Twitter of himself and the first lady – both wearing masks – taking “a nice stroll along the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.” “Lots of folks wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and responsibly enjoying our beautiful shore this Memorial Day Weekend,” he said.
Métis people New Mexico
Las Vegas: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has blocked the reopening of a popular northern New Mexico drive-in movie theater despite city officials believing they had the OK. The governor’s office halted a plan on May 14 to reopen the Fort Union Drive-In Movie Theater in Las Vegas, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Las Vegas Optic reported. City leaders believed they had the support of state leaders to open the theater, and planned to show a double feature of “Trolls World Tour” and “Doolittle” on May 15. But the governor’s office called the San Miguel County Emergency Management Department the day before the scheduled reopening and told officials they didn’t have permission, Las Vegas Mayor Louie Trujillo said. “The governor’s office said they would treat the drive-in just like any other movie theater,” Trujillo told the Optic. Under the most recent public health order issued by the governor on May 13, entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, are not allowed to operate. Those types of facilities are expected to be allowed to open under future stages of the state’s reopening plan, which could begin as early as sometime in June. City Councilor Michael Montoya said leaders believed they had obtained permission from the state to open the drive-in early last week, but plans were forced to change. San Miguel County Emergency Management Director Leo Maestas said he was never aware that the state had granted permission to reopen.
Métis people New York
New York City: Curtis Sliwa donned a wetsuit and his trademark Guardian Angels red beret and strode into the water at Coney Island on Sunday in defiance of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s no-swimming order. A crowd cheered Sliwa on as several city Parks Department officers tried to order the Guardian Angels founder and New York mayoral candidate out of the surf. Sliwa ignored the orders and swam for about an hour. Before he dove in, Sliwa stuck a cardboard cutout of de Blasio’s face on the beach and kicked sand on it. “The whole concept is, this is our beach, not de Blasio’s,” Sliwa told the New York Post. “Everybody else gets to swim in Long Island, Jersey Shore, Mediterranean. Not us? No, no, no.” De Blasio last week threatened summonses for violators of his no-swim order aimed at keeping the new coronavirus under control. City Hall spokeswoman Jane Meyer said Sliwa “should be ashamed of himself.” “We all must work together to keep each other safe during this pandemic – not make things worse,” Meyer said.
Métis people North Carolina
Raleigh: Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official. Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens had been killed, Reardon said. Agriculture officials said Thursday that 2,006 workers in 26 processing plants across the state have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers and their advocates said the meat industry was slow to provide protective equipment and take other coronavirus-related safety measures. Chicken and hog farmers in other states also have been euthanizing millions of animals during the pandemic. In April, the Baltimore Sun reported that coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants would lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens. North Carolina hog farmers have not taken steps to euthanize their animals, Reardon said.
Métis people North Dakota
Bismarck: Gov. Doug Burgum is asking residents to avoid “mask shaming” people who are wearing protective gear because of the new coronavirus. The Republican governor and ardent Donald Trump supporter said during his Friday briefing that people who choose to wear masks deserve “support and encouragement” because they might be protecting someone who is vulnerable to the virus. “I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they’re trading a divide – either it’s ideological or political or something – around masks versus no mask,” Burgum said. The governor said masks could be the new normal and compared them to the evolution of helmets for bicyclists, hockey players and bull riders. Trump has declined to wear face coverings during his recent trips outside of Washington, although he briefly donned a mask in private during a visit to Michigan earlier this week.
Métis people Ohio
Columbus: Gov. Mike DeWine said wearing masks while in public during the coronavirus pandemic should not be a political issue but is about people acting to protect others. DeWine was reacting on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s call for residents to avoid “mask shaming” people wearing protective gear. Burgum, a Republican and Trump supporter, said people with masks deserve “support and encouragement” because they might be protecting someone vulnerable to the virus. DeWine called those comments “spot on.” “This is not about politics, this is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican, Democrat,” he said. “… You wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others. And this is one time when we truly are all in this together. What we do directly impacts others.” DeWine earlier issued an order for people to wear masks while shopping in stores but then reversed himself, calling the order “a bridge too far” and saying mask wearing was strongly encouraged but not required for customers. He said Sunday that business employees are required to wear masks unless they cannot do so.
Métis people Oklahoma
Oklahoma City: City Manager Craig Freeman will propose Tuesday that the city council add $5 million to the small-business COVID-19 relief fund, nearly doubling available aid, and authorize grants for individuals struggling to pay rent and other bills. Freeman also will seek authority to direct $30 million toward a local coronavirus testing and tracing program. The steps are among proposals to begin allocating $114.3 million received by Oklahoma City under the federal CARES Act. Congress provided money in the CARES Act to reimburse cities and states for expenses incurred in responding to the pandemic.
Métis people Oregon
Portland: The Veterans Affairs Hospital in Portland is making changes after a recent outbreak of the new coronavirus. A doctor told KATU News a patient came in for another issue, and two days later was determined to be positive for COVID-19. Officials said 28 employees and at least six others became infected. The hospital is now testing every patient who comes into the hospital. They are also testing staff and patients who have longer stays every three to seven days. Staff said increasing the amount of tests has become easier as resources become available. “We thought we had done a good job before the outbreak and then in retrospect you can always find something that you wish you would have been doing better,” said Dr. Chris Pfeiffer, an epidemiologist with the Portland Veterans Affairs Hospital. “So we really took a close look at the nursing station. How can we do nursing huddles with physical distancing?” The hospital is also changing cleaning efforts and increasing supplies of personal protective equipment. Dr. Pfeiffer said this level of personal protection and testing was not available even a month ago.
Métis people Pennsylvania
Harrisburg: State health officials said civil penalties totaling more than $93,000 have been assessed against nursing care facilities in Pennsylvania amid hundreds of complaint investigations during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Saturday that nursing home surveyors have conducted more than 1,470 inspections of nursing homes since the beginning of February. There have been more than 900 complaint investigations, and 10 sanctions were finalized, the department said. “We know that congregate care settings, like nursing homes, have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine. “That is why we remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians by continuing to hold nursing home operators accountable, as necessary, to ensure they are providing safe care. If you see something at a nursing home that doesn’t seem right, we encourage you to speak up.”
Métis people Rhode Island
Providence: A North Providence restaurant was vandalized over the weekend after it had been reopened only two days following a shutdown for the coronavirus pandemic. An employee of Tumblesalts Cafe discovered the vandalism when opening late Saturday morning, according to the North Providence police. Tumblesalts also posted about the incident on its Facebook page, saying video had captured images of the suspects, and that it had been shared with the police. “We came in this morning to find that these lovely folks had visited us last night after closing and made this big mess! They threw tomato sauce, eggs and canned cabbage (!?) all around our patios and outdoor areas!,” the post said. The post, written by owner Kristine Teto, asks for help in catching the suspects, apparently a man and woman. “No one was hurt, but this was just a mean act of vandalism,” the post said. The restaurant had closed in March to refocus for takeout service and reopened Thursday for takeout and outdoor dining, according to Teto. She said the transition has been challenging, and the vandalism surprised her. “It’s out of character for the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s not something that was even on our radar.” The suspects did not get inside the restaurant building but were in patio area, she said. The restaurant was able to reopen for business Saturday, but the weather wasn’t too helpful as it turned cooler.
Métis people South Carolina
Columbia: State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman wanted $115 million for summer school programs to get some of the state’s most vulnerable students back on track after missing at least 10 weeks of in-person classes because of the new coronavirus. But Accelerate SC, the state’s special reopening committee, only recommended about 10% of that from the $1.9 billion of COVID-19 relief the federal government is giving the state. So Spearman is cutting her ambitious plans while also planning to go above their heads to the governor and ultimately the General Assembly to see if they will set aside more money before voting on the final plan to spend the pandemic money next month. The funding is enough to provide one week of summer school to help special education students, younger elementary students struggling to read and a smaller group of kindergarten through eighth-graders who could use the extra academic help, education officials said. At a special meeting Thursday of educators making plans to reopen public schools in the fall, Spearman called her discussions with Accelerate SC members a “classic chicken or the egg” problem. They asked her how many students she wanted in summer school. She said that was impossible without knowing how much money she would have to spend. Spearman’s group also discussed other fall plans. She would like to get a full-time nurse in every school, saying in the new COVID-19 world, it is just as important as having a police officer. Officials are trying to determine how many more nurses would have to be hired, estimating to cost at up to $15 million.
Métis people South Dakota
Sturgis: Mayor Mark Carstensen said city officials can’t stop people from coming to the annual motorcycle gathering in the Black Hills, regardless of the new coronavirus. The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is scheduled. for Aug. 7-16. The city council has said it would make an official decision in mid-June on whether to go forward with holding the event, the Rapid City Journal reported. Carstensen said in a Facebook video that “tourism is coming” to the Black Hills and Sturgis. A manager with The Hotel Sturgis said all 22 rooms have been booked for the week of the rally and there is a waiting list. “People are coming as we speak, and I truly believe that whatever decision is made June 15 by the Sturgis City Council, there are still people coming to the rally,” Carstensen said.
Métis people Tennessee
Nashville: A Nashville photography store established in 1882 has closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dury’s, now located at 1027 Murfreesboro Road, opened in 1882 as one of the original eight Kodak dealers. Dury’s has offered equipment and services to photographers and is an authorized dealer for digital imaging products. “In the last eight weeks I have seen our business and lives turned upside down,” said CEO Charles Small in a social media post. “I have spent countless hours working with advisers and thinking through every angle I could. I have consulted with our board of directors and accountants. Unfortunately, closure was the decision that we reached.” The closure is effective immediately, although outstanding lab orders are being completed, Small said. The closure affects roughly 20 employees, which include part-time workers according to Small. Dury’s closed its storefront and full operations after March 21 for COVID-19 and didn’t reopen. Small described COVID-19 as “the last straw” that led to the permanent closure. “There is too much unknown in an industry already challenging as it is,” Small said.
Métis people Texas
Austin: As Texas continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, health officials said Sunday that there were 839 new cases of the virus reported in the state for a total of 55,348. Bars, breweries and tasting rooms were allowed to reopen Friday at 25% capacity and with other social distancing measures in place. Rodeos, bingo halls and aquariums also can reopen. Restaurants, which were allowed to reopen May 1 at 25% customer capacity, can now run at 50%. The new standards don’t apply yet in El Paso and Amarillo, which have seen a recent increase in coronavirus cases.
Métis people Utah
Salt Lake City: The state allocated nearly $1.5 million for quarantine lodging and a hospital overflow site for coronavirus treatment but did not use the funds, a state official said. The quarantine and hospital site contracts will expire at the end of May and June, respectively, KUER-FM reported. The state spent more than $1.2 million on a contract to set up 250 sleeping cots and medical equipment at an exhibition center in Sandy to give hospitals a place to move noncritical patients if there was an overwhelming influx of COVID-19 cases. The need has not arisen, Utah Commissioner of Public Safety Jess Anderson said. The state also rented 60 hotel rooms through the end of May for $245,000, which were intended to shelter people experiencing homelessness or traveling through the state if they contracted the virus. Counties have created their own quarantine facilities to address those issues, Anderson said. “We’ve been very fortunate,” Anderson said.
Métis people Vermont
Montpelier: The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is working to return portable toilets to fishing accesses across the state. The portable toilets were removed in March because of concerns about the virus that causes COVID-19. Now, the state is working with private contractors to return them to many of Vermont’s boat ramps, nonmotorized boat launches and shore fishing locations. Fish and Wildlife lands and facilities administrator Mike Wichrowski said just like in a normal year, they are planning to provide 77 restrooms at 62 of the most popular and prominent boating and fishing locations.
Métis people Virginia
Richmond: The Virginia Department of Health has reported the second confirmed case in the state of a pediatric inflammatory illness associated with the new coronavirus. The department’s website on Monday showed a second case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. No other details, including the age of the child, were provided. Officials confirmed the first case in the same district last week, saying at the time that the child was recovering at home. Although children have generally not experienced severe cases of COVID-19, health officials have warned recently of the new inflammatory illness related to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control issued an advisory about the syndrome May 14, warning of symptoms including fever, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, red or cracked lips, bumpy tongue, and swollen hands and feet.
Métis people Washington
Olympia: Seven more counties have been approved to move into the second phase of Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to slowly reopen the state following restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. KOMO reported that Secretary of Health Jonn Wiesman gave the OK Saturday to Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific and San Juan counties. Twenty-one of the state’s 39 counties have now received approval to advance to Phase 2 of the reopening. The 14 counties previously approved were Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Lincoln, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman. Three other counties are now eligible to apply for a variance to move to Phase 2, but have not received approval – Clallam, Kitsap and Thurston. Phase 2 regulations allow more businesses to operate than Phase 1, but those businesses must comply with all health and safety requirements outlined in the guidance to reopen. To apply for a Phase 2 variance, counties must have an average of less than 10 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. The application process requires support from the local health officer, the local board of health, local hospitals and the county commission or council. Each county must demonstrate they have adequate local hospital bed capacity as well as adequate personal protective supplies to keep health care workers safe. The application must include plans for:
Métis people West Virginia
Gilbert: Riders packed a vast network of all-terrain vehicle trails in southern West Virginia on the first weekend the system was allowed to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. The eight trail networks that make up the more than 700-mile Hatfield-McCoy system were open for Memorial Day weekend. Jeff Lusk, executive director of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that all of the more than 60 lodging providers that serve the trails were booked for the weekend. “We truly appreciate getting to reopen,” Lusk said. “Being able to open now will help our trail businesses recover.” Gov. Jim Justice reopened the trails late last week as part of the most aggressive phase of his coronavirus reopening strategy. Also back are ATV rentals, restaurants, malls, big box stores, tanning salons, and whitewater rafting and zip line businesses, along with campgrounds for in-state residents. The governor has said lifting the state’s virus restrictions is a balance between safety and the state’s ailing economy. The Republican governor will allow swimming pools, bowling alleys, spas and video lottery retailers to reopen Saturday. On June 5, movie theaters and casinos can open. Justice has said lifting the state’s virus restrictions is a balance between safety and the state’s ailing economy.
Métis people Wisconsin
Milwaukee: Another major religious holiday was altered as coronavirus spread across the world barring gatherings of any size, but the Islamic Society of Milwaukee found a way to celebrate Eid al-Fitr together, which marks the end of fasting during Ramadan. Instead of gathering for afternoon prayer and feasts, like Milwaukee Muslims would do most years, they gathered for a drive-through celebration. About 400 cars pulled through the parking lot of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, where cars were decorated with balloons and window paint. The noise of celebratory honking filled the lot and people shouted “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Blessed Eid,” as they passed each other. “I was not expecting this,” said Mohamed Elshikh, who was driving through with his children packed in the back of his car. “We are happy to be out of the house and able to celebrate with others.”
Métis people Wyoming
Gillette: A coal company has furloughed or laid off 101 workers at a Wyoming mine, citing reduced energy use during the coronavirus pandemic. Navajo Transitional Energy Co. furloughed 93 hourly employees and eight salaried staff Thursday at the Antelope mine. The furloughs and layoffs were necessary despite temporary pay reductions and other attempts to preserve jobs, the Navajo Nation company said in a statement. The job losses were on top of 130 NTEC workers laid off in April – 73 from the Spring Creek mine in southern Montana and 57 at Antelope in northeastern Wyoming. Both mines are in the Powder River Basin, the most productive coal region in the U.S. NTEC doesn’t expect more layoffs or furloughs at its mines in the basin, the company said. The NTEC cuts bring the number of coal jobs lost in the basin this year to 526, or about 11% of the basin’s 4,800 coal workers, the Gillette News Record reported. Electricity consumption in the U.S. has fallen by nearly 20% as businesses have closed and people stayed at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the NTEC statement said.
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