California schools unlikely to reopen this academic year amid coronavirus, state schools chief says

“California public school campuses are unlikely to reopen for the remainder of the academic school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, state Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said Tuesday in a letter to school district officials,” as the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

“’Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,’ Thurmond wrote. ‘This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.’

“Earlier, Thurmond had resisted suggestions that there was no hope for returning to campus. His letter Tuesday represented a shift of direction.

“His statement also echoed remarks from Gov. Gavin Newsom at a midday Tuesday news conference:

“‘We have more work to do: internet connection, rural issues, and still trying to address the anxiety of parents like me and my wife and millions of others about whether or not kids are going to go back to school this calendar year or not,” Newsom said. “I have been clear in my belief they will not, but let me announce formally what the superintendent of public education believes and what the superintendents believe and expect that announcement in the next day or two.’”

The rest of the article is here.


Florida Power & Light to lower customers’ bills amid pandemic — cites lower fuel costs

“Florida Power & Light Company has announced they will lower bills for customers as residents continue to face struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to WSVN television in Miami.

“The decision was announced on Monday morning.

“If approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, starting on May 1, FPL plans to issue a “one-time decrease of nearly 25% for the typical residential customer bill.”

“The company said the decision comes as a result of lower fuel costs.

“Business owners will also see a decrease in their bills, dependent by rate class.”

The rest of the article is here.

How the coronavirus is hurting the arts in California

The California Arts Council has released the results of its preliminary survey of California’s creative sector on the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the state’s arts and cultural economy.

Data from the summarized survey responses include the following:

—Organizations estimated an average revenue loss of $193,642 each

—Individuals estimated an average personal income loss of $23,857 each

—66 percent of organizations have had to cancel events that cannot be rescheduled

—85 percent of individual artists and cultural workers have had work have had work cancelled such as gigs/appearances/shows

Coronavirus expert Dr. Fauci is now a target of the far right

Dr. Anthony Fauci — the Trump administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak — has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the President, The New York Times is reporting.

“That fanciful claim has spread across social media, fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump’s supporters, even as Dr. Fauci has won a public following for his willingness to contradict the president and correct falsehoods and overly rosy pronouncements about containing the virus.

“An analysis by The New York Times found over 70 accounts on Twitter that have promoted the hashtag #FauciFraud, with some tweeting as frequently as 795 times a day. The anti-Fauci sentiment is being reinforced by posts from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group; Bill Mitchell, host of the far-right online talk show “YourVoice America”; and other outspoken Trump supporters such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who has falsely claimed to be the inventor of email.

“The torrent of falsehoods aimed at discrediting Dr. Fauci is another example of the hyperpartisan information flow that has driven a wedge into the way Americans think. For the past few years, far-right supporters of President Trump have regularly vilified those whom they see as opposing him. Even so, the campaign against Dr. Fauci stands out because he is one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts and a member of Mr. Trump’s virus task force, and it is unfolding as the government battles a pathogen that is rapidly spreading in the United States.”

The full article is here.

#TheGreatAmericanTakeout

The orders “to go” from our local restaurants — from casual to fine dining — are delicious. I’ve been rotating them from the likes of Lefty’s GrillJernigan’s Tap House and GrillTofanelli’s and others.

For tonight I ordered a three-course meal from Twelve 28 Kitchen: “Bucatini pasta, rich san marzano tomato sauce, pork and beef meatballs, herb ricotta, parmesan, rye gremolata, sciabica olive oil”; asparagus salad; and Meyer lemon tart. I pared it with a bottle of local wine, Avanguardia Wines Winery Premiato #EatLocal #BuyLocal #TheGreatAmericanTakeout

The Union plans to “pause” its Monday print edition in the coronavirus economy

“We’re also planning to pause Monday (print) editions of The Union through this period, beginning as soon as the April 6 edition,” the newspaper’s publisher Don Rogers writes in his weekly column titled “Papers change to survive.” “We’ll keep you posted.”

He added, “They’ll file their reports for Mondays online as if filling a print edition.”

Other excerpts from Don’s column:

— “Meantime, we’re shedding expenses everywhere, much like throwing everything off an air balloon to keep it in the air that much longer. This is the world we find ourselves in, much like you, hunkered down or perhaps fortunate enough to have an outside job.”

— “For us, that means smaller papers, fewer copies (while offering more online impressions to advertisers) to match fewer people at the lake right now, fewer hours and less pay for us workers, open positions unfilled.”

— “Suddenly, our revenue has fallen by half at the same time we and other local news media in similar straits are counted on to cover an unprecedented crisis.”

Don’s complete column is here.

A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment as coronavirus slams economy

“A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” as The Washington Post and others are reporting.

“Laid off workers say there was such a crush of people applying for jobless benefits at once that they waited hours on the phone and the websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed.

“Many economists say the coronavirus recession has already commenced and what happened last week is only the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

“Bank of America predicted 3 million people would apply for unemployment benefits last week, easily surpassing the prior record of 695,000 new jobless claims that was set in 1982 as the nation battled high inflation. But even Wall Street’s expectations were too low for how much the coronavirus is slamming the economy.

“This is ‘widespread carnage,’ said Jacob Robbins, an assistant economics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, ‘And it’s going to get worse.’”

The rest of the article is here.