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* Congressional News Briefs ... Alaska's Congressional delegation has written Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toward addressing the hardships Alaskans face—access to food, transportation and health care—because of Canada's cross-border, coronavirus restrictions. Since many of the elderly and those with medical conditions otherwise travel south through Canada to the Lower 48 States to be nearer well-equipped, comprehensive medical facilities and to avail themselves of a warmer climate more conducive to health, the state's Congressional delegation asserted that such travel should not be treated as non-essential and the federal lawmakers suggested that requiring evidence of a negative coronavirus test before passing through Canada would be a reasonable means of protecting Canadians and Alaskans alike. Besides, they advocated establishment of a "travel bubble" for the residents of Alaska's Hyder community and the nearby Canadian community of Stewart, British Columbia, which contains the grocery store and the schools the residents of Hyder typically use, as well as the homes of some Hyder family members. Alaska's federal lawmakers have also credited both the Bureau of Land Management for completing a comprehensive review of a multi-billion-dollar development proposal in the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska—one to the west of the Greater Mooses Tooth-1 and Tooth-2 development projects—and ConocoPhillips for meeting community concerns about the Willow Master Development Plan and for making key investments in Alaska, its labor force, and its economy. The state's Congressional delegation, acknowledging the BLM's approval of the project, observes that the project will help Alaska's economy rebound from the coronavirus pandemic by enabling hundreds of its citizens to return to work, by raising state-government revenues, and by increasing Trans-Alaska Pipeline System delivery supply by more than 160,000 barrels daily. Senator Dan Sullivan views the U. S. Forest Service's decision to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule as opportunity for Southeast Alaska to "harvest timber, advance vital renewable energy and mineral products, build basic infrastructure and connect communities stifled for too long as a result of the 2001 Roadless Rule," while Representative Don Young has expressed relief, in effect, that the 32 islanded communities within Forest boundaries will be free from "an unconscionable economic and social burden" on their livelihoods and communities. On her part, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, characterizes the decision as fully consistent with "ensuring continued good stewardship of our land and waters." Indeed, the Forest Service has gravitated toward its decision as a means of "offering additional flexibility to achieve other multiple-use benefits." After all, not all of the Tongass National Forest's 16.7 million acres will be exempt from Roadless Rule restrictions on development. Rather, 9.4 million acres will no longer be subject to the 2001 Roadless Rule. In addition, only 186,000 more acres would become available for timber harvesting and road construction is projected to increase from 994 miles to 1,043 miles, but only over the next 100 years. Still, the Governor and the state's Congressional delegation credits Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration as a whole with removing the regional brake on timber production, mining, tourism, recreation, and the development of hydro-electric power and other renewable resources.
* Governor's Office News Briefs ... Governor Mike Dunleavy, beside expressing satisfaction that the U.S. Forest Service has granted a flexible exemption from its 2001 Roadless Area Rule, has provided an update on efforts to prevent, retard, and otherwise disrupt spread of the coronavirus, in cooperation with Alaska's federal and local partners. In particular, the Governor mentions that the state Department of Health and Social Services has increased weekly allotments of test kits, deployed 50 new rapid-testing machines to cluster and congregant settings, acquired 189 extra rapid-testing machines to serve staff who serve vulnerable populations, earmarked 14,000 antigen tests for rural hospitals and clinics, given small and mid-size hospitals the benefit of its market negotiating power, and expanded testing at schools. Then, too, hospitals, clinics and communities will be re-supplied with 3.5 million pairs of glove; a new testing site will open in Nome; a new commercial testing lab will open in the state; assisted-living facilities short of staff will receive state help in recruitment; and, among other measures, the Department of Health and Social Services will
inventory available hospital beds on an ongoing basis, so patients are not placed in out-of-state facilities.
* State Legislative News Briefs ... On November 5 at 9 AM, the Joint Committee of the Task Force on Therapeutic Courts will hold a teleconference in the Large Conference Room of the Anchorage LIO (Legislative Information Office, 1500 W. Benson Blvd.). Next, on November 6 at 1 PM, a teleconference of the Joint Committee of the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee is scheduled for the same location, with an Executive Session planned on Final Audit Releases relative to the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar. The agenda also includes such matters as review of Preliminary Audit Releases for both Program Eligibility and Transportation Costs of the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. On November 18 at 8 AM, the House Standing Committee on Education, meeting jointly in the same venue with its Senate counterpart, is due to conduct a discussion, following a presentation, on enrollment in the Alaska Public School System.
* Municipal Government News Briefs ... The Anchorage Assembly announces that a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is set for tomorrow at 6:30 PM. Two days later, on November 4, the Health Policy Committee, meeting jointly with the Anchorage School Board, is poised to meet at 10 AM to hear an update on the coronavirus, the municipal response, and the school district's re-opening plan. Legislative priorities and 2021 budget items are slated to be under review, as well. Later that day, the Anchorage Assembly, with Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson presiding, has planned to meet beginning at 5 PM, to take up a Consent Agenda, including adoption of a Resolution commemorating November 11 as Veterans Day and honoring the municipality's veterans; adoption of a Resolution designating November 27 as Native American and Native Alaskan Heritage Day and the month of November as Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month; adoption of a Resolution recognizing November 15 as Anchorage Recycles Day; and adoption of Resolutions waiving protest of renewal of specified marijuana licenses. Under New Business, the Assembly is prepared to take up a sole-source, $371,200 purchase order for design, certification and publication of Instrument Approach Procedures from Hughes Aerospace at Merrill Field Airport. Among the reports the Assembly is due to consider are an Internal Audit Report on the consistency between Municipal Property and Development Services Department databases and a Memorandum on the proposed 2021 Public Transportation Department Operating Budget. Further, the Assembly is set to continue Public Hearings on an Ordinance to end the exclusion of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices from the excise tax on tobacco products and on an Ordinance providing incentives for multi-family affordable and work-force housing development in Transit-Supportive Development Corridors. Also, a Second Public Hearing is planned to adopt and appropriate funds for the 2021 General Government Operating Budget. Finally, the Assembly is poised to call a Special Election for January 26, 2021 to fill the vacancy in the Office of Mayor.
* School District News Briefs ... The School Board of the Anchorage Public School District is due to hold a Zoom Webinar Work Session between 3 PM and 5 PM on November 3. Its remote, in-person Executive Session is set to follow between 5 PM and 6 PM, and the blended, in-person and remote Public Session is planned from 6 PM to 11 PM, Board President Elisa Vakialis urging the public to offer their testimony through E-mail, telephone or written correspondence. At this meeting, the Board was scheduled to accept a Continuation Grant Award for the Alaska Educational Leadership ECHO Network Project and one for the Pre-Elementary Inclusion Model Program and, among others, a grant award for the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development from Carl D. Perkins Federal Funds. Non-action items included examination of Memoranda on award of a contract for the Government Hill Elementary School Roof Replacement Project and on award of a contract for West High School Utilidor Upgrades.
* Weather ... The National Weather Service reports that current conditions at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, as of 5:53 PM, are somewhat cloudy, with a temperature of 19 degrees Fahrenheit, relative humidity of 47 percent, wind out of the north at 18 miles per hour, gusts up to 29 miles per hour, barometric pressure of 29.73 inches, a dewpoint of 2 degrees, and visibility of 10 miles. The forecast for tonight calls for clear skies, low temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees--except zero to 10 degrees in East Anchorage--north wind of 15 to 30 miles per hour, and gusts up to 40 miles per hour. Monday is expected to be sunny, with daily high temperatures from 15 to 25 degrees, north wind of 15 to 30 miles per hour, and gusts again up to 40 miles per hour. Clear skies are forecast for Monday night, with low temperatures from zero to 10 degrees, and northeast wind of 10 to 25 miles per hour.
Feather Fragments Lee Snyder
Cold Feet (Condensed and Reprinted)
My newest visiting neighbor, Kay from Minnesota, walks her dog past my yard while I pick weeds from the flower garden. After introductions, Kay mentions how much she is enjoying the weather. As she looks around, I get the feeling her smile is a show of gratitude aimed at the sky. “We had nearly 80 inches of snow and minus 35 degrees when I left,” she says. “I can’t believe it’s so nice here with all the flowers and birds.” Kay’s aging dog, Sota, smiles with a wagging tail, repeating his owner’s gaze into the blue. “This time of year in Minnesota, no flowers bloom under the snow. I get my warmth from gazing at calendar pictures of May and June while my husband puts more wood in the fireplace.” Kay laughs, and Sota looks at Kay while wagging his twelve-year-old tail with more enthusiasm. I’m guessing he got the joke. “The extreme cold makes me wonder how the birds survive without freezing to death,” she says.
This is where my encounter with my newest neighbor could earn me a very negative first impression because my impulse is to answer her question. I decide a smile and nod are more in order. This is some of what I could have told her:
While many, even most, birds migrate south for the winter, some remain. The smallest birds, like chickadees, appear to be the most vulnerable to the extreme northern cold. Weighing about the same as three-and-a-half pennies, chickadees have an average body temperature of about 105° F. To maintain that temperature, food is a necessary survival ingredient. The best foods contain fats that provide the best sources of energy. Things like black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet provide essential fats. A chickadee must eat 60% of its weight each day to survive. But, even with a wealth of the right foods, freezing temperatures can tilt the scales against the bird’s survival. (*Peanut butter should not be supplied. While possessing an abundance of necessary fats, the consistency behaves like a paste in the bird’s throat and can threaten the bird’s breathing and life).
Other factors that increase the bird’s survivability include darker feathers that absorb the sun’s heat. Down feathers, the delicate, soft feathers beneath the bird’s outer coat, when fluffed, create air pockets that are warmed by the bird’s skin and help insulate the body from the cold. Tree cavities offer an escape from icy winds. Chickadees are even capable of lowering their body heat by 10-15 degrees and falling into a bear-like hibernation called torpor on frigid nights, decreasing the energy used for retaining body heat….
* Proverbs (chapter 28/verse 22): “He that hastes to be rich has an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come upon him.” hastes=hurries.
[A timely warning against get-rich-quick schemes]
A free copy of the Etna, California News Edition of Continental Newstime [dated August 14, 2020] containing the newspaper feature of outdoor writer Lee Snyder is also available by
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Tulelake, CA News Edition
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VOLUME I NUMBER 1 OCTOBER 12, 2020
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Tulelake, CA News Edition of Continental Newstime
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* Congressional News Briefs … The Paycheck Protection Program ended on August 8, with about $135 billion in Program reserves unspent, and Tulelake’s agent in the U.S. House of Representatives, Doug LaMalfa, considering the initiative a success, insofar as it reportedly preserved about 51 million jobs--12 million of which were located in rural areas--has signed a petition requiring 218 House Member signatures, to bring this matter up for consideration on the House floor. The thrust of the associated bill, House bill 8265, is to qualify businesses for a second Program loan if they can show a reduction in revenue, to relax spending requirements, and to enable businesses--Congressman LaMalfa has small Northern California businesses in mind--to claim loan forgiveness. LaMalfa expresses disappointment that, as more businesses close for good and could make use of the already-authorized aid, amid an active wildfire season, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has blocked Congress from addressing small-business needs. Also, the California Representative informs that he helped draft legislation the House passed to revise the 2018 Water Resources Development Act to offer relief to Klamath Basin farmers and ranchers that suffered water shutoffs threatening to the Basin economy. The bill permits the Bureau of Reclamation to earmark as much as $10 million annually for conservation and water-efficiency measures and authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to exercise greater flexibility in meeting the needs of water users and to protect duck populations in the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge from drought, as well. Since the U.S. Senate has already passed the bill, LaMalfa trusts that, President Donald Trump, given his commitment to aiding Basin farmers and ranchers, will sign the bill into law. Commenting on House Bill 925, a $2.4-trillion, supposed coronavirus-spending package, which he characterizes as the Speaker's "partisan wish list" because it was written without opportunity for Republican participation and contains much irrelevant to the coronavirus, Congressman LaMalfa says his vote against the proposal owed, in part, to the Democrat leader's attempt "to prop up the vulnerable members of her party headed into Election Day." The GOP Congressman's objections to the bill center on its tendency "to fund dangerous programs, like letting felons out of prison, providing stimulus checks to illegal immigrants, de-funding police, and federalizing the electoral process." In particular, he mentions removal of $600 million for COPS Hiring and state and local law-enforcement aid, opening a loophole for Planned Parenthood to receive taxpayer money under the Paycheck Protection Program, dispensing with ID requirements for in-person voting, eliminating the limitations on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductibility, and, among other demerits, stripping the Food Stamp program of its work-incentive provisions. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, together with Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, concede that, from the beginning of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative in 1996, Congress and the Defense Department expressed too much confidence in the private firms administering the program; namely, through such features as 50-year leases between the companies and the service branches. The National Defense Authorization Act in the 2020 fiscal-year addressed health, safety and environmental hazards in the private military housing, and, in keeping with the Act, the Defense Department announced an 18-point Tenant Bill of Rights during February, 2020. Still, the Senators note, four of the required rights have yet to be extended, since there is no standard lease, no tenant access to the housing unit's maintenance history, no mechanism for withholding the Basic Allowance for Housing when a dispute between company and tenant occurs, and no process for resolution of disputes. Toward greater oversight by Congress and the Defense Department, the California Senator and her colleagues have introduced the Ensuring Safe Housing for Our Military Act (Senate Bill 703) and have requested a progress report on the Tenant Bill of Rights from Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Then, too, the Senator, along with all Judiciary Committee Democrats, argue that a Senate hearing on Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett "would endanger health, safety." They add, "Now is the time to provide much-needed COVID relief, not to rush through a Supreme Court nomination and further endanger health and safety." In their letter to Chairman Lindsey Graham, they oppose a remote hearing on the nomination, too.
* State Government News Briefs … Tulelake’s representative in the California Senate, Brian Dahle, has announced his opposition to a measure passed by the California Legislature that would extend and re-direct until 2051 the utility tax ratepayers now pay. He is critical, besides, of Assembly Bill 1788, saying that the state has established many pesticide regulations, but fails to pursue those who use rodenticides and other pesticides illegally or negligently. Moreover, remarking on Governor Gavin Newsom's long-range plan to ban gasoline-powered cars from the state's roads, he points out that the state cannot even ensure dependable electricity, much less power electric cars. In an appraisal of the legislative session, the Governor has announced vetoing an additional 16 bills, including Assembly Bill 1835 because it would require the California Board of Education to undertake a lengthy rule-making process to amend the Local Control Funding Formula and delay use of unspent supplemental and concentration grant funds to benefit the most-vulnerable students for two school-years. The Governor favors a January budget solution, instead. He cited, as accomplishments, imposition of a ban on a number of toxic chemicals in cosmetic products, establishment of the state's own generic drug label (Cal Rx) as a means of lowering prescription-drug prices, creation of a task force to look into reparations for slavery, expansion of paid sick leave and family leave for front-line workers, and passage of new eviction and foreclosure-protection legislation for those confronted with a loss of housing due to the economic effects of the coronavirus.
* County Government News Briefs … The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, at its meeting of October 6, was poised to take up a Consent Agenda consisting of approval of a letter to President Donald Trump asking for federal aid to counties affected by wildfire and the coronavirus public-health emergency; authorization to apply for and accept a California Library Literacy Services grant in the amount of $56,000; approval of a 2020-2021 fiscal-year contract with the First 5 Siskiyou Children & Families Commission, in an amount not greater than $30,000, to furnish mental-health services and outreach to youth aged 0 to 5; adoption of a Resolution authorizing acceptance of a CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act 2020 Emerging Issues Project allocation award of $166,978 for adjusting community-mitigation responses to the coronavirus in the County, through March 23, 2022; and, among other items, adoption of a Resolution okaying the submission of application(s) for Per Capita Grant Funds through the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Under Departmental Requests, newly-appointed Sheriff-Coroner Jeremiah LaRue was to be sworn in, and consideration was to be given to an Urgency Ordinance amending the County Code on standards for wells, with a Public Hearing scheduled for the Second Reading of the Ordinance. With regard to appointments, County Supervisors were set to appoint one Delegate and an Alternate to serve on the California State Association of Counties Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 Association year.
* City Government News Briefs ... The City Council, at a conference-call Special Meeting on October 8, was set to take up an agenda providing for approval of the Minutes of its Special Meeting on September 15 and its Regular Meeting on that date, along with approval of bill payments, and to receive public comments. [The Regular Meeting on September 15 dealt with the matter of authorization to apply for a LEAP (Local Early Action Planning) grant in the amount of $65,000 for re-zoning, updating planning documents, ordinances, and housing elements before the January 31, 2021 deadline; consideration of a possible change of ownership to the City of the Clyde Hotel and associated grant opportunities; possible acceptance of a construction bid on the Veterans Park Expansion Project; and, among other items of business, approval of a contract for on-call Engineering Services. The Special Meeting took up the matter of Police Officer appointments in Closed Session and considered approval of a professional-services agreement with Jesse Small to perform artistic services in connection with the Veterans Park Expansion Project.] In addition, time was scheduled for delivery of reports from community and/or school representatives; for authorization to pursue funding to cover the deficiency preventing initiation of the Veterans Park Expansion Project; for discussion, toward approval, of the proposed valued engineering contract suggested by the Director of Public Works; and for permission for the City Hall Administrator to advertise for the Temporary City Staff/Library position. The subsequent Closed Session of the Council, over which Mayor Henry Ebinger was to preside, was tasked to discuss a citizen complaint against the City Hall Administrator concerning payment of a utility bill and cumulative fees, while a succeeding Closed Council Session was concerned with Performance Evaluations of all City Department Heads. Thereafter, Department Heads were allotted time to furnish updates on matters relating to their areas of responsibility, and comments from such City officials as the City Engineer, the Chief of Police, the Director of Public Works, the City Clerk, the City Treasurer, and Council Members (Gary Fensler, Richard Marcillac, Penny Velador, and Henry Ebinger) were entertained.
* Weather ... The National Weather Service reports that, as of 1:05 AM, current conditions at Klamath Falls International Airport are mostly cloudy, with a temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit, relative humidity of 70 percent, wind out of the south at 6 miles per hour, barometric pressure of 30.23 inches, a dewpoint of 39 degrees, and visibility of 10 miles. The over-night forecast for Tulelake calls for partly-cloudy skies, with a light west wind and a low temperature of about 33 degrees. Columbus Day is expected to be mostly sunny, with light and variable wind becoming westerly at 6 to 11 miles per hour in the afternoon and with a daily high temperature of about 64 degrees. Monday night is expected to be mostly clear, with a low temperature of about 33 degrees and west-northwest wind of 5 to 10 miles per hour becoming light and variable in the evening, while the forecast for Tuesday calls for mostly-sunny skies, a daily high temperature near 70 degrees, and light and variable wind becoming westerly at 5 to 10 miles per hour in the afternoon.
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Anchorage News Edition
VOLUME VII NUMBER 1 NOVEMBER 1, 2020
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