I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, as always wishing you a safe and informed weekend. But first, here are some of today’s headlines from this great state of ours.
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Deadly virus in rabbits threatens to disrupt some Western ecosystems
While hiking in the Jacumba Wilderness in Imperial County on February 28, a local conservationist reported seeing 23 dead rabbits. Knowing that the predators that killed hares usually devoured their prey, she thought there must be another explanation for the death.
She speculated that the culprit could be rabbit hemorrhagic disease.
Caused by a deadly and highly contagious virus, the disease affects both wild and domestic populations of lagomorphs, a subset of species that includes hares, rabbits and pikas. As of March of last year, government labs have confirmed cases of rabbit hemorrhagic disease in the West, with the epicenter in southwestern and southern California.
In the absence of a reasonable method of distributing a vaccine to wildlife, the disease is expected to continue to spread. And entire food chains could be affected if basic prey species like the snowshoe hare decline.
According to Hayley Lanier, assistant curator for mammals at the Sam Noble Museum in Oklahoma and co-chair of the Lagomorphs Specialist Group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the disease can lead to up to 90% mortality.
“This has huge implications not only for rabbits, but also for anything that eats rabbits,” she explained. “Rabbits are this very important segment of the food chain.”
The state is asking residents to report dead rabbits and hares they might encounter, disinfect their shoes and wash their hands if they are in the affected areas.
Weekly unemployment claims in California fell last week
New weekly jobless claims in the Golden State fell last week compared to the previous week, according to the US Department of Labor.
New claims fell to 69,895 the week ending April 10, from 145,540 the week before, the labor ministry said.
For comparison, around this time last year there were 655,472 new claims in California, as businesses closed and laid off workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the United States, jobless claims fell to 576,000 last week, down from 193,000 claims from 769,000 the week before on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is the lowest level of new jobless claims in the United States since before the pandemic.
However, Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, noted that last week’s claims are still on par with some of the worst weeks of the 2009 recession and pointed to the decrease of more than 75,000 claims in California between last week. and the previous week as a major factor in the overall decline in claims in the United States.
Los Angeles County to reopen some libraries on Monday
After more than a year of closures related to COVID, The Los Angeles Times reports that some LA County Library branches will open Monday for “limited in-person services,” such as browsing, checking books, browsing the Internet, and asking for help at the reference desk . Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Public Library – which is separate from the County Library – is expected to reopen 38 branches on May 3 with similar limitations.
Safety measures will include mandatory face masks and social distancing, signs indicating foot traffic, disposable keyboard covers at computer stations and, of course, plenty of hand sanitizer.
While the state’s reopening plan allows Orange County libraries to reopen without limits, LA County health officials are limiting library capacity to a maximum of 75%. Going further, county library officials plan to limit capacity to 50 percent, which will be monitored by electronic signs at entrances indicating the number of people inside buildings.
Lawyer: the lawsuit to rename a sci-fi school is not ‘frivolous’
The quest to rename 44 San Francisco schools continues, despite the school board’s change of mind on this matter – and the fight is far from frivolous.
Last week, the San Francisco school board voted unanimously to change its position on renaming 44 schools that bear the names of individuals suspected of being associated with slavery, oppression, to genocide and colonization.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the school board considered the lawsuit to be “nothing more than a transparent attempt to thwart a legal and duly noted action with which it does not agree,” and that it “Wishes to avoid distraction and the waste of public funds in futile litigation.” “
However, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs has asked the school board to remove any language from the resolution that qualifies the lawsuit as “frivolous.”
Lawyer Paul Scott also requested that the school board pay $ 1,000 to each of the six nonprofits that acted as petitioners in the case. Otherwise, he said, his law firm “will simply proceed in the ordinary course to collect our fees and expenses, as permitted by law.”
In January, the school board voted 6-1 to rename schools, a move supported by some parents who say they don’t want their children to wear school sweaters bearing the names of prominent racists.
Popular movement wants to merge Idaho with parts of Oregon and northern California
It seems that the conservative residents of the Northern State upset by the political climate in Sacramento think they would be better off in Idaho.
A grassroots movement called Move Oregon’s Border For a Greater Idaho would like to see the Idaho border engulf three-quarters of like-minded Oregon and eventually encompass parts of the state of northern and southeastern Washington.
The proposed southern boundary encompasses all or part of the counties of Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Del Norte, Modoc and Lassen and includes beachfront properties on the south coast of Oregon.
Supporters of the idea say rural Oregon voters are dominated by liberal urban areas such as Portland and would prefer to join conservative Idaho.
Keaton Ems, a spokesperson for the group, said residents of rural northern California felt a kinship with residents of southern Oregon, as both felt rejected by political circles in their capital cities. ‘State – but their voices would be heard in Boise.
Supporters say residents of Northern California and Southeast Washington also yearn for less government oversight and want to be part of a Red State isolated from the liberal influence of large urban centers that tend to vote Democratic. .
Mark Simmons, a rancher from eastern Oregon and former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, said, “We don’t need the state to blow our necks all the time, micromanage our lives and tries to push us into a foreign way of life. “
In the 2020 election, President Joe Biden easily won Washington, Oregon and California in November, while President Donald Trump won Idaho with 64%.
Keep your lawn looking good
Planning to work outside of this weekend? Recordnet.com has some tips on how to properly care for your lawn and keep it looking its best. While no two lawns are the same and can differ depending on lawn species, soil type, climate or location, there are several key elements of a good lawn care program, including mowing, watering, fertilization, aeration and stubble cultivation. Granted, I have no idea what “stubble cultivation” is, but it seems important. Hope my gardener knows this.
In California, a roundup of news from the editorial staff of the USA Today Network. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle. We’ll be back to your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.
As the Philanthropy and Special Sections Editor of The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraisers and people giving back in the Coachella Valley. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.