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3 New Orleans clubs require vaccination, negative COVID test

3 New Orleans clubs require vaccination, negative COVID test

Three New Orleans music venues are going to require proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative test to listen to music insideBy Associated PressJuly 29, 2021, 2:47 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW ORLEANS — If you want to listen to the George Porter Trio or Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. and the Wild Magnolias rip it up at some of the most well-known New Orleans music venues, you’ll have to get a coronavirus vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.The clubs — Tipitina’s, the Maple Leaf Bar and d.b.a. — made the announcement late Wednesday in a news release. The new rule will go into effect for performances at the venues starting Friday.“The music industry in New Orleans is uniting once again in an effort to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases seen throughout the city,” the clubs said in the release. “We remain committed to providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere and livelihood for all performers, employees, and supporters of live entertainment.”Guests will have to show their proof of vaccination along with an identification. Negative tests must be within the 72 hours before the performance.The clubs’ announcement comes as coronavirus infections across the state are skyrocketing. Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates of any state although vaccination rates in New Orleans are higher.Music venues were especially hard hit during the pandemic when live indoor performances were banned as a way to prevent the spread of the virus. Many venues and performers pivoted to performances that were shown on the internet and took donations as a way to recoup some lost income. It wasn’t until March that indoor music was allowed to resume and even then it was under limited conditions although those have since been lifted.———Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Louisiana Rep. Higgins says he, wife, son have coronavirus

Louisiana Rep. Higgins says he, wife, son have coronavirus

A Republican congressman from Louisiana who has criticized mask mandates and public health restrictions says he and his wife and son are now sick with the coronavirusBy Associated PressJuly 26, 2021, 5:35 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW ORLEANS — Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana, a critic of mask mandates and public health restrictions during the pandemic, said he, his wife and son have contracted the coronavirus.He made the announcement on Facebook Sunday night. He said he and his wife had been infected last year, but this time around is much more difficult. He has not said whether he has been vaccinated.“This episode is far more challenging. It has required all my devoted energy,” he said. “We are all under excellent care, and our prognosis is positive.”Higgins is the second member of Congress to announce in the last week that they’d contracted the virus. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican who represents parts of southwest Florida, said July 19 that he had tested positive. Buchanan said he had been fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms.Higgins has said he doesn’t support mask mandates or mandatory vaccines. In a May Facebook post, Higgins said: “If you want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t, then don’t. That’s your right as a free American.”Louisiana is struggling with a fourth surge of the coronavirus, with the delta variant sending case numbers skyrocketing and hospital COVID wards filling up again.Elsewhere in the Louisiana delegation, Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died December 29 at the age of 41 from COVID-19 complications. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise waited until July 18 to get vaccinated, saying he thought he had immunity because he tested positive awhile back for coronavirus antibodies.

Unvaccinated snow leopard at San Diego Zoo catches COVID-19

Unvaccinated snow leopard at San Diego Zoo catches COVID-19

A snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has contracted COVID-19By Associated PressJuly 24, 2021, 10:31 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSAN DIEGO — An unvaccinated snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has contracted COVID-19.Caretakers noticed that Ramil, a 9-year-old male snow leopard, had a cough and runny nose on Thursday. Later, two separate tests of his stool confirmed the presence of the coronavirus, the zoo said in a statement Friday.Ramil is not showing additional symptoms, the zoo said, but because he shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, the staff assumes they have been exposed. As a result, the animals were quarantined and their exhibit was closed.It’s unclear how Ramil got infected.In January, a troop of eight gorillas at the zoo’s sister facility, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, contracted COVID-19 from a keeper who had the virus but showed no symptoms.The gorilla troop, which has since recovered, became the first known example of the virus infecting apes.The case prompted the zoo to request an experimental COVID-19 vaccine for animals for emergency use. The vaccine from Zoetis, animal health company that was once part of Pfizer, was administered to species most at risk of contracting COVID-19, including several primates and big cats.However, Ramil had not been vaccinated before his infection.There is no vaccine mandate for the staff, but unvaccinated employees are required to wear masks at all times, the zoo said.

Report: Disney may get $570M in tax breaks for new campus

Report: Disney may get $570M in tax breaks for new campus

Disney stands to benefit from more than a half billion dollars in tax breaks for building a new regional campus in central FloridaBy Associated PressJuly 22, 2021, 3:16 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney Co. stands to benefit from more than a half billion dollars in tax breaks for building a new regional campus in Florida that promises to employ at least 2,000 professional employees who will be relocating from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development.The company could claim more than $570 million in tax breaks over 20 years for the project, which would be among the largest in Florida history for a single corporation, according to documents obtained Wednesday through a public records request by the Orlando Sentinel from the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity.Disney’s capital investment for the project could be as much as $864 million, the documents showed. The company already has a theme park resort in central Florida that is the size of the city of San Francisco.Disney is eligible for the money under the state’s Capital Investment Tax Credit program, for which it was approved in February 2020, Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, told the newspaper.In a statement to the Sentinel, Disney said the company was utilizing the incentive program offered by the state and “making a sizable investment in this community where we have a long-standing presence and commitment.”But Greg LeRoy, executive director of a nonpartisan research center on incentives, Good Jobs First, called the incentives “worse than a zero-sum game.”“We call this interstate job fraud,” LeRoy said. “At the end of the day, you’ve also got less revenue available for public services.”Under Florida’s Capital Investment Tax Credit program, companies can reduce their corporate income tax by receiving an annual credit based on eligible capital costs from certain projects. Those costs include acquisition, construction, installation and equipping the project.The state has dangled hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to other companies in recent years.Universal Orlando is in line for nearly $350 million in state tax breaks to build a new headquarters for a division that designs its theme parks, rides and hotels.In 2006, biotech company Sanford Burnham received $300 million in state and local taxes to move to Orlando but had to return some of the funds for failing to meet the requirements in its original incentive agreement. Three years earlier, the Scripps Research Institute got $600 million in state and local tax money to set up in Palm Beach County.

Dangerous conditions complicate wildfire fight in western US

Dangerous conditions complicate wildfire fight in western US

Erratic winds and parched Oregon forests added to the dangerous for firefighters on Monday as they battled the largest wildfire in the United StatesBy Associated PressJuly 19, 2021, 7:13 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBLY, Ore. — Erratic winds and parched Oregon forests added to the dangers for firefighters on Monday as they battled the largest wildfire in the U.S., one of dozens burning across several Western states.The destructive Bootleg Fire was considered one of the largest in modern Oregon history and was burning more than 476 square miles (1,210 square kilometers), an area about the size of Los Angeles. The blaze just north of the California border was 25% contained.Meteorologists predicted critically dangerous fire weather through at least Monday with lightning possible in both California and southern Oregon.“With the very dry fuels, any thunderstorm has the potential to ignite new fire starts,” the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California, said on Twitter.Thousands of people were already facing evacuation orders, including some 2,000 people residing in the largely rural areas of lakes and wildlife refuges near the fire, which has burned at least 67 homes and 100 outbuildings while threatening many more.Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the region, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.Firefighters said in July they were facing conditions more typical of late summer or fall.Pyrocumulus clouds — literally translated as “fire clouds” — complicated containment efforts for the Dixie Fire in northern California on Sunday, as well as flames that spread to remote areas with steep terrain that are harder for crews to reach, officials said. New evacuation orders were issued in rural communities near the Feather River Canyon.The Dixie Fire remained 15% contained and covered 29 square miles (74 square kilometers). The fire is northeast of the town of Paradise, California, and survivors of that horrific fire that killed 85 people watched warily as the blaze burned.A growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe jumped a highway, prompting more evacuation orders, the closure of the Pacific Crest Trail and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada.The Tamarack Fire, which was sparked by lightning on July 4, had charred about 28.5 square miles (74 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber as of Sunday night. The blaze was threatening Markleeville, a small town close to the California-Nevada state line. It has destroyed at least two structures, authorities said.A notice posted Saturday on the 103-mile (165-kilometer) Death Ride’s website said several communities in the area had been evacuated and ordered all bike riders to clear the area. The fire left thousands of bikers and spectators stranded in the small town and racing to get out.Kelli Pennington and her family were camping near the town Friday so her husband could participate in his ninth ride when they were told to leave. They had been watching smoke develop over the course of the day, but were caught off guard by the fire’s quick spread.“It happened so fast,” Pennington said. “We left our tents, hammock and some foods, but we got most of our things, shoved our two kids in the car and left.”About 800 fire personnel were assigned to battle the flames by Sunday night, “focusing on preserving life and property with point protection of structures and putting in containment lines where possible,” the U.S. Forest Service said.A fire in the mountains of northeast Oregon grew to more than 18 square miles (48 square kilometers) by Sunday. The Elbow Creek Fire that started Thursday has prompted evacuations in several small, remote communities around the Grande Ronde River about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Walla Walla, Washington. It was 10% contained.Natural features of the area act like a funnel for wind, feeding the flames and making them unpredictable, officials said.There were about 70 active large fires and complexes of multiple blazes that have burned nearly 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers) in the U.S., the National Interagency Fire Center said. The U.S. Forest Service said at least 16 major fires were burning in the Pacific Northwest alone.

Huge Oregon blaze grows as wildfires burn across western US

Huge Oregon blaze grows as wildfires burn across western US

BLY, Oregon — The largest wildfire in the U.S. torched more dry forest landscape in Oregon on Sunday, one of dozens of major blazes burning across the West as critically dangerous fire weather loomed in the coming days.The destructive Bootleg Fire just north of the California border grew to more than 476 square miles (1,210 square kilometers), an area about the size of Los Angeles.Erratic winds fed the blaze, creating dangerous conditions for firefighters, said Sarah Gracey, a spokeswoman for the firefighting operation.“We’re still facing a lot of weather issues,” she said Sunday. “The winds have been … hampering our efforts most of the time.”Authorities expanded evacuations that now affect some 2,000 residents of a largely rural area of lakes and wildlife refuges. The blaze, which is 22% contained, has burned at least 67 homes and 100 outbuildings while threatening thousands more.At the other end of the state, a fire in the mountains of northeast Oregon grew to more than 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) by Saturday night.The Elbow Creek Fire that started Thursday has prompted evacuations in several small, remote communities around the Grande Ronde River about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Walla Walla, Washington.In California, a growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe jumped a highway, prompting more evacuation orders and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada on Saturday.The Tamarack Fire, which was sparked by lightning on July 4, had charred nearly 29 square miles (74 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber as of Sunday morning. The blaze was threatening Markleeville, a small town close to the California-Nevada state line. It has destroyed at least two structures, authorities said.A notice posted on the 103-mile (165-kilometer) Death Ride’s website said several communities in the area had been evacuated and ordered all riders to clear the area. The fire left thousands of bikers and spectators stranded in the small town and racing to get out.Kelli Pennington and her family were camping near the town Friday so her husband could participate in his ninth ride when they were told to leave. They had been watching smoke develop over the course of the day, but were caught off guard by the fire’s quick spread.“It happened so fast,” Pennington said. “We left our tents, hammock and some foods, but we got most of our things, shoved our two kids in the car and left.”Meteorologists predicted critically dangerous fire weather with lightning possible through at least Monday in both California and southern Oregon.“With the very dry fuels, any thunderstorm has the potential to ignite new fire starts,” the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California, said on Twitter.Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the region, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.Firefighters said in July they were facing conditions more typical of late summer or fall.California’s Dixie Fire, near the 2018 site of the deadliest U.S. blaze in recent memory, was 15% contained and covered 39 square miles Sunday. The fire was in the Feather River Canyon, northeast of the town of Paradise, California, and survivors of that horrific fire that killed 85 people watched warily as the new blaze burned.Officials in Montana identified a firefighter who was seriously burned when flames overtook a crew fighting a small blaze there. Dan Steffensen was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital after the winds shifted suddenly on Friday, engulfing his fire engine near the Wyoming border. A second firefighter escaped without injury and called for help.There were about 70 active large fires and complexes of multiple blazes that have burned nearly 1,659 square miles (4,297 square kilometers) in the U.S., the National Interagency Fire Center said. The U.S. Forest Service said at least 16 major fires were burning in the Pacific Northwest alone.

Protests over transgender rights at LA spa turn violent

Protests over transgender rights at LA spa turn violent

Police arrested several dozen people and fired non-lethal projectiles to disperse an unruly crowd on Saturday after dueling protests over transgender rights at a Los Angeles spa turned violentBy Associated PressJuly 18, 2021, 6:10 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — Police arrested several dozen people and fired non-lethal projectiles to disperse an unruly crowd on Saturday after a dueling protest over transgender rights at a Los Angeles spa turned violent.The protests stemmed from a video that circulated online earlier this month, in which an irate customer complained to the staff at Wi Spa about a transgender woman’s exposed genitalia in the women’s section of the spa.The video sparked controversy after the spa defended its policy of allowing transgender customers in its facilities, the Los Angeles Times reported.Police declared an unlawful assembly in front of the spa in Koreatown around 11 a.m. when demonstrators against transgender access to the spa’s facilities clashed with counter protesters and some in the crowd threw smoke bombs and other objects at officers, Det. Meghan Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, said.Video posted on Twitter shows officers in riot gear hitting protesters with batons and firing bean bag rounds and other projectiles. At one point, a woman was hit in the abdomen, causing her to fall to the ground.Several dozen people were arrested for ignoring orders to disperse, and police found stun guns, knives and pepper spray discarded on the street, police later said.Aguilar didn’t have an immediate arrest count because authorities were still processing the people who were arrested and screening to see if anyone needed medical treatment.She said no officer was injured and no protester was transported to hospitals.

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