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Chinese balloon high over US stirs unease down below

Chinese balloon high over US stirs unease down below

BILLINGS, Mont. — The Chinese balloon drifting high above the U.S. and first revealed over Montana has created a buzz down below among residents who initially wondered what it was — and now wonder what its arrival means amid a chorus of alarm raised by elected officials.The balloon roiled diplomatic tensions as it continued to move over the central U.S. on Friday at 60,000 feet (18,300 meters). Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled an upcoming trip to China.Curiosity about the bobbling sky orb that’s the size of three school buses swept the nation and the internet, with search terms like “where is the spy balloon now?” and “spy balloon tracker” surging on Google. There is no such tracker just yet, but a couple St. Louis TV stations offered grainy live feeds of the balloon.Internet users posted wobbly videos and photos of white splotches in comments sections and speculative feeds. And online storm chasers, more accustomed to tracking raging systems and funnel clouds, offered updates on the balloon’s path through cloudless skies.It crossed into U.S. airspace over Alaska early this week, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic.In Montana — home to Malmstrom Air Force base and dozens of nuclear missile silos — people doubted Beijing’s claim that it was a weather balloon gone off course. And the governor and members of Congress pressed the Biden administration over why the military did not immediately bring it down from the sky.“I question whether or not we would even found out about this if people hadn’t spotted it in Billings,” said Chase Doak, a resident of the southern Montana city who appears to have captured some of the first known video footage and photographs of the balloon.A white balloon with what appeared to be a solar array hanging beneath it was seen over Billings Wednesday afternoon, around the same time the local airport was temporarily shut down and a day before the Pentagon said it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon over the state.Initial speculation over its origins ranged from the foreign to the extra-terrestrial.When Todd Hewett’s 10-year-old son saw it over Billings he thought it was a comet. Hewett got some shaky footage, using a cellphone to take video through a telescope, and was skeptical of the Chinese claim it was a civilian balloon.“Shoot it down,” he said. “If we could somehow pierce the bottom of it to allow some of the gas to escape to allow for a more controlled descent (that) would be nice .. but if we can’t do that … blow it up.”Montana has some experience with balloons launched by adversaries: Japan in World War II targeted the western U.S. with incendiary “balloon bombs” that were floated over North America with plans to harm people and start forest fires. More than 30 of the bombs made of rice paper landed in Montana, according to the Montana Historical Society.In Oregon, five children and a pregnant woman on a church picnic were killed in 1945 when they found one of the bombs and it exploded.On Friday in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Weather Service said it received reports of a large balloon in the Kansas City metro area and posted two images of white orbs taken from the weather station office in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. The service confirmed it was not a National Weather Service balloon.A graphic generated by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration online tool was eagerly shared on Facebook, showing the balloon’s trajectory sweep into the U.S. South. Local National Weather Service offices were asked on Twitter whether the balloon was theirs. No, was their answer.Tami Hansen, 44, saw the balloon overhead in Columbia, Missouri, and said she was not terribly concerned about the object flying over her city.“I’ve heard all kinds of thoughts. Is it a spy balloon, is it a weather balloon? Who knows right now? It is what it is,” she said. “We really try not to get too political out here,” she said.Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said he would hold a hearing to get answers from the Biden administration. He called China’s actions “a clear threat.”Rep. Ryan Zinke sent a poll to constituents early Friday saying the balloon was still over the state and asking if should be shot down. When the Pentagon said the balloon had since drifted over the central U.S., Zinke raised the possibility China had more than one balloon over the U.S..“I don’t know if that’s the only balloon. We’ve asked for those answers,” he told The Associated Press. He said the balloon should have been shot down. “The message that it gives to our allies is, we’re not capable of dealing with a balloon,” he said.The Pentagon late Friday acknowledged reports of a second balloon flying over Latin America but officials did not specify where it was spotted.Republicans in Montana have grown increasingly outspoken in recent years about China posing a threat to U.S. national security. A bill pending before the state Legislature would ban “foreign adversaries” from owning, leasing or renting critical infrastructure or farmland. The measure’s sponsor singled out China as being interested in acquiring U.S. lands and resources to “help them with spying efforts.”The heavy anti-China sentiment marks a shift from a just a few years ago, when Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines visited China, hosted the Chinese ambassador on a visit to a Montana ranch and helped secure a deal to export more beef to China.The beef deal later fell through, and the Republican has transformed into a strong critic of China.Daines on Friday rejected the Pentagon’s contention that it was too dangerous to bring the balloon down over Montana. He told reporters there would have been “no better place” than his sparsely populated home state.“You’ve got higher odds of hitting a cow or a prairie dog or an antelope than you would of hitting any kind of a structure or a person,” he said.___Associated Press writers Margaret Stafford in Liberty, Missouri; Alina Hartounian in Phoenix; and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

Famed LA mountain lion’s death shines light on tribal talks

Famed LA mountain lion’s death shines light on tribal talks

LOS ANGELES — The life of Los Angeles’ most famous mountain lion followed a path known only to the biggest of Hollywood stars: Discovered on-camera in 2012, the cougar adopted a stage name and enjoyed a decade of celebrity status before his tragic death late last year.The popular puma gained fame as P-22 and cast a spotlight on the troubled population of California’s endangered mountain lions and their decreasing genetic diversity. Now, with his remains stored in a freezer at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, wildlife officials and representatives from the region’s tribal communities are debating his next act. Biologists and conservationists want to retain samples of P-22’s tissue, fur and whiskers for scientific testing to aid in future wildlife research. But some representatives of the Chumash, Tataviam and Gabrielino (Tongva) peoples say his body should be returned, untouched, to the ancestral lands where he spent his life so he can be honored with a traditional burial.In tribal communities here, mountain lions are regarded as relatives and considered teachers. P-22 is seen as an extraordinary animal, according to Alan Salazar, a tribal member of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and a descendent of the Chumash tribe who said his death should be honored appropriately.“We want to bury him like he’s a ‘wot,’ like a ‘tomier,’ ” Salazar said, “which are two of the words for chief or leader” in the Chumash and Tataviam languages, respectively. “Because that’s what he was.”Likely born about 12 years ago in the western Santa Monica Mountains, wildlife officials believe the aggression of P-22’s father and his own struggle to find a mate amid a dwindling population drove the cougar to cross two heavily traveled freeways and migrate east.He made his debut in 2012, captured on a trail camera by biologist Miguel Ordeñana in Griffith Park, home of the Hollywood sign and part of ancestral Gabrielino (Tongva) land.Promptly tagged and christened P-22 — as the 22nd puma in a National Park Service study — he spawned a decade of devotion among Californians, who saw themselves mirrored in his bachelor status, his harrowing journey to the heart of Los Angeles and his prime real estate in Griffith Park amid the city’s urban sprawl. Los Angeles and Mumbai are the world’s only major cities where large cats live — mountain lions in one, leopards in the other.Angelenos will celebrate his life on Saturday at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park in a memorial put on by the “Save LA Cougars.” P-22 inspired the group to campaign for a wildlife crossing over a Los Angeles-area freeway that will allow big cats and other animals safe passage between the mountains and wildlands to the north. The bridge broke ground in April.P-22′s star dimmed last November, when he killed a Chihuahua on a dogwalker’s leash in the Hollywood Hills and likely attacked another weeks later. Wildlife officials said the puma seemed to be “exhibiting signs of distress,” in part due to aging.They captured P-22 on Dec. 12 in a residential backyard in the trendy Los Feliz neighborhood. Examinations revealed a skull fracture — the result of being hit by a car — and chronic illnesses including a skin infection and diseases of the kidneys and liver. The city’s cherished big cat was euthanized five days later. Los Angeles mourned P-22 as one of its own, with songs, stories and murals crying “long live the king.” Post-It notes of remembrance blanketed an exhibit wall at the Natural History Museum and children’s paw print messages covered a tableau outside the LA Zoo.While fame is fleeting for most celebrities, P-22’s legacy lives on — though in what form is now up for debate. The Natural History Museum took possession of the animal’s remains, prompting swift condemnation by tribal leaders who feared P-22′s body could be taxidermized and put on display. Samples taken during the animal’s necropsy also are causing concerns among the tribal communities about burying the cougar intact.“In order to continue on your journey into the afterlife, you have to be whole,” said Desireé Martinez, an archaeologist and member of the Gabrielino (Tongva) community. A year before P-22’s death, Ordeñana — the wildlife biologist whose camera first spotted the cougar and is now a senior manager of community science at the Natural History Museum — had applied for a permit from the state for the museum to receive the mountain lion’s remains when he died. Typically an animal carcass would be discarded.Ordeñana and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have apologized, saying they should have spoken with the tribes from the start.Museum, state and other officials began talks with the tribes Monday in the hopes of reaching a compromise. Ordeñana and other scientists are advocating to retain at least some of P-22’s tissue samples to preserve future research opportunities for the endangered animals as new technologies and techniques arise.“We’re trying to see what can we do differently — regarding outreach, regarding our process — that is feasible for us as an institution,” Ordeñana said, “but respectful of both the scientific and the cultural-historic legacy of these animals.”Salazar and Martinez, however, do not believe samples should be taken from the animal’s remains and held by the museum in perpetuity. “We’ve been studied like the mountain lion has been studied,” Salazar said. “Those bones of my tribal ancestors are in boxes so they can be studied by future generations. We’re not a science project.”Beth Pratt, California executive director for the National Wildlife Federation and a key player in developing the wildlife crossing, said it’s important to balance the different arguments to ensure the diminishing LA cougar population has a future.“We do need data from these animals, even P-22, for science,” said Pratt, who calls him “the Brad Pitt” of pumas. Chuck Bonham, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the P-22 discussions have forced his agency and others to reckon with their outreach to California’s tribes.“I think he’ll live forever in this way,” Bonham said.Martinez, of the Gabrielino (Tongva) community, said the beloved mountain lion’s death also symbolizes how humans must take responsibility for respecting animals’ lives.“We are wildlife. We are creatures of nature, just as all the animals and plants are,” Martinez said. “What can we do to make sure that the creatures that we are sharing this nature with have the ability to survive and live on — just like us?”

Florida fire chief issues heartbreaking message after department loses two members to suicide

Florida fire chief issues heartbreaking message after department loses two members to suicide

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).The chief of a Florida fire department issued an emotional message this week after two firefighters committed suicide over a three-week period in January.Marion County Fire and Rescue Chief James Banta said Tuesday the department is “in pain, confused and upset” over the sudden losses of Fire Medic Allen Singleton on Jan. 28 and Fire Medic Tripp Wooten on Jan. 9.Banta said as fire chief, he has been experiencing the same emotions and has had “many difficult conversations” with members of his department since the deaths of Fire Medics Singleton and Wooten.After those conversations, Banta said he is aware of the valid concerns surrounding low pay, workload, mandatory overtime, lack of sleep, substance abuse, PTSD and addiction, adding that those issues will be addressed.TEXAS FIRE CHIEF, FIREFIGHTER KILLED IN CRASH WHILE RETURNING TO STATION FROM CALL
Marion County Fire Rescue Chief James Banta issues an emotional message after the department lost two fire medics to suicide in January.
(Marion County Fire Rescue)”If the answer was as simple as eliminating mandatory overtime, I would shut trucks down immediately, but I can tell you that it goes way deeper than that,” Banta said.He asked that the firefighters help identify coworkers that are “suffering and in crisis” by keeping an eye out for warning signs.”I need each of you to be my eyes and ears. I shoulder the burden of leading us out of this crisis, but I cannot do it alone,” Banta pleaded.Banta also strongly encouraged utilizing the department’s mental health resources, which include a chaplain, the employee assistance program and peer support team. He added that mental health strike teams from the International Association of Firefighters will be arriving after Singleton’s funeral on Saturday to make recommendations, which will be implemented and continued.
Marion County Fire Rescue posted an updated photo of its cross with a thin black and red line through the logo, signifying the loss of a member.
(Marion County Fire Rescue)The IAFF released the following statement to Fox News Digital on behalf of General President Edward Kelly in response to the tragic losses:”We mourn the loss of our IAFF brothers. Stressors, including financial strains which impact personal relationships, work-life imbalance, and substance use, consistently contribute to firefighter suicide. Our Marion County firefighters have a workload that is double that of larger departments in Florida, with half the workforce. Municipal decisions to de-prioritize public safety, including forced overtime, all negatively impact the quality of life for fire service professionals. The citizens we serve value our contributions; we need policymakers to do the same.”FALLEN FDNY FIREFIGHTER SAVES 5 LIVES, INCLUDING 2 FDNY FIREFIGHTERS, THROUGH ORGAN DONATIONBanta ended the video with a plea to those in the “family” who may be struggling:”If you are watching this and are experiencing depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, please know we are all here for you. I am here for you. Please do not give up.”He also encouraged working toward a solution by using members’ “strength, determination and resilience.”
Marion County Fire Rescue Firefighter/Paramedic Allen Singleton committed suicide on Jan. 28.
(Marion County Fire Rescue)Singleton was a six-year veteran of the department. Prior to his hiring on Sept. 12, 2016, he was a member of the 2016 Marion County Fire Rescue Non-Certified Recruit Academy. He was described as a proud member of the MCFR/MCSO SWAT Medic team and was a back-to-back Golden Axe winner in the department’s physical competitions.
Marion County Fire Rescue Firefighter/Paramedic Tripp Wooten committed suicide on Jan. 9.
(Marion County Fire Rescue)The department hired Wooten in December 2006. He was a member of the 2006 MCFR Career Academy Class and “spent many years as a member of the ‘Hames Road Hooligans’ at Belleview Station 18.” The post described him as an “amazingly talented” firefighter/paramedic with a sense of humor that brightened the day of all who came in contact with him. He also reportedly never met a stranger.According to Facebook posts by the department, both Singleton and Wooten left behind a wife and two children.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPIn efforts to prioritize the mental health struggles within the firefighting industry, the IAFF opened its Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. According to a summer 2022 report, the program has been booked to near capacity over the past five years and over 2,200 members have been treated and released.A second facility is expected to open on the West Coast within the next few months.

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

SEATTLE — A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, “The Goonies.”Officers had been looking for the man since Wednesday, when an acquaintance alerted them to a video he posted on social media of himself leaving the fish at the house and then dancing around the property, Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said.Kelly identified the man as Jericho Labonte, 35, of Victoria, British Columbia. Labonte is also wanted in British Columbia on criminal harassment, mischief and failure to comply cases from last fall, Kelly said.Early Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard shared stunning video of a rescue made a few hours earlier in which a newly minted rescue swimmer lowered by cable from a helicopter swam to a 35-foot (11-meter) yacht that was struggling in heavy surf. As the swimmer approached the vessel, a large wave slammed into it, rolling the boat over and throwing a man, later identified as Labonte, into the water.The swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class Branch Walton, of Greenville, South Carolina, reached Labonte and pulled him to safety. The helicopter crew flew him to Coast Guard Base Astoria, where medics treated him for mild hypothermia and transported him to a hospital.The yacht’s owner, who lives in nearby Warrenton, Oregon, reported the vessel stolen later Friday, the police chief said.The hospital had already released Labonte when police saw the Coast Guard photos and video and realized it was the same person who they said covered over security cameras at the Goonies house and left the dead fish on the porch.Police were still looking for Labonte Friday evening.Kelly didn’t know what kind of fish it was, but said police believed it was caught locally because after the video started circulating another person reported having taken Labonte fishing.“It’s been a really odd 48 hours,” Kelly said. The mouth of the Columbia, the largest North American river flowing into the Pacific Ocean, is known as “the graveyard of the Pacific” for its notoriously rough seas. The Coast Guard received the yacht’s mayday call around 10 a.m. Friday while conducting trainings nearby, Petty Officer Michael Clark said.The mayday contained no information about location or the specific problem, but the agency roughly triangulated the vessel’s location and nearby boat crews and a helicopter responded. They found the P/C Sandpiper yacht taking on water in 20-foot (6-meter) seas, meaning the height of a wave from the previous trough could be as much as 40 feet (12 meters), Clark said. Walton, who only recently graduated from the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer program, was lowered from the helicopter by a cable. Labonte climbed onto the stern and prepared to enter the water just as a huge wave slammed the craft, throwing him into the surf. The wave struck so violently that the vessel rolled completely over and wound up floating upright.Walton said in an interview Friday that he planned to reach the man, get him in the water and hook him to a cable attached to the helicopter. Instead, the wave hit.“I kind of got thrown around a little bit by the wave. When I came up I noticed the boat was pretty much in shambles,” Walton said.He directed the helicopter to bring him to Labonte after spotting him in the surf a short distance away. The force of the wave had mostly knocked off his life jacket, Walton said.

Today in History: FEB 4, Rosa Parks is born

Today in History: FEB 4, Rosa Parks is born

Today in HistoryToday is Saturday, Feb. 4, the 35th day of 2023. There are 330 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Feb. 4, 1783, Britain’s King George III proclaimed a formal cessation of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War. On this date: In 1789, electors chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States. In 1801, John Marshall was confirmed by the Senate as chief justice of the United States. In 1913, Rosa Parks, a Black woman whose 1955 refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus to a white man sparked a civil rights revolution, was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee. In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a wartime conference at Yalta. In 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, 19, was kidnapped in Berkeley, California, by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1976, more than 23,000 people died when a severe earthquake struck Guatemala with a magnitude of 7.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1977, eleven people were killed when two Chicago Transit Authority trains collided on an elevated track. In 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California, found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. In 1999, senators at President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial voted to permit the showing of portions of Monica Lewinsky’s videotaped deposition. In 2004, the social networking website Facebook had its beginnings as Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook.” In 2012, Florence Green, who had served with the Women’s Royal Air Force and was recognized as the last veteran of World War I, died in King’s Lynn, eastern England, at age 110. In 2020, thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong were on strike for a second day to demand that the country’s border with China be completely closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus; the territory reported its first death from the virus and the second known fatality outside China. Ten years ago: President Barack Obama signed a bill temporarily raising the government’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, averting a default. British scientists announced they had rescued the skeletal remains of King Richard III, who lived during the 15th century, from the anonymity of a drab municipal parking lot. For the fifth straight week there was a new No. 1 in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll: Indiana. Reg Presley, 71, lead singer for the Troggs on “Wild Thing,” died in Andover, England. Five years ago: The Philadelphia Eagles, led by backup quarterback Nick Foles, became NFL champs for the first time since 1960, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-33 in the Super Bowl. An Amtrak passenger train slammed into a parked freight train in the early-morning darkness in South Carolina after a thrown switch sent it hurtling down a side track; the conductor and engineer were killed and more than 100 passengers were injured. Actor John Mahoney, who played the dad of two psychiatrists on the TV show “Frasier,” died in Chicago at the age of 77. One year ago: Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the Winter Olympics open at a ceremony at Beijing’s Bird Nest Stadium. The Olympic flame was delivered by athletes Zhao Jiawen and Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a member of the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority, which Western governments and human rights groups say China has oppressed on a massive scale. The Republican National Committee censured Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois at the party’s winter meeting for serving on the committee investigating the violent Jan. 6 insurrection. Today’s birthdays: Actor Jerry Adler is 94. Former Argentinian President Isabel Peron is 92. Actor Gary Conway is 87. Actor John Schuck is 83. Rock musician John Steel (The Animals) is 82. Singer Florence LaRue (The Fifth Dimension) is 81. Former Vice President Dan Quayle is 76. Rock singer Alice Cooper is 75. Actor Michael Beck is 74. Actor Lisa Eichhorn is 71. Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor is 64. Actor Pamelyn Ferdin is 64. Rock singer Tim Booth is 63. Rock musician Henry Bogdan is 62. Country singer Clint Black is 61. Rock musician Noodles (The Offspring) is 60. Actor Gabrielle Anwar is 53. Actor Rob Corddry is 52. Singer David Garza is 52. Actor Michael Goorjian is 52. TV personality Nicolle Wallace is 51. Olympic gold medal boxer Oscar De La Hoya is 50. Rock musician Rick Burch (Jimmy Eat World) is 48. Singer Natalie Imbruglia is 48. Rapper Cam’ron is 47. Rock singer Gavin DeGraw is 46. Rock singer Zoe Manville is 39. Actor/musician Bashy, AKA Ashley Thomas, is 38. Actor Charlie Barnett is 35. Olympic gold medal gymnast-turned-singer Carly Patterson is 35. Actor Kyla Kenedy (TV: “Speechless”) is 20.

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state.Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all of California’s 6.7 million public and private schoolchildren. But since then, the crisis first caused by a mysterious virus in late 2019 has mostly receded from public consciousness. COVID-19 is still widespread, but the availability of multiple vaccines has lessened the viruses’ effects for many — offering relief to what had been an overwhelmed public health system.Nearly all of the pandemic restrictions put in place by Newsom have been lifted, and he won’t be able to issue any new ones after Feb. 28 when the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration officially ends.One of the last remaining questions was what would happen to the state’s vaccine mandate for schoolchildren, a policy that came from the California Department of Public Health and was not impacted by the lifting of the emergency declaration.Friday, the Department of Public Health confirmed it was backing off its original plan.“CDPH is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 to the list of required school vaccinations, but we continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom,” the department said in a statement. “Any changes to required K-12 immunizations are properly addressed through the legislative process.”The announcement was welcome news for Jonathan Zachreson, a father of three who lives in Roseville. Zachreson founded the group Reopen California Schools to oppose many of the state’s coronavirus policies. His activism led to him being elected to the Roseville City School District board in November.“This is long overdue. … A lot of families have been stressed from this decision and worried about it for quite some time,” he said. “I wish CDPH would make a bigger statement publicly or Newsom would make a public statement … to let families know and school districts know that this is no longer going to be an issue for them.”Representatives for Newsom did not respond to an email requesting comment.California has had lots of influence over the country’s pandemic policies. It was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order — and other states were swift to follow. But most states did not follow California’s lead when it came to the vaccine mandate for public schools. Officials in Louisiana announced a similar mandate, but later backed off. Schools in the District of Columbia plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine starting in the fall.Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Kiley, a former member of the state Assembly who challenged Newsom in a failed recall attempt in 2021 over his pandemic policies, published a blog post declaring: “We won. To Gavin Newsom: You lost.”Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist representing most of the state’s school districts, said he did not think the policy change was the result of political pressure by Republicans, but instead a reflection of the virus’s slowing transmission rates.“The public’s appetite for these kinds of mandates is definitely not what it used to be,” he said. “If you started to now impose a heavy mandate when the amount of transmission is significantly lower than it was statewide, a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work right now.”

Border town’s only hospital ‘running out of resources’, on the brink of collapse caring for migrants

Border town’s only hospital ‘running out of resources’, on the brink of collapse caring for migrants

The migrant surge is overwhelming a border town’s only hospital, the facility’s director told Fox News. Yuma Regional Medical Center – the only hospital within 60 miles – has been forced to delay residents’ care to treat scores of illegal immigrants, many of them pregnant women.Meanwhile, the hospital is racking up millions in unpaid expenses. Over six months, caring for migrants has cost the 406-bed facility at least $20 million with no one to foot the bill, according to the center’s president and CEO, Dr. Robert Trenschel. A BORDER TOWN HOSPITAL HAD TO DELAY RESIDENTS’ CARE TO ATTEND TO MIGRANT PATIENTS. WATCH: WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE”That’s an unsustainable model to have that unexpected expense without any revenue to offset it,” Trenschel said. “It’s a no-win situation.””We are running out of resources,” Trenschel said. “We’ve had to hire additional staff.” PRIVATE BORDER SECURITY: YUMA FAMILIES FORCED TO HIRE ARMED GUARDS AMID MIGRANT SURGE, LOCAL OFFICIAL SAYSIn total, around 6 million migrants, including 1.2 million “gotaways,” have crossed the southern border since President Biden took office, according to Customs and Border Patrol.El Paso, Texas, another border city, declared a state of emergency amid a migrant surge in December. Local hospitals were used for refuge since shelters were over capacity. “It’s unfair to residents of our community, too, because we’re providing free care to these individuals,” Trenschel said. “The residents of our community don’t get free care.”He also told Fox News his facility’s maternity unit has reached capacity since the largest number of migrant patients requiring care are pregnant. The next closest hospital — 62 miles away — recently stopped providing labor and delivery services.”We would have to delay some of the planned inductions for our residents because of that,” Trenschel said. “Our residents have had to suffer through that.” BORDER TOWN ON THE BRINK AS MIGRANT SURGE CONTINUES AND OVERWHELMS ITS RESOURCES. WATCH:Hospital staff has faced additional burdens working around language barriers and providing medical equipment to ensure safe discharges, Trenschel said. “These individuals take at least three times the number of human resources to resolve their cases and get them a safe discharge as a regular patient in our hospital,” Trenschel told Fox News. He said many migrants are also admitted with serious illnesses that require extensive care. The hospital is also packed with flu and COVID-19 patients. Trenschel said his staff are overworked and tired.MIGRANTS EXPLOITING BORDER WALL GAPS, CONTAMINATE CROPS, THREATEN NATION’S FOOD SECURITY, ARIZONA FARMERS SAY
Yuma Regional Medical Center’s CEO says his hospital staff are happy to help any patient, but can’t sustain the influx of migrant patients getting free care. 
(Courtesy: Yuma Regional Medical Center)Trenschel also warned that there could be dire consequences if Title 42 is eliminated. Ongoing legal disputes could ultimately end the Trump-era policy that allows border officials to quickly expel illegal migrants for health reasons.”If Title 42 does go away and we do have another surge, it could be a public health emergency for sure,” Trenschel said. Trenschel has discussed the hospital’s concerns with Arizona’s elected officials and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The hospital administration hopes the federal government finds a solution to cover the unpaid medical expenses.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”People lend an ear and they’re willing to listen, but nobody has any solutions,” Trenschel said. “We’ve been at this for well over a year now.” “If we continue to have these extraordinary expenses that are not reimbursed, it could have a significant impact on the hospital,” he added. “We need a payer source to have this hospital remain sustainable, viable for the future.”To hear more from Trenschel on the impact the migrant surge has on a border town hospital, click here.

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