National news stories from across America, from BasinLife.com and Wynne Broadcasting
Monday, September 14, 2020
Firefighters are making progress over the weekend as in some place improved weather conditions are helping them battle wildfires in California and Oregon. But the death toll from blazes roaring across the these two states is at least 24 while dozens remained missing in both states.
Seven more people were found dead on Friday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Nine of the 19 California fatalities were in an area called the North Complex, which flared up with fires during windstorms earlier this week.
The White House says President Trump would visit California on Monday to be briefed on the wildfires and to offer help in many ways.
In Oregon near Eugene in Lane County, officials said firefighters found a fatality in a home within boundaries of the Holiday Farm Fire on Friday. State officials have reported at least five deaths in fires, with some in Southern Oregon.
In the Rogue Valley, the Almeda Fire and the Obenchain fire both continue burning and the office of the State Fire Marshal says that about 50 people are still missing.
Over 1600 homes and apartments in Ashland, Talent and Phoenix have been destroyed, and more than 100 businesses.
“We’re preparing for a mass fatality incident,” Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said in a briefing, noting that thousands of structures had been destroyed in the state of Oregon.
Wildfires have burned over 3.2 million acres in California with over 4,000 structures destroyed and 60,000 people evacuated. There, the death toll could also be high over the coming weeks.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said Friday a man was arrested on charges of arson tied to a fire set during the Almeda Fire in the area. Residents reported seeing a man setting a fire behind their house in Phoenix, Ore., Tuesday. After investigating, officers arrested 41-year-old Michael Jarrod Bakkela, who is now in Jackson County Jail.
The FBI in Portland said Friday that local law-enforcement agencies have been receiving false reports that extremists were responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. The FBI said it investigated several similar reports and found them to be false.
“Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away [from] local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control,” the FBI said. “Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.”
A second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to help Americans weather the pandemic once seemed a sure-thing with both Democrats and Republicans supporting the provision in early coronavirus relief negotiations in July.
And most Americans were confident that Congress would approve a new round of federal jobless aid, even if it might be less than the $600 a week that ran out at the end of that month.
But with bipartisan talks now stalled with the coming presidential election, a second direct check is one of several policy proposals left in the lurch. Jobless aid is stuck as well. After Democrats blocked a pared-down Republican proposal on Thursday, lawmakers in both parties are increasingly pessimistic that Congress can reach an agreement before the November election. Some also see the urgency of new aid fading, thanks to an improving economy. No deal would mean no new check and no enhanced unemployment benefits from Congress.
Each party blames the other for the impasse. Republicans argue that Democrats are refusing to compromise because they think they have the upper hand politically if talks fail, while Democrats say Republicans won’t accept the level of aid necessary for the economic and public health crises.
Democrats proposed another $1,200 check for adults and $1,200 for dependents, with a maximum of $6,000 sent to each household. A $1 trillion proposal released by Senate Republicans in July largely replicated the first round of stimulus checks. Both the Republican and Democratic plans had income caps.
In their latest bill, Republicans proposed continuing the federal supplement at $300 a week through Dec. 27. Democrats want to extend the federal aid at $600 a week through January. When bipartisan negotiations first collapsed in August, the Trump administration moved to offer $300 in weekly federal benefits to state unemployment programs through executive actions.
More than 40 states have received federal approval to distribute the extra payments, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some states, including Arizona and Louisiana, have already started delivering the money to individuals, though the payments are expected to quickly run dry as they draw on a limited pool of funds.
White House officials have said they are considering further executive actions on coronavirus aid, but nothing is expected imminently.
PHILADELPHIA MALL HAS ITS OWN COVID-19 BOUTIQUE
A mall store in Philadelphia has gone COVID-19. The boutique — it’s officially called COVID-19, Inc. — is right by a Sephora. The main offerings at the COVID store are masks, of course: standard masks; gas masks; masks with bling; masks with zippers. The COVID-19 store also had pandemic-related doohickeys, like those brass tools used to open doors — which you can find at pretty much every convenience store right now.
TOY HALL OF FAME FINALISTS
The National Toy Hall of Fame announced its 2020 finalists for induction on Wednesday: Baby Nancy, bingo, Breyer Horses, Jenga, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Risk, sidewalk chalk, Sorry!, Tamagotchi, and Yahtzee. • LINK
… Three of the inductees will be chosen by a panel of judges, while three will be chosen by the public at toyhalloffame.org. Voting is open through September 16.
PEEPS WON’T BE MAKING HALLOWEEN OR CHRISTMAS MARSHMALLOWS
2020 just keeps losing. Not only are we in a pandemic, we learned Wednesday that we won’t have any Halloween or Holiday Peeps to look forward to in stores this year. Just Born, the company behind Peeps, says it won’t be releasing any new Christmas or Halloween Peeps in 2020 because of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their operations.
TODDLERS MOSTLY ACT LIKE LITTLE JERKS FOR NO GOOD REASON
The theory behind toddlers’ bad behavior has long been that they’re acting up because they’re angry or frustrated and haven’t yet developed the self-control or language necessary to deal with that anger in a more civilized manner. But a child development researcher (University of Santa Cruz) published a study that proposed an alternative explanation.
… Much of the time, toddlers act like tiny terrors for absolutely no good reason. Researcher Audun Dahl observed about two dozen children in their own homes at three separate times — when the child was 14 months, then 19 months, and then 2 years old — for two and a half hours at a time. About half of the time a child intentionally harmed someone — usually a parent, though siblings and pets were also in the line of fire — there appeared to be no provocation. In about 43 percent of the interactions Dahl observed, there did appear to be a reason for their bad behavior and the rest of the time the action seemed more like an accident.
OVERHEARING CELLPHONE CONVERSATIONS ARE MORE DISTRACTING
Scientists (at Cornell University) definitively proved that overhearing a cellphone conversation is more distracting than overhearing a normal conversation. It’s because you only hear a “half-a-logue,” which is less predictable and therefore requires more mental power to analyze and ignore.
OSCAR MAYER’S WIENERMOBILE AVAILABLE FOR WEDDING PROPOSALS
Pivotal moments, such as wedding proposals, graduations, anniversaries and Mr. Peanut’s funeral, are only so special without Oscar Mayer’s famous Wienermobile in attendance. Now, the general public will have a chance to nab the Wienermobile for a very special sort of milestone: Oscar Mayer is making its 27-foot-long hotdog vehicles available to members of the public looking to pop the big question.
… The company says while the vehicles are available to attend special occasions — and receive more than 7,000 requests each year — “this is the first time we’ve put out a call for people to request the Wienermobile be part of their proposal.”
… The lunch meat brand is asking interested individuals to submit requests three months to a year in advance to help secure a free appearance from one of the six Wienermobiles currently on the road. Oscar Mayer will accept requests based on availability, and those fortunate enough to be selected will be notified a week prior to their requested date. People are not allowed to ride in the Wienermobile due to safety precautions.
… According to the company, the idea was inspired by a Wienermobile driver known as Zach n Cheese who recently proposed to his girlfriend at Yellowstone National Park with his ride parked in the background.