Dr. Fauci says Covid instances are beginning to climb in some areas of the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, testifies during the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing entitled Next Steps: The Road Ahead for the COVID-19 Response in the Dirksen building on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Covid-19 cases are starting to rise again in select regions in the US after stabilizing at high levels after the delta surge this summer, said Dr. White House chief physician Anthony Fauci on Monday.

Fauci’s comments came just one day after the country reported a seven-day average of more than 82,000 new cases, 11% more than the week before, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide cases fell 57% last week from the peak of the Delta Wave this summer, but an influx of Covid patients in the Midwest and Northeast is driving the sudden surge.

“The only thing that is a little worrying is that we are starting to plateau,” Fauci said during an interview hosted by the bipartisan Policy Center. “In other words, the slowdown in the falls has now stabilized and we are seeing a slight upward trend in some areas of the country.”

Infections have been on the decline for weeks after hitting a delta wave high of 172,500 new cases per day on Sept. 13 last week and are now on the rise again.

According to Hopkins data, the average daily cases in the Midwest and Northeast rose 19% and 37%, respectively, over the past week. Hospital stays that lag behind a spike in infections have increased 11% in the Midwest over the same period, while the number of patients currently hospitalized with Covid is unchanged in the Northeast.

Cases and hospital admissions have fallen sharply in the south, where the delta wave hit the earliest and strongest in summer.

There are currently around 47,000 hospitalized patients with the virus nationwide, according to a seven-day average of health department data, and the US reports an average of around 1,150 Covid deaths per day, according to Hopkins data. Both numbers are flat for the past week.

Lengthy-lost play echoes space’s Finn heritage | Leisure

It’s not every day that the Astor Street Opry Company puts on a long-lost historical play.

But thanks to a recently found variety of Finnish plays, local residents can see a modern version of a 115 year old play. The Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival and the Astor Street Opry Company have teamed up to offer a virtual screening of the play “Love & Politics” by the Finnish playwright “AT”.

The one-act play was released in Hämeenlinna, Finland, in 1906. The show centers around the widower Ketonen, who urges his daughter Hilda to marry his best friend Petola. However, Hilda is in love with Einar Salmela, a local socialist leader whom her father despises for his political ideology.

Despite the play’s title and conflict, the show isn’t political, said Michael Desmond, operations manager for the Astor Street Opry Company.

“(Salmela) could be a jazz singer. He could be a clown. He could become a baker. He could be anything that the father didn’t really care about, ”said Desmond. “This is just the foil for the father to not like the choice of the daughter as a suitor … In fact, the whole point of the play is that love and politics don’t mix, just because you don’t like which party someone belongs to, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let him marry your daughter. “

A replay of Love & Politics will be available through June 30th on the Astor Street Opry Company’s YouTube channel.

Discover the script

The building of the Finnish Socialist Club Astoria was completed in 1910. The Socialist Club building was four stories high and housed a theater run by a professional director from Helsinki, Finland.

When the Socialist Club burned down in 1923, the theater’s actors appeared on the stage of the Finnish Brotherhood. After all these years, the scripts produced on the stage of the Finnish Brotherhood were kept in the attic of Suomi Hall, where “Love & Politics” was found.

Janet Bowler, entertainment coordinator for the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, said for years she heard that the Suomi Hall attic was keeping scripts. After speaking to Karen Van Cleave of the Finnish Brotherhood, Bowler soon had a shopping bag with about 19 scripts in her hand.

“I’m Norwegian, I don’t speak Finnish,” said Bowler. “So I asked Sirpa Duoos to look through them and see if they were suitable for Reader’s Theater … We usually have a Reader’s Theater performance as part of the (Scandinavian Festival).”

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Duoos served as the chair of the festival’s Parade of Native Wear. The festival paid Duoos to translate the piece from Finnish and then paid the Astor Street Opry Company to produce the piece, using a scholarship from the Clatsop County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival has been. Director Chris Lynn Taylor changed the script for Reader’s Theater.

In honor of the Nordic heritage

More than a third of Astoria’s population identified as Scandinavian by the early 20th century, according to the festival, with high concentrations of Finns also in Ilwaco, Naselle, and other settlements on the Columbia River. The Nordic community helped set the tone for the city in its early beginnings, Bowler said.

“We are producing the festival to preserve our heritage,” she said.

As part of the festival, the Reader’s Theater is typically designed to both entertain and inform, Bowler said. In the case of Love & Politics, its discovery and production testify to the Nordic communities that have settled in Astoria.

In addition to her role as entertainment coordinator, Bowler is also vice chair of the Astoria Nordic Heritage Park Committee, which plans to begin construction on the park this fall. Not only will the park commemorate the community’s Nordic heritage, Bowler said, but it will also honor the immigrant tradition to recognize those who have moved to the region for a better future.

“We know we are at a turning point between the generations,” said Bowler. “It was important to us to preserve this legacy now so that we can pass it on to the next generation.”

Ray Garcia is a contributor for The Astorian and Coast Weekend.

Visa needs to assist transfer cash abroad; ‘We’re moving into areas we by no means used to service earlier than,’ says CFO

A recovering economy and the reopening of the borders are fueling a new spending dynamic for Visa Inc., and could also support the company’s more recent efforts to facilitate inter-company payments.

During visa
V, + 0.89%
had already benefited from a rebound in domestic spending, now indicates an improvement in trends for its cross-border business as more travel corridors open. Cross-border transactions, or transactions made by cardholders who are spending money in a country other than the country where their card details originate, are a critical part of Visa’s business model as the complexity of the company allows the company to charge higher fees for these transactions.

The company is still hampered by restrictions on international travel, which is an important part of cross-border spending, although CFO Vasant Prabhu sees positive signs in areas where traffic between countries is more free. U.S. consumer spending in Mexico increased 70% in May over the same period in 2019, he said, with the two-year comparison intended to offer a perspective on business performance versus pre-pandemic times. In addition, Greece opened its borders in mid-April and Visa doubled its cross-border spending in the country in six weeks.

“Consumers are showing a real desire to get started,” he told MarketWatch. “Wherever borders open, we immediately see clear bumps.”

Overall, Visa’s cross-border business ran to around 85% of 2019 levels in May, Prabhu said, with no transactions between European countries. That was an increase of six percentage points compared to the quarter of April 2021.

The COVID-19 crisis has meant that Visa may no longer be so reliant on travel to fuel cross-border spending in the future. Before the pandemic, travel made up two-thirds of cross-border business, with e-commerce spending the rest. Now the balance is upside-down, in part because cross-border travel has still stalled, but also because shoppers, especially outside of the US, are more convenient to shop online from international sellers, Prabhu said.

In general, Visa relies on being able to participate more in the flow of money between countries. The company is best known for making card payments possible for consumers, but it has made greater efforts lately to get involved in the flow of money between companies, which is a lucrative but complex business, especially when it comes to companies that are international Operate commercially.

While companies in the past have not preferred to pay each other using traditional credit or debit cards, Visa has expanded its business beyond cards to capture new types of money movements. The company acquired Earthport two years ago, which enabled it to connect to additional card-based networks and domestic systems for automated clearing houses (ACH) while Visa itself was already bringing 5 billion cards and accounts to the table. The goal is to help businesses or people pay each other in a variety of ways, be it from a card to a bank account or from a bank account to a bank account.

“We are merging an extraordinary number of networks into a single network,” said Prabhu.

This wide presence in various payment networks is why Visa believes it can be an attractive option for companies looking to send money internationally, both to suppliers and to those who work for them in other parts of the world. The company sees a $ 10 trillion market opportunity in cross-border business-to-business (B2B) payments.

The process of sending money internationally has generally been complex, Prabhu said, as companies wishing to do so may have had to use different platforms depending on where they were sending funds, how large the transaction amounts were, or how often their payments would take space . Visa’s interactions with different types of networks mean that companies can use its B2B Connect platform for different types of transactions in a simplified manner and with more security in terms of exchange rates and security protocols, he continued.

Visa announced on Monday that it has entered into a new partnership with Goldman Sachs Transaction Banking that will focus on sending money internationally. Goldman Sachs has “a single connection for any type of cross-border payment” that it can use to help its customers get their money where it belongs.

Visa saw some negative impact on its B2B cross-border dynamics during the pandemic, particularly from smaller businesses hit by COVID-19, Prabhu said, but the company is now seeing that area come back. And in general, he sees an urge from companies to digitize more parts of their operations, including payments.

The company’s efforts to expand beyond card payments are also helping it enter other areas of international money transactions, including cross-border transfers. The remittance market is “as big as FDI,” said Prabhu, and Visa is “really for the first time in” [its] history ”, which enables this type of cash flow thanks to partnerships with major remittance providers.

“We’re moving into areas we’ve never served before,” he said, “and helping people move money across borders in ways that go beyond paying merchants.”

Bar house owners, Metropolis Corridor in talks over Tuscaloosa leisure areas

With the A-Day weekend crowds more than two weeks in the past, a cooler approach is taken to minimize violence while keeping the cash deals alive.

From town hall to bartenders, almost everyone has recently said that productive discussions are taking place that would lead to appropriate crime-fighting solutions while maintaining thriving entertainment areas.

However, it is not known where to go from here.

“If you have any good ideas, bring them to us,” District 4 city councilor Lee Busby told local bar and shop owners last week. “I lay awake about it at night and don’t know the answer.

“In fact, I’m not even entirely sure I know the problem as I suspect the problem has multiple dimensions.”

In a conversation that is expected to continue during Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council’s Administrative and Policy Committee, local bar and restaurant owners have said that this problem has multiple dimensions, some of which may never arise again.

And here, less than a month away from an A-Day weekend The police responded to 271 calls across the cityis too early to know what the best solutions are.

“Everyone is still learning what happened that night,” said Brandon Owens, executive director of the Alabama Beverage Licensees Association. “It was just a perfect storm of things to get the Strip to pack.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a Magic City Classic again in our lives during a COVID on A-Day weekend.”

A couple of wild nights

Concerns arose after the A-Day weekend, which began for the Tuscaloosa Police Department long before the annual battle began.

The Thursday before the A-Day game brought one Gunfire from officers on Skyland Boulevard East and delivered on Friday an ax attack on McFarland Boulevard.

But on the evening of April 17th, after the crowds gathered for the University of Alabama’s annual A-Day Intra-Squad scrimmage hit the Strip, there were scores of visitors coming after attending the annual Magic came from Birmingham City Classic match between Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University.

Those crowds got big – so big that Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley ordered several patrol cars to be brought in to disperse the crowds, which had grown to overwhelming and potentially dangerous sizes – but in the end no one was injured.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had any (violent) incidents on the Strip,” Blankley said last month, “but it could have ended very differently.”

But when these incidents occurred within weeks of a shooting in a Temerson Square bar, injuring five people and arresting two for attempted murder, city officials are now trying to act.

CONNECTED::After arrests on A-Day weekend, those responsible at Tuscaloosa are considering limiting bar hours and alcohol sales

A week after the passionate talk about limiting bar hours, reducing alcohol-serving times, and the idea of ​​shutting down businesses not worth the tax dollars spent on protecting them, the conversations take on a more productive tone.

“We want to take a holistic approach – not an approach between us and them – to solve this problem because we are all together,” said Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa.

A recent meeting between City Hall and the business owners along the Strip created some consensus.

Owens was part of that meeting and said that everyone involved apparently wanted the same thing: a safer entertainment area without hurting people who have invested so much in their own businesses.

And what exactly that is still has to be found.

“I think it’s too early,” Owens said of possible answers. “I think we’re all still at the stage where we’re talking about solutions.”

Some things that everyone seems to agree on are improved lighting and a reduction in foliage to allow for greater lines of sight.

However, other measures such as shortening the opening times of the bar or closing the streets to vehicle traffic do not meet with such enthusiasm.

“We are all committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of all guests and visitors,” said Jay Jarrett, co-owner of the Twelve25 bar and nightclub on the Strip. “But I don’t agree with the reduction in working hours.”

These measures would have a direct impact on the roughly 50 people Twelve25 employs either full or part time, from college students to adults with families.

But that conversation with the mayor and city officials was productive, Jarrett said.

“It’s been a productive start,” said Jarrett. “It brought up some ideas that I think would help any business.”

Things like improving communication between the bar and the business owners through a new or reformed business association that could provide real-time updates between these businesses about bad actors or other issues.

Away from campus

Beyond the Strip, bar owners are also open to ideas on how to improve conditions. The problem is, they said, there isn’t one solution that would work for everyone.

Cliff Clark, the owner of the now-closed Roxy’s Bar, which was shot at last month, said he understands that everyone wants crime out of these areas, but hesitates to believe the bars can do it.

However, he agrees that some changes need to be made to meet the anticipated crowd of college football fans returning to Bryant Denny Stadium this fall.

“I think everyone needs to realize that bar opening times aren’t a crime,” said Clark, who is transforming Roxy’s into a bar called “Decades,” a club that focuses on music and themes that range from the 1980s to 2000s. “We talk a lot about a lot of things, but there is usually no tracking of a lot of things.

“We just have to keep talking and find solutions. There is no answer to anything. “

And outside the Temerson Square and Strip boroughs is The Alcove, where owner Chad Smith said a better police presence would go further than anything suggested.

And while he, too, agrees that A-Day created this “perfect storm” of conditions that is unlikely to repeat itself, he is concerned that those who want bars and similar businesses are moving further and further away from the University’s campus Alabama to be removed, so will Take this opportunity to advance your goals.

This is unfair for everyone involved if some business owners are gradually decoupling from the insolvency of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope we can all take a step back here and look at a bigger picture and find some level-headed solutions, rather than just making more regulations and policy choices that target a particular industry,” said Smith, who also owns. Loosa Brews right on University Boulevard in downtown. “It’s just a busy time in everyone’s life, and we don’t need to make it more stressful by challenging more business owners after trying to get back on our feet after a really, really tough year.”

Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@tuscaloosanews.com.

Ann Arbor figuring out areas for downtown-style improvement exterior of downtown

ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor planners continue to explore areas of the city for downtown-style development outside of downtown.

The city planner Alexis DiLeo proposed in a report to the planning commission on Tuesday evening, March 9th, four areas that should be redistributed.

These include portions of Plymouth Road, Washtenaw Avenue, West Stadium Boulevard and Maple Road, as well as State Street and Eisenhower Parkway.

The goal is to get some downtown-like street landscapes outside of downtown, DiLeo said.

“I think there was some concern in the community that every corridor would be lined with high-rise buildings, but we are talking about some very discreet areas of the city,” she said.

The city has been exploring the idea of ​​zoning with higher density for years in order to encourage more living space and mixed-use development along the major transit corridors. The initiative has taken up in recent months under the new city council.

DiLeo released an update on Tuesday, which explains how the proposed “TC1” zoning regulation is developing.

The Planning Commission’s Revision Committee reiterated the preference that buildings must be at least two stories tall, rather than requiring mixed uses, and that height restrictions apply everywhere in the proposed TC1 zones, DiLeo said. The idea of ​​”unlimited height” was there previously considered.

As now suggested, buildings can be up to 120 feet tall if they are more than 300 feet from a residential lot, up to 75 feet tall if they are more than 66 feet to 300 feet from a residential lot, and 55 feet high when they are within 66 feet of a home ownership.

“What we’ve done at altitude gives me a lot more comfort and I really like that,” said Sarah Mills, chair of the commission.

The first floor of a building in the proposed areas would have to be 15 stories high and 60% transparent for passers-by to look inside, whether through the windows of a retail store or office space or a gym or a common room for a residential building according to the design of the Suggestion.

Some commissioners pushed back and suggested allowing apartments or condominiums on the ground floor as long as there are verandas or front doors on the sidewalk. This could help create some accessible units, said Commissioner Sadira Clarke.

There is an emphasis on getting buildings in front of the public sidewalk, similar to downtown buildings, rather than having shopping malls with large parking lots in front of them.

Buildings would have to cover at least 70% of the width of the property under the proposed conditions, and no building could be longer or wider than 360 feet. The front requirement could drop to 50% if the street wall has at least three floors and there are squares or other well-designed spaces that support people in living, working, shopping and socializing.

“Just like downtown, the most convenient streets have downtown where it’s fully developed from corner to corner,” DiLeo said. “You go down it, it’s pretty comfortable, you have a sense of enclosure, you have the buildings there, there are things to do … it’s a comfortable environment.”

The boundaries of the proposed TC1 zones are Plymouth between Traverwood Drive and US 23, Washtenaw between US 23 and Platt Road, Stadium and Maple between Jackson Avenue and Pauline Boulevard, State between Oakbrook Drive and I-94, and Eisenhower between Main Street and railroad tracks .

The idea is to line these corridors with the kind of higher density development the city wants to see without “fingers” extending from the corridor, DiLeo said.

As suggested for these zones, the new TC1 zoning would replace existing zones for offices (O), research (R), office research for light industry (ORL), commercial peripheral areas (C3) and limited industrial areas (M1), but not residential areas. A 30 foot kickback from the rear or side would be required if it is adjacent to a residential property.

The new zoning would include other goals in the city’s master plan, including sustainability, land use, climate protection and non-motorized transport goals, DiLeo said.

“The district’s purpose is to get more density for better sustainability,” she said.

A couple built an apartment over their garage. Ann Arbor officials want more of this.

There would be no minimum parking requirements, but there would be parking restrictions and the proposed vehicle area would not exceed the size of the building’s footprint.

The commissioners gave a mixture of feedback on Tuesday evening, asking about a possible reallocation of additional areas.

Lisa Disch, representative of the city council on the commission, asked if the city might be leaving out other areas where the same development principles should apply. She mentioned corridors like Packard Road and the South Industrial Highway.

The TC1 zoning is not intended as a one-size-fits-all solution for every corridor, said DiLeo.

“I see this project as an intensification of our strong commercial and office corridors,” she said.

Other corridors like Packard and South Industrial work differently and are of different character, but they could still be zoned to allow for more density, she said.

Commissioner Alex Milshteyn inquired about the area of ​​Briarwood Mall which city officials believe is ripe for redevelopment as shopping habits change.

Brett Lenart, the city’s planning manager, said there had been no recent conversations with the mall’s owners.

“I just think with what’s going on there it may be worth including them in the conversation,” said Milshteyn.

No action was taken at the working session on Tuesday evening. A public hearing on the TC1 zoning proposal is expected at the commission meeting on April 6, before commissioners vote on making recommendations to the city council.

Commissioners also got an initial glimpse Tuesday evening of staff proposed changes to development project approval requirements, exempting certain types of projects from the full city map approval process.

As suggested, projects that would be exempt from city council approval to approve the site plan could include housing developments of up to six units, legal developments that do not require reallocation, building expansions no greater than 300 square feet, and solar systems.

Planning officials are still working on the details and some commissioners suggested changes.

For example, some advocated that only housing developments with up to four residential units should be exempted from the requirements of the site plan and not up to six. Since there could be up to six bedrooms per unit, some disagreed that a building with 36 beds should be exempt.

The projects would still go through the usual assessments of the city’s staff. And in the case of legal developments that do not require reallocation, they would no longer go to the city council for final approval, but would still go through the planning commission, which has the final say, similar to what the commission is already doing with exemptions for marijuana- Pharmacies and the like according to the proposal.


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Rural areas want virus reduction cash swiftly

February 9, 2021 Updated: February 9, 2021 2:32 am

BANGOR, Maine (AP) – The independent Maine Senator has joined a push for the federal government to prioritize money for emergency aid to coronavirus in rural areas.

Senator Angus King, who is negotiating with Democrats, said the emergency public health and welfare fund money needs to get to rural areas quickly because of the need for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and other vital services. King joined a non-partisan group of senators from largely rural states and urged the U.S. Department of Health to distribute the money quickly.

The senators said Congress allocated $ 2.5 billion under the public health fund to high-risk, underserved and rural communities. They said in a statement that “additional resources are needed to ensure that health care providers and health departments have the resources necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”