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Canadian-American couple who wed over FaceTime devastated that Canada won’t recognize marriage

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A Canadian-American couple were devastated to discover that Canada won’t recognize their marriage, performed with only the groom present at the wedding while the bride participated via FaceTime.

“It broke my heart,” said Lauren Pickrell, 35, of Windsor, Ont. She has been separated from her American partner, Mark Maksymiuk, since early March due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

The couple had hoped that by getting married, they could reunite in Canada, which allows American spouses to enter the country.

“I had really high expectations because I felt in my heart that we did everything right,” Pickrell said. 

She and Maksymiuk, 32, were legally married on July 6 and have a valid marriage licence from the state of Kansas. 

The catch is that only Maksymiuk was physically present at the official wedding ceremony in Kansas City, Kan. Pickrell later participated via FaceTime in an informal ceremony for the couple, held at a chapel in neighbouring Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City straddles the two states.

Maksymiuk married Pickrell over FaceTime on July 6 while he was in a wedding chapel in Kansas City, Mo., and she was near Windsor, Ont. Earlier that day, Maksymiuk attended a proxy marriage ceremony in the state of Kansas after obtaining a marriage licence there. (Submitted by Mark Maksymiuk)

U.S. immigration law will recognize marriages in which only the bride or groom was physically present at the ceremony — known as a proxy marriage — once the couple physically unite.

Canada, however, is not on board. Maksymiuk said he discovered this when he tried to enter the country and explained the details of his proxy marriage when questioned by a border officer.

“His exact words were, ‘You know, we don’t view this type of marriage as valid,'” said Maksymiuk, who was denied entry to Canada. “I was crying. I broke down.”

Proxy marriages legal in Kansas

Maksymiuk lives in Royal Oak, Mich., about 26 kilometres from Pickrell’s home in Windsor. Despite the short distance, the couple remain apart.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Canada has banned foreigners from entering for non-essential travel. On top of that, the U.S. land border is closed to Canadian visitors. Canadians can still fly to the U.S., but Pickrell said she can’t get enough time off work right now to travel and then self-isolate for two weeks upon her return. 

Canada recently loosened its travel restrictions to allow immediate family to enter, including spouses and common-law partners.

Committed couples who don’t meet the criteria have scrambled for solutions, including marriage — if they can get to the same location.

Henry Chang, a business immigration lawyer in Toronto, says Kansas ended up legalizing proxy marriages by neglecting to spell out in the law who must attend a wedding. Maksymiuk would likely be allowed to enter Canada if he and Pickrell redo their wedding ceremony in the U.S. — together, Chang says. (Submitted by Henry Chang)

Pickrell and Maksymiuk searched for a possible alternative and discovered a little known fact: Couples can legally marry in Kansas in a proxy ceremony. The two decided to give it a shot.

“If you really love someone, you do whatever it takes,” Pickrell said.

Henry Chang, a business immigration lawyer in Toronto, said Kansas wound up legalizing proxy marriages by neglecting to spell out in the law who must attend the wedding. 

“They just forgot to mention that both parties had to be present in order for the ceremony to be legal,” said Chang, a partner with the law firm Dentons.

“Because of that, it’s implied that you can get away with it.”

Groom denied entry into Canada

To seal the deal, Maksymiuk flew to the state of Kansas, where he obtained a marriage licence and attended a proxy ceremony in Kansas City, Kan., set up by Your Magical Day wedding chapel, which specializes in proxy marriages. Your Magical Day then held an informal ceremony for the couple at a nearby chapel in Kansas City, Mo. 

“It’s in a strip mall,” Maksymiuk said. “It almost feels like you’re walking into a doctor’s office, but there’s, like, ribbons and bows and stuff on the wall.”

Pickrell appeared via FaceTime on an iPad. At the time, she was at her job as a kitchen supervisor at a restaurant just outside Windsor. Her boss and co-workers joined her for the ceremony while her family tuned in from Montreal.

“It was perfect,” Pickrell said. “I never wanted to have a big wedding.”

Pickrell is shown on a computer screen as she takes part in her FaceTime wedding on July 6 from her workplace — a restaurant just outside Windsor, Ont. Her boss and co-workers joined her for the ceremony while her family tuned in from Montreal. (Submitted by Mark Maksymiuk)

But things fell apart five days later at the Detroit-Windsor border when Maksymiuk tried to enter Canada and was denied entry.

“It was absolutely devastating,” he said. 

In 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stopped recognizing proxy marriages unless the bride or groom is a member of the Canadian military.

IRCC told CBC News that it made the change due to concerns that proxy marriages could involve an unwilling spouse who never consented. 

Maksymiuk said the government’s position is frustrating, as he and Pickrell have been in a committed relationship for almost five years.

“It doesn’t seem right or fair.”

What are the options?

Chang, the Toronto lawyer, said Maksymiuk would likely be allowed to enter Canada if he and Pickrell redo their wedding ceremony in the U.S. — together. 

“Unfortunately, that’s the only way to save it.”

Because that’s currently not an option, the couple hopes the federal government will broaden its immediate family exemptions to allow more couples to reunite. 

“It’s a difficult time to be alone, and they need to recognize that,” Pickrell said. “Love is essential and love is not tourism.”

Ever since the government introduced its immediate family exemptions in June, it has faced pressure from separated families and couples who don’t meet the criteria. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC News last week that it’s reviewing its definition of immediate family while still keeping in mind the risks posed by international travel during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Pickrell and Maksymiuk say they have no regrets about their proxy marriage, which allowed them to celebrate their love — albeit remotely.

“It made me really happy,” Pickrell said. “Mark is my husband. No one can tell me different.”

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Barfresh to Host Business Update Call on August 13, 2020 | 2020-08-04 | Press Releases

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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Barfresh Food Group, Inc. (OTCQB: BRFH), a manufacturer of frozen, ready-to-blend and ready-to-drink beverages, announced that it will host a business update call on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 1:30 pm Pacific Time (4:30 pm Eastern Time). Listeners can dial (877) 407-4018 in North America, and international listeners can dial (201) 689-8471. Participants from the Company will be Riccardo Delle Coste, CEO, Joseph Cugine, President, and Raffi Loussararian, Vice President of Finance.

A telephonic playback will be available approximately two hours after the call concludes and will be available through Thursday, August 27, 2020. Listeners in North America can dial (844) 512-2921, and international listeners can dial (412) 317-6671. Passcode is 13708160.

Interested parties may also listen to a simultaneous webcast of the conference call by logging onto the company’s website at www.barfresh.com in the Investors-Presentations section. A replay of the webcast will also be available for approximately 30 days following the call.

About Barfresh Food Group

Barfresh Food Group, Inc. (OTCQB: BRFH) is a developer, manufacturer and distributor of ready-to-blend and ready-to-drink beverages, including smoothies, shakes and frappes, primarily for restaurant chains and the foodservice industry. The company’s proprietary, patented system uses portion-controlled pre-packaged beverage ingredients that deliver freshly made frozen beverages that are quick, cost efficient, better for you and without waste. Barfresh has an exclusive distribution partnership with the leading food distributor in North America. For more information, please visit www.barfresh.com.

Contact

John Mills

ICR

646-277-1254

John.Mills@icrinc.com

Deirdre Thomson

ICR

646-277-1283

Deirdre.Thomson@icrinc.com

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N.S. Immigrant Stays Connected To Ethiopia Through Export Business

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HALIFAX – Like a lot of other businesses, Only Original was born when its founder stumbled upon a need that wasn’t being addressed. Years after Semira Abdu moved from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nova Scotia to attend StFX University, people began asking her to ship products back home. In Ethiopia, it can be difficult to find quality beauty products and other goods that Canadians take for granted.

“Some products are made in China; their quality isn’t that great,” said Abdu about certain items sold in Ethiopia. “Now that people have seen things from here, they want that quality.”

“People have lost that trust because they are paying a lot of money to get this product, but when they’re using it, it doesn’t hold the quality.”

After shipping items back to Ethiopia for friends and family, word spread about Abdu, and more requests came in for products to ship. Abdu and her boyfriend, Jordan Banyan, realized there was business potential. So, the exporting business Only Original was born in 2019. Abdu created a Facebook page where people could make orders, which already has more than 2,000 followers.

Abdu, who now lives in Halifax, makes her profit by charging a markup on items shipped. For luxury items, like makeup, she charges 15 percent. But for essential items, like electronics used for education, she only charges three percent. The business did well enough that Only Original has two employees who handle things on the Ethiopian side.

The most common items shipped through Only Original include beauty products, deodorants, and clothing. As a bonus, Abdu has contributed to the Halifax economy, since she is able to get most items at local malls and beauty outlets.

But two big events have caused Abdu to put the business on hold. The first, back in March, was the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought the economy to a halt worldwide. Then, about a month ago, Ethiopian singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was murdered. His death caused violent protests across the country, where 80 people were killed. In response, the Ethiopian government shut off the internet across the country.

“The death set off numerous protests demanding justice for his death. On Tuesday, June 30 at 9 am local time the Ethiopian government shut down the entire country’s internet…” reported Business Insider.

“Hundeessaa was Oromo, an ethnic group that has historically been repressed. His music became the soundtrack to a political shift that led to the nation’s last prime minister being replaced.”

Back in Halifax, Abdu could only mourn the tragedy from afar. With her home country without the internet, she was left to worry about the safety of her family and friends. After two weeks, Abdu’s brother was able to find a rare wifi connection and confirmed that her family was safe. Recently, internet access was restored to the country by the government.

“It’s very sad because Ethiopia was in the process of very inspiring energy,” said Abdu. “It broke my heart because there was human life lost, there was the destruction of property and it slowed our momentum.”

“But I look forward to how we’re going to come out of this and really put our effort into building our country and building a better system so things like this don’t happen.”

Abdu plans on returning to Ethiopia in the near future. While talking about her life in the African country, it’s easy to hear the love in her voice for her homeland.

“What I remember most is whenever the light goes out, we would sit outside, and the stars shine SO bright,” she recalled. “If the moon is out, you could read a book outside.”

Even though her house didn’t always have running water and the power grid could go down for days at a time, Abdu calls life in Ethiopia a happy one. When she goes back, she hopes to obtain an education degree.

Now that internet is back in Ethiopia, Abdu wants to resume Only Original. She has a new business website ready to go, where people can place orders. On top of that, Abdu hopes to expand her business by importing designer products from Ethiopia into Halifax.

“We have really, really, talented designers, making things like bags and scarves,” said Abdu.

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Prosecutor seeking Trump’s taxes cites probe of his business – World News

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The Canadian Press – | Story: 306950

A New York City prosecutor fighting to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge Monday he was justified in demanding them because of public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation related to payoffs to two women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.

In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Vance, a Democrat, said the president wasn’t entitled to know the exact nature of the grand jury probe, which they called a “complex financial investigation.”

They noted, though, that at the time the subpoena for the tax filings was issued to Trump’s accountants, “there were public allegations of possible criminal activity” at the president’s company “dating back over a decade.”

They cited several newspaper articles, including one in which the Washington Post examined allegations that Trump had a practice of sending financial statements to potential business partners and banks that inflated the worth of his projects by claiming they were bigger or more potentially lucrative than they actually were.

Another article described congressional testimony by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said the president would overstate the value of his business interests to impress people or lenders, but then deflate the value of assets when trying to reduce his taxes.

The attorneys also cited reports of past non-criminal investigations by New York regulators into whether the conduct described by Cohen amounted to bank or insurance fraud.

“These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders. This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” the lawyers said.

Trump’s legal team has argued that the subpoena for his tax filings was issued in bad faith and amounted to harassment of the president.

Speaking to reporters later Monday, Trump called the district attorney’s investigation another attempt by Democrats to damage him.

“This is just a continuation of the witch hunt. It’s Democrat stuff. They failed with Mueller. They failed with everything. They failed with Congress. They failed at every stage of the game. This has been going on for three and a half, four years,” Trump said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Canadian Press – Aug 4, 2020 / 6:29 am | Story: 306949

Spain’s former monarch, Juan Carlos I, is leaving Spain to live in another, unspecified, country amid a financial scandal, according to a letter published on the royal family’s website Monday.

The letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, said: “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.”

Juan Carlos, in the letter, said he made the decision against the backdrop of “public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life.”

He said he wanted to ensure he doesn’t make his son’s role difficult, adding that “my legacy, and my own dignity, demand that it should be so.” Juan Carlos’ current whereabouts were not known.

Spain’s prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos — including investigations in Spain and Switzerland — “disturbing.”

Since Spain’s Supreme Court opened its probe earlier this year, Spanish media outlets have published damaging testimony from a separate Swiss investigation into millions of euros (dollars) that were allegedly given to Juan Carlos by Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah.

Juan Carlos allegedly then transferred a large amount to a former companion in what investigators are considering as a possible attempt to hide the money from authorities. The companion, Corinna Larsen, is a Danish-German businesswoman long linked by Spanish media to the former king. Spanish prosecutors have asked her to provide testimony in the case in September in Madrid.

The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favour of his son Felipe VI, losing the immunity from prosecution Spain’s Constitution grants to the head of state.

After media reports claimed Felipe was a beneficiary of an offshore account holding an alleged 65 million-euro gift ( $76 million) from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos, Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from the former king. Felipe also stripped his father of his annual stipend of 194,232 euros ($228,000.)

The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities.

The royal website said in a statement that Felipe respected his father’s decision.

Felipe acknowledged the historic importance of his father’s reign, the statement said, but also “reaffirmed the principles and values on which it stood, in the framework of our Constitution and the rest of our legal system.”

A statement from Spain’s general prosecutor’s office in June said it was investigating whether Juan Carlos received millions of dollars in kickbacks from Saudi Arabia during the construction of a high-speed railway there by a Spanish consortium.

Are you looking for a wholesome Instagram account to follow? Look no further than @titotheraccoon – an account dedicated to rescue raccoons that can paint. 

You read that correctly, raccoons that paint – in fact, the humans that house these little critters have set up a website dedicated to selling the artwork created by the rescues

The account showcases three rescue bandits; Tito was the first to be adopted back in 2017, then came Cheeto in 2019 and earlier this month Piper was added to the clan. 

Along with the three raccoons, the family also consists of four ferrets, six cats (who are also on Instagram), a dog and hedgehog – talk about a variety show. 

The team also documents their adventures on YouTube, showcasing how they came into the lives of their rescuers and day-to-day fun like Cheeto trying a Cheetos for the first time. 

According to their Instagram page, they’re working towards opening a rehab centre for orphaned raccoons as people are contacting them to adopt raccoons they’ve found in their neighbourhood. 

The account has over 536,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 112,000 followers on Instagram.


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The Canadian Press – Aug 3, 2020 / 3:25 pm | Story: 306931

Seven St. Louis Cardinals players and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, causing Major League Baseball to postpone the team’s four-game series at Detroit.

The series was to have been played at Comerica Park from Tuesday through Thursday.

“You think about how quickly something like this can spread,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. “Until it touches you, you sometimes might not believe it, but needless to say we know this is very real and we know it moves quickly and it moves silently, but it can infect a lot of people fast.”

Mozeliak said that five of those who tested positive did not show symptoms. Mozeliak said the others did — headaches, cough, sniffles, low-grade fever.

“And of those eight, it’s a variety of symptoms but nothing at this point requiring anything like hospitalization,’ Mozeliak said.

St. Louis has been in quarantine since Thursday in Milwaukee, where the Cardinals’ last series was also postponed due to positive tests. While all the members of the Cardinals’ travelling party who tested positive have been returned home, the rest of them remain isolated in their Milwaukee hotel rooms.

The team is being tested daily.

“The hope would be to travel back to St. Louis Wednesday morning, work out Wednesday afternoon and allow players to get their feet moving again, their bodies moving again,” Mozeliak said. “And then on Thursday have a more robust workout and then play Friday.”

St. Louis last played July 29 at Minnesota and is tentatively set to resume its schedule this Friday at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Mozeliak said he wasn’t sure how the team might reschedule some of these games that have been wiped out with two series getting postponed.

“I haven’t really even thought about our schedule much other than hopefully playing Friday,” Mozeliak said. “It’s hard to think about the future when you’re literally trying to just get through the day.”

The Cardinals are the second team sidelined by the novel coronavirus since the season started July 23.

The Miami Marlins are set to resume play Tuesday in Baltimore following an outbreak in their travelling party that sidelined half the players. Miami has not played since July 26.

Because the outbreak occurred in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies were sidelined for a week while they were tested daily.

In another virus development, the Field of Dreams game in Iowa was postponed until 2021. The game at a new ballpark on the cornfield adjacent to the site of the 1989 movie had been planned for Aug. 13 in Dyersville.

The Chicago White Sox originally were to host the New York Yankees, who were replaced by St. Louis because of MLB’s new schedule. The White Sox will be one of the teams next year. The opponent has not been determined.

The Canadian Press – Aug 3, 2020 / 11:33 am | Story: 306922

The U.S. Navy is investigating an incident in which dogs attacked a “Colin Kaepernick stand-in” during a K-9 demonstration during a 2019 fundraiser at the Navy SEAL Museum in Florida.

The Navy said in a statement posted on Twitter that officials became aware of the video on Sunday.

Kaepernick is a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” before games to protest social injustice and police brutality. He played his final NFL game in January 2017. He offered support to those protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in May, and the NFL’s commissioner has apologized for not listening earlier to players’ concerns about social injustice.

The videos show four dogs attacking a man, who is wearing a red Kaepernick football jersey over heavily padded gear as people stand nearby watching. In a second video, the man is laying on the ground when he’s approached by men wearing fatigues and holding rifles, saying, “On your belly.” The man replies, “Oh, man, I will stand,” as he rolls over, followed by laughing from the crowd.

The videos were apparently posted on Instagram last year and resurfaced over the weekend.

“The inherent message of this video is completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of Naval Special Warfare and the U.S. Navy,” the statement said.

The Navy said the “initial indications” are that no active duty personnel or equipment were used in the demonstration at the “independent organization’s event.”

The Navy SEAL Museum is located in Fort Pierce, Florida, which is north of West Palm Beach on the state’s Atlantic Coast. According to its website, the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum is the only museum dedicated solely to preserving the history of the U.S. Navy SEALs and their predecessors.

The Canadian Press – Aug 3, 2020 / 9:30 am | Story: 306914

The Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas will not be happening this year.

Organizers of the electronic dance music festival announced Sunday that the event will be pushed back to 2021. Typically held in May at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the festival was postponed initially until October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Insomniac CEO and Founder Pasquale Rotella says it’s now slated for May 21-23 of next year. Tickets for this year’s festival will be honoured. Anyone who can’t make the new dates can fill out an online form.

In an Instagram post, Rotella said organizers were trying to set up a way for attendees to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to Las Vegas and again at the venue.

“Unfortunately, we just learned that the medical advances necessary to pull this off will not be ready in time,” Rotella wrote.

More than 150,000 people attend each night of the carnival, which features more than 200 performers on eight stages.

The Canadian Press – Aug 3, 2020 / 6:32 am | Story: 306906

A popular online spoof of the children’s favourite “Goodnight Moon,” reworked for the coronavirus, will be published by Penguin Random House this fall.

The Penguin imprint Philomel Books announced Monday that “Good Morning Zoom,” written by Lindsay Rechler and illustrated by June Park, is scheduled for Oct. 6. Currently self-published, “Good Morning Zoom” takes Margaret Wise Brown’s beloved bedtime story and turns it into a narrative about Zoom, bread baking, home schooling and other familiar parts of life during the pandemic. The book’s fans include talk show host James Corden, who read from it on “The Late, Late Show.”

Rechler is a banking executive and mother of two who lives in Manhattan. Park is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Brooklyn. All author net proceeds will be donated to coronavirus relief charities.

“COVID-19 is a difficult topic, especially for young children,” Rechler said in a statement. “I wanted to tell my children a relatable story — a story that would help them become familiar with their new everyday lives and within that story, touch upon what was happening in the outside world. I thought a lot about the contrast between quarantining safely inside versus what was happening outside my window.”

The Canadian Press – Aug 2, 2020 / 12:47 pm | Story: 306882

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.

Bands of heavy rain from Isaias lashed Florida’s east coast Sunday while officials dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus kept a close watch on the weakened tropical storm.

Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon, but was still threatening to bring heavy rain and flooding as it crawled just off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

“Don’t be fooled by the downgrade,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned at a news conference after the storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — spent hours roughing up the Bahamas.

Upper-level winds took much of the strength out of Isaias, said Stacy Stewart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm also slowed down considerably.

“We were expecting a hurricane to develop and it didn’t,” Stewart said Sunday. “It’s a tale of two storms. If you live on the west side of the storm, you didn’t get much. If you live east of the storm, there’s a lot of nasty weather there.”

Florida is on the west side of Isaias.

Authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away. DeSantis said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week’s supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters where people can seek refuge from the storm if necessary, while also safely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Isaias put another burden on communities already hit by other storms and sickness.

In Palm Beach County, about 150 people were in shelters, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda. The county has a voluntary evacuation order for those living in mobile or manufactured homes, or those who feel their home can’t withstand winds.

“We don’t anticipate many more evacuations,” she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and are wearing masks, due to the virus.

In Indian River County, north of West Palm Beach, Florida, emergency shelters were clearing out Sunday after Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Officials told TCPalm newspapers that 38 people registered at three schools used as shelters. Those areas now must be cleaned to ensure no traces of the coronavirus remain as teachers and staff report Monday to prepare for the upcoming school year.

No one checked in with COVID-19 symptoms. Temperature checks were done at the door, officials said, and isolation rooms were designated in case anyone came in with symptoms.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, and were at 65 mph (100 kph) at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm’s centre was located about 45 miles (75 kilometres) east-southeast of Vero Beach, Florida.

The centre of the storm was forecast to travel near the state’s eastern coast throughout the day, and fluctuations in strength are possible into Tuesday, forecasters said.

Heavy rain, flooding and high winds could batter much of the East Coast this week as the system is forecast to track up or just off the Atlantic seaboard.

The storm did not affect the successful return of two astronauts aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule, which splashed down into calm waters in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola. Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode the capsule back to Earth less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida.

Isaias already has caused destruction in the Caribbean: On Thursday, before it became a hurricane, it uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. One man died in the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floods that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Hallandale Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina, and for Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. A storm surge watch is in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, and from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina.

With coronavirus cases surging in Florida recently, the added menace of a storm ratcheted up the anxiety. State-run virus testing sites closed in areas where the storm might hit because the sites are outdoor tents, which could topple in high winds.

Natalie Betancur, stocking up at a grocery in Palm Beach Gardens, said that the storm itself doesn’t cause her a great amount of concern.

“The hurricane is not that serious, but I feel that the public is really panicking because it’s a hurricane and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people in September 2019.


ORIGINAL – 12:47 p.m.

Bands of heavy rain from Isaias lashed Florida’s east coast Sunday while officials dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus kept a close watch on the weakened tropical storm.

Isaias was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon, but was still threatening to bring heavy rain and flooding as it crawled just off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

“Don’t be fooled by the downgrade,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned at a news conference after the storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — spent hours roughing up the Bahamas.

Upper-level winds took much of the strength out of Isaias, said Stacy Stewart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm also slowed down considerably.

“We were expecting a hurricane to develop and it didn’t,” Stewart said Sunday. “It’s a tale of two storms. If you live on the west side of the storm, you didn’t get much. If you live east of the storm, there’s a lot of nasty weather there.”

Florida is on the west side of Isaias.

Authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away. DeSantis said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week’s supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters where people can seek refuge from the storm if necessary, while also safely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Isaias put another burden on communities already hit by other storms and sickness.

In Palm Beach County, about 150 people were in shelters, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda. The county has a voluntary evacuation order for those living in mobile or manufactured homes, or those who feel their home can’t withstand winds.

“We don’t anticipate many more evacuations,” she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and are wearing masks, due to the virus.

In Indian River County, north of West Palm Beach, Florida, emergency shelters were clearing out Sunday after Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Officials told TCPalm newspapers that 38 people registered at three schools used as shelters. Those areas now must be cleaned to ensure no traces of the coronavirus remain as teachers and staff report Monday to prepare for the upcoming school year.

No one checked in with COVID-19 symptoms. Temperature checks were done at the door, officials said, and isolation rooms were designated in case anyone came in with symptoms.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, and were at 65 mph (100 kph) at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm’s centre was located about 45 miles (75 kilometres) east-southeast of Vero Beach, Florida.

The centre of the storm was forecast to travel near the state’s eastern coast throughout the day, and fluctuations in strength are possible into Tuesday, forecasters said.

Heavy rain, flooding and high winds could batter much of the East Coast this week as the system is forecast to track up or just off the Atlantic seaboard.

The storm did not affect the successful return of two astronauts aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule, which splashed down into calm waters in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola. Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode the capsule back to Earth less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida.

Isaias already has caused destruction in the Caribbean: On Thursday, before it became a hurricane, it uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. One man died in the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floods that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Hallandale Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina, and for Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. A storm surge watch is in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, and from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina.

With coronavirus cases surging in Florida recently, the added menace of a storm ratcheted up the anxiety. State-run virus testing sites closed in areas where the storm might hit because the sites are outdoor tents, which could topple in high winds.

Natalie Betancur, stocking up at a grocery in Palm Beach Gardens, said that the storm itself doesn’t cause her a great amount of concern.

“The hurricane is not that serious, but I feel that the public is really panicking because it’s a hurricane and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people in September 2019

SpaceX confirmed via Twitter that their crew has successfully returned home after months of exploration in outer space. 

Crew Dragon touched down on earth Sunday afternoon after Falcon 9 took to orbit back on May 30

Nasa two astronauts, Col. Doug Hurley and Col. Bob Behnken, manned the rocket ship and were welcomed back to earth just prior to noon pacific time. 

Splashdown happened off the coast of Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. 

SpaceX is owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and sent the first manned private rocket ship into orbit from the United States. 

The Canadian Press – Jul 31, 2020 / 9:08 pm | Story: 306835

President Donald Trump says he will take action as soon as Saturday to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the United States.

Trump made the announcement to reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said.

U.S. lawmakers have raised intelligence and privacy concerns about the company’s ownership. The company has denied allegations that it shares user data with the Chinese government.

The move comes as Trump has ratcheted up tensions with China during the coronavirus pandemic and stalled trade negotiations between the two nations.

The company’s operations in the U.S. has been under review by the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that authority.”

___

Miller reported from Washington.

Beer has been infused with many different types of food, but this is the first time you can get a cold one brewed with mustard.

French’s is teaming up with Colorado-based brewery Oskar Blues to bring this unconventional beverage to masses for a limited time. The beer is being released for National Mustard Day, which falls on Aug. 1.

“We’re stoked on bold flavors at Oskar Blues Brewery and we never shy away from a challenge,” said Oskar Blues Head Brewer, Juice Drapeau. “With French’s Mustard Beer we elevated the Classic Yellow Mustard flavor with tangy lemon and lime to create a tropical wheat ale I’d pair with a loaded hot dog on the hottest day of the year.”

The French’s Mustard Beer will be released at the brewery’s taprooms in Colorado, but they will also be available online for a limited time at craftshack.com.

If you would like to learn more about the creation of mustard beer, you can check out French’s ‘Making Mustard Beer’ video below.

The Canadian Press – Jul 31, 2020 / 6:15 pm | Story: 306831

California health officials reported the state’s first coronavirus death of a child on Friday as the statewide tally of fatalities surpassed 9,000, saying the victim was a teenager who had other health conditions.

The teenager’s death occurred in the Central Valley, but officials at the state Department of Public Health released no other details, citing privacy rules. The Central Valley is the state’s major agricultural region and recently has become one of California’s hot spots for the virus.

It’s extremely rare for children to die of the coronavirus. As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children had died of the disease in the U.S., less than 0.2% of the nation’s deaths at the time.

In California, more than 9,000 people have now died from the virus, and three-quarters were 65 and older. Only about 9% of California’s nearly half-million confirmed virus cases are children, and very few have suffered conditions serious enough for hospitalization, according to state data.

Scientists still aren’t certain why children don’t seem to be as seriously affected by the virus as adults.

In March, Los Angeles County officials said a 17-year-old boy died of the virus. At the time it was believed to be the first death of a child, but days later local health officials walked back the initial finding, saying it was possible he died from something else. County health officials said the case would need to be evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control.

Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, said the boy from his city died from septic shock after being admitted to the hospital with respiratory issues.

How likely children are to contract and spread the virus is a key question as leaders in California and elsewhere determine if and how to safely reopen schools this fall. Most California counties are now on a state monitoring list because of rising virus cases and and may not reopen schools for in-person instruction until they are off the list for 14 days.

Statewide, 96 deaths were reported in the last day, according to figures released Friday. Cases are still increasing by the thousands each day, but the curve appears to be flattening. The average number of new cases per day over the past week was 8,322, compared to 9,881 in the previous week.

The average percentage of people testing positive dropped to 6.5% over the past seven days, compared to 7.2% over 14 days.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged more support for the Central Valley on Monday, including $52 million in federal money for eight counties to improve testing and find places for people to isolate or quarantine if they can’t do so at home. The eight counties, including Fresno and Kern, home to major cities, had positive test rates between 11% and 18% at the beginning of the week.

For many people, the coronavirus causes no symptoms and for others only mild or moderate illness, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and be fatal.

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