Schools Field Security Questions Following Florida Shooting

(TNS) - As flags were being lowered to half-staff after Wednesday’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting, school administrators here were fielding telephone calls from concerned parents.

“I’m fed up with school shootings,” said Carl Murphy, an Eastmont parent who called The Wenatchee World after talking to his child’s school principal. “I want to know why anyone can walk into a school and cause whatever harm they choose.”

Similar calls and emails from parents worried about school security in the wake of the shooting that killed 17, prompted both Wenatchee and Eastmont superintendents to post letters of assurance to community and staff members.

Cyber hacks cost up to $109 billion in 2016, U.S. estimates

(Bloomberg) --Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report on the impact of cyber attacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors, including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Cost Of U.S. Opioid Epidemic Since 2001 Is $1 Trillion And Climbing

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

The report by Altarum, a nonprofit group that studies the health economy, examined CDC mortality data through June of last year. The greatest financial cost of the opioid epidemic, according to the report, is in lost earnings and productivity losses to employers. Early deaths and substance abuse disorders also take a toll on local, state and federal government through lost tax revenue.

U.S. Hospitalization Rates Due To Flu Have Increased Alarmingly [Infographic]

The U.S. is being ravaged by its worst flu season in years. The intensity of the current outbreak has surprised experts and the infection rate stands at about eight percent, as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. Back then, 60.8 million Americans contracted the virus of which 274,304 were hospitalized and 12,469 died. As bad as that outbreak was, the 2014-2015 flu season was far more lethal with 710,000 people hospitalized and 56,000 dying, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worryingly, the rate of hospitalizations is the highest the CDC has ever recorded at this point in the U.S. flu season.

PG&E Says Small Fire at California Nuclear Plant Didn’t Affect Safety

Pacific Gas & Electric says a small fire at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California did not affect plant safety.

According to PG&E spokesman John Lindsey, the fire that occurred last week at the Central Coast plant was the result of overheating of a motorized pump that is used to clean kelp and ocean debris.

Sonoma County to Sue PG&E Over October Fires, Seeking up to $25 Million in Damages

(TNS) - Sonoma County officials said Tuesday that they will sue PG&E over the October wildfires, becoming the first government entity to take on the utility giant over its alleged role in the historic infernos.

The county is seeking in its planned lawsuit tens of millions of dollars in damages to clear debris, rebuild infrastructure and develop safety measures to prevent future disasters.

The move came about a month after the Board of Supervisors hired a group of private attorneys to represent them at a hearing to consolidate more than 100 similar suits from burned-out residents under a single San Francisco judge.

More Cameras on California Mountain Peaks to Boost Fire Protection

San Diego County, Calif. authorities say new high-definition cameras will be installed on mountain peaks to bolster fire protection, and an existing computer network that links fire stations throughout the region will be upgraded.

The Union-Tribune reports officials want to boost by five the number of cameras that use an established network that allows firefighting agencies to closely monitor remote areas.


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