Prisons in California Are Coronavirus Hotbeds Despite Billions Spent

(TNS) - From Corcoran and Avenal state prisons in the arid Central Valley to historical San Quentin on the San Francisco Bay, California prisons have emerged as raging COVID-19 hot spots, even as the state annually spends more on inmate health care than other big states spend on their entire prison systems.

The new state budget taking effect July 1 authorizes $13.1 billion for California’s 34 prisons, housing 114,000 inmates, more than three times what any other state spends. That sum includes $3.6 billion for medical and dental services and mental health care — roughly what Texas spends to run its entire 140,000-inmate prison system.

Government-Produced Flood Maps May Have Underestimated Properties at Risk

First Street Foundation, a nonprofit agency, is making accurate climate change-adjusted flood scores available for every property in the U.S. today. There are government-produced maps showing 8.7 million homes and properties at significant flood risk—and it turns out those may have underestimated the amount of real estate at risk by 67%. Or, in other words, an additional 6 million properties face a significant risk of flood.

Before these individual property scores were available, there was no easy way for your average homeowner or buyer to understand the flood risk associated with specific properties. That’s particularly problematic because climate change is causing flood risk to increase; there are more extreme rain events and coastal flooding than there used to be.

California Campaign for Preparedness Evolves with Coronavirus

In the Listos California Campaign for preparedness, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) set out to reach a million within the state with preparedness training and messages. Those numbers will be released by the governor’s office next week.

But as that campaign was underway, the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing a reorganization and creating opportunity. In March, the approach to training and preparedness — typically training in small groups such as a social club or a church group — transitioned online.

Disneyland Workers in California Say Proposed July Reopening May Be Too Early

Unions representing 17,000 workers at Walt Disney Co.’s Disneyland Resort in California have told the state’s governor they are not convinced the theme park will be safe enough to reopen by the company’s July target date.

In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, the unions said they had been in discussions with Disney since mid-March when Disneyland was closed to help curb the coronavirus pandemic. The resort in Anaheim, in southern California, houses the Disneyland theme park and the California Adventure Park, both of which the company aims to reopen July 17.

Crews Battling 4 Wildfires in Arizona

Hundreds of firefighters continued to battle three major wildfires burning in forested mountains and desert hills across Arizona.

Crews were fighting fires in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest overlooking Tucson, in the Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in northeast Arizona and in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon.

Judge Halts Limit on California Governor’s Emergency Powers

An appellate judge on Wednesday stayed a lower court’s order barring Gov. Gavin Newsom from issuing directives that might conflict with state law, freeing him to take additional executive actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sutter County Superior Court Judge Perry Parker on Friday temporarily blocked Newsom’s executive order requiring in-person balloting stations even as every registered voter is mailed a ballot for the November election. The judge also sided with two Republican lawmakers by more broadly requiring Newsom to refrain from new orders that might be interpreted as infringing on the Legislature’s responsibilities.

Coronavirus Spreading Among U.S. Fruit, Vegetable Packers Raising Concern

From apple packing houses in Washington state to farm workers in Florida and a California county known as “the world’s salad bowl,” outbreaks of the novel coronavirus are emerging at U.S. fruit and vegetable farms and packing plants.

A rising number of sick farm and packing house workers comes after thousands of meat plant employees contracted the virus and could lead to more labor shortages and a fresh wave of disruption to U.S. food production.

California and Other States Lost out in Race for Coronavirus Face Masks

(TNS) - Desperate for face masks, California paid $800 million to a politically connected firm that failed to deliver most of the state's order.

State officials in Mississippi paid nearly $500,000 to a company whose owner was convicted on federal fraud charges after he resold to grocery stores food that was intended for animals or meant to be destroyed.

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