Military, police in Washington state prepare for possible civil unrest after election
SEATTLE — As tension builds toward Election Day, law enforcement officials in Washington and elsewhere are preparing for the prospect that this year’s long, hot summer of unrest won’t end on Nov. 3, regardless of who wins the presidency.If anything, officials worry that pressure will only build in the coming weeks, faced with the possibility of a contested election, spiking gun sales and ongoing civil unrest over institutional racism and police violence, all driven by a tsunami of social media misinformation and conspiracies from the right and left, not to mention from foreign adversaries.“I c...
The Seattle Times
COVID-19 patients swamp rural hospitals
The nation’s pandemic hot spots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack the intensive care units for more than one or two seriously ill patients.And in much of the Midwest and Great Plains, hospital workers are catching the virus at home and in their communities, seriously reducing already slim benches of doctors, nurses and other professionals needed to keep rural hospitals running.Nationwide, positive coronavirus cases started rising in mid-September as children and college students returned to school, more businesses reopened and ...
Emboldened far-right groups challenge cities, states
PORTLAND, Ore. — When wildfires threatened rural Oregon communities last month, another unwelcome phenomenon accompanied them: armed vigilantes blocking entry to outsiders, based on false rumors that protesters had not only started the fires, but also were there to loot the evacuated homes.Throughout the West and beyond, in a summer marked by protests seeking racial justice, armed vigilantes also have shown up at Black Lives Matter events in small towns and big cities alike. Their presence in some places has the tacit support of law enforcement or even local elected officials.Now, experts who ...
Nation and world news briefs
Trudeau plans to keep borders closed until COVID-19 cases dropPrime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated he plans to keep Canada’s borders closed as long as coronavirus cases remain elevated in the U.S.“We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” the prime minister said Wednesday morning in an interview with a radio station in Winnipeg, Manitoba.“We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the Unite...
Tribune News Service
Dangerous network of militia members spurred by COVID has spread to 16 states, report says
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The leader of an armed standoff with federal authorities at an Oregon wildlife refuge and his allies have exploited COVID-19 fears to build a dangerous network of militia members and other far-right factions, according to a new report by two groups that track extremism.Ammon Bundy, who led the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, began building the People’s Rights network in March, says the report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network. Since then, the report says, the network has rapidly...
The Kansas City Star
Mark Zeigler: It's time to stop using youth athletes as political pawns
SAN DIEGO — Here’s what it has come to for youth sports in Southern California:Soccer clubs are renting fields in Arizona to host league games later this month. The lucky ones got a “home” field in Yuma, 2 1/2 hours from San Diego on the state line. Some got Phoenix. Some got Tucson.The San Diego Surf and Del Mar-Carmel Valley Sharks practice three miles apart. There’s a chance in the coming weeks that they’ll drive 400 miles to play each other in a game.Most of the summer and fall AAU basketball tournaments usually held in Los Angeles and Las Vegas have been moved to St. George, Utah, just ac...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Rural vacation towns made it through the summer. Now what?
DENVER — The pandemic hit Colorado’s ski towns first. As spring breakers headed to the slopes, they brought the coronavirus with them. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis shut down the state’s ski resorts in March, triggering a wave of furloughs and layoffs in mountain towns.Some resorts didn’t reopen to tempt tourists with summer gondola rides and alpine coasters until July. Meanwhile, public health orders forced event organizers to cancel weddings, conferences and marquee events from music festivals to Oktoberfest celebrations.But despite all the closures and cancellations, summer visitors came anyw...
Expert: Michigan 'a hotbed for militia activity,' with growing potential for violence
DETROIT — A foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has led to the arrest of 13 people, including members of a state militia group, and sparked a national discussion about these private, loosely organized paramilitary groups.Michigan has had a long history of militia groups, which are active in every state, according to Amy Cooter, a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University, who has studied them for more than a dozen years. The modern militias, Cooter said, date to the early 1990s.Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday afternoon seven of those who were charged were me...
Detroit Free Press
Commentary: Wildfires endanger those with chronic illnesses
While I was out on a late-night walk with my dog during the record heat wave in Los Angeles that helped fuel the West Coast fires, a neighbor pointed to the sky and asked if I’d seen the moon. I glanced upward, looking for a white globular shape.Instead, I saw what looked like Mars. The moon was red.Five days later, I was reading my media feeds through eyes partially swollen shut. I’d gone to bed with a sore throat and woken up with painful angioedema (an allergic, potentially fatal swelling) in my face.I’m disabled from Sjogren’s syndrome, a systemic autoimmune disease that leaves me vulnerab...
Tribune News Service
A Fair to Remember: County Fairs Weigh Risk of Outbreak Against Financial Ruin
Laura Stutzman had no doubts that this year’s Twin Falls County Fair should go on despite the pandemic still raging across the U.S. — and several outbreaks tied to such community fairs.Though she saw few people wearing masks from her volunteer station in the fair’s hospitality tent in southern Idaho earlier this month, she said she wasn’t concerned. Stutzman, 63, had been attending the fair off and on for 30 years, and she didn’t consider this year that different. People in rural communities know how to respect one another’s space, she said, and don’t have time to “fret and worry” about the co...
Kaiser Health News