Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Top of the News Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Community News My family is in our first week of our new normal. My son, James came home from his first year of university two weeks ago for what was to be spring break. Today, he resumed classes online from our dining room. He won’t be going back to New Haven this semester.My husband, Pierce has been working remotely for his company in Virginia since we moved to Pasadena in June, so working from home isn’t new to him. But having the entire family working from home is a big change for all of us.I was still going into the animal shelter to check on things every day until last Friday. I started to feel a little under the weather and realized I needed to heed the call we had made to all our staff…work from home if you can.You may have seen by now a video circulating on the Internet. We see a man listening to someone off camera who says, “Because of Coronavirus, you are going to be quarantined, but you have a choice. Do you ‘A’ quarantine with your wife and child, or ‘B’…” “‘B’, I’ll take ‘B’,” the man says, thinking no matter what “B” is, it must be better than “A.”For some of us, it’s easy to joke about the challenges of too much togetherness, but for others I worry about the dangers of being alone. While social distancing is an effective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need to be aware of the mental health risks of social isolation.As both a clinical social worker and an animal welfare professional, I’m concerned for the well-being of both our human and pet populations during this time. Homeless pets are going to continue to need care, and people are going to continue to need a sense of connection.Social isolation has been linked to numerous adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, impaired immunity and even the risk of premature death. But there is a solution that helps both person and pet.Research has demonstrated that the human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that positively influences the health and well-being of both. Having pet companions has been proven to improve mental health and offer people a deep sense of “ontological security” — that is, the feeling of stability, continuity, and meaning in one’s life.Research on the benefits of family life for shelter animals has shown that even a brief stay in a foster home for dogs decreases levels of cortisol, a hormonal indicator of stress.After closing our doors to people, but not to animals, at the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA (PHS), we shifted our efforts to finding temporary foster homes for as many pets as we can. We are asking the community to help us by providing foster care to homeless animals. If some of our local residents can foster an animal, we are able to function with fewer staff onsite, while still providing our animals with essential care. PHS is providing backup support. The benefits of getting the animals out of the shelter and into homes are obvious. The benefits to the humans providing the care are no less significant.Long before the CDC was educating people on how to keep safe during the current pandemic, the CDC was advising of the potential health benefits of pets, which include decreased blood pressure, triglyceride levels and feeling of loneliness. Pets can be helpful for chronic disease prevention in children. Having a dog in the home has been associated with a decreased probability of childhood anxiety. Pets also offer people of all ages increased opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization. The research is clear: pets enrich our lives and help keep us healthy and happy.Less scientifically and more personally, I can say having the unconditional love of my little dog Sueshi brings joy to my life every single day. Going out for a walk with her helps me to engage with my neighbors at a safe distance, while also providing a welcome break from my two-legged family members.We hope you can help us in our time of need. And in turn, we can help you by offering the rewards of having a pet companion in your life.Pasadena Humane Society’s president and CEO, Dia DuVernet, brings more than a decade of experience leading nonprofit organizations. She has an extensive background in organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable communities, most recently serving as Virginia Beach SPCA (VSPSCA) president and CEO and previously as vice president at The Up Center, a Virginia nonprofit organization improving the quality of life for children and families. Dia grew up in Albany, GA, the youngest of five girls. An animal lover from an early age, she grew up with a German Shepherd mix named Moses, a Pekingese called Missy and Puff the cat. 74 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it More Cool Stuff Community News Subscribe STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week Opinion & Columnists Pets Make Ideal Companions in the Age of Social Isolation By DIA DUVERNET Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 | 2:03 pm faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Business News HerbeautyWhy Luxury Fashion Brands Are So ExpensiveHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyBohemian Summer: How To Wear The Boho Trend RightHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyCostume That Makes Actresses Beneath Practically UnrecognizableHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWant To Seriously Cut On Sugar? 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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(REDDING, Calif.) — Firefighters are making progress in battling a deadly wildfire in Northern California but the fire that’s leveled hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to flee the area has now crossed over 100,000 acres burned.The Carr Fire was 23 percent contained as of Monday night, up from about 17 percent on Sunday, as fire crews raced to smother the massive blaze before the weather turned against them. The fire was just 5 percent contained on Sunday morning.At least six people have died and more than 950 homes and buildings have been destroyed since the fire ignited last week, fire officials said.Among the dead were two firefighters and a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren, who died when the fire swept through their home in Redding, California. The sixth victim, who was not identified, did not evacuate despite receiving a warning, authorities said.Authorities at a community meeting Monday evening said 19 people were reported missing, but they cautioned they likely just haven’t checked in with family members or friends.The National Weather Service has forecast more hot and dry conditions for the days ahead, along with high wind gusts. Temperatures will remain over 100 degrees through the end of the week.“Extreme fire conditions continued today while Firefighters worked to build control lines,” Cal Fire said in a statement on Sunday. “Shifting winds, dry fuels and steep drainages contributed to rapid growth.”The fire, ignited by a vehicle on July 23, has scorched 103,772 acres of land, destroying 818 homes and damaging another 167, officials said Monday. Three commercial structures and 311 outbuildings were destroyed.Tens of thousands were ordered to evacuate, with four local centers opened to handle the inflows. Some residents got good news on Monday, as evacuation orders were lifted in the area of Douglas City, California.Over 3,600 firefighters are battling the blaze from the ground and in the air, as officials have deployed 17 helicopters, 334 fire engines, 68 bulldozers and 65 water tenders.The Carr Fire was one several uncontained wildfires raging in California as the state deals with brutal temperatures and dry conditions.Another large fire, dubbed the Ferguson Fire, has killed two people, both firefighters, and burned more than 54,481 acres in Mariposa County, California, near Yosemite National Park, authorities said. That fire was about 30 percent contained as of late Sunday.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
kickstand/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — It’s mid-September, and Dr. Mark Levine is feeling really good. Vermont, where he serves as the state’s health commissioner, has had the lowest rate of new COVID-19 cases and test positivity in the country for several weeks now.As of Wednesday, there were only three patients hospitalized in the state for the virus, and Vermont’s last reported COVID-19 death was on July 28.Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, touted Vermont’s COVID-19 response on Tuesday during a press briefing with Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, saying the state “should be the model for the country” on “opening up the economy in a safe and prudent way.”But despite the state’s success — and also because of it — Levine doesn’t want Vermonters to let their guard down.“Just because we’re in a good place — we know that this virus is a formidable foe,” the health commissioner told ABC News.As the fall approaches, bringing anticipated tourism to the state as well as concerns about a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the flu, the state is continuing to follow its playbook for a cautious, data-driven reopening that continually stresses the basics of handwashing, physically distancing and avoiding congregate settings.It’s a playbook that officials stress doesn’t rely on the state’s small size to provide any advantages. Vermont is one of the most rural states in the country, and one of the smallest by population — though public health experts are quick to dismiss those as playing major parts in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.“At first, nationwide, people through that rural would protect you. … But that myth was dispelled later on, particularly in the late spring and summer, when all the southern and western states had their surge,” Levine said. “Here, we don’t believe the rural nature has been protective by any means.”“Rural helps, but is most definitely not the whole story,” Jan Carney, associate dean for public health and health policy at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, told ABC News.Turning the spigotFor the past several weeks, Vermont has had the lowest rate of new cases and test positivity in the country, based on weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. In the latest report, dated Sept. 13, Vermont was the only state to be in the “green zone” for both cases (indicating fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 population) and positivity rate (indicating a rate below 5%).“Vermont continues to have excellent epidemic control,” the report noted.According to the state health department, Vermont’s positivity rate has held steady at around 0.2% for several months, and it has the lowest rate of total COVID-19 infection in the country, with 261 cases per 100,000 people versus the national average of 1,845 per 100,000.Levine noted three factors that have helped Vermont get to this point. For one, the state overall tends to be relatively healthy, he said, pointing to studies by organizations like the Commonwealth Fund. In the foundation’s latest scorecard on state health system performance, looking at indicators such as access to health care, quality of care and health outcomes, Vermont ranked fifth in the country.“Vermonters have a history of prioritizing health,” Levine said.During the pandemic, residents’ compliance with behaviors like frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing has been “really paramount,” he said.Another factor: Early in the pandemic, the state knew that it “needed to actively and proactively protect the most vulnerable,” Levine said. Among those measures, the state has focused on contact tracing and testing efforts in long-term care facilities and offered universal testing at group-living facilities.Lastly, the state acted quickly to introduce social distancing measures, such as closing schools and restaurants and reducing the size of mass gatherings — and it didn’t start reopening “until we thought we were at a sufficient level of virus suppression,” Levine said.The worst of the pandemic in Vermont, by several metrics, was early on. The daily number of reported COVID-19 cases peaked on April 3, and the highest percentage of positive cases, 11%, came in late March, according to data from the health department. The state only started loosening restrictions toward the end of April, as the rate of spread slowed.“Many states have basically just said, ‘We’re going to just reopen,’ and they had lots of virus and high percent positivities when they chose to do that,” Levine said. “Our stance was that public health and safety was paramount, and we would reopen when we had suppressed the virus. It was a very cautious reopening, it was a very phased and gradual reopening.”Gov. Scott has often likened that approach to incrementally “turning the spigot” — reopening one sector, waiting two weeks and watching the data, and then opening the next sector, and so on.“That’s gotten us to where we are, which is a really good place,” Levine said.Foundation of teamworkVermont is among a minority of states to have a centralized public health system, which in this case may have also helped in its pandemic response, public health experts said.“It is a consistent message, and consistent application of policies and consistent ways that we can interact with populations on a local level,” Levine said.For Carney, who served as the state’s commissioner of health from 1989 to 2003, that teamwork between government, medical experts and social service organizations in the state has been crucial.“When something happens like a pandemic, you don’t have to develop them new, you build on the relationships that you have,” Carney said. “There’s this foundation of teamwork and concern about health that has served us well in the past and is one of our absolute strengths right now.”Levine said the state has been leaning on those relationships as it works to address disproportionate rates of COVID-19 cases in Hispanic and African-American populations, including working with community organizations to spread public health messaging.Tourism and ‘twindemic’Vermont has continued to slowly turn the spigot, with K-12 schools and college campuses reopening in recent weeks. The state is in discussions to further open up the hospitality industry, as leaf-peeping and ski seasons approach.“A big threat in Vermont is travel,” Levine said. “We want to do it right and still allow people to have a pleasant time and come to Vermont to do what they want to do, and have Vermonters be able to do what they want to do.”Levine said the state plans to offer guidance on a “thoughtful and cautious” hospitality reopening soon.In August, the governor also instituted a statewide mask mandate in anticipation of increased travel to Vermont. In announcing the order, Scott said he felt “we need to act now to protect our gains, which have allowed us to reopen much of our economy.”Another concern for the fall is the flu. Experts are bracing for what some have called a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the flu being active at the same time.“We do really want people to get their flu shot now more than ever,” Levine said.To that end, he said, the state is trying to make it “as easy as possible” to get the vaccine, and is currently working to set up flu shot locations beyond the usual pharmacies and doctor’s offices.Being vigilant about behaviors like mask-wearing and social distancing will also continue to be key, experts said.“Don’t get careless,” Fauci advised on Tuesday. “It’s going to be challenging as you get into the fall and the winter, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have a problem if you do the kind of prudent public health measures that you’ve been doing.”It’s a message that is applicable everywhere, not just Vermont, Carney said.“It’s so fundamental — hand washing and wearing cloth face coverings and keeping physically distant from people whenever possible … and being able to do that over a long period of time,” she said. “It’s really important, as the winter comes into play, and as more people are inside, and as we approach flu season — we have to stick with it and keep working at it for the foreseeable future.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
“When you win something, my first feeling is for the staff, as it’s fantastic for them, but my second is for the two companies that didn’t win. Everyone did a fantastic job and we were very proud to be nominated, and to be recognised for doing a good job. However, it’s all very well saying that we’re the best, but now we’ve got to carry on being the best – I use it as a bit of a motivating tool.”- Alan Pearce, managing director
One semester. That’s the time it took for six students to develop USC Eats, an iOS app that displays menu options for the day at the residential dining hall locations EVK, Parkside and Café 84.The six students — Brian Anglin, Neel Bhoopalam, Jesse Chand, Arush Shankar, Riley Testut and Eric Wang — are members of “Blackbird,” a Spark SC committee formed at the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester for the sake of building internal tools for Spark.According to Wang, a senior majoring in business administration and computer science, the committee members felt limited by the scope of building internal tools only for Spark.“Though doing this would help our friends throughout the organization, it wasn’t going to have the same visibility and impact that we wanted,” Wang said. “We wanted to build products that would impact the USC student body and beyond.”The idea for USC Eats developed because of the availability of open data provided by USC. The team then developed the app with a “two-prong attack,” according to Shankar, a junior majoring in computer science.Shankar worked with sophomore Brian Anglin on back-end development. Together, they formatted the data from USC before giving it to the iOS developers.The iOS developers, Jesse Chand and Riley Testut, then designed the front-end of the app — the part of the app that users interact with.“We’re partnering with USC so that the app stays up-to-date with relevant and useful information,” Shankar said. “There is also a mutual understanding that you can look online or use the app.”The team was originally composed of all programmers. However, according to Wang, it “organically evolved” to become more of an interdisciplinary team, including designers and project managers as well.USC Eats is the first project that the team did together. They, overcame obstacles associated with being a new team due to their common will to learn and make a big contribution, according to Anglin.“My favorite part about working with the team is that I get to be surrounded by really smart people,” Shankar said. “There’s so much knowledge to go around that I’m always challenged to work harder.”After the end of the fall semester, when the team came up with the idea and built the app, it was submitted to the Apple App Store for review.“I’m really excited that we were able to create a solid product in the end,” Anglin said.After the app launches, they will release an update which will include more features such as a favorites button. Users can favorite a dish they like and a push notification will appear on their phone the next time the dish appears in a dining hall.In the future, the team hopes to build more apps that benefit the USC community.“The next steps for our team are to identify projects that are really cool and start building these projects out,” Shankar said. “One of them has been a platform called ‘Tech LA’, which is a platform for finding internships in the L.A. area. We’re redesigning the whole thing and rebuilding it from scratch, so that the users can have a better experience.”For now, Blackbird hopes they have set an example for others.“This menu app is just one example of what USC students can do,” Wang said. “By building this app, we hope other people will be motivated and inspired to build their own projects on top of this data that USC makes readily available.”