Dauphin County businesses gear up to go yellow, but many tourist destinations will have to wait for green

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Hersheypark, Hershey Gardens & The Hershey Story do not have a planned opening date Author: Jamie Bittner (FOX43) Published: 6:05 PM EDT May 28, 2020

Dauphin County business owners are preparing to move to the yellow phase Friday as popular tourist destinations like Hersheypark and Hershey Gardens stay closed as leaders wait for the county to move to green. 

RELATED: All of Pennsylvania poised for at least a partial reopening in next two weeks

Hersheypark spokesperson, Quinn Bryner, told FOX by email that the park continues to plan and implement a variety of new safety initiatives as recommended by government agencies and industry organizations that address coronavirus prevention in public places. However, Bryner added it is premature to discuss an opening date as “we understand it would require Dauphin County going green to reopen.”

The yellow phase will allow multiple businesses to reopen in the county. Meantime, Derry Township leaders have been tracking the impact of not only the business closures, but also the area’s major tourist destinations being shut down.

“Real Estate Taxes and Act 511 Taxes comprise 85% of the Township’s total revenues.  COVID-19 mitigation efforts will have a significant impact on our Act 511 Taxes, but how widespread?  The months of June, July and August will be very telling for the Township,” said Christopher Christman, Derry Township manager to FOX43 by email. “EIT, LST, Amusement tax and Parking tax will all be impacted by the shutdown.  The FY2020 budget includes a total of $2.3 million of Amusement and Parking Tax revenue, which has been impacted by Hersheypark’s inability to open during the pandemic.”

Christman said revenues in Derry Township are beginning to show weakness due to the mitigation efforts to control COVID-19, adding, “through the end of April, Act 511 taxes are down approximately 32% from where they were one year ago – all of this is attributable to the COVID-19 virus.  I cannot speculate as to when the park might open, but I can say with certainty, the revenue loss thus far this year will not be made up before the end of the fiscal year requiring the Township to find ways to close the revenue gap.”  null

FOX43 NEWS AT 4 AND 5

A tale of 2 places in the same county: One, preparing to reopen tomorrow in yellow. Another that can’t until the county goes green. How business owners are gearing up to bring in customers tomorrow, even as popular tourist destinations in Hershey stay shut down. WPMT FOX43 at 4 and 5! Knock Knock Boutique Hershey GardensPosted by Jamie Bittner on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hershey Gardens is also closed until Dauphin County goes green. 

“Botanical Gardens are specifically listed as being able to open in the green phase,” sad Amy Zeigler, senior director of Hershey Gardens. Zeigler added museums as well open under the green phase so ‘The Hershey Story’ will also not open Friday. Both the Gardens and the museum are managed by The M.S. Hershey Foundation.

When both Hershey Gardens and ‘The Hershey Story’ open, Zeigler said both locations will have additional safety measures that include a requirement for masks and a touch-less ticket scanning system. 

“We will have timed tickets so everyone will have to purchase a ticket online,” said Zeigler. Inside Hershey Gardens, new signs are also on the floor to promote social distancing and plexiglass has been added to the cash registers.

“We’ll have people specifically designated to go around and clean high touch surfaces throughout the day,” said Zeigler. The butterfly atrium will also not be open.

“The only part of the gardens that we open is the outside, but it’s 23 acres as you can see of really fantastic beautiful space,” said Zeigler.

Normally, Zeigler said the Hershey Gardens would see close to 1,000 people per day on the weekends.

“Municipalities across the Commonwealth are all dealing with similar revenue issues in varying degrees, but one thing is for certain that we will all have to make tough choices to close our budget shortfalls,” said Christman.

Meantime Friday, many business owners were busy inside their shops preparing to open their doors once again as Dauphin moves to the ‘yellow phase’ Friday.

“I’m so excited to see people in person and having them shop almost like normal again,” said Emily Drobnock, of Knock Knock Boutique, who also owns Bella Sera on Chocolate Avenue. 

Drobonock said both shops are planning extra safety precautions under ‘yellow’ by allowing only 3 customers in at a time.

When asked if she worries about the decrease in foot traffic due to the shutdown of tourist destinations, Drobonock said “obviously tourists are great and we love seeing them. But, the people who we are really craving to see are our local supporters.” Loading … null

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Pennsylvania is SLOWLY Coming Back to Life

Amazon customers in US report widespread website outage | fox43.com

nation-world

Tens of thousands of users reported they weren’t able to access Amazon on Thursday afternoon, according to Downdetector. Author: TEGNA, Associated Press Published: 4:25 PM EDT May 28, 2020

People across the United States reported having trouble accessing Amazon’s website on Thursday afternoon. 

According to Downdetector, a website that monitors website outages, people first started reporting that they were having trouble accessing the website at around 3 p.m. EST. The outage topped out at more than 76,000 reports and seemed to be effecting both desktop and mobile users. null

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that some customers “may have temporarily experienced issues while shopping, however it has now been resolved.” 

Amazon has yet to say what caused the brief outage. 

The Amazon outage came as many are stuck at home and using the online retail website to order and deliver items during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The pandemic has already reportedly forced the company to push back its annual Amazon Prime Day until at least August due to the unprecedented demand for deliveries and online shopping services after the coronavirus pandemic.https://d-24700453351698659575.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html https://d-24700453351698659575.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html

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Is TJ Maxx open during the coronavirus pandemic? | fox43.com

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TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods plan to reopen most stores worldwide by end of June

The stores will have new measures in place to protect employees and customers, including requiring workers wear masks. Author: TEGNA Published: 2:18 PM EDT May 28, 2020

ASSOCIATED PRESS

As states begin to slowly reopen their economies, businesses are itching to get customers back inside stores.

For TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods shoppers worldwide, that opportunity will arrive quickly.

TJX Companies — the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods — announced it expected most company stores to be reopened by the end of June. null

“As various states and countries reopen for business, health and safety remain at the forefront of our decision making,” CEO and President of the TJX Companies Ernie Herrman said in a press release. “Although it’s still early and the retail environment remains uncertain, we have been encouraged with the very strong sales we have seen with our initial reopenings.”

RELATED: Tuesday Morning becomes 5th big retailer to file Chapter 11

RELATED: Walmart becomes a lifeline and online sales surge 74%

According to the company’s most recent fiscal report, as of May 2, more than 1,600 stores had already reopened worldwide.

In addition to U.S. locations, stores located in some Canadian provinces will also reopen. TJX stores in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and Australia are already fully open.

In total, the company reported having 4,545 stores as of early May. 

Stores are taking precautions with requiring all employees to wear masks while working and posting signs indicating customers are also expected to wear masks while shopping. The company also said all associates must do daily health screenings and temperature checks.

The fitting rooms at U.S. stores have also been temporarily closed, and protective shields have been installed at the cash registers.

In addition, protective shields at registers and new cleaning regimens will be in effect for stores opening up.  Shoppers head into the TJ Maxx store in Barre, Vt., Monday, Aug. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot) ASSOCIATED PRESS null https://d-21712412392280885419.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html

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Resolutions would end the emergency disaster declaration, but would need democrat support to take effect | fox43.com

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Governor Wolf says, he will disapprove the resolution. The General Assembly would need a 2/3 majority to override the governor’s disapproval Author: Chelsea Koerbler (FOX43) Published: 5:15 PM EDT May 28, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. — There are two resolutions moving through the state house in their respective senate and house chambers. Both resolutions would do the same thing, terminate the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration issued by Governor Wolf on March 6th. 

Republicans, State Rep. Russ Diamond, and State Sen. Doug Mastriano, are sponsors of the resolutions. Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code defines the Governor’s authority to declare a disaster emergency but, the general assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Governor Wolf says, he has the power to disapprove the resolution and intends to exercise that power if it does pass with a majority vote.  null

“I don’t see by a constitutional democratic perspective why this would make any sense,” said Gov. Wolf. “I do have the power to disapprove and I intend to.”  

Sen. Mastriano says, the resolutions would need a two-thirds majority to override Governor Wolf’s disapproval and get the resolution to take effect. Assuming all republicans vote in favor of the resolution, 26 democrats in the house, and six democrats in the senate would need to support it.

“It takes the unilateral power out of the governor’s hand and places it back in the hands of the general assembly,” said Sen. Mastriano. By terminating the declaration, it would get rid of the red, yellow and green phases, and allow Pennsylvanians to make their own decisions on what they feel comfortable doing. “The goal is we take the power out of the governor’s hands and put it back in the people’s hand so they can decide if they want to open up and how to open up and if they do it safely or just go back to normal operations.”

Governor Wolf says, by ending the emergency disaster declaration, the state would lose $1.5 billion dollars in FEMA funding. However, Sen. Mastriano says, the Trump Administration has assured him, the state would not lose that money if these resolutions took effect.

The emergency disaster declaration is set to expire June 4th. Within his powers as Governor, Wolf can either let it expire or extend it. The governor does intend to renew the emergency disaster declaration. His office tells FOX43: null

“The governor’s COVID-19 proclamation not only allows the commonwealth to more quickly procure much-needed resources to assist county emergency management and support our medical professionals and first responders, it makes us eligible for federal reimbursement for associated costs under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. We are still very much in need of federal funding in order to respond to and recover from this pandemic.” https://d-979871345335546688.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html

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Updates to Coverage of NASA SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight

nasa.gov

Sean Potter 6-8 minutes

May 28, 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY M20-062

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Demo-2 will serve as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is now scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30.

Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, for the launch of the first commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft carrying astronauts to the space station. The first launch attempt, on May 27, was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

Full mission coverage begins at 11 a.m., and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as numerous other platforms. The launch broadcast commentators are: Marie Lewis, Dan Huot, Gary Jordan, Derrol Nail, and Tahira Allen from NASA; and Lauren Lyons, John Insprucker, and Jessie Anderson from SpaceX; with special guest host and former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Postlaunch coverage commentators are Leah Cheshier, Courtney Beasley, Gary Jordan and Dan Huot from NASA; and Kate Tice, Siva Bharadvaj, and Michael Andrews from SpaceX.

Prelaunch coverage also includes a special performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is scheduled to dock to the space station at 10:29 a.m. Sunday, May 31.

This will be SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations. 

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX currently is readying the hardware for the first space station crew rotational mission, which would happen after data from this test flight is reviewed for certification.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, media participation in news conferences will be remote, with only a limited number of media, who already have been accredited, will be accommodated at Kennedy. For the protection of media and Kennedy employees, the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed to all media throughout these events.

To participate in the Kennedy briefing by phone, reporters must e-mail ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov no later than one hour prior to each event.

To participate by phone in the post-arrival news conference held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, reporters must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than one hour prior to the event.

Live NASA coverage is as follows. All times are EDT:

Friday, May. 29

  • 10 a.m. – Administrator Countdown Clock Briefing (weather permitting; limited in-person media only, no dial in)
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana
    • NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren
    • NASA astronaut Nicole Mann

Saturday, May 30

  • 11 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)
    • 3:22 p.m. – Liftoff
    • 4:09 p.m. – Crew Dragon phase burn 
    • 4:55 p.m. – Far-field manual flight test 
    • TBD p.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
  • 6:30 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference at Kennedy
    • Administrator Bridenstine
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
    • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Mission operational coverage will continue on NASA TV’s Media Channel.  

Sunday, May 31

  • TBD a.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
  • 10:29 a.m. – Docking
  • 12:45 p.m. – Hatch Open
  • 1:05 p.m. – Welcome ceremony
  • 3:15 p.m. – Post-arrival news conference at Johnson
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer
    • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Launch commentary will switch to NASA TV’s Media Channel.

Monday, June 1

  • 11:15 a.m. – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
  • 12:55 p.m. – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by emailing ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.

This test flight is a pivotal point in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil to the space station for the first time since 2011.

The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including preparation for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

-end-

Last Updated: May 28, 2020

Editor: Sean Potter

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The grand old trees of the world are dying, leaving forests younger and shorter

api.nationalgeographic.com

By Craig Welch 14-18 minutes

PUBLISHED May 28, 2020

California’s giant sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years, their trunks stretching two car lengths in diameter, their branches reaching nearly 300 feet toward the clouds. But a few years ago, amid a record drought, scientists noticed something odd. A few of these arboreal behemoths inside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were dying in ways no one had ever documented—from the top down.

When researchers climbed into the canopies, they discovered that cedar bark beetles had bored into a few branches. By 2019, at least 38 of the trees had died—not a large number, but “concerning because we’ve never observed this before,” says Christy Brigham, the park’s chief of resource management.

Beetles have ravaged hundreds of millions of pines across North America. But scientists had assumed that stately sequoias, with their bug-repelling tannins, were immune to such dangerous pests. Worried experts are investigating whether some mix of increased drought and wildfire, both worsened by climate change, have now made even sequoias susceptible to deadly insect invasions.

top: 

The largest patch of old growth redwood forest remaining stands in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. The world’s largest trees are dying, meaning that they’re releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere instead of storing it, which has previously unknown repercussions for climate change.

bottom: 

The stump of a giant sequoia tree, known as the Discovery Tree, located in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Photograph by (top) and Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, Nat Geo Image Collection (bottom)

If so, these ancient sentinels would be just the latest example of a trend experts are documenting around the world: Trees in forests are dying at increasingly high rates—especially the bigger, older trees. According to a study appearing today in the journal Science, the death rate is making forests younger, threatening biodiversity, eliminating important plant and animal habitat, and reducing forests’ ability to store excess carbon dioxide generated by our consumption of fossil fuels.

“We’re seeing it almost everywhere we look,” says the study’s lead author, Nate McDowell, an earth scientist at the U.S. Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

More old trees dying, everywhere

To paint the most detailed picture of global tree loss to date, nearly two dozen scientists from around the world examined more than 160 previous studies and combined their findings with satellite imagery. Their analysis reveals that from 1900 to 2015, the world lost more than a third of its old-growth forests.

In places where historical data is the most detailed—particularly Canada, the western United States, and Europe—mortality rates have doubled in just the past four decades, and a higher proportion of those deaths are older trees.

There is no single direct cause. Decades of logging and land clearing play a role, scientists say. But increasing temperatures and rising carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have significantly magnified most other causes of tree death. From Israel’s eucalyptus and cypress plantations to Mongolia’s birch and larch stands, scientists are documenting longer and harsher droughts, more severe outbreaks of insects and disease, and increasingly catastrophic wildfires.

“We will see fewer forests,” says Monica Turner, a forest ecologist at the University of Wisconsin. “There will be areas where there are forests now where there won’t be in the future.”

Changes worldwide

With 60,000 known tree species on Earth, those shifts are playing out differently across the planet.

In central Europe, for instance, “You don’t have to look for dead trees,” says Henrik Hartmann, with Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry. “They’re everywhere.”

In one recent year, following a week of excessive heat, hundreds of thousands of beech trees dropped their leaves. Bark beetles are also killing spruce, which is not unusual. But hotter weather weakens trees, making them more vulnerable and allowing the insects to multiply and survive through winter into the next year.

Even in colder regions, “You get a couple of hot years and the forests are suffering,” says Hartmann, who was not an author on McDowell’s study. “We’re approaching a situation where the forests cannot acclimate. There are individual species that are being driven beyond the threshold of what they can handle.”

That also may be true in some of North America’s treasured spots. For 10,000 years, fires have roared through Yellowstone National Park every 100 to 300 years. In 1988, such conflagrations caught the world’s attention as they charred and blackened 1.2 million acres.

Lodgepole pine forest burns in Yellowstone National Park.Photograph by Michael Quinton, Minden Pictures/Nat Geo Image Collection

Turner, the Wisconsin ecologist, has been studying the aftermath of those fires ever since. And the lessons aren’t quite what we once thought they were.

The heat from flames usually helps lodgepole pine cones release their seeds as their sticky resin melts. But in 2016, when those new forests were not yet 30 years old, a new fire raged inside an old burn site from 1988. Because we live in a hotter, drier world, the new fires burned more intensely—in some cases wiping out almost everything. The very process that usually helps create new forests instead helped prevent one from growing. “When I went back, I was just astonished,” Turner says. “There were places with no small trees left. None.”

Just last year, massive fires marched through a dry Australia, smoldered across 7.4 million acres in northern Siberia, and focused the world’s attention on blazes in the Amazon.

In parts of that rainforest, dry seasons now last longer and come more often. Rainfall has dropped by as much as a quarter and often arrives in torrents, bringing massive floods in three out of six seasons between 2009 and 2014. All that activity is altering the rainforest’s mix of trees. Those that grow fast and reach the light quickly, and are more tolerant of dry weather, are outcompeting species that require damp soils.

Moringa peregrina is an endangered tree in Jordan and Israel, where desertification is killing native trees. Photograph by Mark Moffett, Minden Pictures/Nat Geo Image Collection

The consequences of all these changes around the world are still being assessed. The first national look at tree mortality in Israel showed vast stretches disappearing, thanks largely to scorching heat and wildfires. In a country largely blanketed by stone and sand, forests mean a great deal. Trees support nests for eagles and habitat for wolves and jackals. They hold soil with their roots. Without them, plants that normally rise in trees’ shadows are suddenly exposed to higher temperatures and bright light.

“Trees are these big plants that design the ecosystems for all the other plants and animals,” says Tamir Klein at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Earlier this month Klein met with the Israeli forestry chief to talk about the country’s southern forests, which may not survive the century. “They came to me and asked, What are we supposed to do? We don’t want the desert to move north,” Klein recalls.

“We’re dealing with a very tough situation. It’s a race to the unknown.”

Earlier signs

The seeds of the Science study were sown in the early 2000s when lead author McDowell moved to the southwestern U.S. to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Outside his office window he saw fields of dead juniper and piñon pine. An intense heat wave had wiped out 30 percent of the pines on more than 4,500 square miles of woodland. “I thought, as a tree physiologist I’m going to have a short stay here because they are all dead,” he remembers.

McDowell and several colleagues began pondering how tree loss would alter forests’ ability to sequester CO2—and how to better predict such devastation in the future. A decade later, a co-worker examined tree rings and past temperature swings and found a relationship between heat and tree deaths. Then he simulated how the forest would change based on temperature projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The results suggested that by 2050, normal temperatures in the Southwest could be similar to rare past heat waves that led to severe tree-killing droughts. “That was really frightening,” McDowell says.

McDowell and other scientists began to look more broadly. Many people had assumed rising CO2 would feed tree growth. But as the planet gets hotter, the atmosphere sucks moisture from plants and animals. Trees respond by shedding leaves or closing their pores to retain moisture. Both of those reactions curtail CO2 uptake. It’s like “going to an all-you-can-eat buffet with duct tape over their mouths,” McDowell says.

In a tropical forest, the vast majority of tree mass can be in the top one percent of the largest trees. “These big old trees disproportionately hold the above-ground carbon storage,” says study co-author Craig D. Allen, a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “When they die, it creates space for smaller trees, but they have much less carbon in them.”

That’s important, because most global carbon models used by the IPCC assume that forests will do far more to offset our fossil fuel use. The reality may be far less clear.

“When old trees die, they decompose and stop sucking up CO2 and release more of it to the atmosphere,” McDowell says. “It’s like a thermostat gone bad. Warming begets tree loss, then tree loss begets more warming.”

A mountainside is forested with golden larches the Italian Dolomites. Mature trees all over the world are dying off much more quickly than thought. Photograph by Martin Zwick, VISUM/Redux

While some significant change to forests is inevitable, Turner says cutting our fossil fuel emissionscan still make a huge difference. One scenario she has documented suggests that curbing CO2 in the next few decades could cut future forest loss in Grand Teton National Park by half.

In some cases, though, more radical solutions may be required.

In his meeting, Klein urged Israel’s forest leaders to consider planting acacia trees, normally found in the Sahara, in place of pine and cypress. They manage to keep growing even during the hottest days of the year.

“It is sad,” Klein adds. “It won’t look the same. It won’t be the same. But I think it’s better to do this than just have barren land.”

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Missouri proposes opening its small black bear population to trophy hunters · A Humane World

blog.humanesociety.org

By Blog Editor 5-6 minutes

Missouri proposes opening its small black bear population to trophy hunters

Bears are highly intelligent with strong family ties. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. Photo by Jos Bakker

Missouri has proposed a hunting season on its small and still-recovering population of black bears, who were once nearly wiped out because of overhunting and logging, which decimated their habitat.

The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates that there are now approximately 540 to 840 bears in the state. But some studies show that those numbers may be inflated. And even if there are as many bears as the MDC claims, it’s still not a large number.

Missouri has no good reason for allowing such a hunt. Bears self-regulate their own populations because of limited food availability and slow reproduction. There have also been minimal bear-human conflicts in the state, and these are entirely preventable.

Fact is, the only reason the MDC is proposing this hunt is to appease trophy hunters. But Missourians do not support it, not least because it would deprive a majority of the state’s residents of the joy of seeing a black bear in the wild. According to a March 2019 poll conducted by Remington Research Group for the Humane Society of the United States, nearly half of Missouri residents outright oppose hunting the state’s bears while fewer than a third support such a hunt.

Instead of allowing trophy hunters to kill them, the MDC ought to be working hard to preserve its bear population. Bears are critical for a thriving ecosystem. They disperse seeds across vast distances—even more seeds than birds. They open up forest canopies and allow sun to filter to the forest floor. They also break logs while grubbing, which helps the decomposition process and facilitates the return of nutrients to the soil. Keeping bears protected is critical to maintaining the state’s biodiversity.

These are also incredible animals, highly intelligent with strong family ties. Bears have the largest brain size of any carnivore and are highly sentient. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. They are also slow to reproduce, which means hunting them can lead to their numbers dropping even faster than projected. Trophy hunters also tend to target adult breeding animals, which can lead to cubs being killed by incoming male bears looking to take over the newly opened territory.

Black bears are naturally shy and typically try to avoid humans, and the only times they are likely to come near humans is when there is food available. The MDC can help avoid such conflicts by expanding public education about simple, non-lethal preventative measures that residents can take to coexist peacefully with bears–including using bear-resistant trash cans, cleaning up BBQ grills, feeding pets indoors, and using electric fencing around chicken coops and beehives.

In what is also a concerning development, the MDC’s proposal leaves the cruel practices of bear baiting and bear hounding on the table “if management needs change in the future,” although these are not part of the current proposal. Hound hunting, or using packs of dogs to pursue bears, is an incredibly cruel practice that causes stress and distress to wildlife, and to the hounds themselves. Baiting—the practice of leaving large piles of junk food to attract the animals and then shoot them—is particularly heartless. Baits often attract mother bears who are looking for food but who find themselves in the crosshairs of a hunter instead. An overwhelming 77% of Missourians are strongly opposed to these methods, according to the Remington poll, and the MDC should not even be considering it.

Missouri’s wildlife officials would do well to heed the needs of the state’s wonderful wild animals, and the wishes of their residents, instead of kowtowing to a handful of trophy hunters. If you’re a Missouri resident, please let the MDC know that you’re opposed to this unnecessary killing of the state’s small and vulnerable bear population. The agency is accepting input on this proposal until June 5th, and raising your voice in opposition to it could make all the difference.

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North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

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Associated Press 15-19 minutes


North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

thousands of gallons of milk being dumped on dairy farms across Wisconsin. Restaurants close. We lost 50% of Earth seals over farmers air, taking big steps in rice country to beat the Corona virus closer to having to make that gut wrenching decision to euthanize some of their hogs. This is economically devastating as well as emotionally devastating a lot of farmers. The reason why we wanted to tell this story to begin with was because the pork producing industry is a very big industry in in Nebraska this whole idea pork production that we have the United States today. So finally tuned that if there isn’t any like disruption, and there it backs up everything. And when port parking plant started to shut down, there was a backup of I think they were estimated 150,000 hogs and day couldn’t go to slaughter, so that creates quite a backup. Well, what happens to those pigs? Will These producers on these farms are not finding a market to take their talks to Some people are in dire straits. They have no place to go the animals, and they’ve got to use a nice either The full grown market animal where they got to use a nice the baby pigs coming in these armors. They’ve got to make a decision on whether to either slaughter the whole just euthanize. That’s a lot of money that they have invested in those things or to slaughter up there. Kind of like they’re little piglets. That’s their money. That’s their investment as it’s going up. So if they slaughter off piglets, then they will have a gap in their revenue source. So it’s a tough decision when you run out of room and you don’t have a place to put them. There’s an extreme frustration there that you could hear from these these farmers, as they’re conveying some of their stories about, you know, uh, their situation. There’s there’s this feeling like I hate This is what we do. This is our job is to feed the nation. We’ve got the supply here, but we can’t get it to those people that need it. We’ve probably got maybe 23 weeks tops before we have start making these tough decisions. Some of these guys have 405 100,000 hogs that they have to go to market right now, some people think we’re gonna shut it off. Well, that doesn’t work in the farming business. You can’t just turn to switch off. And because you’ve got these little piglets coming along, you know, eventually if you had more time, they could slow down their production. Absolutely. You know, and they’ve done that before. They can’t just turn this thing off and then continue to stay in business. Once things get better. Industry is the holes in dire straits. We need some type of about grants or loans or even indemnification payments. If you have Teoh euthanizing animals report in the street there, there, they’ve got plans. Case of this mass slaughter. Luckily, I talked to the Nebraska Pork Producers Association representative. They said, Luckily, many of packing plants have been able to get online or partially online. This other issue compounding on this is that a lot of these farmers, also our grain farmers as well We’ve had three years of bad prices and kind of our economic times for some of these farmers because we had bloods. Recently, we’ve had severe weather. We’ve had prices for grains that have gone down. It’s a very difficult situation, putting a lot of emotional stress on these producers as well, and you could just hear in their voices. You know that that they don’t want to be armor that loses their 50 100 year arm that goes underneath. But they’re worried that this might happen, you know, because they can’t rebound of it. The other thing they really are concerned about is having to waste, you know, to kill their life stock, you know, needlessly and go to waste, especially when they see empty grocery shelves, the high priced for pain, the food lines that you’re seeing, how much or even have to pay for our food in the future when all of this thing starts to break loose, because we’re going to have probably some shortages. That’s why this is such that it is really a huge issue for everybody out there, and people should be paying attention to it. They are dumping all of their milk every day now for the rest of the week. That’s £2400 producing about 1/4 £1,000,000 of milk every day. Ford down the drain. I think customers knew that they couldn’t find milk that they normally would in the stores. But I don’t think the customers knew that there was this storm brewing with dairy farmers, especially in Wisconsin, until we started reporting about it. We’ve never seen anything like this. They’re extremely stressed. A lot of people assumed correctly that it was because so many people were rushing to the stores buying all those products. They didn’t realize that there was actually a surplus of dairy products and that the farmers were actually dumping their milk. At Thes Wisconsin Dairy farms in Wisconsin, about 90% of the milk that’s produced on farms ends up on a truck and moves to a cheese plant they have seen with the closure of hundreds of thousands of restaurants in schools and universities and destinations. But food service market will feed people through those channels, is put on pause around the country. You know, Wisconsin as kind of like a cheese state. We have so much cheese here, and I think that’s where all of the milk comes into play. In the end, these farmers didn’t have all that time to wait. They just had to do something right then and there, and that was to dump the milk. It’s delicious nutritious milk. This would have been on a store shelf 24 hours from now. Um, but it’s not. It’s a heartbreaking thing for that farmer and for so many other dairy farmers, because that is just it’s it’s quality product that they worked really hard to produce, that they’re just throwing away. We’re putting all this work into it. All this pride all this time, and we’re just dumping it down. The Dream. Ryan L. B. From Golden E Dairy Farm in West Bend, Wisconsin He says that they, at the start of the month started shipping the milk out again, and at this point, they’re not dumping any more Milk Hunger Task Force and its donors to the rescue. The organization is now committing $1 million for its new Wisconsin dairy recovery program. So far, everything’s being shipped, so I’m sure he’s pretty thankful for that. It was a win win win for everybody. It’s a win for the farmers when they finally get paid for their milk. It’s a win for the producer who is battling the milk and putting people to work as well as just six people who are driving around, and it’s a win for hungry people, There is a lot less going into food service in restaurants. I’m in touch with a lot of different industries here, one of them being the rights commission. California Rights Commission represents hundreds of growers across the state, and they had mentioned that their farmers were doing something that was kind of different and unique and using techniques that ahead of the curve and used social distancing out in the field naturally, if you will. Once you get inside the tractor for disinfectant, start with steering wheel on the tractor, all the facets of the tractor from the steps that get into the into the cab, the whole wheel, all of the parts and components of the tractor. They took a lot of time rigorous minutes to wipe those things down. In addition, they do a social distancing thing where only one farmer is assigned to one tractor going from field to field. Or if somebody doesn’t show up that day. But now you know it’s looking like this is gonna be the new normal. Farmers are feeling very much integral part of the economy and of the American economic fabric farmers, farm labourers, their essential it’s tryingto keep everybody safe and healthy so we can keep them employed. Number one as an essential business and number two get our rice crop planted. But what’s interesting also is that their market has diminished dramatically because a lot of their rice goes to sushi restaurants in California and elsewhere. And because a lot of those restaurants have been closed down, they don’t have a marketplace for back. The other part of it is that if they supply rice for schools, schools have been closed down as well, so it made a very big dent on their economic bottom line. California rice contributes more than $5 billion to our economy each year and 25,000 jobs. We also are home to millions of birds, and the environmental benefits are valued well into the billions of dollars as well. So they’re hoping that in September will be able to harvest. They’re banking on the fact that by that time things will loosen up a little bit. Things will, you know when they harvest, be able to actually go to market in a much more diverse and widespread geographic area by September, a lot different than they do now way see the end product when it comes home and we’re eating it and enjoying it. You don’t always think about how it got there. Seeing how it’s made, how it’s drone and how it’s harvested is always sort of an eye opener for me and the dedication and the love of the land that people have there. It’s just a lot to milk goats in the morning and make products somewhere in between milk goats at night and then some point during the day. Pack like 15 orders to go out. The dairy industry is huge in Vermont. That’s one of the things that were known for besides maple syrup. Their entire production line changed in the matter of 24 hours. Once stay at home, order started really setting in, and restaurants started really closing down. Their day to day operations look very, very different now. They were of work. We’ve been selling over our website for probably 10 to 15 years. Blue Ledge Farm has been around for more than 20 years. They have an established website, but the online orders were dead or something that they ever focused on. It was never focused, not just because they didn’t want to, but because there wasn’t really need, for there are only getting a couple orders the week or a couple hours a month. And so they were mostly distributing to restaurants in the area. She really is relying on these online sales to get them through this time of not being so busy on their distribution end. She was recruiting help from her teenage kids while they were out of school, so they would you know you some homework throughout the day. But they would be helping her package the cheese up sis actions, finishing up her high school career. He loves tracking him like a little present. Dame goes for Ice House. They are shipping out a ton way more sales, and they thought they would have. And now that farmers markets are open in a limited capacity, I think they’re starting to balance out the in person sales versus online sales. But I think they’re still is definitely a focus on the online sales. For both of them, he’s been sitting. They are still a small scale farm they’re still trying to develop, but this really pushed them. Maybe two years into the future, But they also have to think about how can I ship this and packaging all of those different orders. Up throughout the day, one of the farmers was saying that she had gotten maybe one or two online orders a week before this, or maybe even a month before this on it all of a sudden was 40 to 50 orders, and that’s a huge production change for them. It’s more like the squeaky wheel gets the grease kind. Uh, once I was just squeaking about enough. It’s been good to force us into some things that we wanted to do, but we’re low on the totem pole. So as difficult as this time is for a lot of these farms. And like I said, the amount of work that they’re taking on is incredible. You know, they’re also trying to find a silver lining, a swell of saying, Hey, we never got to focus on our website before he had a plan to do this maybe a couple years down the line. But we can do this right now, Blue allege, actually has its own farm stand. I mentioned in the story and they said that they’ve been getting a lot of business from there as well, where people could just drive up. And it’s an honor system where you can pick up whatever you want from their stand and you just put money in a bucket or an envelope or something, and then you can leave. So it’s a no contact business similar to online, where you’re not in contact with anybody. But that one, at least isn’t person. And so it was a really nice reminder for her of why she got into the business to begin with. And she thinks that will change the future of their business. She thinks their business will steer more locally instead of the big distribution like they were originally thinking about. We kind of had lost touch with that a little bit that direct consumer relationship, and it’s been really nice to be reminded of that

North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

Video above: Farming in turmoil due to coronavirusCoronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official.Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens already had been killed, Reardon said.Agriculture officials said Thursday that 2,006 workers in 26 processing plants across the state have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers and their advocates said the meat industry was slow to provide protective equipment and take other coronavirus-related safety measures.Chicken and hog farmers in other states also have been euthanizing millions of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, for example, the Baltimore Sun reported that coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens.North Carolina hog farmers have not taken steps to euthanize their animals, Reardon said.

RALEIGH, N.C. —

Video above: Farming in turmoil due to coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official.

Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens already had been killed, Reardon said.

Agriculture officials said Thursday that 2,006 workers in 26 processing plants across the state have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers and their advocates said the meat industry was slow to provide protective equipment and take other coronavirus-related safety measures.

Chicken and hog farmers in other states also have been euthanizing millions of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, for example, the Baltimore Sun reported that coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens.

North Carolina hog farmers have not taken steps to euthanize their animals, Reardon said.

https://www.kcra.com/article/north-carolina-farmers-start-euthanizing-15-million-chickens-after-meat-plant-coronavirus-outbreaks/32660662

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