It’s Arlene with news for Wednesday.
But first, the MLB Network will celebrate “Mr. (San Diego) Padre” with all-day coverage. on Saturday, which would have been his 60th birthday. The late Tony Gwynn is considered one of the all-time best hitters in baseball.
Tony Gwynn: 20 seasons, 2,440 games, 3 playoff appearances (Photo: DENIS POROY, AP)
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Let’s start with some quick headlines
The state’s heavy dependence on groundwater and wild up-and-down climate swings point to a troubled water future for the West + a pending megadrought.
Coronavirus-related stimulus checks sent to dead people must be returned, the Treasury Department says.
The California Supreme Court denied an attempt to block state financial assistance from going to workers left out of federal stimulus aid because of their immigration status.
The Treasury Department will begin dispersing $8 billion to Native American tribes, including in California, ending a holdup centered on which ones should be recognized to receive the money.
Growers face “unprecedented losses” as the vegetable and fruit demand by the hospitality and foodservice industries becomes virtually nonexistent.
At the privately run Otay Mesa Detention Center, where 90 detainees and 25 offices have the coronavirus and one person has died, a man locked up wrote of the dangerous conditions inside.
Ventura County prosecutors plan to petition the state’s highest court to review a 2018 law that made it harder to level murder charges against accomplices who didn’t kill anyone.
Some models show dire outcomes in places that are reopening. But for policymakers, nothing’s cut and dried. “There’s always a tension between the economy and sheltering in place,” says Dr. George Rutherford of UC San Francisco. “Bad economies are as hurtful to health as viruses.”
Newsom on workers’ compensation, property taxes and his hair
Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for the gradual reopening of California businesses during a news conference at the Display California store in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom on Wednesday. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, AP)
It just got easier for essential workers to receive workers’ compensation benefits as part of an executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Wednesday.
To qualify, a worker must have tested positive or been diagnosed with the coronavirus between March 19 and in the next 60 days. Typically, a worker must prove an illness or injury was obtained while working; this shifts the burden to employers to prove a worker didn’t get it on the job.
Newsom also announced an extension to pay property taxes without being penalized. Most residential taxpayers will have until May 6, 2021, before penalties, fees and interest are charged. Businesses get the same relief through the end of the month, the executive order states.
Also during the briefing, Newsom said he is not going to restaurants or salons, practicing what he preaches. But his unwieldy hair hasn’t gone unnoticed. “My daughter offered to cut it … with some craft scissors,” he said.
He has so far declined.
In other response news, California in late March wired almost a half-billion dollars for medical supplies to a company that had been in business for just three days, CalMatters reported late Tuesday.
The deal fell apart within hours and California got its money back, and now the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the company, which is headed by two Republican operatives.
Reopenings, allowed and not, and a raft rescue
Server Jonnie Overmire goes over the menu for customers Bonnie Sitter, left, and daughter Abby, 18, at the Lambert House Cafe in Yuba City, Calif., on Monday. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City reopened Wednesday, in defiance of Newsom’s shelter-in-place orders. Malls are not included among the stores Newsom said could open Friday for curbside pickup.
The state has investigated about 80 restaurants, bars, or other alcohol license holders across California for re-opening in violation of stay-at-home orders. Of those, 98% shut down once approached, officials said. But the other 2% …
Trails, trailheads, parks and golf coursesare set to reopen Friday in Los Angeles County. And in neighboring Ventura County, here’s what open and closed in the outdoors.
Five rafters out celebrating Cinco de Mayowere rescued after their vessel overturned in the Sacramento River.
Getting by on canned fish
Unemployment claims (Photo: USA TODAY)
Housekeepers. Social media managers. Small business owners. Caterers. Garment workers. Musicians. Bakers. They are without income and sleep, getting by on prayers and surviving on canned tuna and sardines.
They are also among the 4.1 million Californians who have filed for unemployment since mid-March; nationwide, 30 million people are expected to file by this week. As commerce shut down and travel stopped, the fall from stability to not paying rent was terrifying in its speed.
Here are some of those stories,shared with reporters with the USA TODAY Network.
U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat who represents the desert communities east of Los Angeles, said calls to his office have tripled since the outbreak. His constituents wonder how they will feed their children, pay their rent, find a new job.
“Those hardships vary based on where you live, what your job is and your socioeconomic status,” Ruiz says. “We may all be in this together, but we’re not on the same boat. Some are on a rowboat barely holding on, and some are on the yacht.”
Friday’s job report is expected to show with more exactness what April looked like in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus response. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict 21.5 million job losses and an unemployment rate of 16% — up from 4.4% in March — both the highest on record by far.
For perspective, consider that February’s 3.5% jobless rate matched a half-century low.
0% car loans, biohazard rave suits and keeping your home office cool
(Photo: Getty Images)
Why you should think twice about that tantalizing 0% car loan or delayed payment offer.
An L.A.-based company is behind this biohazard suitthat lets the wearer dance, drink, vape and do it. No word on when it’ll be available to buy.
L.A. Times reporter Laura Nelson on Twitter asked for suggestions on weatherizing her home office. It generated lots of practical responses, some of which may work for you.
State OK to block religious gatherings, judge rules
Pastor Jonathan Duncan of Cross Culture Christian Center greets a congregant April 5, 2020, before giving a prayer outside of Bethel Open Bible Church in Lodi. (Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
California had the right to ban church assemblies in the interest of public health during the coronavirus outbreak, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Newsom’s stay-at-home order did not violate the constitutional rights to free assembly and religion when a San Joaquin County church was ordered to stop holding services, Judge John Mendez ruled in Sacramento. He called the stay-at-home orders a valid exercise of emergency police powers.
“During public health crises … government officials must ask whether even fundamental rights must give way to a deeper need to control the spread of infectious disease and protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable,” Mendez wrote.
Congregants had continued to gather despite warnings the church was violating state and local orders. The church argued forcing it to close was an abuse of power that criminalized communal worship while allowing people to frequent department stores, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries and other businesses deemed essential.
The judge said that argument missed the point because shoppers were going to those businesses to purchase specific items, not spend time together. A more relevant comparison would be restaurants, concerts, movies and sporting events, which were also ordered closed.
Also contributing: CalMatters, Washington Post, Associated Press, Sacramento Bee.
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