California is preparing to reopen parts of its economy on Friday. (Photo: JUAN CARLO/THE STAR)

The state’s projecting a $54.3 billion shortfall as it prepares next year’s budget and record unemployment. And why you might want to hold up on getting that antibody test. Plus: Don’t miss stories that celebrate the people who lift us up, even when they may not realize it.

It’s Arlene Martínez, with your news for Thursday. We’re almost there! What’s there, you ask? Well, anyway.

But first, that name Tesla’s founder Elon Musk and singer Grimes gave their baby? It’s not actually legal in California. “Vital records must be completed with the 26 alphabetical characters of the English language and appropriate punctuation such as hyphens, apostrophes, periods, and commas,” the state told USA TODAY.

The name is X Æ A-12.

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State faces record shortfall and nearly 1 in 5 could be jobless

Jadabug’s Kids Boutique owner Heidi McArthur arranges inventory inside her store in preparation to reopen as allowed by Gov Newsom in La Quinta, Calif., on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Details are still to come on what is allowed but her hope is to reopen by using video conferencing for virtual shopping and make it available for curbside pickup. (Photo: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun)

Not since the Great Recession has California found itself facing such a significant cash flow problem. To consider how bad it is, remember that last year’s budget included a $20 billion “rainy day” surplus. More recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom in January was projecting having an extra $6 billion. 

On Thursday, less than a month after shutting down all non-essential business, the state announced it anticipates a $54.3 billion shortfall. How the state will accommodate those cuts will become more clear next week, when Newsom presents his revised 2020-21 spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. 

The state also expects the unemployment rate to hit 18%, significantly higher than the just over 12% out-of-work figure during the depths of the Great Recession.

In addition to revenue losses, the state’s also spent billions in its response. Consider:

As it scurried to find critically needed N95 masks, the state agreed to pay $3.30 per mask to a Chinese automaker’s subsidiary. The city of Los Angeles found a better deal, paying 79 cents apiece. We don’t know how much the state has spent on the coronavirus response, only that it included scores of no-bid contracts awarded to relatively unknown companies. 

On Friday,some shops can begin offering curbside pickups, including florists, bookstores, clothing shops and sporting goods stores. Manufacturers considered facilities at low risk of transmitting the coronavirus will also be permitted to reopen.

Indio Florist delivery driver Uriel Avila drops off flower bouquets in La Quinta, Calif., on Thursday morning, May 7, 2020.  (Photo: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun)

Price gouging, an ICE death and endless border waits

The state Attorney General’s office filed its first price-gouging charges against a grocery store that allegedly hiked prices by as much as 300%.

A 57-year-old Salvadoran man in ICE custody in San Diegohas died from coronavirus complications. 

Essential workers are allowed to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. But their wait easily stretches to several hours. 

Hold up on getting that antibody test 

Illustration of herd immunity (Photo: USA TODAY)

Medical experts have some advice for Americans thinking about getting coronavirus antibody tests: Don’t – at least not until the questionable ones have been weeded out and scientists know whether people who survived COVID-19 are immune from the virus.

Until then, some scientists say, manufacturers should stop advertising the antibody tests, for as little as $25, that many people are using to decide if they can safely stop social distancing or return to work.

Manufacturers in recent weeks have flooded the U.S. market with antibody tests that vary widely in accuracy. Even if the tests are accurate, scientists don’t know how long antibodies will last or what level someone needs to be immune.

“At this point, we have to assume that they could be at risk of reinfection,” said Dr. Mary Hayden, chief of the Rush University Medical Center Division of Infectious Diseases, during an online conference about antibody testing.

What else we’re talking about 

San Francisco’s most expensive residence could be yours, for just $49 million.

A loved one died and you couldn’t see them before or now attend their funeral. A senior advocate offers some tips for processing the experience and grief. 

The proposed makeup of the citizens’ redistricting commission, which will determine state and federal political boundaries, is only 17% Latino, though they account for 40% of the state’s population. There’s still time to change that, writes UCLA’s Sonja Diaz.

The company we keep

There’s a handful of people who come quickly to mind when I think of people who have changed me: the way they’ve altered the way I consider the world, their wordless way of being I’ve sought to emulate, the ways they’ve forced me to confront my shortcomings. 

It’s an amazing group.

This week’s playlist, put together by the Storytellers Project, is full of stories that celebrate our connections to others. Sometimes, a person doesn’t realize the impact they’re having on us; often, we may not realize it until later. 

Who is that special person to you?

Enjoy Week 8’s collection of stories.

Comedian Anwar Newton delivers his story “Full Circle K” at the Whole Story storytelling event at the Phoenix Art Museum on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Republic)

Reach out and touch someone

The spirit of gratitude at Christmas motivates a man to call every contact in his phone. Anwar Newton starts in the morning at A and by evening, he’s reached Z. He’s mortified to ping one-night stands, saddened to connect with old friends who are struggling and he realizes he needs to be doing a lot more authentic connecting in life.

AUDIO:Listen to Anwar’s story here.

LISTEN TO WEEK 1: Uplifting Stories that restore our faith in humankind.

Julie Makinen tells a story at the Coachella Valley Storytellers Project, December 11, 2018. (Photo: Zoë Meyers/The Desert Sun)

‘It’s not the gift, it’s the thought’

Even though Julie Makinen’s mom develops dementia, she still never forgets a special milestone. Whether birthdays or Christmas, Julie’s mom gifts her daughter jeggings. Julie is both amused by the annual gift that her mother thinks is original, and comforted because it’s an indication her mother’s memory is still there in a way. For Julie, an old saying takes on even greater meaning: “It’s not that gift that matters, but the thought.”

VIDEO:Watch Julie share her story here with humor and warmth.

LISTEN TO WEEK 2: Stories about adventures that show us how strong we can be.

Megan Finnerty tells her story during Arizona Storytellers Project presents Searching at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix on Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018. (Photo: Jeremiah Toller/Special for the Republic)

A friendly gesture

Megan Finnerty was a recent college grad when she moved from Indiana to Arizona for an internship at the Arizona Republic. She didn’t know anyone, felt lonely and was hundreds of miles from her twin sis. Life was sad and alienating. Then, while covering a story, she was introduced to someone who would become one of her best friends.

AUDIO:Listen to Megan share her story in Arizona.

LISTEN TO WEEK 3: Stories that confirm family is everything.  

Author Bethany Yeiser speaks about her journey from Schizophrenia and homelessness to recovery during the Cincy Storytellers Project ÒRecovery StoriesÓ Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at the Transept. (Photo: Shae Combs for the Enquirer, Shae Combs for the Enquirer)

A new lease on life

When she was in her 20s, Bethany Yeiser lived homeless on the streets of Los Angeles for four years enduring an extended episode of schizophrenia, experiencing powerful delusions. One day, the police took her to a psych ward for an evaluation and contacted her parents. Her parents brought her home and got her into treatment, which took months of trial and error on various medications. Today, Bethany teaches piano and lives a full life.

VIDEO: Watch as Bethany shares her story in Cincinnati, Ohio.

LISTEN TO WEEK 4: Stories that show us we have the strength and fortitude to persevere.   

Storyteller Sarah Ventre tells her tale during the Arizona Storytellers Project Growing Up at The Churchill in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo: Jeremiah Toller)

Leaving a legacy

Sarah Ventre tells us about moving to Washington, D.C., to take an unpaid internship at NPR. She didn’t fit in and only made one friend, while living far from her job, doing a miserable side-hustle. But her one friend is a life-changing one, who crashed the NPR Thanksgiving potluck with her, encourages her work and accepts her for who she is. When she learns of his death years later, she realizes he was the key to an internship that set her up her career, and current happiness. 

AUDIO: Listen to Sarah’s story.

Once upon a time in Hollywood

In 1994, Tony Felice was in his 30s when he decides to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He moved to Hollywood, got some bit parts, even co-starred with Florence Henderson. “Oh my god, I used to watch you on TV when I was a little boy,” he told her. “How nice,” she said. While working as a server at Henry Mancini’s 70th birthday party, he faked being “a star.” He judged himself for not fitting in. After four years, he moved to Arizona to be close to family and now wishes he could go back in time and say to his 30-year-old self: “Hollywood … is a place, not a referendum on your character.” 

AUDIO:Listen to Tony’s story.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Voice of San Diego

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