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FRESH PAWZ, THE OFFICIAL STREETWEAR BRAND FOR DOGS, HELPS MILLENNIALS UP THEIR STYLING GAME

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FRESH PAWZ

Millennials, or more specifically, Generation Y, usually referred to as the ‘different’ generation currently dominates the world’s population. Surrounded by technology and obsessed with the digital world, these tech-savvy, extremely self-confident, and exceptional multi-taskers are all about staying with the trends. Whether it’s a gadget, car, home-décor, education, job,  or fashion, these young-adults are always looking for ways to get the most out of everything in life. These passionate, enthusiastic, and never-settling-for-less individuals keep searching for ways they can improve their lifestyle and follow every on-going trend in the world.

One of the top obsessions these people are living with is to become pet parents. 31% of the entire per owner population consists of millennials. In the U.S alone, millennials are the largest group of pet owners. By this age, most of the baby boomers were married and had kids, but pet-obsessed individuals are changing the game. Given the high percentage of young-adult consumers, the pet industry is targeting these people as their consumers. One brand that is acing this game is Fresh Pawz, an LA-based brand for dogs. It is the official streetwear brand for dogs that is raising the standards with its elite designs inspired by streetwear culture. The company has stirred hype among the millennials with its out-of-the-box thinking and is revamping the way people style their furry friends.

Adding Vibrancy and Excitement in a Mundane Product Selection

Traditionally, the industry of dog goodies has been boring. Every store offered the same, plain designs until Christopher Cargnoni hit the market with his unique approach. With millennials as his target consumers, he launched a different yet captivating range of goodies with a wide range of cool clothing, leashes, harnesses, bowls, toys, and whatnot. What makes his dog-specific brand stand out is his diverse mindset and passion for streetwear, which he has admired since he was 15 years old.

Cargnoni, the founder of this exclusive dog-fashion brand, offers his fellow dog parents impressive designs, innovative products, and unrivaled quality. He started his professional life by working at an old school retailer in Detroit. His smart thinking, passion for streetwear, and business mindedness helped in transforming the 2500 square feet shop into a 10,000 square feet streetwear-vibed store. Being a dog parent himself, he was determined to introduce streetwear-inspired fashion for these beloved pet animals, and he was finally able to do that with his dog-exclusive brand, Fresh Pawz. Christopher stated,  “I’m stoked to combine my respect for streetwear culture and my life-long love of dogs.

The store is rapidly gaining momentum in the market, and people are falling in love with its street-style range of goodies, specifically designed for four-legged furballs. It allows the dog owners to match their personal aesthetic with their dogs. The company is working to bridge the gap between the streetwear culture and the dogs. The founder of the store states, “We are a different breed of accessories bridging the gap between streetwear culture and your dog.

Many of the pint-sized hoodies ad t-shirts available at the store are influenced by the designs of High fashion luxury and streetwear brands. The store is connecting dig fashion to high-end fashion brands to help millennials style their dogs just like they style themselves. The company also designs a wide variety of human clothing that matches the ones they design for their dogs. Matching clothing for both the dog and the owner is one thing that gets millennials super excited.

A Team of Cool Kids with Creative Ideas

Fresh Pawz has a team of cool kids working on the uniquely designed dog goodies and clothing. They work under the supervision of the dog-enthusiast Christopher. Together they come up with amazing ideas that are in perfect alignment with the requirements of the pet dog owners from generation Y. Some of their most popular products include Kilo Cuban Link Leash and matching Link Luxury Collar, Pupreme Box Logo Hoodie, Pucci Dog Park, and anti-social social club t-shirts.

Movement Against Pet Euthanasia

Fresh Pawz is not just limited to designing cool clothes and goodies for pet dogs but is also working for a much bigger cause. While there are dogs enjoying life in their owner’s homes and getting proper food, there are stray dogs that are spending a low-quality life. To save the dogs from living a challenging life, these stray dogs are euthanized. It is a practice in which dogs are given large doses of euthanasia medication, usually seizure medication. Within two minutes, the medication causes their hearts to shut down and stops the brain from functioning.

The company is actively working in collaboration with the Petfinder Foundation to put an end to this practice. It donates 5% of every purchase to this foundation in an attempt to help fund initiatives that prevent euthanizing of adoptable pets. They are helping stray dogs at risk of euthanizing find comfortable homes, and assisting potential pet owners in finding suitable furry friends.

Fresh Pawz is based in Los Angeles, California, and is a dynamic brand that specializes in dog goodies, including clothing, leashes, harnesses, collars, and other dog-related accessories. The dog owners can up their styling game by getting their hands on stylish clothing and accessories for their furballs from Macy’s, Petco, Zumiez, or Target. They can make their beloved pets a part of their style statement, and The company is serving as a top choice for millennial dog owners. Moreover, it gives a chance to dog lovers to contribute to the well-being of these four-legged furballs. While offering a wide range of cool dog accessories, this company is an active participant in the movement against pet euthanasia.

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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Body found in Wyoming believed to be Gabby Petito; search continues for fiancé

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Body found in Wyoming believed to be Gabby Petito; search continues for fiancé

NORTH PORT, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Authorities say a body discovered Sunday in Wyoming is believed to be Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

The FBI said the body was found by law enforcement agents who had spent the past two days searching campgrounds on the east boundary of the park.

Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West.

Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1. Petito’s family filed a missing person report on Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Police searched a vast Florida wildlife reserve on Sunday for Laundrie, a person of interest in the case. The 23-year-old was last seen Tuesday by family members in Florida, and investigators have been searching for him for the past two days in a 24,000-acre wildlife reserve near Sarasota, Florida.

Police say Laundrie’s missing status is “certainly a twist.”

“We’re hopeful that he’s out here,” says Josh Taylor, a North Point Police spokesperson. “Certainly, we’ve prepared for all different possibilities, but our goal is to locate him and bring him back to North Port.”

Authorities used drones, scent-sniffing dogs and all-terrain vehicles in the reserve, which has more than 100 miles of trails, as well as campgrounds. Investigators took some of his clothing from his parents’ home Friday night to provide a scent for the search dogs.

“His family says they believe he entered the area earlier this week,” North Port Police tweeted Saturday.

Investigators in Florida were hopeful Laundrie was somewhere in the wildlife reserve near Sarasota. Depending on his skills, he could survive out in the reserve for some time, said police spokesperson Josh Taylor at a news conference.

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“Certainly, we prepare for all different possibilities, but you know, our goal is to locate him and bring him back to North Port,” Taylor said.

Police said the conversation Friday evening was the first time they’d spoken with the Laundries in detail about the case and that the meeting came at the family’s request. An attorney for the family called FBI investigators and said they wanted to talk about Laundrie’s disappearance, police said.

Investigators were trying to verify the story told by Laundrie’s family members that he went in the reserve with only a backpack, Taylor said. One mystery is how Laundrie got to the reserve. Family members told investigators he took his car, but the vehicle was found back at his family’s home, not at the reserve.

Earlier, the North Port Police said in a statement that they understood the community’s frustration over the lack of progress in finding the missing woman.

“We are frustrated too,” the statement said. “For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian’s fiance, Gabby Petito. Friday is the first time they have spoken to investigators in detail.”

“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime,” North Port police said in Friday’s statement.

Attorneys for the Petito family released a statement saying Laundrie was not “missing.”

“All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” the statement from the law office of Richard B. Stafford said.

Earlier in the week, Petito’s family pleaded for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.

The couple’s trek in the Ford Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October, according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The bodycam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Ultimately, Moab police decided not to file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night. Laundrie checked into a motel and Petito remained with the converted sleeper van.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate contributed to this report.

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Missouri records fewer than 1,000 COVID cases for second time this month

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Missouri records fewer than 1,000 COVID cases for second time this month

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For just the second time this month and the fourth time since Aug. 1, Missouri health officials have recorded fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 663,282 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 902 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 11,063 total deaths as of Monday, Sept. 20, an increase of 1 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.67%.

Please keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

State health officials report 53.1% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 64.4% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The state has administered 63,391 doses of vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Boone County, the city of Joplin, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its population fully vaccinated. Fourteen other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: Franklin, Atchison, Jackson, Cole, Gasconade, Greene, Shelby, Nodaway, Montgomery, Cape Girardeau, and Christian counties, as well as Kansas City, Independence, and St. Louis City.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

TRENDING STORY: Forget the Powerball! These Missouri Lottery games give you better odds at winning money 

(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,620; yesterday, it was 1,640. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 1,953. 

Approximately 49.3% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 82,384 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 56,784 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 44.1% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 32,255
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 6,896,446 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Sept. 19, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 10% positivity rate as of Sept. 17. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Sept. 17, Missouri is reporting 1,750 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,911. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 17% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across the state, 439 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 17%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Sept. 20, the CDC identified 42,031,103 cases of COVID-19 and 672,738 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.6%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: At 2-0, are undefeated Broncos the real deal or fool’s gold?

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Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: At 2-0, are undefeated Broncos the real deal or fool’s gold?

Kiz: For the first time in what seems like forever to you, me and linebacker Von Miller, there’s a happy orange glow in Broncos Country. Everything’s going according to plan for coach Vic Fangio and the gang. After two weeks, the Broncos are not only undefeated and in first place of the AFC West, but they are also one game ahead of Kansas City in the standings. As the team returns to Denver for the home opener, is it too early to start selling playoff tickets?

O’Halloran: As long as they’re refundable, why not? In 2018, my first year covering the Broncos, they started 2-0 but all I seem to remember is a tepid excitement. In Week 1, the defense stood tall after three Case Keenum (remember him?) interceptions to beat Seattle, 27-24. In Week 2, they survived darn-near 100% accuracy from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (29 of 32) to win 20-19 with six seconds remaining. The bottom fell out the next week in Baltimore. This team appears different. They faced two teams they should have beaten and once they got going late in the first half, they won both by double-digits.

Kiz: Maybe it wasn’t particularly fair or especially wise for Miller to compare quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. While nobody expects Bridgewater to be enshrined in Canton, the comparison is apt in one important respect. Under the unrelenting spotlight of playing QB in a city where John Elway set impossibly high standards, Bridgewater is the first player since Manning not to be unnerved by the unreasonable expectations for the position in Broncos Country.

O’Halloran: Spot on about Bridgewater both on the field and at the podium. On the field, he just never appears to get rattled. Pass rush breaks down? Scramble. First receiver is covered? Move on to the second or third options. Face a third-and-long? Check out of the called play and hand off to running back Javonte Williams for the conversion. At the podium, he’s insightful, critical and amusing all rolled into one No. 5 jersey. Vic’s decision to go with Teddy has been the right one so far.

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Bipartisan bill to give ‘Documented Dreamers’ path to citizenship blocked by Senate parliamentarian

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documented dreamers bill citizenship blocked

A proposed bipartisan bill aimed at giving so-called “Documented Dreamers” a path to permanent residency hit a roadblock on Sunday after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against including immigration reforms in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion, 10-year spending plan

Rare bipartisan support: Last week, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled the “America’s Children Act” legislation that aims to grant children of long-term visa holders a means to apply for their own green card, the New York Times reported.

  • Under the bill, “Documented Dreamers” are defined as those who came to the U.S. as children and grew up legally on a parent’s work visa. Many of them face deportation when they reach age 21 as they become too old to stay on dependent status without a green card.
  • Those who are eligible for green cards as children often get caught in the application backlog and eventually get removed from the queue before they reach 21 years old.
  • According to the official press release, the bill would create “a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who were brought to the United States as dependent children of workers admitted under approved employer petitions, have maintained status in the United States for 10 years (including four years as a dependent) and have graduated from an institution of higher education.”
  • The bill also prescribed to freeze the children’s ages at the time their parents apply for the family’s permanent residency instead of the availability date of the green card to prevent potential future problems.
  • Those who grew up as derivative family members of high-skilled work U.S. visa holders and who do not have a path to a green card will also benefit from the bill.
  • Democrats were hoping to pass the Documented Dreamers Act along with other immigration reforms through the $3.5 trillion social policy package they passed in August.



 

A chance for all: Improve the Dream, an organization that advocates for Documented Dreamers, celebrated the introduction of the bill on Tuesday.

  • “For too long, young immigrants like us, who have been raised and educated here as Americans, have been forced to leave the country we call home,” Improve the Dream founder Dip Patel said. “The introduction of America’s Children Act means so much to thousands of us who have only known America as their home.”
  • If passed, the legislation would help over 200,000 Documented Dreamers who “have been waiting for years, and often decades for a green card.”
  • Padilla, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, said, “We cannot turn our backs on the ‘Documented Dreamers’ who have spent most of their lives in this country, contributing to their communities and our economy but face continued uncertainty and risk deportation once they turn 21.”
  • Paul said that such individuals “shouldn’t be penalized by the government’s failures in addressing green card backlogs.”

Not in this budget: Citing Senate rules, MacDonough argued that provisions are not allowed in such bills if their effect on the budget is “merely incidental” to their overall policy impact, reported the Associated Press.

  • In her ruling, MacDonough said, “The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country — to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries — cannot be measured in federal dollars.”
  • Padilla and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a joint statement expressing disappointment in MacDonough’s decision but said they “have prepared an alternative proposal for the Parliamentarian’s consideration in the coming days.”

Featured Image via ImproveTheDream

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Judge tosses some convictions against ex-Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia

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Judge tosses some convictions against ex-Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia

A federal judge on Monday tossed out several convictions against the Massachusetts mayor elected at just 23 years old who was found guilty by jurors of bilking investors and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock overturned eight counts of the jury’s guilty verdict against against ex-Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia that the judge said prosecutors failed to prove during trial.

Corriea, who maintains he is innocent, remains convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud, extortion conspiracy and extortion, but the trimming of his convictions will undoubtedly impact the punishment he receives.

Correia, now 29, was expected to be sentenced on Monday, but the judge said he was unpersuaded that there was enough evidence to back up several fraud counts against him stemming from allegations that Correia misused money he got from investors who backed his smartphone app called “SnoOwl” on lavish purchases for himself and his then-girlfriend.

The judge said that prosecutors failed to prove six wire fraud counts by showing that wires — or electronic communications — were used to process the checks Correia got from the investors. The judge also ruled that prosecutors failed to prove two counts of filing false tax returns.

Before the judge acquitted Correia on several counts, prosecutors had asked for 11 years in prison, pointing to what they described as Correia’s continued defiance. His lawyers had asked for three years behind bars.

“This case evokes the legend of Icarus. Mr. Correia flew early, high, and fast. The verdict points to a hubristic loss of moral compass and, now, a crash into the sea. But Mr. Correia’s story need not end there,” Correia’s defense attorneys wrote in court papers.

The charges against Correia in 2018 marked a stunning collapse for the politician who was elected on a promise to rejuvenate the struggling mill city and was once seen as a rising Democratic star.

Prosecutors alleged that Correia looted a bank account of funds investors gave him for his smartphone app to buy things for himself and shower his girlfriend in expensive gifts. Prosecutors said he spent investor funds on dinners at high-end restaurants, luxury hotels, casino trips and such lavish items as a Mercedes, a helicopter tour of Newport, Rhode Island, and a $700 pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.

Throughout his trial, prosecutors depicted him as a greedy liar who misled those who pumped money into his app the same way they say he deceived voters to get elected by portraying himself as a successful entrepreneur. Investors told jurors that they had been impressed with Correia and trusted him to use their cash to build up the business and make them more money.

After becoming mayor in 2016, prosecutors say Correia began soliciting bribes from marijuana vendors in exchange for letters of approval from the city they needed in order to get a license. During the trial, prosecutors had one vendor use fake money to show jurors how he said he stuffed $75,000 in cash in a metal box clipboard before handing it to Correia in the mayor’s city-issued vehicle.

Correia was found guilty in May of extortion, extortion conspiracy, wire fraud and filing false tax returns after 23 hours of jury deliberations over four days. The jury acquitted him on three counts, including accusations that he forced his chief of staff to give him half of her salary in order to keep her city job.

For months after his arrest, Correia resisted calls to leave office and survived a bizarre election in March 2019 during which he was recalled by voters and reelected the same night. But after federal agents arrested him a second time — this time for the extortion scheme — he agreed in October 2019 to take a leave of absence. He was ousted by voters the next month.

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Severe thunderstorm warning in East Metro and Southeast Minnesota

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Severe thunderstorm warning in East Metro and Southeast Minnesota

The National Weather Services issued a severe thunderstorm warning for several counties in Southeastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, including Washington and Dakota County in the metro.

There is a chance of thunderstorms, hail, winds up to 70 miles per hour and tornados until 10 p.m. The storm will hit the mero in the mid to late afternoon and move into Southeastern Minnesota in the late afternoon to early evening.

There is currently a low probability for tornados but high probability for wind and hail.

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Gabby Petito timeline: Remains found in Wyoming fit description of missing 22-year-old

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Gabby Petito timeline: Remains found in Wyoming fit description of missing 22-year-old

MOOSE, Wyo. — Authorities say a body discovered Sunday in Wyoming is believed to be Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. The FBI said the body was found by law enforcement agents who had spent the past two days searching campgrounds.

An FBI agent said the cause of death not yet been determined. Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West.

Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1. Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

He was last seen Tuesday and investigators have been searching for him.

This is a timeline of what we know about the disappearance of and search for Gabby Petito:

July 2: Petito and Laundrie start road trip

Petito and Laundrie left Blue Point, New York on Long Island on July 2 for a cross-country road trip to national parks out west in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

They documented their travels every step of the way in photos and videos posted to YouTube and Instagram under the name “Nomadic Statik.”

Aug. 12: Argument in Utah

On Aug. 12, Petito posted photos twice on Instagram from a visit to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.

That same day, 8 On Your Side learned Moab City police responded to a witness report of an argument and physical altercation involving the couple.

“Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” Chief Bret Edge said in an email.

Moab police decided the fight didn’t rise to the level of “domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.”

Police recommended the couple spend the night apart. Petito stayed with the van. Police helped Laundrie get a hotel room at a family crisis center in Moab.

Aug. 21: Petito’s last FaceTime with her father

Nine days after the reported incident in Moab, on Aug. 21, Joseph Petito said he had his last FaceTime call with his daughter. He said he helped order her food in Salt Lake City.

“No red flags that popped out,” Mr. Petito said in a Zoom interview Tuesday from his home in Vero Beach. “I’m trying to wrap my brain – Monday morning quarterback it, you know what I mean – still nothing is popping in my head.”

Aug. 25: Petito’s last phone conversation with mother

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said during an emotional news conference Monday she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25 while she was near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“I wasn’t getting responses,” Schmidt said. “I believe she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight and nine I became really concerned. I figured she couldn’t be off the grid that long.”

Aug. 30: Petito’s mom receives final text from her

“The last text I got from her was on Aug. 30,” Schmidt said. “I don’t know if that was her texting me or not.”

Sept. 1: Laundrie returns home to Florida

North Port police, who are now the lead agency in the missing person investigation, say Laundrie returned to his parent’s home with the van on Sept. 1.

Sept. 11: Petito reported missing

Ten days later, on Sept. 11, concerned family members reported Petito missing to Suffolk County Police in New York.

Later that night, North Port Police confirmed they recovered the van at Laundrie’s parents’ home. Police said the young couple also lived there.

Sept. 15: Laundrie named person of interest

Laundrie was officially named a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance by North Port police on Wednesday as he refuses to cooperate with the investigation.

“As a father, I can imagine the pain and suffering Gabby’s family is going through,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said. “We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks. The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out. We will help find Gabby and we will help find anyone who may be involved in her disappearance.”

The Laundrie family attorney did not respond to 8 On Your Side’s request for comment Wednesday about police naming Brian a person of interest.

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming,” Attorney Steven Bertolino said in a statement Tuesday. “On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

“I don’t know about you, but their child is home,” Mr. Petito said. “My child is somewhere in the continental United States with no phone, no car. It’s not as hard on them as it is on us.”

Sept. 16: Petito’s family begs for help

During a North Port police news conference on Sept. 16, Chief Todd Garrison voiced his frustration with the lack of answers on Petito’s disappearance.

“Two people went on a trip. One person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information,” he said.

Garrison added that there is no criminality suspected in the case at this time and police are only investigating a missing person case with the sole focus of finding Gabby Petito.

Petito’s father spoke during the news conference, begging ayone with information to come forward.

“I’m asking for help from everyone here, I’m asking for help from everyone at home. I’m asking for help from the parents of Brian. I’m asking for help from the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well,” Joe Petito said. “Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help. There is nothing else that matters to me now.”

Later in the day, a family attorney in New York read a letter from Petito’s family to Laundrie’s parents that called on them for help.

“As a parent, how could you let us go through this pain and not help us? As a parent, how could you put Gabby’s younger brothers and sisters through this?” they said. “Gabby lived with you for over a year. She’s going to be your daughter-in-law. How can you keep her location hidden?”

Sept. 17: Laundrie reported missing

A family attorney confirmed Friday night that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie were unknown.

“The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian. As of now, the FBI is now looking for both Gabby and Brian,” the attorney said in a statement.

That statement came after police spent more than two hours at the Laundrie family home, at the family’s request.

Sept. 19: Body found in Teton Park

FBI Denver confirmed Sunday that remains found in Wyoming fit the description of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito. The body was found in Teton Park.

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips about Petito’s disappearance. Those with information are being asked to call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). 

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Dierbergs to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and day after Christmas

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Dierbergs to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and day after Christmas

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Front elevation rendering of Dierbergs Lake Saint Louis Store, opening late 2021

ST. LOUIS– Dierbergs Stores will close three days this holiday season as a thank you to associates. The local chain will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas.

“My family wants to show our appreciation for our hard-working Associates by closing the stores for an additional day this holiday season, so they can spend a long weekend with their families,” said Greg Dierberg, President and CEO.  “We are fortunate to work with an amazing group of people that make Dierbergs a great place to shop.”

The store is usually closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day but is adding December 26th this year.

Dierbergs says it is making the announcement early so associates can make their holiday plans now.

In addition, stores will close at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and resume normal operating hours outside of these dates.

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“We were them”: Vietnamese Americans help Afghan refugees

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“We were them”: Vietnamese Americans help Afghan refugees

WESTMINSTER, Calif. — In the faces of Afghans desperate to leave their country after U.S. forces withdrew, Thuy Do sees her own family, decades earlier and thousands of miles away.

A 39-year-old doctor in Seattle, Washington, Do remembers hearing how her parents sought to leave Saigon after Vietnam fell to communist rule in 1975 and the American military airlifted out allies in the final hours. It took years for her family to finally get out of the country, after several failed attempts, and make their way to the United States, carrying two sets of clothes a piece and a combined $300. When they finally arrived, she was 9 years old.

These stories and early memories drove Do and her husband Jesse Robbins to reach out to assist Afghans fleeing their country now. The couple has a vacant rental home and decided to offer it up to refugee resettlement groups, which furnished it for newly arriving Afghans in need of a place to stay.

“We were them 40 years ago,” Do said. “With the fall of Saigon in 1975, this was us.”

Television images of Afghans vying for spots on U.S. military flights out of Kabul evoked memories for many Vietnamese Americans of their own attempts to escape a falling Saigon more than four decades ago. The crisis in Afghanistan has reopened painful wounds for many of the country’s 2 million Vietnamese Americans and driven some elders to open up about their harrowing departures to younger generations for the first time.

It has also spurred many Vietnamese Americans to donate money to refugee resettlement groups and raise their hands to help by providing housing, furniture and legal assistance to newly arriving Afghans. Less tangible but still essential, some also said they want to offer critical guidance they know refugees and new immigrants need: how to shop at a supermarket, enroll kids in school and drive a car in the United States.

Since the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese have come to the United States, settling in communities from California to Virginia. Today, Vietnamese Americans are the sixth-largest immigrant group in the United States. Many settled in California’s Orange County after arriving initially at the nearby Camp Pendleton military base and today have a strong voice in local politics.

“We lived through this and we can’t help but feel that we are brethren in our common experience,” Andrew Do, who fled Saigon with his family a day before it fell to communism and today chairs the county’s board of supervisors, said during a recent press conference in the area known as “Little Saigon.”

The U.S. had long announced plans to withdraw from Afghanistan after a 20-year war. But the final exit was much more frantic, with more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members killed in an attack on the Kabul airport.

In the last two weeks of August, the U.S. evacuated 31,000 people from Afghanistan, three-quarters of them Afghans who supported American military efforts during the extensive operations. But many Afghan allies were left behind with no clear way out of the landlocked nation under strict Taliban control.

Similarly, many Vietnamese Americans recall how they couldn’t get out before the impending fall of Saigon to communism. They stayed behind and faced long spells in reeducation camps in retaliation for their allegiance to the Americans who had fought in their country. Once they were allowed to return to their families, many Vietnamese left and took small boats onto the seas, hoping to escape and survive.

For some families, the journey took years and many failed attempts, which is why many Vietnamese Americans view the departure of the U.S. military from Afghanistan not as the end of the crisis, but the beginning.

“We have to remember now is the time to lay a foundation for a humanitarian crisis that may last long past the moment the last U.S. help leaves the Afghan space,” said Thanh Tan, a Seattle filmmaker who started a group for Vietnamese Americans willing to house arriving Afghans. Her own family, she said, made the trip four years after the U.S. left Vietnam. “We have to be prepared because people will do whatever it takes to survive.”

Afghans arriving in the United States may have a special status for those who supported U.S. military operations, or may have been sponsored to come by relatives already here. Others are expected to arrive as refuges or seek permission to travel to the United States under a process known as humanitarian parole and apply for asylum or other legal protection once they are here.

For parole, Afghans need the support of a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and some Vietnamese Americans have signed up to sponsor people they have never met, said Tuấn ĐinhJanelle, director of field at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. He said a coalition of legal and community groups has secured sponsors for 2,000 Afghans seeking parole. His sister, Vy Dinh, said she’s sponsoring a family of 10 including women in danger for working in medicine and teaching. “As soon as he called, I said, ‘Yes, I am in,’” she said.

Other efforts have focused on fundraising for refugee resettlement groups. Vietnamese and Afghan American artists held a benefit concert this month in Southern California to raise money to assist Afghan refugees. The event titled “United for Love” was broadcast on Vietnamese language television and raised more than $160,000, according to Saigon Broadcasting Television Network.

It also aired on Afghan American satellite television, said Bilal Askaryar, an Afghan American advocate and spokesperson for the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign aimed at supporting asylum seekers. “They saw the need. They saw the parallels,” Askaryar said. “It’s really powerful to see that they saw that link of common humanity between the Afghan community and the Vietnamese community. We’ve been really touched and inspired.”

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How do COVID-19 vaccines really work?

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How do COVID-19 vaccines really work?

With the recent rise in COVID cases across America, calls to get vaccinated are growing a lot louder. Tens of millions of Californians are still not fully vaccinated.

The threat of other (and more dangerous) variants is always out there. The COVID vaccine is literally the best shot you can get to protect yourself.

But how can you be sure? There’s so much noise out there, different vaccines, different variants – it seems complicated sometimes. The best first step is understanding just how COVID vaccines really work.

3 kinds of vaccines?

The most widely used COVID-19 vaccines basically work the same way – they use proteins to train your immune system to fight a specific virus, preparing it to face the real thing one day.

“But don’t vaccines more or less give you the COVID virus so you can learn to fight it?” Not at all. No COVID-19 vaccine uses a whole version of the virus. It’s impossible to get COVID from a COVID vaccine. 

Remember how your immune system works? Viruses cause infection which triggers your immune system’s white blood cells. The ones fighting on the frontline are B lymphocytes (B cells), which detect the virus and produce precious antibodies, and T lymphocytes (T cells), which attack the cells that are already infected by the virus. 

For COVID-19, there are three types of vaccines: messenger RNA (mRNA), vector, and subunit vaccines. They all generally work the same with some differences in how they introduce our bodies to that COVID protein.

An mRNA vaccine uses virus material to teach our cells how to homemake the COVID protein. As soon as they are made, our B and T cells get to fighting.

A protein subunit vaccine introduces the COVID protein directly to your immune system to trigger your B and T cells to work.

A Vector vaccine takes COVID-19 material and puts it into a shell of a different modified virus. This modified virus (an adenovirus if we are talking COVID-19 vaccines) enters our cells and then the material inside teaches our cells to produce the COVID protein. Then, the B and T cells get to work.

The antibodies the B cells make from the vaccines will still fight other COVID variants out there, even if they mutate.

Which vaccine is for me?  

In California (and the United States), there are three vaccines to choose from – Pfizer (mRNA), Moderna (mRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (adenovirus vector). In fact, the top six COVID vaccines around the world are either mRNA or vector vaccines (the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, the Gamaleya vaccine in Russia and the CanSino vaccine in China are all adenovirus vector vaccines).

“But hold on, wasn’t that Johnson & Johnson vaccine put on hold a while back?” Yes, it was briefly paused to conduct a safety review, and on April 23, 2021, the FDA and CDC lifted that pause. It’s authorized for emergency use.

“Is one vaccine better than the others?” No. They all teach your immune system the same skills. The best COVID-19 vaccine for you is the first one you can get.

One shot or two?

It doesn’t really matter since the immune response is the same. With Pfizer and Moderna, you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second shot. With Johnson & Johnson, you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after that first shot. During those two weeks, your B and T cells learn to fight off those COVID proteins.

But are they really safe?

All three vaccines available in the US have completed phase three trials, meaning tens of thousands of people participated in studies to determine how effective the vaccine is against a placebo and data on rare side effects, if any, is collected. In August 2021, Pfizer became the first COVID-19 vaccine to get FDA approval.

“But what about the side effects after getting a shot?” Yes, some people do experience side effects like fatigue or soreness, which is normal, it just means your body is learning to respond to the COVID protein. There’s no altering of your DNA, no microchips or any other sci-fi horrors involved.

Of course, the vaccine can’t do everything by itself. Take care of your body so your body can take care of you. A nutritious and balanced diet, exercising to keep fit and getting vaccinated gives you the best possible chance to fight COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Get your vaccine now!

Teach your immune system a few tricks to fight COVID-19 and future variants by scheduling your vaccine appointment or find walk-in vaccination sites at MyTurn.ca.gov (available in multiple languages) or by calling (833) 422-4255. It’s free, it’s safe, and it’s the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and its variants right now.

Feature Image via CDPH

This post was created by NextShark with the California Department of Public Health

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