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From boom to bust in the blink of an eye, a historic community

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From boom to bust in the blink of an eye, a historic community

T.B. T.B. Whitacre wrote those lines on July 30, 1865 to his grandfather. In January, just seven months ago, he and hundreds of others, most of whom were speculators, were led to an oil strike near Pithole Creek at Holmden Farm. In May, in the green forest of the Venango Valley, a settlement was spread out full of trees, pines, rattlesnakes, bears, deer and porcupines. Throughout August, it was easily overgrown with inhabitants and debris and obstructed by houses. Through Christmas 1865, nearly 20,000 people, including Whitacre, lived there.

Until all of this, only two farms populated this land, and the inhabitants could rely on their fingers.
In January 1866, the third busiest post office in America was in full service after only Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Fifty-four hotels lined the avenues, the first in the country to be completely lit by oil and so dark as a deep marsh. Three churches were also present with theatres, two trains and the county’s first daily newspaper. And here was installed the world’s first pipeline.
“I don’t think in such a short period there was a city built,” Whitacre wrote in wonder. “About 1,000 carpenters are constructing homes, they claim. Someone can hardly hear himself talking, the sound of the hammer and the chatter of the crowds cause too much noise in town. You don’t know the large number of people here.

The first hotel, the Astor, was constructed in one day. The Chase House and Danforth House were both situated on the intersection of Holmden Street and First Street and were opened on Christmas Eve 1865. The Jewelry Shop of Isham was on Holmden Street too. The restaurant Terrapin Lunch was like that. Dr. Christie ‘s house on First Street, Prather and Wadsworth’s bank building, along with homes, dance houses and law bureaux, was born, producing a beautiful, muddy place, founded on wealth, desire and greed. All collapsed after oil collapsed.

This became the world’s fastest-growing settlement in the valley of America.
The population will decline to less than 10 percent in one year’s time. It had vanished within four years. The Danforth House sells for just $16 as firewood.

Western Pennsylvania was the oil region, and Pithole was the best and worst for a fleeting moment in history. This held all the hopes and ambition and business that would succeed and fail.

Once Col. Drake first found oil here in Western Pennsylvania ‘s green wilderness, America was at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution and was actively trying to find the solution to the need for gasoline. Thanks to strong demand , the price of whale oil was only economical for the wealthy to light their homes at night. Lard oil, tallow oil, and shale oil were produced, but nothing inexpensive burned brilliantly, cleanly, and safely.

It was a issue that slowed the growth of urbanization and industrialisation. No lights at night meant no work at the plants or open shops in the cities.

Oil was the hero. Oil was hero. The Drake Well boom started in Western Pennsylvania, 12 miles from here. The first well drilled along Pithole Creek, Frazier Well, found oil on January 7, 1865, delivering an unheard of 250 barrels of oil daily.
Speculators got $8 a barrel, marking the launch of the Pithole oil boom and the construction of the frontier metropolis with the eye wink. But Pithole was soon a survivor of the excess of resources. The wells produced so much oil that by 1866 a deficit cut the price to $2,50 a gallon.

The population fell from 20,000 in 1865 to less than 2,000 in less than one year.

In short, all remnants of the city vanished.

The entire community was bought for $1,500 by a businessman to clear the debt. The former newspaper editor acquired the property 100 years later and donated it to the Historical and Museum Commission of Pennsylvania. It is creepy to walk down its streets and now muddied roads. The only sound you detect is the breeze on the mountain ‘s face.

A hawk is overhead, as some bucks skirt back the hemlock, the pines and the luxuriant forests that cover the scarred lands once ravished by the flood of oil. Trout fishing is still plentiful and scat indicates the presence of bears.
Pithole is a ghost city today. The words of what was once lost for a long time. We are reminded that we go every day through once flowing cities and villages: Rust Belt cities along the Ohio river, silk villages in Carolinas or towns along lines that are no longer halted by trains and highways.

Although the demise of Pithole was so swift that it lost nostalgia, nobody else was invested in it. Slow deaths in many towns and communities become more traumatic as they fail to survive. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, even larger cities such as Richmond, New York and Portland are experiencing the impact of protests and riots and that emptiness that happens when people just stop coming to town.
Many wells and foundations exist, but all that remains here are stairs to the Pithole Methodist Church’s rectory on the top of a hill overlooking the area. It proceeds to the heavens symbolically. A plaque set on the church altar in 1959 reads, “It remained after everything was gone.”

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Second STEM School shooter sentenced to life without parole for murder of Kendrick Castillo

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Second STEM School shooter sentenced to life without parole for murder of Kendrick Castillo

The schoolchildren who walked into STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019, fled the school later that day with night terrors, anxiety and panic attacks.

Provided by Maria Castillo via Instagram

Kendrick Castillo

Because two students opened fire in room 107 that day, there are 20-year-olds who are afraid of the dark. It reminds them too much of the dark classrooms they huddled in and listened to gunfire as high school students.

Some never returned to school, or are afraid to leave their houses.

“I know what it’s like to get phantom pains in your leg because you were shot,” Joshua Jones, one of the students in room 107 that day, said during his attacker’s sentencing Friday. “I know so much more than I should for someone my age.”

After more than two years of court proceedings, a judge in Douglas County on Friday sentenced Devon Erickson, the second of two gunmen, to a mandatory sentence of life without parole for killing 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo and wounding eight others in the school shooting that traumatized a community.

Kendrick’s father, John Castillo, said the final court proceeding has provided a little bit of closure.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “It’s cathartic. But when we go home the house will still be empty.”

For more than three hours Friday, the students, teachers and parents traumatized that day told Douglas County District Court Judge Theresa Slade how the two shooters irrevocably change their lives.

Students spoke of passing pools of blood on the floor and stepping on shattered glass as they fled. Some still feel guilt that they survived while Castillo did not, or felt that they should’ve done more to save him. Even though they recognize it’s not rational, it’s still there.

Students recalled texting and calling their mothers to tell them they loved them and that they might die. Mothers remembered the blind panic that followed those messages and, in some cases, waiting hours before knowing their child was alive.

“There will never be an easy way to say the words: I was in a school shooting,” one former student wrote in a letter read by her mother.

One student said he has flashbacks when doing quadratic equations because that’s what he was doing as an eighth-grader when the gunfire began. Lauren Harper, the teacher in the room where the shooting happened, said she still has two nightmares from that day — one of the shooters pulling out the guns and one of learning that Kendrick was dead.

“I have seen the holes not only in my classroom but also in the bodies of my students,” she said. “I see a grave where I should see a young engineer.”

1631941214 507 Second STEM School shooter sentenced to life without parole for

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

STEM School Highlands Ranch teacher Lauren Harper talks to the press after STEM School shooter Devon Erickson was sentenced to life in prison without parole at the Robert Christensen Justice Center Sept. 17, 2021. Erickson and a co-conspirator opened fire in the STEM School in May of 2019, killing student Kendrick Castillo and wounding several others in Harper’s classroom. Castillo died trying to protect other students in the shooting.

Kalissa Braga, a mother of two of students, said she was in the school volunteering when the shooting happened. She hid in a bathroom with an infant she was nannying and her 5-year-old child, wedging the children between the toilet and the sink in hopes they would offer protection in case bullets pierced the walls.

For weeks after the shooting, her 5-year-old would repeat the school’s lockdown announcement — “locks, lights, out of sight” — without knowing what it meant. On a later trip to Home Depot, the little girl saw broken glass on the floor and hid because she’d walked through broken glass the day of the shooting and thought it meant there had been another one.

A jury in June convicted Erickson of nearly four dozen charges, including three counts of first-degree felony murder for killing classmate Castillo. He was also convicted of 31 attempted-murder charges, along with a variety of lesser charges including arson, theft, possessing a weapon on school grounds, criminal mischief, burglary, and reckless endangerment.

In addition to life without parole, Slade on Friday sentenced Erickson to 1,282 years in prison.

George Brauchler, former district attorney for the 18th Judicial District and special prosecutor on the case, said the sentence is likely the longest ever recorded in Douglas County. Every year is warranted, he said.

“There is no regret, there is no sadness, no sorrow,” he said of Erickson.

Erickson’s parents, sister, grandfather and girlfriend told the judge that the now-20-year-old was not the monster he seemed and that he was deeply loving and loved. Erickson’s parents, Jim and Stephanie, apologized to the victims and everyone affected by their son’s crimes, which they said they still could not explain.

Though Erickson did not show emotion during the victims’ testimony, he sobbed while his family spoke.

“We pray for these people every day,” Jim Erickson said. “We hope they can find peace. And we also hope they can find forgiveness — I know that’s a hard ask.”

All of Erickson’s family said he was sorry for the terror he wreaked. But Erickson chose not to speak when offered the chance.

Slade, the judge, noted the lack of apology while handing down her sentence. She said she received letters about the sentencings from all over the world and from survivors of other school shootings, as well as many STEM School students and families.

“They were exposed to a war zone in their own school,” she said.

1631941214 186 Second STEM School shooter sentenced to life without parole for

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

John Castillo, father of Kendrick Castillo, talks to the press after STEM School Highlands Ranch shooter Devon Erickson was sentenced to life in prison without parole at the Robert Christensen Justice Center Sept. 17, 2021.

May 7, 2019, also showcased remarkable heroism from teenagers barely old enough to vote — Jones and Brendan Bialy bolting from their seats to help Castillo take down a shooter before he could do more harm. English teacher Lauren Harper, student Jackson Gregory and IT director Mike Pritchard risked their own lives to disarm the other gunman.

During Erickson’s three-week trial, prosecutors used more than 60 witnesses to describe how Erickson and his co-conspirator, Alec McKinney, planned the horrific school shooting in advance — and then carried out their mission on May 7, 2019.

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Apple, Google remove opposition app as Russian voting begins

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Apple, Google remove opposition app as Russian voting begins

MOSCOW — Facing Kremlin pressure, Apple and Google on Friday removed an opposition-created smartphone app that tells voters which candidates are likely to defeat those backed by Russian authorities, as polls opened for three days of balloting in Russia’s parliamentary election.

Unexpectedly long lines formed at some polling places, and independent media suggested this could show that state institutions and companies were forcing employees to vote. The election is widely seen as an important part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his grip on power ahead of the 2024 presidential polls, in which control of the State Duma, or parliament, will be key.

Russian authorities have sought to suppress the use of Smart Voting, a strategy designed by imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to curb the dominance of the Kremlin-backed United Russia party.

Apple and Google have come under pressure in recent weeks, with Russian officials telling them to remove the Smart Voting app from their online stores. Failure to do so will be interpreted as interference in the election and make them subject to fines, the officials said.

Last week, Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan over the issue.

On Thursday, representatives of Apple and Google were invited to a meeting in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council. The Council’s commission on protecting state sovereignty said in a statement afterward that Apple agreed to cooperate with Russian authorities.

Apple and Google did not respond Friday to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

Google was forced to remove the app because it faced legal demands by regulators and threats of criminal prosecution in Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who also said Russian police visited Google’s Moscow offices Monday to enforce a court order to block the app. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday the presidential administration “definitely, of course” welcomes the companies’ decision, because the app was “outside the law” in Russia.

In recent months, authorities have unleashed a sweeping crackdown against Navalny’s allies and engaged in a massive effort to suppress Smart Voting.

Navalny is serving a 2½-year prison sentence for violating parole over a previous conviction he says is politically motivated. His top allies were slapped with criminal charges and many have left the country. Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and a network of regional offices have been outlawed as extremist organizations in a ruling that exposes hundreds of people associated with them to prosecution.

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José Berríos adjusting to new life, new team in Toronto

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José Berríos adjusting to new life, new team in Toronto

TORONTO — It looked as if José Berríos was going to miss the chance to start against his former teammates this time around, and he would’ve preferred it that way.

“It’s bad. I don’t want to. I don’t want to,” Berríos said. “They used to be my guys, but now, they’re in a different dugout and team. That’s what it is.”

But Berrios warmed to the idea quickly, joking that he’d like to face Willians Astudillo. He might get that chance. At the very least, he’ll face plenty of his other former teammates when he takes the mound for the Blue Jays on Sunday against the team that drafted and developed him.

Berríos has been a member of the Blue Jays for nearly two months. It took him the first month to get settled with housing and adjusting to new teammates and a new country. But things are getting easier for him now, he said.

And, he’s pitching in the middle of a postseason race, which certainly helps.

“It’s special. Obviously, the postseason, that’s what every player wants,” Berríos said. “But I’d been having fun with the (Minnesota) group. … I had people that I met in 2012 and knew through this year. But here, they have a lot of fun, too, so they made it easier for me to get here and try to get used to it. … I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

There has been plenty for him to enjoy between his own personal success — in nine starts, Berríos has posted a 3.31 earned-run average with the Blue Jays — and his new team’s success — the Blue Jays are half a game back from a Wild Card berth.

With Berríos now lined up to start on Sunday, his next two starts are now likely to come against his former team, as the Blue Jays travel to Minnesota next weekend. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who had a chance to catch up with Berríos before the series opener, said he thought Sunday was going to be fun and that he was glad the Twins would have a chance to face their former ace.

“I think he misses everybody, but I do think that he’s adjusting well to being in Toronto. I think he’s enjoying his teammates and playing playoff competitive baseball at the end of September,” Baldelli said. “He’s a competitive guy, and there’s nothing better than being able to go out there and help pitch his team into October and that’s what he’s all about.”

While Berríos said he once thought he was going to be a Twin for life, he said he understands the business decision the Twins made, swapping the pitcher, who is a free agent at next season’s end, for a pair of prospects ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

“I respect and I’ve got my heart with all the people … that Minnesota gave me,” he said.

SIMMONS STAYS BACK

Starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons was placed on the restricted list on Friday, unable to join the Twins in Toronto. Simmons, who hails from Curacao, is in the process of applying for his permanent residency card in the United States.

“Along with that comes a lot of different paperwork and stuff, restrictions, and that’s why he’s not going to be available for the series,” Baldelli said. “Apparently, there was not much we could to do get around this. Obviously, some energy was spent trying to avoid it but we couldn’t avoid it so he’ll be down for three days.”

Simmons will rejoin the team in Chicago when the Twins head there next to take on the Cubs. In his place, Jorge Polanco started at shortstop on Friday and Baldelli said Nick Gordon would likely play there for a game or possibly two.

BRIEFLY

Catcher Mitch Garver (back) began a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Saints in Indianapolis on Friday. … The Twins reinstated Brent Rooker from the paternity list and optioned pitcher Andrew Albers. They also selected reliever Nick Vincent’s contract. … The Twins have not named a starter for Sunday, but Baldelli said it could possibly be a bullpen day. The Twins also have Charlie Barnes with them in Toronto on the taxi squad, who could potentially be an option. … Infielder Drew Maggi also traveled with the team on the taxi squad. … Baldelli said the Twins were not concerned about Joe Ryan, who was hit in the wrist with a pitch by a batted ball during his last start. He suggested Ryan’s next start might come on Wednesday in Chicago.

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FDA, CDC debate if third COVID-19 booster shot is needed

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FDA, CDC debate if third COVID-19 booster shot is needed

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The White House plans to start rolling out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Monday, but two federal health agencies are urging the administration to rethink its plan.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are meeting Friday to debate if there is enough proof a booster shot is safe, effective and necessary.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says rollout won’t happen until those agencies give the green light.

“Based on their recommendation, we’re prepared to operationalize our plan,” Psaki said.

The FDA and CDC will specifically discuss a request by Pfizer to approve a third booster shot six months after the second dose. Dueling data submitted ahead of the meeting suggests not everyone is on the same page.

FDA staff say they have yet to verify some data to support the need for a third shot, saying, “There are known and unknown biases that can affect their reliability.”

“It’s a public health crisis everywhere in our country,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Brown says the top priority right now needs to be convincing many Americans to get the first dose.

“I think the effort aimed for everybody needs to be whatever we can do to get people vaccinated,” he said.

Still, the White House says it is ready to activate its booster plan as promised.

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Boeing to build first of its kind aircraft in Metro East, project to boost economy

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Boeing to build first of its kind aircraft in Metro East, project to boost economy

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Boeing announced that it is investing over $200 million in the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. The new project is bringing a lot of money and jobs to the Metro East. 
 
Boeing is expanding their aerospace footprint in the Metro East at the Mid-America Airport. They will be adding a new $200 million, 300,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility where the new MQ-25 stingray will be manufactured. 

That means more jobs and more commerce.  

“I think this will be the largest manufacturing facility, employing at 300 people, making close to $100,000 a year, along with all the construction jobs in monumental for this county, it will be great for MidAmerica Airport,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said.  

The Navy’s newest carrier-based aircraft is a first of its kind, unmanned refueling instrument. It marks Boeing’s second major investment in the Mascoutah-based Mid-America airport in the last 10 years.

Boeing currently produces components CH-47 chinook, FA-18 Super Hornet, and other defense products. 

“Just the way this community came together, the way this base works, it just matched our needs and the availability of space. It was just the perfect match. And our team is very excited,” Director for Boeing Dave Bujold said.
  
Several political figures from the state of Illinois were on hand for the monumental announcement including Dick Durbin and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. They say the state is committed to the Metro East.   

“I want to thank Boeing, for its vote of confidence in our progress, as well as st. Clair county’s leadership and the MidAmerica airport team for paving the way for companies to choose Illinois,” Pritzker said.
 
The investment will only add more revenue to MidAmerica Airport, which is the fifth busiest airport in Illinois right now. 

The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.  

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Northern Colorado alumni, longtime football supporters excited for home opener

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Northern Colorado alumni, longtime football supporters excited for home opener

It’s supposed to be a party in the parking lot and the stands Saturday at Nottingham Field. Several longtime season ticket holders plan to tailgate and have fun together at the University of Northern Colorado’s home opener.

The game represents so much more than just football for these supporters. It’s about family, friends and spending time together.

A number of supporters attended the season opener at the University of Colorado, and a handful went to Houston Baptist, but it’s different when the game is on local turf.

“We’ve scheduled (our tailgate) with about four other families, but we’ll see 100 people that we know, easy,” Larson said. “The social thing is the big part of it. And, as a small business person, I’d rather spend my money here with the community.”

Several of their friends have similar ties to UNC as well. Attending games together is a way of supporting their alma mater, local students and maintaining friendships as busy adults. Larson and several families attend football, basketball and volleyball together as much as possible, he said.

In fact, Larson said, those in his friend group want UNC to succeed. But if the teams lose, it doesn’t matter much. They’ve stuck with the program through good, bad and ugly, and plan to keep it that way.

“The teams are going to have their ups and downs, so we’re not fair-weather fans,” Larson said. “We’re going to support the teams no matter what.”

The Larson family has a long history with UNC with family members attending the school as far back as the 1930s. Larson and his son participated on the track and cross country teams, while his wife, Maureen, also earned her degree through the university.

Additionally, Larson sponsors the new football coaches show that airs every Tuesday on KFKA and a scholarship for track and field athletes.

“There are just so many people that we see up there and good people from the community that have been around a long time,” Larson continued. “You develop those friendships, so it’s not for us all about winning or losing. It’s about the people we see, and supporting the UNC community.”

Former UNC athlete, administrator and public address announcer Tom Barbour will be at the game as well.

Barbour attended UNC back when it was still called Colorado State College. He was a freshman in 1969 and spent one season as a football walk-on. Ultimately, Barbour decided football wasn’t for him, but stuck around the program.

In fact, Barbour spent time as the lead communications manager for the athletic department until 1983, before taking a few other central administration roles. He left the university as a full-time employee in 2000.

Even after spending more than three decades on campus, Barbour — a UNC Hall of Famer — came back to call football and basketball from 2006 to 2016.

“More than half of my life has been spent on the UNC campus. It’s just been part of me,” Barbour said. “I grew up in Denver, and most people ask me how I came to Greeley. I tell them, ‘I came to Greeley to come to school, and I haven’t gone home yet.’ Greeley is my home. And the university is the biggest reason for that.”

Barbour has been a season ticket holder since Nottingham Field opened in 1995 with the same tailgating spot, B3, since 2011.

Like Larson, Barbour is excited just to be back after nearly two years. He expects to do a lot of catching up with friends he hasn’t seen in a while. Plus, they’re all looking forward to finally seeing UNC coach Ed McCaffrey on the sideline in Greeley … with the new turf.

McCaffrey was hired in 2019 but didn’t make his debut until Sept. 3 due to COVID-19. The team planned to play in the spring, but concerns about health and safety ultimately led to the season’s cancelation.

Now, the Bears are 1-1 with two good performances, and people are anticipating good things.

“This place really does have a wonderful football history of conference championships and great players,” Barbour said. “It kind of lost some of its luster there for a while, but in naming Ed the head coach, it almost immediately put them back on the map. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see what he does with his program.”


UNC will face FCS opponent Lamar at 2 p.m. Saturday. As of Friday afternoon, tickets were still available for the game. If fans cannot attend, the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Face masks must be worn in all public indoor spaces on campus.

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Biden faces limits of $1.9T COVID aid as some states resist

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Biden faces limits of $1.9T COVID aid as some states resist

President Biden entered the White House promising to stop the twin health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, but $1.9 trillion and countless initiatives later, he’s confronting the limits of what Washington can achieve when some state and local governments are unwilling or unable to step up.

Six months after Congress passed the massive rescue plan, administration records show that more than $550 billion has yet to be disbursed. The sum could help provide a key economic backstop as the coronavirus’s delta variant continues to pose a threat. But in some cases, it’s also led to frustration, as aid for renters, testing and vaccines goes unused despite mass outreach campaigns.

Republican critics say the unspent money shows that Biden’s relief package was too big and inflationary; the administration says the unspent funds reflect the extent of planning in case the recovery from the pandemic hits more snags with virus mutations and unexpected economic disruptions. By law, about $105 billion of the state and local aid and more than half of the expanded child tax credits cannot be paid out yet.

“There are some things designed to address immediate hardship and others that are designed to allow for a multi-year policy response — they’re not really bugs, they’re features,” Gene Sperling, who is overseeing the rescue plan for Biden, said. “The fact that a solid portion of these funds can be used over a few year period is a good-news story for ensuring a durable recovery.”

But some of the backlog stems from bottlenecks — or outright blockages — at the state or local level, beyond the influence of Washington. The extent of the challenge was apparent when Biden recently announced new vaccine requirements for federal workers and employers with 100 or more workers and emphasized the need for testing and keeping schools open.

“We’re facing a lot of pushback, especially from some of the Republican governors,” Biden said Thursday. “The governors of Florida and Texas — they’re doing everything they can to undermine the lifesaving requirements that I’ve proposed.”

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MN China Friendship Garden Society hosts activities Saturday

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MN China Friendship Garden Society hosts activities Saturday

The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society has organized a day of activities on Saturday by Lake Phalen, culminating in a traditional mid-autumn moon festival, mooncake testing and model catwalk demonstration in the early evening.

Events will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden’s Xiang Jiang pavilion, which is a replica of Changsha’s famous Aiwan Pavilion. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch, a chair or blanket for seating, and cultural or festive attire.

The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society will dedicate a Hmong Plaza, unveil nine art stones and launch “phase two” of a community engagement process around the future of the garden and pavilion, which was erected in 2018 with the help of designers, engineers and laborers from Changsha, a St. Paul sister-city for some 30 years. There will also be a poetry reading.

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Is social media good and bad like a car? Instagram chief under fire for comparison

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Is social media good and bad like a car? Instagram chief under fire for comparison

(NewsNation Now) — Facebook’s Instagram chief is under fire after he compared the negative effects of social media to cars.

“Cars have positive and negative outcomes,” Adam Mosseri said on the Recode Media podcast. “We understand that we know that more people die than would otherwise because of car accidents. But by and large, cars create way more value in the world than they destroy. And I think social media is similar.”

It comes days after Facebook acknowledged it had data showing at least a quarter of its youngest users found Instagram exacerbated feelings of low self-esteem and poor body image. Critics say the company should have used that data to make positive changes.

At least three senators have written a letter to the company asking it to rethink its upcoming Instagram for kids platform.

There are some, including Divided State of America host Heather Gardner, who believe the senators should do more.

“There’s a lack of [social media] regulation on the federal level and the state level,” Gardner said on NewsNation’s The Donlon Report on Thursday. “So comparing [social media to cars] is definitely not apples to apples.”

The impact on kids can be long lasting. Dr. Katherine Kuhlman, a psychologist in Arizona, said one of the things about children that is supposed to help them grow could be negatively impacted by social media.

“Adolescent and child brains have a lot of elasticity, which is great for learning. It means that they’re kind of like a sponge and they can soak things up,” Kuhlman said on NewsNation’s On Balance with Leland Vittert. “But what that also means is that they are far more susceptible and vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.”

At issue is dopamine, which the brain releases as a sort of pleasure chemical.

“We, more than anything else, have to help educate our teens about the way these platforms are designed,” Dr. Wendy Dickinson said on On Balance. “They’re designed to be addictive. Every time something refreshes, or you get a another like, you get a hit of dopamine, which causes you to come back.”

Earlier this week, when asked for comment about the data it collected, Facebook pointed us to a blog post where they said even trying to understand the numbers was proof the company cared about its users.

Though it uses different wording than Mosseri, the underlying message from the company is similar.

“The question on many people’s minds is if social media is good or bad for people. The research on this is mixed; it can be both,” it says.

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Fire crews contain hydrochloric acid spill at Hazelwood aerospace company

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Fire crews contain hydrochloric acid spill at Hazelwood aerospace company

ST. LOUIS – Fire crews responded to a hydrochloric acid spill at an aerospace company in Hazelwood Friday afternoon. The spill has been contained and there is no danger to the public.

The incident happened at GKN Aerospace on McDonnell Boulevard around 4:45 p.m. GKN is a British Aerospace company that works closely with Boeing.

The spill was mixed with water causing hydro fluorine gas to form. Aerospace workers were evacuated from the buildings. Decontamination stations were set up outside the site.

The spill was contained by north and west St. Louis County firefighters. Two firefighters who were injured were treated at a hospital and were released.

The operations at the GKN Aerospace will be offline for the next several days as GKN and a contractor clean up the buildings.

Lindbergh, James S. McDonnell Boulevard, and Banshee Road have been reopened.

Bommarito Automotive Skyfox was over the scene where there were yellowish-brown color fumes coming out of smokestacks.

GKN released a statement saying its focus is on the safety of its employees and personnel at the facility. The company is working with first responders and officials and will release an update when necessary.

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