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In the face of concerns about new variants, states are gradually relaxing restrictions

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Owing to better outbreak and hospitalization figures, states are loosening their coronavirus controls on restaurants and other corporations, but are proceeding steadily and slowly, partially due to the more infectious form taking hold in the U.S.

While the relaxation could contribute to an uptick in case numbers, health experts agree that if achieved in a calculated manner and if the public is diligent around masks and social distancing, it will function.

You tighten it up as the frequency goes up. You ease up if the frequency goes down. It’s almost difficult to make it exactly right,’ said Dr. Arnold Monto, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan. “There is no perfect way for this to be done.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said bars and restaurants will accept indoor customers for the first time in 2 1/2 months next week, as Michigan’s coronavirus levels fell to the fifth lowest in the nation over the last two weeks. But it will be less than 10 p.m. Curfew and will be restricted in June to 25% of capacity, or half of what was approved the last time she loosened her limits.

Earlier, the state approved the resumption of high school in-person classes and the partial reopening of movie theatres.

Whitmer said, “We are in a stronger position because we’ve taken this pause.” But we are very aware of the fact that this version is here in Michigan now, too. It poses a total menace.

In the U.S., the COVID-19 death rate has soared past 425,000, with the number of dead running at near all-time highs at an average of almost 3,350 a day.

However, recently confirmed cases have fallen from an average of around 248,000 a day to about 166,000 over the past two weeks. And the number of patients with COVID-19 in the hospital has declined by tens of thousands to 109,000.

At the same time, health practitioners have cautioned that by March, the more infectious and potentially more deadly strain sweeping Britain would undoubtedly become the primary cause of infection in the U.S. In over 20 states, it was published.

In South Africa and Brazil, other mutated forms are circulating. For the first time in the United States, in Minnesota, the Brazil form has been observed.

For the first time since October, indoor dining was allowed in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs over the weekend. Large cultural attractions with audience caps were reopened, including the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.

“Steve Lombardo III, a Chicago-area restaurant company member, called it a “big help” to be able to seat customers indoors. One of the most popular restaurants, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, has been using air filtration systems of hospital-grade in the hope of keeping afloat, he said.

“Are we going to make money? Possibly not,” said Lombardo. “But we’re not going to haemorrhage money the way we’ve had for the last three months.”

Also recently, Washington, D.C., terminated its month-long indoor dining ban, but one remains in place in New York City.

This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom repealed stay-at-home orders he placed last month because hospitals were so overrun by patients with viruses that they were on the brink of lifesaving treatment rationing. It would be possible for restaurants and houses of worship to work outside, and even shops will be able to get more customers inside.

Jen Diaz, a 38-year-old Santa Clarita, Calif., technical writer who works remotely and has not left her home since a March shopping outing, said she was “horrified” when she received the announcement from the governor. She has rheumatoid arthritis and her medications impair her immune response, but since she is under 65, she is yet to undergo a vaccine.

In the early months of the pandemic,” she said, “I was really, really proud of California’s reaction at first. We’re unexpectedly opening it up. ‘Let’s go to the shopping centre! ’”

She added: “It does not seem that the government takes this as seriously as it once did, at the level of the state.”

Gov. Kate Brown reported in Oregon that some indoor events with reduced space, such as gyms and movie theatres, will reopen on Friday. In the hardest-hit counties, indoor eating is also forbidden.

Not all sites use a cautious strategy.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum not only eased restrictions on the number of customers who can meet at restaurants and bars this month, after North Dakota fell to the second-lowest case rate in the country, but also allowed a nationwide mask requirement to expire last week.

“The battle is far from over, but we can certainly see the light from here at the end of the tunnel,” said Burgum.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean of public health practise and group participation at Johns Hopkins University and former head of the health department of Maryland, warned that such a move could be particularly dangerous.

Sharfstein said, “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to start reopening, but if people think that the green light is there to pretend that the virus doesn’t exist, then we’re going to be right back where we were.” If you add limits, the virus will go down. You should give yourself up and see how it’s going. But it might not be so straightforward if the variants really take root.

Over the winter, when the cold makes it difficult if not impossible to provide outdoor dining, many restaurants admit they do not survive serving just takeout.

One of the most decorated chefs in the U.S., Rick Bayless, said it may buy him enough time to encourage indoor dining at his Mexican restaurants in Chicago.

We would be able to make it to spring with 25 percent indoors, when people choose to go outside,” he said.”

Bayless said the firm survived a recent closure only because he was permitted to remain rent-free for three months by his landlord. The misunderstanding has taken a toll on his staff, he added.

“That was touch-and-go. When we were allowed to open on Saturday, we had workers here that were practically in tears,’ said Bayless.

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Avalanche finished 5-0 in seven-day stretch. The grind continues Saturday against the Canadiens

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Avalanche finished 5-0 in seven-day stretch. The grind continues Saturday against the Canadiens

LOS ANGELES — Winning big is common for the NHL’s highest-scoring team. Winning ugly can be beautiful, too.

The high-flying but exhausted Avalanche proved over two games in Southern California that all victories count the same. The Avs won’t look to repeat their “style” performances in Anaheim and L.A., but under the circumstances, coach Jared Bednar said he was “pretty proud of our group.”

Colorado (27-8-3) finished 5-0 in a seven-day span that included two back-to-back stretches. Outshot 34-15 through two periods Thursday against the Kings, the Avs received great goaltending from Darcy Kuemper and timely goals in a 4-1 victory that extended their points streak to 11 games (10-0-1).

“We had a talk after the second period and just said, ‘We just got to come together. We got to find a way to get it done. It’s ugly. So we’re going to simplify and not try to do all the things we normally do when we’re full of energy and we’re executing at a high pace.’ We weren’t doing that tonight,” Bednar said.

“They were making it difficult on us. They defend really well. You just got to stay together in a pack and take care of the puck better than we did in the first two periods — and we did that.”

Colorado, which defeated Anaheim 2-0 on Wednesday, outshot the Kings 12-7 in the third period, tacking on two goals from what was a 2-1 lead.

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Westminster defends actions of ex-officers sued over Taser use, releases video of Walmart incident

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Westminster defends actions of ex-officers sued over Taser use, releases video of Walmart incident

A former Westminster police officer used a Taser on a 78-year-old man in a Walmart after the man tried to walk past the officer during a confrontation, surveillance video of the incident shows.

Westminster police released the video this week in response to a civil rights lawsuit filed Jan. 14 by the man, Clayton Shriver, against the city and the two former officers involved in the incident. The department defended the former officers’ actions, noting they had been cleared by an internal investigation.

In the lawsuit, Shriver’s attorneys alleged the officers used excessive force and unfairly prosecuted Shriver, and said the Westminster Police Department failed to properly train them.

Both of the officers involved, Michael Owen and Tyler Farson, resigned from the department in 2021 for reasons not connected to the incident, Westminster police spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said in a news release.

The officers contacted Shriver on May 15, 2020, in a Westminster Walmart after McDonald’s employees reported he would not leave the restaurant, which is located inside the Walmart. The McDonald’s employees told police that Shriver refused to leave the seating area, which was closed to customers due to COVID-19, and was acting aggressively and yelling profanities, according to Owen’s report on the incident, obtained by The Denver Post through a records request.

Shriver was experiencing a health crisis at the time of the incident, according to his lawsuit. He couldn’t understand what the restaurant employees were saying and subsequently began raising his voice. Shriver has medical and emotional health issues including traumatic brain injuries, memory loss, hearing loss and a mood disorder, the lawsuit states. He was sitting in the McDonald’s while his partner shopped because he didn’t feel well, according to the lawsuit.

Surveillance video shows Owen speaking with Shriver for about a minute before Shriver stood up and walked quickly toward the officer. Both Shriver and Owen said Shriver was trying to leave the McDonald’s. Owen wrote in his report that he stopped Shriver from leaving because he wasn’t sure whether a crime had been committed and whether he needed to arrest Shriver.

Owen then grabbed the man and forced him to the ground, the video shows.

Owen wrote in his report that Shriver kicked him in the leg, so he decided to use his Taser on Shriver. Owen used the stun gun twice on Shriver while the two struggled on the ground, the officer wrote in his report. Owen and Farson, the other officer who arrived on scene, then handcuffed Shriver and called an ambulance.

The surveillance footage does not clearly show the use of the Taser or the struggle because the group of men is partially blocked from the camera’s view by a sign and a wall. Neither officer wore a body camera because the Westminster Police Department did not equip officers with cameras until this month.

Shriver was bruised by the officers and had some bleeding from the Taser prongs, photos of his injuries included in the lawsuit show.

U.S. District Court

Clayton Shriver, now 79, shows some of the injuries he sustained during his arrest by Westminster police in 2020. The images were included in his federal lawsuit against the city.

Shriver was charged in Westminster municipal court with trespassing, obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest, according to lawsuit. Shriver was given a deferred sentence, which means the charges would be dismissed if he successfully met conditions set by the court, according to the police department. The charges were dismissed, according to his lawyers.

A Westminster police sergeant completed an internal affairs investigation into the incident after the department received notice in April from Shriver’s attorneys that he intended to sue, according to the department The sergeant reviewed reports from the incident, including witness statements, and reviewed the surveillance footage. The sergeant did not interview either Owen or Shriver.

The sergeant found the officers’ use of force to be within department policy.

“The actions of the officers were found to be legal and within policy,” the sergeant wrote in his findings. “None of the officers were found to have used poor judgment. There were no training issues present.”

A civilian review board and department leadership upheld the sergeant’s findings, according to the department.

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It’s a sunny Big West season, so far, for Anosike and Cal State Fullerton

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It’s a sunny Big West season, so far, for Anosike and Cal State Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton played at Northern Arizona in December, on one of those days when it seemed like the North Pole.

E.J. Anosike shivered and looked at the sky. Snow was imminent. Anosike remembered how nice it looks until it starts invading your socks. He gave the side-eye to CSF coach Dedrique Taylor.

“I didn’t come out here for this,” Anosike told him.

He came “out here” from Tennessee because he wanted a bonus year of college basketball, wanted to wave goodbye in a meaningful way, and without gloves.

He is the leading scorer in the Big West and a main driver of Cal State Fullerton’s 4-0 league record. The Titans won, 65-63, at UC Irvine Thursday night.

Anosike played three years at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn., not terribly far from his home of East Orange, N.J. He went to Tennessee last year. Along the way he got a bachelor’s degree and an MBA.

Vincent Lee, Anosike’s partner in the post, came from Nevada. Tray Maddox Jr. came from Oakland U., near Detroit. Damari Milstead came from San Francisco. There are freshmen, too, but this is what college basketball is now. With no mandatory sit-out year, players are flying off the shelves.

A school like Cal State Fullerton and a league like the Big West wasn’t supposed to thrive this way. The case of Elijah Harkless, who went from CSUN to Oklahoma, was far more likely.

But players have their own motivations. They aren’t just names on a greaseboard.

Anosike knew the Titans because he knew Kyle Allman, the leader of the 2018 Big West championship team. And he knew that people often wear shorts on campus in January.

As Lute Olson said when he came to Long Beach State from Iowa, “I don’t have to scrape any of that ‘fair and warmer’ off my windshield.”

“I didn’t know anything about E.J. but when he became available we dug in our heels and looked at him,” Taylor said. “Location is important. We sell it. You can go an hour and a half one way and be in the snow if you want to, or you can go a half-hour the other way and be in the sand. Very few places can say that.

“The transfers bring maturity and professionalism. You see E.J. and he’s the same every day. He works. Our whole team is now emulating him.”

The Titans have the biceps and the composure of grown men. Anosike, at 6-foot-7 and 236, averages 18.7 points and 7.9 rebounds. As they got acquainted during non-conference season, they realized their wins would happen in the lane. They average about seven more foul shots than their opponents. At UCI they shot the first 16 free throws of the game.

But then Anosike had over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds at Sacred Heart, which plays in the Northeast Conference, a rough equivalent of the Big West. He also graduated in three years with a 3.57 GPA.

Tennessee was a natural next stop. Anosike’s sister Nicky was a teammate of Candace Parker’s in Knoxville and went to three Final Fours, winning two, while graduating with a triple major.

E.J., 12 years younger, was a ballboy for the Lady Vols. Nicky became a WNBA All-Star at Minnesota and was an L.A. Spark in 2012, and also played on national teams.

But E.J.’s year at Tennessee wasn’t as eventful. COVID-19 barred the fans, and Anosike averaged 8.6 minutes and 1.7 points.

“It was a great experience being around Nicky’s teams,” E.J. said. “I got to see what (coach) Pat Summitt was like. My mom saw a lot of herself in Pat, and they were close. I got to see what a woman’s empowerment can look like in a male-dominated industry.’

Nicky was a high school coach in Anderson County, Tenn. but resigned after a dangerous and difficult pregnancy.

“She’s the one who put the basketball in my hand,” E.J. said. “We’d go out to the park every Saturday. I finally sneaked a win against her when I was 14. After that, she didn’t want to play me anymore.”

But how disorienting are three different programs in different locales with different pressures and coaches?

“I’m just grateful to get to play five years,” Anosike said. “You find a family wherever you go.

“I’m not looking for the flashy, big-name stuff. You tune all of that out and you just focus on the actual playing, getting better on a daily basis. It’s really not that different. Just a different level.”

Wherever you go, there’s a trophy to win. Anosike wants sunshine to reflect off his.

 

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