Wednesday, August 12, 2020

‘Keeping the culture alive’: Native dance goes digital during pandemic

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Juaquin Hamilton-YoungBird, historical ambassador for the Sac and Fox Nation and emcee for the Quarantine Dance Specials Facebook group, performs at a powwow on March 20, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Juaquin Hamilton-YoungBird)
  • Juaquin Hamilton-YoungBird, historical ambassador for the Sac and Fox Nation and emcee for the Quarantine Dance Specials Facebook group, performs at a powwow on March 20, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Juaquin Hamilton-YoungBird)
PHOENIX – Singing, dancing, socializing, sharing food – the elements that make powwows an essential part of preserving Indigenous culture are the same ones that make them a coronavirus risk.

Native communities throughout the country have cancelled the traditional gatherings indefinitely as a result. But Tiny Rosales, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, has found a way to “to keep the people dancing.”

In March, Rosales created a space on Facebook allowing families, schools and businesses to host virtual Native dance competitions from afar.

Four months later, “Quarantine Dance Specials 2020” has more than 71,000 members and hundreds of video submissions from Indigenous dancers in Canada and the United States.

“Some (Native) people are having a hard time right now” as the pandemic continues to spur cancellations and limit gatherings, Rosales said.

“These specials are not a powwow … but it does feel good to be able to get dressed and put our outfits on and dance.”

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Arizona Medicaid recipients topped 2 million after five-month surge

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM

BIGSTOCK
  • Bigstock
WASHINGTON – The number of people on Arizona’s Medicaid rolls topped 2 million this summer, after a five-month surge in enrollment that coincided with COVID-19’s hit to the state’s health and its economy.

Almost 1.88 million people were covered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System – the state’s Medicaid program – on March 1, the month coronavirus-related shutdowns started to take effect. By July 1, the number had topped 2 million and by Aug. 1 enrollment stood at 2,041,990, an increase of 8.7%.

The surge follows skyrocketing unemployment in the state, as COVID-19 shutdowns have shuttered industries. Arizona’s unemployment rate in June was estimated at 10% by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, down sharply from a high of 13.4% in April but still more than twice the 4.5% in February.

For many, like Tempe resident Cindy Andrews, the loss of a job has led to a loss of health insurance.

Andrews lost her job as a physical therapist in March and bought COBRA coverage, which lets workers continue on their health plan for a limited time at a hefty price. When she learned she had cancer, it helped pay for her surgery and radiation, but she dropped it soon thereafter because of the cost.

For Andrews, it has been a stressful experience.

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ICE Is Making Sure Migrant Kids Don’t Have COVID-19 — Then Expelling Them to “Prevent the Spread” of COVID-19

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 9:30 AM

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ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Click here to read their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

This article is co-published with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom that informs and engages with Texans.


Since March, the Trump administration has pushed thousands of migrant children back to their home countries without legal screenings or protection, citing the risk that they could be carrying COVID-19 into the United States.

But by the time the children are boarded on planes home, they’ve already been tested for the virus — and proven not to have it.

Court documents, and information given by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to congressional staff last week, reveal that the Trump administration has agreed to test every child in its custody before sending them back to their home countries under the expulsion policy.

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Your Southern AZ COVID-19 Roundup for Wednesday, Aug. 12: Total Cases Hit 189K; Wildcats Are Canceled as Pac-12 Calls Off Fall Sports; Pop-up Test Sites Available

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 8:41 AM

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The number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 189,000 as of Wednesday, Aug. 12, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 18,508 of the state’s 189,443 confirmed cases.

A total of 4,347 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Aug. 12 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases continues to decline. ADHS reported that as of Aug. 11, 1,469 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, down from a peak of 3,517 on July 13.

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A total of 927 people visited ERs on Aug. 10 with COVID symptoms. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7.

A total of 519 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds on Aug. 10. The number in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13.

Pima County sees downward trend in cases following mask mandate

Following the passage of an ordinance on June 19 requiring people to wear masks when out in public, Pima County has seen a dramatic drop in the number of new positive COVID-19 tests.

The number of cases dropped from a high of 2,368 new cases in the week ending July 4 to just 865 in the week ending Aug. 1, according to a Pima County Health Department report.

Fewer people are dying as well. Deaths related to COVID-19 peaked the week of July 4 with 51 people. The week ending Aug. 1, Pima County saw just 20 deaths.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

So Much for That UA-ASU Season Opener: Pac-12 Cancels Fall Season for All Sports, Hopes for Spring Season

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 2:14 PM

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The Pac-12 Conference unanimously voted to postpone all sports competitions through the rest of the year, with an eye toward pushing fall sports like football to the spring. The announcement, which was unveiled during a Zoom call by Commissioner Larry Scott, came hours after the Big Ten Conference announced a similar decision.

Scott laid out the conference's decision in a press release on Tuesday afternoon, saying the communal spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus was still too rampant to risk players' health.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play in the new calendar year," Scott's statement to the media read.

During the call, Scott discussed his desire for all fall athletes to maintain their current year of eligibility, while maintaining their scholarships as well. Scott addressed the realities of the virus, saying that holding events in a "bubble," where student-athletes are isolated from the rest of a given campus, was not realistic.

"This was an extremely difficult decision that we know will have impacts on our fans and student-athletes," Scott said.

University of Arizona Athletics Director Dave Heeke said he and his staff supported the decision.

This is an incredibly difficult outcome for the entire Wildcat Family of student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and supporters," Heeke said in a prepared statement. "I have a great deal of empathy for these student-athletes and the impact this will have on them personally. Representing our University, community and state in competition is the foundation of the mission of Arizona Athletics and the Wildcat Way. However, the endless hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in preparation for Fall seasons is something we can all be proud of. The work of everyone who represents the Wildcat Way over the last five months has been an outstanding display of unity and resiliency."

Heeke said the Athletics Department would continue its reentry planning with other university departments.

University of Oregon President Michael Schill, who heads the Pac-12 CEO Group, which is made up of conference presidents and chancellors, said the ongoing uncertainty led to the cancelation.

"Our number one consideration all the way through was the health and safety of our student-athletes," Schill said. "Ever since this nightmare began about how we would approach this with intercollegiate athletics, we listened to all of the views and we determined that there’s just too many questions and uncertainty to feel comfortable beginning contact sports on-time."

Scott said the conference will continue to monitor the virus' spread, with an eye toward beginning competition whenever it's safe to do so. The conference's goal, according to Scott, is to push back the start of the winter sports season to early January, while playing football and other fall sports at an undetermined time in the spring.

"We feel a responsibility to try to give some of that responsibility and clarity. We want to give student-athletes time to plan," Scott said. "As soon as we feel comfortable and it feels safer and we feel more comfortable, we’re going to play."

That comfort level was not where it needed to be, especially given the travel and logistical demands of a given season, according to Dr. Doug Aukerman, who serves as the senior associate athletic director at Oregon State University.

"As we looked at traveling and making sure that we could stop the spread of coronavirus if a staff member or athlete got it, we felt that we had to shift to a mindset to not just stop spread, but to immediately remove anyone that has coronavirus right way," Aukerman said.

Local Man's Anti-Mask Tantrum Gets More than 2 Million Views on Twitter

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 10:57 AM

A local jerk has become Twitter famous after a video of his anti-mask tantrum in a Tucson Sprouts was posted on social media yesterday. When you get to the point where you have to be carried out of a store by your kid because you won't wear a mask, you've hit rock bottom. 

OSIRIS-REx Prepares for Final Sample Collection Rehearsal

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 9:36 AM

COURTESY NASA
  • Courtesy NASA

On Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 11:30 a.m. Arizona time, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will begin its final sample retrieval rehearsal on the asteroid Bennu, currently some 170 million miles from Earth. This four-hour rehearsal is in preparation for the spacecraft's attempt at collecting dust and rocks from the surface of the asteroid in October. If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first American spacecraft to bring samples of an asteroid back to Earth.

This final rehearsal involves the spacecraft testing its sampling acquisition system, collecting data from the asteroid's surface, and using its thrusters as it orbits the rock.

OSIRIS-REx will not land on Bennu's surface to capture its sample. Instead, it will use the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism to shoot a jet of nitrogen, dislodging particles from the asteroid. The spacecraft is expected to be able to capture upwards of 60 grams worth of carbonaceous dust and rock ejected from Bennu's surface.

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Your Southern AZ COVID-19 Roundup for Tuesday, Aug. 11: Total cases hit 188K; Cases in Pima County on the Decline; Pop-up Test Sites Available; Pence in Tucson Today

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 9:06 AM

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The number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 188,000 as of Tuesday, Aug. 11, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 18,381 of the state’s 188,737 confirmed cases.

A total of 4,199 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Aug. 11 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases continues to decline. ADHS reported that as of Aug. 10, 1,574 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, down from a peak of 3,517 on July 13.

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A total of 949 people visited ERs on Aug. 10 with COVID symptoms. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7.

A total of 510 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds on Aug. 10. The number in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13.

Vice President Mike Pence visits Tucson today

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to make an appearance at La Paloma today.

Pence will receive an endorsement from the Arizona Association of Police in an event that C-SPAN will carry live at 11:30 a.m.

Pence will then travel to Mesa for another event.

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