White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Tests Positive or COVID-19, Now 12th at Rose Garden Ceremony

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, just days after the president revealed a similar diagnosis. McEnany said she has tested positive “while experiencing no symptoms.”

McEnany, who is one of 12 officials in a growing list of Trumpworld figures to test positive for the highly contagious virus after attending an event at the Rose Garden last Saturday, most recently interacted with reporters on Sunday evening—and was maskless. Multiple news outlets also reported that at least two other members of the White House press shop—Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt—have tested positive. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship, who went to a prayer march with Vice President Mike Pence and Franklin Graham before attending the Rose Garden ceremony, announced Monday he has also tested positive for the deadly virus.

“No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit,” she said in the statement. “As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time. With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely.”

Top Trump top aide Hope Hicks was confirmed to have the virus on Thursday, just hours before the president himself announced he and the first lady had also contracted it.

While the press secretary does frequently interact with Trump, she did not travel with him to a Thursday fundraiser in New Jersey after learning of Hicks’ positive COVID-19 diagnosis. McEnany, however, stresses she did not know Hicks tested positive when she spoke to reporters Thursday and did not quarantine or self-isolate despite her close contact with the White House adviser and the president.

“I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” McEnany wrote Monday.

On Friday, McEnany, 32, appeared on Fox News and removed her mask to interact with reporters on the White House driveway. During her Sunday gaggle with reporters, McEnany reportedly said the White House would not be releasing the number of staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19 because of privacy concerns. She also declined to provide a timeline of Trump’s recent testing schedule.

According to the White House Correspondents Association, at least three journalists who had been at the White House over the last week have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We wish Kayleigh, the president and everyone else struggling with the virus a swift recovery,” the White House Correspondents Association said in a Monday statement. “As of this moment we are not aware of additional cases among White House journalists, though we know some are awaiting results.”

Ben Williamson, a senior communications adviser at the White House, tweeted Monday in defense of McEnany’s lack of a mask use, stating that, during her last interaction with reporters, the press secretary “briefly removed her mask at the mic to answer questions, was

Read more

Qur’anic Botanic Garden celebrates 12th anniversary

The Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG), the first of its kind in the world to have all the plant species mentioned in the Holy Quran, and those in the Hadith and Sunnah, has celebrated its 12th anniversary.

The Qur’anic Botanic Garden, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, held a virtual ceremony to mark the occasion, broadcasting a live video of the model park located in the center of Education City, its divisions, plants, the Botanical Museum, and the Plant Conservation Center.

The ceremony highlighted the role of the Qur’anic Botanic Garden since its establishment in demonstrating the interest of the Islamic heritage in preserving the environment and its tangible and continuous contributions to Qatar National Vision 2030. As part of its “Ghars” campaign, the QBG pledged to plant 2022 trees as part of the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The campaign has planted nearly 2000 trees so far.

The ceremony also highlighted the tangible impact of the QBG and its prominent role in instilling a collective sense of responsibility towards the environment among school students of all ages, through its educational programs and initiatives that focus on environmental sustainability and preservation, namely the “Young Plant Researcher” program and the “Fun and Learn” educational program for the elementary level, as well as the educational Food Security program.

The participants underlined the keenness of the Qur’anic Botanic Garden on regularly launching campaigns, events and exhibitions, as well as agricultural and education programs to encourage community members to establish home gardens and preserve plant and natural resources. The most recent of which was the webinar the QBG hosted to highlight the main efforts made to conserve plants and the ecosystem in the Arabian Peninsula.

Commenting on the occasion, Project Manager of the Qur’anic Botanic Garden Fatima Al Khulaifi expressed happiness at celebrating the 12th anniversary of the Qur’anic Botanic Garden, praising the community engagement and support during the virtual events held during the difficult months of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the events, programs and successful initiatives, the Qur’anic Botanic Garden has entered into fruitful partnerships with many prominent local and international institutions, including ministries and banks in the State of Qatar and botanic gardens around the world, Al Khulaifi added.

She also noted several achievements accomplished by the QBG and the most important developments it has witnessed since its establishment, in addition to its awareness programs and educational initiatives.

HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, inaugurated the Qur’anic Botanic Garden in September 17, 2008, by planting the Gardens very first tree, the Sidra, which is the symbol of the Foundation.

Read more

Garden yoga, anyone? The Glowing Body celebrates 12th anniversary outside

When The Glowing Body Yoga & Healing Arts studio opened in Happy Holler in 2008, no one could have foreseen the circumstances of its 12th anniversary celebration.

Glowing Body Yoga and Healing Arts



Thankfully, on Tuesday, Sept. 8, its teachers and students were able to have a safe, meaningful and very enjoyable evening together on the lawn at the Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum.

“I was pleasantly surprised that we had that many people show up in the middle of a pandemic!” said Jennifer Beyt Coffin, one of the studio’s longtime teachers. “It was heartwarming to see the support and the yearning for people to do yoga together. Of course, we did some work on the back end to make that happen.”

Talk about an understatement.

Read more

For the first time, 12th Worcester District will send a woman to the State House, replacing Rep. Harold Naughton

The 12th Worcester District race for state representative is down to three candidates: Republican Susan Smiley, Green-Rainbow Party candidate Charlene DiCalogero and, as of Tuesday night, Meghan Kilcoyne as the Democrat on the ballot.

One of the candidates vying for the seat will succeed Rep. Harold Naughton, a Democrat who is stepping down after nearly 26 years. Whoever wins will make history as the first woman to become a state representative for the district, which includes Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, Northboro and Sterling.

“When you have multiple women in a race, in a lot of ways it neutralizes gender and takes gender out of the race. It stops the tokenism,” said Amanda Hunter, research and communications director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

In November, voters will have to choose between three vastly different candidates with experience in different corners of government: a legislative director under Naughton, a supply-chain manager and former Lancaster selectwoman who’s worked for the Baker administration and a former library trustee who previously researched and coordinated grants and contracts for Lesley University.

Women make up 28% of the Legislature but more than half of the state population.

Massachusetts has had 213 state legislators who are women since Sylvia Donaldson and Susan Fitzgerald were elected to the House of Representatives in 1923, according to the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The Massachusetts House and Senate have 200 seats combined.

None of those 213 lawmakers held the 12th Worcester District’s House seat.

Naughton, who has served since 1995, announced in April he was stepping down to take a job at a New York-based law firm, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. He would work remotely from Clinton.

Kilcoyne, his legislative director, announced her candidacy shortly after. Naughton endorsed her to replace him.

Kilcoyne started working for his office in 2010 as a legislative aide, cutting her teeth on state budget negotiations. The Northboro Democrat played a key role on the state’s 2014 gun reform package that created new firearms crimes and required the state to report to a federal background check database any records of mental illness or substance abuse commitments. She also helped craft language for the 2018 “red flag” law that lets people’s gun be confiscated if they pose a risk of hurting themselves or other people.

Kilcoyne, 32, said she has helped Naughton secure funding for local projects in the district, including improvements to Thayer Park in Lancaster, the Sterling Senior Center and the Berlin Community Garden.

“I’ve already been doing a lot of this job, and I have the experience to continue fighting for results in each of our towns,” she said.

Kilcoyne faced two challengers, also women, in Tuesday’s primary. She defeated Ceylan Rowe of Northborough and Alexandra Turner of Lancaster.

Kilcoyne called the historic primary and general elections with their all-woman slates exciting.

“On a broader scale, there’s not equal representation of women in the Legislature now. It’s certainly not reflective of the population,” she said. “I was honored to be in a campaign

Read more