White House correspondents advised to avoid grounds amid coronavirus outbreak

White House reporters were encouraged to avoid going near the executive residence Wednesday in light of President Trump and multiple members of his administration testing positive for COVID-19.

The White House Correspondents Association, an organization comprised of journalists covering the president, warned its members against working in or around his residence because of the outbreak.

In a statement, the WHCA’s executive board said they “strongly encourage all journalists to avoid working from the White House grounds entirely if it can be avoided.”

The WHCA board also said any journalists who have been at the White House since Sept. 26 should be tested for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the incurable novel coronavirus.

Mr. Trump and several allies and administration officials have recently tested positive for COVID-19, as well as three White House reporters and multiple staffers in the White House press office.

It “would be foolish of us to assume that the situation at the White House or on the campaign trail will improve dramatically over the coming four weeks,” the WHCA board said in a statement.

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Mistakes to avoid when upgrading a kitchen: Don’t get sucked into tempting, one-function items

Your household may have grown during the coronavirus pandemic as adult children who lost their jobs returned home. At the same time, your wallet may have become thinner during the economic fallout caused by the global health crisis.

Combine those factors and it’s easy to see that a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) found that people want to improve their kitchen, especially with germ-avoiding, touchless technology, while adhering to a tight budget.

An overwhelming 99% of manufacturing, construction, design and retail businesses surveyed by the trade association said more consumers are requesting assistance with small-scale, DIY kitchen projects.

To reduce the risk of getting Covid-19, the survey found people want contact-less products with automatic sensors and antimicrobial surfaces as well as outdoor kitchens, where they can safely entertain while social distancing.

The pandemic also made people aware of the need to prepare for an emergency and store provisions. Improved water and air filtration systems are also part of the plan to hunker down safely at home.

“We’re breathing this air all day now and we’re wondering, ‘What’s in it?’” says Barbara Miller, design director for the Neil Kelly design and remodeling company.

In any size home, people are placing even more value on storage space and pantries to keep surplus food and water. It’s not easy to add cabinets, let alone counters, a sink and electrical outlets, to what’s considered the busiest and most complex room in any house.

Experts are available to advise you at all levels. A design consultation is free at Home Depot, either in the store or virtually. If you haven’t thought about upgrading a kitchen in a while, this is an easy way to be introduced to new materials and approaches.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association maintains a directory of 14,000 of its members. You can ask the policy on a complimentary meeting to discuss a potential project.

Home design and product experts with Neil Kelly will offer ideas and advice during a kitchen design and remodeling webinar starting online at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Register at neilkelly.com/events.

For small jobs, TaskRabbit can connect you to people skilled to help with cleaning, furniture assembly and home repairs.

Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets, offers these five tips to not overspending in the kitchen:

  • Before even starting a remodel, take stock of your current space. Capture “before” pictures and think about the objective of your project.
  • Create a checklist with your priorities including storage and organization, appearance and layout.
  • Avoid unexpected expenses by setting a budget for individual items rather than just the total project.
  • Allocate an amount to spend on the big items like cabinets, countertops and labor, but don’t forget about the hardware, lighting and a percentage held for miscellaneous expenses.
  • Finally, before beginning, it’s important to talk to a design expert. Whether at a showroom or virtually. Discussing plans and designs with an experienced professional is crucial
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Melania Trump didn’t visit husband to avoid exposing Secret Service and medical staff to COVID-19

Doctors and infectious disease experts were highly critical of President Trump’s decision to get driven in a hermetically sealed SUV around Walter Reed Medical Center to wave to supporters while he is contagious with COVID-19, endangering his Secret Service detail, photographed wearing the wrong type of personal protective equipment. The Secret Service has noticed.

Somebody at the White House had considered the safety of Secret Service agents. On Saturday, a White House official told NBC News’ Peter Alexander that first lady Melania Trump would not leave her isolation in the White House residence to visit her husband because “she has COVID” and “that would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him.”

The White House defended what spokesman Judd Deere called Trump’s “short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside.” Deere told Axios‘ Alayna Treene, the White House pool reporter on duty, that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.” Deere did not, Treene note, “answer additional questions, such as whether the drive-by happened at the president’s request.”

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How to Avoid the 5 Worst Kitchen Design Mistakes

ALL-WHITE kitchens that look like operating theaters aren’t all that inspiring or even practical. But the overcooked alternatives—kitchens featuring grease-accumulating ceramic roosters or cabinetry festooned with grape-leaf swags—can seem depressingly cluttered. “It’s a place for creating meals, not Versailles,” said New York architect Kevin Lichten.

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Homeowners should view their kitchens first as machines for preparing food, he advised. “Then slowly add luxury to make it sensually appealing”—and ideally inject personality of the right kind. We asked design pros like Mr. Lichten to share their biggest kitchen-decorating pet peeves, from oversize islands to mixed-material counters, and to recommend chic, functional fixes.

HANG ‘EM HIGH In a kitchen in Oklahoma City, Okla., the upper cabinets continue to the ceiling, avoiding a common design error: a dust-collecting gap between the top of the millwork and the ceiling.



Photo:

David Tsay

Scattered Appliances

Countertop gear—coffee maker, toaster, blender, air fryer—might be essential to getting your three squares, conceded Los Angeles designer Amy Sklar, “but honestly, they don’t look so hot spread out over every usable surface.”

Instead Gather your gadget diaspora behind an accordion-doored “appliance garage” (think: a built-in bread box for your blender and such). This allows easy access to contraptions while hiding them. To ensure your juicer stays juiced, plan around an electrical outlet. Pullout drawers in lower cabinets, too, can be hidy-holes for lesser-used appliances.

Unintelligent Counters

Along with other dumb 1970s ideas like water beds, renounce tiled work surfaces. New York designer Alan Tanksley calls out their uneven surfaces and unsanitary grout lines. Even perfectly flat tiles installed tightly can pose a challenge, Mr. Tanksley noted. Any individual tile is more susceptible to chips and cracks than unified slabs of natural stone. That said, porous natural stone can add anxiety to food prep, too. One big stone no-no: mixing natural marble with engineered-quartz marble. “Two different but veined materials in the room force the eye to choose a favorite,” said Nashville designer Lori Paranjape, “and Mother Nature wins every time.”

Instead When Mary Maydan’s clients want a worry-free marbled look, the Palo Alto, Calif., architect recommends porcelain faux-marble slabs, which she says have “come a long way in recent years.” She also favors Corian countertops as an alternative to natural stone, especially paired with integrated sinks to “create a very sleek and seamless look.” Ms. Paranjape sticks to solid quartz for prep surfaces and applies natural stone only to walls, “where it can be seen but not damaged.”

Truncated Backsplashes

A stovetop backsplash that ends mid-wall at the bottom of the vent hood or in line with the bottom of the upper cabinets looks to Houston designer Benjamin Johnston “like you ran out of money for the project and couldn’t finish the job properly.” Another common head-scratcher: countertop material that extends 4 inches up the wall. It reminds Seattle designer Charlie Hellstern of a doctor’s office and presumes that food doesn’t splatter any higher.

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6 Common Decorating Mistakes And How To Avoid Them, According to Top Interior Designers

From Veranda

Many of us have been spending our spring and summer revamping our gardens, finally building out our dream home offices, and tackling other renovation projects we may have put off if we hadn’t been spending every moment inside these past months. Warren Shoulberg, a retail journalist and columnist for Business Of Home, says he is expecting the home furnishings industry to see a boost in the coming months as companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot did earlier this year.

Shoulberg explained during his panel at BOH‘s Future of Home virtual conference that when the housing market does well, ultimately the home furnishings business follows, and while home improvement stores feel this first, furnishings and decor companies are sure to follow suit in the next six to nine months. And if you spent even a few minutes at your local Home Depot this spring, you know there’s about to be a lot of decorating and redecorating about to be underway!

Whether you’re upgrading your current home’s furnishings, filling up a brand-new house, or giving a well-loved area a much-needed refresh, decorating a room—let alone a whole home—can be overwhelming. We asked four designers from around the country the top mistakes to keep in mind that people often run into when decorating.

You’re trying to decorate your home as quickly as possible.

“Often, homeowners choose furniture for their home in haste, without longevity in mind,” says Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors. “I can certainly understand the desire to furnish a home quickly and feel settled, but this hurriedness can lead to costly mistakes. Before purchasing furniture for a room, I recommend measuring and measuring again, and ordering samples to test fabrics in the room where they will reside. Take the time to carefully choose pieces that you will have for years, hopefully generations, to come.”

You’re not expanding your personal style to fit the aesthetic of your home.

“It’s important for homeowners to be mindful of wanting everything that they love to be a part of the design in their home,” says Kesha Halden of Halden Interiors. “Just because you love floral patterns and wear them in your attire or have them on your favorite porcelain dishware doesn’t always mean that it will translate in an impactful way in a larger footprint on a sofa or drapery. Always take into consideration the overall aesthetic of the house and leave room for the design to evolve over the years.”

You’re accidentally disrupting your open floor plan.

“A key decorating mistake that homeowners should avoid is placing multiple area rugs in a home with an open floor plan,” Halden says. “This is a common mistake because the area rug is used to help map out where to group your furnishings. However, carving out these spaces with a rug can easily make the open concept feel choppy and minimize the scale of the room. And in my opinion, nothing beats a big, open, and airy design concept!”

You don’t prioritize

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House Approves Short-Term Bill to Avoid a Shutdown

The effort to stave off a shutdown less than six weeks before Election Day comes as the looming brawl over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has further intensified partisan rancor on Capitol Hill.

Congress will ultimately have to return in a lame-duck session, the period between Election Day and the chamber’s adjournment at the end of the year, and approve the annual must-pass legislation needed to fund the government. Democrats had initially pushed to extend the short-term legislation into February, in the hopes that their party would capture the White House and Senate and be able to negotiate more favorable deals under a new president and Congress. But Republicans refused.

Democrats also agreed to exclude provisions that would have provided additional funds for election security and extended critical deadlines for the U.S. census to submit redistricting data.

The measure would prevent furloughs at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by allowing the agency, which has seen a loss in revenue in part because of the pandemic, to raise premium processing fees. It would also extend funding for a flood insurance program through next September, as well as funding for a program for highway construction and maintenance.

The bill also included language that would prevent Medicare recipients from seeing a significant increase in their premiums partly because of measures taken by the administration to counter the effects of the pandemic. But it did not include any additional relief to help American families and businesses recover from the toll of the pandemic, despite growing pressure from rank-and-file members for negotiators to break a stalemate on a broader legislative package.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged their party leaders on Tuesday to keep the House in session until Congress approved another pandemic relief bill, writing in a letter that “our constituents do not want us home campaigning while businesses continue to shutter.”

“It has been suggested by some that members of Congress are anxious to return to their districts to campaign in advance of the Nov. 3 election, even if that means leaving Capitol Hill without passing another Covid-19 relief bill,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Representative Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine. “We want to be very clear that we do not in any way agree with this position.”

A handful of moderate Democrats are also considering signing onto a Republican-led effort that would, if it gained the support of 218 lawmakers, force a vote on legislation to revive a popular federal loan program for small businesses, according to a person familiar with the plans, who requested anonymity to disclose details of private discussions.

Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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House passes short-term spending bill to avoid government shutdown

The deal will fund the government through Dec. 11.

The House approved late Tuesday night, in a 359-57-1 vote, a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not vote yes or no, but “present.”

The Senate will likely vote on the measure by the end of the week — where it is also expected to pass — before it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The stopgap measure must pass by Oct. 1 to keep U.S. agencies open.

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

“To help the millions of families struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Democrats have renewed the vital, expiring lifeline of Pandemic EBT for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” she continued. “Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expanded Pandemic EBT access for young children in child care. We also extended key flexibility for states to lower administrative requirements on SNAP for families in the middle of this crisis.”

The surprise late-night agreement came just days after talks crumbled late last week over policy disagreements.

Democrats have contended that the farm aid for the Commodity Credit Corporation — a GOP priority — “wasn’t help for farmers” but was “a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund.”

“House Democrats already passed more than $30 billion in targeted and tailored emergency aid to farm country in response to the pandemic as part of the Heroes Act, including language to ensure greater transparency and accountability with the Administration’s use of the Commodity Credit Corporation, including decreasing the Secretary’s ability to spend billions of taxpayer dollars without telling Congress,” the aide added.

After lengthy negotiations did not produce a bipartisan agreement with Republicans, House Democrats introduced their own proposal Monday afternoon funding government until Dec. 11, moving “full steam ahead” on a vote Tuesday, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Recognizing the lack of an agreement, a senior House Democratic aide warned that the bill “may get stuck in the Senate” after House passage,

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House approves spending bill in effort to avoid government shutdown during pandemic

The House easily passed a temporary government-wide funding bill Tuesday evening in a bipartisan effort to keep the government running through the beginning of December.

The House voted 359-57 to approve the stop gap measure that will keep the government open through December 11. 56 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich. voted against the measure, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., voted present.

Agreement on the bill came after considerable behind-the-scenes battling over proposed add-ons. The final agreement gives the administration continued immediate authority to dole out Agriculture Department subsidies in the run-up to Election Day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., retreated from an initial draft that sparked a furor with Republicans and farm-state Democrats.

Instead, in talks Tuesday, Pelosi restored a farm aid funding patch sought by the administration, which has sparked the ire of Democrats who said it plays political favorites as it gives out bailout money to farmers and ranchers.

MNUCHIN, PELOSI HAVE ‘INFORMAL AGREEMENT’ TO GO FORWARD WITH GOVERNMENT FUNDING PACKAGE, SOURCE SAYS

In return, Pelosi won COVID-related food aid for the poor, including a higher food benefit for families whose children are unable to receive free or reduced lunches because schools are closed over the coronavirus. Another add-on would permit states to remove hurdles to food stamps and nutrition aid to low-income mothers that are more difficult to clear during the pandemic.

The deal permitted the measure to speed through the House after a swift debate that should ensure smooth sailing in the GOP-held Senate before next Wednesday’s deadline. There’s no appetite on either side for a government shutdown.

The measure is the bare minimum accomplishment for Capitol Hill’s powerful Appropriations committees, who pride themselves on their deal-making abilities despite gridlock in other corners of Congress. It came after bipartisan negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief package imploded and appear unlikely to be rekindled — especially since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has upended U.S. politics.

“We need to keep the government open but we also need additional COVID relief for the American people,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

GOP-LED SENATE EYEING NEW ‘TARGETED’ COVID BILL 

The legislation — called a continuing resolution, or CR, in Washington-speak — would keep every federal agency running at current funding levels through Dec. 11, which will keep the government afloat past an election that could reshuffle Washington’s balance of power.

The measure also extends many programs whose funding or authorizations lapse on Sept. 30, including the federal flood insurance program, highway and transit programs, and a long set of extensions of various health programs, such as a provision to prevent Medicaid cuts to hospitals that serve many poor people.

It also finances the possible transition to a new administration if Joe Biden wins the White House and would stave off an unwelcome COVID-caused increase in Medicare Part B premiums for outpatient doctor visits.

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The underlying stopgap measure deals with the 30% of the federal government’s day-to-day

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House passes continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown

The House has passed a continuing resolution that includes nearly $8 billion more for nutrition assistance programs. The continuing resolution passed 359-57-1 Tuesday night, with only Republicans and libertarian Representative Justin Amash opposing it and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voting present.

The resolution funds the government until December 11, avoiding a possible shutdown at the end of September. It also renews provisions of public health and transportation programs that were set to expire on November 30. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an agreement between House Democrats, Republicans and the Trump administration late Tuesday. 

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

Democrats, Pelosi said, have renewed the “expiring lifeline of pandemic EBT for a full year.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been leading negotiations for the administration. 

The resolution now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to pass, now that a big sticking point — farm aid — has been included. 

Kimberly Brown contributed to this report

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5 Mistakes To Avoid With Your Quarantine Garden Before the First Fall Frost

If you’ve successfully created a garden this summer, here’s what you’ll need to know to keep it thriving into the next season—and beyond.

Published


A lot of us started new hobbies this year, and if yours involved planting the ultimate summer garden, you may just be wondering what to do with it now that fall is here. But don’t throw in the trowel just yet. While your summer schedule may have been packed with all things gardening, fall has its share of gardening delights, too—as well as tasks you’ll need to do to get that garden ready for spring.


Here are five common mistakes to avoid if you want to keep your new garden going strong.

Mistake No. 1: Not planting after Labor Day

Cold-season vegetables like broccoli and kale should be planted in fall.
Cold-season vegetables like broccoli and kale should be planted in fall.

zlikovec/iStock


Just because the summer flowers are fading doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few more blooms before winter arrives. In fact, there are quite a few flowers (and even vegetables) that are known to thrive during the fall season.



Susan Brandt, president and founder of Blooming Secrets, shares a few of her fall favorites. For instance, aster is a daisylike flower that blooms in late summer through fall, when other summer flowers are fading, she says. Calendula, also known as pot marigold, can have bright orange or yellow flowers, which also have culinary and medicinal uses.


“The petals are edible and can even be used in salads,” she says.

In addition, Brandt lists marigolds, pansies, garlic, kale, and even radishes as top contenders for fall.

And don’t worry if these seeds aren’t planted yet—there’s still time.

“Gardeners can plant fast-growing vegetables for harvest before frost,” says Jenny Vazquez of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “Radishes, broccoli, turnips, and green beans are some great vegetables that will produce all the way up to the first frost.”


Mistake No. 2: Forgetting to water

The temperatures might be steadily dropping, but if your plants are still alive, then they still need water. Forgetting to water plants in the fall is a top mistake for new gardeners, but if you want to keep your garden healthy (and coming back next year), you’ll want to stick with your watering schedule right up until the first frost.

“Carefully watch the calendar and weather forecast for your area,” advises Richard Reina of TOOLSiD.com. “Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. Although they may seem like they’re dormant, they’re still alive.”


Mistake No. 3: Not harvesting your garden

Harvest late-summer herbs and hang them to dry.
Harvest late-summer herbs, and hang them to dry.

ValentynVolkov/iStock

All those herbs and veggies you’ve worked so hard to grow aren’t going to pick themselves. Before your first frost arrives, be sure to check your garden and harvest any last herbs and veggies, or any seeds you’d like to save. Herbs should be hung inside to dry, and

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