Local groups hand out garden kits

Even though many local health and agriculture community groups can’t hold big events because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still at work, encouraging people to eat and grow vegetables.

Healthy kits for families

© Provided by KCRA Sacramento
Healthy kits for families

“We have seen such incredible increase in demand for local produce and also food donations and distribution,” said Sara Bernal, a program manager with the Center for Land-Based Learning.

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That’s why her organization along with Kaiser Permanente, the Latino Leadership Council, La Familia, Health Education Council and Soil Born Farms are bringing the farm to families through healthy garden kits the groups assemble and distribute to those most in need of nourishment.

The kits include vegetables — vibrant-in-color and flavor, fruits — grown at local farms, and “starts,” so people can plant their own healthy gardens.

“Everybody benefits from eating more fresh food,” said Bernal, who hopes the kits offer healthy inspiration to those who receive them. “That’s really our goal… to introduce the concepts and ingredients of fresh eating, and maybe not even introduce it, but just reinvigorate the enthusiasm for eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Doctors agree, saying programs like this spark important conversations about how good nutrition has a positive effect on overall health.

“It’s also a step towards looking at what creates diabetes in certain demographics and how can we impact that, heart disease all of the things that we do very well,” said Kaiser Permanente Physician in Chief, Dr. Rob Azevedo. “This just enhances that, but for our community, not just for our Kaiser Permanente members.”

The groups identified 150 older adults and families that could benefit from the kits which include the following items:

  • Measured potting soil
  • Fabric grow bag
  • Plant starts
  • Growing instructions
  • Ready-to-eat fresh produce
  • Recipes that incorporate produce in kit

Three different kits have been distributed to recipients over a six-week period — a welcome surprise to the seniors at the Davis Migrant Center, according to center manager Roberto Guevara.

“Most of these families just have one income and it’s a very low income,” said Guevara. “They were very grateful to be receiving this kind of stuff.”

The program is promoting an interest in eating healthier in the process of helping recipients grow the healthy food that will help them do just that.

“I can think of no other time in our history that it isn’t more important that we come together support each other and really create wellness in our communities,” said Azevedo.

The organizations also encourage novice gardeners to flex their green thumbs, reminding people that you don’t need a big backyard to get your garden growing. A flower pot on a front porch or apartment balcony is a good start.


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Seven Interior state candidates to participate in forum hosted by environmental, racial justice groups | Local News

Seven of the 16 candidates running for election to Interior seats in the Alaska Legislature will be participating in a Climate, Jobs and Justice political forum hosted by a group of Alaska environmental and social justice nonprofits and organizations tonight.

The forum will be held online from 5-7 p.m. and is hosted by Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, The Alaska Center, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Greater Fairbanks Chapter NAACP 1001, the Nanook Diversity & Action Center, Native Movement, Native Peoples Action and Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i.

The following candidates have confirmed plans to participate: 

House District 1 Democratic candidate Christopher Quist

House District 2 Democratic candidate Jeremiah Youmans

House District 4 Democratic Rep. Grier Hopkins

House District 5 Democratic Rep. Adam Wool

House District 6 Democratic candidate Julia Hnilicka;

House District 6 nonpartisan candidate Elijah Verhagen

Senate District B nonpartisan candidate Marna Sanford.

According to event organizers, an invite was sent to all candidates running for Interior seats in both the state House and state Senate. All seven Republican candidates and two nonpartisan candidates either declined to participate or did not respond to the invite for the forum, organizers said.

The forum will discuss issues ranging from climate action, workers advocacy, social and economic justice and healthcare access.

“The top priorities for the people of Alaska, including health care access, racial and economic justice, climate action, Alaska Native rights, and workers’ rights, don’t always get the attention they deserve. We’re excited to offer this nonpartisan forum to center these critical issues and expand the conversation with our community leaders,” said Rose O’Hara-Jolley of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i on behalf of the organizers.

To ensure proper precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the forum will be held online via Zoom. 

Community members interested in participating can register in advance at



Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics. 

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‘Dark kitchen’ chain works with local restaurants to sell over food delivery apps

The coronavirus has left many restaurants struggling as the pandemic forced them to temporarily close their doors and still has many operating at a lower capacity than normal.

Owners are looking for ways to bring in more revenue. Fast-casual Asian chain Wow Bao has one idea: open their restaurant inside an existing restaurant as a delivery-only “dark kitchen” eatery.

Wow Bao, which serves up steamed bao, potstickers, dumplings, rice and noodle bowls, announced on Wednesday that it has added 100 locations in just six months by partnering with other restaurants. Its food is offered via third-party delivery services like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar.

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Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao, said the company came up with the partnership plan last November.

“Although we didn’t envision this initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say our dark kitchen platform is assisting operators to help pay rent and employ staff in order to survive this difficult time,” Alexander said in a press release.


Wow Bao isn’t the only “virtual restaurant” to take advantage of the proliferation of meal delivery services during the pandemic. Chuck E. Cheese has been selling pizza under the name Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. An increasing number of eateries operate “ghost kitchens,” renting out kitchen space to other restaurants or adding other restaurant brands to its offerings for takeout and delivery only. And there are also “cloud kitchens,” which work exclusively with delivery brands.

These kinds of deals aren’t just good for restaurants seeing a slump in business. The brands they work with can use them to test out their products in new markets. The California-based Lemonade Restaurants recently opened its first ghost kitchen in Long Beach, allowing it to expand to the city “in record time and with a very low investment,” co-CEO Anthony Pigliacampo told QSR Magazine.

“In just three months, we moved from site identification to delivering food to guests,” Pigliacampo told QSR. “This would have been impossible with a brick and mortar site.”

Wow Bao said its partnership is different from ghost kitchens because it ships frozen items to its partner restaurants to be prepared by their kitchen staff.


Edmund Woo, the owner of the Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, S.C., and a Wow Bao partner, said in a written statement that the process of integrating Wow Bao into his kitchen was “seamless.”

“I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost,” he said. “The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain

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Interior Ministry to involve aviation to respond to illegal actions during Ukraine’s local elections

Interior Ministry to involve aviation to respond to illegal actions during Ukraine's local elections

The involvement of aviation units of the Interior Ministry’s system is provided for a prompt response to changes in the situation during the local elections in Ukraine.

“Based on the calculations, almost 140,000 law enforcement officers will be involved to ensure public security during the local elections. It is planned to involve the aviation units of the Interior Ministry’s system for prompt response to changes in the situation,” First Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovy said at the meeting.

He said that, given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic amid which the electoral process is holding, the personnel are provided with protective equipment.

“We will involve reserve groups of law enforcement officers from the central office of the National Police, university cadets and police officers from regional departments,” Yarovy said.

According to Deputy Minister Serhiy Honcharov, operational reserves have been created in the regions to respond to challenges and threats that may arise during the elections.

“In order to increase the efficiency of the formation of reserves and direct response, it is planned to involve our aviation within the election campaign. We plan to involve all the available forces and means of aviation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, namely, aircraft and helicopters. The presence of helicopters will allow respond to illegal activities in the most remote points where there is no landing strips,” Honcharov said.

Head of the State Emergency Service Mykola Chechotkin said that in order to ensure an adequate level of fire safety and prevent emergencies during the preparation and conduct of local elections, the specialists of the service in the country are inspecting the facilities where the polling stations will be located.

Local elections in Ukraine are scheduled for October 25.

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White House Ignores Local Mandates, Giving Virus a New Hold in D.C.

WASHINGTON — In recent months, as coronavirus cases rose around the country, the nation’s capital and most of its surrounding suburbs managed to bring infection rates down, through strict preventive laws and a largely compliant population.

But the recent outbreak at the White House and on Capitol Hill underscored how difficult it is for a city with almost no control over the federal government — and where senior officials have sometimes worked at counter purposes on containing the virus — to sustain progress.

An event on Sept. 26 in the Rose Garden, after which a number of officials including President Trump tested positive for the virus, violated the city’s mandates limiting the size of gatherings and requiring masks. Because the White House is on federal property, however, it is exempt from such rules. Guests at the event may well have ventured into the city, but the White House has refused to comply with a municipal request for help with contact tracing. The city had its highest number of positive cases on Monday — 105 — since June, though city officials say it would take several days to determine any trend.

At least one testing site in Washington reported that those seeking a test doubled to 600 on Monday as residents responded with concern to the cases stemming from the White House and Capitol Hill.

The federal government’s disconnect from the city in which it operates, and where many of its staff members live, was perhaps best demonstrated last weekend when a number of White House officials, some of them senior, frantically called officials at the office of Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland for help getting tested. Mr. Hogan has been lauded for his management of the crisis. But the White House officials apparently were unaware of the city’s numerous and rapid testing sights.

More than 40 senators, about evenly divided between the two parties, and numerous Capitol staff members have sought coronavirus tests since late last week, when it became clear the White House was a hot spot for transmission and three Republican senators — Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — tested positive for the virus. Nearly half of all senators are 65 or older, and the House is not much younger.

The cases stemming from the White House will not increase the official number of positive cases, city officials said, because the White House has not shared positive test results with state or local health agencies. City officials said they would be closely monitoring infection trends for several days to see if the Capitol and White House cases affected the city’s overall infection rate.

“The District of Columbia takes seriously its role as the seat of the federal government and would not infringe on the essential functions of government,” said John Falcicchio, the chief of staff to Muriel E. Bowser, Washington’s mayor. “However, better coordination would allow for a more robust response in this public health emergency.”

Even more concerning

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Contractors busy with home improvement work | Local News

Business is booming for local home improvement companies and contractors as the pandemic leads prospective customers to spend more time at home and spend less money on vacations. 

Paul Warren, who lives on Burningtree Mountain in Decatur, hired ESS Concrete and Design of Decatur to create a larger patio and make a walkway from his driveway this summer.

“It was a project we wanted to have done, and it probably would have been done in the fall,” Warren said. “But because of the pandemic, it sped things up.”

Zac Lott, owner of ESS, said his business picked up substantially two or three weeks after the coronavirus shutdown was ordered in mid-March. He said his work is up 25% because of the pandemic.

“Money is good right now,” he said. “People were going to work, but some are now home all day and are spending their stimulus checks. … The number of high-dollar projects is up.”

He said referrals from other contractors are up, too.

“People are wanting extra parking at their houses so jobs for driveway extensions and patios are up. I’ve even done some work for doomsday preppers,” he said, referring to people preparing for a cataclysmic event. “People have the money and are spending it.”

Industry experts said some homeowners spent money budgeted for family vacations on home improvement projects. Lowe’s Home Improvement Inc. reported a 35.1% increase in U.S. sales in the second quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

Houzz, an online home remodeling website, said it saw a 58% increase in project leads in June compared to a year earlier. 

Emily Long, city spokeswoman, said the Decatur building department issued 928 residential improvement permits from May through August, 31 more than the same period in 2019. 

Wayne Patterson, owner of Smith and Patterson Homes of Hartselle, said low interest rates and the pandemic keeping people at home have increased demand. 

“But finding labor and materials has been a challenge,” Patterson said. “I need more carpenters, painters, extra hands. There’s plenty of work in the region. I heard there was a lot of activity in the Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee, area and I drove up there last week to see for myself. In north Alabama, we’re paying about $5 to $6 a square foot under roof for carpenters, and Nashville is paying $10 to $12 a square foot.

“It’s all about supply and demand. It’s hard for builders here to stay competitive with those rates. A lot of migrant workers who were in this area have moved there where the money is better.”

He said his company has a couple of crews of carpenters and painters who are working long days because of demand and the lack of additional crews.

Patterson said supply shortages are also making it hard to meet demand.

“When I am ordering windows, I now order them three to six weeks before I need them because some manufacturing plants are at 30% capacity because of COVID,” he said.

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Local 4 to host 48th annual ‘Support Our Capuchin Kitchen’ Telethon on Oct. 1

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is partnering with Local 4 to host their 48th annual Support Our Capuchin Kitchen (SOCK) Fundraiser on Oct. 1.

The SOCK Fundraiser helps support the soup kitchen’s efforts to serve tens of thousands of individuals and families each year with meals, hospitality and more. With seven programs at five locations on Detroit’s east side, the soup kitchen helps people struggling with poverty, hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and other challenges.

The telethon will be broadcasted and held virtually between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday. Throughout the day, Local 4 will share with viewers the important and life-changing work that the Capuchin Soup Kitchen has done for the community.

How to donate

Viewers will be invited to support the soup kitchen and “Be a Friend” to its guests by donating over the phone at 313-579-2102 or on the SOCK Telethon website at socktelethon.org.

Individuals interested in supporting Capuchin Soup Kitchen can also virtually bid on auction items on the SOCK Telethon website right here. Bidding for the silent auction ends on Oct. 5.

“2020 has been a challenging year for everybody. For those of us ministering with guests at our Capuchin Soup Kitchen sites, we temporarily redesigned our approach from the ground up during the height of the public health crisis – serving take-away meals, ensuring social distancing at our sites and focusing on three fundamental services: distribution of meals and pantry foods, access to our social workers, and the safe continuation of our two residential programs,” said Brother Jerry Johnson, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, executive director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. “The annual SOCK event is a key component of what makes it possible for us to continue this work. We are grateful for so many generous benefactors over many years who have supported the work we do to ease suffering in our communities.”

The annual fundraiser’s traditional in-person meal will not take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to visit the SOCK Telethon website for more information.

The 48th annual SOCK Fundraiser and Telethon is sponsored by generous matching gifts from: DTE Energy Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, David Bazzy, The Boutrous Company, Thomas and Carol Cracchiolo Foundation, Lear Corporation, Weingartz, Shelving Inc., Joanne and John C. Carter, Steven Pelvak, Bodman, Edw. C. Levy Co., BB&E Consulting Engineers & Professionals, Infogroup, Chelsea Milling Company “Jiffy” mixes, Detroit Lions and Clark Eye Care.

Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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House approves legislation to send cybersecurity resources to state, local governments

The House on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would send cybersecurity resources to state and local governments, which have been increasingly targeted by hackers during the past two years. 

The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which has bipartisan support, would create a $400 million grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to provide financial resources for state and local governments to defend against and respond to cyberattacks. 

The bill would also require DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop a strategy to shore up the cybersecurity of state, local, territorial and tribal governments. 

The bill now moves to the Senate, where timing on a vote is unclear. 

The legislation is sponsored by Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondCindy McCain joins board of Biden’s presidential transition team Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (D-La.) and Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodWomen of color flex political might Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (D-Ill.), the former and current chairs respectively of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee,  and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel MORE (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the subcommittee.

Other sponsors include House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHouse passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel House panel pans ICE detention medical care, oversight MORE (D-Miss.), House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China’s forced labor House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack MORE (R-Texas), Reps. Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerIs Congress reasserting itself? Pelosi asks panels to draft new COVID-19 relief measure Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal MORE (D-Wash.) and Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerHillicon Valley: ‘Fortnite’ owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Lawmakers introduce bill designating billion to secure state and local IT systems Lawmakers introduce legislation to establish national cybersecurity director MORE (D-Md.), and a dozen other bipartisan members. 

Richmond pointed to cyberattacks on city governments in Atlanta and New York, along with networks in his district in Louisiana, in calling for the defense of state and local networks. 

“For too long, the Federal Government

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Black-Owned Local Businesses: Rebel Kitchen

One in a series of profiles of Black-owned businesses across the Islands

Two rebels, one dream: That’s the story of Rebel Kitchen, located in the Kona town of Kainaliu and owned by the husband and wife team of Randy Martin and Gabby Bermudez.

Before Rebel Kitchen, Martin and Bermudez were unsatisfied with their career paths and wanted to do something in which they could see their hard work pay off. Something they could be proud of. 

What they had in common was their restaurant backgrounds – the two met working at a restaurant and already knew they could work well together.

“Randy has always loved to cook for people, whether it’s a holiday or just a weekend cookout,” say the couple in an email. “We started to dream of opening our own restaurant … and one day, we were like, let’s do this now or never, and so we made a business plan, started saving and doing lots of research.”

In 2011, Rebel Kitchen was born. 

“People thought we were a little crazy, but that’s why we called it Rebel Kitchen, because we felt like rebels for pursuing our dreams,” they say.

For Black business owners, Hawai‘i is different from the Mainland, say Bermudez and Martin, who have been in the Islands for nine years. Here, they say, people are supportive of everyone. Martin and Bermudez are, too, and it’s reflected in their connection to the larger community. 

“The most rewarding is when other Black people realize we are the owners and are proud of us, both older and younger generations,” write the couple. “For the young people, they see they can do it too – you can be Black and successful.”

COVID-19, though, hasn’t made their journey easy. The owners say that closing the restaurant for 2½ months during the stay-at-home order was difficult for them, their staff and the community. Now that they’ve reopened, business hasn’t entirely recovered, but the couple says they try to stay positive.

“We are fortunate to have a strong local business. … We have received a lot of support from our community, but business is still much slower than before. It’s going to be a long road ahead.”

Martin and Bermudez say they’re satisfied keeping their restaurant as is within their small community and have no plans to expand. The couple’s sights are set on growing another portion of their business: their condiment line. They currently sell their own Kona Ketchup, Hawaiian Fire Sauce and Mauka Mustard among other sauces and marinades – and they hope to see their products on shelves across Hawaiʻi someday.

They advise anyone wanting to start a business to start small and do the research, use local resources like the Small Business Administration and, most of all, be willing to do what it takes. 

“Being a business owner is not glamorous, but it is rewarding.”

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‘A place to get away’: Huge water feature coming to Tulsa Botanic Garden | Local News

The water garden’s name comes from John and Mary Ann Bumgarner of the Bumgarner Family Charitable Foundation, which made the “major gift” to make the project possible.

At Wednesday’s announcement, John Bumgarner said he is excited to see the garden develop further and thrilled to forever be a part of it.

“This garden’s special to Tulsa,” Bumgarner said. “It’s growing, as most gardens do, and it’s expanding and it’s future is going to be very bright.

“It’s a good effort, a good project, and we’re most happy to support it.”

A spokeswoman for the Botanic Garden said that while the Bumgarners declined to announce the exact amount of their donation, the entire project cost is about $1.25 million.

To make the water garden, crews will raise the pool at the seven-acre lake’s north end 18 inches to create a waterfall at the southern end. Opposite this feature at the Sunrise Bridge, water will flow into the garden over natural rock with a view to the floating gardens on both sides of the pool.

Those floating gardens will include water-loving plants like iris and hibiscus while the lilies take up the standing water in between on the southern end. The walking path will take visitors past the overlooks on the pool’s eastern side, with each platform offering a closer view at the lilies and floating gardens below beneath the cypress trees’ shade.

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