A bipartisan delegation of governors speaks to the media outside the White House in Washington

A bipartisan delegation of governors speak to the media outside of the White House in Washington, DC on December 4, 2012, after meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet discuss the actions needed to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit. Pictured (l-r) Gary Herbert (R-UT), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Scott Walker (R-WI), Mike Beebe (D-AR) and Jack Markell (D-DE). UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool

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Plant bulbs now in Western Washington to enjoy spring blooms

This is a great week to purchase bulbs at the local nursery is as soon as you see them for sale, and add spring flowering bulbs to your landscape.

Western Washington has the perfect climate for growing tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring bloomers as our mild winters and early springs are similar to what they experience in Holland, considered the bulb growing capital of the world.

The year of 2020 may be remembered for many negative things, but this month may be your chance to change the cycle of loss and lamenting and make 2020 the year you added hundreds of spring flowering bulbs that will perennialize and return for years in defiance of the darkness that was COVID-19.

This fall I will be adding more “Angelique” tulips to my front garden as this double pink variety looks like a peony but with a shorter stem that won’t flop over in the rain. I also will add more of the orb-shaped blue blooms of the flowering onion or alliums. The Allium “Globemaster” has huge blooms on stems up to 3 feet tall, and as members of the onion family this showstopper is naturally pest resistant.

Best bulb planting questions

Q. I have planted bulbs in the past and they have never bloomed. I know that down below the ground mice gnaw on my tulips, then if a few survive and get ready to bloom the deer move in to chomp off the buds! I am done with tulips. Are there any pest resistant bulbs?

A. Daffodils to the rescue! Mice and deer will not destroy daffodil bulbs underground or daffodil blooms above ground, so this is the good-to-go bulb for spring color in areas where deer roam free. You will need to protect daffodils from slugs and snails once the new shoots emerge in the spring. Like all bulbs, they need well-drained soil so they don’t rot in the winter rains.

Q. My soil is rock hard and full of rocks. It is difficult to dig holes for bulbs. Any suggestions for a lazy gardener?

A. I have two ideas for “no dig” bulb planting. The first is to scratch the soil, set the bulbs on top then cover the bulbs with 6-8 inches of topsoil. If you don’t want to have topsoil delivered to your home (deliveries are usually at least 10 yards, a huge amount that can be used on lawns as well as beds) you can purchase garden soil or raised bed soil in bags at home center stores or nurseries. Just open the bag of soil and pour it on top of the bulbs. Cover with a wood chip mulch to keep the mound of soil in place.

Q. How deep should I plant my bulbs? I have crocus, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to plant.

A. The general rule of green thumb is to plant bulbs two to three times as deep as the height of the bulb. If you have squirrels, plant your bulbs

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Washington state garden offers useful inspiration for Sonoma County front yards

For Sandra, a “hands-on” person, it was tough to stay out of the way as a contractor and workmen gutted and completely renovated the 1950s house she and her husband, Howard, had just bought in Walla Walla, Washington.

New to the area, Sandra was keen to get to know the neighborhood. So while the men upgraded her new home to a more modern aesthetic and condition, she turned to the front garden. Each day, from a rental house a few blocks away, Sandra would come over and labor in the garden in an effort to make progress on the house and to begin to meet her neighbors.

The garden was not a garden when she started. Her first efforts were directed at a steep bank along the sidewalk, a discouraging mass of rocks knit together by a dense mat of Bermuda grass. She progressed incrementally, each day removing a few more rocks and clearing a little more area.

On the strip of land between the sidewalk and street, sheltered under an old weeping cherry tree, Sandra placed a cheerful red rustic table and chairs saved from her garden at her previous house, in Seattle. She used river-washed natural gravel to cover the soil. A big water dish for dogs and a beautifully planted pot on the table, a garden in miniature, were the finishing touches. In effect, she created a street-side living room, a place to sit and visit. The tables and chairs had provided the same function at her former home, and many conversations, cups of coffee and glasses of wine had passed over its brightly colored surface.

The steep bank took shape with plants Sandra brought from her Seattle garden, chiefly low-growing succulents like groundcover sedums, low-growing grasses like fescues and American millet grass milium effusum ‘Aureum’ — all sparely punctuated with yuccas.

“I’m not a professional gardener, but I know what I like,” Sandra said. She wanted a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant garden with a modern aesthetic that would correspond with that of the house. As the plants grew and spread, she pulled off small pieces of the sedums and planted them around the yard to limit the number of plant species used and the number of others she’d need to buy. The garden is densely planted and the succulents now merge into a solid carpet.

In the winter, the pattern made by the low-growing succulents, gray fescues, golden grasses, lamb’s ears, coral bells and gray yucca is like a soft and vibrant Persian carpet draped over the bank, with the bright and soft greens and gray and yellow hues repeating in a tapestry of color. In early summer the succulents bloom and the bank turns into a miniature meadow of little white and yellow flowers, heavily visited by tiny native bees.

The strip between the sidewalk and street, a very difficult place to garden, has been turned into a gravel garden. Sandra used the same grey-white washed rocks as under the table and chairs to cover the ground,

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Coronavirus live news: record global case rise; Washington health officials ask Rose Garden guests to get tested | World news

Trump doctor says he anticipates president’s ‘return to public engagements’ on Saturday


Washington warns those at White House super-spreader event

In an extraordinary step, the Washington, DC, Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a September 26 event in the Rose Garden and inside the building to mark the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court to seek medical advice and take a Covid-19 test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two US senators, among others, The Associated Press writes.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.

It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to Covid positive individuals.”

It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.


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Power Up: Just how sick is Trump? Washington eager for details amid conflicting messages from White House

Many questions about the president’s condition — and the administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak within its own orbit — remain unanswered as the White House offers contradictory information about the status of his health. 

The White House has thus far painted an incomplete picture of the situation that required Trump to be admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday. They gave notice that Trump has begun a steroid treatment usually reserved for patients with severe illness and that he’s suffered twice from bouts of low oxygen. Yet Trump and his medical team contend that he is doing well and could be discharged from Walter Reed as soon as Monday. 

Piling onto the confusion: Trump defied public health guidelines and briefly left the hospital to wave at his supporters from a motorcade parade to visit his supporters. Trump’s impromptu breach of quarantine, derided as cavalier by doctors and Secret Service, underscored open questions about the current health of the moderately obese 74 year-old who is being treated with a range of experimental therapeutics. 

An admission by White House doctor Sean Conley is fueling criticism of a lack of transparency: “Trump’s medical team tried to clear up the muddled picture it had created the previous day when White House doctor Sean Conley falsely suggested that Trump had not been given supplemental oxygen Conley openly admitted to withholding truthful information about Trump’s plummeting blood-oxygen levels Friday, indicating he did so to put a positive spin on the president’s improving condition,” Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Amy Goldstein report. 

  • The reasoning: “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness, has had,” Conley said Sunday. “I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”
  • Zooming out: “The episode continued what has been a days-long torrent of falsehoods, obfuscation, evasion, misdirection and imprecision from those surrounding Trump as he faces the greatest threat to a president’s health in decades.”

The confusion has penetrated the halls of the White House, too: Not even Trump administration staffers trust what they’re hearing about the state of Trump’s health, despite being potentially exposed to the virus as well. 

THE NEXT CLUE: Whether Trump is actually released today. 

  • “For a coronavirus patient admitted Friday to be sent home Monday ‘would be remarkably atypical,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, told Toluse, Josh and Amy. “For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity.” 
  • Many infectious-disease experts say the medical details release suggest a more severe case of covid-19 than his physicians acknowledged, per the New York Times’s Katie Thomas and Roni Caryn Rabin:
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remembrance-chairs-on-ellipse – The Washington Post

But despite all their precautions, Walter and his father, John, both contracted the novel coronavirus, and after 19 days in the hospital, John Walter died May 10.

On Sunday, Brian Walter was one of nearly two dozen people directly affected by the coronavirus to mourn the more than 200,000 American who have been killed by covid-19 and push for a national plan for recovery.

They gathered on the grassy Ellipse just south of the White House and in proximity to the Rose Garden, where those attending President Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee flouted recommendations on wearing masks and social distancing. Trump and at least eight other people who attended the Sept. 26 ceremony have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

“It’s very important we get the message across that this is not a hoax or a conspiracy or a fake illness,” Walter said. “Just because it hasn’t affected you personally doesn’t mean it’s not real. The events of last weekend prove that you can be isolated for a while, but if you make one wrong move, the virus could get you.”

Walter looked at 20,000 empty black chairs that had been placed on the Ellipse over the weekend, each representing 10 people in the United States who have died of covid-19. The U.S. coronavirus death toll soared past 200,000 last month, and Covid Survivors for Change, a network aimed at helping those affected by the virus locate support groups and other resources, declared Sunday a national day of remembrance.

The group recruited local volunteers to set up the installation. They began removing the chairs after the event Sunday.

Those who spoke reflected the myriad ways the pandemic has shaken people’s lives. A Virginia teacher who worried for the health of her students. A Black entrepreneur who is struggling to get by. An emergency room nurse who was hospitalized with the virus and lost her brother to covid-19 weeks later.

While each speaker’s story was different, their message was the same: The pandemic is far from over, and a national strategy with cohesive leadership is the only way to prevent another 200,000 deaths.

“When I watched that Rose Garden event I was horrified. I saw children and adults and elderly people all unmasked and not socially distanced, against all recommendations we have,” said Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician and associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

“When I think of the 200,000 who have died, and all the people who will be infected because of how his administration behaved, it continues to disappoint me not only as a doctor, but as an American,” she said.

Kass, who spoke Sunday, said she was especially concerned about those who went to the Rose Garden ceremony and didn’t immediately self-quarantine, even after it became apparent someone in attendance was infected. Attorney General William P. Barr decided not to self-quarantine even though he was exposed at the event, the New York Times reported. Kellyanne Conway, former senior adviser to

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Democrats Narrow Gap in Washington District Trump Won by 7 Points Amid Push to Expand House Seats

As Democrats look to push House Republicans further into the minority, the Democratic challenger in a Washington state House race has narrowed her deficit against the Republican incumbent to make it a virtual neck-and-neck contest, according to an internal Democratic poll provided to Newsweek.

Despite President Donald Trump winning Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District in 2016 by more than seven points, Democrat Carolyn Long is trailing Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wa.) by just two points, within the survey’s margin of error. In 2018, Herrera Beutler bested Long by roughly 16,400 votes, or 5.4 percent, and is serving her fifth term.

Long is one of 37 candidates that House Democrats hope will help them expand their majority in the lower chamber.

The poll, conducted by the progressive firm GQR, shows Long at 47 percent and Herrera Beutler at 49 percent. Four percent of voters in the longtime Republican district, which is located in the southwest region of the state, remain undecided.

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Abby Olmstead, Long’s campaign manager, said of the race, “the stakes have never been higher.”

Olmstead said the choice between the candidates is clear.

“In 2020, we face the choice between reelecting a career politician who has spent a decade staying silent, who is never available to her constituents and who is continuously working with Trump to dismantle access to healthcare,” Olmstead said. “Or Carolyn—who will be a hard-working, present, accountable, representative that always puts the people of Southwest Washington first.”

Democrat Carolyn Long
A new internal poll by Democrats shows challenger Carolyn Long, a Democrat, trailing the Republican incumbent for Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler by two points.
Courtesy of the Carolyn Long campaign

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Long enjoys a net +11 favorability rating, compared to Herrera Beutler’s net +5 rating. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is nearly tied with Trump in the district: 47 percent to 48 percent, with 6 percent undecided. A separate poll conducted last month showed Long was four points down.

The Herrera Beutler campaign questioned the legitimacy of the poll and accused Long of being “desperate.”

“This is the time of year when desperate campaigns try to convince reporters to write about outlying polls from outlying pollsters with outlying results,” spokesperson Parker Truax told Newsweek in a statement. “Jaime is going to win.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) also questioned the poll’s credibility and said Democrats’ spending habits in the district conflict with their suggestion that the race is virtually tied.

“If Carolyn Long were only down two points, the Democrats would be spending here like it’s nobody’s business,” NRCC spokesperson Torunn Sinclair told Newsweek in a statement. “They’re not, they currently have no money reserved, this is a fake poll and Carolyn Long is going to lose again.”

Herrera Beutler’s campaign did not respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment.

Though the internal polling suggests a public shift toward Long, election forecasters aren’t buying it.

Cook Political Report still rates the contest as likely Republican,

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Envelope containing ricin was sent to White House, report says | Washington DC

An envelope containing the poison ricin was sent to the White House, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The newspaper said law enforcement believed the envelope, which was intercepted before reaching the White House mail room, was sent from Canada.

Ricin is a waste product in the making of oil from castor beans. According to guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it “works by getting inside the cells of a person’s body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and death may occur.”

Death from ricin poisoning, the CDC says, can “take place within 36 to 72 hours of exposure”, depending on dosage and whether the poison is inhaled, ingested or injected.

“It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people,” the CDC says.

The Times reported that investigators were working to find out if other envelopes containing ricin had been sent through the US mail.

The White House did not immediately comment.

Ricin has been sent to the White House before.

In 2018, a US navy veteran was arrested and charged with attempting to send ricin to officials including Donald Trump; the then defense secretary, James Mattis; the CIA director, Gina Haspel; and the FBI director, Christopher Wray.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was given a 25-year sentence for sending letters dusted with the poison to Barack Obama and other officials.

The same year, an actor was sentenced for 18 years for sending similar letters to Obama and Michael Bloomberg in a bizarre attempt to frame her own husband. The Guardian said the case was like “the plot of a cheap, pulp thriller – except perhaps not quite as believable”.

Ricin also featured in a famous case which could have come from a spy novel: the assassination in London in 1978 of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who was pricked with a poison-tipped umbrella.

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Controversial Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden to open in Washington Corridor

Controversial mini-chain Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Beer Garden is bringing its contemporary Italian cuisine and over-the-top cocktails to the Washington Corridor.

Owned by the Arizona-based Evening Entertainment Group, Bottled Blonde Houston opens at 4901 Washington Ave. on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., according to a Monday release.

The casual restaurant, beer garden and sports hub, 10,000 square feet, features brewery-themed and pin-up girl decor, 40 high-definition TVs and two 24-foot projector walls. Picnic-style tables are located both inside and on the 1,500-square-foot patio.

For a good cause: Houston Restaurant Weeks extends through September

The food menu includes antipasto, artisanal salumi, premium cheeses, salads, sandwiches, house-made spaghetti and meatballs and stone-fired pizza.

The bar offers 24 local and craft brews, ciders, spirits, a 100-oz. mimosa tower, plus bottle service.

After dark, Bottled Blonde transforms into a nightclub with state-of-the-art lighting and sound.

“We love Texas and can’t wait to bring our Italian-inspired cuisine and contemporary, upbeat concept to the city of Houston,” Les Corieri, who co-owns Bottled Blonde with wife Diane  Corieri, said in the release. “Houstonians are serious about their food, and even more serious about their sports, so Bottled Blonde is the perfect place to have it all. It’s exciting to serve the city our brand of fun and merriment with a carefully crafted menu and beverage program to enjoy big games and weekend brunches.”

The Bayou City marks the third outpost of Bottled Blonde, which also has locations in Dallas and Scottsdale, AZ.

The brand comes with its share of controversy.

Closings: Burger-Chan at Greenway Plaza permanently shutters

The now-defunct Chicago locale came under fire in 2017 after social media posts alleging a racist dress code with regulations such as “no gang attire” and “no baggie [sic], sagging clothing” went viral, Eater Chicago reported.

Bottled Blonde Chicago made headlines again in October 2019 when city officials reportedly revoked the business’s license due to noise and traffic concerns voiced by neighborhood residents. The location permanently closed in July 2020 after five years of operation, according to Eater Chicago.

Bottled Blonde Dallas, which opened in 2017, is also under investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Dallas’ KDFW reported.

KDFW said the Deep Ellum spot, which originally opened as a bar, was allowed by the TABC to reopen as a restaurant in July. Since then, it has allegedly violated Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders requiring Texas restaurants to reduce capacity to 50 percent occupancy to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bottled Blonde Houston will be open weekdays

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Smoke from Washington State wildfire blankets parts of Vancouver Island, B.C. Interior

a close up of a tree: Heavy smoke over B.C.'s capital Tuesday morning.

© Richard Zussman / Global News
Heavy smoke over B.C.’s capital Tuesday morning.

Residents in both southern Vancouver Island and B.C.’s southern Interior woke up on Tuesday to smoke blanketing their regions.

The smoke is so thick that the air quality health index is at 10 for Victoria and Saanich, according to Environment Canada. This means the health risk is very high and everyone is being urged to avoid strenuous activity outside. Those in higher-risk groups, such as children and the elderly, should take it easy.

The plumes are coming from a wildfire in Washington State, about 13 kilometres southeast of Midway, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

It’s estimated to be about 16 hectares in size.

In B.C., there are three wildfires of note as of Tuesday morning, with the Doctor Creek fire being the largest, burning about 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats, or about an hour’s drive north of Cranbrook.

No structures are currently threatened due to that blaze.

Read more: B.C. wildfire map 2020: Current location of wildfires burning around the province


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