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Arrest made weeks after Boston store clerk shot in head in armed robbery
Source:  News South Of Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 16:04

The 25-year-old store clerk remains in critical condition after being shot in the head by an armed robber while working at a convenience store in Boston.

State reports 1st human case of West Nile Virus
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:59

State health officials are urging Massachusetts residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites after the first human case of West Nile Virus was reported Friday.

A man in his 50s was likely exposed to the virus in southwestern Essex County or eastern Middlesex County.

“This is the first time that West Nile virus infection has been identified in a person in Massachusetts this year,� said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Today’s news reminds us of the ongoing need to take precautions against mosquito bites to protect ourselves and our families.�

No other information was given about the man.

The risk of human infection is considered to be generally low throughout the Commonwealth, according to officials.

In 2019, there were five human cases of West Nile Virus infection identified in Massachusetts. It is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

While West Nile can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease.

To stay healthy, officials urge residents to:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitos. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitos away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitos to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitos outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitos near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitos. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent West Nile and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with West Nile Virus or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

Information about current mosquito activity will continue to be updated regularly and can be found here.


Police search in Hyde Park after man injured by nail gun
Source:  News South Of Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:56

The victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Cam Newton, Patriots quarterbacks aren’t backing down in position battle
Source:  Boston Herald
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:55

Soon enough, Cam Newton will no longer be the favorite.

Jarrett Stidham will cease playing the role of an intriguing youngster.

And Brian Hoyer will stop being the forgotten third wheel on the Pats’ depth chart.

By Week 1, they will simply be Patriots; one starter and two backups. How that hierarchy is determined, through a rugged training camp competition, will be the story of the summer in Foxboro. Days after camp kicked off, Newton, Stidham and Hoyer were allowed to share how they see that story Friday; the story of who gets to succeed Tom Brady.

“It’s a breath of fresh air, to be honest with you,” Newton said. “It’s a challenge that I have to accept each and every day, but no challenge is ever going to be greater than the personal challenge that I challenge myself personally. We all know what that was and what it is, and it needs no mention. But yet at the same time, I think I’ve got my hands full with trying to learn as much as I can in a short period of time and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

In his first public appearance as a Patriot, the former MVP accomplished several things, not the least of which was unknowingly demonstrate the differences between himself and Brady.

While speaking with reporters, Newton was open and forthcoming with his thoughts, leaving all sanitized, say-nothing comments to his likely predecessor. Newton acknowledged a bitter part of his life — his release from Carolina — while saying he’s left it in the past because he wakes up angry. Why?

He can’t see his children every day.

Newton also flatly declared he has nothing to prove after a series of mostly down seasons since his Super Bowl run. On a higher note, he confessed playing for the Pats has felt “surreal.” And he crossed what will soon be a much thicker line by describing his physical health publicly.

“As far as how I feel right now,” Newton began, “I feel amazing. I feel great.”

But being a quarterback under the tight-lipped Bill Belichick, the 31-year-old did give voice to some platitudes that have long surrounded the Patriot Way and were once Brady favorites.

“We all have a challenge in our everyday life of trying to be the best particular person as possible, and it’s no different in a professional realm,” Newton said. “My job every, single day is just to become the best professional quarterback that I could possibly be.”

Naturally, Brady’s shadow will be impossible for any quarterback in his old position position room. Thus far, Stidham’s strategy has been to ignore it.

“I don’t really look at it as replacing Tom Brady,” the second-year gunslinger said. “I just want to be myself and I want to be a leader for this team and be the best teammate that I can be for this team. I don’t really look at it like that.â€�

Stidham did, however, admit to retaining several of the methods Brady has used to found his Hall of Fame career, when he was a rookie understudy last season. Stidham’s experience under Brady and in the Patriots’ system are his lone edges over Newton. For most of the spring, he was expected to start this season before his odds were flipped upon Newton’s arrival.

Like Newton, he’s embracing the competition to come and believes he’s prepared to take the reins.

“Absolutely. I think I am definitely ready. I put in a lot of work this offseason to really improve mentality, physically, in a lot of different areas,” he said. “At the end of the day, I am extremely excited to compete with Cam and Hoy as we go forward in training camp and getting to the season and things like that.”

Stidham later told a story of meeting Newton in college over lunch after an Auburn practice. They discussed Newton’s experience in the pros, where it took him three years to be named a captain, despite starting his first two seasons. If Stidham has his way, he will be on the same track or perhaps an even shorter one– should he win the starting job this year.

As a show of leadership this offseason, he and Hoyer invited several Patriots pass catchers to throwing sessions at a suburban Boston high school. Newton did the same in Los Angeles, where he was joined by Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry and rookie tight end Devin Asiasi. The competition before the competition.

As for Hoyer, he picked up right where he left off behind the Gillette Stadium mic Friday; stressing Patriot principles and knowing your role, sprinkling in a colorful example here and there and speaking with his guard down, more comfortable in the spotlight than most. He was comfortable amid all the change. He’s back home.

“The reality of our job is whether you’re the starting quarterback, backup, third (string) … things can change in a week-to-week basis, and you have to be ready to go,” Hoyer said. “I’m always up for it, and I’m always excited to go out and play. For me, just to go out and practice football again, it’s worth it for me to do that. I don’t know how (the competition) plays out, but I’m going out there and preparing like I’m going to be playing in Week 1.”

Until then, a starting pistol over the quarterback room has been raised. Newton, Stidham and Hoyer are ready to chase a ghost they know they will never catch. Still, they will race over four weeks, each passer believing he’s as prepared as he’s ever been to cross the finish line first.

Ready, set …

US hiring slows amid signs of longer-lasting economic damage
Source:  Boston Herald
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:54


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring slowed in July as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, and the government’s jobs report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many observers originally envisioned.

The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the previous two months. At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market. The hiring of the past three months has recovered 42% of the jobs lost to the pandemic-induced recession, according to the Labor Department’s report.

Though the unemployment rate fell last month from 11.1% to 10.2%, that level still exceeds the highest rate during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.

Roughly half the job gains were in the industries hit hardest by the virus: restaurants, retail shops, bars, hotels and entertainment venues such as casinos. Those jobs have been relatively quick to return after the broadest shutdowns ended in May and June.

But economists worry that the next leg of job growth will be harder to achieve, particularly as the virus dampens confidence, leaving much of the country only partially reopened, most travel on hold and millions of employees working from home. The number of people unemployed for longer than 15 weeks jumped in July to more than 6 million, a sign many of the unemployed will have to find work at new companies or even in new occupations, a potentially lengthy process.

Constance Hunter, chief economist at accounting firm KPMG, noted that many jobs in hotels, sports stadiums and the travel industry probably will not return until a vaccine is developed.

“When are you going to be comfortable again being in an air-conditioned room with 400 people?” she asked. “There are whole parts of the economy that will remain unemployed until we have a much tighter control of this virus.”

The jobs report emerged as new infections run at about 55,000 a day. While that’s down from a peak of well over 70,000 in the second half of July, cases are rising in about half of the states, and deaths are climbing in many of them.

In other virus-related developments Friday:

— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that schools can bring children back to classrooms for the start of the school year, citing success in battling the virus in the state that once was the U.S. heart of the pandemic. The decision clears the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning.

— Russia boasted that it’s about to become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with mass vaccinations planned as early as October using shots that are yet to complete clinical trials. Moscow sees a propaganda victory, but scientists worldwide say the rush could backfire if the vaccine is neither effective nor safe.

Back in the spring, the widespread hope was that temporarily shutting down the economy would defeat the virus, after which businesses could quickly reopen and call back laid-off workers. But the resurgence of the virus in much of the country has reversed some re-openings and made it harder for many people to get back to work.

In addition to the rising number of longer-term unemployed, the proportion of Americans who are either working or looking for work slipped last month to 61.4%, down 2 percentage points from February. That suggests that many out of work see little prospect of finding a job.

And the number of Americans who say their job losses are permanent was flat last month despite the rise in hiring.

Cassy Menon, 36, was furloughed March 17 from her job arranging travel for university students, faculty and staff, and was originally told the layoff would last 90 days. She was initially able to keep her health insurance.

“After I stopped crying, I immediately updated my resume,” she said, and began looking for work. An additional $600 in unemployment aid from the federal government helped her and her husband stay on top of bills, and her health insurance helped pay for the anti-depressants she began taking.

But in June, she was told that as of July 1 the job cut would become permanent. After applying for 300 jobs, she has had two interviews, both in mortgage banking. Both would pay much less than her previous job.

Friday’s report suggested that high unemployment and shriveled incomes for many households will remain an issue through the November elections and a potential threat to President Donald Trump’s re-election prospects.

Trump quickly celebrated the report with a pair of tweets, including one that read “Great Jobs Numbers!” But aides are nervous that the recovery is still fragile. The president remained out of sight Friday, beginning a three-day weekend at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

His Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, was quick to blame Trump for the potentially faltering recovery.

“It did not have to be this bad. We are in a deeper economic hole than we should be because of Donald Trump’s historic failure to respond to the pandemic,” Biden said.

Many economists are urging Congress to extend various forms of economic aid to sustain a recovery. A supplemental $600 weekly federal unemployment payment expired last week. House Democrats have voted to extend it through July, while Senate Republicans want to reduce it to $200. An eviction moratorium for federally subsidized housing has also ended. Both sides have agreed to another $1,200 stimulus payment but are deadlocked on whether to provide more aid to state and local governments.

The talks between the two sides are on the brink of collapse, even though they had hoped to strike a deal as soon as Friday.

“A lot of households will run out of money in the next few weeks,” said Eric Winograd, an economist at AllianceBernstein, an investment firm. “If government does not make up that income, those households will not be able to consume in a way that supports the recovery.”

Some companies that are hiring complain that the generous unemployment benefits have made it harder to attract candidates. But several economic studies suggest the benefits have not been a disincentive.

Mike Parra, CEO for the Americas at DHL Express, said his company is seeking to fill 1,700 jobs. But the resurgent virus has slowed applications in California, Texas and Florida, where outbreaks have been particularly large.

In the meantime, some employers are adapting to the pandemic by doing business with fewer workers.

Peter Klamka, owner of the Blind Pig restaurant in Las Vegas, is now concentrating on pickup and delivery orders. His restaurant’s revenue plummeted along with tourism.

Klamka is using data gathered from online and mobile ordering to fine-tune his menu and prices. He knows, for instance, that if he drops the price of a pizza by $2 on a Friday night, he will attract perhaps 25 more orders. That knowledge allows him to tweak his inventory and staffing.

Yet he doesn’t expect to do much hiring. He is operating with just five employees, down from 25 before the pandemic.

“There certainly isn’t sufficient business to bring anyone back,” Klamka said.


Associated Press Writer Jonathan Lemire in Bridgewater, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

First human case of West Nile Virus in Mass. in 2020 identified
Source:  News South Of Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:54

The first human case of West Nile virus in Massachusetts this year was identified Friday, state health officials said.

Gatherings, COVID-19 spread lead Gov. Baker to pull back on reopening
Source:  News South Of Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:51

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday announced decisions made in response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and the average positive test rate.

Firefighters Rescue 81-Year-Old Woman From Tyngsboro House Fire
Source:  CBS Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:44

TYNGSBORO (CBS) — An 81-year-old woman was rescued by a firefighter after a fire broke out at a Tyngsboro home overnight. Crews responded to Poitras Avenue just after midnight.

Four adults and five kids lived in the home, according to the Tyngsboro Fire Department. Flames blocked the front door, but most of the residents were able to get out through a window with help from the neighbors.

Upon learning that an 81-year-old woman was still stuck in the home, Captain Chris Newton crawled in through a window and found the woman lying on the floor.

An 81-year-old woman was rescued from this house fire by firefighters Friday morning (Courtesy Photo)

Newton, along with the assistance from multiple other firefighters, was able to help the woman through the window to safety. She was treated at the scene and then transported to Lowell General Hospital. The fire department said the woman was conscious throughout the rescue and her injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.

Two firefighters were also injured. One was taken to the hospital but both are expected to be OK.

Firefighters from Dunstable, Nashua, Dracut, and Chelmsford helped fight the blaze, which took crews about two hours to extinguish. Firefighters stayed into the morning to monitor hot spots.

Part of the second floor of the home collapsed into the first floor during the fire. The house is considered a total loss, the fire department said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced.

Man In His 50s Has State’s First Case Of West Nile Virus In 2020
Source:  CBS Boston
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:40

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts has had its first case of West Nile virus this year.

The man, who is in his 50s, was likely exposed in southwestern Essex County or eastern Middlesex County, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

“This is the first time that West Nile virus infection has been identified in a person in Massachusetts this year,� said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “Today’s news reminds us of the ongoing need to take precautions against mosquito bites to protect ourselves and our families.�

The risk of human infection with West Nile virus is considered to be low throughout the state. Symptoms of the disease include fever and flu-like symptoms, although more serious illness can occur.

In 2019, there were five human cases of the disease in Massachusetts. Several towns have also found mosquitos infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well, with the state’s first case reported earlier this week, prompting health officials to remind people to use bug spray; wear long sleeves, pants and socks when going out; and refraining from outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, when mosquitos are most active.

Last-ditch virus aid talks underway; Trump team at Capitol
Source:  WHDH-TV - Home
Friday, 07 August 2020 15:39

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leaders launched a last-ditch effort to revive collapsing Washington talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money, summoning Trump administration negotiators to the Capitol on Friday in hopes of generating progress.

Both sides said the future of the negotiations was uncertain after a combative meeting on Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi convened a new meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Friday afternoon. President Donald Trump says he is considering executive orders to address evictions and unemployment insurance, but they appear unlikely to have much impact.

A breakdown in the talks would put at risk more than $100 billion to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.

In a news conference on Friday Pelosi said she offered a major concession to Republicans.

“We’ll go down $1 trillion, you go up $1 trillion,â€� Pelosi said. The figures are approximate, but a Pelosi spokesman said the speaker is in general terms seeking a “top lineâ€� of perhaps $2.4 trillion since the House-passed HEROES Act is scored at $3.45 trillion. Republicans say their starting offer was about $1 trillion but have offered some concessions on jobless benefits and aid to states, among others, that have brought the White House offer higher.

“That’s a non-starter,â€� Mnuchin said of Pelosi’s split-the-difference offer as he entered her office.

It is clear that Pelosi does not want to walk away from the talks that promise up to $2 trillion in aid, an enormous sum when compared with a federal baseline budget of about $4.7 trillion. She has offered to reduce her almost $1 trillion demand for state and local governments considerably, but some of her cost savings would accrue because she would shorten the timeframe for benefits like food stamps.

Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer say the federal coronavirus aid package needs to be huge to meet the moment: a surge in cases and deaths, double-digit joblessness and the threat of poverty for millions of the newly unemployed.

“It’s clear the economy is losing steam. That means we need big, bold investments in America to help average folks,� Schumer said. “And when the economy starts losing ground, the only choice is for a strong package. And yet at times yesterday, our Republican friends seem willing to walk away from the negotiating table.�

On Friday, the Democrats pointed to the July jobs report to try to bolster their proposals. The report showed that the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs last month, a much lower increase than in May and June.

Senate Republicans have been split, with roughly half of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rank and file opposed to another rescue bill at all. Four prior coronavirus response bills totaling almost $3 trillion have passed on bipartisan votes despite intense wrangling, but conservatives recoiled at the prospect of another Pelosi-brokered agreement with a whopping deficit-financed cost.

The White House is also promising that Trump will attempt to use executive orders to address elements of the congressional package involving evictions and jobless benefits. But there’s no evidence that the strategy would have much impact or be anything close to what’s necessary.

Pelosi and Schumer staked out a firm position to extend a lapsed $600-per-week bonus jobless benefit, demanded generous child care assistance and reiterated their insistence for food stamps and assistance to renters and homeowners facing eviction or foreclosure.

“This virus is like a freight train coming so fast and they are responding like a convoy going as slow as the slowest ship. It just doesn’t work,” Pelosi said Friday. “And what we put in our bill is what we saw as necessary, necessary to save the lives of the American people, the livelihoods of the American people.â€�

McConnell has sent the Senate home rather than forcing impatient senators to bide their time while Democrats play hardball. That suggests a vote won’t come until late next week or even after.

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