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Hadley-Luzerne Announces Reopening Plans

In the plans submitted to the New York State Department of Education, Hadley-Luzerne suggests a shifting start date of the school year to Monday, September 14th among other proposed plans.   

NYSDEC places area under a Drought Watch

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, at the recommendation of Governor Andrew Cuomo, has issued a Drought Watch for four areas of New York, including our own.

Granville Submits 2020-21 School Year Plan

The Granville Central School District has made their 2020-21 school year plans public, and it features a mix of traditional in-class teaching and online learning as submitted to the New York State Board of Education.

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Hurricane Alpha? Amped up season forecast, names may run out

(AP) — Already smashing records, this year’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season is about to get even nastier, forecasters predict. In the coming months, they expect to run out of traditional hurricane names and see about twice as much storm activity as a normal year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday upped its seasonal forecast, now predicting a far-above-average 19 to 25 named storms — seven to 11 of them to become hurricanes and three to six of those to become major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph). That’s a few more storms than the agency’s May forecast. The agency increased the chance of an above average hurricane season from 60% to 85%.

“It looks like this season could be one of the more active in the historical record,” but it’s unlikely to be beat 2005’s 28 named storms because the oceans were warmer and other conditions were more conducive to storm formation 15 years ago, said NOAA lead forecaster Gerry Bell.

This year’s forecast of up to 25 is the highest number NOAA has ever predicted, beating the 21 predicted for 2005, Bell said.

Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season forecasts decades ago, on Wednesday amped its forecast to 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes — all higher than their June forecast.

An average year, based on 1981 to 2010 data, is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Lead Colorado State forecaster Phil Klotzbach said all the factors that cause hurricane seasons to be busy are dialed up, including increased storminess in Africa that seeds the biggest hurricanes, warmer water that fuels storms and reduced high level winds that kill storms .

“Everything looks ready to be a pretty huge year,” said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, who said it’s likely that there will be more storms than names. There are 21 names assigned to a hurricane season. If there are more than 21 storms, meteorologists turn after Wilfred to the Greek alphabet — Alpha, Beta, Gamma and so on.

In a normal year, about 90% of storm activity comes after August 6, with mid-August to mid-October as peak season. So far this year, there have been nine named storms, with most setting a record for being early. The most destructive so far has been this month’s Hurricane Isaias which killed at least nine people and left millions of people without power.

“Nine storms to this date is crazy,” Klotzbach said. Since 1995, when the Atlantic started a more active period for hurricanes, the average season has seen 12 named storms forming after August 5, he said.

The number of storms don’t matter as much as where they go, MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel said, noting the busy 2010 hurricane season that barely touched the United States.

While the predictions are about the number of storms and don’t say where they strike, Klotzbach’s forecast says more storms increases the chance of another U.S. landfall. It says there’s a 74% chance that yet another storm will hit the U.S. coastline somewhere, with a 49% chance of a hit on the East Coast and Florida peninsula and a 48% chance of a hit on the Gulf Coast.

Most of this year’s storms so far have been weak, decapitated by high level winds and dry air, but Klotzbach said that’s about to change.

Sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic are nearly 2 degrees (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal. That not only provides more fuel for storms but changes air pressure and winds to make favorable conditions for storms to form and strengthen, he said.

Emanuel of MIT pointed to an extra quiet Pacific storm season as another indicator for an active Atlantic. When the Pacific is quiet, the Atlantic tends to be much busier as they tend to balance out.

Also, water temperatures near the equator in the Pacific are cooling, with a brewing La Nina, which is the flip side of El Nino. Research shows there are usually more Atlantic storms during a La Nina.

Even though studies predict that a warmer world means generally stronger and wetter hurricanes, NOAA’s Bell and Emanuel said there are so many complicated factors in an individual season they can’t say either way whether man-made climate change is a factor in active years like 2020.

Bell said the biggest climatic factor “that dominates the hurricane trend” is a 25-to-40-year natural cycle of busy and weak hurricanes connected to large-scale Atlantic ocean and air patterns. The current active cycle started in 1995 “and we don’t know how long it’s going to last,” Bell said.

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New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA

NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s attorney general sued the National Rifle Association on Thursday, seeking to put the powerful gun advocacy organization out of business over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan after an 18-month investigation, highlighted misspending and self-dealing allegations that have roiled the NRA and its longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, in recent years — from hair and makeup for his wife to a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.

Simultaneously, the Washington, D.C., attorney general sued the NRA Foundation, a charitable arm of the organization designed to provide programs for firearm safety, marksmanship and hunting safety, accusing it of diverting funds to the NRA to help pay for lavish spending by its top executives.

The troubles, which James said were long cloaked by loyal lieutenants and a pass-through payment arrangement with a vendor, started to come to light as the NRA’s deficit piled up and it struggled to find its footing after a spate of mass shootings eroded support for its pro-gun agenda. The organization went from a nearly $28 million surplus in 2015 to a $36 million deficit in 2018.

James, a Democrat, argued that the organization’s prominence and cozy political relationships had lulled it into a sense of invincibility and enabled a culture where non-profit rules were routinely flouted and state and federal laws were violated. Even the NRA’s own bylaws and employee handbook were ignored, she said.

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”

NRA President Carolyn Meadows said the group was counter-suing the New York attorney general’s office, setting the stage for a drawn-out legal battle that could last for years. “It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda,’ Meadows said in a statement.

James is taking aim at the NRA after her office last year dismantled President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation and fined him $2 million to settle allegations he used donations meant for worthy causes to further his own business and political interests. Though it is headquarters in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a non-profit in New York in 1871 and continues to be incorporated in the state.

The Washington, D.C., attorney general has been investigating the NRA Foundation for more than a year. It said its investigation determined that low membership and lavish spending left the NRA with financial problems and so it exploited the foundation to remain afloat. It offered as an example two $5 million loans that the NRA Foundation board approved in 2017 and 2018 despite the NRA’s financial problems, and then repeatedly granted requests to extend and modify the loan.

“Charitable organizations function as public trusts — and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests,” Washington Attorney General Karl Racine said in a news release. “With this lawsuit, we aim to recover donated funds that the NRA Foundation wasted.”

The New York lawsuit also named LaPierre and three other current and former executives as defendants: corporate secretary and general counsel John Frazer, retired treasurer and chief financial officer Wilson Phillips, and LaPierre’s former chief of staff Joshua Powell. While the lawsuit accuses all four men of wrongdoing and seeks fines and remuneration, none of them have been charged with a crime.

LaPierre, who has been in charge of the NRA’s day-to-day operations since 1991, is accused of spending millions of dollars on private travel and personal security, accepting expensive gifts such as African safaris and use of a 107-foot yacht from vendors and setting himself up with a $17 million contract with the NRA, if he were to exit the organization, without board approval.

The lawsuit said LaPierre, 70, spent millions of the NRA’s dollars on travel consultants, including luxury black car services, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on private jet flights for himself and his family, including more than $500,000 on eight trips to the Bahamas over a three-year span.

Some of the NRA’s excess spending was kept secret, the lawsuit said, under an arrangement with the organization’s former advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen.

The advertising firm would pick up the tab for various expenses for LaPierre and other NRA executives and then send a lump sum bill to the organization for “out-of-pocket expenses,” the lawsuit said.

Frazer, the corporate secretary and general counsel, is accused of aiding the alleged misconduct by certifying false or misleading annual regulatory filings, failing to comply with governance procedures, failing to enforce a conflict of interest policy, and failing to ensure that board members were reviewing transactions or that the the organization was following the law.

Phillips is accused of overseeing the pass-through arrangement. The lawsuit said he ignored or downplayed whistleblower complaints and made a deal to enrich himself in retirement — a bogus $1.8 million contract to consult for the incoming treasurer and a deal worth $1 million for his girlfriend.

Powell, the former LaPierre chief of staff, is accused of getting his father a $90,000 photography gig through an NRA vendor, arranging a $5 million contract for a consulting firm where his wife worked and pocketing $100,000 more in housing and relocation reimbursements than the organization’s rules allowed. He was fired after 3½ years for allegedly misappropriating NRA funds.

The lawsuit comes at a time when the NRA is trying to remain relevant and a force in the 2020 presidential election as it seeks to help President Donald Trump secure a second term.

There has been an ongoing factional war within organization, pitting some of its most ardent gun-rights supporters and loyalists against one another. The NRA has traded lawsuits with Ackerman McQueen, which crafted some of its most prominent messages for decades, eventually severing ties with it last year and scrapping its controversial NRA-TV, which aired many of its most controversial messages.

The internal battles reached a fevered pitch at its 2019 annual meeting where its then-president, Oliver North, was denied a traditional second term amid a tussle with LaPierre as he sought to independently review the NRA’s expenses and operations. He accused LaPierre of exerting “dictatorial” control.

Chris Cox, the NRA’s longtime lobbyist and widely viewed as a likely successor to LaPierre, left after being accused of working behind the scenes with North to undermine LaPierre.


Pane reported from Boise, Idaho. Tom Hays also contributed from New York.


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Clinical trials begin for remdesivir coronavirus treatment

BETHESDA, Md. (NEWS10) — A randomized, controlled clinical trial begins Thursday to test the safety and efficacy of a treatment regimen using the antiviral remdesivir on COVID-19 patients.

Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial 3, is expected to include over 1,000 hospitalized adults. Participating patients must have a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, with evidence of lung involvement, a need for supplemental oxygen, abnormal chest X-rays, or illness requiring mechanical ventilation.

Remdesivir plus the immunomodulator interferon beta-1a will be administered at as many as 100 sites in the U.S. and abroad. Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral. Preliminary analysis of ACTT data showed patients taking remdesivir recovered faster than those taking a placebo.

Interferon beta-1a has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used in over 90 countries—including the U.S.—to treat multiple sclerosis. It has the same amino acid sequence as naturally occurring proteins that help the immune system fight pathogens like viruses.

Studies suggest that the interferon response is sometimes suppressed after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Tests have shown interferon beta-1a inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV, and may benefit COVID-19 patients. The combination of interferon beta-1a and remdesivir has not yet been evaluated for treating COVID-19.

This is the third of NIAID’s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trials, which started on February 21. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and is part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the trial.


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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for COVID-19

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a release from the governor’s office, DeWine tested positive after he took a test for COVID-19 as part of the standard protocol to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. 

DeWine currently has no symptoms, the release states.

DeWine is returning to Columbus, where he and first lady Fran DeWine, who also has no symptoms, will both be tested.

DeWine’s office says he plans to follow protocol for COVID-19 and quarantine at his home in Cedarville for the next 14 days.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also took the COVID-19 test Thursday as part of the protocol to greet the president and tested negative.

Country Music News

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Maren Morris Is Using Her Big Voice to Help Small Bars

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TUNE-IN: An Archive Deep Dive Into Randy Travis’ Demos

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