Virus concerns grow — as do crowds flocking to Jersey Shore

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) — With coronavirus-related restrictions being eased and temperatures climbing, people are flocking back to the Jersey Shore.

And with the July Fourth holiday on the horizon, that’s making some people nervous, particularly given the large crowds and poor compliance with mandated measures to help slow the spread of the virus that have surfaced at some popular shore spots recently.

Several bars have hosted large crowds close together with few patrons wearing masks.

A more promising development surfaced Thursday when five of Atlantic City’s nine casinos reopened, and gamblers overwhelmingly complied with mask and social distancing requirements.

Journalists, legal observers exempt from orders to disperse

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Some journalists and legal observers will be exempt from Portland police orders requiring protesters to disperse after an unlawful assembly or riot is declared, under a 14-day temporary order issued by a judge Thursday.

Police also cannot arrest, threaten to arrest or use physical force against a person “who they know or reasonably should know” is a journalist or legal observer.

The request for the restraining order came in a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union or Oregon against Portland Police and the city on behalf of journalists and legal observers.

A predicted surge in US job growth for June might not last

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers likely rehired several million more workers in June, thereby reducing a Depression-level unemployment rate, but the most up-to-date data suggests that a resurgent coronavirus will limit further job gains.

Economists have forecast that businesses, governments and nonprofits last month added 3 million jobs — a record high — and that the unemployment rate fell a full percentage point to 12.3%.

The predicted gain would be up from 2.5 million jobs in May.

Even so, the combined job growth for May and June would recover only a fraction of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April.

Oregon House speaker slams Portland police use of tear gas

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested more than two dozen people and used tear gas to disperse protesters during a night of ongoing demonstrations.

Police in the North Portland neighborhood declared the Tuesday night gathering a riot and used tear gas to break up the protest.

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek on Wednesday condemned the use of tear gas in a residential neighborhood in a strongly worded letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Kotek called the officers’ actions “unacceptable.”

Hundreds of people have turned out every night for more than a month since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody.

▶️ Rally demands BLP Schools address racism, further staff training


On Wednesday, students, parents and community members stood on the steps of the Bend La Pine Schools administration building and shared stories of racism they’ve experienced in the school system.

The group Bend for BLM organized the rally to demand the district change its history curriculum and increase cultural sensitivity training for staff.

“We also want to make sure all staff go through anti-racism training as well as cultural sensitivity training so they can understand the warning signs and what to look for in the classroom, understand how to appropriately address racism or any sort of homophobia in the classroom,”

The rally is one of several held in Central Oregon in the past month drawing attention to inequality.

Organizers said changing education is crucial for progressing the movement as a whole.

“I think it’s important that we’re doing this movement so our small community of people of color feel safe, because we do feel isolated and we do feel different and we do feel looked at and we do get followed around and questioned and profiled,” BLANK said.

A complete list of demands from the group will go to the superintendent.

Organizer Maya Gardner said she is working on a petition with demands for the school district, which she plans to post on the Bend for BLM Instagram account.

Rally participant Riccardo Waites said the passion from the young people was an encouraging sight.

“I had no faith in our youth of today, and then I went to my first Bend for BLM event,” Waites said. “I saw these guys speak and the passion with which these guys were speaking, and it restored and rejuvenated my faith in the youth today. These guys — I can’t say enough about them. They’re so young but passionate, and that’s what we need.”

Portland’s downtown police precinct boarded up

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Workers have installed plywood over windows and washed off graffiti near the entrance to the downtown Portland police headquarters after police say windows were smashed and plywood was removed from doors early Tuesday.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the vandalism happened after the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office removed the last of the fencing that circled the Justice Center, the Police Bureau’s Central Precinct, police administrative offices, the county jail and courtrooms, to try to tamp down tension between protesters and police.

Senate extends small business coronavirus relief program

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have driven a temporary extension of a popular subsidy program for small businesses through the GOP-controlled Senate.

It’s an unexpected development that comes as spikes in coronavirus cases in many states are causing renewed shutdowns of bars and other businesses.

Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin pushed for the extension hours before a deadline for applying for the program, which was created in March and has been modified twice.

The pressure swayed Republicans controlling the Senate, who have delayed consideration of a fifth coronavirus relief bill and are preparing to go home for a two-week recess.

▶️ Local officials encourage safe use of fireworks on 4th of July


In an instant, a simple firework can turn into a catastrophe.

Redmond Fire Chief Ken Kehmna said there are many places people go wrong when it comes to firework safety, including using illegal fireworks, setting off more than one at a time and choosing the wrong location.

“We live in the high desert and by virtue of that we live in a very dry climate,” Kehmna said. “You know we’re now in fire season and it’s windy outside my window right now. We need to be mindful of that.”

An easily-missed mistake is what people do after the fireworks are over.

Improper disposal of fireworks last year destroyed a home on Awbrey Butte and another at the Country Sunset Mobile Home Park in Bend.

“Keep extinguishing capacity handy and keep water handy, a bucket of water,” Kehmna said. “Make sure to dispose of everything safely. Don’t just take all of your spent fireworks and dump them in your trash and put your trash can in your garage or put it outside because you want to make sure the stuff is completely out.”

To keep little ones safe, firework vendor Michael Sellers said families should look into kid-friendly options.

“Just little trinkets like sparklers,” Sellers said. “We have some ones that are 36-inches long so you don’t get hurt when you’re putting them out.

Legal or illegal, Kehmna says all fireworks are dangerous if they’re not used the right way.

To report an illegal firework, call 541-693-6911.

China approves contentious Hong Kong national security law

HONG KONG (AP) — China has approved a contentious law that would allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong.

Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, confirmed the law had been passed.

The law has sparked fears that it would be used to curb opposition voices in the semi-autonomous territory.

Tam said punishments would not include the death penalty but did not elaborate on further details such as whether the law could be applied retroactively.

Tam said in the interview with reporters, “We hope the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble.”

2 dead, 1 rescued after crabbing boat capsizes near Florence

FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) — Two people died and one person was rescued after a fishing boat sank near Florence.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Amber and Kyle Novelli, who operated Novelli’s Crab and Seafood in Florence, died after their boat hit a jetty early Monday.

Emergency crews received a distress call from the captain of the sinking fishing boat around 2 a.m., according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The captain said everyone aboard was abandoning ship.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew and local emergency responders rescued one man around 3 a.m.

The Coast Guard says the two others on board were found unresponsive by 7 a.m.