Category : City Government

(The State) South Carolina areas that adopted mask ordinances first see biggest COVID-19 declines

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control has released data before touting declines in coronavirus cases in areas where local governments have required residents to wear face masks. Now, the agency is saying that the earlier such ordinances were implemented, the better.

In its daily COVID-19 update Friday, DHEC broke down the 11 counties and 61 cities and towns where masks are currently required, splitting them into five groups according to the weeks that they implemented their mask ordinances.

In the earliest group, between June 23 and 29, cases decreased 66.5% more over the following month than in areas without ordinances. The latest group to implement ordinances, in the week of July 21-27, recorded no greater decrease in cases than those without them, DHEC reported.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Local Paper) Mask rules draw heated debate in Summerville and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Summerville and Mount Pleasant became the recent centers of the COVID-19 debate in the Lowcountry as they updated their mask ordinances.

Residents gathered at council meetings in both towns over the past two weeks to voice their objections to government-enforced mask mandates. Some residents cited religious concerns about wearing masks and others questioned the effectiveness of mask usage in general.

Officials in both communities had to decide whether to listen to science or to a vocal group of mask opponents.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(NBC) Unique Program Helping To Save Vermont Restaurants And Feed The Community

Posted in City Government, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) U.S. Daily Coronavirus-Case Count Crosses 50,000, a new daily record

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose above 50,000, a single-day record, as some states and businesses reversed course on reopenings and hospitals were hit by a surge of patients.
The U.S. accounts for about a quarter of more than 10.6 million coronavirus cases world-wide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll climbed above 128,000.

Cases and hospitalizations are rising sharply in a number of areas.

In Texas, 6,533 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals, according to the state’s Department of Health. For most of April and May that number hovered between 1,100 and 1,800. It broke the 2,000 mark on June 8.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(Moultrie News) Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, mandates face masks at select establishments, effective July 1

Mount Pleasant has joined neighboring municipalities in mandating that face masks be worn in certain public spaces, effective at noon on Wednesday. Just three days prior to the celebration of Independence Day.

On Monday afternoon, Mount Pleasant Town Council met for an emergency special council meeting that would consider requiring face covering in “certain circumstances.” Council voted in favor 6-2, two-thirds majority, to pass Ordinance 20037.

Councilmember Brenda Corley was not present for the vote. Council explained the reasoning for Corley’s absence was due to showing COVID-19 symptoms.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(ABC4) Charleston city council unanmiously votes to pass face mask ordinance

The City of Charleston voted unanimously on Thursday evening to enact a face mask ordinance.

In the ordinance, people must wear a face mask when entering any restaurant, retail store or any other building open to the public. Employees must also wear the face masks at all times.

People don’t have to wear a face mask if they have underlying health conditions, while driving in their cars, when participating in outdoor activities and while actively drinking or eating.

It will take effect on Friday at noon.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(The State) Columbia, South Carolina, now requires you to wear a mask to combat coronavirus. Here are the details

[Linda Bell]….told council members she was “alarmed and disheartened” at the number of people not wearing masks, particularly young adults.

While most teenagers and young adults are most resistant to becoming seriously ill from the virus, “you’re imposing that risk . . . on others.”

She added: “These measures from the local jurisdictions are badly needed.”

Under the new emergency ordinance, masks would be required for anyone:

▪ Inside a public building or waiting to enter a public building

▪ Interacting with someone within six feet in an outdoor space

▪ Engaged in business in a private space

▪ Using public or private transportation

▪ Walking in public where maintaining a six-foot distance from others may not be possible.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) Charleston hits ‘critical’ coronavirus rate as mayor urges good hygiene, wearing masks

As Charleston reaches a “critical” rate of new coronavirus cases, Mayor John Tecklenburg urged city residents and business leaders on Tuesday to practice good hygiene and wear masks when interacting with others indoors.

Months ago, Tecklenburg said he feared Charleston would become a hot spot, similar to New York and other places in the Northeast. The city became the first in the state to establish stay-at-home restriction — with many other municipalities, and the state, later following suit. On Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster lifted one of the last statewide restrictions and allowed bowling alleys to reopen.

COVID-19 data shared at a news conference in Charleston City Council Chambers on Tuesday afternoon show things are heating up.

“We’re heading toward hot spot status unless we all take personal responsibility to help control the spread of this contagion and the virus until a real cure and a vaccine is available,” Tecklenburg said.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper front page) The Charleston Forum’s race relations survey reveals glaring inequality, a path forward

A survey commissioned to lead the Lowcountry forward five years after the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME shows a community eager to curb systemic racism, but divided on the current climate and next steps necessary to do so.

Respondents agree race should have no role in how people are treated by police, in school and in the community, but disagree on whether law enforcement officers racially profile people of color, how schools achieve goals and encourage success and whether symbols and monuments seen as racist should remain in place.

Leaders of The Charleston Forum hope the results will help drive their conversations with local leaders over the next year as they develop policy proposals aimed at equality and justice in the region. The survey was conducted before the weeks of protest following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month, but it details ongoing concerns in the community that in some ways parallel the issues raised by marchers.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CBC) Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit, will hand out 1M masks to riders

Mayor John Tory announced the updated regulations for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on Thursday.

“This will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city,” Tory said.

“As the restart and reopening begins, we know that more people will be back on the TTC… at the same time, physical distancing will become a greater and greater challenge.”

The TTC board will need to approve the recommendation at its meeting next week, though TTC CEO Rick Leary has already said he supports the plan.

“I want to make sure people know our system is safe for both customers and employees,” Leary said.

Toronto also announced on Thursday a plan to give out one million non-medical masks to transit users, with a focus on low-income and marginalized communities.

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Posted in Canada, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Travel

(The Week) Damon Linker–Don’t willfully ignore the complexity of what’s happening in America right now

The very least we can do is make a concerted effort to legitimize the pain and anger of African Americans, while defending the constitutionally protected right to protest. But this must also be paired with an unconditional condemnation of looting, stealing, smashing, burning, and destroying lives and property — none of which is protest, and all of which will succeed only in further rending the social fabric while giving would-be authoritarians pretext to crack down in the name of the public good.

If that much proves impossible for us to manage, we will have failed. And in that failure, we will have demonstrated before the world that we did all of this to ourselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Economist) The violence in American cities reflects the fury of polarisation

The Republican politicisation of protests has continued to the present. Donald Trump’s rise in 2016 has been linked to his continuing campaign against immigration across the southern border, but many of his supporters may have had the Ferguson and Baltimore riots of the mid-2010s in the back of their mind. It is no empty generalisation to say that Republicans rely on whites—and Democrats, non-whites—for their electoral successes; according to a study published by the Pew Research Centre on June 2nd, 81% of Republican voters are white, whereas only 59% of Democrats are. Offered a choice between Joe Biden and Mr Trump, African-Americans pick the Democrats’ presidential candidate nearly 90% of the time, according to The Economist’s latest polling data from YouGov.

The Republican Party’s increasing whiteness over the years has made it less amenable to making progress on racial justice. Although white voters generally agree with African-Americans’ grievances on police brutality, they focus on the violence and looting in the ensuing protests rather than on the broader social context. A majority of both whites and Republicans told YouGov that they thought race was a major or minor cause of George Floyd’s death, for example. But most also said that the protests were the result of black Americans’ “long-standing bias against the police” rather than “a genuine desire to hold police officers accountable”.

White Democrats, on the other hand, have moved to the left on racial issues, a product of political polarisation and “partisan sorting”. As Democratic elites adopted the ideas of African-American activists, so did the liberal whites who remained in the party. This has also changed the portrait of the average protester. Black Americans protesting against police violence are now joined by whites and Hispanics, the young and the old. Demonstrating against police brutality has become political and ideological, not just racial.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT) Will Protests Set Off a Second Viral Wave?

Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people out of their homes and onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases.

While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus.

More than 100,000 Americans have already died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. People of color have been particularly hard hit, with rates of hospitalizations and deaths among black Americans far exceeding those of whites.

The protests in dozens of cities have been spurred most recently by the death last week of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis. But the unrest and outrage spilling out into the streets from one city to the next also reflects the dual, cumulative tensions arising from decades of killings by police and the sudden losses of family and friends from the virus.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Local Paper Front Page) Daylight reveals path of destruction in Charleston from looting, vandalism after protests

Brooms and dustpans replaced rocks and spray paint Sunday as an army of volunteers descended on Charleston to clean up the demoralizing mess left by an angry mob that smashed, burned and pillaged much of the city’s central business district.

But even as they set about their work, new pressure points sprouted from the city’s iconic Battery seawall to the capital of Columbia, where law enforcement officers fired tear gas at protesters advancing on that city’s police headquarters. They represented the latest flash points in a week of tension and violence that has roiled the nation over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.

Charleston officials asked for help from the National Guard and imposed a strict 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in an effort to keep demonstrations from turning ugly as they did Saturday night, when tear gas, flames and gunshots filled the air.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Some Acna Bps on the Minneapolis Tragedy–“What happened to George [Floyd] is an affront to God because his status as an image-bearer was not respected”

What happened to George is an affront to God because his status as an image-bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity. Our lament is real. But our lament is not limited to George and his family. We mourn alongside the wider Black community for whom this tragedy awakens memories of their own traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression that still plagues this country.

George’s death is not merely the most recent evidence that proves racism exists against Black people in this country. But it is a vivid manifestation of the ongoing devaluation of black life. At the root of all racism is a heretical anthropology that devalues the Imago Dei in us all. The gospel reveals that all are equally created, sinful, and equally in the need of the saving work of Christ. The racism we lament is not just interpersonal. It exists in the implicit and explicit customs and attitudes that do disproportionate harm to ethnic minorities in the country. In other words, too often racial bias has been combined with political power to create inequalities that still need to be eradicated.

As bishops in the ACNA, we commit ourselves to stand alongside those in the Black community as they contend for a just society, not as some attempt to transform America into the kingdom of God, but as a manifestation of neighborly love and bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We confess that too often ethnic minorities have felt like contending for biblical justice has been a burden that they bear alone.

In the end, our hope is not in our efforts but in the shed blood of Jesus that reconciles God to humanity and humans to each other. Our hope is that our churches become places where the power of the gospel to bring together the nations of the earth (Rev 7:9) is seen in our life together as disciples.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) Minneapolis Police Station Set on Fire as George Floyd Protests Intensify

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz sent in the National Guard as demonstrators clashed with police for a third straight day to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck in an incident captured on video.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has called for the police officers involved in the incident to be criminally charged, had requested the assistance.

The Third Precinct police station, which has been a central site for demonstrations, was taken over and set on fire late Thursday, according to local news reports and video posted on social media.

Earlier, a large crowd gathered in a plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center, waving signs, chanting George Floyd’s name and calling for charges against the officers involved in his arrest. Those demonstrations started peacefully Thursday evening but turned tense when police officers in riot gear approached protesters who screamed at them. Police shot flash-bang grenades and tear gas into the crowds. Protesters marching through downtown, passing by a boarded up Lumber Exchange Building, shouted with their hands up in the air. Some poured milk into their eyes to ease the sting of the gas.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(PBS News Hour) Dr. Fauci on the ‘terrible hit’ of 100,000 deaths and being realistic about the fall

Well, Judy, what’s happening right now — and we were just at a meeting down at the White House yesterday, one of our meetings, where we went over with several of the governors the kinds of things that are in place. The testing is getting better and better and better.

I mean, I have always been publicly skeptical about that. But, right now, what I’m seeing is that the kinds of testing availability is getting better and better. And, as the weeks go by, I believe strongly that we’re going to be able to address that.

But you make a very good point. When I see some of those pictures of how people are congregating, at a time when there are still infections around, that’s not prudent, and that people need to really take a step back and look at that.

I mean, everybody wants to see us get back to some sort of normality. Everybody wants to open up the country, including an economic rebound. But we need to be really careful that we don’t do it in a way that is, in some respects, stepping over the prudent steps.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(Local Paper Front Page) A City in Crisis–Charleston, SC, faces an existential choice: Wall off the rising ocean or retreat to high ground

…in its 350th year, the city is considering this old strategy for a different enemy: the rising sea that threatens to one day swallow it whole.

The proposal, laid out at the end of last month in a lengthy report by the Army Corps of Engineers, would create an 8-mile perimeter around the city’s core peninsula, slicing through the marshlands that blossom out from the water’s edge or following the paths of streets on higher ground. It would make the city’s tallest seawall 3 feet higher, and the Army Corps says the project should fend off the water for 50 years.

The Corps has been clear, as have others who have studied flood threats on the peninsula. When the wall of water pushed by a hurricane comes, there are few other options to stop it than a wall of your own.

The porous coastline, with many rivers threading in and out of the estuary, welcomes the surging ocean at so many points that it would be too costly and complicated to create a gate system. And the peninsula itself, filled in over decades with dirt or sawdust or even trash, is already seeing increased tidal flooding as sea level rise slowly reclaims former creekbeds.

And so the city is left with a question: Does it defend its position once again, or start planning to leave?

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NY Mag) What the Coronavirus Models Can’t See

Pulling up short of 75,000 deaths means, in other words, an incredibly abrupt conclusion to the pandemic, with deaths going all the way to zero very soon and staying there permanently. That is not going to happen. For about the last two weeks, the country has been on a roughly flat trajectory of about 2,000 deaths per day. If it stays on that plateau through August 4, it would mean not 12,000 more deaths, but 180,000. And the pandemic wouldn’t simply end on August 4 just because the modeling does.

Of course, we may well not stay on that pace, but decline. How quickly? According to a New York Times survey of five major models, published last week, all of the models project a quite rapid decline — as rapid as the ascent was. As for how quickly that decline would begin, a model based at the University of Texas, which has won praise as an alternative to the IMHE, now says with 100 percent certainty that the country has passed its peak — this despite the fact that just on Wednesday we reached a new peak, and despite the likelihood that no more than 5 percent of the country, at most, has been exposed to the disease.

So, what is happening? Why is it that nearly all efforts to project the future shape of the pandemic seem unable to see more than a week or two into the future? And why, even in that time frame, are they almost unanimous in projecting a precipitous decline that is almost every day contradicted by the number of new deaths?

There are two big explanations. The first is that even under present conditions, in which the spread of infection is being dramatically constrained by shutdowns, the disease is not behaving as we expected.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government

(Local Paper) Charleston’s peninsula could be walled in under new $1.75B flood prevention plan

Charleston’s peninsula could become a walled city again for the first time in centuries if the results of a flooding protection study released Monday come to full fruition.

The preliminary plan — the results of 18 months of work by the Army Corps of Engineers — is the preferred path forward of seven different options the Corps considered. It would encircle much of the peninsula with a wall running almost 8 miles to keep out hurricane surge.

Gates would let water run into the marshes and two rivers that bound Charleston.

Five new pump stations would aim to avoid a “bathtub effect” and move rainfall out of the perimeter. A breakwater slightly offshore of the peninsula’s southern tip would be designed to slow down damaging waves.

That, and efforts to flood-proof a few structures outside the barrier, come to an unprecedented total for a flooding project in Charleston: $1.75 billion.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Economy, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Bloomberg) Cathy O’Neil–This Isn’t the Flattened Curve We Were Promised

This is important. There’s no U.S. data yet on what the right side of the curve will look like, but the best available evidence from other countries suggests that the descent will be slow. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said “the worst is over” and “we’ve reached the peak.” He should have followed with “now comes the long wait.”

This shouldn’t be surprising. All our efforts to stay inside and separated –- except for essential activities such as shopping, and except for those who must work –- serve only to slow the spread, not stop it. If you’re hoping for the somewhat symmetrical China curve, forget it. We’re not quarantining people at gunpoint. It’s like someone took the worst-case-scenario curve and pushed it forward in time, without making the area under the curve smaller.

Here’s an analogy. Imagine a plow spreading out a big pile of snow in the street. If it keeps the blade higher, the pile will be taller and won’t spread out very far. If it lowers the blade to a few inches off the ground, the snow will be more manageable but also spread out much farther. The better it does the job – the thinner it spreads the snow — the longer it will take.

If people stick with measures to contain the virus, death rates will eventually trickle down to zero, but only after a lot more people have been infected, assuming they are then immune. If we’re lucky, we’ll slow things down enough to never truly overwhelm the hospitals, and if we’re really lucky we’ll slow things down long enough to benefit from a vaccine or a treatment.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Donald Trump, State Government

Nearly 315 million Americans are in the midst of some kind of stay-at-home order as of today

Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Health & Medicine

(Local Paper) With more than 770 South Carolina coronavirus cases, cities and towns enacting stay-in ordinances

As cases of the coronavirus continue to grow in South Carolina, local officials have gone back and forth on how much they should restrict their communities.

Beach town communities closed, reopened, then closed their again as they tried to interpret state guidance, while cities like Charleston and Columbia stood firm on their stay-at-home ordinances.

South Carolina health officials announced 113 new cases of the coronavirus and one new death Sunday afternoon, bringing the state’s total to 774 cases in 40 counties.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Meet The Press) Mohammed Hameeduddin, Mayor of Teaneck New Jersey: ‘Three Pearl Harbor Attacks At The Same Time.’

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in City Government, Health & Medicine

Local Newspaper Editorial: Charleston’s stay-at-home order a painful but needed step

Charleston and Mount Pleasant, two of South Carolina’s four largest cities, are soon expected to require residents to stay home, essentially closing all businesses deemed nonessential, in yet another effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. These are painful, controversial, steps, but they ultimately are justified and needed to save lives.

The decisions mean that businesses such as nail salons, barbershops and clothing stores will join public schools and colleges that already have been ordered closed. Restaurants and bars were closed last week except for take-out and delivery.

Many other businesses deemed essential, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, utilities, banks, hardware stores, construction companies, liquor stores and the news media, may remain open. People still can walk their dog or go for a jog but should make a point to stay at least 6 feet away from others.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine

(Local Paper) Charleston mayor says business as usual has price: ‘Death sentence for thousands’

County and city officials around the Charleston area are urging residents to stay home if at all possible, saying the new coronavirus could spread exponentially in South Carolina if strict preventive measures aren’t taken immediately.

South Carolina officials announced 22 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, including four in Charleston County. This brings the total number of cases in the state to 195 in 33 counties.

There are two new cases each in Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Lancaster and York counties. Berkeley, Colleton, Darlington, Hampton and Kershaw counties each have one new case, while Richland County has three new cases.

Additionally, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is investigating a potential exposure to the virus and its related disease, COVID-19, at Wando High School.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Local Paper) Facing dire climate threats, Charleston, South Carolina has done little to reduce its carbon footprint

Pounded by rain bombs from above and rising seas below, Charleston is among the most vulnerable cities in the South to a rapidly warming planet.

City officials estimate it may take $2 billion or more in public money to fortify Charleston against these threats — costs rooted in the rise of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Yet, amid these looming perils and costs, the city government itself has taken relatively modest steps to reduce its own carbon footprint in recent years, a Post and Courier investigation found.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Stewardship

(CC) How local governments punish poor people with fines

Several years ago, Anne Stuhldreher rolled through a stop sign in San Francisco and got a ticket. That kind of infraction costs $238 or more in California. The price shocked Stuhldreher, who knew that many families living in San Francisco—rated one of the most economically unequal cities in the US—don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare.

After Stuhldreher got her ticket, she thought about the way that the fee would impact different people in the community differently. “If someone who is a daycare worker in my neighborhood got that ticket, it would be very different than someone who works at a tech company.” Stuhldreher, who has long worked on addressing the financial issues facing low-income residents, started digging into these questions.

Around this time, new research was demonstrating the impact of fines and fees on low-income people across the country. The problem isn’t isolated in San Francisco: a 2016 survey by the finance website Bankrate showed that 63 percent of Americans don’t have enough money saved to cover a $500 emergency. That is nearly the cost of a ticket for running a red light in California.

In its 2015 report on Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown, the US Department of Justice showed that aggressive law enforcement in low-income communities of color was being used to generate revenue. People’s inability to pay for minor offense tickets could have major ramifications on their live, forcing them to go into debt, lose a driver’s license or a job, or even end up in jail.

Stuhldreher calls it the “spiral of despair.” A person gets a traffic ticket for a few hundred dollars. Unable to pay the fine, she misses the deadline for payment, and the ticket starts accruing late fees and creates a debt that hangs over her head. The city sends the ticket to the collections department, and now her credit is damaged, so that the next time she tries to rent an apartment, her application is rejected.

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Posted in City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance & Investing, Poverty

(NYT) With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First?

As disaster costs keep rising nationwide, a troubling new debate has become urgent: If there’s not enough money to protect every coastal community from the effects of human-caused global warming, how should we decide which ones to save first?

After three years of brutal flooding and hurricanes in the United States, there is growing consensus among policymakers and scientists that coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels — not in decades, but now and in the very near future. There is also a growing realization that some communities, even sizable ones, will be left behind.

New research offers one way to look at the enormity of the cost as policymakers consider how to choose winners and losers in the race to adapt to climate change. By 2040, simply providing basic storm-surge protection in the form of sea walls for all coastal cities with more than 25,000 residents will require at least $42 billion, according to new estimates from the Center for Climate Integrity, an environmental advocacy group. Expanding the list to include communities smaller than 25,000 people would increase that cost to more than $400 billion.

“Once you get into it, you realize we’re just not going to protect a lot of these places,” said Richard Wiles, executive director of the group, which wants oil and gas companies to pay some of the cost of climate adaptation. “This is the next wave of climate denial — denying the costs that we’re all facing.”

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Posted in City Government, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) The man who might have stopped Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings

In March, just over a month before the Easter attacks, a gunman quietly entered [Mohammad Razak] Taslim’s house in the early hours of the morning. He was lying in bed, next to his wife, and his youngest son. The gunman shot him once in the head.

“At first I thought the phone charger had exploded, but I looked and it was fine,” Taslim’s wife told me. “Then I tried to wake him up, and I could smell gunpowder… I reached out to him and I realised he wasn’t conscious. I thought he was dead.”

Taslim was rushed to hospital. He survived the attack, but it’s not clear if he will ever fully recover.

Sri Lanka’s army commander, Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake, is now playing a leading role in the investigation into the Easter Bombings. He told me it had been confirmed that the “same network” was also responsible for the desecration of the Buddhist statues, the explosives hidden in the coconut grove, and the shooting of Taslim.

He admitted that the previous incidents should have made the authorities more alert to the dangers of a jihadist attack. Instead, warnings by the Indian security services in the days and hours leading up the bombings weren’t followed up, due to what the army commander referred to as problems with “intelligence sharing” between different departments.

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Posted in City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Politics in General, Sri Lanka, Terrorism