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Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
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About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Idaho Legislature's COVID-19 outbreak infected at least 14, spread to household members

The COVID-19 cluster that formed last month in the Idaho Capitol building infected at least 14 people who live in four different regions of the state.

The Idaho Legislature went into recess March 19 after several legislators and employees tested positive in the span of a week and a half. Earlier in the legislative session, six people who worked in the statehouse were infected, including two senators, according to the Idaho Press.

The latest infections bring the total to at least 20 people infected since the Legislature’s session began in January.

Idaho Press on Tuesday reported that one House staffer is currently hospitalized for COVID-19. “I pray especially today for John and for you to touch his life as he’s in the hospital,” House Chaplain Tom Dougherty said in the opening prayer, according to the newspaper.

Read more: https://idahocapitalsun.com/2021/04/08/idaho-legislatures-covid-19-outbreak-infected-at-least-14-spread-to-household-members/

Jury returns $29.5M verdict in case involving allergic reaction

LAS VEGAS -- A jury awarded $29.5 million on Friday to the family of a woman who was left brain damaged after being treated for a severe allergic reaction in 2013 by MedicWest Ambulance.

“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” her father, Jack Giacalone, said after the verdict was read. “All the anguish that we’ve been through for the last eight years, I’m not happy about. I just hope MedicWest changes their ways.”

Attorney Christian Morris argued in the three-week civil trial that MedicWest negligently treated Chantel Giacalone’s allergic reaction.

In February 2013, Chantel Giacalone took a bite out of a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention. Afterward, the then-27-year-old aspiring actress and model went into anaphylactic shock.

Read more: https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/jury-returns-29-5m-verdict-in-case-involving-allergic-reaction-2325753/?itm_source=parsely-api

Top official admits Chinese vaccines have low effectiveness

BEIJING (AP) — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country's top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.

“It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process,” Gao said.

Read more: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2021/apr/12/top-official-admits-chinese-vaccines-have-low-effe/

Brightline CEO: Vegas-to-LA high-speed rail line still on track to break ground in 2021

LAS VEGAS — A top executive behind a high-speed rail project that would lay tracks between Las Vegas and Southern California contends construction is on schedule to start in the second quarter of this year.

However, Brightline West CEO Mike Reininger did not give the Reno Gazette Journal a definitive date on when shovels would strike dirt to commence the 170-mile Vegas-to-Victorville, California route.

“The world changed as a result of the pandemic, but we continued to work wherever we possibly could towards advancing the ball,” Reininger said. "The project remains a very high priority for us."

Brightline, the country’s only privately owned passenger railroad, sent a letter to the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority in January and revealed the pandemic year created significant hurdles to fund the train expected to reach top speeds of 200 mph.

Read more: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2021/04/09/brightline-ceo-vegas-la-high-speed-rail-line-track-2021/7161675002/
(Reno Gazette Journal)

Lawmakers advance bill that could make Nevada first presidential nominating state, but many

Lawmakers advance bill that could make Nevada first presidential nominating state, but many challenges remain

Nevada lawmakers have taken the first steps in processing legislation that would move the state to the top of the presidential nominating calendar in 2024 — though many hurdles outside the legislative realm remain.

Members of the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee voted along party-lines to approve AB126 on Thursday, the bill from Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to end Nevada’s presidential caucus and replace it with a primary election that would leapfrog other states to the front of the nominating calendar.

Frierson said during the hearing that Nevada has “consistently punched above our weight” on major national issues from racial justice to climate change, and that the state’s population better reflects the nation as a whole.

“Our voices are diverse and better reflect the rest of the country than the current nominating structure,” he said. “It's time for Nevada to take its rightful place, not just first in the West, but first in the nation.”

Read more: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/lawmakers-advance-bill-that-could-make-nevada-first-presidential-nominating-state-but-many-challenges-remain

Cortez Masto said she supports capitalism, predicts strong campaigns for Democrats under new

Cortez Masto said she supports capitalism, predicts strong campaigns for Democrats under new Democratic Socialist state party leadership

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) walked a fine line between embracing and keeping herself at arm’s length from the Nevada Democratic Party one month after Democratic Socialist candidates took over the party’s leadership, touting the party’s prospects while also saying that she “believes in capitalism.”

“I am confident that the Nevada Democrats—that we—will run strong campaigns up and down the ticket in 2022,” she said in her first comments after the state Democratic Party’s recent leadership takeover by members of the Democratic Socialists of America, which typically oppose capitalism.

Her comments came in an interview with The Nevada Independent that covered several issues, including her support for boosting the corporate tax rate to pay for overhauling the nation's infrastructure. She also said she backs bringing back earmarks and enforcing the talking filibuster. She also discussed her push to keep nuclear waste out of Yucca Mountain "once and for all."

Cortez Masto’s 2022 re-election could be one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races of the cycle. In the first quarter of the year, she raised $2.3 million, a Nevada record for federal office this early in the campaign cycle.

Read more: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/cortez-masto-said-she-supports-capitalism-while-predicting-strong-campaigns-for-democrats-under-new-democratic-socialist-state-party-leadership

Raiders go on defense to keep tax exemption

The Las Vegas Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday pushed back against a proposed bill that would remove their existing exemption from the state’s live entertainment tax.

Senate Bill 367 would have Nevada treat its professional sports teams’ games the same as its Strip productions, musical concerts and theatre performances. Those latter types of events are subject to the state’s live entertainment tax, which is currently set at 9% of the admission charge.

State Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas) presented the bill to the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development, which she chairs. She characterized it as an issue of “fair play,” noting multiple times that gaming resorts aren’t exempted.

SB 367 raises questions about the types of incentives used by lawmakers to lure professional sports teams into the state.

Read more: https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2021/04/07/raiders-go-on-defense-to-keep-tax-exemption/

Man who refused to wear mask in Utah clothing store threatened to come back with a gun

A Salt Lake City business closed its doors early on Sunday after a patron refused to wear a mask and threatened to return with a gun after he was asked to leave.

“I didn’t take it too seriously at first ... it’s such a crazy thing to say to someone,” said Stockist employee Josh Edgar. “But then after a minute I thought, ‘Wait, maybe he’s being serious.’”

The man had gone into the specialty clothing store, located at 875 E. 900 South in Salt Lake’s popular 9th and 9th neighborhood, without wearing a mask. When Edgar noticed, he asked the man to put on a mask.

“He immediately started yelling and swearing at us,” Edgar said. He said the man told him, “This is my country, I don’t have to wear a mask.”

Read more: https://www.deseret.com/utah/2021/4/11/22379093/man-who-refused-to-wear-mask-in-utah-clothing-store-threatened-to-come-back-with-a-gun

Utah County clerk/auditor called employee her 'gay democratic assistant,' according to harassment

Utah County clerk/auditor called employee her ‘gay democratic assistant,’ according to harassment investigation

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner underwent workplace harassment training after calling a former employee her “gay democratic assistant” and referring to him as one “of us women,” according to an investigation by the county attorney’s office.

An attorney’s office investigator began his inquiry two days before Powers Gardner announced her bid for a vacant County Commission seat, according to a report obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The former employee, whose name is redacted, asked to meet with human resources on Oct. 20, 2020, after Powers Gardner threw her keys and purse at him twice and berated him in front of other staff, the report said. The former employee also noted examples of when the clerk/auditor, who took office in 2019, made inappropriate references to his sexual orientation. She allegedly called his performance “great for being a gay democrat,” according to the report.

Four unnamed employees confirmed the inappropriate behavior, according to the report, and two said Powers Gardner made a joke about giving the former employee a “flaming hot Cheeto” during sexual harassment training.

Read more: https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2021/04/09/utah-county-clerkauditor/
(Salt Lake Tribune)

One day before convention, more controversy emerges in Salt Lake County Republican Party

In a whirlwind two weeks where several women alleged a toxic environment, prompting widespread rebukes and the abrupt resignation of the chairman, another imbroglio has emerged in the Salt Lake County Republican Party, just one day before its delegates are set to elect new leadership.

Friday morning, former Utah GOP state chair Rob Anderson sent an email to Chris Null, calling on him to withdraw his candidacy for county chair. Anderson alleged Null used his position on the county party’s executive committee to give himself an unfair advantage in Saturday’s convention, where party delegates will choose a new chair. Anderson’s wife, Kathleen, is also running for county party chair.

“I know first hand how important it is for party officers to remain neutral and act fairly in any election. Fairness makes an uncomfortable campaign experience more tolerable and pleasant,” Anderson wrote, going on to accuse Null of “blatantly cross[ing] the line of election fairness and integrity.”

As an example, Anderson pointed to a 7 p.m., April 8 deadline for party candidates to submit campaign videos. An attached screenshot apparently shows Null was not among those who submitted a video. When Anderson emailed acting chair Scott Rosenbush about it, Rosenbush explained the 7 p.m. deadline is not part of the party’s official convention rules, according to more screenshots.

Read more: https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2021/04/09/one-day-before-convention/
(Salt Lake Tribune)
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