HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra: Feds working to maintain abortion pill access

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:36

Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that the federal government will work to ensure access to abortion pills and explore other means to ensure women can end their pregnancies after the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to the procedure.

“Friday’s Supreme Court decision was despicable, but it was also predictable,” Becerra said, adding that his Department of Health and Human Services “has been preparing for this for some time.”

But Becerra also acknowledged “there is no magic bullet,” and that it was unclear how far the federal government can go in providing abortion access in states that move to restrict it.

“If there is something we can do, we will find it and we will do it at HHS,” Becerra said. “Indeed, that was the instruction I received from the President of the United States.”

President Biden said the administration is working to ensure medication abortion is available and that women can travel safely from states where abortion is banned to states where abortion is legal.

Becerra said federal law “requires our programs to provide medication abortion in limited circumstances, including life of the mother, rape, or incest,” and that “it is imperative that all federally-supported programs and services are complying and providing this under the law.”

Becerra also said that his department is working with the Office of Civil Rights “to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination for patients seeking reproductive health care, as well as for providers who offer reproductive health care.”

The department is exploring its authority under the Emergency Medical Treatment Act to ensure the clinical judgment of doctors and hospitals is supported in treating pregnant patients, including those experiencing pregnancy loss or complications, and “reaffirming that abortion care can be appropriate to stabilize patients.”

Becerra said he’s directed the department to work to ensure that doctors, pharmacists and clinics have appropriate training and resources to handle family planning needs, including administering patient referrals for care, and “helping patients navigate this new reality.”

And he said he has directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take “every legally available step to protect family planning care, including emergency contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs.

“Health care is a matter to be decided by patients and their providers, not politicians,” Becerra said. “We will make clear that family planning providers are able to participate in the Medicaid program.”

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Becerra was short on specifics, however, and in response to news reporters’ questions, acknowledged the administration is still researching what is possible under the Supreme Court decision, even though it was leaked publicly a month and a half ago in essentially its final form.

“Once we’re able to tell you what we believe we are able to do, what we have the money to do, every option is on the table,” Becerra said. “It was a long decision and it did upend 50 years of precedent. You want to make sure what you do is within the confines of the law. We’re not interested in going rogue and doing things just because.”

Categories: Local News

Conservationists call for action on Northwest wolf poaching

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:29

Wildlife advocates say there's been a distressing uptick in wolf poaching cases in the Northwest in the past year and a half.
Categories: Local News

Pac-12 recruiting: Breakthrough week for Washington, Oregon secures its secondary while multiple teams raid Texas

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:19

The foundation for recruiting success during the December signing window often is laid in the spring, when on-campus visits are taken, shortlists created and verbal commitments made.

The Hotline is delighted to provide Pac-12 fans with a dive into the process through the eyes and ears of Brandon Huffman, the Seattle-based national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.

Huffman will relay news and insight into the latest developments and cast an eye ahead to upcoming events that will shape the 2022-23 recruiting cycle.

The following information, in his words, was provided to the Hotline on June 27 …

Let’s start this report with a question on the recruiting calendar that seems relevant to teams everywhere:

Is the late-June and early-July stretch becoming the new window for players to make their decisions, instead of the normal December-to-February period? It sure seems like it.

A number of top recruits have come off the board in the last week, and more are ready to make their decisions in the next 10 days.

What’s the explanation? The NCAA’s dead period starts this week and goes into late July before there’s a one-week opening. That opening is the last time coaches can be with recruits until the season starts.

So for the next four weeks, coaches can’t host unofficial visits, they can’t go to camps, they can’t do anything. And because of that, perhaps, we’re starting to see some traction in the Pac-12.

*** Nobody had a better weekend than Washington. It was exactly the kind of weekend that first-year coach Kalen DeBoer needed — not just to rally UW’s recruiting efforts but, really, to rally the fan base.

After a couple of in-state kids eliminated the Huskies, what did they do? They went out of state to land a number of commits.

Headlining that list is four-star defensive lineman Anthony James of Wylie, Tex., who had been a longtime commit to Texas A&M before he backed off this spring. He’s rated a top-100 player nationally by 247Sports, the No. 7 defensive lineman in the country and the top player in Washington’s class so far.

James was joined by another Texas native, three-star cornerback Diesel Gordon, who committed a couple days before James. That combination triggered what became a big week for the Huskies.

They also secured commitments from three Southern California players: four-star safety Vincent Holmes, three-star offensive tackle Elisha Jackett and three-star linebacker Jordan Whitney. The trio committed to the Huskies on their official visits.

Washington also got a commitment from three-star linebacker Deven Bryant from St. John Bosco and, for good measure, added three-star offensive tackle Zachary Henning from Colorado.

All in all, the weekend was a huge pick-me-up for the Huskies heading into the dead period.

*** Washington definitely wasn’t the only school to reel in commitments from Texas.

Oregon landed four-star safety Tyler Turner from San Antonio, then went to the East Coast for three-star cornerback Collin Gill from the Washington, D.C. area.

Getting those out-of-state commitments bodes well for the Ducks as they wait for a decision from four-star prospect Caleb Presley, the top cornerback in the Pacific Northwest. Presley, who’s from Seattle, has been crystal-balled by 247Sports to pick the Ducks but has offers from the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M and Michigan State.

With four-star cornerback Cole Martin already committed, this could be a really good group of players set to join Martin’s father, Demetrice, who coaches the Oregon cornerbacks and is the defensive passing game coordinator.

*** Colorado also hit the Lone Star State, with commitments from three-star receiver Wesley Greaves and two unrated prospects: offensive linemen Tyrone McDuffy from El Paso and Drew Perez from powerhouse Carroll High School in Southlake.

The Buffaloes are going back to the state they recruited during their Big 12 and Big 8 days.

*** Three-star quarterback Luke Duncan from Miramonte High School in the East Bay — the same school that produced former Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey — has committed to UCLA.

We mentioned him in our report last week as a player Cal had pivoted to once the Bears were eliminated by coveted quarterback Jaden Rashada, who just committed to Miami. But it was probably too little, too late for them with Duncan.

UCLA kept him in the loop and told him what the timeframe was for a scholarship offer. Once they offered, Duncan committed four days later.

*** Sticking with the Los Angeles schools, we should note USC’s latest commitment. It’s from three-star athlete Kade Eldridge, who can play on the defensive line but is going to be used as a tight end.

He’s a nice pickup for the Trojans, who made a late rally and got him away from Oregon, Washington and Michigan.

Eldridge plays at the 1A level in Washington for a school in Whatcom County on the Canadian border and is the first player from Whatcom to commit to USC since the 1950s.

*** Stanford hosted a big group of official visitors last week and received a commitment from three-star edge rusher Armel Mukam from Woodberry Forest, Va. All signs pointed to him going to Virginia, but Stanford made a late offer, got him in school and secured the commitment.

The Cardinal also hauled in three-star offensive tackle Luke Baklenko from Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Cal. He had taken official visits to UCLA and Boston College and was scheduled to see Washington this weekend. But Baklenko got admitted to Stanford and canceled his visit to Seattle.

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*** Some other news worth noting from a busy, busy week:

Another player from Texas is heading to the Pac-12, with Utah landing unrated defensive lineman Jo’Laison Landry. The Utes also have hit Texas hard historically. Landry is their first Lone Star State commit in this recruiting cycle but their third from SEC territory.

Arizona State received its second overall commitment in the 2023 class and the first on defense with three-star safety Chase Davis. Recruiting in Tempe is still feeling the squeeze from the NCAA investigation.

Cal hosted three-star, 300-pound defensive lineman Ashton Sanders a few weeks ago. He initially pushed back the date for a decision, then chose the Bears over Wisconsin.

Three-star offensive tackle Jacob Anderson from Billings, Mont., committed to Oregon State. They also landed unrated receiver Zachary Card from Pittsburg (Cal.) High School, where he was overshadowed a bit by Washington-bound wideout Rashid Williams. The Beavers now have two receivers and two tight ends in their class of seven players.

Washington State landed three-star linebacker Tai Faavae out of Colorado, and there could be more players committing to the Cougars soon after their big weekend of visitors.

Support the Hotline: Receive three months of unlimited access for just 99 cents. Yep, that’s 99 cents for 90 days, with the option to cancel anytime. Details are here, and thanks for your support.

*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to pac12hotline@bayareanewsgroup.com or call 408-920-5716

*** Follow Huffman on Twitter via @BrandonHuffman and support @AveryStrongDIPG

*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.


Categories: Local News

Thomas Windom Is Helping Drive the Investigation Into Trump’s Push to Keep Power

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:16
Thomas Windom, a little-known federal prosecutor, is overseeing key elements of the Justice Department’s intensifying investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Categories: Local News

Chris Pratt cried when Twitter turned on him for praising his ‘healthy’ daughter with Katherine Schwarzenegger

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:14

Chris Pratt revealed in a new interview that he “cried” one particular time he was put through the social media ringer because he celebrated having a “healthy” daughter, Layla, with his current wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger.

For Pratt’s November 2021 tribute to his wife and new daughter, he was accused in an onslaught from his online critics of being covertly shady to his first wife, Anna Faris, and blatantly insensitive to their 9-year-old son, Jack.

“I said something (on Instagram), like, ‘Find someone who looks at you the way my wife, (Katherine Schwarzenegger), looks at me,”’ Pratt, 43, explained in the new July/August 2022 cover story for Men’s Health. “And then I gave her some (expletive) in the thing and said, ‘But I love you. I’m so thankful for my wife — she gave me a beautiful, healthy daughter.”

The sticking point for many was Pratt’s statement about his daughter, who was born in August 2020. People were quick to point out that Faris has been open about the fact that Jack was born with serious health issues. For example, one person tweeted:

Wonder how his son with Anna Faris feels about "gorgeous healthy daughter" pic.twitter.com/dpe8854h31

— Maria Teresa (@MTRomano) November 4, 2021

In reply to such comments, the “Jurassic World: Dominion” star said to Men’s Health: “That is (expletive) up. My son’s gonna read that one day. He’s 9. And it’s etched in digital stone. It really (expletive) bothered me, dude. I cried about it.”

People on Twitter said that Pratt himself had said things online that could one day hurt his son to read. One person tweeted: “I love Chris Pratt. but the ‘healthy daughter’ part is what made me wince. Although he may not have meant it as an insult, it sort of came off that way. Imagine how that will make his son feel, if he ever reads it?”

When Jack was born two months prematurely in 2012, he was diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhaging and other issues. As Faris wrote in her memoir, there were fears there would be lingering health issues, according to The Blast.

“The pediatric neurosurgeon sat Chris and me down to tell us that Jack had some severe brain bleeding and there was a chance that he could be developmentally disabled” the actress recalled.

The couple had to wait 18 months before finding out that, fortunately, there were no issues with Jack. He would have some problems with vision and the muscles in his legs, but he was expected to make a full recovery after surgery and live a normal life. Pratt and Faris divorced in 2018.

Since that Twitter blow-up, Pratt and Schwarzenegger have welcomed a second daughter, Eloise, who was born last month. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor called his daughters “blessings” and talked about how celebrity is “a real burden … to the people close to” him.

In the Men’s Health story, Pratt reflected on why he has become such a regular target of Twitter pile-ons. Even though he’s a blockbuster movie star and well-liked by his co-stars, he has become a polarizing figure in popular culture. He’s the target of occasional and unpredictable flareups of Twitter hostility, in part because of his suspected conservative politics and religious beliefs, and because people question whether he voted for Donald Trump.

A fair number of people also just don’t seem to like him, as evidenced by a fierce Twitter debate that erupted in October 2020 over who was the best or worst of the “Four Hollywood Chrises” — Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pine and Chris Pratt. The internet swarm began with people picking Pratt as the one who needed to go.

“You don’t ever wanna get caught complaining or anything,” Pratt told Men’s Health writer Mickey Rapkin. “Cause I have so many blessings. I consider everything a blessing truly in my life,” but he also admitted to Rapkin he sometimes wonders: ‘Why are they coming after me?”

Later, Pratt acknowledged to Rapkin that a statement he made at the MTV Movie Awards a few years ago, about God being “real” and wanting what’s “best for you,” could have ignited certain misconceptions about him and his world view that have persisted.

“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” Pratt said.

“Religion has been oppressive as (expletive) for a long time,” Pratt continued. “I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person. I think there’s a distinction between being religious — adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God — and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred. Whatever it is. The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride.”

Categories: Local News

Your Guide to Sunscreen: Ingredients, Safety and More

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:06
How effective is it? What SPF is best? Is it safe to wear every day?
Categories: Local News

Tacoma Police investigating 3rd shooting since Sunday

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:47

A Monday night shooting is the third police are investigating in the city since Sunday.
Categories: Local News

Watch the surprise January 6 committee hearing on Tuesday, June 28

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:47

WASHINGTON — The House panel investigating the Capitol insurrection will hear testimony today — Tuesday, June 28 — from Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide in Donald Trump’s White House who is a vital witness in the sweeping investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Hutchinson, a special assistant and aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has already provided a trove of information to the committee and its investigators and sat for multiple interviews behind closed doors.

In brief excerpts of testimony revealed in court filings, Hutchinson told the committee she was in the room for White House meetings where challenges to the election were debated and discussed, including with Republican lawmakers.

The House panel has not explained why it abruptly scheduled Tuesday’s hearing as lawmakers were away from Washington on a two-week recess. The committee had said last week that there would be no more hearings until July.

The hearing set for 10 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Eastern) Tuesday, June 28, will be broadcast by all the major television networks and most of the cable news networks. NPR radio stations — including KPCC-FM (89.3) and KCRW-FM (89.9) in Southern California — will carry the hearing.

There will also be live streams from the networks and other sources, including this one from PBS:

Hutchinson previously told the committee that Meadows had been advised of intelligence reports showing the potential for violence on Jan. 6 and that several Republican lawmakers who had been involved in efforts to reject the electoral tally or submit “fake electors” had sought pardons to avoid potential criminal prosecution.

Hutchinson also told the committee that Meadows and others working on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election were told by the White House counsel’s office that a plan to use fake slates of electors as part of the president’s desperate effort to cling to power was “not legally sound,” according to court documents.

She has also detailed how Jeffrey Clark — a top Justice Department official who championed Trump’s false claims of election fraud and whom the president contemplated naming as attorney general — was a “frequent presence” at the White House. The plot to remove the then-acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, unraveled during a Jan. 3, 2021, meeting in the Oval Office when other senior Justice Department officials warned Trump that they would resign if he followed through with his plan to replace Rosen with Clark.

The precise subject of Tuesday’s hearing remained unclear, but the panel’s announcement Monday said it would be “to present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.” A spokesman for the panel declined to elaborate and Hutchinson’s lawyer did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The person familiar with the committee’s plans to call Hutchinson could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The committee’s investigation has been ongoing during the hearings, which started three weeks ago, and the nine-member panel has continued to probe the attack by Trump supporters. Among other investigative evidence, the committee recently obtained new footage of Trump and his inner circle taken both before and after Jan. 6 from British filmmaker Alex Holder.

Holder said last week that he had complied with a congressional subpoena to turn over all the footage he shot in the final weeks of Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, including exclusive interviews with Trump, his children and then-Vice President Mike Pence. The footage includes material from before the insurrection and afterward.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the panel’s Democratic chairman, told reporters last week that the committee was in possession of the footage and needed more time to go through the hours of video.

The panel has held five hearings so far, mostly laying out Trump’s pressure campaign on various institutions of power in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, when hundreds of the Republican’s supporters violently pushed past police, broke into the building and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

The committee has used the hearings to detail the pressure from Trump and his allies on Pence, on the states that were certifying Biden’s win, and on the Justice Department. The panel has used live interviews, video testimony of its private witness interviews and footage of the attack to detail what it has learned.

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Lawmakers said last week that the two July hearings would focus on domestic extremists who breached the Capitol that day and on what Trump was doing as the violence unfolded.

Categories: Local News

Scott Vermillion, Former American Soccer Pro, Had C.T.E.

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:46
Scott Vermillion, a former college star who played four seasons in M.L.S., died in 2020. He is the first American professional soccer player with a public case of C.T.E.
Categories: Local News

Pac-12 football: New conference schedule models under evaluation with decision expected soon

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:37

Six weeks after revamping the process for determining which teams play for its championship, the Pac-12 is nearing another major change to its football model.

The conference could unveil a new nine-game schedule model late next month at its preseason media event.

“We’re working on several models,’’ commissioner George Kliavkoff told the Hotline during a wide-ranging interview. “At football media day, we’re likely to announce how we plan to schedule.”

The division format has provided a backbone for the nine-game conference schedule since expansion in 2011, with teams playing each of their five division opponents annually and rotating through the other six at varying intervals.

But the need to weight schedules based on division affiliation vanished last month when the Pac-12 announced the teams with the best winning percentage in conference games — not the division winners — would meet for the championship starting with the 2022 season.

“For me, divisions have three meanings,’’ Kliavkoff said.

“One is how they decide who plays in your championship game, and we have already solved for that with the change we announced.

“Two, they can determine how you schedule.

“Three, they reflect how you report the results.

“For me, the way you report the results — whether it’s two divisions or a single group of 12 teams — is the least important.”

(As of now, the Pac-12 has not announced a change to the visual piece: How results are reported and the format seen by fans when they look at the standings this fall.)

Any and all decisions involving the football model should be considered temporary.

What best serves the conference during the final years of the four-team College Football Playoff might not work once the CFP expands to 12 teams in the 2026 season.

As with the new process for determining the championship game matchup, any adjustments to the schedule are essentially a bridge to ’26.

“For the next four years, we have to think about how the schedule can better the student-athlete experience,’’ Kliavkoff said. “There are kids who have gone through their careers and not played one of the other teams in the conference.

“We want to embrace our historic rivalries and ensure that each of our student-athletes get to play every other conference team at least twice, once at home and once away, during their career.

“Those are our guiding principles.”

The Pac-12 isn’t alone in overhauling its schedule.

The ACC announced Tuesday that it will adopt what’s called the 3-5-5 model, with each team playing three “primary opponents annually (and) facing the other 10 teams twice during the 4-year cycle, once at home and once on the road.”

Because the ACC has 14 schools and only plays eight conference games, the specifics of its model don’t work for the Pac-12.

While Kliavkoff didn’t mention detail, the regional pod system is one option:

Pod A: Washington and Oregon schools

Pod B: California schools

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Pod C: Four Corners schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah)

Each school would play the teams in its pod every year, leaving six openings for the other eight teams on a rotating basis.

Another option would be to create one annual opponent — the natural rival — but that would prevent the California schools from meeting every year and disrupt the consequential Oregon-Washington rivalry.

The pod system preserves the regional duels and, with eight teams rotating through the six openings, would ensure the players experience every opponent, both home and away, during their careers.

In addition, the regional pods would increase the frequency with which the Pacific Northwest teams play the Los Angeles schools, thereby aiding recruiting exposure in talent-rich Southern California and potentially boosting ticket sales for home games.

Clarity could come soon. Pac-12 football media day is July 29 in Los Angeles.

Support the Hotline: Receive three months of unlimited access for just 99 cents. Yep, that’s 99 cents for 90 days, with the option to cancel anytime. Details are here, and thanks for your support.

*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to pac12hotline@bayareanewsgroup.com or call 408-920-5716

*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

Categories: Local News

16 Grilling Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Summer Long

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:28
Cookouts are making a comeback, and these never-fail recipes will guarantee your best get-together yet.
Categories: Local News

Indictments in Flint Water Crisis Are Invalid, Michigan Supreme Court Finds

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:17
The cases against former Gov. Rick Snyder and other top officials were thrown into doubt by the ruling.
Categories: Local News

Daniel Weiss, Met Museum’s Chief Executive, to Step Down

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 08:05
Daniel H. Weiss was a stabilizing force, but his departure raises questions about whether the museum’s two-pronged management structure still works and will continue.
Categories: Local News

Charges against ex-Michigan governor, 8 others in Flint water criminal case dropped

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:52

By Beth LeBlanc | The Detroit News

The Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the state’s use of one-man grand juries to issue indictments in the Flint water criminal cases, a decision that is likely to upend the second round of prosecutions linked to the city’s water crisis.

In a unanimous decision, the high court found that a one-judge grand jury can be used to investigate, subpoena and issue arrest warrants but it cannot be used to indict an individual.

The justices also ruled that the Genesee County Circuit Court erred in denying a motion to dismiss former state health Director Nick Lyon’s case.

The high court also found that state health official Nancy Peeler and former Gov. Rick Snyder aide Richard Baird had a right to a preliminary examination following their indictments. Attorney General Dana Nessel’s prosecution team had been trying to move straight to trial with Peeler, Baird and other defendants, including Snyder.

The justices remanded the three cases at issue back to Genesee County Circuit Court for reconsideration in light of the ruling.

In January 2021, Nessel’s prosecutors charged Snyder with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty over his handling of Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis. Snyder was not part of the appeal to the Supreme Court, but his case could be impacted by Tuesday’s ruling.

While the Supreme Court’s order for dismissal is specific to Lyon, it’s likely all of the defendants indicted through the grand jury process can file motions to dismiss in Genesee County based on the high court’s Tuesday ruling, said attorney John Bursch, who argued Lyon’s case before the Supreme Court.

“The way the office went about bringing these charges shows that the charges were illegitimate from the start,” Bursch said.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack referred to the attorney general’s use of a one-judge grand jury as a “Star Chamber comeback,” a reference to a centuries-old, secretive court abused by high-ranking officials in the Middle Ages.

“To this day, the defendants do not know what evidence the prosecution presented to convince the grand jury (i.e., juror) to charge them,” McCormack wrote.

Justice Richard Bernstein wrote in a concurrence that the court was cognizant of the effect the decision would have on Flint residents but said it was “paramount” to use proper procedure.

“… there would be little credibility to a criminal process that purports to strike a fair balance between adversaries if the guarantees underpinning that criminal process—such as the statutory right to a preliminary examination—could be done away with at the whims of the prosecution,” Bernstein wrote.

Justice Elizabeth Clement recused herself from the 6-0 decision because of her prior job as chief legal counsel to Snyder.

The decision from the high court was issued in the case of former state Health and Human Services Department director Lyon, who was charged in January 2021 with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter through a Genesee County one-judge grand jury.

The opinion sets a precedent for the use of one-judge grand juries across the state of Michigan and calls into question how or to what extent charges can be re-authorized against the Flint defendants.

Most of the charges Nessel issued against Michigan officials in January 2021 in the Flint case carry a six-year statute of limitations, which bars prosecution if charges are issued six years after the date of the alleged crime. Manslaughter carries a 10-year statute of limitations.

The Flint water switch occurred in April 2014, but some charges Nessel authorized occurred in the years after the switch as the lead-tainted water crisis and Legionnaires’ outbreak unfolded and, later, as officials made statements in the investigation that would later be used against them.

When asked a week ago about how a Supreme Court reversal of the one-judge grand jury policy would affect the Flint cases, Nessel’s office responded that the department “will refrain from speculating regarding a ruling by the court and its potential impact.”

Bursch urged the attorney general’s office to change course with Tuesday’s opinion.

“There’s a serious statute of limitations problem now for any defendant that is charged with a misdemeanor,” he said. “Even as to the defendants charged with felonies, the attorney general’s office should not recharge.”

Michigan’s one-judge grand jury has been used sparingly in most of state’s 83 counties, with the exception of recent and targeted use by Wayne, Genesee and Kent counties for largely violent, organized crimes involving narcotics, homicide, gangs or non-fatal shootings.

The secretive process allows a prosecutor to bring witnesses and evidence privately to a judge, who sits as a single juror and eventually decides on whether to indict an individual.

Potential defendants and their lawyers usually are excluded from the grand jury process — eliminating their access to a traditional pretrial phase in which a prosecutor is required to present the evidence supporting the charges in a public preliminary examination before the case moves to circuit court for trial.

The process eliminates the prosecutor’s task of deciding whether to bring charges, abolishes the normal evidentiary hearings prior to trial and keeps everything under absolute secrecy until the indictment is issued.

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Several Flint defendants had argued the use of a one-judge grand juror violates the separation of powers by allowing a judge to both investigate and charge an individual.

The Flint charges overturned by the Supreme Court’s decision include nine manslaughter charges against Lyon; two counts of willful neglect of duty against Snyder; charges of perjury, misconduct in office, obstruction of justice and extortion against Snyder adviser Baird; and a charge of perjury against Snyder chief of staff Jarrod Agen.

Additional charges included nine counts of manslaughter, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty against former state chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells; three counts of misconduct in office against Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley; four counts of misconduct in office against emergency manager Gerald Ambrose; two counts of willful neglect of duty against former Flint Public Works Director Howard Croft; and two counts of misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty against Nancy Peeler, the state’s director of maternal, infant and early childhood home visits.


Categories: Local News

Pear’s ‘Piano Teacher’ hits some dissonant notes

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:39

“The Piano Teacher,” Pear Theatre’s current production, has nothing to do with the 1991 movie of the same name. Instead, Julia Cho’s play starts with an almost hourlong monologue by longtime piano teacher Mrs. K (Ann Hopkins), who lives alone since the death of her husband and is feeling the twin effects of isolation and loneliness.

One day she opens up her piano bench and finds one of the books she filled out with the names and information about each of her many piano students. On a whim, she picks a name at random (Mary Fields) and calls her. Mary, played by Francheska Loy, is as surprised to hear Mrs. K’s voice as Mrs. K is to hear hers.

Mrs. K is so happy after talking with Mary that she decides to call a number of her other former students.

“Of course, I got a lot of wrong numbers and hang-ups,” she says, “but I also talked to the parents of some of my old students. I hoped that a few of my students had continued their musical studies. It would be so exciting to think I had taught a child prodigy!”

Director Reed Flores uses silhouettes and back lighting to great effect, so that the back wall of Mrs. K’s living room, covered in wallpaper, instantly becomes a white screen behind which Mary Field, her husband and children can be seen when she’s on the phone with Mrs. K. The Pear’s artistic director Sinjin Jones is credited with creating the projection design, which adds dimension to an otherwise static play.

At times Cho’s 2007 play feels as if it expects a lot from the audience, intuiting what happened in Mrs. K’s husband’s early life, when he was subjected to brutality and violence. She tells the audience that he was, in essence, a political refugee when he came to the United States. But she has repressed a lot of memories about him that her former students remind her about.

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Hopkins as Mrs. K is fittingly meek, perhaps a little addled but always gracious (except once when she unexpectedly yells out an expletive after answering a phone call but hearing no one on the other end).

On opening night last Friday, the audience was left in the dark when Hopkins suddenly walked offstage three times for a few seconds each time, then returned to continue her soliloquy. Why she did so is left to the audience’s imagination.

“The Piano Teacher” runs for 100 minutes without an intermission. It plays in repertoire with “Three Tall Women” through July 17. The play is not recommended for young audiences due to suggestive language and overt discussions of sexual violence. Tickets are $35-$38 at www.thepear.org or 650- 254-1148.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required, and masks must be worn inside the theater.

Categories: Local News

Los Gatos kids run the show at KCAT’s Summer Camp

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:34

Viewers who tuned into Comcast channel 15 last Friday afternoon saw “KCAT’s got Talent,” a live talent show put on by the campers at KCAT studio.

KCAT’s in-person video production camp started in early June and runs through the summer, offering weeklong camps where kids write, edit, film and produce their own TV show to be broadcast live on KCAT.

Based out of the Los Gatos High School studio, the camp alternates between two age groups — 7- to 11-year-olds and 12- to 15-year-olds — for nine weeks over the summer.

The kids ran the whole show on June 24, from the director’s countdown and the emcee introducing talent to the producers cutting to commercial.

Counselor Hope Hankenmeier, who attended the KCAT camp when she was a kid, said her favorite part of the summer program is watching the kids get excited about TV and film and coming out of their shell.

“It’s really fun seeing them from the beginning of the week, when they don’t really talk and they don’t know anyone, and at the end of the week when they’re jumping around,” Hanekenmeier said.

Henkenmeier is about to graduate from Syracuse University with a degree in film and studio arts, and has an internship at a women’s entrepreneurship business. She said she hopes to work as an assistant director or producer after she graduates.

“I never really was super into film. I was very photography based, and then I did the camp and loved it,” Hankenmeier said. “It really got me immersed in the film and entertainment industry, which helped me find what specifically I wanted to do.”

The first half of the day focuses on live TV production, and the afternoon session teaches podcasting and film. Some campers stay for the full day of activities.

KCAT Executive Director Melissa Toren said this year the program debuted its new iPhone 13 Pro Max kits, which are available for checkout to any community member.

The week starts with a brainstorming session with the campers, followed by scriptwriting and storyboarding the show. The young production team films some videos to air during the broadcast like commercials, and runs through dress rehearsals before airing the live show.

“This has been an exceptional week; this is one of my best groups ever,” Toren said. “I think it’s because a lot of them are siblings, a lot of them came with friends. The ones that didn’t have just made friends.”

Nearly all the students want to be actors, Toren said. But once they get their hands on the control panel and filming equipment and put on the headset, they get excited about the behind-the-scenes aspects as well.

KCAT has held summer camps for the past eight years. The program has become increasingly popular over the years through referrals and repeating campers, and Toren said they’ve had to create a waiting list for new students to join. The KCAT team is working to secure a new location so they can expand this program and others.

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The kids learn lots of important skills at the summer camp, said KCAT board president Burton Craig, like photo and video composition, writing and editing.

“You have to be able to present your ideas to your boss, to your coworkers. You need to get people excited about what you’re trying to do,” Craig said. “Everything from a simple Power Point all the way to a quick video makes such a big impact these days. I think it will be as valuable of a skill as learning Excel.”

A week of camp costs $350 for a half-day or $600 for a full-day program. Toren said there are still spots open in the coming weeks at camp. To register, visit https://www.kcat.org/summercamp.

Categories: Local News

Taiwanese Fried Chicken Meets the Moment

N.Y. Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:26
As crispy chicken soars in popularity, Taiwanese American chefs are reimagining the street-food classic.
Categories: Local News

CVS and Rite Aid limiting purchases of emergency contraception

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:23
By Virginia Langmaid and Naomi Thomas | CNN

Some large drug store chains are limiting purchases of emergency contraception to three pills per customer, company representatives confirmed to CNN.

“Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer,” Alicja Wojczyk, senior manager of external communications for Rite Aid told CNN in an email.

Though CVS has “ample supply” of Plan B and Aftera — two types of emergency contraception — the company is limiting purchases to three per customer “to ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves,” Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy told CNN in an email.

RELATED: Abortion pills will be center of next legal battles

Emergency contraception reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Common situations when it is used include after forgetting to take several birth control pills or when a condom breaks or falls off.

The purchasing limits for emergency contraception come after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. Several states immediately moved to effectively prohibit abortions.

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“Using (emergency contraception) does not cause an abortion. An abortion ends an existing pregnancy. EC prevents pregnancy from occurring. EC must be used soon after unprotected sexual intercourse to be effective. It does not work if pregnancy has already occurred,” ACOG said.

Pills, such as Plan B and Aftera, are one type of emergency contraception. Some can be bought over the counter and others require a prescription.

Copper intrauterine devices, or IUDs, can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within about five days of intercourse.

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Categories: Local News

Pacific Ocean breeze brings ‘natural air conditioning’ to Seattle area

Seattle Times - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:14

The cool marine air means Tuesday's high temperature will be around 23 degrees lower than Monday's. We can thank the Pacific Ocean for the blast of natural air conditioning that came overnight.
Categories: Local News

San Jose: Hit-and-run driver kills pedestrian on Jackson Avenue

San Jose Mercury - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 07:13

SAN JOSE — A hit-and-run driver killed a man on an East San Jose street early Tuesday, police said, bringing the city close to its 2021 count of pedestrian deaths just halfway through the current year.

The collision was reported at 4:46 a.m. on South Jackson Avenue between Kammerer Avenue and East San Antonio Street, according to San Jose police.

Additional details about the crash were not immediately released by police Tuesday morning, other than disclosing that the motorist who hit the victim — identified only as a man — fled afterward.

The area surrounding the site was expected to be closed to traffic for much of Tuesday morning while police examine the scene.

According to police and data compiled by this news organization, the collision marked the city’s 35th traffic death of the year and the 21st to involve a pedestrian who died.

In all of 2021, San Jose recorded 23 pedestrian deaths. The city in 2022 continues to outpace the total of 60 traffic deaths from last year, which itself was a 25-year peak matched in 2015 and 2019.

The grim trajectory of roadway deaths in the first half of the year has drawn significant attention from city leaders and law enforcement, with proposals and plans to install countermeasures at the San Jose’s busiest and most dangerous thoroughfares. One of those initiatives was a pilot program that installed automated license plate readers at Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue.

Please check back for updates.

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