Blog Archive

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With virus limits at ski resorts, backcountry risks beckon

Bozeman, Mont. • Ben Werner glided up the craggy mountain bowl between Hardscrabble Peak and Frazier Basin in the Bridgers, his heels lifting off his skis with every step. He paused periodically to assess his route up the slope.

Before Werner ascended the bowl, he’d tested the snow’s stability on a small hill with a similar slant and aspect. He directed his skis toward the hillside and coasted along, looking around for any signs of cracks or slides. The snow held. He continued his path upward.

In backcountry skiing, deciding where to climb up or ski down a slope can be the difference between life and death. And the mountains are deceiving.

Werner would know. He’ll soon be releasing the third edition of his 2011 book, “The Bozeman and Big Sky Backcountry Ski Guide.” The book documents popular backcountry runs across the Gallatin, Bridger, Madison, Absaroka and Beartooth ranges. Werner

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  • December 5, 2020
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The Latest: Virus infections in Russia hit new record

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A student checks the time as others wait for the start of the annual college entrance examination amid the coronavirus pandemic at an exam hall in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. South Korean officials are urging people to remain at home if possible and cancel gatherings as about half a million students prepare for a crucial national college exam.

AP

MOSCOW — Coronavirus infections in Russia hit a new record on Thursday, as the country’s authorities reported 28,145 new confirmed cases — the highest daily spike in the pandemic and an increase of 2,800 cases from those registered the previous day.

Russia’s total number of COVID-19 cases – nearly 2.4 million – remains the world’s fourth-highest. The government coronavirus task force has reported 41,607 deaths in the pandemic.

The country has been swept by a rapid resurgence of the outbreak this fall, with numbers of confirmed

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  • December 3, 2020
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New York City to reopen primary schools despite virus surge

New York City will reopen elementary schools on December 7 and offer in-person classes for special-needs students of all ages despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday.



a person holding a sign: Parents of New York students are seen protesting in that city on November 20, 2020 for the reopening of public schools


© Kena Betancur
Parents of New York students are seen protesting in that city on November 20, 2020 for the reopening of public schools

With many parents struggling to care for students at home and with data showing the virus largely spares young children, the city dropped a requirement for schools to close if the rate of positive virus tests exceeds three percent for a week. 

New York, home to the country’s largest school district, currently has a 3.1 percent rate.  

The mayor told reporters the reopening was possible “because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be.”

He said returning students would be subjected to weekly Covid-19 tests.

The mayor also

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  • November 29, 2020
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US surpasses record 200K daily cases; virus numbers could be erratic after Thanksgiving, experts warn

More than 200,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. on Friday, an all-time high reached about three weeks after the nation first reported 100,000 daily cases on Nov. 4.

That rapid doubling, as reported by Johns Hopkins University, is reminiscent of the virus’ growth this spring, when exponential spread prompted widespread restrictions across the country in an effort to control the virus.

But experts warn that coronavirus testing numbers are likely to be erratic over the next week or so as fewer people get tested during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and testing sites observe shorter hours.

The result could be potential dips in reported infections that offer the illusion that the spread of the virus is easing when, in fact, the numbers say little about where the nation stands in fighting COVID-19. The number of Americans who have tested positive passed 13 million Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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  • November 28, 2020
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Not even virus can rob us of holiday comforts | Editorials

If you have ever welcomed in the holidays with the Festival of Gingerbread, especially if you’ve witnessed the wonder of nearly 100 creatively decorated houses through the eyes of a child, you can be forgiven that pit in your stomach when you consider the 2020 season.

For eight months and counting, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many of the events and traditions we used to take for granted in our community.

Not a gingerbread fan? How about the Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for the Embassy Theatre Foundation, at the beautiful downtown venue? Or the “elves” who make the Botanical Conservatory – a downtown jewel 12 months of the year – a special treat for the eyes, ears and nose? Or the magic of after-dark drives through the Blue Jackets’ “Fantasy of Lights” near Franke Park?

Not all of our community traditions have a Christmas theme. Volunteers at St. Mary’s

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  • November 28, 2020
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Empty seats, delivered feasts as virus changes Thanksgiving

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Evelyn Maysonet looks at the food delivery from the Weber-Morgan Health Department Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Ogden, Utah. Maysonet has been isolating with her husband and son in their Ogden home since all three tested positive for COVID-19 over a week ago. None of them have been able to leave home to buy groceries so Maysonet said they were thrilled to receive the health department’s delivery.

AP

Vivian Zayas can’t keep herself from scrolling through photos of last Thanksgiving, when her mother stood at the stove to make a big pot of rice and beans and then took a seat at the edge of the table.

That was before anyone had heard of COVID-19 and before it claimed the retired seamstress. Ana Martinez died at 78 on April 1 while recovering at a nursing home from a knee replacement.

The family is having their traditional meal of

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  • November 27, 2020
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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation

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Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.

AP

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

— Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

— More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

— Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break

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  • November 26, 2020
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Conferences join forces on virus testing procedures for refs

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In this Sunday, March 5, 2017, photo, officials Eric Brewton, left, Joe Vaszily, center, and Maj Forsberg stand together during a timeout during the women’s basketball game between Duke and Notre Dame at the NCAA college championship basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Vaszily has worked the last seven Final Fours is looking forward to starting his 21st year this week of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. He said that a lot of his officiating colleagues are looking forward to the season despite the higher level of anxiety because of the virus.

AP

Debbie Williamson is used to the challenges of putting together the officiating puzzle.

Whether it’s assigning officials to specific games or figuring out how a referee can make it from one city to the next to call games on consecutive days, Williamson has seen a lot —

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  • November 24, 2020
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Virus spurs anxiety at Thanksgiving | News

Ginger Floerchinger-Franks typically invites 10 people to her home in Boise, Idaho, for Thanksgiving dinner and cooks the entire meal herself, including her specialty, pumpkin soup.

But the pandemic has forced her to devise a new plan: a socially distant potluck. Three households will each prepare a dish, and Floerchinger-Franks will shuttle the platters between their homes. Then they will gather on Zoom to savor each other’s food.

“This is kind of an adventure,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified across the country just as Americans are preparing to sit down to eat turkey and stuffing and to make their opinions airborne with parents, siblings, cousins, children and perhaps a friend with nowhere else to go. But now public health officials are warning against the very rituals many families take for granted: out-of-state travel and large, indoor gatherings.

The virus, and the precautions, have upended Thanksgiving in unprecedented ways.

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  • November 24, 2020
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Business owners upbeat about vaccine, wary as virus spreads

NEW YORK (AP) — Promising news about a coronavirus vaccine has small business owners feeling more upbeat despite cases of the virus surging in many parts of the U.S.

Owners hope consumers and businesses will be more relaxed about spending now that two drug companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have vaccines that data show were highly effective in testing. Some owners are rethinking their plans — some are holding off on staff cuts, while others say they’re more likely to renew their office leases even as employees still work from home.

But owners also realize many hurdles remain — the vaccines still require approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and then it will take time for millions of doses to be manufactured and widely distributed. It’s not clear how many people will decide to receive the vaccine, and in turn, how much of the population would be immune to the

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  • November 22, 2020