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    Big Trucks and Bad Fires | News-Examiner | – The Herald Journal - February 11, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    If you are searching for a way to give back, like lots of water and enjoy driving big trucks, this could be your gig! Bear Lake Countys Fire Chief Mark Parker is always looking for new recruits. Both Bear Lake and Rich county and the communities in each echo those sentiments: Bring your enthusiasm and a strong work ethic to your local fire chief to ask about joining the department.

    Between February 1 and 7th, Bear Lake Countys and Montpelier Citys fire departments combined to learn and polish skills at the former Montpelier City Hall building. Montpeliers Fire Chief, Steve Higgins, obtained permission from the buildings current owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to use the structure for training then invited the countys personnel to join the hands-on training. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to train using an existing structure of that quality, said Chief Parker.

    In full turn-out gear which weighs approximately 80 pounds, the 30 to 35 firefighters practiced forcing entry by opening walls and locked doors. The expected solution to locks is to break through using axes to make holes but in this situation, Nick Higgins, a fire captain from Montpelier City, advised trainees to pop latches or remove hinges to gain entry, then close the door to delay a fires advance. Steel doors were also breached using similar techniques and access through overhead doors was demonstrated. Hand-held thermal-imaging cameras were employed to search for victims. Additional training at the old city building will focus on placing and advancing ladders, hose relays and pulls and other subjects that are otherwise needed at two in the morning in the dark, so it is nice to be able to do this in a controlled environment, said Chief Parker. These are skills we dont often get to practice, he added. He is requesting the County Commissioners to likewise allow county and city firefighters to use the old courthouse for training purposes before it is demolished, tentatively slated to occur in February.

    Chief Parker recalled the Ovid fire two weeks ago where the fire department was called out around midnight when it was reported that a haystack was burning. When engines arrived with the usual group of 18 to 25 people per call, they found a fire that began in the wellhouse behind the haystack where a heater and pump malfunctioned then spread to a 100 to 150 gallon propane tank as well. Often, the initial report turns into a more complicated scenario with property and, sometimes, lives are in danger. Training in the soon-to-be-razed city structure is an invaluable tool for both those who have been firefighters for decades and for new recruits.

    When asked about the August 2020 fire at the Sweetwater Mobile Home Park, Chief Parker responded that, They were lucky and should buy lottery tickets! He explained that Garden Citys and Laketowns firefighters were becoming overwhelmed and it was important that the working relationship among the fire departments and districts is good so each can help others whenever needed. In that instance, access was difficult on narrow dirt roads and many homes lacked visible addresses. Water was running low and, fortunately, the Idaho trucks carried their own water which was both exactly timed and extremely necessary. In addition to multiple structures burning, there were propane tanks exploding. Chief Parker warmly complimented Garden City Fire Districts Chief Wallberg who has a fantastic department and an excellent rapport with Bear Lake. Parker added that the former interlocal law enforcement compact was helpful and The state line means nothing in emergencies because we have lives to protect on both sides of the line. We do the same things so we need to get back to an agreement to work together. He is grateful for Bear Lakes strong volunteer corps and the equipment which allows the department to respond to emergencies of many types. He encouraged citizens to both join a fire department and to report fires in their vicinity because, Well respond and take care of it.

    Even if you are not fire fighter material, do your part to help your local heroes and heroines. Chief Parker asked all residents to be sure house numbers are easily visible and that fires are reported ASAP. Finally, he issued a reminder that before striking a match for an outdoor fire, first call for a burn permit.

    Contact Mark Parker, Bear Lake County Fire Chief, at 208.317.6292 or Garden City Fire District Chief Wallberg at 435.881.6313 for more information and to discuss becoming a fire fighter in your community.

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    Prestigious honor long recognized as broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, also administered by Columbia University

    NEW YORK, NY (February 9, 2021) NBC 4 New York / WNBC was honored with the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for The Epicenter of the Coronavirus Pandemic, an extensive, six month collection of breaking news, feature, and memorial stories that captured the rapid evolution of the novel coronavirus from public health threat to full-blown health crisis in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.Awarded this evening, this is the first time WNBC received the top broadcast news honor in its storied history.

    Covering the evolution of the coronavirus outbreak was one of the toughest challenges our newsroom had ever faced. As our journalists came to work every day, they were personally coping with the effects of the virus on their families as well, said Amy Morris, NBC 4 New York Vice President of News. Every member of our news team played a critical role. Our mission was to inform our viewers and along the way were also able to find some moments to share incredible stories of hope. Its a story that continues to touch all of us deeply, which makes this duPont incredibly special to all of us at WNBC.

    The awards committee specifically recognized the station for having created a 360 view in real time of the coronavirus pandemic, with courageous and thorough reporting on the viruss explosion in New York City.4pm and 11 pm news anchor David Ushery, a member of the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame, accepted the prestigious Silver Baton on behalf of the station.

    Throughout the pandemic, WNBC viewers turned to local news in record numbers. Our news team was there throughout it all, delivering vital and at times, life-saving information, said Eric Lerner, President and General Manager. This special recognition by Columbia University is fantastic. Our team earned it and deserves it.

    NBC 4 New Yorks duPont-winning coverage took Tri-State viewers inside the major decisions that impacted our day-to-day lives, from school shutdowns, neighborhood lockdowns and restrictions on many small businesses, such as bars and restaurants. Investigative reporting brought to light the lack of PPE available for first responders and front-line workers, black-market attempts to profit amid the shortage and the burial delays faced by morgues and funeral homes. Community-focused features such as Grateful 4 You highlighted the unsung heroes in our communities, giving viewers hope during a difficult time.

    Groundbreaking reporting also placed a spotlight on important trends and emerging concerns within the community, even ahead of the attention and action of health officials. NBC 4 New Yorks I-Team was the first to bring the rare, deadly condition in children called MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome) into the public eye, prior to the attention of health regulators and subsequently leading to government action.

    This is the second major national honor awarded to NBC 4 New Yorks news team in the past four months. In October, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) honored WNBC with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for top large market television newscast.

    For more information on NBC 4 New York, visit

    About NBC 4 New York / WNBCNBC 4 New York / WNBC is the flagship station of the NBC Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, serving the New York Tri-State area with an unparalleled commitment to broadcast excellence for more than 75 years.

    The station features New Yorks largest investigative reporting team, the I-Team and includes Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning journalists who successfully track down the answers to the questions most important to viewers. Storm Team 4, the stations trusted weather team, utilizes the most accurate and the most powerful weather technology available to keep Tri-State viewers informed and safe when severe weather strikes. This includes StormTracker 4, the only commercial high-frequency S-Band dual polarization fixed Doppler weather radar operating in the Northeast.

    In addition to NBC 4 New Yorks primary channel, other programming outlets include COZI TV, the stations multicast channel, and out-of-home platforms, including TV screens in taxi cabs, elevators and aboard New York-New Jersey PATH trains. The station also delivers news and information across all platforms, including its dedicated website, mobile app and social media platforms.


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    Wreaths Across America Announces Start of the Mobile Education Exhibit’s 2021 National Tour Homeland Security Today – HSToday - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Wreaths Across America (WAA) is proud to announce the start of the 2021 national tour for its Mobile Education Exhibit (MEE). The MEE will hit the road this month in Maine and head Southwest towards Texas for both private and public scheduled events.

    The goal of the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit is to bring community together and teach patriotism while remembering the service and sacrifice of our nations heroes, said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. However, over the last year, in light of the current health crisis, we feel this exhibit has taken on even more meaning by providing the opportunity for people to safely participate in something that is both educational and inspiring, while supporting and giving back to the communities it visits.

    The MEE achieves this goal by bringing the local community, veterans, active-duty military and their families together through interactive exhibits, short films, and shared stories. The exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nations heroes as well as to serve as an official welcome home station for our nations Vietnam Veterans.

    When the MEE pulls into your area, all veterans, active-duty military, their families, and the local community members are invited and encouraged to visit, take a tour and speak with WAA representatives and volunteers. They can also share more about the national nonprofit, and the work its volunteers do to support our heroes and their communities year-round.

    To host the MEE in your community, whether it be for a parade, a school-related or veterans organization, or a public or private event, visit make a request.

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    Wreaths Across America Announces Start of the Mobile Education Exhibit's 2021 National Tour Homeland Security Today - HSToday

    Construction Workforce and Home Manufacturing on the Horizon – Leech Lake News - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Development Division (LLTDD) is asking for feedback as part of its feasibility study for a vertically-integrated construction workforce program. We are seeking survey participants with construction experience or those wanting to pursue a construction-related job and are open to working in Leech Lake Reservation (LLR).

    The survey is accessible at, or you may scan the QR-code below with your mobile phone. It should only take around 10 minutes of your time. You will be eligible for a $100 prize by doing so (there will be five $100 drawings).

    If the vertically-integrated construction workforce program is shown to be feasible; its development will help increase employment, housing development, and homeownership opportunities in our communities. The Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) will provide four- to five-week construction trades training certification courses to educate the workforce laborers needed to manufacture home panels and to develop needed construction trades to build housing homes within LLR. Collaborations between LLTC and non-profit agencies and private sector contractors also ensure a path towards on-the-job trainings and apprenticeship programs. The Leech Lake Financial Services (LLFS) role will be to assist potential homeowners with a budget, proper credit score, savings plan and guidance to keep them on the right path.

    This effort being led by the LLTDD is funded by the EDA with the following partners: LLTC, LLFS, and regional and state networks such as Region 5 Development Commission, Widseth, Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, and Sweet Grass Consulting, LLC.

    If you would like to chat with someone regarding this survey or project, please call Michael Brydge, Principal Director, Sweet Grass Consulting, LLC at 540-448-1826 or email at [emailprotected]


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    Everett-based Pallet offers a novel way to shelter homeless | – The Daily Herald - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    EVERETT General contractor Amy King realized in 2016 that something was missing from the housing market something that would be far cheaper than a mobile home or apartment, yet would offer more dignity and personal space than a traditional homeless shelter.

    Her employees, many of whom were once homeless, are filling that gap, she said.

    Theyre making low-cost personal shelters of aluminum and insulated panels in a factory near Paine Field.

    Each personal, portable pallet shelter is meant to be part of a larger community, where someone who is living on the margins can get the support they need to work toward a more normal life, without having to worry about finding a safe place to sleep every night, said King, whos now CEO of Pallet, the Everett manufacturer.

    It allows people to have space, even transitionally or temporarily, while they stabilize, get on their feet, figure out whats next and then move on, she said.

    Since its founding in 2016, the company has churned out enough shelter units to house about 1,500 people. In Washington and nearly a dozen other states, Pallet has helped established shelter communities. Theyre run by local social service agencies that provide resources to people residing in the temporary dwellings, each 100 square feet or less.

    The Everett City Council will soon consider establishing a similar village with $735,000 in federal grant money.

    City officials have proposed a cluster of 20 or so pallet shelters, along with communal bathrooms and showers, overseen by an organization that would ensure the site stays safe and clean. Potential locations for the project have yet to be announced.

    King and others at Pallet contend the model is more effective than traditional shelters in providing a pathway to permanent housing. Some agencies that oversee pallet shelter sites have have reported that up to half of the people who enter the communities eventually are placed in permanent housing.

    The company is working with service providers across the country to collect more data to illustrate those successes, King said.

    A site in Tacoma, which has grown to include nearly 60 of the shelters, has served more than 450 people since it opened in 2017, according to the city, which partners with Catholic Community Services to run the community. Of those people, nearly 400 of them were connected with long-term living arrangements, Tacoma spokeswoman Megan Snow said in an email.

    We think of our pallet communities as sort of a trial run of being housed people practicing being housed and practicing that lifestyle and then going on to permanent housing, King said. What were seeing across the board is people staying in pallet communities for about three to six months and then moving on to permanent housing from there.

    Theres also evidence that a person whos struggling with homelessness, addiction or mental health issues is more willing to accept services or treatment if pallet shelters are an option, King said.

    She credits that advantage to her staff, who drew from their own experiences to help come up with the concept and design for the structures.

    The vast majority of the companys some 55 employees were once homeless, grappling with addiction issues, involved in the criminal justice system or some combination.

    The team conceived Pallets vision with the knowledge that many people who are homeless refuse offers for shelter not because they dont need it, but because they fear a congregate shelter setting will deprive them of their independence or some other comfort, King said.

    The assumption is that they want to be homeless, and thats just a false assumption, she said. The reality is they dont want to accept the services that are currently provided because it doesnt allow them to maintain the dignity of staying with their partner or keeping their pet with them or having their stuff.

    The company has marketed its product as one that can rapidly meet the needs of governments and nonprofits tasked with sheltering people.

    Each unit can be assembled in less than an hour with just a few basic tools.

    Pricing starts at about $4,900 per shelter but varies depending on order size and other details.

    Tacoma spent $900,000 to establish its Stability Site, which started in 2017 as a collection of tents under a large, temperature-controlled structure and pallet shelters outside, Snow said.

    In the two years that followed, the site cost roughly $250,000 a month to run and staff with case managers.

    Last year, all tents were replaced with pallet shelters, and each unit was moved into the structure to help reduce utility costs. In 2021-22, the city expects operation costs will run about $3.6 million, to be paid with money from the general fund and a sales tax that supports mental health and substance abuse programs, Snow said.

    About 60 people live there now, along with some of their pets, said Faatima Lawrence, director of homeless adult services for Catholic Community Services in Tacoma. Roughly 70 more people are on a wait list for a spot at the site, Lawrence said.

    Each person living on the site is assigned to one of five case managers who can not only assist with housing needs but also help connect an individual with health care, employment, addiction treatment and other services.

    Because of how much intense case managing we do, we do house more people at the facility site than we do at our traditional shelters, Lawrence said.

    Many people who refuse beds at other shelters have accepted spots at the site because theres no curfew and fewer restrictions, she said. People are generally allowed to stay there as long as they are working with their case managers to take steps to improve their lives even if the steps are small ones.

    We are able to meet the person where theyre at, without a lot of rules compared to our other shelters, Lawrence said. Theyre more comfortable. They want to stay.

    Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.


    Weatherstripping is installed at Pallet in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

    CEO Amy King at Pallet in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

    Shelters await shipping and assembly at Pallet in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

    Floors are painted as part of the fabrication process at Pallet in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

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    Everett-based Pallet offers a novel way to shelter homeless | - The Daily Herald

    In the future, no one will own homes – Utah Business – Utah Business - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    What if you could choose to live everywhere and nowhere? I found myself asking that question, and eventually, Kibbo became my answer, says founder Colin ODonnell of his company, an alternative living environment that invites its customers to live out of camper vans from a network of designated Kibbo campgrounds.

    His business is a new outpost within the vibrant scene of American van travel thats providing an innovative way for subscribers to live and work from the road, all without losing a sense of community or the true comforts of home. His home-on-the-move membership service offers structured outposts where members can camp, enjoy the provided amenities, engage with like-minded travelersas well as the option for its members to rent a van if they dont already own one.

    For less than the cost of a studio apartment in most major cities, a Kibbo subscriber can rent a fully loaded Mercedes sprinter van with a network of home bases across the West stocked with essential groceries, provisions, and WiFi access. These overnight destinations serve as central hubs designed to feel like co-living spaces where van travelers can live, work, and play.

    Kibbo campsites opened just two months ago with its first stopovers in Ojai and Big Sur, California; the Black Rock Desert in Nevada; and Zion in Utah both opening early 2021, along with five other urban locations currently being built.

    Before taking the big leap to found Kibbo, ODonnell first started LinkNYCa company that grew from New York City government officials need to convert payphones to WiFi hotspots all across New York. During his time with LinkNYC, ODonnell dreamed of branching out from digital and physical technology into real, actualized cities.

    I always found myself wondering if we could shape this into something more. We worked with what we called a responsive citya city that could morph and respond to the needs and wants of people in real-time. With sensors and data, we began to understand the city of NYC more and started to change digital screens in real-time all across town in order to test out the first version of our responsive city.

    The idea stemmed from that notionwhat if we could change more than just pixels? What if we put the control into peoples hands but while supporting them with data? What would this digitally-enabled city look like?

    After Sidewalk Labs bought ODonnells company, he knew it was time to go experience another part of the world. I wanted to start a new company where I could use my previous tech experiences and continue along this evolutionary trajectory we were on.

    While looking for his next spot, ODonnell realized he had the freedom to travel and make his home anywhere. He considered the idea of van living, but felt that hed miss relationships and human connections. He also questioned the mobile lifestyles accessibility to find new work collaborators and connections.

    I drooled at the idea of van life, but I ultimately questioned how I would actually find new friends, people to work with, and on the basic level, a reliable WiFi connection out in the wild, he explains. LA felt creative, with sunny beaches and deserts and mountains close-by. San Francisco felt walkable, like a bougie chunk of Brooklyn dropped on the west coast, and of course, Silicon Valley as the epicenter of American startup culture.

    ODonnell yearned for the outdoors. The freedom to be in the mountains, the proximity to explore the deserts and travel along the coast, all while having the amenitiesand career opportunitiesof the city. And then he had an idea what if he could have the best of both worlds?

    The idea of group living intrigued ODonnell, so he became a part of a co-living community in San Francisco called Agape, where he still resides when not on the road. There, ODonnell moved in with 10 roommates in a converted Victorian home, where they still have Monday night group meals, book club meetings, long conversations, and even some semi-public events such as political chats and open-mic nights.

    The relationships I made at Agape led to the root idea of the mobile city that I had always hoped to design. Theres no better, faster way to become integrated into a new environment than to live with other people who really hangout, collaborate on art work, play music, cook meals, and treat each other like chosen family.

    For ODonnell, this was the moment it all clicked. He knew it was possible to take the freedom of van life and combine it with the community feeling that hed found in group housing. I decided that if I could combine these two thingscommunity and freedomI could not only have the best of both worlds, but I would also be continuing down that early pathway of building a truly responsive city. Camper vans are essentially movable buildings, so I thought if we could first get dozens of people to live together productively and happily at our hub locations, why couldnt we eventually scale it up to fully reconfigure hundreds or thousands of mobile cities?

    With the pressures of quarantine and months of social distancing, isolation gave people the desire to get out and explore closer to home, foster human connections, and be surrounded by nature. This feeling of escape, along with so many new work-from-home opportunities (more than half of the American workforce is currently remote), has supported an exceptionally high demand for Kibbo subscriptions.

    When we launched, we hoped to find 100 people to go on this adventure with us. When 500 people immediately signed up, we knew we were on to something and had to pause the application process. Then another 2,000 people signed up to be notified when more spots opened up. The demandblew away our expectationsand confirmed that people are looking for new ways to connect and to explore a different way of living, ODonnell says.

    An unassuming company with big ambitions, Kibbo aims to bring together van travel, beautiful natural sites, shared spaces, and many opportunities for creating an authentic sense of community. Were going to build a collection of unique locations all across Americacities, forests, deserts and coastal regionswhere your van acts as your mobile space on wheels and the clubhouses provide everything else you need, he says.

    This mobile lifestyle has become ODonnells solution to the extravagant costs of living in a city. Kibbo, as he describes it, is not only an adventure but its also a more affordable alternative to paying monthly rent in a larger US urban environment. Unlike, traditional top-down designed and built real estate developments, Kibbo is setting out to build the first of the next generation of cities: flexible, reconfigurable, designed, and defined by the people that live in it, off-the-grid and sustainable, he explains.

    ODonnell, along with his investors, believe Kibbo offers the opportunity to rethink how we live, work, have fun, and find meaning. Anand Babu is the leader of Google Researchs Kernel team and is one of Kibbos investors. Previously, he served as an executive at Opower, led Microsofts Azure strategy, and cofounded Alphabets urban innovation arm called Sidewalk Labs, where he and ODonnell first crossed paths.

    ODonnell told me about Kibbo years ago, before the idea was fully fleshed out, Babu says. I was eager to get involved, and its more important now than ever with todays concurrent crises of climate, social justice, and public health. Its forcing many to re-evaluate whats important, and if how they live aligns with their values.

    Its true that wanderlust is part of the American DNA and our country offers extraordinary diversity in terms of nature and culture thats waiting to be discovered. Prior to COVID, we were getting increasingly entrenched and siloed geographically, Babu says. Kibbo connects with people that imagine a different world, one where mobility serves to bring us together. One way to think about this is as a study abroad for everyone. Those fortunate enough to have that experience (less than five percent of Americans) realize theres no substitute for understanding a new place or culture. In the process, you begin to understand yourself.

    The monthly rate for a Kibbo membership is around $1,500. While this seems expensive for living in a van, its less than the price of rent in most major US citiesand the company already cannot keep up with demand. What youre getting in return for the price is something not found elsewhere, Baby says. Kibbo is the first to offer an economic proposition where anyone can have an experience like this, and just for the price of rent.

    In terms of financial viability, Babu believes strongly in Kibbos business model. For a long time, the wealthy have been fortunate to own second homes or time-shares. But for regular people, economics and corporate demands have forced them into five-day-per-week, rat-race commutes. Thus, taking time away from family and community, leaving only short-term travel opportunities, and often expensive, carbon-intensive holidays at peak times. But we think that world is finished. Kibbo is about giving people experiences that are fundamentally more flexible and aligned with their purpose. Its not a cost-play; its a value and experience play.

    Kibbos mission is centered around counteracting rising real estate prices and instead creating a work-from-the-road model where abundant amenities and comforts of home are not lost. And right now happens to be a time when people are starting to move away from more traditional lifestyles and hit the road. In the medium-term, we see a tremendous opportunity to reshape the van ecosystem, Babu says. Today, relatively few owners are okay dealing with high-friction and risk of short-term rentals. In contrast, Kibbos long-term trusted use model enables owners to rent out vans for several months, creating income during their off-season with minimal depreciation.

    Additionally, whereas camper vans today are an expensive cottage industry, Kibbo hopes to shape a more accessible van ecosystem where multiple OEMs (Mercedes, Tesla, Rivian, Ford, etc.) can produce EV-based platforms at large-scale that can be easily customized with plug and play parts, analogous to how the PC or smartphone industry works.

    Colin thinks and lives in the future. For up-starting a new business, he understands that large-scale shifts in how people form communities take years or decades to reach fruition. He has a mental map of how these shifts will play out, and hes able to patiently focus on serving those who are ready to make the leap today, Babu explains. In contrast, existing businesses in hospitality, real estate, or the sharing economy see the world as it exists, often ignoring the tectonic plates moving underneath. By the time they notice, Kibbo will be far ahead in uniquely shaping customer behavior and in building a company culture thats passionate about serving its community.

    All in all, this new venture isnt about just whats on the surface: Were rethinking the urban experience to define what we want cities of the future to look like and how we want to live, Babu says. Feeling connection and belonging is a basic human necessity. But the need for freedom is also so important, especially right now. The good news is that you can have both.

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    In the future, no one will own homes - Utah Business - Utah Business

    Local homebuilder’s food bank donation will feed hundreds of families for a year – - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges to the lives of Utahns. With more children staying at home and countless adults out of work, many faced the pangs of hunger for the first time.

    To meet the increased demand, the Utah Food Bank expanded its Mobile Pantry program, which also increased transportation costs. With the added financial strain, they estimate that it will take 1218 months for operations to return to pre-pandemic levels.

    Thankfully, the food bank received some much-needed help in the form of a generous donation from a local homebuilder.

    EDGEhomes reached out to the food bank, hoping to give back to the community and help those facing difficulties due to the pandemic. With more Utahns facing hunger than in recent years, they saw a need and wanted to do what they could to meet it.

    Despite the difficulties of an unprecedented year, EDGEhomes rallied together with trade partners, vendors, and associates to raise $200,000 for the food bank.

    After making the donation, they invited others in the community to participate in the fight against hunger and donate funds to the food bank's virtual food drive. All donations would be matched up to $200,000.

    Recently, the food bank announced that the donation had been matched -- and then some. The grand total of the matched amount came to $200,700.

    According to the food bank, the funds from the EDGEhomes donation will provide 778,987 meals. However, with the match to their donation, that comes out to over 1.5 million meals. As 511,000 Utahns face hunger, this will help feed 378 families of four for a full year.

    The food bank notes that none of this would have been possible without the community coming together to help others.

    EDGEhomes continues to seek out organizations every year to give back to the communities that have given so much to them. The Utah Food Bank serves families in the community and family is a core emphasis of EDGEhomes.

    While EDGEhomes may have hit their donation goal, the work of feeding the hungry goes on. The Utah Food Bank reports that one in six Utahns are at risk of missing a meal each day. What's more, one in five children don't know where their next meal will come from.

    Now more than ever, it's important for Utahns to step up and help those in need -- in any way they can. With 48% of funds coming from generous individuals in the community, every donation makes a difference.

    Right now, the best way to help is to make a donation online. As mobile distributions expand, the food bank's top priority is financial support to offset higher transportation costs. Since a $1 donation equals $8.03 worth of goods and services, even a small contribution can help.

    Whether you give of your food, your money, or your time, you can help ensure that no Utahn goes to bed hungry.

    To make a donation, or to learn how you can help in other ways, visit the Utah Food Bank website today.

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    N.J. immigrant communities were hard hit by COVID. Now, they may not have ready access to vaccines, experts f – - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Getting a spot in line for a coveted coronavirus vaccine has been a frustrating, chaotic process for countless New Jerseyans. It often entails navigating confusing websites, figuring out eligibility and scrambling to compete for an elusive slot.

    The process is even more impossible if there is a language barrier or if you dont have access to a computer. Or the internet. Or a drivers license so you can drive to a vaccination site.

    As the vaccination roll out continues, advocates say they are concerned that members of New Jerseys immigrant and undocumented communities may have difficulty getting vaccinated and that it may even be hard for them just to get much-needed information about available doses.

    Immigrant workers and workers of color are highly represented in the essential workforce, said Sara Cullinane, the director of the advocacy group Make the Road New Jersey. They are doing the backbreaking, often risky work, so that other people can stay home and shelter in place. And so they must have access to vaccine. Our state wont be able to recover if they dont.

    According to an NJ Advance Media analysis of town-by-town mortality data, municipalities with the greatest increase of deaths in 2020 often included those with the highest Hispanic populations, which all experienced disproportionate impacts from coronavirus.

    In addition, Hispanic people account for 26% of New Jerseys coronavirus cases, despite making up 18% of the states total population, according to the states COVID-19 dashboard. And of the roughly 475,000 vaccination doses administered in the state as of Friday, only 5% were to Hispanic or Latinx people.

    New Jersey health officials have acknowledged that communities of color and poverty experienced the worst of coronavirus as the disease further exposed longtime social disparities. And advocacy groups are sounding alarm bells about the need to get immigrant, undocumented and disenfranchised communities more direct access to the coronavirus vaccines.

    Were never going to get to a place of equity and true healing without acknowledging the depth of pain that has happened in these communities precisely because they were ignored, said Amy Torres, Executive Director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. Working with community partners to identify those gaps and being able to be stewards of the message into communities that dont have that access is important.

    New Jersey has 23 federally qualified health centers and 136 licensed sites that provide primary care services to people who are uninsured, underinsured or undocumented, according to Donna Leusner, a spokeswoman at the Department of Health. Many of these sites are scheduling vaccinations, and that theyre accessible by public transportation, Leusner said.

    The Department has consistently said we will provide equitable access to all who live, work and are being educated in New Jersey, she said previously.

    Additionally, the Department of Health is formulating plans to send mobile vans staffed with trained community health workers travel to community centers, churches and other sites to provide education and access to vaccination, Leusner said.

    The community health workers will be able to discuss key issues about the vaccines without sharing names or addresses with immigration officials, she added.

    The state is also planning on doing outreach, she said.

    Once vaccine supply increases, the state will implement a public awareness campaign to work with community, faith and other local leaders to assist them in engaging with their communities to address concerns and provide fact-based information about the vaccine in multiple languages, as necessary, Leusner said.

    Despite efforts by the state, Torres said, shes concerned about digital equity regarding the undocumented and immigrant communities, creating hurdles to sign up online. She said many dont have access to computers or internet, and even some that do have experienced problems with Google Translate plug-ins on state government vaccine websites.

    The state started distributing the vaccine in December and, until now, has primarily relied on an online registration system. At a briefing earlier this week, state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the state was in the final stages of setting up a call center that is expected to go live on Monday.

    It will have an interactive voice response platform in both English ad Spanish that provides key information to New Jersey residents on how to register (for a vaccine) as well as how to schedule vaccination appointments as people become eligible, she said.

    The phone number will be (855) 568-0545.

    It is of utmost importance that the state makes a concerted effort to get information and vaccinations into undocumented and underserved communities, said Renee Wolf Koubiadis, director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. She pointed to the devastation the virus wrought on many in these communities in 2020 as a crucial reason why they should be among the early groups to get vaccinated.

    These people, people of color in general, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus, and there just needs to be an intentional plan to make sure that theyre getting the access to the vaccine, Koubiadis said. Its not unanticipated that there would be problems with this population accessing the vaccine because we certainly saw last year that people were unable to access the appropriate medical care.

    One other hurdle, Torres and Cullinane said, is potential distrust of local officials within the undocumented and immigrant communities. Many are hesitant to communicate with local officials, making it more difficult to get vaccines into their arms, they noted.

    That distrust makes it even more important that state officials work with local community and advocacy groups to get information into the hands of immigrant and undocumented populations, Torres said.

    The state has partners in community-based organizations and faith-based institutions, Torres said. The solutions are there in the community.

    Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to

    Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find on Facebook.

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    N.J. immigrant communities were hard hit by COVID. Now, they may not have ready access to vaccines, experts f -

    History, hearts and memories highlight Goodyear anniversary kick-off – Your Valley - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Sally Kiko was knee-high to a cotton ball when her family arrived in Goodyear in 1945. On Friday, Jan. 22, the historian and author helped the city kick off its nearly year-long 75th anniversary celebration during a small, socially distanced event at Loma Linda Park.

    Sheltered from the rain by tents set up at the park, Mayor Georgia Lord, City Council members, city staff and commissioners, and several members of the public listened intently as Ms. Kiko talked about what it was like to grow up in the community.

    Others watched the event, led by Arts & Culture Administrator Guylene Ozlanski, as it streamed live at goodyear.azgov/75 and the citys Facebook page, @goodyearazgov. It opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, and an invocation by Jeremiah Smith, leader of the Goodyear Faith and Community Roundtable, and carried the theme, Its a good time to be in Goodyear, throughout.

    READ: Major city projects under way in Goodyear

    Rather than recite facts and figures, I thought it might be more entertaining to tell you the history of Goodyear through my arrival here in 1945 at the old Litchfield Depot. I came by train, Ms. Kiko said after she was introduced by City Manager Julie Arendall, who noted the kick-off and other events over the next 11 months will culminate in a celebration on Nov. 19, the day the city incorporated in 1946.

    That day, the city will open a time capsule sealed 25 years ago on its 50th anniversary, and will seal another to be opened on its 100th anniversary in 2046.

    Our first home, with my parents, was at 124 Buena Vista, Ms. Kiko said. That house is still there.

    Just a year after Ms. Kikos family arrived, the August 1946 end of World War II marked the closure of Goodyear Aircraft, the areas major employer.

    It was rumored that Goodyear would become a ghost town, she said. Instead, they incorporated. They were pretty nervy, werent they?

    While many employees returned to Ohio, where the aircraft company was based, many stayed, occupying Westwood Manor apartments (now Park Shadows), and a mobile home park on Western Avenue, the only housing available in the newly incorporated town.

    READ: Goodyears Innovation Hub helps small business owners succeed

    Ms. Kiko recounted numerous events and milestones that have shaped the city over the years.

    A summer flood during a very wet monsoon season in 1951 streamed from washes near the White Tank Mountains into the Beardsley Canal, and flowed south across open desert and farmland into Goodyear.

    I was 8 years old. I was excited. I mean, this was an event, Ms. Kiko recalled of the weather event known as "the great flood."

    I was old enough to understand the damage that was occurring to the neighbors homes, but on a hot August day, I was enjoying the water quite a bit, too, she said.

    In 1956, she was in the first freshman class at the new Agua Fria High School. The next year, grocer A.J. Bayless opened the first air-conditioned mall in Arizona at the corner of Litchfield Road and Western Avenue.

    Growing up in Goodyear was much like Mayberry she recalled. There was one police officer, very littled crime and everyone knew everyone else.

    As time moved on, so did Goodyear and Ms. Kiko.

    She graduated high school, and got married, living in Westwood Manor before the couple bought their first home on Santa Cruz Drive. Her husbands work took the Kikos out of state, but they returned in 1988.

    Two years earlier, a takeover attempt of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. by financier Sir James Goldsmith set in motion events that would change the face of the city and the region forever.

    To raise the capital to stop the takeover, the company was forced to sell off numerous assets in Ohio and Arizona, including thousands of acres of farmland in the Southwest Valley owned by its subsidiary, Goodyear Farms.

    This opened up the land to development. The master-planned communities of PebbleCreek, Palm Valley, and the retail changed Goodyear quite a bit. The completion of Interstate 10 in 1990 opened up the tremendous growth we see today, Ms. Kiko said.

    I am so proud to call Goodyear home, she concluded.

    After Ms. Kiko spoke, Ms. Ozlanski introduced a video unveiling of the HeARTs of Goodyear, a series of 10 murals painted by artists from around the Valley on 5- by 6-foot fiberglass hearts at parks and other public spaces around the city.

    The public arts installation, HeARTs of Goodyear, has quickly grabbed the attention of our community, Ms. Ozlanski said. Each of the hearts represents a decade in the citys history and our bright future.

    In the video, Mayor Lord, and council and commission members detail the history each heart represents against a backdrop of colorful images of artists working and the completed murals.

    READ: Theres a Big Baby in Goodyear and people are losing their minds

    Another video featured developers Bruce Hilby and Richard Wilson, who came to the community in the 1970s, when its population was less than 2,600. Both have been instrumental in developing what Goodyears nearly 90,000 residents see today, as well as growth throughout the West Valley.

    When he arrived in fall 1977 from Minnesota, Mr. Wilson was surprised to see farmland in the Valley.

    I thought it was all desert, he said.

    The area was so rural back then, Mr. Wilson remembered, motorists driving on 99th Avenue in spring and fall would encounter large numbers of sheep being herded to and from their farm in Tolleson to Flagstaff via a pathway next to Interstate 17.

    Mr. Hilby addressed what it was like to be an early developer of Goodyear.

    When we started, we thought we were land speculators, he said. Then the 1987 downturn came and everything stopped and we discovered we were land investors. When the good times came again and things still didnt develop on our land, we decided we were stewards of the land.

    In the last few years, development has come and the transformation has been huge, Mr. Wilson said.

    Those who want to learn more from Mr. Hilby and Mr. Wilson are invited to attend an Oct. 26 lecture featuring both men.

    Fridays event concluded with a speech by the mayor, who also read a proclamation marking the beginning of the citys 75th anniversary celebration.

    What a special time this is. This is a time to celebrate where weve been and all the wonderful stories that people tell. I often say when I come to this lovely park, if those trees could just talk, can you imagine the stories they could tell? she said. Now, we have a city full of people who are creating stories ... and we will repeat this in the future with brand new stories and with the connectivity of history.

    Mayor Lord said she and her late husband, Ron, chose to move to area after decades of living all over the world during his career in the U.S. Air Force.

    Though they looked at homes in cities throughout the Valley, we kept coming back to Goodyear, drawn by the citys atmosphere and by its residents, she said.

    Lets give an applause to Goodyear! Mayor Lord said after reading the proclamation.

    Kelly OSullivan can be reached at or 760-963-1697.

    Kelly OSullivan is a longtime journalist who joined Independent Newsmedia in January 2020, after returning to the Valley from Twentynine Palms, California, where she worked for eight years as a communications specialist for the U.S. Marine Corps. When shes not covering stories of interest to Litchfield Park, Goodyear and other Southwest Valley residents, she stays busy rediscovering Arizona and photographing its spectacular landscapes and wildlife.

    Read more:
    History, hearts and memories highlight Goodyear anniversary kick-off - Your Valley

    How the Tennessean staff covered the deadly March 2020 tornadoes – Tennessean - January 25, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The storm that would devastate Middle Tennessee in the early morning hours of March 3 was first spotted about 10:15 p.m. the night before in rural Missouri, about 80 miles west of the Mississippi River.

    A little more than two hours later, the storm had settled over Middle Tennessee and generated an alert at 12:39 a.m.: "TAKE COVER NOW IF YOU ARE IN DAVIDSON, WILSON, OR SUMNER COUNTIES!"

    One minute later, a man named Patrick called 911 as he searched for his co-workers among the rubble at Best Brand Liquor Distributors on Cockrill Bend Boulevardin North Nashville.

    "We just got hit by a tornado," he said to the operatoras he processed the scene around him.

    From there, it wore a familiar path through the area, destroying homes and businesses and taking lives as the powerful EF-4 storm spun through neighborhoods including Germantown and East Nashville.

    Tennessean staffers whod been sheltered in their basements some of whom had their homes damaged or destroyed grabbed equipment and got to work within minutes of the storm passing, venturing out into dark streets littered with debris and power lines to document what was unfolding in Middle Tennessee.

    The breadth and depth of coverage the Tennessean provided in the coming weeks was unmatched but the tone was set in the chaotic and vital hours after the storm hit.

    As the sun started to rise that morning, the full scope of the destruction started to become clear. As the deadly line of storms continued to churn east, seven total tornadoes were spawned, including several in Putnam County where 19 people were killed and another 88 were injured in the storm.

    The death toll qualified the storms among the nations deadliest tornadoes this century and economic losses in the area were pegged at nearly $2 billion, staggering numbers that put the scope of the tragedy in some perspective, but in the hours, days and weeksafter the storm struck the Tennesseans team reacted with urgency and heart, telling the stories of the people who acted heroically to save their neighbors and of those whose lives would never be the same.

    A storm chaser captured a photo of a tornado 4 miles east-northeast of Malden, Missouri, about 80 miles west of theMississippi River from the northwestern corner of Tennessee.

    It lingered for about three minutes.

    Less than an hour later, the National Weather Service in Memphis issued atornado warning for Camden, Tennessee, as a result of asupercell, a dangerous type of thunderstorm that can last hours and produce severe twisters.

    Five minutes later,a tornadotouched down in Camden in Benton County, about 80 miles west of Nashville.

    Starting near Highway 69, it knocked down several trees and caused significant damageto multiple houses as it tore its wayeast.

    Carl Frazee, inside his mobile home near Ballard and Flatwoods roads, was thrown out outside. He landed in his yard, littered with broken trees and debris.

    Responders navigated through the yard to reach Frazee and another person living at the home,and carried the two to an ambulance to be rushed to the emergency room.

    Frazee, 67, died from"many injuries" at the hospital, authorities said.Two otherresidents sustained injuries.

    Along with Frazees demolished home, several others residences within a couple of miles suffered severe damage while many others throughout the area had missing shingles and downed tree limbs.

    The storm then moved across the Tennessee River. Golf ball-sized hail began to fall as the storm increasedin strength and volatility.

    It barreled toward Nashville at a particular dangerous time as many people slept. Nighttime tornadoes pose a greater danger to the public, likely resulting in more than twice as many fatalities as tornadoes that occur during the day,according toa study by University of Tennessee.

    Funnel clouds quickly formed.

    This is how tornadoes happen, said Brendan Schaper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. A lot of time in Middle Tennessee we see lines of strong to severe storms.

    "Within those lines we can get quick little spin-ups. Those little quick spin-ups usually dont offer us as much lead time because the tornadoes happen quickly and then they are gone.

    The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Davidson, Sumner and Wilson counties.

    Damage to airplanes, hangars and facilities all around the field left in the wake of a tornado can be seen at John C. Tune Airport in Nashville on Friday, March 6, 2020.Henry Taylor/The Tennessean

    Three minutes later, a twister touched down directly over the John C. Tune Airport, with radar picking up on debris from extensive damage at the airport, including the terminal, hangar and airfield.

    More than 90 aircraft are destroyed. Later, debris from the airport would be foundmiles away.

    Three minutes after that,the NWS warned of a "large and extremely dangerous" tornado near Nashville.

    A EF-2 tornado with winds of 125 mph passed north of the Tennessee State Capitol at 12:41 a.m.It blew out windows, overturned cars, broke gas lines and tangled power lines into a twisted mess.

    In its wake,a path of destruction stretched through North Nashville and Germantown.

    Rubble from collapsed homes stretched from Clay Street at Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Boulevard past Buchanan Street and Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School almost down to Jefferson Street.

    Sixteenth Avenue North just offCockrill Street appeared to be where thetwister left some of theworst havoc.

    Nashville tornado: Footage shows storm roll through Germantown on March 3

    This was recorded by an MNPD Safety Camera mounted at Jefferson Street & 3rd Ave N during the early hours of March 3, 2020.

    Metro Nashville Police Department, Nashville Tennessean

    The nearby Kroger gas station on Monroe Streetsustained significant damage. Flipped shopping carts lined the parking lot.

    The storm left wiresstrewn across Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and the neighboring Tennessee State Museum's lawn.

    An EF-3 tornado hit East Nashville with winds of 136-140 mph down a familiar path tornadoes had followed in 1933 and 1998.

    Neighboring boutique store Molly Green was completely wiped out, its once colorful bricks becoming a pile ofrubble on the corner of McFerrin Avenue and Main Street.

    Patrons at bars at Five Points came out to walkthe streets to see the path of destruction the tornado had left. A defunct Family Dollar, set to be renovated for a new bar, had been destroyed, along with Burger Up, where water spoutedhigh in the sky.

    Siding, slabs of concrete and other building materials ripped from structures were scattered up and down Main Street. Victims of the storm included businesses old and new, run-down and upscale, name brands and mom-and-pop all part of the growing East Nashville enclave.

    With wind speedsup to 165 mphthe storm continued into Donelson and Hermitage at 12:53, where it nearly leveled an entire subdivision before reaching Mt. Juliet.

    The Donelson Christian Academy was torn apart, metal trailers moved hundreds of feet, trees uprooted and many lives shattered in an otherwise quiet community near Nashvilles airport.

    Thedestructive tornadoleft dozens of homes in the Donelsonarea torn to shreds.

    In Mt. Juliet, roofs were torn off homes, schools nearly leveled and electric poles and trees downed. People were rescued from homes that had collapsed, just like others across Davidson and Wilson counties.

    Less than 10 minutes later, anEF-1 tornado is confirmed just north of the Interstate 40 interchange in Lebanon heading east.It carvedapath of destruction through Wilson County.

    New video: Stoner Creek Elementary in Mt. Juliet torn apart during March 3 tornado

    A newly-released video shows the moments a tornado destroyed Stoner Creek Elementary School in Mt. Juliet on March 3.

    Nashville Tennessean

    Homes impacted by storm damage include areas around Central Pike, Triple Crown, Clearview, Old Lebanon Dirt Road and Pleasant Grove Road.

    Lebanon resident Jeremy Reeves tweeted a photo of a fax cover sheet he found cleaning up storm debris in his yard. It was from John C. Tune Airport in Nashville, 40 miles away.

    The storm caused extensive damage to West Wilson Middle and Stoner Creek Elementary schools.

    A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is located near Cookeville in Putnam County, about 80 miles east of Nashville.

    The tornado struck highly populated subdivisions.

    Thetornado ravaged neighborhoodsoff Highway 70 between Baxter and Cookeville. Itwiped out homes, reducing them to rubble, tossing around cars and renderingneighborhoods unrecognizable.

    First indication that the storm had been deadly, as Nashville police announcetwo fatalities in East Nashville.

    Michael Dolfini, 36, andAlbree Sexton, 33, were killed as they ran to their car from Attaboy Lounge, where Dolfini worked.

    As the sun rose, the extent of the damageleft behind began to become clearer.

    The lucky ones,who slept through the storm, woke up to the news of death and destruction.

    Residents acrossimpacted areas are asked to stay off the streets that are flooded, blocked with downed power lines and the rubble of destroyed buildings.

    Emergency personnel have already responded to specific neighborhoods, going door-to-door checking on residents. Neighbors look for missing friends and family.

    Thousands are left without power.

    And the death toll rises.

    James Eaton, 84, and Donna Eaton, 81, died at their home on Catalpa Drive in Mt. Juliet andBrandy Barker, 38, of Lebanon, was killed at a CEVA Logistics warehouse on Athletes Way Northwhile working security.

    In Putnam County,at least 18people died, several among them children,and 88were injured in a 2 mile stretch west of town the highest death toll in the state from the storm.

    Over the coming weeks and months, Tennessean reporters worked tirelessly to chronicle the storms deadly impact and recovery efforts even as the pandemic took root in the state.

    Coverage in the immediate aftermath focused on where people could go for help,scammers who were preying on victimsand apresidential visit to tour the stricken area.

    President Donald Trump holds a baby during a visit to tornado-ravaged Putnam County, Tenn., Friday, March 6, 2020.George Walker IV / The Tennessean

    Thats where the story ended for many, as national attention turned to the looming pandemic and effort to fight COVID-19.

    And while our efforts, like every other newsrooms, began to focus more on the life-altering impact of the pandemic, we continued to offer essential, in-depth and investigative reporting to our local audience as the recovery from the tornadoes continued.

    Our team created freelive blogs dailyfor a week after the storm to bring essential news and information to local residents with information that ranged fromwhen power might be restoredtowhere you could safely parkyour vehicles during the clean-up and recovery efforts.

    We focused on the storms long-term costs to Nashvillians (wherea 32% property tax hike was tied to the tornadoesand political fallout followed) and residents of Middle Tennessee in general, touching onthe local economic impact, how the storms, which swept through the area on Super Tuesday,would impact voting in the 2020 electionand on steps community members could take topreserve their own mental health.

    Our team-centered part of our coverage around a single Nashville community anoccasionally neglected strip on the citys northern edgethat became the target of land developers and speculators immediately after the storm where we spentmonths chronicling the efforts to rebuildandpreserve a sense of place in a world turned upside down.

    And help, so much help, the outpouring from within thecommunity to help one another, thetens of thousands of volunteers who mobilizedfor a massive clean-up effort the Saturday after the storm, theprivate businesses finding ways to offer assistanceto others impacted by the storm. It was so overwhelming in Putnam County, one of the hardest-hit communities,that officials said they couldnt handle it all: A great problem to have.

    There was so much that theTennessean created a Facebook group to connect donors with those in need, a page that continued to serve a purpose as COVID-19 spread through the community (

    Through it all, we paid attention to the people impacted by the storm: On the high school girls basketball team whose memberslost their homes but not their championship hopes; onpets whose families found them days laterand those whofound kindred sprits in rattled humansafter the storm; on therole religion playedin theefforts to rebuild shattered lives; on the attempts to preserveMiddle Tennessees rich historyand to continuechronicling the pivotal events that define us.

    And finally, the inevitable collision of thepandemic in a community where 19 people were killedin the storm weeks earlier.

    Contributing: Yihyun Jeong, Joel Ebert,Andy Humbles, Brandon Shields,Sandy Mazza, Gentry Estes and USA TODAY.

    The state flag flies amid rubble on Charlton Square in Baxter, Tenn., on Wednesday, March 5, 2020.Caitie McMekin/The Tennessean

    Read more from the original source:
    How the Tennessean staff covered the deadly March 2020 tornadoes - Tennessean

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