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    What Are the Top 5 Manufactured Housing Investment Myths? – Commercial Property Executive - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

    The manufactured housing sector is experiencing an increase in popularity among investors and tenants alike. As the pandemic aggravated an already deepening affordable housing crisis and the unemployment wave hit the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors the hardest, manufactured homes are deemed a viable solution to the housing crisis. According to the 2013 U.S. Census, some 20 million people lived in a manufactured home.

    Most commonly known as trailer or mobile homes, modern manufactured homes are almost indistinguishable from single-family residences as they are built in compliance with HUD regulation. REITs and other large institutional investorsincluding Sam Zells Equity Lifestyle Propertiesare entering a historical mom-and-pop dominated industry and taking advantage of value-add opportunities.

    READ ALSO:Mobile Homes Move Into Investors Sights

    The following list tackles the most common misconceptions about investing in manufactured housing. From financing to building quality and tenants, manufactured homes have evolved to be defined by affordability rather than mobility.

    One myth regarding manufactured homes is that they are troublesome to finance. While this used to be the case several years ago, the situation has changed with increased investment interest and now both GSEs and private lenders have ramped up financing manufactured housing. Fannie Mae alone closed $2.5 billion in loan for manufactured homes in 2019, slightly down compared to the 2018 volume of $2.9 billion, but a significant increase from $1.9 billion in 2017. Additionally, recent JLL data shows that the percentage of delinquent loans has barely exceeded 5 percent in the period following the last economic recession and remained at an all-time low when other asset classes experienced difficulties.

    The first half of the year saw a spike in loans, as the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in order to offset the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic, with many owners taking advantage of the opportunity and refinancing their portfolios. For instance, in August, Hunt Real Estate originated $41 million in Fannie Mae debt for three communities in Arizona and Utah.

    While many still see them as old-fashioned mobile housing, manufactured homes are actually a specific type of factory-built housing and very closely resemble single-family residences. They are built under HUDs strict Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards code. They are then transported to the site and assembled rapidly to ensure minimal weather exposure that can result in increased expansion, contraction and warping. Compared to a traditional site-built home, a manufactured one must withstand transportation, making the final products sturdier once completed. What fits the stereotype are the structures constructed prior to June 15th,1976, when the HUD code was implemented.

    Manufactured homes are also believed to depreciate over time. This can happen if the structure has been moved or it wasnt well taken care of. But, as with any type of real estate, location is everything and a well-located community can maintain or increase in value over time.

    Demand for manufactured homes keeps increasing and the pandemic has only accelerated the need for affordable housing. The sector currently experiences a cap rate of 5.89 percent, according to RCA data quoted by Fannie Mae. Total investment in manufactured housing increased 23 percent in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year, according to JLL findings. In addition, institutional capital accounted for a record-high 28 percent of total investment volume year-to-date. Just last month, Blackstone was in talks to invest $550 million to grow its manufactured housing portfolio with 40 parks.

    The sector can be seen as a safe investment in times of uncertainty since manufactured communities recently experienced low residential turnover and high rent. Stabilized occupancy nationally is at an all-time high in the first quarter of 2020 at 93.5 percent, according to JLL data.

    Compared to other asset classes, the manufactured housing sector has one of the lowest investment barriers. The second quarter saw an average price per pad of $50,792up 6.6 percent from the first quarter and a 26 percent increase year-over-year, JLL data shows. With limited new supply and an aging existing stock , investors have plenty of value-add opportunities in this niche sector.

    While most asset types use letters to differentiate properties by age and construction quality, manufactured housing communities are differentiated using a star system, ranging from four stars to two stars, each targeting a different type of tenant.

    According to Fannie Mae data, manufactured housing renters tend to be on the lower end of income, with more than one-third of renters of earning less than $20,000 per year and over three-quarters earning less than $50,000 per year. These can include seniors on fixed incomes, low-income families, people with disabilities, veterans and others in need of low-cost housing.

    The same data shows there is a $350 all-in cost difference between renters of manufactured homes compared to site-built homes. This could be an incentive for debt-burden Millennials to chose the manufactured housing options and use the saving to invest or pay off loans.

    Another growing demographic is comprised of aging Baby Boomers with disposable income who opted to reduce retiring costs or simply added a second home. These residents are mostly considering 55+ communities, which offer amenities comparable to those of traditional senior communities, but at a fraction of the price.

    Originally posted here:
    What Are the Top 5 Manufactured Housing Investment Myths? - Commercial Property Executive

    Meeting to provide information to residents of St. Vrain Village Mobile Home Park on options for buying community – The Daily Camera - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Editors note: The article has been corrected to reflect that Thistle runs the ROC program in Colorado.

    A Longmont mobile home park is up for sale, and this week residents are expected to learn about their options for potentially purchasing the property themselves.

    From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Resident Owned Communities USA will host a meeting at Twin Peaks Charter Academy, 340 S. Sunset St., to discuss options for residents of the St. Vrain Village Mobile Home Park, according to a notice shared with the Times-Call by a resident. The community is at 446 S. Francis St.

    Mary Duvall is the CEO of Thistle, a Boulder-based affordable housing nonprofit that she said runs the Colorado ROC program. Thistle is a Certified Technical Assistance Provider in the ROC USA Network.

    We are excited to meet with those residents at St. Vrain Village and tell them about the programs to see if its of interest, Duvall said.

    Online Boulder County records show the property is owned by St. Vrain Investors LLC. A park manager confirmed the property is for sale. An attorney with Sherman & Howard said residents were notified of the sale.

    Those who attend the Monday meeting are asked to wear masks and bring their own chairs, according to the notice.

    Originally posted here:
    Meeting to provide information to residents of St. Vrain Village Mobile Home Park on options for buying community - The Daily Camera

    Ahead of his time: Dale Bellamah wasnt just interested in building homes, he envisioned building entire communities – Albuquerque Journal - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

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    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Bellamah Avenue in Albuquerque is named for a man who descended from royalty, amassed millions that he left to charity and had a beer garden before beer gardens were a thing.

    That man is Dale Bellamah and he made his fortune building homes. The residential street bearing the Bellamah name can be found in the Wells Park and Sawmill neighborhoods as well as in the Northeast Heights in the subdivisions he built. He was considered the sixth-largest homebuilder in the world at one point and his 1954 Princess Jeanne Park wife-planned homes in the Northeast Heights earned him respect around the country. His homes were even featured in a 1994 Science in American Life exhibit at The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

    Dale Bellamah built a thousand homes in Albuquerque during the boom of the 1950s.

    A May 11, 1957, Albuquerque Journal story about his success talked about the Princess Jeanne homes that were the result of interviews and research involving thousands of modern young homemakers. Every home in Princess Jeanne Park has its own garbage disposal unit, vented kitchen range hoods, sunlamp bath heaters and residents share a community swimming pool, and tennis courts.

    His 1972 Albuquerque Journal obit said Bellamah was one of the men responsible for turning Albuquerque from a cow town of less than 100,000 to a metropolis of 204,000 during the 1950s.


    In addition to Princess Jeanne Park, he built homes in Parkland Hills, Ridgecrest, Mesa Village, Kirtland, and Bellamah subdivisions.

    He approached the development of Princess Jeanne Park, which he named after his wife Jeanne, with what were considered radical ideas at the time. Instead of just building homes, he envisioned an entire community with a park, recreational areas, schools, streets and homes. Jeanne Bellamah Park near Juan Tabo and Constitution was also named after his wife. He was initially criticized for his idea, but according his obit within a year, builders were traveling to Albuquerque from all parts of the country to study his methods and designs.

    Bellamah was a no-nonsense businessman in public and a caring, giving, kind man in private.

    He scoffed at government interference when it came to business. He opposed putting a cap on the price of goods and enacting rations proposed by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. He argued the measures were contrary to the American way of living and destroys free enterprise.

    Two years later he fought against a proposed bill that would establish a low-cost housing program in response to a shortage of homes. He said it was a step toward breeding a nation of irresponsibles and the bureaucratic fumbling would end up costing taxpayers more money.

    But Bellamah did care about the working man and the plight of the poor. He left his entire estate, estimated between $30 million and $50 million, to a charity foundation he established a few years before his death.

    This pamphlet is an advertisement for 1950s homes that were built in Albuquerque with the input of housewives.(Courtesy of University Of New Mexico Center For Southwest Research)

    Bellamah, a direct descendant of the ancient royal house of Lebanon, was born into poverty in Veguita on May 19, 1914. His Lebanese father had immigrated to America for a better life, but the family settled in Barelas where his father opened a grocery store. His mother died when he was 12. By then his father was invalid and could not work, so Bellamah was forced to find employment.

    It was Western Union that gave him his first shot at a job. Two years later, at age 14, he made his way to the Rail Yard shops. By that time, there was already a fire inside him to succeed.

    He finished his high school education via correspondence, even though it would take him until he was 22 to get his diploma. An advertisement in the Oct. 20, 1934, Santa Fe New Mexican shows he was also starting to dip his toes into the entrepreneurship waters when he was just 20 years old. The ad talks about the grand opening of the beer garden at the Lensic Theatre in Santa Fe, naming Bellamah as one of the proprietors. They promised drinks to suit individual tastes, entertainment and modern liquor equipment featuring all electric heating and cooling devices.

    I dont know about you, but I wasnt doing much with my life at 20. I couldnt even be bothered to fold my laundry and put it away at that age.

    This 1934 Santa Fe New Mexican ad sheds lights on one of Dale Bellamahs first business ventures. He would go on to become a millionaire.(Newspapers.Com/Santa Fe New Mexican)

    But Bellamah was just getting started.

    He went onto the University of New Mexico, opening a liquor store, Dales Liquors on Central and Girard Avenue, during his junior year, and earned a bachelors degree in political science.

    Not done yet.

    He joined the army in 1943, leaving his wife to run the store and putting forever on hold plans to attend law school.

    Still not done.

    He sold his liquor store in 1946 and began building his corporate empire in earnest. In addition to building homes, he owned nine shopping centers, a savings and loan in Chicago, a bank in Grants, a mobile home park, several motor inns and a life insurance company.

    Bellahmah died of a heart attack on April 20, 1972, exactly two years and one day after his wife. The couple never had children. His death made the front page of the Albuquerque Journal and his passing was also noted in publications across the state.

    Colleague Tony Potenziani was quoted in his obituary.

    Dale Bellamah was one of the finest men I have ever known. He was kind and compassionate, and his vision and dreams inspired those of us privileged to associate with him day by day and year by year.

    Those dreams and visions can still be seen today in the thousands of Albuquerque homes he built and the street signs displaying his name. (A street in Santa Fe also bears his name).

    Curious about how a town, street or building got its name? Email staff writer Elaine Briseo at or 505-823-3965 as she continues the monthly journey in Whats in a Name?

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    Ahead of his time: Dale Bellamah wasnt just interested in building homes, he envisioned building entire communities - Albuquerque Journal

    Along Mariner East pipelines, secrecy and a patchwork of emergency plans leave many at risk and in the dark – LebTown - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    23 min read497 views and 34 shares Posted October 15, 2020

    This article is shared with LebTown by content partner Spotlight PA.

    By Rebecca Moss of Spotlight PA

    Winding through green forested hills, the road to Meadowbrook Mobile Home Park in York County is nestled with brown-paneled trailers and potholes half-filled with jagged concrete. Sue Ritter has lived here for more than 40 years, before the pipes began to break, leaving faucets dry for days and causing sewage backups to soak the floors. Several trailers, constructed with cheap material and wood additions, have caught fire in recent years.

    When workers in large trucks began barreling down these roads in 2017, hollowing out part of the forest for Sunocos Mariner East pipeline project, it seemed like another nuisance the now 73-year-old had little choice but to accept.

    The only indication Ritter said she was given about the pipeline designed to carry highly volatile natural gas liquids was the sound of construction groaning late into the night.

    She said she had no idea the project was unlike any other in the region.

    Should a leak occur, she did not know it would be odorless and appear as a fog or frost, causing pools of water to bubble in low-lying areas. She did not know that dried grass or dead animals found near the yellow marker poles could be a sign to evacuate. She did not know that, in an emergency, she should leave on foot because turning a car ignition could cause an explosion.

    I dont remember seeing anything about what would happen in case of emergency, she said, adding its a struggle for her to walk more than two blocks. Where are you supposed to go? My first instinct would be to get in the car.

    We cant even say ignorance is bliss.

    As the Mariner East pipelines become a permanent underpinning of Pennsylvania, many communities are still in the dark about what to do in the rare case of a serious accident. Thats in large part because pipeline operators have withheld critical safety information from the public with little oversight by the state, a Spotlight PA investigation has found.

    Three pipelines are part of the 350-mile Mariner East system, which runs across the lower half of Pennsylvania from Ohio and West Virginia to a storage and processing facility in Marcus Hook, just outside Philadelphia. The system includes an 8-inch pipeline, first built in the 1930s to transport products like heating oil, which has since been repurposed. Sunoco placed the Mariner East 1 pipeline back into service in 2014, and in 2017, began construction on the larger pipes 16 and 20 inches in diameter. The company is temporarily using a hybrid structure a combination of 12-inch, 16-inch, and 20-inch pipes to run gas through Chester and Delaware Counties until the entire 20-inch line is complete. Read previous LebTown coverage here.

    For decades, federal regulators have identified failures in public education as directly contributing to fatalities in natural gas liquids pipeline accidents. In separate incidents involving pipelines in Texas and Mississippi operated by Koch Pipeline Co. and Dixie Pipeline Co., respectively residents in 50 homes should have received informational mailers but did not, and four people burned to death, according to federal reports.

    Sunoco and its parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, have withheld information in Pennsylvania in part by citing a state law enacted in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks intended to prevent key infrastructure, like water systems, from being compromised. But residents, school officials, and some local emergency planners said it is now preventing them from understanding the scope of harm associated with Mariner East and creating adequate response plans.

    Court documents, county and state planning reports, hearing testimony, risk assessments, accident reports, and more than 80 interviews with residents, firefighters, school officials, emergency managers, and others reveal a fractured system of emergency preparedness with significant gaps in the knowledge residents and emergency responders have about the pipelines, the chemicals flowing through them, and what to do if something goes wrong.

    Both state and federal regulators have criticized the company for not providing enough information to the public and, at times, to first responders about the potential hazards. As recently as June, a federal agency ordered Sunoco to change its public communications to better reflect the unique hazards of the Mariner East system.

    Sunocos Mariner East pipeline project has been marked by a litany of federal and state violations related to construction problems and environmental harm.

    April 2017: A small hole in Mariner East 1 an 8-inch pipeline constructed in the 1930s leaks 840 gallons of natural gas liquids in Berks County. As part of a settlement with the state, Sunoco agrees to pay $200,000 and study the remaining viability of the pipeline.

    May 2017: The state Department of Environmental Protection issues its first notices of violation against Sunoco for the Mariner East 2 construction project. As of August 2020, the agency has issued 115 notices of violation for breaching permits related to environmental degradation, soil disruption, and clean water, among other issues.

    January 2018: The state orders Sunoco to temporarily suspend work on all pipeline construction following numerous violations.

    March 2018: Deep sinkholes develop in the backyards of homes in the Lisa Drive neighborhood of West Whiteland Township in Chester County. The state temporarily shuts down the existing pipeline. The damage ultimately compels the company to buy the homes from landowners.

    December 2018: The Chester County district attorney launches an investigation into the pipeline system.

    January 2019: New sinkholes develop in the Lisa Drive neighborhood. The Public Utility Commission temporarily shuts down the pipeline.

    March 2019: Attorney General Josh Shaprio and Delaware Countys district attorney announce a joint criminal investigation into the pipeline; a grand jury is empanelled.

    May 2019: A federal regulator issues a notice of violation against Sunoco alleging the company failed to properly notify the public about the pipelines.

    November 2019: An ongoing FBI investigation into the Wolf administrations handling and permitting of the Mariner East pipeline project becomes public.

    July and August 2020: Amid construction, new sinkholes emerge in Chester County, and the company releases 8,000 gallons of drilling fluid into Marsh Creek Lake. The state orders Sunoco to reroute part of the pipeline.

    While there are other pipeline systems in Pennsylvania that carry natural gas liquids, Mariner East is by far the largest in scale. Stretching through 17 south-central Pennsylvania counties, the roughly 350-mile system pumps natural gas liquids from Ohio, West Virginia, and Southwestern Pennsylvania to a storage and processing facility just outside Philadelphia.

    The chemicals are pushed through several lines at high pressure thousands of times the force typically used to send gas to a kitchen stove as they weave through suburban neighborhoods, rural farms, mobile-home parks, and alongside grocery stores, elementary schools, Little League fields, nursing homes, and places of worship. A Spotlight PA analysis of U.S. Census data found as many as 345,000 people live close enough to the Mariner East pipeline system that they could be affected by a leak or serious explosion.

    Experts said the likelihood of a fatal accident is low. Residents near the line are more likely to die in a car crash or house fire. But the nature and amount of the chemicals running through these lines, and their proximity to some highly populated areas, pose a unique challenge for the state and those in charge of planning for a worst-case scenario.

    When released, the dense liquid chemicals which can include ethane, butane, and propane expand rapidly into a highly combustive vapor cloud that hangs close to the ground rather than dispersing into the air, appearing as a fog or mist. Identifying a leak and predicting the path of the cloud, or telling people precisely how to escape it, can be very difficult, especially for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.

    If a large plume of the chemicals pooled and ignited, the resulting explosion would burn exceptionally hot in a fire that could last for hours, likely injuring or killing people through the force of the explosion or flames, and causing significant damage to structures.

    The products in the Mariner line being odorless, colorless, extremely flammable, and able to asphyxiate people the last thing I want is a first responder or member of the community walking into [that], said Tim Boyce, the emergency manager in Delaware County, where the Mariner East pipelines cut through a population of roughly 3,000 people per square mile.

    As part of its investigation, Spotlight PA traveled the length of the pipelines to assess emergency preparedness in different communities, and find out how much people know about the chemicals, how to identify a problem, and how to get to safety.

    Some, like Ritter, said they were not given information about Mariner East, though Sunoco said it sent brochures to her neighborhood. Those who did receive the mailers said they didnt provide enough detail on how to react in an emergency.

    Nursing home residents living feet from the pipeline route said they were unaware of how to evacuate. They worried many would be stuck if they could not use elevators or other transportation that might ignite the vapors. And some principals of the dozens of schools near Mariner East said they didnt have enough information to guarantee childrens safety.

    Residents along the route have been pressing first responders and emergency officials for answers, but they, too, have struggled to get information to put together a robust response plan.

    There is no centralized, statewide blueprint for communities to follow. State emergency planning documents are vague, addressing the risks of pipelines in general, but not specifically accidents involving natural gas liquids. Officials in many areas said they were relying on existing all hazards emergency plans, which experts said do not account for the uniqueness of a potential accident.

    Should one occur, the immediate responsibility would fall to local first responders, primarily volunteer fire departments that have been overburdened, understaffed, and poorly funded for decades, leaving little time for specialized training. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, these resources are even more taxed, and some local pipeline safety planning efforts have stalled.

    Emergency managers and school officials attempting to draft more specific response plans said they have been stymied by Sunocos refusal to release certain information, such as the blast radius in the case of an explosion, or detailed evacuation plans. As a result, those officials and others along the pipeline route said they still cannot confidently answer one of the most pressing questions:

    Are we prepared?

    If the public could get more of the baseline information I think we could move forward, Boyce said. They are banging their head on the wall to try to get an answer to what should be a simple question.

    You cant just keep telling people, Its OK, dont worry about it. We owe it to them to have thought this through beforehand.

    Federal law requires companies to provide emergency responders, local officials, and people who might be impacted by pipelines with information on their location and how to recognize and respond to problems. Sunoco said in a statement it fulfills that obligation without fail.

    Based in Texas, Sunoco, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, is spending more than $5.1 billion on Mariner East, roughly $900,000 or about .02% of which has gone to local emergency responders for supplies and training through a grant program.

    The company said it has employed more than 11,000 people to date in construction on the pipelines and at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. The pipeline enables continued fracking in Western Pennsylvania, Energy Transfer has said, and provides critical access to the port in Marcus Hook, where the liquids can be shipped overseas to make plastics and other products.

    Every two years, Sunoco said it mails colorful brochures to residents along the Mariner East pipeline route. One features an illustration of a fuchsia-winged butterfly perched serenely on a small yellow flag indicating the pipeline infrastructure below the grass.

    It includes emergency phone numbers and instructions that visual cues such as ice, mist, or soil blowing on the ground could indicate a leak, as could a hissing sound.

    Know, Recognize, Respond, it says.

    Sunoco has sent more than 324,000 public awareness brochures, the company said, and trained just over 2,000 first responders in Pennsylvania. Brochures are distributed to residents who live between 1,000 and 4,000 feet of the pipeline, according to the company.

    Lisa Coleman, a spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners, said emergency response is ultimately not Sunocos responsibility. Planning for difficulties that could arise in evacuating children, the elderly, or people with disabilities is a local job, not a corporate one, she said.

    The companys role, Coleman said, is to provide emergency response departments with the proper training and information that will allow them to develop these plans, which we have done. Trainings include information about natural gas liquids, the location of pipeline infrastructure, and accident scenarios, she said.

    Sunoco has provided detailed facility response plans to the state Public Utility Commission, which oversees pipeline safety. Parts of these documents which should detail how a company would respond to and prevent various emergency situations, including possible threats and worst-case scenarios are considered confidential and are not publicly available. Coleman said such secrecy is necessary, and does not impede safety efforts.

    The commission also approved Sunocos plans for educating the public and training first responders, Coleman said. But because much of the plans are not made public, there is little independent scrutiny over whether they are adequate.

    And there have been problems.

    In late June, the U.S. Department of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said Energy Transfer, through Sunoco, violated public awareness requirements regarding Mariner East. Sunoco failed to consider the unique scope of harm posed by natural gas liquids when informing the public about risk, the agency said. It must also explain how it determined the potential impact of a pipeline accident, the order said.

    The company did not contest the findings but said at a hearing this month it did not agree with the agency. Sunoco said it had already updated its plan beginning in 2018, and with additional mailings last year and does not intend to do anything further in response. An agency spokesperson said the case is still open.

    Sunocos Public Awareness Program should clearly state their buffer(s) and how they were determined and/or rational for selection, Robert Burrough, director of the agencys eastern region, wrote in an earlier violation notice. A buffer is another term for blast radius, or the area of harm should a pipeline rupture.

    The agency also found the company did not distribute information to all areas of consequence recognized in pertinent risk assessment reports and neglected to identify and educate the affected public whose safety could potentially be compromised by a pipeline release.

    Inadequate public information is also at the heart of a pending case, referred to as the Safety Seven, before the state Public Utility Commission. The case was brought by residents in Chester and Delaware Counties, and later joined by the counties, as well as several townships and school districts. They are asking for a better public safety plan, and argue the project should be shut down until this can be ensured.

    The company in late July asked the Public Utility Commission to dismiss complaints related to safety and corrosion risk, alleging the Safety Seven parties had failed to prove the pipeline was unsafe within current regulatory and legal standards. Hearings in the case began Sept. 29.

    Separately, an administrative law judge found problems late last year with Sunocos public awareness plan and emergency training efforts in Cumberland County, just west of Harrisburg. Sunoco said it had met its legal obligations and didnt owe local governments additional outreach.

    In September, the commission ordered the company to hold a meeting in the county to provide more information on pipeline safety, and noted other issues are pending as part of the Safety Seven case.

    Past accidents show what can happen when public awareness efforts fall short.

    In 1996, a teenager who lived at a home left off a pipeline mailing list, as well as her boyfriend, were killed while attempting to warn neighbors of a leak, according to a federal investigation and news reports. Not knowing it could be risky to operate a vehicle, they drove into a cloud of butane, igniting the invisible plume. A decade later, in Carmichael, Miss., 10 houses accidentally excluded from a pipeline companys mailing list were among those most damaged when a line ruptured. Two people in those homes were killed.

    Residents of Meadowbrook Mobile Home Park, in York County, many of whom live less than 100 feet from the pipeline, said they, too, have been overlooked. Sunoco said it sent mailers to the community in 2018, but a dozen residents there said they never saw them.

    Nobody really informed us or sent any letters, Deborah Basham, 63, said standing outside her single-wide mobile home. Nobody came and said anything. No, If you see this or smell this in your water, please let us know.

    Mike Cattuti is a volunteer firefighter and emergency management coordinator for Fairview Township, where Meadowbrook is located. He said if something goes wrong with Mariner East, the township would rely on the general training it has done to prepare for large incidents, like a potential nuclear accident at nearby Three Mile Island. The township doesnt have a specific plan for natural gas liquids.

    Cattuti said he was not aware residents at Meadowbrook said they had no information about Mariner East, or that they lived so close to it.

    If they see a problem in one area, he said, they are going to have to go the other way.

    But Tyler McClucas said the steep road to his home doesnt offer that option.

    I dont mind the pipeline, McClucas said. But at least give something of a warning so people know. With how close it is to the trailer park, oh, these people could lose their houses. They didnt say s to us.

    The sole exit from the Meadowbrook community is a dirt road, forking precipitously at the bottom of a steep hill. In an emergency, the only way to leave would be downhill, into the area where leaking chemicals, which are heavier than air, would most likely pool.

    On an early morning, sun-filtered mist clung in the air between bare-limbed trees in Christina Morleys backyard.

    I once enjoyed looking out the window on a crisp morning like today & seeing fog rolling across the fences, she wrote on Twitter. Now I wonder is it fog or a vapor cloud

    Mariner East lies roughly 700 feet from her back door in Chester County and has altered the fabric of her life. She combs the Department of Environmental Protections website regularly, reading about Sunocos permit violations, some occurring down the street from her home.

    Morley no longer shops at the grocery store nearest to her house, because the pipelines run alongside it. And some nights, when she cant sleep, she has stayed up listening online to the preserved 911 calls that rolled in when a pipeline explosion tore through San Bruno, Calif., in September 2010.

    I can feel heat from it. We just ran out with what we had on. Where the hell is the fire department? panicked residents told fire dispatch when the explosion occurred.

    There is a term for gradual environmental deterioration that turns into a disaster: slow violence. Those living most intimately with energy infrastructure are the first to see it, and their resilience is gradually worn away, Gwen Ottinger, a professor at Drexel University, said.

    For Morley, and other residents statewide, a litany of incidents involving Mariner East construction has similarly exacerbated public concern and degraded the presumption of safety.

    Since Sunoco began work on the Mariner East pipelines in 2014, it has been fined at least $15.9 million for more than 100 environmental and other violations, an analysis of state records shows.

    Over the last two years alone, the state has cited the company for allowing drilling chemicals to rise to the soil surface in a dozen counties across the state, at times contaminating private water systems but failing to notify landowners for days, or the state as required. Ponds of murky liquid could be seen pooled outside one residential community, ringed with caution tape. Sinkholes, some 10 feet deep, have opened up dozens of times, as recently as August, forcing the company to buy condemned houses and reroute traffic.

    After the company released 8,000 gallons of drilling fluid into Marsh Creek Lake during construction in August, the Department of Environmental Protection ordered Sunoco to halt construction and reroute part of the pipeline, saying the company had acted carelessly and blatantly disregarded the citizens and resources of Chester County.

    The Clean Air Council said in early October that it intends to file suit against Sunoco alleging the company altered reporting practices this year and falsified information to minimize potentially dangerous conditions, including sinkholes and other ground movement, to avoid notifying the state and continue construction.

    A spokesperson for Sunoco called the claims baseless, founded on slanderous information from a disgruntled employee.

    Amid these environmental and public health concerns, the FBI is investigating whether Gov. Tom Wolfs administration erred in issuing construction permits to Sunoco for the Mariner East project. And state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in conjunction with the Delaware County district attorney, has convened a grand jury to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct involving the pipeline.

    Determining actual danger is complicated. Risk assessments are often based on historical accident data involving natural gas liquids, not necessarily a companys individual track record. But the fracking boom means more highly volatile chemicals are being transported in the United States and exported overseas. Over the last decade, the number of miles of pipeline in the United States shipping highly volatile liquids has increased nearly 25%, and the number of serious accidents has also steadily gone up, according to an analysis of federal data by the Pipeline Safety Trust.

    If an accident were to occur, however, residents and emergency managers want to know how many people might be at risk and how to keep them safe. Its a basic question, but because of a lack of public information, its a hard one to answer. And that makes preparing for an incident and properly informing those along the pipeline route difficult.

    Sunoco and the state have declined to disclose the blast radius for the pipeline system to the public the area in which people could be harmed if the pipeline were to rupture.

    But other incidents with highly volatile liquids like the ones flowing through Mariner East have shattered windows hundreds of feet away, decimated nearby structures, injured 37 people and killed at least 11 from 2000 through 2019, according to federal data and incident reports. More than a thousand accidents have occurred in that same period.

    Advocates and emergency planners in Pennsylvania have tried to piece together the puzzle. They have looked north to a smaller ethane pipeline in Canada, where Sunoco has estimated a blast radius at just under half a mile. (Energy Transfer said it would not apply a smaller pipelines measurements to the Mariner East network.)

    An analysis funded by municipalities in Chester County found a hazard zone could extend at least 0.4 miles. Another, commissioned by Delaware County, found a flammable vapor cloud could extend 1.3 miles from a full breach of the pipeline.

    Between 96,000 and 345,000 people live within this harm radius in Pennsylvania, according to a Spotlight PA analysis of U.S. Census data. Up to 340 schools, child care centers, places of worship, and mobile-home parks could also be impacted by a worst-case scenario involving Mariner East.

    One expert on emergency response said theres been a bit of an overreaction by the energy industry on what information is kept secret.

    You have security people who are in the mind-set that any information out there will be exploited for negative purposes when in reality having that information is useful for people to do emergency preparedness, said Charles Jennings, director of the City University of New Yorks Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies.

    If you tell people, Yes, if this thing ignites there could be a fireball this diameter, certainly the companies dont want to get anywhere near that and raise a lot of concern, Jennings said. But people should have some kind of informed risk that there is a pipeline where they live or where they work.

    But records from a case filed with the Public Utility Commission against Sunoco suggest even the commission did not have detailed information about the pipeline risk as recently as 2018, when chemicals were already flowing through part of the system.

    That includes a lack of information about which residents were at risk and the size of a potential blast zone.

    On Feb. 16, 2018, Paul Metro, the commissions then-pipeline safety manager, wrote to Sunocos compliance specialist that the commission was reviewing the companys emergency response plans and needed more information.

    Metro asked for pipeline infrastructure maps, how long it would take to shut down the flow of chemicals in the pipeline, and modeling information about the impact zone of a pipeline accident. He also asked for a list of all schools, hospitals, and nursing homes in the impact zone, and how emergency responders had been trained.

    See the rest here:
    Along Mariner East pipelines, secrecy and a patchwork of emergency plans leave many at risk and in the dark - LebTown

    Nokia and Choice NTUA Wireless bring high-speed mobile broadband to Navajo Nation – GlobeNewswire - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    19 October 2020

    Dallas, Texas Nokia and Choice NTUA Wireless today announced that they are building a fixed wireless network that will span across the Navajo Nation to bring broadband connectivity to tribal members.

    Choice NTUA Wireless will use the spectrum-agnostic Nokia AirScale 4G LTE RAN to deploy its network in 600 MHz, CBRS and EBS spectrum to support a variety of business and consumer applications that require high bandwidth and low latency. Multigenerational homes require enough bandwidth to simultaneously support online schooling, working from home, remote patient care, and entertainment, while businesses seek to sell more products and services online.

    Located in the Northeast corner of Arizona that includes the Four Corners, the Navajo Nations remote location creates challenges around cost-effectively installing infrastructure for deploying high-speed internet. Choice NTUA Wireless has long been committed to providing voice and data service to the region to meet tribal members residential and business connectivity requirements. Its parent company, ATN International, was one of the top acquiring companies for CBRS priority access licenses (PAL), gaining critical new spectrum to deploy Fixed Wireless Access across the Navajo Nation and in other rural areas in the U.S.

    Tom Guthrie, SVP General Manager, Choice NTUA Wireless said: While COVID-19 has impacted all communities, the Navajo Nation was hit particularly hard. We have had a long-term partnership with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to provide voice and data service across the nation, and our partnership with Nokia and SAC Wireless for this important project allows us to deliver the additional capacity and coverage required to support increased bandwidth needs for education, telehealth and remote workforces.

    John Harrington, SVP, U.S. Major Accounts, Nokia said: Choice NTUA Wireless was an early proponent for CBRS spectrum and Nokia is a leader in CBRS-based solutions. This partnership will provide the Navajo Nation with the high-speed LTE coverage it needs today, while our 5G-ready AirScale solution ensures that the network can evolve to 5G when needed.

    Cari Shyiak, President and CEO at SAC Wireless said: Bridging the digital divide for the Navajo Nation opens up opportunities for Native-owned businesses to grow and for valued citizens to gain access to essential services including 911, online education and telehealth. To deploy Nokia 4G LTE RAN solutions over a wide expanse of tribal land, we will be leveraging SACs end to end deployment capabilities and experience rolling out networks. With a strong execution team in place, we can meet the deadline while delivering the top tier quality and safety we built the SAC brand upon. This project kicked off in October and runs through the end of the year.


    About NokiaWe create the technology to connect the world. Only Nokia offers a comprehensive portfolio of network equipment, software, services and licensing opportunities across the globe. With our commitment to innovation, driven by the award-winning Nokia Bell Labs, we are a leader in the development and deployment of 5G networks.

    Our communications service provider customers support more than 6.4 billion subscriptions with our radio networks, and our enterprise customers have deployed over 1,300 industrial networks worldwide. Adhering to the highest ethical standards, we transform how people live, work and communicate. For our latest updates, please visit us online and follow us on Twitter @nokia and @NokiaNAM.

    About SAC Wireless SAC Wireless helps customers keep the world connected with our ideas, innovations and solutions. SAC offers a complete portfolio of self-performing services to support major network builds, 5G LTE upgrades and indoor/outdoor small cell and distributed antenna systems (DAS) deployments. The company's core business consists of fully integrated network solutions, specializing in site development, architectural and engineering design management, construction services and management, equipment installation, commissioning and integration, operations and maintenance.

    SAC works with telecom carriers, major tower owners, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the United States. We bring more than two decades of experience to help our customers design, build and upgrade cellular networks. By choosing us to build their networks, customers have made SAC the #1 turnkey network construction company in the United States. SAC wireless is awholly-owned,independently-operatingNokia company.Follow us on LinkedIn:

    About Choice NTUA WirelessChoice NTUA Wireless is a facilities based carrier that is majority Navajo-owned through NTUA (Navajo Tribal Utility Authority). Choice NTUA Wireless formally launched in 2014 and provides 4G LTE fixed/mobile broadband and voice across the Navajo Nation. 98% of its network is 4G and its customers enjoy the ability to access their voice and data from anywhere in the continental U.S.

    Media Inquiries:NokiaCommunicationsPhone:+358 10 448

    Read the rest here:
    Nokia and Choice NTUA Wireless bring high-speed mobile broadband to Navajo Nation - GlobeNewswire

    Taking the Gospel of COVID-19 Safety to the Streets of Baltimore – Josh Kurtz - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Bishop Bruce Lewandowski has seen 36 members of his Baltimore congregation die and countless others become infected.

    Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Patricks weve been hit hard with the COVID, he said.

    Lewandowski is the pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic parish in Southeast Baltimores 21224 zip code one of the hardest hit areas in the city.

    Baltimore City accounts for about 12% of the states confirmed COVID-19 cases. The 21224 zip code, which has a high concentration of Latino and Hispanic residents, makes up about 13% of the citys total case count.

    The Sacred Heart of Jesus has had on-site COVID-19 testing through Johns Hopkins for a little over four months now, sometimes twice or three times a week, depending on the need, Lewandowski said in an interview Sunday.

    After securing testing, he began to see a need for other services, springing the congregation into action.

    The church assembled a crew of 20 drivers who deliver food and pass along information about masking and tests to 500 church members every week. But even that paired with news spread through Spanish-speaking media outlets like Somos Baltimore Latinoand Ke Pachanga Radiowerent cutting it, Lewandowski said.

    People are still not getting the information weve got to do more, he explained. And so this is just one more way to get that information out to people.

    Lewandowski was talking about a week-long campaign launched by the Maryland Department of Healths COVID-19 Hispanic Community Support Task Force targeting Baltimores Latino residents with public service announcements to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

    A sound truck, which the Department of Health calls the mobile public health education unit, is set to drive through several neighborhoods in and around the 21224 zip code over the course of this week, urging residents in English and Spanish to get tested, wear masks and seek medical help when theyre symptomatic.

    Receiving treatment or testing for COVID will not put your immigration status at risk, the truck speakers blasted outside of Patterson Park early Sunday afternoon. Get tested.

    [See a video of the sound truck here]

    Additionally, volunteers will hand out masks and pamphlets along the trucks route through the Eastern Avenue business district, Bayview, Canton, Highlandtown, Dundalk, Patterson Park and Joseph Lee Park.

    The pandemic has presented particularly challenging circumstances for members of our Hispanic communities. These Marylanders are struggling not only with access to testing and health care, but also with the loss of wages, locating safe housing for isolating and food security issues, said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall in a statement. The Hispanic Community Support Task Force is working to make resources available, while eliminating the language barrier and other complications that stand in the way of people getting the help they need.

    In addition to the mobile public health unit, the COVID-19 Hispanic Community Support Task Force established a hotline through Catholic Charities Esperanza Center for symptomatic members of the Latino community to be connected to services.

    Folks who are trying to self isolate, who are positive and are in need of assistance, they should call that hotline because it will connect them to the multitude of services of which theyre going to need, Dr. Mark Martin, deputy director of the Maryland Department of Healths Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities,told Maryland Matters before the truck left Baltimores Patterson Park Sunday afternoon.

    Residents can reach Spanish-speaking operators to connect to testing, medical care, eviction prevention and cash assistance services by calling 667-600-2314.

    You have a family

    Lewandowski said Sunday that health disparities in his community run deep.

    We have people whove never been to the doctor since they arrived here 15, 20, 25 years [ago], he explained. Weve had men, especially, from our community pass away because they had no regular routine health care practices, they never got regular checkups or physicals and then it turned out that they actually had underlying symptoms that if they had known, they would know that they would be more vulnerable to COVID, and maybe would have isolated and stayed home.

    The concept of mistrust of governmental and medical agencies among communities of color isnt new.

    The Rev. Kobi Little, president of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP, said his organization began to step in when they noticed at the pandemics start that information coming from news outlets and Trump administration officials was not penetrating communities of color.

    Theres a lot of misconceptions about the virus, theres a lot of misunderstanding about who can contract the virus and who couldnt, said Little. And so we knew that we needed to go to the streets, take it to the streets, and as a trusted voice in our community, tell people how serious this virus was and what they could do to protect themselves from it.

    The NAACP launched its own mobile public health education unitduring the early days of COVID-19, which it relaunched with new messaging in partnership with Strong City Baltimore last week.

    With COVID-19, every neighborhood and individual in our city is at risk. Were fighting an enemy we cannot see, Reginald Davis, interim CEO of Strong City, said at a news conference announcing the trucks relaunch last week. However, all of us can fight back like our lives depend on it. Because they do!

    Little said the state took note of the work the NAACP had done with its sound truck, and asked if theyd be willing to work together along with CASA and other organizations to spread these messages across other underserved communities in the city.

    Jose Melo, a volunteer driver and congregant at Sacred Heart of Jesus, told Maryland Matters that hes been trying to mobilize his community since the pandemic began by knocking on doors and inviting people to come down to the church to get tested.

    Were like a family, and so if youre orphaned, youre widowed, you dont have to worry you have a family, Lewandowski translated. And were trying to do whats within our reach to do with our ability to do because thats what God wants of us.

    Asked how witnessing illness and suffering first-hand has affected Melo, Lewandowski translated that it takes a psychological, emotional and physical toll on him, but that the heaviness he feels only makes him want to do more.

    This isnt going to end anytime soon, so we just have to keep up our strength and our energy and keep going because theres no end in sight, at this point, Melo said.


    Get more data on our COVID-19 in Maryland page.

    Updated daily with cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county, age and race.

    Read more from the original source:
    Taking the Gospel of COVID-19 Safety to the Streets of Baltimore - Josh Kurtz

    Researchers aim to end Miami’s HIV epidemic – University of Miami - October 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    From the farm fields of south Miami-Dade County to the corner stores in Liberty City, researchers are pursuing novel approaches to halt new infections of HIV in different at-risk communities.

    When approved in 2012, a pill that prevents infection from the AIDs virus was considered a game changer, one that finally could help halt the pandemic that, to date, has killed nearly 33 million people worldwide. Yet, eight years later, many people at high risk of acquiring HIV have never heard of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, much less are taking it.

    Rosina Cianelli, an associate professor in the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, is determined to change that reality among heterosexual Hispanic womenparticularly those who face the cultural barrier of machismo when it comes to protecting themselves from HIV. Recognizing that Latina women cant always convince partners who embody the macho standard of sexual dominance and promiscuity to use condoms, Cianelli and her co-investigators plan to augment a proven HIV prevention strategy to increase PrEP use among an overlooked population of at-risk heterosexual Hispanic women, Latina farmworkers in rural south Miami-Dade County.

    Women account for about 19 percent of new HIV diagnoses, yet only about 7 to 10 percent of PrEP users are women, and only about 11 percent of Hispanic women are familiar with PrEP, Cianelli said. Given that the rate of Hispanic women living with HIV is 2.5 times higher than for non-Hispanic white women, they need to be more aware of PrEP. That is the reality we are confronting.

    Cianellis PrEP initiative is the newest of four University of Miami proposals funded by the National Institutes of Health to advance the federal governments Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) plan. Unveiled by President Donald Trump last year, EHE aims to reduce the roughly 40,000 new HIV cases still diagnosed annually in the United States by at least 90 percent by 2030. And it aims to do so by supporting community-based initiatives that the NIHs Centers for AIDs Research (CFARs) and the National Institute of Mental Healths AIDS Research Centers (ARCs) are pursuing with existing and highly effective tools for diagnosing, preventing, and treating HIV.

    The University is home to both a CFAR, the13-year-old Miami Center for AIDS Research, and a new ARC, the Center for HIV and Research in Mental Health (CHARM) and for a good reason. As CHARM director Steven Safren said, With its large diverse and, in many ways, marginalized populations, Greater Miami remains one of the nations most challenging epicenters, if not the most challenging epicenter, for new HIV cases and optimal HIV treatment. Each of the projects that the University is pursuing with EHEfundingtargetsa population here in Miami that can truly benefit.

    Administered by the Miami CFAR, Cianellis proposal is one of only seven the NIH selected across the nation to help reduce barriers to PrEP use among heterosexual women. It builds on a culturally tailored, behavioral-change strategy pioneered two decades ago by Nilda Peragallo Montano, the former dean of the nursing school. Known as SEPAfor Salud, Educacin, Prevencin, y Autocuidad (Health, Education, Prevention and Self-Care)the intervention has successfully employed group discussions and role playing to empower low-income heterosexual Hispanic women how to negotiate condom use and better communicate with male sexual partners.

    For their EHE initiative, Cianelli and her co-investigatorsassociate professor Joseph De Santis and assistant professor Giovanna De Oliveira, both also from the nursing school, and professor Jose Castro, of the Miller School of Medicineare working with three community organizations in Homestead to enlist 60 women who will help develop a strategy for incorporating PrEP into SEPA for women who cannot count on condoms for protection.

    SEPA works very well when women can negotiate the use of condoms with their partners, but for Hispanic women whose partners refuse to use condoms, or who use drugs, or who have multiple partners, it doesnt work, Cianelli said. So, adding this biomedical component to SEPA will give at-risk Hispanic women another possibility to prevent HIV.

    Through its second round of EHE grants, the NIH also green-lighted three pilot projects University researchers launched with first-round funding last year. The recipient of another grant administered by the Miami CFAR, the Miller Schools Susanne Doblecki-Lewis, an associate professor of clinical medicine, is also focused on increasing PrEP access. She plans to use near real-time epidemiological analysis and a mobile clinic to deliver the medication that, when taken daily, reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 percent.

    With the expansion grant,the UM PrEP Mobile Clinic is now operating in Liberty City, in addition to four other sites across Miami-Dade. At these locations, Doblecki-Lewis and her team provide PrEP testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and STI treatment at no cost to clients, regardless of their insurance or immigration status.

    Administered by CHARM, the other two pilot projects are focused on two different groups that are critical to ending HIV infections in MiamiLatino men who have sex with men (LMSM), and Black individuals, who comprise the racial group most disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic across the U.S. In Miami-Dade alone, 1 in 31 Black adults are living with HIV compared to 1 in 127 Hispanics and 1 in 103 white adults.

    To curtail the epidemic among LMSM, Mariano Kanamori, an assistant professor in the Division of Prevention Scienceand Community Health, and his collaborators are exploring how to promote awareness and utilization of HIV diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services based on how LMSM identify themselvesas gay, bisexual, or straight.

    Our research has shown that bisexual Latinos are the bridge between Latino men who have sex with men and with Latinas, Kanamori said. They have sex with gay guys, but they dont view themselves as gay, so they are exposing women to HIV. Thats why we need to customize strategies to target both groups, not just those who are gay.

    To curtail the epidemics impact in Black communities, Sannisha Dale, assistant professor of psychology and the director of CHARMs mental health disparities core and her community partnersRoxana Bolden, George Gibson, Gena Grant, Kalenthia Nunnally, and Alecia Tramelare engaging residents at five neighborhood places they frequent in high-risk ZIP Codes. Teaming up with the owners of corner stores, car-repair garages, barbershops, beauty salons, and laundromats, theyll chat with customers about HIV prevention and give those who complete a survey and take a rapid HIV test vouchers to spend at the business.

    Will this by itself end the HIV epidemic? No, Dale said of the Five Point Initiative she hatched while waiting for her own car repair. But ending the HIV epidemic requires multiple approaches aimed at the same end goal. And by engaging people where they naturally frequent, we remove the barriers that stop them from coming to medical centers to be tested, to learn about PrEP, to engage about their sexual health. So, it has the potential to make an impact.

    Go here to read the rest:
    Researchers aim to end Miami's HIV epidemic - University of Miami

    Taking It to the Streets – Harvard Medical School - September 3, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    For more than 28 years, the Family Van has been a familiar sight in some of Bostons most under-resourcedneighborhoods. The Harvard Medical School-affiliated mobile community health program works to reduce health disparities in Boston by bringing medical services directly to neighborhoods with the largest prevalence of preventable disease.

    Four days a week, the mobile health clinic visits neighborhoods in Roxbury, Dorchester and East Boston. Van workers screen clients for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, glaucoma and depression, also offering family planning services, pregnancy testing and HIV counseling.

    One-on-one counseling is provided to help clients make healthier choices for better health outcomes. Clients may also ask for help understanding a diagnosis or treatment plan. Referrals are provided for health insurance, housing, employment and other needs.

    The services are furnished in clients preferred languages and with an understanding of their cultural backgrounds.

    The Family Van is the knowledgeable neighbor, said Rainelle Walker-White, the Family Vans assistant director.

    In her 26 years working with the Family Van, Walker-White has become close with many clients, some of whom call her Aunty Rai.

    We are there each and every day, she said, meeting the needs of each and every person, touching the lives of people that other people would look over.

    When the coronavirus pandemic hit and public health guidelines encouraged physical distancing to slow the spread of the virus, Family Van workers and volunteers had to rethink a service model that relied on face-to-face interactions.

    Pre-Covid people would get on board [the mobile clinic], said Walker-White. We would give hugs. We would give touches. Its a part of healing and people had an opportunity to just speak what they needed to speak, feel what they needed to feel and say what they needed to say, and be heard.

    During the pandemic, we had to really think creatively, she added.

    The Family Van began began calling their clients at home to check in.

    A lot of them were isolated, said Walker-White. A lot of them did not have family members that could look after them. They loved that somebody called them each and every day just to say how are you. They loved us for just reaching out and touching them via phone call.

    New clients can call the Family Van seven days a week and be connected with volunteers who can answer their questions about COVID-19 and provide counseling and health care referrals.

    The Family Van has also gone into communities to distribute COVID-19 information in multiple languages, along with face masks, diapers, baby formula and grocery store gift cards with funding from the Boston Resiliency Fund.

    Much of the creativity and flexibility to respond to the coronavirus came from volunteers, according to the Family Vans volunteer program manager, Beatrice Antoine.

    Our volunteerseven at a time that is so difficult to graspthey still want to help and encourage our clients as much as they can and empower them in any way they can, said Antoine.

    Masks were needed at the time and a lot of the Family Vans clients did not have them, Antoine said. So, one volunteer, a local college student who had returned home after her Boston-area campus shut down, organized a mask-making drive at her university.

    All of a sudden I would open the door and see all of these boxes of masks arrive at my door, Antoine said. I could have 500 masks delivered. This was all organized by one person. This was an effort to show that anything counts. Anything you can do to help is something worth acknowledging.

    Joanne Suarez joined the Family Van almost a year ago as a community health assistant. Living in East Boston she had seen the Family Van in her neighborhood and heard from neighbors about the work the program did.

    I said, I have to be a part of that, said Suarez. When I came on board, I just felt alive. I still feel alive today.

    Suarez completed a masters degree in in bioethics at Harvard Medical School this spring. She values the work she does with the Family Van and the way it allows her to support her community.

    Every daywhether Im on my computer coordinating services or Im out in the communityI know that Im doing what I need to do to take care of my community.

    While the impact of the coronavirus is unprecedented in recent memory, in many ways the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the pandemic have laid bare the circumstances that necessitated the Family Van program in the first place.

    This pandemic has really highlighted some of the issues that we already know are existing in our communities, said Suarez. It has widened the chasm of how health disparities are impacting Black and brown communities.

    Justice is a long haul, and Im very fortunate to be a part of the Van, that were doing this work, Suarez said.

    Nancy Oriol, the Family Vans leadership council president and faculty associate dean for community engagement in medical education at HMS, co-founded the Family Van in 1992. At the time she was the director of the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. One of her patients had been hospitalized after having a seizure, she said. The patient had been experiencing headaches for weeks but hadnt wanted to "bother her doctor," Oriol said.

    The experience made clear for Oriol the importance of meeting patients where they are and of treating all patients with respect and care.

    Our students learn firsthand that trust, cultural humility and respect are essential components of health care, said Oriol of the medical students who have volunteered with the Family Van.

    Looking back over the service the Family Van has provided for almost 30 years, Oriol is awed to see how the program has grown.

    Working with the Family Van team has been amazing, Oriol said. Seeing how a simple idea has had ripples that went across the cityin fact, across the countryand into generations of medical students. Its justits awesome, thats all I can say.

    Reflecting on her own tenure with the Family Van, Walker-White echoed Oriols gratitude.

    It has humbled me, Walker-White said. If we look at people with eyes of love then were going to be able to prepare them, and were going to be able to take care of them the best way that we can.

    Read this article:
    Taking It to the Streets - Harvard Medical School

    Today’s Headlines: A ‘defund the police’ story – Los Angeles Times - September 3, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The experience of activists in Santa Ana who pushed to change funding priorities for police shows the fragile nature of such movements.

    A Defund the Police Story

    Years ago, the jail in Santa Ana became a rallying cry for a political reform movement that eventually led the City Council to phase out immigrant detention at the facility, improve police accountability and spend more money on badly needed community services. In many ways, the effort foreshadowed what is happening in Los Angeles and other cities around the U.S. today as protesters call for an end to police brutality and sweeping social reforms.

    But Santa Ana offers a cautionary tale for the defund the police movement.


    Must-read stories from the L.A. Times

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    Among the police ranks, resentment grew. Santa Ana officers installed a new union president who accused the council of ignoring the citys silent majority. In the November 2016 election, the unions political action committee spent more than $400,000, public filings show. At the same time, the city was experiencing a surge in shootings; it saw 23 homicides that year, nearly double the previous year. Voters elected two new council members supported by the union.

    After another election cycle in 2018, the new City Council granted officers a generous package of raises and the police department, after years of reductions, went on a hiring spree, adding 50 officers.

    Vaccine Scenarios

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert, said a COVID-19 vaccine could become available earlier than expected if at least one of the three trials underway in the U.S. returns an overwhelming signal that it is safe and effective.

    The independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board would make that call, as it does in all clinical trials. But critics say that stopping trials early could eliminate the chance to detect dangerous side effects, recruit more Black and Latino volunteers and understand the full results. Some public health experts are concerned President Trump will push for the trials to end before election day. But Fauci said he trusts the independent monitoring board, composed of nongovernment scientists, to be transparent with its recommendations. Trial results may be available as soon as mid-October.

    Is the U.S. ready for a vaccine? An early rollout may make life more difficult for the state and local agencies that will be tasked with getting a vaccine out to their communities. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told them to be ready to go by Nov. 1, the earliest possible release of one. But decades of funding shortfalls have left them struggling.

    More Top Coronavirus Headlines

    The Trump administration is canceling some of its remaining orders for ventilators after having rushed to sign nearly $3 billion in emergency contracts in the spring. The Department of Health and Human Services says the national stockpile has now reached its maximum capacity.

    Schools in L.A. County can reopen small classes beginning Sept. 14 for students with disabilities and English-language learners.

    L.A. County officials are keeping shopping malls shuttered while allowing barbershops and hair salons to operate indoors again under certain restrictions.

    For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times Health and Science newsletter.

    Stuck Behind the Fire Lines

    Scores of residents throughout the California towns of Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon defied evacuation orders as the CZU Lightning Complex fire moved through the Santa Cruz Mountains during the last two weeks of August. But now theyve found themselves stuck in the mountains, reluctant to leave, fearing that public safety officers wont let them return home if they travel out to secure food, water and other necessities.

    Under normal circumstances, evacuated residents would be allowed back in a few days. In the CZU fire, the flames are so spread out and in such rugged territory, the process is different. Evacuation orders are slowly being lifted for some areas, but authorities have suggested that the hardest hit parts of the fire zone could be shut down for weeks as power lines and roads are repaired.

    A Long Sanctuary Stay

    Shortly after President Trump took office and lowered the bar for who would be targeted for deportation from the U.S., about 45 people across the country sought refuge in churches. Most of those remain there to this day.

    Rosa Sabido is one of them. She took sanctuary on June 2, 2017, inside the Mancos United Methodist Church in a deeply conservative corner of Colorado. In the more than three years Sabido has spent in the church, her mother has died, along with five elderly dogs she left with a stepfather. Two food trucks she once operated sit idle behind her empty mobile home in a nearby town.

    I think we are all surprised that shes been here over three years, said the church pastor. Hopefully, it wont all be for naught.

    In 1984 and 1985, Richard Ramirez, who would come to be known as the Night Stalker serial killer, evaded police as he committed murders, sexual assaults and burglaries across the Los Angeles area. But on Aug. 31, 1985, an East Los Angeles neighborhood worked together to stop a car theft, successfully capturing Ramirez in the process.

    He attempted to steal a womans car on Hubbard Street and several neighbors came to her aid. One told The Times he yanked Ramirez from the car. Another beat him with a steel rod. They held him until police arrived and only later discovered the man had been the Night Stalker suspect. Ramirez was ultimately convicted of 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries in 1989. He died in 2013.

    Police cordon off the area on Hubbard Street in East L.A. where Richard Ramirez was captured after trying to steal a car on Aug. 31, 1985. Ramirez pulled a woman out of the car at left, but the womans husband came out of the house with a pipe and started to beat him. Ramirez ran and was tackled by a 21-year-old neighbor.

    (Los Angeles Times)

    Want more of the Los Angeles Times archives? Were on Instagram.

    Prosecutors have begun dismissing felony cases that relied on the work of Los Angeles police officers charged this summer with falsifying records and obstructing justice by claiming without evidence that people they stopped were gang members.

    The L.A. City Council voted to seek furloughs for more than 15,000 city workers, despite warnings that the move would harm critical city services and push police officers out of patrol cars and into desk duties.

    A year after a fire aboard the Conception dive boat killed 34 people off Santa Cruz Island, the victims families are mourning and looking for answers.

    For the first time in its 50-year history, Christopher Street West, the nonprofit organization that produces LA Pride, has named a Black transgender woman as president of its board.

    Support our journalism

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    After Trumps visit Tuesday to Kenosha, Wis., Joe Biden said he would visit the city in his first campaign stop in the state since securing the Democratic presidential nomination.

    The former vice president raised $364 million for his election effort in August, a record-shattering sum that will give Biden ample resources to compete in the final two months of the campaign.

    Mississippi voters will decide whether to accept a new state flag with a magnolia to replace an old one legislators retired under pressure because it included the Confederate battle emblem.

    Migrants are increasingly crossing a treacherous part of the Atlantic Ocean to reach the Canary Islands. Its a newer route to European territory that has become one of the most dangerous.

    Netflix and ... Sussex? Prince Harry and Meghan have signed a deal with the streaming service to produce movies and series, including documentaries, features and childrens programming.

    Running a dance studio in L.A. was notoriously challenging. Months into the pandemic, GoFundMes and goodbye announcements paint a picture of a dance landscape in crisis.

    Hollywood has a new mogul in town: Steven A. Cohen, a Wall Street titan whose former hedge fund pleaded guilty to criminal insider trading.

    Californias AB 5 was supposed to help gig workers but wound up hurting artists. Lawmakers have embraced a new plan that would loosen the rules for musicians and magicians.

    Facebook says it is taking more steps to encourage voting and minimize misinformation, including restrictions on new political ads in the week before the election.

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    It was the blowout that turned into a blowout. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to a San Francisco salon to get her hair done on Monday, and by the next day, Fox News was showing security camera footage of her inside the salon, passing by with wet hair and a mask wrapped around her neck while being trailed by a hairstylist who was wearing a mask. On Wednesday, Pelosi said she was set up by the salon owner, who in turn denied that allegation. But hours later, the stylist who blew out Pelosis hair released a statement through an attorney contradicting the owner and supporting Pelosis side of the story.

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    Today's Headlines: A 'defund the police' story - Los Angeles Times

    Perdue Farms Delivers $10,000 and 45,000 Pounds Of Protein To Support Bertie County, NC Tornado Relief Efforts – PRNewswire - August 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    "I am extremely overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of Perdue Farms in response to the tornado that severely impacted our county," said Ron Wesson, chairman of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners. "The joint support of Perdue and the Albemarle Area United Way for our neighbors who have lost so much is a wonderful example of how committed partners can truly make a difference."

    "We sincerely appreciate Perdue Farms' rapid response and support for the Food Bank and our partner agencies in Bertie County," said Liz Reasoner, executive director of Food Bank of the Albemarle. "Perdue's donation of 45,000 pounds of protein will provide meals to those in need today, and in the weeks and months to come."

    The Franklin P. and Arthur W Perdue Foundation, the company's charitable giving arm, donated $10,000 to the Albemarle Area United Way in support of the relief efforts.

    "On behalf of a grateful community, we can't thank Perdue enough for responding in a significant way to the devastation we experienced as a result of tornadoes spun out of Tropical Storm Isaias," said Bill Blake, executive director of the Albemarle United Way. "We're inspired by Perdue's charitable philosophy and hope this generous gift motivates others to join the cause."

    On Tuesday, August 4, the twister ripped through a mobile home community near Windsor, N.C., killing two, injuring dozens and leaving many families homeless in Bertie County, home to Perdue Farms' operations that employee more than 3,700 associates.

    "The losses endured by so many, including some of our associates and their families, are heartbreaking," said Frank Koekoek, director of Perdue operations in Lewiston. "Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the storm. We hope our company's support will bring some level of relief and comfort to our neighbors."

    About the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue FoundationThe Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, was established in 1957 by company founder Arthur W. Perdue and is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. As part of our belief in supporting the communities where and with whom we do business, the Foundation provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of our associates live and work. At Perdue Farms, we believe in responsible food and agriculture.

    About Perdue FarmsWe're a fourth-generation, family owned, U.S. food and agriculture company. Through our belief in responsible food and agriculture, we are empowering consumers, customers and farmers through trusted choices in products and services.

    The PERDUE brand is the number-one brand of fresh chicken in the U.S., and the company is the leader in organic chicken in the U.S., and Perdue AgriBusiness is an international agricultural products and services company. Now in our centennial year, our path forward is about getting better, not just bigger. We never use drugs for growth promotion in raising poultry and livestock, and we are actively advancing our animal welfare programs. Our brands are leaders in no-antibiotics-ever chicken, turkey and pork, and in USDA-certified organic chicken. Learn more at

    SOURCE Perdue Farms

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    Perdue Farms Delivers $10,000 and 45,000 Pounds Of Protein To Support Bertie County, NC Tornado Relief Efforts - PRNewswire

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