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Baseball stadiums are filling up – but an analysis of the NFL’s 2020 season holds a warning about COVID-19 case spikes

The Texas Rangers packed the stands for their home opener on April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Baseball season is here, and thousands of cheering fans are back in the ballparks after a year of empty seats. Most teams, still cautious of the COVID-19 risk, are keeping their stadiums to less than 30% capacity for now. Only the Texas Rangers packed the ballpark for its home opener on April 5, 2021, a move President Joe Biden criticized as not being responsible.

Many of these attendance decisions are being made with minimal data about the heightened risk that players and fans face of getting COVID-19 at stadiums or arenas and spreading it the community.

There is one large-scale experiment that can offer some insight: the National Football League’s 2020 season. Continue reading Baseball stadiums are filling up – but an analysis of the NFL’s 2020 season holds a warning about COVID-19 case spikes

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There’s a surprising ending to all the 2020 election conflicts over absentee ballot deadlines

One billboard outside Bloomington, Minnesota: A sign warns voters about a recent federal court ruling about absentee ballot deadlines. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

 

One of the most heavily contested voting-policy issues in the 2020 election, in both the courts and the political arena, was the deadline for returning absentee ballots.

Going into the election, the policy in a majority of states was that ballots had to be received by election night to be valid. Lawsuits seeking an extension of these deadlines were brought around the country for two reasons: First, because of the pandemic, the fall election would see a massive surge in absentee ballots; and second, there were concerns about the competence and integrity of the U.S. Postal Service, particularly after President Trump appointed a major GOP donor as the new postmaster general. Continue reading There’s a surprising ending to all the 2020 election conflicts over absentee ballot deadlines

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Today’s global economy runs on standardized shipping containers, as the Ever Given fiasco illustrates

Beachgoers near Cairo watch a massive container ship sail to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

 

Take a look around you.

Perhaps you’re snacking on a banana, sipping some coffee or sitting in front of your computer and taking a break from work to read this article. Most likely, those goods – as well as your smartphone, refrigerator and virtually every other object in your home – were once loaded onto a large container in another country and traveled thousands of miles via ships crossing the ocean before ultimately arriving at your doorstep.

Today, an estimated 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, with 60% of that – including virtually all your imported fruits, gadgets and appliances – packed in large steel containers. The rest is mainly commodities like oil or grains that are poured directly into the hull. In total, about US$14 trillion of the world’s goods spend some time inside a big metal box. Continue reading Today’s global economy runs on standardized shipping containers, as the Ever Given fiasco illustrates

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Norwalk Public Schools gives update on end-of-year activities, new survey, strategic plan

Richard Lemons, executive director for the Connecticut Center for School Change, gives an update on the effort to create a new strategic operating plan for Norwalk Public Schools, Tuesday at the Board of Education meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. — The dates for high school graduations and middle school promotion ceremonies are set, but the exact number of people who will be allowed at each are still up in the air, Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Alexandra Estrella said at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

The ceremonies will be most likely outdoors, she said. Continue reading Norwalk Public Schools gives update on end-of-year activities, new survey, strategic plan

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Chick-Fil-A looks to ‘interim solution’ for Connecticut Avenue traffic tie ups

The line at Chick-fil-A on a Wednesday in early March.

NORWALK, Conn. — Chick-fil-A owners have produced a plan to alleviate the traffic jams their Connecticut Avenue restaurant is causing.

“With some geometric improvements at the entrance to the drive-through and with some curb improvements near the rear of the site, you’re allowed to have double drive-through lane, you know, a lot earlier in on site, that just provides a lot more space for queuing,” Ethan Schukoske, a traffic engineer, told the Zoning Commission on Thursday. Continue reading Chick-Fil-A looks to ‘interim solution’ for Connecticut Avenue traffic tie ups

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BMHS softball field would destroy school’s balance with Highland Avenue community

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I am writing to make  the Norwalk community aware of the major renovation planned for the Brien McMahon softball field at 288 Highland Ave.

Parks and Recreation intends to cover the natural grass with artificial turf, and surround the field with five 60 foot tall light towers, similar to the ones on the fields in the back of the school. Three towers will be positioned directly facing Highland from the school side, and there will be two towers on the Highland side directly across and towering over our homes. Continue reading BMHS softball field would destroy school’s balance with Highland Avenue community

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City to consider athletic fields as location for new Norwalk High School

Working being done on a Norwalk High School athletic field in 2018. (File photo)

Updated, 3 p.m.: Information added, headline adjusted.

NORWALK, Conn. — The City has settled upon an architect to design a new Norwalk High School. And it’s possible the school will be built on the athletic fields.

Kaestle Boos Associates Inc. is the winning bidder for the work, a potential $6 million contract to be voted on by the full Council next Tuesday. As part of the process, one of the competing firms said much money could be saved if the school were built on the football fields, Jim Giuliano, the city’s project manager for new school construction, and Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo said Wednesday, seeking the ability to investigate the option. Continue reading City to consider athletic fields as location for new Norwalk High School

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Norwalk Council questions school bathroom needs

District Common Council members Tom Livingston and Lisa Shanahan (both Democrats) at a 2020 Council meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. — Two Norwalk Common Council members are pushing back on parental perceptions that middle school bathrooms need to be gutted and replaced.

District E Democrats Tom Livingston and Lisa Shanahan say they visited all four Norwalk middle schools and the bathrooms are not as bad as they’re described. In response to their thoughts, the Council Planning Committee voted to remove $38,000 from the planned $1.5 million for bathroom renovations and instead fund the Norwalk Public Library’s newspaper digitization project. This is slated for a full Council vote Tuesday.

Mayor Harry Rilling said Wednesday that even if the Council makes that deduction there is still plenty of money to address the bathroom complaints, carefully, with his facilities team inspecting each facility and making appropriate changes. He expects the work to begin in July. Continue reading Norwalk Council questions school bathroom needs

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A Norwalk photo #93

A sign at the intersection of Strawberry Hill Avenue and Beacon Street.

NORWALK, Conn. — Strawberry Hill Avenue is slated to be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday at Norden Place, weather permitting, Norwalk Communications Director Josh Morgan said.

“The road is being closed to allow for the activation of the new First Taxing District Water Department watermain associated with the Rehabilitation of Bridge No. 0061, Strawberry Hill Avenue over I-95 in Norwalk, and the associated road work required to carry out the work, including the pavement restoration,” Morgan said.

So plan for a detour. Continue reading A Norwalk photo #93

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Norwalk BoE considers two schools on Chestnut Ave site

Jana Silsby of DLR Group presents a new plan for the Columbus School site at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. A new school is shown in white and the existing building is grey. Connecting the two would allow them to share public spaces.

Updated,2:16 p.m.: PDF added, NPS PowerPoint presentation.

NORWALK, Conn. — A radically different concept for South Norwalk school construction was unveiled Tuesday by Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella. This might mean sending a new application to the State by June 30.

Two schools would be squeezed onto the 3.5-acre Chestnut Street site, one for Columbus Magnet School and the other a neighborhood elementary school, in the rough concept. The new Columbus would face Henry Street. The existing building would be used for a neighborhood K-5 school.

“This is an opportunity for us to kind of engage in some creative thinking, and how we utilize the current building that we have, as well as some of the available space to potentially create a South Norwalk school, as well as provide CMS with the new building that has been in discussion for some time,” Estrella said. Continue reading Norwalk BoE considers two schools on Chestnut Ave site

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‘POKO’ lawsuit expected to inspire $200K in legal fees by June 30

The “Tyvek Temple,” officially referred to as Wall Street Place phase I but colloquially called “POKO.”

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk’s tax board has authorized a $282,000 budget transfer to cover legal fees in the “POKO” lawsuit.

Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola expects to incur $200,000 in fees “over the course of the remainder of the Fiscal Year” – a time period ending June 30 – in the lawsuit, according to Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr. The flip side of this coin is a windfall from a settlement with CC Rivington, a defendant in the lawsuit. CC Rivington agreed to pay $200,000, of which $125,000 has been collected so far, Coppola said Monday.

CC Rivington was “the least culpable of all the defendants by far. And we specifically settled with that party for purposes of using the $200,000 to fund the litigation,” Coppola said. Continue reading ‘POKO’ lawsuit expected to inspire $200K in legal fees by June 30

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