USDA relaxes requirements for parents to pick up schools meals

first_imgJHVEPhoto/iStock(NEW YORK) — After a push from states and advocates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has waived a requirement that children have to be physically present with their parents to pick up meals at closed schools around the country.But in at least one state, schools were still turning away parents who showed up on Thursday to pick up meals without their children. The USDA waiver says that schools can provide meals to parents or guardians to bring home to their children but that states must have a process to verify that meals are distributed only to eligible children and that families aren’t picking up duplicate meals for any student.The Texas Department of Agriculture announced the waiver was approved and it was reported in local news outlets but school officials said they told districts separately they could not give out meals until the department creates guidance for accountability for those handouts.Irma Munoz, chief operating officer at IDEA Public Schools, a network of charter schools in Texas and Louisiana, said that because of the confusion their schools in Texas have been turning away parents who showed up without their children.“Right now it’s stuck in this bureaucratic limbo and we’re the ones having to respond to parents,” Munoz told ABC News.The Texas Department of Agriculture said they expect to make progress on issuing guidance to clarify the requirements on Thursday night but they still encourage schools to hand out meals until it’s finalized, just that there’s no guarantee they would be reimbursed for those meals.“We are not saying they should not provide the meals. We want children to be fed that need to be fed. That is the first and foremost priority,” spokesman Mark Loeffler said in an emailed statement. “We have said this is not the time for arguing or holding back meals. Provide the meals. The plan will be in place as soon as possible.”A spokeswoman for the Food and Nutrition Service confirmed that the waiver goes into effect immediately and applies to all states that elect to use it.IDEA Public Schools have served more than 170,000 meals in less than a week to students and children in the surrounding community, Munoz said, but they still don’t know if they’ll be reimbursed. Eighty-five percent of the 53,000 students they serve qualify for free and reduced lunch and rely on school for at least two of their meals per day.She said they decided to move forward with providing meals without confirmation of how regulations would be applied but that “it would be an incredibly big financial hit” if they’re not reimbursed for all the food they’re providing.Hundreds of school districts around the country are closed for weeks, months or indefinitely, forcing them to adapt quickly to provide meals for students whose main source of healthy food was from their school cafeteria. School officials have also transitioned their summer meal programs into options to deliver meals by bus or offer curbside pickup but still have to figure out how to comply with state and federal regulations in an unprecedented situation.Virginia Del. Danica Roem, who represents western Prince William County and the city of Manassas Park, took it upon herself to bring groceries to constituents who were unable to pick up food from schools because of the rule.Roem paid for the groceries with her own money, she said, but considers it a small price compared to the hurdles facing some families in her district.“They have immunocompromised children who shouldn’t, you know, [be scared],” she told ABC News. “They shouldn’t be having panic attacks, they shouldn’t be worrying about whether they’re going to eat, or whether their health is going to be at stake … from going outside.”Back in Texas, Munoz said that in addition to the confusion over the requirement a child be present, her schools are trying to get clarity on how many meals they can provide.“We typically provide three meals at school breakfast, lunch and supper — which is the last meal that our kids get before they leave school,” Munoz said. “And right now we are unclear about our ability to provide supper, but more specifically, our ability to provide supper bundled with breakfast and lunch.”While it may not seem “so big of a deal,” she said it is more of a hassle for parents to have to pick up breakfast and lunch in the morning, and then have to come back in the afternoon “to pick up supper.”USDA guidance on providing meals through summer food service programs — what schools are using during the COVID-19 emergency — said they will reimburse schools for two meals, or a meal and a snack, for every day that the school is closed.States will also allow schools to give parent’s permission to get up to a week of meals at once; but USDA will still only reimburse the school for two meals at a time, according to officials.“Those types of flexibilities in these times, given school closures, given that there’s just scarcity of food among nonprofit organizations that do traditional, you know, feeding for at-risk populations,” Munoz said. “It’s just an added burden that we don’t need and our families don’t need.”The Agriculture Department said it’s “working to be as flexible as possible” to get food out during the national emergency and has waived some requirements to make it easier to provide meals outside a traditional school setting, such as rules that students must eat the meals on site, and allowing schools to deliver more than one meal at once and outside normal meal times.States and anti-hunger advocates are pushing USDA to lift additional requirements, including a rule that 50% of students must be eligible for free and reduced lunch for schools in some states to provide meals to any children in the community.Food banks are also seeing sharp increases in demand for food assistance as millions more people are out of work and looking for the best way to help while keeping up with demand and protecting their own staff.Andrew Cheyne, director of government affairs with the California Association of Food Banks, said they worked with the state to allow changes to limit contact between staff and community members, like allowing staff to sign people in and providing pre-packaged food, as well as allowing food banks to distribute at schools so families can receive more aid.“A simple action like that is actually key to achieving our social distance,” he said.Congress has also provided emergency funding for food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — more commonly known as food stamps — and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Safe injection sites make no sense

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe city of Philadelphia is opening up some places for people to go who are suffering with drug addictions; places where those addicted to drugs can partake (shoot-snort-base etc.) without being harassed. The theory is that while there, in a controlled environment, they can also seek treatment for their addiction. Interesting. I’m not a fan, but I am open to the idea of trying it with men who have victimized woman and who suffer with sexual addictions. Why not open some spaces like prostitution houses, where men can utilize the service and then seek treatment for their sexual addiction while they are there? You can also go one step further and have a staff of ministers praying for them and the sinful roots. How does that sound?Yeah, it sounds as ludicrous as the first idea does. You can’t reinforce bad behavior at the same time you are reinforcing good behavior. It doesn’t work in parenting and it won’t work here either.John GentileDuanesburgMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady County warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Schenectady restaurant, Rotterdam barEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more


first_imgA Judge has ordered the arrest of Donegal-based actor Gerard McSorley after he failed to turn up to court yesterday to face a breach of the peace charge.Actor Gerard McSorleyThe 63-year-old, who famously played the role of crime boss John Gilligan in the hit film ‘Veronica Guerin’,  lives in Bunbeg. He had been arrested earlier this month and was charged at a Dublin garda station.A separate carless driving case against McSorley is to be heard at Letterkenny District Court next June.The theatre, television and film actor was given station bail to appear at Dublin District Court yesterday.When his case was called a garda sergeant furnished Judge Hugh O’Donnell with a certificate with the details of Mr McSorley’s arrest, charge and cautioning.Judge O’Donnell noted that there was no appearance by the defendant and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.The charge before the court related to an alleged breach of the peace charge under Section Six of the Public Order Act.He is accused of engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, on November 6.The offence on conviction can carry a possible three-month sentence and/or a fine.The actor has appeared in a string of hit films including ‘Omagh’, ‘War Horse’, ‘The Constant Gardener’, ‘Angela’s Ashes’ and played Father Todd Unctious in the sitcom ‘Father Ted’.JUDGE ORDERS THE ARREST OF DONEGAL-BASED ACTOR was last modified: November 30th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:breach of peaceBunbegGerard McSorleylast_img read more

Brand South Africa calls on all partners to reinforce the investment drive in order to restore business confidence

first_imgJohannesburg, Tuesday 02 April 2019 – Brand South Africa says that during quarter four of the 2018/2019 financial year, business confidence indicators took a distinct negative turn. This analysis stems from the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Business Confidence Index (BCI), which gathers input from 1700 business executives in South Africa.The BER BCI reasons that the weakening business confidence is wide-ranging, and can be attributed the following factors: Eskom and load shedding; strike action in certain sectors; revelations on State Capture from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry; as well as residual concerns regarding policy uncertainty – mainly due to the approaching National Elections in South Africa.The BER BCI covers five economic sectors that are most sensitive to cyclical up and down turns in the economy – namely: Building/Construction; Manufacturing; Retail; Wholesale; and Automotive/New vehicle sales.Dr Petrus de Kock, the General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa says the BER BCI points out that at a total level, strong business confidence in the SA economy was last seen in quarter 2 of the 2017/2018. “In addition to the influences mentioned above that contributed to weakening business confidence, it is apparent that fundamental economic activity indicators weakened substantially – thus contributing to weaker business confidence.“From our analysis, the BER BCI average activity indicators for 2019 are now at a similar level to the first quarters of Q1 2017 and 2009. This is a sobering picture of weak GDP expansion, and slipping business confidence, all of which impacts on the reputation of the Nation Brand negatively,” says Dr de Kock.However, Dr de Kock says that this outlook is expected to improve after the May 2019 general elections. “We welcome these findings as they provide us with guidance on strategic focus areas that we need to improve on. We as Brand South Africa call on all partners across all sectors to reinforce the investment drive in order to restore business confidence – not only among investors but also for our citizens. While there are internal challenges to the economy, South Africa also needs to pay close attention to weakness in the global economy, uncertainty caused by trade war dynamics, emerging economic nationalism in so-called advanced economies, and isolationist tendencies.“Brand South Africa will share with stakeholders a much more detailed analysis and will be working with stakeholders to establish focused efforts to implement measures that address the challenges highlighted in the document,” concludes Dr de Kock.last_img read more

Looking for Common Ground in the Solar Debate

first_imgIt’s all a lot more complicated than it seemsThe two groups call on regulators to allow utilities to collect “reasonable” fees for grid services while ensuring that homeowners are compensated “fairly” for the power they sell. But as Ethan Howland writes in his post at Utility Dive, “Do you think defining ‘reasonable’ and ‘fairly’ is going to be easy?”Further, Howland points out that some of EEI’s members have sought limits on net metering, regardless of the support it gets in the EEI/NRDC statement.Hearings before Arizona regulators have brought these issues into sharp focus. Last year, the Arizona Corporation Commission okayed a new fee on solar customers beginning this year, although it wasn’t nearly as much as the utility had requested. The commission continues to study the cost and benefits of distributed generation, so the fight there is hardly over.In a February 14 filing related to that inquiry, EEI said that distributed generation will play a bigger role in the nation’s overall power mix, and added, “current policies that create cross-subsidies among customers are neither equitable nor sustainable.”EEI said incentives such as net metering have served their purpose and are no longer needed, adding that advocates of rooftop solar are pursing a double standard. “Essentially, they argue that the benefits of DG should be priced on the basis of value, while benefits of electricity service as well as other generation resources, should be priced based on their cost,” the EEI filing said. “This approach is fundamentally unfair, unduly discriminatory and inconsistent with the traditional approach to regulation.”In other words, finding a middle ground that both electric utilities and advocates of rooftop solar can live with isn’t right around the corner — joint statement or not. It’s ‘no longer about selling more electricity’“If properly done, utilities can adapt to the changing needs of customers, modern electricity systems, and technologies, while continuing to deliver safe and reliable service, maintain financial integrity by allowing costs of service fairly among customers, and continuously improve environmental performance,” the statements says.“But utility regulatory and business model changes are necessary to accelerate progress and ensure transparent and equitable attainment of these objectives.”The groups made a number of recommendations, among them:Electrical distribution shouldn’t be viewed as a “commodity business” in which utilities stay afloat financially by selling more power. Instead, the business model should be to “focus on meeting customers’ energy service needs.” Rate structures should allow utilities to maintain and improve the grid.Owners and operators of on-site renewable energy “must provide reasonable cost-based compensation for the utility services they use, while also being compensated fairly for the services they provide.”Utilities should be able to recoup non-fuel costs despite fluctuations in the use of electricity. At the same time, “customers deserve assurances that costs will not be shifted unreasonably to them from other customers.”Regulators should be open to opportunities to support utility investments in smart meters and a smart grid, which will improve energy efficiency. In a blog explaining the announcement, Ralph Cavanagh, NRDC’s energy program co-director, said the point is “that the electric utility business can no longer be about selling more electricity.”“Instead,” he writes, “it needs to be about ensuring that people have reliable and steadily improving electricity services (starting with heating, lighting and cooling) and better environmental quality. That, in turn will require getting more work out of less electricity through energy efficiency and also creating diversified clean energy resource portfolios — such as wind, solar and geothermal — that are second to none in overall reliability.”The most recent statement amends two earlier versions issued in 2003 and 2008. Cavanagh says those joint declarations were aimed at improving energy efficiency and clean energy investments. Two groups seemingly on opposite sites of the renewable energy divide have called on state utility regulators to adopt rate plans that encourage more renewable energy while protecting the financial interests of the companies that buy and distribute it.In a joint statement, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) said the future of the country’s electricity industry would remain promising “as long as regulatory policies are fair and forward looking.”EEI represents the country’s investor-owned electric utilities, which together supply electricity to 220 million people in all 50 states. The NRDC is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members.In a number of states, dealings between major utilities and backers of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems have been anything but warm and fuzzy. Utilities complain that as residential solar installations increase, there’s less money coming in to maintain the grid, and that non-solar customers have to pick up a bigger share of the load. For their part, homeowners and PV installers have resisted utility efforts to make them pay more for utility connections or accept less for excess power they produce.The debate over what’s called “distributed generation” (DG) has played out in Arizona, North Carolina, Hawaii, California, and elsewhere. According to a post at, it’s one of the most challenging issues regulators face.The statement, issued on February 12 at meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in Washington, D.C., looks for common ground in what’s shaping up to be a bitter struggle.last_img read more

HyperDrive PRO 8-in-2: A Portable Solution With Added Value

first_imgHyperDrive Power 9-in-1 USB-C Hub Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Molekule Air Purifier: Small in Stature, Big on… Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at When you own a MacBook, you know that you will eventually have to spend money on accessories to handle some of your tasks. These accessories may include everything from USB-C to USB-A dongles to a USB-C to VGA/HDMI dongle. Now, there’s also the HyperDrive 8-in-2 hub to add to the list, which you can purchase from the company’s website. The HyperDrive PRO really is a protable solution with added value — and it works.I purchased the hub to see if it would provide me with additional convenience and value or if it was just a “nice to have.” Here are my thoughts after taking the hub for a test drive during the last few weeks. To bad for others in the office who want this addition to their computers — because I am keeping it. When you pick the slimmest possible Mac for travel — you forget the other things you really liked about your old Mac — and the portable solution of the HyperDrive helps out a lot.How it WorksThe HyperDrive PRO 8-in-2 is a USB-C hub that takes the two USB-C/Thunderbolt three ports on the side of your Mac and turns them into eight new ports. These ports include an HDMI, a Micro SD, a Mini DisplayPort, an SD, a Thunderbolt 3, a USB-A, and a USB-C PD.When you need to connect multiple devices to your MacBook, this is ideal. For example, you may need an HDMI cable for your primary monitor and a four-port USB hub that you use for a keyboard, mouse, and a wireless charger for your smartphone. Or, you may use a Time Machine backup drive so the extra ports help.It helps deliver crystal clear 4K HDMI/MiniDP video on compatible 4K monitors for a better high-resolution display. HyperDrive also gives you the fastest USB-C capable of 40Gbps data transfer, 5K video output, and 100W power delivery, simultaneously. Also, it is the only MacBook Pro/Air hub with two USB-C ports that support Power Delivery (PD) & Data (40Gbps/100W + 5Gbps/60W).HyperDrive works with the 2016/2017/2018 MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air. The USB ports will not charge an iPad.Some Issues to NoteIf you are not looking to connect multiple monitors (beyond two), then this is the right tool for you. However, you will run into a problem should you want to connect three or more monitors to this hub. That’s because this hub only has one USB-C port that can carry a video signal. Or, if I connect more to it, at some point the charging capability diminishes.If I use all the devices I mentioned above, including the Time Machine drive, all at once, my MacBook Pro will turn off the outgoing power to one or more of the two USB-C ports. The lesson learned here is don’t use all the ports at one time even though there are eight there.A Nice AestheticWhile it is a utility, the hub still offers a pretty cool design aesthetic that looks good sitting next to my MacBook Pro. It’s made from aluminum and designed to complement that look of the MacBook Pro. You can choose from either space gray or silver.The hub sits at an angle when you have it attached to your MacBook Pro. Since it tends to dangle downwards, I found that it helps to get some adhesive pads to add to the bottom of the HyperDrive, so it lays flat.One word of caution is to be careful when you first get the hub and try to plug it into your MacBook Pro. It fits very tightly, so you don’t want to jam it into your laptop quickly. Instead, take some time to jiggle it in and out a few times as I found this loosened it up enough while still keeping a firm connection.The Best (and Worst) FeaturesThere are many things to like about the hub, including how it looks, its portability, and the convenience of plugging into two monitors at once. However, it tends to get overloaded, including not being able to handle when all the ports are in use at one time. Occasionally, gets overloaded if high-power devices are attached to the ports like additional monitors and hard drives. Also, the MacBook Pro won’t charge very well when there are two monitors connected to it.After trying other USB-C hubs, they all seem to be slightly less than perfect with various issues. However, this is a value-added, affordable choice if you are not looking to connect a ton of things to it. Just for its portability, this hub wins out over others on the market.center_img Blueair 680i Air Purifier: Clean Air For Your H… Canvia Digital Art Turns Home and Office Walls … Related Posts last_img read more

Playing with ‘a lot of joy’ key to Ginebra’s Game 3 win, says Brownlee

first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games But that was the least of his concerns. All what matters was the Gin Kings staying alive in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after the 125-101 Game 3 victory on Thursday.READ: Brownlee stars as Ginebra stays aliveFEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“(TNT) rely on him a lot and I think it’s going to be big for them. But for us, we can’t focus on that. We can’t worry about him or the other team and we just have to focus on what we do best and come up with a good plan whether he’s in there or not,” Brownlee said.Brownlee was one of the huge reasons why Ginebra evaded the sweep as he caught fire early, unloading 17 points in the first half and adding. 14 more in the killer 35-point third quarter. He wound up with 31 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three steals, and two assists. WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Milan wants Japanese titlists READ: Frolicking while the giant sleeps And with this win, Brownlee is optimistic that the Gin Kings have rekindled their flame as they seek to force a deciding Game 5.“We’re gonna come out and play hard no matter what happens. I think having that chip on our shoulder is very helpful for us,” he said.Game 4 is on Saturday at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES What ‘missteps’? View comments MOST READ 1 dead in Cavite blast, firecenter_img But the 29-year-old forward noted the rest of the squad also badly wanted to keep the series alive, hence the strong start.READ: Cone hopes Jaworksi could attend every Ginebra game“Everybody was just aggressive and were taking shots when they’re open, trying to get to the basket. We’re moving the ball very well. That was the key for us. We played with a lot of joy, we enjoyed tonight. That’s the big key for us, continue to play with joy and play together,” he said.Brownlee also thinks that the tall task of overcoming a 0-2 series hole was just the reality check Ginebra needed to clean up its act after topping the eliminations.“I think maybe we got a little complacent being first place,” he said. “Since I came back in the Governor’s Cup, we were kind of like the underdogs and we played with a little chip on our shoulders being the underdogs.”ADVERTISEMENT PBA IMAGESDown 0-2 in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, Ginebra import Justin Brownlee was so focused in the duel that he didn’t even notice counterpart Joshua Smith leaving the game for TNT.“I didn’t realize it. I was so locked into the game, I didn’t realize it until it was third or fourth quarter,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more