Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: PixnioWASHINGTON – The first N95 medical masks to reach the U.S. since February are arriving by plane and ship this week, with trucks standing ready to speed them to coronavirus hot spots around the country.In recent days, 24 pallets of the masks arrived at the port of Los Angeles, sent from a 3M factory in Singapore, according to trade records from Panjiva, a company that tracks trade data. The Federal Emergency Management Agency flew 130,000 of the special masks on a cargo plane that arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Southeast Asia, and DirectRelief, a humanitarian aid organization, was expecting 80,000 to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport any day now.It’s not nearly enough to meet demand. As COVID-19 cases soared this month, the U.S. was hit with a critical shortage of medical supplies, which often are made in China. Until this week, the most recent delivery of medical-grade N95 masks arrived from China more than a month ago, on Feb. 19.N95 masks are used in industrial settings as well as hospitals, and they filter out 95% of all airborne particles, including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told medical providers to use bandanas if they run out of the masks, while volunteers with sewing skills are using publicly shared patterns to bolster supplies. Doctors, nurses and other health care workers across the United States are frustrated that they have to care for sick people without proper equipment. Some have held demonstrations; others are buying their own supplies.A home health nurse who is part of the Oregon Nurses Association said she’s terrified she’s spreading coronavirus from one place to the next as she visits her elderly patients in assisted living facilities without a mask, gloves or other protective equipment.“I wake up every morning in fear, absolutely terrified I’m going to do something to harm an entire generation of our seniors. It makes me sick,” she said. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized by her company to speak to reporters.A typical day can bring her to four facilities with 50 elderly people each.For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.DirectRelief vice president Tony Morain said they usually supply the neediest clinics in places like Haiti. But they’re now shipping masks and other gear to some of the wealthiest places in the U.S.“Basically we’ve expanded our scope based on the need,” said Morain. “We’re still doing everything we can to support safety-net facilities, but we’re also receiving requests for major hospitals in hard-hit areas.”FEMA said in a written statement that it has created an “air bridge” to quickly bring medical supplies from manufacturers in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Honduras and Mexico.The first FEMA flight landed Sunday at Kennedy Airport with an 80-ton shipment that included 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves and thousands of thermometers, to be distributed to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Contracted flights arrived Monday in Chicago with supplies that are being shipped to other states. An additional 19 FEMA flights are scheduled, with more flights being added daily.Since the outbreak began, 3M has doubled its global output of N95 respirator masks to an annual rate of over 1.1 billion, or nearly 100 million per month. That includes this week’s imports and U.S. manufacturing. Honeywell Safety also announced that it would ramp up production of N95 masks in its Rhode Island and Arizona facilities to help meet growing demand for protective gear.
Blue Ridge Outdoors announces 48 finalists for its fourth annual Top Towns Reader ContestThe Blue Ridge boasts dozens of towns with vibrant outdoor scenes and access to world-class adventure. Here is your chance to select your three favorites.Editors and readers have narrowed the field to 48 contenders, listed below. They are mountain biking meccas, whitewater oases, climbing paradises, and hiking nirvanas. You can vote for the top outdoor town in three categories: large town (population 100,000+), medium town (population 10,000 – 100,000), and small town (population less than 10,000).The first round of voting runs through August 16. Subsequent rounds of voting will conclude September 13, and the three winning towns will be featured in the November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.Which will be crowned the top towns? You decide. Vote now!
Mark Eckstein was a husband, father, church member and city worker.As organizers and residents are gearing up for the annual Ripley County Relay For Life this weekend, a local family is remembering a loved one who battled cancer.It has been a difficult year for family and friends of Mark Eckstein. He passed away in May after an 11-month fight with cancer at the age of 43.The 1988 graduate of Batesville High School was well known in the community and worked for the city’s water and gas department for 26 years.Life took an unexpected turn in 2013 when Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 adenocarcinoma cancer.His sister, Joan McKamey recalls her brother, “I don’t know anybody that didn’t like Mark. He was a tough guy, but there was something very gentle about him and very caring. A big guy with a big heart.”McKamey said the family knew something may have been wrong with Mark before he was diagnosed last year.“We were all on pins and needles until he got his definite diagnosis at the end of the month, it was a big blow to us, a definite big blow to us,” McKamey said. “It was the first time we had dealt with something like that in our immediate family.”Finding out a loved one has cancer is a moment many of us have experienced. According to the American Cancer Society, this year alone there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cases diagnosed. The disease remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.“It was devastating news and was a very very difficult journey to travel with Mark, his wife and kids,” McKamey remembered. “It brought our family closer. We appreciate our folks and the efforts they made and the decent people we turned out to be.”“But Mark, he was one of the best of the best.”It is understandable how a person can question their faith when the news is received that you, or someone you love, has cancer. McAmey noted that she never once heard Mark or his wife question, “Why me?”Mark, like many individuals who are battling cancer, or have fought the disease, found the resiliency and inner strength to lean on faith, family and acceptance as he progressed through the cancer diagnosis and treatment.“Your body is just under siege from the cancer but also especially from the treatment, that was wearying,” McKamey said. “Yet he put up the fight. I think he had a lot to live for and a lot to fight for.”“I think that is part of his legacy, for his kids especially. They were worth the fight and he was not going to go down without a fight.”He married Julie Simon in 1995 and they have two children, Carmen, 16, and Jared, 14.A luminaria service will be held at the Relay For Life at Batesville High School on Saturday night.Free time for Mark was spent with his family. The member of St. Maurice Catholic Church also enjoyed golfing, squirrel hunting, riding motorcycles and the simple pleasure of the outdoors.“I think Mark would tell us to live each day to the fullest and make the most of it. To see the blessing and the gift of each day, each person, and each opportunity, and to not let them pass by because life can be taken from us so quickly.”Mark’s story, and the story of other local cancer victims and survivors will be shared this weekend at Batesville High School. The 19th annual Ripley County Relay For Life is from 8:00 a.m. Saturday to 8:00 a.m. Sunday.Batesville United Methodist Church, in partnership with Margaret Mary Health, is offering monthly cancer support group meetings. Anyone is invited. The first meeting will be held at the church at 5:30 p.m. on Thurs., June 26.
If the annual exodus of USC players to the NFL demonstrates anything, it is the importance of having talented players waiting in the wings.Seven former Trojans were drafted last weekend, and eight more either signed with a team as a free agent or are still looking. Their departures leave holes across the field next season that will need to be filled.Impactful · Freshman wide receiver Kyle Prater sprained his thumb earlier this spring and wore a cast at practice Saturday but still caught two passes for 21 yards. Prater has received praise from both teammates and coaches during spring practice. – Geo Tu | Daily Trojan Fortunately for USC, the roster is packed with gifted freshmen and sophomores eager to make their mark.Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley gets most of the attention, but there are plenty more underclassmen who will play key roles in the upcoming season.Sophomore linebacker Devon Kennard impressed in spot duty last season, racking up 34 tackles and three pass deflections. The converted defensive end started the final four games of last season and has impressed USC coach Lane Kiffin this spring.“[Kennard] looks like an NFL player right now,” Kiffin said at the start of spring practice. “[He’s] one of the few of our guys that look like we used to look when we were here.”On Saturday, Kennard backed up his coach’s praise with eight tackles and a sack.“I thought [the scrimmage] went really well,” Kennard said. “I was moving around, making a lot of tackles. I made a couple of mistakes but I’ll go back, watch some film and clean it up.”Kennard is just one of the linebackers who gained valuable experience last season after Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga moved on to the NFL. Senior Michael Morgan, senior Malcolm Smith and redshirt juniors Chris Galippo and Jordan Campbell also made at least one start for USC.“We have four or five guys who started a game at linebacker and we’re ready to go in there and prove everybody wrong about what we’re about,” Kennard said. “I definitely hope I can contribute and help bring back the Trojan linebacker [tradition].”USC also has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, according to Rivals.com, and the coaching staff has gotten an early look at a couple of the newcomers. Running back Dillon Baxter and wide receiver Kyle Prater enrolled at USC this spring in order to practice with the team early and have made immediate impacts.In his short time on campus, Baxter has thrust himself into the running back rotation and become a YouTube sensation thanks to an impressive 50-yard run making the rounds online. The reigning high school National Player of the Year is already being compared with another running back from San Diego: Reggie Bush.Prater, a physical force at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, has impressed coaches with his playmaking ability and, on Saturday, his toughness.“It really says a lot about the kid that we pushed him out here and he came out in a cast [even though] he obviously can’t catch with that hand at all,” Kiffin said. “That was good to see.”Prater, who sprained his thumb earlier this spring and wore a cast at practice, had just two catches for 21 yards on Saturday but has been impossible to cover at times during the spring.“I feel like I can bring playmaking ability,” Prater said. “I know I can go out here and make plays and help us win a national championship, [which] is why I came here.”This spring, he has leaned on senior receivers Ronald Johnson and David Ausberry. Their advice has been simple: Stay humble and listen.“I’m just glad I came in early because it’s given me a big step ahead of the other guys coming [with] the playbook,” Prater said. “And when they come in I can help them out as well. It’s just going to be that much better.”This fall, five-star recruits like receiver Robert Woods, tight end Xavier Grimble and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson will give the USC offense added firepower. Even without former standouts like Taylor Mays and Everson Griffen on the field, the Trojans will attempt to replace the star power they lost.—USC’s roster might be littered with talented underclassmen, but a trio of veteran players stood out Saturday. Senior quarterback Mitch Mustain completed 12 of 22 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, senior running back Allen Bradford rushed for 89 yards and two scores and Ausberry hauled in a 42-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Speaking of missed shots, the Clippers took a franchise-high 46 3-point shot attempts, more than half of their 85 overall shots. They made only 13 of those long-distance shots, for 28.3 percent; they shot 35.3 percent overall.Asked if he was cool with all the 3-point shots, Rivers answered in the affirmative.“Yeah, tonight, I was,” he said. “The right guys took them. If Steph Curry (of Golden State) has 30 3-pointers, should he take them? Or J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford or Wes Johnson?“When you look at the guys that were taking the 3s, it was the right guys in the right spots. We just didn’t make any of them.”Crawford and Redick scored 20 points apiece for the Clippers. They were 3-of-7 and 6-of-12, respectively, from beyond the arc. Chris Paul scored 17 and was 3-of-8 from the distance.But Wes Johnson was 1-of-7, Pablo Prigioni 0-of-4 and Jeff Green and Paul Pierce were both 0-of-3.Paul, the team’s point guard, echoed his coach’s sentiments in this regard.“I’m OK with it because, like Doc said, a lot of them were wide open,” he said. “It was our 3-point shooters. It ain’t like Cole (Aldrich) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan) was hoisting 3s.”Johnson tried to explain.“We had a lot of good looks and tried to take what the defense gave us, but obviously we did shoot a lot,” he said. “I think it is one of those days when they just weren’t falling.”Paul admitted, “It was a tough loss.”Kenneth Faried led Denver (23-35) with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Gary Harris scored 17 and Danilo Gallinari had 16 points. The Nuggets outrebounded the Clippers, 57-47.Faried was stoked about the win that ended his team’s three-game losing streak.“We won, that’s all that matters,” he said. “I’m happy. We got the monkey off our back.”Gallinari liked his team’s defense.“That is why we won the game,” he said. “If we can play that defense every time, we give ourselves a chance to win.”Jordan led all players with 12 rebounds.The Clippers had 17 turnovers.Denver shot 37.8 percent, 25 percent (6-of-24) from 3-point range. LOS ANGELES >> Every once in a while a good basketball team is going to come up with a stinker of a game. That was the case Wednesday when the Clippers took on the Denver Nuggets, a team going nowhere fast.But it was the Nuggets who appeared headed for the playoffs as they withstood a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Clipper,s 87-81, before a sellout of 19,060 at Staples Center.The Clippers (37-20) got off to a quick start and led, 11-2, but trailed 23-19 after one quarter. The game was tied at 39 with 2:41 to play before Denver scored the last 14 points to lead, 53-39, at halftime.The Clippers were within four points at 62-58 with 4:26 left in the third quarter, but trailed, 71-62, entering the fourth. Down 77-64 with 8:36 to play, the Clippers twice pulled within two points late, but could not get over the hump. When Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay made two free throws with 25.5 seconds left for the game’s final points, the Clippers’ fate was all but sealed. Coach Doc Rivers and some of his players have taken note this season that, had they won one more game during the regular season in 2014-15, they would have had Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at home instead of at Houston, where the Clippers lost.That said, losing to Denver at home is not something that should happen to one of the better teams in the league, not a team that is trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.Yet, after this unlikely loss, Rivers tried to downplay it.“I mean, listen, it’s a long season, honestly,” he said. “We played with the right intentions. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot. It’s going to happen. This wasn’t one of those games where I thought we just didn’t show up and didn’t play. I thought we missed a lot of shots, I thought we did get frustrated with the missed shots, especially in the first half.“I thought that’s what led to that last three minutes (of the second quarter). Guys were hanging their heads with the missed shots because they were layups, they were wide-open 3s. From a coaching standpoint, if my guys show up and get good shots and play the right way, I don’t have a lot of gripes.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error