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How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City – The National Interest

March 23rd, 2020 by admin

It took only a few seconds to spot one. Then another. As I walked into the small park around noon, dozens of rats could be seen scurrying in every direction. They dashed in and out of burrows scattered around the planting beds. They scampered between the safety of shrub cover and the trash bins containing a smorgasbord for them to feed on. They leaped on and off the unoccupied benches encircling the park. The rats of Churchill Square had returned.

I study urban rats, but this tiny park in New York City at the intersection of Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan has been a side curiosity of mine. The first time I visited the square, I was just looking for a place to sit for a few minutes during a family excursion.

But an urban ecologist is never really off the clock in the city. I had never seen so many rats in such a small area. Rats are generally nocturnal, so the high activity during daylight probably meant the infestation was severe, which increases the risk of disease transmission to people, damages urban infrastructure and even takes a toll on the mental health of residents. The health, economic and social impacts of rat infestation can be significant.

Public enemy number one

While rats Rattus norvegicus, to be specific in New York City are not unfamiliar to residents, the Churchill Square rats had become too comfortable. Too established. Too numerous. The following year, rodent bait stations appeared around the park. The familiar black boxes are filled with edible bait containing rodent-killing compounds rodenticides that technicians can replace easily on a set schedule. It seemed to work remarkably well; there wasnt a rat to be seen in Churchill Square during my visits that year.

Yet rats are superbly adapted to forage efficiently, breed often and produce enough progeny to repopulate quickly. So despite the millions of dollars spent annually to combat rats, their numbers appear to be increasing in cities around the world. Most rat populations also rebound quickly after a control campaign ends a phenomenon known as the boomerang effect. Churchill Square is an example of this effect; when the rodenticide stations were removed, the rats returned.

Theyre back, but theyre different

While the return of the rats is nearly assured, my colleagues and I recently found that the repopulating rats are fundamentally different than the rats present before lethal control was carried out.

For example, an intensive eradication campaign in 2015 in parts of Salvador, Brazil succeeded in cutting the rat population in half, but also led to a 90% reduction in the genetic variation contained within those populations. This included the loss of many of their rarest gene variants. A broad variety of genetic information is thought to be essential for organisms to respond to and remain viable in changing environments. In addition, because the survivors were more closely related to each other, there was also a greater risk of inbreeding among the remaining rats. All of these impacts observed in the Salvador rats constitute what scientists call a genetic bottleneck and a particularly severe one by any standard.

Genetic bottlenecks are almost always considered in the context of vulnerable populations of conservation concern, not a notorious pest. And the overarching concern is usually long-term survival of the imperiled population. But, pest species like rats, mice, roaches and bed bugs are subject to repeated intentional attempts to deplete their populations through lethal control.

The problem is that there is rarely coordination between pest management staff working with cities or property owners, often with short timelines and insufficient budgets, and scientists interested in tracking the long-term viability of urban pest species.

As the environmental health coordinator for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, Georgianna Silveira is on the front line of efforts to integrate pest management and policy decisions with a scientific perspective on long-term trends. Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations, Silveira notes. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions, often because there is too little communication among residents, city agencies, pest management professionals and scientists about sustained goals.

Survival of the fittest super rats

For the city rats that survive lethal control, there are two long-term outcomes that our research team is investigating now. The first, and most concerning, is tied closely to the idea of survival of the fittest.

A successful rat control campaign removes many, maybe even most, individuals from the population. The survivors are likely to have certain traits that make them more fit able to avoid the onslaught of exposure to rodenticides, snap traps and other sources of mortality. These survivors then produce more baby rats, which inherit the same helpful traits.

If only the fittest rats make it through the control campaign, the survivors may be even better adapted to take advantage of the high-resource minefield of modern cities, leaving a new population of super rats to breed and repopulate. In fact, scientists have identified specific versions of some genes that render common rodenticides ineffective. These beneficial gene variants have been observed in some natural populations of rats regularly exposed to these poisons.

or evolving into sickly rats

On the other hand, biologists know that there can be severe negative consequences for populations that lack genetic variation, similar to the risks of inbreeding in people.

Our data from Salvador suggests that rats can lose most of their genetic variation very quickly during a lethal control campaign. This variation is the key by which species can respond to changing environments through natural selection. And city environments can change rapidly.

So the second long-term outcome for rats subjected to repeated control programs could be a gradual reduction in survival, reproduction and other traits related to evolutionary fitness. This was observed in crows, where inbreeding was associated with lower survival and weaker immune function. Progressively weaker, more sickly rats is certainly the preferred scenario when dealing with persistent rat infestation.

So what will happen to the rats of Churchill Square, Salvador and other places where they are frequently targeted for lethal control? To understand if city rats are evolving toward the super or sickly set of traits, our research team is studying populations before and after rat control campaigns to determine how survival, reproduction and other beneficial traits change during intense control campaigns.

Jonathan Richardson weighs a rat as part of a study in New York City. Jonathan Richardson, CC BY-SA

But it is immensely challenging to study these aspects of rat biology in wild populations, especially in urban environments. Genetic insights may provide the most practical way to assess the impacts of control efforts, including a way to measure these impacts in a standardized way for cities around the world. Regardless, we know that urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

Comprehensive rodent control will need to focus on long-term and sustainable goals, reducing populations to tolerable numbers using varied tools like rodenticide, dry ice and even applying contraceptives to reduce fertility. And of course the low-tech yet most effective approach of reducing trash availability and installation of rodent-proof garbage cans must be included. Meanwhile, research will shed light onto what effect all of this money and effort is having on urban pests is it eroding their viability, or turning the gears of evolution to create unintended super organisms?

[ Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversations newsletter. ]

Jonathan Richardson, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters

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How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City - The National Interest

Planning a Vacation? Here’s How to Make Sure You Don’t Bring Any Bed Bugs Home With You – Mental Floss

March 4th, 2020 by admin

Many places have undergone name changes at some point in their past, often because the land came under new rule or because the settlement outgrew its old designation. But some towns and cities had more unique reasons to transform their titles. Scandal, shame, or a desire to honor their history can spur a community to present a fresh identity to the world. Here are five places whose name changes arent your average rebranding.

A lot of German immigrants settled in Southern Ontario in the 19th century, and the city of Berlin was named as an homage to their motherland. This was fineuntil the 20th century, when said motherland started bombing Canadas allies during World War I. That, combined with the large population of pacifist Mennonites in Berlin, spelled trouble for the city. All the pacifists meant a large number of local men werent signing up for the war effort, which caused people from other towns to look at the heavily German-populated Berlin with suspicion.

Soon, there was a referendum (not supported by the majority) to change the citys name. Citizens were given a variety of new names to vote on, but there was no space on the ballot to keep Berlin Berlin. Anyone who supported the status quo was, according to the National Archives of Canada, immediately perceived, by those who wanted change, as being unpatriotic and sympathizers with the enemy.

Violence, riots, and intimidation followed. Only 892 people out of a pool of about 5000 eligible voters voted on the referendum. A meager 346 votes were enough to change Berlin to Kitchener, named after Britains Minister of War.

Today, Regina is a city more than 220,000 people strong. But in the 1880s, it was a barren grassland frequented mainly by buffalo and the Cree Indians who hunted them. Its original name, oskana k-asastki, means where the bones are piled. The macabre moniker references the enormous piles of bones the Cree would construct in the hopes that living buffalo would return to visit their dead ancestors. Later settlers shortened the name to Pile O Bones. In 1882, the wife of Canadas governor general, Princess Louise, suggested they change the name to honor her own mother, Queen Victoria. Regina is Latin for Queen, and all female monarchs sign their name using it. Thus the Saskatchewan settlement was elevated out of the boneyard to royal heights.

Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie made a movie called Changeling, about a mother who is sure the kidnapped son returned to her is not actually her boy. The film was based on true events, and those events are why the town of Wineville, California, became Mira Loma (its since been incorporated into Jurupa Valley). The real-life kidnapped boy, Walter Collins, was likely murdered in Wineville along with at least three other boys by Gordon Stewart Northcott. The case became known as The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, as the partial remains of Northcotts victims were recovered around the criminals chicken coop. Northcott was hanged in 1930, and the town sought to escape its appalling notoriety by changing its name in 1931.

Americans have come to loathe or love Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat or Bruno. In his native Britain, he was first known as the character Ali G, an obnoxious wanna-be white boy rapper. Part of Ali Gs background is that he grew up in the mean ghettos of Staineswhich is actually a lovely middle-class town in Surrey. His fame was such in the UK that the people of Staines didnt appreciate being associated with his image. The borough council opted to change the towns name to the more elegant Staines-upon-Thames, partly to distance themselves from Ali Gs obnoxious antics, and partly to advertise their proximity to the River Thames to encourage tourism. Though Ali G may have put the town on the map, as Alex Tribick of the Spelthorne Business Forum said, he also put the stain in Staines.

On the western edge of the island of Marthas Vineyard, there is an outcropping of craggy, brightly tinted rock. The white settlers who arrived there in the 1600s described them as the gaily colored cliffs. The association stuck to the settlement that grew nearby, and thus, the town of Gay Head was born. In 1997, the people of Gay Head voted to change their towns name to Aquinnah, to honor some of the residents ties to the Wamponoag tribe, who were the original holders of the land. As Carl Widdis, the tribesman who started the petition in 1991, said, I guess it's simple. An Indian place should have an Indian name."

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Planning a Vacation? Here's How to Make Sure You Don't Bring Any Bed Bugs Home With You - Mental Floss

New Yorks Worst Bedbug Neighborhoods – The New York Times

February 19th, 2020 by admin

As some of us know from personal experience, finding bedbugs in your apartment is jarring. While they dont carry diseases to humans (that we know of), their bites are itchy and can get infected.

Bedbugs are adept hitchhikers, easily picked up in hotel rooms, car shares, movie theaters and other public spaces. And once they settle into your home, they are difficult and expensive to get rid of and notorious for spreading to the neighbors apartments.

We asked Localize, a website that can provide information on any address in New York City, to analyze the last five years worth of bedbug violations (through August 2018) for rentals in the five boroughs, to find out where the problem has been the worst and if it is getting any better. (Violations are issued by the city to landlords who fail to properly address an infestation.)

The Bronx, it turns out, has consistently had the most violations per rental household, followed by Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Overall, violations are on the decline, but bedbugs are far from being under control, according to the Localize report. Any improvement, experts say, may be the result of new laws that have spurred landlords to take infestations more seriously and address them sooner.

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New Yorks Worst Bedbug Neighborhoods - The New York Times

The Off Broadway Alliance to Present Panel Discussion WHAT THINGS COST: BUDGETING YOUR OFF BROADWAY SHOW – Broadway World

February 14th, 2020 by admin

The Off Broadway Alliance, the organization of Off Broadway producers, theaters, general managers, press agents, and marketing firms, will hold the next event in its Seminars series focused on the Off Broadway producing process on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

The seminar, titled "What Things Cost: Budgeting Your Off Broadway Show." Industry experts will discuss the ins and outs of budgeting for Off Broadway plays and musicals of all sizes; in theatres with 99 to 499 seats, from one to eight performances a week. They will also share their insight on where to spend and where to save, and how to stretch the dollars and get the biggest bang for your buck. The panelists will include Lisa Dozier King (Be More Chill, A Letter to Harvey Milk), William Franzblau (Say Goodnight Gracie, David Mamet's American Buffalo), and Evan Bernardin (Afterglow, We Are the Tigers). Robert Driemeyer (La Cage aux Folles, Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play) will moderate.

"What Things Cost: Budgeting Your Off Broadway Show." will be held on the 3rd floor of The Theater Center (210 West 50th Street). Check-in will begin at 10:30am for networking and complimentary coffee and bagels. The panel discussion will take place from 11am to 12:30pm with additional time allotted afterward for conversation with fellow attendees.

Admission for the seminar is $5 (to partially cover the costs of presenting the seminar), and pre-registration is a must. Attendees are encouraged to pre-submit questions for the panelists when they submit their reservations. Questions will be asked live at the seminar.

Lisa Dozier King - is the founder of LDK Productions, a New York City based theatrical general management and producing firm. Current/recent productions include: Be More Chill (Broadway, Off Broadway, London, Chicago), the American Premiere of Red Devil Battery Sign by Tennessee Williams, Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo at New World Stages, Hit Her with the Skates (Chicago), Sacrifice, A Sign of the Times, Kenney: Bobby's Last Crusade, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, A Letter to Harvey Milk, The Crusade of Connor Stephens, Vincent, Bedbugs the Musical, Breakfast with Mugabe, F#%king Up Everything, and more. She has been on staff at the New 42nd Street, Manhattan Theatre Club, Symphony Space, American Repertory Theatre and New York Stage & Film. Lisa was the BFA Theatre Management program director at the University of Miami from 2013-2018 and served as the general manager for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's annual Festival of New Musicals for over a decade. She is also the founding producing director of Miami New Drama, a new regional theatre that produces and manages the 400 seat historic Colony Theatre on Miami Beach, and has been a professor of practice at the University of Florida since January 2019. LDKProductions.com

William Franzblau - created and produced the TONY Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, produced David Mamet's American Buffalo on Broadway, and the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical starring Melissa Gilbert. He also served as the Executive and Lead Producer for Broadway's Wonderland. He licensed and produced the off-Broadway shows, Sistas the Musical (shot and broadcast on BET) Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, The Male Intellect: an Oxymoron, and Iluminate (America's Got Talent Finalist). He recently produced and co-created Rocktopia (6-week limited run on Broadway) a national pledge show for PBS. Mr. Franzblau served as Executive Producer of three tours of the Moscow Circus on Broadway and throughout North America and produced the touring productions of the Broadway hit Beatlemania.

Evan Bernardin - founded Evan Bernardin Productions seven years ago. Quickly his office grew to be a leader in Off Broadway production where they developed the shows like We Are the Tigers, and the long-running Afterglow. Internationally, Evan's team has managed a selection of productions including Million Dollar Quartet, Charlie Brown, and Counting Sheep. He has worked with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Madison Wells Media, and The New York Musical Festival; collaborative projects include performances at Lincoln Center, The United Nations, Culture Project, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has had the opportunity to speak about nontraditional development models at New York University (NYU), Marymount Manhattan College (MMC), and Theatre Resources Unlimited (TRU).

Robert Driemeyer (Moderator) - Robert's Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles starring Kelsey Grammar and Douglas Hodge and Elling starring Brendan Fraser and Denis O'Hare. Off Broadway he produced Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play starring Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif, and Party Face starring Hayley Mills and directed by Amanda Bearse. Other Off Broadway credits include Shear Madness and Forbidden Broadway and Happy Birthday, Doug, He and producing partner Morgan Sills formed Driemeyer-Sills Productions which focuses on new works, classic revivals, and offers consulting and executive producing services, dsproducers.com.

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The Off Broadway Alliance to Present Panel Discussion WHAT THINGS COST: BUDGETING YOUR OFF BROADWAY SHOW - Broadway World

Worried About Bed Bugs in NYC? Treatment & Signs in New …

February 12th, 2020 by admin

Sleep tight, dont let the bed bugs bite is a common -- if not totally gross -- thing many parents tell their children at night. But chances are, you never gave those creepy crawlers a second thought until you moved to New York City.

Unfortunately, the horror of a bed bug infestation is a pretty common experience in NYC. According to pest control company Orkins annual Top 50 Bed Bugs List, confirmed cases of bed bugs increased during 2015, making New York City the fourth-worst urban regionin the nation for these pests.Local exterminators at M&M Pest Controlagree.

The bedbug threat has definitely gotten worse over the years, confirmed client service representatives at M&M Stephanie Kollgaard and Hunter Konkle, as well as directors Kevin Carrillo and Timothy Wong. Incoming requests for bedbug treatment or inspections have grown consistently by 20% annually for the past several years.

But lets back up a little bit. If you dont already know, bed bugs are parasitic insects that have a particular penchant for human blood. While they have not been known to transmit diseases, they are literal ankle biters and will turn your mattress into a colony. And its not something a New Yorker should take lightly: Bed bugs can be picked up everywhere from the R train to a swanky hotel.

Despite common misconceptions, bed bugs do not target messy or dirty apartments (though that certainly makes it easier for the insects to go unnoticed). Everyone is at risk, and the chances of picking up a bed bug are infinitely greater in metropolitan areas, where people move often and quickly.Increased travel and foot traffic brings a spike during the summer months.

More than anything, bed bugs will screw with your head. After my own traumatic bed bug experience, I slipped into what can only be described as post-traumatic infestation disorder. I had nightmares about them, thought every piece of fuzz on my comforter was a nag, and scoured my sheets obsessively before bed.

Whether you think you have an infestation or want to protect yourself against the enemy, this step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know (and hopefully never have to use) about dealing with bed bugs.

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Worried About Bed Bugs in NYC? Treatment & Signs in New ...

Dead homeless man found covered in bed bugs on subway train – New York Post

January 23rd, 2020 by admin

Its enough to make your skin crawl.

A dead homeless man was found covered in bed bugs on an uptown D train Tuesday night, according to police sources.

Straphangers reported the grisly discovery and alerted police when the train pulled into Manhattans 59th Street-Columbus Circle station around 8:40 p.m., sources said.

The man was pronounced dead on the scene, sources said. It was unclear how long he had been dead.

Police are trying to identify the man, who is believed to be in his 40s, and they did not expect foul play.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

The death was reported the same day the city released data on its six-month-old program aimed at getting homeless subway dwellers into shelters. The project has only experienced a 36.8 percent take-up rate, according to the city.

Reports of dead bodies on the trains typically increase during the winter when more homeless New Yorkers head underground, the union representing transit workers told the Post.

Nelson Rivera, administrative vice president for the union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, said the city has been failing to adequately address the homeless crisis, leaving workers and riders to deal with occasionally traumatizing discoveries.

Its a sad situation every winter this is prevalent because you have people seeking shelter on the trains, Rivera said. But the police come to take these people and there are no resources and nowhere to take them. They get bounced around.

A rider had first flagged the D trains conductor about the body, who then called in the corpse to the MTAs Rail Control Center, according to a union source.

At that point, it wasnt clear if the person was still alive.

The conductor said he couldnt tell and he wasnt going to touch him, the source said.

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Dead homeless man found covered in bed bugs on subway train - New York Post

Bail reform pits de Blasio against progressives Cuomo budget targets health care costs Shelly Silver’s conviction partially overturned – Politico

January 22nd, 2020 by admin

New York Democrats are starkly divided over bail reform. While Republicans all seem to have gotten the memo to treat the bail overhaul as a watch word for the perils of liberal governance, Democrats are riven along ideological lines, with many moderates pushing for changes while progressives largely stand firm behind the new law.

So where does Mayor Bill de Blasio stand? Not with the progressives. Its the latest law enforcement issue to put de Blasio at odds with the left wing of his party, Erin and Anna report.

De Blasio has been pushing to change the new law, which ended cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, advocating discretion for judges to consider whether a defendant is dangerous before cutting them loose. To detractors, its part of a pattern for the mayor of being too deferential to the NYPD. Its not a good look, said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. It seems whenever we try to make a real progressive step forward, if it gets a little hot, there seems to be an immediate retreat, and thats very concerning.

Whether de Blasios stance will change any minds in Albany is another question. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the closest thing he has to a reliable ally there, has refused to entertain rolling back the laws. We knew where he stood when we passed the law, said Sen. Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat. Were hearing from a lot of people across the spectrum. His is another voice that were hearing from.

ITS WEDNESDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know ... By email: EDurkin@politico.com and agronewold@politico.com, or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

WHERES ANDREW? With no public events scheduled by press time.

WHERES BILL? In Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 88th Winter Meeting.

THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY has recently lured away at least 125 officers from the New York Police Department with offers of higher pay and more days off as the transit agency bulks up its patrol force, according to people familiar with the matter. The state-controlled MTA announced in September that it was hiring 500 officers in large part to tackle homelessness, assaults on transit workers and fare evasion on the subway. Some officers will also patrol other MTA facilities such as its two commuter railroads. The first cohort of 140 officers hired as part of the initiative begin in waves this month, and the majority come from the NYPD, officials said. Its mainly the pay, but the hours are easier, one former NYPD officer who is starting at the MTA said in an interview last week. Its approximately $15,000 more. Its huge. Base salaries for MTA officer jobs top out at about $100,000 after seven years, according to the agency. Base salaries for the NYPD top out at roughly $85,000 after 5 years on the job. Wall Street Journals Ben Chapman and Paul Berger

The MTAs six senior hires since July have all been men.

IN THE WAKE of sweeping, tenant-friendly legislation passed last June, landlord groups predicted that New York City's housing stock would deteriorate and that the new laws would make it too onerous for landlords to pay for upkeep. But data on basic housing maintenance violations so far shows otherwise, according to numbers gleaned from Open Data and crunched by the Legal Aid Society. According to an analysis by the organization, housing maintenance violations decreased slightly between 2018 and 2019. One of the first things that we heard from the landlord groups that the greater tenant protections found in the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act would mean that the landlords would be unable to maintain their buildings, Ellen Davidson, a Legal Aid staff attorney for the Civil Law Reform Unit, told Gothamist. But it hasn't been backed up with anything. It's just been threats. Legal Aid's analysis of housing maintenance code violations issued by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development decreased by 2,891 from June 14th to December 31st between 2018 and 2019, a decline of 1 percent. Gothamists Sydney Pereira

A MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO administration scheme to get more subway homeless people to take the city up on supportive programs instead of getting summonses for bad behavior has backfired, an anonymous letter purportedly sent by transit cops to homeless advocates alleged Tuesday. De Blasio announced his Subway Diversion Project in June touting Supports, not Summonses in a press release. The project allows homeless people found violating MTA rules like taking up more than one subway seat to avoid paying civil summonses by opting into the program offering a host of social support services. But the letter unveiled Tuesday by the Coalition for the Homeless charges that transit cops are constantly being threatened and told by our immediate supervisors to get diversions. While civil summonses could be issued on the ground, the homeless caught in the act are instead arrested and brought to NYPD commands, where they are coerced to opt into the program, the letter states. New York Posts Craig McCarthy, David Meyer, and Vincent Barone

IT WAS A provocative, possibly divisive, message from a mainstream mayoral candidate in New York City. The candidate, Eric L. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, spoke of how new arrivals to New York were hijacking apartments from longtime residents. Go back to Iowa, Mr. Adams, a Democrat, said on Monday at the Rev. Al Sharptons National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, at his annual Martin Luther Kings Birthday event. You go back to Ohio. New York City belongs to the people that was here and made New York City what it is. His comments struck at a broader anxiety across all five boroughs about gentrification and affordability, and whether those forces have homogenized the city for the worse. In neighborhoods across the city, in places like Harlem, Washington Heights, Long Island City and Bushwick, residential and commercial rents have risen, displacing longtime businesses and residents, and upending the character of those areas. Yet some leaders in New York suggested that Mr. Adams had gone too far. Indeed, Mr. Adams on Tuesday sought to clarify his comments, signaling that he did not, in fact, want newer residents to start packing their bags. New York Times Emma G. Fitzsimmons

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Adams will outline his agenda in a speech Wednesday to the Association for Better New York. He plans to call for the creation of real-time command centers, modeled on the NYPDs Real Time Crime Center, for agencies like NYCHA, the Department of Education and the Human Resources Administration. A command center for NYCHA would track what boilers are out, for how long, the track record of the installer, where repair teams are located and an algorithm predicting which boilers might go out next. Bostons CityScore system is another model for the proposal.

A message from the Healthcare Education Project:

Tell Albany: Keep the Medicaid Promise! Medicaid is the difference between life and death for some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including seniors, children, and people with disabilities. One third of all New Yorkers are covered by Medicaid and millions more benefit indirectly from this essential program. KeepTheMedicaidPromise.com

IF YOU'RE looking for a flashy, innovative playbook for the state to twist its way out of a $6.1 billion deficit, Gov. Andrew Cuomo isnt offering one. The governors $178 billion executive budget proposal focuses on methods hes used before structural redesign for the states Medicaid program and expected trims across the system to achieve financial solvency. This is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources, Cuomo said in his budget address in Albany. Cuomos budget excludes any significant new moneymakers such as new taxes which have already proven a divisive topic among Democrats in an election year or revenue from programs like casino expansion or legalizing recreational marijuana. In any case, most of the money from such programs would be unlikely to materialize quickly enough for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends in late March. The first prong in his gap-closing plan is something the state did once before in 2011 using a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) to reassess the way the programs current implementation is driving unsustainable costs, Cuomo said. In a little more than two months before the budget is due, Cuomo says this new team led by Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, and Dennis Rivera, the former president of SEIU 1199 will find $2.5 billion in savings by addressing industry inefficiencies and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. POLITICOs Anna Gronewold and Shannon Young

His budget included a call for legalizing marijuana, which the governor has predicted cant get done outside the budget, increased funding to combat homelessness, and a modest $826 million school aid increase.

He indicated a willingness, but not urgency, to reexamine the states bail reform laws.

Cuomo wants to make the states 2015 fracking ban permanent, and celebs love it!

His long focus on the state's economic development and job growth efforts now are taking a back seat to the environmental, social, educational and other progressive issues that are dominating the national political debate, notes Buffalo News Jonathan D. Epstein.

Cuomo also proposed extending the State Fair for an 18-day run between Aug. 21 to Sept. 7, causing concern about the structural resilience of the butter sculpture.

Without seeing the budget bills, legislative leaders said they dont hate Cuomos proposal...yet.

The Legislature announced its joint budget hearing schedule, which begins January 27.

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT on Tuesday partially overturned the 2018 corruption conviction of Sheldon Silver, once the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, but allowed much of the conviction to stand likely ending his hopes of remaining out of prison. Mr. Silver, a Democrat from Manhattans Lower East Side, had been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for accepting nearly $4 million in illicit payments in return for taking official actions on behalf of a cancer researcher and two real estate developers. Mr. Silvers lawyer had argued that the trial raised substantial legal issues that were likely to result in a reversal of his conviction or a new trial. In its unanimous ruling on Tuesday, a three-judge appellate panel upheld Mr. Silvers conviction in a real estate scheme and a separate money-laundering count, but overturned his conviction related to his arrangement with the cancer researcher. New York Times Benjamin Weiser

#UpstateAmerica: Derek Jeter's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum could break a 2007 attendance record in Cooperstown this summer.

FORMER NEW YORK mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to shift his television ad message this week to directly call for President Trumps removal from office, with a new spot that will run in states with Republican senators who face competitive reelection fights this year. The decision to spend money on impeachment ads in the states of vulnerable senators like Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) fits into a larger strategy by Bloomberg since he started running for the Democratic nomination for president. He has tried to direct spending for his own long-shot presidential bid to also benefit other goals, like defeating Trump in November, even if he is not the nominee, and helping other Democrats down ballot. The 30-second spot will begin running Monday afternoon in 27 states and on the national cable networks MSNBC, ESPN and CNN, replacing other ads that are already in rotation. Washington Posts Michael Scherer

Mayor de Blasio will skip Bloombergs speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Bloomberg would like to create more projects like the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain, according to an infrastructure plan expected to roll out on Wednesday.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance raised less money than two of his primary challengers, amid growing calls for his resignation.

Price Chopper will charge for plastic bags.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramers withdrawal from the Queens Borough President race may have strengthened Council Member Donovan Richards' odds, but it could also mean good things for Council Member Costa Constantinides.

A Brooklyn man registered his beer as an emotional support animal in hopes of bringing it on public transportation.

Assault charges were dropped against the brother of City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Harvey Weinsteins lawyers said his accusers bragged about having sex with him.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries quoted The Notorious B.I.G. "and if you don't know, now you know" on Capitol Hill to the delight of the Twittersphere.

VICE reported Newburghs water crisis for a second time.

A homeless man laden with bed bugs was found dead on an uptown D train.

A French publisher has apologized for a history textbook that said the CIA no doubt orchestrated the September 11 attacks.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Josh Earnest, chief comms officer and SVP at United Airlines, is 45 Rajiv Chandrasekaran CNNs Kevin Bohn Ashley Codianni, EP and global head of social and emerging media at CNN Elise Flick, who last year married WSJs Nick Hatcher pic ... POLITICOs Zach Warmbrodt and Jesse Shapiro Josh Riley, a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner Jim Oliphant, national politics correspondent at Reuters Gail Shalan is 3-0

MAKING MOVES Andrew Holt, former publisher of City & State magazine, has joined the Bloomberg 2020 campaign in their New York office. Jim Low is now president of Rip Van, a Brooklyn, NY-based food company making low sugar and protein snacks. He was previously EVP of marketing and sales at Schuman Cheese and is also a Mondelz alum. Microsoft is relocating John Frank , currently the companys VP of EU government affairs in Brussels, to New York City to establish Microsofts new United Nations representation office. Martin Auerbach has started as head of international law firm Withers white collar and investigations practice in New York.

MEDIAWATCH Casey Seiler has been named editor and vice president of the Albany Times Union. Hes been managing editor of the paper since 2018. Seiler succeeds Rex Smith, who has served as editor since 2002, and will continue to run the opinion page and write his column.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO pledged more funding toward homeless housing and services during his state budget address [on Tuesday]. The state will commit an additional $69 million towards supportive housing on top of existing funding commitments, generating an estimated 1,000 such apartments, according to the governor's office. The new funding will go toward the Homeless Housing and Assistance program, which funds capital construction of housing for people that comes with wrap-around services. The states existing $20 billion affordable housing plan, announced in 2017, involves various funding commitments over five years to create and preserve more low- and middle-income housing. POLITICOs Janaki Chadha

A message from the Healthcare Education Project:

One third of all New Yorkers are directly covered by Medicaid. New Yorks Medicaid program provides critical health insurance to low-income children and adults, seniors, and people with disabilities so that they and their families can get the healthcare they need to get healthy and stay healthy. It allows them to see a doctor when they are sick, get check-ups, buy medications, and go to the hospital. Medicaid is the difference between life and death for some of the most vulnerable in our communities, and there are millions more who benefit indirectly from this essential program. No New Yorker should have to choose between paying for healthcare and paying for rent or groceries. As our state leaders address the budget deficit, they must recognize essential spending on services and a quality workforce and end profiteering by big insurance and drug companies. Tell Albany: Keep the Medicaid Promise! KeepTheMedicaidPromise.com

Derek Jeter, an obvious Hall of Famer since approximately his rookie season, ascended officially on Tuesday. The best of the recollections of Jeter came from Bernie Williams, noted jazz musician and center fielder: My first recollection of Derek was in 92 or 93 when I saw this big wide-eyed skinny guy on the other side of the cage in Fort Lauderdale. I didnt see him again until 95 when he played a couple of games with the team. After that he was a mainstay with the team after they decided to give him the job in 96. According to him he said I didnt talk to him for the first three or four years of his career, but I have a different recollection of that! All kidding aside, I remember sitting in the back of the plane with him, playing my guitar, and if he was in a good mood, hed sing a little Lionel Ritchie with me, but most of the time hed tell me to shut up because I was being too loud. Derek, congratulations. Its a well-deserved honor. Im proud to say that I was your teammate and your friend. You were the best teammate that anybody could ever have. You were the captain and carried that responsibility with dignity. Everything that is great about being a Yankee, you exemplified. I cant wait to celebrate with you this summer.

The day ahead: LeBron and the Lakers show comes to The Garden. Stony Brook women's basketball looks to move to 19-1 at Binghamton.

Originally posted here:
Bail reform pits de Blasio against progressives Cuomo budget targets health care costs Shelly Silver's conviction partially overturned - Politico

Your daily 6: Iranians vow revenge, bedbugs freed in Walmart and Golden Globe awards and red carpet – STLtoday.com

January 6th, 2020 by admin

This image released by NBC shows Tom Hanks accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

The 77th Golden Globes were meant to be a coronation for Netflix. Instead, a pair of big-screen epics took top honors Sunday, as Sam Mendes' technically dazzling World War I tale "1917" won best picture, drama, and Quentin Tarantino's radiant Los Angeles fable "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" won best film, comedy or musical.

The wins for "1917" were a surprise, besting such favorites as Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story," the leading nominee with six nods, and Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman." Both are acclaimed Netflix releases but collectively took home just one award, for Laura Dern's supporting performance as a divorce attorney in "Marriage Story." "The Irishman" was shut out.

"1917" also won best director for Mendes. The film was made in sinuous long takes, giving the impression that the movie unfolds in one lengthy shot.

"I hope this means that people will turn up and see this on the big screen, the way it was intended," said Mendes, whose film expands nationwide Friday.

Though set around the 1969 Manson murders "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" was classified a comedy and had an easier path to victory than the more competitive drama category. Brad Pitt won for best supporting actor, his first acting Globe since winning in 1996 for "12 Monkeys," padding his front-runner status for the Oscars. Tarantino also won best screenplay.

"I wanted to bring my mom, but I couldn't because any woman I stand next to they say I am dating so it'd just be awkward," Pitt said.

Ricky Gervais, hosting the NBC-telecast ceremony for the fifth time, began the evening with an expletive-laden plea against hypocrisy, telling winners to stick to thanking their agent and their god. But throughout the night, winners seized their moment to speak about current events including the wildfires in Australia, rising tensions with Iran, women's rights and the importance of LGBT trailblazers.

Patricia Arquette, a winner for her performance in Hulu's "The Act," referenced the United States' targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying history wouldn't remember the day for the Globes but will see "a country on the brink of war." She urged all to vote in November's presidential election.

Gervais opened the show by stating that Netflix had taken over Hollywood. given its commanding 34 nominations coming into the Globes. "This show should just be me coming out going: 'Well done, Netflix. You win everything tonight," he said.

As it turned out, he was wrong. Netflix won only two awards: Dern's win plus one for Olivia Colman's performance in "The Crown." It was a definite hiccup for the streaming service, which is aiming for its first best-picture win at the Academy Awards next month.

Instead, the awards were widely spread out among traditional Hollywood studios, indie labels like A24, cable heavyweights like HBO and relative newcomers like Hulu.

And plenty of viewers tuned in to see who wore what:

Billy Porter arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Roman Griffin Davis arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Margot Robbie arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lauren Graham arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Winnie Harlow arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kaitlyn Dever arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Portia de Rossi, left, and Ellen DeGeneres arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jane Hajduk, left, and Tim Allen arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Tiffany Haddish arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Christina Applegate arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lee Jeong-eun, from left, Cho Yeo-jeong and Kang-Ho Song arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Joey King arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kirsten Dunst, right, and Jesse Plemons arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Stephen Moyer, left, and Anna Paquin arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Ana de Armas arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Wesley Snipes arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Dakota Fanning arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lorene Scafaria arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Greta Gerwig arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Pierce Brosnan, center right, Keely Shaye Smith, center left, and their sons Golden Globe Ambassadors Dylan Brosnan, left, and Paris Brosnan, right, arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Ricky Gervais, left, and Jane Fallon arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Bel Powley arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Ryan Seacrest arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Cynthia Erivo arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kristin Cavallari arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Christina Applegate arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Rose Leslie, left, and Kit Harington arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Olivia Colman arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Elton John, left, and David Furnish arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Beanie Feldstein arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Joe Manganiello, left, and Sofia Vergara arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jennifer Aniston arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Sian Clifford arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Merritt Wever arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Marin Hinkle, left, and Tony Shalhoub arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Michelle Pfeiffer arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Helen Mirren arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Zoe Kravitz arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Molly Sims arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jodie Comer arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Amy Poehler arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lucy Boynton, left, and Rami Malek arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Da'Vine Joy Randolph arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jason Bateman, left, and Amanda Anka arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Joaquin Phoenix, left, and Taron Egerton arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Natasha Lyonne arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Shailene Woodley arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver, right, and Joanne Tucker arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Rooney Mara arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Antonio Banderas, right, and Nicole Kimpel arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Cate Blanchett arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kerry Washington arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Jason Ralph, left, and Rachel Brosnahan arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Alex Rodriguez, left, and Jennifer Lopez arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Sacha Baron Cohen, left, and Isla Fisher arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Glenn Close arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Quentin Tarantino arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Kerry Washington arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Keegan-Michael Key, left, and Elisa Key arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Charlize Theron arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Awkwafina arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Lisa Bonet, left, and Jason Momoa arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Michelle Williams, left, and Thomas Kail arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Brad Pitt arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Sienna Miller arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Daniel Craig arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Taika Waititi arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Julie Yaeger, left, and Paul Rudda arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Saoirse Ronan, left, and Reese Witherspoon arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Salma Hayek arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Priyanka Chopra, left, and Nick Jonas arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Laura Dern arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Renee Zellweger arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Scarlett Johansson, left, and Colin Jost arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Aaron Lohr, left, and Idina Menzel arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Fred Armisen, left, and Natasha Lyonne arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Rita Wilson, left, and Tom Hanks arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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Your daily 6: Iranians vow revenge, bedbugs freed in Walmart and Golden Globe awards and red carpet - STLtoday.com

Humans Are Driving the Evolution of Urban Rats – Undark Magazine

December 18th, 2019 by admin

It took only a few seconds to spot one. Then another. As I walked into the small park around noon, dozens of rats could be seen scurrying in every direction. They dashed in and out of burrows scattered around the planting beds. They scampered between the safety of shrub cover and the trash bins containing a smorgasbord for them to feed on. They leaped on and off the unoccupied benches encircling the park. The rats of Churchill Square had returned.

I study urban rats, but this tiny park in New York City at the intersection of Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan has been a side curiosity of mine. The first time I visited the square, I was just looking for a place to sit for a few minutes during a family excursion.

But an urban ecologist is never really off the clock in the city. I had never seen so many rats in such a small area. Rats are generally nocturnal, so the high activity during daylight probably meant the infestation was severe, which increases the risk of disease transmission to people, damages urban infrastructure, and even takes a toll on the mental health of residents. The health, economic, and social impacts of rat infestation can be significant.

While rats Rattus norvegicus, to be specific in New York City are not unfamiliar to residents, the Churchill Square rats had become too comfortable. Too established. Too numerous. The following year, rodent bait stations appeared around the park. The familiar black boxes are filled with edible bait containing rodent-killing compounds rodenticides that technicians can replace easily on a set schedule. It seemed to work remarkably well; there wasnt a rat to be seen in Churchill Square during my visits that year.

I had never seen so many rats in such a small area.

Yet rats are superbly adapted to forage efficiently, breed often, and produce enough progeny to repopulate quickly. So despite the millions of dollars spent annually to combat rats, their numbers appear to be increasing in cities around the world. Most rat populations also rebound quickly after a control campaign ends a phenomenon known as the boomerang effect. Churchill Square is an example of this effect; when the rodenticide stations were removed, the rats returned.

While the return of the rats is nearly assured, my colleagues and I recently found that the repopulating rats are fundamentally different than the rats present before lethal control was carried out.

For example, an intensive eradication campaign in 2015 in parts of Salvador, Brazil succeeded in cutting the rat population in half, but also led to a 90 percent reduction in the genetic variation contained within those populations. This included the loss of many of their rarest gene variants. A broad variety of genetic information is thought to be essential for organisms to respond to and remain viable in changing environments. In addition, because the survivors were more closely related to each other, there was also a greater risk of inbreeding among the remaining rats. All of these impacts observed in the Salvador rats constitute what scientists call a genetic bottleneck and a particularly severe one by any standard.

Genetic bottlenecks are almost always considered in the context of vulnerable populations of conservation concern, not a notorious pest. And the overarching concern is usually long-term survival of the imperiled population. But, pest species like rats, mice, roaches, and bed bugs are subject to repeated intentional attempts to deplete their populations through lethal control.

The problem is that there is rarely coordination between pest management staff working with cities or property owners, often with short timelines and insufficient budgets, and scientists interested in tracking the long-term viability of urban pest species.

As the environmental health coordinator for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, Georgianna Silveira is on the front line of efforts to integrate pest management and policy decisions with a scientific perspective on long-term trends. Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations, Silveira notes. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions, often because there is too little communication among residents, city agencies, pest management professionals, and scientists about sustained goals.

For the city rats that survive lethal control, there are two long-term outcomes that our research team is investigating now. The first, and most concerning, is tied closely to the idea of survival of the fittest.

Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions.

A successful rat control campaign removes many, maybe even most, individuals from the population. The survivors are likely to have certain traits that make them more fit able to avoid the onslaught of exposure to rodenticides, snap traps, and other sources of mortality. These survivors then produce more baby rats, which inherit the same helpful traits.

If only the fittest rats make it through the control campaign, the survivors may be even better adapted to take advantage of the high-resource minefield of modern cities, leaving a new population of super rats to breed and repopulate. In fact, scientists have identified specific versions of some genes that render common rodenticides ineffective. These beneficial gene variants have been observed in some natural populations of rats regularly exposed to these poisons.

On the other hand, biologists know that there can be severe negative consequences for populations that lack genetic variation, similar to the risks of inbreeding in people.

Our data from Salvador suggests that rats can lose most of their genetic variation very quickly during a lethal control campaign. This variation is the key by which species can respond to changing environments through natural selection. And city environments can change rapidly.

So the second long-term outcome for rats subjected to repeated control programs could be a gradual reduction in survival, reproduction, and other traits related to evolutionary fitness. This was observed in crows, where inbreeding was associated with lower survival and weaker immune function. Progressively weaker, more sickly rats is certainly the preferred scenario when dealing with persistent rat infestation.

Urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

So what will happen to the rats of Churchill Square, Salvador, and other places where they are frequently targeted for lethal control? To understand if city rats are evolving toward the super or sickly set of traits, our research team is studying populations before and after rat control campaigns to determine how survival, reproduction, and other beneficial traits change during intense control campaigns.

But it is immensely challenging to study these aspects of rat biology in wild populations, especially in urban environments. Genetic insights may provide the most practical way to assess the impacts of control efforts, including a way to measure these impacts in a standardized way for cities around the world. Regardless, we know that urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

Comprehensive rodent control will need to focus on long-term and sustainable goals, reducing populations to tolerable numbers using varied tools like rodenticide, dry ice, and even applying contraceptives to reduce fertility. And of course the low-tech yet most effective approach of reducing trash availability and installation of rodent-proof garbage cans must be included. Meanwhile, research will shed light onto what effect all of this money and effort is having on urban pests is it eroding their viability, or turning the gears of evolution to create unintended super organisms?

Jonathan Richardson is an assistant professor of biology at the University of Richmond.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

See more here:
Humans Are Driving the Evolution of Urban Rats - Undark Magazine

Super rats or sickly rodents? Our war against urban rats could be leading to swift evolutionary changes – The Conversation US

December 17th, 2019 by admin

It took only a few seconds to spot one. Then another. As I walked into the small park around noon, dozens of rats could be seen scurrying in every direction. They dashed in and out of burrows scattered around the planting beds. They scampered between the safety of shrub cover and the trash bins containing a smorgasbord for them to feed on. They leaped on and off the unoccupied benches encircling the park. The rats of Churchill Square had returned.

I study urban rats, but this tiny park in New York City at the intersection of Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan has been a side curiosity of mine. The first time I visited the square, I was just looking for a place to sit for a few minutes during a family excursion.

But an urban ecologist is never really off the clock in the city. I had never seen so many rats in such a small area. Rats are generally nocturnal, so the high activity during daylight probably meant the infestation was severe, which increases the risk of disease transmission to people, damages urban infrastructure and even takes a toll on the mental health of residents. The health, economic and social impacts of rat infestation can be significant.

While rats Rattus norvegicus, to be specific in New York City are not unfamiliar to residents, the Churchill Square rats had become too comfortable. Too established. Too numerous. The following year, rodent bait stations appeared around the park. The familiar black boxes are filled with edible bait containing rodent-killing compounds rodenticides that technicians can replace easily on a set schedule. It seemed to work remarkably well; there wasnt a rat to be seen in Churchill Square during my visits that year.

Yet rats are superbly adapted to forage efficiently, breed often and produce enough progeny to repopulate quickly. So despite the millions of dollars spent annually to combat rats, their numbers appear to be increasing in cities around the world. Most rat populations also rebound quickly after a control campaign ends a phenomenon known as the boomerang effect. Churchill Square is an example of this effect; when the rodenticide stations were removed, the rats returned.

While the return of the rats is nearly assured, my colleagues and I recently found that the repopulating rats are fundamentally different than the rats present before lethal control was carried out.

For example, an intensive eradication campaign in 2015 in parts of Salvador, Brazil succeeded in cutting the rat population in half, but also led to a 90% reduction in the genetic variation contained within those populations. This included the loss of many of their rarest gene variants. A broad variety of genetic information is thought to be essential for organisms to respond to and remain viable in changing environments. In addition, because the survivors were more closely related to each other, there was also a greater risk of inbreeding among the remaining rats. All of these impacts observed in the Salvador rats constitute what scientists call a genetic bottleneck and a particularly severe one by any standard.

Genetic bottlenecks are almost always considered in the context of vulnerable populations of conservation concern, not a notorious pest. And the overarching concern is usually long-term survival of the imperiled population. But, pest species like rats, mice, roaches and bed bugs are subject to repeated intentional attempts to deplete their populations through lethal control.

The problem is that there is rarely coordination between pest management staff working with cities or property owners, often with short timelines and insufficient budgets, and scientists interested in tracking the long-term viability of urban pest species.

As the environmental health coordinator for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, Georgianna Silveira is on the front line of efforts to integrate pest management and policy decisions with a scientific perspective on long-term trends. Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations, Silveira notes. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions, often because there is too little communication among residents, city agencies, pest management professionals and scientists about sustained goals.

For the city rats that survive lethal control, there are two long-term outcomes that our research team is investigating now. The first, and most concerning, is tied closely to the idea of survival of the fittest.

A successful rat control campaign removes many, maybe even most, individuals from the population. The survivors are likely to have certain traits that make them more fit able to avoid the onslaught of exposure to rodenticides, snap traps and other sources of mortality. These survivors then produce more baby rats, which inherit the same helpful traits.

If only the fittest rats make it through the control campaign, the survivors may be even better adapted to take advantage of the high-resource minefield of modern cities, leaving a new population of super rats to breed and repopulate. In fact, scientists have identified specific versions of some genes that render common rodenticides ineffective. These beneficial gene variants have been observed in some natural populations of rats regularly exposed to these poisons.

On the other hand, biologists know that there can be severe negative consequences for populations that lack genetic variation, similar to the risks of inbreeding in people.

Our data from Salvador suggests that rats can lose most of their genetic variation very quickly during a lethal control campaign. This variation is the key by which species can respond to changing environments through natural selection. And city environments can change rapidly.

So the second long-term outcome for rats subjected to repeated control programs could be a gradual reduction in survival, reproduction and other traits related to evolutionary fitness. This was observed in crows, where inbreeding was associated with lower survival and weaker immune function. Progressively weaker, more sickly rats is certainly the preferred scenario when dealing with persistent rat infestation.

So what will happen to the rats of Churchill Square, Salvador and other places where they are frequently targeted for lethal control? To understand if city rats are evolving toward the super or sickly set of traits, our research team is studying populations before and after rat control campaigns to determine how survival, reproduction and other beneficial traits change during intense control campaigns.

But it is immensely challenging to study these aspects of rat biology in wild populations, especially in urban environments. Genetic insights may provide the most practical way to assess the impacts of control efforts, including a way to measure these impacts in a standardized way for cities around the world. Regardless, we know that urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

Comprehensive rodent control will need to focus on long-term and sustainable goals, reducing populations to tolerable numbers using varied tools like rodenticide, dry ice and even applying contraceptives to reduce fertility. And of course the low-tech yet most effective approach of reducing trash availability and installation of rodent-proof garbage cans must be included. Meanwhile, research will shed light onto what effect all of this money and effort is having on urban pests is it eroding their viability, or turning the gears of evolution to create unintended super organisms?

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See more here:
Super rats or sickly rodents? Our war against urban rats could be leading to swift evolutionary changes - The Conversation US


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