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Everything You Need to Prevent and Get Rid Of Mice, According to Exterminators – New York Magazine

May 23rd, 2020 by admin

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Whether its a roach, bedbugs, or someone who doesnt screw the toothpaste cap back on, an unwanted roommate is a fact of city living that you may eventually have to contend with. Among those undesirable roommates are, of course, mice. But if you find that you are suddenly sharing your dwelling with one or more, there are steps you can take on your own to eradicate the problem (aside from shrieking and jumping up on the couch). First and foremost, Andy Linares, the founder of New York Citybased Bug Off Pest Control Center, has two tips for minimizing the chance of a mouse in any house: No exposed food or garbage and no clutter. But we all know that sometimes even good hygiene is not enough.

To find out exactly what else you need to deal with a mouse problem (and lower the chance of having one in the first place), we asked three pest-control professionals about the best traps and supplies for DIY mouse-catchers. While this guide takes a more, well, permanent approach to mice removal, if you prefer the more humane catch-and-release method, we have a guide for that, too.

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Aside from practicing good cleaning habits, to prevent mice from getting into your home, Linares says you have to seal off any possible points of entry. To find those possible points of entry, Donald Clark, the owner of New York Citybased Alleycat Exterminating, suggests doing a visual inspection of your home for any cracks, openings, or holes. Hot spots to check include the gas line behind your stove, your radiator pipes, the pipes under bathroom and kitchen sinks, and where any cable, internet, or other electrical lines feed in. Should you find smaller openings, the best way to block them is with a sealant and Linares likes Rodent Stop because it is a flexible, waterproof sealant suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and has tiny, stainless steel fibers to prevent mice from gnawing through it. For another option, Clark recommends the less expensive DAP sealant, which is made from a petroleum-latex that makes it taste really nasty to mice.

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For larger gaps or holes, Linares suggests first filling the hole with chew-proof stainless steel or copper mesh before covering them with your chosen sealant.

According to Linares, installing door sweeps under every door is another essential preventative measure. Clark agrees, and both men love Xcluders door sweep, which Clark describes as a top-of-the-line door sweep. Linares notes that installing it is a commitment its a permanent fix, he says, that cant be easily removed but promises the door sweep is absolutely bite-proof. And doors arent the only thing mice will crawl under: Linares cautions that mice will crawl through an open window, especially in the summer, so be sure to keep the screens down if you keep your windows open.

If you already have interlopers in your home, then its time to select a trap. Traps are generally divided into three categories: glue boards, snap traps, and live-animal traps. They all do what they sound like they do and what theyre supposed to do explains Linares, who says selecting one boils down to personal preference and budget. But no matter what style you choose, Linares and Clark want to dispel one myth: Touching a trap with your bare hands will not deter a mouse from stepping on it. These are cosmopolitan mice. Theyve been living with humans for hundreds of years, and everything they eat has our smell on it, explains Clark.

According to Timothy Wong, the technical director of New York City-based, eco-friendly pest management company MMPC, Glue boards are by far the most widely used mouse traps in the world, because they are affordable, extremely effective, and also be used to catch and monitor for insects, such as roaches and ants. When it comes to specific brands of glue boards, Catchmaster makes the best ones, says Wong. Linares agrees: Catchmaster is the No. 1 manufacturer. But, as Linares notes, proper technique is everything. You want to place your traps along the mouses runway. Mice tend to follow the edges of a space, so look for droppings, urine, or rub marks against baseboards. While it may sound counterintuitive, Clark says you want to leave the droppings, because that makes the mouse think the area is safe. And Linares told us he doesnt recommend baiting glue boards, since typical baits (like peanut butter) could make the trap greasy and allow the mouse to wriggle free. It is also important to keep them clean and dust-free, Wong adds.

Of course, using a glue board (and many other traps) means you will see any mouse you catch. So if youre squeamish, Clark suggests placing the glue board inside a shoebox with holes cut out of each shorter side, and rubbing some vanilla extract or peanut butter onto the lid of the shoebox to lure the mouse in. If youre not squeamish and fine with leaving the trap exposed, after youve caught the mouse, putting a piece of newspaper or cardboard on top of the glue board and gently stepping on it will crush the animal and kill it instantly, Clark says.

Professionals still rely on the classic snap trap, says Wong, and no one makes these as well as Victorpest. Because of its effectiveness, the design has not altered much in the hundred years its been manufactured. While they are cost-effective, the pros do not recommend using snap traps in households with children or pets. Unlike glue-board traps, snap traps do require baiting, and Linares told us you could either use small amounts of food (peanut butter, fruit gummies, or jerky are all Clark-approved) or nesting material (like a cotton ball, piece of string, or dental floss).

The snapping mechanism in snap traps is generally the same across all brands, says Linares. But if you want one that can be used repeatedly, he says the Snap-E is outstanding, very durable, and very effective.

Clark loves clamshell-style reusable snap traps like the T-Rex because they tend to be more user-friendly and have a sturdier base that wont be set off prematurely by vibrations.

If you absolutely do not want to see a mouse after it has been trapped, Linares suggests these traps from Hidden Kill, which function similarly to a snap trap, but kill a mouse using a mechanism that he describes as like a pile driver. The trap requires baiting, and he explains that the main purpose of Hidden Kill is to kill the rodent and then contain it, so that you dont have any odors, body fluids, or parasites. While theyre on the pricier side and not reusable, these are an excellent choice for those who are even a bit squeamish, say the pros.

A live-animal trap will, as its name suggests, trap a live animal. A passive live-animal trap like this reusable one from Repeater allows the mouse to walk into the trap, which triggers a door to close behind it (but a human then needs to reset the trap before using it again). The Repeater has a clear top, to make it easy to spot any rodents once caught. But if you choose a live-animal style of trap, Linares says you need to have a plan for how you are going to dispose of the mouse. One disposal option, according to Wong, is to release the rodent outside of the house. Linares told us that a glue board could also be placed inside a passive live-animal trap to make disposing of the mouse a little easier. Otherwise, submerging the trap in water to drown the mouse will work as well. And no bait is needed with live animal traps, since a mouses natural instinct is to explore and poke its head into holes, says Linares.

Tip-Traps passive live-animal trap is an affordable option that functions similarly to the Repeater trap above. Linares calls it an ingenious, clever trap, which uses gravity to tip the mouse into it and then shut the door.

Unlike a passive live-animal trap, an active live-animal trap will reset itself after capturing a mouse, so it can catch more than one between disposals. Both Wong and Linares like this active live-animal trap from Ketch-All, which works by using a paddle mechanism that, once activated, flips the rodent into a side compartment, and then resets itself. The compartment is large enough to hold up to 15 mice at once, explains Linares, who says this is ideal for homes with chronic infestations. While it is more expensive than the glue boards, it is made of metal and is reusable for many years if kept cleaned, adds Wong.

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Everything You Need to Prevent and Get Rid Of Mice, According to Exterminators - New York Magazine

Small-Town Resilience And Bed Bugs On An Unexpected Stop In Virginia | The Long Haul Ep. 3 | Forbes – Forbes Africa

May 22nd, 2020 by admin

During a stop in Waynesboro, VA, Nick interviews Mayor Terry Short, Jr. to hear how the small town in the Blue Ridge mountains is coping with the pandemic, and the family has an unexpected encounter with bed bugs.

About The Series: Before the coronavirus arrived in America, Forbes Creative Director of Video Nick Graham had committed to moving from New York to Los Angeles to establish a new video production hub. As the pandemic grew and changed life as we know it, he and his family made the difficult decision to move forward with the relocation as planned. They are driving cross-country in an RV, and documenting the stories they discover along the way. This is The Long Haul.

Episodes: Episode 1: Brooklyn, NY: https://youtu.be/YFth0l8rfYU

Episode 2: Baltimore, MD: https://youtu.be/jLYva5j7iwM

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Small-Town Resilience And Bed Bugs On An Unexpected Stop In Virginia | The Long Haul Ep. 3 | Forbes - Forbes Africa

N.J. nursing home where 17 bodies were stuffed into tiny …

May 12th, 2020 by admin

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The New Jersey nursing home where 17 bodies were found stuffed into a tiny morgue last month was hit with a hefty fine Friday after federal inspectors found that residents there were put at risk of "serious injury, harm impairment or death."

The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility in Sussex County must pay $220,235 more than $14,000 for each day that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the "facility was not in substantial compliance with federal requirements," from April 6 to April 20. The home also faces other fines, and the monetary penalties will accrue "until substantial compliance is achieved or termination occurs," according to a May 7 statement by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

The nursing home currently has 133 residents and 54 staff members who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the congressman. In total, 94 residents and one staff member have died.

"These failures in proper infection control practices had the potential to affect all residents in the facility through the development and transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable disease," said the CMS inspection report cited in Gottheimer's statement. "It was determined that the providers noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury, harm impairment or death to residents."

The report detailed specific instances of disturbing neglect and violations at the home, the statement said.

On April 10, a resident had fallen on the floor by the bed and sustained a head abrasion. The resident was pronounced dead the next day. A physician's report read: Found dead this am ... not performed Physical-COVID-19 test was done? ... High fever for the last few days that was not brought to my attention. Flu like illness, likely COVID-19.

Patients' elevated temperatures and symptoms were not documented, the inspectors found.

In one case, a resident was found to have a fever of nearly 105 on April 6. Then next day, the patient's temperature was not documented, and the day after that the resident died. "No documentation of coronavirus monitoring was found regarding the respiratory symptoms which included coughing or shortness of breath assessment for this resident," according CMS report excerpts in Gottheimer's statement.

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Documentation did indicate the practice of placing patients with COVID-19 symptoms in rooms with residents who did not have symptoms, according to CMS. The inspectors also found "multiple instances of insufficient PPE usage and protection for staff in the facility."

I am absolutely disgusted and heartbroken for the residents, staff and families about the conditions this CMS inspection has uncovered from the facility in Andover. The loss of life and the circumstances that so many of the residents faced are a complete tragedy," Gottheimer said.

In mid-April, an anonymous tip led to the discovery of 17 bodies crowded into a four-person morgue at Andover, which is one of New Jersey's largest nursing homes. They were just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring, Eric C. Danielson, the towns chief of police told The New York Times at the time.

The center has been hit with two federal fines over the past three years, totaling more than $20,000, and had a rating of "much below average" for its health and overall categories before the pandemic, according to a Health Department report obtained by NBC New York. The home has been issued dozens of citations over recent years.

Former employees who declined to be identified told NBC New York that conditions at the home were bad long before the coronavirus crisis.

"There would be urine and fecal matter on the floor, in the hallway, in the bedroom, like it was just gross. ... I have seen bedbugs in patient beds and, you know, we have reported this a couple of times and nothing is being done about it. Nothing. They don't care about the patients," said one. "And then with the virus happening ... things just got 10 times worse because there's nobody there to help these residents, because of the staff being so scared of working there."

But Andover would ask staff to come in to work even if they had been symptomatic for the coronavirus, the former employee said.

Another worker said staffers weren't given the proper personal protective equipment. "I would wear a mask because I would bring a mask from home. They wouldn't give me a mask," the employee said, adding that one person, believed to be a supervisor, said they "shouldn't have a mask on" and that the facility didn't have any to give out.

One of the owners of the home was a top executive at a collapsed chain of troubled nursing homes previously investigated by NBC News. Federal records show that Louis Schwartz, who is listed as a 50-percent owner of the Andover, was a vice president at Skyline Healthcare, a now-defunct nursing home chain that was plagued by allegations of neglect and mismanagement and the subject of more than a dozen lawsuits.

A statement from Mutty Scheinbaum, an owner and operator of Andover Subacute, said that while CMS "noted areas of improvement for Andover Subacute II," it "determined that the facilitys remediation plan was acceptable as fatalities continue to drop at the facility."

But a letter from CMS said the Andover facility has 10 days to submit an extensive plan of correction or else it will face additional fines.

Scheinbaum said "Andover has made steady progress over the past several weeks. The number of virus-related deaths at the facility has dropped precipitously and is now down by approximately 90 percent as compared to the height of the pandemic.

"Dozens of staff who were in quarantine have been able to return to work and the workforce is at full strength with a team of new consultants and other professionals on board to help us through this crisis," the statement said, adding, "PPE inventory is also being restored."

While nursing homes around the country have been hit hard by coronavirus cases, none have been more slammed than New Jersey's. More than half of the state's COVID-19 deaths have come from long-term care facilities, 513 of which have seen viral outbreaks.

This week, Gottheimer introduced the Nursing Home Pandemic Protection Act of 2020 to make it federal law for nursing homes to report communicable diseases, infections, and potential outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and keep patients' families informed of infections at facilities. The law would also require homes to have crisis plans, and a stockpile of PPE.

Read the original: N.J. nursing home where 17 bodies were stuffed into tiny morgue hit with $220K fine - NBC News

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Up to 2.7 Million in New York May Have Been Infected, Antibody Study Finds – NBC New York

April 24th, 2020 by admin

What to Know

Preliminary results from New York's first coronavirus antibody study show nearly 14 percent tested positive, meaning they had the virus at some point and recovered, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. That equates to 2.7 million infections statewide -- more than 10 times the state's confirmed cases.

The study, part of Cuomo's "aggressive" antibody testing launched earlier this week, is based on 3,000 random samples from 40 locations in 19 counties. While the preliminary data suggests much more widespread infection, it means New York's mortality rate is much lower than previously thought.

As of Thursday, nearly 16,000 people in New York have died of virus-related complications. With 260,000-plus confirmed cases, the mortality rate would be as high as 6 percent. With 2.7 million cases, it would be around 0.5 percent -- much lower, though still much higher than the seasonal flu.

Cuomo was quick to caution, though, that the death toll was higher than even the state's own official report -- it counts deaths in hospitals and nursing homes, but not at-home deaths or other "probable" cases. In other words, the mortality rate is still hard to determine properly.

New York City had a higher rate of antibodies (21.2 percent) than anywhere else in the state and accounted for 43 percent of the total tested. Long Island had a 16.7 percent positivity rate, while Westchester and Rockland counties saw 11.7 percent of their samples come up with the antibody. The rest of the state, which accounted for about a third of those studied, had a 3.6 percent positivity rate. There were early variations by race/ethnicity and age as well.

Cuomo says further analysis of the antibody study findings is underway. The early estimates mirror findings from a study in Los Angeles County, California. Researchers there found COVID-19 could have been 55 times more prevalent than reported, which would mean a far lower morbidity rate than believed.

One prominent New York City doctor reacted to the results by saying they were plausible but by no means certain, and that even if 21 percent of NYC residents had antibodies, it didn't mean they were immune.

"It means a lot of us in NYC have been infected. But that's not surprising news - we've seen high levels of cases for over a month. It means the virus is STILL spreading in NYC. It means that the MAJORITY of us are still very susceptible! It means we still need to #StayHome," said Craig Spencer, a Manhattan emergency room doctor, Ebola survivor and prominent social media voice during the crisis.

About a quarter of the state's total fatalities have been in long-term care facilities, which have been dubbed ground zero of the national crisis.

By law, nursing homes must provide personal protective equipment and temperature checks for staff. They must isolate COVID-19 residents, ensure separate staff for virus patients and notify all family members within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for COVID-19 or dies from infection.

That's not always happening. More families are finding themselves blindsided by a loved one's nursing home death before they were even told a particular facility had a virus problem. In some cases, that reflects a home's lack of awareness. In others, it's an absence of reporting.

Declaring nursing homes a "top priority since Day 1," Cuomo said the state would crack down on centers that don't comply with current regulations and executive orders. Attorney General Letitia James will lead that investigation in coordination with the state Department of Health, the governor said.

The federal government has pledged better tracking and information-sharing on nursing home outbreaks, which the Associated Press reports have been linked to at least 8,500 deaths across the country. The real toll is likely much higher; the virus is adept at killing, Cuomo has said, and the people in nursing homes, the frail and the elderly, are most vulnerable to its attack.

Experts say the outbreaks have been fueled by the industry's chronic challenges with controlling infections and staffing shortages. Many homes have not reported their deaths and state counts may not include those who die without ever being tested for COVID-19.

Cuomo has incorporated nursing home data into the New York state coronavirus tracker; it currently lists nursing homes and adult care centers that have reported fatalities by name and breaks out the total numbers by county. As of Wednesday, 22 percent of the state's 15,740 fatalities came from nursing homes or adult care centers. The state tracker does not list all the centers that have reported infections. Last week, the governor ordered nursing homes to begin supplying this information to the state. Noncompliance may lead to civil penalties.

Some of the nation's biggest outbreaks have been local, including 55 deaths at a nursing home in Brooklyn. The borough now has the highest virus death toll (3,540) of any county in America, per state and NBC News data, accounting for 7 percent of all U.S. deaths. Five homes in the outer boroughs have reported at least 40 deaths each. Part of the issue is the vulnerability of the population itself; part of it is reporting and access to testing. Supplies and personal protective equipment for staff have been problematic as well.

Earlier Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled stepped-up efforts to fight that battle in the five boroughs. He says his administration has sent nearly 10 million N95 and surgical masks, gowns, gloves, face shields and other PPE to the city's 169 nursing homes in weekly distributions to date. On Thursday, he announced the city would increase its weekly shipment by at least 50 percent, adding to the over 40,000 N95s, 800,00 surgical face masks 40,000 face shields, 1.5 million gloves and 105,000 gowns or coveralls that went out last week.

To help with urgent staffing needs, de Blasio has sent 210 clinical staff volunteers to 40 NYC nursing homes and will double that, bringing the total number of personnel to more than 420, the mayor said Thursday. His administration has established a task force to work with about half the nursing homes citywide, collecting data on staffing, PPE, death management and other metrics to ensure nursing home needs are continually met through the crisis.

Our citys nursing homes are home to some of those most at risk for COVID-19, de Blasio said Thursday. They need our support more than ever, which is why we are stepping in and sending more staff and support to assist those who protect and care for our most vulnerable.

New Jersey, which has seen about 40 percent of its total COVID-19 deaths come from nursing homes, launched a new webpage earlier this week that names all 446 long-term facilities where outbreaks have been reported and those where residents have died. One home in particular, a sprawling facility in Andover, came under fire after an anonymous tip led to the discovery of 17 bodies piled inside a makeshift morgue. According to the New York Times, they were moved there after being temporarily stored in a shed. Gov. Phil Murphy said he was outraged by the gruesome find and pledged a thorough investigation.

Current and former employees at the Andover home described vile conditions there even before the pandemic hit.

"There would be urine and fecal matter on the floor, in the hallway, in the bedroom, like it was just gross ... I have seen bedbugs in patient beds," one former employee said. "We have reported this a couple of times and nothing is being done about it. Nothing. And then with the virus happening ... things just got 10 times worse."

Cuomo has said reopening states will be a gradual process -- and that can't really begin until the data supports it, meaning hospitalization and death rates are completely under control. The numbers have been trending in the right direction, but the volume is still high overall. Cuomo says it'll never be zero.

"The number will decline to a level that is basically a low constant. You can't stop all transmission of the virus," Cuomo said during an interview on The Daily Show late Wednesday. "When you get down to the lowest level you can, that's your low point. Once we hit that number, then we can talk about starting to reopen."

New projections from the widely watched Gates Foundation-backed IHME model, the one relied upon by infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and often cited by Cuomo, suggest New York and New Jersey could relax restrictions after May 27, presuming strong containment strategies remain in place, including testing, contact tracing, isolation and crowd limitations. Connecticut's timeline would be a bit later, after June 9, the model says.

The new "nation-leading" contact tracing program Cuomo announced Wednesday will help with the containment part of the equation. The plan is still in its very early stages; former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has committed $10.5 million to develop and implement it in partnership with Johns Hopkins researchers.

Cuomo said the plan would be regional in its approach, rolled out in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut. Gov. Ned Lamont later said he was still evaluating it.

IHME revised its death forecasts upward for Connecticut again Wednesday night, for the third time in a week. The state could now see 3,006 deaths through June 2; it has reported about half that to date.

The new model slightly lowered projections for New York (23,232 deaths through May 23) and New Jersey (7,058 deaths through May 21), though those numbers are still higher than in the model's April 17 iteration.

The newer forecasts take into account New York City's reporting on probable fatalities (it has 5,121 of those to date) and data compiled by The New York Times.

"People are about to burst, on one level. On the other hand, we had 474 people die yesterday," Cuomo said Wednesday of reopening. "You tell me how many people go outside and touch other people, I'll tell you how many people go into a hospital three days from now. It's an impossible balance."

On Thursday, Cuomo added another 438 fatalities to New York's growing toll, it's lowest single-day toll in weeks and a fourth straight day below 500. The state now has 15,740 dead, not counting NYC's probable fatalities. New Jersey's toll has reached 5,368, while Connecticut has seen 1,639 lives lost.

Casewise, the tri-state area has reported more than 385,000 infections -- 263,460 in New York, 99,989 in New Jersey and 23,100 in Connecticut. New York City reported its first confirmed case on March 1. A new model from Northeastern University suggests nearly 11,000 people could already have been infected in the city by then, according to The New York Times. De Blasio said Thursday he still believes half of the entire city could ultimately become infected.

The stark numbers and the uncertainty have New Yorkers, tens of thousands of whom have lost their jobs amid this crisis, torn between their desire to get back to normal and their fear of what could happen when restrictions relax.

Evidence of the state easing some rules on construction can already be seen in the city. On the Upper West Side, work on a high rise is being allowed because it includes affordable housing which is considered essential. So is work at a west side hotel project, which was newly designated as essential.

Mayor de Blasio admitted that seeing an apparent recent uptick in traffic on NYC streets and sidewalks gives him some cause for concern. He said that even though COVID-19 admissions at city hospitals has plunged from 850 in late March to 227 on Wednesday relaxing on social distancing would undo any progress that's been made.

"I've been seeing it personally and I am worried about it," the mayor said. "If it's folks starting to get too loose, that's a problem."

People may not look at a crowded subway train the same way again; they may be leery of walking into a Broadway theater. The New York area has endured debilitating hardships since the shutdown; hardships will linger when it lifts.

The stresses of this crisis -- physical, psychological, financial and otherwise -- are profound. Cuomo says they'll lead to lead to "PTSD for an entire generation."

New York and New Jersey have launched mental health hotlines amid the pandemic. Here are more ways to get help.

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Up to 2.7 Million in New York May Have Been Infected, Antibody Study Finds - NBC New York

Covid-19 tightens its grip on the Big Apple – Asia Times

April 1st, 2020 by admin

The clerk at the last local grocery that delivers fresh produce told me she was quitting. She was afraid to take the subway to work, because New Yorks homeless have taken over the trains, as daytime temperatures hover around 6 degrees Centigrade. Homeless men living on subway trains were a nuisance before the epidemic as well as a health hazard. In January the corpse of an indigent man was found covered in bedbugs in a subway car.

With normal ridership down more than 90%, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is depending on a $4 billion bailout under the federal governments aid package to pay interest on its bonds, and the homeless have turned the subways into a squatters paradise. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has a soft spot for the homeless and police dont interfere. But that crowds out low-wage supermarket workers and puts the citys food distribution at risk.

Its no use ordering food from Amazon, which was supposed to up-end the grocery business with its Amazon Fresh delivery service. There isnt a delivery slot available in New York for the next month. Fresh Direct, the other big home delivery chain, has no slots available, either. Fresh Direct is out of most long-life foods, but that doesnt matter, because if they had them, they couldnt deliver them. For those without the cupboard-full of dried beans, pasta and rice that I laid in before the crisis hit, it means risking the supermarket. Amazon still has hazmat suits in stock. Home delivery of food is almost as laborious as a trip to the supermarket because each item must be disinfected separately.

A hospital administrator reports that elderly people now comprise only a small fraction of coronavirus cases. The vast majority are in their 30s, 40s or 50s. And about a fifth of them show myocarditis viral infection of the heart muscle. The coronavirus, European physicians learned several weeks ago, sometimes ignores the lungs and goes straight after internal organs heart, kidneys and liver. The high death rate among the Italian elderly appears to be the result of a simple lack of ventilators. New York is not yet out of ventilators, but in many hospitals patients are lying or seated in corridors. But physicians are at a loss to treat viral heart infections that attack apparently healthy young people as much as the comorbid elderly.

Emergency calls have increased from an average of 3,500 a day to 6,000, and there still arent enough test kits to screen the emergency responders who have the most frequent contact with Covid-19 patients. As a result many Emergency Medical Service personnel are sleeping in their cars to avoid infecting their families, according to the president of their union.

Crime is up, except for rape you can steal a car or mug a passerby and maintain the recommended distance of six feet from your victim. Robbery is up 29% but rape is down about 24%. Burglaries are up, presumably because so many shops are shuttered and vulnerable. Felonious assault is barely changed (up 8.5%), a surprising number considering how many criminals are self-isolating with their criminal roommates.

Its worse elsewhere, to be sure. In Baltimore, Mayor Jack Young issued a public plea to the citys residents to stop shooting each other and offered free intensive care unit beds for coronavirus victims.

Meanwhile, hopes for recovery in equity prices vaporized as US stock prices fell sharply yesterday, the last day of the stock markets worst quarter since 1987, and again today, when major indices were down about 3% at midday. Cracks continue to appear in important parts of the financial system.

Western Asset Management, a major US money manager, was forced to ask a major investor in its high-yield bond ETF to postpone a $190 million sell order because it would not be able to find buyers for the debt at anything but distress prices. Invesco, another major money manager, sold $1 billion on mortgage-backed securities this morning, as investors worried that tenants will be unable to pay rent on offices, hotels and other commercial properties.

Add to that the collapse of oil prices to around $20 a barrel, half the level required for most shale operators to stay in business. The accumulation of credit problems portends a prolonged slump. Most Wall Street firms have abandoned earlier forecasts of a V-shaped recovery.

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Covid-19 tightens its grip on the Big Apple - Asia Times

Paul Theroux Recalls a Fear-Filled Lockdown – The New York Times

March 31st, 2020 by admin

In this season of infection, the stock market little more than a twitching corpse, in an atmosphere of alarm and despondency, I am reminded of the enlightenments of the strict curfew Uganda endured in 1966. It was, for all its miseries, an episode of life lessons, as well as monotonous moralizing (because most crises enliven bores and provoke sententiousness). I would not have missed it for anything.

That curfew evoked like today the world turned upside-down. This peculiarity that we are now experiencing, the nearest thing to a world war, is the key theme in many of Shakespeares plays and Jacobean dramas, of old ballads, apocalyptic paintings and morality tales. It is the essence of tragedy and an occasion for license or retribution. As Hamlet says to his fathers ghost, Time is out of joint.

In Uganda, the palace of the king of Buganda, the Kabaka, Mutesa II also known as King Freddie had been attacked by government troops on the orders of the prime minister, Milton Obote. From my office window at Makerere University, where I was a lecturer in English in the Extra Mural department, I heard the volleys of heavy artillery, and saw smoke rising from the royal enclosure on Mengo Hill. The assault, led by Gen. Idi Amin, resulted in many deaths. But the king eluded capture; he escaped the country in disguise and fled to Britain. The period that followed was one of oppression and confusion, marked by the enforced isolation of a dusk-to-dawn curfew. But, given the disorder and uncertainty, most people seldom dared to leave home at all.

The curfew was a period of fear, bad advice, arbitrary searches, intimidation and the nastiness common in most civil unrest, people taking advantage of chaos to settle scores. Uganda had a sizable Indian population, and Indian people were casually mugged, their shops ransacked and other minorities victimized or sidelined. It was also an interlude of hoarding, and of drunkenness, lawlessness and licentiousness, born of boredom and anarchy.

Kifugo! I heard again and again of the curfew a Swahili word, because it was the lingua franca there. Imprisonment! Yes, it was enforced confinement, but I also felt privileged to be a witness: I had never seen anything like it. I experienced the stages of the coup, the suspension of the constitution, the panic buying and the effects of the emergency. My clearest memory is of the retailing of rumors outrageous, frightening, seemingly improbable but who could dispute them? Our saying then was, Dont believe anything you hear until the government officially denies it.

Speaking for myself, as a traveler, any great crisis war, famine, natural disaster or outrage ought to be an occasion to bear witness, even if it means leaving the safety of home. The fact that it was the manipulative monster Chairman Mao who said, All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience, does not make the apothegm less true. It is or should be the subtext for all travelers chronicles.

The curfew three years into my time in Africa was my initiation into the misuse of power, of greed, cowardice and selfishness; as well as, also, their opposites compassion, bravery, mutual aid and generosity. Even at the time, 24-years-old and fairly callow, I felt I was lucky in some way to be witnessing this convulsion. It was not just that it helped me to understand Africa better; it offered me insights into crowds and power and civil unrest generally, allowing me to observe in extreme conditions the nuances of human nature.

I kept a journal. In times of crisis we should all be diarists and documentarians. Were bound to wail and complain, but its also useful to record the particularities of our plight. We know the progress of Englands Great plague of 1665 because Samuel Pepys anatomized it in his diary. On April 30 he wrote: Great fears of the sickness here in the City it being said that two or three houses are already shut up. God preserve us all! Later, on June 25, The plague increases mightily. And by July 26: The Sicknesse is got into our parish this week; and is endeed everywhere.

A month later he notes the contraction of business: To the Exchange, which I have not been a great while. But Lord how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the Change, jealous of every door that one sees shut up lest it should be the plague and about us, two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.

In that outbreak of bubonic plague, spread by rat fleas, a quarter of Londons population died.

My diary these days sounds a lot like Pepys, though without the womanizing, snobbery or name dropping. The progress of the Covid 19 pandemic is remarkably similar to that of the plague year, the same upside-down-ness and the dizziness it produces, the muddle of daily life, the collapse of commerce, the darkness at noon, a haunting paranoia in the sudden proximity to death. And so much of what concerned me as important in the earlier pages of my diary now seems mawkish, trivial or beneath notice. This virus has halted the routine of the day to day and impelled us, in a rare reflex from our usual hustling, to seek purification.

Still writing gives order to the day and helps inform history. In my journal of the Ugandan curfew I made lists of the rumors and tried to estimate the rate at which they traveled; I noted the instances of panic and distraction there were many more car crashes than usual, as drivers minds were on other things. Ordinary life was suspended, so we had more excuses to do as we pleased.

My parents habits were formed during the Great Depression, which this present crisis much resembles. They were ever after frugal, cautious and scornful of wasters: My father developed a habit of saving string, paper bags, nails and screws that he pried out of old boards. The Depression made them distrustful of the stock market, regarding it as a casino. They were believers in education, yet their enduring memory was of highly educated people rendered destitute college graduates selling apples on street corners in Boston! My mother became a recycler and a mender, patching clothes, socking money away. This pandemic will likely make us a nation of habitual hand-washers and doorknob avoiders.

In the Great Depression, Americans like my parents saw the country fail and though it rose and became vibrant once more, they fully expected to witness another bust in their lifetime. Generally speaking, we have known prosperity in the United States since the end of World War II. But the same cannot be said for other countries, and this, of course, is something many travelers know, because travel often allows us glimpses of upheaval or political strife, epidemics or revolution. Uganda evolved after the curfew into a dictatorship, and then Idi Amin took over and governed sadistically.

But Id lived in the dictatorship and thuggery of the Malawi of Dr. Hastings Banda (Ngwazi the Conqueror), so Ugandas oppression was not a shock. And these experiences in Africa helped me deconstruct the gaudy dictatorship of Saparmurat Niyazov, who styled himself Tukmenbashi Great Head of the Turks when, years later, I traveled through Turkmenistan; the Mongolia of Jambyn Batmnkh, the Syria of Hafiz Assad, the muddy dispirited China of Maos chosen successor, Hua Guo Feng. As for plague, there have been recent outbreaks of bubonic plague in Madagascar, Congo, Mongolia and China, producing national moods of blame-shifting and paranoia, not much different from that of Albert Camuss The Plague.

Were told not to travel right now, and its probably good advice, though there are people who say that this ban on travel limits our freedom. But in fact, travel produces its own peculiar sorts of confinement.

The freedom that most travelers feel is often a delusion, for there is as much confinement in travel as liberation. This is not the case in the United States, where I have felt nothing but fresh air on road trips. It is possible to travel in the United States without making onward plans. But I cant think of any other country where you can get into a car and be certain at the end of the day of finding a place to sleep (though it might be scruffy) or something to eat (and it might be junk food). For my last book, I managed a road trip in Mexico but with hiccups (bowel-shattering meals, extortionate police, bed bugs). But the improvisational journey is very difficult elsewhere, even in Europe, and is next to impossible in Africa. It is only by careful planning that a traveler experiences a degree of freedom, but he or she will have to stick to the itinerary, nagged by instructions, which is a sort of confinement.

In fact, most travel is a reminder of boundaries and limits. For example, millions of travelers go to Bangkok or Los Cabos, but of them, a great number head for a posh hotel and rarely leave: The hotel is the destination, not the city. The same can be said for many other places, where the guest in the resort or spa essentially a gated and guarded palace luxuriates in splendid isolation.

The most enlightening trips Ive taken have been the riskiest, the most crisis-ridden, in countries gripped by turmoil, enlarging my vision, offering glimpses of the future elsewhere. We are living in just such a moment of risk; and it is global. This crisis makes me want to light out for the territory ahead of the rest. It would be a great shame if it were not somehow witnessed and documented.

Paul Therouxs latest book, On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, was published in 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Paul Theroux Recalls a Fear-Filled Lockdown - The New York Times

New York City Is Empty, But Street Artists Are Still Working. Heres How Theyre Adapting Their Methods for Our Time – artnet News

March 27th, 2020 by admin

Like cities across the world, New York City has largely shut down, with the government ordering residents to practice social distance and cease all non-essential business. Butover the past few weeks, a handful of intrepid street artists still went out there, creating new works of art in public.

In times of grief or stress, I believe that these pieces are a way that people can visually share their frustrations, or use them to laugh at adversity, artist Adrian Wilsontold Artnet News in an email. Street art is like the news, fleeting and ephemeral. I hope to use the medium to give people a way to respond to a news event in a more creative, and even humorous, way.

But everything is different in these unprecedented times, even for street artists. Theres always an element of risk to unsanctioned street artbut normally that does not include potentially jeopardizing ones health through contact with contaminated surfaces or sick passersby.

I wore a mask and used a Citi bike to get around as much as possible, said Wilson, who has since left the city. I did ask a couple of people to use my phone to photograph me putting up the work, but nobody wanted to touch it in case it had virus on it. That was a new one. A guy shot images on his phone and emailed me instead.

A street art work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

After two weeks of leaving works referencing the coronavirus on discarded objects in her Brooklyn neighborhood,Sara Erenthal began to feel under the weather. Concerned that she had contracted COVID-19, she retreated to her apartment.

As soon as I realized I wasnt feeling well, I knew I would not be going out, she told Artnet News. Although Erenthal did not get tested, a call to her doctor suggested the diagnosis, even though she had been taking precautions.

I had very strict rules for myself, she said. If I needed to move anything for a photograph, I wouldput on gloves and I would sanitize and all that stuff.

A street art work by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

There were other risks as well. With fewer New Yorkers on the streets, Wilson, whose work includes illegal spray paint, was more concerned than ever about being spotted by the police. I stuck out like a sore thumb carrying a big stencil and street sign, he said.I have been arrested several times before, and I didnt want to catch coronavirus from a jail cell bench.

Both Wilson and Erenthal noticed a distinctly different mood across New York City as social distancing began being enforced. The streets started emptying, said Erenthal. I started wondering, should I still be doing this?

It was as if a big thunderstorm was coming. Nobody was taking a leisurely stroll or looking around them, Wilson added. Its a grim time.

A street art work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

Nevertheless, there were still those who found the time to appreciate art. In her walks through the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn, Erenthal found a building with many large objects in its trash areaoffering a perfect canvas for her work. She created new pieces there several times, drawing her signature stylized womans face with coronavirus-inspired captions on successive days.

A couple stopped to tell me that they really appreciated it and how much it was making their days, she said.

Some of Erenthals recent captions include: the art will get damaged if you try to sanitize me; help, Im trapped in a towerthat one was written inside her apartment windowand the street is our only museum right now. In an eerie bit of foreshadowing given her recent health issues, one reads I hope this isnt my last public art piece.

A work by Sara Erenthal in her apartment. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

Wilson also finds garbage piles to be sources of inspiration. I enjoy writing on trash because it is both legal and a challenge to come up with spontaneous ideas, he said. Two messages the artist scrawled on discarded mattresses read: remember when bedbugs were our biggest fear and one flu over the cuckoos nest.

He stenciled works reading spread no virushoping, of course, that the work would go viralacross the city, sometimes in collaboration with subway artist Jilly Ballistic. She suggested combining Wilsons slogan with her wheatpastes that incorporate historical images, often of World War I-era figures in gas masks.

A street work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

Another piece was an official street sign that Wilson bought online, altering it to read STAY IN, SANE and temporarily bolting it up around the city, until it was stolen. I felt it was important to do these pieces as a creative defiance against the impending doom, Wilson said.

Art is a really great tool for coping and healing, especially when were going throughdifficult times, said Erenthal, who says she is already on the mend and eager to get a clean bill of health and leave her apartment again.Theres something about the street that keeps me thriving, she said. I needed it for myself, but I think it is a gift for everyone.

See more street works below.

A work by Adrian Wilson, paired with work by Jilly Ballistic. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

Adrian Wilsons Spread No Virus slogan.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

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New York City Is Empty, But Street Artists Are Still Working. Heres How Theyre Adapting Their Methods for Our Time - artnet News

Welcome to the neighborhood(s) – Rochester City Newspaper

March 25th, 2020 by admin

When we talk about "Rochester," we're not just talking about the city. Rochester, for all intents and purposes, is really Monroe County. Indeed, when traveling outside the region, most people who live in the city's suburbs tell anyone who asks they live in Rochester.

Monroe County is about as diverse a community as you'll find anywhere. Within a 20-minute drive in any direction, there is a mid-sized American city of 200,000 people, farmland, quaint villages, and shopping malls.

Bisected by the Genesee River flowing north and the Erie Canal running east and west, the county is a community of dozens of communities: 19 towns, nine villages, and, of course, the city of Rochester, whose neighborhoods have found ways to carve out their own personalities.

From the South Wedge to North Winton Village, the Flower City, as Rochester is known, is home to an assortment of neighborhoods, each one vehemently defended by their residents as the best place to call home.

The suburbs might look similar at first glance, but each has its own distinct identity that draws on their heritage, their location, and their infrastructure.

Each has its perks, from vibrant nightlife culture and shopping to easy access to parks and hiking trails. Here we offer a sampling of five city neighborhoods and five suburbs to give you a taste of what sets them apart.

Marked at its northern border by the crossing of the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge and the Genesee River to the east, Corn Hill is a quiet, family neighborhood right on the edge of the city's downtown.

The annual Corn Hill Arts Festival, which has been held annually for over 50 years, draws large crowds to the neighborhoods. The festival features over 100 artists, from woodworkers to photographers and everything in between. This year, it is scheduled to be held July 11-12.

Corn Hill is a pivotal hub of historic Rochester. On Clarissa Street, the Flying Squirrel Community Space, 285 Clarissa Street, serves as a hub for the city's community activism. The street is also home to the annual Clarissa Street Revival, an jazz festival slated for August 15. Clarissa is recognized as a Rochester jazz hub and cornerstone of the black community in Rochester through the mid-1900s. Mississippi Delta Blues legend Son House lived for a time off Clarissa Street at 61 Greig Street, now a historical landmark.

The Genesee Riverway Trail in Corn Hill also offers one of the best views of the city skyline, with the bridge archways set pristinely across downtown's towers.

The 19th Ward on the city's southwest side is one of the largest neighborhoods in Rochester. Now a rich blend of working class and college housing, the 19th Ward is a proud community boasting one of the longest running neighborhood groups in the nation, the 19th Ward Community Association, which formed in 1965 as a retaliation to "red-lining" housing policies.

Today, the 19th Ward is a veritable goldmine of some Rochester's best, and best-hidden, culinary hot spots. People's Choice Kitchen, 575 Brooks Avenue, offers up a unique blend of soul and Jamaican cuisine, El Latino Restaurant, 1020 Chili Avenue, serves some of the best Latin American food in the city, and Unkl Moe's BBQ, 493 West Avenue, is a can't-miss barbecue stop. Of course, no list of Rochester food is complete without Nick Tahou's Hots, 320 West Main Street, which sits at the northeastern tip of the 19th Ward and boasts the claim to the throne as the home of the original Garbage Plate.

On the neighborhood's southeastern tip is Genesee Valley Park, home to plenty of walking trails, baseball fields, and easy spots to drop a kayak into the Genesee River.

At the northeastern tip of Rochester sits the Culver-Winton neighborhood, a robust community packed to the brim with food, entertainment, and drink. Perhaps the cornerstone of today's Culver-Winton Neighborhood is Radio Social, 20 Carlson Road, a 42,000 square foot compound featuring two restaurantsthe upscale Middle-Eastern Ophira and the pizza and wings joint Shortwave a bar, bowling, arcade games, and much more.

But Radio Social is far from the end-all, be-all of Culver-Winton. Tryon City Tavern, 2300 East Main Street keeps a short, but highly-curated taplist, and is in competition with the nearby Captain Jim's Fish Market, 2329 East Main Street, for best fish fry in the city. On the strip of North Winton Road stretching from Merchants Road to University Avenue, you'll find a diverse collection of eateries and pubs, including upscale Mexican joint The Silver Iguana, 663 North Winton, new-American Lucky's, 628 North Winton, and Khong Thai Cuisine, 260 North Winton.

The Neighborhood of the Arts, or NOTA, holds the lofty distinction of being one of Rochester's hippest neighborhoods. Centered around the University of Rochester's sprawling Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue, NOTA is the epicenter of Rochester's arts community, and a perfect place to hop bars or catch a live band.

Three Heads Brewing, 186 Atlantic Avenue, is a must-stop for live music. Co-owner Geoff Dale lovingly calls the venue space, which covers almost all of the brewery's customer space, "The Living Room." Almost any night of the week, eager drinkers can catch live bluegrass, jam bands, reggae, rock, and funk from locals and traveling bands, usually on the cheap.

It's difficult to fit everything in NOTA into one succinct segment. For drinks, check out Sager Beer Works, 46 Sager Drive, Nine Maidens Brewing Co., 1344 University Avenue suite 140, Mullers Cider House, 1344 University Avenue, suite 180, or Living Roots Winery, 1255 University Avenue. For food and shopping, Village Gate, 275 North Goodman Street, is a must-stop. This mixed use compound houses everything from high-end eatery Lento to literary-themed cocktail bar Nox and The Gatehouse, home to wood-fired pizzas and one of Rochester's best burgers.

Until October, when the city of Rochester is set to cut the ribbon on the Roc City Skatepark, NOTA is also home to the only skatepark in Rochester, Breaking Free Skatepark, 1044 University Avenue, open to any and all wheeled sports.

We western New Yorkers love to pronounce things differently than anyone else in the English-speaking world. To wit, this northern beachside neighborhood is pronounced "shar-LOT," not "shar-LIT."

Charlotte is a park-heavy neighborhood built along the Lake Avenue strip leading to Lake Ontario. At Turning Point Park, find a 3.8 mile paved trail through the woods featuring a 3,572-foot boardwalk weaving through the Genesee River Turning Basin marsh. At the northern edge find the Ontario Beach Park, a 39-acre featuring plenty of sandy beaches.

But Charlotte is far more than just beaches and bogs. At the Pelican's Nest, 566 North River Street, catch plenty of lakefront views with fairly regular live bands. Windjammers, 4695 Lake Avenue, serves up some of the best chicken wings you'll find in Rochester. The Port of Rochester, 1000 North River Street, once home to the infamous Fast Ferry, now is home to sushi-fusion joint California Rollin II, Bistro Jetty at the Port, and Rochester classic burger joint Bill Gray's.

The nearby marina at the port is also among the most scenic spots to park a boat during the warmer months.

Nestled on the western edge of Monroe County about 20 miles west of Rochester, Brockport calls itself "The Victorian Village on the Erie Canal." But more than anything, Brockport is a college town.

Home to the State University of New York at Brockport, the village is brimming with youthful energy and shops ranging from restaurants and bars to an independent book store in Lift Bridge Book Shop, 45 Main St., and vintage movie theater in Brockport Strand Theater, 93 Main St. The village's pedestrian-friendly downtown includes several buildings that are on the state and federal registries of historic places.

Brockport prides itself on its public art, its nine public parks, and its welcome center, which in the summertime is staffed by volunteers who greet Erie Canal boaters and canal path cyclists. The village's website, brockportny.org, offers maps for walking tours.

The village borders the towns of Sweden and Clarkson and has about 8,300 inhabitants, roughly the same number of people that attend SUNY Brockport, making for the ultimate "town-and-gown" atmosphere.

This quaint village on the Erie Canal about a 15-minute drive east of Rochester is said to have taken its name in the 19th century from a canal traveler who was overheard in a local tavern saying of the place, "This is a fair port."

The next day, local legend has it, the same man stormed out of his hotel claiming it was infested with bed bugs and vowing never to return. But the name stuck.

Fairport sits smack in the middle of the town of Perinton, a suburb of roughly 47,000 inhabitants known for its indoor and outdoor recreation. Three separate interconnected foot paths and hiking trails wind through the town, earning Perinton the distinction of being named a top "Trail Town" in the country by the American Hiking Society and the National Park Service.

But the village, with its bustling shops and restaurants that draw on its heritage as an Erie Canal boomtown, is the beating heart of the town. Lift Bridge Lane alone boasts the popular dueling Irish pubs, Mulconry's and Donnelly's, and the best place in the village to see live bands, The B-Side.

The village's population of about 5,300 swells in the summer, when boaters traveling the canal moor their vessels for a nominal fee in the commercial district of Packett's Landing.

Thousands of people visit every year for the village's "Canal Days" festival, which features live music and a panoply of food and retail vendors on streets shut down to traffic. This year, the festival is slated for Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7.

The celebration will have a different feel this year. The village's iconic lift bridge, which connects the vital north-south arterial of Main Street (Route 250) in and out of town is shut down for repairs until the fall of 2020.

Founded in 1827, Pittsford is the oldest of Monroe County's villages. It originally served as the government center of Northfield, the sprawling town that was eventually divided into most of the county's east side towns. It developed as a center of commerce, thanks to its position on two major roads that ran between the mills in what was then Rochesterville and the outlying farms.

But the Erie Canal really drove the village's growth and prosperity. Nearby farmers gained access to new markets and downtown merchants thrived amidst the commercial traffic.

Pittsford is a preservation-minded community with a population of more than 1,300. Rigorous local laws have helped ensure that the houses along its quiet residential streets maintain their historical characteristics. Likewise, the village's compact, walkable downtown is lined with well-preserved buildings dating to the mid to late 1800s.

Many canal-era mills and warehouses remain along Schoen Place, though they've been converted into shops, restaurants, and offices. Even an old grain silo was repurposed for modern commercial use.

The Schoen Place district has become a popular attraction, where residents and visitors shop, eat, and stroll along the canal.

The adjacent Pittsford Farms Dairy also attracts people to the village. It processes raw milk from local farmers into several products, including ice cream, which plenty of people rave about. The dairy has a retail store and a bakery.

Like the other "port" villages in Monroe County Brockport and Fairport Spencerport resides on the Erie Canal and draws much of its culture from the recreational waterway. Towpath Park, for instance, offers a scenic canalside walkway.

Historic homes dot the village, with several featuring Victorian or Federal-style architecture on West Avenue, a main arterial on the south side of the village. Union Street, in primary thoroughfare, is lined with boutiques and small shops.

Attractions outside the village include Springdale Farm, a 200-acre working farm and agricultural education facility owned by Monroe County and operated by Heritage Christian Services off Colby Street in the town of Ogden that is open to the public. The farm says it entertains 40,000 visitors a year.

Spencerport sits entirely within the borders of Ogden, a farming community about a 15-minute drive west of downtown Rochester. The village has roughly 3,600 residents in the wider town of about 20,000 people.

Henrietta is one of Monroe County's major commercial centers. The prevailing view is that it's a town full of big box retail, shopping plazas, and a mall. But that says more about why people go to Henrietta than it does the town itself.

There's more to Henrietta than the Jefferson Road - Hylan Drive - West Henrietta Road strip. The town shifted from an agricultural community to a residential community after World War II, as did many suburbs across the U.S. In 2017, residential properties made up roughly 31 percent of the town's 20,720 acres, according to a county land use report from that year. Approximately 43,600 people live in the town.

Agricultural land makes up around 13 percent of the town's acreage and vacant land accounts for another 18 percent.

The town is also home to the Rochester Institute of Technology and several high tech companies, including Rochester Precision Optics and Idex Health & Science, both of which are photonics firms; Eagleview, which is an aerial imaging and geographic information services company; and Innovative Solutions, an information technology and applications services company located in the new Riverwood Tech Campus.

Amazon recently built a distribution center in Henrietta and the University of Rochester is currently building a new orthopaedics campus at Marketplace Mall. The medical facility's footprint will include the former Sears store.

Henrietta has the second lowest town tax rate in the county. The town with the lowest rate, Riga, doesn't have town taxes because of payments it receives for being the county landfill's host community.

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Welcome to the neighborhood(s) - Rochester City Newspaper

Bed Bugs Still Love NYC, Just Not As Much As They Used To …

March 24th, 2020 by admin

NEW YORK, NY Bed bugs aren't as rampant in New York City as they used to be. The Big Apple fell to No. 8 from No. 4 on Orkin's list of the top 50 bed bug-infested cities in the U.S., the pest control company said Monday.

Orkin's ranking is based on the number of bed bug treatments ordered in each metropolitan area from Dec. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2017.

While New York fell four spots out of the top five, Baltimore claimed the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio rounded out the top five.

New York City still took the top spot among other metropolitan areas in the state. Buffalo fell two places to No. 20, Syracuse jumped seven spots to No. 33 and the Albany area ranked for the first time ever at No. 50.

Bed bugs are most prevalent in apartments and condominiums, which New York City has plenty of. Some 95 percent of pest control workers have encountered the bugs in apartments, compared with 93 percent seeing them in single-family homes and 75 percent finding bugs in hotels or motels, according to a 2015 PestWorld survey.

"The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising," Tim Husen, an Orkin entomologist, said in a news release. "They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive."

Orkin recommends decreasing clutter around your house and checking for bed bugs regularly, as they're always on the move.

Here's the complete list of the top 50 cities that bed bugs call home, according to Orkin.

1. Baltimore

2. Washington, D.C.

3. Chicago

4. Los Angeles (+2)

5. Columbus, Ohio

6. Cincinnati (+2)

7. Detroit

8. New York (-4)

9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

10. Dallas-Fort Worth (+5)

11. Indianapolis

12. Philadelphia

13. Atlanta (+3)

14. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)

15. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-3)

16. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-5)

17. Houston

18. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+2)

19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)

20. Buffalo, N.Y. (-2)

21. Knoxville, Tenn.

22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1)

23. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+4)

24. Pittsburgh

25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.

26. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+4)

27. Phoenix (-1)

28. Denver (-6)

29. Milwaukee

30. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+1)

31. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (+5)

32. Boston (-4)

33. Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)

34. Dayton, Ohio (-2)

35. St. Louis (+2)

36. Seattle (-2)

37. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (+9)

38. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, M.I. (new to list)

39. Omaha, N.E. (-6)

40. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-2)

41. San Diego (new to list)

42. Lexington, Ky. (+1)

43. Honolulu, Hawaii (+5)

44. Louisville, Ky. (-3)

45. Las Vegas (+4)

46. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C. (-4)

47. New Orleans (new to list)

48. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-9)

49. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-14)

50. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (new to list)

(Lead image: Dead bed bugs are seen on a paper towel in 2009. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Bed Bugs Still Love NYC, Just Not As Much As They Used To ...

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

March 24th, 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?

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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


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