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October 1, 2020

Air quality improves | About Town

I looked through the window of the Watsonville High School cafeteria the other day to check on the huge renovation going on. A crew was there installing new floor tiles, a fraction of the overall job. It looked great. New modern lights, a high vaulted ceiling, among other major changes. It’s been going on since the start of 2020.

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Last night before heading off to bed my wife looked out the window and was overjoyed to see stars. We rushed out into our backyard and beamed with excitement to see a web of stars. Jupiter and Saturn were there as well. These are a few of the precious elements of our night skies that have treated us our entire lives until Aug. 16 when our skies went away. Daytime blue skies were wallpapered over with orange and brown smoke from one wild fire or another. The night skies were nondescript, just a dull nameless ceiling — starless. The sun has been transformed into a floating orange pillow that paints our world with an eerie spray of filtered light.

I read that in Portland, Oregon, they transformed the Convention Center into a healthy air refuge for the public. People can go there and get relief with filtered clean air for at least parts of their days. If we had one I’d go. Bring a book, relax, refresh and move on. My wife and I would truly benefit from that. Where’s ours?

I read an interesting article in the New York Times, 9-15, pg. D7: “Wising up to the dangers of fake news; Older adults who are most vulnerable to misinformation on social media get help.” The article explores  a project headed up by the Poynter Institute called MediaWise for Seniors, free online courses for seniors to help them detect online misinformation. The article goes into how various outlets propagate false or misleading content that masquerades as legitimate news. Two of the chief topics of concern are the upcoming election and the handling, or mishandling of the coronavirus.

The Pew Research Center now says that  nearly half of 18-29 year-olds in the U.S were living with one or both parents in March, 2020. The report is in the U.S Census Bureau.


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