19 dead as West Coast wildfires rage and cause world’s worst air quality

first_imgDaveAlan/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL AND KARMA ALLEN, ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) — An estimated 500,000 Oregon residents are facing evacuation because of the wildfires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.The nearly 70 active wildfires raging along the West Coast have produced the worst air quality on the planet. Portland, Seattle and San Francisco were the top-three worst, according to IQ Air, as of Friday night. Los Angeles ranked seventh.At least 26 people have been killed this year in the fires, including 19 just this week.Amid the devastating blazes, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order to combat price gouging. This is in response, she said, to reports that some essential consumer goods and services, especially lodging, saw outsized price increases.“During a statewide emergency, it is absolutely unacceptable to price-gouge Oregonians who have already been hard hit and are facing devastating loss,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.As of Saturday morning, there were 37 active fires burning more than 1 million acres, or 1,500 square miles, in Oregon. The largest, the Beachie Creek Fire, has burned at least 186,000 acres and was 0% contained. The fire has killed at least two people and injured at least four others.The Holiday Farm Fire has burned more than 156,000 acres and was 0% contained. One person was found dead Friday in a home within the perimeter of the fire, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office said. The Lionshead Fire, which has burned more than 136,000 acres and injured at least four people, was 5% contained.The Riverside Fire, at 130,000 acres and 0% containment, and the Archie Creek Fire, at more than 107,000 acres and 0% containment, were still raging, authorities said.“Thousands of evacuated Oregonians are sleeping in motels, on cots in shelters, or with friends/family,” Brown tweeted. “Please know that we are doing everything in our power to fight these fires.”As state and local emergency responders continue their heroic work, they’ll now be getting some additional federal help.A day after a delegation of Oregon lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for disaster assistance, he approved the state’s emergency declaration.“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures … to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe,” a statement from the White House said.In California, at least 14,000 firefighters were one the front lines Friday battling 28 major active wildfires. Many firefighters there have braved the grueling conditions for almost a month straight. Since the beginning of the year, wildfires have scorched a combined 3.1 million acres — an area larger than Connecticut.The North Complex Fire, formerly known as the Bear Fire, has burned more than 252,500 acres, was 23% contained and has resulted in at least 10 deaths. It also destroyed at least 2,000 structures.California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Thursday for Siskiyou County, where the Slater Fire was at 140,000 acres and 0% contained.Six of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history have occurred this year.The August Complex Fire had covered at least 491,600 acres and was 25% contained, while the El Dorado Fire near San Bernardino reached 13,000 acres and was 31% contained.In Washington, the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County reached 187,000 acres and was 25% contained. A young child was killed in that fire earlier this week, with both parents suffering critical burn injuries.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Downtowns from Quebec, Vermont celebrate “sisterhood”

first_imgOfficials representing the downtown associations of Coaticook, PQ and Newport City formally celebrated their new Jumelage or ‘sister downtown’ relationship at a ceremony in Montpelier Tuesday, the first of what supporters hope will be many such connections made.‘Both of these communities have thriving downtowns, and both are working to further enhance the economic and social vitality in their downtowns,’ said Governor Jim Douglas, who attended the ceremony. ‘I hope this initiative will provide yet another opportunity for Vermont and Quebec to learn about each other’s best practices, this time in downtown revitalization, and set the stage for greater cooperation in the future.’Officials from Quebec’s downtowns and the Fondation Rue Principal (Main Street Foundation) were in Vermont for several days visiting their Vermont Downtown Program counterparts in several of the state’s designated downtowns and village centers to learn more about their efforts.‘We are very excited,’ said Julie Favreau, Coordinator of Coaticook’s Rues Principales. ‘We are at the very beginning of this process, so we are looking forward to cooperating with the City of Newport.’‘Newport City Renaissance Corporation is looking forward to exploring all possibilities and opportunities to partner with our sister organization in Coaticook, Quebec,’ said Patricia Sears, Executive Director of the downtown organization for Newport. ‘This will be an expansion of the work we have been doing for the past three years with the Eastern Townships in Quebec to enhance cross-border exchange of culture and commerce.’The Vermont Downtown program works to support local revitalization efforts in the state’s designated downtowns and villages. To date, 23 Vermont downtowns and 103 village centers are designated and all older and historic buildings in these designated areas are eligible for investment incentives.‘One of the key things we’ve learned in downtown revitalization is that you have to have a dedicated downtown revitalization organization to lead the process,’ said Joss Besse, director of the Vermont Downtown Program.  ‘This visit brings together the managers of those organizations, both Quebec and Vermont, to learn from each other’s experiences.’Designated communities become eligible to compete for funding for building rehabilitation and safety improvements, and transportation projects, primarily Downtown and Village Center State Tax Credits.In 11 years, the state has dedicated over $12 million these communities, leveraging hundreds of millions more in private and municipal investments.For more information, please visit: www.historicvermont.org/programs/downtown.html(link is external)last_img read more

KMJ Performance signs on as sponsor for special events in six IMCA divisions

first_imgHe started Assault Race Cars with Randy Havlik in 2017 and bought both Victory Chassis and Zero 1 Shocks last year. “This program is a good way for us to get our feet wet with IMCA and get national exposure,” KMJ owner and long-time Modified driver Tony Hofbauer said. “This will be a good thing for us and for the drivers.” Those certificates will be given at designated specials for IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Late Models, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods and Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMods.  Drivers in the same four divisions competing in Assault and Victory cars receive free pit passes when they race this season at Marshalltown. They’ll also receive a 2020 chassis for winning the 2019 track title there.  STORY CITY, Iowa – New sponsor KMJ Performance makes a top five finish pay off even more at 80 IMCA special events in 2019.  KMJ’s initial sponsorship program extends to the biggest event in all of dirt track racing, as a 2020 chassis will be awarded to any Modified, Stock Car, Hobby Stock or Northern SportMod winning the Saturday night main event at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s in an Assault or Victory ride. KMJ now has 32 employees working in Story City. A 45,000 square foot building is home to corpo­rate offices, storefront and aluminum fabricating, with a 40,000 square foot building home to warehousing and a welding shop. Havlik was the 2009 Super Nationals Modified champion; Hofbauer was runner-up in the 2003 event. The Story City, Iowa, chassis and high performance parts manufacturer and distributor gives $200 gift certificates good toward the purchase of any four shock package, or $250 certificates, applicable in the purchase of any Victory or Assault chassis.  “The flexibility of this program will work very well when targeting special events across the country,” noted IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder. “We are able to give drivers a second option when it comes to the award package and that will really be beneficial at certain events. We are really looking forward to working with Tony and his team at KMJ this season.” Information about both brands of chassis and all KMJ products is available at the www.kmjperformance.com website and on Facebook.  Hofbauer started KMJ – the initials of his kids’ first names – at his farm south of Ames in 2005, after selling his interest in Midwest Motorsports. “Randy and I have known each other for a long time but this is something neither one of us ever envisioned,” Hofbauer said of KMJ’s rapid growth. “We ship 4,000-5,000 orders a week and manufac­ture a private line of Assault Racing Products.”last_img read more