Category: COVID-19

Social Distancing in Stores Is Harder Than We Think

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 5, 2020 | by Noreen Wise

Most of us have the face masks and facial coverings down. I rarely see anyone without, except outdoors. But shopping in Whole Foods the other day was a huge wake-up call that it will be difficult to safely reach the other side of covid, when the vaccine is released next year, if we don’t think of better solutions for grocery shopping.

So many well-intentioned people completely zone-out in a grocery store aisle. Are grocery aisles even 6 feet wide? It doesn’t seem like they are. I plan to bring a measuring tape next visit so I can prove this. The biggest shock, were the two Whole Foods’ employees who totally stoked my fears that I would get covid if they couldn’t keep their distance. They must have a timed task list. I get it, the shopper who stands in front of the shelf where you want to quickly grab a product and just continues staring at shelf undecided. That same shopper is also oblivious to the fact that you’re waiting for them to move because you have to stand six feet away.

How about the woman who invaded my space in front of a fruit display because I was trying to keep my six feet distance from a nearby shopper. But this woman, saw an opportunity to maneuver in front of me and grabbed the item I was going to select. That’s not right. The weird part was that it didn’t seem like she did this intentionally, but rather it was if her thoughts were a million miles away and she was trying to bee-line over to what she needed because she was in a rush and her mind was elsewhere. Regardless, it still presents a health risk.

The biggest shock came when the Whole Foods employee decided to open a register when the line became so long. With a long bank of approximately 10-12 registers with only two in use, she opened the register right next to the checkout lane I was in which meant her customer was only inches away from me while we both checked out. I quickly moved to stand 6 feet away, but neither the employee nor the customer seemed to be aware that we were all too close and the cashier should have opened a register further away.

Next time I’ll be more vocal and go straight to customer service and ask for intervention. I now view this experience as a trial run that revealed the short comings of which there are many. This is not a time to be quiet about important issues like covid. The pandemic is going to be around for the next 12 months. If we want to save lives, including our own, we have to speak up and give the store the opportunity to address the situation.

I just read in Bloomberg News that there are now social distancing bracelets that beep if we get too close. Buzz-off, an italian start-up, is one example. We all need these. Again, it’s about saving lives.

Good luck out there! 😷

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EV Charging Stations for Curbside Pickup | Solutions

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 2, 2020

After three months of staying home, and my commitment to keep on keeping on because it truly is much safer at home, I’ve now become passionate about curbside pickup. It’s such a positive and beneficial reason to get out of the house while still maintaining safe distances.

Last night I had the great fortune of hanging out in Bertucci’s parking lot for ten minutes while I waited for my delicious, piping hot four cheese ravioli. (I love how hot Italian takeout is. If I make ravioli at home, it’s never the same temperature as that of an Italian restaurant. I’ll speculate it’s the oven.) I felt inspired while I waited and soon began to imagine a dozen EV charging stations under the pretty trees, with cars attached to each one. (This was a particularly beautiful parking lot. Big and spacious with lots of nature.)

Charging stations seem like the perfect solution for mitigating the negatives of safer at home. There are so many incentives that businesses can use to fund the installation of EV charging stations. Installing charging stations that are funded by incentives are a painless way for struggling businesses to create jobs. More charging stations, results in more EV car purchases, which results in even more jobs. More charging stations at restaurants in particular equates to increased curbside pickup. This is so easy, and it all begins with the plethora of available incentives and tax credits and partnership with governors who are hoping that businesses will cut emissions quicker to reach the state targets.

Thank you Bertucci’s. This vision all began with your outdoor sign letting passerbys know you were open for curbside pickup. I immediately pulled in and called from the parking lot. Maybe you can throwback to the 50’s and have rollerbladers deliver meals to the cars the way I’ve seen in movies, and have music blaring in the parking lot for a feel good vibe which will make us order more food and hang out longer.

Let’s DO THIS!🎸

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Governor Cuomo Has a New York Green Plan For Rebuilding Economy | Take Notice

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 27, 2020

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by Noreen Wise

Governor Cuomo’s daily covid briefings have been what many of us feel is the leading source of the most valuable and accurate information relating to all things covid-19, the global pandemic that has killed more than 351,000 across the globe, nearly 100,000 in the United States, and in excess of 23,000 in the state of New York.

Governor Cuomo’s focus on the “facts,” the stone cold truth of the grim statistics, as well as the dire reality of our healthcare heroes initially not having enough PPE, and the unnecessary bidding war between states, FEMA’s confiscation of some of the state’s PPE once ordered , alongside an acknowledgement of the president’s chronic conflicts with the governor over his sharing of the horrible facts with the public each day at lunchtime, earned the public’s trust in teh Governor’s agenda for the phases of reopening, testing and economic recovery.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings though, has been his sharing of his decision making thought processes and the strategies and logic behind his decisions, as well as insights into his critical thinking skills and solutions. Every single day of this horrid nightmare, Governor Cuomo has walked us through step-by-step, providing us with footprints to follow.

In essence, Governor Cuomo has been a superior role model for other states and the American public, whether we recognize it or not and dare to apply what we’ve learned to our own circumstances or not. Governor Cuomo’s example, has certainly helped me formulate my own personal and business covid action plans and solutions.

As states begin reopening this week, all eyes should be on New York’s methods, particularly for testing, and which businesses are associated with which reopening phases. Our president has assigned testing responsibility to the states. I now consider Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings the same way I do my weather app. Don’t leave home without viewing.

The bright side of this traumatic journey, is reading in Bloomberg Green yesterday that Governor Cuomo has negotiated a plan with Canada to bring clean energy down state from Canada and build the renewable energy infrastructure it has been aspiring towards for years, which will create new jobs and help revive the New York economy decimated by the covid state lockdown. Brilliant!

Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise.

May other states take note of this exciting, planet-saving stroke of genius. Illinois is in the midst of passing its Clean Energy Jobs Act. The EU is also all in on a green recovery, with the UK projecting it will generate 850,000 new jobs, according to Bloomberg Green.

An amazing silver living during covid’s harsh reality.🌳

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Who’s Making Decisions Behind the Curtain? | SBA and Covid Relief Funding

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 26, 2020

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by Noreen Wise

It was startling to receive an emailed letter from the U.S. SBA Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center, located at 14925 Kingsport Road in Fort Worth, Texas, yesterday morning, Memorial Day no less, stating that a media business, focused on climate change and phasing out fossil fuels, is not eligible for the EIDL loan:

Business activity is not eligible. EIDL assistance is available only to a small business engaged in an eligible business activity. Business activity means the nature of the business conducted by the applicant. ~U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center

The bolded quote (please see the letter below) implies that there is an official list of which business activities are eligible and which are not, but in calling the SBA Disaster Assistance Processing and Disbursement Center, I learned that there is no such list. Googling this, I found no such list either. And yet, clearly the letter states this.

What’s going on?

I’m currently on hold at the Fort Worth office, and have been routed through a series of calls to Tier 2 Escalation, where I have just learned I’m caller number 543, so this may be an all day wait.

Phrasing the loan decline in this way is clearly arbitrary, and leaves one to speculate that whoever created this verbiage was relying on some type of behind the scenes directive. The implication seems to be political, or perhaps based on company size. But what I envision is that an algorithm was created for media companies, and run through social media, gleaning data from posts, and an unofficial list was established of who would or would not receive rescue assistance. This was most likely based on how each media company posts about the current president and his administration.

Shocking, yet totally believable.

Again, my current hypothesis regarding covid relief loans for media companies is that loan delcines were based on whether they are for or against our impeached president, absent any information that can better explain this subjective declination rationale.

So sad. Yet, thankful to know that this is our tragic reality in this epic year, 2020. Understanding that this is the difficult road forward for media companies as we inch closer to election day 2020, removes the blinders, which improves our vision. 🌳

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise.
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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

Improvising & Adapting to Overcome the Meat Crisis in the Heartland

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 30, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It should be ingrained in our minds right now, that we all need to make the sacrifices necessary to to save lives and responsibly open up the economy in measured steps. Hearing the traumatic horror stories from the frontlines in the meat packing plants across the nation’s heartland, as well as the medical facilities located near the meat packing plants, is heart wrenching.

Doctors in Iowa were choking back tears as they described how painful it is to have so many covid cases. And one doctor’s account, shared on The Rachel Maddow show last night, in which she bared her greatest fear, that of one or more of her nurses becoming infected with covid and dying, is a wakeup call to consumers.

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Six days ago, CBS news reported that 13 meat packing workers had already died of covid. Thousands are infected and have created covid hotspots in rural areas without the ability or facilities to treat and care for such a large volume of critically ill. President Trump responded to the growing crisis by demanding that meat processing plants stay open, invoking the the Defense Production Act to ensure that the plants would follow his directive.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

But the emotional toll of the loss of life of family,  friends and colleagues, as well as severe long term medical conditions for many who do survive, is not something any American should want to inflict on fellow Americans. Such lack of empathy and compassion is inhumane. Fifty meat packing workers walked off the job in Crete, Nebraska this week when Smithfield refused to provide safer work conditions.

Why did Smithfield refuse to adapt and adopt the CDC guidelines?

The refusal of meat packing plants to improvise and adapt in an effort to overcome the crisis is mind numbing. They received a huge tax decrease more than two years ago. Thousands of other businesses have improvised during covid to ensure employee and consumer safety.

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The moral depravity found in this type of decision making is more disturbing than covid itself. Those plants who refuse to follow CDC guidelines are making a bold statement through their inaction that they do not value human life. There’s no middle ground here. Continuing to purchase meat, when we know it will harm fellow Americans and the medical community who are making such extreme sacrifices for us, should challenge our moral consciousness.

Just say, “NO” to meat until covid is over, although smaller facilities that adopt CDC guidelines should be safe.🌱

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Those Amazon Boxes are Vital for Supply Chain | Recycle

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 29, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Back in 2017, according to Quora, Amazon was clocking a staggering shipping rate of 1,600,000 boxes per day. Today, in March and April 2020, it seems clear that Amazon’s shipping rate has substantially increased and may even exceed 2 million boxes per day. The actual shipping numbers aren’t currently available to the public.

Cardboard is one of the easiest materials to recycle, and recycled cardboard boxes are an essential component in the manufacturing of a number of American consumer staples. Just make sure to peel off all plastic labels and codes stamped on the box before recycling. The tape on most boxes is now paper tape. But if you see plastic tape, peel that off as well.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

The following products are produced using recycled cardboard:

  • new cardboard boxes
  • cereal boxes
  • paper towels
  • printer paper
  • paper bags
  • tissue

Thus, recycling cardboard boxes, especially when millions are readily available, is absolutely imperative. We can’t have manufacturers reverting to chopping down trees to feed their supply chain. TheTrillion Trees Campaign was launched in Davos 2020, where nearly two hundred countries agreed to plant billions of trees in the upcoming months and years so that together we can achieve the goal of a trillion new trees on the planet.

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Search online today to find out your community’s cardboard recycling policies during covid19 and add this to your list of “must do’s” during our global crisis. We are witnessing first hand how catastrophic a crisis can become if we don’t plan ahead and take precautions. The same is true for the climate crisis. These small steps today, will save thousands of lives tomorrow.♻️

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The Golden Rule & Covid-19 | Recycling and Waste Management

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 27, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

“Do unto others as you want them to do to you.” ~ The Golden Rule

It’s exciting to see that recycling has been deemed an essential service during covid-19, but keeping these dedicated waste management employees safe during the global pandemic is equally as important.

With everyone stuck at home, there’s now more home garbage than ever before. Further, the vast majority of us are ordering the bulk of our purchases online, and having it delivered, so there’s likely a mountain of recyclable cardboard boxes associated with each household. And how about glass bottles from our favorite alcoholic beverages? Many manufacturers rely on these particular recyclables to produces their products. Cardboard and glass are two of the more essential components of the supply chain for recyclable manufacturing.

So, how is recycling being handled during covid-19? There seems to be conflicting accounts depending on the state and local municipality.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

Here’s what we know according to The Recycling Partnership:

  • even though deemed essential, many communities are suspending curbside recycling pickup so please check with your town’s waste management website
  • if your locality has drop off recycling, please try and take advantage of this, while maintaining the safe protocols of a facial covering and gloves, manufacturers are desperate for these materials
  • cities will have much tighter budgets in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, many towns are discussing cutting back on curbside recycling pickup, so we have to make plans each week to drop off recyclables at drop off centers
  • states and municipalities are still trying to work out the best way to handle plastic PPE and recycling, hard plastic can be recycled, but it can be dangerous, (more information below)
  • Wipe garbage bin handles down before rolling to curb, and wear gloves when pushing the bin to curb

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Additionally, there are specific rules regarding how to handle waste and recycling if anyone in the household has tested positive for covid-19.

  • No garbage brought to the curb during the 14 day quarantine period
  • add an additional 72 hours to the 14 days for recycling

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Our individual actions are life and death for many in our communities. It’s very important that we follow the guidelines to keep everyone safe. The golden rule has never meant more than it does right now. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. ♻️

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Glass Solar Bricks Coming Soon

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 7, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

There’s been some exciting climate news released during the tragic covid19 crisis, glass solar bricks will soon be here. According to Reuters, the new glass bricks will not only be able to produce sustainable energy, they will also serve as thermal insulation and allow sunlight in. Very advanced compared to the current solar panels that line roofs, farmers fields and desert land.

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Glass solar bricks won’t be able to replace solar panels, but new buildings will be constructed using futuristic bricks that will power the entire building. Now that’s brilliant, and a lot to cheer about when things seem so bleak right now. According to Bloomberg Green, solar installations have taken a nose dive while everyone is stuck at home trying to cope with their lives being turned upside down.

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The disruption may very well be a blessing for many many families and businesses, however. Solar power is an investment. We always want the most advanced technology when we put down our money. But, with solar power progressing in leaps and bounds, the advancements are happening much quicker than the 5-20 year solar loan payment schedules. I’m sure we’ve all had at least dreadful phone experience, where a few months after we upgrade, Apple releases it’s next iPhone iteration, letting all the air out of our tires as we’re forced to wait two years with our new old phones.

There’s nothing wrong with the current solar panels. They’re very effective, enabling families to save money, and in many cases make a significant amount  of money, all while lowering carbon emissions. But just as we saw with computers, smart phones, cameras… all technology really, the newer versions are always lighter, stronger, faster.

Best not to stress about dismal 2020 solar installations in the short term, we’ll definitely make up for it in the long term.🌱

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Finding Our New Groove | Weaving in Green While We’re at It

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 5, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Every day is another step in this new, weird world we’re adapting to. And because we were blindsided, and thus had no preparation, we’re missing nearly every safety necessity, which forces us to be incredibly resourceful, and improvise, if we want to overcome these circumstances and stay alive. Sadly, despite all our efforts, many will still perish.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. …is a military motto. Makes sense. I can totally picture improvise-adapt-overcome being the daily practice when the military is out in the field. And the military’s story of reality on the front lines, is now our reality as we stand on the front lines. With so much adapting and improvising taking place 24/7, it’s an excellent opportunity for us to absorb the big picture and make all the changes we’ve been promising ourselves for days, months, and even… years.

Climate reality.

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I remember the incredible opportunity I had after the townhouse I lived in was flattened by a tornado. The first few weeks were traumatic, of course. The structure was deemed a total loss. My then-husband and I had to live in temporary quarters, while it was rebuilt. I was so grateful to have lived through the frightening experience (I survived by running into a closet when I heard the train coming, and when I opened the door after the huge KABOOOOM, everything was gone). I thus wasn’t going to complain about any of the inconveniences or hardships that followed.

I think what kept me so positive, was that I could suddenly make all the changes I’d been dreaming of. Be careful for what you wish  for. Be careful for what you wish for. Be careful for what you wish for. Seriously, I must have said that a million times. When life is suddenly helter skelter, I could finally fully grasp what Newtown’s first law of motion was all about: an object at rest stays at rest, or an object in motion stays in motion at the same velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

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Carpe diem. Seize the day. I became the whirlwind of change, quickly implementing the home designs I’d been planning for years. I upgraded the floors in several rooms with upscale tile, and top of the line carpeting in others. A few months after moving back in, the upgrades enabled us to sell the townhouse in record time during a down market at asking price and relocate across the country to California. I also began a writing course at some point during all this craziness, which set me on a new path to become the writer I had dreamed of becoming ever since I was a child. Those eight months were an endless blur of activity, the equivalent of the shifting of a kaleidoscope where every single spec shifts.

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I feel the exact same right now. There’s safety with all of us suffering the same grim fate together. It reminds me of my father’s chain saw accident when he slipped and fell and accidentally sawed his leg down to the bone (it was amputated at the hospital). The doctor explained that what saved my father’s life was slicing all the way through the largest vein in his leg, causing it to clamp shut on its own. Apparently, if he had nicked it, he would have bled out.

So, too with us. We’re all in this together. Let’s make the most of this incredible opportunity and commit to implement the many changes we’ve been promising to make for climate… as well as removing corrupt, lawless politicians who’ve degraded our American principles and undermined our Constitution, which we all now hold so dear.🌱

 

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Trump’s Weird Response to COVID-19 Should Make Us Question the Bizarre Timing of Soleimani’s Death

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 31, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

There are no coincidences. Right? So then what are we supposed to make of this very bizarre coincidence?

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was notified on December 30, 2019 of the alarming discovery in Wuhan, China regarding an “unexplained pneumonia” spreading across the city.

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  • The information was shared across social media as Americans were eagerly looking forward to a special New Years Eve, the beginning of a new decade.HillReport2-31-2020b.png
  • Additionally, the Articles of Impeachment had been passed in the House prior to the holiday recess, but Pelosi had the good sense not to send the articles to McConnell in the Senate and this was causing a ruckus. One of the contentious issues was the need to have witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, specifically John Bolton.
  • Americans were blinded by a distressing curve ball that blew up the news cycle on January 3, 2020 when word came that Trump had approved the killing of a top Iranian military general, the number two man in the Iranian government,  General Qasem Soleimai. This was so controversial, it was debated through every news outlet for the next two weeks, with the Pentagon and the FBI warning Americans to beware of retaliation in the United States.HillReport3-31-2020.png
  • Mike Pompeo, who as mentioned had already been informed about the coronavirus, and likely told Trump, was apparently the one behind the killing of Soleimani, urging Trump to go for it. It seems very plausible the two discussed both matters at the same time.
  • Meanwhile, also on January 3, 2020, in a dark corner of the White House, official word came announcing that something alarming was happening in Wuhan, China. But who would pay attention to this threat on the other side of the globe while a volcanic international crisis was erupting on our doorstep?
  • News of covid-19 was quickly buried under a stack of more pressing and immediate emergencies, with Iran immediately striking back in Iraq with repeated attacks following what some began calling the “assassination” of Soleimani. At one point during this maelstrom, Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian commercial flight taking off from an airport in Tehran filled with Iranian and Canadian citizens.
  • The heated conflict between Pelosi and McConnell and Trump’s impeachment trial continued, and remained the center focus of the news cycle despite the international chaos over Soleimani’s death.
  • As if to top off the month of horror and alarm, Sunday afternoon January 26, 2020 our lives were interrupted by yet another heartbreaking tragedy, the shocking death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, and everyone onboard their helicopter that plummeted from the sky, crashing into a canyon north of LA, and blowing up on impact.

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  • In light of these agonizing twists and turns that just so happen to line up exactly with word of the coronavirus arriving in DC, I have a few simple questions: Why did Pompeo push to have Soleimani removed in such a dramatic and controversial take down when he was fully aware it would divert attention away from the coronavirus early warnings? No American leader would do this unless it was their intention to do so. Why was this their intention?

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