Loma Livestock: Hosting sales every other week. Schedule at lomalivestock.com. Peak of hurricane season reminds of need for legal reforms to bolster Florida insurance market. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he arrives at Downing Street. Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images LONDON — The British government has opted to press on with a controversial bill that could ultimately undermine a Brexit divorce deal it signed last year, despite an ultimatum and the threat of legal […] Salem, Ore. • Diminishing winds and rising humidity helped firefighters battling deadly blazes in Oregon and California, but with dozens of people still missing, authorities in both states feared that the receding flames could reveal many more dead across the blackened landscape.
Loma Livestock: Hosting sales every other week. Schedule at lomalivestock.com.
Market report for Sept. 4:
Heifers (average): 350 to 400 lbs., $129; 750 to 800 lbs., $118; 900 to 950 lbs., $104; 1,000 to 1,110 lbs., $94.50. Steers (average): 500 to 550 lbs., $148; 550 to 600 lbs., $138; 650 to 700 lbs., $145; 800 to 850 lbs., $127.50; 950 to 1,000 lbs., $119; 1,000 to 1,100 lbs, $113; Weigh cows: high yield, $.66; medium yield, $.64.50; low yield, $.61. Weigh bulls: high yield, $95; medium yield, $92; low yield, $88.50.
Delta Sales Yard
Market report for Sept. 10: Steers: 300 to 400 lbs., $1.70 to $2.00; 400 to 500 lbs., $1.55 to $1.85; 500 to 600 lbs., $1.40 to $1.55; 600 to 700 lbs., $1.35 to $1.48; 700 to 800 lbs., $1.30 to $1.40; 800 to 900 lbs., $1.26 to $1.35. Heifers: 300 to 400 lbs., $1.50 to $1.70; 400 to 500 lbs., $1.35 to $1.53; 500 to 600 lbs., $1.28 to $1.42; 600 to 700 lbs., $1.25 to $1.35; 700 to 800 lbs., $1.25 to $1.35; 800 to 900 lbs., $1.20 to $1.30. Top Bulls: $.90 to $.97; Medium Bulls, $.80 to $.89; Top cows, $.60 to $.68, high of $.75; Medium cows, $.54 to $.59; Low Yielding Cows, $.54-down.
Point of View: Peak of hurricane season reminds of need for legal reforms to bolster Florida insurance market
The latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates this could be one of the most active hurricane seasons on-record. This is especially troubling news for Florida as our state’s geographic location and growing population create an inherent risk for catastrophic damage from hurricanes.
Prior to 1992 and the historic damage from Hurricane Andrew, the state’s vulnerability to hurricanes had been underestimated. Hurricane Andrew created billions in losses and forever changed the marketplace for property insurance in Florida. One silver lining? Hurricane Andrew ushered in modern day building codes, which save lives and increase the resiliency of communities.
Since Hurricane Andrew, Florida has experienced many catastrophic weather events that have challenged the insurance marketplace. Six of the 10 costliest hurricanes have impacted Florida. In recent years, Hurricanes Michael and Irma caused billions of dollars in damages. All the while, Florida insurance companies have been there and will continue to be there to help families, individuals, and businesses recover after a disaster.
In addition to the inherent greater risk from hurricanes, Florida’s crumbling legal environment has had significant consequences on the insurance marketplace. Rampant lawsuit abuse has increased costs for all Floridians. Even when an insurance company does everything possible to settle a claim efficiently, fairly, and in accordance with a policyholder’s contract, some plaintiffs’ attorneys are using questionable legal tactics to deliberately prevent a claim from being settled in order to file a lawsuit in the hopes of winning an astronomical settlement.
Legal reforms are critically needed to put an end to widespread lawsuit abuse. The governor and Florida Legislature took a positive step forward in 2019 by passing a law that protects homeowners from assignment of benefits property scams, but more legal reforms are needed to restore fairness to the state’s legal system and keep insurance premiums reasonable for Florida families.
There are actions that consumers can take to save money and reduce insurance premium costs, such as shopping around for the best coverage at the best price. We are in the peak of hurricane season, and now is the time for home and business owners to review their insurance policies and make sure they have both the right amount of coverage and the right coverages. In Florida, flood insurance is essential. This is why it is important to remember that flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. Flood coverage must be purchased as a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or the private market.
Insurers also implement strategies to reduce damage and contain costs. Some insurers offer discounts for verifiable steps that homeowners take, such as getting hurricane shutters, to reduce the possibility of damage to their home. With COVID-19 and social distancing concerns, there is a renewed emphasis on making homes stronger and safer places in which to shelter during a storm. Simple, low-cost steps like inspecting and repairing your roof, clearing away yard debris that could become projectile “missiles” during high winds, trimming branches and trees away from the roof and home, securing loose gutters, and sealing doors and windows to prevent water intrusion can go a long way toward making your home more resilient against storms.
Florida is constantly in Mother Nature’s crosshairs, which presents significant challenges to Floridians and the insurance industry. With more storms likely on the horizon, now is the time for Florida residents to make sure they have enough insurance coverage to recover and rebuild if disaster strikes. Insurers will continue to do everything they can to hold the line on costs, but policymakers need to prioritize legal reforms that will improve the insurance marketplace, reduce consumer costs, and keep premiums affordable.
LOGAN MCFADDIN, TALLAHASSEE
Editor’s note: McFaddin is assistant vice president of State Government Relations for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
Brexit trade talks in doubt as Britain brushes off ultimatum from Brussels
Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.
In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.
Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.
In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.
Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.
“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.
Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.
The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.
Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.
Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.
The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.
Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.
But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.
The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.
Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.
Author: Published 11 mins ago on September 13, 2020
Better weather aids battle against deadly Western wildfires
Salem, Ore. • Diminishing winds and rising humidity helped firefighters battling deadly blazes in Oregon and California, but with dozens of people still missing, authorities in both states feared that the receding flames could reveal many more dead across the blackened landscape.
Oregon’s emergency management director said officials were preparing for a possible “mass fatality event.”
In California, smoke that painted skies orange also helped crews corral the state’s deadliest blaze of the year. The smoke helped blocked the sun, reducing temperatures and raising humidity, officials said.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead in California since lightning-caused fires that started weeks ago fused into a monster blaze that largely destroyed Berry Creek, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco.
Oregon authorities have not released an exact death count, but at least eight fatalities were reported from the blazes that have taken a toll from one end of the state to the other. Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that tens of thousands of people had been forced to flee their homes.
Two large blazes threatened to merge near the most populated part of Oregon, including the suburbs of Portland.
More than 40,000 Oregonians have been evacuated and about 500,000 are in different levels of evacuation zones, having been told to leave or to prepare to do so, Brown said. The governor dialed back a statement late Thursday by the state Office of Emergency Management that said a half-million people had been ordered to evacuate statewide.
Scores of people were missing in Jackson County in the southern area of the state and in Marion County east of Salem, the state capital, Brown told a news conference. Authorities also announced that a man had been arrested on two counts of arson in connection with a fire in southern Oregon.
Searchers found two victims of the so-called Beachie Creek fire near Salem. A 1-year-old boy was killed in wildfires in Washington, authorities said.
Improved weather helped efforts on the ground after days of high winds, heat and low humidity. “The wind laid down quite a bit for us yesterday,” said Stefan Myers of the state’s fire information team.
Almost 500 firefighters were working on the fires near Portland, which were just a few miles (kilometers) apart. The rugged terrain between them limited efforts to contain the flames, Myers said. If the fires merge, they could generate enough heat to send embers thousands of feet into the air, potentially igniting other areas.
More than 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers) have burned in Oregon during recent days, nearly double the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island, authorities said.
The land burned in just the past five days amounted to the state’s second-worst fire season, after 2015, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee noted. He called the blazes “climate fires” rather than wildfires.
“This is not an act of God,” Inslee said. “This has happened because we have changed the climate.”
Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said a 41-year-old man was jailed on two charges of arson for a fire that started Tuesday in the Phoenix area in southern Oregon. The fire that burned hundreds of homes had an ignition point in Ashland, near a spot where a man was found dead. Authorities said the man denied starting the fire.
Officials were working to locate about 50 missing people, Sickler said.
California crews made progress Friday in chopping or bulldozing brush-free lines to control the North Complex fire. Gusting winds that whipped up the flames days earlier eased while smoke blocked out the sun and lowered previously scorching temperatures. Saturday’s high temperature was expected to top out at 80 degrees or less.
Nearly 15,000 firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires across California, although 24 were sparked Thursday and quickly contained.
The North Complex remained the deadliest this year. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea had said 10 bodies were found but on Friday lowered the figure. Remains found in a burned storage shed turned out to be from a resin model of a human skeleton that was used by an anthropology student, he said.
A search continued for 19 missing people.
Back in Oregon, evacuation centers were open across the state.
Kim Carbaugh fled her home Monday in Lyons with her husband, two children and two horses.
“When we were driving away and I could see actual fire, the red and orange flames, at the time I didn’t feel scared, I had so much adrenaline — we just had to leave,” she said Friday from the livestock stables of an evacuation center at the state fairgrounds in Salem.
The site also housed hundreds of animals — dogs, llamas, horses, pigs, cows and chickens. Many people chose to camp or stay in RVs.
Charles Legg sat at a table with his 22-month-old son, who cooed and played with a dinosaur puzzle.
“He’s OK,” Legg said. “He’s not eating as normal. He knows something is going on.”
Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus and Manuel Valdes in Phoenix, Oregon; Lisa Baumann and Gene Johnson in Seattle; Brian Melley in Los Angeles; and Terence Chea in Berry Creek, California, contributed to this report.
Author: By Andrew Selsky and Sara Cline | The Associated Press