In California: State offers vaccines to all 65+; EDD fraud is worse than thought

I'm Winston Gieseke, Philanthropy and Special Section Editor at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, with the latest California news this Wednesday.
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California offers COVID-19 vaccines to people aged 65 and over
Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that California is now offering residents 65 and over the option to receive coronavirus vaccines.
The move will balance seniors with rescue workers, teachers, childcare workers, and food and farm workers, even as counties complain that they already don't have enough doses to get around.
"There is no higher priority than distributing these vaccines, efficiently and equitably, as quickly as possible to those who are facing the most serious consequences," Newsom said. “For those who can't get vaccines yet, it's your turn. We're doing everything we can to get more vaccines into the state. "
Healthcare workers and those in nursing homes and facilities can still be vaccinated. State officials are only expanding the program to include people aged 65 and over, as they are at greatest risk of hospitalization and death.
According to Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Health and state health officer, will "Reduce the prioritization of people 65 and over in hospital and save lives."
California reported an additional 589 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 31,102. 33,751 new infections have also been recorded, some of which are likely to result in more hospitalizations and deaths.
Seniors have had access to the vaccine in several other states, including Floridians 65 and over and residents 75 and over in New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Celebrities criticized in impeachment proceedings
Kathy Griffin
In Wednesday's Capitol impeachment hearings, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo) accused celebrities Robert De Niro, Madonna and Kathy Griffin of "inciting violence before the January 6th Capitol riot," the Los Angeles Times reported .
Buck railed against Democrats, whom he blamed for last week's deadly uprising, and to get his point across, reported violent anti-Trump statements by celebrities.
"The socialists in Hollywood have joined their allies in Congress," said the conservative politician on the floor of the house. "Robert De Niro said he wanted to punch the president in the face. Madonna was thinking about blowing up the White House. Kathy Lee." Griffin held up a resemblance to the President's decapitated head, and at that point my colleagues said nothing. "
Buck shared 2016 De Niro comments in unused footage for a # VoteYourFuture ad: "It makes me so angry that this country has come this far, that this fool, this Bozo, ended up where he is" said the actor. "He talks about how he wants to punch people in the face? Well, I'd love to punch him in the face."
In 2017, shortly after Trump took office, Madonna said she had "thought a lot about blowing up the White House" but knew it wouldn't change anything. She later said the comment was "wildly out of context".
That same year, Griffin was photographed by Tyler Shields, who bore a decapitated resemblance to Trump. This resulted in a number of celebrities, sponsors and networks distancing themselves socially and professionally from her.
Griffin's response to the allegation via Twitter suggested she was thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence as the pop icon, while representatives from De Niro and Madonna made no comments.
Chance personal note: I have been a professional writer for over 25 years and have never seen or used the word "foment" more than in the past two weeks.
California jobless fraud is four times worse than originally reported
Announcements from the California Department of Employment Development.
Last month, Bank of America announced that California's Employment Development Division (EDD) had fraudulently paid out $ 2 billion in unemployment claims.
But reports that Robert Lapsley of the California Business Roundtable says the number isn't even tight. He says of the $ 106 billion in benefits the EDD paid out in 2020, around $ 8.5 billion went to fraudulent claims.
Lapsley said California mistreated the pandemic early on and did not do enough to prevent fraud. Conversely, the state of Pennsylvania should be commended for taking early action against fraud by working with other states to identify new fraud methods before they get out of hand in their state.
However, Pennsylvania state officials say their problems mirror those of California.
"Just as we felt we could get it under control, the fraud epidemic began," said Jerry Oleksiak, Pennsylvania's Minister of Labor and Industry.
Here in California, the state says it has managed to reduce the number of fraudulent claims by 30%.
Oakland welcomes Kamala Harris with a virtual housewarming ball
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks in Wilmington, Del on Saturday, November 7, 2020. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)
The city of Oakland is clearly proud of Kamala Harris, the American native who is due to be sworn in as the 49th Vice President of the United States on Jan. 20. The city is planning a grand celebration to commemorate their victory during the city's Commemorative Virtual dedication ball.
Mercury News reports that Oakland Salutes, presented by the Oakland Symphony, will be held at 3:00 pm. on January 17th and will also be available upon request.
"We're all so proud to have an Oakland, California born 49th Vice President," said the program's curator, Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan. "The Oakland Symphony has brought together so many members of the Oakland Arts Community to celebrate this landmark event and we are thrilled that people in this country and around the world are learning more about their hometown and its citizens."
In addition to the Oakland Symphony and the Symphony Chorus, the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Jazz Mafia, the pianist Tammy L. Hall, the singer Tiffany Austin, the Oakland ballet dancer Ashley Thopiah and many more are on the program.
Sacramento Zoo will reopen on Friday
A baby Coquerel Sifaka Lemur at the Sacramento Zoo.
On Tuesday, the order to stay in the Sacramento area was canceled. On Wednesday, reported that the Sacramento Zoo will be open to the public again on Friday.
Guests are asked to purchase their tickets in advance, reserve a time to visit, read and comply with the zoo's COVID-19 guidelines. This includes wearing appropriate face covering at all times and keeping a distance of two meters between your group and other people.
Advance ticket sales begin on Thursday at 9 a.m.
Cat fears perished in 2018 Montecito mudslides is found alive
Patches (not shown here) are said to have been lost in 2018.
Patches, a calico cat believed to have died along with her guardian in the 2018 Montecito mudslides, was found alive, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Patches have been missing since January 9, 2018, when rain ravaged the slopes of Montecito, killing 23 people, including her guardian Josie Gower.
Last month she was accepted into the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter Relief Program as a stray. Her identity was revealed through her microchip and she was reunited with Gower's partner, Norm Borgatello, on New Year's Eve.
"While we don't know exactly what she's been doing with her life in the past three years, we can see that both Patches and Norm are excited to be reunited," the shelter said in a Facebook post.
That's all for this glorious Wednesday. Check out your inbox for more California headlines tomorrow.
In California there is a recap of news from the USA Today network newsrooms. Contributors:, Los Angeles Times, The Mercury News.
Winston Gieseke is the editor of Philanthropy and Special at The Desert Sun, writing about charities, fundraisers and people giving back in the Coachella Valley. Reach him at
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: California Offers Vaccines for Everyone 65+; EDD fraud worse than thought
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