Tuesday, March 24, 2020

House Committee on Homeland Security. Thompson, DeFazio, Payne, Titus Urge Trump to Eliminate Cost Share for States Under Coronavirus Disaster Declarations


Thompson, DeFazio, Payne, Titus Urge Trump to Eliminate Cost Share for States Under Coronavirus Disaster Declarations

March 24, 2020 (WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, sent a letter to President Trump urging him to, during the coronavirus pandemic, eliminate the 25 percent cost share that states typically are required to bear under emergency and major disaster declarations.

“Given the unprecedented nature of this pandemic, SLTT [state, local, tribal and territorial] governments will not be able to shoulder the 25 percent cost share under the PA [Public Assistance] program,” the Members wrote. “We urge you to increase the Federal support and eliminate the non-Federal cost entirely. Such a cost share adjustment will enable SLTT partners to dedicate essential resources to outbreak response efforts.  An increase in the Federal cost share is warranted given the magnitude of the threat facing the nation…”

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Media contact:
(Homeland Security) Adam Comis 
(Transportation and Infrastructure) Sandy Bayley

House Committee on Homeland Security. Thompson, Rose Write DHS on Reports of Extremists Seeking to Exploit Coronavirus Pandemic


Thompson, Rose Write DHS on Reports of Extremists Seeking to Exploit Coronavirus Pandemic

March 24, 2020 (WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, sent a letter to Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy, at the Department of Homeland Security regarding the Federal government’s efforts to counter potential homeland security threats from violent extremists who may seek to take advantage of the current coronavirus health crisis. Recent reports have highlighted how white supremacist extremists across the world are discussing ways to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to advance violent ends and spread chaos.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life in new and unpredictable ways, we seek an understanding of how DHS is preparing for and mitigating potential homeland security threats from bad actors, such as violent extremists in the United States and abroad, who may seek to exploit vulnerabilities stemming from this metastasizing crisis,” wrote the Members. “To that end, we would like to know how the Office of Threat Prevention and Security Policy is coordinating DHS prevention efforts to account for the evolving threat landscape under the specter of COVID-19.”

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Media contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Rose) Jonas Edwards-Jenks at 202-225-3371

Non-Traditional Authorities in COVID-19 Response. March 25, 2020

NEMA Webinar Series Presents: Non-Traditional Authorities in COVID-19 Response
Join us for a webinar on Mar 25, 2020 at 2:15 PM EDT.
We are in unprecedented times which will require all of public safety to think outside the box to protect communities and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. National Emergencies Act (NEA), the Defense Production Act (DPA) and the Section 1135 waiver authority for the Social Security Act (SSA) offer new tools to help with this monumental response. This webinar provides context to these non-traditional emergency authorities and explores how states can effectively utilize them in their responses to the outbreak.

Panelists for the webinar are Mary Catherine Ott, NGA; Paul Rosenzweig, CHDS; Eileen Decker, CHDS; Sarah Somers, National Health Law Program; Bill Carwile, CHDS and David Fukutomi, CHDS. The panel will be moderated by Glen Woodbury, Director, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

***PLEASE NOTE: Some may experience a delay in joining the webinar so we urge participants to plan to join 10 minutes early in case it takes extra time. We   don't want you to miss a minute of this important discussion.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register here:   https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8597468851455378189

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fear in these confusing times. COVID-19 and FEAR. March 19, 2020


Whenever I think of a personal fear my thoughts shift to some visual impression of coping with that fear.  I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fear of snakes.  Now I think of one movie that summarizes it all, ‘After Earth’ starring Will Smith as he explains fear to his son to complete tasks for their rescue after crashing on an isolated planet, Earth.  That was once inhabited by humans but exited due to environmental and climate change impacts.

“Fear is not real.  The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future.  It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist.  That is near insanity.  Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.” (Another Earth)

This gets me by in fearful situations.  Many of us have been in life and death struggles, and fear has lifted its’ head to complicate the situation.  Develop your coping mechanism during this period.

Coping with Fear and COVID-19
Anxiety is understandably high as we are learning more about the spread of this disease.  There can be fear even if you live in an area where the disease hasn’t occurred.

The information below may be helpful in managing the fear you may feel.  Resources for up-to-date medical information and advice about coronavirus are at the end of this message.

Managing Fears

A good way to manage any kind of fear is to become educated about it.  The more we know about the real dangers, the more we can take effective steps to avoid or minimize them, thereby putting some fears to rest.  Accurate information is an effective antidote to unrealistic fears.

Monitor your exposure to the news.  Media news coverage can arouse emotion and increase fear.  It’s important to get the facts, but it may not be helpful to hear reports over and over.  Be aware of how you and family members respond to news stories.  Limit television or online coverage if it becomes distressing. 

Put your risk into perspective.  The risk of contracting coronavirus in the U.S. is low at this time.  It’s important to stay aware and informed, but try to make sure your level of fear does not exceed your risk factors.  If you have specific concerns, contact your health care professional

Put this disease in context.  The term “pandemic” can be very scary.  It means cases of a new disease are showing up around the world and may spread rapidly because people don’t have immunity.  However, this term doesn’t indicate how dangerous it’s likely to be.  We’re exposed to health risks every day.  The good health habits you use to reduce the risk of communicable diseases, such as washing hands frequently, are some of the same precautions recommended for coronavirus.

Focus on what you have control over.  News stories and images about the spread of a disease can make us feel anxious and helpless.  Knowing how to minimize your risk can reduce anxiety.  The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have information about how to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.  They offer advice and directions in the event you must travel to a place where the virus has been identified.  A link to travel information is included at the end of this article. 

Be always aware, but not always fearful.  Awareness means paying attention to news that is specific to where you live and where you may travel.  Awareness is not the same as being fearful.  Constant fear that isn’t reality-based can create stress and be counter-productive.  It can be harder to deal with a true risk when everything seems like a danger.  We want to focus on what is happening, rather than getting caught up in thoughts of what could happen.   

Notice if fear begins to become panic.  Ask yourself if unreasonable fear is changing your behaviors, for example, being afraid to leave your home or letting children attend school.  You might find yourself avoiding places or people of a certain ethnicity.  These may be signs that you could benefit from additional support.  

Take a break from the fears.  Try to shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.  Spend time doing things you enjoy that help you feel calm and balanced.  

If children have fears, give them honest information at a level they can understand.  You don’t need to explain everything about the virus and risk.  Give them only as much information as they request.  Encourage your children to talk to you about their thoughts and feelings.  Listen to their concerns, and then reassure them.  For example, point out that the risk in the U.S. and Canada is very low.  Explain that there are steps that everyone can take to protect themselves.  Limit your child’s exposure to news reports.  Seeing repeated coverage can be disturbing.  It can be helpful to watch the news with your child and discuss it afterwards. 

If you have no reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you can go about your normal daily activities.  Understand that national and international health organizations are working diligently to understand the risks, treatment, and keep the public safe.

Resources for more information

World Health Organization (WHO):
WHO travel information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
CDC travel information:

Take care of both your physical and mental health.  Not only for yourself, but those nearest to you.  Your loved ones.


Charles D. Sharp
Cornell University Climate Fellow
Chairman Emeritus\CEO
Black Emergency Managers Association 
1231-B Good Hope Road.  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 

bEMA International

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Helping rural areas get connected. March 2020

Helping rural areas get connected
© Greg Nash

Amid the mad dash to develop fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies, Shirley Bloomfield likes to remind people that vast swaths of America have other hurdles to clear first.

“As everybody gets super excited about 5G ... we just tell them in rural America we’re still waiting for 1G in some areas,” the CEO of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association told The Hill in a recent interview.

Throughout her time at the trade association, where she represents more than 850 community-based telecommunications companies across the country, Bloomfield has only seen the interest in getting rural areas connected grow.

“It’s so funny to me because I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s like when you’re the ugly stepchild and then suddenly you’re the belle of the ball and people actually want to talk about this stuff, which is really cool and gratifying,” she said.

Bloomfield was driven to move to Washington, D.C., after working in the private sector briefly post-college by a passion for policy.

That passion landed her a staff job on the House Budget Committee, where she got exposure to a broad slate of issues.

She was eventually hired by NTCA to be a part of its policy shop.

After roughly 20 years of representing carriers, she took another stint in the private sector but found herself raring to come back to NTCA.

When the top job at the association opened in 2010, she called the headhunter charged with finding a successor immediately.

“I said, ‘That is my job, I’m coming back.’ She of course thought I was probably a lunatic,” Bloomfield told The Hill.

“I missed these guys,” she said. “The carriers I represent are so committed to what they do. Because they’re small, they’re really innovative, they try stuff ... their spirit of service really resonated with me.”

Larger telecommunications companies service approximately 130 customers per square mile, while NTCA member companies’ customer density is only around seven per square mile.

In her nearly 10 years as CEO of NTCA, Bloomfield has worked tirelessly to help position member companies to improve and grow their coverage.

Much of that work involves facilitating a given company’s access to the handful of government grants and repayment programs set up for rural broadband.

“It’s kind of my job — connector,” Bloomfield said.

One of those programs is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The program, approved earlier this year, creates a fund of more than $20 billion for cooperatives, satellite operators and other telecom companies to compete for in order to connect unserved areas across the country. Many of the companies that NTCA represents could get significant windfall from the fund, which is set to have its first auction in October.

“I think this program really has the capability to come in and start filling in those gaps,” Bloomfield said.

Another key program for expanding rural connectivity is the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect Program, which was authorized by Congress in 2018.

The program allocates funds for internet providers in low population density programs but has come under criticism for not doling out enough.

“My biggest frustration with these programs is I think we’re aiming really low,” Bloomfield said.

Some of her concerns are shared by lawmakers. Last month, nine senators led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to the USDA demanding it extend more funding to rural communities. The lawmakers criticized a restriction where companies that have received funding from the FCC are not eligible for ReConnect.

“This USDA-imposed restriction — which is not required by law — prevents rural communities across the country from receiving their share of over $500 million in federal funding for high-speed broadband, which is vital to reducing the digital divide and harnessing important opportunities in telemedicine and online education, and the high-paying jobs that come with them,” they wrote.

On the other side of the equation, Bloomfield also tries to increase awareness with key officials of the nature of the problems holding back rural America from getting connected. She connects FCC commissioners, lawmakers and other relevant parties with rural providers to get a better sense of what they’re doing.

“It’s pretty sobering to have people realize what distance really means in terms of providing broadband,” Bloomfield said.

One of the myths that Bloomfield tries to dispel by bringing officials out to her providers is that there is a stark divide between service penetration and quality between rural and urban areas, when the truth is that some rural regions lag far behind others.

“One of the things that people immediately default to is this whole sense of that there is a rural-urban divide,” she explained. “But what we really find in our experience is that it’s a rural-rural divide.”

Bloomfield’s argument is that large providers focus their energy on urban areas because they’re more competitive, a strategy she acknowledges is fair, but it means less densely populated areas covered by the biggest suppliers suffer.

By contrast, the companies that NTCA works with are “providing service to their neighbors.”

Telecom cooperatives in particular, which are owned by the communities they operate in, “are not there to make money.”

“They are there to provide this service,” Bloomfield said. According to NTCA, telecom cooperatives serve less than 5 percent of the country’s subscribers, but cover 40 percent of the nation’s landmass.

Bloomfield said lawmakers and agency officials are receptive to her arguments about the rural-urban coverage divide “when they see it.”

“I think in this town you’ve just got to have a passion for what you do,” she said, sharing a story about a company that provided a Veteran Affairs clinic in Vermont with telemedicine services.

“I have the luxury of being able to see those things happen, which then comes back and makes me more motivated.”

Tags Ron Wyden

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association 
1029 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 601
Washington, DC 20005
Office: (202) 628-8833
Fax No.: (202) 393-1816
Twitter: @NLFRTA
Website: www.NLFRTA.org 

2013 to 2020. Census Data. Prepare for updates.

A Strangely Beautiful Map of Race in America
A Strangely Beautiful Map of Race in America

Dustin Cable
Demographic researcher Dustin Cable's Racial Dot Map is staggering both visually and statistically. From afar, the most racially diverse pockets of the United States appear like blended watercolors in shades of purple and teal. Zoom all the way in, though, and each dot represents a single person, all 308,745,538 of us.
The data behind the map comes from the 2010 census, available publicly through the National Historical Geographic Information System. Cable, a researcher with the the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, has modeled the project on a previous MIT map plotting population density by individual dots. Cable's version color-codes the results by race and ethnicity, producing an eerily beautiful picture of American segregation (and, less frequently, integration) that tricks the eye at different scales.
At most zoom levels, each dot is smaller than a pixel, and so the blended colors from afar are "aggregations of many individual dots," with people represented by the color scheme at right. Looking at the entire country, most of the patches that aren't blue correspond to colorfully smudged urban areas. Many of those metro areas look purple from a distance until, like with this picture of Boston, you zoom in closer and colors break apart. The city is diverse from a distance, but quite segregated at the neighborhood and even block level.
The same pattern repeats in numerous other cities. Here is a close-up of Baltimore:
And the Bay Area:
All maps via The Racial Dot Map.
Emily Badger is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific StandardGOODThe Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area

$$$ Grant Web Opportunities: FEMA March 2020

FEMA Holds Preparedness Grant Webinars

FEMA is holding a series of webinars throughout March to discuss 2020 Department of Homeland Security preparedness grant opportunities to increase security for states, tribes, nonprofits, urban areas and ports.

Nonprofit Security Grant Program webinars will be held at 2:30 p.m. ET throughout the month.  Participants can use FEMA Adobe Connect or call-in via the following FEMA teleconference numbers:
·       March 5: 1-877-446-3915 PIN: 289309#
·       March 12: 1-877-446-3916 PIN: 289309#
·       March 19: 1-877-446-3917 PIN: 289309#
·       March 26: 1-877-446-3918 PIN: 289309#

A Port Security Grant Program webinar will be held 2 p.m. ET on March 5.  To participate, use FEMA Adobe Connect or call-in via FEMA teleconference: 1-800-320-4330,PIN 125336#.

A Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program webinar will be held at 1 p.m. ET on March 6.  To participate, use FEMA Adobe Connect or call-in via FEMA teleconference: 1-877-446-3914 PIN: 232966#. 

If you have any questions regarding the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and the Port Security Grant Program, please contact FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate at 1-800-368-6498.  For additional information on the Tribal Homeland Security Grant program, please contact Tribal Affairs.

MCDD 2020 Summer Learning Series: Registration is now Open


MCDD Announces its
2020 Summer Learning Series

Registration is now Open!

Topics Include:
  1. Grief and Loss: Guiding and Supporting Individuals with Intellectual, Developmental and other Disabilities Through the Experience.
  2. Walking the Red: Working With Urban Native Americans.
  3. Promoting Positive Mental Health Outcomes for Black Youth: How Providers and Faith Community Can Help.
  4. What is Sexual Health? Understanding Healthy Relationships, Sexual Self-Advocacy and Making Informed Choices: A Workshop for People with Disabilities, Ages 18 Years and Up.
  5. Early Screening of Children for Developmental Delays: How Parents and Providers Can Help.
  6. Beyond Physical Inclusion: Strategies for Supporting Full Participation of People with Disabilities in Schools, Organizations and Communities.
  7. Understanding Neuropsychological Assessment and Developmental Disorders: Assessment and Treatment Considerations
  8. Preparing for the Unexpected: Helping Vulnerable Children in Disasters
  9. On the Road with MCDD: Join Us for a Tour of the Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) Library
  10. Applied Behavior Analysis in the Classroom: An Introduction for Interdisciplinary Staff Members
  11. Parent Workshop: Being the Best Advocate for Your Child at School in the Community

Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs and maintains full responsibility for this program. This training qualifies for Category I continuing education units. Kennedy Krieger Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Kennedy Krieger Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 3.0 to 6.0 Continuing Education Credits (Category 1) will be granted to social workers and licensed psychologists. A Certificate of Attendance will be made available for all other disciplines. Courses 002 and 003 reflect program content and are intended to meet the Maryland license requirement to enhance competence in the provision of psychological services to culturally diverse populations. No conflicts have been identified (this includes commercial support and research grants/funding). The registration fees include: $55 for half-day and $105 for full-day workshop registrations for professionals, $15 for half-day and $25 for full-day workshop registrations for parents/caregivers/individuals with disabilities, and $10 for students/trainees workshop registrations.

For more information about our Summer Learning Series or to request an accommodation or assistance for individuals with disabilities, please contact us by phone at 443-923-9555 or email at Training.MCDD@KennedyKrieger.org or visit MCDD.KennedyKrieger.org; requests should be made as soon as possible but at least seven days prior to the scheduled meeting.



The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute links the community to vital research and information to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Our mission is to provide leadership that advances inclusion for people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. The MCDD is one of a national network of University Centers for Excellence funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

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