The Pocatello Fire Department is not issuing new burn permits and is asking residents to cease open burning in Pocatello due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the temporary restriction, residents will not receive a burn permit to burn yard waste in Pocatello city limits. Permits that have already been issued are suspended until the burn restriction is lifted. At this time, no date has been set.
The use of gas fire pits and/or charcoal briquettes or gas grills when used in appliances designed for food preparation and recreational fires under 3 feet in diameter in a contained fire ring or device (e.g. cooking, campfire, religious, etc.) are exempt from the burn restriction.
According to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, “smoke from open burning can cause unnecessary public health and safety concerns” including:
Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19.
Smoke exposure impacts can lead to unnecessary testing or self-isolation.
Personal protective equipment to reduce smoke exposure is not readily available at this time.Residents who have questions regarding the burn restriction can contact Pocatello Fire Department Prevention Bureau at 208-234-6201.
Regardless of the weather, the Food Service Staff Members (Staff) of Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 (School District) are out at local parks providing breakfast and lunch for local students every weekday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Meals have been provided since Monday, May 30, and, according to the School District, they’ve seen an increase in the number of meals served each day since then.
At Lower Ross Park, Staff set up two areas to hand out meals. While one member of Staff has meals available at a park bench, others work at an enclosed truck, handing out meals to those arriving in cars. As a car drives up, Staff asks for the number of children needing meals, then, for each child, provides a bag lunch and a bagged breakfast. Lunch typically consists of a sandwich, chips, and drinks (juice/chocolate milk). The breakfast bag might have cereal or toaster pastry, along with a drink and fruit.
The number of people served has increased each day, with about 2,500 children’s meals served on Monday, growing to 2,800 on Tuesday, and about 3,000 on Wednesday. The amount served at each location varies considerably. At Lower Ross Park, Staff is serving about 200 students per day, while other locations may have over 400 students served per day.
The increase in numbers caught the School District by surprise on Tuesday, but they quickly adapted, directing the overflow to the School District office where SD-25 employees bagged additional lunches and breakfasts to ensure no student went without.
To learn more about SD-25 and the free meal distribution, including a list of parks where the meals are provided, visit their Facebook page at:
WASHINGTON — Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo along with Congressmen Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that he provide immediate assistance to cattle producers by using the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act, including the replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and additional emergency funding. Doing so would help facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income for producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security,” the members of Congress wrote. “All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis. As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.”
Members of Congress worked hard to ensure the CARES Act replenished the CCC and appropriated an additional $9.5 billion for USDA to assist producers, including livestock producers, throughout this crisis. “We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.”
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue,
We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.
Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19. While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers.
We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19. This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.
The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security. All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis. As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.
(White House Press Release, April 1, 2020; This story first appeared in 1600 Daily, the White House’s evening newsletter. )
On March 16, President Trump announced public health guidelines to slow the spread of Coronavirus in America. He asked every family to unite against this invisible enemy, making changes to our daily routines as part of a national effort to save lives.
Thanks to you, it’s working. So many communities, small businesses, and Americans from all backgrounds are patriotically doing their part. President Trump knows these changes are difficult on many. To help as much as possible, he signed unprecedented economic relief into law last week, including major support for small businesses and workers.
As he said on Monday, it’s likely that a peak in Coronavirus fatalities will arrive in about two weeks. If we continue to follow public health guidelines vigorously, we could save more than 1 million American lives in the weeks and months ahead.
A million American lives are worth fighting for. That’s why this week, President Trump extended his Coronavirus Guidelines for America through the next 30 days. (See updated coronavirus guidelines, here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf). “Our country is in the midst of a great national trial, unlike any we have ever faced before,” the President says. “We’re at war with a deadly virus. Success in this fight will require the full, absolute measure of our collective strength, love, and devotion.”
Each of us has the power, through our choices and actions, to protect our fellow citizens and rescue the most vulnerable among us. We’re all in this fight together.
By slowing the spread of Coronavirus, America is more prepared than ever to overcome it. Following President Trump’s National Emergency declaration last month, all 50 states are working closely with the Federal Government to ensure local needs are met. This coordination has allowed FEMA to identify and expedite access to much-needed medical supplies in each state.
Social distancing is clearly doing its job to help, Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday. “The reason why we feel so strongly about the necessity of the additional 30 days is that now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator—and on the brake—but to just press it down on the accelerator.”
America will beat this virus. That’s only possible because of your patriotism and selflessness. Over the coming month, we can build on the progress we’ve made and answer President Trump’s call with love, courage, and ironclad resolve.
During National Financial Capability Month, we recognize the importance of financial literacy to a free and prosperous society, and we commit to ensuring that all Americans have the resources they need to make informed financial choices and provide opportunities for a brighter and more secure future.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and workforce. As we continue to face the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, my Administration is working tirelessly to ensure that individuals and business owners have the information they need to overcome recent hardships. I am continuing to take concrete actions to protect the American economy and the hardworking men and women of our Nation. Last week, I signed legislation to provide historic economic relief to small businesses and workers, including $350 billion in job retention loans that will be forgiven if workers are paid. Additionally, at my instruction, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is actively working to respond to and assist small business owners in alleviating their financial burdens to help them and their employees recover from this pandemic. From providing targeted financial assistance to supplying helpful tips and best practices, the SBA is helping America’s small businesses navigate this pandemic and ultimately thrive.
Furthermore, to ensure that Americans have financial flexibility for the next several months, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are moving this year’s Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers, individuals, and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.
This month, as we continue to come together as one Nation, we will use every tool at our disposal to create an economic environment that will benefit all Americans. There are resources available to you and your family through the Department of the Treasury’s website that will help you make sound financial decisions in these uncertain times. Financial literacy is critical throughout all stages of adulthood, especially during crises and unexpected life events.
Throughout this National Financial Capability Month and in the months ahead, I encourage all Americans to seek ways in which they can further develop and enhance their financial skill sets and position themselves for success. Together, we will improve our personal financial literacy and help secure a brighter, more prosperous future for all generations.
The City of Pocatello is temporarily suspending water service shutoffs.
Residents are encouraged to continue paying their utility bill as normal if able. If they are unable to pay their bill in full, residents are asked to make a payment arrangement with the Utility Billing Department. All arrangements must be done in writing and can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped in one of the City’s Utility Payment boxes. Arrangements must include a date when the bill will be paid. The Utility Billing Department will confirm receipt of a payment arrangement with the customer. Staff ask that arrangements include a valid phone number and/or email. More information on how to make an arrangement can be found at https://pocatello.us/661/Payment-Arrangements.
“We understand some of our residents may be in a financial bind over the coming days,” the Mayor said. “We are trying to do what we can to ease the burden on Pocatellans.”
Once normal operations resume, water customers who have not complied with payment arrangements will be shut off, similar to how the City processes shutoffs after the winter months.
A date for when water service shutoffs will resume has not been set.
Customers of The Pressbox, 1257 Yellowstone Ave., in Pocatello may have been exposed to COVID-19, during March 19-22. A customer of The Pressbox has been confirmed as having COVID-19. While the risk to public health is low, there is the possibility that customers could have been exposed to COVID-19. Southeastern Idaho Public Health is recommending that persons who had been at The Pressbox on March 19-22 monitor themselves for fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Experts believe symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
If you experience symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), contact your healthcare provider. The risk of exposure is considered small, but not zero.
The Pressbox has cooperated fully with the investigation into the situation. It is important to understand that, prior to the Stay At Home Order issued by Gov. Little, this type of exposure could have happened at any local bar or dine-in food establishment. Limiting face to face personal interaction is absolutely critical if we are to slow the spread of this virus in our communities.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Follow Governor Little’s Statewide Stay-Home Order at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Avoid people who are sick.
• Practice social distancing (6ft).
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs using a disinfecting solution.
For more information, call SIPH’s call center Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (208) 234-5875.
For Idaho-specific information about the novel coronavirus, please visit:
Simpson Encourages Innovative Approach to COVID-19 Vaccine
Letter to VP Pence raises need for timely response to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, Congressman Mike Simpson (ID-02) sent a letter to Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, encouraging the Coronavirus Task Force to explore innovative technologies that show promise in creating vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. The letter highlights past and current investments and past legislative efforts to encourage the use of innovative technologies to meet the Federal government’s goal of delivering a vaccine within 12 weeks of a declared pandemic.
Congressman Simpson was joined on the letter by the Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Tom Cole (OK-04).
“COVID-19 is unlike anything our society has ever dealt with,” said Congressman Simpson. “That is why we need to explore all available technologies, both new and old, to respond efficiently and effectively. I am very encouraged that novel technology has already shown great progress in developing a vaccine for COVID-19. The Administration is working around the clock at every level to combat COVID-19 and I am thankful for their efforts thus far. With so many different issues to address, my hope is that this letter raises a potential solution for the Coronavirus Task Force given the Federal government’s past support and interest across many agencies.”
“In this letter to Vice President Mike Pence, my colleague Congressman Mike Simpson and I highlight the importance of utilizing novel manufacturing platforms and technologies to ensure treatments and eventual vaccines for COVID-19 are developed as rapidly as possible. Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services’ goal is to develop vaccines within 12 weeks of a declared pandemic,” said Congressman Tom Cole. “By exploring various options in vaccine manufacturing and deployment, the United States can meet this goal and slow the spread of this coronavirus and future pandemics in a more timely manner.”
The letter reads, “As the United States combats the rapid spread of COVID-19, we would like to draw your attention to the attached March 12, 2020 Defense One report on a company leveraging innovative, flexible, plant-based, technologies to rapidly respond to COVID-19. According to the article, the company “produced a COVID-19 vaccine in just 20 days” and “could produce as many as 10 million doses a month.” This new technology was proven in 2012 in conjunction with an investment by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. Under the partnership, an H1N1 influenza vaccine was developed in under a month and the ability to rapidly scale up production to provide millions of doses validated. In 2018, we raised the prospect of leveraging successful taxpayer investments in pursuit of vaccine preparedness with HHS: “Has the Department considered pursuing successful capabilities already funded by other agencies to include DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)?”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators for Idaho Jim Risch and Mike Crapo sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging the prioritization of rural hospitals and clinics.
The letter, which was signed by 41 senators and 81 representatives, requested the Trump administration use the funding included in the recently passed CARES Act to sustain rural health providers.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many of Idaho’s rural hospitals and health care providers have ceased performing elective procedures and seeing non-urgent patients, directly threatening these clinics’ financial viability.
In their letter, Risch and Crapo urged Secretary Azar to take immediate steps to provide financial relief for rural providers during this global pandemic:
“We are hearing from rural hospitals from across the country that have only days left of cash on hand – money needed for payroll and supplies,” wrote the lawmakers. “Mr. Secretary, our rural providers need your immediate assistance. Congress has provided you with the funding and flexibility. Now it is up to the administration to respond with rapid action to sustain rural providers. Any unnecessary delay will only worsen this situation. Therefore, we request you make the financial relief of rural hospitals a priority. Rural hospitals need access to financial resources immediately and in the most streamlined manner.”
In addition to Risch and Crapo, the following members of the U.S. Senate signed onto the letter: Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennett (D-CO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Todd Young (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), David Perdue (R-GA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
Read the full letter below:
March 30, 2020
The Honorable Alex Azar
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Azar,
Rural hospitals are the backbone of communities across our nation. These providers are on the frontlines combating the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is imperative these health care professionals receive the immediate support they need to continue caring for our communities.
Small and rural hospitals across the nation are facing an acute financial crisis. Even before this crisis, nearly one-half of rural hospitals were operating at a financial loss, and hundreds were on the brink of closure. Now, they are confronting impossible choices during this public health emergency. The administration must focus on ensuring the financial viability of these providers. Failure to take fast and aggressive action will put the health of our communities at further risk.
In response to this crisis, Congress has enacted a series of bipartisan laws to rescue our economy and health care system. Most recently, we passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This legislation includes new funding to provide financial relief for hospitals. The CARES Act provides you with the flexibility to deliver assistance where it is needed most. Right now, some rural hospitals are reporting they are running out of operating funds. This jeopardizes their ability to maintain health care services during the COVID-19 outbreak. We cannot afford to ignore their pressing needs.
The vast majority of rural hospitals have also ceased performing elective procedures and seeing non-urgent patients. They know the COVID-19 emergency confronting our country must take precedence. However, these actions threaten their financial viability. We are hearing from rural hospitals from across the country that have only days left of cash-on-hand – money needed for payroll and supplies.
Mr. Secretary, our rural providers need your immediate assistance. Congress has provided you with the funding and flexibility. Now it is up to the administration to respond with rapid action to sustain rural providers. Any unnecessary delay will only worsen this situation.
Therefore, we request you make the financial relief of rural hospitals a priority. Rural hospitals need access to financial resources immediately and in the most streamlined manner. We also request you provide Members of Congress with a personal briefing by teleconference by April 3, 2020.
Thank you for your attention to ensuring the health and well-being of patients in rural America. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your efforts addressing our concerns.
Kudos to American Businesses for Joining Coronavirus Fight
by: John Crowder, Editor and Publisher of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer
Since his election, President Donald Trump has delivered on his promise to make American business stronger than ever. Prior to the coronavirus, business optimism was at record highs, as we saw the highest stock prices in history, along with record employment across every demographic.
Now, the President has asked the business community for help in combating the deadly coronavirus threatening the health of people across the nation and the world. They haven’t disappointed. American businesses, both large and small, have voluntarily stepped in to help.
My Pillow has converted 75% of their manufacturing capacity to produce up to 50,000 face masks per day. Tesla purchased and donated more than 1,000 ventilators. Lockheed Martin donated use of their vehicle fleet and corporate aircraft for medical supply delivery. Anheuser-Busch is now working to produce hand sanitizer.
Many in the media have been calling for President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act, to force companies to follow the dicatates of government officials with respect to how they should respond. Thankfully, the President did not heed these calls. Once again, he relied on the spirit and patriotism of Americans, in this case American businessmen and businesswomen, to come together against a common threat.
The companies that have joined this fight provide true examples of patriotism. They illustrate why America is an exceptional country, and why people the world over seek to make this country their home.
Thank you to all the businesses, both large and small, that are contributing in this time of need.
Thank you, also, to the many Americans doing their part; from volunteering, to donating blood, to checking up on their neighbors, to delivering packages, to driving the trucks that supply stores across the nation. You make me proud to be an American.
Do you have a small business that has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus? Have you found ways to adapt? The Pocatello Chubbuck Observer wants to help. Now through April 17, let us know what you’re doing to keep your business going, and we will let the public know, at no charge! Whether you have instituted carry-out, delivery service, or curbside pickups for meals, or some other solution, email our publisher, John Crowder, at email@example.com and let us help you get the word out.