Email The Flathead City-County Public Health Officer said she is “concerned” about the dramatic uptick in COVID-19 cases in the county but is not yet recommending any local policy changes despite Gov. Steve Bullock’s recommendation that hot-spot counties do more to stop the spread of the virus.In an interview on Thursday, Interim Public Health Officer Tamalee St. James Robinson said she and others are working on ways to stem the flow of new cases but did not elaborate on what measures are being considered. She added that any decision that was made would be done in concert with the Flathead City-County Board of Health and the Flathead County Commission, saying she “would not do anything unless I got their approval.”At a Sept. 30 press conference, Bullock said an increase in cases “should cause us all some alarm” and identified six counties where the growth of the virus was particularly troubling, including Flathead. The governor referenced a call he had with White House Coronavirus Task Force physician Dr. Deborah Birx last week, during which Birx told Bullock she was “concerned” with case numbers in Flathead County and shared that hot-spot locales in other states had success when implementing stricter regulations, like closing bars and restaurants.In response to the governor’s comments, Flathead County Commissioner Pam Holmquist, who represents the county on the Board of Health, questioned why the governor wasn’t imposing new restrictions himself.“Frankly, the authority lies with the governor,” Holmquist said. “At the end of the day, it’s his authority and his directive that the health officer follows in Flathead County, and the commissioners are even below the health officer. We are at the bottom of that, so why is he kicking it to us when we really don’t have that authority?”In the early days of the pandemic, on March 19, former Public Health Officer Hillary Hanson approached the board of health with a proposal to close all bars and restaurants in the county. While the measure did not require a vote to go into effect, the board still took a symbolic one and approved the measure 8-1, with only Dr. Annie Bukacek opposing the move. One day later, Bullock issued a similar order closing bars and restaurants statewide.The board of health and health department released a statement on Sept. 30 to remind county residents that all of the recommendations currently in place — including the directives to wear face coverings when in public and in schools — had come from the state level. The statement was issued in an effort to redirect a small but vocal minority that opposes such regulations and has expressed their anger directly to health department employees.“In Flathead County, there are no standing Health Officer orders in addition to Governor Bullock’s Directives,” the statement reads. “This means that the FCCHD is assisting solely in the administration of the Governor’s state-wide directives.”The statement was first discussed at the health board’s regularly scheduled Sept. 17 meeting, and during that conversation board member Dr. Peter Heyboer suggested the addition of language supporting the governor’s recommendations. According to Heyboer and Bill Burg, the board chair, language to that effect was included in a first draft but later stricken for procedural reasons, because the board had not listed that as a separate discussion point or brought its inclusion to a vote of the members. Burg said that releasing a statement to that effect is on the agenda for the board’s next scheduled meeting on Oct. 15, and both he and Heyboer expect the measure to be approved by a majority of the board’s members.“I think we do support the (directives),” Burg said. “We support the recommendation because it is based on science that social distancing, washing your hands and wearing a mask (works), particularly in crowds.”“There are areas where people are congregating and not following safe standards and I wish they did,” he added.Shoppers wearing face masks stroll around downtown Whitefish on July 13, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead BeaconFlathead County is currently experiencing a drastic increase in new cases of COVID-19, with the latest numbers showing 81 new infections on Sept. 30 and another 80 on Oct. 1. It took Flathead County 74 days to record its first 800 cases of the novel coronavirus and just 19 days for the next 800 to be confirmed. As of Oct. 5, the county had reported 21 deaths, and St. James Robinson issued a statement saying the county is at a “critical point” in controlling the virus.Kyle Waterman, a member of the Kalispell City Council who represents the city on the board of health, said communicating with the public is key to managing the pandemic. The board’s direct responsibilities do not include an active role in day-to-day operation of the health department, but Waterman sees an opportunity for the nine-member collective of politicians, health professionals and community members to be leaders in promoting a safe, effective response.“For us to move forward as a community and for us to have economic success next year, we need to get on top of this and treat this as a very serious event,” Waterman said.In a later statement to the Beacon, Waterman reasserted the importance of preparing for a future with the coronavirus and combating it as a community.“Make plans to live with COVID for the next year,” he wrote. “Know who’s going to be in your social bubble, consider how you’re going to navigate holidays and gatherings, (and) continue to wear masks, socially distance and encourage your bubble to do the same.”Notably, Waterman’s statement represents only his individual perspective, as the divisiveness of the public health response to the coronavirus, specifically the use of cloth masks to reduce viral spread, has not escaped the board of health. Three members interviewed for this story — Heyboer, Waterman and Burg — agreed that masks were an effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19, as did the county health officer. Holmquist declined to respond on the record to a question on masks’ efficacy and the governor’s directive to wear them, and at least one board member, Dr. Bukacek, is openly hostile to the idea of wearing masks.Bukacek, who was appointed to the board by the county commissioners earlier this year, frequently promotes anti-mask events on her Facebook page, publicly questions the seriousness of COVID-19, and appeared maskless at a Kalispell school board meeting this summer. That meeting was adjourned and moved online because several attendees refused to wear masks.Bukacek’s COVID-19 positions have drawn the ire of some community members, including at least one call for her resignation after her appearance at the school board meeting, part of a months-long public outcry over her actions. In April, Flathead County Commissioner Phil Mitchell said he had received more than 100 emails urging Bukacek’s removal from the board and that he regretted appointing her.“I am sorry that I put her on the board and I am sorry for how she has acted,” Mitchell said at the time. “I’m frustrated but there’s not a lot I can do. I’m only one commissioner.”In a Sept. 10 email sent to the other board members and obtained by the Beacon, Bukacek reminded them she was free to express her opinions in public, writing “it will be a sad day when those holding any official government position are precluded from their First Amendment right of free speech.”“I have never claimed to speak for the board and on many cases have clarified this even though it should be obvious to any reasonable person,” she continued.Heyboer and Bukacek are the only members of the board who are licensed physicians, and Heyboer said he makes no judgment of Bukacek’s motives but called her opinions on mask wearing and the coronavirus “widely divergent from the medical mainstream.” Asked about Bukacek’s well-known public stances, he spoke instead about his own experiences since joining the board in July.“I certainly feel that in our community, it’s kind of hard to be anonymous,” Heyboer said. “What’s hard to delineate is me speaking as a board of health member and me speaking as a private citizen … People that know me know that I’m on the board of health, and so they are looking at my behavior and looking at some of the activities I’m engaging in and saying, ‘If Dr. Heyboer said this is OK, it must be OK.’”Bukacek further stirred controversy at the Sept. 17 board of health meeting when she referenced the Nuremberg Trials, the 1946 military tribunal where political, military and other leaders of Nazi Germany were prosecuted. Bukacek’s allusion sparked a sharp rebuke from St. James Robinson, the health officer, who wrote in an email to the board that her beleaguered staff was “VERY disheartened to hear (Bukacek) make reference to their work as Nazis” at the meeting.“This is very demoralizing for them to not have the support of our board members,” she added.In an email response to St. James Robinson and the board, Bukacek said her comments about the Nuremberg Trials were offered in reference to “statements made by board members that the health department was simply carrying out the governor’s orders.”“Please reassure [health department employees] I was referring to myself as much as anyone else involved with the health department … concerned that down the road (in carrying out the directive/orders) we will discover we have been seduced into something that has done more harm than we could have imagined. I stand by that concern,” Bukacek wrote.“As a result of conscience and my responsibility, I have questioned what the governor has done. Whether in the end my counterpoints turn out to be wholly, partially, or even only marginally right, I still have the duty to voice them,” she concluded.When reached by the Beacon, Bukacek didn’t elaborate on her comments for this [email protected] Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. EA acquires GameFly subsidiary for cloud gamingIsrael-based team and technology will expand EA’s ability to offer its games across multiple devicesRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterWednesday 23rd May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleElectronic ArtsGameFlyElectronic Arts has announced the acquisition of GameFly Inc’s cloud gaming subsidiary. With this, EA intends to expand its streaming services to more players on more devices worldwide.The GameFly cloud gaming subsidiary is located in Caesarea, Israel, and includes both the personnel and technological assets behind GameFly’s cloud streaming services. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games These services work much like Hulu or Netflix, but for games. GameFly streaming subscribers can access a catalog of games on connected devices (such as Apple or Samsung Smart TVs) without having to wait for downloads.EA has revitalized its own platform, Origin, with all-you-can-play subscription services: EA Access on Xbox One and Origin Access on PC. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment joined Origin Access a few months ago, the first major publisher to do so.”Cloud gaming is an exciting frontier that will help us to give even more players the ability to experience games on any device from anywhere,” said Ken Moss, EA’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring this talented team’s expertise into EA as we continue to innovate and expand the future of games and play.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 4 hours agoEA acquires Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead SoftwareCanadian studio fills another gap in FIFA publisher’s expanding sports portfolioBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments (1)AbdulBasit Saliu Mechanic, Flowmotion Entertainment Inc2 years ago Great move EA.
PlayStation 5 games to be revealed on June 4thOver an hour of new games to be shown next weekChristopher DringHead of Games B2BFriday 29th May 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareSony will finally reveal PlayStation 5 games on Thursday, June 4th.The titles will feature in a presentation of just over an hour at 1pm Pacific Time, 4pm Eastern Time and 9pm UK time.PlayStation says that the digital event will be the first in a series of updates, and that there will be more to share beyond next week’s presentation. The Future of Gaming showcase will be streamed via Twitch and YouTube.In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz today, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan spoke about the challenge he set his team to develop digital presentations that can generate the sort-of excitement you would expect from an E3 press conference.”Obviously the shows, whether it’s GDC, PAX, E3, Gamecom… they’ve all gone,” he said. “We have to live in a world where that particular oxygen isn’t available to the industry. It’s not available to PlayStation or anybody else. We just have to come up with ways to communicate what we’re doing, and try and engender the same level of adrenaline, excitement, buzz that we get with thousands of people in an auditorium in Los Angeles. And do that somehow remotely.”Research director of Ampere Analysis, Piers Harding-Rolls, says the June 4th presentation will be crucial in maintaining and building momentum for the next generation. But he isn’t expecting to hear news about the console price just yet.”I’m expecting Thursday’s PlayStation 5 event to be a strong showing for Sony, and to build on the recent momentum of interest already delivered by the PS5 DualSense controller reveal, the PS5 logo reveal and the Unreal Engine 5 playable demo,” he told us.”I expect the viewership numbers to be sick” Lewis Ward, IDC”It will focus on areas where Sony is traditionally strong: product design, with what I assume will be the full reveal of the PS5, and its games development expertise. We’re now well into the phase where console early adopters expect to know more about the games that will be available at launch, so this event and Microsoft’s upcoming streams are crucial to build consumer anticipation. I’m expecting a more competitive line up of first-party content between Sony and Microsoft next-gen, so the next few weeks and months of reveals should have a lot to offer the console gamer and give us a better idea of how the platforms will perform in the market. “One key aspect I’ll be looking out for is confirmed exclusives for PS5. With Microsoft following a different commercial path, Sony’s strategy to embrace exclusives for its next-gen console is a key differentiator. Concerning the hardware, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was no pricing announcement, although we commonly get pricing at around this time, normally at E3, before a launch at the end of the year. The COVID-19 crisis and the economic situation means that choosing when to confirm the pricing is more of a challenge, and, in the current climate, it probably makes sense to wait longer before the reveal.”IDC’s research director of gaming Lewis Ward added: “It’s been a long time coming and I think next Thursday’s reveal will basically be comparable to an E3 keynote, albeit a virtual event. Think an extended State of Play with much more interactivity and news broken.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “What I’m still not clear on is whether we’ll actually see the final PS5 hardware. I’m sure we won’t get pricing or preorder dates regardless since the focus will be on games as well as Sony’s broader digital efforts as the company ramps for PS5’s debut.”I think Mr. Ryan and others will tastefully address the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss Sony’s response to it, and I expect to see some of the projects underway by indie studios that have received Play At Home funding.”I sure next week’s showcase will leave many big questions unanswered regarding PS5 but it’s also going to fill in some huge holes and I expect the viewership numbers to be sick.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair An hour agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 4 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Pope Francis to visit Morocco in March Prince Harry begins two-day official visit to Zambia Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Casablanca Airport on February 23, 2019 in Casablanca (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Casablanca Airport on February 23, 2019 in Casablanca (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have arrived in Morocco for an official trip scheduled to be their last international journey before she gives birth to their first child.Meghan is seven months pregnant and is expected to have their child in April.The royal couple’s schedule begins on Sunday in the town of Asni in the Atlas Mountains to hear about the education of girls in rural communities.They will then travel to Rabat to meet with diplomats, influential women, young entrepreneurs and disabled athletes.The visit will also include a trip to the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports to observe horses that provide support to children with special needs.Harry and Meghan plan to return to Britain on Tuesday.Related Prince Harry to to leave the Army
The very first Horizons Unlimited event held in Asia saw Anita Yusof being honoured as one of their special guest to share her experience and tips during her ‘Global Dream Ride 2016’.The GIVI ambassador hosted a couple of sessions at Sumbawa Island, Indonesia together with a few renowned adventure riders Nicole Espinosa (USA) and Maggie Magowan (England).Horizons Unlimited is actually a specialised forum dedicated to adventure riders which was inspired by the veteran couple Grant Johnson and his wife Susan back in 1997. The ambassador of GIVI Anita Yusof again made history when she was invited as a special guest in the Horizons Unlimited (Indonesia) which ran its course from 18 to 21 May 2017. The event which was held at the Sumbawa Island, Indonesia gathered many adventure riders from around the world specially for this event. Anita Yusof was invited as the special guest to share her story and experience during the ‘Global Dream Ride 2016’ where she circled the globe solo on her Yamaha FZ150i.Horizons Unlimited is actually a specialised forum dedicated to adventure riders which was inspired by the veteran couple Grant Johnson and his wife Susan back in 1997. Some of the big names in adventure riding which came to share their personal experiences and tips were the host from Indonesia Jeffrey Polnaja, Ted Simon (England), Steve Campbell (Australia), Andy Dukes (England), Jeff de Wispelaere (USA) and the couple Shannon & Mike Mills (USA). Anita Yusof was the only Muslim female adventure rider where her session was joined with Nicole Espinosa (USA) and Maggie Magowan (England) to share their experiences collectively.When asked about the event, Anita responded “The event is very significant to all fellow adventure tourers and riders as all of them share very important experiences, tips and technical stuff as well as getting to know each other through their adventures. I am very excited to be chosen as one of the presenters for the very first Horizons Unlimited event in Asia. Usually they’ll only go to Europe or America.”GIVI Indonesia also sent over a very experienced motoring media member Wisnu Gareng Guntoro from Dapurpacu.com for a solo trip from Jakarta to the Sumbawa Island which covered over 3,000km. Wisnu was the only media member to join two GIVI sponsored events in a row; the GIVI Explorer 2015 South Africa Tour and the GIVI Explorer 2016 Andes Tour.Their Director of International Operations Mr Joseph Perucca was also present during the event as a representative from GIVI. According to Joseph, “The GIVI name is synonymous as the manufacturer of adventure riding gears has been very supportive in the gathering and sharing experiences with participants to ensure that the interest in the field keeps on growing”.–Ads–