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    Federal officials say the second-largest health insurer in the United States has agreed to pay a record $16 million to settle potential privacy violations in the biggest health care hack in the nation's history. The personal information of nearly 79 million people — including names, birthdates, Social Security numbers and medical IDs — was exposed in the cyberattack, which was discovered by the company in early 2015. Officials say Monday's settlement between Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. and the Department of Health and Human Services represents the largest amount collected by the agency in a health care data breach. Anthem also agreed to a corrective action plan under government monitoring, which involves a process for the company to assess its electronic security risks, take appropriate countermeasures and maintain ongoing surveillance.
  • Sears filed for bankruptcy and will be closing a lot of stores. Clark tells you what you need to know if you have items on layaway or have a Sears credit card; United Airlines is threatening its customers that use skip lagging to get lower fares; Clark has updated the 529 plan guide and offers you the best advice on which states’ 529 plans you should consider investing in for your child’s education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Watch the video
  • Concerned about downed power lines sparking wildfires, two major California utilities took the rare step of cutting power to customers amid high winds — and another power provider was considering similar action. Pacific Gas & Electric for the first time began cutting power Sunday night to tens of thousands of customers in Northern California after the National Weather Service warned of extreme fire danger across the state due to high winds, low humidity and dry vegetation. San Diego Gas & Electric followed suit Monday, turning off power to about 360 customers in foothill areas near Cleveland National Forest, where multiple blazes have scorched large swaths of land in recent years. SDG&E has pre-emptively shut off power to customers in the past, most recently in December when 14,000 customers went without power — many for four days. Pacific Gas & Electric previously announced its plan to shut off power preemptively after authorities blamed its power lines for sparking some of California's most destructive wildfires. The utility expects to pay billions of dollars in wildfire damages and has sought ways to limit its liability through the courts and Legislature. PG&E said about 87,000 customers had their power halted and more could be left in the dark depending on the weather. Some 60,000 customers remained without power. Schools in those affected areas canceled classes. PG&E said it expected to restore power Monday night to most customers — though some residents won't get electricity back until Tuesday. 'We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we have made the decision to turn off power as a last resort given the extreme fire danger conditions these communities are experiencing,' PG&E spokesman Pat Hogan said. PG&E said it began notifying affected customers on Saturday about possible outages. However, many said Monday they had received little or no notice. Stewart Munnerlyn was scrambling to find generators to save $8,000 worth of ice cream at his creamery shop in Pine Grove, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) east of Sacramento. Munnerlyn said he is in Virginia visiting a sick relative and received three text messages Sunday night from PG&E saying it might cut power, but he didn't know it actually happened until a friend called him. 'They knew what they were going to do obviously,' Munnerlyn said. 'We weren't given enough notice to properly prepare.' Kevin Kathman, executive chef of wine country restaurant All Seasons in Calistoga, said $12,000 worth of food at the site would spoil if power isn't restored soon. Instead of tossing it, he was planning to cook over a fire during a block party for the 'stressed out community' that includes winery owners in the middle of grape harvest. The power went out Sunday night and Calistoga remained without electricity Monday, even though Kathman said there was no wind. 'It's a beautiful day,' he said. 'We are all in disbelief that it's not back on.' PG&E spokeswoman Melissa Subottin said power was also cut to hospitals and other medical providers that are required to have backup power sources. PG&E officials visited 4,400 medical customers in the affected areas to personally warn them of the outages, she said. The weather service predicted winds gusting to 55 mph (89 kph) in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento. High winds were also expected in the state's wine country north of San Francisco. Southern California Edison said it was considering shutting off power to an undetermined number of customers. Strong wind gusts swept across the region with the arrival of the first fall Santa Ana winds — hot, sustained gusts that blow from the desert to the ocean. A motorist in the Orange County city of Tustin was killed when a eucalyptus tree fell on her car in an apartment complex. The victim was 34. No further details were released. Southern California Edison spokesman David Song said about 32,000 of its 5 million customers were experiencing power outages, but no shutdowns had been ordered by the utility. Song said Edison was investigating the cause of those outages. ___ Associated Press writers Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco and Christopher Weber and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report. __ This story has been corrected to reflect that only Pacific Gas & Electric has pre-emptively shut off power for the first time. San Diego Gas & Electric has previously shut off power during high winds in an attempt to prevent wildfires.
  • MGM has reported nearly $27 million in revenue during the first full month of operation at its Massachusetts casino. The state Gaming Commission reported Monday that MGM Springfield generated $18 million in gross revenues from slot machines and another $8.8 million from table games like blackjack and roulette. That generated $6.7 million in state taxes. Massachusetts collects 25 percent of the facility's gross gambling revenues. The numbers don't reflect revenues from the 14-acre casino complex's hotel, restaurants, bars and other non-gambling entertainment. MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis says September visitor volume was 'solid' and the casino's financial performance is 'on track' with company expectations. Massachusetts regulators also reported Monday that Plainridge Park, a slots parlor and horse racing track in Plainville, generated roughly $14 million from gambling in September.
  • Before there was Amazon — or, for that matter, Home Depot or Walmart or Kmart — there was Sears. From its beginnings as a mail-order watch business in Minneapolis 132 years ago, the company grew to become America's everything-under-one-roof store and the biggest retailer in the world. For generations of Americans, the brick-like Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog was a fixture in just about every house — a miscellany of toys and clothes and furnishings and hardware that induced longing for this or that dream purchase. The Sears brand loomed as large over the corporate landscape as its 108-story basalt-like headquarters did over the Chicago skyline. 'It was the Amazon of its day,' said Mark Cohen, a professor of retailing at Columbia University and a former Sears executive. But how the mighty have fallen: Plagued by falling sales and heavy debt, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Monday and announced plans to close 142 of its roughly 700 remaining stores and eliminate thousands of jobs in a bid to stay afloat, if only for a while. Analysts have their doubts it will survive. 'In our view, too much rot has set in at Sears to make it (a) viable business,' Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said in a note to investors. Its bankruptcy was years in the making. Sears diversified too much. It kept cutting costs and let its stores become fusty in the face of increasing competition from the likes of Walmart and Target. And though it expanded onto the Internet, it was no match for Amazon. 'In point of fact,' Cohen said, 'they've been dead for a very long time.' In its bankruptcy filing, Sears Holdings, which operates both Sears and Kmart stores, listed assets of $1 billion to $10 billion and liabilities of $10 billion to $50 billion. It said it has lined up $300 million in financing from banks to keep operating and is negotiating an additional $300 million loan. The company once had around 350,000 employees; as of Monday's filing, it was down to 68,000. At its peak, it had 4,000 stores in 2012; it will now be left with a little more than 500. Sears was born in 1886, when Richard W. Sears began selling watches to supplement his income as a railroad station agent in North Redwood, Minnesota. By the next year, he had opened his first store in Chicago and had hired a watchmaker named Alvah C. Roebuck. The company published its first mail-order catalog in 1888. Together with companies like Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney, Sears helped bring American consumer culture to middle America. 'It's hard to imagine now how isolating it was to live in a small town 100 years ago, 120 years ago,' said Marc Levinson, author of 'The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America.' ''Back before the days of cars, people might have a ride of several days in a horse and buggy just to get to the nearest train railhead, nearest train station.' 'What Sears did was make big-city merchandise available to people in small towns,' he said. There was a time when you could find just about anything for your house in the Sears catalog — including a house. Between 1908 and 1940, the company sold about 75,000 build-from-a-kit houses, many of which are still standing. Sears' offerings could cover you from cradle to grave: It even sold tombstones. In between, there was everything from girdles to socket wrenches, dresses to guns, dolls to washing machines. The Sears catalog 'was second only to the Holy Bible in terms of the household importance,' said 71-year-old novelist Allan Gurganus, author of 'The Last Confederate Widow Tells All.' He grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and recalls the way tenants on his grandfather's farm loved the catalog. When the new one would arrive, Gurganus said, the old one was consigned to the outhouse as reading material and, well, toilet paper. He said they always started at the back of the book when pulling out pages. 'That's where the least important parts are — the plumbing fixtures and so forth,' he said with a laugh. 'I was especially interested in the underwear ads.' Gurganus uses the catalog as a research tool for his novels. A 1917 edition occupies his bedside table. He still has the six-string Silvertone guitar he ordered in 1963. For generations, Sears was an innovator in practically every area, including home delivery, product-testing laboratories and employee profit-sharing. When post-World War II prosperity led to the growth of suburbia, Sears was well-positioned to cash in on another major development — the shopping mall. By the late 1960s, Sears was the world's largest retailer. In 1975, it completed the black Sears Tower, which at 1,450 feet (442 meters) was the world's tallest skyscraper for 25 years. Between 1981 and 1985, the company went on a spending spree, acquiring the stock brokerage Dean Witter Reynolds and the real estate company Coldwell, Banker. It launched the Discover credit card nationwide. 'They diverted all of their retail cash flow into other enterprises,' Cohen said. 'And the retail business had come apart at the seams.' Sears eventually got rid of those businesses. And to save money and generate capital, it sold off some of its most familiar brands, Craftsman and DieHard among them. In 1993, it killed the general merchandise catalog. Not long thereafter, its sold its skyscraper. Sears introduced its popular 'Come see the softer side of Sears' ad campaign in 1993 and had a turnaround starting in the mid- to late 1990s, but it didn't last long. Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert bought the company in 2005 and created Sears Holdings Corp. He began cutting expenses and selling off real estate, but the hemorrhaging continued. Retail historian Vicki Howard, author of 'From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store,' said Sears was too slow to adapt as consumers drifted away from the malls and more toward online shopping and big-box stores farther out in the suburbs. Levinson said that for too long, Sears catered to 'a broad middle market' and failed to change with the times. 'There are a lot of stores specializing in particular parts of the market, and no longer very many stores that are seeking to serve everyone,' he said. 'And so Sears was stuck there in the middle at a time when the market was fragmenting.' Eventually, Cohen said, Sears will disappear. 'It's an American tragedy,' he said. 'It did not have to be this way.' ___ Breed contributed to this report from Raleigh, North Carolina, D'Innocenzio from New York.
  • The federal budget deficit has surged to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, its highest level in six years as President Donald Trump's tax cuts caused the government to borrow more heavily in order to cover its spending. The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit climbed $113 billion from fiscal 2017. Debt will likely worsen in the coming years with the Trump administration expecting the deficit to top $1 trillion in 2019, nearly matching the $1.1 trillion imbalance from 2012. The deficit worsened because tax revenues are not keeping pace with government spending. The government's fiscal year runs from October to September, unlike calendar years that begin in January. Tax revenues were essentially flat in fiscal 2018, while spending increased 3.2 percent as Congress gave more funds for military and domestic programs. Revenues generally tumbled after December when Trump signed into law $1.5 trillion of tax cuts over the next decade. The tax cuts have caused economic growth to accelerate this year with Federal Reserve officials anticipating gains of 3.1 percent. But the Trump administration initially promised that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through stronger growth — and there is no sign so far of that happening. 'The budget numbers make very clear that the faster growth isn't stopping the deficit from increasing,' said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that advocates for lower deficits. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested in a statement that the underlying source of the widening deficit was growth in government spending, rather than the tax cuts. 'Going forward the President's economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path,' Mnuchin said. But William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that the tax cuts are unlikely to generate a long-term bump in economic growth. More importantly, most estimates suggest that the deficit will worsen as spending on Social Security, Medicare and other programs increase with the aging baby boomer population. Gale said it's generally better to reduce the deficit when the economy has improved, which can minimize the sting of any changes to spending and prevent steeper cuts to spending in the future. The cost of financing the deficit have increased following Trump's tax cuts, with the interest charged on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to roughly 3.15 percent from 2.46 percent at the start of the calendar year. 'By cutting taxes in 2017 when the economy was already quite strong, Congress and the administration not only missed a golden opportunity to begin to address the fiscal problem, they actually made the problem worse,' he said. The Trump administration in July sharply revised higher its deficit estimates for coming years when it released its mid-session budget review. It projected the 2019 deficit will hit $1.09 trillion and will total $1.08 trillion in 2020 and $1.01 trillion in 2021 before once again dipping slightly below the $1 trillion mark in 2021 with a projected deficit of $952 billion. The only other period when the federal government has run deficits above $1 trillion was for four years from 2009 through 2011. That's when the Obama administration was using tax cuts and increased spending, along with support for the banking system, to combat the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • Most people would be better off not having mortgages in retirement. Relatively few will get any tax benefit from this debt, and the payments can get more difficult to manage on fixed incomes. But retiring a mortgage before you retire isn't always possible. Financial planners recommend creating a Plan B to ensure you don't wind up house rich and cash poor. WHY A MORTGAGE-FREE RETIREMENT IS USUALLY BEST Mortgage interest is technically tax deductible, but taxpayers must itemize to get the break — and fewer will, now that Congress has nearly doubled the standard deduction. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates 13.8 million households will benefit from the mortgage interest deduction this year, compared to more than 32 million last year. Even before tax reform, people approaching retirement often got less benefit from their mortgages over time as payments switched from being mostly interest to being mostly principal. To cover mortgage payments, retirees frequently have to withdraw more from their retirement funds than they would if the mortgage were paid off. Those withdrawals typically trigger more taxes, while reducing the pool of money that retirees have to live on. That's why many financial planners recommend their clients pay down mortgages while still working so that they're debt-free when they retire. Increasingly, though, people retire owing money on their homes. Thirty-five percent of households headed by people ages 65 to 74 have a mortgage, according to the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances. So do 23 percent of those 75 and older. In 1989, the proportions were 21 percent and 6 percent, respectively. But rushing to pay off those mortgages may not be a good idea, either. DON'T MAKE YOURSELF POORER Some people have enough money in savings, investments or retirement funds to pay off their loans. But many would have to take a sizeable chunk of those assets, which could leave them short of cash for emergencies or future living expenses. 'While there are certainly psychological benefits related to being mortgage-free, financially, it is only of the last places I would direct a client to pay off early,' says certified financial planner Michael Ciccone of Summit, New Jersey. Such big withdrawals also can shove people into much higher tax brackets and trigger whopping tax bills. When a client is wealthy enough to pay off a mortgage and wants to do so, CFP Chris Chen of Waltham, Massachusetts, still recommends spreading the payments over time to keep the taxes down. Often, though, people in the best position to pay off mortgages may decide not to do so because they can get a better return on their money elsewhere, planners say. Also, they're often the ones affluent enough to have big mortgages that still qualify for tax deductions. 'Mortgages many times have cheap interest rates that are deductible and thus may not be worth paying off if your portfolio after taxes can outpace it,' says CFP Scott A. Bishop of Houston. WHEN A PAYOFF ISN'T POSSIBLE, MINIMIZE THE MORTGAGE For many in retirement, paying off the house simply isn't possible. 'The best case 'wishful thinking' scenario is that they'll have a cash windfall via an inheritance or the like that can be used to pay off the debt,' says CFP Rebecca L. Kennedy of Denver. In pricey Los Angeles, CFP David Rae suggests mortgage-burdened clients refinance before they retire to lower their payments. (Refinancing is generally easier before retirement than after.) 'Refinancing can spread your remaining mortgage balance out over 30 years, greatly reducing the portion of your budget it eats up,' says Rae, whose office is in West Hollywood. Those who have substantial equity built up in their homes could consider a reverse mortgage, planners say. These loans can be used to pay off the existing mortgage, but no payments are required and the reverse mortgage doesn't have to be paid off until the owner sells, moves out or dies. Another solution: downsize to eliminate or at least reduce mortgage debt. CFP Kristin C. Sullivan, also of Denver, encourages her clients to consider this option. 'Don't fool yourself that your grown kids will be back visiting all the time,' Sullivan says. 'Certainly don't keep enough space and comfort for them to move back in with you!' This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of 'Your Credit Score.' Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Paying off a mortgage https://nerd.me/pay-off-mortgage
  • Two Turkish journalists have been charged with insulting the Turkish nation and institutions for suggesting that a Turkish court may not have acted independently when ruling in the case against an American pastor. Duygu Guvenc and Alican Uludag, from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper, face maximum two years in prison for articles published in July after U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who was at the center of a Turkish-U.S. diplomatic dispute, was released to house arrest after almost two years in jail. The two journalists reject the charge. Guvenc says Monday 'we used our constitutional right to criticize decisions as journalists.' The pastor, who was accused of terror-related charges, was convicted Friday yet released from custody for time served. He has returned to the United States. The journalists' trial is set for Dec. 20.
  • San Francisco has come to be known around the world as a place for aggressive panhandling, open-air drug use and sprawling tent camps, the dirt and despair all the more remarkable for the city's immense wealth. Some streets are so filthy that officials launched a special 'poop patrol.' A young tech worker created 'Snapcrap' — an app to report the filth. Morning commuters walk briskly past homeless people huddled against subway walls. In the city's squalid downtown area, the frail and sick shuffle along in wheelchairs or stumble around, sometimes half-clothed. The situation has become so dire that a coalition of activists collected enough signatures to put a measure on the city's Nov. 6 ballot that would tax hundreds of San Francisco's wealthiest companies to help thousands of homeless and mentally ill residents, an effort that failed earlier this year in Seattle. Proposition C would raise $300 million a year, nearly doubling what the city already spends to combat homelessness. 'This is the worst it's ever been,' says Marc Benioff, founder of cloud-computing giant Salesforce and a fourth-generation San Franciscan, who is supporting the measure even though his company would pay an additional $10 million a year if it passes. 'Nobody should have to live like this. They don't need to live like this. We can get this under control.' 'We have to do it. We have to try something,' said Sunshine Powers, who owns a tie-dye boutique, Love on Haight, in the city's historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. 'If my community is bad, nobody is going to want to come here.' The proposition is the latest battle between big business and social services advocates who demand that corporate America pay to solve inequities exacerbated by its success. In San Francisco, it's also become an intriguing fight between recently elected Mayor London Breed, who is siding with the city's Chamber of Commerce in urging a no vote, and philanthropist Benioff, whose company is San Francisco's largest private employer with 8,400 workers. Breed came out hard against the measure, saying it lacked collaboration, could attract homeless people from neighboring counties to the city, and could cost middle-class jobs in retail and service. San Francisco has already dramatically increased spending on homelessness, she said, with no noticeable improvement. San Francisco spent $380 million of its $10 billion budget last year on services related to homelessness. 'I have to make decisions with my head, not just my heart,' Breed said. 'I do not believe doubling what we spend on homelessness without new accountability, when we don't even spend what we have now efficiently, is good government.' Cities along the West Coast are grappling with rampant homelessness, driven in part by growing numbers of well-paying tech jobs that price lower-income residents out of tight housing markets. A family of four in San Francisco earning $117,000 is considered low-income. Business prevailed in Seattle, when leaders in June repealed a per-employee tax that would have raised $50 million a year, after Amazon and Starbucks pushed back. In July, the city council of Cupertino in Silicon Valley scuttled a similar head tax after opposition from its largest employer, Apple Inc. Mountain View residents, however, will vote this fall on a per-employee tax expected to raise $6 million a year, largely from Google, for transit projects. The San Francisco measure is different in that it would levy the tax mostly by revenue rather than by number of employees — an average half-percent tax increase on companies' revenue above $50 million each year. It was also put on the ballot by citizens, not elected officials. Online payment processing company Stripe has voiced opposition and contributed $120,000 to the campaign against Proposition C, but other companies have stayed quiet. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, whose board includes representatives of Microsoft, LinkedIn and Oracle, is leading the fight. Up to 400 businesses would be affected, with internet and financial services sectors bearing nearly half the cost. The city says confidentiality precludes revealing tax information, but some of the companies expected to pay the most are big names across major industries. Wells Fargo & Co., retailer Gap Inc. and ride-hailing platform Uber declined to comment. Pharmaceutical distributor McKesson Corp. referred questions to a private-sector trade association, the Committee on Jobs, which called the measure flawed. Utility Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. said it has not taken a position. Twitter declined to comment, but chief executive Jack Dorsey said via tweet last week that he trusts Breed to fix the problem. 'Anyone can take a look at the status quo and understand it's not working, but more money alone is not the sole answer,' says Jess Montejano, spokesman for the 'No on C' campaign. Benioff disagrees. A $37 million two-year initiative he helped start with the city and to which he contributed more than $11 million has housed nearly 400 families through rent subsidies, he said. Benioff has pledged at least $2 million from company and personal resources for the November tax campaign. He said he was ultimately swayed by a report from the city's chief economist, which found the measure would likely reduce homelessness while resulting in a net loss of 900 jobs at most, or 0.1 percent of all jobs. 'I said, 'Well, I'm the largest employer in the city, and the city is in decline from homelessness and cleanliness. We have to take action now,' ' he said. At least half of the new revenue would go toward permanent housing, and at least a quarter to services for people with severe behavioral issues. A 2017 one-night count found an estimated 7,500 people without permanent shelter in San Francisco. More than half had lived in the city for at least a decade. Tracey Mixon and her daughter, Maliya, 8, are among the hidden homeless. Mixon, 47, a San Francisco native, lives and works in the notoriously dangerous and drug-infested Tenderloin neighborhood. They were forced out of their rental this summer, partly because the company that managed her property lost its federal accreditation, she said on a recent afternoon while working a crossing guard shift. One of the hardest parts was finding a place to go for the day when mother and daughter were kicked out of an overnight-only emergency shelter. 'I have to shield her from people that are using drugs,' she said. 'I have to shield her from people who might be fighting.' Hanging out on Haight, the street that played a central role in the 'Summer of Love,' Stormy Nichole Day, 22, says she would love a place to live. Currently, Day is sleeping in a doorway. She could thrive if her basic needs were met, she said. 'And that includes a house, and a place to cook food and a place to take a shower.
  • Add beer to chocolate , coffee and wine as some of life's little pleasures that global warming will make scarcer and costlier, scientists say. Increasing bouts of extreme heat waves and drought will hurt production of barley, a key beer ingredient, in the future. Losses of barley yield can be as much as 17 percent, an international group of researchers estimated. That means beer prices on average would double, even adjusting for inflation, according to the study in Monday's journal Nature Plants . In countries like Ireland, where cost of a brew is already high, prices could triple. The findings come a week after a dire United Nations report described consequences of dangerous levels of climate change including worsening food and water shortages, heat waves, sea level rise, and disease. Study co-author Steve Davis of the University of California, Irvine, said the beer research was partly done to drive home the not-that-palatable message that climate change is messing with all sorts of aspects of our daily lives. Several scientists who weren't part of this study said it was sound and perhaps more effective way of communicating the dangers of global warming. 'One of the greatest challenges as a scientist doing research on climate change and food is to illustrate it in a way that people can understand,' U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Lewis Ziska said in an email. Few people would complain if global warming ruined Brussels sprouts, he added. Scientists have long known that barley 'is one of the most heat-sensitive crops globally,' but this study connects that to something that people care about — the price of beer — so it's valuable, said David Lobell, a Stanford University agriculture ecologist. Davis, an IPA fan, is one of those people who care. 'This is a paper born of love and fear,' he said. Worldwide barley is used for all sorts of purposes, mostly feeding livestock. Less than 20 percent of the world's barley is made into beer. But in the United States, Brazil and China, at least two-thirds of the barley goes into six-packs, drafts, kegs, cans and bottles. Davis and colleagues looked only at the combination of heat waves and drought, not the general warming that also should affect where barley is grown. If emissions of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and gas continue at the current rising pace, the likelihood of weather conditions hurting barley production will increase from about once a decade before 2050 to once every other year by the end of the century. ___ Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears . ___ The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Local News

  • The Atlanta Braves announced Monday that the organization has agreed to terms on a two-year contract for manager Brian Snitker. The contract does include a third-year club option for 2021.  Snitker took over as manager for the Braves in 2016 and led the team to their first National League East Division title in five years this season.  Here is the full statement from the Atlanta Braves: The Atlanta #Braves and manager Brian Snitker have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with a club option for the 2021 season: pic.twitter.com/CsReyEyU9x — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 15, 2018 TRENDING STORIES: Georgia already topping list for flu activity in the nation President Trump to view storm damage in Georgia Atlanta police seize drugs and guns from a popular food mart Snitker has been with the Braves organization for 43 seasons, including three seasons as manager for Triple-A club in Gwinnett.  The National League 'Manager of the Year' candidate, who turns 63 on Wednesday, owns a 221-227 (.493) record in his two-plus seasons. Information from our partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.
  • Jackson County Commissioners meet tonight at the courthouse in Jefferson: their session is underway at 6 o’clock this evening. Commissioners will consider a proposal from developers who wants 2 million square feet of warehouse space on 357 acres off Josh Pirkle Road in Jackson County. It’s a project opposed by the Jackson County Planning Commission. There is an afternoon meeting of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority, 4 o’clock at Oconee County Chamber of Commerce offices in Watkinsville.  Tonight’s meeting of the Oconee County Planning Commission is set for 7 o’clock at the courthouse in Watkinsville.  Madison County’s Industrial Development Authority meets at 6 o’clock this evening at the Historic Courthouse in Danielsville.
  • Athens-Clarke County Police Lieutenant Jeff Clark begins his new assignment as the Department’s Deputy Police Chief. Clark is a 20-year veteran of local law enforcement. He takes over for Justin Gregory, who resigned earlier this month. The naming of a new deputy chief comes from interim Chief Mike Hunsinger, who took over after the resignation of former Chief Scott Freeman, who was asked to resign by Athens-Clarke County Manger Blaine Williams.  From the Athens-Clarke Co PD... ACCPD Interim Chief Mike Hunsinger has appointed Lt. Jeff Clark, a 20-year veteran with the ACCPD, to Interim Deputy Chief. Interim Deputy Chief Clark rose through the ranks from Patrolman to Detective, serving as a Sergeant and Lieutenant in both the Patrol and Criminal Investigation Bureaus. Clark is a veteran of the U.S. Army, a graduate of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Command College and a graduate of Columbus State College with a Master of Public Administration degree. “Interim Deputy Chief Clark is highly regarded in the department and has the education and experience needed for this position. I look forward to working with him in his new role,” stated Interim Chief Hunsinger. As Interim Deputy Chief, Clark will oversee the day-to-day operation of all police functions. Outside his work with the ACCPD, Clark volunteers with a variety of local organizations. “My favorite part of law enforcement is engaging with the officers and citizens to address public safety concerns. I look forward to working with the employees of the ACCPD and the citizens of Athens-Clarke County,' said Clark.
  • The GBI continues its investigation into a deadly officer involved shooting in Hall County: a man was killed by Hall County deputies after a 7-hour SWAT standoff at a home in East Hall. Those deputies say he fired at them from the front door of the house on Truelove Road. James Manus was 41 years old. No law enforcement officers were injured. From the Hall County Sheriff’s Office… On October 13, 2018, just before 5 PM, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to 3185 Truelove Road, in East Hall County, regarding a man with a gun.    Upon arrival, they learned that the resident of that address had pointed at handgun at neighbors, and when the Deputies attempted to make contact with him, he barricaded himself inside the residence and refused all attempts at communication. SWAT team members and Investigators arrived on the scene a short time later, and an extended effort to establish contact and negotiate with the suspect was undertaken.    At approximately 11 PM, the suspect began shooting at Deputies from within the residence. Just after midnight, he appeared in the front doorway and again fired at Deputies, who returned fire, fatally striking the suspect.    No Deputies or bystanders were injured during the incident.    As is customary in officer-involved shooting cases, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene and has assumed the investigation.    No further information will be released at this time, pending the GBI investigation. 
  • There has been a second deadly vehicle vs motorcycle accident in less than a week in Athens: last week, 27 year-old Douglas Nash was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car on Barnett Shoals Drive; last night, 43 year-old Antion Brown of Athens was killed in a wreck on Spring Valley Road. The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash, which happened at Spring Valley and Indian Hills Drive.  A 29 year-old man is dead, the victim of a car accident in Hall County. Gainesville Police say Thomas Garrett lost control of his car, swerving off a roadway and overturning twice. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — College football games between relatively evenly matched teams can often come down to a handful of plays, with momentum playing a large role in the outcome. The LSU-Georgia game on Saturday in Tiger Stadium was no different, the Bayou Bengals prevailing 36-16 over the previously undefeated Bulldogs. Both teams had their strengths, but they had also shown their deficiencies leading up to a high-profile clash that drew the largest college football game rating last weekend. LSU did a better job of exposing the Bulldogs’ weaknesses than Georgia did the Tigers. Here are the three key moments that played a large role in determining the outcome of Saturday’s game 1. Georgia’s failed fake field goal Perhaps the biggest play of the game in hindsight, as Georgia had ran the ball nine straight times for 60 yards before two incomplete passes put the Bulldogs in position for a field goal attempt. Kirby Smart said the staff knew before the game they were going to run a fake if they saw an LSU alignment they felt they could take advantage of, and the Tigers presented that look on Georgia’s second drive. “They were like 15 of 17 (88 percent) with a look that it would work on,” Smart said, explaining why the Bulldogs passed on a 31-yard field goal attempt at the 3:28 mark of the opening quarter, down 3-0. “We wanted to be aggressive.” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Georgia’s fake field goal did indeed surprise him. “ It surprised me, 10 yards to go, it surprised me,” he said. “But we always have a guy for the fake. We have eyes. And when you’re playing for the field goal block, you have to have your eyes on your man, not on the field goal kicker. Tremendous discipline.” 2. LSU’s 47-yard run on third-and-1 Tiger Stadium erupted again on the final play of the first quarter on the ensuing drive after Georgia had lost its initial momentum with the fruitless fake field goal. The game within the game was LSU’s offensive line vs. the Georgia front seven, and this was the first short-yardage battle of the game, third-and-1 at the Tigers’ 46. RELATED: Kirby Smart challenges defense to ‘knuckle up’ at LSU The Bulldogs were not gap sound, and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 47 yards to the UGA 7 to set up a TD that made it 10-0. It was only the second run of longer than 20 yards Georgia had given up all season. The play gave the Tigers the confidence they needed to go for it on four other fourth-and-1 situations against the Bulldogs, all of which they converted in back-breaking fashion. “At the end of the day,” Smart said, “you don’t win the line of scrimmage in this league, you won’t win the football game.” Orgeron, meanwhile, said LSU was still smarting from its 27-19 loss at Florida the week before. The Tigers coach was intent to make amends after electing to kick a field goal from the Gators’ 15-yard line on a fourth-and-inches situation in the second quarter with that game tied at 7-7.. “We were throwing out the kitchen sink, man, everything we had, we did,” Orgeron said, asked about the decision to go for it on four fourth downs against Georgia. “All week, we talked about being aggressive. I was a little pissed at myself for not going for it against Florida down there fourth and half an inch.” Third-and-6 sack in fourth quarter Georgia trailed 19-9 when it took over at the LSU 38-yard line with 14:39 remaining, Mecole Hardman having broken loose on a 27-yard punt return after the Bulldogs’ defense turned the momentum by forcing LSU to go three-and-out. RELATED: LSU defensive wizard outschemed Georgia football A jet sweep call for Hardman was stopped for no gain, and then Justin Fields was brought in to handoff to third-string tailback Brian Herrien for 4 yards, bringing up the third-and-6 at the 34. Georgia was still within Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal range when Jake Fromm took the snap, but the veteran QB failed to make a play — instead taking a 9-yard sack that took the Bulldogs out of field goal range. “Some of those you’ve got to escape and get rid of the ball, there’s a lot of pressures they run that are hard to pick up, and I was very concerned with that coming into the game,” Smart said. “But I didn’t think it was the protection as much as it was making decisions quicker, getting rid of the ball quicker, and at the end of the day, don’t be in third-and-long.”   LSU, its crowd still roaring from the sack, responded with a six-play, 86-yard drive to go up 26-9. Georgia-LSU football DawgNation Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? Report card: Bulldogs bomb midterm Georgia football stock report, LSU cashes in on Dawgs mistakes Instant analysis: Georgia melts in Louisiana heat against LSU Tigers came at Georgia for four downs on each series RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU Georgia rushing attack goes AWOL in battle at LSU         The post Georgia-LSU rewind: 3 momentum-changing plays in Bulldogs’ 36-16 loss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Atlanta Braves announced Monday that the organization has agreed to terms on a two-year contract for manager Brian Snitker. The contract does include a third-year club option for 2021.  Snitker took over as manager for the Braves in 2016 and led the team to their first National League East Division title in five years this season.  Here is the full statement from the Atlanta Braves: The Atlanta #Braves and manager Brian Snitker have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with a club option for the 2021 season: pic.twitter.com/CsReyEyU9x — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 15, 2018 TRENDING STORIES: Georgia already topping list for flu activity in the nation President Trump to view storm damage in Georgia Atlanta police seize drugs and guns from a popular food mart Snitker has been with the Braves organization for 43 seasons, including three seasons as manager for Triple-A club in Gwinnett.  The National League 'Manager of the Year' candidate, who turns 63 on Wednesday, owns a 221-227 (.493) record in his two-plus seasons. Information from our partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.
  • BATON ROUGE, La. — Dave Aranda is the highest paid coordinator in college football, and Saturday afternoon the LSU   defensive wizard earned his $2.5 million annual salary by throttling Georgia’s multifaceted offense. Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said in the days leading up to LSU’s 36-16 win over the Bulldogs that it would be a chess match, and the coaching moves from both staffs were on display. Georgia marched 60 yards on nine consecutive run plays on its second offensive series, displaying a dominant run game that seemed to bode well for the afternoon before an ill-fated fake field goal attempt changed the momentum. The Bulldogs managed just 17 yards on their next seven carries, LSU forcing three consecutive three-and-out series in pulling away to a 16-0 halftime lead. WATCH: LSU coach Ed Orgeron says physical football in Tigers’ DNA “You know they started running the football on us in the first quarter, (and) Dave (Aranda) made some adjustments,” Orgeron said. “Dave did a great job. We mixed up the personnel groupings that we use. We gave them some stuff that they didn’t see. Obviously, everything was built on stopping the run and the deep pass, and we did it. “We were playing one certain defense, and it wasn’t working. And we changed to play another one, and it worked.” Georgia, with its two-headed monster at quarterback, it’s four-man tailback platoon and double-digit receiver rotation, could not strike the right combination. The same versatility that has made the Bulldogs a tough matchup for an opponent worked against coach Kirby Smart — Georgia had no offensive identity to lean on when times got tough. “We were in four-open sets and we were running the ball really well and we drove down there and … we kind of stayed with that the next drive,” Smart said, asked why the Bulldogs abandoned the run. “We actually went back to it (the run). They changed some things up and it wasn’t working as well.” It put quarterback Jake Fromm in a difficult situation, with LSU running different looks than it had shown all year, making Georgia’s celebrated offensive line appear ineffective and overmatched at times. “We were just taking advantage of what they were giving to us,” said Fromm, who was sacked three times and pressured on several others, “and then they started kind of taking that away later in the game, and we started slinging the ball around a little bit.” Orgeron said the key  adjustment involved changing up the defensive fronts, creating different angles, with Aranda expertly mixing in different personnel to create problems for the Bulldogs. “We challenged our defensive line, especially (nose tackle) Ed Alexander,” Orgeron said. “That’s one of the best centers (Lamont Gaillard) we’ve seen. I thought he (Alexander) played one of his best games today. ” Smart said in the days leading up to the game he respected Aranda, his words foretelling. “ Dave Aranda is one of the premier defensive coordinators in the country, we look at what he does week to week, they do a tremendous job, always looking for new ideas, he’s a guy you look at,’ Smart said. “So for us, we’ve got to keep our quarterback’s upright. We’ve got to keep them in the pocket. Can’t get our offensive line confused.” It was clear by the end of the afternoon LSU was the better prepared team, its players out-executing what had been a very focused and dominant Georgia football team through the first half of the regular season. “ They played more physical than we did, they attacked us, they did a good job, they created turnovers, we didn’t do that, we didn’t protect the ball as good as we had,” Smart said, owning the defeat. “You can look at a lot of things, and I’m perfectly OK with that. We’re gonna look at a lot of things, and how we can get better.” Georgia dropped to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 poll with the loss, and No. 6 in the Coaches’ Poll. Georgia-LSU football DawgNation Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? Report card: Bulldogs bomb midterm Georgia football stock report, LSU cashes in on Dawgs mistakes Instant analysis: Georgia melts in Louisiana heat against LSU Tigers came at Georgia for four downs on each series RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU Georgia planned ill-fated field goal early in the week Georgia rushing attack goes AWOL in battle at LSU   The post On the beat: LSU defensive wizard outschemed Georgia’s multifaceted offense appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia eased past UNC Asheville, 20-7, in a 14-inning exhibition victory on Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 361 at Foley Field.  The visiting Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first, putting across three runs in the top of the second inning after a hit-by-pitch, walk and three singles.    Georgia wasted no time on answering with five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Riley King, Kaden Fowler, Patrick Sullivan led off the inning with consecutive doubles. After Tucker Maxwell reached on a bunt, Tucker Bradley cleared the bases with a home run shot into the trees beyond the right-center field wall.  Another five run inning followed for the Bulldogs in the third, giving Georgia a healthy 10-3 lead. Jon Cable and Sullivan scored on a wild pitch and passed ball, respectively, while a groundout roller to first by Fowler allowed King to score. The other two runs came off RBI singles from Cam Shepherd and LJ Talley.   At the extended seventh inning stretch, the score read 12-5. Georgia struck first after the reset with a RBI single from King that scored C.J. Smith. UNC Asheville scored two in the ninth inning to cut its deficit to 13-7.    Chaney Rogers found the right field bleachers off the bounce in the 11th for a RBI ground rule double that scored Talley.    King finished off his impressive day with a grand slam that landed in the camera stand just past the center field wall. King went 4 for 7 with two doubles and five RBIs. Bradley finished 3 for 5 with a home run, stolen base and three RBIs. Georgia amassed nine doubles on the day.   Georgia used 13 pitchers in which 10 threw a scoreless inning. Tim Elliot and Riley Crean registered three strikeouts each in their one inning of work. Darryn Pasqua closed out the day on the mound with two strikeouts in one inning.   The contest concluded the fall exhibition series, however the Bulldogs will compete in the annual Bulldog World Series, a three-game intersquad affair, occurring Nov. 2-4.  Coach's CornerIke Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin  On the run production today... 'I thought we had some really good at-bats early. Innings one-through-four, I thought our guys were pretty locked in. We had good at-bats – almost every single guy went in there and battled and had good at-bats. Late in the game we did that too. I think the first four innings and the last four innings, I thought we were awfully good offensively. We took advantage of some things that they gave us – we got some walks, and they made a couple errors. Good teams take advantage of those things, so I thought early and late we were very good offensively.'   On what to improve on as fall practice continues... 'The bottom line is we gave up too many free passes. We walked or hit 17 guys today. We played 14 innings, that's a long day, but that's too many free passes, and that's going to come back to haunt you. So we have to be better in the strike zone. A lot of young guys out there getting their first taste of college baseball, so it was to be expected a little bit, but that needs to clean up. We need to throw more strikes; we need to be more aggressive in the zone. If we do, I think our pitching staff can be really, really good, when we put everybody together. A lot of young guys went out there, with some mixed results. Some guys were very good, some guys have a lot of work to do. More than anything, we've got to throw strikes.' Player's Perspective RS-Soph. 3rd #31 Riley King  On his approach at the plate... 'Coach has been preaching staying even, and just going with your gut. Staying even, not trying to get too hot, not trying to get too low. Just going in there with a lot of confidence. It's been a big thing for me...this year, I'm going up there with a lot more confidence.'   On the benefit of fall scrimmages as a hitter... 'Every week, we see the same guys (on our team). So being able to see new arms is pretty good – seeing different arm slots, different angles. Just getting the confidence against other people. When you see the same guys over and over, they start learning you, so being able to see a new pitcher is a good experience for sure.”
  • ATHENS, Ga. — Kirby Smart made it clear Georgia football isn’t ready to go away, even after a 36-16 defeat at LSU that dropped the Bulldogs to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 rankings. “T he message for us is everything we want is in front of us,” Smart said. “The key for us is to move forward. We still have a good football team. We still have an opportunity to do everything we want to do. “Every opportunity that we had before this game is still in front of us. The margin of error is just smaller. We’ve got to get better.” The Bulldogs’ odds to win the College Football Playoff championship are sure to drop from where they were last Monday, at 7-to-1 per VegasInsider. But odds and betting lines aren’t always accurate indicators, as last Saturday’s game in Death Valley proved. Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) was a 7-point favorite over LSU, largely based on the respect the team earned during its SEC championship season and College Football Playoff title game run of a year ago. This season’s UGA team has not beat an opponent that’s currently ranked in the Top 25 The Bulldogs lost several key pieces and rank as the youngest team in the SEC with more than two-thirds of the roster (68 percent) freshmen or sophomores. Still, Georgia controls its own destiny, with showdowns against Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 27 and at Kentucky on Nov. 3. “W e’re a team, and that we’re going to bounce back from this,” Smart told his team following the loss in Tiger Stadium Saturday night. “This is very similar to last year (losing at Auburn), we probably played better leading up to our loss last year, I didn’t think we had played as well this year.” SEC East Division co-leader and No. 11-ranked Florida (6-1, 4-1), like Georgia, has a bye this week. But upstart Kentucky (5-1, 3-1), ranked No. 14, is in action against Vanderbilt in a 7:30 p.m. game in Lexington. The Wildcats have opened as an 11 1/2-point favorite over the Commodores, according to VegasInsider.com. Vanderbilt was a hard-luck loser in Nashville on Saturday to Florida, 37-27. Kentucky, like Georgia, controls its own destiny having defeat the Gators 27-16 in Week 2. The Wildcats, whose only SEC defeat came at Texas A&M, play at Missouri on Oct. 27 leading up to their showdown with the Bulldogs. Here is the line for all of the SEC football games this week: Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-11 1/2) Alabama at Tennessee (TBA) Tulsa at Arkansas (TBA) Memphis at Missouri (-7) Auburn (-2 1/2) at Ole Miss Mississippi State at LSU (-6 1/2)   The post Georgia football odds for title diminish with loss, but Bulldogs control destiny appeared first on DawgNation.