Postcards

Children With Disabilities Face Special Back-to-School Challenges

LOS ANGELES — Christopher Manzo, a boy with curly brown hair and bright-blue-and-yellow glasses, has lived a third of his five years at home because of the pandemic. And he is more than ready for kindergarten. Hand in hand with his mother, Martha Manzo, he walks into the Blind Children’s Center, a low-rise building nestled …

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What Will It Take to Boost Vaccinations? The Scene From Kentucky’s Back Roads

SMILAX, Ky. — In the end it was the delta variant that drove Rose Mitchell, 89, down the winding mountain road to the Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ to get the shot. Her pastor, Billy Joe Lewis, had told his congregation that, No, ma’am, a covid vaccine would not leave the “mark of the …

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Our Covid Cocoon: The Parents Aren’t Alright (But Help May Be Coming)

HELENA, Mont. — My unvaccinated 7-year-old son began hacking and sneezing in late September as the hospitals in our home state of Montana started buckling under the latest covid surge. I took him to get tested when his symptoms wouldn’t go away. The cotton swab went up his nostrils and Thomas bucked out of my …

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Voters in Tight Recall Race Sound Off on California Gov. Newsom’s Covid Leadership

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first term in office has been defined by his response to the covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 65,400 Californians. The Democratic governor issued the first statewide stay-at-home order in the nation, and his policies kept most public school students at home last year. But his own children …

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As Temperatures Rise, So Do the Health Risks for California’s Farmworkers

COACHELLA, Calif. — Leoncio Antonio Trejo Galdamez, 58, died in his son’s arms on June 29 after spending the day laying irrigation pipes in California’s Coachella Valley. News of his death reverberated through the largely Latino community near the Mexican and Arizona borders — another casualty in a dangerous business. “Farmworkers are at the front …

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In Rural America, Twisting Arms to Take a Covid Vaccine First Takes Trust

CAIRO, Ill. — Lee Wright was hard at work, constructing a nail salon near the city’s abandoned hospital, when Jody Johnson stopped by to introduce himself on a recent afternoon. Johnson, who works for the University of Illinois Extension program, chatted with Wright casually in the summertime heat. For Johnson, it was the first step …

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‘The Vaccination Queen’: Nurse Practitioner Takes Covid Shots House to House in Puerto Rico

MAYAGÜEZ, PUERTO RICO — Abigail Matos-Pagán entered a bright-blue house in Mayagüez earlier this summer and was met by Beatriz Gastón, who quietly led the way to her mother’s small room. Matos-Pagán had come to provide a covid-19 vaccine for Wildelma Gastón, 88, whose arthritis and other health concerns confine her to bed. Wildelma Gastón …

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“La reina de la vacunación”: enfermera lleva las dosis contra covid de casa en casa en Puerto Rico

MAYAGÜEZ, PUERTO RICO – Abigail Matos-Pagán llegó a una casa de color azul brillante en Mayagüez, en donde la recibió Beatriz Gastón, quien en silencio la condujo a la pequeña habitación de su madre. Matos-Pagán llevaba una vacuna contra covid-19 para Wildelma Gastón, de 88 años, quien está confinada en una cama por su artritis …

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Want Fries With That Vaccine? Even at a Fast-Food Restaurant, Pop-Up Clinics See Slow Traffic

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A few months ago, the boxy, teal truck parked outside a McDonald’s in this Inland Empire city might have drawn hundreds of people willing to stand in line for hours under the scorching sun. The truck is San Bernardino County’s mobile vaccine unit, which brings covid-19 vaccines directly to people. But …

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Grab Your Mask and Notepad, We’re Headed Back to California’s State Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The best part about returning to the pandemic-besieged state Capitol is that the elected officials are so unused to seeing us reporters after more than a year that some are occasionally extra chatty. The bad part is that the masks make it harder to eavesdrop on the rest of them. Much like …

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If You Are Vaccinated, You Can Dance the Night Away

Marissa Castrigno was walking through downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, when she spotted the sign in the window of one of her favorite dance clubs. After months of being shuttered by the pandemic, Ibiza Nightclub was reopening April 30, it announced. This story also ran on Raleigh News & Observer. It can be republished for free. …

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Covid Fears Keep Many Latino Kids out of Classrooms

EAST LOS ANGELES — For the past year, 13-year-old twins Ariel Jr. and Abraham Osorio have logged on to their online classes from their parents’ flower shop. Ariel nestles in a corner among flowers, bows and stuffed animals. Abraham sets up on a small table in the back, where his dad used to work trimming …

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What the Slowing Vaccine Rates Mean for One Rural Montana County

KALISPELL, Mont. — The covid vaccination operation at the Flathead County fairgrounds can dole out 1,000 doses in seven hours. But demand has plummeted recently, down to fewer than 70 requests for the shots a day. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. So, at the start of May, the …

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Battle Brews Over Neutral Zone Where Border-Crossing Parties Rendezvous, Risking Infection

BLAINE, Wash. — In the shadows of covid travel restrictions, a 42-acre park on the far western edge of the U.S.-Canadian dividing line has become a popular opening in an otherwise closed border, a place where Americans and Canadians can gather without needing permission to go through an official border crossing. Use Our Content It …

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‘It Didn’t Really Stick With Me’: Understanding the Rural Shrug Over Covid and Vaccines

At 70, Linda Findley has long been active in her small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, which sits more than an hour away from any major city. Findley, whose husband died in an accident just after the local hospital closed, helps with the Elks and fundraising, and — like many people in this part of …

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Vaccines Go Mobile to Keep Seniors From Slipping Through the Cracks

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. ANTIOCH, Calif. — A mobile “strike team” is bringing vaccines to some of Northern California’s most vulnerable residents along with a message: This is how you avoid dying from covid-19. So far, that message has been met with both nervous acceptance and outbursts of joy from …

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California’s Smallest County Makes Big Vaccination Gains

This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. WOODFORDS, Calif. — In the winter, the roughly three-hour drive from Alpine County’s main health clinic in Woodfords to the remote enclave of Bear Valley winds along snowy two-lane roads and over 8,000-foot mountain passes, circumventing the more direct route, which …

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Disipando información errónea y mitos sobre las vacunas en la región agrícola de California

Este artículo también fue publicado por Radio Bilingüe. It can be republished for free. MECCA, Calif. — El polvo hace remolinos en el aire mientras Luz Gallegos estaciona su SUV a un lado de la calle de tierra. Acaba de enterarse que su tía murió a causa de covid-19, el tercer familiar en sucumbir al …

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Dispelling Vaccine Misinformation and Myths in California’s Breadbasket

This story also ran on Radio Bilingue. It can be republished for free. MECCA, Calif. — Dust swirled in the air as Luz Gallegos parked her SUV on the side of a dirt road. She had just learned that her aunt died of covid-19 — the third family member to succumb to the disease in …

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No More ICU Beds at the Main Public Hospital in the Nation’s Largest County as COVID Surges

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. She lay behind a glass barrier, heavily sedated, kept alive by a machine that blew oxygen into her lungs through a tube taped to her mouth and lodged at the back of her throat. She had deteriorated rapidly since arriving a short time earlier. “Her respiratory …

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How to Pull Off a COVID-Era Music Festival

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — As the pandemic took hold and well-grooved music festivals canceled their mainstream events, Krista Selico saw an opening. She had been organizing the Helix Festival as an opportunity to give artists in the urban music community a chance to redefine the genre for themselves, as well as choose more racially diverse …

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Surging LA

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. On a Monday afternoon in March, four days after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, some of Southern California’s most famous landmarks were deserted and few cars traveled the region’s notoriously congested freeways. Eight months …

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One School, Two Choices: A Study in Classroom vs. Distance Learning

Cozbi Mazariegos stays in shape these days by running room to room inside her Marin City apartment to answer questions from her kids, ages 7, 10 and 12. They’re all working at home on laptops issued by their school, Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy. Meanwhile, Shannon Bynum’s son, Kamari, 10, and daughter, Keyari, 8, …

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In Health-Conscious Marin County, Virus Runs Rampant Among ‘Essential’ Latino Workers

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — On a warm evening in late June, people flocked to alfresco tables set up along this town’s main drag to sip sauvignon blanc and eat wood-oven pizza for Dining Under the Lights, an event to welcome Marin County residents back to one of their favorite pastimes. About a mile away, Crisalia …

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