Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: California

Wildfires in California Killed Thousands of Giant Sequoias

Wildfires in California Killed Thousands of Giant Sequoias

Technology, World
Three wildfires in California in the past 15 months killed or mortally wounded thousands of mature giant sequoias, accounting for an estimated 13 to 19 percent of the world’s population of the majestic trees, officials said on Friday.A National Park Service report estimated that two fires in September, sparked by a lighting storm, caused 2,261 to 3,637 mature giant sequoias — or between 3 to 5 percent of the population of mature giant sequoias — to be killed or so severely burned that they were expected to die within five years. Mature giant sequoias have a diameter of more than four feet.Giant sequoias, which are found on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California, can live thousands of years on their way to dwarfing most everything around them. These trees include iconic nation...
High Gas Prices Force Sacrifices, Like Travel and Dining Out

High Gas Prices Force Sacrifices, Like Travel and Dining Out

Business
A driver in Belleville, N.J., cut his cable and downsized his apartment to save money for gas. A retiree in Vallejo, Calif., said he had stopped driving to go fishing because the miles cost too much in fuel. An auto repairman in Toms River, N.J., doesn’t go to restaurants as often. And an Uber Eats deliveryman said he couldn’t afford frequent visits to his family and friends, some of whom live 60 miles away.“Times are tough right now,” Chris Gonzalez, 31, the Uber Eats driver, said as he filled up his tank at a Safeway gas station off Interstate 80 in California.Millions of American drivers have acutely felt the recent surge in gas prices, which last month hit their highest level since 2014. The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.41, which is $1.29 more than it was a year ago, acco...

Kaiser Permanente Averts Strike, Reaching Tentative Deal With Unions

Business
Kaiser Permanente, the health care provider and hospital network, reached a tentative agreement on Saturday with a coalition of unions representing workers in California, Oregon and other states that will avert a strike of more than 30,000 workers scheduled to begin on Monday.The four-year agreement would provide workers with wage increases and address concerns about adequate staffing. It also abandons a proposal by Kaiser to pay new workers significantly less than current workers, which many had cited as a source of frustration that led to the planned strike.Hal Ruddick, the executive director of the labor coalition representing Kaiser employees, the Alliance of Health Care Unions, said in a statement, “This contract protects our patients, provides safe staffing, and guarantees fair wages...
It’s Apple Season. This Galette Cuts the Chill With a Kick.

It’s Apple Season. This Galette Cuts the Chill With a Kick.

LifeStyle
A few weeks ago, when I called Krissy Scommegna, the 32-year-old owner of the Boonville Barn Collective in Boonville, Calif., she was taking a break after clocking three hours in the greenhouse pulling off the stems and shaking out the seeds from 750 pounds of chiles. I wasn’t quick enough to do the math, but because she, a few friends who came to lend a hand and the three people who work with her had harvested 15,000 pounds of peppers in their first pass across the fields, I figured they had a lot to do before the second harvest, and the third. All those peppers have to be picked, set in the greenhouses for a time, stemmed and seeded, dehydrated, ground, scooped and sealed into jars. “We grow esoteric chiles,” Krissy said with a full and easy laugh, “but we’re a down-to-earth farm.”Not al...

Global Shipping Delays Loom Over Retailers for the Holidays

Business
WASHINGTON — It was 73 days until Christmas, and the clock was ticking down for Catch Co.The Chicago-based fishing company had secured a spot to sell a new product, an advent calendar for fishing enthusiasts dubbed “12 Days of Fishmas,” in 2,650 Walmart stores nationwide. But like so many products this holiday season, the calendars were mired in a massive traffic jam in the flow of goods from Asian factories to American store shelves.With Black Friday rapidly approaching, many of the calendars were stuck in a 40-foot steel box in the yard at the Port of Long Beach, blocked by other containers stuffed with toys, furniture and car parts. Truckers had come several times to pick up the Catch Co. container but been turned away. Dozens more ships sat in the harbor, waiting their turn to dock. It...

Can California Tourism Survive Climate Change?

Travel
This summer, Lori Droste, the vice-mayor of the city of Berkeley, and her family faced a series of doomed trips. In July, they booked a cabin near the McCloud River in Northern California, but had to cancel because of smoke from the Salt and Lava Fires. In early August, they made it to Serene Lakes, in the Sierra — but because of the Dixie Fire, were “basically confined to the Airbnb, because the smoke was so bad,” she said. They planned a do-over, during the Labor Day weekend. “But then Caldor was raging.” They canceled.Shifts in where we go, whenCalifornia is often presented in the media as an object of disaster, as Tom Hale underscored to me. Mr. Hale is the founder of Backroads, the Berkeley-based travel company, which has been operating biking and outdoors-oriented trips in the United...
Embracing an Unloved Grape

Embracing an Unloved Grape

LifeStyle
He wondered what would happen if the grape were farmed differently, with the goal of achieving ripeness at a lower sugar content, and made into wine with a lighter touch.“It was never really about liking or not liking the variety,” he said. “It was about finding a path that seemed untrodden and being really enchanted by the things I could learn about wine and winemaking if I dug into this variety that I didn’t know much about.”Finding his own way has been a life goal for Mr. Kirkpatrick, who grew up in Midland, Mich., in what he calls a traditional Baptist community. His father was a preacher, and wine and other alcoholic beverages, Mr. Kirkpatrick said, were taboo.He left Michigan to seek his fortune as a singer-songwriter, landing in Louisville, Ky., where, like many would-be musicians, ...
Among Chardonnays, Chablis Is Not Better, Just Different

Among Chardonnays, Chablis Is Not Better, Just Different

LifeStyle
However, Fred would be incorrect in painting oak barrels as the villain here. It’s important to distinguish between older oak barrels, which are often used to enhance texture and age-worthiness, and those that are used as flavoring agents, in which new oak can impart woody, vanilla, chocolate, toasty flavors as well as oak tannins.New oak barrels are pretty rare in Chablis nowadays, though they might have had a brief vogue 25 years ago. But many producers use older oak barrels for their wines, mostly for the more ambitious premier and grand crus, but sometimes for village wines like these. For the most part, it’s hard to discern a flavor.Many readers, while standing up for Chablis denounced chardonnay in general. They described it as buttery, or tasting like butterscotch or even buttered p...

Private Equity Funds Have Invested Billions In Fossil Fuels Since 2010

Technology, World
As the oil and gas industry faces upheaval amid global price gyrations and catastrophic climate change, private equity firms — a class of investors with a hyper focus on maximizing profits — have stepped into the fray.Since 2010, the private equity industry has invested at least $1.1 trillion into the energy sector — double the combined market value of three of the world’s largest energy companies, Exxon, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell — according to new research. The overwhelming majority of those investments was in fossil fuels, according to data from Pitchbook, a company that tracks investment, and a new analysis by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, a nonprofit that pushes for more disclosure about private equity deals.Only about 12 percent of investment in the energy sector by pri...
Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

Business
Tesla’s move from Silicon Valley to Texas makes sense in many ways: The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and the conservative lawmakers who run the state share a libertarian philosophy, favoring few regulations and low taxes. Texas also has room for a company with grand ambitions to grow.“There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,” Mr. Musk said Thursday at Tesla’s annual meeting hosted at its new factory near the Texas capital. “Here in Austin, our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown.”But Texas may not be the natural choice that Mr. Musk makes it out to be.Tesla’s stated mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” and its customers include many people who want sporty cars that don’t spew greenhouse gases f...