Napa residents need not fear when they receive an envelope with the federal government’s letterhead this month. Chances are, it’s not an audit notice from the IRS or a jury duty summons, but rather the government’s invitation to complete the 五福彩票App下载 census.
“It’s an important piece of mail, and we want to make sure people are actively looking for it rather than it getting lost under the newspaper,” said Joshua Green, media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Between March 12 and March 20, households will receive a paper notice encouraging them to complete the questionnaire online or by phone. Each letter will assign the household an identification code that can then be used to access your specific questionnaire and flag your responses.
However, this code isn’t required. Anyone is able to complete the survey, regardless of housing situation, immigration status or incarceration.
“We do many surveys throughout every year; this is just the big one. It’s the biggest by far, and it’s not a sample like you would do in a survey. It’s an entire count of the entire country五福彩票App下载,” Green said.
Civic participationFilling out your census form is one of the most high-impact ways people can participate in democracy.
Federal law requires the government to count how many people live in the country五福彩票App下载, where they live and basic data every 10 years. Other demographic information is gathered, too, like age, race, health insurance, educational level and employment. This information is crucial in painting a picture of how the United States is changing, the most pressing needs and how government can best serve its electorate.
Results inform how electoral districts are drawn. Updated numbers influence how many representatives each state gets in Congress and what shape districts take at the local, state and federal levels.
The city of Napa, which is going through its own districting process, is intimately aware of census data’s relevance. It’s currently using 2010 numbers, per California state law, to create districts for this year’s council elections, but it will have to rejigger the electoral map next year with the 五福彩票App下载 numbers. Here, and all over, the population findings have a real impact on voter enfranchisement.
“If you don’t have accurate data, you aren’t going to draw accurate districts,” Green said. “The lines that you draw really matter for how fairly you’re represented in Congress, and whether a district represents the diversity reflected in your community.”
Census information is also critical in determining how funds are allotted for a host of social programs. If certain populations are under-counted, their ability to obtain life-saving and life-giving resources from the government that they’re otherwise entitled to receive is compromised. It also guides how state and federal funds are distributed to school districts, infrastructure projects and hospitals, for example, and it provides the baseline data that companies, big and small, use when making key business decisions.
Green said that while many people don’t realize that there’s a “direct connection” between filling out the form and seeing money poured back into their community, “that really is what’s happening.”
The Census Bureau expects will receive a letter by March 20 asking them to respond online or by phone. A series of “reminder postcards” and follow-up letters will go out to non-responsive households by April 16. If a response still hasn’t been received shortly after that deadline, the Bureau will be sending out census-takers to take down information in-person during the last week of April.
When people fill out the form, they should answer the questions as if you were responding on April 1, according to Green. It’s called Census Day, but it’s not a deadline, he emphasizes, saying that the survey can be filled out as late as July 31.
“We don’t want information in motion. Whenever you capture data, you want a particular moment in time,” he said. “Regardless of what date you’re actually filling it out, think about where you were on that date or where you will be on that date.”
Despite extensive efforts to be inclusive, the calls this year’s census a “high risk” program in its ability to deliver a comprehensive count. Its 2019 report cites staffing challenges and a potentially inadequately tested IT infrastructure as cause for pause.
found less than 70 percent of the population intends to respond to the survey, citing unfamiliarity with the process, data confidentiality, and government distrust as broad concerns.
Green was adamant that privacy is a top priority for all Census Bureau employees, each of whom “literally swears an oath to uphold that confidentiality and we take it very seriously.”
From a data security standpoint, the office uses the latest cyber-security measures, according to Green.
Respondents to the survey also vocalized a more specific fear that “the census is used to keep track of people who are in the country五福彩票App下载 without documentation or those who have committed a crime.”
Green assures that this is not the case. Individuals are protected by federal law that guarantees exclusive use of the data for statistical purposes and confidentiality for 72 years as well as forbids the transference of any data from the Department of Commerce, which houses the Census Bureau, to any other government entity. Punishment for violating this law is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, he says.
“That’s the message we want to put out there and make sure once people know that once it’s collected it doesn’t go to any other government agency — law enforcement, housing, any agency people can think of,” Green said.
Additionally, access to “hard-to-count” communities is a concern. A combination of hand-delivered paper questionnaires and in-person counts will be used to reach remote, rural populations as well as groups who have been historically difficult to engage like students, immigrants and the unhoused, among others, according to Green.
Incarcerated populations are accounted for, but they’re counted as residents of the location of the prison itself not where they came from prior. 五福彩票App下载less populations are counted by hand during a three-day period at the end of March. Census takers use input from community partners to determine where to go to make sure they find people living on the streets.
The 2010 census nationally, according to the Bureau, meaning one-third of the population didn’t volunteer to submit its own information. Census takers then went out into the field to “fill in the blanks” to get an “almost full” count, Green said.
Officials hope that moving the process online – an option that wasn’t available in 2010 – will create a higher self-response rate. “The more that people respond to the online form, the fewer census-takers we have to send out,” Green said, adding he believes the transition to a digital survey will be “net positive.”
This year will also be the first that self-responses will be live-tracked in an online response map, which will allow the Bureau to engage groups and regions that aren’t participating through localized solutions created in real-time with community partners.
“If you can communicate to people the benefits that come from participating in the census, that’s when they connect. If the federal government doesn’t know you’re there, they can’t send the money to you,” Green said.
CARNEROS — di Rosa is more than just a museum of contemporary artworks. It is also a 217-acre expanse of rolling grasses and sunny gardens tucked into the vineyard country五福彩票App下载 west of Napa, a place requiring constant effort to keep sparkling and serene.
In recent weeks, directors of the modern-art showcase in the Carneros region have begun reaching out for helpers – volunteers who arrive on Wednesday mornings armed with hoes, shovels and thick gloves to weed gardens, look after fruit trees and ensure that di Rosa’s surroundings are as attractive as the museum within.
The Garden Workdays are a bid by the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to bolster its wintertime groundskeeping while also raising the profile of the art center, according to Andrea Saenz Williams, director of education and civic management. The program began in late February, seeking people willing to devote up to four hours at a time on the museum’s garden areas and orchards off Highway 12/121.
“Our hope is that through this program, we can develop an interested cohort of volunteers who enjoy working outside and in the gardens, who may be able to help us with existing projects outdoors,” said Williams.
“This supports and honors (the museum’s) work by establishing a more regular volunteer program for the gardens. We have such a large property, and it’s so incredible to think how beautifully maintained they are when we have essentially three people maintaining it all.”
On Wednesday, the third week of Garden Workdays produced a small but enthusiastic team laboring under a soft morning sun – three women who joined four staff members at Veronica’s Garden behind the museum building, pulling weeds and looking after trees. (Volunteers and staff will tend to a different garden or plot of land each Wednesday, according to Williams.)
Before enlisting to volunteer, none of the newcomers had had significant contact with di Rosa – or in the case of Susie Horejs, any at all, despite constantly driving past its grounds on the road to Sonoma County. An avid vegetable gardener at her Napa 五福彩票App下载, she joined the other workers in tilling the soil around fruit trees, helping them spread their roots wider and absorb water better.
“I never had gone there – my husband and I drive by frequently saying ‘We’ve gotta go see it!’” said Horejs, who was volunteering between stints as a contract pilot. “Then I saw this opportunity online and I said, ‘That’s it, I’m doing this, we’re gonna go see it.”
“It’s part of my community and I live here, so it feels good to do this,” said another volunteer, Maria Gomez of Napa, who had visited di Rosa only once before. “And we get to be in a part of (the museum) where people don’t usually get to go.”
Guiding the work on Wednesday was Jose Perez, di Rosa’s head groundskeeper, who has worked at the property for 33 years. Even with the Garden Workdays in only their third week – and with the volunteers not asked to handle power tools or heavy equipment – Perez was appreciative for the extra sets of hands to beautify a sprawling site.
“This place is big – basically I do it myself, the gardens and everything,” he said. “That’s the idea, to make the place more beautiful, for the guests, for the people.”
“It’s hard work, but it’s fun,” said Brenda Balderas, an American Canyon woman who tends bar at the NapaSport restaurant. “Kind of cool watching it all come together; it’s changing pretty quickly. It’s a good workout and it’s nice being outside.”
di Rosa will continue holding Garden Workdays through Wednesday, March 25 before resuming the volunteer sessions next winter, said Williams.
Coronavirus can be especially dangerous for older adults, but health experts have special guidelines to stay safe.
The majority of people who get COVID-19 have minor symptoms, McClatchy News reports. But older adults and people with some health conditions, such as diabetes and heart or lung disease, are at a higher risk of severe symptoms if infected with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s extra important for people at a high risk to avoid getting sick in the case of a coronavirus outbreak, the CDC says.
If there is an outbreak in your area, it may be necessary to stay 五福彩票App下载 for a “prolonged period of time,” the CDC says, so it’s important to stock up on supplies such as food, household items and medications.
Call your doctor about getting extra prescription medicines just in case, the CDC recommends. Using mail-order to get medicine is another option.
It’s also important to have over-the-counter medications on hand to treat a fever and other symptoms.
Older adults (those 60 and older) and those at higher risk should “stay 五福彩票App下载 as much as possible” and avoid crowds during an outbreak to avoid being infected, the CDC says. When out, limit close contact with others, especially those who are sick, and wash your hands often.
“Once you get a certain number of cases, it’s hard to continue to contact-trace back the way you tried originally,” Dr. Peter Beilenson, head of the Sacramento County’s Department of Health 五福彩票App下载, told The Sacramento Bee. “So we move to mitigation, which is basically trying to mitigate the risk to those who are most at risk: the elderly and those with chronic underlying conditions.”
People at a higher risk for COVID-19 should also avoid taking cruises and traveling on airplanes if possible, the CDC says.
Other nonessential activities, such as going to see a movie, shopping at the mall and attending family events, should also be avoided, Dr. William Schaffner, a CDC adviser, told CNN.
“This ought to be top of mind for people over 60, and those with underlying health problems, such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, or compromised immune systems,” Schaffner told CNN. “The single most important thing you can do to avoid the virus is reduce your face-to- face contact with people.”
Taking “everyday precautions” is helpful as well, the CDC says.
These include cleaning and disinfecting your 五福彩票App下载 often, avoid shaking hands and touching public “high-touch surfaces” like elevator buttons and handrails and washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
What if you get sick?
Knowing the symptoms of the coronavirus is important.
If you develop a fever, cough and shortness of breath, the CDC says to call your doctor. If “emergency warning signs” develop, including trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or “bluish lips or face,” get immediate help.
It’s also important to have a plan in place if you do get sick.
The CDC recommends talking to your doctor about monitoring your symptoms, staying in touch with people who can help you if you get sick and knowing who can help you if your caregiver is sick.
If a family member or someone you’re taking care of is at a higher risk, the CDC says to make sure they have enough medicine on hand and enough food and other supplies. It’s also important to check in on those living in care facilities and to know facility protocols in the case of an outbreak.
Editor’s note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.
Napa County is trying to define “earth tones” so new wineries and hilltop 五福彩票App下载s don’t end up being white, neon green or some other color that some would consider obtrusive.
The idea of having prominent structures blend in with the landscape is nothing new to the county. But county officials say in recent years some applicants required to use “earth tones” have stretched the definition too far.
County planning officials said applicants can argue that wide varieties of colors qualify as earth tones, if one takes into account such things as gems and salt flats. They want a Board of Supervisors-approved definition that can hold up in court.
“I’m sorry, folks. It’s just remarkable to me we even have to do this,” Board of Supervisors chairperson Diane Dillon said.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday spent more than two hours on what has become the color conundrum. They have yet to arrive at an answer, though Dillon wants one soon.
“I guarantee you, the first turquoise house goes up in the hills, we’re going to hear from the public,” Dillon said. “This is an issue we need to deal with.”
Planning staff showed supervisors a proposed, three-page palette of 240 hues that could define earth tones. That remains on the table as a possible outcome.
“I like the certainty,” Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said.
Michelle Novi of Napa Valley Vintners told supervisors the palette leaves something to be desired.
“There’s like a rose color on there,” Novi said. “I couldn’t imagine a whole building being painted that – or light, mint green.”
Supervisor Ryan Gregory proposed a simpler route – have the county say that earth tones are browns, tans, greens and grays and let county planning staff use discretion on the precise hue.
But planning staff saw that as leaving the door to debates with applicants.
“There are colors of green that are bordering on chartreuse that are not terribly pretty,” Planning, Building and Environmental 五福彩票App下载 Director David Morrison said. “Is that OK?”
Pedroza and Supervisor Belia Ramos took up the issue of an owner trying to expand a building that’s not a color meeting the proposed earth tone definition. Does the expansion have to comply with the new definition, leading to a two-color scheme?
“I don’t want to see a white building and then see a brown building next to each other,” Pedroza said.
But Dillon brought up a different scenario if existing colors can be maintained – somebody wants to expand an 800-square-foot red shack on a prominent hill into an 8,000-square-foot 五福彩票App下载. Does the county let that bigger house be red?
She also asked if a certain, prominent, white-painted winery could double or triple in size and still be all white. She said she doesn’t want to go there.
“I don’t disagree with that, in terms of the (winery) we’re talking about,” Pedroza said. “But I think you could also see how this could be applied, if we regulate to that, with unintended consequences elsewhere.”
Resident Eve Kahn in a letter brought up the white Ashes & Diamond winery visible from Highway 29 just north of Napa. Supervisors, without mentioning the winery by name, indicated the winery is part of what triggered the color controversy.
“It’s not just the neighbors,” Dillon said. “I hear it from everybody who drives past the winery, including people in the winery business.”
Ashes & Diamonds opened in 2017. Owner Kashy Khaledi last year told the Napa Valley Register that the Ashes & Diamonds followed county guidelines.
“We received approval from the county both before construction, as well as after opening,” he said in an email.
Supervising Planner John McDowell said the Planning Commission approved the winery, which had been controversial with neighbors, and applied the earth tone requirement. Several years later, the applicant asked staff for use permit changes. A public notice went out saying the winery would be a whiter color.
“At the conclusion of the public review process, an approval was issued and the project started construction and complaints came in that it was a different color and a different design than what was shown to the Planning Commission,” McDowell told supervisors.
In absence of a definition of earth tones, he can’t say whether that’s a violation of county policy, McDowell said.
With evening approaching—the meeting, which had an array of agenda items, had begun at 9 a.m.—supervisors decided to postpone the matter. Dillon turned to staff.
“You’ve heard all of this – please help,” she said.
That’s what staff will try to do with its next proposal at a future meeting.
Supervisors first took up the earth tone issue last September. They asked planning staff to come up with an earth tone definition, which resulted in Tuesday’s discussion.