June 25, 2019



North SJ Valley:

North Fork Town Hall Meeting At Rancheria Community Center

Sierra News

District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will host a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, June 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. in North Fork. On the evening’s agenda will be updates from the North Fork Rancheria, Cal Fire and Madera County Fire, and the Sheriff’s Office.

EDITORIAL: Carson Case: How Stanislaus County DA could lose in the court of public opinion

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus DA Birgit Fladager’s reputation is taking a hit, even if jurors soon find Frank Carson guilty of murder.

Central SJ Valley:

Are taxpayers stuck with $4 million bill? It’s Fresno’s ‘worst’ deal, city leaders say

Fresno Bee

The Fresno City Council approved a one-year contract with the Central California SPCA for more than $4 million — but city officials made it clear they’d happily choose another animal control vendor if one was available.

South SJ Valley:

Supervisors to consider $2.78 billion budget on Tuesday

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Board of Supervisors will take the first step in adopting next year’s budget at their Tuesday morning meeting.

After sales boom, city coffers to benefit

Bakersfield Californian

The city of Bakersfield has received more positive financial news, and hopes to use this latest batch of good fortune to bulk up reserve funds and address other issues looming over the city.

Fear, discontent reportedly widespread at Kern County Department of Human Services

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County Department of Human Services employees have reported widespread discontent with working conditions, and some say they fear for their safety after several recent incidents.


California lawmaker under fire for multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment

Fresno Bee

As Orange County Republicans considered a 2020 endorsement last week for Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, one local official made a surprising public declaration. 

Pants On Fire: Trump’s Latest California Voter Fraud Claim As Baseless As Past Allegations

Capital Public Radio

In his recent interview on “Meet the Press,” President Donald Trump claimed there’s proof to support his repeatedly debunked claim that “serious voter fraud” took place in California during the 2016 presidential election.

California Legislature OKs Health Insurance Mandate

Capital Public Radio

The California Legislature has voted to tax people who refuse to buy health insurance, bringing back a key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care law that has been eliminated nationwide by Republicans in Congress.

See also:

Bill allowing horse racing to be suspended approved by California Legislature

Los Angeles Times

The power of the California Horse Racing Board grew on Monday when the legislature unanimously approved a bill that would grant the regulatory body the authority to suspend or move racing days without a 10-day public notice period.

See also:

Gavin Newsom: ‘Xenophobia’ Will Make Republicans a ‘Third Party’ within Decade

National Review

The GOP will be relegated to “third party” status once its emphasis on “demonizing the other” is made ineffective by demographic changes, California governor Gavin Newsom predicted during a Sunday interview with Axios on HBO.

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EDITORIAL: California steps into reparations debate with apology to Native Ameircans

San Francisco Chronicle

In the bluntest possible words, California is dealing with a bloody chapter of its history. By official decree, the state is recognizing the past and apologizing for the harsh treatment meted out to Native Americans by early-days settlers.


White House threatens to veto aid bill for migrant families

Fresno Bee

The White House is threatening to veto a $4.5 billion House bill aimed at improving the treatment of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S. southern border, saying the measure would hamstring the administration’s border security efforts and raising fresh questions about the legislation’s fate.

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Interim Pentagon chief on global stage amid Iran crisis

Fresno Bee

With barely one day on the job, Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper is heading to Europe to try to persuade reluctant and increasingly wary NATO allies to work with the Trump administration on Iran sanctions and security in the Middle East, amid worries that the U.S. and the Islamic Republic may be on a path to war.

See also:

E. Jean Carroll is accusing Trump of rape, but is anybody listening?

Los Angeles Times

Author E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that she was raped by President Trump 23 years ago is having trouble making its way to the top of the news food chain.

Public Highly Critical of State of Political Discourse in the U.S.

PEW Research Center

Reactions to Trump’s rhetoric: Concern, confusion, embarrassment.

EDITORIAL: Trump’s cliff-hanger presidency

San Francisco Chronicle

A suspended immigration raid and canceled air strikes raised the stakes of one of the president’s favorite tactics, the success of which has been mixed at best.

Elections 2020:

First Democratic debates to mark the start of a more confrontational 2020 race

Fresno Bee

The Democratic presidential candidates have mostly avoided directly criticizing one another in the early stages of the 2020 primary, preferring to stick to their own positive messages. It’s a non-confrontational approach that will be tested during this week’s debates.

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Harris pressed to get more personal about why she’s running

Fresno Bee

It was the kind of moment some Harris advisers and allies have been waiting for: the blending of Harris’ polished political resume with a revealing glimpse at the forces that have shaped her life and her vision for the presidency.

See also:

Trump makes yet another false claim about California voter fraud


Host Chuck Todd asked Trump if he is bothered by the fact that he lost the popular vote in 2016. Trump responded: ‘Well, I think it was a — I mean, I’ll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes cast that I don’t believe…California admitted to a million votes.

See also:

How Democratic Voters Want to Improve Democracy


In a recent WSJ/NBC News poll, Democratic voters weighed in on the different ways the party’s presidential candidates say they want to improve American democracy. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains which ideas are the most popular among Democrats, including eliminating the Electoral College.

Meet the candidates: Kirsten Gillibrand and Seth Moulton


All candidate bios will eventually be findable on this page


County Taking Applications Again For Foster Parents; Still A Backlog Due To New State Rules


Earlier this year, Fresno County stopped taking new applications for foster parents, citing a lack of resources to process them. While the county resumed taking applications this month, there’s still a backlog.

Tulare County Library says goodbye to late fees

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County Library is turning a new page on late fees. Beginning July 1, the library system will no longer fine borrowers for items returned past their due dates at any Tulare County Library location.

Instagram Advertising: Do You Know It, When You See It?

Capital Public Radio

“Micro-influencers” work with big companies to sell products on social media. Consumer groups are increasingly concerned that many posts on Instagram and platforms aren’t clearly marked as ads.

How do we make America happy again?


Carol Graham explains how the United States can take steps toward tackling the malaise that afflicts so many of its citizens by tracking patterns in well-being and creating programs based on the results.


Sunday, June 30, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Veterans Programs and Services” – Guests: Carole D’Elia, Executive Director of Little Hoover Commission and Jacqueline Barocio from LAO. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, June 30, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition:  “Valley Vets: Challenges and Opportunities” – Guests: Carole D’Elia, Executive Director of Little Hoover Commission; Jacqueline Barocio from LAO; Julie Cusator with Fresno Veterans Home; and Lorenzo Rios with Clovis Veterans Memorial District. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, June 30, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Senior Citizen Boom” – Guest: Marisol Cuellar, PPIC Analyst. Host: Ana Melendez.


Farmers ready to harvest figs in the Central Valley


Consumers may have grown up on fig newtons, but the fig industry has continued to make inroads with chefs seeking new tastes and textures.

Valley growers sue over high-speed rail disruptions


Attorney Mark Wasser is representing Raven a total of 70 farmers with similar claims, totaling millions of dollars against the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The latest battleground of Trump’s tariff war: beans

San Francisco Chronicle

In response to President Trump’s threats to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican imports, Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando announced he would add a 5% charge to all of the company’s Mexican beans.

CBD-infused food, beverages would be legal under advancing bill

Politico Pro 

Food, beverages and cosmetic products infused with cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp would be legal to manufacture and sell in California under a bill approved by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee Monday.

A Time of Reckoning in the Central Valley

Bay Nature Magazine / New York Times

Climate change is upending agriculture and land use in California’s Central Valley.



‘Tower District Rapist’ up for parole hearing next month


Victims need to give 30 days notice if they want to be heard, so the deadline to help keep Rudolph Acosta locked up is less than a week away. 

Supreme Court says law imposing extra prison time for ‘crime of violence’ is too vague

Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down part of a 1980s-era crime law that adds longer prison terms for offenders who carried a gun during a “crime of violence,” with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch speaking for the court and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in dissent.

Any spike in repeat crimes after California sped prisoner release? New research says no 


When the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to disgorge tens of thousands of inmates from its overcrowded prison system in 2011, Justice Antonin Scalia warned in his dissent of “the terrible things sure to happen as a consequence” including the “inevitable murders, robberies, and rapes to be committed by the released inmates.” 

Public Safety:

Not just surveillance: Riverbank’s new cameras recognize when you’re up to no good

Modesto Bee

Police in Fremont used the camera to identify and arrest a bank robber by zooming in on a tattoo on his forearm as he fled in a vehicle onto a nearby freeway.

Tech makes it easier to search wilderness for missing people

Bakersfield Californian

More U.S. teams are turning to the technology that combines cellphone GPS with digital maps detailing cliffs, caves, waterways and other hard-to-search terrain. It helps manage the work of large numbers of volunteers.


Emergency projects aim to protect California’s most vulnerable areas from catastrophic wildfires

Fresno Bee

After battling the most destructive wildfires in California’s history over the past two years, Cal Fire is rolling out emergency fuel reduction projects to help protect the state’s most vulnerable communities.

What you should know about controlled burns

Fresno Bee

Controlled, or prescribed burns, are necessary to manage the health of U.S. forests and control the devastation of wildfires. Here are the details of what that means.

Wildfire mitigation project to protect 15,000 eastern Madera County structures

Sierra Star

Thanks to the newly announced Madera Strategic Wildfire Mitigation Project, 15,000 more structures in eastern Madera County will be protected from the threat of wildfire.

Live-Fire Training With County-Donated Structure

Sierra News

Cal Fire conducted a relatively rare live-fire training course Saturday and Sunday in Chowchilla. The goal of the controlled structure fire operation was to complete the final training for 21 new firefighters.

Jump in wildfires means smoke’s health impact will spread

Porterville Recorder

Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths.

81-acre wildfire in remote Yuba County 100 percent contained, Cal Fire says

Sacramento Bee

An 81-acre wildfire that broke out on property owned by the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is 100 percent contained, Cal Fire said Monday evening.

How a bird started a fire at a California solar farm

Los Angeles Times

The company that owns the California Valley Solar Ranch solar farm, Clearway Energy Inc., had blamed the fire on an “avian incident” without saying what exactly happened at the remote facility in the arid grasslands between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Can ‘Big Data’ Help Fight Big Fires? Firefighters Are Betting on It

New York Times

As out-of-control wildfires in the West grow more frequent and more intense, fire departments in Southern California are looking to big data and artificial intelligence to enhance the way they respond to these disasters.

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How millennials are changing corporate giving

Fresno Bee

As wealthy Americans like Smith and Bezos make public displays of generosity, employees of large and small companies may wish for their jobs to follow suit. This is especially true for millennial and Gen Z workers.

Supreme Court sides with designer over allegedly offensive trademark


In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Los Angeles designer who sought to trademark “FUCT” for his clothing line but was blocked by a federal law prohibiting registration of “immoral or scandalous” ideas.

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Stocks finish mixed ahead of U.S.-China trade talks

Los Angeles Times

The U.S. stock market capped a day of listless trading with modest losses Monday as investors focused on upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Does public banking loom in California?

Capitol Weekly

The concept of public banking in California is making a comeback. By law, currently California cities and counties typically have one place to deposit the funds they collect from taxes, fees and fines: private commercial banks. Billions of dollars of public money are handled by commercial banks — for a fee.

Banking on cannabis


California’s cannabis industry, a cash-only business now, could start using specially chartered state banks, under legislation that passed another hurdle Monday.

How Trump could have terrible economic timing


Trump in fact might be better off with a shallow recession right now — generally defined as a pair of quarters with shrinking gross domestic product — with growth picking up again next year heading into the election


California program to track state worker harassment is a year behind schedule

Sacramento Bee

A $1.5 million project to start tracking sexual harassment and discrimination in California state government is scheduled to be fully functional.

Caltrans is paying for top official’s San Diego-to-Sacramento flights, and her apartment

Sacramento Bee

Caltrans has been paying for its director to commute to Sacramento from her home in San Diego since she was appointed early last year, according to travel records.



A Yosemite Unified board member has stepped down, district says. Search for replacement already underway

Sierra Star

Yosemite Unified School District board member Tim Curley is stepping down this week because his wife, Sarah, is set to take a full-time position with the district.

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Home school charters’ let families use state dollars to buy Disneyland tickets, horseback riding lessons and more

San Diego Union-Tribune

There are a handful of charter schools that give students’ families as much as $2,800 to $3,200 — tax dollars sent to the charter schools — every year to spend on anything they want from a list of thousands of home school vendors approved by the charters, according to the schools’ websites.

Don’t whitewash history

San Francisco Chronicle

Historic murals depict uncomfortable truths about our nation’s past.

California wants to find out if you — or your kids — have experienced trauma


Has your child ever lived with a parent or caregiver who had mental health issues, such as depression? Witnessed a parent or caregiver being screamed at, insulted or humiliated by another adult? Been separated from their parent or caregiver due to foster care, or immigration? 

Higher Ed:

Bernie Sanders wants to wipe out student loan debt. Here’s what other key Democrats propose

Fresno Bee

Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his plan Monday on how to deal with ballooning student loan debt – essentially, to wipe it out and make college free. 

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NCAA could ban California colleges from bowl games and tournaments over proposed athlete pay

Modesto Bee

The president of the NCAA has warned that California’s universities could be barred from championship games if lawmakers pass a bill allowing student athletes to profit from their likeness.

California community colleges don’t want homeless students sleeping on campus

Sacramento Bee

Nearly 20 California community colleges and community college districts are opposing a proposed law that would let homeless community college students sleep overnight in campus parking lots.

Stanford commits to $4.7 billion for housing, transit, public education

San Francisco Chronicle

Stanford University is offering $3.4 billion in housing and $1.3 billion for transit and public education benefits as it faces pushback over a proposed 2.3 million-square-foot academic expansion over the next two decades.

Coca-Cola Foundation awards CSUB $100,000 in grant funding for first-generation students

Bakersfield Californian

Thirty-one first-generation college students at Cal State Bakersfield will each receive a scholarship of $3,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation, which has awarded CSUB a grant totaling $100,000.

Career Pathways and Economic Mobility at California’s Community Colleges

Public Policy Institute of California

Career education at California’s community colleges can offer students pathways to improve their earnings.

California finally to move ahead with ‘cradle to career’ data system 


With $10 million in funding, an ambitious timeline and a champion in Gov. Gavin Newsom behind it, the Legislature is poised this week to pass legislation for a statewide education data system that will follow children from infancy through the workplace.

Fake News and Fake Education?


A new study suggests that distorted media reporting and academic instruction are encouraging Americans to dislike each other.

See also:


Trump’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships help America

Fresno Bee

Our thriving job market brings with it new challenges, however. Our economy has 7.4 million open jobs, and for 14 months in a row, it has had more job openings than job seekers. As businesses look to fill these jobs, we have an obligation to look for new ways to empower America’s workforce with the in-demand skills that employers need.



Checkmate? House blocks money for new offshore oil drilling off California coast 

San Jose Mercury

When President Trump boldly announced that he was going to expand oil drilling off coastlines across the United St ates, including California’s, he drew cheers from the oil industry and dread from environmentalists and coastal tourism leaders.

Monarch Butterflies Born In Captivity Have Trouble Migrating South, Study Says

Capital Public Radio

A researcher made the discovery after ordering monarchs from a breeder. To help them, experts recommend planting milkweed.

Why a California lawmaker wants to ban cigarette filters and disposable vapes


We’ve all seen it, the smoker who takes one last drag and flicks the cigarette butt onto the ground. It’s instant litter that California Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson wants to prevent by banning the filters in most cigarettes.

Pod of Killer Whales Makes Rare Visit to Monterey Bay

New York Times

There has been a startling number of killer whale sightings in the bay in June, normally an off-season month for whale watchers. 

EPA Rule Would Have Impact Beyond Smokestacks


Plan to roll back mandates on power plants—likely to face legal challenges—could set precedent that curtails future regulation.




Which Merced schools have the highest rates of student obesity? Here are the facts

Merced Sun-Star

The Merced, Fresno and Modesto areas have some of the highest childhood obesity rates in California and the country, according to a Sun-Star analysis of the latest five years of data from the California Department of Education. 

States going ‘too far too fast’ in legalizing pot, U.S. surgeon general tells UC Davis doctors

Sacramento Bee

California and other states are going “way too far too fast” in legalizing the powerful marijuana strains being cultivated today, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Monday at UC Davis Medical School – even as he enlisted the help of physicians and doctors win his work to normalize addiction as a disease.

EDITORIAL: San Francisco’s e-cigarette ban isn’t just bad policy, it’s bad for public health

Los Angeles Times

Anyone over 21, and with an ID to prove it, can purchase cigarettes, booze and even marijuana in retail establishments across San Francisco. But as soon as next month, one age-restricted product won’t be available for purchase, not even online.

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Human Services:

Valley Children’s spends millions to buy land adjacent to its Madera County campus . Here’s why

Fresno Bee

Valley Children’s Hospital is buying land adjacent to its existing Madera County campus that will not only give the hospital more acreage to expand pediatric medical services, but allow for potentially growing the scope of services to include adults as well as kids.

Saint Agnes welcomes class of 24 new residents


Saint Agnes medical center held a white coat ceremony on Monday. It was a milestone for the hospital who welcomes its first class of family medicine residents.

State fines Mercy Hospital Southwest after anesthesiologist errs and injects woman in labor with ‘toxic’ medication

Bakersfield Californian

An anesthesiologist at Mercy Hospital Southwest who stated he was “in a hurry” accidentally injected heart failure medication, rather than the numbing medication he intended, into the back of a woman about to give birth by cesarean section, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Often Lost In Health Care Debate, Lack Of Dental Insurance Impacts Millions

Capital Public Radio

While efforts to expand dental insurance rarely receive the same level of attention in the state as battles over universal medical care, the health implications are significant, experts say.

Supreme Court to review insurers’ Obamacare claims for $12 billion

Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court will decide whether insurance companies can collect $12 billion from the federal government to cover their losses in the early years of the healthcare law championed by President Obama.

Trump Signs Executive Order Compelling Disclosure of Prices in Health Care


Aim is to give consumers more information on their out-of-pocket costs.


Government moves migrant kids after AP exposes bad treatment

Bakersfield Californian

The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

See also:

In Gavin Newsom’s ‘California For All’ budget, undocumented immigrants are not included


The California Legislature has passed the state budget that included funding to expand MediCal eligibility to undocumented residents under the age of 26. The expansion is projected to aid 90,000 young adults who are living at the brink of poverty, earning less than $16,395 per year in the state.

Less than half of US children under 15 are white


In an analysis of newly-released census data, William Frey discusses the youthful “minority white” tipping point in America and calls on institutions to support the young, racially diverse populations that will be crucial for the nation’s economic and demographic future.

Migrant children are suffering at the border. But reporters are kept away from the story.

Washington Post

Overcrowded facilities. Sick, filthy and hungry children sleeping on concrete floors. Young children taking care of infants and toddlers in the enforced absence of their parents.


Land Use:

Yard House restaurant will be accompanied by other additions to The Shops at River Walk

Bakersfield Californian

A restaurant isn’t the only new business coming to The Shops at River Walk, but it’s likely to arrive there before anything else does.

PG&E owns land across California. What will happen to it?

San Francisco Chronicle

As one of the largest private landowners in California, the utility has control of an area that, if connected in a contiguous chunk, would cover more than four times the size of San Francisco.


Rental prices on the rise as Bakersfield’s apartment supply falls short

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield’s rental housing market is running hot, industry observers say, as construction of new apartment complexes continues to fall well behind demand.

Lawmakers—cutting big checks to combat the housing crisis—fight over who gets the money


California lawmakers have approved more than $2 billion in new state spending on housing and homelessness. If that sounds like a big number, it is.


Getting ready for recession, California’s $215 billion budget fills reserves. But is it enough?

Sacramento Bee

Stung by severe cuts to services in the Great Recession, California lawmakers are riding the state’s booming economy to put more money than ever into savings accounts meant to soften the hurt of the next downturn.

Raise our taxes, please! Some wealthy Americans are asking to pay more

Los Angeles Times

America’s mega-rich have a message for the field of 2020 presidential hopefuls: Take our money, please.

Arbitrary tax policy spawns an offspring


History has proven that no political decrees are more arbitrary than those about taxation.

In Gavin Newsom’s ‘California For All’ budget, undocumented immigrants are not included


The California Legislature has passed the state budget that included funding to expand MediCal eligibility to undocumented residents under the age of 26. The expansion is projected to aid 90,000 young adults who are living at the brink of poverty, earning less than $16,395 per year in the state.

The Democrats’ tax package explained

Roll Call

Democrats are pushing new changes to the tax code aimed at helping low-income individuals and families, with some lawmakers calling for an increase to the corporate tax rate. In this episode of the CQ Budget podcast, CQ Roll Call’s Doug Sword explains who stands to gain and lose.

CBO: US debt growth is slowing, but is still headed for record highs

Roll Call

Federal debt held by the public will nearly double as a share of the U.S. economy, from 78 percent today to a record 144 percent by fiscal 2049, the Congressional Budget Office projected Tuesday.


All California DMV offices will shut down for a half a day in July. Here’s why

Fresno Bee

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced on Monday it will close all of its offices for half a day on July 24 to train workers on the federally mandated Real ID program.

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Feds don’t want pot-smoking truckers driving, but struggle with drug testing rules

Fresno Bee

The federal government has been trying for three years to figure out a way to test truck drivers for drug use on the job. Experts estimate it will take another three years for any guidelines to be in place.

American Airlines adds second Dallas flight from Meadows Field

Bakersfield Californian

American Airlines will add a second non-stop flight between Bakersfield and Dallas, the county announced Monday.


RV resort hopes Kings River will reopen ahead of Forth of July festivities


The Kings River RV Resort is preparing to open to the public on July 1. However, portions of the resort are still flooded, due to rising waters from the Kings River back in May.

Oroville Dam: See the huge concrete cap crews put on the emergency spillway

Sacramento Bee

Crews placed the structural concrete cap on the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam from January to May 2019. It’s been over two years since a hole opened up in the spillway, forcing the evacuation of nearly 180,000 people in California.


Get your dogs, cats microchipped for $10 at the CCSPCA


The Central California SPCA has launched it’s fifth annual “Microchip Madness” event. Here’s how long the deal runs.