Fretting over receiving your stimulus check? You’re not alone

(NEXSTAR) – If you are anxiously awaiting your $600 stimulus deposit from the IRS, Social media chatter suggests you are in good company.

Americans across the country took to Twitter on Wednesday to express their anxiety, excitement and, of course, gripes about the size of the forthcoming stimulus check.

Some were funny and some were just a little depressing. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin, direct deposits of the payment should have begun appearing in bank accounts as early as Tuesday night, with paper stimulus checks being mailed Wednesday.

“Treasury and the IRS are working with unprecedented speed to issue a second round of Economic Impact Payments to eligible Americans and their families,” Mnuchin said in a statement. “These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time.”

Mnuchin added that the Get My Payment tracking tool on the IRS website, which has been temporarily unavailable, will be accessible again “later this week.”

Americans who make under $75,000 per year are due to receive a one-time $600 check based on their 2019 income for them as well as for dependents under the age of 17. The payments are gradually diminished for people making more than $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples, and phased out completely for income levels of $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

from KRON4

Watch: Firefighter proposes to girlfriend on Christmas

A Georgia firefighter proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas Day at Milledgeville Fire Department Station 2, and the special moment was caught on camera by fellow firefighters.

The Milledgeville Fire Department shared this footage of Buddy Sloan proposing to his girlfriend, Kristina, on Christmas Day.

“She said YES!!!” the fire department wrote on Facebook.

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McConnell rejects House bill boosting stimulus checks to $2,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut the door Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s push for $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks, declaring Congress has provided enough pandemic aid as he blocked another attempt by Democrats to force a vote.

The GOP leader made clear he is unwilling to budge, despite political pressure from Trump and even some fellow Republican senators who demanded a vote. Trump wants the recently approved $600 in aid increased threefold. But McConnell dismissed the idea of bigger “survival checks,” saying the money would go to plenty of American households that don’t need it.

McConnell’s refusal to act means the additional relief Trump wanted is all but dead.

“We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago,” McConnell said, referring to the year-end package Trump signed into law.

McConnell added, “if specific, struggling households still need more help,” the Senate will consider “smart targeted aid. Not another firehose of borrowed money.”

The showdown between the outgoing president and his own Republican Party over the $2,000 checks has thrown Congress into a chaotic year-end session just days before new lawmakers are set to be sworn into office.

It’s one last standoff, together with the override of Trump’s veto of a sweeping defense bill, that will punctuate the president’s final days and deepen the GOP’s divide between its new wing of Trump-styled populists and what had been mainstay conservative views against government spending.

Trump has been berating the GOP leaders, and tweeted, “$2000 ASAP!”

For a second day in a row, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tried to force a vote on the bill approved by the House meeting Trump’s demand for the $2,000 checks.

“What we’re seeing right now is Leader McConnell trying to kill the checks — the $2,000 checks desperately needed by so many American families,” Schumer said at the Capitol.

The roadblock set by Senate Republicans appears insurmountable. Most GOP senators seemed to accept the inaction even as a growing number of Republicans, including two senators in runoff elections on Jan. 5 in Georgia, agree with Trump’s demand, some wary of bucking him.

Congress had settled on smaller $600 payments in a compromise over the big, year-end relief bill Trump reluctantly signed into law. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said those checks will begin to go out Wednesday.

With the Georgia Senate runoff elections days away, leading Republicans warned that the GOP’s refusal to provide more aid as the virus worsens could jeopardize the outcome.

“The Senate Republicans risk throwing away two seats and control of the Senate,” said Newt Gingrich, the former congressional leader, on Fox News. He called on Senate Republicans to “get a grip and not try to play cute parliamentary games with the president’s $2,000 payment.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “These Republicans in the Senate seem to have an endless tolerance for other people’s sadness.”

Saying little, McConnell has tried to shield his divided Republicans from a difficult vote. On Wednesday he provided his most fulsome views yet, suggesting he had kept his word to start a “process” to address Trump’s demands, even if it means no votes will actually be taken.

“It’s no secret Republicans have a diversity of views,” he said.

McConnell had earlier unveiled a new bill loaded up with Trump’s other priorities as a possible off-ramp for the stand off. It included the $2,000 checks as well as a complicated repeal of protections for tech companies like Facebook or Twitter under Section 230 of a communications law that the president complained are unfair to conservatives. It also tacked on the establishment of a bipartisan commission to review the 2020 presidential election Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrats opposed that approach and it does not have enough support to pass the Senate.

No votes on additional aid are scheduled. For McConnell, the procedural moves allowed him to check the box over the commitments he made when Trump was defiantly refusing to sign off on the big year-end package last weekend.

“To ensure the President was comfortable signing the bill into law, the Senate committed to beginning one process that would combine three of the President’s priorities,” McConnell said. “That was a commitment, and that’s what happened.”

Liberal senators led by Bernie Sanders of Vermont who support the relief aid are blocking action on the defense bill until a vote can be taken on Trump’s demand for $2,000 for most Americans.

Sanders thundered on the floor that McConnell should call residents in the GOP leader’s home state of Kentucky “and find out how they feel about the need for immediate help in terms of a $2,000 check.”

The GOP blockade is causing turmoil for some as the virus crisis worsens nationwide and Trump amplifies his unexpected demands.

The two GOP senators from Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, announced Tuesday they support Trump’s plan for bigger checks as they face Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate.

Joining Trump, Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida, among the party’s potential 2024 presidential hopefuls, also are pushing the party in the president’s direction.

Other Republicans panned the bigger checks, saying the nearly $400 billion price tag was too high, the relief is not targeted to those in need and Washington has already dispatched ample sums on COVID aid.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., tweeted that he would block the House bill. He said “blindly borrowing” billions “so we can send $2,000 checks to millions of people who haven’t lost any income is terrible policy.”

In the House, dozens of Republicans calculated it was better to link with Democrats to increase the pandemic payments rather than buck the outgoing president and constituents counting on the money. House Democrats led passage, 275-134, but 44 Republicans joined almost all Democrats on Monday for a robust two-thirds vote of approval.

Trump’s push could fizzle out in the Senate but the debate over the size and scope of the year-end package — $900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September — is potentially one last confrontation before the new Congress is sworn in Sunday.

The COVID-19 portion of the bill revives a weekly pandemic jobless benefit boost — this time $300, through March 14 — as well as the popular Paycheck Protection Program of grants to businesses to keep workers on payrolls. It extends eviction protections, adding a new rental assistance fund.

Americans earning up to $75,000 will qualify for the direct $600 payments, which are phased out at higher income levels, and there’s an additional $600 payment per dependent child.


Associated Press writer Ashraf Khalil in Washington contributed to this report.

from KRON4

DMV extends suspension of driving tests amid COVID surge

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday it is extending its suspension of behind-the-wheel driving tests until at least Jan. 11.

This after the latest surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The DMV had previously suspended the tests through Jan. 4.

Customers who scheduled an appointment from now until Jan. 11 will be notified that their test was postponed and will automatically be rescheduled for a later date.

The temporary suspension includes commercial and noncommercial tests, but does not apply to motorcycle drive tests, which can be conducted at a safe distance.

You can visit the DMV’s website for more details.

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California reports first case of new coronavirus strain

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – California has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus strain.

Governor Gavin Newsom shared the news with Dr. Anthony Fauci during a live-streamed press conference Wednesday afternoon.

He said his administration learned about the case within the last hour.

Fauci said he’s not surprised.

The Governor didn’t say where this case has been confirmed, only noted it was within the state.

Here are the latest ICU capacity numbers as of Wednesday afternoon:

  • Bay Area 7.5%
  • Northern California 31.5%
  • Greater Sacramento 17.4%
  • San Joaquin Valley 0%
  • Southern California 0%

To close the press conference, Fauci urged the public to continue to take public health guidelines seriously, “We need to use public health measures as a vehicle, a gateway a tool.”

He also said that the economy will open up once infections are down.

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Lane closures cause major back up on Bay Bridge

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Traffic is heavily backed up on the Bay Bridge after an accident was reported Wednesday afternoon.

Two lanes were blocked off past the Yerba Buena Tunnel on westbound I-80 and caused traffic to back up to the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza.

No other details were immediately available.

Check back for updates as this is a developing story

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Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island’, dies of COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — One of the last surviving main cast member of Gilligan’s Island has died of COVID-19.

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on the 1960s sitcom, died at age 82, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, the beloved show has just one surviving main cast member left: Tina Louise, who played Ginger.

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Doctors say COVID-19 can lead to psychosis in very rare cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Doctors across the world are reporting extremely rare cases of severe psychiatric symptoms apparently brought on by COVID-19.  

Dr. Brian Kincaid is the medical director for psychiatric emergency department services at Duke University Hospital.

He and other Duke doctors published in the medical journal, The BMJ, about their first instance of what they call “COVID-19 associated-psychosis” in a patient with no history of mental illness. Since then, he says Duke has seen one or two more cases like this, and hospitals worldwide have described similar situations. 

“In these types of cases that we’ve seen, their behavior goes into the realm of what we call psychosis,” Dr. Kincaid told Nexstar station WNCN. “Delusions were a prominent symptom in a number of the cases that we’ve seen, feeling that various people were out to get them when we didn’t have any evidence of that; people have described feeling that they are being tracked by specific people on their cellphones in ways that really aren’t possible.”

He said doctors are not sure exactly why COVID-19 could cause these symptoms.

“There are a number of theories that are out there,” Kincaid said. “One is that perhaps there is a sort of excessive inflammatory immune response… Some of these immune-mediated responses can go in and affect cells in the brain to cause these psychotic symptoms.”  

While he said that is the leading theory right now, he added, “Another theory is that the SARS CoV-2 directly can impact the brain.”

COVID-19 isn’t the first virus associated with psychiatric symptoms.

“There are well-known cases of psychosis documented with the 1918 flu pandemic. They saw it also with SARS,” Kincaid said.

So how often could COVID-19 cause psychotic symptoms in someone with no history of mental illness?

“I couldn’t really put an estimate to it right now,” said Kincaid. “One in several hundred thousand” he suggested, quickly adding, “But it’s something that needs to be studied more.”

That’s about the odds of getting struck by lightning, but doctors need much more data to truly estimate the chances.  

Kincaid said it is more common for the virus to exacerbate an existing mental illness.

“I’ve seen other patients who had exacerbation of the chronic mental health symptoms or already have a chronic mental illness like schizophrenia who develop psychosis,” he said.  

No matter how rare, Kincaid urges COVID-19 patients to watch for any potential psychiatric symptoms.

“If they start to notice themselves or their family members or their friends developing some behavioral changes, saying odd things, then I think it is important to contact your physician,” he said. “Or if it’s severe to go to an emergency department for an evaluation.” 

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from KRON4

Video shows ranger tasing Native American man at New Mexico’s Petroglyph National Monument

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Native American man who regularly visits the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico claims he was assaulted by a park ranger over the weekend.

Darrell House posted a video that gives a glimpse of what he says was an unjustified tasing. The National Park Service said Tuesday that the incident is under investigation.

House said he was walking through the Petroglyphs at the Piedra Mercado trail with his dog, Geronimo, when he saw a large group of visitors on the trail ahead, so he decided to cut through the blocked-off area to maintain social distancing. He said he’s never had an issue leaving the trail before, but this time, a ranger came up behind him and advised him to get back on the designated path. House said he complied, and the ranger began asking for identification, but House refused.

That’s when, House said, the ranger tased him. “I was holding my dog, so my dog got tased as well, he felt the shock, he felt everything. I ended up dropping him when I fell,” said House.

Monday, House said he’s still trying to wrap his mind around the situation, but he can only come up with one reason why the ranger reacted the way he did: “He wanted to show power, dominance, keep me in order. That’s what authority figures are trained to do, to keep people like me in order. To make the ‘Indian’ look crazy, to make them look insane.”

House said the incident won’t stop him from returning to the monument.

“I will go back. I am going to continue to do my prayers, going off trail without permission. Without consent. That is my right,” he said.

House was not arrested, but he was given three citations by the federal park ranger for interfering with agency function, false information, and being off-trail. The national park website does ask all visitors to remain on the trail at all times. House said he believes those rules should not apply to him because he’s Native American.

The National Park Service released the following statement in response:

On December 27, a law enforcement park ranger contacted two visitors who were walking in a closed area off-trail, which is a violation of National Park Service regulations within Petroglyph National Monument. A video capturing part of their interaction and posted to social media has generated question and interest from the public.

In accordance with National Park Service policy, this incident is under review and has been referred to the NPS Office of Professional Responsibility, our internal affairs unit, for a thorough investigation. While we work to gather the facts of this specific situation, we cannot speculate on the events leading up to what was captured on video. We take any allegation of wrongdoing very seriously, and appreciate the public’s patience as we gather the facts of this incident.

Full performance NPS law enforcement officers complete extensive law enforcement training programs along with many other Federal law enforcement agencies at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, as well as on-the-job training in the NPS Field Training and Evaluation Program. Throughout their careers, officers complete required annual training to ensure skills proficiency and current knowledge of law enforcement issues. Additionally, NPS officers are required to undergo initial and ongoing specialized training to carry an electronic control device, commonly known as Tasers.

National Park Service

from KRON4

KRON4’s Top Stories of 2020

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — As we say goodbye to 2020, we’re taking a look back at the most viral stories on

Here are the 10 most-clicked stories on during 2020:

  1. 2 coronavirus patients hospitalized in San Francisco
  2. To show impact of bullying, mom shares video of son, 9, saying he wants to die
  3. Don’t abbreviate 2020 when writing out the date
  4. Coronavirus outbreak: Santa Clara Country to declare local health emergency
  5. Racist TikTok video gets high school students expelled
  6. IRS to launch online tool for people to track their stimulus checks
  7. Coronavirus cases in the Bay Area
  8. Bay Area fires breakdown: Complete list of evacuation orders, centers, road closures, and more
  9. An interactive map of all the Bay Area fires
  10. List: New California laws in 2020

from KRON4

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