Plus: California to review COVID-19 vaccines before releasing them to public, And some Bay Area kids are back in school
I'm Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, starting off your week with the latest news in California.
In California brings you top Golden State stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.
Today is the deadline to register online to vote
It's coming down to the wire, people. With Election Day just two weeks away, Monday is your last chance to register online to vote. Californians can do so at the California Secretary of State's website at registertovote.ca.gov. Registration is open to those who meet the following requirements:
A United States citizen
A California resident
At least 18 years old by the Nov. 3 election
Not in prison or on parole for a convicted felony
Has not been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register to vote.
Keep in mind that if you have moved or changed your name since you last voted or if you want to change your political party affiliation, it is suggested that you re-register.
All registered voters in California will be issued mail-in ballots this year; in order to be counted, ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3 or dropped off at a secure drop box or voting location no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Unsure of your voter status? Visit voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. For more information about voting, point your browser to the USA Today network voter guide to the 2020 Elections.
If you miss Monday's online registration cutoff, you can still register in person by visiting a local polling place. For locations, visit caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov.
Newsom: California to review COVID-19 vaccines before releasing to the public
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the Golden State won't allow any distribution of coronavirus vaccines until each has been reviewed by the state's own panel of experts.
"Of course, we won't take anyone's word for it," Newsom said as he named the 11 doctors and scientists appointed to review any vaccines released by the federal government or vaccine developers. The members of the panel hail from top California universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health offices.
Last month in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo assembled a similar independent task force.
California is one of five jurisdictions doing what Newsom called "micro-planning" for mass distributions, and he says at most 45 million doses will be available nationwide before the end of this year with each vaccine requiring two doses, three weeks apart. If California were to receive the number of doses that are commensurate with its percentage of the country's population — 12% — that would result in 5.4 million doses, enough to treat 2.7 million of the state's nearly 40 million residents.
Most would go to front-line medical workers and first responders, he said, then to the population's most vulnerable.
Some Bay Area kids are back in school, and so far so good
California's K-12 school kids began returning to classrooms this month — masked, disinfected and socially distanced — and officials so far report “no significant increases in COVID-19 cases,” according to The Mercury News.
In Northern California, students from the Palo Alto Unified School District were among the first Bay Area kids to return to school after months of learning from home. Approximately 700 students made a partial return last week, beginning a hybrid program of online and in-person instruction.
Putting students back in classrooms has been controversial; some parents have expressed concern that kids aren't learning as much at home, while others fear the risk of catching COVID-19 is still too great.
Safety measures in Palo Alto schools include hospital-grade air purifiers and desks spaced six feet apart and separated by clear plastic barriers.
While all Bay Area counties except Sonoma are allowed to reopen schools, some are not moving as quickly as others. San Francisco Unified public schools plan to continue distance learning for most students through the fall, even though the city approved 50 private schools to resume in-class instruction last month.
When asked last week by the Bay Area News Group, health officials in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties said they did not associate any new infections with schools.
Some schools in Southern California — where virus rates are much higher — are also back in session after receiving waivers from the state.
Dodgers headed to World Series, Cody Bellinger dislocates shoulder celebrating
The Los Angeles Dodgers captured the National League pennant Sunday by beating the Atlanta Braves, 4-3 in game 7 of the World Series playoffs at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, thanks to a dramatic seventh-inning home run by Cody Bellinger.
Despite being down 2-3 for much of the game, the Dodgers, initially down three games to one in the series, made a much-lauded comeback when pinch hitter Kiké Hernandez hit a home run during the sixth inning. The win was solidified by Bellinger's home run in the seventh.
The Dodgers will remain in Arlington to play the upstart Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.
"The job’s not done, Hernandez said. "The goal wasn’t to get to the World Series, it was to win the World Series. We’re gonna have fun tonight. We’re going to enjoy what we accomplished."
Just not too much, as Bellinger discovered after enjoying the biggest home run of his life. The first baseman, aiming for a powerful self-congratulatory forearm bash with Hernandez, swung his right arm too wide and dislocated his shoulder.
"I hit Kiké’s shoulder a little too hard and my shoulder popped out," Bellinger said. "They had to pop it back in so I could play defense. It kinda hurt. I’m going to maybe use my left arm (next time). I’ve never dislocated that one."
Hernandez had his own take on the situation: “Now Belli knows not to mess with people who are way stronger than him," he said.
Kobe Bryant jersey on display at Smithsonian
Elsewhere in SoCal sports news, a jersey worn by Kobe Bryant during the 2008 NBA finals is now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, reports CBS Los Angeles. The white jersey with yellow panels and purple piping was donated to the museum by Bryant in 2017. Last week it was added to the “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field” gallery and will be on view next to the "Equality" Nikes worn by LeBron James.
"Kobe’s contributions on and off the court are remarkable," said Spencer Crew, interim director of the museum, in a statement. “As a founding donor" — The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation contributed at least $1 million to the project — "he understood the significance of this museum to the nation and the world. After postponing the March installation due to COVID-19, we believe now is the perfect moment in history to honor his memory by placing his jersey on view.”
The National Museum of African American History is open to the public in limited numbers but is currently not accepting walk-ins.
In California is a roundup of news from across USA Today network newsrooms. Also contributing: CBS Los Angeles, The Mercury News.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Monday is deadline to register online to vote, Dodgers headed to World Series