October 12, 2017 Last Updated 8:48 am

Puerto Rico and Northern California disasters grow, though president threatens to move on

Morning Brief: The towns of Calistoga and Geyserville were order evacuated yesterday as high winds have fanned numerous fires in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties

For the past few days the US media has had some fun pointing their fingers at an aged, fat man who should probably be imprisoned, but is a famous movie producer instead. It is the classic story of journalists getting their licks in against the powerful when the opportunity arises.

But let’s be really clear, the Harvey Weinstein is a little story compared to what is happening now in Puerto Rico and California. People are dying, homes have been destroyed, and the president is talking about pulling the “license” of NBC News (they don’t have a “license”).

This morning the press corps was reminded by the president of the priorities when he went on another of his tweet rampages. Responding, likely, to a segment on Fox & Friends, and tired of hearing the complaints that his administration has led a weak response to Hurricane Maria, he complained that the federal government “cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders… in P.R. forever!”

In California, things are also not getting much better. The towns of Calistoga in Napa County, and Geyserville in Sonoma County, were ordered evacuated.

San Francisco Chronicle, Jill Tucker, Jenna Lyons and Peter Fimrite:

Thousands more evacuated as Wine Country blazes spread and death toll hits 23

The danger intensified Wednesday when flames fueled by the high winds prompted authorities to warn residents of tourist destinations in the heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country to prepare for evacuations. Among those warned were a large swath of Napa and Boyes Hot Springs. But there were also mandatory evacuations, including for Geyserville, Calistoga and in a hilly neighborhood just 1 mile from the historic Sonoma Plaza and a famous Spanish mission.

The threat of ruin to Mission San Francisco Solano prompted California officials to begin removing artifacts from the 19th century building. Late Wednesday, workers loaded relics onto huge trucks.

The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Julie Bosman:

Napa couple, 98 and 100 years old, dies in fire

Sara and Charles Rippey first locked eyes at their elementary school in tiny Hartford, Wisconsin, close to 90 years ago. “They’ve basically been together ever since,” said one of their sons, Mike Rippey.

The couple, who were 98 and 100 years old, died together on Sunday in Napa when the fast-moving wildfire whipped into their house and they were unable to escape.

“We kids would always talk about what it would be like if one of them died and the other was still alive,” Mike Rippey, 71, said. “They just couldn’t be without each other. The fact that they went together is probably what they would have wanted.”

The Washington Post, Philip Rucker:

Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery effort

Three weeks since Maria made landfall, much of Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million people, the vast majority of the island remains without power. Residents struggle to find clean water, hospitals are running short on medicine and commerce is slow with many businesses closed…

…Trump has been roundly criticized for his leadership in coming to Puerto Rico’s aid. Trump, in response, has tried to portray the island as in full recovery mode, even as it suffers from enduring health, power and water problems. During a visit last week, he tossed rolls of paper towels at local residents as if they were basketballs, drawing scorn from local leaders, and noted that the death toll was lower than the “real catastrophe” of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

SFGate.com: Wine Country fire reaches $18 million Robin Williams estate
Napa Register: City of Napa trying to extinguish fake fire news
The Press Democrat: Fire destroys Paradise Ridge Winery, Fountaingrove Inn, Willi’s Wine Bar, other local landmarks

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