Twenty-one tons of sand are transforming the Brooklyn Academy of Music into a day at a beach for the staging of the global warming opera Sun and Sea.”

NEW YORK — How do you turn a performance space in Brooklyn into a day at the beach?

Answer: Truck in 21 tons of sand from New Jersey in 50-pound bags and dump them out onto the floor — all 840 of them.

That’s how the production crew at the Brooklyn Academy of Music set the stage for a prize-winning opera about global warming, “Sun and Sea,” which is having its U.S. premiere this month.

Created by three Lithuanian artists, the hour-long opera features 13 singers sitting or lying on beach blankets under a hot sun. They portray characters identified in the libretto — sung here in English — by generic titles like Wealthy Mommy and Workaholic. Non-singing extras fill out the scene, building sandcastles, playing cards, walking a dog or just strolling around.

“It started from the image of a beach watched from above and the people gathered there,” said director Rugilė Barzdžiukaité, speaking from Lithuania via Zoom. “We see them in their very fragile condition because they are half-naked … just like the cosmic body of Earth which is also very fragile. And the beach is getting warmer and warmer every year. That’s how it came together.”

Once they decided on global warming as their theme, the question became how to explore that through characters who are mostly oblivious to the problem.

“We were thinking how can you write about climate change because it’s such a big and anonymous topic,” said librettist Vaiva Grainyté. “So for these characters and singers it’s like different clouds of thoughts, inner monologues about very mundane and simple things.”

But troubling hints of impending doom creep in.

An example Grainyté cites: one lady complains about messy dogs at the beach, but also mentions how she found three edible mushrooms out of season in December. “This little paradox somehow gives a hint of the disorder in nature. The feeling of the tragedy and apocalypse is very present but it’s subtle, not direct.

“There’s nothing like, ‘Oh my God, the world is about to end,’” she added.

Lina Lapelyté, who composed the music, said, “We wanted to have this very bright beach, almost too bright to believe it’s possible.

“And so the music is also very light,” she said. “It’s not heavy, quite poppy. Sometimes maybe it reminds you of a pop song that you know, but it’s actually none of the songs you know.” The musical accompaniment is provided by a recorded phonogram synthesizer.

The opera premiered in Lithuania in 2017 and was invited to the Venice Biennale 2019, where it won the Golden Lion for best national presentation.

“Rarely has an environmental message been so subtly, humorously, tellingly conveyed in an artwork,”


Labor Day, a day to celebrate American workers by giving them a day off, was first celebrated as national holiday in 1894.

President Grover Cleveland signed the law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day, but Colorado was one of the holiday’s early adopters. It was the second of five states that passed laws in 1887 to establish the holiday, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The first Labor Day celebration actually took place on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City and was organized by the Central Labor Union. There was a parade that nearly flopped because no band had been organized for the marchers. Fortunately, the Jewelers Union of Newark Two showed up with a band and saved the day.


These are the top 10 best jobs of 2021 as reported by U.S. News and World Report.

Jobs were ranked based on their various attributes or qualities, including work-life balance, pay and stress.

Medical and health services manager

Speech-language pathologist


These are LinkedIn’s top 15 in-demand jobs for 2021. Jobs were ranked based on demand and jobs available.

Frontline Ecommerce worker

Loan and mortgage experts

Health care supporting staff

Business development and sales professionals

Experts in workplace diversity

Digital marketing professionals

Professional and personal coaches

Mental health specialists

User experience professionals

Artificial intelligence practitioners


American women’s annual overall earnings were 82% of what men made in 2019, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in December. This statistic is for women working full-time and salary workers.

Broken down by race and ethnicity

Asian women earned 77% as much as Asian men (Overall, Asian women and men earned more than women and men of any other race and ethnicity).

White women earned 81% as much as white men.

Black women earned 92% as much as Black men.

Hispanic women earned 86% as much as Hispanic men. (Overall, Hispanic women and men earned less than women and men of any other race and ethnicity.)

Among women workers age 25 and older, the median weekly earnings in 2019 for those without a high school diploma was $592, for those with a diploma it was $746 and for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher it was $1,367.


The average hourly wage for workers in Grand Junction was $23.61 in May of 2020, according to a July 14 report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The nationwide average hourly wage is $27.07.

Employment in Grand Junction was highly concentrated in eight of 22 occupational groups.

Those groups, along with the number of workers in that field, are shown below:

Office and Administrative Support Occupations (clerks of all kinds, tellers, administrative assistants), 8,040.

Sales and Related Occupations (retail salespersons, cashiers), 6,500.

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations (cooks, bartenders, wait staff), 5,780.

Health care Practitioners and Technical Occupations (nurses, physicians, pharmacists), 5,060.

Construction and Extraction

Calvary head football coach Mark Stroud believes his team has more to prove to itself and others.

A 3-0 record and a convincing 47-14 home victory over Frederica Academy in a non-league game certainly will help.

Quarterback Jake Merklinger threw two touchdown passes to help the Cavaliers to a commaning 34-0 halftime advantage in an outburst that showcased their overall depth.

“We wanted to put the ball in our best players’ hands,” said Stroud. “I think it will help us be a good offensive team. Once we can spread things out, we can expand the field vertically.”

More:Final scores: Get Savannah-area high school football Week 3 results here

On the second series, Calvary Day took possession on the 50 after a shanked punt, and they scored nine plays later when Antonio Butts Jr. scooted into the end zone from 2 yards out with 4:23 left in the opening stanza.

It took the Cavaliers just two plays on the next possession to register their next points when flanker Jamari Brooks took a handful in the backfield and outraced the Frederica defense 40 yards for a score.

Merklinger gave the Cavaliers a 21-0 lead when he fired a 13-yard scoring strike to Caden Arnold over the middle with 6:39 left before halftime.

After Calvary Day’s defense clamped down on Frederica’s running game in their backfield for losses, Merklinger found Deandre Singleton Jr. in the flat, and the senior juked his way past two defenders on his way to a 27-yard touchdown.

The Cavaliers’ defense again rose to the occasion in the closing seconds of the first half when it forced a Frederica fumble on the CDS 3-yard line, and the Cavaliers’ Trevor Strowbridge scooped it up and sprinted 99 yards down the sidelines that gave his team a 34-0 halftime bulge.  

More:Savannah Country Day, Calvary Day, New Hampstead improve to 2-0

Head football coach Mark Stroud directs practice last season at Calvary Day School.

Key play

Frederica Academy appeared to be ready to gain some momentum before halftime when it pieced together a productive drive to the Calvary 1 on a fourth down with 3 seconds remaining.

Jordan Triplett juggled the handoff and lost the ball. Strowbridge scooped it up, broke out a scrum and found an open path down the sideline.

A Frederica score would have put it within 3 scores and given new life for the second half.

Key stats

Merklinger threw for 145 yards and ran for 19, as he connected with six different receivers on the night. 

“We do have a lot of weapons, and our coach did a great job in helping me use them,” he said. “We had a great effort, and we were able to spread it around.”

Calvary’s defense limited Frederica to 86 yards in the first half, and the visiting Knights only crossed the 50 twice.

What we learned

1. The Cavaliers can be swashbucklers: Calvary showed its versatility on offense using an effective cast to move the ball on offense via the air and the ground. Donovan Johnson led their seven rushers with

The director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention this week asked Americans who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay home during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated should still take precautions. The CDC says of those eligible for vaccines, 38.5% are not fully vaccinated. It recommends travelers get tested 1-3 days before traveling, and another 3-5 days after traveling.

For those who are traveling, gas prices have been on the rise ahead of the Labor Day Weekend, according to AAA. Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast, which were hit by the massive hurricane, play a major role in oil production.

“Drivers will almost assuredly see gas prices rise this week, because of Hurricane Ida’s effects on the Gulf Coast,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement Monday. “Based on overnight movement in the futures market, a 10- to 20-cent jump at the pump is not out of the question. Where gas prices go from here will depend on the extent of the damage and how long it will take for fuel production and transportation lines to return to normal.”


Florida’s average gas prices have declined during the past three weeks and were at $2.95 a gallon Sunday for regular unleaded. That was down 3 cents a gallon from the previous week.

April Smith was visiting from Michigan.

“We came here because it’s my husband’s birthday the day after Labor Day, and he’s never seen the ocean,” Smith said.

She said they made a 16-hour drive to Jacksonville Beach and that she and her husband have both been vaccinated.

Mark Harris is local to the Jacksonville Beach area and said he’s welcoming the visitors.

“I’m a big believe in live your life, do it the way you wanna do it,” Harris said. “If people come here and have a good time and travel, so be it.”

Another group of people flew in from Indianapolis for a bachelor party. All said they were vaccinated and are taking precautions.

Traffic at Florida’s busiest airport — Orlando — is forecast to exceed pre-pandemic crowds. Officials at Orlando International Airport said Wednesday that this Labor Day weekend they are expecting more than 303,000 departures, a 7% increase above Labor Day weekend in 2019.


The official holiday travel period started Thursday and ends next Tuesday.

The busiest travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be on Saturday when Orlando International Airport is forecast to have more than 53,000 departures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.…

Some cities will likely see more visitors over Labor Day weekend than others.

A travel report from the vacation planning app TripIt analyzed flight booking data submitted by users to determine which locations are trending around the federal holiday.

The number of flight bookings on the platform went up by 18% for July 2021 – which is a number that’s nearly three times as many the app received the same time last year, according to TripIt.

TripIt’s Labor Day 2021 Domestic Flight Destination Rankings

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Denver
  3. Chicago
  4. New York
  5. Seattle


The five U.S. cities that topped TripIt’s bookings this year are Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, New York and Seattle. 

While it’s not immediately clear if the shifting state of the coronavirus pandemic has played a role in recent flight bookings, New York went up 10 places in TripIt’s ranking this year and Seattle went up one place.


Sunnier cities in California, Florida, Hawaii and Arizona notably went down in rank this year, according to TripIt.

In terms of which airports might be the busiest over Labor Day weekend, TripIt reports that travelers will likely see larger crowds at San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.


Some cities will likely see more visitors over Labor Day weekend than others, according to a travel report from the vacation planning app TripIt, which analyzed flight booking data submitted by users.

Some cities will likely see more visitors over Labor Day weekend than others, according to a travel report from the vacation planning app TripIt, which analyzed flight booking data submitted by users.

The digital travel resource also predicts that Labor Day travelers will see the highest traffic on the Thursday and Friday before the holiday.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently urged unvaccinated Americans to avoid non-essential travel as the country tries to get a handle on the COVID-19 delta variant, which has a high transmission rate.

As of Sept. 1, more than 1.4 million Americans were screened through TSA checkpoints, according to the agency’s daily passenger throughput.


Motorists head west along Interstate 70 to get an early start on the Fourth of July holiday weekend Thursday, July 1, 2021, near Golden, Colo. With COVID restrictions being eased, travelers are expected to be on the roads in spite of gasoline prices topping the $4-mark across the country. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Labor Day weekend is just around the corner — but we’re still in a pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned hopeful travelers during a press briefing on Tuesday.

And that means you should still take certain precautions — vaccinated or otherwise.

“First and foremost, if you’re unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.

Walensky added that people who are fully vaccinated and wearing masks can travel, but should weigh the risks of doing so first.

“If gathering with family or friends, remember that spending time outside with others who are vaccinated will help to prevent transmission,” Walensky said. “Throughout the pandemic we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings.”

“Second, when in public indoor settings, please wear a mask — vaccinated or unvaccinated,” she said.

The Mayo Clinic also suggested in June that people with weakened immune systems take extra precautions regardless of their vaccination status, including wearing masks, avoiding congregated areas and moving social gatherings outdoors.

And Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, told TODAY that heightened coronavirus spread as the holiday nears is “really unfortunate” — and offered a suggestion on how to make your celebrations a bit safer.

“I think as a general rule, avoiding large gatherings right now, when we’ve got health care systems that are really at capacity is the smart thing to do,” Sexton said.

If you do travel and are unvaccinated, the CDC recommends you:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 between one to three days before traveling
  • Self-quarantine for a week after you return and get tested within five days — or self-quarantine for 10 days if you aren’t tested
  • Avoid people at high-risk for severe COVID-19 for two weeks after returning

Vaccinated people are only urged to get tested for COVID-19 after travel if exhibiting symptoms.

The CDC’s Labor Day travel guidance comes as concerns over the highly transmissible delta variant continue to loom. The variant has driven an increase in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the last several months.

Prompted by the delta variant, the CDC revised its face mask guidance in late July to recommend that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks in public, indoor settings in areas with “substantial and high transmission” of the coronavirus. Unvaccinated people are also urged to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings and indoor public settings.

The Transportation Security Administration announced it requires masks for all travelers on “airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through

Labor Day is a difficult holiday to track and know whether people will stay home or travel.

“The pandemic remains an issue and that can certainly impact people’s decisions to travel,” said AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins.

Jenkins says some parents are also trying to stay close so they can get their kids back to school on time.

The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people do not travel this Labor Day.

But some travel groups say it will still be a busy long weekend.

People will still travel, despite CDC recommendations.

AAA is encouraging people to just do it safely.

“AAA has long advocated that the decision to travel is a personal decision that has to be made by each individual,” Jenkins said.

Some travelers are beating the crowds at Jacksonville International Airport, like Kenneth Lewis. He is heading home to Pensacola a few days early.

“I think it’s better for me to get to my destination before the crowds and people start getting frustrated if things go wrong,” he said.”


St. Augustine resident Christine Binninger just beat lung cancer.

She is celebrating by heading up to New York for a wedding and a mini family reunion.

She is also making stops in Maine and Boston.

“I’m feeling good,” Binninger said. “Now is the time for us to get healthy and get going.

AAA says drivers should not expect gas prices to look much different than they are now.

In Florida, the average is a little more than $3 doll a gallon.

It has been that way for several months now. But AAA does not think that will stop people from hitting the roads.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.…

Traveling for Labor Day? You might face long lines of traffic.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising unvaccinated Americans to stay home this Labor Day weekend, traffic in certain corridors is expected to spike between Sept. 2 and 7 as travelers take advantage of the three-day weekend, according to transportation analytics company INRIX.

“Thursday and Friday are the toughest days, for sure, as you’re heading out of town,” INRIX analyst Bob Pishue told USA TODAY. “It’s that kind of early afternoon period all the way into the early evening,” which often overlaps with work traffic and people running errands.

For those who are planning to travel by car this year, here are some of the best – and worst – times to hit the road, according to INRIX:

  • Thursday: worst time is between 1 and 9 p.m., best time is after 9 p.m.
  • Friday: worst time is between noon and 8:30 p.m., best time is before 10 a.m.
  • Saturday: worst time is between noon and 5 p.m., best time is before 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: worst time is between noon and 4 p.m., best time is before 10 a.m.
  • Monday: worst time is between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., best time is before 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday: worst time is between 2 and 9 p.m., best time is after 9 p.m.  

While more Americans are expected to hit the road this weekend, travel isn’t expected to return to 2019 levels and will likely pale compared to earlier holidays like July Fourth and Memorial Day that were driven by pent-up demand. Pishue said the rise of the delta variant and start of the school year are expected to keep more families off the roads. 

“Normally, (Labor Day) is a big travel holiday but we think that … there’s going to be less emphasis on it this year than in some of these other holidays,” Pishue said. “We definitely expect a pretty … minor traffic impact due this labor day, except on some key corridors.”

The worst corridors for traffic between Sept. 2 and 7:

  • Washington, D.C.’s Interstate 95 South from Interstate 395 to Virginia state Route 123: a 420% increase in traffic is expected from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday. 
  • New York’s Interstate 278 South from Interstate 495 to 3rd Avenue: a 350% increase is expected from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. 
  • Seattle’s Interstate 5 South from state Route 18 to state Route 7: a 330% increase from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. is expected on Friday. 
  • Atlanta’s Interstate 85 South from U.S. 23 to Martin Luther King Dr.: a 320% increase in traffic is expected on Friday from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. 
  • Detroit’s Interstate 96 North from 6 Mile Road to Beck Road: a 250% increase is expected between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Friday. 
  • Los Angeles’ Interstate 5 South from San Fernando Road to Florence Ave: a 230% increase from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. is expected on Friday. 
  • San Francisco’s Interstate 80 North from Interstate

The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts.

“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said that while people who are fully vaccinated can travel with precautions, current transmission rates mean they too need to take Covid-19 risk into consideration when deciding whether or not to travel.

Health experts have said that vaccination is the best way to protect against the virus’ spread, and many have attributed the spike in cases to the large portion of Americans who are unvaccinated.

Of those eligible for vaccinations, which includes Americans 12-years-old and older, 38.6% are not yet fully vaccinated, according to data from the CDC.

This week, data presented by a CDC vaccine adviser showed a hospitalization rate 16 times greater in the unvaccinated population than in those vaccinated. And the surge in hospitalizations, particularly among unvaccinated people, has stretched hospitals thin.

In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little said the state has reached a point in the pandemic “we have not seen before” with more Idahoans in the ICUs than ever before. He stressed multiple times that the “vast majority” are unvaccinated.

“Yesterday evening I toured a nearly full ICU wing in Boise. What I saw was heartbreaking,” he said Tuesday. “Some were young, two were middle-aged, two patients were pregnant… All of them were struggling to breathe and most were only breathing with help from a machine.”

He said medical staff are “exhausted,” so the state is adding up to 370 additional personnel to help.

A new case study published Tuesday illustrated the impact of gatherings of large groups of unvaccinated people.

In June, attendees met for a five-day overnight church camp and a two-day men’s conference in Illinois, neither of which required vaccination, testing or masks. By August, 180 Covid-19 cases were connected to the events, including five hospitalizations, according to the investigation, conducted by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A healthcare worker at a 24-hour drive-thru site set up by Miami-Dade and Nomi Health in Tropical Park administers a Covid-19 test on Monday in Miami, Florida.

More than 200,000 kids test positive in a week

Concern is growing over infections in children, many of whom don’t have access to the vaccine yet.

And those who are eligible are not reaping the full benefits. Children ages 12 to 15 are eligible but less then half of that group is vaccinated with at least one dose, according to data published Monday by the CDC.

The result has been cases in children increasing “exponentially,” the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

More than 200,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week, a five-fold increase from a month ago, the AAP said. And rates of hospitalizations have risen with the cases.

Between August 20 and 26, an average of 330 children

Editor’s note: This comes as many countries update travel regulations. Learn more about potential travel restrictions to countries in the European Union here.

Hawaii officials are considering a stay-at-home order for Labor Day weekend after the state suffered its worst day ever for coronavirus cases on Sunday.

There were two deaths and 1,678 new cases reported Sunday, the highest total since the pandemic began nearly 18 months ago, the State Department of Health reported.

Hawaii has now surpassed 62,000 cases and nearly 600 deaths since the pandemic began, numbers that have state officials alarmed.

“No matter how you slice it, COVID-19 is running roughshod through the islands, and people must take necessary steps to protect themselves,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Vaccinate. Mask. Distance. Stay home when sick. Avoid crowds.”

With cases on the rise, hospitals are being overrun by patients. Health Director Elizabeth Char said 414 people were hospitalized on Sunday with coronavirus, and hospitals are at a breaking point.

“If our numbers continue to press up against 500, I think that the governor and mayors will have to strongly consider life-preserving policy changes, which would at least mean a 72-hour stay-at-home order over the holiday,” Green said. “We saw what happened over July Fourth. Labor Day could be like pouring gasoline over the fire.”

Governor David Ige offered a different message, however, taking to social media Sunday night to dispute that a shutdown is imminent.

“There have been rumors circulating about a shutdown in Hawaii,” Ige wrote on Twitter. “I want to clear the record that there are currently no plans to shut down. All posts on social media being distributed by other means are not true. Official announcements will always come from official channels.”

But Ige himself said last week that a shutdown was “on the table” as Hawaii deals with rising COVID numbers. Last Monday, Ige urged tourists to stay away from the islands right now.

“It is not a good time to travel to the islands. I encourage everyone to restrict and curtail travel to Hawaii,” Ige said last week. “Is a lockdown on the table? Yes, it would be if the number of cases continues to grow exponentially as it has in the last 10 weeks. Then we will have to take action to limit and ensure that the hospitals aren’t overrun.”

Green said top government and health officials will meet early this week to discuss the numbers and a plan for action. But as residents and tourists await a decision, the numbers continue to look grim.

“This tidal wave of cases is straining our ability to respond at all levels — our hospitals, our labs and even our morgues are nearing or at capacity,” Char said. “We have not yet reached the peak of this surge, and we will not until Hawaii residents take further steps to protect themselves and their families.”

One doctor told Hawaii News Now that there is no other option at this point.