1. President Donald Trump took his first steps toward dismantling Obamacare by signing an executive order on Thursday. The order broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices. Specifically, President Trump is asking the Labor Department to study how to make it easier for small businesses, and possibly individuals, to buy health insurance through nationwide association health plans. The order would also allow consumers to buy short-term policies, which don’t have to comply with Obamacare’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions. While Trump said the measure would give “millions of Americans with Obamacare relief,” some have criticized the order. “This is a case where doing something is worse than doing nothing,” Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and one of the architects of Obamacare, said. “It’s not going to solve the problem at all and remember, it effects a very small number of people.” (CNN)
2. At least 31 deaths have been confirmed as the devastating wildfires in Northern California’s wine country continue to burn. CNN reports that the largest of the group of 21 fires are still burning, with the 40,000-plus acre Atlas Fire in Napa and Solano counties just three percent contained and the 34,000-acre Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma only 10 percent under control. “We’re not even close to being out of this emergency,” Mark Ghilarducci, the director of California’s Office of Emergency Services, said Thursday afternoon. The wildfires have burned more than 191,000 acres throughout the state so far. According to the National Weather Service, winds could be especially gusty in the region Friday night through Saturday; no rain is expected for almost a week. (CNN)
3. After several months of open deliberations about her future, Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced today at an event in Rockport that she would not run for governor and would remain in the Senate. Senator Susan Collins claims she can make the biggest difference for maine in D.C. (NYTIMES)
4. Students and volunteers at Purchase College in New York set a record on Wednesday by creating a 504-foot-long sushi roll. The Journal News reports that the team of 300 people transformed some 800 sheets of nori paper, 500 cups of rice, 125 avocados and 200 pounds of surimi into the world’s longest sushi roll under the guidance of Food Network chef Jet Tila on Wednesday. The 504-foot-long sushi roll surpasses the 422-foot roll previously made by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (ESPN)
5. When 7-year-old Brock Chadwick of Biddeford, Maine was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer earlier this year, his family asked people to send him Halloween cards to help him celebrate his favorite holiday. As HuffPost reports, people delivered. After his family used their Team Brock Facebook page put out a call for cards and dubbed it “Brocktoberfest,” hundreds of cards and packages poured in. The family has been posting photos and videos of the arrivals on the page. “We’ve received cards and packages from right down the street, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Florida, West Coast and just about every state in between,” a post reads. (HP)
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