Marcia Dawood Elected as Vice Chair of the Angel Capital Association’s Board of Directors

Marcia Dawood, investment committee member of Next Wave Impact Fund and Venture Partner at Mindshift Capital, has been elected as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), the world’s leading professional association for angel investors. ACA provides education, public policy advocacy, professional development, resources and networking on behalf of its more than 14,000 member angel investors across North America.

Dawood brings extensive experience to the position of Vice Chair as an active angel investor who has invested in over 60 early stage private companies. Following her passion for finance and entrepreneurial ventures, Dawood has also served as the Chief Operating Officer of Portfolia, where she is also an investor, and as a managing partner at BlueTree Capital Group, where she was responsible for investment strategy, diligence research and member education. She was also previously a member of Golden Seeds in New York City and Dallas, TX.

In addition to her work on the ACA Board of Directors, Dawood is also the co-chair of the ACA Membership and Marketing Committee, as well as the founding member and current chair of the ACA Growing Women’s Capital group building syndication and collaboration among US investment groups focused on women-led companies.

“I’m honored to be taking on the role of Vice Chair of the ACA board, and then becoming the chair next year in July 2021,” says Dawood. “I believe the next few years are a particularly pivotal time for ACA as we build a more engaging, collaborative and diverse membership community. In this ever changing world we are living in, we have the opportunity to expand our educational, networking and collaboration activities to allow more participation via online delivery. We will see exciting things in the next few years ahead.”

“Marcia’s experience and reputation within the angel community, coupled with her passion for the Angel Capital Association, provide her with the strong foundation necessary to build on the legacy of leaders that came before her. Marcia exemplifies the leadership and expertise to strengthen ACA’s commitment to our community and enhance mission-critical solutions to better serve our members,” stated Pat Gouhin, ACA Chief Executive Officer.

Dawood’s term begins July 1, 2020 to coincide with the fiscal year. Three new board members will also begin their terms: Clay Rankin of North Coast Ventures in Cleveland, OH, Kelley Skoloda of Next Act Fund in Pittsburgh, PA and Eli Velasquez of VentureWell, AccelHUB and Portfolia in Boston, MA.

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Not Even Justin Trudeau Wants to Go to the US Right Now

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed until at least July 21, with about 81 percent of Canadians saying they believe it should stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Murmurs about the border’s future coincide with two very different coronavirus pandemic outcomes in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. infection rate is nearly three times higher than Canada’s, with the country reporting nearly three million total COVID-19 cases—44,361 in the last 24 hours alone. In the meantime, Canada has reported 105,935 total cases, with daily increases in the low triple digits.

The U.S. is grappling with major outbreaks currently concentrated in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended the border closure every month since it first shut on March 21 with the intention of stymieing cross-border virus spread. The closure bans all non-essential travel between the two countries and requires travellers entering Canada to quarantine for 14 days, even if they’re not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Trudeau eased restrictions in June for Americans who have immediate family in Canada, but they also have to quarantine for two weeks.

B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry told reporters on Monday she doesn’t believe the border will reopen anytime soon.

“We know that that’s how we got into trouble back in March…we had a lot of people coming across the border,” Henry said, adding that a number of B.C.’s new cases are from people who have either travelled or been in contact with someone who was recently in the U.S.

Even Trudeau has opted to stay in Canada this week after President Donald Trump invited him and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to a NAFTA meeting in Washington D.C.

“We wish the United States and Mexico well at Wednesday’s meeting,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. “While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the Prime Minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament.”

Trudeau spoke with Lopez Obrador over the phone on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

The two voiced support over the new NAFTA agreement and discussed investments in renewable energy to help fight climate change while supporting economic growth, according to a statement from the prime minister.

Trump has also expressed his desire to host an in-person G7 summit this summer. When asked if he would attend, Trudeau cited the U.S.-Canada border closure and said his decision will depend on the advice from public health officials.

Opening border would be ‘terrifying’

Over the weekend, a minor COVID-19 outbreak in eastern Canada was linked to a U.S. traveller who crossed the border on June 26. The man, who tested positive for COVID-19, ended up in Nova Scotia and came into contact with a Prince Edward Island resident who was also visiting the province at the time. After the P.E.I resident, who is in his 20s, returned home, he, along with two others, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Nova Scotia’s public health authority is currently conducting contact tracing.

In March, 37 percent of COVID-19 cases in Ontario were linked to travel, according to Ontario Public Health. By June, the figure plummeted to less than 1.5 percent.

An infectious disease specialist told CTV News easing border restrictions between the U.S. and Canada would be “terrifying.”

“If you look around the world at other countries that have successfully flattened the curve, a lot of resurgent cases have been a direct result of travel restrictions being eased,” Dr. Abdu Sharkawy said. “Border control and travel restrictions are a very key element in keeping your particular geographical area safe.”

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US Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

On April 30, 2016, a United States Post Office letter carrier in Fall River, Massachusetts, left his truck to do a 20-minute loop by foot to deliver some mail. When he got back to the truck, the dashboard was on fire.

The next day, on the other side of the country, a letter carrier in Chandler, Arizona loaded his truck with the day’s mail. After driving for about 10 miles, the truck lost power and the engine abruptly shut off. He pulled over, got out of the truck and called his supervisor. While on the phone, white smoke came out of the truck. He started walking towards the truck to investigate when he heard a “whoosh” noise. The truck burst into flames.

Less than 24 hours after that, in Newport News, Virginia, a letter carrier driving her mail truck heard a loud pop and smoke started to come out of the engine. She turned the truck off and by the time she got out, a neighborhood resident came running out of their home to tell her the truck was on fire.

All three of those trucks, which were destroyed in fires within a 72-hour period, were the iconic USPS Long Life Vehicles, or LLVs, featuring right-side driver seats so letter carriers can easily put mail into mailboxes. They are the vehicles you are most likely to picture if someone says “mail truck.” And all over the country, they have been bursting into flames at an alarming rate.

Since May 2014, at least 407 LLVs have been damaged or destroyed in fires, or approximately one every five days, according to documents obtained by Motherboard via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Do you work for the Post Office? Do you know anything about the LLV fires or other challenges due to the budget crisis? Send an email to the reporter at aaron.gordon@vice.com.

Motherboard reviewed 3,954 pages of documents regarding the LLV fires. The vast majority of those documents were investigation reports conducted by two different engineering firms that USPS hired to identify the cause of the fires. Those firms, Trident Engineering and Rimkus Consulting Group, declined to be interviewed by Motherboard citing confidentiality clauses in their contracts with USPS, which the USPS refused to release them from in order to discuss their findings. Kim Frum, a USPS spokesperson, said she was “unable to provide information” about whether or not there were injuries as a result of any fires.

In 125 cases, the trucks were so thoroughly destroyed that the investigators were unable to identify a probable fire cause. Of the remaining 282 fires where investigators could identify a likely cause, the only pattern was that there was no pattern.

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The fires occurred in hot and cold climates, at the beginning and ends of shifts, in the battery compartments, dashboards, and fuel pumps, and in vehicles that had both been recently maintained and were overdue for a check-up. They occurred on rural routes and city streets all over the country.

Although one engineering report found occasional lax maintenance practices that may have resulted in an increase in the number of fires, the most likely explanation for the fires is that the trucks are simply too old and are deteriorating on the road.

The LLVs were purchased between 1987 and 1994 and manufactured by Northrop Grumman to last for approximately 24 years on average, according to a 2015 USPS presentation. That means the LLVs still in service range from 26 to 33 years old, well past their useful lives. As of 2014, about 142,000 LLVs were still in service. Asked for an updated figure, Frum said “there are more than 141,000 right hand drive (RHD) LLVs in our fleet.”

As far back as 2015, the Post Office and the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union that represents city delivery letter carriers, connected the increased LLV fires to the vehicle age. A July 2015 newsletter from the NALC’s Region 7—which covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin—had a section on “Dangers of Melting USPS Vehicles.”

“USPS vehicles catching fire is becoming more frequent as the fleet ages and is in dire need of replacement,” the newsletter said. “This is a very dangerous situation and union leadership must educate the membership and monitor managements [sic] compliance with vehicles scheduled maintenance requirements.” A spokesperson for the NALC did not respond to a list of questions before publication.

These warnings, if heeded, had little effect on the number of fires, which have hovered around 70 per year since 2016.

USPS LLV truck fires by year

Source: data tabulated by Motherboard from documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act request. Chart made by Hunter French

Over the last six years, hardly a week went by without a mail truck catching on fire somewhere in the U.S. Many days saw multiple fires. On December 21, 2015, two LLVs were destroyed in fires, in Manchester, New Hampshire and Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. On June 13, 2016, three LLVs caught fire in Houston, Texas, Okeechobee, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. August 29 of that year saw three more LLVs catch fire, this time in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and Del Rio, Texas.

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The desperate need to replace these decrepit vehicles has coincided with a manufactured budget crisis for the Post Office. Thanks to a law passed in 2006 called the The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the USPS has to set aside $72 billion to pay for the health care of its current and future workforce for the next 75 years, an obligation that the Institute for Policy Studies noted “applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.” Without that arbitrary requirement, the USPS would have actually turned a profit over the last six years. Instead, it has been billions in the red and, exacerbated by the pandemic financial crisis, is facing financial ruin by next year unless Congress intervenes.

Partly as a result of the budget crisis, the USPS has failed to execute longstanding plans to replace the LLVs. Starting in 2011, it put together a plan to replace the LLVs, first with a 25,000-vehicle purchase to replace the oldest trucks, followed by a larger purchase to gradually phase out the entire fleet starting in 2017 with a next generation vehicle. According to the aforementioned 2015 presentation to potential suppliers of the new vehicles, the USPS had expected to begin receiving the next generation vehicles in January 2018. However, the USPS has yet to even decide on a vehicle. Frum said they expect to do so by the end of the year.

Despite these trying circumstances, at least some letter carriers demonstrated a remarkable dedication to making sure their mail gets delivered. Most of the investigations included interviews with the letter carriers driving the trucks and a short narrative of what they witnessed. Twenty-six of the reports mention the letter carriers went into the burning trucks to save as much mail as they could.

Do you work for the Post Office? Do you know anything about the LLV fires or other challenges due to the budget crisis? Send an email to the reporter at aaron.gordon@vice.com.

The 3,954 pages of fire investigation reports can be viewed here. Note: the PDF is about 400mb.