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Support Olmsted Conservancy - Party for the Parks
Are you ready to rock? Join the 11th Annual Party for the Parks! On Friday, September 6, The Marcy Casino in Delaware Park will be transformed into a rock and roll circus. A fundraiser party for the OPC at the Marcy casino is a great time. From tunes that have served as the soundtrack of our lives to the rock stylings of The Ifs, from down-to-earth hanging out to wild, unhinged performances, the evening is certain to entertain. And while you’re busy rocking, you’ll be helping Buffalo’s Olmsted Parks provide the resources needed to keep our Olmsted system crispy. Music featuring The Ifs | 21-and-over event | Cash bar and food by Magnolia Events. 716 838 1249 x11 or www.bfloparks.org There are auctions of raffles, live artists and bands. Every year there is a different theme, this year, Rock'n'Roll. There will be painters working on canvases which may be sold this evening, pyromancy fire dancers and other entertainment.
When we were kids, my little brother died on Halloween. He's come back to visit me every year since his death.
Jimmy returned for the first time exactly one year after the accident. I was home alone. Dad was at the bar and Mom was dead. We’d crammed her into a pine box and shipped her off to the incinerator months ago. I’d been sitting on the couch watching a plump cockroach scuttle across the coffee table, sipping whiskey that I’d liberated the previous night after Dad passed out. I wasn’t quite drunk yet. At eleven years old, my tolerance to alcohol was comparable to most local stumblebum drunks. A knock came to the door, the gentle tap of brittle knuckles upon rotted wood. I paused with the rim of the bottle resting against my lips. Even the cockroach cocked its long antennae curiously toward the door. The local trick-or-treaters knew better than to come here seeking candy. Our ramshackle abode was always one DHS visit away from being condemned, and the cobwebs and sundry creepy-crawlies in our front windows certainly weren’t decorative. I reflexively choked out a sob when I opened the door and saw his ghostly form. The sheet draped over him was stained brown and soaked with stinking river water. “Jimmy?” I asked, my voice croaking in disbelief. As if to answer me, his jaw fell slack and I heard the tiniest groan emerge from under that sheet, like a whining door hinge in a quiet house. He raised his hand to me and I shrank back in fear, expecting him to thrust an accusatory finger and damn me as a liar and murderer. Instead, I realized that he was holding his hand open, expecting something. A dry, throaty sound whistled up from his slackened jaw and I suddenly understood what he wanted. My little brother had come back for his favorite holiday. I rushed up to my bedroom, reached under my bed, and grabbed Jimmy’s pumpkin-shaped Halloween bucket. I flicked off the roaches and shook out mouse shit then ran back to the front steps, where my little brother was waiting. As Jimmy snatched his candy bucket from me, I saw them, watching us from the corner. It was the same group of older bullies that harassed us last year, on the night of the accident. Last time, they’d been wearing clown masks. They chose the Power Rangers this year. Despite their masks, I could tell that those bullies didn’t quite believe what they were seeing. Jimmy had been presumed dead for a year, yet here he was, wearing the very same costume they’d seen him wearing on the night he went missing. I’d had a growth spurt since that night. Rage and self-hatred did wonders for a growing boy’s physique. Fueled by whiskey and a desperate urge to blame anyone other than myself for Jimmy’s death, I charged them. Outnumbered four-to-one, I took some shots, no doubt, but I routed them regardless, and I left one of them bleeding on the sidewalk, beaten nearly half-to-death. Then I returned to Jimmy, smiling, and hooked my pinky around his before we set off to celebrate Halloween. # I sat on my couch, eyes trained on the flickering candle on my coffee table. The power had been out for a month and I hadn’t seen any good reason to turn it back on; I’d only be cutting into my meager booze budget and, besides, the city was kicking me out in a few days. The house had been bought and paid for by some long-dead relative then passed down to my parents as an act of pity. When Dad finally kicked the bucket, he left the house to me, but I was never quite able to stay ahead of the property taxes. I wasn’t going to miss the place. It wasn’t exactly full of fond memories. At this time of night, I’d normally be blackout drunk, but tonight was Halloween and I didn’t want to miss Jimmy. My entire life might have amounted to a hill of shit, but I’ve promised to never let my little brother down again. I checked the time. Eight o’clock on the dot. I grabbed Jimmy’s Halloween bucket and headed out front. Jimmy never did tell me why Halloween was his favorite holiday. He’d been a gentle kid, small for his age, fair-skinned and wispy. You wouldn’t have known it to look at him, but he preferred the schlock and gore of October grindhouse horror movie marathons to kiddie fare more appropriate to his age. He never flinched at the scary parts, when the reanimated undead wreaked havoc or dream demons emerged to slash open teenage throats. I’d never attributed his love of Halloween to something so cliché as donning a mask to pretend to be someone else, though I wouldn’t have blamed him. No, I’d always suspected that Jimmy loved this time of year specifically because it was when the world went dim and happily embraced the horrific. Vampires and possessed dolls and werewolves made more sense than the more abstract horrors we faced at home. Or, shit, maybe the kid just really liked candy. I stepped outside and the riverwards were alive with grinning jack-o-lanterns, windows glowing orange and framed with fake spider webs, and scores of yuppie parents leading their kids door-to-door. I spotted him walking slowly toward the house. I swore, he got smaller every year. I waved to him. He didn’t wave back, but he did cock his head slightly, as if he was struggling to remember who I was. As always, he was wearing the filthy sheet, soaked in river water. I felt a passing wave of revulsion and guilt when I glimpsed the faded bloodstains where the fabric hugged Jimmy’s misshapen occipital. I smiled and offered him the bucket. Jimmy snatched it from my hand. Though there was only darkness within those crooked eye holes I’d cut into the sheet twenty-five years ago, somehow I knew that if he still had eyes, they’d have been gleaming. I reached down to his hand, hooked my pinky around his, and I took my little brother trick-or-treating, like I’d done every year since he first returned. This wasn’t our neighborhood anymore. Sure, the names of the streets were the same, but that was about it. The yuppie influx, with the ensuing rent increases and property tax hikes, had squashed out most of the old guard. The newbies didn’t care for the sturdy, century-old houses forged with brick and mortar. One by one, those stout homes were being flattened to make way for flimsier, but more stylish facades. Soon, our childhood home was going to suffer the same fate. Jimmy must have sensed that something was amiss because he tightened his pinky around mine. Though I haven’t heard his voice since that night by the river, his pinky squeeze said enough. It said, I’ve got you. That was our private show of reassurance that helped sustain us through our childhood. When Mom wept at the dinner table as we split a dried hunk of welfare cheese for dinner, I’d give Jimmy a squeeze. When Dad staggered home drunk and started laying into Mom, I’d join Jimmy on his small twin mattress. We’d squeeze pinkies, eyes shut tight, with pillows over our ears so we wouldn’t have to hear Dad’s fist knocking against Mom’s head. I’ve got you. Tonight, we stopped at every house that still had its lights on. Our new neighbors smiled awkwardly, genuinely troubled by the sight of the neighborhood drunk escorting a child in a raggedy ghost costume. I didn’t give a shit what they thought as long as they tossed a few bite-sized Snickers bars into Jimmy’s bucket. Soon, the streets began to empty and the trick-or-treaters went home. One by one, those grinning jack-o-lanterns went dark, those orange window lights dimmed, and it was just Jimmy and I wandering the lonely streets. We headed back toward the house. This was where we would normally part ways, with Jimmy heading back on his own. Tonight, though, I remained at his side. He cocked his head again, curious. I squeezed his pinky. # Though I loved Jimmy, he was still my little brother and, often, I treated him as such. Just because I hated the neighborhood bullies didn’t mean I didn’t glean some pointers from their abuse. Sometimes, I’d slap Jimmy around or steal his toys because he’d annoyed me somehow. Other times, I just wanted to feel stronger than someone else. The day of his death, Jimmy had put me in a particularly foul mood. Using the five-fingered discount, I’d gotten comic books from the drug store on York Street and I was looking forward to thumbing through them. Jimmy came rushing into our bedroom, crying because the rats had gotten to his hand-me-down Jason Voorhees costume. The critters had gnawed through the plastic hockey mask and left the (fake) blood-splattered overalls stinking like rat turds. I told him to take it up with Mom and Dad, but he said Mom was passed out and Dad was at the bar, as usual. My mood instantly turned black, not necessarily because of Jimmy, but because, once again, I’d have to pick up the slack for our parents. I cooked most of Jimmy’s meals. I scrubbed the stink off his clothes and got him ready for school every morning while Mom and Dad were off, drunk and doped. All I’d wanted was a night to myself, curled up in bed with some stolen comic books, but they couldn’t stay sober long enough to even give me that much. Somehow, I kept my temper in check. I got him to stop sobbing by yanking the sheet off his bed, cutting out those mismatched eye holes, and draping it over him. “There,” I said. “You’re a ghost now.” His green eyes were visible through the holes in the sheet. His cheeks perked up under the sheet and I could tell he was smiling. “Can you take me trick-or-treating?” he asked. No, I didn’t want to, but I also didn’t want him crying again and Mom would have beaten the shit out of me if I let Jimmy wander the neighborhood alone. So we set out into the streets, amongst a legion of Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters and Barbie dolls brought to life. Though it was simple, he enjoyed his makeshift costume. I was just hoping to get through the night without bumping into our enemies. That was certainly naïve of me. It didn’t take long for them to zero in on us. There were four of them, all older boys. Even the smallest one towered over me. They were wearing clown masks, thin plastic smiling red-nosed clowns that filled my stomach with dread. None of the parents milling about with their kids noticed the brewing confrontation, not with the dozens of trick-or-treaters clogging the sidewalk. Jimmy clutched his candy bucket to his chest. One of the bullies reached for it, and that was when I snapped. I couldn’t help it. I might have been pissed off at him for dragging me out here, but this was Jimmy’s favorite night of the year. I couldn’t watch some assholes ruin it for him. I swung, hard. My fist connected with the bully’s face and I heard a loud crunch right before blood trickled down from behind the clown’s visage. I grabbed Jimmy by the wrist and we took off into the throngs of costumed kids. We rounded the next corner and disappeared into an alley. We hid there, holding our breath as the bullies sped past. There was no way they were going to let this go. Two of them would likely roam the neighborhood looking for us, while the other two would lay in wait near our house. “What are we going to do?” Jimmy asked, voice quivering in fear. Every night, right before I blackout, I think about how I should have just squeezed his pinky. But I didn’t. Instead, I blamed him. We wouldn’t have been in this trouble if he hadn’t been such a crybaby back home. That was why, of the dozens of places we could have gone to hide, I chose the river, because I knew he was terrified of the river. # Today, the Delaware riverfront was as gentrified as the rest of the neighborhood. A casino and towering condominiums loomed large and quaint pedestrian walkways were infested with pop-up beer gardens. In our youth, the riverfront had been an industrial graveyard, dominated by long-shuttered factories with stretches of wilderness between them. Stinking sumac trees swayed overhead and plump river rats darted through the bushes. This wasn’t the first time we had to hide back here. Jimmy always hated it. Although the neighborhood lay only a quarter-mile to the west, Jimmy thought the riverfront was too isolated. He feared that if our bullies ever caught us here, they could kill us and no one would ever know. My mood hadn’t improved when we finally reached one of the piers, big gray concrete blocks jutting out fifty feet into the sloshing water, supported by a number of wood pilings underneath. Jimmy remained a few feet behind me, still in his costume, nervously gripping his Halloween bucket. The tide was coming in and he jumped every time he felt a wave hit the pilings beneath us, as if the pier might collapse. But what scared Jimmy the most was the possibility of falling into the water, that those rough green-brown waves might trap him under the pier, where he’d come up for air and smash his face against unyielding concrete instead. “Can we just please try to go home?” he whined. “No,” I snapped back. “Not unless you want those assholes to knock your teeth out.” He lowered his head. “But I don’t like it back here.” Looking at my whimpering little brother, I lost all sense of empathy. After running scared from our bullies, I was eager to assert myself as an alpha. I yanked him toward the edge of the pier. “I’m so tired of you acting like a wimp,” I snarled. I shoved him closer to the edge, where the water sloshed violently ten feet below us. “There’s nothing to be afraid of back here.” “I just want to go home,” he cried, the eye holes in the sheet now rimmed with tears. “Stop being such a pussy!” I shouted then instinctively gave him a stiff right hook to the shoulder. What happened next occurred within seconds, yet in my memory, it seems to play out for an eternity. I’d hit him harder than I meant to. Jimmy dropped his candy bucket then staggered as his shoes got caught in the pool of fabric underfoot. I watched in muted disbelief as he flopped over the pier, arms waving, right before the back of his head cracked against the concrete edge. There was a splash ten feet beneath me and my brother was gone, leaving behind nothing more than a red patch on the concrete and white bubbles breaking the water’s surface. # Pinkies locked, we maneuvered through condominium parking lots and empty beer garden stalls until we reached that old pier. For a moment, my memories blended with the present and I saw myself, cold and shivering and soaked with river water, trudging back toward the neighborhood alone, clutching Jimmy’s candy bucket. I remembered how cold and dark the river was when I dove in, fighting the waves, trying in vain to find my brother before finally giving up. I never told anyone what happened. That night, when I got home, Mom was still passed out and Dad hadn’t come back from the bar yet. I hid my wet clothes then, later, told them that Jimmy had simply run away from me. I was terrified of what would happen if they knew the truth. There was a police search that amounted to nothing. Dad didn’t seem to care very much. Months later, Mom swallowed forty sleeping pills and never woke up. I took to stealing swigs of Dad’s half-empty liquor bottles to soothe my guilt, a habit that had served me ever since. But even that relief has proved fleeting. As Jimmy and I walked along the pier, I tightened my pinky around his, content to die sober. We stood at the edge of the pier. Though I couldn’t see his face, I could tell that he was no less afraid of the river now than he had been twenty-five years ago. Jimmy stepped off the pier and disappeared into the water below. I wondered, once this pier was inevitably torn asunder to make way for a condo or another casino, would Jimmy still resurface on Halloween? If he did, and he ventured into the neighborhood, would he even recognize that the shiny new studio apartments were standing on the grave of our old house? Either way, I was going to make sure that he didn’t go through it alone. I stepped off the pier, just like Jimmy had that night. I cracked the base of my skull against that concrete lip. A lightning flash of pain shot across the world and I crashed hard into the water, pushed at once by the tide under the pier. A wave slammed me against one of the pilings and I felt something snap in my back and, when I tried to scream, filthy river water filled my mouth. Yet, as I was thrashed about under the dock, my consciousness slowly fading, I felt Jimmy’s tiny pinky finger squeezing around my own. I’ve got you. # That happened almost one year ago, last Halloween. Though I wanted nothing more than to slip into a watery slumber with my little brother, he must have felt otherwise. I woke up, weeks later, in a hospital. They removed patches of my skull to relieve the pressure from the brain bleed, courtesy of cracking my head on that concrete lip. My ribs had been shattered to splinters from the paramedics’ vigorous chest compressions. They found me on the road, which meant Jimmy dragged me from the water, across the industrial wilderness, then out to the waiting blacktop. I asked the medics if there’d been a boy in a ratty ghost costume with me when they arrived. They said they hadn’t seen one. Anyway, I’m writing this on the computer at the public library right off Girard Avenue, but I better finish up. The librarian is a real asshole. Doesn’t like it when street bums like me stink up the joint. It’s almost Halloween once again. Jimmy might not want me down in the water with him, but I’m going back to join him, regardless. I’ve got his candy bucket, so we can hit the neighborhood one last time. I’ve also got a box cutter with the sharpest goddamn razors I could find. Once Jimmy slips back into the water, I’m going to open myself up – both wrists, then my carotid artery – and I’m jumping into that green-blue Delaware shitwater right along with him, because I’m Jimmy’s big brother, god damn it. I won’t let him swim alone.
The next Detroit: The catastrophic collapse of Atlantic City
With the closure of almost half of Atlantic City's casinos, Newark set to vote on gambling and casinos or racinos in almost every state, it seems as if the reasons for the very existence of Atlantic City are in serious jeopardy. Israel Joffe Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast. Within a few decades, the city, known for being an ‘oasis of sin’ during the prohibition era, fell into serious decline and dilapidation. New Jersey officials felt the only way to bring Atlantic City back from the brink of disaster would be to legalize gambling. Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts, first opened its doors in 1978. People stood shoulder to shoulder, packed into the hotel as gambling officially made its way to the East Coast. Folks in the East Coast didn't have to make a special trip all the way to Vegas in order to enjoy some craps, slots, roulette and more. As time wore on, Atlantic City became the premier gambling spots in the country. While detractors felt that the area still remained poor and dilapidated, officials were quick to point out that the casinos didn't bring the mass gentrification to Atlantic City as much as they hoped but the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs for the surrounding communities was well worth it. Atlantic City developed a reputation as more of a short-stay ‘day-cation’ type of place, yet managed to stand firm against the 'adult playground' and 'entertainment capital of the world' Las Vegas. Through-out the 1980s, Atlantic City would become an integral part of American pop culture as a place for east coast residents to gamble, watch boxing, wrestling, concerts and other sporting events. However in the late 1980s, a landmark ruling considered Native-American reservations to be sovereign entities not bound by state law. It was the first potential threat to the iron grip Atlantic City and Vegas had on the gambling and entertainment industry. Huge 'mega casinos' were built on reservations that rivaled Atlantic City and Vegas. In turn, Vegas built even more impressive casinos. Atlantic City, in an attempt to make the city more appealing to the ‘big whale’ millionaire and billionaire gamblers, and in effort to move away from its ‘seedy’ reputation, built the luxurious Borgata casino in 2003. Harrah’s created a billion dollar extension and other casinos in the area went through serious renovations and re-branded themselves. It seemed as if the bite that the Native American casinos took out of AC and Vegas’ profits was negligible and that the dominance of those two cities in the world of gambling would remain unchallenged. Then Macau, formally a colony of Portugal, was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. The gambling industry there had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The monopoly was ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market. Under the one country, two systems policy, the territory remained virtually unchanged aside from mega casinos popping up everywhere. All the rich ‘whales’ from the far east had no reason anymore to go to the United States to spend their money. Then came the biggest threat. As revenue from dog and horse racing tracks around the United States dried up, government officials needed a way to bring back jobs and revitalize the surrounding communities. Slot machines in race tracks started in Iowa in 1994 but took off in 2004 when Pennsylvania introduced ‘Racinos’ in an effort to reduce property taxes for the state and to help depressed areas bounce back. As of 2013, racinos were legal in ten states: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia with more expected in 2015. Tracks like Delaware Park and West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, once considered places where local degenerates bet on broken-down nags in claiming races, are now among the wealthiest tracks around, with the best races. The famous Aqueduct race track in Queens, NY, once facing an uncertain future, now possesses the most profitable casino in the United States. From June 2012 to June 2013, Aqueduct matched a quarter of Atlantic City's total gaming revenue from its dozen casinos: $729.2 million compared with A.C.'s $2.9 billion. It has taken an estimated 15 percent hit on New Jersey casino revenue and climbing. And it isn't just Aqueduct that's taking business away from them. Atlantic City's closest major city, Philadelphia, only 35-40 minutes away, and one of the largest cities in America, now has a casino that has contributed heavily to the decline in gamers visiting the area. New Jersey is the third state in the U.S. to have authorized internet gambling. However, these online casinos are owned and controlled by Atlantic City casinos in an effort to boost profits in the face of fierce competition. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are hoping to join Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering online gambling to their residents. With this in mind, it seems the very niche that Atlantic City once offered as a gambling and entertainment hub for east coast residents is heading toward the dustbin of history. Time will tell if this city will end up like Detroit. However, the fact that they are losing their biggest industry to major competition, much like Detroit did, with depressed housing, casinos bankrupting/closing and businesses fleeing , it all makes Atlantic City’s fate seem eerily similar.
[Lost in the Sauce] Trump admin hides Paycheck Protection program details; lawmakers benefit from loans
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Title refers to: The Trump admin is blocking IGs from getting info on over $1 trillion in relief spending, including corporation bailouts. The admin is also withholding PPP info from Congress, meaning we don't know if Trump or his family took taxpayer money. Additionally, we learned that at least 4 members of Congress have benefited from PPP money, but aren't required to disclose it. Housekeeping:
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Inspectors general warned Congress last week that the Trump administration is blocking scrutiny of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the previously undisclosed letter, Department of Treasury attorneys concluded that the administration is not required to provide the watchdogs with information about the beneficiaries of programs like the $500 billion in loans for corporations. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to provide Congress with the names of recipients of the taxpayer-funded coronavirus business loans. After criticism, Mnuchin began to walk back his denial, saying he will talk to lawmakers on a bipartisan basis “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight” of PPP loans “and appropriate protection of small business information.” At least 4 lawmakers have benefited in some way from the Paycheck Protection program they helped create.Politico has been told there are almost certainly more -- but there are zero disclosure rules, even for members of Congress.
Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is a senior executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
Mick Mulvaney dumped as much as $550,000 in stocks the same day Trump assured the public the US economy was 'doing fantastically' amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Mulvaney unloaded his holdings in three different mutual funds, each of which is primarily made up of US stocks. The next day, the value of the mutual funds tanked.
Cases rising in many states
Good summary: There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways…The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. As of Friday, coronavirus cases were significantly climbing in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Oklahoma is experiencing a massive increase in coronavirus cases just days before Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa. In Tulsa county itself, 1 in roughly 390 people have tested positive. Yet Trump plans on cramming 20,000 people in an event with voluntary face mask policy and no social distancing. Attendees must sign a waiver that absolves the president’s campaign of any liability from virus-related illnesses.
On Monday, Pence lied saying that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As you can see at any of the resources immediately below, this is not even close to true. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen a 124% increase in cases and reports 65% of ICU beds are in use.
Tulsa World Editorial Board: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. "We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city...Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city’s budget resources have already been stretched thin."
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he is a victim of double standards when it comes to perception of his decision to resume campaign rallies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring that attempts to “covid shame” his campaign “won’t work!”
Resources to track increases: There are many different sites with various methods of visualizing the spread of coronavirus. Here are some that may be particularly useful this summer… Topos COVID-19 compiler homepage and graphs of each state since re-opening. How we reopen Safely has stats on each state’s progress towards meeting benchmarks to reopen safely (hint: almost none have reached all the checkpoints). WaPo has a weekly national map of cases/deaths; the largest regional clusters are in the southeast. On Monday, Trump twice said that “if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” (video). Aside from the fact that cases exist even if we don’t test for them, we cannot explain the rising number of cases by increased testing capacity: In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests.
Reminder: In March Trump told Fox News that he didn't want infected patients from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase the number of reported cases in the US. "I like the numbers being where they are," Trump said at the time. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
Fired scientist Rebekah Jones builds coronavirus dashboard to rival Florida’s… Her site shows thousands more people with the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands fewer who have been tested, than the site run by the Florida Health Department.
Equipment and supplies
More studies prove wearing masks limits transmission and spread of coronavirus… One study from Britain found that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0. The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear. Meanwhile, Trump officials refuse to wear masks and Trump supporters copy his behavior… VP Mike Pence, leader of the coronavirus task force, published a tweet showing himself in a room full of Trump staffers, none wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Pence deleted the tweet shortly after criticism. A poll last week showed that 66% of likely-Biden-voters “always wear a mask,” while 83% of likely-Trump-voters “neverarely wear a mask.”
Trump’s opposition to face masks hasn’t stopped him from selling them to his supporters, though. The online Trump Store is selling $20 cotton American flag-themed face masks.
Yesterday, we learned that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice and family have tested positive for the coronavirus. Just two weeks ago, Rice was on the House floor and halls of the Capitol without wearing a mask.
Internal FEMA data show that the government’s supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since March… The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use. Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re receiving defective equipment as part of Trump administration supply initiative. Officials say FEMA is sending them gowns that look more like large tarps -- with no holes for hands -- and surgical masks that are paper-thin. More than 1,300 Chinese medical-device companies that registered to sell PPE in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic used bogus registration data… These companies listed as their American representative a purported Delaware entity that uses a false address and nonworking phone number. Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, but hospitals don’t want it… Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a million doses of the drug to show support for Trump, but very few hospitals have requested it.
Native American communities struggle
The CARES Act money for Native American tribes, meant to assist people during the pandemic, came with restrictions that are impeding efforts to limit the transmission of the virus. For instance, the funds can only be used to cover expenses that are "incurred due to the public health emergency." On the Navajo Nation, the public health emergency is inherently related to some basic infrastructure problems. 30% of Navajo don’t have running water to wash their hands, but the money can’t be used to build water lines. Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states. A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns… Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that state officials would investigate the allegations.
Personnel & appointees
Former IG Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired. In addition to investigating Pompeo's potential misuse of taxpayer funds and reviewing his decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Linick’s office was conducting an audit of Special Immigrant Visas, a review of the International Women of Courage Award, and another review "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol."
Pompeo confidant emerges as enforcer in fight over watchdog’s firing: Linick testified that Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, a decades-old friend of Pompeo’s, “tried to bully [him]” out of investigating Pompeo.
Trump has empowered John McEntee, director of the Presidential Personnel Office, to make significant staffing changes inside top federal agencieswithout the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head. Many senior officials in Trump's government are sounding alarms about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge. Trump’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarksagainst prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim. Amid racial justice marches, GOP advances Trump court pick hostile to civil rights.Cory Wilson, up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has denied that restrictive voting laws lead to voter suppression and called same-sex marriage “a pander to liberal interest groups.” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has indefinitely extended the terms of the acting directors of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, sidestepping the typical Senate confirmation process for those posts and violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,
Courts and DOJ
The Supreme Court declined on Monday to take a closer look at qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct. Developed in recent decades by the high court, the qualified immunity doctrine, as applied to police, initially asks two questions: Did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct? In practice, however, lower courts have most often dismissed police misconduct lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts. The Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
Alito, writing more than 100 pages in dissent for himself and Thomas, accused the court's majority of writing legislation, not law. Kavanaugh wrote separately: "We are judges, not members of Congress...Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."
Just days before the SCOTUS opinion was released, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. The SCOTUS ruling may make it easier to challenge the changes made by Trump.
The Supreme Court also declined to take up California’s “sanctuary” law, denying the Trump administration’s appeal. This means that the lower court opinion upholding one of California's sanctuary laws is valid, limiting cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the Court's conservative members, supported taking up the case. A federal appeals court appeared unlikely Friday to stop a judge from examining why the Justice Department sought to walk away from its prosecution of Michael Flynn. "I don't see why we don't observe regular order," said Judge Karen Henderson. "Why not hold this in abeyance and see what happens?" Judge Robert Wilkins told Flynn's lawyer that if Sullivan doesn't let the government drop the case, "then you can come back here on appeal."
Good read: Fiona Hill on being mistaken as a secretary by Trump, her efforts to make sure he was not left alone with Putin, and what the US, UK and Russia have in common. “It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from Germany.
Op-Ed: Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance
According to a new book, the Secret Service had to seek more funding to cover the cost of protecting Melania Trump while she stayed in NYC to renegotiate her prenup - taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to allow her to get better terms. Additionally, NYPD estimated its own costs conservatively at $125,000 a day. Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. Long lines, lack of voting machines, and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. As of Monday night, there were still over 200,000 uncounted votes. Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle’s protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting In addition to holding a rally on the day after Juneteenth (originally scheduled the day of), Trump will be accepting the GOP nomination in Jacksonville on the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday,” a KKK attack on African Americans. Environmental news:
Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
Trump administration has issued a new rule blocking tribes from protecting their waters from projects like pipelines, dams, and coal terminals.
The EPA published a proposal in the Federal Register that critics described as an assault on minority communities coping with the public health legacy of structural racism. The rule would bar EPA from giving special consideration to individual communities that bear the brunt of environmental risks — frequently populations of color.
The Trump administration is preparing to drill off Florida’s coast, but says it will wait until after the November election to avoid any backlash from Florida state leaders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection used emergency funding meant for migrant families and children to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment and other enforcement related-expenditures… The money was meant to be spent on “consumables and medical care” for migrants at the border.
ACLU files lawsuit against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.
Under Trump’s leadership, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has mismanaged its finances so badly that it has sought an emergency $1.2 billion infusion from taxpayers. When Trump took office, USCIS inherited a budget surplus. A large amount of funding is drained by its deliberate creation of more busy work for immigrants and their lawyers — as well as thousands of USCIS employees. These changes are designed to make it harder for people to apply for, receive or retain lawful immigration status.
Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona ICE detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are 'begging' for protection from the virus
ICE plans to spend $18 million on thousands of new tasers and the training to use them
Ira Payne Bishop, missing from Chester PA since May 2018
Ira Payne Bishop was last seen at Harrah's Casino in Chester, PA on May 17, 2018. Payne Bishop is a 38-year-old single father to a 3-year-old (as of 2018) who lived in Claymont, Delaware (about 15 minutes from the casino) at the time of his disappearance. He was reported missing when he didn't turn up for his daughter's birthday party, which was unusual behavior for him. His family stated that in the time up to his disappearance he had begun to gamble excessively. Payne Bishop's car was found two weeks later, burned out, about 20 miles away from the casino in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Searches were conducted in the area near where his car was found, to no avail. Some reports said that clothes were found nearby, but it wasn't confirmed whether the clothes were his. His family stated that he would have had no reason to be in Fairmount Park. His father speculated that he might have been targeted while leaving the casino. Very little additional information is available about Payne Bishop's disappearance or his life before he disappeared. Payne Bishop had worked as a barber for ten years at the time of his disappearance and participated in programs that mentored teens through his workplace. https://www.fox29.com/news/family-asks-for-help-finding-missing-chester-man-last-seen-leaving-casino https://www.phillymag.com/news/2018/06/04/ira-payne-bishop-missing/
The current stay-at-home order will remain in effect until April 30. Alabama Governor Ivey said the state needs to expand its testing before resuming normal economic activity despite being eager to get the state’s economy moving.
On April 24th, Alaska allowed businesses and restaurants to open back up in most parts of the state. These personal services and companies must do so under strict health and safety restrictions. Bigger cities like Anchorage delayed their partial opening until April 27th. Additionally, Governor Dunleavy has said citizens may visit their doctors and schedule elective surgeries on/after May 4th.
Governor Ducey has announced the stay at home order will continue only until April 30th. The state also will allow elective surgeries to continue starting on May 1st. On the other hand, Navajo Nation’s government will remain closed until May 17th.
While there is no exact date, Governor Hutchinson has plans to loosen the restrictions on businesses over the next few weeks. This means certain non-essential businesses will be allowed to operate. Elective surgeries were allowed to continue on April 27th.
CA Governor Gavin Newsome has not announced any official end to the stay at home order. Despite that, the state has allowed the scheduling of important surgeries like heart surgery or cancerous tumor removal. The state is limiting the issuing of permits for events and activities for the foreseeable future. On April 13th, the Governor announced the Western States Pact with Oregon and Washington. This pact articulates that these 3 states will operate together in their reopening on when it is safe to do so. Nevada and Colorado have also joined this pact.
Colorado’s stay at home order has been replaced with a “safer at home” strategy that started on April 27th. While not mandatory, residents are heavily urged to stay at home as much as possible. High-risk populations have been asked to stay home at all times possible. Special businesses that offer curbside pick up are now open. Additionally, personal training and dog grooming have been allowed to resume (if they follow social distancing practices). Elective medical procedures have also been allowed to continue. Governor Polis states that more businesses will be allowed to open in the following weeks. On May 4th, non-essential office work will be allowed to continue. Colorado has also coordinated its re-opening plans with Nevada, California, Oregan, and Washington.
The mandatory state shutdown will continue until May 20th. Governor Lamont has recommended a higher amount of COVID-19 testing before the state can start is opening plans. Connecticut has joined with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Deleware, and Massachusettes to coordinate the reopening of the Northeast.
Deleware Governor Carney has extended the statewide stay at home order until May 15th or when the “public health threat is eliminated.” The state has said that opening can start upon seeing a 28 days decline of new COVID-19 cases. Additionally, the state has joined up with the other states in the Northeast to ensure a safe re-opening and start to their economy. The governor also stated that even if the state reopens, social distancing, hand washing, face covering, and a limit on large gatherings will stay in effect.
The stay at home order for Florida will continue until April 30th. Beaches of Florida are able to reopen if the local leaders have decided it is safe to do so. On the other hand, the Keys will not reopen to visitors or tourism until June or later.
State restrictions were eased starting on April 24th. Businesses like tattoo shops, gyms, bowling alleys, barbers and hair salons, nail salons, and others have been allowed to re-open if they follow safe distancing rules. Nightclubs and bars are still closed with no clear word on when reopening can continue.
Governor Ige has stated that the stay at home order will last through April 30th and potentially later. Bigger cities like Honolulu have their own independent stay at home order which extends through all of May.
The state of Idaho is currently allowing businesses to operate under certain conditions like curbside pickup, drive-thru/drive-in, or delivery. The state doesn’t have an explicit stay at home order but rather an “Order to Self Isolate” that ends on April 30th. There is no official word on when the full state will open.
Illinois Governor Pritzker has stated the stay at home order will extend to May 30th based on data they have analyzed in the last two months. Some modifications may be made in that time and restrictions lifted depending on testing and tracing initiatives.
So far, Iowa has not given an official stay at home order. Governor Reynolds did issue a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency in mid-March. This required all nonessential businesses to close until April 30. On April 27th, the government stated the 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties can begin reopening on May 1st. This includes gyms, restaurants, enclosed malls, and retail stores if they stay at 50% capacity. The remaining 22 counties have higher rates of COVID-19 and will have their closures extend until at least May 15th.
Kansas’ stay at home order is expected to end on May 3rd. Governor Kelly has said that the state “nowhere near where we need to be with testing supplies,” which could mean the stay at order will be extended. Either way, the state plans to loosen restrictions in a gradual rollout rather than an all at once reopening.
Kentucky Governor Beshear has begun to reopen the health sectors of the state. On April 27, in person, office and ambulance visits were allowed to continue. Additionally, diagnostic, radiology and non-urgent visits are allowed. The state plans to reopen the state in phases, with restrictions easing each week for a four week period. This reopening plan will begin on May 11th but could be pushed back depending on COVID circumstances. Additionally, customers and employees will be asked to wear a mask while visiting/working in essential businesses.
Louisiana Governor Edwards has extended the stay at home order until May 15. Despite that, some restrictions have been lifted for nonessential businesses. On May 1st, retail stores can open under the condition of offering curbside delivery only. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer seats to customers, but there will be no wait staff or table service. Customers are allowed to sit outside and eat at restaurants as long as the mind social distancing rules. Gov. Edwards has also required all workers that are interacting with the public to wear masks. Despite the easing of restrictions, Edwards says the state is not near where it should be in regards to new cases, hospitalizations, and testing.
Maine issued a “Stay Healthy at Home” executive order that lasts through at least April 30. Additionally, Governor Mills extended the state’s civil state of emergency until May 15. The state of Maine has joined its neighbors New Hampshire and Vermont on planning their state’s reopening measures
Maryland Governor Hogan outlined a three-stage reopening plan on April 24th. This will allow a gradual reopening of non-essential businesses, gatherings, and public services. Not giving a clear date, the governor stated that the easing of restrictions may begin in early May if COVID-19 hospital cases decline. The first phase includes allowing certain small businesses to reopen, outdoor gym glasses, recreational activities to continue, and allowing religious gatherings of limited attendance. Certain medical procedures will be allowed to continue as well. The second phase allows raising the minimum number of people allowed in a gathering, childcare services reopening, indoor gyms, the return of transit schedules, and bars and restaurants reopening under certain conditions. The last phase allows larger social gatherings in places like religions services, entertainment venues, and dining establishments along with fewer restrictions on nursing homes and hospital visits.
Currently, the state’s emergency order that requires all nonessential business to be closed ends on May 4th. Governor Baker has informed citizens that he and state officials have begun discussing the reopening of the state but there isn’t a clear plan yet. Before reopening, the state says they need to have more testing, tracing, and quarantine procedures in place. Massachusetts is actively working with its neighboring Northeastern states to develop a plan to reopen the economy.
Michigan’s stay at home order extends til at least May 15th. Currently, Governor Whitmer has eased restrictions of their COVID-19 response, allowing some businesses to open and outdoor activities to continue. Most recently, the governor has allowed landscapers, nurseries, lawn service companies, and bike shops to re-open as long as they follow social distancing rules. Additionally, citizens are allowed to travel between houses and visit family members even though it isn’t encouraged.
Minnesota has allowed some businesses to open starting on April 27th. This order allows 80,000 to 100,000 office, industrial, and manufacturing workers to return to their jobs. Governor Walz has stated that businesses must create and implement a COVID-19 readiness plan that outlines what measures they are taking to protect their worker’s health and safety.
Mississippi “safe at home” executive order will remain for two weeks and expire on the upcoming Monday. Right now, Governor Reeves urgers all citizens to stay home whenever possible. Any at-risk citizens are required to shelter in place. State officials have also begun relaxing some restrictions on non-essential businesses if they offer curbside delivery, drive-thru, or other delivery options. Other nonessential businesses remained closed for now.
Missouri’s stay at home order lasts until May 3rd. Governor Parson has stated that he is working with hospitals, health officials, and business leaders to develop the state’s reopening plan. Businesses will be able to open as long as they keep up the six-feet social distancing rules. Additionally, any indoor retail business will be forced to limit its capacity to 25%. The governor has allowed local leaders to determine if their cities and towns need stricter rules.
Montana began reopening on April 26th, allowing individuals and businesses to have fewer restrictions. Retail and street businesses were able to open on April 27th if they follow social distancing practices and limit store capacity. Restaurants and bars can start offering some services after May 4th while businesses like gyms, theaters, and places of large assembly must remain closed. The state’s travel quarantine will still remain, requiring non-work related out of state travelers to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
Nebraska state officials plan to relax some of their COVID restrictions on May 4th. Nebraska is one of the few states that issued no stay at home order for its citizens. On May 4th, restaurants will be allowed to let customers inside as long as they operate under 50% of normal capacity. Businesses like salons, barbers, tattoo parlors, and massage centers are limited to 10 people in a store at a time. They are also required to wear face coverings or masks. Churches will also be allowed to continue worship as long as those attending stay 6 feet apart. All other businesses like bars and theaters are required to stay closed until May 31st.
The current stay at home order is set to expire on April 30th but Governor Sisolak says the state is currently not ready to reopen. Despite that, Mayors in cities like Las Vegas have been urging for the reopening of Casinos. Currently, there is no set reopening time or plan for casinos or other similar businesses in the state.
As of now, there is no expiration date to New Jersey’s stay at home order that began on March 21st. Like many other states in the area, New Jersey has teamed up with its Northeastern neighbors like New York and Delaware to develop a plan on when to reopen their economies.
Governor Grishman has extended New Mexico’s stay at home order until May 15th. After that period, there will be a gradual reopening of some businesses if conditions are safe to do so. The governor states that there is “no magical date” for when the state will be safe to reopen all businesses.
One of the hardest-hit states, New York has some of the most detailed plans for COVID 19. Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order was issued on March 22nd. There is no clear end date for New York’s restrictions, but as of now, nonessential businesses are required to stay closed until May 15th. The state officials have stated the reopening is going to happen in phases once the state meets the federal guidelines that hospitalizations decline for 14 days. The first phase includes construction and manufacturing businesses to continue. The second phase would be implemented by a business-by-business analysis of risk. Governor Cuomo did state that each phase will have a 2 week period between to monitor the results.
North Carolina’s current stay at home order for North Carolina is extended through May 8th. Governor Cooper has stated the state could open in three phases if COVID-19 cases continue to decrease. Phase one would be that stay at home orders would remain, but some non-essential businesses will be able to open. Phase two includes the lifting of stay at home orders for those not at risk and the reopening of bars, restaurants, and churches under reduced capacity. Phase three would ease the restrictions for at-risk populations and allowed increased attendance at businesses and social gatherings.
North Dakota has stated that many closed businesses may be allowed to open on May 1st. The state is another one of the few places with no explicit stay at home order and only shut down schools, gyms, restaurants, salons, and theaters. Governor Burgum says that he is going to follow the federal guidelines in deciding to officially reopen the state.
Governor Dewine’s stay at home order currently extends until May 1st. After that, the state will begin its first phases of reopening but do not have any specifics at this time. As of now, large events with big crowds are not expected to open anytime soon.
Oklahoma began lifting restrictions on businesses as early as April 24th. The reopening plan is a three-phase operation that will progress when COVID-19 data tells state officials it is safe to do so. Restaurants, theaters, gyms, and sporting events will be allowed to open after May 1st if they follow strict social distancing practices. On the other hand, bars will remain closed.
Governor Brown issued an executive order requiring citizens to stay at home and will stay in effect until ended by her. There has been no official word on when the order will end but some restrictions on businesses will be lifted on May 1st. This will allow hospitals, surgical centers, and medical and dental offices to resume nonemergency procedures as long as they follow safe COVID-19 distancing and sanitation practices. State officials say more restrictions will not be eased until the state sees the following: a decrease in the growth of active COVID-19 cases, sufficient personal protective equipment available, large open capacity in hospitals, increased testing, tracing and isolating of new cases, and plans on how to protect at-risk communities.
Pennsylvania is set to reopen the state in three phases that begin on May 8th. The phases, broken down in red, yellow, and green, will be analyzed and remain in the interest of flattening the curve in the state. Recently, Governor Wolf announced that marinas, golf courses, guided fishing trips, and private campgrounds are allowed to reopen on May 1st under the condition that they follow social distancing protocols. The state has joined with its northeastern neighbors to develop a plan on when it is safe to reopen their economies.
Rhode Island’s current stay at home order extends until May 8th and is actively working on new measures to open parks and beaches. Governor Raimondo is actively working with neighboring states in the Northeast to develop a collective plan on how they should open their economies.
South Carolina allowed the reopening of some retail stores on April 20th. This included department stores, sporting goods stores, flea markets, businesses that sell books, furniture, music, flowers, clothing, and accessories. This was done under the condition that the businesses remained at 20% regular capacity or 5 people per 1000 square feet. Governor McMaster’s State of Emergency has been extended until May 12th.
South Dakota never issued an official stay at home order. Governor Noem stated that despite that, the citizens of South Dakota were staying home at greater rates than states that had an active shelter in place order.
Governor Lee has allowed restaurants and retail outlets to open as long as they remain at 50% capacity. Additionally, some state parks have been allowed to return to business as usual. There is no official word on when other businesses will be able to reopen or have restrictions lifted.
Stay at Home orders for Texas currently extend till April 30th. Retail stores, restaurants, malls, theaters, museums, and libraries will be allowed to reopen on May 1st if they limit to 25% of their regular operating capacity.
Utah’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive extends until May 1st. Despite that, all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year. The state has not issued an official stay at home mandate, but citizens have been urged to stay at home as much as possible and restaurants are not allowed to have dining rooms operating. Utah is currently developing a plan for how and when further restrictions will be lifted.
Vermont has a similar “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order that extends until May 15th. Governor Scott has also developed a 5 point plan on how to open the state while fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. Phase one of the plan included allowing construction businesses, home appraisers, municipal clerks, and property managers to continue work on April 20th if they followed social distancing measures. Starting on May 1st, farmers' markets will be allowed to open as long as the social distancing guidelines are followed.
The state of Virginia’s stay at home order is effective until June 10th. Reopening the state will be done in a way that focuses on public health, says Governor Northam. Limiting state restrictions will be done in phases outlined in the “Forward Virginia” blueprint. Steps include continued social distancing, limited public gatherings, the use of masks in public, etc. The state will begin reopening when data and health experts suggest it is safe to do so.
Stay at Home orders in Washington state currently last until May 4th. Additionally, most parks and recreational areas will be allowed to open on May 5th. Washington has joined California, Oregan, Nevada, and Colorado in the Western States Pact to determine when it is safe to reopen their economies.
Governor Justice has introduced the “Comeback Roadmap” as an outline of how the state will reopen going forward. The plan contains three phases that are broken up into weeks. Week one allows hospitals to start elective medical procedures and also allows the reopening of outpatient healthcare including primary care, dental, mental health, and more. Daycare centers will also be allowed to reopen. Week two would allow businesses with less than 10 workers to go back to work. Restaurants with outdoor seating could resume service and church and funerals services could start again. In the third phase, which is a three-week process, includes retail stores, gyms, hotels, spas, casinos, and other businesses to reopen. Additionally, offices and government businesses could return. Each of these phases would include the required temperature checks and mask-wearing.
Governor Evers’ stay at home order extends until May 26th. Restrictions were lifted on certain businesses like libraries, arts and crafts stores, and other places that provided materials needed to make face masks as long as they could provide curbside pickup. Golf courses have also opened around the state.
Another state without an official stay at home order, Wyoming did request a federal disaster declaration on April 9th. Currently, all out of state travelers are required to quarantine themselves for 14 days until April 30th.
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Adolf Czojor: Orphaned during WWII in Germany, poisoned by cyanide in Delaware in 1996
Adolf Czojor (pronounced CHOY-or) lived in Bear, DE, in the United States. Born around 1935, he grew up in war-time Germany and his life was a series of tragedies. His home was bombed. His brother became a prisoner of war. His father disappeared and presumably died fighting on the Russian front; his mother was placed in a concentration camp. With no one left to care for him, Adolf spent his childhood in an orphanage in Poland. As a young man he was reunited with his surviving family. In 1957, he migrated to the U.S. with his mother, his stepfather, and his wife. Adolf’s marriage to his first wife Elsa lasted 24 years and resulted in a son and two daughters. After an amicable divorce, he remarried another divorcee, Madeline Joan Thomas Reese, in 1983. His marriage to Joan bequeathed him with three stepdaughters and two stepsons, as she had been previously married to a man named Joe Reese. Life was going great for Adolf in 1996. Adolf had worked as a sausage maker for over 30 years, but told his employer Springer & Thomas that he would be retiring in July. According to Adolf’s family, he loved to cook and clean, and waited on his wife hand and foot. His wife Joan even told the local newspaper, “No man has ever treated me so good.” In his free time he enjoyed bowling and betting on the ponies at Delaware Park Race Track and Casino, although friends say he never met a winning horse. Friday, April 26, 1996, was his 13th wedding anniversary, and it turned out to be an unlucky one. He and his wife Joan were celebrating that evening, but when he invited her to come to the track with him, she decided to stay home. There are few details about his night at Delaware Park; one witness, a waitress, had noticed him sleeping in the simulcast lounge area when she left work after midnight. Not long afterwards, a person brushed past Adolf, accidentally knocking him out of his chair. As he was unresponsive, paramedics were called. Around 1 AM he was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. Around 2:30 AM Joan was summoned to the hospital, where she was told her husband had died. The medical examiner conducted an autopsy and concluded Adolf had died of a heart attack. Given his age, the finding was unsurprising. Some consolation could be found knowing Adolf died doing something he loved. But then the Assistant State Medical Examiner, Adrienne Sekular-Perlman, received a mysterious phone call: “Are you sure Adolf died of a heart attack?” Curious, the ME decided to order toxicology tests. The Widow Czojor After she found out her husband was dead, Joan returned home. She rang her neighbors, Helen and Fred Marini, at 5:30 AM. They rushed over to console their grieving friend, not anticipating how odd and disturbing the morning’s events would be. First, Joan shook a silver vial in front of Helen’s face. Joan claimed the pills had been found in her husband’s pocket at the hospital, and she didn’t know what they were as Adolf had never mentioned being on medication or going to the doctor. According to Fred Marini, “She was more exhilarated or excited than grief-stricken.” At some point, Joan had reached out to her ex-husband, Joe Reese, and he had arrived at the house. The couple watched as he retrieved Adolf’s burgundy Members Only jacket and tried it on, commenting that it was a little snug, but that it would be all right. Perhaps most suspicious was Joan’s industriousness that morning. Within three hours she had enlisted Helen to go over the insurance policies with her “to see how much he was worth.” After determining that Joan was the beneficiary of at least $65,000, Joan had Helen call Adolf’s employer to request the payout. That morning, in the immediate wake of Adolf’s death, was just the beginning of the odd behavior of Joan and the Reese family following Adolf’s death. Joan’s ex-husband Joe, who had been living with their daughter Terrie Reese, moved into the home Joan and Adolf had shared a mere two weeks later. Joan denied anything was amiss, claiming she was charging Joe rent. A Poisonous Twist Seven weeks after Adolf’s death, the ME received the toxicology results. The mysterious phone caller had been correct: Adolf did not die of a mere heart attack. He had been poisoned with cyanide. The results were surprising for a number of reasons. According to an April 1997 article, at the time of the case there had been no known cyanide poisonings in the state of Delaware since a woman had been caught after spiking her husband’s asparagus soup. Given two months had already passed, detectives were left with little to work with: no crime scene, no surveillance footage (it was taped over every two weeks), and limited recollections from employees at the track. And, no silver vial of pills. Joan said she lost it. With this revelation, Joan began to tell everyone that Adolf’s death was a suicide. Adolf’s family vehemently disagreed. At least two of Adolf’s children stopped speaking to their stepmother. According to his son Peter, “His death was like a bomb. When we found out it was murder, it was like a nuclear type.” The Investigation Given that cyanide is not as easy to obtain as many poisons, police tried to track down a lead. Soon they found that Terrie Reese, Joan and Joe’s daughter, worked as a material control operator at a chemical company and had access to cyanide. In October 1996, the police were ready to push the investigation forward. They brought Joan and Terrie Reese in for questioning. Both insisted on their innocence. Joan even told a local television station that she would be happy to take a polygraph to prove her innocence. Within days of being questioned, Terrie Reese had a nervous breakdown. She did not return to work for two months. Joan blamed Terrie being “humiliated” by the police investigation. The police pressed on, however. Although police will not comment on any polygraphs or their results, according to Joan, she and her daughter agreed to take polygraphs on February 21. Interestingly, although Terrie had returned to work after her breakdown, she had another relapse in early February and was hospitalized. Joan said she agreed to take the test because Delaware State Police Detective John Evans told her he would leave them alone if they passed. They didn’t. Joan told reporters her test was inconclusive and that her daughter had failed on a question: “Did you take chemicals from DuPont?” Conclusion At this time, no one has been charged with the murder of Adolf Czojor. Adolf’s death is listed as a cold case homicide by the Delaware State Police. There is a post on their homepage, but it has Adolf’s name spelled differently (Adolph) and says he was poisoned with arsenic rather than cyanide. As Joan’s ex-husband Joe Reese predicted on the one-year anniversary of Adolf’s death: “I just really believe this is going to end up as an unsolved case.” Questions Without the mysterious caller, it seems Adolf’s death would never have been revealed as a homicide. Who do you think the caller was? Obviously the deck is somewhat stacked given a lack of info on this case, but to what extent do you think Joan, Terrie, and/or Joe were involved in Adolf’s murder? If you were the cold case investigator, what angles would you be pursuing now, 23 years later? (I’ll note a crude search seems to indicate that Joan, 87, is still living in Bear, DE, and that Joe died in 2005). References I found very little on this case, and because of that my writeup is heavily based on an excellent article, “Mystery shrouds poisoning death” by Terri Sanginiti in the Wilmington, Delware, newspaper, The News Journal. (April 27, 1997) Delaware State Police cold case homicide listing: https://dsp.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/118/2019/06/Czojor-Adolph.pdf Adolf Czojor, 61, sausage maker. May 24, 1996, obituary in Newark Post (p. 26). Mrs. Thees Heidelberg. August 5, 1971, obituary in The Morning News (p. 26).
Hi All, This idea for a Fallout Game has been burrowing a hole in my head for the past few weeks and if I don't share it I feel I'm going to burst. The Setting Two of the most requested cities for a future Fallout game (on the East coast at least) are Philadelphia and New York City... but what if we could have both? In Fallout: Pathfinder, the game takes place in the space between these two metropolises - New Jersey, with Philadelphia and New York taking up the lower-left and top-right corners of the map. The game takes place between the events of Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, in 2283, and charts the events that occur between the two games. Like Fallout 76 (clearly everyone's favorite Fallout game! /s), the map will also be split into biomes that will represent the diversity of landscape present in the state. These areas will be: - The Gap: Following the mountainous area along the Delaware river on New Jersey's western border, this isolated and forested area will be the starting location for the player. Some major cities will include Hackettstown, home of Galaxy Confectionary HQ (producers of Big Pop's Bubblegum, Sugar Bombs, and other sugary goodness), and Morristown, the first major locale the player visits. - The College: In the huge suburban sprawl between Rutgers University and Princeton University, this area will feature callbacks to the intense rivalry between the two schools, and will be where the player encounters the first main story beats. It is also where the first major post war settlement will be located. - The Shore: Along the shoreline of New Jersey, this area will encompass the entire bottom right side of the map, full of high level ghouls due to the invention of the Rad-Bed, a tanning bed that used intense-but-short bursts of radiation to provide tanning, this area culminates in Atlantic City, a perverse reflection of New Vegas, where raider gangs roam the streets, and automated casinos provide these gambling-addicted raiders a fast way to dispose of their caps. - The Barrens: The bottom middle map features a ghostly and misty expanse of pinewood and brambles. Very few locations here, but designed to give players an uneasy feeling when traversing. While not as plentiful as Far Harbor and the Mire, a few Anglers can be spotted in the marshy areas of the Barrens, as well as tales of one of the Game's few cryptids. Legend says the Jersey Devil stalks the woods. - The Corridor: North of the College lies the corridor, an interminable series of Ghost towns that lead into New York City. Picked dry by prospectors and other entrepreneurial citizens of the College, the Corridor is one of the few relatively safe avenues for trade between the College and the warring gangs of lower Manhattan, flanked by the water on the right and the wilder sections of the Gap to its North and West. - Manhattan: In the Great War, a bomb struck New York city in the heart of Central Park, levelling most of the city (but not all) above Midtown. And yet, in the remaining lower section of the Island, gangs of raiders fight over the spoils of a post-nuclear New York. These gangs include the 54s, who have occupied the northernmost section of what remains of the city, the Villagers who inhabit the area in and around Washington Square Park, and the Bulls who occupy the southernmost point of the island. While they stand divided now, a united coalition could cast a wide shadow over the surrounding area. - Philadelphia: Inhabited by Enclave Reformers, these survivors (more below) seek to change and move past the legacy of war and genocide of their fathers, towards a different future, and they seek that future in the ruins of America's first capital, where it all began. Many in senior leadership however view the warring gangs of Manhattan as a threat that may have to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Will the wasteland cause their good intentions to die out? - Staten Island: This island will be for "post-game" content. Isolated from the rest of the area, the creatures here have been forged in a crucible of violence and are significantly stronger than anywhere else in the area. Are you ready for the challenge? The Factions - The Enclave Remnants: In the aftermath of the fall of Adams Airforce Base and the collapse of their senior leadership, the shattered and broken remnants of the Enclave on the East Coast make their way North-East, braving the swamps of Delaware and losing many in the process, but finally making their way to the ruins of Philadelphia, America's first Capital, where the new generation is attempting to shrug off the warlike tendencies and mistakes of their fathers. They are hoping to reinvent what the Enclave stands for going forward. Will this new generation move past the ghosts of their past? - The Brotherhood of Steel Recon Squad Artemis: Arthur Maxson has just taken control on the East Coast chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel and is beginning to chart a path to the Commonwealth. In order to do so, Recon Squads are being sent north to clear the way for the Prydwen. Led by Paladin Brandis, this squad has landed on the outskirts of the College, where rumors of the Enclave in Philadelphia are just beginning to reach them. Will they continue with their mission, or will they stamp out the Enclave the only way they know how? Violently. - The College: The central point between the two urban sprawls, the College rose up as first a major trading post, then as a true post-war settlement, the shanty town echoes the sibling rivalry of the two universities upon which it stands: extreme factionalism divides the town between those who would side with their new southern neighbors, and those who remain skeptical and look to the north for answers, and beyond these both, a new faction that would see the College capitalize its position to the fullest and remain strong, proud, and most importantly, independent. - The Manhattan Gangs: While these groups have been fighting for decades, to call them raiders would be reductive: each features their own distinct culture, identity and way of life in the shadow of the ruined husks of the city. A grand alliance between these factions could radically reshape the landscape of the Northeast. But, with the riches of the world's biggest city between them, will the ever-fighting gangs be able to forge a new path? And if they do, will the city that never sleeps awaken once more? - The Shore Raiders: Headquartered in Atlantic City, the Shore Raiders spend their day gambling, slaving, raiding, and drinking. And that's how they like it. With the right leadership and organization, the Shore Raiders could come to dominate the Garden State and burn it to the ground. The Story As with all mainline Fallout games, the main character begins life in a Vault. Vault 110, located near Hackettstown, the player character is the child of the Vault's overseer. Vault 110's experiment, made in conjunction with the Galaxy Confectionary Company, was to see what the long term effects of consuming pre-packaged candy and chocolate would be in the presence of a limited diet. When the Vault door closed, Vault residents discovered that they had been the manufacturing ability to create a nearly limitless amount of Sugar Bombs, Big Pop's Bubblegum, Galaxy Chocolate Bars and more, but no simple way to grow vegetables and no reliable source of protein. In order to solve this issue, the second Overseer of Vault 110, seeing his vault dwellers become hopelessly malnourished in spite of their high caloric intake, made some secret modifications to the manufacturing equipment that would reprocess the organic matter from dead vault dwellers and slowly redistribute those nutrients into the candy the Vault was eating. Each overseer vowed to keep this confectionarized cannibalism a secret from the rest of the Vault in order to avoid armed retaliation and/or an opening of the Vault Doors. On their nineteenth birthday, the player character discovers the ghastly truth, and confronting their father, they are exiled from the vault never to be seen again. Exiting the vault and descending into Hackettstown, the main character, henceforth "the Exile", encounters a group of peaceful prospectors in the ruins. These prospectors belong to a faction called "The Pathfinders" who are seeking a safe path through the Gap in order to find trade routes in Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond. The Pathfinders point the Exile towards their nearby camp in Morristown, telling the Exile that they are not the first Vault 110 dweller to have left the Vault. In Morristown, the Exile finds the Pathfinder camp under assault by Shore Raiders. After successfully fighting them off, the leader of the Pathfinders, a woman named Isa Gonzalez, notes that the Shore Raiders must be getting desperate to attack settlements so far north, and points you in the direction of the College, down the old Interstate 278. When asking about the previous Vault 110 dweller, Isa hands you a holotape she found in the ruins of Morristown, the voice matches that of your grandfather, who had gone missing ten years ago, when your father took over the overseer position. You resolve to go searching for him. Once at the College, the game opens up as you get involved in both the internal politics of the settlement and the broader game of factions, however the bread crumb trail of holotapes and stories from other Jersey residents lead the Exile down the Shore region until they reach Atlantic City, home of the Shore Raiders. Here you learn that the Exile's grandparent was one of the founders of the Shore Raiders faction and oversaw their transition from chem junkies and gambling addicts to organized slaving and raiding faction. Your grandfather, now the leader of the faction, justifies this by saying that in the Vault, you lived in a society dominated by rules, and that if you followed those rules to the letter you would be rewarded, but those rules were sick, they misled people, and the societies outside the vault have the same problem. Only by eliminating the rules, can the Wasteland be free. You are then given the choice: Join the Shore Raiders or leave and never return. Themes Each and every Fallout game has a recurring theme that informs the entire narrative. In Fallout: Pathfinder, that theme is legacy. In particular: how do we move past the legacy of our parents, of our forefathers? For the player character, this is quite central to their character, as the questionable moral decisionmaking of their father, and all previous overseers, is part of the character arc. In addition, each major faction (with the exception of the Shore Raiders) is grappling with the past in some way, and dealing with the legacy of their faction or their settlement. Ultimately the moral of the story is that you get to define what your faction is and what their legacy will be going forward. __________________ I'm still fleshing out many of these ideas, but I'd love some feedback and if any modauthors/Fudgemuppeteers are reading this, let's talk!
It is very easy to park by the City Market right now (and always)
Free lots at 6th/7th and Main are 25% full right now. It took me 1 min and 44 seconds to walk from there to the corner of Delaware and Indy Ave, and another 3 min and 30 seconds from there to the giant City Market sign at 5th and Grand. So 5 1/2 min total from parking to having arrived. I saw 5 street parking spots open during my walk. The lots around the market were full and had a couple cars queued at the entrance waiting for people to leave. And I think if I had parked on 3rd or 5th or any of those north/south side streets east of the market, it would have been even faster. You could also park in Columbus Park and ride your bike in, or park anywhere and take the bus, or park near a RideKC bike share dock. Park at Isle of Capri and take the Riverfront trail to the pedestrian bridge at 2nd and Main, or the Casino Cruiser bus (hourly on Saturdays) to 3rd and Grand. Park and take the streetcar (not fast). Park and Ubelyft/taxi. Park and ride scooter. Or use this app https://app.parkmobile.io. There's also a ton of private parking that isn't open to the public because someone decided it wasn't worth their time to charge for it.
In 2019, a major war between Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio is raging, and the entire city of New York has been converted into a giant maximum security prison. When the MTA is hijacked by fat upstate cats and ceases to operate well, your sanity is taken hostage by a myriad of high pressure stresses. The asknyc mods, former Special Forces soldiers turned criminals, are recruited to develop a fool proof plan help you...Escape from New Yorkcity
The Town of Milford Connecticut
A cute downtown harbor area with a number of bars and restaurants and beautiful colonial architecture. The train station is right downtown and mercifully the post road is farther north" taarok
Cold Spring is on the Hudson and is a quaint river town with good hiking on nearby trails and "mountains". See below for a tiny write up from weizenbock
"Mount Airy Lodge, where all you have to bring is your love of everything." timspc
"There's also a casino and a shooting range in the area. My friends took me away for a birthday weekend. Very affordable. Very fun." ravelight
If you're willing to go a little further than 3 hours (more like 4 or so) It's a nice college town with lots of good restaurants and shops and has a lot of cool hiking trails with waterfalls nearby. It's also located at the bottom of one of the finger lakes with a bunch of wineries to go wine tasting at along the lake. u/drjimmybrungus
"it's a spa town. If you're an American history buff, the Battle of Saratoga took place about 15 minutes outside of the present-day town." chengjih
Adirondack Trailways Bus , plenty of B&Bs to choose from, quaint city with a bunch of options for side-trips. carpy22
Lenox and Great Barrington are nice, great dinner spots, hiking outdoor activities, plus museums like the Mass MOCA and the Norman Rockwell museum for indoor adventures. Chesterwood is a fantastic outdoor sculpture park with light hiking and outdoor installations, and Tanglewood for amazing music (mostly classical) if they haven't yet closed for the season. lizzyism
Delaware Water Gap, NJ
"1.5-2 hours by car. Worthington State Forest is a good campsite with shower. Hike Red Dot Trail for a good view, or Tammany Trail. Kayaking in the river is fun, too." consuellabanana
There is an old motel there which you can walk up the hill to. The rooms were built in the 50s and are kinda small but most have views of the Hudson Valley. Also, it's a discount place so ask for a remodeled room (room 39 is very nice) and there are bunches of great restaurants in the area. I think you can get discounts from Hotels.com for the room. You can spend a day walking around the city of Peekskill. Great bookstore, old shops, art district etc. If you want, you can hop a train for a side trip to a number of smaller towns and cities like Sleepy Hollow. Anonymoustard
1:30-1:50 from city- Take the NJ Transit train down to Long Branch. From the station its a short walk east to the beach and Pier Village. Make sure to take a stroll to hit up the Windmill, Max's, Surf Taco or The Inkwell for lunch, Lighthouse for ices. Good bars w/ local crowd on Brighton Ave. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, you can also change trains in Long Branch and head down to Asbury Park. Walk down Cookman Ave. to the Boardwalk & beach area. You can do this out-of-season as well but it's quiet and trains run less frequently. sokpuppet1
Bear Mountain state park
"For hiking / picnicking. Also possible to get a bus from NY17 on the other side of Harriman at Arden Valley Rd. Hike from Bear Mountain Inn to that point on the Appalachian Trail is ~25 miles." frankiepoops
Ferry from Wall Street Pier 11 to the Highlands and taking a quick Uber to Donovan's in Sea Bright (in the summer). Beach bar and easy to get to/from. Can be a day trip! Flaythemall
Harriman State Park
Drive down Seven Lake parkway and choose whichever lake suits you best. Some have sectioned off swimming areas, and the first lake tends to be the most crowded, but further down the parkway is usually quiet. If you can manage to get up during the week, it is virtually empty. There are a few lakes that have some tucked away little coves that are good for swimming, though it is not allowed and park rangers will yell at you if they see you (or so I have heard...personally, never ran into one). Its about 1.5 hrs outside nyc. roboecho
Storm King, the largest outdoor sculpture park, is great. It's an easy drive, about an hour and half. Then you could possibly continue on to Peekskill (~30min from Storm King) and have drinks/snacks at the Peekskill brewery. And I love Hudson Valley, great restaurants/scenery and lots of nice charming towns to visit like Milton, the aforementioned Peekskill, Cold Spring, or Kingston are all worth checking out. Read this NY Times article. And if you're going up this weekend, you might be able to get tickets to the "Jack O'Lantern Blaze" at Van Cortlandt Manor in Cronton-On-Hudson. Check out these pics. You could visit the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park and get a meal at one of the campus restaurants staffed by the students. Bear Mountain is another nice outdoorsy getaway OIlberger
Vanderbilt on Long Island
Really nice grounds for the kids to run around, you can all tour the old house(where if I remember right they have a mummy) and there's a planetarium. Also on Long Island you can go to Sagamore Hill which is Teddy Roosevelt's house. Its pretty cool to tour since he was an avid hunter. FirstLadyofBeer
Delaware Water Gap
" The Martz Bus is frequent and convenient. carpy22
Troy, New York
"Historic downtown along the Hudson, the home of Uncle Sam." carpy22
Nyack, New York
I love Nyack! I live here now actually. You can get there by taking the Metro North to Tarrytown and then take the Hudson Link across the River. Lots of little shops and restaurants. On the weekends there’s lots of bikers around. Monthly there’s a pretty big street fair that garners a lot of visitors. Strawberry place is the best for breakfast (cash only). UP Lounge or OD’s for dinner. The Local or Karma for drinks. Piermont is very close (biking or cheap bee distance). They have cute stores and restaurants. You can rent kayaks and kayak in the Piermont Marsh, or walk out on Ferry Road which is the furthest you can get to the middle of the Hudson without being on a boat or ferry. nakedrottweiler
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