Happy Friday, all!! I hope you all had a good week. Today is my sister’s birthday, and we are doing a Zoom party for her. I don’t want to knock it, because we are lucky that we can do so. We can see each other, we have the technology to do it, and that makes us lucky.

On the other hand, it draws attention to how different everything is right now. Taking the munchkin over to hug her can’t happen. (Yes, maybe we could if she didn’t have a compromised immune system, but she does, so an overabundance of carefulness is necessary). She will see her grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousin – but not see them all at once, in person, or be able to hug them.

Moments like this bring it home for the kids, so there is that.

Also, the child is miserable today. MISERABLE. So, we shall see how well this zooming – that is what I call it – goes. She is currently melting because she asked me to fix her headphones, and I did. That’s it – the end of the story. So. Yeah.

It looks like tomorrow should be chilly and rainy – and maybe even SNOWY?! – and Sunday should be somewhat decent, so hopefully, everyone can get out for a bit this weekend.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1) In Florida, the leaders of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which is a self-described religious institution, has been ordered to a federal court to cease and desist marketing and selling what they say is a COVID-19 cure. The product is, in fact, a bleaching agent.

Genesis II has long marketed a product called “Master Mineral Solution” (MMS) as a cure for many different illnesses – from Alzheimer’s to HIV/AIDS. At the end of March, federal prosecutors found out that the “church” was now claimed that MMS is a cure for COVID-19. The US Attorney’s office in South Florida immediately requested a temporary restraining order, claiming that MMS is not only not a cure, but also unsafe.

They also contend that Genesis is not, in fact, a church, but is actually a secular organization. In the request, the prosecutors stated that when they warned Genesis officials that what they were doing was illegal, that “defendants responded with open defiance, explicitly avowing that they need not—and will ‘never’—obey the law.”

Genesis II is operated by Mark Grenon, Joseph Grenon, Jordan Grenon, and Jonathan Grenon. They sell what they call “sacramental kits,” and in these kits are two different two-ounce bottles – one of MMS (sodium Chlorite) and one that is called an Activator (hydrochloric acid).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Trump administration have all taken stands against any companies that are attempting to defraud those consumers concerned about the novel coronavirus pandemic. The FTC and The FDA have jointly sent warning letters to seven separate businesses claiming to have medicines that treat or cure the coronavirus.

The FDA itself has sent a letter to Genesis, addressed to Bishop Mark Grenon, Joseph Grenon, Jordan Grenon, and Jim Humble that demanded an immediate cease and desist of the sale of any medication that they claim treats COVID-19.

After two days, the FDA received a response from Archbishop and Co-founder Grenon, who stated that as a church, they do not need the FDA’s approval or permission to provide sacraments to their parishioners, in fact, writing: “You have no authority over us!…Never going to happen.”

This is not the first warning the church has received about MMS by the FDA, which has been cautioning against the solution since 2010.

2)  In a followup to yesterday, the two escaped felons from Wisconsin have been captured and are back in custody. They were recognized and reported when they went to a homeless shelter in Illinois, over 100 miles away from the maximum-security prison from which they escaped.

Miss Carly’s Homeless Services Center, located in Rockford, IL, opened the door to two men who looked like they were people the shelter would typically love to help. Then the founder of Miss Carly’s, Carly Rice, happened to notice that the two men had on gray sweatpants with thermal tops – a classic inmate outfit.

Rice admits that she is entirely aware of how prisoners dress, as she has quite the history within the system herself. The knock on the door came at about 8:30 a.m. The two men were out for about 27 hours at that point.

Rice doesn’t have a TV, but she did recall seeing something about a Wisconsin jailbreak on social media. She made the two men coffee and provided them cigarettes to prevent them from leaving after she excused herself and called the cops. It took only minutes for the police to arrive – and the two men surrendered with no incident.

3) New York lawmakers today are informally investigating Ticketmaster. This was announced days after the company announced that it had altered its refund policy, and that policy would now exclude all postponed events, a policy that the state Senate is now investigating. Woodbury Orange County Sen. James Skoufis led the charge to open the investigation after receiving reports about the new policy.

After receiving his request, the state attorney general’s office has confirmed that they will be looking into the situation but that no formal investigation is happening at this time.

Skoufis is requesting a formal inquiry, insisting that this is corporate robbery, as many events are postponed until there are further developments in how COVID is developing across the country.

4) If you are looking to have something for your kids to do, there will be a new activity as of next week. Michelle Obama is partnering with PBS to read some classic children’s books. It will be available on the Penguin Random House sites as well.

5) There were two fires in Saratoga County today that took over a dozen fire departments to respond. There were no injuries in either fire, according to fire department officials. The first blaze was in Ballston Lake, and the second was in Wilton.

Have a great weekend, CivMixers!

Photo credit: George Fazio.