Hello CivMixers! Welcome to Tuesday, and the Revenge of the Fifth…will the StarWars puns ever stop giving?
This one came along as “May the 4th Be With You” StarWars day grew in popularity. It was a a follow-up to the day of all things, StarWars and a pun on the prequel Revenge of the Sith. It is the day for fans to embrace their inner darkness safely, and see what exactly the power of the dark side is all about.
On that note, let’s get to it, shall we?
1) People who attempted to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program won’t get away with it, according to the US Justice Department, which today filed the first of an unknown number of charges targeting who falsely filed seeking relief from a fund intended to assist small businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The PPP is administered by the Small-Business Administration. The program quickly ran out of the cash allocated to it in the first round of federal stimulus funding and now is working through Round II of funding. Unfortunately, it has became a target for those trying to take advantage of the system.
One such person was 52-year old David Staveley of Andover, MA. He applied for more than $400,000 – ostensibly to assist him in paying employees at his three restaurants – two of which he failed to mention closed before the crisis ever hit. He did not say that the one remaining restaurant actually has a new owner, according to federal prosecutors.
Staveley exchanged emails with small business owner David Butziger of Warwick, RI, in which he lied about how many employees he had in an attempt to procure a forgivable loan of $105,000. Prosecutors allege the two men discussed how to submit fraudulent loan applications.
Rhode Island US Attorney Aaron Weisman expressed disgust that anyone would attempt to defraud and essentially steal from a program that is working to help Americans through this trying economic time. Under the March order from William Barr, Attorney General of the US, all fraudulent behavior and scam attempts stemming from the coronavirus crisis were lifted into high priority.
Both Staveley and Butziger were arrested on multiple charges, which include conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
2) There are new developments in the case of the Michigan security guard who was killed after trying to enforce face mask rules.
Calvin Munerlyn fought with Sharmel Teague, 45, after he refused to allow her daughter into a Family Dollar store without the state-mandated face mask. The two were caught arguing on video surveillance footage. Teague then left, and a short while later, two men arrived to pick up where she left off. The argument ended with the younger man fatally shooting Munerlyn in the head.
Teague today was formally arraigned via video conference in district court. She was denied bail, and there is a probable cause conference scheduled for May 14.
The two men have been identified as Teague’s husband, Larry Teague, 44 and Tamonyea Bishop, 23, her son. Witnesses confirm that it is Bishop who fired the gun They have not yet been found, and police and the David Leyton, the Genesee County prosecutor’s representative, believes they are on the lam.
All three will be charged with gun charges. Larry Teague is also going to face charges for ignoring the face mask executive order.
As of now, the daughter has been neither identified nor charged.
3) As New York gets further away from the apex of the COVID-19 outbreak, more deaths are being attributed to the virus as a result of increased access to testing. Today, an additional 1,700 adult care and nursing home deaths have been revealed as undiagnosed COVID-19 cases.
As of yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration confirmed close to 5,000 nursing home deaths as of March 1. This list does not include those transferred to hospitals before passing away.
Many nursing homes have reported over 40 deaths, with two with the highest rate of fatalities located in New York City. In Queens, the Parker Jewish Institute has reported 71 deaths, and the Isabella Geriatric Center has reported 21 deaths. Cuomo aide Jim Malatras said the Isabella number is believed to be much higher – closer to 64.
Cuomo has made it clear that right now, all numbers have to be looked at fluidly. Confirmed deaths can be counted, “presumed” means believed to be attributed to COVID-19, but not a guarantee.
Though there was a directive to all nursing homes to screen all visitors and then suspend all visitation as of March 12, the Cuomo administration is under fire for what many senior advocates see as a failure of the government to protect some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
4) Early this morning, Albany City firefighters responded to Broad Street as two of its buildings were ablaze. Just before 5 a.m., they got the call to respond to the two-story residence at 146 Broad St., and find that both stories were on fire. The fire spread next door to 148 Broad St. It took just over an hour to declare the fire under control.
The structure at 146 Broad St. is vacant, so investigators are trying to determine how the fire started. The building next door, 148 Broad St., was occupied. Seven people and two pit bulls escaped the flames unscathed. One firefighter was transmitted to the hospital with an injury. Fire Chief Gregory says the injured firefighter is doing fine.
148 Broad St. suffered a significant amount of damage, but can be salvaged. 146 Broad St. is not so lucky and will need to be demolished.
5) Many restaurants are struggling to survive amid the COVID-19 crisis by offering take-out service only. The Ko family decided to open their new restaurant, Son of Egg, as scheduled.
Justin Ko and his mother, Mincho Ko, have been trying to find the perfect place to open their restaurant and launch their business. Even in the face of the COVID quarantine, they decided to go ahead and open their Madison Avenue establishment.
Justin is the manager of Son of Egg, and his mother is the creative force behind the stove. With a newly signed lease, a lot of excitement, and the hope of succeeding, they saw no other way but to move forward.
When the Kos lived in Portland, they owned a deli, but they didn’t transfer the business to Albany. Justin and his mother are marching forward under the eating establishment limitations during COVID. They haven’t been able to hire any help, so they are going it with themselves and a pared-down menu.
If you are looking for something new, be sure to give them a call for some take out at (518) 917-3806.
That’s all for today, CivMixers.Until tomorrow, a little inspiration from Master Windu.
Photo credit (for the featured post photo, not the Star Wars still): George Fazio.