5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: May 21, 2020

Another gorgeous day in the Capital Region, CivMixers!! I hope everyone got out to enjoy it.

As we roll to another weekend, everything is holding steady where we left it on the regional monitoring dashboard yesterday, with NYC, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson regions still the only three not open and in Phase I.

Although there is no plan for the beginning of the school year next fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did announce today that summer school in New York will be online. Meal services for children in need will continue as will childcare for the kids of health care workers. 

The Cuomo administration is still working with top health care officials and other experts to make decisions for summer camps.

Since the more severe issues with children and COVID-19 complications have surfaced, it’s now in doubt that summer camps will re-open at all. With no firm outlook or guidelines on the re-opening or running of camps, many camp administrators have been working on re-tooling their camp infrastructures and programs to operate during the COVID crisis. 

Onto today’s 5 Things.

1)  There was a shooting on a Texas naval air station today that is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Early this morning, around 7:15 a.m. at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Naval Security Forces responded to reports of an active shooter. Officials have confirmed the incident is being considered an act of terrorism.

The suspected shooter was shot and killed by the NSF, which is searching for another person of interest in conjunction with local, state, and federal authorities.

According to the Navy, there was one injury aside from the shooter. A sailor who is a part of the Corpus Christi NSF sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital.

The shooting took place at the North Gate of the AirStation, and that gate remains closed. The South Gate has re-opened to traffic. In a video sent to a local Corpus Christi news station, some two dozen small-arms fire shots can be heard coming from the area of the North Gate.

The shooting took place during the AirStation’s busy morning commute. Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy personnel all train on the base, and so do some foreign student pilots.

The Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi is also the main headquarters for the Corpus Christi Army Depot, which is the main maintenance deport for all of the Dept. of Defense rotary-wing aircraft. It also the home base for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.

Today’s shooting came just days after U.S. AG William Barr claimed that the December 2019 NAS Pensacola, FL shooting was linked to Al Qaeda, and declared it to be an act of terrorism.

2) Today, congressional Democrats, including Rep. Bobby Scott, chairman of the House Education Committee, Sen. Patty Murray, Senate Education Committee ranking member, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, joined forces to accuse U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of attempting to reroute money to private schools.

The CARES Act, the last federal coronavirus aid bill, included $13 billion to assist public K-12 schools with any costs that may have arisen out of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Congressional Democrats are claiming DeVos attempted to direct much of that fund to private K-12 institutions instead.

Approximately three weeks ago, DeVos published guidance that indicated there should be a benefit out of the emergency aid that should go to private institutions. The money was determined to be distributed based on how many low-income and vulnerable students a district has. It is modeled after the existing U.S. DOE Title I guidelines and how those titles are handed out.

Under this formula, the money is supposed to be sent where it is most needed to ensure that all students succeed. This does include some private schools with low-income students. The DOE is interpreting the CARES Act very differently, saying private schools should get subsidized services that are based on the overall number of students that they are serving and not just by counting their low-income pupils.

Under the DOE interpretation, it is possible that in certain areas where there are large private school populations could get more of the relief money than those public districts that are serving a more vulnerable base.

School Districts have responded to the DOE’s April 30 guidance, stating that if left as is their guidance could harm the very students it was meant to help the most.

The Education Law Center who is an advocacy group for education policy stated in a letter to the governor of New Jersey that DeVos’ current understanding of the CARES Act is a “patent misreading” that would cause Newark Public Schools, in particular, to redirect additional money from their students to help fund what they are granting to private schools under CARES.

School leaders in states across the nation are likely to ignore the federal guidance on this matter, saying they refuse to let political games play into the intent of COVID aid funds.

3) Sulejman Muratovic, 19, of Brooklyn, was caught by State Troopers going over twice the speed limit in Sullivan County. He now faces a plethora of charges.

Yesterday at around 12:45 in the afternoon, they finally caught up to him after he led them on a high-speed chase. He was first spotted by the NYST in his 2020 BMW M340, blue, going 111 MPH in a 55 MH zone on State Rte. 17.  When they attempted to pull him over, He exited at exit 113 and went north on Rte. 209 before pulling back onto Rte. 17.

At one point, Muratovic pulled over and then sped away as troopers approached the car. He was finally caught at approximately 2:30 PM on Kukas Roady in Thompson. Local Troopers saw the car outside of a house, and Muratovic was inside.

The car was registered to him, and authorities are still not sure why he fled from them.

4) Throughout the Capital District over the past 24 hours, there have been approximately 30 overdoses by people taking cocaine laced with fentanyl.

In Rensselaer county, there were at least a dozen of those overdoses, with two people succumbing to the drugs in their system last night.

With the unusual amount of overdose calls around the entire region, if you need Naloxone – the opioid overdose reversal drug – please do what you must to get some. There is no one keeping a list of who is getting it, and it can save lives.

5) Fort William Henry Hotel is ready and excited to re-open Memorial Day weekend. They have worked with the Warren County re-opening task force and have planned out their sanitizing guidelines.

Though it will look different in the post-COVID reality, the hotel is eager to get back to serving its guests with even higher standards of guest care than before. Their new cleaning and operating procedures are based on guidance from the CDC as well as the NYS DOH, and even from talking to others in the trade.

Guests will need to wear masks in communal areas and abide by social distancing rules.

Many accommodation places in Lake George are re-opening with the same guidelines. Also opening are hiking trails and certain marina services. There is no word yet on the re-opening of Million Dollar Beach.

That’s all for tonight, folks. Stay safe, happy, and see you tomorrow.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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