Welcome to July CivMixers!! Good news for any of my fellow Capital District Maine-goers – just today, Gov. Mills lifted the 72-hour test results/quarantine requirements for visitors from Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, thanks to the continued decrease in positive test results in those states.

I hope everyone is okay, as I know there were a lot of storms in the area last night. We left in monsoon rain and got notified of a power outage due to the weather. I hope you are all safe, warm, and dry.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1) In the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP) zone, the Seattle Police Department has shut down the protestor occupation by dispersing the demonstrators following an executive order issued by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The area surrounded Cal Anderson Park and the police department’s East Precinct. The CHOP zone has been under protestor occupation for the past few weeks. A few shootings occurred during that time, two of them fatal, which spurred Durkan’s decision.

The SPD tweeted notice beforehand that officers would be heading into the CHOP to enforce the mayor’s order to vacate, and that anyone who choose to remain in the area or return to it would be arrested. Thirty-one people were arrested, and they face a variety of charges, including assault, failure to disperse, obstruction and unlawful weapon possession.

SPD Chief Carmen Best reiterated that she supports the Black Lives Matter movement and wants to assist its members in making change. What she doesn’t support, however, is violence.

The SPD cleared the CHOP zone at approximately 5 a.m. Andre Taylor, a local organizer, said the idea behind the CHOP remains valid and is not necessarily dependent on any one location.

2)  In Tulsa, Oklahoma this week, a routine traffic stop went wrong for two officers with the Tulsa Police Department. A rookie officer is in critical condition, and a veteran officer is dead after their attempt to get a driver to follow their commands turned deadly.

Officer Aurash Zarkeshan completed training only six weeks ago, according to the TPD. On Monday morning, he pulled over a car on a routine issue on East 21st Street. After he ran the background information on the driver, David Anthony Ware, he called for back-up. Sergeant Craig Johnson, a 15-year-veteran of the department, responded to the call.

Ware, 33, refused to step outside of the vehicle when asked, according to TPD Chief of Police Wendell Franklin. Ware was asked to get out of the car a dozen times, with Johnson finally showing him his stun gun to force compliance. He did fire, but Ware was not impacted. Zarkeshan then used pepper-spray, and a struggle ensued.

Ware pulled a gun and shot the officers several times at the close range. Both officers were hit in the head. Ware then walked away, slowly, and got into another vehicle that appeared to be waiting to pick him up. Matthew Hall, 29, drove that car.

Both officers arrived at the hospital in critical condition. Johnson, who died Tuesday, is survived by two young sons and his wife. The TPD gave his family a Purple Heart for his death in the line of duty.

After Johnson’s death, Ware had a charge of first-degree murder tacked onto the existing counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of shooting with the intent to kill. Hall was charged as an accomplice to murder.

Ware should have a hearing in front of a judge this Thursday, and Hall will have his day in court on Sept. 2. Both are in the Tulsa County Jail and are being held with no bond.

3) Here in upstate New York, June was long, dry and hot. Predictions are saying that July is going to be dry and warm as well, which could led to prolonged drought and wildfires.

Starting tomorrow, the weather is predicted to come close to 90 degrees and stay there for about a week. There are only very scattered thunderstorms predicted in the area. However, that’s not the end of it, according to the National Weather Service – from July 8 to 11, the area from Colorado to New York is expected to see excessively hot temperatures.

The NWS also said that July is probably going to be hotter than usual. Over the next week, upstate is not expected to get any kind of measurable rain; the prediction is less than half-an-inch.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning all residents to be aware of this hot, dry climate when using any kind of “backyard fireworks” in celebration of the Fourth.

The National Drought Mitigation Center warns that around 44 percent of upstate already was considered abnormally dry, which is the step right before drought. We will know more tomorrow, as the weekly reports are issued on Thursdays.

4) Cohoes announced plans to open the public pool, Lansing’s Pool, this Sunday, July 5, for city residents only. It will be open for four swimming sessions each day.

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said the city is encouraging the annual tradition of summer fun at the pool as long as all newly-implemented public health protocols are followed. Each session will only allow 80 Cohoes residents in at a time, and ID will be required. All precautions already in place for public outings during the COVID-19 pandemic must be strictly followed.  

The pool is going to be open from 11 AM – 12:30 PM, 1 PM to 2:30 PM, 3 PM to 4:40 PM and from 5 PM to 7 PM.

There will be no access to change, so come ready to swim. No outside food or drinks will be allowed in. Social distancing will have to be practiced at all times, and all of those who are not swimming will be required to wear a mask.

It is asked that you do not enter the area at all if you are feeling ill or have recently been exposed to someone showing symptoms. There will be no congregating when not swimming, no group activities, and no jumping into the pool. There will be no access to the diving boards during this season.

The half-hour breaks between sessions will be used for the City to clean and sanitize the public benches and restrooms. There will be no adult-only swimming times nor any swimming lessons this season.

Troy is still working on getting the South Troy Pool open for this summer, according to John Salka, a spokesperson for Mayor Patrick Madden. They do not have an opening date set as of yet.

5) There have been two people sentenced in the shooting that injured a sleeping toddler inside of an Albany daycare last July. The toddler, 3, was napping in his South End daycare when one of several bullets that sprayed into the building hit him. Luckily he survived.

Bahkee Green, 18 and Jarrell Howard, 17, are both now in prison on multiple gun-related charges. Green was sentenced to 15 years and Howard to 10.

Howard is also being charged in connection to some of the recent shootings in Albany over June, specifically the shooting that resulted in the death of Nyjawaun Thomas, 21, on South Pearl Street.

That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.