The week is officially over halfway done, CivMixers. Today is also the mid-point of July, with this summer going so much faster than the spring did, in my opinion.
I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler and more comfortable weather. It has been a busy news week, and, as noted, it’s only halfway over.
Let’s check out what’s happening in the world.
1) For the first time since World War II, there will be no New Year’s Day Rose Parade in 2021.
The organizers of the Pasadena, CA tradition said that due to the re-opening timeline of California after COVID-19, it will be impossible for them to host this popular event as usual.
Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association President Bob Miller said this decision was made neither lightly nor quickly, and the Association is very sad about this turn events, but, due to the fact that they are unable to know for certain that the parade can occur in a safe way, abiding by health protocols, there really was no other choice.
The Rose Parade is well-known for its colors and its lavish floats covered in live flowers. In 2019, there were around 700,000 people in attendance, with approximately 37 million TV viewers.
The Association commissioned a feasibility and safety report from public health experts at the Keck School of Medicines, who found that even with increased protocols, it would be a high-risk environment for the spread of the virus and also draw attendees from far and wide, which, given the current state of things, is not a good idea.
Parade organizers are hopeful the event will return in 2022.
2) Today the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that there had been a warrant issued for 19-year-old Julian Conley in the shooting death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner during the July Fourth weekend.
The warrant charged Conley with felony murder and aggravated assault, said APD spokesman Anthony W. Grant, who added that the department is currently working on bringing Conley into custody.
Turner was killed while in a car with her mother and an as of yet unidentified male on the July 4th holiday. According to reports, they were attempting to turn around in an illegally barricaded parking lot.
According to Jackie Patterson, Conley’s lawyer, Conley was expected to turn himself in at the police headquarters late this afternoon. Conley says he was not involved in the incident, but was at the scene with a weapon. He was peacefully protesting and claims, through Patterson, that he is nothing more than an eyewitness.
Patterson says his client maintains that multiple people were shooting at the car, and the APD has also noted that there were two male shooters.
The investigation is ongoing.
3) Here’s some good news for New Yorkers who are craving a return to some cultural experiences: The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it will be re-opening its Fifth Avenue historic landmark location next month to visitors Thursday to Monday, closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The hours on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
When it emerges from its pandemic-induced shutdown on August 29th, The Met will have three new exhibitions on display for its visitors. This has been the museum’s longest shutdown in over a century.
Before COVID, the longest The Met had shut its doors was for three days. When they shut down in March, the first of the many museums in New York City to do so, they projected a loss of at least $100 million worth of revenue.
To re-open to the public, The Met has crafted new public health procedures following Center for Disease Control guidelines. All in the museum will have to wear face coverings, and social distancing is recommended.
The three new exhibitions include a celebration of The Met’s history with “Making the Met, 1870-2020,” a survey of the USA’s formative history in a series by modernist painter Jacob Lawrence entitled “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle,” and on the roof garden will be a commission “Lattice Detour” by Héctor Zamora.
The Upper Manhattan medieval art outpost known as The Met Cloisters will not re-open until September, and its final location, the Met Breuer, will be closing for good, following the plans begun before the March shutdown to vacate that location.
4) Today, a sentencing hearing shed some light on Air National Guard members with ties with the Scotia 109th Airlift Wing, who allegedly smuggled firearms and other accessories into the US, according to prosecutors.
After a year-long investigation, former technical sergeant Timothy R Schmitt, 28, was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000. Schmitt, a Galway native, was caught smuggling a threaded blackout barrel and a silencer into the country on a military flight.
Schmitt came to the attention of federal investigators when they were looking into two other guardsmen – 41-year-old Kevin D. Ronca from Amsterdam and 34-year-old Joseph R. Paludi from Schenectady. Both were members of Scotia’s 109th Airlift Wing’s maintenance squadron, and both were under suspicion of importing firearms or accessories.
Ronca, a master sergeant, admitted to a conspiracy to import illegal firearms. He turned in Pauldi as the one who aided him in the plot of buying and bringing two silencers into the country via a military aircraft. On Halloween 2019, Ronca was sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine and serve three years of probation – including three full months of house arrest.
The Scotia 109th Airlift Wing Squadron is based out of the Stratton Air National Guard base located at 1 Air National Guard Road in Scotia. Their primary function is to run flights that bring the scientist and their supplies to the Antarctica research facility. Their planes are specially equipped to land in the South Pole with skis, and their specialty in this matter has brought the squad national attention.
The investigation into the smuggling case was run by the joint effort of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Office of Homeland Security and the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Assistant US Attorney Douglas Collyer handled the prosecution.
5) The Albany Police Department arrested five Troy teenagers following a car chase the started last night at approximately 6 p.m. on Livingston Avenue.
According to the APD, a patrol officer saw a car on Livingston Avenue that had been reported stolen in Troy. The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, and the driver would not stop. He led the officer on a chase that ended around Arbor Drive
When the car stopped, five people exited and ran from the vehicle, beginning a short foot pursuit. The teens were all captured and taken into the custody of the APD. The investigation that followed led the police to find a .380 caliber handgun. The gun was loaded.
The five were all charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree. All were underage, and therefore, the APD will not be releasing their names or pictures. Their ages are 14, 16,16, 17, and 17. One of the 17-year-olds was driving, and that male was allegedly also charged with criminal possession of the stolen property in the third degree.
All have arraignments scheduled in the Albany County Family Court.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.