Wednesday, oh Wednesday, you are here again. That means that this week is officially past its halfway point. We have only two days left to go. I am genuinely excited about this. Which leads me to say that I may need to readdress the excitement levels in my world. I guess that is a me problem though, right?
For the second time in two days, President Trump held a press conference to address the ongoing problems associated with COVID-19, with nearly 4 million confirmed cases across the U.S.
Yesterday, Trump (somewhat reluctantly) admitted that the virus is going to get worse before it starts to get better and that health experts are not wrong in recommending wearing masks. Of course, they have been suggesting that for weeks now, and the president is only just now coming around to accepting the advice – not to mention following it himself.
I am sure Liz will cover today’s briefing in further detail in Rise and Shine tomorrow morning.
So, let’s focus on today…
1) Five days after the violent deaths of three men who were killed while on a fishing trip at a lake in Frostproof, Florida, three suspects have been taken into custody.
According to Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd, the suspects came into contact with one of the victims shortly before the trio was murdered in a store. The three arrested were Tony “TJ.” Wiggins, age 26, his girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore, and brother William “Robert” Wiggins, 21.
Tony Wiggins is being held on suspicion of murdering all three men. Whittemore and the younger Wiggins are being charged with accessory.
The victims were: Damion Tillman, 23, Brandon Rollins, 27, and Keven Springfield, 30. Rollins was able to call his father and cry for help before he died.
The police were led to the three suspects when they found a receipt inside of a bag for a local Dollar General store at the scene of what they are referring to as a massacre. Surveillance video from that store showed Tillman making a purchase, and the clerk confirmed that Tillman mentioned he and his friends planned to go fishing. The three suspects were also on the video, and the clerk confirmed that they likely overheard that fishing conversation.
On Monday, land where TJ Wiggins lives in Lake Wales, FL, was searched. Wiggins is a convicted felon. Guns found in a safe at the property allowed Wiggins to be taken into custody for the charge of possessing a firearm as a convict. Upon questioning, Robert Wiggins broke down, confirming that they had seen Tillman at the store and followed them to their final destination.
After the shooting of three men, the suspects went to McDonald’s and ordered 10 double cheeseburgers and two chicken sandwiches and took them home to eat. Robert Wiggins ran his truck through a carwash the next morning.
Wiggins has done two stints in prison. In March of this year, he was arrested for aggravated battery and aggravated assault, both with a deadly weapon. He was released on bond.
Robert Wiggins is facing an additional charge of tampering with evidence. All three are scheduled to appear in court tomorrow at 1 p.m.
2) What is it with you, 2020? Fears of a tsunami late yesterday in Alaska drove some residents to seek safety on higher ground.
A tsunami warning was issued after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit off the Alaskan shore yesterday, at around 10:12 p.m., local time. The quake took place about 65 miles away from Perryville, a tiny Alaskan community. It was 17 miles – or 28 km – deep, according to the latest data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Within 100 miles of the quake, residents reported feeling strong movements of shaking. Mild shaking was reported as far as 500 miles away in the larger Anchorage area. Kodiak Island is located approximately 200 miles from the center of the earthquake, and many residents flocked to shelters until they were told it was safe to go home. There was a multitude of aftershocks reported, many with a 4.0 or higher magnitude.
In the communities along the Alaska coast, these tsunami warnings are about as commonplace as tornado warnings in the landlocked states of Tornado Alley.
The earthquake last night happened in what is known as the Alaska-Aleutian Trench, where in 1964, there was an earthquake that recorded a 9.2 magnitude. That is the second most powerful quake recorded to this day, causing destruction as far away as California and Oregon. There was only nominal damage reported from this quake.
In the U.S., Alaska is the most seismically active state, with almost 25,000 recorded incidents recorded since Jan. 1 of this year.
3) According to a report by BeerBoard, an Armory Square Company, New York is lagging behind the majority of other states in re-opening bars and restaurants, as well as in pouring draft beer.
The Syracuse-based tech company ranked New York 37th in the percentage of re-opened locations with draft beer options. The company keeps track of and monitors taps at accounts across the nation.
Nationwide, an average of 91.1 percent of the taps the company manages was open last weekend. Here in the Empire State, the percentage was only at 83.3. New York does meet the country’s average of taps pouring at 49 percent.
Over the past two weeks, the taps in use across the state have dropped 9.3 percent.
Meanwhile, as New York tentatively continues to control its COVID crisis, states across the nation have seen soaring infection numbers. Yet, 13 states have reported 100 percent in re-openings, according to the latest report from BeerBoard, and nationally that number stands at 91 percent
Beerboard is not drawing the correlations between the numbers of open bars or pouring taps, but many have noticed a relationship between the states with high numbers in both.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been clamping down on establishments that serve alcohol, not allowing gathering at bars and requiring food to be ordered with drinks. All of this correlates with his belief that gatherings in those locations may be what is actively contributing to other states’ spikes in COVID cases.
4) In a still developing story, police have confirmed that there were shots fired in the Crossgates Mall area. Albany police have stated that no one was injured. The mall is in lockdown still, and there is a command center set up at Crossgates Commons, in the vicinity of Walmart.
An employee at the mall has said that there were two shots fired downstairs near the Apple Store and Burlington Coat Factory.
Members of the Albany and Guilderland police departments are on site and are investigating. According to an eyewitness, they are letting people leave stores five at a time.
As more information becomes available, we will keep you updated.
5) There is the threat of even more severe weather in the forecast today. Damaging winds are possible, as is large hail. There is also the possibility in the area of a tornado spawning. Please stay tuned to your surroundings and listen for any alerts.
Tomorrow’s conditions will be similar to today.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.