Good Afternoon CivMixers. It’s Wednesday, and I am exhausted. I woke up last night with shooting pain in my face, and now am on antibiotics for an infection in my jaw. My poor wife and daughter. I am a bear when I don’t feel right.
I publicly apologize for my bad attitude over the past few days…oops…my bad.
Following up on a story from yesterday’s introduction: The woman who died off the coast of Maine was killed by a great white shark – the first fatal shark attack in the state’s history. In fact, rhere has been only one other reported shark attack in the state, according to the International Shark Attack File, a global database of shark attacks. (Yes, that’s a thing).
Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was a resident of New York City, though she and her family owned property in the Maine area and spent time there often.
Though this story is indeed terrifying, you should know that the likelihood of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3.75 million, according to the International Wildlife Museum.
You’ve got a much better chance at getting COVID-19….so wear a mask and wash your hands and stay six feet apart, OK?
Now, let’s get down to our five things for the day.
1) Today, the Department of Homeland security and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown separately announced that the two sides have agreed to the withdrawal of federal agents from Portland’s protest riddled downtown. They both painted different pictures of what went into this compromise.
The protests have raged on daily in Portland, with some bursts of violence for the past two months. They started as a response to George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Brown has resisted the presence of the agents and said she discussed the issue with Vice President Mike Pence, and only then was an agreement to withdraw made. She called the agents an occupying force that has done more harm than good.
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf reiterated that the federal agents are there to protect federal property. He stated that federal authorities would be coordinating with Oregon State Police to make sure that the government buildings and property in the city are protected. He said that all DHS law enforcement currently in the city would stay until they are comfortable with the plans.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy DHS secretary, stated that some of officers would be staying to protect the courthouse – likely those stationed there anyway. He also said there would be ancillary officers in the area who will be on standby and ready to mobilize if needed.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was happy to hear of the agreement, and said he felt assured that those agents who remain behind will engage only if violence erupts. At the White House, President Trump stressed that the agents maintained security at the federal courthouse and that no one will be leaving until the city is secured.
These are all very different explanations of the agreement, and downright contradictory. It seems that we will have to wait and see which one is closest to what actually happens.
2) In Phoenix, Arizona this morning, the Tempe Town Lake bridge partially collapsed after a train derailed and caused a massive fire. According to Union Pacific, the bridge that collapsed was inspected less than a month ago on July 9. When the south part of the bridge collapsed, it caused some of the rail cars to plunge to the empty park below it.
None of the rail cars appear to be leaking, and no tank cars were reported as part of the fire. Two of those cars contain cyclohexanol, a liquid used in producing nylon. It is flammable and harmful when inhaled.
There have been no fatalities reported so far. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.
3) U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, who is assigned to New York’s legal challenge of the Trump administration barring New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program, said last week that he reviewed disclosures that he described as “deeply troubling.”
After Furman’s comment, the DHS put New York back onto the TTP list. In the inquiry issued today, the U.S. attorney’s office and DHS have until Aug. 12 to submit a detailed list of every inaccurate or misleading statement regarding New York as well as identifying who put it in the ban.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to the ban by saying that this was simply an abuse of power purely for political reasons. He went on to say DHS Director Wolf and Cuccinelli had violated their oaths of office by allowing this to happen and could be held criminally liable.
New York wants the federal government to pay for its costs associated with the suit. Furman ordered mediation to figure those details out.
4) Calling all turkey spotters!! The state DEC is looking for residents to take part in their annual wild turkey survey. Using provided materials, participants will record the age composition and sex of any wild turkey it sees.
This is a vital survey in monitoring the state’s wild turkey population. If you are interested in taking part in this survey, please download this. The survey is 24 years old, first occurring in 1996.
Survey cards can be gotten from the DEC by calling (518) 402-8883, emailing, or online.
5) In 2019 on the heels of the Albany Empire arena football team winning the championship, the Arena Football League filed for bankruptcy. Today, the city of Albany is in talks to bring arena football back to the TU.
The TU Center is in talks with the owners of the Orlando Predators arena football team. It is not a sure thing as of yet, and we will monitor the negotiations and let you know the result, CivMixers.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: Kristin Lowman.