5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: July 7, 2020

Happy Tuesday, CivMixers!! I hope everyone is having a lovely summer so far. Please be mindful of the heat outside in the coming days. Stay hydrated, keep cool as much as you can, and limit time outside.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1) In Florida, Daniel Uhlfelder, the lawyer who sued Gov. Ron DeSantis for what he alleged was the premature reopening of local beaches, has been going to said beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper and warning sun seekers of the dangers of the novel coronavirus.

Uhlfelder has been calling for DeSantis to mandate wearing masks, claiming that leaving decisions on public health policy to local officials has contributed to the spikes of COVID-19 in the state.

DeSantis spokesman Cody McCloud, in response to Uhlfelder, said that since officials in the biggest counties have already made masks mandatory, the majority of the state is already in compliance. As for the more rural parts of the state, McCloud said, there are few to no cases of COVID, and therefore a state-wide mask mandate is not needed.

DeSantis yesterday reiterated that some of the uptick in Covid cases is partly due to an increase in testing. He also said that right now, the fatality rate is still near zero, and confirmed that the median age of positive tests is 36. According to the Florida Department of Health, the report of 6,336 new cases brings the total reported to 206,447 cases, and 3,778 deaths have been reported as of yesterday.

Uhlfelder is targeting the beaches they draw the biggest crowds – including visitors from around the world. Since the beginning of May, he has traveler from Miami to Jacksonville to spread his personal gospel, and has gotten pushback in some case from those who are offended and upset with his rather drastic approach.

2) Today, crews in Richmond, Virginia, removed the third statue honoring Confederate heroes to be taken down this week.

The statue in question, depicting Confederate General James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart was raised on Monument Avenue in 1907. As the crews took the statue down, a gathered crowd celebrated by shouting “Black Lives Matter” and singing celebratory songs.

J.E.B. Stuart was a commander of the Cavalry Corps of Northern Virginia. The statue, which depicted him in full uniform on his horse, stood 15 feet tall atop a seven-foot pedestal. Stuart was wounded by a soldier fighting for the Union and died from that injury on May 12, 1864 at the age of 31.

Stuart’s statue was placed in the bullseye by protestors joining the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd by an ex-Minnesota cop. Initially, demonstrators tried to pull it down themselves. In response, the Richmond Police declared that protest to be an unlawful assembly.

On July 1, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered all city-owned statues of Confederate figures to be removed, claiming the right under his emergency pandemic powers. The first two removed were Stonewall Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury (a Naval officer). According to Stoney, the statues will be placed in storage and city officials, with public input, will decide their fate.

The last significant statue still standing is the Lee monument that is on state-owned land. This monument to General Robert E. Lee has been protected temporarily in a court order, with an injunction granted after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered it to be taken down in June.

3) In Rochester, a statue of the famed escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was torn from its base in Maplewood Park on Sunday. Rochester police are still investigating.

Sunday was the 168th anniversary of one of Douglass’s most famous speeches, given in Rochester in 1852. The site of the statue in Maplewood Park was a spot on the Underground Railroad, where Douglass joined Harriet Tubman in helping other slaves escape their shackles and find freedom.

The statue itself was found approximately 50 feet from its home at the Genesee River gorge. There was damage to both the base and one of the fingers of the statue.

Though President Donald Trump and some others have posited possible perpetrators, La’Ron Singletary, the chief of Police in Rochester has stated that the inspiration behind the vandalism is unknown.

4) New York State Police arrested a 33-year-old woman in Clifton Park today. She is accused of breaking into a home, attacking the inhabitant, and damaging property.

Police say that a little before 4 p.m. this past Friday, Cassandra R. Honsinger went into the home of a Halfmoon resident and attacked that individual. They say the victim and Honsinger knew each other before the incident.

The victim was allegedly punched and strangled at the hands of Honsinger, who then went on to damage property around the home. When officers arrived on the scene, they arrested her while first responders treated the victim.

According to the police, Honsinger is being charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree strangulation, third-degree criminal mischief, and third-degree assault. The maximum sentence she could receive for all the charges – if convicted – is 37 years behind bars.

5) Today, Troy officials announced neighborhood cooling stations to help combat the steadily rising temperatures. All public health protocols must be observed, social distancing must be maintained, and masks have to be worn.

The Troy Fire Department will be running the cooling stations that will run from 1 PM to 8 PM today through Friday, July 10 at the following locations:

  • Lansingburgh -Intersection of 109th Street and 8th Avenue (Adjacent to Rensselaer Park Elementary)
  • Little Italy- 5th Avenue, Liberty and Hill Streets (Little Italy Market Place)
  • North Central- 7th Avenue, between Swift Street and Park Avenue (Adjacent to Troy Central Little League)
  • South Troy- 3rd Street and Canal Avenue (Canal Street Park)

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

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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