5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: Aug. 14, 2020

Happy Friday, CivMixers. It has been a very full week.

We had a historic announcement when Kamala Harris was tapped to be the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The White House went on the attack, targeting everything/one from Harris to the U.S> postal service – declaring fraud in an election that won’t happen until November.

A group of people with no masks threw a pop-up party on an New York City bus.

It’s still Shark Week, and a Great White was spotted off of Wells Beach, Maine, which is definitely NOT a regular occurrence – trust the shark geek here.

And yet another MCU era came to an iconic and emotional close as Agents of Shield aired its season finale.

How can we even boil it all down to 5 Things? We can’t, really. But we must try.

1) The FBI is asking for the public’s assistance in the case of Leila Cavett, a 21-year-old mom who has been missing since late last month when she and her son went on a trip to Florida. Her son Kamdyn, 2, was found wandering around a Miramar apartment complex alone and shoeless on July 26. Cavett was last seen just hours before.

The mother and son traveled to Florida from Georgia, and they arrived in the state alone. Two days after the boy was found, Cavett’s car was found in Hollywood, Florida.

George Piro, special agent in charge of the investigation out of the Miami Field Office of the FBI, said the agency is not ready to share all information they have related to the case, but that they are looking at all angles and have the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies.

Cavett is about five feet, four inches tall, and weighs approximately 120 pounds. She has two tattoos on her right arm – a Jesus fish on her right wrist, and her son’s name – “Kamdyn” – on her right inner arm.

Piro and the FBI are asking that anyone with any information about what might have happened to Cavett come forward. They can do so anonymously, if they so choose.

The authorities have released photos of both Cavett’s Silverado 3500 truck, a late 90’s model, and a picture of her in a different vehicle that they are trying to identify.

According to the lawyer hired by Cavett’s family, Javaron Buckley, they have no clue why she even went to Florida in the first place. The only relatives to the family there are distant ones, and they live in Tampa.

Due to a lack of evidence, the FBI had to release a male that they had taken into custody who matched the description of someone seen with Cavett. Cavett was last seen in Hollywood, but neither the FBI nor Buckley have revealed if the man in question was seen with her there.

2) In Los Angeles, California, two wildfires emerged one right after the other. This is a bad sign for the wildfire season, which is only just now getting underway, with the heat today only expected to further complicate matters.

One fire that started yesterday is raging near the San Gabriel Canyon, east of LA, and is known as the Ranch2 Fire. This Ranch2 Fire is following right behind another fire, which is massive and quick, burning near the North of LA near Lake Hughes.

Ranch2 was still being fought at noon today by at least 100 personnel and has already burned around 2,500 acres. So far, no part of the fire has been contained.

The other fire to the North has consumed over 11,000 acres and is approximately 12 percent contained as of this morning. As personnel continue to fight the blazes, evacuations and road closures will remain in place.

According to Cal Fire, there are 13 wildfires currently raging in the state. Seven of them are classified as significant by the National Interagency Fire Center. As of this point, approximately 204,000 acres have burned. Last year the total acreage lost was 260,000 acres, and three people were killed. The worst wildfire season in history was 2018 with just shy of 2 million acres destroyed and 100 people dead.

The budget for California to suppress and prevent wildfires has been suspended because of the pandemic.

California is not the only state suffering from wildfires this year. There are wildfires classified as significant in over 12 states, including multiple blazes in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Colorado has three major wildfires underway. The Pine Gulch Fire is one of the largest in the state’s history and has already destroyed approximately 70,000 acres. The second of the third is only a few hours away, known as the Grizzly Creek Fire, and has already burned around 14,000 acres. It has closed down Interstate 70.

3) According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, cultural institutions, including museums, can begin opening in New York City as of Aug. 24. The announcement today comes after five months closure due to COVID-19, which led to significant layoffs and financial issues for many institutions.

Cuomo’s announcement coincided with the news that the virus infection rate in New York has been about 1 percent for the past seven consecutive days. This is welcome news to administrators of cultural institutions, who were shocked last month when the governor did not allow them to open when Phase 4 began in the Big Apple on July 20.

There will be significant public health restrictions in place at all locations. Only 25 percent capacity will be allowed, for example, and they will have to use a timed ticketing system to carefully monitor and regulate how many people attend at any time. The flow of traffic will have to be controlled as well, and face coverings have to be worn everywhere and by everyone.

Excluded from these institutions are all performing arts venues – including Broadway theaters.

4) In 1945, Jimmy Siro, the famed Waldorf Astoria maître d’, purchased a building on Lincoln Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Since then, Siro’s has been one of the most prominent and sought after eateries in the city during track season. Now, it has been shut down due to what city officials say was a forged insurance certificate.

The city posted a letter on the door for current owner, Scott Solomon, revoking the restaurant’s Chapter 136 Eating and Drinking License due to the false certificate. Upon checking the Certificate of Insurance provided by Solomon, it was confirmed that Cooling Insuring Agency had not issued the COI, the agent listed.

According to Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, there was a “no trespassing” sign placed on the door with the letter yesterday evening. She expressed her regret, saying the city never wants to have to shut down businesses. According to the letter, Solomon has the right to a hearing.

Solomon, along with a silent partner, took over the lease for Siro’s in 2019. At that time, he was also a co-owner of the now-defunct Pig’ N’ Whistle restaurant on Broadway. Solomon was also a member of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee. This is not the first time he has gotten in trouble for forged documents.

In February of this year, Solomon, 32, allegedly wrote bad checks totaling $54,000. According to the State Police, he was charged with two felonies – grand larceny and possession of a forged instrument.

5) Keith Raniere, former leader of NXIVM, was convicted last year on the charges about his upstate cult presented as a self-help group. Today, his sentencing was set for Oct. 7, 2020.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis had a conference call with Raniere’s lawyers and informed them that he was making the arrangements for the federal court to sentence Raniere in Brooklyn, which will include victim impact statements. Garaufis said that they will figure out how to make the courtroom safe for everyone.

Raniere’s charges come with a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of life in prison.

Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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