5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: August 5, 2020

Hey CivMixers, we are almost over the middle-of-the-week hump. Today has been pretty mild weather-wise, dare I say beautiful even.

Today was also an important day in history. Today in 1858, for example, the first telegraph was sent across the Atlantic Ocean after many failed attempts.  In 1914, the German army began its assault on Liege, Belgium, which started the first battle of the Great War (WWI).

Most importantly, on Aug. 5, 1944, 348 Jewish prisoners were freed from a Warsaw German labor camp by Polish insurgents. Those released prisoners joined the insurgents in taking up arms against the German forces occupying their city. The battle would last for weeks.

So, let us see what happened today, shall we?

1) In Missouri, a contender backed by the Justice Democrats has declared victory over Rep. William Lacy Clay, 64. Clay’s family has been in control of the seat he currently holds since the 1960s, with his civil rights activist father holding the position before him.

Cori Bush, a racial justice activist, a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders and friend of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was declared the winner of the Missouri seat with 49 percent of the vote to Clay’s 46 percent. She is a former nurse and an ordained minister who could now be the first black woman in history elected to represent her state in Congress.

This was a re-match. In 2018, Bush, 44, lost to Clay. Clay revised his playbook from his last successful primary run, highlighting his long political history and Bush’s lack of experience. This time, however, it was not enough. There have been many “shake-ups” in this year’s cycle of elections, and this was one of them.

In 2001, Bush became ill while pregnant with her second child. She was then evicted from her home with her then-husband and child, and they later lived in their car for months. She rallied and recovered, going on to earn a nursing degree, be ordained, and become a leading activist for racial and social justice. She was a leader in the 2014 Ferguson protests in the wake of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

With many progressive candidates making strong showings in their primaries, a message is being sent prior to the general election in November that people are done waiting for change, and will put those in the seats of power they feel will make a change quickly, not gently push towards it.

2) Tropical Storm Isaias battered the East Coast of the U.S. yesterday and left a lot of destruction behind it. As of now, there are at least eight people dead in the wake of the storm that left millions of people without power. Those without power spanned from the Carolinas to the Canadian border.

As Isaias traveled up the coast, it churned between low-level Hurricane category and tropical storm. Four states confirmed tornadoes that were spawned by the storm, and in a mobile park home in North Carolina, two people were killed by one of those tornadoes.

One person was killed in Pennsylvania after her vehicle was swept by out of control water. Connecticut, Maryland, and New York City each had a person killed by a falling tree. In Delaware, another was killed when hit by a branch. The last was found dead yesterday evening in New Hampshire. No definite cause has been stated.

The storm was fast-moving, and crews were able to begin cleaning up the destruction last night – and continue into this evening.

3) Late yesterday it was reported that the boat operators of the Liberty Belle riverboat party boat in New York City were both presented with appearance tickets for an illegal party they held over the weekend. On Saturday, the Liberty Belle was intercepted Saturday night at Pier 36 on the East River in Manhattan.

There were over 170 people on the riverboat, and the two operators, Ronny Vargas and Alex Sauzo were also allegedly serving liquor without a license. The charges on their appearance tickets consist of warehousing without a permit, operating an unlicensed bottle club and bar, as well as for acts prohibited by a local state of emergency.

Unnamed in the report was the boat captain, who was also issued an appearance ticket for not displaying the vessel’s id number correctly. The company that operates the Liberty Belle is Empire Cruises, who temporarily ceased operations on Mar. 16 for the duration of the COVID crisis, according to its website.

Empire Cruises nor any of the operators of the boat have yet responded to the press’s requests for comment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident a violation of public decency, and irresponsible, rude and reckless as well as illegal. There was another party in NYC near a bridge, and the Gov. used both as an example for the need for better enforcement of COVID restrictions across the city and state.

4) Three people were injured this morning when a test laboratory on Kings Road in Schenectady exploded. The Innovative Test Solutions tank was being used to treat avocados when the explosion occurred just past 7 a.m.

The firefighters did not find any chemicals or hazardous materials on site. The three men were operating the machine, which was empty at the time when something went wrong, according to SFD officials.

The SFD alerted OSHA and Schenectady’s Codes Department after the incident. OSHA announced that it is investigating what happened with an inspection of both the Innovative Test Systems and Wynantsville-based Elmhurst Systems. They have the next six months to complete the investigation.

One of the people succumbed to the injuries after being transported with the other two to Ellis Hospital.

5) As of 2 p.m. yesterday, Matt Baumgartner announced all Wolff’s Biergarten locations would be reopened, thanks to the declining number of COVID-19 infections statewide.

The locations have all been closed for the past four weeks as a nod to the pandemic restrictions and to help stem the spread of the virus. They did announce regulations to comply with all current state public health regulations for employees and patrons. They are:

  • When on your feet, you must wear a mask, even while walking around patios and inside Biergartens.
  • If you are consuming alcohol, you must remain seated and eating at all times.
  • They’ll be implementing a, please wait to be seated rule at the entry to help further staff find socially distanced seating for all of their guests.

All customers who missed celebrating their birthdays over the closedown with the signature Wolff’s Biergarten Birthday Boot will have until Monday, Sept. 7, to make it right.

Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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