Saturday, September 11, 2021

Mars rocks collected by Nasa's Perseverance rover boost case for ancient life

Trudeau “absolutely not” regretting decision to trigger an election during pandemic

Georgia man pleads guilty to threatening to 'put a bullet' in Speaker Pelosi

California recall GOP candidate John Cox discusses campaign

54 catalytic converters found during traffic stop

Moderna developing Covid-19 booster and flu combo

Elizabeth Holmes criminal fraud trial delayed, Amazon is offering to pay college tuition

20 years after 9/11: What is life like with the name Osama?

Trial of 9/11 “mastermind” resumes at Guantanamo Bay

Spokesperson: Alex Murdaugh shooting was not self-inflicted

Did a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan Kill the Wrong Person? | Visual Investigations

9/11 Anniversary: Taliban control Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

Erin Burnett calls out GOP hypocrisy on vaccines

3 sisters from Racine climb one of world's highest mountains

  •  RACINE, Wis. (AP) — Elizabeth DeKraay Dunlap never wants to see an energy drink or energy bar again.

    “They’re just disgusting,” she said.

    Elizabeth, along with her two sisters, Carolyn DeKraay Dickens and Sarah DeKraay, had to drink an electrolyte powder drink and eat energy bars as a part of their big hike: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the dormant volcano in Tanzania. It’s the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world at an elevation of about 19,340 feet above sea level.

    The electrolyte mix was to make sure the three sisters and the rest of their group were full of nutrients and well-hydrated with 3-4 liters of water a day. “We threw them away when we got down the mountain,” Elizabeth said.

    Additionally? “I think I’m done with hiking mountains for a while. I need something tropical.”

    The three sisters, who lived in Racine, agreed last year hiking Mount Kilimanjaro would be a fabulous bucket list trip in conjunction with celebrating Elizabeth and Carolyn’s milestone 60th and 50th birthdays, respectively. They started coordinating schedules.

    “Everything was going fine until the delta variant. We couldn’t put it off another year. If we didn’t do it now, it was now or never,” Elizabeth said.

    Read more:

    Burlington High School remembers, honors 9/11 heroes before varsity football game

    From TMJ4:

    Posted at 9:42 PM, Sep 10, 2021
    and last updated 10:08 PM, Sep 10, 2021

    MILWAUKEE — Just before Burlington was set to take on Westosha Central in football, there was a moment of silence to remember a somber day 20 years ago.

    "It's one of the most tragic things I've heard of," said Drew Stutzman.

    High school senior Drew Stutzman wasn't even born when the worst terrorist attack in US history took place. In fact, estimates show a quarter of the population wasn't alive when the planes struck the world trade center towers.

    "I was born August 30, 2003, so two years after the attack. Knowing that it happened only two years before me was scary," said Stutzman.

    Saturday marks 20 years since that fateful day. These students only know what they've been told or taught.

    "The first time we actually had an in-depth lesson about it it was in seventh grade. I know my mom was student teaching in South Milwaukee when it happened and they were watching it on like 12-inch screens at the schools," said Marlee Nichols, a senior at Burlington High School.

    Those who were alive have images forever seared into their memory.

    "History will repeat itself if you forget, and we don't want to forget," said Burlington Fire Chief, Alan Babe.

    Babe thinks it's important to share memories and reflections of what happened that day.

    "It's something that never leaves your mind, and those are our brothers and sisters in our eyes, that's family," said Babe.

    And students say it's a lesson that they'll never forget.

    "I think it's really important that we just recognize the people that risked their lives and gave up their lives to help other people," said Nichols.



    Open Blog - Weekend


    Friday, September 10, 2021

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    Dane County judge compels three Madison journalists to testify in trial of women accused of beating state lawmaker

    From JSOnline:
    Molly Beck
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    MADISON - In a rare move, a Dane County judge is compelling three journalists to testify in the trial of two women accused of assaulting a state lawmaker during protests and riots last summer over racial discrimination. 

    Judge Josann Reynolds on Thursday sided with prosecutors who argued testimony from Isthmus newspaper reporter Dylan Brogan, WORT-FM radio reporter Chali Pittman and WKOW television reporter Lance Veeser on the night of June 23, 2020, is crucial to the case and that the information could not be retrieved by any other source.

    Those requirements must be met to overcome the state law shielding journalists from disclosing confidential sources and other newsgathering information. But an attorney representing the journalists called the judge's conclusion incorrect because hundreds of other people were on hand the night of the assault and could provide witness testimony.

    Thursday's ruling puts the journalists in a difficult position of balancing legal obligations and ethical principles requiring them not to participate in stories they cover. 

    "Today the judge basically said as a journalist I'm a material witness — well it's very hard to be both," Brogan said. "Putting me or any other reporter on the stand to put forth this narrative seems very inappropriate to me. That's up to the district attorney to do."  

    Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, was physically attacked for using his camera phone to film the protesting and rioting that occurred on a night last summer in the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man, by a white police officer. 

    Kerida E. O'Reilly, left, and Samantha R. Hamer, right, were charged in the beating of state Sen. Tim Carpenter.

    Prosecutors charged Samantha Hamer and Kerida O'Reilly, both of Dane County, in the assault. They are accused of beating the state senator as he tried to take video of a crowd that had torn down statues during the protest. A crowd charged Carpenter and he was kicked and punched in the head, injuries that required surgery. 

    The three reporters are considering appealing the judge's ruling compelling them to testify about that night. 

    "Everything I know, I published," Brogan said. "I don't think it's a good precedent. I think part of protecting journalists to allow them to do their job is not to put them in this compromising position."

    Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey told the judge in a brief arguing to subpoena the journalists that "an objective view of the mood and tenor of the protesters and crowd, the way the two defendants rushed the Victim, corroboration of the fact that they pushed him down, are not obtainable anywhere else."

    MPS employee COVID vaccine mandate passes unanimously

    From Fox6Now:

    Proof of vaccination or a weekly COVID-19 test has become a term of employment for thousands of Milwaukee Public Schools employees, as outlined in a special school board meeting Thursday night, Sept. 6. It's a plan the teachers' union offered support for – a plan passed by the board unanimously during Thursday's meeting. 

    All MPS employees must have proof of vaccination by Nov. 1. This includes interns, student teachers and volunteers.

    The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association said this mandate would be pivotal for school safety, as 150 students and staff tested positive for COVID-19 just last week. 

    The plan could include incentives for staff and eligible students.

    Opponents fear the mandate could hurt the district's staffing situation.

    The same week Morse Middle School moved to virtual learning, with 3% or more of its total school population testing positive for COVID-19, district administrators asked the board to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 or take a weekly COVID-19 test.

    Employees that do not comply would be placed on unpaid leave and could face termination.

    Despite mixed reaction from public commenters during Thursday's meeting, board members then questioned the administration on its recommendation, including concerns a mandate could force employees away.

    The plan includes recommending incentives for staff and eligible students to get vaccinated, a move the district says could cost more than $4 million if offering $100 each.

    The teachers' union voiced support for a vaccine mandate and incentive but a member of the city attorney's office advised them against doing both, as it could be viewed as discrimination.

    MTEA supports plan

    The teachers' union announced its support for a potential vaccine mandate on Thursday.

    "To be clear, vaccination is our ticket out of this pandemic," said the head of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association Amy Mizialko.

    On Thursday morning, Mizialko supported a vaccine mandate for MPS teachers and staff. 

    "As long as all employees are given their recognized legal exceptions for vaccine requirements," said Mizialko.

    "We are working to make our schools as safe as possible," said MPS School Board President Bob Peterson.

    He also supports the proposed vaccine mandate.

    "It’s a message that we are taking this very seriously," he said.

    The union says it does not know the percentage of its members who are vaccinated. 

    On Thursday morning, Mizailko called for monetary incentives for teachers, staff and students who receive a vaccine

    "Regardless of what happens (Thursday) night, I really hope parents and the entire community realize it takes a whole community to make sure our children our safe," said Peterson.

    President Biden Thursday announced that all employers with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or require testing at least once a week. 

    The union also called on the city to pass a new mask mandate in Milwaukee to help slow the spread of the virus. 


    Afghan refugee donations in Racine

    From Fox6Now:

    Afghan refugees look through clothes at Fort McCoy. (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

    Racine County Veterans Services, in partnership with Team Rubicon, will be accepting donations to benefit Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy.

    Donations will be accepted at the Racine County Department of Human Services located along Taylor Avenue in Racine on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

    "We're working with Team Rubicon to provide direct support to these individuals and families in need," said Racine County Veterans Service Officer Zachary Zdroik. "Many of these refugees were unable to bring any belongings with them.

    "They are without what we would consider essential supplies like toiletries, blankets, and bedding, for example. Donations are an opportunity for our community to rally and help those most in need."

    Around 10,000 refugees from Afghanistan are being housed at Fort McCoy, a U.S. Army installation located east of La Crosse.

    A list of possible donation items is available below. Donations should be new and unopened. Monetary donations can be made via PayPal.

    Donations item suggestions

    Clothing (all unbranded)

    • Women's clothes: long-sleeved crew neck shirts, long pants, socks, shoes, no jeans)
    • Men's clothes: Shirts, pants, socks, shoes
    • Children's clothes: "Gender appropriate" clothing


    • Diapers (assorted sizes)
    • Wipes
    • Baby shampoo
    • Baby lotion
    • Formula
    • Bottles
    • Blankets/swaddles


    • Shelf-stable and ready-to-eat foods
    • Bottled water


    • Towels
    • Shower shoes

    Miscellaneous (all unbranded)

    • Bedding (pillows and warm blankets)
    • Water bottles (reusable and durable)
    • Backpacks
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray

    Open Blog - Friday

     Face cracking . . .

    Thursday, September 9, 2021

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    Racine ATM robbery: 3 from Houston accused of stealing $136K

    From Fox6Now:

    Mannie Willis, Brandon Taylor, Bryanna Blades

    Three persons from Houston are facing multiple charges for allegedly stealing more than $136,000 from an ATM at a Racine Bank. The accused are Mannie Willis, Brandon Taylor, and Bryanna Blades – all 21 years old. They face the following criminal counts:

    • Robbery of a financial institution (Willis and Taylor)
    • Robbery (Willis and Taylor)
    • Robbery of a financial institution, as a party to a crime (Blades)
    • Robbery, as a party to a crime (Blades)

    According to the criminal complaint, police officers responded to the Chase Bank on 21st Street in Racine shortly after 1 p.m. on Aug. 4 in reference to a robbery. Officers spoke with a man who was servicing ATMs at the bank. The complaint said he "noticed a male black with a black hooded winter jack and green mask" running towards him. He also noticed a second man running at him. Based on these actions, the worker said he feared for his safety and "backed away" from the ATM he was working on. The two males then removed cash from the ATM – and fled the scene.

    The complaint indicates multiple surveillance cameras and a citizen's dash camera captured this crime -- and confirmed the ATM worker's story.

    Based on the video surveillance, investigators were able to positively identify a vehicle involved as one with a Texas license plate. According to Chase Bank personnel, the suspects got away with more than $136,000 from the ATM, the complaint says.

    Racine investigators reached out to jurisdictions throughout Wisconsin and Illinois on the suspect vehicle. Later on Aug. 4, Illinois State Patrol spotted the suspect vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle fled from marked squads and led officers on a high-speed pursuit. The chase ended when the "suspect vehicle left the roadway and drove into a cornfield."

    Two males fled the scene of the crash on foot. A woman, identified as Bryanna Blades, was also in the car and remained on the scene. She identified the two males who fled from their social media. One of them was Mannie Willis – the other was Brandon Taylor. Blades went on to say she and the two men were "driving north to commit the robberies," the complaint says. She said first they robbed a restaurant employee who was making a deposit in Northfield, Illinois. Then they went to Racine for the robbery at the Chase Bank. On Blades' phone, the complaint says police found "photos of black garbage bags full of money in the back seat of the car and the photos were taken after the robbery and text messages to friends indicating that they needed help and had plenty of money."

    After a large, multi-jurisdictional search, Willis and Taylor were apprehended -- separately in cornfields.

    Willis and Taylor made their initial appearances in Racine County court on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Cash bond was set at $100,000 for each of them. Both Willis and Taylor are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 15.

    As for Blades, she made her initial appearance in court on Aug. 24. Cash bond was set at $50,000. On Sept. 1, waived her right to a preliminary hearing -- and entered a plea of not guilty. Blades is due back in court on Oct. 19.


    Vigil for Racine teen killed walking home from football game

    From Fox6Now:

    Community members gathered on Wednesday, Sept. 8 – in memory of a Racine teen who was shot and killed last week.

    Just two days before his homicide, Jayden Cronin started his senior year of high school at Turning Point Academy. On Friday, Sept. 3, he was walking home from an area football game when his life was abruptly taken.

    In the very spot where Cronin was shot, loved ones – and even strangers – stood together in prayer Wednesday.

    "We need to stop the violence," said Tamerin Hayward, co-president of the Racine Interfaith Coalition (RIC).

    Racine police said the 17-year-old was fatally shot near North Memorial Drive and Woodrow Avenue around 9:15 p.m. Friday. 

    "Jayden was walking home from a Horlick (High School) ball game. He lives right in this neighborhood. He was on his way home and someone killed him," Hayward said.

    Vigil for Jayden Cronin

    Officers responded to reports of shots fired when they found Cronin on the sidewalk, with a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries.

    "Until we find out who, we won’t know why," said Hayward.

    Cronin's mother, Monika, was too broken up to speak on camera Wednesday and asked for prayers. She said her son was a "sweetheart and was loved by everyone" and "will truly be missed." He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, loved cooking, shopping and taking vacations.

    "This is a life wasted. Everything he ever had the potential to be stopped on that day," said Racine Police Chief Maurice Robinson.

    The vigil, organized by the Racine Interfaith Coalition, drew dozens of community members, faith leaders and the Racine police chief to mourn the young life lost – and to call for an end to gun violence.

    "The parents, the teachers, the friends, the uncles, the cousins, the fathers have to be involved and help these people – the young people – understand there’s more than what you see right now," said Robinson. "You’ve got to think beyond today’s anger but look for tomorrow’s future."

    Racine police have not disclosed whether any suspects have been identified or arrested.

    Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to contact the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at (262) 635-7756. 

    Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers by phone at (262) 636-9330, or through the Crime Stoppers app by using the p3 app.