Saturday, August 14, 2021

'It's dangerous. It's fraudulent,' interest in fake vaccine cards on the rise

Boeing Starliner launch delayed indefinitely

2 new dinosaur species discovered in Northwest China l GMA

U.S. authorizes third shot of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the immunocompromised

Plymouth shooting: Gunman may have identified with the Incel movement

Oregon National Guard deploying to hospitals amid COVID surge

Impeachment Investigation Into Gov. Cuomo Suspended

2020 Census Data Has Some Celebrating, Others Worrying

3 Retired Philadelphia Detectives Charged With Perjury In Wrongful Conviction Of Innocent Man

Gov. DeSantis Brings Masks In School Threats Down A Notch

CNN reporter enters US base captured by the Taliban. See what she found

Protesters rally outside Froedtert Hospital against vaccine mandate


About two dozen protesters marched in front of Froedtert Hospital on Friday, demanding that health care workers be able to call their own shots on the COVID-19 vaccine.

About two dozen protesters marched in front of Froedtert Hospital on Friday, demanding that health care workers be able to call their own shots on the COVID-19 vaccine.

They told WISN 12 News reporter Kent Wainscott that many health care workers are too afraid to speak out for themselves.


Woman using gun's laser sight to play with cat shoots friend

From Fox6Now:

Authorities say a 19-year-old Kenosha woman accidentally shot someone while using the laser sight on a handgun to play with a cat.

The woman is facing a single charge of injury by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon. And as it turns out, the person was who was shot is also facing charges – out on bond and prohibited from having weapons in another case.

Law enforcement responded to the Kenosha apartment complex where the shooting happened on Tuesday, Aug. 10. There, they found a man, James Daniels, who was "bleeding from a single bullet hole" in the leg.

Authorities spoke with a witness who said she was in an apartment with Daniels and another woman. Daniels placed a "handgun on a dresser." The witness told police 19-year-old Jashanti Pleasant drank several shots of alcohol within an hour and picked up the gun. She turned the laser sight on and pointed it to the floor to get "a cat to chase it." The witness heard the gun go off, and Daniels went into another apartment to stop the bleeding.

The gun Daniels was shot with belonged to him, authorities said. They also found that the gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and six in the magazine.

Jashanti Pleasant

Prosecutors said Daniels was out on bond for nine counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety while armed last June. He signed a bond that prohibits him from having any weapons.

Pleasant provided a statement to police, saying she was handling the gun when it "accidentally went off" and said she apologized to Daniels, who told her "it was OK."

Efforts to reach Pleasant's attorney were unsuccessful on Friday. She is out on a signature bond and due back in court in two weeks for a preliminary hearing.


Open Blog - Weekend

Yes sir.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Perseid meteor shower promises night sky show right through the weekend

Asteroid has greater chance of hitting Earth through 2300, NASA says | ABC7

Hundreds evacuated in northern Turkey as flash floods kill at least 10 people

Plymouth shooting leaves six dead including a child

Mystery man attended Mesa County's software upgrade when passwords were taken

'No sign of a superspreader event:' Chicago's top doctor reports COVID-19 cases linked to Lollapaloo

From WGN:

Coronavirus Hospitalizations Continue To Break Records

Supreme Court rejects IU students' injunction

U.S. Troops To Assist in American Evacuations in Afghanistan

At least 50,000 people are still without power after Wisconsin's severe storms

From JSOnline:
Steven MartinezHannah Kirby
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

About 50,000 We Energies customers still were without power Thursday following severe storms Tuesday night that knocked out power to more than 225,000 customers in Wisconsin.

The bulk of the outages are clustered in the Milwaukee/Wauwatosa area but extend to western Waukesha and Jefferson counties and south to Racine and Kenosha, where thousands of customers are without power.

"We are literally fighting a battle here, a war on the destruction that was caused by the horrendous storms we saw here on Tuesday night," Tom Metcalfe, president of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, said at a Thursday news conference in Milwaukee.

"We are throwing everything we can at this recovery effort. All resources. No expense spared," said Metcalfe, who earlier called the power restoration effort the largest in company history.

We Energies planned to have power restored to 200,000 out of the 225,000 total who lost it by the end of Thursday. 

Milwaukee Alderman Michael J. Murphy said in a statement that "many" of his constituents are coming up on being without power for 48 hours — with no air conditioning, refrigeration or Wi-Fi — and are frustrated with the "vague" answers they've gotten from the company about when the power will come back on.

Read more:

Some getting booster shot without FDA approval

From TMJ4:

The FDA and CDC expected to authorize an emergency use third dose COVID-19 vaccine for some people

Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 5:56 PM, Aug 12, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Local experts believe clearance for a COVID-19 booster vaccine could be on the horizon for those who are immunocompromised, yet some who are not among the most vulnerable have gone ahead and received their own third dose anyway.

Dr. Hashim Zaiback oversees Hayat Pharmacies. He has had to turn away many people here in Milwaukee from requesting third-dose shots.

"People are very honest, they come to you and say, 'you know, I've already gotten my two doses of Pfizer, I want the third one,' and we very respectfully say you just have to wait for the approval," said Dr. Zaiback.

Poster image - 2021-08-12T175401.101.jpg

Thursday afternoon during the Department of Health Services briefing, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer of the DHS, shared that some people may have already gone through extreme lengths to obtain the third booster, despite medical recommendations.

"Some people may have gone out and gotten a third dose on their own. There aren't robust systems to prevent others from doing it if they crossed state lines," said Dr. Westergaard.

According to the CDC internal briefing documents, an estimated more than 1.1 million people have already received the third dose of the vaccine.

Dr. William Hartman has been a principal COVID-19 Trial Investigator working with the CDC to study the potential of the shot. He believes the booster will be recommended for those who are immunocompromised with both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer shots. However, the FDA has yet to authorize this.

"We know that these individuals haven't had as effective of a response to the vaccines as people who have normal [immune systems]. It'll be a third dose of the typical vaccine that they've already received, and so there is no difference in the formulation versus the ones that went out in the first round," Dr. Hartmman.

Resident Darnelle Dowles falls into the immunocompromised pool and is eager to get her third booster when it comes available.

Poster image - 2021-08-12T175348.645.jpg

"I carry quite a few diagnoses, so if they do 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 booster shots, I'm taking all 9 of them because this is serious," said Dowles.


Open Blog - Friday


Thursday, August 12, 2021

These stores have reinstated their mask policies following CDC guidelines reversal

Walmart, Publix among companies changing their mask policies

Following a reversal of guidelines regarding mask-wearing made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple U.S. retailers and food chains have announced they’re reinstating their mask policies.

On July 27, the CDC updated its recommendations for mask-wearing, stating that everyone should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccine status, to help maximize protection from the Delta variant.

Here are stores that have updated their own mask policies following the latest CDC guidance:

  • Home Depot - All employees, regardless of vaccine status, are required to wear masks inside.
  • Kroger- All employees and customers are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in stores and facilities
  • Lowe’s - All employees, regardless of vaccine status, are required to wear masks inside.
  • McDonald’s - In counties with a substantial or high risk of transmission, all employees and customers, regardless of vaccine status, are required to wear masks.
  • Starbucks - All employees, regardless of vaccine status, are required to wear masks inside. Where mandated by local law or regulation, Starbucks will require customers to wear masks while inside.
  • Target - All employees, regardless of vaccine status, are required to wear masks inside. Target strongly recommends masks for all customers in counties with substantial or high risk of transmission
  • Walmart - In counties with substantial or high risk of transmission and where there are state or local mask mandates, all employees, regardless of vaccine status, will be required to wear masks inside its facilities, including stores, Sam’s Club locations, and distribution and fulfillment centers.
  • From:

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YouTube suspends Rand Paul for misleading claims about masks | COVID Update | Latest English News

Fears for Afghan capital as Taliban takes control of key cities

Ron Johnson's efforts on Trump tax cut delivered millions in savings to billionaires who financed his campaigns, IRS records show

From JSOnline:
Justin Elliott
Robert Faturechi
Pro Publica

This story was originally published by ProPublica.

In November 2017, with the administration of President Donald Trump rushing to get a massive tax overhaul through Congress, Sen. Ron Johnson stunned his colleagues by announcing he would vote “no.”

Making the rounds on cable TV, the Wisconsin Republican became the first GOP senator to declare his opposition, spooking Senate leaders who were pushing to quickly pass the tax bill with their thin majority. “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson declared.

Johnson’s demand was simple: In exchange for his vote, the bill must sweeten the tax break for a class of companies that are known as pass-throughs, since profits pass through to their owners. Johnson praised such companies as “engines of innovation.” Behind the scenes, the senator pressed top Treasury Department officials on the issue, emails and the officials’calendars show.

Within two weeks, Johnson’s ultimatum produced results. Trump personally called the senator to beg for his support, and the bill’s authors fattened the tax cut for these businesses. Johnson flipped to a “yes” and claimed credit for the change. The bill passed.

The Trump administration championed the pass-through provision as tax relief for “small businesses.”

Confidential tax records, however, reveal that Johnson’s last-minute maneuver benefited two families more than almost any others in the country — both worth billions and both among the senator’s biggest donors.

Read more:

Proof of vaccination required, but who enforces the rule?


The FBI has warned against buying or making a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

Milwaukee World Festival Inc. announced that a COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result will be required to attend Summerfest in September.

But who gets to enforce the new rules?

The FBI has warned against buying or making a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

"I think it's more safer for everybody," Scott Mastos said Tuesday. "Then I know they'll be here -- the band and all that."

Another woman buying tickets for Chris Stapleton was also pleased.

"Even though it's outside, I would feel safer, absolutely," she said.

The annual music festival's move followed Chicago's Lollapalooza rules.

But it also opens the door to fraud.

The FBI warned buying or selling fake cards was a felony.

That's why consumer groups like the Better Business Bureau are also on alert.

"We know the vaccination cards are quite simple, they're easy to replicate but I think what's important to remember is that the CDC has an official seal on that card so duplicating it opens up a world of trouble," said Lisa Schiller of the Wisconsin BBB.

Summerfest officials said they were not yet ready to discuss how workers would spot a fake COVID-19 vaccine card before a fan was allowed through the gates.

Milwaukee's Health commissioner said she was hoping anyone falsifying vaccine cards would be the minority.

"Certainly I think that is a concern," Kirsten Johnson said. "I'm hopeful that people would rather just get tested than take the time to create a fake vaccine card."

The health department told WISN 12 they are not aware of any other complaints regarding fake vaccine cards.

Summerfest will take place Sept. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 in Milwaukee.


Phony Kenosha ‘eye doctor’ charged with crime for illegal practice

From Fox6Now:

A Kenosha County eyeglass salesman faces criminal charges for impersonating an eye doctor. FOX6 Investigator Bryan Polcyn first exposed the illegal activity in 2015 and again in 2019. Now, prosecutors are finally taking action, 18 months after a Kenosha woman complained.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley says an 'extensive investigation' into Lee Hagopian's optical business was delayed for much of 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, social unrest, and more.

"I accept that response," said Jill Gillmore, who accuses Hagopian of performing an illegal eye exam on her and sending her home with expired contact lenses and no instructions on how to put them in, a combination of factors that she says resulted in an injury to her eye.

In the fall of 2019, Gillmore says Lee Hagopian performed an illegal eye exam, sent her home with expired contacts and coached her to treat an eye injury -- all without a license.

"If anybody can pretend to be an eye doctor, a lot of people will be deceived and possibly injured," Gillmore said.

The mother of seven filed complaints with state regulators, her state representative and the Kenosha Sheriffs Office in 2019. It wasn't until April 19th, 2021, that Hagopian was charged with practicing optometry without a license, misdemeanor theft, and obstructing an officer.

In the fall of 2019, Gillmore went to Next Day Glasses in Paddock Lake, where she says Hagopian advertised "eye exams." She says he invited her into a small room within the store, examined her eyes on an optical machine, told her she needed a ‘stronger prescription,' then sent her home with a pair of trial contact lenses.

It wasn't until that night she discovered the trial contacts had been expired for eight years.

"My eyes were completely on fire," she recalls. "It was a very traumatic experience."

Gillmore says the contacts Hagopian sent her home with had been expired for eight years.

She would soon discover Hagopian is not an eye doctor at all. And it wasn't the first time he'd been accused of posing as one.

"I don’t want somebody to go to a ‘doctor’ and he’s not a doctor," said Shannon Hahn, a former Hagopian customer who spoke to FOX6 News in 2015.

"I'd like to talk to you about practicing without a license," said Bryan Polcyn, back in 2015, as he attempted to talk to Hagopian about the allegations. 

"Please leave," Hagopian responded, ushering FOX6 News out of his store, Eye Xams, which used to be located in a Kenosha shopping center.

Our 2015 investigation not only found numerous customers who said Hagopian performed illegal eye exams on them, but a licensed optometrist who accused Hagopian of stealing his identity to submit insurance claims.

"You’re impersonating a doctor," said Lisa Hawkins, one of several customers who filed complaints with state regulators. 

That same year, 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services issued an injunction, ordering Hagopian to stop practicing optometry without a license. Four years later, Gillmore came to FOX6 News to say, he was at it again.

Once again, FOX6 News tried to talk to Hagopian. 

"Speak with my lawyers!" is what he said when we showed up at his Paddock Lake store, moments before he called police on FOX6 News.

Hagopian: "They’re threatening my business, that’s what they’re doing."

Police dispatcher: "What threat did they make?"

Hagopian: "Verbal threat."

Police dispatcher: "What threat?"

Hagopian: "A verbal threat to…"

Police dispatcher: "To do what?"

Hagopian: "To put me on FOX6 News and make me look bad."

When FOX6 Investigators attempted to speak to Hagopian in 2019, he called the Kenosha County Sheriffs Office to complain.

"It's absolutely scary," said Peter Theo, President of the Wisconsin Optometric Association. "There is nothing routine about an eye exam because of the eye health part of it."

Theo says there's a big difference between an optometrist - who can diagnose eye conditions and write prescriptions - and an optician, like Hagopian.

"The optician is there to dispense eyewear," he said.

But time and time again, complaints about Hagopian have been met with the same response – it's a civil matter. Until now.

"This was filed on the 19th (of April) and I've had barely any time to understand it," Hagopian said as he held a copy of the criminal complaint at his first appearance in court. "That is why I would ask the state and the court to grant a continuance."

Instead, Court Commissioner Loren Keating instructed her clerk to read the entire, 6-page complaint out loud. That includes the part where a detective asks why his business cards say "under new ownership."

"That, I'll admit, is a fib," the clerk read aloud. 

It's a lie detectives say Hagopian admits telling "in case FOX6 News returns to his business," the clerk said.

"You just wouldn’t let up on it," Theo said. "So, makes sense that he was worried about it."

"It's sad," Gillmore reflects. "How do you come to that point in your life where it’s just one scheme after another scheme?"

Then again, former customers aren't the only ones getting fed up with Hagopian's behavior. Last month, he tested the patience of the Court Commissioner presiding over his criminal case.

At his initial court appearance on three criminal charges, Hagopian repeatedly asked for "more time" so he could "understand" the charges. The court commissioner refused to grant a continuance, at one point scolding Hagopian, "Don't argue with me."

"I do not understand," Hagopian said of the complaint, even after it was read aloud for the entire courtroom to hear.

"You understand plain English," Keating said. "You and I are talking. (The complaint) was read to you. We’re moving this case forward."

"I need time to…" Hagopian interrupted.

"No, you do not!" Keating shot back. "Not at this point. You may need time to get an attorney, but I am moving this case forward, so don’t argue with me."

After all this time, Gillmore says she's forgiven Hagopian for the pain he put her through.

"I’ve moved on," she said. 

She just doesn't want it to happen to someone else. Especially, she says,  when it all could have been so easily avoided.

"If you want to be an eye doctor, go to school to be an eye doctor," she said.

This may be the first time someone has been criminally charged in Wisconsin for posing as an eye doctor.

A spokesperson for the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) said she could not find another case like it.

Meanwhile, Hagopian did not return FOX6's phone calls seeking comment on the charges. His next court date is May 28, 2021, for a pre-trial conference.


Wisconsin's oldest-running diner will be featured on the Food Network

From TMJ4:

The episode will air on Aug. 20 at 8 p.m.

Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 7:05 PM, Aug 10, 2021

KENOSHA — Wisconsin is home to the oldest-running diner in the United States, but after a tough year with COVID-19 and protests, they're back and will be seen on a national scale.

Franks Diner in Kenosha is a community staple that has been around since 1926, and while it may be small, it's packed with great food, and even better company.

Kenosha resident Steve Wattron has been frequenting the diner since 1992 and said he keeps coming back because the food is great, and that's not all.

"The sense of humor you'll find here is like nowhere else really," Wattron said.

Kevin Ervin and his wife Julie Rittmille sitting in Franks Diner
Kevin Ervin and his wife Julie Rittmille sitting in Franks Diner

Kevin Ervin and his wife Julie Rittmille have owned Franks Diner for ten years, and say it's been a wild ride.

"It's great, a great feeling to know that you're really part of a community. People expect you to be here and they want you here," Ervin said.

In a statement, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said this about the diner:

"Franks Diner has always been a place where everyone’s view can be expressed and people go to talk over all types of issues. The comfortable atmosphere and excellent food make for a fun place to be. Frank’s Diner is a staple of the community and a great example of the strength of Kenosha.”

Ervin said the past year has been tough, but the diner is open, the food is sizzling on the grill and the smiles are contagious as people enjoy the food.

But, what is Franks Diner known for? It's a dish called the 'garbage plate.' It's a mash up of hash brown, eggs, meat and your choice of veggies and cheese.

Franks Diner 'Garbage Plate'
This is the garbage plate dish at Franks Diner

"The garbage plate cannot be outdone," Wattron said while smiling.

But Kenosha residents know they aren't the only ones making the trip for the mash-up of food. Even Guy Fieri came once.

Ervin said people come from all over the United States and even from overseas.

"We've had people from Australia, they've seen it on the Food Network overseas," Ervin said.

You read that right - the diner has been on the Food Network before, and will be featured again on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on Aug. 20.

"They're going to see us make some really good food, couple of our specials," Ervin said.

However, he couldn't dish out the details, but said the viewers will get a great understanding of the place.

He only asks one thing from patrons who stop by.

"If you come in, please be patient," Ervin said. "We are small, but we're good."