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VIRGINIA: Charges Droped For Democratic State Lawmaker In Monument Vandal Case After Police Chief Canned After Detention

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VIRGINIA: Charges Droped For Democratic State Lawmaker In Monument Vandal Case After Police Chief Canned After Detention

Democratic State Senator Louise Lucas and her NAACP co-conspirators appear to have flexed their rights, with a judge dropping charges against them in a June Black Live assault on Portsmouth, Virginia’s Confederate Memorial – a declared historic site that prosecutors believe Lucas and NAACP officials conspired to attack and kill.

As I recently revealed to the Recently Heard, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene was shot on Monday morning, two months after being put on administrative leave almost instantly after her decision to threaten Senator Lucas, senior NAACP officials, as well as members of the Portsmouth Public Defender’s Office with felonies resulting from a monumental attack plot.

“I think I was unfairly discharged for upholding the rules,” Greene said after news of her dismissal. “I am being retaliated for sticking to my sworn oath… to represent and defend my people, the nation, and to keep my officers safe.”

Just hours later, at a pre-trial hearing at the Portsmouth City Court House, the judge dropped the proceedings against Lucas and all other people involved in the plot.

“There is no proof that the criminal actions of those convicted… are growing to the extent of felony destruction of property or fraud,” Portsmouth prosecutors said in court records.

According to the Media Right News report, Portsmouth’s chief lawyer, Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales, is linked to rapper P Diddy’s “Our Black Party,” an activist organization affiliated with Black Lives Matter, whose first order of business is to disburse the police. In addition, Morales was heavily supported by the progressive left-wing mega-donor George Soros.

Speaking to reporters after the charges were dropped, Lucas appeared to insist that the charges against her were the product of anti-black bias – ignoring the fact that Chief Greene was herself a black woman.

“It gives people in the city confidence that when they come to these courtrooms, they will be handled equally and fairly, even though you may have a corrupt police force that wants to criminalize the justice system against people like me. This gives people hope,” Lucas said.

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Rochester man charged in hatchet murder back in custody after ‘Less is More’ release

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Rochester man charged in hatchet murder back in custody after ‘Less is More’ release

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — According to authorities, a Rochester man who was in custody awaiting prosecution was released from Monroe County Jail on Tuesday as a result of the new “Less is More” law.

Joseph Rivera, 21, is facing a second-degree murder charge for the killing of Heather Majors, who died from her injuries after being brutally attacked with a hatchet. The 47-year-old victim was attacked in her apartment on July 10. Rivera, who had multiple parole violations, was identified as a suspect during the investigation and remanded into custody until December.

Rochester’s Major Crime Investigators said they were completely unaware of Rivera’s release and later requested the U.S. Marshals Violent Felony Fugitive Task Force to find the suspect and arrest him again. Rivera was eventually found on Eastman Avenue around 7 p.m. Tuesday and brought back into custody.

The Monroe County Police Chiefs Association said Rivera was among 17 people released from the Monroe County Jail Tuesday as part of “Less is More.” The law, signed Friday, eliminates jail time for most nonviolent parole violations.

Beginning in March, people on parole will no longer be jailed for technical parole violations, such as being late to a parole appointment, missing curfew, or failing to inform a parole officer of a job change. It is not immediately clear how Rivera was released, as he does not appear eligible to qualify.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode, who is president of the Monroe County Police Chiefs Association, said 22 people in the Monroe County Jail were ordered to be released under the new law. Of that 22, five stayed in jail on what he called “unrelated charges.”

“These are all little rules that we put in place to keep them on a straight and narrow lifestyle,” VanBrederode said of the violations. “We have found that when they start to violate those technical violations, they end up going off and getting themselves rearrested.”

VanBrederode went on to claim jailing people on parole for committing technical violations was in fact effective in preventing people from being jailed. “Those technical violations were a very good tool to keep them straight and keep them honest and keep them out of jail,” he said.

“When somebody starts testing positive for drugs, when they start staying out until 11 o’clock at night, they’re heading down the wrong path. The whole purpose of those technical violations was to kind of wake them up, say ‘Hey, stop what you’re doing. We’re going to hold you in custody for a week, two weeks, to kind of drive home that discipline issue.’”

VanBrederode said the local police chiefs were not told about the law or its effect until after it was signed. He said some of the people released under the law were involved in active investigations. “If we knew this was coming, we could lodge charges before they were released,” he said.

Watch a full press briefing from the Monroe County police chiefs below:

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US lawmakers and experts worry about kids and COVID-19

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US lawmakers and experts worry about kids and COVID-19

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — United States lawmakers say not enough is being done to protect children during the pandemic.

“Communities and families are now struggling with the delta variant, a far more infectious version of the virus,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said.

Pallone says local leaders need to be more responsible, especially for those too young to be vaccinated.

“The state and local actions that ignore or even contradict the science put our children at risk and undermine our ability to end the pandemic,” Pallone said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children now represent 25% of the country’s new COVID-19 cases and encourages schools to keep up mitigation efforts.

“To keep the school communities safe until vaccination rates are high enough to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19,” AAP President Dr. Lee Beers said.

While opinions around masks and social distancing are still divided, lawmakers and experts agree other underlying issues are a huge concern. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) says there should be more attention on mental health.

“Many of our children are suffering from elevated levels of anxiety, depression, obesity and eating disorders or lagging in educational, social development resulting from the pandemic and school closures,” Griffith said.

“School psychologists are critical to overcome learning loss and address behavioral health issues effectively,” American Psychological Association CEO Arthur Evans said.

Pfizer reported its vaccine had a positive response in young children and lawmakers say FDA approval for children under 12, will help relieve a huge burden from kids and their parents.

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Mike Schmidt: Bryce Harper is clear MVP, he’s Pete Rose with power

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Mike Schmidt: Bryce Harper is clear MVP, he’s Pete Rose with power

It’s that time of the baseball year again, the individual award season. Who’s the MVP? Who’s the Cy Young winner? Rookie of the Year?

Does the MVP have to come from a team in the postseason? Does MVP mean “most valuable player to a team” or “best player in the league”? There’s never been a clear-cut answer to these.

I’ve got one clear-cut answer for you: Bryce Harper is THE most valuable player to his team in the National League. He’s the clear-cut MVP if the definition is truly Most VALUABLE Player.

Shouldn’t this award go to the position player whose team would be most at a loss without him? The Braves have Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley, all at 30 homers or more. The Braves would contend if they lost any one of them. Max Muncy, a Dodgers candidate, is near 35 HRs and 90 RBIs, and Justin Turner and Will Smith each have 25 homers and upward of 80 RBIs, a pretty solid threesome.

Fernando Tatis Jr., with nearly 40 HRs and 100 RBIs, has had a magnificent year, some would say an MVP-caliber year. But he has support from Manny Machado, who will have 30 HRs and 100 RBIs, and the Padres have all but fallen out postseason contention. The Giants, a nice surprise in the NL, are getting big contributions from Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt.

Bryce Harper is an enigma. You either love him or hate him, as they say. He plays every day and he plays hard. He loves pressure and is not afraid to fail, and he puts “it” out there — “it” meaning he knows he’s the center of attention and enjoys being “the man.” Most players don’t have that kind of talent, or don’t want the pressure.

I can sum this all up: He is today’s Pete Rose with power.

From opening day till August 1, Harper would agree he was at best a mediocre player. He still looked much like the player he was in DC, where he couldn’t get away from that “all or nothing” trap. Occasional headlines, but consistent inconsistency. It’s easy to do that these days with the emphasis on the long ball.

He did not make the All-Star team with a .282 average, 15 HRs and 34 RBIs — decent numbers, but far from league leading.

In my opinion, this first-half performance was a combination of nagging injuries, poor hitting mechanics and no sense of urgency. He simply changed his approach to including left field, accepting walks and letting the game come to him.

Then came the big turnaround, when the team was under .500. On Aug. 1, Harper hit three doubles and started the Phillies on an eight-game win streak. He started to play the game, using the opposite field, bunting, aggressive baserunning, hell bent on sparking the team, Citizens Bank Park and grabbing the MVP.

Since then the Phillies are 27-21 and in contention. Harper has hit .345 with a league-leading OPS up around 1.250, 17 HRs, 42 RBIs, 40 walks, 36 extra-base hits, and an OBP over .460. He was hitting .385 with runners in scoring position, with 13 walks in those at-bats.

To make matters worse, Rhys Hoskins, his protection in the lineup, was lost for the season. Since August, there have been five different cleanup hitters behind Harper. His at-bats with RISP were seventh on the team, his teammates are getting more chances.

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U.S. jobless claims tick up from near a pandemic low

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U.S. jobless claims tick up from near a pandemic low

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid rose last week for a second straight week to 351,000, a sign that the delta variant of the coronavirus may be disrupting the job market’s recovery, at least temporarily.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims rose by 16,000 from the previous week. As the job market has strengthened, unemployment aid applications, which generally track layoffs, have tumbled since topping 900,000 early this year, reflecting the economy’s reopening after the pandemic recession. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week swings, registered its sixth straight drop — to a pandemic low of 336,000.

Jobless claims still remain somewhat elevated: Before the virus tore through the economy in March 2020, they generally numbered about 220,000 a week.

In a research report, Contingent Macro Advisors concluded that the recent jump in applications for unemployment benefits — especially so last week in California and Virginia — likely reflected a technical problem in processing the claims: “For now, the jump in claims in the last two weeks is not yet alarming but it certainly bears close watching in the coming weeks.”

America’s employers have rapidly increased their hiring since they slashed 22 million jobs in March and April 2020 as the pandemic — and the shutdowns that were meant to contain it — brought economic activity to a near-standstill. Since then, the economy has recovered about 17 million jobs as the rollout of vaccines encouraged businesses to open and expand hours and Americans to go back out to shop, travel and dine out.

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Vermont man arrested and charged with firearm offense after death of girlfriend

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Albany man arrested for drugs, stolen handgun

BURLINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — Cody Ahonen, 28, of Mt. Holly, was arrested by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on September 20. This comes after Ahonen’s girlfriend, Brittany Bouthiette, reportedly shot herself on September 15 while in a vehicle with him.

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont says Ahonen is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms due to a previous conviction for domestic violence.

Police say the gun used by Bouthiette belonged to Ahonen and Ahonen possessed the gun before her death. After Bouthiette was shot, Ahonen attempted to throw the gun into the woods. Police say they located a Glock pistol in a roadside ditch.

Beneath the vehicle, police located a quantity of suspected cocaine base. Inside the vehicle, troopers found an additional pistol, a rifle, a quantity of powder cocaine, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a digital scale with white residue, and approximately $10,000 in U.S. currency.

The attorney’s office says if convicted of possessing a firearm having been previously convicted of domestic violence, Ahonen faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.

Ahonen made his initial appearance today in Burlington. He was ordered detained pending trial.

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Experts say Gabby Petito case highlights need for domestic violence awareness

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Experts say Gabby Petito case highlights need for domestic violence awareness

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There has been no shortage of calls and tips flooding in from around the nation — witnesses eager to share what they know about the disappearance and homicide of Gabby Petito. Capital Region experts say the attention to this case highlights how important it is to be aware and know when to come forward when you suspect domestic violence.

“If you do see something, you should say something, because obviously in this case, law enforcement did get a lot from these tips,” says Amanda Wingle, the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center Deputy Director.

Wingle and retired Troy PD Captain John Cooney say getting witnesses to come forward can sometimes be the hardest part of their job. Cooney now trains officers on domestic violence interview and intervention. He says in Gabby Petito’s case, witnesses gave police vital clues.

“The witnesses have got the police to the place they needed to go to start to find the remains. The witnesses have gotten police into the mode of thinking there was aggression and violence in this relationship,” he explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Witnesses had called Moab City Police to report Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, arguing outside their van. Police documents confirm a witness claimed to have seen a physical altercation between the two before police arrived, questioned the couple, ultimately suggesting they separate for the night shortly before Petito’s disappearance.

Cooney says all the body camera video and evidence so far shows police did what they could to intervene in this particular case, but generally, it’s hard to make an arrest without injury to provide probable cause.

“Two people on the road, having disagreements, and really making it clear to the police that they do not wish any help, you can only go so far with that before you have to just send them on their way,” he says. “We have to look at these domestic violence cases as always pro-arrest, but unfortunately, a phone call from a witness doesn’t automatically create a mark or a bruise and that’s what we usually need to see to go further.”

However, he and Wingle agree bystander intervention can be crucial in preventing domestic violence.

“That could be either a direct intervention, going up to the situation and saying something, which may not always be safe, but there’s also other things you can do. You can create a distraction to diffuse the situation or you can also delegate, which means getting others or authority like law enforcement involved,” Wingle explains.

She says the Petito case has gained international attention, likely due to the high visibility through social media.

“It is wonderful that so much attention has been brought to this case. I think it’s a really important time to reflect on the fact that there are thousands of other people that go missing every year, especially people of color, indigenous people, whose cases don’t really get as much attention,” she says.

In order to bring awareness to such cases like Gabby’s that happen every day, she says it’s important to be observant of your surroundings. She says those in a potentially toxic relationship or friends and family observing one should be aware of a cycle domestic abuse cases often follow.

“The cycle starts out with a honeymoon phase, right? Everything is good, everybody just met, everyone’s happy. Then there’s the sense of tension building, the sense of walking on egg shells on the part of the victim, and then often there is what we call an ‘explosion’, which could be either something physical, it could be emotional abuse like shouting, and then the whole cycle just starts over and over again,” Wingle explains.

“Some of the other behaviors we look for are intensity early on in the relationship. Some people might call it ‘love bombing’. Trying to control who the victim sees or what they do with their time, are constantly checking their cell phones, that way of needing to know everything about what they’re doing. Also, ‘gaslighting’ or an attempt to make the victim question their perception of reality,” she goes on to say.

Wingle says while police intervention is both vital and at times restricted by legal thresholds, for resources like hers, nothing is too small a reason to call and get your questions answered.

“We don’t have any requirement like a police report or physical violence having happened. We are happy to speak with anyone who has a little bit of a concern about this, maybe for themselves maybe for their friends or their family,” she says.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, abuse, if you have concerns or need someone to talk to, call the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center hotline at 518-447-7716.

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Denver weather: Thursday should be windy and cloudy across the Front Range

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Denver weather: Thursday should be windy and cloudy across the Front Range

Winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour will blow across the Front Range on Thursday, bringing clouds into the area.

The high temperature will be near 83, the National Weather Service Boulder said. Winds will start from the south and southwest but will shift to the north and northeast later in the day.

Wind gusts on the plains could reach 25 miles per hour.

Thursday night will be mostly cloudy with a low of 48. Winds will continue through midnight with gust up to 15 miles per hour, the weather service’s forecast said.

The Front Range air quality forecast called for moderate conditions with no air pollution advisories through 4 p.m., according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.

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Guest commentary: United Power cannot stick fellow Tri-State cooperative members with their bill

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Guest commentary: United Power cannot stick fellow Tri-State cooperative members with their bill

Upstanding consumer-members of electric cooperatives would be mortified if part of their monthly power bills were sent to their neighbors to be paid. In eastern Colorado’s farming and ranching communities, it’s not cliché to say that neighbors help neighbors, but it’s also safe to say we are proud to responsibly pay our own way.

That’s why consumers of electric cooperatives in eastern Colorado and across the West may be surprised to learn that their electricity bills could rise because of the actions of United Power. United Power and 41 other not-for-profit utility members of cooperative power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association voluntarily signed power supply contracts, agreeing to share the costs of delivering electricity into their distribution systems. We agreed to share Tri-State’s costs for building and maintaining the transmission system, power plants and everything else required to deliver us reliable power.

In 2007, we, along with United Power and all but two of our fellow members, elected, voluntarily, to extend our wholesale power contracts with Tri-State for an additional 10 years, all the way to 2050. Now United Power wants out of the contract it signed decades early, and it wants out at
the expense of other members.

In the past several years, United Power has been starting fights, in every venue it can find, to terminate its power supply contract with Tri-State at such a low cost that electric rates would rise for all the other utility members of Tri-State, including Morgan County Rural Electric Association. While United Power claims they want a strong Tri-State, it’s working to weaken Tri-State, and this affects our consumers.

Morgan County REA’s and United Power’s service territories share a border in eastern Colorado, and the consumers we each serve are neighbors. For example, United Power’s consumers in Keenesburg are just up the road from our co-op’s consumers in Roggen, and the farmers and ranchers of both cooperatives serve operate side-by-side. Some are consumers of both utilities.

If United Power were successful in terminating its power supply contract at such a low cost, this would harm other Tri-State members, whose consumers will see their power costs rise as they pay for the costs that United Power consumers will no longer pay.

We think that’s wrong, and I suspect many of our neighbors who are United Power’s consumers would agree.

Tri-State serves its members with reliable, affordable and responsible power, including reducing wholesale power rates and increasing clean energy, even as other utilities in the region raise rates. What is essential to know is that Tri-State’s members are working together to address United Power’s concerns by creating options to allow members to self-supply more power or even terminate their contracts early, if they make the remaining members whole.

This is an issue among Tri-State’s members, and not, as United Power would have you believe, an issue between them and Tri-State. As we all work together, we want to make sure that if a fellow member terminates the long-term contract it signed, that action doesn’t cause other members’ rates to increase. This is also an important issue for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Tri-State’s rate regulator, to consider as it examines the importance of power supply contracts – the financial backbone allowing wholesale cooperative suppliers
like Tri-State to finance, build and operate their generation and transmission systems for their members.

United Power characterizes their concerns with a banal analogy to the Eagles’ Hotel California (United Power CEO Mark Gabriel referenced the song lyrics “where you can get in but never leave” in a recent Denver Post story) when their goal really is to check out of their hotel room early and stick the other guests with their bill.

Instead, the consumer-members of United Power should take a close look at their cooperative’s actions, and ask them to work with their fellow members to reach a solution to their needs that doesn’t raise the power costs of their neighbors.

David Frick is the general manager of the Morgan County Rural Electric Association

 

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I-70 closed in Jeffco because of damage to overpass

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Sheridan officer allegedly uses a chokehold on a shoplifting suspect

Eastbound Interstate 70 is closed in both directions at Denver West as road crews repair an overpass damaged by a crash.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also reported the Denver West overpass is also closed. The overpass is near the Colorado Mills shopping mall.

The interstate’s eastbound lanes in that area are expected to be closed all day as inspections and repairs are made, the Lakewood Police Department tweeted. Eastbound traffic was to be diverted at Colfax Avenue.

Major traffic delays are expected and the Colorado Department of Transportation suggested motorists find alternate routes.

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Denver on national TV: Emmys, “America’s Got Talent” and “Ninja Warrior,” but only one winner

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Denver on national TV: Emmys, “America’s Got Talent” and “Ninja Warrior,” but only one winner

Colorado contestants and award nominees have been well represented on national TV this month — although only one walked away with their show’s highest honor.

Denver’s Bowen Yang is enjoying another hot streak after turning heads in 2019 as one of the few openly gay and Asian-American featured players on “Saturday Night Live.” In July, he made history by becoming one of the first Chinese-Americans — and the first-ever “Saturday Night Live” featured player — to be nominated for an acting Emmy. Show vet Kenan Thompson also grabbed an “SNL” nom, but Yang isn’t yet a full cast member, and his nomination broke the long-running show’s mold.

Yang, sadly, lost the Emmy earlier this week to Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”) but doesn’t seem to be sweating it. The New York-based writer and comic’s “Las Culturistas” podcast continues to nab listeners, and Time Magazine last week named him to its 2021 Time100 list, which includes the magazine’s picks for the 100 most influential people in the world. Yang was one of a handful of comedians on the list alongside “Ted Lasso” star (and “SNL” vet) Jason Sudeikis.

“In 2018, someone sent me a clip of Bowen Yang lip-synching to my ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ character, Cristina Yang,” actor Sandra Oh wrote in Time. “I was like, ‘Oh my god — look at this kid. He’s way better at this monologue than me.’ … I am so proud to see him finding his way on his own terms.”

Yang was born in Australia, but starting at age 9 grew up in Aurora and eventually attended Smoky Hill High School. (His Instagram previously identified him as being from Denver, but Aurora still claims him as its own.)

Denver comic Josh Blue, who rocketed to national headliner status after winning the fourth season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2006, finished an impressive run on the season-ending episode of “America’s Got Talent” on Sept. 15.

The 42-year-old’s family-friendly routines and endearing stage presence (he has cerebral palsy, but his act’s not solely about that) propelled him into the finals, along with aerialist Aidan Bryant, magician Dustin Tavella, singer Brooke Simpson, and comedian Gina Brillon.

Denver comic Josh Blue finished third in this season of “America’s Got Talent,” but previously won NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” (Provided by Josh Blue)

The winner of the NBC show’s 16th season turned out to be Tavella, whose magic act and heart-tugging personal tales won over judges and the online-voting public. Still, it followed weeks of Blue appearing in dozens of national articles about the show, and certainly didn’t hurt his drop-in performance at Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival on Friday (a veteran of High Plains, Blue typically receives a hero’s welcome there).

All in all, Blue finished third in the competition, with Tavella first and Bryant second.

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