Sign In   |   Sign Up   |   Contact Us

National News

  • GPS tracker leads Michigan police to a semi loaded with stolen cars

    Golocal247.com news

    Michigan State Police officers say a GPS tracker led them to a moving truck loaded with stolen vehicles, including a handful of patrol cars. Law enforcement officials also discovered about $10,000 in cash in the truck's cab. Officers received a 911 call from someone reporting a stolen car at about 10 p.m. on October 21, according to The Detroit News, and the owner told them the vehicle was equipped with a GPS tracker.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:00:00 -0400
  • Florida man accused of changing Gov. Ron DeSantis' address in voter database

    Golocal247.com news

    Anthony Guevara, 20, was arrested Tuesday and charged with altering a voter registration without consent and unauthorized access of a computer.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:40:56 -0400
  • Finland eases rules for restaurant food sales as virus slows down

    Golocal247.com news

    Finland's government said on Thursday it would ease its restrictions on opening hours for restaurants serving mainly food but kept stricter rules on bars and nightclubs in place, as the COVID-19 pandemic showed signs of slowing down in the Nordic country. "Thanks to people's responsible behaviour and the measures we have taken, Finland's situation has been one of the best in Europe," Krista Kiuru, the minister in charge of Finland's coronavirus response, told reporters. The new rules, which will take effect on Sunday, will allow restaurants serving mainly food to stay open as they wish, except for regions with the most virus cases, while bars and nightclubs will have to stop alcohol sales at 10 p.m.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:39:35 -0400
  • Guilty plea expected Thursday in campaign finance case linked to Giuliani ex-associates

    Golocal247.com news

    The first of four men charged in a campaign finance case implicating former associates of U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is expected to enter a guilty plea on Thursday. David Correia, a business partner of onetime Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Such a hearing signals a guilty plea from a defendant who, like Correia, previously pleaded not guilty.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:35:32 -0400
  • Spain's Catalonia region closes its borders to contain pandemic

    Golocal247.com news

    Catalonia announced on Thursday a 15-day ban on entering and exiting its territory, the latest in a series of restrictions taken by Spanish regions to try and contain rampant COVID-19 contagion. Catalonia, home to the city of Barcelona, is one of the virus' hotspots and has already some of the toughest measures in place in the country, including a 15-day shutdown of bars and restaurants, which will also be extended. It announced the new measures as the parliament in Madrid debated a nationwide state of emergency, which the central government wants to last until May to give regions legal backing for taking such restrictive measures.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:34:52 -0400
  • Fast-moving Hurricane Zeta kills two as it rips across U.S. South

    Golocal247.com news

    The storm brought 110-mile-per-hour winds (175 km per hour) to the Louisiana coast and knocked out power to 2.4 million people. The fifth tropical cyclone this year to strike Louisiana brought more misery to the Gulf Coast state, where thousands were still out of their homes from prior hurricanes. "Now is not the time to go sightseeing," Governor John Bel Edwards advised the state's residents.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:27:53 -0400
  • Miami mom accused of drowning autistic son in canal faces death penalty after indictment

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:26:58 -0400
  • Sweden sets another daily COVID-19 case record as hospitals feel strain

    Golocal247.com news

    Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 2,820 new coronavirus cases on Oct. 28, the highest since the pandemic began and the third record number in a matter of days, Health Agency statistics showed on Thursday. A steady rise in new cases has appeared to be gaining momentum in Sweden in recent weeks though the resurgence of the disease has come later than in wide swaths of Europe and not so far hit the kind of peaks recorded in countries such as France. The Health Agency has said the peak during the spring probably ran much higher but went unrecorded due to a lack of testing.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:23:08 -0400
  • Nagorno-Karabakh fighting grinds on amid more peace talks

    Golocal247.com news

    Fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh ground on for a fifth week Thursday as top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan prepared for more talks on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Separatist authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijani forces of targeting several of the region's towns with Smerch multiple rocket systems, a devastating Soviet-designed weapon intended to ravage wide areas with explosives and cluster munitions, and one town with military aviation. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied using aviation and accused Armenian forces of shelling the Terter, Goranboy and Barda regions of Azerbaijan.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:08:32 -0400
  • Breonna Taylor’s mother seeks new grand jury, special prosecutor: report

    Golocal247.com news

    Tamika Palmer wants officials to begin steps to ‘restore the confidence in the grand jury process.’ Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, has filed documents to have a new independent prosecutor appointed to her daughter’s case. TMZ is reporting that Palmer is asking the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council to begin the steps to “restore the confidence in the grand jury process.”

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:37:47 -0400
  • The Latest: Turkey condemns deadly attack in French church

    Golocal247.com news

    Turkey has condemned the attack in Notre Dame Basilica in Nice amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries. “We stand in solidarity with the people of France against terror and violence,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said, while strongly condemning the attack. Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted in Turkish and French, expressing his condolences.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:37:02 -0400
  • Hong Kong activist charged with secession and denied bail

    Golocal247.com news

    A teenage Hong Kong democracy activist was charged on Thursday with secession, money laundering and conspiracy to publish seditious material, as one of the first people to be targeted under a controversial new national security law. Tony Chung, 19, who has been denied bail, appeared in court two days after he was arrested by plainclothes police in a Hong Kong coffee shop near the US consulate where he reportedly intended to seek asylum. He was remanded into custody until his next court hearing on 7 January and faces between 10 years to life in prison if convicted under the new law. Mr Chung was formerly the leader of Hong Kong pro-independence group Studentlocalism which was disbanded before Beijing imposed the sweeping law on June 30, with the intent of crushing pro-democracy protests that had roiled the Asian financial hub for a year. He had been free on bail after being initially arrested under the new legislation in July on suspicion of being involved in an organisation that vowed to fight for an independent Hong Kong. Yannis Ho and William Chan, who were previously involved in the same group, were also arrested on Tuesday but were granted bail. Amnesty International called for Mr Chung’s release and for charges to be dropped. “The intensifying attack on human rights in Hong Kong has been ramped up another notch with this politically motivated arrest in which a peaceful student activist has been charged and detained solely because the authorities disagree with his views,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, head of Amnesty’s China team. A little-known group calling itself Friends of Hong Kong told The Telegraph after Mr Chung's arrest on Tuesday that it had been trying to arrange for him and four other people, including one American citizen, to enter the US consulate that day and apply for asylum. It said the four other people, who also have pending charges against them, were in a safe location, adding that the Liberal Democrat party was advocated for further assistance for the group from the British government.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:30:43 -0400
  • Allegheny Technologies: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:14:09 -0400
  • Putin says equipment a problem in production of Russian COVID-19 vaccines

    Golocal247.com news

    President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia was facing challenges scaling up production of its main COVID-19 vaccine due to problems with equipment availability, but hoped to start mass vaccinations by the end of the year. Russia is currently testing its main experimental vaccine, known as Sputnik V, on 40,000 people in Moscow and outside of the trial has already begun vaccinating frontline workers, but only in small numbers. Earlier estimates by Russian officials of how many doses Russia could produce this year have been cut back, from 30 million to just over 2 million, with trade and industry minister Denis Manturov recently citing challenges in scaling up production of the vaccine.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:13:19 -0400
  • $300 Million Telemarketing Scheme Preyed on Older People, U.S. Says

    Golocal247.com news

    Sixty people have been indicted in a nationwide telemarketing scheme in which federal prosecutors say people were tricked into signing up for expensive magazine subscriptions they could not afford, did not want and often did not receive, and in which more than 150,000 people were defrauded of more than $300 million.According to three separate indictments handed up last week, prosecutors alleged that for 20 years, dozens of fraudulent telemarketing companies operating across 14 states and two Canadian provinces used deceptive sales tactics in the scheme. Erica H. MacDonald, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said at a news conference Wednesday that the scheme was part of a growing trend in crimes against older people in recent years."These calls aren't just annoying," she said. "Beyond financial, they take an emotional toll, especially on these victims."The charges include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and violating the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994.In a statement Wednesday, MacDonald, whose office is prosecuting the case, called the operation "the largest elder fraud scheme in the nation.""Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraudsters are willing to take advantage of seniors, who are often trusting and polite," she said. "It's my hope that this prosecution is a call for vigilance and caution."The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.Michael Paul, the lead FBI investigator on the case, said in a statement that the defendants "bilk hard-earned money from their aging victims -- leaving so many financially devastated in their retirement years and without recourse for recovery.""The FBI is working intently to help ensure our elderly fellow citizens are protected and not defrauded," he added.The 60 defendants span all levels of the operation, including company owners, call center managers, telemarketers and brokers, who sold customer information to the fraudulent companies for $10 or $15 per name, according to charging documents.The companies operated in Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Arkansas.Prosecutors allege that the defendants used fraudulent scripts to target vulnerable customers. The "renewal" script, for instance, involved telemarketers falsely claiming that they were calling to renew the victims' active magazine subscriptions at a reduced rate. Instead, telemarketers were setting up recurring payments to the companies, which had no existing relationship with the victims.Some also used the "cancellation" script, which was used to trick those who had fallen for the scheme before into paying the companies large lump-sum payments to settle "balances owed," which prosecutors said in the statement were "made up."At the news conference, MacDonald described one call in which someone pretending to be a lawyer left a message for an older woman, saying that if she did not settle her account, he would pursue legal action. "In the meantime,'' he added, "this contract will renew for another three-year term, so you're going to receive magazines probably until the day you die. I hope that's what you want."Paul, the FBI investigator, said one woman had been defrauded of $60,000, with more than 40% of withdrawals from her account going to "phony magazine subscriptions."According to charging documents, the companies worked together, sharing customer information so that some victims were billed by 10 or more of the companies at once, resulting in more than $1,000 in subscription charges in a month.Tasha Verna, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said in an interview that the wide-ranging investigation had been prompted by an earlier case in Minnesota in which prosecutors say Wayne Robert Dahl Jr. ran one of the fraudulent companies, defrauding 13,000 victims across the country of more than $10 million. Dahl pleaded guilty this year to one count of mail fraud and is awaiting sentencing.Those who believe they may have been defrauded or know someone who has may visit the website that prosecutors created to track such claims.At the news conference, MacDonald issued a warning to potential scammers."When you pick up that phone and you try to contact a senior citizen from one of these lead lists," she said, "you may unwittingly not realize you're contacting a federal agent acting in an undercover capacity as a susceptible senior citizen. Be warned."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:07:50 -0400
  • Report slams UK's Labour Party for tolerating anti-Semitism

    Golocal247.com news

    Officials in Britain's opposition Labour Party failed to stamp out anti-Semitism and committed “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” against members of the Jewish community, the U.K. equalities watchdog said Thursday. The Equality and Human Rights Commission found “significant failings” and a “lack of leadership” in how the left-of-center party handled allegations of anti-Semitism among its members. Labour has faced allegations that anti-Semitism was allowed to fester under the 2015-2019 leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time supporter of Palestinians and a critic of Israel.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 08:01:16 -0400
  • More looting hits Philadelphia despite curfew

    Golocal247.com news

    Overnight order followed two straight nights of unrest that led to scores of arrests and dozens of police injuries.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:57:03 -0400
  • White House advisers warn of 'unrelenting' COVID-19 spread in U.S. Midwest, West

    Golocal247.com news

    The White House coronavirus task force is warning of a persistent and broad spread of COVID-19 in the western half of the United States and its members urged aggressive mitigation measures to curb infections. The area includes a number of battleground states that will play an important role in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election as Republican President Donald Trump seeks a second term against Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Fauci noted that coronavirus cases are rising in 47 states and patients are overwhelming hospitals across the country.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:56:22 -0400
  • If Biden wins, what would a U.S. climate change pledge look like?

    Golocal247.com news

    If he wins next Tuesday's U.S. presidential election, Joe Biden has pledged to give the country a leading role in global efforts to curb climate change. President Donald Trump, who has rejected mainstream science on climate change, does not have a plan to address global warming. The Republican president rejected the 2015 Paris Agreement early in his first term, and the United States is set to formally exit the deal to rein in global emissions on Nov. 4, the day after the election.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:50:23 -0400
  • Philadelphia police to release body cam footage of Wallace shooting amid unrest

    Golocal247.com news

    The two officers who shot Walter Wallace Jr. didn’t have tasers, but they were wearing body cameras. The Philadelphia Police Department has announced that it will release the body camera footage of the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. by two officers. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has promised a transparent investigation, and the release of the footage is a key component of that goal.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:43:17 -0400
  • Two men, company that ran Pennsylvania hotels convicted of sex, drug trafficking

    Golocal247.com news

    Two Bartonsville men and a company that ran hotels in Stroudsburg and Bartonsville have been convicted of sex and drug trafficking crimes in a precedent setting case.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:39:21 -0400
  • 3 dead, others injured in suspected terrorist attack at French church

    Golocal247.com news

    The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, tweeted Thursday that the attacker had been arrested and that all indicated that it was a terrorist attack.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:38:44 -0400
  • Geo Group: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:33:10 -0400
  • ConocoPhillips: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:31:09 -0400
  • Greece to unveil one-month plan against COVID-19 on Oct 30: PM says

    Golocal247.com news

    Greece will introduce further restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday, as further lockdowns were imposed in the country's northern and central regions. The country would unveil a one-month plan on Friday to combat the second wave of coronavirus, Mitsotakis told a cabinet meeting, saying 'targeted' restrictions would be in place.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:13:59 -0400
  • Make Science Great Again: U.S. researchers dream of life after Trump

    Golocal247.com news

    From his lab in Toulouse, France, Benjamin Sanderson models the range of extreme risks to humans from climate change, research he hopes can inform policymakers planning for worsening wildfires and floods. It is the kind of work he once performed in the United States - and hopes to again soon. Sanderson is among dozens of U.S.-based climate scientists who shifted their research to France, or sought refuge in academia or in left-leaning states like California after Republican Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:13:18 -0400
  • Moderna says on track to report late-stage COVID-19 vaccine data next month

    Golocal247.com news

    Moderna said it expects two-month safety data, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in the second half of November, after which it will file for an emergency use authorization. Moderna, which has no approved products on the market yet, is among a handful of companies in final trials for the vaccine, along with large drugmakers like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc . "I believe that if we launch our COVID-19 vaccine, 2021 could be the most important inflection year in Moderna’s history," said Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:06:58 -0400
  • United to give travelers free COVID-19 tests on select Newark-London flights

    Golocal247.com news

    Chicago-based United said the program would give Abbott Laboratories' rapid molecular ID Now tests, which take about 15 to 20 minutes, to all passengers above age 2. The program will run from Nov. 16 through Dec. 11 on three evening flights a week from Newark Liberty International Airport to London's Heathrow Airport. Global airlines are backing COVID-19 testing to replace or reduce 14-day quarantines and other restrictions that have battered demand.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:04:12 -0400
  • What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

    Golocal247.com news

    Britain will do everything it can to avoid ordering a second national lockdown because it believes it will do more harm than good to the country, a minister said on Thursday. As France and Germany ordered new national closures, British Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said the British government's clear policy was to use the tough local restrictions that were recently imposed on swathes of northern England. After a lull in the summer, the virus started to spread again in September and an Imperial College study published on Thursday showed cases doubling every nine days, with nearly 100,000 people infected in England each day.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:03:22 -0400
  • Tanzania's opposition says vote 'spit in face of democracy'

    Golocal247.com news

    Tanzania’s leading opposition candidate on Thursday rejected Wednesday's presidential vote after alleging widespread irregularities, saying that whatever happened wasn't an election and was like “spitting in the face of democracy." Many across Africa have watched in dismay at what they’ve described as Tanzania’s abandonment of its long reputation for democratic ideals under populist President John Magufuli. Opposition leader Tundu Lissu of the CHADEMA party also appeared to warn of unrest: “Those in power are telling Tanzanians, ‘If you want change, look for it another way, not through the ballot box,’” he told reporters.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:55:28 -0400
  • Columbus McKinnon: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:47:11 -0400
  • CoreSite: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:46:08 -0400
  • Brink's: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:42:09 -0400
  • Chatham Lodging: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:40:14 -0400
  • South Korea expresses 'serious concern' over any Japanese radioactive water dump

    Golocal247.com news

    South Korea expressed alarm on Thursday about the possibility that Japan will dump more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. "Director-general Kim highlighted our grave awareness and serious concern about the issue of the Fukushima reactor contaminated water," the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to Kim Jung-han, director-general for Asia and Pacific affairs, who led the South Korean team.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:31:33 -0400
  • Republican moderate Susan Collins fights for her political life in Trump era

    Golocal247.com news

    U.S. Senator Susan Collins is fighting for her political life in a race that could decide control of the Senate, having enjoyed years of popularity as an independent-minded moderate before fellow Republican Donald Trump entered the White House. A senator from Maine since 1997 who has voted with Trump two-thirds of the time, Collins is among nine Republicans whose prospects for re-election have been thrown into doubt in a chamber where their party holds a mere 53-47 majority. Trailing her Democratic rival in opinion polls and fundraising, Collins, 67, faces a reckoning with longtime supporters, unsettled by her tepid criticisms of Trump and her votes for White House priorities including the 2018 confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite charges of sexual misconduct, which he denied.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:30:56 -0400
  • Spotify: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:15:13 -0400
  • How the U.S. early vote surge is shaping Trump, Biden endgames

    Golocal247.com news

    Early voting, both by mail and in-person, has surged to record highs, with Americans energized by a high-stakes election while also worried about crowded polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic. State data on who has voted early show ballots cast by registered Democrats so far outpacing those cast by registered Republicans. A voter's party affiliation does not necessarily indicate which candidate they backed.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:13:40 -0400
  • Factbox: On climate, it's Biden's green revolution versus Trump's war on regulations

    Golocal247.com news

    Next Tuesday's U.S. presidential election pits a politician who plans to tie the country's economic recovery to tackling climate change against another determined to remove as many regulatory hurdles to oil, gas and coal production as possible. Republican President Donald Trump has focused on dismantling Democratic former President Barack Obama's climate agenda to free the energy and auto industries from the costs of regulations meant to protect health and the environment. Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who was Obama's vice president, has broadened his strategy to tackle climate change with a focus on building green infrastructure to reinvigorate the U.S. economy, which is reeling from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:13:27 -0400
  • Factbox: U.S. Supreme Court rules against Trump as legal battles over election continue

    Golocal247.com news

    With both sides in the U.S. presidential election dueling in court ahead of Tuesday's vote, Democrats scored two significant victories on Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court left in place extensions of North Carolina and Pennsylvania's deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots. More than 75 million Americans have voted already, according to a tally on Wednesday from the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. Below are some of the biggest victories for Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:09:50 -0400
  • For this world traveler, life shapes leadership choices

    Golocal247.com news

    James Riley, 59, is used to being on the go as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group's chief executive. Riley joined the parent company, Jardine Matheson Group, in 1993. For example, Mandarin Oriental partnered with The Oberoi Group in India in September to offer loyalty program members benefits across both companies' properties.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:09:29 -0400
  • Tunisia bans internal travel to contain pandemic

    Golocal247.com news

    Tunisia on Thursday banned travel between the country's regions, suspended schools and public gatherings and extended a curfew, as it tried to contain a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases with hospitals nearly full. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi has said Tunisia cannot afford a second lockdown with the government already fighting the central bank over a projected deficit double what it had originally foreseen. As well as banning internal travel in most cases, the new rules include a suspension of schools until Nov. 8, a two-week suspension of universities and a ban on protests and public gatherings of more than four people.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:06:58 -0400
  • Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election

    Golocal247.com news

    Dozens of activist groups who claim to represent millions of Americans from both political parties plan to hit the streets next week, if President Donald Trump appears to be interfering with vote counting or manipulating poll results after Election Day. Participants are prepping to demonstrate "as early as the afternoon on Wednesday, November 4," the day after Election Day, and await a SMS message. "We can’t assume that Donald Trump will respect the peaceful transfer of power" said Sean Eldridge, the founder and president of Stand Up America, which started organizing the coalition in June.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:04:05 -0400
  • Analysis: U.S. drugmakers, bracing for price cuts, shift election support toward Democrats

    Golocal247.com news

    The U.S. pharmaceutical industry, long a supporter of Republicans, is giving almost half its political donations to Democratic candidates in this year’s election, as companies look to fend off a threat to drug prices if Democrats gain power. The industry moved less dramatically toward Democrats in 2018 during the congressional elections.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:02:39 -0400
  • Freed, then locked in: leaving a California prison amid a pandemic

    Golocal247.com news

    Inmates left state prisons unsure if they had been infected, and returned to towns reckoning with unemployment and traumaWhen William Blackwell walked out of the gates of San Quentin state prison in mid-July, he had his priorities ironed out: see his family, get a new ID card, search for a job. But first, officials had told him, he’d have to quarantine and test negative for coronavirus twice.So instead of greeting his family outside the prison’s iron enclosure, Blackwell, 58, climbed into the backseat of a prison van headed to a motel in Gardena, California.For the first time in more than two decades, he stepped into the van shackle-free, his hands, waist and ankles unbound. Through the bars on the windows, he saw a landscape he hadn’t seen in over two decades. With just a bottle of water to sustain him for this six-hour journey from the Bay Area down south, he sat thinking about the friends he had to leave behind and picturing what may lay ahead.Series linker“I was reflecting on my life, thinking about my next move and how I need to be accountable to my family,” Blackwell said. “I was coming home as a new person.”At the motel, Blackwell said, the officers gave him two phone numbers: one to use to get meals delivered to his room and the other in case of emergency. When he dialed the emergency line to see who would be on the other end, Blackwell said, all he got was an automated message.He was on his own with no one to report to, no idea where he would be living once his days in isolation were done and no instructions on how to get the coronavirus tests he needed to put his post-release plans in motion.“CDCR dropped us off at the hotel and said ‘bye,’” Blackwell said, referring to California’s Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. “When I called parole, they had no clue what to do with me, they had no idea where I would get tested or who would do it.”So, Blackwell spent his days watching television and learning how to use the cellphone his nephew bought him. On day five of his stay, his daughter and six-year-old granddaughter came to see him. He’d never met the little girl. He waved through the motel window as his family stood smiling in the parking lot.•••Blackwell is one of thousands of Californians released early from prison amid the coronavirus crisis. Covid-19 tore through California’s detention facilities, spreading like wildfire through overcrowded wards, hopping from institution to institution via ill-advised prison transports. At least 70 prisoners in the state have succumbed to the virus since mid-March, and more than 15,300 were infected.Amid huge pressure from activists and families, the California governor and CDCR in April announced measures to enable the early release of 3,500 people. In July, it promised another round of early releases that would see 8,000 people freed. Court records show that almost 6,000 prisoners have been released early since July. Still, the measures affected just a sliver of the more than 97,000 prisoners in the state system. Even before the pandemic, rejoining society after years behind bars was a rough transition for many former prisoners, with steep hills to climb. Housing and job opportunities for former prisoners were always scarce. This coupled with managing drug addictions, parole requirements and family obligations makes the first months of freedom a delicate time.Those who were released amid Covid-19 were spit out by a prison system in chaos, and were often unsure of whether they had been infected and where to get tested. Many arrived home in communities reckoning with unemployment and trauma related to the pandemic. And the network of state workers and non-governmental organizations that are supposed to help them ease back into normal life was pushed to the brink, with prison counselors and parole agents scrambling to get people placed in housing and set up with healthcare.“Re-entry resources are so important in pre- and current Covid times. You need logistical support for finding a bed, food and navigating bureaucracy as well as emotional support like counseling,” said Sandra Gonzales, the operations director with The Place 4 Grace, a nonprofit that works with children and their incarcerated parents.More than two months and four negative coronavirus tests after stepping out of San Quentin, William Blackwell is still not home. He has seen his family just a handful of times and isn’t at work. Stuck in a transitional home, his movement is restricted by policies that remind him of his time locked up.“All of my post-release plans were made pre-outbreak. But because of Covid, things got pushed up, now I’m scrambling,” Blackwell said. “I learned to be patient after 26 years in prison, but it’s still a struggle.”•••Blackwell grew up in Los Angeles and was in and out of prison for robbery and selling drugs since he was a teenager. He held and delivered drugs for his stepfather, a drug dealer, he said, and later joined a gang. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1994 for conspiring to rob a bank. He was 32 at the time.“Me and school didn’t get along. I was more comfortable in the streets. I became a criminal and followed in my stepfather’s footsteps,” said Blackwell, who is slim-framed with a clear baritone voice. “In 1994, I knew the long sentence was coming and I accepted it as my reality.”When the coronavirus struck California at the start of 2020, Blackwell was held in San Quentin in the San Francisco Bay Area, the oldest state prison. On an early morning in June, Blackwell’s cellmate – who had complained about having chills and a fever – passed out while using the restroom. The man’s head hit Blackwell’s calf on the way down, Blackwell recalled. Both Blackwell and his cellmate tested positive for Covid-19. More than 2,000 people in the prison would end up catching the virus – the largest number of infections in any prison in the country.Blackwell learned he was being released less than a week later, almost two months before his original parole date. Since he was still testing positive for Covid-19, CDCR and parole arranged for him to spend his first 10 days in freedom at the Gardena motel. The stay was sponsored by Project Hope, a state-run program that provides up to two weeks of housing for those just getting out of prison and in need of quarantine space.“I was elated and relieved to get out but it was bittersweet because people were still dying in there,” Blackwell said. “I have friends that are doing the right thing, trying to change their lives, but they’re getting sick.”> I was elated and relieved to get out but it was bittersweet because people were still dying in there> > William BlackwellBy the time California prison officials announced the first positive Covid-19 cases in late-March, several staff members and three inmates had tested positive. Rapidly spreading outbreaks in prisons including Avenal, a medium-security prison in the Central Valley, and San Quentin led officials to halt all in-person visits and volunteer programs.Eventually, California officials would agree to release 6,000 people early in an effort to slow the spread of the virus inside the prison system. The policies prioritized people who are elderly, medically vulnerable and those with six months or less left on their sentences, and excluded those convicted of violent crimes as well as people who would have to register as sex offenders upon release.The state’s re-entry services and the many nonprofits working alongside it, too, were reckoning with the impact of the pandemic. The weeks and months of preparation to get housing and healthcare for people who are about to be released were truncated into a few days. Meetings with parole agents to review parole requirements, such as weekly drug testing, had to shift to Zoom.“We’ve taken 1,000 people home in the last three weeks,” said Sam Lewis, the executive director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), a re-entry and criminal justice reform nonprofit staffed by formerly incarcerated people, in late-August. “Before it might have been an ebb and flow, but now we need about 10 cars up to one prison in a single day.”Building the capacity to deal with the wave of releases left organizations and officials scrambling, Lewis said. “I applaud the governor for his efforts, but we didn’t have the infrastructure for these releases. We’re building it up while people are coming out.”That infrastructure includes everything from basics like making sure people have a place to quarantine, a way to get there and food delivered during their stay, to getting them set up with cellphones, internet access and stipends if they’re out of work.Since July, California has given $30m to groups such as ARC to give to smaller nonprofits who work directly with former prisoners. The bulk of the government grants and donations has gone toward transportation, hotel rooms and 2,000 longer term beds in local transitional homes, Lewis said.The magnitude of the crisis has forced local organizations to collaborate more, he added, to ensure that people aren’t released into homelessness or left to fend for themselves. “It’s a huge lift and month to month the number of releases and quarantine rules change,” he said. “We’re having more discussions with the CDCR and community-based groups and the level of coordination we have shows how important it is that we continue this post-Covid.”•••Roderick Thompson was handed a prepaid card with almost $200 when he left Avenal state prison in July, and he spent it towards two nights in a motel room where he could quarantine.Thompson, 33, had been in Avenal since 2016. He grew up in Compton, California, in an adoptive home. He says life with his adoptive parents was dysfunctional at times, and his biological mother’s drug addiction and subsequent absence left a void he tried to fill with gang activity and drugs.Thompson was 16 when he faced his first criminal case: receiving stolen property from a local high school. It also marked the first time he was strip-searched, a process that he says would eventually become routine. At first, he was put on probation, but after missing a court date he was sentenced to time at a juvenile detention camp in Lancaster, where he spent about six months before ageing out of the system and reconnecting with his biological mother.While living with his mother, Thompson got hooked on cocaine and spent two years battling addiction and experiencing bouts of homelessness. After a string of robberies he was arrested and sentenced to nearly eight years.“It was kind of fun,” Thompson recalled. “I was still young and felt like I wasn’t in prison because the facility was full of narcotics and cellphones.”Thompson, a glasses-clad man with a youthful face, was released in late 2015 and says that even after years of incarceration he still had “a criminal mentality,” and a short temper. While on a grocery run with his pregnant girlfriend in November 2016, almost a year after his release, he got into an argument with a store employee and told the man, “I’m gonna be back for you.”Less than an hour later he was arrested and eventually convicted of making a criminal threat. Since he had a prior conviction and was on parole at the time, he was sentenced to another eight years in prison. During his stint in Avenal, he joined several rehabilitative groups and eventually became an organizer who spread news about criminal justice reforms to his peers.“I finally realized there was no reason to continually let my family down and mess around with criminal activity,” Thompson said. “Making the change was stressful, but I put the work in.”In May, when California was in lockdown because of coronavirus, life in Avenal still felt normal, Thompson said: no masks, no quarantines, just the occasional temperature check. Later that month he lost his sense of taste and smell, and realized something was wrong. Thompson and other prisoners with similar symptoms didn’t disclose their symptoms to staff out of fear of having their possessions thrown away and being moved to an unfamiliar part of the prison.“Once the staff noticed that people’s temperatures were high, they decided to test everyone, but it was too late,” Thompson said.Thompson tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of May. The diagnosis coincided with the peak of the prison’s outbreak – eventually 804 people would test positive. Once his building was put under quarantine Thompson says he used the newfound free time to map out his goals for life after prison, which included restarting his cleaning business and building a bond with his now three-year-old son.In mid-July – nine months before his original release date – Thompson was called to a correctional officer’s podium and told that he qualified for the state’s expedited release program. He’d be out by the end of the month.By the time Thomspon was packing up his cell he’d had a mental health exam, but no clue as to where he would quarantine or how he would get back to southern California. A parole counselor had asked him if he had a job and housing in place, but those plans were still ambiguous. The abysmal guidance he got from prison officials in the days leading up to his release felt like “a slap in the face”.“CDCR gave us this virus and then kicked us into the community with nothing: no ID, no benefits or way to transition,” he said shortly before leaving Avenal.Arnold Trevino, a re-entry service provider, met Thompson at the gates of the prison just after dawn on 30 July, and took him to breakfast before driving him to the train station. Together, they went over Thompson’s options.> CDCR gave us this virus and then kicked us into the community with nothing: no ID, no benefits or way to transition> > Roderick ThompsonLike Blackwell, Thompson was released before testing negative for Covid-19 and would have to quarantine. Project Hope still provided free hotel rooms, but he was too late to get one before he got to southern California. He couldn’t stay with family because, as far as he knew, he was still positive for Covid-19 and feared passing the disease on to elderly relatives.“When I got to that train station to go back to LA I didn’t know what I was gonna do,” Thompson said. “I had a small variety of options for where I could live and then was thrown off by the early release.”When he reached Los Angeles after an almost seven-hour journey on a train and bus, he decided to use his release money to pay for a motel room where he could quarantine and figure out his next steps.While in the motel Thompson sought help from his parole officer and organizers with Initiate Justice, a criminal justice reform nonprofit that Thompson worked for while in prison. After two nights, parole told him that he was moving to a transitional home where he could quarantine, get tested for Covid-19 and begin his reintegration in earnest.Thompson has continued living in the same home where he was quarantined, and plans to stay there until he completes his parole next year. Since he was officially declared Covid-free, his return to the community and workforce has been mostly smooth, he said. Early into his re-entry Thompson went to the DMV to get a new ID card and driver’s license, and briefly held a job cooking in a South Central Los Angeles market. A fight that broke out in the store made him worry about violating his parole and landing back in prison, and he left in October. He is now hoping to start a nonprofit to help youth and adults who are in prison.“That was a high-risk situation for me and as a parolee I have to evaluate every situation,” Thompson said. “There’s no way I can fail unless I go back to hanging with the wrong crowd and I have a child to take care of, so I can’t afford to do things that won’t benefit or this baby I created.”•••Blackwell, who had left San Quentin in July, has been out of prison almost three months, but feels he is “still under guard”. He lives in a transitional home in Los Angeles, where staff accompany him on errands to local stores and trips to the DMV.“My sentence is up, and I was required to go to a transitional home, not a prison on the streets,” Blackwell said in mid-August. “I understand the safety protocols but being locked in is hindering my progress.”Doug Bond, the CEO of Amity Foundation, which runs the transitional home, said adjusting to the demand for services while trying to avoid outbreaks has led to “difficult decisions” such as discouraging people from taking jobs like janitorial work in healthcare facilities and putting limits around when and where people can visit with their families.“It’s a delicate balance and none of us are enjoying the restrictions,” Bond said. “We don’t want people to have to turn down work and family events, but we have to think about the safety of a lot of people,” he added.In early October, after speaking with the Guardian, Bond sat down with Blackwell to listen to his frustrations and explain the reasoning behind Amity’s policies. After their meeting, house staff told Blackwell that he would be one of 11 people to participate in a job development workshop. Blackwell said he was surprised that Bond came to see him specifically, but is still unsure of how much change will come from the CEO’s visit.“I’m still skeptical because there was no mention of a concrete change that could help everyone in the house,” Blackwell said. “He just said it would take gradual change.”Covid-19 is still ravaging California’s prisons. Folsom state prison, a medium-security facility near Sacramento, didn’t report its first case until late-August and within weeks shot from one to 611. In that same period Avenal saw a new outbreak after cases dropped in mid-July. Meanwhile, early releases have slowed significantly.Just over 1,500 people were released early from early-August to the end of September compared with 4,220 people the prior month, according to court filings. California prisons remain overcrowded, antiquated architecture and poor ventilation persist, and advocates continue to call for mass releases, especially for the almost 6,600 people who the CDCR has identified as being “medically high-risk for Covid-19”. Just 57 of those identified have been released as of early-October.Blackwell’s waiting for a background check for a job with a delivery company that contracts with Amazon. He said he’s leaning on the lessons he learned after two decades of incarceration to help him remain patient. Last month, he got to see his family while attending his granddaughter’s sixth birthday party.“Being in prison for 26 years made me figure out ways to survive: I learned how to multitask, and my thought process changed,” Blackwell said.“So I can laugh at these frustrations because I can see past the obstacles now.”

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:00:04 -0400
  • Domestic violence survivors need more help than ever during pandemic

    Golocal247.com news

    Somy Ali’s cellphone doubles as a lifeline for domestic violence survivors.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:00:00 -0400
  • Poland's total coronavirus cases top 300,000 after new daily record

    Golocal247.com news

    Poland reported another daily record of coronavirus infections and deaths on Thursday with new 20,156 cases and 301 deaths related to COVID-19. The health ministry said the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections has tripled in less than a month, exceeding 300,000. Government officials have warned infections could rise fast due to massive protests sweeping Poland following a Constitutional Court ruling last Thursday that has introduced a near total ban on abortions.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 05:44:05 -0400
  • Weingarten Realty: 3Q Earnings Snapshot

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 05:39:08 -0400
  • Activists urge 'Big Pharma' to be transparent on COVID-19 vaccine costs

    Golocal247.com news

    Activists called on pharmaceutical companies on Thursday to be transparent about the costs and terms of providing COVID-19 vaccines, saying they must be available and affordable for all. French drugmaker Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday they would supply 200 million doses of their COVID-19 candidate vaccine to the global COVAX vaccine facility backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the GAVI vaccine alliance. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) demanded the two companies provide details around price, supply and distribution of any vaccine proven safe and effective.

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 05:37:54 -0400
  • Fired Buffalo police officer who contends she stopped another cop from choking a man finds new support — in Chicago

    Golocal247.com news

    CHICAGO — The arts collective at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network on Chicago's Southwest Side supports artists from across the country, encouraging them to inspire change through storytelling. But the details of Cariol Horne's story, shared there during a summer of intense national conversation over police abuse, struck an unusually troubling note — Horne has maintained for 15 years that ...

    Thu, 29 Oct 2020 05:35:00 -0400
Data by Localeze
Powered by Intelligenx