The Kenosha riots over the police shooting of Jacob Blake have caused more than $11 million in damage, according to the chief of the city’s fire department.
Chief Charles Leipzig told the Police and Fire Commission Tuesday about two dozen fires destroyed multiple businesses over the span of a few days immediately following the Aug. 23 shooting. Blake, 29, has been left partially paralyzed after an officer shot him seven times in the back during an attempted arrest.
“To put into context, that’s three years of fire loss for us in the span of about a week,” Leipzig told commissioners, according to the Kenosha News.
Blake’s shooting sparked protests around the country, including tense demonstrations in Kenosha that turned deadly. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17 of Antioch, Illinois, is accused of fatally shooting two protesters, while wounding a third, in Kenosha on Aug. 25.
Earlier this month, Blake spoke out on the shooting for the first time, saying he was suffering nonstop pain during his recovery. He urged his supporters not to take life for granted.
“I just want to say, man — a lot of young cats out there and even the older ones, older than me, it’s a lot more life to live out here, man,” Blake said from his hospital bed in a video tweeted by his family’s attorney Ben Crump.
“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move around and forward in life, can be taken from you like this,” he said as he snapped his fingers.
Both President Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden visited Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting. Biden had met with Blake, while his running mate, Kamala Harris, spoke with his family. Trump toured the city’s damage but did not meet with Blake or his relatives.
“I mean they’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they do it with such dignity and grace,” Harris said on her meeting at the time. “And you know, they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”
WIth Post wires
COVID-19 cases rising among adolescents in US
Coronavirus infections are rising among American children, with the sharpest spike recorded among adolescents, according to new research.
The portion of children under the age of 18 diagnosed with COVID-19 soared between April to September, rising from 2.2 percent to 10 percent of all reported coronavirus cases nationwide, researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found in a study published Tuesday.
By Sept. 10, 624,890 cases in children had been reported, up from 2,572 reported back on April 2. And children are making up greater and greater percentages of new cases reported each week, according to the study.
In the week ending April 23, less than 3 percent of cases reported were pediatric. But in the past eight weeks, children represented between 12 percent and 15.9 percent of newly reported cases each week, researchers found.
But children have remained resilient in fighting the virus. Americans under the age of 18 represented 1.7 percent of total hospitalizations — and 0.07 percent of total deaths at of Sept. 10. Just 0.01 percent of child cases resulted in death, according to the study.
However experts warn that though children don’t typically become seriously ill, they could still serve as hosts to transmit the virus to adults.
“These rising numbers concern us greatly, as the children’s cases reflect the increasing virus spread in our communities,” said Sally Goza, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a statement.
“While children generally don’t get as sick with the coronavirus as adults, they are not immune and there is much to learn about how easily they can transmit it to others.”
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the sharpest rise in cases has been among adolescents between 12 and 17 years old.
Between March 1 and Sept. 19, kids in that age bracket had an average weekly rate of 37.4 new cases per 100,000 people, compared with 19 cases per 100,000 for youth aged 5 to 11.
The study comes as schools across the country try and figure out the safest way to conduct the new school year — for both faculty and students alike. On Wednesday, masked-up New York kids in grades K-8 made their return to classrooms.
The weekly rate of infection among all school-aged kids reached its peak in mid-July. After dropping in August, the rate began rising again during the week of Sept. 6, as schools reopened, according to the CDC.
Goza stressed the importance of people of all ages practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings.
“We must keep our children — and each other — healthy by following the recommended safety measures like washing hands, wearing cloth face coverings and staying 6 feet apart from others,” she said.
NYC Board of Elections grilled over many mail-in ballot errors
They’re ticking all the wrong boxes.
The New York City Board of Elections was torn to shreds on Tuesday over two recent blunders that have cast doubt on the agency’s ability to conduct mail-in voting for the Nov. 3 election.
Numerous politicians — including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — slammed the city’s independent BOE for the flubs, including sending return envelopes with incorrect names and addresses to as many as 100,000 Brooklyn residents who requested absentee ballots.
That error, which the BOE blamed on an outside vendor, came after election officials sent out confusingly worded ballots that had voters believing they’d received voting documents meant for military use.
“It’s appalling,” de Blasio said. “I don’t know how many times we’re going to see the same thing happen at the BOE and be surprised.”
The mayor said the gaffes were impermissible, coming at a time when leaders are encouraging people to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic to limit gatherings at polling sites.
A top aide to the governor also rapped the BOE for the fumbles.
“It’s unacceptable and it’s something that they’ve got to take charge of right away,” said Cuomo Secretary Melissa DeRosa.
State GOP chairman Nick Langworthy said it undermines the trust in mail-in voting.
“This is a colossal mistake that continues to validate all of our concerns and seriously undermines the credibility and integrity of this election. Cuomo and the Democrats rammed this ill-conceived and ill-prepared system through while refusing to knowledge any potential pitfalls and attacked anyone who had concerns as racist,” Langworthy said.
“They own this mess and we will continue to urge people to vote in-person to ensure their vote is counted.”
The first error, a misprint, made it appear that voters had received an “Official Military Absentee Ballot” instead of a “Military/Absentee Ballot,” leaving several New Yorkers who received the documents worried that their votes might not be properly tallied.
The second problem appeared to have happened when the BOE’s vendor, Rochester-based Phoenix Graphics, used a new automated machine to assign voters’ names, ID labels and addresses to be included in the oath statements and return envelopes used to mail the ballot.
The machine went haywire and spit out the labels with the wrong names and addresses to voters in Brooklyn, said Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the New York State Board of Elections, who is investigating the matter.
“If left uncorrected people could lose their vote,” said Kellner, who believes there’s still time to fix the major screwup.
Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan pledged on Tuesday that voters who were part of the botched mailings will be sent a new ballot, and that Phoenix would foot the bill. The vendor in May was awarded a $4.6 million contract — for which it was the only bidder — to make and distribute absentee ballots for the BOE.
The body has previously caught flak from the White House on its handling of mail-in balloting in the June’s primary contests, which were widely seen as a test run for remote voting’s viability in November.
President Trump in particular has voiced concerns about the security and expediency of mail-in voting, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden has reportedly bolstered his legal staff for a potentially bitter and protracted legal battle over possible hinky ballots.
Critics said the recent mistakes in New York could undermine confidence in the absentee voting process, during an election when a record number of mail-in ballots are expected because of the pandemic.
“Perceived threats to our democracy emerging from the federal government are exacerbated when confidence in the absentee voting process is undercut,” said Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Rodneyse Bichotte.
“This error undermines our efforts to make voting more accessible and transparent.”
Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said the mistakes, while alarming, weren’t that surprising — coming just months after the BOE rejected more than 80,000 absentee votes during the primary election for technical issues, many of which were the agency’s own fault.
“For those of us paying attention, we knew this was coming. The issues in the primary, they were set to repeat. We must be better than this,” Rivera said.
She added: “The BOE sending incorrect voting material is clearly deeply alarming. It’s the most important election of our lifetimes.”
Rivera pointed to the problems during the June 23 primary, mired in litigation because thousands of mail-in ballots were not properly postmarked and processed.
In total nearly one in four absentee ballots — over 80,000 or 23 percent — were invalidated, in large part because voters did not sign the oath statement because they hadn’t noticed the tiny directions to do so.
“We all knew there were challenges that lay ahead, but unfortunately because there this culture of finger-pointing and no one taking responsibility for what’s happened — no one is going to have any faith in the BOE to pull this off.”
Rivera said the BOE — whose members are appointed by the county Democratic and Republican county leaders and the City, and does not fall under the oversight of the mayor — needs a “complete overhaul.”
Liz Balsamo, 68, who lives on 3rd Place in Carroll Gardens, received a ballot for a woman voter a block away.
“What next? My first reaction was, ‘here we go.’ Someone will be voting wrong on my behalf,” Balsamo said. “I’m losing faith in everything these days. We are doomed. Truthfully, can’t trust the whole system these days,’ she said, adding, “May God bless America!”
Brooklyn Heights resident Jiong Wang received a return envelope for his ballot with the name and address of a voter who lives a half-mile away.
“It’s a major problem. This is not stoking confidence in the election system,” Wang previously told The Post.
A government watchdog group said the latest blunder provides more ammunition to get rid of the city BOE and turn into a non-partisan agency, akin to the city Campaign Finance Board.
“The Board of Elections should be abolished. This stuff is going to happen time and time again,” said John Kaehny, director of Reinvent Albany.
The mayor has argued that the BOE should be made a mayoral agency to bring more accountability and supervision.
During a press conference Tuesday, the governor was asked if he would support a change in state law to reform the city BOE.
Cuomo passed the buck to the City Council, saying it would first have to approve a proposal to submit to the state Legislature.
“It’s very common that the New York City Council pass a law that requires state approval — but then pass a law and then give us the law,” Cuomo said.
Some 520,000 ballots have already been mailed to voters who requested them — and that number could easily top 1 million before Election Day.
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh and Bernadette Hogan
RBG laid to rest in private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was buried Tuesday in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, next to her husband and several other Supreme Court justices.
Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, was laid to rest in a historic section of the cemetery, where family members can choose headstones that differ from the rows of white monuments that mark the graves of military service members at the sprawling field in Northern Virginia, the Associated Press reported.
Ginsburg’s husband, Martin, was buried in the cemetery after his death in 2010, according to the report. He had served in the Army as an instructor in Oklahoma soon after the two were married.
Ginsburg and her husband’s graves are each marked with a black headstone that has a Star of David on top. The site is not far from where President John Kennedy was buried, and near the final resting plots of nine Supreme Court justices, including three that served on the bench with Ginsburg.
On Friday, Ginsburg lay in state at the US Capitol, the first woman, and first Jewish person who was given the honor.
Her death touched off a fierce partisan debate in Washington about whether President Trump should name her successor, or wait until after the November election to do so.
On Saturday, Trump tapped Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ginsburg on the high court.
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