Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Jordan Stevenson opened up the show with talk of the annual Wild Rumpus Halloween parade. It is still planned to take place at the end of the month, but given the impacts of the pandemic, coordinators say it’s going to look a little different.
Whereas the Athens community would normally gather in thousands, forming a parade of monsters, spirits and creatures of the night, this year the festivities will be socially distanced through online segments and activities.
Wild Rumpus Director Timi Conley is more than hopeful that while the events may be distanced, the community will still come together just the same.
“There’s nothing like it, and we all really need a break from the grind of this year, so I think it’s important for the Rumpus to continue,” Conley said.
Participants of the Rumpus will have the opportunity to post and share their costumes online for the community to see. Conley also says the community can expect live-streamed music from local bands.
The event is sponsored once again by Creature Comforts, the Athens Downtown Development Authority and other private sponsors. Along with putting on the Wild Rumpus, the money from the sponsorships goes towards the UGA Food2Kids nonprofit that partners with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. For more information on the event, you can visit wildrumpus.org.
Laura Lenz reported on how Atlanta Public Schools are planning on returning to in-person instruction if COVID-19 conditions stay the same or improve, according to a plan released Monday from Atlanta Public Schools. They plan to bring back elementary students and some students with special needs as early as Oct. 26.
Atlanta Public Schools isn’t the first school system to shift back to in-person learning. The Cobb County School District welcomed elementary students and special needs students on Monday. According to the district, 60% of students opted in to in-person classes four days a week with an online learning day on Wednesdays. Cobb County will bring back middle and high school students if COVID-19 cases stay the same or decrease.
Atlanta parents and staff are critical of reopening plans, however. Sara Zeigler, a parent in the Atlanta Public School district, said the reopening plan favored parents over teachers. And parents, community members and staff sent a letter to APS officials asking them to slow their reopening plan. The letter included requests to limit the number of students returning to in-person and prioritize the students who are more in need of a face-to-face component.
Lenz also updated listeners on financial happenings. The stock market bounced back today after a tough day on Tuesday after President Trump reversed his statements about a new stimulus bill. Wednesday morning, the S&P 500 was up 1.2% and the Dow Jones gained 400 points.
The market gains this morning offset Tuesday’s losses which resulted from stalled talks over economic stimulus plans. On Tuesday, President Trump tweeted that he was ending discussions with Democratic lawmakers about a stimulus bill and that he was rejecting a $2.4 trillion plan proposed by House Democrats.
However, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reversed this statement and announced they are now considering bills to aid small businesses and airlines, according to NPR.
On Tuesday, the Dow fell nearly 600 points and tech and airline stocks were down, with American Airlines down 4.5% and United Airlines down 3.65%. Since the pandemic began, airlines have lost significantly, and are dependent on federal stimulus to avoid major lay-offs. With federal stimulus talks stalled, major airlines have announced they are furloughing thousands of employees, according to NPR.
Wood Smith detailed how the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency – which will become part of the U.S. Space Force in 2022 – selected SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies to produce satellites and sensors that can track and target advanced missile threats from outer space.
Award notices published to the federal procurement site beta.sam.gov Friday afternoon indicate that SpaceX could receive more than $149 million and L3Harris could receive more than $193 million to produce capabilities for the Tracking Layer of SDA’s Tranche 0, Wide Field of View Program.
SDA is a relatively nascent agency, launched in early 2019 with a strategic intent to “define and monitor the Defense Department’s future threat-driven space architecture,” former Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote in a memo at the time it was established.
Through the broader program, SDA aims to implement a robust architecture made up of multiple layers of nearly 1,000 satellites that can provide unique military insights and capabilities such as spotting hypersonic weapons or potentially deterring potentially aggressive actions in cislunar space, or the area with the moon’s orbit – by 2026.
Mary Lou Masters had the latest on the controversy over Stone Mountain sentiments. Stone Mountain, located near downtown Atlanta, is known for its beautiful hiking trails, nature areas and the view from the top. But it has also recently been known for its various displays of the Confederacy. According to the Associated Press, yesterday, “a grassroots group and local religious leaders held a prayer event…on Stone Mountain, calling for the removal of a Confederate flag and other reminders of the Civil War at the park boasting a massive carving of Confederate leaders.”
The carving is that of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Quotes from Confederate leaders and soldiers cover the park’s benches with statues and plaques also including Confederate paraphernalia.
Some want the carving to be blown off right away, while others want to “start slower by renaming roadways such as Robert E Lee Blvd and taking down the Confederate flag that flies high near the base of the mountain.”
The Stone Mountain Action Coalition, who also wants those Confederate reminders taken down, was supposed to meet with the group on Tuesday, but their meeting was cancelled and rescheduled for November.
Sarah Train delivered the sad news about icon Eddie Van Halen’s death. Today, the music world mourns the loss of legendary rock star and guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who died on Tuesday after losing his battle with cancer.
Van Halen’s son and bandmate, Wolfgang, shared the news on social media, saying, “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.”
Valen Halen was known for being the founder of the rock band Van Halen and was widely regarded as being one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Eddie Van Halen was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument but couldn’t read music. He was a classically trained pianist who created some of the most distinctive guitar riffs in rock history.
Born in Amsterdam, he moved to California with his family in 1962 and started making music with his brother Alex Van Halen, and they eventually formed a band in the early 1970’s, eventually known as Van Halen. In all the band released 12 studio albums. They topped the Billboard Hot 100 all throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s with songs like “Jump,” “Panama,” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.”
Fellow bandmates and rock legends began to pay tribute on social media, including David Lee Roth who shared a photo of the two backstage with the caption “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.” On CBS This Morning, Jon Bon Jovi gave praise to the rockstar for what he brought to music.
“He was an innovator of our generation, he will be remembered forever and sorely missed,” Bon Jovi said.
More rock legends paid tribute including Gene Simmons from KISS, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue and Billy Idol.
Van Halen is among the 20 best selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone named Eddie at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists. Eddie was 65 when he passed.
Stevenson then delivered some international updates. Today, two scientists have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their development of molecular scissors to edit DNA, with the hopes of one day using it to cure inherited diseases. American Jennifer Doudna and Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier came up with the method known as CRISPR-cas9, that can be used to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms.
According to APNews, the process allows for “laser-sharp snips in the long strings of DNA that make up the ‘code of life,’ enabling scientists to precisely edit specific genes to remove errors that lead to disease in humans.”
The recipients of the award is significant in itself, with this being the fourth time in the recognition’s 119 year history of the winners being exclusively women. While some experts question the ethics of the molecular scissors claiming it allows scientists to “play God.” The method is expected to result in groundbreaking new medical treatments that could yield enhanced ways of medicine.
Mary Lou Masters also had an update concerning the McCloskey couple out of St. Louis. Back in June, the McCloskey couple pointed their guns at a group of Black Lives Matter protestors when they showed up at their property.
According to the Associated Press, yesterday the McCloskeys were indicted by a grand jury for waving their guns at what Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner considered a peaceful protest. The charges include “unlawful use of a weapon” and “tampering with evidence.”
Mark and Patricia McCloskey claim they were merely using their second amendment right to defend themselves and their property from who they regarded as “hardly peaceful.” Yesterday, Mr. McCloskey was angry that he and his wife faced felony charges, which could cost the attorneys their law licenses and four years in prison, while the protestors, who they believed were illegally trespassing, were not being charged at all.
“Every single human being that was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser…they broke down our gate,” McCloskey said. “They trespassed on our property. Not a single one of those people is now charged with anything.’”
With the story sparking interest in President Trump and other conservatives, the couple spoke at the Republican National Convention back in August. The Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Mike Parson, has said that he would pardon the McCloskeys if convicted.
Sarah Detwiler covered sports next. ESPN announced this afternoon that the women’s soccer game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 10 Virginia has been postponed due to roster depletion from COVID-19 and injuries.
This game is the first involving ACC teams that have been forced to postpone one of their games thus far this season. The ACC is one of only four conferences playing women’s soccer this fall season, along with the Big 10, SEC and Sun Belt. Both teams are scheduled to play their next game on Oct. 15 and it is unknown right now whether this game will be rescheduled or not.
AP News reported this morning that the Tennessee Titans will not be returning to the team’s facility today after two more Titans tested positive of COVID-19. The New England Patriots have also canceled practice amid reports that a third player on the team has tested positive for coronavirus. Sports Illustrated reported that NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the virus and was added to the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
Quarterback of the Patriots, Cam Newton, tested positive for the virus on Saturday and was also put on the COVID-19 list along with a defensive tackle from the practice squad who was put on the list Tuesday.
Newton posted on Twitter on Wednesday in all caps saying, “WEAR YOUR MASK. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE,” along with a photo of himself wearing a mask.
According to ESPN, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned all 32 teams on Monday that any violations of COVID-19 protocols that force schedule changes could result in punishment including forfeiting games, fines or loss of draft picks.
Wood Smith closed out the show with election coverage. Tonight is the first and last Vice-Presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle. The debate, set to begin at 9:00 p.m., has had some modifications made as a result of concerns raised by the Biden/Harris campaign.
Vice President Mike Pence’s team has agreed to allow a plexiglass for his side of the stage during tonight’s debate with Kamala Harris, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The team asked why a shield was needed if the two candidates would be 12 feet apart, according to people familiar with the matter.
The concession came after Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told the Washington Post earlier Tuesday that their team did not view the plexiglass dividers as medically necessary, given that the two debaters will be more than 12 feet apart. Short, who has led Pence’s debate preparations, told the Post that if Harris “wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable.”
Sabrina Singh, a Harris spokesperson, said the Democratic vice-presidential nominee would respect the measures recommended by the Cleveland Clinic, which is advising the Commission on Presidential Debates on precautions against infection by the coronavirus.
“If the Trump administration’s war on masks has now become a war on safety shields, that tells you everything you need to know about why their COVID response is a failure,” Singh said.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday that plexiglass would be used at the debate. The commission also said that anyone in the hall who doesn’t wear a mask would be escorted out.