Home Blog Page 3

Yellowstone Rampage Brings Prison Time for California Man | Wyoming News

CHENEY, U.S.A. (AFP) – A judge has sentenced a California man to nine months in prison for a drunken rampage in Yellowstone National Park in which he caused thousands of dollars in damage to a hotel and suffered from rangers trying to subdue him.

As U.S. Magistrates Judge Mark L. Carman Benjamin J. Pagala, 27, of Santa Rosa, California, announced Jan. 7 to stay away from Yellowstone and not drink alcohol for a year after serving in prison.

Pagala in December pleaded guilty to three counts of assault, resistance and obstruction of law enforcement officers and one count of damaging federal property.

Wyoming District Attorney L. Robert Murray said in a statement Wednesday that Pagala was a heavy drinker, breaking objects and harassing guests at the Lake Hotel on Sept. 25 when a guard was called.

Guardsman Matthew Chowvarsky arrives to find a broken plexiglass and threatens Pajala with a fight. The Chuvarsky used the Taser on Bagala and handcuffed him outside the hotel, according to Chuvarsky’s report on the arrest filed in federal court in Wyoming.

political cartoons

Pajala sustained injuries to his hands and guards put him in an ambulance. On the way to a hospital in Livingston, Montana, Pagala dismembered himself and struggled with another guard, according to Chowvarsky.

The guard who was driving had to stop and help control Bagala by using an electric stun on him again. Chvarsky writes that a medic subjected Pajala with ketamine but by that time Pajala was suffering from five guards and a medic.

The Rangers documented other damages, including broken doors and lamps, totaling $2,865, according to Karman.

Karman ordered Pajala to pay this amount as compensation.

Pagala’s attorney, Tom Flyner, did not immediately respond with a phone message Thursday seeking comment.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


French Premier Says Vaccine Pass to Go Into Effect Monday | Health News

Written by Sylvie Corbett and Barbara Sork, The Associated Press

A new COVID-19 ticket will come into effect on Monday, French Prime Minister Jean Castix said, severely restricting the public life of those who refuse to be vaccinated by preventing them from domestic flights, restaurants, sporting events and other venues.

“(The pass) … is necessary if we are to maintain and increase vaccination coverage in the event of new variants emerging,” Castix said on Thursday. He added that the so-called vaccine card “clearly places restrictions on non-vaccinators.”

From Monday, a full vaccination will be required to enter restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other recreational and sports facilities, and to ride trains between regions and domestic flights. This procedure applies to everyone aged 16 and over. The government said some exceptions were planned for those who had recently recovered from COVID-19.

Castex also said that the increase in the spread of the virus in France is showing signs of abating but the pressure on hospitals remains high, which is why the government wants to keep the current restrictions in place for another 12 days.

political cartoons

“This extraordinary wave is not over yet, but the fading of its effects is a positive sign,” the prime minister said at a press conference in Paris.

From February 2, he said, it will no longer be mandatory to work from home for at least three days a week and outdoor mask-wearing will be lifted. Nightclubs will open on February 16th.

Also starting Monday, Kastix said, children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be eligible for a booster dose.

Castex said passing the vaccine is the key to stopping the spread of highly contagious Omicron.

But he acknowledged the possibility of suspending this measure “if the number of infections drops sharply and the burden on hospitals becomes much less.”

France has been the epicenter of the virus in Europe, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. On Monday alone, the country reported 525,525 new cases.

On average, more than 320,000 cases have been recorded per day over the past week. However, the number of new patients admitted to hospital intensive care units fell by 15% during the same period, leaving the government to hope that the situation will improve in the coming weeks.

Earlier on Thursday, government spokesman Gabriel Atal said more than a million adults had received their first COVID-19 vaccine within the past month, after the vaccine rollout plan was announced.

About 92% of French adults – more than 48 million people – have already been fully vaccinated, and 94% have received at least one injection.

The French parliament approved the new measure at the weekend after weeks of heated debate. The Constitutional Council will release its assessment on Friday.

Barbara Surk contributed from Nice, France.

Follow all of the Associated Press stories about the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Existing laws could deal with ‘marital rape’ while saving marriage rather than outright arrest of accused man

Existing laws could deal with ‘marital rape’ while saving marriage rather than outright arrest of accused man

It should be noted that in countries like USA, UK and Canada, rape is a gender-neutral term when one cites the example of these countries to say that marital rape is a crime in these countries. Which means that even the man/husband can allege and prosecute the female/wife for the crime of rape. Laws should not be clearly in favor of or biased in favor of women.

Therefore, we may have a graded response to such allegations by the wife against the husband, as follows. In the meantime, it would be wise for the country’s legislature to consider enacting a special law or amending existing provisions of existing laws aimed at protecting women from domestic violence/violence.

First, legal recognition of the act of “marital rape” by the husband as an act gives the injured wife the right to contact police authorities or the court for redress.

Second, obligating the husband, during all proceedings in the crime of “marital rape,” to obtain professional counseling from the husband and gender education courses and lessons to be successfully completed by the accused spouse.

Third, to amend and insert a special and specific provision under Section 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, which speaks of the various protection orders that a judge may pass while considering a complaint under Section 12 of the Act, when: Single or continuous, by the defendant spouse.

Violation of any order by the investigating judge may lead to penal consequences as provided in Article 31 of the Law or even to a full trial under the provisions of Article 375, at the choice of the aggrieved woman, in the case of such a deliberate and willful violation. The husband’s violation of this protection order.


Palm Harbor messianic rabbi gets house arrest, probation in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Palm Harbor messianic rabbi gets house arrest, probation in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Thursday sentenced Palm Harbor Rabbi Messiani to two months in home imprisonment plus a year of probation for picnicking at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 riots.

Michael Stepakov, also fined $742 to reimburse the government for the cost of his surveillance over the past year.

“Entering the Capitol was a huge mistake on my part,” Stepakov said in court. “I am deeply sorry for that. I wish I could get it back, but I can’t. It was not done in defiance or as an act of civil disobedience, but because I failed to properly appreciate the situation.”

While prosecutors requested a two-week prison term, US District Judge Rudolph Contreras concluded that imprisonment was unnecessary. But the judge did not buy arguments from Stepakov’s lawyer that he was not aware of the seriousness of his actions when he entered the Capitol with the mob.

“He refers to himself as a figure similar to Mr. Mago, oblivious to the chaos around him,” Contreras said. “The defendant is a highly educated person, and the court finds it unlikely that he was inattentive.”

Stepakov pleaded guilty in September to one count of acting, demonstrating, or protesting at the Capitol.

According to court records, he attended a rally in support of former President Donald Trump early that afternoon and then followed the crowd to the Capitol. Along the way, Stepakov recorded a video.

“There comes a time when people say, ‘We’re not going to take it,'” he said in the recording, as reported in court records. “Here we are taking our stand on Capitol Hill.”

At about 3 p.m. that day, Stepakov was seen in a security video walking into the Capitol through a door marked “Exit.” He wandered down the hall in a growing crowd, took pictures, and came back outside a few minutes later.

“The Capitol is our home. Not theirs,” he later posted on social media. He went on to say that there had been “a little bit of violence”, despite the “fake news” images, and described the events as a “almost completely peaceful demonstration”.

The riots, which disrupted congressional ratification of the results of the 2020 election, caused more than $1 million in losses. More than 100 law enforcement officers were injured. Five people, including an officer, were killed.

A photo included in a federal court memo shows Michael Stepakov outside the US Capitol on January 5, 2021, the day before he and hundreds of other people breached the building, disrupting Congress’ ratification of the 2020 election results. [ U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ]

In the run-up to Thursday’s hearing, Stepakov’s attorney, Marina Medvin, downplayed the violence that day as the actions of the oligarch, referring to the majority that violated the Capitol as “peaceful.”

Read inspiring stories about ordinary life

Read inspiring stories about ordinary life

Subscribe to our free newsletter How They Live

You’ll get a memory of Tampa Bay residents we lost, including warm and amusing details about their lives, every Tuesday.

You are all registered!

Want more of our free weekly newsletter in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

The lawyer said that Stepakov did not see any violence, and shook hands with a police officer before leaving. When he later heard about the violence that day from television reports, he considered it a media frill or the work of “Antifa”.

Medvin suggested that a $50 fine was an appropriate punishment, and noted that Stepakov had already paid $500 in compensation.

But prosecutors accused Stepakov of “willful blindness” to signs of danger around him on January 6. He saw people climbing walls. He saw broken barricades. He walked in front of people crawling through the windows and avoided broken glass furniture, but pretended not to notice.

He posted messages on social media about “breaking into the gates,” and wrote about violence that had become “inevitable,” among other statements, according to the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum.

The prosecutor noted that Stepakov is a former lawyer. Therefore, she said, he should have known that his behavior was illegal.

The government indicated that in 2006 Stepakov received a temporary suspension from the legal profession for what it described as “acts of breach of trust”. It was related to a case in which he proposed that his 94-year-old client invest $30,000 in a real estate development company, without revealing that he was a part-owner of the company, according to court records. His license to practice law has since been revoked, according to Florida Bar Association records.

Stepakov, 56, leads the New Jerusalem Synagogue, a Christian Judaism house of worship in Palm Harbor. Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religion that combines Jewish and Christian traditions, including belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

Before his sentencing, Stepakov explained that he had gone to the Capitol to be part of what he said was an important historical event. He said his goal was just to make his voice heard.

“If the GOP candidate loses, so be it,” he said. There is always another election, two and four years later. This is America.”

Jan 6 committee seeking Ivanka Trump’s cooperation

Jan 6 committee seeking Ivanka Trump's cooperation


The House special committee investigating the Capitol attack is seeking cooperation from former President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who lawmakers said saw attempts to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to interfere with the endorsement of Joe Biden’s election.

“Ms. Trump appears to have first-hand knowledge of the former President’s attempt to persuade Vice President Pence to take action to halt the electoral vote tally,” President Benny Thompson, D-Mies, said in a statement, requesting a voluntary interview.

As January 6 approaches, President Trump has on multiple occasions attempted to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan. One of the President’s discussions with the Vice President took place over the phone on the morning of January 6th. You were present in the Oval Office And he noticed at least one aspect of that phone conversation.”

The committee’s request comes a day after the Supreme Court cleared the way for hundreds of Trump White House documents that the former president sought to protect from House investigators.

more: Supreme Court refuses to block House Jan. 6 committee from receiving Trump documents

more: The Jan. 6 panel asks Republican Party leader Kevin McCarthy for information on Donald Trump and Mark Meadows.

Thompson’s request to the president’s daughter focused largely on her contacts and closeness to the president during the Capitol siege and in the hours leading up to it, saying that “Ms. selected”.

“The Committee would like to discuss any further conversations it may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes,” Thompson wrote.

“The testimony obtained by the commission indicates that members of the White House staff have on multiple occasions requested your assistance to intervene in an effort to persuade President Trump to address the ongoing lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill.”

Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, said earlier this month that the committee was aware that Ivanka Trump had repeatedly urged her father to scrap the mob.

more: Ex-president in the crossfire: Jan. 6 panel puts Trump on notice as US commemorates riots

The commission also alleged that the former president’s daughter, who served as a senior aide in the White House, may have known about the delayed deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, where rioters overwhelmed the police.

“The Committee is aware that some White House staff members took time during the violent riots to refute questions regarding whether the President was attempting to disrupt the deployment of the Guard,” Thompson wrote. But the commission did not identify any evidence that President Trump ordered, or took any other action, to publish The Guardian that day.

“It does not appear that President Trump has made any calls whatsoever to the Department of Justice or any other law enforcement agency to request that their personnel be deployed to the Capitol.”

Separately, Thompson said Ivanka Trump may be aware of the White House’s campaign to cancel the 2020 election by making false allegations of election fraud.

“The committee has information indicating that White House staff and others have been trying to persuade President Trump to stop his statements about ‘stolen elections’ and have been working directly with other supporters outside the White House to try to persuade President Trump to do so,” Thompson said.

A lawyer like Ivanka Trump could not be reached for comment.

Much of what the commission is seeking from the president’s daughter can be bolstered by the hundreds of documents the commission is set to receive from the National Archives and Records Administration after the Supreme Court late Wednesday refused to block their transfer to the commission.

Trump has sought to protect the records, arguing that the materials should be kept secret until presidents receive candid advice from aides. The disputed documents may indicate who he spoke with on January 6, 2021, when rioters stormed the Capitol.

The documents at stake include handwritten notes and call records of Trump and Pence, whose lives were threatened while he presided over the Senate to tally the Electoral College votes that confirmed Biden in the 2020 election.

The commission’s interest in Ivanka Trump comes at a time when the president and his family are the focus of multiple investigations.

At the same time that Thompson issued the order to the president’s daughter, the attorney general for Fulton County, Georgia, moved to search for a special grand jury to investigate allegations of election interference involving Trump. The investigation focused on Trump’s January 2, 2021 phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State, in which the then-president urged state authorities to find additional votes that would tilt the state’s elections in Trump’s favour.


The Fulton County District Attorney provides an update on the Trump investigation

Fulton County DA Fani Willis said there is an ongoing investigation into allegations that former President Donald Trump attempted to interfere with vote counting during the 2020 election in Georgia.

Fox – 5 Atlanta, Fox – 5 Atlanta

Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed, in an effort to coerce former President Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr in a civil fraud investigation, that investigators had “gathered significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent asset assessments or misleading access to a range of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.”

more: Georgia attorney general seeks grand jury to investigate potential ‘criminal unrest’ for Trump in 2020 election

Louie Gohmert missed own fundraising goal in Texas attorney general race

Louie Gohmert missed own fundraising goal in Texas attorney general race


USC Frats Must Post Guards at Parties After Abuse Claims | U.S. News®

The Los Angeles Times reports that most USC fraternities will be allowed to begin partying again in March if security guards are posted on stairs or hallways in fraternity roles that lead to the bedrooms.

The strict rules issued before the spring enlistment known as “the rush” come on the heels of drug and sexual assault allegations at several fraternities last year, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

All social fraternity activities at the college were suspended in October after the allegations surfaced.

The resumption of social activities will not apply to many of the arrested fraternities. Sexual assault allegations continue to be investigated under Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools and educational programs.

Sexual violence prevention training will also be mandatory for all University of Southern California fraternity members under rules drafted by representatives of a group that includes representatives from fraternities, student government, other student groups, safety experts, and faculty.

political cartoons

USC Vice President Charles Zukowski said the partnership between the group and the university was crucial to the future of Greek life at the university, which has about 21,000 undergraduates and about 4,000 as members of fraternities and sororities.

In addition to preventing guests from entering bedrooms during parties, the rules state that security guards are assigned at fraternity home entry points. Security companies should be contracted in consultation with the university.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Divorce in America – The Citizen


No doubt about it. Nearly every person and family has been touched by divorce. In 1914 the divorce rate in the United States was 1%, or one percent. Divorce was virtually unknown and that is likely why denominations of the day had a firm stand against divorce and not allowing divorced persons to be ordained or to serve on church boards. Essentially, divorce was a non-issue.

In 1981, the divorce rate hit an all-time high in the United States at 53% of all marriages ending in divorce. It is estimated that the divorce rate for 2021 will be 45%. Better than 1981 but still nearly half of all marriages will be wrecked.

Yet, the nation isn’t even close to having the highest divorce rate in the world. Spain, at #5 in the list, has a divorce rate of 63%. The Czech Republic has the #4 spot at 66% with Hungary earning the Bronze Divorce Medal with a 67% rate. Coming in second is Portugal at 68%. The top country for marriage failures? That would be Belgium with a whopping 72% of marriages ending in divorce.

Still, divorce means that dreams have been shattered, hopes dashed, vows made at the wedding broken, children, if any, learning to live with one parent mostly absent, and both spouses being damaged in some way. Because of the dramatic rise in divorce rates over the last century and a quarter, people are generally not shunned or made to feel shame as was once the case.

Churches that once turned away from those who were divorced now find that about half the adults in their congregations are divorced at least once. Many churches now sponsor divorce recovery ministries, and some congregations have special outreach to the children of divorced parents. There are often classes and groups for both “singles,” and for those who are “single again.” “Blended families,” once a rarity, are commonplace. A much greater number of divorced pastors are serving churches than in previous generations. Thankfully, divorce is no longer considered by most to be the unpardonable sin.

But at least, the divorced husband and wife have a second chance at happiness, right? Well, maybe but the statistics are not promising. It’s estimated that 60% of all second marriages end in divorce, while 73% of third marriages will end in divorce. On the other hand, in America, 55% of last marriages, and 40% of second marriages make it with 27% of third marriages experiencing success. So, while there is certainly hope, there’s also the possibility for a great deal of emotional, spiritual, financial, and relational pain.

And that’s the thing — nearly no one involved in a divorce escapes unscathed. Not the principals, the children, the families of the divorcing parties, and not even the friends of the couple involved. Ripples are created that go way past the two people who have divorced.

One woman said this about marriage and divorce: “In a marriage, it’s like two tissues are being glued together. In effect, the two become one tissue. It is possible to separate the two tissues but not without both tissues being ripped and torn.”

Certainly, there are valid reasons why a couple should not remain together. If a spouse is being abused their safety must be considered. If a child is being sexually abused, the child should be moved to safety and the offending parent or stepparent jailed. These aren’t the only valid reasons, but most divorces do not occur because of these issues.

In Spain, the main reason listed for divorce was financial issues. In the Czech Republic, the reason most listed was the “mindset of the other partner,” with financial issues being second. In Portugal, the number one reason was “low tolerance.”

According to an Arizona law firm, “Within the United States, the rate of divorces differs from state to state. However, nearly every state has seen a decrease in divorces over the past decade. According to the US Census Bureau, couples are more likely to get a divorce if they live in Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi. Couples living in New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Hawaii, and Illinois have the lowest divorce rates in the country.”

Having a religious affiliation decreases the risk of divorce. However, if the husband and wife do not share the same religion or beliefs, the marriage is more likely to fail.

Couples who have sustained a long marriage know that marriage is not easy. All have had their own share of difficulties, disappointments, unmet expectations, and arguments. Their secret? Almost all of those with life-long marriages, somewhere along the way, abandoned divorce as an option. Not that it was never discussed or threatened, but, at some point, the option was taken off the table.

These couples have seriously taken the “for better, for worse,” “for richer, for poorer,” “in sickness and in health,” and their vow to remain married “until by death we do part.” Billy Graham’s wife when she was asked, “Have you ever considered divorce?” reportedly said, “No, never. Homicide, yes, but divorce no.”

In the 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, “… marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.” Marriage is not easy, and it takes determination and a refusal to quit to make it a success. A second or third marriage requires even more determination to make it a success.

Is it worth it in the long run? Without a doubt. But it is a “long run” and not a sprint. Those who count the cost and pay the price have a good chance of going the distance.

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the pandemic, the church is open at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays but is also live streaming at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life) He may contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]

Man Charged With Killing Ex-Wife Denied Bail Again | Massachusetts News

RENTAM, MA (Associated Press) – A Massachusetts man has been charged with beating his ex-wife to death and setting her home on bail for a second time.

Wrentham District Court Judge Julian Hernon has denied an application by Brendon Owen’s attorney to allow Owen to be released on bail through GPS monitoring, the Milford Daily News reported on Wednesday.

The attorney, Neil Madden, argued that Owen was presumed innocent, and said his client had medical problems, including a history of seizures, no criminal record, had a steady job before his arrest, and strong connections to the community.

Owen, 47, of East Bridgewater, has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, arson, assault and battery in connection with the December 17 death of Shirley Owen at her Franklin home.

At the request of Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Stewart, the judge also adjourned the hearing for the probable cause until February 16.

political cartoons

According to prosecutors, Brendon Owen went to his ex-wife’s home and assaulted and tied her 74-year-old mother. The elderly woman ran away and informed her neighbor, who called 911.

Police entered the house but pronounced Shirley Owen dead at the scene.

The couple’s children were not at home at the time.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Madera sets cannabis tax rates, declines to change mayoral selection process

Madera sets cannabis tax rates, declines to change mayoral selection process

After final approval of the cannabis ordering process last December, Madera set tax rates for all marijuana operations.

Madeira’s city council voted unanimously to approve cannabis tax rates on Wednesday.

Cannabis taxes are broken down on cultivation, testing, sales, distribution, and manufacturing.

Cannabis cultivation will be taxed in the following ways, based on the lighting of the facility used:

  • $6 a square foot: exclusive industrial lighting
  • $4 per square foot: A combination of natural and complementary lighting
  • $2 per square foot: No artificial lighting
  • $1 per square foot: nursery

The test tax rate comes at one percent of total receipts, while the hash rate is set at four percent of total receipts.

Both distribution and manufacturing rates will be two percent of total revenue.

The Council has the power to change the tax rate to the following maximum, as approved by the electors with Action R in 2020:

  • $10 per square foot planting canopy (adjustable for inflation)
  • Six percent of total revenue for retail businesses
  • Four percent of all other cannabis business activities

Madera estimates annual cannabis tax revenue between $720,000 – $1.08 million.

There are no changes in sight for the selection of the mayor

The council reviewed options on Wednesday to change how the mayor is chosen but declined to take any action at this time.

In 2010, voters approved a decree creating six district councils and a mayor-general to be elected every four years.

The discussion was started by a Madeira resident and put on the agenda on Wednesday, but the council maintained the status quo since there was little public call for change.

“It makes no sense to try to rewrite the rule if it is changed back in the day. We should leave it as is,” said Councilwoman Anita Evans.

“For one person from a community to call to talk about a problem if none of us gets these calls, there are enough of us here. If no one else gets them, why break the wheel? If it works for us now, let’s just leave it as is.”

If the council elects to proceed with a change in the mayor selection process, the council may propose a ballot to reduce the mayor’s term to two years or a ballot to change the mayor’s selection from election to council appointment.

If the selection process changed, district boundaries had to be adjusted due to state law requiring an odd number of council districts in cities with an unelected mayor.