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One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter
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One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

As I write this, on Thursday, April 2, Georgia had its first diagnosed case of COVID-19 one month ago. I started journaling about two weeks ago. I am already curious to see how today will seem to look back through the lens of yesterday. But for today, freshly under a statewide order to shelter in place which begins tomorrow, school kids learn that their school year is over, before ever even having Spring Break. 

Helter Skelter was a book and movie telling the tale of the cult of Charles Manson and his heathen followers. Helter Shelter will be perhaps a longer tale written one day about one strange winter/spring which very slowly became summer, and the year we almost never left home. Hey kids, you got your wish, in a 180-day school year, in effect nearly 90 snow days. But oh yeah, without snow.

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One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

It is interesting discussing, with friends, peers, colleagues, and family, what are the hardest aspects of these challenging times to adjust to, while maintaining sanity and a smile. I think for me currently, the most challenging part is keeping a distance (I don't mean six feet) from the folks who matter most. My youngest child is with her mother and step-father. Olivia has asthma, which puts her more at risk, and we have several slightly compromised immune systems in our family...and my work has required me to not entirely shelter in place. I am grateful for the many modern marvels of communication technology that are allowing us to stay in touch. My older daughter is a school teacher, not even allowed the option of a fond year-end farewell to her kiddos. Thankfully, again technology and the recently mega-adopted platform of Zoom are allowing and facilitating some student/pupil interaction. 

Running a firm which in part specializes in crisis communications and management, this has actually been a very good time for our small enterprise, and if everyone pays their bills, it will be our best month of 2020... But I feel for so many that are experiencing the exact opposite, loss of business, loss of a job, or crippling blows to their household income. Thankfully Washington and local governments do appear to be moving more quickly and responsively than usual, and though I don't expect them to 'save us,' real help does appear to be on the way.

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One Man's Opinion: Helter Shelter

Remember that many of your banks/lenders ARE also making help available, but the onus is on YOU the borrower to reach out, make the contact and make them aware of your situation. Everything from car and mortgage loan to college loan payments is being suspended for a period of time, typically tacked on to the back end of your loan, with no additional penalty charges or interest.

Togetherness is generally an asset in limited supply for most families, and a lot of working couples...but sudden and extended co-habitation with limited options, sometimes with multiple generations under one roof can also be vexing. I recommend taking some time outside or in your yard to blow off steam. 

Our expanded Victory Garden, much larger than prior years, with a more diverse selection of fruits and vegetables, is already in the ground, with more seeds and seedlings in our little backyard greenhouse. Exercising is not only allowed but encouraged, keeping social distancing spacing in mind, and I am expecting perhaps a record level Baby Boom, not unlike the post-WWII surge which gave us the Baby Boomers within whom I am lumped. Some types of recreating never go out of style.

And I know it seems we all live online these days, my children and Millenial friends almost all preferring text, but daily or several times weekly OLD SCHOOL phone calls can also be very calming and reassuring for those who matter most in your world, as well as a great way to reconnect with old friends and colleagues with whom you have not spoken for years.

And though for me the prohibition on group worship makes sense, never under-estimate the power and value of group prayer, and sending warm and healing thoughts in bulk to those in harm's way, or perhaps already dealing with a case of COVID19. For some, as weeks roll into months, this 'home-based' lockdown will become hell. But remember, as you are generally surrounded by your creature comforts, with utilities working and the ability to connect and re-connect with friends and family, things could really be a helluva lot worse. Blessings to you all. See you on the other side of this.

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  • The line to get into That One Place stretched down the walkway outside the restaurant. There was no social distancing and virtually no one wore a facemask as they waited for their party to be called to an open table inside. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it,” said John Weiman. “It’s about time. It’s time to make a change.” His wife Michelle Weiman added, “I’m looking forward to it, very hungry. Glad he’s doing it.” The Port Orchard restaurant has been open for takeout service during the statewide coronavirus shutdown. But restaurant owner Craig Kenady said he was encouraged by his employees to open his business on Memorial Day to customers seated inside as a way of protesting, saying smaller counties such as Kitsap have fewer cases of COVID-19 and should be treated differently than larger counties such as King, Pierce and Snohomish. “I do think if we’re going to take it on a case-to-case basis then we need to actually look at our county based off of our numbers,' said Kenady. “We’re not in it to break laws, not in it to cause problems. We’re not doing this for politics. We’re doing this for freedom.” Staff in the restaurant wore masks and gloves as they serve patrons. Some tables were kept empty to keep customers further apart from each other. Kenady said his protest would last just one day, on Memorial Day before he goes back to takeout only. “We don’t discount the virus at all. We believe in it and we believe in the severity of it. But we also feel at the same time we can safely operate,” Kenady said.
  • Dozens of tombstones dating from the 19th century were found near a North Carolina neighborhood. A Piedmont Natural Gas worker told WSOC-TV that he found dozens of what appeared to be decades-old tombstones in a wooded area behind the Crestdale Crossing neighborhood. The stones appear to be from the 19th century and have what looks like dates and initials carved in them. The discovery piqued the interest of local historian Jeff Houser who said burial grounds are often lost to developments. Houser believes they are footstones created for a family grave. “These were either pulled up from someplace and set into the woods for some reason,” he said. He said the stones might have never been used, but it would take some time to uncover the truth. “We’d like to know why are these are here, how they got there and who are they for,” Houser said. Historians are working to compare the initials on the stones with census records from that time. Houser said that as of now, there is no official record of a cemetery in the area.
  •  A restaurant owned by rapper 2 Chainz has been cited by the state for violating social distancing guidelines. According to an incident report from the Department of Public Safety, a manager for Escobar Restaurant and Tapas was cited after public safety officials received complaints that there were too many people inside the restaurant and bar, violating the state’s executive orders over the coronavirus. DPS said it responded to the first complaint early Saturday after people called them saying that the restaurant and bar were too full. “When I enter the establishment, the entire facility was full of patrons, shoulder to shoulder, and was unable to enter safely,” the DPS officer wrote in the incident report. The public safety officer said he gave a warning to the manager on duty that night and the manager had everyone leave for the evening. The next night, DPS said it received another social distancing complaint about Escobar. “Once I entered the facility, I observed the same violations as I did when the warning was issued,” the officer wrote in the incident report. The on-duty manager, Rasheed Gaines, had security personnel make everyone leave, and the DPS officer cited Gaines for violating the state’s executive order. “When speaking to Mr. Gaines, he was aware of my previous warning as he was at the location the time it was given,” the DPS officer wrote in the report. Escobar Restaurant and Tapas, owned by Tauheed “2 Chainz” Epps and Mychel “Snoop” Dillard, is in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hills neighborhood near Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena. Epps delayed the reopening of the restaurant when Gov. Brian Kemp originally announced that dine-in service could restart. He originally was going to reopen at that time but opted to hold off. He also contacted Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to tell her about the decision. Bottoms spoke about it on the Tamron Hall Show last month. “I know that 2Chainz and his wife, Keisha, have a loving heart for a community which is unparalleled. For them, you’re talking about laying off 80% of his employees,” Bottoms said. “I was so glad that he reached out to me and told me that he would not be opening because he is listening to reason and logic. What he is saying is, ‘I’m not going to risk putting my employees in harm’s way because we are opening up too soon.’” Instead of reopening right away, Epps helped feed the area’s homeless. The restaurant later reopened after Kemp signed a new executive order that said restaurants could have limited dine-in service and allowed up to 10 people at one table. The order also said occupancy was limited to 10 people for every 300 square feet inside the restaurant. According to its website, Escobar features “a beautiful bar, elegant lounging, and a menu featuring a choice wine and champagne selection, innovative cocktails, craft beers and undoubtedly the most desired tapas and entrees.”
  • An inebriated man passed out on a raft and floated 7 miles down an Indiana river before he was rescued by authorities as he approached a dam. The man, who has not been identified, was passed out with a bottle of rum on his lap, MLive reported. Department of Natural Resources officers first found the man but were unable to awaken him while they shouted and blew a whistle from an embankment along the Blue River. Officers later used a boat and set up a tagline in order to stop the man from going over the Milltown Dam. However, the man had washed ashore a few miles before the dam. Authorities found the man. After a medical evaluation, he was arrested. Charges were not released.
  • Veteran actor Richard Herd, who played Mr. Wilhelm on the television sitcom “Seinfeld,' died Tuesday at this Los Angeles home, Variety reported. He was 87. The cause of death was cancer-related, Herd’s wife, actress Patricia Crowder Herd, told The Hollywood Reporter. On “Seinfeld,” Herd played Mr. Wilhelm, the New York Yankees executive who was the boss of George Costanza (Jason Alexander), was who the team’s assistant to the traveling secretary. Herd was the second “Seinfeld” character actor to die this month. Comedian Jerry Stiller, who played Costanza’s father on the show, died May 11. Stiller was 92. Some of Herd’s movie credits include roles in “The China Syndrome” (1979) “F.I.S.T.” (1979), “The Onion Field” (1979), “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (1987) and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (1997). He also starred as the Klingon L’Kor on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and Admiral Owen Paris on “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Renegades.”
  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s office has confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice has closed an investigation into recent stock trades made on her behalf. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Loeffler is among the senators who are no longer under scrutiny. The others are Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Dianne Feinstein of California. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina remains under investigation, according to that report. Loeffler’s portfolio came under scrutiny when a large amount of stocks that she or her husband owned were sold off shortly after she attended a senators-only briefing on the coronavirus and during the time that the virus began to spread across the country. She said that the Jan. 24 meeting included no private information and all stocking trading on her behalf is handled by financial advisers who act independently and without her input.  Loeffler denied that any trading on her behalf had broken laws or U.S. Senate rules. A campaign spokesman said Tuesday that the investigation has shown that the criticism was fueled by politics. “Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along– she did nothing wrong,” spokesman Stephen Lawson said. “This was a politically-motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents. Senator Loeffler will continue to focus her full attention on delivering results for Georgians.” A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment on the investigation. Loeffler initially refused to admit she was under investigation. Earlier this month, she said  she had turned over documents to federal investigators. But she would not say if she had volunteered or was asked to supply information or if she had been questioned.  Loeffler and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, have already taken steps to address the controversy about stock trading on their behalf during the COVID-19 pandemic. They directed their consultants to sell off stocks they own in individual companies. The only company’s shares they still own are Intercontinental Exchange, the conglomerate that Sprecher founded and now leads.  Loeffler worked for the company until she was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Although the threat of an investigation seems to be over, Loeffler should still expect to face questions about her portfolio on the campaign trail, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins said. Collins is challenging Loeffler for her Senate seat in November’s special election. 'Her expensive lawyers might keep her from going to prison,” Collins spokesman Dan McLagan said, “but she's not going back to the U.S. Senate because we all know what she did.” This article was originally published on the ajc.com