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Tragic Lewiston Incident: Nation Mourns as 22 Lives Lost in Deadliest Shooting of 2023



A devastating episode unraveled late Wednesday in Lewiston, Maine, as a gunman claimed the lives of 22 individuals, marking the event as the most deadly mass shooting of 2023, per findings by the non-profit entity, Gun Violence Archive. The heartrending sequence unfolded at two community spots, Schemengees, a local eatery, and Sparetime Recreation, a bowling facility, located roughly 4 miles from each other. Initially, reports suggested a shooting at a Walmart distribution center, though this was later clarified as inaccurate by a Walmart representative.

The law enforcement is ardently pursuing Robert Card, a 40-year-old male, identified as the primary suspect in relation to the shootings. Mike Sauschuck, the Public Safety Commissioner of Maine, has alerted the populace, designating Card as “armed and dangerous.” The county sheriff’s office has released images displaying an individual, brandishing a semiautomatic weapon, near the bowling alley’s entrance. Card, known to be a skilled firearms instructor, has had previous encounters with mental health issues.

Amid the active investigation and the hunt for Card, a notification was circulated among the law enforcement community on Wednesday. Card’s sister-in-law, Katie Card, shared her disbelief and mentioned that law officers were present at her residence in Bowdoin, which is located near Robert Card’s known abode. She expressed, “My acquaintance with my brother-in-law dates back to high school, and he’s always been a compassionate, caring individual. Your prayers are appreciated.”

The grim incident, commencing shortly before 7 p.m., has led to the implementation of a shelter-in-place directive in Lewiston. Concurrently, residents in nearby Lisbon, Maine, have been advised to stay indoors following the identification of a suspicious vehicle in the area. Sauschuck, in his address, highlighted the mobilization of hundreds of police personnel in the ongoing inquiry.

Maine’s Governor Janet Mills has been updated on the dire situation and has urged the citizens to adhere to the instructions provided by law enforcement bodies. The White House acknowledged that President Biden has been apprised of the circumstances and will continue to receive updates.

Situated 36 miles north of Portland, Lewiston is home to about 38,500 citizens. Following the occurrence, the Maine Medical Center in Portland revealed their preparation to receive a patient transferred from another medical facility, with other MaineHealth System entities also on alert.

While speaking outside a reunification center set up for the affected families, Auburn’s Mayor Jason J. Levesque praised the fortitude and resilience of the local populace. Reflecting on the responses of the individuals at the scene, Levesque remarked, “The atmosphere is one of sheer disbelief.”

In response to the tragic events, local officials have declared a closure of educational institutions and municipal offices in both Lewiston and Lisbon for the upcoming Thursday. Non-essential personnel are advised to stay at home. A media briefing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday at the Lewiston City Hall, as affirmed by a spokesperson for the Maine State Police.

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USVI Advocates for Energy Diversification Amidst Congressional Debate



Representatives from the U.S. Virgin Islands presented their case to the Indian and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources last Thursday, addressing the current and projected impacts of the Biden administration’s energy policies on the territory. The session was marked by stark divisions among the congressional members regarding the national strategy for energy security amidst global changes.

Kyle Fleming, the Virgin Islands Energy Office director and chair of the Water and Power Authority’s Governing Board, outlined the challenges faced by the USVI due to its reliance on imported fossil fuels and the high costs associated with maintaining its complex, often unreliable energy infrastructure. Fleming proposed a shift towards utilizing the territory’s abundant renewable resources and integrating robust energy storage systems to stabilize and reduce energy costs significantly.

Fleming highlighted the positive impact of the Biden administration’s energy initiatives, particularly emphasizing the synergy between federal policies and local efforts to alleviate the territory’s energy challenges. He detailed how funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have already benefited the islands, including energy rebates for residents and significant investments in solar projects through the “Solar For All” grant, which allocated $100 million for residential and community solar installations coupled with battery storage systems.

Ending his testimony, Fleming commended the federal government for providing the necessary resources that allow the territory to envision and craft a modern energy strategy.

Gregory Guannel, director of the Green Caribbean Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, discussed the particular vulnerabilities of isolated energy grids like those of the USVI. He pointed out that the territorial grid’s isolation means it cannot leverage neighboring markets during energy crises, often resulting in prolonged outages. Guannel argued for the adoption of decentralized, alternative energy sources nationwide, not just in island territories, using a recent outage in the northeast as a case study for broader systemic vulnerabilities.

The committee’s reaction to the testimonies was polarized. Representative Douglas LaMalfa (R-CA 1st District) expressed skepticism about the reliability of renewable energy and the urgency of climate change threats. In contrast, Ranking Member Leger Fernández (D-NM 3rd District) supported Fleming and Guannel’s push for decentralized energy solutions, praising their proactive approach to diversifying energy production despite potential impacts on traditional revenue streams.

During the hearing, both Fleming and Guannel reiterated the importance of diversifying energy sources for the Virgin Islands, with Fleming emphasizing that diversification is central to their strategy and Guannel elaborating on the critical need for alternatives given the inherent risks associated with the main transmission grid.

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