Memorial Day weekend travelers at LAX Los Angeles, CA - May 28: Amid a busy getaway travel day for the Memorial Day weekend and the first holiday since coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been relaxed, a crowd of travelers wait in line to check in for their flights at LAX at Delta Airlines, Terminal 2 at LAX Friday, May 28, 2021. Officials say travelers should arrive early for Memorial Day weekend flights. After months of Los Angeles International Airport looking like a ghost town, holiday crowds are back. Were seeing more travelers than weve seen in the last 14 months. We had over 75,000 people come through on Sunday alone to the TSA checkpoints, thats by far a record in 2021 for us, said LAX spokesperson Keith Montgomery. Photo taken in LAX on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Allen J. Schaben / Contributor
Allen J. Schaben / Contributor / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

News

Tuesday | November 23rd, 2021

It’s Tuesday, November 23rd, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Tragedy In Waukesha

The Topline: After a man intentionally drove an SUV through a crowded Christmas parade on Sunday in Waukesha, Wisconsin, at least five people are dead and over 40 injured, including 18 children. 

Quote Of The Day: “It was just a scene of pure chaos after that…People running around screaming and crying, people trying to get into the stores lining the parade route, and then you have other people going to help those that were hit in the street, so it was really just…. chaos, it was very scary.”

– Kaylee Staral, parade attendee 

Jim Vondruska/Stringer/Getty Images

What Happened

At an annual parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, thousands of people were lining the streets as local marching bands, dance teams, and politicians walked the route. Around 4:40 p.m., a red SUV plowed through a police barricade and started barreling down the parade route, running over attendees, including members of a “dancing grannie” group and children from a local Catholic school.

Authorities said the five people killed were between 52 and 81 years old, and 18 children, including 3 sets of siblings were hospitalized. Two of those children were still in critical condition as of Monday evening. Originally, there were reports of gunfire coming from the vehicle, but police later confirmed those shots were fired by an officer trying to stop the driver. 

The Suspect

Police detained the driver, a 39 year-old black man from Wisconsin, who is now being charged with five counts of intentional homicide. Police have said that before the parade, he was involved in a domestic dispute where he was allegedly wielding a knife. Police were called and he fled in the SUV, before going on his rampage. 

Prior Record

At the beginning of this month, the suspect was convicted of intentionally running over a woman with his car after a fight in a gas station, leaving her hospitalized. He was arrested, but was released after posting a $1,000 bond. He’s been charged with 16 different crimes since 1999, including one where he nearly ran a police officer over with his car while fleeing a traffic stop, and another last year where he fired a gun at a relative during a fight. In that case, he was let off on just $500 bail.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday they’d be investigating the “inappropriately low” bond that was set for him following prior convictions.

Motive: While there is no clear motive yet, police have said they ruled out terrorism. 

Noam Galai/Contributor/Getty Images

2) Thanksgiving Travel Returns To Pre-COVID Levels

The Topline: With the holidays approaching, airports across the country are preparing for a return to normal levels of travel, but with the airline system already under strain, many are worried about the impact on travel plans.

Quote Of The Day: “I don’t think they should expect chaos. We work very closely with the airlines, with the airports. We have travel projections for the coming week, and we’re very confident this is going to be a very smooth operation over the next several days.”

– David Pekoske, TSA administrator

Travel

In a press release last week, the TSA said they expect the Thanksgiving travel period between Friday, November 19th and Sunday, November 28th, is going to be “busy,” but under control.

Numbers are up 80% compared to last year, with the TSA anticipating travel close to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the TSA, the busiest days are Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday afterwards. 

Staffing Issues

Under the federal vaccine mandate, which includes TSA staff, workers must be fully vaccinated by Monday of this week. As of last month, 40% of TSA workers were not vaccinated or had not submitted their vaccine documents.

Apu GOMES/APU GOMES/Contributor/AFP via Getty Images

3) Supply Chain Backups Continue

The Topline: The Biden administration has been trying to push ports in California to open for 24 hours a day in an attempt to fix some of the supply chain backups, but their efforts might not be helping.

Supply Chain

Many experts are concerned the Biden administration’s policies are making supply chain delays worse. They say opening ports for 24 hours isn’t helpful if other members of the supply chain don’t work those times. 

The southern California ports complex is a main focus because almost 40% of the country’s container imports by volume arrive there. 

One terminal expanded its hours to be open all the time Monday to Thursday, but when no truckers arrived during their increased hours, they had to create restrictions. 

In September, the port said it would only be open at night if 25 trucks created appointments, but that only happened one night and just 5 big rig trucks arrived. It’s expensive for ports to stay open for many hours, and some truckers want to use the longer hours, but say the appointment rules are too strict. 

Solutions

Corporations such as Walmart, Target, FedEx, and UPS have said they’ll utilize weekends and nights to collect containers at the ports in Southern California. The ports also said that at the beginning of this month, they’d start charging for containers sitting on marine terminals for nine days or longer. They’ve put off charging the payment, but by November 8th, the amount of those containers had gone down by 20%.

Gabby Jones/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Disney

In response to new Florida legislation blocking vaccine mandates, Disney announced on Friday they will “pause” enforcement of their Covid vaccine mandate for Florida-based employees. An internal memo sent to Disney employees stated, “As we assess the full impact of this new legislation, we are immediately pausing the enforcement of our mandatory vaccination policy for Florida-based Cast Members and employees until further notice…”

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