A fire, a protest, and a convention comprise our Saturday collection this week.
An early morning fire has damaged offices of the Sacramento-based Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, according to a statement posted on the diocesan website.
The four-alarm fire was reported about 1:45 a.m. Oct. 21 and destroyed the River City Food Bank, located at 1322 27th Street in downtown Sacramento. Local fire officials released a written statement saying that the flames from the roof of the food bank spread to diocesan offices.
"Extensive damage to the Office of the Bishop at 1318 27th Street has also been reported," according to the statement on the diocesan website. Bishop Barry Beisner and other diocesan staff could not be reached for comment.
The statement also said that the flames affected an area known as "The Annex," which housed communications, youth and young adult ministry services, and the Episcopal Foundation of Northern California and other offices.
Fire officials said it took more than an hour to bring the blaze under control. The cause is under investigation.
A statement on the River City Food Bank website said that the agency, which serves an estimated 30,000 people locally, would be "temporarily closed until we can find a new space. We are working quickly to find this space so that we can continue to serve the needs of our clients as soon as possible."
An estimated 8,000 pounds of food was lost in the fire. "As we head into a very busy holiday season, we will be relying on the generosity of our community," according to the statement.
There were no reported injuries.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
The clergy, about 14 of them, are part of a national group called "Heeding God's Call, a Movement to End Gun Violence." Catholic priests and Protestant ministers along with Jewish and Muslim religious leaders came to Clyde's because it has been listed in the past by authorities as being a top gun distributer to city criminals.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said in 2007 that they traced 64 firearms seized by Baltimore police at crime scenes to Clyde's, behind only Valley Guns in Parkville, which was shuttered because of inventory problems. Two other gun shops that were among the top five on that list, Northeast Gun & Pawn and Baltimore Gunsmith, both in the city, also have been closed for violations.
Those statistics come from an Abell Foundation Report on the effectiveness of gun laws in Maryland, and their researchers obtained the numbers from sources in law enforcement. The ATF has been prohibited by federal law from publicizing how many guns have been traced back to specific gun shops since 2004.
The Abell report reached similar conclusions as the ATF did in 1999 — that at least 40 percent of guns traced to crimes in major cities had been legally purchased from a gun shop in the previous three years. A more recent study by the ATF in 2009 found that more than 3,000 guns seized by Baltimore police that year had been purchased legally more than three years prior. More than 930 had been purchased less than three years prior.
The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis is holding is 173rd annual Diocesan Convention through Saturday at Hulman Center on the campus of Indiana State University and at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, adjacent to the campus.
The event will bring 250 people to the downtown today and Saturday. Registration for the convention began Thursday, prompting Gottschling to open at night to provide dinner.
“It is good” for the downtown, Gottschling said, adding he is catering for another portion of the convention. “It has already been good for my business,” he added.
The Rev. Joseph H. Chillington, rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, said the addition of two downtown hotels enabled the convention to come to Terre Haute for the first time in two decades.
“Episcopalians first gathered in Terre Haute for the eighth convention in October 1845. At that time, the bishop dedicated the first Episcopal church in town at Fifth and Cherry streets,” Chillington said.
“People will be staying at both the Hilton Garden Inn and Candlewood Suites. This is really a downtown convention, with people walking between the church, Hulman Center and those hotels,” Chillington said.
Daniel Ellrich, front desk employee, said the Hilton Garden Inn sold out all 109 rooms Friday and Saturday because of the convention. Mallory Laubert, front desk employee, said Candlewood Suites is also sold out from the convention. A majority of Candlewood Suite’s 90 rooms are being rented from Indiana State University to house students from a large influx of new students this fall.