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Lopez targeted by suspect in Jewish bomb threats Sussex senator thanks law enforcement, declines comment By Maddy Lauria maddy@capegazette.com Authorities say the 18-year-old man charged with making threats to Jewish community centers in Florida also threatened state Sen. Ernie Lopez. In a statement issued April 24, Lopez, a Republican who repre- sents the Cape Region’s Senate District 6, thanked law enforce- ment agencies for their work and said, “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, I will have no further comments and respect- fully request that members of my family be given privacy.” Michael Ron David Kadar, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel, was charged April 21 with mak- ing threatening calls to Jewish community centers in Florida, falsely reporting to police that people were harmed in Georgia, and cyberstalking, the U.S. Jus- tice Department said in a press release. “This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn't harmless. It’s a federal crime,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey. “It scares innocent people, disrupts entire commu- nities, and expends limited law enforcement resources.” Media outlets, including the Associated Press, NBC News and CNN, reported Kadar also target- ed Lopez. CNN reported Kadar demanded payment via Bitcoin from Lopez, and he threatened to order illegal drugs online and send them to Lopez's house if he didn't pay. Kadar is also facing charges related to those threats, Lopez's statement said. Multiple bomb threats were called in to more than a dozen schools throughout the state, including several schools in the Cape Henlopen School District, in January, February and Octo- ber 2016, as well as January 2017. Three threats also were called in to the Siegel Jewish Community Center, with the latest reported in February 2017. In 2016, Lopez publicly spoke out against whoever was threat- ening Delaware schools. "Let me make something perfectly clear to those who con- tinue to try to instill fear into moms and dads, grandparents and our community as a whole: your actions are despicable and when you are discovered you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Lopez wrote in a 2016 statement. In January 2016, Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, said the calls were being routed from overseas, making it difficult for investigators to pinpoint a sus- pect. Officials of the Delaware At- torney General's Office, the U.S. Attorney General's Office for the District of Delaware and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to clarify whether Kadar is fac- ing charges related to the threats to Delaware institutions. The Israeli Ministry of Justice did not respond to the Cape Gazette's request for an affidavit outlining the charges Kadar faces from Israeli authorities, including the threats made to Lopez and others. An investigation into violent threats made to Jewish commu- nity centers, schools and other institutions nationwide is con- tinuing, as is an investigation into potential hate crime charges, the press release states. A federal criminal complaint filed in Orlando, Fla., states Ka- dar made multiple threatening calls, including bomb threats and active-shooter scares, to numer- ous Jewish community centers throughout Florida between Jan. 4 and March 7. While no explo- sives were found in any of the incidents, the calls resulted in evacuations, lock-downs and temporary closures of the tar- geted facilities, and required law enforcement and emergency personnel to respond to clear the areas. Another complaint filed in Macon, Ga., states Kadar called police about Jan. 3 and reported an emergency situation involv- ing multiple people at a private residence in Athens, Ga. Police responded and found no emer- gency, the press release states. This matter is under inves- tigation by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle DistrictofFlorida,U.S.Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Sec- tion of the Department of Justice, and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, the press re- lease states. 4 FRIDAY, APRIL 28 - MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 NEWS Cape Gazette From Nassau studio, ‘Fearless Girl’ finds fame on Wall Street Dewey sculptor Kristen Visbal deluged with letters, emails By Chris Flood cflood@capegazette.com Fearless Girl sculptor Kristen Visbal said when approached about the project, she knew im- mediately she wanted to be the artist who would create a bronze statue of a little girl staring down the Charging Bull on Wall Street in New York City. Six weeks to the day since the statue was unveiled on Interna- tional Women’s Day, Visbal said she knew it would have a big impact, and that was appealing. “I was completely in,” she said. Visbal gained worldwide fame in a matter of hours March 8, after her slightly-larger-than-life statue of a young girl staring down Charging Bull was revealed by the morning sun. She was commissioned as part of col- laboration between State Street Global Advisors and McCann New York. Visbal, who also runs the busi- ness side of her studio, said she’s been so busy she’s only had time to respond to and catch up on emails. Among the emails were emotional letters from wom- en who found strength in the statute, she said. “It’s been a humbling experience.” Visbalplayfullyquipsshewon’t photograph well because she’s so pale. “It’s been so hectic,” she said, noting she was up until 5 a.m. the morning of the interview answering those emails. “I haven’t been able to get out and take my long walks on the beach,” said Visbal, who grew up near Potomac, Md., but for years has called the south end of Dewey Beach home. “We started coming here when I was 11. Some of my happiest memories are when I’m near the sea.”  For the past 19 years her studio has been located in an old farm house in Nassau Valley Vine- yards, just outside of Lewes. She studied the sculpting artform at the New Jersey-based Johnson Atelier foundry. The studio is located off a dirt road, behind the winery’s vine- yard. Visbal said when she first moved into the building, there were holes in the walls, and she shared the space with pigeons. But, she said, it was a good space for her to create. “The floors were concrete, and the walls were high,” she said. “I’ve been here ever since.” The studio has two rooms – an office and her working area – and an attic not suitable for public viewing – there’s just a bunch of boxes up there, she said. During one of her marathon creative sessions, she said, she blows up an air mattress and sleeps on the floor of her office. Sleepless nights started months before the unveiling of Fearless Girl. She said she was given months to create a sculpture that under normal circumstances might take a year to complete. She said she wasn’t able to clean up the ears, hands or pony tail as much as she’d have liked. Two girls – one from Milton and one from Wilmington – were models and, while the work was expedited, Visbal said she treated the process like any other. “I took 360 degrees’ worth of pictures, every 10 degrees, of the girls, and then I started drawing,” she said. Visbal said the biggest chal- lenge was making the girl look strong without also being bellig- erent or confrontational. The night of the installation, Visbal said, she was out on the street until 4 a.m. making sure everything looked just right. At that point, she said she went back to her hotel, slept for 45 minutes and went back to see the reaction. “I knew people were either go- ing to love it or hate it,” she said. “Either way, we were looking to make a statement.” Visbal is well aware that Charging Bull artist Arturo Di Modica is not happy with the placement of Fearless Girl. She said she sorry he did not receive the sculpture as she'd intended. She said Charging Bull stood solo for decades, and now some- thing has been introduced that requires sharing the arena. The meaning of Charging Bull didn’t change, she said, but a dialogue about the inclusion of women in the work force was needed. Visbal said sculpture, like many other art forms, is feast or famine. “It’s not that easy of a road,” she said. With all the notoriety Fearless Girl has brought, Visbal admits the days of famine are probably over. She said she’s considering reproducing the statue, but those plans are not yet definite. Moving forward as an artist, Visbal said she will be venturing more abstract pieces. In her stu- dio now is the beginning stages of a series she’s calling Twisted. The first piece will be a man whose arms are outstretched above his head. The arms look like a the ends of a bread bag wire tie. It’s a statement about addiction, she said. “I’ve been doing realism for 19 years,” she said. “You’ve got to understand realism before you start distorting it.” Kristen Visbal explains how different types of clay can be used. CHRIS FLOOD PHOTOS KRISTEN VISBAL looks at emails in her office at Nassau Valley Vineyards. See more photos at capegazette.com.