4 days ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Dreamweaver Foundation Donates Facebook Portals to Hundreds of Omaha Seniors
Seniors who are social distancing to stay healthy during the pandemic are now gaining much-needed companionship, thanks to the Dreamweaver Foundation which has provided ultra-loud, easy-to-use devices that connect them directly to loved ones using Facebook Portals. Most seniors who received a Portal were connected to loved ones with a clear picture and sound for the first time in months and the grateful reactions have ranged from “tears of joy” to an overwhelming sense of relief.
Founded in 2012, the eight-year-old nonprofit organization usually grants wishes to seniors with chronic or terminal illnesses, like hot-air balloon rides or race car driving. “We still wanted to serve seniors in a special way” said Cheri Mastny, Dreamweaver Foundation executive director. “Many families had been resorting to window visits or calls on smartphones which can be both expensive and difficult for seniors to operate.”
Staying connected has been difficult for everyone during the pandemic, but especially for seniors. The Dreamweaver Foundation’s donations are changing that for hundreds of seniors in the greater Omaha area. “It looks like an 8×10 picture frame,” Mastny said. “The apps come on it and they are super large, so it is very easy to touch, easy to use. It has a big speaker-subwoofer in the back, so the sound that is produced from the Facebook portal makes it easy for someone that is hard of hearing.”
With a Portal, the buttons are super large, so it’s very easy to touch and use. It has a big subwoofer speaker in the back, so the sound is much better for someone who is hard of hearing. Calls can be made seamlessly to and from smartphones and tablets. Staff and families have continued to see the positive impact on seniors that have received Portals. The portals are giving seniors back their independence and family time.
Since seniors began using them, Dreamweaver has been overwhelmed with requests for more, so they launched a fundraising campaign to purchase more of the Portals. The CONNECTING HOPE CAMPAIGN hopes to continue to spread joy to seniors. They are trying to make Portals possible for seniors and their families to create shared memories, despite the distance. Each Portal is $179 and is purchased through donations.
There are other ways to help by making lower donations which help the “Dream Team” deliver tubs full of fun to care facilities during the pandemic. Playing cards, coloring books, crayons, nail polish, building blocks, board games and more have been delivered throughout the pandemic. The organization is also asking for volunteers who can send postcards, make phone calls and letters of love to seniors.
Their mission is made possible with the help and dedication of Dreamweaver Volunteers and they are always looking for more volunteers. You can make a dream come true and enrich the life of a senior in our community simply by giving of your time. Opportunities to volunteer may include being a Greeter, Personal Shopper, Fundraiser, or Dream Maker. The Dreamweaver organization trains all volunteers to provide the best experience possible. Due to their work involving seniors and sensitive information, they require all potential volunteers to complete orientation and training as well as pass a background check.
5 days ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Sgt. Major Thomas Payne 1st Living Delta Force Member To Receive Medal of Honor
Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism and selfless actions that were key to liberating 75 hostages under fire during a rescue mission five years ago in Hawija, Iraq. The Congressional Medal of Honor citation reads in part, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on October 22, 2015. Sergeant First Class Payne’s gallantry under fire and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Special Operations Command, and the United States Army.”
The South Carolina youth had originally joined the Army after 9/11, inspired by patriotism and a desire to defend the United States. Payne served as a sniper and sniper team leader in the 75th until November 2007, when he was selected for assignment to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He would endure 14 deployments before the day of October 22, 2015, when then-Sergeant First Class Payne—as part of a joint task force assisting Iraqi security forces—in what was dubbed OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE-raided an ISIS prison to liberate 70 hostages, after a request by the Kurdistan government.
Payne and his fellow Rangers continued to receive constant fire from the enemy as they first tried to enter the building through the roof before moving to the ground level after several blasts from suicide bombers from the floor below caused the building to partially collapse. Payne navigated to the front door and saw the captives were being held behind a metal door secured by two very heavy padlocks.
His team breached windows and walls to enter the building’s first floor. Once inside, the fighting was intense and commandos began taking casualties. “One of the teams was holding down the breach point all the way down to their last magazine,” Payne said. “Bullets were passing through their uniforms.” Though the building was on fire and partly collapsed, he grabbed a pair of bolt cutters and, through flame and smoke, succeeded in cutting one of the locks before scorching heat forced him to flee the building for some air.
He ran back in seconds later and cut the final lock as the building began to collapse. He received orders to evacuate, but refused to do so before all the disoriented hostages were led to safety. Still receiving enemy fire, Payne entered the building two more times, to drag an incapacitated hostage from the building and again to make sure everyone was out, before he gave the “last man” call so the task force could prepare for extraction.
Under heavy fire, Payne and the other commandos then formed a human wall so the hostages in the other building could run behind them and board the extraction helicopters. The hostages, Payne’s task force and the partnered forces flew back to Erbil, having just taken part in one of the largest hostage rescues in history. His heroism and selfless actions were key to liberating 75 hostages during a contested rescue mission that resulted in 20 enemies killed in action. Payne is the first living Delta Force member to receive the Medal of Honor.
Payne has not talked about his connection to Delta, but said he views the Medal of Honor as a sacred responsibility as a tribute to fallen heroes. “The Medal of Honor represents everything great about our country, and for me I don’t consider myself a recipient of this medal,” Payne said. “I consider myself a guardian of this medal and what’s important to me is my teammates’ legacies will live on with this Medal of Honor.”
1 week ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Kansas Mother Fights For Change After Daughter Stalked by 4th Grade Teacher
The mother of a 10 year old Kansas girl who prosecutors say was stalked by a former Olathe teacher is speaking out about the trauma her family is going through. Her daughter, who attends Meadow Lane Elementary School, is at the center of a stalking case where a former 4th grade teacher, 58-year-old James Loganbill, took hundreds of photos and videos of the child. “You send your kids to school every day thinking they are safe and in great hands. To know that wasn’t the case, I just felt sick,” the local mom said. She quickly made it her mission to push for stricter laws, teaming up with local bipartisan legislators and creating the foundation #NotYourDaughter.
According to court documents, he told leaders at the school he was attracted to the 10-year-old student. “He had admitted to school officials of having an obsession and fixation on my daughter,” the metro mother said. “A few of her friends came up to her and let her know they had been speaking with the counselors and principals the past couple of days. They had seen their 4th grade teacher taking inappropriate pictures and videos of my daughter.”
Loganbill is charged with reckless stalking, which is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. According to the criminal complaint, between August 1, 2019 and March 10, 2020, Loganbill targeted the child in a way that would make a reasonable person fear for their safety.. Investigators say they found 210 photos and 31 videos of the same young girl on Loganbill’s phone and Apple iPad, with all the images taken at the school. The complaint also says the act was sexually motivated since Loganbill admitted to school administrators that the photos and videos were used for pornographic reasons. He also allegedly conducted online searches on the girl’s name 39 times, including searching her extra-curricular activities, the report said.Loganbill had taught in the school district for 31 years but resigned in March 2020 shortly after the allegations came to light.
The Olathe mom learned that Loganbill had been transferred to three different schools within the district during his 31 year teaching career for questionable conduct with students. If it weren’t for her daughter’s classmates reporting his behavior, no one would have known it was happening a fourth time. The district received countless complaints from teachers, students and parents for inappropriate conduct such as asking students for massages, taking female students to private rooms in the classroom alone, making sexually charged comments on the appearance of students, taking students pictures without consent, ranking students by who looked “hottest” and writing inappropriate notes to female students.
He had been under several investigations throughout his career and was simple transferred to a new school each time while parents and students believed he had been fired. Despite the trauma this family is going through they are determined to change Kansas laws that are protecting predators in the classroom. They want an outside audit of all teacher’s in the district with special attention to teacher’s who have been found to have shown sexually charged tendencies. They also want policy on how district employees use their personal electronics, a checks and balances on photos taken of students and a zero tolerance policy on teachers, like Loganbill, who have been found guilty of exhibiting inappropriate relations or sexual intent of children resulting in immediate termination.
While this Olathe mother worries about how the horrifying details and actions of this man will shape her young daughter she added “There’s still more work to be done, starting with Olathe Public Schools. We don’t want any other kid in the district to have to go through these things,” she said. “We need an answer as far as how we are going to keep these kids safe, more than ever.”
3 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on CDC Drops 14 Day Quarantine On Travel As Campus Cases Rise
The confirmed U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is approaching 180,000, with over 5.7 million recorded infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the U.S. is on track to record its 200,000th death from COVID-19 by the fourth week of September. Public health officials say the true U.S. death toll likely passed that grim milestone weeks ago.
The White House defended a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend against coronavirus testing for people who lack symptoms of COVID-19 — even if they’ve been exposed to an infected person. The CDC also quietly dropped its recommendation that people quarantine for 14 days after traveling from an area with a high rate of infection. Public health experts say the moves will undermine efforts to control the spread of the disease. The New York Times cited two federal health officials who said the changes were ordered by higher-ups at the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.
The decision was reportedly made at an August 20 meeting of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, while top public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was not present because he was undergoing surgery. The changes were backed by the task force’s newest member, Dr. Scott Atlas — a Fox News contributor and radiologist with no expertise in infectious diseases. This comes amid rising concern over outbreaks in schools around the country as at least three dozen states so far have reported cases on college campuses.
A return to campus for the new academic year has colleges and universities struggling to both contain outbreaks of Covid-19 and enforce policies meant to prevent its spread. Across the United States, at least 36 states have reported positive cases at colleges and universities, adding more than 8,700 cases to the country’s tally. Outbreaks have been identified at four different sororities at Kansas State University, according to news releases from the college and the Riley County Health Department. Temple University in Philadelphia announced it is suspending in-person classes for two weeks following the identification of 103 cases on campus. East Carolina reported 370 total positive cases from students as of Aug. 24.
The University of Alabama is receiving backlash after it ordered faculty members to remain silent about students who test positive for the virus, arguing that alerting their classmates would violate federal privacy laws. In an email the professors were admonished, “Do not tell the rest of the class,” with the word “not” underlined. UA currently has confirmed over 1,200 Covid 19 cases since classes resumed August 19th. They continue to urge students to wear masks and socially distance on and off campus. Many schools have limited parties and other gatherings to reduce Covid-19 risks but those rules being violated are why Notre Dame’s outbreak started.
A consensus is building among public health experts that it’s better to keep university students on campus after a Covid-19 outbreak rather than send them home as many are doing. It’s easier to isolate sick or exposed students and trace their contacts if they stay put. While sending students home risks exposing other people there as well as along the way, and makes contact tracing all but impossible. Contact tracing can help manage outbreaks when done correctly. The U.S. has struggled with it for many reasons, including getting people to answer the phone and respond truthfully. That’s even harder at college, when students worry about being disciplined for violating rules on social gathering.
4 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Violent Clashes At Protests Across America
Protests have turned violent in several cities while clashing with right-wing groups. A Kalamazoo City Commissioner called out a Kalamazoo pastor who organized a unity rally the same day the Proud Boys planned to protest. The Southern Poverty Law Center considered The Proud Boys a hate group. Several fights broke out when the Proud Boys came face-to-face with counter protesters in downtown Kalamazoo Saturday Aug. 15, 2020. Nathan Dannison, who organized the prayer vigil and unity rally, said at the he did not know the Michigan People’s Defense League was coming.
Kalamazoo City Commissioner Erin Knott said violence may have been avoided if counter-protesters stayed home. “I think that only gave the Proud Boys the intention and the fuel they so desire. We know from researching the Proud Boys, they don’t start the fight, they finish the fight,” Knott said. The two groups violently clashed. Video showed members of the Proud Boys use pepper spray on counter-protesters and people using torn down street signs as bats. The violence was contentious and assaultive on both sides.
In Georgia, a pro-Confederacy rally drew armed, far-right militia members to the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Stone Mountain Park Saturday. Videos on social media showed far-right protestors attacking anti-facism protesters with pepper spray as the counter-protesters chanted “Go home, racists!” and anti-facism protesters grabbing Confederate flags and setting them alight. The protest dispersed when police in riot gear moved in on the crowd at around 1 p.m., and ordered demonstrators to leave or be arrested. Photos from the scene showed the National Guard moving in as well.
After a long day of peaceful protests, agitators descended on Chicago after many protestors went home. The riot resulted in 24 arrests after “multiple agitators” used black umbrellas, changed their appearance and assaulted officers by using skateboards, bottles, bicycles and other projectiles as well as mace. One peaceful protestor defended the actions of police, saying officers responded proportionately to get the situation under control and used pepper spray to deter agitators. Seventeen officers were injured during the clash.
In Portland, Oregon, right-wing extremists and members of the “alt-right” group Patriot Prayer organized a small rally, where they shot pellets from paintball guns and pepper spray against counter-protesters. Patriot Prayer and its leader, Joey Gibson, have organized three of the most violent protests in Portland’s recent history, on Aug. 6, 2017; June 30, 2018; and Oct. 13, 2018. He also organized a large Aug. 4, 2018 rally that led police to use crowd control agents on leftist counter-demonstrators, severely injuring several people with flash-bang grenades.
Protests have happened nightly in Portland for more than two months following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Police are looking for a suspect shown on video assaulting a driver until he was unconscious. Authorities had received a report around 10:30 p.m. of protesters chasing a truck a few blocks from the downtown federal courthouse. The driver crashed and was then assaulted. Video posted online showed the driver of the truck sitting in the street next to the vehicle. A crowd gathered around him and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the head until he was bloody. It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the crash or the confrontation. When police arrived, the man was unconscious. The victim of the assault has been released from a hospital and is recovering.
4 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Campuses in US Switch to Virtual Learning Amid Outbreaks
The U.S. reported another 43,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 on, bringing the official U.S. death toll to nearly 172,000. Public health officials are expressing alarm as the number of daily COVID-19 tests across the country has dropped 17% since mid-July, making it harder for states to track the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control is warning infection rates are “steadily increasing” in children as millions of students have started or are preparing to return to school.
As global confirmed coronavirus cases topped 22 million, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that young adults and children are increasingly driving the spread of COVID-19. WHO officials said recent outbreaks in Australia and the Philippines were sparked mostly by people younger than 40, while WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove warned younger people are not immune to the worst effects of the virus.
A surge in coronavirus cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has forced the school to switch to remote learning, after 177 students tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of in-person classes. The school said in a statement that the Covid-19 “positivity” rate jumped to 13.6% from 2.8% just a week before. At the time of the announcement, the school had tested 954 students, with 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus.
In Indiana, the University of Notre Dame canceled all in-person classes and said it would move to online-only instruction. The university’s sole testing site has been inundated since students returned in early August, identifying a total of 336 coronavirus cases. Notre Dame contends that most infections stem from two off-campus parties thrown by seniors but cases have surged as students introduce the virus to new social groups, straining the school’s resources.
Michigan State University announced it would require undergraduates to study remotely (graduate students and students who take part in athletics are exempt from the mandate). According to NPR, the directive was issued before many students returned to campus, as classes don’t resume until early September. The university released a statement on Tuesday saying, “Given the current status of the virus … it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus.”
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people had an age-adjusted COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5.3 times that of non-Hispanic white people. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people. While there’s no evidence that people of color have genetic or other biological factors that make them more likely to be affected by COVID-19, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions. Having certain conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, increases your risk of severe illness with COVID-19. But experts also know that where people live and work affects their health. Over time, these factors lead to different health risks among racial and ethnic minority groups.
A summer of waning social distancing restrictions has caused a surge in Covid cases among those under 35. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead and an infectious disease epidemiologist warns “We are seeing people, even young people, who are ending up with severe disease. We are seeing young people who are ending up in ICU. And we are seeing young people who are dying from this virus.”
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Portland Violence Continues As Judge Extends Order Against Federal Marshals
A U.S. district judge in Oregon has extended a restraining order against the U.S. Marshals Service and agents with the Department of Homeland Security, ordering them to stop attacking journalists and legal observers at Black Lives Matter protests in Portland. The ruling came over the objections of the federal government, who argued that the restraining order issued against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service was now irrelevant.
That order barred federal officers from using physical force, arresting, or dispersing anyone they should “reasonably know” was at the protests as a journalist or observer. Attorneys for the federal agencies argued the circumstances had changed with the federal presence in Portland supposed to wind down — and that the order should therefore be allowed to lapse.
Judge Michael Simon sided with attorneys working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, who argued that the threat of violence remained even as the federal officers became less visible. The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon, alleging local and federal law enforcement have been targeting and attacking journalists during more than two months of nightly protests against racism and police brutality. Two weeks ago, Simon issued an initial restraining order on the federal officers, following mounting accounts of officers injuring journalists and observers on the ground.
Protests in Portland continue for the 11th straight week as the city’s mayor pleaded for protesters to stay off the streets, saying those who barricaded the doors to a police precinct the night before and tried to set it ablaze were not demonstrators, but criminals. The majority of sit-ins and marches have been peaceful with no police interaction. A smaller element continues to violently clash with police after most of the several hundred peaceful demonstrators have cleared the streets.
Within a week of the restraining order being extended, police declared riots as a march turned violent. Police repeatedly blocked marchers as they made their through neighborhoods. The tactics prevented people from gathering outside local police buildings, which have been the recent focus of raucous demonstrations. Portland police pushed people, shot them with impact munitions and set off smoke devices after people threw water bottles and paint toward officers. As protestors left the area to make their way down another street they were repeatedly met by police blocking the march.
Each time protestors marched a different street another standoff with police ensued. Videos have circulated of the confrontations showing objects being thrown at officers from a crowd and others of officers advancing on protestors, knocking people to the ground as they walk down the street. The incident drew immediate criticism, including from Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, the council’s leading advocate for police reform.
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide
Daisy Coleman, a high school sexual assault survivor who was featured in the documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” has died at the age of 23 by suicide. After announcing her death, Daisy’s mother Melinda wrote, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.” Daisy’s sexual assault prompted her to become an advocate for sexual assault victims and she co-founded the non-profit organization SafeBAE, which was aimed at preventing sexual assault in schools.
The Coleman family have suffered tremendous loss over the years far beyond Daisy’s sexual assault at a party in 2012. Melinda’s husband and father to her four children, Dr. Michael Coleman, was killed in a car crash in 2009, then Daisy’s younger brother Tristan died in a car accident at the age of 19 in June 2018 and now the loss of Daisy. The family had originally moved to the small town of Maryville from Albany, Missouri in 2009 after Michael Coleman’s death in hopes of making new and better memories than those the town of Albany held. Instead, they found themselves at the center of a sexual assault case that shocked the nation. Daisy and her friend were invited to a party in January 2012 where they became heavily intoxicated and both were sexually assaulted.
After the assault, Daisy was left intoxicated on her porch in 22-degree weather with no shoes or socks; when her mother found her she had frostbite. Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teens within hours and charged them with felonies. Matthew Barnett, a 17 year old high school senior and the grandson of former state representative Rex Barnett, was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of Coleman, who was 14 at the time. A 15-year-old boy was accused of doing the same to the girl’s 13-year-old friend Paige, and a third boy admitted to recording Barnett’s alleged assault on a cellphone. The video which was never retrieved by law enforcement, was deleted after reportedly being passed around the school.
The identities of alleged sex assault victims are generally not published, but Coleman’s family decided to go public with her identity and accusations. According to the Coleman’s, the torrents of hatred came only days after the case went public and the case divided the community. All four children experienced intense bullying and threats. Melinda Coleman, a veterinarian, lost her job because the case had become too contentious for the local veterinary clinic that was also the subject of threats. Mrs. Coleman says her three sons – Daisy’s brothers – were threatened at school and booed on the field – often by boys they had counted as friends’ just weeks earlier. Daisy became the target of daily bullying in school and was suspended from the cheerleading squad. She was hounded on social media, called a skank and a liar, and urged to kill herself, which she tried to do multiple times.
The relentless bullying prompted the family to move from Maryville back to Albany, Missouri. Shortly after moving, the family’s house in Maryville that they were trying to sell mysteriously burned to the ground 8 months after the moved. The case caught national media attention in October 2013 when the Kansas City Star reported that prosecutor, Robert Rice, dropped the rape charges – citing insufficient evidence. The state at the time appointed a special prosecutor to re-investigate the case, which ended in Barnett pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of charge child endangerment on Jan. 9, 2014. Barnett and his attorney maintain that the sexual encounter was consensual and the fact that two independent investigations have cleared him proves that he didn’t do anything wrong that night except for leaving Coleman outside in the cold. Daisy’s friend Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court, after Barnett was convicted in adult court on the lesser charge of child endangerment during the 2nd investigation.
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US
Housing activists across the country are demanding local protections against evictions during the pandemic. Many states have faced criticism for resuming evictions as millions of people are still out of work, many who still have children at home until the school year starts. Many companies have closed their doors indefinitely, taking jobs with them across the US. While some states and counties issued eviction moratoriums, they have expired and thousands face homelessness.
In New Orleans, members of the Renters Rights Assembly surrounded a courthouse that handles evictions, chaining themselves together under a banner reading “Evictions = Death,” and blocking several landlords from entering the building. In Maryland, more than 100 protesters marched through Mayor Tom Barrett’s neighborhood demanding a moratorium on evictions and other forms of housing protections. Beyond standard legal protections, tenants in Maryland have an extra layer of protection against eviction during the pandemic: an executive order from Governor Larry Hogan prohibits eviction so long as the state remains under the state of emergency — and so long as the tenants can prove that their income has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A second layer of protection, a pause on eviction-related hearings in Maryland courts, expired on July 25.
In Missouri, protests brought proceedings to a halt at a Kansas City eviction court. All spring KC Tenants demanded relief for Kansas City renters left vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. They organized — virtually and in person — to shut down the state eviction court proceedings at the Jackson County Courthouse. KC Tenants leaders pledged to keep shutting down the eviction docket until they see action to protect vulnerable residents. “If our so-called leaders continue to lead our tenants into death digitally, online, via phone or even in person, we are going to continue to shut it down until we get what we want,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick said in front of the courthouse. In St. Louis, protestors gather outside city hall for an “anti-eviction rally” heavily criticizing the court’s decision to restart evictions. “People aren’t working. People don’t have money,” said Sarah Watkins, a rally organizer with Action STL. “People haven’t paid rent since the pandemic began in April. People will be on the street.”
In Milwaukee, a march was organized by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union to demand help for the many families still out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide ban on evictions expired two months ago and now, between 150 and 170 people are being evicted from their homes in Milwaukee every week. The state ($25 million), Milwaukee County ($10 million) and City of Milwaukee ($15 million) have poured millions into rental assistance programs, but advocates say vulnerable tenants need added protections. “The rental assistance is good, but it’s not enough,” said protest organizer Robert Penner. “It’s very slow, the systems are backlogged, and they’re over-saturated with cases. A lot of people lose their home before they can even get in contact” with such programs, he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a second round of $15 million in rental assistance for people financially struggling during the COVID-19 recession Friday, one day after he declined to support a city-mandated eviction grace period for tenants to catch up on past-due payments. More than 3 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. They have also relied on federal benefits from a congressional pandemic relief package, eviction moratoriums and rent assistance programs to remain housed.
2 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Minneapolis Investigating Unnamed Umbrella Man
Minneapolis police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect known as “Umbrella Man” who was filmed smashing the windows of an auto parts dealership on May 27, two days after the police killing of George Floyd. Video of the “Umbrella Man” went viral after protesters in Minneapolis confronted and filmed him while he was in the act of smashing several windows of an AutoZone store. Investigators say the man is a white supremacist who sought to provoke violence against protesters. The term “Umbrella Man” was coined on social media as people guessed at his identity, with some protesters speculating he was actually a member of the police force.
According to a search warrant, the man is associated with the “Aryan Cowboys,” which the Anti-Defamation League lists as a White supremacist prison and street gang. The warrant does not label them as a White supremacist group, but describes them as a “known prison gang out of Minnesota and Kentucky.” A Minneapolis arson investigator wrote in the search warrant affidavit that the man also spray painted the words “free sh*t for everyone zone” on the doors of the AutoZone. Not long after he smashed in the windows, looting began, and a bit later the AutoZone was set on fire, the affidavit said.
“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” Sgt. Erika Christensen, wrote in the affidavit. “Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”
Police identified the 32-year-old suspect through a tip last week but the suspect has not been named. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder told the Associated Press he could not confirm the name of the person involved, but said the investigation remains open and active. The tipster told the investigator that the man was a member of the Hells Angels biker gang who “wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.” Police matched him to photos a Muslim woman took when she was harassed during an encounter with the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, while eating burgers with her young daughter in Stillwater in June.
The riots spread to other parts of Minneapolis and led to Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct burning down, and according to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, resulted in $500 million in property damage. At least two people died — one a man who was fatally shot at a Minneapolis pawnshop and another man whose burned body was found in the ruins of another pawnshop.
Protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death. The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn tens of millions into the streets to participate in protests taking place every day since May. The protests have been plagued with violence from the start. They continue to push for police reform and an end to systemic inequalities around race. It has led to radical reform in recent months in many states and the faces of those they continue to seek justice for continue to change as more police shootings occur.