BattleTested Houstonians Help Hurricane Victims in The Carolinas

first_img X 00:00 /00:41 X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Houstonians can certainly sympathize with the Carolinas, which are ravaged by Hurricane Florence. They went through it just a year ago.Some are tapping into their experience to help out where there’s need now.That includes Matthew Marchetti. When Harvey hit, the web developer teamed up with business partner Nate Larson to create an app – CrowdSource Rescue – that connects helpers with those in need of help.Since then, he has activated it for several other disasters, including in Mexico and the Philippines.Marchetti said the app has to be adjusted according to the disaster.“With Hurricane Florence, we knew it was going to be flooding,” he explained. “We knew it was going to be some water rescues, as well as some large animals evacs, and we asked people, basically, like, what are your resources around that.”Marchetti said during times like this, he works 16 or 17 hours a day.At last count, he said, the app has facilitated more than 1,700 water rescues and wellness checks during Florence.Another Houstonian who became involved in disaster assistance during Hurricane Harvey is Adam Brackman.When Harvey hit, the operating partner at Axelrad Beer Garden started a supply drive for flood victims. He said they collected many truckloads of canned food, baby products, building materials and other supplies.They’re now doing the same for victims of Hurricane Florence.“As far as supplies go, we’ve definitely learned that a lot of bleach is helpful,” Brackman said, “because a lot of that gets used when you’re trying to kill the mold that went through.”So far people have donated about two pickup trucks worth of supplies, Brackman said. He hopes to fill up at least a box truck.Donations can be dropped off at the Axelrad Beer Garden in Midtown, 1517 Alabama St., during operating hours. AxelradAxelrad Beer Garden is accepting supply donations for victims of Hurricane Florence. 00:00 /00:44 Listen Listen Sharelast_img read more

School Finance Bill Advances In Texas Senate Diversion Program For LowLevel Offenders

first_imgWednesday, May 1, 2019Top afternoon stories:Wikimedia CommonsThe Texas Capitol.School Finance Bill Advances In Texas SenateThe Senate Education Committee held a hastily arranged hearing Wednesday morning to vote out comprehensive school finance reform legislation — accelerating the bill’s journey to the Senate floor and eventual negotiations with the lower chamber.The fast-tracked revision and vote on House Bill 3 came the day after House lawmakers voted through a property tax reform bill, making it contingent on school finance reform passing this session.The full Senate is now expected to vote Friday on the legislation, which aims to increase the base funding for each Texas student, increase teacher pay, provide money for full-day preK for low-income students, and allow for long-term property tax relief.Many details of the bill still need to be ironed out, however, and committee members voted Wednesday without an official analysis of how their districts would fare financially.Elizabeth Trovall/Houston Public MediaThe new Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center was dedicated on October 1, 2018.Diversion Program For Low-Level Offenders Expands In Harris CountyMore low-level misdemeanor offenders will be sent to Harris County’s Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center instead of jail, local officials announced Wednesday.New guidelines make adult offenders eligible for diversion when mental illness appears to be a factor in a low-level misdemeanor, as long as the person does not present a threat to public safety. Excluded are offenses involving DWIs, weapons, assault, domestic violence, terroristic threats, burglary of a motor vehicle or any offense compromising public safety.Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Harris County has saved an estimated $9 million while helping more than 1,000 people since the center first opened in September focusing on trespassing cases, District Attorney Kim Ogg said. She expects the expansion to double or triple the number of people diverted.Wikimedia CommonsPoker cards.Owners And Operators Of Two Houston Poker Clubs ArrestedThe Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Police Department are going after two local poker clubs for allegedly engaging in organized crime and money laundering.District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday the arrest of nine people who own and operate the Post Oak Poker Club and the Prime Social Poker Room. Both establishments are located in west Houston.The DA’s Office and HPD worked together on a two-year investigation that led to the arrests and subsequent first-degree felony charges. Ogg said in a news release that players are not being targeted.The clubs’ bank accounts — which have had millions of dollars flow through them — have also been frozen. Sharelast_img read more

Gov Abbott Signs Bill Targeting Rape Kit Backlog

first_imgOffice of the GovernorOn June 4, 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed several bills to help victims of sex crimes, including one that aims at ending the backlog of untested rape kits in Texas.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a measure into law this week that aims to eliminate the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in the state.Abbott’s approval comes as states across the country are using legislation to bolster testing requirements and attempt to clear their own buildup of untested rape kits.The Texas measure mandates law enforcement agencies conduct an audit to determine the number, status, and location of all of the untested rape kits in the state and then set timelines to ensure they are analyzed. It also allocates roughly $50 million toward hiring more workers at the state’s crime labs and expands access to sexual assault nurse examiners for underserved populations.Abbott said at an afternoon press conference held on Tuesday in Dallas the law would better address and provide justice for survivors of rape and sexual assault.“One of the best strategies is the forensic testing of rape kits, but thousands of these kits have languished untested for years,” Abbott said.The new law follows Texas lawmakers’ latest attempt in a long effort to tackle the state’s rape kit backlog. In 2017, the Texas Legislature approved a bill that allowed drivers to offer donations to help the clear the pileup.Ryan Poppe/Texas Public RadioTexas State Representative Victoria Neave (center).Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave, who authored the bill, said it is currently unclear how many untested rape kits exist across Texas. Neave said the new law will not only eliminate the current backlog, but prevent them from happening again.“When we have somebody who is willing to come forward, go to a hospital and undergo this very personal, invasive exam to collect DNA evidence — to just have those kits sitting on a shelf untested for years, sometimes to the point where they are growing mold on them, is absolutely unacceptable,” Neave said.A portion of the bill will also require that evidence be kept for at least 40 years or until the statute of limitations runs out, depending on which is longer.Abbott signed the measure along with four other bills designed to help victims of sex crimes. Sharelast_img read more

A Silent Goodbye to Journalist Charnice Milton

first_imgCharnice Milton. (Milton McClenton family photo)“We were silent out of respect for the family. We used silence to make the point that Charnice’s voice had been stilled.”The words spoken to the AFRO by Charnice Milton’s managing editor Andrew Lightman gave credence to the silent vigil given on June 3 at the Washington Seniors Wellness Center in Southeast Washington, D.C.A tree that lies in the center at the front of the Wellness building was used as a base for a ring of East of the River and Hill Rag magazines.  Inside the publications were articles Milton had written; which were over 100 according to Lightman.Silent vigil for Journalist Charnice Milton.“She touched a lot of people,” said Maceo Thomas of the 27-year-old journalist who was gunned down May 27 on her way home from a monthly Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meeting.Thomas along with Lightman arranged the silent vigil.“I’m just a contributor, a Ward 7 neighbor,” Thomas added. “People are coming here to be silent for remembrance.”Business owners Chancee′ Lundy and Veronica O. Davis were present at the vigil. They appreciated Milton for highlighting their business in an article she wrote. Lundy and Davis are the owners of Nspiregreen LLC, an environmental consulting firm involved in urban planning. The women received the Great Street Business Leadership Council Award in January 2014.Silent vigil for Journalist Charnice Milton“I feel Charnice was passionate about her writing,” Lundy said. “I think she cared [and] I felt really special because of this.”Three 11-year-olds came to the vigil also to take part. Isaiah Devers, whose mother brought the three said, “I’m here to celebrate, but also due to a young woman who died the way she did.”“A lot of silence was needed because if people talked it would have been disrespectful,” said Justin Braxton. He and Devers attend Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Northeast.Nia Alsop, from Basis Washington, D.C. school in Northwest, said, “It was very respectful. She had been killed and the remembrance is to think about what she went through.”A bell sounded before the silent vigil began. The silence lasted for 20 minutes. The bell rang again to end the ceremony.Approximately 100 people attended. Milton’s parents, Francine Milton and Ken McClenton, along with daughter Jasmine were present.The wake for Charnice Milton will be at Living Wood Church at 4101 Martin Luther King Ave., SW. Viewing of the body will be on June 5 from 6-9 p.m. The family encourages supporters to attend the wake due to the church’s minimal space.The funeral for Charnice Milton is June 6 at the church beginning at 11 a.m. Call 202-563-2125 for more information.last_img read more

Ballet School Increases Dance Opportunities for DC Youth

first_imgThe Washington Ballet intends to increase the number of free dance classes it offers to D.C. public schools east of the Anacostia River.The announcement of the expanded offerings came at a April 29 fundraiser for the ballet.  The classes are part of DanceDC, an education and outreach program that provides a seven week in-school residency to second and third grade D.C. students.The program currently serves eight to nine schools every year, totaling more than 700 students. The ballet expects to increase the number of schools to 13 to 14 through the expanded initiative.Incoming artistic director Julie Kent placed heavy emphasis on the academic and emotional successes of students who participate in the program.“Dance is vital and really bridges the gaps between all areas of D.C., allowing people to see all the real colors and layers D.C. has to offer,”  Kent told the AFRO. “We think it is important that we expand our program and are currently making plans to add an additional five schools to DanceDC.”last_img read more

Baltimore Teachers Organization Meets in Response to Rising School Violence

first_imgThe Baltimore Teacher Network hosted a forum at Booker T. Washington Middle School on April 27 for city teachers on the increase of violence in city schools. The Baltimore Teacher Network is a non-profit organization that advocates for public school teachers. The forum was a chance for teachers to explain problems with students and devise possible solutions for violence in schools.According to the organization, Baltimore has seen a steady increase in the number of reports of students committing acts of violence in schools, with the highest number of reports in the past decade coming in 2015.In late April, a video of student fighting a teacher at Baltimore’s James McHenry Middle School went viral. In it, the student is asked to leave a classroom and, after cursing repeatedly, gets into a brawl with the teacher while other students look on.“The district is aware of the incident that took place a few weeks ago at James McHenry Middle School,” a spokesperson for the Baltimore City Schools said in a statement, according to Baltimore Fox affiliate WBFF, “The matter was immediately addressed on both the administrative and student level.”A month earlier, another video surfaced showing a Baltimore school police officer slapping and kicking a student.“We have found guns in our city schools,” said ElijahEtheridge, Baltimore Teacher Network executive director. “Knives are found just about every other day. Sometimes kids carry these weapons because they feel that they need to protect themselves to and from school, but of course, we don’t want them in school at all.”Among the issues connected to the increase in violent acts at city schools, the organization pointed to increased attacks against teachers, violence in the streets, lack of restorative practices, cuts to instructional funding, overcrowding in schools, closing of schools offering alternative pathways to graduation, heavy-handed discipline plans, and the removal of school police.A few teachers spoke of their first-hand experiences of suffering violence at the hands of their students.One teacher had her finger caught in a door by a student, and later had to have the finger amputated. Another teacher was picked up and body-slammed by a middle school student; yet another was tripped by a student, fell backward and landed on her spinal column.Among the solutions proposed were sending the troublesome students to different schools as punishment, starting a program in schools similar to ROTC, and the need for parents to step up and take more responsibility for how they are sending their children to school.“We can’t suspend our way out of the problem,” said Etheridge. “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem.”last_img read more

Madame Tussauds and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation Celebrate Black

first_imgTo celebrate Black History Month, Madame Tussauds D.C. and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) are partnering to bring Black History Month to life.  Madame Tussauds will be showcasing prominent African American figures including Frederick Douglass, Marion Barry, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali at the Kennedy Recreation Center, located at 1401 7th Street, NW on Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.   From 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., youth tennis scholars from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC) will join the figures and bring them to life as they portray iconic African American legends. Much like the wax figures from Madame Tussauds, the SETLC tennis scholars have traveled the country, from the White House and Kennedy Center to national stages, thrilling audiences with their Blacks in Wax show. The free event is a phenomenal opportunity for students, children, youth, adults, families and visitors to learn about African American history in a fun, instructive, interactive way. It also provides spectators a sample of what Madame Tussauds and DPR have to offer.last_img read more

Power Player Stokes Puts Best Spin on Baltimore

first_imgThe 5th annual Baltimore Reunion Expo will take place Sept. 9, at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. One of the key players behind the success of the Expo and other Baltimore events is Shelonda Stokes, a Baltimore native who has used the grit she learned growing up to find success.This year’s Expo features performances by neo-soul diva Angie Stone, and Baltimore (specifically Park Heights) native Meshelle, “The Indie Mom of Comedy.” Also part of the line-up is fitness guru Charles “Chizel It” Harris and Marsha Jews, host of WEAA’s, “Keep It Moving,” is the Expo’s host.Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)The Expo is being presented by Visit Baltimore and Greibo Media. Stokes is the owner of Greibo and she recently spoke exuberantly about her hometown on a breezy Sunday afternoon at the Mt. Vernon Marketplace.“Once people come to Baltimore, what we know is that they love it…it’s just getting them here, with the negative media stories and all of that, people fear it,” Stokes said. “So, what the festival (African American Festival or AFRAM) did and what the Expo does…it gives people a reason to come and taste it and enjoy it and experience it…and their like, `Oh my God, it’s not what I thought, it’s even better.’”Stokes and her company Greibo, which she founded in 2001, have been the force behind the Baltimore Reunion Expo for the last five years and AFRAM from 2010 to 2016. Yet, they are just two impressive clients among a sparkling phalanx of companies that have utilized Stokes’ media acumen that include: Under Armour, Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Discovery Channel, BWI Airport, the Smithsonian Institution, Morgan State University, Royal Caribbean International and the USDA, among others.Her ever burgeoning list of successes over the last several years has placed the charismatic Stokes in the rarified air of some of Baltimore’s very exclusive rooms. She sits on the boards of some of the city’s most prestigious and powerful organizations including the Downtown Partnership and Morgan State University’s Board of Regents.“Being on some of these boards has opened up doors…but how do we expand it?”  asked Stokes who graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1990 and Morgan State University in 1995. The former electrical engineer worked for major companies like Hewlett Packard and General Electric, before she started Greibo and experienced what she described as “exponential growth” of her company.However, there seems to be an untraversable gulf between her current reality and Stokes’ hardscrabble, transient East Baltimore childhood.“So, for me I grew up… I was that poor but fun (kid)…and you didn’t really realize that you were that poor. But, it was at times…my brother and I  would watch, and we’re sitting at the table and my mom is not eating and I’m trying to figure out why she’s not eating and she’s like, `Oh no, I’m not hungry.’ But, you know that she has to be, because we’ve been together that whole day. And it’s not until you get older that you realize that you didn’t have enough, so she was making sure her kids were good,” Stokes added before talking about the demise of her father.“My father and four of his brothers have died from a heroin overdose. So, when you talk about that kind of background…when I talk about that grit and that resilience it’s also one of those things that I believe, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Stokes said.One harrowing night in 1991, during her freshman year at Morgan State University, truly put that philosophy to the test. After a dispute with a male classmate in her dorm room, a physical altercation between the two led to Stokes being dangled from a balcony by her ankles, until several classmates from her all female honors dorm rescued her.However, it was men from Stokes’ old neighborhood who later came to Morgan’s campus determined to make sure the young man that attacked her would never attack anyone else. Ultimately, because of intervention by Morgan’s administration the young man who attacked Stokes was not harmed.  “To my community, I was that chick,” Stokes said. “And my community rallied around me.”More than twenty-five years later, that seemingly outsized display of community continues to connect Stokes to the disenfranchised community she emerged from and never forgot.“What I love about Baltimore and our people…is we have like this fighting grit and resilience. We’re going to make it happen and what it is, is relative…to who your are.”Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and host and executive producer of AFRO First Edition, which airs Monday through Friday 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on WEAA, 88.9.last_img

Hogan Holds on to Governorship as Prince Georges Decides on Board of

first_imgBy Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFROMaryland voters gave Governor Larry Hogan a second term in office Tuesday night after challenger Ben Jealous failed to glean enough votes in a state where Democrats have a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans.“I want to thank all of you who worked so hard to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission,” Hogan told a cheering crowd Tuesday night in Annapolis. “Thank you so much for believing in us. I am deeply humbled by the trust the people of Maryland have placed in me.”Ben Jealous, who was defeated by incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in the gubernatorial race, takes a selfie with the next Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. (Courtesy Photo)With 98 perecent of the precincts reporting, Hogan received 1,193,669 votes or 56.3 percent of the vote while Jealous received 905,541 votes for 42 percent of the vote on a night when voters in five polling places were still in line and trying to vote at 10 p.m. because election officials ran out of paper ballots and more had to be retrieved.In his Baltimore concession speech, Jealous said “I want to thank each of you and our neighbors across the state for the support given to me in this uphill fight. It was said it was going from K2 to Everest.”Indeed it was.From the streets of Baltimore to the Maryland suburbs of the nation’s capital, from early in the campaign Jealous didn’t mount much of a ground game as African Americans and veteran Democrats separated Hogan from President Donald Trump and re-elected him- becoming the first Republican in more than 50 years to be re-elected.The Maryland race came on a night when the Democrats regained control of House, the Republicans widened their margins in the US Senate and African Americans Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams lost their bids to become governor in Florida and Georgia respectively.Hogan’s win was made possible because huge support he received from African American Democrat’s and regular people who collectively embraced a man who went from being a political novice, to fighting cancer to earning the respect of people across the state.“Governor Hogan has earned my respect because of his consistency, character and because of his attention to the affairs of this state and his moral example means a lot to me,” said Pastor Charles Talbert, 73, who along with his wife, voted early Tuesday at Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton.During a national teleconference hosted by Melanie Campbell, executive director of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, activists from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and nearly a dozen other states chimed in to say that voter turnout was heavy and incidents were few, but when it came to Maryland, Rev. Tony Lee, pastor of the Community of Hope in Temple Hills said that after visiting Florida and Georgia, “the get out to vote in Maryland wasn’t as concentrated.”Tuesday’s election was basically a coronation for other Democratic candidates, including U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Attorney General Brian Frosh and State Comptroller Peter Franchot who easily won re-election along with U.S. Representatives Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings and Steny Hoyer.  In addition Democrats Mel Franklin and Calvin Hawkins won At-large seats on the Prince George’s County Council along with lawmakers in nine various Districts.In four contested Prince George’s County Board Of Education races, Joshua M. Thomas, Pamela Boozer-Strother, Belinda Queen and Sonya Williams won.last_img read more

LIVING FOR THE WEEKEND

first_imgBy Valerie Frailing, Special to the AFRO“My daddy has paid the rent and the insurance man is gone and the lights is back on and my Uncle Brud has hit for one dollar straight and they is good times…My mama has made bread and grampaw has come and everybody is drunk and dancing in the kitchen and singing in the kitchen of these is good times. Oh, children think about the good times.” Lucille Clifton, Poet Laureate“The wisdom of the ages teaches that each individual, whether believer or not, good or bad, old or young, sick or well, rich or poor, has a personal guardian angel with him or her at every moment of life’s journey.” Jean Paul RichterMy car was in the shop due to a hit and run driver, so instead of renting a car I decided to drive my four door. I had forgotten my phone and was returning home to get the phone. And whoosh as I was riding on 695 my tire blew just past exit 17. I rode along the side until exit 18 and pulled over. That’s when my guardian angel pulled behind me. A young lady with her dog approached me and said I see you have a flat do you have a spare and may I change it for you? Thank you, my new friend Patrice B, and your dog Nzuri. When you see me, I’ll tell you “the rest of the story”. Paul Harvey“Sweet April showers do spring May flowers.“ Thomas TusserIt also brought several birthday celebrations and birthdays. It was so much fun to be included in these celebrations.When your husband Delegate Nick Mosby is in session and you are Baltimore’s States Attorney Marilyn Mosby with a hectic schedule how do you celebrate your husband’s special birthday? You contact Sonje of Sonje Production for a surprise 90s theme party. Guests arrived dressed in the attire of the 90s with boom boxes, jeans, hip hop attire, One Eye, Biggie,Tupac and more. The highlight was the menu that included chicken boxes and half and half. It was great seeing this power couple enjoy a pleasant evening celebrating with friends and family and yes that was Mary J Blige (AKA Marilyn) looking fabulous.Mary Cathy Wises’ surprise 65th birthday party hosted by her son Troy at Soundry on the lake in Columbia on Sunday afternoon was an ideal time for the 100 plus guests to enjoy live jazz and a delicious buffet with carved beef and pasta dishes.The Avenue Kitchen on 36th Street was filled with well wishers celebrating the birthdays of Betsy Gardner and Carolyn Mozell, best friends who celebrate their joint birthdays. Mayor Jack Young and former Mayor Sheila Dixon were among the guests along with Jerome and Gloria Fisher, Anthony Jones, Bea Tripp, Wanda Watts, Sabrina Tapp-Harper President Sharon Green Middleton, Geri Byrd and so many more for a fun evening and City Hall reunion.Singing happy birthday to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, N. Scott Phillips, Alexis Coates, Karaleigh Henson, Helen Gray, Zik Stewart, Errol Taylor, Paula Stephens, Rev. Alvin Hathaway, Elvard Cooper, Libby Harris, Dan Henson, Kim Washington, Senator Larry Young, Donel Warfield, Brenda Sykes, Vhonda Lewis and my niece Morgan Chase.“A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You” Joan Walsh AnglundBeing retired affords you the opportunity to join friends for lunch, brunch or dinner any given moment or time of day. 36th Street in Hampden has always been a popular location but with the new eateries its popularity has tripled. It was great having brunch with Lucinda Ware at the Food Market. Electrifying atmosphere, great service and delicious food with complimentary freshly made mini sugar-coated donuts served while you wait for your to be served.Joey Chui’s in Greenspring Station has long been a popular place for lunch or dinner, so it was an ideal spot to have lunch with Linda James before her recent successful surgery. We will return to celebrate once she has finished her recuperation. Love you my friend.Karen Miller and I appreciated the delicious food at the Iron Rooster before attending the Orioles Yankee game on a Sunday afternoon. The game was a disappointment but the food at the Iron Rooster was excellent with fluffy pancakes and bourbon butter I thought I was having dessert. The Iron Rooster is in McHenry Row.“Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns and shadow of April showers.” Byron Caldwell SmithCheck out The Beltway Brunch at the Belmont located at The Quality Inn located next to Martin’s West for an all you can eat $15 per person brunch featuring waffles,pancakes, fried chicken bacon and much more. Call 443-623-7076 for reservationsThe Belmont is Live on Tuesday Nights with live Jazz for the 30 and over crowd dancing to the sounds of DJ Julian and dining on food prepared by Chris. Tony and Mert are your host mingling throughout to make sure the guests are enjoying the evening.“Meet me on the moon soon as you can. In the middle of the sky. You and I riding on a cloud soft as you please. We can sail upon the breeze to the everlasting moment of love. Oh, I feel your symphony so strong and so pure, it echoes on through me. I am so sure that we were meant to be here sharing this love we share.” Phyliss HymanWishing a happy 32nd anniversary to Lieutenant Governor Boyd and Monica Rutherford, happy 49th anniversary to Ralph and Brenda Wright and a happy 16th anniversary to Timothy and Kelly Swope Holloway.A special anniversary wishes to Allan McDowell on the 1-year anniversary of AM3Auto 7234 Windsor Mill Road. Allan hosted an all-day barbeque for his customers on the grounds. Guests enjoyed foods and drinks as they sat under the tree on a beautiful spring Saturday.And on the third day HE rose!last_img read more