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Local Black leaders feel ‘disrespected’ after Miami commission

With questions rising about the future of historic Virginia Key after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez refused to veto the city’s takeover of the board of trustees, many Black local leaders are now angered by the decision.
Patrick Range, II. is the now-former chairman of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, a group of volunteers that oversaw the area’s preservation and restoration.

Suarez’s decision to remove the members of the Trust was supposed to be a discussion item at Thursday’s city commission meeting, however, Range said it ended up being a “personal appearance.”

“Shame on you, city commission — you dropped the ball, you missed the mark,” he said. “You have insulted and disrespected the community. Provide a passive park experience for the citizens that live in this great city — we deserve better.”

Range said the disrespect stems from Miami Commissioners that include Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz De La Portilla for not attending the meeting.

“Half of the commissioners aren’t even present to hear what I had to say– it is a disrespect,” he said.
Virginia Key Beach was once the only beach accessible to Black Miami during times of segregation.
“That was the beach that we could go to recreate, to celebrate,” Range said.

But in a 4-1 vote in October, the Miami City Commission chose to take control of it, ousting every existing member of the majority Black trust and making Commissioner Cristine King its chair along with 2 appointees.
“Since you have disrespected us, we will not let this go with (the) approaching MLK holiday this Monday,” Range said in the commission meeting. “We have been accused wrongly of many things and we have not received any apology — not even a thank you for the time and years the volunteers come forward.”

Lee Roy Jones, lead organizer of The Circle of Brotherhood, told Local 10 News that he is also concerned of the commission’s decision to remove black members off the trust.

“We went from having all blacks on the trust except for one white person to now the commission running the trust and that wasn’t the intent of what that trust was created for,” Jones said.

Among their issues with the trust, the commission cited slow progress on plans for a Miami Black History Museum at Virginia Key Beach Park.

King told Local 10 News that the city is moving forward and choosing 2 appointees will help pick up the focus on creating the museum.

“It’s time to pass the baton and let’s put some more life into trying to realize the dream of having a black museum on Virginia key beach,” she said. “I believe with those two appointments and my colleagues we are now going to be able to move the agenda forward in realizing the museum for that historic space.”
After the vote, a group of local Black community stakeholders penned a letter to Suarez, urging him to use his veto power.

He did not, leading to the commission take over.
Range said he believes Miami’s city commissioners can still do the right thing for the people.
“You have the chance to do right and believe you can do right — the citizens will deserve this,” he said.
”Until the county comes together with the city we will continue to see the community be used as a pawn in this,” said Lyle Muhammad, Executive Director of Circle of Brotherhood.

Local 10 News contacted the offices of Carollo and De La Portilla for comment on Range’s remarks but have not heard back.

In an interview, King said she plans to organize a community forum to hear what the community wants at Virginia Beach, Miami’s historically black beach.

Listen to King talk about the city’s focus on building the new museum in the video below:
In the latest development, King named Bonita Jones-Peabody and Vincent Brown as her new appointees on Thursday.

Jones-Peabody is an assistant public defender in Miami and Brown is a former Opa-locka city attorney.
The 7-member board has one vacancy currently, that is because there is currently no District 2 commissioner following Ken Russel’s departure – a special election on that district happening next month.

Local 10 News reached out to the Office of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava where Deputy Communications Director Natalia Jaramillo gave us the latest information on the Black History Museum, which you can read below.

On where the millions set aside to construct a Black History Museum at Virginia Beach is currently sitting?
Jaramillo: “The funds necessary to establish the City of Miami’s Civil Rights Museum were included in the 2004 General Obligation Bond (GOB) ($15.5 million) and are currently housed within Miami-Dade County. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners also approved an additional $5 million in Convention Development Tax bond funds to support this critical project.”

If so, what coordination, if any, is happening presently and previously with the City of Miami to start the process of building that museum?.

Jaramillo: “The County Department of Cultural Affairs met many times in recent years with a succession of City staff assigned to this project. We’ve offered them technical support and assistance including guidance on the capital bond fund.”

“We noted that there was no commitment to date from Miami-Dade County for the proposed County annual operating subsidy included in the consultant report’s operating pro forma (which was being relied upon to balance the budget). In addition, we inquired whether the City of Miami had made a commitment for the City operating subsidy included in the consultant’s report. We asked what alternatives were being considered. If the City (and County) subsidy(ies) did not occur and/or if the City subsidy was committed at a lower level.”
From what we understand, it is City land, but the county controls the purse strings – is that accurate?.

Jaramillo: “The full implementation of the project is the responsibility of the City of Miami. Miami-Dade County’s role is to ensure that the County funds are used responsibly and effectively on behalf of the public and consistent with their approved purpose.”

What are the next steps in advancing voter intent to build the Black History Museum?
Jaramillo: “Miami-Dade County is willing and ready to support the City of Miami in the implementation of this much-expected project.”

Copyright 2023 by WPLG – All rights reserved.
Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment “Call Christina.”


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A recession might be coming. Here’s what it could look like

Slowcession? Richcession? Or just recession?

Whether in the supermarket aisle, or the corporate suite, a lot of people are expecting a recession – even if there’s no certainty there will be one at all.

Survey after survey shows fears of recession are high. It’s easy to see why.

The Federal Reserve is increasing interest rates in the most aggressive fashion since the early 1980s as it races to bring down inflation. And a recession is often the consequence when the central bank starts raising borrowing costs.

The prospect of recession is certainly scary. But even if the U.S. is headed for one, it’s worth keeping in mind that no two recessions are alike.

A recession could be blip-ish, like the short, pandemic-induced one in 2020, or more like the economic tsunami that followed the 2008 housing meltdown.

So, from recession with a small r to the so-called soft landing, here are some of the current predictions of what kind of economic slowdown the U.S. could be facing.

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Brad Inman at Connect New York: 2023 is a year for metamorphosis

The suspect in the overnight fatal shooting that left three people dead in Yakima, Washington, has died after taking his own life, the Yakima Police Chief said Tuesday.

Police were pointed to the suspect’s location after getting a 911 call from a woman who had lent the suspect her phone near a Target store in Yakima, Police Chief Matt Murray said in a Tuesday evening news conference.

Officers responded immediately and, within minutes, arrived at the scene, according to the chief.

The suspect apparently shot and killed himself and that was prior to officers’ arrival. There were officers who heard the shots, but no one saw him actually do that,” Murray said.

Officials tried to save his life but he was later pronounced dead, according to Murray, who had earlier Tuesday indicated that the suspect had been taken into custody.

The chief said officials will need to go through the formal process of identifying the suspect, “but I can say with pretty good confidence that we believe that this is the person who was involved.”

The police department had earlier identified the “presumed homicide suspect” as Jarid Haddock, 21, a Yakima County resident, according to a Facebook post.

Police earlier had a house surrounded where they thought the suspect was when they learned he was in the area of a Target store in Yakima, the chief said.

There, the suspect asked a woman to borrow her phone and called his mom and “made several incriminating statements including ‘I killed those people,’” Police Chief Matt Murray said.

The woman heard the man say he was going to kill himself and called 911, according to Murray.

“I listened to that call. It’s pretty harrowing, and I have to really thank her again because she was very courageous in getting us there,” the chief said.

Murray said responding officers founding the man near a marijuana retailer, but did not provide information on whether he was inside or outside the business where he allegedly shot himself.

The suspect had “a large amount of ammunition” and a firearm when officers found him, the chief said.

Murray told Tuesday that the suspect pulled into the ARCO/ampm gas station and “tried to get into the lobby,” but found the doors were locked.

“He then walked across the street to the Circle K,” Murray said. “As he’s walking into the store he pulls out his gun and there are two people getting food and he shoots them.” Both people died, Murray said.

The suspect then walked out of the store and shot another person, who also died.

Murray said the suspect went back across the street to the ARCO/ampm gas station and shot into a car and drove off.

“We later learned it was his car and that he shot the window of that car in order to get inside because he had locked his keys in the car,” Murray said.

The motive behind the shooting remains under investigation but Murray said the attack appeared “very much random.”

“There was no interaction between him and people,” the chief said. “They were just sitting there getting food and got surprised by this person who came in and … literally as he was opening the door, he started shooting these people.”

Justin Bumbalogh, who was working at Elite Towing and Recovery, next door to the Circle K, said he was half asleep when he heard gunshots. Police said the shooting occurred around 3:30 a.m. local time.


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COVID 2023: Do We Know Where We’re Going?—Virtual Lecture, Feb. 7

Michael Osterholm, author of the New York Times Best-Selling “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs”, on the challenges of the mutating virus.

University of Minnesota Professor Michael T. Osterholm will deliver “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Do We Know Where We Are Going?”—the first Spring 2023 Bentson Dean’s Lecture—on Tues., Feb. 7, at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Osterholm, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, will discuss what the ever-mutating COVID virus will mean for the future of the pandemic: When will it end? Will it end? Will there be a return to “normal”? The talk will focus on current mutations and data as of February 2023.

Osterholm, appointed to then-President-elect Joe Biden’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board in November 2020, is the author of the New York Times best-selling 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, which details the most pressing infectious disease threats of our day and lays out a nine-point strategy on how to address them.

Osterholm served for 24 years (1975-1999) in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, including the last 15 as state epidemiologist. He has led numerous investigations of outbreaks of international importance, including foodborne diseases, the association of tampons and toxic shock syndrome, and hepatitis B and HIV in healthcare settings. Osterholm was also the principal investigator and director of the National Institutes of Health-supported Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (2007-2014) and chair of the Executive Committee of the Centers of Excellence Influenza Research and Surveillance network.

An RSVP is required by visiting the event page. Zoom coordinates will be sent to attendees the day of the event. For more information, email or call 212.998.8100.

Free and open to the public, the Bentson Lectures have, for nearly 10 years, showcased current and visiting faculty and other guests. Funded by the Bentson Family Foundation, recent Bentson Lecturers have included NYU Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, the New York Times “Ethicist” columnist, on “The Ethics of Work”; NYU Anthropology Professor Rayna Rapp on “The Implications of the Growing role of Genetic Testing”; Karen Adolph, professor of psychology and neuroscience at NYU, on early childhood development in her lecture “Learning to Move and Moving to Learn”; and Brooke Kroeger, an NYU journalism professor emeritus, on “What We Can Learn about Allyship Today from ‘Suffragents’.”

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