John M. Starcher Jr., made about $6 million in 2020, according to the most recent tax filings.

“Our mission is clear — to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved,” the spokeswoman, Maureen Richmond, said. Bon Secours did not comment on Mr. Otey’s case.

In interviews, doctors, nurses and former executives said the hospital had been given short shrift, and pointed to a decade-old development deal with the city of Richmond as another example.

In 2012, the city agreed to lease land to Bon Secours at far below market value on the condition that the chain expand Richmond Community’s facilities. Instead, Bon Secours focused on building a luxury apartment and office complex. The hospital system waited a decade to build the promised medical offices next to Richmond Community, breaking ground only this year.

founded in 1907 by Black doctors who were not allowed to work at the white hospitals across town. In the 1930s, Dr. Jackson’s grandfather, Dr. Isaiah Jackson, mortgaged his house to help pay for an expansion of the hospital. His father, also a doctor, would take his children to the hospital’s fund-raising telethons.

Cassandra Newby-Alexander at Norfolk State University.

got its first supermarket.

according to research done by Virginia Commonwealth University. The public bus route to St. Mary’s, a large Bon Secours facility in the northwest part of the city, takes more than an hour. There is no public transportation from the East End to Memorial Regional, nine miles away.

“It became impossible for me to send people to the advanced heart valve clinic at St. Mary’s,” said Dr. Michael Kelly, a cardiologist who worked at Richmond Community until Bon Secours scaled back the specialty service in 2019. He said he had driven some patients to the clinic in his own car.

Richmond Community has the feel of an urgent-care clinic, with a small waiting room and a tan brick facade. The contrast with Bon Secours’s nearby hospitals is striking.

At the chain’s St. Francis Medical Center, an Italianate-style compound in a suburb 18 miles from Community, golf carts shuttle patients from the lobby entrance, past a marble fountain, to their cars.

after the section of the federal law that authorized it, allows hospitals to buy drugs from manufacturers at a discount — roughly half the average sales price. The hospitals are then allowed to charge patients’ insurers a much higher price for the same drugs.

The theory behind the law was that nonprofit hospitals would invest the savings in their communities. But the 340B program came with few rules. Hospitals did not have to disclose how much money they made from sales of the discounted drugs. And they were not required to use the revenues to help the underserved patients who qualified them for the program in the first place.

In 2019, more than 2,500 nonprofit and government-owned hospitals participated in the program, or more than half of all hospitals in the country, according to the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

in wealthier neighborhoods, where patients with generous private insurance could receive expensive drugs, but on paper make the clinics extensions of poor hospitals to take advantage of 340B.

to a price list that hospitals are required to publish. That is nearly $22,000 profit on a single vial. Adults need two vials per treatment course.

work has shown that hospitals participating in the 340B program have increasingly opened clinics in wealthier areas since the mid-2000s.

were unveiling a major economic deal that would bring $40 million to Richmond, add 200 jobs and keep the Washington team — now known as the Commanders — in the state for summer training.

The deal had three main parts. Bon Secours would get naming rights and help the team build a training camp and medical offices on a lot next to Richmond’s science museum.

The city would lease Bon Secours a prime piece of real estate that the chain had long coveted for $5,000 a year. The parcel was on the city’s west side, next to St. Mary’s, where Bon Secours wanted to build medical offices and a nursing school.

Finally, the nonprofit’s executives promised city leaders that they would build a 25,000-square-foot medical office building next to Richmond Community Hospital. Bon Secours also said it would hire 75 local workers and build a fitness center.

“It’s going to be a quick timetable, but I think we can accomplish it,” the mayor at the time, Dwight C. Jones, said at the news conference.

Today, physical therapy and doctors’ offices overlook the football field at the training center.

On the west side of Richmond, Bon Secours dropped its plans to build a nursing school. Instead, it worked with a real estate developer to build luxury apartments on the site, and delayed its plans to build medical offices. Residents at The Crest at Westhampton Commons, part of the $73 million project, can swim in a saltwater pool and work out on communal Peloton bicycles. On the ground floor, an upscale Mexican restaurant serves cucumber jalapeño margaritas and a Drybar offers salon blowouts.

have said they plan to house mental health, hospice and other services there.

a cardiologist and an expert on racial disparities in amputation, said many people in poor, nonwhite communities faced similar delays in getting the procedure. “I am not surprised by what’s transpired with this patient at all,” he said.

Because Ms. Scarborough does not drive, her nephew must take time off work every time she visits the vascular surgeon, whose office is 10 miles from her home. Richmond Community would have been a five-minute walk. Bon Secours did not comment on her case.

“They have good doctors over there,” Ms. Scarborough said of the neighborhood hospital. “But there does need to be more facilities and services over there for our community, for us.”

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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Amended Autopsy: Black Man Died Due To Sedative, Restraint

Despite the finding, the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, was still listed as undetermined, not a homicide.

A Black man died after a police encounter in a Denver suburb in 2019 because he was injected with a powerful sedative after being forcibly restrained, according to an amended autopsy report publicly released Friday.

Despite the finding, the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, was still listed as undetermined, not a homicide, the report shows. McClain was put in a neck hold and injected with ketamine after being stopped by police in Aurora for “being suspicious.” He was unarmed.

The original autopsy report that was written soon after his death in August 2019 did not reach a conclusion about how he died or what type of death is was, such as if it was natural, accidental or a homicide. That was a major reason why prosecutors initially decided not to pursue charges.

But a state grand jury last year indicted three officers and two paramedics on manslaughter and reckless homicide charges in McClain’s death after the case drew renewed attention following the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It became a rallying cry during the national reckoning over racism and police brutality.

The five accused have not yet entered pleas and their lawyers have not commented publicly on the charges.

In the updated report, completed in July 2021, Dr. Stephen Cina, a pathologist, concluded that the ketamine dosage given to McClain, which was higher than recommended for someone his size, “was too much for this individual and it resulted in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration.”

He said he could not rule out that changes in McClain’s blood chemistry, like an increase in lactic acid, due to his exertion while being restrained by police contributed to his death but concluded there was no evidence that injuries inflicted by police caused his death.

“I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine,” said Cina, who noted that body camera footage shows McClain becoming “extremely sedated” within a few minutes of being given the drug.

Cina acknowledged that other reasonable pathologists with different experience and training may have labeled such a death, while in police custody, as a homicide or accident, but that he believes the appropriate classification is undetermined.

Qusair Mohamedbhai, attorney for McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, declined a request for comment.

Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist in Washington state, questioned the report’s focus on ketamine, saying all the available evidence — including a highly critical independent review of McClain’s death commissioned by Aurora last year — point to McClain dying as a result of compressional asphyxia, a type of suffocation, from officers putting pressure on his body while restraining him. He was struck by one passage in the city’s review citing the ambulance company’s report that its crew found McClain lying on the ground on his stomach, his arms handcuffed behind his back, his torso and legs held down, with at least three officers on top of him.

That scene was not captured on body camera footage, the report said, but much of what happened between police was not because the officers’ cameras came off soon after McClain was approached. The cameras did continue to record where they fell and captured people talking.

Just because McClain, who said he couldn’t breathe, could be heard making some statements on the footage, does not mean he was able to fully breathe, Wigren said. Ketamine, which slows breathing, could have just exacerbated McClain’s condition, but Wigren does not think it caused his death.

However, another pathologist, Dr. Deborah G. Johnson of Colorado, said McClain’s quick reaction to ketamine suggests that it was a cause of McClain’s death, but she said its use cannot be separated from the impact that the police restraint may have had. McClain may have had trouble breathing because of the restraint and having less oxygen in your system would make the sedative take effect more quickly, she said.

Both thought the death could have been labeled as a homicide — a death caused by the actions of other people — which they pointed out is a separate judgment from deciding whether someone should be prosecuted with a crime for causing it.

McClain got an overdose of ketamine, Johnson said, noting that the paramedics were working at night when it is hard to judge someone’s weight.

“Was that a mistake to send someone to prison for? I don’t think so,” she said.

The updated autopsy was released Friday under a court order in a lawsuit brought by Colorado Public Radio, joined by other media organizations including The Associated Press. Colorado Public Radio sued the coroner to release the report after learning it had been updated, arguing that it should be made available under the state’s public records law.

Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said she could not release it because it contained confidential grand jury information and that releasing it would violate the oath she made not to share it when she obtained it last year.

But Adams County District Judge Kyle Seedorf ordered the coroner to release the updated report by Friday, and a Denver judge who oversees state grand jury proceedings, Christopher Baumann, ruled Thursday that grand jury information did not have be redacted from the updated report.

Cina noted that the report was updated based on extensive body camera footage, witness statements and records that he did not have at the time of the original autopsy report, which were not made available to the coroner’s office at all or in their entirety before. Last year, Cina and Broncucia-Jordan received some material that was made available to the grand jury last year, according to court documents, but they did not say what exactly that material was.

McClain’s death fueled renewed scrutiny about the use of the ketamine and led Colorado’s health department to issue a new rule limiting when emergency workers can use it.

Last year, the city of Aurora agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit brought by McClain’s parents. The lawsuit alleged the force officers used against McClain and his struggle to survive it dramatically increased the amount of lactic acid in his system, leading to his death, possibly along with the large dose of ketamine he was given.

The outside investigation commissioned by the city faulted the police probe into McClain’s arrest for not pressing for answers about how officers treated him. It found there was no evidence justifying officers’ decision to stop McClain, who had been reported as suspicious because he was wearing a ski mask as he walked down the street waving his hands. He was not accused of breaking any law.

Police reform activist Candice Bailey had mixed emotions about seeing the amended autopsy.

“I do believe that it does get us a step closer to anything that is a semblance of justice,” said Bailey, an activist in the city of Aurora who has led demonstrations over the death of McClain.

But Bailey added that she is “extremely saddened that there is still a controversy around whether or not the EMTs and officers should be held responsible for what they did, and as to whether or not this was actually murder.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Judge Unseals Additional Portions Of Mar-A-Lago Affidavit

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 14, 2022

DOJ has been investigating the holding of top-secret information and other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after Donald Trump left the White House.

A federal judge Tuesday unsealed additional portions of an FBI affidavit laying out the basis for a search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, showing that agents earlier obtained a hard drive after issuing a subpoena for surveillance footage recorded inside Mar-a-Lago.

A heavily redacted version of the affidavit was made public last month, but the Justice Department requested permission to show more of it after lawyers for Trump revealed the existence of a June grand jury subpoena that sought video footage from cameras in the vicinity of the Mar-a-Lago storage room.

“Because those aspects of the grand jury’s investigation have now been publicly revealed, there is no longer any reason to keep them sealed (i.e. redacted) in the filings in this matter,” department lawyers wrote.

The newly visible portions of the FBI agent’s affidavit show that the FBI on June 24 subpoenaed for the footage after a visit weeks earlier to Mar-a-Lago in which agents observed 50 to 55 boxes of records in the storage room at the property. The Trump Organization provided a hard drive on July 6 in response to the subpoena, the affidavit says.

The footage could be an important piece of the investigation, including as agents evaluate whether anyone has sought to obstruct the probe. The Justice Department has said in a separate filing that it has “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”

The Justice Department has been investigating the holding of top-secret information and other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. FBI agents during their Aug. 8 search of the home and club said they recovered more than 11,000 documents and 1,800 other items, including roughly 100 with classification markings.

Separately Tuesday, the Justice Department again urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to lift her hold on core aspects of the investigation. Cannon last week granted the Trump team’s request for an independent arbiter to review the seized documents and weed out from the investigation any records that may be covered by claims of executive or attorney-client privilege.

She also ordered the department to halt its review of the records pending any further court order or the completion of a review by the yet-to-be-named special master. The department urged Cannon last week to put her order on hold and told the judge Tuesday that its investigation would be harmed by a continued delay of its ability to scrutinize the classified documents.

“The government and the public unquestionably have an interest in the timely enforcement of criminal laws, particularly those involving the protection of highly sensitive information, and especially where, as here, there may have been efforts to obstruct its investigation,” the lawyers wrote.

The Trump team on Monday urged the judge to leave her order in place. His lawyers raised questions about the documents’ current classification status and noted that a president has absolute authority to declassify information, though they pointedly did not say that Trump had actually declassified anything.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Queen Elizabeth II’s Coffin Makes Journey Through Scotland

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the queen died.

Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin is passing through the rugged Scottish countryside Sunday on a final journey from her beloved summer estate Balmoral Castle to London, with mourners quietly lining roads and some tossing flowers to honor the monarch who died after 70 years on the throne.

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the queen died Thursday, for a six-hour trip through Scottish towns to Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburgh. The late queen’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland and topped with a wreath made of flowers from the estate, including sweet peas, one of the queen’s favorites.

“A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time,” the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. “Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Crowds lined parts of the route as the nation mourns its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. In the Scottish village of Ballater, where residents regard the royal family as neighbors, hundreds of people watched in silence and some threw flowers in front of the hearse as it passed.

“She meant such a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see,” said Victoria Pacheco, a guest house manager.

In each town and village the cars drove through, they were met with similar muted scenes of respect. People stood mostly in silence; some clapped politely, others pointed their phone cameras at the passing cars.

Before reaching the Scottish capital, the cortege is traveling down what is effectively a royal memory lane — passing through locations laden with House of Windsor history including Dyce, where in 1975 the queen formally opened the U.K.’s first North Sea oil pipeline, and Fife near St. Andrews University, where her grandson William, now the Prince of Wales, studied and met his future wife, Catherine.

Sunday’s solemn drive through Scotland came as the queen’s eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch — King Charles III — in the rest of the nations of the United Kingdom: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It came a day after a pomp-filled accession ceremony in England steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles said Saturday.

Just before the proclamation was read Sunday in Edinburgh, a protester appeared with a sign condemning imperialism and urging leaders to “abolish the monarchy,” getting taken away soon afterward by police. The crowd applauded.

One man shouted, “Let her go! It’s free speech!” while others shouted: “Have some respect.”

It’s a sign of how some, including the former British Empire colonies, are struggling with the legacy of the monarchy. Earlier, proclamations were read in other parts of the Commonwealth countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Charles, even as he mourned his late mother, was getting to work at Buckingham Palace, meeting with the secretary-general and other representatives of the Commonwealth, nations grappling with affection for the queen and lingering bitterness over their colonial legacies, ranging from slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artifacts held in British institutions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had started laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after elections in May, said Sunday that now was the time not for a change but for paying tribute to the late queen.

India, a former British colony, observed a day of state mourning, with flags lowered to half-staff on all government buildings throughout the country.

Amid the grief enveloping the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, together with their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, delighted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance Saturday.

The queen’s coffin will take a circuitous journey back to the capital. On Monday, it will be taken from Holyroodhouse to nearby St. Giles’ Cathedral, where it will remain until Tuesday, when it will be flown to London. The coffin will be moved from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.

In Ballater, the Rev. David Barr said locals consider the royals as “neighbors” and try to treat them as locals when they spend summers in the Scottish Highlands.

“When she comes up here, and she goes through those gates, I believe the royal part of her stays mostly outside,” he said. “And as she goes in, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving mum, a loving gran and then later on a loving great-gran — and aunty — and be normal.”

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes after the hearse carrying the queen’s coffin passed through Ballater.

“It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the queen,” she said. “She certainly gave service to this country even up until a few days before her death.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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The Supply Chain Broke. Robots Are Supposed to Help Fix It.

The people running companies that deliver all manner of products gathered in Philadelphia last week to sift through the lessons of the mayhem besieging the global supply chain. At the center of many proposed solutions: robots and other forms of automation.

On the showroom floor, robot manufacturers demonstrated their latest models, offering them as efficiency-enhancing augments to warehouse workers. Driverless trucks and drones commanded display space, advertising an unfolding era in which machinery will occupy a central place in bringing products to our homes.

The companies depicted their technology as a way to save money on workers and optimize scheduling, while breaking down resistance to a future centered on evolving forms of automation.

persistent economic shocks have intensified traditional conflicts between employers and employees around the globe. Higher prices for energy, food and other goods — in part the result of enduring supply chain tangles — have prompted workers to demand higher wages, along with the right to continue working from home. Employers cite elevated costs for parts, raw materials and transportation in holding the line on pay, yielding a wave of strikes in countries like Britain.

The stakes are especially high for companies engaged in transporting goods. Their executives contend that the Great Supply Chain Disruption is largely the result of labor shortages. Ports are overwhelmed and retail shelves are short of goods because the supply chain has run out of people willing to drive trucks and move goods through warehouses, the argument goes.

Some labor experts challenge such claims, while reframing worker shortages as an unwillingness by employers to pay enough to attract the needed numbers of people.

“This shortage narrative is industry-lobbying rhetoric,” said Steve Viscelli, an economic sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.” “There is no shortage of truck drivers. These are just really bad jobs.”

A day spent wandering the Home Delivery World trade show inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center revealed how supply chain companies are pursuing automation and flexible staffing as antidotes to rising wages. They are eager to embrace robots as an alternative to human workers. Robots never get sick, not even in a pandemic. They never stay home to attend to their children.

A large truck painted purple and white occupied a prime position on the showroom floor. It was a driverless delivery vehicle produced by Gatik, a Silicon Valley company that is running 30 of them between distribution centers and Walmart stores in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Here was the fix to the difficulties of trucking firms in attracting and retaining drivers, said Richard Steiner, Gatik’s head of policy and communications.

“It’s not quite as appealing a profession as it once was,” he said. “We’re able to offer a solution to that trouble.”

Nearby, an Israeli start-up company, SafeMode, touted a means to limit the notoriously high turnover plaguing the trucking industry. The company has developed an app that monitors the actions of drivers — their speed, the abruptness of their braking, their fuel efficiency — while rewarding those who perform better than their peers.

The company’s founder and chief executive, Ido Levy, displayed data captured the previous day from a driver in Houston. The driver’s steady hand at the wheel had earned him an extra $8 — a cash bonus on top of the $250 he typically earns in a day.

“We really convey a success feeling every day,” Mr. Levy, 31, said. “That really encourages retention. We’re trying to make them feel that they are part of something.”

Mr. Levy conceived of the company with a professor at the M.I.T. Media Lab who tapped research on behavioral psychology and gamification (using elements of game playing to encourage participation).

So far, the SafeMode system has yielded savings of 4 percent on fuel while increasing retention by one-quarter, Mr. Levy said.

Another company, V-Track, based in Charlotte, N.C., employs a technology that is similar to SafeMode’s, also in an effort to dissuade truck drivers from switching jobs. The company places cameras in truck cabs to monitor drivers, alerting them when they are looking at their phones, driving too fast or not wearing their seatbelt.

Jim Becker, the company’s product manager, said many drivers hade come to value the cameras as a means of protecting themselves against unwarranted accusations of malfeasance.

But what is the impact on retention if drivers chafe at being surveilled?

“Frustrations about increased surveillance, especially around in-cab cameras,” are a significant source of driver lament, said Max Farrell, co-founder and chief executive of WorkHound, which gathers real-time feedback.

Several companies on the show floor catered to trucking companies facing difficulties in hiring people to staff their dispatch centers. Their solution was moving such functions to countries where wages are lower.

Lean Solutions, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sets up call centers in Colombia and Guatemala — a response to “the labor challenge in the U.S.,” said Hunter Bell, a company sales agent.

A Kentucky start-up, NS Talent Solutions, establishes dispatch operations in Mexico, at a saving of up to 40 percent compared with the United States.

“The pandemic has helped,” said Michael Bartlett, director of sales. “The world is now comfortable with remote staffing.”

Scores of businesses promoted services that recruit and vet part-time and temporary workers, offering a way for companies to ramp up as needed without having to commit to full-time employees.

Pruuvn, a start-up in Atlanta, sells a service that allows companies to eliminate employees who recruit and conduct background checks.

“It allows you to get rid of or replace multiple individuals,” the company’s chief executive, Bryan Hobbs, said during a presentation.

Another staffing firm, Veryable of Dallas, offered a platform to pair workers such as retirees and students seeking part-time, temporary stints with supply chain companies.

Jonathan Katz, the company’s regional partnerships manager for the Southeast, described temporary staffing as the way for smaller warehouses and distribution operations that lack the money to install robots to enhance their ability to adjust to swings in demand.

A drone company, Zipline, showed video of its equipment taking off behind a Walmart in Pea Ridge, Ark., dropping items like mayonnaise and even a birthday cake into the backyards of customers’ homes. Another company, DroneUp, trumpeted plans to set up similar services at 30 Walmart stores in Arkansas, Texas and Florida by the end of the year.

But the largest companies are the most focused on deploying robots.

Locus, the manufacturer, has already outfitted 200 warehouses globally with its robots, recently expanding into Europe and Australia.

Locus says its machines are meant not to replace workers but to complement them — a way to squeeze more productivity out of the same warehouse by relieving the humans of the need to push the carts.

But the company also presents its robots as the solution to worker shortages. Unlike workers, robots can be easily scaled up and cut back, eliminating the need to hire and train temporary employees, Melissa Valentine, director of retail global accounts at Locus, said during a panel discussion.

Locus even rents out its robots, allowing customers to add them and eliminate them as needed. Locus handles the maintenance.

Robots can “solve labor issues,” said Nathan Ray, director of distribution center operations at Albertsons, the grocery chain, who previously held executive roles at Amazon and Target. “You can find a solution that’s right for your budget. There’s just so many options out there.”

As Mr. Ray acknowledged, a key impediment to the more rapid deployment of automation is fear among workers that robots are a threat to their jobs. Once they realize that the robots are there not to replace them but merely to relieve them of physically taxing jobs like pushing carts, “it gets really fun,” Mr. Ray said. “They realize it’s kind of cool.”

Workers even give robots cute nicknames, he added.

But another panelist, Bruce Dzinski, director of transportation at Party City, a chain of party supply stores, presented robots as an alternative to higher pay.

“You couldn’t get labor, so you raised your wages to try to get people,” he said. “And then everybody else raised wages.”

Robots never demand a raise.

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Uvalde Students Head Back To Class As School Security Work Continues

A delayed start to the school year allowed the district to implement a new security plan, but the work isn’t complete as classes begin.

School is underway across the nation, but in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, the tragedy that rocked Robb Elementary School forced parents to rethink the new school year.

Priscilla Rubio’s 10-year-old daughter was in class when a gunman walked in and killed 21 people.

“Just the thought of her going back to school just kind of made my stomach turn,” said Rubio said. “She remembers the noises she heard. She remembers the crying.” 

It’s a trauma that is playing a role in her future education.

“I asked her how she felt and if she felt comfortable going back to school, and she just said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know, mom,'” Rubio said. 

Seeking peace of mind and safety reassurance, Rubio switched her two kids from public to a private school that invested $1.5 million for the new school year on things like a new security system.  

Sacred Heart Catholic School’s enrollment doubled this fall in Uvalde compared to last year.

“It was the fact that this was the first school that I knew about that was making changes right away after the tragedy,” Rubio said. 

Laura Garza, a mother of five, raised concerns at a recent school board meeting. Her children attended Uvalde CISD last year, but they aren’t going back this year. Garza enrolled her kids in a school nearly an hour away from home.

“I just don’t feel like there’s enough changes,” Garza said. “I feel like it’s seven days till school starts, and I don’t think they’re anywhere near ready. ”

For some students, the decision to attend in person may come down to the wire.

Jazmin Cazares is a senior this year. She lost her little sister, Jackie, in the mass shooting. Cazares ruled out private school, and she’s not sure virtual learning is a good fit.

“I kind of really just want to go back because, of course, it is my senior year, and I want to have that experience because my sister is never going to be able to have that experience,” Cazares said.

It’s an experience that has left her parents on edge, as Uvalde gears up for the first day of school.

This year, Uvalde district assigned more than 30 Texas Department of Public Safety officers to various schools, added counselors and ordered 500 new security cameras to be installed. But some of their security plan, including completing a fencing project, isn’t finished with only about 200 of the security cameras installed so far.

The announcement flustered parents, with some okay with being patient for security and others fearing something will happen again.

Fear is only one of many emotions students are feeling.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Cazares said. “The fear, being anxious to come back, even a little bit happy that just we’re going back — it’s a little bit of everything.”

Rubio says her daughter, who started her catholic school classes in August is excelling ad even expressing her thoughts and feelings though art.

“To her, it means this is what heaven would look like for her, and this is the rays of sun, her friends shining down on her,” Rubio said.

The school district is dedicating this school year to the 21 lives lost and those injured in this tragedy.

Source: newsy.com

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Uvalde Students Prepare For 1st Day Of School Since Mass Shooting

The Uvalde CISD School Board approved a three-week delay to the school year this summer.

Across the nation school is underway.

But in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, the tragedy that rocked Robb Elementary School forced parents to rethink the new school year.

“Just the thought of her going back to school just kind of made my stomach turn,” said Priscilla Rubio, a mother and Uvalde resident.

Priscilla Rubio’s 10-year-old daughter was in class when a gunman walked in and killed 21 people.

“She remembers the noises she heard. She remembers the crying,” said Rubio.

A trauma that played a role in her future education.

“I asked her how she felt and if she felt comfortable going back to school. And she just said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know, Mom’,” said Rubio.

Seeking peace of mind and safety reassurance, Rubio switched her two kids from public to a private school that invested $1.5 million dollars to kick off the new school year on things like a new security system.  

“It was the fact that this was the first school that I knew about that was making changes right away after the tragedy,” said Rubio.

Sacred Heart Catholic School in Uvalde enrollment doubled this fall compared to last year.  

“I don’t know about anybody else here but when you drive up to the high school, does anybody see anything different,” said Laura Garza – a mother of five – as she raised concerns at a recent school board meeting.

Her children attended Uvalde CISD, last year.

“I just don’t feel like there’s enough changes. And I don’t think they’re anywhere near ready,” Garza said when asked if her children were going back to school there.

Garza enrolled her kids in a school nearly an hour away from home.

For some students, the decision to attend in person may come down to the wire.

 ”I’m still kind of deciding,” said Jazmin Cazares, a Senior in high school and sister of a victim.  

 ”I was in the black box when I got the call saying my sister was being rushed to the E.R.. I didn’t know the extent of anything,” said Jazmin.

She lost her little sister, Jackie Cazares, in the mass shooting.

Jazmin ruled out private schools, and she’s not sure virtual learning is a good fit.

“I kind of really just want to go back because of course it is my senior year and I want to have that experience because my sister’s never going to be able to have that experience,” Jazmin said.

An experience that’s left her parents on edge as Uvalde gears up for the first day of school.  

This year, Uvalde District assigned more than 30 Texas Department of Public Safety officers to various schools, added counselors, and ordered 500 new security cameras to be installed.

But some of their security plan isn’t finished, including completing a fencing project.   

An announcement that angered parents.

“You have to be patient because I don’t want us to do anything the wrong way,” said Laura Perez, a School Board member.

“I have that fear of something happening again,” said Javier Cazares, Jackie and Jazmin’s father.   

Fear is only one of many emotions students are feeling.

 ”It’s a little bit of everything. Of course, with the fear, being anxious to come back, even a little bit happy that just we’re going back, it’s a little bit of everything,” said Jazmine.

If there is one sliver of comfort, Rubio says her daughter, who started her Catholic school classes in August, is excelling, even expressing her thoughts and feelings through art.

“I hear people crying, laughing. I see people’s dreams,” Rubio reads the poem her daughter wrote. “To her it means this is what heaven would look like for her and this is the rays of the sun, her friends shining down on her,” Rubio said as she explained a painting her daughter drew.

Source: newsy.com

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Serena Williams Loses To Tomljanovic In U.S. Open Farewell

Williams entered the night having won 19 times in a row in the U.S. Open’s third round of singles competition.

Leave it to Serena Williams to not want to go quietly, to not want this match, this trip to the U.S. Open, this transcendent career of hers, to really, truly end.

Right down to what were, barring a change of heart, the final minutes of her quarter-century of excellence on the tennis court, and an unbending unwillingness to be told what wasn’t possible, Williams tried to mount one last classic comeback, earn one last vintage victory, with fans on their feet in a full Arthur Ashe Stadium, cellphone cameras at the ready.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion staved off five match points to prolong the three-hours-plus proceedings, but could not do more, and was eliminated from the U.S. Open in the third round by Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 on Friday night in what is expected to be her final contest.

“I’ve been down before. … I don’t really give up,” Williams said. “In my career, I’ve never given up. In matches, I don’t give up. Definitely wasn’t giving up tonight.”

She turns 41 this month and recently told the world that she is ready to start “evolving” away from her playing days — she expressed distaste for the word “retirement” — and while she remained purposely vague about whether this appearance at Flushing Meadows definitely would represent her last hurrah, everyone assumed it will be.

“It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life,” Williams said, tears streaming down her cheeks shortly after one final shot landed in the net. “I’m so grateful to every single person that’s ever said, ‘Go, Serena!’ in their life.”

Asked during an on-court interview whether she might reconsider walking away, Williams replied: “I don’t think so, but you never know.”

A little later, pressed on the same topic at her post-match news conference, Williams joked, “I always did love Australia,” the country that hosts the next Grand Slam tournament in January.

With two victories in singles this week, including over the No. 2 player in the world, Anett Kontaveit, on Wednesday, Williams took her fans on a thrill-a-minute throwback trip at the hard-court tournament that was the site of a half-dozen of her championships.

The first came in 1999 in New York, when Williams was a teen. Now she’s married and a mother; her daughter, Olympia, turned 5 on Thursday.

“Clearly, I’m still capable. … (But) I’m ready to be a mom, explore a different version of Serena,” she said. “Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.”

With 23,859 of her closest friends cheering raucously again Friday, Williams faltered against Tomljanovic, a 29-year-old Australian who is ranked 46th.

Williams gave away leads in each set, including the last, in which she was up 1-0 before dropping the final six games.

Tomljanovic is unabashedly a fan of Williams, having growing up watching her play on TV.

“I’m feeling really sorry, just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do. And what she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis, is incredible,” said Tomljanovic, who has never been past the quarterfinals at any major. “This is a surreal moment for me.”

Then, drawing laughs, Tomljanovic added: “I just thought she would beat me. … She’s Serena. That’s that’s just who she is: She’s the greatest of all time. Period.”

Asked what she planned to do on the first day of the rest of her life Saturday, Williams said she’d rest, spend time with Olympia and then added: “I’m definitely probably going to be karaoke-ing.”

Her performance with her racket Friday showed grit and featured some terrific serving, but it was not perfect.

On one point in the second set, Williams’ feet got tangled and she fell to the court, dropping her racket. She finished with 51 unforced errors, 21 more than Tomljanovic.

Williams let a 5-3 lead vanish in the first set. She did something similar in the second, giving away edges of 4-0 and 5-2, and requiring five set points to finally put that one in her pocket. From 4-all in the tiebreaker, meaning Williams was three points from defeat, she pounded a 117 mph ace, hit a forehand winner to cap a 20-stroke exchange, then watched Tomljanovic push a forehand long.

Momentum appeared to be on Williams’ side. But she could not pull off the sort of never-admit-defeat triumph she did so often over the years.

“Oh, my God, thank you so much. You guys were amazing today. I tried,” Williams told the audience, hands on her hips, before mentioning, among others, her parents and her older sister, Venus, a seven-time major champion who is 42.

“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus. So thank you, Venus,” Williams said. “She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed.”

They started in tennis as kids in Compton, California, coached by their father, Richard, who taught himself about the sport after watching on television while a player received a winner’s check. He was the central figure in the Oscar-winning film “King Richard,” produced by his daughters.

The siblings lost together in the first round of doubles on Thursday night, drawing another sellout. And on Friday, as during the younger Williams’ other outings this week, there could be no doubt about which player the paying public favored.

When Tomljanovic broke to go up 6-5 as part of a four-game run to take the opening set, one person in her guest box rose to applaud — and he was pretty much on his own.

Otherwise, folks applauded when Tomljanovic double-faulted, generally considered a faux pas for tennis crowds.

They got loud in the middle of lengthy exchanges, also frowned upon.

They offered sympathetic sounds of “Awwwwww” when Williams flubbed a shot, and leapt out of their seats when she did something they found extraordinary. A rather routine service break was cause for a standing ovation.

Tomljanovic draped a blue-and-white U.S. Open towel over her head at changeovers, shielding herself from the noise and distractions.

“Just really blocked it out as much as I could. It did get to me a few times, internally. I mean, I didn’t take it personally because, I mean, I would be cheering for Serena, too, if I wasn’t playing her,” Tomljanovic said. “But it was definitely not easy.”

After Williams struck a swinging backhand volley winner to take a 4-0 lead in the second set, her play improving with every passing moment, the reaction was earsplitting. Billie Jean King, a Hall of Famer with 39 total Grand Slam titles across singles, doubles and mixed doubles, raised her cellphone to capture the scene.

“You’re everywhere!” yelled Williams’ husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, from a courtside guest box that also contained power couple Ciara and Russell Wilson.

When Williams drove two consecutive forehand winners to lead 5-2 in the second set, she screamed and leaned forward after each.

She could not sustain that level.

Williams entered the night having won 19 times in a row in the U.S. Open’s third round of singles competition, including reaching at least the semifinals in her most recent 11 appearances in New York.

Talk about a full-circle moment: The only other third-round loss she’s ever had at Flushing Meadows (she is 42-0 in the first and second rounds) came in 1998, the year Williams made her tournament debut at age 16.

She would win her first major trophy 12 months later at the U.S. Open. And now she said goodbye in that same stadium.

“It’s been a long time. I’ve been playing tennis my whole life,” Williams said Friday night, after performing one last twirl-and-wave move usually reserved for victories. “It is a little soon, but I’m also happy because, I mean, this is what I wanted, what I want.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Alabama Pastor Plans To Sue Over Arrest While Watering Flowers

One evening on a quiet residential street devolved into yet another potentially explosive situation involving a Black man and White law enforcement.

Michael Jennings wasn’t breaking any laws or doing anything that was obviously suspicious; the Black minister was simply watering the flowers of a neighbor who was out of town.

Yet there was a problem: Around the corner, Amber Roberson, who is White, thought she was helping that same neighbor when she saw a vehicle she didn’t recognize at the house and called police.

Within minutes, Jennings was in handcuffs, Roberson was apologizing for calling 911 and three officers were talking among themselves about how everything might have been different.

Harry Daniels, an attorney representing Jennings, said he plans to submit a claim to the city of Childersburg seeking damages and then file a lawsuit. “This should be a learned lesson and a training tool for law enforcement about what not to do,” he said.

A 20-minute video of the episode recorded on one of the officers’ body cameras shows how quickly an uneventful evening on a quiet residential street devolved into yet another potentially explosive situation involving a Black man and white law enforcement authorities.

___

“Whatcha doing here, man?” Officer Chris Smith asked as he walked up to Jennings, who held a hose with a stream of water falling on plants beside the driveway outside a small, white house.

“Watering flowers,” Jennings replied from a few feet away. Lawn decorations stood around a mailbox; fresh mulch covered the beds. It was more than an hour before sunset on a Sunday in late May, the kind of spring evening when people often are out tending plants.

Smith told Jennings that a caller said she saw a strange vehicle and a person who “wasn’t supposed to be here” at the house. Jennings told him the SUV he was talking about belonged to the neighbor who lives there.

“I’m supposed to be here,” he added. “I’m Pastor Jennings. I live across the street.”

“You’re Pastor Jennings?”

“Yes. I’m looking out for their house while they’re gone, watering their flowers,” said Jennings, still spraying water.

“OK, well, that’s cool. Do you have, like, ID?” Smith asked.

“Oh, no. Man, I’m not going to give you ID,” Jennings said, turning away.

“Why not?” Smith asked.

“I ain’t did nothing wrong,” the pastor replied.

___

Jennings, 56, was born in rural Alabama just three years after George C. Wallace pledged “segregation forever” at the first of his four inaugurations as governor. His parents grew up during a time when racial segregation was the law and Black people were expected to act with deference to white people in the South.

“I know the backdrop,” Jennings said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the officers who confronted him on May 22 work for a majority-White town of about 4,700 people that’s located 55 miles southeast of Birmingham down U.S. 280. White people control city hall and the police department.

Jennings went into the ministry not long after graduating from high school and hasn’t strayed far from his birthplace of nearby Sylacauga, where he leads Vision of Abundant Life Ministries, a small, nondenominational church, when not doing landscaping work or selling items online. In 1991, he said, he worked security and then trained to be a police officer in a nearby town but left before taking the job full time.

“That’s how I knew the law,” he said.

Alabama law allows police to ask for the name of someone in a public place when there’s reasonable suspicion the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. But that doesn’t mean a man innocently watering flowers at a neighbor’s home must provide identification when asked by an officer, according to Hank Sherrod, a civil rights lawyer who reviewed the full police video at the request of the AP.

“This is an area of the law that is pretty clear,” said Sherrod, who has handled similar cases in north Alabama, where he practices.

___

Cuffed and seated between two shrubs on the front stoop of his neighbor’s home, Jennings told Smith and Gable how his son, a university athletics administrator, had been wrongly “arrested and profiled” in Michigan after a young woman at a cheerleading competition said a Black man had hugged her.

Jennings said he felt “anger and fear” during his interaction with the Alabama police officers not only because of what happened to his son but due to the accumulated weight of past police killings — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others — plus lower-profile incidents and shootings in Alabama.

“That’s why I didn’t resist,” he said.

___

Jennings was already in the back of a patrol car by the time Roberson, the White woman who called police, emerged. Jennings, she told officers, was a neighbor and a friend of the home’s owner, Roy Milam.

“OK. Does he have permission here to be watering flowers?” Smith asked.

“He may, because they are friends,” she replied. “They went out of town today. He may be watering their flowers. It would be completely normal.”

Milam told the AP that was exactly what happened: He’d asked Jennings to water his wife’s flowers while they were camping in the Tennessee mountains for a few days.

A few moments later, officers told Roberson that a license plate check showed the gold sport utility vehicle that prompted her call in the first place belonged to Milam. They got Jennings out of the patrol car and he told them his first and last name.

“I didn’t know it was him,” Roberson told police. “I’m sorry about that.”

___

The officers spent much of their remaining time on the scene in a discussion that began with a question from Smith: “What are we going to do with him?”

After weighing different options, they settled on a charge of obstructing governmental operations that was thrown out within days in city court. The police chief who sought the dismissal after reviewing the 911 call and bodycam video, Richard McClelland, resigned earlier this month. City officials haven’t said why he quit, but city attorney Reagan Rumsey said it had nothing to do with what happened to Jennings.

Childersburg’s interim police chief, Capt. Kevin Koss, didn’t return emails seeking comment.

___

Michael Jennings is still friends with Milam, the neighbor with the flowers. Milam, who is White, said he feels bad about what happened, and the two men will continue watching out for each other’s homes, just as they’ve done for years.

“He is a good neighbor, definitely. No doubt about it,” Milam said.

Jennings also recently spoke with Roberson for the first time since the arrest.

The pastor, who lives less than a third of a mile from the police station, said he has not seen any of the three officers who were involved in his arrest since that day. He believes all three should be fired or at least disciplined.

“I feel a little paranoid,” he said.

Nonetheless, he still waves at police cars passing through his neighborhood, partly out of the Christian call to be kind to others.

“You’re supposed to love your neighbor, no matter what,” he said. “But you’ve heard the saying, ‘Keep your enemies close to you, too.'”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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