Published: 3:53 PM
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–Multiple sources tell RISE NEWS that a box labeled “Provisional Ballot Box” is still sitting at Stirling Elementary School in Hollywood.
-The box was opened and moved by school staff after Election Day because it was located in a room used by students at the school.
-The school’s principal told RISE NEWS that they opened the box labeled “Provisional Ballot Box” and other boxes while they were being moved.
-The principal, Jacqueline Arnaez said that there were “unused” papers in the box and some extension cords. She did not think there were any ballots in the box.
-It was not locked and was very light according to Arnaez.
-The school’s media room was used as the voting place for voters in Broward County’s V053 precinct.
-Large pieces of voting equipment were also left at the school.
–Arnaez said that it was common practice for the Broward County Supervisor Of Elections Office to leave behind equipment and other elections related materials for days after Election Day.
-She could not recall whether a box labeled “Provisional Ballot Box” was ever left at the school after past elections.
–A spokesperson for the Broward elections office could not be reached by publication of this story.
–A similar gray box was found yesterday at Sunshine Elementary School in Miramar. That box was locked, however.
-Dozel Spencer, Broward’s director of voting equipment center operations told the Sun-Sentinel that were no ballots found in the locked box.
-A parent of a student at the school told RISE NEWS that she felt the situation was “outrageous”.
“It just seems very irregular that these boxes were left around like this,” Maria-Victoria Ramirez, the mother of a student at the school who took some pictures of the box said. “I think we need to get to the bottom of why all these boxes are lying around.”
—Here’s Something Completely Different: —
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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In politics, matters of morality shouldn’t be adjudicated in the public sphere unless they are connected to illicit rule breaking or are egregious in nature.
And the same should be true in Alabama as well.
Spencer Collier, the freshly fired chief of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency made some pretty explosive public claims to AL.com this week about Gov. Robert Bentley‘s alleged extramarital affair with a senior political aide named Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
There have been rumors of an affair for over a year but Collier is the most high profile official to speak out about it on the record.
Bentley has always maintained that the rumors are untrue.
Yellowhammer News followed up today with a tawdry report that outlined an audio recording that the conservative news organization was given access to.
From the Yellowhammer report:
“In the recordings, the Governor calls Mrs. Mason “baby” and discusses how much he enjoys standing behind her and touching her breasts. He also references a past encounter and says if they are going to do “that” again, they will need to start locking the door and also consider moving “Wanda’s” desk further away, presumably referencing executive assistant Wanda Kelly, whose Capitol office is just outside of the Governor’s.”
Then Collier held a press conference today where he confirmed that he believed Bentley conducted a long-lasting affair with Mason.
Collier was fired from his post as the top cop in the state yesterday after an internal Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigation “uncovered possible wrong doing under Collier’s time as its leader,” according to AL.com.
“Spencer Collier and I have served together a long time, dating back to my time in the Alabama House of Representatives,” Bentley said in a statement announcing Collier’s ouster. “I am disappointed to learn these facts, and today I relieve Spencer Collier of his duties as ALEA secretary.”
From 30,000 feet, Collier’s claims do seem to have a few problems.
First off, Collier is an aggrieved former employee.
Also, the man who Collier alleges first discovered evidence of the affair has said that he doesn’t support Collier’s allegations against Bentley.
“The allegation and implication from Mr. Collier is completely false and without merit,” Stan Stabler, the new ALEA head said in a statement obtained by AL.com. “ALEA is focused on the future and my priority remains the same – to carry out the mission of the agency and ensure our law enforcement officers and support staff honorably provide service, protection, and safety for all of our citizens.”
Of course, it could be equally argued that Stabler had a lot to gain by not backing up Collier.
In any event, not much is clear based on the current “evidence” available in the public sphere.
And that is the point.
Yes, it may be interesting, juicy, scandalous even.
But an affair, even one between a governor and his top political aide is not illegal on its face.
And the affair should not be the focus, especially not in 2016.
What does matter is whether Bentley used taxpayer money or state resources to hide his affair.
Collier said in the press conference that he advised Bentley against doing that when he found out about the affair, but he also hasn’t supplied evidence that the governor has broken the law.
Of course, this should be investigated further.
Collier also claims that Mason has an outsized amount of influence and power in the Bentley administration. That is concerning to be sure, but is it illegal?
What also matters is who or what is behind the shady group that pays for Mason’s salary.
The secret 501(c)(4) that pays for Mason’s salary is called the Alabama Council for Excellent Government. Under Alabama law, the group is under no obligation to disclose who donates to it or where most of its money goes to.
That’s the real scandal.
Have a tip about this developing situation? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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Today we live in a world where we interact with each other through a great deal of different forms of technology including social media, blogs, photos, music, apps, and so on.
It’s gotten to a point where people can’t hold a conversation without the sudden urge to glance down on their devices.
Instead of living inside the social media vortex, you should try to be the best possible version of yourself without the approval of the “online world”
Now don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing moments, ideas, or interests amongst one another through new resources of technology.
Assuming this is done because it’s the easiest way to stay connected.
According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of Internet connected adults use social networking sites.
And 90% of “global millennial”- young people from around the globe aged 18 to 29 use social networking sites.
I am no different than any of the 3.010 billion active Internet users we have today. Whether I use it to touch base with relatives in Europe or parading my outfit from last Thursday, I use it.
“Instagram star” Essena O’Neill, 18, recently broke her silence on the social media overload “issue” and how it it’s affected her life.
According to The Guardian, O’Neill had over half a million followers on instagram, and was making money by promoting marketing products. She was promoting herself in a way to get validation. She deleted over 2,000 pictures and edited the captions to reveal the corruption behind social media, and how it took over her life.
WATCH: Essena O’Neill rages against social media. Video from The Guardian.
Which she also discussed on her website where she wants to start a movement on people not using social media as a reliance.
“We have forgotten what it feels like to connect, support each other and have integral conversations,” O’Neill wrote on her site. “All I’m saying is that the ‘instagram life’ is not real. There is so much more to the human race than gossip, rumours, and publicly twisting someone’s personal life.”
In other respects, many would argue that social media isn’t all that terrible. It’s been helpful in spreading messages and advertising businesses, news, and current events. It’s beneficial in many ways, like staying connected globally, finding job opportunities, reuniting with old flames, keeping up with politics, and being able to express yourself.
Our generation is brimming with creativity and new ideas. Shouldn’t there be a way for those ideas to get out and make rapid change?
Socializing outside a networked environment is so incredibly important. Social media has a tendency of blinding us from reality. There is a lot more to life then being so wrapped up in a world based on likes and followers. Why idealize people who are completely self-absorbed with strippers, fancy cars, and money?
I’d argue that you should idealize your history professors, favorite poets, and artists. Not only are online users portraying themselves to be something they are not for self-validation.
“Get away from behind the screen and go for a damn walk down a bridge you’ve never walked on before. Chat with the neighbor you’ve been living next too for the past two years who you’ve never uttered more than a few words to.”
Social media is everywhere you go. Restaurants like Chilis, Red Robin, and Olive Garden have installed tablets in their establishments.
At these places, your sever is pretty much a screen.
What’s going to happen in the near future to people working in the restaurant industry? We are already de-humanizing these businesses.
Chevrolet recently made a big announcement that made a splash in the car: “Chevrolet is the first and only car company to bring built-in 4G LTE WI-FI to cars, trucks and crossovers.”
I guess yes, it’s cool and useful to have while being in a long car ride, trying to kill time. But road trips are meant to be fun and spontaneous. The Internet and your social media accounts will always be there.
Why sit on your phone for hours during a car ride, when your family, significant other, or best friends are sitting two feet away? Be annoying, loud, and sing the songs we all hate.
Life is too beautiful and short to spend your time being focused by what you see on a tiny computerized screen. It isn’t reality, it is not living.
Instead of worrying about how many likes you get on a photo, worry about which dressing you should use on your salad or how you look when cuddling with your dog; instead talk to your friends about your dreams and fears.
Get away from behind the screen and go for a damn walk down a bridge you’ve never walked on before. Chat with the neighbor you’ve been living next too for the past two years who you’ve never uttered more than a few words to.
At the end of the day none of this is going to matter in the long run. With that being said, I have a new social network for you to explore. It’s called life.
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By Mariam Ansar
For the reader, whether partial to the Young Adult genre or not, John Green’s name is a familiar one.
Recognizable film titles like The Fault In Our Stars and more recently, Paper Towns are easy sentimental watches for many, based on Green’s meandering narratives of young people juggling life-threatening diseases, big swelling crushes on the girl next door, and generally attempting to survive life with all the emotions of your common teenager.
Green’s success as a writer is one which has enabled him to have two of his books translated to film already, and with another prospectively in the works, many now place him as the face of Young Adult literature.
Whether it’s the realism that is seen as relatable in his writing, or the fact that his fame partly derives from Green’s Internet presence, creating educational videos with his brother under the name Vlogbrothers, there’s no getting around the fact that John Green’s name is one which is either greeted with contempt, or adoration.
Teenagers have no qualms listing Green alongside J.K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephenie Meyer. While his books are not so widely renowned as the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, or The Twilight Saga- some see this as indicative of substance.
Green’s books feature stand-out lines readers of his find relatable and inspiring at the same time. To search his name on any social media source is to come face to face with this outpour. But exactly what is it about this man’s writing which has propelled him to book-to-film fame? To be hailed as a permanent, important member of the Young Adult genre?
Before and alongside Green’s writing, chock-full of painful love, identity crises and existential doubts that plague his intelligent-pretentious-boy-protagonists, there existed, and exists, a treasure trove of Young Adult books and writers who delve into those exact same feelings.
Dessen was given one shot at the silver screen when two of her novels were combined to produce the 2003 rom-com How To Deal.
Rosoff’s How I Live Now, a staple of formative reading experiences as a recurrent feature in classroom book collections and libraries, took 9 years to reach the big screen.
“It is no surprise that the Young Adult genre is dominated by women writers. To place Green on a pedestal then, is to reinforce the notion that the creative white male voice is the most important.”
This isn’t to say that the measure of a book’s success, the integration of it as a frontrunner of the Young Adult genre, relies on whether it has been converted into a film or not. It is merely significant to note exactly the size of Green’s cultural impact and how the cinematic treatment of his books bookends this. The truth is, Green’s writing being centralised as the most prominent of the Young Adult genre in the minds of teenagers and teachers feels unfair, and a little sexist.
After the release of The Fault In Our Stars in 2014, The Wall Street Journal was happy to congratulate Green in “ushering in a new golden era for contemporary, realistic, literary teen fiction following more than a decade of dominance by books about young wizards, sparkly vampires and dystopia.“
Now that Paper Towns is out and talks on Looking For Alaska’s screen-time are rumoured, that ‘new golden era’ looks to be continuing. But actually, there is nothing new about this golden era. Where book editors are looking for ‘contemporary realism’, relatable characters after what some call ‘the John Green effect’, writers of important teenage discourse, Anderson’s Speak, Dessen’s Dreamland, Blume’s entire track record, are shoved to the background, ignored despite their effort to communicate important experiences like body issues, mental illness, sexual and physical abuse, alongside relatable characters. Contemporary realism at its ignored best.
It is unfair to also argue that the genre, as diverse as it is, is only valuable if it is solely realistic. Books about young wizards, sparkly vampires and dystopia do not feature somehow superficial sentiments if the character in goofy infatuation also happens to wield a wand or if the girl struggling to save the life she knows is living in a dystopia which, actually, may not be so dystopian depending on which part of the world one lives in. To take this view of the Young Adult genre is to erase the significant triumphs of many books and their effects on the consciousness of young people.
“crucially, YA books present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way.”
It is this perspective which is truly indicative of the Young Adult genre and which deserves to be lauded, whether it is by Green or by his contemporaries.
Alongside those I have mentioned previously, Meg Cabot, Malorie Blackman, Lois Lowry, and many more equally deserve to be congratulated for well-written analyses of the teenage experience, of teenage emotion, whether they have the Internet, book agents, and Hollywood idolizing them or not.
It is no surprise that the Young Adult genre is dominated by women writers. To place Green on a pedestal then, is to reinforce the notion that the creative white male voice is the most important.
It is to, as literary tradition makes the mistake of doing and despite both their valued contributions to literature, cast aside Austen’s voice for Salinger’s. To portray the male narrative as a bildungsroman with all the integrity we afford men speaking and to cast off the female narrative as YA self-satisfying trash, just one part of a much bigger pile.
Green himself seems to be aware of the issues surrounding discourse on the genre. He said the following on his Youtube show, as quoted by The Atlantic:
“From a pop culture perspective, or a general media perspective, there can only be one thing…. There can only be paranormal romance, there can only be dystopia, or now, there can only be The Fault in Our Stars. But it’s not the truth, that isn’t the way the actual world of YA books looks or has ever looked.
“To me, the real story of young adult literature is not actually about whatever the big cultural book of the moment is. The real story of young adult literature is that more than a thousand books are read by at least ten thousand teenagers a year, that we have incredible breadth, that we have great dystopia and great fantasy, great sci-fi, great mystery, great romances, and all of that stuff can live together and be in conversation because they all – we all – share the same shelf.”
So it is important to recognize that the general media perspective is not the one we should consistently place value in. When it comes to something as immersive, as personal, as the reading experience, it may be beneficial to pay attention to the reading trends, but it is a significant move to take stock of the whole shelf.
It is the shelf which is the most important feature of a teenager’s love of literature, and if that literature is mostly of the YA genre, it may feature John Green’s writing- and may also feature the writing of many, many others.
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