Carlos Beruff, a businessman running for the United States Senate in Florida called President Barack Obama an “animal” at a St. Johns Republican party meeting last Thursday according to the Huffington Post.
Beruff was caught saying the racially tinged statement by a campaign tracker.
“Unfortunately, for seven and a half years this animal we call president, because he’s an animal, OK, seven and a half years, has surgically and with thought and very smart, intelligent manner, destroyed this country and dismantled the military under not one, not two, but three secretary of defenses,” Beruff said during a speech at the meeting. “And they’ve all written books about it.”
Beruff is not expected the win the GOP primary in August since he is only polling around 1 percent in a leading polling average.
The leading Democratic candidate in the race, Congressman Patrick Murphy blasted Beruff’s comments in a statement.
“Mr. Beruff’s statement is not only offensive, but extremely disrespectful to President Obama’s incredible service to our nation,” Murphy said in a written statement obtained by Politico Florida. “I call on Mr. Beruff to immediately apologize for his disrespectful comments. In the U.S. Senate, our diverse state deserves better than Mr. Beruff’s clear record of bigotry.”
Beruff is a member of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and a close ally of Gov. Rick Scott.
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Cover Photo Credit: Peter Sherman/ Youtube
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For most in South Florida, Hurricane Irma will be remembered as a dodged bullet.
A storm that devastated other parts of the world and state managed to miss us on the mainland.
But for select pockets of people, Irma is the worst hurricane they’ve ever experienced.
One of those unlucky few is Mark Weiss.
Weiss is a Miami native who is no stranger to hurricanes.
A dentist, he lives on the inter-coastal waterway in the Keystone Point neighborhood of North Miami.
During Irma, he and his family evacuated about 20 minutes north to Davie, FL where they rode out the storm at his sister’s house.
When he finally was able to get home a few days after Irma hit Florida, Weiss was shocked by what he found.
The seawall that protects his home from eroding away into the water was completely destroyed. His dock was destroyed and a large piece of concrete-painted like a basketball court, had buckled up into the air.
“It looks like someone dropped a bomb on my backyard,” a still stunned Weiss told RISE NEWS, a little over an hour after returning home. “I expected to lose the dock, but I did not expect this.”
His boat was still secured the way he had left and it had no damage.
But the destroyed seawall was what had his attention.
“This is the pice you pay for living here”, Weiss said. “We plan and God laughs and see’s how resilient we are.
Weiss said that the seawall is not covered by his insurance because it is technically not on his property.
He estimates that to rebuild the seawall, it will cost him around $100,000.
And if he doesn’t rebuild the seawall then the house would be in danger of eroding into the water.
In terms of personal cost, Irma will be the worst hurricane his family has ever faced.
A few blocks away from Weiss in the same area of Keystone Point, Edwin Birotte surveyed the damage to his property.
He and his wife Maria stayed at their home during Irma.
They regret staying.
“If I had a second opportunity, I would leave,” Birotte said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a few tornadoes came through here just because of the amount of damage.”
One of the more common damaged pieces of property in South Florida were wooden fences.
But Birotte’s fence damage was to an extreme level.
At over 100 feet long and six feet high, his fence was totally leveled in the storm.
Birotte was born in New Jersey and spent many years in Queens so Irma was a very strange experience.
“It’s fear for your life for about 20 hours in a row,” Birotte said. “Every 15 minutes or so, we ran to the bathroom to hide during the tornado warnings.”
He expects his insurance to cover the cost of the fence.
Watch More: Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post IrmaPost Views: 1,185
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UPDATED- May 26, 5:25 PM EST
BREAKING- Father Pedro Corces has been asked to step down as the pastor of St. Rose of Lima according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Miami.
The principal of the school Sister Bernadette Keane has also been replaced by a Archdiocese official for the reminder of the school year
The announcements came in a letter emailed to parents at St. Rose on Thursday afternoon.
In it, Archbishop Thomas Wenski announced that he has asked for Father Pedro Corces to step down as pastor of St. Rose of Lima in an effort to fix the “fractured” spirit and unity at the church and its associated school after a group of parents and a private investigator published a 129 dossier of information filled with allegations against Father Corces.
This is developing and this story will be updated.
Read the full statement from Archbishop Thomas Wenski:
A group of concerned parents at St. Rose Of Lima School in Miami Shores have accused their parish priest, Father Pedro Corces, of putting children at the school in “grave danger” after he allegedly hired a man as a school maintenance worker who was once arrested on prostitution charges.
That allegation and many others were made in a 129 page “dossier” of information prepared by a group of parents at the school organized under the name of Christifidelis @ Saint Rose of Lima Miami Shores.
The group also paid a private investigator over $3,500 to surveil Father Corces to help them build a case against him. Once they could no longer afford the investigator’s services, parents took to surveilling Father Corces on their own.
The document was leaked to RISE NEWS on Friday afternoon and it alleges that Father Corces is in a relationship with a school maintenance worker named Juan Alberto Cardenas.
The group and the private investigator both assert that Cardenas has been arrested on three separate occasions including in 2000 after he allegedly offered oral sex to an undercover police officer for $15.
The private investigator said that he got a hold of Cardenas’ date of birth and then matched his mugshot photos to those found on social media and through surveillance to ensure it was the same person.
Cardenas was also arrested in 2002 on a charge of uttering forged bills and in 2004 for making false insurance claims.
The document also alleges that Father Corces takes frequent expensive vacations, sometimes with Cardenas and that he often spends the night at Cardenas’ condo where he pays for his employee’s cable bill.
Christifidelis is a group of “faithful Catholics” according to group spokesperson Rosa Armesto.
Most of them have children at the school and they take the name of their group from a similar effort of unrelated activists who worked to uncover what they called a “homosexual super culture” in the Archdiocese of Miami in 2005.
The original Christifidelis came to national prominence after Gawker published their findings in 2011.
Many of the allegations Christifidelis leveled at Father Corces surround his sexuality and some of the document can read as being anti-gay.
RISE NEWS has only decided to report on some of the allegations after confirming the group’s findings with the private investigator involved in the investigation.
Father Corces first came under scrutiny from some members of the St. Rose community after the shock announcement in January that the nuns that have run the school since 1981 were being asked to leave. Parents rebelled and demanded answers but received little in the way of clarification.
While publicly supporting the Archdiocese’s line that they had been asked to withdraw from St. Rose by the Motherhouse in Pennsylvania due to the declining supply of sisters in the United States, some of the nuns were privately telling parents that Father Corces had pushed them out.
As a result, the community became divided between the side of the nuns and that of the parish priest.
Some even feel that Father Corces lied to them about the situation and that he tried to stop parents from talking about it.
“There is undeniably a reign of intimidation from Fr. Pedro Corces,” Armesto said in a phone interview.
The Hunt For Answers
Christifidelis took serious actions in order to build their case about Father Corces.
Some of the information was gathered when a family that lives next to the rectory allowed cameras to be placed in rooms in their house to surveil activities there.
From that source and others, the group was able to determine that many people were coming and going into the rectory at all hours of the night, raising suspicions about who actually lives there.
“We’ve seen people over there who are not priests,” the man who owns the home next to the rectory said in an interview. He gave his name but asked for it not to be published after his wife objected. “A lot of weird things have been going on. It doesn’t look right.”
Other neighbors didn’t want to talk about the situation but one said that he hadn’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary since Father Corces had moved there a few years ago.
But according to the family that allowed their house to become a surveillance outpost, things are different.
“We used to have a little community thing for all of us that lived around the lake. We always had a Christmas get together. But since this guy [Father Corces] came here, things changed.”
Christifidelis also searched the trash left outside of the rectory on numerous occasions, where it claimed to find a tax form for a massage business that Cardenas runs.
“The fact that such form was filled in the rectory also suggests a closer relationship between Father Pedro and Alberto Cardenas than the usual boss‐subordinate relationship,” Christifidelis wrote in the report. “It also raises the question as to whether Father Pedro provides tax or financial advice of some type.”
A high-ranking school official who wished to remain anonymous due to concerns over potential retribution said that she became frustrated after discovering that there was no contact information on record for the maintenance workers.
She also said that it was widely known that three of the maintenance workers including Cardenas have keys to the rectory, which was not standard practice before the new workers were hired.
Cardenas was hired in 2015 as a worker at the school according to Christifidelis, about a year and a half after Father Corces fired a “significant portion” of the longstanding maintenance staff.
The firings came around Christmas of 2014 and were a surprise to many in the community.
Little information about the maintenance staff can be found on the school’s website.
In fact, on the “Staff Pictures 2016” page, four of the maintenance staff are the only people without pictures included. Cardenas’ name is not even on the page.
The maintenance staff has seemed to take a more low-key role in the life of the school since Father Corces fired most of them in 2014.
The new crew, including Cardenas has never appeared in the St. Rose yearbook for example, one of the few moments when a parent can physically see all the people who work around their children.
But a review of St. Rose yearbooks going back to 2008 shows that the maintenance staff were always included in the staff pictures section except for in 2015 and 2016.
Armesto, the Christifidelis spokesperson claimed that she saw a pre published version of the 2016 yearbook and that in it were the names of the maintenance workers without pictures. However, the final published version of the book does not include the names or pictures of the workers.
A group of parents at the school had hoped to hold a rosary prayer session before the 9 AM Mass on May 22 in order to pray for the “well-being of the parish”. It happened to also be the 28th anniversary of Father Corces’ ordination into the priesthood.
However they were not allowed to pray after being told by a priest that they needed to clear any sort of demonstration with the Archbishop.
When reached for comment via phone, Archdiocese spokesperson Mary Ross Agosta started laughing and said “Oh, you again,” to a RISE NEWS reporter.
When asked about the contents of the Christifidelis report, Ross Agosta refused to talk about them.
Ross Agosta then said that she had nothing to say and hung up the phone.
RISE NEWS has been unable to speak to Father Corces or Alberto Cardenas.
UPDATE #1- The Broward Palm Beach New Times is reporting that the Archdiocese of Miami has “initiated” an “investigation in accordance with canon law” into the accusations made against Father Corces.
UPDATE #2- St. Rose school officials sent home a letter to parents on Tuesday afternoon announcing that some “lay employees”- presumably some of the maintenance men have been placed on administrative leave by Archbishop Wenski pending an ongoing investigation into the allegations.
Here is the text of the full letter sent home to parents:
“Allegations of misconduct at St. Rose of Lima Parish not involving minors were brought to Archbishop Thomas Wenski last week. The Archbishop takes the allegations seriously. In accordance with canon law and Archdiocesan policies, the Archbishop immediately initiated an investigation that is ongoing. At the present time Father Corces is attending a previously scheduled retreat. The lay employees in question have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Read The Full Report.
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University administrators are often criticized for not speaking up about issues that their students care about. But that is certainly not the case at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).
There, university president Jay A. Perman has taken a forceful stance against President Donald Trump’s anti-science agenda.
In an email to the entire university community, Perman launched into the Trump administration’s “assault on science”.
UMB is a collection of graduate degree offering institutions including a world renowned School of Medicine.
Perman wrote the email in anticipation of the March for Science that will be taking place this weekend on April 22.
“The assault on science comes not only in the form of draconian budget cuts, but in ways meant to politicize science or intimidate those who undertake it,” Perman wrote. “The administration has issued gag orders on science agencies engaging in unsanctioned speech and sent letters to agency heads ordering that they identify scientists working on climate research. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump endorsed theories that have no basis in science — for instance, that vaccines are linked to autism or that climate change is a hoax.”
Maggie Davis, a law and policy analyst for the Center for Health and Homeland Security at UMB is supportive of Perman’s aggressive stance.
“I think it is an appropriate critique of budget priorities of the new administration, especially considering the hostility we have seen to researchers and scientists that work for agencies like NOAA and the EPA,” Davis said. “President Perman’s statement was clearly aimed at the policies promoted by the new administration and not President Trump as an individual, which I think is the best approach to have to build stronger support for robust funding of scientific research.”
You really should read Perman’s entire letter. It is something else.
“To the UMB Community:
I know many of you are planning to join the hundreds of thousands of people expected to march this Saturday in Washington, D.C., to celebrate — and defend — science. I thank you for lending your voice and your advocacy to this movement because, without a doubt, science needs defending these days.
President Trump’s budget proposal cuts 31 percent from the Environmental Protection Agency, slashes the Department of Energy’s basic science research program, and zeros out a program that supports early-stage research into technologies that could reduce our national dependence on fossil fuels. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which spends $32 billion a year on biomedical research — most of which goes to universities and medical schools across this country — would see a nearly 20 percent cut, bringing the agency’s budget to its lowest level in 15 years. By no means is it only science under attack: The president’s proposed budget eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The assault on science comes not only in the form of draconian budget cuts, but in ways meant to politicize science or intimidate those who undertake it. The administration has issued gag orders on science agencies engaging in unsanctioned speech and sent letters to agency heads ordering that they identify scientists working on climate research. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump endorsed theories that have no basis in science — for instance, that vaccines are linked to autism or that climate change is a hoax.
And so I stand with those who will march this weekend to defend science and the scientific method. It is the scientific method that teaches us how to ask questions, form hypotheses, and then — critically — test those hypotheses with rigorous and replicable experiments. It is this method that protects us against specious theories and unproved (and unprovable) “facts.”
As a physician, I know that it is because of science that diseases that were once widespread and incurable are now — within my own lifetime — eradicated or treatable. This is the science that some in Congress and in the White House want to cut, attempting to persuade the American people that the basic research undertaken in labs across this country doesn’t affect them. But it does, and powerfully. Every modern medical advancement that has saved patients in a physician’s care and relieved their loved ones of grief had its origins in the research lab.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, himself a physician, defended President Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to the NIH budget by suggesting that these cuts would be carved out of the overhead costs that universities like ours incur in doing research — costs such as operating and maintaining the facilities in which the research is conducted. However, as any businessperson knows, this overhead isn’t frivolous. It’s exactly what enables our people to keep doing the research that builds the science that ultimately saves and enriches lives. And I propose that it is precisely these kinds of efforts that many Americans want their tax dollars to support.
UMB is educating the next generation of health care practitioners, scientists, researchers, and policy experts, the people who will one day solve the greatest challenges of human health and well-being. I take this responsibility to train tomorrow’s problem-solvers seriously, and I support all of you in your fight to preserve smart and humane science policy and investment.
The budget priorities of this administration do not reflect the America I know, an America strengthened by its science and scientists, by investments made in research that protects its people, advances its interests, and enlarges global cooperation. The shortsightedness we’ve seen over the last three months undoubtedly threatens science, but science will prevail. It always does.
Jay A. Perman, MD
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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