After Hurricane Irma carved a large swath of destruction across the natural landscape of the Florida Keys, there are signs that life is starting to return to normal there.
On Sugarloaf Key for example, the chickens have returned to their perches in trees.
This may be a strange sight for many in South Florida, but according to Keys resident Rodney Richardson- this is pretty normal.
And that’s a good thing.
Take a look at the funny scene in a video Richardson sent to RISE NEWS:
Have you ever seen this type of thing in your neighborhood?
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By Staff Report
This is live coverage of a meeting of the student senate of the University of Mississippi where the body will decide whether to pass a resolution supporting the removal of the state flag (which contains the Confederate battle flag) from campus.
For more context, read this: Ole Miss Students Want To Take Down Racist Mississippi State Flag
10:35 PM EST- Ole Miss student senate votes to remove state flag from campus by a vote of 33-15-1.
10:28 PM EST- Motion to have a roll call vote fails.
10:27 PM EST- Debate ends.
9:18 PM EST- Watch the Senate Debate here
9:11 PM EST- So its sort of a tough debate.
As the flagship university, we should keep the state flag and honor the citizens of Mississippi. – Senator Soper
— Ole Miss Senate (@OleMissSenate) October 21, 2015
8:58 PM EST- 30 minutes for debate starts now. 8:54 PM EST- Student Senator Andrew Soper started a Change.gov petition opposing the resolution. Over 500 people signed on to it. 8:45 PM EST- Motion to extend debate has passed. Debate will continue for 10 more minutes according to the Daily Mississippian. 8:43 PM EST- Greek student senators indicate hostility to resolution.
What if fraternities fly the flag? Well, their houses are on campus, Coon says. You can guess how the rest of that went. — Sierra Mannie (@SKEEerra) October 21, 2015
8:31 PM EST- Vote moves closer. Authors of the resolution are now being questioned for the next 15 minutes.Post Views: 961
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Rise News has learned that there is an ongoing investigation into allegations that members of the supervisory board of a Miami area charter school may have criminally violated Florida Sunshine Laws.
One of the members of the board at the time of the alleged law violations was the current Mayor of Miami Shores, Alice Burch.
At least two members of the Doctors Charter School (DCS) Board of Directors and a high-ranking school official have been subpoenaed and interviewed by an Assistant State Attorney and an investigator with the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission.
Sources close to the investigation indicate that the inquiry is focused around the events of the controversial non-renewal of contract of DCS Executive Director Nick Dorn.
DCS is a highly rated charter school with 600 students nestled in the sleepy neighborhood of Miami Shores.
Rise Miami News, the predecessor website to Rise News first broke the story of the scandal in June of 2015 and showed that Burch had improperly coordinated with a few other members of the unpaid DCS board to remove Dorn in a secret meeting.
“Rise Miami News has learned that Burch supplied DCS board members meeting in the ‘shade’ a dossier of information that she had been collecting for over eight months, meant to act as justification for the non-renewal of the school director’s contract.
Burch has also admitted to violating state Sunshine Laws by continuing to volunteer as the de-facto secretary of the DCS board of directors while serving as the acting mayor of the Village.
Burch apologized to the Miami Shores community at a Village Council meeting on June 2 but did not discuss her level of involvement in the dismissal of Nick Dorn, the director of DCS.”
Due to the public outrage, Dorn was eventually offered a contract and a raise. Dorn accepted the contract extension but did not agree to a raise. He is currently leading the school.
While Burch did not vote in the secret meeting, she openly discussed the idea of not renewing Dorn’s contract with members of the board both before and immediately after the “shade” meeting.
Additional public records including text messages show the extent of communications between Burch and other board members. It also showed how important Burch was to the lifeblood of the board and therefore potentially to the Sunshine Law violations she later admitted to.
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the inquiry is being headed up by Assistant State Attorney Luis Perez-Medina and Miami-Dade Ethics Commission investigator Larry Lebowitz.
Perez-Medina works out of the Public Corruption Unit under Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle while Lebowitz, a former Miami Herald reporter works under Joseph Centorino, the longtime former head of the Public Corruption Unit and current director of the county Ethics Commission.
Neither the State Attorney’s office or Ethics Commission would confirm or deny that there is an ongoing investigation.
Paul Calli, an attorney and current member of the DCS board first blew the whistle on the “shade” meeting in a series of Facebook posts last spring.
The Commission referred the complaint to the State Attorney as it said that it does not have jurisdiction over Sunshine Laws.
“The rules should not and cannot be different for elected officials and Village administrators in Miami Shores,” Calli said in an interview with Rise News. “The residents of Miami Shores do not deserve to be excluded from the political process and government administration by elected or appointed officials who hold the trust of residents and voters. The Shores is not a fiefdom, with its residents vassals.”
Mayor Burch did not respond to a request for comment.
Vice Mayor Steven Zelkowitz said that he was not aware of any investigation ongoing in Miami Shores but said that public officials should be careful of Sunshine Law violations.
“I live and breathe the Sunshine Law,” Zelkowitz, a lawyer who deals with many local municipalities in his practice said in a phone interview. “I’m very cognizant and I’m very careful with it. Maybe elected officials should read the laws and understand them before acting.”
Another member of the Village council had a similar view.
“What is important is what[ever] the investigation reveals, it will help bring closure and restore confidence in our leaders,” Councilwoman Ivonne Ledesma said in an email statement.
READ: The 14 page dossier of information Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch presented to DCS board members before secret, “shade” meeting
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Cover Photo Credit: Rise News/ Rich RobinsonPost Views: 2,305
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A Petition Campaign To Name A Building After Harper Lee On The University Of Alabama Campus Is Picking Up Steam
An online petition campaign geared towards pressuring the University of Alabama to rename a well-known campus building after Harper Lee is gaining traction.
The campaign, which was launched just hours after Lee’s death wants the flagship university of the state to rename Morgan Hall to Lee Hall and has already picked up over a few hundred signatures.
Morgan Hall was named after John Tyler Morgan, a Confederate general and statesman who had ties to the KKK after the Civil War.
Alabama student Jessica Hauger launched the petition on Change.org.
She thinks that the name change would be a huge sign of progress at Alabama.
“Upon the death of Harper Lee, who attended the University of Alabama from 1945-1949, the University has an amazing chance to show our support for racial equality, as well as to honor the legacy generally of a woman who promoted kindness and empathy for all,” Hauger wrote on the website. “Lee was doubtless the University’s greatest contribution to literature, and it would be more than fitting for our English building to bear her name, which reflects so much more accurately the values of the University of Alabama, than that of white supremacist John Tyler Morgan.”
Lee is best known as the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, a 1960 fictional work that inspired generations of children and anti-racism activists. She was born and raised in Alabama and attended UA.
“I decided to post something today because it was always kind of a no-brainer to me that Morgan Hall, the English building, should be named after Harper Lee, one of the most famous people to attend UA and easily the greatest writer to do so,” Hauger said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Hauger said that she believed that “To Kill A Mockingbird” is easily one of the most beautiful books she’s ever read, and that it’s “holistically honest” about people and race.
“It makes clear the ambiguity of people, that no one is all bad or all good,” Hauger said. “I think her tone is perfect for what the University should be doing right now – accepting our history of discrimination and recognizing that acceptance as an important step to improving upon our community and campus.”
The idea of changing the name of a campus building long associated with a racist and which also houses the English department could be especially poignant considering Lee’s position as a voice for reform in the New South.
“Harper Lee is an almost universally loved figure, and her name next to that of John Tyler Morgan makes the right answer seem so clear,” Hauger said. “She is a unifying figure, and one that the south, Alabama, and the University can be proud of. I think placing her name on Morgan Hall would make a statement that we are moving toward the values and goals that Lee expressed in her work and life.”
You can sign the petition here.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.Post Views: 926
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