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-Bianca Pratorius has helped usher in a backyard beekeeper movement in South Florida by training a clutch of local amateurs in the art of the bee.
-She has turned part of her northeast Miami-Dade backyard and her roof into a beekeeping paradise. (And her neighbors are totally cool with it too.)
-While Bianca only views beekeeping as a hobby, she is able to generate enough honey to sell at local farmers markets.
-Bianca has mentored Danielle Bender in how to be a beekeeper. Danielle took that knowledge and won a grant from the Miami Foundation for a project called Public Hives.
-Public Hives places beehives in public spaces in order to increase the local bee population. They also train local residents on how to tend to bees.
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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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By Allyn FarachOn June 12th, 2016, a man entered a gay bar called Pulse and started firing, killing 49 people.The response was almost immediate, with people stepping up to donate blood, money, and time to the cause.You can still help even as the event falls farther out of the headlines.There are various charities and blood donation centers, but what do they need now?One response was from Pulse itself.The club’s website was replaced with a page directing people to a PayPal set up for the employees, who aren’t working while the club is closed.“For those of you wanting to help the staff, the Pulse Employee Recovery Fund provides assistance to employees who have been affected by this tragedy and will continue to have monetary needs during our time of recovery. All money goes directly to the Pulse employees to assist with their daily needs while they are out of work.” the page reads. Sara Brady, the spokesperson for Pulse, elaborated “…(The employees) can’t work because (the) club isn’t open. They are also emotionally traumatized which will impact their ability to get new jobs…they need to heal.”Another way that people have been looking to help is with blood donations.Shortly after the shooting, people were lining up at OneBlood buildings donate blood, food, and time.Pat Michaels, spokesperson at OneBlood says that the best way that people can help is to schedule.“Keeping the appointments are the thing that we’re asking people to do: to make the appointment and to keep the appointment going in the future,” Michaels said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “It does help us keep things even and not have a lot of people waiting for a long period of time. In the initial hours after the tragedy in Orlando, we had people standing in line for hours, waiting to donate blood.”Calling ahead or scheduling an appointment online ensures that the process goes smoother and faster.Michaels also asks that people continue to donate and volunteer regularly.Blood has a short shelf life and needs to be replenished regularly.“But certainly, the thing that we want people to do if you’re eligible to donate blood is to make the commitment to do this going forward,” Michaels said.Cover Photo Credit: Governor Tom Wolf/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 34
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“Dry Katrina”: In Memphis, Hundreds Of Families Are Being Forced Out Of The City’s Last Public Housing UnitsBy Contributor
By Courtney Anderson
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE- More than 700 families in the city of Memphis are at risk of losing their homes due to a mandatory relocation that some are equating to a manmade disaster.
This displacement comes from the mandatory relocation of residents from apartment buildings that were found to have housing code enforcement violations.
The residents were living in government subsidized housing units- the last such project in the city until the owner of the buildings lost HUD funding according to local paper The Commercial Appeal.
If they are made to relocate, many residents say that they will have nowhere to go.
But one organization in Memphis is working to provide assistance to residents in need.
For the better part of a year, The Mid South Peace and Justice Center (MSPJC), in Memphis, has been working on a renter’s rights collective to addresses the issues that led to the possible relocation of hundreds of Memphis citizens.
MSPJC director Bradley Watkins describes the collective as an effort to “engage in renter’s rights and training workshops on how tenants can form their own tenant associations,” in order to eventually create a network of organizations in Memphis—or “Memphis Tenant’s Union—” that work to protect the rights of tenants in the city.
In short, they are trying to stop what Watkins has dubbed as Memphis’s “Dry Katrina.” The nickname makes reference to the New Orleans housing crisis that followed Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago.
Watkins said there is no other organizations in Memphis of its kind and that tenants have been taking a “great risk standing up for their rights,” and that the residents who speak out “need more support than is often available.”
The Mid South Peace and Justice center began the collective by working with residents of low-income apartments Warren Apartments and Serenity Towers.
Both apartment complexes are owned by Rev. Richard Hamlet of Global Ministries Foundation in Memphis and subsidized by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
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Watkins said he and members of the MSPJC saw many violations in both Warren Apartments, Serenity Towers and an apartment called Tulane, also owned by Hamlet.
Two weeks later, HUD notified Hamlet that Global Ministries Foundation had failed to correct the violations and that the tenants would have to be moved.
Recently, an inspection of Serenity Towers found massive bug infestations. Residents were told they would have to be moved, as well.
Watkins said that he felt the relocation was inevitable and that they were the result of “decades of systemic neglect on the part of the landlords.” To Watkins, it was only a matter of time.
“Honestly, we all have to ask: What did we expect to happen? Now our collective chickens have come home to roost,” Watkins said in a blog post.
Watkins said that these relocations have created a serious dilemma in the city of Memphis.
“The relocation of residents at Warren and Tulane, if not properly handled, could lead to a massive crisis in housing here in Memphis,” Watkins said. “This will affect thousands of families and they will need this community and this organization to stand with them in this.”
Jessica Johnson-Peterson was one of the residents who spoke up about the housing violations. She said some of her closest associates had come to her with complaints for years and that she felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to “be a voice for the community.”
Johnson-Peterson said that after a conversation with her husband and a resident named Cynthia Crawford, she typed a letter to Hamlet and then contacted Watkins at the MSPJC.
Johnson-Peterson said there are still many concerns not being addressed by HUD or by Global Ministries Foundation. She also said the new appointed receiver has expressed that he has no interest in working with tenants.
“It seems that being a criminal has more benefits than being a law-abiding citizen. The citizens that do their best with the resources, they are forced to live impoverished and the ones that compromise and give into the corruption more than thrive,” Johnson-Peterson said.
On March 11, 2016, Watkins posted an email he sent to Memphis city councilman Worth Morgan, members of the administration of Memphis mayor Jim Strickland and management at Memphis Code Enforcement onto the MSPJC Facebook page.
The post detailed a proposal that would create two initiatives between MSPJC and Memphis Code Enforcement. Both initiatives would have used Serenity Towers as a “pilot program.”
The initiatives listed included the creation of tenants associations that would be recognized by HUD and a program in which college interns who work with MSPJC would be paired with residents of Serenity Towers who have mobility issues.
In the meantime, the MSPJC is keeping track of HUD’s responses to the violations in Serenity Towers and Warren and Tulane Apartments.
The MSPJC Facebook page is consistently updated with local news articles about the apartment buildings and the tenants who called them home.
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.
Cover Photo Credit: Guillaume Capron/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 59
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The Department of Justice is investigating the North Miami Police Department for possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act stemming from the shooting of Charles Kinsey in July.
The DOJ notified the North Miami PD on Monday of their decision to investigate the police force and asked for a series of documents to be handed over to them within three weeks.
According to the Miami Herald, the DOJ has requested the following from North Miami:
“-The names of each police officer that responded to the incident
-Any documents showing disciplinary actions against police staff
-All investigative records in the case
-All excessive force complaints filed against the city’s police officers that were filed in the last five years
-Several other documents showing the department’s policies on force, crisis de-escalation and dealing with people with disabilities”
In an email sent to constituents, North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin said that the city would be pushing to have all officers wear body cameras by March of 2017 and that the police has purchased 18 “bean bag rifles”, which can be used in situations where “less-lethal” force is needed.
North Miami will issue an RFP for body cameras next month. It is expected the City Council will choose a vendor in January 2017 and the cameras will be in place by March 2017.
The investigation started in the aftermath of the shooting of unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey by a North Miami police officer.
Kinsey was shot three times in the leg, but the Miami-Dade Police Union President said that Kinsey’s autistic patient was the intended target of the bullets.
The officer who shot Kinsey, Jonathan Aledda was apparently aiming at Kinsey’s autistic patient according to the Miami-Dade police union president.
The shooting made national headlines and brought the issue of racial bias and violence against disabled people into the fore.
A public records request from RISE NEWS found that the North Miami police department does not have any “specific policies” in terms of how its officers interact with people with disabilities, including autism.
Read the full letter sent to the North Miami PD from the DOJ
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.
Cover Photo Credit: Rich Robinson/ RISE NEWSPost Views: 44
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