PODCAST: Report warned of major damage to Surfside condo before collapse (BCNN1 06.28.21)

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According to NPR, A Surfside town inspector reportedly told residents of Champlain Towers South in 2018 that their building was safe despite an engineer’s warning of major damage a month before. The cause of Thursday’s deadly collapse is still unknown, but according to the engineering report, the structural slab was deteriorating because it was flat instead of sloped, meaning water didn’t drain but instead pooled on the concrete until it evaporated. The repairs to fix the issue would have been “extremely expensive,” but the report cautioned that it would “cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially” if it didn’t get fixed. The report was dated Oct. 8, 2018. According to minutes from a Nov. 15 board meeting obtained by NPR, residents were told: “it appears the building is in very good shape.” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters that officials “knew nothing” about the report.

According to AFP, A makeshift bomb exploded inside a Catholic church in the city of Beni in DR Congo’s conflict-plagued east on Sunday, injuring two women just an hour before a children’s confirmation ceremony was due to be held. The attack marks the first time a Catholic building has been targeted in the region, which has declared a “state of siege” due to rising violence from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia accused of killing thousands. The head of police in Beni’s town hall Narcisse Muteba Kashale told AFP that the explosion occurred at 6:00 am, and that the homemade bomb had been “set up for an ambush”. Beni’s vicar general Laurent Sondirya said two women were injured in the blast, which went off shortly before crowds were due to start gathering for the confirmation ceremony. “They were targeting a large crowd because the ceremony would bring together children, their parents and the faithful,” he told AFP. The mass to “administer the sacrament of confirmation would not be postponed”, he added. Traces of blood could be seen at the entrance to the church in the aftermath of the explosion, an AFP reporter said, while shards of glass where scattered inside and the sound equipment was destroyed.

According to the Associated Press, The CDC extended its pandemic eviction moratorium for another month on Thursday but director Rochelle Walensky said it would be the last time they do so. The moratorium, which was set to expire next week, will now end on July 31, giving the Biden administration time to institute what it calls an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to prevent a national wave of evictions. That includes Treasury Department guidance on billions in federal funding to go toward rent relief, along with an open letter from Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta urging state courts to find eviction alternatives. All in all, the extension was “the right thing to do—morally, fiscally, politically, and as a continued public health measure,” said Diane Yentel, the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Some states have already adopted relief measures. Earlier this week, California announced it would pay $5.2 billion in unpaid rent using federal stimulus money.

According to the Daily Mail, The mother of two young sisters who were found dead floating in a Florida canal has been taken into custody on suspicion of killing them amid claims she was offering to baptize people’s children in the water. Tinessa Hogan, 36, was taken into custody in Lauderhill, Florida, on Tuesday, a day after her daughters Destiny, nine, and Daysha, seven, were found dead. Police have not arrested her but she is in custody, leading to the belief that they have detained her under Florida’s Baker Act, which applies to people with mental illness. A video obtained by local network WPLG shows Hogan being handcuffed next to a tree in Florida on Wednesday. The first girl’s body was found on Tuesday at 12pm, after it floated past an apartment complex. The other sister’s body was found eight hours later. Investigators say there were no obvious signs of trauma on Daysha’s body. Destiny had pale white hands, and a white substance on her face. Autopsies were completed on Wednesday, although their results have not been released. Neighbors say Tinessa had been offering to baptize their kids in the canal on Monday – which is the last time the girls were seen alive.

According to The Washington Post, New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones—who spearheaded the newspaper’s influential “1619 Project”—refuses to join University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty unless she’s given the “protection and security of tenure,” her lawyers wrote in a new letter. Her legal team accused a “powerful donor” of helping to thwart her bid for tenure at the university, where she’s supposed to become the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media next month. “Since signing the fixed-term contract, Ms. Hannah-Jones has come to learn that political interference and influence from a powerful donor contributed to the Board of Trustees’ failure to consider her tenure application,” the letter says, apparently referring to newspaper publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr., who reportedly wrote to the journalism school’s dean that he worried “about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project.” The influential donor has since insisted Hannah-Jones’ hiring would not jeopardize his $25 million donation to the institution. The letter also points out that others who have secured the Knight Chair were granted tenure, while she was only offered a five-year contract that doesn’t guarantee the job protection. UNC’s board has yet to vote on her bid for tenure.

According to St. Louis Public Radio, Barber and beauty shops in Black St. Louis neighborhoods will soon play a key role in the push to persuade more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Shots at the Shop, a national initiative of the Biden administration, will ask barbers and beauticians to help inform people in their communities that the vaccine can save lives. St. Louis health officials will hold vaccination events at participating businesses, said Dr. Fred Echols, the city’s acting health director. “The goal is to make sure as many people in our jurisdictions are aware of the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, and the role that vaccines can play in just saving lives,” Echols said. Barbershop owners will complete training sessions and receive marketing materials and fact sheets about the virus and the vaccine to display in their shops. Shops will then be eligible to hold vaccination clinics, at which medical personnel will administer the shots, Echols said. Interested barber and beauty shops can register through the department, which plans to enlist at least 10 shops for vaccination events. Up to 1,000 shops across the country will receive a $1,000 grant from the natural hair styling company, SheaMoisture. The Biden administration also is working with the Black Coalition Against COVID and the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity.

According to Vulture, Bay Area rapper Gift of Gab, half of Blackalicious and the performer behind the duo’s iconic tongue- twisting track “Alphabet Aerobics,” has passed away at the age of 50. Born Timothy Jerome Parker, the longtime collaborator of DJ Chief Xcel was reportedly diagnosed with kidney failure in 2014 and received a kidney transplant in January 2020, at the close of Blackalicious’s most recent tour, according to Rolling Stone. “Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021,” the Quannum Projects collective, of which Parker was a member, said in a statement on Friday. “He is survived by two brothers, one sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends, and fans across the globe. We ask that the family’s privacy is respected as we mourn the tremendous loss of our dear brother.” “Our brother was an MC’s MC who dedicated his life to his craft,” Chief Xcel, the stage name of Xavier Mosley, said in a statement on Friday. “One of the greatest to ever do it. He’s the most prolific person I’ve ever known. He was all about pushing the boundaries of his art form in the most authentic way possible. He truly believed in the healing power of music. He viewed himself as a vessel used by a higher power whose purpose was to give positive contributions to humanity through Rhyme.” On Twitter, fellow Bay Area artist DJ Shadow, who met Parker and Mosley while the soon-to-be collaborators were students at UC Davis, recalled the moment he first saw the late rapper freestyle. “I was dumbfounded, and whispered to X, ‘You mean that whole 5-minute verse was off the head?’ I almost couldn’t believe it,” he wrote. “In an industry with so many frauds and followers, Tim Parker was more than just an original; he was unique. And he was, quite simply, the most preternaturally gifted MC I’ve ever worked with.”

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!