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The increased effort to train rural drug prescribers in buprenorphine

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 22:41

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Dr. Alan Bollinger has dedicated his career to helping people overcome addiction.

"When you look at a lot of these people, they've been horribly abused," he said.

Bollinger is a medication-assisted treatment provider at a primary health care clinic in Urbandale, Iowa. Bollinger uses a combination of counseling and buprenorphine to treat people living with addiction.

"If you look at the way people are treated, in general, for their addictions, a lot of times it's stigmatized and the focus is on the behavior rather than on the person, and that makes it difficult to get well," he said.

"Like the rest of the country, we have seen more opioid use and more overdose related to opioids over the last 20 years, and we're also like the rest of the country seeing fentanyl in more than just the opioid drug supply," said Dr. Alison Lynch, a psychiatrist, family physician and addiction medicine specialist at the University of Iowa.

The university has played an essential role in training providers on prescribing buprenorphine, using nearly $4 million from the state’s share of the opioid settlement money.

SEE MORE: How a survivor is now helping battle the opioid epidemic

Lynch said they’ve trained 250 prescribers in the eastern part of the state and more than 100 medical students.

However, one of the biggest hurdles is helping rural health care providers overcome the stigma of using the medication, which is an opioid. Lynch said buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors in the brain but does not give the effect of being high.

"They don't have to worry about finding another opioid. They don't have to worry about cravings. They don't have to worry about going into withdrawal," she said.

The progress being made is measurable. According to a study from the University of Washington, 40% of rural counties in 2016 had at least one prescriber of buprenorphine. In 2020, the number increased to 63%.

The federal government is putting in money too. In September, the Health Resources and Services Administration announced $104 million would go to rural communities to combat the opioid epidemic, including $10 million for MAT programs.

"The mental health crisis, the substance abuse crisis, they're the same thing and the truth is there's one crisis, and those two things are symptoms. The real crisis is relationship crisis," said Bollinger.

He hopes that, along with the dollars coming in, people's minds will change when it comes to addiction. He believes a changing mindset, along with treatment, is how the crisis can come to an end.

Universal to open their third Super Nintendo World at Orlando resort

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 21:30

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After years of speculation, Universal Parks & Resorts has finally announced they’ll be opening a Super Nintendo World at Universal Orlando Resort, in Florida.

The new location was confirmed by Universal Parks & Resorts chairman and CEO Mark Woodbury during the grand opening celebration of another Super Nintendo World, at Universal Studios Hollywood, in California. Woodbury acknowledged that most people already knew about the new Florida location, calling the news “the worst kept secret in history.”

While we don’t know for sure what the Orlando location will be like, Universal Parks & Resorts has released plenty of information and a video from their brand-new Hollywood location, which opened Feb. 17, so you can get an idea of what to expect.

Universal describes the Hollywood location as “a visual spectacle of vibrant colors and architectural ingenuity.” California’s Super Nintendo World features a Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride, interactive activities, a Toadstool Cafe and shopping at the 1-UP Factory retail store.

“From the moment guests pass through the iconic green pipe, a journey filled with exploration, discovery and play awaits that is entirely unlike anything they’ve experienced before,” Universal Parks & Resorts writes in a press release about their Hollywood, California location. “Their journey begins as they enter Peach’s Castle before venturing further into the colorful Mushroom Kingdom. Super Nintendo world will sweep guests into the 360-degree world of Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach where they will become an integral part of their exhilarating universe.”

Youtube video shows an inside look at Super Nintendo World in Hollywood, California.

Super Nintendo World in Orlando will be the third in the world, with the first one in Japan and the second being the newly-opened location in California.

Originally published by Kaitlin Gates on

SEE MORE: Universal Parks & Resorts unveils plan for new Texas theme park

Habitat for Humanity homeowners reflect on Jimmy Carter's work

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 20:58

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Life is about the simple things for Michael Harris— sitting on his front porch and playing his guitar.

“I say, ‘Let the music play,’” he said.

Harris is a New Orleans musician who’s played around the world, but his greatest second act may be his role as a homeowner in a New Orleans neighborhood known as “Musicians’ Village.”

“To be a musician living in a place called Musicians’ Village— it’s like for the affirmation of the importance of what we do,” Harris said.

He lost everything during Hurricane Katrina but found a way home and more.

“And that's how I wound up meeting President Carter,” Harris said.

Habitat For Humanity helped build more than 80 homes that make up Musicians’ Village, a neighborhood specifically designed to help New Orleans musicians who lost their homes in the storm.

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were right there, side-by-side with residents, rebuilding the neighborhood, one nail at a time.

“I shook his hand and he was just a very warm, approachable, accessible person, very humble man,” Harris recalled.

In the living room of her Musicians’ Village home, singer-songwriter Margie Perez keeps a framed photo of her meeting with Carter during the neighborhood build.

“Somebody that I know came by and said, ‘Yeah, Jimmy Carter is in there,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, my God! It's so cool he's here. He's actually, like - he's ‘Mr. Habitat,’” Perez said.

SEE MORE: Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains, Georgia, reflects on his legacy

She recalled what it was like to meet him.

“He was just so kind and just, you know, just like the little guy wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball cap and, you know, he felt like one of us,” Perez said. “From the day he left his presidency, he's just been putting himself towards service in making communities better.”

Jay Huffstatler, chief advancement officer with the New Orleans Area Habitat For Humanity, said Carter made three separate trips after Hurricane Katrina to work on rebuilding homes in the region.

““He was very hands on,” Huffstatler said. “He would get the hammer out and actually do the work.

He also said residents could sometimes appear star-struck when encountering the former president at a work site.

“He's our most famous volunteer. A lot of folks think that President Carter runs Habitat when you, when you, talk to them,” Huffstatler recalled, “but we just like to tell them that, ‘Hey, he's our best volunteer’ that we have him. He makes sure that he's making the difference in the communities across the United States and across the globe.”

Harris said he looks at his neighborhood with gratitude because of everyone who took the time and worked to make it a reality, including Carter.

“I have a place to call home. It is one of the best feelings in the world,” Harris said. “And it was all because of people like President Carter. I am a living example of what he stands for as far as public service and changing lives. It changed my life.”

In his decades of work with Habitat For Humanity, the nonprofit says Carter personally worked on more than 4,300 homes a legacy that’s standing the test of time in Musicians’ Village.

Jill Biden talks safe sex, condoms with Kenya's young adults

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 19:36

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It was a Saturday of learning for U.S. first lady Jill Biden in Kenya.

She praised young adults for learning about safe sex and dating practices, attended a meeting of women who created their own banking system and chatted with local entrepreneurs who have been helped by a program that connects tractor owners and farmers.

All three programs aim to help women and young people take control of their lives so they can support themselves and their families. Biden has been highlighting U.S.-backed efforts to empower these groups during a five-day, two-country visit to Africa this week.

"These are issues that really all people need to talk about and yet, somehow, they don't, and the consequences of not talking about it are so dire," Biden told dozens of young people after talking with them about safe sex, condom use and birth control at the Shujaaz Konnect Festival, a local youth empowerment event. "So I love seeing the young people here."

At a tent where young people were having networking-like conversations, they showed her a questionnaire they use to spur discussion. The first question: "What would you say if I told you I had a condom in my pocket right now?"

Biden laughed. "And this is the first time they're meeting?" she asked.

A Shujaaz representative said such blunt propositions help teenagers and young adults overcome shyness, saying that it's sometimes easier to ask strangers these types of questions.

"I'm surprised you don't start with like, 'What's your biggest achievement?' rather than, 'I have a condom in my pocket,'" the first lady said.

The festival is a collaboration with MTV Staying Alive Foundation, which works with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to help teach young Kenyans how to avoid becoming infected with HIV, which causes AIDS.

Biden, who is the fourth day of her five-day trip to Namibia and Kenya, has spent the week promoting that program, as well was one that helps woman and young people learn skills that will assist them in finding or starting businesses.

Her visit is part of a commitment by President Joe Biden to deepen U.S. engagement with the nations of Africa, many of which feel overlooked by the United States. Part of that effort is also about countering China's influence on the continent that Beijing has achieved through increased trade and spending on roads and other public works projects.

SEE MORE: US first lady says President Biden ready to run again

Biden was scheduled to cap her visit by traveling on Sunday to an area near Kenya's border with Tanzania to raise awareness about a severe drought that is endangering lives and livelihoods.

Earlier Saturday, the first lady went to a government community center in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi, to attend a meeting of women small-business owners who participate in the Joyful Women program. Founded in 2009 by Rachel Ruto, Kenya's first lady, the program promotes women's economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

Participants create "table banking" groups, pooling their resources so they can lend each other money they cannot get from traditional banks. Some of the women have used the loans to start businesses. One woman said she opened a day care center.

"It's pretty ingenious that women found a way to support other women, to lift them up and to increase economic prosperity for families, right?" said Biden, who visited a different empowerment program on a 2010 stop at Kibera.

"I've always taught my own daughter and my granddaughter the importance of being financially independent and, so now, here, you've found a way to do your own banking system, which is pretty incredible," Biden said. Her granddaughter, Naomi, 29, sat nearby.

Before taking her seat at the table, Biden was wrapped from the waist down in an apron-like cloth known as a leso or kanga that women wear in the home.

At a separate event, Biden chatted with local entrepreneurs, small farmers and others who have been helped by Hello Tractor, which connects tractor owners and farmers who need the machinery.

The first lady also laid a wreath at August 7th Memorial Park to honor those who were killed the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. More than 200 people were killed, including 12 Americans. More than 4,500 people were wounded.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Research says Federal Reserve rate hikes likely to cause recession

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 15:29

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A new research paper has determined that the Federal Reserve's aggressive rate hikes to fight red-hot inflation, the worst in around 40 years, is likely to cause a recession.

The paper even signals that the Federal Reserve needs an inflation to happen to control inflation, according to some interpretations.

The paper comes as more economists are saying that the Fed will have to continue to raise interest rates even more than previously forecasted.

The Fed's goal is to control inflation without a large hit to the U.S. economy, but it's expected the 2% inflation target will be missed for years ahead.

The paper's authors wrote, "based on past disinflation episodes in the United States and abroad, is that policymakers should expect that disinflation will be costly in terms of foregone output or employment. They find that all 16 of the large policy-induced disinflations in the four advanced economies they study were associated with a recession."

SEE MORE: Fed lifts rate by quarter-point and signals more hikes ahead

NTSB investigates runway close call at Southern California airport

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 15:00

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The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating another close call between two commercial airliners in the United States.

It's the fourth time a runway incident with a commercial airliner has been placed under investigation with the safety agency since the start of this year.

NTSB said they're investigating the Feb. 22 close call which happened a Southern California's Bob Hope airport in Burbank.

A Skywest Embraer 175 was preparing for departure at the airport's runway 33 when a Mesa Airlines CRJ9 maneuvered around the aircraft in what the agency labeled as a "pilot-initiated go-around,” while the aircraft was coming in for landing on the same runway.

NTSB said no damage or injuries were reported. recordings captured confusion between pilots at the time.

It is unclear how close the two planes came to colliding.

The Federal Aviation Administration was already investigating the incident.

SEE MORE: FAA blames contract workers for outage that grounded flights

Marianne Williamson confirms she will run for president in 2024

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 14:34

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Bestselling author Marianne Williamson, who ran for president in 2020, has again confirmed that she will run for president seeking the Democratic nomination in 2024, becoming the first real potential challenger to President Joe Biden if he officially announces his intentions to run.

Spirituality and religion are often injected into politics, but Williamson, labeled a prominent progressive by many in political circles, delivers with a wholistic spiritual touch to most of her political messages.

Williamson said in an interview with the Medill News Service, "I wouldn’t be running for president if I didn’t believe I could contribute to harnessing the collective sensibility that I feel is our greatest hope at this time."

Fox News reported that Williamson intends to travel to South Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada after March 4 as part of her campaign.

Williamson said Tuesday, "You can appreciate what the president has done, defeating the Republicans in 2020, and still feel it is time to move on."

SEE MORE: US first lady says President Biden ready to run again

After Ohio train wreck, Biden orders door-to-door checks

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 14:14

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President Joe Biden on Friday directed federal agencies to go door-to-door in East Palestine, Ohio, to check on families affected by the toxic train derailment that has morphed into a heated political controversy.

Under Biden's order, teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency will visit homes beginning Saturday. Workers will ask how residents are doing, see what they need and connect them with appropriate resources from government and nonprofit organizations, the White House said.

The "walk teams" are modeled on similar teams following hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Biden directed employees to get to as many homes as possible by Monday. Officials said the immediate goal was to visit at least 400. The president said he currently has no plans to personally visit Ohio.

Meanwhile, the controversy spread far beyond the little Ohio town. Officials in Texas and Michigan expressed concern about contaminated wastewater and soil being transported to their states for disposal.

Biden's order came as House Republicans opened an investigation into the Feb. 3 derailment, blaming Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for what they contend was a delayed response to the fiery wreck. The focus on DOT came even though the EPA took charge of the federal response this week and ordered Norfolk Southern railway to pay for the cleanup and chemical release.

SEE MORE: East Palestine residents meet with activist Erin Brockovich

Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, became the latest lawmaker to jump into what has become a political proxy war as each party lays into the other after the derailment and chemical leak that led to evacuation of the small Ohio community.

"Despite the U.S. Department of Transportation's responsibility to ensure safe and reliable transport in the United States, you ignored the catastrophe for over a week," the Kentucky Republican said in a letter to Buttigieg. "The American people deserve answers as to what caused the derailment, and DOT needs to provide an explanation for its leadership's apathy in the face of this emergency."

A preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board stated that the crew operating the Norfolk Southern freight train didn't get much warning before dozens of cars went off the tracks and there is no indication that crew members did anything wrong.

Republicans are framing the incident as a moral failing at the hands of the Biden administration, noting Buttigieg's failure to visit the site until nearly three weeks after the wreck. Democrats point to rollbacks former President Donald Trump made during his term that weakened rail and environmental regulations. EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited the site last week and again on Tuesday.

Biden on Friday rejected the notion that his administration hasn't been present in providing assistance.

"We were there two hours after the train went down. Two hours,'' Biden said at the White House. "I've spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and in Ohio. And so the idea that we're not engaged is simply not there."

A timeline given out by the White House Friday said DOT provided "initial incident notification'' to members of the Ohio congressional delegation and relevant committees on Saturday, Feb. 4, less than a day after the derailment.

That same day, EPA deployed real-time air monitoring instruments in 12 locations surrounding the wreck site and in the neighboring community, the White House said.

White House staffers reached out to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's office on Sunday, Feb. 5 to offer additional federal assistance, the White House said in its most detailed account of the initial federal response to the wreck, which has led to round-the-clock news stories.

The Oversight letter requests documents and communications concerning when DOT leaders learned of the derailment and whether they received any guidance about what the public response should be, as well any recent changes to agency train maintenance and procedures.

A day earlier, Buttigieg made his first visit to the crash site and hit back at Trump, who had visited the day before and criticized the federal response.

Buttigieg told reporters that if the former president — and current Republican presidential candidate — felt strongly about increased rail safety efforts, "one thing he could do is express support for reversing the deregulation that happened on his watch."

On Friday, Buttigieg chided Comer for referring in his letter to "DOT's National Transportation Safety Board," saying he was "alarmed to learn" the committee chairman "thinks that the NTSB is part of our Department. NTSB is independent (and with good reason). Still, of course, we will fully review this and respond appropriately."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre excoriated "political stunts that we're seeing from the other side."

Norfolk Southern said the NTSB report showed the train's heat detectors worked as intended and the crew operated "within the company's rules." Nevertheless, the company said it would "need to learn as much as we can from this event" and "develop practices and invest in technologies that could help prevent an incident like this in the future."

The freight cars that derailed on the East Palestine outskirts, near the Pennsylvania state line, included 11 carrying hazardous materials. Residents evacuated as fears grew about a potential explosion of smoldering wreckage.

Worried about an uncontrolled blast, officials released and burned toxic vinyl chloride from five rail cars, sending flames and black smoke into the sky. That left people questioning potential health effects, though authorities maintained they were doing their best to protect people.

"This incident is an environmental and public health emergency that now threatens Americans across state lines," Comer and nearly two dozen Republicans said in their letter to Buttigieg.

Environmental controversy extended more than 1,000 miles to Texas, where a Harris County official raised questions about the transportation and disposal of toxic wastewater that was moved to a Houston suburb from the site of the Ohio derailment.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo said a half-million gallons of wastewater from the site had been delivered to Deer Park, Texas, with 1.5 million more gallons set to arrive. The wastewater has been delivered to Texas Molecular, which injects hazardous waste into the ground for disposal.

Contaminated soil from the site will be moved by truck to a disposal site near Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ohio Gov. DeWine's office said, prompting a complaint from Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

"We were not given a heads up on this reported action,'' said Dingell, who represents the area. She said she would contact DeWine's office as well as federal and Ohio officials and Norfolk Southern "to understand what is being shipped ... and how we ensure the safety of all Michigan residents.''

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Cities turn to grey water recycling to fight drought

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 02:04

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The city of Fort Collins, Colorado is working to be an example for other cities to implement their own grey water systems. Experts say it's just one solution to making better use of our water.

Water scarcity and drought issues may sound like colossal undertakings, and experts say they certainly can be.

As Mayor of Fort Collins, Jeni Arndt faces big questions about it.

"We are becoming fundamentally drier. So how are we going to take an actually shrinking resource in an expanding population and still serve people well?" Arndt said. "When we save water from not being up to today's potability standards, we're really saving energy that it takes to refine that water."

Last summer, the city of Fort Collins began allowing grey water systems to be installed in new buildings.

"It's really for new buildings — if someone wants to develop a housing development or build a new home, then can plumb from their shower to their toilet and then out," Arndt said. 

Here's how it works: A grey water system captures gently used water coming out of bathtubs, showers and washing machines from homes. The water is essentially filtered and then used in toilets. This gives the water a second use in the household instead of going straight into the sewer system.

Grey water can also be used for landscaping and gardening in places with proper regulations. California and Arizona are just two states allowing it.

SEE MORE: Las Vegas dramatically cut water use by targeting grass

"We're not allowing outdoor use of grey water because what we're really trying to do is keep the consumptive part of water intact. If you put it out on your landscaping, it could evaporate and then you could have consumptive loss," Arndt said. 

Gary Wockner is the director of the nonprofit Save the Colorado. His group advocates for preservation of the Colorado River. He says implementing grey water systems can happen anywhere, but he points out there are limitations.

"The number of times you can use water repeatedly actually depends on water rights and water law," Wockner said. 

"And let me tell you there are very strict controls on these types of things because we really don't want waterborne illness," Arndt said. 

That is part of the reason they are still so few and far between.

"This [is] very rare that this is happening," Wockner said. 

While water scarcity is a global issue, experts say each community has a set of unique challenges.

"Think about what's right for your community, what your goals and your values are and then how you can pitch in to make that a reality," Arndt said. 

And regardless of where you are, implementing grey water systems like her city has done can take some pressure off of the over-reliance on freshwater resources.

"When there's a real need, humans will respond and I'm an optimist and I think we can really take care of our water-short future," Arndt. 

Brutal winter weather is causing havoc across the country

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 01:44

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From the snowy pacific coast to the iced-in Great Lakes, brutal winter weather is wreaking havoc across the country. 

"We’re in the midst of an historic ice storm, one that we have not seen in Michigan for over 50 years," said Trevor Lauer, the president of DTE Energy. 

Nearly a million homes and businesses plunged into darkness. 

In Michigan alone, 820,000 customers at one time without power. 

"I know this is different. The last ice storm we had, it didn't go out — which we were very lucky. And this time, 9:30, it was gone," said Sue Corney, a resident. 

The ice is three quarters of an inch thick in some places. In Massachusetts freezing rain led to a pileup of with more than a dozen cars and trucks. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported. In Los Angeles, intense rains fell at nearly an inch an hour at times — while snow blanketed mountains near the city. Even low-lying hills got a dusting. The Hollywood sign, at just 1,500 feet above sea level, saw snow. 

SEE MORE: Western storm is bringing conditions the area hasn't seen in years

California is expecting more intense rain and snow well into Saturday, while to the north residents try to dig out from nearly a foot of snow. 

Robert Insley is a truck driver who wound up stranded on Portland’s freeways.

"I've been up all night long. I'm tired, you know — exhausted," Insley said. "12, 13, 14 hours. The road opened up. And I got up to here and there was a big truck over here. He couldn't get up the hill. Another truck was there and couldn't get up the hill." 

Kim Upham shot a video as the city froze under its second-snowiest day on record. 

"And it got pretty harrowing because the road was icy and there were a lot of trucks and semis and not all of them were very well equipped to handle those hills there," Upham said. 

The National Weather Service says the worst of the winter weather is tapering off for most of the country. Still – a slew of weather alerts, warnings and advisories were active across most of the nation Friday. 

Sisters start a company to help support those going through a divorce

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 01:31

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You’ve heard of wedding registries and baby registries, but what about divorce registries?

"In 2019, my husband and I decided to get divorced," said Olivia Howell, the CEO and co-founder of Fresh Starts Registry. So she and her sister went through her home, getting rid of any emotionally-charged items.

"As well as half my stuff was gone," Howell explained.

"I had this 'aha' moment. We celebrate babies and we celebrate weddings, and that's wonderful, and I had all that. But this was the moment I really needed the support," she said.

Howell and her sister Genevieve Dreizen decided to start Fresh Starts Registry.

"How do we bridge that gap, how do we teach people how to support and how do we teach people how to ask for support?," asked Dreizen.

The platform allows users to create a registry, powered by Amazon, for items they need after a divorce or other major life change. It also provides a list of experts from therapists to divorce lawyers and coaches.

"Our mission is to make people feel less alone, nobody should ever feel alone going through these big changes," Dreizen said.

"We get a lot of people who will say, 'Well I just bought you a wedding present, why am I buying you a divorce present?'. We believe at Fresh Starts that these are not gifts like I said, these are not presents, this is support," Howell said.

Stats from the CDC show that about 43% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. Divorce is also considered the second-most stressful life event behind the death of a loved one, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Divorce is followed by moving, and then a major illness or injury.

"When you go through it, all you get is shame at the end," Howell said.

Fresh Starts Registry wants to turn that shame into empowerment.

"We see divorce as an empowering movement that you can do for yourself and your children," Howell said.

It is free to build a registry and free to access the expert guide. The company makes money by charging experts for availability through Fresh Starts.

SEE MORE: Explaining trends in open relationships

Malcolm X's family files $100M lawsuit against NYPD, CIA and FBI

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 01:30

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Flanked by the family of Malcolm X, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the FBI, CIA, NYPD and others.  

"For years, our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder and we'd like our father to receive the justice that he deserves," said Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter.

The lawsuit not only alleges these governmental agencies concealed evidence, but also "conspired with each other in such a way as to bring about the wrongful death of Malcolm X."

This lawsuit comes less than a year after the city of New York agreed to pay $36 million to two men wrongly convicted of Malcolm X’s murder.  

"If they would pay 10s of millions of dollars, to the two men wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X, what is due to the people who suffered the most from the assassination of Malcolm X, — which were his daughters," Crump said. 

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam were both convicted of Malcolm X's murder and spent more than two decades behind bars before their exoneration.    

SEE MORE: Former NYPD Officer Claims FBI Responsible For Malcolm X's Death

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who vacated the murder convictions, said the FBI and NYPD withheld key evidence that could have led to an acquittal.  

CK Hoffler is the former president of the National Bar Association and a veteran trial attorney.  

"If successful, this case could set a very strong precedent for if there's sufficient evidence, opening up some of those cases, some of those cold cases," Hoffler said. "There are many cases that are not high profile where there are injustices, and the actions are concrete. And there's clear evidence that maybe we don't know about. So the floodgates could be open in terms of an examination of some of those injustices."

At the time of Malcolm X’s assassination, he was one of the most prominent civil rights figures in the country. He was also in the middle of a high-profile split from the Nation of Islam and being investigated by the FBI and NYPD.  

Tamara Payne is the co-author of "The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X." 

"He's threatened in New York, when he goes to New Jersey. He's going down to Philadelphia,you know, he's threatened on the road — his house the week before he dies is firebombed," Payne said. "Malcolm’s family was in the room when he was assassinated — brutally. The damage the trauma, it just doesn't go away because they need to know."

Ben Crump says discovering the truth once and for all about Malcolm X and his death is especially important now.   

"So many young Black activists have been put on watch lists by the federal government. Well, we know that this is nothing new. But if we don't accurately document it, then it would be as if it didn't happen," Crump said. 

Scripps News reached out to the NYPD, FBI and CIA for comment on the lawsuit. We’re waiting to hear from the FBI, but both the NYPD and CIA say they cannot comment on pending litigation.  

Pres. Biden confirms no plans to visit East Palestine 'at this moment'

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 01:29

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President Joe Biden confirmed to reporters at the White House on Friday that he will not be going to East Palestine, Ohio "at this moment."

This month East Palestine's Mayor Trent Conaway told Fox News that President Joe Biden's trip to Ukraine this week was "the biggest slap in the face" for his community.

 Conaway said, "That tells you right now he doesn’t care about us. He can send every agency he wants to, but I found out this morning that he was in Ukraine giving millions of dollars away to people over there and not to us — on President's Day in our country — so I'm furious." Biden told reporters on Friday after returning from a trip that included a brief visit to Ukraine, "I had a long meeting with my team, and [about] what they're doing." 

President Biden said "we were there two hours after the train went down," apparently referring to a federal agency. 

"I've spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, and so the idea that we're not engaged is simply not there," he said.

"And initially there was not a request for me to go out," the president said. "Even before I was heading over to Kyiv," he said. 

"We're keeping very close tabs on it and we're doing all we can," President Biden said. 

Culinary Academy of Las Vegas helps drive a historic employment rate

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 00:57

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The Culinary Academy of Las Vegas is serving as a national model by pulling people out of unemployment through support services. The academy says it's making it so anybody interested in the hospitality sector can take that next big step in their career.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Marta Mejia says she knew she wanted to work on the Las Vegas Strip. She attended the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, a nonprofit hospitality training institute, to help her achieve that goal.

After 16 years in the industry, she needed more training at the institute to get a promotion.

"Actually, when everything was happening for the promotion, the reason for that was because I want to get a house," Mejia said. "And so, as a single mother, it's very challenging, right? It's one income. Right now, where the houses are at, it's so expensive. So, my goal is always to make more money, but I also want to have a purpose behind it."

She had the benefit of getting paid while receiving training. It's something she says is necessary to raise her daughter.

"Without that, I probably wouldn't have done it on my own," Mejia said.

Ana Puljic, director of programs & outreach at the institute, says they started offering support services in 2019.

"Supportive services goes anywhere from covering the tuition cost, to childcare, transportation and also referrals to our community partners," Puljic said.

SEE MORE: Why are there so many germs in the kitchen?

Those community partners are 37 properties on the Strip. With the institute support services, Puljic says their employment rate is up to 93%.

"Before that, it was very challenging," Puljic said. "It's like, 'Well, my babysitter got a job, I can't leave my kid at home. I don't know what to do. I have no transportation. The bus was late.'"

Puljic says she's witnessed countless students find a job after getting help.

Getting well-trained professionals in the hospitality sector will be increasingly important. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports leisure and hospitality added 128,000 positions in January. That's the most growth of any job sector. The bureau expects 1.9 million jobs will be added by the year 2031.

Puljic says she recommends other programs across the country be present in the community and form great partnerships to help students get hired.

"Listen what the needs of the communities are, but also make sure that you provide what the workforce it's expecting from you," Puljic said.

Mejia says she is incredibly grateful for the support she's received to work her way up in the industry.

"Once you follow that purpose and you do things that you actually enjoy, the money will always come," Mejia said. "So, I've always been the type to just level up in whatever way I can."

Student loan forgiveness to be debated at Supreme Court

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 00:33

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You or your loved ones could soon have student loan debt forgiven by a policy first relayed widely to the public by President Joe Biden back in August.

However, before any forgiveness can happen, the Supreme Court has to decide whether the president can legally cancel debt for millions of Americans.

President Biden's plan calls for up to $20,000 in forgiveness for Americans making under $125,000 a year.


According to College Board, recent graduates with debt in our country usually owe around $28,400.

However, the case before the Supreme Court isn't necessarily about debt amounts or the impact on the American economy.

"It's actually a very technical conversation," according to Andrew Lieb, a constitutional attorney and legal analyst.

Lieb says the arguments set for Tuesday are complex, and old. In some cases, go back decades.

Two different cases are actually set to be heard by justices.

One argument can be traced back to the September 11 attacks and the "Heroes Act" which Congress passed in 2003.

The White House says the law gives the president authority to waive student loan debt during national emergencies.

However, with the COVID-19 national emergency set to end in May, does that power still exist?

Lieb says before the justices even debate that question, they will debate the merits of the case.

SEE MORE: Millennials aren't saving as much compared to Gen X, baby boomers

For instance, in the case of Biden v. Nebraska, justices are likely to argue whether or not the case should even be happening.

That particular case is brought by six conservative-leaning states, who want to block forgiveness over concerns it will impact tax revenues.

The state of Missouri, for instance, is arguing the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority will lose money if forgiveness happens.

Lieb says the argument may be too weak for the court. Typically, to block something you need to be a victim.

"I think the first question the justices are gonna say is, hey, you states that are suing, do you even have standing to sue," Lieb said.

"The district court actually, originally, found in this case, they said, hey, you guys aren't the right people to sue —you don't have a damage, you don't have an injury," Lieb said.

The other case, Department of Education v. Brown, is even more technical, arguing that the Biden administration didn't offer the public a proper comment period before their forgiveness plan was rolled out.

On the national mall in Washington, you don't have to go far to find people who are familiar with the case.

"It's not going to fix anything," Jennifer Slater, a Montana resident, told Scripps News.

Slater says her family isn't following the technicalities of the case, but they are following it. Slater worries that forgiving debt without fixing high tuition will do nothing.

"Having said that, I am telling my daughter to apply for that forgiveness. We aren't stupid," Slater said.

East Palestine residents meet with activist Erin Brockovich

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 23:44

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High-profile activist Erin Brockovich, most known for the movie named after her starring actress Julia Roberts about her fight against an energy corporation, spoke with residents in the village of East Palestine, Ohio on Friday evening during a town hall event.

She told residents that they will not have information handed to them and they will have to work to empower themselves."Unfortunately this is not a quick fix, this is going to be a long game," Brockovich said.

Brockovich came to the event with a prominent attorney to explain to residents their rights and options.

Attorney Mikal Watts of Texas was scheduled to be there and speak to residents. 

As the Associated Press reported, Brockovich's legal associates are among teams looking to represent affected residents in litigation after a train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed in a fiery crash and spilled toxic chemicals into the surroundings.

More Americans say they have more credit card debt than savings

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 21:24

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With inflation at its highest levels in four decades, it comes as no surprise that Americans are tapped out of their savings and relying on credit cards. 

According to a Bankrate survey, 36% of Americans started the year with more credit card debt than savings. Bankrate said 36% set a record since it began conducting the survey in 2011. 

Baby boomers were most likely to have savings that exceeded credit card debt, while millennials were most likely to have credit card debt that exceeds savings.

In January 2022, 22% of those surveyed had more credit card debt than savings, which was down from 28% in January 2020.

SEE MORE: Millennials aren't saving as much compared to Gen X, baby boomers

A slim majority of Americans, 51%, said they had more savings than credit card debt. The survey found that 13% had no credit card debt or savings. 

“It is quite stunning that such a high percentage of adults has no savings and no credit card debt,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in a press release. “Anyone with no such savings, including those without access to credit, risks tremendous stress, or worse, on their personal finances when hit with a significant unplanned expense such as a major home or auto repair.”

Although 39% of Americans said they have less in emergency savings than a year ago, 26% reported having more. 

US first lady says President Biden ready to run again

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 20:44

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The U.S. first lady Jill Biden, said in a recent interview that President Joe Biden is "not done" and signaled very clearly that he is ready to run for president again.

During the interview, while on a stop in Nairobi, Kenya during a visit to multiple countries on the African continent, she told the Associated Press “How many times does he have to say it for you to believe it?” when asked about the president's intentions on running for reelection. President Biden would be 86-years-old at the end of his second term. Biden's granddaughter Naomi Biden wrote on Twitter, responding to the comments, "Preach nana."

Preach nana

— Naomi Biden (@NaomiBiden) February 24, 2023

This week, a Politico report casted doubt on Biden's chances of running again. Word has been reportedly swirling in Washington that to aides in the Democratic party and potential candidates are still keeping their eyes and ears open for possible contingency plans if the incumbent decides not to give it a go to become the nominee again — all the while, remaining publicly supportive of the 80-year-old leader in the White House. 

As Axios reported, White House Senior Advisor and an assistant to the president, Anita Dunn, said in November, "His decision to run in 2020 came after a family the family is going to be deeply involved in whatever decision he reaches because that's who he is."

The first lady also commented on the condition of former President Jimmy Carter during the interview after he was put under hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia.

Carter is credited for helping to eliminate the Guinea worm parasite in countries in Africa through his work with the Carter Center. Biden said, “That’s the perfect example.She said, “He’s such a humble man. He didn’t go out and shout, ‘Look what I’ve done.’ He just did the work.”

SEE MORE: Trump kicking off 2024 run with stops in early-voting states

National Zoo to open immersive bird house after a 6-year renovation

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 20:27

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Calling all bird lovers!

If you have plans to visit Washington, D.C. in the future, you’re in for a treat. After a six-year, $69 million renovation, the National Zoo is set to reopen its Bird House, which is home to 170 birds representing 72 species (indoor and outside).

Originally built in 1928, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s (NZCBI) Bird House is now a multi-sensory immersive experience with three walk-through aviaries that explore migratory songbirds and waterfowl shorebirds native to North, Central and South American ecosystems. The Bird House mimics natural ecosystems and has a variety of free-flighted birds that will “stride, paddle, tweet and fly” around visitors.

Baltimore orioles, barred parakeets, other birds and even some fish and invertebrates can be found in these aviaries, which take guests through the Delaware Bay, the northern Great Plains, wetlands, a tropical coffee farm, and an outdoor plateau with barred owls, turkeys and American flamingos.

The zoo will also host Keeper talks and animal encounters.

The goal of the Bird House is to help visitors learn how to live “bird friendly” and protect native species in their own backyards.

“Now more than ever, raising awareness about the plight of migratory birds is key to their survival,” Brandie Smith, Ph.D., the John and Adrienne Mars director of NZCBI, said in a press release. “As visitors walk through our spectacular aviaries and see these beautiful birds up close, I want them to appreciate the awe-inspiring journeys these animals make every year and walk away with the desire and knowledge to protect birds and their shrinking habitats.”

Along with the animal habitats, the building includes a mosaic arch decorated with parrots, toucans, songbirds and other tropical species, which visitors will see upon arrival. The artwork was originally part of the 1928 front entrance to the Bird House, along with a pillar head that was buried on zoo grounds and uncovered during excavation. The pillar now stands in the nearby Plateau Gardens.

Other details include the Bird Observatory room, where visitors can see how researchers use satellite tracking to learn where birds go. They can also find out how climate, native and introduced predators, and the availability (or lack) of prey cause bird populations to change. Here, Migratory Bird Center researchers will offer free demonstrations on bird banding to study wild birds and host guided walks.

The immersive Flyaway experience includes aluminum bird silhouettes suspended from the ceiling and larger-than-life images of some of the native birds visitors will see, like the wood thrush, black-necked stilt, sanderling and canvasback duck.

The Bird House has been closed for renovation since January 2017 and will reopen on March 13. To help the birds acclimate to visitors, same-day timed entry passes are required for the first few months. These are available on-site at the zoo.

This story was originally published by Kaitlin Gates on

NATO allies continue to send Ukraine aid 1 year later

Fri, 02/24/2023 - 20:19

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One year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, President Biden is pledging continued financial, military and humanitarian support for the embattled nation

"Freedom is priceless. It's worth fighting for, for as long as it takes. And that's how long we're going to be with you, Mr. President, for as long as it takes," President Biden said during his visit to Ukraine

Back in the U.S., support for Ukraine is still strong, but it seems to be waning. 

A January AP/NORC poll found fewer Americans want the U.S. to play a major role in the Russia-Ukraine war. And in a February Pew poll, a quarter of respondents believe the U.S. is providing too much support for Ukraine

The U.S. has sent Ukraine over $113 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid. That money has covered everything from teacher and first responder salaries to missile systems and military tanks. 

SEE MORE: Biden in Poland to mark one year since Russian invasion of Ukraine

In Congress, Rep. Matt Gaetz is leading a group of House Republicans who've been increasingly vocal about their desire to stop Ukraine aid altogether. But the bipartisan congressional delegation at the Munich Security Conference last weekend showed those members are outnumbered. 

"I just did a panel with Director Burns, indicating our full bipartisan support on the intelligence side, on the armed services side for full support for Ukraine," said Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. 

Even with strong bipartisan consensus, Republican leaders admit the longer the conflict drags on, the harder it will be to keep support levels up — something they say Russian President Vladimir Putin knows. 

SEE MORE: Zelenskyy tells UK 'freedom will win,' pushes for warplanes

"He wants us to be a long protracted war, because he knows that potentially, he'll lose, we could lose the will of the American people, and therefore the Congress. We're seeing the same dynamic in the European Parliament's strong support now, but they're worried that if this doesn't end with a resolution, you know, sooner rather than later, this will be an issue for us," said Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

With the Senate's leaders largely in agreement on this issue, the question of future Ukraine aid lies largely in the House. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he supports Ukraine, but he's also called for more oversight on how money is being spent. 

The inspectors general for the Defense Department, State Department and USAID have been working together on oversight efforts since June. The Ukraine aid passed with the December omnibus bill requires those inspectors general to prepare a report for congressional committees before the end of March.