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Miami High-Rise Condo Collapses, Leaves 151 Missing, 10 Dead

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BY JAMAL AKAKPO

Early Thursday morning, a twelve-story condo building partially collapsed in Miami Beach.

What We Know:

  • Miami-Dade County firefighters were called to the Surfside condo Champlain Towers South just after 1:30 a.m. The condo contained 136 units at 70 percent capacity, 55 of which collapsed. As of June 28, the northeast corridor collapse left more than 150 people unaccounted for and 10 dead.

  • On the day of the collapse, rescuers pulled 35 people out from underneath the rubble. Rescuers used sonar equipment, cranes, cameras, and dogs to search for signs of buried people. However, the disastrous formation of debris left few pockets for potential survivors. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett explains, “When the building came down, it pancaked. So there’s just not a lot of voids that they’re finding or seeing from the outside…There’s just feet in between stories…That’s a tragedy.”
  • The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue deployed 80 units and specialist teams trained in confined-space rescue operations, working them around the clock with hopes of discovering survivors. Each time rescuers crack open another area, associated risks prevail. Debris, small fires, falling objects, and unstable surfaces plague the scene, creating dangerous conditions. A large fire beneath the rubble hampered search efforts due to smoke and rapid spreading.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited the scene Thursday and declared a state of emergency Thursday evening. President Joe Biden offers federal support and resources to those affected.
  • Miami-Dade County building codes require a 40-year building recertification process. A few years before its 40th anniversary, any property in the county is obligated to complete an inspection process successfully. The inspection certifies that each structure is structurally and electrically safe for continued use. Built in 1981, Champlain Towers South was up for inspection before 2021. Upon inspection, Morabito Consultants warned in an October 2018 report of severe structural damage below the pool and cracking concrete in the parking garage.
  • Poor waterproofing below the pool left water soaking on the concrete structural slab beneath. Documented in the report is engineer Frank Morabito’s statement: “Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.” He recommended the distressed concrete slabs be removed and replaced in a timely fashion. Morabito’s report also detailed abundant cracking and crumbling in the underground parking garage.
  • Another area of examination for investigators and engineers is the construction of a high-rise building next door. Surfside building official Rosendo Prieto received concerned emails in 2019 from Champlain Towers South residents on the resident-led board about close construction on the building structure.
  • Scientists point out the shifting sands of Miami Beach, a barrier island, as a possible culprit for the collapse. Barrier islands are made up of loose sand and mud. As sea levels change, barrier island elements shift. Shifting is hazardous for local communities, a non-discriminatory threat all buildings and towns on Miami Beach face. An analysis of annual satellite images showed slight fluctuations in Miami Beach’s positioning.

Officials have not declared an official cause of the collapse. The current priority expressed by politicians is rescue and rebuilding initiatives.

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Entertainment

Former NFL Champ Nate Burleson joins CBS Mornings

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Former NFL player Nate Burleson has officially made his hosting debut on the newly branded morning talk show, CBS Mornings.

What We Know:

  • It was announced earlier this month that Burleson would replace Anthony Mason. Previously Mason joined Gayle King and Tony Doukoupil as host of the former CBS This Morning.  The show was rebranded in tandem to the relocation of their set to Times Square and Burleson joining the cast.
  • Since 2017, former NFL player Burleson has been the host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network and has served as an analyst on The NFL Today on CBS. Burleson will continue his role on The NFL Today.

  • Burleson is the second former NFL player to join a network morning TV show, with Michael Strahan playing a major role as a co-host on ABC‘s Good Morning America.

Burleson credits Michael Strahan as the ‘blueprint’ for his career path, explaining, “He’s one of those individuals that I took a liking to once I retired because he rewrote the blueprint. I don’t want to say that he is the blueprint, because there has been plenty of players that have transitioned out of the game into TV. There have been African American men and women before him that have done the same thing, but he is a guy that has shown me the lay of the land, especially being a transplant from the West Coast to now New York.”

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Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Headlines

Polo G Reportedly Arrested in Los Angeles on Concealed Weapon Charge

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Polo G was arrested on in Los Angeles on Monday, TMZ reports.

What We Know:

According to the outlet, Polo G was arrested after police allegedly found a concealed firearm on the Hall of Fame rapper, which TMZ points out is a felony. The supposed discovery of the firearm occurred when a vehicle Polo G was a passenger in was stopped.

It’s currently unclear why the vehicle was pulled over in the first place but it was reported that a male juvenile was also detained during the stop.

Polo was similarly arrested while he was in Miami for his Hall of Fame album release party. The arrest, which took place back in June, resulted in the rapper getting hit with charges of of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, and criminal mischief. The rapper was also a passenger in a vehicle at the time of that arrest.

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