Broward County Remembers The Parkland 17

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen with Parkland and Coral Spring Mayors joined together to remember those who lost their lives and those who are still recovering as the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School draws near. 
At the Broward Commission meeting today, Mayor Bogen was joined by Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, Coral Springs Mayor Pro Tem Joy Carter and city officials to read the names of the victims and to pause for seventeen seconds of silence in memory of those who were murdered at the school shooting on February 14, 2018.

“In two days, it will be February 14th.  Everyone can remember what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on that date one year ago,” said Mayor Bogen, whose district includes parts of Coral Springs and northwest Broward cities adjacent to Parkland.    

“It's hard for others to comprehend the depth of our loss. Thursday, we ask that everyone remember that long before they became victims, they were people.  Happy people with families who loved them. Some respected educators, coaches and figures on the school campus. All of the victims were beloved sons and daughters, excellent students, neighbors, athletes, artists, dancers and musicians.  They were ambitious and leaders with bright futures and a desire to make a difference in the world. If you knew any of these seventeen people, please try to recall the good times and maybe just maybe a smile will be able to break through our tears on February 14th,” said Commissioner Michael Udine, whose district includes Parkland and previously served as Parkland Mayor and a City Commissioner for thirteen years.

Commissioners also named February 12th, 2019 as Coral Springs Museum of Art, City of Coral Springs and City of Parkland Appreciation Day in Broward County.  The proclamation recognizes the collaboration of the three entities who were chosen to receive a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge Grant.  This grant will go toward creating five large scale public art projects centered around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gun violence and healing.  The goal of the art projects is to help the community find comfort and heal.  Proclamations were presented to Mayors Hunschofsky, Carter and Coral Springs Museum of Art Executive Director Julia B. Andrews. 

“Please remember the victims who are still living. While their physical scars are starting to heal, the emotional trauma of the entire northwest Broward County is still there one year later. I ask everybody to keep them in their prayers,” said Udine.

Broward County will conduct 17 moments of silence on Thursday, February 14th. The Broward School Board, through a collaboration with local municipalities and communities, is following the lead of MSD High School by honoring those lost with a Day of Honor in Service and Love and is encouraging everyone to participate.

Not sure what you can do? Any act of service or love is welcomed. You can volunteer at an animal shelter, donate food for the hungry, organize a drive to collect clothing and toiletries for the homeless in our community, or host a toy drive.  A moment of silence will be observed at 10:17AM. You'll find more at the Broward School's website.

Anthony Borges who was shot five times Feb. 14 during the school massacre.

This is Anthony Borges.
He saved the lives of 20 of his Parkland classmates. He used his body to keep the shooter from coming in to kill them.

Anthony Borges who was shot five times Feb. 14 during the school massacre. The photo features him shirtless with his surgical scars exposed while wearing a colostomy bag.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testified to Congress. in A Nutshell

  • Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testified to Congress under oath on Friday that he has not taken action to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • In tense questioning led by House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Whitaker also denied ever speaking with President Trump or anyone in the White House about the Mueller probe. [NYT / Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, and Charlie Savage]
  • In a confusing statement last month, Whitaker said the Mueller investigation was “close to be[ing] completed.” This contradicted other accounts that Mueller needed more time to finish the probe. [Politico / Andrew Desiderio and Darren Samuelsohn]
  • Democrats on the panel asked about a range of topics, including whether Trump had lashed out against Whitaker over federal charges against Michael Cohen, how Whitaker even became acting AG, and whether he believes the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.” [The Hill]
  • “Bring your popcorn,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the head GOP in the committee, calling the trial mere “political theater.” Collins even called to adjourn the hearing, but Democrats outvoted the move. [CNN / Jeremy Herb and Alex Rogers]
  • A snapshot of the contentious hearing: “Mr. Chairman, I see that your time is up,” Whitaker said to Nadler when asked if he ever approved actions taken by the special counsel. The Democratic panel responded with laughter at Whitaker’s avoidance of the question. The comment was also a breach of protocol — as chair, Nadler is the one who sets the talking time, not Whitaker. [Vox / Aaron Rupar]
  • There was even doubt that Whitaker would show up to testify; he refused on Wednesday to come to questioning unless Democrats promised they wouldn’t subpoena him, which Nadler eventually agreed to. The set of exchanges symbolizes the tense relationship between the Trump administration and the Democratic House. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky]


House Unanimously Passes Deutch, Meadows Bill to Protect Veterans from Scams

(Washington) Just now, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 417-0 to pass the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, legislation introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Congressman Mark Meadows (NC-11) to protect our nation's veterans from targeted scams and financial predators.

Currently, it is against the law for unauthorized agents to charge veterans a fee in exchange for assistance with claims or appeals with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, this crime carries no penalty. Financial predators pursue veterans, luring them with false offers to expedite their claims or benefits and charging them exorbitant costs.

The Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act would impose a fine or imprisonment up to five years or both for defrauding veterans. This legislation has twice passed the House of Representatives unanimously, in the 115th Congress (H.R. 506) and the 114th Congress (H.R. 4676). A one-pager can be accessed here.

"After veterans and their families have made such sacrifices for our country and our national security, it is so deeply reprehensible that people would seek them out to defraud them with these scams," said Congressman Deutch. "Congress must put a penalty to the crime so we can discourage this predatory behavior. Let's close this despicable loophole and protect our veterans from pension poachers and fraudsters."

“Congress has both a responsibility and an obligation to step up and protect our Veterans against financial predators," Congressman Meadows said. "Closing loopholes in existing laws and providing law enforcement with additional tools to crack down on criminals targeting Veterans’ benefits will be a needed reform to the process. It would send a loud and clear message of support to those who have served our country so faithfully and guard them against any effort to rob them of their hard earned benefits. I thank all my colleagues for their support and want to thank the gentleman from Florida, Ted Deutch, the lead Democratic cosponsor, for his leadership on this important measure.”

Deutch Invites Manny Oliver as State of the Union Guest

Ted Deutch (FL-22) invited Manny Oliver to be his guest at the President's State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, February 5.

Manny Oliver started the organization Change The Ref in memory of his son Joaquin, who was lost in the 
tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

"It's been almost one full year since the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas, and the status quo has been shaken up," said Congressman Deutch. "The strength of the Parkland families had made a lasting impression on Washington and the entire country. I'm honored to have my friend Manny join me at the President's address. Manny and Patricia carry on the memory of their son and the 16 others lost on February 14 through their masterful artwork, passionate activism, and unyielding commitment to change. I hope the President will take note of how the American people voted to send a gun safety majority to Congress, and live up to his previous promises to stand up to the NRA and support meaningful policies to make our communities safer."

"I am enormously grateful that Congressman Deutch has invited me to attend the State of The Union," said Manny Oliver. "I look forward to listening for and hoping that the President will address the 40,000 gun deaths that steal the lives of so many Americans, including children like my son Joaquin. To date, we are disappointed by the President’s position on ending gun violence and changing the national control of the irresponsible gun culture."

The Stoneman Douglas community will be represented at the State of the Union by other guests as well. Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg who was killed in the attack and founder of Orange Ribbons for Jaime, will attend as a guest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Cameron Kasky, a co-founder of the Never Again MSD group, will attend as a guest of Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15).

According to the website, "Change The Ref was formed to empower our Future Leaders. CTR gives the kids of today the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism. It uses urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic. It also brings focus to the NRA’s corrupt maneuvers to buy lawmakers, while forcing solutions which are essential to healing mass shooting victims’ families’ lifelong grief. Change The Ref’s ultimate goal is to give the young generation of survivors and victims a disrupting voice to help lead the way to change – a more peaceful future. #NeverAgain."