Gilmer Free Press
Despite California’s imposing environmental laws, the state has some of the worst air pollution in the country, reports USA Today via the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, out Wednesday. While the report names Visala/Hanford, Calif., as having the worst overall year-round pollution, it also notes eight of the 25 US cities with the worst short-term air pollution are in the Golden State. The top 10 in that category:
- Bakersfield, Calif.
- Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.
- Fresno-Madera, Calif.
- Modesto-Merced, Calif.
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
- Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah
- Logan, Utah
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
- Reno-Carson City-Fernley, Nev.
Click for the FULL REPORT.
► Report: Alleged Stalker Asks Malia Obama to Marry Him
A 30-year-old man is facing possible charges for allegedly stalking and harassing Malia Obama, the New York Daily News reports. According to NBC New York, Jair Cardoso showed up at the New York City building where the 18-year-old daughter of the former president is interning three days in a row, from April 10 to April 12. Sources say on April 10 Cardoso held up a sign and yelled for Obama to marry him before Secret Service agents told him to leave. Two days later, he was stopped by agents while allegedly following Obama after she left her internship, CBS New York reports.
On April 13, Secret Service agents interviewed Cardoso at his apartment and took him to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Sources say Cardoso is trying to use Obama to get to her father, who he wants to ask for help. Agents believe Cardoso, who they say repeatedly tried to get into the White House in the past, is emotionally disturbed. The Secret Service filed police reports regarding Cardoso’s alleged behavior on Tuesday. The NYPD is considering stalking or harassment charges, though none have yet been filed.
► South Korea Mocks Trump’s ‘Ignorant Remarks’ - Trump puts his foot in his mouth, again, angering yet another ally.
South Korean officials have demanded the White House confirm that remarks made by US Donald Trump are accurate, after they sparked fury among political leaders in the country.
On Thursday the South Korean foreign ministry said it was working to find out whether Chinese President Xi Jinping told Mr. Trump that the country “used to be part of China”.
The comments were quoted in a Wall Street Journal interview with the President where he was recounting what the Chinese leader had told him in a recent meeting.
While the comment was not used in the initial article, it was later posted in a transcript online with Trump saying about Xi: “He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years ... and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”
A Quartz article later drew attention to it, calling the comment a “glaring historical inaccuracy that has, somehow, not yet enraged South Korea which is usually extremely defensive about suggestions that it is lesser than China or has ever been dependent on it.”
Since then, South Korean media has picked up the comment despite it being dismissed by the foreign ministry as “not worthy of a response” according to news agency Yonhap.
► U.S. reverses itself on status of deported Mexican
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday reversed its position on the status of a man who has sued over his deportation to Mexico, acknowledging he was enrolled in a program to shield people who came to the country as young children.
Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was entitled to be in the United States until January 25, 2018 under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Homeland Security, which broke from its position a day earlier that his status expired in August 2015 and wasn’t renewed. But it said Montes acknowledged under oath that he entered the country illegally on February 19, forcing him to lose status because it was an admission that he left without required permission.
Montes’ attorneys say their client is believed to be the first known DACA recipient to be deported by Donald Trump. They say he qualified in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016.
A lawsuit seeking records about Montes’ deportation was assigned to U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego, who last month approved an agreement for Trump to pay $25 million to settle cases alleging that his now-defunct Trump University misled customers. Trump repeatedly criticized the Indiana-born judge during the presidential campaign, insinuating that his Mexican heritage exposed a bias.
The case may define Trump’s approach to DACA, which was introduced in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Trump has kept it in place and made sympathetic remarks about its beneficiaries, upsetting some immigration hardliners.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that he didn’t want to “rush to judgment” about Montes and referred questions to Homeland Security. He said the administration’s enforcement priorities are people who committed crimes in the United States and pose a threat.
“I would respectfully suggest that, in this case, the facts are not completely out, so I would rather not jump to conclusions about what happened,“ he said.
U.S. Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican, applauded Montes’ removal in a tweet that linked to a story in USA Today, which first reported the case. Above a photo of a mug, he wrote, “First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you.“
Even after its latest statement, Homeland Security’s account sharply differed from what Montes’ attorneys say happened.
The attorneys said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of California that their client left the country February 17 only because he was stopped by a law enforcement official and asked for identification while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California, about 120 miles east of San Diego. He was asked to sign documents without being given copies or an opportunity to see an immigration judge.
After getting assaulted in the Mexican border city of Mexicali, Montes returned to the United States two days later and turned himself over to authorities, according to the lawsuit. He was again asked to sign documents, not provided copies and returned to Mexico.
Homeland Security said Wednesday that the Border Patrol had no record of the initial encounter in Calexico and that Montes had left the United States “on an unknown date.“ The Border Patrol arrested after him after he climbed over a border fence in the California border town of about 40,000 people.
The National Immigration Law Center, which represents Montes, stood by its account. Its lawsuit seeks records on why their client was deported, alleging that immigration officials violated the Freedom of Information Act for failure to respond to its request beyond acknowledging receipt.
“Juan Manuel has been unequivocal in his assertion that he never voluntarily left the country while he had DACA,“ said attorney Nora Preciado. “We believe him ... Rather than continue to provide half-truths and varying assertions, DHS should respond to our request for documentation. We will see them in court.“
Montes, who came to the United States when he was 9 years old, graduated high school in 2013 and pursued a welding degree at community college, according to the lawsuit. He then worked two years picking crops in California and Arizona. He is currently in Mexico.
Homeland Security said Montes was convicted of shoplifting in July 2016. His lawyers acknowledged in the lawsuit that he had a misdemeanor on his record and “minor traffic offenses,“ none of which would have disqualified him from DACA.
The government has issued nearly 800,000 DACA permits since President Barack Obama introduced the program in 2012 and nearly 700,000 renewals.
► From ‘Politicized Prisoner’ to Inmate Hero
Reporter Joseph Shapiro first met Martin Sostre after New York’s governor granted the inmate clemency in 1976. The prisoner’s story sparked a lifelong interest in prison activism for Shapiro, who documents for NPR his search for the long-disappeared Sostre. Shapiro dives into the early life of the self-described “street dude” from Harlem whose first bust (for drugs) in 1952 sent him to upstate New York’s Sing Sing correctional facility and kicked off his tenure as a “politicized prisoner.“ Along with newfound knowledge he gained reading about law, black history, philosophy, and the Constitution, Sostre decided to take the hustling skills he’d gained on the streets and put them to good use fighting for prisoners’ rights. He was even thrown in solitary for his push for religious concessions as a member of the Nation of Islam.
Sostre and two other inmates won a lawsuit in 1961 against a warden at another prison for denying prisoners their religious rights, setting the foundation for other inmates’ suits against other correctional facilities. When Sostre was released, he opened a leftist-leaning bookstore in Buffalo, which he ran until a 1967 raid at his bookstore landed him a decades-long sentence in prison on drug charges he denied. He continued to stand up for his rights and those of other inmates, filing legal motions to protest stints in solitary and what he said were other violations. His victories earned him hero status among inmates nationwide. “No single figure played a greater role in securing legal rights for prisoners in the history of US prisons than Martin Sostre,“ one historian notes. More at NPR on what Shapiro found out when he tracked down Sostre’s wife.
► Lost Wallet Found— After Nearly 60 Years
Good news: The wallet lost by Isolde Zitzewitz in a Washington state Bon Marche has been found. Bad news: The wallet appears to have been lost nearly 60 years ago, the Bon Marche is long gone, and Zitzewitz died in 2009. The wallet-turned-time capsule was discovered by a construction crew demolishing what is now a Macy’s in downtown Spokane. It fell out of a drainpipe six stories off the ground (it’s unclear how the wallet ended up in such an improbable spot). The wallet worked its way up the chain of command from the construction crew, eventually landing in the newsroom of the Spokesman-Review.
The wallet contained Zitzewitz’s ID cards for the Women’s Army Corps; a credit card that predates American Express; a US Army vehicle operator’s license; a Fred Meyer receipt for ice cream and coffee; a joke card handed out by commissioned officers when their subordinates complained; and more. None of the documents, some of which are in German, are dated past 1958. A volunteer researcher at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society tracked down Zitzewitz, discovering she died in 2009, apparently without ever marrying or having children. But the Spokesman-Review found her nephew, Gus Zitzewitz, who describes his aunt as “extremely educated” and worldly. He says she never mentioned losing her wallet. Read the full story HERE .
► Teen Who Disappeared After Prom Faces Criminal Charge
The 17-year-old Idaho high-schooler who disappeared after his prom has been found—and is now facing criminal charges for running away from home, KTVB reports. Kristian Perez was reported missing by his mother on Saturday when he didn’t return home following his prom in Orofino. According to the Spokesman-Review, police found Perez’s broken cellphone, tuxedo jacket, and one shoe near the car of a relative who had driven Perez to prom. Police believed there was the possibility of foul play, KLEW reports. Police dogs followed Perez’s scent to a parking lot near the prom but lost it there.
Police found Perez shortly before 1am Tuesday at a house a few miles from the prom after receiving a tip. Authorities say he was fine and voluntarily staying with a 26-year-old man named Tyson Imel. Perez was arrested and is facing the possibility of probation on a runaway charge. Idaho is one of nine states where running away from home is a crime. Imel may also face charges. Orofino’s police chief says the department spent “a lot of man-hours” searching for Perez, and they’re “disappointed” he ran away without telling his family.
► Georgetown Apologizes for 1838 Slave Sale
Georgetown University and the group of Catholic priests that founded the school in Washington, DC, have apologized for selling slaves in 1838 in order to raise money to pay off the college’s debts. The school has renamed two buildings in honor of two of the 272 people sold, reports the AP. Their descendants gathered on the Georgetown campus for a dedication ceremony Tuesday.
One building is named Isaac Hawkins Hall in honor of the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Another bears the name of Anne Marie Becraft, a free woman of color who taught Catholic black girls in Georgetown. Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States president Rev. Timothy Kesicki said during a prayer service that the group has “greatly sinned” and is “profoundly sorry.“ Georgetown is also offering a preference in admissions to descendants of those sold.
► Man Believed to Be First DACA Deportee Sues U.S.
A 23-year-old man sued the federal government over his deportation to Mexico, saying he was entitled to remain in the US under a program shielding people who came to the country as young children. Juan Manuel Montes’ attorneys say their client is believed to be the first known person who qualifies for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be deported by Trump, the AP reports. The attorneys say Montes qualified for DACA in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016. US Customs and Border Protection disputes Montes’ account of his immigration status, saying his DACA permit expired in August 2015 and wasn’t renewed. The agency says Montes was once convicted of theft and sentenced to probation. His lawyers acknowledge in the suit he had a misdemeanor on his record and “minor traffic offenses,“ none of which would have disqualified him from DACA.
The suit, which says Montes came to the US when he was 9, notes he was sent to Mexico on February 17 after law enforcement stopped him in Calexico, Calif., and asked for ID. It says he’d forgotten his wallet in a friend’s car and felt “scared and confused.“ The suit adds he was asked to sign documents without being given copies or meeting with an immigration judge. Montes returned to the US February 19 and turned himself in; he was again asked to sign documents and returned to Mexico. CBP says Montes was arrested after climbing over a Calexico border fence and admitting he’d entered the country illegally. “I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say,“ he says. A National Immigration Law Center attorney says he was “funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why ... The government shouldn’t treat anyone this way.“
► NYT Tweet of Patriots-Trump Photos Causes a Stir
It’s another Trump-related brouhaha over crowd size. The New York Times set this one off with a tweet of two photos, one showing the New England Patriots visiting Trump at the White House on Wednesday and another showing them visiting President Obama in 2015. The Obama crowd was much bigger. A few hours later, the Patriots took public exception to the tweet with one of their own complaining that the images “lack context.“ And they have a point: The 2015 photo included players, coaches, and administrative staff. The 2017 photo included players and coaches only—those same staffers were seated in the audience. All of which caught the attention of Trump himself, who tweeted Thursday: “Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.“
It’s true that fewer players attended this year’s event than in 2015—34 vs. about 50. But a team spokesman says even that comparison is unfair given that it’s the team’s second Super Bowl win in three years, reports the Boston Globe. It’s just human nature that fewer would come this time, he suggested, not politics. However, at least one player skipped because of the president’s politics, notes the Washington Post: free safety Devin McCourty. QB Tom Brady also skipped this year, though he cited family reasons, and he skipped in 2015, too. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post notes that his wife, Gisele Bundchen, issued a tweet Wednesday perceived as anti-Trump. It’s since been deleted, but it supported an April 29 march in DC against new White House environmental policies. “March for climate, jobs, and justice,“ it read.
► Report: CIA Hunting WikiLeaks Source
A manhunt is underway for a CIA employee or contractor who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks, revealing the agency’s ability to turn smartphones, TVs, and computers into surveillance equipment. The CIA and FBI are searching for the unknown individual, who would’ve been among hundreds to have physical access to the documents in a secure section of the agency, reports CBS News. In related news, Page Six reports Hillary Clinton’s camp is investigating the source of leaked information provided to the authors of a book about her doomed campaign. A rep for Clinton, however, says details contained in the book are “flat-out made up.“
► Judge’s Husband: She Did Not Kill Herself
The husband of a New York judge found floating in the Hudson River has made an anguished plea to the public to help solve her death. In a statement to NBC News, the Rev. Gregory Jacobs rejected claims his wife, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to sit on the state’s high court, committed suicide. Abdus-Salaam, 65, was found in the river in Upper Manhattan on April 12, one day after her husband reported her missing, per the Washington Post. She was wearing sweats, and her body showed no signs of trauma. Although police called the death suspicious, they’re calling it a probable suicide. Breaking his silence, Jacobs dismissed “unsubstantiated comments concerning my wife’s possible mental and emotional state of mind.“ He added, “Those of us who loved Sheila and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality.“
The medical examiner has not established a cause of death. The Episcopal minister appealed to “anyone in the neighborhood to step forward with any information that might help us determine what may have happened during those hours before her death.“ While some friends expressed doubt Abdus-Salaam took her own life, others told the New York Times she was stressed and struggling under the pressure of a heavy caseload. The judge’s extended family also countered reports she was the first woman Muslim judge, telling NBC the former Sheila Turner hadn’t practiced the religion in 20 years, and used her first husband’s name professionally. “We will forever remember witnessing her happiness as she united in marriage to an Episcopal priest last year,“ they said.