Scammers targeting Hurricane Harvey
victims in need of help
Federal leaders have released a new scam
warning to Hurricane Harvey victims.
More than five months after the storm came
through, thousands still need help.
Knowing this, the Federal Trade Commission
said people are preying on that vulnerability.
One of those still needing assistance is
“We need new fencing,” Faulk said.
“We need new siding, new walls. Everything.”
She’s still holding out hope someone
from FEMA will call and ask her to apply for assistance.
“In a heartbeat,” Faulk said. “No
doubt. I would apply as soon as I possibly could just
because we need the help.”
Thing is, FEMA stopped taking applications
two months ago.
Faulk isn’t the only Harvey victim
unaware of this.
“Definitely,” Erick Murillo said. “I
would. “I would take that chance. See if I can get that
kind of support.”
Knowing this, the Federal Trade Commission
released a new warning.
Its received multiple complaints from
people in the Houston area that have fallen victims.
Officials say people are pretending to be
FEMA, stealing identities, and filed for aid in their name.
“How someone could do that to someone in
need. It’s hard enough to throw away all your belongings
and have someone take your money and leave,” Murillo said.
The problem for some victims, it’s hard
to tell what is a scam.
“Some people say why don’t you do this
or that, Faulk said. “Well, that sounds great in theory
but it’s kind of hard sometimes when you don’t have the
funds, or you don’t have the information that you need to
get the help.”
To protect yourself, never give someone
claiming to be a FEMA agent your personal information over
Instead, take their information, hang up,
and call FEMA.
If someone stole your identity, visit
identitytheft.gov to learn what to do next.
Officials also say to make sure you report
if someone has tried to scam you.
You can either call, 866-720-5721, or
email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to report the situation.
It angers Faulk too, but she says when you
desperately need help, it’s easy to become a victim.
Trump infrastructure plan relies on
state, local funding
President Donald Trump on Monday launched
a “big week” for his long-awaited infrastructure plan,
which envisions spurring $1.5 trillion in spending over a
decade to rebuild roads and highways. The plan would fulfill
some Trump campaign goals but rely heavily on state and
local government for much of the funding.
Trump said on Twitter that it would be
“a big week for Infrastructure. After so stupidly spending
$7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start
investing in OUR Country!” He was meeting with state and
local officials at the White House later in the day to drum
The administration’s plan is centered on
using $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and
state tax dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, such as
roads, highways, ports and airports.
Trump has repeatedly blamed the
“crumbling” state of the nation’s roads and highways
for preventing the American economy from reaching its full
potential. Many in Washington believe that Trump should have
begun his term a year ago with an infrastructure push, one
that could have garnered bipartisan support or, at minimum,
placed Democrats in a bind for opposing a popular political
But the administration chose to begin with
health care and relations with Democrats have only grown
more strained during a turbulent, contentious year. The
administration has pushed two previous “infrastructure
weeks,” in June and August, that were sidetracked by other
This time, the White House is grappling
with the fallout from the departure of a senior aide after
spousal abuse allegations, which has dominated the political
dialogue since last week.
The massive infrastructure plan’s path
through a polarized Congress isn’t clear. Congress has
just dealt with two federal government shutdowns and is
turning its attention to immigration.
Administration officials previewing the
plan said it would feature two key components: an injection
of funding for new investments and help speed up repairs of
crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined
permitting process that would truncate the wait time to get
projects underway. Officials said the $200 billion in
federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.
Half the money would go to grants for
transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the
country’s most polluted sites and other projects.
States, local governments and other
project sponsors could use the grants — which
administration officials view as incentives — for no more
than 20 percent of the cost. Transit agencies generally
count on the federal government for half the cost of major
construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as
much as 80 percent of some highway projects.
About $50 billion, would go toward rural
projects — transportation, broadband, water, waste, power,
flood management and ports. That is intended to address
criticism from some Republican senators that the
administration’s initial emphasis on public-private
partnerships would do little to help rural, GOP-leaning
Early reaction to the proposal was
Jay Timmons, president of the National
Association of Manufacturers, saluted Trump “for providing
the leadership we have desperately needed to reclaim our
rightful place as global leader on true 21st-century
“When ports are clogged, trucks are
delayed, power is down, water is shut off, or the internet
has a lapse, modern manufacturers’ ability to compete is
threatened and jobs are put at risk,” said Timmons.
“There is no excuse for inaction, and manufacturers are
committed to ensuring that America seizes this
But a number of Democrats and the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce have pushed the administration to commit
far more federal dollars, funded by tax increases, or by
closing tax loopholes. And environmental groups expressed
worry about its impact.
“President Trump’s infrastructure
proposal is a disaster,” said Shelley Poticha, of the
Natural Resources Defense Council. “It fails to offer the
investment needed to bring our country into the 21st
century. Even worse, his plan includes an unacceptable
corporate giveaway by truncating environmental reviews.”
Facebook group aims to change the
narrative about Black Fathers
Facebook group is looking to change
negative perceptions surrounding Black fathers, Black
The group—which was founded by Matt
Prestbury—was designed as an avenue to connect and uplift
Black dads, the news outlet writes. Prestbury—who has four
children—was inspired to start the group, dubbed Black
Fathers, after going through his own experiences with
fatherhood. Nearly 10 years ago he was in the midst of a
divorce and had no one to turn to or seek advice and support
from other than his family. He wanted to create a group
where Black fathers could openly express how they feel about
the situations that they endure.
“I started the group because I wanted to
have a connection with other fathers who were in the same
boat,” Prestbury told Black Enterprise. “Black men from
all walks of life who are fathers, husbands, married,
divorced, raising children alone or fighting to be in their
children’s lives.” Black Fathers doesn’t only serve as
a forum for individuals to engage in conversation, it
provides resources for men who are in the middle of legal
battles to gain custody or visitation rights for their
Prestbury believes there needs to be a
more positive representation of Black fathers in the media
and hopes that he can change the narrative through his
platform. “I looked in magazines and commercials and in
the mainstream media and there were no black men who looked
like me,” said Prestbury, according to the news outlet.
“Even if I did find any, they were almost never shown in a
positive light. I thought, ‘I can either sit and complain
or I could do something to shift the perceptions about who
we are and to understand our own values.”
Black Fathers, which was launched nine
years ago, now has over 30,000 members.
There are several Black men who have been
dedicated to changing the narrative about Black fatherhood.
Last year, a short film titled Hair
Love was created to inspire children to take
pride in their natural hair and show that despite the
stereotypes Black fathers are active in their children’s
Michael Jordan Quadruples
His Investment in the Charlotte Hornets in 8 Years
Michael Jordan proves that
it’s possible to strike gold twice in a
lifetime. Not only is the former basketball god
super-rich from his Air Jordan shoe brand with
Nike, it looks like his investment in the
Charlotte Hornets has paid off too.
Forbes’ annual NBA franchise valuations,
Jordan, the Charlotte Hornets majority owner, is
on track to quadruple his investment since 2010.
The money mag estimates that the Hornets are worth
$1.05 billion, 28th among the 30
NBA franchises, but still a rise of 35 percent in
Jordan reportedly only shelled out
$30 million in cash when he bought majority ownership
from founding owner and billionaire Bob Johnson in
2010. Then the cash outlay was based on a franchise
value of $287 million.
Charlotte Observer reports that most of
Jordan’s financial responsibility was assuming debt
Johnson took on in the start-up costs of the expansion
franchise in 2004.
But it looks like ownership with a
star like Jordan worked out for all around. Forbes
notes that the Hornets have approximately 11,000
season-ticket holders and made recent advertising
deals on their uniforms with
LendingTree (valued at $5 million a year) and
the Jordan Brand, where all of the other teams will
feature the Nike swoosh on their jerseys but Charlotte
will be on the only ones rocking the Jumpman logo.
Forbes also reports that all 30 NBA
franchises are now worth $1 billion or more for the
Beyoncé becomes first woman to have
3 albums surpass one billion streams on Spotify
Ever since her husband, Jay Z, has
launched his own streaming service, TIDAL, Beyoncé has
remained loyal and only had her full discography available
via that service. That hasn’t stopped her albums from
gaining more listens than those whose albums are available
According to reports, the “Formation”
singer has set a record by becoming the first woman to have
three albums surpass one billion streams on Spotify.
The albums that helped Bey achieve this honor are 4, which
recently passed one billion listens, I Am…Sasha
Fierce and the visual album Beyoncé.
Beyoncé is no newbie to breaking records
and making history. In 2010, she won the most Grammys in one
night by taking home six. The mother-of-three is also
the only person to have their first six albums debut in
the no. 1 spot in the US. Her Lemonade album
was also the highest selling album globally in 2016.
Travis Scott gets the key to
The mayor of Missouri City, Allen Owen,
recently gave rapper Travis Scott the key to the city as
well as declaring the date, Feb. 10, as Travis Scott Day in
the Houston-area suburb.
Scott, who grew up in the city’s
subdivision of Meadowcreek, attended the ceremony with a few
of his family members and Houston Rockets star James Harden,
though Scott’s girlfriend Kylie Jenner was missing from
the event. The couple just welcomed a baby girl on Feb. 1,
so that’s likely why Jenner was missing.
The key ceremony was part of the 4th
Annual Black History Month Celebration of Culture &
Music. After getting the token, Scott gave a short speech
to the crowd that gathered in the city’s community
He boasted about the Houston suburb
saying in part, “It’s one of the best parts in the whole
world. This place right here gave me all of my ideas. It’s
still my driving focus of what I’m doing now in music, in
design, in whatever I’m doing. I owe everything to the
city. I owe everything to the Chevron gas station on the
corner in Meadowcreek. I owe everything to the Chick-fil-a
right there on the corner of Highway 6.”
He continued to say his thanks after
receiving his first award from the city of his hometown.
“This is everything I fight for,
everything I cry about and every night – I stay up
countless nights in the studio – just for a moment like
this, so I’m very proud,” he said during his speech.
During the day’s celebration, the rapper
gave a performance to his fans at the city’s community
center. He performed his 2017 hit “Butterfly
Effect.” Partway through, he had to tell the crowd to
chill and step back from the stage.
PINNACLE Center is free* for use to Fort Bend and City
of Houston residents that are ages 50 and above.