The Weekly Tally 08.20.20

FREE SPEECH

In this back-to-school season unlike any ever before, the images quickly went viral: Kids shoulder-to-shoulder, packing the hallways in North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, on Aug. 3, the first day of school, face coverings scant. One student who posted a video and a photo on Twitter was sophomore Hannah Watters, who was suspended for five days as a punishment for violating the school’s cell phone and social media policies. “I’d like to say this is some good and necessary trouble,” the 15-year-old told CNN, citing the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis, in describing her objective to raise safety concerns in the pandemic. After public outcry, Watters’ suspension was reversed – and after nine confirmed cases of Covid-19, the school administration announced plans to switch to remote learning. Georgia state representative Beth Moore set up a whistleblower email account, inviting people to submit anonymous complaints to reportmyschool@gmail.com, and within days had received 250 complaints about schools across the state, according to local news reports.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We come from different parts of the world and we’re all here in this melting pot.” -Gloria Altamimi, proprietor of International Market & Deli, speaking about locating hard-to-find food items their customers request (p. 34).
 

GOOD WEEK / GREAT WEEK

GOOD:

It was a good week for local homeless veterans when San Rafael-based nonprofit affordable housing developer EAH Housing announced on July 30 that it was awarded $7.3 million in grants it will use toward building $40 million Lightfighter Village, a 71-unit apartment complex in Marina. The 2.3-acre project on Hayes Circle on former Fort Ord land is in partnership with the Veterans Transition Center. When completed it will house veterans, their spouses and formerly homeless veterans. There will be no requirement for residents to transition out of the apartments, and those who need it will continue to receive case management services. VTC Executive Director Kurt Schake says Lightfighter Village is the culmination of about a decade of work and with existing programs could house all identified homeless veterans in Monterey County. Construction may start in 2022 and be completed by 2024.

GREAT:

More housing news: EAH Housing also received more than $19.8 million from the Joe Serna Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant program for its 11-acre affordable housing project in Greenfield. Greenfield Commons will include 222 permanently affordable apartment homes, with nearly half designated specifically for farmworkers and their families. The development will comprise one – to three-bedroom units, and will feature a community building, a junior soccer field, barbecue area and a community garden. According to EAH Project Manager Michael Schaier in a letter to the Greenfield Planning Commission, the remaining units will be open to anyone earning between 25 percent to 75 percent of the area median income. He said that would mean a family of four with annual earnings between $23,000 and $63,000 could apply. Construction on the project could begin as early as next year.

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