Puerto Rico

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Man in Puerto Rico Shirt Video Charged With Hate Crimes

Timothy Trybus hit with felony charges

(Newser) - A hostile and apparently ill-informed Chicago man who ranted at a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt in the US is now facing felony hate crime charges. Robert Foley, spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, says the office approved the charges, which were enhancements of... More »

Cop in Puerto Rico Shirt Video Resigns

He was shown in video appearing not to respond to pleas for help

(Newser) - The police officer who appeared to not respond to a woman asking for help at a Chicago park resigned Wednesday. Patrick Connor, an officer with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, was on duty at Caldwell Woods park last month when a woman wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican... More »

Cop Removed From Beat After Puerto Rico Shirt Incident

In video, he appears not to respond to woman asking for his help

(Newser) - A park police officer in Chicago has been assigned to desk duty while officials investigate his response to a woman who said she was being harassed for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag, the AP reports. Mia Irizarry complained that a man at Caldwell Woods, where she was... More »

After $3.8B Spend, Puerto Rico Power Grid Still 'Highly Fragile'

It's almost certain to collapse in the next hurricane

(Newser) - After an eight-month, $3.8 billion federal effort to try to end the longest blackout in United States history, officials say Puerto Rico's public electrical authority, the nation's largest, is almost certain to collapse again when the next hurricane hits this island of 3.3 million people. "... More »

Official Maria Death Toll Is 64. New Study Suggests 4,645

Harvard researchers say government figure for Puerto Rico is 'substantial underestimate'

(Newser) - The official government death toll in Puerto Rico from devastating Hurricane Maria stands at 64. A new assessment led by Harvard researchers puts the figure closer to 5,000, reports NPR . More specifically, the researchers calculate that Puerto Rico had 4,645 "excess deaths" between Sept. 20, 2017, and... More »

Puerto Rico Is Once Again Entirely Without Power

It's the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria

(Newser) - An island-wide blackout has hit Puerto Rico, which is struggling with an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the US territory. Electric Power Authority spokeswoman Yohari Molina tells the AP that crews are investigating the cause. Officials said Wednesday it could take 24 to 36... More »

They're FEMA's Elite Rescuers, Yet Some Do Little Rescuing

Bureaucracy, too much gear, and other inefficiencies are marring response efforts

(Newser) - They're called the "national Swiss Army knife of emergency response," teams of highly trained first responders sent by FEMA across the US when disaster strikes. But when hurricanes pummeled Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico last summer, many of the thousands deployed via the agency's National Urban... More »

A New Round of Misery for Puerto Rico

Much of territory's north in darkness after fire, explosion, blackout on an overtaxed power grid

(Newser) - An explosion and fire at an electric substation threw much of northern Puerto Rico into darkness late Sunday in a setback for the US territory's efforts to fully restore power more than five months after Hurricane Maria started the longest blackout in US history. The island's Electric Power... More »

First the Meals Didn't Show. Now Rats Ruin Other Supplies

Infestation in Fla. government office affected boxes of supplies meant for Puerto Rico

(Newser) - Puerto Rico is still in great need of hurricane relief supplies, as San Juan's mayor noted last week , which makes recent news out of Florida frustrating. The Orlando Sentinel reports that boxes of donated supplies meant to be sent to the island after Hurricane Maria remained stuck instead in... More »

One-Person Firm Got $156M FEMA Deal. It Didn't End Well

Contractor was supposed to provide 30M meals to Puerto Rico, managed just 50K

(Newser) - Another government contract to provide relief to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is coming under scrutiny. The reasons, as spelled out in the New York Times , are pretty clear: FEMA awarded a one-woman company out of Atlanta—a firm that had zero experience in large-scale disasters—a $156 million contract... More »

San Juan Mayor on FEMA Cutoff: 'There Is Need Still'

Members of Congress implore agency not to halt aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

(Newser) - FEMA's plans to halt hurricane relief supplies to Puerto Rico effective Jan. 31 drew criticism Tuesday from members of Congress and the mayor of the island's largest city. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said many people in the US territory need the water and food they've... More »

Puerto Rico Just Got Even More Bad News

Officials say the territory won't have power fully restored until May

(Newser) - Three months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, more than a third of the island is still without power. Now officials—citing a "logistical nightmare"—say the territory's electricity won't be fully restored until May, BuzzFeed reports. That's five months after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló original... More »

Maria Hit. Then, a 'Horrible' Fate for Puerto Rico's Pets

Shelters are swamped in wake of Maria with both strays and abandoned pets

(Newser) - They've been tossed over fences, tied to gates, and even left with money under their collars. Abandoned animals are overwhelming Puerto Rico's shelters, which were already struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of strays that were roaming the island before Hurricane Maria. Hundreds of dogs, cats, and... More »

New Problem in Puerto Rico: Energy Firm Puts Its Foot Down

Whitefish Energy says it won't fulfill remainder of work unless it gets the $83M it's owed

(Newser) - The Montana energy company that set up a controversial, since-canceled contract to help restore Puerto Rico's power after Hurricane Maria had agreed to work through Nov. 30 before heading out. But now it's stopping work altogether, claiming the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority owes it upward of $83... More »

Puerto Rico Hurricane Affecting US Hospitals in a Big Way

Saline solution bags, a basic medical staple, are in short supply because makers on island hit hard

(Newser) - A shortage of saline was already an issue in US hospitals. Now the country is teetering on "the brink of a significant public health crisis," per a letter earlier this month from the American Hospital Association to Congress. It all comes down to a problem with the bags... More »

Report: Energy Company in Puerto Rico Jacking Up the Tab

Contractors for Whitefish Energy making up to $100 an hour, but Whitefish is billing $319

(Newser) - Called an "unusual" arrangement right from the start, a Montana energy company working in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is now raising eyebrows even higher. The New York Times reports Florida linemen hired as contractors by Whitefish Energy are making up to $100 an hour with double time, which,... More »

FEMA Wants to Airlift Displaced Puerto Ricans to NY, Florida

But logistics are still an issue for temporary relocation, and most don't want to leave

(Newser) - Florida and New York could soon see an influx of temporary new residents, reports CNN , as FEMA works with those two states to let Puerto Rican hurricane survivors relocate to the US mainland. At the top of the list would be the 3,000 or so people stuck in shelters... More »

TJ Maxx Wins Praise Over Decision in Puerto Rico

Parent chain TJX is paying workers even though stores are shuttered

(Newser) - Some employees of the chain that owns TJ Maxx in Puerto Rico haven't worked in weeks because of Hurricane Maria, but that doesn't mean they've lost their paychecks. Parent company TJX, which also owns Marshalls and HomeGoods, has continued to pay its employees all the while, reports... More »

Puerto Rico Scraps $300M Contract to Small US Firm

Whitefish Energy only had two employees when Hurricane Maria hit the island

(Newser) - A lucrative but controversial contract awarded to a tiny US company to restore power to Puerto Rico is no more. Puerto Rico pulled the plug on the $300 million deal Sunday, hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello called for the move, reports the Washington Post . The contract between the Puerto Rico... More »

Tesla Restores Power at Puerto Rico Children's Hospital

Company builds massive solar array in parking lot

(Newser) - Puerto Rico is still struggling weeks after two powerful hurricanes last month—the territory's Electric Power Authority said Wednesday morning that power service was at 25%—but, thanks to Tesla, electricity has been restored at a San Juan children's hospital. The company used its solar panels and batteries... More »

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