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Whistleblowers claim COVID-19 outbreak cover-up at migrant kids facility

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Federal officials at a facility housing migrant children at Fort Bliss made “every effort” to keep the extent of a COVID-19 outbreak under wraps, with one allegedly saying “politics will take over” if the word got out, volunteers claim.

The allegations about the Texas base were made in a whistleblower complaint filed Wednesday by the nonprofit Government Accountability Project on behalf of Arthur Pearlstein and Lauren Reinhold, who are described as “career federal civil servants” who volunteered at the Fort Bliss facility between April and June of this year.

“COVID was widespread among children and eventually spread to many employees,” reads the complaint, which was initially obtained by Fox News. “Hundreds of children contracted COVID in the overcrowded conditions. Adequate masks were not consistently provided to children, nor was their use consistently enforced.”

The complaint goes onto allege that a senior official with the US Public Health Service, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), refused to say how many detainees were infected, allegedly telling volunteers at a “town hall” meeting: “if that graph [of infections] is going to The Washington Post every day, it’s the only thing we’ll be dealing with and politics will take over, perception will take over, and we’re about reality, not perception.”

According to the whistleblower report that was filed on July 28, 2021, federal officials attempted to cover up a COVID-19 out break in a Texas detention facility.
According to the whistleblower report that was filed on July 28, 2021, federal officials attempted to cover up a COVID-19 out break in a Texas detention facility.
AP

The official did admit that “several children had to be hospitalized,” but did not provide further information.

The complaint also alleges “significant waste, fraud and abuse” at the facility, with federal officials essentially handing over operational control to private contractors from , who “ignored or rejected” volunteers’ concerns.

The report also alleged that male workers would gawk and make lewd remark to women in the facility and all attempts at therapy were ignored or denied.
The report also alleged that male workers would gawk and make lewd remark to women in the facility and all attempts at therapy were ignored or denied.
AP

Those concerns included shortages of underwear, shoes and socks. When Pearlstein suggested buying needed supplies at stores in nearby El Paso, he was told by a federal manager, “I don’t have time for this s–t.” In the end, the whistleblowers say, they spent hundreds of dollars of their own money on “books, visual aids, games, and other items.”

The whistleblowers further allege that construction workers “lewdly and loudly gawked at girls as they walked outside to the meal tent” and that managers “resisted” hearing complaints about such behavior.

Lawmakers expressed concern that the influx of migrants would increase COVID-19 cases along the southern border.
Lawmakers expressed concern that the influx of migrants would increase COVID-19 cases along the southern border.
AP

In addition, the complaint claims that volunteers were apparently assigned to perform duties on a first-come, first-served basis, with no regard for their skills. In one instance, a Spanish speaking volunteer who was a licensed social worker spent weeks as an observer before being allowed to counsel struggling children.

The whistleblowers go on to describe children experiencing “depression and depressive episodes,” including suicidal thoughts, and alleging that their requests for counseling were “ignored or denied”.

The Whistleblowers also mentioned that basic human needs, like clothing were in short supply and volunteers had to spend their own money on various things.
The Whistleblowers also mentioned that basic human needs, like clothing were in short supply and volunteers had to spend their own money on various things.
AP

“[I]n one case, a clinician’s primary response to a boy – who had complained of feeling very depressed and sad – was to tell him that he had nothing to complain about and that, in fact, he should feel grateful for all he was being given,” the complaint states.

Despite the chaos, volunteers were allegedly told to put a happy face on their experience at Fort Bliss. At the end of their time, the complaint alleges, volunteers would receive a sheet with “detailed instructions from the HHS Public Affairs Office on how, when asked, to make everything sound positive about the Fort Bliss experience and to play down anything negative.”

The complaint was filed to four congressional committees, the HHS inspector general’s office and the Office of Special Counsel.

In a statement to CNN, a HHS spokesperson said: “The care and well-being of children in our custody continues to be a top priority for HHS. Currently, children at the Emergency Intake Site at Fort Bliss meet with a case manager weekly and we have close to 60 mental health and behavioral counselors on site working with the children. It remains our policy to swiftly report any alleged instances of wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities.”

Lawmakers have expressed concerns that the surge of migration at the southern border is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in the US. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that more than 7,500 new coronavirus cases had been reported in government detention centers between April and the end of June.

Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to Fox News last week that 30 percent of detainees have refused a coronavirus vaccine when offered.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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