Crooks Target Christmas Shoppers with New Text-Message Scams in Time for Cyber Monday

Crooks Target Christmas Shoppers with New Text-Message Scams in Time for Cyber Monday

Christmas shoppers across the country, including Tennessee, are being targeted by criminals using a new, sophisticated scam involving text messages that appear to be advertising sales and other bargains from well-known stores, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned Thursday. 

Unsuspecting shoppers receive a text with an offer to participate in a survey about a recent Black Friday shopping experience. In exchange, the consumer receives valuable coupon, product, or gift card to a well-known store. The survey is typically shown as a limited-time offer, which entices consumers to fill out the survey as soon as they receive it.

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Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

The four-week average number of Florida jobless claims reached its lowest mark since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDL) released the information on Wednesday.

The data reflected 5,343 first-time unemployment claims filed in Florida during the week that ended Nov. 20, which dropped the four-week average to 6,045 claims.

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Florida Supreme Court Calls for Additional State Appeals Court

Florida Supreme Court Calls for Additional State Appeals Court

The Florida Supreme Court is calling for creating a sixth state appeals court. One of their reasons for making the call is “serious underrepresentation” of appellate judges from Jacksonville.

“The creation of a new district court, like any other significant change in the judicial system, would be accompanied by some degree of internal disruption, but we conclude that any such internal disruption in the district courts associated with the creation of a sixth district court would be short-lived and would be outweighed by the benefit of enhanced public trust and confidence,” said the Florida Supreme Court’s majority opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Jorge Labarga, Alan Lawson, Carlos Muniz and John Couriel.

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King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

The King George County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday three to two to relocate the county’s confederate monument, with Historyland Memorial Park as a tentative destination for the monument.

“To me this is not doing away with the monument. This is a relocating of a monument,” Vice-Chair Jeff Stonehill said. “It’s on public property, it’s right in front of the courthouse. I think I would not be in favor of having religious symbols in front of the courthouse. I’m big believer in the separation of church & state and justice. If this is offensive to parts of society and to other people in our community, I think it needs to be relocated.”

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Georgia Secretary of State Candidate Jody Hice Releases New TV Ad Featuring Donald Trump

Georgia Secretary of State Candidate Jody Hice Releases New TV Ad Featuring Donald Trump

U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) has released a new television ad — featuring former President Donald Trump — in his campaign to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the ad, Trump endorsed Hice. Trump said Hice will “fight for free, fair, and secure elections in Georgia.” The former president also called Raffensperger one of the worst secretaries of state in America.

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Nashville Metro Council Will Hold Two Day Public Discussion on Homelessness in the City

Nashville Metro Council Will Hold Two Day Public Discussion on Homelessness in the City

Nashville’s Metro will hold a two-day public discussion to tackle the homelessness problem in Nashville. Beginning next Wednesday, anyone who wants to discuss their ideas on how the city can tackle homelessness in Nashville is invited to attend and speak.

The event will be held at the Downtown Public Library at 615 Church Street, in the first-floor conference room. The meeting will be from 5 PM to 8 PM. The second meeting will be held on December 1st, at the same time and location. There will be an overflow room if needed.

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Judge Denies Stay on Seminole Gaming Compact Ruling

Judge Denies Stay on Seminole Gaming Compact Ruling

A federal judge has denied a stay on the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s sports betting compact with the State of Florida. A ruling earlier in the week blocked the agreement between the tribe and the state.

As of Thursday, the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook was still operational and accepting sports bets.

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Florida Men Charged with Falsifying Voter Registration Forms

Florida Men Charged with Falsifying Voter Registration Forms

Two Jacksonville men have been charged with registering dead people to vote. Devin Deangelo King and Jordan Rayeshaun Daniels have both been arrested, and the motive does not appear to be political, but personal financial gain.

“This was a group working with what we call a third-party organization,” said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan. “… We did not see anything political about it. It was, I think, people who were greedy. There’s an incentive there to get as many as you can in.”

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Catholic University Responds to Claims of ‘Blasphemous’ George Floyd Painting

Catholic University Responds to Claims of ‘Blasphemous’ George Floyd Painting

Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., has responded to several reports of a painting of George Floyd depicted as Jesus that hangs in its law school.

“The painting was put in place last February in a ceremony outside the law school’s Mary Mirror of Justice chapel. The press began covering it this week, leading to criticism on social media and a substantial number of emails and phone calls,” President John Garvey said in an open letter. “Some critics called the image blasphemous because they saw it as deifying or canonizing George Floyd. Some comments that we received were thoughtful and reasonable. Some were offensive and racist. Much of the criticism came from people unconnected to the University.”

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Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) had a vacancy rate of 27.4 percent, or 1,680 correctional officer vacancies by September 30, 2021, according to a November 15 report from the Public Safety Compensation Work Group. That’s an increase from the average number of vacancies between fiscal years 2018 and 2020, which ranged between 650 and 682 each year.

“There was a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic,” House Appropriations Committee Analyst Michael Jay told the Joint Committee of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions and Public Safety and Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.

“Since then it has gone up about 60 each month and it is now at almost 1,700 vacancies. Some individual facilities have seen higher vacancies, with one correctional facility having turnover of 54 percent in the last calendar year,” Jay said.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Pens Letter to YouTube Slamming the Social Media Giant for Aiding the Chinese Communist Party by Demonetizing News Video

On Monday, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) penned a letter to YouTube after it was revealed the social media giant demonetized a news video discussing a story how former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli allegedly sexually assaulted Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

An episode of Breaking Points, a popular YouTube show hosted by Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball, was demonetized after it ran a segment discussing the disappearance of the tennis star, the Federalist reports.

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Don Gaetz Extortion Effort

A Florida man, Stephen Alford, has plead guilty regarding his involvement in attempting to extort $25 million from Congressman Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL-1) father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz.

The latest development is part of a sex trafficking investigation where Stephen Alford attempted to secure a presidential pardon for Matt Gaetz, as Gaetz continues to face questions surrounding his friendship with former Seminole County, Fla. tax collector Joel Greenberg and Gaetz’s involvement into allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old arranged by Greenberg.

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University of Florida President Supports Testimony by Political Science Professors

After months of back and forth between University of Florida (UF) and three of its political-science professors who were blocked from participating in a high profile lawsuit against Florida’s new election law, UF President Kent Fuchs approved a report Tuesday that called for that decision to be reversed.

In a separate report sent to an accrediting organization, UF denied that its Board of Trustees or any outside forces influenced their previous decision to prevent professors, Sharon Austin, Michael McDonald and Daniel Smith, from testifying against the law that was approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the 2021 legislative session that ended in April.

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After Two-Month Review, Fairfax County Public Schools Returns ‘Lawn Boy’ and ‘Gender Queer’ to High School Libraries

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has decided to return two controversial books to its high school library after completing a two-month review launched after a parent complained at a September school board meeting.

In a press release, Assistant Superintendent Noel Klimenko said, “I am satisfied that the books were selected according to FCPS regulations and are appropriate to include in libraries that serve high school students. Both books have value beyond their pages for students who may struggle to find relatable stories.”

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Tennessee U.S. Rep. Mark Green Joins Colleague Diana Harshbarger on Natural Immunity Is Real Act

U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) said he will co-sponsor legislation that U.S. Representative Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) filed titled the Natural Immunity is Real Act. The bill, if enacted into law, would require federal agencies to consider naturally acquired immunity from a previous COVID infection when issuing any rules or regulations aimed at protecting from COVID-19.

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‘Private’ Church Group Funded by Government Resettling Refugees in Tennessee

This week, 35 Afghan refugees were resettled in Knoxville with the help of two nonprofits whose sole focus is bringing refugees to America. 

Bridge Refugee Services Inc. is a Tennessee nonprofit whose mission is “to help refugees, those people who are fleeing because of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, a pertinence to social group or escaping wars and violence, to be self sufficient as soon as possible,” according to its Executive Director Drocella Mugorewera. 

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Alliance Defending Freedom Petitions Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Termination of a Teacher Who Refused to Use Preferred Prounons

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School french teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns.

“Virginia’s Constitution protects every Virginian’s ‘free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,’ and provides that they ‘shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities,'” states the petition for appeal, filed November 12.

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Human Smuggling, Forced Labor Among Allegations in South Georgia Federal Indictment

Federal officials in Georgia have indicted two dozen defendants on federal conspiracy charges after they said they uncovered a transnational, multi-year investigation into a human smuggling and labor trafficking operation. This operation illegally imported Mexican and Central American workers into brutal conditions on South Georgia farms, according to a press release this week from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

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Republicans Overtake Democrats in Florida Voter Registration

For the first time in the state of Florida’s history, Republicans now outnumber Democrats in official voter registration totals. According to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, there are 5,118,657 registered Republicans and 5,114,039 registered Democrats.

The Florida Capital Star reported as early as September that Democrats weree poised to lose their lead. As recent as 10 years ago, Democrats held a 700,000-voter registration advantage.

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Students Petitioning Catholic University to Remove Painting Depicting George Floyd as Jesus

Students at Catholic University of America (CUA) are now petitioning the administration to remove paintings depicting George Floyd as Jesus Christ from the school’s campus ministry office and from CUA’s law school.

“As students at the Catholic University of America, we believe that it is extremely grave that our university, the official university of the Catholic Church in North America, would cast another in the image of our Lord in this way, particularly for political purposes,” the Change.org petition says. “No political or social cause ever justifies depicting another in the place of Jesus Christ.”

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Florida Governor DeSantis Appoints Democrat, Republican to Broward County Commission

During a press conference in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his appointment of Democrat Jared Moskowitz and Republican Torey Alston for two Broward County commission seats.

Moskowitz, the former Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), and Alston, the current Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), look to replace the seats that were opened due to Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief resigning in order to run for Congress.

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