Five Things You Need to Know: 10/16, Tuesday Edition


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1) Mexico Mall Collapses Last Week, Killing Seven Construction Workers

The building crew at a Monterrey shopping mall under construction suffered through a dangerous collapse last week, according to an AP article featured on At least seven construction workers are dead, nine are missing, and 15 others were injured, according to local council secretary Genaro Garcia in a press conference. “…The concrete slabs of the (three-story) structure (in Nuevo Leon) appeared to have pancaked, falling one atop another. Images taken by civil defense officials showed emergency personnel hauling the injured men out of the rubble. About 150 emergency personnel were looking for more people who may be trapped (as of last week),” per the article. Another mall in Mexico City, Artz Pedregal “partially collapsed” this summer.

2) CT: Prison Guards File Lawsuits for Alleged Radon Exposure

Hartford prison guards have taken an alleged exposure suit to federal court, according to AP writer Pat Eaton-Robb, featured in the Norwich Bulletin. “…A federal judge last month ruled against the state’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit by 13 inmates inside the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. They allege Correction Department officials exposed them to high levels of the radioactive gas, creating unconstitutional and inhumane conditions of confinement inside the maximum-security prison,” per the article. “A separate lawsuit was filed in state court in August by 16 former guards and staff members, several of whom suffer from respiratory ailments. It asserts the staff should have been informed of the radon problem.” As of September’s end, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton decided against a federal request to dismiss the case based on immunity laws. It’s possible both prisoners and guards have been exposed to harmful chemicals, but guards have been asked to get tested if medical problems arise, to file for potential work comp benefits. Testing for this type of exposure didn’t start until 2003; the prison opened in the early 90s.

3) NC: School Will Soon Be Back in Session, Post-Hurricane Florence

41 schools in Lumberton were closed Sept. 11 after Hurricane Florence started to rip through the community, writes Scott Bigelow of The Robesonian. “…Teachers and staff will report to the county’s public schools on Monday (this week) for a required work day to prepare for the return of Robeson’s approximately 24,000 students, according to Superintendent Shanita Wooten. The central office, which was flooded, has been relocated to Lumberton Junior High School,” per the article. “…Teachers and staff will be paid for days they were out of work during Hurricane Florence. The school board will rule on compensation for employees who worked while school was out.” The Lottery Reserve Fund will provide $1,408,451 to help get everything up and running again, per Public Schools of Robeson County Spokesperson Tasha Oxendine. Some of the schools will be open for students as of today.   

4) Director of the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection Placed On Administrative Leave

Pediatrician Dr. Ruth Etzel, the Environmental Protection Agency’s former top medical expert for children, has been placed on administrative lead after strongly supporting and pushing for systems that protect kids from things like lead exposure, according to CBS.  “…And, she says, a national strategy to remove lead from children's environments — launched after the Flint, Michigan water crisis — stalled, with one official brought in by the new administration telling her that anything involving new regulation ‘wouldn't fly,’” per the article. Although the EPA has said the leave was put into place due to “director’s leadership allegations,” Dr. Etzel has said she hasn’t been educated on those details. "’This is totally wrong, and the only people that I really report to are mothers and fathers and communities in the United States,’ Dr. Etzel said. ‘And if EPA won't let me tell about how children are being poisoned, I'll just tell the mothers and fathers directly. I have that right, whether or not EPA wants me on their staff,’” according to CBS.

5) Disneyland Workers Vote ‘Yes’ on New Contract

The end of September marked a big win for UNITE HERE union workers representing Disneyland (Anaheim) employees, passing with a whopping 96 percent in agreement, writes Jeff Bigelow of Liberation News. Two major pieces to the contract: “…The average wage at Disney is currently about $11.50 but that will increase to over $16 by 2021,” and “Housekeepers on staff get an immediate boost to $15.80 an hour, a wage that raises up to $16.35 in January and reaches $18.05 by January 2021.” Among other improvements, a new model of housekeeping carts will aid Disney hotel cleaning employees, weighing less to help with transportation ease from room to room.   

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