United Nations Stands Ready to Help Lebanon with Food, Hospitals

The United Nations is working closely with the authorities in Lebanon to support ongoing response in the aftermath of the massive deadly explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, destroying large swathes of the capital.

More than 130 people were killed in the blast, which ripped through the port and surrounding area, causing countless injuries and leaving thousands homeless. The Government has declared a two-week state of emergency.

Speaking on Wednesday, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists that support for hospitals and trauma response is a top priority.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with the Lebanese Ministry of Health to conduct an assessment of hospital facilities in Beirut, their functionality and needs for additional support, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic”, he said.

“Specialists are being dispatched to Beirut at the moment to assist in the emergency response, both from the United Nations and multiple Member States. Experts are en route to support urban search and rescue operations. Teams are also equipped to conduct rapid assessments about the situation on the ground and help coordinate emergency response activities.”

Critical role of Beirut port
Beirut’s port is the main port in Lebanon and is critical for both the country and UN activities in Syria, as Mr. Haq explained.

“We expect that the damage to the port will significantly exacerbate the economic and food security situation in Lebanon, which imports about 80-85 per cent of its food”, he said, responding to a journalist’s question.

“Our colleagues at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also expect that this will affect our ability to provide aid to Syria because the port in Beirut was one of the ways that we ship in aid, and of course we also use the airports, so we’ll need to find alternate plans.”

Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP) is undertaking an assessment of food needs. An assessment of shelter needs is also underway.

WFP said the explosion and the damage to the port will worsen “the grim economic and food security situation in Lebanon”, which was already facing its worst ever economic crisis, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A recent WFP survey on the impact of the economic crisis and COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures on livelihoods and food security, revealed that food has become a major source of concern with 50 percent of Lebanese saying over the past month they felt worried they would not have enough food to eat”, the agency said on Wednesday.

The UN is looking at all options to find ways to provide financial assistance for the ongoing response efforts.

The Organization has been heartened to see that governments across the world have declared their support for Lebanon, said Mr. Haq, who recalled that the country has been a haven for people fleeing war and persecution.

A home for refugees

Lebanon, which has a population of around six million, has taken in nearly 900,000 Syrians and more than 200,000 Palestinian refugees, as well as more than 18,000 other displaced people from nations such as Iraq and Sudan.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, expressed solidarity with the Lebanese people in the aftermath of the massive explosion.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, the agency’s chief, issued a statement saying “our heartfelt condolences go to the families who have lost their dear ones. Our thoughts are with those who are hurt and injured.”

UN staff in Lebanon and their dependents are among those affected by the explosion, with around 100 receiving treatment, according to Mr. Haq. He further reported that two family members of UN staff have died.

‘A state of shock’

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed the impact on its team in Lebanon.

“One of our colleagues lost his spouse, seven of our staff were mildly injured and dozens of colleagues’ homes were damaged”, said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative for Lebanon, in a statement on Wednesday.

“Most of our staff – as are most people in Lebanon – are in a state of shock.”

UNICEF is coordinating with the Lebanese authorities and partners to respond to needs.

The agency has provided drinking water to staff at the Beirut port while assisting health officials in rescuing medicines and vaccines that remained in a warehouse there. Its partners on the ground are providing psychosocial support to children across the city.

“Yesterday’s catastrophe in Beirut adds to what has already been a terrible crisis for the people of Lebanon compounded by an economic collapse and a surge in COVID-19 cases. The pandemic already meant that hospitals are overwhelmed, and front-line workers are exhausted”, said Ms. Mokuo.

She added that UNICEF will be stepping up efforts to reach families in need over the coming days.

United Nations Stands Ready to Help Lebanon Following Explosions

The United Nations has said that it is “actively assisting” in the response to the horrific explosions that ripped through the port area of Beirut on Tuesday, reportedly leaving dozens dead and thousands wounded, among them some UN naval peacekeepers.

A statement from a UN spokesperson  said Secretary-General António Guterres  expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Lebanon, following the horrific explosions in the capital.

 The UN chief wished a speedy recovery to the injured, including several UN personnel working in Lebanon.

News reports suggest that along with dozens of deaths, perhaps several thousand people were injured in the massive blasts, which sent shockwaves across the bustling city of Beirut, bursting out windows and shaking buildings. The cause of the explosions has not yet been confirmed.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Lebanon at this difficult time and is actively assisting in the response to this incident,” Mr. Guterres said.

Separately, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the UN General Assembly, also extended his deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the explosion in Beirut today and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.

“Mr. Muhammad-Bande would like to reiterate his solidarity with Lebanon during this time,” said the Assembly President’s Spokesperson.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that as a result of a huge explosion, a ship from its Maritime Task Force docked in the port was damaged, leaving some UNIFIL naval peacekeepers injured – some of them seriously.

“UNIFIL is transporting the injured peacekeepers to the nearest hospitals for medical treatment. UNIFIL is currently assessing the situation, including the scale of the impact on UNIFIL personnel,” said a statement from the operation, which was set up in 1978 initially to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, as well as to ensure the area returned to Beirut’s control.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Del Col said: “We are with the people and the Government of Lebanon during this difficult time and stand ready to help and provide any assistance and support

President Trump Takes Important Action to Improve National Parks

President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act this morning—a historic, bipartisan law that marks the largest-ever investment into America’s national parks and public lands. It will also create more than 100,000 infrastructure-related jobs.

Americans who have visited our national parks during the Coronavirus pandemic have found them in need of investment. Estimates place the national deferred maintenance backlog across all public lands at approximately $20 billion.

The President’s action today will bring this much-needed maintenance to our public lands, many of which play an important role in our economy. Last year, over 327 million people visited America’s majestic national parks. All told, America’s outdoor recreation economy accounted for more than 2 percent of our GDP—and 5.2 million jobs—in 2017.

The Great American Outdoors Act won the support of more than 850 conservation groups, along with 43 sportsmen and sportswomen groups. It is the single greatest American conservation achievement since the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

To preserve our parks, the law will provide $900 million each year in permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and will allocate $9.5 billion over 5 years to restore facilities and infrastructure in our national parks and public lands.

“Last night, I added it up: 5 presidents, 9 secretaries of the interior, and 10 secretaries of agriculture have worked on legislation to accomplish fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or enhancing our nation’s parks by addressing in the backlog,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said at the White House today.

“Only one president has gotten that done.”

South Sudan Olympian Named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

A track and field athlete from South Sudan who was forced to flee conflict as a child was on Tuesday named a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Yiech Pur Biel was a member of the first Refugee Olympic Team that competed at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since then, he has travelled to 26 countries as an athlete and advocate for refugees, and has been actively involved efforts to bring peace to his homeland.

“It is a huge honour for me to be able to use my status as an athlete to help refugees and displaced people, to share my own story and those of other refugees like me and make sure that refugees all over the world have a voice,” he said.

“I want to be an ambassador for refugees everywhere and I am so happy to be able to continue my commitment to working with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, helping refugees not only to survive but also to thrive. This work is incredible and vitally important to so many people all over the world.”

Always on the run

Following conflict in South Sudan in 2005, Mr. Pur journeyed alone to Kakuma refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya. He was only 10 years old at the time.

While at the camp, Mr. Pur devoted himself to athletics and trained at the Tegla Laroupe camp in Nairobi, established by the award-winning runner. He began running competitively in 2015 before being part of the historic Refugee Olympic Team a year later.

Mr. Pur has supported UNHCR since 2016, attending and speaking for campaigns in New York and Paris.

As the agency’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, he will continue to advocate for the rights of displaced people while continuing his training to be on the Refugee Olympic Team at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Worldwide, nearly 80 million people are forcibly displaced, according to a recent UNHCR report. The study cited South Sudan’s long history of displacement, both before and after independence in July 2011, as a major crisis which has contributed to global displacement.

A voice for refugees

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and head of UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, welcomed Mr. Pur as the agency’s newest Goodwill Ambassador.

“This new role will help formalise and amplify his advocacy even further. At a time when forced displacement has reached unprecedented levels, with one percent of humanity now uprooted by conflict, persecution and violence, his contribution is more critical than ever,” he said.

Mr. Pur’s contributions towards peace in South Sudan includes representing refugees at peace talks held in Addis Ababa and Khartoum in 2018, and at committee meetings at the African Union in 2019.

He worked with the International Olympic Committee following Rio, and joined the Board of the Olympic Refuge Foundation.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee characterized Mr. Pur’s “extraordinary journey” from the refugee camp to the Rio Games as an inspiration for all.

“Today, Pur is also a strong voice within the Olympic Refuge Foundation, providing access to safe sport for forcibly displaced young people across the world,” he said.

“I am sure that in his new role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, he will continue to act as a role model and demonstrate that sport can not only bring hope but change lives, empower young people and drive positive change in our society.”

Big Mac Favorite Fort Worth Herd Steer in Vote

Congratulate Big Mac as he claims the title Favorite Fort Worth Herd steer.

He garnered the most public votes in an online contest. Big Mac joined the Fort Worth Herd in 2019 and was donated by Tonya and Phillip Hancock of Midland.

Big Mac and his teammates are on display in the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards and participate in the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. down East Exchange Avenue.

Fort Worth ISD Online Registration Contiuiing

The Fort Worth ISD is modifying plans for the fall semester, and is asking parents to register students for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Board of Education voted to delay the opening of the school year until Sept. 8 and then to offer online, at-home learning only for the first four weeks, embracing a “safety first” measure for students and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents will not have to choose between in-person and online instruction during the current registration process. However, toward the end of September, parents will be asked to make a decision between virtual or in-person. Until then, students will be enrolled for virtual instruction.

To obtain a Snapcode for student online registration, use the new Snapcode lookup tool. All online registration resources are listed on that page.

Parents who have already registered need do nothing more right now.

United Nations Security Council Condemns Chad Attack

The Secretary-General strongly condemned “heinous attacks” against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin, a UN spokesperson said on Monday.

“The attacks led to the killing and abduction of many civilians, including women, children and displaced people who had fled violence”, Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement, referring to assaults in the Lac Province of Chad and the Far North Region of Cameroon on July 31 and August 2, respectively.

News reports pinned responsibility for this most recent aggression in the troubled region on Boko Haram jihadists.

Mr. Haq spelled out that “those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable”.

“International human rights law and international humanitarian law must be fully respected and all civilians in Cameroon and Chad must be protected”, he stressed on behalf of the UN chief.

In conclusion, the spokesperson upheld the UN’s “steadfast” support to the countries of the Lake Chad Basin in their efforts “to overcome the scourge of terrorism, and address the security, political, humanitarian and socio-economic challenges in the region”.

Internally displaced targeted

In separate coverage on Tuesday morning, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed outrage over an “unprovoked and brutal attack” on 800 internally displaced people (IDPs) in a makeshift camp in Cameroon’s Far North region.

“At least 18 people were killed and 11 injured in the incident during the early hours of Sunday 2 August”, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists at a regular press briefing in Geneva.

While some of the wounded were evacuated to Mokolo district hospital, an hour’s drive from Nguetchewe, another 1,500 people, including terrified residents of the hosting village, fled to the nearby town of Mozogo for safety.

“UNHCR is deploying an emergency mission to assess the situation and evaluate the protection and health needs of those affected, Mr. Baloch updated.

Spiraling situation

This attack follows a significant rise in violent incidents in Cameroon’s Far-North Region in July, including looting and kidnapping by Boko Haram and other armed groups active in the region.

The Far North region, tucked between Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states and Lake Chad, currently hosts 321,886 IDPs and 115,000 Nigerian refugees.

The UNHCR spokesperson called this incident “a sad reminder of the intensity and brutality of the violence in the wider the Lake Chad Basin region that has forced more than three million people to flee”.

“UNHCR calls on all actors to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of IDP camps, and to respond promptly to the urgent needs of people who have fled violence and suffered multiple displacements”, concluded the UN refugee agency’s spokesperson.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Now Available in Stores

Pumpkin Spice season is officially here at grocery stores nationwide. For customers counting down the days until the fan-favorite Starbucks® PSL makes its debut in Starbucks stores, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice products are back on grocery shelves, along with an expanded fall grocery portfolio.

Returning fall favorites include Starbucks® Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer, Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee – K-Cup® pods and Roast & Ground, VIA® Instant Pumpkin Spice Flavored Latte and Starbucks® RTD Iced Espresso Classics Pumpkin Spice Flavored Latte.

Joining classic Pumpkin Spice are NEW Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored Coffee – K-Cup® pods and Roast & Ground and decadent Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.

For a twist on old favorites, customers can also enjoy NEW Teavana® Tea Sachets available in Spiced Apple Cider and Lemon Ginger Bliss, as well as six seasonal recipes available for download which customers can make using the Teavana Tea Sachets at home.

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jo Jorgensen Critical of Dems Medicare for All Plans

Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential nominee, described efforts to add Medicare for All to the Democratic Party’s platform as “severely misguided.”

In advance of the Democratic national convention, planned for this month, delegates who support Sen. Bernie Sanders are circulating a petition to add the provision.

Jorgensen said, “When I hear ‘Medicare for All,’ I think, ‘V.A. for All.’”

The Veterans Administration is the government’s sole provider of health-care services for veterans.

“Government monopolies are extremely costly, and they’re not customer-friendly,” Jorgensen explained. “They don’t have to be, because the government shields them from competition. That’s why the V.A. has earned a reputation for poor-quality care and long delays, which have cost some veterans their lives.”

“I don’t understand why Democrats are clamoring for a monopoly in health care, when they are so against monopolies in the corporate world,” she said.

“Medicare for All would be even worse than the V.A.,” she added. “At least veterans can get better care elsewhere at their own expense. With Medicare for All, there would be nowhere else to go.”

“People like Bernie Sanders like to blame the free market for today’s high costs,” noted Jorgensen. “Let’s be clear: What we have in the United States today is not even close to a free market.”

Politicians have been piling on regulations and mandates for at least 100 years. That includes mandated insurance, which, she noted, is not real insurance.

“Insurance normally covers only high-cost care, not every sniffle or rash,” she said. “But because today’s insurance covers most health expenses, patients have no incentive to shop around for better prices, and insurance companies and providers lose their incentive to keep costs down.”

“Look at traditional LASIK surgery,” she said. “Because it isn’t covered by insurance, people pay out of their own pockets, and providers have to compete for their business. That’s why LASIK prices have dropped over the last three decades, while prices for all health care have risen dramatically.”

“As president, I will work with Congress to remove the barriers to free-market health care so we can reduce costs by at least 75 percent, while quality goes way up.” said Jorgensen. “This will make health care easily affordable and will serve the needs of real people who desperately need care.”

U.S. Sen. Cruz Critical of Lack of Religious Freedom in Armed Forces

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas sent a letter to Defense Secretary Dr.Mark Esper raising concerns about the Department of Defense’s (DOD) overt religious discrimination, specifically pointing to the DOD’s decision to remove Lt. Col. Lorenzen as a presenter for the U.S. Marine Corps’ annual training simply because he is a religious individual. This letter comes as a follow up on the DOD’s failure to respond to a letter sent from Sen. Cruz in June of this year.

In the letter, Sen. Cruz wrote:

“The First Amendment unambiguously protects the ‘free exercise’ of religion. More to the point, it protects ‘religious observers against unequal treatment . . . on the basis of religious status.’ The government is prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their religious faith or religious practice. Nevertheless, the Department is unabashedly discriminating against religious individuals.”

He added:

“The Department must do better. It must take affirmative steps to stop those in its ranks from targeting religious individuals and violating the United States Constitution. Our brave servicemen and women deserve to have their religious and spiritual needs met without fear that their faith will subject them to special burdens.”

He continued by asking the following questions:

  • What actions, if any, has the Department taken in response to the June 9, 2020 letter urging the Department to implement the religious liberty training program that Congress has mandated?
  • What actions, if any, has the Department taken to discipline the individual who unlawfully prohibited Lt. Col. Lorenzen from leading the Gettysburg discussion because of his faith?
  • What other actions, if any, is the Department taking to address its culture of hostility towards religion?

House Republican Leader McCarthy Says Dems Not Interested in Helping Americans with COVID-19

“[Democrats] no longer [want] $3 trillion, they’re now asking for $4 trillion. And remember, in their $3 trillion bill it mentioned ‘cannabis’ more than it ever mentioned ‘research’ or ‘jobs’.

“This is what they have, they just have a wishlist and not a way forward.

“Even today when you have unemployment insurance, the extra amount of money that the the federal government puts in… Republicans said let’s extend it a week while we negotiate. You know who said no? Chuck Schumer. But watch what they will say on television.

“The president was willing to continue to go forward to protect those who are unemployed right now so we can get people working again, and solve this problem.

“Every single time we [have] worked on COVID-19 legislation, you know who has held it up? Nancy Pelosi. Remember [her showcasing] her refrigerator when small businesses needed money for their employees? She said no. Or when the very first CARES Act went forward, she said no and held it for another week.

“How many more people are unemployed because of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s actions?

“I do not know with the [Chinese Communist Party] has on the Democrats, but it is very powerful. It is so powerful that when the Chinese are now hacking to find our vaccines — I put a bill on the floor to sanction any hacker — they voted against it.

“We now have a report in a paper today that the FBI says China is trying to influence the election, and we know who they want to win, and also influence members of Congress…

“We even had the Armed Services Chairman say it wasn’t China’s fault, [that] it’s not their responsibility to warn America about the virus. [And instead] trying to blame the president.

“Adam Schiff, a real favorite of all of ours, you know what he said when they closed down the consulate [in Houston], a hub of espionage? He said it was all politics and he blamed America.

“Why won’t Nancy Pelosi bring bills to the floor that hold China accountable? Because they want to defend China and blame America.”

House Republican Leader McCarthy Calls on Democratic Leaders to See China Threat

“We also have to wonder why Democrats are so hesitant to hold China accountable? I don’t know what the Chinese Communist Party has on the Democrats, but it is effective.

“The evidence is undeniable: they are conducting espionage, hacking our vaccine development research, and today there was even an Axios report that warned about China’s increased capability in interfering in our elections.

“Yet Democrats have voted against our attempts to hold China accountable. Just yesterday in a mark-up about an election interference bill Ranking Member McCaul tried to amend it to also talk about China and the Democrats all voted against it and refused…

“Also yesterday, Democrats voted against our attempt to bring up a bill that has been sitting on Speaker Pelosi’s desk for more than a month — the CONFUCIUS Act by Senator Kennedy.

“Also sitting on Pelosi’s desk is the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act [also] by Senator Kennedy. Pelosi has held this since May.

“And last week, they voted against my bill to hold China accountable for hacking America’s COVID research for a vaccine. At the same time on the same day we indicted two Chinese hackers for coming after the vaccine…

Instead of taking action to keep Americans safe, Democrats are making excuses… Look at what they have said:

  • Biden: ‘We believe that a rising China is a positive development…’
  • Pelosi: ‘What the President is saying about China is interesting – it’s an interesting diversion…’
  • Schiff: Blames the ‘escalation’ on America – on closing the Houston consulate ‘This very dramatic and sudden escalation with China is all about politics…’
  • Smith: ‘It’s not actually [China’s] job to warn the American people about the virus…’

“Again, I do not know what the Chinese Communist Party has on the Democrats, but it is very effective… It’s reckless that Democrats are still fixated on the Russia hoax and ignoring the blatant threat right before our eyes.”

First Lady Melania Trump Looking for Ways to Help America’s Children Through Tough Times

America’s kids need us now more than ever. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a serious impact on America’s children and those who care for them, from parents and teachers to child welfare workers and foster families.

The Trump administration is committed to ensuring that children benefit from the care and support of loving, permanent families, preferably in their own homes whenever possible. We are doing all we can to establish commonsense solutions that best serve our children in the welfare system.

As part of my Be Best campaign, I have made foster care a top priority. It remains our generation’s responsibility to help our children overcome the many issues they face today, which may include their social, emotional and physical well-being.

Right now, there are over 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system and 124,000 of them are awaiting permanent placement with a forever family. It is our time to be the voice for these thousands of children waiting for a forever family — and it is our time to decide on how we proceed so we can do the most for children in need.

On June 24, President Trump signed the historic Executive Order on Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America’s Children. This executive order aims to strengthen America’s child welfare system through three key actions: improving partnerships, resources and oversight.

The executive order is the next great step towards our goal of creating long-term solutions for America’s most vulnerable. And with this great momentum, I’m working with the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue our journey towards helping children waiting in the foster care system find loving, safe and forever families.

In supporting this priority, I recently held a virtual roundtable and heard from foster care advocates, parents, governors and their spouses, as well as youth who have aged out of the system without a forever family.

I was incredibly touched to hear personal stories from those who have spent most of their lives in foster care. A story in particular that touched my heart came from two young people who shared their struggle of being apart from their siblings when they entered the foster care system. We believe that no child should be out on the streets due to their birth date and no child should have to grow up without their siblings.

It is so important that we use these voices to create policies and deliver resources for children and families so that no child has to go through the experiences that these children and adults have experienced.

As my husband, President Donald Trump said, “The best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place.” If we address our child welfare system with the lens of “primary prevention,” we can have the ability to support children and families long before they ever need to enter the system in the first place.

Still, we understand that prevention efforts will not completely eliminate the need for foster care services to ensure the safety and well-being of some children. When that is required, it is our responsibility to make sure that children and youth do not leave our foster care system without a forever family.

To support children in the foster care system, Administration for Children and Families Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson is leading an important initiative aimed at achieving permanency for the 124,000 children waiting for placement with forever families. In November, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the Assistant Secretary’s “All-In” Foster Adoption Challenge.

Federal officials have been hard at work engaging directly with governors, human services leaders, philanthropic organizations and faith-based organizations to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families.

As we talk to governors and state leaders, we are asking them to extend the foster care age from 18 to 21, host roundtables with partners and foster youth, work with the courts to expedite quality hearings, develop additional resources for older foster youth and adoptive parents, and identify laws or barriers that stand in the way of helping our children.

But we cannot do this alone. We need the engagement of our youth who have experienced the best and the worst of the child welfare system.

We need these strong voices to bring awareness to circumstances, issues and policies that can be changed. We also need everyone’s involvement — from families to governors to churches and nonprofits.

This is a team effort to help America’s children. We are taking bold actions, and we will stop at nothing to help our children find safe and loving families that they can call their own forever.

Despite Historic Contraction, U.S. Economy Remains Resilient

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its advance estimate of U.S. GDP for the second quarter of 2020 reflecting the months of April, May, and June. Real GDP contracted at an unprecedented annualized rate of -32.9 percent—the largest quarterly decline since the series began in 1947—slightly better than what market and official estimates had expected. Despite this massive contraction, the resiliency of the U.S. economy and the swift fiscal response of the Federal Government can aid in a strong recovery.

The U.S. economy entered this contraction on a healthier and more resilient footing than it did both prior to the Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and relative to other advanced economies. Thanks, in part, to the longest expansion in U.S. history, American households had a smaller overall debt burden prior to this pandemic than prior to the Financial Crisis. Household liabilities as a percent of personal disposable income were 136 percent leading into the Financial Crisis but were below 100 percent prior to this pandemic. Additionally, thanks in part to growth-focused policy, the United States had the highest growth rate among the G7 countries prior to the pandemic, with growth roughly double the non-U.S. G7 average from when President Trump took office through to the end of 2019.

The second quarter decline in GDP was widespread, touching nearly every facet of the economy (figure 1). Consumer spending, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. economy, contributed to most of the decline, accounting for 25.05 percentage points of the -32.9 percent decline. The report also showed sharp contractions in business fixed investment, residential investment, inventory investment, and state & local government spending which contributed to the decline. A massive but uneven decline in consumer spending (-34.6 percent at an annualized rate) revealed how quarantines have driven spending patterns. Individuals increased consumption of recreational goods & vehicles and housing & utilities, but lessened consumption of gasoline & other energy goods, health care, transportation services, recreational services, and food services & accommodation. The decline in business fixed investment was also widely spread, though it was particularly sharp in transportation equipment investment and mining structures investment, the latter reflecting subdued oil and gas production activity responding to extraordinarily low prices.

This pandemic caused a sharp drop in real personal income as many workers faced lower wages, fewer hours or job severance. However, the scale and speed of the initial Federal fiscal response, including expanding unemployment insurance, economic recovery rebates and emergency loans enacted as a part of the CARES Act, caused post-transfer real disposable personal income to increase. In early estimates from the University of Pennsylvania, the CARES Act reduced the GDP contraction in the second quarter by 7 percentage points.

Recent measures indicate that some economic activity has already resumed. Utilizing monthly retail sales and industrial production data, both important gauges of growth, it is clear that the declines in March and April—the most acute period of nationwide lockdowns—were the motive force driving this historic contraction (figure 2). As the country reopened, both indicators experienced a rebound in May and June. The forecast is for strong real GDP growth in the third quarter. The current Blue Chip consensus forecast of 17.7 percent annualized growth in the third quarter would be the largest recorded quarterly growth rate and a 36 percent recovery of the second quarter contraction.

The pace of the recovery so far has exceeded expectations, providing a source of optimism as we look ahead. In fact, the majority of major economic data releases over the past month—reflecting May and June data—have surpassed market outlooks. Most notably, the record-breaking number of jobs added in both May and June beat market expectations by a combined 11.7 million. Furthermore, high-frequency data indicate that 80 percent of America’s small businesses are now open, up from a low in April of just 52 percent. Consumer credit & debit card spending has recovered roughly 80 percent from the pandemic low, with spending in low-income zip codes rebounding the furthest, now just 2 percent below pre-pandemic spending levels.

The magnitude of this contraction reflects the gravity of the economic sacrifice Americans made to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent greater tragic loss of life and health. The country mitigated pressures on hospital capacity and allowed medical professionals the time to learn how to more effectively treat this disease. The Trump Administration will continue to support America as we build a bridge to the other side of this crisis.

University of North Texas Partners With CAGE Bio for Lab Space

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC) at Fort Worth will be a new home and primary area of growth for CAGE Bio Inc., a privately held clinical-stage company, currently a resident company at Johnson & Johnson Innovation. The company is expanding to Texas from California.

The emerging biotech company will operate out of laboratory space on the HSC campus. The company will use HSC resources while also exploring research partnerships and student engagement opportunities.

CAGE Bio is using ionic liquid technology to develop therapeutic products for dermatology, inflammation and immunology.

CAGE Bio is using a proprietary drug-delivery platform to develop novel products for dermatology, inflammation and immunology. The company’s mission is to develop highly-effective topical products for localized treatment while minimizing the side effects from systemic exposure.

CAGE Bio’s unique technology exhibits broad-spectrum antimicrobial action in addition to exceptional capabilities to carry drugs across the human skin barrier, including the ability to deliver proteins (for example, insulin) and charged macromolecules.

CAGE Bio was founded in 2018 by three scientists with extensive biotech and startup experience.

CAGE Bio is the latest company to join HSC’s efforts to promote innovation. The university has taken a leadership role in Fort Worth to spark innovation and entrepreneurship, launching the Innovate Fort Worth podcast, teaming up with Fort Worth venture capital firm Bios Partners to create an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to assist the university with technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, and partnering to restart Global Entrepreneurship Week in Fort Worth.

Wells Fargo Launching Small Business Recovery Effort

Following an April commitment to donate all gross processing fees from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Wells Fargo has unveiled the details of an approximately $400 million effort to help small businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keep their doors open, retain employees and rebuild.

Through Wells Fargo’s new Open for Business Fund, the company will engage nonprofit organizations to provide capital, technical support and long-term resiliency programs to small businesses with an emphasis on those that are minority-owned businesses.

Through June 30, Wells Fargo funded loans under the PPP for more than 179,000 customers, with an average loan amount of $56,000, totaling $10.1 billion. Of the loans made, 84% of those are for companies that have fewer than 10 employees; 60% were for amounts of $25,000 or less; and, 90% of these applicants had $2 million or less in annual revenue.

The Open for Business Fund’s initial grants will allocate $28 million to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), also known as nonprofit community lenders, aimed at empowering Black and African American-owned small businesses, which are closing at nearly twice the rate of the industry, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Open for Business Fund is accepting applications from CDFIs and special-purpose funds formed by CDFIs serving racially and ethnically-diverse small businesses for its first grant cycle, open through Aug. 7. Additional grant cycles focused on technical assistance and recovery and resiliency will open later this year.

Fort Worth Businesses Can Pick Up Masks for Patrons

Fort Worth businesses can pick up masks tomorrow to help comply with the city’s recent requirements to slow the spread of COVID-19. A coalition of local business organizations are offering masks to keep the local economy open.

Fort Worth businesses are eligible for up to 250 masks each, in increments of 50, by presenting a business card on special distribution days. Business owners will be expected to provide their name, email address, and company name.

Masks can be picked up at four locations from 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4. These locations include Chisholm Trail Community Center, Como Community Center, Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, and Courtyard Fort Worth at Alliance Town Center.

Mask availability is based on a first-come, first-served basis, so early arrival is encouraged.

For a complete list of locations and more information, visit FortWorth.com/masks.

The website includes links to download social media graphics and printable signage supporting the new mask requirement.

Partners on this project include the City of Fort Worth, Visit Fort Worth, Fort Worth Now, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.

St. Louis Announces Partnership with Department of Energy for Electric Vehicles for Senior Service Rides

Example of an electric vehicle to be possibly implemented by Forth

The U.S. Department of Energy for Advanced Innovative Vehicle Technologies has selected Forth for funding to implement the St. Louis Vehicle Electrification Rides for Seniors (SiLVERS) Project, which seeks to increase electric vehicle adoption and reduce transportation-related operating expenses for social service agencies in low-income communities.

This pilot will demonstrate:

EV fleets can save social service agencies money on transportation expenses and improve service
Electric vehicle charging equipment for fleets can also serve employees and community members
How use of EVs by service agencies can accelerate regional EV adoption
The use of tools and best practices, which can be replicated nationwide
How public agencies can equitably advance air pollution reduction through EV technology
The SiLVERS project emerged from work with Forth, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the City of St. Louis, and Bloomberg Philanthropies through the American Cities Climate Challenge.

Forth will work with the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging, as well as community organizations such as North Newstead Association, City Seniors, Inc, and Northside Youth and Senior Service Center, Inc. to introduce electric vehicles and charging to their fleets and meet the transportation needs of senior residents with zero-emission vehicles while developing community support and awareness of the program.

“We are honored and look forward to working with the City of St. Louis and all the partners involved in efforts to strengthen the St. Louis community through transportation electrification,” said Sergio Lopez, Program Manager at Forth.

Forth will bring together a number of industry and local partners in this project, including AmpUp, St. Louis Regional Clean Cities Coalition, and Ameren Missouri.

AmpUp will provide an EV charger sharing platform to serve fleet EVs, employees, and community members. AmpUp will perform data collection and analysis to develop a model of financially sustainable fleet electrification.

“AmpUp is excited to work with Forth, the St. Louis Clean Cities Coalition, and local partners to provide EV charging software solutions that will benefit customers and the wider St. Louis community.” said Tim Gavrilovic, Head of Business Development & Co- founder of AmpUp.

Forth and the St. Louis Regional Clean Cities Coalition will disseminate findings via webinars, conferences, and regional workshops to publicize results and entice additional cities, organizations, and agencies to adopt the model for their own fleets.

Ameren Missouri will provide incentives to develop the four charging station sites. Their Electric Vehicle Program offers incentives of up to 50% of project cost of installing EV charging stations at multifamily rental properties, workplaces, and public/retail locations around the region.

“The investments we will make in north and south St. Louis will show that electric vehicles are for everyone,” said Maurice Muia, Climate Advisor for the City of St. Louis, NRDC. “We all deserve the cleaner air that comes from use of clean cars.”

The project is scheduled to launch by the end of 2020 and to last three years. Forth and partners will be working with USDOE to refine plans, budgets, and contracts in the coming months.

City of New Orleans Continues Work on Pedestrian Improvements in French Quarter

The City of New Orleans today provided an update on the work underway since May 2020 to explore pedestrian-centric approaches that will draw locals and tourists to the French Quarter. Mayor LaToya Cantrell recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an opportunity for practical recovery planning that contemplates safety, equity, connectivity and efficiency and has the potential to result in a reimagined French Quarter.

“There are so many reasons why this is the best direction for the French Quarter, which is really the heart of our city. In terms of the environmental and social impacts, fewer cars means a reduction of air and noise pollution, it means more people walking and bicycling, and it opens up opportunities to introduce street furniture and landscaping – all things that can help to create a healthier lifestyle and environment while preserving the cultural fabric of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Cantrell. “I feel strongly that if done properly, creatively and in concert with anyone who wishes to participate in the process, prioritizing pedestrians is an effective and low-cost way to rejuvenate the French Quarter and promote livability in New Orleans more broadly.”

PEDESTRIANIZATION TEAM

Mayor Cantrell tasked an internal team to begin the process of understanding how other cities around the globe are prioritizing pedestrians and developing pedestrianization concepts for the French Quarter, with the subsequent goals in mind:

  • Offer a safe, accessible and comfortable environment for residents and visitors to enjoy;
  • Improve the overall quality of life with sustainable near- and long-term pedestrian-centric approaches;
  • Provide creative opportunities that support the full business ecosystem to reopen, recover and thrive as we move through and beyond COVID-19 restrictions; and
  • Establish an inclusive framework and processes for decision-making that ensures pedestrianization efforts support improved outcomes for all stakeholders.

The City’s Pedestrianization Team is comprised of the following departments: Chief Administrative Office, Vieux Carré Commission, French Market Corporation, Health Department, Department of Public Works, Mayor’s Office of Transportation, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Office of Community Development, Sanitation, Parks & Parkways, Safety & Permits, Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office, Mayor’s Office of Communications, Intergovernmental Relations, Regional Transit Authority, City Planning Commission, Mayor’s Office of Utilities, and ADA Administration.

The City and District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer launched an External Pedestrianization Team made up of French Quarter leaders to run in parallel with the City’s Pedestrianization Team, discuss pedestrianization approaches, and provide feedback and guidance on initial concepts.

“I’ve long believed that the status quo in the French Quarter is untenable, and a reduction of the car and truck traffic could improve the quality of life for residents while making a more sustainable setting for visitors. I recognized that such a project needed the input of key stakeholders early on, which is why I convened a working group of French Quarter residents and business owners who have been providing feedback to the administration’s team on a weekly basis. I look forward to further engaging with the public on the possibility of a safer, cleaner, more pedestrian-friendly French Quarter,” said Councilmember Palmer.

As part of this process, the internal and external pedestrianization teams identified a number of constraints to consider as part of the design process. These are issues that must be addressed in order to successfully implement any one or more of the concepts under development: ongoing and upcoming construction, operations of existing Royal and Bourbon pedestrian malls, street and sidewalk widths, parking, existing curb use designations, Accessibility (ADA), sanitation operations, pavement quality, delivery operations, zoning, safety/security, and workforce, to name a few.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENGAGEMENT

The City will ensure that an inclusive and transparent co-design process is at the foundation of pedestrianization efforts. Earlier this month, a survey was conducted to gather some initial data about how people use the French Quarter, their top concerns, pedestrianization approaches, etc. In two weeks, there were 2,024 responses and the analysis highlights are as follows:

  • Survey respondents were not conclusively for or against pedestrian malls;
  • Additional efforts should be made to reach out to French Quarter businesses;
  • Respondents’ biggest concern is Crime/Public Safety;
  • Improved Sidewalks and Improved Sanitation were the most desired improvements;
  • French Quarter visitors support pedestrian malls;
  • Future surveys should limit free form responses and require selection prioritization for multi-response questions.
  • The data and analysis are being used to refine the design concepts that are under development.

The City plans to host a series of co-design charettes in fall 2020, during which representatives from the tiger team will work alongside stakeholders to ensure that final designs meet the needs of the users. Information regarding dates and times for co-design charettes will be posted on the French Quarter Pedestrianization Web Page.

Questions and/or comments about French Quarter Pedestrianization are encouraged and can be submitted anytime here.

Timeline and Next Steps

  • May 2020: Internal Pedestrianization Team Begins to Develop Initial Concepts
  • June 2020: External Pedestrianization Team Begins Weekly Meetings
  • July 2020: French Quarter Pedestrianization Survey Conducted
  • July 2020: Signs Posted Throughout the French Quarter Encouraging/Requiring Masks and Social Distancing
  • July/August 2020: Pedestrianization Team Refines Concepts Based on Feedback
  • August/September 2020: Citywide Curbside Dining Pilot to Be Launched
  • August 2020: City to Assess and Repair Bourbon Street Bollards
  • August 2020: City to Begin Parking and Curb Use Designation Survey in the French Quarter
  • Fall 2020: Additional Targeted Outreach with Business, Hospitality Community
  • Fall 2020: City to Propose Speed Limit Reduction on French Quarter Interior Streets to 15 MPH
  • Fall 2020: City to Begin Comprehensive Sidewalk Improvements Throughout the French Quarter
  • Fall 2020: City Hosts Co-design Charettes
  • Fall/Winter 2020: Finalize Concepts/Begin Implementation

CURRENT FRENCH QUARTER CONSTRUCTION STATUS

The City is approaching all new construction projects in the French Quarter with the aforementioned pedestrianizing goals in mind.

Conti Full-Depth Reconstruction

The City is in the process of designing a full reconstruction project of Conti Street between Bourbon and Chartres streets. The design calls for bollards the length of the block on the 4th Circuit Supreme Court side to enhance the space for pedestrians. There will also be a mid-block crossing at Exchange Place that is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible. Entergy Gas and Entergy Electric are upgrading their utilities in advance of the City’s project to avoid conflicts during construction and potential construction delays. Their work began in the 700 block of Conti Street last month. The entire project is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete.

St. Ann Full-Depth Reconstruction

The City will be wrapping construction on a $2.2 million full-depth reconstruction project in the 800 block of St. Ann Street in the late August/early September time frame. Crews have completed installing the new sewer line and are currently working on the new drain line. Once that is complete, they will begin the water main installation and subsequent tie-in and then restore the roadway. After the roadway reopens, crews will begin work on the sidewalks.

Miami-Dade County Officials Closely Monitoring Hurricane Isaias

Wind and rain on a beach in Miami

There’s potential for heavy rains and tropical storm winds over portions of Miami-Dade this weekend as Hurricane Isaias heads toward the Florida coastline. Now is the time to check your disaster kit and be on alert to new information about the developing storm. Also, make sure that your emergency equipment, such as battery-powered radios and flashlights, are in good working order, and make sure you have enough food and water for each person in your household for the next three days.

Although the current expectation is that Miami-Dade won’t experience worse than tropical storm weather, there is the possibility that the track could change. If you live in a surge zone, you should have an evacuation plan in advance. Go to miamidade.gov/hurricane to find out if you live in a storm surge zone and to get more information about preparing for a storm.

Because of the impending storm:

  • COVID-19 testing sites will be closed starting Friday, July 31 until further notice. You will be able to make appointments at specific locations after the storm passes. For details, go to miamidade.gov/covid-testing.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Announces New COVID-19 Measures

Mayor Bowser looks over 16th Street painted with Black Lives Matter

Mayor Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-081 on requirements for all residents or persons returning to or arriving to the District after travel from coronavirus (COVID-19) “high-risk areas” – locations where the seven day moving average daily new COVID-19 case rate is 10 or more per 100,000 persons. A list of “high-risk areas” will be posted by the DC Department of Health on Monday, July 27, 2020, and will be updated every two weeks on coronavirus.dc.gov. Travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from the Order.

All residents and persons traveling to or from “high-risk areas,” within the prior 14 days for non-essential travel must self-quarantine for 14 days following their return or arrival to the District. Persons who are traveling through a “high-risk area,” such as through an airport or by vehicle, are not subject to this quarantine requirement.

Persons who are self-quarantining after non-essential travel must:

  • Stay at their residence or in a hotel room, leaving only for essential medical appointments or treatment or to obtain food and other essential goods when the delivery of food or other essential goods to their residence or hotel is not feasible;
  • Not invite or allow guests, other than caregivers, into their quarantined residence or hotel room; and
  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek appropriate medical advice or testing if COVID-19 symptoms arise.

Persons returning to the District after essential travel, or arriving in the District for essential travel must:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing if they show symptoms of COVID-19; and
  • Limit their activities involving contact with other persons for fourteen (14) days to the purposes that exempted them from the self-quarantine requirement to the extent possible.

The Order will go into effect at 12:01 am on Monday, July 27, 2020, and will remain in effect through October 9, 2020, or through the end of the District’s state of emergency.

UT-Austin Teams with School & Community Partners to Feed Central Texans in Need

DSC_2496

To help support the 1 in 4 Austin households struggling to put food on the table, The Spirit Golf Association is teaming up with The University of Texas at Austin, UT’s Dell Medical School and community partners to provide healthy food for Central Texans during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Through its new Spirit Food Fund, The Spirit Golf Association is working to raise $250,000 for the Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative, an emergency grocery delivery service supporting people who are 55 and older or who have underlying health conditions. The initiative is a collaboration between Good Apple, a produce delivery company run by UT students, Dell Medical School and other local partners. The Cullen Trust for Higher Education kicked off the campaign with a $100,000 gift. So far, Stay Home, Stay Healthy has served more than 16,000 people, and when fully funded, the Spirit Food Fund campaign will make an additional 25,000 food care packages possible for people in need.

Stay Home, Stay Healthy has served more than 16,000 people, and when fully funded, the Spirit Food Fund campaign will make an additional 25,000 food care packages possible for people in need.
Gifts to the Spirit Food Fund will help at-risk adults stay safe by avoiding crowded grocery stores and food pantries and will help create jobs for workers affected by the pandemic. The Spirit Food Fund is one of many food-insecurity initiatives that The Spirit Golf Association is launching to feed people throughout the state during the pandemic.

“The history of The University of Texas at Austin — and Texas itself — is defined by service, selflessness and a spirit of shared humanity,” said UT interim President Jay Hartzell. “By helping community members in need, The Spirit Golf Association and our donors, students and faculty members embody how Texans support each other in times of crisis. Like many, I wish I were better at golf but enjoy the sport because it brings people together. I’m grateful to The Spirit Golf Association for their vision and drive to help bring us together once again, as golfers do, during this challenging point in our history.”

The Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative began March 26 after Dell Medical student Zack Timmons and classmates, the McCombs School of Business and other UT Austin schools realized that they could adapt the Good Apple model to serve people experiencing food insecurity because of the pandemic. They then connected with Dell Medical School, Hope Food Pantry Austin, the Austin Transportation Department, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Gundermann Acres and G and S Groves to assist with food sourcing, delivery and strategy.

“What gets me most excited is that, no matter the ZIP code, people can have fresh, local food delivered directly to their door,” Timmons said. “We couldn’t do what we do without our supporters.”

Good Apple was founded by Timmons and Dr. Michael Hole, an assistant professor at Dell Medical School and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. For each subscriber who purchases a box of local organic produce, Good Apple supplies a free box to a family in need. The idea for Good Apple came while Timmons was Hole’s student in an LBJ School course on entrepreneurship for civic impact called Solutions for America’s Children in Poverty. Good Apple was developed through the new innovation hub Financial Health Studios, a collaboration between Dell Medical and the LBJ School that seeks to improve the physical and mental health of people with low and moderate incomes.

Those who wish to help feed neighbors in need can give to the Spirit Food Fund.

Angelo State Honors Graduate Baxter Krug Wins Fellowship Honor

Baxter Krug, Class of 2020

Baxter Krug of De Leon, who graduated through the Angelo State University Honors Program in May with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, has been selected for the 2020 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Teaching Fellowship program in Pennsylvania.

Only 28 individuals nationwide were selected for the highly competitive program that recruits recent college graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM fields – and prepares them specifically to teach in high-need Pennsylvania secondary schools.

Krug and the other Fellows will each receive $32,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a year-long classroom experience, including the current remote and virtual learning arrangements. Krug is one of 10 Fellows who recently began their programs at West Chester University. The rest of the Fellows started their programs at Duquesne University or University of Pennsylvania.

In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in high-need Pennsylvania schools. Throughout the three-year commitment as a teacher of record at a public school, Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.

“The WW Teaching Fellowship connects passionate STEM experts with the students who need them the most,” said WW Foundation President Rajiv Vinnakota. “Not only will the program prepare each Fellow to be an excellent educator, it will also give them the practice, support and network of peers needed to succeed throughout their careers in the classroom. And for our university partners, the Fellowship supports their continued efforts to recruit, prepare, and mentor STEM teachers in the high-need schools that need them most.”

At ASU, Krug was heavily involved in chemistry research, which he presented at Great Plains Honors Council, National Collegiate Honors Council and American Chemical Society (ACS) conferences. He was a member of ASU’s award-winning student chapter of ACS and represented ASU at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 25th Conference of Parties in Santiago, Chile. He was also a presenter on ASU’s Ram Radio internet radio station, was inducted into the Alpha Chi national honor society, and graduated magna cum laude.

Dallas Police Seeking Information in July 31 Shooting

On Friday, July 31, 2020, at approximately 5:06 p.m., Dallas police responded to 3200 N. Buckner Boulevard regarding a shooting call. Upon arrival, officers observed a white Mercury Grand Marquis, with several bullet holes, stationary in the northbound lanes on North Bucker.

Officers found the victim, Willie Earl Wright, a 28-year old Black male, sitting in the driver’s seat unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds. Dallas Fire-Rescue transported the victim to an area hospital, where he remains on life support.

The Dallas Police Department asks for the public’s assistance regarding this offense and is encouraging anyone with information to contact Detective Jeffrey Loeb at 214-671-3702 or via email: Jeffrey.loeb@dallascityhall.com. Please refer to case #134130-2020.