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The Forgotten Americans Of The Virgin Islands Are Still Without Power, But Full Of Hope

The people of the U.S. Virgin Islands are using social media to fend for help. 

As the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria continued to haunt Puerto Rico, Americans on the Virgin Islands have been left with little to no resources.

Over the weekend (Oct. 13), a Twitter account ran by residents of St. John reminded everyone that the island is still without power. "St. John, an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been without power since September 6."

Last month, Hurricane Irma hit St. John Sept. 7 with Maria's wrath arriving 14 days later. Shortly after the storm, 1,200 military personnel were sent to the island.

"When your roof starts to peel away and you are inside there and then your windows start to go and the walls start collapsing when you are in that structure — that is awful. The emotional ride of going through any hurricane is devastating," U.S.V.I. Gov. Kenneth Mapp, told Fox News last month. "You begin to think it is abating and then it comes back more ferocious. You begin to believe your structure is going to hold and in the last two hours it begins to disappear and then water comes through everywhere."

President Donald Trump was expected to meet with Governor Mapp to discuss relief efforts on St. Thomas, but instead spoke to him aboard the assault ship Kearsarge off Puerto Rico. Weeks later, Trump bragged about the Islands while forgetting the 103,000 across the islands were Americans."The Virgin Islands and the President of the Virgin Islands, these are people that are incredible people, they suffered gravely and we're be there, we're going to be there, we have really, it is not even a question of a choice," he flubbed during a Values Voter Summit in Washington last week.

The New York Times reports leaders may remain coy on asking for money because of the $2 billion it owes creditors. “I’m so at a loss right now and really trying to hold it together because we were on the brink before this, in terms of our finances,” Representative Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands delegate to Congress, told The Times. 

Last week, The VI Hurricane and Resiliency Advisory Group was launched to help with the tracking of private donations and a creation of a recovery plan to resuscitate the islands' most important revenue–tourism.

Little has been reported on the well being of the people, but social media has proven to be a safe haven for those on the islands. After @NewsofStJohn's tweet went viral, their blog published several videos that showed ravage on the island.

Commenters between the videos were happy to see the island getting its look back, but residents have more on their minds than flowers finding their roots again.

Facebook groups like St. Croix Maria Check InSt. Croix, 00820 USVI and Government House - US Virgin Islands feature updates on programs, curfews, GoFundMe's and relief programs to help across the islands. Residents are also using their pages to post about goods and and updates for their fellow neighbor.

In an op-ed published with The TimesPeter Bailey shared how neighbors helping neighbors is the best relief the island has gotten since September. "At one point as the storm shrieked, I wondered if the world was ending and we, in America’s sole majority-black territory, were going to have the misfortune of being the first to go," he says in the Oct. 11 piece titled, Has America Forgotten The Virgin Islands?

Bailey speaks of neighbors and his elderly mother using machetes and other tools to help rebuild their home located in Nazareth, St. Thomas.

"My 74-year-old mother, machete in hand, was in her garden clearing brush away from her beloved mango, star fruit and soursop trees. “I’m just happy the rest of the roof remained! God is good!” she called up to me. Her gray Afro made her now look royal," he said. Like many others on the island, Bailey has found comfort through the spirit of his neighbor instead of any FEMA or national guardsmen.

Retired basketball player Tim Duncan made his return to St. Croix a number of times in September, feeding just over 2,000 people. "I wouldn't have wanted any of this to happen," Duncan told Bleacher Report. "But it's been a good thing for me to come here and give back. Without what happened—without the storms—I probably would have just stayed in my little shell. There was no way around it though: Helping had to mean stepping out of my comfort zone."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZG5qpQn2vt/

So what happens now? No one seems to know, but hope and the hand of a friendly neighbor are giving Americans the hope they've begged for from No. 45 and their government. For now, it's a dangerous waiting game with thousands of lives at stake.

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Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick watches a Women's Singles second round match between Naomi Osaka of Japan and Magda Linette of Poland on day four of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City.
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Colin Kaepernick To Suit Up For Workout Invite From NFL

Since 2016, Colin Kaepernick has remained on his toes despite opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. The decision followed a season where he kneeled during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and social and economic injustice.

While keeping in shape for the day an NFL team adds him to a roster, the 32-year-old pro-athlete has shared videos of him training so that he's good to go once that day arrives. Now, it looks like he'll be able to, per his recent tweet. On Saturday (Nov. 16), Kaepernick will attend a private workout with NFL teams in Atlanta. According to ESPN, the details of the workout will include on-field drills, an interview, and other methods to determine Kaepernick's preparedness to return to the league.

"I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday," Kaepernick shared with his 2.2 million Twitter followers. "I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday."

I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019

On Oct. 10, Kaepernick's legal team released a fact sheet to clear the air on his situation. Questions like offers from NFL teams, why he declined re-signing with the 49ers, and if him filing a grievance hindered his standing with the multi-billion dollar league. Per ESPN, the league later outlined in a memo its reason for hosting a workout after conversations with the quarterback's team.

"Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them. We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career."

Colin Kaepernick’s representatives released statements today to clear up some facts surrounding their client: pic.twitter.com/Wo86KTkKDM

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2019

5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019

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Eric B Arrested And Jailed On A 17 Year Old Warrant

Legendary hip-hop musician and actor Eric Barrier, known as Eric B, was released on bail Tuesday after spending more than two weeks in a New Jersey jail after surrendering voluntarily in connection to a warrant issued 17 years ago.

The 56-year-old was in jail since Oct. 28. This stems  from an incident that took place September 2001.

NJ Advance Media reports that Barrier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding on Jan. 28, 2002 for the incident that took place in Ridgefield Park the previous year. After the veteran artists failed to appear in court, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Barrier was released on bail Tuesday. He is due back in court Nov. 22.

According to NJ Advance Media, Barrier’s attorney at the time, Paul Bergrin of Nutley, told him “there was no need to appear on the sentencing date,” Barrier's current attorney Patrick Toscano said in a letter to the court last week.

Years later, in an unrelated case, according to the report, Bergrin himself was convicted of murder, cocaine, trafficking, racketeering and other crimes, for which he is serving six life sentences at a "supermax" federal prison in Colorado.

According to NJ Advance Media, Toscano wrote in a letter to the judge that “Mr. Bergrin told Mr. Barrier that his case was ‘dismissed’ because he was accepted into PTI (pre-trial intervention)" and that Barrier also said he received no notice from the court about his failure to appear.

Toscano described Bergrin's counsel as "flawed, fraudulent, unethical and deceptive, through no fault of Mr. Barrier.” Toscano says that punishing his client would be “draconian and unfair.”

Barrier came back to New Jersey, contacted an attorney about the warrant and has been in the Bergen County Jail since late last month, according to Toscano, who also says he met with Barrier recently and he “was literally at wits end and overcome with anxiety."

Barrier was part of the legendary rap duo Eric B. & Rakim and is currently an actor on the CBS series Blue Bloods.

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David Crotty

John Legend Reacts To Being Named People's ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

John Legend was unveiled as People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” on Tuesday (Nov. 12) and he's admittedly surprised by the honor. Nonetheless, Legend thanked the outlet for recognizing his sex appeal, especially after Idris Elba snagged the title last year.

Legend tweeted a split photo of himself in 1995 next to a current image of Elba along with a caption revealing that his younger self would be “perplexed” by the “Sexiest Man Alive” title. “Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed,” he added. “But thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it.”

1995 John would be very perplexed to be following 2018 @IdrisElba as #SexiestManAlive. Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed but thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it 🤓 pic.twitter.com/Gw1la5Ebv4

— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 13, 2019

Chrissy Teigen also found the humor in her husband’s new title and changed her Twitter bio to “currently sleeping with people’s sexiest man alive.”

The 40-year-old singer EGOT winner (Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Oscar) was “excited but scared” to add his People’s Sexist Man Alive to his list of accolades. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Legend told the magazine. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

On a more serious note, the father of two credited his parents with teaching him humility and kindness, and beamed about his family.

“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career. I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now!”

[email protected] is PEOPLE’s #SexiestManAlive 2019 https://t.co/lxXce6dulv pic.twitter.com/YooHLW3vSM

— People (@people) November 13, 2019

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