By Melissa Wuske
Plumbers Help Flint
More than 300 union plumbers from across Michigan went to Flint to install water filters free of charge because of the mounting water crisis that has left the city’s residents with lead-poisoned tap water. Harold Harrington, a union leader in Flint, said, “We did not cause this American tragedy in Flint. But we certainly can help correct the damage that has been done!” Plumbers in Flint have been going door to door to make sure residents have faucets that can accommodate filters, and with the help of their union mates from across the state, hundreds if not thousands of residents will have access to safe water in their homes.
FBI Follows Man Plotting Against a Church
Khalil Abu-Rayyan, a 21-year-old from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, first got on the FBI’s radar because of social media posts supporting ISIS and violence. They’ve been following his online and offline activities. Last fall the FBI got closer to Abu-Rayyan; an undercover FBI agent talked to him for weeks, finding out more about the man’s plans.
Abu-Rayyan’s most shocking goal was to target a megachurch near his work. “It’s easy and a lot of people go there,” he explained to the undercover agent. “Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus it would make the news. Everyone would’ve heard. Honestly, I regret not doing it. If I can’t do jihad in the Middle East, I would do my jihad over here.” His plan was thwarted when his father found the guns and ammunition and turned his son in.
Situations like this highlight the threat of terrorism, but also the FBI and community responses that work toward safety. Majed Moughni, an attorney in Dearborn who works with Arab Americans, explains the community’s response: “Muslim Americans are working with law enforcement to stamp out threats to our community.” Because of the wide use of social media by ISIS and other terrorist group supporters, Twitter recently suspended more than 125,000 accounts with threatening activity.
Museum on the Ocean Floor
There’s a new must-see travel destination for anyone who loves snorkeling and art—The Atlantic Museum, which is located on the seafloor in Las Coloradas bay, Spain. Jason deCaires Taylor created sculptures from environmentally friendly concrete. Over time the sculptures will become part of the coral reef, as the creatures that build reefs make themselves at home on the sculptures. One sculpture is of 35 people walking on the ocean floor; another is a couple taking an underwater selfie. deCaires Taylor has also created seafloor sculptures in the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Antilles.
The Internet Divide
There used to be a great divide in Internet access: middle- and high-income families had it, on average, but low-income families did not. A new survey shows that while most families now have the Internet, regardless of income level, many lower-income families fall short of the full advantages that higher-income families have—high speed connection on multiple devices.
Around 33 percent of families below poverty level only have Internet access through mobile devices and 8 percent have no access at all. Low-income families are also more likely to be affected by data limits and service shutoffs due to nonpayment. While Internet access can be seen as a luxury, today it’s critical for children to get the most out of their education. Having access also impacts adults’ ability to find jobs, medical information, banking, and home loan information.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).