Suicide Rates in U.S. Increasing; Trump Administration Makes Deal With China’s ZTE; Chip and Joanna of “Fixer Upper” Fined $40,000; Man Detained by ICE After Delivering Pizza to Army Base; Guatemala Volcano Updates; Deaf People Impacted; Calvin Young of Seek the World Raises $13,622 From Deaf Community For Van Repairs
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, June 7. Ready for news?
Suicide Rates in U.S. Increasing
Suicide rates has been rising in the U.S. in the past 20 years in almost all states, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In 2016, almost 45,000 people committed suicide. It is considered a major public health issue.
States with the most severe rates are Vermont, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico.
Guns was the most common method of suicide, used in almost half of the deaths.
Half of the suicides were without warning — by people who didn’t have known mental health issues. They had other problems with relationships, used drugs, had health issues, job or financial problems, or various crises.
The CDC thinks this can be improved by having better access to housing, teaching people from early in life on how to cope and solve problems, and less access to “lethal means” which may include guns or other methods to kill oneself.
Researchers say people often quickly make the decision to attempt suicide, in an impulsive way, so they point out if it is harder to access the means of suicide, it can give people time to get intervention and help.
Here’s a reminder that if you or someone you know are considering suicide, you can reach out for help by texting the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. You can also reach out to a mental health professional or to someone you know.
Trump Administration Makes Deal With China’s ZTE
The Trump administration announced a deal with Chinese phone maker ZTE for them to pay a $1 billion penalty with the U.S. ending their sanctions against them.
Here’s some background. In April, the Trump administration banned U.S. companies from selling parts to ZTE for seven years because they were caught in 2017 shipping equipment to Iran and North Korea, in violation of U.S. sanctions, and the U.S. said they didn’t do enough to discipline their leadership team.
Also, some considered ZTE to be a national security threat, due to concerns of their phones being used to spy on Americans.
This ban hurt ZTE, a giant company with about 75,000 employees, with them looking like they would go out of business because they relied on U.S. parts.
But in May, Trump changed his position — he said he was working with Chinese President Xi to help ZTE go back to business to save Chinese jobs, to help the Chinese. This was during their ongoing trade deals.
Now we have this deal for them to pay $1 billion. ZTE is also required to change their leadership team and have a U.S. monitoring team embedded in their company.
With this announcement, there is criticism from various lawmakers who say Trump’s actions with China doesn’t match his tough talk, that he is making China great again and is not protecting America.
Chip and Joanna of “Fixer Upper” Fined $40,000 for Lead Paint Violations
Chip and Joanna Gaines, famous for their HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” was fined $40,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because they were seen on TV mishandling lead paint.
The Gaines’ home-improvement company, Magnolia Homes, will pay this as a settlement with the EPA. They will also do $160,000 worth of lead abatement work in their hometown of Waco, Texas.
The EPA said they violated the “Toxic Substances Act” when they renovated 33 homes built before 1978 by not doing precautions to avoid exposure to lead-based paint and dust on them or workers. The EPA said they didn’t do this, violated the act, and fined them.
If you inhale or ingest lead, it can cause kidney or nerve damage.
Magnolia faced up to $556,000 in fines because of this, but with the settlement that number is reduced to $40,000 along with the other work they have to do.
The popular show is now on its final season.
Man Detained by ICE After Delivering Pizza to Army Base
A man from Ecuador was detained by the ICE after he delivered pizza to an army base in New York City. His name is Pablo Villavicencio and is now separated from his wife, an American citizen, and two daughters.
This happened on June 1 when he went to the base with pizza and showed his IDNYC card, which is a “local” ID card that benefits vulnerable people such as the homeless, elderly, or undocumented immigrants.
The army base said he didn’t have a valid Department of Defense identification and told him to get a daily pass. That led to a background check. A lookup revealed he had an ICE warrant, that he was supposed to leave the U.S. by July 2010, but didn’t — leading to an ICE order for removal. The army base officials turned him over to ICE, and he could be deported next week.
Advocates for Pablo said it doesn’t make sense — it doesn’t make NYC safer and that this would have negatively affect his wife and daughters. There were rallies and protests to support him.
Pablo’s wife said he applied for a green card in February and it is pending. Pablo said he was treated like a criminal and that it is a nightmare.
Guatemala Volcano Updates; Deaf People Impacted
In Guatemala, the death toll from the Sunday volcano eruption has increased to 99 people, with about 200 people missing and feared dead.
I reached out to a Deaf Guatemalan woman, Claudia Tovar, who now lives in California. She said her father is among those who passed away. See her comments.
CT: My father, he passed away. My uncle called me on Sunday at 3 p.m. to tell me this. I was shocked. His home collapsed and burned up. I can’t fly there, I’m stuck, it’s hard. I am sad, upset, and I’ve cried. I have to bear the pain. May Jesus bless him. I helped to support some for him by giving money for his coffin. It costs $500. I did this today.
Alex: Thank you Claudia for sharing, and sorry about your loss.
I was in touch with a Deaf Guatemalan man, Luis Rendon, who runs “Guatemala Deaf Tours.” He will explain his perspective.
LR: I am from Guatemala, in Antigua. The volcano eruption didn’t hit Antigua, but went in the opposite direction. But many people in small villages, poor people and farmers, were impacted. They were not prepared and as they tried to escape, they were overwhelmed by ash that went above their heads and died. It was fast. There aren’t deaf people there, I don’t know. But in Antigua there are deaf people at a school, they are okay. In Guatemala City, there are many deaf people, it’s normal. I’ve tried to look for deaf people. Police and first responders don’t know how to sign or about deaf people. Many families are private and don’t reveal they have deaf family members. You know this. It’s hard. I am waiting for news. They are still looking through the devastation, the ash is piled up above homes. It’s very hard. It’s very hot to walk on. So people have to wait for it to recede before continuing to search.
Thank you, Luis for sharing.
The volcano is still dangerous, as there were recent explosions of hot ash and gases that delayed rescue efforts.
A U.S. military plane brought six children from Guatemala, all burn victims, to a hospital in Texas this morning.
Calvin Young of Seek the World Raises $13,622 From Deaf Community For Van Repairs
Deaf Traveler Calvin Young had a very successful GoFundMe to fix and replace his van’s broken engine with nearly 300 people and organizations donating over $13,600 in a week.
Calvin said the van didn’t belong to him, but is a part of the Deaf community. In his GoFundMe video, he showed how many deaf people from his family, deaf professionals, and students at the Texas School for the Deaf were a part of customizing his van.
He asked for $12,000 in donations, with a $5,000 matching contribution from his sponsor Sorenson VRS, to have a team of Deaf mechanics come from different states to fix/replace the engine, so he could continue visiting Deaf schools and Deaf communities across the U.S.
I asked Calvin what this means to him, and what is coming up next with the van.
CY: My response? I am in awe of the Deaf community’s collaboration and giving back to Seek The World. It means a lot to me. It’s not about the money, but the unity. I believe in the Deaf community learning more about each other. That is my objective and the fundraiser allows me to see the positivity, love, and support. This means so much to me.
Now, what is the next step? Through the fundraising process, with the deaf mechanics, I’ve empowered and encouraged them to take the lead with making decisions. They found an engine yesterday, it will be shipped and arrive next week. Then I will buy plane tickets for mechanics from different states to go to Colorado. On the next day, we’ll do the engine replacement, everything, all day. When it’s done and the engine is running, I’ll take them to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is beautiful there. i want to do this because two of the mechanics have never been to Colorado before. I want them to get a good reward at the end. If there is money left over, I will film something and be open with the community to ask what you want to do with it. When that is determined, we will give the money away, to close the account and get the van back on the road so I get to meet you, the Deaf community. That is my goal and I am excited.
Alex: Thanks, Calvin for sharing, and best of luck on the van and your travels.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!