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Help for Oct. 24th tornado survivors available Monday

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Help for Oct. 24th tornado survivors available Monday

ST. LOUIS – For the third time since devastating tornados struck communities south of the St. Louis area, a multi-agency resource center will be available for storm survivors needing assistance.  

The help will be available at Trinity Baptist Church in St. Mary on Nov. 8 from 4-8 p.m. The church is located at 500 Mulberry Street. 

Tornadoes tore a destructive path through several communities on Oct. 24. Two previous resource center operations have helped 330 storm survivors.  

The American Red Cross is one of the agencies involved with the resource center. Government, nonprofit, and religious organizations have all assisted.  

“We want to make sure that people aren’t forgotten if they do need those resources,” Red Cross communications director Joe Zydlo said.   

Trinity Baptist Church has already provided hundreds of meals to victims.   

“Now comes the time when people are going to be picking through things and trying to get their houses repaired,” Pastor Ed Carter said.  

He said volunteers have come from as far away as Alabama to help victims. Some residents are overwhelmed by the support. 

“You don’t realize it until something like this happens to you,” St. Mary resident Henry Pinkley said.    

Assistance available Monday includes gift cards. Childcare will be provided. Anyone seeking help is asked to provide proof of address.  Face coverings will also be required and will be available for anyone who does not have one.  

Residents unable to attend can call 1-800-Red-Cross or go to the organization’s website for more information.   

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Legislature promises more testing, better masks and vaccination efforts in $55 million coronavirus response bill

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Howie Carr: Massachusetts hacks enjoy end-of-year shakedown bonanza

Lawmakers have promised to “swiftly” pass a $55 million bill for expanded coronavirus testing, youth vaccination education efforts and higher-quality masks for schools and send it to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk as early as next week.

“Today, … we (are) increasing the availability of rapid testing sites, increasing access to high quality masks for students and teachers and supporting vaccine equity efforts to ensure we can continue to carefully navigate the coming months,” Ways and Means Committee co-chairmen Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, D-Boston, said in a joint statement.

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Rachael Rollins, FBI special agent meet with Massachusetts Jewish community after synagogue hostage crisis, security trainings highlighted

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Rachael Rollins, FBI special agent meet with Massachusetts Jewish community after synagogue hostage crisis, security trainings highlighted

The Texas synagogue hostage crisis hit home for Jewish communities all across the world over the weekend, including for Bay State Jewish people who heard from the FBI and U.S. Attorney on Tuesday in the wake of the horrifying incident.

After the Texas rabbi said security trainings helped him survive the hostage nightmare, many speakers during Tuesday’s community briefing highlighted the importance of trainings for houses of worship.

The rabbi threw a chair at the terrorist, providing cover for other congregants to run out. He was also able to run away and escape.

“It sounds basic but it’s really important, and this is what we do when we conduct training…practice these kinds of drills,” said Jeremy Yamin, director of security and operations for Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

More than 1,400 people registered for the local community briefing on Tuesday.

Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston field office, also touted the trainings for protecting houses of worship.

“Please don’t hesitate if you’d be interested in these kinds of threat briefings, not just on protecting houses of worship but also active shooter-related presentations,” he said.

“We’re here,” Bonavolonta added to the attendees. “And there’s no current threat information at all — that we have any knowledge of — that is currently being levied against any houses of worship within the Jewish community, and if we did, you and your community leaders would be the first to know it.”

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Boston officials ‘cautiously optimistic’ about coronavirus as new testing clinics open

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Boston officials ‘cautiously optimistic’ about coronavirus as new testing clinics open

Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration is rolling out three new coronavirus testing facilities as officials say they’re “cautiously optimistic” about the direction the omicron-variant-driven surge is now taking.

Wu spoke to reporters in a room of the Bolling building in Roxbury’s Nubian Square where the city is partnering with CIC Health to open what she called a “high-capacity” testing clinic, one of three to start up this week in the city.

The school administration building’s large corner storefront — which is slated to become a jazz club this year — will be open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. for walk-in COVID tests, with people either able to wait in line or get a card that features a designated time to come back and slide right in. Wu touted the fact that 20 testers will be able to each test one person every three minutes when the place is fully up and running.

This — plus soon-to-come sites in Dorchester and Mattapan, and possibly more elsewhere — is aimed at increasing capacity and cutting down on wait times that boomed along with the current omicron surge.

Wu also announced she’ll be asking the city council to send over $5 million of the federal relief American Rescue Plan Act funding to refuel the city’s small business fund, which has existed for the past couple of years to help local establishments get through the pandemic.

Boston Police Health Commission Executive Director Dr. Bisola Ojikutu — then echoed by Wu — said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about the city’s coronavirus numbers. She said the still-high case counts, positivity rates and emergency-room visits are all dropping. Hospitalizations, which throughout the pandemic have lagged those other metrics by a couple of weeks, do continue to climb, she noted.

This comes just after Wu’s vaccination mandates kicked in on Saturday. Now city workers are required to get the shot or face discipline as soon as next week, and restaurants and other venues are required to ask patrons for proof of vaccination.

The officials said more than 81% of Bostonians now have gotten the vaccine, with many coming in the past week, and more than 1,000 city workers also got the jab since last Monday, bringing compliance up to 95%, according to the city.

Wu, doing a radio hit on GBH just a few minutes after the presser, said, “Vaccination rates across the city have been really jumping in the past week.”

Asked in the press conference if she has contingency plans for if the city has to put large numbers of workers on leave, Wu said, “Far more of our city workforce has been out because of COVID positivity than we anticipate when it comes to a lack of vaccinations.”

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