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The nation in brief Mexico deports gang suspect to U.S.

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | March 17, 2022 at 3:33 a.m.
Town of Surfside, Fla., newly elected Mayor Shlomo Dazinger holds his daughter as he celebrates with supporters after defeating incumbent Mayor Charles W. Burkett, during an election night at the Town Hall, on Tuesday March 15, 2022. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)

Mexico deports gang suspect to U.S.

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico deported a man accused of being the leader of a gang of border hitmen Tuesday, a day after his arrest caused retaliatory shooting and burnings that closed U.S. border crossings and a U.S. consulate.

Ricardo Mejia, Mexico's assistant secretary of public safety, said suspected drug gang leader Juan Gerardo Trevino was in fact a U.S. citizen and not a Mexican, and said he was deported.

After his arrest Sunday, members of Trevino's gang shot up the border city of Nuevo Laredo and even hit the U.S. consulate with gunfire. The consulate was closed until further notice and two U.S. border bridges leading to Laredo, Texas, were briefly closed because of the incident.

Trevino was handed over to U.S. at a border bridge in Tijuana, far to the west of Nuevo Laredo, presumably to avoid attempts to free him.

The Mexican army said he was the leader of an extremely violent and heavily armed gang of cartel gunmen known as "The Troops of Hell."

Threatened colleges eligible for grants

WASHINGTON -- Historically Black colleges and universities victimized by recent bomb threats can apply for federal grants under a program designed to help improve campus security and provide mental health resources, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Wednesday.

Harris said more than 80 anonymous bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities and churches, as well as synagogues and other faith-based and academic institutions, had "brought fear and anxiety to places of peace."

"They have caused classes to be canceled, dorms to be locked down and communities of faith to be kept apart," she said at a White House event. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Homeland Security Deputy Secretary John Tien also participated.

The vice president said historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, where the learning was disrupted by the bomb threats are now eligible for Project School Emergency Response to Violence program grants through the U.S. Education Department.

Awards typically range from $50,000 to $150,000 and the money can be used to hire mental health professionals, improve campus security and provide training for security staff.

At least 36 historically Black colleges and universities, more than one-third of the 101 HBCUs in the United States, have been targeted with bomb threats since January, according to the House Oversight Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on the matter for today.

Much-televised Florida mayor loses vote

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The small-town mayor who became a fixture on national TV last summer after 98 people died in a South Florida beachfront condominium collapse has been voted out of office after a campaign marked by accusations of grandstanding.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett came in third in Tuesday's election, according to the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. Business owner Shlomo Danzinger, who stayed out of the bickering, won with 499 votes. Vice Mayor Tina Paul got 476 votes and Burkett received 466.

Burkett became the face of the 6,000-resident town after the June 24 collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in the once little-known enclave just north of Miami Beach.

Typically dressed in a polo shirt and baseball cap, Burkett visited the site daily during the weekslong search for survivors, meeting with the families of the missing and speaking along with Gov. Ron DeSantis, the county mayor and fire and police officials at internationally televised news conferences.

The 61-year-old owner of an investment and management firm, Burkett served two two-year terms from 2006 to 2010. He lost that year, but won when he reentered local politics in 2020.

The mayor and commissioners each get paid $1 a year. The mayor is a member of the five-member commission and chairs its meetings; Burkett's were often contentious, with one commissioner, Eliana Salzhauer, twice flipping a middle finger at him.

Georgia candidate questions evolution

Herschel Walker, the leading candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia, questioned evolution at an event over the weekend, asking why apes still exist if humans have evolved from them.

Walker made the remark Sunday during an appearance at Sugar Hill Church in Sugar Hill, Ga.

Polls show that Walker, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is the overwhelming favorite in the race for the GOP nomination to face freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., in the fall.

"At one time, science said man came from apes. Did it not?" Walker asked Chuck Allen, lead pastor of Sugar Hill.

"Every time I read or hear that, I think to myself, 'You just didn't read the same Bible I did,'" Allen replied.

Walker continued: "Well, this is what's interesting, though. If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it."

"You know, now you're getting too smart for us, Herschel," Allen responded.

  photo  FILE - Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett speaks to the media regarding the collapse of the 12-story oceanfront condo, Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Surfside residents voted Burkett out of office in a close race. Business owner Shlomo Danzinger won the race with 499 votes, followed by Vice Mayor Tina Paul with 476 votes and Burkett with 466. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP, File)
  photo  FILE - Surfside, Fla., Mayor Charles Burkett, right, joins worshipers, late Saturday, June 26, 2021, during a prayer vigil for the victims and families of the Champlain Towers collapsed building in Surfside, at the nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach, Fla. On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Surfside residents voted Burkett out of office in a close race. Business owner Shlomo Danzinger won the race with 499 votes, followed by Vice Mayor Tina Paul with 476 votes and Burkett with 466. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Print Headline: Threatened colleges eligible for grants Much-televised Florida mayor loses vote Mexico deports gang suspect to U.S. Georgia candidate questions evolution


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