The nation woke up to the news that longtime Congressman Elijah Cummings, a prominent civil rights advocate from Baltimore and a leader in the Democratic party, passed away overnight. Read more below.
Thousands of public school teachers have gone on strike in the nation’s third-largest city of Chicago.
And a powerful Nor’easter slammed several states overnight, causing widespread power outages.
Here’s what you need to know in the daily roundup.
TOP STORY: Civil Rights Advocate & Longtime Congressman Elijah Cummings Passed Away Early This Morning
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland passed away early on the morning of October 17, 2019. According to a statement from his office, he died due to “complications concerning longstanding health challenges” at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The congressman had undergone an unspecified medical procedure and had not returned to work this week. Rep. Cummings had heart surgery in 2017 and was hospitalized in early 2018 for a bacterial infection.
Rep. Cummings was a civil rights advocate and began his career as an attorney in his hometown of Baltimore. According to the Congressional Black Caucus, Cummings’ fight for equality began at a young age. When he was just 11, he helped to integrate a public pool “while being attacked with bottles and rocks.”
Rep. Cummings served in Maryland’s House of Delegates for 13 years. His congressional bio notes that Cummings was the “first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.” He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996.
At the time of his death, Rep. Cummings was the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and served as a central figure in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. He and the president had a contentious relationship and Rep. Cummings came under fire from the commander-in-chief for criticizing his policy decisions. For example, Rep. Cummings called the White House “inhumane” for separating children from their parents at the border. In July of 2019, President Trump lashed out at Rep. Cummings on Twitter, calling his district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and that conditions there were far worse than on the southern border. Rep. Cummings responded, “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
Rep. Cummings’ wife, Maya Rockeymoore, the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, described her husband as an “honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.” She added that he had “worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity.”
Rep. Cummings also leaves behind three adult children.
WHAT’S BUZZING THAT HAS EVERYONE TALKING: Chicago Teachers Go On Strike
Approximately 360,000 public school students in Chicago have been impacted by a massive city-wide strike. The Chicago Teachers Union announced early this morning that 25,000 public school teachers were going on strike and would be picketing in front of school buildings today.
The strike comes amid ongoing contract disputes. The union has said that class sizes are too large and that enforceable limits need to be implemented. They’ve also demanded additional funding for support staff such as nurses, counselors, and librarians.
The union has asked for a 15 percent pay raise over three years and additional paid time for classroom prep. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has denied the request for additional prep time that could cut into instruction hours, according to ABC Chicago. As for pay, the city has offered a 16 percent raise over the next five years.
During the strike, students are permitted inside public school buildings, according to USA Today. Community organizations such as the YMCA also offer services when schools aren’t in session. The school strike could have an immediate impact on the health of tens of thousands of children. CNN reports that about 3 in 4 public school students in Chicago receive free or reduced-cost lunch.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Nor’easter Leaves Half a Million Customers In the Dark
Communities across the northeastern portion of the United States were hit by powerful storms overnight. The Weather Channel reports that wind gusts reached 90 miles per hour and heavy rain prompted dangerous flooding in some areas.
The nor’easter has caused power outages across Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. More than 500,000 customers woke up without electricity. Fire Capt. Rob Reardon of Duxbury, Massachusetts told ABC News that emergency crews were struggling to respond to calls due to downed trees and wires blocking the roads.
Some areas of upstate New York have received up to five inches of rain. Meteorologists say the rain is expected to continue today in New England, as well as in parts of Pennsylvania and New York. High winds warnings have also been issued for Maine, New York, New Jersey, and southern Delaware.
DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP
- California is launching the nation’s first statewide earthquake early warning system today.
- Police say Cameron Ely, the son of “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely, killed his mother, Valerie Lundeen Ely, at their home before he was shot and killed by officers.
- Shankar Hangud is accused of in a quadruple murder in northern California. Officials say he walked into a police department and confessed.
- President Trump’s letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is raising eyebrows. Read it here.
- Investigative reporter Ronan Farrow is engaged to longtime partner Jon Lovett, the co-founder of Crooked Media.
CHECK THIS OUT
There is a real house located in Malibu that was designed to look like the plastic “Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse” that many of us played with as children. And it will soon be available to rent on Airbnb for $60 per night.
Booking opens on October 23 and the house is available for a two-night stay from October 27-29. On the posting, Airbnb notes that the company will make a donation to a charity involved with the Barbie Dream Gap Project to celebrate the listing.
2019 marks 60 years since Barbie’s debut.
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