News You Should Know

ICYMI: Fact-Checking Rick Scott on National Debt Issue, MSD Commission Discusses Emergency Dispatch System

Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News

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Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:

PolitiFact: Rick Scott Blames Democrats for Expanding the Debt. But It Was a Bipartisan Feat

The U.S. is again facing a reckoning on the size of the national debt, which is approaching its legal limit. Without an increase in the debt ceiling, the country will not be able to borrow money to cover its bills. That would affect Social Security recipients, veterans and the people, banks and foreign nations that hold U.S. Treasury bonds.

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott said it should be up to Democrats to solve this problem on their own.

"We won’t vote to bail them out and cut them more blank checks to bury us in debt," Scott wrote Sept. 23 in the Orlando Sentinel. "Democrats are responsible for the massive spending and debt growth, they alone need to take responsibility for raising the debt limit."

Are Democrats alone responsible for the growth in the debt?

No. It has been a decades-long, bipartisan effort.

Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and the owner of NBC 6, is looking to help minority-owned small businesses through their Comcast RISE grant program. NBC 6's Marcine Joseph reports

Comcast Looking to Invest in Minority Businesses Through Grant Program

Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and the owner of NBC 6, is looking to help minority-owned small businesses through their Comcast RISE grant program.

Natalia Morales is the owner of Lollipaws Grooming Services. She told NBC 6 she opened her shop on Commerical Boulevard and Bayview Drive right before the pandemic and thought she wasn’t going to make it.

“It hit me but I decide not to close down because you know bills can’t wait," Morales said.

Small businesses, especially those run by people of color, have struggled.

Early on in the pandemic, the number of active Black-owned businesses declined by 41%, Hispanic-owned businesses by 32%, and Asian-owned businesses dropped by 25%.

Morales says her business is just starting to pick up.

NBC 6's Julia Bagg spoke with the woman who broke barriers for hundreds of future female officers just like her as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Miami-Dade's First Female Cuban Police Officer Broke Barriers in Career

She was a local pioneer in uniform in a career of firsts.

“I was the first Hispanic female Sergeant, first Hispanic female lieutenant, first Hispanic female captain, first Hispanic female major," said retired Maj. Grace O'Donnell.

When O'Donnell was hired by the department in 1974, her bosses could not find another police department in the United States with a Cuban-born woman officer on staff.

“There were no other Latin females so in the beginning, I used a lot in translations and stuff but still you had to go out and work on the road like everybody else,” she said.

O'Donnell lived with her parents when she started her police career at the age of 20 - and still had a curfew.

"I think it was 11, I had to be home by 11 p.m.," she said with a laugh.

Female officers did not even wear pants when she was hired and did not even get the same weapons.

MSD's safety commission met again over an emergency dispatch system. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports

MSD Commission Wants to Know: Why Isn't Dispatch System Fixed Yet?

Three years later, and there are still emergency dispatch issues in Broward County. 

That topic dominated discussion Tuesday at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission meeting in Sunrise. The police response to the mass shooting was slower than it should have been, and the Commission told Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry there were several factors at play, and one of them has not been fixed. 

“Communications was one of those failures and you own that, you all own that, so if I had a question, it would be how many more people have to die before you and the other adults get in a room and fix this?” said Commission member Rick Swearingen to Henry as she testified. 

For example, if you call 911 on your cell phone in Parkland, the call goes to the Coral Springs Police Department, which then has to transfer the call to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, creating a delay. 

“This is one of the issues, the reason I moved from Broward, I’ve lost one loved one here and I’m not gonna lose another one,” said Ryan Petty, a Commission member who lost his daughter in the tragedy. “Until this is fixed, the citizens of Broward County are at risk.”

Miami Police came with a huge show of support for a boy who is fighting cancer. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports

To Protect and Serve and Inspire: Cops Raise Spirits of Cancer-Stricken Boy

Sometimes police officers save people from criminals. Thursday, they may have helped save a family from despair.

Six-year-old Jacob Schwartz has osteosarcoma. The cancer of the bone has already claimed one of his legs. 

“Osteosarcoma is infamous for taking a child piece by piece, usually you lose a limb as Jacob did,” said Helen Schwartz, Jacob’s mom. 

“Honestly, it’s been so inspiring, so beautiful, I never met such a kid who has such a bright light in him, he’s positive literally every single day despite the circumstances, so it’s really changed my perspective on things,” said Jacob’s kindergarten teacher, Allie Webb.

Thursday was Jacob’s last day at school before his next major surgery Friday at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. So the Miami Police Department gave him a surprise send-off, with a dozen motormen providing the roaring engines, and four mounted officers showing off their horses. 

iAM ABLE helps close the gap between traditional therapy and specialized therapy for those with spinal injuries and paralysis. NBC 6's Amanda Plasencia reports

South Florida Man Changing Landscape of Spinal Cord Injury Therapy

“It was the second day into my honeymoon and I went to go swim. Just walking into the water, I kind of dove forward to get wet a little quicker and the bottom shallowed out, and I dove into a sandbank and I broke my neck and immediately I was paralyzed,” Iglesias said.

Iglesias was left with limited mobility from his neck down and is now in a wheelchair unable to walk. He says it was physically and mentally tough to accept at first, but he shifted his focus on what he could do and started iAM ABLE.

“I found the need here in South Florida, and I decided to open up iAM ABLE and create our project and make lemonade out of my lemons and just help individuals who are struggling through this transition,” said Iglesias. 

By using the experience of what he went through, Iglesias created iAM ABLE as a one-stop shop to close the gap between traditional therapy and specialized therapy for those with spinal injuries and paralysis. 

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