Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Is Completely In The Dark After Hurricane Maria, According To Emergency Officials

The Caribbean islands are reeling after being battered by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria. The destruction in St. Martin, Dominica and Barbuda among many, has been catastrophic. Hurricane Maria, the most recent hurricane to hit the Caribbean, grew stronger as it prepared to collide with Puerto Rico and did some of the worst damage in the U.S. commonwealth’s history. According to the BBC, all of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants, some 3.5 million people, will be sitting in the dark for the foreseeable future after Maria ripped through the island, wreaking havoc along its path.

The storm reached Category 5 status just before making landfall on the eastern side of the island in Yabucoa, where it descended to a Category 4 and pummeled the island with 155mph winds. Maria reverted back down to a Category 3 as it pulled across land, with winds of up to 115mph leaving behind downed power lines and a power grid that is in severe need of repair.

“We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” said Governor Ricardo Rosselló in an address to the people of Puerto Rico.

Here’s the eye of Hurricane Maria (around noon EST today) as it departed the island between the coasts of Barceloneta and Arecibo. The island isn’t out of the clear yet, however.

Credit: NOAA / El Nuevo Día

According to El Nuevo Día, while the worst may be over, the tail of the hurricane is still very dangerous and people should take heed.

This video shows the path the hurricane took as it went up to a Category 5 and back down to a Category 4 as it struck the island’s Eastern coast.

Maria brought 155 mph winds and 25 inches of rain.

Several people took to social media to show the damage Hurricane Maria has wrought on Puerto Rico.

The flooding was extremely powerful.

The whole island is currently without power.

Previous reports stated that hurricane-related power outages could last up to six months.

The Red Cross has set up dozens of shelters across the island.

Some seeking refuge had never done so in their lives, even though Hurricane Irma had passed through several days before.

Once Maria landed, the hurricane was relentless.

Even with calls coming in for rescue, it was too dangerous for the police to go out and brave the storm.

Barricades weren’t enough to keep doors and windows from being blown away.

Governor Rossello is asking for the island to be declared a disaster zone for immediate relief and support.

San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, fought back tears as she discussed the destruction she witnessed.

As of now, there is a curfew in place to keep non-essential responders off the streets and roads to make rescue operations more effective.

The non-profit group Center for Popular Democracy has set up the #MariaFund to help raise funds to support low-income communities impacted most by the hurricane.

Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico and all those affected by this devastating hurricane season.


[H/T] BBC

READ: Puerto Rico Is On The Brink Of Financial Ruin, So It’s Shutting Down A Record Number Of Public Schools


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Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Entertainment

Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Prediction: You will want to check out Walter Mercado’s house in Puerto Rico, and maybe even buy it up and call it home. And what perfect timing, because the stars have aligned to bring you his Puerto Rico pad at an unbeatable price.

That’s right! Walter Mercado’s home in San Juan is up for sale!

Located in an “exclusive area” of San Juan, according to the property listing, the six-bedroom, five-bathroom estate is on sale for just $395,000.

Since you likely won’t fly to San Juan right now (thanks, COVID), you can check out the flamboyant cape aficionados sweet, two story tropical oasis on Realtor.com.

The listing photos show the home’s vibrant interior, which appears in the documentary, with yellow, red and green walls. The first floor boasts a large living room, kitchen and dining room. Tile-work leads up the stairs to the second level, where there’s yet another living room, dining room and a smaller kitchen — plus two balconies.

Outside, there’s a pool area with a gazebo and a patio, as well as a covered carport for at least four cars.

The home seems to be having trouble finding a buyer.

The estate originally hit the market for $495,000 in September 2020 but with no buyer in the cards, it then had its price slashed to $430,000 in December, according to Realtor.com. It’s now asking just $395,000.

Mercado already sold his Miami property in 2017 to cover financial difficulties.

While in Miami, Mercado maintained an apartment at The Grand in downtown for many years until 2017 when he decamped part time to New York.

Many in his family had hoped to turn his Puerto Rico home into a museum to the late icon, but due to zoning issues the family decided the best step forward was to list the home for sale. Regarding Mercado’s belongings that were contained within the home (so many of which we came to see in the Netflix documentary), one of his nieces told Pledge Times, that though family members have each kept some items, many were given to the Miami History Museum, and some items will go to Mexico. However, his cape with the Puerto Rican flag is being sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

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Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

Entertainment

Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

As you probably know by now, a new season of the never-ending reality series “The Bachelor” has just started.

And this season is destined to be especially exciting–not just because of the promise of non-stop drama, but because the franchise has finally hired its first Black male lead, Matt James, after 18 years on the air.

And with the first Black “Bachelor” comes the most diverse group of contestants competing for the lead’s heart that they’ve ever had.

And one of the contestants that is capturing the hearts of both fans and Matt James alike is 24-year-old Puerto Rican-born pageant queen Mariela “Mari” Pepin.

On this season’s premiere episode of “The Bachelor”, Mari was immediately clocked by viewers as one of the front runners by the way that Matt reacted to meeting her. The former Wake Forest wide receiver was struck speechless by her beauty and couldn’t keep his eyes off her when she parted ways with him. It was obvious that Mari had made quite the first impression on him.

And because we love to see #representation on screen (and especially on reality TV), we decided to do our due diligence and find out as much as we could about this gorgeous and accomplished Latina. Here’s everything you need to know about Mari Pepin.

She’s Boricua–and proud of it!

Something that immediately endeared Mari to fans was the fact that she is so vocally proud of being Puerto Rican. In her first sit-down conversation with Matt, she opened up about how hard its been for her family to live through the relentless natural disasters that the island is going through.

She’s a military brat.

According to Mari’s personal blog, she spent the first few years of her life in PR before relocating to Germany because of her father’s military career. According to Mari, her unique childhood contributed to her love of traveling as an adult.

She was 2019’s Miss Maryland USA.

According to Mari’s official “Bachelor” bio, she began competing in pageants when she moved to Maryland as a teenager. She won Miss Teen Maryland and then went on to win the title of Miss Maryland. After that, she placed in the Top 10 of the Miss USA competition.

She’s wicked smart.

According to Mari’s LinkedIn page, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Towson University and she’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing Intelligence from the same institution. It’s safe to say she values education.

She’s multilingual.

Not only does Mari speak both Spanish and English flawlessly, but she’s also fluent in French and American Sign Language.

Based on all this info alone, we can’t wait to see Mari Pepin crush this season of “The Bachelor”. Hopefully, this Boricua beauty will be popping up a lot on our screens for years to come!

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