Nonprofit organization helps women in need of hygiene products

When Ashley Eubanks saw a homeless woman panhandling, she noticed her clothes were stained with blood.

Eubanks, 30, said she and the woman were about the same age. She knew that she had to help.  

“She was obviously on her menstrual cycle,” Eubanks said. 

When you can’t afford to buy food or a place to stay, tampons and pads become secondary. Eubanks knew that helping the homeless woman was not enough. She wanted to help as many young homeless women as possible, so she recently founded Beauty Initiative Inc.

The Coral Springs-based nonprofit organization’s mission is “to provide free sanitary items to women that are homeless or experiencing financial hardship.” Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Thursday that will help them on their mission, as it will make feminine products tax-free starting January.

Eubanks said so far the organization has collected and donated over 1,300 care bags containing more than 40,000 products, according to Eubanks. She also hopes to donate bags to students in public schools in neighborhoods in need.

Eubanks said the organization has already donated bags to girls at Aspira Middle School, Ramblewood Middle School and Northeast High School.

“No young lady should be turned away and have to miss days of school because of this natural occurrence,” Eubanks said.

For more information on the organization or to donate, click on this link

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Nonprofit organization helps women in need of hygiene products

When Ashley Eubanks saw a homeless woman panhandling, she noticed her clothes were stained with blood.

Eubanks, 30, said she and the woman were about the same age. She knew that she had to help.  

“She was obviously on her menstrual cycle,” Eubanks said. 

When you can’t afford to buy food or a place to stay, tampons and pads become secondary. Eubanks knew that helping the homeless woman was not enough. She wanted to help as many young homeless women as possible, so she recently founded Beauty Initiative Inc.

The Coral Springs-based nonprofit organization’s mission is “to provide free sanitary items to women that are homeless or experiencing financial hardship.” Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Thursday that will help them on their mission, as it will make feminine products tax-free starting January.

Eubanks said so far the organization has collected and donated over 1,300 care bags containing more than 40,000 products, according to Eubanks. She also hopes to donate bags to students in public schools in neighborhoods in need.

Eubanks said the organization has already donated bags to girls at Aspira Middle School, Ramblewood Middle School and Northeast High School.

“No young lady should be turned away and have to miss days of school because of this natural occurrence,” Eubanks said.

For more information on the organization or to donate, click on this link

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1 in custody after lockdown at J.P. Taravella High School

One person has been taken into custody after a fake gun was found Thursday morning at J.P. Taravella High School, police said.

Coral Springs police went classroom to classroom, searching the campus with their guns drawn, as the school was placed on “code red” lockdown.

Sky 10 was above the school as a teenager was escorted by officers and put into the back of a police car.

An email obtained by Local 10 News said police were searching for someone at the school.

Students could be seen huddled together outside. One student told Local 10 News that he was locked inside his classroom.

Local 10 News reporter Sanela Sabovic said a school resource officer received a tip about a gun on campus, prompting the search.

Coral Springs police said no shots were fired and no injuries were reported. 

Parents were advised to pick up their children at the Coral Springs Gymnasium. All students were being bused there.

A student at the school told Sabovic that he was hanging out with friends before class when he saw all the commotion.

“I just ran for my life, basically,” Ayoub Alkhafaji told Sabovic.

“This is insanity,” parent Cassidy Cheriezangwill said of the lockdown.

Cellphone video obtained by Local 10 News showed students running through a hall of the school.

“It’s ridiculous, because these kids come here to get an education, not to get shot,” parent Chrissy Reyes said.

The school district’s parent hotline is 754-321-0725. Parents with questions about their children are asked to call the number for more information.

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Water quality, service become top concerns in Coral Springs

Dyan Harpest had to get creative when a burst pipe meant no water for 12 hours at her Coral Springs restaurant in February.

“I (opened) at 6 in the morning and my employees are telling me there’s no water,” Harpest, the owner of Dyan’s Country Kitchen, said.

To stay open Harpest bought water from a retail source and tried calling her water provider, Royal Utility.

“When I made calls they wouldn’t answer. You couldn’t even leave a message,” she said.

Harpest said there was no official notification she needed to boil water for 48 hours and neighbors say they learned of the boil water order  from hand-painted signs. 

About 4,500 customers in neighborhoods near University Drive all get their water from Royal Utility, which is a private company.

“We pay a lot for the water but we don’t trust the water,” a resident said. “It just doesn’t taste good.”

It’s not just service that consumers are worried about, but water quality.

“There’s been instances where we had to throw out silverware and glasses because the silverware and glasses are stained,” Keith Roberts said.

County records show that in the past five years Royal Utility has had 14 health department violations and been fined $13,000 in violations including for operational problems like a storage tank  improperly connected to a drain for lime sludge.

The company was also fined for not notifying the community of high levels of trihalomethanes–or TTHMS–a contaminant that’s been linked to cancer. It’s the same violation we recently reported on in the city of Pembroke Pines water.

“Having bacteria in my water that I don’t know about is a big deal at my house,” Polly Torres said.

In March the company posted a notice saying the aging system needs major improvements. They had tried unsuccessfully to sell to the city of Coral Springs. and without that sale, the company warned it would need to file for a major rate increase.

Royal Utility owner Jock McCartney gave Local 10 News a look at his facility. 

McCartney was one of the developers of the community and was forced to take over the water utility when the former owners suddenly went bankrupt, threatening his investment.

When asked if he wants to be in the water business, McCartney said he doesn’t.

“Not really,” he said. “But as long as we’re in it we’re going to be doing good quality water.”

McCartney said he takes all customer complaints seriously, but wants the city to step up with an offer to take over.

“So you are willing to negotiate?” Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri said.

“Oh yes, we’ve never gotten to that though,” McCartney answered.  

Coral Springs Vice Mayor Dan Daley said the city won’t put taxpayers on the hook.

“Man something’s not right and we’ve got to make sure we’re keeping an eye on it,” he said.

Daley said beyond any sale price, engineers have estimated millions of dollars in repairs are still lurking below ground.

“So for 20 years not only were they not making improvements but nobody was really checking in on them,” he said.

Neighbors and business owners want to know who’s going to check on them.

And the neighbors feel as if they’re caught in the middle.

“That’s correct and we’d  like to see it right for them and we’d like to see it right for us,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said they have never set a sale price, but a letter from Coral Springs city manager said Royal asked for more than $4 million to sell. The city refused based on the amount of improvements needed and said here have been no further discussions.

“We’re all wondering the next day will we have water, will this happen again,” Harpest said.

 

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Off-duty firefighter won’t face charges in fatal road-rage incident

A Broward Sheriff’s Office firefighter will not face criminal charges after a man died last year in what appeared to be a road-rage incident in Coral Springs, his attorney said Thursday.

Attorney Eric Schwartzreich said his client, Joshua Tullis, was attacked by Paul Peterman last October while he was sitting in his pickup truck.

Cellphone video showed Peterman diving into the truck of the off-duty firefighter, who then stepped on the gas pedal. Moments later, Peterman would be found dead.

According to an autopsy report, the 37-year-old deaf man died as a result of “multiple blunt force injuries.”

According to a closeout memorandum, a medical examiner “could not determine if the injuries to Peterman were caused by being struck by the truck or from striking the ground as he fell from the truck,” Assistant State Attorney Michael Horowitz wrote. 

Tullis claimed that he recorded and followed Peterman because he believed that he was going to cause an accident, Horowitz wrote. Tullis said Peterman opened the door of his truck, grabbed his phone and was clawing at him when Tullis decided to drive away, the memo said.

“It’s terrifying,” Tullis told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden in an exclusive interview. “I mean, a guy jumped in through my window.” 

According to Horowitz’s memo, Tullis said he never looked in his rearview mirror but didn’t believe that he ran over Peterman as he drove away. Horowitz said there was also no evidence of the truck striking or running over Peterman.

“I’m truly sorry for him passing, but I did everything that I could to get away from danger at that time,” Tullis said.

Horowitz concluded that Tullis cannot be charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injury or death if he wasn’t aware what happened.

“While it may be argued that Tullis should have known of the crash based on the circumstances, that argument is speculative and and would not satisfy the required knowledge element,” Horowitz wrote.

Tullis said he’s “overwhelmed with emotion” and feels a sense of relief, not only for himself, but for his wife and three children.

Peterman’s parents issued a statement saying that they were “disappointed” that the law doesn’t allow for prosecutors to charge Tullis.

“The excerpt of the video released to the media by Mr. Tullis does not tell the entire story of what  happened on Oct. 13, 2016,” the statement said, in part. “This incident could have easily had a much different ending, and our son would still be alive, had Mr. Tullis not been following and filming Paul, and if Mr. Tullis had chosen not to stop when Paul pulled off the road, open the window of his vehicle and continue to film Paul.”

Peterman’s parents went on to say that Tullis should have known that he could have been injured when he fell from his truck.

“He also had a moral and ethical responsibility to render aid or should have at least called 911 to report the incident,” Peterman’s parents said of Tullis.

Schwartzreich defended his client’s actions.

“The reason why he didn’t stop that day is because someone dove head first into his car and he was attacked, and he left the zone of danger,” Schwartzreich said.

Peterman’s parents said they are now putting their “faith and trust” in God.

“We pray for all parents who have lost children due to senseless accidents,” they said. “This is a broken world we live in. The only hope is through God and his unconditional love and grace.”

Tullis said he’s also praying for Peterman’s family.

“Our hearts go out to his family,” Tullis said. “My wife and I, we pray for his family, and we’ll continue doing that.”

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