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The Spill: Water Tower for Sale? Sold!

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A New Owner for the Water Tower?

The City of Brooksville, Florida, accidentally sold its municipal water tower last week. Bobby Read, a local businessman, bought the land where the tank sits. He had the idea of building a fitness gym. Even Read had no idea what was included in the purchase until he asked the county for an official address. When he arrived, Read found out he now owned the water tower that supplied 8,500 residents with tap water.

Water towers work on the principle of hydrostatic pressure: Water pipes are raised high off the ground. Then, as gravity forces the water down, the pressure increases and carries the water into peoples’ homes.

The whole situation annoyed nearly everyone in the county and town government, and all sides refused to take the blame. “I don’t know where the blame falls here,” was council member Blake Bell’s response. “We’re council members, and we rely on the city manager.”

Mark Kutney, the city manager, had some words for his defense: “We’re human,” he said, and “sometimes we make a mistake.”

Brooksville Mayor Pat Brayton is asking everyone to calm down – as the crisis has been averted: “It’s all taken care of now. We’re all good. We just need to be darned sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Puerto Rico in the Dark

Power blackouts in Puerto Rico have people demanding answers. Not long after a power blackout just days ago, complaints have grown about unreliable electric services.

Luma Energy company blames an explosion at one of its substations for the blackout that left more than 337,000 customers in the dark. Customers are now throwing out food, medicines, and supplies that were left too long without refrigeration.

The power company also claimed it was targeted by a cyber attack.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico doesn’t have a full member in Congress, unlike the 50 states. Instead, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón represents people of the island. She promised to get to the bottom of the grid problems for the people. She is demanding the U.S. federal government investigate the events, saying, “They hurt the people, who are the ones who suffer.”

Luma Energy is a company that began working on the Caribbean Island on June 1. So far, no one seems happy about it. The company is owned by a partnership between two companies from Canada and Texas. They hold a 15-year contract to provide power to around 1.5 million people.

The problems have increased talk about statehood for the territory. It is just one of the issues driving the push for Puerto Rico to become the 51st U.S. state.

Biden and Putin Have a Sit-Down

Joe Biden (left) and Vladimir Putin (right)

Presidents Joe Biden of the U.S. and Vladimir Putin of Russia finally had a face-to-face talk. The two met in Geneva, Switzerland, to talk shop as world leaders.

Both the White House and Kremlin had said they didn’t think there would be much progress. They weren’t wrong. The talks lasted a short three hours, and the White House claimed the two just ran out of things to discuss. Mr. Putin said of the meeting: “It certainly doesn’t imply that we looked into each other’s eyes and found a soul or swore eternal friendship.”

They talked about a few issues, including the recent cyberattacks on the United States. Putin dismissed claims that Russia has been behind the hacks, saying, “Most of the cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the cyber realm of the United States.”

It appears the presidents finished their one-on-one summit as they began – with vast differences of opinion.

Speaking to reporters, Biden concluded: “What is going to happen next is we are going to be able to look back, look ahead in three to six months and say ‘Did the things we agreed to sit down and try to work out, did it work?’”

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