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Marian Robinson, mother of Michelle Obama, dies at 86

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Marian Shields Robinson, the mother of Michelle Obama who moved with the first family to the White House when son-in-law Barack Obama was elected president, has died. She was 86.

Mrs. Robinson’s death was announced by Michelle Obama and other family members in a statement that said “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life.”

She was a widow and lifelong Chicago resident when she moved to the executive mansion in 2009 to help care for granddaughters Malia and Sasha. In her early 70s, Mrs. Robinson initially resisted the idea of starting over in Washington, and Michelle Obama had to enlist her brother, Craig, to help persuade their mother to move.

“There were many good and valid reasons that Michelle raised with me, not the least of which was the opportunity to continue spending time with my granddaughters, Malia and Sasha, and to assist in giving them a sense of normalcy that is a priority for both of their parents, as has been from the time Barack began his political career,” Mrs. Robinson wrote in the foreword to “A Game of Character,” a memoir by her son, formerly the head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University.

“My feeling, however, was that I could visit periodically without actually moving in and still be there for the girls,” she said.

Mrs. Robinson wrote that her son understood why she wanted to stay in Chicago but still used a line of reasoning on her that she often used on him and his sister. He asked her to see the move as a chance to grow and try something new. As a compromise, she agreed to move, at least temporarily.

Granddaughters Malia and Sasha were just 10 and 7, respectively, when the White House became home in 2009. In Chicago, Mrs. Robinson had become almost a surrogate parent to the girls during the 2008 presidential campaign. She retired from her job as a bank secretary to help shuttle them around.

At the White House, Mrs. Robinson provided a reassuring presence for the girls as their parents settled into their new roles, and her lack of Secret Service protection made it possible for her to accompany them to and from school daily without fanfare.

“I would not be who I am today without the steady hand and unconditional love of my mother, Marian Shields Robinson,” Michelle Obama wrote in her 2018 memoir, “Becoming.” “She has always been my rock, allowing me the freedom to be who I am, while never allowing my feet to get too far off the ground. Her boundless love for my girls, and her willingness to put our needs before her own, gave me the comfort and confidence to venture out into the world knowing they were safe and cherished at home.”

Mrs. Robinson gave a few media interviews but never to White House press. Aides guarded her privacy, and, as result, she enjoyed a level of anonymity openly envied by the president and first lady. It allowed her to come and go from the White House as often as she pleased on shopping runs around town, to the president’s box at the Kennedy Center and for trips to Las Vegas or to visit her other grandchildren in Portland, Oregon.

She attended some White House events, including concerts, the annual Easter Egg Roll and National Christmas Tree lighting, and some state dinners.

White House residency also opened up the world to Mrs. Robinson, who had been a widow for nearly 20 years when she moved to a room on the third floor of the White House, one floor above the first family. She had never traveled outside the U.S. until she moved to Washington.

Her first flight out of the country was aboard Air Force One in 2009 when the Obamas visited France. She joined the Obamas on a trip to Russia, Italy and Ghana later that year, during which she got to meet Pope Benedict, tour Rome’s ancient Colosseum and view a former slave-holding compound on the African coast. She also accompanied her daughter and granddaughters on two overseas trips without the president: to South Africa and Botswana in 2011, and China in 2014.

Craig Robinson wrote in the memoir that he and his parents doubted whether his sister’s relationship with Barack Obama would last, though Fraser Robinson III and his wife thought the young lawyer was a worthy suitor for their daughter, also a lawyer. Without explanation, Craig Robinson said his mother gave the relationship six months.

Barack and Michelle Obama were married on Oct. 3, 1992.

One of seven children, Marian Lois Shields Robinson was born in Chicago on July 30, 1937. She attended two years of teaching college, married in 1960 and, as a stay-at-home mom, stressed the importance of education to her children. Both were educated at Ivy League schools, each with a bachelor’s degree from Princeton. Michelle Obama also has a law degree from Harvard.

Fraser Robinson was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department who had multiple sclerosis. He died in 1991.

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Historic Firefighter pay settlement and new contract win city council approval

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Houston City Council has approved a historic pay settlement and a new five-year contract for the 4,000 dedicated men and women of the Houston Fire Department. The vote marks a long-awaited victory for Houston firefighters, ending the disrespect and legal challenges and beginning the process of returning the HFD to a world-class department with adequate staffing and equipment.

“This is a historic day! I urge Houston firefighters and their families to relish this well-deserved victory. For eight long years, you have persevered through immense challenges while continuing to protect and serve our community,” said Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “Today’s vote by City Council is not just a resolution of past grievances; it’s recognition of our sacrifices and a commitment to providing the resources needed to continue serving Houston with dedication and pride.”

Houston City Council stalls vote on Fire Department contract – Houston  Public Media

The settlement includes provisions for back pay owed to firefighters, addressing a contentious issue that has strained labor relations for nearly a decade. The new five-year collective bargaining agreement provides pay hikes, significant improvements in working conditions, enhanced benefits, a renewed focus on recruitment and retention, and mental health support — a crucial component given firefighting’s stressful and demanding nature. The landmark deal underscores the core tenets of what it means to be a Houston firefighter: delivering excellent service, being good stewards of city resources, and giving back to the community.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mayor Whitmire for his steadfast commitment to bringing this ordeal to a close,” said Lancton. “He made a promise, and he has fulfilled it. His support and public recognition of Houston firefighters and the job they do are bolstering morale and helping to mend years of distrust. We eagerly anticipate further collaboration as we strive to enhance firefighting and emergency services for Houstonians.”

Firefighters will receive their back pay in July. The new five-year contract is effective with the start of the city’s new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award

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Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.

 

The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.

 

In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.

 

The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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House Republicans vote to hold Garland in contempt over Biden interview audio

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House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur on his handling of classified documents.

The final vote was 216 to 207. Rep. David Joyce of Ohio was the only Republican who voted against the contempt resolution.

Speaker Mike Johnson called the outcome “a significant step in maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities.”

“It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas,” Johnson said in a statement.

MORE: Biden asserts executive privilege over audio of interview with special counsel Hur

Garland, in response, said it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland said in a statement. “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

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