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Deshaun Watson gives first NFL paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check Wednesday afternoon to three team employees who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.

>> Watch the video here

The three employees Watson helped work in the team cafeteria at NRG Stadium. With a base salary of $465,000 in 2017, the former Clemson star and 2017 first-round pick is set to earn $29,062.50 per game. Because of Watson’s generosity, each of the women received close to $10,000.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

“For what y’all do for us every day, and never complain. I really appreciate y’all,” Watson told the employees, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Hopefully that helps you out and helps you get back on your feet. Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

For those who have followed Watson’s football career, this act of kindness should come as no surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Watson has settled in nicely as Houston’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive performance in his second career NFL start against the New England Patriots in Week 3, and his play will likely be the deciding factor in whether the Texans return to the postseason in 2017.

Royal Caribbean cancels cruise, uses ship for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Cruise line Royal Caribbean has sent one of its ships to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

>> Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

According to CNN, the company canceled an upcoming Adventure of the Seas cruise so the ship, which holds 3,800 people, could pick up evacuees and bring supplies to Puerto Rico. The cruise ship also will travel to St. Croix and St. Thomas.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

Royal Caribbean tweeted about the ship's arrival in storm-ravaged San Juan on Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"Adventure of the Seas arrived in San Juan to drop off supplies and pick up evacuees. Next up: St. Thomas & St. Croix," read the tweet, which included photos.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Grammy-nominated gospel group says bus driver disappeared with $10K deposit

A gospel group that got stuck in Atlanta after Hurricane Harvey hit now says their bus driver left them stranded.

>> Watch the news report here

WSB-TV's Rikki Klaus met gospel artists the Walls Group last month at a Hurricane Harvey relief concert in Alpharetta, Georgia.

They had just come from Charlotte, North Carolina, the first stop on their 19-city tour. 

>> Hurricane Harvey: Texas mom uses couponing skills for relief efforts

“Right after that, our bus driver abandoned us, and he left us here in Atlanta," Alicia Walls said.

Parents and managers Alicia and Roger Walls showed us a contract, which outlines the down payment for 28 days of sleeper bus services $10,000 dollars.

They say the driver was offended they did not want to take his advice, and quit.

The Walls say the driver kept the money. 

“You didn’t fulfill an obligation contractually. It’s just sad,” Alicia Walls said.

>> How dangerous is a hurricane? Understanding hurricane categories

The group canceled several tour stops and could not make it home to Houston, which was flooded.

“We couldn’t go back because of the hurricane,” Roger Walls explained.

They incurred costs for housing, travel and food for the team. 

“We spent $12,000 on 13-14 people to live during the time we couldn’t go back to Houston,” said Roger Walls.

Mr. And Mrs. Walls hired an attorney to sue and a private investigator to find the bus driver. They say he won’t communicate with them anymore, and they cannot find his address. 

>> Read more trending news

“Without his information, we can’t serve him. We sent him an email basically with all the receipts and the contracts and stuff basically, and we can’t find him,” Alicia Walls said.

Klaus reached out to the bus driver for comment but did not hear back.

Could flood-ravaged Houston become jackpot spot for HGTV?

The thousands of flood-damaged homes across southeast Texas could bring a boom to at least one Lone Star industry.

>> Read more trending news 

Some real estate investors are counseling buyers to purchase homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, pay for the repairs and then resell them, according to Reuters.

These property “flippers,” as they’re known in the industry, expect to take advantage of a tight housing market, especially in Houston, to reap a potentially substantial profit, Reuters reported.

Ray Sasser, a real estate investor and advisor, followed a similar plan advisors are currently reemploying to attract the home front venturers when Tropical Storm Allison struck Houston in 2001.

He bought several homes -- some for as low as 30 percent of their market value -- selling many of them a year later at full market price.

RELATED: Houston suburb tops best value neighborhoods list

At a recent Houston real estate seminar, Sasser revealed his plan to purchase 50 flooded homes for pennies on the dollar, invest 15 to 20 percent for repairs, aiming to then turn them back onto the market in a short time.

With an estimated 268,000 homes suffering some damage due to the floods, what was a tragedy for a significant number of Houstonian homeowners may be a lucrative opportunity for eager flippers.

Many homeowners may consider walking away from their damaged homes with whatever cash they can get, so flippers can buy properties at near-record-low levels.

Meanwhile, the tight nationwide housing market, combined with Houston’s diverse economy and growing population, are creating ideal conditions for flippers to find buyers.

As new homes go up on the old sites, flippers may also be looking at quick sales for prices at or near full market value.

RELATED: Some Houston neighborhoods better for investment return than others

For homeowners looking to sell their damaged homes, the Better Business Bureau posted some advice on how to avoid scams on its website, including the following:

  • Checking if the company has a local office
  • Meeting in person at the buyer’s office to learn about their processes
  • Avoiding paying any “application fees” or “processing fees”
  • Contacting the buyer’s lender to see if they have the funds to complete the purchase
  • Examining the contract to ensure that the seller is no longer obligated to make mortgage payments

Read more at Reuters.

Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

On Sunday, singer Jennifer Lopez appeared alongside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press conference to announce that she will be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Lopez, 48, spoke first in Spanish and then in English in a speech that was live-streamed on Twitter.

>> Read more trending news

“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all of our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez said.

>> On Rare.us: Alex Rodriguez bashfully addresses Jennifer Lopez engagement rumors

“I’ve been so moved by the initial responses … They have been overwhelming,” she said. “Nobody has said no. Anybody we’ve have called is right there asking what they can do. They’re all very eager to help.”

Lopez also confirmed that she still hasn’t heard from all of her family members in Puerto Rico. “My cousin and I and our family still haven’t been able to hear from all of our family over there, and we are concerned for them and for everybody on the island,” she said.

>> Watch the video here

How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

After hitting the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico, flooding streets, collapsing homes and leaving the entire territory without power Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosseló called Hurricane Maria the “most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history.”

» RELATED: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The dangerous hurricane is responsible for at least 15 deaths on the Caribbean island of Dominica alone, and, according to the National Hurricane Center, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are expected to see a “life-threatening” storm surge of 9 to 12 feet between Thursday and early next week.

» RELATED: Where is Hurricane Maria now? Track the massive storm as it heads north

How you can help the victims of Hurricane Maria

Make monetary donations

According to the United States Agency for International Development, giving money to reputable relief agencies and nonprofits is the most effective way to help and to avoid using resources to transport or deliver donated goods.

Here are some organizations to consider giving money to:

UNICEF (emergency relief and help for children affected)

Save the Children (emergency relief and help for children affected)

ConPRmetidos (Puerto Rico-based nonprofit to benefit “immediate needs of food, shelter, water” and more)

GlobalGiving Caribbean Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund (from US-based nonprofit, Global Giving)

SPCA International (help for animal rescue and care)

» RELATED: How you can help Mexico and people affected by the Mexico earthquake

Other crowdfunding campaigns:

21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund (NBA star Tim Duncan hoping to raise $5 million for his home country)

Dominica Hurricane Maria Relief Fund (bringing relief to Dominica)

Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Hurricane Relief Fund (to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes)

Check if your employer will match your donation

Doublethedonation.com has a nifty tool that lets you enter your company name to find out whether or not your employer offers a matching gift program for donations.

Donate blood

The American Red Cross urges volunteer blood donors to give blood year-round, not only at the time of disaster. Currently, platelets and type O blood donations are especially needed, according to the organization website.

Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to begin the donation process.

» RELATED: Disaster declared in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastates island

Donate goods

Monetary donations are preferred for most aid organizations, but refer to your local nonprofits to see if there is an additional need for goods donations.

If you’re in the Florida area, the Miami Herald has listed several donation spots for locals to bring non-perishable food, diapers, bottled water and clothing starting Friday.

» RELATED: NASA astronaut captures eerie images of Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space

Volunteer

The American Red Cross is looking to dispatch volunteers in the next few weeks to aid areas affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

Local residents in affected areas should use this form.

All non-local residents interested in volunteering should use this separate form.

More information about volunteer expectations and requirements is at redcross.org.

Disaster declared in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastates island

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a federal disaster in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria brought pounding rain and punishing winds to the island, knocking out power and causing widespread flooding and landslides.

>> Read more trending news

The declaration allows for federal resources to be used for Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.

The island is reeling after Maria made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. With maximum sustained winds measured at 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.

"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this," Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press.

Videos posted on social media showed swift floodwaters and powerful winds brought to Puerto Rico by Maria.

Maria knocked out power to the entire island and its 3.4 million residents, officials said Wednesday.

Ricardo Ramos, CEO of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, told CNN that it could be as long as six months before power is restored.

“The system has been basically destroyed,” he said.

Maria continued to churn over the Atlantic Ocean as a major Category 3 hurricane on Thursday afternoon with maximum sustained winds measured at 115 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. advisory. Officials warned that the storm, which is expected to turn to the north early Friday, could still strengthen over the next day or two.

Photos: Hurricane Maria slams Caribbean

Hurricane Maria is bearing down on the Caribbean and is set to pass over much the same area devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria: Airlines cap fares for flights out of affected cities

Update 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19: American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they are capping some of their fares as Hurricane Maria churns over the Caribbean.

>> Read more trending news

American Airlines said it will cap until Sept. 24 one-way, nonstop fares from airports in Antigua, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis. Fares for travel in the airline’s main cabin will be capped at $99, while premium cabin fares will be capped at $199.

United Airlines officials said the company is adding additional seats for its flights leaving Puerto Rico. The airline capped its nonstop flights in economy class at $384.

>> Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The announcements came in response to a letter sent to nearly a dozen airliners from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, requesting that the airlines cap fees for people fleeing from Maria.

“Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare,” Nelson said.

Original report: Delta Air Lines said it is capping main cabin one-way fares at $199 for flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic as Hurricane Maria approaches.

Atlanta-based Delta is also adding two extra flights from San Juan to Atlanta for those who want to get out of the hurricane’s path.

>> More hurricane coverage from WFTVAction News Jax and the Palm Beach Post

Delta is waiving change fees for travelers with flights booked to, from or through San Juan, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago from Sept. 19-26.

Southwest Airlines is canceling its flights scheduled to and from San Juan for Tuesday after 6 p.m. and Wednesday, and to and from Punta Cana on Wednesday.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Hulk Hogan calls Hurricane Irma victims complaining about no power, water 'crybabies'

In two since-deleted tweets, Hulk Hogan called Hurricane Irma survivors who are complaining about the loss of water and power “crybabies."

>> Hurricane Irma damage: What to do during, after a power outage

On Thursday, the professional wrestling star wrote: “No water, no power, crybabies, everyone’s complaining, these people have no clue how bad it could be. Praying for those that got hit hard, lost homes, lives, businesses, lost everything, thank you God for helping those with divine highly blessings, God speed only love.”

>> On Rare.us: Getting to know Hulk Hogan

Hogan rode out the storm at his home in Clearwater, Florida — a city on the west coast of the state. His tweets sparked a firestorm on social media, with many criticizing Hogan. While still a larger-than-life celebrity in the professional wrestling circuit, the star returned to fame a few years ago when he effectively put gossip and news website Gawker out of business.

>> More Irma coverage from WFTVAction News Jax and the Palm Beach Post

The tweets have been taken down but were captured by The Washington Post before they were deleted. Hogan has not returned requests for comment on the statements.

>> Read more trending news

Hogan also noted on Twitter that he spent Friday with linemen restoring power to Orlando, which was ravaged by Irma.

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