Review Category : National News

Mystery Animal Roams the Streets in California

City of Norwalk California-City Hall (NORWALK, Calif.) — Residents in Norwalk, California, are jittery over reports of an African lion possibly roaming the streets.

So far, only grainy security images of the mysterious creature have emerged, showing the animal prowling along the sidewalk.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife experts studied that footage. The cat-like animal is not a mountain lion, authorities determined.

“Department officials still cannot definitively identify the type of animal,” authorities said. “They will continue to investigate.”

Norwalk Mayor Marcel Rodarte is intrigued by the creature’s appearance.

“The tail doesn’t seem to match up to the physical traits of a mountain lion, so it is still a mystery,” Rodarte said.

Authorities with a local zoo claimed all the big cats are accounted for.

A similar lion scare occurred last year in Virginia — but that ominous animal turned out to be a bizarrely-coiffed labradoodle named Charles the Monarch. While dog-grooming tricks can confuse people from time to time, the gait of the mystery beast in California has residents concerned.

“We’ve got dogs and my sister got another little dog, so we’re all just making sure everybody keeps their pets inside,” resident Elizabeth Colon said.

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Toledo Mayor Says Northwest Ohio Water Is Safe

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(TOLEDO, Ohio) — Toledo, Ohio Mayor D. Michael Collins says his city’s water is now safe. Officials lifted a water ban that had affected 400,000 people in Ohio and Michigan possibly due to toxins from algae.

Saying there is no simple answer for what could have set off the water emergency, Mayor Collins reminded citizens to play it safe.

“We now as a result of this must recognize that we sit with 20 percent of the fresh water supply of the entire planet at our doorstep,” he said. “And if we don’t — if we hesitate to respect that, then we are going to jeopardize this entire corridor of our United States with the future of our children.”

Toledo officials over the weekend had warned its residents, and others in the area, not to drink or boil water from the tap after samples from the city’s water treatment plant showed high toxin levels.

Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency Saturday. As many as 500,000 people were affected.

In an urgent notice posted to the city’s Facebook account, officials said water from the tap should not be consumed or boiled, as boiling water could have made the situation worse. The water could be dangerous to both humans and pets, the notice said.

The “do not drink” notice applied to all customers of Toledo Water — including all of Lucas County, Ohio, and some parts of Michigan.

Early Monday morning, city officials had been awaiting test results from the Environmental Protection Agency to determine when the water may be safe enough to drink.

The toxins appeared to have been caused by a harmful algal bloom. Consuming the toxins could cause abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Anyone who believed they might have been exposed was urged to seek medical attention.

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Neighbor Arrested in North Carolina School Counselor’s Murder

iStock/Thinkstock(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.) — A North Carolina man is scheduled to appear in court Monday for his first appearance on the charge of murder in the June death of a popular school counselor.

Sharman Odom, 34, was arrested Saturday, accused of murdering Maggie Daniels.

Daniels was found dead in her apartment June 28. According to police, physical evidence obtained during the course of the investigation connected Odom — a neighbor in the Windsor Apartment complex — to Daniels’ death.

Odom was arrested Saturday in Winston-Salem. He smirked as he was led out of the Newton police department, but declined to speak to gathered reporters.

Before her death, Daniels served as a counselor at Discovery High School in Newton, a 13,000-population town located northwest of Charlotte.
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Thousands Stranded, One Dead in California Mudslides

Credit: Cory Kay(FOREST FALLS, Calif.) — About 2,500 people were stranded after thunderstorms caused mountain mudslides in Southern California, while one person was found dead in a flooded creek Sunday, authorities said.

The mudslides swallowed cars, campers and vans. The debris flow engulfed one home. Emergency crews rescued the home’s resident.

One person was killed after swift-moving floods swept their car away, authorities said.

After arriving at a Forest Falls campground Sunday morning, 500 children and adults were left stranded.

The storm moved in quickly, snapping trees and sending a torrent of water rushing through the region. In Forest Falls, a wall of mud as high as 15 feet and up to 75 feet wide was reported.

In Mount Baldy, rescuers broke the windows of a car trapped underwater, making sure no one was inside. The vehicle was empty, a small shred of hope amid the devastation witnessed by residents such as Michael Scully.

Authorities made reverse 911 calls to urge residents to stay put while crews clear the roads with bulldozers.

All the water was desperately needed elsewhere in the state. In northern and central California, firefighters battled more than a dozen fires. Crews created a six-mile fire line to protect the town of Burney.

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Mom Arrested, Charged in 2-Year-Old Daughter’s Murder

iStock/Thinkstock(ASTORIA, Ore.) — Oregon police arrested a Washington woman on suspicion of aggravated murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter in a Cannon Beach hotel room, police said.

Jessica Smith, 40, from Goldendale, Wash., was found in her car on a logging road off of Highway 26, where she is believed to have been since the crime, police said at a news conference.

Smith’s daughter Isabella was found dead in a room at the Surfsand Hotel on Friday. Alana Smith, the woman’s 13-year-old daughter, was also in the room, seriously injured.

Smith faces attempted aggravated murder charges in connection with the 13-year-old girl’s multiple cuts and stab wounds, according to police.

The teen was flown to a hospital in Portland, where she was listed in stable condition following surgery. The teen could be discharged from the hospital within a few days.

Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Clatsop County Court in Astoria.

The father of the two children, Greg Smith, is not a suspect in the case and has been cooperating with police, officials said.

According to court records obtained by KATU-TV, the couple had recently filed for divorce and Jessica Smith had been denied her request for a restraining order against Greg Smith in July.

If convicted of aggravated murder, Smith could face the death penalty.

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Water Emergency Remains in Toledo, Ohio

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) — The Ohio city of Toledo is continuing to warn its residents, and others in the area, not to drink or boil water from the tap after samples from the city’s water treatment plant showed high toxin levels.

Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency Saturday. As many as 500,000 people are affected.

In an urgent notice posted to the city’s Facebook account, officials say water from the tap should not be consumed or boiled, as boiling water could make the situation worse. The water could be dangerous to both humans and pets.

The “do not drink” notice applies to all customers of Toledo Water — including all of Lucas County, Ohio, and some parts of Michigan.

Officials are awaiting test results from the Environmental Protection Agency to determine when the water may be safe enough to drink.

The toxins appear to have been caused by a harmful algal bloom. Consuming the toxins could cause abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness. Anyone who believes they might have been exposed is urged to seek medical attention.

Alternative water should be used for all consumption, though officials believe the water is safe for bathing.

Understandably, finding bottled water is getting tougher since so many places that sell it have run out. The National Guard made a delivery of 33,000 gallons Sunday.

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Unruly Passenger Causes Diversion of American Airlines Flight

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Police arrested a New Mexico woman on Sunday after she became disorderly onboard an American Airlines flight on Sunday, forcing the plane to be diverted to Nashville.

A female passenger aboard a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Boston, allegedly became disorderly during the flight, rushing towards the cockpit and engaging in violent or threatening behavior. An arrest report indicated that she is also accused of punching a male flight attendant in the stomach. Police say she appeared slightly intoxicated.

The woman, 55, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and three counts of assault of a law enforcement officer.

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What Caused Toledo’s Water Contamination?

Stock photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) — Massive algal blooms like the one that has turned the waters of Lake Erie florescent green and contaminated the drinking water of Toledo, Ohio, are caused when certain kinds of algae grow in response to changes in chemicals in the water, often from fertilizer components.

Algae in water is typically non-toxic and invisible to the human eye, but if allowed to accumulate to levels where it is visibly thick it can become toxic.

At toxic levels, algae can destroy marine ecosystems by killing animals and depleting the water’s oxygen. Scientists have also linked toxic algae to human illnesses around the world, including North America, according to the CDC.

Blooms are commonly made by cyanobacteria, which form in warm and still bodies of water. These blooms usually occur in late summer and early fall, and can happen in fresh, brackish or salt water, according to the CDC.

Cyanobacteria are also called blue-green algae, after the color of their algal blooms.

Algal blooms sometimes turn oceans red, a phenomena known as red tide. Red tide is common along the shorelines of Texas and Florida, according to the CDC.

Like cyanobacteria, red tide is also toxic. It can kill fish and marine birds, and can have harmful effects on people, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The effects of red tide on human health is still being tested by government agencies.

Although algal blooms can infiltrate drinking water, scientists are still unclear about the direct health risks algae-contaminated drinking water can pose to people.

The Environmental Protection Agency has listed harmful algal blooms on a priority list for investigation.

But a joint investigation conducted by ABC News and the Food and Environment Reporting Network found more than 100 cases of reported illness after people came in contact with algal blooms in lakes across America.

And in 2008 a massive algal bloom in Beijing almost hampered the 2008 Olympic games, when a giant green mass of algae covered a lake that was to be used for sailing events. Clean up crews and volunteers had to haul the tangled algae to shore.

This week hundreds of thousands of residents in Toledo were left scrambling to get clean water after their drinking water was deemed unsafe due to the massive algal bloom.

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Ohio Residents Remain Under Do-Not-Drink Advisory

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) — Officials in Toledo are awaiting lab results before determining whether the city’s water is safe for residents to use.

On Saturday, a toxin known as microcystin was found in a samples from the water supply, which is used in a number of cities and towns in the area, including a small number of utility customers in Michigan. Experts believe the toxin is the result of an algae bloom on the southern shores of Lake Erie.

Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency as about 400,000 residents were told not to consume or boil the water. Scientists have been adding carbon to the water supply to neutralize the toxins, but tests to determine whether the were not expected to be returned until later Sunday at the earliest. Mayor Michael Collins said that samples had been sent to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Cincinnati office and a state laboratory in Columbus.

There was no time frame given for when the test results could be made public, and the affected customers remain under a do not drink advisory.

The situation in Toledo actually prompted officials in Chicago to order additional tests of their water supply. Results of those tests will be made public in the upcoming days. Because Chicago has a separate water supply from Toledo, the tests were done out of an abundance of caution. Shannon Breymaier, Deputy Communications Director for the city of Chicago says that the city’s water “completely is safe.”

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Police Seek Mother After 2-Year-Old Found Dead, 13-Year-Old Injured

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CANNON BEACH, Ore.) — Police are searching for a woman after her two-year-old daughter was found killed and her 13-year-old daughter seriously injured in a hotel room in Cannon Beach, Ore.

Police are looking for Jessica Smith, 40, from Goldendale, Wash. According to ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., police have listed Smith as a person of interest in the homicide but not as a suspect.

Smith checked into the Surfsand Hotel on July 30 in Cannon Beach, which is about three hours from her home in Goldendale, police said. One day later a housekeeper at the hotel found Smith’s seriously injured 12-year-old daughter and the body of the 2-year-old.

The homicide is the first in at least 50 years for the seaside resort town, according to KATU-TV.

The 13-year-old had multiple cuts and stab wounds, according to police, and was flown to a hospital in Portland, where she was listed in stable condition following surgery.

At a press conference Saturday, Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn described the horrific scene at the hotel room.

“I saw a large amount of blood,” Schermerhorn told reporters. He later clarified that the blood appeared to be from the older child.

Schermerhorn added that the toddler was not cut or stabbed, according to KATU-TV. The suspected cause of death has not been released.

The father of the two children, Greg Smith, is not a suspect in the case and has been cooperating with police, officials said.

According to court records obtained by KATU-TV, the couple had recently filed for divorce and Jessica Smith had been denied her request for a restraining order against Greg Smith in July.

Smith was last seen driving a gold 2007 Chevy suburban. Calls to a phone listed to Greg Smith were not immediately answered.

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