Review Category : National News

Colorado Teacher Shares Heartbreaking Notes From Third Graders

Kyle Schwartz(DENVER) — Kyle Schwartz teaches third grade at Doull Elementary in Denver.

Although she says her students are a pleasure to look after, the educator of three years adds that many of them come from underprivileged homes.

“Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch,” Schwartz tells ABC News. “As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students’ lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn’t know about my students.”

In a bid to build trust between her and her students, Schwartz thought up a lesson plan called “I Wish My Teacher Knew.”

For the activity, Schwartz’s third graders jot down a thought for their teacher, sharing something they’d like her to know about them.

“I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously,” she says. “I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know.”

“Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, ‘I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.’ I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don’t want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty, which is my main motivation for teaching.”

Blown away by her class’ honesty, Schwartz shared some of the notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, encouraging fellow teachers to employ the same lesson with their own students.

The tweets and photos of notes from other schools came pouring in from around the world.

“I think it caught on so fast because teachers are highly collaborative and freely share and explore resources,” Schwartz says. “In the end, all teachers want to support their students, and #iwishmyteacherknew is a simple and powerful way to do that.

“Building community in my classroom is a major goal of this lesson. After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, ‘we got your back.’ The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other.”

Schwartz says she also hopes her lesson can help her connect students and their families with the proper resources they need to live comfortably.

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Watch California Water Cop Patrol for Wasters in Drought-Stricken State

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) — Save water or face the consequences: That’s Rick Silva’s message to the Los Angeles communities he patrols.

Silva is a water cop, or more formally a water conservation supervisor with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

ABC News followed Silva around recently to get a feel for what it’s like patrolling the community for water wasters.

“We want to get the idea [out there] that you don’t need a green lawn for your house to look good,” Silva said. “See this home here took out their lawn completely and put in decomposed granite.”

Californians have been facing more water restrictions since Gov. Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water conservation measures on April 1 because of the state’s severe drought.

For the first time in California’s history, measures were implemented across the state in an effort to cut back on water use by 25 percent.

Silva’s job is to patrol the neighborhood and make sure residents are only watering during the appropriate days and hours. He says he likes talking to people in person at their front door.

“I prefer for them to be home. I’d rather keep it conversational,” Silva said. “We find that’s very effective, no need to be confrontational.”

The first warning for a resident misusing water is verbal, Silva said. The second warning is a $100 fine, the third warning is a $200 fine and it continues from there.

“We try to educate people,” Silva said. “Some changes may seem small, like turning off the water when you brush your teeth, but when you get a million people doing that it makes a difference.”

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Ohio Terror Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The 23-year-old Ohio man charged with training with a terrorist group in Syria — then returning to the U.S. to carry out an attack here — pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, “is certainly scared,” according to his lawyer, Sam Shamansky.

“The charges are serious, and the stakes are high,” Shamansky told reporters at a news conference after his client entered his not guilty pleas.

He said that Mohamud is “in many ways, he is a normal young man,” adding that his client has “zero” record of crime or violence.

Shamansky added that Mohamud’s family had fled from the civil war in Somalia, and was trying to make a new life in America.

Mohamud’s brother, he conceded, had traveled to Syria and had been killed fighting on behalf of the terror group al-Nusra in 2014.

Shamansky said the government indictment included “salacious” allegations designed to “scare people.”

But the U.S. attorney reiterated the government’s allegation that Mohamud had planned to “kill Americans — military, police, anyone in uniform.”

Mohamud was initially arrested in February on state charges. A federal grand jury had indicted him for attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

Mohamud’s trial date was set for June 22.

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Science Experiment in Arizona High School Literally Blows Up

iStock/Thinkstock(MESA, Ariz.) — A video captured the moment a science experiment went frighteningly wrong inside a classroom at an Arizona high school Thursday.

Students in a chemistry class at Westwood High School in Mesa were watching their teacher, identified as Lisa Tozzi, conduct an experiment on combustion with a five-gallon water jug containing ethanol.

The first video, sent anonymously to local ABC News affiliate KNXV, shows the normal reaction to the experiment: a small combustion inside the container.

The second video, also sent to KNXV, shows the moment the experiment went awry, with an explosion sending flames and plastic everywhere.

Students can be heard in the background screaming out their teacher’s name.

“When she lit it, instead of just making like a whoosh, it exploded,” a student who was in the classroom at the time told KNXV.

The student, who asked to remain anonymous, added his first thought after the explosion was, “Oh crap.”

Tozzi was treated at a local hospital for burns to her upper body and released, a Mesa Public Schools official told KNXV.

One of the students inside the classroom suffered a minor cut, according to KNXV.

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Attorney Had Date Planned with Beauty Pageant Champion on Night of Deadly Shooting

ABC News(NEWPORT, Ky.) — Ryan Poston was supposed to be on a date with another woman — a beauty pageant champion — on the night that his on-again, off-again girlfriend fatally shot him, it was revealed in a Kentucky courtroom on Thursday.

Audrey Bolte, Miss Ohio 2012, said she planned on meeting the 29-year-old attorney for drinks and to play pool on Oct. 12, 2012, but he never showed up.

“I found him very entertaining, and that led me to accept an invite to go on a date with him,” Bolte testified.

That night, Poston was shot six times, allegedly by Shayna Hubers, according to prosecutors.

Hubers, now 24, is accused of one count of murder in Poston’s death.

Prosecutors allege that she shot Poston out of anger after he tried to break up with her. Hubers has pleaded not guilty, saying Poston, a 29-year-old lawyer, was frequently violent, and that she shot him in self-defense.

In the days before he died, Poston had expressed uncertainty about his relationship with Hubers and struggled to tell her about his date, his step-father Peter Carter said.

“He was not happy with what was going on,” Carter said.

Hubers’ cellmate at the Campbell County Detention Center, Cecily Miller, testified that Hubers seemed almost “carefree” when discussing the shooting and laughed at times, exhibiting similar actions during a police interview played in court days earlier.

Hubers laughed “about shooting [Poston] in the face and giving him the nose job he always wanted,” Miller testified.

Carter, speaking through tears, said he was proud of his step-son.

“I was hard on him at times because I have high expectations,” he said.

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Pen Poke Postpones Chicago Plane Departure

File photo. Southwest Airlines(CHICAGO) — A Southwest Airlines flight was delayed several hours Thursday afternoon at Chicago Midway Airport after a man complained of being stabbed by his seatmate.

Flight 577 was taxiing toward takeoff, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, when it was forced to return to the gate after sleeping passenger Lenny Mordarski says he woke up screaming for help because the woman seated next to him was jabbing him in the arm with a pen in order to get him to stop snoring.

“Imagine being asleep and then being stung by bees, and then waking up and going owwww,” Mordarski said.

Witnesses said Mordarski was loud in his reaction to the pen poke, but those close to him said his snoring was loud as well.

Security staff escorted the woman from the plane and the Chicago Fire Department was called to look at Mordarski’s bruises.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines characterized the incident as a “poking” — not a “stabbing.” The woman was removed and put on another flight. It’s unknown whether she will face any charges.

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Pen Poke Postpones Chicago Plane Departure

File photo. Southwest Airlines(CHICAGO) — A Southwest Airlines flight was delayed several hours Thursday afternoon at Chicago Midway Airport after a man complained of being stabbed by his seatmate.

Flight 577 was taxiing toward takeoff, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, when it was forced to return to the gate after sleeping passenger Lenny Mordarski says he woke up screaming for help because the woman seated next to him was jabbing him in the arm with a pen in order to get him to stop snoring.

“Imagine being asleep and then being stung by bees, and then waking up and going owwww,” Mordarski said.

Witnesses said Mordarski was loud in his reaction to the pen poke, but those close to him said his snoring was loud as well.

Security staff escorted the woman from the plane and the Chicago Fire Department was called to look at Mordarski’s bruises.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines characterized the incident as a “poking” — not a “stabbing.” The woman was removed and put on another flight. It’s unknown whether she will face any charges.

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Pennsylvania Bank Robbery Duo May Have Military Training, FBI Says

ABC News(PITTSBURGH) — Two men wanted in a string of Pittsburgh-area bank robberies may have had military or law enforcement training, FBI officials said.

Federal investigators said the gun-toting men have stormed at least three banks in recent months — threatening anyone who gets in their way and emptying vaults in minutes.

The robberies took place at banks in Pittsburgh’s suburbs — a Citizens Bank in January, Huntington Bank in February, and First Niagara Bank April 10.

The men, brandishing pistols, wore black ski masks with hats and were dressed in black during the latest robbery, according to the FBI. One of the men vaulted the counter and the other remained in the lobby, holding employees.

The FBI said the robbers’ weapons-handling skills, including holstering their guns, show extreme precision beyond the usual bank robbers.

Surveillance video from the robberies show the men holding their weapons with their fingers off the trigger and on the barrel of the gun, a safety method taught to officers and military personnel. The FBI also said it is paying special attention to how the men take command of the room, indicative of weapons training.

Authorities say each robbery appears to get increasingly violent, leaving people such as David E. Martin in fear. Martin’s business is located near the duo’s latest robbery.

“It’s definitely a nerve-racking thing to see what this was all about, and so close,” Martin said.

Authorities are on the lookout for a gray 2009 Toyota Corolla. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 412-432-4000.

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Pennsylvania Bank Robbery Duo May Have Military Training, FBI Says

ABC News(PITTSBURGH) — Two men wanted in a string of Pittsburgh-area bank robberies may have had military or law enforcement training, FBI officials said.

Federal investigators said the gun-toting men have stormed at least three banks in recent months — threatening anyone who gets in their way and emptying vaults in minutes.

The robberies took place at banks in Pittsburgh’s suburbs — a Citizens Bank in January, Huntington Bank in February, and First Niagara Bank April 10.

The men, brandishing pistols, wore black ski masks with hats and were dressed in black during the latest robbery, according to the FBI. One of the men vaulted the counter and the other remained in the lobby, holding employees.

The FBI said the robbers’ weapons-handling skills, including holstering their guns, show extreme precision beyond the usual bank robbers.

Surveillance video from the robberies show the men holding their weapons with their fingers off the trigger and on the barrel of the gun, a safety method taught to officers and military personnel. The FBI also said it is paying special attention to how the men take command of the room, indicative of weapons training.

Authorities say each robbery appears to get increasingly violent, leaving people such as David E. Martin in fear. Martin’s business is located near the duo’s latest robbery.

“It’s definitely a nerve-racking thing to see what this was all about, and so close,” Martin said.

Authorities are on the lookout for a gray 2009 Toyota Corolla. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 412-432-4000.

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Baggage Handler Who Fell Asleep in Cargo Hold Says Falling Luggage Woke Him

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — A baggage handler who fell asleep inside the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight earlier this week says he awoke after the plane was in the air — and only after a piece of luggage fell on top of him.

“It was nothing but pitch black and a loud noise,” the man, whose name has not been made public, exclusively told ABC News. “So I was scared, and I didn’t know what was going on.”

“When the bags started moving and I heard the sound of the engine, I had to think fast about what to do for me to get out,” he said of Monday’s incident.

After the man — a ramp agent with Menzies Aviation, which contracts with airlines to handle baggage -– realized his predicament, he called 911 on his cell phone.

“I’m inside a plane, and I feel like it’s moving in the air. Flight 448. Can you please have somebody stop it?” he said, according to audio from the call released Thursday.

The dispatcher expressed confusion in the man’s location, and the call was lost after 44 seconds.

The baggage handler could also be heard banging, with the knocking sound audible for the plane’s passengers and crew.

The plane, which was headed to Los Angeles, returned to Seattle after 14 minutes in the air.

While the baggage handler wasn’t injured, Alaska Airlines released a statement Thursday announcing that he has been permanently banned from working on the airline’s flights.

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