Review Category : National News

Labor Day Weekend Features Severe Weather Threat From the Central Plains to Midwest

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Through the remainder of the Labor Day holiday weekend, severe weather threatens outdoor plans from the central Plains to the Midwest.

While the weekend started off with only isolated severe weather, the next couple days will feature widespread severe storms across the north central U.S.

On Saturday afternoon, isolated strong to severe storms moved through parts of the Southeast bringing heavy rain and gusty winds.

On Sunday, an elevated threat for severe weather exists from the central Plains, northward into Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Widespread severe storms are expected to develop Sunday afternoon across the central Plains and then head farther east into Sunday evening.

On Sunday afternoon, cities including Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Salina, Kansas, will need to watch the sky for any severe storms that may be in the vicinity.

The main threat from any storms that move through will be damaging winds, large hail, and a few tornadoes. As with any strong thunderstorm, frequent lightning will be a threat as well. Anyone attending outdoor activities in these areas should closely monitor weather conditions and head indoors if a thunderstorm is nearby.

Another round of severe storms is expected to develop on Monday. The threat zone will be farther east, including cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. The main threat from these storms will be damaging winds, large hail, flooding downpours, and frequent lightning. The tornado threat will not be as high on Monday, however an isolated, brief tornado could still spin up.

The highlighted areas above show where there is an elevated risk for severe weather either on Sunday or Monday. It is important to stay alert to any severe weather watches or warnings that may be issued in this region through the rest of the holiday weekend.

The Labor Day forecast across the rest of the country will feature scattered thunderstorms along the East Coast, mostly dry conditions in the west, and more hot temperatures in the south.

Increasingly warm and humid conditions will continue to work into the Northeast, something that has been a rarity this summer. While it will not be a washout, scattered thunderstorms could interrupt barbecues from Washington DC up to Boston. High temperatures will be in the 80s, however humid conditions will make it feel more like the 90s by Monday aftenroon.

Some of the nicest weather will be across parts of the Southwest, where abundant sunshine and comfortable conditions will be in place. Cooler temperatures will be working into the northern Plains and an isolated shower or two could move through parts of the Pacific Northwest.

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Michael Sam Released by St. Louis Rams

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — Defensive end Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to ESPN.

Sam was attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but came up short as all 32 teams had to trim their rosters down to the league-mandated 53 players.

He was beat out by undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot.

Sam came out as gay in February, before the NFL scouting combine. He can still be picked up by another team.

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Michael Sam Released by St. Louis Rams

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — Defensive end Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to ESPN.

Sam was attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but came up short as all 32 teams had to trim their rosters down to the league-mandated 53 players.

He was beat out by undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot.

Sam came out as gay in February, before the NFL scouting combine. He can still be picked up by another team.

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Michael Sam Released by St. Louis Rams

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — Defensive end Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to ESPN.

Sam was attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but came up short as all 32 teams had to trim their rosters down to the league-mandated 53 players.

He was beat out by undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot.

Sam came out as gay in February, before the NFL scouting combine. He can still be picked up by another team.

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Teacher Accused of ‘Wanna Stab Some Kids’ Tweet Back to School

iStock/Thinkstock(NEWARK, Calif.) — A high school teacher in Newark, Calif. is back for the new school year despite allegedly posting a series of social media messages in which she vented this summer about wanting to stab her students, once complaining they “make my trigger finger itchy.”

“I already wanna stab some kids. Is that bad? 19 more days,” reads another August tweet from the account reportedly belonging to Krista Arata Hodges, a history teacher at Newark Memorial High School.

The school issued Hodges, 39, a written reprimand, ABC station KGO-TV reported, but some parents believe that’s insufficient.

“As a teacher, I think that she should be held to a higher accountability than other people,” Lisa Roubineau told KGO.

“I’m a nurse, and I can’t vent about my patients on Facebook, so she shouldn’t be able to vent about her students either.”

Grandparent Wanda Williams said that while she doesn’t think Hodges would act on her words, she also shouldn’t be allowed to teach there anymore.

It’s unclear whether further action will be taken, and the Newark Unified School District, where classes started Monday, declined to provide details when contacted by ABC News. In a statement, the district said it is aware of “comments posted online” by a teacher and has taken action, but declined to identify the teacher or specify what action has been taken.

Hodges has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.

The tweets were posted on a Twitter account with the name “Mrs. Hodges” and the handle @kree49. It has since been deleted, but screenshots of the messages have gone viral.

Students told KGO-TV that Hodges is a popular teacher and has apologized for the alarming messages.

“She told me that she’s very apologetic about it and she’s told me she regrets it and she definitely wasn’t serious about it,” senior Tristian Mosier said.

Another student said Hodges was probably just venting, and didn’t mean to threaten her students.

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Police ID Likely Homicide Victim Without Finding a Body

iStock/Thinkstock(AUBURN, Wash.) — Police have identified the victim of a likely homicide that has puzzled them for two weeks since a federal agent stumbled on a pile of ripped up flooring covered in blood by the side of a road in Auburn, Wash.

Commander Mike Hirman of the Auburn Police Department said authorities have confirmed that blood on the material is from 30-year-old Brandon Zomalt.

Hirman said police believe it is likely that Zomalt was killed in a homicide, although without a body or further evidence they cannot confirm anything.

“Obviously it’s difficult to know, we have to go based on some assumptions,” Hirman said. “[Due to] the amount of blood and some bone fragments, we’re investigating it as a homicide.

The case started on Aug. 13, when an off-duty federal agent driving home saw a small fire about 20 feet from the road. After the agent pulled over to stop the fire, another man nearby got into a dark SUV and fled the area.

The agent was unable to catch up or identify the subject. When the agent returned to the scene he found ripped up flooring, carpet and clothing in the pile. All of the debris was covered in blood.

Since then, police have been searching for clues about who the victim or perpetrator could be. Hirman said police were able to identify Zomalt from the State Combined DNA Index System. Zomalt appeared to be from Puyallup, Wash., which is south of Auburn, Hirman said.

According to police, Zomalt had a lengthy criminal history including arrests on suspicion of first-degree assault, harassment and domestic abuse. Police said Zomalt did not have a steady address and had been living with family and friends.

He has not been seen since before Aug. 13. Police are asking anyone with information to call a tip line at 253-288-7403. The suspect is described as being a possible mixed-race male with a slender build and short dark hair and approximately 5′ 8″ to 5′ 10″ tall. He was driving a dark SUV, when last seen.

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Human Skull Donated to Texas Goodwill Store

(iStock Editorial) Credit: dbdurden(AUSTIN, Texas) — Police in Austin, Texas, are investigating an unusual donation to a local Goodwill store: a human skull.

While odd, police do not believe the skull was the result of a crime. Instead, they told ABC News affiliate KVUE-TV that they believe the skull may have been part of someone’s private collection.

“We think it was probably something that belonged to the person who donated it, to a relative of the person who donated it and it was part of a collection or an anatomical model,” said Austin police detective Derek Israel. “It could have been something that was kept by someone who was a student of anthropology, a student of medicine, dentistry, any of those things.”

Police are looking to talk to whoever donated the item last month. Similar skulls are often used in medical settings or medical schools.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s office has determined the skull is from an adult who likely died two years ago, according to KVUE-TV. Other information about the skull, including sex or race, wasn’t released.

Although unusual, the donation has not fazed everyone at the Goodwill store.

“We have gotten prosthetic limbs. We have gotten Rolex watches. We have gotten Krugerrands,” Traci Berry, who works at the store, told KVUE. “Our donations run the gamut.”

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Human Skull Donated to Texas Goodwill Store

(iStock Editorial) Credit: dbdurden(AUSTIN, Texas) — Police in Austin, Texas, are investigating an unusual donation to a local Goodwill store: a human skull.

While odd, police do not believe the skull was the result of a crime. Instead, they told ABC News affiliate KVUE-TV that they believe the skull may have been part of someone’s private collection.

“We think it was probably something that belonged to the person who donated it, to a relative of the person who donated it and it was part of a collection or an anatomical model,” said Austin police detective Derek Israel. “It could have been something that was kept by someone who was a student of anthropology, a student of medicine, dentistry, any of those things.”

Police are looking to talk to whoever donated the item last month. Similar skulls are often used in medical settings or medical schools.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s office has determined the skull is from an adult who likely died two years ago, according to KVUE-TV. Other information about the skull, including sex or race, wasn’t released.

Although unusual, the donation has not fazed everyone at the Goodwill store.

“We have gotten prosthetic limbs. We have gotten Rolex watches. We have gotten Krugerrands,” Traci Berry, who works at the store, told KVUE. “Our donations run the gamut.”

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Lego Fingerprints Helped Solve Cold Case Murder

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — Fingerprints found on Lego building blocks helped police crack a 23-year-old cold case murder mystery in Utah, authorities said.

The gruesome murder of 78-year-old Lucille Johnson in Salt Lake City left police puzzled in 1991.

The grandmother was strangled and beaten in her home and police found Legos in the entryway of her living room and driveway the floor, but were unable to discern who killed her, the Salt Lake Sheriff’s Office said.

When the case was reopened last year, investigators tested the residue found under Johnson’s fingernails for DNA and found that it matched that of 47-year-old John Sansing, a convicted murderer serving a prison sentence in Arizona for an unrelated case, Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Sheriff’s Office said on Friday.

They also tested the fingerprints on the Legos found at the scene and found that the prints matched that of Sansing’s son.

Police said Johnson and Sansing did not know each other and were investigating whether Sansing used the child to gain entry to the house.

“We know there’s no relationship between the two of them,” Hoyal said. “It’s speculative as to whether the child was a ruse that was used, but it’s certainly a possibility.”

Police don’t know have a motive for the crime but said that Johnson’s ring and necklace were missing, Hoyal said. They also said that Sansing is believed to have brought his son to the Arizona murder scene as well.

Sheriff Jim Winder announced at a press conference Thursday that Sansing had been charged with capital murder in Utah for the crime, according to ABC News affiliate KTVX.

“Occasionally we encounter people who are evil,” Winder said. “The individual who perpetrated this is nothing short of that.”

“It was very important that it be solved,” Jerry Johnson, Lucille Johnnson’s son, told KTVX. “I wasn’t sure it would ever be solved.”

“I am so grateful, so very grateful to the police department for the work that they’ve done,” Johnson’s daughter, Shirley England, told KXTV. “I don’t think closure is the right word because you never close something like this. It’s been a terrible thing in our life.”

The Sheriff’s Office had no information on if or when Sansing would be extradited, when Sansing would appear in court, or who his lawyer would be. The District Attorney has not yet responded to calls for comment.

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Lego Fingerprints Helped Solve Cold Case Murder

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — Fingerprints found on Lego building blocks helped police crack a 23-year-old cold case murder mystery in Utah, authorities said.

The gruesome murder of 78-year-old Lucille Johnson in Salt Lake City left police puzzled in 1991.

The grandmother was strangled and beaten in her home and police found Legos in the entryway of her living room and driveway the floor, but were unable to discern who killed her, the Salt Lake Sheriff’s Office said.

When the case was reopened last year, investigators tested the residue found under Johnson’s fingernails for DNA and found that it matched that of 47-year-old John Sansing, a convicted murderer serving a prison sentence in Arizona for an unrelated case, Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Sheriff’s Office said on Friday.

They also tested the fingerprints on the Legos found at the scene and found that the prints matched that of Sansing’s son.

Police said Johnson and Sansing did not know each other and were investigating whether Sansing used the child to gain entry to the house.

“We know there’s no relationship between the two of them,” Hoyal said. “It’s speculative as to whether the child was a ruse that was used, but it’s certainly a possibility.”

Police don’t know have a motive for the crime but said that Johnson’s ring and necklace were missing, Hoyal said. They also said that Sansing is believed to have brought his son to the Arizona murder scene as well.

Sheriff Jim Winder announced at a press conference Thursday that Sansing had been charged with capital murder in Utah for the crime, according to ABC News affiliate KTVX.

“Occasionally we encounter people who are evil,” Winder said. “The individual who perpetrated this is nothing short of that.”

“It was very important that it be solved,” Jerry Johnson, Lucille Johnnson’s son, told KTVX. “I wasn’t sure it would ever be solved.”

“I am so grateful, so very grateful to the police department for the work that they’ve done,” Johnson’s daughter, Shirley England, told KXTV. “I don’t think closure is the right word because you never close something like this. It’s been a terrible thing in our life.”

The Sheriff’s Office had no information on if or when Sansing would be extradited, when Sansing would appear in court, or who his lawyer would be. The District Attorney has not yet responded to calls for comment.

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