Review Category : National News

Woman, 105, Takes Pitching Mound for San Diego Padres

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — A California woman celebrated her 105th birthday by throwing out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game.

Agnes McKee, who is originally from Indiana, used a walker to get onto the field at Petco Park Sunday and tossed a ball underhand to open the game against the New York Mets– a move she practiced with friends at her San Diego retirement home, she told South Bend’s ABC station.

It didn’t quite reach the plate, but it got her a jersey with her name and the number 105 on it.

“My main thing is to enjoy every day as it comes along,” she told ABC57. “I enjoy life, I’m a happy person.”

The Padres won the game 2-1.

McKee admitted to another ABC affiliate, KGTV in San Diego, that she doesn’t have any tips for growing old.

“Everybody asks me that and I have no secrets,” she said. “I have no idea how I got to be 105 years.”

An employee at her retirement home said McKee is “overwhelmed” by all the media attention and spent part of today playing Wii Bowling — trying to score a 300.

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Michigan Jail Trades In Orange Jumpsuits for Black and White Stripes

iStock/Thinkstock(SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich.) — Is black and white the new orange? A prison in Michigan is trading in its orange jumpsuits for black and white stripes.

The change was made in part due to the popularity of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel says the change-up is to help tighten security.

“I wanted us to differentiate in a real hard-line manner, so my constituents know when they see an inmate work crew or when they see an inmate out in public, that it’s actually an inmate and not just a citizen who’s wearing colors like our inmates,” Federspiel said. “We really need to tighten that security up because we don’t want one of our in-custody inmates who has to be transported out of a jail, whether on a work detail or medical situation, to blend in with the average citizenry.”

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Reserve Cop Who Posted Offensive Cyclist Rant Resigns

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA PAULA, Calif.) — A volunteer reserve police officer in California has resigned after a video that she posted in which she jokes about running over cyclists went viral.

Laura Weintraub of the Santa Paula Police Department posted to her Facebook on Saturday apologizing for the “mistake” and asking for forgiveness. The same day, the police department updated its Facebook saying that the volunteer who made the video had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Then on Sunday, Police Chief Steven Mclean reported on the Facebook page that he had accepted Weintraub’s resignation, effective that day.

“It’s a black eye and it’s embarrassing,” Mclean told ABC News Monday. “The whole police department is completely horrified. I’m just beside itself.”

After receiving multiple death threats, Weintraub said she knew it was best for both herself and the department to resign, Mclean said.

Another volunteer who tried to make light of the situation by posting sarcastic comments on Weintraub’s video has also issued an apology taking responsibility for his comments. That volunteer has been suspended pending an investigation, Mclean said.

The video has since ignited a firestorm of debate on the department’s Facebook page. Thousands of users have flocked to the page, many of whom are unsatisfied with Weintraub’s “dignified” departure.

One comment that has garnered nearly 300 likes demands that Weintraub be charged with violating California Penal Code Section 422, aimed at any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime that results in a death.

“That video was posted in L.A. County, on her own time, and doesn’t reflect any of our views here. If someone thinks she did something criminal, they can do something about it,” Mclean said.

Others, however, appear more sympathetic. Many who say they know Weintraub personally have changed their profile pictures to a screenshot of the video that reads, “I support Laura Weintraub. Share this if you know her for the person she is. Not who the media has made her into.”

In the video, Weintraub filmed herself from her car commenting on bikers’ spandex and claiming, “I hate bicyclists — every single one of them.”

At one point she asks her husband who was driving the car, “How much would I have to pay you to run one of these over?” The video was part of her Web series Cup Holder Commentary.

Weintraub, who is a personal trainer, was not on duty while filming the video nor did she state that she worked at the police department.

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Reserve Cop Who Posted Offensive Cyclist Rant Resigns

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA PAULA, Calif.) — A volunteer reserve police officer in California has resigned after a video that she posted in which she jokes about running over cyclists went viral.

Laura Weintraub of the Santa Paula Police Department posted to her Facebook on Saturday apologizing for the “mistake” and asking for forgiveness. The same day, the police department updated its Facebook saying that the volunteer who made the video had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Then on Sunday, Police Chief Steven Mclean reported on the Facebook page that he had accepted Weintraub’s resignation, effective that day.

“It’s a black eye and it’s embarrassing,” Mclean told ABC News Monday. “The whole police department is completely horrified. I’m just beside itself.”

After receiving multiple death threats, Weintraub said she knew it was best for both herself and the department to resign, Mclean said.

Another volunteer who tried to make light of the situation by posting sarcastic comments on Weintraub’s video has also issued an apology taking responsibility for his comments. That volunteer has been suspended pending an investigation, Mclean said.

The video has since ignited a firestorm of debate on the department’s Facebook page. Thousands of users have flocked to the page, many of whom are unsatisfied with Weintraub’s “dignified” departure.

One comment that has garnered nearly 300 likes demands that Weintraub be charged with violating California Penal Code Section 422, aimed at any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime that results in a death.

“That video was posted in L.A. County, on her own time, and doesn’t reflect any of our views here. If someone thinks she did something criminal, they can do something about it,” Mclean said.

Others, however, appear more sympathetic. Many who say they know Weintraub personally have changed their profile pictures to a screenshot of the video that reads, “I support Laura Weintraub. Share this if you know her for the person she is. Not who the media has made her into.”

In the video, Weintraub filmed herself from her car commenting on bikers’ spandex and claiming, “I hate bicyclists — every single one of them.”

At one point she asks her husband who was driving the car, “How much would I have to pay you to run one of these over?” The video was part of her Web series Cup Holder Commentary.

Weintraub, who is a personal trainer, was not on duty while filming the video nor did she state that she worked at the police department.

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Florida Cop Fired for KKK Ties Was Undercover, Ex-Wife Claims

iStock/Thinkstock(FRUITLAND PARK, Fla.) — The wife of a Florida police officer fired for allegedly secretly belonging to the Ku Klux Klan is claiming that she and her husband were ordered to infiltrate the white supremacist group.

The woman’s allegations come with a description of the Klan’s initiation ceremony that included kneeling with pillow cases over their heads.

The departures from the Fruitland Park Police Department earlier this month of Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell have revived emotions of Fruitland’s past. The department had already dismissed an officer in 2009 for being affiliated with the KKK and the overwhelmingly white former citrus town turned retirement community has had a history of racial violence in the past.

Since the initial news of the investigation broke, the release of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s report has revealed more details about the explanation that Hunnewell’s ex-wife gave to attempt to support his claims of innocence.

The FDLE report states that Ann Hunnewell told investigators that she was working as a secretary for the Fruitland Park Police Department in 2008 when she and her then-husband George were assigned to an undercover mission by then-chief James Isom.

“Ann Hunnewell said in 2008 through 2009, she and her ex-husband successfully infiltrated the [United Northern and Southern Knights] chapter of the KKK in an undercover capacity,” the report states.

It goes on to say that she claimed Isom “received allegations” that an officer in the department, James Elkins, was involved in the supremacist group and she said Isom “assigned George and Ann Hunnewell to follow up with the matter.”

Ann Hunnewell told investigators that they befriended Elkins and his wife and began exercising and dining with them before James Elkins reportedly asked her husband to join the KKK.

“Ann Hunnewell stated her ex-husband did not share the KKK ideology, but agreed to join in the spirit of the undercover investigation,” the report states.

The former police chief has denied he ordered any such investigation.

“At no time did I ever instruct, or have anybody working undercover or infiltrating a Klan organization while I was the chief of police,” Isom said in sworn statement he gave to his successor, current Fruitland Park police chief Terry Isaacs, which was shared with ABC News. According to Isom’s statement, the men also denied any involvement in the KKK when Elkins was fired in 2009.

Isom reportedly resigned in 2010 after signing a plea deal following a misconduct investigation.

A photo surfaced of Elkins being sworn into the group while surrounded by other members in their infamous white hoods. He was fired on the same grounds that Hunnewell was dismissed five years later — for belonging to a subversive group, which is not illegal but is against the police department’s code of conduct.

Ann Hunnewell described for the FDLE what she said was the KKK’s initiation rite.

“Once in the room, a pillow case was placed over their heads,” Ann Hunnewell said of the induction at the Elkins’ home alongside six to eight others. “As the ceremony began, they were led into the living room and told to kneel. After a reading, their pillow cases were removed from their heads and the ceremony was complete.”

Isaacs told ABC News that when he confronted George Hunnewell about the accusations, Hunnewell said “none of that is true about me.”

ABC News was unable to contact either George or Ann Hunnewell in spite of numerous inquiries.

Hunnewell was described by Isaacs as a “marginal” officer who had five letters of counseling due to poor work performance and one demotion to his name last year.

Borst, however, was considered a leader in the police department.

“Borst served as my fire chief,” Isaacs said of his former deputy. “He was in a position that had a lot of prestige and a lot of responsibility.”

There is less evidence in the case against Borst.

The FDLE report was sparked by a broader FBI investigation and portions were redacted for that reason. Of the readable portions, there are inconsistencies between two of their sources about Borst’s alleged involvement in the KKK. One source said that Borst knew about Hunnewell’s membership and did nothing, while another point in the report suggests that it is unclear if Borst was a sworn member of the group, the report states.

Isaacs said that Borst “became very emotional” when confronted with the accusations and denied everything, but offered his resignation.

“He said it is an absolute lie but…because of his family and the public outcry, he said he simply wanted to resign,” Isaacs said. Borst could not be reached by ABC News.

Questions about racism in the area first sprung up in 2009 with Elkins’ dismissal.

“Florida in general has a fairly large number of hate groups,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors and tracks hate groups. “Once upon a time this was absolutely common. Right up through the 1960s there were very large numbers of police officers who were members of the Klan or largely sympathetic.”

Fruitland Park, a community of nearly 5,000 people that is almost 90 percent white, lies about 50 miles north of Orlando and is home to a large number of retirees.

The city’s website calls itself “The Friendly City,” but there is a history of racial violence, specifically within the citrus industry in the 1940s and 1950s.

ABC News’ calls to the Ku Klux Klan and the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan went unreturned.

Elkins spoke to the SPLC after news of Hunnewell and Borst’s alleged KKK membership broke and he said that when he was on the force, “probably 10 out of the 12 full time officers” were either members or sympathetic to the group.

Isaacs said that since he joined the department in 2011, he has not had any incidents relating to racism or other officers being members of subversive organizations, but that much of the police force he inherited has left for various other reasons.

“Ten out of the 13 officers who were here [when he joined]- for one reason or another, they’re gone and that shows you that I disagree with the mindset that was here and I’ve worked hard with programs to weed out the mentality of that culture,” Isaacs said. “I never dreamed it would be that officers of the law were members of the Klan. I just prayed to God that was behind us.”

Neither Borst nor Hunnewell face criminal charges for their alleged actions and the county rules allow them 10 days to appeal any dismissal. Isaacs said he has not heard from either of them about plans to file an appeal.

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Florida Cop Fired for KKK Ties Was Undercover, Ex-Wife Claims

iStock/Thinkstock(FRUITLAND PARK, Fla.) — The wife of a Florida police officer fired for allegedly secretly belonging to the Ku Klux Klan is claiming that she and her husband were ordered to infiltrate the white supremacist group.

The woman’s allegations come with a description of the Klan’s initiation ceremony that included kneeling with pillow cases over their heads.

The departures from the Fruitland Park Police Department earlier this month of Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell have revived emotions of Fruitland’s past. The department had already dismissed an officer in 2009 for being affiliated with the KKK and the overwhelmingly white former citrus town turned retirement community has had a history of racial violence in the past.

Since the initial news of the investigation broke, the release of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s report has revealed more details about the explanation that Hunnewell’s ex-wife gave to attempt to support his claims of innocence.

The FDLE report states that Ann Hunnewell told investigators that she was working as a secretary for the Fruitland Park Police Department in 2008 when she and her then-husband George were assigned to an undercover mission by then-chief James Isom.

“Ann Hunnewell said in 2008 through 2009, she and her ex-husband successfully infiltrated the [United Northern and Southern Knights] chapter of the KKK in an undercover capacity,” the report states.

It goes on to say that she claimed Isom “received allegations” that an officer in the department, James Elkins, was involved in the supremacist group and she said Isom “assigned George and Ann Hunnewell to follow up with the matter.”

Ann Hunnewell told investigators that they befriended Elkins and his wife and began exercising and dining with them before James Elkins reportedly asked her husband to join the KKK.

“Ann Hunnewell stated her ex-husband did not share the KKK ideology, but agreed to join in the spirit of the undercover investigation,” the report states.

The former police chief has denied he ordered any such investigation.

“At no time did I ever instruct, or have anybody working undercover or infiltrating a Klan organization while I was the chief of police,” Isom said in sworn statement he gave to his successor, current Fruitland Park police chief Terry Isaacs, which was shared with ABC News. According to Isom’s statement, the men also denied any involvement in the KKK when Elkins was fired in 2009.

Isom reportedly resigned in 2010 after signing a plea deal following a misconduct investigation.

A photo surfaced of Elkins being sworn into the group while surrounded by other members in their infamous white hoods. He was fired on the same grounds that Hunnewell was dismissed five years later — for belonging to a subversive group, which is not illegal but is against the police department’s code of conduct.

Ann Hunnewell described for the FDLE what she said was the KKK’s initiation rite.

“Once in the room, a pillow case was placed over their heads,” Ann Hunnewell said of the induction at the Elkins’ home alongside six to eight others. “As the ceremony began, they were led into the living room and told to kneel. After a reading, their pillow cases were removed from their heads and the ceremony was complete.”

Isaacs told ABC News that when he confronted George Hunnewell about the accusations, Hunnewell said “none of that is true about me.”

ABC News was unable to contact either George or Ann Hunnewell in spite of numerous inquiries.

Hunnewell was described by Isaacs as a “marginal” officer who had five letters of counseling due to poor work performance and one demotion to his name last year.

Borst, however, was considered a leader in the police department.

“Borst served as my fire chief,” Isaacs said of his former deputy. “He was in a position that had a lot of prestige and a lot of responsibility.”

There is less evidence in the case against Borst.

The FDLE report was sparked by a broader FBI investigation and portions were redacted for that reason. Of the readable portions, there are inconsistencies between two of their sources about Borst’s alleged involvement in the KKK. One source said that Borst knew about Hunnewell’s membership and did nothing, while another point in the report suggests that it is unclear if Borst was a sworn member of the group, the report states.

Isaacs said that Borst “became very emotional” when confronted with the accusations and denied everything, but offered his resignation.

“He said it is an absolute lie but…because of his family and the public outcry, he said he simply wanted to resign,” Isaacs said. Borst could not be reached by ABC News.

Questions about racism in the area first sprung up in 2009 with Elkins’ dismissal.

“Florida in general has a fairly large number of hate groups,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors and tracks hate groups. “Once upon a time this was absolutely common. Right up through the 1960s there were very large numbers of police officers who were members of the Klan or largely sympathetic.”

Fruitland Park, a community of nearly 5,000 people that is almost 90 percent white, lies about 50 miles north of Orlando and is home to a large number of retirees.

The city’s website calls itself “The Friendly City,” but there is a history of racial violence, specifically within the citrus industry in the 1940s and 1950s.

ABC News’ calls to the Ku Klux Klan and the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan went unreturned.

Elkins spoke to the SPLC after news of Hunnewell and Borst’s alleged KKK membership broke and he said that when he was on the force, “probably 10 out of the 12 full time officers” were either members or sympathetic to the group.

Isaacs said that since he joined the department in 2011, he has not had any incidents relating to racism or other officers being members of subversive organizations, but that much of the police force he inherited has left for various other reasons.

“Ten out of the 13 officers who were here [when he joined]- for one reason or another, they’re gone and that shows you that I disagree with the mindset that was here and I’ve worked hard with programs to weed out the mentality of that culture,” Isaacs said. “I never dreamed it would be that officers of the law were members of the Klan. I just prayed to God that was behind us.”

Neither Borst nor Hunnewell face criminal charges for their alleged actions and the county rules allow them 10 days to appeal any dismissal. Isaacs said he has not heard from either of them about plans to file an appeal.

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Chicago’s Gun Violence Is Taking a Toll on City’s Youth

Fuse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — An 11-year-old girl became the latest child in Chicago to be killed by gunfire this past weekend when a stray bullet sailed through a bedroom window and struck her.

Shamiya Adams was at a sleepover in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood when a shooting occurred outside and a bullet hit her in the head, according to ABC News station WLS.

She is one of 10 children under the age of 18 who have been killed since the summer began in what is quickly becoming a very deadly summer across the city, according to Chicago officials.

There were three other people killed and 39 injured this weekend alone. More than 70 individuals have been killed since Memorial Day weekend, many of whom were young men in their teens and early 20s.

“I don’t wish this on nobody. My daughter was so sweet and so kind. She kiss me on my cheek every night and told me how much she loved me,” Shaneetha Goodloe, Adams’ mother, said at a prayer vigil Sunday night, according to WLS.

“I don’t want nobody to retaliate because I want no more killing. Let police do what they do,” Goodloe added.

Police are still searching for the shooting suspect.

The other children shot this summer include:

  • Kevin Diaz, 14
  • Dekarlos Scott, 15
  • Christopher Jones, 16
  • Nicholas Keener, 16
  • Lafayette Walton, 16
  • Adam Lara, 16
  • Marcel Pearson, 17
  • Michael Patton, 17
  • Brandon Peterson, 17

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Video Shows Hot Air Balloon’s Fiery Crash into Power Lines

Photos.com/Thinkstock(CLINTON, Mass.) — Federal authorities are investigating a hot air balloon crash into power lines Saturday in Massachusetts, an accident that sparked a pair of powerful explosions and injured five people.

Six people were on board the balloon, named “Raspberry Ripple,” including a grandmother. The operator was attempting to land in a residential area in Clinton, Worcester County, when the balloon struck the power lines around 7:40 p.m. Two of the passengers sustained severe burns, authorities said.

Moments before the crash, the passengers seemed unconcerned, waving and talking to people below. But the balloon wasn’t flying high enough. The balloon’s impact with the power lines sent sparks flying — two big explosions, leaving bystanders terrified.

The balloon finally crash-landed into Dennis MacDonald’s backyard. MacDonald rushed to help after witnessing the accident.

“We brought out ice for their wounds,” MacDonald said. “They were all shaken up, but they were all walking.”

Damn Yankee Balloons, the Maine company that owns the balloon, removed the basket from MacDonald’s yard Sunday and refused to comment.

Accidents of this nature aren’t common. Last year, former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth and a friend suffered serious burns after a balloon they were in hit power lines.

“I saw we were getting really close to the power lines,” Stallworth said at the time. “When I realized we were gonna hit, it was too late.”

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Two Injured, 5,000 Gallons of Fuel Spilled in Wisconsin Train Derailment

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SLINGER, Wis.) — A pair of freight trains collided in southeastern Wisconsin on Sunday night, causing a derailment and a fuel spill.

Rick Hanke, Fire Chief from the Slinger Fire Department said at an early morning new conference that 13 train cars derailed, including three engines. The trains, operated by Canadian National Railway and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, were carrying sand, lumber and other materials.

Two people were injured, Hanke said, though their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. Additionally, more than 100 homes were evacuated in the wake of the 4,000 gallons of spilled diesel fuel.

The evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes later Monday morning. Washington County Hazmat was on the scene and began the cleanup phase of the response on Monday.

Hanke said that officials were not sure what caused the accident, though an investigation is underway.

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Four Killed in Single-Engine Plane Crash in Arizona

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEDONA, Ariz.) — A plane crash in the Bear Mountain area of Sedona left four people dead and a fire burning.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Brady Smith said he did not know how many people were onboard the plane at the time of the crash, but that authorities believe four people were killed.

The crash site is difficult to access due to steep terrain and the ongoing fire, authorities said. Initial flyovers at about 4 p.m. on Sunday were unsuccessful in locating the wreckage, but just after 6 p.m. the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it had located the downed single-engine plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were alerted to the crash.

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