Review Category : Top Stories

Deputies Killed at Maryland Panera ‘Are Heroes,’ Sheriff Says

File photo. (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)(ABINGDON, Md.) — The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has identified the two officers killed in Abingdon, Maryland, on Wednesday as Senior Deputies Mark Logsdon and Patrick Dailey.

Dailey was a 30-year veteran of the force; Logsdon, a 16-year one.

According to Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler, Dailey was a former Marine who was assigned to court services. He is survived by his girlfriend, mother and two sons. Logsdon was an Army veteran who is survived by his wife, three children and parents.

“These men are heroes,” Gahler said. “They lost their lives doing what they love to do.”

Wednesday’s shooting was the first time a Harford County deputy has been killed by gunfire in the line of duty since 1899, according to the sheriff’s office.

The two deputies were killed in a shootout with a lone suspect while responding to a call at a crowded Panera restaurant at lunchtime Wednesday. The suspect, 67-year-old David Evans, was also killed during the exchange.

The sheriff’s office said on Thursday that Dailey was the first of the two to enter the restaurant in pursuit of Evans. According to Gahler, Evans almost immediately drew a weapon and shot Dailey in the head. Logsdon was able to exchange several rounds of gunfire with Evans before being fatally wounded.

“It’s our belief that because [Evans] knew there was a warrant out for his arrest … that is why he took the action against the police officer,” Gahler said. “We don’t believe he laid in wait to ambush.”

The incident is still under investigation.

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Ambulance Bill Charged to Tamir Rice’s Estate Withdrawn

Courtesy Rice Family(CLEVELAND) — The estate of Tamir Rice will not be required to pay a $500 ambulance bill for which the city of Cleveland, Ohio, had filed a claim in court.

Cleveland officials said on Thursday that the bill had been automatically generated and that the claim has now been closed.

Rice was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer in November 2014 while he was holding a toy gun. Cleveland officials said Rice’s estate had requested, as legally required, a billing statement for all services rendered to Rice on the day he died. That led to the city’s being made aware that the estate could potentially pay for emergency medical services provided to Rice which Medicaid did not cover, triggering an automatic process that filed the $500 claim to the estate according to city officials.

Rice’s family never received a bill and the city has absorbed the remaining balance.

The $500 charge was listed as his “last dying expense,” ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland reported.

An Ohio grand jury declined to indict two police officers in his death.

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Royal Caribbean Passengers Describe Harrowing Trip at Sea

ABC News (NEW YORK) — Passengers who were on board the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship are back on solid ground.

Passenger Peter Aloupis said it felt “exactly” like being in a washing machine when the ship started listing, or tilting, because of the intense winds and turbulent weather.

“We were on the third floor with an ocean view and we literally saw Dory swimming by,” Aloupis said Thursday, referencing the Disney cartoon character.

The Bahamas-bound ship had to turn around and return to New Jersey two days after setting sail because of strong storms off the Carolinas. The ship docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Wednesday night.

Aloupis told Good Morning America that he has cruised “many times.” He said he “saw some of the staff hugging and crying” after the ship returned to New Jersey.

Another passenger, Lauren Whitney, said that she had a panic attack after being told by cruise staff that passengers were to stay in their cabins.

“We were probably in the room for 20 minutes if that and then we left,” she said. “I couldn’t do it and the crew members were even telling us, ‘Get back to the room,’ and I said, ‘No. I’m not going back.'”

At one point, the captain reportedly made an announcement on the ship’s loudspeaker, urging passengers to get back in their rooms.

“He didn’t sound very convincing that it was going to be okay, and everyone around us started crying, saying they couldn’t breathe,” Whitney said.

In spite of the harrowing ordeal, all but one of the seven passengers on Good Morning America said that they would be open to going on another cruise.

Royal Caribbean has apologized to the more than 6,000 passengers who were on board.

“The event, exceptional as it was, identified gaps in our planning system that we are addressing,” the company said in a statement. “Though that system has performed well through many instances of severe weather around the world, what happened this week showed that we need to do better.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is considering an investigation into what happened and why the ship hit such bad weather.

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Oregon Occupiers Will Turn Themselves in to FBI Thursday

ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images(BURNS, Ore.) — Armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon have said they will turn themselves in Thursday morning, ending a more than month-long standoff.

On Wednesday night, the FBI released a statement saying they had surrounded the remaining occupiers.

According to the agency, one of the occupiers rode an ATV outside the barricades established by the militia. When the FBI tried to approach the driver, he sped back, they said.

The FBI said that it had secured barricades both in front of and behind where the occupiers are camping.

Occupier Sean Anderson said he spoke with the FBI and that he and three other holdouts agreed to turn themselves in at an FBI checkpoint at 8 a.m. Thursday. Anderson said they would leave their weapons in their vehicles and walk to a checkpoint established nearby, carrying an American flag.

Anderson relayed the information to Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore over a phone line streaming online. He said he expects Fiore to meet him and his fellow occupiers at the checkpoint Thursday when they turn themselves in.

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy, father of Ammon Bundy — the leader of the wildlife refuge occupation, was arrested by FBI officials. The Bundy Ranch posted on Facebook earlier Wednesday that Cliven Bundy was on his way to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

He was at the center of a standoff with federal officials in 2014 in Nevada, over the use of public lands.

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County Commissioner Candidates Spar Over Differences

2/10/2016 – 11:02 pm

Photo Caption: Candidates Brian Robertson and John Harrington with WFIN News Director Doug Jenkins during the forum at The University of Findlay.

There are differences between both Republican candidates for Hancock County Commissioner, and that was apparent at the Commissioners Forum at the University of Findlay Wednesday night. Current Commissioner Brian Robertson and challenger, Findlay City Councilman John Harrington each presented their views on the role of a County Commissioner in Hancock County.

The main topic of the evening was flood mitigation. Both noted that in their mind it was the biggest issue facing Hancock County. Robertson cited his experience in business and talked about work he’s done on the issue since taking office including traveling to Washington DC to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers and elected officials.

Audio: Brian Robertson

Harrington said while the Army Corps has been frustrating at times they still have the expertise to properly manage flood mitigation in Hancock County.

Audio: John Harrington

While there was much talk about flood mitigation, it also needs to be funded. A 1/2 percent sales tax was implemented to help fund any programs in the county. On what to do once that tax expires, Robertson said that any decision will need to be based on getting results.

Audio: Brian Robertson

Harrington said that the increase helped to pay for both flood mitigation and funds to the general fund. Given that, letting it expire would require a great deal of thinking as to how other programs would be adversely impacted.

Audio: John Harrington

Both campaigns have issued a great deal of literature both highlighting their candidates records and noting issues with each other. Harrington said that as a county commissioner, he’d make it a point to attend any and all meetings countywide rather than just pay lip service.

Audio: John Harrington

Robertson noted that as a member of the city council, Harrington has missed many committee meetings over his term. Robertson said that his goal is to change the status quo in Hancock County politics.

Audio: Brian Robertson

On ongoing cooperation between the City of Findlay and Hancock County Robertson said that there has been some significant collaboration between the two entities, including tax funding that went to help support both.

Audio: Brian Robertson

Harrington cited the recent Health Department merger as particularly good, but said that Robertson did not acknowledge working with Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, who Robertson lost to in the race for Mayor in 2012.

Audio: John Harrington

Robertson responded by saying that he has worked close with Mayor Mihalik in many cases but his day to day interaction with the city has been with Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer.

Audio: Brian Robertson

Harrington said that he was of the mind that both entities needed to work better together.

Audio: John Harrington

 

Hancock County has implemented a 3% bed tax to help support the new Marathon Performing Arts Center and the Hancock County Fairgrounds. Harrington said that it was a fair tax that would help to support both entities.

Audio: John Harrington

Robertson said that many people are in favor of the tax as the money it will generate will help to support both funds. As to it’s long term usage, given that it will expire in seven years, he said that by then the county will have much different needs than it does today.

Audio: Brian Robertson

 

Voters will decide on the Republican nominee during the primary on March 15th.

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Florida Chill Draws Hundreds of Manatees to Warm Spring

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hundreds of manatees have gathered together in a Florida spring to escape the winter chill, drawing scores of visitors.

While there are believed to be more than 1,000 manatees currently gathered in Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River in Florida, most of the animals are crowded together in a one acre-area of the 60-acre bay known as Three Sisters Springs, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official.

For decades, hundreds of manatees have swum to the bay every winter to escape the Gulf of Mexico’s cold waters, according Ivan Vicente, a visitor services specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

But this year, the bay is believed to be seeing the largest number of manatees ever gathered together in recent history, Vicente told ABC News today. He added that an official state survey would confirm the 1,000 estimate this Saturday.

The Three Sisters Springs in particular are seeing an “overwhelming” number of manatees, Vicente said.

“The waters in this particular area appear to be the most ideal wintering habitat for manatees in Kings Bay,” he explained. “The water is just over 72 degrees, which is nice and warm for them. The water is shallow and the area is confined by beautiful trees that protect it from harsh winds.”

Visitors have been flocking to the Three Sisters Springs area to see and photograph the gentle giants snuggled together up close.

The manatees – which are on average 10 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds – “can rest in these springs for weeks and weeks without food,” Vicente said. “Not having food isn’t a problem as long as the manatees can do so without too much disturbance from humans, so they can conserve their energy.”

However, manatees may sometimes “take a break from resting” and “get very, very close to people” since they’re “very curious creatures,” Vicente said.

But there’s no need worry if the animals do get close to visitors, as manatees are not known to be violent at all, he said.

“There has never been a recorded manatee-related emergency ever,” Vicente joked.

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FBI Surrounds Remaining Occupiers at Oregon Wildlife Refuge

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The FBI has surrounded the remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the bureau said in a statement Wednesday night.

According to the agency, one of the occupiers rode an ATV outside the barricades established by the militia. When the FBI tried to approach the driver, he sped back, they said.

The FBI said that it has secured barricades both in front of and behind where the occupiers are camping.

The bureau said negotiations continue.

“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” said Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Battered by Storm Arrives Back in New Jersey

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(BAYONNE, New Jersey) — The Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by stormy weather arrived back in New Jersey Wednesday night, where it is expected to be inspected by the Coast Guard.

The Anthem of the Seas arrived in Bayonne, New Jersey around 9 p.m.

The ship, which left from the same port on Saturday and was due to head out on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas, was supposed to arrive sooner after the captain made the decision to turn around, but that arrival time was pushed back further because the “weather isn’t great,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“The Captain has been very sensitive to the rough ride guests have already experienced. So he’s slowed down his speed to smooth it out,” the spokesperson said.

Coast Guard officials are expected to be on hand to inspect the ship.

“The Coast Guard will participate in an investigation that will help determine if there are any contributing causal factors or lessons learned from this event that could help prevent injuries or damage in the future, as occurs with any commercial vessel operating in U.S. waters under similar circumstances,” the Coast Guard said in a statement released Wednesday.

In a statement Wednesday night, the cruise line apologized “for exposing our guests and crew to the weather they faced, and for what they went through.”

They said the ship encountered “sustained 120-mph winds” which “far exceeded forecasts.”

“Even so, it is our responsibility to eliminate every surprise we possibly can,” said the company, which plans to bolster its planning system going forward.

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Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Yellow House’ Bedroom Recreated, Available to Rent for $10

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I’m not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”

Now the Art Institute of Chicago is launching an interactive experience that will allow you to live out your own artistic adventure just like the painter.

With the help of Airbnb, you can stay in an exact replica of Van Gogh’s famous “The Bedroom” from his beloved “Yellow House” for just $10 a night. The masterpiece was created to celebrate the Art Institute’s exhibition of “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms” series, which runs through May 10.

“Response has been great so far,” Art Institute spokeswoman Amanda Hicks wrote to ABC News. “We’re releasing the rooms in cascading blocks, so that people can have multiple opportunities to check in and grab a night during the run of the Van Gogh exhibition (Feb 14 – May 10). We have two re-creations of the bedroom in play right now. The one we did as the AirBnB venue, and another one in the museum itself that is a to-scale replica built on a gallery floor that marks out the actual blueprint of the second story of Van Gogh’s yellow house in Arles, France.

“The re-created bedroom in the museum is an immersive digital/sound experience, surrounded by big screens that scroll images and text from Van Gogh’s letters and sketchbooks, with music tying it all together. It’s really exciting!”

Van Gogh’s actual “Yellow House” was located in Arles, France, and the recreated room is in the Chicago neighborhood of River North.

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