Review Category : Top Stories

Manmade Wildfires Causing Millions in Damages Across the South

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Wildfires throughout the south are causing millions of dollars worth of damages, threatening the health and safety of residents. Arson is the suspected cause, according to authorities.

The fires are in seven states, including Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said at a news conference Monday that a dozen wildfires have spread over parts of parts of his state, costing at least $10 million.

The federal government will pay 75 percent of the costs, he said.

“We have California wildfires in North Carolina,” McCrory said, referring to the blazes that devastated parts of California this year.

The governor cited dry weather conditions as the cause behind the rapid spread.

“These conditions are expected for a long time throughout these winter months,” McCrory said.

Firefighters from California, Alaska, Oregon and other states have arrived to help, he added.

McCrory acknowledged the fires were started by people, but he didn’t know whether they were lit intentionally.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, an aspiring weatherman was jailed for arson after allegedly admitting to starting a wildfire, police said last Friday.

John Mura, the director of communications for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, told ABC News that Kentucky has been in a “state of emergency because of these fires for almost two weeks,” and that the state is managing 24 fires over 25,000 acres. He said that it’s typical for Kentucky to experience dryness this time of year but last month was drier than usual, setting the stage to wildfires.

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Ray Tensing Mistrial: What Happens Now in Ex-Cop’s Murder Case

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — A county prosecutor in Ohio is deciding whether to retry a former University of Cincinnati officer in the death of an unarmed motorist after the case ended in a mistrial this weekend.

Ray Tensing, 26, was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of Sam DuBose, whom Tensing shot and killed after pulling him over in July 2015.

Tensing lost his job after DuBose’s death and has pleaded not guilty. A mistrial was declared Saturday after jurors spent 25 hours deliberating the case.

The office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters on Monday declined to comment on the possibility of a retrial but Deters is expected to return to court with a decision later this month, according to his office.

Here are the options for Deters after the mistrial:

Retrial

Deters could decide to retry the case on the same charges. But retrying it under the same charges may be unlikely, according to one expert.

Mike Allen, a former Hamilton County prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Cincinnati, said that based on the jury split, he thought it was unlikely Deters will retry the case under murder charges.

“He’s got a number of options. He can retry Tensing on the charges as they stand on murder and voluntary manslaughter,” said Allen, who was also a University of Cincinnati officer in the 1970s.

Allen thought another option could be taking the case back to a grand jury on lesser charges of reckless homicide and negligent homicide.

While negligent homicide is a misdemeanor, “reckless homicide is felony of third-degree and punishable by nine to 36 months,” Allen told ABC News. “I think the prosecutor has to take some action and can’t just walk away from it.”

Plea Deal

The mistrial could also mean Deters is more likely to agree to a plea deal with Tensing. David Gray, a professor of law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, said a mistrial generally helps the defendant.

“Ninety-eight percent of criminal charges end in a plea bargain,” Gray said, referring to all cases, not just mistrials. “At this point everyone has a clearer picture of what the risk-reward” is.

Gray said based on Deters’ statements about the hung jury, he may focus on a plea bargain with Tensing over the next few weeks.

“The rule of thumb is that a mistrial of any kind is a victory for the defendant; the prosecutor’s office only has so many opportunities” to try a case, Gray explained to ABC News.

“Everyone’s cards are on the table” now, he added.

Dropped Charges

The other option for Deters is to drop the case altogether. Gray said the number of jurors who were against conviction may give Deters pause about retrying the case.

“Even though they did have eight votes for manslaughter, it’s four short of conviction,” Gray said. “It looks like a substantial portion of jurors.”

But Gray said the Tensing case seemed to present clearer evidence than many other police-involved shootings.

“It is heartening for a prosecutor to go after a case like this on good facts,” Gray said. “He had good evidence and a good credible case.”

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NC Wildfires Costing Millions, Governor Blames Humans

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) — More than a dozen wildfires that have spread over parts of North Carolina have cost at least $10 million, Gov. Pat McCrory said at a news conference Monday.

About 75 percent of the price tag has been taken on by the U.S. government, he said.

“We have California wildfires in North Carolina,” McCrory said, referring to the blazes that devastated parts of California this year.

The governor cited dry weather conditions as the cause of the fires’ spreading.

“These conditions are expected for a long time throughout these winter months,” McCrory said.

Firefighters from California, Alaska, Oregon and other states have arrived to help, he added.

McCrory said the fires were started by people, but he didn’t know whether they were lit intentionally.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, an aspiring weatherman was jailed for arson after allegedly admitting he started a wildfire to draw attention to his selfie videos on Facebook, his town’s police chief said Friday.

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Findlay High School Closed Monday Following Water Main Break

11/14/16 – 4:59 A.M.

Findlay High School students will have a shorter school week because of a water main break. The district canceled classes at the high school today after the water line burst Sunday. All other Findlay schools including the Millstream Career Center are open today.

In the meantime, the city has issued a boil water advisory for 1200 Broad Avenue.

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Suspect in Custody After Shooting of California Sheriff’s Deputy

DanHenson1/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A man suspected of shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the head early Sunday was taken into custody later in the day, authorities say, after he tried to steal a woman’s purse.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday morning that a deputy, identified as Dennis Wallace, was shot twice in the head at point blank range. Wallace had been responding to a report of a suspicious car, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“We believe that Deputy Wallace was killed outside of the car, and we know for a fact that the gun used in this crime was in direct contact with his head when the trigger was pulled twice,” Christianson told a news conference. “This was an execution.”

The SCSO later confirmed that Machado was arrested Sunday afternoon in Tulare County, California. Machado had committed an armed robbery at a convenience store in Lindsay, California, authorities say. Later, he tried to steal a woman’s purse. He fled the scene on foot, but was captured by police and surrendered just after 12 p.m.

At a press conference, Sheriff Adam Christianson said that Machado would be brought back to Stanislaus County to stand trial. “We will seek justice, and justice will be done in this case,” he said.

Machado had an outstanding warrant in connection with another felony, the sheriff said, without providing additional detail.

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Remains of Missing Daughter of The Piano Guys’ Jon Schmidt Found, According to Father

Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Thinkstock(MUNRA POINT, Ore.) — The remains of Annie Schmidt, a 21-year-old woman reported missing in Oregon in October, have been found, according to an announcement on Facebook by her father, Jon Schmidt, of the Utah-based music group The Piano Guys.

Annie Schmidt had been hiking, apparently along Munra Point, an area in John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor, one of Oregon’s National Parks when she disappeared.

Jon Schmidt, Annie’s father, who is a member of The Piano Guys, a group that gained popularity on YouTube, on Friday announced in a Facebook group dedicated to finding his daughter that remains believed to be his daughter’s had been found.

“Today the dog teams found human remains at the bottom of a cliff in the area below Munra Point. The area is so far off trail and dense with vegetation that it required SAR to pretty much crawl uphill to get there,” Schmidt said in his post, referring to search and rescue teams. “Conclusive identification of the remains is impossible. The medical examiner will have conclusive identity verification by Monday or Tuesday. There is comfort in knowing from the circumstances that there would have been no suffering.”

He followed this with a post Saturday:

“We just received word from the medical examiner that the remains found yesterday have been positively identified as Annie. The cause was determined accidental. You have lived this trial with us and we pray that this may bring a greater level of resolution and peace for all of us. Much love, The Schmidts

Annie Schmidt had recently moved to Oregon from Utah and had been missing since Oct. 21. The website OregonHikers.org describes Munra Point as a “non-maintained trail,” and warns that hikers “have been seriously injured” by falling from the summit ridges there.

Jon Schmidt thanked those who offered the family support after his daughter went missing.

“There is no way to thank our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ for the support we have felt through you. You have searched with us, prayed with us, hoped with us, fasted with us, supported us and sacrificed for us. We thank you from the very bottom of our hearts!!!!,” he wrote.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, which had been investigating her disappearance, did not immediately return a request for comment from ABC News.

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Immigrants March in New York to Tell Trump They Are ‘Here to Stay’

Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A crowd of immigrants and their supporters that organizers say numbers in the thousands is marching in Manhattan with the intention of sending a message to president-elect Donald Trump that they are “here to stay.”

The #HeretoStay march began at Columbus Circle in Manhattan then moved to Trump Tower.

Thousands at NYC #HereToStay #TrumpProtest, walled in by NYPD. pic.twitter.com/VoPADOMK1t

— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) November 13, 2016

Thousands #HereToStay outside Trump Int’l Tower. #NotMyPresident #DumpTrump https://t.co/tolXRfTh3X pic.twitter.com/tA5N56dBTb

— Tardigrade CERN (@StopMotionsolo) November 13, 2016

The event was organized by immigrant advocacy organizations including Make the Road New York and its chapters in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“New Yorkers and communities across the country are standing up in resistance to the anti-immigrant agenda that Mr. Trump has pledged to enact as President—which would include stripping DREAMers of protected status from deportations and tearing apart millions of families through mass deportation,” said Make the Road’s announcement of the protest.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Anti-Donald Trump Protests Sweep US for 4th Day, Arrests and Violence in Some Cities

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Anti-Donald Trump demonstrations swept the U.S. for a fourth day Saturday, as thousands of people filled city streets and gathered in public parks and squares to express their disdain for the president-elect.

And in New York, protesters descended upon the real estate mogul-turned-commander in chief’s residence, Trump Tower on upscale Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

Below, a rundown of the nationwide protests:

PORTLAND, OREGON

As was the case the past few nights, Portland emerged as a hot of civil unrest: According to police, protesters attacked a TV crew, blocked the city’s light rail service with large metal barricades, blocked traffic, assaulted others and threw bottles, burning road flares and other projectiles at officers.

A stockpile of bricks and rocks was also located and removed by police.

Police responded by unleashing pepper spray and tear gas.

At 10:42 p.m. local time, Portland Police tweeted that 19 people had been arrested “due to criminal behavior during protest.”

LAS VEGAS

Nearly one thousand protesters marched along the Las Vegas strip sidewalks Saturday, with crowds dispersing after a few hours.

Seven people were arrested on charges that they blocked traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard following a demonstration at the Trump hotel, said Las Vegas Police Captain Christopher Tomaino said late Saturday.

Police were forced to seperate the protesters from Trump supporters, who faced off with their foes.

INDIANAPOLIS

Seven people were arrested during anti-Trump protests Saturday, said Indianapolis Police Chief Troy Riggs.

Police briefly fired pepper balls at protesters, some of whom threw rocks at officers and chanted threats including “Kill the Police.”

Two officers were slightly injured after being hit by rocks.

LOS ANGELES

More than 8,000 people filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles Saturday afternoon to protest Trump’s election, but by the evening, it was only a crowd of about 200 people marching, according to ABC affiliate KABC-TV.

“I want peace. I have family. I have little kids. I want them to have a good future, and Trump — I don’t know about him,” protester Ivan Marquez told KABC-TV.

At least two people were detained by police: One person on suspicion of spray painting a police cruiser and another for trying to attack a police officer with his bicycle.

CHICAGO

One of the midwest’s largest cities was also the site of anti-Trump demonstrations, with hundreds of protesters marching through downtown Chicago Saturday afternoon.

Some protesters gathered outside Trump Tower, while others marched throughout the Loop, causing traffic disruptions.

Two protesters were detained by police.

NEW YORK

In New York City, about 2,000 protesters marched up Fifth Avenue toward Trump Tower, where they gathered outside, according to local ABC-owned station WABC-TV. They held signs that read, “Not my president,” “Say no to racism,” “We are all human, we all deserve rights” and “Love trumps hate.”

Two protesters were arrested overnight for “interfering with police process,” according to the NYPD.

The president-elect had been holed up inside Trump Tower with his transition team all day.

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Dog Owners Join Walnut the Dog in Final Walk on the Beach

Emma Jones(NEW YORK) — One dying dog had the walk of a lifetime after his owner invited other pet owners to join him on what would be his final walk on the beach.

Mark Woods is the owner of Walnut, an 18-year-old Whippet, who had been sick for some time. The Newquay, United Kingdom, man took to Facebook last Tuesday to invite other dog owners to Walnut’s farewell.

“Sadly I am having to have Walnut euthanized on Saturday 12th November and so we will be having a last walk together on his beloved Porth Beach at 9.30am,” he wrote.

“I would love it if dog lovers/owners and friends would join us for a celebration of Walnut on his favourite Porth Beach,” Woods continued. “He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand age of 18 is ready for his final sleep.”

Woods’ plea for his “best friend” quickly went viral and many turned up Saturday to celebrate Walnut.

The hashtag, #WalkWithWalnut, even captured people’s attention on Twitter. Those doggy friends who couldn’t attend shared well wishes to Walnut on social media.

And just a few hours later, Walnut passed away.

Woods announced the news on Facebook Saturday afternoon, writing, “Walnut passed away this morning at 11.56am.”

“He went very quickly and in my arms,” the British man continued.

He then went on to thank the “hundreds of people that attended the walk this morning and to all those that had their own walks with their beloved pets at 9.30am all around the world.”

Woods ended his announcement by reminding everyone “just how lucky we are to be alive and to share in the wonderful world that our pets give us. God bless you all.”

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Thousands March on Trump Tower in Fourth Day of Protests

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — For the fourth straight day, demonstrators protested President-elect Donald Trump.

In New York City, about 2,000 protesters marched up Fifth Avenue toward Trump Tower, where they gathered outside, according to local ABC-owned station WABC. They held signs that read, “Not my president,” “Say no to racism,” “We are all human, we all deserve rights” and “Love trumps hate.”

Police lined both sides of the streets, but the demonstrators remained peaceful, according to WABC.

The president-elect has been holed up inside Trump Tower with his transition team all day.

The protesters I commiserate with on 5th Ave every day have been a shining example of peaceful Americans trying to make their voices heard. pic.twitter.com/RI9EJJ2MZJ

— Glenn Rockman (@grockman) November 12, 2016

Right now on 5th Ave #elections2016 pic.twitter.com/6F2jQGOuyL

— Talia Abbas (@taliaabbas) November 12, 2016

On 5th Ave. The crowd is unreal. #NotMyPresident #TrumpProtest #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/ZakdzUKLYL

— Tiffany Edwards (@pinksteam) November 12, 2016

Demonstrations have been going on across the country in the wake of Tuesday’s election results.

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