Review Category : Top Stories

Teacher Aide Fired After Accused of Faking Cancer to Hide Criminal Past

Jetta Productions/iStock/Thinkstock(MESQUITE, Texas) — A Texas teacher’s aide has been fired after he was accused of faking cancer in order to hide a criminal past, according to Texas school officials.

Kevin MaBone, 56, allegedly told school officials he had cancer and needed a few days off this week to undergo surgery, according to a spokeswoman at the Mesquite Independent School District in Texas. However, he is now being investigated for faking the cancer in order to go to a sentencing hearing in West Virginia after he pleaded guilty to misappropriating government funds last year.

After MaBone told school officials he had cancer earlier this year, students and teachers alike helped raise money on GoFundMe for the teacher’s aide over the past few weeks. Elizabeth Fernandez, a spokeswoman at the Mesquite Independent School District, said she believes they had raised more than $10,000 and managed to have a car donated to MaBone from a local business.

After sending him off on Friday with the new car and pledged donations, school officials received a call from him on Monday saying he had been “cured” of cancer, according to Fernandez.

“We just kind of thought that didn’t sound right. That was a major red flag,” Leslie Feinglas, principal at Wilkinson Middle School, told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

School officials Googled MaBone’s name and realized he was scheduled for a sentencing on Jan. 24 in West Virginia. MaBone pleaded guilty to misappropriating government funds after he was charged with using government credit cards to fuel his personal car, pilfering at least $6,684 between 2014 and 2015 when he worked at the Charleston Job Corps Center, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Fernandez said the school has now terminated MaBone and involved the police to try to get all the money back that had been donated to the GoFundMe campaign. She said MaBone is set to bring the donated car back on Thursday.

“We’re heartbroken, we’re embarrassed,” Feinglas told WFAA. “To know that he did this to the staff, he did this to the students, he took money from our students — how can someone do that?”

MaBone faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced next month.

MaBone’s attorney, Ann Mason Rigby, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

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Mom, Two Kids Who Disappeared Under ‘Suspicious Circumstances’ Found Safe: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.) — A Virginia mother and her two young children who recently disappeared under “suspicious circumstances” have been found safe, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department.

The mother, 29-year-old Monica Lamping, and her 9-month-old daughter and 7-year-old son, were located safe “in an adjoining state,” police wrote in an update on the department’s website just before noon Wednesday.

“Investigators have determined that they left on their own free will,” police said.

Further information about how and where the mother and kids were found was not immediately released by police.

Lamping and her children were first reported missing by family members on Sunday, Jan. 22, around 9:30 a.m., police said Tuesday.

A fire had broken out in Lamping’s home just hours before she and her kids were reported missing, according to the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

The fire was reported around 3:15 a.m. that same Sunday, and no one was found in the home, a fire department spokesperson told ABC News on Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and investigators are looking at the possibility that a space heater may have ignited the blaze, the fire department spokesperson said.

Just a few hours before the fire, in the late afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 21, Monica Lamping reportedly went on a blind date with “somebody named Chad,” according to Moira Lamping, the stepmother of Monica Lamping’s 7-year-old son.

Monica Lamping left her kids with her best friend and picked them up again after the date around 5:30 p.m. that Saturday, Moira Lamping told ABC affiliate WVEC-TV in Hampton, Virginia.

“She said something about car trouble, and Chad could fix it,” Moira Lamping said.

Police had said in a statement on Tuesday that they were “attempting to identify the individual named Chad.”

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‘Unsettling’ Video Shows Driver Slam into Louisiana Police Vehicle

Louisiana State Police(HAMMOND, La.) — An allegedly drug-impaired driver and a Louisiana state trooper escaped with minor injuries after the former slammed into the latter’s car in a dramatic moment caught on camera.

Louisiana State Police described the footage as “unsettling” in a Facebook post Tuesday.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon in southeast Louisiana, west of Hammond, state police said, after witnesses called police about an erratic driver on Interstate 12.

The collision occurred as one responding trooper tried to position himself to stop the driver, police said.

Video shows the driver swerve across the highway, then slam into the back of the trooper’s car.

The trooper and the driver, identified by police as Bradley Burch, suffered minor injuries, police said.

Police said in a statement that they suspect Burch was impaired from heroin during the crash. Burch was arrested for DWI, reckless operation and driving with a suspended license, police said. He remains in custody Wednesday, held without bond at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail, according to jail officials.

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Michael Edmonson in a statement praised those who witnessed the erratic driver and called police. Police said one caller stayed on the line with authorities, giving a description of the car and continuous updates on the erratic driver’s location.

“Unfortunately, troopers receive calls like this far too often, as impaired driving is something that continues to be a problem on our roadways,” Edmonson said. “These callers exemplified what to do in a situation where you witness this type of dangerous driving.”

It’s unclear if Burch has an attorney.

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Virginia Zoo Uses Geothermal Camera to Search for Missing Red Panda

Virginia Zoo(NORFOLK, Va.) — Authorities are still searching for a red panda that went missing from the Virginia Zoo Tuesday.

The 19-month-old red panda, named Sunny, was last seen in her enclosure at the zoo by staff Monday around 5 p.m. local time. During a route check Tuesday morning, Sunny was not in her enclosure and officials have been searching the zoo grounds ever since, according to the Virginia Zoo.

The Zoo said it’s working with the Norfolk Police Department to use a geothermal camera to search the property for Sunny. Officials advised neighbors in the area to be on alert in case the animal fled the zoo grounds.

“Zoo staff are hopeful Sunny is still on zoo grounds. In the event Sunny has wandered off the property and is spotted in the community, the public is asked to call the Virginia Zoo hotline at 777-7899,” the Virginia Zoo said in a statement Tuesday. “Red pandas are generally not considered aggressive animals, but like any wild animals its behavior can be unpredictable and you should not try to touch, feed or capture Sunny yourself.”

Sunny arrived at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk last year in May from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal. Like all red pandas, Sunny has a long, bushy tail and thick reddish-brown fur. The animals, which are similar in size to a raccoon, can be seen on the ground but are typically found in trees, according to the Virginia Zoo.

Red pandas have been classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because fewer than 10,000 adult red pandas remain in the wild.

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Helmet Cam Captures High-Speed Road Rage Incident

iStock/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — Motorcyclist Seth Diechman captured footage of his own high-speed run-in with a motorist that ended with him dangling from the trunk of the car on a highway in Olympia, Washington.

Diechman’s helmet cam captured the driver of an Acura zooming dangerously close to him, before speeding away. Seconds later, Diechman reacts by speeding up to catch the driver. As Diechman approaches, the Acura abruptly comes to a screeching halt, slamming the motorcyclist into the back of the vehicle.

A nearby tow truck captured the rest of the incident from another angle as the Acura took off with Diechman still on the car’s trunk.

Diechman told ABC Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV the incident occurred last Monday.

“I grabbed his spoiler with my hand and was banging on the rear window with my hand,” said Diechman, adding that he thought the driver continued for around another quarter mile. “He looked shocked I was still attached to the back of his car.”

ABC News asked a New York State Trooper, Lt. Victor Gesuele, who was not involved in the case, for his take on the video.

“It takes two to tango. Rather than getting involved, just slow down, reduce speed and avoid that person completely,” Geuele said.

The two drivers appear to argue right on the highway after the incident subsided.

Gesuele also advised, “When you’re out on the road you really have to have the right frame of mind. You can’t be aggressive. Aggressive driving causes accidents like this.”

Diechman was charged with a misdemeanor for driving recklessly, according to Washington State Police.

Police said the driver of the Acura had been drinking and was charged with a misdemeanor DUI and driving with a suspended license.

Neither of the two drivers were seriously injured.

Police say that if witnessing an incident or argument like what occurred in this video, do not get involved or approach them, rather call the police to get help to the scene.

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Sinkhole Swallows Front Yards in Pennsylvania Town

WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) — A 30-foot-wide sinkhole has swallowed the front yards of two homes and part of a road in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania.

A chopper for ABC’s Philadelphia station WPVI-TV captured aerial video of a white pick-up truck dangling at the sinkhole’s edge, as well as a tree and pieces of asphalt inside the sinkhole.

The dangling pick-up truck had been parked in a driveway, WPVI reported.

The sinkhole opened up around 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to a dispatch supervisor at the Montgomery County’s Dispatch Center.

The dispatch supervisor told ABC News late Wednesday morning that police and several fire and utility crews were at the scene and working to assess damage and get the pick-up truck removed.

No injuries have been reported because of the sinkhole, the dispatch supervisor said.

What caused the sinkhole remains unknown and is under investigation, the dispatch supervisor added.

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Badlands National Park Climate Change Tweets Deleted

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A series of tweets about climate change from the Badlands National Park Twitter account were deleted Tuesday.

“The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm,” wrote the verified @BadlandsNPS account. The account continued to post, “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate” Followed by “Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. “Ocean Acidification” #climate #carboncycle”

A few hours after posting, the tweets were removed from the @BadlandsNPS account. It was not clear who composed the tweets or why they were taken down — including whether or not the deletion involved the Trump administration.

The tweets came after the Trump administration Wednesday placed a temporary “freeze” on public communications shared by federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture.

On the day of Trump’s inauguration, the National Parks Service — a bureau of the United States Department of Interior — retweeted a politically-charged photo comparing the crowd sizes at President Trump and former President Obama’s 2009 inauguration in Washington, D.C. The Department of Interior was asked to temporarily suspend any social media actions following the tweet, but their twitter account resumed activity the day after inauguration.

The removal of the Badlands tweets drew condemnation online and from Democratic National Committee. “Vladimir Putin would be proud,” wrote Adrienne Watson “in response to the deletion of the Badlands National Park Service tweets about climate change in defiance of President Trump’s gag order.”

While Trump’s pick to head the Department of Interior, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, said that he does not think climate change is a hoax, the topic has been a hot button during Trump cabinet confirmation hearings as President Trump has previously stated “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” However in an interview with the New York Times, Trump said he now has an open mind to climate change and human connections to rising temperatures.

“I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much,” said Trump. “It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change.”

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the freeze on agency social media accounts during his press briefing on Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover, that we’re going to review the policies,” said Spicer about reports that the Environmental Protection Agency was barred from public communications.

Spicer said the Department of Interior seemed to break with social media policies.

“My understanding is that because they had inappropriately violated their own social media policies, there was guidance that was put out to the department to act in compliance with the rules that were set forth,” said Spicer.

The Badlands National Park could not be reached for comment.

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Car Stolen in Chicago with 10-Year-Old Boy Sitting Inside

WLS-TV(CHICAGO) — A 10-year-old Chicago boy is home safely after going on a joy ride of sorts that he’ll never forget.

The drama unfolded Sunday morning when Richard Rodriguez’s family car was stolen — while he was seated inside the vehicle outside his house, while waiting for his mother and baby sister.

Rodriguez said he was sitting in the car outside of his home in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago when a teenage girl jumped inside and drove off, ABC News affiliate WLS reported.

Rodriguez said the teem hit two cars before stopping in an alley to pick up an accomplice.

“The girl just came running and just got into my car and I was really, like, shocked because I was like my mom doesn’t drive that fast,” Rodriguez told WLS on Tuesday. “They hit a car and then when they saw the other cars had stopped the girl turned around and hit another car, and when she was driving in the alley she hit a big post.”

He said the accomplice, another teenager, got into the vehicle and told him to get out, leaving him alone and stranded in an alley. Thankfully, a good Samaritan found him and notified his parents.

“He called my mom and after that, that’s how my parents found me,” Rodriguez told WLS.

“They said have a nice school day”: Car stolen in Hermosa, with 10-year-old boy inside: https://t.co/g0ZC21XRsC pic.twitter.com/q2B05ARhFb

— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 24, 2017

His parents, Jaqueline and Elias Rodriguez, said they were relieved when they got the phone call, but now they’re worried about the safety of their neighborhood. The family had just moved into the area this past weekend.

“I think this is not secure,” Jacqueline Rodriguez told WLS.

Chicago police are investigating the matter and working to recover the vehicle, but the parents said they are not too concerned about the car’s whereabouts.

“Right now my kid is important, he saved my kid. Not important, my car,” Elias Rodriguez said.

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Majority of Promised Oil Pipeline Jobs to Be Temporary

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed two memorandums Tuesday signaling his support for the advancement of construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines — two projects halted by former President Barack Obama.

Obama’s move was greeted at the time with cheers from environmental advocates and Native American rights activists concerned with the pipelines’ potential impact on the environment and possible infringement upon the land and resources of Native American tribes.

However, the benefits of the pipelines, Trump said, will be two-fold. First, the construction of promised “vital energy infrastructure” that will transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil throughout the United States each day. Second — and perhaps most notably to Trump, who made it a pledge at almost every campaign speech he gave — is jobs.

“A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs,” Trump said of the potential economic impact of the pipelines. “Great construction jobs.”

Trump’s comments, however, contrast with conclusions drawn by researchers who have looked into the economic impact of the pipelines. While it is true that a large number of workers are required for construction, the jobs — and the money spent by these contractors locally — are temporary, researchers have noted, with only a small number of employees staying behind for permanent operations positions.
It is unclear where Trump’s 28,000 number comes from. Dakota Access LLC and TransCanada, the companies operating and developing the two pipelines, have cited 12,000 and 42,000 jobs, respectively. A 2014 State Department report agreed with TransCanada on the Keystone XL number but in a far narrower sense.

“Construction spending would support a combined total of approximately 42,100 jobs throughout the United States for the up to 2-year construction period,” the report states, but notes that approximately 26,000 of the positions would result from spending on goods and services by contractors and employees, and last only the duration of the project, up to two years.

These jobs could comprise everything from fast food workers at establishments serving the communities in which construction takes place, to cashiers at local stores.

Of the remaining 16,100 positions, only 3,900 (or 1,950 per year, if the construction lasts two years) would be “construction jobs,” as described by Trump, and all but 50 would be temporary, with those 50 workers engaged in the ongoing operation of the Keystone XL once it is completed.

Similarly, the Dakota Access Pipeline would employ the vast majority of its workers on a temporary basis until construction is complete. The company’s calculation of 12,000 jobs also includes those indirect, non-construction roles at businesses in the region that expect an increase in activity during the short-term period of construction on the pipeline.

The Brookings Institution estimates just 40 full-time permanent positions will remain upon the conclusion of construction on the DAPL.

Trump said Tuesday that he also wants it to be a requirement for the materials used in the pipeline to be manufactured in the United States, possibly contributing to additional work for supporting industries.
“If we are going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be built in the United States,” Trump said. “We build the pipelines, we want to build the pipe, going to put a lot of workers, lot of steelworkers back to work.”

However, there is currently no law that would require the domestic manufacture of such supplies and materials. And, as for-profit companies, both TransCanada and Dakota Access LLC will likely seek sources that will allow for the construction of the pipelines in the most cost-effective fashion possible.

Previously, Trump himself was invested, literally, in the success of the pipeline. In his most recent financial disclosure in May 2016, the president has owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in shares of Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access LLC and between $100,000 and $250,000 of Phillips 66, which has a 25 percent stake in the pipeline. Since then, both Trump and his aides have said he has sold all of his stocks, though they have not provided evidence to support the claim.

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Massachusetts Gold Star Wife Gifted Car

US Military(MALDEN, Mass.) – A Gold Star wife has been gifted a newly refurbished 2014 Kia and a $250 gas card.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes presented the gifts in Malden, Massachusetts, on Tuesday to Erin Vasselian after her husband, Sgt. Daniel Vasselian, was killed in 2014 on his third combat tour of duty, according to ABC affiliate WCVB-TV.

Sgt. Vasselian, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan after enlisting in 2006, was 27-years-old when he died two days before Christmas, WCVB-TV reports.

The car was donated to Erin Vasselian by MetLife Insurance as the third collaboration between Today’s Collision and Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, according to WCVB-TV.

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