Review Category : Top Stories

‘Captain America’ Star Anthony Mackie Has Huge Surprise for Langley Air Force Base

Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage via GettyImages(NEW YORK) — Good Morning America received unprecedented access to the historic Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, the oldest in the country, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Correspondent Jesse Palmer, along with our “GMA” television crew, is the first ever inside this national security nerve center, the Air Force surveillance operations where men and women keep watch over extensive drone surveillance of the Middle East every day.

“We’re looking at 560 hours of video, pieces of intelligence information to go to the war fighter, the president,” an officer explained to Palmer while showing him around the base.

After witnessing the critical work being done on the ground, it was time to see what the Air Force can do in the sky. But, first, Palmer had to get proper training.

He geared up to get down to business in true “Top Gun” style with Capt. Michael “Jigga” Watts.

“This is the real thing now,” Palmer said as he sat in the jet before takeoff. “The heart is starting to race.”

Then it was liftoff, where Palmer was taken aback by doing three of the iconic 360-degree aileron rolls in a row, with top speeds of 7.7 Gs.

“That is like being on the craziest roller coaster,” Palmer said.

But once back on the ground, Palmer had a huge “Captain America” superhero surprise for the brave men and women on the base. Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon in “Captain America: Civil War,” surprised the unsuspecting airmen and airwomen.

The crowd roared, jumping up and down and high-fiving Mackie as he ran down the line where they were standing.

“Airmen and women, yes!” he shouted.

Mackie, a former U.S. Air Force pararescueman himself, wanted to do something special for the Air Force so he joined Palmer at Langley Air Force Base. He, too, has flown in F16s and said it was “the scariest experience of my life.”

“I didn’t fly on the F22 which is by far the more superior plane,” Mackie added, while telling Palmer that he beat his flight’s speed on the F16. “I pulled 10 Gs. I broke the sound barrier.”

Mackie also explained why he is thrilled for fans to see the highly anticipated new “Captain America” film.

“Playing a character that’s an airmen, I think it’s great for people to see the camaraderie, the brotherhood of the U.S. military,” he explained. “When you have a common understanding of the experience and things like that, you appreciate each other.

“If you look at ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier,’ I was an airman in that movie, and then because HYDRA infiltration the S.H.I.E.L.D. I kind of lose my appreciation for government office,” he added. “When in this movie it comes up, do you side with the government or do you side with civil liberties? I side with civil liberties because we don’t know what their hidden agenda is.”

Mackie, 37, also had one more surprise up his sleeve for the men and women on base.

“Being a fellow airmen, you guys are more brave than I am because you’re airmen and women for real. We have a screening for you guys of “Captain America: Civil War” and I’m excited that you guys get to see it.”

They will get to attend a private screening of the film with Mackie today before it hits theaters nationwide Friday.

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Buffalo Zoo Names New Otter Pups Luke and Leia on ‘Star Wars Day’

iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Two North American river otter pups at the Buffalo Zoo in New York have been named Luke and Leia to celebrate “Star Wars Day,” the zoo announced Wednesday.

On “behalf of the otter pups, the Zoo would like to say, ‘May the 4th be with you,'” the zoo told ABC News in a news release.

Luke and Leia were born earlier this year on Feb. 28, the zoo said. Their mother is an 11-year-old river otter named Ellie, and their father is a 9-year-old river otter named Rascal, the zoo added.

“Since their birth two months ago, Ellie has once again demonstrated attentive maternal care, including teaching them to swim in an inside pool adjacent to their den,” the zoo said. “Based on positive observations, Zoo staff is pleased to report that the public may get a glimpse of the pups in Otter Creek between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. daily, weather-dependent.”

According to the zoo, conservation efforts in the 1990s “have brought the North American river otter population to a stable status in the wild, after being on the verge of extinction.”

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Texas Gunman Kills Co-Worker, Self After Job Termination

iStock/Thinkstock(KATY, Texas) — Texas law enforcement officials say an active shooter situation at a trucking company outside of Houston is now under control.

Police responded Wednesday morning to a call at Knight Transportation in Katy, Texas, where a former employee reportedly shot one person and wounded another before taking his own life. He had been fired earlier in the day, according to police.

“It appears it may have been a disgruntled employee that was terminated earlier today,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said Wednesday morning. “Preliminary reports are that we have one employee who was shot and one who is wounded. The shooter, I believe has taken his own life.”

Police have not released the names of the gunman or the victims.

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Girls’ Night Out Transformed by Building Homes for Women in Need

Design Pics/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — This week, women are turning their girls’ nights out into chances to help families in need by building them homes.

Good Morning America correspondent Abbie Boudreau recently joined more than 100 women in San Diego to kick off a 10-city “Girls’ Night Out” tour in which women grabbed hammers and tools to build homes for those in need.

The tour is part of National Women Build Week, a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s, a GMA sponsor.

“It’s a special night because you have women who are empowered to build,” said Lori Pfeiler, the president of San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

The San Diego “Girls’ Night Out” event saw the women start a frame for a two-story home for a local veteran and learn construction lessons like what size hammer to use and how to get the perfect cut when sawing.

For Brittney Anthony, a single mom of four boys, living in a cramped three-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis led her to dream of owning her own home with more space.

Anthony is now watching her dream turn into a reality thanks to Habitat for Humanity, which is building Anthony a five-bedroom home with a yard for her boys to play in.

“I’m just filled with so much joy,” said Anthony, one of 1,000 families that will receive a Habitat for Humanity home this year.

Anthony’s home began to take shape with the help of 60 volunteers giving four hours of their time.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Anthony said of the effort. “It just means the world to me and my boys and to support this dream of mine.”

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Flint Family of 7 Forced to Cook, Bathe With Bottled Water

iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — The city of Flint is in crisis.

For more than a year, the water flowing through the pipes under the city of Flint, Michigan, was coming from the Flint River. The corrosive water was not treated properly to prevent the decades-old pipes from corroding and leaching lead into the city’s water supply.

This water made its way into homes, hospitals and schools. Nearly 100,000 residents have been affected.

Residents Jacob Uherek, Jamila Marshall and their children cannot safely drink or use the water coming out of their faucets. They must rely on bottled water for drinking, bathing and cooking.

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FBI Nabs Man Suspected of Poisoning Produce at Grocery Store

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — The FBI has arrested a Michigan man for allegedly spraying a poisonous mixture of chemicals on food at three grocery stores in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The FBI and Michigan Health Department are now looking at whether anyone was seriously ill from the low-scale chemical attack to contaminate food.

Authorities believe the unidentified suspect targeted at least three grocery stores in the past two weeks: Whole Foods, Meijer and Plum Market. Law enforcement officials are also now trying to determine whether he victimized other stores with his toxic mixture of hand-cleaner, water and Tomcat mice poison.

“What if he’s been doing this for weeks, or months, or even years, and just suddenly someone saw him?” one concerned citizen said. “Makes you think about everything you buy all the time.”

The suspect may have mental health issues, and so far there is no indication of terrorism, sources said.

The FBI had released photos of the suspect Sunday, seeking the public’s help in identifying him.

“The FBI and Ann Arbor Police want to thank the media for bringing attention to this matter, and the public for their assistance,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday.

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Mother-Son Duo Sworn in as Flint, Michigan Police Officers

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — The streets of Flint, Michigan will soon be patrolled by a mother and son duo, who were recently sworn-in together as members of the Flint Police Department.

Soon after Maria Reed, 39, first applied to the police academy at Mott Community College, in Fenton, Michigan, her son, Dion, 20, followed.

The pair went through all 16 weeks of the training in tandem. The academy’s training coordinator told ABC News it was the first time he’s seen a parent and child complete the program together.

“I’ve been doing police academies for 27 years and have never even heard of it,” said Sgt. Dunnell Chaney of the Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy. “I’ve seen brothers but never a parent and a child.”

The pair graduated last Thursday, according to Chaney. Dion said he took some ribbing from his classmates while at the academy with his mom.

“They make a lot a jokes, like the only reason I’m at the academy is because she can’t find a babysitter,” Dion told ABC affiliate WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan.

Maria and Dion were two of the seven new officers sworn in to the Flint Police Department on Monday morning. They will join the 107-member strong police force for the Michigan city.

“This is the first I’m aware of a parent and child being sworn in together,” Flint Police Capt. Leigh Golden told ABC News. “It is pretty unique.”

The mother and son are in training this week and could not be reached by ABC News. They will start “working the road” next week, according to Golden.

Maria will have her first full shift as a uniformed Flint officer on Mother’s Day. When she is on the job though, she says she will just be Officer Reed. She told WJRT-TV, “I can’t be a mom when I am out there doing my job.”

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New Jersey Examines Water Quality in Wake of Flint Water Crisis

iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) — With President Obama scheduled to tour Flint, Michigan, Wednesday, concerns about water safety have been elevated to the national stage once again, leading many to speculate whether another water crisis is looming for more American cities.

One example is in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie ordered mandatory lead testing for all of the state’s public schools on Monday.

Elevated levels of lead found in Newark Public Schools in March created panic among residents. In the city of Camden, students and public school staff have been drinking bottled water since 2002 due to deterioration of piping found in the buildings, many of which were constructed nearly a century ago.

Nearly 50 percent of the residents in Newark and Camden are black, according to recent census data, similar to the demographics of Flint. A 2012 report published by a group of international water policy experts determined that African-American residents were nearly twice as likely to live in buildings with inadequate plumbing as whites.

The tests announced by Christie will impact approximately 3,000 public schools. The governor hopes to reduce the level of lead in a child’s blood from 10 micrograms per deciliter to five, meeting standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012. The CDC says a level of 5 micrograms per deciliter is used to identify children with high levels of lead in their blood.

Funding for the tests, which will cost an estimated $10 million, will not come easily for the cash-strapped state, whose debt reached $170 million in 2015, according to Truth in Accounting, a watchdog group.

Improving New Jersey’s water supply has been a concern for Christie long before Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in December of last year.

Christie signed the Water Infrastructure Protection Act in February of 2015, a bill designed to fast-track the privatization of the state’s public water systems. Proponents argue that the legislation would spur investment in the state’s crumbling infrastructure, but environmentalists strongly oppose it, arguing that it turns a necessity into a profit-making resource for corporations without necessarily solving the problem at hand.

“What consumer protection groups find is that turning over water systems to private industry often increases the cost for residents without guaranteeing the safety that lawmakers like Christie say they want,” said Andrea Muehlebach, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in water systems.

New Jersey residents are not alone in their struggles with infrastructure. An investigative report published this March in USA Today found potentially hazardous lead levels in close to 2,000 water systems across the county.

Obama’s visit to Flint, which was prompted by a letter he received from Mari Copeny, an 8-year-old Flint resident requesting to meet with him, gives the president the opportunity to draw attention to the severity of the crisis.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will greet Obama at the airport in Flint, a spokesman for Snyder confirmed to ABC News.

The spokesman also said the governor will participate in the president’s briefing with federal officials on the Flint water crisis. In April, two state regulators and one city employee were charged with misconduct, tampering and other offenses in relation to Flint’s water crisis.

It was unclear if Obama would drink filtered water during his stay.

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‘Little Miss Flint’ to Meet with Obama Before He Addresses Water Crisis

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(FLINT, Mich.) — The 8-year-old girl who received a letter from President Obama after writing to him about Flint, Michigan, will get a chance to meet the commander-in-chief Wednesday.

“Little Miss Flint” Mari Copeny wrote to the president before she traveled 12 hours by bus with a group of more than 200 Flint residents to a congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis. In the letter, Mari described herself as “one of the children [affected]” by Flint’s lead-filled water and stressed that meeting him or the first lady “would really lift people’s spirits.”

The letter inspired the president to send Flint’s mini-ambassador a letter of his own.

“You’re right that Presidents are often busy, but the truth is, in America, there is no more important title than citizen,” Obama wrote.

Before the trip to Washington, D.C., Mari was keen on meeting the president to tell him everything she’s been doing to raise awareness for Flint, her mother, Lulu Brezzell, told ABC News.

Obama wrote in his letter to Mari that he wanted her to be the “first to know” about his upcoming trip to Flint. “Like you, I’ll use my voice to call for change and help lift up your community,” the president wrote.

The meeting will take place Wednesday afternoon at Northwestern High School, where Obama will deliver remarks to a crowd of about 1,000 people, the White House told ABC News.

“In the end, it was my 8-year-old who convinced him that maybe it was time to come,” Brezzell said, describing her daughter as a “force of nature” who “loves to use her voice”

Mari told ABC News that meeting the president will be better than her birthday and Christmas and is the “most exciting thing to happen” to her.

“People need him to give us hope,” she said of Obama, adding that the first thing she’ll do is “give him a big hug.”

Mari received the title “Little Miss Flint” last spring after winning a local pageant, Brezzell said. Although her reign is almost over, another pageant system has offered to let her keep the title for another year because of all the awareness she’s raised with it, Brezzell added.

The pageant winner says her dream is to become “Miss America” and then become a police officer after that. She’s been active in the efforts to help Flint, her mother said, participating in rallies and protests to raise awareness.

In addition, Mari said education is an important issue to her. She enjoys cheerleading, gymnastics, tap dancing, singing and playing the violin, she said, and plans to “keep on helping” her fellow Flint residents.

“Cause I’m a kid that cares,” Mari said. “We do not drink [the water] ’cause it’s poison.”

Brezzell said her family is not able to cook or bathe with the water that comes out of their faucet, saying they get rashes similar to chemical burns when it touches their skin. The mother of three called Flint’s water crisis “heartbreaking” and “avoidable.”

Mari’s final message: “Don’t forget Flint.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has called on Obama to drink the water in Flint during his visit.

“We are hopeful the president will drink the water in Flint, to help reinforce Gov. Snyder’s actions and the EPA’s message that filtered Flint water is safe to drink,” Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said in a statement to ABC.

Despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment that filtered water is safe to drink, Flint residents continue to drink only bottled water, Heaton said. Last month, Snyder vowed to drink Flint’s water for at least 30 days.

In January, Obama addressed the water crisis in a visit to Detroit, saying he would be “beside” himself if his kids’ health could be at risk. He declared a national emergency in Flint, directing funds to assist in relief efforts, following a request from Gov. Snyder.

It is unclear if the governor will meet will meet with the president during his visit. Snyder is not currently scheduled to be in Flint, according to his office.

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FBI Arrest Man in Abduction and Death of 11-Year-Old Girl Kidnapped from Navajo Nation

New Mexico State Police(SHIPROCK, N.M.) — A 27-year-old man has been arrested in the abduction and death of an 11-year-old girl believed to have been kidnapped from the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, the FBI announced Tuesday evening.

The Albuquerque office of the FBI tweeted its arrest of Tom Begaye, 27, of Waterflow, New Mexico, for the “abduction and death” of Ashlynne Mike, who went missing Monday and was found dead Tuesday.

Begaye is slated to appear in court Wednesday, according to the FBI’s tweet. It was unknown if he had a lawyer yet.

#FBI announces Tom Begaye, 27, of Waterflow, N.M., arrested in abduction and death of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike. Court appearance tomorrow.

— FBI Albuquerque (@FBIAlbuquerque) May 4, 2016

Ashlynne Mike was last seen Monday around 4 p.m., according to a press release from New Mexico State Police. “An unknown Native American male is believed to have abducted Ashlynn[e],” read the press release. “[The] abductor was last seen in the area of Navajo Route 36 Mile Post 13 at 4 p.m.”

Her parents filed a police report Monday night after Ashlynne and her 9-year-old brother, Ian, went missing, Najavo Nation Public Information Officer Mihio Manus said.

Shortly after the report was filed, a motorist picked up Ian as he walked along the highway and took him to the Shiprock Police Department. Ian told police that a man had taken them toward the Shiprock Pinnacle, but he let Ian out when he came upon a dead end, Manus said. The man then continued on with Ashlynne.

The man later returned without Ashlynne and told Ian to “go home,” Manus said.

Ashlynne’s body was found Tuesday in Shiprock, according to FBI Public Affairs Specialist Frank Fisher.

The FBI described the man suspected of abducting her as a light-skinned Navajo man in his 20s or 30s with short, dark hair. The man has a tear-drop tattoo under his left eye, according to the FBI, and was last seen wearing earrings in both ears, a long, silver chain necklace, gold watch, with a black shirt and blue pants.

The vehicle used in the alleged abduction was a maroon minivan with sliding doors with a luggage rack on the top and no hub caps on the wheels, the FBI said.

“We want to reassure the family that the Navajo Nation Police are conducting a thorough investigation in this case and will be working with the FBI to apprehend the abductor and bring him to justice,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

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