Review Category : Top Stories

Cheerleading ‘Tryout Look’ Photo Sparks Student Backlash

Clay Thompson/Facebook(SEATTLE) — Want to be a cheerleader at the University of Washington? Make sure not to wear too much makeup or distracting fingernail polish. And don’t wear a top that covers the midriff.

These were some of the tips given in a graphic made by a member of the University of Washington spirit leadership team. According to the university’s athletics department the graphic was aimed at providing information for interested students preparing for tryouts.

The graphic, which was posted on the University of Washington Cheerleading Facebook page on Monday lists the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for makeup, hair, clothes and even body type.

The cheerleading team is coed, but there was no tryout tips graphic made for male cheerleaders.

The student government, Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), released a statement on the graphic saying that it, “completely objectifies women and creates barriers that only perpetuates the inaccessibility of opportunities that should be open for every student on this campus.”

The criticism caused the athletics department to take the photo down by Tuesday morning.

“The graphic was removed immediately, after a UW athletic department official saw it and determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics,” University of Washington athletics spokesperson Carter Henderson said in a statement.

Washington State University Cheer and Louisiana State University Cheerleading Facebook pages have also posted similar tryout tip photos.

The university’s cheerleading team has tryouts this Friday and Saturday.

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Several Ohio Governments Report No Issues With Sending Financial Numbers To State

4/28/16 – 5:09 A.M.

Last week Findlay City Council was told that the city’s financial software doesn’t lend itself well to uploading information to Ohio’s “open checkbook” website. However, the Courier reports several cities and counties using MUNIS financial software have not had issues in uploading their numbers to OhioCheckbook.com. The City of North Royalton, as well as Mahoning, Clermont, Butler, Fairfield, and Franklin Counties all use MUNIS. Representatives from the city and counties tell the newspaper they’ve had very few problems if any at all.

Chris Berry is the communications director for the State Auditor’s website. He says he is not aware of any governments that use MUNIS having to hire outside help to upload their numbers to the state. Deputy Auditor Ginger Sampson told council members last week that some governments using the same financial software as Findlay had to hire accounting firms to help prepare data to be uploaded to the state site.

The Courier reports neither Auditor Jim Staschiak or Sampson elected to speak to reporter Max Filby for the article that appears in today’s edition of the newspaper.

Sampson told council last week the auditor’s office would be rolling out a local financial transparency tool by mid-summer. She added it would show revenues and expenses. OhioCheckbook.com only shows expenses. Sampson said that the local tool didn’t mean that Findlay wouldn’t eventually upload information to the state site.

MORE: The Courier

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Felon Escapes Texas Jail with Help from Mother, Girlfriend

Van Zandt County Jail(DALLAS) — Authorities in Texas are still searching for an inmate who escaped a county detention center with help from his mother and girlfriend.

Jay Scott McEvers, 47, escaped from Van Zandt County Detention Center — located about 60 miles east of Dallas — on Wednesday. He was last seen wearing orange jail pants and a white tank top, according to police.

Authorities said McEvers is considered armed and dangerous and may be driving a red Chevrolet Cobalt.

McEvers was booked at the detention center on April 14 for possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

His criminal history includes an armed bank robbery and various drug charges.

Overnight, deputies arrested McEvers’ mother, Carolyn McEvers, and girlfriend, Cynthia Heese, in connection to the case.

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James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ex-Companion May Face More Prison Time

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A South Boston woman who spent 16 years on the run with one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters, James “Whitey” Bulger, could be sentenced to another three years in federal prison Thursday for what prosecutors call her “conscious, considered and unapologetic” refusal to testify about their time on the lam.

Catherine Greig, 65, is serving an eight-year sentence for her role in helping Bulger escape and evade capture after he was tipped to a pending federal indictment by his rogue FBI handler in 1995. The couple was captured in June 2011 after the FBI found them hiding in plain sight living as Carol and Charles Gasko in an apartment near the picturesque Santa Monica Pier in California.

Thursday’s sentencing deals with new federal criminal contempt charges stemming from Greig’s refusal to cooperate with a grand jury that continues to investigate who, if anyone, helped Bulger while he hid from authorities.

“The defendant chose to defy the Court’s Order,” Assistant United States Attorney Mary Murrane wrote in a sentencing brief filed by the government where prosecutors asked for an additional 37 months to be added to Greig’s sentence unless she retracts her refusal to testify and tells investigators “what she knows about her 16 years with Bulger.”

Greig’s lawyer Kevin Reddington filed his own sentencing memo that insisted that prosecutors are punishing his client for only one thing: falling for the wrong man and living a “quiet unpretentious life” with him.

“It is obvious that she is a kind, gentle woman who has literally done nothing bad in her life except fall in love with James Bulger and live with him for 16 years until his arrest,” Reddington wrote in the memo, alleging that his client has been repeatedly subjected to what is commonly referred to by defendants as the “diesel tour” – a constant reshuffling of prison cells via diesel bus – as part of what he called the government’s abuse of power.

“She has served more time than any of the organized crime killers involved in this sordid page of law enforcement history.”

In addition, according to the “Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum” filed with the court, Greig “suggests that the ‘cross reference’ to Bulger’s crimes including murder and RICO violations is a gross due process violation. Greig has pled guilty to a crime of contempt; a non-violent offense.”

The memo also argues that “although the court may consider a virtually unlimited array of facts in determining a fair sentencing, it may not impose a sentence that exceeds the ‘substantively reasonable’ threshold.”

Bulger, 86, is serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison after a 2013 conviction for 11 murders, racketeering and other federal charges. He claimed that his role as a FBI top echelon informant gave him immunity for those crimes, a defense with which jurors did not agree.

Still, some of his criminal compatriots like John Martorano, who confessed to murdering some 20 people, served 12 years behind bars after he cut a deal with the government.

Meanwhile, federal officials will hold a public auction in June at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to sell Bulger’s belongings seized from the Santa Monica hideout where the couple lived for more than a decade, part of a way to recoup some of the $25.2 million forfeiture judgment that came with Bulger’s conviction.

Profits from the weekend auction, which will include a coffee mug shaped like a rat, along with $822,000 in cash found secreted in the walls of the hideout next to 30 guns, will be divided among the families of 20 people killed by the gangster or his associates and among several people he extorted, according to court filings. The guns will not be sold at the event, slated to be held from June 24 to June 26, according to court records.

Those victims will also divide Bulger’s Social Security payments and any cash seized from safe deposit boxes and bank accounts uncovered in England and Ireland connected to Bulger.

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Alabama Pilot Walks Away from Fiery Plane Crash with Only Minor Injuries

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(FOLEY, Ala.) — A pilot in Alabama made a very lucky escape after his plane crash-landed yesterday — and the whole incident was caught on camera.

The twin-engine Cessna aircraft went down in front of a towing company in Foley, Alabama, hitting several trees before it went up in flames. That’s when the pilot, Russell Smith, “busted out of the airplane,” according to Foley Municipal Airport Lineman Corey Kirkwood.

“All hell was breaking loose,” Smith said. “It happened so quick I didn’t have time to think.”

Miraculously, Smith walked away with only minor injuries to his hands. He didn’t even go to the hospital.

Kirkwood told ABC News that the plane “took an insane amount of time to take off,” he said, adding that the aircraft barely cleared the fence and clipped the tree line past the end of the runway where it went down.

Smith was the sole passenger. A salvage company will retrieve the remnants of the plane when the FAA is finished examining it.

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Texas Residents Take Extreme Measures to Protect Cars from Golf Ball-Sized Hail

Courtesy Haley Galbreath(DALLAS) — Texas and Oklahoma were pounded by blinding rain, tornadoes and hail this week.

Severe weather is known to take a toll on one’s car. From shattering windows to damaging roofs, hail damage can be costly. And with golf ball-sized hail moving through Texas, people will try just about anything to avoid car trouble.

Jeff Phillips, the owner of Dent Masters in Dallas, said, “The average hail repair claim is between $2500 and $7,000, but it depends on the severity of the damage. Factors in price range include the size of the dents, what type of metal the car has, the location of dents, and accessibility.”

Residents of northern Texas have taken precaution to a whole new level. They’ve created unique household shields in hopes of preventing damage to their cars, from plastic wrap to a trampoline to cardboard boxes to yoga mats. The goal here is to cover the car in layers. Options may include mattress pads, blankets and towels — the more cushion, the better.

Haley Galbreath used her car mats to protect her windshield, pillows and blankets for the windows, and then topped it off by covering her entire car in plastic wrap. When Galbreath went to remove the plastic wrap, she noted that the car wasn’t even gotten wet.

Images posted to Twitter showed the lengths some went to to protect their vehicles:

UNT parking garages at full capacity once again. Students using anything and everything to cover their windshields. pic.twitter.com/Sm3Zjeqlcs

— Blake Holland (@tblakeholland) April 26, 2016

People are prepared for these storms. 😂😂 #wfaaweather pic.twitter.com/BoIusZ3RnU

— Drew Rhodes (@Drew_Rhodes70) April 27, 2016

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Houdeshell Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charges

4/27/2016 – 5:11 pm

An Arlington man pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of a two-year-old Findlay boy. The Courier reports that 28-year-old Brent Houdeshell entered the plea Wednesday before Hancock County Common Pleas Magistrate Robroy Crow via video connection with the Hancock County jail. Houdeshell has been charged with causing the death of Breydon Ferrell.

The charges came after the death of Breydon Ferrell, 2, on March 31. Findlay police were dispatched to 2030 Breckenridge Road, Apt. 3, on a report of an unresponsive child. It was reported that the child had fallen out of his crib, police said.

Houdeshell faces charges of murder, endangering children and tampering with evidence. Crow set Houdeshell’s bond at $537,500. Houdeshell will appear for a pretrial hearing on May 13th.

More: The Courier

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American Airlines Aircraft Returns to Seattle Airport After Bird Strike

amana images/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — A Dallas-bound American Airlines aircraft was struck by a bird Wednesday afternoon after taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and at the pilot’s discretion, the Airbus 321 returned to the airport about 30 minutes after taking off.

In a statement, American Airlines said, “American Airlines 2310, from Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), returned to SeaTac due to a bird strike, which struck the nose of the aircraft. The Airbus A321, with 150 passengers and six crew, landed safely and taxied to the gate.”

According to LiveATC.net, the pilot told air traffic controllers, “looks like we hit some birds after takeoff, we’re gonna need to go back and have the airplane looked at.”

The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:15 p.m., but departed at 3:36, according to FlightAware.com.

American Airlines added, “Our maintenance team is currently evaluating the aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and are working to get them to Texas as soon as possible.”

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport also confirmed that the dent in the nose of the plane seen in the above photo was indeed caused by the bird strike.

Bird Strike: AA 2310 from Seattle to DFW had to return to Seattle after bird strike. Plane just landed. pic.twitter.com/NiKUxDsIKp

— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) April 27, 2016

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Trailblazer Becomes Army’s First Female Infantry Officer

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT BENNING, Ga.) — Already a trailblazer, Army Captain Kristen Griest became the Army’s first female infantry officer when, on Monday, the Army approved her request to transfer from the military police unit she had been serving in.

Griest became well-known last year after she became one of the first three women to successfully complete the Army’s elite Ranger School course.

“Like any other officer, male or female, that wants to transfer their branch, she took the opportunity and applied for an exception to the Army policy to transfer her branch from Military Police to Infantry,” said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman at Fort Benning, Georgia. Purtiman confirmed to ABC News that Griest’s transfer request was approved by the Army on Monday and she became immediately eligible to serve in an Army infantry unit.

After successfully completing Ranger School last year, Griest returned to service at her home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The participation of women in the Ranger School course was part of the Army’s research into whether women should be integrated into combat units. The other military services also conducted similar programs that were presented to Defense Secretary Ash Carter last fall.

In December, Carter ordered the military services to open up all combat specialties and branches to women, and since then, they have been implementing plans to do so.

Two weeks ago, the Army announced that 22 newly commissioned female officers from the U.S. Military Academy, college ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School had volunteered to serve in combat infantry and armor units. They are expected to join those units in 2017 after successfully completing the necessary training and requirements.

At the time, the Army said it was seeking applications from female officers already on active duty interested in transferring into infantry or Army units. An announcement was expected by the end of June as to how many transfer requests had been accepted.

On Thursday, Griest will graduate from the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning. Passing the two-month leadership course is a pre-requisite for holding a command position. But Purtiman said other female officers from other Army branches have graduated from the course in the past.

Griest initially entered the course as a military police officer, but with the Army’s approval of her transfer, her completion of the course will make her eligible for a command position in an infantry unit. Captains typically command companies consisting of between 100 and 150 soldiers.

Last August, Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first women to graduate from Ranger School. Two months later, Army Reservist Maj. Lisa Jaster became the third woman to successfully complete the demanding course.

Griest’s next assignment is not being disclosed.

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Baltimore Police Shoot Teen Holding ‘What Looked Like a Firearm’

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — A 13-year-old boy shot by Baltimore police Wednesday was holding “what looked like a firearm,” police said.

Two police officers in Baltimore saw the teen with what they thought was a semi-automatic gun, according to the Baltimore Police Department. After the officers identified themselves, the boy allegedly took off running, never dropping the apparent weapon, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday.

One of the officers then shot the 13-year-old. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries and will survive, Davis said. The police officer and the 13-year-old have not been identified.

The boy’s mother told police that he left the house with a BB gun in his hand, Davis said, describing it as a “dead-on ringer” for a semi-automatic pistol.

The police commissioner said that gun arrests are up by 60 percent so far this year in Baltimore and that the police department is “tasked with identifying people who pose a threat” to the community.

“No police officer in Baltimore wants to shoot a 13-year-old,” he said.

Davis said it’s common for people to arm themselves with “replica handguns” for the purpose of committing crimes.

“He had every opportunity to drop the gun,” Davis said of the 13-year-old. “He had every opportunity to stop, put his hands in the air … and follow the instructions of a police officer.”

Davis could not comment on how many shots were fired by the police officer.

The shooting comes a little more than a year after the anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died a week after he fell into a coma while being transported by a police van in Baltimore.

The investigation is ongoing, Davis said.

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