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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

How cold is it? Ask Curt and Susy on News With a Twist at 10pm!

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 09:26 PM PST

METAIRIE- La  –  He wore camouflage and she wore Pepto-Bismal pink.

Together, News with a Twist Hosts Curt Sprang and Susan Roesgen reflected the sentiment of Southeast Louisiana, bundled up for the 10pm show Tuesday night.

Knowing that our part of the world is colder this week than Alaska, Curt and Susy took further inspiration from Meteorologist Martha Spencer.

Spencer warns that pipe-bursting temperatures will continue for at least the next couple of days.  Heeding the warning, Curt and Susy took shelter in protective gear.


Woman shot during altercation captured on Facebook Live

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 07:37 PM PST

CHICAGO – A 27-year-old woman was recording on Facebook Live when she was shot in the arm during an argument Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the victim was walking in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood around 3 p.m. when she exchanged heated words with a woman who is believed to be an acquaintance, according to WGN.

The suspect was sitting with at least two others inside a car parked in the 6400 block of South Calumet when the two women traded insults and shots were fired. The victim was hit in the arm.

The actual shooting isn't visible in the video, but police confirmed the authenticity of the footage to WGN, and investigators are now trying to track down the alleged shooter.

The victim was transported to Stroger Hospital in stable condition.

No one is in custody but police said they have identified a suspect and are searching for her.



Frozen pipes are a problem best left to the professionals

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:35 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- That drip, drip, drip has frozen over causing your pipes to expand and burst. So now what?

"What you should not do is nothing," says Lee Laporte, the owner of Laporte Plumbing.

Your pipe problem could only get worse if left untreated, so your best bet at this point, is to call in the professionals.

Laporte has ten trucks with roughly twenty plumbers combing the New Orleans area. His phone is ringing off the hook.

"The freezing is what caused the break. It expands the pipe and when the pipe expands, the pipe splits, when it thaws, that's when it breaks," says Laporte.

And Mother Nature doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. Although temperatures are said to fluctuate this week, the verdict is in. It's a cold one out there.

"The worst time is after we have a cold night like tonight and then during the day the temperatures don't get above freezing much and then you have another hard freeze," says Laporte.

So how do you prevent those pipes from freezing solid?

Laporte recommends running a pencil lead stream of water to ensure circulation. He says wrap your pipes if you can and don't forget about any pipes that may be in your attic. You can get freezing temperatures up there as well.

Trump to Kim Jong Un: My nuclear button is ‘much bigger’ and ‘more powerful’

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:25 PM PST

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday taunted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warning Kim about the US’ nuclear capabilities as tensions worsen between the two nations.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump tweeted.

The evening message followed more than a dozen others Trump had sent throughout the day on issues ranging from The New York Times’ coverage of his administration to conflict in the Middle East.

Kim had said Monday in his annual New Year’s Day address that “The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality.”

Woman wins $5M from lottery ticket she didn’t mean to buy

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 06:17 PM PST

New Jersey mom Oksana Zaharov won $5 million with a lottery ticket. (NYS Lottery)

EDGEWATER, N.J. — A New Jersey mother of two used a lottery ticket as a bookmark for weeks, unaware that the numbers on it would bring her a life-changing windfall.

Oksana Zaharov, 46, asked a clerk at a Manhattan store for a $1 scratch-off ticket, but the worker gave her a $10 Set For Life ticket, according to WPIX. She decided to keep it anyway.

"When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it," Zaharov said. "I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it."

She couldn’t believe it when she saw that she’d won $5 million.

"I never win anything,” she said. “I was sure the ticket was fake. It wasn't until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real."

Zaharov plans to celebrate her win with a family vacation to the Bahamas and put money toward her children’s college education.

Orleans Parish deputies’ pay raises begin this month with more on the way

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 05:30 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — In 2018, deputies with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office will get multiple pay raises.

The raises were dictated by the consent decree.  They’re now part of the department’s budget which was approved by the New Orleans City Council last month.

According to the department, base salaries will increase by $2,000 starting on January 5.  On July 1, there will be an additional $1,500 raise.  Together, the raises will take the annual base salary for deputies from $26,000 to $29,500.

Deputies who qualify for state supplemental pay will get an additional $6,000 a year, taking their salaries to $35,500.

In 2019, deputies are expected to get another raise of $3,500 a year, according to the department.

“That anticipated increase means a sheriff's deputy who starts with the agency today and becomes Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified could earn $39,000 annually by the end of 2019,” the department said in a written statement regarding the pay raises.

The department says the pay raises will help recruit and retain deputies as well as help security operations of Orleans Parish jail facilities.

Would you eat it? Avocado Mac and Cheese!

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 04:18 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS - Let's see what Test Kitchen Taylor is cooking up today!

Today, Test Kitchen Taylor cooked up a healthier version of mac and cheese, Avocado Mac and Cheese! Sent in by none other than Tamica!

Avocado Mac and Cheese
2 cups whole-wheat macaroni, cooked
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ripe avocados
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup goat cheese (which is a great lower calorie cheese!)
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat mozzarella, shredded
Cook macaroni until al dente according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a pan over medium-high heat, melt coconut oil and toast almond flour and salt until browned and crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Into a food processor, add avocado, lime juice, garlic, goat cheese, red chili flakes, basil, and skim milk. Puree until fully blended. Pour over macaroni and mix until coated. Place macaroni into an oven-safe baking dish and sprinkle the top with mozzarella and toasted almond flour. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Do you have a recipe that you want Test Kitchen Taylor, Tamica and LBJ to try? Send it to us at twist@wgno.com!

Uganda Roberts master of the congas

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:49 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS-- The sound of the drum in our city is as old as New Orleans itself, starting with the slaves and the djembe drum in Congo Square.

In modern music, the senior member of the hand drum fraternity is none other that Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts.  He's someone who wanted to play, and made a way.

Roberts told us, "I used to go into the bar rooms because I didn't have a record player at home, and I started playing bongos. I'd have about 4 quarters that I'd put in a jukebox and I'd sit next to the jukebox and play along with the records. My first professional gig playing bongos was with Chris Owens and the Morocco Girls. I was known as Jamaica Joe, that was the stage name she gave me. I had the big straw hat, calypso shirt on with big puff sleeves, tie it in a know by your belly button."

Roberts says those early days in the clubs didn't pay much but he continued to play with everyone, even recording a few songs with Allen Toussaint.

It was at a party in the early 1970's that brought an incredible opportunity to meet and play with the great Professor Longhair.

According to Roberts, "Quint (Davis) brought me there and he said the way you play those those drums at the Jazz Fest with the drum circles, you should sound good playing with this piano player. He and I played together and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We never had to rehearse, and playing together for 8 years."

Roberts has continued to play congas on the biggest stages and even finds time these days to play with the Sullivan Dabney and Muzique Jazz Band in schools educating kids on the New Orleans sound.

"We introduce them to jazz and a lot of music they probably don't hear on the radio. After we perform, we have a question and answer series, with them, and you'd be surprised how interested they are about the instruments themselves," said Roberts.

French Quarter tarot card reader helps Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez pick Powerball numbers

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:35 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS-- Get excited!  The Powerball and Mega-Millions is now up to 800-million dollars.  We sent News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez out to get a lottery ticket, but this is his very first time ever buying one.   He needed help picking numbers, so he went to "Dragon James," a tarot card reader in Jackson Square to help!

Typically, "Dragon James" doesn't help people pick lottery numbers, but for the sake of this News with a Twist story he said he'd do it.

Tonight's the drawing for Mega-millions, and tomorrow night for Powerball.


Slidell ‘Nigerian Prince’ scammer moved more than $250,000; banned by Western Union for fraud

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:06 PM PST

Michael Neu

SLIDELL, La. – The middle man in an international "Nigerian Prince" scam processed three to four fraudulent transactions per week, easily moving more than $250,000 through area banks, according to investigators.

During the course of an 18-month investigation, officers from the Slidell Police Department discovered that 67-year-old Michael Neu initially entered the massive fraud operation after he made contact with someone calling themselves "Maria Mendez" on Facebook.

Investigators believe thieves in the country of Nigeria use the "Maria Mendez" account to reel in middle men like Neu, using them to collect money scammed from others and send it to Nigeria.

Detectives gave Neu the benefit of the doubt early on in the investigation by leaving open the possibility that Neu was himself a victim of the larger fraud scheme.

Over time, however, Neu continued working with his contact and processing a high volume of fraudulent transactions, proving that he was an active part of the ongoing fraud.

Neu told investigators that "he needed the money," according to Slidell Police.

The stream of cash began with the ubiquitous "Nigerian Prince" email phishing scam, fraudulent IRS scams, reshipping scams, and advance pay scams, among many others.

The victims would be conned into mailing cash or sending money orders to Neu, who would in turn send the funds along to Nigeria, taking a cut for himself in the process.

In one instance that investigators tracked from start to finish, a victim in Dodge City, Kansas, fell for the "Nigerian Prince" scam and sent cash to Neu, who then passed it along to "Maria Mendez."

Neu processed so many money orders that Western Union banned him from using their services, according to the Slidell Police Department.

Undeterred, Neu continued moving money using other services.

Investigators believe he racked up far more than the $250,000 worth of transactions that they could easily identify during the initial investigation.

Neu is currently being held at the St. Tammany Parish Jail on a $30,000 bond.

The Slidell Police Department is working with the U.S. Secret Service on the investigation, which has already resulted in 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for Neu.

Investigators are asking anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to a scam between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, to file a claim.

Because of joint investigations by the FTC, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million and admitted to aiding and abetting wire fraud.

The DOJ is now using that money to provide refunds to people who were tricked into using Western Union to pay scammers.

Click here for more information.

Last photo. Last flight: Delta’s 747 comes in for a final landing

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:49 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -  On a cold New Orleans day.  It's about as cold as it ever gets, in fact.

But out at the airport, a young guy named Everett Magaw sees something that warms his heart.

He sees it through the lens of his camera which he pokes through a fence at the airport.

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood says Everett must be in love because it's freezing out here.

Everett Magaw has his eyes on a big beauty.  It's a jumbo jet.

It's a Delta Airlines Boeing 747.  It is, in fact, Delta Airlines last Boeing 747.  After a lifetime in the sky, the 747 is headed to a retirement home for old planes.

That location is a desert in Arizona.  It's more like a graveyard for old planes to rest in peace.

For Everett Magaw, the 747 is one of the best planes in the sky.  It had its hey day during the 70's and 80's.

If you were flying back then, you know that's when the skies were friendly.

They were friendly enough for passengers to actually smoke on a plane.

They were friendly enough for passengers to eat real meals. Real food. Served hot at 40,000 feet.

Everett Magaw did not fly back then.  Everett Magaw was not even born back then.

He's a college kid with a passion for planes.  His passion includes enough pictures on his Instagram to prove it.

Everett says the 747 is simply out of style.  So, it's being replaced by more fuel efficient flying machines.

A few more final flights are on the planes schedule on a good-bye, so-long, farewell tour that includes New Orleans.

Fasten your seatbelt.

Snap another picture.

A chunk of airline history is coming in for a final landing.



Video: Multi-car crash outside Buffalo leaves motorists backed up for miles

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:31 PM PST

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A crash involving at least a dozen vehicles brought traffic to a standstill for miles along the New York Thruway outside Buffalo Tuesday afternoon, according to officials.

Snow was falling as 15 to 25 vehicles collided just before 2 p.m., police said. Officials do not yet know what caused the pileup of cars.

Two people were hurt in the accident – one is in critical condition and the other in serious condition, police told The Buffalo News.

Congestion from the crash extended more than 7 miles from the scene of the accident, according to NITTEC, a coalition of agencies that monitors real-time traffic conditions. Police were forced to close both Eastbound lanes of the Thruway and divert traffic.

Making matters more difficult for drivers, first responders and city workers is the snow that continues to fall as high winds create whiteout conditions. A blizzard warning is in effect until 1 a.m. for Northern Eerie County.

Model and jockey keeps her eyes on the prize while in New Orleans

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:22 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- Chantal Sutherland is one of five female jockeys training at the New Orleans fairgrounds this thoroughbred racing season.

This isn't just a story about a female in a man's sport, but about finding strength in numbers.

"Racing is a boys club, for sure," said Sutherland. "I'm proud to be a female, and to have so many females riding along side of me here in New Orleans this season, that have dreams of going all the way."

Sutherland made the decision to relocate to New Orleans from Del Mar, California, for two reasons. Her partner is from New Orleans, and secondly, according to Chantal, "this is the place to be if you want to land a horse for the Kentucky Derby."

Racing has brought her all over the world from Hong Kong to Dubai, where she had the honor to race in the $10 million Dubai Duty Free World Cup, becoming the first female jockey to ride professionally in the Middle East.

She's been racing for 18 years, and has caught the eye of Hollywood along the way, making appearances on Conan O'Brian, posing for billboards for the Del Mar racetrack, and even landing a shoot for Vanity Fair.

"When I started racing I had no idea if I would be successful, but I told myself that if I was passionate about what it was I was doing then the money would come later. Ultimately, we all want to pay our bills, but it's important to love what you do," Sutherland said.

Jockeys have to remain under a certain weight, so the one difficulty Sutherland admits having this season is avoiding all of the fattening food New Orleans has to offer.

"The food here! Wow....it's all so good, even the BBQ chicken at Rouses," she laughs. "It's a lot different than California so I definitely have to be careful of what I eat."

Chantal said the key to a successful career as a jockey is simple. Win.

"They notice when you're cashing checks. If I'm not first I want to be second or third. It doesn't matter if your a girl, boy, black, white, or pink. If you keep winning they will ride you," said Sutherland.

At least 4 Orleans Parish schools closed tomorrow due to freezing weather

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:10 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – At least four schools in Orleans Parish will be closed tomorrow due to the cold weather.

According to schools’ spokeswoman Dominique Ellis, Warren Easton High School, KIPP Central City Academy, KIPP-Booker T. Washington, and KIPP East Community Primary will not open on Wednesday, January 3, because of concerns about freezing temperatures across the area.

More school closings could be announced this evening, but as of now, only four closings have been confirmed, according to a post on the Orleans Parish School Board's Facebook page.

Stay tuned to WGNO for the latest.

Wanderlust is coming to New Orleans again!

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:03 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – Wanderlust, the producer of the largest yoga lifestyle events in the world, reveals New Orleans dates for Wanderlust 108, the world's only mindful triathlon.

Wanderlust's triathlon consists of a five-kilometer run (or walk), a music-fueled, outdoor yoga class and a guided meditation led by the world's top teachers. Mindful triathletes can also enjoy live music, browsing the marketplace of local craft and food vendors, and bonus fitness classes throughout the day. Wanderlust is coming to New Orleans on Saturday, April 7 and will be located at Scout Island in City Park. Tickets will go on sale January 9, 2018. More dates and locations are at the bottom of this article.

Photo by Harlin Miller for Wanderlust Festival.

The yoga portion of the New Orleans event will be taught by internationally recognized teacher Faith Hunter. The meditation leg of the triathlon will be helmed by Light Watkins, Tracee Stanley or Noah Levine and the day will be underscored by the likes of DJ Drez.

New for 2018, participants will be able to choose from an array of premium ticket options to create their perfect Wanderlust 108 adventure.  Want to help make the world a better place? More into yoga than running?  Attendees can customize their experience via the tiers below:

WAN(DER)LUST Package: $150
Wanderlust has joined (RED) in the fight to end AIDS.

  • 50 tickets will be available per city
  • Attendees will receive a Manduka WAN(DER)LUST mat, Wanderlust 108 tote, WAN(DER)LUST water bottle, and Wanderlust fandana.
  • Entry to the entire mindful triathlon: 5K run + yoga + meditation
  • Premium mat placement for the yoga and meditation portions of the event.
  • A scheduled bonus activity: Attendees can choose from a variety of experiences: aerial yoga, AcroYoga, hooping—and new this year—Flying Therapeutics, which is a combination of AcroYoga and Thai Massage, or Body Work, which is deep-tissue, self-massage techniques which can assist in releasing pain, opening locked muscles and facilitating proper posture. Participants will be able to add this to their day's agenda pre-event.
  •  A Wanderbowl will be included as well—ahearty, Mexican inspired vegetarian (or vegan) meal of rice, beans, cheese, avocado and mango-lime-cilantro salsa, plus snacks and a beverage. (Wanderbowls are also available for purchase at any ticket tier.)
  • A Free Wanderlust TV class to continue the Wanderlust experience online at home.

108 Package: $99

  • 200 tickets will be available per city
  • Wanderlust 108 yoga mat, 108 tote, Wanderlust water bottle and Wanderlust fandana
  • Entry to the entire mindful triathlon:  5K run + yoga + meditation
  • Reserved mat placement
  • Free Wanderlust TV class to continue the Wanderlust experience at home, online.
  • A scheduled bonus activity: Attendees can choose from a variety of experiences: aerial yoga, AcroYoga, hooping—and new this year—Flying Therapeutics, which is a combination of AcroYoga and Thai Massage, or Body Work, which is deep-tissue, self-massage techniques which can assist in releasing pain, opening locked muscles and facilitating proper posture. Attendees will be able to add this to their day's agenda pre-event.

108 Ticket: $40-$60

  • Entry to the entire mindful triathlon: 5K run + yoga + meditation
  • Ticket quantity depends on location; prices will rise as the event date approaches.
  • Wanderlust fandana
  • Access to bonus activities on a drop-in basis, space available.

Practice Ticket: $30-$45

  • Entry to the yoga + meditation portions of the event only
  • Ticket quantity depends on location; prices will rise as the event date approaches.

At all Wanderlust 108 events, the Kula Marketplace will showcase local craft vendors, including clothing, jewelry, and handcrafted items. Local and organic food vendors will be on site, as well as a retail store experience created by adidas and Wanderlust housed in a 60' geodesic dome.  Items from the adidas x Wanderlust co-branded collection will be sold on-site at each event.

The Wanderlust 108 tour schedule for 2018 is below:

  • Saturday, April 7
    • New Orleans, LA @ Scout Island in City Park
  • Sunday, April 8
    • Atlanta, GA @ Historic Fourth Ward Park
  • Saturday, April 14
    • Dallas, TX @ Reunion Park
  • Saturday, April 14
    • San Diego, CA @ NTC Park
  • Saturday, April 21
    • Raleigh, NC @ Dorothy Dix Park
  • Sunday, April 22
    • San Francisco, CA @ Golden Gate Park
  • Saturday, April 28
    • Los Angeles, CA @ Santa Monica Pier
  • Sunday, April 29
    • Los Angeles, CA @ Santa Monica Pier
  • Sunday, May 6
    • Scottsdale, AZ @ Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
  • Saturday, May 19
    • Kansas City, MO @ Berkley Riverfront Park
  • Saturday, May 19
    • Seattle, WA @ Marymoor Park
  • Saturday, June 30
    • Twin Cities, MN @ Harriet Island Park
  • Saturday, July 7
    • Portland, OR @ Willamette Park
  • Saturday, July 14
    • Denver, CO @ Great Lawn Park
  • Saturday, August 11
    • Calgary, ALB, CANADA @ Fort Calgary
  • Sunday, September 9
    • Brooklyn, NY  @ Prospect Park


At each Wanderlust 108 event in North America, attendees will be nourished by a number of Wanderlust partners, including:

  • adidas will be introducing new experiences to the 5K run and offering additional fitness activities to help attendees embed more sport into their day.
  • Ford Motor Company was built on the belief that freedom of movement drives human progress. Ford is proud to be the Official Vehicle of Wanderlust and to support healthy initiatives inside, and outside, the company. Event attendees can stop by the Ford Zen Den to learn more about the sustainable practices and wellness programs at Ford, and of course, take home some incredible giveaways.

In 2018, Wanderlust will donate $1.08 from every ticket sold to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS with (RED), which could provide over 3 days of life-saving HIV medication. To date, (RED) has generated more than $500 million for the AIDS fight, supporting HIV/AIDS programs and services in eight countries in Africa. 100% of money raised goes to work on the ground—no overhead is taken. For more information, visit red.org.

The St. Charles Avenue streetcar: a historic ride

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:00 PM PST

Every ride on the St. Charles streetcar is historic.

The olive drab cars are more than 90 years old. And, much of what you see and what keeps the cars running is about that old as well.

"We still have the electric motors," says Wil Mullet, Superintendent of Rail and Traction Power at Carrollton Station. "It's a GE--General Electric motor. Same trucks. Same body."

They were purchased in 1923 for around $15,000 each from North Carolina manufacturer Perley A. Thomas, which is why they are often referred to as the "Perley Thomas" streetcars.

Mullet says they have made some big changes over the years. "We went away from the wood doors and the window sills being wood," he points out. "We went with the metal."

But, even some of the new parts are made in the old ways.

"I would say about 95% of everything you see inside the car, underneath the car, and around the car is fabricated here at the Carrollton Barn," says Mullet. "Hand straps. All the electrical that's done inside this car. The flooring. The window sills. Shades. All that's done in-house."

He says you can't just order parts for a 90-plus-year-old streetcar on Amazon. So, he and workers build them.

"And, that's a good thing," Mullet adds, "because that retains the historic nature of the car. It's part of New Orleans."

One thing that won't change: the sound that the Perley Thomas streetcars make.

"This one still has the steel wheels. This one still has the clankity-clank, the clankity-clank. It still runs with an air compressor," says Mullet.

He says they once considered insulating the air compressors so they would not make as much noise. But, it was the riders who convinced them to abandon that idea.

"The riding public gets used to all those different sounds and all those different noises," says Mullet. "And, they look forward to that ride. So, you don't want to change that."

YouTube says Logan Paul video violated its policies

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:15 PM PST

YouTube is once again facing backlash for a gruesome video on its platform.

Last week, social media star Logan Paul posted a YouTube video, which appears to show a body hanging from a tree in a Japanese forest known for suicides.

The video was widely seen before he removed it. Paul has since apologized, noting he “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.”

YouTube confirmed to CNN Tech that the video violated its policies, but declined to comment on why it was not taken down sooner.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video. YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner,” a YouTube spokeswoman told CNN Tech. “If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information and in some cases it will be age-gated.”

But the incident raises questions about why Google-owned YouTube didn’t react sooner.

The platform relies on people and technology like machine learning and algorithms to monitor for violent and graphic content.

“It’s not okay to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or gratuitous. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information,” according to the company’s policies.

Other violent content may be age restricted. In addition, YouTube bans videos related to terrorism.

YouTube is no stranger to questions about how it cracks down on content. Late last year, Google was criticized for inappropriate videos on YouTube Kids, the site’s child-friendly platform. The videos included profanity and violence.

Videos for YouTube Kids are pulled from the main platform through machine learning and algorithms. However, some videos, such as cartoons that appear age appropriate, can fall through the cracks.

Google recently rolled out new policies to address the issue. For example, videos flagged as inappropriate for kids will have an age-restriction warning on the main YouTube app. Only users logged into the site who are over the age of 18 can see that content.

According to Erna Alfred Liousas, an analyst at research firm Forrester, YouTube continues to face these challenges in part because of its “vague” policies.

Paul’s video “underscores the ambiguity that faces all of these platforms when it comes to how to appropriately moderate content,” she said. “The issue isn’t going away. It’s not getting better. It’s time to do more digging and investing in people and in the way the technology is surfacing this information.”

Liousas said tech companies should be more transparent about their process for handling disturbing content, such as revealing the steps that happen after content is flagged and how they decide what gets taken down.

However, YouTube has also faced backlash for removing certain content, including its removal of videos from war-torn Syria. The move concerned advocates who were trying to maintain digital records of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Paul, who posted the YouTube video in the Japanese forest, became famous from his viral micro-videos on Vine, a Twitter-owned video service that was phased out last year. Now, he creates video blogs on YouTube daily. He has over 15 million subscribers on the platform.

4-year-old girl found alone in the cold leads Utah police to mother’s body

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:08 PM PST

OGDEN, Utah -- A good Samaritan came to the aid of a 4-year-old girl who was alone and not dressed for the cold Wednesday night, leading police to a tragic scene, according to KSTU.

Ogden Police say the man encountered the young girl just before 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Marcus King said he was on his way to play pickup basketball when a little girl called out to him from a playground near the Marshall White Community Center.

"I had heard a little girl's voice inside the park, didn't really think nothing of it... once I came around this way she had got my attention," he said.

King said the girl was playing in the snow on the playground, but with the sun already down and temperatures near freezing, he was shocked by her attire.

"She didn't have any jacket, no shoes, no parental supervision, and just took action then and took her inside," he said.

The staff at the nearby community center helped him call the police, and King stayed around for almost three hours until police could figure out where the girl's mother was.

"When they walked over there, the door was wide open," King said. "And the way the little girl was explaining it was: Her mom wasn't paying attention, and her mom was on the floor sleeping."

Lt. Tim Scott with Ogden Police spoke about the scene.

"Officers went inside and found a 41-year-old mother dead," he said. "She was living alone with her mother. There is no sign of foul play. There are some pre-existing medical conditions that may have played a role."

Ogden Police confirm the girl's mother died nearly 24 hours before the child was found by King. At some point, the young girl left the apartment and went across the street to the playground.

King said he was glad to help out a child in need.

"This is not a good part of Ogden—there's a lot of weirdos around here, and I'm really, really fortunate and happy that I got to her, and nobody else did," he said.

As of Thursday night, the child was in the care of the Division of Child and Family Services and authorities were working to determine if there are relatives she can stay with.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire, clearing way for Mitt Romney

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:03 PM PST

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Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to return to the national stage by running for his seat.

He said in a social media message, “after much prayer and discussion with family and friends I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”

Hatch, the Senate’s longest serving Republican, has wrestled with the decision for months, emboldened by the entreaties of President Donald Trump to seek an eighth term.

Now, it sets up a potential path for Trump critic Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, to reclaim the spotlight as a conservative counterpoint to the President.

Their relationship has been complicated.

Trump has been a longtime Romney critic despite offering a 2012 presidential endorsement, and Romney has outspoken in his dissent over Trump’s rhetoric and policies, calling on Republicans to block Trump’s path to the presidency.

“Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” Romney said in a March 2016 speech. “He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”

Yet after Trump was elected, Romney was under consideration for the post of secretary of state. The two had a warm and animated conversation at a table at Jean Georges at Trump’s New York hotel in November 2016 and met at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump eventually chose Rex Tillerson instead.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Trump and Romney spoke on the phone following Trump’s trip to Utah last month.

But Romney has also continued to criticize the President. After Trump blamed “both sides” for inciting deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer, Romney said Trump’s remarks “caused racists to rejoice.”

In a statement, Romney praised Hatch’s service but did not mention anything about a possible Senate run.

I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation,” Romney said in a Facebook post. “Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.”

Trump urged Hatch to stay in Washington

During an event last month at the Utah Capitol where Trump celebrated the administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump called Hatch “a true fighter” and said he hoped the Republican would continue to serve “in the Senate for a very long time to come.”

The 83-year-old Hatch set off retirement rumors early last year when he said in an interview that he hoped to see Romney one day take his place. But he reversed course and repeatedly insisted to reporters that he “intended” to seek re-election. Last month, Hatch reveled in the spotlight as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee while shepherding a massive tax bill through the Senate — attention, friends and colleagues said, that made him lean toward running again.

“I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch said in a video statement. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the President is “very sad to see Senator Hatch leave.” Trump has the “greatest and deepest respect” for Hatch, particularly for the role he played in passing tax reform.

“I don’t think we’ve made a determination in terms of campaigning,” Sanders said with a laugh when confronted with who may run for his seat.

If Hatch had opted to stay in the Senate, he could have faced a formidable challenge from a crop of ambitious Utah Republicans. Boyd Matheson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee, seriously considered a bid last fall — going so far as to meet with former Trump strategists Steve Bannon and David Bossie.

But as it became clear that Romney would likely run if Hatch bowed out, Matheson withdrew from contention — an acknowledgment that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is wildly popular in Utah and would have little trouble securing the seat.

Criticism for Hatch at home

While Hatch is revered for his long service to Utahns and easily won re-election last cycle after spending $10 million, voters are clearly restive. Three-quarters of Utahans said it was time for someone else to serve in the Senate, according to a poll late last year by the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah.

In December, The Salt Lake Tribune published a scathing editorial calling on Hatch to step down — as the paper named him as “The Tribune’s Utahn of the Year,” noting that he has never wielded more clout.

The editorial criticized Hatch for “his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.” The editorial board noted that Hatch promised that 2012 would be his last race: “Clearly it was a lie.”

“It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career,” the editorial board wrote. “If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him.”

The newspaper pointed out that Hatch, who has referred to himself as “a tough old bird,” has faced questions about his age and his health — acknowledging that his decision on whether to run again would likely hinge on his own health and the health of his wife.

“He has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive,” the editorial board wrote.

How cold is it? New Orleans is colder than Alaska…

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:03 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – A deep freeze has come to the Deep South and the bitterly cold air is putting the Crescent City in some unfamiliar territory.

In fact, it’s colder here in New Orleans today than it is in both Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska.

Let that sink in just a bit.

Highs in the city today struggled to reach above freezing, while it was relatively balmy in The Last Frontier, with high temperatures in the low to middle 40s!

As of 2 p.m. Central time (11 a.m. Alaska time), the airport was reporting a temperature of only 33, compared to 43 in Anchorage.

And it will probably be even warmer when all is said and done for folks in the 50th state. While our 33 was in the middle of the afternoon, the 43 in Anchorage was late morning due to the time difference.

Meanwhile, a weak disturbance is trying to push into the area which could bring some snow flurries to the South Shore and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Already this afternoon, light snow showers were being reported offshore.

Don’t worry though, eventually Alaska will reclaim it’s cold air crown. A cold front is expected to bring temperatures back into the 20s tomorrow for Anchorage and Thursday for Juneau.

Meanwhile, our highs will slowly trend upwards through the week like the little engine that could. Highs near 40 return Wednesday with 50s by the weekend.