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Spike Lee talks about his Mardi Gras ride with Zulu

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 09:27 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — Second only to Mardi Gras, Lundi Gras is one of the biggest celebrations in New Orleans.  The day brings a huge crowd to Woldenberg Park along the riverfront.

The crowd loves the live music and all the food.  But the real reason they’re there is to see the king of Zulu arrive with his queen and their entourage.

This year, the krewe could hear even louder cheers because of its grand marshal, filmmaker Spike Lee.

After arriving by Coast Guard cutter with the Zulu royalty, Lee spoke with WGNO about the honor of riding on Mardi Gras morning with the krewe.

“Tradition, the culture, and this is the second time I’m the grand marshal for the Zulus.  And they don’t just put anybody in that position, so I’m happy,” Lee said.

Not only is the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club known for its parade and lavish ball, but the organization also works to help the community in as many ways as it can.  It’s part of the honor for Lee.

Former MLB player caught with 44 pounds of cocaine and heroin, authorities say

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:55 PM PST

SAN DIEGO – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested in San Diego on drug charges after he was caught with 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of cocaine and heroin.

Yahoo Sports MLB Writer Jeff Passan reported the 46-year-old Loaiza was taken into custody Feb. 9 and is being held on $200,000 bail.

Per Passan, the two-time All-Star is charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell and is scheduled to be arraigned in a San Diego courtroom on Wednesday.

Loaiza, who last pitched in the majors in 2008, made over $40 million in his 13-year career. He played for eight teams, with his best season coming in 2003 as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

He was married to famed singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a 2012 plane crash.

According to police records, Loaiza lives in Chula Vista.

3 Applebee’s employees fired after customers say they were racially profiled

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:55 PM PST

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Three Applebee's employees have been fired for racially profiling two African-American diners at a Missouri mall after one of the customers posted a video of the incident on Facebook.

Asia Hardy and her friend, Alexis Brison, who is from St. Louis, were eating at the Independence restaurant Saturday when a police officer, a mall security guard and a manager confronted them, according to The Kansas City Star.

The two officers approached them about an incident that had happened the day before, in which two women allegedly left without paying for their food. An Applebee's employee in the video can be heard positively identifying the two women. However, the women say the server's description of the dine-and-dashers was vague, with few details other than skin color and body size.

"We have not been here!" a distraught Asia Hardy repeatedly tells the officer. "I'm a student. I live on campus. I have not been here, like, I've been on duty at Rockhurst University."

"Is she normally this emotional?" the officer asks. "Wow. Does she normally talk like this?"

Brison tells the officer, "We've been shopping. We're just trying to have a nice dinner. Can we just pay for our food? We haven't done anything."

The officer asks the women to put themselves in his shoes, saying he needed to ask them about the manager's allegations.

"You're doing your job but the restaurant isn't doing its job. Because if she's positive that she's seen us, we haven't been in here," Brison said.

The women ask if there are cameras to prove they aren't the suspected thieves from the day before.

The officer tells them to "just relax."

"This is too much of an accusation to call it nothing because we have not been here," one woman said.

In a statement released Monday evening, Applebee's said the restaurant's manager, a server and another employee involved in the incident have been fired after an internal investigation.

The franchise also said the Independence Center location is now temporarily closed "in order for the team there to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this."

Applebee's said they are reaching out to apologize to the two women.

Bill Georgas, Applebee's CEO, Apple Central, LLC, Applebee's local franchise, released the following statement about the video and restaurant policies:

"At Applebee's, we do not tolerate racism or bigotry of any nature. We regret any incident like this, because we want every guest experience to be positive. Our team has been working throughout the weekend and will continue to work to determine what happened and what appropriate measures will be taken. We currently have no indications this was race related. We have a diverse workforce that is reflective of the community we serve. All are welcome at our restaurant, and will continue to be welcome."

Independence police said they had not received a police report on either the incident shown in the video or the dine-and-dash incident the day before.

The attorney for both women, Ryan Kaiser, said at this time they have no comment related to the incident.

Orpheuscapade wows with Tricentennial-themed celebration

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 08:52 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- The 25th annual Orpheuscapade, the extravagant ball that starts when the Krewe of Orpheus parade rolls into the Convention Center downtown, went off without a hitch Lundi Gras night.

Performers included Big Freedia, Amanda Shaw, Deacon John and more.

Harry Connick, Jr., is a celebrity rider and one of the founders of Orpheus. He and Captain Sonny Borey created the parade 25 years ago.

Here are some pics from tonight's festivities:

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Mother accused of feeding child acid, chlorine in attempt to cure autism

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:44 PM PST

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis father accused his wife of feeding their child bleach to help cure her autism, according to a recent police report.

The report says the mother was putting drops of hydrochloric acid and a "water purifying solution" made with chlorine – which combine to form bleach – in her child's drink, according to WXIN. The man says his wife told him she read about the mixture online in a Facebook group. The mother reportedly identified the mixture as the "Miracle Mineral Solution."

The Department of Child Services is currently investigating the case and has removed the child from the home, police said.

MMS claims to be a cure-all for anything ranging from cancer to hepatitis, and even aids. However, health officials, including the FDA, have warned the product could be deadly, and the so-called "purifying" element is sodium chlorite.

"Sodium chlorite is an industrial chemical used as a pesticide and for hydraulic fracking and wastewater treatment," the FDA said after a Washington state man was found guilty in 2015 on multiple counts for selling MMS. "Sodium chlorite cannot be sold for human consumption and suppliers of the chemical include a warning sheet stating that it can cause potentially fatal side effects if swallowed."

Officials at the Applied Behavioral Center for Autism say it's common for parents to search for home remedies to cure autism.

"Taking things into their own hands is something that many parents have done out of desperation, out of hope," president and founder Sherry Quinn said.

Behavioral Center Clinical Director Kelly Goudreau added that it's natural for parents to want to find a cure for their child's autism and it's common for them to look towards "home remedies." However, she adds that it's important to remember that there is no "cure" for autism, and that any treatment that is administered should be one that is backed by research and scientific evidence.

"It's a diagnosis that's going to stay with them. The goal is how can we make them more independent, how can we make them the most successful they can be with that diagnosis," she said.

Parents boycott ‘Peter Rabbit’ movie over food allergy scene

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:41 PM PST

“Peter Rabbit” has found itself in the middle of a food allergy controversy that has prompted some parents to boycott the animated children’s film and Sony Pictures to issue an apology.

The uproar began with a bundle of blackberries.

One scene shows the rabbit Peter and his forest friends attacking their archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, by throwing blackberries at him. Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries and starts choking, having to inject himself with an epinephrine injector.

The film, released Friday, was Sony Pictures’ big-screen take on the classic characters and tales from British children’s author Beatrix Potter. In the film, the blackberries were at the center of one of many attack plots the creatures carried out to win an ongoing feud with Mr. McGregor.

Now, due to that scene, parents of children with life-threatening allergies are condemning the movie and expressing their concerns on Twitter with the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

“For them to mock something so serious is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Medical Center and an allergist with the nonprofit Allergy & Asthma Network.

Parikh added that there have been real-life cases in which school bullies have used food allergies to threaten and harm other children.

“This is very dangerous and anxiety-provoking, as deaths occur when food allergies are not taken seriously,” she said.

Sony Pictures and the filmmakers of “Peter Rabbit” have released a statement in response.

“Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s arch nemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize,” the statement said.

The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, was one of the first groups to raise concerns about “Peter Rabbit.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, the foundation issued a “warning” to parents about the blackberries scene: “Parents should be aware of this before your children see the movie so you can talk with your child(ren) about it.”

On Saturday, the kids’ foundation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America wrote a letter to the makers of the film, saying the scene suggests that food allergies are “made up for attention.”

The letter went on to encourage Sony to examine its portrayal of bullying in films geared toward children and to refrain from mocking food allergies in the future.

“We would welcome the opportunity to educate your company and the cast of the movie about the realities of food allergy so that they and your viewing audience can better understand and recognize the gravity of the disease. We would like to work together to promote positive attitudes and safe environments for those with disabilities such as food allergies,” the letter said.

Also on Saturday, the Australian-based allergy and anaphylaxis charity group Globalaai launched a Change.org petition demanding an apology from Sony Pictures for depicting “allergy bullying” in the Peter Rabbit movie.

All families should be aware of how serious and potentially life-threatening food allergies can be, Parikh said.

“Precautions should be taken around people who suffer from food allergies, as it can cost them their life,” she said.

“Emergency medications such as epinephrine should always be carried, and currently, a mainstay of treatment is avoidance of the food,” she said. “It is important we fight the stigma around food allergies and not alienate or endanger those who are at risk.”

Watch Video

Motown beat down: Pelicans lose by 15 at Detroit

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 07:34 PM PST

DETROIT — Anthony Davis continues his stellar play against the Detroit Pistons.

Davis scored 38 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and had 2 blocks as the Pelicans won at Detroit Monday night 118-103.

Davis has scored 68 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in two games against the Pistons this season. New Orleans has won 19 of the last 20 games played between the two teams.

Jrue Holiday had 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Pelicans stayed one half game ahead of the Clippers for the 8th spot in the West. The Clippers won Monday night at Brooklyn.

Nikola Mirotic had 21 points as the New Orleans bench outscored their Detroit counterparts 43-33.

The Pelicans, 30-26, won their second consecutive game.

They host the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night.

WATCH: Northshore Advances to the Semifinals after 4-3 win over Mount Carmel

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 06:57 PM PST

SLIDELL, La. — Northshore High School girls’ soccer team defeated the defending state championships, Mount Carmel Cubs, Monday night in Slidell.

Mount Carmel jumped to a 1-0 lead from a Sydney Blue goal in the 26th minute. In the second half the Panthers would answer back Abby Chase’s goal in the 48th minute would tie the game at one, then Carley Chase would give the Panthers lead later on.

The defending champs would come back and tie things up with one of two goals of the night by Maddy Murret in the 56th minute.

Thirteen minutes later Megan Kittrell would give Northshore the lead at 3-2. The Cubs’ Murret again with another goal that would even the score at 3-3. In stoppage time, with a just minutes remaining Northshore’s Britney Bertram drew a penalty inside  the goalie box to set-up a penalty kick.

Bertram would kick the eventual game winner and help the Northshore Panthers move on to semifinal game against St. Scholastica.

Mystic Krewe of Seahorse brings Lundi Gras revelry to beautiful Bay St. Louis

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:41 PM PST

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. --The Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse rolled in Bay St. Louis Monday.

The Krewe gets its name from the Navy schooner, the USS Seahorse, led by captain Johnson and 13 seamen who fought the British Navy in the Battle of the Bay during the War of 1812.

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The Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse is known for their golf carts and pirate themes.

It's a way to bring revelry and economic development into the quaint seaside town.

‘I felt one squiggle’: Woman pulls over a dozen worms from her eye after rare infection

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:07 PM PST

OREGON –  Imagine looking into your irritated eye for a pesky eyelash, only to pull out a translucent, wiggling worm nearly a half inch long.

“I looked at it, and it was moving,” recalled 28-year-old Abby Beckley of Grants Pass, Oregon. “And then it died within about five seconds.”

Now, imagine doing that not once but 14 times.

That’s what Beckley endured over a three-week period in August 2016. Her story, published Monday as a case report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a historic one:

“This is only the 11th time a person has been infected by eye worms in North America, ” explained lead author Richard Bradbury, who is the team lead for the CDC’s Parasite Diagnostics and Biology Laboratory. “But what was really exciting it that it is a new species that has never infected people before. It’s a cattle worm that somehow jumped into a human.”

A summer adventure

Growing up on a ranch in Brookings, Oregon, surrounded by cattle and horses, Beckley loved the outdoors. She also had a burning desire to travel. So, in July 2016, she jumped at a chance to combine the two by working on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Craig, Alaska. It was only a couple of weeks into the job that the symptoms started.

“My left eye just got really irritated and red, and my eyelid was droopy,” Beckley remembered. “I was getting migraines too, and I was like, ‘What is going on?’ ”

She’d been suffering for five days when the ship finally returned to port. Beckley found a good mirror and looked closely into her eye, never expecting what she would find.

“I pulled down the bottom of my eye and noticed that my skin looked weird there,” Beckley said. “So I put my fingers in with a sort of a plucking motion, and a worm came out!

“I was just in shock,” she said. “I ran into my crewmate Allison’s room, and I said, ‘I need you to see this! I just pulled a worm out of my eye!’ ”

Believing it to be a salmon worm, the women feverishly searched for similar cases on the internet but could find nothing. Visits to a local doctor and ophthalmologist also proved fruitless.

“They said they had never seen anything like this,” Beckley said, adding that during that time, she pulled another four worms from her eye. “And then I could see them moving across my eye at that point, too. There were so many.”

Worried family and friends encouraged her to return home and set up an appointment at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. She went directly there from the airport.

“There were several doctors examining my eye, and at first, they were a bit skeptical, because who comes in and claims they have a worm in their eye?” Beckley remembered. “I am thinking to myself, ‘Worms, please show up,’ because sometimes they would go behind my eye and under the eyelid, and you couldn’t see or feel them anymore.”

Luckily, she says, after a half-hour, the worms made an appearance.

“I felt one squiggle across my eye, and I told the doctors, ‘You need to look right now!’ ” Beckley said. “I’ll never forget the expression on their faces as they saw it move across my eye.”

‘I tried not to go to the darkest place’

While some of the worms Beckley removed were sent off to the CDC for identification, she frequently visited the university for vision tests and eye washes designed to flush out additional worms. Although her vision remained fine, the flushes were unsuccessful.

“I just kept pulling the worms out of my eye at home, but when I went to the office, they would flush, and nothing would come out,” Beckley said. “They were trying to figure out what to do because there was no road map, no protocol for this.”

The worst part, she says, was wondering what the worms might do to her body, “so close to my brain and eyes.”

“I tried not go to the darkest place, like, are these worms going to paralyze my face or infect my brain or impact my vision?” she said. When a doctor explained that the worms would remain on the surface of her eye, she calmed down.

“I was definitely in distress, for sure, but I also started making jokes, because I had to, to deal with it,” Beckley said. “It’s so gross to think about, but it was happening to me.”

‘Fascinating ecological niche’

Parasitic eye worms are common among dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and wild carnivores like foxes and wolves. The larvae are transmitted by female “face flies” that feed on the animal’s eye secretions.

“Tears are full of proteins of various kinds, so the flies get a lot of nourishment from those tears,” explained Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University’s Division of Infectious Diseases, who was not involved in Beckley’s case. “For a scientist, it’s a fascinating ecological niche.”

The worm larvae grow into adulthood and reproduce between the eye and the eyelid. Their offspring leave the host’s body via more secretions from the inflamed eye, which the flies ingest, completing the life cycle.

“The early-stage larvae need to go through the fly’s digestive system to be able to develop to a more advanced stage to infect another host,” Bradbury explained. “It’s a complicated life cycle.”

Veterinarians treat the infection in pets and livestock with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin. But in untreated animals, Bradbury says, the worms can live and reproduce up to 30 months, leading to vision loss or even blindness.

People infected by the parasite typically don’t suffer that fate, because, like Beckley, they can remove the worms from their eyes.

Unraveling a medical mystery

When the worms from Beckley’s eye arrived at the CDC’s diagnostic lab, scientists were expecting to find a species of the Thelazia parasite called californiensis. That’s what infected the eyes of the 10 cases found in the US: nine from California and one from Utah.

“It’s an eye worm that often infects dogs and very occasionally affects humans,” the CDC’s Bradbury explained. “Another type of eye worm called callipaeda, found in Asia and Europe, has also infected people, but it’s also rare, with only about 163 reported cases in the world.”

Most cases of human infection around the world occur in poor, rural communities among the very young and elderly, who may be less able to keep flies from their face. But not always. In 2015, a 21-year-old South Korean soldier developed eye worms from the Asian strain, callipaeda, after multiple brief contacts with a dog in his father’s factory.

“He recalled nothing abnormal about the dog,” said Dr. Kyungmin Huh, a South Korean doctor who wrote about the case in the New England Journal of Medicine. “But I should note that previous reports show that patients cannot remember how it was transmitted in the majority of cases.”

Beckley has no memory of any fly landing close to or in her eye.

“It makes me curious if there was someone else who had this happen but wasn’t seen by a doctor,” she mused. “The only reason that I knew the cause is that I physically pulled one out of my eye.”

Schaffner agreed: “Dollars to doughnuts, there were people in the past that had these infections but were never specifically diagnosed. Here, we have someone who developed this unusual infection, and the physicians were interested enough to send the materials to the CDC, where they have extraordinary diagnostic abilities.”

Without that expertise, says Schaffner, investigators may have never noticed the small differences in the anatomy of the worms from Beckley’s eye.

“Something was strange about it,” Bradbury said, “and we had to go digging to find out what it was. I finally found the microscopic pictures I needed to find the exact species in a paper written in German in 1928.”

Bradbury says the species, Thelazia gulosa, is unique to cattle and has never before been seen in a human eye. That means Beckley was infected by cattle near her home, before she left for Alaska.

“It’s possible that there are cases that were misdiagnosed as another species of the worm, californiensis, because people just assume that it will be,” Bradbury said. “But through our work, we were able to understand that a brand-new species can now infect people who are around cattle.”

The end of a nightmare

Beckley was not treated with anti-parasitic medicine because doctors were worried that a dead worm might remain in her eye, possibly causing scarring. Instead, she was told to continue to monitor her eyes and remove any worms she found. How did she handle the uncertainty?

“You can go into ‘Poor me, Oh, my God, I’m going to let this destroy me,’ or you can just think, ‘OK, these are worms, and now I know the life cycle, and I know that they will die, and they are just sharing space,’ ” she said. “Doesn’t mean I wasn’t grossed out! It doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry! But I would try to self-soothe and put it in perspective.”

Twenty days after pulling the first worm from her eye, Beckley discovered the final wiggling worm. Once that was out, her ordeal was over. She knows because she’s not found another since. Her vision remains good, with no other complications.

But why go public with her story?

“Part of the reason I’m speaking out is that I had wished I could find one article or source that would reassure me this happened to someone else and they are fine,” Beckley said. “if this does happen again, I’m hoping my story will be out there for the next person to find.”

Fire department re-elects convicted sex offender as chief

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:06 PM PST

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. – You’ll find the name of Roger Gilbert listed as volunteer fire chief in the small Pennsylvania town of Spartansburg. In fact, the 43-year-old just got re-elected.

The problem, though, is that you’ll also find his name listed in the state’s Megan’s Law database for sex offenders, reports the Corry Journal.

Back in 2001, Gilbert was convicted of “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse” with a 4-year-old girl and served a 5- to 10-year prison sentence.

Gilbert says he’s a changed man—”that was 20 years ago”—but his re-election is drawing plenty of attention after the story was picked up nationally by the AP.

Spartansburg is about 40 miles southeast of Erie, notes PhillyVoice, which points out that Gilbert was elected twice to his post as chief by his fellow firefighters, not the public. (Only about 300 people live in the town.)

“The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done,” Mayor Ann Louise Wagner tells the Journal. “We don’t question their decisions.” (Gilbert might see a change in his passport the next time he renews.)

More From Newser:

Mardi Gras has arrived! Rex proclaims holiday, toasts with King Zulu at riverfront

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 05:02 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- It's official: Mardi Gras has arrived.

Rex made his annual Mardi Gras proclamation Monday night at Woldenberg Park on the riverfront, alongside Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell, both of whom heeded Rex's request to shut the city down and celebrate.

Rex, Poco Sloss, declared the following:

"That during the great celebration, all commercial endeavors be suspended throughout the realm, so that pleasure may rule both day and night. That the children of the realm be freed from their studies and permitted to participate in the pageantry, that the mayor and the city council cease and desist from governance for this one great day, and join in the revelry!"

Following his proclamation, King Zulu, Brent D. Washington, Sr., made a special appearance on stage so the two krewe kings could toast and kick off the festivities.

"As far back as I can look, it's just nothing but love," Washington said. "Hail Zulu!"

Washington and his wife, Zulu Queen 2018 Troye Madison Washington, arrived at the riverfront on a U.S. Coast Guard boat, complete with a Zulu second line. Filmmaker and Zulu Grand Marshal Spike Lee was waiting for them when the 2018 royalty stepped off the boat.

Watch video of their arrival below:

Zulu rolls at 8 a.m., while Rex rolls at 10 a.m. along the Uptown parade route.

‘This is a time for fun … for camaraderie’: Harry Connick, Jr., Orpheus royalty ready to roll

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 04:25 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- The Krewe of Orpheus paraded its monarchs and celebrities out for a pre-parade talk to riders in the Ernest Moral Convention Center this afternoon.

This year, the monarchs are "Blindspot" actress Jaime Alexander and actor/comedian Keegan-Michael Key. New Orleans' own The Dixie Cups are also riding.

Harry Connick, Jr., is also celebrity rider and one of the founders of Orpheus. He and Captain Sonny Borey created the parade 25 years ago.

Connick had just ridden in Bacchus as the super krewe's king and said he wanted to open up that experience to a more diverse crowd.

"I wanted, really, to have a parade that I could ride with Jill," said Connick, referring to his wife, "because she couldn't ride with me because there were no women allowed. I'm like, 'We got to do something about this.' And, I had a lot of black friends that want to ride. I said, 'We got to fix this.' And that's what Orpheus is."

Jaime Alexander said she is happy to ride with strong women like the members of The Dixie Cups.

"I'm so honored to be here, y'all," Alexander told the crowd. "This has been on my bucket list since I was a little kid. And, I am just so proud to represent a bit of female empowerment here tonight."

Keegan-Michael Key pointed to the diversity of the riders as one of the reasons he loves New Orleans.

"Every moment I've ever spent in this city has been filled with warmth, and possibility, and tradition, and culture ,and hospitality, and just the spirit that you people have shown with everything that you have been through--in not only this past decade, but these past centuries--is inspiring, inspiring, inspiring to me," said Key.

After the celebrities had had their say, Borey reminded the riders about some of the parade's rules, including wearing masks for the entire ride.

He also reiterated the non-political nature of the krewe.

"This parade is for fun," Borey said. "This parade is for camaraderie between the people in the crowd and the people in the floats. So, we are not to throw anything political. Nothing political at all. This is a time for fun not for statements."

Couple sells everything to sail the world, their boat sinks on day two

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 03:33 PM PST

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A Colorado couple will have to start over for a second time after an accident left them without a home, according to WFTS.

Tanner Broadwell, 26, and his girlfriend Nikki Walsh, 24, sold almost all of their belongings and bought a 28-foot sailboat in Florida with plans to sail the Gulf.  "My boyfriend and I had planned for a year to buy a sail boat, live on it and sail to the carribean (sic)," Wash wrote in the description of their GoFundMe page. "Our future plans were to sail the world one day."

A Colorado couple says the sailboat they sold everything to buy sunk off Madeira Beach, Florida on the second day. (GoFundMe)

But the trip came to an abrupt and dangerous end in only the second night as the couple navigated through John's Pass off Madeira Beach.

"We hit something in about eight or nine feet of water and it stopped the boat completely," Broadwell said.

The couple watched as water rushed inside, destroying everything they owned.

"Everything I've worked for, everything I've owned since I was a child, I brought with me. It's my house. It's just floating away and there's nothing I can do," Walsh said.

The couple told WJAX they are staying with a family member in Jacksonville Beach until they can find another boat and get back on the water.

"The boat sank, but our dreams didn't sink with the boat," Walsh told WFTS.

The couple said they're responsible for getting the wrecked boat out of the water, which could cost up to $6,700.

They have raised more than $13,000 on GoFundMe so far to get the wrecked boat out of the water and to buy a new boat.

Deer found with fatal neurological disease in Mississippi near Louisiana border

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:32 PM PST

ISSAQUENA COUNTY, Miss. — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is monitoring the discovery of a white-tailed deer found dead with chronic wasting disease in Issaquena County, Miss., which borders East Carroll and Madison parishes in northeast Louisiana.

The disease is infectious and always fatal in deer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans.

LDWF encourages landowners in East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes to curtail supplemental feeding of deer as a means to limit concentration and spread of the disease.

According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) a 4-year-old free-ranging buck, that appeared to be emaciated, was found dead on Jan. 25. It tested positive for CWD on Jan. 29 at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

As part of its response, the MDWFP has banned supplemental feeding in Issaquena, Claiborne, Hinds, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties. This is the first case of CWD documented in Mississippi, which becomes the 25th state to confirm the presence of the disease.

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said LDWF is coordinating with Mississippi officials for sampling and containment measures.

Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear, they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.

LDWF has tested more than 8,300 deer since 2002 and has not detected CWD. Deer routinely swim the Mississippi River, often to escape floodwaters.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer.

It is infectious and always fatal. It is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.

CWD is caused by prions which are proteins normally found in the body that have mutated. These prions kill nerve cells and cause holes to develop in the brain tissue. They are spread through direct deer-to-deer contact or through contact with urine, feces, saliva and body parts of infected deer or infectious materials in the soil.

Decomposing body parts of dead, infected deer can also contaminate the soil.  Plants growing in that soil can take up the prions. Deer can become infected by feeding in areas with prion-contaminated soil and plants. The prions remain in the environment for years. There is no practical method of decontaminating an infected area.

L.L. Bean to end beloved lifetime return policy

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 02:20 PM PST

FREEPORT, Maine – If you still haven't gotten around to returning your blown-out L.L.Bean flannels from the 90s, then you're too late.

L.L.Bean, the venerable Maine retailer of rustic boots and clothes, is ending its long-running, no questions asked return policy.

The policy, which has been in place for at least a century, was ruined by a few bad players, according to an open letter to customers.

"Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent," says the letter from executive chairman Shawn Gorman.

"Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years," he said. "Other seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as yard sales."

L.L.Bean, which is based in Freeport, still has a return policy. But starting on Friday, the company will only take back products if they are returned within one year of the purchase date, with proof of purchase. If the product is actually defective and the customer tries to return it after a year, the company said it will work out a "fair solution."

Gorman said the change in return policy "will only affect a small percentage of returns."

The rather liberal return policy had been in place since the days of Leon Leonwood Bean, who founded the company back in 1912 as a mail order retailer and maker of hunting boots with unusual chainlink style soles.

The original intent was that Bean didn't want customers to be dissatisfied with his products.

Reg E. Cathey, of ‘The Wire’ and ‘House of Cards,’ dies at 59

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:57 PM PST

Actor Reg E. Cathey, who ran Freddy’s BBQ Joint on the hit Netflix show “House of Cards,” and also appeared on “The Wire,” has died at 59.

“Wire” creator David Simon announced Cathey’s death Friday, tweeting:

“Reg Cathey, 1958-2018. Not only a fine, masterful actor – but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set. On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing.”

The Emmy-winning actor appeared in “Fantastic Four,” “Tank Girl” and “S.W.A.T.,” as well as on the hit HBO show “Oz,” among others.

Carey was born in Huntsville, Alabama and raised for some of his life in Germany, died at his New York home, where friends and family members gathered to be with him in his last moments, according to TMZ.

His cause of death is not yet clear.

This is a developing story.

Zulu’s storied history symbolizes Mardi Gras for African Americans worldwide

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 01:38 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- From the Mardi Gras Indians to the Flambeaux carriers to the skeleton crews, the contribution of African Americans to traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras is evident. But nothing compares to the flash and flair of Zulu.

"It symbolizes Mardi Gras for the African American community across the world," said Zulu President Naaman Stewart. "Everybody that comes to Mardi Gras wants a Zulu coconut, and they'll do just about anything to get it."

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is known as much for its elaborate coconuts as it is for community service and bringing people together. Members are also responsible for what could be the largest formal African American affair in the country -- the Zulu Ball.

Zulu's roots trace back to the days of segregation, when black people weren't allowed to be in other Mardi Gras krewes.

The masks of Zulu are strikingly similar to the "blackface makeup" once popularized by the minstrel shows of old. In fact, Louis Armstrong faced backlash from the Civil Rights community when he wore the makeup as King of Zulu in 1949.

But to understand the Zulu makeup, you have to know the history.

In the early 1900s, social aid and pleasure clubs were a popular mechanism for improving day-to-day life in the African American community. One of these clubs, the Tramps, went to the Pythian Temple in 1909 to see a play titled "There Never Was and Never Will Be a King Like Me."

The play was based loosely off of the Zulu ethnic group in Africa. When the Tramps walked out, they were no longer tramps, but Zulu warriors instead.

When they formed the Zulu parade krewe, the city required all krewe members to wear masks. Zulu members had limited resources -- and theatrical inspiration. Thus, the Zulu tradition was born.

"Some people assume that it was blackface make up, when what it was was ash," Stewart said.

From the coconuts to the balls to lending a helping hand behind the scenes, the Zulu organization has revolutionized Mardi Gras participation for the New Orleans African American community.

Zulu rolls at 8 a.m. Mardi Gras day along the Uptown route.

Parents boycott ‘Peter Rabbit’ movie over food allergy scene

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:56 PM PST

“Peter Rabbit” has found itself in the middle of a food allergy controversy that has prompted some parents to boycott the animated children’s film and Sony Pictures to issue an apology.

The uproar began with a bundle of blackberries.

One scene shows the rabbit Peter and his forest friends attacking their archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, by throwing blackberries at him. Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries and starts choking, having to inject himself with an epinephrine injector.

The film, released Friday, was Sony Pictures’ big-screen take on the classic characters and tales from British children’s author Beatrix Potter. In the film, the blackberries were at the center of one of many attack plots the creatures carried out to win an ongoing feud with Mr. McGregor.

Now, due to that scene, parents of children with life-threatening allergies are condemning the movie and expressing their concerns on Twitter with the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

“For them to mock something so serious is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Medical Center and an allergist with the nonprofit Allergy & Asthma Network.

Parikh added that there have been real-life cases in which school bullies have used food allergies to threaten and harm other children.

“This is very dangerous and anxiety-provoking, as deaths occur when food allergies are not taken seriously,” she said.

Sony Pictures and the filmmakers of “Peter Rabbit” have released a statement in response.

“Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s arch nemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize,” the statement said.

The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, was one of the first groups to raise concerns about “Peter Rabbit.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, the foundation issued a “warning” to parents about the blackberries scene: “Parents should be aware of this before your children see the movie so you can talk with your child(ren) about it.”

On Saturday, the kids’ foundation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America wrote a letter to the makers of the film, saying the scene suggests that food allergies are “made up for attention.”

The letter went on to encourage Sony to examine its portrayal of bullying in films geared toward children and to refrain from mocking food allergies in the future.

“We would welcome the opportunity to educate your company and the cast of the movie about the realities of food allergy so that they and your viewing audience can better understand and recognize the gravity of the disease. We would like to work together to promote positive attitudes and safe environments for those with disabilities such as food allergies,” the letter said.

Also on Saturday, the Australian-based allergy and anaphylaxis charity group Globalaai launched a Change.org petition demanding an apology from Sony Pictures for depicting “allergy bullying” in the Peter Rabbit movie.

All families should be aware of how serious and potentially life-threatening food allergies can be, Parikh said.

“Precautions should be taken around people who suffer from food allergies, as it can cost them their life,” she said.

“Emergency medications such as epinephrine should always be carried, and currently, a mainstay of treatment is avoidance of the food,” she said. “It is important we fight the stigma around food allergies and not alienate or endanger those who are at risk.”

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Suspected poacher mauled, eaten by lions in South Africa

Posted: 12 Feb 2018 12:55 PM PST

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa — Police in South Africa said Monday that a suspected poacher was mauled and eaten by pack of lions near Kruger National Park over the weekend, AFP reported.

Very little remained of the victim's body when it was found at a private game park in the northern province of Limpopo, where poaching had taken place in recent years.

"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.

A loaded hunting rifle was found near the body. The victim was not identified.

Several lions were found last year poisoned near a farm in the same province with their heads and paws sawed off, AFP reported.