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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

It’s an armed robbery at a donut shop but there’s a big hole in the case

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 08:52 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police are trying to find the gunman who robbed a donut shop in Gentilly over the weekend.  The case is the latest one to roll on the Wheel of Justice.

The robbery happened Sunday, April 22, at about 10:45 in the morning at Daddy's Donuts on Caton Street.  A security camera recorded the entire attack.

Surveillance footage provided by NOPD

The video shows customers at the business milling about when a gunman rushes through the front door with a pistol.  The robber was wearing a camouflage hooded jacket, beige pants, and red and white Puma sneakers.

The robber forced everyone to get behind the counter and ordered an employee to give him the money from the store's cash register.

After getting the cash, the robber is seen on the video running out of the front door.

The NOPD also released a second piece of video in the case.  It shows the robber with another man.  Police say the video was recorded shortly after the robbery.  They say after the pair met up, they left the area together.

To see the surveillance footage and video of the suspects in this case, click on the video button at the top of this page.

If you have information on the case that could help the NOPD make an arrest, you can call CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.  Remember, you don't have to reveal your name or testify in court, and you could be eligible for a CrimeStoppers cash reward.

So far, 375 people have landed behind bars after their cases rolled on the Wheel of Justice.

Back in action: Masters champion Patrick Reed practices at TPC of Louisiana, preps for Zurich Classic

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 08:33 PM PDT

Masters champion Patrick Reed is back in the saddle for the first time since winning his green jacket April 8th.

Reed practiced for more than 3 hours Monday at the TPC of Louisiana. The Zurich Classic starts there, Thursday.

Here’s a report from WGNO Sports.


Virginia man wins $4 million after forgetting about lottery ticket

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:45 PM PDT

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – A Virginia man is now a millionaire after scratching a Virginia Lottery ticket – one month after he bought it.

Jeff Kretzer bought a "$100 Million Cash Extravaganza" ticket in December of 2017.

The Chesterfield man put the ticket in his drawer and forgot about it. One month later, Kretzer happened to see the ticket in his drawer and decided to scratch it.

Initially, Kretzer thought he won $4,000.

"Oh, $4,000, this is going to be nice," he remembered saying.

But he missed three more zeros.

In fact, the ticket was worth $4 million!

"I was stunned," Kretzer said. "I really can't describe the moment."

Kretzer bought the ticket at MACS Retail, LLC, 7041 Commons Plaza in Chesterfield, which got a $10,000 bonus.

The $100 Million Cash Extravaganza game features prize ranging from $20 to $4 million, including a $1 million second prize and $100,000 third prize.

Kretzer is the third person to claim the top prize, which means one $4 million ticket is still out there.

Ice pops recalled over possible listeria contamination

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:17 PM PDT

DENVER –  A West Virginia company is voluntarily recalling thousands of cases of ice pops because of possible listeria contamination at a Denver facility, the Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

The recall covers two types of frozen desserts made by the Ziegenfelder Company – Budget $aver Cherry Pineapple Monster Pops and Sugar Free Twin pops.


Between April 5 and April 19, roughly 3,000 cases of the potentially-tainted pops were sent to retailers and distributors in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

No illnesses have been reported, according to the FDA.

Listeria can be potentially fatal for young children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems. The disease can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms including fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The Cherry Pineapple Monster Pops carry the UPC code 0-74534-84200-9, and have lot codes D09418A through D10018B. The Sugar Free Pops carry the UPC code 0-74534-75642-9, and have lot codes D09318A through D10018B.


Ziegenfelder Company ordered the recall after a state inspection of the company’s Denver production facility found listeria in environmental samples. All manufacturing at the facility has been halted as company and state officials continue to investigate.

Anyone who bought the affected ice pops is urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-888-683-0379, Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm EST.

Kate and William can afford 3 kids. Many Brits cannot

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:58 PM PDT

For the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, having three kids won’t break the bank. For many other Millennial Brits, a family of that size just isn’t an option.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to the couple’s third child, a son, on Monday.

Raising one child in the United Kingdom to the age of 21 costs about £232,000 ($323,000), according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). In London, that rises to £254,000 ($354,000).

That means a London-based family with three children is looking at a total cost of more than $1 million, and that doesn’t include private schools or university fees, which together can easily add another $200,000 per child.

To put this in perspective, the median UK income for a working household is just £29,300 ($40,100) per year, after income tax deductions, according to the UK Office for National Statistics.

Earning power isn’t a problem for Kate and Prince William. They receive millions from Prince Charles to cover the cost of their official duties, own a country mansion, and enjoy a London residence — Kensington Palace — rent free.

The average Londoner, by contrast, will have to pay £472,000 ($658,000) to buy a home.

Little wonder then that British women are having far fewer children than past generations.

Here are a few reasons why:

Higher costs are putting couples off

National statistics show the average British woman has just 1.8 children each. In the 1960s, during the so-called Baby Boom, it was close to three children each.

Rising female education has been associated with lower birth rates. But cold, hard financial considerations seem to have played into many couples’ decisions too.

CEBR research from 2014 found that 21% of parents said they were delaying having another child due to the rising cost of raising a family.

Pay squeeze and expensive housing

Millennial parents — those born in the 1980s and 1990s — are facing particular challenges, including slower wage growth, which could influence their decisions on having children.

Research from the Resolution Foundation shows previous British generations earned significantly more than their predecessors after calculating for inflation. But this trend doesn’t hold for Millennials, who are earning less than Generation X — those born between 1966 and 1980 — and have seen their wages squeezed following the Great Recession.

“This stalling of generational pay progress is unprecedented,” Resolution Foundation researchers said in a recent report.

The rising cost of housing is adding to the pressure.

“Millennials today are spending more of their income on housing than previous generations did at the same age, but critically get less for their money when it comes to security and quality of life,” the report noted.

Less state support for large families

Recent changes in government policy also seem to be discouraging people from having three or more children, according to Donald Hirsch, director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

Since 2017, government credits to poorer families with three or more children have been trimmed.

“This rule can be interpreted as saying that society disapproves of you having more than two children if you are poor,” said Hirsch.

Related: The royal baby will make the world’s greatest brand even stronger

People may think the cost of raising a second or third child is cheaper than the first, but that’s not necessarily the case.

“There are some economies of scale, but there are lots of extra costs with having a third child,” said Hirsch. “You may have to buy a new car … You may need a larger home.”

NOLA 300: New Orleans made the modern-day cocktail possible

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:26 PM PDT

New Orleans may not have invented the cocktail. But, it was never the same after we put our twist on it.

"The first reference we have to the word cocktail where the word appears in print with a definition is in a Hudson, New York, newspaper in 1806," says Chris McMillian, cocktail historian and cocktail creator at his Revel Cafe and Bar. "It defines a cocktail as any spirit, sugar, water and bitters. Exactly the same way we define it today."

Some cocktails are still made the same way they were made around the turn of the 20th century. And, the ones that aren't, may be based on an old recipe by one of the New Orleans superstar bartenders.

"When the very first bartending manual ever written was published in 1862, the only bartender it mentions by name is a guy named Joseph 'Santina'," says McMillian. They meant Joseph Santini, who was the bartender at the St. Louis Hotel in the French Quarter. The manual credited him with the creation of a drink that would become a template for some of the most popular drinks to ever be mixed: the Brandy Crusta (Cognac, lemon juice, Curacao, Maraschino, and a sugar-crusted glass with a lemon peel).

"If you take this same drink and go to the turn of the century in Paris, leave the Maraschino out, and substitute the Curacao for triple sec, you have the Sidecar," says McMillian. "If you go to the 1930s London and substitute the gin for Cognac and you have the White Lady. Of you got to the 1940s and substitute the lemon for lime and the gin for tequila, you have the Margarita. And, if you go to the 1990s and substitute the tequila for vodka and add a splash of cranberry, you have the Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan was singularly the most successful drink of the modern era because its template--its architecture--is this classic DNA that has its origins on the corner of Chartres and St. Louis in the 1830s."

Another superstar bartender whose name you hear every time you order his greatest creation is Henry Ramos.

"Ramos was the most famed bartender and barman of his age," says McMillian. "In the same way that everybody in the world today who has heard about New Orleans has heard about Pat O'Brien's, everybody in the world in that era who had heard of New Orleans had heard of the Ramos Bar and the Ramos Gin Fizz."

Today, the cocktail that all drinkers know is the Sazerac. While it may not be the original cocktail, it is one of the best of its kind.

"Really, what the Sazerac is is the ultimate expression of the original old-fashioned form of cocktail," says McMillian.

The Brandy Crusta, the Ramos Gin Fizz, and the Sazerac all have something else in common. At different times, they all occupied the same spot on the corner or Carondelet St. and Gravier St.

"Santini, he moved across canal street to the American Sector, across the street from the St. Charles Hotel on Gravier," explains Santini. "And, that bar was called the Jewel of the South. And it later came into the possession of Tom Anderson, the boss of Storyville."

Ramos' nearby bar closed and he bought the Stag from Anderson.

"Well, in 1934, the Sazerac bar moves into the same location that Ramos is in," continues McMillian. "So, on that corner of Gravier and Carondelet--no historical marker--you have the three most historic bars in the history of New Orleans, the center in many ways of the evolution of American drink culture."

The Waffle House shooting suspect thought Taylor Swift was stalking him and showed other signs of delusion

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:29 PM PDT

When Travis Reinking breached a White House security barrier in July, police say, he had a very specific request: He wanted to meet with President Donald Trump.

Reinking, who was taken into custody Monday afternoon, told a Secret Service officer at the northeast entrance that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had a “right to inspect the grounds,” according to a Metropolitan Police Department incident report dated July 7, 2017.

The report does not say if Reinking was referring to the anti-government extremist movement of the same name. But the 29-year-old’s previous encounters with law enforcement are coming under fresh scrutiny after he was named a suspect in a deadly Sunday morning shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House.

Reinking’s brush with law enforcement in the nation’s capital was not his first. Documents obtained by CNN affiliate WBBM from the sheriff’s office in Tazewell County, Illinois, suggest a troubling pattern involving guns and what one police report described as “delusional” behavior.

“Travis is hostile toward police and does not recognize police authority. Travis also possesses several firearms,” an officer said in a May 2016 incident report. At the time, Reinking’s parents had called emergency services to report their son believed pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him, and he had made comments about killing himself.

Most recently, police said, he visited a car dealership in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood last week and somehow obtained a key fob for a BMW without providing identification. He stole the car and led police on a brief chase, the department said.

Using the car’s GPS, officers tracked the car to Reinking’s apartment complex and recovered it, but because they didn’t know the thief’s identity, no arrests were made.

Guns seized, then returned to suspect

Reinking moved to Nashville in fall 2017 and worked in construction, Nashville police said. He was fired from one job in early April and had just started with another construction company April 16, but did not return for his second day of work.

At the time of the White House incident, Reinking lived in an apartment above his father’s business, a crane rental company in Tremont, Illinois, according to the sheriff’s office incident reports. After his arrest at the White House for trespassing and being in a restricted area, the FBI and the Secret Service coordinated with local law enforcement to investigate Reinking and take away his guns, Matthew Espenshade, assistant special agent in charge of FBI’s Nashville office said Sunday.

On August 24, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office seized four firearms and ammunition from Reinking’s apartment along with his state firearm owners identification, according to an incident report. The seizure came less than two weeks after a Tazewell County sergeant said that Reinking drove up to his squad car and asked about filing a report.

Reinking told the sergeant that people were “tapping into his computer and phone” and barking like dogs outside his home, according to an August 11 incident report. He said he felt like he was being watched and that people were baiting him into breaking the law, the report states. He told the officer that it all started after he began writing to Taylor Swift, according to the report.

Officers released the firearms and ammo to Reinking’s father, Jeffrey, the report states. Investigators now believe he returned the guns to his son. Of those four weapons, one was the AR-15 style weapon recovered from the shooting scene at Waffle House; two more long guns were taken from Reinking’s apartment, police said.

One more gun may remain in Reinking’s possession, police said before his Monday arrest.

A history of ‘mental problems’

Less than a month before his arrest at the White House, Reinking crossed paths with law enforcement in Illinois.

On June 16, 2017, an employee of his father’s business, J&J Cranes, called the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office to report that Reinking came down from his apartment wearing a pink dress and holding a rifle, an incident report states.

The employee told police Reinking yelled “Is this what you f—–g want?” before he threw his rifle in his trunk and left, according to the report.

Around the same time, the Tremont Police Department responded to a call to a public pool, according to another incident report. The pool director told the responding officer that a man in his 20s barged into the pool wearing a pink women’s housecoat, the report states. The man dove into the pool and took off the coat and swam around in his underwear. When he got out of the pool, he shouted at lifeguards that he was a man and exposed his genitals to them, the report states.

The rifle stayed in the vehicle and no one at the pool asked to press charges, the officer said in the report. “This is an informational report showing the state of mind of Travis Reinking,” the report said.

Meanwhile, several members of the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office went to J&J Cranes to speak with Reinking.

“Travis has some mental problems and I asked him if he would like to speak to (the Emergency Response Service) but he stated he didn’t want to,” the officer wrote in the report. “Travis had already spoken to them before and been in the hospital.”

The officer said he also called Reinking’s father, who was out of state. Jeffrey Reinking told the office he had taken three guns from his son before and locked them up “when Travis was having problems,” the report states.

Later in the day, the officer said in his report, “I called back Jeff Reinking and advised him of what happened and when he gets back home he might want to lock the guns back up until Travis gets mental help, which he stated he would.”

‘Delusional’ behavior involving Taylor Swift

It was not the first time Reinking’s mental health came to law enforcement’s attention.

On May 27, 2016, a Tazewell County Sheriff’s deputy met him and his parents in a drug store parking lot after his parents had called for help, according to an incident report.

A paramedic told the responding officer that Reinking was “delusional” and believed that Taylor Swift was harassing him by stalking and hacking his phone, the report states.

“Travis believed everyone including his own family and the police are involved,” the officer said in the report. “Travis stated he did not want to hurt Taylor Swift or anyone else, he only wanted the harassment to stop.”

Reinking told the officer the harassment began a few weeks earlier when Swift hacked his Netflix account and told him to meet her at a Dairy Queen, the report states. He told the officer that when he showed up she ran off and disappeared.

His parents told the officer he made comments about killing himself and that he had access to “many firearms” in his residence.

By then, another officer had arrived to help persuade Reinking to go to a hospital for evaluation. He resisted their efforts, saying he was “free to leave” and that the officers were “violating his constitutional rights.” Finally, after four more officers arrived, Reinking agreed to go, saying it was against his will.

Who’s to blame?

After the firearms seizure, Reinking was legally prohibited from possessing guns, said Matthew Espenshade, an FBI agent located in Nashville. His father, Jeffrey Reinking, could potentially face charges for transferring weapons to a person knowingly prohibited from possessing them, the ATF said.

Families of people struggling with mental health issues often don’t know where to turn, said lawyer Rachelle Barbour of the Federal Defender’s Office of the Eastern District of California.

“There are no good resources for families in the US who need help managing a beloved adult member who has lost touch with reality,” Barbour said in a statement. “Again and again they wind up in the criminal justice system after repeated attempts from family members to alert authorities and solicit help in dealing with them.”

“Instead of using resources to help, monitor, and treat them before a tragedy occurs, our society will only act once it happens and use our dollars to throw them in prison or pursue the death penalty,” the statement said. “The victims of this shooting did not have to be sacrificed to our lack of appropriate mental health care coupled with our cult of guns.”

New Orleans was the birthplace of opera in North America

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:29 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS -- We all know that New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, but did you know that opera in North America got its start here as well?

The first documented opera in America took place in New Orleans in 1796. The Crescent City would present Europe's finest acts in front of a diverse Creole audience.

"Somebody like Jelly Roll Morton attended the opera," said New Orleans Opera Association Chorusmaster Carol Rausch. "His family kind of looked down on jazz and though the only way to be a musician was to be a classical musician."

In 1859, the doors opened to the French Opera House, the premiere theater at its time, until a blaze brought it down in 1919.

The new company -- the New Orleans Opera Association -- came to fruition in the 1940s. The group is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Opera in New Orleans first survived a fire, but then came the flood. After Hurricane Katrina, "people were starved for music," New Orleans Opera Association Past President Meredith Hathorn said.


"They needed something to make them feel good," she said.

Today, the opera here at home continues to evolve with the changing times. Last season, the association addressed the transgender issue with "As One," and then helped with "Champion," a jazz opera by Terence Blanchard.

"It's a balancing act, because we are trying to expand and stay relevant as far as an issue," Hathorn

Former President George H.W. Bush in intensive care

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:03 PM PDT

Former President George H.W. Bush, who just buried his wife first lady Barbara Bush on Saturday, is in intensive care, CNN has learned.

“President Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital yesterday morning after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering. We will issue additional updates as events warrant,” spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

Bush was admitted to the hospital on Sunday morning, he was suffering from an infection that led to sepsis, which can be life-threatening, according to a source close to the former President. He was in critical condition, the source said.

What celebrity is getting a ‘Life Sentence’: every week on NOLA 38 – The CW

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:00 PM PDT

HOLLYWOOD -  Life Sentence is what she gets.

And Life Sentence is the show to watch on NOLA 38 - The CW, Wednesday nights at 9pm.

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood is in Hollywood to talk with the star of the show, Lucy Hale.

You saw Lucy Hale In New Orleans on New Year's Eve as she hosted the Big Easy part of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

In the Hollywood interview, Lucy Hale tells Wild Bill Wood about her new show Life Sentence, "when they pitched this idea to me, it was completely flipped on its head."

The idea is about second chances.

Everybody deserves a second chance.

And sometimes you actually get a second chance.

Sometimes, that second chance is at life itself.

That's what's happening on Life Sentence.

It's the name of the show and it's what Stella actually gets on the show.

You better hang on to your remote control because this new show starts out with a real shocker.

Wild Bill says to Lucy Hale who plays Stella, "you have cancer!"

Lucy Hale says, "yes, we've all heard these stories before, these movies and we all know how they typically end."

As you can probably guess, this show will not have one of those typical movie, TV show story kind of endings.

Stella has cancer.

Stella is dying.

That is until suddenly, Stella is cured.  That's suddenly in the first episode, kind of suddenly.

"Stella has to deal with all the choices she made while she was living like she was dying, " Lucy Hale tells Wild Bill Wood.

"Stella's parents made her believe everything was unicorns and rainbows," Lucy says.

"They gave her the best life they knew how to and let her travel the world and do all her bucket list things." Lucy says about her new Life Sentencecharacter Stella.

Stella is guilty.

And for that she gets, we all get a brand new Life Sentence.

You can watch the show Wednesday nights at 9pm on NOLA 38 - The CW.


Man ‘vomits’ 33 bindles of heroin after locking himself in bathroom, police say

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:22 PM PDT

PROVO, Utah – A 30-year-old Utah man faces multiple charges after police say he "vomited" nearly three dozens bindles of heroin.

According to an inmate booking sheet and a probable cause statement, police were dispatched to 930 south State Street in Provo just before 11 p.m. Saturday night on a complaint of a man smoking heroin.

Mitchell Dean Kuhni charged after police say he 'vomited up' 33 bindles of heroin.

The suspect's wife told officers she and her husband, Mitchell Dean Kuhni, had been arguing when he busted a door and a frame in the house, then locked himself in a bathroom and began smoking heroin.

When an officer knocked on the bathroom door, Kuhni said he would be right out.

After several minutes – during which time officers heard sounds of a toilet flushing and a faucet running – Kuhni exited the bathroom.

Almost immediately, officers noticed the man did not appear well and walked him back into the bathroom where he threw up seven black bindles into the toilet, which later field tested positive for heroin, according to charging documents.

Kuhni then threw up 26 more bindles into a container placed in front of him.

In all, 36 bindles of heroin were recovered and Kuhni was charged with third degree felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute as well as two misdemeanors for criminal mischief and tampering with evidence.

NOPD: Woman reported missing has not been heard from since March 2

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:56 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD is searching for a woman who has not been in contact with her family since March 2.

Family members told police that Casey Ricciardo, 34, had been in frequent contact with her family until March 2. They have not heard from her since.

She is described as being 5 foot, 4 inches tall, weighs about 165 pounds and has black hair and green eyes. Ricciardo is known to frequent the Uptown and French Quarter areas.

Anyone with any information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Second District Investigative Unit at 504-658-6020 or 9-1-1.

French Minister of State visits New Orleans to honor Tricentennial

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:33 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS — French Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne visited New Orleans to honor the Tricentennial.  He’s in charge for French language and foreign trade for the French government.

The Minister's visit was for him to take a look at the rising success of French immersion programs throughout the state, as well as vibrant growth of commercial trade and economic partnerships between France and the United States.  In addition to Tricentennial activities, he will meet with New Orleans officials to discuss future work with France and New Orleans.

While in New Orleans, he visited the French vessel, "La Resolue," which participated in NOLA Navy Week.

Toronto collision leaves 9 dead, 16 injured; suspect in custody

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:01 PM PDT

Nine people are dead and 16 are injured after the driver of a van plowed into multiple pedestrians in Toronto, police said.

[Previous story, published at 4:423 p. m. ET]

The driver of a white van collided with multiple pedestrians on a busy street north of downtown Toronto on Monday, leaving numerous people injured along a trail of destruction stretching up to a mile, officials said.

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said there are some casualties from the collisions, but didn’t offer details.

The suspected driver was in custody and the van has been located, Toronto Police media representative Gary Long said.

A law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto tells CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate.

Seven patients from the incident were received at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The hospital was unable to provide details on the severity of those injuries.

Stephen Powell, district chief for Toronto Fire, confirmed that there have been multiple casualties. A large presence of Toronto fire, police and EMS personnel are on the scene, Powell said.

The incident happened in the North York area at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, police said. Powell said the suspect covered between a half-mile and a mile in the vehicle.

Authorities have not said publicly if the vehicle collisions were intentional. In recent years, individuals have driven vehicles into crowds of pedestrians in fatal attacks in major cities including Barcelona, New York, London and Nice.

Chelsea Luelo, who works at Capriccio Café, saw the incident and said she thought the driver was hitting people intentionally.

“It looked like he was going straight, halfway through the sidewalk,” Luelo said.

‘Pandemonium broke loose’

Mary Tan shared two photos showing people injured in the incident.

A witness, Raj Irshad, said he saw multiple bodies on the ground.

Irshad works at an Esso gas station about a block from where the van is reported to have driven onto the sidewalk. He said he did not see the initial collision but saw the aftermath. He also saw multiple emergency vehicles in front of his gas station.

One witness told CNN network partner CTV that he was out for a cigarette when he saw the van hit a man walking through the intersection.

“And then, just pandemonium broke loose, just everyone was going crazy,” he said. The vehicle was going 60 to 70 kph, he estimated.

One witness, who was driving at the time, said he at first thought the driver was having a heart attack until he saw the white van speeding and striking people on the sidewalk.

“He’s just hitting people one by one, going down,” the witness said. “It’s a nightmare.”

Bersat Noorai, the manager of Taftan Kebab, said he saw the white van hit the bench in front of his restaurant. He then ran outside and saw two or three people on the ground.

One man, who appeared to be in his early 20s, was losing a lot of blood, and Noorai said he brought him a towel and water and called 911.

‘She’s face down on the concrete’

Another witness, Christian Ali, said he came onto the scene and saw bodies and evidence of the destruction.

He first saw a man unconscious at the side of the road and figured it was a terrible accident after he saw debris from a car.

“Two blocks over, I saw another gentleman unconscious in the middle of the road and a policeman leaning over him holding his neck,” Ali said.

About a block up, he saw a woman who looked like she had died.

“She’s face down on the concrete, a lot of fluid coming out of her head,” Ali said.

“About 20 seconds after that, I came upon a crowd of about 30 people … probably about five people on the ground, bleeding,” he said, adding that pedestrians were performing CPR.

Prime Minister Trudeau: ‘Our hearts go out to anyone affected’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early Monday afternoon that he was just learning about the incident.

“Our hearts go out to anyone affected. We’re obviously going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours,” he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said there was a tragic incident on Yonge Street.

“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the front-line responders who are working to help those injured,” he said.

Department of Veterans Affairs Fast Facts

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:40 PM PDT

Here is a look at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are 18.5 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the US Census.

More than nine million veterans are served each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Health care facilities are made up of 1,061 outpatient sites and 170 VA Medical Centers.

President Donald Trump requested an appropriation of $198.6 billion for the department in the 2019 Budget, a $12.1 billion increase over 2018.

1789 – The new US government passes legislation ensuring pensions for disabled Revolutionary War veterans.

1812 – The Naval Home, a facility for disabled veterans, opens in Philadelphia.

1833 – Congress establishes the Bureau of Pensions to assist veterans.

1862 – During the Civil War, Congress passes a bill allowing the president to purchase land for national cemeteries. Between 1865 and 1870, 70 national cemeteries open for burial of Union soldiers.

1865 – At the end of the US Civil War, there are 1.9 million Union veterans. Congress authorizes the National Asylum of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, a system of residences for disabled and indigent veterans.

1912 – Congress passes the Sherwood Act, guaranteeing pensions for Union veterans of the Civil War and veterans of the Mexican-American War, regardless of their health.

1924 – Congress passes the World War Adjustment Compensation Act, a system of bonuses for veterans of World War I. Any veteran entitled to more than $50 is given a certificate payable 20 years in the future and worth about $1,500.

July 21, 1930 – President Herbert Hoover signs an executive order consolidating the Veterans’ Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions and the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers into the Veterans Administration. The VA has a budget of $786 million and serves 4.6 million veterans.

1931-1941 – The VA builds 27 new hospitals, bringing the total to 91.

1932 – During the Great Depression, thousands of World War I veterans march on Washington to demand payment of their bonuses. After the marchers are forcibly removed, the VA pays their transportation costs home. Congress authorizes early payment of the bonuses in 1936.

1933 – The VA establishes the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

June 22, 1944 – During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” a package of education benefits, federally guaranteed loans and unemployment compensation.

1945 – At the end of World War II, there are approximately 15 million veterans in the United States, and all 97 VA hospitals are filled to capacity. In response, the VA opens 54 new hospitals over the next five years.

1958 – Congress pardons Confederate service members and extends benefits to the one remaining survivor.

1973 – The VA takes over the administration of the National Cemetery System, with the exception of Arlington National Cemetery and the Soldier’s Home National Cemetery.

1979 – Congress orders the VA to study the effects on veterans of the Agent Orange defoliant used in Vietnam.

1983 – The Agent Orange study is transferred to the Centers for Disease Control.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan signs a bill requiring the VA to pay benefits to Vietnam veterans suffering from chloracne or porphyria cutanea tarda, possibly caused by Agent Orange exposure.

1988 – The US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is founded. It gives those who served in the military a chance to challenge individual decisions made by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

March 15, 1989 – President Reagan signs legislation elevating the Veterans Administration to cabinet status, and renaming it the Department of Veterans Affairs.

1991 – President George H.W. Bush signs into law a bill compensating Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and suffering from non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma or soft tissue sarcoma.

March 1991 – The VA orders Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Chicago, to stop performing vascular and orthopedic surgeries after the deaths of more than 40 patients in 1989 and 1990. After a review of the cases, the VA accepts responsibility for the deaths of eight patients.

1996 – President Bill Clinton orders the VA to provide benefits to Vietnam veterans who develop prostate cancer or peripheral neuropathy after a National Academy of Sciences report suggests there is a link between those diseases and Agent Orange exposure.

2006 – Two teens steal a laptop computer and external hard drive containing the personal information of approximately 26 million veterans from the home of a VA data analyst. The laptop and hard drive are later recovered and FBI testing suggests that the data was never accessed. In 2009, the VA pays $20 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by veterans.

February 2009 – The VA notifies more than 6,000 patients who went to Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that they may have been exposed to infectious diseases at the clinic due to contaminated endoscopic equipment.

February 2009 – The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, notifies more than 1,200 people that they may have been treated with contaminated equipment.

March 2009 – The VA sends letters to more than 3,000 people who may have had colonoscopies at VA facilities in Miami, warning that they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV. According to hospital officials, a review of safety procedures found that tubing used in endoscope procedures was rinsed but not disinfected.

2010 – The VA notifies more than 1,800 veterans treated at the John Cochran VA hospital in St. Louis that they may have been exposed to infectious diseases during dental procedures.

July 2010 – The VA unveils new regulations making it easier for men and women who served in the armed forces to receive benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. Under the new rules a veteran only needs to demonstrate that he or she served in a war and performed a job during which events could have happened that could cause the disorder.

November 2010 – The VA announces that it will cover disability compensation for an additional three diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure among Vietnam veterans. They are hairy cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.

2011 – Nine Ohio veterans test positive for hepatitis after routine dental work at a VA clinic in Dayton, Ohio. A dentist at the VA medical center there acknowledged not washing his hands or even changing gloves between patients for 18 years.

February 2011-November 2012 – An outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease at VA facilities in Pennsylvania kills at least six veterans.

November 2013 – A CNN investigation shows that veterans are dying because of long waits and delayed care at US veterans hospitals. The VA has confirmed six deaths tied to delays at the Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

January 30, 2014 – CNN reports that at least 19 veterans have died because of delays in simple medical screenings like colonoscopies or endoscopies, at various VA hospitals or clinics. This is according to an internal document from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, obtained exclusively by CNN, that deals with patients diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and 2011.

April 2014 – Retired VA physician Dr. Sam Foote tells CNN that the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system maintained a secret list of patient appointments, designed to hide the fact that patients were waiting months to be seen. At least 40 patients died while waiting for appointments, according to Foote, though it is not clear they were all on secret lists.

May 9, 2014 – The scheduling scandal widens as a Cheyenne, Wyoming, VA employee is placed on administrative leave after an email surfaces in which the employee discusses “gaming the system a bit” to manipulate waiting times. The suspension comes a day after a scheduling clerk in San Antonio admitted to “cooking the books” to shorten apparent waiting times. Three days later, two employees in Durham, North Carolina, are placed on leave over similar allegations.

May 20, 2014 – The VA’s Office of the Inspector General announces it is investigating 26 agency facilities for allegations of doctored waiting times.

May 28, 2014 – A preliminary report by the VA’s inspector general indicates at least 1,700 veterans waiting to see a doctor were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a wait list at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix.

May 30, 2014 – VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns.

June 9, 2014 – The Department of Veterans Affairs releases the results of an internal audit of hundreds of Veterans Affairs facilities. It reveals that 63,869 veterans enrolled in the VA health care system in the past 10 years have yet to be seen for an appointment.

June 23, 2014 – In a scathing letter and report sent to the White House, the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) expresses concern that the VA hasn’t adequately addressed whistleblower complaints of wrongdoing. The report also slams the VA’s medical review agency, the Office of the Medical Inspector (OMI), for its refusal to admit that lapses in care have affected veterans’ health.

June 24, 2014 – A report issued by Sen. Tom Coburn’s office finds that more than 1,000 veterans may have died in the last decade because of malpractice or lack of care from VA medical centers.

June 24, 2014 – Pauline DeWenter, a scheduling clerk at the Phoenix VA, tells CNN that records of dead veterans were changed or physically altered, some even in recent weeks, to hide how many people died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA hospital.

July 29, 2014 – The US Senate confirms Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary.

July 31, 2014 – The Senate approves a $16 billion bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs.

August 26, 2014 – The VA office of the Inspector General releases a report on delays at the Phoenix VA health care system. The study looked at more than 3,000 cases and found that dozens of veterans had “clinically significant” delays in care, and six of them died. The report says investigators could not conclusively link their deaths to those delays.

November 10, 2014 – Secretary McDonald announces the VA has taken “disciplinary action” against 5,600 employees in the last year, and more firings will follow. Beyond sacking officials that don’t meet the VA’s values, McDonald says the reforms will include the establishment of a VA-wide customer service office to understand and respond to veteran needs, new partnerships with private organizations and other reorganizations to simplify the department’s structure.

November 13, 2014 – The VA announces it has fired Terry Gerigk Wolf, the director of the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System, for “conduct unbecoming of a senior executive and wasteful spending.” An outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in 2011 and 2012 killed six veterans at the facility.

November 24, 2014 – Sharon Helman, the head of the Phoenix VA, is fired. She was put on administrative leave following a CNN interview in April, in which she denied the existence of a secret list used to cover up delays in patient care.

December 15, 2014 – The VA Inspector General releases a report that indicates a VA fact sheet contained misleading information, overstating the scope of its review of unresolved cases. The VA claims that it reviewed cases dating back to 1999 but it only examined cases dating back to 2007. The inspector general also questions how the VA resolved an issue with delayed appointments. The VA reported that it reduced the number of appointments delayed more than 90 days, from 2 million to 300,000, but did not provide paperwork detailing whether the appointments were canceled or if the patients received treatment, according to the inspector general.

March 10, 2015 – CNN reports that more than 1,600 veterans waited between 60 and 90 days for appointments at facilities operated by the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. About 400 veterans waited six months for an appointment, according to documents provided to CNN. The average wait time, according to documents dated January 15, 2015, was 48 days.

September 2, 2015 – The VA Inspector General releases a review of alleged mismanagement at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center. According to the review, more than 307,000 deceased veterans were listed as enrollees with pending VA applications. The inspector general calculated that about 35% of all pending records were for deceased veterans. CNN reports that many of the deceased veterans may have died while awaiting treatment.

December 2016 – The VA sends letters to 592 people who may have been exposed to HIV, and hepatitis B and C while receiving dental care at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin. Hospital officials report that a dentist at the center, hired in October of 2015, improperly re-used his own dental equipment instead of using the sterilized, disposable tools as VA rules require.

February 13, 2017 – The US Senate confirms David J. Shulkin as the new secretary of Veterans Affairs.

June 23, 2017 – President Trump signs into law the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. It gives department leaders the ability to fire inept employees and protect those who uncover and report wrongdoing.

March 28, 2018 – President Trump announces he will replace Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as physician to the president.

Woman faces $500 fine over free apple from Delta flight

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:40 PM PDT

ARVADA, Colo. -- A Colorado woman said she's facing a $500 fine from U.S. Customs and Border Protection after she stashed a free apple during her flight home from Paris, according to KDVR.

Crystal Tadlock said that flight attendants were passing out apples in plastic bags, and she took one. She wasn't hungry at the time so she threw the snack in her bag and planned to eat it during the second leg of her trip back to Denver.

Tadlock said when she went through customs, her bag was randomly searched.

She said the customs agent pulled out the apple in the plastic bag with Delta's logo on it.

Tadlock said she had just received the snack from the airline and asked if she could throw it out or eat it. She said the agent told her no, and handed her a $500 fine instead.

"He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive and I said, 'Yeah.' I didn't really get why he was asking that question, and then he said 'It's about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500,'" Tadlock said.

Tadlock said she's frustrated that an innocent mistake could amount to a large fine and the loss of her Global Entry Status.

Tadlock said Delta shouldn't have passed out apples to customers or at least reminded passengers not to take the fruit off the plane.

She also said she's frustrated that customs would ticket her when the agent clearly saw the snack came from an airline.

"It's really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit," Tadlock said.

"We encourage our customers to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection protocols," a Delta spokesman said.

"Privacy policy prohibits CBP from discussing the details of any individuals specific inspection, however all agriculture items must be declared," U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

Tadlock can pay the $500 or fight the charge in court. She said she plans to fight the ticket in front of a judge.

Trump ramps up personal cell phone use

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:37 PM PDT

President Donald Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers, multiple sources inside and outside the White House told CNN, as Trump returns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration.

“He uses it a lot more often more recently,” a senior White House official said of the President’s cell phone.

Sources cited Trump’s stepped-up cell phone use as an example of chief of staff John Kelly’s waning influence over who gets access to the President. During the early days of Kelly’s tenure, multiple sources said, Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard — a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. Kelly has less insight into who Trump calls on his personal cell phone.

While Trump never entirely gave up his personal cell phone once Kelly came aboard, one source close to the White House speculated that the President is ramping up the use of his personal device recently in part because “he doesn’t want Kelly to know who he’s talking to.”

The senior White House official said Trump “is talking to all sorts of people on it,” noting Trump’s barrage of private calls is a “recent development.”

‘The walls are breaking’

Three sources familiar with the situation said Trump has also increased his direct outreach to GOP lawmakers over the past several weeks, sometimes employing his cell phone.

“Basically, at this point, he’s just sort of engaging on his own,” observed a source familiar with Trump’s calls to congressional allies.

“Kelly used to be more clearly the gatekeeper than he is now from a Hill standpoint,” that source added, noting members would typically call Kelly’s office if they wanted to set up a talk with Trump rather than dial the President directly.

“I don’t know that he even is running it by the chief of staff anymore,” the staff said.

Some White House allies said they see Trump’s more frequent solicitation of advice outside the West Wing as a sign that Kelly’s status as a gatekeeper for the President has diminished.

“Definitely, the walls are breaking,” one source close to the White House said of the procedures Kelly initially established to regulate access to Trump. Another source close to the White House added that “a lot of meetings, a lot of things have happened lately without Kelly being in the room.”

Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been one notable beneficiary of Kelly’s loosened grip. One source said Lewandowski recently bragged to friends that he now enjoys “unfettered” access to the President — including a recent dinner in the residence with Trump, according to two sources. Upon his arrival last year, Kelly attempted to limit Lewandowski’s access to Trump from the nearly unchecked privileges he enjoyed at the start of the administration, although Kelly’s efforts were never entirely successful. Lewandowski did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump has also made clear that Larry Kudlow, his new economic adviser, and John Bolton, his new national security adviser, are “direct reports” to him and not to Kelly, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Their predecessors, however, reported directly to the chief of staff or at least looped Kelly in after a meeting with the President — a potential sign of Trump’s shift toward controlling more of what goes on in his own White House.

A senior White House official said Kelly’s absence from phone calls and meetings in recent weeks is more a reflection of the balance Trump and his chief of staff have struck since Kelly took the job.

“They’ve grown into some level of comfort,” the official said. “There used to be a level of babysitting, and it wasn’t organized.” The source added Kelly “spent months” fixing the operational process and noted now, Kelly doesn’t need to insert himself into as many issues.

Security questions

Former President Barack Obama was permitted to use a Blackberry during his presidency. However, the White House said at the time that the device given to Obama was outfitted with enhanced security to protect potentially classified talks.

A security expert said the President’s increased cell phone use makes his calls more vulnerable to eavesdropping from foreign governments.

“All communications devices of all senior government officials are targeted by foreign governments. This is not new,” said Bryan Cunningham, executive director of the Cybersecurity Policy and Research Institute at the University of California-Irvine.

“What is new in the cell phone age is the ease of intercepting them and that at least our last two presidents … have chafed at not being able to use their personal cell phones,” Cunningham added. “Of course, calls are only secure if both parties use a secure device.”

Another implication of Trump’s private cell phone use, Cunningham noted, is the possibility that Trump’s conversations may not be “captured for the purposes of government accountability and history.”

12-year-old steals credit card, flies to Bali after fight with mom

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:57 PM PDT

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PERTH, Australia – A 12-year-old Australian boy has pulled off a bold feat that is drawing international headlines: He stole his mom’s credit card and managed to fly to Bali, Indonesia, for a posh, four-day vacation before getting caught, reports 9 News.

As recounted in the Australian program A Current Affair, the boy did some research online and figured out he could fly alone without needing a letter from a parent on Jetstar Airways.

He nabbed his mom’s credit card, tricked his grandmother into giving him his passport, took a train to the airport, and flew to Bali. "They just asked for my student ID and passport to prove that I'm over 12 and that I'm in secondary school,” says the boy, identified only as Drew.

He then checked into a four-star hotel, having made reservations in advance, telling the clerk that his older sister would be joining him soon, per stuff.co.nz. And there he stayed, having a fine time while his panicked mom reported him as missing back home.

It wasn’t until the boy posted a video of himself in the hotel pool that his vacation finally came to an end. “I was shocked and disgusted, there's no emotion to feel what we felt when we found out that he'd left overseas,” says mom, per news.com.au.

One reason she’s ticked: Her son had actually tried this stunt twice before, only to be turned away at the airport by Qantas and Garuda Airlines. Mom says she was informed her son’s passport would be flagged by federal authorities as a result, but that apparently never happened.

In the aftermath, Jetstar promises to tighten up its policies. “He just doesn't like the word no and that's what I got, a kid in Indonesia.” (Closer to home, a city in North Carolina makes the “coolest” places to visit list.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: After Fight With Mom, Kid Gives Himself Bali Getaway

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Heartwarming photo shows officer helping 84-year-old man get to hospital to see wife

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:43 PM PDT

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. - A heartwarming photo shows a police officer helping an 84-year-old man get to the hospital to be with his sick wife.

Roger Baker's wife was rushed to the hospital by herself after suffering a medical emergency. Baker wanted to go, but he didn't have any friends or family in the area, according to WNEP,

That's when Chief Deputy Jason Bentley got the call that Baker needed help getting to the hospital.

"When he got out of my patrol car at the hospital, he held on to the side of the car for about a minute. I didn't realize it was that bad, so I grabbed his hands and started to walk him in," Bentley said.

The beautiful photo was taken by a police department intern and posted on Facebook.

"You can only imagine what's going through someone's mind at that age when they've been together that long, but he didn't seem to be overly upset, like he kind of expected it and was ready and just going to see his wife, (to) see how she's doing because he didn't know how she was doing," Bentley told the station.


NOPD: Man who went on violent crime spree across city Sunday shot 6 people, killed one

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:12 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS — The man police say went on a violent crime spree across New Orleans Sunday afternoon is the same man who shot and killed someone who was driving his car in the 2400 block of Elysian Fields Avenue.

NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said 25-year-old Charles Williams first shot three people in the St. Roch neighborhood after a domestic dispute, then shot another victim on North Derbigny Street during an armed carjacking. The Derbigny Street victim was still in surgery on Monday, Harrison said.

Williams then stole a second car in an armed carjacking in the 1700 block of Desire Street, then returned to the 1900 block of St. Roch Avenue where he had shot the first three people. He fired more shots into the home, wounding an NOPD officer as investigators were processing the scene of the first shooting at that location.

From there, Williams led police on a multi-district chase that ended with Williams struck another car and overturned the stolen vehicle he was driving in the 1000 block of North Carrollton Avenue.

Harrison said Williams has also been linked to the shooting death of a man in the 2400 block of Elysian Fields during another armed carjacking attempt. He is also responsible for two other armed robberies, Harrison said.