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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Sun Country Airlines to start new service between New Orleans and Minneapolis

Posted: 03 May 2018 02:07 AM PDT

New Orleans – Sun Country Airlines says it plans to start flying between New Orleans (MSY) and Minneapolis (MSP) later this year.

The seasonal non-stop flights will be offered between September 6 and December 16. Schedules can be found on the airline’s website.

Sun Country is offering introductory fares for as low as $89 one-way.

The Minnesota-based airline flies to more than 40 destinations across the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.

Mayor-elect Cantrell announces Public Safety appointments

Posted: 03 May 2018 01:49 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS- Mayor-elect announced several key appointments of public safety officials to her administration at a news conference on Wednesday.

This included the reappointment of current NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison and current NOFD Chief Tim McConnell.

Mayor-elect Cantrell also announced that the city’s current Deputy Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Collin Arnold, would be promoted to Director.

He will oversee the planning of the city’s response of hurricanes and other natural disasters as well as maintaining public safety during major events in the city such as Mardi Gras.

Also announced was the appointment of Doctor Emily Nichols to head the city’s EMS Department.

Mayor-elect Cantrell is set to take the oath of office on Monday, May 7th.

She will be the city’s first female mayor.

One dead, one missing after boating accident near Southwest Pass

Posted: 02 May 2018 10:21 PM PDT

New Orleans – The first call for help came from a good Samaritan, at about 8:30 Wednesday morning, May 2.

Two men were on the beach at Southwest Pass:  one had survived a boating accident, the other one had drowned.  And a third man was missing.

According the U.S. Coast Guard,  all three men were on board a 27-foot aluminum recreational boat that apparently  capsized.

In spite of an all-day search, which included the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the third man has not been found.  The Coast Guard suspended the search for the night and Wildlife and Fisheries agents will continue it on Thursday.

Lt. Chaun Domingue, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s office, released the names of the three men.

The survivor is 61-year old Patrick Anderson of Baton Rouge. The man who drowned was 96-year old John Frey of Magnolia, Texas.  And the missing man is  85-year old Rev. Donald Tabb, a Baton Rouge minister.

WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge reports that Tabb is a founding member of Baton Rouge’s Dunham School and The Chapel on Campus, a church at LSU.

According to Lt. Domingue, the boat was “completely submerged,” and although investigators believe it was an accident, Sheriff’s deputies will investigate to “assure foul play was not involved.”


Railroad companies desperate for workers offer hiring bonuses up to $25,000

Posted: 02 May 2018 08:35 PM PDT

FORT WORTH, Texas – BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Corp. are desperate for talented workers and offering bonuses of up to $25,000 to fill jobs in some cases.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the railways are hauling more products across the Western U.S. and are trying to ease congestion in high demand areas. A shortage of space in semi trucks is sending more shipments onto freight trains.

Union Pacific said it was offering hiring incentives of $10,000 to $20,000 for train crews in certain cities like Denver, Kansas City and North Platte, Nebraska. The Journal reports those jobs pay about $40,000 the first year and $60,000 the second.

Electricians were being offered a signing bonus of up to $25,000 at certain Union Pacific locations including Hinkle, Oregon.

BNSF said on Twitter it was offering $10,000 to $15,000 hiring bonuses to mechanical employees who maintain diesel locomotives and rail cars at locations like Alliance, Nebraska.

"We are constantly evaluating the market and will use this approach when it makes sense to recruit talented individuals for hard to fill positions or locations," spokeswoman Amy Casas told WSJ.

Job listings by company: BNSF Railway | Union-Pacific Corp.

Daughter of fallen 9/11 cop follows in father’s footsteps, joins NYC police academy

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:34 PM PDT

NEW YORK CITY - Jillian Suarez was just 9 years old when her father, Officer Ramon Suarez, was killed while rescuing people trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Now, she's one of 270 other police recruits who took the Oath of Honor at the New York City police academy.

Jillian Suarez' father, an NYPD officer, was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now she's following in his footsteps.  (NYPD)

"I chose my career because of him," she said. "I mean, I did it because of him. I wanted to follow in his footsteps."

Suarez talked about how her father influenced her during an interview with her mother on a blog on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website.

Ramon Suarez was last seen that day running back into the North Tower after he and another officer saved a woman who was unable to walk, WPIX reported.

Jillian Suare says her passion for helping others inspired her to follow in her father's footsteps.

"Like mommy said, I'm just like him," she said. "If people need me, I'll drop anything. I don't care what it is."

The induction ceremony to the police academy was last week. She hopes to carry her father's shield after she graduates from the police academy.

Police Officer Ramon Suarez is pictured helping a woman to safety at the World Trade Center. (NYPD)

Aussie kangaroos in bloody quest for fast food

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:33 PM PDT

Perhaps this is revenge for a kangaroo’s tourist-related death at a zoo in China.

Wild kangaroos known to frequent the grounds of a psychiatric hospital near Lake Macquarie on Australia’s east coast have been attacking some of the 3,000 tourists who visit each week, drawing warnings from city officials, reports the BBC.

“While kangaroos are cute, they are also capable of inflicting injury,” says local member of parliament Greg Piper, who describes kangaroos “kicking out, clawing faces and grappling with people, causing lacerations or significant scratching,” per the Guardian.

One man “required 17 stitches in his face,” while another suffered a nasty gash to his stomach, Piper says, though he claims it’s the tourists that are the problem.

Descending on the Morisset area for the free opportunity for a “roo selfie,” they bring snacks ranging from carrots to fast food, and the kangaroos are getting accustomed to those snacks—and aggressive about taking them, Piper says.

“It’s a spot where you’re guaranteed to see kangaroos, so it’s understandable that people come,” he notes.

But little gets in the way of a hungry kangaroo.

“I’ve seen kangaroos lash out thinking the kids [are] going to take their food when they’re just coming to pat them,” a tour bus operator tells the Guardian.

The animals may be suffering, too. Experts warn food other than grass could result in fatal diseases, sugar addiction, stomach ulcers, and other issues related to diet, as well as aggressive behavior, per the Guardian and ABC Australia. Though signs warn that feeding the kangaroos is dangerous, Piper is calling for better signage and education.

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Florida teen says Apple watch saved her life

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:32 PM PDT

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LITHIA, Fla. – A Tampa Bay teenager is thankful for the device on her wrist after suffering a scary medical episode at church.

“I didn’t know what was going on at all and it was just out of the blue,” said Deanna Recktenwald.

A warning appeared notifying the 18-year-old that her resting heart rate hit 190 beats per minute.

“It was alarming that the watch was telling us to seek medical attention,” said Stacey Recktenwald, Deanna’s mother. “I didn’t even know that it had the capability of giving us that alert.”

Stacey Recktenwald is a registered nurse and did not initially question the accuracy of the watch’s reading.

Staff at a walk-in clinic confirmed the teen’s rapid heartbeat.

“I was surprised, it was right on,” Stacey told WFTS.

The Recktenwald’s all agree that the watch saved Deanna’s life.

After rushing her to the emergency room, doctors at Tampa General Hospital soon discovered Deanna suffers from chronic kidney disease.

Both kidneys are only operating at 20% and she will likely require a future transplant.

“Instantly started to pray and thank God for her having that watch,” said Tom Recktenwald, Deanna’s father.

The high-tech Christmas gift came to the rescue, uncovering a serious health problem that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

“Now that we have some answers to why this is happening we can prevent something major from happening down the road,” said Deanna.

Stacey Recktenwald recently wrote Apple to thank the tech giant for its life-saving feature.

CEO Tim Cook responded by thanking the Lithia family for sharing their story.

News With A Twist broadcasts live in Plaquemines Parish

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:32 PM PDT

BELLE CHASSE, La. -- The News With A Twist crew packed up their gear and cameras and hit the road to wow audiences in Plaquemines Parish.

Tamica and LBJ hosted the five and six o'clock Twist shows, a fan favorite for several loyal viewers.

"When it comes on I don't move, I stay in one spot and it's real good," says News With A Twist viewer, Dorothy Tinsy.

"I watch news with a twist when I want to hear something with a twist, see something with a twist, but its' good," says News With A Twist viewer, Leander Taylor.

The Belle Chasse High School band and cheerleaders all had a role to play as well.

Plus, there were several informational booths set up and all-you-can-eat for free.

"I love it, it's great for the kids and everybody came out and have fun," says News With A Twist viewer, Roosevelt Alverez.

But all this fun isn't possible without hours and hours of pre-planning beforehand, making sure each and every twist show on the road goes off without a hitch.

News with a Twist honored with key to Plaquemines Parish

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:17 PM PDT

BELLE CHASSE, La. -- News with a Twist made a trip to Plaquemines Parish Wednesday for back-to-back live shows, and we came home with our very own key to a very special place.

Plaquemines Parish Amos Cormier presented us with a key to the parish as a gift of gratitude for our shows highlighting all things Plaquemines Parish. The pleasure was all ours!

Here are some pics from the fun:

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Group of rare eye cancer cases baffles experts

Posted: 02 May 2018 05:39 PM PDT

A group of patients with a rare type of eye cancer called ocular melanoma has researchers and epidemiologists stumped.

The cancer, which normally occurs in about six in every 1 million individuals, has been identified in more than 50 individuals around two locations: Huntersville, North Carolina, and Auburn, Alabama. At least 38 of these individuals attended Auburn University between 1983 and 2001, according to a Facebook page for the group of patients.

At least four have died of the disease.

Juleigh Green was the first person from the Auburn group to be diagnosed with the condition, in 1999. She had surgery to remove her left eye in 2000 and has not had any recurrences since, she says.

“When I was diagnosed, I kept wanting to talk to someone who had been through this before and had done well,” Green said. “But it seemed like nobody had heard of this or had any connection with anyone who had this, and that’s when I realized how incredibly rare it was.”

Ocular melanoma refers to a malignant tumor that develops from cells called melanocytes that produce the dark-colored pigment melanin, which is present in people’s skin, eyes and hair and the lining of some internal organs, according to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation.

Symptoms vary by person but generally include blurry vision, spots in the visual field and vision loss, according to Dr. Marlana Orloff, an oncologist at Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, who is treating a number of the people in the Alabama group.

“For the primary eye tumors, it will either be incidentally picked up on routine eye exam having no symptoms, or more commonly patients have symptoms of a retinal detachment with flashes and floaters or blurry vision,” Orloff said.

Ocular melanomas are the second most common type of melanoma — after cutaneous, or skin, melanomas — and represent about 5% of all melanoma cases. However, ocular melanomas behave much differently than cutaneous melanomas and are generally considered to be more lethal, according to Orloff.

“Even though people want to lump it in with skin melanoma, we know that it’s a very different disease, and a lot of the treatments for skin melanoma don’t work for eye melanoma. There’s really nothing officially FDA-approved to treat eye melanoma,” Orloff said.

In about 50% of ocular melanoma cases, the cancer spreads, or metastasizes, to the liver. Only about 20% of patients with liver metastases survive longer than a year, according to a 2005 study.

But Allyson Allred, a preschool teacher in Birmingham, has beaten those odds.

“My doctor said only 3% make it as long as I have. Ninety-six percent of the people die once it spreads to their liver, and mine spread to my liver in 2008,” Allred said.

Allred was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2001, at the age of 31, 11 years after she graduated from Auburn. She was the second person in her group of friends to be diagnosed with the condition, she says.

“I was the second one diagnosed from Auburn, and I’m the one who told my doctor in Philadelphia that I had two friends with the same cancer, and that’s when they realized there may be a cluster in Auburn and started researching this,” Allred said.

Allred has undergone two liver resections and is receiving radiation to shrink metastatic tumors that have spread to at least nine places in her body, she said.

“The cancer in my liver is stable, but in December, it went to my adrenal glands, a place near my kidney, a place near my diaphragm and a place next to my thyroid. So I did radiation on all those four spots. And last week, I found out that it had gone to my brain, and began radiation on my brain,” Allred said.

There is no known cure for ocular melanoma, although radiation therapy and surgery can help prolong the length and quality of life, according to Orloff.

“Once they’re diagnosed, the treatment is often radiation,” Orloff said, “or if the tumors are very large or depending on location, enucleation, or removal of the eye,” may be necessary.

The exact cause of ocular melanoma is still unknown. Individuals at highest risk include those with light eye color, those with light skin color and those exposed to high levels of artificial UV radiation. People with certain occupations, such as cooks and metal workers, also appear to have an increased risk, according to a 2001 study.

No common cause has been identified in the current group of cases, Orloff says.

“We are not calling them official clusters. In order to meet the definition of a ‘cluster,’ you need to look at the expected incidence and observed incidence, and for a number of reasons it’s been hard to qualify these as true clusters,” Orloff said.

“But certainly, it’s a unique accumulation of cases,” she added.

The Alabama Department of Public Health indicates it is evaluating the recent increase in cases but says it has not identified a common source.

“We are working closely with Auburn, a survivor we have connected with and Dr. Orloff’s team,” said Justin George, director of cancer epidemiology at the Alabama Department of Public Health. “We are collaborating and working in an advisory role; the survivor who has spoken out is providing us a complete list of all those who have been sickened, and then we will work to verify the incidents and make sure the cases meet the definition of ocular melanoma.”

Auburn said in a statement that it is “working closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health, which is leading the review of area cases of uveal melanoma. Researchers from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and the coordinator of research in North Carolina have also been involved.

“While we have been informed by ADPH officials that it would be premature to determine that a cancer cluster exists in the area, we are cooperating fully with their work. The health and safety of our students, employees and alumni are of the utmost importance.”

Allred believes the group of cases among former Auburn students is no coincidence. She and at least two other patients lived in neighboring sororities and were all education majors, she said.

Green and another patient “were in the same sorority, and my sorority dorm was right next to theirs. And we were all education majors,” Allred said.

“We need the funding for the research to figure out what possibly could be the environmental cause. … There must be some link, and if we can find that link, we’re that much closer to finding a cure and preventing people from continuing to get this,” she added.

Three of the physicians treating the Alabama cases have also organized a task force to help raise awareness and funding for research into the causes and treatments of ocular melanoma, according to Allred.

“Auburn has so far not contributed money, so we’re going to go back and try to get some other options to get our funding,” she said.

“But we’ve had lots of people praying for us, and I believe in the power of prayer,” Allred added. “I have a strong faith that the Lord is my healer, and we have many hundreds of thousands of people praying who have gotten us through this.”

Teacher working third job at grocery store brought to tears by stranger’s kind gesture

Posted: 02 May 2018 05:25 PM PDT

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - A Colorado teacher busy working her third job was brought to tears by the kindness of a stranger.

Amanda Garner works as a cashier at a Lakewood grocery store two days a week trying to make ends meet. She's also a full-time elementary school teacher.

Garner said she spent the first half of the day last week rallying at the state Capitol for better pay for educators.

Later that day she began her third job as a cashier and was pleasantly surprised by an interaction with a man who was also rallying that day.

"A six-year teacher with a master's degree, I'm working in a checkout line in a grocery store and that's frustrating," Garner told KDVR.

She works at the store two days a week and tutors after school three days a week.

"I knew that I would never get rich in this profession, and I never really wanted to. But I didn't realize here in Colorado, with an economy that is what it is, that it would be so hard," Garner said.

She said student loans, rent, and car payments make up 74 percent of her take-home pay. Bills make up about 11 percent and she estimates only 15 percent is left for essentials such as food and gas.

But she said her job is rewarding to her.

"Every day I walk into the classroom and I have 24 faces of kids who look at me and what I can give them is what can set them up for success for the rest of their lives and that's a pretty awesome feeling," Garner said.

An awesome feeling one of her grocery store customers understood. He had been rallying at the Capitol that day alongside his wife who is a teacher.

"He just expressed a lot of gratitude and appreciation for what it takes to be a teacher," Garner said.

He shook her hand and thanked her, then about an hour later he came back to buy some cookies.

She said he presented her with an envelope. Inside was $100 cash. Touched by the generous gesture, Garner said she cried tears of joy.

"He didn't have to do that. He didn't have to say anything. But the kindness that he showed not only from the conversation but for him to come back, made all the difference in the world," Garner said.

Garner said the $100 will cover a week's worth of groceries.

Our Travel Girl finds the best place to watch the sunset in Plaquemines Parish

Posted: 02 May 2018 05:15 PM PDT

Buras, La. - The headquarters for Blaize Charters is a fishing lodge built in 1928 - but it's not your typical fishing camp! It's a cheerful green historic home sitting on a friendly corner in Buras, Louisiana. Four generations of the Blaize family have made memories here, and the house has survived several major hurricanes; now it's home base for some of the most exciting adventures possible in South Louisiana.

"We needed a place for people to stay and we wanted something nice and comfortable, Cajun-style," says Captain Jacques Blaize. He and his cousin, Patrick Dickinson, are partners in creating incredible memories for guests from around the world.

"We offer in-shore fishing, off-shore fishing, duck hunting, airboat tours," says Jacques. Basically if  you're looking for an adventure on the water in Plaquemines Parish, Blaize Charters can make it happen: bachelor parties and family celebrations are popular.

The lodge has 3 bedrooms, with 4 beds in each one, so it can sleep up to 24. Prizes from past hunting and fishing trips decorate the walls: deer, fish and ducks. When the WGNO crew was there, a family from the Atlanta, Georgia area checked in to celebrate a 40th birthday with a fishing trip.

One delicious perk: The lodge comes with a full-time chef, who cooks a fabulous redfish!

Our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, opted for an airboat eco-tour; it was her first time riding on an airboat. Captain Jacques explained the safety rules and gave her a life-jacket and ear protection.

In some places the water was only a few inches deep.

"There's Teflon on the bottom of it and it allows it to slide over any surface without damaging the hull," explained Jacques.

"It feels like we're riding on a high-speed magic carpet!" says Stephanie, who loved the adrenaline rush of flying across the marsh in a boat powered by a giant truck motor.

The boat powered across the bay, powered by a 454 Big Block Chevy engine, as the riders watched nutria scamper into the reeds, red-winged blackbirds and flocks of pelicans take flight, and shrimp and mullet jump from the water.

After a high-energy thrill ride, they found a peaceful place to watch the sunset into the Gulf of Mexico. As the orange orb melted into the horizon, Jacques told Stephanie, "This is why they call Plaquemines Parish 'God's Country."

If you have an appetite for adventure, and some incredible fresh seafood, put this place on your 'to visit' list, and give Captain Jacques of Blaize Charters a call.

Las Vegas police release bodycam footage from killer’s hotel suite

Posted: 02 May 2018 05:08 PM PDT

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Las Vegas police on Wednesday released body camera footage from officers who entered gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel suite immediately following October’s mass shooting.

Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured almost 500 when he opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Paddock’s motive is not yet known and may never be known. Officers who entered his hotel room found him dead.

According to the four-minute video posted on the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s website, the footage showed the moments before officers breached the room. It captured their caution entering the suite, and their efforts to sweep the premises.

Officers are seen in their tactical gear as a voice on the radio says: “Breach. Breach. Breach.” Then, a loud blast is heard.

Police move forward, then wait in a doorway as the hotel’s alarm goes off.

“There’s a 413 on the ground,” an officer said, giving the police code for a person with a gun.

Officers approach Paddock’s door, which was blocked by a room service cart. “Looks like it might be a camera of some sort,” one officer said.

Officers note there are also multiple cameras, according to the footage.

More officers rush past. “Hold on, hold on,” another officer said.

As officers enter the suite, they notice more cameras pointing down the hallway, and that the rooms are connected.

Officers clear the suite room by room, searching under the bed and in closets with dogs.

911 call audio will also be released.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said video footage, 911 call audio and documents relating to the October 1 massacre would be released on a rolling basis starting with the body camera footage from two officers.

“I don’t know how this footage will be played in the media, but I want to warn you, if you are a survivor or a family who lost a loved one, you should know the video from this concert is disturbing and graphic,” he said.

Lombardo said he expected the materials would be released weekly but would not say if the information would be posted on a website or emailed to media.

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo gives out details on the mass shooting in on the Las Vegas Strip.

Court ordered release of footage

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Friday that police had to release the bodycam footage and 911 call audio from the shooting.

Police had appealed an earlier ruling that the material be released, following requests by media, including CNN.

Lombardo denied that police were trying to be uncooperative. In a press briefing Tuesday, he cited cost, allocation of resources and potential further victimization of those affected by the shooting as reasons for delaying the release of footage, recordings and documents.

For example, the department had to reassign detectives from their “primary responsibility” to go over the reports and footage before they were made public, and some personnel would have to endure reliving the shooting, he said.

“I want the community to know the release of the videos, 911 and documents will have a significant impact on the victims of this tragedy. We believe the release of the graphic footage will further traumatize a wounded community,” he said. “And for that, we apologize.”

Lombardo said no employees will be made available for interviews, but said a final comprehensive report on the shooting will come.

Criticism of police

Police were criticized about their response when a timeline suggested there had been a six-minute delay between Paddock shooting a security guard and the gunman opening fire on the crowds below his hotel suite.

The timeline raised questions about why police didn’t arrive on the scene sooner.

“In the public space, the word ‘incompetence’ has been brought forward. And I am absolutely offended with that characterization,” Lombardo said on October 13.

He said that during the six-minute gap, the security guard had been trying to access Paddock’s room — and that he had been shot around the same time the gunman started firing on concertgoers.

“So there is no conspiracy between the FBI, between the (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) and MGM (the hotel owner). Nobody is attempting to hide anything in reference to this investigation,” Lombardo said at the time.

“The dynamics and the size of this investigation requires us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture.”

Travel Girl Adventure in Plaquemines Parish: Fishing with a Twist!

Posted: 02 May 2018 02:06 PM PDT

VENICE, LA. - Captain Brian Sherman has an office that can't be beat: More often than not, you'll find him on the water, with a fishing pole in his hand and a kayak paddle by his side.

He started his company, "Kayak Venice" as a side business to make some extra money, but in just a few years it has evolved into a full-time job for him and his son. In 2017, they guided more than 200 trips.

On one recent blue-sky morning, he brought WGNO's Travel  Girl, Stephanie Oswald, out on the water to show her the basics of fishing from a kayak. The goal was to catch a giant bull-redfish, and go for a "Cajun Sleigh Ride," when the fish drags you faster than you can paddle!

With gulls calling and mullet jumping, a motor boat carried Captain Brian, some fisherman, a TV crew and a couple of kayaks about two miles into Yellow Cotton Bay, where Brian and Stephanie were soon casting from kayaks.

"Kayak fishing's made me so much better of a fisherman. It's incredible the things you see and the things you learn being in the kayak, because it's so quiet," says Brian.

In just an hour, the kayakers (Captain Brian and Travel Girl Stephanie) had landed nearly a dozen big trout, while the fishermen on the boat had caught nothing.

Is Brian a fisherman who kayaks or a kayaker who fishes?

"I'd have to say I'm a kayaker who fishes," he says. "I love being out here. I love fishing and I love paddling."

On average, he covers about six miles over six hours. And it's taken time to learn how to keep the fish in the kayak: When he first started kayak fishing, Brian says he lost so many trout that his son made a funny video about it.

Stephanie eventually caught the only redfish of the day, and it was a beauty!

"It was a good fight, but I won," says Travel Girl Stephanie. (Follow her on instagram @stephanieoswaldwgno or on Twitter @TravelgirlSteph)

Aside from the joy of being so close to the water, the advantage of fishing from a kayak is that you can get into all the places the big boats can't; you can explore the nooks and crannies of the bay.

But that can have a frightful side too: One wildlife sighting that gave our Travel Girl a scare was a 4-foot water moccasin, just inches from her kayak! Captain Brian says it was the largest one he'd ever seen.

You can bring your own kayak, or rent one from Kayak Venice -- and there are several adventure options, including "Mother Ship Charters," that include kayak rental, boat transportation, gear, drinks and lunch for 1-4 persons.

It's a wonderful way to spend a day on the bay, and catch dinner while you're at it!

What Nixon and Clinton’s Supreme Court cases mean for Trump’s options on executive privilege

Posted: 02 May 2018 01:19 PM PDT

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If President Donald Trump tries to elude an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller by exerting a claim of executive privilege, then he could face an arduous battle in the courts.

In the 1974 case of US v. Nixon, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected executive privilege in a ruling that triggered the culmination of the Watergate scandal. The high court concluded that “the fundamental demands of due process of law” as well as the “specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial” overrode the President’s assertion that he had a constitutional right to keep communications private.

That case involved a subpoena for the President’s Oval Office tapes, not for a personal interview. In separate possible blueprints for a president seeking to evade court-related proceedings, President Bill Clinton in the 1990s was subjected to a civil lawsuit and, separately, served with a subpoena to testify (the subpoena was withdrawn when Clinton agreed to testify voluntarily).

Mueller, who is investigating any Trump campaign connection to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, apparently is close to seeking an interview with Trump. Mueller has reportedly raised the possibility of subpoenaing Trump.

Since taking control of the Russia probe last May, Mueller has charged several people, including 13 Russians for their use of social media during the campaign, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the counsel’s office; Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the various charges that include conspiracy and money laundering.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the investigation and more recently derided reports about the possible questions Mueller might ask. He wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter, “There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap).”

Trump’s evolving legal team has sent conflicting signals about whether the President would accept or try to resist an interview with Mueller’s team.

Although it is not a regular occurrence, presidents for centuries have sought to resist turning over materials to courts. In an 1807 case the Supreme Court cited when it ruled against Nixon and Clinton, President Thomas Jefferson tried to withhold personal documents from the treason trial of his former Vice President Aaron Burr.

The modern touchstone for “executive privilege,” as the claim is now known, is US v. Nixon. The privilege arises from the separation of powers among the three branches and the principle that executive communications, such as military and diplomatic secrets, should remain confidential.

That 1974 constitutional showdown began after a grand jury indicted seven aides and advisers to President Richard Nixon for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and other offenses related to the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in 1972. The grand jury named Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator.

The Watergate special prosecutor obtained a subpoena that directed Nixon to turn over tape recordings and documents relating to conversations with aides. Nixon refused, citing a broad claim of privilege to keep communications private, and the case quickly escalated to the Supreme Court, which heard the dispute on an expedited schedule in July 1974.

In the unanimous ruling written by Chief Justice Warren Burger, the court acknowledged the President’s need to keep communications confidential but said it was eclipsed by the interests of the judicial process.

“Without access to specific facts,” Burger wrote, “a criminal prosecution may be totally frustrated. The president’s broad interest in confidentiality of communications will not be vitiated by disclosure of a limited number of conversations preliminarily shown to have some bearing on the pending criminal cases.”

The July 24 decision forced Nixon to relinquish the incriminating tapes, and he resigned from the presidency on August 9, 1974.

The other major case concerning a President who tried to avoid being pulled into a judicial process is the 1997 case of Clinton v. Jones. In that dispute, the Supreme Court ruled Clinton could not invoke presidential immunity to postpone a civil lawsuit by Paula Jones, who said he had sexually harassed her when he was governor of Arkansas.

As they argued for immunity, Clinton’s lawyers said the President’s involvement in the civil case would distract from executive branch business. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled for Jones, citing US v. Nixon and other cases. The court said that it did not expect Clinton’s involvement in the case to be distracting and noted the overall principle that presidents can be subject to judicial proceedings when appropriate.

The following year independent counsel Kenneth Starr obtained a subpoena to compel Clinton’s testimony in a separate matter involving Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern with whom Clinton had had a relationship.

When Clinton agreed to the interview, Starr withdrew the subpoena.

Black men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks reach agreements

Posted: 02 May 2018 01:17 PM PDT

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Two African-American men whose arrest at a Philadelphia Starbucks sparked protests over racial bias have reached agreements with the coffee store chain and the city, and have pledged to support a $200,000 effort to encourage young entrepreneurs.

The details of the financial agreement that Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson reached this week with Starbucks are confidential, the company said. The parties agreed to work to “develop specific actions and opportunities.”

The two men will give input to former US Attorney Eric Holder, who is working with Starbucks on its diversity efforts.

Robinson and Nelson also reached an agreement with the city for $1 each, said city spokesman Mike Dunn.

The men will work with the city and a nonprofit organization to develop criteria, review applications and award the $200,000 grant, Dunn said. The grant will establish “a pilot curriculum for public high school students to develop the skills necessary to pursue their dream of being entrepreneurs,” according to Dunn.

The men had initially asked to use the bathroom at the Starbucks on April 12 as they waited for a business meeting, but were told it was for paying customers only. They then occupied a table without making a purchase, which many observers have noted is a common occurrence at the franchise’s locations.

Within minutes of them arriving, a manager called police after the men declined to leave the premises because, they said, they were waiting for their acquaintance. The video of the arrests went viral.

The men were not charged with a crime.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the arrests, calling them “reprehensible.”

Starbucks, as part of the agreement, is giving the men the opportunity to complete their undergraduate degrees, through a partnership with Arizona State University.

The protests reignited a national conversation over racial profiling. The mammoth coffee chain agreed to close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States to educate employees about racial bias on May 29.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross apologized to the men, saying he made the decision worse by initially defending his officers’ actions.

In a statement Wednesday, Johnson said thank the men for “their willingness to reconcile.”

“I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be,” Johnson said.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he was pleased to resolve the potential claims against the city.

“This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our City, pain that would’ve resurfaced over and over again in protracted litigation, which presents significant legal risks and high financial and emotional costs for everyone involved,” Kenney said in a statement.

Giuliani outlines conditions of a potential Trump-Mueller interview

Posted: 02 May 2018 01:14 PM PDT

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Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to President Donald Trump’s legal team, sketched out a set of terms on Wednesday for a potential interview between Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller in an interview with The Washington Post.

Giuliani told The Post that if the President participates in an interview with Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, it would need to be no longer than “two to three hours” of questioning based on “a narrow set of questions.”

The comments follow heightened speculation over whether the President will sit for an interview as part of the special counsel investigation, which is also looking into any possible links or coordination between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government. Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt” and said there was no collusion.

A series of potential interview questions for Trump was leaked to The New York Times earlier this week. Several of the questions relate to the possibility of obstruction of justice. CNN had previously reported that the questions Mueller is seeking to ask fall into four main categories and include queries about the firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Giuliani’s comments to the Post suggest that Trump’s legal team hopes to limit the scope of the questions and the duration as conditions of the potential interview.

“Some people have talked about a possible 12-hour interview,” Giuliani told the Post. “That’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you that. It’d be, max, two to three hours around a narrow set of questions.”

CNN has reported that Trump’s legal team is preparing for a showdown with the special counsel — and bracing for the possibility that Mueller might subpoena the President if he declines to cooperate with an interview.

The President has lashed out against the Mueller probe in recent days and suggested that any questions he might face about obstruction of justice would be a trap.

“There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap),” Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday. “What there is is Negotiations going on with North Korea over Nuclear War, Negotiations going on with China over Trade Deficits, Negotiations on NAFTA, and much more. Witch Hunt!”

Adding further uncertainty is the fact that the President’s legal team is in the midst of a shake-up.

The administration said on Wednesday that White House lawyer Ty Cobb is stepping down.

“I’ve done what I came to do in terms of managing the White House response to the special counsel requests,” Cobb told CNN on Wednesday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that Emmet Flood, a lawyer who represented then-President Bill Clinton when he faced impeachment proceedings in the 1990s, “will be joining the White House staff to represent the President and the administration” in the Russia investigation, which she referred to as a “witch hunt.”

Cambridge Analytica announces closure

Posted: 02 May 2018 01:12 PM PDT

Cambridge Analytica, the embattled data firm that worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, announced it is shutting down operations.

“The Company is immediately ceasing all operations,” it said in a statement Wednesday, announcing bankruptcy proceedings would soon begin.

The company has come under fire over allegations it misused the personal Facebook data of millions.

The company has likewise struggled with the fallout of undercover recordings by Channel 4 News in the UK that showed executives at the firm discussing Cambridge Analytica’s efforts on behalf of the Trump campaign and the lengths to which they said they would be willing to go for prospective clients, including then-CEO Alexander Nix suggesting they would “send some girls around” in order to obtain compromising material on a hypothetical candidate.

Cambridge Analytica said in a statement in March it was suspending Nix and has denied it misused Facebook data for the Trump campaign.

In its statement on Wednesday, the company stood by its actions, saying it maintains “unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully,” but that “the siege of media coverage” had driven away its customers and suppliers.

“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the Company into administration,” the statement read.

Controversy around Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of Facebook data raised a host of new questions about the social media giant’s role in the public discourse and elections, and helped prompt renewed scrutiny in Washington, where last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before committees in both houses of Congress.

A brief history lesson: All you need to know about Woodland Plantation

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:49 PM PDT

PORT SULPHUR, La. -- Nestled in the heart of Plaquemines Parish, just off LA-23, is Woodland Plantation.

"Woodland Plantation was built back in 1834 by William Johnson and it was a sugarcane plantation. The Johnson's owned it until 1893 or so when they sold it to the Wilkinson's," says Woodland Plantation innkeeper Foster Creppel.

And the Wilkinsons owned the property until 1997, when Foster and his parents bought it at auction. That's a very brief history, but there are tidbits about this beautiful place that aren't to be missed.

Did you know the famous pirate Jean Lafitte was a frequent visitor?

"Jean Lafitte would commandeer people's boats offshore, steal slaves back in the day and bring them to Woodland Plantation," says Creppel.

And from there, Captain William Johnson, the plantation's first owner, and one of America's premier river pilots, would trade slaves up and down the river. But in the interim, slaves would stay in a cabin on the property, a piece of history that still exists to this day.

There's also the overseers house, the place where the plantation manger once lived, and the big house that fans of the whiskey-flavored liqueur Southern Comfort, should recognize.

"After prohibition they put it on the label in 1934 and was on the label until 2009," says Creppel.

That's right, Woodland Plantation was depicted on the Southern Comfort label for 75 years, along with the home's sprawling acreage, a horse drawn carriage and a steamboat, chugging along the mighty Mississippi.

Today, the plantation serves as a country inn and restaurant, inviting travelers from both near and far to enjoy this extensive property, even its wildlife.

After sneaking into 24-hour gym, man steals car keys from storage bin

Posted: 02 May 2018 12:34 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD is looking for a man who snuck into a 24-hour gym, stole car keys from a storage bin, and made off with a vehicle from the parking lot.

The theft occurred just after 4 p.m. on April 11 at an Anytime Fitness location in the 4500 block of Freret Street.

The man waited outside the front door of the gym for someone to leave, and then caught the door before it closed, according to the NOPD.

After making it inside the building, the thief made his way over to bins the gym's patrons use to store their belongings while working out.

The man grabbed a set of keys and headed out to the parking lot, where he unlocked a 2010 Mazda Tribute with a Texas license plate DP-1J772 and drove off.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or the identity of the wanted subject is asked to contact Second District detectives at (504) 658-6020.