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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana


Stolen credit card spending spree could be part of bigger crime ring

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 08:01 PM PDT

METAIRIE, LA -- A pair of suspects who are accused of going on a spending spree with stolen credit cards may be part of a multi-state crime ring.  The case is the latest one to roll on the Wheel of Justice.

The pair is accused of running up more than $4,100 in fraudulent purchases on the North Shore.  Mandeville police say the pair targeted a Game Stop and a Best Buy store.  The Saint Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office is handling the Best Buy case.

Jefferson Parish deputies say the pair targeted more businesses on their side of the lake.  All of the fraudulent purchases happened on June 14.  Mandeville police and STPSO deputies released surveillance photos of the suspects.

According to police, the pair may be part of a larger crime ring and they have already left the state.  Jefferson Parish deputies say some of the stolen credit cards that were used to make the fraudulent purchases belonged to a non-profit group that helps people with ALS.

To see the latest Wheel of Justice report, click on the video button at the top of this page.

If you can help detectives identify or arrest the suspects, call CrimeStoppers.  You don't have to reveal your name or testify in court, and you could be eligible to earn a cash reward.

So far, more than 400 people have been booked after their cases rolled on the Wheel of Justice.

404 people have been booked after their cases rolled on the Wheel of Justice

 

 

McDonald’s manager says woman attacked him with stun gun over drive-thru wait

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 07:18 PM PDT

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — A Tennessee woman is accused of using a stun gun on a McDonald's manager and trying to drag him out of the restaurant's drive-thru window Sunday.

Brownsville police have arrested Marquenta Glidwell in the caught-on-video altercation; she faces a charge of aggravated assault.

The 19-year-old employee, Jacob Jordan, told WREG the attack left him with both physical and emotional scars.

"She grabs me by my hair, pulls me out of the window," Jacob Jordan said. "That's when she has the taser, trying to go for my throat, punching me in my face, punching me in my eyes. Just beating me."

Jordan, an overnight manager, said two customers were upset about how long it took to fill their order. Jordan said they wouldn't stop blowing their car horn.

"I said, 'Hey, I'm the manager, and you're disrespecting me and the customers behind you by laying on the horn. We can refuse to serve you because you're being disruptive,'" Jordan said.

Jordan said that's when Marquenta Glidwell got out of the car and approached the drive-thru window.

He said Glidwell hit him with her credit card and used a stun gun, leaving a nasty looking mark on his neck.

"At first we thought it was just scratch marks from her fingers until you look at the video, and you can clearly see her trying to jam the taser into my throat," Jordan said.

He said the whole time, she was threatening to kill him.

"Saying that because I voted for Trump I deserved this," Jordan said. "I wasn't even old enough to vote when he ran."

Jacob, who said he's gay, was shocked to hear the woman call him several insulting things.

"Honestly, I believe she was just trying to hurt me emotionally and physically," he said. "It was really hurtful."

Glidwell was arrested by Brownsville Police a short time after the alleged assault.

Jacob's mother would like to see more serious charges.

"She needs to be charged with a hate crime because she hated my son for the color of his skin and his sexuality," mother Jessica Garland said. "That's hate, and that's a hate crime to me."

Jacob said he'll return to work at McDonald's because he needs the job so he can go to college. But he knows working the drive-thru will never be quite the same again.

Glidwell is in jail on a $10,000 bond. Her next court appearance is July 30.

Lightning strike causes Harvey house fire

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 04:01 PM PDT

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HARVEY, LA – The lead investigator in a Harvey house fire is blaming lightning for the blaze.

Around 3:15 P.M. on Monday, units with the Harvey Volunteer Fire Company #2 responded to a report of a structure fire at 1621 Esther Street.

Upon arrival, firefighters noticed flames and smoke coming from the roof, causing them to call a second alarm.

It took approximately twenty minutes to get the blaze under control.

The blaze displaced a family of five, and two dogs had to be rescued from the structure.

Preliminary investigation showed the cause as a possible lighting strike from a storm that moved trough Harvey this evening.

No injuries were reported.

It’s so hot that mussels are cooking in their shells and highways are buckling

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:51 PM PDT

Mussels are frying to death along the shores of northern California.

Jackie Sones, a research coordinator at Bodega Marine Reserve, has worked a Bodega Bay for 15 years and never she seen a sight like this before.

“When I was approaching the field site, I could see right away that hundreds of mussels were dead,” Sones told CNN on Monday.

As she conducted more surveys, she discovered it was not just hundreds of mussels, but tens of thousands mussels dead along the shore.

Sones has seen similar cases before where small patches of mussels die off due to heat, but she has never witnessed something this extensive.

When mussels are alive and healthy, their shells remain pressed together. When a mussel dies, those shells open up, exposing the internal tissue or an empty shell.

California experienced a record breaking heat wave in June, with temperatures in the north end of the state reaching triple digits.

On June 10 and 11, the high in Santa Rosa — 20 miles from Bodega Bay — was 100 degrees. The state issued a Flex Alert that day calling for voluntary electricity conservation.

Alerts like these are only issued when outages are plaguing the electricity grid or temperatures are continuously high, according to the California Independent Systems Operator Corporation.

Sones said mussels start to struggle physically when temperatures reach 90 degrees. In the case of these mussels, she believes they could have experienced temperatures closer to 100 degrees.

Roads are cracking in South Dakota

In South Dakota, concrete roads buckled due to high temperatures over the weekend. The high in Vermillion, South Dakota, reached 94 degrees. That number rises even higher when humidity is factored in, bringing it up to a 107-degree heat index.

The state’s highway patrol warned drivers of two cases of cracking concrete along Interstate 29.

Excessive heat causes the concrete to expand. If the heat is too high, the concrete expands too much, creating the buckle. This buckling typically occurs at weak points in the concrete when the expansions push concrete against the joints and slabs where it is laid, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

The roads were out of commission for five hours while crews repaired the buckle, according to the highway patrol.

‘Kindergarten Cop’ actor and local son Richard Tyson back in jail in Mobile

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:48 PM PDT

Click here for updates on this story

 MOBILE, AL (WALA) — Actor Richard Tyson, a Mobile native known for his roles in such films as “Kindergarten Cop,” is back in Mobile County Metro Jail Monday — this time on a burglary charge.

Tyson, 63, was arrested in Mobile last month on charges of public intoxication and harassment or harassing communications.

This time, the actor was booked into Metro Jail late Monday morning on a charge of third-degree burglary involving a dwelling, according to jail records.

Among Tyson’s best-known roles was his turn starring opposite Arnold Scharzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop.” Other roles have included parts in movies such as “Three O’Clock High,” “Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene” and “There’s Something About Mary,” as well as the TV series “Hardball.”

The actor is the brother of former Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr. and the former spouse of actor and singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson’s daughter Tracy.

Essence 25- Why it all started

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:47 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS-- 25 years of anything is notable, but ironically the Essence Festival, which turns this yeas was conceived as a celebration of 25 years of Essence Magazine.

Co-founder Ed Lewis told us, back in 2014, that while the magazine's founders were all men, women told the story on the pages of Essence.

According to Lewis, " It was a bold and bodacious idea back in 1968 to even think about wanting to start a magazine for black women. One of the things we clearly knew that we were men, black men, but black women the role that our editors-in-chiefs have played in putting the editorial product together, we relied on black women to do that."

From the beginning of the festival, New Orlenians have played an important role in forming the fest from Quint Davis and Festival Productions running the first 15 years to artist Douglass Redd even designing the first logo.

The Empowerment Experience at the convention center added more of a purpose to the celebration and Community Book Center's Vera Warren-Williams started the Book Emporium.

Warren-Williams said, "I saw an opportunity, as a book seller, to engage the authors with the readers and give the readers to just have their books signed, and to kick it with their favorite authors, and the opportunity to promote literacy at a festival dubbed a party with a purpose"

That party with a purpose includes a weekend of fun for most and an experience like no other as famously portrayed in the move 'Girls Trip', that starring our city in a pivotal role.

Cori Murray, Essence Entertainment Director said, "When you think back to our founders Ed Lewis and what Susan Taylor really wanted, bring about having a festival to celebrate the magazine, they didn't want this to be a transactional relationship. We didn't just want to come to New Orleans and leave. So I think for us the pillars are community culture and commerce"

Our Essence 25 series on WGNO-TV is brought to you by Rouses Markets.

Exclusive: Democrats investigating whistleblower claims Pompeo’s security picked up Chinese food and his dog

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:44 PM PDT

Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family’s use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security — prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as “UberEats with guns”.

Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.

In April, for example, an agent was asked to pick up Chinese food—without Pompeo in the car. The whistleblower said this led agents to complain that they are now serving as “UberEats with guns,” which has created a buzz within the department, according to multiple Democratic congressional aides who cited the whistleblower.

On another occasion, the whistleblower told aides, a Diplomatic Security special agent was given the job of picking up the Pompeo family dog from a groomer.

And CNN has seen a document given to the committee aides by the whistleblower showing that in January, Diplomatic Security was asked by a person in Pompeo’s office to pick up his adult son from Union Station in Washington and bring him to the family home.

Lon Fairchild, the special agent in Charge of the Diplomatic Security Service, did not deny that the specific trips, such as the dog or the takeout food, were carried out by agents, but said in a statement, “I was head of Secretary Pompeo’s security detail since his first day on the job. At no point during my service did he or any member of his family ask me or any member of my team to act in any way that would be inconsistent with our professional obligation to protect the Secretary 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.”

A former senior Diplomatic Security official told CNN such tasks would not be appropriate—especially without the Secretary himself in the car at the time—unless some specific threat was identified that necessitated those trips. For example, they said when former Secretary of State Warren Christopher started in the job, he had hoped his agents would go get groceries for him, but had to be told that that’s not what they do.

The Diplomatic Security Service is the law enforcement and security arm of the State Department tasked with protecting US diplomacy and diplomats worldwide and securing the integrity of US travel documents.

While protecting the security of the secretary of state is an important task for the service, there are concerns that agents may have been asked to carry out inappropriate tasks while assigned to Pompeo.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, a federal employee “shall not encourage, direct, coerce, or request a subordinate to use official time to perform activities other than those required in the performance of official duties or authorized in accordance with law or regulation.”

It is unclear if Pompeo requested the allegedly improper arrangements or whether they were made by someone on his staff without his knowledge.

But the whistleblower said there is a culture within Diplomatic Security to try and please the secretary and avoid upsetting him.

Former government ethics czar Walter Shaub told CNN “sending subordinates to run personal errands for you is the very definition of misuse of position.”

Concerns about Susan Pompeo’s security arrangements

Those personal-seeming tasks might be eye-catching, but congressional investigators say the State Department whistleblower told them the bigger issue causing concern among some agents is the question of why Pompeo’s wife, Susan, has her own security detail, assigned to her in 2018, even while she is at home in the United States.

“There is a lot of confusion among agents over this, over why this is justified,” one aide told CNN. “Because according to this source they have seen nothing to indicate it is justified. In fact just the opposite. It’s their understanding there was no finding of a high-enough level threat to merit this detail.” The whistleblower told these investigators that multiple special agents and supervisors within Diplomatic Security understood that a formal threat assessment had not been carried out, under longtime standard operating procedure, and that there is no specific threat against Susan Pompeo.

Furthermore, the whistleblower told aides that shortly after Susan Pompeo received her personal security detail, in July 2018, agents were verbally told not to use her callsign—which is “Shocker”—over the radios or publicly. The reason, according to one aide, citing the whistleblower, was that “they knew it wasn’t kosher.”

CNN has viewed an email from within the State Department confirming that she has an agent assigned to her, along with her callsign. The assistant secretary overseeing Diplomatic Security, Michael Evanoff, was included in the correspondence. The subject line says “Shocker Detail.”

The former senior Diplomatic Security official who asked not to be identified said that such a full-time detail for a spouse is unusual and would only be assigned once a formal process was followed, assessing the need for such security. They said that the risk investigation would be performed by Diplomatic Security’s Protective Intelligence and Investigations Division, in the Office of Threat and Intelligence Analysis. The former official told CNN this protocol has existed within Diplomatic Security for decades. And that in this person’s lengthy tenure at Diplomatic Security, no spouse was ever given a security detail for more than a short, specific period of time.

One congressional aide told CNN that under the current administration, “We have a lot of concerns over how things are being conducted within Diplomatic Security. There is a lack of transparency.”

A State Department spokesperson insisted that a threat assessment for Susan Pompeo was carried out by the Protective Intelligence and Investigations Division, but would not tell CNN when that happened.

“The provision of a protective detail to Mrs. Pompeo is expressly authorized by federal law. In this case, Diplomatic Security determined that the threat warranted the provision of such a protective detail to Mrs. Pompeo and began providing it as of July 28, 2018.”

In a statement, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Michael Evanoff said, “The Diplomatic Security Service has been protecting the spouse of the Secretary of State since the 1970s as the security threat dictates. We are a federal law enforcement agency, and this is an integral part of our core mission. Today the security threats against Secretary Pompeo and his family are unfortunately very real. The Diplomatic Security Service is proud to protect the Pompeo family from those who would harm the Secretary of State and the United States.”

Concerns about how Trump admin officials have used government resources

These questions about Pompeo are the latest in a slew of ethics allegations surrounding Trump administration Cabinet secretaries and their use of government resources.

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt left his position after a series of ethical questions about his security team; the former head of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, resigned after a scandal over his use of private planes; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was assailed for extravagant taxpayer-funded furniture purchases. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stepped down amid probes of his real estate dealings and conduct in office. And Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin left that job under an ethics cloud after a damning inspector general report criticized him for improperly accepting gifts and misrepresenting travel plans.

The aides said another whistleblower has come forward, who worked on the State Department’s executive seventh floor where the secretary of state and top aides are based—telling them that employees there have been told not to put information concerning Susan Pompeo into official emails, so that it would not be preserved in required recordkeeping.

The role Susan Pompeo has played within the State Department and when the secretary travels is another area of concern to congressional aides, Diplomatic Security officers and multiple sources within the State Department and the CIA, which Pompeo previously led.

Several sources told CNN when Susan Pompeo accompanies the secretary on certain trips she has not only had a dedicated special agent to tend to her, but also a State Department staffer.

They said that ahead of a recent trip to Kansas, during which she accompanied her husband, she had at times chaired meetings on trip logistics at the State Department, which raised eyebrows, including of senior State officials.

One person familiar with the situation called it “the worst kept secret at State,” telling CNN, “[Secretary Pompeo] takes her on … trips, has separate meetings, requiring control officers, motor pool assets, security, and time. It was especially brazen during the shutdown when people were actually called into the embassy while furloughed. Just one more thing killing morale at the department.”

MLB umpire honors teen ump whose call led to a youth baseball game brawl

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:44 PM PDT

A 13-year-old umpire whose call sparked a brawl among parents at a youth baseball game made his major league debut Sunday.

Josh Cordova arrived at a Colorado Rockies game as the guest of Major League Baseball umpire Chris Guccione, who was impressed by the young ump’s behavior as adults came to blows at a June game near Denver.

Guccione said he was “dumbfounded” and “saddened” after watching footage of the fight, which broke out between 12 adults and one teen after Cordova ruled that one of the 7-year-old players had batted out of order.

But he was impressed by Cordova, who stood his ground and defended his decision.

“I’m proud of him,” Guccione told CNN affiliate KCNC. “He could’ve easily backed down, but he didn’t.”

Through the MLB umpire charity Umps Care, he invited Cordova and his family to Coors Field to watch the Rockies take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The teen met with Rockies umpires and was given his own official MLB umpire gear, the team said in a statement.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Cordova said. “I never thought it would be this big and I’d be here right now.”

He said he didn’t want his experience to discourage future youth baseball players from pursuing the sport.

“I want them to have an idea of baseball being a great game and learning to love the game just as I have.”

The Lakewood Police Department cited 12 people, one of whom worked for the city of Denver, for disorderly conduct in the scuffle. Department spokesman John Romero said officials were “disgusted” by the violence, which left at least one participant with serious injuries.

Here’s how to watch the total solar eclipse from anywhere under the sun

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:42 PM PDT

No need to break out the eclipse glasses this year (unless you live within the path of totality): Astronomy lovers can livestream Tuesday’s total solar eclipse over South America from the comfort of just about anywhere with WiFi.

Here are a few options

The Exploratorium museum in San Francisco is partnering with NASA to live stream the eclipse as the moon moves between the Earth and Sun to block the Sun’s light, leaving areas in its path in darkness for four and a half minutes.

Their coverage begins Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET across three channels: one for live telescope views from an observatory in Vicuna, Chile, and two more for commentary in English and Spanish. NASA Television will also carry the English-language coverage on its channel.

The European Southern Observatory will stream its own live coverage of the event from its facility in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Reservations are full for in-person observatory viewing.

The eclipse will be visible in its totality in a narrow 70-mile radius from La Serena, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 4:38 p.m. and 4:44 p.m. ET.

Along with Argentina and Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay will experience a partial solar eclipse, as well as parts of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Panama, according to NASA.

August 2017 marked the last time all of North America caught a glimpse of a total solar eclipse. The path of totality ran from Oregon to South Carolina—the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse crossed the Atlantic and Pacific.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs has died

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:41 PM PDT

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died Monday, prompting the postponement of a game with the Texas Rangers, officials said.

Skaggs, 27, was found in a hotel room in a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, police said.

Skaggs was unresponsive at about 2:18 p.m. in a Hilton hotel room in Southlake, police said in a statement. He was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

No foul play is suspected at this point, police said.

“Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family,” the Angels tweeted.

In a statement, the Texas Rangers said Monday’s game with the Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington was postponed.

“The Texas Rangers organization wants to express its deepest sympathies to the family of Tyler Skaggs and to the entire Angels organization on this shocking loss,” the statement said. “The thoughts and prayers of every member of the Texas Rangers and all of their fans are with the Angels organization at this difficult time.”

The Angels drafted Skaggs in 2009, according to his biography. He made his debut on August 22, 2012.

Skaggs last pitched Saturday, completing 4.1 innings in a game against the Oakland A’s at Angel Stadium, according to MLB.com.

“I am deeply saddened by today’s tragedy in Texas,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “All of us at Major League Baseball extend our deepest condolences to Tyler’s wife Carli, their family, their friends and all of his Angels’ teammates and colleagues. We will support the Angels’ organization through this most difficult period, and we will make a variety of resources available to Tyler’s teammates and other members of the baseball family.”

Netflix has released photos for “The Witcher”… and they actually look pretty good

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:40 PM PDT

Netflix is gearing up for the launch of what it hopes will be their next big fantasy series, and they just released the first photos of the main characters from “The Witcher.”

And to the surprise of many, the photos look … pretty good?

“The Witcher” is originally based on books written by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. It was adapted as a best-selling video game series, and Netflix picked up the TV adaption with Lauren Schmidt Hissrich overseeing it.

“The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family,” Netflix says in a logline for the show. “Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.”

Henry Cavill was cast in the role of the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. Geralt is known as a witcher, and he is a monster hunter that has been mutated with heightened abilities.

Casting received a mixed reception from fans, with most of the criticism being leveled at the casting of Cavill as Geralt. Cavill is best known for playing Superman, and fans of the book and video game series were concerned that he wouldn’t be able to convincingly play the role of the grizzled monster hunter.

After the first screen test of Cavill with his silver wig was released, it spawned a bunch of memes. The look was not flattering for Cavill, and it was not what fans of the series were hoping for when they saw the short video.

However, the first batch of photos have restored some faith in fans, as Cavill looks more like the Geralt that fans have come to expect. Anya Chalotra has been cast as the sorceress Yennefer, and princess Ciri is being played by Freya Allan.

Cavill also released another image on his Instagram account.

More information about the series will be released by Netflix at San Diego Comic Con on July 19. The series is expected to stream on Netflix sometime this year.

Feds investigating reports of cruel, lewd Customs and Border Protection agent Facebook group

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:40 PM PDT

US Customs and Border Protection officials say they are investigating “disturbing social media activity” after a published report of a closed Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents that reportedly features jokes about migrant deaths, derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers and a lewd meme involving at least one of them.

The posts were “hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” according to Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility

The existence of the group “I’m 10-15” was exposed by the investigative reporting group ProPublica. CNN has not been able to independently access and review the Facebook group posts in question.

It is not clear how many group members are or were affiliated with the Border Patrol.

“We take all the posts that were put out today very seriously. These do not represent the thoughts of the men and women of the US Border Patrol. Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated,” said US Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings in an interview on “Newsroom” with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Monday.

The posts were turned over the the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, as well as CBP’s internal affairs office to begin the investigations, added Hastings.

ProPublica claims it was able to link the participants in those online conversations to apparently legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents. Neither ProPublica nor CNN have been able to reach group members who made the postings.

ProPublica reports that the Facebook group’s page boasts 9,500 members and says it was formed in 2016. It is unclear from the reporting how many members claim to be active agents. Posts feature comments about the death of a teen Guatemalan migrant in Weslaco, TX such as “oh well” and “if he dies he dies.”

Another post encourages members to protest Monday’s border visit by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Veronica Escobar, saying they should “throw a 10-15 burrito” at them. A meme posted on the group site depicts Ocasio-Cortez in a lewd act with a detained migrant, according to ProPublica.

ProPublica reports that, in another thread, a group member suggests the photo of drowned migrant father and daughter could have been faked because the bodies were so “clean.” “I have never seen floaters like this,” the poster reportedly wrote, adding “could this be another edited photo. We’ve all seen the dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things…”

A statement from US Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said, “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

The report inspired outrage from Democrats in Congress.

Responding to the ProPublica report, Rep. Joaquin Castro, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, tweeted: “These agents don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.”

In another tweet, Ocasio-Cortez decries a “racist & sexually violent secret CBP Facebook group. They’re threatening violence on members of Congress.”

On her way out of the Clint Border Patrol facility in El Paso on Monday, she told CNN, “In the last facility, I was not safe from the officers.”

In response, Hastings told CNN that he would tell Ocasio-Cortez, “Ma’am, we are professionals. We are dealing with a crisis right now. Over 680,000 apprehensions so far this year. Agents are under a great deal of stress.”

He reminded the public of how many rescues the men and women of the Border Patrol have done and “put their life on the line to save various individuals throughout the year.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said the report points to “clear and systemic problems that must be addressed immediately,” within DHS and CBP.

“This Facebook group is beyond sexist and racist — it is truly abhorrent and shameful, and there is no excuse for this depraved behavior,” Thompson said. “The agents found to be responsible for these vile comments should no longer have the privilege of representing the United States of America in uniform.”

ProPublica is a nonprofit news organization that produces investigative journalism.

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam responds to protestor takeover of government building

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:32 PM PDT

CNN — On the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, a large group of protestors smashed through glass doors and stormed the government headquarters. The dramatic July 1 events have marked a break from Hong Kong’s peaceful demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam condemned the violence in an Tuesday morning press conference and pledged to take necessary legal action.

“We saw two completely different scenes: one was a peaceful and rational parade… the other one was a heartbreaking, shocking, and law-breaking scene,” she said.

“Nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

Just hours earlier, several hundred mostly young activists had entered and occupied the Legislative Council building for hours. Inside, they ransacked desks and filing cabinets and tore down portraits. They raised a black banner, that read: “There is no way left,” mounting an open challenge to China and to Lam.

Spray-painted messages in Cantonese and English on the walls of the legislative chamber called Lam’s government a “murderous regime” and declared “Hong Kong is not China.”

Within minutes of protesters taking a collective decision to exit the building, police fired tear gas and used baton charges to disperse the crowd. Thirteen police officers were ultimately hospitalized after clashing with protesters, Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung said Tuesday.

“Hong Kong is a safe society and none of this violence is acceptable” he said, adding “police had no choice but to retreat” at moments.

The extradition bill that sparked public outrage

Monday is the 22nd anniversary of the semi-autonomous city’s return to Chinese sovereignty. The date is marked annually with protests calling for greater freedoms, but, this year, escalating anger over the extradition bill boiled over into a pointed rebuke of Chinese rule.

Critics feared the extradition bill could be used to send residents to mainland China for political or business offenses. After earlier protests, the extradition bill was shelved, but protests have not stopped, amid calls to scrap it completely. Lam said Tuesday there are no plans to restart the legislative process before it expires in 2020.

Protesters’ demands also included the full withdrawal of the extradition bill and universal suffrage so the people have the right to vote for their chief executive and legislative council.

The protesters had used trolleys as battering rams to bust through the entrance, pry open metal shutters and occupy the government building. They also set up barricades and opened a line of umbrellas in an attempt to hold the complex, but left en masse shortly after midnight, as hundreds of riot police began to descend on the site.

The protestors’ siege of the Legislative Council building was starkly different than a peaceful march just one street over, on the same day, where tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens carried signs calling for greater democracy and an end to the extradition bill.

Protesters had hoped to block or interrupt an official flag raising ceremony marking the occasion, attended by Lam. The ceremony was a rare public appearance for Lam, who was recently forced to publicly apologize for the introduction of the extradition bill last month which sparked public outrage.

In her speech at the flag-raising ceremony Monday, Lam promised to “ease anxiety in the community, and to pave the way forward for Hong Kong.”

Many people in Hong Kong see the bill as eroding special freedoms afforded to them under the “One Country, Two Systems” model, which was created during Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. The city maintains distinct and independent rule of law to China as part of that framework.

Protesters occupying the Legislative Council building on Monday hoisted a British-colonial-era flag, calling for more democracy — the main demand of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which immobilized the city’s financial district for 79 days.

In addition to full withdrawal of the extradition bill and universal suffrage, protesters also want to end characterizations of earlier protests as riots, and have called for the creation of an independent commission to look into accusations of police brutality.

Many protesters are still angry over police use of tear gas and rubber bullets to force people off the streets on June 12, when protesters successfully blocked off the city’s legislature and prevented lawmakers from debating the extradition bill.

Beijing said on Monday that Britain has no responsibility toward the former colony and must stop interfering in what is a Chinese domestic affair. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday that Hong Kong must maintain its “high degree of autonomy.”

Beijing stands behind controversial leader Carrie Lam

While Beijing has stood by Lam, she is facing criticism from all sides for her handling of the crisis.

Lam says the bill was her idea, not Beijing’s, and she has taken responsibility for a rushed roll-out and failure to communicate with the public.

Even much of the city’s business community, traditionally conservative and unwilling to get too involved in politics, came out against the bill, and some pro-government figures criticized Lam for pushing it through the legislature against proper procedure.

Lam justified that move as necessary in order to extradite a wanted murderer to Taiwan, but that justification was undermined by Taipei’s statement in May that it would not accept any transfer under the controversial bill.

Protests and anger over the bill have reinvigorated an opposition movement that had appeared to be in the doldrums after repeated losses in the wake of the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Now Lam is facing not only continued demonstrations against the bill — and demands for her resignation — but also a return to the issue behind the 2014 protests: that Hong Kongers are not able to choose their own leader.

A key reason Beijing was keen to keep Lam in place, even if she wanted to resign, is that losing her would require choosing another chief executive within six months. Currently that is done by an election committee heavily stacked in Beijing’s favor, and renewing this process would be sure to restart an angry political debate that had been safely kicked down the road to 2022.

Now that issue seems to be coming to the fore anyway, piling more pressure on Lam and creating new headaches for her bosses in Beijing.

The Uncle Sam Jam event at Lafreniere Park is predicted to host up to 30,000 guests

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:31 PM PDT

METAIRIE, La. -- Lafreniere Park is celebrating their 19th annual "Uncle Sam Jam" on Wednesday, July 3rd.

The event kicks off at 3:00 p.m. and includes live music, delicious food, and fireworks at 9:00 p.m.

This year's musical performances include Amanda Shaw, 10,000 Maniacs, The Orchestra starring ELO former members, and The Topcats.

Organizers say they expect more visitors this year, topping their record of over 27,000 people who attended last year in 2018.

"It represents what Jefferson Parish is all about. Families, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, fathers, and children, aunts, uncles, all getting together and just appreciating what our parish has to offer. The opportunity to bring 30,000 people to just appreciate the amenities of the park and see what it has to offer on the 155-acre track that it sits on is really exciting for us," says Dominick Impastato, Jefferson Parish Councilman for District 4.

This year, the event will put on a crowd-pleasing production during the firework show.

They've added the Jazz Ensemble, Flight Plan, to play before and during the spectacle.

This band is made up of military personnel, which Impastato says is quite fitting as we celebrate our freedom as a country.

If you plan to attend, parking on-site is $5.00.

The event itself is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here. 

Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs dies at 27 in Texas

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 03:21 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Angels announced Monday that 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs has died in Texas.

The team said in a statement on Twitter: "It is with great sorrow that we report Tyler Skaggs passed away earlier today in Texas."

It's not clear how the California native died.

"Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family," the team said.

In a statement, the Texas Rangers said its game with the Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington has been postponed.

"The Texas Rangers organization wants to express its deepest sympathies to the family of Tyler Skaggs and to the entire Angels organization on this shocking loss," the statement said. "The thoughts and prayers of every member of the Texas Rangers and all of their fans are with the Angels organization at this difficult time."

This is a developing story; CNN Wire contributed to this report.

Las Vegas accepts school supplies as payment for parking fines

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 02:15 PM PDT

LAS VEGAS – Parking tickets in Las Vegas can be paid with dry erase markers, pencils and other school supplies for a limited time, thanks to a unanimous city council vote.

The program, which began  in June and runs through July 19, encourages motorists to pay with “new, unwrapped school supplies of equal or greater value to their fine.” Only non-public safety citations are eligible.

The items will go to the Teacher Exchange, a nonprofit associated with the Public Education Foundation.

The list of eligible school supplies includes pencils, pens, erasers, index cards, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, card stock, storage bins, pencil sharpeners, rulers and sticky notes.

The Las Vegas City Council previously experimented with accepting charity instead of parking fines in July, 2016.

It’s so hot that mussels are cooking in their shells and highways are buckling

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 02:13 PM PDT

Mussels are frying to death along the shores of northern California.

Jackie Sones, a research coordinator at Bodega Marine Reserve, has worked a Bodega Bay for 15 years and never she seen a sight like this before.

“When I was approaching the field site, I could see right away that hundreds of mussels were dead,” Sones told CNN on Monday.

As she conducted more surveys, she discovered it was not just hundreds of mussels, but tens of thousands mussels dead along the shore.

Sones has seen similar cases before where small patches of mussels die off due to heat, but she has never witnessed something this extensive.

When mussels are alive and healthy, their shells remain pressed together. When a mussel dies, those shells open up, exposing the internal tissue or an empty shell.

California experienced a record breaking heat wave in June, with temperatures in the north end of the state reaching triple digits.

On June 10 and 11, the high in Santa Rosa — 20 miles from Bodega Bay — was 100 degrees. The state issued a Flex Alert that day calling for voluntary electricity conservation.

Alerts like these are only issued when outages are plaguing the electricity grid or temperatures are continuously high, according to the California Independent Systems Operator Corporation.

Sones said mussels start to struggle physically when temperatures reach 90 degrees. In the case of these mussels, she believes they could have experienced temperatures closer to 100 degrees.

Roads are cracking in South Dakota

In South Dakota, concrete roads buckled due to high temperatures over the weekend. The high in Vermillion, South Dakota, reached 94 degrees. That number rises even higher when humidity is factored in, bringing it up to a 107-degree heat index.

The state’s highway patrol warned drivers of two cases of cracking concrete along Interstate 29.

Excessive heat causes the concrete to expand. If the heat is too high, the concrete expands too much, creating the buckle. This buckling typically occurs at weak points in the concrete when the expansions push concrete against the joints and slabs where it is laid, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

The roads were out of commission for five hours while crews repaired the buckle, according to the highway patrol.

NOLA Craft Beer Experience: Parleaux Beer Lab is always making new & different beers

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 02:08 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS--The craft beer scene has really been brewing up over the last few years.  With that here at WGNO we are offering a cool "NOLA Craft Beer Experience" card for you all to try some great craft beers.

We sent News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez to Parleaux Beer Lab in the Bywater to get a taste of what they offer.  Its the "NOLA Craft Beer Experience."

If you'd like to buy the "NOLA Craft Beer Experience" card, click HERE.

The cost is only $49, and with the beer card you will get two flights of beer.    For more information about Parleaux Beer Lab, click HERE.

 

Pelicans announce NBA Summer League roster

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 02:03 PM PDT

New Orleans — The New Orleans Pelicans announced their NBA Summer League roster and mini-camp schedule Monday afternoon, ahead of their trip to Las Vegas for all the action. This year the Pelicans are holding their mini-camp in Vegas, with practices going from July 2-4 at the University of Nevada. Games begin the following day with the big feature match-up between this year’s top two draft picks, who were also Duke teammates– New Orleans power forward Zion Williamson and New York Knicks small forward RJ Barrett.

This year’s summer league squad, which will be coached by Pelicans assistant coach Fred Vinson, is highlighted by Williamson and Pelicans returners Frank Jackson, Kenrich Williams and Christian Wood.

After the Pelicans match-up with the Knicks Friday, July 5 to being summer league play, they will take-on the Wizards Saturday, July 6 before an off day Sunday. Their third game will be Monday, July 8 against the Bulls, followed by a match-up with the Cavaliers on Wednesday, July 10.  Those four preliminary games will determine the seeding for the single-elimination tournament that follows, meaning teams are guaranteed at least 5 games in that 10-day span. The summer league championship is scheduled for Monday, July 15 and all games will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center.

A Travel Girl Adventure: Get in a canoe and cool off in Covington

Posted: 01 Jul 2019 01:57 PM PDT

COVINGTON, La. - If you're looking for cool ways to cool off, our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald is here to help.

She went in search of an adventure on the North Shore, and found plenty of options with Canoe and Trail Adventures. The company recently opened a new launch site behind The Chimes restaurant in Covington, where rental options abound.

Chad Almquist is a naturalist with a passion for teaching people about the joys of nature, especially young explorers such as his two toddler daughters.

"We're at The Chimes in Covington on the Bogue Falaya, and we're gonna launch and go for a little paddle - we have canoes kayaks and paddleboards," he explains.

"Going upstream is much more scenic, it's more secluded. Going downstream the river is a lot wider which is nice, a little bit easier, but you do see a lot of houses along the way," Chad continues.

Along the way we saw a night heron, a rough green snake and lots of lush scenery.

We also happened across a group of boys jumping bravely from a bridge that's part of the Tammany Trace Bike Trail.

Chad is carrying on a tradition started by his father, who founded the company in 1972.

Rentals start at just $20 an hour.

"We try to keep it as affordable as we can to get as many people as we can out," says Chad.

Lots of families choose to eat at The Chimes before or after their adventure, and some adults enjoy one last 'cool' option: a cold brew after a few hours out in the heat, on the Bogue Falaya.