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Nurses accused of stealing patients' pain pills for themselves

Two Tennessee nurses are facing charges after state investigators said they diverted prescription pain pills away from their patients and to themselves instead for more than a year.

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The nurses, identified as Sarah Thacker, 31, and Kimberly Click, 42, came to the attention of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in February after special agents got a pair of tips from the Tennessee Department of Health, authorities said.

Investigators were told on Feb. 8 that Thacker, a registered nurse at the Johnson City Medical Center and Franklin Woods Hospital, was suspected of using her job to get hydrocodone pills prescribed to patients. Authorities believe she started diverting the pills in September 2015 and continued until at least January 2017.

Later that month, on Feb. 27, the health department again contacted TBI to report that Click, a registered nurse at the John Medical Center, was also suspected of fraudulently obtaining pills for her personal use, according to authorities.

A grand jury came back with indictments on July 12 for both women, who turned themselves in over the weekend, TBI said.

Thacker was charged with dozen counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Click was arrested on 33 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Stubbs the cat, honorary mayor of Alaska town, dies

Stubbs the cat, mayor of a small town in Alaska, has died at age 20, the cat’s owners announced Saturday.

The town has no human mayor. The Associated Press reported that Stubbs was elected to the position in 1998 in a write-in campaign in Talkeetna, Alaska.

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Lately, the elderly cat had been keeping close to home, but in his younger years, he was known as a cat-about-town -- usually meowing up a storm at Nagley’s General Store. 

KTVA reported that in 2013, Stubb survived a dog attack. In 2016, he was the subject of a false report of his death.

“Stubbs lived for 20 years and 3 months. He was a trooper until the very last day of his life; meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap,” the family said in a statement Saturday. “Thank you, Stubbs, for coming into our lives for the past 31 months; you are a remarkable cat and we will dearly miss you. We loved the time we were allowed to spend with you.”

According to Stubb’s owners, another kitten in might be ready to take up the mayoral mantle.

“Amazingly, Denali has the exact personality as Stubbs,” the family wrote of the kitten. “He loves the attention. He’s like a little puppy when he’s around people. We couldn’t have asked for a better understudy than Denali — he really has followed in Stubbs’ paw prints in just about everything.”

Small, experimental plane with swastika on tail makes emergency landing on Georgia highway

A small plane, resembling a Nazi aircraft from World War II, made an emergency landing on a highway north of Atlanta in Gwinnett County Monday.

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Authorities said the plane, which looked like it was modeled after a Nazi-era Messerschmitt BF 109 with a swastika on its tail, landed safely, and was pulled into the highway median near Dacula, as officials waited for the Federal Aviation Administration to respond to the scene.

The FAA identified the plane as a Sonex experimental, amateur-built aircraft, which made the emergency landing around 12:45 p.m.

The aircraft was about three miles shy of the Gwinnett County Airport when it experienced some kind of emergency.

>> Related: Waitress outraged after she says man handed her menu with swastika

The pilot was the only person on board and was not injured.

Wisconsin company implanting microchips in employees

A Wisconsin company is implanting microchips in its employees who volunteer to be part of the program, one of the first in the country.

More than 50 Three Square Market employees will have the rice-sized chip implanted into their hand between the thumb and forefinger.

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"It's the next thing that's inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it," Todd Westby, chief executive officer at Three Square Market, told KTSP.

Employees will be able to make purchases, in the same way that smartphones can, at kiosk items in the company break room. It will also allow those employees access through the front door and to turn on their computers.

"We'll hit pay with a credit card, and it's asking to swipe my proximity payment now,” Westby told KTSP. “I'll hold my hand up, just like my cellphone, and it'll pay for my product.”

The $300 chips, which are encrypted, secure and have no GPS tracking, will be implanted started next week.

Grandma ‘sold’ teen granddaughter to 87-year-old boyfriend for sex, police say

An Alabama grandmother is accused of “selling” her 13-year-old granddaughter to her elderly boyfriend for sex, threatening the girl with harm if she did not comply, police said. 

Mary Lue Daw, 66, of Atmore, is charged with first-degree rape and first-degree human trafficking, according to WKRG in Mobile. Daw’s 87-year-old boyfriend, Charles Clarence Stacey, is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree human trafficking, first-degree promoting prostitution and enticing a child for immoral purposes. 

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An investigation by the Atmore Police Department indicated that Daw accepted cash from Stacey in exchange for the sexual encounter, WKRG reported. 

The Atmore News reported that Daw may have held the girl down while Stacey sexually assaulted her. 

Both defendants are being held in the Escambia County Detention Center in lieu of $1 million bond each. 

'I paid them to kill my baby': 5-year-old drowns at day camp

The mother of a 5-year-old boy who drowned Friday while attending a day camp in south Fulton County, Georgia, broke down Monday morning as she talked about her son’s death.

“I paid them to kill my baby,” Ayisat Idris-Hosch, the mother of Benjamin "Kamau" Hosch III, said during a press conference at her attorney’s office.

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Kamau and other children at Camp Cricket Summer Day Camp were taken for lunch near a waterfall and rock ledge at the Cochran Mill Nature Center in Chattahoochee Hills on Friday, said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the law offices of Stewart, Seay & Felton. 

According to a statement from the law firm, the children were allowed, without prior parental consent, to slide on a waterfall and swim. Kamau could not swim, Julison said in the statement.

“Kamau’s parents would not have allowed him to slide on a waterfall or swim without his life jacket,” he said.

Kamau went missing for up to 45 minutes, Julison said.

Fairburn police assisted Chattahoochee Hills police in the search for the child, Deputy Chief Anthony Bazydlo told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Attempts to reach Chattahoochee Hills police have been unsuccessful so far.

A volunteer discovered Kamau in a small pool of water, according to reports. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office early Monday confirmed his death with The AJC.

Kamau’s parents and their attorney spoke about their son’s death Monday morning during a press conference at their attorney’s office.

“This isn’t an accident,” Atlanta attorney L. Chris Stewart said. “This is gross, insane negligence."

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Dogs have ‘happy gene’ that make them friendlier, different from wolves

It’s been an ongoing mystery why the family dog is so much friendlier and affectionate than the average wolf, when, after all, dogs are descended from the more aloof wolves. Scientists have long wondered why their behavior is so different, and now they may be closer to finding an answer.

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A genetic mutation that contributed to hypersociability “is a core element of domestication that distinguishes dogs from wolves,” according to a new study in the journal Science Advances.

It’s the same gene that makes some people hyper-social, scientists said.

The study found variations in three genes are related to how canines socialize with humans, according to the Los Angeles Times, and a DNA analysis revealed the genes are very different in dogs and wolves

Scientists looked at the sociability of 18 domestic dogs and 10 captive human-socialized gray wolves using standard sociability and problem-solving tests, and found “domestic dogs spent a significantly greater proportion of trial time gazing at the human when compared to wolves when a human was present during the tests.”

>> Related: Wolf-hybrid dog confiscated, heartbroken family fights for pet’s return

Another takeaway from the study, researchers said, was that “adult dogs were more likely to engage in prolonged or exaggerated contact with humans than adult wolves.”

“Many dogs maintain their puppy-like enthusiasm for social interactions throughout their life, whereas wolves grow out of this behavior and engage in more mature, abbreviated greetings as they age,” study co-author and Oregon State University animal researcher Monique Udell told the Times.

“One might think of how a young child greets you versus a teenager or adult relative,” Udell said.

>> Related: Golden retriever gives birth to rare, green puppy

Researchers also concluded that hypersociability, a central part of domestication that distinguishes dogs from wolves, may be what ultimately led to the quick behavioral divergence of dogs and wolves, speeding up dogs coexistence with people.

Newborn’s parents accused of giving her drugs to mask heroin withdrawal 

A Utah couple is accused of giving their newborn daughter crushed-up pills to mask her withdrawal symptoms after she was born addicted to drugs. 

Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, and Colby Glen Wilde, 29, both of Elk Ridge, each face multiple drug charges, as well as charges of child abuse and child endangerment. According to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Christenson used heroin and prescription pain pills heavily during her pregnancy, leading their daughter to be born addicted to drugs in April. 

“(Christenson and Wilde) admitted that, after their daughter was born on April 9, later that same day, Wilde applied some of the crushed Suboxone pills to the infant’s gums while nurses and other medical staff were out of the room,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “(They) told investigators they talked to friends about how to mask signs of drug dependence in an infant, and that they discussed this issue with each other.”

Suboxone is a medication used to treat pain, as well as to treat addiction to opiates. 

Utah Valley Hospital, where the girl was born, released a statement to Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, in which officials said newborn safety is a top priority.

“The hospital’s team of specially trained caregivers closely monitors each newborn for signs of any difficulty. If there is a known history of drug use by a mother, then her baby will be evaluated and if necessary, receive treatment for withdrawal symptoms,” the hospital’s statement read. “The hospital’s social work team will also contact DCFS (Utah Division of Child and Family Services) immediately if illicit drug use took place during the pregnancy. When a mother does not disclose a history of drug use and her baby has no signs or symptoms of difficulty, then the hospital proceeds with its established care processes. 

“While the hospital does everything possible to keep newborns safe, no assumptions are made about a mother’s personal history. Parents have the responsibility to disclose anything that might jeopardize their newborn’s health.”

Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said in the news release that investigators found Suboxone, in both solid and crushed pill form, in the couple’s home while executing a search warrant June 28. They also said they found drug paraphernalia throughout the house, including next to the baby’s bassinet and next to a child’s sippy cup.

Besides the newborn, Christenson’s other three children, ages 8, 4 and 2, lived in the house with the couple, the Sheriff’s Office said. DCFS became involved in the case, having all four children tested for drugs.

All four children tested positive for methamphetamine, the Sheriff’s Office said. The infant girl also tested positive for heroin and morphine.

“I don’t have any doubt that Colby and Lacey love their kids,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon, with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, told Fox 13. “They’re addicts right now, with serious addiction problems, and they’re not in a good place to be taking care of themselves even, let alone anybody else.”

>> Read more trending news

DCFS contacted the father of Christenson’s oldest child, who took custody of the boy. He did not want the siblings to be separated, and case workers approved him to have custody of all four children, investigators said

The investigation into Christenson and Wilde began June 26 when police in Spanish Fork were called to Walmart, where employees say they saw Wilde take several items from the store’s shelves and take them to customer service, returning them for a cash card. 

When loss prevention workers confronted Wilde, who was carrying his then-two-month-old daughter in a car seat, he ran, slamming the girl’s seat into a pillar and dropping her several times, investigators said. 

Investigators said Wilde handed the baby to a stranger before fleeing in his car. He was stopped by Utah County deputies in a nearby parking lot, the Sheriff’s Office said

Christenson, who was in Walmart with her older children, was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant at that time. 

Warning: Social Security scammers trying get personal info in new phone hoax

Social Security Administration officials are warning Americans about a new phone scam in which criminals are impersonating Social Security officials in an effort to gain personal information.

>> Read more trending news

Both the Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General have received reports from people across the country about phone calls from individuals posing as SSA employees.

“The caller attempts to acquire personally identifiable information from victims to then [access] the victims’ direct deposit, address and telephone information with SSA,” according to an alert on the agency’s website.

The potential thieves are calling from a telephone number with a 323 area code, and are claiming to be SSA officials who are delivering the news of a “1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment.”

The impostors then ask victims to verify all their personal information, including their Social Security numbers, date of birth, even their parents’ names.

If they manage to get the info, they then contact the SSA and request changes to the victim’s accounts.

Inspector General Gail Stallworth Stone said there may be occasions where the SSA might contact citizens over the phone, but those people will be aware of the contact beforehand. It’s very rare that the SSA would just contact Americans out of the blue, Stone said.

>> Related: BBB warns of new text message scam after woman sent her full social security number

She warned about giving personal information over the phone. 

“You must be very confident that the source is the correct business party, and your information will be secure after you release it,” Stone said.

If you receive a suspicious call from the SSA, contact the OIG and report it at either; 

1-800-269-0271, or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

Jared Kushner: ‘I did not collude with Russia’

After a closed session with senators Monday, Jared Kushner, White House senior advisor and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said that he did not conspire with improper Russian contacts during the 2016 presidential election.

>> Read more trending news 

“Let me be very clear,” Kushner said during a news conference. “I did not collude with Russia.”

Kushner also said he does not “know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”

Kushner added that he did not rely on Russian funds for any personal business ventures. 

“Serving the president and the people of the United States has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime,” Kushner said. “Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.”

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