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Red tide reaches Space Coast: 9 facts about red tide

A toxic algae bloom has reached Florida's Space Coast.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday said red tide had reached parts of Brevard County.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are nine facts about red tide:

1. Red tide has made its way to Brevard County.

2. Karenia brevis is the algae species that causes red tide.

3. High concentrations of Karenia brevis have been detected at Satellite Beach's Pelican Beach Park and in medium concentrations near Melbourne Beach.

4. So far, the algae hasn't yet made its way to Cocoa Beach or Volusia and Flagler counties.

5. At high concentrations, red tide can discolor water, causing it to appear red or brown. Other algae blooms can make the water appear green or purple.

>> Related: Test results confirm red tide found in Brevard County

6. Some could experience skin irritation or burning eyes from the algae bloom.

7. Those with respiratory illnesses might experience a flare-up and some irritation.

8. Beachgoers are advised to avoid swimming in areas  where fish kills have been reported because the dead fish can generate harmful bacteria

9. Red tides can last from several weeks to more than a year.

>> Related: Watch: Millions spent on removing dead marine life, tourism marketing after red tide outbreak

Florida city commissioner charged in fatal shooting of shoplifting suspect

A Lakeland city commissioner accused of fatally shooting a shoplifting suspect earlier this month was arrested Friday on charges of second-degree murder, the State Attorney's Office said.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn, 47, fatally shot Christobal Lopez, 50, of Wauchula, over a $16 hatchet Dunn said he saw Lopez try to steal from the Vets Army Navy Surplus store, where Dunn also works.

Surveillance footage shows Lopez move toward the store’s front door. Dunn tries to grab Lopez’s shoulder, but instead ends up with a fistful of the man’s shirt. Lopez raises his left arm, trying to break free.

>> Related: Video shows Florida city official kill fleeing shoplifting suspect

Dunn then appears to shoot Lopez at least once.

The shoplifting suspect falls to the ground just outside the door with an object that appears to be a hatchet still in his right hand.

An attorney for Lopez's family provided the following statement Friday evening:"There is no way to undo the life-shattering harm that Mr. Dunn caused, but we are pleased with the grand jury’s decision for such an unnecessary and egregious use of deadly force. We want to thank the State Attorney’s Office and the Lakeland Police Department for their swift and thorough investigation. We are hopeful that through both this criminal proceeding and the civil suit we plan to file, Mr. Dunn will be held fully accountable for the senseless killing of Christobal Lopez."

>> Related: Police: Lakeland commissioner fatally shoots someone at military surplus store

Woman’s body found in Atlanta-area lake ID’d as missing 31-year-old boater

Authorities in metro Atlanta have confirmed that a body found in Lake Lanier in Hall County is that of a woman who disappeared in the lake in July. 

>> Read more trending news 

Madeline Sinagra, 31, jumped off a sailboat and became distressed in the water on July 22.

Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Mike Burgamy said Sinagra decided to go for a swim to cool off. When she jumped into the water, the strong winds began pushing the sailboat away from her.

A man still on the boat tried to rescue her when she became tired. After attempts to throw a line to her failed, the man went in after her, he told deputies.

“The male reported that he then went into the water in an attempt to rescue the victim, but was unable to locate her after she went under and did not resurface,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said in a statement.

Sinagra was not wearing a life jacket.

A fisherman discovered a badly decomposed female body near Bethel Park on October 12. 

>> Trending: 4-year-old shot in apparent road rage incident; 2 arrested

The remains were taken to the GBI lab in Decatur where authorities were able to identify the victim as Sinagra. The cause of death was drowning. 

7 arrest warrants issued in Georgia university sex investigation

Prosecutors announced Friday they’ve issued seven arrests warrants, including for a former Fort Valley State University official, for prostitution and sodomy that allegedly began a year ago.

>> Read more trending news 

Warrants were issued Tuesday for Ernest Harvey, 47; Kenneth Howard, 56; Ryan Jenkins, 35; Charles Jones, 57, of Fort Valley; Devontae Little, 26, of Warner Robins; and Arthur James Nance Jr., 46, of Cordele, each are charged with pandering and solicitation of sodomy stemming from conduct alleged to have occurred in 2017 and 2018.

Former Fort Valley State University executive assistant to the president Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, 48, of Fort Valley, is charged with six counts of pimping on allegations she arranged to provide a prostitute to the six men.

Johnson also is charged with six counts of prostitution on allegations she performed, offered or consented to perform a sexual act for money or other items of value, prosecutors said. Johnson additionally is charged with conspiracy to commit fiduciary theft stemming from allegations she conspired to take scholarship money, a book scholarship, that had been granted to a student in October 2015, prosecutors said.

>> Trending: Convicted killer charged in 1988 cold case murder, suspected in up to 8 more slayings

The investigation was conducted by the GBI, with assistance from the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and at the request of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. Officials announced in April they were investigating sexual misconduct and hazing at Fort Valley, about 30 miles south of Macon.

Adrian Patrick, the attorney representing Johnson, told the AJC at the time that she has not done anything illegal.

Fort Valley State released a two-paragraph statement Friday afternoon saying its first priority is the safety of its students. Jones was the university’s chief legal counsel until he was fired a few months ago, university officials said.

“We have consistently and aggressively worked with the University System of Georgia and law enforcement to ensure that anyone who allegedly puts our students at risk is investigated thoroughly and expeditiously, and have advocated for the most appropriate standards to be applied. While we cannot comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, we expect anyone who has compromised the trust of our students to be held accountable with all deliberate speed,” it said.

>> Trending: Man charged with killing girlfriend released from jail when police find new suspect by chance

Additionally, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was conducting its own inquiry into “unauthorized activities and misconduct involving current and former members,” according to a letter it sent to the Fort Valley State sorority chapter. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution received a copy of the letter in April from the university through the Georgia Open Records Act. Johnson was a graduate advisor for the sorority’s chapter.

Almost 1,800 pounds of ready-to-eat salads recalled; sold at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 

Houston-based GHSW, LLC is recalling 1, 786 pounds of ready-to-eat salad containing chicken that could be contaminated with salmonella or listeria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

>> Read more trending news 

The salads were produced from Oct. 1 through Oct. 18 and contain a corn ingredient that may be the source of potential contamination.

The salads were sold in eight states, including Tennessee, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

The products under recall are:

  • 10-ounce plastic tray packages containing “365 BY WHOLE FOODS MARKET BBQ STYLE CHOPPED SALAD WITH CHICKEN” with “Best if Sold By” dates of 10/18/18 through 10/21/18 (inclusive).
  • 8-ounce plastic tray packages containing “365 BY WHOLE FOODS MARKET CHICKEN FAJITA SALAD” with “Best if Sold By” dates of 10/18/18 through 10/21/18 (inclusive).
  • 13-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOE’S BBQ SEASONED WHITE CHICKEN SALAD” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.
  • 7-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOE’S FIELD FRESH CHOPPED SALAD WITH GRILLED WHITE CHICKEN” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.
  • 7-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOSÉ’S MEXICALI INSPIRED SALAD WITH CHILI SEASONED CHICKEN” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.


The USDA is concerned that some people may have these products in their refrigerators and are urging consumers to check. The potentially contaminated salads should be thrown out or returned to the store of purchase.

There’s been no reports of sickness or death so far related to eating any of these products, the agency reported.

>> Related: Researchers: Man dies after contracting disorder after eating squirrel brains

Salmonella poisoning is one of the most common foodborne illnesses and can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated food.

Eating foods contaminated with listeria can cause a serious infection mostly in older people, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and newborns.


Spouses of foreign workers could lose ability to work under immigration rule change

Spouses of foreign workers in the U.S. on H-1B visas could lose their ability to work under proposed rule changes from the Trump administration. 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday, directing U.S. agencies to propose rules to prevent immigration fraud and make changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.”

>> Read more trending news 

The changes, part of Trump’s Buy American and Hire American initiative, could impact nearly 100,000 foreign citizens working as H-4 employees, the San Jose Mercury News reportedH-4 workers are the spouses of foreign workers using H-1B visas. 

“Some U.S. workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold,” the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration said in a notice

The public will be given the ability to comment on proposed rule changes, L. Frank Cissna, citizenship and immigration director wrote in a Sept. 6 letter to the Internet Association, whose members include Facebook and Google, which employee many foreign workers on H-1B visas.

The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa allowing foreigners in specialty fields to work in the United States on a temporary basis for up to six years. There were 199,000 applicants this year vying for the 85,000 H-1B visas available, officials said Monday. 

“With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world,” Trump said. “We are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Convicted killer charged in 1988 cold case murder, suspected in up to 8 more slayings

A Pennsylvania man in prison for killing his wife and stepdaughter in March has been charged with another slaying, this time of a man who witnessed a burglary he committed in 1988, and investigators say he’s a suspect in at least six more murders. 

Regis Andrew Brown, 59, has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of Bryce Kenneth Tompkins, 45, whose body was found by hunters the day after Christmas, partially submerged in a creek near New Castle. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of witness intimidation. 

WPXI in Pittsburgh reported that police officials said Brown admitted his involvement in the slaying, telling cold case investigators he shot Tompkins, a neighbor, because he had witnessed a burglary Brown and another man, Paul Michael Ayersman, committed in New Castle. Ayersman is now dead. 

Pennsylvania State Trooper Joe Vascetti said during a news conference Thursday that Brown is also suspected in a string of homicides in the southwestern portion of the state between 1986 and 2016. 

“He’s either been arrested for or confessed to or is a strong suspect in eight homicides right now,” Vascetti said. “We’ve done extensive interviews with him. He was in or around Lawrence County back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He associated with a lot of individuals that we are looking at that are involved in some other homicides back in that era. He may be tied to or have knowledge (of) an additional six to eight homicides from that area.”

If that is the case, Brown could be tied in one way or another to as many as 16 slayings. 

See the news conference on Brown’s latest arrest below. 

Vascetti declined to go into further detail about those cases because they are ongoing investigations. He said Brown confessed to at least two additional homicides besides that of Tompkins. 

“He has a checkered past,” Vascetti said. “He is a violent offender. He was involved in a lot of violent crimes back then.”

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said during the news conference that Brown and Ayersman were arrested in December 1988 for a series of burglaries they’d committed in New Castle. Taken in one of those burglaries was a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver -- the same caliber of the gun that was used to kill Tompkins.

Tompkins was shot twice in the back, Lamancusa said. 

Lamancusa said that detectives questioned Brown about the Tompkins slaying March 19, shortly after Brown had been arrested in connection with the deaths of his wife and stepdaughter. According to Erie News Now, Michele Brown, 53, was bludgeoned to death and her daughter, Tammy Greenawalt, 35, was stabbed to death.

“It was a horrendous scene,” Vascetti said Thursday. “He’s just a vicious individual.”

The New York Post reported that Brown tied Greenawalt to a chair before beginning to stab her. He beat his wife to death in their garage when she returned home later that day. 

Greenawalt’s 14-year-old daughter witnessed portions of the killings before her grandfather tied her up in a bedroom of his Fairview Township home for most of the weekend, Erie News Now reported. When she went to school the following Monday, school staff noticed marks on her wrists and the girl admitted her grandfather had tied her up. 

Police officers who went to the Brown home for a welfare check when neither woman showed up for work found Michele Brown’s body wrapped in a rug in the garage. Greenawalt was still seated in the chair and covered with a blanket, the news station reported.  

Officers found a sledgehammer and a broken pair of scissors, both of which appeared to have blood on them, the station said. 

Regis Brown, who pleaded guilty to the murders last month, was sentenced to life in prison.

Lamancusa said Brown confessed to killing Tompkins during that interview in March. 

“He described where the killing occurred, the motive for it, the disposal of the body and the subsequent burial of the .38-caliber pistol,” Lamancusa said. 

The district attorney said that investigators tried on two separate occasions to find the buried weapon but could not because the area had been built up in the intervening years with dirt and fill. 

“However, several witnesses have been developed in this case throughout the entire investigation and are prepared to testify to their knowledge of the killing,” he said. 

Those witnesses’ identities are being kept secret due to Brown’s affiliation with at least one motorcycle gang, Lamancusa said. 

>> Read more trending news

Vascetti said Brown was a person of interest in Tompkins’ slaying from the beginning, specifically because of the burglary spree he and Ayersman committed. When Brown was arrested, he was in possession of a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun stolen in the same burglary in which the .38-caliber revolver was taken.

“(Troopers) knew it was from a burglary near where the victim lived and knew Regis Brown lived two doors up from the victim, and, you know, things started to click,” Vascetti said. 

He said Brown did not know Tompkins, who had a habit of walking around the neighborhood at night. 

“Unfortunately, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Vascetti said. 

The men confronted him a few nights later and shot him execution-style, the trooper said.  

“Just a brutal murder,” Vascetti said. “Ruthless.”

Tompkins’ family expressed relief that the case has finally been solved. 

“After 30 years, I’m completely relieved for our family that we can have this closure and my dad can rest now,” his daughter, Stacey Harding, said, according to WPXI

Brown’s stepson, Alan Greenawalt, said he wishes the arrest had come much sooner. If it had, he told Erie News Now, his mother and sister might still be alive. 

“I just wish things were different,” Greenawalt said. “Whatever he gets, he gets. He deserves it.”

Here's why no one has to know if you win tonight's billion-dollar jackpot

The big winner of Friday’s historic Mega Millions jackpot can use a new Georgia law to keep people from asking for a piece of the money.

>> Read more trending news 

The law saying the winner does not have to give up the winner's name has been on the books in Georgia for only six months.

“I love that law because you have people coming out of the woodwork when you win. Sometime you don't want everybody to know you won,” a Mega Millions player told WSB-TV.

On Friday, lottery officials announced the jackpot jumped to $1 billion.

>> Related: Mega Millions: How much money will you actually get if you win the jackpot?

Since May 7, 74 people have won more than $250,000 in Georgia, and every single one of them has signed a paper to remain anonymous.


Russian woman accused of conspiring to interfere in midterm elections

A criminal complaint unsealed Friday showed that officials have charged a Russian woman with conspiracy to interfere in the U.S. political system, including efforts to meddle in the upcoming midterm elections.

>> Read more trending news

Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, is accused of conspiring with other people involved in a “Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Officials said in the complaint that she worked for the same Russian social media troll farm that was indicted in February by special counsel Robert Mueller.

>> Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Authorities accused Khusyaynova of managing the financing of Project Lakhta, a Russian umbrella effort funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin. Authorities said in February that the businessman and companies that he controlled previously “spent significant funds” to influence American politics. Federal officials said Project Lakhta had an operating budget topping $35 million between January 2016 and June 2018, although only a portion of those funds went toward campaigns in the U.S.

“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

>> Read the criminal complaint

In court documents, officials alleged that Project Lakhta attempted to conduct “information warfare against the United States” through payments to activists, for advertisements on social media and other activities. The group disguised its Russian ties, taking “extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists,”’ including the use of virtual private networks, authorities said.

“Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

>> 12 Russians indicted: Here’s what the DOJ says happened

In the complaint, authorities did not allege that Khusyaynova or her conspirators made an impact on any elections or that any Americans were involved in the scheme.

The Justice Department disclosed the criminal complaint soon after U.S. intelligence agencies said in a joint statement that they were concerned about efforts by Russia, China and Iran to influence U.S. voters and policy.

The agencies said the "ongoing campaigns" could take many forms. Examples include attempts to influence voters through social media, sponsoring content in English language media such as the Russian outlet RT, or "seeding disinformation through sympathetic spokespersons regarding political candidates and disseminating foreign propaganda."

The Associated Pres contributed to this report.

Early voting: Does your state allow it; has it started?

On the calendar, midterm elections are a little more than two weeks away, but in reality, they started last month.

Early voting – which includes voting in person or by mail – has begun in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Over the past few election cycles, the flexibility some states offer when it comes to when and where you can cast your ballot has become very popular with voters. Around 40 percent of all the ballots cast nationwide in both the 2014 midterm election and the 2016 general election were cast prior to Election Day. In the 2016 general election, 57.2 million ballots – or 2 in 5 ballots cast -- were cast in early voting.

During the 2016 election, the combined average of early voting in 16 states – in-person, absentee and by mail – accounted for more than 50 percent of the votes cast in those states. In seven of those states – Arizona, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon and Texas – 60 percent of the votes cast in the 2016 election were cast through in-person early voting.

Numbers from some states where early voting has begun show a large number of voters are taking advantage of the opportunity to cast a ballot in advance of the Nov. 6.

On Wednesday in Tennessee, the first day of early voting for the midterm election in that state, 120,893 people voted. The tally includes absentee-by-mail votes collected that day and votes made at nursing homes, according to The Tennessean. 

More than 143,000 Tennessee residents voted early in the 2016 presidential election.

Historically, far more people vote in a general election than in midterm elections. 

Does your state allow early voting? Here are the states that do and the states that do not.

No early voting: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania

Here is a breakdown of early voting by month:

States that started voting in September: Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming

States that start voting in October: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado (votes are cast by mail), District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (via absentee ballot submitted in person), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon (by mail), Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Washington (by mail), Wisconsin (absentee ballot by mail)

States that start voting in November.: Oklahoma

If  you have questions about early voting, click here to see your state's law governing early voting.

What does it mean to vote absentee?

An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable to vote in person at a polling place. In some states, an excuse is needed to get an absentee ballot. Other states do not require an excuse for an absentee ballot. 

Are early votes counted early?

No, early votes are counted on Election Day.

Does one party get more benefit from early voting?

Michael McDonald, an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida, says Democrats generally benefit from early in-person voting. Republicans benefit from mailed-in ballots and those who vote on Election Day. 



Nose warmer, winter fashion trend or faux pas?

It makes sense. Gloves keep your hands warm. A scarf helps protect your neck. 

And the nose warmer for your...

Wait, what? 

It seemingly feels frozen and about to fall off within minutes of being exposed to cold temperatures, and for years, nose warmers have been available, but only recently is this facial fashion statement becoming a trending winter accessory.

>> Read more trending news 

“Our business started small, with one nose warmer made specifically to do the job of warming up a nippy nose,” officials with the Nose Warmer Company, based in the United Kingdom, state on its website. “Our owner soon realized that she wasn't the only one with this problem and so the Nose Warmer Company was born.”

As it turns out, the knitted accessory has been around since the 1970s. 

“Aunt Marty Made It,” the self-proclaimed “Nose Warmers Queen,” has been making and selling them since 1970, according to her website.

Lynn Spaulding claims to have created the accessory in a 1979 article from Mother Earth News. 

Four years ago, Reddit user u/NKNDP shared an image of a nose warmer his 94-year-old great-grandmother crafted. 

There are many other sellers on Etsy as well as other online retailers offering nose cozies starting at around $7.

So, a nose warmer, no matter who invented it, should be easy to sniff out.

Driver ignores construction barrels, ruins newly poured road

A driver in Illinois received several citations after ignoring orange construction barrels and driving on a newly poured road, causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, according to state police.

>> Read more trending news

The driver, who was not identified, navigated the SUV between a set of narrowly placed barrels on Interstate 74, according to police and WBBM-TV.

Police estimated the incident caused between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of damage to the road. It also forced officials to delay reopening the stretch of I-74 at the Avenue of the Cities.

Authorities said the driver received several tickets after the incident but added, “The real pain will come when the construction company write up their bill.”

“For everyone's sake (workers, other drivers and yourself), please take your time going through these active zones,” officials with Illinois State Police said in a social media post about the incident. “Follow signs and look ahead for possible hazards. Stay alert, stay safe.”

Trump praises Montana congressman who body-slammed reporter

President Donald Trump praised a Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter on the eve of a special election last year, joking Thursday night that “he’s my kind of guy,” the Great Falls Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Speaking at a rally in Missoula, Trump mentioned Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in June 2017 after he body slammed Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, on May 24, 2017, in Bozeman.

"Greg is smart and by the way never wrestle him," Trump joked. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.”

Trump then made a gesture that simulated a body slam.

Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, criticized the president Friday for praising "a violent assault on a reporter doing his Constitutionally protected job."

“This amounts to the celebration of a crime by someone sworn to uphold our laws and an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has solemnly pledged to defend it,” he said in a statement. “We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media.”

The Guardian U.S., which employs Jacobs, issued a statement after Trump’s speech, The New York Times reported.

“The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.” John Mulholland, the editor of The Guardian U.S., said in the statement. “In the aftermath of the murder of (Washington Post journalist) Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

The president did not mention Khashoggi during his speech Thursday, CNN reported.

The reporter was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 2. Turkish media reports claim that an audio recording suggests Khashoggi was tortured and killed before being dismembered, CNN reported.

The witch is back: Bette Midler announces she’s part of ‘Hocus Pocus’ celebration

What’s an anniversary and reunion without the main Sanderson sister? Fans of the film “Hocus Pocus” worry not. It may be 25 years, but the witch is back!

Bette Midler joined her on-screen sisters, Kathy Najimi and Sarah Jessica Parker, on Freeform’s “Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Reunion Bash.”

The show was recorded at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and will air Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on Freeform, Entertainment Tonight reported.

Midler made the announcement in a short video clip for the television channel. 

>> Read more trending news 

Many members of original cast also appear in the show, including Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw. It is hosted by Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher and has performances by Jordin Sparks, Dove Cameron and Sofia Carson, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Photos: ‘Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Reunion Bash’

Stars and fans came together to celebrate the cult classic “Hocus Pocus.”

‘Mr. Ding-a-Ling’ ice cream truck driver accused of stalking young girls

An ice cream truck driver in upstate New York was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of following a group of young girls in his truck.

Charles A. Ross, 57, of Whitehall, is charged with felony stalking, misdemeanor stalking and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to The Post Star in Glens Falls. He is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana because officers found marijuana on him when he was arrested, the newspaper said. 

South Glens Falls Police Chief Kevin Judd told The Post Star that investigators received a complaint Oct. 3 that Ross followed the girls while driving a truck belonging to Mr. Ding-a-Ling, a regional ice cream truck company based in Latham. The girls were 12 and 13 years old. 

The girls told responding officers that it appeared Ross was taking photos or video of them, the newspaper said. The ice cream truck was gone by the time the officers got to the scene. 

South Glens Falls investigators worked with New York state troopers to identify Ross as the man the girls saw following them, Judd said. The families of two of the girls filed official complaints. 

Ross was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop, The Post Star reported. He was in his own vehicle when the stop took place.

The complaints against Ross in South Glens Falls were not the first, The Post Star reported. A similar complaint of him taking pictures of children from his truck was lodged in June in Lake George. 

The newspaper reported that Warren County sheriff’s deputies watched Ross and confronted him, but no charges could be filed because taking photos in public is not a crime. 

He did not follow the children in the Lake George incident. 

“It appears he escalated his behavior,” Warren County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale told The Post Star

>> Read more trending news

Police officials said that investigators notified the owner of Mr. Ding-a-Ling about the allegations against Ross, but he was allowed to continue driving his truck between the June and October incidents. The Post Star reported that calls to the company seeking comment had not been returned. 

Mr. Ding-a-Ling was established in 1975 and has grown from one truck to 66 trucks, the company’s website says. The trucks operate from New York to Maine and Vermont. 

The operator of Mr. Ding-a-Ling of the Adirondacks wrote in a post Thursday on Facebook that Ross was in no way affiliated with his truck. 

“Just wanted to let everyone know that has nothing to do with our truck here,” the post read. “I’m so mad about the driver there tarnishing our brand.”

He wrote that “bad apples” pop up in businesses everywhere, but that he wanted to reassure his customers.

“Most of my customers are like family and friends,” the post read. 

Keith Urban makes wish come true for dying fan

Keith Urban visited his “number one fan” before a concert in Toledo, making a wish come true for a 25-year-old woman entering hospice.

>> Read more trending news 

Marissa English, who was born with multiple health issues including an inoperable cyst in her brain, also suffers from cerebral palsy and severe scoliosis, local media reported. English had tickets to Urban’s show in Toledo on Thursday, but she was unable to attend the concert.

English will enter hospice. Nurses started a social media campaign to get the attention of Urban before the concert. The country star paid a visit to English at the Mercy Health Children’s Hospital, singing her a song and inviting several family members to his concert.

Urban dedicated Thursday’s concert to English.

‘I'm not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one,’ high school senior writes

A senior at Etowah High School wrote an essay about the message school dress codes deliver to young women. 

>> Read more trending news 

Regular readers know I share Cherokee County student Madison Jones’ concerns over dress codes and the misplaced focus on how the behavior and appearance of girls impact boys and their education.

Most recently, I wrote about a Texas elementary school that included a hallway quote attributed to a woman who ran a high-priced Manhattan escort service: “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”

In the same week the story broke about the quote, another Texas school drew headlines for creating and showing a video on dress codes that featured only female students and used M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls” as its soundtrack. The video showcased the offense of girls wearing athletic shorts to school, zooming in on their legs to make the point.

In both cases, parents and students rose up and schools retreated, replacing the Mayflower Madam quote with one by teenage Nobel Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai and apologizing for the video.

Girls have been dress coded and pulled from class for showing their collarbones or wearing tank tops that reveal shoulders. 

The good news is more schools are heeding the voices of young women like Madison and adopting dress codes that affirm all students should be able to dress comfortably for school without fear of or actual unnecessary discipline or body shaming and that staff and students both should understand they’re responsible for managing their own personal "distractions" without regulating individual students' clothing/self-expression. 

With that, here is the piece by Madison:

By Madison Jones

I hate being a girl.

I hate being treated like a little hard work will break me. I hate being told I can’t do something because it’s for boys. I hate feeling like I’m less than, just because I’m female. 

There are many things that I can’t change, unfortunately. 

I can’t change the boys who catcall as they drive by in their cars. I can’t change how some people see me as “property” that needs to be “protected.” I can’t change that some of my anatomy is more prominent in some areas than others. I can’t change some people’s attitude. 

But there are some things that I can do. 

I have a voice and I know how to speak with it. I have a brain and I know how to think with it. And I have a heart, a heart I know how to listen to. And now it’s your turn. 

I’m tired of being told to cover my shoulders. I’m sick of being singled out because of what I wear. I can’t stand being called out, shamed for my body, and taught to change myself for someone else. 

I’m not a distraction, far from it. I’m a girl, a girl who gets up every morning, goes to school, works her tail off, goes home to work even more, and then goes to bed, sometimes at ungodly hours of the morning, over and over again so that someday I can put on that cap and gown and receive that little slip of paper that portends my future and be prepared for the next step in supporting myself and making a life. 

But how am I supposed to do that when I’m not allowed in class?

What’s distracting is being singled out, called to the front of the class and publicly humiliated because my shoulders are showing, or my shorts, measured against an index card, fall short.

Why am I punished for sitting silently and doing my work? Why should I be blamed for someone else’s inability to do their job? Why do you treat me like a rape victim, being told that I asked for it, that it’s what I deserved, that I should be ashamed for who I am? 

Why don’t you start teaching our boys to be respectful, instead of blaming the girl for being a “distraction”? 

This is what perpetuates rape culture and mistreatment of women. You play the blame game and place these ideas in young girls’ minds that they should give in to the ideas of men and give themselves, their minds, and their hearts up. 

I could understand being labeled a “distraction” if I were to come in to class in my underwear, or stand up on my desk and scream, but I don’t. The reason I’m a “distraction” is because I’m female. 

I hope that I have not offended, or come off as rude, but I can no longer stand by and be treated like nothing. I am a girl, and I deserve respect not labels. 

I thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you will reconsider these outdated standards and help take the first step to curing our tainted society and views. 

4-year-old shot in apparent road rage incident; 2 arrested

Police arrested two people Wednesday accused of injuring a 4-year-old boy while shooting at an SUV filled with children during a road rage incident in Wichita, according to officials.

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Authorities responded to a report of shots fired just before 5 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of 10th and Topeka. The Wichita Eagle reported that the 911 caller told authorities they found the injured boy behind a McDonald’s restaurant.

Responding officers found a blue Chevrolet Tahoe that had been hit by two bullets, according to police. At the time of the shooting, the SUV had three adults inside between the ages of 23 and 26, along with six children under the age of 10, police said.

One of the children was the injured 4-year-old, who was shot in the side, officials said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was last listed in stable condition.

Investigators determined that the shooting was the result of a road rage incident involving the Tahoe and a Ford Mustang. Police said the incident started near 29th and Broadway. At 13th and Broadway, “There was some type of cutting-off that turned this into a road rage incident,” police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the Eagle.

It was not immediately clear which vehicle cut off the other.

At the 1200 block of N. Topeka, police said a man got out of the Mustang and fired a pair of shots at the Tahoe before the vehicle drove away from the area.

Officer said they found the Mustang in the area. Inside were Ramonyka Smith and Travon Coleman, both 21. At a home in the 1100 block of North Hydraulic Avenue, authorities found Tylin Atkinson, 19, identified as the person suspected of firing the shots at the Tahoe.

Smith and Atkinson were arrested on charges of aggravated battery and unlawful discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle, police said. Officials arrested Coleman for outstanding warrants, though he was not immediately charged in connection to the shooting.

Authorities continue to investigate.

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