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Two Florida Cops with Alleged KKK Ties Off the Force

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 3:36am

iStock/Thinstock(FRUITLAND PARK, Fla.) -- Two men sworn to protect and defend a Florida community are no longer with the Fruitland Park Police Department.

An FBI probe reveals that Deputy Police Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell have alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Although Borst denied any involvement with the racist group, he resigned from the force. Fruitland Park Police Chief Terry Isaacs also fired Hunnewell, who had previously been demoted and received five "counseling" letters in the past year.

Isaacs said that he had a particularly hard time losing Borst, his second-in-command, but admitted the FBI report was "convincing."

Talking about the police force in general, Isaacs said, "They're a good group of people. The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization."

In 2009, Fruitland Park Police Officer James Elkins resigned when a photo of him wearing a KKK robe over his uniform became public.

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Obama 'Encouraged' By Egypt's Ceasefire Proposal

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 9:12pm

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday night welcomed Egypt’s ceasefire proposal to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants, saying he hopes it can, “restore the calm that we’ve been seeking.”

“I believe further escalation benefits no one, least of all the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” the president said at a White House Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan. “We’re going to continue to do everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 ceasefire. We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal, which we hope can restore the calm that we've been seeking.”

The president described the pictures coming out of Gaza as “heart wrenching” but reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself.

“I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens,”Obama said. “And so we've been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”

“At the same time, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we've worked long and hard to alleviate, the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we've emphasized the need to protect civilians, regardless of who they are or where they live,” he said.

The president concluded his brief remarks on the crisis by saying the recent violence is a reminder that the “status quo is unsustainable” and that the only path to true security is a, “just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, where differences are resolved peacefully and in ways that respect the dignity of all people.”

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Fisherman Describes Reeling In 482-Pound Halibut

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 1:40pm

Alaskan Angler's Inn(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- The California man who reeled in a 482-pound halibut off the coast of Alaska says his bait had an extra something at the end that, he joked, could have made the difference in snagging a fish nearly five times the weight of his usual catch.

“We were all using sardines and some octopus and I asked the captain what the round stuff was on the end of my line and the captain said, ‘That’s octopus brain,’” Jack McGuire told ABC News Monday. “So I caught him on octopus brain.”

McGuire, 76, of Santa Ana, California, caught the 95-inch fish while on his annual fishing excursion to Alaska with friends over the July 4 holiday.

McGuire and three of his friends were nearing the end of their nearly seven-hour day fishing with the Alaskan Anglers Inn fishing charter in Glacier Bay, Alaska, on July 3, when McGuire felt the bite.

“It took about 40 minutes in all,” McGuire said. “I put a lot of pressure on him to get him up as fast as I could.”

“One guy was videotaping, one was holding the fishing rod, and a captain and two friends of mine pulled him into the boat,” he said. “Once we got the head over the railing, the captain said, ‘Get out of the way.”

McGuire, who describes himself as being a fisherman since he could walk, says he is happy to have had the experience.

“A record never came to mind,” McGuire said. “I wanted to catch the fish and also make sure nobody got hurt bringing it into the boat.”

“It was a wonderful fight and I enjoyed the battle of the fish,” he said.

Now that McGuire is back home in Santa Ana, he, his fellow fishermen, his family and likely a lot of friends are now going to enjoy the benefits of his hard work.

“I have a 6-foot freezer and right now I have a freezer full of halibut so we’re going to have a fish fry,” McGuire said, noting that he and each of his fishing companions brought home 100 pounds of halibut.

Even more remarkable for McGuire, the 482-pound catch that has put him in the headlines now is not even his biggest catch ever.

“My biggest fish was a sturgeon out of the Columbia River about six years ago. That was 832 pounds,” McGuire told ABC News. “But those you have to release and put back in the water.”

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Midwest Could Feel Like Fall with Tuesday’s Cold Temperatures

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 12:21pm

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Get out that light jacket or warm sweater, Midwest residents: a cool front is coming.

Temperatures across the Midwest are expected to dip 20 to 25 degrees below normal this week as a cool air mass descends from the Arctic regions to Canada and the United States, according to ABC News senior meteorologist Max Golembo.

Residents could wake up to chilly 40 degree and 50 degree temperatures Tuesday morning.

In Minneapolis, temperatures could be the coolest on record since July 14, 1871, hovering in the low-50s Tuesday.

Bismark, North Dakota, could see 47 degrees while Grand Marais, Michigan, could see 43 degrees.

The weather will be more typical for late September and early October than mid-July, and could move east toward New England by the middle of the week.

The cold spell is expected to move out by the end of next week with temperatures returning to normal.

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Man Endures Sweltering Heat in Viral 'Hot Car Challenge' Video

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:31am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The sweat drips down Terry Bartley’s forehead, cheeks and neck. The North Carolina man sits in his car with the windows rolled up. The temperature outside reaches the upper 80s.

The video, uploaded to YouTube on June 20, serves as Bartley’s message: a “Hot Car Challenge” to parents around the world, motivated by the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris days earlier.

“I want to know how it feels to be left in the car, sitting in the back seat, strapped into a car seat with the windows up and doors probably locked,” Bartley says in the video clip.

Cooper was left in a SUV for nine hours on a 90-degree day. His father, Justin Ross Harris, is now charged with felony murder and cruelty to a child in the second degree. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he left Cooper in the car accidentally.

That tragedy motivated Bartley to sit inside his car and start recording, even though, by his own admission, he could “barely breathe.”

“Every year, there will always be some fool that wants to leave their kid in the back seat of the car and forget all about them,” he says. “Do you really love you kids? That’s what you should ask yourself.”

At least 17 children have died of heat stroke in hot cars this year alone, according to the website kidsandcars.org. Bartley is hoping his challenge will raise awareness to help prevent any more deaths.

Bartley’s video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times, inspiring others to take the challenge and create their own videos, some of which feature children and dogs.

“I couldn’t believe that there was a lot of people out there that felt similar to the way I felt,” Bartley said.

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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Returns to Active Duty

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:18am

U.S. Army via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has completed his reintegration process and returned to active duty, the Army said Monday.

The completion of the counseling and treatment he received during his reintegration process means that Bergdahl can now be interviewed for the ongoing investigation into his disappearance from his outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.

Held captive by the Taliban for almost five years, Bergdahl was released on May 31 in exchange for the transfer of five detainees held at Guantanamo. Those detainees are to remain in Qatar for a year.

“Sgt. Bergdahl has completed the final phase of the reintegration process under the control of U.S. Army South and is currently being assigned to U.S. Army North, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston (JBSA),” said an Army statement.

“He will now return to regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission. The Army investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Bergdahl is still ongoing,” the statement continued.

Bergdahl began the three step reintegration process in Afghanistan shortly after his release. That process helps detainees held for long periods of time slowly adjust to being back in the United States. It also includes debriefings to help reconstruct the conditions the individual may have suffered during captivity.

Bergdahl was flown to the Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany where he remained for almost two weeks. Though there is no timeline for how long each step of the reintegration process is supposed to take, his stay at Landstuhl was longer than the 72 hours that had initially been projected by some officials.

Bergdahl continued his treatment at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he remained for almost a month.

Halfway through his stay in San Antonio, the Army said that Bergdahl would be continuing his treatment as an outpatient.

Maj. General Lenneth Dahl is overseeing the Army’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's disappearance from his unit in June 2009 while deployed in Afghanistan.

Defense officials say an initial investigation completed in 2009 determined that Bergdahl had voluntarily left his outpost though it could not determine his intent.

Army investigators have held off interviewing Bergdahl about his disappearance until after he completed his reintegration process.

Dahl’s investigation is set to wrap up in mid-August. The investigation’s conclusions will help determine whether Bergdahl will face any punishments for his actions.

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Texas Shooting Survivor to Collect More Than $265K From Fundraiser

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 8:53am

KTRK (HOUSTON) -- Family, friends and strangers have donated more than $265,000 online to benefit the lone survivor of last week’s family shooting in Texas, which left two adults and four children dead.

More than 5,000 people have donated to a GoFundMe site titled “Stay Family Tragedy – Cassidy Stay Fund," with the total nearing the fund’s goal of $300,000.

The fundraising comes as Cassidy Stay, 15, made an emotional appearance at a memorial service this weekend, thanking well-wishers and discussing her recovery after authorities say she was shot in the head.

“I’m really thankful for all the people that have been praying for me,” she said.

Cassidy wore a bandage on her hand. She lost part of a finger shielding her head from a bullet that police say was fired by her former uncle, Ron Haskell.

Haskell, 33, is charged with shooting Cassidy’s parents and four siblings at their home north of Houston on July 9. Investigators say Cassidy played dead and called 911 to warn police that Haskell was headed to kill her parents.

Her grandfather Roger Lyon is humbled by Cassidy’s courage. “We continue to be in awe of how she was able to save us,” he said.

Prosecutors say Haskell, who collapsed twice in court Friday, killed the family because they wouldn’t tell him where to find his ex-wife.

Doug Durham, Haskell’s defense attorney, is hinting at an insanity defense.

“Our legal system recognizes that a person who is suffering from a mental illness and can’t distinguish right from wrong at the time they commit a violent act is not criminally responsible,” Durham said.

While Cassidy has shown considerable strength and poise following the shooting, a moment of childhood innocence shined through when she quoted a character from the ***Harry Potter series at Saturday’s ceremony.

“Dumbledore says, ‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light,’” she said.

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Pennsylvania Homes Evacuated After Mysterious Odor Reported

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 5:16am

Fuse/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Dozens of residents outside Philadelphia spent Sunday night sleeping at a local elementary school after a mysterious odor reported in the area prompted evacuations.

Emergency officials detected traces of a potentially deadly chemical agent, though they say it's doubtful any lives were in danger. Approximately 150 people in Montgomery County were affected.

A "strong odor" was reported in a Skippack Township home Sunday afternoon with high readings of a "Volatile Organic Compound" found in area basements, according to a notice issued to residents.

While instruments detected hydrogen cyanide, officials believe it may be another compound.

"We had readings, high readings of hydrogen cyanide and as we started checking the houses next to it we had readings in about a hundred of so houses here in the development," said Skippack Township Fire Chief Haydn Marriott.

Residents were asked to open their windows and leave their homes until further notice.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies are working to determine the chemical involved as well as  its source.

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Air India Flight Makes Emergency Landing at Newark After Engine Fire

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 4:47am

iStock/Thinkstock(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A flight bound for India returned to New Jersey on Sunday after an engine fire forced an emergency landing.

Air India Flight 144 was on its way to Mumbai from Newark Liberty International Airport with 313 passengers on board when the fire occurred.

Air Traffic Control responded to the incident, saying smoke was coming out of the plane. Port Authority officials confirmed it was an mechanical engine fire that caused the issue.

Some New Jersey residents said they heard trouble overhead while the plane was passing over the area.

"I was out walking my dog and I heard what sounded like a loud helicopter coming my way," said resident Sheryle Robert. "Instead of seeing a helicopter, I saw a jumbo jet flying like right over my head, like very low. It was huge and I was like, 'Oh my god,' I'm like, 'Something must be wrong.'"

The aircraft returned safely to Newark around 5:05 p.m. No injuries were reported, though the plane had multiple blown tires.

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