Abducted 3-year-old girl found safe after search; suspect still at-large

U.S. NEWS Abducted 3-year-old girl found safe after search; suspect still at-large https://linewsradio.com/abducted-3-year-old-girl-found-safe-after-search-suspect-still-at-large/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Greensboro Police Dept.(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — A 3-year-old has been found alive and well after an Amber Alert was issued for the girl, who was reported abducted in North Carolina Wednesday, allegedly taken by a woman in her 20s, authorities said.

Officials received a call to the tip line just after 8 p.m. Thursday saying a girl had been found in the Word of Faith Christian Center in Greensboro and the caller believed it to be the girl, Ahlora Ashanti Sample Lindiment. The girl was able to tell the caller her mother’s first name, police said.

The girl was taken to the hospital and was checked out and is doing well, police said at a press conference. She was identified and reunited with her family just before 10 p.m.

“I’ve got 30 years in law enforcement and very seldom do we have this good of an outcome,” Greensboro Police Wayne Scott said.

The suspect in the case, whom police released surveillance photos of Thursday afternoon, has not been found or identified, though police said they did have “strong” leads on her identity.

Ahlora was reported missing at 6:33 p.m. Wednesday, the Greensboro Police Department said.

The 3-year-old was playing outside an apartment at the time, police said.

Police said earlier they were looking to identify a woman seen on surveillance video near the scene. The chief called her the suspected abductor and said she was “in and around the playground sometime between 3 and 5 p.m.”

“She was out in that area acting very suspicious” and interacted with multiple adults and children before she was seen leaving with Ahlora, the chief said at a Thursday news conference.

Over 100 officers canvassed the area, searching every vacant business and apartment with 1 mile of the call, Scott said.

The FBI was involved in the search, police said.

“We encourage any resident or community member with information to come forward and speak to us,” police said in a statement earlier Thursday.

“Someone out there has the key to bring this little girl home,” the chief said.

Ahlora’s mother, Erica Lindiment, also pleaded with the public to help while her daughter was unaccounted for.

“Even if you don’t want to be known, or you don’t want to have your name or anything to do with it, you can always leave an anonymous tip,” she told ABC Raleigh station WTVD-TV. “Help us find her and make sure she gets home safe.”

Police described the person who took Ahlora as a black woman in her 20s who stands at 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds. Her hair was in a short ponytail and she was wearing a short-sleeve black crop top with black pants with stripes on the legs and tiger print faces.

A $2,000 reward has been offered, the chief said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Greensboro Police Department at 336-373-2287.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019

Florida residents still recovering and rebuilding 1 year after Hurricane Michael

U.S. NEWS Florida residents still recovering and rebuilding 1 year after Hurricane Michael https://linewsradio.com/florida-residents-still-recovering-and-rebuilding-1-year-after-hurricane-michael/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — One year ago on Thursday, Hurricane Michael became the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 1992 and the second strongest to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

The Category 5 storm killed at least 59 people in the U.S., damaged thousands of homes and structures and left over a million homes without power as it made landfall near Mexico Beach and Panama City, Florida, before moving through Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas. One year after the devastating storm, communities are still trying to recover.

Kimberly Kennedy, a Mexico Beach resident and condo manager, has returned home, but she said that the condo building in which her family took shelter is still being repaired. In fact, many buildings and businesses are only now starting to open up, and many of them aren’t even permanent.

“So, you know, it might be a food truck instead of a restaurant. … There’s no homes to live in,” Kennedy said, adding that although she would’ve done some things differently when the hurricane hit, it’s made her stronger.

Talia Butcher, of Panama City, survived the storm with her husband by swimming through the storm surge, which reached 14 feet. She credited their survival on a pair of life jackets that kept them above water. Today, she says she still experiences trauma from that day.

“I’m still scared of wind because that’s what was taking everything away at that moment in time,” Butcher said.

When ABC News first met Butcher, the day after the storm, her house had been destroyed and she was trying to get in touch with her parents to let them know her and her husband were safe. A year later, she’s living in a trailer provided by FEMA.

“I’m very blessed to have it by all means,” Butcher said. “[At] least I have something to sleep [in] at night. But I still want my own home again.”

For Butcher, the loss of her home has only been compounded by the loss of her husband, who died of cancer in September.

“I’m starting from scratch all over again, and I think that’s what’s even harder,” she said. “I don’t have Robbie, my little soulmate, to keep pushing me. My niece tells me every day, ‘Aunt Talia, it’s going to be OK.'”

Walking through Panama City, storefronts are still boarded up. Mobile homes and trailers, despite some being heavily damaged, are still occupied. And many people who are looking for new places to live must balance keeping a job with trying to find new places to live, according to Ross Whitley, chief meteorologist for ABC News Panama City affiliate WMBB-TV.

Amid the destruction, however, there is hope. Shelly Summers, who lives about an hour away from Panama City in Youngstown, has opened up her backyard to survivors of the storm. She said that after she saw tent cities popping up on the news, she decided to open up her own.

The community has lost itself and a lot of people feel [like] they don’t matter,” Summers said. “They do to me. They do to my husband. They do to my daughter and they do to everybody here.”

Summer said she has housed over 100 people in her backyard to date. One of those people is Georgia Richter, who said she sought shelter at Summers’ home after bouncing from one hotel to another following the hurricane. Eventually, she said, it became too expensive.

“I was stable before the hurricane hit, and now I’m just trying to survive and get through the day,” Richter said. “There needs to be more housing that’s affordable. … It was a pretty poor economy before the storm and now it’s gotten even worse, and I think it’s a struggle for everyone right now.”

Whitley said that despite the challenges his community faces, he’s hopeful that eventually the city will recover and people will come back to live there. Kennedy felt the same but also mentioned that they still need help.

“We’re still recovering; don’t forget about us,” she said. “Hello, we’re still down here. We might be little, but we are still here and we still matter.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019

Babies at higher risk of heart defects if dad drinks alcohol before conception: Study

iStock(NEW YORK) — Does a dad’s drinking matter as much as a mom’s before conception?

Researchers in China believe that a father’s alcohol intake may actually affect a future child more than a mother’s.

They completed a meta-analysis review of thousands of cases to determine how parental alcohol use prior to conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy affects heart health in a child.

Their results, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, revealed that the risk of heart defects in infants was 44% higher if their fathers drank. They found that this risk was increased by 16% for mothers who drank.

“Binge drinking by would-be parents is a high-risk and dangerous behavior that not only may increase the chance of their baby being born with a heart defect, but also greatly damages their own health,” study author Dr. Jiabi Qin, of Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China, said in a statement.

In an interview with ABC News, Qin added, “We think that everyone should know the harm of alcohol consumption.” He said parents should “resolutely avoid alcohol consumption six months or one year before and during pregnancy.”

Many studies have shown alcohol has negative effects on a developing fetus.

“What is of the most interest in this work is the fact that they identify a risk if the father is using alcohol. That is a somewhat novel finding,” says Dr. Robert H. Pass, director of pediatric cardiology at the Mt Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.

What does this mean for prospective parents?

“I don’t think that from one study that we can definitively make recommendations,” Pass said. “However, this study supports previous studies that alcohol is bad for women who are pregnant.” He added that this study is also “highly suggestive of the father’s effect on fetal outcomes.”

However, Pass was hesitant about changing current medical practices. He said meta-analyses “can sometimes be very helpful, but there are many limitations. Sometimes the data is not 100% accurate.”

Pass believes that more research is needed, especially surrounding a father’s health.

Qin agreed that we need to know more. For example, he thinks we should explore how alcohol use increases heart disease in children. He also acknowledged the limitations associated with a meta-analysis and hopes that future studies will be designed differently in order to further support the results of his research.

Alcohol isn’t the only thing that negatively impacts a father’s impact on his child’s health.

“We know that advanced paternal age is associated with a number of different risks for fetuses,” Pass said.

Dr. Deidre Downs Gunn, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and medical director of the IVF program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center said: “In addition to alcohol use, there are a number of factors that can impact sperm quality and reproductive health in men. Smoking, marijuana use, obesity or poor nutrition, certain medications, and especially testosterone use- all of these can affect a man’s ability to have children.”

Overall, this study illustrates the importance of preconception counseling for mothers and fathers.

“This study is an example of why we need to have a conversation about men’s preconception health, not just women’s, to improve the chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby,” Gunn said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles in 13 states: CDC

iStock(NEW YORK) — A salmonella outbreak in 13 states has been linked to pet turtles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Twenty-one people have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Oranienburg, the CDC announced Wednesday. Seven of those cases required hospitalization, but no deaths have been reported.

The CDC linked the outbreak to pet turtles after 12 of the 17 people who fell ill reported contact with the reptiles, according to the CDC.

Even when appearing healthy and clean, turtles can carry salmonella germs in their droppings, which can easily spread to their bodies, tank water and habitats, according to the CDC. People can then get sick after touching a turtle or anything in their habitats.

California had the most reported cases at six, according to the CDC. Other states where multiple cases were reported were Illinois, New York and Washington.

The CDC recommended that those who own or come in contact with pet turtles to always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling a turtle or cleaning its habitat. The CDC also advised against kissing or snuggling turtles and letting turtles roam freely where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.

In addition, avoid cleaning a turtle’s habitats, toys or pet supplies in the kitchen or any other location where food is prepared or stored — clean it outside the house when possible, health officials advised.

Symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without needing treatment, according to the CDC.

Children younger than 5 years old and adults 65 and older, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are more likely to experience severe cases of the infection.

Households with members at risk for serious illness should consider a different pet, according to the CDC.

The health agency is continuing to investigate the outbreak.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nurse alleges colleagues misused Benadryl to put patients to sleep: Lawsuit

(WEST ORANGE, N.J.) — A nurse in New Jersey is suing a hospital, claiming that she was taken off the schedule and eventually pushed out of her job on an adult psychiatry unit after she reported to higher-ups that some night-shift nurses were allegedly giving Benadryl to patients to make them sleep and not reporting their actions.

Patricia Moran, a registered nurse for more than 30 years at RWJ Barnabas Health, which owns Monmouth Medical Center, was hired in 1988 and worked on the adult involuntary psychiatric unit at the center.

In March 2019, her civil lawsuit claims, Moran suspected that some overnight nurses were allegedly using Benadryl to make patients drowsy or put them to sleep.

Benadryl, which has a generic name of diphenhydramine, is used to treat allergy symptoms, such as runny noses, sneezing, itchy throats and itchy and watery eyes. Common side effects include sleepiness, fatigue and headaches. Benadryl also markets itself as a sleep aid.

Moran’s complaint, which was filed in Monmouth County Superior Court on Wednesday, said that “on hospital adult units, Benadryl is almost exclusively prescribed to address side effects from psychotropic medication … such as restlessness, muscle cramping and involuntary muscle contractions.”

However, Moran’s complaint said that she believed the medication was allegedly being administered by staff to lighten the workload for the night-shift nurses.

According to her complaint, she learned of the alleged misuse because the machine that dispensed and tracked medications given at the hospital, was not generating reports when Benadryl was being given to the patients.

“This confirmed that nurses were not providing accurate information regarding the use of Benadryl,” the complaint alleges.

Dr. Saumya Bhutani, a resident physician in psychiatry in New York who looked at Moran’s complaint, per ABC News’ request, said that in adult inpatient psychiatric units, however, that Benadryl is used and ordered by physicians not only for side effects of psychiatric medications but also for insomnia and agitation.

“The complaint as it stands is still vague without more information from Moran. Each Pyxis and electronic health record is uniquely different so it’s hard to understand where she saw that Benadryl was being given and where she saw that it wasn’t,” Bhutani said Thursday. “Without hearing from the nurses, doctors and patients, it’s difficult to determine the extent of the misuse. Was the Benadryl ordered for other indications beyond side effects? What were the conversations and interactions between the nurses and patients when the Benadryl was given? What was going on with the patients? Were the day nurses and doctors made aware of what was going on?”

ABC News was not able to reach Moran for comment on her lawsuit.

In a statement to ABC News on Thursday, the medical center said, “Monmouth Medical Center is fully committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff. Per our policy, we are unable to comment on any individual employee or patient matter.”

In her complaint, Moran said that she took her allegations to the hospital’s administrative director of psychiatry, who then went to her direct manager. Moran claims in court documents that her direct supervisor then “retaliated” against her.

“[Moran] was denied time on the schedule, she was provided a bogus evaluation, she was subjected to increased scrutiny, and she was otherwise ostracized from her co-workers,” court papers said.

In March 2019, Moran sent the supervisor a letter, saying, “I find it surprising that I have not been asked about availability, and have no time at all scheduled, although I see other per diems do have time scheduled. I am available any evening 7-11 shift. Pat,” according to the suit.

When she heard nothing back from the supervisor, Moran claimed, she went back to the administrative director of psychiatry to report that she believed she was being “subjected to retaliation as a result of reporting the misuse of medication” and also that her supervisor was “deliberately and maliciously” creating a hostile work environment in hopes that she would either resign or get terminated.

Moran also said that after working with adults for more than 30 years, she was abruptly moved to a pediatric floor. She claims that when she asked for help with an assignment on the pediatric unit, she was given another assignment but also reported to human resources for “refusing” the initial task. She said in court papers that she did not refuse the first assignment.

“[Moran] was further advised that her conduct was a ‘terminable offense’ and that she was not allowed to work until … the matter was investigated by HR. [She] was placed on unpaid leave and remains on unpaid leave as of the filing of the complaint (i.e., from July 2019 through October 2019),” court papers said.

Moran said that she met with human resources in September 2019 and was issued a final warning “with no prior verbal or written warning” despite RWJ’s disciplinary process.

“Even though [Moran] had not received any discipline whatsoever in more than 31 years with the hospital, [she] suddenly found herself under investigation and slated for potential termination,” the complaint said.

Moran said that although she was cleared to return to work on Oct. 7 — after human resources had completed its investigation — her supervisor still “refused” to schedule her for any shifts and claimed that “there was ‘not a need’ for her services.” As of October, she’d been out of work for at least 14 weeks, the complaint said.

Moran is demanding a trial by jury, according to her complaint, which also includes RWJ Barnabas Health, her supervisor and a human resources director as defendants.

“As alleged in the complaint, the hospital turned its back on Ms. Moran and immediately retaliated in an egregious fashion, all because she exposed illicit conduct and sought to uphold the highest standard of care for patients. No employee deserves to be treated in such a manner, let alone someone who has dedicated more than 31 years at this particular hospital,” said Matthew A. Luber, of McOmber & McOmber, who is representing Moran, in a statement to ABC News Thursday. “Ms. Moran looks forward to her day in court.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

People in rural areas face long drives for opioid addiction treatments

iStockBY: DR. SAUMYA BHUTANI

(NEW YORK) — As the U.S. grapples with the opioid epidemic — 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — access to treatments for addiction has perhaps never been so important. But for many in rural areas, those treatments are still hard to come by.

A new study by Yale University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that drive times to methadone clinics in rural counties is, on average, almost 50 minutes each way.

Dr. Kip Corrington, a physician at Novant Health Northwest Family Medicine in North Carolina, has prescribed methadone, one of the most established treatments for opioid addiction.

“As a society, we need to work on getting rid of the stigma,” he said. “There is a misunderstanding that it’s trading one substance for another, but, in reality, it saves lives. Some of the difficulties people in rural areas face are cost and access. You’re in a difficult financial situation. I’ve had patients travel anywhere from 40 to 80 miles one way.”

Many of these same rural counties have access to primary care health clinics within a 20-minute drive. This raises the question: Should we integrate methadone prescriptions into primary care clinics to better fight the opioid epidemic?

“Methadone is the most studied medication for opioid use disorder, but you have patients who need it tell you, ‘Doc, it takes me forever to get to the office,'” said Dr. Paul Joudrey, lead author of the study and Instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

Joudrey added that he hopes this research helps “expand geographic access” to treatment.

The study, which examined counties in five states hardest hit by overdose deaths, determined that where some in urban areas could get treatment in eight minutes, in rural counties that averaged 49 minutes.

But to Joudrey, who specializes in addiction medicine, this is not the crux of the study.

“This is not a story about how urban areas have better access to methadone,” he said. “This is really about solving geographic disparities in access to methadone — using existing primary care clinics in rural counties.”

In the rural counties where methadone clinics were about 49 minutes away, primary care facilities were just 17 minutes away.

Primary care clinics in underserved areas that receive federal funding must adhere to specific requirements. So, too, must clinics that dispense methadone, which must be prescribed from U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-certified opioid treatment programs.

As explained on the SAMHSA website, creating an opioid treatment program involves a certification and accreditation process at both the federal and state level. Once an opioid treatment program exists, certification must be renewed every three years. And local zoning guidelines also play a role in where methadone clinics are established.

Joudrey described these requirements as “burdensome restrictions.” In other countries, including Canada and Australia, primary care clinics can be certified to dispense methadone.

“Laws need to be passed to support and incentivize the federally qualified health centers into being capable of dispensing methadone,” he added.

In addition to overcoming regulatory hurdles, methadone clinics still face opposition from potential neighbors.

“There is still a public stigma toward methadone clinics,” Joudrey said.

Some of those opposed to integrating methadone into primary care clinics have expressed concern over patients possibly overdosing on methadone, noting how prescriptions of buprenorphine, another treatment for opioid use disorder, already are available and with fewer restrictions.

“I don’t know if DEA or regulatory agencies will allow methadone in primary care clinics,” Corrington said. “Buprenorphine is a simpler and safer solution that is just as effective.”

Joudrey said, “Buprenorphine is good but does not work for everyone, especially those with more severe opioid use disorder.”

“Methadone overdose is possible,” Joudrey added, “but overdosing on heroin and fentanyl is much more dangerous. Data has shown in other countries that methadone can be prescribed safely this way without risk of overdose.”

Joudrey is passionate about making methadone more accessible. He described how in most clinics, people have to visit six days a week for the first eight weeks to obtain their methadone. After demonstrating that responsibility, people do not have to go as often, but at least once a week. Frequencies vary by state.

“When we want people to recover, we want them to have jobs and live full lives,” Joudrey said. “To have to drive far for methadone while trying to get the rest of your life together is really hard.”

Dr. Saumya Bhutani is a resident in psychiatry in New York working with the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Boy with cancer who watched dogs from hospital window surprised with corgi ‘dream dog’

U.S. NEWS Boy with cancer who watched dogs from hospital window surprised with corgi 'dream dog' https://linewsradio.com/boy-with-cancer-who-watched-dogs-from-hospital-window-surprised-with-corgi-dream-dog/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock(CHICAGO) — Amid chemotherapy, radiation and a 26-hour long surgery to fight cancerous tumors, 12-year-old Johnny Martin only wanted to talk about one thing.

“He would talk about [corgis] to everyone,” Michelle Boyer, Johnny’s mother, told Good Morning America.

The seventh-grader from Joliet, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, wanted nothing more than a corgi to call his own.

In June 2018, Johnny was diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell tumors. After suffering a severe stomach ache that stripped him of his appetite and made his belly protrude for weeks, Boyer knew that her son was sick, but she didn’t expect what illness was to come.

Doctors didn’t catch Johnny’s cancer diagnosis until his third hospital visit — but this time it was during a visit to the emergency room.

“When [the emergency room doctor] came in to tell us, she was already in tears before she was even able to get a word out. That’s how severe it was,” Boyer said.

During his first inpatient stay — which lasted for over two months — Boyer said that Johnny liked to look out the window to a park down below where people would jog and walk their dogs. Although she had already been looking to add another dog to the family for years, Boyer noticed that with his new view, Johnny started to up the ante in his quest for his favorite corgi puppy.

“He would always just come back around, ‘Yeah that would be great mom, but so would a little puppy,'” Boyer said.

Johnny’s love and chatter about his “dream dog” caught the attention of a hospital social worker who submitted his wish for a puppy to Little Wish Foundation.

Liz Niemiec, the founder of Little Wish Foundation, told Good Morning America that since 2010, the foundation has worked with children’s hospitals across the country to grant wishes under $1,000 that will bring “immediate joy” to pediatric cancer patients. One of their specialties is giving kids their dream dogs.

“Whenever we get a puppy request, it’s extra special. … We were super excited and all over it,” Niemiec said.

Puppy requests mean a lot not only to the foundation, but also to Niemiec personally. She started the foundation when she was 16 after her friend Max died of cancer. His last wish was for a puppy.

Last Thursday, Niemiec and some volunteers from Little Wish Foundation presented Johnny with a black-and-white corgi puppy — a “Max wish,” as they call it.

“She was so sweet. … She knew she was going to do a job and that was to make him happy,” Niemiec said.

Niemiec asked Johnny of all the puppies he could have, why a corgi?

“He’s like, ‘You know I just really like corgis. The Queen has a corgi,'” Niemic said.

And who could argue with him? He later decided to name his new furry friend “Twinkie.”

Both Niemiec and Boyer said the pair’s bond was instantaneous.

“It was unbelievable — just the smile on his face and the way [Twinkie] just took to him immediately. You could tell that they had a special connection,” Boyer said.

Boyer also said that she’s hoping her son, who turns 13 in December, will be a good dog parent.

“I just kept thinking of, ‘Oh I hope he picks up all this dog poop,'” Boyer said with a laugh.

She added that the gift of a new puppy not only fulfilled Johnny’s dream, which kept him motivated through over a year-and-a-half of treatment, but also gave much-needed inspiration to the whole family.

“Those little tiny touches can be what a family hangs on to, to keep making it one more day,” Boyer said.

At the moment, Johnny is still undergoing chemotherapy, but he is “doing well,” according to his mother.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019

80-year-old crossing guard ‘speechless’ as children surprise him on birthday

U.S. NEWS 80-year-old crossing guard 'speechless' as children surprise him on birthday https://linewsradio.com/80-year-old-crossing-guard-speechless-as-children-surprise-him-on-birthday/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock(WILMETTE, Ill.) — A beloved crossing guard just got the sweetest 80th birthday surprise.

Alec Childress was surprised by 100 kids, parents, family and church members on Thursday at the intersection where he’s served as a crossing guard in Wilmette, Illinois, for 14 years.

The village even presented Childress with an honorary street sign which read, “Alec’s Corner.”

“It’s a joy that words cannot explain,” Childress told Good Morning America moments after the celebration. “It’s unbelievable the love that had been poured out for me. I’m just so grateful.”

Childress previously worked in construction for 46 years. He had one child with his first wife of 25 years, who died from cancer.

Childress and his current wife of 32 years, Gail, have two children. He also has 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In addition to his family, Childress said his greatest happiness has been greeting the students of Central School and St. Francis School.

Each morning, the kids are met with a smile, a peace sign and his catch phrase, “Peace, I gotcha.”

“Alec’s just amazing, he is so special,” a party organizer Krista Gallagher told GMA. “We feel like he’s a real gift to us. He gives us love and joy and happiness every day on top of keeping our kids safe.”

Gallagher is mom to Lauren, Morgan and Liam. Her family has known Childress for five years.

Gallagher said neighbors and friends all chipped in so Childress and his wife could go to dinner and the show Hamilton for his birthday — a gift a roaring crowd surprised him with this morning.

“He did not see it coming,” Gallagher added. “He got out of his car and said, ‘I’m speechless and you know I’m never speechless.'”

Childress said he’s always shown “love, respect and his highest character.” He prides himself on walking 4 miles a day and said he has no immediate plans to retire.

“As long as I’m able to do this, I’ll be out here giving the peace sign,” Childress said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019

How the California power outages reduce wildfire risk: What you need to know

U.S. NEWS How the California power outages reduce wildfire risk: What you need to know https://linewsradio.com/how-the-california-power-outages-reduce-wildfire-risk-what-you-need-to-know/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Hundreds of thousands of Californians are left in the dark after their electricity was turned off in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires.

Why does cutting the power help? Are there better solutions? Here’s what you need to know:

Weather and power

The power was preemptively cut to a wide swath of Northern California Wednesday and Thursday as high winds, which contribute to blazes, moved into the Golden State.

A Pacific Gas and Electric meteorologist said the weather forecast this week is the strongest wind event since the Oct. 2017 North Bay fires which were caused by “electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles,” reported San Francisco ABC station KGO-TV.

PG&E was found responsible for dozens of wildfires, including last year’s Camp Fire — the deadliest fire in California’s history. The Nov. 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California, which killed dozens, was sparked by power lines owned and operated by PG&E, Cal Fire said in May.

Overnight, wind gusts climbed to over 70 mph in parts of Northern California, and the Merill Fire broke out, forcing evacuations. And because of very dry conditions, the Briceburg fire in Mariposa County quickly doubled in size, prompting evacuations.

Southern California started to see preemptive power shutdowns Thursday as the worst of the gusty, dry winds moved into the region.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a rare extreme fire danger for Los Angeles County and Ventura County for Thursday where wind gusts could reach 70 mph. Coupled with low humidity, that’s a prime environment for a rapid fire spread.

PG&E said it turned off power “to protect public safety” as gusty winds and dry conditions bring “a heightened fire risk.”

“Once the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will begin patrolling power lines, repairing damaged equipment and restoring customers,” the company said. “Outages (weather event plus restoration time) could last longer than 48 hours.”

PG&E filed for bankruptcy after losing billions from the Camp Fire.

Since PG&E was determined to be the root cause, “the burden of those liability claims, coupled with the state legislature [which] determined [PG&E] could not raise rates to pay for those, they couldn’t use rate payer money to pay for those fire-related claims, they would have to use shareholder money,” said Catherine Wolfram, who is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on energy policy with the campus’ Energy Institute.

Without enough shareholder money to cover the cost, they had to file bankruptcy, Wolfram said.

“PG&E right now is very gun-shy of taking any risks” and doesn’t “want to be liable if something goes wrong,” said Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities. “They’re trying to manage their risk, and if I was in their shoes I would probably do the same thing, ’cause you don’t know.”

One problem contributing to the fire risk is houses being developed in places where they shouldn’t, Pincetl said. When subdivisions are built in especially dry, windy and wooded areas of California, the homes need power, but they’re at higher risk for fires, Pincetl said.

There’s also the massive area to patrol.

“PG&E has a very, very, very extensive grid,” Pincetl said. “So it means that you have hundreds of thousands of miles really of transmission that you need to be very vigilant about in keeping upgraded, and that includes brush clearing.”

The shutdown also “shows that PG&E, the public utilities commission and regulators have not really worked to figure out strategies to mitigate the potential of wildfire driven by our electricity infrastructure,” Pincetl said.

“The utilities have known for a while now, I would say several years,” Pincetl said, “that change in climate and the accumulation of brush around the pathways of the grid-lines that there is an increased chance of wildfire being caused by a spark from the grid or some other incident.”

“We probably have to stop building in places where we’re putting people at risk,” Pincetl said. “Whether it’s a grid-caused fire, or an ignition from a car engine, or your lawnmower or something else, those are not places where people should be living and expect all the tax payers of the state to bail them out.”

She also suggests gradually investigating in local sources of energy like wind, geo-thermal and solar.

Another way to stop preemptive shutoffs during high-wind events would be moving power lines underground, said Wolfram — “but that’s really, really expensive.”

Another option is putting “sophisticated sensors on the lines” which can detect if a power line is falling and de-energize it before it hits the ground, said Wolfram.

“There’s speculation that this [preemptive shutoff] is PG&E’s way of saying, it [underground power lines] might be expensive, but the alternative is to have these shutoffs,” said Wolfram.

“There are definitely ongoing negotiations and discussions about what to do given the fire risk created by electricity,” Wolfram said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019

Northern snakehead fish, invasive species that can survive on land, found in Georgia

U.S. NEWS Northern snakehead fish, invasive species that can survive on land, found in Georgia https://linewsradio.com/northern-snakehead-fish-invasive-species-that-can-survive-on-land-found-in-georgia/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock(GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.) — The northern snakehead fish, an invasive species that can breathe air and survive on land, has been found in Georgia waters, according to wildlife officials.

Native to the Yangtze River basin in China, the species likely entered Georgia through unauthorized release, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It has been reported in 14 other states in the U.S.

An angler reported catching two juvenile northern snakeheads earlier this month in a pond on a private property in Gwinnett County, officials said.

The long, thin fish is similar in appearance to the bowfin, with a dorsal fin that runs along the entirety of its back and a dark brown, blotchy coloring, according to the department. Snakeheads can grow up to 3 feet in length and survive in low oxygenated systems.

Wildlife officials are concerned about the snakeheads impacting native species by competing for food and habitat, describing them as “bad news.”

The department advised residents who believe they have caught a northern snakehead to “kill it immediately and freeze it” as well as take photos of it and report where it was caught to the Georgia Department of Natural Resource Wildlife Resources Division.

It is against the law to sell, transport transfer or possess any species of snakehead fish without a valid wild animal license, according to the department.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Oct 2019