The latest local news

She documented her exotic trip on Instagram, now she heads to prison

WQAD News -

SYDNEY – “She wanted to be the envy of others,” said an Australian judge of Mélina Roberge. There’s little to envy now: The 24-year-old was on Wednesday sentenced to eight years for drug trafficking, in a case that involved $20 million of cocaine, an exotic cruise, and social media.

Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé, 30, left Quebec and set sail on what by all appearances was a glamorous six-week cruise with stops in places like Bermuda, Peru, Chile, and Tahiti, which the women documented via Instagram (photos here).

But when they arrived in Australia on Aug. 28, 2016, sniffer dogs unearthed 30 kilograms of cocaine in their first-class cabin, reports the CBC. More than twice that amount was found in André Tamine’s quarters; the 65-year-old Montreal man had invited the women on the trip.

The BBC reports it’s the the biggest drug seizure Australia has made on a commercial boat or plane. Judge Catherine Traill had harsh words for Roberge’s desire to have an impressive social media presence, reports news.au.com: “She was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world. It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive are their currency.” The Times of London cites a court affidavit in which Roberge admitted to being “a stupid young woman” concerned with superficial things.

That may not have changed: The court heard that “her main hobby in prison is training at the gym.” Lagacé was sentenced to seven years and six months in November, and Tamine will be sentenced in October.

Homeowner finds naked intruder in her tub, eating Cheetos

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MONROE, La. – A Louisiana woman is accused of breaking into a home, stripping naked and taking a bath while eating the homeowner’s Cheetos, according to MyArkLaMiss.com.

Evelyn Washington, 29, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with simple burglary and criminal damage to property in the home invasion.

According to a police report, a woman returned to her Monroe home and found a naked Washington in the bathtub.

Washington reportedly told officers that an unknown man told her to break-in to the house. Both the suspect and victim said they didn’t know each other.

Washington was taken to the Ouachita Correctional Center.

Area high school students plan call for safety during Friday walkouts

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ELDRIDGE, Iowa -

Students at North Scott High School are planning a call for safety during a walkout on Friday, April 20.

The 17-minute event will remember each Parkland, Florida, shooting victim and the anniversary of the Columbine High shooting in Colorado.

"For me, it's really important to make sure our schools are safe, so we can learn in an effective way," said Alexis Raleigh, a junior at North Scott, who is helping to organize the event.  "Be able to get the most of our education without being fearful of our safety."

Raleigh, 16, says that the walkout is not necessarily for gun control, but for legislation to address school safety.

"Addressing safety in schools is a lot more complex of an issue than just taking away guns," she continued.

At North Scott, that includes everything from classroom policies to using school resource officers.

"They realize our community is strong believers in the Second Amendment, so they're just looking at how we can promote school safety," said North Scott Principal Shane Knoche.

While participating students will be marked as absent, most won't face punishment.  At  Pleasant Valley High School and Rock Island High School, it will be an unexcused absence without parental permission.

Pleasant Valley students are leading a 90-minute session on Friday.

"It is not our role as a school district to teach students what to think, but it is our role to help develop their capacities on how to think," said Pleasant Valley Superintendent Jim Spelhaug.

Administrators say that participating must be more than just wanting to miss a class.

"It has to be, what are you going to do after this?" Knoche said.

"You are informing yourself," Spelhaug continued.  "You're listening to the views of others.  Most important in this great country of ours is that you're exercising your franchise to vote."

For participants like Alexis Raleigh, it's about thinking and acting.

"Being at North Scott has really taught me how important it is to take a stand for something," she concluded.  "If you believe in something, don't just say that you believe in it.  Do something about it."

 

Doctors are treating teens for video game addiction

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Denver, Colo. (KMGH) — More teens are being treated for what researchers are calling “Internet Gaming Disorder.” Research and patient visits over the past few years have some doctors believing gaming addiction is a legitimate problem.

“They wake up in the middle of the night to game or they don’t go to sleep because they are gaming. They are on the internet and cellphone, they’re ditching school and they’re not doing their homework. It leads to lots of conflict at home and arguing,” said Dr. Christian Thurstone, Director of Addiction Services at Denver Health.

Dr. Thurstone said he first started hearing concerns about gaming addiction problems five years ago. Patients came in saying they couldn’t stop being on the Internet. What started as simple texting on cell phones years back has now evolved into multi-player games where people can play against other players around the world, across their gaming consoles, computers and phones.

The recommended treatment for patients with “Internet Gaming Disorder” is 90 days away from the devices or technology they developed an addiction to. After that time, doctors said patients can be re-introduced to what devices they couldn’t leave alone to see if further treatment is needed.

Most recently, a video game that hit the market last fall called Fortnite is pulling in teenagers by the millions. The game growing in popularity is so addictive, many teens can’t put down their controllers or phones.

Dr. Thurstone said teens ages 16-17 are the most at risk for developing gaming addiction; Citing studies showing 5.5% of teens have problems with using the Internet too much and males are five times more likely to develop this type of addiction than females.

Dr. Thurstone also cited new research showing Internet gaming can light up the center of the brain that addictive drugs light up as well.

“There’s a common pathway that lights up when people are using too much internet and using too much of a substance. You start to see there is the biological that starts to go along with what you see in front of you and you start to see that it’s probably a real thing,” said Dr. Thurstone.

Doctors said parents should step in if they notice their kids are spending a majority of their time gaming, especially if their usage is in the 8-10 hour range. Also, be aware if kids are giving up sleep, not caring about school or homework and becoming disconnected from friends and family. These are all warning signs they could be developing an unhealthy addiction to gaming. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of two hours of screen time per day.

Gaming communities can be a positive atmosphere when used in the right way. They bring friends together and create a fun activity. However, when the gaming becomes a priority and takes away from kids and teens having human contact, then doctors recommend parents stepping in and having a conversation about setting boundaries or seeking professional help.

Oops! Deutsche Bank accidentally sends $35 billion payment

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(CNN Money) — Imagine sending someone money you owe them — but with more than a few extra zeros.

That’s what happened to struggling Deutsche Bank in an epic blunder that it quickly corrected.

Germany’s biggest bank said an “operational error” led to the accidental collateral payment to an exchange it does business with.

The size of the mistake? $35 billion, a person familiar with the matter told CNNMoney. That’s $5 billion more than Deutsche Bank’s entire market value.

“The error was identified within a matter of minutes, and then rectified,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said in a statement.

Deutsche Bank said it was moving the money as collateral to its account at Eurex, a major international exchange focused on European derivatives. Investors are sometimes required to post more collateral as security for repayment. The incident occurred in late March, the person familiar with the matter said.

It’s not clear how much money Deutsche Bank intended to pay — just that it wasn’t nearly $35 billion. Deutsche Bank declined to comment further.

News of the $35 billion blunder, first reported by Bloomberg News, is unlikely to restore confidence in an embattled bank that hasn’t posted an annual profit since 2014. Deutsche Bank got rid of CEO John Cyan on April 8 after less than three years on the job.

“We have rigorously reviewed the reasons why this error occurred and taken steps to prevent its recurrence,” the Deutsche Bank spokesman said.

Deutsche Bank shares lost more than half their value under Cryan, who was made co-CEO in July 2015. Investors had little faith in the bank’s turnaround plan that called for closing hundreds of branches and slashing tens of thousands of jobs. Deutsche Bank’s investment banking business has failed to keep up with the success of its peers on Wall Street.

Dashcam video shows house explode just as Texas officers arrive

WQAD News -

HURST, Texas -- Police in Texas released dashcam video showing a home explosion that injured both residents and the responding officers.

The blast happened April 7 after authorities say 40-year-old Arnulfo Castro lost control of his white 2000 Ford Explorer and crashed into a house, rupturing the gas line.

The homeowner reported the accident, telling a 911 dispatcher that someone was trapped in a bedroom, according to a police report.

As officers walked up to the house at 433 Myrtle Drive in Hurst, the leaking gas ignited, sparking a fiery explosion that sent pieces of the structure flying at them.

The force of the blast lifted the roof off of the walls and blew out most of the back wall, with the residents – a couple and their adult son – still inside, police said.

Officers found the wife severely injured, buried under a pile of debris. They managed to clear the rubble and get all three to area hospitals for treatment. Police say the mother and father suffered serious burn injuries, while the son wasn't as badly hurt.

Officer Travis Hiser was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital. Corporal Ryan Tooker suffered cuts and abrasions while helping extricate the victims; he was also treated and released.

"There was definitely some divine intervention that was reaching down and slowing those vehicles down from making scene and then taking a finger and pushing me away from the house and the path that I went," Hiser told KXAS. "Otherwise, I would have been up on the wall and it would have exploded completely into my face."

Police arrested Castro, who lives nearby, for driving without a license. Castro told investigators that he lost control of the SUV when the brakes failed, according to authorities. Castro was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after being placed on an immigration detainer.

"We are thankful that the victims are stable & expected to recover," the department said in a statement on Twitter Wednesday. "Our hearts go out to them & their family."

We've received requests for the video files from the house explosion on 4/7. Here's a brief video clip from Officer Hiser's dash cam footage that we are able to release. We are thankful that the victims are stable & expected to recover. Our hearts go out to them & their family. pic.twitter.com/k7LCOrOtLn

— Hurst PD (@HurstPoliceDept) April 18, 2018

A lot of people wore their oxygen masks wrong during the Southwest emergency landing

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Should you ever find yourself flying in a crippled airliner with an open window at 30,000 feet, knowing how to operate your oxygen mask could be vital.

But many passengers aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 on Tuesday appeared to be doing it wrong, social media posts show, despite instructions delivered for years by flight attendants before every takeoff.

Video taken during the flight and posted by Marty Martinez, for instance, shows passengers clearly weren’t putting their noses inside the mask, even though that’s a key part of the pre-flight tutorial.

Why’s it a big deal? Well, there’s less oxygen in the air above 10,000 feet. And without enough oxygen, people risk developing hypoxia. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, tunnel vision and nausea.

Airline and hospital officials haven’t said whether anyone experienced hypoxia when the flight — en route from New York to Dallas with 144 passengers and five crew members — lost pressurization after part of the Boeing 737-700’s engine shot through a cabin window.

The masks deployed as the pressurized air rushed outside the jet. One woman died of injuries she suffered after she was nearly sucked out a window. Seven others were treated for minor injuries, though it’s not clear whether any happened because the passengers wore their masks wrong.

Pre-flight mantra can get ‘robotic’

By now, you’d think the pre-flight safety briefing would be burned into our brains: “If necessary due to a sudden change in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the panel above your seat. Reach up and pull the mask to your face. This action will start the flow of oxygen. Place the mask over both your mouth and nose and secure with the elastic band and breathe normally. If you are traveling with children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first.”

But the mantra can become rote, flight attendants told CNN, both for those who deliver it several times a day and for the passengers whose lives it’s intended to protect.

“It just becomes almost robotic when you memorize it,” said Matt Cochran, who worked as a flight attendant for a regional US airline in the ’90s and who even years later said he clearly remembers the message’s “nose and mouth” part.

While some flight attendants may have a bit of fun by customizing their announcements, that can distract passengers from the message, Cochran said.

“If somebody raps the safety demo, then maybe that’s why some people aren’t putting their masks over their noses,” he said. “It’s about safety, not a talent show.”

Some airlines use videos to make their safety announcements. But it’s not always effective, said Sylvester Pittman, who after serving passengers for 15 years as a flight attendant on Song and Delta airlines now runs the Airline Guys aviation blog.

“People are so entertained or trying to see the next joke, they tune out the important information,” he said.

When Pittman gave safety briefings, he often found that passengers were looking down or tuning out. Instead, he said, fliers should “give the (flight attendants) your undivided attention right now.”

“These are the people who could save your life in an emergency. It’s five minutes out of your day,” Pittman said. “Let’s get back to this being a more serious moment in the flight experience.”

Slow warming on track for the upcoming weekend

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Brighter skies not only melted away any left over snow from last night but are allowing temperatures to climb into the 50s.  By tonight, skies will remain clear and with calm winds overnight lows will easily drop in the upper 20s.  Plenty of frost will be noticed on most rooftops and car windshields by sunrise.

Warmer 50s are still on track both Friday and Saturday with a bit more cloudiness come Saturday.  Filtered sun Sunday won’t keep temperatures in check as we’ll push over the 60 degree mark for daytime highs.

We’ll keep it in the 60s to start the new week before scattered showers Tuesday night briefly drops highs in the 50s on Wednesday.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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Police were called within 2 minutes of black men arriving at Philadelphia Starbucks

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The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week were handcuffed within minutes of entering the store. Records show the men entered at 4:35 p.m. and 911 was called at 4:37 p.m.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday and described their arrest. They said they went to Starbucks for a business meeting that they believed would change their lives.

Nelson thought nothing of it when he and his business partner, Robinson, were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help.

The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

Two minutes after entering the store, a white store employee called 911.

“I was thinking, they can’t be here for us,” Robinson said of the police. “It didn’t really hit me what was going on, that it was real, till I was being double-locked with my hands behind my back.”

Nelson and Robinson were arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed.

Nelson and Robinson, black men who became best friends in the fourth grade, were taken in handcuffs from the Starbucks in Philadelphia’s tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, where Robinson has been a customer since he was 15.

Nelson said they had been working on the business meeting for months.

“We were there for a real reason, a real deal that we were working on,” Robinson explained. “We put in a lot of time, energy, effort. … We were at a moment that could have a positive impact on a whole ladder of people, lives, families. So I was like, ‘No, you’re not stopping that right now.'”

Nelson and Robinson originally were supposed to meet Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, at a Starbucks across town.

Yaffe showed up as the men were being handcuffed. He can be seen in the video demanding an explanation for the officers’ actions. Nelson and Robinson did not resist arrest.

“When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?” Nelson said. “You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.”

It was hardly their first encounter with police, a rite of passage that becomes a regular occurrence for many black men their age. But neither had been arrested before, setting them apart from many of their peers in the gritty southwest Philadelphia neighborhood where they grew up.

Robinson briefly wondered what he might’ve done to bring the moment on himself.

“I feel like I fell short,” he explained. “I’m trying to think of something I did wrong, to put not just me but my brother, my lifelong friend … in this situation.”

Attorney Stewart Cohen, representing Nelson and Robinson, said the men were illegally profiled. He pointed to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in hotels, restaurants, theaters and other public accommodations.

Robinson said he thought about his loved ones and how the afternoon had taken such a turn as he was taken to jail. Nelson wondered if he’d make it home alive.

“Anytime I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind,” Nelson said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, who is white, said what happened at the Starbucks “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”

On Monday, the two men met with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who apologized.

“I want to make sure that this situation doesn’t happen again,” Robinson said. “What I want is for a young man, young men, to not be traumatized by this and instead motivated, inspired.”

“You go from being someone who’s just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens,” Nelson said. “How do you handle it? Do you stand up? Do you fight? Do you sit down and just watch everyone else fight for you? Do you let it slide, like we let everything else slide with injustice?”

Related: Starbucks has a bold plan to address racial bias. Will it work?

The store employee who called 911 is no longer with the company. Starbucks has not said under what circumstances she left.

Starbucks plans to close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon in May to teach employees about racial bias. The training will be provided to about 175,000 workers.

It will be developed with guidance from experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Related: Starbucks will close 8,000 US stores May 29 for racial-bias training

On Wednesday, Johnson and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz met with Philadelphia church and community leaders.

Rev. Gregory Holston, executive director of POWER, a group that helped organize the meeting, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about Starbucks’ response.

In addition to the bias training, Starbucks leaders were pressed in the meeting on raising wages, on hiring workers who have been incarcerated and on their role in gentrifying neighborhoods.

“We are challenging them to take the lead in supporting racial justice organizations and speaking to other companies to join the cause,” Holston said.

Starbucks declined to discuss the meeting, but said through a spokesperson that “we are grateful to have these opportunities to talk with and listen to civic and community leaders this week in Philadelphia.”

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