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Biker rally draws thousands to DC on Sept. 11

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 9:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 9:00 PM

Thousands of bikers rode through the streets of Washington, D.C. Wednesday to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and protest a Muslim march that had been planned.

The noon rally sponsored by the American muslim Political Action Committee drew only a few dozen demonstrators, with keynote speakers calling for peace. A moment of silence for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks was disrupted by motorcycles, organizers said.

Hundreds turn out for push-up challenge to support teen’s cancer fight

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:41 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 8:52 PM

Collin Griffin

UPDATE @ 7:30 p.m. (May 22): Hundreds of people turned out Monday night for the "Pray Collin Strong Event" at Tecumseh High in New Carlisle to do push-ups for the teen diagnosed with a rare form of cancer of the skeletal muscles. 

The fundraiser is expected to bring in somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 for 13-year-old Collin Griffin, whose medical bills are sure to be in the range of $1 million, event organizer Wade O'Connor said. 

"This community has helped me through everything," Collin told News Center 7's James Buechele. "I'll never be able to thank them enough." 

Collin, his dad Robert and O'Connor all said the push-up challenge is seen as a symbolic gesture recognizing the fighting spirit of a young man who has done his share of push-ups as a member of the Tecumseh Middle School football team. 

"I've always tried to be optimistic through everything," he said. "My coaches have told me that you can't go into a game thinking you're defeated, because then you're going to lose that game. You have to go in there with the mentality that you're going to win.... I have to go into it with the mentality that I'm going to beat this." 

The turnout -- which included sheriff's deputies doing push-ups -- was beyond anyone's expectations. 

"He's doesn't break," Robert Griffin said of his son, who has been through 52 weeks of chemotherapy. "He's all in. He's fightin'. He's unwavering in his commitment" to beat cancer. 

O'Connor said The disease doesn't want him to be successful. O'Connor and event organizers want to turn "pain to purpose" for Collin.


Collin Griffin is not your typical 13-year-old. From his old soul, his size 14 shoe and his 200-pound frame, everything this Tecumseh Middle School student does is big. He is hoping to pay football at Ohio State University one day. But now, this teenager is facing one of the biggest battles of his young life. 

Three months ago, no one had any idea what was inside Collin's body attacking him. Then one night he and his parents were out to dinner with Collin's grandmother.

"My grandma said, 'What's that on your neck?' She said look up and there was a big lump," Collin said. 

Doctors diagnosed an infection and after several antibiotics and three trips to the emergency room, Collin's parents refused to let doctors send him home. Doctors performed a biopsy and the family waited 3 days for the results. Robert and Erin Griffin said they could not shield their son from the devastating results and the stage 4 cancer now ravaging his body. 

"You hear the "C" word and think the worst things," said Robert Griffin, Collin's father. 

"Your life changes. Then you find out he has cancer and it really changes," said his mother, Erin. "It's the one time in life, there's nothing you can do but put it in God's hands, doctor's hands and pray."

Now, this 13-year-old is now facing challenges so many of us adults would struggle to comprehend. 

"There's a chance I couldn't make it. Scared me," Collin said. "I told the doctor I didn't want to hear it. I'm going to make it." 

In April, he started chemotherapy.

"Chemo is hard...I'll tell you that," Collin said. "I threw up 13 of the last 14 days at least twice."

He lost 35 pounds and most all of his hair. On Wednesday, Collin started an aggressive chemo-radiation treatment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Liberty Township. He may miss his eight grade school year with all his friends at Tecumseh. 

"Those kids in school love Collin. It's fantastic," said Robert. 

The students are showing support by sending cards, calling and stopping by for visits. They've even organized a push-up challenge at Tecumseh High School's football field Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. to raise money for Collin's rising medical costs. 

Through it all, Collins parents said he has been the strong one.

"There was a moment I broke down in the hospital in front of him and he was in bed and said, 'Dad, come over here.' I bent down and he hugged me. He didn't cry at all and he said, 'I'm going to be okay, Dad. I'm going to get through this.' His strength is unbelievable," said Robert Griffin. 

In fact, while playing a game of pool with Collin recently, I could tell that he does not like to anything. 

As we finished our game, Collin said that he was lucky to have beaten me. Then he turned to me and talked about another game that he intends on winning. 

"Life is a game," said Collin. "Some people get lucky. Some don't." 

Now, I cannot help but think how lucky I am to know Collin Griffin and call him my friend.

Florida ‘teen doctor’ sentenced to one year in Virginia prison

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 8:45 PM

Malachi Love-Robinson in a mugshot after his arrest in February 2016 when he allegedly gave medical advice and a physical exam to an undercover officer.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

A 20-year-old West Palm, man accused by local authorities of posing as a doctor was sentenced to one year in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to fraud charges in Virginia.

Malachi Love-Robinson was sentenced to the prison term after he pleaded guilty in March to charges of making false statements to obtain credit and of passing a forged document. He still faces criminal proceedings in Palm Beach County, where authorities allege he practiced medicine without a license and defrauded patients.

>> Read more trending news

Love-Robinson, who turned 20 on May 12, was out on bail when he reportedly traveled to Stafford, Virginia, in September and tried to purchase a used car. Virginia authorities say he provided fraudulent information while trying to purchase the vehicle and claimed that an elderly relative accompanying had agreed to be a co-signer.

He reportedly tried to buy a $26,000 Lexus from a used-car dealership. He initially asked about buying a Jaguar, but was told the dealership did not have any left in stock, a dealership employee told The Palm Beach Post in September.

Authorities say he also used the relative’s credit cards to purchase two iPads and a cellphone.

Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office spokesman Mike Edmondson said Monday that Love-Robinson will be extradited to Palm Beach County but would not comment on when that would occur.

Love-Robinson received national attention after being arrested in February 2016 by Palm Beach County authorities. He allegedly gave medical advice and a physical exam to an undercover officer.

Authorities say Love-Robinson was practicing without a license in an office at the West Palm Medical Plaza, near JFK Medical Center North. He is also accused of defrauding an elderly woman of nearly $35,000 after examining her after she complained of stomach pains.

Authorities say he also stole nearly $43,000 from the business account of New Directions, a Boynton Beach, Florida, addiction-treatment center.

Love-Robinson was briefly employed as a program director at New Directions. He left to open his own practice called New Life Holistic and Alternative Medical Center.

Following his Palm Beach County arrest, Love-Robinson made an appearance on “Good Morning America.” He defended his actions, saying he had only practiced alternative medicine and had the proper certifications to do so.

Clark Howard on battling a life-threatening illness, ‘I felt like death’

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 7:26 PM

Consumer expert Clark Howard is pictured here at an event in Atlanta in 2006. Howard was recently hospitalized with a potentially deadly condition after an interaction with the antibiotic Cipro. ‘I felt like death,’ Howard said, as he discussed what happened.
Rick Diamond/WireImage


Atlanta-based consumer advisor Clark Howard is speaking out about a mysterious and sudden illness that threatened his life recently.

The same disease killed a Georgia man after, just like Howard, taking a powerful antibiotic only days before falling ill.

>> Read more trending news

Howard was admitted to Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital three days after taking the generic antibiotic ciprofloxacin. The brand name is Cipro.

He took it to ward off an infection after a biopsy to monitor his prostate cancer.

There's no proof that what happened next is linked to the pill, but it has happened before.

“I felt like death,” Howard said. “It was a struggle to walk five steps.”

During his hospital stay, Howard’s system was flushed out with IV's. He said a doctor with 40 years of experience determined he had rhabdomyolysis.

“With rhabdo, your muscles are eating themselves, and then they destroy your kidneys and you die,” Howard said.

That's what happened to Gwinnett County, Georgia tri-athlete Chris Dannelly in 2013. The disease killed him five days after he took three pills of ciprofloxacin’s sister drug levofloxacin

Howard said Piedmont doctors have a working theory that the antibiotic combined with his cholesterol pill was a bad mix.

>> Related: Woman says popular antibiotic levofloxacin killer her husband

“The generic Lipitor acted as a catalyst. That caused the supposed problems with Cipro to magnify and give me the rhabdomylosis,” Howard said.

Ten months ago, doctors in Scotland published a similar case involving the two types of pills and a case of rhabdo.

Their conclusion: the consequences of this interaction can have potentially serious outcomes.

Howard said he plans to ask about a substitute pill.

“Even not knowing for sure whether Cipro was a villain in this or not, why would I want to be dead?”   Howard’s cancer doctor is also his cousin. Dr. Skip Holden said Howard has had Cipro before with ill health affect and that he uses it because the risk of infection with a prostate biopsy is so great.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

Holden said he’s looking for input in Howard’s case and has asked doctors at UCLA Medical Center to weigh in.

Middletown picks top Lakota official as new superintendent

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 6:21 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 8:19 PM

One of the rising stars of Lakota Local Schools will become the new leader of Middletown City Schools, the Journal-News was the first to report Monday.

Marlon Styles Jr., the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Lakota, was chosen through unanimous vote by the Middletown Board of Education on Monday evening as the district’s next superintendent.

MORE: 3 finalists for Middletown Superintendent job

“We will be innovative and modernize our approach to provide our students with a strong educational experience and we will introduce a strong sense of Middletown pride and I hope to be the source of inspiration for that in this district and this community,” Styles told the board after the vote.

Styles, who is a former principal of Mount Healthy High School in Hamilton County, said, “I’m looking forward to partnering with you and the community to making a difference in the lives of our students … and I’m ready to get to work.”

Middletown School Board President Chris Urso said the 37-year-old Styles won over the five-member governing board of the Butler County city school system with his resume, intelligence and leadership qualities.

“He comes here with a past that is full of great experiences, being at Mount Healthy and being at Lakota, you can see the young man is ready for this challenge. The charisma, the intellect, all those pieces gives us the utmost confidence that as superintendent he’ll lead our district in a good direction,” Urso said after the vote.

Styles, who will earn $138,000 annually, will replace current superintendent Sam Ison, who initially retired but then accepted a principal’s job with Wayne Local Schools in Warren County.

MORE: Middletown Schools’ leader leaving

Styles will be the first African American to serve as superintendent in Middletown Schools’ history, though the district has had a black, interim superintendent.

About 18 percent of Middletown’s 6,400 students are African American.

Styles moved from Mount Healthy Schools to Lakota Schools in 2013 and is credited by district officials there with revamping and modernizing the 16,500-student’s curricula, particularly in the areas of classroom instruction focusing more on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

MORE: Styles hired as new Lakota curriculum leader

Prior to his Mount Healthy stint he served as assistant principal at Hamilton County’s Wyoming High School and Northwest High School and as a middle school math teacher in the Winton Woods Schools.

He is a graduate of Thomas More College and earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati.

In his cover letter that accompanied his application for the Middletown job, Styles cited newly adopted strategic goals for improving the troubled city school district, which in recent years has been one of the lowest performing districts in Southwest Ohio according to the state’s annual report card.

“I believe I have the diverse experience, leadership, skills and commitment you are looking for to lead the Middletown Schools,” wrote Styles in documents obtained by the Journal-News last week through a public records request.

“In collaboration with all Middletown city school district stakeholders, we would infuse modern learning opportunities into our schools to positively impact student learning,” wrote Styles.

Veteran Lakota Board of Education member Ray Murray, who cast a vote in 2013 to hire Styles, praised the new Middletown leader as a “smart choice for the job of superintendent of the Middletown School district.”

“His knowledge of curriculum design and professional development will bring a positive and immediate impact on student learning. Marlon is a true leader in education and the residents of Middletown are getting a top notch superintendent,” said Murray.

Under Ohio law, school boards hire district superintendents and treasurers. Traditionally, superintendent contracts begin on Aug. 1, but Middletown board members included a stipulation in Styles’ contract that he will work 15 days total for Middletown in the months of June and July.

In March, the board hired the K12 Business Consulting search firm to assist in developing a superintendent search profile and to recruit potential candidates.

The same firm earlier this handled Lakota’s search for a new superintendent, resulting in the hiring of Matt Miller.

MORE: Record turnover among Butler, Warren county superintendents

School officials offered online surveys to city residents and held a series of public input meetings to formulate a candidate profile and the qualities district officials, school employees, residents, business and city leaders were seeking in a new superintendent.

Work is continuing on a $96 million transformation of the Middletown High School campus that includes the building of a new middle school and a massive renovation of the adjacent high school.

The two schools will be connected by a new gym and athletic center. The two projects are scheduled to be completed in 2018, though some high school classroom spaces will be opened this spring.