7 of 9 believed dead in Ohio plane crash were employees, execs of Florida real-estate firm

Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @ 11:24 AM
Updated: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @ 12:23 PM

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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Seven of the nine people believed killed when a small business jet crashed into an apartment building were employees or executives in a Florida real-estate company, the firm confirmed Wednesday.

Seven employees of Boca Raton-based developer Pebb Enterprises were killed in the crash Tuesday afternoon, officials from the company confirmed in a statement. 

“We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers,” the statement reads.

Two of those killed were principals in the company and five others were employees, officials said.

Family members identified Diane Smoot of Florida as one of nine people killed in the crash. She was traveling with colleagues to scout real estate with Pebb Enterprises, according to reports.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the jet to strike the Akron building with a huge bang, shaking furniture in homes several blocks away and leaving behind fiery debris.

Authorities said no one aboard the 10-seat Hawker H25 jet survived Tuesday afternoon, but they would not confirm the number of people on the plane. They said earlier that there were at least two deaths. No one was inside the four-unit apartment building or another home that caught fire, said Lt. Sierjie Lash, an Akron fire department spokeswoman.

WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 3:07 AM

The NFL Responds to Trump’s ‘Divisive’ Remarks

A photo of a World War II veteran kneeling in solidarity with NFL players quickly went viral amid Sunday's national anthem protests.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

According to the Kansas City Star, Brennan Gilmore tweeted the snapshot of his 97-year-old grandfather, John Middlemas of Willard, Missouri, early Sunday. By Monday morning, it had been shared more than 100,000 times.

>> See the tweet here

"Those kids have every right to protest," Middlemas said, according to Gilmore's tweet.

Gilmore added: "Grandpa has been an ally to the civil rights movement for many years. He's an amazing man always on the side of justice."

>> See the tweet here

In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader, Middlemas said he wanted to promote peace.

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"I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grandkids and everybody else: When they'd go to bed at night, we'd tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus," he said, adding, "I'm trying to say that you have to love everybody. ... We don't kill people. We want to make people live."

Read more here or here.

WATCH: Trump Says NFL Owners Should 'Fire' Players Protesting the National Anthem

Hurricane Maria: Live updates

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 3:12 AM
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 3:12 AM

Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path.

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VIDEO: Hurricanes Jose and Maria From Space

Trump administration announces new travel ban: 'The tougher, the better'

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 2:07 AM

VIDEO: President Trump Speaks To U.N. General Assembly On North Korea

The Trump administration late Sunday announced it is replacing its travel ban with a new proclamation barring visitors from eight countries, saying those nations are not doing enough to block terrorists from reaching the United States. 

>> On AJC.com: Dishwasher to Doctor: Syrian refugee achieves American dream. Now he helps others do the same.

The new directive continues existing restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. And it adds new ones for Chad, North Korea and Venezuela starting Oct. 18 and remaining in place indefinitely until the countries toughen their security procedures. Venezuela’s restrictions narrowly apply to that nation’s government officials – and their immediate relatives – who are responsible for traveler screening procedures.

>> On AJC.com: From March: Trump travel ban again targets refugees 

“The travel ban: The tougher, the better,” President Donald Trump told reporters in Washington on Sunday. 

The first version of Trump’s travel ban — announced in January — sowed widespread confusion, triggered angry demonstrations in Atlanta and across the nation and ultimately stalled amid constitutional challenges. Trump replaced it in March with an order barring visitors from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

>> On MyAJC.com: From June: U.S. Supreme Court reinstates key parts of Trump’s travel ban

It also halted this nation’s refugee resettlement program. Senior administration officials said Sunday they would announce plans for next fiscal year’s refugee resettlements in the coming days.

Like his original travel ban, Trump’s March 6 order drew court challenges. Trump has cast his travel restrictions as efforts to block terrorist attacks, while his critics say they are driven by discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about it on Oct. 10. 

>> On MyAJC.com: From June: Travel ban begins as guidelines draw fire

Walt Wallace — a traveler from Richmond, Virginia, who was traveling through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Sunday — said he understood the security issues involved in the travel ban. But he also said he was concerned about the impact on "people who are legitimately trying to come here... escaping persecution."

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Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Friday his organization might send attorneys to the airport. Mitchell added his organization will be watching to see if the restrictions are "motivated by legitimate concerns about national security, or are they motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry." 

"If the order only impacts people who do not already have visas to travel here, then nobody should be caught up at the airport," Mitchell said. But "if the order affects those already in transit like the first order did, then chaos could erupt and we'd need our attorneys at the airport."

Kayaker finds bag full of puppies in river

Published: Sunday, September 24, 2017 @ 11:09 PM

A kayaker rescued six puppies after finding them in a grain sack and left for dead in a river. (Photo: Uxbridge Police)
A kayaker rescued six puppies after finding them in a grain sack and left for dead in a river. (Photo: Uxbridge Police)

A kayaker found a grain bag containing six puppies floating in a river Sunday in Uxbridge.

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The bag was tied up and the puppies were dumped in the river and left for dead, police said.

Uxbridge animal control was called to the scene and took the puppies. All of them are expected to be OK and are being taken care of.

The puppies are receiving the necessary care, and will be available for adoption after they have been medically cleared.

Uxbridge Police do not have any suspects yet.