Boy Scouts to let girls join, earn Eagle Scout rank

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 3:13 PM

FILE - In this Monday, May 29, 2017 file photo, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts salute during a Memorial Day ceremony in Linden, Mich. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Jake May/The Flint Journal - MLive.com via AP
FILE - In this Monday, May 29, 2017 file photo, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts salute during a Memorial Day ceremony in Linden, Mich. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.(Jake May/The Flint Journal - MLive.com via AP)

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will allow girls to be part of its Cub Scouts programs beginning next year.

The new rule will set up separate Cub Scout dens, made up of either all boys or all girls. A den is made up of six to eight children. Cub Scout dens make up the larger group, a Cub Scout pack.

Packs will have the option to either remain single-gender or have girls and boys in the larger group together, according to Boy Scouts of America leaders.

The plan was unanimously approved by the Boy Scouts board of directors.

"The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls," Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. "The organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting -- to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."

Boy Scouts of America also announced a plan for older girls that will use the same curriculum used by the Boy Scouts and will allow for girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges to be eligible for the honor.
In explaining the decision, the board said it took the realities of a busy family life into consideration.

"Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing," the Boy Scouts of America statement said.

"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children," said Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts.

The decision comes after the group was slammed by the president of the Girl Scouts, who claimed Boy Scouts of America had instituted a “covert campaign to recruit girls.”

According to the Boy Scouts of America website, three groups make up the organization: Cub Scouts, which is for children in first through fifth grades; Boy Scouts, which is for youth 11-17 years old and Venturing, which is a coed program for young adults ages 13 through 20.

Boy Scouts of America has about 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and about 960,000 volunteers in the United States and its territories. Earlier this year, Girl Scouts USA reported 1.5 million youth members.

Photos offer glimpse into former Texas home of parents accused of abusing 13 children

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:58 PM

RIVERSIDE, CA - JANUARY 18: David Allen Turpin, accused of holding their 13 children captive, appears in court for arraignment on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn on Sunday morning, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment.  (Photo by Terry Pierson-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
RIVERSIDE, CA - JANUARY 18: David Allen Turpin, accused of holding their 13 children captive, appears in court for arraignment on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn on Sunday morning, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment. (Photo by Terry Pierson-Pool/Getty Images)(Pool/Getty Images)

David and Louise Turpin, the California couple who were charged with torture and child abuse after authorities accused them of holding their 13 children captive in dire conditions, previously lived in Texas, several news outlets have reported.

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ABC News reported Thursday that it had acquired pictures from inside the family’s former Texas home, near Fort Worth. The pictures were submitted by the home’s current owner, who took the pictures after he bought the foreclosed property about 18 years ago.

The pictures, which can be seen here, show stained carpets and walls. The current owner told ABC it required an “extensive cleanup” and that he and his wife “believed that the previous occupants destroyed the house because it was being foreclosed on.”

The anonymous owner also told ABC that feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a prosecutor in the case said the Turpins limited their children to one shower a year and one meal a day. 

Boy, 12, dies from flu-like symptoms in Michigan

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 11:34 PM

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 file photo, Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives a patient a flu shot in Seattle. This year's U.S. flu season got off to an early start, and it's been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu bugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/AP
FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 file photo, Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives a patient a flu shot in Seattle. This year's U.S. flu season got off to an early start, and it's been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu bugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)(Ted S. Warren/AP)

A 12-year-old boy from Michigan who vomited during dinner one night, went to an urgent care facility the next night and had a flu test come back negative tragically died the very next morning.

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Michael Messenger’s family can’t believe how quickly their world was turned upside-down, losing a son and a brother who had been so full of life in just a matter of days.

The timeline of Messenger’s symptoms, evaluation and death has his mother Jessica Decent-Doll urging other parents not to wait if they see signs of flu.

“Don’t wait, it’s all I can say. This flu or whatever is going around this year is unbelievably dangerous,” she told the Times Herald.

Messenger vomited during dinner Jan. 9, was taken to an urgent care the next evening where he was cleared for flu and administered anti-nausea medication and was found unresponsive at home in bed the morning of Jan. 11.

An hour and a half later, he was declared dead at a hospital.

Decent-Doll said her son’s vital signs were deemed normal at the urgent care center and that the family was advised to give him fluids.

By 9:15 a.m. Thursday, it was clear Messenger’s life was in grave danger.

“I ran upstairs, and I sat with him, and I tried to get him to respond to me, but there was no response, nothing,” Decent-Doll said. “It’s indescribable, it really is.”

The grieving mother said that her son had just gotten a flu shot in December and that he “never stopped, ever. He loved science. He loved his family.”

Kristen Ervinck started a GoFundMe to help the grieving family:
"Mikey was so full of life and so energetic he lit up the room with his smile," it read.

The GoFundMe raised more than $12,000 as of Saturday. 
At least 30 children have lost their lives to the disease this flu season.

Michael Messenger's funeral was Thursday. His family is still waiting for the results of his autopsy.

Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:49 PM

Despite President Donald Trump deciding not to travel to Palm Beach on Saturday, January 20, 2018 due to the government shutdown, supporters and protesters stood near Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Palm Beach Post)
Despite President Donald Trump deciding not to travel to Palm Beach on Saturday, January 20, 2018 due to the government shutdown, supporters and protesters stood near Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: Palm Beach Post)

The federal government shutdown led President Donald Trump to cancel plans to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office at a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.

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As of Saturday evening, the fundraiser was still set to go on with presidential son Eric Trump and his wife, Lara Trump, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel as headliners. About 100 donors were expected Saturday night, with their contributions going to the RNC and Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Eric and Lara Trump and McDaniel also spoke to about 100 local Republican activists in West Palm Beach on Saturday morning, urging them to work to preserve the GOP’s imperiled majorities in the House and Senate.

“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly, 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump told the Republican group at the West Palm Beach Marriott. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that and I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”

President Trump had planned to visit Mar-a-Lago on Friday for the 12th time since taking office. But he remained in Washington as congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a spending agreement to keep the government running past midnight.

After Friday’s cancellation, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump trip to Palm Beach on Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory for an arrival after 2 p.m. Saturday, but rescinded it by mid-afternoon. The latest FAA notification indicated no presidential travel planned to Palm Beach County this weekend.

“No plans to go to Florida while there is a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an email Saturday morning.

Brian Ballard, the Tallahassee lobbyist who was Florida finance chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign, came to Palm Beach for Saturday’s event and said he understood the president’s choice to remain in Washington.

“I think it was the right decision. I haven’t talked to anyone that’s down here for the event that doesn’t agree,” Ballard said. “We’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary sometime soon.”

Trump supporters, who regularly gather near Southern Boulevard and Flagler Drive to cheer the president’s motorcade as it passes, showed up in Trump’s absence, numbering about 25 at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s the one-year anniversary of President Trump and the mainstream media is ignoring all of his accomplishments. All they want to talk about is the government shutdown over DACA and illegal immigration,” said Lamarre Notargiacomo of Vero Beach, who held an “Eliminate Sanctuary Cities” sign.

Most Senate Democrats voted against a spending bill to keep the government running for four weeks because the legislation did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation about 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.

Another group of Trump supporters gathered a few blocks away near the garishly decorated “Trumpmobile” and other vehicles adorned with pro-Trump messages. That group left for Palm Beach to drive by an anti-Trump demonstration that police said drew 600 to 700 protesters.

Staff writer Chelsea Todaro contributed to this story.

Jim Rodford, bassist for The Kinks, dead at 76

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 7:17 PM

INDIO, CA - APRIL 28:  (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) Musician Jim Rodford of The Zombies performs on the Palomino stage during day 1 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 28, 2017 in Indio, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
Frazer Harrison
INDIO, CA - APRIL 28: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) Musician Jim Rodford of The Zombies performs on the Palomino stage during day 1 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 28, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)(Frazer Harrison)

Jim Rodford, bassist for popular rock band The Kinks from 1978 to 1996, has died at 76, according to the band.

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The Kinks, whose hits include “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Victoria” and “Waterloo Sunset,” made the announcement Saturday on its official social media accounts.

“It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away – he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford,” the band said on Twitter.

Founding member Dave Davies also expressed his sorrow over Rodford’s “sudden loss.”

“I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion – strange – great friend great musician great man – he was an integral part of the Kinks later years RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.

Although Rodford did not play for the band when they burst onto the scene in the ’60s, he was credited by Davies as being an integral part of “The Kinks” in their later years. Rodford would later return to the band The Zombies.