Boy undergoing cancer treatment uses robot to attend class

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:30 AM

A south Florida middle school student is undergoing cancer treatment out of state, but is still able to go to class and hang out with friends through a robot.

Kyle Weintraub does almost everything his seventh-grade classmates do at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School, except he gets cancer treatments in Philadelphia.

His family said the robot is irreplaceable.

"He's no longer isolated. He's part of the class. He's a normal kid sitting or standing, whatever your perspective is on what the robot is doing, zooming in zooming out right there in front of the classroom," said Kyle's father, David Weintraub.

The robot cost about $6,000. Students at Kyle's school helped raise the money to buy it. 

Alabama executes man for 1982 murder

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 2:15 AM

Tommy Arthur was executed by lethal injection Thursday night.
Alabama Department of Corrections

Tommy Arthur, who escaped seven previous execution dates, was put to death by lethal injection for his conviction in a 1982 murder-for-hire, AL.com reported.

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Alabama correctional officials said the 75-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. Friday. The execution began about 11:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the death warrant was to expire, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said. 

Arthur was convicted in the fatal shooting of Troy Wicker as Wicker slept in his Muscle Shoals home, according to court documents. Wicker’s wife initially blamed an intruder, but later testified she promised Arthur $10,000 to kill her husband, The Associated Press reported.

Arthur was nicknamed the “Houdini” of death row because he had eluded execution seven times. He was executed at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

The inmate gave a thumbs up gesture with his left hand to his daughter, Sherrie. who was in the witness room, AL.com reported.

In a statement before the execution, Arthur read out the names of his children. "I'm sorry I failed you as a father. I love you more than anything on earth," he said, his voice cracking.

The execution was to have begun at 6 p.m. but was delayed by appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the execution had not begun by midnight, the state would have had to seek another execution date, AL.com reported.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he hoped Wicker’s family can begin to recover.

"Thirty-four years after he was first sentenced to death for the murder of a Colbert County man, Thomas Arthur's protracted attempt to escape justice is finally at an end,” Marshall said. “Most importantly, tonight, the family of Troy Wicker can begin the long-delayed process of recovery from a painful loss." 

Greg Gianforte wins special election in Montana

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 1:48 AM

Greg Gianforte was the winner in Thursday's congressional election in Montana.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republican Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana's open U.S. House seat Thursday night and apologized to the reporter who accused the Republican of “body-slamming” him, CNN reported.

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With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Gianforte had earned 50.8 percent of the vote to lead Democrat Rob Quist, who polled 43.8 percent, CNN reported, citing Edison Research.

In his acceptance speech, Gianforte apologized by name to Ben Jacobs, the Guardian reporter who made the accusation after an altercation on Wednesday. The Gallatin County Sheriff's office later charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault, CNN reported.

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it," Gianforte told his supporters at his election night rally in Bozeman. "That's the Montana way."

Saying he was "not proud" of his behavior, he added, "I should not have responded the way I did. For that I'm sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I'm sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs."

Members of the supportive crowd shouted, "You're forgiven."

Gianforte, a technology entrepreneur, was considered the favorite heading into Thursday’s election to fill the seat once held by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, but his scuffle with Jacobs raised questions about the outcome.

Democrats had hoped Quist, a Montana folk singer and first-time candidate, could have capitalized on a wave of activism following President Donald Trump's election.

JFK’s daughter, grandchildren pay tribute in video

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 1:06 AM

Caroline Kennedy gets a piggy-back ride from her father in this Nov. 9, 1960, file photo.
Associated Press

The centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birthday is Monday, and in an early Memorial Day tribute, his daughter and grandchildren reflected on the life of the 35th president and the impact he had on their lives. 

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At the start of a video created by the JFK Library, Caroline Kennedy said she has thought about her father “and missed him every day of my life,” Today reported.

“Growing up without him was made easier by all the people who kept him in their hearts, who told me that he inspired them to work and fight and believe in a better world, to give something back to this country that has given so much to so many,” she said in the video.

Kennedy, 59, recalled hiding under father’s desk in the Oval Office, and spoke about the generation her father inspired, Today reported.

"As my father said in his inaugural address, 'This work will not be finished in our lifetime, it's up to us to continue to pass these values on to our children and grandchildren,'" she said.

In the video, Tatiana Kennedy Schlossberg spoke of her connection to her grandfather, then described her unique connection to one of the nation's most historical figures.

"One of the defining relationships of my life is with someone I've never met, my grandfather, President John F. Kennedy," she said.

“To me, that is where he lives, as a historical figure rooted in the past, but also as a person connected to so much of what came after him,” she said in the video. “But while my grandfather had reverence for the past, and the lessons it could impart, he also knew that America was a country where change was possible. That we aren't bound solely by tradition if we understand the past with which we are breaking."

Tatiana's sister, Rose Schlossberg, also described the need to reflect upon the past to help shape the future.

"My grandfather would be proud of how far we’ve come as a nation since 1963, but he’d have been the first to tell us that we have a long way to go,” she said.

The president's only grandson, Jack Schlossberg, said his favorite speech by John F. Kennedy was about sending a man to the moon, "not because it would be easy, but because it would be so hard."

Senate Republicans head home still searching for health care deal

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 12:29 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 12:30 AM

As lawmakers trooped out of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday and headed home until early June, Senate Republicans told reporters they were making progress, but were still nowhere near finalizing a deal on a major overhaul of the Obama health law.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), as top Republicans tried to project a feeling that the GOP is making some headway in making changes to a bill approved in the House earlier this month.

“I believe Senators across the ideological spectrum are proceeding in good faith,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“Leader McConnell is doing a great job right now, focusing on the priorities that we’ve all agreed to, that are broken under Obamacare,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who said he thought there would be legislative language put together in the near future by GOP Senators.

But one thing no one was talking about on the GOP side, was when a health care bill might get to the Senate floor for an actual debate, and vote.

“We’re a long ways from that,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND), “but you’ve got to start with something to begin with. And that’s what this is all about.”

But the schedule is already squeezing Republicans, as there are four work weeks in June, plus three in July – then Congress is scheduled to leave for a five week summer break that lasts until Labor Day.

Not only are there few work days, but Republicans still have to get the House bill past the scrutiny of the Senate Parliamentarian, and then make sure any changes also pass muster with strict Senate rules governing budget reconciliation, which prevents a bill from being subject to a 60 vote filibuster.

One item from the House bill that could be in trouble in the Senate, is the idea of allowing states to opt out of certain requirements from the Obama health law, like the list of “Essential Health Benefits” that must be covered by insurance.

How Republicans might broker some of the differences wasn’t clear as members headed for the airport, though individual Senators are clearly looking for a breakthrough.

“Can you talk to me in two weeks? We’re working on something,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told reporters, refusing to give any hints of what he is trying to cobble together on coverage.

“No, cause I don’t know if it works. I’m running it by actuaries, I’m running it by people who really know their stuff,” Cassidy added.

And that’s where Republicans are right now – still searching for a deal, while the clock keeps ticking.