At least 109 schools named after Confederate figures, study says

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Austin, Texas, pictured in 2015.
Shelby Tauber, Austin American-Statesman
Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Austin, Texas, pictured in 2015.(Shelby Tauber, Austin American-Statesman)

study from the Southern Poverty Law Center says that at least 109 public schools in the United States are named after prominent figures in the Confederacy and many have large African-American student bodies.

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As part of the 2016 study on the symbols of the Confederacy, the  advocacy organization found that 52 schools were named after Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is nearly half of the schools where data was pulled from. Most of these schools are in Southern states, but a few are in the Midwest and western regions of the country.

One of the oldest schools in Jacksonville, Florida, is Robert E. Lee High School. In Tampa, Florida, three hours away, is Robert E. Lee Elementary School.

Other schools are named after Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard, Nathan Bedford Forrest and J.E.B. Stuart. Fifteen are named after Jackson, 13 after Davis, seven each after Beauregard and Forrest and five named after Stuart.

In California and Washington state, three schools are named after Lee: Robert E. Lee Elementary in East Wenatchee, Washington; Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Long Beach, California, and an elementary school of the same name in San Diego, California.

In 2016, the San Diego elementary school was renamed Pacific View Leadership Elementary School, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. That same year, The Grunion reported that Lee Elementary in Long Beach, one of the oldest elementary schools in the city, would be renamed Olivia Herrera Elementary School. Herrera was an activist who worked with Cesar Chavez, according to Long Beach Post.

Despite name changes of numerous schools named after Lee across the country, Lee Elementary in East Wenatchee has not moved toward renaming the school. In 2015, in the wake of the Charleston massacre, Eastmont Superintendent Garn Christensen said most Wenatchee citizens wanted to keep the name.

According to the SPLC, 27 of the 109 schools have majority African-American student populations. Ten have an African-American population of over 90 percent. 

In one case, The Washington Post reported in 2013 that Duval County Public Schools in Florida would change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida, following a 161,000 signature petition. Named after the Confederate general and the first “grand wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, the school was reported as having an African-American student body of more than 50 percent.

Notably, in 2016, Houston Independent School District voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School Margaret Long Wisdom High School, after a lifelong Houston resident and educator. The school has a large Latino population, according to The Associated Press

Despite the renaming of some schools, others have kept monikers bearing the names of Confederate figures, like Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, Texas, J.E.B. Stuart Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida, and Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s not clear for each school if the decision to keep some of the names is because of cultural or historical ties or budgetary reasons.

Relying on federal, state and private resources, SPLC said that the data was verified by at least one other source, with preference given to governmental sources over private ones. 

According to the SPLC, “at least 39 of these schools were built or dedicated from 1950 to 1970, broadly encompassing the era of the modern civil rights movement.”

Don’t forget safety while shopping on Black Friday, police say

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 12:05 AM

Black Friday 2017 Deals

Holiday shopping mania can make it easy to forget some common-sense rules to keep you and your belongings safe. Police recommend these tips before hitting the stores on Black Friday:

1Remove valuables from view: After a successful shopping run, you should place and secure all holiday packages in your trunk, away from prying eyes. Thefts are crimes of opportunity, and thieves wait and watch those who park, so lock and secure all windows and doors.

2Plan your route: Park in well-lighted spots, which thieves tend to avoid. It takes only three minutes for a vehicle to be burglarized or stolen, safety experts say.

3Don’t leave vehicle idling: No matter how quick the trip into the store will take, always turn off the ignition, lock your doors, roll up the windows and take your keys.

4Report any suspicious activity: Call 911 if you see something fishy and be sure to give a good description of the suspicious subject.

5Follow all traffic rules: For instance, don’t block intersections or rights of way, and park only in marked spaces. If you create a parking space, you risk being towed.

(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
6Keep your eyes peeled: Watch for shoppers crossing streets and walking in parking lots. Look for cars backing in and out of parking spaces. Sunset Valley police want shoppers to remember that all incoming mall traffic has the right of way and should not stop — exiting traffic should always yield.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2017: What time, what channel, which balloons will be there?

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

Police officers stand near the site where a large balloon of Olaf, from the animated film,
Police officers stand near the site where a large balloon of Olaf, from the animated film, "Frozen", is being inflated for the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. Sand-filled sanitation trucks and police sharpshooters will mix with glittering floats and giant balloons at a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that comes in a year of terrible mass shootings and a deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for nearly 100 years. It draws 3 million people in person in New York City, and more than 50 million on television. 

There are stars who sing and dance, marching bands and balloons. Big balloons.

This year’s version of the parade is set to go off Thursday in New York City with a cast of more than 8,000.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s parade.

What time does it start?

9 a.m. ET. It is scheduled to last until noon.

What channel is it on?

The parade is broadcast on NBC.

How long is the parade route?

2.5 miles

What is the parade route?

The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. It moves south on Central Park West, and at Columbus Circle, it turns east onto Central Park South. When the parade reaches 6th Avenue, it turns south on to 34th Street. At 34th Street it turns west to Macy's Herald Square and ends at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue.

When was the first Macy's Thanksgiving day parade?

The first parade was held on Christmas in 1924.

Which balloons will we see this year?

Angry Birds’ Red

Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn

Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger

Sinclair’s Dino

Hello Kitty

Pillsbury the Doughboy

Ronald McDonald


SpongeBob SquarePants


The Elf on the Shelf

Charlie Brown

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Super Wings’ Jett

Paw Patrol’s Chase

The Grinch

Frozen’s Olaf

Novelty Balloons

Charlie, Kit & C.J. Holiday Elves

Harold the Policeman

Yellow Star


Harold the Baseball Player

Rex the Happy Dragon

Cloe the Clown

Christmas String of Lights

Candy Cane

Blue Ornament

Red and Gold Macy’s Star

What about the floats?

There will be 31 floats in the parade.

Who is performing?

Gwen Stefani

98 Degrees

Sara Evans

Andra Day



Dustin Lynch

Wyclef Jean

Goo Goo Dolls

Smokey Robinson

Kat Graham

The Radio City Rockettes

Olivia Holt

JoJo Siwa

Andy Grammer

Miss America Cara Mund

Leslie Odom Jr.

Padma Lakshmi

Tom Colicchio

Angelica Hale

Bebe Rexha

Lauren Alaina

Nicky Jam

Sabrina Carpenter

Patti LaBelle

Marching Bands

There are 12 marching bands in the parade. They are:

Nation Ford High School Band

West Harrison High School

NYPD Marching Band

U.S. Air Force

Colony High School Band

Ohio University Marching Band

Rockford High School Marching Band

Macy’s Great American Marching Band

Prairie View A&M Marching Storm

Rosemount High School Marching Band

Davis High School Marching Band

Trumbull High School

Parade History

According to the New York Tourist Commission, the inaugural Macy's Day Parade took place on Christmas 1924 and had an audience of 250,000 people. There were no giant balloons until 1927 when Felix the Cat showed up. The parade was first broadcast on radio in 1932.

The Balloons

The balloons are filled with 12,000 cubic feet of helium. They are inflated the day before Thanksgiving at the American Museum of National History from 3 p.m. -10 p.m.

Some numbers

  • On average, 300 bands a year apply for the 12 slots in the parade
  • Those handling the balloons, 30 to 100 of them for each balloon, are volunteers.
  • It  takes 15 minutes to deflate the balloon.



Mama June proves she kept her weight loss promise 7 months later

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

[June  April 5, 2017] AJ Calloway interviews Honey Boo Boo and Mama  in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra
[June April 5, 2017] AJ Calloway interviews Honey Boo Boo and Mama in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)(D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

Seven months after losing 300 pounds on “Mama June: From Not to Hot,” Mama June Shannon is here to prove she’s still keeping the weight off!

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The 38-year-old reality star was spotted out and about in Atlanta this week while Christmas shopping and was happy to show off her slim figure. Dressed in athletic wear leggings and a long-sleeved gray shirt, she was all smiles while proving she’s kept her weight loss promise.

“I can promise you I’m never going back to that size. I’m happy where I’m at,” Shannon told PEOPLE back in April after she underwent weight loss surgery and drastically changed her diet and exercise routine, going from 460 pounds to a size 4.

At the very beginning of her weight loss journey, she wanted to drop the pounds to make her ex Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson jealous at his then-upcoming wedding to his new love. However, over time it became much more than that.

“My goal when I first started this weight loss journey was to make Sugar Bear kind of jealous,” she said. “But it’s no longer about revenge. Doing all the surgeries really took a toll on me -- not just physically, but emotionally. I feel like [I’m] becoming the person on the outside that I always felt like [I was] on the inside.”

When she made her big debut after shedding the weight, her daughter and “Toddlers & Tiaras” star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, said, “She looks great. I’m really proud of her.”

While Shannon continues to drop jaws whenever she updates fans on how she’s been keeping up her weight loss, she barely turns heads back at home.

“It’s kind of crazy. A lot of people don’t recognize who I am until I talk,” she said. “It’s kind of like I’m in my own disguise. Normally when I walk through the streets, everybody notices me, and now it’s like nobody [does].”

However, she may not slip under the radar for much longer, because she’s headed back to your television screens in January for “Mama June: From Not to Hot” Season 2:

#Repost @wetv (@get_repost) ・・・ #MamaJune is doing what?!? Season 2 of #FromNotToHot premieres this January!

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Joe Barton apologizes for graphic photo circulating online

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:04 PM

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions witnesses during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, issued an apology Wednesday after a sexually explicit photo of him made the rounds on social media.

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Barton reportedly sent the photo to a woman he was involved with after he and his now ex-wife had separated.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” he said, according to The Texas Tribune. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

Barton, who recently announced he would run for re-election in 2018, said through a spokeswoman that he has no plans of resigning.