Netflix to raise price of most popular plan

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 9:51 AM

Netflix Raising Prices

Popular streaming service Netflix announced Thursday it plans to raise the price of its most popular plan.

>> Read more trending news 

The price of the plan will increase by 10 percent -- or $1 -- from $9.99 to $10.99. This is the first time the company has increased prices in two years, USA Today reported.

Netflix’s most popular plan allows subscribers to view content simultaneously on two interconnected devices. A different premium plan, which allows users to view content simultaneously on four different screens, will increase 17 percent in price -- or $2 -- from $11.99 to $13.99.

According to The Associated Press, the price hikes will affect nearly 53 million Netflix subscribers.

The change in prices comes as Netflix seeks higher profits and aims to secure funding for critically acclaimed shows, like “Orange Is The New Black” and “House of Cards,” and as it competes against rivals Amazon and Hulu, among others, to secure rights to shows and movies, the AP reported.

A Netflix representative said the company will email subscribers and send out app notifications on or after Oct. 19, 30 days before their billing cycles. Users will have 30 days to accept the new rate, change their plans or cancel the service.

There will be no change in price to Netflix’s basic plan, which allows users to view content on one screen for $7.99 monthly.

>> Related: Shonda Rhimes to leave ABC, join Netflix

Man accused of ‘marrying’ 11-year-old stepdaughter, holding her captive for 19 years

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 5:18 PM

Man Accused Of ‘Marrying’ 11-Year-Old Stepdaughter, Holding Her Captive For 19 Years

An Oklahoma man was arrested in Mexico earlier this month amid allegations that he “married” his 11-year-old stepdaughter in a van, abducted her and kept her captive as his “wife” for nearly 20 years. 

Henri Michele Piette, 62, is charged with first-degree rape, two counts of lewd molestation and child abuse by injury, according to Oklahoma court records. He was taken into custody Oct. 5 in Mexico, where he lived with the victim and their children for years after her alleged abduction. 

The Oklahoman reported that the now 33-year-old victim, Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis, is speaking out about her ordeal since returning to the United States. Court records show that McGinnis escaped captivity last year with eight of her nine children and found her way to a U.S. Embassy in Mexico, where she received help. 

Her oldest child, a boy, had already run away from the remote village in which they lived. McGinnis told People magazine in August that she has since been reunited with her son. 

Piette was still at large and under investigation by federal investigators when McGinnis first detailed her ordeal and subsequent escape. 

“I knew that if I didn’t get out of there, I’d either go insane or I would end up dying and leaving my kids with that man,” McGinnis told the magazine.

She alleged in her interview that she was raped, beaten, stabbed, choked and shot during her captivity.  

Piette, who has since been returned to Wagoner County for prosecution, told Fox23 News in Tulsa last week that he’s innocent. 

“Most of it are lies,” he told the news station as he shuffled into a courtroom for a hearing, surrounded by deputies. “Ninety-nine percent are lies. I’m telling the truth.”

He also denied raping McGinnis.

“I never raped any children. I made love to my wife,” Piette said. “We were married.”

McGinnis told investigators that Piette first raped her at the age of 11 at their home in Wagoner, the Oklahoman reported. He later “married” her in the back of a van, giving her a ring.

Piette’s son told FBI investigators in January that he performed the “ceremony” for his father. The son was 15 at the time.

McGinnis told People that her “marriage” to Piette took place the day before he legally married her mother. 

McGinnis’ mother later left Piette because of abuse in the home, the Oklahoman said. She and her daughter were living at a woman’s shelter in Poteau, about 100 miles southeast of Wagoner, when Piette abducted the girl in January 1997 from her new school. 

Piette introduced McGinnis to his children as their new mother, court records obtained by the newspaper showed. In the subsequent years, they moved frequently, living in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Idaho before moving on to Mexico.

“McGinnis stated that she was sexually assaulted multiple times a day almost every day while she was with Piette,” the court documents read.

>> Read more trending news

Piette would return to Oklahoma occasionally and make McGinnis mail letters from there so authorities would believe she was still living somewhere in the state, she told investigators. He also changed everyone’s names often to stay hidden.

McGinnis told People that, at the age of 18, she was forced by Piette to get her name and photo taken off national missing persons’ lists. 

“He parked three blocks down the road from the Phoenix Police Department, and he had three of my children,” she told the magazine. “He told me what to tell them. He said that if I didn’t come back within two hours, I would never see my children again.”

McGinnis said she walked into the police station and told officers that she had run away from home at 12 because her parents were drug addicts and that “nice people” had taken her in and raised her. Police, with no evidence to the contrary, were forced to believe her. 

She returned to Piette and her captivity, where she remained for another 13 years. In that time frame, she had another six children by her alleged abductor. 

Sorry, parents, one of this year’s hottest toys for Christmas is already selling out

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 8:48 PM

2017's Hottest Christmas Toy Already Selling Out

It’s mid-October. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

>> Read more trending news

If not, you may already be too late to snag one of this year’s hottest toys.

The L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise, which is sold at major retailers such as Target, Walmart, Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon.com and is the equivalent of last year’s Hatchimal, is already nearly impossible to find.

So what is an L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise, you ask? Honestly, I have no idea. The L.O.L. Surprise brand taps into the insanely popular unboxing movement by allowing children (frequently elementary-school-age girls) to peel back numerous layers of surprises, such as stickers, charms and outfit accessories, before uncovering a collectible doll. The brand has been topping sales charts since it debuted in 2016.

According to the L.O.L. website, its latest offering, the Big Surprise, “provides the ultimate unboxing experience” with “50 never-before-seen surprises inside.” All of those surprises are packaged neatly inside a large, glittery copper ball that can double as a purse and is sold for $69.99.

If you can find it, that is. It’s currently sold out on Walmart.com, ToysRUs.com and Target.com, but you can buy it from third-party retailers on Amazon.com. However the sales prices there start at $114.

Think you’re the only one who may have missed out? Never fear. Apparently it’s an international ordeal.

Need a Plan B? Click here to learn about some of the other hot toys for 2017.

Propane torch used to kill spiders may have sparked mobile home fire

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 8:42 AM

Things You Didn’t Know about Spiders

A mobile home fire in Arizona may have started when a man tried to kill spiders with a propane torch, officials said.

>> Watch the news report here

According to KVOA, the blaze broke out Sunday night at the home on East Blacklidge Drive in Tucson, fire officials said. An elderly woman received minor injuries when she was carried from the home, which was seriously damaged in the fire, Tucson News Now reported.

>> Read more trending news

Firefighters believe the man had been torching spiders and their webs, according to KVOA.

The man and woman have been displaced and are receiving aid from the Red Cross, KVOA reported.

Toddler’s kidney transplant stalled due to dad’s latest arrest

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

Anthony Dickerson holds his son, Anthony Jr., in a photo with the child's mother Carmella Burgess.
Family photo
Anthony Dickerson holds his son, Anthony Jr., in a photo with the child's mother Carmella Burgess.(Family photo)

The organ transplant of a 2-year-old boy who was born without a kidney will likely be stalled for months.

The reason? His father’s latest arrest.

Anthony Dickerson, 26, is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to Gwinnett County jail records.

>> Read more trending news

Just this month, he was released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies.

But Dickerson promised that his son would be the one thing he did right in his life, the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

So when he found out he was a match to donate his kidney to Anthony Jr., he jumped at the chance to help.

>>Related: Cops worked to release jailed father for kidney donation to son

The family was “hysterical” when they found out the day of the planned surgery Oct. 3 that Emory University Hospital had changed the plan.

“They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.”

In a letter The AJC obtained from Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months.

“We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter.

Emory officials refused to answer The AJC’s questions about the decision or its policies, and Gwinnett law enforcement agencies have not responded to requests for comment.

Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. 

“Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.”

Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor.

The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett County jail where Dickerson was being held.

“If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28.

Parents of Anthony Jr., 2, are trying to get Emory University Hospital to reverse a decision to push back the child's kidney transplant surgery. (Credit: Family photo)

Even though jail records show Dickerson was released Oct. 2, the child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year.

Burgess created a web petition to urge the hospital to allow the surgery sooner. It has garnered more than 18,400 signatures, but Burgess said she doubts the petition will make a difference.

 GoFundMe page also was set up with a $1,000 goal.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” she said. “That’s all we can do.”