severe weather


Nursing home residents rescued from floodwaters in Texas after viral photo

Published: Sunday, August 27, 2017 @ 2:40 PM

Texas Nursing Home Residents Rescued From Floodwaters

catastrophe of untold magnitude is still unfolding in Southeast, Texas as floodwaters inundate a large swath of the Houston-Galveston area following Hurricane Harvey.

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The pictures of the disaster are stunning, including one of a nursing home that showed residents sitting in waist-deep water.

The photo, which showed residents at La Vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson, Texas went viral Sunday.

The Galveston County Daily News reports 15 people were evacuated from the home.

“We were air-lifting grandmothers and grandfathers,” Dickinson’s emergency management coordinator, David Popoff, told the newspaper.

>> Related: Catastrophic flooding inundating parts of Texas as torrential rains from Hurricane Harvey pound the region: Live updates

Relatives of the nursing home’s owner posted the photo on Twitter, hoping they could get emergency help and they did. 

Six people are confirmed dead in Texas so far after Hurricane Harvey slammed ashore along the Gulf Coast Friday night.

>> Related: Photos: Hurricane Harvey causes widespread damage

Forecasters are predicting some parts of the region could receive more than 50 inches of rain by the time the weather clears later this week.

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$10K reward offered for information in case of missing CDC employee

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 12:56 PM

Timothy Jerrell Cunningham
Timothy Jerrell Cunningham

The family of a missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worker has partnered with Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for information in the case.

>> Watch the news report here

Timothy Cunningham, 35, was reported missing Feb. 16 after he called in sick to work Feb. 12 and has not been seen or heard from since, according to Atlanta police.

>> Father of CDC employee missing 10 days says disappearance 'not normal'

Police said Cunningham's parents went to his home and found his wallet along with several other belongings.

Police said Saturday that they have not been able to locate Cunningham, and they are asking for the public's help.

"This is an appeal to the public. Anyone who has seen Tim, or may know anything about his whereabouts, we're seeking your help in bringing Tim back safe to us," Cunningham's father, Terrel Cunningham, said.

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Cunningham's family and Crime Stoppers are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case. Police said that at this time they do not have any evidence of foul play, but it is their practice to explore any and every possibility in a case such as this one.

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Daredevil squirrel makes Olympic dash onto ski slope, snowboarder misses it by inches

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:41 AM

Daniela Ulbing of Austria barely missed slicing a squirrel in half during a heat for the Ladies' Parallel Giant Slalom Elimination Run on day fifteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 24, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Daniela Ulbing of Austria barely missed slicing a squirrel in half during a heat for the Ladies' Parallel Giant Slalom Elimination Run on day fifteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 24, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

A squirrel became an unwitting Olympic participant on Saturday when the furry rodent dashed onto the parallel giant slalom snowboarding course and barely missed being run over or sliced in half by Austrian snowboarder Daniela Ulbing.

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Unfortunately for Ulbing, she wasn’t quite as lucky as the squirrel. Though she won the heat that was almost thwarted by the squirrel, she fell in the next round to Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic.

>> Related: Olympian Gus Kenworthy rescues puppy from Korean dog meat farm

But, Ulbing can’t be too disappointed with her loss to Ledecka. The Czech snowboarder is a regular winter games sensation. At only 22 years old, she made history at the 2018 games by becoming the first female athlete to win gold medals in different sports — she won the gold in alpine skiing last week.

After a fun and freezing few weeks, the winter games are finally preparing to wrap up. At the moment, the Norwegians are at the top of the pack with 13 gold medals and 38 total. They’re followed by Canada and Germany. The Americans are in fourth place with nine gold medals and 23 total.

What You Need To Know About Chloe Kim

>> Related: Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. women's hockey team wins gold

And, while the sports and squirrels were fun, this year’s games also had a lot of diplomacy going on in the stands and around the venue. Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the games with his visit to South Korea where he sat only feet away from the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during the opening ceremony. President Trump’s daughter and special adviser, Ivanka Trump, is in South Korea now for the closing ceremony.  

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Florida school shooting survivor's mother says her family has received death threats

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:45 AM

WATCH: Survivors Recount Florida High School Shooting

The mother of Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg is speaking out after her family received death threats because her son and another survivor were accused of being crisis actors.

>> Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting

Hogg and fellow students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have made frequent media appearances to call for action on gun control after police say Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen others in a Valentine’s Day massacre.

>> Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

The students have since become the center of a false conspiracy theory claiming that they are actually actors who are coached before television appearances.

>> Teachers to Trump: #ArmMeWith funding, supplies and resources, not guns

Rebecca Boldrick, Hogg’s mother, told The Washington Post that her family has received death threats since the conspiracy theories started surfacing, saying, “I’m under so much stress.”

“I’m angry and exhausted,” she added. “Angry, exhausted and extremely proud.”

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The student has said he's not a “crisis actor” but rather someone who witnessed a tragedy.

“It’s annoying. I hate it. But it’s part of American democracy,” Hogg said in an interview with the Post. “Am I an actor? No. Am I a witness? Yes.”

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Man accused of beating wife, an online exhibitionist, to death with absinthe bottle

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM

Man Accused of Beating Wife to Death with Absinthe Bottle

An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show.

The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter. 

Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond. 

The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed.

Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention. 

He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband. 

“Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.”

The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall. 

Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.”

In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter. 

A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public. 

On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon. 

See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below. 

Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time. 

“Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.”

Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said. 

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“We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.”

The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation. 

Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head. 

The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle. 

Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles. 

TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful.

“They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition.

The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said. 

Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death. 

“It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.” 

Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment. 

As of Thursday, Jeff West had not admitted involvement in the crime, Lemley said. 

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