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Published: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 7:24 AM
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Will we have six more weeks of winter or will we be treated to an early spring??
The answer is six more weeks of winter.
With 132 years of experience (as his top hat-wearing Inner Circle insists), Punxsutawney Phil gave his annual Groundhog Day prognostication.
Phil emerged from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob Friday morning, checking to see if he casts a shadow before thousands of onlookers.
When Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog sees his shadow, winter weather will continue for six more weeks, legend has it. If not, spring will come early.
Georgia’s famous groundhog, General Beauregard Lee, agreed with Phil and also saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.
But when I exited my house, what did I see? I saw a shadow of you and a shadow of me!— Official General Beauregard Lee (@genbeaulee) February 2, 2018
I am sorry folks, but old man winter prevails! Happy Groundhog Day!
Yours truly, Beau ❄️☃️ #GroundhogDay2018 #GeneralBeauregardLee
As did Ohio’s Buckeye Chuck:
There was one hold out. New York’s Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring.
Meanwhile in Florida:
Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 9:14 AM
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A man was shot and killed early Thursday in a possible case of road rage in Georgia, police said.
Investigators were at the entrance of the Brighton Village subdivision in Dekalb County on Thursday morning, where the man’s body was found in a car after at least three shots were fired.
The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office was at the scene, Lt. Mark Lavigne said.
According to police, the victim’s two children and two other adults were in the car at the time of the fatal 4 a.m. shooting.
One of the adults in the car was the victim’s wife, WSBTV reported.
The victim’s relation to the other adult in the car was not immediately known.
DeKalb Police investigating murder of father shot as driving down Flat Shoals. Victim’s wife and two kids were in the car and not hurt. Looking into possible connection to two overnight shootings in Atlanta where drivers also shot near or on I-20 pic.twitter.com/g7jcNUtl9m— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) February 22, 2018
No one else was injured.
It was not immediately clear whether the incident was related to a pair of random shootings that injured two drivers in southwest Atlanta earlier Thursday.
“We will definitely be looking into that,” Lavigne said.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM
CALERA, Ala. — 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.
“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.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:14 PM
— Over the years, much has been speculated about President Donald Trump’s hair, but he’s never admitted to having a reason for choosing his particular hairstyle other than the fact that it’s the way he “likes it.” However, on Friday, that all changed when he finally admitted to having a bald spot — and trying to hide it.
“Oh, I try like hell to hide the bald spot, folks. I work at it,” he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland. “It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we are hanging in, we are hanging in, we are hanging in there. Right? Together, we are hanging in.”
Trump’s honest take on his hair came after a video of him boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Feb. 2 revealed a bald spot on the back of his head when his signature mane was whipped by the gusty wind.
Trump’s hair has been a topic of conversation for years, and he has often talked about it himself. In a much-maligned interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the late-night host was allowed to mess up then-candidate Trump’s hair to prove that it was real.
Trump has also made it clear multiple times that he doesn’t wear a wig or a “rug” as he’s called it. “As everybody knows, but the haters and losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a ‘wig.’ My hair may not be perfect, but it’s mine,” he once wrote on Twitter.
“I do not wear a rug. My hair is 100 percent mine. No animals have been harmed in the creation of my hairstyle,” the former businessman quipped in his book, “Trump: How to Get Rich.”
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:58 PM
— The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a breakthrough blood test that can help detect concussions in adults.
It can be administered as soon as 15 minutes after the injury, but results take a few hours to produce.
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is a “serious public health problem in the United States.” In 2013 alone, there were about 2.8 million visits to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury-related conditions. Of these, nearly 50,000 people died.
TBI is typically caused by a blow or bump to the head, or a by a head injury that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. It can range from mild to severe. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are assessed as mild TBIs or concussions.
Most patients with traumatic brain injury undergo a neurological exam, followed by a CT scan.
For their research, the FDA evaluated data on 1,947 individual blood samples from adults with suspected mild TBI or concussion and reviewed the product’s performance by comparing blood test results with CT scan results.
They found the blood test was 97.5 percent as effective in detecting concussion and 99.6 perfect as effective in ruling out the injury.
The test also costs as little as one-tenth as much as a CT scan.
"A blood test that accurately, reliably and consistently detects the presence of brain proteins that appear in the blood after a brain injury is a major advance," Dr. David Dodick, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology who specializes in sports medicine and neurology, told CNN. Dodick was not involved in the study.
One of the challenges of diagnosing concussions is that the injury’s symptoms can occur at various times. For some, they appear instantly. Others may not experience symptoms for hours or even days.
Symptoms also vary from person to person. Some may experience light or noise sensitivity, or may lose balance.
“This is something that has been a long time coming,” Col. Dallas Hack, who was director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program from 2008 to 2014 and is now retired, told the New York Times.
“The concept originally was that we would have something that medical personnel in the field would be able to use to assess whether somebody who had received a head injury needed a higher level of care,” Hack said.
A new blood test could within a few hours rule out concussion — or guide doctors to perform a full brain scan. https://t.co/VdCqvVdl9I— STAT (@statnews) February 21, 2018
But Dodick told CNN that researchers still need to better understand when brains have fully healed from trauma and how the protein biomarkers may actually affect prognosis. Additionally, it’s unclear whether or not the new test can determine subconcussive blows, hits to the head that don’t always cause symptoms but do cause brain injury.
Subconcussive or repeat blows are believed to lead to the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Over time, that damage may lead to personality changes, mood disorders and other behavioral issues.
"These occur much more often than actual concussions, especially in certain collision and contact sports,” Dodick told CNN.