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Santa poses with teddy bear for memorial to child

Published: Monday, December 18, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

FILE PHOTO: A teddy bear is completed at the Steiff stuffed toy factory.
Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: A teddy bear is completed at the Steiff stuffed toy factory.(Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

A grieving mother clutching a teddy bear stood in line to see Santa at a Pennsylvania mall.

There was no child with Amanda Berman, only the stuffed bear, named Ian, The York Daily Record reported.

In 2016, Berman’s son, Ian, was stillborn, and it has been 15 months since he died. Berman said the pain has not lessened, but the bear helps her cope after it was given as a gift by Sweet Grace Ministries.

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The group gives a basket or bag to families that have lost a baby either by stillbirth or a neonatal death. The group also creates burial gowns from donated wedding gowns.

She and her husband have taken the bear on trips to Ocean City and Hershey Gardens. This year they wanted a photo of Ian the bear with Santa, portrayed by Thomas Timmons. 

Timmons told the Daily Record, “When I first saw her coming and saw her carrying the teddy bear, I pretty much knew right away what this was going to be about.”

Timmons spent extra time with the Berman family, holding the bear as if it were a baby.

All the couple wanted was one photo, but the photographers who run the event at the mall only offered $30 packages. After reaching out on Facebook, trying to find a location that would do a single photo, strangers gave the family their condolences and support. 

Someone offered to pay for the $30 bill at the mall for Berman, who will put the photo in a memorial for Ian.


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Confessed Parkland school shooter’s brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:40 PM

Nikolas Cruz's Brother Accused of Trespassing At Stoneman Douglas, Arrested

The brother of confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday afternoon for trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Parkland, according to the Broward County Sheriff’ Office. 

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Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to the arrest report. 

The sheriff’s office said he rode his skateboard through the campus, passing all locked doors and gates. Deputies said he was previously warned by school officials to stay away from the campus. 

The Worst School Shootings in US History

The sheriff’s office said Zachary Cruz has no connections to Broward County at this time. Before the shootings, he lived with his brother and family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a Lantana-area mobile home. 

>> Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail after the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead. 

After the fatal shootings, Zachary Cruz was put under a mental-health evaluation. He told investigators that as he drove home with Deschamps after he heard about the shootings he said, "I don't want to be alive. I don't want to deal with this stuff."

>> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims 

He has denied wanting either to kill or harm himself. 

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Woman says she felt fat-shamed on Universal’s Islands of Adventure ride

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 11:53 PM

Florida Woman Feels Fat-Shamed After Being Denied From Ride At Universal

A woman said she felt fat-shamed when she was unable to ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.

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Angel Morales said she asked workers if she could ride the ride bench with one fewer person so that she wouldn't make anyone sitting beside her feel uncomfortable.

Morales said she felt humiliated when employees declined her request.

The theme park doesn't have weight restrictions, so Morales said she didn't know she couldn't go on the ride until she was about to board it.

Morales said she bought annual passes to the park last year and couldn't wait to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

"(I) couldn't fit on any of the Harry Potter rides because of my weight," she said. "(I) did a lot of bag-holding in Diagon Alley and that kind of thing."

She had hoped to ride the King Kong attraction, because its seat is a bench without a safety bar, but when she got to the front of the line, she told her daughters that she didn't think they'd fit without making others uncomfortable, Morales said.

A man waiting in line overheard their conversation and offered to wait for the next available ride so Morales could ride with her daughters.

During another trip to the park, Morales said she tried to spare herself from further embarrassment by asking workers if one fewer person could ride in her row.

She said they wouldn't allow it, because they said they have to "push for capacity."

"It's somewhat humiliating to have to ask for an accommodation because of one's weight -- that you have to put yourself out there and kind of beg to be able to ride and embarrass yourself because of weight," Morales said.

She filed a discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. She said overweight people should be a protected class.

"Their interest is getting bodies and getting money and not accommodating paying customers," she said. "That's how I felt."

Morales said she was offered a $100 gift card, dinner and movie tickets, but she doesn't plan to return to the park.

WFTV asked Universal if it trains its workers to handle such incidents and if it considers Morales' request unreasonable.

"While we don’t comment on specific guest situations, we always strive to treat our guests with respect and we work to accommodate special requests when we can," a company spokesman said.

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Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 5:52 PM

Researchers Say Bottled Water Contaminated With Plastic Particles

That water bottle you just purchased is likely contaminated with microplastic particles, according to a new investigation from researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia and journalism organization Orb Media.

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Through an analysis of 259 water bottles from 11 brands sold across nine countries, including the United States, scientists found 93 percent were contaminated with an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water. That’s twice the amount of contamination typically found in tap water.

Major brand names such as Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino were among the water bottles tested.

>> Related: Do you need 8 glasses of water per day? 6 myths and truths about drinking water

"In this study, 65 percent of the particles we found were actually fragments and not fibers," lead researcher Sherri Mason told AFP.

According to the research, the plastic debris found in the water bottles included polypropylene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make bottle caps. The particles are likely a result of the industrial bottling and plastic packaging process.

But the effects of these chemicals on human health, scientists say, are still unclear. 

“As much as 90% of ingested plastic could pass through a human body, but some of it may end up lodged in the gut, or traveling through the lymphatic system, according to research by the European Food Safety Authority,” Time reported.

>> Related: Considering the water diet? Here’s what you need to know 

Previous research has linked synthetic chemicals often found in plastic to “certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,” Mason said, prompting calls for further studies on the possible health implications of plastics pollution.

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Georgia man tied up, shot in front of his family in deadly home invasion

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:32 AM

Georgia Man Tied Up, Shot In Front Of His Family In Home Invasion

Authorities are investigating a deadly home invasion in Gwinnett County.

Jacob Albright with the Gwinnett County Police Department told our partners at WSB Radio the victim was found dead at the home on Scholar Drive

Albright said a husband, his wife and their 19-year-old daughter were tied up inside the home. When the husband tried to break free, he was shot.

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"This is a shocker for us because this is a quiet neighborhood," said neighbor Matthew Cook.

Cook said he came home from church and saw police in front of his neighbor's home.

He was horrified to learn that police believe home intruders shot a husband in front of his family in the middle of the afternoon.

"I would be scared, I would be worrying about my family, and say just whatever you get want, just don’t hurt us," Cook said.

Police said two men in bright construction or traffic vests got into the home without any obvious signs of forced entry.

The victim has been identified as Miguel Osorio, 44. 

Neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots then screams from the women in the house.

Cook said he didn't know the man who died but said this robbery never should have turned deadly.

"I understand he was scared and everything, but they didn't have to shoot him," he said.

Police said the suspects got into a car that already had a driver inside of it. The car is described as a gold or tan SUV.

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