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Store greeter runs to put out fire, loses job for leaving post

Published: Monday, December 16, 2013 @ 9:13 AM
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013 @ 9:13 AM

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David Bowers thought he was doing the right thing. When he heard that a customer's truck was on fire, the store greeter sprung into action, grabbing a fire extinguisher and quickly putting out the blaze. 

But instead of being rewarded for his actions, the Michigan man soon found himself out of a job.

Bowers says that shortly after the incident he was called into the store director's office at the Meijer store in Gaylord, Mich. and informed that he would be suspended for violating company policy.

Later in the week, he was notified that he was being fired for leaving his post.

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Bowers says he knew his actions might violate the company's policies, but he felt he had to act. He also admits he was suspended several years ago for leaving his post when he chased after a shoplifter. 

The owner of the truck, Ken Kuzon, is shocked at the company's decision, "I thought that was what we were supposed to do, you know you have somebody that is in need, don't you help them, but I guess not," Kuzon said.

Meijer released a statement to UpNorthLive.com defending the store director's decision to fire Bowers, "The safety of our customers and team members is a top priority at Meijer." 

"We have a very specific protocol in place for our team members to follow when emergencies occur, and we can't allow any deviation from the policy that could put our customers or team members at risk."

Bowers has been unable to find a new job since being let go last month.

George W. Bush poses with Bono at Texas ranch

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 9:51 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Honoree/singer Bono arrives at Glamour Women of the Year 2016 at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

U2 is currently in the midst of the Texas leg of its tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Joshua Tree,” but frontman Bono took some time off from leading stadiums in singalongs to chat with former U.S. president and Texas governor and current Texas resident George W. Bush.

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 The two met Friday at the Bush family ranch in Crawford to talk about “their shared commitment to saving lives in Africa,” according to Bush’s Instagram feed.

It was no big deal. The two were just chilling on a ranch in Texas, talking about saving the world. That’s not bad for a guy who said he once mistook Bono for Sonny Bono.

Bono and Bush have a history of philanthropic work together. Bono has been an avid supporter of Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and has enlisted Bush’s help on another AIDS relief charity, ONE.

That type of philanthropic work is not unusual for Bono. U2 is known for its sociopolitical statements, and its current tour focuses on unity, according to our Statesman music critic.

U2 performs in Dallas tonight.

Grandpa gives granddaughter 2,000 letters for graduation

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 9:39 PM

John Eades has been writing letters to his granddaughter, Victoria, since she was born.
WSBTV.com

A Buford, Georgia, high school student will receive a present Friday that has been nearly 18 years in the making, thanks to the teenager’s grandfather and his pens.

The moment John Eades saw his wife hold his little granddaughter, Victoria Eades, he didn’t want the moment to disappear, so he described it in a letter.

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That first letter was written the day Victoria was born, and now there are nearly 2,000.

“I don’t know why, but something told me to write her a letter about how I was feeling,” Eades said.

Now that Victoria is almost 18 and will soon be graduating from Buford High School, she’ll get a diploma and a gift full of memories from toddler to teen.

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“First crush, first heartbreak, those kinds of things,” Eades said.

Eades has all the letters in binders with pictures from different phases of her life on the front. 

Victoria knows her grandpa wrote the letters to her, but she’s never seen them.

Eades said that he could give his granddaughter advice “about love, faith, about integrity -- principles of life.”

He started writing letters for Victoria’s younger sister, who will soon graduate from eighth grade, when she was born as well.

Florida man admits threatening to dismember kidnapping victim while picking up child from school

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:58 PM

Alvaro Jose Delgado Uzcategui (Photo: Charlotte County Jail)

A Florida man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court on charges he was the ransom negotiator for a group that kidnapped a Spanish man in Venezuela, court documents say.

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At least one of the phone calls took place while Alvaro Jose Delgado Uzcategui, 32, was waiting outside a Fort Myers elementary school to pick up his child, investigators said.

The incident started on Jan. 26, 2016, when a 28-year-old Spanish man was kidnapped in Venezuela.

The next day, the victim’s family in Spain received a phone call from a man with a Fort Myers number who demanded $500,000 for the man’s release, a plea agreement filed Friday said.

“In later conversations, the ransom caller began to threaten dismemberment of (the victim) if (his family) did not come up with the money,” the plea agreement said.

The ransom caller, who was later identified as Uzcategui, made good on the threat a few days later when he called the family again and said a letter was waiting for them at a nearby store.

Inside the letter, the victim’s family made a horrifying discovery.

“(A family member) and his cousin went to the bar and recovered the letter, which contained a finger wrapped in white gauze inside the gauze packaging,” the plea agreement said.

Fingerprint analysis confirmed that the amputated finger belonged to the kidnapping victim, investigators said.

FBI investigators in Florida were able to use the GPS in Uzcategui’s phone to track him to an address in Fort Myers, court documents said.

While surveilling the suspect, agents reported seeing him outside Orange River Elementary School talking on the phone while waiting for school to get out.

Authorities later confirmed that Uzcategui was on the phone with the victim’s family at the time.

He was arrested during an unrelated burglary in Punta Gorda, police said.

While in custody, Uzcategui admitted he made the numerous ransom calls and told agents that he expected to receive a home in Venezuela as compensation for his role in the kidnapping conspiracy, a criminal complaint in the case said.

The victim’s family was ultimately able to secure his release with a $70,000 ransom payment on March 3, 2016.

Uzcategui pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of using interstate communications in support of ransom.

When sentenced at a later date, Uzcategui could face up to 20 years in prison.

Report: Jared Kushner a focus of Russia probe

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:26 PM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:05 PM

(Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)
Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

UPDATE May 26, 8:00 p.m. The Washington Post reported Friday that in December Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak told his superiors that Kushner discussed setting a up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin.

Kushner, according to the report, asked Kislyak about using Russia’s diplomatic facilities to prevent monitoring of the discussions. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, also attended the meeting, which was not under U.S. surveillance, according to officials.

The White House disclosed the meeting in March, but people familiar with the matter told The Post the meeting is of investigative interest.

The White House has not returned requests for comment, nor has the Russian Embassy or a lawyer for Flynn.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Is Jared Kushner, the senior White House official, a person of interest in the investigation into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign?

Thursday, The Post reported that Jared Kushner is under investigation “because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians,” citing unnamed people familiar with the investigation.

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Investigators are looking specifically at meetings held by Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law as well as an adviser, as part of their investigation into Russia’s pull in the 2016 election, The Post reported.

Kushner has said that he will cooperate with the federal investigators, The Associated Press reported.

In a statement released by attorney Jamie Gorelick, “Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

>> RELATED: Who are the key players in the Russia/Trump saga?

The FBI and the Congressional oversight committee, in addition to other Congressional panels, are looking into what role, if any, Russia had in the 2016 presidential election.

The Post and the AP said that the investigation does not mean that Kushner himself is a suspect of a crime.

Last week, The Washington Post has reported that Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are current Trump administration officials who have acknowledged contact with Russian officials, according to the report.

The source was not named, but was described as someone close to Trump in the story that was originally released minutes after Trump and his advisors departed for his first overseas trip as president.