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University of Florida to host white supremacist event, expects $500,000 in security costs

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 1:34 PM

What You Need To Know: Richard B. Spencer

The University of Florida plans on spending $500,000 to “enhance security on campus” and in Gainesville, Florida, for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s speaking event Thursday.

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The money will include costs not only for the University of Florida Police Department, but also for the Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies providing first responders, the university said.

Spencer was to be a featured speaker at the August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which one person died, but authorities stopped the event from taking place after protests and counterprotests turned violent.

The university will recoup $10,564 from Spencer’s National Police Institute for the two-hour rental of the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. However, it cannot pass along the balance of these costs -- enough to pay the annual tuitions of about 75 undergraduate students, according to university estimates -- to him under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court free-speech ruling.

UF plans to remain open during the event, but access to campus buildings will be tightly restricted, and its faculty has been asked to be understanding of students who are fearful to be on campus that day.

University president Kent Fuchs has condemned Spencer’s message multiple times and has urged faculty and students not to attend the event, which is scheduled to run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“UF has been clear and consistent in its denunciation of all hate speech and racism, and in particular the racist speech and white nationalist values of Mr. Spencer,” Fuchs wrote Oct. 10. “I personally find the doctrine of white supremacy abhorrent and denounce all forms of racism and hate.”

Following the white nationalist Charlottesville rally in August, Spencer and the National Policy Institute requested to rent a facility at UF on Sept. 12. The university originally denied the request citing violence from Charlottesville and threats toward UF. After Spencer’s group spoke of suing under free speech laws, the university switched positions to allow Spencer to rent the space, which often used by visiting speakers. He was not invited or sponsored by UF or any of its organizations.

In the days leading up the event, UF organizations and Gainesville businesses have denounced Spencer’s message.

UF Hillel, a nonprofit organization for Jewish students, will provide a safe space guarded by security on Thursday and hold a “Solidarity Shabbat” on Friday with other UF organizations “to show unity and strength.”

Alligator Brewing Co., located in Tall Paul’s Brew House just east of campus in downtown Gainesville, announced on Oct. 12 that everyone 21 and older who brought in two tickets for Spencer’s event would receive a free draft beer. However, plans for free beer fell through when NPI decided to distribute its own tickets instead of using the Phillips Center’s box office, the university said. NPI posted on its Facebook page that it will post updates of ticket information on the page and Spencer’s Twitter account.

A Facebook group called “No Nazis at UF” created a Facebook event announcement to protest Spencer, which has more than 460 people marked as going to the event and more than 870 marked as interested in attending.

“We must stand together in the fight against white supremacy and fascism, and defend the most marginalized of our communities,” the group wrote.

The group started an online petition on change.org to UF administration showing its displeasure with the university allowing Spencer to speak. It had recorded more than 3,300 signatures as of Monday morning.

On Monday, No Nazis at UF’s organizers held a news conference on campus with protest signs in tow. They marched to Fuchs’ office but were denied access.

White nationalist Richard Spencer (C) and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police in Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clashed with anti-fascist protesters and police as they attempted to hold a rally in Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White supremacist Richard Spencer talks with reporters during the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said that Spencer was "not part of the agenda" at CPAC. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is an annual gathering of right wing politicians, commentators and their supporters. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Police: Man performed satanic ritual on passed-out woman

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:50 AM

Man Arrested After Performing Satanic Ritual on Passed-Out Woman, Police Said

A Pennsylvania man is behind bars after police said that he performed what he called a satanic ritual on a friend.

Kyle Parker is accused of cutting the victim on her palm during an argument, TribLive reported.

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The woman passed out, but when she woke up, she said found razor blade cuts on her calf.

The next day the victim said that Parker told her, “I sold your soul to the devil,” Trib Live reported.

Parker was charged with simple assault and harassment and was taken to Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bond, Trib Live reported.

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in the rain at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach Monday afternoon, January 15, 2018.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in the rain at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach Monday afternoon, January 15, 2018.

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

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Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

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Police: Man angry over chicken dinner puts wife’s hand in hot fryer oil

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:46 AM

Husband Arrested for Putting Wife’s Hand in Hot Fryer Oil, Police Said

An Oregon man is behind bars after sheriff’s deputies said he put his wife’s hand in hot fryer oil.

Jeremiah Crothers is also accused of nearly suffocating his baby son, KATU reported.

Police said Crothers covered his 7-month-old son’s mouth and nose until the baby’s legs turned blue, Oregon Live reported.

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According to police, Crothers’ wife hit her husband in the head with a frying pan to get him to let go of their child, KATU reported.

Later, police said, Crothers complained that his wife didn’t season the chicken she was preparing for dinner and then grabbed her hand and put it in the oil she was using to fry the chicken, KATU reported.

When police arrived, they said Crothers was not there, but they saw what they said were burns on the victim and the baby had signs of strangulation and a bruise on his head, Oregon Live reported. Crothers was arrested the next day in St. Helens. Crothers has been charged with attempted murder, strangulation, assault, coercion and attempted assault.

A judge set bail at $217,750.

Government shutdown: What would close; would you get your Social Security check; what would happen to SNAP, WIC

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:35 PM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

The fight over a border wall, the fate of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and the wrangling over the funding of an insurance program for children could force a U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass legislation that would keep the government up and running.

While negotiations on a temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, are ongoing, House Republican leaders said late Wednesday that  they lacked the votes to prevent a shutdown, but that they are pressing members to back Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), on the  temporary spending bill.

“I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, (R-North Carolina), told reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes.”

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What would happen if no bill is passed and the government “shuts down?” Here’s what to expect:

First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

Government agencies would shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide. What Congress will be considering Thursday night and Friday is a continuing resolution, a way to temporarily fund the government.

What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn’t happen this year.

CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:
Air travel
Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.
Federal court
For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.
Food safety
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.
Health
Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.
International travel 
You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.
Loans 
The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home. 
The mail
You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.
Military
Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.
National parks
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
School lunches, SNAP and WIC
School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
Science
The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.
Social Security
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed. 
Veterans services
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.
Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service