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Waffle House customer cooks his own meal after finding staff sleeping

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 2:17 PM

Customer Finds Staff Sleeping at Waffle House, Cooks His Own Meal

A hungry, slightly inebriated man knew just what to do when he stopped by a South Carolina Waffle House early Thursday only to find the restaurant’s staff snoozing: He cooked up his own meal, snapping selfies along the way.

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Alex Bowen said in a Facebook post that he stopped by a Waffle House in West Columbia because he couldn’t sleep.

The restaurant’s employees apparently did not have the same problem.

“I walked back outside to my car to look for employees,” Bowen told WIS. “No one in sight.”

It wasn’t until he walked back inside the restaurant that he noticed an employee snoozing in a corner booth.

“Then it was go time,” Bowen told WIS. “(I) got hot on the grill with a double Texas bacon cheesesteak with extra pickles. When I was done I cleaned the grill, collected my ill-gotten sandwich and rolled out.”

Couldn't sleep so I went to waffle house....guess what...everyone on shift was asleep

Posted by Alex Bowen on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

He told WIS that he wouldn’t normally have gotten behind the grill.

"I give all the credit to my old friend vodka," Bowen said.

He said he returned later to pay for the sandwich. As proof, he posted a photo on Facebook of himself smiling with a Waffle House employee.

Posted by Alex Bowen on Thursday, November 30, 2017

In a statement released to WIS, a Waffle House spokesperson said employees reached out to Bowen to apologize and that the employee photographed by Bowen while sleeping in one of the restaurant’s booths had been suspended for a week.

“For safety reasons, our customers should never have to go behind the counter,” the statement said. “Rather they should get a quality experience delivered by friendly associates. We are reviewing this incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action.”

Precious photos show Santa visiting infants at Ohio hospital

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 5:36 AM

Santa Claus and friend.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Santa Claus and friend.(Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Santa Claus made a special trip to an Ohio hospital to spread Christmas love to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

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At Akron Children’s Hospital, 66 families received a special visit from St. Nick, who held the infants and chatted with the babies’ older siblings, WJW reported.

The hospital posted some of the photographs on its Facebook page. 

Baby’s first Christmas! Santa made the holiday season much brighter for 66 families and their precious babies in our...

Posted by Akron Children's Hospital on Thursday, December 14, 2017

The touching photos were courtesy of Simon Says Smile, a volunteer program provided by Black Dog Photo Co., and started by Ashley Smas and Molly Conger.

The program was started as a result of Molly’s son, Simon, who spent 82 days in Akron Children’s NICU due to an esophageal atresia and prematurity.

Simon is now a healthy 5-year-old, WJW reported.

“When your child is in the NICU you don’t have the opportunity to get regular hospital photos as you would at an adult hospital. I treasure the photos they [Black Dog Photo Co.] took for us that day and wanted to share that gift with others in the same situation,” Conger told WJW.

The photos show Santa bonding with the babies, some of whom are wearing their Christmas outfits.

Community offers support as 94-year-old Florida woman arrested during eviction celebrates birthday

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 11:50 PM

Juanita Fitzgerald (
Juanita Fitzgerald (

After spending two nights in jail in Lake County, Florida, on a trespassing charge filed when she refused to leave her apartment during an eviction, Juanita Fitzgerald was glad to spend her 94th birthday somewhere else.

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Fitzgerald was placed in a Eustis patrol car Tuesday after repeatedly refusing to leave the lobby of Franklin House.

At one point, she reportedly told officers that if they wanted her to leave, they would have to "carry me out of here."

>> Read: Eustis woman evicted days before her 94th birthday, jailed when she refuses to leave, police say

Fitzgerald, who turned 94 Friday, spoke to WFTV from jail before she was released on her own recognizance Thursday.

“There’s no reason for me to leave. Not one,” said Fitzgerald, who was sitting shackled in a wheelchair wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Fitzgerald said she lived at Franklin House, an affordable housing facility in Eustis, for nearly eight years.

She said she couldn’t understand why she was being evicted, but court records show she owed rent and would not pay.

Bodycam footage released by Eustis police shows officers taking a screaming Fitzgerald to jail. At one point, she slides out of her wheelchair onto the ground to avoid arrest.

Police said they offered Fitzgerald assistance from nearly a dozen agencies to avoid arresting her, but she refused, so they had no choice but to place her under arrest for trespassing.

Franklin House resident Dave Howell didn't understand why Fitzgerald was so resistant to accepting help.

"Everybody here has attempted to help her," he said. "And one thing's that unique (is) she refuses all help."

After spending two nights in jail, Fitzgerald said she’ll bounce back.

“I’m a born-again Christian and I’m spirit-filled,” she said.

Fitzgerald also said she would like to go back to Franklin House, if possible.

"Yeah, I'd go back there and live," she said. "You know, that's all the people I know."

Since she was released from jail, members of the community have offered support to Fitzgerald. They include a Mount Dora dentist who offered to make her a new set of dentures as a Christmas present.

She is currently staying in a Tavares hotel room, which is being paid for with donations.

Fitzgerald's story was shared extensively on social media, with several people offering to pay her $500 bond to get out of jail and many others saying they were working to find her a permanent place to live.

Young entrepreneur arrested for allegedly selling pot brownies at Walmart

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 9:39 PM

Pot brownies a Georgia teenager was allegedly caught selling at a Douglas County Walmart store.
Pot brownies a Georgia teenager was allegedly caught selling at a Douglas County Walmart store.(WSB-TV)

Georgia authorities said they seized pot brownies and crispy treats outside a Douglas County Walmart store – and they said a teenager was selling the potent marijuana edibles. 

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Douglas County investigators said they received a tip that 19-year-old Addae Simmons was selling brownies and other treats through posts he put on Instagram.

“People would friend him on Instagram, and he would do a little check on them, make sure he felt comfortable, and if he felt comfortable they would make a purchase and he would deliver for them,” said Douglasville Police major J.R. Davidson.

Undercover officers placed an order with the teen and agreed to meet him twice in the parking lot of the Douglasville Walmart

After they second purchase, they arrested Simmons.

Police said they seized pot-infused brownies and other THC-laced treats. They suspect Simmons had a thriving illicit bakery business.

“It appeared he may have been targeting high school students on his Instagram account. There was a link to a survey and it asked questions such as what high school you attend, how and stuff like that,” Simmons said.

Police charged Simmons with five felony counts.

>> Related: 10-month-old baby hospitalized after eating marijuana-laced gummy bear

Some people WSB-TV talked with said the charges were too severe, but others said the teen knew the risks of illegally selling marijuana.

“If some out there is selling it, they get caught, they need to go to jail,” said resident Lorraine Mitchell. “You think this is serious stuff? Oh yeah, especially if you're giving it to kids,” she said.

The WellStar Douglas Medical Center medical director cited the tragic death of a college student in 2014. He jumped off a balcony after consuming six times the recommended doses of a marijuana cookie.

>> Related: Boy accused of selling marijuana gummy bears at middle school

The autopsy stated marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor. 

“He became psychotic, another bad side effect of that, and leapt four stories to his death,” Dr. Tayari Mchezhai said.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort released from house arrest on $10 million bail

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 9:56 PM

Paul Manafort’s home in BallenIsles, Fla. , where he’s heading after posting bail for release from house arrest.
R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post
Paul Manafort’s home in BallenIsles, Fla. , where he’s heading after posting bail for release from house arrest.(R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is one step closer to being released from house arrest in Virginia and waiting out his trial at his home in Palm Beach Gardens.

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In an order signed Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she was satisfied that the $10 million in property Manafort agreed to forfeit would be available if he failed to appear in court. Before Manafort can travel to his Palm Beach Gardens home, he and his wife and daughter must complete paperwork regarding the forfeiture of the properties.

Under the terms of his release, Manafort must live at his home in BallenIsles and will have a curfew of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Manafort must continue wearing an electronic monitoring device but will be allowed to travel in Palm Beach and Broward counties and to Washington, D.C. for court hearings. He must also stay away from airports, train and bus stations and report weekly to a federal probation office in West Palm Beach.

>> Related: Mueller investigation: Paul Manafort, 2 other former Trump campaign staffers charged

Manafort and longtime associate Rick Gates were indicted by a grand jury Oct. 30 in an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. They face charges of laundering millions of dollars through overseas shell companies and banks.