WATCH: High school football team stands with police, veterans during national anthem

Published: Sunday, October 01, 2017 @ 8:33 AM

The flag of the United States of America waves in the wind against a deep blue sky (stock photo).
Kenneth_Keifer/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The flag of the United States of America waves in the wind against a deep blue sky (stock photo).(Kenneth_Keifer/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When the football team for Mascoutah High School in Illinois marched onto the field Friday night for their homecoming game with Triad High School, they had company: The team walked hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers, firefighters and veterans.

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>> Texas high school football players kicked off team for protesting during national anthem

Athletic Director Scott Battas came up with the idea but let the team’s captains make the final choice, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Is It Illegal To Not Stand For The National Anthem?

>> On This NFL legend thinks the league needs to install a rule to ban kneeling during national anthem

Senior Darius Cooley said the decision was unrelated to the protests in the NFL, explaining, “In high school, we play for each other. It’s not about the individuals or whose opinion is bigger. We all respect each other and recognize that everyone comes from a different perspective and have different opinions.”

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Coach Josh Lee echoed the sentiment, saying, “That’s not some huge political stand, and we’re not getting into people’s point of view. ... They just want to shed a positive light on people who do positive things in our community.”

>> See a photo here

The players and coaches on the Mascoutah High School football team walked onto the field tonight holding hands with police officers. Details:

Posted by KMOV on Friday, September 29, 2017

>> Georgia high school football team runs onto field carrying American flags

Unfortunately for Mascoutah, their decision to bring the boys in blue onto the gridiron didn’t win them any favors with the gods of football; they ended up falling to Triad by a score of 24-7.

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The players and coaches on the Mascoutah High School football team walked onto the field tonight holding hands with police officers. Details:

Posted by KMOV on Friday, September 29, 2017


Halley’s Comet is source of this week’s Orionids meteor shower

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 10:18 PM

The Orionid Meteor Shower

A waxing crescent moon lends the celestial stage this week to the Orionid meteor shower — a wash of rock and ice shed from the venerable Halley’s Comet.

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While the Orionid shower runs from Oct. 2 to Nov. 7 this year, the heavenly theatrics will be most robust in the predawn hours of Saturday when the greatest number of meteors are expected to slip into Earth’s atmosphere.

With the moon just past new Saturday, there will be no lunar interference. During the peak, 10 to 20 Orionids per hour should be visible.

Deborah Byrd, editor in chief at the astronomy website Earth and Sky, said that while Saturday is the shower’s peak, meteors are likely to be firing from Friday morning through early November.

“The Orionids are known to be fast and on the faint side, but can sometimes surprise you with an exceptionally bright meteor that might break up into fragments,” Byrd wrote in her blog. “Maybe half of the Orionid meteors leave persistent trains — ionized gas trails that last for a few seconds after the meteor itself has gone.”

The Orionids are the only well-recognized major shower that happens twice a year. In May, the Earth again runs through the detritus of Halley’s Comet, creating the Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

Halley’s Comet was discovered by Edmund Halley in 1705, but is believed to have been recognized for millennia.

The comet returns every 72 years and was last seen from Earth in 1986. It won’t come again until 2061.

The Orionids are named for the celestial hunter Orion, which is easy to spot in the night sky by its bright belt of three aligned stars. Orion is the namesake because the meteors appear to radiate from north of Betelgeuse, one of the constellation’s most well-known stars.

You don’t have to stare at Orion to see a meteor; they will be visible in all parts of the sky.

If it looks like the Orionids will be clouded out, the website is aiming its telescopes at the sky Friday beginning at 7:59 p.m. in a live hunt for meteors. The show requires registration, so arrive early if not already a member.

The annual Orionids meteor shower is not considered the showiest of meteor showers, but it is generally a reliable one,” the site advertises.

Halley's Comet photographed by the Soviet Probe "Vega" in 1986. (Photo by Liaison)(Getty Images/Getty Images)

Vodka maker is now one of the richest people in America

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

This 2002 American-Statesman archive photo of Tito Beveridge shows the Tito's Vodka founder packing up cases of 1.7 liter bottles of his signature liquid. He's come a long way since then, when his company was five years old; now, it's worth more than 2 billion.
Rodolfo Gonzalez
This 2002 American-Statesman archive photo of Tito Beveridge shows the Tito's Vodka founder packing up cases of 1.7 liter bottles of his signature liquid. He's come a long way since then, when his company was five years old; now, it's worth more than 2 billion.(Rodolfo Gonzalez)

Texas has a new billionaire, and he’s made his fortune through peddling booze.

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The appropriately named Bert “Tito” Beveridge, the founder and sole owner of Austin-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka, is now part of the exclusive Forbes 400, the list of the richest people in America. His company is worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

Tito’s Vodka sold an estimated 45 million bottles last year, a number that will likely go up to 58 million this year, according to Forbes, which recently profiled Beveridge as part of the release of the latest Forbes 400. 

Now 55, the entrepreneur originally got his start in the oil-and-gas industry but found a more lucrative calling starting up his own distillery — Texas’ very first. Prior to 1997, when Tito’s Vodka was bootstrapped together, the state didn’t have any distilleries; there supposedly wasn’t a law that permitted them. Beveridge dug through the code book and proved regulators wrong.

As a result, Texas (and Tito’s home of Austin in particular) has a booming spirits industry that goes far beyond vodka and into rum, whiskey and even Texas’ first amaro.

But Beveridge’s success has always been with the odorless, colorless alcohol, and his once-fledgling company turned 20 this year still producing the stuff and only that.

As with any business, there have been bumps in the road.

In 2014, a pair of lawsuits were leveled against Tito’s Handmade Vodka, claiming that the bottles were “deceptively labeled,” specifically through the use of the word “handmade” in the brand’s name. Both lawsuits were dismissed last year.

The suits were filed in U.S. District Court a year after a not-so-nice 2013 Forbes profile of Beveridge, which explored “how to maintain the fiction of being a small-batch brand that's actually expanding rapidly in the $5.5-billion-a-year U.S. market for the colorless liquor.” 

Whatever the case, Beveridge is using a portion of the Tito’s fortune for good: Tito’s founded the charitable side project of Vodka for Dog People a few years ago, making rescue dogs one of the core missions of the company when it’s not producing vodka. (Beveridge is a self-professed dog lover whose half-Labrador, half-German shepherd mix was constantly at his side during the early days of the distillery.)

And earlier this year, Tito’s took the philanthropy a step further and now donates all proceeds from its online store to designated nonprofits. You can choose which one you want your money to go toward on the site.

Beveridge made the Forbes 40 list despite an ever-steeper cost of admission to this most exclusive club: “The minimum net worth to make The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans is now a record $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion a year ago,” according to the publication.

Witnesses say 3-year-old chased, shot man, father charged with murder

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 7:39 PM

Witnesses Say 3-Year-Old Chased, Shot Man, Father Charged With Murder

A South Carolina man has been charged with murder after his 3-year-old son allegedly shot a man in the chest.

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According to The Augusta Chronicle, deputies found 24-year-old Timothy Johnson with a gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday. 

Aiken County Sheriff’s Sgt. Stephen Shunn said witnesses told deputies that he was shot when Albert Monted Davis gave the toddler a handgun and the 3-year-old chased the victim around the home. The weapon discharged, killing Johnson.

Shunn told The Associated Press that deputies are still investigating why Davis gave the child the gun and whether Davis was angry at Johnson.

Davis, 31, was charged with murder, possession of a stolen handgun and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 

Neither court nor jail records indicated whether Davis has an attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

School named after Confederate president to be renamed after Barack Obama

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 4:43 PM

School Named After Confederate President To Be Renamed After Barack Obama

A Mississippi school that was named after a Confederate president is to be renamed next year after former U.S. President Barack Obama after an Oct. 5 vote by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees.

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Davis IB Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, has operated for years under the namesake of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. But by the time the 2018-2019 academic year rolls around, the school will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet IB Elementary School.

The decision was announced Tuesday after months of discussion. Parents of students who attend the school, including PTA President Janelle Jefferson, expressed excitement and approval, saying the new name is more appropriate for the school, which has a population of 97 percent black students.

“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Jefferson said, according to The Clarion Ledger.

Jefferson said the new name reflects “a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”

The decision came soon after the Mississippi State Board of Education requested Gov. Phil Bryant declare Jackson Public Schools in a state of emergency for lack of certified teachers and proper procedures, among other issues, Newsweek reported. If Bryant approves the request, the school board will be disbanded, according to The Clarion Ledger

The potential for the disbandment led board members to encourage PTA members at three schools in the Jackson Public Schools system to consider renaming at a hastened pace. 

There’s no word on the renaming developments of two other schools in the county: George Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. James Zachariah George, and Lee Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

As of January, at least 19 U.S. schools had been named after Obama, according to Education Week.