Wheelchair dance troupe perform tribute for friend who died

Updated: Thursday, September 01, 2016 @ 9:21 AM
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2016 @ 5:09 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Trending on Facebook

A video of an Ohio dance troupe's tribute performance is garnering lots of attention on the Internet.

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The video shows Revere Dance Studio's Wonders on Wheels (WOW) team dancing to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."

The tribute performance was in honor of one the dancers who died unexpectedly last year.

"We unexpectedly lost one of our dancers back in September" Tracey Burgoon, owner and choreographer at the Revere Dance Studio told WCPO. "It was actually the week we were starting back up. We were going to start back up the week she passed away."

Since then, the team has been rehearsing the choreography for the performance, which took place on Sunday. It was the first performance without their friend and fellow dancer, Katie.

The all-girl troupe, whose members range between 6 and 27, chose to the song because Katie loved Celine Dion.  

"Her favorite singer was Celine Dion," Burgoon said. "She loved ballet, so we decided to make this song a tribute to her." 

In the performance, six WOW members were joined by 14 "shadow" dancers, girls who volunteer their time to dance alongside the team and help the girls move across the dance floor.

"They help them maneuver when they can't move their arms," Burgoon said. "We just really try to work with them. It's just as important for the 'shadow' to work with the girls."

Burgoon told People there's a waiting list of dancers who want to volunteer their time with the program, which meets twice per month and is free for participants. 

Over six million people have viewed the video of the performance on Facebook. 

Check out our WOW Team and their shadows.
Posted by Revere Dance Studio on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Slain officer’s colleagues escort daughter to school on 1st day back after dad’s death

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 11:05 AM
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 9:52 AM
By: Crystal Bonvillian - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Slain officer’s colleagues escort daughter to school on 1st day back after dad’s death
Palm Springs police officers greet Vanessa Vega before escorting her to school on her first day back following her father's death. Jose "Gil" Vega, 63, was gunned down Oct. 8, 2016, after he and another officer responded to a domestic call.  (Facebook/Palm Springs Police Department)

Colleagues of a longtime California police officer gunned down in the line of duty earlier this month escorted his 8-year-old daughter to school on her first day back following his death.

More than a dozen officers showed up Monday morning to take Vanessa Vega to school. Vanessa’s father, Jose “Gil” Vega, was one of two Palm Springs officers slain Oct. 8 while responding to a domestic disturbance. The Palm Springs Police Department shared photos on Facebook of the smiling elementary school student greeting the officers.

Several PSPD officers surprised Officer Gil Vega's 8 year old daughter Vanessa by picking her up from home and taking her to school today.
Posted by Palm Springs Police Department, CA on Monday, October 24, 2016

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KTLA in Los Angeles reported that Vanessa earned a standing ovation when she spoke at her father’s Oct. 18 memorial service. The girl told stories about how her father taught her to run, but always lost to her when they raced.

She also recalled him teaching her baseball and karate.

Vega, a 63-year-old father of eight, was months away from retirement when he was killed. The other slain officer, 27-year-old Lesley Zerebny, had just returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a daughter.

The suspected gunman, 26-year-old John Hernandez Felix, was taken into custody following a 12-hour standoff with police. The Los Angeles Times reported that Felix, an alleged gang member, was wearing soft body armor and was equipped with multiple high-capacity magazines when he surrendered.

He has been charged with two counts of murder of a police officer and one count of attempted murder of a police officer for a third officer who was injured in the shooting, but survived. 

7 things parents should know about 'Pokemon Go'

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 10:48 AM
Published: Thursday, July 14, 2016 @ 12:42 PM
By: Debbie Lord - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            7 things parents should know about 'Pokemon Go'
7 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pokemon Go

There’s a new game out called “Pokemon Go.” You may have heard of it.

People playing it have walked into ponds, crashed cars, nearly missed the birth of their children, and caught criminals, all the while looking for monsters that fit in your pocket.

All of those things have happened to adults. What could happen if your kid was playing it?

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here  

Here are seven things to watch out for if your child is one of the 7.6 million people who have downloaded the game onto a smartphones – or if they have access to someone’s else who did.

First, a short primer.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality video game, meaning it mixes video elements with real-world physical features. It was released on July 5 and is available for both Android and iPhone operating systems. The download is free.

How do you play?

The game sends players ("trainers" according to the Pokemon reality) out into the world to collect monsters called Pokemon (a shortened version of “pocket monsters,” according to Nintendo). The monsters take the form of dragons, rats, things that look like swords, an ostrich-type creature with two heads, and so on. You “catch” them by virtually shooting red and white "Poké Balls" at them. The game, developed by Nintendo, uses your phone’s GPS (which tells it which physical features are near), and the phone’s clock to decide which Pokémon will appear. 

How do you win?

The goal is to "catch ’em all," according to Nintendo, and when you do get the Pokemon, you then have the chance to become a Pokemon master by defeating trainers known as “gym leaders.” 

So that's the short version, here's what parents should be on the lookout for.

7 Things parents should watch out for if their kids are playing the game

1. It is child-friendly. First, the good news: the game features the little creatures in various real-world locations and generally has nothing that is inappropriate for a child to see. Plus, it gets the child outside and moving around.

2.  It eats up your phone’s data. The game depends on constant location tracking and that depends on mobile data. If you do not have unlimited data in your phone plan, you could  be looking at some big-time overage charges. Also, within the game is the opportunity to purchase Pokecoins (you use them to buy different things along the way) plus other items that range in price from 99 cents to $99.  You may also want to budget for broken phone screens or waterlogged devices.

3. Stranger danger. Part of the game is the fun of the hunt, but when it leads you to places that are unsafe, it can become the stuff of a parent’s nightmare. Players can interact with other players in their area as they attempt to capture “gyms” or local points of interest. There are also PokéStops based on real-world locations, which, in turn, have hubs where players can meet. Have the “stranger danger” talk with them.

4. Look up. Walking, or worse, riding a bike while looking down at a device is a bad idea. A really bad one. Warn your children to watch where they are going, especially when it comes to busy streets or high-altitude areas.

5. Watch out for your personal info. Nintendo asks that you register to use Pokemon Go, including email addresses and things like your child’s birth date. The company has access to personal identifiable information, or PII, upon registration. The company recommends you use Google or Facebook accounts to sign in. If you do use Google or Facebook, remember, you are opening up your personal information – posts, emails – to Niantic, the game’s developer. The company requires you to notify them if you want collection of that material stopped.

6. Don’t trespass. No one will look kindly at a 10-year-old on their property, holding a phone and looking for a pocket monster.

7. Have some respect. While the game has been developed to place Pokemon in  all types of places, it doesn’t mean you should let your child whip out the cellphone and start searching for Pikachu at Arlington National Cemetery. Or the Holocaust Museum. Or the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. All places where people have, thoughtlessly, disturbed the solemn nature of the memorials looking for Pokemon.  

Face-biting slaying suspect Austin Harrouff gave interview to 'Dr. Phil' from hospital before arrest

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 10:48 AM
Published: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 9:41 PM
By: Palm Beach Post

            Face-biting slaying suspect Austin Harrouff gave interview to 'Dr. Phil' from hospital before arrest
Austin Harrouff Charged with 2 Counts of Second-Degree Murder

Before Austin Harrouff was arrested and charged with the fatal stabbings and infamous face-biting of a Martin County, Florida, couple in their home in August, he gave a bedside interview with the “Dr. Phil” TV show.

The sheriff’s office said there’s no legal way it could have prohibited the interview, but the son of the man killed by Harrouff told The Post in an exclusive interview that the sheriff could have arrested the Jupiter teenager sooner.

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In a segment called “The frat boy dubbed ‘cannibal killer’ breaks his silence from his hospital bed,” the show programmers say they have “an exclusive interview, right before his arrest” that is set to air Friday. 

“Harrouff speaks out for the first time from his hospital bed,” the preview reads. “What does he say caused him to go from popular student to an accused killer?”

There was neither a promotional video to tease the story nor photos on the show’s website. The show’s staff only provided a blurb for the upcoming program and made no other comment

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told The Post on Monday night that his department was aware of the phone interview, conducted a few days before Harrouff’s arrest Oct. 3, but there was nothing it could legally have done to stop it even if he was arrested. He said his office can’t bar anyone from speaking with the media who wishes to do so.

“We were surprised,” Snyder said of the interview.

John Stevens IV, the son of John Stevens, whom Harrouff is charged with killing, said if the sheriff’s office had arrested him sooner, there may have not even been the opportunity to give an interview.

“It may be his right to give a phone interview, but if the process would have been followed like any other double murderer (and he was arrested immediately), he may have not been so inclined to give an interview from jail,” Stevens told The Post.

On Aug. 15, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office says, Harrouff beat Stevens, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53 to death at their home on Southeast Kokomo Lane after he stormed out of a Duffy’s Sports Grill in Jupiter where he was with his father. A neighbor tried to intervene and was injured in the process, according to authorities.

Investigators say it’s unclear if Harrouff was under the influence of drugs, but when authorities arrived, he was biting Stevens’ face. While in the hospital, his organs began to fail, and the hospital staff said it believes he drank some cleaning fluids from inside the garage where he killed the couple.

Austin Harrouff is being held at the Martin County Jail on two counts of second-degree murder with a weapon, one count of attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, and one count of burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery. The state plans to pursue first-degree murder charges, which must be presented to a grand jury.

John Stevens IV said even before the 19-year-old Harrouff was taken to the hospital after the slayings, he had the benefit of white privilege on his side. He said if anyone else in any other place had done this type of crime, they would have been arrested right away.

“I’ve never seen a black or minority suspect with such an inherent sympathetic spin (as Harrouff is getting),” he said. “They make him seem as sympathetic as possible because he’s privileged and white, and it’s really, really sad.”

He said when Austin Harrouff’s father, Wade, went on “Dr. Phil” several weeks ago, it was another ploy for more sympathy. In a segment that aired Sept. 7, Harrouff told Dr. Phil that his son suffered from undiagnosed mental illness and apologized for his son’s actions.

When The Post attempted to get comment from Wade Harrouff on Monday evening, he said could not speak at this time.

Stevens said much of the coverage by news outlets has focused on how Harrouff was a good student at Suncoast High School and Florida State and popular, painting him as a victim. What people forget, Stevens said, is two people were killed and others hurt Aug. 15.

“We all live in a time when we’re cynical about media and law enforcement,” he said. “My reaction is general disgust.”

“I really hope people can use their brains and see that (Harrouff) is a monster,” Stevens said.


Austin Harrouff Oct 24, 2016 - 10:03 PM

Are ballot selfies illegal?

Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 10:14 AM
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 8:52 AM
By: Brianna Chambers - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Are ballot selfies illegal?
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Voting booths are ready for voters at an early voting site in the Supervisor of Elections office on October 24, 2016 in Bradenton, Florida. Today early general election voting started in the state of Florida and ends on either Nov 5 or Nov 6th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As one of the most distinct elections in recent history comes to a close, voters are more motivated than ever to get to polls.

And people want to share their voting experiences with others. 

>> Read more trending stories  

But some of the same people who used to take photos of themselves posing with an "I voted!" sticker are switching things up and getting more personal: They're posting selfies on social media with their completed ballots.   

And while Facebook recently enabled a feature that allows users to publicly endorse the political candidates of their choice, posting a selfie with a ballot can be problematic. In many states, the practice is illegal. 

Here are the states in which ballot selfies are allowed: 

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia 
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming

But in Colorado, sharing a ballot selfie is considered a misdemeanor. In Illinois, it's a felony. 

Other states have don't allow selfies with a completed ballot because "they can be considered influencing a vote or forcing someone to show proof of voting," the Associated Press reported.

Here are the states in which ballot selfies are illegal: 

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Thirteen other states, including Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas have unclear guidelines on whether ballot selfies are allowed. Most of these states don't allow cameras or photos inside polling places but have no clear penalties and allow photos of mailed ballots. 

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji called selfie ballots "a product of the times we live in."

"I was doing this for years before I learned it was ... illegal (in some states)," said Nebraska resident Nikola Jordan, who told the AP she's been taking photos with ballots for nearly 10 years. "It's all about encouraging other people to get involved in the process, to show it can be fun and exciting to make your voice heard (at the polls)."