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Winter storm pounding Midwest blamed for 2 deaths

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:17 AM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:16 AM


            Vehicles rest along the snowbound shoulder along Interstate 94, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, near Galesburg, Mich., after scores of vehicles were involved in an accident. (Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP)
Vehicles rest along the snowbound shoulder along Interstate 94, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, near Galesburg, Mich., after scores of vehicles were involved in an accident. (Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP)

A winter storm pounding the Midwest caused at least two deaths Friday, authorities said, while closing schools and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Snow-related crashed snarled highways across southern Michigan, with one person killed when a semitrailer struck the rear of a car stopped in traffic on U.S. 23 near Flint, police said.

A Michigan State Police trooper was hospitalized after a pickup truck lost control and slammed into his stopped squad on Interstate 94 northeast of Detroit. A pileup on the same highway just east of Kalamazoo in southwestern Michigan of collected 38 vehicle including 16 semitrailers in eastbound lanes Friday afternoon, causing only minor injuries.

In Naperville, Illinois, just west of Chicago, a man in his 60s died after suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow Friday morning, Edward Hospital spokesman Keith Hartenberger told the Chicago Tribune.

The National Weather Service reported 10 inches (25) of snow on the ground Friday afternoon in suburban Chicago and 11 inches (28 centimeters) near South Bend, Indiana. Chicago was forecast to receive as much as 14 inches (35 centimeters) of snow with Detroit expecting up to 9 inches (23 centimeters).

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city was gearing up for three more rounds of snow through the weekend.

"The good news is we're tried and tested here," he said. "We're up to it."

Three northern Indiana counties posted travel watches, recommending only essential travel

More than 1,000 flights were canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and more than 300 were canceled at Midway, the Chicago Department of Aviation reported Friday afternoon. More than 260 flights were canceled at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan.

Hank Stawasz was out shoveling his driveway by hand, clearing a path for the retiree to exit his home in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.

"It's part of living in Michigan," a smiling Stawasz said from underneath his Detroit Red Wings winter hat. "I saw the plows come by, so I figured I'd get a jump on it so I wouldn't have to shovel it when it's 4 feet high."

Thousands of children got a rare snow day off school after school districts in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee canceled classes. Schools across Nebraska and Iowa also closed or delayed the start of classes.

It made for a great day for kids to go sledding, make snow angels and play with pets outside instead of reading, writing and arithmetic. Angela Lekkas took her children sledding in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

"The kids couldn't wait to get out today," she said. "This is the first true snowfall of the season."

The Indiana Department of Transportation resorted to sending teams of as many as four plows simultaneously to clear some highways. Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully said 300 salt-spreading plows hit the streets late Thursday and would continue their work through the weekend.

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VP Mike Pence ready for secret meeting with North Korea, but North backs out

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:05 PM

Vice President Mike Pence, and seond lady, Karen Pence are pictured just in front of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong  (back left) during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence, and seond lady, Karen Pence are pictured just in front of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong (back left) during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets.

>> Read more trending news 

Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation.

The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill.

>> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group.

North Korea Announces They Will Participate In 2018 Olympics

“We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death."

>> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade

Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.

VIDEO: Kim Jong Un’s Sister Arrived in South Korea for 2018 Winter Olympics

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VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:59 AM

Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Appears At Status Hearing

The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development.

>> Click here to watch

Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident.

>> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know'

According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up.

>> Read more trending news 

The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

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When is the Stoneman Douglas town hall meeting; what time, what channel?

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:53 AM

WATCH: Florida High School Shooting Survivor Talks About NRA

Stoneman Douglas High School students and parents will take part in a town hall meeting on Wednesday, a week after the school was the site of a mass shooting.

The meeting will come following a rally Wednesday in Tallahassee where a group of the students hopes to pressure the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws.

>> Read more trending news

Some of the state’s legislators were given a tour of Stoneman Douglas to see the damage Nikolas Cruz caused when he launched an attack at the Parkland, Florida, school.

Many legislators appeared shaken as they left the school, according to The Associated Press.

A group of students is in Tallahassee to try to get legislators to consider changes in Florida’s gun laws.

“I really think they are going to hear us out,” said Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who is going on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some “commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.”

Here is what you need to know about Wednesday’s town hall meeting.

What is it: "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action" – a town hall meeting

Where: BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida

When: Wednesday

What time: 9 p.m. ET

What channel: CNN

Who will be there: In addition to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and parents, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-Fla.), and Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.), have accepted an invitations to attend. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declined the invitation, as has President Donald Trump.

Who is moderating: CNN anchor Jake Tapper

Chris Grady, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, poses at a memorial outside the school, for Wednesday's mass shooting, in Parkland, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Grady huddled in his classroom at the high school last Wednesday listening to shots ring out nearby, what he felt wasn't fear, but anger. Grady and his friend are among about 100 Stoneman Douglas students who are heading to Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, to push lawmakers to do something to stop gun violence.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 

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Dallas Mayor pro tem tells NRA it can hold annual convention someplace else

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:29 PM

NRA Told To Hold Annual Convention Someplace Else By Dallas Mayor Pro Tem

The National Rifle Association was planning to hold its annual convention in Dallas, but a city lawmaker has asked the gun lobby group to consider finding another host city. 

Dwaine Caraway warned the NRA that it will be met with “marches and demonstrations” if the group still holds its three-day meeting in the city in which he serves as mayor pro tem, ABC News reported.

The  147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits are scheduled to be held May 4-6. It is free for all NRA members. 

>> Read more trending news 

Caraway told ABCNews that he is “putting all citizens first” with his request to the NRA to reconsider.

If the group moves the meeting, Dallas could lose up to $40 million from the 80,000 members attending, USAToday reported.

The NRA responded after Caraway’s request.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesperson for the NRA, told WFAA, “No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city. We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities, urban and rural, throughout the country.”

>>Complete coverage of 2017 NRA Convention in Atlanta 

Fox News reported that Caraway is a gun owner who says he believes in the Second Amendment, but is challenging the NRA to come to the table to work with leaders to increase gun safety through laws.

The NRA has come under fire after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and teachers were killed and more than a dozen were wounded, NBC News reported.

The gunman, who is 19 years old, owned 10 rifles, CNN reported. He was able to buy them legally, Fox News and The Associated Press reported. That was despite having previous treatment at a mental health clinic and comments on YouTube, attributed to him, that he was going to be a professional school shooter, the AP reported. The FBI said it couldn’t confirm who posted the comment, the AP reported.

Last year, the NRA held its annual convention in Atlanta. President Donald Trump was a keynote speaker during the meetings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

>>Watch: Donald Trump speech at NRA convention

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also a speaker at last year’s meetings. He currently has an A-plus rating by the NRA, which helped him get re-elected last year, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Students and their families who were directly affected by last week’s shooting are now speaking out against Scott and anyone who has been backed by the NRA.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times, said that, “These people who are being funded by the NRA are not going to be allowed to remain in office when midterm elections roll around. They’re going to be voted out of office.” 

WATCH: Florida High School Shooting Survivor Talks About NRA

This year’s event guest speakers include NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Benghazi survivor Mark Geist, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. and political commentator Tomi Lahren.

Related: 

Facts About the NRA

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