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Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz withdraws not guilty plea, stands mute on 34 counts

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:25 PM

People visit one of seventeen crosses following a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 15. Gov. Rick Scott has called for more law enforcement officers in schools, but that will take time, a Palm Beach County School Police official said Tuesday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
People visit one of seventeen crosses following a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 15. Gov. Rick Scott has called for more law enforcement officers in schools, but that will take time, a Palm Beach County School Police official said Tuesday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

THURSDAY, 4:15PM ET UPDATE:  Nikolas Cruz withdrew his not guilty plea Thursday and instead chose to "stand mute," according to a court motion.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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grand jury in Broward County has formally indicted Nikolas Cruz in the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the county's state attorney announced Wednesday.

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The panel charged the 19-year-old with 17 counts of premeditated first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder in the mass shooting at the Parkland high school that left 14 students and three adults dead.

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High number of cancer cases among Florida high school friends prompts doctor to urge investigation

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 9:37 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

A  Florida oncologist and 2003 Satellite High School graduate is asking questions after she and several of her former classmates were diagnosed with cancer.

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Dr. Julie Greenwalt, of the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center in Jacksonville battled a rare, aggressive form of appendix cancer.

She first contacted the Florida Department of Health about one year ago to ask the agency to take a closer look at the cancer cases. Her resolve was strengthened after a recent Military Times article about the detection of water contaminates linked to cancer and developmental delays in children at military bases nationwide, including Patrick Air Force Base.

Greenwalt asked Victoria Hicks, a friend and fellow Satellite High School alumna, to discuss her breast cancer diagnosis with the health department.

>> Related: Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say

"I was 33, and I had no family history," Hicks said. "I went to the doctor nine months before my actual diagnosis and was told it's nothing, it's no big deal, and it grew into an 8-centimeter mass."

Greenwalt said the pattern of cancer diagnoses is concerning.

"I think it's an abnormal pattern that so many young people in their 30s are getting cancer without family history," she said. "I'm not trying to cause any panic, just trying to create awareness that there might be a problem."

Officials with the FDOH said although the agency hasn't launched a formal investigation, it recognizes the importance of gathering and assessing information that could help determine necessary next steps.

Greenwalt said current and former Brevard County residents who have been diagnosed with cancer are asked to contact the county health department's epidemiologist to provide details of their diagnosis and related information.

>> Related: Breast cancer patient says insurer denied coverage for approved $7K scan

Relatives of patients who have died from cancer are also asked to report that information to the agency.

"I just feel grateful to be alive, and I know that God has a plan for my life," Greenwalt said. "(Perhaps) this is part of it -- to try and help figure this out."

She said she plans to organize a community meeting in Satellite Beach to increase awareness.

"I hope now that it's out there, the possibility of people getting screened sooner can help save more lives," Hicks said.

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Non-drinkers have higher risk of death, cancer than those having 1 to 3 drinks a week, study finds

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 7:13 PM

Non-Drinkers Have Higher Risk Of Death, Cancer Than Those Having One To Three Drinks A Week

Drinking is associated with several health issues, including hypertension and liver disease. However, those who consume liquor may outlive those who don’t, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from Queen’s Belfast University in Northern Ireland recently conducted a study, published in in the journal PLOS Medicine, to explore mortality and cancer risks among drinkers and non-drinkers. 

To do so, they reviewed data from the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, which examined nearly 100,000 adults in America between 1993 and 2001.

The participants, aged 55 to 74, completed a diet history questionnaire, which listed their alcohol consumption, and were followed up with after about nine years. Analysts also took note of their cancer diagnoses from medical records. 

After analyzing the results, they found that the average lifetime alcohol intake for adults was about 1.78 drinks per week. At a closer look, they discovered that men drank about 4.02 drinks weekly and women drank about 0.80 weekly. 

>> Related: Even one drink per day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

They revealed that heavy drinkers or those who have more than three drinks a day have the highest death and cancer risks. However, they found that a person’s combined risk of dying younger or developing cancer is lowest among light drinkers or those have one to three drinks a week.

In fact, light drinkers have a lower combined risk of overall mortality or cancer compared to those who never drink, their research revealed. 

“We had expected light drinkers to be at a similar combined risk to never drinkers, so the reduced risk in light drinkers was surprising,” coauthor Andrew Kunzmann told CNN. “The reasons for the reduced risk in light drinkers compared to never drinkers are still open to debate amongst the scientific community.”

The authors did point out a few limitations. They said they only assessed older adults. Plus, the information they received was self-reported, and they also did not factor in other risk factors for cancer. However, they believe their findings are still strong. 

>> Related: Non-drinkers more likely to miss work than moderate drinkers, study says

“This study,” the team wrote, “provides further insight into the complex relationship between alcohol consumption, cancer incidence, and disease mortality and may help inform public health guidelines.”

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Florida woman found slumped over in car with baby, drug paraphernalia, deputies say

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 8:36 PM

What You Need To Know: Opioids

A 39-year-old woman who was already on the radar of the Florida Department of Children and Families was arrested after deputies said they discovered her either asleep or passed out in her vehicle with a baby in the back seat. 

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Deputies in Lake County, Florida, said they made contact with Lucy Maldonado at a Wawa gas station.

LUCY MALDONADO (Lake County Sheriff's Office)

They said deputies noticed track marks on her arms and said she was slurring her speech. 

Deputies said Maldonado then put the vehicle in gear and drove away. 

Deputies said at no point did the pursuit reach high speeds. 

They were able to stop the vehicle about 30 minutes later using stop sticks near the Orange County line, ending the pursuit at a Walmart on Apopka Vineland Road.

Deputies said they found an infant in her car, along with multiple needles and other drug paraphernalia.

Deputies called the Florida Department of Children and Families investigators, who said they already had an open case against Maldonado and have been looking for her for weeks.

They said the child, who is believed to be 6 months old, had no pre- or post-natal care.

No one was injured.

Deputies said Maldonado also had a felony drug warrant out of Orange County.

Maldonado on Wednesday waived her right to face a judge. She is being jailed without bail.

She was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, aggravated child neglect, driving while a license is suspended/revoked, driving under the influence and three counts of drug possession.

Her next court hearing is scheduled for next month.

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Gunmen followed family 80 miles from shopping center to rob them, police say

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 4:02 PM

Gunmen Followed Family 80 Miles To Rob Them

A woman said she was robbed at gunpoint in her own driveway after driving 80 miles home from a shopping trip.

Police believe the robbers may have followed her from the shopping center in Atlanta to her home in Dalton.

Brittany McEntire told WSB that two men robbed her at gunpoint about three weeks ago. Her mother, husband and three children were also in the driveway. 

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McEntire said the two men ran up the driveway and took her two Louis Vuitton diaper bags and demanded all of her jewelry, including her late father’s ring that she cherishes.

She said the whole robbery took less than a minute, but she has not regained her peace of mind.

“I could’ve lost my whole family if they had started shooting,” McEntire told WSB.

The suspects allegedly followed McEntire from Buckhead for about two hours in an unidentified white car, police said.

McEntire said she is unsure why she was targeted because she did not take home many bags from the store. 

“It was not a shopping spree,” McEntire said.

Police believe the men will try to follow and rob more people.

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