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Kids skip school for Cubs home opener, run into school-missing principal at ballpark

Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 @ 7:18 AM

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10:  A general view of Wrigley Field before the Opening Day home game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburg Pirates on April 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10: A general view of Wrigley Field before the Opening Day home game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburg Pirates on April 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Two boys from Illinois did what almost any diehard Cubs fan would do: They skipped school to get to the home opener this week.

Tucker and Gunner Speckman tempted fate with a sign that caught a lot of attention, WQAD reported. It said “Skipping school. S-h-h-h, don’t tell Principal Versluis.” The sign was intended to get them on television. It did its job and got the attention of the MLB, which posted it to its Twitter account.

But Tucker and Gunner weren’t alone at the game Tuesday . Little did they know Principal Patrick Versluis, the same principal on the sign, also skipped school. He actually called off sick so he could take his son to the first home game of the season.

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As much as the boys probably didn’t want to see the administrator, he didn’t want to see his students either.

“I saw him and I was kind of ducking down,” Versluis told the Chicago Sun Times. “I didn’t want him to see me either. I’m here with my son, Aiden, who’s in the fifth grade and I called out sick for the day.”

Versluis is part of a group of guys who share season tickets. This year he was the lucky one to get the opening day game. He said that while school and learning are important, so are some experiences that you can’t pass up.

“Attendance is important. But, we also learn from these experiences in life. Who’s giving up opening day? Come on,” Versluis told WQAD.

The boys are apparently good students, too. WQAD said they were given the tickets by their parents for straight A’s.

Tucker and Gunner did meet up with Versluis and snapped a photo of the trio of skippers.

The Cubs fell to the Pirates 8-5.

 

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Man tries to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

Michael McEarchern, a Cobb County man man in Bartow County jail, promised $10,000 and two Atlanta Hawks tickets to anyone who would kill his ex-wife and her current boyfriend.
Bartow County Sheriff's Office
Michael McEarchern, a Cobb County man man in Bartow County jail, promised $10,000 and two Atlanta Hawks tickets to anyone who would kill his ex-wife and her current boyfriend.(Bartow County Sheriff's Office)

An Acworth inmate promised $10,000 and two Atlanta Hawks tickets to anyone who would kill his ex-wife and her current boyfriend. Word got around, including to an FBI informant.

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Michael Lawrence Dane McEarchern, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday, according to federal court documents.

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McEarchern was in Bartow County jail during October on drug charges when he started circulating his the word that he wanted to hire a hitman.

The FBI found out from the confidential informant and they had McEarchern send a $800 down payment to a P.O. box in late November to see if he was serious, according to federal court records. His girlfriend at the time sent the money for him.

McEarchern told the would-be assassin where his ex-wife lived in Smyrna, what the best time of day would be to find her, and the name of the barbershop where the current boyfriend worked.

>> Trending : Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months

McEarchern was indicted on charges in the murder-for-hire plot at the start of the year. He pleaded guilty and was convicted in late April.

Federal court documents show he’ll have three years of supervised release after prison.

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Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 10:22 PM

(WSBTV.com)
(WSBTV.com)

A bear made a beeline for a picnic table in Pickens County, Georgia. The incident was caught on camera, WSB-TV reported.

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Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia.

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The large female black bear can be seen in the video climbing onto the picnic table and grabbing a package of hot dogs buns at the Big Canoe community in Jasper.

The family was unable to scare the bear off, according to WSB-TV.

“(The bear is) not afraid of people, so the last thing I want is a child sitting there eating a sandwich, and the bear decides he wanted that sandwich first,” community general manager Jill Philmon said.

The bear turned out to be a mother with three little cubs nearby. State wildlife biologists said the bears have probably been fed by people or have gotten used to eating out of the residents’ trash cans. 

The Department of Natural Resources told the news station they have set some traps to attempt to catch the bears if they continue to return for food.

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Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 11:01 PM

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has spent nearly $12,000 of taxpayer money on limousines in just five months, according to an investigation by WSB-TV and the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com.

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An Atlanta City Hall spokesperson said that you can’t put a price tag on the mayor’s safety, calling Bottoms’ use of a

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luxury car service “an expedient solution that had already been assessed for safety.”

Through an open records request into Bottoms’ city-issued credit card statements, the WSB/AJC investigation found 27 separate charges to Carey Limousine during out of town trips. The average bill was $431.

There was a $3,900 charge in April. The city said the limo company billed the city late for services during the Super Bowl in Minneapolis and the company may have mistakenly kept the car on standby status during a day-long event.

“The public will have to be the judge as to whether they think that’s excessive or not,” City Council President Felicia Moore said.

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Bottoms’ monthly limo spending is outpacing former Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed’s bills show more than $28,000 spent with Carey Limousine, but that was over his final three years in office. Reed’s average charge was about $200.

“If Mayor Bottoms wants her administration’s legacy to be a ‘we’re too greedy to care,’ then they’re off to a great start,” said former federal prosecutor Jeff Brickman.

In a written statement, a city spokesperson said, “Mayor Bottoms relied heavily upon the procedures previously used, including the use of a secure and vetted car service. As the use of the service was being examined by the Bottoms’ administration, a significant increase in the trajectory of the costs over the course of those first few months was noted. She immediately began to explore alternative methods of ground conveyance.”

Our review of credit card statements for members of Bottoms’ executive protection unit showed they booked about a dozen far cheaper out-of-town Uber and Lyft trips in April and May. 

>> Trending: Man tried to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets

That’s a trend Brickman hopes will continue.

“If you really want to be transparent, and you really want to separate and distinguish yourself from the previous administration, show us, you know, ways that you are really meaning what you’re saying. Do it. Don’t just say it,” Brickman said.

The city said the best use of ground transportation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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Parents file lawsuit after daughter drowns when she’s swept over dangerous dam while kayaking

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 10:29 PM

The Dashields Locks and Dam is located along the Ohio River, north of Sewickley in Moon Township, Pennsylvania
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/via Wikicommons
The Dashields Locks and Dam is located along the Ohio River, north of Sewickley in Moon Township, Pennsylvania(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/via Wikicommons)

The parents of a kayaker who drowned after she was swept over a dam on the Ohio River last year are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Brittany Evans and Helene Brandy, both 25 years old, were killed when they went over the Dashields Dam in May of 2017. 

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The dam is located along the Ohio River, north of Sewickley in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

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Evans' parents have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

"Too many people are losing their lives on that river. We wanna be part of the process to correct that," said Helene's uncle, Ken Brandy. 

According to the lawyer who filed the federal lawsuit, Evan's parents are echoing those concerns. The couple contends the Army Corps of Engineers has not provided adequate warnings about the dangerous Dashields Dam to boaters and kayakers.

The lawsuit is asking for more warning signs along the river.

Evans' family is also asking for earnings potential and damages for pain and suffering.

>> Trending: DNA test solves 1988 cold case rape, murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, suspect arrested

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