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Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 11:04 AM
PARKTON, Md. — Kerry Spencer has an annual Christmas tradition that brings a smile to the faces of her family members, and this year, the public is getting in on the laughs.
Spencer, of Parkton, Maryland, every year shares a photo of her son, Samuel, sitting on Santa’s lap at a mall in Provo, Utah. What’s unique about Samuel’s visit with Santa 12 years ago is that he wasn’t crying, and he wasn’t telling the big guy what he wanted for Christmas.
“We taught our baby sign language,” Spencer wrote in a Dec. 5 Twitter post. “This is the sign for ‘help.’ You’re welcome.”
We taught our baby sign language. This is the sign for "help." You're welcome. pic.twitter.com/i6NkxBf4KP— Kerry Spencer (@Swilua) December 5, 2017
In the photo, a very authentic-looking Santa smiles for the camera while a solemn-looking, 1-year-old Samuel averts his eyes. His chubby little toddler hands are making the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “help,” or as close to it as he can get.
Mashable reported that Spencer, whose Facebook profile states that she is a faculty member at Stevenson University, taught both of her children ASL.
“We taught both our kids baby sign (language) because they can sign before they talk and it is so very useful to be able to communicate with your baby,” Spencer said.
Spencer said she shares the photo each year on Facebook, but this year, her friend, author Mette Harrison, asked her to tweet it so she could retweet it to her own followers.
As of Monday morning, the tweet had more than 25,000 likes and had been shared close to 6,700 times.
Some of the reactions to the photo were nearly as funny as the photo itself.
Wonder what my son was trying to say. Lol pic.twitter.com/A1XBZduanC— Dr. Gnome to you (@MrParacletes) December 7, 2017
“Wonder what my son was trying to say,” one Twitter user wrote above a photo of a little boy showing Santa his middle finger, with Santa looking on with great interest.
“Something boss. I can tell,” Spencer responded.
“This is how I signed ‘help,” another woman wrote, sharing a photo of herself as a child, screaming on Santa’s lap and desperately trying to get away.
“That works, too,” Spencer wrote.
This is how I signed “help”. 😄 pic.twitter.com/0rSO327ltF— Stephanie Sarkis PhD (@StephanieSarkis) December 8, 2017
Other commenters pointed out that Samuel’s technique wasn’t quite right.
“It’s ASL baby sign,” Spencer wrote in response. “Like with spoken language, certain words are ‘mispronounced’ by babies learning them.”
She posted an image of the ASL sign for comparison.
Here's the actual sign for comparison: pic.twitter.com/WTu2FPTl7O— Kerry Spencer (@Swilua) December 8, 2017
Overall, people found the photo as hilarious as Spencer and her family do. Samuel, now 13, even got in on the Twitter action.
“I happen to be the baby in this photo,” he tweeted. “You may direct all likes and follows to me now.”
I happen to be the baby in this photo. You may direct all likes and follows to me now. https://t.co/oA5kvSZrcO— That one baby that doesnt like Santa (@DextrousWolf) December 6, 2017
“You’re a big boy now,” his mom responded.
“You got that right, Hun,” Samuel wrote.
Spencer said the entire family laughs at the photo each year.
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 6:16 PM
COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Roughly 20 years before Robert Lanier New became embroiled in assault allegations tied to a mentally disabled woman and her niece, he served as the police chief in Emerson.
City officials confirmed to WSB-TV that New had two stints with Emerson police. New first served with the department from September 1998 to February 1999, when he left to work for Acworth police, where he remained until November 2000, when he came back to Emerson police.
He was promoted to police chief three weeks after his return.
New resigned in 2004 to work as a government contractor, officials told WSB-TV. Shortly after, New joined the Cobb County Police Department in February 2005.
But as quickly as New climbed up the ranks, his professional life started to fray.
Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register hinted New’s future with the department could be decided early next week, according to WSB-TV. New has been on administrative leave without pay since allegations surfaced earlier this week that he assaulted a 44-year-old woman who has the mental capacity of a 10- to 14-year-old in his home. He was off duty at the time of the alleged abuse.
According to an arrest warrant obtained Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New choked the woman and slapped both sides of her face during sex to the point that she cried. The woman told officers that with New’s hands around her throat, she wasn’t able to tell him to stop, the warrant alleges.
High ranking law enforcement sources tell me embattled Cobb officer Robert New’s termination papers will be served as early as next week. Recommendation under review by Cobb County Attorney. New served as Emerson Police Chief from 2000-2004, Emerson city officials say. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/P698DcVDgW— Chris Jose (@ChrisJoseWSB) June 22, 2018
The incident happened sometime between March 1 and March 31 at his home in Kennesaw, according to police. New was off duty at the time.
During her interview, the woman was reportedly “shaking due to fear,” police said.
The victim’s allegations were corroborated through text messages on her phone, according to the warrant.
“The accused made the statements through text messages, ‘I am in charge, I am in control,’” police said. The threatening messages allegedly continued even after the victim attempted to distance herself from New, as recently as March 31, police said.
No decision has been made on whether the department will fire New.
“The recommendation is in the county attorney’s office for their review,” Register said. “That will be disclosed when we’re in agreement with the county attorney’s office.”
New charges were filed against the 46-year-old Thursday alleging he attempted to solicit the woman and her 12-year-old niece for sex. Police believe New was using the woman to try to get to her niece, Cobb police Officer Sarah O’Hara told The AJC. New met the woman online, but police are still investigating which website the two used.
New remains in the Cobb County jail without bond on charges of aggravated assault-strangulation, simple battery, criminal solicitation and computer pornography.
New is also being investigated for an administrative complaint filed with the department. Register said that complaint was not criminal, but involves another woman.
“We are investigating if he adhered to departmental policies,” Register said.
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 5:48 PM
— Future basketball hall of famer Dwyane Wade may still have a couple seasons left in his tank, but he’s also already thinking about what will come next for him when his playing career ends.
"Seattle. I want Seattle's team, the Sonics, to come back," Wade told Joel Weber, of Bloomberg, regarding his hope to one day be part of an ownership group in the NBA. "I think Seattle is a great basketball town. I would love to be a part of that."
"I definitely want to be a part of ownership in the NBA. I'm not going to try to buy a team. I don't have that kind of bread, but I definitely want to be a part of a great ownership group. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is all about players being involved in an ownership capacity. You've got players like Grant Hill involved in the Atlanta Hawks. Shaquille O'Neal is involved in the Sacramento Kings. It's definitely something that I've talked about, some of my friends have talked about. But, first of all, I’d have to be retired. When that time comes...”
The 36-year-old NBA star recently finished his 15th NBA season, in which he split time between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat.
Originally the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft out of Marquette University, Wade has won three NBA titles and has been named to the All-star game 12 times.
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:00 AM
SAN FRANCISCO — A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.
According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said the incident occurred outside her apartment near AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.
"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin says in the 15-second clip, focusing the camera on a woman holding a phone. "She's calling the police on a 8-year-old little girl."
As the woman, identified by HuffPost as Alison Ettel, crouches behind a concrete wall, Austin adds: "You can hide all you want; the whole world's gonna see you, boo."
"And illegally selling water without a permit? Yeah," Ettel says, pointing to her phone.
"On my property," Austin interjects.
"It's not your property," Ettel replies.
"Make this [expletive] go viral like #bbqbecky," Austin captioned the video, referring to the hashtag used after a different woman was recorded calling the police on a black family for using a charcoal grill at an Oakland park. "She's #permitpatty."
The posts sparked a debate about whether Ettel's actions were racist.
"For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white [men] that [were] selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay?" Lee tweeted. "Don't answer. Just ask yourself that."
For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white mean that we're selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay? Don't answer. Just ask yourself that.— Raj 🌹 (@_ethiopiangold) June 23, 2018
"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin told KNTV.
Ettel told HuffPost that race had nothing to do with it, adding that she didn't really call the police.
"They were screaming about what they were selling," Ettel said, claiming she had no problem with the girl, only Austin. "It was literally nonstop."
She added: "I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her."
The drama seemed to have a happy ending for Austin's daughter, who received four free tickets to Disneyland from a Twitter user who saw the video, Lee tweeted.
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 7:16 PM
— Two common herpes viruses may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and projected to affect 14 million people by 2050.
That’s according to new research published Thursday in the journal Neuron, for which a team of scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, used genetic data from three different brain banks to examine differences between healthy brain tissue and brain tissue from individuals who died with Alzheimer’s.
The medical community still doesn’t know what causes the disease, so the Mount Sinai scientists set out to try and identify new targets for drugs. Instead, they stumbled upon repetitive hints that the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients had higher levels of viruses.
“The title of the talk that I usually give is, 'I Went Looking for Drug Targets and All I Found Were These Lousy Viruses,’” study co-author and geneticist Joel Dudley said in a statement.
While studying brain tissue of 622 people who had signs of the disease and 322 who weren’t affected by it, Dudley and his team found significant evidence suggesting two specific strains of the human herpes virus (HHV-6A and HHV-7), both of which commonly cause skin rashes called roseola in young children, may have seeped into the Alzheimer’s patients’ brains and remained inactive for decades.
“I don't think we can answer whether herpes viruses are a primary cause of Alzheimer's disease. But what's clear is that they're perturbing networks and participating in networks that directly accelerate the brain towards the Alzheimer's topology,” Dudley said.
The team found that the herpes virus genes were interacting with specific genes known to increase risk for Alzheimer’s, but the mere presence of the virus isn’t enough to lead to the disease. Instead, Dudley said, something needs to be activating the viruses to cause replication.
But their findings do align with some other current research, specifically regarding beta-amyloid proteins, proteins known to increase plaque buildup in Alzheimer’s-affected brains. In the new study, the researchers noted that herpes viruses were involved in networks that regulate these amyloid precursor proteins.
The National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the new research, is working to back another study to test the effects of antiviral drugs on people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s with high levels of herpes virus in their brains.
While the study findings open a door for new treatment options, co-senior author Sam Gandy said in a statement, the results don’t exactly change what scientists know about the risk and susceptibility of Alzheimer’s or their ability to treat it. That’s because both HHV-6A and HHV-7 are incredibly common. In North America alone, almost 90 percent of children have one of the viruses in their blood by the time they’re a few years old, according to Gandy.
According to 2017 report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate from Alzheimer’s disease has risen by 55 percent in recent decades.
Patients, caregivers and publicly funded long-term care facilities bear significant financial and societal costs due to the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s deaths.
Experts recommend more federal funding for caregiver support and education and for research to find a cure.