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Republican mega-donor issues ultimatum on assault weapons

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 6:29 PM

WATCH: President Trump Addresses the Nation After Florida School Shooting

Al Hoffman Jr., a North Palm Beach real estate developer and major Republican donor, is cutting off donations to candidates who do not support a ban on assault weapons, according to a report in the New York Times.

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Hoffman said he would urge other Republican donors to support an assault weapons ban, according to the report. Hoffman announced the ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott. Hoffman has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the years.

A critic of President Trump, Hoffman supported Jeb Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign and donated more than $1 million to Right to Rise, a super PAC that supported Bush’s brief candidacy, according to the report.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” Hoffman wrote in the email. “Enough is enough.”

The loss of Hoffman’s support could be especially harmful to Scott, who is considering a Senate bid this year. Republican Rep. Brian Mast also will not see any donations from Hoffman if he does not support new gun legislation, according to the report.

Hoffman, who has a history of speaking his mind, has threatened to cut donations before. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2013, Hoffman said he would be reluctant to raise money for candidates who do not support “reasonable” gun control. The same year, Hoffman wrote a letter to former House Speaker John Boehner, urging him to also support gun measures.

Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chair and ambassador to Portugal, further rankled Republicans in 2013 when he said President Barack Obama was right on gun issues, Hoffman made the comment after most Senate Republican and a few red-state Democrats blocked legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers.

Hoffman alluded to past mass shootings in his email after the deaths of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. He said future gun massacres are inevitable without government intervention, according to the New York Times report.

“If we go from Orlando to Las Vegas, and now Parkland, you just have to know that there are others around the country just dreaming about staging another mass murder.”

Republican lawmakers in Florida have pushed back on gun control initiatives, despite the state being the site of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando -- the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history that left 49 dead. Only the October shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas claimed more lives, with 58 killed.

The day after the Parkland shooting last week, Senate President Joe Negron said his interest would be focused on improving school safety and access to mental health treatment – not restricting gun laws.

“My focus is on making sure that lawful citizens who are obeying the law and entitled to their constitutional rights have appropriate access to firearms,” Negron said.

Although several gun bills were introduced during the state’s ongoing legislative session, the only one likely to pass -- HB 1419 and its companion SB 1048 -- expands the rights of a licensed person to carry a concealed weapon inside a church or other house of worship.

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Sally Yates to lead Minneapolis ketamine investigation

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 7:06 PM

Who is Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is headed to Minneapolis.

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Yates has been hired by the city of Minneapolis to lead the investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department encouraged Hennepin County medical responders to sedate people with the powerful drug ketamine.

A city report obtained by KARE 11 found that in several cases, patients had to be revived after receiving the drug. The Office of Police Conduct Review found 62 recorded ketamine injections in response to Minneapolis police calls in 2017. In 2012, the recorded number of ketamine injections was three, KARE 11 reported.

Yates will conduct an independent review, focusing on the communication between the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County medical responders, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced in a news release.

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Dog shot multiple times in face adopted by park ranger in Arkansas

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

Hope, a 4-year-old dog shot in the face, has been adopted by Arkansas park ranger Levi Koch.
HOPE Humane Society
Hope, a 4-year-old dog shot in the face, has been adopted by Arkansas park ranger Levi Koch.(HOPE Humane Society)

A dog who survived three gunshots to the face has found a new home with an Arkansas park ranger.

Hope, a 4-year-old mixed breed dog, was tied to a pole and shot in the face three times this March, according to KFSM.

Hope has scars on her face from where the bullets entered and will need possible mouth surgery in the future, but otherwise her health is back to normal.

Amber Neal, shelter manager of the Hope Humane Society, told WGHP that she was by Hope’s side while she healed, but realized it was time for the dog to find a forever home.

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“She's one amazing dog and she deserves the most amazing home,” Neal said. “With me having such a busy work schedule, with all the other babies that I am trying to save, she needs to be somebody's constant companion and that would make her the happiest dog in the world.”

Hope, a 4-year-old dog that survived being shot in face, has been adopted by a park ranger in Arkansas.(HOPE Humane Society)

Hope was brought to the Fort Smith Nature Center on Wednesday, where she met Arkansas park ranger Levi Koch.

Koch said he was so moved by Hope’s story that he knew he had to adopt her.

“I would like someone to travel with me and see some neat places, do a lot of hiking and outdoor adventures,” Koch said.

The Hope Humane Society celebrated the news of Hope’s adoption on Facebook.

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9,000 barrels of bourbon crash to ground during Kentucky distillery collapse

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:24 PM

Barrels of bourbon stored at a distillery.
Pixabay
Barrels of bourbon stored at a distillery.(Pixabay)

A building collapse at the Barton 1792 distillery in Kentucky Friday morning caused thousands of barrels of bourbon to crash to the ground.

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Emergency officials told WLKY that approximately 9,000 barrels of bourbon were affected. The building houses about 20,000 barrels.

There were no injuries, The Courier-Journal in Louisville reported.

Officials were assessing the damage and attempting to determine whether any of the bourbon leaked into the ground or nearby water sources, WLKY reported. Officials have not determined a cause for the collapse. Crews worked to secure the building to prevent further damage.

A barrel can hold 53 gallons of bourbon and weigh about 550 pounds, WLKY noted. 

The Barton 1792 distillery is owned by the Sazerac company, which is based in New Orleans, The Courier-Journal reported.

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WATCH: Woman walks away after car goes airborne, slams into gas station

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:02 PM

A customer purchases gasoline at a Marathon gas station.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
A customer purchases gasoline at a Marathon gas station.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A Mississippi woman was able to walk away Thursday after she lost control of her car, sending it airborne and crashing into a gas station, narrowly missing the gas pumps.

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The woman was not able to avoid the law, however.

Shelby Lynne May was behind the wheel, the Rankin County Sheriff's Office told Mississippi News Now. A surveillance camera at the Marathon gas station in Flowood recorded the dramatic accident, which shows the car barreling off the road toward the gas station, running into a sign, going airborne and then flipping around to land against a gas pump.

MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

The surveillance video posted by Mississippi News Now shows May walking away from the car, with a bystander steadying her by the arm.

The Sheriff's Office told Mississippi News Now that May was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. 

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