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The Latest: Minneapolis airport reopens after blizzard

Published: Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 1:07 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 1:06 PM


            James Schoenhard, with Schoenhard Lawn Care, plows sidewalks with his team downtown Saturday, April 14, in Sioux Falls, S.D. A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the upper Midwest. (Briana Sanchez/The Argus Leader via AP)
James Schoenhard, with Schoenhard Lawn Care, plows sidewalks with his team downtown Saturday, April 14, in Sioux Falls, S.D. A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the upper Midwest. (Briana Sanchez/The Argus Leader via AP)

The Latest on spring storms in the Midwest (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Officials say one runway has reopened at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hours after all flights were grounded during a spring blizzard.

The airport halted all incoming and outgoing flights Saturday afternoon because of heavy snowfall and low visibility. Airport officials say the snow was coming down too fast for plows to keep the runways clear or for crews to keep the planes deiced.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan tells The Associated Press that 469 flights were canceled before one runway reopened shortly after 10 p.m. He says crews will work overnight to get other runways open.

The snowfall is part of a storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. The system moved into the region Friday, bringing with it snow, tornadoes, rain and hail. At least three deaths have been attributed to the weather in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Louisiana.

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10:10 p.m.

Flights are grounded in Minneapolis and South Dakota, and hundreds of vehicle crashes have been reported across the Midwest as a deadly storm system sweeps across the central United States.

The National Weather Service says more than 13 inches (33 centimeters) of snow had buried the Minneapolis area as of Saturday night, at times falling at a rate of 1 or 2 inches an hour.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been closed to incoming and outgoing flights since Saturday afternoon. Airport officials hope to open at least one runway soon, weather permitting.

Blizzard conditions have closed the airport for two days in Sioux Falls, South Dakota's biggest city.

The storm system moved in Friday, stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, bringing with it snow, tornadoes, rain and hail. At least three deaths have been attributed to the weather.

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6:20 p.m.

The last three games of the series between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have been called off because of a spring snowstorm.

Several hours after Saturday's game at Target Field was postponed, the Twins said Sunday's game was off, too.

The National Weather Service has predicted snow throughout the weekend, with temperatures in the 20s.

No makeup dates have been announced.

The Twins beat Chicago 4-0 on Thursday. Friday night's game was postponed because of rain, with snow in the forecast.

Last Sunday, the Twins' home game against Seattle was postponed because of wintry weather.

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5:30 p.m.

Officials have closed Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to arriving and departing flights as a powerful storm system sweeps through the central U.S.

Airport officials cite the combination of heavy snow and low visibility Saturday. They say the snow is coming down too fast for plows to keep the runways clear or for crews to keep the planes deiced.

The airport shut down flight operations Saturday afternoon. Airport spokesman Pat Hogan tells WCCO Radio that officials hope to reopen at least one runway sometime Saturday night, weather permitting.

Around 7 inches of snow had fallen at the airport by mid-afternoon.

A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest. At least three deaths have been attributed to the storms.

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2:45 p.m.

Authorities say a Wisconsin woman was killed when her minivan lost control and struck an oncoming SUV, bringing the death toll from the storm system sweeping through the central U.S. to three.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says the accident happened shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday when a minivan began to spin on slush-covered Highway 16 near Lewiston and crossed the centerline, where it was struck the oncoming SUV.

The minivan driver, a 30-year-old woman from Poynette, died. Three minivan passengers and the SUV's driver were hospitalized with injuries.

The sheriff's office says a light freezing rain was falling at the time of the crash.

The storm system has dumped heavy snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is also being blamed for the death of a 2-year-old girl in Louisiana and an Idaho truck driver who was involved in a crash in Nebraska.

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2 p.m.

A powerful storm system sweeping through the central U.S. brought hail and high winds to parts of Texas, toppling trees and power lines but causing no major injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patricia Sanchez said some areas south of Dallas-Fort Worth got egg-sized hail as the storms swept through. She says other areas got pea to quarter-sized hail.

In Austin, fire officials said tree limbs were reported down all across the city with several on houses and lightning struck a couple houses. No major injuries were reported by but fire officials said a woman was taken to the hospital after a tree branch fell on her. Austin-Travis County EMS said her injuries were not life threatening.

Fire officials in Austin say two homes caught on fire after being hit by lightning, and gusty winds helped spread the flames. One home had heavy damage to its attic while the other home was mostly destroyed, as were two side buildings.

Downed trees and power lines were also reported in parts of East Texas.

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12:15 p.m.

A powerful storm system sweeping through the central U.S. has knocked down trees in many places and caused power outages, including thousands in Michigan.

The system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is being blamed for at least two deaths, one each in Nebraska and Louisiana.

The National Weather Service reports that wind gusts of about 50 mph were recorded Saturday in western Michigan and the state's Upper Peninsula. The state is expected to get more snow and ice as the system moves eastward throughout the weekend.

Michigan's largest electric utility Consumers Energy says it had about 23,000 homes and businesses without power as of midday Saturday. The largest outage concentrations were in the Grand Rapids area, in western Michigan.

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12 p.m.

A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is being blamed for at least two deaths, including an Idaho truck driver who was killed on a Nebraska highway a 2-year-old Louisiana girl whose family's mobile home was struck by a downed tree.

Authorities say the girl was asleep at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday when a storm toppled the tree that struck her family's recreational vehicle in Haughton, which is in northwestern Louisiana near Shreveport.

Lt. Bill Davis of the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office says four adults and a 15-month-old child who were also in the RV were not hurt.

The Nebraska State Patrol says 61-year-old Rollo Ward, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was killed when his semitrailer lost control on snow-covered Interstate 80 near Chappell in western Nebraska and struck a semi that was stranded in the blizzard. He died at the scene.

The storm system has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

It is expected to move eastward throughout the weekend.

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11:30 a.m.

The Nebraska State Patrol says at least one person was killed and scores of stranded drivers were rescued in western Nebraska as a late-season blizzard crippled travel in western Nebraska.

The patrol says 61-year-old Rollo Ward, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died at the scene of the crash Friday when the semitrailer he was driving on Interstate 80 went out of control on the snow-covered roadway and hit another semi previously stranded in the blizzard. The crash happened near Chappell in western Nebraska.

The patrol says blizzard also left more than 100 drivers stranded on I-80 and other highways Friday.

The blizzard was part of a potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend in the central U.S. It has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

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11:15 a.m.

A band of 6 to 18 inches fell overnight across central and northeastern Wisconsin, with another round on the way as a major spring storm system helps winter keep its grip on the Midwest.

A blizzard warning is out for the northern half of Wisconsin, where 14 additional inches are expected by Sunday evening. Winds as high as 55 mph are causing blowing and drifting snow, along with ice shoves in Green Bay. The National Weather Service says coastal flooding is possible along Lake Michigan.

The storm has brought ice to southern Wisconsin. Some areas, including Fond du Lac and Sheboygan, are expected to get a quarter-inch of ice accumulation by Sunday morning.

Wisconsin Public Service reported around 90 power outages affecting over 3,400 customers in northeastern Wisconsin.

The blizzard is part of a potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend up the nation's midsection. It has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

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10:30 a.m.

A spring blizzard is making travel difficult to impossible in much of South Dakota for a second day.

While the blizzard warning has been lifted in the western part of the state, it remains in effect for much of southern and eastern South Dakota.

No travel is advised in Sioux Falls, where police say the blowing snow has made it hard to see anything. Interstate 29 remains closed from Sioux Falls to Summit. I-90 remains closed across most of South Dakota from Wall to Sioux Falls.

Huron has received 18 inches of snow. Rapid City got 9 inches.

The southeastern corner of the state is expected to get 8 to 12 inches of snow by Sunday morning. Winds remain strong, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph, and the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls says the winds will only slowly subside.

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10 a.m.

Authorities advise no travel in much of southwestern Minnesota, where a blizzard warning remains in effect as a major storm system blankets the Midwest.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed several highways in the southwest due to the storm, which is expected to persist into Sunday. Driving conditions are difficult across the southern half of Minnesota.

The National Weather Service predicts 9 to 15 inches of snow across a large swath of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities before it's all over. More than 2 inches of snow had fallen at the weather service office in Chanhassen by 7 a.m., with over 1 inch at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Saturday's Minnesota Twins game against the Chicago White Sox has been snowed out for the second day in a row.

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5:10 a.m.

A potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend has raked across the Midwest and spawning at least one tornado in Arkansas as blizzard conditions blanket much of the Northern Plains.

A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage Friday afternoon.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said there were at least three entrapments following the twister. He said he did not know the condition of the four people hospitalized.

Meanwhile, blizzard warnings stretched from northern Kansas across most of Nebraska and South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, with winter storm warnings and watches covering most of the rest of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Heavy snow already blanketed parts of western Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

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Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:09 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:09 PM

Police: 4 Dead After Waffle House Shooting by Nude Gunman

Authorities on Monday afternoon arrested a man suspected of stripping at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, early Sunday before opening fire on customers and employees, killing four people.

Nashville police confirmed that authorities arrested suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29, on Monday afternoon. He was earlier identified as the man suspected of killing Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves, 21. 

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Unfazed while being shot with Taser, unruly passenger forcibly removed from American Airlines flight

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 1:13 PM

Jacob Garcia. (Photo: Miami-Dade Corrections)
Jacob Garcia. (Photo: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Police used a stun gun and forcibly removed an unruly passenger Sunday who started a fight with a couple aboard a plane at Miami International Airport, police said. 

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Jacob Garcia, 28, touched a female passenger without her permission, screamed and insulted her and her boyfriend before attendants on the American Airlines flight from Miami to Chicago moved him to another seat, according to WPLG

After he was moved to another seat, he began using racial slurs and was asked to leave the plane, according to WPLG. When he refused, the crew started to deplane the entire aircraft. That is when Garcia started a physical altercation with the passenger he was rude to earlier, according to airline officials. 

“What is the reason? Why you are removing from this plane,” Garcia is heard saying in a passenger’s video

“You just assaulted a lady,” a man replies.

When Miami-Dade police officers arrived, Garcia was belligerent with them and was subsequently subdued with a Taser, video shows. The remaining passengers on board can be heard clapping when he was removed. The plane departed about an hour later than scheduled, American Airlines said.

Police said Garcia reached for an officer’s service weapon and kicked out a window of a patrol car when he was taken into custody, according to WPLG.

Garcia was arrested and charged with battery, attempting to deprive an officer of their means of protection, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and criminal mischief, according to police.

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Florida judge does not return to courtroom after berating frail inmate who died 3 days later

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:15 PM

Judge Merrilee Ehrlich. (Photo: Seventeeth Judicial Circuit of Florida)
Cliff Frommer
Judge Merrilee Ehrlich. (Photo: Seventeeth Judicial Circuit of Florida)(Cliff Frommer)

A Florida judge who berated a frail inmate who died three days later will not return to the bench, court officials said. 

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Circuit Court Judge Merrilee Ehrlich will not return to the bench after her treatment of Sandra Twiggs, 59, who appeared before her last week on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, Broward Chief Administrative Judge Jack Tuter said Saturday, according to WFOR.

“In light of recent events we have decided Judge Ehrlich will be told not to return to the courthouse as her retirement is effective June 30,” Tuter said, according to The Associated Press. “I will be working this weekend to find a substitute to cover Judge Ehrlich’s (family court) division.”

During the first appearance, Twiggs, who was in a wheelchair, explained to Ehrlich that she suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and needed breathing treatments, according to WFOR

First appearance hearings are streamed online and recorded.

“Ma’am, don’t even say yes. Just listen,” Ehrlich said. “I’m not here to talk about your breathing treatments.”

Ehrlich released Twiggs without bond. Twiggs died Wednesday in her sleep.

“When she came home from being in there she was never the same,” Carolyn Porter, Twiggs’ goddaughter, told WFOR.

Ehrlich who was first elected in 2008 planned to retire June 30. She filed her retirement paperwork two weeks prior to this incident. 

Tuter said he would be calling Twiggs’ family to apologize. 

“I am saddened and disappointed in the way Judge Ehrlich behaved on the video. Her behavior cannot be condoned,” he said.

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Video shows Alabama police wrestle woman, expose her breasts at Waffle House

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:12 PM

A graphic video shows Saraland, Alabama, police officers wrestling a black  woman before arresting her inside a Waffle House restaurant (not pictured). (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
A graphic video shows Saraland, Alabama, police officers wrestling a black woman before arresting her inside a Waffle House restaurant (not pictured). (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)(Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

graphic video showing police officers wrestling a black 25-year-old woman before arresting her inside a Saraland, Alabama, Waffle House restaurant Sunday is making the rounds on social media, sparking outrage across the country. The incident allegedly escalated over 50 cents’ worth of plastic cutlery.

Chikesia Clemons was arrested around 2:45 a.m. on charges of “disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” her mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told AL.com. She paid her daughter’s $1,000 bond Sunday morning.

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In the cell phone video, captured by Clemons’ friend, Canita Adams, Saraland police officers are seen speaking with Clemons and then pulling her off a chair and onto the floor of the restaurant.

“What are you doing?” Clemons asks the officers in the video.

“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” an officer responds.

Two officers are then seen wrestling with Clemons, grabbing her neck and wrist and trying to flip her over to arrest her. The altercation turns graphic as Clemons’ clothes are pulled down “to reveal her breasts as white patrons continue to eat in the background,” AL.com reported.

Related: Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

In the video, when the officer placed his hand around her neck, Clemons cries, “You’re choking me!”

Clemons-Howard told AL.com the incident arose after Clemons refused to pay an extra 50 cents for plastic utensils and the employee canceled the order. According to AL.com, Clemons and Adams said they were not charged for utensils when they ordered from the same Waffle House the night before.

“They didn’t even ask her to leave, she was waiting for them to give her the district manager’s card so she could file a complaint on one of the waitresses,” Clemons-Howard told AL.com. “When they went to go get the card, that’s when the police showed up. The officer should’ve come in and said we need you to leave.”

Chance the Rapper weighed in on Twitter.

“Protect our women. This is wrong, this is unjust and this happens to alot (sic) of women when there are NO cameras around,” he wrote. “Stand with our women. Defend their voice, and their right to ask why they’re being handled, being removed, being CHOKED. Be infuriated. Be willing to fight.”

The altercation and arrest come 10 days after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on trespassing charges.

Mobile, Alabama, NAACP President David Smith said in a statement Sunday that the organization is looking into the episode. 

“In light of the current situation in our country -- such as the arrest of two young black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop -- we felt it was important for our members to get a firsthand account of the incident, which has now gone viral on social media locally and across the country,” Smith said.

A spokesman with the Saraland Police Department also said the department is investigating. The department also said that Saraland’s public safety director, Chief J.C. West, and Mayor Howard Rubenstein are aware of the situation.

“The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media,” the department said in a Facebook post. “The situation is being thoroughly reviewed and is under active investigation right now. Our department strives for transparency and we encourage our community to be aware of current events.”

Read more at AL.com.

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