What is Route 91 Harvest Festival? A look at scene before bloodshed

Published: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 11:25 AM

Las Vegas Shooting: At Least 50 Dead, More Than 200 Injured

It was during the final performance of the Route 91 Harvest Festival that a gunman opened fire Sunday night in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 people and wounding over 400 more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The festival, in its fourth year, bills itself on Facebook as “three days of country music on the Vegas strip.” Hashtags for the event included #RT91Harvest and #ThreeDayNeonSleepover.

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Hello #lasvegas !! This is gonna be fun !! #route91harvest

A post shared by Big Kenny (@bigkennytv) on

Beginning Friday, it boasted performances by some big names in Nashville, including Eric Church and Sam Hunt, who closed out the night Friday and Saturday, respectively. Other performers throughout the weekend included Jake Owen, Big and Rich and Maren Morris.

Headliner Jason Aldean took the main stage on the final night about 20 minutes before police say alleged gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The 43-story resort is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, which also owns the Las Vegas Village and Festival Grounds.

The 15-acre entertainment, sports and festival venue, the location of the festival, can hold more than 25,000 guests.

NPR reported that last year’s festival was at capacity. Passes and VIP packages for this year’s event, which ranged in price from $210 to $750, were sold out as well, according to the festival’s website.

Concert-goers who spent the weekend at the festival had the option of bunking at the Circus Circus RV Park for $45 per night, or they could choose from more than a half-dozen hotels within two or three blocks of the venue.

The Mandalay Bay, which overlooks the festival grounds, was one of those options.
Social media posts on the festival’s official Facebook page, along with posts from performers and singers, show a fun-filled weekend full of music. The Washington Post reported that a couple got engaged during one of the performances Friday evening.

One group at the festival, Brothers Osborne, took to Twitter to call that night “one for the books.”

The festival’s organizers on Saturday told fans they were “still not over” the day before.

“We can’t believe we get to do it all over again today; get ready,” an afternoon post read.

Photos and videos from the festival show a rousing time, with patrons taking advantage of the amenities offered, including water stations that not only kept people hydrated, but also kept them cool with misting fans.

Throughout the day, the festival’s page also had live footage of some of the acts taking the stages.

“Rise and shine, Las Vegas!” one post read on Sunday morning. “We hope you’re rested because we’ve got a big day ahead of us!”

Festival organizers’ final Facebook post before the shooting read, “Good friends, good music and good drinks. What more could we want?”

Performers at the festival in 2016 included Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan. Previous years saw Aldean take the stage, as well as Tim McGraw, Blake Sheldon, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line and Miranda Lambert.

This year’s festival was organized by Live Nation and tour promoter Brian O'Connell, who NPR reported also produced the country music festivals Watershed in Washington, Faster Horses in Michigan, Lake Shake in Chicago and Farmborough in New York City.

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Hundreds of children reunited with parents; Trump tweets after Republicans delay immigration vote 

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:07 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 7:41 AM

Watch – President Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Migrant Family Separations

Republican leaders have delayed a vote on a compromise immigration reform bill until next week, hoping to rally more support for the measure, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news

The move follows the defeat Thursday of a separate, more conservative immigration bill in the House of Representatives.

>> What does the new executive order on immigration do; can migrants be held indefinitely?

Update 7:34 a.m. EDT June 22: A senior Trump administration official told the Associated Press that approximately 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from families at the border have been reunited since May. But the official did not specify if the children remained detained with their families or if they have been released, the AP reported

The official, who spoke with AP on the condition of anonymity, said that many parents and children were reunited after a few days. But some parents have told reporters that they don’t know where their children are and can’t get answers from officials. Some say mothers were deported without their children, the AP reported.

After Republicans delayed the vote on immigration reform plans, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter Friday morning, telling lawmakers to wait until November to take on the bill, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported.

Trump also called Democrats obstructionists who won’t give the bill the 10 votes needed to pass.

>>From Jamie Dupree: Trump: GOP should give up on immigration until after 2018 elections

Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 21: Despite President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday rescinding his own policy of separating migrant children from their families during illegal border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, multiple states are suing the Trump administration over the policy, according to The Hill.

The states involved in the lawsuit contend the executive order does not solve the problems created by the separation of  families, The Hill reported.

Democratic attorneys general from Washington state, Maryland and Massachusetts, among others, contend the administration “violated the due process rights of parents and children who were separated.” The lawsuit was expected to be filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington state.

Some 2,300 children have been separated from their families during the past six weeks the administration has been enforcing its “zero tolerance” policy.

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 21: President Donald Trump is criticizing Democrats for their opposition to the hard-line Goodlatte immigration bill, which was defeated in the U.S. House Thursday.

Tweeting that “they won’t vote for anything,” the president complained that Democrats are blocking reform.

“You cannot pass legislation on immigration whether it be for safety and security or any other reason including “heart,” without getting Dem votes. Problem is, they don’t care about security and R’s do,” Trump tweeted Thursday night.

Update 7:00 p.m. EDT June 21:  House Republicans are delaying a vote on a so-called compromise immigration measure until next week, according to The Associated Press.

A vote on the legislation was first rescheduled from Thursday until Friday after another, more severe immigration measure was defeated.

Republican leaders reportedly hope they can get more support for the compromise measure by delaying the vote.

Update 5:00 p.m. EDT June 21: The more conservative of two immigration bills in the U.S. House of Representatives went down in defeat Thursday as 41 Republicans joined the Democrats in a 231-193 vote against the measure, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree

The hard-line measure called for extreme limits on legal immigration and only temporary protections for “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents.

 

The second bill is seen as more of a compromise measure, but it’s unclear if Republican leadership can manage to get the votes needed to pass it on Friday, and even if they do, it faces an even bigger hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans don’t have the votes to pass an immigration bill on their own. They’ll need Democrats’ support to get it done.

The Washington Post is reporting an important House moderate in the immigration debate, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) has said he won’t support the compromise measure.

Hurd has said he opposes the measure because it includes funding for a border wall, a campaign promise Trump made to supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

He called the proposed wall “an expensive and ineffective 4th century border security tool that takes private property away from hundreds of Texans,” according to the Post.

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 21:  The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to change the rules around the detention of child migrants one day after the president ended his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the border, The Associated Press reported.

Officials aim to change rules governed by the Flores settlement, which requires the government to release children from custody after 20 days to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference.

>> Time cover: Photo of little girl crying at border, Trump illustrates immigration debate

The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally.

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT June 21: The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected one of two proposed GOP immigration reform bills, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

 

Meanwhile, aides said the House will wait until Friday to vote on a second immigration bill, The Associated Press reported.

 

Update 1:18 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump discussed the need for immigration reform during a cabinet meeting Thursday, citing national security concerns.

 

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 21: First lady Melania Trump is making an unannounced visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

 

Melania Trump was in Texas on Thursday morning and planned to tour two facilities holding child immigrants, CNN reported.

She previously spoke out against the policy of separating migrant children and parents at the border.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, according to CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

The Trump administration policy was ended Wednesday by an executive order from the president.

>> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT June 21: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called a pair of proposed Republican immigration reform bills a “compromise with the devil.”

She said that the bills make Republicans complicit in Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy, which directs prosecutors to pursue cases against any person suspected of coming to the country illegally, resulted in the separation of hundreds of children from their parents at the border.

 

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT June 21: House Speaker Paul Ryan said officials are working on reuniting families that have been separated in recent weeks at the border.

“I believe (the Department of Homeland Security) is working on that,” Ryan said Thursday at a news briefing. “We obviously want to have families reunited.”

>> Airlines taking stand in immigration crisis, refusing to fly separated migrant children

He said DHS officials are working with the Department of Health and Human Services to bring the families back together.

“What we’re trying to do is put the families at the head of the queue so they can be adjudicated faster,” he said.

 

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents were separated from their children as they faced prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

>> First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center

Trump ended the policy Wednesday with an executive order days after he first started calling on Congress to stop the separations through legislation.

The House is set to vote Thursday on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills, although neither appeared likely to succeed.

 

Original report: “The Border has been a big mess and problem for many years,” Trump wrote. “At some point (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi, who are weak on Crime and Border security, will be forced to do a real deal, so easy, that solves this long time problem.”

   

The president’s tweet comes one day after he ended his administration’s much-derided policy of separating migrant children from parents at the border and as the House readies to debate and vote on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills.

>> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations

It was not immediately clear whether the bills would be successful. House Republican leaders were still trying Thursday morning to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP, although the measure is unlikely to pick up much, if any, Democratic support.

 >> From Jamie Dupree: House to vote on two GOP immigration bills – both may fail

Ahead of the planned vote, the president accused Democrats of “only looking to Obstruct” the immigration bills in order to gain political clout ahead of the mid-term elections.

“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms),” Trump wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!”

 

>> Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order

Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents suspected of coming to the country illegally at the border. The controversial policy was a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement push announced in April.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Who was XXXTentacion? 5 things about the late rapper

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 7:31 AM

XXXTentacion – Fast Facts

Hip-hop fans and celebrities are mourning the loss of rapper XXXTentacion after news of his death broke early this week.

» RELATED: Arrest made in death of rapper XXXTentacion

On Monday, the rapper, 20, was shot and killed while sitting in his car in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Gina Carter confirmed Thursday that Dedrick Williams, 22, was arrested in connection to his death.

>> Read more trending news 

The artist, who rose to fame within the last couple of years, released several chart-topping songs. He was also known for his legal troubles. 

Want to learn more about the emcee? Here are five things you should know.

He was mainly raised by his grandmother.  

Born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy on January 23, 1998 in Plantation, Florida, XXXTentacion was separated from his mother at an early age. His mom, who was pregnant with him as a teen, had financial issues, so he often lived with other people. By the time he was 12, he began living with his grandmother.

“My grandma really feels like my mom," he said in a Miami New Times article. “My mom almost feels like more of a sister.” 

He gained notoriety on SoundCloud.

The musician gravitated towards music after his aunt persuaded him to join a choir, he once said in a No Jumper interview. Although he was kicked out for fighting, he continued to dabble in music, exploring nu-metal, hard rock and rap. 

He released his first track “News/Flock” on SoundCloud in 2013. As he continued to upload new music, his fan base grew. He garnered thousands of streams, and by 2018, he had more than 2 million followers. 

» RELATED: Rapper XXXTentacion shot, killed in South Florida

He released several Billboard top-charting songs.

Throughout his career, he’s released two studio albums, four mixtapes and five extended plays. His single “Look At Me!” peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard 100 and was later certified platinum by the RIAA. His mixtape “Revenge” reached No. 44 on the Billboard 200, and his first studio album “17” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. “17” spawned the hits “Sad,” which was certified two-times platinum, and “Changes,” which was certified platinum. His latest album “?,” released in March 2018, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

He had ties with various artists, including Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty. 

He collaborated with many rappers, such as Travis Barker, PnB Rock and Lil Yachty. 

In 2017, he was selected for XXL’s “2017 Freshman Class,” a feature that highlights up-and-coming hip hop artists. He was joined by Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Ugly God and others. 

He had many legal issues. 

In 2014, he was sent to a youth detention center for gun possession charges. While in custody, he beat up a gay cellmate, because “he started staring,” he said in the No Jumper interview

At the time of his XXXTentacion’s death, he was awaiting trial. He was accused of domestic violence against his pregnant ex-girlfriend. According to an October 2016 arrest report, he was charged with battery and aggravated assault of a pregnant victim and false imprisonment. 

In March 2017, he pleaded no contest to charges of armed home invasion robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm and was released from jail on bail March 26, 2017. He was ordered to serve six years of probation. 

In December 2017, he was accused by prosecutors of witness tampering and was jailed again before being released on house arrest. 

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Trump: GOP should give up on immigration until after 2018 elections

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 7:29 AM

A day after Republicans in the House defeated one more conservative immigration reform plan, and delayed action until next week on a second bill because of a lack of GOP votes, President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a different avenue entirely – urging Republicans in Congress to drop the issue until after the November elections.

“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” the President tweeted early on Friday morning, saying the answer was simple – get more GOP lawmakers in the 2018 mid-term elections.

“Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump pledged, as he blamed Democrats and the Senate rules, which would force him to get 60 votes to do what he wants on immigration.

Mr. Trump’s suggestion came as GOP leaders were still looking for a magic legislative formula on immigration reform, as the issue has divided Republicans in both the House and Senate.

The suggestion by the President that immigration efforts are a waste of time came as Republicans were trying to fine tune a second immigration bill in the House, with hopes of approving that next week, before lawmakers go home for a July Fourth break.

Many GOP lawmakers had been hoping that the President instead would come out very publicly in favor of those efforts, and help convince some reluctant House Republicans to get on board, and vote for the plan, despite misgivings about certain provisions.

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Southwest Key: A look at one of the companies sheltering migrant children

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

VIDEO: Audio Recording of Children Being Separated From Parents At Border Facility

Following the implementation of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, aimed at those who would cross the border illegally, upward of 2,000 children were separated from their parents as the adults were turned over for criminal prosecution.

While the adults went to jail, the children, some only infants, were placed in the custody of the federal government. After briefly being detained by the Customs and Border Patrol, the children were then transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

>> Read more trending news 

From there, children were sent to shelters – around 100 in 17 states – until family or friends can take custody of them or they are assigned to foster homes or other centers.

One company providing shelter for thousands of migrant children that have come before and after the zero tolerance policy is Southwest Key Inc. For years the company has had contracts with the federal government to care for immigrant children. Those contracts have made the company more than $1 billion in the past decade.

Here’s are a few things to know about Southwest Key:

  • It’s a nonprofit organization that, according to its website “contracts with government agencies and private foundations to operate three types of programs throughout the country: youth justice programs, charter schools for kids in underserved neighborhoods, and shelters for immigrant youth. 
  • According to Bloomberg, Southwest Key has the most lucrative contract with the federal government and will be paid the “most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.”
  • In fiscal year 2017, 11,100 minors went through Southwest Key facilities in Texas alone.
  • Since 2015, it has been awarded $955 million in federal contracts. According to U.S. Health and Human Services data, Southwest Key Inc. has made $1.5 billion from the federal government since 2008. It is on track to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018.
  • Juan Sanchez is president and CEO. He started the company in 1987. In 2016, his compensation was $1.5 million.
  • The nonprofit also operates schools for minors in the custody of the juvenile justice system.
  • According to The New York Times, only 10 percent of children in Southwest Key facilities were separated from their relatives. The majority of minors housed by Southwest Key came to the United States alone as unaccompanied minors.
  • Casa Padre, the Southwest Key’s shelter that has garnered attention in the past week, is holding nearly 1,500 boys, ages 10  to 17 years old.
  • Casa Padre has classrooms, medical offices, on-call physicians, work cubicles, movie theaters, a barbershop and a cafeteria.
  • Southwest Key runs 26 immigrant children’s shelters in Texas, Arizona and California. It also operates in four other states, Georgia, New York, Wisconsin and Florida
  • The company issued a statement about the policy of separating migrant children from their parents saying:  "Southwest Key Programs does not support separating families at the border. For 30 years, our work in offering youth justice alternatives, immigrant children's shelters, and education have served to improve the lives of thousands of young people. We believe keeping families together is better for the children, parents and our communities, and we remain committed to providing compassionate care and reunification. For every child who has come through our shelter doors, we start on day one to reunite them with their parents or a family sponsor and to provide the kind of service that will help them thrive. This has been our priority for decades."
Dignitaries take a tour of Southwest Key Programs Casa Padre, a U.S. immigration facility in Brownsville, Texas, Monday, June 18, 2018, where children are detained. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

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