<![CDATA[NBC New York - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:14:44 -0400 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:14:44 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Not a Child Abuser": Adrian Peterson Apologizes]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:48:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_adrian_peterson1.jpg

Adrian Peterson is coming back to the Minnesota Vikings two days after he was charged with child abuse for using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son, and the star running back said Monday he is not a child abuser and wants "everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."

Peterson, considered one of the best running backs in the NFL, was benched for Sunday's 30-7 home loss to the New England and he had not commented publicly since news broke on Friday that he had lashed the boy with the switch earlier this summer, causing an unspecified injuries.

"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," Peterson said in a nearly 500-word statement issued through his agency and posted to his Twitter feed. "I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.

"No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that's what I tried to do that day."

Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said they had decided to bring back Peterson for practices and Sunday's game at New Orleans "after significant thought, discussion and consideration." The Wilfs said they want to let the legal process play out before making any more definitive decisions on Peterson's future with the only NFL team he has ever played for.

"To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child," the Wilfs said. "At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing."

Peterson faces an initial court appearance in Conroe, Texas, on Wednesday on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said he will try to delay the arraignment until next week after Hardin returns from a vacation out of the country.

Corporal punishment is legal in Texas and non-deadly force against a child by a parent or guardian is permissible. But the punishment is abusive if it causes injury. A blow that leaves a bruise, welt or swelling, or requires medical attention, could be judged abusive. The guidelines also say use of an instrument "is cause for concern."

Hardin said Peterson used a switch because that was the way he was brought up by his parents in Palestine, Texas, and the NFL star agreed.

"I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen," Peterson said. "I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."

The Vikings decided not to play Peterson against the Patriots, moving swiftly after a week in which the NFL came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

The Vikings clearly see Peterson's case as different from the 2011 case involving former cornerback Chris Cook, who was accused of choking his girlfriend. Cook was initially suspended by the team before being reinstated with pay. But the Vikings barred him from all team activities, including games, while the legal process unfolded.

Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers.

The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new tougher domestic abuse policy that was implemented after Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment.

The Vikings' decision to reinstate Peterson comes on the same day the NFL announced that three experts in domestic violence will serve as senior advisers to the league. Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing that Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith will "help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault."

"I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct," Peterson said. "Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Radisson Suspends Minnesota Vikings Sponsorship]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:51:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/adrian-peterson-indicted_1200x675_328790083813.jpg

The Radisson hotel chain is suspending its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after star running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Texas.

In a statement Monday, Minnetonka-based Radisson said it "takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children."

Radisson says it's suspending its limited sponsorship of the Vikings "while we evaluate the facts and circumstances."

Radisson's sponsorship includes a press banner that is behind those speaking at Vikings news conferences.

Peterson is accused of using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son. The running back says he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy.

A Vikings spokesman says the team has "respectfully honored" Radisson's request.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Gay Couple Attacked Speaks Out]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:04:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Gay-Couple-Attacked-New.jpg

A gay couple who was brutally assaulted in Center City last week is speaking out about what led to the attack.

"They were screaming, 'you dirty f****t, you dirty f****t,'" said one of the victims.

The couple, who wanted to remain anonymous, say the ordeal began Thursday around 10:45 p.m. as they were walking to a pizza shop. The 28 and 26-year-old men were on 16th and Chancellor streets when they say they were approached by a group made up of about a dozen men and women.

The victims say someone in the group asked whether they were a couple. When they told them yes, the group allegedly began to attack them, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest.

Police say one of the suspects then snatched a victim's bag containing a cellphone, wallet and credit cards. The group then fled in an unknown direction.

"Three guys were on me taking turns on me," said the 26-year-old victim.

The men say their attackers, who appeared to be drunk, screamed homophobic slurs at them during the assault.

"I had three, four guys on me. I turned around and saw his(my boyfriend's) head hit the ground, like hard," said the 28-year-old victim. "I was horrified. I thought he was dead."

Both men suffered injuries in the attack. The 26-year-old victim, who just returned home from the hospital, says his mouth was wired shut and he'll need eight weeks to recover.

"I have multiple facial fractures on both sides of my face," the man said. "I have an orbital fracture, which is like the eye socket. I had a big laceration that was from the tip of my nose all the way to my lip that was gushing blood."

Police have yet to confirm whether the assault was a hate crime, though both victims insist they were attacked because of their sexual orientation.

"It's not just us," the 28-year-old victim said. "I don't want this to happen to anyone else. It's not fair." 

Police are looking for surveillance video from the area to help track the group down. Investigators have not released a description of the female suspects but say the male suspects had a "husky" build, brown hair and were wearing brown shirts and shorts.

If you have any information on the assault, please call Philadelphia Police.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA["Played Out": Trump Plaza Marks Last Day]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:11:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trump+plaza1.jpg

Linda Winsett stopped in to say goodbye to the workers she'd come to know over her decades playing the slot machines at Trump Plaza as the Atlantic City casino marked its last day in business Monday.
“I know everyone here,” said Winsett, who was visiting with her husband, Jon, a retired Wildwood, New Jersey, police officer. “They’ve always been good to me. Sad. Everyone’s out of work.”
Winsett had known the casino was failing. It had become run-down, and there were fewer employees on the casino floor. Its imminent closure was no surprise to her. “I could see it coming,” she said.
When the Trump Plaza closes its doors early Tuesday morning, it will become Atlantic City's fourth casino to close this year, following the Atlantic Club in January and Showboat and Revel over the Labor Day weekend. Trump Entertainment Resorts is threatening to shutter a fifth, Trump Taj Mahal, if it cannot cut costs there.

The march of casino closures comes as New Jersey casinos' revenue lags, and as state leaders scramble to turn the tide. New Jersey casinos' August revenue was down $3.65 million compared with last year, state gambling figures out Friday show. Last week, Gov. Chris Christie held a special summit to help the troubled casino resort community, and issued a directive to let casinos begin sports betting.

“The whole industry is played out,” said Linda Winsett's husband Jon, 59, who does not gamble. “If you put six McDonald’s on one intersection, not all six are going to do good.” 

"I'm going to pick up the pieces"

At mid-day Monday, a smattering of gamblers dotted the Trump Plaza's cavernous casino floor, most of them at the slots. As the day wore on, visitors streamed up the escalators to games whose dazzling names — "Dozens of Diamonds," "Invaders from the Planet Moolah" — belied the casino's future.
That future was on casino employees' minds Monday, as nearly 1,000 workers prepared to lose their jobs. Some said they said they would apply for unemployment benefits or maybe return to college, and a dealer was overheard discussing competition from casinos in neighboring states.
Theresa Volpe, 56, a cocktail server who has worked at Trump Plaza for 26 years, is looking for a job in one of the other casinos, and hopes the city can rebound to thrive again. She lives just outside Atlantic City in Northfield with her disabled sister and her mother, who is recovering from a fall. Both rely on her, but Volpe said she wasn't worried.

"I’m going to pick up the pieces," she said. "I’ll be good. We’ll work it out."

The closing of Trump Plaza has also left uncertain the future of its boardwalk restaurant, EVO. Waiter Elgun Alakbarov, 25, is applying for jobs at other restaurants, but he may leave Atlantic City instead.

"It’s time to do something different. But I'm young," he acknowledged. “People who have a family — it’s hard."

The union representing casino employees, Unite Here Local 54, will host a resource center in Boardwalk Hall from Wednesday through Friday where union and non-union workers can learn about unemployment benefits, health care, rent assistance and other resources, said Donna DeCaprio, the secretary treasurer. "It's kind of one-stop shopping," she said.

"There's already enough poverty"

On a sparklingly sunny Monday on the Atlantic City boardwalk, Janice and Malcolm Blalock had their photograph taken in front of the casinos. Retired government workers from Clayton, North Carolina, they were on a motorcycle trip and were on their way to Philadelphia.
“It’s a little bit sad,” Malcolm Blalock said of the casino closures. His wife, who described herself as a small gambler, said the casino closures reflect the ongoing struggles of a still-rebounding economy.
The pair was only briefly stopping in Atlantic City en route to Philadelphia.
Derek Ljongquist, 31, and Jennifer Cote, 33, stopped at the Starbucks in the Trump Plaza, but they had no plans to stay, either. The couple from Naugatuck, Connecticut – he a computer technician, she a health-care administrative assistant – was headed for a swim and then shopping at the Tanger outlet mall, during a visit for Cote’s birthday.
And though not gamblers, they thought the Atlantic City casinos paled in comparison with their home state's Mohegan Sun casino, though they called the Trump Plaza's closure "a shame."
“It's a shame, because there are a lot of jobs to be lost,” Cote said. “There’s already enough poverty in the city.”
"The whole vibe is different"
Like many others, longtime Trump Plaza patrons Ed Heron Jr., 68, and his wife, Marge, 67, had come to their old haunt Monday to say goodbye to longtime employees.
“This used to be our place,” Ed said. “We used to be here at least two or three times a month."
The retired couple, who live in Philadelphia, recalled steak dinners they had eaten and performances they'd seen by Cher and Diana Ross there. But what was once a fabulous casino now looked desolate, Marge said, and the couple blamed its owners for its failure.

“Ten years ago, the place was hopping,” Ed remembered.

That wasn't the case Monday, another worker at the Trump Plaza's restaurant EVO conceded. Andrea Gant, 29, is moving to Boca Raton, Florida, to waitress in another of the owner’s restaurants for the winter. "It’s hard to get a job here in the winter," she said.

It wasn't just during the winter that business had lagged, though, she said. With fewer patrons to serve, she could tell the casinos were suffering.

"You can feel it," she said. "The whole vibe is different."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[$1,300 Raised for Autistic Man]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:52:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Steven+St.+Jacques+birthday+money+burglary.jpg

A man accused of stealing $100 in birthday money from an autistic man has been arrested, and police in Stamford, Connecticut, have presented the victim with more than $1,000 they pooled together and raised from the public. 

Police said Steven St. Jacques, 27, of Stamford, approached the victim, a 27-year-old autistic man, near Veterans Park last Tuesday afternoon.

He tricked the victim into handing over his money, then pretended to put it back into the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 in cash, police say.

Police looked for the man initially but could not find him. On Thursday, they released surveillance footage that showed a man running from the scene in the hopes that someone could identify the perpetrator.

St. Jacques was identified as police's suspect over the weekend. Police obtained a search warrant and found an article of clothing at his house that matched what they say he was wearing when the video was shot.

St. Jacques has been charged with second-degree larceny and is due in court on Tuesday.

He has had prior arrests for alleged assault and robbery, police said.

As Stamford police investigated, police officers, members of the local police union and community members banded together to collect money for the victim and presented him with $1,300 on Monday. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Bear Cools Off in SoCal Pool]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:44:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/200*120/bear+thomas+see+sierra+madre.jpg

A bear used a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool Sunday to cool off during a Southern California heat wave that included triple-digit temperatures during the weekend.

The bear arrived late Sunday afternoon at the home, where it explored the backyard patio before splashing into the pool. The bear stayed in the water for about 15 minutes, resting on steps at both ends, before climbing out.

Resident Thomas See said this was the first time he has seen a bear swimming around in the pool. Bears in search of an easy snack often appear in the San Gabriel Valley community on trash days, he added.

The bear appeared to head south after the swim, See said.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recorded 12 "bear attacks" since 1980. An attack is defined as "physical contact, injury or death."

The last reported attack in Los Angeles County occurred in July 2003 when a hiker was knocked down by a bear at a campsite on Pacific Crest Trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiker suffered minor injuries.
 



Photo Credit: Thomas See, NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[Actress: I Was "Humiliated" by LAPD]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:52:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

An actress who had a part in the film "Django Unchained" claimed on Facebook that she was "humiliated" and forced into handcuffs by two Los Angeles Police Department officers for publicly showing affection to a companion in Studio City Thursday.

In the Facebook post, which had nearly 2,000 shares by Sunday, actress Daniele Watts says she was put into a police car after refusing to agree that she had done "something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public space."

"I allowed myself to be honest about my anger, frustration, and rage as tears flowed from my eyes," Watts wrote on Facebook. "The tears I cry for a country that calls itself 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' and yet detains people for claiming that very right."

Police said Sunday that they responded to a report of indecent exposure in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard when they came across Watts. LAPD's Sally Madera said a citizen reported seeing a couple engaged in a "sexual act" in a car.

"The citizen who called the police to complain told the 9-1-1 operator that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open," police said in a statement.

A responding sergeant and officer questioned Watts and her companion, who matched the suspect description. Police determined no crime was committed and the couple was released after a brief detainment, officials said.

Watts told NBC News Sunday that she and her partner were kissing inside their car at the CBS lot when they were approached by a man in a suit who asked them to leave because "employees were distracted." The couple stopped after a few minutes and police arrived shortly after, Watts said.

When they asked for identification from Watts, she refused and walked away from the officers. Watts said that's when she was handcuffed and put into the police car.

"I burst into tears. I was afraid because of all the things happening in the country right now," Watts told NBC News.

Police said an internal investigation has been launched into the incident.

"The cops are on thin ice here," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes. "California does not have a law that lets the cops force you to identify yourself, so to the extent the cops hassling this actress tried to get her to give her name and she said no, she had a right to remain silent."

"She may have a basis for a civil rights action, an action saying that the police stepped over the line," Oakes added.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Great White Destroys Surfer's Board]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:48:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/surf-th.jpg

A surfer says he had to swim for his life after a 15-foot great white shark took a bite out of his surf board at a popular beach near Watsonville, California.

Beau Browning was surfing about 50 yards from shore at Manresa State Beach Saturday evening when he says the shark knocked him off his surfboard, mid-wave. The shark came out of the water and landed on his board, splitting it in two, then took a bite out of the board.

"I caught my second wave and barely got into it, and out of nowhere, I was popped into the air by probably like 10 feet, looked down, and saw a shark," Browning said.

Browning said he was still tethered to the board, so when the shark began to swim deeper, it pulled him underwater for 5 seconds. When the shark finally let go, Browning was able to get up to the surface.

Browning was not hurt in the attack, but his board is no longer usable. Browning said, the board's maker, Pearson Arrow, has offered him a replacement.

Browning told local NBC affiliate KSBW-TV he doesn't blame the shark.

"They were just doing what they're designed to do," Browning said. "And they thought I was something else. And that's all it is. I got no hard feelings against sharks."

Shark warning signs were posted Monday by state park rangers at multiple beaches in Santa Cruz County, the station reported. California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors says a shark was spotted attacking a seal in the waters off Seabright State Beach on Sunday.

Shark experts told KSBW great whites don’t have sharp eyesight and can't tell the difference between a surfer's body and board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Lightning Strike Kills Mass. Woman]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:44:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Marianne+Mellnick.jpg

Two families are now mourning the loss of their loved ones after both women struck by lightning on an Ipswich, Massachusetts, beach earlier this month have passed away.

Sixty-nine-year-old Marianne Mellnick of Concord, Massachusetts, died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her friend, 61-year-old Marguerite "Muggy" Tomany of North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, died Sept. 6, just hours after the lightning strike.

Officials say the two women were leaving Crane Beach that day, walking back towards the parking lot when a microburst hit Ipswich, bringing with it strong winds and dangerous lightning.

Mellnick’s son tells NECN she was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who had an infectious laugh, boundless energy and love of adrenaline. Se worked in tax management until retiring in 2010, when she spent her time volunteering and traveling the world hiking, kayaking, bicycling and skiing.

According to Tomany’s obituary, she was a proud and loving wife, mother and grandmother who lived life to the fullest. In her three years since retiring from her job as a kindergarten teacher, she also spent much of her time traveling and enjoying the outdoors.

Tomany was laid to rest last week. Donations may be made in her memory to The Mary R. Fisher Elementary School - Marguerite Tomany Fund.

A public funeral mass will be held for Mellnick Friday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Church in Bedford, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mellnick's name to a charity of your choice.



Photo Credit: The Mellnick Family]]>
<![CDATA[Thrown Jet Skiers Stranded on Separate Islands Overnight]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:27:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/island+rescue+inset.jpg

Two men are recovering after getting thrown off a Jet Ski Saturday and spending a chilly summer night stranded on separate, small islands off Staten Island, authorities said.

A tugboat operator spotted one of the men, a 29-year-old, on West Bank Lighthouse Island Sunday morning and he was rescued by the FDNY's Marine Division, officials said. The man told authorities that his 47-year-old friend, who had also been on the Jet Ski, was missing and may be in the area.

NYPD Harbor, Aviation, and Emergency Services units launched an aerial search and, as they approached Swinburne Island, saw a man wearing a wet suit waving one hand from the land below.

"The crew chief said, 'There he is! There he is!'" said Sean Daly, an NYPD detective and member of the department's scuba unit who assisted in the rescue. Daly said the team looked out the helicopter window and saw the victim standing on the rocks on the north end of the island,a debris-ridden piece of land about half the size of a football field not far from the Verrazano Bridge.

"We were all very relieved he was alive," Daly said.

Daly was lowered to the island in a rescue basket. He secured the stranded skier in the basket and the man was hoisted into the helicopter. Once the victim was secured, Daly was hoisted back up. Authorities released video (above) of the dramatic rescue.

The 47-year-old man, who is from New Jersey, told rescuers he was "cold," having spent the night in low 50-degree temperatures, but otherwise had no injuries. He was treated for hypothermia at a hospital and released. The younger victim was not hurt.

Rescuers said both men seemed OK and were just happy to get off the islands. They were both wearing flotation devices, which authorities said likely helped save their lives. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Urban Pulls Bloody-Looking Shirt]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:05:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kentstatesweatshirt.jpg

Urban Outfitters is once again at the center of controversy, this time for selling a Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be splattered in blood.

The $129 shirt, sold as part of the Philadelphia-based retailer's vintage sweatshirt line, was so popular it quickly sold out -- but it also was decried as offensive because of the tragic killing of four students by the National Guard on Kent State's campus in 1970. 

The university, located about 40 miles south of Cleveland, took “great offense” to the shirt:

“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family,” read a statement posted to the university’s website. “We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Urban Outfitters has yet to return phone calls or emails from NBC10.

The company did, however, tweet that it “sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused.”

“It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such,” said a company statement posted online.

“The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray," it continued. "Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”

The retailer dropped a photo of the “bloody” sweatshirt but did leave up the “sold out” page on its website.

Other vintage sweatshirts — including ones with “Penn State,” “University of Texas” and “Cathedral College” printed on them — were also listed as sold out on the Urban Outfitters site. None of those shirts appeared to be bloody, and the photos of each remained on the site.

This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has found itself facing public backlash over one of its items. Last holiday season they pulled a pair of socks seen as religiously insensitive.

They've also gotten heat for a pro-booze shirt sold to the 18 to 24 crowd, a "Jewish Star" shirt that drew comparisons to the Holocaust and about a dozen other designs laid out by The Week.



Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Is Giving Away Free Coffee Every Morning for Two Weeks]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:14:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/McDonalds13.jpg

McDonald’s is kicking off its second national Free Coffee Event Sept. 16 and cutting off the free java on International Coffee Day, Sept. 29.

In a statement released last week, McDonald’s announced that participating restaurants across the country will give guests a free small McCafé coffee for a two-week period during regular breakfast hours.

“We know our guests are busy, especially during the morning, and a free cup of coffee goes a long way in helping get their days started," said Greg Watson, the McDonald’s executive who oversees menu innovation.

McDonald’s costumers can also “sip and tell” their embarrassing pre-coffee moments on social media using the hashtag #SipandTell and @McCafe for chances to win custom gifts and other surprises.

Starting in early 2015, McCafé fans can drink their coffee at home, too. The fast-food chain recently announced it would collaborate with Kraft to offer McCafé ground, whole bean and single-cup coffees in grocery stores nationwide, joining retailers like Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks in selling branded packaged coffee.

McDonald’s first-ever Free Coffee Event was launched in March 2014, when the company gave away millions of cups of free coffee across the country.
 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Extreme Weather Photos: Hurricane Odile]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:11:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hurricane-AP848895679019_2.jpg Take a look at some of the most extreme weather systems throughout the world.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[AC Tries to Reinvent Itself ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:00:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trump+plaza1.jpg

The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City will shutter its doors early Tuesday morning, the latest casino to fail as this once high-flying resort city faces fierce competition from gambling elsewhere.

When the doors close at 5:59 a.m., about 8,000 jobs will have been lost this year, a quarter of the casino workforce, according to figures filed by the city's casinos. Hundreds of former employees have been filing for unemployment benefits, health care, heat assistance and food stamps. More may be lining up for help soon. Trump Entertainment Resorts is in bankruptcy and is threatening to close the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in November if it does not get concessions on labor costs.

With Atlantic City’s gambling revenue plummeting from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.86 billion last year, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the suffering shore resort is scrambling to reinvent itself. Only eight of its 12 casinos will remain and competition in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Delaware and elsewhere continues to grow. Officials are searching for ways the city can appeal anew to visitors and stop hemorrhaging jobs and revenue.

“It’s really a repositioning of the city itself,” said Mark Giannantonio, the president of Resorts Casino Hotel, which turned itself around after adding a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville entertainment complex. “It’s more right-sized for the market in gaming and it’s an opportunity for us to continue to go after this non-gaming element, which in turn helps gaming.”

Officials are hoping a mix of convention space, entertainment venues, shops, a college campus, plus the casinos will transform the city from a gambling hub into a resort with a variety of attractions. Atlantic City’s non-gambling revenue is growing but at half the rate its gambling revenue is dropping.

LURING CONVENTIONS, CORPORATE MEETINGS

One place to look as a model: Sin City. The Las Vegas Strip managed to curb its reliance on casinos. A little more than one third of its revenue comes from gambling, compared to 72 percent in Atlantic City. But experts caution the change will not be easy.

For example, there is already a glut of convention space across the country, said Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of “Convention Center Follies.”

Demand in 2013 was only slightly above where it was in 2000, he said. Meanwhile, the amount of exhibit hall space has increased by 37 percent. Major convention cities across the country have seen their business remain flat or fall. At the biggest convention center in the country, McCormick Place in Chicago, business dropped from 1.55 million attendees in 2003 to 868,000 last year.

“What we see in major events around the country is that fewer people are going,” Sanders said. “And that’s partly because employers are less willing to send lots of people out of town to a convention and trade show for an extended period.”

The president of the Atlantic City Alliance, Elizabeth Cartmell, said that the city would compete not only for conventions but also for smaller meetings of 50 to 500 people, where the glut of space is not as severe. Only 2 percent of smaller meetings originating in the Northeast comes to Atlantic City compared to 15 percent that goes to Las Vegas, she said.

MIAMI AS A MODEL

The alliance, funded with a $30 million a year assessment on the casinos, is promoting the city as a year-round seaside resort through beachside concerts, wine tastings, fishing tournaments and pro volleyball competitions. Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum performed this summer, a series of long-distance triathlons added Atlantic City as one of its locations and the Miss America contest has returned from Las Vegas.

An 86,000-square foot Bass Pro Shop is under construction and is expected to bring almost 300 full- and part-time jobs.

The alliance is looking at Miami as a model, Cartmell said. Atlantic City offers an exciting nightlife but also the chance to relax on the beach and visit a spa, she said.

“We’re an interesting mix of a little bit of urban grit and variety, but at the same time we’re beachfront,” she said. “We call it the thrill and the chill.”

Giannantonio, the Resorts Casino Hotel president, has said that five years ago his property would have been the first casino to close. That changed with a new owner, Morris Bailey, a partnership with the Mohican Sun casinos and the new Margaritaville restaurant and LandShark Bar & Grill, Atlantic City’s first beach restaurant.

“You’re sitting right on the beach, feet from the ocean, thinking you could be anywhere in the country,” he said.

To bring people back into the city, Mayor Donald Guardian has proposed giving away land and tax breaks to new homeowners who build within two years and commit to staying for 10. The five years of tax abatements would begin at 100 percent and decrease 20 percent each year after.

Even during the boon years, much of the riches from gambling did not find their way past the glittering lights of the resorts. Twenty-five percent of the city’s population of 39,500 lives below the poverty, according to Census figures. The figure is even higher for those under 18: 37 percent.

The city ranks second in New Jersey for violent crimes trailing only Camden, FBI data from 2012 shows. Family income is about $30,000. The unemployment rate stands at 13 percent.

A NEED FOR NEW HOMEOWNERS

Michael Busler, a professor of finance at Stockton College, said the mayor’s plan was not enough. He said the city would have to offer a bigger incentive and he suggested 10 years of tax breaks as Philadelphia has done.

The value of Atlantic City’s real estate has shrunk from $20 billion when the casinos were thriving to about $8 billion, Busler said. At the same time, property taxes have gone up 22 percent last year and 29 percent this year. The city’s $260 million budget has to be cut to between $175 million and $180 million, he said.

Atlantic City was first developed as an oceanside resort in the 19th century. When gambling was legalized in 1976, the casinos turned away from the beachfront. Their design was meant to keep people inside – and gambling.

“Now we can’t do that anymore,” Busler said. “Now we’re going to emphasize we have a beautiful beach.”

Atlantic City has to find ways to rebuild that will help the city itself grow, said Bryant Simon, a professor of history at Temple University and the author of “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”

Even while the casinos thrived, the city withered and for years lacked even a supermarket.

“Let’s not do that again,” he said. “Let’s have fresh produce. Let’s have year-round jobs.”

The city could try high-speed rail service to Philadelphia, so residents could work there, he said. It could open a satellite campus of the nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and have a core of students studying casinos and urban redevelopment. Or it could add to the city’s medical complex. The city needs to make sure it is creating decent paying jobs, not just low wage, tourism jobs, he said.

“We shouldn’t be stunned that a city has to reinvent itself,” he said. “Cities are always places of creative destruction and renewal and resorts probably in particular because they cater to people’s desires and their desires change.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UM Quarterback Arrested for DUI]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:17:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/091514+kevin+olsen.jpg

University of Miami quarterback Kevin Olsen was arrested on charges of DUI and possession of a stolen or fake driver's license early Monday, police said.

Olsen, 19, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail shortly after 4 a.m., records showed. He was being held on $6,000 bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.

Team officials said Olsen was suspended after the arrest.

According to a South Miami Police arrest report, officers were investigating a battery when they encountered Olsen, who was driving a 2014 Dodge Challenger.

An officer noticed Olsen had blood shot watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath and slurred speech, the report said.

Olsen didn't perform well on field sobriety tests and "exhibited severe signs of impairment due to the consumption of an unknown alcoholic beverage," the report said.

While searching Olsen, officers found he had several identifications, including two from Maryland, one from North Carolina, one from Florida and one from New Jersey. All of the licenses had Olsen's name except the Florida one, which had the name of senior Hurricanes fullback Ronald Regula, the report said.

Olsen, a redshirt freshman from Wayne, N.J., was suspended for the Hurricanes' season opener against Louisville, a 31-13 loss, after a positive drug test.

Last year, Olsen was suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl for violating team rules, according to the Miami Herald.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Prof. Shares "Unbelievable" Story of Finding 9/11 Photo Owner]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:12:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/176*120/911+wedding+photo+boston+globe.jpg

It was a simple message about a photo found in the ashes.

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe posted this message on social media every 9/11, hoping to find the people in the photo. But each year, nothing happened.

"I thought, 'Why not? I'm going to do it one more time everywhere.' And I saw it getting retweeted," said Keefe.

And soon, the professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, realized this time was different.

"I think a half an hour later, I knew it was going to happen," she said. "It was so exciting. I start to tear up when I think about it. It started to go viral, so I stayed up all night and just watched."

More than 6,000 tweets later, one message from Fred Mahe changed everything.

"He sent me a very cryptic message," said Keefe. "It just said, 'I know the people in the message, give me a call.'"

So she did.

"When he answered the phone, he said his name, and I said, 'This is Elizabeth Stringer Keefe,'" she said. "He paused for a minute and said, 'You are awesome.'"

A friend of  Keefe found the photo at ground zero, just a few weeks after 9/11. Keefe made it her mission to find out the story behind it.

"I said, 'Are you in that photo?' And he said, 'That is my photo,'" said Keefe. "It was unbelievable, I immediately started crying."

Mahe worked in Tower Two. He had just come off the subway when the building was hit. The photo, taken at his friend's wedding, was tacked to his desk on the 77th floor.

Mahe now lives in Colorado, and all six people in the photo are alive and well.

"On 9/11, like you, I saw the worst of humanity. The absolute worst. But on 9/12, I saw the best," said Mahe. "And the photo mystery was solved on 9/12."

"Finding Fred, and being able to return this particular photo to him, is unbelievable," said Keefe.

Keefe and Mahe will meet for the first time Monday in New York.



Photo Credit: Elizabeth Stringer Keefe]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Search for Missing Kids Could be Homicide Investigation]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:26:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hoggle+family+update.jpg

Montgomery County police searched more than 10,000 acres of land Monday in hopes of locating two missing children after placing their mother under arrest for child neglect.

Catherine Hoggle has yet to reveal the exact location of her two children, telling police she gave them to a friend before changing her story. Two-year-old Jacob was last seen Sept. 7; his 3-year-old sister Sarah was last seen the following day.

Hoggle said the two were "alive and safe," but police are transitioning to a homicide investigation based on the amount of time the children have been gone and the 15-hour interrogation of the Montgomery County mom.

Hoggle was taken into custody after a brief chase Friday, a few days after she vanished from a fast-food restaurant as she and her husband were on the way to report the children missing.

During her questioning, Hoggle told investigators that taking the children was planned, adding that her husband waking up and taking their third child to the bus stop interrupted her plan.

Hoggle told police that she gave her children to an old high school friend named Erin and said that her number was in her cell phone. According to charging documents, once officers handed her the phone, she began deleting things from it.

She also told investigators that she took the children to a playground and left them there alone.

Hoggle has been charged with two counts of child neglect and with obstruction and hindering the investigation into the disappearance of the children. Police say a parental abduction charge is pending.

Authorities said Hoggle has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but she denies that she was off her medication prior to her and the children vanishing. Police say Hoggle was lucid during her questioning.

Monday, teams searched 13,000 acres of land in Montgomery County for the two missing kids.

Police are urging residents from Darnestown to Clarksburg to help by checking their personal properties for any trace of the children or any strong odors.

Troy Turner, the children's father, said he's been looking for the missing children and passing out fliers around the clock. He said he doesn't think Hoggle would hurt their children.

"Her thinking, in her right or her wrong mind, wouldn't do anything on purpose to harm the children," he said. "Whatever she's doing, she has a skewed version of reality. She believes she's protecting our children."

Turner was granted emergency custody of the children on Thursday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Batman, Spider-Man Arrested in Times Sq Fist Fight: Cops]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:30:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/costumed+characters+times+square.jpg

Two costumed characters were arrested in Times Square Saturday night after police say they got into a fist fight with another man. 

All three men were charged with misdemeanor assault, officials said. According to the New York Post, the altercation started after 41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez and 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai, who were dressed as Batman and Spider-Man, allegedly confronted a man who was heckling them around 10:25 pm near 44th street and Broadway.

Saturday's arrests were the latest in series of arrests involving costumed characters in Times Square. Earlier this month, Woody, Minnie Mouse and the Statue of Liberty were all arrested in Times Square after they allegedly asked tourists to pay for pictures, the NYPD says. 

The people portraying the characters were all cuffed on aggressive solicitation charges after a run-in with a family of tourists Wednesday night.

The three characters posed for photos with a man, his wife and two children and allegedly demanded $5 in tips, police say. The family refused and told nearby officers, who made the arrests.

The arrests come amid calls to regulate the costumed characters in Times Square. One city lawmaker recently proposed licenses for the characters, and police have begun handing out fliers and posting signs in five languages telling visitors that tips are optional.

The crackdown followed a string of harrowing incidents in which some of the characters assaulted tourists, including children. Others harassed people and groped women. The face-offs peaked when a Spider-Man demanding money punched a police officer telling a woman she was not obliged to pay.

Last month, many of the buskers who don the costumes held a press conference where they argued they deserved a right to earn a living.

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<![CDATA[Golfer Wins Trip to Space After Hole-in-One]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:13:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/455429326.jpg

An English golfer scored a trip into space by sinking a rare hole-in-one at a tournament on Sunday.

Andy Sullivan made the shot at the 163-yard, 15th hole at the KLM Open in the Netherlands, The Associated Press reported.

XCOR Aerospace, an Amsterdam-based company that sponsored the tournament, offered a 100,000-euro ($129,238) seat aboard a commercial flight into space to the first player to make an ace on the 15th hole, according to Golf.com.

The reward was aimed at promoting the company's space trips, which are set to open to the public beginning in late 2015.

"I'm not sure yet,” Sullivan said when asked if he would take the trip, Golf.com reported. "I'll see what the missus says."

Sullivan finished third at the KLM Open, two shots behind winner Paul Casey.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead, 12 Hurt in Chicago Violence]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:15:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/9-14+VIOLENCE.jpg

Two people were killed and at least 12 others were injured in weekend violence across Chicago, police said.

A 28-year-old man was killed after being shot in the 4100 block of West 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood just before 2 p.m. Sunday.

The man was shot in the chest after someone in a grey minivan opened fire at him. Police said the man was taken to Mount Sinai hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in the 3900 block of South Prairie Avenue. Few details were released surrounding the shooting but officials said the incident appears to be gang-related.

The teen was shot in the head and taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

On Sunday, a 29-year-old man walked into Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left hand. He was listed in good condition and told police he was shot in the 1800 block of West 16th Street.

An 18-year-old boy was shot in the ankle in the 6900 block of South Eggleston Avenue just after 11:30 a.m., police said. The teen was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in good condition.

The teen told police he was walking on the street when a red car approached and someone inside the vehicle opened fire.

A 30-year-old man was shot around 2:15 a.m. in the 4100 block of West Adams Street. The victim told police a man exited a gangway and fired shots in his direction.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with wounds to the leg and foot. He was last listed in stable condition.

Also on Sunday, two people were shot on area expressways within two hours, according to authorities.

Around 3 a.m., a driver was shot on the city’s South Side while traveling on the Dan Ryan Expressway between 76th and 79th streets, according to Illinois State Police.

The driver exited his vehicle at the 79th Street exit and called 911, officials said. Another person inside the vehicle then drove away in the car.

The victim, whose age was not immediately known, was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment.

About two hours earlier, a man was shot on the outbound Kennedy Expressway on the city’s West Side.

The man, whose age was not immediately known, was traveling in a red Ford Mustang northbound near Fullerton when a car pulled alongside and someone opened fire, state police said.

The victim was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center with several gunshot wounds. His condition was not immediately known.

On Saturday, a man was wounded in a police-involved shooting after he allegedly hit a squad car with his vehicle and attempted to flee.

Police said the incident took place in the 2300 block of West Lake around 10:15 p.m.

The officer was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where his injuries were believed to be non-life threatening.

The offender was shot multiple times and was taken to an area hospital.

Just before 8 p.m., a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were wounded in a shooting in the 1700 block of North Kimball. Both suffered gunshot wounds to their legs and were taken in stable in condition Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. The two told police they were standing outside when they “heard shots and felt pain.”

Around 12:40 p.m., a 39-year-old man was shot during an attempted robbery in the 5600 block of South Prairie Avenue. The man was getting out of his car when another man walked up and announced a robbery, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. The victim was shot in the stomach and the man fled the scene. It was not immediately clear if he stole anything from the victim, police said.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition.

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, two people were shot while inside a building in the 1800 block of West 87th Street.

Police said a shooter fired from outside the building and two victims suffered graze wounds.

A 23-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the leg while a 42-year-old man was grazed in the head by a bullet. The woman refused treatment at the scene and the man walked into Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was listed in good condition.

On Friday night, a 27-year-old man was shot on the city’s West Side.

The man was standing on the 1700 block of North Mason Avenue with a group of friends when a man walked up and opened fire.

The victim was shot in the arm and leg and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in good condition.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Vigil Held for 3 Infants Found Dead]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:44:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NECN_091414_nicoleblackstone_9pm_1200x675_329139267559.jpg

Mourners gathered with heavy hearts and teary eyes at a vigil Sunday to remember three infants found dead in a squalid home in Blackstone, Massachusetts last week.

"Those babies," said Blackstone resident Dorothy Harvey. "Just discarded like nothing. They were human beings, too."

"I can't even imagine," said Bob Wolford, a father. "It's unfathomable."

Crews cleaning the house found more cat and dog remains on Sunday.

As investigators search for answers in the disturbing case, the community searches for peace.

"Thank God for that neighbor who told her side of the story," said Emily Colton.

That intervention possibly saved the lives of four other children found living inside the home.

"It's so hard as a mom that this tragedy could happen and that we didn't know," said Harvey.

Members of the community lit candles and released lanterns to the sky at the vigil, holding their own children a little tighter, thinking of those who never had a chance and praying for those who now have a second one.

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<![CDATA["Django Unchained" Actress Detained]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:55:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/140914-9pm-actress-lapd_1200x675_329199171667.jpg An actress who had a role in the film “Django Unchained” claimed on Facebook that she was wrongfully detained by two Los Angeles Police Department officers for publicly showing affection to a companion in Studio City. Police said Sunday that they responded to a report of indecent exposure. Gadi Schwartz reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[SoCal Barricaded Man in Custody]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:04:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/140914-san-bernardino-standoff.jpg

A man in Southern California who shot at an ice cream truck, then barricaded himself inside a San Bernardino residence was taken into custody moments after a fire broke out at the home Sunday night, police said.

The standoff came to an end when the man, identified as 59-year-old Terry McKinney, was placed in handcuffs after jumping out of a window when the flames erupted.

It was unclear how the fire started. Police said no one was hurt.

Fire crews extingiushed the house fire and prevented it from spreading in the neighborhood.

Officers responded at about 3:30 p.m. to a call of shots fired in the 700 block of W. 19th Street (map), which is across the street from San Bernardino High School. Police said the McKinney came out of the home once more to open fire before retreating again.

A SWAT team was called in to assist in the standoff. An armored vehicle was hit by gunfire, but police said no one was injured.

McKinney allegedly continued to fire at officers as they tried to tear gas him out of the home, police said.

The motive for the shooting was unclear. No further details were immediately available.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[2 Inmates Escape From NJ Youth Detention Center]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 02:20:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Escaped-Inmates-South-Jerse.jpg

Two inmates who escaped a youth detention center in South Jersey are still at large, according to officials.

Police say 20-year-old Jermaine Jackson and 18-year-old Hakeem Walls, both of Bridgeton, NJ, escaped the Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center in Hopewell Township Saturday night.

The two men as well as a juvenile inmate overpowered a guard around 6:15 p.m. Saturday, according to officials. While detention center officials managed to capture the juvenile a short time later, Jackson and Walls were able to escape, according to police.

Officials say Jackson and Walls were being held on weapons charges. They were detained at the juvenile detention center because they were minors when they were originally sentenced.

Both men are still at large and considered dangerous, according to officials. Residents in both Hopewell Township and Bridgeton were alerted by an automated reverse 911 phone system.

The men were last seen wearing dark blue detention center overalls.

If you have any information on their whereabouts, please call 911.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: New Jersey State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Man Critical After Fall at Stadium]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:34:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/091314+UT+Fallen+Fan.jpg

A man critically injured in a fall from the stands at AT&T Stadium in Arlington is recovering.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth Saturday after falling 12-15 feet from the stands to the floor-level seats during the Texas Longhorns-UCLA football game.

On Monday afternoon, it was confirmed that the man's condition was upgraded from critical to good.

“A 12-15 foot fall landing on a hard concrete metal stadium seating surface can cause some serious injuries,” said Dr. Alex Eastman, interim director of the Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

An NBC DFW photojournalist's video captures first responders surrounding the man as they transported him via cart from the stadium.

“A fall from that height will certainly, if you strike your head, have the potential for severe traumatic brain injuries,” said Eastman.

Arlington firefighters said the victim is a middle-aged man who possibly received head trauma from the fall. He was conscious and talking to first responders when they arrived to help.

Medical experts consider 15 feet to be a low level fall, but say it can certainly cause a lot of injuries.

“It’s not off the top off the garage, but if you’re the one falling 12 feet you'll think it’s pretty high,” said Eastman.

Matthew Crites was in attendance at the game and witnessed the fan sitting right next to him fall about 15 feet to the floor.

“He pretty much just laid there with his eyes open, no moving in his chest,” said Crites. “My father in law, he works in the medical industry, he told me this guy is starting to lose color in his face. He’s starting to actually go pail.”

Crites and other witnesses screamed for help as the band continued to play during halftime.

“It was that time in between that really got me frantic, because some valuable time went by before anybody responded to it,” said Crites. “I’m not knocking on their staff. It was really loud. It was halftime.”

Crites says he was concerned about the man’s safety prior to the fall.

“Even at one point, I grabbed his shirt a little bit and was like, 'Hey, you need to watch out,' said Crites. “He was really getting into the game. He was leaning across the railing, picking his feet up a little bit.”

But he says it was less than 10 minutes later the man leaned too far and fell to the ground.

“The thoughts run through your head, 'Does he have a wife? Does he have kids?'” said Crites. “It was a pretty surreal moment.”

Lt. Lee Tovar, with the Arlington Fire Department, said fire inspectors checked and verified the height of the railing exceeds building code requirements.

Officials with AT&T Stadium sent a statement to NBC 5 saying they are reviewing the circumstances of the accident.



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Pilot Killed in Crash ID'd]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:45:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NathanPoloski2+%282%29.jpg

The Navy has identified the pilot killed in a fighter jet crash as a man from Southern California with strong San Diego ties.

Lt. Nathan Poloski, 26, is presumed dead after an extensive search of the Western Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Navy.

Poloski is from Lake Arrowhead, California, but was born in San Diego. He grew up living near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where his mother would take him to watch the Blue Angels, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Two F/A-18 Hornets apparently collided on Sept. 12 about 250 miles west of Wake Island, approximately 2,300 miles west of Honolulu. The pilot of the other plane was rescued.

The Navy suspended the search for Poloski Saturday after covering 3,000 square miles of vast ocean, according to the Navy. The search included the San Diego-based Carl Vinson Strike Group, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and satellite imagery.

Both jets involved in the crash belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94, Carrier Wing 17, based in Lemoore, California. They were assigned to USS Carl Vinson, which left San Diego last month for a nearly 10-month deployment.

Poloski’s commanding officer said the Naval Academy graduate “was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator.”

"My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss," said Cmdr. Michael Langbehn, commanding officer of VFA 94, in a statement Sunday.

The Navy is investigating what caused the crash. Navy officials said the jets had "launched from the flight deck and were in the process of proceeding to their initial stations when they apparently collided approximately seven miles from the ship."



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Dared to Give Death Penalty]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:26:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/051614+james+herard.jpg

A South Florida man convicted of murdering two people during a string of Dunkin’ Donuts robberies in 2008, dared a judge Friday to sentence him to death.

“Honestly and truly, I’m not asking you to spare me,” James Herard said in Broward County courtroom on Friday. “Go ahead and do what you gonna do. I pretty much dare you to give me the death sentence because I’m innocent.”

Herard, 25, was convicted on 18 of 19 counts by the Fort Lauderdale jury in May. The same jury that convicted him has recommended the death penalty for Herard.

Herard did not testify during the trial, so Friday was his last chance to speak in court before the judge hands down his sentence.

“I’m actually hoping you give me the death penalty because I know the Supreme Court won’t allow me to die for something I didn’t commit,” Herard said Friday.

Prosecutors say Herard didn’t pull the trigger in the 2008 murder of 39-year-old Eric Jean-Pierre. But, they say he, along with other members of a gang, were part of a “body count competition” and Herard pushed Tharod Bell to murder Jean-Pierre.

“They’re claiming I encouraged Tharod Bell to shoot someone, and how I did that, I don’t know,” Herard told the court.

Throughout Friday’s hearing, Herard’s defense team brought up numerous people, many convicted felons, who say Herard is a motivator, tutor, and counselor to them. The testimony brought Herard’s mom, who was in the courtroom to tears.

Herard was previously convicted of the murder of 58-year-old Kiem Huynh in 2008. He received sentences of life imprisonment for Huynh’s death.

Herard made national news when he barked like a dog during an appearance before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley after his arrest.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[No Bail for Teen in CSU Attack]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:47:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/9800-s-indiana-ave-1.jpg

A pregnant Chicago State University student who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, told her teen attacker she was pregnant, showing him her stomach, but was still forced to take off her clothes, prosecutors allege.

The teen, identified in court as Aaron Parks, 17, from the 600 block of East 100th Street, was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon, and armed robbery. He was charged as an adult and was ordered held without bail.

A 24-year-old criminal justice student was parked on the 9800 block of South Indiana Avenue and was trying to load something into her trunk when a man approached with a knife and ordered her into her car, the woman's father, Robert Perkins, told NBC Chicago. The attacker drove to an alley and sexually assaulted her before forcing her into the trunk of her car.

"She was in the trunk and she said the first thing that popped in her head was [me telling her about the] trunk release," Perkins explained. "And she looked up and saw the trunk release and that's how she was able to get out.'

The victim, who is four months pregnant, was eventually able to pop the latch to the trunk and a neighbor spotted her trying to get out of the trunk. The neighbor then called authorities, who were still searching for the attacker on Thursday morning.

"The trunk popped open and the young lady was screaming 'Help me," said witness George Simpson.

Perkins said his daughter was able to provide a good description of the attacker.

On Sunday, prosecutors offered graphic details surrounding the attack.

Officials allege the victim told her attacker she was pregnant, showing him her stomach before the assault, but was still forced to take off her clothes. The offender also stole $160 from her pants and forced her in the trunk of her car, prosecutors said.

"What kind of woman raised an animal like this?" said rape victims advocate Dawn Valenti.

Officials said in court the teen was on an electronic monitoring system for an aggravated kidnapping two months ago. He was also awaiting sentencing for a charge of aggravated armed robbery.

"She was tortured," said community activist Andrew Holmes. "In my view, electronic monitoring failed completely."

In a statement, a Chicago State University official said the administration was "saddened" by news of the attack and that their "collective hearts go out to the victim."

Thomas Wogan said the university has offered counseling and support services to the victim and her family and was working with campus and city police to help bring the attacker to justice.

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<![CDATA[Six Flags Power Outage]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:09:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Six+Flags+New+Pic.jpg

A power outage occurred at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, Sunday afternoon, briefly stranding passengers on rides. The outage happened after a transformer blew around 2 p.m.

"Paramedics started running through the park," said Al Moore, a visitor at the park. "Then ambulances and fire trucks showed up in the parking lot."

The park staff told visitors that the electricity went out, however the lights were still on in restaurants and shops, according to Moore.

"The staff also was telling people to stop taking pictures and video on their cellphones," Moore said.

Moore also told NBC10 a section of the park was roped off near Skull Mountain.

No one was injured, according to police. Officials with the Jersey Central Power and Light Company say they're in the process of isolating the outage and it did not impact the entire park.

Kaitlyn Turi, the Public Relations Supervisor for Six Flags, told NBC10 some visitors were briefly stuck on rides during the outage but were safely removed.

"All of our guests were safely unloaded from the affected rides within 20 minutes," Turi wrote. "Jersey Central Power and Light is here assessing the source of the outage. Power has been restored to portions of the park and, following a safety check, some rides have begun to resume normal operations." 

 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.
 



Photo Credit: Anonymous]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Battle Silverado Fire]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:01:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/silverado+fire+web+sunday+sept+14.jpg

Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Sunday night as more than 1,000 firefighters continued battling the Silverado Fire, which burned 1,600 acres of heavy brush in the unincorporated mountains of Orange County.

Evacuation orders were lifted in the area east of 30311 Silverado Canyon Road, officials said. Residents were allowed to enter their homes using Silverado Canyon Road by providing authorities proof of residence.

The fire, which burned as temperatures were expected to reach triple digits, was 50 percent contained Sunday night. Containment figures were estimated at 80 percent by Monday morning.

Fire officials were concerned that the blaze could grow with temperatures expected to reach about 102 degrees and winds blowing about 15 to 18 miles per hour, said Jake Rodriguez of the U.S. Forest Service.

Six firefighters have been injured in the blaze, mostly of heat-related issues, Rodriguez said.

The fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. Friday in the 30500 block of Silverado Canyon Road in a remote part of the Cleveland National Forest, about 20 miles east of Santa Ana, officials said.

Authorities ordered mandatory evacuations for 217 homes in the area Friday evening. The evacuations remained in effect Sunday morning.

An evacuation center was set up at El Modena High School at 3920 E. Spring St. in Orange.

Officials said Saturday morning that the fire began in a resident’s backyard, but details were limited.

"The fire got started off the forest, and because of the terrain and the fuels and because of the prevailing winds, it took the fire into the forest," said Chon Bribiescas of the Incident Command Team for the U.S. Forest Service. "Right now we don’t know what activity caused that."

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<![CDATA[$40,000 Reward Offered in Mom, Baby Double Homicide]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:39:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Megan-Doto-Newest.jpg

A pregnant woman and her newborn baby became Philadelphia's latest murder victims over the weekend and on Monday, the city offered a $40,000 reward for information leading to their killer.  

Philadelphia Police say Megan Doto, 25, who neighbors say was eight-months pregnant, was sitting with a man outside a home on 1520 Adams Avenue shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday in Philadelphia's Frankford section when investigators say an unknown male gunman driving the wrong way up Griscom Street suddenly opened fire striking her in the face.

The baby was delivered during an emergency procedure after the drive-by shooter killed the child's pregnant mother. 

"When I looked back at Megan, she was already struck in the face with the bullet. I'm attending to her because it's the only thing I know how to do -- was to attend to her," said neighbor and witness Christopher D'Agostino. 

Medics rushed Doto to Temple University Hospital where she underwent surgery for an emergency c-section. Doctors pronounced Doto dead a short time later. Her baby died early Monday morning, according to police.

Moments after the shooting, D'Agostino rushed to Doto's side to try and save her. He rode in a police cruiser to the hospital. Initially, police considered him a suspect. 

"It was broad daylight, but nobody is speaking right now," said D'Agostino. "You gotta say something. Any small info is big right now. But, you gotta say it. Someone seen something." 

Doto's boyfriend and the newborn child's father told NBC10 the baby boy died less than an hour after his delivery. The hospital said that the baby died Monday at 1:13 a.m.

"One of the bullets traveled down the street and struck her on the right side of the face," said Philadelphia Police Cpt. Steve Murianka.

Police recovered no weapon at the scene, but two dozen shell casings were found a block away. Investigators said they believe one of Doto's friends was the intended target. 

The shooter may have fled the scene in a late model white Ford Crown Victoria or light-colored Chevy Impala with tinted windows, according to investigators.

Loved ones say Doto had two other children - ages 4 and 6 -- and was originally from Bensalem. They also say she was planning on naming her newborn baby "Carmine." 

Doto's neighbor David Dukes Jr. said she stuck to herself often sitting outside with her friends.

"It’s very sad and very tragic that you have a young lady 25 years old in the prime of her life just shot and killed," said Cpt. James Clark. "It’s even more tragic that her baby was also killed."

"We are asking for the public’s help in this tragic and senseless double homicide." 

Tipsters are asked to call the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or 3335. 



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[$1,300 Raised for Autistic Man]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:44:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stamford+autistic+larceny.jpg

Less than a week after a 27-year-old autistic man was robbed of his birthday money in Stamford, Connecticut, police have pitched in to raise $1,300 for the victim, will deliver it to his family and have made an arrest.

Police said the victim was approached near Veterans Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The suspect tricked him into handing over the money, then pretended to put it back in the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 cash, according to police.

Stamford police officers, members of the local police union and residents have banded together to collect money for the victim and surprised him with it on Monday, according to the police department.

The family is "overwhelmed by the community's generosity and support" and police said they would only accept donations until Monday, Sept. 15 at the department to respect the family's wishes, according to a news release from the department.

As police investigated, they released surveillance footage that shows him running from the scene and asked for the public's help in tracking him down. On Monday, they announced that they have made an arrest.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department]]>