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Police use stun gun on man accused of vandalizing city garden with hammer

Witnesses were shocked to find a man using a hammer to destroy sculptures at a city garden in Iowa.The incident was reported Tuesday at the Robert D. Ray Asian Garden, according to KCCI. Bystanders called police and tried to convince the man to stop, but to no avail. A couple of the bystanders recorded video of the man swinging the hammer and knocking off pieces of decorative art atop the railing of a walkway.

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When police arrived, the man still refused to put down the hammer, so police used a stun gun on him. He cried out and fell to the ground.Police arrested him without further incident.

Community rallies around family of father, son killed in head-on collision with one another

A tight-knit Alabama community is rallying around the family of a father and son who died after they were killed in a head-on collision with one another Saturday morning.

A joint funeral was held Wednesday afternoon for Jeffrey Morris Brasher, 50, and Austin Blaine Brasher, 22, both of Fayette, a small city in rural west Alabama. Jeff Brasher, a bread distributor, was on his way to work shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday, and his son was on his way home following a night out with friends.

They crashed into one another on a county road about 10 miles from their home, according to AL.com. Jeff Brasher was killed instantly.

Austin Brasher died about five hours later at UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

Jeff Brasher’s sister, Pamela Dennis, told People magazine that the family has been devastated by the deaths.

“You really just cannot imagine it,” Dennis said. “There are no words that can be said. Everybody’s life changed on Saturday morning. No one’s life will be the same after this.”

The family had already been dealing with a lot, People reported. Jeff’s wife and Austin’s mother, Pam Brasher, has been fighting cancer. Jeff and Pam Brasher’s only other child, Jennifer Brasher, had just recovered from a car accident that left her injured.

Jeff Brasher was known in the community as “the bread man,” his sister told AL.com. He worked as a bread distributor for Flowers Baking Co. for 20 years.

He was also active in his community, volunteering as the sports announcer for football games at Fayette Middle School and keeping the clock for basketball games there and at Fayette County High, where Austin Brasher earned his diploma in 2013.

“Everybody who knew him loved him,” Dennis told AL.com about her brother. “He always had a smile on his face.”

The grief over the Brashers' deaths was palpable on social media. 

Please share. In memory of Jeff and Austin Brasher. Prayers lifted up for the family.Posted by Kris Gardner on Saturday, February 18, 2017

We at Winfield Walmart #362 would like to let the family of Jeff Brasher and Austin Brasher know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers.Posted by Susan Dudley Gray on Saturday, February 18, 2017

Monica Marie Aker, a cousin of Austin Brasher’s, described Jeff Brasher as the “kind of guy who, if you needed something, you’d go to him because he would help,” according to People.

“He wanted to make you smile, and his kids were his No. 1 priority,” Aker said.

Austin Brasher, who graduated from Lincoln College of Technology in 2014, worked as a machinist. He and his father, who were extremely close, loved playing golf together.

They also shared their gregarious personalities.

“Austin was a beloved son, brother, grandson, cousin and friend who loved his family with everything he had,” his obituary read. “He was an avid golfer and spent many of his weekends playing co-ed softball with his friends.

“Austin loved life and spending time with those that meant most to him. He had a great sense of humor that could light up a room and always had a smile on his face. He was always there for his friends and had a huge heart that was always ready to help anyone in need.”

He only takes the good❤A heart of gold stoped beating.Two shining eyes at rest.God broke our hearts to only prove he...Posted by Hannah Stidham on Saturday, February 18, 2017

AL.com reported that state troopers believed alcohol may have contributed to the crash. Neither father nor son was wearing a seat belt.

Aker told People that Austin Brasher had been drinking at a party the night before the crash. She told the magazine that part of her was relieved her cousin did not survive the collision that also killed his father.

“My worst fear was that Austin would make it through and then kill himself, because he wouldn’t have been able to deal with killing his father,” Aker said. “It would have destroyed him.”

Scientists find 7 'Earth-sized planets' orbiting star 40 light-years away, NASA says

Forthy light-years from Earth, scientists have discovered seven "Earth-sized planets" in the largest-ever cache of planets found around a single star outside of our solar system.

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"The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. "You can just imagine how many worlds are out there that have a shot at becoming a habitable ecosystem that we can explore."

Three of the newly discovered planets are in what's known as the habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water, according to NASA. The Hubble Space Telescope has started to scan four of the planets, including the three found in the habitable zone.

New record! We've found 7 Earth-sized planets around a single star outside our solar system; 3 in habitable zone: https://t.co/GgBy5QOTpK pic.twitter.com/NEavRSXDU2— NASA (@NASA) February 22, 2017

The planets were found by astronomers using ground and space telescopes around an ultracool, red dwarf star named TRAPPIST-1, according to the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO).

The findings were published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature. The paper's lead author, astronomer Michael Gillon, described the planets as "the seven wonders of TRAPPIST-1."

"The energy output from dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 is much weaker than that of our sun," said Amaury Triaud, one of the co-authors of the Nature paper. "Planets would need to be in far closer orbits than we see in the solar system if there is to be surface water. Fortunately, it seems that this kind of compact configuration is just what we see around TRAPPIST-1."

Scientists characterized the discovery as a significant leap in the search for alien life during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

"Answering the question, 'Are we alone?' is a top science priority, and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal," Zurbuchen said.

The planets were spotted when scientists noticed dips in TRAPPIST-1's light output, according to ESO. The discovery was made using Spitzer, an infrared telescope that trails Earth as it orbits the sun, NASA officials said.

Astronomers determined that the dips were caused by the planets as they passed between the star and Spitzer.

The planets have been temporarily named with letters, TRAPPIST-1b through TRAPPIST-1h, in order of increasing distance from their parent star.

NASA to announce 'discovery beyond our solar system'

Scientists will share newly discovered information on Wednesday about planets that orbit stars other than Earth's sun at a 1 p.m. news conference hosted by NASA.

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The announcement that NASA would share findings on a "discovery beyond our solar system" came Monday. The vague nature of the tease prompted speculation that scientist could unveil the discovery of an alien species.

NASA conference at 6, supposedly presenting a finding "beyond our solar system" #Aliens #Nasa pic.twitter.com/aYhPFcmmvk— Will Doyle (@ALifeOfAnxiety) February 22, 2017

Has Nasa found ALIENS? Space agency to announce 'discovery beyond our s... https://t.co/PGv4Qig1Fe via @alienufovideos pic.twitter.com/DiG9PcQWBc— Alien UFO Sightings (@alienufovideos) February 22, 2017

However, as Mashable pointed out in an article headlined "It's not aliens. It's never aliens. Stop saying it's aliens," it's not aliens. Scientists promised that despite the news conference not addressing alien life, the announcement would still include "exciting news."

Pssst! We've got exciting news from beyond our solar system! Spoiler: NOT aliens. Watch at 1pm ET: https://t.co/mzKW5uV4hS Q? Use #askNASA pic.twitter.com/uHremmTTqK— NASA (@NASA) February 22, 2017

NASA will air the news conference at 1 p.m. on its website.

Speakers include Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters; Michael Gillon, astronomer at Belgium's University of Liege; Sean Carey, manager of NASA's Spitzer Science Center; Nikole Lewis, astronomer at Baltimore's Space Telescope Science Institute and Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

The group will follow the presentation at 3 p.m. with a Reddit Ask Me Anything conversation about exoplanets.

UPS test launches delivery drone from docking pad on roof of UPS truck

UPS is moving closer to adding drones to its delivery fleet.

The Atlanta-based company just completed another test on Monday, this time launching a delivery drone from a UPS truck in suburban Tampa, Florida.

>> Read more trending news  

 The world’s largest package delivery service said it had “successfully” tested a drone that launches from the top of a delivery truck in the Tampa-area.

The roof launch is what makes the latest UPS drone test different from previous ones, officials said. The unmanned aerial vehicle sits on a recharging pad on top of the truck. The driver can put a package into a slot on the bottom of the drone, then program the UAV’s destination from the truck.

“Sending drones to make deliveries from package cars could bolster efficiency in our network by reducing miles driven,” the company said in a video showing the new drone test.

“This technology could save time and reduce costly miles driven, especially in rural areas where delivery stops are farther apart.

Reducing the number of annual miles that its trucks drive could save the company millions of dollars a year.

Thousands forced out by flood waters, Silicon Valley neighborhoods underwater

 Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect in central San Jose, California, as rising flood waters inundate parts of the city, forcing thousands of residents to seek higher ground.

Emergency crews went door-to-door in several neighborhoods Tuesday, rescuing stranded residents and drivers, after the Coyote Creek overran its banks, swamping homes and businesses.

>> Read more trending news  

The National Weather Service called the flooding in the central Silicon Valley unprecedented.

“This is a once-in-a-100-year flood event,” National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Gass told the L.A Times.

The flooding has also closed down major roads and highways, including the 101 Freeway.

Coyote Creek reached a record level on Tuesday when it crested at 13.6 feet, four feet above flood levels.

“We’re expanding the mandatory evacuation order to nearly all residents east of Coyote Creek,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted.

We're expanding the mandatory evacuation order to nearly all residents east of Coyote Creek but west of 101 (except for the Bonita n'hood) pic.twitter.com/Bfqrf9Rfcq— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) February 22, 2017

Major storms moved through California over the past few days, inundating parts of the state with heavy downpours.

“Although the rain has largely stopped, flooding is continuing along Coyote Creek as reservoirs continue to spill, and creek flow is extremely high,” the city said on its website.

“The area for mandatory evacuation has expanded and includes approximately 14,000 residents.”

'Very Serious Flooding': High Water Overwhelms San Jose Homes, Streets Along Coyote Creek https://t.co/QYOaTObT5P via @nbcbayareaPosted by San Jose Police Department on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Great teamwork today between SJPD and SJ FIRE. In the words of Police Captain Johnson Fong, "SJ Fire has been inspiring." Thank you SJFD!Posted by San Jose Police Department on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Groups boycott business after owner hangs KKK sign

Several groups plan to boycott a business in Georgia after its owner hung a Ku Klux Klan banner.

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Boycott advocates spoke Tuesday night at the University of North Georgia campus in Dahlonega.

The controversial banner, which read "Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall," was hung early last week from the roof of one of the oldest buildings in the city. 

"We don't like racism. We don't tolerate it and we don't think this represents our community," organizer Jeremy White said.

The sign sparked protests in the town. 

"It's a shame this has happened in our community. It makes me want to cry," resident Kenneth Aikens said.

The property manager said the sign had nothing to do with racism, and was meant to get city leaders' attention. 

>> Related: Large KKK sign placed on historic building in Georgia

She said the owner, Roberta Green-Garrett, wants to develop the property, but the city is resisting.

City officials said Green-Garrett wants to tear down the building and replace it with a hotel.

Her applications have been denied by the City Council and the planning and zoning board.

The sign was taken down, but could go back up as early as Wednesday.

"We are really trying to direct all of the attention to the person responsible for bringing this spotlight to our beautiful town," White said.

Those at the meeting said if the sign goes back up they are prepared to protest and boycott a number of businesses Green-Garrett owns.

Green-Garrett did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Boy adopted from Taiwan killed in drive-by shooting

A California 8-year-old adopted three years ago from Taiwan was killed Monday night in a drive-by shooting that police are struggling to explain.

Jonah Min Hwang, his parents and his adoptive brother were visiting the Pomona home of a family from their church when at least four shots were fired into the house, NBC4 in Los Angeles reported. Jonah, who was struck once in the head, died a short time later at a local hospital.

Here are pictures of Jonah Hwang.  His parents adopted him from Taiwan 3 years ago.  He was the victim of a deadly drive-by shooting Monday night.  He was 8 years old.Posted by Jeff Nguyen on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Police officials told the news station that they have no motive for Monday’s drive-by, or for another that occurred at the same house a month ago. No one was home during the first shooting.

“This was a truly innocent family,” Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vasquez said about the residents of the home.

The news station described the home’s residents as teachers who are very active in Pomona’s First Presbyterian Church, along with the Hwang family. The church is known for its after-school program for at-risk youth.

Jonah’s mother, Karen Hwang, serves on the program’s board of directors, NBC4 reported.

>> Read more trending stories

Johnny and Karen Hwang issued a statement about their son’s death, which was posted on a GoFundMe page created to help them with Jonah’s funeral costs. In it, they described their devastation as “unfathomable.”

“We welcomed Jonah into our family less than three years ago, after adopting him from an orphanage in Taiwan,” the statement reads. “He had an infectious smile and loved everyone and everything: sports, wrestling with his dad, running, laughing, superheroes. With his playful demeanor, he adapted almost immediately to life in the United States and became a full-blooded American in no time at all.

“Jonah was a light and joy in our household and we cannot imagine our family without him.”

As of Wednesday morning, the fundraising page had raised nearly triple the goal of $10,000.

Please share this was the innocent lil 8yr old boy that was shot and killed in Pomona due to stupidity  😢😢Posted by Shannon Varnado Triplett on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vasquez told NBC4 that investigators are canvassing the neighborhood hoping to learn even the smallest bit of information about the person responsible for Jonah’s slaying. He also expressed hope that the shooter’s conscience might play a role in his arrest.

“I'm sure it was not their intention to kill an 8-year-old child,” Vasquez said. “Now that they know that information, the right thing to do is to step forward and own what they did.”

Assault weapons do not fall under Second Amendment protection, court rules

A federal appeals court in Virginia has upheld a Maryland law that bans 45 kinds of assault weapons and limits a gun magazine to 10 rounds.

The ruling, according to a story from The Associated Press, said the guns could be banned under Maryland law because those types of guns are not protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

"Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote for the court. The ruling noted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller excluded such protection under the Second Amendment.

For the full story, see The Associated Press.

Nanny accused of smoking meth on the job

A live-in nanny in Oklahoma was arrested after her employer told police she found her passed out and her 3-year-old child missing.

Police were called around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday about a possible child abduction. 

The child's mother received a call from her older children's school, saying that nobody had picked them up. When she got home, the garage doors were open and her 3-year-old child was missing.

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She found the nanny asleep in her bed shortly afterward, with  a glass pipe next to her, police said. 

Police found the 3-year-old after searching the house. The child was taken to a hospital for treatment. Officers said they didn't know how long the child was unsupervised. 

Police arrested the nanny, 27-year-old Raela Baxter. She faces complaints of possession of a controlled drug, child neglect and possession of paraphernalia. 

Dakota Access pipeline: Deadline looms for protesters to leave camp

A deadline for protesters to leave a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp amid fears that an expected rise in water levels could pose a danger to demonstrators is set to pass Wednesday as a relatively small group of protesters vowed to defy the order.

>> Read more trending stories

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum last week ordered that demonstrators evacuate the Oceti Sakowin protest camp amid fears that quickly melting snow could cause flooding in southern Morton County. The governor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set the deadline for evacuation at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"Everybody plans to be in camp tomorrow up until the 2 o'clock mark. Then people will make their individual decisions about what their level of commitment is," Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told Reuters. "Some will get arrested."

The camp, which sits on federal land between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the pipeline route, was founded more than six months ago. At its peak population, it housed thousands of people.

That number dwindled to about 300 protesters by Wednesday, Reuters reported. In addition to Burgum's order, the Standing Rock Sioux asked demonstrators to leave in December. Instead of physically blocking the completion of the pipeline, the tribe aimed to continue the battle in court.

>> Related: Why are Facebook users checking in to Standing Rock Indian Reservation?

Winona Kasto, a Native American from South Dakota who cooked for protesters gathered at the Oceti Sakowin camp, told CNN that she was at the camp when the Standing Rock Sioux asked protesters to leave before the spring flooding season.

"I felt sad," Kasto told CNN. "It's like they gave up. Standing Rock gave up on our prayers and what we stand for here."

She and her family left the camp and planned to move to another that was not at risk of flooding.

Despite the concerns, some vowed to defy Burgum's evacuation order.

"I'm not going anywhere," Texas resident Valerie Armstrong told CNN on Tuesday. "I carry a knife with me all the time, but I am handing that over so that I have no weapons on me. I will stay and pray even if they come to remove us."

Sheriff's deputies can arrest protesters who refuse to leave, and Army Corps rangers can write citations for offenses including trespassing, a transgression that carries a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine or six months in jail, Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight told The Associated Press.

More than 700 protest-related arrests have occurred since August, though activity has recently waned.

>> Related: Dakota Access pipeline protester may lose arm after explosion during hourslong clash with police

One day before the order was set to take effect, most of the yurts had vanished from the Oceti Sakowin camp, according to CNN. Heaps of trash lay over parts of the muddy ground.

A spokesman for Burgum told Reuters that more than 200 dumpsters filled with debris have left the campsite since last month, when cleanup efforts began.

Others camps are forming on private land in the area, the AP reported. One of those, set up by the Cheyenne River Sioux, sits about a mile from the Oceti Sakowin camp.

"A lot of our people want to be here and pray for our future," tribal Chairman Harold Frazier told the AP.

The 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline is intended to carry oil from western North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois. The company building it says it is complete except for a section that would pass under the Missouri River near the site of the North Dakota protests.

>> Related: Army Corps blocks easement route of Dakota Access oil pipeline

Efforts to complete the final stretch of the pipeline were bolstered last month by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump that directed the Army Corps to move forward with approvals for construction and easement requests related to the pipeline. President Barack Obama had attempted to block the construction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Two-thirds of Americans stressed about the nation's future, study says

The American Psychological Association said many Republicans and Democrats are stressed out over politics. The APA published a report last Wednesday that reads, in part:

"Two-thirds of Americans say they are stressed about the future of our nation, including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans.

"More than half of Americans (57 percent) say the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress."

Katherine C. Nordal, the APA's executive director for professional practice, said the current stress levels resulting from politics are "deeply concerning."

"It's hard for Americans to get away from it," she said. "We're surrounded by conversations, news and social media that constantly remind us of the issues that are stressing us the most ... While these common health symptoms might seem minor, they can lead to negative effects on daily life and overall physical health when they continue over a long period."

>> Read more trending stories  

WSB-TV’s Rikki Klaus spoke with licensed psychologists at Synapse LLC in Atlanta to see if their patients are also experiencing anxiety tied to politics.

"They are experiencing more stress, and we see that as well in the research,” said Dr. Janet Cox.

"For some, they are reacting as if their life is in danger,” Dr. Neal Cohen told Klaus.

Chris Hill, with the local militia group Georgia Security Force III%, said the new administration has been a relief.

"Not even a month into it, we have what I've always wanted: an outsider, an independent,” he said. "Every day, it's been like waking up Christmas morning."

It was a different story at a rally in Atlanta on Monday at which protesters called for President Trump's impeachment. 

"We think there's possible reasons for impeachment,” one opponent told WSB-TV.

"The best I can hope is that marches like this will at least keep him under control and let him act like a Republican, instead of an egomaniac,” another opponent said.

Cox and Cohen recommended several strategies for coping with stress, including eating healthy food, exercising daily, spending time with like-minded people and practicing mindfulness.

You can read the full APA report here. 


Folks in Henryetta can now dance where they please.

Lawmaker introduces bill to make recess mandatory for schools

A state lawmaker in Georgia wants to make recess mandatory for school children from kindergarten to fifth grade.

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State Rep. Demetrius Douglas, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would require school districts to allow children recess time. The bill would also prevent schools from keeping students out of recess as a punishment.

“Kids in school need an outlet,” said Douglas, a former University of Georgia and NFL football player. “We have a lot of problems in school with behavior, chronic diseases, that I used to see in my grandmother at a later age, and we need to get kids moving again.”

Douglas said recess is “on the books” in Georgia, but allowing it is up to the discretion of superintendents and principals. He wants to codify it into law.

Nan Fischer, who runs Montessori Intown School, a private school, would not be affected by the law, but she believes recess is essential to a child’s physical and intellectual growth.

“It’s extremely important,” said Fischer. “It’s very important to growing children to move their bodies so that they feel comfortable in order to participate in the classroom.”

The bill had a committee hearing Tuesday afternoon. It will have to reach the floor of the House before Crossover Day if it has any chance at becoming law.

John Podesta: 'Forces within the FBI' contributed to Clinton's loss

John Podesta, former campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton, said Monday that “forces within the FBI' may have been the reason Clinton lost the election.

Podesta, however, offered no proof of the claim when he spoke to John Heilemann in an interview that was hosted by NewCo, Politico reported.

“There are at least forces within the FBI that wanted her to lose,” Podesta said. “I’m not sure they really understood the alternative, but they wanted her to lose. I think that’s one possibility."

FBI Director Jim Comey came under fire from Democrats when, 11 days before the election, he announced that the agency was evaluating a batch of Clinton’s emails.

Clinton was investigated for using a private email server kept in her New York home to send and receive emails while she was secretary of state. Comey announced on July 5 that he will not recommend criminal charges in the case, but that he felt she had used poor judgement in setting up and using the private server.

Podesto said he felt Comey was pressured to make the statement in October, and that the campaign never recovered from it.

“He made a bad judgment, and I think virtually anybody who has opined on the topic…. have said it was a terrible mistake of judgment,” Podesta said. “And I think it did terrible damage to us. If you look at the polling at that period time, that’s when the race began to tighten in that week.”

For the full story, see Politico.

Two-thirds of Americans Stressed About Nation's Future

Two-thirds of Americans Stressed About Nation's Future

Fashion Through The Years: The Oscars

Fashion Through The Years: The Oscars

Video shows moment Harrison Ford flew over plane before landing on taxiway

New video released by a Southern California airport shows the moment that actor Harrison Ford flew his private plane over a jetliner and mistakenly landed on a taxiway.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Harrison Ford is under investigation after being involved in a passenger plane incident

The incident occurred about noon Feb. 13 at John Wayne Airport near Orange County.

>> Watch the video here

New footage shows Harrison Ford's recent near miss, flying over an airliner to land on a taxiway instead of a runway https://t.co/2CUiJLbMMs— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 22, 2017

Ford, 74, was supposed to land his Aviat Husky on the runway, but landed on the taxiway instead, E! News reported. He flew over an American Airlines Boeing 737 with 110 passengers and a six-person crew on board. The Dallas-bound aircraft was still able to take off minutes after the incident.

According to People, Ford asked air-traffic control, "Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?"

>> Read more trending news

Ford was not injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. If Ford is found at fault, he could lose his pilot's license.

"One Tough Pup" Eats Heroin Stash, Survives

"One Tough Pup" Eats Heroin Stash, Survives
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