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High number of cancer cases among Florida high school friends prompts doctor to urge investigation

A  Florida oncologist and 2003 Satellite High School graduate is asking questions after she and several of her former classmates were diagnosed with cancer.

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Dr. Julie Greenwalt, of the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center in Jacksonville battled a rare, aggressive form of appendix cancer.

She first contacted the Florida Department of Health about one year ago to ask the agency to take a closer look at the cancer cases. Her resolve was strengthened after a recent Military Times article about the detection of water contaminates linked to cancer and developmental delays in children at military bases nationwide, including Patrick Air Force Base.

Greenwalt asked Victoria Hicks, a friend and fellow Satellite High School alumna, to discuss her breast cancer diagnosis with the health department.

>> Related: Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say

"I was 33, and I had no family history," Hicks said. "I went to the doctor nine months before my actual diagnosis and was told it's nothing, it's no big deal, and it grew into an 8-centimeter mass."

Greenwalt said the pattern of cancer diagnoses is concerning.

"I think it's an abnormal pattern that so many young people in their 30s are getting cancer without family history," she said. "I'm not trying to cause any panic, just trying to create awareness that there might be a problem."

Officials with the FDOH said although the agency hasn't launched a formal investigation, it recognizes the importance of gathering and assessing information that could help determine necessary next steps.

Greenwalt said current and former Brevard County residents who have been diagnosed with cancer are asked to contact the county health department's epidemiologist to provide details of their diagnosis and related information.

>> Related: Breast cancer patient says insurer denied coverage for approved $7K scan

Relatives of patients who have died from cancer are also asked to report that information to the agency.

"I just feel grateful to be alive, and I know that God has a plan for my life," Greenwalt said. "(Perhaps) this is part of it -- to try and help figure this out."

She said she plans to organize a community meeting in Satellite Beach to increase awareness.

"I hope now that it's out there, the possibility of people getting screened sooner can help save more lives," Hicks said.

Florida woman found slumped over in car with baby, drug paraphernalia, deputies say

A 39-year-old woman who was already on the radar of the Florida Department of Children and Families was arrested after deputies said they discovered her either asleep or passed out in her vehicle with a baby in the back seat. 

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Deputies in Lake County, Florida, said they made contact with Lucy Maldonado at a Wawa gas station.

They said deputies noticed track marks on her arms and said she was slurring her speech. 

Deputies said Maldonado then put the vehicle in gear and drove away. 

Deputies said at no point did the pursuit reach high speeds. 

They were able to stop the vehicle about 30 minutes later using stop sticks near the Orange County line, ending the pursuit at a Walmart on Apopka Vineland Road.

Deputies said they found an infant in her car, along with multiple needles and other drug paraphernalia.

Deputies called the Florida Department of Children and Families investigators, who said they already had an open case against Maldonado and have been looking for her for weeks.

They said the child, who is believed to be 6 months old, had no pre- or post-natal care.

No one was injured.

Deputies said Maldonado also had a felony drug warrant out of Orange County.

Maldonado on Wednesday waived her right to face a judge. She is being jailed without bail.

She was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, aggravated child neglect, driving while a license is suspended/revoked, driving under the influence and three counts of drug possession.

Her next court hearing is scheduled for next month.

Non-drinkers have higher risk of death, cancer than those having 1 to 3 drinks a week, study finds

Drinking is associated with several health issues, including hypertension and liver disease. However, those who consume liquor may outlive those who don’t, according to a new report. 

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers from Queen’s Belfast University in Northern Ireland recently conducted a study, published in in the journal PLOS Medicine, to explore mortality and cancer risks among drinkers and non-drinkers. 

To do so, they reviewed data from the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, which examined nearly 100,000 adults in America between 1993 and 2001.

The participants, aged 55 to 74, completed a diet history questionnaire, which listed their alcohol consumption, and were followed up with after about nine years. Analysts also took note of their cancer diagnoses from medical records. 

After analyzing the results, they found that the average lifetime alcohol intake for adults was about 1.78 drinks per week. At a closer look, they discovered that men drank about 4.02 drinks weekly and women drank about 0.80 weekly. 

>> Related: Even one drink per day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

They revealed that heavy drinkers or those who have more than three drinks a day have the highest death and cancer risks. However, they found that a person’s combined risk of dying younger or developing cancer is lowest among light drinkers or those have one to three drinks a week.

In fact, light drinkers have a lower combined risk of overall mortality or cancer compared to those who never drink, their research revealed. 

“We had expected light drinkers to be at a similar combined risk to never drinkers, so the reduced risk in light drinkers was surprising,” coauthor Andrew Kunzmann told CNN. “The reasons for the reduced risk in light drinkers compared to never drinkers are still open to debate amongst the scientific community.”

The authors did point out a few limitations. They said they only assessed older adults. Plus, the information they received was self-reported, and they also did not factor in other risk factors for cancer. However, they believe their findings are still strong. 

>> Related: Non-drinkers more likely to miss work than moderate drinkers, study says

“This study,” the team wrote, “provides further insight into the complex relationship between alcohol consumption, cancer incidence, and disease mortality and may help inform public health guidelines.”

Woman issues warning after venomous caterpillar sends teen son to ER

A woman is warning parents after her teenage son ended up in the ER after he was stung by a venomous caterpillar. 

>> Read more trending news

Her Facebook post has been shared nearly half a million times. 

Andrea Pergola wrote that her son Logan was picking up tree branches in the yard at their home in Land O'Lakes, Florida, when something brushed up against his arm. He felt a sharp, stinging sensation and within minutes was dizzy, nauseated and in terrible pain. 

She rushed him to the hospital where he became more disoriented, the pain intensified and a rash spread up his arm.

"The pain was radiating from his wrist, up his arm and into his shoulder and chest," Pergola wrote. "The rash also spread up his entire arm and into his chest."

Doctors said the spotted rash represented dozens of stings -- well over 20 injection sites. 

Pergola says the caterpillar was from a Southern Flannel Moth. Her son recovered within a few hours, but Pergola is warning people to be aware of how dangerous the critters are. 

"He is a healthy, strong, young man and it knocked him out," she wrote. "I can't even imagine a small child or elderly person. Please research this caterpillar, be aware of it and make your kids aware of it."

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Southern Flannel Moth caterpillars are some of the most venomous caterpillars in North America. They are found from New Jersey to Texas, though mostly in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. 

They commonly live in oak, oleander, and plum trees. Their venomous spines can cause burning pain, swelling, nausea and itching. 

‘We were like prisoners:' Florida teen recalls experience in Texas detention center

Ruth Pascual was just 13 years old when she left Guatemala with her little sister to begin their journey to meet their parents, who had already left the country.

>> Read more trending news

In Spanish, she said how she and her sister were treated like animals for two months at a detention center in Texas. 

Pascual and her sister were only allowed to call their mother once. 

They had no access to books, education or even exercise. 

“We were there like prisoners,” Pascual said.

She was eventually reunited with her parents, who were in Florida. Pascual, now 16 and a junior at Wekiva High School, is working on her citizenship, but said recent images of children locked away at detention centers takes her back. 

The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a zero tolerance immigration enforcement policy. Parents have been separated from their children as they face prosecution.

“People don’t leave home on a lark. They’re not coming to Disney World,” said Sister Ann Kendrick.

“They’re human beings who want to live and they want their children to live. End of story,” Kendrick said. 

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

Pascual also works at the Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants in Central Florida. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms orders jail to refuse new ICE detainee

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday announced that she had signed an executive order prohibiting the city’s jail from accepting new detainees from the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

>> Read more trending news 

The city must not be complicit in President Donald Trump’s policies that have separated children from their families at the Mexican border, Bottoms said.

“I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy on children and families, Bottoms said in a statement.

“My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’s long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshal’s Office to house ICE detainees in our city jail.”

Bottoms said that she had concerns about a potential unintended consequence of individuals being sent to private, substandard, for-profit facilities elsewhere in the state as a result of the order.

“But the inhumane action of family separation demands that Atlanta act now,” she said.

>> Related: Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations

Bottoms called on the Trump Administration and Congress to enact “humane and comprehensive measures that address our broken immigration system.”

Behind the viral photo of toddler crying at the US border

Award-winning Getty Images photographer John Moore said he knew he had managed to capture the emotional impact of the Trump administration’s immigration policy just moments after photographing a young Honduran girl crying at her mother’s feet last week.

>> Read more trending news

The image appeared on television sets, computer screens and newspaper front pages around the globe. The photo spurred a California couple to start a fundraiser that has since raised millions of dollars to help migrants detained on suspicion of illegally crossing the border. It spurred public outrage over the immigration policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> Couple raises more than $4.7 million to help reunite migrant children, parents

Moore told The Washington Post that he noticed the girl when her mother stopped to breastfeed her in the middle of the road on June 12. She and dozens of other migrants, nearly all women and children, were stopped by the Border Patrol agents just after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas.

“There was no place for privacy,” Moore told the Post. “(The mother) said they’d been on the road for a month, and they were from Honduras. I can only imagine what dangers she’d passed through, alone with the girl.”

The woman gave Moore permission to follow her and her 2-year-old daughter as Border Patrol agents processed them, the Post reported. It was after agents confiscated their personal items, when the girl’s mother put her on the ground to allow an agent to search her, that the girl started to wail.

The moment passed quickly.

“I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over,” Moore told NPR. “And I knew at that moment that this point in their journey, which was very emotional for me to see them being detained, for them was just part of a very, very long journey.”

Moore told the Post that the feeling he had after photographing the girl was similar to emotions he felt while covering war zones and Ebola wards abroad.

"Ever since I took those pictures, I think about that moment often. And it's emotional for me every time," he told NPR. “I do not know what happened to them. I would very much like to know.”

>> Trump border policy: How to help immigrant children separated from families

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

According to CNN, a spokesman later told them that the girl and mother in the viral photo were not separated.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border amid global criticism of the practice.

President Donald Trump signs an executive order

President Donald Trump signs an executive order

Kate Spade funeral to be held in her hometown of Kansas City on Thursday

The funeral for fashion designer Kate Spade will be held in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

The Kansas City Star reported that a funeral Mass will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Spade’s father, Frank Brosnahan, the funeral will be in the same church where her grandparents were married.

Spade, who co-founded the fashion brand Kate Spade New York with her husband, Andy Spade, died by suicide at age 55 in New York. 

People reported that Spade’s family has asked for donations be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, in lieu of flowers.

Gunmen followed family 80 miles from shopping center to rob them, police say

A woman said she was robbed at gunpoint in her own driveway after driving 80 miles home from a shopping trip.

Police believe the robbers may have followed her from the shopping center in Atlanta to her home in Dalton.

Brittany McEntire told WSB that two men robbed her at gunpoint about three weeks ago. Her mother, husband and three children were also in the driveway. 

>> Read more trending news 

McEntire said the two men ran up the driveway and took her two Louis Vuitton diaper bags and demanded all of her jewelry, including her late father’s ring that she cherishes.

She said the whole robbery took less than a minute, but she has not regained her peace of mind.

“I could’ve lost my whole family if they had started shooting,” McEntire told WSB.

The suspects allegedly followed McEntire from Buckhead for about two hours in an unidentified white car, police said.

McEntire said she is unsure why she was targeted because she did not take home many bags from the store. 

“It was not a shopping spree,” McEntire said.

Police believe the men will try to follow and rob more people.

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