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M&M's unveil Hazelnut Spread flavor, candy bars

Fans of M&M’s will have new ways to enjoy their favorite candy, as the company announced a new flavor and introduced candy bars.

>> Read more trending news 

The new flavor is Hazelnut Spread, which features a hazelnut spread center covered in milk chocolate. The Hazelnut Spread variety will be available nationwide beginning in April 2019, M&M’s said in a news release. Consumers should look for the teal bag.

M&M's Chocolate Bars feature M&M’s minis spread throughout a milk chocolate bar. The bars will come in five varieties: Peanut, Milk Chocolate, Crispy, Almond and Crispy Mint. The bars will be available beginning December 2018, M&M’s said in a news release.

M&M’s said the new products will become permanent additions to the brand's lineup.

Recall issued for ground beef sold at Safeway, Target, Sam's Club, death reported

Fort Morgan, Colorado-based Cargill Meat Solutions has recalled about 132,606 pounds of ground beef products due to a possible Escherichia coli O26 contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall Sept. 19.

The products were produced and packaged June 21, the USDA said. The recall is a class I, meaning the health hazard has a reasonable probability causing serious health issues or death if used.

>> Read more trending news  

“The Cargill Meat Solutions’ ground beef products were identified following further investigation related to Recall 072-2018, conducted on Aug. 30, 2018, where ground beef products were recalled in connection with the E. coli O26 outbreak,” the USDA said in a news release. “FSIS’ traceback information indicated that case-patients consumed ground beef products purchased at various retail stores that were supplied by Cargill Meat Solutions.”

That previous recall involved regional grocery chain Publix, which recalled more than two dozen ground beef products in August due to possible E. coli contamination. Before then, Cargill recalled 25,000 pounds of ground beef products Aug. 23.

Related: Publix recalling more than 2 dozen ground beef products 

E. coli contamination can develop into vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, it can lead to a more severe infection and death. The USDA said an investigation related to the company recalls found that there were 17 illnesses and one death from illnesses that were reported from July 5 to 25.

The latest recalled ground beef products were sold at Meijer, Safeway and Sam’s Club locations nationwide and Target stores in California, Florida and Iowa.

Because the list may not include all affected stores, the USDA suggests customers use product-specific information at its website to ensure they do not have the recalled product. Items include 3-pound, 10-pound and 20-pound packages of ground beef branded under Our Certified, Excel, Sterling Silver, Certified and Fire River Farms with a July 11 use or freeze by date.

A spokeswoman for Safeway and Albertson’s said Tuesday that while their stores were part of the recall, the stores chose to include more dates than required by the USDA. Local buyers are now buying form other beef sources so it’s unlikely stores in Western Washington are part of the recent recall, spokeswoman Sara Osborne said.

The full list of recalled items, including labels, is at the USDA website.

Related: Cargill ground beef recall expands to 132K pounds: 1 death, 17 illnesses reported

“We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E.coli contamination of one of our products. Our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue,” Cargill said in a statement after the Sept. 19 recall. 

“We want to make sure that consumers understand how to identify and safely dispose of any questionable ground beef. All affected product was pulled from supermarket shelves, but consumers may still have it in their freezers, so it is important that they take action to prevent possible illness.”

“We are working in lock step with the USDA to notify consumers. ... If there is any doubt, consumers should throw it out.

“At Cargill, food safety is something we work hard at every day. Internal and external food safety teams are assessing the processes at Fort Morgan and our other facilities to ensure we continue to deliver safe food to our customers and consumers.”

Police arrest Texas man accused of gluing toddler's eyes, mouth shut

A Texas man was arrested Monday, accused of gluing his toddler's eyes and mouth shut, police said.

It's believed the child's injuries were suffered during a larger domestic incident, with the suspect fleeing before police arrived, KVIA reported. 

Johnnie Lee Carter, 29, was arrested Monday at an El Paso motel, the Odessa Police Department said. He had been on the run for almost a week, per the Odessa Police news release.

The condition of the child is unknown, KVIA reported.

Carter has been charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony, the Odessa Police Department said.

Walmart loss prevention officer thwarts kidnapping attempt, police say

A loss prevention officer is being credited with stopping an apparent attempted kidnapping Monday at a Fort Worth Walmart store, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The incident was reported around 6 p.m. Monday at the Walmart in the 2900 block of Renaissance Square in southeast Fort Worth, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Police Officer Tracy Carter told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Walmart loss prevention officer confronted a man and a woman after they were seen trying to take a child out of a cart at the store. The child was reported to be a 4-year-old girl, according to the newspaper.

Police told the Morning News that the pair fled in a red SUV without the child after they were confronted. No injuries were reported.

The pair has not been identified.

Florida inmate walks away from work crew, buys sweet tea, officials say

A Florida Department of Corrections inmate walked away from a work crew Monday morning to get some sweet tea, officials say.

Deputies said Taylor Fender, 23, of Okaloosa County, was serving a five-year prison sentence at the Putnam Corrections Institute before this incident.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the crew was working at State Road 20 and County Road 315 when Fender strolled away and into a nearby Family Dollar, where he bought some clothes.

According to officials, an "observant resident" saw Fender walk into the store and dialed 911.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Florida man accused of breaking into home, going through refrigerator

Fender allegedly then walked down the road and into Poppi's Restaurant. At the same time, officials said a deputy just so happened to be pulling into the restaurant's parking lot for lunch.

As the deputy entered the restaurant, a warning to be on the lookout for a suspect with Fender's description was released by dispatchers, deputies said.

>> Read more trending news 

The Sheriff's Office tweeted that, after ordering and paying for a cup of sweet tea, Fender was arrested and taken into custody.

The sweet tea was reportedly left on the counter of the restaurant.

Teacher says she was fired after refusing to abide by 'no zero' policy

A South Florida teacher said she was fired after she refused to give a student a 50 percent grade on homework that was not turned in.

Port St. Lucie teacher Diane Tirado said students should not get credit for work that was never handed in, according to CNN.

Tirado said she strives to provide motivation and inspiration to her students. Tirado has been a teacher for years, but she started at West Gate K-8 School in August as an eighth-grade history teacher.

"Teaching is a calling for me," she said.

Tirado said she assigned an explorer notebook project that she gave the students two weeks to complete.

When several students did not turn in their assignments, Tirado said she found out about a “no zeros” policy, in which the lowest possible grade allowed to be given is 50 percent. She said the policy is in the student and parent handbook.

>> Read more trending news 

Tirado said she asked administrators, “What if they don't turn it in?”

She said the reply she received was, “We'll give them a 50.”

Tirado was terminated Sept. 14, but there’s no cause mentioned in the letter from the principal, since she was still in her probationary period.

On her last day of school, Tirado wrote a message on a whiteboard that read, “Bye, kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in.”

Tirado sent a picture of the message through a class app and her students responded.

“You were right about not giving people 50s, because why would you give them half credit for doing nothing?” one student wrote.

Tirado posted the same whiteboard photo on Facebook Sept. 15.

“I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,” she said.

Tirado hopes her actions will motivate policy change. 

“A grade in Miss Tirado's class is earned," she said.

“There is no district or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in,” Kerry Padrick, West Gate chief information officer, said in a statement. “The district's uniform grading system utilizes letter grades a-f, numerical grades 100 to zero and grade point averages from four to zero.”

Tirado said she was told never to give a student a zero.

“The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous,” Tirado said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “Teaching should not be this hard. Teachers teach content, children do the assignments to the best of their ability and teachers grade that work based on a grading scale that has been around a very long time. Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed. We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need. Are we perfect? NO. We make mistakes like all other human beings, but I know teachers work their butts off to help children to be the best people they can be!!!”

Officers no longer with fire department after training on dead body

Two Bellingham Fire Department officers are no longer with the department after personnel practiced multiple intubations on a dead body in July, according to officials.

>> Read more trending news

An investigation revealed that a deceased patient was taken to Fire Station 1 in July to await transportation to a funeral home, The Bellingham Herald reported Monday. Several department members practiced a medical procedure called endotracheal intubation on the body, officials said.

A veteran officer retired, and another resigned after the incident, The Bellingham Herald reported.

Bellingham’s fire chief and its mayor on Monday released statements on the incident

Statement from Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Newbold:

In early August I first learned of an incident at Bellingham Fire Department Station 1 during which department personnel successively performed a medical procedure, endotracheal intubation, on a deceased person. This incident was neither normal nor acceptable. The chief officer directing this activity was immediately placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a complete and thorough investigation. The investigation confirmed to me that the actions of the personnel involved were unacceptable and constitute serious misconduct. I am deeply disappointed by what occurred here. These actions stand to violate the trust between our department and the community we serve, which we have earned through over a century of exemplary service. Going forward, the firefighters, paramedics and staff of the Bellingham Fire Department will continue to work hard in service to our community. Our professional, well-trained personnel constantly endeavor to be responsible stewards of the public's trust, and we are working to repair any breech of this trust through review of appropriate policies and procedures and to ensure all our employees' actions are in alignment with our mission.

Statement from Mayor Kelli Linville:

I was very disturbed when I found out about the incident and appreciate that Fire Chief Bill Newbold responded swiftly to the allegations of misconduct by our personnel. We took it very seriously, taking the steps to make sure that the people who were responsible have been held accountable. What happened was wrong and I want to assure the community that it won't happen again. I am confident that Chief Newbold will take the appropriate measures to continue providing our community the high level of Fire and EMS service you expect.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is under fire as accusations of sexual misconduct cloud what was expected to be a simple nomination process.  

>> Read more trending news 

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, in which a woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers will testify about the alleged incident. 

>> Related: Brett Kavanaugh nomination: When is the hearing? What happens next?

Another woman came forward Sunday to accuse the Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct during a drunken party in a dorm room when they were both freshmen at Yale University.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 7:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that President Donald Trump “would be open” to Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

>> Click here to watch

The New Yorker reported Sunday that Ramirez, 53, said Kavanaugh made unwanted advances during a drunken party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, when they were both attending Yale University.

Update 3:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team detailed their concerns about the the handling of Thursday’s hearing in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Monday.

The letter, written by lawyer Michael Bromwich, questioned the committee’s hiring of an unidentified “experienced sex crimes prosecutor.”

The prosecutor’s involvement “is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations,” the letter said.

“It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s repeated requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning,” the letter continued. “This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate.”

The letter added that “there is no precedent for this Committee to bring in outside consel for the sole purpose of shielding the members of the Committee from performing their responsibility to question witnesses.”

Bromwich’s letter also criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks that the allegations against Kavanaugh were part of a “smear campaign.”

>> Read the full letter here

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh repeatedly defended himself in his first television interview since he was nominated for the high court by President Donald Trump.

“I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” Kavanaugh told Fox host Martha MacCallum during an interview Monday night in response to a question about why college professor Christine Blasey Ford would accuse him of such a thing. 

“I never did any such thing,” he said.

Ford said the incident happened at a party they were both at during high school.

“I was never at any such party,” Kavanaugh said.

“I was never at a party like Dr. Ford described.”

Ford said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a small gathering at a house in a Maryland neighborhood in 1982.

“I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect,” Kavanaugh said throughout the interview. 

>> Related: Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez?

“Again, again, I’m just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity and my family’s integrity,” he said repeatedly.

Kavanaugh said he’s looking for a fair process to defend his integrity and clear his name.

Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley was by his side during the interview and said the sexual assault allegations don’t make any sense.

“I know Brett and I’ve known him for 17 years ... (this) is not consistent with Brett,” she said.

She also said the allegations have been “incredibly hard” on their family. The couple have two girls together.

When asked about a second woman who accused him of acting in a lewd manner at a Yale dormitory party when they were freshman, Kavanaugh again denied the allegation.

“I never did any such thing.”

In a question about a potentially third accuser who has reportedly alleged Kavanaugh was part of a gang rape culture in the 1980s, he vehemently denied it, calling it “totally false and outrageous.”

“I didn’t so this or anything resembling this,” he said.

“I’m telling the truth.” 

Update 6:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: In his first TV interview since becoming a Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh again denied allegations that he assaulted California college professor Christine Blasey Ford at a party while the two were still in high school.

“The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise,” Kavanaugh said in an excerpt from the  Fox interview.

“I’m not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone in some place, but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” he said.

>> Related: New Yorker: Another woman alleges sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh during college years 

Kavanaugh also told Fox host Martha MacCallum he was a virgin in high school and college.

"I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter  and the girls from the schools I went to, and I, were friends,” he said.

Update 5:00 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley sat down Monday afternoon for their first television interview since Kavanaugh was nominated to the high court. 

The interview, with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and comes amid accusations that the judge sexually assaulted at least one woman and may have behaved inappropriately toward another woman. 

The couple is expected to address those allegations during the interview.

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: In a letter released Monday by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Christine Blasey Ford reiterated her commitment to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about an encounter she said she had with Kavanaugh when they were teenagers.

Ford, a professor at California’s Palo Alto University, told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s.

“While I am frightened, please know, my fear will not hold me back from testifying and you will be provided with answers to all of your questions,” Ford said in the letter, which was dated Saturday. “I ask for fair and respectful treatment.”

Ford said she contacted her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, after she learned Kavanaugh was on the short-list for consideration for nomination to the Supreme Court.

“My original intent was first and foremost to be a helpful citizen – in a confidential way that would minimize collateral damage to all families and friends involved,” Ford wrote. “I thought that knowledge of his actions could be useful for you and those in charge of choosing among the various candidates.”

Ford said she later contacted one of her senators, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein.

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats for “aiding and abetting” in what he called a “shameful, shameful smear campaign” against Kavanaugh.

"Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations," McConnell said Monday from the Senate floor.

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: In a letter addressed Monday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh called the allegations against him “smears, pure and simple.”

“They debase our public discourse," Kavanaugh wrote. "They are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination -- if allowed to succeed -- will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service."

At least two women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in incidents that happened three decades ago.

Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at California’s Palo Alto University, told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s.  The New Yorker reported Sunday that Deborah Ramirez, 53, said Kavanaugh made unwanted advances during a drunken party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, when they were both attending Yale University.

"I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process," Kavanaugh wrote Monday. "The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed."

>> Read the full letter from Kavanaugh to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Kavanaugh and Ford are expected to appear Thursday for an open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Update 9:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 24: President Donald Trump reiterated his support of Kavanaugh on Monday, telling reporters that the judge is “an outstanding person, and I am with him all the way.”

>> Related: Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court?

“I think it could be, there’s a chance that this could be, one of the single-most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate to happen for anything, but I am with Judge Kavanaugh and I look forward to the vote,” Trump told reporters at the United Nations in New York. “People who  come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it, all of the sudden it happens. In my opinion it’s totally political.”

Update 2:24 a.m. EDT Sept. 24: The White House on Sunday again defended President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Kavanaugh after new allegations surfaced.

Earlier Sunday, The New Yorker reported reported that Deborah Ramirez, 53, said Kavanaugh made unwanted advances during a drunken party at a dorm during the 1983-84 school year while they both attended Yale.

“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” said White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: White House denounces ‘smear campaign’ against Kavanaugh

Meanwhile, attorney Michael Avenatti, who recently made headlines as porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, “claimed to represent a woman with information about high school-era parties attended by Kavanaugh,” The Associated Press reported. He told the AP that he would reveal more details, including the client’s identity, in the next few days and later clarified that his client is not Ramirez.

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: An unredacted letter of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh has been released.

Update 8:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Officials are looking into another sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Deborah Ramirez, 53, said Kavanuagh made unwanted advances toward her during a drunken party at a dorm during the 1983-84 school year, while they both attended Yale, The New Yorker reported

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: White House denounces ‘smear campaign’ against Kavanaugh

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so,” Kavanuagh wrote in a statement, The New Yorker reported. “This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name -- and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building -- against these last-minute allegations.”

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 23:  The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed that a public hearing will be held Thursday on a sexual assault claim made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to The Associated Press.

>> Related: Who is Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser?

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said Sunday in a statement that their client will testify in an open hearing Thursday morning, CNN reported. The statement -- from attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich -- came after a call with staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday, CNN reported. 

Original report: Christine Blasey Ford has agreed to testify next week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford’s lawyers said in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had previously said the committee would hold a hearing Monday on allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh unless a last-ditch effort to negotiate with Ford and her attorneys was reached by 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Grassley had extended the deadline multiple times as both sides negotiated the details of Ford’s possible appearance before the committee.

In a new development reported by NBC Saturday morning, Garrett Ventry, a GOP communications aide and adviser who has helped coordinate the party’s messaging amid Ford’s claims against Kavanaugh has resigned. Ventry allegedly was fired from a previous job due to a sexual harassment allegation, NBC reported. Ventry denied any misconduct.

>> Related: Trump casts doubt on Kavanaugh accuser: 'Very hard for me to imagine anything happened'

“Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay,” Grassley said in a statement earlier this week.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Republicans press for Kavanaugh vote if accuser won't testify 

California college professor Christine Blasey Ford said she was assaulted by a drunk Brett Kavanaugh at a party in the early 1980s when the two were still in high school. Another person, Mark Judge, was present at the time, but Judge has refused to testify about what happened in a bedroom when the three were present.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, saying the incident never happened.

“It would be a disservice to Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, this committee and the American people to delay this hearing any further,” Grassley said, according to media reports.

>> Related: Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying in Senate

Ford’s attorney, Lisa Banks, said the professor is willing to testify, but believes a “full, non-partisan investigation” is needed first.

>> Related: Trump: FBI shouldn't investigate Kavanaugh allegation

“The committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good-faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceedings,” Banks said.

Late Friday, Grassley set a Saturday afternoon deadline for Ford to decide whether she’ll testify next week.

Woman's fake, elaborate kidnapping story leads to felony charge, police say

A Georgia woman faces a felony charge after police say she lied about someone kidnapping and robbing her. 

>> Watch the news report here

WSB-TV's Tony Thomas spoke to the woman after police filed charges against her for the apparent lie.

Hillary Black of Lawrenceville claimed the incident happened in a parking lot after she used an ATM in front of a store, police said. She claimed she had just gotten back inside her car when she said a Hispanic man climbed in her passenger seat, pulled out a box cutter and told her to drive, authorities said.

"She was very detailed in what happened," Cpl. Michele Pihera, with the Gwinnett County Police Department, told Thomas.

Gwinnett County police reports detail how the woman claimed the man demanded money, then gave her directions to an abandoned shopping center. She said she fought with him there and escaped. 

According to police, it was all made up.

Police said surveillance video shows Black walking up to the Publix ATM, getting money and then leaving. Investigators said they can't find anyone else anywhere near her car.

"There is no clear reason right now that we can find as to why she did this," Pihera said.

Police said when confronted for a second time, Black confessed and agreed to turn herself in on a felony charge of making a false statement. So far, she hasn't. 

>> Read more trending news 

Thomas called Black, and she said she had no comment about the incident. When Thomas asked if she plans to turn herself in, Black hung up the phone.

"The detective specifically noted she did not appear disheveled, her hair was neat, her hair was not ripped or torn and the scratches on her arm seemed very superficial," Pihera said.

Authorities said if Black does not turn herself in, investigators will come and find her. 

Police told Thomas they are upset about this case, since they spent 38 man-hours with more than a half-dozen officers and crime scene techs investigating what they say was a lie.

Florida principal armed with gun to protect against school shootings

A Florida charter school principal is packing heat.

>> Watch the news report here

The principal of San Jose Academy & Preparatory High School in Jacksonville is one of the first Duval County charter school employees to graduate from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s training academy for “safe school officers.”

Principal and Executive Director Alan Hall now walks through school hallways with the weight of a heavy responsibility on his belt.

If a school shooting happens there, it’s on him to respond.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Discussion of armed officials, teachers inside schools

“I’ve always worried, 'Oh my gosh, what would happen?' How am I going to put myself in those principals’ shoes that have actually had to live this? And I say, now, I at least have a chance to do something about it,” Hall said.

>> Read more trending news 

Before the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, many charter schools in our area hired private armed security guards.

The new law requires all Florida schools to have either a sworn law enforcement officer or a safe school officer, which is a school employee who receives high-level firearms training.

In August, ActionNewsJax was the first to report JSO would provide armed officers at all Jacksonville charter schools until the Sheriff’s Office could train school employees to take over.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Charter schools scramble to comply with law requiring armed officers

At San Jose Academy & Preparatory High School, Hall and another employee just completed their four-week JSO training.

“I’ve always had the leadership style that I’m not going to ask any of my people to do something I’m not willing to do,” Hall said.

Hall said the schools’ board approved a full-time safe school officer position. He plans to hire someone this school year.

JSO said employees at Seacoast Charter Academy and Global Outreach Charter Academy have also completed JSO firearms training.

Doctors use 3D printer to save baby's life

At Children's Hospital of Atlanta, a baby boy is breathing a lot easier, thanks to a life-saving procedure involving a 3D printing machine.

Eight-month-old Amir is sleeping peacefully and breathing easy now, something he couldn't do when he was born.

"He was just a baby that, he would always cry," said his mom, Linda Long. "So we knew something was wrong with him, but we didn't know exactly what was wrong with him."

What Linda and Quantavious didn't know is that their son was born with flimsy airways and two holes in his heart. One day, at just 2 months old, Amir stopped breathing.

"That's my baby," said Long. "Don't know what to do but, I wanted to help him but I couldn't."

>> Read more trending news 

Amir was rushed to Children's Hospital of Atlanta, to a team that knew they needed to work fast.

"The child at the time was about as sick as you possibly can be," said Dr. Kevin Maher, a pediatric cardiologist. "He was on a ventilator, sedated, medication to keep him paralyzed." 

Maher, a team of doctors, technicians and even engineers from Georgia Tech got involved, and came up with a big plan to help their tiny patient. They used a 3D printer to make small custom splints to repair his airways.

"They were able to use sutures to pull the airway open and then attach it to this custom made splint to hold the airway open," Maher said.

Then, they patched the holes in his heart. 

"The difference from the morning to the night was one of the most dramatic things I've seen in medicine," Maher said.

Doctors had to get rush FDA approval, as it was the first time this type of technology and surgery have ever been used in Georgia.

"It was really one of the more stunning things I've seen in my career," Maher said, "to take a child that was that sick and to really provide a treatment that otherwise did not exist."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

A treatment that has mom and dad looking forward to Amir's future.

"Hopefully we can get him home and eating and just like a regular baby," said Long. 

Doctors say Amir's prognosis looks good. The splints will stay in until the airways are strong enough to stay open on their own. Even though they had to get rush FDA approval for this surgery, Maher hopes one day it will be widely available.

Woman makes daring escape after being raped, held captive, police say

A woman in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, survived a violent weekend after being kidnapped and raped, authorities said.

>> Watch the news report here

Police said that when they talked to the victim, she was shaking and crying. She said she was raped twice the night before by two different men, one named Percy and another man, who was identified by police as Richard Bankosh, and arrested, according to court documents.

The victim told police she met a young man at a beer distributor in Jeannette the night before and went back to his house on Penn Avenue for a few drinks, court documents said. She reportedly didn't feel well and laid down in a bedroom. She said she woke up to Percy ripping her pants off and raping her, then a few minutes later, Bankosh came in the room.

>> Read more news stories 

“[He] physically put her on the bed by grabbing her arms and then began holding her down. The victim stated the she again pled multiple times, 'stop, no, please stop,'" according to court documents.

The men threatened to kill her, she told police, specifying that they “knew how to make bodies disappear," court documents said.

The next day, Bankosh allegedly forced her into his car and threatened to kill her if she left. She escaped when she convinced him to take her to a relative’s home for alcohol, authorities said.

Bankosh is facing several charges, including rape, sexual assault and making terroristic threats. 

WATCH: Disney pass holder hangs Trump re-election banner in Magic Kingdom

Those visiting Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park on Sunday might have noticed something unusual hanging in Main Street, U.S.A. – a banner calling for President Donald Trump's re-election in 2020.

>> Watch the news report here

Dion Cini, 49, of New York, said he unfurled the banner and briefly hung it from a balcony overlooking the park's Town Square with the help of a bystander to garner attention for Trump's re-election campaign.

>> On WFTV.com: Disney World changes ticket prices, announces new pricing structure

Cini told WFTV that the stunt cost him his annual pass, which he has had for 24 years, but he said it was well worth the free advertising.

Video showed a park employee approaching Cini.

"Sir, please remove the banner immediately," the worker said.

>> On WFTV.com: Up, up and away: Exclusive look at Walt Disney World's Skyliner

Cini said he took the banner into a restroom, packed it up and changed his hat so no one would recognize him.

He said he has performed similar stunts for the past two years and will continue doing so.

>> Read more trending news 

Two Afghan military officers training in Mass. go missing over weekend

Two Afghan military officers who were in Massachusetts for training went missing over the weekend after not showing up for a flight at Logan Airport. 

>> Read more trending news

The two were transported to the airport on Saturday to catch a flight home, but the plane left without them on it. 

"It's embarrassing," Northeastern University associate professor Max Abrahms said. "I want to know the identity of these people, their backgrounds and what they were trying to do."

The two were guests at a United States Department of Defense training exercise that took place at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod last week.

More than 200 service members from five countries attended.

In 2014, three Afghan officers attending the same type of training program walked away from a group outing at the Cape Cod Mall and were captured days later at the United States-Canada border in Niagara Falls. 

The Department of Defense said that they are unable to verify the report, despite confirmation from the Massachusetts National Guard. 

 

Brett Kavanaugh denies sexual assault allegations in TV interview: ‘I never did any such thing’

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh used an interview on Fox News Monday night to defend himself against allegations of sexual misconduct ahead of a planned hearing on the matter by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

Kavanaugh, who was seen as a shoo-in for the high court when President Donald Trump first announced his pick for the seat vacated by the retiring Anthony Kennedy, has, instead found himself at the center of a growing maelstrom of allegations about his behavior as a high school and college student, including sexual assault, drunkenness and lewd behavior.

“I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” Kavanaugh told Fox host Martha MacCallum in response to a question about why college professor Christine Blasey Ford would accuse him of such a thing. 

“I never did any such thing,” he said.

Ford said the incident happened at a party when they were both in high school.

>> Related: SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations

“I was never at any such party,” Kavanaugh said.

“I was never at a party like Dr. Ford described.”

Ford said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a small gathering at a house in a Maryland neighborhood in 1982 when both attended elite prep schools.

“People might have had too many beers on occasion, and people generally in high school — I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit,” he said, but he went on to deny he did anything wrong.

“I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect,” Kavanaugh said throughout the interview. 

“Again, again, I’m just asking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend my integrity and my family’s integrity,” he said repeatedly.

>> Jamie DuPree: Kavanaugh won’t withdraw as judge heads for Thursday showdown hearing

Kavanaugh said he’s looking for a fair process to defend his integrity and clear his name.

Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was by his side during the interview and said the sexual assault allegations don’t make any sense.

“I know Brett and I’ve known him for 17 years ... (This) is not consistent with Brett,” she said.

She also said the allegations have been “incredibly hard” on their family. The couple have two girls together.

When asked about a second woman who accused him of acting in a lewd manner at a Yale University dormitory party when they were freshmen, Brett Kavanaugh again denied the allegation.

“I never did any such thing.”

>> Related: Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez?

In a question about a potential third accuser who has reportedly alleged Brett Kavanaugh was part of a gang rape culture in the 1980s, he vehemently denied it, calling it “totally false and outrageous.”

“I didn’t do this or anything resembling this,” he said.

“I’m telling the truth.” 

Atlanta rapper charged with trafficking $4M worth of cocaine

A rapper from Atlanta was indicted on federal drug trafficking charges after he was part of a multistate distribution ring, investigators said.

Tommie Walker -- also known as "Columbia BT" -- and Juan Carlos Garcia-Martinez were arraigned on Friday. They face federal charges of drug trafficking and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

“These defendants were allegedly part of a multi-state drug distribution scheme that transported and distributed cocaine worth approximately $4 million,” said U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak. “Thanks to the work of law enforcement in Georgia, South Carolina and Colorado, this drug enterprise is now history.”

BACKGROUND

According to Pak, the investigation began in August 2017.

Pak said Walker is accused of operating a warehouse in the Atlanta area where he received shipments of cocaine hidden in tractor-trailers from Colorado. The cocaine would then be distributed throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Garcia-Martinez is alleged to be a co-conspirator.

During the investigation, officers seized more than 135 kilograms of cocaine valued at more than $4 million. They also confiscated more than $220,000 in cash.

According to Pak, Walker allegedly used his illegal drug proceeds to finance a “lavish lifestyle” that he displayed in rap videos.

Some of the property seized from the drug proceeds included a 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn and a 2013 Bentley Mulsanne, Pak said.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Waler, 42, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and three counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Garcia-Martinez, 37, and Samuel Anchondo-Galaviz, 40, are each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

“This investigation is an excellent example of the working relationships that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) have with their law enforcement partners,” said Robert J. Murphy, special agent in charge of the Atlanta DEA Field Division. “The defendants were transporting large quantities of drugs throughout our neighborhoods, and the dismantlement of this criminal organization will have a positive local impact and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate illegal drug trafficking in our communities.”

Six Flags offers $300 for spending 30 hours in coffin

In the 1942 film “The Corpse Vanishes,” actor Bela Lugosi explains that he finds a coffin “much more comfortable than a bed.”

>> Read more trending news 

Six Flags St. Louis is seeking people who find lying in coffins within their comfort level. The Missouri theme park announced on its website Friday that to celebrate the 30th year of Fright Fest, it will host a 30-Hour Coffin Challenge.

Six contestants will be chosen to spend 30 hours in “deluxe,” “slightly used” coffins measuring 2 feet wide by 7 feet long, the Post-Dispatch reported. Hours of repose will be from 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, until 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the park.

Contestants will be allowed to bring a friend, the park said on its website, but only during Fright Fest operating hours. After hours -- from midnight Saturday until noon Sunday -- they will be on their own, but “some of our Fright Fest Freaks will be lurking about in the darkness.”

There will be six-minute bathroom breaks every hour, but a contestant will be eliminated from the competition if he or she gets out of the coffin.

Park officials did not specify whether this is an open or closed casket competition, but for health (and liability) reasons, we’ll assume it’s an open showing.

However, to ensure comfort, contestants are encouraged to bring a pillow and blanket. The park will provide, food, drinks and snacks, and will provide cellphone charging stations to pass the time.

Contestants who make it through the 30 hours will receive two 2019 Gold Season Passes and a Fright Fest Prize Package, which includes tickets to the haunted house and Freak Train. As for the $300 prize, if more than one person makes it through a drawing will be held to award the cash.

But nobody goes home empty-handed. All winners will be allowed to keep the coffin, the park said on its website.

After all, the challenge organizers want their contestants to rest in peace.

All you need to know about the Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon will grace the night sky Monday, casting a glow in the Northern Hemisphere that skywatchers anticipate every year - but the event was once much more than celestial entertainment.

>> Read more trending news

The full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the Harvest Moon, and usually that happens in September, according to Earthsky.org.

Before electricity, farmers relied on moonlight during the fall months to help them harvest the late summer and early autumn crops. Because moonlight was an essential part of farming during this time and the moonrise happened very quickly after sunset, it became known as the Harvest Moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Another reason the Harvest Moon is so different from other full moons is that throughout the year, the moon generally rises an “average of about 50 minutes later each day,” the Almanac reported, but closer to the autumnal equinox, there’s only a 30-minute difference.

“The Full Harvest Moon rises at sunset, then will rise very near sunset for several nights in a row,” making it seem like there are “full moons multiple nights in a row,” according to the Almanac.

Folklore also has it that every full moon has a special name that explains something about the season or the month, according to NASA.

There’s  the Snow Moon, the Wolf Moon, the Worm Moon, the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Flower Moon, the Strawberry Moon, the Thunder Moon, the Sturgeon Moon, the Long Night’s Moon, the Beaver Moon, the Hunter’s Moon and this month’s moon, the Harvest Moon.

Philadelphia Flyers unveil new mascot

The Philadelphia Flyers have a new mascot. Meet Gritty.

The team unveiled the new mascot Monday morning. 

According to the Philadelphia Flyers website, the name Gritty describes the team's attitude. 

Gritty is “loyal but mischievous” and the “ultimate Flyers fan,” the website said. He’s orange and black, the same colors of the team he boosts.

Penguins fans will agree, we'll take Iceburgh over Gritty any day.

T.I. plans pop-up trap music museum, trap house escape room in Atlanta

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of his album, “Trap Muzik,” rapper T.I. is bringing a unique, pop-up trap music museum to the hip-hop capital of the South.

Fader reported that the artist took to Instagram to announce the new project. “I made it a album... but WE MADE IT A GENRE!!!!” he wrote. “This is a celebration of ALL OF OUR CONTRIBUTIONS to the CULTURE WE CALL TRAP MUZIK!!!!”

>> Read more trending news 

The Trap Music Museum doesn’t have a set location just yet, but according to the official website, the venue will also feature an escape room.

Cost of entry for Escape the Trap Room will be $30.

Related: 2 Chainz announces Haunted Pink Trap House

In the museum, attendees will learn about a variety of featured trap artists, including 21 Savage, Future, the late Shawty Lo and more.

Fader reported the museum will open on Sept. 30. Guests can RSVP and get more information, including hours for the museum and escape room,  at the Trap Museum website.

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