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Ohio declares hepatitis A outbreak; joins growing list of states

Ohio is experiencing a statewide outbreak of hepatitis A, with 79 cases so far this year.

The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide community outbreak of hepatitis A Friday evening.

Drug use, homelessness and incarceration are all risk factors, Ohio Department of Health officials said. Those who share needles or use street drugs -- injected or not -- are especially at risk. 

Outbreaks of hepatitis A are happening in several states across the U.S., including the neighboring states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia.

Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah are also experiencing outbreaks of hepatitis A, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is preventable through a vaccine. It is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter -- even in microscopic amounts. This can happen through sharing food or drinks that are contaminated by the stool from an infected person. It can be spread through close personal contact, including sex, according to health officials.

Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, jaundice and stomach pain. People with hepatitis A can experience mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Gay rights pioneer Dick Leitsch, who orchestrated 'Sip-In,' dead at 83

Dick Leitsch, whose milestone “Sip-In” in 1966 ensured the right of gay patrons to be served in a licensed bar, died Friday, The New York Times reported. He was 83.

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The cause of death was liver cancer, according to Paul Havern, a friend. That was confirmed by Leitsch’s niece, Cheryl Williams, The Washington Post reported.

On April 21, 1966, Leitsch and three friends -- Craig Rodwell, John Timmons and Randy Wicker, along with a Times reporter and Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah -- staged the “sip-in” at Julius’, a bar in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. The “sip-in” was a variation of the nonviolent civil disobedience practiced by civil rights activists.

When Leitsch announced he and his friends were homosexuals, the bartender covered his glass and refused to serve the group. McDarrah snapped a photograph, and the Times published a story the next day, titled “3 Deviates Invite Exclusion By Bars.”

The Mattachine Society, a gay group that counted Leitsch among its leaders, threatened to sue the New York State Liquor Authority to overturn the policy that prohibited bars from knowingly serving alcoholic drinks to gays, the Times reported.

The lawsuit was never filed. Leitsch, in an interview with the Times in March, said “The whole thing was bizarre.”

“We didn’t need to prove that the bars refused to serve us, or that the liquor authority revoked licenses for serving gays,” Leitsch told the newspaper. “They denied ever doing it.”

The publicity led to a Mattachine lawsuit in New Jersey, the Post reported. In 1967, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that “well-behaved homosexuals” could not be barred from a drink, the Post reported.

“In our culture, homosexuals are indeed unfortunates,” the New Jersey ruling said. But “their status does not make them criminals or outlaws.”

Richard Joseph Leitsch was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 11, 1935. Survivors include a brother and sister. His partner of 17 years, Timothy Scoffield, was diagnosed with AIDS and died in 1989, the Post reported.

Lawsuit: Mistaken identity lands woman in Georgia jail for 2 days

Jessica Ellison’s nightmare began with a broken taillight and a case of mistaken identity.

It ended with two days in jail, a worried family and a lost job -- and now a lawsuit, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

“This reads as the script for some kind of dark comedy, where your protagonist cannot get anything to go right,” Ellison’s attorney, Nathan Lock, said.

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Lock filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Ellison’s behalf. Among the named defendants are Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway, Corizon Health, which at the time of the incident provided health care services at the jail, and Gwinnett County police Officer Mark Ferrell.

It accuses each defendant of negligence.

The sheriff’s office and police department both declined to comment on the case. In the lawsuit, Lock describes the incident as follows.

Ellison, a property manager from Jonesboro, Georgia, was driving through Gwinnett County on the afternoon of June 21, 2016, when she got stopped near Duluth by GCPD Officer Mark Ferrell. Ferrell told her she had a taillight out and he was going to give her a warning, but he needed to run her license.

According to Ferrell’s incident report, he subsequently found a warrant out of Bartow County for a woman named Jessica Ellison. The birthdates matched, and dispatch verified the warrant -- for failure to appear on a then-three-year-old shoplifting charge -- was still active.

Ellison was taken to jail.

There was one problem. She and her lawyer now say the warrant was for a Jessica Ellis, not “Ellison.”

Upon arriving at the jail, Ellison was fingerprinted and, despite her “repeated” pleas about the arrest being a mistake, those fingerprints were never compared to those of the wanted woman, the lawsuit claims.

“There’s a lot of different things that could’ve been verified that would’ve distinguished the two,” Lock said.

Ellison spent the next two days in jail waiting for authorities to pick her up. During that time, the lawsuit claims, she was not allowed a phone call -- leaving her family and her job to wonder where she was -- and never saw a nurse despite repeated requests.

Ellison takes supplements to prevent seizures.

She didn’t have one in jail, Lock said, but did shortly after arriving home — which was only possible after the Bartow County deputy that arrived to transport her double-checked her information and was “immediately able to verify” she was the wrong woman.

Lock said the seizure came while she was cleaning up feces and urine from her dog, who was alone and unfed the entire time she was incarcerated.

Ellison also lost her job, according to the suit, which asks for unspecified compensation.

Netflix executive apologizes, resigns after using racial slurs

Netflix’s chief communications officer apologized and resigned after using a racial slur in front of colleagues on at least two occasions, CNN reported Friday.

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Jonathan Friedland apologized on Twitter and said he was leaving the company after seven years.

"I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated," Friedland tweeted.

Variety obtained a copy of a memo Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sent to employees to explain the situation. A copy was tweeted by The Hollywood Reporter.

The memo referenced an incident from several months ago when Friedland used a racial slur while meeting with Netflix public relations staff, CNN reported. The meeting was about sensitive words, and Friedland apologized afterward when people said his use of the word was inappropriate and hurtful.

He used the same slur a few days later in front of two black employees at Netflix’s human resources department while discussing the first incident, Hastings wrote in his memo.

"Many of us have worked closely with Jonathan for a long time, and have mixed emotions,” Hastings wrote. “Unfortunately, his lack of judgment in this area was too big for him to remain."

Friedland joined Netflix as vice president of communications in 2011 and assumed duties as chief communications officer the following year, Variety reported.

Netflix declined comment.

China restaurant burned by all-you-can-eat promotion 

An all-you-can-eat promotion by a struggling restaurant in southwestern China backfired as customers ate so much food the establishment was forced to close because of excessive debt, CNN reported.

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The Jiamener Hotpot Restaurant in Chengdu, introduced an unlimited menu on June 1 after struggling since opening in December 2017. For a membership of 120 yuan -- approximately $18 -- customers could enjoy a month of unlimited hotpot meals, CNN reported.

Initially, the promotion worked, according to Su Jie, one of the restaurant’s owners. Su told Chengdu Economic Daily that more than 500 customers were visiting every day. Diners lined up three hours before the restaurant’s 11 a.m. opening, and the owners had taken in more than $15,000 by June 11, CNN reported.

However, debts outweighed the intake, as the restaurant was facing debts exceeding $76,000 and was forced to temporarily close.

"We knew we would end up losing money, but we hoped to build a group of loyal customers through the campaign," Su told CNN, describing the situation as "small-scale chaos."

Protesters gather in Pittsburgh for third straight night

People flooded the streets of Pittsburgh for the third straight night Friday, protesting the police shooting death of a teenager during a traffic stop earlier in the week.

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Residents were angry over Tuesday’s death of Antwon Rose, 17, who was unarmed. 

The Homestead Grays Bridge was closed for approximately an hour Friday night, and protesters gathered outside PNC Park, where the Pittsburgh Pirates were hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Reportedly, a Mercedes-Benz drove through protesters near the ballpark, but no injuries were reported. “Someone tried to drive through us,” one person tweeted.

All of the gates, except one near home plate, were reopened to allow fans to leave the stadium after Arizona won 2-1 in 13 innings.

>> Hundreds of protesters shut down roads for miles

Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran. 

Rose, who police officials said was shot three times, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Thursday night, traffic was brought to a standstill as protesters spilled onto Pittsburgh’s Parkway East. The protesters were dispersed without any major incidents around 2:45 a.m. Friday.

Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna suspended 75 games 

Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games without pay, retroactive to May 8, for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, the New York Daily News reported.

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Osuna, 23, an All-Star in 2017, was charged with one count of assault in Toronto and was put on administrative leave, the Daily News reported. The right-hander has not pitched since May 6. 

Osuna has nine saves and a 2.93 ERA in 15 games.

The suspension will cost Osuna $2.54 million of his annual $5.3 million salary, the Daily News reported. He will participate in an evaluation and treatment program, which is confidential and supervised by the joint policy board of Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the newspaper reported.

Grass poisoning could be cause for 'drunk' kangaroos, veterinarians say

Veterinarians in Australia are conducting tests to determine whether kangaroos that appear to be drunk have actually suffered neurological damage because of a strain of grass, The Guardian reported.

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The veterinarians, from the University of Melbourne, said Phalaris aquatica -- a common pasture crop in central Victoria -- have caused the suffering among eastern gray kangaroos, the Guardian reported. Wildlife officials said the kangaroos were suffering from Phalaris “staggers,” which is common among sheep and cattle that graze in Australia.

“A kangaroo with full-blown toxicity is just horrible,” Manfred Zabinskas from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue told Guardian Australia. “Their head flies around like they have got a broken neck; they summersault; they crash into fences and trees … they look like they are drunk.”

Phalaris, also known as canary grass, is a tall grass common to southeastern Australia. Some farmers have avoided planting the species because the “staggers” can cause heart failure among animals, the Guardian reported.

In domestic animals, the condition can be controlled by adding copper into their diet. But in kangaroos, the condition is believed to be irreversible, the Guardian reported.

“The kindest thing to do is to euthanize them,” Zabinskas said.

Superman trades cape for badge: Dean Cain sworn in as reserve police officer in Idaho

Superman has changed uniforms.

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Actor Dean Cain, who played the Man of Steel in the show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” was recently sworn in as a reserve officer in Idaho, Fox News reported.

Cain, 51, was sworn in as a reserve for the St. Anthony Police Department, Fox News reported. The Idaho State Police tweeted the news Tuesday, showing a series of photos of the swearing-in ceremony.

Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul dead at 54

Drummer Vinnie Paul, a founding member of the heavy metal band Pantera, died Friday night, the band announced on Facebook. He was 54.

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"Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away," Pantera wrote on Facebook. "Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time."

No cause of death was given.

"Can’t believe it. R.I.P. to our brother Vinnie Paul," Anthrax tweeted, while Paul Stanley of KISS wrote, "So sad to hear of the death of Vinnie Paul. Loved when Pantera did shows with us and in later years Vinnie was always front and center at all KISS shows. RIP and condolences to his family."

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2018

Paul, born Vincent Paul Abbott in Abilene, Texas, formed Pantera in 1981 with his brother, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and bassist Rex Brown, Rolling Stone reported.

Pantera led the charge of heavy metal bands during the 1990s with albums like “Cowboys From Hell,” “Vulgar Display of Power” and “Far Beyond Driven.”

The band split in 2003, Rolling Stone reported.

The Abbott brothers formed Damageplan in 2004, but the band’s tenure ended when Dimebag Abbott was shot and killed onstage by a fan in 2004, Rolling Stone reported.

Paul joined Hellyeah in 2006.

Sorting through some 2026 World Cup questions

Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them.

WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES? 

Sixteen North American cities -- at least 10 in the United States -- will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.

The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.) 

In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey). 

"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”

Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico. 

WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING? 

It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city. 

“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.” 

A 1-in-30 million shot: Rare yellow lobster caught off Maine coast

Maine is famous for its lobsters, but yellow lobsters are a rare find.

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One of those rare crustaceans was caught off the Maine Coast, the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association reported Wednesday.

The F/V Short Fuse, of Bremen, caught the lobster this week, WGME reported.

The odds of catching a yellow lobster are 1-in-30 million, according to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine. In contrast, the odds of catching a blue lobster are 1-in-2 million, according to the institute.

Filmmakers visiting Atlanta robbed of $50K in equipment while at dinner

Three filmmakers visiting Georgia lost more than $50,000 in equipment when their rental car was burglarized and robbed Thursday night, Atlanta police said. 

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According to an incident report obtained Friday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the men were eating dinner at the time of the theft. A few hours after loading the equipment into the car, the men returned to find one of the back car windows smashed, police said.

The thieves stole the professional equipment as well as personal items belonging to each of the men, according to police.

Officers collected blood from the broken window and are still searching for a suspect. 

The victims were in town to shoot photos of Atlanta for Tantra, a production company headquartered in Colorado.

 

Oregon man wins lottery jackpot with 'mistake ticket'

A convenience store clerk last week offered an Oregon man a chance to buy two lottery tickets that were printed by mistake. The man bought one and left, then thought better of it and returned to buy the other one.

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It was a decision for which he would be richly rewarded.

That second ticket Charles Svitak bought June 16 at a 7-Eleven store earned him a $7.3 million payday in Oregon’s Megabucks game, KDRV reported.

"When I checked the ticket on my computer I couldn't believe it," Svitak told The Oregonian. "The first thing I thought is that I had worked my last graveyard shift."

Svitak, who works in Medford, took the lump sum option, which was for $3.65 million, KDRV reported.

Patrick Johnson, public affairs officer at the Oregon Lottery, told the Oregonian that the tickets were not Quick Picks, where numbers are randomly generated by the computer.

Svitak did not tell his wife about the winnings. He went to Salem to get the check and then bought a truck.

"On the way home I got a new truck and put the oversized check they gave me on the windshield," Svitak told the Oregonian

Svitak showed his wife the check and truck when he returned home.

"She hasn't stopped giggling since," Svitak told KDRV.

French priest who slapped child during baptism ceremony retires

The French Catholic priest who slapped a 2-year-old boy during a baptism ceremony said he regretted his decision and announced his retirement, The Daily Mail reported.

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A video of Father Jacques Lacroix, 89, went viral after Sunday’s baptism ceremony in the southeastern suburbs of Paris.

Reddit user posted video that showed a clearly irritated Lacroix using his left hand to slap the child. The video also was posted on YouTube.

The furor caused the priest to resign.

>> Watch: Priest slaps crying baby during baptism ceremony

“I apologized for my clumsiness to the family. I am finishing my ministry now, it was my last baptism,” Lacroix said. “There is an end to everything.”

During the video, Lacroix tells the child to “Calm down, calm down, you must calm down.” He tells the boy to be quiet before squeezing the boy’s face in his hands, the Daily Mail reported.

The priest then stared at the boy before using his left hand to slap him.

The boy’s parents and family reacted immediately, with the child’s father wrestling him away from the priest, the Daily Mail reported.

Lacroix Jacques denied the slap was too hard, telling France Info radio on Friday that “It was somewhere between a caress and a slap, I hoped to calm him down, I didn't know what to do.”

“The child was screaming a lot and I had to turn his head to pour water over it.

I told him to ‘calm down, calm down,’ but he was not calming down,” Lacroix said. “I tried to hold him close. I just wanted him to calm down.”

The bishop of Meaux, Jean-Yves, told the Daily Mail that he had “taken measures so that the priest is suspended from all baptism and marriage celebrations.”

Woman accused of embezzling more than $150,000 from a doctor's office

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting a woman for eight counts of embezzlement.

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Officials said Ciera Garvin, 31, embezzled $153,000 from the doctor’s office where she worked over a period of seven years.

Garvin turned herself in to the Tulsa County Jail.

Investigators said the doctor noticed on her tax forms that Garvin made too much money and said she discovered Garvin had altered her hours to overpay herself by $8,000 to $10,000.

Investigators said based on a forensic audit, they believe Garvin skimmed all the cash co-payments from patients and kept them rather than depositing them, along with co-payments made via credit and debit cards.

Police said Garvin had been doing it since at least 2011.

Fraud detectives said they believe it’s a growing problem and have arrested at least five office managers from doctors’ offices for embezzlement over the past few years.

A few months ago, the Tulsa Police Department fraud unit teamed up with the Tulsa Attorney General’s Office to have them prosecute some of the repeat offenders and larger cases. TPD said this case involved such a large amount of money that it was the first case in the partnership that the AG’s Office will prosecute.

Garvin has bonded out of jail. Her attorney, Chad Greer, said they have no comment.

Giant spoon erected in front of pharmaceutical company to protest opioid addiction

A giant spoon was left in front of a pharmaceutical company in protest by a Connecticut artist.

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The 800-pound, 11-foot-long steel spoon symbolizes a much heavier burden for two artists.

"A symbol of the negative emotion I felt of the opioid addiction of my brother, Danny," Westwood native Domenic Esposito said. "For the last 14 years, we have been dealing with it.”

Esposito traveled to Connecticut to work with art gallery owner Fernando Alvarez to make the sculpture, and then move it to the front of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut.

“I’ve gotten a lot of tweets and messages about this," Esposito said. "Everyone knows what the missing spoon is who has family members that were affected by this.”

Earlier in June, Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Purdue on behalf of the state.

The lawsuit accuses the maker of oxycontin of illegally promoting the use of opioids and misrepresenting the risks of addiction and death connected to the drug.

It was the first lawsuit that also names the drug maker's executives and directors.

Purdue has denied the allegations and released a statement on the protest.

“We share the protestors’ concern about the opioid crisis, and respect their right to peacefully express themselves," the protest said.

Gallery owner Fernando Alvarez said the crimes are never punished, and changes need to occur.

"No one ever goes to jail for these things and that’s why the epidemic continues to happen," Alvarez said. "We are talking about real lives.”

Alvarez ended up in handcuffs on Friday for a minor charge of obstructing free passage. 

City workers using heavy equipment hauled away the giant spoon, but the two men hope the weight of the message stays.

The spoon will become a part of the exhibit at the Alvarez Gallery in Stamford.

12-year-old's invention for detecting plastics in oceans getting national recognition

A 12-year-old girl from Andover, Massachusetts, is getting a big prize and national recognition for her invention to clean up the world's oceans.

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Anna Du is one of 10 finalists for the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work on an invention that detects microplastics in bodies of water without disturbing plants or animals.

"One day when I was at Boston Harbor, I noticed there was a lot of plastics on the sand," Du said. "I tried picking some up, but there seemed to be so many more, and it just seemed impossible to clean it all up."

Du, a lover of marine animals, decided to take action.

She began work on an underwater device that uses infrared light to detect harmful microplastics in the ocean.

Her invention is now gaining national attention as a finalist in the challenge.

As a finalist, Du will get a chance to work with one of 3M's scientists to take her invention from detecting plastic in her backyard, to detecting it in the world's oceans.

"Science has always been a big part of my life," Du said. "I'm super excited to make something that can actually help the world."

Du wants to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study marine-related science.

She and the other nine finalists will take part in the final competition in October at the 3M Innovation Center in Saint Paul.

Men use blanket to attack woman inside department store, police say

Police in Georgia are searching for two men who beat and shoved a woman to the floor inside a popular department store in Gwinnett County. 

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The victim told police that the men threw a blanket over her head and then attacked her inside a Ross department store on Stone Mountain Highway.

Dina Bingham said she was shopping on May 12 when she felt a blanket over her head. She said two men started shaking her and shoving her around.

Gwinnett police released a surveillance photo of the two suspects, with one carrying a blanket they used in the alleged attack. 

Bingham said she fought back and forced the men to run out of the store.

"I can't get into the mind of a criminal, I don't know but what I do know is the store could have handled it differently,” Bingham said.

After this experience, Bingham said there needs to be protections in place for shoppers. 

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call police.

This is how much coffee can keep your heart healthy, study says

Scientists believe coffee has several benefits, including protection against liver disease and diabetes. It also may be able to protect your heart, according to a new report.

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Researchers from health institutions in Germany recently conducted a study, published in the PLOS Biology journal, to explore the link between coffee and heart health.

To do so, they used data from a previous study that examined 400,000 people. They also observed caffeinated mice as well as human tissues doused in caffeine. 

They found that caffeine helps a special regulatory protein called p27 travel to the mitochondria, an organelle in cells that produce energy.

The protein was found in the mitochondria of several of the major cells in the heart and helped enhance the function of the mitochondria. It also aided in the protection of the cardiovascular cells.

“In these cells, mitochondrial p27 promoted migration of endothelial cells, protected heart muscle cells from cell death, and triggered the conversion of fibroblasts into cells containing contractile fibers - all crucial for repair of heart muscle after myocardial infarction,” the authors explained.

Upon further investigation, they determined that four cups of coffee can trigger those chain of events that keep your heart from damage. 

“Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine," the team said, "one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle. These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population.” 

This isn’t the first study that has uncovered a positive link between caffeine and heart health. 

Earlier this year, researchers in Austria published a study that assessed the data of more than 360,000 people with heart issues. They discovered that caffeine may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that causes an irregular heartbeat.

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