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  1. More than a week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle, cities and towns are facing the daunting task of trying to rebuild. The recovery is hampered by catastrophic damage not only to homes and businesses, but to vital infrastructure as well. The small Gulf coast town of Port St. Joe, with a population of about 3,500 residents, is one of countless communities that was hit by the storm. "Everywhere you turn and go you see some kind of destruction," says the town's mayor, Bo Patterson. "Whether it was wind damage, whether it was water, one of the two." Patterson says Hurricane Michael pushed in a 13-foot storm surge that flooded the streets closest to St. Joseph Bay on the west side of Port St. Joe. The rest of town saw roofs ripped off, windows blown out and huge oak and pine trees toppled. "Devastating, devastating," he repeats. "I don't know any other word to describe what you're seeing." The roof is off at the local Baptist church; its steeple is bent over. The walls are gone from the Burger King. Port St. Joe's two gas stations are also destroyed — the fuel pumps torn from their concrete slabs. Article continues after sponsorship "We can't even pump gas," Patterson says. The mayor says the city can't even start to think about recovery until it can clear all of the downed trees from local roadways. Backhoes have been brought in to help, and crews are working on most streets to replace power poles. In the community of Highland View, just west of Port St. Joe, the storm surge from Hurricane Michael toppled houses and knocked mobile homes completely over. Debbie Elliott/Debbie Elliott/NPR Meanwhile, residents are trying to muck out soggy homes, and using chain saws to cut up downed trees. "You hear that sound a lot," Patterson says of the buzz of chain saws. "Up until dark. You hear that all day long." Couches, mattresses and piles of soaked clothing are stacked up curbside on residential streets. "Just about every street you go down ... you'll see destruction like that," Patterson says. "People just — all they own is by the road to be thrown away." At a flooded apartment near the bayfront, Alesha Smiley and her brother spent a recent afternoon moving soaked mattresses from the unit she shares with her grandmother, an elderly amputee in poor health. "It is depressing," she says. "I try not to think about it too hard. But it's been a lot of people come in and helping." Mayor Patterson says the city has been getting help from relief agencies and the state and federal government. He admits the town is at the mercy of outside assistance because its main source of revenue — tourism and water and sewer bills — has been decimated. "We don't know how we'll pay our bills," he says. "Seriously." Driving through a neighborhood on the west side of town, Patterson does see signs of progress as he greets residents out cleaning up storm debris. "I think most people in this area do have power, so that's good," Patterson says. He stops at an old high school gym that's been converted into an emergency supply distribution point. Among those helping to coordinate the response from there is Port St. Joe city commissioner Eric Langston. "We still have some things to look forward to," Langston says. "We're still here. We're still breathing. The worst has already happened as far as the hurricane. All we can do is look ahead and try to rebuild." But Langston acknowledges it will be a long time before the town gets back to a sense of normalcy. Back on the road, Mayor Bo Patterson points out the damage in the downtown business district. The roof is off his pest control business. "It's unbelievable," he says. He contemplates the rebuilding that's ahead. "It's going to take years," Patterson says. "And I'm hoping the city can survive it."
  2. So far prosecutors have identified 10 cases that involved misconduct in which incarcerated people’s sentences will need to be vacated, and 15 pending cases that have or will be dismissed. PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors are reviewing more than 250 criminal cases involving Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zachary Wester after video emerged in the past month of him planting drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop. Wester, 26, of Marianna, was fired Sept. 10 after more than two years as a patrol deputy with JCSO. His career now is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) after evidence arose that he had planted drugs during a February traffic stop in Marianna. As that investigation proceeds, the 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office is reviewing more than 250 cases to determine Wester’s role and whether any misconduct took place. State Attorney Glenn Hess said his office so far has identified 263 cases in which Wester played a role, either as the lead officer, backup or an essential witness. Prosecutors said they have identified 10 cases that involved misconduct in which incarcerated people’s sentences will need to be vacated, and 15 pending cases that have or will be dismissed. When FDLE concludes its investigation at an undetermined date, authorities will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Wester. “It’s speculation,” Hess said. “But if you’re accusing someone of planting drugs, they must have possessed drugs. And I don’t know of any provision in the law that authorizes a deputy to possess drugs outside of evidence they seize in the pursuit of an investigation.” Hess said FDLE came to his office days ago to brief him and senior prosecutors about an investigation into Wester. During that briefing, Hess said he viewed a video and photographs from a traffic stop that resulted in the arrest of a woman on narcotics possession charges. “The things I saw in the video caused me concern about his professionalism,” Hess said. “As a result of that, I made the decision not to accept any cases in which he was participating. We also undertook a review of all cases made in the past two years by that officer and have been taking steps to correct a situation that is unacceptable.” The video released Thursday by the SAO dates back to a traffic stop on Feb. 5 in Marianna, in which Teresa Odom was arrested after Wester said he found a baggie of methamphetamine in her vehicle. The entire traffic stop was recorded on Wester’s body camera and later aroused concern by the prosecution and defense attorney. They took the information to Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts, who began an internal investigation and called in FDLE to conduct an independent investigation. Roberts declined to comment on the case, as the FDLE investigation is ongoing. However, Wester has been fired after two years with JCSO. Before then, he worked as a Liberty County Sheriff’s Office deputy from August 2015 until he joined JCSO. On Tuesday, prosecutors asked Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson in open court to vacate the sentence of Odom, the woman whose drug possession arrest was caught on body camera video. Patterson agreed. According to court records, Odom was on pretrial release from an earlier stolen property charge when Wester arrested her on Feb. 15. The new arrest prompted a judge to revoke her bail, which kept her behind bars for more than a month until the resolution of the drug case. She pleaded no contest to the drug charges brought by Wester on March 6 and was sentenced to four years of probation. It wasn’t immediately clear how many other defendants might be in jail or prison as a result of alleged misconduct by Wester. Hess said he has an attorney working full time to review cases brought by Wester and expects more charges to be dismissed because of misconduct. “Cases that are good cases and are viable, that do not involve any questionable conduct, go forward in the court system,” he said. “Those that are questionable, the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendant.” Hess said the scope of misconduct involved in this case is unprecedented in the circuit and possibly across Florida. A motive behind the evidence tampering has yet to be established and there did not appear to be any common themes among the cases. Hess said the activity undermines the trust instilled by the public in law enforcement and needed to be corrected as soon as possible. “We must see that the system maintains it’s integrity and that people have faith in the judicial system,” he added. “When we see something that is wrong we have to correct it, and this something we are trying to correct.”
  3. An Indiana man found guilty of molesting a 10-year-old girl multiple times, which led to her becoming pregnant, was sentenced Thursday to more than 100 years in prison. Nicholas Deon Thrash, 34, of Marion, was sentenced to 160 years in jail with a minimum service of 132 years, FOX59 Indianapolis reported, citing the Grant County prosecutor. View image on Twitter Twitter Ads info and privacy Thrash was found guilty of 10 counts of child molestation during his trial last month, the station reported. The victim, who was not named, testified Thrash had molested her at least 15 times. The girl’s grandmother told Indiana news station WISH-TV in May 2017, when Thrash was charged, that he was someone the family trusted. The girl’s mother also faces charges relating to the case, including neglect, aiding in child molesting and assisting a criminal, Marion-based newspaper the Chronicle-Tribunereported. The mother reportedly discovered the pregnancy as the victim was trying on dresses for a school dance, then instructed her to say a classmate impregnated her. Prosecutors told FOX59 that the girl, after turning 11, gave birth to a boy in September 2017. Thrash remained in the Grant County Jail as of Thursday.
  4. Michael Moore made the scary prediction that Donald Trump was “the last president of the United States” in the trailer to his new documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which premiere in New York Thursday evening at Alice Tully Hall. On the red carpet I asked the filmmaker exactly what he meant by that. “It’s that we may not have our United States the way that we knew it. If he’s successful in dismantling our democracy than the United States of old is gone and that’s what I’m worried about.” On a different tack he added, “In my perfect world on November 6 there will be a tsunami of women, young people, people of color, going to the polls. And they’re going to try and right a very huge wrong. I believe that.” “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which premiered in Toronto to rapturous reviews, is a bookend of sorts to his hugely successful 2004 Bush-bashing film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which became the highest grossing documentary of all time. But for all the pillorying and parodying of the president, Bush still went on to serve a second term. So does Moore think his new film, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” can make people vote for liberal candidates? “Make, no. But I hope it can inspire people to do the right thing, can give them some optimism, can sometimes show them a way out. I hope that’s what Im doing in this film tonight, helping show people a way out of the madness that we’re in.” Overheard on the red carpet: Asked if he knew the identity of the anonymous New York Times op-ed leaker in Trump’s circle, Moore said: “No, but if you want me to make a wild guess, Trump wrote it or one of his minions wrote it…. He’s the master of distraction. He’s the King of the Misdirect. If we’ve ever known anything by now, it’s that he does things to get people to turn away and the line that is most identifiable in terms of what he wants the public to believe, the line that says, ‘don’t worry, adults are in the room.’ The idea is to get him to get us to calm down and look away from what he’s really doing.” Later in the cavernous Alice Tully Hall in his intro to the film, Moore told the invite-only audience that for him and producers Carl Deal and Meghan O’Hara this was their most difficult film to make. “We made the decision on the first day of making the movie we would not chase the news cycle. The last thing people want to see on a Friday night was two hours of Donald Trump, which they’d already have seen for the last two years. We did want to tell a larger story of the Trump-ian times we’re in.” Moore added, “ I think to be honest we have an enormous amount of despair and we are dispirited Americans, and I think that you, many of you, have felt the same despair and the same torment and the same kind of wondering if will we ever pull out of this? Is there a way out? And we saw that around the country people are not hopeful. They’re very aware that this person pulled off something unimaginable. To have someone who appears to be an idiot beat the smartest person ever to run for the president of the United States, that takes some evil genius and for him to outsmart us is part of our pain, I think, so I’m going to present you with our vision of how we got here and where we’re at and where we’re going or not going.” Nobody’s off the hook in the doc when it comes to responsibility for Trump’s election. It opens with a montage of politicians and media types who never took Trump seriously. Footage of liberals and their pre-election smugness that Americans could never elect “The Apprentice” reality star as president is hilarious and painful to watch replayed. Moore’s documentary most controversial parts compare the forces that helped get Trump elected to the ways Adolf Hitler attained power in 1930’s German. And meriting a documentary alone, Moore returns to his hometown of Flint, Michigan to report on the scandals and horrors of the water crisis and cover up by Governor Rick Snyder. The toxic water resulted in thousands of people, primarily poor black children, suffering from irreversible lead poisoning damage and even death from Legionnaires disease. Doing the 25-minute Q&A following the screening, Moore reminded the audience there was only 54 days before the midterm elections. “I wake up every morning with the knowledge and the belief that we’re going to lose on November 6. If you don’t believe that, if you don’t embrace that truth, you are going to help us lose.” “I think the thing with Woodward’s book and all the other stuff where we talk about Trump, and try to just kind of (write him off), that he’s just an idiot, he’s crazy… all these names we attached to him, like he said, he’s president and you’re not. He’s so dumb he figured out how to win the White House by losing. How do you do that? That’s like, Wow!!!” Moore tells liberals to stop whining and act. “We have to start believing in ourselves in this,” he said, noting that the majority of Americans take the liberal position on every single issue. “That’s us, that’s our country. Who ever thought of Texas as not being a white state before coming in here tonight? You need to look at America because it’s you. We won six of the last presidential elections with the popular vote.… You don’t need to convince a single Trump voter. Who you need to convince are the members of the largest political party in the United States, the non-voters. Every poll and resource that has been done has shown that the one hundred million non-voters, if they did vote, would vote for the Democrat.” Moore said he hopes the movie galvanizes liberals to do some work, to convince non voters to vote for progressive politicians. “Make a long lunch out of it. Bring beer. That’s all it takes.” At the after party at Tavern on the Green, Moore gave a shout out to legendary documentary film makers Barbara Kopple, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. During a 14-minute impromptu speech, he recounted how a two-hour conversation with Steve Bannon “changed the course of the film.” Moore said he asked Bannon after the election, “How did you pull this off?’” Bannon said, “Oh, it’s a very easy answer. Our side, we go for the head wounds. Your side went for the pillow fights. And while you’re pillow fighting, we’re going for the head wounds.” Moore said the conversation “egged us on.” The message is clear. As Moore said earlier in the evening, “It takes a Donald Trump and a rotten system that caters to Trump to realize that now, right now, our time is out. We need to act immediately.”
  5. A 13-year-old boy brought balloons full of cocaine to his school Friday, resulting in medical exams for a group of his schoolmates, police said. Fortunately, all of the children tested negative, FOX 26 of Fresno reported. The students at Carl F. Smith Middle School in Terra Bella, about 43 milles north of Bakersfield, discovered two balloons in the playground, the Visalia Times Delta reported, citing law enforcement. Twitter Ads info and privacy School officials assumed the white powdery substance inside the balloons was flour, but as a precaution called authorities around 8:30 a.m., Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Kemmerling said. “The deflated balloons, similar to drug bindle packaging, had a white powdery substance inside and outside the packaging,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Narcotics officers determined the substance was cocaine. Authorities found traces of the drug on the boy’s shirt and in his home after a K9 search, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. No additional cocaine was found at the school, the Sheriff’s Office said. “The reasons (the students) contacted school staff is they were messing with the balloons and they pulled open the balloons and saw white powdery substance and two students became very dizzy,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said. In all, 13 kids were exposed to the drug, and transported to a hospital 9 miles away, officials said. Classes resumed after investigators gave an all-clear. Meanwhile, ivestigators were questioning the boy. Upon hearing the news, parents flocked to the school to ensure their children’s safety, the Times Delta reported. Some heard the news through social media, while others did not know until they picked up their kids. “I’m very concerned for my daughter’s safety at school after today,” said one paper cited by the Times Delta. “The school should give more attention to the kids. This is scary.” Authorities are continuing to investigate.
  6. DETROIT - A Detroit police dog died after a patrol car's heat-alarm system failed. Commander Darin Szilagy tells the Detroit Free Press that the officer should have been checking on Vito, a German shepherd, every 30 minutes, "no matter what." The officer has been assigned to other duties and is awaiting possible discipline. Szilagy says the officer had rigorously trained with the dog and has been "distraught" over the death. He had left Vito unattended while picking up another vehicle, according to the Associated Press. The Detroit Police Department could not be reached for further comment.
  7. An Ohio teen who vanished more than a year ago after witnessing his father's murder was found alive, police said. Jacob Caldwell, 15, was found around 11:30 p.m. Monday in the basement of a home 40 miles away in Miami Township, WKEF reported. Authorities located the teen after they received an anonymous tip that led them to Jacob, who was living in the home with four adults who were not related to him. Billboards were posted of Jacob last week in a renewed effort to find the teen. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) Jacob was reported missing on Aug. 21, 2017, six days after he and his two siblings watched as his father, Robert Caldwell, was gunned down outside an office building. The teenager was last seen on surveillance video waiting outside a Walmart, WHIOreported. Police were worried about the then-14-year-old’s safety and were unsure if he was being held against his will. They also believed he was in Ohio or Kentucky. New billboards were put up last week in the search for Caldwell, which led to Monday’s tip. On Tuesday, authorities said it didn’t appear that Jacob was “secured or locked in” the basement, where he appeared to be sleeping. The FBI put out a reward for anyone leading to Jacob. (FBI) “It was our understanding that he was not outside much. He’s gone a year without school. He’s gone a year without socializing with friends,” Sugarcreek Township Police Chief Michael Brown said. “There was no evidence of him being secured or locked in. I think he could have roamed throughout the house, if he wished.” Caldwell was taken to Greene County Juvenile Detention Center in Beavercreek, where he’s being held on an unruly charge stemming from a previous unrelated runaway incident, according to Brown. Authorities will also be pursuing charges against the adults who possibly helped Caldwell go missing. Six people, including Caldwell’s ex-wife Tawnney Caldwell, were indicted in March on Robert Caldwell’s death, WKEF reported.
  8. Some 13.5 percent of the U.S. population -- 44 million -- is foreign born, the highest level ever, and many are not proficient in English, choosing to speak Spanish at home instead. A report from the Migration Policy Institute found that 22 percent of the U.S. population does not speak English at home. The share was highest in Nevada at 31 percent and Florida at 29 percent. The report revealed a new trend in migration to the U.S where immigrants are dispersed throughout the nation instead of clustering in a few states and cities. For example, while the number of immigrants in the last eight years increased 9 percent, the foreign born population surged 15 percent or more in 15 states. The report said those states are: North Dakota, West Virginia, South Dakota, Delaware, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Indiana, Florida, Nevada, Washington, Iowa, and Maryland. “Approximately nine million immigrants, or one in every five, reside in these 15 states.” said the report. Mexicans and Cubans dominated the influx, followed by those from India and China. Legal immigrants with green cards in the top 15 states were slightly outnumbered by illegal alien. From the report: More than 1.6 million foreign nationals in the top 15 states obtained lawful permanent residence (LPR status, also known as getting a green card) between fiscal year (FY) 2010 and 2016. They accounted for 22 percent of the 7.4 million immigrants who received green cards during the same period nationwide. The 15 states were home to about 1.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the 2010-14 period, or about 15 percent of the 11 million unauthorized population in the United States.
  9. During an address at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Tampa, Florida this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that people who suffer from chronic pain should simply “take an aspirin and tough it out.” Sessions, whose opposition to medical marijuana is well known, attempted to tackle the subject of opioid addiction in the U.S., saying pharmaceutical companies are prescribing “too many opioids” — a sentiment that people from across the political spectrum would agree with. But Sessions’ next statement demonstrated a profound misunderstanding and oversimplification of chronic pain sufferers. “People need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out,” he said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “You can get through these things.” Speaking to Tampa Bay Times, Academy of Integrative Pain Management executive director Bob Twillman said that Sessions’ comments prove that the Trump administration knows nothing about the subject of chronic pain. “That remark reflects a failure to recognize the severity of pain of some patients,” Twillman said. “It’s an unconscionable remark. It further illustrates how out of touch parts of the administration are with opioids and pain management.” In a speech at the Heritage Foundation this week, Sessions blamed the opioid crisis partly on marijuana in a rehash of the old ‘pot is a gateway drug’ theory. “The DEA said that a huge percentage of the heroin addiction starts with prescriptions. That may be an exaggerated number; they had it as high as 80 percent,” Sessions said. “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs too.”While people’s first illicit drug is often marijuana, researchers have cautioned that there’s no solid evidence that marijuana use causes harder drug use. It’s possible, instead, that people use pot before other drugs simply because marijuana is more accessible than other illegal substances; after all, many people’s first drugs are alcohol or tobacco, which are both legal (for adults) and relatively easy to get, and we don’t assume that will lead to heroin use.
  10. Here is the law: 316.305 Wireless communications devices; prohibition.— (1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” (2) It is the intent of the Legislature to: (a) Improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users. (b) Prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle. (c) Reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates related to motor vehicle crashes. (d) Authorize law enforcement officers to stop motor vehicles and issue citations as a secondary offense to persons who are texting while driving. (3)(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term “wireless communications device” means any handheld device used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service as defined in s. 812.15 and that allows text communications. For the purposes of this paragraph, a motor vehicle that is stationary is not being operated and is not subject to the prohibition in this paragraph. (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a motor vehicle operator who is: 1. Performing official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in s.322.01, a law enforcement or fire service professional, or an emergency medical services professional. 2. Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. 3. Receiving messages that are: a. Related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle; b. Safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; c. Data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or d. Radio broadcasts. 4. Using a device or system for navigation purposes. 5. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function. 6. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function. 7. Operating an autonomous vehicle, as defined in s. 316.003, in autonomous mode. (c) Only in the event of a crash resulting in death or personal injury, a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device or the testimony of or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a violation of paragraph (a) has been committed. (4)(a) Any person who violates paragraph (3)(a) commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318. (b) Any person who commits a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (3)(a) within 5 years after the date of a prior conviction for a violation of paragraph (3)(a) commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318. (5) Enforcement of this section by state or local law enforcement agencies must be accomplished only as a secondary action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of another provision of this chapter, chapter 320, or chapter 322. History.—s. 1, ch. 2013-58; s. 53, ch. 2014-17.
  11. We order out a lot and don't cook as much anymore. So how much money are you throwing away each time you do it? "Forbes" magazine looked into it. And the answer is about FIVE TIMES what it costs to make the same thing at home. They looked at over 80 different dinner recipes, and compared what they cost at the average restaurant to what they cost if you make them from scratch. And they found the average dinner from a restaurant is $20.37, including a $5 delivery fee . . . compared to $4.31 if you make the same thing at home. So a $16 difference. That means if you order delivery three times a week, it costs you about $48 . . . or roughly $200 a month. And that's just for one person. Some of the meals with the biggest markups include spaghetti with meat sauce, $21 compared to $3 at home . . . pork chops, $25 compared to $3 . . . and chicken wings, $20 compared to about $2 per person if you make them from scratch. They also looked at how much more it costs to use a meal kit service, like Blue Apron. And it's about THREE TIMES more expensive per meal than if you just bought the ingredients and made it yourself.
  12. JUSTIN BIEBER posted a sexy picture of himself making out with his fiancée HAILEY BALDWIN in a hot tub . . . but something about it didn't quite sit right with JOHN MAYER. Because he commented, quote, "Interesting dynamic with the photographer in the hot tub. That's gotta feel super third wheel." He added, quote, "I see a lot of myself in this hot tub photographer. Imagine being in a hot tub on business."
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