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Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel gets job reviewing red light camera footage


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A former South Florida sheriff who was removed from office by the governor because of his agency’s response to the Parkland school shooting that left 17 people dead has found a new job reviewing the footage of red light cameras.

Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was hired this month by the Davie Police Department as a traffic infraction enforcement officer, the Sun Sentinel reported. He’ll make $65,000 a year, the same as his retiring predecessor, Davie Police Chief Stephen Kinsey said.

The full-time job involves Israel reviewing the city’s five red light cameras and appearing in court if anyone challenges a ticket. The job was posted for two days in early May. Three people applied, and only Israel was interviewed.

According to the Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 6,570 tickets were issued through Davie’s red light camera program from July 2019 to June 2020, the last fiscal year.

Kinsey and Israel previously worked together at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, and Israel chose Kinsey to be his undersheriff when he was elected sheriff in Broward County in 2012.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Israel from office in 2019, nearly a year after the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. DeSantis appointed Gregory Tony to take over the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Tony beat Israel in the Democratic primary for the position last August and went on to win the general election.

Nikolas Cruz, 22, faces the death penalty if convicted of the Stoneman Douglas killings. His lawyers say he would plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors have rejected that.

Coast guard reopens waterways underneath closed I-40 bridge in Memphis


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WKRN) – The United States Coast Guard reopened the waterway underneath the I-40 bridge that’s been shut down in Memphis.

The Hernando DeSoto bridge is closed after crews found it had a major crack in the structure.

There were 62 vessels and more than 1,000 barges in queue Friday morning, all waiting for the waterway to be back open.

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TDOT’s Chief Engineer Paul Degges told News 2 they had to do a lot of analysis to see the bridge’s structural stability.

Part of that analysis came after building a computer model of the bridge and taking more steps to ensure its safety before taking that information to the Coast Guard, which controls traffic on the Mississippi River.

“We didn’t have the mathematic and the engineering behind it to where our analysis showed for sure that the bridge was stable in its current condition. We had to actually build a computer model, run the analysis of it and verify the model was correct, and then we had to start taking pieces of the model away where we had the fractured steel,” said Degges. “A fractured beam like we’ve seen here is not very common but it does happen from time to time and this just happened to be the largest bridge in the state of Tennessee.”

He said the bridge was built in the 1960s and early 70s, so there were no computer models when the crack was discovered.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with experts across the country, and I think what we have found is we don’t know if we’ll ever know what the cause was,” said Degges. “It’s likely due to something in the manufacturing of the bridge back in the 1960s when these bridge components were fabricated and welded together.”

TDOT: It’s unclear when I-40 bridge will reopen

He credited the biannual inspection of the bridge for alerting engineers to the crack.

“What happened on this bridge is a success of the National Bridge Inspection Program. Nobody’s been hurt. There’s been some inconvenience, but the system worked,” said Degges. “There was a bridge inspection being done; a problem was identified, so we closed the bridge to traffic before anybody was hurt.”

He said that’s the same process for every publicly owned bridge in the United States. There are currently 8,420 On-System bridges in Tennessee that are maintained, owned and operated by the state. They include bridges on or over the interstate highway system and the state route highway system. More than 270 of them are considered to be in “poor condition”, but some remain open.

“Even though we have some bridges that are poor in Tennessee, generally they’re old and just because something is old doesn’t mean you throw it away,” Degges said. “We do rehab projects and they still have remaining service life in them.”

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He said as some bridges get older, they’ll be inspected on an annual or even semi-annual cycle.

“Typically when you inspect a bridge on those kinds of frequencies, you’re heading towards a closure,” Degges explained.

Degges said in funding was not an issue in Tennessee for the safety of the state’s bridges. TDOT owns about 9,000 of the 20,000 bridges in the state and inspects all of them.

“The public safety is not at risk. We’re going to close a bridge before it becomes a public safety issue,” said Degges. “From a TDOT perspective, we make sure we put money towards making sure our bridges are and the fracture of this steel is not an issue with bridge maintenance.”

Gov. Lee wants federal investments in infrastructure, won’t commit to using pre-approved funds to fix ‘structurally deficient’ bridges

He said the issue for Tennessee’s infrastructure is congestion.

“If we start getting a lot of congestion in a location, those are the types of projects that want for money, and that’s a public policy issue,” Degges said. “Certainly, maintaining our assets is a top priority and we do that with the resources available to us, but adding new capacity to the transportation system, that’s the issue that brings about the conversation of additional revenue.”

Fox Theater’s box office back open


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Fox Theater’s box office is back open with new hours after being shut down for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fox Theater announced on Thursday that they will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. People can stop by and purchase limited-edition Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater merchandise.

For questions, call the box office at 661-324-1369 or email them at info@thebakersfieldfox.com.

The box office is located on the corner of 20th and H streets.

Investigation: BGSU fraternity members knew of alcohol dangers before hazing death


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Fraternity members in Ohio who organized an alleged hazing ritual that led to the alcohol poisoning death of a 20-year-old pledge in March were well aware of how dangerous it could be, said an investigation released Friday.

Before the party, organizers set out trash cans for vomiting, told the pledges to let professors know they likely would not be in class the next day and arranged for designated drivers and members to watch over them when they became intoxicated, the report said.

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“It demonstrates that active members were aware and cognizant of the danger posed by the event, and that new members would need to be monitored for safety reasons,” according to the findings from a law firm hired by Bowling Green State University.

Stone Foltz, who was joining the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Bowling Green, was found unconscious by a roommate after the party and died three days later.

The university said Friday it has accused 21 students of breaking student conduct rules that include hazing, bringing harm to others and disregarding health and safety.

Eight current or former members of the fraternity were indicted in April on criminal charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to hazing. Foltz’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week against the fraternity and several of its members.

Foltz died after drinking an entire bottle of bourbon — one witness said in about 20 minutes — and could not walk on his own afterward, according to the law firm’s investigation. Most of the other pledges also finished an entire bottle on their own, it said.

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The report found no evidence that the pledges were required to drink the entire bottle. But it said there was a tradition of new members finishing or attempting to finish a bottle and Foltz was under the impression he needed to do so as part of the pledge process.

Foltz, a business major from Delaware, Ohio, was dropped off afterward at his apartment by two fraternity members and another pledge.

His roommate came home and found him facedown on a couch and still breathing, but he soon stopped breathing and his face and ears turned purple and blue, his family’s lawsuit said.

He was taken to a hospital, put on life support and died after his family arranged for his organs to be donated.

Suspect accused of shooting, killing 73-year-old veteran at Maple Heights laundromat pleads guilty


** Watch previously aired coverage of the Maple Heights killing in the video above **

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The suspect accused of shooting and killing a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran in a Maple Heights laundromat in 2019 pleaded guilty in court Thursday.

Carl Sanders, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of murder, two counts of felonious assault, one count of having weapons under disability, and one count of receiving stolen property, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

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On December 2, 2019, the victim, David Brown, was working at a laundromat located near Broadway Avenue and Lee Road when Sanders arrived at the laundromat early in the morning with his girlfriend and girlfriend’s cousin to do laundry, according to a press release.

Police say when he arrived, Sanders fired several shots at his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s cousin. As he approached the laundromat, a verbal altercation ensued between Sanders and Brown. Sanders then fired several additional shots at Brown, then left the scene.

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Brown was pronounced deceased at the scene, police say.

Sanders is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10 at 11 a.m.

Ohio to change mask orders after new CDC guidance


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Friday that Ohio is revising its coronavirus health orders, including rules about masks, to be in compliance with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Ohio will be amending our remaining health orders to comply with the new CDC guidance, which says that those who have been vaccinated no longer need to wear masks, while those who have not been vaccinated should still wear a mask and socially distance,” DeWine said in a press release.

Cleveland police seeking help to find vehicle used in Gina DeJesus carjacking

This decision came after the CDC on Thursday eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The CDC’s guidance still recommends everyone wear masks when they are in a healthcare setting, traveling on public transportation, and when they are in a business that chooses to require masks.

DeWine says Ohio’s order will be amended to reflect those recommendations as well.

According to the Governor’s Office, the amended health orders go into effect on June 2.

“The June 2nd date I announced for the removal of health orders provided time for those who had not yet gotten their vaccine to get it. While our order will be amended to reflect the new CDC guidance, it will remain in place until June 2nd,” said DeWine.

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DeWine also encourages Ohioans to continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and reminds citizens that those who are not eligible to be vaccinated, including those younger than 12 years of age, should continue to wear masks per CDC recommendations.

Additionally, the governor reiterates that businesses have every right to continue to use masks and to require them for employees and customers.

“Regardless of the new CDC guidance, this fact remains clear: The most powerful thing anyone can do to end this pandemic is to get vaccinated,” added DeWine.

House to vote soon on bills to protect Capitol after Jan. 6


WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is expected to vote soon on legislation aimed at preventing more attacks on the U.S. Capitol. One bill would form a bipartisan commission to study what went wrong on Jan. 6. A second would spend $1.9 billion for broad new security improvements to the Capitol complex. Lawmakers unveiled their plan to form the commission Friday after weeks of delicate negotiations.  Modeled after the revered investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, their bill would establish an independent 10-member commission to investigate the insurrection with subpoena power.  Both bills are expected to pass the House, but passage in the Senate is uncertain.

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Flames engulf cargo ship’s remains off US coast; no injuries


SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A fire is burning inside the remains of an overturned cargo ship being dismantled along the Georgia coast. Sue Inman of the Altamaha Riverkeeper conservation group told The Associated Press she could see flames shooting from the open ends and the top of the Golden Ray on Friday afternoon as she watched from 300 yards away. She said hoses from a crane being used to dismantle the ship could be seen spraying water on the fire. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes says there have been no injuries and all demolition crew members were safely evacuated. Himes says the fire began Friday afternoon as workers were using cutting torches during their ongoing efforts to dismantle the ship. 

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An Oscar winner, more ‘Law & Order’ for NBC next season


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Renée Zellweger is coming to network TV next season in a dramatization of a murder case recounted by “Dateline NBC.” The two-time Oscar winner’s role in NBC’s “The Thing About Pam” is a sign of how broadcast networks are banking on eye-catching names and familiar stories to draw viewers in an increasingly crowded TV universe. The network announced its slate of new and returning series for the 2021-22 season Friday. It said that the “Dateline NBC” story about a wrongful conviction was one of the true-crime series most popular sagas. “This Is Us” will air in midseason so the family drama can complete its run uninterrupted by holiday or other breaks.

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Federal murder charges in 11 Oklahoma cases due to McGirt


MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — Eleven men whose murder convictions in Oklahoma were overturned because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on state jurisdiction in tribal territories have been charged with federal murder counts. The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that a federal grand jury issued indictments in the cases that had been either reversed by a state appeals court or dismissed by state prosecutors. Those charged include Devin Sizemore, whose conviction and life sentence for the drowning death of his 21-month-old daughter was overturned in April. The McGirt decision in July 2020 found that Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction for crimes committed on tribal reservations in which the defendants or victims were tribal citizens.

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