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Gray wolves return to California after 91-year-absence

A pair of adult gray wolves and their five pups have made their home in Northern California, the state’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife announced this week.

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U.S. wildlife officials successfully re-introduced wolves to Wyoming and Idaho 20 years ago, and by 1999 wolves had made their way to Oregon, as well. 

Environmentalists say wolves keep the ecosystem healthier by killing sick and weak animals and keeping deer and other prey populations under control.

The wolves were spotted earlier this month, on Aug. 9, and are being called the Shasta Pack because they were spotted by surveillance cameras in a forested region near Mount Shasta. Officials knew where to put the cameras after an adult wolf was spotted in the spring.

The pups seen this month are about 4 months old and about 40 pounds, officials said.

California has been waiting for the gray wolves, which the state has listed as an endangered species since June of last year. Because they are protected, it’s illegal to hunt, harm or interact with the wolves.

Not everyone is expected to celebrate the re-emergence of the wolves. Livestock ranchers and hunters may become increasingly concerned as the wolf population grows — but, for now, officials say, it’s enough to celebrate their return.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:40:06 -0400

SC high school says uneven funding affects athletics programs

One local school said its athletics program is being left out while others in the district are getting the money they need.

Stadiums were packed for Friday night football, but supporters of South Pointe High School said when it comes to athletics, their school as a long-time disadvantage.

School board members showed a little athleticism Friday by hiking around three high schools for more than five hours.

They boarded a bus for Rock Hill, Northwestern and South Pointe high schools to address concerns raised over sports inequity.

"At all three schools, there are areas that we need to work on,” Rock Hill superintendent Kelly Pew said.

"We think, at South Pointe, we have done more with less,” said Dan Ballou, a South Pointe parent who serves on an equity committee.

With only 1,300 students, South Pointe has barely two thirds the students of the other two schools, which affects fundraising, booster clubs, sports ticket sales and more.

Ballou and others would like to see students rezoned to even that out.

'Not making the sometimes politically difficult decisions to re-zone students, comes at a cost,” he said.

South Pointe is also decades newer than Rock Hill and Northwestern, and doesn't enjoy the legacy of those campuses.

That's why the tour went beyond just eyeballing gyms, baseball diamonds and football stadiums, but also locker rooms, storage areas, and even blueprints.

Board members want to see how each school measures up to the other, and that could mean additional funding in some areas.

One told Channel 9 that it's critical to hear the concerns from South Pointe.

The information from Friday’s tour will go before a committee made up of people from all three high schools. The school board could vote to put money toward evening out any imbalances.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:19:02 -0400

Note left near body found in Gaston Inn, officials say

Detectives are trying to piece together what happened inside a Gastonia motel room where a body was found.

A crew working for the Gaston Inn made the discovery Friday afternoon.

They went inside to switch televisions and found a man slumped over a trash can.

They noticed a huge gash on the back of his head, and when they lifted him they found a note.

It said "Knife, self-defense."

Police have not released the victim's name.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:14:31 -0400

Trees on private properties can cause concerns for roadways

Powerful storms have created a busy week for city work crews.

They’ve received nearly 50 calls about fallen trees and tree limbs in public roadways. One big obstacle is that city workers aren’t responsible for maintaining some of the trees.

One tree sits on private property, but part of it hangs over a public road.

Charlotte's interim city arborist oversees the care of 180,000 trees.

“We have an inventory we manage. We have pruning and tree removal as needed,” interim arborist Tim Porter said.

Trees on private property close to local roadways aren't inspected in that same way.

“We don't target private property trees,” Porter said. “We try to observe and determine things from the city right-of-way. It's a work load issue, a staff issue.”

Decaying trees close to the roadway can cause major problems. In February, a tree that was rotten on the inside fell on top of a woman's car as she drove through the Elizabeth area.

On Thursday, a decaying tree on Seventh Street fell down.

Part of it hit a preschool, and some of it fell into the roadway.

The tree is on private property, but because the tree was in such bad condition, city workers were able to step in and cut some of the branches still hanging over the roadway.

“When there is a significant enough concern with a private tree, we can make things safe for citizens. And that's what we did,” Porter said.

Leaders said if anyone believes a tree on private property is in danger of falling into the road, they should first notify the owner of the tree. 

Residents can also call 311 to make the city aware of the situation.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:08:22 -0400

Atheist group demands Georgia universities get rid of sports chaplains

An atheist group is targeting two Georgia schools with demands they abolish the position of sports chaplain.

The group wants UGA and Georgia Tech to replace the chaplains with "character coaches."

The group Freedom from Religion thinks chaplains promote Christianity over other faiths and use their positions to try and get converts.

Students Channel 2’s Richard Elliot spoke to at Georgia Tech say they don't mind chaplains, but think sports programs ought to consider different religions, too.

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“I think if the coaching has involved God or said a prayer before hand then I don't see a problem incorporating chaplains in,” said grad student Lindsey Larson.

Larson says she doesn't think having a chaplain say a prayer before a football game is a bad thing; though, she says all beliefs should be considered.

“If a lot of the team is like maybe agnostic or atheist then maybe you'd want to get their consent first before you do that,” said another student.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says it doesn't like sports chaplains at all, calling them unconstitutional.

In a statement, the group told Tech that it “fails to properly protect your student athletes' rights of conscience and pose a high degree of risk of discrimination.”

Tech says it doesn't employee chaplains. The non-profit athletic association does.

“No funds from either the state of Georgia or Georgia Tech are used to compensate the consultant.  The athletic association is pleased with the services and support provided by its consultants,” the school said in a statement.

In a letter to UGA, it demands the school abolish the sports chaplain program even though technically, they are not school employees.

“Even if Fellowship of Christian Athletes or other private funds are primarily paying (the chaplains), that doesn't mitigate the unseemly entanglement. The university is granting (the chaplains) unique access and influence lending endorsement to his proselytizing.”

In a statement, the Georgia Baptist Convention condemned the letters saying, “Chaplains have always played an important role providing support, encouragement and guidance in all facets of life.”

At UGA, one student told Elliot she doesn’t think they are a bad thing.

“A lot of good morality comes from Christianity, regardless of whatever you believe in, God or the Bible or anything. It's really a community and it’s supportive,” said Shelly Crochet, a law student at UGA.

Another student, Rand Pope, thinks chaplains do advocate Christianity, but still doesn't think the school should stop the program.

“I think, in a sense, to the team, it does promote Christianity. Do I think it’s an issue? Maybe not unless people are being offended and bothered by it,” Pope said.

Elliot reached out to the local chapter of Freedom from Religion but they didn't return his phone calls.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:23:21 -0400

Police: Florida camp counselor licks girl's forehead, faces felony charge

A former camp counselor in Florida faces felony charges after admitting to licking a 9-year-old girl’s forehead, the Sun Sentinel reports.

According to investigators, the girl said John Telucien, 27, “licked her on her forehead and then said that she tasted sweet and sweaty.” 

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Telucien was initially arrested in July 2014 and charged with one misdemeanor count of battery, and was out on bond. But in court Thursday, his case was refiled as a felony and he was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison. An arrest warrant has been issued for his arrest, according to the Sentinel.

Police said that Telucien used a cellphone app called “Kik” to send messages to the young girl. When the girl’s family found out, they used the app to ask Telucien his age, and he then deleted the app from his phone.

When questioned by detectives, Telucien admitted that he used the app to talk to the girl, her 10-year-old sister, and two other 11-year old girls who all went to a summer camp where Telucien supervised 120 children, the Sentinel reports. 

"He then stated he thought the girls were cute and if society accepted it then he would most likely like young girls… Telucien then stated he licked [the younger sister] on the forehead gave her a hug, and told her that he loved her,” the arrest report states.

An arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 2, and prosecutors say Telucien’s case remains open.

Read more at sun-sentinel.com 

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:54:19 -0400

Church severely damaged by arson to hold fundraiser

Investigators have not made any arrests in an arson fire at the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church nearly two months ago.
 
The Charlotte church, still charred, is getting a lot of community help.
 
The June 24 fire was personal for Colin Pinkney.

PAST COVERAGE: ATF adds $2,500 to reward in Charlotte church arson
 
“To see that they were suffering that way, it really impacted me deeply, personally,” Pinkney said.
 
The arson was reported soon after a gunman killed nine people at a Charleston church.
 
Briar Creek Road Baptist Church organizers will hold a fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Harvest Center in north Charlotte.
 
The funds raised will help the church rebuild. 
 
Rebuild the Churches Fund in St. Louis raised money online to help out several churches, including $84,000 for Briar Creek. 
 
Samaritans Purse volunteers have already spent nearly $15,000 on cleanup and plan to spend almost $50,000 more.
 
The Harvest Center is also asking people to bring children's books to send to Charleston.

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Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:14:22 -0400

WSOC-TV anchor Blair Miller moving to CMG Boston station

WSOC-TV Channel 9’s Blair Miller has accepted a job at the Cox station WFXT FOX25 in Boston, Massachusetts. Miller will be the weekend evening anchor and a reporter as well. WSOC-TV and WFXT FOX25 are both owned by Cox Media Group.

“We are glad to have Blair expand his role in our company and provide strong investigative reports to the viewers in the Boston area,” said WSOC Television, Inc. Vice President and General Manager, Joe Pomilla.

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Miller joined the Eyewitness News team in June of 2002. He was named main anchor of the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts in 2010.

“Blair is a true newsroom leader.” said WSOC-TV News Director, Julie Szulczewski. “He will bring his passion and knowledge to Boston.”

Miller was instrumental in WSOC-TV’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers play-off coverage, and numerous exclusive interviews. He has received many honors for his reporting and anchoring including two Emmy awards in 2014 and 2015. Miller was also named 2013 Anchor of the Year by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.

FOLLOW BLAIR ON TWITTER

“Blair is a terrific journalist with a strong commitment to the community where he lives and works,” said WFXT Vice President and General Manager, Tom Raponi. “He has a keen ability to connect with the people in his stories and with the viewers.”

Miller currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Ryan Newman Foundation’s Rescue Ranch in Statesville, NC which strives to improve the lives of animals and educate the public.

Miller’s last day on-air at WSOC-TV is September 4th. He begins in Boston mid-September.

About Cox Media Group Cox Media Group is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of CoxReps. Additionally, CMG owns Cox Target Media, which operates Valpak, one of North America’s leading direct marketing companies, and Savings.com, a leading online source for savings. The company’s operations currently include 14 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 59 radio stations, seven daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. CMG currently operates in more than 20 media markets and reaches approximately 52 million Americans weekly, including more than 31 million TV viewers, more than 3.5 million print and online newspaper readers, and more than 14 million radio listeners. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:40:19 -0400

Watch: Top of truck sheared off by bridge

A notorious bridge in Westwood claimed another over-height truck.
    
SkyFox was over the scene of the East Street bridge Thursday, where the top of a truck was sheared off and debris could be seen everywhere. 

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Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Police say no one was hurt, but it caused major traffic tie-ups.

The bridge has been the site of many similar crashes.
    
The Westwood Police Department has said in the past they field at least one call a month from the site.
    
Two years ago, police set up surveillance cameras because of the all the accidents. The surveillance video was released Friday.  

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:08:28 -0400

This mall staple will soon deliver right to your home

Cinnabon will soon be delivered hot right to your door and you won't have to leave the house.   Parent company Focus Brands just announced it will start delivering its famous cinnamon rolls to homes in 34 cities next week.  >> Read more trending stories  

The company is partnering with delivery service Postmates and promises deliveries in under an hour. There's no minimum purchase required. Delivery fees begin at $5 and go up depending on how far the driver has to travel and whether the demand outpaces the number of drivers available.

Delivery seems to be where fast-food and fast-casual chains think the industry is going. CNN compiled a list of brands currently testing delivery services, and there are some heavy hitters in there, including Taco Bell, Chipotle, McDonald's, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.

Besides Cinnabon, Focus Brands is making delivery available for Moe's Southwest Grill, McAllister's Deli and Carvel ice cream. 

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:01:18 -0400

Dog with rare skill used to uncover key evidence in Jared Fogle case

A dog trained to sniff out electronics helped find a piece of key evidence in the Jared Fogle child pornography investigation, according to prosecutors.

The Labrador retriever named Bear has been trained to find electronic media storage devices, such as SD cards and thumb drives, according to WRTV.

>> Read more trending stories  

Bear is one of only three dogs in the U.S. trained to discover such items, according to CBS 4.

In July, federal investigators conducted a search of the former Subway spokesman’s Indiana home. On Wednesday, officials provided a list of the items examined from the Fogle residence, which included dozens of phones and memory storage devices, along with several tablets, laptops and hard drives.

Prosecutors said Bear discovered a hidden flash drive at the residence which proved to be key to the investigation.

It was also announced Wednesday that Fogle will plead guilty to child pornography charges and will spend, at minimum, several years in prison in addition to having to seek treatment and pay restitution to his victims.

The dog and his handler have assisted the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force in five investigations. Bear is headed next to Seattle to work for the city’s police department.

http://twitter.com/dodo/status/634712589377908737

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:01:09 -0400

Newborn miniature horse is the tiniest little thing you’ll ever see gallop

There are animals that are tall and animals that are small; and this miniature horse is the tiniest horse of them all!

Watch its little legs go as the three-day-old miniature horse chases a man around in circles.

The woman shooting the video says, "That is amazing. I have never seen anything like that."

Our sentiments exactly!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8svprEgK4s

Read more at Rare.us.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:16:05 -0400

Man's body found on Highway 74, Kings Mountain police say

Kings Mountain police shut down a ramp on Highway 74 while they investigated a death.

A driver noticed a man’s body lying near the foot of Oak Grove Road Ramp Friday morning. 

Officials said the man may have been hit by a car. 

Police said residents should report any unexplained front-end damage to a car.

https://twitter.com/kenlemonWSOC9/status/634718606899736577

Check back for more details on this developing story.

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Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:37:42 -0400

Maggie Daniels' garden dedicated at Discovery High School

Former students and local businesses in Newton came together to honor a beloved high school counselor Friday. 

Maggie Daniels was found murdered inside her apartment last summer. 

SPECIAL SECTION: Maggie Daniels' Homicide Investigation

Earlier this year, the community began working to honor Daniels with Maggie’s garden outside Discovery High School. 

It includes a large mosaic and a pair of her shoes that are now gold plated.

"It is what she deserves. She deserves so much more than this and so much more than I can ever give her. But I just wanted to do the best that I could to honor her," former student Destinee Carpenter said.

Police charged Sharman Odom with first degree murder in the case.  

Odom lived in the same apartment complex as Daniels. 

He is scheduled to go to court next month.

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Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:22:38 -0400

Oldest message in a bottle found

In 1906 British researcher George Bidder launched hundreds of bottles into the North Sea.

More than a century later, Marianne Winkler found one of them as she walked along the beach in Germany. One glance at the bottle brought several questions to Winkler’s mind. “Where does it come from, who wrote it, and how long has it been traveling on the winds, waves and currents,” she asked?

The Telegraph writes the bottles were “specially designed to float just above the sea floor," and were “Used to prove, among other things, that the deep-sea current in the North Sea flowed east to west.”

>> Read more trending stories  

Bidder successfully did that, and had no idea he would also create an adventure for Winkler and her husband over a century later.

Inside the bottle was a request to send the contents to the Marine Biological Association in return for a shilling. That’s exactly what happened. “We found an old shilling. I think we got it on eBay,” MBA communications director Guy Baker told German newspaper Amrum. “We sent it to her with a letter saying ‘Thank you’.”

More here.   

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:14:14 -0400

CMS may cut driver's ed classes with no state budget

Students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools may not have driver's education classes this school year.
 
The company contracted by the district, Jordan Driving School, said it has been directed to stop all classes starting Sept. 1 if a state budget isn't passed.

 In the past students or parents paid $55 for classroom instruction and CMS footed the remaining $192 for behind the wheel training.

CMS released a statement Thursday that said its driving school will stop enrolling new students after Aug. 31.

It said it won't take new students until "a final state budget is approved and details of any changes in the statutory requirement for school districts to provide driver education services are shared."

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Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:39:01 -0400

Young girls hailed as heroes for thwarting abduction attempt

Two young girls are being hailed for their courage after police said they stopped an attempted abduction in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Eleven-year-old Kristen Winslow said she was playing in her backyard pool with her friend Cienna Lukegord when she looked up to see Cienna's 6-year-old sister being dragged from the yard by a man.

"I saw him pulling him Lilly...it was scary," Kristen said to MyFoxBoston.com.

Kristen and Cienna ran to help, hopping a fence surrounding the backyard and chasing the man down the street, before confronting him and grabbing Cienna's sisters' arms.

Kristen said she was scared, but knew she had to help.

"It was my best friend's sister. What if she got taken?" Kristen said.

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Kristen's mother said she was inside the house when the girls began screaming for help.

"They said, 'Oh my god Mom, there’s this guy taking Lilly!' So we just ran out in the front," Christel Dawson said.

Dawson said the man, who police later identified as Timothy Wallingford, was acting erratic and appeared to be on drugs. Dawson, still holding her 3-month-old son, followed Wallingford as he tried to run down the street, and called police.

"My intentions were just to get this guy off the street, and I didn’t know what he was up to, ya know?" Dawson said.

Police arrested Wallingford and he was arraigned and held on a $100,000 bond. Dawson said she is proud of her daughter for her courage against a man nearly twice her size.

"I would have been intimidated by him, so I’m very very proud of my daughter. She did the right thing, because you don’t know where it could have led, ya know?" Dawson said.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 08:45:55 -0400

PHOTOS: Large tree falls on 2 homes, forcing families out

A large tree fell on two houses on Merriman Avenue in west Charlotte, forcing families out.

The houses are on Merriman Avenue.

The houses are deemed unsafe by building inspectors.

The Red Cross is assisting six adults and four children who were forced out. There were also two dogs and two turtles removed from the homes.

Channel 9 has a crew on the scene.

Stay with wsoctv.com for more on this story.

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Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 08:18:40 -0400

Freshman sinks amazing shot for life-changing prize

An incoming freshman in Indianapolis has made a life-changing shot. 

The new Ball State University student made a half court shot. If that wasn't enough, that long lob netted him free tuition when he heads back to school next semester, WRTV reported. 

http://twitter.com/b_santanello/status/634553318308753408

It is the second time in three years a student has made the shot during the university's annual start-of-the-year pep rally. 

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:55:51 -0400

Watch: Family of bears enjoys epic pool party in NJ backyard

A New Jersey family had a big surprise in their backyard. 

A family of bears, five cubs and their mama, decided it would take over the family's toys and even took a dip in the pool, WCBS reported. 

Take a look at the video.

The little girls whose pool was commandeered by the bear family didn't seem too happy when the bears started playing with the family's pool toys.

The bears eventually left on their own, and left behind a few deflated pool toys and dirty pool water.

Published: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:25:54 -0400