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Accused police impersonator turns out to be federal officer

Aside from the blue light mounted in his unmarked SUV and the weapon on his hip, a man recorded during a traffic stop didn’t look like a police officer at all.

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But looks can be deceiving, Georgia authorities learned Tuesday morning.

Hours after officials with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office  asked the public to help identify a “suspected police impersonator,” they issued a retraction and said that the man was, in fact, an officer with a federal agency.

“We have positively identified him as a certified law enforcement officer in an off-duty capacity at the time of this incident,” sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley said in a statement. 

The name and agency of the officer were not released.

The mix-up began about 4 p.m. Monday, when the officer pulled over a citizen in Ball Ground, Georgia.

“The citizen who was stopped felt concerned over what he described as an irregular contact,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement. 

The officer never identified himself or the agency he represented, according to the sheriff’s office. He even backed off once he realized the citizen was recording the encounter.

“He was wearing his agency-issued badge,” Kelley said, “but did not have on any other identifying credentials or documentation.”

Law enforcement officers generally are “in uniform or will identify themselves to you and advise you of the agency where they work,” she said.

The sheriff’s office notified the officer’s immediate supervisor of the traffic stop.

“I don’t know what their protocol is,” Kelley said. “It would not be appropriate for one of our own officers to pull someone over and then not identify what agency they work for.” 

Groom ditches bride during photo shoot, but it was to save the life of a young boy

A groom left his bride alone on her wedding day, but before the internet gets into an uproar over it, it was for a good reason. He was saving the life of a boy who fell into the water.

Darren Hatt is a photographer who was taking photos of a bride at Victoria Park in Kitchener, Canada, CTV reported.

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He said that the bride, Brittany Ross Cook, yelled to her husband when she saw what was going on, and before the photographer realized what happened, groom Clayton Cook was already soaked, pulling the boy from the water.

The unidentified boy was reunited with his sister shortly after the ordeal, CTV reported.

Hatt posted the photos of the dripping-wet groom on his Facebook page, telling Clayton Cook, “Well Done sir!”

Are Puerto Ricans American citizens? Yes, they are

 On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would visit the hurricane-devastated island of Puerto Rico next week. The announcement came after criticism mounted that the administration was not moving quickly enough to provide resources to the American territory.

Hurricane Maria’s damage was widespread, and authorities say it may take months to repair infrastructure and rebuild homes and businesses.

Many know the island as a tourist destination, but only about half who took part in a poll earlier this year knew that Puerto Rico is an American territory and that its residents are American citizens.

Here are some facts about the island and its relationship to the United States.Is Puerto Rico part of the United States?

The commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. It became a territory of the U.S. in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.What does unincorporated territory mean?

It means that as a U.S. territory, the Constitution of the United States applies to certain areas of life in Puerto Rico – such as interstate trade, immigration, commerce and foreign relations, among other areas. The government of Puerto Rico, like that of a U.S. state/U.S. federal government relationship –, controls internal issues,though how it handles them must not conflict with U.S. law.

Who is in charge of running the Puerto Rican government?

The head of the Puerto Rican government is the governor. He or she governs with the help of a cabinet and serves a four-year term. The island has a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senate has 27 members, and the House has 51 members. There are seven justices on Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court.

As a U.S. territory, are Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens?

Yes, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. A child born in Puerto Rico to Puerto Rican parents is automatically an American citizen.

Do they have the same rights as U.S. citizens who live in a U.S. state?

Mostly. They cannot cast a vote for president, however. They participate in Republican and Democratic party primaries and conventions, though. They also do not have voting representation in the U.S. House or Senate.

Do they pay U.S. income tax?

Puerto Ricans file U.S. income tax returns only if they work for the federal government. Otherwise, they do not pay federal income taxes. They do pay payroll taxes, including Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.

Will Puerto Rico become a state? Do the people there want the island to be a U.S. state?

Not in the near future. Puerto Ricans voted for U.S. statehood in 2012 and earlier this year. The vote does not have to be considered by the U.S. Congress.

How is Puerto Rico already like a state?

Puerto Ricans serve in the U.S. military.They use the U.S. Postal Service to send and receive mail.They use the U.S. dollar as their form of currency.

Other facts about Puerto Rico:

The capital is San Juan.Christopher Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista. It later became known as Puerto Rico, or “rich port.”The population is 3.411 million.The official languages are Spanish and English.Ninety-one percent of all people living in U.S. territories live in Puerto Rico 

 

Man trying to ‘scare’ neighborhood kids uses stun gun on 7-year-old, police say

A Louisiana man is charged with battery and cruelty to a juvenile after police say he used a stun gun on a 7-year-old as he chased several children around his neighborhood.

Kevin Alexis, 19, of Kenner, admitted to grabbing the stun gun from the kitchen windowsill of his home and “playing around” with several children, but he denied touching any of them with the weapon, according to a Kenner Police Department news release. He did admit that he turned the stun gun on to scare the children, police said.

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The incident came to light Friday night when the mother of the 7-year-old boy saw blisters and burns on her son’s back, the news release said. The boy told his mother that that Alexis had chased him and the other children.

The boy said Alexis turned the weapon on and touched the electrical current flowing between its metal prongs to his back, police officials said.

According to security website ASecureLife.com, most Taser brand stun guns deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. Others are much more powerful, including the Vipertek VTS-989, which delivers 53 million volts, the website said. 

It was not immediately clear how powerful Alexis’ stun gun was. 

Alexis was booked into the Jefferson Parish Detention Center, where he remained on Tuesday in lieu of $50,000 bail.  

Baby left on road with $5,500 stuffed in car seat rescued by church group

A baby abandoned on the shoulder of an Oklahoma City freeway is now in state custody and the infant’s mother has been admitted to a local hospital for evaluation.

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A church group on their way back from an amusement park spotted the baby in a car seat on the shoulder of I-40 in the scorching heat Saturday, according to KOCO News.

Police said $5,500 in cash, a birth certificate and a Social Security card were found stuffed into the car seat with the baby.

Members of the Abba’s House of Worship Center in Ada, Oklahoma, rescued the baby, and Pastor Ken Angel said it was an act of divine intervention.

The church van driver said when he first saw the car seat, he thought it contained a doll, but when he stopped to make sure he saw "two little feet" kicking, KOCO News reported

The 1-month old baby, who looked well-cared for, was sleeping when he was found, and dressed in a onesie with a pacifier, but there was no note or any indication why he was there.

“I couldn't believe people were that evil. It was 90 degrees outside," a member of the church group, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KOCO News.

>> Related: Abandoned newborn found covered in ants in bush

Emergency workers estimated the child had been left in the 91-degree heat about 30 minutes before he was rescued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Chip, Joanna Gaines announce last season of 'Fixer Upper'

The hit HGTV series “Fixer Upper” will end after season five.

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Chip and Joanna Gaines made the announcement that they will put an end to their show on their official blog on Tuesday.

“It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that season 5 of ‘Fixer Upper’ will be our last,” they wrote. “While we are confident that this is the right choice for us, it has for sure not been an easy one to come to terms with. Our family has grown up alongside yours, and we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. How bittersweet to say goodbye to the very thing that introduced us all in the first place.

“This has been an amazing adventure! We have poured our blood, sweat and tears into this show ... This is just us recognizing that we need to catch our breath for a moment. Our plan is to take this time to shore up and strengthen the spots that are weak, rest the places that are tired and give lots of love and attention to both our family and our businesses.”

The news comes as a shock to fans who have been following the couple’s renovation show for the last few years.

“Fixer Upper” premiered in May 2013 and became the highest-rated series for the network. The success has led to other adventures for the couple, including their retail compound Magnolia Market, New York Times bestselling books and an upcoming restaurant. 

“We want to take this time to really say thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for letting our family to become part of your family,” Chip said. “Thank you, we can’t wait to see what’s next!”

Season 5 of “Fixer Upper” will premiere in November.

RELATED: Chip, Joanna Gaines team up with Target to release home-decor line

RELATED: 'Fixer Upper' couple criticized over new home decor line at Target

Read more here.

Cities ranked by love of java ahead of National Coffee Day

Personal finance website WalletHub on Tuesday released its 2017 list of "Best Coffee Cities in America" in anticipation of National Coffee Day.

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America is the No. 1 country for coffee consumption, with millennials accounting for about 44 percent of all U.S. coffee demand, according to a 2016 report from Bloomberg.

WalletHub compared 100 of America’s most populated city on 14 key metrics to determine what cities were best for coffee lovers. Among the metrics were:

  • The average price per pack of coffee
  • The average price of a cappuccino
  • The average spending on coffee per household
  • The share of households that own coffee makers
  • The number of coffee shops, coffee houses and cafes per capita
  • The amount of Google search traffic for the term “coffee”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Seattle topped the list with a score of 68.58 out of 100.

WalletHub ranked as the top 10 "Best Coffee Cities in America":

  1. Seattle, with a score of 68.58
  2. Portland, Oregon, with a score of 67.04
  3. San Francisco, with a score of 65.99
  4. New York City, with a score of 64.74
  5. Los Angeles, with a score of 61.86
  6. San Diego, with a score of 57.78
  7. Chicago, with a score of 57.45
  8. Denver, with a score of 53.45
  9. Boston, with a score of 53.31
  10. Washington, D.C., with a score of 53.20

Other cities that made WalletHub's top 100 list include Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Jacksonville, Florida.

National Coffee Day is Sept. 29.

See the full list at WalletHub.com

Fall foliage: Where to get best views

Fall is here and the leaves are already starting to turn, so where are the best places to go to see nature’s color palate?

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles through two states, all the way from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

There are exhibits, hiking trails, picnic areas and campsites for those who want to reconnect to the great outdoors.

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Colors will peak in October, usually mid to late in the month, but it all depends on the elevation, with highest elevations seeing the colors first. The Blue Ridge Parkway, at its lowest point is under 650 feet along the James River in Virginia, and at its highest at over 6,000 feet south of Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park in the north west is almost a million of acres of untouched ecosystems that contain not only glacier-topped mountains, but also temperate rain forests. With 70 miles of coastline, Olympic National Park is sure to have an opportunity to see all of fall’s colors, but officials warn it isn’t like same as seeing them on the East Coast. Peak colors start in the highest elevations in mid-September with the rain forest and coast lines seeing the most color in mid-October.

New England

New England is one of the most popular areas to go see the fall color change. It is not limited to only one area, the entire region will erupt with color.  Peak views in the northern part of New England, in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, will be in late September. Late October will see the most color in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Route 6

Route 6 has been named by National Geographic as “one of America’s most scenic drives.” It is more than 400 miles of quiet highway across the northern part of Pennsylvania. The peak leaf viewing for the area is Sept. 26 through Oct. 12.

If driving isn’t your thing

Finally, driving isn’t your idea of a fun family outing, Amtrak is offering an alternative in its Great Dome Car. For only $53 one-way per person, you can ride the train through upstate New York to Montreal, Canada, according to Good Housekeeping. It is only available along the Adirondack route from late September and only for six weeks. For more information, click here.

3-year-old killed when father backs over her with lawn mower

An Alabama toddler was killed Sunday when her father, who was cutting the family’s grass, hit her with a riding lawn mower.

The accident took place around 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Pine Level community of Autauga County, according to WSFA in Montgomery. Investigators told the news station that the girl’s father accidentally backed over her with the mower. 

The girl was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An investigation has been opened into the girl’s death, a standard procedure any time a child under the age of 16 dies in Alabama.

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“As of this morning, we do not expect the evidence to show anything other than a tragic accident, but due to the age of the child, we will present the results of the death investigation to a grand jury,” Chief Autauga County District Attorney C.J. Robinson told the news station. “Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family right now.”

Science Daily reported in May that an average of 13 children are injured each day in lawn mower accidents. Cuts make up about 39 percent of those injures, while burns make up about 15 percent. 

According to the Amputee Coalition, about 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors each year. More than 600 of those accidents results in amputation.

One in five lawn mower-related deaths involves a child, the non-profit organization reported. 

7 things to know about the Little Rock Nine

Sixty years ago, nine black students had to be escorted by federal troops through an angry mob of white people as they walked toward the doors of an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, for their first full day of classes.

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Here are seven things to know about the Little Rock Nine:

Who was part of the Little Rock Nine?

The nine brave black students were Melba Pattillo Beals, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Thelma Mothershed, Terrence Roberts and Jefferson Thomas.

What did the Little Rock Nine signify?

By the time the Little Rock Nine became icons on that September Wednesday in 1957, it had been three years since the Supreme Court declared “separate but equal” in America’s public schools unconstitutional. 

According to History.com, the event showed the South’s opposing public sentiment toward the new law.

Wednesday, Sept. 25, wasn’t the first day the Little Rock Nine tried to attend classes at the high school.

Classes at Little Rock Central High School had already been in session for at least three weeks prior to that Wednesday.

In fact, Sept. 4, was actually the first day of school at Little Rock Central High.

But on that day, as the Little Rock Nine arrived at the campus led by Daisy Bates (president of the Arkansas NAACP), the Arkansas National Guard stopped them from entering the facility, a call made by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus.

Faubus claimed it was for the students’ own protection, according to History.com.

One of the more iconic photos of the Little Rock Nine features Elizabeth Eckford that day, clutching her notebook as angry white students and adults screamed at her.

After a couple more failed attempts in September, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school for their first full day of classes on Sept. 25.

The troops were also sent to federalize the Arkansas state National Guard, which under the command of Arkansas Faubus had barred the nine from entering in the first place.

Ernest Green became the first black graduate of Central High.

Green was the only senior high schooler among the Little Rock Nine. On May 25, 1958, he earned a diploma and became the school’s first black graduate. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. even attended his graduation ceremony.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Green recalls his time at Little Rock Central High was “like going to war every day.”

The next year, all of Little Rock’s high schools were closed.

Citizens of Little Rock voted 19,470 to 7,571 against integration, prompting Faubus to close the city’s high schools for the entire year.

During that year, the students either went to nearby schools or found other alternatives. 

Only eight of the Little Rock Nine are still alive.

Before he died at age 67, Little Rock Nine’s Jefferson Thomas was a federal employee with the Department of Defense for 27 years.

The eight other surviving members continue to create their own personal achievements after integrating Little Rock Central High.

How did the Little Rock Nine influence the Civil Rights Movement?

The event tested the South’s resistance to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

As photos and accounts of the Little Rock Nine hit the nation’s newspapers, the message of unity spread with fervor. 

“The imagery of these perfectly dressed, lovely, serious young people seeking to enter a high school ... to see them met with ugliness and rage and hate and violence was incredibly powerful,” Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told the Associated Press.

What is Arkansas’ Little Rock School District like today?

Segregation may be over, but not many minority students and white students share classrooms today, even in Little Rock.

According to the AP, the Little Rock School District today is about two-thirds black and has been under state control since 2015, due to low academic performance -- and the increase in number of charter schools is only contributing to self-segregation.

From the AP:

During the 2015-2016 school year, the average black student in Little Rock attended a school of approximately 14 percent white students, 14 percent Hispanic students and 68 percent black students, according to Arkansas Department of Education data.

Twenty years ago, a black student in Little Rock would have attended a school of approximately 27 percent white students, 1.7 percent Hispanic students and 70 percent black students.

Nationally, the average black student in 1980 attended a school that was 36 percent white. And during the 2014-2015 school year, the average black student have attended a school that was only 27 percent white.Now, the Little Rock Nine are commemorating the 60th anniversary of Central High’s desegregation by bringing light to the continuing problem of segregation in the nation’s public schools.

Read more at apnews.com.

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