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2 charged after woman found being eaten alive by maggots, police say

A Georgia woman was found covered in cockroaches and maggots, bedridden on a sheet smeared in feces, a police report says. 

Her caretakers and family members, 54-year-old Terry Ward Sorrells and 18-year-old Christian Alexander Sorrells, have both been charged with neglect of a disabled adult or elder person

>> On Cops: Home invaders tie up woman and son, steal jewelry

Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Sugar Hill home where the woman lived with Terry Sorrells and Christian Sorrells on March 15 after receiving a call for medical assistance. The woman was unresponsive but still alive, the report says.

The AJC is not identifying the woman because she is an alleged victim of neglect.

>> MORE NEWS: 55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings

When the fire crew arrived, they said they saw that maggots and roaches were eating the woman’s flesh and her legs were “completely black and showing signs of decomposition.” They had transported her a month earlier with a “mega mover” — a tarp-like object used by emergency medical technicians to move obese patients — and she was sitting on the same mega mover, now “completely brown and black” and covered in feces. The fire crew called police because “they did not believe she would live much longer and felt a moral obligation to report this,” the report says.

The living conditions inside the home on Pine Tree Circle were “deplorable,” the responding officer said in his report. The officer was “overwhelmed with the smell of human feces and garbage” when he walked into the house, and roaches were crawling on the walls and ceiling of “every single room,” the report says. Garbage lined the floor from the entryway to the kitchen, and covered the floor of the bathroom. In Terry Sorrells’ bedroom, there was a two-foot-high pile of empty Monster energy drink cans, with garbage piled in a closet and covering a dresser, the report says. 

>> Read more trending news 

Terry Sorrells had gone with the woman in an ambulance before the officer arrived, but Christian Sorrells remained at the house. He told the officer that the woman had been bedridden for one or two years and had been progressively getting worse; she had been admitted into a long-term care facility, but returned home after Medicaid would not cover the cost, the report says. Christian Sorrells also told the officer that no one in the house worked. 

Christian Sorrells was transported to Gwinnett County police headquarters and Terry Sorrells was arrested later that day. Both were booked into the Gwinnett County Detention Center after 10 p.m. March 15. They remain in jail, each held on a $22,200 bond. 

Austin bombings: How to help the victims

As the investigation into the acts of serial bombing suspect Mark Conditt continues, many are taking the opportunity to reflect on the lives of those lost in the attacks across Austin and central Texas in March.

>> READ MORE: Austin bombings: 25-minute recording left behind by suspected bomberWho is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber?Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombingsPhotos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombingsMap shows location of 4 Austin bombsAustin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this monthOfficials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombingsMan held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police sayAustin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police sayThe Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrestedAustin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House | MORE

Anthony Stephan House, the 39-year-old man who was killed in the first bombing on March 2, left behind a wife and daughter. His family started a GoFundMe page to help his surviving family members with bills related to House’s death and repairs to their home after the explosion. Any extra money will go to a fund for House’s daughter’s future education. The fundraiser has raised more than $36,000 as of Wednesday. There’s also a second fund, started by House’s mother, which aims to raise money specifically for House’s 8-year-old daughter “to help secure her future.” That fundraiser has raised more than $5,200 as of Wednesday.

>> On Complete coverage of the Austin bombings

Draylen Mason, 17, an Austin musician and aspiring neurosurgeon, was killed by a second bombing attack on March 12. His family has set up a YouCaring page to help with memorial costs, as well as to help with repairs to the family home before Mason’s mother and grandmother can return to the house. The family has raised more than $106,000 as of Wednesday.

>> On Mason family on bombing suspect: ‘We can now start to move forward’

Four others were wounded in the attacks. Mason’s mother, Shamika Wilson, was injured in the explosion that killed her son, and Esperanza Herrera, 75, was injured in a separate package explosion later that same day. Two unidentified men were injured when a bomb, which police said was likely triggered by a trip wire, exploded on Dawn Song Drive in Southwest Austin on March 18.

>> Read more trending news 

Travis AFB main gate closed after car gains 'unauthorized access,' crashes

Officials at Travis Air Force Base in California say a car gained “unauthorized access” to the base’s main gate and later crashed.

>> Read more trending news 

Smoke alarm recall: 500,000 Kidde detectors might not alert users to fire

Kidde recalled about 500,000 dual-sensor smoke alarms Wednesday because they pose a risk of people not being alerted to a fire in their home.

>> Nearly 600,000 pacifiers, teether holders recalled amid concerns about choking

A yellow cap left on during the manufacturing process can cover one of the two smoke sensors and compromise the smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke.

About 452,000 devices were sold in the United States, in addition to 40,000 sold in Canada.

>> Johnsonville recalls 109K pounds of sausage after reports of plastic contamination

This recall involves models PI2010 and PI9010 of Kidde dual-sensor (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms. “KIDDE” is printed on the front center of the smoke alarm. The model number and date code are printed on the back of the alarm.

The recall includes:

Model: PI9010 (DC/battery powered)Date Code: September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017

Model: PI2010 (AC/hardwired)Date Code: September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017

>> 1.4 million Ford vehicles recalled after reports that steering wheel can come loose

People should remove the alarm from their wall or ceiling and look through the opening on the side of the alarm for a yellow cap. People should not attempt to take apart the alarm, open the casing, or otherwise remove the yellow cap themselves. If a yellow cap is present, people should immediately contact Kidde to receive instructions and request a free replacement smoke alarm. They should remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm only after they receive and install the replacement alarm. If no yellow cap is present, people should reinstall the smoke alarm and no further action is needed.

>> Read more trending news 

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has received one report of the yellow protective cap being present on a smoke alarm before it was installed in a home. No reports of incidents or injuries as a result of a yellow cap being present have been reported.

>> On Boston's bravest: Facing a hidden killer

The affected smoke alarms were sold at Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide and online at, and other websites from September 2016 through January 2018 for between $20 and $40.

Read more here.

Fake Facebook page sends city into tizzy over snakes

When most of northwest Georgia was preparing for severe storms, one city had to contend with the idea that snakes are lurking in sewers — or so they thought

>> Read more trending news

Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer said ­the “City of Calhoun, Gordon County GA” Facebook page — where a post about snakes originated — is fake. 

“My wife saw it and actually called me,” Palmer said

The post, which has been up since 2:27 p.m. Monday, alleges a Calhoun police officer killed the “copperhead as it came out of the sewer in front of the courthouse” and urges residents to avoid the sewers, which may have more snakes. The post has garnered 19,000 reactions and more than 123,000 shares on Facebook — and it still has some panicked. 

“I’ve had comments like ‘Is it safe to walk down the street’ and those things,” Palmer said. “I don’t think the people who put it on there realize the impact.” 

The page, which has more than 12,000 followers, has been so believable that other law enforcement agencies have tagged the page or shared its posts, WSB-TV reported. Police say it’s been difficult finding the owner since the page is usually taken down before the person is caught. The page was still open just after 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

The city attorney plans to send a notice to Facebook notifying it of the fake page. The notice reads in part: “The objection is that this Facebook page impersonates and misrepresents to be the City’s official page by displaying a version of the official municipal seal and describes itself clearly as a ‘government organization.’

Fake city pages are hardly new. 

In October 2016, comedian Ben Palmer created a fake city of Atlanta Facebook page, poking fun at the city’s crime and public safety efforts. The city, however, responded to the Facebook page’s use of the trademarked Atlanta City Seal, which was used without proper authorization. Creative changes were made to the satirical page’s seal to avoid trademark conflicts. 

But while the fake city of Atlanta page is still going strong (it has more than 154,000 followers), some are hoping the fake Calhoun page is removed from Facebook. 

Calhoun resident Matt Wiley said he is happy the city is adamant about the page’s removal: “For the sake of the city, that’s not a bad move just to make sure the people are informed. If you start spreading misinformation, panic might ensue, especially if it’s an alligator or a giant snake.”

What is Easter Monday and how is it celebrated?

In many places around the world, Easter Monday is a day to get outside, spend time with your family and have picnics as spring begins to blossom.  In other places, it’s traditions that, while odd, are still honored and celebrated centuries later. With deep roots in Europe, it is not widely celebrated in the United States.

So what is Easter Monday and what do people do? Here’s a quick look.

The name

In some places the day after Easter is simply called Easter Monday. In other places, it’s Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, or  Dyngus Day.

It was once known as “Black Monday” and was, for a time, considered unlucky.

Who celebrates the day?

The day is a major holiday in the Eastern Orthodox community. It marks the beginning of “Bright Week” in the religion. Countries across Eastern and Western Europe, in particular, participate in Easter Monday observances.

What do they do?

In medieval England, tradition called for a man to lift a woman three times by the arms and legs. In Ireland, the day was known as the Day of Feasts. In Hungary, the tradition was for men to dunk their wife or girlfriend into water for good health, leading to the day being called Dunking Day.

In Guyana, people fly kites, which are made on Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter. People in the Netherlands have a festive breakfast then go hiking. Similarly, in Portugal and Italy people go to the countryside  for picnics.

In London, there is a parade in Hyde Park.

In the U.S., Easter Monday is largely ignored. The most notable celebration happens at the White House where the president sponsors the annual Easter Egg Roll.

The tradition of the egg roll dates back to the 1870s when kids in the Washington D.C. area would take their Easter eggs to Capitol Hill to roll them. Congress, moving quickly to stem the fun, soon passed a bill outlawing egg rolling at the Capitol.

President Rutherford Hayes, after being approached by a group of kids who were looking for a place to roll their eggs, issued an order that allowed egg rolling to take place on the White House grounds.

Since then, with a few exceptions, eggs have been rolled on the White House lawn.

55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings

The trip wire that set off the fourth explosion in Austin’s horrifying March, authorities now chillingly say, was tied to a “caution, children at play” sign that the accused bomber had bought at a Home Depot.

>> Read more trending news 

But the breaching of that wire and the resultant detonation Sunday, which sent two men to the hospital, also set off an increasingly feverish 55 hours of escalating bombing activity and community quaking that ended only with bombing suspect Mark Conditt’s death in yet another blast.

Austin was already reeling after two deaths in three explosions in packages left on doorsteps on March 2 and March 12. A Northeast Austin construction project manager and a promising teenage musician, both part of prominent African-American families in Austin, had been killed, and two others injured by the first wave of bombs. But given the consistent method of those first three bombings, the danger seemed recognizable: Avoid picking up any unexpected package on the porch and perhaps the worst could be avoided.

>> Related: Austin bombings: 25-minute recording left behind by suspected bomber

But the Travis Country bombing on March 18, which was triggered by a trip wire, followed closely by an explosion of a package at a FedEx sorting facility north of San Antonio just over a day later, and then the discovery of another package containing a bomb at a FedEx facility in Southeast Austin, signaled that something more random was happening. The bomber, it now seemed, had everyone in his sights, and any package was now suspect.

And the whole nation was watching.

By Monday, commentators as diverse as President Donald Trump, University of Texas football coach Tom Herman and Chance the Rapper had weighed in on the run of bombings. Dozens of Texas Rangers and something like 500 agents from the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Postal Service had descended on Austin, pouring over physical and electronic evidence with Austin police. Austin and its troubles were now the subject of cut-ins on cable news and prominent coverage in The New York Times and Washington Post.

>> Related: The Austin bomber: Read all of the Statesman coverage

And officials, given the bomber’s new tactics, began to describe his handiwork as “sophisticated.” But even from the outside, the thought occurred that the increasing pace and morphing form of the attacks in fact could be rash and play into the hands of the bomber’s battalion of pursuers.

So, if Austin writ large seemed to hold its composure in the face of the final two frenzied days, perhaps panic was staved off by this sense that the bomber’s increasing boldness would lead to his capture.

FedEx bombs

After a relatively calm Monday, the fifth explosion came just after midnight Tuesday in an unexpected spot: that FedEx plant a few hundred yards west of Interstate 35 in Schertz. The bomb — sent from a FedEx store in Sunset Valley and intended for delivery to an undisclosed address in Austin — instead detonated on a conveyor belt at the Schertz facility. No one was injured.

>> Related: Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber?

Austinites, awaking to this news Tuesday morning and still trying to put it in context, quickly learned that law enforcement had flocked to yet another FedEx facility near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. They discovered another bomb in a package intended for somewhere in Austin — this one intact — and confiscated what seemed to be another important piece of evidence.

That package too had been sent from the Sunset Valley FedEx shop, officials said.

>> Related: Austin bombing suspect Mark A. Conditt proposed ending sex offender registry, blog says

That meant that virtually any package or backpack — along the road, at work, arriving at a home — was now suspect. At least one delivery service instructed its couriers to knock on doors rather than merely leave a package for recipients to find later. Calls to 911 in Central Texas for “suspicious” packages swelled to over 1,000 cumulatively. And Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley took time out from the around-the-clock manhunt to brief a skittish Austin City Council about the effort.

>> Related: How was Mark Anthony Conditt caught? ‘Exotic’ batteries and cell-site analysis

A timeline of the Austin bombings

Net closing

Perhaps the best illustration of the public’s waxing anxiety came Tuesday evening in what at first seemed like the bomber’s next strike, at a Goodwill Industries store on Brodie Lane in South Austin. An injured man was rushed to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. Flashing lights and reporters swarmed the area.

But, were all told soon after that what had detonated was an “artillery simulator,” a tube-like device used in military exercises that gives off a loud report and a flash of fire when activated. Someone other than Conditt, it appears — whether with dubious judgment or ill intent is not known at this point — had left a box of donated items at Goodwill, officials said, including the dangerous hardware. A worker’s hands were burned when the device went off.

>> Related: Serial bomber Ted Kaczynski kept feds at bay for 17 years before capture

What the public could not know at this point was that law enforcement had identified Conditt as the sole suspect behind the run of bombings, and in fact Tuesday evening filed federal criminal charges for unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device against the 23-year-old Pflugerville man. The net was closing.

His end, and soon thereafter something like a community-wide release of breath and thankfulness, came somewhere around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday. Police had staked out Conditt, who was parked at a hotel on I-35’s west side in Round Rock, and were waiting for S.W.A.T. officers to arrive. But Conditt, perhaps perceiving their presence, pulled out onto the southbound frontage road lane.

But he soon swerved to a stop in the grass median. Moments later, what would be Conditt’s seventh known bomb exploded, this one in the cab of his red Nissan Pathfinder.

>> Related: Photos: Austin police investigate explosions

Vigorous exercise in middle age could help prevent dementia, study finds

A high level of physical fitness during middle age may significantly reduce the risk of dementia, new research suggests.

>> Read more trending news 

The findings, which were published this month in the scientific journal Neurology, showed that women with a high level of cardiovascular fitness during middle age had a nearly 90 percent lower risk of dementia than women who were just moderately fit.

"[The results] indicate that negative cardiovascular processes may be happening in midlife that could increase the risk of dementia much later in life," lead study author Dr. Helena Hörder, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, told Forbes.

>> Related: Have trouble sleeping? Research says that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s

"These findings are exciting because it's possible that improving people's cardiovascular fitness in middle age could delay or even prevent them from developing dementia," she said.

Researchers studied a group 191 women between 38 and 60 years old in Sweden over a 44-year period of time (1968-2012). The participants were initially asked to complete an ergometer cycling test to evaluate their cardiovascular fitness.

"The level that you are so exhausted that you have to interrupt the test is a measure, in watts, of your work capacity," Hörder told CNN. "Cardiovascular fitness or endurance can also be tested in a submaximal test where you don't push the person to maximal capacity."

>> Related: Alzheimer’s disease fueled by gut bacteria, new study finds 

Based on their performance in the initial testing, the women were divided into three groups: 59 were classified as "low fitness", 92 were "medium fitness" and 40 were "high fitness." The researchers then tracked the women until 2012, closely examining which groups developed symptoms of dementia and which did not.

In total, 23 percent developed some form of dementia in the proceeding decades. However, the percentage was significantly higher in the low and medium fitness groups when compared to those in the high fitness category.

"I was not surprised that there was an association, but I was surprised that it was such a strong association between the group with highest fitness and decreased dementia risk," Hörder said. "Many of those who interrupted the test at submax, very low watt level, probably had indications for a poor cardiovascular health status. This might indicate that processes in the cardiovascular system might be ongoing many decades before onset of dementia diagnosis."

» RELATED: Inability to smell peppermint linked to dementia, study says 

Although the results are significant and appear to align with previous research, there were some limitations, such as the relatively small number of subjects, the fact that fitness level was only measured once, and the lack of filtering for other risk factors for dementia.

Future research, the scientists said, should look at a larger and more diverse sample, analyze physical fitness more often and also address other potential factors.

"One of the missing pieces of a study like this – and really the weakness in the literature to date – is that the kinds of studies that we have mostly seen are association studies. These are studies of correlations, and they can't necessarily talk about causality," Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, who was not involved in the new study, said.

>> Related: People with dementia: Atlanta police being trained to empathize

"The picture that is really emerging from the literature is a picture about the importance of fitness in midlife, not just old age, when it comes to protecting your brain health and preventing or delaying Alzheimer's disease and other dementias,” he added.

Approximately 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is sixth leading cause of death among American adults.

Globally, the World Heath Organization estimates that nearly 50 million people suffer from dementia, with 10 million new cases every year.

The Alzheimers Association suggests people should quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, stay socially engaged, challenge their minds by reading or playing games and take care of their heart health to reduce their risk of cognitive decline.

Fired NBA worker sues, claims discrimination against white employees

A fired Atlanta Hawks employee is suing the organization, alleging it discriminated against white employees and terminated her when she complained. 

>> Read more trending news

In a lawsuit filed Friday, Margo Kline says Hawks external affairs director David Lee, who is black, promoted a culture of discrimination against white people, especially white women. Kline, who is white, worked in the NBA team’s corporate social responsibility department as a community development coordinator for five years.

Kline alleges that Lee was dismissive and exclusionary toward white employees and would often make jokes about “white culture,” hiring and promoting black employees — who Kline said were less qualified — over white people, according to the lawsuit. 

Kline said the organization ignored her complaints and instead unfairly scrutinized her work and impeded her ability to do her job, often gossiping and ridiculing her. The lawsuit also alleges white coworkers were told not to speak with Kline or they could lose their job. 

The Hawks fired Kline in March 2017, three weeks after a final written warning regarding her conduct and performance, according to the lawsuit. Kline, who said she had never been written up before, claims she repeatedly asked for ways she could improve but was ignored.  

Kline filed an employment discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who gave her a notice of her right to sue in December. 

She is asking for punitive damages and a trial jury. 

In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks said: “We take all claims of discrimination seriously and have performed a thorough review of these baseless claims. The case was quickly dismissed at the EEOC level. We deny these claims and will vigorously defend against them.”

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