Fighting for the Flag...Removal
There's another controversy over flying a Confederate flag - this time over an ice cream shop in Orangeburg, South Carolina. But this one's a little different. Here - the shop owner is the one who wants the flag taken down - but the Sons of Confederate Veterans says it owns the 130 square-foot plot where the flag flies; the site marks a Civil War skirmish in 1865. The group says it's been paying taxes on the tiny parcel of land and has a deed from the previous landowner allowing it to maintain a memorial at the site. Tommy Daras, owner of the Edisto River Creamery, is appealing an order by the city to stop work on the property. Daras obtained a permit in September and planned to dig up a marker and remove the Confederate flag at the property, which is in front of his shop. He wants to replace the Confederate flag with the American flag. He also says the deed he was given when he purchased the site in 2015 included the land where the flag is located. As a result, many of his customers incorrectly think he supports the Confederacy. His lawyer, Justin Bamberg said, "People have to understand from Tommy's viewpoint and the viewpoint of his wife and employees that there is a lot of hostility directed toward Mr. Daras and his staff that he never asked for." (Newser)
Like Father, Like Son
Tragedy struck a Brooklyn family over the weekend when a father and son died of drug overdoses at a birthday party. Police say Joseph Andrade, 44, and his son Carlos, 22, told family members they were stepping outside for a cigarette, but what they were really doing was going to snort a mix of heroin and fentanyl, an opioid 50 times stronger than morphine. Carlos, who had driven up to Brooklyn from Maryland, was discovered by his girlfriend, Jasmine Santos, as he asphyxiated in the foyer of his father's building around 3am. Joseph was found outside the building. Emergency responders administered Narcan, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids, to the two men and took them to NYU Langone Hospital, but they died within an hour of being found. Joseph Andrade is a reputed addict but several witnesses expressed surprise at his son's involvement. New York City officials say 1300 people died from overdoses last year, 90 percent of which were caused by heroin or fentanyl. (New York Post)
What? How? Unbelievable! Very Sad!
Dennis Carver and his wife, Lorraine, were at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd. Carver jumped on top of his wife to protect her from the gunfire, and during a lull they got up and ran to safety, miraculously escaping unharmed. However, tragedy was still looming for the couple. Just over two weeks later, THEY were driving less than a mile from their home when they went off the roadway and crashed. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Officer William Strom of the California Highway Patrol says the Carvers' car struck a cinder-block column, ripping off the rear axle and rupturing the gas tank. The car then struck a second column, rolled over, and burst into flames. It took firefighters almost an hour to put out the fire. A week after the crash, Dennis Carver's cell phone, which he'd lost during the chaos in Las Vegas, was shipped back to the family by a Las Vegas FBI agent. The couple's daughter, Brooke, said, "When we turned it on, all his photos and messages were still there. This is how we know they're looking down and watching over us." (Los Angeles Times)
Horror in Tokyo
Tokyo police say they have arrested a man after finding "multiple" dismembered bodies in coolers in his apartment. The 27-year-old suspect confessed to cutting up the bodies and hiding them in cold-storage cases, covered with cat litter. The official said investigators found the bodies while searching for a 23-year-old woman who had disappeared. Media reports said police believed the bodies of eight women and one man were hidden in the apartment. The missing woman is thought to be one of them. The suspect, Takahiro Shiraishi, reportedly told officers, "It's true that I tried to hide the bodies of the people I killed to destroy evidence." According to media reports, Shiraishi met the missing 23-year-old woman after she visited a suicide-related website and said she wanted to die. Police say security cameras captured the woman and the suspect walking together at a train station near his home. (Japan Times)
States Crack Down on Fake Service Dogs
"Today, any pet owner can go online and buy a vest for a dog to pass it off as a service animal to gain access to restaurants, hotels and places of business." That's the word from a Republican state representative who introduced a bill in Massachusetts that would crack down on pet owners who claim their animals are service animals. Similar bills have already been enacted in 19 states, and still more states are considering implementing them. Most of the laws hit anyone misrepresenting their animal as a service animal with fines up to $500. There are an estimated 20,000 service dogs in the US; they are specifically trained to do tasks for a person with a disability and can help with disabilities, but there's no real way to verify whether an animal has undergone service training, making these laws tricky to actually enforce. Advocates of such laws say they're necessary, citing incidents in which non-service-animals have misbehaved in places they shouldn't have been allowed, casting real service animals in a bad light -- or, in some cases, even injuring an actual service animal. (USA Today)
What the What?
In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, twin sisters Barbara Thomas of McKinney, Texas, and Beverly Skripsky of Scottsdale, Ariz., went out for a morning stroll along a beach. It was the last thing they would ever do as one of the notorious massive rogue waves the area is known for suddenly swept them into the ocean. The women, both 67 and both grandmothers were later found dead out at sea. The area is known for strong currents as well as huge waves, and the US Embassy warns that not all hazardous beaches in the area are clearly marked. "I can't imagine how fast it was moving but it went from 10 feet to 15 feet in seconds," according to Steve Thomas, Barbara's husband. (People)