Hurricane Florence sent 20,000 North Carolina residents scurrying from their homes and into 157 shelters, according to Governor Roy Cooper. That's only the beginning of their horror. Along with losing their homes and many possessions, several studies published over the last 20 years show a link between exposure to a hurricane and increased symptoms of PTSD and depression. Those who stay with family and friends, or have the resources to afford hotels fare much better. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Emergency Management found that among New York City-area residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, "participants who were able to stay with friends or family had 48 percent decreased odds of experiencing PTSD symptoms as compared to those who were displaced and stayed in a shelter." Lori Peek, the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an author of the book Children of Katrina says, "Shelter settings-even the best-run shelters, with the most well-intentioned people, with the best leadership-can be highly stressful. It is hard to accommodate different dietary needs, cultural needs, religious needs, and gender-based needs," Peek acknowledges. "But we do recognize how important these different [accommodations] are to assist with launching people into their recovery process." (The Atlantic) Phoner: Have you ever had to stay in a refugee shelter from bad weather or other reasons? What was it like?
Father of the Year?
Police in Rockingham Park, New Hampshire, are looking for the man who was filmed sending his toddler daughter inside a prize machine where she was able to get her tiny hands on several items and retrieve them before the pair, along with another child believed to be the man's son, left the scene. Security at the mall where this all went down were alerted after a hostess at a restaurant opposite the machine saw the whole thing. She told police, "Two people came in and I heard them say, ‘That's so unsafe.' So I went outside and all I saw was the toddler's head peeping out of the front of the machine." The crooked dad made off with "multiple prizes", among them a Nintendo Switch and "Gameboy DS." Local police are now asking for help from the public to locate the man, who "is described as a bearded Hispanic, 20-30 years old." (Kotaku)
So It Wasn't Aliens. Sadly, Much Worse!
Maybe you remember our story about the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico mysteriously closing for 11 days. Officials cited "security concerns," but of course rumors became rampant of aliens landing. Sadly, the real reason turned out to be the disturbing behavior of an Earthling janitor. According to a federal search warrant, the facility in the mountains of Lincoln National Forest was shut down during an FBI child pornography investigation after the observatory's WiFi was used to send and receive child porn and a worker at the facility found a laptop with "not good" images on it. Court documents state that the only person who could access the observatory during the hours that the child porn was downloaded was a janitor - the same janitor who reportedly "feverishly" searched the facility after realizing his laptop was missing. He also began telling supervisors that somebody had been breaking in to steal Internet service and warned an employee that a serial killer might "enter the facility and execute someone." The observatory reopened this week. (KTSM)
Beware Volunteer Treasurers
From the "How Low Can You Go" files, California police arrested 52-year-old Patricia Cascione for allegedly embezzling more than $88,000 from the Girl Scouts and the Beverly Hills Cancer Center. The arrest is the culmination of a 15-month investigation that began when the Girl Scouts approached the LA County Sheriff's Department about missing funds. Cascione allegedly stole $58,000 from the organization over five years in her capacity as a volunteer treasurer. During the investigation, authorities found that she also allegedly embezzled more than $30,000 from the Beverly Hills Cancer Center while working as that organization's CFO. Cascione, who had volunteered with the Girl Scouts for 20 years, was reportedly released on $20,000 bail. She has been a fundraiser for many other local groups, including a high school girl's soccer team and a GoFundMe effort for the family of a boy struck and killed by a car. Police are now investigating if she stole from anyone else. (CBS)
America's Huntress is at it Again
A big-game hunter, known only as Britany, is being criticized by celebrities on social media for her "disgusting" act of killing a leopard. An image of "Britany" proudly holding up the carcass of the large animal was shared on the Safari Club International (SCI) website on Sept. 7 for being a "record" kill. The photo was shared by others on social media, including big-name celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Doutzen Kroes and Kyle Richards, expressing their disapproval of Britany's hobby. "How can you find pride and pleasure in killing a beautiful animal like this large male leopard? The woman in the picture should be ashamed of herself!" Kroes wrote. Former NHL player Tim Brent received death threats and abusive comments online after sharing photos and boasting about a grizzly bear he hunted just last week. (New York Post)
How Much Stolen Cookies?
Some might think 52-year-old Sharon Fager has one monster sweet tooth. In fact, police say the enormous amount of stolen cookies and treats they found in her home was part of an elaborate scam. Fager was found in possession of $17,859 in stolen cookies and chocolates and charged with receiving stolen property. Stolen credit cards were used to purchase goods for resale, according to police. The proceeds of the sales were then being sent to other countries, but police don't know why. (Penn Live)
Don't Blame Me! I Have PTSD!
Maybe you like to have a drink when you fly. No judgment there - but just don't be like Joel Michael Bane. Bane was travelling from Chicago to New Orleans on a Southwest Airlines flight and quickly blew past three drinks on the roughly two-hour flight. Flight attendants began to suspect he might have a problem and refused to serve him a fourth drink. Bane is described in court documents as a "large and very muscular martial arts trainer" and he marched to the front of the plane and demanded another drink. The flight attendant refused which infuriated Bane to the point that he allegedly told her he would put her "in a body bag." The captain got involved over the PA, ordering all passengers to return to their seats but Bane said, "That captain has no authority over me." Of course all of this was recorded by other passengers on their cell phones. When the plane landed, police officers immediately boarded but Bane refused to disembark. He reportedly shouted profanities and refused commands to get on the floor or put his hands behind his back until finally officers used stun guns to persuade him. Here's the worst part: Bane pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight crew in federal court but will likely get no jail time. Even though the judge could technically sentence him to 20 years, if she gives any more than probation, Bane is allowed to back out of his plea deal. Bane's attorney says his client is a military veteran who served seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanstan, and who suffers from "totally permanent post-traumatic stress disorder" after his military service. (Inc.com)
What the What?
In Manassas, Virginia, 27-year-old Michael Dwayne Johnson was arrested for - get this - allegedly rubbing fruit on his bare bottom at a supermarket and then putting the items back on display. An employee at Giant supermarket noticed Johnson "picking up produce, pulling down his pants, rubbing the produce on his buttocks, and replacing the produce back on the shelf." Police were called and Johnson now faces charges of indecent exposure and destruction of property. Plus the supermarket had to destroy several pallets of fruit after the incident. Senior police officer Charles Sharp said he does not believe the incident was mental health related. Johnson was with another person at the supermarket at the time who was not charged. (Metro)