Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top Charlotte Area Local News Stories

Source: MedleyStory

Ebola's West African victims: Where's the outrage?

If you’re going to worry about Ebola, worry about this.

NBC: "Liberia is in desperate need for body bags. Nearly 80,000 more, in fact, over the next six months."

That's how many lives the virus is expected to take in the West African country.

The World Health Organization is now concerned Ebola — which has so far killed 4,000 people — will become “endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated.”

>> Read more trending stories

The hardest-hit countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — are among the world’s poorest. Many of the Ebola victims there lack even basic sanitation or running water, which is why the disease spreads so easily. (Video via Doctors Without Borders

Liberia, on average, spends just $65 per person on health care. In the U.S., that number is $8,000.

The epidemic also has taken a major toll on the region's economies with foreign investments down, farmers leaving their fields and government resources drained.     

The affected countries have called on the international community to pitch in, but the response so far has been slow to say the least.

Back in September, the United Nations appealed for $1 billion as part of an Ebola Trust Fund. As of Friday, the UN had received only $100,000 — just .01 percent of its fundraising goal.

That's only a little bit more than the GoFundMe page for Dallas nurse Nina Pham, which raised more than $87,000 in less than a week. So, where’s the same sense of compassion for the African Ebola victims?

Probably lost somewhere in between talk of shutting down border, the potential for ISIS to use the virus as a weapon, and of course, commentary like this

"You don’t want us to panic? How about I don’t want us to die! Tell us the truth for once!” (Video via CNNFox News

Despite warnings from public health officials that the virus poses no significant threat stateside, a Harvard University study found a quarter of those surveyed worry a family member may contract Ebola within the next year.

Published: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:39:23 -0400

Russian tennis official fined for calling Serena, Venus 'Williams brothers'

The Women's Tennis Association has come down hard on the Russian Tennis Federation official who made derogatory comments about the Williams sisters a few weeks ago. 

Appearing on a Russian late-night talk show, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev called the sisters the "Williams brothers" and said the two were frightening to look at. (Video via Вечерний Ургант)

The WTA fined Tarpischev $25,000 and suspended him for a year after news of the interview trickled through to the United States. (Video via Pravda)

>> Read more trending stories

Tarpischev issued a sort of apology for his "joke" through the Russian Tennis Federation, in which he says, "I understand now that my remarks were wrong and could be construed as discriminatory by the public."

Williams hailed the punishment in a press conference

SERENA WILLIAMS VIA THE GUARDIAN: "Well, I think the WTA did a really great job of taking initiative and immediately taking action to his comments. I thought his comments were very insensitive."

ESPN columnist Melissa Isaacson said Tarpischev's comments echo a common thread when it comes to criticizing female athletes that "the more talented they are, the greater the odds that male hormones are involved."

But the fact that Tarpischev is a high-ranking tennis official might help explain his swift punishment. 

HOWARD BRYANT, ESPN: "This was different, I think, because of Tarpischev's position. He's not a peer; he's not a former player. ... It was just a cheap shot, and I think it showed that the cheap shot wasn't going to be tolerated."

The WTA is also looking to remove Tarpischev from his post as chairman of the Kremlin Cup, which he has held for close to two decades. 

The ban keeps Tarpischev from being involved in any and all WTA events for the next year. 

Published: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:58:24 -0400

San Francisco radio stations ban Lorde's 'Royals' during World Series

San Francisco will be playing the Royals this week, but they won't be playing "Royals." 

To support the local team, some San Francisco area radio stations are banning Lorde's "Royals" from playing on their airwaves until the World Series is over. (Video via Universal Music NZ Ltd. / Lorde

Lorde says the song was inspired by a photo of former Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett, and the city, especially since beginning of the playoffs, has run with the song. 

So, now that the Royals will be facing off against the Giants in the World Series, Bay Area listeners supposedly don't want anything to do with "Royals."

>> Read more trending stories

San Francisco's KFOG posted on Facebook, "No offense, Lorde, but for the duration of the World Series, KFOG Radio will be a 'Royals'-free zone. We're sure you understand."

And KOIT is doing the same, citing complaining listeners as the reason behind it, writing, "Our listeners told us to do it, so we did it!"

Which prompted its Kansas City-based sister station to retaliate. KZPT has reportedly put Lorde's "Royals" into the station's "highest rotation."

Which got us thinking — what songs could Kansas City radio stations ban?

They could bar the 1977 song "San Francisco (You've Got Me)" by the Village People, which features lyrics such as, "It's a city known for its freedom" and "(San Francisco), Oh I love ya." (Video via Casablanca Records / Village People

Or they could go with Starship's "We Built This City," which has been linked to San Francisco before, with references to the Golden Gate bridge and the City by the Bay. (Video via Sony Music Entertainment / Starship

There's always the option of Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" where the timeless singer describes the city's cable cars and morning fog. (Video via Columbia Records / Tony Benett

If you don't like any of those, SF Weekly compiled a list last year on songs about the city of San Francisco. 

Now, whether or not this radio station feud gets any more intense, the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals will begin World Series play Tuesday in Kansas City. Expect to hear some Lorde. 

Published: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:16:00 -0400

Davidson QB arrested on assault charges

Davidson College football quarterback John "J.P." Douglas was arrested early Sunday morning.

According to the Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff's Office web site, Douglas was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

A spokesperson for Davidson College wouldn't confirm if Douglas was the student involved in an on-campus fight early Sunday morning. A news release, sent out by the school, said "two male Davidson students were involved in an altercation in their on-campus housing." The spokesperson said one student did receive medical attention and the other was arrested.

Douglas is a senior at Davidson and is from Roswell, Ga.


Published: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:59:25 -0400

Driver charged after hitting a motorcycle officer

A Gastonia motorcycle police officer was involved in an accident on Sunday with another vehicle.

Police will not say what happened. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The officer was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Charges have been filed against the driver who hit the officer. The driver was charged with unsafe movement.

Neither the driver nor the officer’s names will be released.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:15:01 -0400

Multi-vehicle accident closes I-77 at Tyvola Road

An accident on Interstate 77 south closed the interstate on Sunday night near Tyvola Road.

Multiple cars were involved. Medic transported eight patients to Carolinas Medical Center with minor injuries.

According to the Department of Transportation, the interstate is expected to reopen around 11:45 p.m.

Motorists are being directed off the interstate onto exit 5, Tyvola Road. They proceeded down the offramp, then back up the on ramp to bypass the incident.

Officials have not said what caused the accident.

Check back with for updates.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:01:28 -0400

2 taken to hospital after motorcycle hits cross walk signal, tree

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police responded to a motorcycle accident Sunday night at the corner of Matheson and The Plaza.

Police said the driver lost control of the motorcycle. Both he and the passenger were thrown from the bike.

Police said the driver struck the crosswalk signal, then a tree before crashing the motorcycle.

Both patients were transported to Carolinas Medical Center, one with life-threatening injuries and the other with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Check back with for updates. 

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:40:55 -0400

Early voting begins Thursday, Senate candidates bringing in big supporters

It's just 16 days before Election Day. Early voting across North Carolina begins Thursday.

You can expect both candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat to crisscross the state this week getting their message out to voters.

Sunday, Sen. Kay Hagan brought her campaign to CPCC.

Hagan spoke to students and teachers, her campaign says, highlighting a clear contrast on education and her record of putting North Carolina first.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Charlotte next weekend to campaign in an early vote event at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Channel 9 learned former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will campaign for Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis this week at Wingate University.

Wednesday Tillis’ campaign said it raised $3.3 million during the last three months.

Compare that to the $4.9 million raised by Hagan’s campaign during the same period.

Sunday afternoon Hagan made a campaign stop at Central Piedmont Community College where she touted education as a top priority for her campaign.

“I am here today with our students, teachers and parents to make it clear that I will always stand for education,” says Senator Kay Hagan.

This week Sen. John McCain joined Tillis in Goldsboro for a campaign stop.

Monday Tillis also spoke to a crowd in Charlotte, where he touted a focus on the economy.

“Just focus on limited government, focus on spending within your means, not deficits,” says Tillis.

Channel 9 is getting up close and personal with the two candidates vying to be North Carolina’s next Senator.

Eyewitness News anchor Blair Miller is giving you a rare look at their lives. 

The Senate Showdown airs Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:56:17 -0400

Thousands walk in pink, nearly $350k raised for fight against breast cancer

WSOC-TV was a proud sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, held in uptown Charlotte on Saturday.

Thousands of local residents donned their brightest pink outfits and rallied together for the walk and 5k.

Anchor Natalie Pasquarella emceed the event, which started at the Nascar Hall of Fame.

The community event raised approximately $345,000 for the fight against breast cancer with donations still coming in.

Click here if you are interested in donating

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States other than skin cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. The chance of a woman developing invasive breast cancer at some point in her life is about 1 in 8.

In 2014, approximately 232,670 women, including 7,580 in North Carolina, will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die from the disease.

Since 1993, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has been the American Cancer Society’s outreach to build awareness and raise money to fight breast cancer. In that time, 10 million walkers in nearly 300 communities across the nation have contributed more than $594 million.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society, click here.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:12:32 -0400

Victim shot in throat on N. Tryon Street, police looking for suspect

Police are searching for the suspect who shot a man outside a gas station in North Charlotte Sunday.

Officers responded to the Shell at the corner of North Tryon Street and Matheson Avenue around 3 p.m.

Investigators said they found a man in his mid to late 20s who had been shot in the throat.  He was rushed to CMC with life-threatening injuries but is now expected to survive.

The shooter fled the scene before police arrived to the gas station.  Witnesses told investigators the suspect may have left the area in a light-colored SUV.

Investigators are hopeful surveillance video from the gas station will help identify the suspect and shed light on what led up to the shooting.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police.  The investigation is ongoing.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:45:32 -0400

As Sweden hunts for sub, 'Cold War' comparisons flourish

With the Swedish navy on the hunt for a suspected Russian submarine, in October... you'd be forgiven for drawing up certain comparisons. 

And a number of outlets have done exactly that, with the news that the Swedes had detected possible "foreign underwater activity" and have mobilized some 200 personnel to look for the suspected sub. (Video via Euronews)

SASKIA O'DONOGHUE, BBC: "All of this has overtones of the Cold War, submarine activity around Sweden was a major concern at the height of the conflict. Russia submarine U137 ran aground in a secret Swedish submarine leak in 1981."

That refers to the so-called 'Whiskey on the Rocks' incident, when a Soviet submarine prompted a standoff and investigation after running aground in a Swedish military zone. (Video via STV)

The Guardian also took that angle, describing the operation as, "reminiscent of the cold war when neutral Sweden regularly swept the island-strewn Baltic Sea coastline around the capital for Soviet spy submarines."

Couple that with reports last month that a Russian jet had violated Swedish airspace, and it's easy to see why Nordic states would be on edge. 

But Russia and the U.S. aren't exactly threatening each other with nuclear warheads, or fighting proxy wars across the globe, so it's worth asking if coverage isn't jumping the gun on Cold War comparisons.

Writing for The New York Times, historian Viktor Sebestyen argues it's not an apt comparison because, stripped of the ideology, the current conflict is localized and Putin-centric.  

"If there is a threat, it is geographical, not ideological, and it is to a confined area on Russia’s periphery ... there is no global military challenge, no clash of a cultural or economic kind." He goes on to say only the rhetoric feels familiar. 

There has been plenty of that — especially in the wake of Western sanctions. RT quoted Russia's foreign minister as saying, "You can essentially feel it in their statements and actions, the true goal of restrictions."

And rhetoric from Western leaders in response probably hasn't helped, as John Kerry described Russia last spring

JOHN KERRY VIA CBS: "In Russia, an authoritarian country." 

For its part, the Swedish military has been very careful about disclosing the origin of the foreign underwater activity, and hasn't confirmed that it is of Russian origin. 

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:55:20 -0400

Study links soda to accelerated DNA aging

We already know drinking soda can lead to obesity, but new research suggests drinking a can of the carbonated beverage everyday can be as bad as smoking. Yikes.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco found those who drank 20 ounces of soda had DNA typical of someone 4.6 years older. 

To come to this conclusion, researchers looked at how soda intake effected the DNA of more than 5,000 people nationwide. 

But it's important to point out researchers did not find diet soda to have the same effect, making the extraordinary amount of sugar in each can of regular soda the likely culprit. 

Senior study author Elissa Epel said, “Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development, not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues.”

However, even though diet soda might not age you quite as much, it's probably not a good idea to make a habit of drinking either. 

Previous studies have shown the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may even cause cancer. 

And both regular and diet soda can be bad for your teeth

But some good news — soda consumption has actually been going down in the U.S. for years now. 

Last year, water replaced soda as America's favorite drink.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:55:12 -0400

Tesla's sales model could get it banned in Michigan

Electric car manufacturer Tesla is asking consumers to fight a bill passed by the Michigan legislature earlier this month.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has until Tuesday to sign a bill that includes an amendment many believe is directed at Tesla's business model.

CAROLYN CLIFFORD VIA WXYZ: "An amendment added to the bill earlier this month bars auto companies from selling to consumers. The luxury electric brand is the only major company that operates that way."

The issue stems from Tesla's unusual sales model.

The company has galleries, usually located in shopping malls, where potential customers can learn about the cars. Vehicles are then purchased using a computer connected to the Tesla factory in California. 

And here's the rub: other automakers are prohibited from this type of direct-to-consumer sale under franchise law in almost every state, having instead to sell through licensed dealerships.

Tesla contends it is exempt from Michigan's franchised dealership law because it's never had a dealership in the state. The amendment barring direct-to-consumer sales would change that. 

In a blog post, Tesla accused auto dealers of adding the amendment at the last minute, claiming: "The dark-of-night tactics highlight the dealers concerns that their arguments don't stand up well to public scrutiny...No consumer unaffiliated with dealers would ever want this."

A spokesperson for the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, which had a hand in attaching the amendment, denied it was intended to block Tesla from selling in the state, telling The Detroit News: "We would expect if Tesla wanted to operate in the state of Michigan that they would follow the laws."

Tesla has fought similar legal battles before.

In 2013, a similar bill was dropped by the North Carolina House after winning unanimous approval in the Senate.

In Massachusetts, the company won a Supreme Judicial Court case brought by the state's Automobile Dealers Association in 2012 claiming Tesla's gallery violated state law barring car manufacturers from owning dealerships.

And the company has encountered problems in Missouri, Texas and New Jersey as well.

A representative from Tesla said that while the company intended to enter the Michigan market, the bill "forecloses that opportunity in a very definitive way." Snyder has not said whether or not he will veto the bill. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.


Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:53:39 -0400

Would a travel ban even work in stopping Ebola spread?

In the wake of the two nurses diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, and the subsequent fear and fallout, one measure that's been floated consistently is that of a travel ban on the worst-affected West African countries. 

REP. FRED UPTON (R-MI) VIA KXAN: "We should not be allowing these folks in, period."

REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R-NC): "If there is a better time for our president to take out his pen and his phone, now is that time. Let's put in place those travel restrictions that we're looking for."

Republicans, and more recently some Democrats as well have been calling for the ban. It's gotten to the point where the president himself has softened his stance from roundly opposing the ban to this:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA VIA THE WHITE HOUSE: "I don't have a philosophical objection to a travel ban if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe ... A travel ban is less effective than the measures we are currently instituting."

In fact, almost across the board medical experts are suggesting a travel ban would actually be counter-productive. As The New York Times reports, "a ban would do more harm than good because it would isolate impoverished nations that are barely able to cope with the outbreak," and possibly cut off international aid. 

Plus it would be hard to practically implement an effective ban. 

MANJI CHETO, VIA CNBC: "A travel ban, I mean people can still go through four countries to get to the United States or even Britain so I don't think that would be an effective policy at all."

And as Vox points out, travel bans in the past haven't worked — with the AIDS-focused travel ban Ronald Reagan instituted in 1987 as an example. It cites a report that found, "they were 'ineffective, impractical, costly, harmful, and may be discriminatory" and concluded, "prevention of HIV worked better than travel restriction."

So, why all of this talk about a ban? Fear could be one motivating factor. 

After it was revealed that one of the nurses diagnosed with Ebola took a flight to Cleveland, fears escalated that more people could've been exposed to the virus. (Video via ABC)

But another factor seems to be politics, with elections only a couple weeks away. 

Reporting for NPR, Juana Summers looks at how Ebola response has become a political debate, getting wrapped up into the issue of national security and ISIS. 

JUANA SUMMERS, NPR: "Even though the elections are just a few weeks away, O'Connell says it's almost impossible for a candidate to break into the news cycle, unless they're talking about one of two things: ISIS or Ebola."

And a writer for ABC points to Ebola, and the travel ban as the surprise issue of this political season, drawing up comparisons with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, with candidates trying to capitalize on the popular attention given to the issue. 

All of this while only one person —Thomas Eric Duncan, of Liberia — has died of Ebola in the United States and only two other people have been diagnosed. 

And the coverage has overshadowed the original source of the outbreak.

PROFESSOR ERNEST PERRY VIA KBIA: "Now all of the sudden because there are cases here in the West — here in the United States and in Europe — we're spending a lot of time covering those cases, and we're not talking about where the epicenter is in Western Africa."

There, the CDC says close to 4,500 people have died of the virus, and the number of total cases is nearing 9,000.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:47:20 -0400

Facebook says the DEA's fake accounts go too far

Facebook is taking the Drug Enforcement Agency to task after it impersonated an upstate New York woman on Facebook.

Its letter criticizes the DEA for impersonating Sondra Arquiett, creating a profile without her knowledge and posting seized images to it in an attempt to contact criminals.

Facebook repeatedly expresses “deep concern” with the impersonation and worries “the DEA’s actions threaten the integrity of our community.” More to the point, Facebook says the fake account violated its terms of service, which prohibits such impersonation.

When BuzzFeed published the report of impersonation earlier this month, the DEA argued Arquiett gave implicit consent to the sting when she agreed to the search of her mobile phone and the use of its contents in an investigation into criminal activity.

Bloggers found that leap in reasoning — from use in an investigation all the way to pretending to be someone on Facebook — anywhere from “creepy” to “extra-questionable.”

Arquiett sued for $250,000 in damages last year —

“claiming that she suffered fear and great emotional distress, and that she was endangered because the fake Facebook page gave the impression that she was cooperating with the feds.”(Video via KGNS)

Facebook has since taken down the fake account, and demanded the DEA close down any other impersonation accounts.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:47:03 -0400

Catholic 'welcome' to gays nixed at synod

The Vatican had signaled a historic change could be coming in the way the Catholic Church viewed gay people. But after a week of intense debate, no such breakthrough. 

The nearly 200 or so bishops who attended a two-week meeting, otherwise known as a synod, backtracked on this draft document the Vatican released Monday. 

In it, a section titled, “welcoming homosexual persons” stated “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.”

And while that did not suggest any change in Church doctrine on gay marriage, Vatican observers interpreted the language to represent a pretty remarkable shift in tone.

On Saturday, the bishops scrapped that language In favor of watered down wording. The section was renamed, “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation” and the part about gay people having gifts and qualities was taken out.

But even that version fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, with 118 bishops voting for and 62 voting against the text. (Video via The Vatican


Since the names weren’t released, we can't say for sure whether the text failed to pass because progressives didn’t think it went far enough or because conservatives thought it went too far, though the pushback we heard from hardline bishops earlier in the week suggests the latter. 

Either way, the final report comes as a major blow to progressives who hoped they’d see a change in the church’s position on gay issues.

Catholic LGBT group DignityUSA said it was disappointed "doctrine won out over pastoral need."

Then again, the fact that these issues were even discussed is significant in itself.  

Here's how John Thavis of Decoding the Vatican put it: “However the synod’s results are characterized, it’s clear the landscape has changed. Pope Francis has pointed the church in a new direction, and the bishops have taken the first cautious steps down that path.”

The synod also failed to reach a consensus on another controversial proposal that would have allowed divorced Catholics to receive communion. That subject will be up for discussion when the bishops reconvene in Rome a year from now. 

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 09:12:10 -0400

Students clean up after riots, violence, arrests near pumpkin festival

Students at Keene State College in New Hampshire took part in a huge cleanup effort Sunday after riots broke out Saturday.

A car was flipped, a fire was lit in the middle of the street and hundreds were injured during the Pumpkin Festival – but on the school's campus. The college was in cleanup mode Sunday, trying to get back to normal.

Police arrested 42 people on Friday alone, for what the city manager says were largely alcohol violations. More arrests were made Saturday.

Junior Adam Beaton said bottles were smashed everywhere, and kids had been lighting things on fire.

Eyad Achraf said he and his friends threw a party that spiraled out of control. They tried to shut it down, but soon riots broke out and police used pepper spray to control the crowd.

>> Read more trending stories

"It's all the residue from the pepper spray. See, usually it's a red color, now, a little dusty," he said, referring to his car. "Might need a little car wash."

He went on to say that he didn't think that the officers were excessive with their tactics to control the situation.

The situation escalated throughout the evening Saturday. 

"And then it just kept getting worse. There were cars being flipped over. There was a car on fire. They were shooting rubber bullets," resident Mikaela Wilson said.

Wilson said she was tear-gassed traveling through the crowd.

City officials said about 30 people were treated and released from area hospitals, but none were injured as a result of police actions.

Keene State President Anne Huot said guilty rioters will be held accountable.

"We are reviewing images, videos, media coverage, social-media postings and information we have about off-campus residences. The most serious offenders will face interim suspension, followed by conduct action up to, and including, expulsion," she said.

The Pumpkin Fest itself when off without a hitch. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, about 50,000 people were in downtown Keene on Saturday, but city officials say the riots that happened on the Keene State campus may affect the festival's future.

Scroll down to see the latest from social media:

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 08:02:57 -0400

Shocking video: Woman allegedly slaps teen at McDonald’s

In a cellphone video, a woman appears to be taking a swing at a teenager inside a McDonald's in Stanwood, Washington.

However, it is what came before the swing that has brought controversy. The woman accused of hitting the teenager said she felt threatened by the group of students because they were swearing around her young child.

>> Read more trending stories

The teen who allegedly was hit, Connor Reynolds, tells a different story. Reynolds said the woman, later identified by police as 29-year-old Elyssa Buhl, was upset at a group of eighth-graders for swearing and acted aggressively toward them. Reynolds, who is in the ninth grade, said he and his friends intervened. 

“She took a kid’s frappe and threw it on the ground,” Reynolds said. “She started using awful language in front of her kid, which is very ironic to me.”

The police report said there is likely enough evidence for Reynolds and his family to press charges. Reynolds said he is still considering the possibility.

When reached by phone, Buhl said she felt “surrounded” and thought she had to lash out to defend herself and her child.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:54:41 -0400

Bikini calendar video causes controversy for Utah National Guard

Ever wonder what Utah National Guardsmen get up to during their free time? The Utah Department of Public Safety and the Utah National Guard sure do.

The two agencies are conducting an investigation into the making a video published Thursday— kids, cover your eyes. 

KTVU: "The video is a behind-the-scenes look into the making of this year's Hot Shots calendar. ... The Utah National Guard said a senior official gave permission to shoot the scene without getting permission from higher-ups." 

In a statement, the Utah National Guard explained, "Use of military equipment, facilities and personnel in civilian for-profit endeavors such as this requires approval of National Guard Bureau Public Affairs through the respective state National Guard Headquarters. There was no official approval for this project."

>> Read more trending stories

Since the investigation began, it's been confirmed the equipment used in the video belongs to the Guard. But it's not just the use of the equipment that has raised eyebrows; it's also how the video portrays the Guard — which officials have called an embarrassment. 

KSTU: "Our colonel was watching the news. ... He happened to recognize that some of the instructors from the firing range that day were some DPS SERT team members. SERT is our Special Emergency Response Team."

A quick look back at the video and you can clearly see men in uniform. 

But one captain looked at the situation from a different angle, telling KUTV, "They were only there helping instruct them on the firing range of the private ranch so no one got hurt. ... What it's looking like it's coming down to is some really good people who made a poor decision."

We will note, though, that on the Hot Shots Calendar's website, it claims its "primary aim is to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity." Help for Heroes is a U.K. organization that supports wounded vets. 

As for the investigation in Utah, military officials have said once it's complete, "required actions" will be taken.

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:51:57 -0400

Hannah Graham case a 'death investigation' after possible remains found

Virginia police said Saturday they had uncovered human remains while investigating the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE CHIEF TIMOTHY LONGO VIA CNN: "Fairly shortly after that discovery, at the time that was most appropriate, Detective Sgt. James Mooney of the Charlottesville Police Department made a very difficult phone call and reached out to John and Susan Graham."

>> Read more trending stories

ALBEMARLE COUNTY POLICE CHIEF STEVE SELLERS VIA WSET: "I ask for the public's patience as we move forward and pursue what is now a new, ongoing, death investigation."

Police found the remains while searching an abandoned property in Albemarle County. The remains won't be formally identified until an autopsy is carried out, and authorities urge people to avoid jumping to conclusions. 

Graham went missing in Charlottesville on Sept. 13. After her disappearance went public, thousands of volunteers joined state and local officials in a massive search of the area.

Authorities eventually arrested 32-year-old Jesse Matthew, who was seen walking near Graham on CCTV footage the night she went missing. After his arrest, police said Matthew was also linked to another unsolved abduction case in 2009.  (Video via City of Charlottesville)

Matthew is currently charged with abduction with intent to defile. He's next due in court Dec. 4.

Published: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:07:31 -0400