<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:38:57 -0500 Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:38:57 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[The Big Freeze: February 2015 by the Numbers]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 16:11:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP47401093417.jpg

February 2015 was brutal. The bone-numbing, punishing cold shattered records in the Northeast, making February the coldest month for some cities since reliable records were first kept.

Some places recorded the most days of zero or below temperatures. Adding to the misery were multiple winter storms that buried Boston under piles of snow.

While the first day of March will be blustery, with another snowstorm expected to hit Sunday evening, the end is surely near.

Weather Services International predicts that March, April and May should all be warmer than normal in the Northeast.

Take a look at the frigid February by the numbers:

6.2 degrees: The average temperature in Bangor, Maine, according to the National Weather Service. That's about 15 degrees below normal and easily beats the old record of 8.4 degrees, from January 1994. February record low of 13.8. degrees was also set in Portland, Maine.

9.0 degrees: The average temperature in Syracuse, New York, which shattered by 3 degrees the old record set in February 1934. That makes February 2015 the coldest month ever for Syracuse.

10.9 degrees: The average temperature in Buffalo, New York, beating the 1934 record of 11.4, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.

15.7 degrees: The average temperature in February in Hartford, Connecticut,  according to First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan. That's a degree below the current record of 16.5 degrees, which was set in February 1934. This month is also expected to break the 2004 record in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which stands at 21.9 degrees. The average temperature in the Bridgeport area in February was 19.7 degrees.

18.8 degrees: The average temperature in Boston, making February the second-coldest month on record. The city spent over 500 hours without breaking 32 degrees.

23.9 degrees: The average temperature in New York City, making the month the coldest February in more than 80 years and the third coldest since 1869. The coldest February ever recorded in the city was in 1934, when the average temperature in Central Park was 19.9 degrees. February of 1885 comes in second.

4 below zero: The temperature dipped down to 4 below zero at Dulles International Airport in Virginia,  on Feb. 24, shattering the previous record of 14 degrees. That record was set in 1967. The entire region was running close to 10 degrees below normal for the month.

102 inches: The amount of snow Boston received this winter, most of it in February. It’s just 5.6 inches shy of the snowiest winter on record, according to the National Weather Service. Another storm, however, is expected to hit Sunday, dumping 6 inches in some areas, according to the New England Cable News.

150: The number of structures in Massachusetts where roofs have collapsed because of the snow loads this winter, according to state officials, The Associated Press reported. On Sunday, a youth hockey team escaped without injury when part of a snow-weighted roof at a Canton, Massachusetts, skating rink collapsed.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Police Shooting On Camera]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:36:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/150301-downtown-la-ois-skid-row.jpg

A police shooting during a struggle that was caught on cellphone video left one person dead in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row on Sunday.

Police were responding to a reported robbery when the shooting occurred just before noon in the 500 block of South San Pedro Street, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.

Police did not identify the person who was killed. He was described only as a male. Police did not say if he was armed.

Cellphone video taken by a witness shows several officers attempting to take the person into custody on a sidewalk as bystanders look on.

The male can be seen swinging his arms as officers approach him. He falls to the ground and officers apparently try to hold him down and use a stun gun.

At least five gunshots were fired during the struggle. It’s unclear what triggered the shooting.

At least two officers could be seen with their guns drawn after shots rang out.

No officers were struck by gunfire. 

Several witness videos of the confrontation were posted online. One taken from another angle shows a person nearby picking up a police baton from the floor. That person was knocked to the ground by officers and taken into custody.

 

NBC4's Kevin LaBeach contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC/KVEA]]>
<![CDATA[Truck Goes Through Ice in NJ]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 21:59:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/030115ice.jpg

A man faces possible criminal charges in connection with an intensive search by police, firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard for a pickup truck that cracked through the ice and sank in a southern New Jersey river, authorities said.

Andrew Mayer, 27, of Toms River, the driver of the truck, was questioned by police after the search, said New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Greg Williams. He was released, but charges are pending, he said.

A bystander called police at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday after seeing the small truck drive onto the frozen Toms River and begin a series of "donuts," investigators said. The truck's headlights and brake lights could be seen from the shoreline. As the truck headed for the opposite side of the river, the lights disappeared, police said.

Area police and firefighters searched for the truck and were joined by a helicopters dispatched by the Coast Guard and the New Jersey State Police. The submerged truck was spotted at about 10:20 a.m., about 100 feet from shore, police said.

A rescue diver was lowered to the truck and found a dead boxer-mix dog inside, police said. The dog belonged to Mayer, police said.

The multi-agency search cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars," a police source estimated.

A passenger in the truck, Daniel Joly, 25, also of Toms River, told investigators that he argued with Mayer about driving on the frozen river and got out of the vehicle, Willams said.

Investigators suspect alcohol may have been involved when the driver of the truck took it out onto the ice, said Maj. Robert Yaiser, the state police commanding officer for special operations.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office ultimately will decide whether to file charges in the case.



Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard]]>
<![CDATA[Soup to Ices: Stores Switch With the Season]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:52:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Vendome.jpg

You know that spring is on the way in Brooklyn when The Soup Bowl becomes Uncle Louie G's Italian ices.

In mid-March, the sign comes down for the hole-in-a-wall take-out place with a devoted following and a daily selection of some 18 soups, and Uncle Louie G takes its place. The seasonal switch on Seventh Avenue keeps the storefront in the black throughout the year.

A similar change takes place at the Brooklyn Porridge Co. and the Vendome macaron bar, two other Brooklyn spots that turn into Uncle Louie G's Italian ice shops when a frozen treat no longer feels like a cruel joke.

"Today, the way the economy is, it’s a great concept," Uncle Louie G’s Dino Russo said. “This way you earn 12 months out of year."

Richard Gussoff approached Russo five years ago with his plan to offer soup in the Seventh Avenue shop, which until then had closed in November for the winter. Gussoff had sold three restaurants in Manhattan’s theater district not long before — a decision prompted by proposed monthly rent increases of up to $5,000 — and had noticed the shuttered space.

“Soup was always my forte in my restaurants,” he said.

J.P. Eggers, an associate professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, compared the phenomenon to pop-up stores, increasingly popular in high-traffic areas where rents are high. A seasonal shop in a vacation location has little value once visitors go home, but real estate costs remain high for a store in a place like Brooklyn, he noted.

“The idea of leaving it with either no business because it’s closed or with a business that is just not going to make any money at that time of day or in that season just doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “It’s far too valuable a property to do that.”

Uncle Louie G, which also sells ice cream, was started about 20 years by Russo’s brother and sister-in-law. Russo and three friends took it over in 2009 and expanded the company so that today there are nearly 60 outlets throughout the metropolitan New York area and as far as Florida, Oklahoma, California and even Malaysia. The individual stores are owned by license-holders who pay $15,000 and agree to buy ices and ice cream from Uncle Louie G.

Russo was skeptical when Gussoff first came to him, doubtful that he would be able to sell enough soup to afford the space. Each man jotted down a number for the monthly rent on a napkin, and each wrote the same -- $2,000. The Soup Bowl opened.

“I’m not a spiritual person, but if something was meant to be, that was a good sign,” Gussoff said. “They’re happy because I’m paying the rent. It works because in the winter, you don’t really want ice cream except for a few kids, and in the summer you don’t want soup.”

The owners of the Brooklyn Porridge Co., Emily Hannon and Karyn Seltzer, similarly approached Uncle Louie G after spotting an empty store on Union Street. The two had worked together at a corporate restaurant, were fast friends and wanted to offer something to customers with dietary restrictions.

“We started researching porridge, and the whole idea of porridge and discovered it exists in every culture,” Hannon said. “It’s an ancient comfort food.”

Their porridge, gluten- and dairy-free, is made from steel cut oats, grits, amaranth millet or brown rice and is served with savory or sweet toppings, everything from braised red cabbage to wildflower honey.

Hannon and Seltzer hope to keep their restaurant open year-round by finding another location and adding summer items to the menu. They are looking for other ways to expand: making the restaurant replicable and franchising and selling their sauces, compotes and sweet and savory granolas online.

The seasonal store has allowed them to test their ideas without making a large investment, they said.

“It’s been a warm, friendly way to start something, to start a business,” Hannon said.

Vendome on Smith Street is the brainchild of Taryn Garcia, who had studied film and landed at the Food Network after moving from Colorado to New York.

“I wasn’t totally in love working in production, and I just thought, “God, they’re having so much more fun in the kitchen,” she said.

She ended up in Paris studying pastry art and while there noticed the long lines at some of the shops selling macarons, the meringue-based French confections. She knew then she would make them when she returned to the United States.

She and her partner, Adriana Troli, sell their macarons at Saks Fifth Avenue and later this year will open a permanent shop at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park, the former Jehovah’s Witnesses’ printing plant that has been turned into condominiums.

In the meantime, Garcia found the Uncle Louie G space advertised on Craigslist as a pop-up store for just over $3,000 a month.

“We looked at the cost to see: How are we going to make money? Will we break even? Is this going to be a loss?” Garcia said. “We decided to go for it.”

In the new store, they will offer not only macarons, but also coffee, some breakfast and lunch foods and maybe even wine and Champagne.

Gussoff said he was not sure what he would do once Uncle Louie G returns next month. His soups are widely popular — his lobster bisque sold out the first day, thanks to the staff of nearby New York Methodist Hospital — but he said he knew business would drop off by 90 percent once the temperatures rise.

Still, his customers return each year, he said.

“There are people that come to us, and they say we're the only thing they like about winter,” he said.
 



Photo Credit: Noreen O'Donnell
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<![CDATA[Identity Thief Filled Out Tax Return Before Me, Victim Says]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:58:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/484588011.jpg

Virginia mom of three Brooke Taheri opted to spend her Valentine’s Day working on her taxes, never imagining the holiday could get any less romantic.

Then she discovered her identity had been stolen.

“You get that sinking feeling in your stomach,” said Taheri, 37, of Fairfax County, describing the moment she realized something was wrong.

Tax-related identity theft is a growing concern, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which named it as one of its “dirty dozen” tax scams of 2015.

“Preventing and detecting identity theft and refund fraud remains a top priority for the IRS," the government agency said in a statement. "We have added and strengthened protections in our systems, and we continue to make important progress in stoping identity theft and other fradulent refunds."

Last year, the IRS initiated 1,063 identity theft-related investigations and the Federal Trade Commission reported receiving 109,063 complaints about tax-related identity theft, according to the IRS website.

Taheri found out she was a victim when she tried to e-file her taxes and got a notice saying the IRS already received her forms.

“I was livid and completely frustrated,” Taheri said.

Yet submitting your tax return is the only way to uncover the distressing news before the tax season's deadline hits.

Credit card companies continually monitor customers’ behavior, making it easier for them to pick up on any unusual activity. The IRS, however, only connects with taxpayers once a year. Fraudsters typically file early, beating taxpayers to the punch and making it difficult for the IRS to detect discrepancies against employers’ information, which the government agency receives in late spring.

Since many Americans have yet to file their returns this tax season, it is too early to tell how many others are victims of tax-related identity theft although the majority should not be affected.

About 1.5 million taxpayers received Identity Protection PINs, a six-digit unique number, by the IRS last year as part of a pilot program. The agency provided them with the extra security measure to all identity theft victims, including those whose data was compromised in schemes unrelated to their taxes.

The IRS also offered the PINs to another 1.7 million taxpayers whose accounts signaled they could be victims.

Filing early is one recommendation, but that didn’t prevent Taheri from experiencing a “very labor intensive” aftermath.

“Thus far I’ve spent over four hours on music hold with different federal and local government agencies and then once I talk to people it’s been another hour and a half,” she said.

Taheri filed a police report, contacted the IRS and the FTC, and checked with the Social Security Administration and other agencies to determine if her information had been used illegally, she said. And she still had to file her taxes, but now she must submit a paper copy along with an identity theft affidavit so the IRS can conduct its investigation, she said.

Updating your passwords and usernames regularly, and monitoring your credit report are a few other steps taxpayers should take to avoid identity theft, according to resources available on the FTC and IRS websites. Another suggestion: Don’t give your personal information when it is not required of you or through unsecure channels.

Taheri, who works in finance, admonished herself for failing to set up identity theft protection earlier.  She said she has now signed up for it. Taheri is also keeping a close eye on her credit reports and planning how she’ll avoid this in the future.

“As soon as I get my W-2s and tax information, I will be filing as early as I physically can,” she said. “I will be the first to file.”

And after a headache-filled Valentine's day, Taheri — who wasn't expecting a big hoopla — was finally able to celebrate with her family.

"By the time I got off all the phone calls, I think we got carry-out."



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Legend Minnie Minoso Dies]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 19:17:07 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/minnie+minoso+sox.jpg

White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, affectionately known as the "Cuban Comet," died Saturday night at 90 years old.

Minoso died of natural causes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The Cuban-born Minoso was the first black player for the South Side baseball team. He is a nine-time All-Star outfielder and Gold Glove winner.

Minoso made his debut at Comiskey Park in 1951, and his play time with the team spanned four decades. He was named as a candidate for induction into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2012 but was denied last year.

In tweet after his death, the White Sox said, "Minnie Minoso -- Mr. #WhiteSox -- has died. Tears of sadness are falling for a great man."

The Minoso family confirmed the death Sunday afternoon in a statement to the press.

"Minnie lived a full life of joy and happiness, surrounded always by friends and family," the family said. "It is during moments like these that love matters most. Minnie enjoyed nothing more than to be at the ballpark cheering on his White Sox. For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile."

Minoso appeared in a total of 1,835 career games over 17 major-league seasons with Cleveland, the White Sox, St. Louis and Washington.

Minoso's influence reached far beyond the baseball stadium. As the first black Major League player in Chicago, he served as an inspiration to countless young people, including President Barack Obama.

"Minnie may  have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie's quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could," the president said in a statement.

Governor Bruce Rauner called Minoso "a trailblazer, a leader and an extraordinary baseball player."

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Minoso's "infectious enthusiasm forever solidified his place as a Chicago icon for the ages."

The Chicago Cubs also released a statement expressing their condolences for the White Sox.

"Having recently lost one of our all-time greats Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox," the North Side team said. "He will be forever known as an electric offensive player and great ambassador for the game of baseball."

According to the Chicago White Sox, Minoso once talked about wearing his Sox uniform till the day he died -- and even afterward.

"When I die, I want to be playing baseball," Minoso said. "Truly. They don't bury me without my uniform. If I die, I die happy because I was wearing No. 9 for the White Sox."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Breaks Out at Disneyland]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 18:42:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/150228-disneyland-fire.jpg

A fire broke out at Disneyland in Anaheim on Saturday night, but was quickly extinguished, a spokeswoman for the theme park said.

The flames were reported about 9:20 p.m. in a back stage area near the It’s a Small World attraction, said the spokeswoman, Suzi Brown. The fire was not inside the building.

The small blaze was possibly sparked by a fireworks show that usually takes place at 9:25 p.m., she said. The show may have started earlier due to the possibility of rain.

No one was hurt, Brown said.

Anaheim and Disneyland fire personnel responded to the fire.

Posts on social media, including Instagram and Twitter, showed flames near the attraction.

The theme parked hoped to reopen It's a Small World late Saturday night. Disneyland was scheduled to remain open until midnight.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cavin Hawkins]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Swedish Teen Found in NY]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 07:24:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022815teen.JPG

A Swedish teen with Asperger's was found safe early Sunday and reuinted with his father nearly a day after he went missing in New York City, police said.

Marcus Kerttu, 15, was scheduled to depart the city Saturday, but instead his family was waiting for word of his whereabouts.

He was last seen Friday evening shortly before 8 p.m. at a McDonald's on Canal Street, police said. He was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 120 pounds, wearing blue jeans, black sneakers, black coat and a black hat.



Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Trayvon Martin's Dad at University]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:27:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Trayvon-Martin-Father-at-Ar.jpg

The father of Trayvon Martin took the stage at a local university Saturday — just days after the three-year anniversary of his son's death.

Tracy Martin had a conversation with Philadelphia Daily News columnist Solomon Jones in front of an audience as part of an evening of events that began at 5 p.m. Saturday at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa.

“I think the next step for all of us is becoming more educated on how the law applies to us,” Martin said. “How the police work.”

Dubbed "Letters to Trayvon: A Celebration of Black Men and Boys," the night also featured the three winners of a citywide letter writing contest for high school students. The teens wrote letters "expressing how they felt when they heard about the death of Trayvon Martin," according to LettersToTrayvon.com. One letter was written by Michael DeShield, a student at Abington High School.

“We can make a difference, Trayvon,” DeShield wrote. “I thought I’d just let you know that your death was not in vain. Thank you.”

The unarmed 17-year-old Florida boy was shot to death Feb. 26, 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman said the fatal shooting was in self-defense and he was acquitted by a jury in July 2013 on all state charges.

During the event, Tracy Martin emphasized the importance of family values and parenting.

“We’ve kind of lost the love and respect for other man,” he said. “If our young people don’t respect themselves, they’re not going to respect you. We have to get back to basic parenting 101.”

As the live interview began at 7:30 p.m., a 48-hour social media campaign came to an end. The online push was meant to "flood the internet with positive images of black men and boys, articles, quotes, poetry, and music that speaks to the challenges and triumphs of black men and boys," the website continued.

“We hope we can get other people to come on board and understand that this is about humanity,” said Dr. Doreen Loury of Arcadia University. “Not a black and white thing. This is about humanity.”

Using the hashtag #LTT2015, users began sharing images of Trayvon in a hoodie, as well as shots of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other civil rights leaders Thursday at 7:30 p.m. — the time the Florida teen was pronounced dead three years ago that day.

“People need to get real about the fact a person’s race really impacts the way that they’re treated in America in every aspect of their life,” said Lawanda Horton, an organizer for the event.

A VIP reception, which cost $50 to attend, was hosted by The Black Male Development Symposium, Mission Inc. and Arcadia's Pan African Studies Program. Proceeds from the event benefit students attending the Black Male Development Symposium and the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
 

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<![CDATA[NJ Man Steals Jeep, Rams 3 Police Cars: Authorities]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:53:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Generic-Police.jpg

A New Jersey man faces a slate of charges accusing him of ramming three police squad cars with a stolen Jeep Wrangler after being confronted by officers in farmers market parking lot.

Middlesex Borough police apprehended Kristof McCoy, 19, of Millington, at the Route 28 Farmers Market after being alerted to the vicinity by a motorist who said McCoy had earlier sideswiped his vehicle. The motorist had followed McCoy, but lost him.

As officers approached the Jeep Wrangler, it sideswiped one squad car, rammed another head-on, then backed into a third patrol car. One officer, who had exited his car, had to leap aside to avoid being struck by McCoy, police said.

After striking the squad cars, Jeep Wrangler sideswiped a nearby car and crashed into a fence at the north end of the parking lot. McCoy then fled on foot but was caught by two officers.

Investigators determined that the Jeep Wrangler had been stolen from a residence in Long Hill Township.

McCoy was charged with four counts of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, possession of stolen property and criminal mischief. He was ordered held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center in lieu of $150,000 bail.

It was unclear whether he had obtained a lawyer. 

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<![CDATA[Sex Offender Arrested at Toll Booth]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:09:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/22815tunnel.jpg

A New York man, stopped for ignoring a "Do Not Enter" sign at the Lincoln Tunnel, was arrested Saturday when records revealed he was wanted in Florida for violating parole as a registered sex offender, Port Authority police said.

Ricardo Hernandez, 40, from Queens, New York, was charged as a fugitive from justice, driving while intoxicated and possessing a false driver's license, police said.

Police stopped Hernandez at about 2:30 a.m. after he allegedly ignored the traffic sign at a toll booth. Hernandez had alcohol on his breath and failed a sobriety test, police said. A bottle of whiskey was found behind the driver's seat of his car.

A records check showed that he was using a false license and that he was a registered sex offender accused of a parole violation by a Broward County warrant, investigators said. Details about the parole violation warrant were unavailable.

Hernandez was being held on $50,000 bail. It was unclear whether he had secured a lawyer. 

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<![CDATA[Couple Could Be NY's Oldest]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:21:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/oldest+couple+rockland.jpg

With a combined age of 212 and 82 years of marriage, an upstate New York couple could be one of the region’s oldest couples, according to the Journal News.

The couple, Duranord and Jeanne Veillard, were married in November of 1932 – the same month former New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected the United State’s 32nd president.

They’ve lived through nearly 12 presidential tenures since they’ve wed, and on Saturday will celebrate Duranord Veillard’s 108th birthday. Jeanne Veillard turns 105 in May.

The couple, initially from Haiti, moved to the New York in 1968 when Duranord Veillard lost his job as a judge in Port-au-Prince, the Journal News reports. They settled in Rockland County’s Spring Valley, and were followed by the rest of their family.

Since then, they’ve had a dozen grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

The newspaper reports that Duranord Veillard stays sharp by starting every morning with five to seven pushups, a cup of tea, oatmeal and fresh fruit. He and his wife also take lots of naps and stay in the house unless they’re going to doctor’s visits.

When asked, Duranord Veillard told the newspaper his secret to a long life.

“That’s God,” he said in a French Creole.

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<![CDATA[Roof of Ice Rink Collapses]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 08:10:06 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/179*120/canton+fire+pic+2.jpg

Coaches and parents are credited with saving the lives of two dozen students after the roof of an ice skating rink collapsed in Canton, Massachusetts.

It came crashing down with little notice - part of the roof over the Metropolis Rink is now gone.

"We were like, 'Why are we alive?'" said Norwood Youth Hockey Coach Mike Fanizzi. "We just looked at each other."

At 7 a.m., the team had just started practicing inside when the coaches heard loud, unusual noises coming from above.

"Heard a second snap and started screaming - we knew something was so wrong," said Coach Chris Sharkey

"I immediately started screaming to get off the ice," said Fanizzi. "I just knew that wasn't a natural sound."

That split-second decision saved lives.

"There were seven kids that we were staring at that were right underneath where it collapsed, and luckily, Mike's voice just was so loud that it forced them to move," said Sharkey.

Fifteen seconds later, the roof gave way.

"Right as we get to probably where the penalty box is, one of the other coaches and a mother went past us, and the roof collapsed right in front of us," said Fanizzi.

Even though the collapse happened at the other end of the rink, the force of it blew out a wall, creating even more damage.

Firefighters say heavy snow on the roof brought it down.

"Every single coach out there did a great job today," said Sharkey.

Remarkably, no one was injured.

The coaches say they were just doing what anyone else would.

"I didn't even think twice," said Fanizzi. "I know none of the other coaches did, either."

State officials say a site survey had been done at the rink just one day prior to the collapse and there were concerns expressed about the amount of snow on the roof.

The Town of Canton operates and leases the rink from the state.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation says they have reached out to all 34 non-DCR managed rinks to make sure their roofs are checked.



Photo Credit: Canton Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Astronaut's Vulcan Tribute to Leonard Nimoy ]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:38:29 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/11036297_10153067319546772_6134829756795390802_n.jpg

American astronaut Terry Virts tweeted a photo tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy on Saturday from the International Space Station. 

Virts shared an image of the split-fingered Vulcan salute against the backdrop of Earth. It contained no written message, but comes a day after the death of 83-year-old Nimoy.

Nimoy played the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on the classic television series "Star Trek."

The actor was a native of Boston and the Massachusetts coastline is visible to the right of Virts' hand.

NASA tweeted its own tribute to Nimoy on Friday, explaining how so "many of us at NASA were inspired by Star Trek."

Other astronauts have been tweeting messages about Nimoy’s impact on their own careers.

"#RIP @TheRealNimoy who popularized #space travel for generations to come so we may live long and prosper," Scott Kelley said in a tweet.

Live Long and Prosper, Mr. #Spock!" tweeted Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, aboard the International Space Station.



Photo Credit: Terry Virts/ NASA
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<![CDATA[15 Tons of Pot Worth $19M Seized]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:44:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/otay+mesa+record+breaking+seizure+%282%29.jpg

More than 15 tons of marijuana hidden in a mattress shipment was seized at the Otay Mesa cargo port of entry — the largest narcotics bust in the history of that border crossing and the second largest seizure at any crossing nationwide.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers made the find as they inspected a truck claiming to carry mattresses and cushions on Thursday evening.

The officer inspecting it referred it to an x-ray exam, where an anomaly was detected.

As the truck was docked for a more intense examination, a CBP officer raised the trailer's door and found plastic-wrapped packages, stacked floor to ceiling and front to back, filling nearly the entire truck. Just a few mattresses were stacked along the wall at the other end.

Officers tallied the find, which came to 1,296 packages containing about 31,598 pounds of marijuana. That load has an estimated street value of about $18.96 million.

The driver, a 46-year-old Mexican citizen with a valid border crossing card, was turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. The tractor-trailer, cargo shipment and drugs were all seized by CBP officers.

The Otay Mesa cargo port of entry saw its last record-breaking bust in 2003 when 19,999 pounds of marijuana was discovered. The largest seizure ever recorded by CBP officers was 35,265 pounds of marijuana at the Calexico East port of entry in 2013.



Photo Credit: CBP]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Gardens Police Chief Arrested, Fired]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 02:57:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022715+stephen+johnson+mug.jpg

Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Dania Beach Friday, officials said.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert confirmed the arrest and said Johnson was fired immediately.

Jail records showed Johnson, 53, was being held on $300 bond. It was unknown if he has an attorney.

According to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report, deputies were conducting an undercover operation targeting solicitation of prostitution at a Dania Beach hotel when Johnson was arrested.

Authorities had placed an escort ad on backpage.com and two detectives were posing as prostitutes at the hotel, the affidavit said.

Johnson had called the number on the ad and arranged to pay $100 for 30 minutes with two prostitutes, the report said.

When Johnson arrived at the hotel room, he was let in and handed over the $100, the report said. He had two condoms in his pocket when he was arrested, the report said.

A news release from the department said Assistant Chief Antonio Brooklen will serve as interim chief.

"We remain committed to excellence and integrity on every level," the department said in the release. "We will not allow Mr. Johnson's bad judgment to reflect negatively on the hardworking officers of the City of Miami Gardens and the residents they serve on a daily basis."

The department came under fire earlier this month following the officer-involved shooting of 25-year-old Lavall Hall.

Johnson said Hall attacked two officers with a broom handle and was shot twice with a Taser before he was fatally shot by an officer.

Hall's family has been critical of police in the wake of the shooting, holding a vigil and protest and demanding more answers in the shooting.

Johnson was named Miami Gardens' Police chief in May 2014 after a long career with the North Miami Police Department. He also served as North Miami's city manager from 2011 to 2014.



Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Wesleyan Student Will Survive OD "Against All Odds": Family]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:17:29 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WESLEYAN02232015.jpg

A Wesleyan University student who remains hospitalized nearly a week after overdosing on MDMA, or "Molly," is slowly recovering, according to a statement from family members.

"It is difficult to put into words how deeply grateful we are for the generous outpouring of love and support that we have received over the last few days," the student's family said in a statement Friday. "We are profoundly grateful to the teams at Hartford Hospital that went above and beyond to save our child's life. Thankfully, against all odds, our child will survive this terrible ordeal."

The student, who has not been publicly identified, was critically injured after overdosing last weekend and remains at Hartford Hospital.

"We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to the Wesleyan community — the administrators, faculty, and students — for their concern and support. And we are thankful as well for the expert work of the Middletown Police Department," the family added.

Ten of the student's peers also received medical treatment. After being rushed to Middlesex Hospital on Sunday, two were airlifted to Hartford Hospital and two more were transferred by ambulance, officials said.

Only one student is still in the hospital.

Four of their peers were arrested on drug charges earlier this week, accused of selling the MDMA that sickened them.

Eric Lonergan, 21; Andrew Olson, 20; Zachary Kramer, 21; and Rama Agha Al Nakib, 20, were immediately suspended from the school.

Olson is the founder and co-president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Wesleyan. According to the warrants for their arrest, Kramer, Lonergan and Nabik are known as drug dealers among their peers.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Detective's Crash, Wife in Traffic]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 10:12:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/nypd+detective+killed+wrong+way+crash.jpg

An NYPD detective on his way to work in Queens, New York, was killed in a wrong-way crash on a Westchester highway early Friday that backed up traffic for hours, and the 46-year-old officer's wife was tragically stuck in the jam as she tried to take the couple's teenage daughter to school, officials and relatives say.

The officer, Paul Duncan, was headed south on the Sprain Brook Parkway near Greenburgh in a Honda Pilot at about 4 a.m. when a 2013 Honda Civic headed the wrong way crashed into the detective's SUV head-on. Duncan was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Civic, 20-year-old Efren Moreano of Yonkers, was taken to Westchester Medical Center and is in a coma, police say. It's not clear why Moreano was driving the wrong way.

Aerial footage from Chopper 4, which was first on the scene, showed one mangled vehicle on the highway and another stopped off the roadway.

Duncan's wife, Rechelle, said her husband normally leaves for work at the department's Internal Affairs Bureau in Queens around 8 a.m., but got an unusually early start Friday.

When she went to drive her daughter to school in the city shortly before 7 a.m., she encountered a police car blocking access to the Sprain Brook Parkway by her home. It took her two hours to get to the city, and she had no idea the traffic was related to a response to an accident that had claimed her husband's life.

"I don't even know how that's possible," a composed yet stunned Rechelle Duncan told NBC 4 New York.

She and her husband were high school sweethearts who had been married for more than 20 years. Rechelle Duncan said her husband was planning to retire from the NYPD this year.

"He was thoughtful, he was disciplined. He made really good dinners," Rechelle Duncan said of her husband. "He thought he was funny, a sharp dresser, a really good dad."

Now, she says, she plans to focus on staying strong for her 13-year-old daughter.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor said after the crash that the state police and Department of Transportation should both look into ways to improve infrastructure on the highway. 

-Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report

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<![CDATA[Uber Breach May Affect 50K Drivers]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:54:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP943907754143.jpg

Uber says a database containing the names and drivers' license numbers of 50,000 of its drivers was breached in May.

The ride-sharing service says it has notified the drivers and hasn't received any reports of the information being misused. Uber says it will offer a one-year membership in Experian's ProtectMyID Alert identity theft protection service to the drivers involved.

The company said Friday the breach affects drivers in multiple states, but involves only a "small percentage" of its current and former drivers.

Uber says it discovered a potential breach in September. It announced the events in a statement posted on its blog and described them as a one-time occurrence. The San Francisco company says it has changed the access protocols for its database to prevent similar breaches.

Uber is the latest company to report a data breach in recent months. Others include retailer Home Depot, health insurer Anthem and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The problems can be costly as well as damaging to consumers' perception of a company.

Uber is privately-held and valued at $40 billion. It lets passengers summon cars through an app in more than 250 cities worldwide, but faces multiples legal and regulatory challenges as it expands in the United States and abroad. The company has been criticized over the thoroughness of the background checks it does on drivers and other safety issues as well as its method of raising prices when demand goes up.

Earlier this month Uber introduced new safety features for riders in India, include a "panic button" on its app that would let riders notify police in an emergency and a "safety net" that would let riders share trip details with others. The features were rolled out after a highly-publicized case where a passenger said she was raped by an Uber driver.

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<![CDATA[Slushy Waves Hit Nantucket Shore]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:07:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jonathan_Nimerfroh+%28104+of+6%29.jpg

It’s been so cold in New England that even the ocean waves are freezing.

A Nantucket-based photographer and surfer captured images of waves with the consistency of a 7-Eleven Slurpee hitting the coast of Nantucket, in Massachusetts, on Friday, Feb. 20.

“The wind was howling from the southwest which would typically make rough or choppy conditions not so good for surfing, but since the surface of the sea was frozen slush the wind did not change the shape,” Jonathan Nimerfroh said in an email to New England Cable News. “What resulted was perfect, dreamy, slush waves.”

The temperature was a high of 19 degrees that day, according to Nimerfroh, and the waves were around 2 feet high.

When Nimerfroh went back the beach on Saturday to take more photos of slurpee waves, it was even colder. The water had a thin sheet of ice over it and there were no waves at all.

Normally, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s not unusual for the harbor to freeze.

New England has experienced outsized snowfall and cold this winter. Boston has received 102 inches of snow, just 5.6 inches shy of the snowiest winter on record, according to the National Weather Service.

Another storm is expected to hit this weekend, dumping 6 inches in some areas. It won't take much to shatter the record.
 



Photo Credit: Jonathan Nimerfroh, www.jdnphotography.com]]>
<![CDATA[Polar Bear Cubs Go Outside For First Time]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:33:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/PolarBearBabies.jpg Two polar bear cubs venture outside for the first time since they were born in November 2014. One of the triplets died shortly after birth.]]> <![CDATA[Wooden Passenger Fools Carpool Lane]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:34:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Fake+passenger.JPG

A Long Island man allegedly used a wooden figure in a hooded sweatshirt to drive solo in the Long Island Expressway's HOV lane because, he told officers, he was late to his new job, police said.

A Suffolk County Highway Patrol officer noticed the fake passenger when he pulled the man over for speeding at 77 mph at 6:30 a.m. on Friday in Dix Hills.

A photo of the crudely made dummy shows a wooden board with a block-shaped, wooden head wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

"I was trying not to laugh at the guy because I thought it was quite silly," said officer Jonathan Abrams. 

Abrams said for a moment, he actually thought it was a real person.

"The silhouette was realistic enough," he said. "You see people with hoods up, sleeping in the front seat all the time." 

The driver, James Campbell, told NBC 4 New York the officer seemed to have a sense of humor about it.

"He said, 'Passenger, can I see some ID?' And I said, 'Officer, I don't think so,'" said Campbell, chuckling. 

Campbell told the officer that he was driving to a new job and didn't want to be late.

"He said he started a new job and he couldn't afford to be late to his new job, so traveling through the HOV lane allowed him to get there a little bit faster," said Abrams. 

He was issued summonses for speeding and occupancy violation.

Campbell didn't seem deterred. He pulled up to his home Friday evening after work with the dummy still in the front seat, saying he'd been using it for months. 

He said, "He's got a sister down in the basement and on special occasions, I bring her out and she wears a tutu." 



Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Dept. ]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Charged in Friend's Suicide]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:53:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Conrad+Roy+Michelle+Carter.jpg

A young woman who says she tried to help a Massachusetts teen before his 2014 suicide now faces manslaughter charges after text messages allegedly revealed that she encouraged him to take his own life.

Court documents from New Bedford court outline a deeper look into the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy, a student from Fairhaven and Mattapoisett.

In July of 2014, Fairhaven Police found Roy's body in his car parked behind a store. They believe he committed suicide by means of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Now, 18-year-old Michelle Carter of Plainville is facing involuntary manslaughter charges, having been indicted as a youthful offender.

After Roy's body was found, according to documents, police accessed his cell phone. There, they found thousands of text messages between Roy and Carter.

"Michelle not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn't done it yet, right up to the point of when his final text was sent to her on Saturday evening, July 12, 2014," police wrote after reviewing the messages.

The new charges have reopened old wounds for the Roy family.

"All I can think of is his smiling face," said Conrad's grandmother, Janice Roy. "He used to come play with his cousins on the beach."

Police also allege Carter misled friends and Roy's family members when he was missing.

The documents say that in other texts following his death, she told friends she heard him killing himself over the phone.

Police say Roy had told Carter he was scared to leave his family, but that Carter encouraged him to commit suicide.

"When he actually started to carry out the act, he got scared again and exited his truck," read the court documents. "But instead of telling him to stay out of the truck and turn off the generator Carter told him to 'get back in.'"

The court documents also show that Roy confided in Carter, saying, "I feel like I'm only staying alive for other people, not myself." He also reportedly said, "There's nothing anyone can do for me that's gonna make me wanna live."

Carter's attorney says his client is not a killer.

Roy's Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony's Church, Mattapoisett. Visiting hours will be held on Friday from 4-8 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Captain Conrad H. Roy III Scholarship Fund, c/o Northeast Maritime Institute, 32 Washington St., Fairhaven, MA 02719. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.



Photo Credit: Northeast Maritime Institute/Facebook.com]]>
<![CDATA[The Handball-Playing Grandmas of Bolivia]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:19:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP14805720858.jpg Indigenous Aymara grandmothers play handball in El Alto, Bolivia. These women stay healthy by remaining active. In this case, playing a group sport that is nontraditional in Bolivia.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Juan Karita ]]>
<![CDATA[ Woman, 91, Lands Her Dream Job in Silicon Valley]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:38:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-02-27+at+12.50.11+PM.jpg

Some land their dream job just weeks after graduation, but for Barbara Beskind, 91, it took several decades.

Beskind finally fulfilled her longtime dream of becoming a tech designer when she was hired at a top design firm in Silicon Valley two years ago.

"As a 10-year-old I wanted to be an inventor,'' Beskind told NBC's "Today show. "I've arrived. But it took me about 80 years."

She had a knack for design at an early age, making a hobby horse out of old tires during the Great Depression when she was just ten years old.

But she was discouraged to pursue a career in design by her high school guidance counselor who told her engineering schools don't accept females. So she decided to join the U.S. Army, where she served as an occupational therapist, while also writing books and learning to paint," she told "Today."

Two years ago she read about IDEO, known for designing the first mouse for Apple and other devices, and decided to apply for a vacant position. 

"Our culture is telling us, aging equals decline,'' IDEO associate partner Gretchen Addi told "Today". "And Barbara is very solidly standing there and saying, you know, 'I'm gonna call you on that.'''

Beskind focuses on projects related to aging. She has designed what she has dubbed a "trekker,'' a modified version of a walker, which is being developed into a prototype by IDEO.

She said coming to work every Thursday makes her "feel 30 years younger."

"Age is not a barrier to performance," she told "Today."  "Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it."

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:16:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP909511604973.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>