<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.pngNBC 6 South Floridahttp://www.nbcmiami.comen-usMon, 21 Aug 2017 12:03:03 -0400Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:03:03 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Eclipse Chasers Say Get Ready for ‘Otherworldly’ Experience]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:24:50 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Solar+Eclipse+Asia.jpg

On Monday, millions of Americans will look up to watch the moon completely cover the sun. For a couple of minutes, the sky will become dark. Birds will flock to their nests. The temperature will drop significantly. Bright stars and planets will come out of hiding.

It's a celestial event astronomers have spent years preparing for and so-called "eclipse chasers" from all over the world have booked up hotel rooms in its path months, even years, in advance. Some have changed their lives for it.

"I retired at the end of last year because of this eclipse," eclipse chaser and amateur astronomer Jackie Beucher said.

Bolivia, Aruba, Greece, Siberia, China, Australia -- Beucher has been around the world and said she’s seen at least eight total eclipses.

"It's a soul-searing experience," Beucher said. 

She was in Hawaii when she saw her first total eclipse on July 11, 1991. Twenty-five years later, Beucher still remembers the "very, very strange" moment when birds went to roost and frogs began chirping. But most eerie, she said, was that the waves on the coast of Maui died down.

"You can never be ready for it," she said. "You see that black hole in the sky and then the corona bursts out and it's like it just hits you straight to your soul. And I'm sitting here at my kitchen table with goose bumps all over me just thinking about it."

This year, Beucher won’t have to travel far to get those goose bumps. The path of the eclipse is headed right through her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

Millions of Americans from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, will be able to see it, according to NASA.

With so many Americans in the path of totality, Beucher has made it her mission to convince as many people as possible to make an effort to see it. She’s become an eclipse evangelist of sorts, giving talks and lessons to the public.

"I start off my sermon and I say, 'How many of you are planning to go to see totality?' And I say, 'Well, I'm here today to try to convince you to make the effort.'"

An entire generation of Americans haven't seen a total eclipse. The last time totality passed over the contiguous U.S. was in 1979.

"There's no question that this will be by far the most-witnessed total solar eclipse in America’s history," said David Baron, eclipse chaser and author of "American Eclipse."

Baron said many people have seen lunar eclipses in their lifetime, in which the moon passes behind the earth, and many have seen a partial solar eclipse, when the moon covers part of the sun.

"That's all very interesting," but something much different happens during a total solar eclipse, according to Baron.

"The best way I can describe it is like you are suddenly transported to another planet and you are looking at a completely alien sky," Baron said. "When the moon's shadow moves in, it pulls the blue sky away and it enables you to look toward the center of the solar system to see the stars, to see the planets and our sun together and you'll see the sun like you've never seen it before."

The sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, is the star of the show during a total eclipse. According to NASA, astronomers have made many scientific discoveries while studying the corona during solar eclipses.

And for eclipse chasers, the moment they witness the halo around the sun is everything.

"It feels like I am seeing God. It's that intense," said Baron, who admits he isn't religious. "You have a sense of how enormous and grand and beautiful the universe is and how tiny and insignificant you are as a human being."

But the moment is sometimes difficult to put into words.

"You have this feeling and it comes, you know, from the middle of your chest where your heart is... man, it hits you there," Beucher said.

"I can't describe the feeling and the compulsion that you get when you see one and you want to see it again. It just drives you. It’s so meaningful," said Kate Russo, a psychologist from Australia who became fascinated by eclipses after seeing one on the coast of France in 1999.

Like Beucher, Russo was infatuated after her first eclipse sighting.

"I really did not expect that I would become an eclipse chaser. I didn't expect that I was going to be hooked on them. And I didn't really expect that it was going to be so profound and that it would really change my life," said Russo, whose book "Being in the Shadow" shares people's personal stories of their first time seeing an eclipse.

Russo said she wrote her book because "people just didn't get it" when she would come back from an eclipse trip and try to explain to them what it was like.

It was through her work as a psychologist for families experiencing loss that she says she realized why she was so moved by the eclipse experience.

"You really understand [life is] precious when you're about to lose someone. This would be my day job where I was having these profound insights, but these were the same insights I was getting every time I was experiencing totality, without the loss," Russo said. "It really made me think about the total eclipse as something really really unique as a human event and it made me fascinated by it even more."

How Can I See It?
To see the total eclipse on Aug. 21, you’ll have to be in the path of totality. The 70-mile-wide path will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North and South Carolina. All of North America that’s outside of the path will be able to see a partial eclipse.

"Here in the D.C. area, we're going to get about 85 percent coverage, which is a lot, but we're still gonna have plenty of light outside," said NBC4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said. "You will notice it if you're out in the D.C. area."

Kammerer is going down south to Clemson, South Carolina, to see the total eclipse and bring the experience to NBC4 viewers.

"This is history. This is something that I may never see again in my lifetime," Kammerer said.

Safety First
Remember when you're watching the eclipse to never look directly at the sun, except during totality.

NASA recommends going to local science museums, schools or astronomy clubs to find free eclipse glasses.

You can also check out NASA's website for more ways to view the eclipse safely.

And be prepared to get hooked.

"They do say it's a once in a lifetime event and that is absolutely true, but you don't have to limit it to just once in a lifetime," Russo said. "You too can become an eclipse chaser. We welcome you with open arms!"

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ohio Judge Shot, Fires Back in Apparent Ambush-Style Attack]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:15:24 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Ohio-judge-shot.jpg

Two people attacked a judge in Ohio who was walking to work at the Jefferson County Courthouse Monday morning, wounding him after gunfire broke out, NBC News reported.

Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese, Jr. fired back at the attackers, as did a probation officer, after at least one of the suspects opened fire, Steubenville City Manager James Mavromatis told reporters.

One suspect is dead while the other is in custody. Mavromatis said both had criminal records.

"Clearly looking at the one video, you see the attacker coming up toward him," Mavromatis said. "I'd say he was the intended target."

Photo Credit: WTOV-TV]]>
<![CDATA[7 Total Eclipse Driving Tips]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:13:16 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/218*120/Screen+Shot+2017-08-16+at+9.31.34+AM.png

Driving while the total solar eclipse is happening on August 21? Here are seven tips that will ensure your safety while driving.

<![CDATA[Eclipse Will Cost Almost $700M in Productivity: Researchers]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:07:30 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/eclipse+photo.jpg

American workers ducking out to view Monday's total solar eclipse will cost employers at least $694 million, according to one estimate.

Reuters reported that a outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found workers will head out of the office for roughly 20 minutes a piece, though that may be a conservative estimate, according to a vice president at the Chicago-based firm.

"There's very few people who are not going to walk outside when there's a celestial wonder happening above their heads to go out and view it," Andy Challenger said.

But those hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity pale in comparison to the amount lost to other events, like March Madness and Cyber Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Baseball Teams Schedule Games to Coincide With Solar Eclipse]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:55:40 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/minorleaguebase.jpg

Baseball fans in more than a half-dozen cities are heading to ballparks to watch the solar eclipse as teams look to cash in with game-day viewing parties.

Minor league teams from Oregon to South Carolina have scheduled games Monday to coincide with the total eclipse as it streaks across the United States.

In Nebraska, the Lincoln Saltdogs will wear special eclipse jerseys and stop their game to watch the full eclipse at 1:02 p.m. The team says it has sold tickets to buyers from as far away as the United Kingdom and Germany.

Other teams hosting events include the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Idaho Falls Chukars, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Nashville Sounds, Greenville Drive, Columbia Fireflies and Charleston RiverDogs.

No big league games are scheduled to coincide with the eclipse.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Coast-to-Coast Total Solar Eclipse in Photos]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:38:28 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-836100150_master.jpgAmericans across the country readied their telescopes and viewing glasses as a total solar eclipse was set to cross the United States from coast to coast for the first time in 99 years. The path of totality, lasting an hour and a half on land, will enter through Oregon and leave through South Carolina. See photos from around the country.

Photo Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Man Admits to Stabbing, Killing Sister, Cousins: Police]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:03:13 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Antonio+Shareek+Williams.jpg

The man who police say has confessed to stabbing his 6-year-old sister and two young cousins Friday made a series of strange outbursts during a wild court hearing Monday, and will now get a mental evaluation.

Antonio Shareek Williams' scheduled court hearing was halted after his outbursts.

At one point in the hearing, family members on both sides began fighting in court.

Williams, 25, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of the three girls in Prince George’s County. Police said their bodies were discovered around 7:30 a.m. Friday in a home in the 6400 block of Brooke Jane Drive in Clinton, Maryland.

Investigators said Williams was left in the home by his mother to watch over Nadiara Janae Withers, 6, who police said was his sister, and two cousins: 9-year-old Ariana Elizabeth DeCree and 6-year-old Ajayah Royale DeCree.

The DeCree sisters are from in Newark, New Jersey, and were in Clinton visiting for the summer. They are the daughters of the suspect’s mother’s cousin, police said.

When the mother, Andrena Kelley, returned home from work early Friday morning, she discovered the girls in their beds, suffering from what appeared to be stab wounds.

The Prince George’s County Fire Department responded to the scene, but all three children were pronounced dead.

Police said they found a 2-year-old girl, who was unharmed, in the home when they arrived. She was another sister of the suspect.

Investigators said Williams was arrested and later provided a full confession of how he stabbed and killed the three girls while the kids were sharing a bed. They said he did not provide a reason for the attack.

Williams is in custody of the Department of Corrections on a no-bond status. Police said they had no word about a lawyer for him.

Nadiara's father and stepmother set up a GoFundMe page for the little girl's funeral.

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police Department
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<![CDATA[Prepare Your Pet For the Solar Eclipse]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:49:54 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-467008102.jpg

Solar eclipse checklist: Perfect viewing spot? Check. Viewing glasses? If you shopped early, check. Homemade viewing box? Got it! Safety lectures for the kids? Done, done and done! Plan for the family pet? Ummm ...

Over the past few days, several pet parents have expressed concern for the safety of their four-legged family members. Some pets spend a great deal of time outdoors, and their eyes are just as vulnerable to sun damage as ours. We’ve heard the litany of precautions we must take to safeguard our vision. So what about our pets?

In theory, pets can develop solar retinopathy by staring directly at a solar eclipse. And like their human companions, they can suffer permanent vision damage or blindness as a result. Since it’s unreasonable to expect pet owners to control what their pets may look at, most animal care professionals are suggesting taking various precautions. Some are even advising pets be fitted with eclipse viewing glasses. But is that really necessary?

Staring at the sun is not something animals instinctively feel compelled to do. They do not posses the same intrinsic curiosity about the cosmos as we do, and they learn early in life that looking at the sun is painful. It is therefore a safe bet that our pets will not have enough interest in the eclipse to look at it. My own dogs will not be wearing eclipse-friendly glasses. Statistically, they are more likely to scratch their corneas and damage their eyes by trying to claw the glasses from their heads. And if you’ve got one of those dogs who eats anything and everything (like mine!), glasses are likely to end up in his stomach. The simplest and most effective way to protect your pets from eye damage is to bring them inside until the celestial show is over.

Unlike a storm or tornado, an eclipse is not preceded by a drop in barometric pressure. While this shift is imperceptible to most humans, dogs and cats sense it long before anything noticeable happens in the sky. Since there are no recognized sensory precursors to an eclipse, a pet who spends most of his time indoors, may not even realize one is taking place.

What you may notice however, is a behavioral shift toward nighttime behaviors. This might mean settling down and sleeping right through the eclipse, or it may involve anticipating the usual evening activities. I suspect our older dog will stand by her food bowl and bark — in her world, dusk equals dinner. Our less food-driven, younger dog will probably camp near his leash. For him, it’s all about exercise, and darkness equals going for a walk. There may a few hours of slight confusion as their sense of the passing of the day gets disrupted. Anxious pets may seem uneasy or frightened. If your pet is prone to anxiety, and will be spending the day alone, he may be happier in a darkened room where the windows are covered and the lights are turned off. This will make the effect of the eclipse less dramatic. You can also try using a Thundershirt. Species-specific pheromones such as Adaptyl for dogs or Feliway for cats may help pets who appear to be stressed. If they are having an especially tough time, ask your veterinarian if prescription anti-anxiety medications are appropriate. Do not administer any medications intended for human use unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

If your nonhuman family includes chickens or other birds, they may settle down to roost, or launch into typically evening vocalizations. Horses, goats, and other farm animals may start walking toward the barn or feeding station, as if expecting the evening routine to begin. Wild animals may be faked out as well, so don’t be surprised to hear crickets in the afternoon.

As with most other unusual events, our pets take their behavioral cues from us. So stay calm and enjoy the show. Or just take a nap. That will suit our four-legged friends just fine.

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

Click here for deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Millions Prepare to See Coast-to-Coast Solar Eclipse ]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:01:41 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/EclipseGIF.gif

Millions of Americans are preparing to converge on cities slated to see the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. This total solar eclipse is the first to sweep from coast-to-coast in 99 years.

<![CDATA[Who's Who in the Trump-Russia Investigation]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:29:15 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/russiathumb2.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 16:02:14 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at the president-elect's personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Best Friends Adopt Bunnies]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 18:06:45 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CTS-2017-KNSD-17.jpg

NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap and Mark Mullen speak with two San Diego girls who adopted rabbits at Clear the Shelters on Aug. 19, 2017. The girls are best friends, and plan to make their rabbits best buddies, too. A play date is in the works. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos: Protests in Durham; Silence in Catalonia]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 00:14:48 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-835180482.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Sara D. Davis/Getty ]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Slaying Was Part of Murder-Suicide Sex Fantasy: Prosecutors]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:28:39 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lathem+warren+mugs.png

Warning: Details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.

Prosecutors alleged Sunday that the men charged in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a 26-year-old hairdresser committed the crime as part of a sexual fantasy of "killing others and then themselves."

A judge ordered former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Oxford employee Andrew Warren, 56, held without bond after prosecutors detailed a pre-meditated attack they said the suspects plotted in an online chat room.

Authorities said Warren admitted that the two met on the internet and communicated about their shared fantasy for several months before Lathem paid for him to come to Chicago from England in late July to carry out their plan.

Prosecutors said Lathem picked Warren up at O’Hare Airport a few days prior to the brutal killing of Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau, who was found dead inside Lathem’s River North condo on July 27.

After Warren arrived in Chicago, the men "discussed who they would kill and when," authorities said, settling on Cornell-Duranleau, who was Lathem’s boyfriend, to be their first victim.

Prosecutors allege that the men ultimately planned to kill one another – with Warren shooting Lathem as he stabbed him – after committing several murders.

On July 26, authorities said Lathem rented a room for Warren at the Palomar Hotel, within walking distance of his home at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St.

Cornell-Duranleau arrived at Lathem’s residence that evening, according to police, who said the two were seen on surveillance video entering the building together.

After Cornell-Duranleau fell asleep, prosecutors said Lathem texted Warren "that it was time to kill" and to come to his apartment.

Surveillance footage captured Warren entering the lobby of Lathem’s building at around 4:30 a.m., officials said – roughly a half hour before witnesses told detectives that they heard "what sounded like a fight and screaming."

Once he arrived, Warren told investigators that he and Lathem conferred in the bathroom, where Lathem allegedly took a drywall knife out of its packaging before authorities said he handed Warren a cell phone, telling him to record the murder.

Prosecutors said Lathem then left the bathroom, entering the bedroom to repeatedly stab Cornell-Duranleau, who woke up and "began to scream and fight back."

Lathem called to Warren for help in controlling Cornell-Duranleau, authorities allege, at which point Warren placed his hand over the victim’s mouth, then struck him in the head with a heavy metal lamp.

Warren then went to get two kitchen knives, prosecutors said, and returned to join Lathem in continuing to stab the victim – using so much force that the blade of one of the knives broke.

Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed 70 times in total, prosecutors said the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office found.

According to prosecutors, the victim’s last words to his boyfriend and alleged killer were, "Wyndham, what are you doing?"

Authorities said Lathem and Warren then showered and attempted to clean up the scene before leaving the apartment at around 5:24 a.m., at which point they were once again seen on surveillance footage exiting the property together, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

The men rented a car and left an anonymous cash donation of $5,610 to the Howard Brown Health Center in Cornell-Duranleau’s name before driving to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, authorities allege.

That evening, Lathem donated another $1,000 in the victim’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, according to CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan, who said he then requested to use the phone and anonymously called his apartment building, alerting security to check a residence on the 10th floor "because a crime may have been committed."

"What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband-wife, or boyfriend-boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive," Deenihan said at a news conference on Sunday, before the suspects appeared in court. "It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned."

Around 8:30 p.m., a doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

When the victim’s body was moved, he appeared to have been nearly decapitated, prosecutors said, and he had sustained multiple wounds that would have been mortal in and of themselves.

An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Warren and Lathem fled, sparking a nine-day, nationwide manhunt, during which officials said Lathem sent a video message to friends and family members, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

In the video, prosecutors said Lathem claimed "he is not the person people thought he was," admitting that Cornell-Duranleau trusted him completely and that he had "betrayed that trust."

Both men were taken into custody separately in northern California on Aug. 4. Warren was arrested in San Francisco, while Lathem later surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Once in custody, prosecutors said Warren confessed to plotting the murder-suicide fantasy, and admitted that there was a plan to kill another victim the morning after Cornell-Duranleau’s death – though he didn’t know if the person showed up at Lathem’s condo after they fled.

"I can only describe the course of events that lead to Mr. Duranleau’s murder as unquestionably tragic," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Sunday, the day after Lathem and Warren were extradited to Chicago

Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Lewis: A Complicated King of Comedy]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:57:18 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/jerrylewiswinefeuerherd.jpg

In his “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”-inspired comedic master work, “The Nutty Professor,” Jerry Lewis gave fans two characters for the price of one: sweet, ineffectual scientist Julius Klemp and his chemically conjured alter ego, the obnoxious lounge singer and ladies’ man, Buddy Love.

But through his eight-decade career, Lewis, who died Sunday at age 91, presented many other sides of his personality as he spurred laughter, tears and even anger on the way to becoming a deceivingly complicated entertainment icon.

There was the manic man-child who propelled Lewis’ zany 1940s and 1950s buddy comedy hits with straight-man crooner Dean Martin (the best of the bunch include “Artists and Models” and “Sailor Beware”). There was the solo, would-be auteur who, with mixed success, attempted to transform himself into the Chaplin of his era (“The Bellboy” and “Cinderfella” rank among the standouts – just ask his many French fans).

There was the selfless, indefatigable humanitarian whose annual Labor Day TV telethons drew awareness  – and celebrities – to the battle against muscular dystrophy, raising about $2.5 billion on behalf of “Jerry’s Kids” over 44 years (Lewis lived up to the pledge he sang at the end of each installment: "You'll Never Walk Alone").

There was the Lewis who also could get serious on the big screen – no more so than in Martin Scorsese’s underrated 1982 gem “King of Comedy,” in which the actor portrayed a top comedian kidnapped by a deranged fan (Robert DeNiro).

Then there was the Lewis, who eventually became the cranky old man of comedy – foolishly declaring, variously, that women couldn’t or shouldn’t be funny.

Unlike Prof. Klemp, Lewis didn’t have to chug a secret formula to summon his multiple personalities – bouncing in latter-day stage and TV talk show appearances from the overgrown, rubber-faced kid yelling “Hey, Lady!” to singing schmaltzy songs designed to make his audience – and himself – shed a tear to occasionally letting his ego and blind spots get the better of him. 

For whatever faults he possessed, Lewis' influence is everywhere – from every buddy-comedy flick made since the 1950s to the careers of Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy, who most folks probably think of these days when they hear the words “Nutty Professor.”

Still, it’s hard to beat the 1963 original, especially the climax when slick Buddy slowly turns back into the buck-toothed and bespectacled Julius, who delivers a speech by turns corny and devastating:

“I didn’t like being someone else,” Julius declares mid-transformation, his voice part whiny Klemp, part grating Buddy – and all Jerry Lewis. “At the same time, I’m very glad I was. Because I found out something I never knew: You might as well like yourself.

“Just think about all the time you’re going to have to spend with you.”

Fans around the word were lucky enough to spend time with Jerry Lewis in all his incarnations – through the heartfelt to the infuriating to the inspiring to the hilarious – during an at-times nutty, but ultimately unforgettable comedic journey.

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan]]>
<![CDATA[America Still in Turmoil a Year After Kaepernick's Protest]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 12:31:20 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/kaepernickfeuerherd.jpg

What started as a protest against police brutality has mushroomed a year later into a divisive debate over the future of a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem and now faces what his fans see as blackballing for speaking out in a country roiled by racial strife.

Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Rams' Aug. 12 preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, part of calls for boycotts of the upcoming NFL season. Film director Spike Lee is promoting a rally on his behalf.

On the opposing end of a wide range of opinions, some fans say Kaepernick shouldn't have sat or kneeled during the national anthem, while others argue the quarterback's lack of a job is more about his talent.

The once-rising star and Super Bowl quarterback has been unemployed since March, when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent who could sign with any team. At least three NFL clubs have openly discussed the idea of signing him, but the embattled quarterback has yet to sign a contract with training camps well underway.

Just weeks away from the regular season, he has become a symbol of the clash of celebrity, sports and social issues as more people —including players, fans, politicians, team owners and pundits — invoke his name to debate thorny issues of patriotism and race. Other prominent NFL players have sat out or demonstrated during anthems this preseason, one saying his decision was bolstered by a recent white supremacists' rally in Virginia that turned deadly.

"There's a lot going on inside people's hearts right now," said Dan Rascher, a sports business professor at the University of San Francisco. "This may have been a catalyst for that even though it's not about Colin Kaepernick, but about our country and who we are."

Other players who joined Kaepernick in protest are still employed. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins pledged to continue his protests this season, tight end Martellus Bennett signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Brandon Marshall stayed with the Denver Broncos even as he lost two endorsements for kneeling during the anthem.

Still, some fans say they believe Kaepernick has been passed up as punishment for his actions, which initially went unnoticed until the third preseason game last year.

The chorus gets louder every time a quarterback vacancy is filled on an NFL team, such as when the Miami Dolphins brought 34-year-old quarterback Jay Cutler out of a short-lived retirement to lead its franchise. Cutler was out of work — like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and others — and planned to work as a television analyst before the Dolphins reunited him with coach Adam Gase.

"Either some owners and/or the NFL are punishing him for speaking out, or they've decided that it's best for business to sweep these valid issues under the rug in order not to upset fans who, in our opinion, don't have a valid reason to be upset about Colin Kaepernick being on their team," said Tim Clark, who is organizing boycotts of all 32 teams for the NFL's regular season opener.

Color of Change, an online civil rights organization, flooded Baltimore Ravens headquarters with telephone calls when the team didn't quickly sign him as it openly considered options to react to an injury. The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network, which demonstrated over the weekend, says it will boycott the Rams and Chargers games at Memorial Coliseum. A change.org petition calling for a season-long boycott of the NFL has collected more than 170,000 signatures.

"We understand the NFL is very important to you. We also understand the purpose of Colin Kaepernick's protest is FAR more important than any games you will ever watch," the petition said.

Elie Mystal, an editor at the "Above the Law" legal commentary website, agreed with the proposed boycotts.

"Kaepernick doesn't have a job because he spoke out about race," Mystal said. "That's the thing you're not allowed to do in our sporting culture and most of our popular culture, unless you're so over-the-top talented that they need you for winning."

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem while Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist during Saturday's game between the two teams.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett's brother, sat during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the second straight week on Friday. He was joined by two teammates standing by him. Bennett said the death of a young woman protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, underscored his decision.

"First of all, I want people to understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American, but I don't love segregation," he said. "I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander."

Some fans say Kaepernick has not been signed because he's had an inconsistent career. He played in the 2013 Super Bowl but faded in the seasons leading up to the protests, winning just three games in his last 19 starts.

He had two seasons where he was the starting quarterback for all 16 of his team's games, including the 2014 season that ended with San Francisco missing the playoffs. He suffered from a shoulder injury for half of 2015 and began the 2016 season as a backup, then started 11 games. The 49ers finished in last place for the second season in a row.

"Do these people (complaining) about Kaepernick going unsigned not understand that he sucks, and he's a liability/distraction?" tweeted Joe Patterson, a business management major at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores Marketing Evaluations, said Kaepernick's popularity has plummeted.

"He's very polarizing and much more in the consciences of the general population as well as sports fans and, creating, I would think, a pretty big dilemma for the NFL teams as to where he's going to go," Schafer said.

The fallout wasn't all negative: Kaepernick inspired a movement as high school athletes across the country kneeled during the anthem. Kaepernick had the 17th highest jersey sale in May and came in 39th in all merchandise from May through July 31. He's the only player in the top 50 in sales without a job.

Kaepernick, who is white and African-American, took a stand that was unpopular among many whites, which is what boxing great Muhammad Ali did when he refused to be drafted into military during the Vietnam war.

Ali was convicted of draft evasion, which was later overturned, banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.

It's uncertain how history will treat Kaepernick. But just as Ali was linked to the "black power" movement, Kaepernick has become linked with the Black Lives Matter movement, says Soyica Diggs Colbert, a Georgetown University professor who is writing a book on black movements.

"When we think about how Black Lives Matter as a political movement gets woven into sports," Kaepernick's certainly the key figure in that conversation, she said.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Butch Dill]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Presidency in Photos]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:03:32 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-8255876241.jpgTake a look at significant events from President Donald Trump's time in office, including the signing of the travel ban, Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, the launch of 59 missiles at Syria's government-held Shayrat Airfiled and more.

Photo Credit: Zach Gibson - Pool/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NU Professor, Oxford Staffer Charged With 1st Degree Murder]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 15:03:40 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/LathemWarren+Mugs+8-19.jpg

The former Northwestern University professor and Oxford employee accused in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a Chicago man late last month were formally charged with murder on Saturday, according to police.

Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Andrew Warren, 56, were extradited from northern California – where they surrendered on Aug. 4 after an eight-day, nationwide manhunt – to Chicago early Saturday.

Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 26-year-old Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau.

Cornell-Duranleau, a hairstylist and Michigan native who moved to Chicago about a year ago, was found dead on July 27 inside Lathem’s condo in the city’s River North neighborhood, according to police.

Officials said Cornell-Duranleau was in a romantic relationship with Lathem, an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern University's medical school. He was terminated by the university, where he had worked since 2007, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On the evening of July 27, a doorman at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St., received an anonymous phone call telling him to check a residence on the 10th floor “because a crime may have been committed,” CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Sunday.

Around 8:30 p.m., the doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed more than 40 times, so “savagely murdered,” according to police, that the blade of one of the two knives believed to have been used in the attack was broken.

An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Detectives spoke with witnesses who said they heard “what sounded like a fight and screaming” at around 5 a.m. that morning. Investigators later discovered that Lathem was staying at a hotel close to the apartment building, and was seen with the victim on surveillance video in the area the day before.

They also learned that Lathem picked up Warren, a senior treasury assistant at the University of Oxford who he met through the internet, at O’Hare International Airport several days before the killing, Deenihan said.

Warren and Lathem were seen on surveillance footage leaving the property after the incident, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

The men drove to Lake Geneva and donated $1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, where Deenihan said Lathem was the one who made the anonymous call to the doorman alerting him of the crime.

Lathem also sent a video message to family members and friends after the killing, according to police, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

Warren was arrested in San Francisco on Aug. 4, while Lathem surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland later that day after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Police revealed a select few pieces of information Sunday, as the suspects were to appear in court in the afternoon, at which point the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office planned to address the charges and allegations against them in greater detail.

“What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband, wife, or boyfriend, boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive,” Deenihan said. “It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned.”

Lathem and Warren were scheduled to appear in bond court at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA[First DC Corpse Flower Begins to Bloom; 2 More Ready]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:31:45 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/RBotanicalGarden.jpg

The first of three corpse flowers in Washington, D.C., started blooming late Saturday night, and two more of the stinky blossoms are still waiting to go.

Three corpse flowers, also called "the stinky plant," were predicted to reach peak bloom between Aug. 17 and 22 at the U.S. Botanical Garden. The plant's signature stench has been described as a combination of garlic, fish, diapers and rotting meat. Their scientific name is amorphophallus titanum.

"Not really something you'd want around dinner time," USBG plant curator Bill McLaughlin told NBC4 during another peak bloom in 2013.

The plant, native to tropical rainforests in Indonesia, doesn't follow a set schedule. They can take anywhere from years to decades to store enough energy to bloom. Once they're fully open, they’ll collapse between 24 and 48 hours later.

The flowers were first discovered in 1878. They hold the record for the world's largest unbranched inflorescence -- flower structure -- growing up to 12 feet tall. Each has one giant bud, made up of hundreds of tiny, stinky flowers. Their scent attracts carrion beetles and flies.

A corpse flower last bloomed in D.C. in 2016. Thirty-two corpse flowers bloomed around the world last year in the U.S., India, Australia and more, BBC reported.

You can watch the plants bloom in real time on the USBG's livestream here.

Photo Credit: United States Botanical Garden
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