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American Airlines is extending cancellations of flights through April 24 due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, as federal regulators continue to investigate two deadly crashes involving the plane model. American has 24 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet, and said Sunday that it will be canceling about 90 flights a day. Not every flight that was previously scheduled to be on a Max aircraft will be canceled, and some flights scheduled to fly on other aircraft types may ultimately be canceled. The airline said it will contact affected fliers directly. Aviation authorities around the world grounded Boeing 737 Max aircraft earlier this month following deadly crashes involving the plane model in Ethiopia and off the coast of Indonesia, which occurred within five months of each other.
A Southern California company is voluntarily recalling whole avocados over possible listeria contamination. Henry Avocado, a grower and distributor based near San Diego, said Saturday that the recall covers conventional and organic avocados grown and packed in California. The company says they were sold in bulk across California, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina and New Hampshire. There have been no reports of any illnesses associated with the avocados. The company says it issued the voluntary recall after a routine inspection of its packing plant revealed samples that tested positive for listeria. The company says avocados imported from Mexico and distributed by Henry are not being recalled and are safe. Listeria is a bacteria that can cause fever and diarrhea, and more dangerous complications in pregnant women.
These Florida lotteries were drawn Sunday: Estimated jackpot: $57 million 1-2 (one, two) 2-3-3 (two, three, three) 0-7-1-5 (zero, seven, one, five) 6-3-1-5-0 (six, three, one, five, zero) Estimated jackpot: $750 million
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 3 Midday' game were: 2-3-3 (two, three, three)
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 5 Midday' game were: 6-3-1-5-0 (six, three, one, five, zero)
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 4 Midday' game were: 0-7-1-5 (zero, seven, one, five)
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 2 Midday' game were: 1-2 (one, two)
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has developed a beer in collaboration with Kodak capable of processing Super 8 motion picture film. >> Read more trending news  Sam Calagione, founder of the craft brewery, learned from a Kodak podcast that if a beer is acidic enough, it could be used to develop Super 8 film. The Dogfish Head SuperEight is a gose style brewed with eight ingredients: prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juices and toasted quinoa. Red Hawaiian sea salt is also used in the beer. Early samples of the beer were sent to the film company for testing and Kodak has fully embraced the alternative processing, offering step-by-step instructions to achieve the best results. The beer will be distributed nationally next month.
A brand of avocados sold in California, Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin have been voluntarily recalled due to possible listeria contamination. KABC reported Henry Avocado Corp. announced the voluntary recall Saturday. >> Read more trending news  'We are voluntarily recalling our products and taking every action possible to ensure the safety of consumers who eat our avocados,” Phil Henry, president of Henry Avocado, said in a statement. The avocados are grown in California but are sold at retailers in bulk. The recalled products have been removed from stores.  The company urges those who have purchased affected avocados to discard  them or return them to the point of purchase for a full refund. “For conventional products purchased at retail, consumers can identify the recalled products by the ‘Bravocado’ stickers,” the company announcement said. “Henry Avocado organic products do not carry the ‘Bravocado’ label on the sticker. Instead those products are labeled ‘organic’ and include ‘California’ on the sticker. Retailers can identify Henry Avocado organic products by the bar code on the stickers.”
The Latest on the 2020 campaign season (all times Eastern): 1:50 pm. California Sen. Kamala Harris may be dropping a hint on what she thinks about former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a third bid for the White House. At an Atlanta church service Sunday, Harris compared leadership to a relay race in which each generation must ask themselves 'what do we do during that period of time when we carry that baton.' Then she added with a smile that for 'the older leaders, it also becomes a question of let's also know when to pass the baton.' Harris is 54 years old. Biden is 76, and some of his supporters have said he's aware that his age could be a political liability in the Democratic primary. He wouldn't be the oldest contender, though. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is 77. ___ 1:40 p.m. Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is assailing President Donald Trump as a coward who is 'tearing apart the moral fabric of the vulnerable.' The senator is speaking in New York, feet away from one of Trump's signature properties, the Trump International Hotel and Tower. She says that instead of building walls as Trump wants to do along the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans build bridges, community and hope. Gillibrand also called for full release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report in the Russia investigation. Attorney General William Barr was expected to release a summary of principal conclusions as soon as this weekend, but Democrats want to see the full details. Gillibrand is trying to position herself in the crowded field of Democrats seeking the party's nomination. While some hopefuls have shied away from mentioning Trump, Gillibrand has not hesitated to do so. ___ 1:25 p.m. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is telling voters in Las Vegas that President Donald Trump bears blame for the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border but responsibility lies with everyone in the country to fix the situation. O'Rourke spoke Sunday to more than 200 people packed into and snaking around a taco shop on the city's north end. He says immigrant families are leaving their home countries and journeying on foot because they have no other choice. The former Texas congressman says desperate families were broken up in the U.S. when they were at their most vulnerable and desperate moments, and what happened to them 'is on every single one of us.' ___ 9 a.m. As New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially kicks off her Democratic presidential campaign in New York City, her rivals are courting voters in early primary states. Several Democratic White House hopefuls are campaigning Sunday, the day the Justice Department is expected to release key findings from special counsel Robert Mueller's confidential report on the Russia investigation. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues his California swing with a trip to San Francisco. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are wrapping up campaign trips to New Hampshire. California Sen. Kamala Harris is attending a church service before speaking at a rally in Atlanta at Morehouse College.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla begin the first official trip to Cuba by the British royal family on Sunday, in a pomp-filled display of disagreement with the Trump administration's strategy of economically isolating the communist island. The heir to the British throne is expected to land in Havana around 5 p.m. and lay a wreath at the memorial to colonial independence hero Jose Marti, near massive portraits of socialist revolutionary icons including guerrilla fighter Che Guevara. The next two days include visits to historic sites, a solar park, organic farm and biomedical research center, and a meeting with entrepreneurs, cultural gala and dinner with President Miguel Diaz-Canel. It does not include visits with political dissidents or other critics of Cuba's single-party system, a decision prompting criticism from Cuban exiles. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida last month asked Charles to cancel his trip based on Cuba's support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the island's 'decades-long history of persecuting and imprisoning its defectors and repressing its people.' Fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also has long advocated for isolating Cuba and Venezuela, and the senators have found a receptive audience in the Trump administration, which has been tightening financial sanctions on both countries in the hopes of toppling their governments. U.S. President Donald Trump has seen European and Latin American support for his Venezuela policy, but less backing on Cuba, whose government has already withstood a 60-year U.S. embargo without showing any signs of losing its grip on power. Sir Alan Duncan, the British minister of state for Europe and the Americas, wrote Scott last month that 'like a number of other countries, we believe that the best way to promote human rights and encourage a Cuba that fully respects fundamental freedoms is through practical diplomacy, such as with this visit.' ___ Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein
While the bulk of contenders duke it out to secure playoff spots, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit comfortably atop the NHL with nothing left to play for. The Lightning clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with nine games left in the regular season. With no blueprint for how to play hockey games that don't matter, they're glad that eight of their final nine games come against teams currently in playoff position and turning this into a dress rehearsal for what could be a long run. 'It helps with the teams that we have left on the schedule,' forward Adam Erne said. 'They're all going to be playoff-like games, and I think we have a playoff mentality and we know that we can't just flip a switch once playoffs start. We want to prepare ourselves for the first round.' Tampa Bay is already 2-1-0 since clinching, faces Boston on Monday and in the season finale and has games left against Washington, Montreal and Toronto. There's very little of the unpredictability of what to expect from opponents playing out the string — save for a game at cellar-dwelling Ottawa — and plenty of meaningful games to keep the Lightning from getting complacent. This is the first Presidents' Trophy in Lightning history, so when he was asked how to handle clinching so early, coach Jon Cooper quipped, 'I guess we're going to find that out.' Cooper already should be in contention for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, but he shouldn't have to do too much motivating considering the Canadiens, Bruins or Maple Leafs and Capitals could reasonably make up his team's path to the Stanley Cup Final. 'A lot of times the opponent brings it out in you,' Cooper said. 'A lot of these teams will pull the best out of you, and we've just got to be ready for it.' Captain Steven Stamkos acknowledged it's impossible to replicate playoff emotion in the regular season but said 'there's still some things that we want to accomplish.' Still possible is the single-season wins record of 62 set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings — before the addition of shootouts and elimination of tie games — and the Lightning would have to win four of their final six just to tie. MVP candidate Nikita Kucherov should finish first in points by a lot, but he's also seven shy of Alexander Mogilny's single-season record for a Russian player. Countryman Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league in victories by a goaltender and is also making a case to win the first Vezina Trophy of his career. There's a lot of guys having great seasons individually and as a team we're having a great season,' defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. 'We want to see how well we can finish, too, and there's a lot of pride in that. ... Collectively as a team I think we've set ourselves up obviously for a great opportunity and we're trying to understand that and really just try and gain some confidence here.' More than anything, the Lightning don't want to lose a step that could be costly in the playoffs. Cooper is unsure if he'll rest any players down the stretch, and Stamkos doesn't expect that at least until the final couple of games. The fact that most of these games will matter to opponents could affect Cooper's decisions, too. But he and Tampa Bay's focus is on getting 16 victories to win the franchise's first title since 2004 and there doesn't seem to be any lack of focus on that end goal with six games left in the regular season. 'You want to make sure that you're not giving any gimme games while you're trying to rev up your engine again for the playoffs,' defenseman Braydon Coburn said. 'You don't want to be the team that's limping in the playoffs just because you had a good record.' ___ Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo will start the season on the injured list. The 33-year-old Trumbo, who led the major leagues with 47 home runs in 2016, had surgery on his right knee last September. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Sunday that Trumbo hasn't played enough to be ready for opening day. 'I want Mark to be healthy when he joins us,' Hyde said. 'I don't want a lesser version, and it's not fair to him.' Right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb, who is scheduled to start the March 28 opener at Yankee Stadium, left Saturday night's game with right groin soreness. Hyde said he would make a decision on Cobb's availability over the next day or two. He suggested that right-hander Andrew Cashner would start the opener if Cobb was unavailable. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Millions of Kurdish votes will be crucial in determining the fate of Turkey's March 31 local elections, as a pro-Kurdish party has made the strategic decision to send votes to an opposition rival to challenge the ruling party in key races in Istanbul and Ankara. The Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, is running in municipal races amid a polarized political landscape and a heavy government crackdown on its members for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants. Party mayors and lawmakers, including former chairman Selahattin Demirtas, have been jailed. The HDP — the second biggest opposition group in Turkey's parliament — draws most of its support from Kurds living in the southeast and in large Turkish cities, as well as other groups for its emphasis on minority rights. Kurds make up about a fifth of Turkey's 80 million people. The HDP is leading a 'Kurdish election alliance' with seven smaller political groups to run in the municipal elections. It has fielded candidates for the March 31 vote in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast but is sitting out critical races in Turkey's major cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, the capital. The strategy aims to deliver HDP votes to Turkey's main secular opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), and its alliance with a small nationalist party so the opposition can better challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. Opinion polls suggest Ankara could be won by opposition candidate Mansur Yavas, after being held by AKP and its Islam-oriented predecessor for a quarter of a century. The race for mayor of Istanbul — Turkey's largest city — may also be tight between former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim from Erdogan's party and opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu. Pervin Buldan, co-leader of the Kurdish party, told supporters in Istanbul on Sunday that the HDP had become a key party in Turkey. 'We are a party that will determine the fate of the elections in Istanbul,' she said. The Kurdish HDP party got nearly six million votes in last year's general election and Demirtas has twice run against Erdogan for president — the last time from prison. Tens of thousands of Kurdish supporters attended Sunday's rally, waving flags and chanting slogans for Demirtas and the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Ridvan Tekin, a 35-year-old HDP member, said he'll vote for the secular rival party. 'It's not because I love the CHP, but because this regime (of Erdogan's) needs to change now,' he said. The campaign for municipal seats has been lopsided in favor of Erdogan's party, with the president's daily rallies broadcast live on Turkish television. In every speech, Erdogan has called the elections a fight for 'national survival' and branded Kurdish HDP politicians as terrorists and traitors. HDP's campaign has found no place in mainstream media and the party accuses Erdogan of hostile rhetoric to shore up nationalist sentiments. In the southeast, the HDP aims to win back control of municipalities that were seized by the government during a state of emergency declared after the 2016 failed coup. Government-appointed trustees replaced elected officials in nearly a 100 municipalities, including in Diyarbakir, the symbolic capital of Kurds in southeastern Turkey. 'My vote is for the HDP because HDP is honor, peace, fraternity. Long live HDP, long live freedom,' said Diyarbakir voter Mehmet Birgul, 30. In October, Erdogan threatened not to accept such an outcome in the southeast. 'If people involved with terror are chosen in the ballot boxes in these elections, we'll immediately do what's necessary and continue on our path by appointing trustees,' he said. The government accuses HDP politicians of links to PKK, and Erdogan regularly brands them terrorists and traitors. The HDP does not deny such links but says it only advocates for Kurdish rights and democracy through legal, political means. The PKK, considered a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies, has waged an insurgency since 1984 and the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives. A fragile cease-fire held for more than two years as the Turkish government, HDP politicians and the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, negotiated a peace process. But the resumption of hostilities in the summer of 2015 brought clashes to southeastern cities where round-the-clock curfews were declared. Since then, at least 4,280 people have been killed, including civilians, according to the International Crisis Group. A string of bomb attacks claimed by the PKK and its offshoots hit Turkish cities in 2016 and 2017 and the country's jets regularly strike PKK camps in the mountains of northern Iraq. According to the Kurdish party, 10 lawmakers, 40 mayors and nearly 5,000 activists remain jailed. It says thousands in prisons are on a hunger strike to demand an end to Ocalan's isolation on a prison island in western Turkey. The rally in Istanbul also marked Newroz, or the Kurdish New Year, where fires symbolizing purification and the arrival of spring burned, following days of celebrations in southeastern Turkey. People jumped over the fires and danced in celebration, despite a heavy police presence. 'Today is Newroz, which for us means peace, freedom, the fellowship of people. We accept everything and that's why we choose the HDP,' first-time voter Ozlem Kaya said. ___ Mehmet Guzel contributed.
The leaders of Romania and Honduras have announced they will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, following the lead of President Donald Trump. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez delivered their announcements Sunday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference in Washington. The announcements were welcomed by Israeli politicians. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. Embassy to the city, a move that was applauded by Israel. Guatemala followed suit. The move angered the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as capital of a future state. Most countries have embassies in Tel Aviv out of sensitivity over the contested city. The Palestinians, and most of the international community, say the city's final status should be resolved in negotiations.
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 4 Midday' game were: 5-4-1-0 (five, four, one, zero)
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Georgia FIVE Midday' game were: 1-1-5-8-3 (one, one, five, eight, three)
The winning numbers in Sunday afternoon's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 3 Midday' game were: 0-1-9 (zero, one, nine)
Catherine Norris Trent, a British citizen who has lived in Paris since 2007, rushed to become French before her native country left the European Union. She worried Brexit might force her to leave her French partner and their two young children. While the EU has promised to allow Britons living in France and other member countries to stay after the U.K. pulls out, Norris Trent said she saw French citizenship as the one certain way to protect her right to remain. 'Brexit was definitely a factor that gave my request urgency,' Norris Trent, 38, a television journalist who is among France's estimated 150,000 British residents, said. 'I don't want my family to be split apart. It's a terrifying prospect.' As France conferred her second nationality during a spectacular one-hour ceremony last week, Norris Trent left her politics-induced fears at the door of Paris' monumental Pantheon, where French literary luminaries such as Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Emile Zola are buried. She, along with a throng of others who sought to become citizens, were welcomed by a school choir that sang French national anthem 'La Marseillaise' beside a floodlit bust of Marianne, the national symbol. They watched a film called 'Become French' that explained French national values such as secularism, respect for cultural diversity and gender equality. The new citizens proudly clutched French birth certificates, excerpts from the French Constitution and a signed letter from French President Emmanuel Macron saying, 'France is proud and happy to welcome you.' Hundreds of kilometers away in Brussels, British Prime Minister Theresa May waited to find out if the leaders of the 27 remaining EU countries would agree to delay Brexit day. For almost two years, Britain's departure was set to take effect this month, on March 29. But U.K. lawmakers have refused to approve the agreement on withdrawal terms and future relations May's government negotiated with the EU, creating fears of a disruptive 'no-deal Brexit' that could lead to shortages of food and medicine, tie up traffic on roads, airports and ports where border controls area reintroduced, and upend the lives of ex-pats throughout Europe. The European leaders refused to extend the Brexit deadline until June 30 as May requested. Instead, they said Britain's pull-out could wait until May 22 if the prime minister could persuade Parliament to pass the twice-rejected agreement. If lawmakers still refuse the deal, the leaders gave Britain until April 12 to choose between leaving the EU without a divorce deal and setting a radically different path such as revoking the decision to leave. 'I don't recognize the rhetoric in the U.K. anymore. I don't want to close the door on the European project,' Norris Trent said. 'This is about protecting my family against populism and closing borders,' she said. France's Interior Ministry recorded 3,173 British citizens who became French ones in 2017, an eightfold increase compared to the year before, when U.K. voters decided to leave the EU. Numbers for 2018 are not yet available. France has its own problems, of course, including persistent discrimination against residents with immigrant backgrounds despite a national motto proclaiming equality for all. On the day Norris Trent became a citizen, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe spoke during another naturalization ceremony at the Pantheon about the country's alarming rise in anti-Semitism. But Macron is a fierce champion of the European Union, both its practical elements such as open borders and the idea it represents of European unity built from the ashes of World War II. 'Generations of men and women... contributed to give (France) the identity it has today: a welcoming nation that protects human values,' Macron said in the letter addressed to each new French citizen. The Pantheon has only been used for French citizenship ceremonies since 2017. The monument, a former church built in the 18th century that has become a famous mausoleum, has symbolism of its own. Several of the well-known figures buried there were born in other countries and became naturalized French citizens, including French-Polish scientist Marie Curie. Norris Trent suggested French authorities chose the location to impress new citizens with the splendor and inclusive history of their adopted country. 'What a stunning place to become French. It's better than a pokey town hall,' Norris Trent said. 'You really feel privileged, and so it's quite a clever strategy.' ___ Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K
A second survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, has died of suicide, according to police. The Miami Herald reported that  a current student died Saturday night in “an apparent suicide.” Authorities confirmed the death Sunday. >> Read more trending news  Coral Springs police spokesman Tyler Reik told the Miami Herald the student was a juvenile. Authorities have not identified the student further. Related: Parkland school shooting survivor Sydney Aiello takes own life About a week earlier, Sydney Aiello, another survivor of the shooting, died of suicide  earlier this month. Aiello recently graduated from the Parkland, Florida, high school. Seventeen people were murdered when a gunman opened fire as classes ended for the day on Feb. 14, 2018. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Police are still investigating the death.

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  • Here is the letter Barr sent to leaders in Congress after he received the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian Collusion during the 2016 presidential election. Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins: I write to notify you pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3) that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters. In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with “a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General” or acting Attorney General “concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation. The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. Separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, and the Department’s long-standing practices and policies. I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review. Finally, the Special Counsel regulations provide that “the Attorney General may determine that public release of” this notification “would be in the public interest.” 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c) I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you. Sincerely, William P. Barr Attorney General
  • A New Jersey man accused of killing his wife, throwing her body in their pool and then driving to Applebee’s for food to set up his alibi has taken a plea deal in the case, prosecutors said.  Norman F. Long, 53, of Woolwich Township, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, according to NJ.com. The plea deal struck with Gloucester County prosecutors requires Long to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole. Prosecutors are recommending a 15-year sentence, NJ.com reported. As part of the agreement, charges of tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice have been dropped.  Long is scheduled for sentencing May 3.  >> Read more trending news Gloucester County prosecutors said at the time of Long’s arrest that the body of his wife, Michelle Long, 47, was pulled from the swimming pool at their home on June 17, 2017. Norman Long claimed that he had gone to pick up dinner and came home to find that his wife had apparently drowned in the pool. “According to an investigator’s affidavit of probable cause, Norman Long and neighbors were at poolside when the investigator arrived at 8:35 p.m. (that night), performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Michelle Long,” a 2017 news release from prosecutors said. “Norman Long ‘became combative’ while CPR was being administered and had to be restrained, the neighbors said.” A small dog was also found dead in the water.  Michelle Long’s autopsy showed that she had not drowned but instead died of blunt force trauma. Her death was ruled a homicide, prosecutors said.  Investigators spent just over six weeks investigating Michelle Long’s killing before arresting Norman Long on Aug. 1, 2017. He was charged with first-degree murder for “using physical force to cause blunt head and neck trauma” to his wife, the news release said. “It was a violent attack by him,” Gloucester County prosecutor Sean Dalton said during Norman Long’s first court appearance in August, NBC10 in Philadelphia reported. “The medical examiner found that there was bruising on her hands, consistent with defensive wounds. There was a struggle.” He was also charged with concealing evidence by “disposing (of) paper towels containing the blood of Michelle Long in the kitchen trashcan” and obstructing justice by throwing the blood-stained towels away and putting his wife’s body in the swimming pool, prosecutors said.  According to NJ.com, investigators believe Michelle Long may have been planning to leave her husband of 15 years. The last search she did on her computer, just minutes before her death, was a search for houses.  “This is what happened as a result of him finding out about that,” Dalton said during Long’s August appearance, NBC10 reported.  A timeline of the crime given in court last August alleged that Norman Long said his wife was on the computer when he left between 6:30 and 7 p.m. to pick up dinner at Applebee’s, NJ.com reported then. Prosecutors argued, however, that the timeline did not correspond with evidence. Michelle Long’s search for homes ended at 6:11 p.m., prosecutors said.  Surveillance footage from a nearby business’s security camera showed Norman Long driving by a carwash and then heading back home before going to Applebee’s, where the restaurant’s own footage shows him inside from 7:15 to 7:37 p.m., NJ.com reported. He against drove by the carwash headed for home at 7:47 p.m. The 911 call reporting Michelle Long’s death was received at 8:02 p.m. Norman Long was taken to a state psychiatric hospital for evaluation following his Aug. 1 arrest because he was expressing suicidal thoughts, prosecutors said.  NBC10 reported last year that the defendant’s first court appearance was delayed because he had an emotional breakdown in the jail. Sources told the news station Long physically fought being removed from his cell and had to be forcibly taken to his hearing. He was quiet once he was in the courtroom, the news station reported.  Michelle Long’s daughter, Brittany Maguire, said at the time of her stepfather’s arrest that her family was torn apart. “She was definitely the best mom, and she did not deserve this at all,” Maguire said during a news conference attended by NJ.com reporters. “We are all broken without her.” Since Michelle Long’s death, her mother and her daughters have partnered with a company called ROAR for Good, which makes a wearable personal safety device that, if activated by the touch of a button, shares the user’s location via text to a previously chosen list of contacts. It is designed to let people know if a loved one is in danger.  It can also emit a high-frequency alarm to scare away assailants, NJ.com reported. The family sells the devices, inscribed with Long’s nickname, “Chel,” on a website they created called guardianangelchel.com.  “We wanted to direct our energy into something positive, meaningful, and honor my daughter's life and leave a lasting legacy for her,' her mother, Susan Direso, told NJ.com last year. 'Chel was my joy, my little girl, and to lose her in such a brutal way broke my heart forever. This mission to help at-risk victims gives us a purpose to turn our tragedy into a meaningful project.”
  • As JEA considers several different designs and locations for a new Downtown headquarters, WOKV has learned they’re trying to build the facility without changing your rates. To do that, they may take on some big real estate sales. JEA has put together a “Real Estate Optimization Initiative”, where they have identified parcels for which they have no current or anticipated future use. According to documents from a planned presentation to the Board of Directors, four properties have already been identified and are either being appraised or have an appraisal planned. The list includes sites on Atlantic, Normandy, Talleyrand, and the existing HQ.  Those initial four are valued around $32.5 million, but JEA projects they could sell for as much as $65 million. Several other sites could follow, with a value of more than $100 million. Senior leadership envisions using that revenue to offset the cost of a new Downtown headquarters, and the documents project that would mean not having to look at customer rates to fund the facility. Off Southside and Atlantic sits the former Coggin Automotive dealership site. JEA acquired that property in 2011 to aid construction under the Total Water Management Plan, which involved a water transmission pipeline. Because that project has now been completed, JEA says they have no use for the roughly five acre property, although they would retain an easement for the underground utilities that were installed. A second site is 250 acres in the Cecil Commerce Center off Normandy Boulevard. JEA’s overall claim right now is 305 acres, but that involves an electric substation, water treatment plant, and other improvements and restrictions. JEA’s analysis has determined they can reduce their acreage, and would then be in a good position to sell a “prime commercial/industrial parcel”, according to the Board packet. In the Talleyrand area is the third property, of which JEA is considering selling 30-36 of its 48 acres. This faces up to the St. Johns River, and could therefore be attractive for industrial maritime development, according to JEA. They would retain the land that has improvements on the site- including two combustion turbine generators- and sell the rest, under the initiative. Finally, JEA has identified their current Downtown headquarters as a property to potentially sell. The Board documents note that JEA could sell and then lease the property back, until they’re prepared to move in to the new HQ. It’s expected to take more than two years to get the new building up and JEA moved in. This campus is actually three separate lots, which includes parking. The current HQ needs substantial repair, and is too large for JEA’s current needs. A September 2016 assessment- which WOKV was told is the most recent comprehensive assessment of the Tower- showed renovating the structure as it stands was at that time expected to cost between $65.3 million and $78.2 million. Problems identified with the Tower include everything from efficiencies, like the poor floor plan, to systems problems, like plumbing, electrical, and security. Just last month, parts of nine floors in the 19-story Tower experienced flooding because of several different building issues. The cost of the repairs and cleanup in that case was around $60,000. JEA’s Board of Directors has been weighing three proposals for a new Downtown HQ, and they’re expected to vote next month on which plan to move forward with. The cost of each of the proposals has not been made public, nor is it clear at this time how much of that bill the real estate sales could cover. GALLERY: JEA HQ proposal at Lot J by TIAA Bank Field GALLERY: JEA HQ proposal at Kings Avenue Station on the Southbank GALLERY: JEA HQ proposal on West Adams Street by the County Courthouse JEA says an appraisal is underway at the Atlantic site, and the other three properties have appraisals pending. While these four properties have been identified at this point, JEA says they could pursue others, including two thousand acres at the former St. Johns River Power Park, around two dozen small surplus properties, and surplus areas on existing tracts. JEA further projects they would incur operations and maintenance savings by not having to do landscaping, security, and related areas at the properties they sell. For just the four parcels identified so far, that savings is estimated around $1 million annually. The process involves first appraising the properties, and then offering them to other government agencies at appraised value, according to JEA. If there is interest, that’s where the sale would be, but if not, there would be a public bid process and formal award. There is no timeline for how long that process could take, but the Board would have to approve any sale over $500,000, and the Board and City Council would have to approve any sale under assessed value. The Board will be presented this initiative for discussion Tuesday, although they will not have to take any action at this point. Leasing or partnering in development on properties could also be considered, although the Board packet shows JEA’s leadership studied that and determined selling the sites would be the best move economically.
  • Jean Skinner has been hoping against hope over the past month. Skinner, of Galveston, was at a Mardi Gras parade Feb. 22 in the city when she misplaced a bag of Mardi Gras beads. Inside the bag was not only the cheap plastic celebratory necklaces, but something much more valuable: a blue pendant containing ashes from Skinner’s mother, Wanda Ogle. “It’s a glass pendant,” Skinner told The Galveston County Daily News. “It was made by an artist and, when they made the pendant, they put my mother’s ashes in the glass.” >> Read more trending news Skinner said it was her first Mardi Gras parade. She ordinarily only wears the pendant to special events she thinks her mother would have enjoyed attending. The problem started when Skinner became overloaded with colorful beads up to her chin.  “A friend of mine was, like, ‘You’re drowning in beads,” Skinner told the Daily News. “I guess when I took the beads off, the necklace was in there, as well.” In a Facebook post four days after the parade, Skinner wrote that the pile of necklaces was in a white plastic bag that also contained a Trader Joe’s bag and an umbrella. She has since posted several times about her loss, including an interview she did with Fox26 in Houston.  Skinner told the Daily News she hopes the bag did not end up among the piles of trash picked up after the parade.  “I just hope that I get it back,” she said. “If I don’t, I just hope that whoever does have it has more fun and that my mom can go with them.”
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered the results of an investigation into possible collusion in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, ending a two-year saga that, at times, pitted the president against his own Justice Department. >> Read more trending news Since the investigation began in 2017, Mueller’s team of prosecutors has indicted or accepted plea deals from 35 people.  Here’s a list of who has been indicted or pleaded guilty: Michael Cohen: Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax and bank fraud charges along with campaign finance violations. He accepted a plea deal in November for lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal. Michael Flynn: Flynn – who was Trump’s national security adviser for just a few weeks, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Rick Gates: Gates was a business partner of Paul Manafort’s. He took a plea deal from Mueller on false statement and conspiracy charges. Konstantin Kilimnik: Kilimnik is a business associate of Manafort and Gates. He was charged with obstruction of justice by witness tampering. He is in Russia now. Paul Manafort: Manafort was, for a short but key period of time, Trump’s campaign chairman. He was indicted on 25 counts – mostly for his dealings with politicians from Ukraine. He was convicted on eight federal financial crimes, then struck a plea deal to avoid a second trial on other finance charges. Sam Patten: Patten was a lobbyist who pleaded guilty for failing to register as a foreign agent. He worked with Ukraine politicians.  Richard Pinedo: Pinedo pleaded guilty to identity theft in connection with Muller’s indictment of 12 Russian nationals. George Papadopoulos: A one-time, self-described policy adviser, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail. Roger Stone: Republican and longtime Trump adviser was indicted on seven counts including lying to Congress and witness tampering. Alex van der Zwaan: Charged with lying to the FBI, Alex van der Zwaan is a London-based attorney. Van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in jail. 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies: The people and companies were included in indictments charging conspiracy and identity theft having to do with a Russian propaganda effort meant to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. Twelve of the 13 nationals worked for the Internet Research Agency – believed to be a “Russian troll farm,” according to the indictment. The 13th person is the person who allegedly financed the IRA -- The other person indicted was companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, Yevgeny Prigozhin. 12 Russian GRU officers: These officers were charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. The officers are members of the Russian military intelligence service. So far, none of Trump’s associates have been charged with directly helping Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

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