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CMA Awards 2019: Top Winners

CMA Awards 2019: Top Winners

The Latest News Headlines

  • More disturbing details are emerging about the Pennsylvania woman who was locked in a wooden cage inside of a Vestaburg home. WPXI-TV uncovered documents that show officials knew she was in a cage for three months before rescuing her or getting her medical attention. Leona Biser, 51, is facing charges of neglect of a care-dependent person, abuse of a care-dependent person, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment. According to the search warrant filed by the Attorney General’s Office, Agent Anthony Brunto with Adult Protective Services visited the home on 6th Street in August 2019 and encountered the victim who was dressed “inappropriately inside a locked wooden cage' on a dirty mattress. He reportedly began working on getting her guardianship but didn’t return to the house until Nov. 1. That day, he brought a doctor with him, but they left without getting the woman medical attention even though they documented that she was not able to walk. It wasn’t until nearly a month later, on Nov. 22, that the AG’s office got involved and sent an ambulance to the home to take the victim to a hospital. Her sister, Biser, was charged on Jan. 15. The Southwest Area Agency on Aging told WPXI that they didn’t handle the case because the victim is under 60 years old.
  • A statewide sea-level rise task force and Office of Resiliency is one step closer to becoming a reality in Florida. Behind the push, is St. Johns County state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.  “That’s the San Sebastian River out over there,” Michael Davis said.  Michael Davis showed Action News Jax how close the water is to his front yard in Lincolnville.  “When the hurricanes come through all that fills up with water,” Davis said.  Thankfully, his two properties on Riberia Street didn’t suffer indoor damage during the last two storms – but the water filled his yard and the street.  “It’s really scary to see that much water come in,” Davis said.  It unanimously passed a House committee on Tuesday.  Rising seas is top of mind for Davis and his neighbors.  Take Riberia Street for example, it’s one of the most vulnerable streets in St. Augustine.  Even though new drainage was installed a few years back it’s not immune to flooding. Homeowners fear the risk of flooding will devalue their properties.  “Hopefully we’ll be able to continue getting our insurance and our neighborhoods won’t lose any value,” Davis said.  The bill would also look at the economic impact facing Florida as its natural barriers erode.  Stevenson called it a “very important and well-constructed bill.”  An identical bill is also making its way through the Senate.  Davis said he’s glad lawmakers are paying attention but until a plan takes shape, all he can do now is prepare.  “I’ve been here all my life, I’m a life resident and I’m not going anywhere,” Davis said.
  • In day two of the search for evidence in Susan Mauldin’s disappearance case, the FBI revealed they have concentrated on a baseball diamond size area in the Chesser Island landfill located in Folkston, Georgia. Dozens of people from the FBI, State Attorneys office, and Clay County Sheriffs office are helping in the search efforts that began Tuesday.  Experts from the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia and tech hazard units are assisting in the search.  The FBI said they preserved an area of the landfill early in the investigation at the request of the Clay County Sheriffs office. The FBI did not allow additional dumping in that area which is now being searched by case detectives.  The landfill is laid out in a grid pattern, trash can be traced back to a specific date, and location.  It has been the center of other local high-profile cases like Joleen Cummings, and Somer Thompson.  The search comes months after Mauldin disappeared in October. Neighbors told Action News Jax the last time they saw Mauldin she had plans to meet with Binderim.  Mauldin moved to the United States from England, neighbors said she had no children and lived alone.  This search is the first major break in the case since Corey Binderim, an unlicensed contractor, was named a person of interest in Mauldin’s disappearance back in November. He’d done work in her home, neighbors say there was a falling out over money.  Binderim was arrested on an unrelated fraud charge in Duval County.
  • One organization is counting how many homeless people are living in our area to help get funding for vital programs aimed at helping them. Wednesday morning volunteers with Changing Homelessness bundled up and scoured the beaches looking for people sleeping outside for the 2020 census survey.  Nate has lived outside for the past 10 years.  'It can be tough, thank God we're not in Detroit or Minnesota or something,' he said.  The group is counting people like Nate because its needed to get funding for programs that help the homeless.  More than 1,600 people in Northeast Florida are homeless, according to the count in 2018.  The group is giving out surveys to people living out on the streets.  They're asking questions like how long it's been since they've stayed in permanent housing and where they'll be sleeping tonight,especially with the weather being so cold.  Justin Foster volunteered by handing out surveys.  'It's important to see where the homeless population is and who exactly we need to direct the resources, is it people of color, is it queer people of color, is it veterans, stuff like that,' Foster said.  The cold is having an impact on the number of people they’re able to count too.  'We actually didn't see as many as we many as we thought there was going to be because most of them were at he cold shelters at the shelters in Neptune Beach, so it's good to know what people know where to do when it's cold,' Foster said.  Only 30 surveys in the beaches area were filled out Wednesday morning.  Foster told me it made her more aware of whose living in the streets in her community.  'We found in this area that it was definitely people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s,' she said.  Changing Homelessness says it could take several weeks until they figure out how many people are homeless in Northeast Florida because they’re still collecting data throughout the week.
  • With each passing day, the family and friends of missing Pittsburgh artist Tonee Turner grow more concerned about finding her and bringing her home safe. Turner, 22, was last seen around 6 p.m. Dec. 30 in the Squirrel Hill area of the city, according to Pittsburgh police officials. WPXI reported that she was last seen at Dobra Tea, a Bohemian-style tea shop she often frequented. “She’s bubbly and caring,” Turner’s sister, Sydnee Turner, told NNPA Newswire. “She made a practice of caring for herself holistically.” The newswire reported that a firefighter found Tonee Turner’s belongings -- her wallet, cellphone and keys -- the evening she vanished about 3 miles from the tea shop on the Homestead Grays Bridge pedestrian walkway. Missing persons posters emphasize that it is completely out of character for the young woman to vanish without contacting her family or friends. Well-known in her community, Tonee Turner’s disappearance has garnered lots of local attention and some national media coverage. A GoFundMe page set up to help fund the family’s search has raised $10,535, surpassing its goal of $10,000. Police investigators spent New Year’s Day trying to piece together a timeline of Tonee Turner’s last known movements, WPXI reported. Sydnee Turner wrote on Jan. 1 that the family believed she might be traveling down Interstate 80 near Homestead and sought to confirm her safety. “We do not trust anyone she is traveling with,” Sydnee Turner wrote on Facebook. “Friends in other states, I need your help the most right now. Friends in Ohio, Utah, Nevada, anything near route I-80, please look for my sister. “Call if you have the faintest suspicion. We need to BRING TONEE HOME.” Tonee Turner, a full-time metal fabricator at Studebaker Metals in Braddock, also serves as a beloved ceramics teacher at Braddock Carnegie Library’s Bathhouse Ceramics Studio. A vigil was held earlier this month at the library for Tonee Turner. A Jan. 2 post on the library’s Facebook page pleaded for information on her whereabouts. “There are a lot of different pieces of information. And what we hope is that the leads, lead to Tonee,” the post read. “And that Tonee knows the amount of care that exists for her.” The ceramics studio has paused its open studios for a few weeks as the library works to support Turner’s co-workers through their sorrow. “This pause in open studio reflects the grief we are feeling and honoring its demands,” read a statement from Dana Bishop-Root, associate director of the library association. “Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your continued support and care for Tonee Turner and all of the staff members of the BCS.” The young artist has also been very active in the Braddock Youth Project, first as a participant and then as an AmeriCorps team leader. “When her AmeriCorps term ended with us, she continued to work with our partners, Braddock Tiles and the Braddock Library Ceramics Studio,” a post on the project’s Facebook page read. “She later was hired on as a full-time metal fabricator at Studebaker Metals. “So many have grown accustomed to feeling her radiate love amongst different parts of the Braddock community. We are sending out our love to Tonee's family and all others who know and love her, and we are taking part in lighting white candles to lift Tonee up as detectives and her family search for answers.” Akayla Bennett told NNPA Newswire she’s known the missing woman for about a year. “She danced over to me and gave me a big hug, and I knew her soul was beautiful at that moment that I met her,” Bennett said. Bennett and Sydnee Turner described Tonee Turner as an artist, an educator and an avid dancer. Her sister said she is studying Flamenco and Kathak, a form of Indian dance. “If you’ve gone to concerts in Pittsburgh, you’ve probably seen Tonee in front, dancing her little heart away,” Bennett told the newswire. “Whether she was alone or with friends, that didn’t matter to her when it came to dancing.” Tonee Turner is black with wavy shoulder-length hair that she sometimes wears in a wrap, police officials said. She is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to dial 911 or contact the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police at 412-323-7800.

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