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Indonesia asks people to avoid coast near erupting volcano

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 20:42

SUMUR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities asked people near an island volcano to avoid the coast while eruptions and weather and sea conditions were being monitored for tsunami risks.

A tsunami that followed an eruption of Anak Krakatoa hit communities along the Sunda Strait on Saturday night, killing more than 420 people and displacing thousands. The eruption is believed to have set off a landslide on the volcano's slopes, displacing the water that then slammed into Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency asked people late Tuesday to stay at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the Sunda Strait coastline.

Agency's head Dwikorita Karnawati said government agencies were monitoring Anak Krakatoa's eruptions and that high waves and heavy rain were possible Wednesday.

"All these conditions could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami," she said at a news conference. She asked that communities remain vigilant but not panic.

The tsunami Saturday night struck without warning, taking people by surprise even in a country familiar with seismic disaster. No big earthquake shook the ground beforehand, and it hit at nighttime on a holiday weekend while people were enjoying concerts and other beach and resort activities.

People in Sumur village, which has been slow to receive aid due to roads being cut off, remained stunned by how quickly the tsunami hit. The beach, located just a few kilometers from the tourist island of Umang near Java's western tip, is popular for snorkeling and other water activities. The tsunami decimated the area, ripping houses from their foundations and bulldozing concrete buildings.

Scientists have said the tsunami's waves were recorded in several places at about 1 meter (3.3 feet) high, but residents of Sumur insisted they towered more than 3 meters (10 feet) there. They said a soaring white wall of water roared toward them at high speeds, ripping trees out of the ground by their roots.

"There was no sign of a tsunami when we were at the beach. The sea didn't recede," said Tati Hayati, a housewife, who was enjoying a pleasant evening with 10 other people when the disaster hit. "It was calm and bright with the full moon."

When she spotted high, fast-moving waves launching toward the shore, she ran to her car and managed to get inside. But she couldn't outrun it. She said the car was struck by three waves, breaking out the back window and filling the vehicle with gushing water.

"We were locked inside. The car was swaying in the waves and we thought we would all die," Hayati said. "We almost could not breathe and I almost gave up when I groped the key in the water and managed to open the door, and the water began to recede. We got out of the car and ran to safety."

More than 16,000 people were displaced from their homes and heavy equipment was urgently needed in the Sumur subdistrict near Ujung Kulon National Park to help get aid flowing and reach people who may be injured or trapped, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The death toll was 429, with more than 1,400 people injured and at least 128 missing, he said.

Anak Krakatau, or Child of Krakatoa, formed in the early 20th century near the site of the cataclysmic 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which killed more than 30,000 people and hurled so much ash that it turned day to night in the area and reduced global temperatures.

Anak Krakatau has been erupting since June and did so again 24 minutes before the tsunami, according to the geophysics agency.

Saturday's disaster came ahead of the anniversary of the massive Asian tsunami that hit Dec. 26, 2004, after a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island spawned huge waves. The giant wall of water killed some 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.

Categories: Ohio News

Protests in Tunisia after journalist sets himself on fire

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 20:37

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Protests erupted Tuesday in Tunisia after the death of a journalist who set himself on fire to protest economic problems in the North African nation, prompting clashes with police and nationwide concern.

Journalist Abderrazak Zorgui posted a video online before his self-immolation in the struggling provincial city of Kasserine describing his desperation and calling for revolt. He expressed frustration at unemployment and the unfulfilled promises of Tunisia's 2011 Arab Spring revolution.

Authorities said Zorgui died of his injuries Monday soon after being taken to the hospital.

His actions prompted a protest Monday night in Kasserine that degenerated into violence, with police firing tear gas to disperse protesters who blocked roads and threw stones at police. Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said Tuesday that six police officers were injured and several people arrested in the protest.

A new protest was held Tuesday night in Kasserine, with new tensions with police, and other actions were reported elsewhere.

A similar self-immolation - by a street vendor lamenting unemployment, corruption and repression - led to nationwide protests fueled by social media that brought down Tunisia's long-time authoritarian president in 2011. That ushered in democracy for Tunisia and unleashed similar movements around the Arab world.

Zorgui's funeral was being held Tuesday in Kasserine, which has come to symbolize Tunisia's economic problems and social tensions. Unemployment and poverty are high, and the area has struggled for years against extremists in the nearby mountains who are linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

The Tunisian National Journalists' Union called for demonstrations and a possible strike in response to the journalist's death. In a statement, it accused the state of contributing to Zorgui's death by not cracking down on corruption.

Tunisian reporters expressed solidarity with Zorgui, lamenting precarious conditions for freelancers with no legal protections and low pay amid Tunisia's struggling economy.

"The reasons for this young man's suicide are poverty and marginalization, as well as the fragile situation of most journalists," said Latifa Labiadh of radio station Amal.

Categories: Ohio News

Koreas hold groundbreaking ceremony for railway project

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 20:22

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for an aspirational project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South.

The ceremony at the North Korean border town of Kaesong came weeks after the Koreas conducted a joint survey on the northern railway sections they hope to someday link with the South.

The ambitious project is among a variety of peace gestures agreed between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in as they push ahead with engagement amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

But beyond on-site reviews and ceremonies, the Koreas cannot move the project much further along without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.

During his three summits with Moon and a meeting with President Donald Trump in June, Kim signed vague statements pledging a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing how and when it would occur. But followup nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for months over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang.

About 100 South Koreans, including government officials and lawmakers, attended the ceremony. They were greeted by North Korean officials including Ri Son Gwon, who heads an agency dealing with inter-Korean affairs. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and officials from China, Russia and Mongolia also attended the ceremony, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.

The Seoul government plans to conduct further surveys on North Korean railways and roads before drawing up a detailed blueprint for the project. Actual construction will proceed depending on the progress in the North's denuclearization and the state of sanctions against the country, the ministry said.

"We plan to hold detailed negotiations with the North to coordinate on the specific levels we want to achieve in the modernization of railways and roads and how to carry out the project," said Eugene Lee, the ministry's spokeswoman.

Even if the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization and gains sanctions relief, some experts say updating North Korean rail networks and trains, which creak slowly along the rails that were first built in the early 20th century, could take decades and massive investment.

Seoul said it received an exemption to sanctions from the U.N. Security Council to proceed with Wednesday's ceremony as it involved the usage of South Korean transport vehicles and goods. The Koreas' joint survey of North Korean railways in November, which also required U.N. approval, marked the first time a South Korean train traveled on North Korean tracks.

The Koreas in December 2007 began freight services between South Korea's Munsan Station in Paju and the North's Panmun Station to support operations at a now-shuttered joint factory park in Kaesong. The South used the trains to move construction materials north, while clothing and shoes made at the factory park were sent south. The line was cut in November 2008 due to political tensions over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The Kaesong factory park was shut down under the South's previous conservative government in February 2016 following a North Korean nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Categories: Ohio News

Marion police officers play Santa for mother of 3

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 19:05

When you think about Santa Claus, you typically think of man dressed in red and white. Christmas Eve, Santa was played by a group of 5 in blue who saved the day for a single mom of three.

“It's a miracle. I was praying to god saying please give me a miracle, and he did. All because my doors were locked,” said single mom of three, Melinda Holsinger.

The holidays are tough for many people. Holsinger, prayed for help this Christmas because she was not able to buy any presents for her kids.

“I had emergency surgery, then I found out I had cancer. So it was, I couldn't believe it. I had nothing,” Holsinger said as tears streamed down her face.

Her 12-year-old daughter had locked the keys in her car while it was running Christmas Eve night, so Holsinger called Marion police to help. They did more than just unlock her door when they heard about her struggles.

“We all pooled whatever cash we had in our pockets and put it together,” said canine officer Richard Wheeler.

Marion Police Lieutenant Mike Shade, Lieutenant Mark Elliot, Officer Richard Wheeler, Officer Danny Ice, Officer Dena Benroth, and Officer Chris Coburn put their cash together and took Holsinger shopping for her kids.

“She was kind of conservative at the beginning with what she was getting, and we said, nope, get it. Throw it in the cart, get it. Make a good Christmas for your kids,” Wheeler explained.

Holsinger said it was the Christmas miracle she had prayed for, and was blown away at the officers’ generosity.

“I can’t describe how much it means to me. It means so much. It means so much. If I could give you the world, I would,” Holsinger told the officers.

Categories: Ohio News

7-year-old who spoke to Trump about Santa still believes

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 18:16

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 7-year-old girl who talked to President Donald Trump on Christmas Eve still left out milk and cookies for Santa despite the president telling her it was "marginal" for a child of her age to still believe in the jolly old elf.

Then again, Collman Lloyd of Lexington, South Carolina, says she had never heard the word "marginal" before.

Collman had called the NORAD Tracks Santa program Monday night to check on Santa's journey delivering toys. In an interview with the Post and Courier of Charleston, she said the scientist who answered the NORAD phone asked her if she would like to speak to the president.

Six minutes later, Trump was on the line. "Are you still a believer in Santa?" Trump asked. When she responded, "Yes, sir," the president added, "Because at 7, that's marginal, right?"

Collman didn't know what "marginal" meant and simply answered, "Yes, sir." Trump closed by saying, "Well, you just enjoy yourself."

Trump's chat with Collman was initially reported as being with a boy named Coleman. Only Trump's end of the conversation could be heard by reporters, but Collman's family later posted video of the call on YouTube.

Collman told the Post and Courier that she and her 10-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother left iced sugar cookies and chocolate milk for Santa. She reported that Christmas morning, the food was gone and presents were under the tree.

In addition to the NORAD Tracks Santa program and church services Christmas Eve, Trump participated in another holiday tradition, wishing U.S. troops stationed around the country and the globe a merry Christmas. He spoke Tuesday by video conference to members of all five branches of the U.S. military.

"I know it's a great sacrifice for you to be away from your families, but I want you to know that every American family is eternally grateful to you, and we're holding you close in our hearts, thoughts and prayers," Trump said. "We love what you do and love your work. Amazing people."

The president spent a rare Christmas in Washington because of a stalemate with Congress over government funding that left several departments and agencies shuttered since the weekend, affecting the livelihoods of some 800,000 federal employees.

Trump usually celebrates Christmas at his Florida estate. He scrapped plans to travel to Palm Beach because of the shutdown.

"I thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family," he told reporters in the Oval Office after the give and take with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard from their stations in Guam, Bahrain, Qatar and Alaska.

"My family is in Florida, Palm Beach, and I just didn't want to go down and be there when other people are hurting," Trump said. He didn't say which family members were at the Mar-a-Lago estate.

Categories: Ohio News

20 hurt in Germany as horse carriages collide on Christmas

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 17:18

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German police say 20 people were injured, two of them seriously, when two horse-drawn carriages collided during a Christmas Day outing.

The dpa news agency quoted police in southern Bavaria as saying the two carriages, each with 10 passengers, were approaching a rail crossing single file when the first carriage halted. The second did not and overturned during the collision.

One man had to be taken to the hospital by helicopter. Dpa says the driver of one of the carriages was also seriously hurt during Tuesday's accident.

The other 18 injured people included children. They all suffered less serious or minor injuries and were attended by 35 medical personnel. Police in the community of Pfronten were investigating on suspicion of negligence causing bodily injury.

Categories: Ohio News

3 men steal $800,000 in jewelry at Colorado luxury hotel

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 17:08

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Authorities say three men stole about $800,000 worth of diamond-encased jewelry from a display case in the lobby of The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, Colorado.

The Aspen Daily News reports that police say one of the men involved in the theft Friday used a screwdriver to pop open the locked case and put a necklace and at least one ring and a set of earrings into a backpack.

The items belonged to Piranesi, a New York City-based business that has an outlet in Aspen.

Piranesi employee Veronica Sumner says Piranesi has had the display case in the hotel's lobby for marketing purposes for more than 20 years.

Aspen police Officer Kirk Wheatley says "a whole team is working on it, it's pretty big."

Categories: Ohio News

Report: Israeli attack near Syrian capital wounds 3 soldiers

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 15:12

BEIRUT (AP) — Warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday and some of the missiles were shot down by air defense units, Syrian state TV said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

While Syrian television didn't identify the planes, Lebanon's the state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli warplanes were flying at low altitude over parts of southern Lebanon and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said Israeli airstrikes targeted three positions south of Damascus that are arms depots for Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group and Iranian forces..

The reported attack near Damascus is the first since U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria, a move that will leave control of the oil-rich eastern third of Syria up for grabs.

Nearly an hour after the attacks began, Damascus residents could still hear the air defense units firing toward targets in the air.

"The aggression is still ongoing," said a presenter on state TV, which interrupted its programs to air patriotic songs.

Meanwhile, Israel's military spokesman unit also reported action, though it did not confirm air attacks. It said in a statement that "an aerial defense system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria." No damage or injuries were reported by the Israeli military.

Israel is widely believed to have been behind a series of airstrikes in the past that mainly targeted Iranian and Hezbollah forces fighting alongside the government in Syria. Tuesday's attack is the first since a missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on Nov. 29.

Russia announced it had delivered the S-300 air defense system to Syria in October. That followed the Sept. 17 downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli airstrike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus Firefighters spend Christmas serving and protecting

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 14:52

Not everyone was able to spend Christmas with their families.

For the men and women of the Columbus Division of Fire, it goes with the job, and it is a duty they are proud to fulfill.

They exchanged gifts, and they'll enjoy a holiday meal.

But the men of Station 18 won't be home for Christmas.

For second-generation firefighter Lucius Sullivan, FaceTiming with his daughter will have to do.

"Of course everybody wants to be home for Christmas," Sullivan said. "But I know I'm making a difference in the community and keeping people safe."

Quinton Echols says its goes with the territory- not just for firefighters, but for their families.

"With the kids being 'firefighter kids,' sometimes Christmas moves a little bit," he said. "Sometimes Christmas can be on Christmas Eve, sometimes we have to ask Santa, can he come a little early to the house? And he's always happy to oblige."

On this job, every day- every minute- brings the unknown.

They could meet violence, danger, even death.

Someone else's moment of crisis is the call they answer every day.

"Just that last call I came off of...it's hard to see someone in a bad situation like we just saw," Echols said. "The presents, and the children, that's always a tough pill to swallow. Because their holiday, their view of Christmas is going to be forever changed. That's the sad part. That stings a lot."
"Even though it's Christmas, people still have emergencies, people still lose their lives. People lose their homes," said Sullivan. "So unfortunately I've seen people lose their homes or family members on Christmas day. I've unfortunately been a part of that."

Sometimes the unknown can be a surprise visit.

Tuesday the families of Ashley Ramirez and Kelly Hernandez came calling with cocoa and cookies.

"To tell them thank you for their service and what they do for the community," said Ramirez. "I just want my kids to learn that there are people who don't get to be home on Christmas, so doing something a little extra special for them will brighten up their holiday."

"We don't expect it, but we greatly appreciate it...when people stop by, especially with all the kids, because they didn't have to," said firefighter Charles McFadden. "You know you're going to be working holidays. We miss a lot of our kid's basketball or sports events, things like that. But the payback is nice, the reward is nice."

"It means a lot," said Sullivan. "It's a great sense of pride you have putting on the uniform every day." ...even when that day is Christmas.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio parolee reflects on her first year out of prison

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 14:29

CINCINNATI (AP) — Before her parole and release from prison last Christmas Day, Tyra Patterson had to make a five-year plan.

Her goals were to live independently, get a job, travel, see her family and begin speaking in public about criminal justice reform.

"I completed that ... in less than a year," Patterson told The Enquirer in an interview last week from her rented house in suburban Cincinnati.

She knows she is not the typical returning citizen, woman or man. Her case and her insistence on her innocence attracted international support from celebrities the likes of filmmaker Ken Burns and actress Alfre Woodard.

David Singleton of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center became her attorney five years ago and generated more publicity that helped build a roster of re-entry mentors that include a current member of Cincinnati City Council, a former member of Congress, lawyers, business owners and a rabbi.

Patterson even had a job waiting for her as a paralegal at Singleton's firm. It's at this point where her past connects with the major goal she has mapped out in her next five-year plan. She is applying for a Soros Justice Fellowship to create a program that would provide more people coming out of prison with re-entry mentors.

The need is great. The number of women in U.S. prisons rose from 13,200 in 1980 to a peak of almost 113,000 in 2010, according to the Sentencing Project. The analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy group also shows that 1 in 18 African-American women will be incarcerated at some point in her life, compared to 1 in 111 white women.

Patterson said she saw opportunities for self-improvement in prison and made them happen. Mentors have helped make her re-entry successful.

"I wouldn't be where I am without them," she said. "They didn't just guide me. They held my hand.

"For so long, people have leveraged their privilege for me. They were my voice when I didn't have one. They kept me strong and believing in me. I understand that now I can leverage my privilege for those who are incarcerated. I can't walk away and forget them."

A year ago Christmas morning, Patterson walked out of the Northeast Reintegration Center in Cleveland and kept a promise she'd made to God. She dropped to her knees in the snow, kissed the ground and gave thanks for her freedom.

Patterson had been in custody since being arrested and one of five people ultimately convicted in the shooting death of a 15-year-old Dayton, Ohio, girl, Michelle Lai. The incident unfolded in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 1994. Patterson was 19, had dropped out of school at 11, and was illiterate.

A jury found Patterson guilty on one count of aggravated murder and four counts of aggravated robbery. She was sentenced to 43 years to life in prison but maintained that she and another girl walked away before the shooting. Patterson did admit to picking up a necklace off the pavement that belonged to one of the robbery victims.

Among those moved by her story to ask for her early release was Hamilton County's tough-on-crime Republican prosecutor, Joe Deters, who met with Patterson in prison in 2016 and said, "Justice has been served. She's been in there long enough."

In the first of the several presentations that she has made to high school students since her release — Aiken High School on Feb. 1 — Patterson told that piece of her story.

She warns them about the dangers of dropping out and using marijuana. She says that even after the mistakes she had made that she realized she had an opportunity to make herself better.

While in prison, she learned to read and write and completed a GED. She also earned a steam engineer's license and a paralegal certificate. She would start work Jan. 25 as a paralegal at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, Downtown. The client became an employee. She often walked to work from her apartment on Vine Street in the north end of Over-the-Rhine.

She estimates that in her first year of freedom that she made 50 public appearances and spoke to 4,500 students from middle school to law school. She has told her story to students at Turpin, St. Xavier, Walnut Hills and DePaul Cristo Rey high schools, the latter among those she mentored electronically while in prison.

At Cristo Rey, a religion teacher introduced her students to Patterson's story while she was still in prison. Some students then met with Singleton and helped create the #FreeTyra campaign.

Donald Whittle, 17, now a junior from Finneytown, was among the students most engaged with her case. Patterson visited the school in the spring.

"Her story is important to me because it's about overcoming obstacles," said Whittle, an African-American. "She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It made me evaluate my friend group and who I hang around with."

A couple of times, Patterson said, high school students told her after her speech that her message convinced them not to try to take their life.

"I talk about how important it is to hang on tightly to hope," Patterson said. "I did."

She has spoken to groups of public defenders in St. Louis, Atlanta and Mobile, Alabama. She delivered a keynote address at a youth rally in Shreveport, Louisiana, and was a featured guest speaking to students at Harvard and Northwestern universities' law schools near Boston and Chicago, respectively.

"It's not easy getting up and being transparent and vulnerable," Patterson said at home, as her miniature Husky, named Diva, and a rescue cat, Dainty, took turns sitting on her lap. "I want to change somebody's life. If somebody had told me not to drop out, it might have changed my life."

Patterson's speaking engagements often end with students swarming around her for a hug, to shake her hand or pose for a selfie with her. She is a warm, engaging speaker — "real" is a common description — smiling and making eye contact. Professionally, she pulls her long, dark hair back and tight off her forehead, revealing, at 43, an increasing number of gray hairs. She cuts an athletic figure. She trained with one of her mentors, Jean Schmidt, former Representative for Ohio's 2nd congressional district, and completed with Schmidt the 5-kilometer race in the Flying Pig in early May.

Attorney Singleton and another of her reentry mentors, Cincinnati councilwoman Tamaya Dennard, have traveled with Patterson and attended some of her local presentations in schools and to community and faith-based groups.

"I sometimes worry that she has taken on too much, and I try to tell her to slow down," said Singleton, Justice and Policy Center executive director. "But then I realize that she is working as hard as she can to make up for 23 years that she lost."

Patterson can make up for some things lost to time. With Dennard's help, Patterson in April — a month before her 43rd birthday — earned her first license. She has a car. Her personalized plate refers to her employer, which promoted her in April from paralegal to the newly created position of community outreach and education specialist, which allows her to educate the public about OJPC's work to reform Ohio's criminal justice system.

Away from work, she likes to shop in second-hand stores and road-side flea markets. She's a self-confessed neat freak, and while an Enquirer photographer was setting up additional lights in her home for a portrait beside her Christmas tree, Patterson refilled air freshener containers and scooped her cat's litter box.

She is regaining rights as a citizen she didn't have while serving prison time. She voted for the first time in May's primary and said she won't miss another election. When Fifth Third Bank refused to allow Patterson to open a bank account on Jan. 31 — she did not have a required second form of identification — she went down the street and opened one at a PNC branch. The ensuing negative publicity caused Fifth Third to change its policy

In late summer, she moved from the Over-the-Rhine apartment to the suburbs. Two months later, on Oct. 17, Cincinnati City Council passed a unanimous resolution honoring Patterson "for her courage and perseverance and efforts to improve her life and those of many others."

Dennard said of Patterson, whom she now refers to as her best friend, "She dispells what people in prison look like, those negative social norms."

For all of her positive energy and forward-looking vision, Patterson said she has missed out on some things and faces a closing window of opportunity for others.

"I'm just now starting a 401(k)," she said. "I want to have a child."

Yet she has no time for a relationship with a man, she added.

In addition to starting a re-entry mentoring program, Patterson is involved in art programs for prisoners and those who have been released.

She paints. She also advocates. Patterson proposed to ArtWorks, the nonprofit responsible for many of the city's murals, to create one depicting returning citizens who've come home to make a positive difference in their community. Patterson leads the project and is hiring six artists, some with criminal records. Completion is expected mid-year 2019.

In September, she was in Cleveland as a panelist discussing prison reform, an event tied in with the opening of the Prison Nation exhibit. A month later, Patterson was in Columbus, where she exhibited a painting, titled "Midnight," that she completed in prison. The event was the second annual Ohio Prison Arts Connection, an effort to increase arts and creative medium to people while incarcerated.

At the same time, she has her eye on another type of prize: clemency. Singleton filed with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016.

"I want my name back," she said. "I don't want to have to face any more barriers."

Though Kasich has not yet acted, Patterson's clemency push received a major boost in April 2016. That's when Holly Lai Holbrook, the sister of the woman killed that night in 1994 in Dayton, told the governor that Patterson should not have been convicted of murder.

The victim's sister said Patterson was not with the group of people who robbed and killed her sister.

In the meantime, Patterson keeps traveling and telling her story where she thinks she can help force positive change.

The week before Christmas, she and Dennard were in New York to meet with a producer for "The Dr. Oz Show." No film or air dates are yet scheduled. Patterson said show executives want her to talk about her life journey but also the health challenges she deals with: the chronic autoimmune disease lupus, colitis and Crohn's disease.

"All the preservatives in the institutional food I ate for 23 years," she said.

Yet here, as with the time she served for crimes she said she did not commit, Patterson said she is not bitter.

"I lost more than half my life to the system," she said. "I want to live my best life. Me giving back is part of my survival."

With that, she put a coat on over her sweater and blue jeans. The heels of her leather boots clacked as she raced down the wood steps of her split-level home and out the door. She had to get to the store to buy a few things for her trip the next morning to New York.

Categories: Ohio News

Police searching for a Christmas Day gas station robbery suspect in north Columbus

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 14:01

COLUMBUS, Ohio-- Police are searching for the suspect involved in an armed robbery that took place at a gas station Christmas morning in north Columbus.

The B.P. gas station located at 7310 Sawmill Road was robbed at 9:05 a.m. by a man with a handgun at the clerk and demanded money, according to Columbus Police.

The suspect entered the store, walked around the counter and pointed a small black handgun at the cashier.

Detectives say the cashier complied by opening the cash drawer and the suspect took off from the business keeping his face hidden by a mask.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Columbus Police Robbery Unit at 614-645-4665 or Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS (8477) to leave an anonymous tip.

Categories: Ohio News

Operation Christmas Card: 2,000 cards, 1 little girl

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 12:28

Eight-year-old Adriana Pollock isn't your average 3rd grader.

"My mom says that it’s very special that I do it because most kids my age don’t think about those things," said Adriana.

What her mom was referring to, was Adriana's deep desire to give back.

"I didn't want other people to have bad Christmases and lose their Christmas spirit," she explained with a smile.

So last year, Adriana started "Operation Christmas Card".

"It's giving Christmas cards to people," Adriana explained. "...to people in foster homes and nursing homes."

in 2017, Adriana was addressing Christmas cards to her friends, when she came up with the bright idea.

"She said that was a good idea!," Adriana said.

Before she knew it, Adriana had signed 400 cards with a special greeting.

"You may not know us, but we love you! Merry Christmas!"

This year, Adriana has a much bigger goal.

"Two thousand," she said with a bright-eyed excitement.

With the help of her mom and a little assistance from her little sister, Adriana reached her goal!

"It makes me feel happy that I can give Christmas joy to other people," she said shyly. "I just want other people to be as happy as me and my sister."

Operation Christmas Card delivers to nursing homes and foster care homes in surrounding towns near Newark.

Categories: Ohio News

Christmas Tradition: Chinese food and a movie

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 12:19

Inside the Lucky Dragon in Clintonville, a holiday tradition begins.

Chinese food on Christmas is an American tradition and John Zuercher and Ben Perry are taking full advantage.

"We were just talking about the "Christmas Story" movie and we were walking in and talking about how it reminded us of that movie it's like part of America now," says Perry.

It's not the only post-Christmas tradition people like observe.

Getting out the house for some laughter at the movie theater maybe as fun as opening presents.

Greg Smith and Janis Simpson saw "Holmes and Watson" starring Will Ferrell. They have some advice for those heading to the theater.

"Go as early as you can because the afternoon is packed," says Smith.

So if you're looking for a reason to get out of the house on Christmas, Chinese food and a movie maybe options you can put on your next Christmas list.

For some going out is just a good way to give your loved ones a break.

"We are giving mom and dad a rest because Santa was very busy last night so we are taking the kids out for the "Nutcracker" today, says Regina Chabot of Columbus.

Fun fact In case you are wondering, the 1990 movie Home Alone is the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time raking in $286 million.

Categories: Ohio News

U.S. says 2nd Guatemalan child has died in immigration custody

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 11:48

EL PASO, Texas — An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died in government custody early Tuesday, U.S. immigration authorities, marking the second death of an immigrant child in detention this month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release that the boy died shortly after midnight Tuesday.

The boy showed "signs of potential illness" Monday and was taken with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the agency said. There, he was diagnosed with a cold and a fever, was given prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen and released Monday afternoon.

The boy was returned to the hospital Monday evening with nausea and vomiting and died there just hours later, CBP said.

The agency said the cause of the boy's death has not been determined and that it has notified the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general and the Guatemalan government.

A CBP spokesman declined to elaborate Tuesday, but said more details would be released shortly.

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died earlier this month after being apprehended by border agents. The body of the girl, Jakelin Caal, was returned to her family's remote village Monday.

Categories: Ohio News

Marion police officers buy gifts for single mother of 3

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 11:27

MARION, Ohio-- Members of the Marion Police Department got into the Christmas spirit Monday night.

One officer arrived at a parking lot to help a woman who was locked out of her car, according to the police department's Facebook page.

While unlocking the vehicle, the woman told the officer she is a single mother of three and had no gifts for her children.

After hearing her story and unlocking the car, the officer took the mother shopping for the presents she needed. Other officers heard the story and chipped in to save the woman's Christmas, as well.

The police department told the story in their own words on Facebook:

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the streets, there were hardworking officers patrolling their beats.

The dispatchers were taking phone calls from their lair, with a promise that officers soon would be there.

But this night is special and its not all about crime, with an assurance that we will deliver each time.

For a mother had locked her keys in her car, so quickly Lt. Shade came from afar.

He entered that capsule as quick as a flash, and listened to her Christmas Eve story so not to be rash.

Being a single mother of three it can be hard to get by, and these are the stories that put tears in our eyes.

The front lines are filled with need and with pain, a constant reminder our job's not in vain.

Hearing the heartbreaking tale she had no gifts for home, Lt. Shade acted and he wasn't alone.

He took this mom shopping and filled up her cart, he put it all on his card and that's just the start.

The other officers chipped in because we are never alone, and beneath the glistening streetlights their true hearts were shown.

Some of us were kids too with Mom's who had struggles, and the only gift she could afford were her tear laden snuggles.

So on this day- this crew had paid the gift forward, in a beautiful way which required no word.

Their act had surely made 3 children smile, and allowed this brave mother to climb one extra mile.

It is our lasting endevour to be a beacon of light, with good tidings to you on this Christmas Eve night.

We are proud of our Christmas Eve crew for their kindness, compassion and benevolence. THIS IS YOUR Marion PD and we couldn't be more proud. Wishing peace and safety to all who patrol a beat tonight or perform some necessary service which separates them from home. You are all appreciated by many! #MarionMade #MarionProuD

Categories: Ohio News

Trump offers holiday greetings to US troops

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 10:29

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday wished U.S. troops stationed around the country and the world a merry Christmas.

"I know it's a great sacrifice for you to be away from your families, but I want you to know that every American family is eternally grateful to you, and we're holding you close in our hearts, thoughts and prayers," Trump said. "We love what you do and love your work. Amazing people."

President Trump spoke by video conference to members of all five branches of the U.S. military.

The president was spending a rare Christmas in Washington because of a stalemate with Congress that left several government departments and agencies shuttered since the weekend, affecting the livelihoods of some 800,000 federal employees.

President Trump usually spends Christmas at his Florida estate. He scrapped plans to travel to Palm Beach because of the shutdown.

"I thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family," he told reporters in the Oval Office after the give and take with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard from their stations in Guam, Bahrain, Qatar and Alaska.

"My family is in Florida, Palm Beach, and I just didn't want to go down and be there when other people are hurting," Trump said. He didn't say which family members were at the Mar-a-Lago estate.

The president and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, had an active Christmas Eve.

They answered telephone calls from children who were wanted to know where Santa was on his gift-giving journey, with the president at one point asking a 7-year-old named Coleman, "Are you still a believer in Santa?" President Trump listened for a moment before adding, "Because at 7, it's marginal, right?"

Reporters in the room could only hear the president's end of the conversation during the NORAD Tracks Santa program. The program became a Christmas Eve tradition after a child mistakenly called the forerunner to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in 1955 and asked to speak to Santa.

It was not affected by the shutdown because it's staffed by volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado using pre-approved funding.

The Trumps later attended religious services at Washington National Cathedral. He and the first lady usually attend Christmas Eve services at the Episcopal church in Palm Beach where they were married in 2005.

Categories: Ohio News

GoFundMe says donors to homeless man refunded

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 10:05

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — GoFundMe says it has issued refunds to everyone who contributed to a campaign involving a homeless veteran from Philadelphia who prosecutors allege schemed with a New Jersey couple to scam donors out of $400,000.

GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Tuesday that "all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded." He said the organization is cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Burlington County prosecutors allege that Johnny Bobbitt conspired with Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend at the time, Mark D'Amico, to concoct a feel-good story about Bobbitt's giving McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas.

rosecutors say the couple actually spent the money on luxury items and casino trips. McClure has alleged she was duped by D'Amico, whose lawyer denied the allegations.

Categories: Ohio News

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump share Christmas message

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 10:01

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sent a Christmas message from the White House Twitter account Tuesday morning.

"We come together with family and friends to spread hope, love, compassion, cheer, and goodwill," said Melania Trump.

"This wonderful season brings out the best in the American spirit, and we see neighbors helping neighbors and communities lifting up those who need a helping hand," said President Trump.

Merry Christmas from President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS! pic.twitter.com/DDITJDxDaI

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 25, 2018

They both attended a service at Washington National Cathedral on Christmas Eve.

President Trump most likely would have been attending Christmas services at a church near his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

But he scrapped plans to head to Florida for the holidays after parts of the government were forced to shut down indefinitely in a stalemate with Congress.

Categories: Ohio News

Cincinnati Zoo welcomes baby tamandua

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 08:17

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo has welcomed a baby tamandua.

Zoo officials announced Christmas Eve that the pup was born to first-time mother Isla on Dec. 20. They say the baby tamandua needs to develop and won't make its public debut for another couple months.

Tamanduas have long snouts and are similar to anteaters. Experts say the mammals can eat up to 9,000 ants in a day.

Interpretive Animal Keeper Colleen Lawrence says the zoo had performed weekly ultrasounds on Isla since August. Lawrence says tamanduas can be pregnant for up 190 days.

Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley says the caretakers will name the baby tamandua after they learn the sex of the animal.

Categories: Ohio News

Doctors recommend nearly 4,500 in medical marijuana registry in Ohio

Tue, 12/25/2018 - 07:18

COLUMBUS, Ohio — State officials say doctors have submitted nearly 4,500 recommendations in the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry for Ohio.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced on Monday that the number of recommendations now totals 4,440, with at least 3,036 people completing the information online and activating registration e-cards.

The registry is the online portal where doctors certified to recommend medical marijuana can register patients and caregivers. It went live Dec. 3.

After the state confirms who they are, recommended patients and caregivers can get registration e-cards. The cards allow them to get medical marijuana from dispensaries once they open.

Medical marijuana is expected to be ready over the next few weeks or months.

Categories: Ohio News

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