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Source: MedleyStory

Post office plan to deliver groceries gets green light

The United States Postal Service knows a thing or two about delivering the mail, but they haven't been quite so good at turning a profit. Fortunately, the agency's got a plan to help turn things around — daily grocery deliveries.

The Postal Regulatory Commission approved a two-year market test of a grocery delivery service, called Customized Delivery.

It's an expanded version of USPS's partnership with Amazon, which let USPS pick up and deliver groceries ordered on Amazon in San Francisco. The new plan calls for more retail partners and a wider scope. 

Now, Customized Delivery isn't going to single-handedly revive the post office's flagging finances — potential revenue from the program is currently capped at $10 million, which would hardly make a dent in the estimated $100 billion USPS owes in debt and unfunded liabilities.

But as a Motley Fool writer points out, it "tests a path which could fundamentally change how the post office does business. ... Leveraging a partner for delivery makes more sense and the USPS and online retail in general are natural partners."

But these aren't uncharted waters — home grocery delivery is going through a resurgence in popularity, and the USPS's new venture will be competing against companies like Peapod and FreshDirect, along with heavyweights like Wal-Mart and startups like Uber's Corner Store.

And the post office's entry into the market hasn't been welcomed by everyone — the Taxpayers Protection Alliance submitted complaints to USPS regulators when the plan was proposed, claiming USPS will unfairly distort the market.

"This action works to hurt private businesses who cannot afford to bring their price down to a level where they can be competitive. A government agency should not be working to compete with American businesses." 

The latest plan is just one recent move the USPS has made to help the agency survive, including partnerships with Amazon to support Sunday deliveries, and a partnership with office-supply chain Staples to open new postal centers at Staples locations.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

 

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:49:12 -0400

Paintings on rocks in national parks: Art or vandalism?

An unknown author once said, "The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.” 

And that's similar to the purpose of national parks in the U.S. — conserving Mother Nature's natural beauty.

But what if nature is "rearranged" by human hands in the name of art? Can it really be called art or is it something closer to vandalism? 

That's a question being asked by media outlets and park enthusiasts around the country after this article by Modern Hiker was published earlier this week. Similar drawings have been found in as many as 10 different national parks around the western U.S. 

It's believed the woman behind the drawings is Casey Nocket, but authorities have yet to confirm that. That was discovered after a number of the images were posted to an Instagram account called Creepy Tings — the same name the drawings are signed under. (Video via KTVX)

News of the drawings soon reached social media sites like Reddit, where an investigator in Yosemite National Park asked for more pictures to help with the investigation.  

The National Park Service has also issued a press release calling the drawings "vandalism" and noting the issue is taken very seriously. So far parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah have all discovered images signed by Creepy Tings. 

We will note, none of the drawings found contained offensive or discriminatory material. Now, it's not just the vandalism that has created a frenzy but also the so-called artist's lack of remorse for the seriousness of the crimes.

Modern Hiker's Casey Schreiner captured this conversation on the Creepy Tings Instagram before it was made private. One user asks, "Is that paint or chalk?"  A person believed to be Casey Nocket replies, "acrylic." The user then posts a sad face and Nocket writes back, saying, "I know, I'm a bad person." 

KSL-TV: "Holy cow, you know, what are you thinking? ... In this day in age with the knowledge we have of the value of our national parks and then to be so stupid that you post it. ... Who in the world does this person think she is?" 

And that sentiment is one shared by many. The number of signatures on this White House petition is increasing by the second. The petition asks, "Please don't allow her to receive a slap. Please pursue the most serious of charges for these offenses."

KUTV: ZION NATIONAL PARK INVESTIGATOR:  "At Zion we get about 3 million visitors a year, so imagine if 3 million people left their mark." 

"The rocks are the art." 

​The vandalism is a federal offense. If Casey Nocket, who is said to be from the New York area, is found to be behind the vandalism,  she could face jail time and some serious fines. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 09:34:16 -0400

President Obama hugs Ebola survivor to quell fears

Ever since Ebola made landfall in the U.S., the Obama administration and health professionals have been trying to curb fears about Ebola — most of them stemming from misinformation. 

Maybe that’s why this moment Friday was so big: Dallas nurse and former Ebola patient Nina Pham was declared Ebola-free and was later embraced by President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

No reporters were allowed in the meeting. Only photographers were allowed, and they snapped tons of pictures. But it was a move that could help curb fears about Ebola for a number of reasons.

“He is the president and he was not at all concerned,” said Josh Earnest via The White House.

And most Americans shouldn’t be concerned either. The hug demonstrated that a cured patient isn’t in danger of getting anyone else infected.

Maybe this is a way to show that, despite fears about the virus, Ebola survivors should be welcomed back into society without reservation.

An all-clear diagnosis for Pham and Amber Vinson, the other Dallas nurse who was declared Ebola-free this week, is hugely significant given that they were infected by Thomas Eric Duncan, the only Ebola patient in the U.S. to die from the illness. (Video via KDFW)

Duncan’s treatment and the infection of two of his nurses raised questions about America’s preparedness to deal with Ebola. (Video via MSNBC)

The hug between President Obama and Pham obviously won’t get rid of Ebola, but it could be just another small victory in helping cure Americans of their fears surrounding this deadly disease.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

Published: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 03:54:28 -0400

Grand jury indicts group accused of robbing sandwich shops

A grand jury just filed a bill of indictment against a group accused of going on a crime spree.
 
Investigators said Dashawn Hunt and two others terrorized two sandwich shops and the employees inside.
 
Police said in February, Hunt and one other person tied a delivery driver up inside McAlister's Deli in Mooresville, then took the safe.
 
Four days later, investigators believe Hunt and another person robbed a Firehouse Subs in Indian Trail, then crashed during a police chase.
 
All three suspects are in jail Friday.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:05:14 -0400

3K gallons of wastewater spills into Charlotte creek, officials say

Nearly 3,000 gallons of untreated wastewater was dumped into a creek in northeast Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg utilities said it happened near Equipment Drive in Doby Creek.

Officials said they're still trying to figure out what happened and they always notify the public of discharges of more than 1,000 gallons.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:00:20 -0400

Rock Hill police arrest 5 for possessing heroin

Rock Hill officers said they arrested five people outside Academy Sports with several grams of heroin and marijuana inside a car.

Police were responding to a report of intoxicated people Thursday when they found the five outside, according to a report.

Police said Lucas Shepard admitted they had drugs in the car and that they had all driven to Charlotte to buy heroin.

All five were charged with possession of heroin.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:18:30 -0400

Man attacked, robbed by assailants posing as stranded motorists

A Charlotte father was attacked and robbed when he tried to help a stranded driver in south Charlotte and the assailants are still on the loose.
 
The victim told Channel 9 he saw a car with its hazard lights on Sharon Lane so he stopped to help.
 
But he said his good deed quickly turned terrifying when the stranded motorists jumped him from behind.
 
Mauricio Maeda suffered cuts and bruises 10 days ago and they still cover his face and body.
 
Being a mechanic, he was just trying to help a stranded motorist at night waving for help on the side of Sharon Lane.

“I asked him what was going on and he told me,” Maeda said. “He asked for charger cables and I told them I do have one.”               
 
As the 27-year-old father of two went to get the jumper cables he said another man came from behind and hit him in the back of the head with a bottle. Then both men pulled out a gun, attacked him and robbed him.
 
Maeda said he thought he was going to die and could only think of his two girls at home.

Now he can’t work because of his injuries.

“I always said to myself, ‘I was never going to help’ because I hear stories from other people and now I'm part of them.”
 
The victim said police did find the car the attackers were driving but they have not made any arrests. 

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:08:07 -0400

Over 100k vote early on first day in NC

Mecklenburg County appears to like early voting. First-day totals equaled the numbers compiled in the first four days of early voting in 2010.

Early voting: What you need to know

Lines and strong demand by voters were evident again Friday. Marion White had to go to his North Charlotte polling place twice in order to vote.

"I expected lines about this long, but this morning the line was back there," White said, pointing 25 yards away.

Despite a state law cutting early voting by seven days this election, 118,000 ballots were cast Thursday in North Carolina.  Fifty-one percent were registered Democrats, 29 percent were Republicans and 20 percent were unaffiliated voters.

Political expert Michael Bitzer says they're a positive sign for Sen. Kay Hagan, who is engaged in a tight race with Thom Tillis. 
 
"It looks like Democrats do have their ground game in full effect this year," Bitzer said.

Bitzer says it also appears black voters are turning out in higher numbers than usual. At a polling site on Beatties Ford Road, Marvin Bias, who is black, said, "We think we've been targeted with these new laws, so that's why we've been motivated."

North Carolina's U.S. Senate race is pushing for even more voter energy. On Saturday potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Charlotte campaigning for Hagan. 
 
Next week Republican Mitt Romney will stump for Tillis. 
 
Michael Bitzer says it's a sign both camps know the race is extremely tight.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:46:22 -0400

Officials: ‘Security issue’ onboard U.S. Airway flight in Charlotte

There was a security scare aboard a U.S. Airways plane Friday at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“There were people crying,” passenger Megan Wiora said. “There were people praying.”

Wiora called the situation on Flight 744 scary. Chopper 9 Skyzoom was in the air after the flight from Dallas landed and an Eyewitness News crew could see emergency vehicles on the tarmac.

“There were at least six fire trucks,” Wiora said.

Passengers told Eyewitness News they were alerted mid-flight that there was a security concern, but they weren't given any information about what the concern was.

“The pilot came on and said there was a security situation,” Tom Hansbury said.

They were told to stay seated and not use electronics.

“Once we landed we weren't allowed to use anything on our phones and people were obviously interviewed,” Wiora said.

Passengers said some passengers were interviewed by FBI agents and escorted off the plane.

“The FBI took over, was in charge,” Hansbury said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the FBI and asked what prompted the security concern. The FBI Charlotte Division sent this response:

“The FBI Charlotte Division and multiple other law enforcement agencies responded to a security concern onboard a U.S. Airways flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Out of an abundance of caution security protocols were implemented and are being followed at this time which includes interviewing passengers. Additional information will be released when appropriate.”

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:57:22 -0400

Student: Female teacher heroically stopped the shooter

A shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday afternoon left one victim and the gunman himself dead. Four other victims were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

The student shooter was allegedly motivated by a spoiled romance

Erick Cervantes is a student at the school who witnessed the shootings, from the events beforehand until the moment the gunman shot himself — after being confronted by a heroic woman, he told KIRO-TV.

Cervantes thought the woman was a "lunch lady" who worked at the school, but she was later identified as a first-year social studies teacher. Cevantes confirmed to Natasha Chen of KIRO-TV that teacher Megan Silberberger was the woman he saw in action.

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“I believe she’s actuality the real hero. She’s the one that intercepted him with the gun. He tried either reloading or tried aiming at her. She tried moving his hand away and he tried shooting and shot himself in the neck,” Cervantes said.

He said the gunshots followed a verbal altercation.

“It started off with an argument, but then I looked back and there was just gunshots and just people falling down,” Cervantes recalled. And immediately after the gunshots, the (woman) intervened, he said.

“She heard the gunshots first and she came in running through the door, right next to it,” he recalled.

Cervantes said there was no prolonged struggle between Silberberger and the gunman.

“It wasn’t (a) wrestle. She just grabbed his arm, and it lasted like two seconds, and I heard another shot. He said it was the shot that killed the gunman with his own weapon.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:38:38 -0400

Parents question fundraiser money going to schools

Several area parents contacted Eyewitness News expressing concern over how much money donated at school fundraisers actually goes to the schools.
 
The parents were critical of "Boosterthon." The company bills itself as much more than an average fundraiser.
 
Boosterthon includes pep rallies, character building events, as well as a fun run.
 
"I know how much time and effort schools, parents and teachers spend on fundraising when really the job is education" said Boosterthon founder, Chris Carneal.
 
However, the extra help fundraising comes at a price.
 
Boosterthon charges $2,000 upfront and can take up to nearly 50 percent of donations. Carneal insisted much of the money goes back to the schools as part of its programs.
 
"We have to plan months and months in advance to staff the school with our incredible trained team," said Carneal.
 
Charity Navigator, a watchdog group, said organizations should put at least 75 percent of donations toward the mission.

"Obviously you want to see the bulk of your money going to the charity and your mission programs," said Sandra Miniutti, vice-president of marketing and CFO for Charity Navigator.
 
Miniutti said the best way to get the most bang for your buck is to avoid a middle-man organization altogether.
 
"When the middle man gets between the charity and the donor, there is going to be a lack of efficiency," she said.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:10:22 -0400

Police: Three teens, 12-year-old arrested for attempted robbery

Three Charlotte teenagers were arrested by CMPD after an attempted robbery in east Charlotte.  Police said the young men were 14 years old, and a fourth boy arrested was just 12 years old.

Officers said it happened just before 7 p.m. Thursday at a complex off of Yateswood Drive near Albemarle Road.

Detectives said a woman got into her car to leave her home when those teens ran up with a gun and demanded her cellphone.  They said she put the car in gear and quickly drove away.

Officers spotted some of the teens run off into nearby woods. They said a K-9 tracked one of them down and officers found three others on a nearby street.  One got away.

"I think it's crazy -- all of that for a cellphone," said neighbor Joseph Cassels. 

Police said two of the teens arrested had tried to rob someone else the exact same way on Sharon Amity Road the night before.  They said that man drove away before the teens could hurt him or steal his phone.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:29:46 -0400

Sheriff: Work-release program benefits community

Providing jobs for inmates is the goal for the Mecklenburg County work-release program that aims to turn former criminals into working citizens.

Channel 9 talked with an inmate who went through the program and an employer who is proud to be a part of it.

For nearly 30 years, Ralph "Bubba" Miller has been in the business of making barbecue.

And as an employer, he said it was a good choice to be a part of the work-release program.

“When you hire someone through work release they're going to be reliable,” Miller said. “They're going to be on time, they're going to be drug-free and they're going to be motivated.”

That's why he hired Xavier Bynum.

Bynum has a passion for the kitchen and Bubba's Barbecue.

“Best barbecue I’ve ever had,” Bynum said.

He spent nearly a year in prison for drugs but said he's learned from his mistakes.

“He gave me an opportunity and I took advantage of it,” Bynum said.

Sheriff Chipp Bailey said that's what the program is all about -- changing lives and changing futures.

“We can give them the tools. We can't force them to change,” Bailey said.

While some may be skeptical about giving jobs to former inmates, Bailey said it benefits the community as well.

“We've brought our jail population down from 2007 where it was at 2,900,” he said. “We're at below 1,700. That's a savings to the citizens of Mecklenburg County."

He said it's a win-win for the local economy and gives people a second chance.

The Sheriff's Office, along with the jail, held a community forum Friday to increase public awareness on the work release program. 

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:33:30 -0400

Hospital allegedly kicks out mom for breast-feeding

A routine visit to the pediatrician ended with mother and infant being escorted from the hospital by a security officer.

The alleged violation? Mother Erin Varghese was breast-feeding her baby in the doctor’s office.

FOX 34 reports that the incident took place at the UMC Physician Clinic in Lubbock, Texas. Varghese was at the clinic so her son, Carlos, could get his vaccinations.

Varghese began breast-feeding Carlos in the waiting room. A clinic employee ordered her to cover up or move to a private area, such as the breast-feeding lounge or bathroom.

Varghese told FOX 34 that a medical facility is the “last place I should feel like I can’t breast-feed.”

The mother claims that she used her bag to cover up, but the staff member was not satisfied. Varghese was told to either stop or move, and if she didn’t, her appointment would be canceled.

When the staff member made good on her threat, Varghese went to find the doctor.

That’s when hospital spokesman Eric Finley says Varghese entered an unauthorized area, at which point security was called. The hospital claims that while complaints were made about Varghese publicly breast-feeding, security was called only when Varghese entered a secured area.

The hospital has since issued an apology to the mother. An apology was also posted on the hospital’s Facebook page.

Varghese says she’s not satisfied and is seeking legal counsel. She has filed a complaint with the hospital.

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:15:53 -0400

Seattle-area school shooting: 2 dead including student shooter

Police in Washington state say one person was killed in a high school shooting in addition to the lone student gunman.

Police said they are confident there was just one shooter involved. The gunman, identified by his family as Jaylen Fryberg, opened fire in the school cafeteria.  Fryberg, a student at the school, is dead, but it is not known if he was shot or if it was suicide.  Police believe a .40-caliber Beretta handgun was the weapon used.

A hospital spokeswoman said earlier that three victims were in critical condition after the shooting about 30 miles north of Seattle. It was not immediately clear if the person who died was one of those brought to Providence Everett medical center.

>>Photos: Shots fired at Marysville-Pilchuck High School near Seattle

Three students and a teacher reported hearing gunshots and KIRO-TV has received emails and texts from parents of students and teachers at the school.

"Our son just called to let us know that his kids are ok - his son was about 50 feet from the shooter - a student that he knows.  Our grandson and his friends ran away - jumped a fence and went to a home in the area.  He didn't know about any victims but thought there was at least one," said Tom Hopper, who emailed KIRO..

>> Latest reports from Seattle TV station KIRO

Here are the latest updates from social media reports:

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:24:33 -0400

Woman gains 50 pounds on purpose to prove point

British television personality Katie Hopkins is stirring up controversy after gaining 50 pounds on purpose to prove that “fatties are lazy.”

According to Today, Hopkins was tired of hearing from others that she was “lucky to be skinny” and wanted to prove that there are no excuses for being fat.

Hopkins consumed 6,500 calories daily to gain the 50 pounds. She recorded what she ate in a journal. Her diet was heavy on carbs and fat, featuring burgers, fries and cupcakes.

The experiment made an emotional impact on Hopkins. She said she cried about how much she was eating and how disgusting she felt. She also says she understands better how difficult it is to do everyday tasks when you are carrying around excess weight.

Hopkins now is trying to lose the 50 pounds in three months. She is consuming a strict diet and has increased her exercise regimen to prove to others that being thin is as “simple as eating less and moving more.” According to Today, she still has 35 pounds to lose over the next two months.

http://twitter.com/TODAYshowHealth/status/525635973661876224

This is not the first time that Hopkins has made waves on the sensitive subject of weight. She once said that she doesn’t believe people can be “fat and happy,” claiming that it was a “cop out.”

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:47:18 -0400

Evenflo recalls infant seats to fix sticky buckles

Evenflo is recalling more than 202,000 rear-facing infant seats because the buckles can become difficult to unlatch.
  
The recall affects Embrace 35/9999 models with an AmSafe QT1 buckle. Documents posted by U.S. safety regulators say that if the buckles don't release easily, it may be difficult to get a child out of the seat in an emergency.

  
The affected seats were made at various times from December 2011 through May 2013.

  
Not all Embrace 35 models are covered by the recall. For others, the company will provide replacement buckles if requested by customers.

  
The recall comes after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  
Owners with questions can call Evenflo at (800) 490-7591.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:54:37 -0400

Town celebrates holidays early for dying boy

In one small Utah town, Halloween and Christmas are being celebrated this week.

The early holiday plans are necessary because one of the community’s young members likely has only a couple of weeks to live.

Today reports that Ethan Van Leuven, 4, has an acute form of leukemia that doctors say is no longer treatable. The boy’s father says that doctors estimate the boy has, at most, a couple of weeks to live.

Ethan’s parents want to make his remaining time as meaningful and enjoyable as possible, and the community of West Jordan is fully supporting the family.

Halloween was held earlier this week, with Ethan dressing up in a Superman costume and going trick-or-treating. Ethan also received a parade in honor of his upcoming birthday. This weekend, Ethan’s favorite holiday, Christmas, will be celebrated. Neighbors will put up their holiday lights and Christmas decorations early in Ethan’s honor.

Ethan’s mother says he is enjoying all of the holiday activities.

http://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/525661704114692096

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:53:46 -0400

Autopsy finds teacher died from 'undetermined trauma'

A medical examiner said he cannot determine what exactly killed a teacher in Charlotte.

The autopsy listed Bianca Tanner's cause of death as “undetermined trauma" and said her remains were extensively decomposed.

PHOTOS:  Bianca Tanner

Police found her body a month after she was reported missing in a wooded area in southwest Charlotte.

Investigators said her boyfriend, Angelo Smith, confessed to killing her.

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Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:44:19 -0400

School allows students to pose with guns for yearbook photo

A school board in Nebraska is generating controversy over its decision to allow high school seniors to pose with firearms for yearbook photos, as long as it is a tasteful pose.

Omaha.com reports that the vote was 6-0 to allow seniors at Broken Bow Public schools to “pose with objects that illustrate their accomplishments or interests,” including outdoor sporting activities such as hunting.

The board voted on the issue after parents requested the yearbook photo policy be amended. While there was no official ban on weapons in yearbook photos, the school generally prohibited them due to the high-profile cases of school violence around the country.

The school board’s new policy requires photos with weapons to be tasteful. While rifles, shotguns and knives are permitted, the student may not be pointing the weapons at the camera.

http://twitter.com/CosmopolitanUK/status/525613202596696065

The school system serves a rural community where hunting is a popular family hobby. Approximately 50 to 60 seniors graduate each year from Broken Bow High School. It is not known how many will take advantage of the new yearbook photo policy. 

Published: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:47:45 -0400