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Hero teacher tackles gunman, saves students from rampaging classmate

An eastern Illinois high school teacher tackled a rampaging gunman in the school’s cafeteria Wednesday, saving lives and preventing what could have been a much bigger tragedy, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

One student was injured in the shooting at Mattoon High School and police said, if not for Angela McQueen’s quick-thinking, more children would certainly have been hurt, if not killed.

McQueen, 40, a math and gym teacher, was able to subdue and disarm the student before anyone was fatally injured.

“She’s been trained obviously, but in these scenarios, you just don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens,” Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson said during a press conference Wednesday night according to the Shelbyville Daily Union.

“Had the teacher not responded as quickly as she had I think the situation would have been a lot different.”

>> Related: School suspends 5-year-old for making ‘terroristic threats’ about backpack bomb 

The student gunman is in custody, but his name has not been released because he’s a minor.

The school released a statement on social media following the event.

Second sinkhole forms near Florida home

Just days after a sinkhole partially swallowed a home in Apopka, Florida, a second sinkhole has formed on the same road.

>> Read more trending news

Orange County Fire Rescue officials were called Thursday to a home at 517 West Kelly Park Road in Apopka, where a 30-foot by 30-foot sinkhole was found about 100 feet from the home, according to authorities.

A separate sinkhole formed Tuesday morning at 222 West Kelly Park Road, just a few homes away from Thursday’s depression.

Thursday's sinkhole, which opened up near a greenhouse, is not endangering any property, officials said. 

The two sinkholes have caught the attention of Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson, who visited the home swallowed by a sinkhole Thursday.

"It's a total loss," he said.

Nelson, who works as an insurance agent, said the problem for homeowners in the area will be finding an insurance company to cover that area in the near future. 

"Some insurance companies probably won't want to write insurance in this area until they kind of figure out what's going on," he said. 

Emergency crews were called at 8:22 a.m. Tuesday to the home on West Kelly Park Road in Apopka. Family members said they began noticing the depression Monday night.

"I saw big, deep cracks in the bathroom. The tub was sinking and the window was coming loose, and I said, 'It's time to go,'" homeowner Ellen Miller said.

The family said they grabbed everything they could and moved it to the front lawn before their home crumbled into the 25-foot by 15-foot hole.

"We made it through the hurricane. We were really, really lucky, and then this," Miller said. "This is the only home I know. It's the only home my kids know."

The Millers will stay with their daughter next door while they figure out their next step.

>> Florida home partially swallowed by sinkhole

Although it’s not known if the sinkhole is related to Hurricane Irma, experts said sinkholes aren’t uncommon after hurricanes.

“When you have heavy rains, the chances of sinkholes (appearing goes) up quite a bit,” said Dr. Manoj Chopra, a UCF engineering professor.

He said sinkholes can form when the rain and floodwaters caused by hurricanes start to recede.

Sinkholes can happen suddenly. Miller said the hole under her home formed in a matter of hours.

“We watched it all night and it got bigger and deeper and finally, at 4 in the morning, I saw big deep cracks in the bathroom,” she said. 

Chopra expects more sinkholes to form throughout the state.

How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

After hitting the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico, flooding streets, collapsing homes and leaving the entire territory without power Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosseló called Hurricane Maria the “most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history.”

» RELATED: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The dangerous hurricane is responsible for at least 15 deaths on the Caribbean island of Dominica alone, and, according to the National Hurricane Center, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are expected to see a “life-threatening” storm surge of 9 to 12 feet between Thursday and early next week.

» RELATED: Where is Hurricane Maria now? Track the massive storm as it heads north

How you can help the victims of Hurricane Maria

Make monetary donations

According to the United States Agency for International Development, giving money to reputable relief agencies and nonprofits is the most effective way to help and to avoid using resources to transport or deliver donated goods.

Here are some organizations to consider giving money to:

UNICEF (emergency relief and help for children affected)

Save the Children (emergency relief and help for children affected)

ConPRmetidos (Puerto Rico-based nonprofit to benefit “immediate needs of food, shelter, water” and more)

GlobalGiving Caribbean Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund (from US-based nonprofit, Global Giving)

SPCA International (help for animal rescue and care)

» RELATED: How you can help Mexico and people affected by the Mexico earthquake

Other crowdfunding campaigns:

21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund (NBA star Tim Duncan hoping to raise $5 million for his home country)

Dominica Hurricane Maria Relief Fund (bringing relief to Dominica)

Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Hurricane Relief Fund (to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes)

Check if your employer will match your donation

Doublethedonation.com has a nifty tool that lets you enter your company name to find out whether or not your employer offers a matching gift program for donations.

Donate blood

The American Red Cross urges volunteer blood donors to give blood year-round, not only at the time of disaster. Currently, platelets and type O blood donations are especially needed, according to the organization website.

Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to begin the donation process.

» RELATED: Disaster declared in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastates island

Donate goods

Monetary donations are preferred for most aid organizations, but refer to your local nonprofits to see if there is an additional need for goods donations.

If you’re in the Florida area, the Miami Herald has listed several donation spots for locals to bring non-perishable food, diapers, bottled water and clothing starting Friday.

» RELATED: NASA astronaut captures eerie images of Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space

Volunteer

The American Red Cross is looking to dispatch volunteers in the next few weeks to aid areas affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

Local residents in affected areas should use this form.

All non-local residents interested in volunteering should use this separate form.

More information about volunteer expectations and requirements is at redcross.org.

Aaron Hernandez had 'severe' stage 3 CTE, researchers say

Former pro-football player and convicted killer Aaron Hernandez has “the most severe case” of CTE Boston University researchers have ever seen, Attorney Jose Baez said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. 

>> Read more trending news

In light of the results of an inquest into the former Patriot’s brain, Baez has filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL and the New England Patriots.

Baez said the results of a post-mortem study conducted on Hernandez's brain showed signs of a severe case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

"If we knew more about it," he said. "Our client may have known more about what was happening to him."

Baez was accompanied by Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s long-time fiancée and said the lawsuit is on behalf of Hernandez's daughter.

“We had a heated battle with the Suffolk county medical examiner’s office for the brain of Aaron Hernandez so it could be studied by the Boston University CTE center,” Baez explained. "I’d like to thank Dr. Anne McKee for all the hard work they’ve done. The results of Aaron Hernandez’s test were positive. Aaron suffered from a severe case of CTE.” 

>> Related: Judge decides to vacate Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction

“We’re told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron’s age,” he said. “[The degree in his brain] is usually found in the brain of a man 67 years of age.”

Baez encouraged people who participate in contact sports like football to consider participating in tests. 

“My team has filed a federal lawsuit suing the NFL and the New England Patriots,” Baez announced. “That lawsuit was filed this afternoon."

The high-profile attorney is also set to appear on ESPN's SportsCenter Friday morning, according to his Instagram account. 

Baez released a statement earlier this year calling for a full investigation into the football star's apparent suicide. He said there were apparently no signs that the former New England Patriots player was suicidal.

>> Related: Hernandez lawyer, agent dispute suicide claims, want full investigation

Hernandez was in the process of appealing his murder conviction, which came with a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Baez was the lead attorney on the double murder case that Hernandez was acquitted earlier this year. 

Rapper ‘Offset' of Migos raising $500,000 for cancer in honor of grandmother

One of the most popular rappers in the world right now is using his fame as a platform to give back in a big way to a cause close to his family’s heart.

Kiari Cephus, also known as “Offset” of the Atlanta-based rap trio Migos, announced Tuesday an alliance with the American Cancer Society.

Offset hopes to raise $500,000 for the organization.

>> Read more trending news 

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

Offset and the American Cancer Society announced their alliance at a private event in Cobb County Tuesday.

The event lasted from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., but was much more than an average news conference. After formally announcing the campaign as he stood behind a gold, glitter-encrusted display of the goal amount of $500,000, the award-winning rapper introduced his mother, took photos with guests, and then spent the next hours making memories with cancer patients and survivors.

Offset bowled several games at the entertainment center, sliding from lane to lane as he made his way through the teams.

Guests included adults and children currently battling cancer, as well as cancer survivors and people who have been directly affected by the disease, as recently as having lost a loved one hours prior.

“He just lost someone today,” Offset said, shocked, after the event, having learned one of the young men he had challenged to a game had a death in his family just before the event.

Offset did not know that when he challenged the boy, saying he had to get a strike on the next bowl, which he did, to everyone’s excitement.

They cheered, high-fived, and took videos together, which is why Offset was likely stunned to hear of the boy's loss.

But that was the point of the party: to celebrate life and help save lives. The event did just that.

[PHOTOS: Rapper 'Offset' of Migos Announces Fundraising Campaign For American Cancer Society]

Celebrity guests included Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, Atlanta Hawks’ first-round draft pick forward John Collins and guard Tyler Dorsey, members of Quality Control Music record label to which Migos is signed and others.

THE INSPIRATION

Offset’s mother, Latabia Woodward, has been a volunteer with the American Cancer Society for more than 11 years.

She said she is thrilled to see her son staying involved as well as encouraging people to support the cause.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “Losing a loved one to cancer is devastating, and we need to continue to help educate our communities about early detection and screening guidelines. I am incredibly proud of Offset’s desire to help save the lives of others, genuine heart, and talent as an artist.”

His desire to help comes from one of his biggest influences.

“Offset lost his grandmother to cancer, and he felt like this was the perfect way to honor her and give to the cause,” Evelyn Barella, National Media Relations Manager for the American Cancer Society, told WSB-TV at the event.

It was clear upon walking into the event that the inspiration was a huge reason behind the movement.

“My grandma motivated me to do my best and go for it, one of my biggest coaches: Sallie Ann Smith,” read a collage with family photos signed by Offset at the entrance to the bowling area.

Smith, who was a significant role model in his life, died of bladder cancer in 2012.

After her cancer diagnosis, his family learned first-hand about the impact the American Cancer Society programs and services make on families.

THE CAMPAIGN

Offset is teaming up with the American Cancer Society and assembling his fellow artists, corporate sponsors, athlete friends and passionate fans to raise $500,000 for the organization.

To donate, text "Offset" to 41444 or visit his fundraising campaign page on the American Cancer Society website.

You could also enter to win a trip to Los Angeles to go shopping with the stylish rapper.

Facebook to give Congress Russian-linked 2016 election ads

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday that the social media company will turn over to Congress thousands of ads believed to have been bought by Russian agents attempting to influence last year’s presidential election.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook officials said earlier this month that more than 3,000 ads were uncovered that ran between 2015 and 2017 and appeared to have come from a Russian entity that aimed to influence the election.

UPS hiring 95,000 workers nationwide

Not far ahead of the holiday season, UPS is gearing up for an increase in the number of deliveries and services associated with the busy fall and winter months. 

The company announced Wednesday a plan to hire 95,000 employees across the country. 

>> Read more trending news

The company will offer part- and full-time seasonal jobs, primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers.

According to a news release, seasonal jobs often lead to longer-term positions with UPS, and up to 35 percent of employees hired seasonally over the last three years now have permanent jobs with the company.

“Our seasonal jobs often lead to permanent employment and even careers for some,” UPS CEO David Abney said in the release. “We offer flexible shifts and full- and part-time positions. If you are a student, a working mom or just looking to make extra money for the holidays, we have a job for you.”

Abney and other members of UPS leadership started their careers at the company as part-time workers. 

Seasonal and part-time UPS employees who become full-time permanent workers at the company are eligible for healthcare and retirement benefits, and employees enrolled in college are eligible to receive up to $25,000 in tuition assistance.

Apply for a job at UPS here.

Married art teacher arrested for sexual relationship with students, police say

A married high school art teacher in northeast Arkansas was arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with four students, and reportedly took two to her apartment on the same day.

>> Read more trending news

Jessie Lorene Goline, 25, of Jonesboro, faces one count of first-degree sexual assault, according to a filing in the Craighead County Circuit Court. Jail records show she was arrested Wednesday. She faces the lone count because only one of the students was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged encounter.

Goline reportedly admitted to school officials that she had sexual relations with four students between January and April of 2016. She believed only one to be younger than 18, but she later found out he was “way younger than what he had told her,” the affidavit states.

Goline was taken into custody following a lengthy investigation sparked by a parent who suspected the Marked Tree High School teacher was having relations with the male students. When the parent threatened “to do bodily harm” to Goline, school staff stepped in, ArkansasOnline reported.

>> Related: Teacher pleads guilty to sexual relationship with Swedish exchange student

The four students then came forward and told police about their relationships with Goline, according to police. One told investigators she flirted with him during class, saying “how good he looked.” He said she also sent him a photo of her in a thong.

All four students said they began text messaging with the teacher and that the conversations became sexual over time. 

One of the alleged victims said Goline had taken him to her apartment for sex and then dropped him off at school later that day. That student said she took another classmate to her apartment later that night.

Florida nurse fired for missing work during Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma hit Leesburg, Florida, hard, and resident Ami Honea's neighborhood has piles of debris to prove it. Just before the storm blew through, Honea said she made a decision that ended up costing her job.

"I did what I needed to do, for the safety of my children," Honea said.

>> Read more trending news

Honea worked as a nurse at the Lake County Jail, a place that can't just lock up and close during a hurricane. But she's a single mom with a 17-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. She has no family in Florida, so when Irma started barreling toward the state, she decided to take her kids to Atlanta.

The drive lasted 22 hours.

"They (the kids) would've been left here in this house by themselves, in the storm, with the winds the way it was, with trees knocked down, power lines snapping,” she said.

Honea said she told her boss she felt that her only option was to leave and that he never told her she would lose her job for it.

When she returned to work Monday, she was fired.

Attorney Kelli Hastings, who spoke to WFTV before the storm, said that because Florida is a right-to-work state, the termination is legal.

"There (are) no laws that protect an employee in that situation,” Hastings said.

Honea said the law isn’t fair to single parents.

"I think the laws need to be changed because, for single moms especially, what are we supposed to do during a disaster situation like that with our children?" she said.

Honea said she plans to get an attorney and take her fight for more leniency during natural disasters to lawmakers.

She said she would make the same decision to leave the state if she could do it over again.

“My kids are more important than my job,” she said.

WFTV contacted the privately contracted company that fired Honea, Armor Correctional Health Services, and was referred to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said they have nothing to do with the hiring or firing of the medical employees at the company.

School suspends 5-year-old for making ‘terroristic threats’ about backpack bomb

A California elementary school suspended a 5-year-old kindergartner after he joked that he had a bomb in his backpack, his family said.

KCRA in Sacramento reported that Jackson Riley, of Modesto, was in his third week of school at Great Valley Academy, a public charter school, on Aug. 31 when he refused to take his backpack off. He told his teacher he couldn’t take his backpack off because a bomb inside the bag would explode if he did.

When the teacher asked to look inside the bag, she found nothing dangerous, the news station reported.

Jackson still received a one-day suspension, his father, Ian Riley, said. The letter his parents received stated the boy had “intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation.” 

“We said, ‘This doesn’t fit, and furthermore, we don’t really feel like our son was threatening you,” Riley told KCRA. “He’s got an imagination. In his mind, he’s being this hero that’s preventing you from being exploded from man imaginary bomb in his backpack.”

The Modesto Bee reported that the school told the Rileys that the code violation best fit what Jackson had done. When the family pointed out that the code applied only to students in grades four through 12, they received a second letter.

The new letter changed the violation Jackson was accused of to making “terroristic threats,” the Bee reported.

“My son never made a threat, never wanted to blow up the school,” Riley told the newspaper

Riley and his wife, Michelle, had a talk with their son about what is proper to say at school and what isn’t, and told him to follow his teacher’s rules -- including taking his backpack off when told to do so.

The suspension didn’t phase Jackson, his parents said. The next day, he was outside picking flowers to bring to his teacher. 

>> Read more trending news

His parents remain upset, however, because they’ve been told that the suspension will remain on their son’s permanent record. They are meeting with school officials on Friday to see if it can be resolved.

Great Valley Academy officials declined to comment on the incident, stating only that the school takes student safety and discipline seriously, the Bee reported

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