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Substitute teacher fired after teaching third-graders Nazi salute

A substitute teacher in Vermont is out of a job after she reportedly taught a group of 3rd graders a Nazi salute.

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In a letter to parents, Franklin West Supervisory Union Superintendent Ned Kirsch wrote that a long-term substitute was released after demonstrating the Nazi salute to students at Georgia Elementary & Middle School in Georgia, Vermont, local paper Seven Days reports. Kirsch wrote that students were standing outside the cafeteria when the teacher modeled the position and said “and now we say, ‘Heil Hitler.'”

The superintendent told Seven Days, “I’m at a loss on the whole thing … 

People are shocked. People I’ve spoken to are at a loss for words.” 

Kircsh said that the teacher admitted to the remark and she was “immediately relieved.” He also noted that this is the first situation where the substitute, who is replacing a teacher on maternity leave, has come under scrutiny.

>> Related: Gambling-addicted teacher swindled school’s homecoming money for slot machines

In his letter to parents, Kirsch stated, “We are dedicated to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students and families. This incident was completely unacceptable and I apologize.”

Trump withdraws White House invitation to Golden State Warriors

President Donald Trump has withdrawn an invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after Warrior’s guard Stephen Curry told reporters on Friday that he didn’t want to go.

>> Read more trending news

“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” the president tweeted Saturday morning

“Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump said.

It’s unclear if the Warriors were even invited to the White House to celebrate their NBA championship title, but Curry said on Friday, “I don’t want to go,” The Hill reported.

Trump’s tweet seemed to come after Fox News aired a segment Saturday morning on Curry’s comments.

When asked why he didn’t want to go, Curry told the SF Gate “that we basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.”

Curry commented again on Friday, “You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things - from Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change,” Curry told reporters, according to Sports Illustrated

“We’re all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that. That’s kind of where I stand on that. I don’t think us going to the White House will miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that.”

>> Related: Donald Trump says NFL anthem protesters should be ‘off the field’ and fired

ESPN reported that the team had been in communication with the White House about a visit. 

It’s unclear if Trump’s tweet was directed at the entire team or just Curry.

Trump: McCain ‘never had any intention’ of backing latest health care bill

President Donald Trump took a shot at U.S. Sen. John McCain early Saturday in a series of tweets, saying the Arizona Republican “never had any intention” of voting for the latest GOP health care bill. McCain’s rejection of the Graham-Cassidy proposal effectively ends the party's chances at repealing Obamacare -- for now.

>> Read more trending news

McCain “let Arizona down.,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement Friday.

>> Trump touts transparency on Twitter

Since the entire Democratic caucus opposes the bill, Republican leaders can afford to lose only two GOP senators on it. McCain’s decision means the bill doesn’t appear to have the votes to pass. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said he opposes the bill, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has said she’s “leaning against it.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who voted against the last repeal bill, is also uncertain about backing the bill.

Trump was campaigning for fellow Republican Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, Friday night. The president was backing Strange in a the state’s GOP primary runoff, and he covered a variety of subjects, including the health care bill and McCain’s opposition to it.

>> Trump: NFL anthem protesters should be fired

Trump said that McCain’s last senatorial campaign “was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace.

“So he decided to do something different, and that’s fine,” Trump said. 

Trump was less conciliatory Saturday morning, saying that McCain “was sold a bill of goods” by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

J-Lo, other stars add pleas for relief to Puerto Rico

Jennifer Lopez said Thursday night that she still hasn’t heard from her family in Puerto Rico – two days after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island and left millions without power, People reported. Maria’s 155-mph winds ripped trees from the ground, tore roofs from buildings, and caused massive flooding.

>> Read more trending news

Lopez, 48, is one of several celebrities with ties to Puerto Rico. She was born in the Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents. She is making pleas for donations to help residents recover from the hurricane.

Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony and Rosie Perez are also making appeals, People reported, using their star power to help raise awareness and money for Puerto Rico.

“What’s on my mind is what’s going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief,” Lopez said in an Instagram post. “Me and my cousin still haven’t been able to hear from our families over there.

“What’s foremost on my mind and many others is trying to figure out the best way to help,” she said. “Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Areizaga. Together we can help rebuild our island, and the Caribbean.”

Martin, who was born in San Juan, posted a similar plea for help on Instagram, People reported. Puerto Rico’s capital city was hit hard by the hurricane.

“Puerto Rico needs you at the moment. Just go to youcaring.com/rickymartin and help us,” Martin said in an emotional video. “Donate whatever you can, just one dollar would make a difference. If everyone would give me a dollar, my goodness. Puerto Rico is in a precarious position at the moment. We can’t do it alone. We need you.”

As of early Saturday, Martin’s site alone had raised more than $228,000.

Daddy Yankee, 40, asked his fans to bring donations to his concert in New York City on Thursday and shared a video of volunteers loading up trucks, People reported. He’s asking the same for those attending his Chicago concert on Friday.

Anthony, 49, posted a similar video to Lopez and Martin’s, while Perez 53 — who also has family in Puerto Rico she is still attempting to contact — tweeted out links to aid groups FRMA and Politica.

Middle school runner chooses kindness over competitiveness

A middle school athlete from Michigan showed that sportsmanship was more important than winning a cross country race, UpNorthLive.com reported.

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Amelia Malburg, an eighth-grader at Mason County Eastern, was running in a meet when she noticed her teammate was on the ground and struggling.

Malburg said she generally is near the front of the pack when running, but on that particular day her ankle was hurting.

“We were almost close to done, we were getting up the big hill,” Malburg told UpNorthLive.com. “[My teammate] fell down, she didn’t want to move forward because it was so hot and has asthma.”

Malburg stopped running and picked up her teammate, seventh-grader Alexis Shubert.

A photo of Malburg helping her teammate was shared on Facebook by a parent from another school.

The picture shows Malburg holding up Shubert, whose arm is wrapped around her teammate as both girls walk up the hill.

“I just wanted to sit there and just lay down and just stop,” Malburg told UpNorthLive.com. “Then Amelia came by and she helped me up and walked me up the hill and we started running together.”

“By stopping to help Alexis, [Mia] was basically sacrificing her own time and performance to try and help a teammate which is a pretty cool thing,” Mason County Eastern Principal Mark Fornor said.

The principal says the photo demonstrates sportsmanship and putting generosity over finishing first.

“It was just something that I kind of expected Mia to do she doesn’t like it when other people are hurt around her,” said Ginger Malburg, Amelia’s mother. “Knowing that people are choosing kindness over competitiveness."

Katrina victim says FEMA demanded money back 7 years later

A Florida woman said she was forced to pay back thousands of dollars she received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina.

>> Read more trending news 

Deborah Campbell said the IRS came after her seven years after she got the money.

"We were guaranteed that this was not needed to be repaid," the Jacksonville resident said. 

But Campbell said that guarantee didn’t last with FEMA.

"Five years ago I was transferred to Florida with my job and that's when everything started," Campbell said. 

Campbell was living in Louisiana with two other roommates in a quadplex when Hurricane Katrina hit and their place flooded, so they looked to FEMA for assistance.

"We were each given monies for our own personal possessions, which we had to prove," Campbell said. 

And over a nine-month period, she said she got a total of $12,000. Then in 2013, she said she was expecting her income tax refund in the mail.

“I get no income taxes, but I got a letter from IRS that FEMA directed them to take my income tax to reimburse them," Campbell said. 

She said her paychecks were garnished and she didn’t get income tax refunds for three years. 

"They're saying that they paid multiple people in the same household although there could only be one head of household, although we were all on the lease and had individual bills," Campbell said. 

FEMA said that payment could only go to one person per household and it goes to the person who pays taxes on that piece of property. 

"I really worry about these people in a hurricane situation now, in a roommate situation," Campbell said. 

And now, after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Campbell is now fearful this could happen to someone else. 

"Please, please just watch because I don't want this to happen," Campbell said. 

Campbell said she finally paid everything off, but now the same thing is happening to her former roommate 12 years later.

A spokesman from FEMA said a notice should have been received about an overpayment. 

Iran tests new ballistic missile

Iran tested a new ballistic missile that reportedly is capable of carrying multiple warheads, CNN reported Saturday, citing the nation's state-run broadcaster announced.

>> Read more trending news

“Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during a military parade in the capital city of Tehran,” Press TV said.

“The Khorramshahr missile has become smaller in size and more tactical and it will be operational in the near future.”

The missile was launched from an unknown location, CNN reported.

Called the Khorramshahr missile, the weapon has a range of 1,250 miles and can carry multiple warheads, according to Press TV. That would make it capable of reaching Israel and Saudi Arabia, CNN reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that the country would press ahead with strengthening its missile capabilities and military defenses, Press TV reported.

“We will promote our defensive and military power as much as we deem necessary," Rouhani said. “We seek no one's permission to defend our land.”

“Whether you like it or not we are going to help Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, and we will strengthen our missiles.”

Memo: Seattle officer bragged that 'mini Mafia' controlled off-duty contracts

As an FBI investigation into Seattle’s off-duty police work unfolds, additional claims of questionable tactics by officers have emerged, including a report that one policeman proudly called his fellow officers a “mini Mafia” in the way they secured, enforced, and collected on private security and traffic contracts in the booming city.

>> Read more trending news

Officer Mac Gordon, a 31-year veteran of the force, described in specific detail how the officers’ union worked to keep Seattle police administrators in the dark about off-duty work; how the off-duty staffing companies such as Seattle’s Finest overcharge and “squeeze” building owners; and how no one in town has the power to stop any of it.

In describing lucrative, off-duty security work for Seattle City Light, for example, Gordon allegedly said, “Yeah, we would really break some bones if those (jobs) were messed with. Those jobs are a minimum of four hours (billed) and most are done in an hour and a half.”

Gordon’s comments are contained in a four-page memo sent to investigators by Rob McDermott and Andrew Finley, co-founders of Bluecadia, a startup that sought to work with the Seattle Police Department administration to track off-duty cop employment.

The memo is central to an ongoing FBI investigation into officers’ alleged strong-arm tactics toward business and building managers and price-fixing of off-duty jobs in traffic control or construction site security.

Finley and McDermott were interviewing Gordon in an attempt to find out why they could not get traction within the department for their software to track off-duty hours. And according to the April 4, 2017, memo, Gordon gave them an earful, telling them bluntly that officers and the union would block any tracking of off-duty contracts.

Months later, this memo would be among the documents the FBI turned to begin its investigation.

Gordon, who could not be reached for comment, told The Seattle Times that he was using exaggerated, joking language for show. And he denied saying that it was practice to “squeeze” building managers, telling the Times that the line in the memo, “is an absolute lie.”

“That is about as far away from the truth as you can get,” Gordon told the Times.

Finely said it is Gordon who is lying. “This is exactly what happened,” said Finley, who was a sheriff’s deputy for 17 years with Pierce and King counties. “I was a cop; I know how to take notes.”

Police union leaders and supervisors with Seattle’s largest off-duty staffing companies – Seattle’s Finest and Seattle Security — have characterized the memo and Finley and McDermott’s subsequent comments as the lies of bitter businessmen who could not get their startup idea off the ground.

But three longtime officers contacted by KIRO Radio agreed that the union resisted any outside effort to control off-duty work.

The three officers, all who agreed to speak if they were not identified, said Seattle’s Finest and Seattle Security Inc. ran most of the off-duty police work in Seattle. And all three echoed Finely and McDermott’s claims five or six senior officers make most of the decisions about who got off-duty work and who didn’t.

Said one 10-year-veteran of the force, “If you were on the outs with them, you didn’t get work. Simple.”

Off-duty work is as vital and sometimes lucrative sideline for rank-and-file police in pricey Seattle. The construction boom, traffic pressures, and busy stadiums have created an almost unlimited need for off-duty cops in recent years.

Finley said at his peak, he put in hundreds of extra hours annually to augment his income as a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy. And in that county, same as in Seattle, administrators didn’t track overtime hours.

In both places, the lack of oversight has led to problems. In the Finley-McDermott memo, Gordon outlined “management fees” received by officers who controlled off-duty staffing in downtown parking garages:

“He went further to explain that most large underground parking garages in the city have officers working them. He said most cops are paid around $300 a month to ‘manage garages even before they even work one hour of off-duty.’ He quoted the $300/month is a fee for simply managing the location. According to Officer Gordon, as managers, some officers earn $1,200 to $1,500 a month without working a single (off-duty) shift.”

The FBI is believed to be looking at charges including price-fixing, racketeering and, potentially, unreported income, sources close to the investigation said.

Seattle Police Chief Katherine O’Toole agreed that off-duty work is a problem in the department.

“Apart from and prior to receiving these allegations, SPD managers have long identified secondary employment as a significant risk when reviewing department business practices,” O’Toole said in a statement.

“Although it would be entirely inappropriate for me to share facts specific to an ongoing inquiry, I want to emphasize, as I have consistently, that we take all allegations against SPD personnel very seriously.”

 

Trump touts transparency on Twitter

President Donald Trump has no intention of scaling back his Twitter presence. 

>> Read more trending news

The president, campaigning for fellow Republican Luther Strange in Alabama on Friday night, touted his provocative and sometimes controversial tweets, CNN reported.

"That is the great thing about Twitter," Trump said during the rally, set just days ahead of the state’s Senate Republican primary runoff election. “You know, when the press is dishonest, which is most of the time, and when they say, like, I don't want to build a wall, I can tweet ‘That was a false story. Boom. Boom. Boom.’”

Trump took more shots at the media while discussing his plans to build a wall on the country’s southern border.

"Well, every once in awhile you hear, ‘Well, he doesn't really want to build the wall,’ I say, ‘Excuse me?’” Trump said.

Trump's Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump, now has almost 39 million followers. His tweets range from calling out the media to announcing White House policies to criticizing foreign leaders, CNN reported.

"Every time he tweets, I am entertained. Sometimes I'm informed. It tells me what to care about today, tells me what he's thinking," Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip and an early Trump supporter, told CNN. “It's transparent. Sometimes it's provocative. Sometimes it's too provocative. I like that, too.”

Texas students told ‘It’s the law’ to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A presentation telling students that they have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because it's the law has caused controversy at a Texas high school, the Houston Chronicle reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Juniors and seniors at Midland High School were given a presentation on the Pledge of Allegiance earlier this month, with a slide saying it's the law to stand during the pledge and stay silent during the moment of silence, KOSA reported.

“It's basically a law,” Seth Ortega told KOSA. “We need to stand to respect our country, and those who died.”

A 1943 Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia -- West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette -- protects students from having to say the pledge.

Lacy Sperry, executive director of communications for Midland ISD, told the Chronicle that the slide "was taken out of context" and that school administrators have addressed the issue. 

"According to the Texas Education Code, Sec. 25.082, we are required to have students recite the U.S. pledge and the Texas pledge at least once a day, and we are required to have a moment of silence following the recitation of pledges," Sperry said via email. "As a protocol, we ask students to stand and remain standing. We honor any parental request for students to opt-out of the recitation of the pledge on any of our campuses." 

According to the Texas Education Code, the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence is required from students daily. Students' parents or guardians can give written permission to have their children excluded.

A week after the controversy began, the Midland ISD released a second statement:

 "Midland ISD received an inquiry from CBS 7 regarding a slide included in a PowerPoint presentation to Midland High School students this week. The information included in the slide if viewed out of context is confusing. However the slide was used as part of a presentation to students detailing the activities during the school day. Texas Law from the Texas Education Code - EDUC § 25.082. School Day; Pledges of Allegiance; Minute of Silence, requires the inclusion of the pledges and moment of silence during the school day. However it is not a mandate for every student. MISD policy includes provisions for parents to request their child be excluded from participating. Once again, nothing has changed. The PowerPoint slide was part of a presentation and described to the audience. Campus administrators have reviewed the slide and rearranged the text to ensure that no one else is confused by the contents of the slide."

Comments supporting and opposing the presentation could be found on KOSA’s Facebook page.

"This is pure propaganda. There is no law stating that you must stand for the pledge of allegiance. This is actually against your freedom of speech. I can choose to stand or not stand," Jayson Brown commented on KOSA’s Facebook page. 

“You have the right to kneel but it's disrespectful to all the people who have died and suffered to give you that right,” Steve Benner said on Facebook.. 

"The pledge is a lovely patriotic poem, but is not embedded in our legal nor political systems at all except as a cultural expression of our love of country," Joanna Tousley-Escalante wrote. 

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