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No, this mother and daughter do not look alike

Feb 17, 2016 10:36 PM EDT

Twins Kaylan and Kyla Mahomes took a picture with their mother and went viral because no one could tell any of them apart.

All the women in the photo looked like sisters, but the woman in the far left of the now-famous photo is the twins' mother.

A U.K. mother-daughter duo said they had a similar story.

>> Read more trending stories

BuzzFeed News reported that 33-year-old Donna Galt and her 14-year-old daughter, Mya, appeared on British TV show "This Morning" Monday and said they are constantly mistaken for being sisters.

They also said they dress the same and style their hair the same way.

Related: You probably can't tell this mother apart from her twin daughters

The hosts, after mentioning the Mahomes viral picture, said that Donna and Mya Gault were the U.K. version.

Twitter disagreed.






The general consensus seems to be that it is very clear who is the mother and who is the daughter.


Charlotte Water officials ensure water is safe

Feb 17, 2016 09:52 PM EDT

The crisis over lead levels in the water in Flint, Michigan, has many local water customers concerned about their own utilities.

Charlotte officials said the city’s water is safe.

The local water supply comes from Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman, and Charlotte Water officials said it’s high quality, frequently monitored and at low risk because lead pipes are not common in Charlotte.

Carolina Water Services found lead in the Foxwood subdivision in Fort Mill and River Hills in Lake Wylie.

Officials think it came off pipes that serve 3,500 customers but said levels are back to normal. Company officials want people to run water for about 30 seconds before drinking it as a precaution.

LINK: Charlotte Water data

Officials want to point out those levels are nowhere near the ones in Flint, where the water is actually undrinkable.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Phone repair store employee charged with stolen goods

Feb 17, 2016 09:44 PM EDT

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Police arrested and charged Taha Jamal Alasfar, 25, after executing a search warrant Wednesday at Players Wireless on Farm Pond Lane.

During the search, detectives located an iPad that was taken from Piney Grove Elementary along with a stolen cellphone taken from a vehicle from last year.

In addition, several counterfeit phone accessories, prescription contact lenses and two sweepstakes machines were seized.

Alasfar, an employee at Players Wireless, was arrested and charged with felony possession of stolen property, misdemeanor possession of stolen property, forgery counterfeiting merchandise and drug prescription fraud.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

China uproots thousands of people for alien-hunting telescope

Feb 17, 2016 09:21 PM EDT

China is really serious about its search for aliens. So serious that it’s forcing thousands of people out of their homes in order to build a giant radio telescope.

It’s called FAST, and it’s going up in the southwestern province of Guizhou. Construction started back in 2011, and experts say the telescope could help researchers finally discover extraterrestrial life when completed next fall.

Or it might not find anything. Either way, 9,110 residents are being relocated to "create a sound electromagnetic wave environment." Which may be the most unique reason yet for a forced relocation by the Chinese government.

In years past, the Communist Party has moved people out of their homes to make way for new dams and infrastructure in the name of helping the environment or boosting the economy.

Take the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, for example. The government reportedly moved 2 million citizens out of their homes to make space to host the games. The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed only 6,000 domiciles were destroyed.

The construction of the Three Gorges Dam is another project that uprooted residents. More than 1.2 million people were forced out of their homes because of that project.

In the past, international rights groups have tried to stand up for these people, arguing relocated residents often don’t get enough warning or compensation.

In the case of the giant alien-searching telescope, residents will be paid 12,000 yuan, or about $1,800 U.S., for their troubles. And maybe, just maybe, they'll be able to say they once lived in the place that first discovered aliens.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Panthers help West Charlotte HS get new field

Feb 17, 2016 08:38 PM EDT

The Carolina Panthers pitched in for a new football field at West Charlotte High School.

The $2.1 million project is funded in part by the $200,000 NFL Grassroots field grant from the Panthers.
The synthetic field will be ready for the upcoming football season.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Thursday.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Police: Wendy's manager bitten by angry customer for

Feb 17, 2016 08:17 PM EDT

A Virginia woman attacked a worker at a Wendy's restaurant after claiming she got the the wrong order at the drive through.

Lovely Rayneice Robinson confronted a manager at a Richmond Wendy's about an issue with her order, which led to a physical altercation.

According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the incident began moments after Robinson was told to pull her vehicle forward because her order was not finished. When the food was ready, a worker took the food to Robinson's car but she said the order was not correct. She followed the worker inside Wendy's and demanded the correct order.

The Wendy's manager, Latanya Nelson, said Robinson stormed into the lobby.

"She changed the order from that to four, 99-cent chicken sandwiches, so I'm guessing she only had $4 instead of $11," Nelson told WTVR.

Nelson asked Robinson to leave but she refused. She then assaulted Nelson with punches and eventually was bitten in the leg.

"She clamped down right above my knee, so I continued to punch her as she was biting me," Nelson told WTVR.

Robinson was charged with unlawful entry, resisting arrest and malicious wounding.

Read more here.

Country star dying of cancer celebrates daughter’s 2nd birthday with a smile

Feb 17, 2016 07:28 PM EDT

Terminally ill country star Joey Feek prayed that she would live long enough to see her daughter’s birthday, and her prayers have been answered.

Joey, 40, is currently in hospice care in her childhood home in Alexandria, Indiana. She decided to stop treatment late last year when the cancer stopped responding.

“Some birthdays are more than just birthdays,” her husband, Rory Feek, wrote in a caption on Instagram. “They’re dreams coming true and prayers being answered.”

The photo shows Rory smiling happily as Indiana sits on her lap.

...some birthdays are more than just birthdays. They're dreams coming true and prayers being answered.

A photo posted by Joey+Rory (@roryandjoey) on

Rory also posted a video of Indiana laughing and smiling as her dad wished her a happy birthday.

...barely awake and already signing and celebrating her big day.

A video posted by Joey+Rory (@roryandjoey) on

The couple celebrated Valentine’s Day Saturday and watched the Grammys together. The two were up for an award for Best Country Duo/Group performance.

...happy Valentine's Day my love

A photo posted by Joey+Rory (@roryandjoey) on

Though they didn’t win the award, they said getting the nomination was “more than enough.”

...more than enough

A photo posted by Joey+Rory (@roryandjoey) on

Police try to fill gap after feds pull funding programs

Feb 17, 2016 07:19 PM EDT

Local police departments said they’re trying to overcome the major loss of federal funds used to keep the Charlotte area safe.

Last year the federal government pulled the plug on a program that allowed agencies to keep some of the money seized during drug busts and other investigations.

Now some agencies want a state law that would help them get the money back.

“We use funding to supply our officers with Tasers,” said Lt. Bobby Manus of the Monroe Police Department.

Over the years he said MPD has benefited from federal asset forfeiture programs that let officers keep a portion of the assets seized from drug busts and other crimes.

However, his agency has lost out on these funds since December when the Department of Justice suspended a popular asset forfeiture program citing budget cuts.

State Senator and former Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte said he understands the benefits of the program.

“We absolutely took advantage of the program and were able to supplement budgetary items rather than coming out of general funds,” he said.

He is open to a discussion about a new state law, but said the program should have safeguards to prevent abuse.

"There's an appropriate place and use for that type of program potentially, there's also ways it could be tremendously and grossly abused if administered inappropriately,” he said.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Popular Tampa restaurant reportedly has over 200 food safety violations

Feb 17, 2016 07:00 PM EDT

Brocato's Sandwich Shop, in Tampa, Florida, is a favorite among many locals and passersby in the area.

The restaurant has been around for 68 years.

WFTS reported that Florida food inspectors wrote 226 violations from February 2015 to January 2016.

>> Read more trending stories

When shop owner Michael Brocato spoke to the news station, he did not want to be shown on camera.

Violations documented by inspectors include food stored at dangerous temperatures, cracked tiles, no employee hand washing signs, no soap in the bathroom, unsealed concrete, food improperly dated and marked and mold in the ice machine.

"We acknowledge the fact that there have been administrative complaints filed against us," Brocato said in a statement. "Most of those complaints were corrected on site, with an inspector present. However, some corrections take a longer time to process. Therefore, not all complaints have been rectified."

He said that some violations are because the business has operated in the same building since 1948. Since it has grown in popularity, the shop is renovating and expanding, which Brocato said costs time and money.

Brocato also said the state has a problem with the expansion and has not approved it, leading to warnings and complaints. He said he and other family members work at the shop 24/7.

"I've been doing this for too many years to be anything but open," Brocato told Tampa Bay Times. "It's not a dirty restaurant, and I have nothing to hide."

Inspectors said sinks where food was being prepped was uncovered and open to outside elements. Brocato said it costs money to cover the space, but he is working on it.

Because the required fix takes time, Brocato has missed the deadline over and over, resulting in repeat violations.

In 2015, the state reportedly fined the shop $700 for violations that were not corrected. In 2014, fines were $1,500.

"Through the years, we have always had an open door/open kitchen policy," Brocato's statement said. "Customers can see the kitchen and watch their food being prepared while they wait for their order."

Brocato said that some of his catering jobs have been canceled. He has reached out to long-time customers and told them he will give them a kitchen tour to alleviate any concerns.


Shoppers save woman attacked in a car

Feb 17, 2016 06:32 PM EDT

Shoppers saw a man beating a woman Tuesday and threatening her with a knife outside a grocery store in the middle of the day.

That shopping area includes an Earth Fare store on Cherry Road in Rock Hill.

Antonio Wylie, 23, was charged with kidnapping, rape and assault.

Police said drivers on Evergreen Circle heard the woman screaming for help from a car saying her attacker had knife and was stabbing her.

Another driver saw the man beating the woman. She tried to stick her foot out of the car, and escape but couldn't.

Several people on Evergreen Circle stopped to talk to police and one got a license tag number.

Shopper Gene Craven said they never imagined seeing such violence there.

"It brings it close to home that something like that would happen. It's tragic," Craven said.

At least one eyewitness managed to get a license tag number that led police to an apartment on Springdale Road where they arrested Antonio Wylie and found the victim unhurt.

Shopper Ray Craig said he's glad to see people step up and take action.

"Just ordinary people saved a woman's life by being willing to take a personal risk to do the right thing," Craig said.

Rock Hill police credited the work of officers but also of alert citizens for helping them make a quick arrest.

"They saw it and it didn't look right to everybody that saw it and they were a big help," said Capt. Mark Bollinger.

Wylie faces several charges including kidnapping assault and rape and his bond was denied Wednesday morning.

Officers did find the knife they said Wylie used during the attack though the victim did not need medical attention.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Redistricting plan may put a few incumbents on shaky ground

Feb 17, 2016 05:46 PM EDT

(AP) — Republican lawmakers unveiled redrawn North Carolina congressional districts Wednesday meant to fix a federal court's findings of illegal racial gerrymandering — but will also put several incumbents on uncertain footing.

While the new map was receiving preliminary approval, Gov. Pat McCrory announced he's convening a special session Thursday so the full General Assembly can vote on it. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court could still intervene in the case.

The most significant changes include a proposed 4th District containing the homes of its current congressman, Democratic Rep. David Price, but also Republican U.S. Rep. George Holding. Leaders of the redistricting committee say the district should still favor Democrats.

The new map would also eliminate the snakelike shape of the 12th District, one of two struck down by the federal court. The new 12th would be entirely within Mecklenburg County and contain no incumbent.

Democrats, meanwhile, are concerned the seat of U.S. Rep. Alma Adams could be jeopardized by a new Republican-leaning 13th District.

The boundaries were redrawn in response to the federal court ruling earlier this month that the current 1st and 12th Districts were illegally race-based. Republicans disagree with the ruling but created new lines to ensure they meet the court's deadline for a new map by Friday.

"This is a heroic effort that we could even get all this accomplished in that short period of time," said Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, one of the leaders of the redistricting committee.

Still, the speedy overhaul may not matter if the Supreme Court steps in to allow use of the current maps in the March 15 primary election. Legislative leaders asked the high court to intervene to avoid voter confusion.

The new boundaries were criticized by Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh, who said it's disingenuous for Republicans to claim race played no part. He argues they used party affiliation as a proxy.

"I don't think it takes much imagination to see exactly what you've done here. In three districts ... you've again managed to stuff about half the black population in the state," he said.

Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, one of the leaders of the redistricting committee, denied race was used in any way.

"Sen. Blue appears to want to try to create something that does not exist," he said.

Lewis said the new map achieves key criteria including roughly equal population for each district and compactness.

He said the new map includes fewer split counties and voting precincts than before. The 1st District, which once covered parts of 24 counties, now includes some or all of 14.

Based on recent statewide elections, the proposed map appears to give Republicans a good chance to retain their current 10-3 advantage within North Carolina's congressional delegation. Lewis said he believes Democrats will still have an edge in the 1st, 4th and 12th Districts.

Data released by the redistricting committee shows Republicans candidates received the majority of votes in 10 of the reconfigured districts during elections for governor and U.S. Senate in 2012 and 2014.

But the retooled boundaries appear to endanger two relatively new incumbents in Holding and Adams.

Holding's home would be pulled into the reshaped 4th District, which has been held by Price almost continuously since 1987. Democrats enjoyed comfortable margins in what's now the reconfigured 4th District during recent statewide elections.

Adams, a Democrat, would no longer be in the current "serpentine" 12th District, which takes in portions of Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, largely connected by land along Interstate 85 in between. Instead, she would be inserted into a new 13th District stretching west from Guilford County into Iredell and Davie counties — both Republican strongholds

Members of Congress aren't required to live in their district, but it's considered advantageous to do so.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said North Carolina voters have shown a willingness to cross party lines before.

"We're not talking about robots," he said. "If you have the right candidate ... you have the opportunity to win in any district."

The full House and Senate would have to approve the same map in the special session to make the boundaries the law. Redistricting isn't subject to a governor's veto. Lewis said legislation also would be considered during the special session to set a new date for the congressional primary based on updated maps.

The three-judge panel of the federal court didn't demand in its order to receive a copy of updated maps, but the plaintiffs could formally ask the judges to examine the new boundaries.

Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, who expressed concern about Adams' chances in a strongly Republican district, said he's also concerned legislators are being asked to digest so much information so quickly — "almost like the speed of light."

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Group wants to all voices heard with CMS reassignment plan

Feb 17, 2016 05:15 PM EDT

Local groups want to make sure every parents’ voice is heard about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools controversial reassignment plan.

More than 600 parents packed a Matthews church Tuesday night.

Monday is the deadline for the Charlotte community to fill out the CMS survey about reassignment.

Despite numerous meetings for families, there's still a lot of concern and even confusion about what could happen to thousands of students. That's why several education based group are making sure voices in all communities are heard.

“Some people can't get to Matthews. Or some people can't get there at 6. Some people work two and three jobs,” ONE Charlotte member Jerrod Jones said.

Jones wasn't surprised to see hundreds of people show up at the Matthews church or the last board meeting to voice concerns about a CMS plan that could impact where students go to school in the future.

He said it's the dialogue people expect to hear when parents are worried about losing their neighborhood schools or even busing. Jones wants even more people to be part of this process.

The group ONE Charlotte, a group that advocates for educational equity, is planning listening campaigns, where those with tough job schedules and other obligations won't be left out.

“Are we asking those questions to people who always get their opinions heard, or are we going to reach out to those marginalized communities?” Jones asked.

Every six years, CMS does a review of its student assignment plan, but it has struck a nerve in the community as it works to achieve diversity and high academic standards.

“My child right now goes to a predominantly African-American and Hispanic school, so I do understand the diversity part. But it can be an inconvenience to parents,” CMS parent Bianca Hamilton said.

“I think diversity would be great. I want my child to see as much diversity as he can. That's educational in itself,” future CMS parent Campbell Guignard said.

Meck Ed is scheduled to have a community conversation about student reassignment Thursday morning. It’s another opportunity to talk about reassignment before the board makes tough decisions during the next few months.

Read our past coverage:

Hickory man charged in girlfriend’s shooting death

Feb 17, 2016 04:47 PM EDT

A Hickory man learned his girlfriend, who he's accused of shooting, died moments before he entered a courtroom when he was charged with her murder.

Eyewitness News reporter Dave Faherty found out there was a major paperwork error in this case.

Hickory woman dies after being shot Monday, police say

James Thacker went to court facing a murder charge Wednesday but hadn't actually been served the warrant.

Thacker leaned on his attorney, Lisa Dubs, as he slowly walked into court.

Dubs said she met with him minutes before his court appearance to discuss the case.

It was then she found out Thacker had no idea his girlfriend, Tammy Cloninger, had died and he was the one accused of killing her.

"He just found out when I went in to speak with him,” Dubs said.

Police confirmed Cloninger was talking when police arrived at the home, where they say she made a statement shortly after she was shot in the stomach on Monday.

Witnesses described seeing Thacker leave the scene.

He was arrested a few blocks away.

The paperwork error has been corrected and he is charged with her murder.

Investigators said they found what they believe was the murder weapon not far from the home during a search.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Mother says she was not contacted about 11-year-old’s diverted flight

Feb 17, 2016 04:37 PM EDT

It’s a parent’s nightmare. An 11-year-old girl was traveling alone on a flight to Charlotte that was delayed for hours and then diverted.

The girl’s mother told Channel 9 that American Airlines didn’t even know where her daughter was.

An 11-year-old girl’s flight was supposed to arrive Monday at the Charlotte-Douglas airport, but it never did.

Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster spoke exclusively with Maggie’s mother. She said she would never have known Maggie’s plane was diverted in Columbia if her daughter didn’t have a cellphone.

Channel 9 has been asking American Airlines for answers Wednesday.

Corinne Chausse told only Channel 9 about her family’s panicked emotions as she was expecting her daughter’s American Airlines flight from Syracuse.

Maggie was spending time with family and was supposed to return to Charlotte at 8:50 p.m. Monday, where Corrine Chausse and her husband were waiting.

American Airlines confirms the flight was delayed because of weather. Then at 1:30 a.m., Maggie called saying she was in Columbia, her flight was canceled, and someone was taking her off the plane.

“I’m getting frantic, because I have no idea who took her off (the plane), where she is, what she’s thinking,” Corinne Chausse said.

Then Maggie’s parents lost contact with her for more than an hour. They started driving to Columbia and called American Airlines trying to get information.

Halfway to Columbia, American Airlines said the flight wasn’t canceled and Maggie’s plane would land in Charlotte.

Her parents drive back to Charlotte, only to get a terrifying call from the airline.

“The agent comes on and is apologetic (and says), ‘I’m sorry ma’am, that flight was canceled. Your daughter is in Columbia,’” Corrine Chausse said.

As they drove back to Columbia around 2 a.m. Tuesday, Corrine Chausse said a representative for American Airlines told her Maggie was in a room for minors in the Columbia airport.

Corrine Chausse said five minutes later, her daughter called her saying she was still on the plane.

“They lied to me about where she was,” the mother said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, an American Airlines representative told Channel 9 that the flight was canceled because of a maintenance issue on the plane discovered when it landed in Columbia.

Corrine Chausse said Maggie was on the plane for nine hours and flight staff didn’t feed her. She’s upset and said the airline never once called her to let her know the flight was diverted and then canceled.

“I think parents need to know. Maybe this is ill-placed trust. It certainly is ill-placed money,” Corrine Chausse said.

Corrine Chausse said American Airlines required her to pay an additional $300 on top of Maggie’s flight cost because she was an unaccompanied minor. The airline’s website states a mandatory $150 fee each way is required for any child traveling alone age 14 and younger. She had green tags, so airline staff knew and would be with her. Corrine Chausse doesn’t think that even happened.

“I don’t want another parent to go through this. They need to look at this system they have in place. They’re charging people $300 for and they need to examine where it failed because it failed drastically,” she said.

Corrine Chausse thinks American Airlines should refund the $300 for extra care for her daughter, but told Channel 9 that she’s more concerned about the damage to her daughter, who said she never wants to fly again.

Corrine Chausse still hasn’t heard back from the airline.

The following is a statement from American Airlines:

As I mentioned on the phone, the flight had to divert to Columbia due to bad winds and ice here in CLT. Upon landing in Columbia, an indicator light went off that caused a maintenance issue. The customers stayed on the plane for a while after they landed in CAE because they thought they were going to be able to fix the maintenance issue. The customer service team did bring the customers water at that point. When the supervisor came on to bring the water, the flight attendant called Miss Chausse up to the front so she could call her mother. The mother offered to drive down to CAE and the supervisor said that would probably be the best course of action since we weren’t sure if or when the plane would be fixed.

The flight finally had to cancel when the issue wasn’t able to be fixed at 2 a.m. Miss Chausse was brought into one of the manager’s offices with a female agent to wait for the mother, and the agent brought her to the mother when she got there. All concessions were of course closed at that hour, but the station manager did send his shift manager out to buy snacks for the passengers and was able to get some refreshments for them.

Weather and maintenance are certainly never things that we want to affect our operations, but we always have the safety of our customers as the top priority, so we were unable to fly the aircraft back out that night. We did send another aircraft out to get the passengers in the morning, but know that the parents picked her up around 4 a.m. We apologize to the Chausses for the diversion and inconvenience of having to drive to Columbia. Our customer relations team is reaching out directly to the customer.

CMPD: Man sought for buying cars with fake cards

Feb 17, 2016 04:29 PM EDT

Charlotte police are looking for a man suspected in three fraud cases. The victims tell Eyewitness News the man used a "trick" with credit card machines to get away with it.

A CMPD representative said a judge signed warrants Tuesday for Bernard Gray, 25. He is the suspect in three fraud incidents at car dealers in January.

Mason Macabi, sales manager for Ace Auto Brokers, said they encountered Gray on Jan. 20. Macabi said Gray attempted to buy a car outright with a credit card but it was declined. He says Gray got on the phone, allegedly with the bank, and then reached over and started punching numbers on the card reader.


"He said he's gonna push those two buttons here and that would let the transaction go through," Macabi said.

The transaction went through because the card reader was taken offline, unknown to Macabi. He showed us how to repeat it with his card.

A payment processing company representative confirmed to Eyewitness News that a person could "trick" a machine into a bogus purchase.

Macabi said he was suspicious about the situation and called police, who interviewed Gray before he could get the car.

Another car dealer, which asked that its name not be used, was approached by Gray a week before the incident at Ace Auto.

"He took his card and we ran it swiped it, and he put what we thought was a PIN and the card came back with an approval," a representative said.

That car dealer said Gray called a couple of days ago and asked for his money back.

"He absolutely threatened to call Channel 9 and expose us and say that we were doing things, that we had taken this money," the representative said.

Gray is not yet in custody.

A search of Florida Department of Correction records showed Gray served prison time in 2013 on convictions that included fraud.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Authorities: Suspect in Charlotte bank robberies may be linked to others

Feb 17, 2016 04:24 PM EDT

The FBI is looking into whether the man arrested for robbing two Charlotte banks is responsible more in two other states.

The Move Quick Bandit has been on the run since July. He is suspected in bank robberies from Tennessee to Kentucky.

The FBI in Charlotte has been in contact with federal agents in Tennessee who are focused on Lewis Fite.

CMPD arrested, charged man in connection with Charlotte bank robberies

They are looking at surveillance images from the BB&T on Mallard Creek Road, a bank in Ballantyne and about a dozen other banks.

Police in Charlotte said Fite quickly became a suspect after last week's robberies. They arrested him Friday and learned he was already being sought regarding felony robbery in Tennessee.

Meanwhile, authorities have been searching for the Move Quick Bandit, who has robbed 11 banks since July.

In each case, he threatened to kill the teller before disappearing with cash. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Authorities believe it is not a big leap that a robber could hit three states that are close together.

Fite was reportedly a concert promoter in Tennessee. Authorities are not providing more information about their investigation but experts said they will likely do things like track places where Fite's cellphone has been detected.

They will be able to tell if he was in the area of a bank at about the time that it was robbed.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Man falls through Popeyes ceiling, spends hours breaking into safe

Feb 17, 2016 04:17 PM EDT

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man who burglarized a Popeyes restaurant last month.

Surveillance footage shows a burglar, who appears to be male, fall through the ceiling and proceed to work on getting money from the safe under the restaurant’s front counter.

The man was eventually able to take money from the safe "after several hours of prying and striking the safe," JSO said in a release.

The safe was damaged and money was taken, according to police.

The restaurant was burglarized on Jan. 18 between 3:45 and 7:15 a.m.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Saturn's rings appear to split a moon in half in new photo

Feb 17, 2016 04:16 PM EDT

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured a new image of Saturn's moon, Dione, Dec. 25, 2015.

The small moon is 698 miles in diameter and orbits Saturn every 2.7 days.

>> Read more trending stories

Cassini's photograph was taken just above Saturn's rings.

In the image, Saturn's rings appear to split Dione in half.

Much like Earth's moon, one side always faces toward its planet.

Dione was discovered in 1684 by Giovanni Cassini, whose last name is the namesake of the spacecraft orbiting Saturn and its system.

The Cassini spacecraft is a joint effort for NASA, the European Space Agency and Italian space agency Agenzia Spaziale Italiana.


Lost wallet returned with painfully honest letter about why thief kept the cash

Feb 17, 2016 03:44 PM EDT

A night out recently cost a New York man more than he expected after losing his wallet.

Reilly Flaherty said he was devastated when he realized his wallet was gone.

"I was just completely dejected -- lost everything. Had to go get new credit cards, new driver's license, everything," Flaherty told WABC.

But a few weeks later, he received an anonymous letter in the mail.

"Two weeks later, this crazy envelope just shows up completely unmarked,"Flaherty said.

thanks.. I think?

A photo posted by reilly flaherty (@reillyflaherty) on

Inside was his license and credit cards. But his wallet, cash and MetroCard were gone.

"I thought everything was gone, so it was kind of cool to get part of what was lost," said Flaherty.

The sender wrote that he kept the cash for weed, the MetroCard because the fare was too high, and the wallet because it was too nice to give back.

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Feb 17, 2016 03:41 PM EDT

Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

Historic Powerball jackpot winners announced in Florida

Feb 17, 2016 03:36 PM EDT

The Florida Lottery held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce the winners of the historic $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot from the Jan. 13 drawing.

The prize of $528.7 million was claimed by The Nickel 95 Trust and was claimed by trustees David Kaltschmidt, 55, and Maureen Smith, 70.

The trust chose to receive the winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment of $327 million.

"The Florida Lottery is all about creating winning moments and giving people the chance to fulfill their dreams," Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie said. "We congratulate Florida’s newest jackpot winner, and recognize how this Powerball jackpot will not only change their life, but allowed the Lottery to generate more money for education from a single jackpot than ever before, with more than $114 million raised for Florida students and schools."

Kaltschmidt and Smith said they had played the same numbers for years and did not watch the drawing live. They said they realized they had the winning numbers the next morning.

The winners said the ticket was purchased at the Melbourne Publix off State Road A1A.

The winning numbers were 4-8-19-27-34, and the Powerball was 10.

Video: Orlando's fastest, tallest and longest new roller coaster

Feb 17, 2016 03:19 PM EDT

SeaWorld whetted the appetite of thrill-seekers this week with the unveiling of a custom-built Mako lead car that will whisk guests through Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.

Mako, a 200-foot-tall coaster, is expected to open in time for the summer tourist rush. Its features include a top speed of 73 mph and 4,760 feet of track -- nearly a mile long. The coaster and surrounding area will be themed to a shark environment, providing a learning experience along with extreme thrills.

The sleek design of the car was inspired by the real Mako, one of the fastest species of shark. The new ride will be considered a "hypercoaster," meaning riders will experience a weightless feeling as the Mako zooms through hills and tight turns.

Features of the coaster train announced Tuesday include:

• The custom car, which was designed as a collaborative effort between SeaWorld's animal experts and ride engineers. Its authentic features include five gills on each side, correct eye placement and a hydro-dynamic look.

• Speedy wheels made of a special compound that reduces friction, providing a smooth ride from start to finish.

• Upper-body mobility for guests, who will be held down by only a lap guard on their lower body, allowing for plenty of "airtime."

• A total of 21 cars -- three trains of seven cars each.

A 2-acre area of the park will be themed around sharks, including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, themed gift shops, shark and shipwreck decor, and educational experiences, according to WFTV. Guests in the Shark Realm will feel like they’re underwater among a school of sharks that have taken over a shipwrecked reef.

SeaWorld is pushing thrill rides in an attempt to recover from a decline in attendance in the wake of the documentary film Blackfish, which caused controversy over the treatment of the park's whales. The park also faces stiff competition for tourist dollars from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

With the addition of Mako, the theme park says it will have five thrill rides: three distinctly different intense coasters, plus two family coasters, WFTV reported.

But an educational element will remain: In the plaza of the shark-themed land, guests will learn about the impact of humans and why the animals are critical to the environment.

SC Gov. Haley endorsing Rubio's presidential bid

Feb 17, 2016 03:13 PM EDT

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is endorsing Marco Rubio ahead of Saturday's first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary.

A person close to the Republican governor with direct knowledge of her decision told The Associated Press she will endorse Rubio at his event Wednesday night in Lexington County.

The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the endorsement ahead of the event and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Haley's endorsement was considered the most coveted among South Carolina politicians. She joins Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy in endorsing Rubio.

The state's first female and first minority governor said just Tuesday that she may not endorse this cycle. But she's been very critical of Donald Trump.

Haley endorsed Mitt Romney a month before South Carolina's 2012 presidential primary and campaigned with him. Romney lost to Newt Gingrich, breaking the state's three-decade tradition of backing the party's eventual nominee.

Study: Popular heartburn medications may increase dementia risk

Feb 17, 2016 02:26 PM EDT

A preliminary study conducted by German researchers found an association in the use of proton pump inhibitors and an increased risk of dementia.

The researchers stressed that the study’s results only demonstrated an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, and that clinical trials would be necessary to explore the association further.

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The study, published Monday in JAMA, studied the increased dementia risk for elderly patients using proton pump inhibitors, known as PPIs. The drugs examined in the study included omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole and rabeprazole, which includes popular brands such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid. A pool of over 73,000 patients, age 75 and over, were analyzed for the study. Germany’s largest health insurer provided the data used in the study.

The researchers found a 44 percent increased risk of dementia in those elderly patients who were regularly taking PPIs versus those who were not taking the heartburn medications.

According to Medical Daily, the use of PPIs has also been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease.

9 Investigates weapons at schools and metal detectors

Feb 17, 2016 01:02 PM EDT

Christie Bruton said her 17-year-old daughter is a straight A student at West Mecklenburg High School, but at times, Bruton said her daughter hasn’t felt safe at school.

“There have been incidents where students have brought knives, guns, or blades to school,” Bruton said.

Records show five cases where weapons were allegedly brought on West Meck campus since January 2015.

Police reports said a girl tried to spray someone with a can of mace in January. A knife was brought in September and a knife, razor and Taser in October.

"They didn’t' bring them for nothing. They brought them to fight or cut or shoot someone,” Bruton said.

In October, Channel 9 reported a 14-year-old student at Ardrey Kell High School was accused of walking the halls with a 9 mm Glock with nine bullets.

Officials said the student had been carrying the gun in his backpack, undetected, for a few days. Since them there was another case at Ardrey Kell. A police report states last month someone brought a knife onto the campus.

With so many cases, Channel 9 asked why more schools don’t use metal detectors daily to keep weapons out.

Charlotte attorney Ken Harris represents the family of Bernard Miller. In 2014, when Miller was 16, police said another student at Albemarle High School shot him in the hip and stomach. Harris thinks metal detectors could prevent such incidents.

“Our children are our most valuable asset,” Harris said. “So if you are going to have them at a government center, why not have them at school?”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education Chair Mary McCray said daily use of metal detectors could send the wrong message.

“You ask yourself what kind of school building am I entering here and to me it is very uninviting It is sending the wrong message to parents that okay, you can send your child here, but we can't guarantee anything, because they're coming through metal detectors and as a parent that would turn me off instantly,” she said.

She said resource officers and parents are the first defense against illegal weapons.

"What we do is ask our parents to be diligent in knowing what's in their child's backpack or book bag and making sure they check those on a regular basis,” McCray said.

CMS isn’t alone. Channel 9’s Tina Terry contacted nearly 30 school districts statewide and most of them do not use metal detectors daily – even large districts like Forsyth and Wake counties.

Statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools:

As a district we are always looking at ways to improve security. We do have handheld metal detectors available at all schools. They are used as needed during the school day, at athletic events and other times for after school events.

The idea of using metal detectors at school entrances has been considered, but it is not practical. CMS schools have multiple entry points and the enrollment at our high schools may range into the thousands. This could take hours to get all students processed.

When Miller was shot at Albemarle High, the school didn’t have metal detectors. Now, Stanly County leaders are considering walk-through detectors for the county’s high schools.

A spokesman for Stanly County Schools said the least expensive walk-through detector they found was about $2,500, and that was refurbished. New detectors can be priced four to five times as much depending on size.

Due to on-going civil litigation, Stanly County’s superintendent declined to comment further on the Albemarle High School Shooting.