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Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition

We’ve known for some time that Atlanta is considered a hub for sex trafficking.

But who knew metro Atlanta is also known for having an abundant number of, ahem, sugar daddies — older men seeking the companionship of college-age women?

>> Read more trending news 

According to SeekingArrangement.com, Georgia ranks sixth in the country, behind places like Arizona, Philadelphia and New York. Over the past few years, the website has touted its growing numbers to news publications around the country.

In Georgia, according to folks at the website, the vast majority of these young women providing companionship to older men attend big state colleges such as Georgia State, the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern (in that precise order), with a few at Spelman College and elsewhere.

“Students are tired of being told by the government that secondary education is important, and then being slapped with outrageous student loans and staggering interest rates,” said Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com. “The value of a degree is undeniable, but students can’t leave their futures in the hands of officials any longer.”

Today more than 2 million students across the country — 3 million worldwide — have signed up to find wealthy benefactors who can help offset college costs, said Wade.

RELATED | Many Georgia students feel overburdened by rising college costs

Each year, almost 44 million Americans rack up student loan debt or they graduate with no full-time jobs in their chosen careers.

>> Read more trending news 

Among them are Jessica and Stephanie, local college students introduced to me through an email exchange arranged by SeekingArrangement.com. Both agreed to talk about their experience, but neither wanted to use her last name because their parents are not aware of the arrangement. I met Jessica in person. Stephanie and I spoke by phone.

I found them both to be articulate, ambitious young women. Neither saw their arrangement as anything out of the ordinary — just an agreement between two consenting adults. There was a line, however, that both said they were unwilling to cross: marital infidelity.

Stephanie, 21, was working at a popular sports bar when a colleague told her about Seeking Arrangement, and they posted their profiles to the site.

“I really didn’t think I was going to follow through, but I actually met someone,” said Stephanie, who is enrolled in an online program at the University of South Carolina. She eventually matched with a 46-year-old cybersecurity expert, who takes her on vacation trips and shopping sprees and makes weekly deposits to her bank account.

“I know a lot of people think it’s prostitution, but it’s totally different,” she said. “This is a real relationship. We communicate every single day. I care about him. He takes care of me like men are supposed to. He thinks I’m funny. He tells me I’m beautiful. What girl wouldn’t want that?

“I’m going to college, and I’m making money,” she added.

RELATED | Why Women’s March hat moniker strikes me wrong

Ironically, Jessica, a 22-year-old theater major who had her pick of six colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Florida A&M, and Spelman, first heard about the site while overhearing her mom tell a friend about a magazine article she’d read about Seeking Arrangement. But the concept itself, Jessica said, came to her in a song titled “Suga Mama” by R&B singer Beyonce.

“That you could have a mutually beneficial relationship with someone of high status that would help with expenses intrigued me,” Jessica said.

In the scheme of things, that hardly matters. Language and naming have power and are symbolic.

“Even the terms sugar daddies and sugar babies have an incestuous and infantilizing echo,” said Deborah Cohan, a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. “Young women can try to convince themselves that they are calling the shots in these situations, but is this the way women want to become empowered?”

It’s unfortunate, Cohan said, when women perceive few options for economic freedom.

“The owners and operators of these sites and the participants want to make the case that this is a choice, and a viable one, but it strikes me as the epitome of a choiceless decision,” she said.

RELATED | Prosecutors: Backpage.com made millions in prostitution ads

As a professor at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, Cohan sees this firsthand. USC’s main campus is near Hilton Head, home to the annual Heritage golf tournament. “Every year I have students who tell me that as exotic dancers this is their big week to make money to pay for tuition and that as a result they want to be excused from classes,” she said. “Is this the way we want young women to have to exist in their earliest employment and earliest intimate relationships and connections?

“And moreover, what does this mean for men, for how they think about power, control, and sexuality and women in general?”

Jessica went on a half-dozen dates before she settled on an arrangement with a 45-year-old Atlanta business consultant, who pays her tuition and gives her a biweekly allowance of $2,000.

She says they dated six months before they ever touched. One of those dates was to get the results of an HIV test before beginning a sexual relationship.

On average, Jessica sees her benefactor three times a week, mostly on weekends. In that time, she’s discovered she likes the fact that he grew up in a two-parent home like herself and attends church.

“He’s kind of an introvert,” Jessica said. “He really treats me like a lady.”

Find Gracie on Facebook (www.facebook.com/graciestaplesajc/) and Twitter (@GStaples_AJC) or email her at gstaples@ajc.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use parrot to deliver 4th-round pick in NFL draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be winging it during the latter stages of the NFL draft.

>> Read more trending news

The NFL announced Monday that the Bucs will have a parrot deliver its fourth-round selection from the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium to an announcer during Saturday’s televised Day 3 draft show.

The parrot, a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa, is based at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Hudson, Florida.

The bird is not the first animal to participate in an NFL draft. Last year, an orangutan aided in the Colts announcing their fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Zach Banner, the NFL reported on its website. 

Reaction on the Buccaneers’ upcoming pick ranged from humor to squawks of surprise. One website, JoeBucsFan, posted a video of The Three Stooges’ 1936 comedy short, “Disorder in the Court,” where a parrot is figured prominently in the climactic court scene.

Undoubtedly, some fans will post the iconic parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

Regardless, the Bucs will be giving the NFL the bird on Saturday.

Video shows Alabama police wrestle woman, expose her breasts at Waffle House

graphic video showing police officers wrestling a black 25-year-old woman before arresting her inside a Saraland, Alabama, Waffle House restaurant Sunday is making the rounds on social media, sparking outrage across the country. The incident allegedly escalated over 50 cents’ worth of plastic cutlery.

Chikesia Clemons was arrested around 2:45 a.m. on charges of “disorderly conduct and resisting arrest,” her mother, Chiquitta Clemons-Howard, told AL.com. She paid her daughter’s $1,000 bond Sunday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

In the cell phone video, captured by Clemons’ friend, Canita Adams, Saraland police officers are seen speaking with Clemons and then pulling her off a chair and onto the floor of the restaurant.

“What are you doing?” Clemons asks the officers in the video.

“I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do,” an officer responds.

Two officers are then seen wrestling with Clemons, grabbing her neck and wrist and trying to flip her over to arrest her. The altercation turns graphic as Clemons’ clothes are pulled down “to reveal her breasts as white patrons continue to eat in the background,” AL.com reported.

Related: Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

In the video, when the officer placed his hand around her neck, Clemons cries, “You’re choking me!”

Clemons-Howard told AL.com the incident arose after Clemons refused to pay an extra 50 cents for plastic utensils and the employee canceled the order. According to AL.com, Clemons and Adams said they were not charged for utensils when they ordered from the same Waffle House the night before.

“They didn’t even ask her to leave, she was waiting for them to give her the district manager’s card so she could file a complaint on one of the waitresses,” Clemons-Howard told AL.com. “When they went to go get the card, that’s when the police showed up. The officer should’ve come in and said we need you to leave.”

Chance the Rapper weighed in on Twitter.

“Protect our women. This is wrong, this is unjust and this happens to alot (sic) of women when there are NO cameras around,” he wrote. “Stand with our women. Defend their voice, and their right to ask why they’re being handled, being removed, being CHOKED. Be infuriated. Be willing to fight.”

The altercation and arrest come 10 days after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on trespassing charges.

Mobile, Alabama, NAACP President David Smith said in a statement Sunday that the organization is looking into the episode. 

“In light of the current situation in our country -- such as the arrest of two young black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop -- we felt it was important for our members to get a firsthand account of the incident, which has now gone viral on social media locally and across the country,” Smith said.

A spokesman with the Saraland Police Department also said the department is investigating. The department also said that Saraland’s public safety director, Chief J.C. West, and Mayor Howard Rubenstein are aware of the situation.

“The Saraland Police Department is aware of the arrest at Waffle House and the accompanying video on social media,” the department said in a Facebook post. “The situation is being thoroughly reviewed and is under active investigation right now. Our department strives for transparency and we encourage our community to be aware of current events.”

Read more at AL.com.

Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Authorities on Monday afternoon arrested a man suspected of stripping at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, early Sunday before opening fire on customers and employees, killing four people.

Nashville police confirmed that authorities arrested suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29, on Monday afternoon. He was earlier identified as the man suspected of killing Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves, 21. 

>> Read more trending news 

Officer retires from police force, makes emotional final call

Twenty-five years on the job is a lifetime for some, and to leave that life would be emotional to almost anyone. 

Dave Renteria knows something about that. After a quarter-century of patrolling the streets of Jackson, Michigan, Renteria retired this weekend, WILX reported.

>> Read more trending news  

His final call at the end of shift was recorded Sunday, and the raw emotion is making it go viral. 

Renteria thanked his coworkers and the people of his city for his career, all the while trying to choke back the tears, WILX reported.

The video was posted by his son who also paid tribute to his father.

Renteria also responded to the well-wishes that have accompanied the video.

Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight

Nearly 2,000 mourners paid tribute to the New Mexico woman killed during last week’s Southwest Airlines engine explosion, KRQE reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jennifer Riordan, 43, of Albuquerque was killed while flying from New York to Dallas on Tuesday. The plane’s engine exploded, shattering her window.

Riordan, 43, was remembered for her compassion and ““boundless energy” and as someone who gave “epic and heartfelt” hugs, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

Riordan’s husband, Michael Riordan, broke the somber mood with a joke, telling the gathering that his wife would have preferred an upbeat service.

"Why's everybody so quiet? This is a celebration? Jennifer was 10 minutes late to our wedding, so I'm paying her back a little bit," Michael Riordan said. 

>> Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest flight? 

Jennifer Riordan was vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo in New Mexico. She was known for her volunteer work for charity and nonprofit organizations, the Journal reported.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. It truly touches our hearts," the Riordan family wrote in a statement. "We know there are many in the community who want to celebrate Jennifer."

The service included a video tribute, music performance and a poetry reading, KRQE reported.

"In life, she really brought everyone together and always had a smile on her face, always had something to say and with her passing, I think it's going to bring a ton of people together," Ivan Wiener told KRQE.

"Everyone is here tonight because Jennifer helped to fill our hearts with love and I just want you to know (when leaving) here tonight, you filled her heart with love too," Michael Riordan said. 

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez presented the family with the state flag recently flown at the roundhouse in memory of Jennifer Riordan, KRQE reported.

Unfazed while being shot with Taser, unruly passenger forcibly removed from American Airlines flight

Police used a stun gun and forcibly removed an unruly passenger Sunday who started a fight with a couple aboard a plane at Miami International Airport, police said. 

>> Read more trending news

Jacob Garcia, 28, touched a female passenger without her permission, screamed and insulted her and her boyfriend before attendants on the American Airlines flight from Miami to Chicago moved him to another seat, according to WPLG

After he was moved to another seat, he began using racial slurs and was asked to leave the plane, according to WPLG. When he refused, the crew started to deplane the entire aircraft. That is when Garcia started a physical altercation with the passenger he was rude to earlier, according to airline officials. 

“What is the reason? Why you are removing from this plane,” Garcia is heard saying in a passenger’s video

“You just assaulted a lady,” a man replies.

When Miami-Dade police officers arrived, Garcia was belligerent with them and was subsequently subdued with a Taser, video shows. The remaining passengers on board can be heard clapping when he was removed. The plane departed about an hour later than scheduled, American Airlines said.

Police said Garcia reached for an officer’s service weapon and kicked out a window of a patrol car when he was taken into custody, according to WPLG.

Garcia was arrested and charged with battery, attempting to deprive an officer of their means of protection, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and criminal mischief, according to police.

Photos: Royal baby born: Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomes third child

The newest royal baby is here! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace tweeted Monday.

Police try to use dead man’s fingerprint to unlock phone

Police in Florida tried an unusual means recently to unlock a cellphone.

They visited a funeral home in Clearwater to use a dead man’s finger to open his phone as part of the investigation into his death, as well as another case they were working on, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

But while legal, not everyone is agreeing that they should have used Linus Phillip’s body to try to open the phone.

Phillip’s finncée, Victoria Armstrong, told the Times, “I just felt so disrespected and violated.”

She was at the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home on the same day that the detectives came to the mortuary to use his fingers to unlock the phone.

It didn’t work. 

>> Read more trending news 

Lt. Randall Chaney said the detectives were trying to not only get access to the data the device held, but also preserve it, using the information in the investigation into Philip’s death last month, as well as a drug investigation, police said also involved Phillip, the Times reported.

Chaney said that detectives didn’t think they needed a warrant because of his death and no expectation of privacy when dead. Legal experts for the Times agreed with the detective’s assertion.

But his family, as well as a law professor, do not.

“While the deceased person doesn’t have a vested interest in the remains of their body, the family sure does, so it really doesn’t pass the smell test,” Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, told the Times. “There’s a ghoulish component to it that’s troubling to most people.”

The director of the funeral home directed questions to the company’s corporate offices.

A Largo police officer shot and killed Phillip in March after police said he tried to drive away when an officer was going to search him, the Times reported.

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