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Monster clog found in sewer system from thousands of pounds of flushable wipes

 

Thousands of pounds of flushable wipes created a monster clog in the sewer system in Charleston, South Carolina.

>> Read more trending news     

It happened last Thursday at the city’s Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, where officials said baby wipes clogged a series of large pumps.

Workers had to use bypass pumps to handle the daily sewage. It took three days to clear the pipes, and it wasn’t pretty.

The center posted photos of the awful-looking mess showing what employees had to remove to clear the smelly backup and get the pipes flowing again.

“We sent divers 80-90 feet deep into the wet well/raw sewage to search in complete darkness with their hands to find and identify the obstruction,” officials with the treatment center posted on Twitter.

“As we expected, they came up with these large masses of wipes in their first two loads, with more to come.”

That wasn’t all that workers found in the massive clog. They also found a baseball and a big piece of metal.

“Don’t flush stuff like this,” treatment plant officials said.

>> Related: Michigan officials discover 19-ton 'fatberg' in sewer line

A photo looking down into a pool of wastewater also shows many other unflushable items.

And those flushable wipes?

Plant officials are trying to get out the word that they’re not flushable after all.

Check your tickets! Mega Millions historic $1 billion jackpot numbers are in

The numbers for the historic $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot are in.

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT Oct. 19: The winning numbers for Friday night’s staggering Mega Millions jackpot are:  65-53-23-15-70 and the Mega ball is 7.

If no one matches all six numbers, the jackpot increases to $1.6 billion. 

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 19: The Powerball jackpot rose from $430 million to $470 million Friday, one day before the next scheduled drawing.

The news came shortly after officials announced that the Mega Millions jackpot had risen to a record-breaking $1 billion.

Update 12 p.m. EDT Oct. 19: The Mega Millions jackpot rose Friday to an estimated $1 billion, according to lottery officials.

If a person wins the jackpot, he or she will also have the option of taking the jackpot as a $565 million cash payout, according to the Mega Millions website.

The prize marks the second time in history that a national lottery game has sported a prize of $1 billion or more. In January 2016, people who bought three winning Powerball tickets split a nearly $1.6 billion jackpot.

The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled to take place Friday at 11 p.m. EDT.

Update 1 p.m. EDT Oct. 18: The Mega Millions jackpot rose again Thursday to an estimated $970 million, one day ahead of the next scheduled drawing.

If a person wins the jackpot, he or she will also have the option of taking the jackpot as a $548 million cash payout, according to the Mega Millions website.

Georgia Lottery officials said a bump in the estimated jackpot Wednesday was due to “brisk sales” after the jackpot rolled over from Tuesday night’s $667 million drawing, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Update 12:52 a.m. EDT Oct. 18: The estimated jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has climbed to $430 million, according to the Powerball website.

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: No one won the $345 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing, but five lucky players won a $1 million. The Powerball website said the winners were in Michigan and Nebraska.

Update 11:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: The winning Powerball

numbers for the drawing on Wednesday, Oct. 17 are: 03-57-64-68-69 and the Powerball number was 15. The jackpot is $345 million.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: The Mega Millions jackpot has swollen to $900 million ahead of  Friday’s drawing. If a person wins the jackpot, he or she will also have the option of taking the jackpot as a $513 million cash payout, according to the Mega Millions website.

The next Mega Millions drawing is set to take place Friday at 11 p.m. EDT.

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT Oct. 17: No tickets matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Friday’s estimated jackpot has climbed to a record $868 million, with a cash payout of $494 million, according to the Mega Millions website.

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 16: Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday night were 69-45-61-3-49 and the Mega Ball was 9. It is not yet known if there is a winner.

Original report: If you have a few dollars and dreams of riches untold, the coming week could be a game-changer for you.

Two national lottery games – Mega Millions and Powerball – are sporting huge jackpots this week, now topping a billion in total combined winnings.

>> Read more trending news 

The Mega Millions drawing set for Tuesday has the second largest jackpot in the game’s history, worth $667 million (or $372 million with the cash option). That breaks the game’s previous record jackpot of $656 million.  

Related: 7 biggest lottery jackpots in US history

Add to that a hefty $345 million Powerball jackpot, and you’re looking at nearly a billion dollars in lottery money being up for grabs this week.

The Powerball jackpot is the 17th largest in the game’s history. The cash payout on the $345 million would be $199 million.

Related: 7-time lottery winner shares tips for winning Powerball

How did we get the chance to play for such jackpots? You can thank all those who played and didn’t hit the jackpot. The Mega Millions jackpot has been building since July 24, the last time the grand prize jackpot was won.

The Powerball game has not seen a grand  prize winner since Aug. 11. 

The Mega Millions numbers drawn Friday were 04-24-46-61-70. The Megaball was 07. The Megaplier was 3. 

Related: Which Powerball numbers have hit most often? Will choosing them improve your odds?

One ticket sold in Arkansas matched all five numbers, but did not match the Megaball number. That winning ticket is worth $3 million because the person who purchased the ticket purchased the “Multiplier” option which tripled the $1 million prize.

The Powerball numbers drawn Saturday were 11-14-32-43-65 and the Powerball was 15. The Power Play was 3. Two players – one in Nebraska and one in Michigan – matched the five numbers, but not the Powerball number. Each of those tickets is worth $1 million.

Red tide reaches Space Coast: 9 facts about red tide

A toxic algae bloom has reached Florida's Space Coast.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday said red tide had reached parts of Brevard County.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are nine facts about red tide:

1. Red tide has made its way to Brevard County.

2. Karenia brevis is the algae species that causes red tide.

3. High concentrations of Karenia brevis have been detected at Satellite Beach's Pelican Beach Park and in medium concentrations near Melbourne Beach.

4. So far, the algae hasn't yet made its way to Cocoa Beach or Volusia and Flagler counties.

5. At high concentrations, red tide can discolor water, causing it to appear red or brown. Other algae blooms can make the water appear green or purple.

>> Related: Test results confirm red tide found in Brevard County

6. Some could experience skin irritation or burning eyes from the algae bloom.

7. Those with respiratory illnesses might experience a flare-up and some irritation.

8. Beachgoers are advised to avoid swimming in areas  where fish kills have been reported because the dead fish can generate harmful bacteria

9. Red tides can last from several weeks to more than a year.

>> Related: Watch: Millions spent on removing dead marine life, tourism marketing after red tide outbreak

Florida city commissioner charged in fatal shooting of shoplifting suspect

A Lakeland city commissioner accused of fatally shooting a shoplifting suspect earlier this month was arrested Friday on charges of second-degree murder, the State Attorney's Office said.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn, 47, fatally shot Christobal Lopez, 50, of Wauchula, over a $16 hatchet Dunn said he saw Lopez try to steal from the Vets Army Navy Surplus store, where Dunn also works.

Surveillance footage shows Lopez move toward the store’s front door. Dunn tries to grab Lopez’s shoulder, but instead ends up with a fistful of the man’s shirt. Lopez raises his left arm, trying to break free.

>> Related: Video shows Florida city official kill fleeing shoplifting suspect

Dunn then appears to shoot Lopez at least once.

The shoplifting suspect falls to the ground just outside the door with an object that appears to be a hatchet still in his right hand.

An attorney for Lopez's family provided the following statement Friday evening:"There is no way to undo the life-shattering harm that Mr. Dunn caused, but we are pleased with the grand jury’s decision for such an unnecessary and egregious use of deadly force. We want to thank the State Attorney’s Office and the Lakeland Police Department for their swift and thorough investigation. We are hopeful that through both this criminal proceeding and the civil suit we plan to file, Mr. Dunn will be held fully accountable for the senseless killing of Christobal Lopez."

>> Related: Police: Lakeland commissioner fatally shoots someone at military surplus store

Woman’s body found in Atlanta-area lake ID’d as missing 31-year-old boater

Authorities in metro Atlanta have confirmed that a body found in Lake Lanier in Hall County is that of a woman who disappeared in the lake in July. 

>> Read more trending news 

Madeline Sinagra, 31, jumped off a sailboat and became distressed in the water on July 22.

Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Mike Burgamy said Sinagra decided to go for a swim to cool off. When she jumped into the water, the strong winds began pushing the sailboat away from her.

A man still on the boat tried to rescue her when she became tired. After attempts to throw a line to her failed, the man went in after her, he told deputies.

“The male reported that he then went into the water in an attempt to rescue the victim, but was unable to locate her after she went under and did not resurface,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said in a statement.

Sinagra was not wearing a life jacket.

A fisherman discovered a badly decomposed female body near Bethel Park on October 12. 

>> Trending: 4-year-old shot in apparent road rage incident; 2 arrested

The remains were taken to the GBI lab in Decatur where authorities were able to identify the victim as Sinagra. The cause of death was drowning. 

7 arrest warrants issued in Georgia university sex investigation

Prosecutors announced Friday they’ve issued seven arrests warrants, including for a former Fort Valley State University official, for prostitution and sodomy that allegedly began a year ago.

>> Read more trending news 

Warrants were issued Tuesday for Ernest Harvey, 47; Kenneth Howard, 56; Ryan Jenkins, 35; Charles Jones, 57, of Fort Valley; Devontae Little, 26, of Warner Robins; and Arthur James Nance Jr., 46, of Cordele, each are charged with pandering and solicitation of sodomy stemming from conduct alleged to have occurred in 2017 and 2018.

Former Fort Valley State University executive assistant to the president Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, 48, of Fort Valley, is charged with six counts of pimping on allegations she arranged to provide a prostitute to the six men.

Johnson also is charged with six counts of prostitution on allegations she performed, offered or consented to perform a sexual act for money or other items of value, prosecutors said. Johnson additionally is charged with conspiracy to commit fiduciary theft stemming from allegations she conspired to take scholarship money, a book scholarship, that had been granted to a student in October 2015, prosecutors said.

>> Trending: Convicted killer charged in 1988 cold case murder, suspected in up to 8 more slayings

The investigation was conducted by the GBI, with assistance from the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and at the request of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. Officials announced in April they were investigating sexual misconduct and hazing at Fort Valley, about 30 miles south of Macon.

Adrian Patrick, the attorney representing Johnson, told the AJC at the time that she has not done anything illegal.

Fort Valley State released a two-paragraph statement Friday afternoon saying its first priority is the safety of its students. Jones was the university’s chief legal counsel until he was fired a few months ago, university officials said.

“We have consistently and aggressively worked with the University System of Georgia and law enforcement to ensure that anyone who allegedly puts our students at risk is investigated thoroughly and expeditiously, and have advocated for the most appropriate standards to be applied. While we cannot comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, we expect anyone who has compromised the trust of our students to be held accountable with all deliberate speed,” it said.

>> Trending: Man charged with killing girlfriend released from jail when police find new suspect by chance

Additionally, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was conducting its own inquiry into “unauthorized activities and misconduct involving current and former members,” according to a letter it sent to the Fort Valley State sorority chapter. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution received a copy of the letter in April from the university through the Georgia Open Records Act. Johnson was a graduate advisor for the sorority’s chapter.

Almost 1,800 pounds of ready-to-eat salads recalled; sold at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 

Houston-based GHSW, LLC is recalling 1, 786 pounds of ready-to-eat salad containing chicken that could be contaminated with salmonella or listeria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

>> Read more trending news 

The salads were produced from Oct. 1 through Oct. 18 and contain a corn ingredient that may be the source of potential contamination.

The salads were sold in eight states, including Tennessee, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

The products under recall are:

  • 10-ounce plastic tray packages containing “365 BY WHOLE FOODS MARKET BBQ STYLE CHOPPED SALAD WITH CHICKEN” with “Best if Sold By” dates of 10/18/18 through 10/21/18 (inclusive).
  • 8-ounce plastic tray packages containing “365 BY WHOLE FOODS MARKET CHICKEN FAJITA SALAD” with “Best if Sold By” dates of 10/18/18 through 10/21/18 (inclusive).
  • 13-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOE’S BBQ SEASONED WHITE CHICKEN SALAD” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.
  • 7-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOE’S FIELD FRESH CHOPPED SALAD WITH GRILLED WHITE CHICKEN” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.
  • 7-ounce plastic tray packages containing “TRADER JOSÉ’S MEXICALI INSPIRED SALAD WITH CHILI SEASONED CHICKEN” with “Best By” dates of 10/18/18, 10/19/18 and 10/20/18.

 

The USDA is concerned that some people may have these products in their refrigerators and are urging consumers to check. The potentially contaminated salads should be thrown out or returned to the store of purchase.

There’s been no reports of sickness or death so far related to eating any of these products, the agency reported.

>> Related: Researchers: Man dies after contracting disorder after eating squirrel brains

Salmonella poisoning is one of the most common foodborne illnesses and can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated food.

Eating foods contaminated with listeria can cause a serious infection mostly in older people, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and newborns.

 

Spouses of foreign workers could lose ability to work under immigration rule change

Spouses of foreign workers in the U.S. on H-1B visas could lose their ability to work under proposed rule changes from the Trump administration. 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday, directing U.S. agencies to propose rules to prevent immigration fraud and make changes so that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.”

>> Read more trending news 

The changes, part of Trump’s Buy American and Hire American initiative, could impact nearly 100,000 foreign citizens working as H-4 employees, the San Jose Mercury News reportedH-4 workers are the spouses of foreign workers using H-1B visas. 

“Some U.S. workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold,” the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration said in a notice

The public will be given the ability to comment on proposed rule changes, L. Frank Cissna, citizenship and immigration director wrote in a Sept. 6 letter to the Internet Association, whose members include Facebook and Google, which employee many foreign workers on H-1B visas.

The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa allowing foreigners in specialty fields to work in the United States on a temporary basis for up to six years. There were 199,000 applicants this year vying for the 85,000 H-1B visas available, officials said Monday. 

“With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world,” Trump said. “We are going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Convicted killer charged in 1988 cold case murder, suspected in up to 8 more slayings

A Pennsylvania man in prison for killing his wife and stepdaughter in March has been charged with another slaying, this time of a man who witnessed a burglary he committed in 1988, and investigators say he’s a suspect in at least six more murders. 

Regis Andrew Brown, 59, has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of Bryce Kenneth Tompkins, 45, whose body was found by hunters the day after Christmas, partially submerged in a creek near New Castle. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of witness intimidation. 

WPXI in Pittsburgh reported that police officials said Brown admitted his involvement in the slaying, telling cold case investigators he shot Tompkins, a neighbor, because he had witnessed a burglary Brown and another man, Paul Michael Ayersman, committed in New Castle. Ayersman is now dead. 

Pennsylvania State Trooper Joe Vascetti said during a news conference Thursday that Brown is also suspected in a string of homicides in the southwestern portion of the state between 1986 and 2016. 

“He’s either been arrested for or confessed to or is a strong suspect in eight homicides right now,” Vascetti said. “We’ve done extensive interviews with him. He was in or around Lawrence County back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He associated with a lot of individuals that we are looking at that are involved in some other homicides back in that era. He may be tied to or have knowledge (of) an additional six to eight homicides from that area.”

If that is the case, Brown could be tied in one way or another to as many as 16 slayings. 

See the news conference on Brown’s latest arrest below. 

Vascetti declined to go into further detail about those cases because they are ongoing investigations. He said Brown confessed to at least two additional homicides besides that of Tompkins. 

“He has a checkered past,” Vascetti said. “He is a violent offender. He was involved in a lot of violent crimes back then.”

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said during the news conference that Brown and Ayersman were arrested in December 1988 for a series of burglaries they’d committed in New Castle. Taken in one of those burglaries was a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver -- the same caliber of the gun that was used to kill Tompkins.

Tompkins was shot twice in the back, Lamancusa said. 

Lamancusa said that detectives questioned Brown about the Tompkins slaying March 19, shortly after Brown had been arrested in connection with the deaths of his wife and stepdaughter. According to Erie News Now, Michele Brown, 53, was bludgeoned to death and her daughter, Tammy Greenawalt, 35, was stabbed to death.

“It was a horrendous scene,” Vascetti said Thursday. “He’s just a vicious individual.”

The New York Post reported that Brown tied Greenawalt to a chair before beginning to stab her. He beat his wife to death in their garage when she returned home later that day. 

Greenawalt’s 14-year-old daughter witnessed portions of the killings before her grandfather tied her up in a bedroom of his Fairview Township home for most of the weekend, Erie News Now reported. When she went to school the following Monday, school staff noticed marks on her wrists and the girl admitted her grandfather had tied her up. 

Police officers who went to the Brown home for a welfare check when neither woman showed up for work found Michele Brown’s body wrapped in a rug in the garage. Greenawalt was still seated in the chair and covered with a blanket, the news station reported.  

Officers found a sledgehammer and a broken pair of scissors, both of which appeared to have blood on them, the station said. 

Regis Brown, who pleaded guilty to the murders last month, was sentenced to life in prison.

Lamancusa said Brown confessed to killing Tompkins during that interview in March. 

“He described where the killing occurred, the motive for it, the disposal of the body and the subsequent burial of the .38-caliber pistol,” Lamancusa said. 

The district attorney said that investigators tried on two separate occasions to find the buried weapon but could not because the area had been built up in the intervening years with dirt and fill. 

“However, several witnesses have been developed in this case throughout the entire investigation and are prepared to testify to their knowledge of the killing,” he said. 

Those witnesses’ identities are being kept secret due to Brown’s affiliation with at least one motorcycle gang, Lamancusa said. 

>> Read more trending news

Vascetti said Brown was a person of interest in Tompkins’ slaying from the beginning, specifically because of the burglary spree he and Ayersman committed. When Brown was arrested, he was in possession of a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun stolen in the same burglary in which the .38-caliber revolver was taken.

“(Troopers) knew it was from a burglary near where the victim lived and knew Regis Brown lived two doors up from the victim, and, you know, things started to click,” Vascetti said. 

He said Brown did not know Tompkins, who had a habit of walking around the neighborhood at night. 

“Unfortunately, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Vascetti said. 

The men confronted him a few nights later and shot him execution-style, the trooper said.  

“Just a brutal murder,” Vascetti said. “Ruthless.”

Tompkins’ family expressed relief that the case has finally been solved. 

“After 30 years, I’m completely relieved for our family that we can have this closure and my dad can rest now,” his daughter, Stacey Harding, said, according to WPXI

Brown’s stepson, Alan Greenawalt, said he wishes the arrest had come much sooner. If it had, he told Erie News Now, his mother and sister might still be alive. 

“I just wish things were different,” Greenawalt said. “Whatever he gets, he gets. He deserves it.”

Here's why no one has to know if you win tonight's billion-dollar jackpot

The big winner of Friday’s historic Mega Millions jackpot can use a new Georgia law to keep people from asking for a piece of the money.

>> Read more trending news 

The law saying the winner does not have to give up the winner's name has been on the books in Georgia for only six months.

“I love that law because you have people coming out of the woodwork when you win. Sometime you don't want everybody to know you won,” a Mega Millions player told WSB-TV.

On Friday, lottery officials announced the jackpot jumped to $1 billion.

>> Related: Mega Millions: How much money will you actually get if you win the jackpot?

Since May 7, 74 people have won more than $250,000 in Georgia, and every single one of them has signed a paper to remain anonymous.

 

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