<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:51:17 -0400 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:51:17 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[1st Dallas Ebola Nurse Upgraded]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:22:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nina-pham-nih.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham's condition was upgraded from fair to good Tuesday at the National Instites of Health in Maryland, where she has been in isolation with the potentially deadly virus since Thursday.

She had been in fair condition since Friday, a day after her transfer to the taxpayer-funded Bethesda hospital -- home to one of the nation's top-level biocontainment facilities -- from Dallas.

Pham contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus in the United States, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Pham had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation, had said the change to fair shouldn't be understood as meaning that her condition had worsened.

"She's not deteriorating," he had said Friday. "She is quite stable now and resting comfortably."

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.



Photo Credit: AP / Texas Christian University
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<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:43:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate,  Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.


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<![CDATA[American Journalism Icon Ben Bradlee Dies at 93]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:38:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/137613147.jpg

One of the great figures in American journalism has died.

Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, passed away at the age of 93.

The family says he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

His death was reported by The Washington Post Tuesday.

Bradlee skyrocketed to fame in the early 1970s when he allowed the Post to look deeper into the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. His collaboration with young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and established the Washington Post as one of the world's top newspapers.

"He had the courage of an army," Woodward and Bernstein said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives."

Bradlee's Watergate fame was sealed with the movie "All the President's Men," in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.

Bradlee lived a life as rich as his family name. Born into privilege in Boston, he graduated from Harvard. As a young man he lived in Paris for a time, working for the American embassy. He then joined Newsweek and eventually the Washington Post, where he served as the executive editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.

A prominent figure in the glamorous days of the Kennedy Administration, he was a close friend of both John and Jackie Kennedy.

Bradlee was a major player in those heady days when Georgetown dinner parties probably shaped government policy more than Congress.

He added to his stature in 1978 when he married the young style section reporter, Sally Quinn, who was 20 years his junior.

Since retiring, Bradlee wrote a memoir entitled "A Good Life" in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama last year.

"A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country's finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told - stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better," President Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "The standard he set - a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting - encouraged so many others to enter the profession."

As for journalism, Bradlee once said, "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession.”



Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Photos Show Alleged Abuse of Wife]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:04:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/10-21-14-Lyvette+Crespo+Photo+Injuries.JPG

Photos and a voice mail recording obtained by NBC4 on Tuesday paint a dark picture in the marriage of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, who was fatally shot by his wife during a confrontation last month.

Exclusive photos, given to NBC4 by Lyvette Crespo's attorney Eber Bayona, show Lyvette with a bruised right eye with cuts to her lip about two years ago -- injuries Bayona claimed are the result of longtime abuse by Daniel Crespo.

"From the time she was pregnant with Crystal at the age of 15, she endured his abuse," Bayona said.

Authorities say Lyvette, 43, shot her 45-year-old husband multiple times after he punched their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr., in the face while inside the family's condominium on Sept. 30.

Bayona told NBC4 on Tuesday that Daniel Crespo hit his wife with his fists and belts, and once snapped when his wife was looking at a photo of an elected official on the computer.

"He took her face, smashed it into the computer and asked her if she found him attractive," Bayona said.

Bayona said he released the photos in a response to allegations made by Daniel Crespo's brother, William, at a news conference on Monday when announcing a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Lyvette Crespo.

The suit, filed on behalf of Crespo's mother, alleges that Lyvette Crespo threatened to kill her husband many times and used an unwarranted amount of force to kill him, concluding that she "is a cold blooded killer."

"She said she was going to divorce my brother when the kids turned 18," William Crespo said Monday. "The kids turned 18. My brother went and he got himself another girlfriend, and she got jealous and she was holding it all inside. I guess she just let it all out and killed him."

NBC4 on Tuesday separately obtained a voice mail allegedly left by a girlfriend of Daniel Crespo to his wife within the last year. The recording was confirmed by Lyvette Crespo through her attorney.

"Ly, answer me please. I know you don't want to talk because you said I was psycho whatever, but this is ridiculous," the woman can be heard saying in the recording.

"You act like he is an innocent man, and you know all the f------ s--- that he has done," the voice mail continues. "And I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me. I'm asking you to wake the f--- up."

NBC4 is not identifying the woman in the recording.

The night of the shooting, Daniel Jr. called 911 and told the dispatcher his mother "was defending herself" when she fatally shot her husband, according to a recording of the call obtained by NBC4.

Daniel Jr. and Lyvette Crespo were questioned by police for several hours, but both were released that night. Lyvette Crespo remains free as authorities investigate the shooting.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has not filed any charges as of Tuesday and declined to comment on the recording.



Photo Credit: Lyvette Crespo/Eber Bayona]]>
<![CDATA[Drug Suspect Leads Cops to House]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:27:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/175*120/NYPD+MARIJUANA+ARREST.jpg

A Queens man caught with marijuana when he was pulled over asked the officers arresting him to check on his 8-year-old son at home, leading them directly to evidence of an alleged marijuana operation in his apartment, police say. 

Officers pulled over 30-year-old Nuquan Stewart in Queens Village at about 10:45 p.m. last Tuesday when they noticed a brake light was out on his 2004 Volkswagen, according to police. 

They noticed a strong smell of marijuana during the traffic stop, and asked Stewart to step out of the car.

That's when the officers spotted six plastic bags of the drug sticking out of the pocket of his hoodie, and a gravity knife in the cupholder of the center console, police said. 

As officers arrested Stewart, he asked them to make sure his son, who was alone at home, was OK, according to police. He gave them his home address and apartment keys. 

The officers went to Stewart's apartment about a half-mile away on 222nd Street and smelled marijuana as they entered the building's first-floor hallway, according to police. Inside the apartment, officers saw bags of marijuana in plain view in the kitchen and living room, along with stacks of cash, police said. 

Stewart's son was found sleeping in his bedroom. He was transferred into the care of the city's Administration for Children's Services and then to another family member, according to police.

A search warrant was executed the next morning, and police seized 30 pounds of marijuana in 58 bags, about $17,500 in cash, and several loaded guns and assault rifles, police said. 

Stewart was charged with drug and weapons crimes, and for failure to exercise control of a minor. He has multiple prior arrests, police said.

He remains on Rikers Island awaiting his next court date on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Bail was set at $25,000. 

Attorney information was not immediately available. 



Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:30:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Ebola Is Spread:

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[“A Living Science Experiment": Nursing School Reflects on Ebola Cases]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:01:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola_funerario_duncan.jpg

Just before Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, students in a microbiology class at Texas Christian University read the medical thriller "The Hot Zone."

The 1994 best-selling chronicle introduced them to virus hunters desperately battling outbreaks of Ebola and other deadly viral hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, the dangers the scientists faced and the stringent safety procedures they followed, from the biohazard clothing they wore to chemical showers and ultraviolet scans they used to keep from infecting themselves.

It was enthralling and far away.

And then Ebola arrived in Dallas — sickening a Texas Christian University graduate, Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who became ill after they cared for Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

When the Ebola scare began unfolding three weeks ago, 19-year-old nursing student Andrea Jumper thought about what she had read, particularly the protective steps the researchers took in "The Hot Zone.”

"It was all decontamination," the sophomore from Keller, Texas, said. "They had so much protection and they were just dealing with little samples of Ebola.”

She wondered why Duncan’s specimens were sent through the hospital’s tube delivery system during Duncan first visit to the hospital, when he arrived at the emergency room with a fever and complaining of nausea, abdominal pain and other symptoms. That changed when, after initially being sent home, he returned on Sept. 28 and was hospitalized.

“It was really mind-boggling to me that here they sent in the samples with all the other blood samples,” she said. “And they didn't have nearly as much of the protection as they use in the book.”

The hospital just did not know what to expect, she said.

It’s an assessment that Texas Health Presbyterian shares. It has acknowledged that its nurses had not received full training for such a deadly, contagious illness and that it made mistakes.

“On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, the hospital’s parent company, wrote in a letter to the community. “For this, we are deeply sorry.”

At Texas Christian University's Fort Worth campus of yellow brick buildings, green quads and purple depictions of the school's mascot, a horned frog, the nursing students are keeping up with the latest developments on Ebola and here, their discussions have an added urgency. They will soon be on medicine's front lines, battling Ebola and other illnesses.

Kristie Tinh, a 21-year-old junior, said she and classmates are following the news reports and trying to make sure they have the correct information.

"We understand why it's a big deal, but we really just want people to calm down and look at the facts," she said.

Tinh said she was inspired by her father, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s who volunteered at a clinic where the injured were cared for. His work was dangerous, she said.

“He would tell me stories of what he would do and it just seemed really fascinating to me,” she said. “And that's what really pushed me to go into a health profession.”

She and other students said they thought that they were being prepared to protect themselves and that, panic aside, the disease in the United States was being controlled.

“You just need to be smart about it and take the proper steps and just think about what you're going in to,” said Jumper, who plans to work in neonatal care after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Clark A. Jones, Jumper’s microbiology professor, said that each year he began his course with “The Hot Zone,” reading an excerpt at the start of the first class. It provides an excellent description of epidemiology and shows how agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control Prevention in Atlanta and the U.S. Army work together in public health emergencies, he said.

“It’s been an amazing book to always use,” Jones said. “Did I ever foresee that we would see something like this? Well, we talk about it a lot, especially as the book ends with HIV …a major virus that has affected our world.”

His students have asked about droplet transmission — when a virus is transmitted through fluids as Ebola is — as opposed to airborne transmission, and they understand why the nurses were so much more at risk of infection than Duncan’s fiancee and her family, he said. After reading “The Hot Zone,” they knew the danger of a “Level 4 hot agent” like Ebola and questioned why the protection gear being worn by the Dallas health-care workers as recommended by the CDC in Atlanta seemed inadequate, he said.

“Our students were really surprised,” he said.

Since Pham and the other nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, became infected, the CDC has announced a series of measures to better protect health-care workers, the most recent change coming on Monday, when it issued stricter guidelines for protective equipment worn by the workers. The CDC is now calling for gear that covers the workers’ bodies completely, with face shields, hoods and boot covers, and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put it on and remove it.

Also, on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the state would create two new biocontainment facilities for treating patients with Ebola and other contagious diseases. Pham and Vinson are now hospitalized at two of the country’s four biocontainment hospitals specially equipped to handle infectious diseases, Pham at the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Suzy Lockwood, the director of undergraduate nursing studies at Texas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said the school’s students have always been made aware of the need to guard against infectious diseases.

She poined out that the Dallas nurses, in trying to better protect themselves, taped their gear closed, perhaps putting themselves at greater risk as they removed the tape. Some of the protective gear was too large for the nurses. Lockwood noted that Pham, whom she taught and described as very caring, thoughtful and smart, is also small. The CDC recommendation for monitors to watch health-care workers remove their gear is key, Lockwood said.

“We’re all in a living science experiment,” she said. “We’re learning so much. Unfortunately, Presbyterian, the hospital here, ended up being the hospital that got the patient. Any other hospital would have had the same, probably would have had the same experience — just a little bit different but would have had the same struggles that this hospital had. They wouldn’t have had any different equipment.”

Maddy Robinson, a 19-year-old former nursing student at Texas Christian University, said the Ebola cases at Texas Health Presbyterian showed how the importance of nurses, something she had learned from her father, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta.

“We're not prepared for something like Ebola,” said Robinson, who is now studying education instead.

She had the passion but not the aptitude for nursing, she said.

“It was something I just really wanted to do,” she said. “It's something to help people -- exactly why you see so many nurses do it today.”

With Pham still hospitalized, students and staff at the Harris School of Nursing have started wearing purple and apricot ribbons as a show of support, purple for the university, apricot because it is the academic color for nursing. After homecoming this past weekend, alumni have been calling asking for them, Lockwood said.

“We’ve been sending ribbons all over the country,” she said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images / File Photo
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<![CDATA[Owner of Dog Kept Alive for Blood Transfusions Slams Vet's Penalty as Too Soft]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:24:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/doc-tierce-and-sid.jpeg

A Fort Worth veterinarian who admitted to keeping a family's dog alive to use it for blood transfusions instead of euthanizing it has been barred from practicing for five years -- a decision the family says isn't tough enough and could put other pets in danger.

"What does it take for the state of Texas to revoke a vet's license?" wondered Marian Harris, whose rescue of her dog Sid from a clinic this year touched off the monthslong investigation and triggered animal cruelty charges against the veterinarian.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners suspended Dr. Millard Lucien "Lou" Tierce's license on Tuesday for five years, after he admitted he had kept alive at least four dogs that should have been euthanized, including his own, at Camp Bowie Animal Clinic.

The board found he had failed to provide a professional standard of care, had behaved dishonestly and had not kept his clinic sanitary, along with a handful of other rule violations.

Harris told NBC 5 those violations should have resulted in an outright revocation of his license, not just a five-year suspension.

"We were really hoping for a revocation, because a suspension allows him to own a practice. And that gives him proximity to animals, and that's what we were trying to prevent," Marian Harris said. "If he's got proximity to animals, then he can harm other animals."

"I'm just upset that he can still go to the clinic now," she added, becoming emotional as she spoke. "That's what we were kind of hoping to stop."

The board had temporarily suspended Tierce's license back in May while they investigated animal cruelty allegations that emerged in April, when Marian Harris and her husband Jaime rescued Sid after being tipped off by a veterinary technician there that he was still alive and caged there -- even though he was supposed to have been euthanized.

The Harrises said that they had given the OK six months earlier for the clinic to euthanize Sid after Tierce told them he was suffering from a spinal defect from which he would never recover -- a condition the Harrises say they later learned their pet did not have.

That rescue triggered a board investigation that found unsanitary conditions in the clinic, as well as uncovered four other dogs that it says also should have been euthanized, including one that Tierce said had been living at the clinic for years after its owner had chosen to euthanize it.

It also led to Tierce's arrest on April 30. He was charged with cruelty to animals, before being released on $10,000 bond after he surrendered to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

Police and animal control officers said they found a border collie, which Tierce admitted was his pet, lying in a box on the floor of an exam room. The dog was twitching in pain with one leg missing, another leg dislocated and two shoulders dislocated, police said.

The suspension of Tierce's veterinary license Tuesday capped a monthslong investigation by the state board, which launched its own investigation at the time and detailed some of its findings in its ruling Tuesday.

"Animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous items were strewn about the examinations rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic,” the board said.

Sid has since recovered from the ordeal, the Harrises say. The family has sued Tierce for $1 million for Sid's medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

As for Sid, the 5-year-old Leonberger that prompted the state investigation, his condition is improving.

Sid is undergoing physical rehabilitation two days a week at PetsWest Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning in Aledo.

Just last week, the staff outfitted the dog with braces for his hind legs, to assist him with his walking.

Without the braces, Sid's hind legs visibly wobble due to muscle atrophy when he walks, according to Laura Johnson, of PetsWest.

"Oh, boy, I mean he literally looked like a little child running through the house with swim flippers on [when he is] trying to walk. That's how dramatic his walk is," Johnson said.

"Now, will it ever be better? Well, we hope that it is. But is he more than likely gonna always have to wear these shoes? Probably so," Johnson added.

NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.

]]>
<![CDATA[Man Extradited on Terror Charge]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:12:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/terror+suspect+extradite.jpg

Haroon Rashid Aswat, a British man charged with conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, is being flown to New York from London Tuesday by U.S. officials after nine years of fighting extradition, law enforcement officials tell NBC New York.

Aswat faces federal charges of conspiring with radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly 15 years ago.

Mustafa was convicted in New York in May of being involved in the Oregon terror plan. He was also convicted of helping to plot the 1998 kidnappings of tourists, including 16 Americans, in Yemem. Mustafa told the jury that he lost both hands and an eye in an accident in Pakistan while working with explosives.

A third man, James Ujaama, pleaded guilty in 2007 to being the American contact for Mustafa and Aswat in their alleged bid to build a terror camp in the United States. The fourth man to be named in the plot, Oussama Abdullah Kassir, a Swede born in Lebanon, was convicted of terror charges in 2009.

Aswat, who is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia, has been fighting extradition to America since his 2005 arrest in London on a U.S. warrant. Last month, Britain’s high court ruled Aswat could be extradited after receiving assurances from U.S. authorities that his mental illness would still be treated.

Media reports in London Tuesday say the Metropolitan Police confirm that Aswat was taken from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and escorted onto a plane by U.S. officials.

Officials from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in New York declined to comment.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Vets Test Nina Pham's Dog for Ebola Virus]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:37:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bentley-Thumb-102114.jpg

A team of specially-trained veterinarians started testing Ebola patient Nina Pham's dog, Bentley, for the virus.

Dallas Animal Services has been carrying for Bentley in isolation. To date he has been healthy and still shows no symptoms of the virus.

The City of Dallas tweeted new pictures Tuesday of Bentley playing with the vet.

The veterinarians started testing Bentley's waste for signs of Ebola virus Monday.

Bentley will remain in isolation until Nov. 1. He's being monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to humans who've been exposed.

No word on when Pham will be released from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

In response to the outpouring of support around the world for Bentley, the City of Dallas partnered with Dallas Companion Animal Project to establish the Dallas Pet Emergency Transition Services (PETS) fund. The donations will help Bentley and other pets in similar emergency situations in the future.

To donate visit DallasAnimals.org and click "You Can Help" or CLICK HERE to donate to the Dallas PETS (Pet Emergency Transition Services) Fund.



Photo Credit: City of Dallas via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Nina Pham Remains in Fair Condition]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:40:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pham-dog.jpg

Dallas nurse and Ebola patient Nina Pham is still in fair condition at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, officials there said Monday.

Her condition has not changed since Friday, they said.

Pham, who contracted Ebola after caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was flown to Maryland on Thursday to be treated at the taxpayer-funded hospital.

Pham was listed in fair condition Friday after NIH staff assessed her following her transfer Thursday night from Dallas, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Immunoregulation.

She had been listed in good condition in Dallas before her transfer, but Fauci said the change in status shouldn't be understood as Pham's condition worsening.

"She's not deteriorating. I cannot tell you at this particular time why we have said fair, because of patient confidentiality, but she is quite stable now and resting comfortably," said Fauci.

Last week Fauci said they fully intend to have Pham walk out of their hospital and will do everything they can to make sure that happens.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA["Don't Touch My Girlfriend" ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:54:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/obama-vote-girlfriend-1.jpg

While taking part in Early Voting in Chicago on Monday, President Barack Obama was interrupted at his electronic polling station by a man with a lighthearted word-of-caution.

"Mr. President, don't touch my girlfriend," the man, later identified as Mike, quipped as he crossed the room.

Standing beside Obama at her own polling station was Mike's clearly embarrassed girlfriend, Aia Cooper.

"You know, I really wasn't really planning on it," Obama replied with a chuckle. "There's an example of a brother just embarrassing me for no reason."

Obama added: "Now you'll be going back home and talking to your friends about this. ... I can't believe Mike, he is such a fool."

After a moment the pair finished with their ballots and the president went toward Cooper for a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"Now you're really jealous," Obama said, smiling and pointing at Mike.

The president was in Chicago on Sunday and Monday attending fundraisers and offering support to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a challenging campaign against Republican Bruce Rauner.



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<![CDATA[UTSW to Staff Ebola Treatment Facility in Richardson]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:25:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/perry-utsw-presser.jpg

Texas is creating two new biocontainment facilities for treating possible future Ebola patients, one in Richardson and the other in Galveston, Gov. Rick Perry announced Tuesday, as two Dallas nurses remain hospitalized out of state with the potentially deadly virus.

The Methodist Campus for Continuing Care in Richardson will host the new facility on a floor of its hospital, as well as in a wing of its ICU best-suited for treating infectious patients.

Doctors and nurses from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas will staff the new unit there, with nurses, lab technicians and other health care workers from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas working alongside them.

Perry stressed the need for better Ebola preparedness at a news conference Tuesday at UTSW to unveil the new Ebola-ready facilities, weeks after the first U.S. Ebola patient sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and days after two nurses who treated him became infected.

"The past three weeks have taught us that treating an infectious disease like Ebola is not just a theoretical problem," Perry said.

He acknowledged the burden Presbyterian had shouldered in becoming the first U.S. hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola, when Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted with the disease weeks before he died.

"Presbyterian has played an important role," Perry said. "With that said, that hospital has been on the front line. They have paid a heavy price."

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, officials with Presbyterian said they look forward to sharing what they've learned and that they plan to remain active participants in the shared goal of defeating Ebola.

"As the first U.S. hospital to face the challenge of both diagnosing and treating Ebola patients, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas will continue to share our learnings with health officials at all levels of government, our fellow hospitals and the broader health care community. A coordinated response is in all our best interests, and we remain active participants in discussions to advance the shared goal of defeating this insidious disease,"

Dr. Brett Giroir, the Texas A&M Health Science Center chief whom Perry tapped this month to head the state's Ebola task force, said the new facilities should prevent such problems in the future, should new patients be diagnosed.

"What we are trying to do with the new protocol," Giroir said, "is to learn from our current experience."

In addition to the facility in Richardson, an Ebola treatment biocontainment facility is being established at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Previously, officials had eyed sending Ebola patients to one of four top-level biocontainment facilities in the U.S.: Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland, Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha or St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham is currently being treated in isolation at NIH, while her coworker Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory, the same hospital where Dr. Kent Brantly of Fort Worth recovered from the virus. Officials have still not determined exactly how Pham and Vinson contracted the disease.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for how health care workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients after Pham and Vinson, were diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease after treating Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.


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<![CDATA[20 Texas Students Stung by Bees]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:34:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-kids-bees.jpg

School officials confirm 22 students were stung by a swarm of bees outside Saginaw's Highland Middle School Tuesday morning during PE class.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District spokeswoman Kristin Courtney said a group of sixth-grade students, 21 boys and four girls, were outside the school in the 1000 block of Bailey Boswell Road in Fort Worth when they were attacked while playing soccer.

Courtney said the bees had built a hive inside an underground irrigation valve box, which was disturbed when one of the students stepped on the box cover.

Officials told NBC 5 the 22 children were stung at least once, some as many as 12 times. MedStar officials said they transported four children to Cook Children's Medical Center, including one who had a severe reaction to the sting.

One student, Isaac Armendariz, was stung on the ear and his arm.

"It was pretty weird.  Just a whole bunch of people started running, chasing, the coaches were like, super calm and everything. They were trying to get us all situated and trying to get us away from the bee hive," Armendariz said.

According to Courtney, the district's integrated pest management coordinator euthanized the remainder of the hive. Officials will continue to monitor the area for bees before declaring it safe for students.

Animal control officers are awaiting tests on the bees to see if they were Africanized killer bees, but the pest management coordinator said that based on the bee's behavior they do not appear to be killer bees.

NBC 5's Julie Fine contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA["Heartbroken": 7 Bodies Found]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:30:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Afrika-Hardy.jpg

One of seven women whose bodies were discovered in Indiana over the weekend was remembered as a "fighter" Monday, as authorities continued to investigate a killing they now believe uncovered a string of slayings by a suspected serial killer.

“She left this world fighting,” Lori Townsend said of her daughter, 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.

Officials said the bodies of seven women, including Hardy, were found in abandoned homes and in a motel in Northwest Indiana. Authorities believe they are the victims of a suspected serial killer, whose killings could go back as far as 20 years.

Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, was charged with one count of murder, as well as murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery resulting in serious bodily harm, all related to the death of Hardy. Police said Vann, a registered sex offender in Texas, gave authorities information that led them to the other bodies after he was taken into custody in connection with Hardy's death.

Hardy was strangled to death Friday in a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana. She was found naked in a bathtub with what appeared to be a black piece of clothing covering her arms and around her neck, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“She didn’t bother nobody,” said Hardy’s grandmother Debra Allen. “Everyone loved her. She wasn’t a bad person and didn’t deserve this at all.”

Police said all seven women were sex workers, and Hardy is believed to be the youngest victim.

Hardy’s mother said she had no idea her daughter had fallen into prostitution.

“I’m not grasping this,” said Townsend. “It’s not real to me.”

Aside from Hardy, three of the victims were publicly identified by midday Monday: 35-year-old Anith Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey, and 36-year-old Christine Williams.

Batey’s boyfriend, Marvin Clinton, says she had been missing since January.

“She was a good person,” said Clinton. “She would give you her last.”

He said the two have a 2-year-old son together.

"Now I've got to sit here and figure out how to tell a 2-year-old that mommy's never coming home again," said Clinton.

Jones’ family reported her missing on Oct. 8. They say she left Chicago for Indiana about 10 years ago.

Family members of the victims said no matter what the women did to earn a living, they were still loved.

“My heart breaks for these girls and their families,” said Townsend. “Some of them were missing for months.”
 


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<![CDATA[Lawsuit Against Slain Mayor's Wife]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:53:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/210*120/Capture8.JPG

The brother of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo has filed a wrongful death suit seeking $50 million in punitive damages against Crespo's wife, who allegedly shot her husband during an argument.

The 45-year-old mayor was shot Sept. 30 at the family's condominium in the small Los Angeles County city. Authorities say Crespo's wife, Lyvette, 43, shot him multiple times after he punched their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr.

Crespo's brother, William Crespo, filed the lawsuit on behalf of his mother, and said at a news conference Monday he thought the killing was planned.

He claimed Lyvette Crespo would frequently provoke her husband and threaten to kill him, because she was jealous that he was unfaithful.

"She said she was going to divorce my brother when the kids turned 18," William Crespo said. "The kids turned 18. My brother went and he got himself another girlfriend, and she got jealous and she was holding it all inside. I guess she just let it all out and killed him."

The night of the shooting, Daniel Jr. called 911 and told the dispatcher his mother "was defending herself" when she fatally shot her husband, according to a recording of the call obtained by NBC4.

"My parents got in an argument, and there were shots fired," he tells the dispatcher, later saying "It wasn't my mom's fault...She was defending herself."

The suit, filed on behalf of Crespo's mother in LA County Superior Court, alleges that Lyvette Crespo had threatened to kill her husband many times and used an unwarranted amount of force to kill her husband, concluding that she "is a cold blooded killer."

Lyvette Crespo should have called 911 before shooting her husband, and breached her fiduciary duty to him by killing him, the suit alleges.

William Crespo's attorney, James Devitt, called the mayor's relationship "turbulent," showing a text message at the news conference that supposedly showed the Bell Gardens mayor demanding his wife stop threatening to "shoot me in d head!!!"

"Daniel was no angel…obviously he had a bit of a zipper problem," Devitt said at the news conference, held in front of Bell Gardens City Hall.

He continued: "In California, you cannot use deadly force against non-deadly force. You can’t just shoot people five times because they’re having a bad day."

After the shooting, Daniel Jr. and Lyvette Crespo were questioned by police for several hours, but both were released that night. Lyvette Crespo remains free as authorities investigate the shooting.

Lyvette Crespo's lawyer told NBC4 he would respond to the new allegations made in the lawsuit Tuesday morning. He has described Lyvette Crespo as a longtime victim of domestic violence, but her brother-in-law says the allegations shocked him and he feels conflicted about what happened.

"He loved (his family) more than life. He loved his wife a lot, he always loved his wife," William Crespo told NBC4 earlier this month.

"If it was that, she should've called 911. She shouldn't take matters into her own hands. She's not the cops," Crespo said in a separate interview. "I love her; I still love her. She's still my sister-in-law; I'm always going to love her."



Photo Credit: Sean Browning]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Unveils New Ebola Gear Guidelines]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:55:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP377346880200.jpg

Health officials have released long-awaited new guidelines for how health workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients, calling for protective garb that covers their bodies entirely and for trained monitors to supervise them as they put on and remove it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the long-anticipated updates Monday evening. Health workers have been pushing for new standards since two Dallas hospital nurses were diagnosed with the disease this month after treating an Ebola patient.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.

The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials.

Health workers had been pushing for the guidance since the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected. They had treated an Ebola-infected patient named Thomas Eric Duncan — the first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S.

Exactly how the two nurses were infected is not clear, said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden during a Monday night teleconference with reporters.

"We may never know exactly how that happened, but the bottom line is, the guidelines didn't work for that hospital," Frieden said.

The new guidelines include:

—Use of protective garments, hoods, face shields, double gloves, face masks or respirators and other protective equipment to cover every square inch of a health worker's body.

—A call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient's care to practice repeatedly and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing gear before ever being allowed near a patient.

—Placement of a trained hospital employee to supervise all aspects of care in an Ebola patient's room and watch that all health workers put on and take off gear correctly.

Duncan's infection and subsequent death led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact with him before he entered the hospital and dozens of health care workers who cared for him after his admission.

Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a 21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with the dreaded disease.

Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola virus from her mother's fiance.

But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period, Jallah's family members are now trying to resume their lives - replacing the personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother's home, and overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.

On Monday, Jallah beamed as she sent her children back to school with clearance from the Dallas County health department tucked into their backpacks. Her mother emerged from her own confinement and started looking for a new place to live.

"We were sitting here traumatized," Jallah told The Associated Press on Monday. "We just thank God we never came down with the virus."

Jallah's mother's fiance, Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Health officials said Monday about 50 people have passed the incubation period safely. Others who are still being monitored include health care workers who treated Duncan as well as those who cared for two nurses who had treated Duncan and also became infected.

There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate.

There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back Oct. 13.

An Ebola patient who was being treated in Atlanta since early September was released from Emory University Hospital on Sunday after he was determined to be free of the virus and no threat to the public. Hospital and health officials never released his name, in keeping with his family's wish for privacy.

Health officials said they were relieved as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port in Texas and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.

After Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan's nephew and a family friend were ordered by a Dallas court to stay inside the apartment among Duncan's used linens. Five days later they were evacuated to a four-bedroom home in an isolated corner of a 13-acre gated property owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, southwest of downtown.

Except for a few plastic bins filled with personal documents, photographs, trophies and a Bible, the apartment was stripped down to the carpeting and the contents were incinerated.

The city of Dallas announced Monday it is coordinating with a local church and donors to provide Jallah's mother, Louise Troh, with funds to pay for six months of housing. Once she chooses a location, nonprofits will assist the family with furniture, linens and other household items, the city said.

"We want to restore what's lost but more than that, we want to give her a running start on her new life," said Troh's pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

While health workers cleared Jallah of having Ebola, the disease's stigma lingers — including among fellow Liberians, she said.

"If they see me at the store, they run away," she said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Backs Woman in Mauling Case]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:33:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Cat+controversy+1020-PIC_0.jpg

A judge has ruled in favor of a San Diego woman who was sued by a cat rescue group after her cat was mauled to death by an errant dog.

The rescue group, The Rescue House, sued Margaret McLean for $1,000 because the group claimed McLean violated terms of the adoption contract.

The Rescue House wanted the cat to remain indoors, which they said was laid out in the contract.

But McLean started letting her cat outside and a dog across the street escaped its leash and attacked and killed the cat, Malik.

On Monday, McLean said she was pleased about the judge’s decision, saying the lawsuit had been “punitive.”

“I feel vindicated. The judge recognized that the Rescue House’s contract was punitive,” she said. “I wish that instead of suing me they would’ve reached out and supported me or expressed their sympathy for my loss, rather than attack my judgment as a pet owner.”

The rescue group’s founder, Joan Star, said she was “shocked” by the judge’s decision. She saw the matter as simply a breach in a contractual agreement.

“It’s very sad when animals aren’t protected and the people aren’t held accountable for the promises they have made,” Star said. “The terms of condition were violated.”

In the signed ruling, the judge did not give reasoning for the decision.

The Rescue House is unable to appeal this decision.

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<![CDATA[Dallas Nurses Speak Out on Ebola]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:13:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cole-edmonson-presby-crop.jpg

Top nurses at the Dallas hospital where two nurses fell ill treating the nation's first Ebola patient spoke out for the first time Monday, affirming their pride in their hospital amid scrutiny and vowing to reaffirm the public's trust.

"The reason we're here today is to make sure people know that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is still a great hospital, an excellent hospital," chief nursing officer Cole Edmonson said at a brief news conference in front of the hospital Monday afternoon, flanked by nurses he called part of a "proud family."

"We're proud to tell people that we work here," he added."We will reaffirm your trust in Presbyterian."

"We are experts in our field, and we don't want to be judged by this one incident," emergency department nurse Julie Boling said, overcome by emotion. "This could happen to any hospital."

The nurses gave their well-wishes to their two coworkers who remain hospitalized in isolation for Ebola, after they contracted the disease treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the U.S. He died Oct. 8.

Amber Vinson is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the same hospital where Fort Worth's Dr. Kent Brantly and American aid worker Nancy Writebol were successfully treated, and her coworker Nina Pham is being treated at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

On Monday, health officials' efforts to contain Ebola's spread cleared a key hurdle when four dozen people were being cleared from the watch list.

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<![CDATA[Graham Suspect Charged With Attempted Murder in 2005 Case]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:22:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP702814643380.jpg

As investigators wait to see if a body found Saturday is missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, the suspect in her disappearance is facing an attempted murder charge in another case.

Jesse L. Matthew, Jr. has already been charged with abduction with attempt to defile Graham, who disappeared more than a month ago.

On Monday, Matthew was indicted for attempted capital murder, abduction with attempt to defile, and sexual penetration with an object in a 2005 sexual assault in the city of Fairfax, Virginia. All three charges are felonies.

In that case, a 26-year-old woman was walking home from a grocery store in September 2005 when a man grabbed her and forced her into a wooded area, where he sexually assaulted her. He fled after being startled by another person.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Fairfax authorities were unable to comment on specific evidence in the case.

"You know, I've learned the hard way over the past 30 years that this is just the first step, and the crimninal justice system can be a long, tough row to hoe, but I have confidence... that we will be able to go forward and bring justice in this instance," said Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County Raymond F. Morrogh.

Morrogh said the victim in the 2005 case is grateful to the lead detective who stayed in touch with her over nine years, telling her he'd never give up.

"I think it's fair to say that she's grateful that the case will go forward to whatever resolution comes to it," he said.

He said Matthew will likely be brought to Northern Virginia to face the charges, but no court date has been set yet. On Thursday, Fairfax authorities will ask the court for a bench warrant to bring Matthew to Northern Virginia.

"It's possible to transport a defendant to and from various courthouses, and that's what we'll do," Morrogh said.

Morrogh declined to comment on Matthew's connection to other unsolved cases.

City of Fairfax Police Chief Carl R. Pardiny said Fairfax authorities are continuing to work with authorities in Charlottesille, Albermarle County and Virginia State Police.

Authorities had previously said DNA evidence links the 2005 Fairfax assault to the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009.

Harrington disappeared after attending a concert at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. Her body was found a little more than five miles from where the body was found during Saturday's search for Graham. Harrington had been missing for 101 days.

No one has been charged in Harrington's murder. But Harrington's parents have been active in searching for Graham, noting the similarities between the two cases.

"I thought [Graham's disappearance] seemed very similar to Morgan's situation with sort of the question of her maybe being somewhat impaired, someone just picking her up and trying to take care of her," Dan Harrington said earlier this month.

"But it really came to light to me about two weeks ago when I saw a picture of the sketch as compared to Jesse," he said. "I thought, 'Oh my God, I think it's the same person'."

Virginia State Police said late last month that they believe they have found a link between Harrington's death and Graham's disappearance.

The news of the new charges against Matthew is another stunning development connected to Graham's month-long disappearance.

Volunteer searchers looking for Graham found human remains Saturday; Virginia's medical examiner is working to identify the body now.

Sunday, investigators interviewed residents in the area where the body was found, and forensic teams combed the sides of a road for several miles past the site.

It was not immediately known what they were looking for.

Volunteer searchers discovered the unidentified body at about noon Saturday in an "abandoned property" along Old Lynchburg Road in the Walnut Creek Park area of Albemarle County, authorities said at a Saturday evening news conference.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said Graham's parents had been notified of the discovery. He said volunteers working with Chesterfield County sheriff's deputies were searching the property on Old Lynchburg Road when they discovered the remains.

Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers said, "This, sadly, is now a death investigation. We will not jump to any conclusions after today’s discovery."

In September, police charged Matthew in Graham's disappearance. His attorney, Jim Camblos, issued a statement late Saturday night, saying "I understand the search teams found remains on an abandoned farm in Albemarle County. We are waiting to see the results of the medical examiners autopsy. No further comment."

Albemarle County Police now are asking anyone who saw suspicious activity or suspicious vehicles near Old Lynchburg Road to contact them at 434-296-5807. Neighbors in the area said they had been smelling a foul odor a few days ago.

Emergency management officials, meanwhile, canceled Sunday's planned search for Graham. Hundreds of volunteers have joined Charlottesville, Albemarle County and state authorities for a series of searches since Graham disappeared.

Graham was reported missing after a night out with with friends Sept. 12. She was last seen on surveillance video in Charlottesville’s downtown mall in the early morning hours of Sept. 13.

The surveillance video shows a man police identified as Matthew wrapping his arm around Graham. He is also accused of buying the 18-year-old woman alcohol.

Two weeks after Graham's disappearance, Matthew -- a hospital worker and former taxi driver -- was arrested in Texas. He has been extradited to Virginia, where he is in custody.

Matthew is not due for a court appearance in the case until December. Investigators believe Matthew acted alone and did not know Graham before her disappearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[500 Lbs. of Meth Seized in Calif.-Mexican Cartel Bust: AG]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:00:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/N5P-FBI-CARTEL-RAID-PKG---00001611.jpg

Twenty-two people were arrested and 500 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $18 million seized from a drug trafficking ring linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Federation drug cartel, law enforcement officials announced on Monday.

The takedown, named Operation Road Trip, represents the culmination of several related investigations that have resulted in 67 arrests and the seizure of 1,109 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $40 million, as well as $1.82 million in cash, over the past six years.

“We will do whatever is necessary with our federal and local partners to dismantle these violent, insidious organizations,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said at a news conference in Contra Costa County on Monday.

She was flanked by representatives from the FBI, the California Department of Justice and Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson, who said the bust was the "largest both in terms of drugs and the cash seized that we know of in the history of Contra Costa County."

Operation Road Trip is the merger of two long-term investigations led by the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team Task Force, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force and other local, state, and federal partners.

During the Operation Road Trip investigation, the task forces discovered that methamphetamine from Mexico was being delivered to the Nitro gang, based in Southern California, Harris' office said. The Nitro gang would make regular “road trips” to Contra Costa County in order to distribute to other drug trafficking groups, including the Urtiz gang based in Northern California, authorities said.

In May of 2011, the state Department of Justice, the FBI and others announced the conclusion of the first of the two long-term investigations, named Operation Red Reach. This operation, a two-year coordinated sweep led by West-NET, shut down a network of local and transnational gangs, including a Nortenos gang in western Contra Costa County. The case resulted in the seizure of 135 pounds of methamphetamine, 26 illegal firearms, approximately $150,000 and federal and state convictions of 26 people. Information and intelligence gained from this operation led to the identification of the Urtiz gang.

West-NET’s subsequent investigation, named Operation Crystal Lens, revealed that the Urtiz gang's methamphetamine was being supplied by the Southern California-based Nitro gang, which was also separately under investigation by LA;s task force, Harris' office said.

Transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States, with 70 percent entering through the San Diego Port of Entry.

Earlier this month, Harris announced that the California Department of Justice will create a new anti-methamphetamine team of Special Agents based in Los Angeles funded by a $1 million federal grant.
 

NBC Bay Area Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.


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<![CDATA[Police Detail NH Festival Chaos]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:11:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Keene+State+incident+1.jpg

Eighty-four people were arrested during riots at a New Hampshire community's annual pumpkin festival that spilled over to a nearby college over the weekend, and authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying more rioters.

The violent parties in Keene led to the destruction of private and public property, resulting in the injuries of more than 30 people on Saturday.

Local police say they planned ahead, based off previous years riots, but say this year things were different when the rioters moved out onto public streets and neighborhoods.

"I think, unfortunately, we were caught by surprise when things started earlier than expected," said Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meola. "We thought we had it well in hand, to be quite honest, but we fell a little short."

The incident happened around Keene State College during the city's Pumpkin Festival, which is when the community tries to set a world record for the most carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place. Police responded to the violence with riot gear, tear gas and pepper spray in an attempt to control the crowds.

The area was cleaned up by college students on Sunday.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said the Granite State's higher education institutions must "take swift action to hold students involved accountable."

Keene State College President Anne Huot was a witness to Saturday's riot.

"I'm gravely concerned" about the unruly behavior, she said.

According Mayor Kendall Lane, between 55,000-60,000 people were attending the festival and were safe during the violent parties, adding that the future of the festival is uncertain at this time.

According to Keene city officials, the riots seem to have begun in several places, including Wilcox Terrace and Winchester Court, around 1 p.m. Saturday with more than 1,000 people in each location, with some throwing rocks, bottles, cans, even billard balls, injuring some.

Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meoloa said his department communicated with Keene State College students before the festival, adding that it was "outside forces" that was part of the "riotous behavior."

As police tried to disperse the crowds, the crowds turned their attention to law enforcement, according to the city; police say they used pepper spray, tear gas and fired "sponge rounds" at some of the rioters. The crowd then moved through the neighborhood to Butler Court, where the riots continued, the city said; another crowd moved from Winchester Street to Blake Street, where a fire was set in the middle of the road.

Keene officials say the riots continued for the next eight hours as the crowd moved to Keene State College property. Crowds damaged college, city and private property, including an overturned car, officials said.

Chief Meola said there was also riotous behavior last year, adding that this year the rioters entered public domain, but last year was an "organized party."

Click here to make an anonymous tip to the Keene Police Department regarding this incident.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Officers Chase Horse Through NYC Streets]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:01:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/runaway+horse+nyc.jpg

A runaway carriage horse is back at work after leading police on a chase through Hell's Kitchen over the weekend.

Stephen Malone, carriage driver and industry spokesperson, told NBC 4 New York the horse returned to work Monday after escaping from the stables on 37th Street Sunday morning.

NBC 4 New York obtained video that shows the horse cantering down 11th Avenue, opposite taxis and a bus, as police cars, lights flashing, follow behind.

Eventually, one of the squad cars pulls in front of the horse. The horse's owner, with the help of the NYPD, corralled the animal a few blocks away and brought it back to the stables.  

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<![CDATA[43 Removed From Ebola Watch List]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:39:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/judge-clay-jenkins.jpg

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said four dozen people being cleared off the Ebola watch list Monday should be treated with "dignity and respect" and welcomed back into the community.

“There’s zero risk than any of those people on the list have Ebola,” Jenkins said. “We have to believe in science. It’s what separates us from other mammals."

At midnight, 43 people showing no sign of the Ebola virus fell off the list and another five are expected to fall off sometime Monday. All of them either had direct contact with index patient Thomas Eric Duncan, or the ambulance that carried him to the hospital. The additional 75 health care workers who cared for Duncan will clear their 21-day monitoring period on Oct. 29.

Jenkins singled out five children who are returning to school after missing about three weeks, and requested help from Dallas-area parents to ensure they are treated with respect. He said that Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, was worried about how her middle-school aged son would be treated, and he agreed with the concerns. He will return to Tasby Middle School Tuesday morning.

“Middle schoolers are some of the most ferocious and scariest animals on the planet,” Jenkins said.

For 21 days, Troh, her 13-year-old son and her two nephews were isolated from the world. They were ordered into quarantine at a property in Oak Cliff as health officials watched for any signs of them having the Ebola virus.

“You can imagine what it’s like for anybody living under that threat and the tension of everyday,” said Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.

Their temporary house at the Catholic Conference and Formation Center was a single story, four bedroom home that sits in a gated community owned by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

“They feel relieved and happy,” said Farrell. “But deep down they’re still worried.”

Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings personally asked Farrell if the church could help after the county had to move the family from The Ivy Apartments where Troh lived. The apartment contained many contaminated items from Duncan.

“Naturally, I had to think about the consequence of doing this,” said Farrell. “But it was in my heart all of the time that I was going to do something.”

It took the bishop 15 minutes to make a decision. The family was moved and remained out of sight from the world during their quarantine.

But now one challenge is over and another one begins.

“I would hope that the whole community would kind of understand and bring them back into the community and be kind and compassionate and accepting to these people who have suffered in this way,” said Farrell.

Troh lost most of her property at her apartment that had to be destroyed because they were contaminated.

According to a press release from the City of Dallas, Troh will find an apartment or home of her choice within her budget in the next few weeks.The first six months of her lease will be funded by the church and local philanthropists. The organizations will also provide money for new clothes and personal items. Non-profits will assist with furniture, linens and kitchenware for her new residence.

Jenkins added that the way people handle the reintegration process could show the city as a “beacon for how others can deal” with such adversity when “the next Ebola case happens to America.”

"The world is watching Dallas,” he said.

43 Removed from Ebola Contact List

The 43 people who were on the watch list after coming in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8, before he was put in isolation have shown no signs of contracting the virus.

“Continuous vigilance in confronting this threat and the cooperation of those affected is what has brought us to this point, and we look forward to the day when the remaining individuals can also be removed from active monitoring,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

The fight is not over, though. Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two Dallas nurses who contracted the virus while caring for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, remain hospitalized. Investigators said they don't know how or when they contracted the virus.

“They are blameless in this situation,” said Jenkins. “They are victims of Ebola. They are not at fault for contracting this disease in any way.”

All the other health care workers who cared for Duncan while in isolation are being monitored for 21 days. More than 70 of them will be closely watched until Oct. 29 as long as they continue to show no signs of having the virus.

“We cannot be relieved,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “We are still in a situation where we are cautious. We're cautiously optimistic, but we're still very cautious.”

Jenkins said with each day that passes, the chances of another health care worker contracting the virus from Duncan decreases. If no new cases of Ebola appear before Nov. 6, North Texas will no longer be monitored for the virus.

120 Possible Contacts Still Monitored

Around 120 possible contacts will remain on monitoring after the initial 48 are removed.

In addition to the health care workers, airline passengers have been notified of possible Ebola contact from nurse Amber Vinson before she was hospitalized while she traveled to and from Ohio.

A handful of people who sat within three feet of Vinson have been told to stay at home during the 21 day monitoring period.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charge in Student's Death]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:37:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/10-20-14_Abdullah+Abdullatif+Alkadi.JPG

A man was charged with capital murder Monday after answering a Cal State Northridge student’s ad for a $36,500 Audi, stabbing the student and later dumping his body along a freeway, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, a 23-year-old international student from Saudi Arabia, was found dead alongside the 10 Freeway near the Cook Street overpass in Palm Desert about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 16, police said. Before his disappearance, he was last seen Sept. 17 at his Northridge home.

The day of his disappearance, Alkadi met Long Beach resident Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, after posting his Audi for sale on Craigslist, Beck said, calling the death "a very sad case." Alkadi disappeared while showing the Audi to what he believed was a prospective buyer, Beck said.

Fernandez allegedly used a knife to kill Alkadi in an attempt to "keep both the Audi and the purchase price," and disposed of his body alongside the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, Beck said. Alkadi's body had multiple stab wounds.

Jail records show Fernandez was arrested Oct. 16 at 10:15 a.m, more than 13 hours before police reported Alkadi's body was discovered.

Police did not say when during the last month Alkadi was killed.

"The message for the public here is that you have to beware when you're using online Internet sites when you're selling anything," Beck said. "Opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives."

Alkadi's cousin Allison Alomair told NBC4 last month the Audi A6 was put up for sale at $36,500.

"There were several contacts, it took place over two or three days," Beck said, adding that the two met at Alkadi’s residence initially. Beck said he would not give any more details on the transaction.

LAPD Capt. William Hayes of the Robbery-Homicide Division said on Monday investigators spoke with Fernandez earlier in the investigation but did not arrest him right away.

"There was something early on in the investigation, but again this is an investigative strategy, it doesn't fall into place immediately and they're all parts of a jigsaw puzzle," Hayes said. "As I used the example before, you can get the outside pieces together but until you get the rest for the middle, you don't know where it is."

Police on Sunday announced two arrests in the case, but the second person was released from custody.

"The evidence supported and continues to support the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Fernandez," Beck said. "At this point, we are not going forward with the other one."

Prosecutors on Monday charged Fernandez with one count of murder with special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

The special circumstance allegations make Fernandez eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail and is due back in court Nov. 17.



Photo Credit: Facebook/Alkadi]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse Tries to Save Daughter After Hit-&-Run]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:11:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mom-Nurse-Hit-and-Run.jpg

A South Jersey nurse tried in vain to save her own daughter after a hit-and-run crash over the weekend.

The scene played out in Pilesgrove, Salem County around 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to New Jersey State Police.

Police said two vehicles struck Chelsea Burns, of Woodstown, as the 25-year-old walked along Alloway-Woodstown Road near East Lake Road.

Chelsea, the mother of a 3-year-old boy, earlier in the night demanded her boyfriend let her out of the car after the two got into an argument, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The boyfriend drove off, but later called Chelsea’s mother Cathy to ask her to help him find Chelsea. According to her family, Chelsea, a waitress at a local pizza place, had a history of seizures. The argument stemmed from the boyfriend wanting to take her home after she suffered a minor seizure and Chelsea wanting to stay out, the family said.

As the unidentified boyfriend and Cathy Burns searched, they came upon stopped vehicles in the roadway. That's when they found Chelsea on the ground.

"I ran up to her," said Cathy, who is a registered nurse at the Inspira Health Network. "As I ran up to her I could hear a man crying, saying the Mustang in front of him never stopped and it just kept going like she wasn't even there."

Cathy used her nursing skills to administer CPR but it was too late -- Chelsea was already lifeless.

"I did everything I could," Cathy said while in tears. "There is no one who could have done CPR any harder or better than I did that night. But nothing." 

Police said that the first car that struck Chelsea killed her. Police tracked down and spoke to the second driver who has remained cooperative in the investigation and will not be charged. Investigators told NBC10 they don't have a make and model for the hit-and-run vehicle.

Cathy told NBC10 based on witness reports, she believes the vehicle was a Mustang. She also had a message for the person responsible for her daughter's death.

"You need to confess or you're going to have guilt for the rest of your life," she said. "I understand if you didn't see her and you hit her. We all make mistakes. But you just don't leave someone dead on the road."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (856) 769-0775.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA["You Can't Be Afraid": Dallas Takes Ebola in Stride]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:56:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP705583008842.jpg

Nearly three weeks after Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with Ebola, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was standing at the hospital’s entrance taping a promotion video for the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

"I want to tell you this – Dallas is open for business like never before," he assured would-be visitors. "Now look, you've got to make some decisions but make them based on fact." 

Dallas is safe, he said.

As the city of about 1.3 million people goes about its business, with thousands pouring into the Texas State Fair for its final weekend and fans looking forward to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday football game against the New York Giants, the mayor has his supporters. Ebola is a deadly disease, but the threat of infection for the majority of people is small, residents and visitors said. Still, fears emerge even as they're fast tamped down.

Edward Nash, 40, a cook serving Vietnamese specialties at the Nammi Food Truck parked in downtown Dallas, agreed that the city was ill-prepared for its first Ebola patient. But he thought that since the crisis has unfolded residents have been kept well-informed. Most people never really believed the disease would come to this city – despite the epidemic raging in West Africa, he said. If anywhere, he thought the first case would be recorded in New York City or Los Angeles, a larger metropolis along one of the coasts where more people are entering the country.

"You don’t expect it," he said. "When it happened, it was like, 'Oh, this is not a drill. This is happening for real.' And that's with anything you do, any line of work."

But now that the disease has arrived, he expects health officials to keep it well in hand. Too many things would have to go wrong for a widespread epidemic to take hold as it has in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, he said.

"To happen here in Dallas someone truly has to drop the ball," he said.

Duncan, a Liberian man who traveled to Dallas to see his fiancee, died on Oct. 8. He first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 25 — and was sent home despite a fever — then returned in an ambulance three days later and was admitted with Ebola.

Two of the nurses treating him have also been diagnosed with the virus: Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson. Both have been transferred to one of the country’s centers specializing in treating contagious diseases, Pham to the National Institutes of Health Clincial Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vinson to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Before Vinson was diagnosed, she flew to Cleveland, Ohio, to plan her wedding and back to Dallas.

A second hospital worker who may have handled Duncan’s fluid samples also traveled, boarding a cruise on Carnival ship.  Mexican authorities turned the ship away in Cozumel and the worker went into voluntary isolation. A helicopter was sent to get a blood sample from her on Saturday. Authorities have stressed she has shown no symptoms. 

Health officials have been monitoring 145 people for symptoms of Ebola as a result of direct or indirect contact with Duncan or the nurses. As of Saturday, 14 had completed their surveillance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nash was not surprised that the workers had left Dallas. He blames a lack of knowledge about Ebola.

"If they honestly thought that they were a carrier, that they weren’t safe, I believe they wouldn't have traveled," he said. "They wouldn't have put themselves around people. They would have quarantined themselves at the hospital."

Nearby, Faye Hooper was eating ice cream from another of the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park. The 57-year-old geometry teacher from Tennessee was visiting her daughter in Dallas and though Ebola had crossed her mind, she said she did not feel unsafe in Dallas. She had read up on the disease, partly to calm her ninth- and tenth-grade students, and knew that passengers not showing symptoms were not contagious, she said.

"I guess I was concerned about it enough to read about it a little bit," she said.

Dallas had the means to protect people properly, she said. More worrisome would be flying with passengers from West Africa, where countries have not been able to control the spread of the virus, she said.

“That would concern me, but no, not just coming to Dallas,” she said.

Even as other communities have closed schools and quarantined teachers, the Dallas schools have remained open. Five students who had contact with Duncan were quarantined quickly. Based on information from the Dallas County Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district determined there was no need to close any schools, said Andre Riley, the director of news and information for the Dallas Independent School District.

The day after Duncan's diagnosis became public there was about a 10 percent drop-off at the schools the five students' schools, he said. Attendance was back to normal by the beginning of the following week.

"It's a great thing that folks are being monitored," he said. "It shows that there's a heightened level of awareness and our community is taking this seriously."

Two musicians in downtown Dallas, Adontis Barber, 25, and 24-year-old Che Sealy, said journalists were exaggerating the danger.

“They’re blowing it way out of proportion without dispensing the proper knowledge of it,” Barber said. “Why do you have to push it so hard, so fast, so quick all the time?”

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will have to work hard to repair its reputation after turning Duncan away, he said. Now people are asking whether that occurred because he was a black man, he said.

“That’s the question that’s been itching on everyone’s ears,” he said.

The hospital has denied discriminating against Duncan because of his nationality or lack of health care, and it has undertaken a public relations campaign to restore the city's confidence in the care it provides. It has begun a social media effort using the hashtag #presbyproud, and as the weekend started, nurses and others held a brief rally in support of the hospital. Barclay Berdan, the CEO of the hospital's parent company, Texas Health Resources, has written an open letter to the community acknowledging mistakes and the hospital's lack of preparation an describing changes.

"We have acted aggressively to improve our response and protect the health and safety of our workers and community," the letter reads.

Nonetheless there are signs the city is on edge. Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, acknowledged to The Dallas Morning News that some patients have cancelled appointments. Then on Saturday, a woman fell ill on a Dallas DART train and a station was closed for a time. 

At the State Fair, where cowboy burritos were on sale this year and steers and lambs and goats were on display, some among the throngs admitted to being worried. 

Alana Etheridge, a Dallas resident who works on health-care contracts, said she had given some thought to whether she should attend.

"Should we go, should we not go?" she said.

"Basically you can't be afraid," she said. "I think the best thing is just to be knowledgeable and educate yourself on how it's actually spread. But we have to go to work and we have to go to other public places."

Brenda Willis, there with her husband and two children, said she thought that Dallas had done its best.

"The best they can with what they have, yes," said Willis, 39, an Austin resident works in pharmaceutical research. "Are they equipped with what they need? No."

Few hospitals in the United States are outfitted to treat Ebola successfully, she said. 

Taking a break in the shade, Jacque and Kayla Talley, Arlington residents and mother and daughter who work with mental-health counselors, said they were not afraid. 

Kayla Talley, 19, said she did not think officials were handling the Ebola scare as well as they could. 

"People worry about it because now it's here," she said. "It's affecting us."

Her mother praised the nurses who took care of Duncan, even at their own risk. She refused to stay away from the State Fair, just as she hadn't stayed away after the September 11th terrorist attacks when people were warned against mingling in large crowds, she said.

"I wasn't going to let someone ruin our family tradition," she said. "So no, it doesn't scare me."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[NHTSA Urges Drivers to Take Action on Airbag Recall]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:21:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sb10070047g-001.jpg The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata air bags.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Rescued From Chimney]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:25:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*126/woman+rescued.JPG

A woman allegedly attempting to burglarize a two-story home in Thousand Oaks, California, had to be rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in a chimney Sunday morning.

Firefighters responded around 6 a.m. to the 1900 block of Woodside Drive to a report of a person stuck in a chimney, according to the Twitter account of Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindbery.

The woman was about eight feet down the chimney, and rescuers had to dismantle the brick structure to get to her, officials said.

The woman was removed from the chimney around 8:15 a.m. and was conscious. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The woman, identified as 30-year-old Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, was arrested.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, the homeowner knows the woman in the chimney. She was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry and giving false information to police after being evaluated at the hospital.



Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department/Mike Lindbery]]>
<![CDATA[New Details on Suspect in 7 Deaths]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:33:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/indiana+house.jpg

The man who police say confessed to killing a woman then led police to the bodies of six others in northwestern Indiana is a registered sex offender in Texas.

Murder charges were filed Monday against Darren Deon Vann
after 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy was found strangled to death Friday night at a Motel 6 in Hammond.

Vann, 43, of Gary, was charged with one count of murder, as well as murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery resulting in serious bodily harm, all related to Hardy's death.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Vann met Hardy last Friday in a room at a Motel 6 on the 3800 block of 179th Street after arranging a sexual encounter online. Hardy had been strangled, and Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda said Sunday that as part of the investigation into her death, police served a search warrant on a home on 49th Avenue in Gary, where Vann was taken into custody.

Doughty did not rule out the possibility that the ongoing investigation would reveal more victims.

"It could go back as far as 20 years, based on some statements we have," Doughty said.

Court records show Vann was convicted in September 2009 of Aggravated Sexual Assault -- a 1st Degree Felony -- stemming from a December 2007 incident in Austin, Texas.

According to court records, Vann met a suspected sex worker near his apartment in Travis County, Texas. He initially told her his name was Dean and brought the woman up to his second-floor apartment, where he then attacked her.

Court records show that he tripped her and strangled her. The victim later told police she felt her body go limp and thought he was going to kill her. That’s when he threatened her, struck her several times in the head and then forced her to have sex.

“I don’t have a specific reason why he does this,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty.

Just three years prior, in another state, Vann was arrested for threatening his ex-girlfriend. According to court records, Vann poured gasoline on himself and the house of his estranged ex-girlfriend in Lake County, Indiana. Police said he then put her in a headlock and dragged her down an alley.

Vann took a plea deal and served 90 days in jail, received probation and community service.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said authorities weren't sure how long Vann had been in northwestern Indiana, although he does have a conviction for residential entry in the area. The mayor said she doesn't know whether more bodies might be found.

"There are court records indicating that he was here back in 2004 [and] 2005, but there are also records that he was in Austin, Texas, and so he appears to be a person who has moved back and forth between a number of states," Freeman-Wilson told reporters early Monday.

Court records in Cook County show no criminal history for Vann, but traffic records do show that he had some encounter with Calumet City police on December 16, 1993, when he would have been 22 years old. In that case he was found guilty of "aggravated fleeing police" and, according to records, jailed for that offense the following August.

Several other traffic charges related to that same encounter, including speeding more than 20 mph over the speed limit, running red lights, and improper lane usage, were dismissed.

Regarding the most recent cases, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said Vann is "what I would label a serial killer."

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Vann was arrested shortly after Hardy's body was discovered inside the room at the Motel 6. Doughty said Vann confessed to killing the woman and then provided information that led to the discovery of six other victims.



Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com
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<![CDATA[Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:58:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/451542370.jpg

Monica Lewisnky joined Twitter on Monday, posting the hashtag: #HereWeGo under the Twitter handle @MonicaLewinsky.


Almost an hour later, the 41-year-old tweeted that she was “excited (and nervous)” to speak at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on Monday.

Lewinsky's Twitter bio describes her as a social activist, public speaker, Vanity Fair contributor, and "knitter of things without sleeves."

Vanity Fair retweeted her and welcomed her to the social networking site.

This year, Lewinsky has been making a slow return to the public eye after a decade away from the spotlight. 

In May, Lewinsky penned an article for Vanity Fair reflecting on her affair as a White House intern with then President Bill Clinton, saying “it was time to "burn the beret and bury the blue dress."

Lewinsky also talked to "Today" in July about the day details about the affair were revealed by a report from prosecutor Kenneth Starr, saying, “I was the most humiliated woman in the world.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Marie Curie
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Festival Head Takes Reporter's Mic]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:14:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NECN_101914_pumpkinfestcoordinator_1200x675_344942147824.jpg

While confrontations between police and crowds were taking place during the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire, a reporter and the festival's organizer had a tense moment captured on television.

Coordinator Ruth Sterling ripped a microphone from Cheshire TV reporter Jared Goodell during a liveshot.

"She's not letting me do my job and to report to you, she would not like me to tell you what's going on at Keene State College," Goodell said.

"This is a family-friendly event. The footprint of Keene Pumpkin Festival is 100 percent safe. We have a bigger crowd than we've ever had. I want them to have a wonderful evening and not be disturbed by people who aren't even at the pumpkin festival," said Sterling after reaching for the microphone. "So if you think that inciting these people is a good idea, I am going to pull the plug on you. Because you are here as a guest of Keene Pumpkin Festival and I assigned you this spot."

Sterling posted the following statement on the Pumpkin Festival's website:

"Yesterday gave us many lessons; sorting them out and learning will take time. There is some thing each of us can to do help. And there is some comfort in remembering Mr. Rogers' wisdom, 'look for the helpers.' In the helpers, there is hope."



Photo Credit: Cheshire TV]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Nurse "In No Way Careless"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:39:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Amber-Vinson-1200x675.jpg

The family of Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson released a statement Sunday, indicating the Dallas nurse had not been careless in the days preceding her diagnosis.

The 29-year-old nurse had cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Dunan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas in late September. According to previous reports, Vinson had worn protective gear while handling Duncan's bodily fluids before his death.

Vinson flew from Dallas to Cleveland Oct. 10, two days after Duncan died, to visit her mother and fiancé and to plan her upcoming wedding, a health official said.

According to her family, she had been in contact with Dallas County Health Department officials, who asked her to report her temperature twice a day after fellow nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed with Ebola. Vinson's family said she asked officials if she could fly back to Dallas a day early and place herself in a 21-day quarantine at the hospital.

"She was told that this was the first request of its kind, but that the agency would consider the option," her family said in a statement. "Once again, Amber was assured that she should not be alarmed and prompted to continue self-monitoring."

She flew back to Dallas Monday, Oct. 13, reported a 100.3 degree fever the following morning and checked herself into Presbyterian Hospital, according to the family. Vinson was flown to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to receive more specialized care following her Ebola diagnosis on Oct. 15.

"Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the family statement reads. "Although the majority of the correspondences we have received since her diagnosis have been positive, we are troubled by some of the negative public comments and media coverage that mischaracterize Amber and her actions. To be clear, in no way was Amber careless before or after her exposure to Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan. She has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else."

Vinson's family also said they have retained a lawyer from Washington, D.C., and have asked for privacy.

"The past several days have been the most trying our family has collectively ever faced," they wrote. "We remain intensely prayerful and optimistic about Amber’s condition and of the treatment she is currently receiving. Our prayers and thoughts also go out to Amber’s colleague, Nina Pham, and the Dallas and Ohio communities impacted by this tragedy."



Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Students Home Amid Ebola Concerns]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:11:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Howard-R-Yocum.jpg

Two students from Africa who were scheduled to start classes at a New Jersey school Monday will instead stay home past a 21-day waiting period due to Ebola concerns, despite the fact that they are symptom-free and are not from an area affected by the virus.

A nurse at the Howard Yocum School in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey sent a letter to staff members informing them that two new students from Rwanda, Africa would be arriving at the school on Monday.

“This is not an area identified as a country with an Ebola outbreak, however l am taking precautions as per the health guidelines of the Burlington County Health Department,” the nurse wrote.  “I will be taking the students' temperature three times a day for 21 days.”

In the letter, the nurse cites a Centers for Disease Control recommendation that all healthy people who arrive in the United States from an Ebola affected area be checked for fever daily for 21 days. She also acknowledges in the same letter however that Rwanda is not an area affected by Ebola.

The nurse informed the school staff she would check the students before they start school, at lunch time and at the end of the day.

“They may continue their usual activities during this time," the nurse wrote. "If they remain healthy during the 21 days, they are not at risk for Ebola. If they get sick the 21 days after returning from an Ebola affected area, they are not at risk for Ebola. This means that they are ill from another source. If there is a fever of 100 or greater, the student will be sent home.”

Bryan Huff, a custodian at Yocum Elementary, told NBC10 the letter caused a panic among parents of children at the school as well as staff.

"A lot of people were going to pull their kids out of school," Huff said. "A lot of people weren't going to go to work."

Gina Mulherin, a parent of a student at Howard Yocum, told NBC10 she sympathized with the parents of the new students but ultimately agreed with the school nurse's decision.

"It's a little unsettling to think that your child would be getting their temperature taken three times a day," she said. "But again, it's better to be safe than sorry."

Anxiety from parents turned to relief Saturday however when Maple Shade School District Superintendent Beth Nocia announced the parents of the new students chose to keep them home past the 21-day waiting period.

“The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously,” Nocia wrote. “As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday.  This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus.  Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21-day waiting period. The family is looking forward to joining the Maple Shade Schools the following week.“

Nickiesha Samuels, another parent at the school, told NBC10 she's happy with the choice the parents made.

"Them taking an extra week beyond the 21 days before coming to school is more than appreciated," she said.

Huff also said he was relieved by their decision.

"Now we don't have to worry about anything," Huff said. "We actually know that they're going to be fine when they come to school. So we have no worries on our shoulders."

NBC10 reached out to the school nurse as well as Nocia. We have not yet heard from either of them.

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn’t, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

CLICK HERE for more information on Ebola.


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