California Firefighter Killed While Battling Blaze Near Yosemite National Park

California firefighter killed while battling blaze near Yosemite National Park

A California firefighter who was using a bulldozer to prevent a wildfire from spreading was killed Saturday near Yosemite National Park, state fire officials said.

Braden Varney, 36, a CalFire heavy fire equipment operator, died in the morning hours, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

“This certainly is going to be devastating to his family and those of us who call him family here with CalFire,” fire Chief Nancy Koerperich said. “But we all know in the world of firefighting it is a difficult job, it is a dangerous job, and Braden will be greatly missed.”

Varney had worked through the night and was driving the bulldozer to cut a firebreak to keep the fire from extending into a nearby community, Koerperich said.

“This certainly is going to be devastating to his family and those of us who call him family here with CalFire. But we all know in the world of firefighting it is a difficult job, it is a dangerous job, and Braden will be greatly missed.”

– Chief Nancy Koerperich, CalFire

The bulldozer rolled over during the incident and first responders weren’t immediately able to retrieve Varney’s body, she said.

California firefighter killed while battling blaze near Yosemite National Park
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says a firefighter has been killed while battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The blaze broke out Friday night in Mariposa County, near the west end of Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest.

Fire officials said it had burned about 150 acres.

Investigators were working to determine further circumstances surrounding Varney’s death, but they believe he was working his way out of the fire area when he was killed, Koerperich said.

“Braden is known by everyone in Mariposa County and is a star in our community and is a friend of everyone,” Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Binnewies said.

“Braden is known by everyone in Mariposa County and is a star in our community and is a friend of everyone.”

– Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Binnewies

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags at the state’s Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor “a man who dedicated his life to protecting his fellow Californians.”

Varney had worked for CalFire for 10 years. His father also worked as a CalFire heavy equipment operator.

“He was a community member. That’s where he lived, protecting the area where he grew up,” CalFire spokesman Scott McLean said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Varney is survived by his wife, Jessica, daughter Malhea, 5, and son Nolan, 3.

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Texas teen with autism receives perfect score on standardized math test

Cade Elias was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old and did not speak full sentences until age 4. (iStock)
Cade Elias was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old and did not speak full sentences until age 4.  (iStock)
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A 13-year-old boy from Frisco, Texas, who has autism received a perfect score on the math portion of a state-wide standardized test.

Cabe Elias was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and was unable to speak full sentences until he was 4 years old, WFAA-TV reported. That’s partly why his mother, Renee Elias, was pleasantly surprised to learn that Cade answered every question correctly on the math portion of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test.

“I was upstairs playing my video games and she yelled ‘oh my gosh.’ And I ran down and said ‘what’s wrong?’” Cade, a seventh-grader, recalled to the news station.

That’s when Elias told him the news.

“She looked at the actual percentage and she almost fell out of her chair,” Cade said, adding that most of the math portion was “easy.”

“I didn’t expect to see that. I really didn’t,” Elias said.

Cade, who goes to school in the Frisco Independent School District, is in the minority of students who received a perfect score, according to WFAA-TV. In total, 4,677 seventh-graders took the math portion of the STAAR test this spring. Out of that amount, however, only 235 — roughly 5 percent — received a perfect score.

“It’s hard for him to even get through the tests sometimes. To be able to maintain that amount of focus for that long and to have the attention to detail, that’s what surprised me,” Elias added.

Nagla Moussa, a board member of the National Autism Association of North Texas, echoed this sentiment.

“For someone like this child who started as non-verbal who went all the way up to acing the STAAR test in seventh grade – gives hope and lets people know our children can move along that spectrum and can start with low-functioning and go up to higher-functioning. It takes a lot of education, a lot of therapy, a lot of hard work on their part, but it’s possible,” Moussa told the WFAA-TV.

“I’m a very proud mom. I couldn’t be more proud. It’s a big accomplishment,” Elias said, adding that Cade is slated to take pre-advanced placement math when he begins eighth grade this fall.

“This is an indication that we’re gonna get there, and he’s gonna be fine,” she added.

Renee Elias was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Saturday.

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Man caught masturbating in Burger King

24-year-old Khaled Khalil was arrested for masturbating in a Burger King in Nebraska. (Lincoln Police Dept)
24-year-old Khaled Khalil was arrested for masturbating in a Burger King in Nebraska. (Lincoln Police Dept)
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A Nebraska man was arrested for masturbating at a Burger King Sunday night.

One of the Lincoln restaurant employees who witnessed the event told police that 24-year-old Khaled Khalil kept entering and exiting the restaurant, and when he’d get inside, he would begin masturbating, 1011 Now reports.

The witness also told police Khalil’s genitals were fully exposed.

When officers arrived on the scene and tried to speak with the suspect, they said he appeared to be intoxicated and wouldn’t speak to them.

Khalil was arrested and taken to jail for indecent exposure. Police reported that the man has no priors and is not a registered sex offender.

A witness said the man kept entering and exiting the Burger King. Once inside, he would masturbate with his genitals exposed. (Google Street View)
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This isn’t the first time someone has performed lewd sexual acts in a fast food restaurant. A man in Florida was arrested in 2015 for playing with his genitals at a Burger King.

Last year, a couple in the U.K. also had to appear in court and face jail time after getting caught on the security camera having sex in a Domino’s.

Person scales Statue of Liberty following anti-ICE protests

Protestor caught climbing the Statue of Liberty

 

At least one person is reportedly scaling the Statue of Liberty after an “Abolish ICE” protest resulted in multiple arrests.

The person appears to be sitting near the feet of Lady Liberty, as seen in helicopter video footage. National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says police are trying to persuade the climber to descend.

 

The park was shut down and is being evacuated as a precaution, an official told Fox News.

Earlier Wednesday, at least six people were arrested after they hung a banner emblazoned with a message about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Activists with the group Rise and Resist say they hung the banner to protest U.S. immigration policy. In a tweet, the group said the person climbing the statue has no affiliation with the earlier protest.

 

The Trump administration has been heavily criticized by those on both sides of the aisle after thousands of minors were separated from their families at the border after crossing it illegally. After national outrage, President Trump signed an executive order in late June allowing families to remain together in detention.

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Utah dad allegedly brought cocaine, 4-year-old daughter on trip for sex with teen girl

Police say Isaias Magana had cocaine in his pocket and child pornography videos on his phone. (Davis County Jail)
Police say Isaias Magana had cocaine in his pocket and child pornography videos on his phone.  (Davis County Jail)
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Police in Utah said a man tried to pick up a 13-year-old girl for sex while his four-year-old daughter was in the car with him.

Isaias Magana, 39, of West Jordan, was arrested Thursday as he drove to the girl’s house. Court documents showed that the arresting officers found cocaine in Magana’s pocket and several child-pornography videos on his phone.

Investigators said Magana had been using an online app to chat with someone who he thought was a teenage girl, but who actually was an undercover officer. According to the documents, Magana discussed sexual acts with the “girl,” as well as his concerns that she could get pregnant.

The arresting officers said Magana admitted to them that he intended to meet the girl for sex. He was charged Monday with possession of a controlled substance, enticing a minor by internet or text and eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The Standard-Examiner reported that Magana was ordered to jail in lieu of $20,680 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

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Arizona woman, 92, shot, killed son who tried putting her in assisted living, cops say

Anna Blessing, 92, was charged with first-degree murder after police say she fatally shot her son for planning to move her into a nursing home. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Anna Blessing, 92, was charged with first-degree murder after police say she fatally shot her son for planning to move her into a nursing home.  (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
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An elderly mother in Arizona allegedly shot and killed her son on Monday after she learned of his plans to put her in a nursing home, officials said.

Anna Blessing, 92, had been thinking about her son’s intentions to put her in a home for days, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release. She confronted him on Monday morning with two pistols that she hid in her robe, according to police.

Blessing told police “she removed the handgun and fired multiple rounds striking and killing her son.” It was at that point that the elderly woman reportedly pointed the gun at her son’s girlfriend and a struggle ensued.

UTAH DAD ALLEGEDLY BROUGHT COCAINE, 4-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ON TRIP FOR SEX WITH TEEN GIRL

The weapon reportedly “dislodged” from Blessing’s hand, before she grabbed a second gun and tried to point it at the girlfriend, who knocked it out of Blessing’s hand.

The girlfriend called police and Blessing was taken into custody. She was charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of kidnapping.

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On this Fourth of July, 14,000 immigrants become US citizens

Hazera Khanom of Bangladesh listens during a naturalization ceremony, Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at the New York Public Library. (AP)

On this Independence Day, naturalization ceremonies will turn 14,000 immigrants into proud new American citizens.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will welcome them in about 175 ceremonies across the country on the Fourth of July, according to the American Immigration Council.

Despite the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban and rhetoric regarding immigrants, a total of 163,000 people have been naturalized during fiscal year 2018 — a 55 percent increase from the same time last year.

Mosammat Rasheda Akter, center, of Bangladesh, holds her seven-month-old daughter Fahmida during a naturalization ceremony, Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at the New York Public Library's Celeste Bartos Forum. (AP)
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At a naturalization ceremony in New Hampshire, 102 people hailing from 48 different countries became citizens before an audience that included the state’s two senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and Gov. Chris Sununu.

In New York, Karina Borbon, who arrived in the U.S. from the Dominican Republic ten years ago, explained how it felt to realize her dream.

“I am so excited…It was a long journey but finally, I did it,” Borbon, 32, told the New York Daily News. “Now I have become a part of the nation. I want to help my community and help the people become citizens, too.”

Hazera Khanom of Bangladesh listens during a naturalization ceremony, Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at the New York Public Library. (AP)
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Nusrat Zaman, who was born in Bangladesh and now lives in the Bronx, told the Daily News it was hard to leave her home country and her friends behind.

“New York is so easy to handle, you can go everywhere…You can study here, you can (get) financial aid. In Bangladesh, you have to pay a lot of money (to study),” Zaman, 25, who is studying at LaGuardia Community College and hoping to pursue a career in health administration, told the New York newspaper.

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$45,000-per-year private school in uproar over plan to ‘segregate’ students by race

The Little Red School House, a private school in New York, is under fire from parents over a policy to segregate students based on race. (Wikipedia)
The Little Red School House, a private school in New York, is under fire from parents over a policy to segregate students based on race.  (Wikipedia)
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Parents at a posh private school are unhappy over an administrator’s plan to continue allegedly segregating students by race.

The Little Red School House in New York’s West Village, which has tuition fees of $45,485 per year, told parents last month that non-white middle school students will be placed in the same homeroom in the fall, the New York Post reported.

They learned that the race-based placement, implemented by Director Philip Kassen, already had been in effect for seventh and eighth graders during the 2017-18 school year.

The historically progressive school reportedly counts the children of celebrities including David Schwimmer and Christy Turlington Burns among its student body.

Kassen did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The New York Post reports that each grade, which has approximately 40 students, has two homerooms. Students remain with their homeroom groups for 30 percent of the school day.

“My daughter who is 11 was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy. They are talking about separating by color,’” one father, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Post.

“And I was thinking how antiquated is this? This is backwards. It’s almost like segregation now.”

After a Post inquiry, Kassen sent a message to parents Wednesday detailing last year’s race-placement “initiative” — although multiple sources told the paper they weren’t aware of it.

Still, parents said the school always let race play a heavy hand in class placement. One mother said for three years all but one of the 10 non-white students in her child’s grade were assigned to the same class in lower school.

When the policy became more widely understood in early June, parents started to express their displeasure.

The Post reported that Kassen, who made $403,039 in total compensation in 2016, emailed parents on June 12 to say the placement policy would be reviewed.

Eight days later, he emailed again, stating that he would end the policy, but would continue to keep “race as a critical, but not primary, determinant.”

“How could a school possibly do that? I don’t know if I would necessarily send a child to a school that separated by race,” Amanda Uhry, president of Manhattan Private School Advisors, told the Post.

Uhry continued: “1964, remember that? We had segregation in America. What is this? It’s segregation!”

One educational consultant in New York told the Post that the policy is meant to help black or Latino students feel less isolated by giving them safety in numbers.

However, she said it would be only a temporary solution and would not address larger, systemic issues at work.

“The problem is, there still isn’t enough diversity in New York City independent schools. This is just a band-aid. You need to advocate for more financial aid and diversity,” she said.

Fox News’ Madeline Fish contributed to this report.

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New York state trooper killed responding to domestic dispute, official says

A New York state trooper was killed responding to a domestic disturbance, an official said. (New York State Police/Facebook)
A New York state trooper was killed responding to a domestic disturbance, an official said.  (New York State Police/Facebook)
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A New York state trooper was shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance call Monday and the suspected gunman is also dead, an official told The Associated Press.

The trooper, who wasn’t immediately identified, was on the scene of a domestic dispute south of Corning, near the Pennsylvania border.

The suspect wasn’t immediately identified and the details around the domestic dispute weren’t released. It also wasn’t clear how the suspect died.

The shooting occurred near SUNY Corning Community College, which prompted a massive police response. The college said in a Facebook post there was no threat to campus.

“All offices are open. The State Police are investigating the incident and are using one of the College’s parking lots as a Command Center. All questions should be referred to the State Police,” the college said.

Since the start of 2018, at least 46 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have died while on duty — with 28 of the deaths caused by gunfire.

Monday’s incident marked the second time a New York state trooper was killed responding to a domestic call in just under a year. Trooper Joel Davis, 36, was fatally shot July 9, 2017, in northern New York by an Army soldier as he responded to reports of gunfire at the soldier’s home near Fort Drum. The soldier also killed his wife and wounded another woman before surrendering to troopers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Detroit woman found living with body of daughter who died eight months ago

A mother grieving the death of her daughter reportedly has been living with her body in this Detroit home for the past eight months. (FOX2 Detroit)
A mother grieving the death of her daughter reportedly has been living with her body in this Detroit home for the past eight months. (FOX2 Detroit)
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A grieving Detroit mother who apparently didn’t want to let go of her deceased daughter’s body reportedly has been living with the corpse since November.

Police say they found a body belonging to the 47-year-old woman at her mother’s home Sunday afternoon on the city’s west side.

“There was never a smell. Never,” a surprised neighbor told FOX2 Detroit.

Another neighbor, who identified herself as Kimberly, said she was “totally shocked that this could happen in our community, right across the street.”

Neighbors said the woman’s daughter had health problems, however, the death is still being investigated by a medical examiner.

She died last year, but her mother kept her body inside the home, the windows of which were covered in blankets, sources told Fox 2 Detroit.

“I know how bad she must feel, I can go down there and relate to her,” one neighbor told the station.

Not reporting a death to police in Michigan is a misdemeanor crime that carries a 1-year jail sentence or $1,000 fine, but it is not clear yet if anyone will be charged, according to FOX2.

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