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18-day-old giraffe suddenly dies at Ohio zoo

Ubumwe, the female giraffe calf that was born Oct. 30, died Saturday, Columbus Zoo officials said.

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Zoo officials said in a series of Facebook posts that Ubumwe had been energetic and nursing well in her first two weeks, weighing an estimated 130 pounds a week ago. But she began experiencing “gastrointestinal discomfort” Friday afternoon, leading to multiple tests and treatment.

An ultrasound showed an abnormality of the bowel, but after receiving intensive care from the zoo’s animal care professionals, Ubumwe appeared comfortable overnight, according to the zoo’s statement.

But early Saturday morning, the Masai giraffe calf deteriorated rapidly, and she soon passed away. Zoo officials said the cause of death is unknown, pending an autopsy and a pathology report that will take several weeks.

Thousands of people followed Ubumwe’s birth and first weeks, watching via the online “Giraffe Cam” through National Geographic. One of the zoo’s other giraffes, Cami, is expecting a calf soon.

Turkey fryer fire destroys garage, causes $20K in damages

Fire officials in Wisconsin said a turkey fryer left unattended led to a structure fire and costly damages.

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The fire occurred Wednesday afternoon in a home's garage, WISN reported.

The Racine Fire Department said the fryer, which was left unattended for an unspecified amount of time, caught fire inside the garage and caused the structure to go up in flames. The garage was destroyed, and the fire caused approximately $20,000 in damages, WISN reported.

The Racine Fire Department posted Wednesday on its Facebook page, "Please be safe when cooking holiday meals," and linked to a YouTube video from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which shows just how quickly a turkey fryer can catch on fire. The CPSC urges consumers to not operate a turkey fryer in a garage or porch, and don't overfill the fryer.

Good Samaritan couple finds, returns bag filled with $25,000

A good Samaritan couple found and returned a business owner’s deposit bag that was filled with $25,000. 

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Jeff and Michelle Green recovered the bag, which belonged to Gautambhai Patel, the Rincon Police Department said

“We always encourage citizens to do the right thing both morally and legally, because if you find property that is not yours and do not attempt to find the owner, it is called theft of lost or mislaid property,” the department wrote in a social media post

Lee Corso wears full mascot outfit for UCF pick

Saturday is a historic day for the nation's largest university as it made its debut on ESPN's "College GameDay."

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An estimated 20,000 fans filled the University of Central Florida's sprawling Memory Mall to witness the live three-hour broadcast in person.

"I'm stoked," UCF fan Caroline Klaffer said. "I got my sign ready. It's going to be a long day, but it's worth it all, because I'll never be able to do it again."

Famous for presenting paternity test results, talk show host Maury Povich appeared on Saturday's program with an envelope and said, "UCF: You are the winner!"

The show culminated with Orlando native and Lake Mary resident Lee Corso -- who typically puts on a mascot costume head to reveal his prediction for a game's winner -- donning a full Knightro mascot costume.

Corso shouted, "Go Knights! Go Knights! Go Knights!" as black curtains surrounding a stage were dropped, revealing his pick. The crowd roared with cheer and applause.

"I think this could really open up some eyes and give people an opportunity to have a good look at UCF and what (it has) been able to build here," ESPN commentator Rece Davis said.

UCF and the University of Cincinnati are Top 25 teams eager to show college football fans what they and the American Athletic Conference are all about.

The undefeated, 11th-ranked Knights and the once-beaten No. 24 Bearcats take a shot at stating their case Saturday in a prime-time, nationally televised matchup with league championship implications.

Police: Suspected drunken driver stopped in car without windows, missing tire

A Nebraska man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after being found driving in a heavily damaged vehicle, police said.

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An alert citizen contacted police after seeing the vehicle, which was missing a tire and had most of its windows smashed out, on the road, the Bellevue Police Department tweeted early Saturday morning.

Police said the driver and vehicle were involved in a rollover crash overnight but kept on driving. Police suspected the man was under the influence of alcohol.

The man was taken to the hospital for treatment, then will be transported to jail, police said.

Officer suffers fatal heart attack while on duty

A Virginia Beach police officer had a fatal heart attack Friday night while on duty. 

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Officer Kelvin Bailey, who has 30 years on the force, unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, WAVY reported

He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Teacher wins $30K for self, $70K for school in national skilled trades contest

A nationwide contest awarding cash prizes to the top skilled-trades teachers in the country named a Gwinnett County welding teacher as the first-place winner.

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Charles Kachmar, who teaches metals and welding at Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville was awarded the 2018 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, earning him and his school $100,000 as part of $1 million awarded nationally

The school will receive $70,000 for the its skilled trades program and $30,000 goes to Kachmar. 

“The creativity and hands-on projects that Mr. Kachmar and the other winning teachers bring to their classrooms is an inspiration,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “This is education at its best, and we are humbled to honor these teachers and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education.” 

Two other $100,000 first-place prizes were awarded to a construction trades teacher from Michigan and an industrial diesel mechanics teacher from Ohio. Another 15 second-place winners across the country received $50,000. Harbor Freight Tools donated $34,000 to 34 semi-finalists. 

The prize was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize extraordinary public high school skilled trades teachers and programs with a proven track record of dedication and performance. The prize is awarded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of The Smidt Foundation. 

“These incredible teachers are an inspiration—to their students, to their communities and to us,” said Eric Smidt, Harbor Freight Tools founder. “They are masters of their trades and instill in their students a passion for the skilled trades that gives them a path to a meaningful, good-paying career. These are local jobs in every community across America, building and repairing homes, fixing cars and appliances, and so much more. We're honored to be able to recognize these teachers for inspiring and developing the future workforce our country needs.” 

Charles Kachmar has been a teacher for 23 years, following a career as a marine insurance underwriter. He has taught metals and welding at Maxwell High School of Technology since 2012. Kachmar has rebuilt and revitalized the skilled-trades program at the school by raising the curriculum standards and developing career opportunities for students through a dual credit program with Gwinnett Technical College, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor. 

“It’s all about showing students the doors to a future. That is my love,” Kachmar wrote in his application for the prize. “And I have never been so completely fulfilled in my profession as I am as a welding instructor.” 

Under his leadership, Kachmar has changed the image of the welding program at Maxwell High from a class of last resort to one of the most popular classes in the school. Kachmar’s students give back to the community by building beds for local homeless women and children in need of emergency shelter. With the same fanfare as signing ceremonies for college-bound athletes, Kachmar holds a signing ceremony for his graduating seniors to announce where they will go on to school or employment. 

“The students become my forever kids,” Kachmar said. “I keep in touch with a majority of them through social media to follow their personal growth. Their success is what gets me excited.” 

Family's snow turkey a cool Thanksgiving greeting

A Pennsylvania family didn't let a snowfall dampen their Thanksgiving plans.

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Instead, the appropriately-named Snow family created a giant snow turkey in their yard.

Royanna Snow and daughters, Brooke and Britynn, took Thursday evening's snowfall in Oil City and created a frosty ode to Thanksgiving, The Derrick reported. 

"Every year, we try to do something fun," Snow told The Derrick. "Since it's right before Thanksgiving, we decided to do a turkey." 

The Snow family's winter art creations have been featured before by their town. In 2015, the family created a Lady Liberty snow figure. 

Pike County murders: Court docs reveal custody battle at heart of killings

Sophia Wagner was just 2 when prosecutors say her father was part of the group who killed her mother and seven more family members.

Little Sophia was not at any of the crime scenes when the execution-style murders happened.

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Comparing her father’s indictment and custody documents he filed a week after the killings provides new insight into the charges against Edward “Jake” Wagner and how the custody battle unfolded that prosecutors said was central to the deaths of eight people.

New court documents obtained by show Wagner applied for custody of his daughter, Sophia May, on April 28, 2016, just six days after investigators say he, his brother and their parents killed eight members of the Rhoden family.

Hanna Rhoden, Sophia’s mother, was one of the victims.

Custody over their daughter played a role in the killings, Ohio Attorney General and Gov.-elect Mike DeWine said. “There certainly was obsession with custody. Obsession with control of children.”

The dispute was not a secret to those who knew the Rhodens.

“Jake was really good friends with and was really close with the family until the custody battle came up,” said the Rev. Phil Fulton, pastor of Union Hill Church.

These custody documents also provide insight into the timeline of the case.

Sophia was born in November 2013. This means she was conceived in the middle of the time frame prosecutors say Wagner had “unlawful sexual conduct with a minor” involving Rhoden between January and March of 2013.

At the time, Wagner was 20, and Rhoden was 15.

In the custody documents, Wagner said he and Rhoden dated exclusively before Sophia was conceived and after she was born. But in March 2015, he said, “Hanna decided that I worked too much and that I did not have enough time for her.” Wagner stated in the documents they stopped living together but stayed involved in a “non-exclusive romantic relationship” and shared parenting of Sophia.

In September 2015, Wagner said Rhoden broke off the relationship, but he said they decided to share custody and parenting of Sophia.

Prosecutors say Wagner and his family started planning the killings just four months later.

Rhoden was pregnant at the time with her second daughter, who was 4 days old when her mother was slain. Wagner is not that child’s father. Two other children were present at that death scene, a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old. All the young children were left unharmed.

Also slain were Hanna’s parents, Dana and Christopher Rhoden Sr.; her brothers, Christopher Rhoden Jr. and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; Frankie’s girlfriend, Hannah Gilley; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, Kenny Rhoden; and Rhoden Sr.’s cousin Gary Rhoden. Christopher Rhoden Jr. was 16 and the only juvenile killed.

A judge granted Wagner temporary custody of Sophia the month after the killings, in May 2016. She lived with her father as the family moved to Alaska following the homicides, and she moved back to Pike County with him this spring and lived with him until her father’s arrest Tuesday. Wagner is now held in the Franklin County Correction Center in Columbus.

“My understanding is that children services is involved, and that’s really all I can say,” DeWine said earlier this week of Sophia. In the Rhoden family killings, George “Billy” Wagner III; his wife, Angela Wagner, and their sons, George Wagner IV and Jake Wagner, are charged with eight counts of aggravated murder, plus gun and death penalty specifications on each; one count of conspiracy; four counts of aggravated burglary; one count of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance; three counts of evidence tampering; and one count each of forgery, unauthorized use of property, interception of wire, oral or electronic communication, obstructing justice and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Wagner’s grandmothers, Fredericka Wagner, Billy’s mother, and Rita Newcomb, Angela’s mother, are charged with obstructing justice and perjury in the case.

Florida woman's hilarious squirrel photo wins top honor

A Florida woman has a squirrel to thank for earning her the top prize at a wildlife photography competition.

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Mary McGowan, of Brandon, was named 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Friday at The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards in London. Her amusing photo, captioned "Caught in the Act," features an open-mouthed squirrel with front paws outstretched in a “stop” motion. The image has delighted people around the world.

The contest is in its fourth year, The Telegraph reported. The competition helps raise funds for the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity.

Next year's competition opens March 1, 2019.

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