ZachNews: Looks Back on the News Stories of 2017.

ZachNews: Looks Back on the News Stories of 2017.

As we all welcome in the New Year 2018, ZachNews takes a look back at a few of the news stories that occurred locally, nationally, and internationally in 2017.

** News Stories From 2017: **

  • Long Island Railroad (L.I.R.R.) Train Derailed:

On Wednesday, January 4th, 2017, a Long Island Railroad (L.I.R.R.) train has derailed at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York at around 8:30am ET.

According to the New York Fire Department, 103 people have non life-threatening injuries in the Long Island Railroad (L.I.R.R.) derailment at Atlantic Terminal.

 

  • Deadly Shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport:

On Friday, January 6th, 2017, people take cover outside of Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after a shooting near the baggage claim.

Authorities say 5 people were killed and 8 people were wounded in the attack by a lone gunman, who was later taken down and was arrested after the deadly shooting.

 

  • Human Remains of Sidney Cranston Jr. Found:

On Saturday, January 7th, 2017, human remains were found in a remote area east of Kingman, Arizona.

The human remains found were days later positive identified by the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office as 40 year old Sidney Cranston Jr., who has been missing since June 2015.

Authorities say 61 year old Alfredo Blanco, who worked for Sidney Cranston Jr. as a handyman and rental property manager, was arrested 4 days later at a rehabilitation facility in Phoenix, Arizona and was held without bail on first-degree murder charge.

Alfredo Blanco was accused of killing Sidney Cranston Jr. on or about Friday, June 19th, 2015, and burying his body on the ranch.

Bill Sanders, an acquaintance of Alfredo Blanco, was also indicted as an accomplice to the murder.

Bill Sanders pleaded not guilty to charges of concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

 

  • San Diego Chargers become L.A. Chargers:

On Wednesday, January 11th, 2017, the San Diego Chargers in San Diego, California announced they’re moving to Los Angeles, California.

Chargers fans across San Diego, California were sad and upset at the announcement.

 

  • Plasco Building Fire and Collapse:

On Thursday, January 19th, 2017, high rise building known as the Plasco building collapsed in Tehran, Iran on Thursday, January 18th, 2017 during a fire.

At least 30 firefighters are believed to be dead after a high rise building fire and collapse.

 

  • Donald Trump Sworn in as 45th President of the United States:

On Friday, January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump Sworn in as 45th President of the United States on the west front steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, District of Columbia.

United States President Donald Trump acknowledges the audience after taking the oath of office as his wife Melania and daughter Tiffany watched during the inauguration ceremonies.

 

– Mary Tyler Moore Died:

On Wednesday, January 25th, 2017, beloved television icon Mary Tyler Moore died  at a hospital in Connecticut.

Mary Tyler Moore became known for 2 beloved characters that spurned the traditional view of a women’s roles in the home or the workforce, inspiring a generation along the way.

Mary Tyler Moore’s first big career break came when she portrayed Laura Petrie, a mother who refused to play second fiddle to her husband, on the Dick van Dyke Show in 1961.

Later, because of her growing popularity, Mary Tyler Moore got her own eponymous show in 1970 in which she played the role of Mary Richards, a tough single woman working her way through a Minneapolis TV station.

 

  • United States President issues Executive Action approving Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

On Wednesday, January 25th, 2017, United States President Donald Trump issued an executive action in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, District of Columbia approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

The proposed 1,172 miles of pipeline would transport oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.

Environmental advocates and Native American rights activists have been protesting for several months over their concerns with the pipelines’ potential impact on the environment and possible infringement upon the land and resources of Native American tribes.

Environmental advocates and Native American rights activists were upset by the executive action.

 

  • Protests Against Muslim Travel Ban:

On Saturday, January 28th, 2017, Protesters rally during a demonstration against the Muslim immigration ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, New York.

President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order initially halted refugees and residents from seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. before federal appeals court judges with the 9th Circuit Court blocked it, prompting a cycle of revisions and appeals. Debate over the restrictions has centered on whether they constitute a legitimate exercise of national security powers or the “Muslim ban” Trump promised during his campaign.

 

  • New England Patriots Wins Super Bowl LI:

The New England Patriots has won against Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, the 51st Super Bowl and the 47th modern-era National Football League (N.F.L.) championship game, held on Sunday, February 5th, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

 

  • Man pleads guilty to providing guns in San Bernardino Terrorist Attack:

On Thursday, February 16th, 2017, A man pleaded guilty to providing the high powered rifles used to in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015.

ZachNews received these sketch pictures by artist Bill Robles of the man, 25 year old Enrique Marquez Jr. from Riverside, California.

A plea agreement between 25 year old Enrique Marquez Jr. of Riverside, California and prosecutors was accepted by a federal judge in Riverside, California.

 

  • Shooting Death of a Whittier Police Department Officer:

On Monday, February 20th, 2017, A community is mourning the loss of a slain Whittier Police Department Officer following a shootout with authorities while investigating a minor car accident in Whittier, California.

The slain Whittier Police Department Officer was identified as 53 year old Keith Boyer, a 25 year veteran Whittier Police Officer.

Authorities say the Whittier Police Department Officer was shot and killed by a recently released gang member.

A suspect, 26 year old Michael Christopher Mejia, was later arrested and charged with murder for the killings of Officer Keith Boyer and his own cousin, 47 year old Roy Torres, in East Los Angeles, California earlier that day.

 

  • Dave Hayes of KTOX 1340AM and ‘Blood Orange Project’ Band Died:

Former owner of KTOX 1340 AM in Needles, California and ‘Blood Orange Project’ band member Dave Hayes died.

Dave Hayes was a long time resident of Fort Mohave, Arizona and was the former owner of KTOX 1340 AM in Needles, California and hosted a morning talk program called ‘Don’t Start Me Talking’ with Frank Costigan, a former L.A.X. Police Department Chief.

Dave Hayes and Frank Costigan discussed local politics around the Colorado River Tri-State as well as reporting on news and investigations that were going on in the community, including corruption inside local governments and law enforcement as well as what events were going on around the community and U.F.O., including the U.F.O. crash landing that occurred in Needles, California in May 2008.

 

  • Needles’ Lady Stangs Wins Championship Final:

On Saturday, February 25th, 2017, The Lady Stangs of Needles High School in Needles, California won the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (N.I.A.A.) Class 2A State Basketball Championship Final 2017 against Agassi Prep Stars inside Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Needles Lady ‘Stangs team arrived later that night to Needles High School where they were all greeted with cheers by their family, friends, and fans.

 

  • Actor Bill Paxton, Weather Man and Storm Chaser in “Twister” Movie, Died:

On Saturday, February 25th, 2017, The actor who inspired future storm chasers in the movie “Twister”, 61 year old Bill Paxton, has died following complications from surgery.

According to a statement from a representative of Bill Paxton’s family. “It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery. A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Bill Paxton starred in many movies, but was well known for being the weather man and storm chaser in the 1996 movie “Twister”.

 

  • Retired Judge Joseph Wapner from “The People’s Court” Died:

On Sunday, February 26th, 2017, The retired judge who famously presided over televised court cases on “The People’s Court”, 97 year old Joseph Wapner, has died at home in his sleep.

From 1981 to 1993, “The People’s Court” was one of the granddaddies of the reality court shows of today, deciding real small-claims cases on the show.

Joseph Wapner auditioned for the show soon after retiring from Los Angeles, California courts, where he had been a judge for more than 20 years.

 

  • Suspect Arrested in San Bernardino County Shooting Spree:

On Thursday, March 16th, 2017, a man suspected of shooting of a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Patrick Higgins in the chest in Hesperia, California was arrested.

Deputies responded to a robbery at 12:45am PT near a Chevron Gas Station located on Ranchero Road and Escondido Avenue where the shooting occurred.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department identified the suspect as 37 year old Kenneth Scott Welch from Redlands, California and was later linked to 2 other shootings along Interstate 210 Freeway in Rialto, California and a fatal shooting in Highland, California.

Kenneth Scott Welch was charged with murder and attempted murder of Mario Figueroa, gunned down as he got out of his vehicle in Highland, and for attempted murder of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Higgins and other shootings along the Interstate 210.

 

  • Music Legend Chuck Berry Died:

On Saturday, March 18th, 2017, The St. Charles County Police Department has confirmed that music legend, 90 year old Chuck Berry, has died in St. Charles County, Missouri.

St. Charles County Police Department said first responders responded to a medical emergency on Buckner Road at approximately 12:40pm CT and observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques, but the man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26pm CT.

The St. Charles County Police Department confirmed the identity of the deceased man as Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as Chuck Berry.

Chuck Berry went on to revolutionize music with his melding of the blues, country and rock; best-known songs were, “Round and Round,” “Carol,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Back in the U.S.A.,” and “Little Queenie”.

Chuck Berry was one of the first round of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1986.

 

  • Westminster Bridge and Parliament Building Terror Attack:

On Wednesday, March 22th, 2017, the Metropolitan Police Service in London, England said at least 3 people are dead and several people were injured in a terror attack along the Westminster Bridge and outside the Parliament building in London, England.

The attacker struck several people walking along the Westminster Bridge in a vehicle then after crashing the vehicle into a railing near the Parliament building, the attacker armed with a knife tried to enter Parliament building.

The attacker stabbed and killed a police officer outside the Parliament building and was later identified by Scotland Yard as 48 year old Keith Palmer, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and served on the force for 15 years.

The attacker was later shot and killed by police officers.

 

  • Suspect Arrested in Shooting and Barricaded Situation along the Las Vegas Strip.

On Saturday, March 25th, 2017, The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrested a suspect in a shooting and barricaded situation on the bus along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department responded to a reported shooting on a bus on Las Vegas Boulevard near the Cosmopolitan Resort.

The suspect barricade himself on the bus and SWAT Team responded to the barricade situation on the bus.

Over 5 hours later, the suspect reportedly armed with a handgun, was arrested without incident.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reports a person has died and a second person in the incident, but no other victims were found on the bus.

 

 

  • National Football League owners approved Raiders’ Relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada:

On Monday, March 27th, 2017, National Football League owners approved a proposal that will allow the Oakland Raiders to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The relocation move was approved by 31 of the National Football League’s 32 owners during meetings in Phoenix, Arizona.

In a released statement, Raiders Owner Mark Davis said, “My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness. I would like to thank Commissioner Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality. The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.

 

  • Fatal Fire at the Mesa Grande Apartments:

On Thursday, March 30th, 2017, a fatal fire occurred at the Mesa Grande Apartments in Needles, California.

First responders arrived to discover a 6 unit apartment complex fully involved on fire with flames burning through the roof of one unit and spreading to adjacent units through the attic space.

Initial attack efforts were hampered by gusting winds over 50 mph and some blowing dust.

Due to the degree of fire involvement, a defensive attack was mounted and firefighters were able to save 2 units in the complex.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner’s Office, and the City of Needles all confirmed the fatal fire, which was later reported on ZachNews after getting official conformations.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner’s Office asked the news media to wait until next of kin was noticed for a name of the elderly female to be release, but another local news outlet reported a name not released by officials.

Since the fatal fire, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner’s Office has never official release the identified elderly female.

 

  • Deadly Bombing Attack inside the Saint Petersburg Metro.

On Monday, April 3rd, 2017, an explosion occurred inside the Saint Petersburg Metro in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The explosion occurred aboard a Saint Petersburg Metro subway train, while inside a subway tunnel, between the Sennaya Ploschad subway station and the Tekhnologichesky Institute subway station.

According to Russia’s Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova, 14 people died in the bombing and 49 people were wounded and are still hospitalized.

The suspect was later identified by authorities as 22 year old Akbarzhon Jalilov, who investigators say body parts of the suspect were found in the third car of the mangled train.

 

  • Legendary Comedian Don Rickles Died:

On Thursday, April 6th, 2017, Legendary comedian known for his playfully caustic wit, 90 year old Don Rickles, died at his home in Los Angeles, California.

According to Paul Shefrin, his longtime publicist, confirmed that Don Rickles died of kidney failure.

Don Rickles served 2 years in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged in 1946.

Don Rickles went on to a career in films, television and standup comedy that spanned 55 years.

The “Merchant of Venom” is perhaps best known for Don Rickles’ barbed one-liners that targeted, among others, such luminaries as President Ronald Reagan, legendary singer Frank Sinatra and late-night television icon Johnny Carson.

 

  • United States launches missiles at Syria after Chemical Attack:

On Friday, April 7th, 2017, The United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria overnight in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people.

Syria claimed that at least 6 people were killed, but the United States’ Pentagon said civilians were not targeted and the strike was aimed at a military airfield in Homs.

A United States military official told NBC News that all but one of the missiles hit their intended target.

President Donald Trump said, “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

 

 

  • Truck plows into crowd along Drottninggatan pedestrian street:

On Friday, April 7th, 2017, A truck has plowed into a crowd a pedestrian street known as the Drottninggatan in Stockholm, Sweden.

The truck drove along the busy pedestrianized street before ramming into the side of the Ahlens store.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said 2 people were killed in the crash and that a 39 year old suspect from Uzbekistan was arrested.

The suspect was detained and matched a picture put out by authorities showing a man in a green jacket, hoodie and white shoes.

 

  • Deadly Shooting at North Park Elementary School:

On Monday, April 10th, 2017, a teacher and 8 year old student died following the shooting inside North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California.

According to the San Bernardino Police Department, the identities of the 2 victims were later identified as 53 year old Karen Elaine Smith who died in the shooting and 8 year old Jonathan Martinez who died on his way to the hospital.

Another student, identified as 9 year old Nolan Brandy, would later be released from the hospital to his family after he was hit in the upper body during the deadly shooting.

According to the San Bernardino Police Department, the suspect, identified as Cedric Charles Anderson, died after shooting Karen Elaine Smith.

 

  • United States military dropped GBU-43 bomb on ISIS tunnel complex:

On Thursday, April 13th, 2017, Pentagon Officials confirmed the United States military has dropped GBU-43 bomb, known as the “mother of all bombs,” onto a ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.

In a statement, Gen. John W. Nicholson, United States Commander in Afghanistan, said, “As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense. This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”

The use of the GBU-43 bomb is believe to have been the first time the weapon was used on the battlefield against ISIS fighters and facilities.

 

  • Nationwide manhunt Facebook murder suspect Steve W. Stephens ends:

On Tuesday, April 18th, 2017, The nationwide manhunt underway for Facebook murder suspect accused of shooting death of an elderly man in Cleveland, Ohio has ended when his body was found in a vehicle in Erie, Pennsylvania.

An employee at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant called 911 well employees held up the suspect’s order until authorities arrived.

Steve W. Stephens later shot and killed himself as authorities approached his vehicle.

Steve W. Stephens was filmed himself killing an elderly man, identified as 74 year old Robert Godwin Sr., who walking along East 93rd Street collecting aluminum cans on Sunday, April 16, 2017 then posting the video on Facebook.

 

  • Deadly shooting spree leaves several people dead and the suspect arrested.

On Tuesday, April 18th, 2017, The Fresno Police Department and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office confirmed at least 3 people are dead and a suspect arrested in a deadly shooting spree in Fresno, California.

At least 16 rounds were fired in less than a minute at 4 locations in the Fresno, California area, including a Catholic Charities facility, where the suspect killed a man in the parking lot.

The suspect, identified as 39 year old Kori Ali Muhammad, was later charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

During a jailhouse interview with CBS affiliate KGPE Channel 47, Kori Ali Muhammad admitted to the shootings and give more insight into his state of mind and motives.

Someone has to fight for all the people who died at the hands of racist white men. I was actually going to go turn myself in, and then I started thinking about the missing black women and children. I started thinking about Flint, Michigan. I started thinking about the crack cocaine epidemic. I started thinking about all the injustice and the atrocities that my people go through. And that’s why I snapped. I wasn’t thinking like … I’m going to kill, kill, kill. All I knew was white supremacy has to die and the people who benefit from white supremacy … are white men,” Kori Ali Muhammad told CBS affiliate KGPE Channel 47.

 

  • Terrorist Ambush Attack on the Champs-Elysees:

On Thursday, April 20th, 2017, Authorities in France say 3 police department officers were ambushed at the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France.

The ISIS inspired man armed with a gun pulled up beside a parked police car near the Franklin Roosevelt Metro Station and opened fire killing a police department officer and injuring 2 police department officers.

The gunman was then fatally shot while trying to flee down the famed boulevard.

 

  • Driver slammed into pedestrians in Times Square:

On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, A wrong-way driver slammed into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square in New York City, New York.

The New York Police Department said a person was killed and 22 people were injured in the incident.

The driver, 26 year old Richard Rojas from Bronx, was taken into police custody after barreling into the lunch-hour crowd on Seventh Avenue shortly before 12:00pm ET.

According to the New York Police Department, Richard Rojas, had a criminal record, including D.W.I. arrests.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities did not believe it was a terror attack.

 

  • Chris Cornell, Soundgarden Frontman and Grunge Icon, Died:

On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell died suddenly in Detroit, Michigan after performing there earlier in the evening.

As the lead singer, guitarist and composer for Seattle-based Soundgarden, 52 years old Chris Cornell was at the forefront of the 1990’s grunge rock movement.

Formed in 1984 by Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s third studio album, “Badmotorfinger,” in 1991 spawned singles “Jesus Christ Pose,” ”Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” that received regular play on alternative rock radio stations.

According to the Wayne County Medical Examiner Assistant Dr. Theodore Brown, Chris Cornell killed himself; a resistance band was around his neck, and the other end was attached to a clip over the top of the bathroom door.

Chris Cornell had drugs in his body, including an anti-anxiety medication, but they didn’t contribute to his death by hanging.

A thousand flowers would later cover the grave of Chris Cornell at Hollywood Forever in Hollywood, California.

 

  • Terror Attack during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena:

On Monday, May 22nd, 2017, An explosion occurred during an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

The explosion done by ISIS inspired terrorists, killed 22 people, including innocent children and a serving police officer, and injured over 500 people.

Condolences and tributes to the innocent lives taken away by evil terrorist spread internationally.

Singer Ariana Grande was not hurt in the terror attack, but was i deep shock and sad by the lost of so many innocent people, including children who came out with their family to see their favorite singer.

Following the terror attack, Singer Ariana Grande surprised youngsters at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 and brought everybody a sunflower and a teddy bear.

All the children and parents were very happy the Ariana Grande came and brought joy, hope, and lots of love to her young fans.

After initial suspicions of a terrorist network, authorities later said they believed the bomber, 22 year old Salman Ramadan Abedi, had largely acted alone and died in the terror attack, but authorities say that others had been aware of his plans.

Authorities said the bomber’s father and 2 brothers were arrested following the explosion.

The Libyan government spokesperson told the Associated Press that bomber’s 23 year old brother Ismail was arrested and younger brother, 18 year old Hashim, was arrested in Tripoli.

The bomber’s father, Ramadan Abedi (also known as Abu Ismail), was also detained in Tripoli, but before his arrest, he told news reporters that his son was innocent.

Also, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told the Associated Press that British authorities detained 4 potential associates of Abedi in the United Kingdom and said, “It’s very clear this is a network we are investigating.”

Weeks after the terror attack, Singer Ariana Grande, along with several artists and bands, are uniting together at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, England on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 for a benefit concert honoring the victims and families of the terrorist bombing an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

A benefit concert feature performances by Ariana Grande as well as Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Take That, Niall Horan, Little Mix, Robbie Williams, and the Black Eyed Peas.

The benefit concert raised over $3.5 million dollars for the “We Love Manchester” Emergency Fund.

 

  • Taiwan Legalizes Gay Marriage:

On Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, Same-sex activists celebrated outside the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan as they celebrate the landmark decision paving the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage.

 

  • Terror Attack along London Bridge and Borough Market:

On Saturday, June 3rd, 2017, a vehicle barreled into pedestrians on London Bridge before the attackers embarked on a stabbing rampage at nearby Borough Market in London, England.

According to the London’s Metropolitan Police, 7 people were killed and 47 people injured and hospitalized.

The 3 attackers were shot and killed by authorities within minutes after receiving reports of the terror attack.

The terror attacks on London Bridge and at the market come 2 months after a driver plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, England what authorities have called a terror attack, and almost 2 weeks after a deadly suicide bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

 

  • Warriors Win 2017 NBA Championship

On Monday, June 12th, 2017, The Golden State Warriors celebrate their championship win after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

 

  • Grenfell Tower Apartment Building Fire.

On Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, a massive fire occurred at the Grenfell Tower, a 24 story apartment building in West London, England.

At least 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters to battle the massive fire.

The fire killed 71 people, including a stillbirth, injured over 70 people, and hundreds of households were displaced.

The fire started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer, but police said it was not started deliberately.

Footage has shown the fire spreading up one side of the building externally, before engulfing the entire block.

Downing Street ordered immediate testing of the fridge freezer that were involved.

The Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during the refurbishment, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.

In February 2013, residents warned fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, had not been tested for 12 months.

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (K.C.T.M.O.) said it was aware that concerns had been raised historically by residents and they would form part of its investigations.

The tower block was given a medium fire risk rating – defined as a normal fire risk – in 2016 following completion of the refurbishment by the London Fire Brigade and Kensington and Chelsea Council.

The council insists the block has been regularly inspected, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said safety and maintenance issues would have to be looked at.

The fire safety advice for Grenfell Tower residents was to stay put unless the fire was affecting their own flat, because tower block flats were said to be built as a fire-resistant box, completely surrounded by fire-resisting construction from the rest of the building.

Months after the fire, dozens of people stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall demanding more support for the fire’s survivors.

Prime Minister Theresa May came in for criticism over her reaction to the Grenfell Tower fire, and she told the House of Commons that the official response had “not been good enough”.

Kensington and Chelsea council’s chief executive, Nicholas Holgate, resigned amid criticism over the borough’s response.

The council’s leader Nick Paget-Brown also resigned following continued criticism of the council’s handling of the tragedy.

The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the council’s arms-length body which manages the tower, has also stepped down to “concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry”.

The government has ordered a taskforce to take over the housing department, as well as other council operations.

 

  • Gunman opens fired on Republican lawmakers at a Congressional Baseball Practice.

On Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, A gunman opened fired on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

The shooting occurred during baseball practice for an annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

Republicans were practicing for the annual baseball game against Democrats that has been held since 1909.

Witnesses reported hearing at least 50 gunshots were fired from a reported rifle as congressmen and aides dove for cover.

The gunman wounded 6 people, including G.O.P. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Authorities identified the shooter as 66 year old James Thomas Hodgkinson, whose last permanent residence was in Belleville, Illinois.

James Thomas Hodgkinson was severely injured in the shootout with authorities and transported to George Washington University Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

After months of recovering from his injuries, Steve Scalise returned to the U.S. House on September 28th, 2017 to applause and cheers, where he gave a speech about his experience related to the traumatic events.

 

  • Shooting at a United Parcel Service facility.

On Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, a shooting occurred at a United Parcel Service (U.P.S.) facility in San Francisco, California.

According to San Francisco Police Department, 3 people were killed and 2 people were injured in the shooting.

Authorities responded to calls about the shooting at the facility and found a suspect armed with an assault pistol.

The shooter then used an assault gun on himself when he was apprehended by law enforcement officers.

The United Parcel Service (U.P.S.) confirmed that there was an incident involving 4 employees, but declined to provide identifies of the victims or the gunman.

 

  • Chester Bennington, Frontman for the band Linkin Park, Died:

On Tuesday, July 20th, 2017, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park was found dead of an apparent suicide at a home in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles, California.

According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, the body of 41 year old Chester Bennington was discovered at a home and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said Chester Bennington appeared to have hanged himself.

Chester Bennington rose to prominence with Linkin Park, which hit it big in 2000 with its debut album, “Hybrid Theory.” Riding on a nu-metal wave that blended rap, metal and electronic music, it sold more than 10 million albums and earned a certified diamond rating from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda confirmed Chester Bennington’s death on Twitter saying, “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.

Chester Bennington is also famed for fronting Stone Temple Pilots from 2014 to 2016 while continuing to produce records with Linkin Park.

Chester Bennington also collaborated with artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem, Lupe Fiasco and Steve Aoki.

 

  • Ribbon cutting ceremony held celebrating the restoring of some court services to the Needles Courthouse.

On Friday, July 7th, 2017, A ribbon cutting ceremony restoring limited court services to the community was held inside the Needles Courthouse in Needles, California.

Dignitaries and officials from the City of Needles, County of San Bernardino, law enforcement and Superior Court all attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

In a press release from the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino, effective Friday, July 7th, 2017, the San Bernardino Superior Court will open limited service in Needles, California for members of the public to address traffic and non-traffic infraction matters.

In addition, remote video proceedings will be supported by a judge sitting in the Barstow District.

This will allow residents to appear at the Needles District located at 1111 Bailey Avenue in Needles, California for remote appearance on traffic and non-traffic infraction arraignments.

The press release from the Superior Court of California also stated that additional services will be provided gradually as resources become available.

 

  • Beale Fire burns Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.

On Monday, July 10th, 2017, A brush fire is burning in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge near the Colorado River just west of Topock, Arizona.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez rushed over to the scene and captured on camera flames that were seen from along the Colorado River.

Multiple fire department agencies, including Mohave Valley Fire Department and San Bernardino County Fire Department, battling the brush fire as well as water dropping helicopters.

According to the Mohave Valley Fire Department, the Beale Fire is approximately 135 acres, no structures or neighborhoods were threatened, and no evacuations were ordered during the fire.

The fire was contained and the official cause of the fire has been determined to be lightning.

 

  • President Donald Trump Transgender Military Ban:

On Wednesday, July 26th, 2017, Untied States President Donald Trump banned transgender service members from serving in the military.

Thousands of transgender soldiers are currently serving in all branches of the United States Armed forces.

President Donald Trump announced the ban on transgender people serving in the military on Twitter saying, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…. Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..  victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s announcement was “a military decision” and was “not meant to be anything more than that,” adding that that the president’s administration believed the decision reached last year by the Obama administration “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion.”

During the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not provide any information on how or when the Pentagon and White House would begin implementing the new ban.

When asked how the administration would deal with transgender troops currently serving and who are already deployed in far-flung places like Afghanistan, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that the “implementation is something that the Department of Defense and the White House have to work together to lawfully determine,” and that “I imagine the Department of Defense will be the lead on this.”

Since the announcement Untied States President Donald Trump, he’s been unable to achieve that prohibition.

As of Friday, December 22nd, 2017, a panel of the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia refused the Trump administration’s request to let the ban start New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1st, 2018.

The decision comes after other federal judges have also refused to side with the Trump administration.

According to the Pentagon, they would allow transgender enlistment to start with the new year and continue as legal struggles play out.

The Justice Department said late Friday the Pentagon “will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks,” so the Trump administration will not litigate an appeal in the meantime.

That stance clarifies that enlistments can start New Year’s Day 2018 and existing transgender service members are protected from being discharged at least for now.

We are relieved that we don’t have to hit pause on the constitutional rights of transgender people who are willing and able to serve our country,” said Peter Renn, senior attorney for Lambda Legal, told NBC News and is one of the groups fighting the ban in court.

Transgender people have been able to serve openly since June 2016, but this month is the first time they can be open about their gender identity in the enlistment process. Despite this, however, the future of transgender people in the military remains uncertain.

According to Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, all future cases related to a proposed transgender military ban, according to Block, will now move forward with a “discovery process,” which means the government must substantiate Trump’s claim that trans service members pose an undue burden on the military.

Joshua Block said the government is unlikely to be successful in doing this, since the Pentagon’s own 2015 study demonstrated the opposite.

The military is allegedly supposed to give its recommendations to President Trump in February,” Joshua Block told NBC News adding, “It’s entirely possible that they would just announce in February that they recommended that President Trump rescind the ban and he accept the recommendation, but that’s all in their hands. At the end of the day, the military told Trump not to issue this ban. They warned him, and he did it anyway. Who knows if the president is going to take their recommendations or not.

 

  • Outrage over ‘Unite the Right’ White Supremacist Rally:

On Friday, August 11th, 2017, Protesters made up of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and various militias carried torches as they all marched on the grounds of the University of Virginia on the eve of a planned ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The rally was held to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.

The removal of the Robert E. Lee statue was part of a movement to removal Confederate monuments nationwide in response to the deadly shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 that killed 9 people, all African Americans, and the gunman, identified as Dylann Roof. was sentenced to death on Tuesday, January 11th, 2017 after a jurors came to their unanimous decision.

The rally march brought outrage across the nation and lead to other protest against hate.

 

  • ‘Unite The Right’ Rally Protest:

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, ahead of the ‘Unite The Right’ rally’s official start, protesters for the ‘Unite The Right’ rally and counter protesters against the rally faced off with each other in Charlottesville, Virginia.

An estimated 500 protesters and more than a thousand counter protesters were on the site.

The Associated Press reported that’ “people threw punches, screamed, set off smoke bombs, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays”; some engaged in combat while “others darted around, trying to avoid the chaos.

At least 14 people were injured in street brawls, and following the rally, at least 4 warrants for the arrest of white supremacist Christopher Cantwell were issued after Christopher Cantwell was charged by Virginia prosecutors with felonies related to “illegal use of gases, and injury by caustic agent or explosive.”

In a separate incident, Taylor Lorenz, journalist for The Hill, said that she was punched by counter protesters during the violence.

A man was arrested the day in the attack on the journalist and charged with assault and battery.

The City of Charlottesville declared a state of emergency, citing an “imminent threat of civil disturbance, unrest, potential injury to persons, and destruction of public and personal property”.

Later, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, saying that, “It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly-out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property. I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state.

Virginia State Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly via megaphones, and riot police cleared the scene.

Around 100 protesters for the ‘Unite The Right’ rally moved to McIntire Park where they gathered to hear speakers who had been scheduled for the “Unite the Right” rally.

 

  • Man Driving Vehicle Crashes Into Counter Protesters:

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, a man drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter protesters at Water Street and Fourth Street, about 4 blocks away from Emancipation Park, in Charlottesville, Virginia hitting several and slamming into a stopped sedan, which hit a stopped minivan that was in front of it.

The impact of the crash pushed the sedan and the minivan further into the crowd.

The man then reversed the vehicle through the crowd and fled the scene.

Video footage recorded at the scene showed a gray 2010 Dodge Challenger accelerating towards crowds, hitting people and sending them airborne, then reversing at high speed, hitting more people.

The moment when the car was driven into the crowd was captured on video by bystanders and in aerial video footage taken by a drone.

A person was killed and 19 people were injured in what police have called a deliberate attack.

Authorities say 32 year old Heather D. Heyer, a paralegal from Charlottesville, was fatally injured in the attack and pronounced dead at the University of Virginia’s University Hospital.

Of the 19 injured survivors, the University of Virginia Medical Center reported that 5 people were initially in critical condition.

That afternoon of Sunday, August 14th, 2017, at least 10 patients had been discharged from the hospital and the 9 remaining patients were in good condition.

Shortly after the attack, 20 year old James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, 3 counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop following an accident resulting in death, and held without bail.

Later on Friday, August 18th, 2017, James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with 3 counts of aggravated malicious wounding and 2 additional counts of malicious wounding.

The murder charge were later changed to first-degree murder on Thursday, December 14th, 2017.

At least 2 motorists injured in the vehicle incident have sued the organizers of the event and the driver.

United States President Donald Trump responded to the protest and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia saying, “There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for the country, but there are two sides to a story.

United States President Donald Trump responded to the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and asked whether opponents of such monuments were also prepared to take down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because they also owned slaves.

“This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself: ‘Where does it stop?'” asked United States President Donald Trump.

 

  • Virginia State Police Helicopter Crashes after monitoring ‘Unite The Right’ Rally Protest:

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, a Bell 407 helicopter owned by the Virginia State Police crashed in the woods along Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitor the ‘Unite The Right’ rally protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

According to the Virginia State Police, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48 year old from Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40 year old from Quinton, Virginia, were killed in the crash.

Nobody on the ground was injured in the fatal crash.

The crash was investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.), National Transportation Safety Board (N.T.S.B.), and Virginia State Police.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report did not reveal the cause of the crash, but said the aircraft did not collide with anything such as a bird or other aircraft.

It noted the same particular aircraft had been in a crash in 2010, but there is no known link between that incident and this one.

A final report was expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

 

  • Terror Attacks Across Spain:

On Thursday, August 17th, 2017, A van plowed into crowds on Barcelona’s La Rambla killing 13 people and wounding more than 100 people, before a car hit several people in a resort further down the Spanish coast, killing a woman in the second attack.

As security forces hunted the Barcelona van’s driver, who was seen fleeing the scene, 6 people and a police officer were run down by a car in a separate attack 8 hours later in Cambrils.

Police shot dead 5 attackers from Cambrils, who were wearing fake suicide belts.

Both attacks were also related to an explosion at a third location in a province about 100 miles southwest of Barcelona that left a person dead.

At least 4 suspects have been detained in separate arrests across the region.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that one of those killed in the attacks was an American.

The American killed in the terror attack was identified as 42 year old Jared Tucker from Walnut Creek, California, who was separated from his wife in the chaotic.

The father of Jared Tucker, Dan Tucker, told NBC News that Tucker’s wife, Heidi Nunes, confirmed her husband’s death.

The couple were in Europe celebrating their first wedding anniversary and had just enjoyed drinks on Barcelona’s wide, largely pedestrianized tourist street of La Rambla when their relaxing vacation was shattered by sharp cries.

The U.S. State Department confirmed another U.S. citizen had suffered minor injuries, but did not release further details out of respect to the grieving families.

 

  • Total Solar Eclipse:

On Monday, August 21st, 2017, Millions of people flocked to areas of the United States to watch a total solar eclipse.

People rushed to the “path of totality” in order to experience a total solar eclipse.

During the event, the moon passed in between the sun and the Earth, appearing to block the sun.

ZachNews received this picture by Timothy Terral from Needles, California of the total solar eclipse over the Colorado River Tri-State area.

 

  • Bill Cosby’s Trial moved to 2018:

On Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017, Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania after attending a court hearing pertaining to his new trial in 2018 for the alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand.

The retrial of disgraced television icon Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges was pushed back into 2018, to give his new lawyers time to prepare their defense.

The new trial had set to begin in Norristown, Pennsylvania in early November, after his first trial ended in a mistrial in June 2017.

 

  • Semi trucks Crash and Fire along Westbound Interstate 40:

On Saturday, August 19th, 2017, Several semi trucks have crashed along westbound Interstate 40 near the Needles Agriculture Inspection Station, just east of Five Mile Road, in Needles, California.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez rushed over to the scene and captured on camera the smoke and flames from the crash which closed all westbound lanes of Interstate 40.

Eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 was also closed due to the heavy smoke from the fire.

According to California Highway Patrol, at least 3 semi trucks are involved in the crash with a semi truck in the center divider and at least 2 semi truck fully engulfed in flames.

Multiple fire department agencies from around the Colorado River Tri-States area responded to battling the fire, including San Bernardino County Fire Department, Mohave Valley Fire Department, Yucca Fire District, Desert Hills Fire District, Golden Shores Fire Department, and Bullhead City Fire Department.

The 2 semi trucks were carrying tire shavings and clothing, and because of the fire, prompted the need for a hazmat team to respond.

Firefighters were still in a “defensive attack mode”, fighting the fire and its dark, toxic smoke from a distance.

A firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at the scene and taken to an area hospital.

According to the California Highway Patrol, westbound lanes of Interstate 40 are reopened as of 11:17pm PT and eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 were reopened as of 5:30pm PT.

 

  • Hurricane Harvey:

On Saturday, August 26th, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall shortly after 11:00pm CT just north of Port Aransas, Texas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Hurricane Harvey caused at least 91 confirmed deaths: a person in Guyana, and 90 in the United States.

Total damage from the Hurricane Harvey is estimated at $198.63 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster ever in the United States.

 

  • Hurricane Irma:

On Sunday, September 10th, 2017, Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful and catastrophic hurricane, moved across the Atlantic Ocean and made landfall at 9:10am EDT on Cudjoe Key, about 30 miles east of Key West, in Florida Keys while classified as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds.

Hurricane Irma brought sustained winds near hurricane-force to the entire Florida Keys late Sunday morning, and a storm surge in excess of 3 feet to Key West and Miami, Florida.

Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Irma caused at least 134 deaths: one in Anguilla; one in Barbados; three in Barbuda; 4 in the British Virgin Islands; 10 in Cuba; 11 in the French West Indies; one in Haiti; 3 in Puerto Rico; 4 on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten; 90 in the contiguous United States, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and 2 elsewhere in the Caribbean, precise locations unknown.

 

  • Singer and actress Selena Gomez announces she got a kidney transplant for Lupus.

On Thursday, September 14th, 2017, 25 year old Selena Gomez has revealed publicly that she recently underwent a kidney transplant because of her battle with the autoimmune disease Lupus.

Selena Gomez’ publicist confirmed the information as well as the picture posted to her Instagram page showing Selena Gomez lying in a hospital bed next to her longtime friend, actress, and donor, 29 year old Francia Raisa.

Francia Raisa, who is best known for her roll as Adrian Lee on the ABC Family show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, also starred in the television shows such “The Mindy Project” as Katie and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” as Erin Vickler as well as starred in the movies “Bring It On: All or Nothing” and “Fired Up!”

Selena Gomez wrote on her Instagram page, “I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: http://www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith“.

Selena Gomez announced she had Lupus in 2015 and has been public about her battle with Lupus as well as her needed a transplant.

 

  • Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake hits Mexico:

On Tuesday, September 19th, 2017, A magnitude 7.1 Earthquake hits Raboso, Mexico.

According to the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has hit Raboso, Mexico at about 2:15pm ET.

The earthquake was felt in Mexico City, Mexico where videos posted to social media showing the strong earthquake, including buildings collapsing and thousands of people fleeing from office buildings as they swayed.

More than 200 people were reportedly killed as powerful earthquake.

The earthquake which occurred on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating earthquake in 1985.

 

  • Hurricane Maria:

On Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, Hurricane Maria passed through Corozal, Puerto Rico on a path of destruction.

Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage, including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through.

At least 547 people were killed in Hurricane Maria, including 499 in Puerto Rico, 31 in Dominica, 5 in the Dominican Republic, 4 in the contiguous United States, 3 in Haiti, 2 in Guadeloupe, and 3 in the United States Virgin Islands.

Dozens of others, mostly in Dominica and Puerto Rico, are still missing.

The death toll in Puerto Rico is believed to be far higher than the official toll of 58, with estimates of the actual loss of life ranging from 500 to more than 1,000.

Hurricane Maria wrought catastrophic damage to the entirety of Dominica, which suffered an island-wide communication blackout. Much of the housing stock and infrastructure were left beyond repair, while the island’s lush vegetation had been practically eradicated.

The islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique endured widespread flooding, damaged roofs and uprooted trees. Puerto Rico suffered catastrophic damage, including destruction of its previously damaged electrical grid.

For weeks in Hurricane Maria’s wake, most of the island’s population suffered from flooding and lack of resources, compounded by the slow relief process.

Total losses from Hurricane Maria vary wildly but are estimated at upwards of $103.45 billion dollars, mostly in Puerto Rico

 

  • Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Died:

On Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, has died at his Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, California.

In a statement, Playboy Enterprises Inc. said, “Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones. He was 91 years old.”

Hugh Hefner, also known to millions simply as “Hef”, was born on Friday, April 9th, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois.

Hugh Hefner went to schools in the Chicago, Illinois area before joining the United States Army, attending the Chicago Art Institute and graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in psychology.

After working first as a copywriter for “Esquire”, Hugh Hefner decided to start his own publication and raised $8,000 from 45 investors to launch “Playboy” in December 1953.

Hugh Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal and four grown children: Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years; David, Marston and Cooper, the latter who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at the company.

 

  • School Bus Crash along U.S. Highway 95:

On Thursday, September 28th, 2017, a school bus and a semi truck was involved in a crash along U.S. Highway 95, at mile marker 51 south of Five Mile Road, in Needles, California.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez rushed over to the scene and captured on camera the aftermath of the crash.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a semi truck smashed into the back of the school bus that was stopped at a construction zone, which then the school bus collided into another semi truck that was in front of the school bus trapping the bus driver.

The California Highway Patrol said that between 30 to 33 students athletes and 4 adults, including the bus driver, from Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye, Arizona were heading to a volleyball game at Mohave High School in Bullhead City, Arizona.

Reports that a person who was on the school bus was transported to a hospital by helicopter.

According to the Buckeye Union High School District, a student was air lifted to a nearby hospital for non-life threatening injuries, and 8 other students were transported by ambulance to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The remaining students were reportedly taken in another school bus to Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, California to be medically checked.

The Buckeye Union High School District said it is in the process of contacting parents.

“BUHSD immediately dispatched another bus so that students could be returned home this evening. Parents of the students have been notified by school administration. The Buckeye Union High School District is very thankful and appreciative of the cooperation and support received from the Colorado River Union High School District, local law enforcement and emergency response personnel,” said the Buckeye Union High School District.

U.S. Highway 95 was closed in both directions from before Five Mile Road to Highway 62 until tow crews clean up and tow away the wrecked vehicles.

 

  • Deadly Shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Festival:

On October 1st, 2017, a deadly shooting occurred during the Route 91 Harvest Festival, near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino along the Las Vegas Strip, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A gunman identified as 64 year old Stephen Craig Paddock reportedly opened fire on the music festival killing 58 people and injuring 500 people before killed himself.

The deadly shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

Following the deadly shooting, people gather in front of crosses with each of the 58 victims’ names who lives were taken away in the deadly shooting.

Candle light vigils and memorials were also in the days and weeks following the deadly shooting in the victims’ communities.

A week after the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, federal agents started hauling away the piles of backpacks, purses, baby strollers and lawn chairs left behind when frantic concert-goers scrambled to escape bullets from the gunman who was shooting from his high-rise hotel suite.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) agents fanned out across the crime scene near the Las Vegas Strip throughout the week stacking the belongings left from last Sunday’s deadly shooting into more than a dozen large piles.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) agents were also seen loading the items onto dollies and into the back of a white truck. Authorities have said they plan to return the belongings to people in the next week.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Kevin McMahill said investigators had “looked at literally everything” and still do not have a clear motive.

Investigators have chased 1,000 leads and examined Paddock’s politics, finances, any possible radicalization and his social behavior — typical investigative avenues that have helped uncover the motive in past shootings.

Authorities have even put up billboards asking anyone with information to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) at: 1 (800) CALL-FBI.

 

  • Harvey Weinstein Sexual Harassment Allegations:

On Thursday, October 5th, 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them.

Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Harvey Weinstein, who denied any non-consensual sex.

As a result of these accusations, Harvey Weinstein was fired from his production company

Harvey Weinstein allegations of sexual assault, harassment or rape by dozens of women sparked the #MeToo hashtag campaign encouraging women to denounce experiences of sexual abuse that has swept across social media in the wake of the wave of allegations targeting Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The #MeToo movement on social media that led to the ouster of other powerful men accused of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and other industries.

Actor and director Rose McGowan raises her fist during her opening remarks to the audience at the Women’s March / Women’s Convention in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, October 27th, 2017.

A stream of actresses including Rose McGowan, models and ex-employees have come out, many anonymously, to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and abuse dating as far back as the 1990’s.

 

  • California Governor Jerry Brown signs ‘Sanctuary State’ bill:

On Thursday, October 5th, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed “sanctuary state” legislation that extends protections statewide for immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The bill signed bars police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities in most cases starting on New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1st, 2018.

California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrations without legal authorization.

California’s Democratic Senate leader Kevin de Leon introduced the bill in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following the election of Donald Trump for President of the United States of America.

California State Sheriff’s Association opposed the measure, warning that it would make it harder for them to protect the public.

 

  • Bullhead City Council accepts Marnell Gaming’s offer to take over River Regatta:

On Tuesday, October 17th, 2017, Members of the Bullhead City Council have voted 6-1 to approve the deal with Marnell Gaming to take over the River Regatta, including owning, operating, and managing the river float.

The vote occurred during the Bullhead City Council Meeting in Bullhead City, Arizona. Bullhead City received an official request in September 2017 from Marnell Gaming, owners of the Colorado Belle Casino and the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, to take over the River Regatta, including ownering, operating, and managing the river float.

The purchase offer, costing $25,000, included coordinating with all federal, state and local agencies, assuming the fiscal responsibility required to promote and conduct the Regatta River, securing proper permitting, providing workforce services and marketing the event.

Marnell Gaming would take over operation of the River Regatta beginning in August 2018, and would limit the number of participants at 22,000 people.

If the River Regatta event is held in future years, the number of participants would not exceed 25,000 people.

The River Regatta event will be no large, decorated floats would be allowed.

Bullhead City would be reimbursed for all direct expenses, including all city employees assigned to work the event.

Marnell Gaming would be required to carry liability insurance for the River Regatta event acceptable to the city, and the city would be named in all liability releases.

Marnell Gaming also pledged a formal cleanup plan and to pre-fund and maintain a $100,000 river cleanup fund for use during and after the River Regatta event, with the remainder available for use at least twice during the year.

Additionally, participants of the River Regatta event would pay a $5 environmental fee to recharge the fund.

All launching for the River Regatta event would occur at Davis Camp, Harrah’s Casino and the Pioneer Casino, with the arrival point to be at Rotary Park. Community Park would be closed for the River Regatta event to the public until the water safety zone ends; at that time, Community Park would be reopened to the public and water traffic would be allowed to head north. Medical facilities at Rotary Park would be no less than what the city previously provided for the event.

Marnell Gaming also agreed to use the same inclement weather policy in cancelling the River Regatta event as the city.

Over 200 people filled the council chambers to capacity and dozens more watched the Bullhead City Council Meeting and the vote on televisions placed in the courtyard.

Members of the Bullhead City Council heard hours of opinions for and against the proposed sale from many residents, business owners, and members of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.

Those who were in favor spoke about how event brought business and tourists to their community and the economic impact events like the River Regatta event have on their community.

Those who were in opposition spoke about environmental concerns about the long term health risk to the Colorado River from the River Regatta event to the local community and communities south of Bullhead City, Arizona.

Those who were in opposition also spoke about the ongoing issues regarding public safety during the River Regatta event and trash collection during and after the River Regatta event.

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe Chairman Tim Williams addressed members of the Bullhead City Council reiterating the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe’s stance against the River Regatta.

We are the ones left with the social ramifications of this event. Why do we have to have the regatta to protect the river?” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribe Chairman Tim Williams.

David Wolf, an attorney for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, said to members of the Bullhead City Council, “The river has been central to the tribe’s way of life and their very existence for thousands of years. This is a matter of respect and dignity.

Before members of the Bullhead City Council cast their vote, Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady spoke to the crowd on how the River Regatta has divided the community and how this offer will address almost all the concerns he had before.

At least 6 members of the Bullhead City Council voted in favor of the offer well Bullhead City Council Member Steve D’Amico being the only person voting in opposition.

 

  • Man drives Home Depot truck over pedestrians in terrorist attack:

On Tuesday, October 31st, 2017, A man driving a Home Depot truck has ran over pedestrians 8 blocks along the bikepath of the Westside Highway near the World Trade Center and National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, New York in what is being called a terrorist attack.

At around 3:05pm ET, a 29 year old man of Middle Eastern descent driving a Home Depot pickup truck began running over people along a bikepath on West Street, a few blocks north of Chambers Street, for 20 blocks hiting multiple people along the bikepath.

The Home Depot pickup truck crashed into a school bus with 2 adults and 2 children near the World Trade Center Memorial.

At least 8 people were killed and 15 people have been injured in the terrorist attack.

After the crash, the suspect exited the Home Depot pickup truck and began running away carrying some kind of weapons.

Reports that the Home Depot pickup truck was rented in New Jersey.

According to the New York Police Department, the suspect brandished what appeared to be weapons before being shot by a New York Police Department Officer from the 1st Precinct and the suspect taken to a hospital.

Authorities have identified the suspect as 29 year old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov who entered the United States of America from Uzbekistan in 2010.

Authorities are confirming that after ramming a school bus, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov emerged from the Home Depot pickup truck shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

The New York Police Department along with federal officials are calling this “an act of terrorism” involving a “lone wolf” and is investigating this “terrorist incident”.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference that the incident was “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”

Security was heightened for a Halloween parade along 6th Avenue which organizers say the event was still on.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 began looking to question a second person of interest in the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan, New York.

Authorities released a wanted flyers for Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, an Uzbek national, who authorities are looking for information on the man and his whereabouts, but has not been named a suspect in the terrorist attack.

As of Thursday, November 2nd, 2017, Federal Bureau of Investigation said the man they were seeking as a person of interest in the terror attack, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, was located but has not been detained or arrested.

Federal Bureau of Investigation found Mukhammadzoir Kadirov just 90 minutes after wanted flyers were released.

A law enforcement official said Mukhammadzoir Kadirov was a friend of suspect Sayfullo Saipov’s and may not have any role in the case.

Mukhammadzoir Kadirov later released a statement to The Associated Press through a source in touch with his family saying, “It is so sad and unbelievable. This not from our religion. It is not acceptable. We as Muslims completely reject this kind of actions. No human being who has a heart can do this.”

Mukhammadzoir Kadirov also quoted a passage from the Quran in his statement.

The person in touch with Mukhammadzoir Kadirov’s family says the 2 men knew each other only from their days as fellow drivers for the ride-sharing app Uber and were not close friends.

The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation and its sensitive nature said Mukhammadzoir Kadirov called a community advocacy organization when he realized he knew Saipov.

The person said that the group encouraged Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, who lives in New Jersey, to cooperate with authorities, and that the man has done so.

Federal prosecutors filed terrorism charges against Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who is accused of killing 8 people and injuring a dozen other people when he drove a rental truck into the crowd on a bike path.

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who was shot and wounded by police, was taken to court the New York federal courthouse in a wheelchair with his hands cuffed and feet shackled.

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov is facing two terrorism counts: a charge of providing material support to a terrorist organization (I.S.I.S.) and a charge of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle with willful disregard for human life, which could carry the death penalty.

Prosecutors said Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov was “consumed by hate and a twisted ideology” when he carried out the attack.

The federal affidavit alleges that Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010, had been planning the attack for 2 months and that he did a test run on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017.

 

  • Hostage situation at Castle View Elementary School:

On Tuesday, October 31st, 2017, A person held a teacher hostage inside a classroom at Castle View Elementary School in Riverside, California.

The incident was reported at 11:15am PT when a person forced his way into the front office, the main entry into the elementary school.

The parent apparently assaulted a staff member and then barricaded himself in a classroom with a female teacher holding her hostage.

All of the students and staff members were safely evacuated from the school.

At around 5:50pm PT, SWAT team made entry to the classroom using flash-bang grenades.

Just before 6:00pm PT, the suspect in the hostage situation was seen wheeled out on a stretcher of the building quickly.

At least 2 ambulances were seen leaving the school after the incident.

According to the Riverside Police Department, the suspect later died at a local hospital and is identified as 27 year old Luvelle Kennon from Riverside, California.

The hostage, a teacher, had only minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

No additional injuries were reported in the hostage situation.

 

 

  • Suspect Arrested in Deadly Shooting inside a Walmart Supercenter:

On Wednesday, November 1st, 2017, A suspect has been arrested in a deadly shooting inside a Walmart Supercenter in Thornton, Colorado that killed 3 people.

According to the Thornton Police Department, at around 6:10pm MT, the suspect identified as 47 year old Scott Ostrem walked into the Walmart on Grant Street “nonchalantly” and opening fire randomly with a handgun on a group of people near the cash registers.

The suspect – described as wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and a maroon shirt – fled in a red 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage with Colorado license plates.

Hundreds of emergency vehicles rushed to the Walmart and arrived to seen customers running out of Walmart in panic and families waited anxiously to reunite with their loved ones in the parking lot.

According to the Thornton Police Department, 2 men were killed and a woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died.

In a statement, Walmart said they were deeply saddened by this tragic event, are assisting law enforcement, and that all of the store’s employees were accounted for and uninjured.

The Thornton Police Department received an anonymous tip regarding the deadly shooting, and issued a homicide warrant for his arrest and began a manhunt for the suspect.

According to the Thornton Police Department, 47 year old Scott Ostrem was arrested on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 in the area of 72nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard during what police say was a “high-risk” traffic stop.

A SWAT team used a flash bang as distraction before arresting Scott Ostrem.

As of Monday, November 6th, 2017, Scott Ostrem was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after appearing inside the Adams County District Court wearing a yellow and white striped jail uniform.

Scott Ostrem was charged with 2 counts of murder for each of the three victims and was charged with 30 counts of attempted murder, plus an additional charge of a crime of violence.

If convicted, Scott Ostrem could face the death penalty or life in prison.

 

  • Deadly Shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs:

On Sunday, November 5th, 2017, An armor-clad gunman opened fire inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

The gunman, later identified as 26 year old Devin Patrick Kelley from Comal County, drove across the street to the church, exited his vehicle and opened fire on the church.

The gunman, who was dressed in all black and wearing a ballistic vest, then went to the right of the building and continued firing his weapon.

The gunman then went inside the church and continued shooting at the people inside.

Authorities said as the gunman was leaving the church, a citizen grabbed his own weapon and engaged the suspect, who fled the scene.

Multiple victims, ranging in ages from 18 months to 77 years old, were killed and over 20 people injured during the deadly shooting.

The dead comprise 10 women, 7 men, 7 girls, a boy, and an unborn child, and among the dead, 23 people died inside the church, 2 outside, and a person died in a hospital.

Among the victim was the 14 year old daughter of church pastor Frank Pomeroy, who was elsewhere the day of the deadly shooting.

Visiting pastor Bryan Holcombe died with 8 family members, including an unborn grandchild.

The injured victims were taken to Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, University Hospital in San Antonio, and Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

The citizen chased after the gunman, who ran into his vehicle and drove off.

As police were responding to the shooting, the suspect lost control of his vehicle, crashed and was found dead inside.

Authorities said it was unclear if the shooter died of a self-inflicted wound or during the confrontation with the citizen.

 

  • Houston Astros wins World Series 2017:

On Wednesday, November 1st, 2017, The Houston Astros has won the World Series 2017 on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

 

  • Danica Roem Becomes First Transgender Lawmaker:

 

On Tuesday, November 7th, 2017, 32 year old Danica Roem, who ran for Virginia’s House of Delegates against G.O.P. incumbent Robert Marshall, became the first transgender legislator elected in the United States.

Danica Roem attended St. Bonaventure University in New York, where she majored in journalism.

Danica Roem moved back to Virginia after graduation and worked for 9 years as the lead reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times.

Danica Roem won awards  from the Virginia Press Association 7 times.

 

Danica Roem tweeted, “Thank you all! I’ll have a lot more to say later. For now: we know how to defeat Del. Bob Marshall (R). We’re ready. #NoH8 #FixRoute28″.

 

  • Remembering Mohave Valley Fire Department Firefighter Robert Michael Derichsweiler:

On Friday, November 19th, 2017, family, friends, firefighters, and a community came together to remember the life of Mohave Valley Fire Department Firefighter Robert Michael Derichsweiler.

According to the Mohave Valley Fire Department, Firefighter Robert Michael Derichsweiler passed away suddenly on Friday, November 10th, 2017 at his home.

Family and friends arrived to a memorial service held at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Downtown Needles, California, along with firefighters from Mohave Valley Fire Department, Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department, Bullhead City Fire Department, San Bernardino County Fire Department, Yucca Fire District, and Lake Havasu City Fire Department.

ZachNews has learned that the memorial service was touching yet celebrated the life of a good man who cared about his family and the community he served.

Afterwards, a funeral procession was held along West Broadway and East Broadway to Needles Riverview Cemetery in Needles, California.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez was along East Broadway as the funeral procession with fire department trucks and Mohave County Sheriff’s vehicles drove pass the Needles Towne Center towards Needles Riverview Cemetery passing underneath a large American flag being held up by 2 ladder fire department trucks from Bullhead City Fire Department and Yucca Fire District.

During the funeral procession, a CareFlight medical helicopter flow over the funeral procession, following the vehicles into the Needles Riverview Cemetery.

According to the Yucca Fire District, a bell ceremony and a flag and helmet presentation were held at Needles Riverview Cemetery for Robert Derichsweiler service to the fire department and the community.

Family, friends, firefighters, and a community will miss Mohave Valley Fire Department Firefighter Robert Michael Derichsweiler

 

  • Actor and former teen idol David Cassidy Died:

On Tuesday, November 21st, 2017, Actor and former teen idol David Cassidy died after being hospitalized with organ failure in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In a statement released by his publicist, his family said, “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.

David Cassidy was born on Wednesday, April 12, 1950 in New York City, New York and when he was 3 years old, he decided he wanted to act after seeing his dad, actor Jack Cassidy, in a Broadway musical.

David Cassidy skyrocketed to fame in the 1970’s as he starred on television musical sitcom “The Partridge Family,” becoming a singing superstar at 20 years old and became the biggest teen idols of the era.

The popular ABC television musical sitcom series ran for four years and also had a successful run in syndication.

The television musical sitcom also spurred several pop hits; the single “I Think I Love You,” featuring David Cassidy on lead vocals, hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1970 and sold more than 5 million copies, and the songs “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted” and “I’ll Meet You Halfway” also cracked the top 10 the next year. The group was nominated for a best new artist Grammy. David Cassidy later launched a solo career, recording a dozen studio albums and 6 compilation albums.

David Cassidy continued to work in television after “The Partridge Family” ended, performing in theater productions and briefly landing his own show.

David Cassidy starred as the leading man of MGM Grand’s “EFX” in 1996 and developed a show titled “At the Copa,” which he co-starred in with Sheena Easton in 2000.

In 2017, David Cassidy revealed that he was in the early stages of dementia, the same disease his mother and grandfather suffered from.

According to T.M.Z., David Cassidy was hospitalized for kidney and liver failure last week and was in need of a liver transplant.

David Cassidy was 67 years old, and is survived by his children, Arrow actress, 30 year old Katie Cassidy and son, 27 year old Beau Cassidy.

 

  • Stabbing at the River Gardens Apartments:

On Wednesday, December 6th, 2017, A woman was stabbed at the River Gardens Apartments, located at 1970 Clary Drive, in Needles, California before 6:00pm PT.

According to a press release the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station released at 8:40am PT on Friday, December 8th, 2017, deputies were dispatched to a report of a stabbing at the apartment complex in Needles, California.

The investigation revealed that 38 year old Jerry Paul Endsley from Needles, California contacted the victim in the front door of her apartment demanding to see his child.

When he was denied entry into the home, Jerry Endsley forced his way into the apartment and stabbed the victim multiple times with an unknown stabbing instrument.

The victim suffered multiple stab wounds to her head, arms, and legs.

Jerry Endsley ran from the scene prior to the arrival of the deputies. The victim was transported to the Colorado River Medical Center and treated for he r injuries.

An extensive search for Jerry Endsley was conducted at several locations throughout Needles, California with negative results.

The press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station includes a picture for the suspect in the initial stabbing incident.

Anybody with information regarding the investigation or the wherabouts of Jerry Endsley is urged to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station at: 1 (760) 326-9200.

 

  • Deadly Thomas Fire:

 

 

 

On Monday, December 4th, 2017, a massive wildfire named the “Thomas Fire” began in Santa Paula. California.

The Thomas Fire forced over 104,607 residents to evacuate as the fast moving fire moved across Ventura County, California and Santa Barbara County. California.

At its height, the Thomas Fire saw over 8,500 firefighters mobilized to fight the fire, which was the largest mobilization of firefighters for combating any wildfire in California history.

Firefighters from across California as well as from as far away as Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah also assisting in the fire suppression efforts.

The Thomas Fire burned approximately 281,893 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history.

The Thomas Fire destroyed at least 1,063 structures, while damaging 280 others; becoming the 7th most destructive wildfire in California history.

The Thomas Fire had cost at least $177.18 million to fight.

Soon after the Thomas Fire started, officials began to investigate the cause of the wildfire.

The Thomas Fire originated as two separate fires, with the first fire igniting at 6:26pm PT, in Santa Paula Canyon, near Thomas Aquinas College, while the second fire started about 30 minutes later, nearly 4 miles north in Upper Ojai, at the top of Koenigstein Road.

The newer fire quickly merged into the Thomas Fire later that night.

The causes of both blazes are being investigated.

The cause of the original fire is currently unknown; locals reported seeing a steel power pylon explode near 7:00pm PT at the origin point of the second fire.

However, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owns the power lines in the area, denied that there had been any breaks in the power line.

The Thomas Fire took the life of a firefighter, Cal Fire San Diego Unit Firefighter Cory Iverson, and a civilian as well as injured 2 firefighters.

 

  • Pipe bomb explosion at a Port Authority Bus Terminal:

On Monday, December 11th, 2017, a pipe bomb explosion has occurred at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

According to the New York Police Department, the pipe bomb that was reportedly affixed to the suspect with Velcro straps detonated at about 7:30am ET in a passageway between subway lines below ground.

The New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, and other first responders rushed to the scene of the pipe bomb explosion.

At least 3 people suffered minor injuries in the pipe bomb explosion.

According to the New York Police Department, a man was captured alive and is in police custody.

 

 

  • Community address concerns and opposition towards proposed sale to water rights and transfer by the Central Arizona Project:

On Tuesday, December 12th, 2017, A town hall meeting regarding Central Arizona Project water rights and transfer was held at the Mohave Valley Fire Department Station 81 in Mohave Valley, Arizona.

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez was at the town hall meeting and broadcast live on Facebook the town hall meeting.

Over 80 people attended the town hall meeting that discussed a proposed sale to water rights to nearly 14,000 acre feet of water from farms in the Mohave Valley, Arizona to be use in the Phoenix, Arizona and Tucson, Arizona areas.

In September 2017, the Central Arizona Project’s governing board, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, approved the $34 million purchase of 7 farms in the Mohave Valley, Arizona area that come with about 13,900 total acre-feet of water rights.

An acre foot of water is the amount needed to cover an acre of farm land with about 326,000 gallons; roughly enough water to support 2 households for a year.

The Central Arizona Project wants to transfer 5,538 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River outside the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District each year through a rotational fallowing program.

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto talked during the town hall meeting about what Mohave County officials have been doing in opposition to the proposed sale and water transfer what the community can do to stop the proposed sale.

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto also talked about the impacts the proposed sale and water transfer will have on the community; taking away from the needs of the community, affect farming and community growth in the area, and creating a “dust bowl” environment.

Water from the Colorado River serves the needs to nearly 40 million people and is responsible for irrigating 3.5 million acres of farmland.

Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch also spoke at the town hall meeting, explaining to the residents that the county would also bear the loss of property taxes on the properties if the sale between Water Purchase Investors and Central Arizona Project goes through.

Any government-owned property is exempt from property taxes. Everything they end up buying we will not be able to collect property taxes on,” said Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch.

The public also got to speak during the town hall meeting addressing their concern over the proposed sale and water transfer, saying that this is “our water” and it should stay here in our community.

People in the crowd demand more action to be done to stop the proposed sale and water transfer by officials.

Brad Hoover, who served as a board member of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District until 2010, was in attendance and spoke during the town hall meeting.

“My feeling is that if the entity that bought the 7 parcels of land is in escrow for $34 million to sell 13,000 acre feet of water — well businessmen from New York are not going to buy that land if they can’t get that water for this transfer. I’m afraid they know something that we don’t know.  My fear would be we don’t have a commitment from MVIDD. If the MVIDD board has said that they’ll rely on the existing resolution, they should just re-ratify it.”

In 1989, the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District passed a resolution that prohibits the transfer of contracted water outside of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District boundaries.

In 2008, the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District revised the resolution.

But that resolution prohibiting the transfer of contracted water outside of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District boundaries could be changed if the board votes to do so.

The Central Arizona Project’s governing board officials are saying that the sale of the 7 farm properties is contingent on modification of that resolution and want to close the deal by mid February 2018.

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto told the crowd that she attended a meeting Tuesday morning and heard the Central Arizona Project asked the seller of the 7 farms – Water Property Investors, LLC, a private equity fund based in New York – to extend the due diligence period during escrow.

Questions were raised over a representative who sits on the board of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and is a representative of the Water Purchase Investors, who’s selling the land to Central Arizona Project Groundwater Replenishment District.

Some of the people in the crowd wondered if the representative was going to casts a vote on this issue, but Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto told the crowd that this representative has abstained himself from the issue and will not cast a vote on this matter.

Members of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District must be farmers who own land and farm a minimum of 20 acres in the district and Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District registered voters.

There are at least 25 registered voters in the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District, which has 5 board members.

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto encouraged those in attendance to keep writing letters or emailing their elected officials, stating their opposition to the proposed sale and water transfer.

“It’s the power of the people, the voice of the people and their concern about our life’s blood, our water and our community,” said Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto.

A list of contacts, which includes contacts for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (A.D.W.R.), the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (C.A.W.C.D.), and Arizona Governor Douglas A. Ducey, were passed out to those in attendance.

** The list of contacts has also been posted at the following Mohave County website address: **

https://resources.mohavecounty.us/file/BoardOfSupervisors/MVIDD/MVIDDPartiesofInterest.pdf

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto informed the crowd of an upcoming Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District Meeting being held at an undetermined location at 4:00pm MST on Thursday, January 4th, 2018.

When a location for the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District Meeting is decided, the public and news media will be notified about the meeting location.

After the town hall meeting, ZachNews talked with Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto about the proposed sale and water transfer as well as how this will affect people in Needles, California and what’s next in the process.

Mohave County Supervisor Lois Wakimoto tells ZachNews that they got support by the City of Needles opposing the proposed sale and water transfer.

The proposed sale and water transfer has already been met with opposition from Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City as well as from Mohave County Supervisors; all recently have passed resolutions objecting to the acquisition of water rights by Central Arizona Project and any movement of water outside the district.

 

  • Amtrak Passenger Train 501 Derailment and Crash:

On Monday, December 18th, 2017, An Amtrak passenger train 501 derailed off the railroad track and crashed southbound Interstate 5 at 7:34am PT in DuPont, Washington.

At least 3 people were killed and 72 people were taken to near by hospitals following the derailment and crash of Amtrak passenger train 501.

The victims of the Amtrak passenger train 501 derailment and crash were identified as Zack Willhoite, an IT Customer Support Specialist; Jim Hamre, a retired WSDOT engineer; and Benjamin Gran, a big fan of Amtrak passenger trains.

Days later, the National Transportation Safety Bureau has released more information regarding the derailment and crash of Amtrak passenger train 501 in DuPont, Washington.

The National Transportation Safety Bureau was able to download data and video recording from the locomotive giving more details into what caused Amtrak passenger train 501 to derail and crash.

The National Transportation Safety Bureau released their findings from the initial review of the data.

** National Transportation Safety Bureau’s Findings: **

  • The final recorded speed of the locomotive was 78 mph. The National Transportation Safety Bureau said the train was speeding in a 30 mph speed limit.
  • The crew was not observed to use any personal electronic devices during the timeframe reviewed.
  • About 6 seconds prior to the derailment, the engineer made a comment regarding an over speed condition.
  • The engineer’s actions were consistent with the application of the locomotive’s brakes just before the recording ended. It did not appear the engineer placed the brake handle in emergency-braking mode.
  • The recording ended as the locomotive was tilting and the crew was bracing for impact.

The National Transportation Safety Bureau says the entire investigation is expected to last 12 to 24 months.

 

  • Bright light seen streaking across the sky was from a SpaceX rocket launch:

On Friday, December 22, 2017, a SpaceX rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California.

People from all across southern California as well as in Arizona reported seeing this bright light streaking across the sky.

According to SpaceX, this is the fourth flight for long-time customer Iridium.

 

  • Remembering the life of fallen Cal Fire San Diego Unit Firefighter Cory Iverson:

On Saturday, December 23rd, 2017, Thousands of people came out to remember the life of fallen Cal Fire San Diego Unit Firefighter Cory Iverson during a private memorial service held at The Rock Church in Point Loma, California.

Family, friends, and firefighters from around California all gathered to pay their respects and say their goodbyes to Cory Iverson during the touching tribute to his life.

Cory Iverson was described by many of his family, friends, and those who got to work with him as a “model firefighter” and a “happy man”.

According to Ventura County Medical Examiner, 32 years old Cory Iverson from Escondido, California, died from smoke inhalation and burns sustained while battling the massive Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California at about 9:30am PT on Thursday, December 14th, 2017.

Cory Iverson leaves behind his wife, Ashley Iverson and their 2 year old daughter, and the couple was expecting their second child in May 2018.

Ashley Iverson started her emotional tribute to her fallen firefighter husband with a deep breathe and asked the crowd to “just breathe” with her.

“‘Just breathe’ is what I told one of my best friends when she lost her soulmate at the age of 22 seven years ago,” said Ashley Iverson adding, “Will you join me in taking a breath?”

Ashley Iverson said that although the past few weeks have been some of the worst of her life, she was without words at the amount of support she has received.

“‘Wow’ is all I can say and feel today and over this past week and 2 days. The overwhelming amount of love I have felt is otherworldly,” said Ashley Iverson.

Cory Iverson had spent most of his life fighting fires, was an 8 year veteran of Cal Fire, and had previously spent 7 years with Harmony Grove Fire Department.

“If you were going to clone a firefighter, you would clone Cory Iverson,” said Cal Fire Chief San Diego Chief Tony Metcham, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the mourners who took the stage sharing their stories of fallen firefighter Cory Iverson.

“Let there be no doubt to anybody in this room that Cory Iverson died a hero. Cory Iverson lost his life for one very simple reason: He put others first,” said Cal Fire Chief San Diego Chief Tony Metcham.

The passing of Cal Fire San Diego Unit Firefighter Cory Iverson touched many people across southern California.

A funeral procession was held on Sunday, December 17th, 2017 for Cal Fire San Diego Unit Firefighter Cory Iverson from the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office in Ventura, California to a mortuary in San Diego, California.

Thousands of people from firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders to citizens were seen lined along the multiple county funeral procession along the interstates, overpasses, and streets to pay respects and honor to fallen firefighter Cory Iverson.

 

  • Frank Costigan of KTOX 1340 AM and 104.1 FM Died:

On Thursday, December 28th, 2017, Frank Costigan of KTOX 1340 AM and 104.1 FM has died from complications from pneumonia.

Frank Costigan was 77 years old and was last living in Needles, California.

Before being the afternoon radio host for the “Afternoon Drive By” on KTOX 1340 AM and 104.1 FM, Frank Costigan worked in the United States NAVY, police officer, fireman, and a night club manager.

Frank Costigan also use to work side by side with Dave Hayes when they hosted the morning talk radio show, “Don’t Start Me Talking”, talking about local issues affecting the community and doing investigating news reports as well as talked about the U.F.O. crash in Needles, California.

Frank Costigan and Dave Hayes were well known for their interviews with news outlets regarding the U.F.O. crash landing that occurred in Needles, California in May 2008 as well as raising concerns over clean up from the River Regatta event in Bullhead City, Arizona which got national attention.

 

  • Shooting Death of a Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy at the Copper Canyon apartments:

 

On Sunday, December 31st, 2017, A shooting has occurred at the Copper Canyon apartments, located at 3304 East County Line Road, in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, at about 5:15am MST, deputies responded to some kind of a disturbance in the Copper Canyon Apartments when a gunman opened fire, hitting 6 deputies and 2 civilians.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a deputy was shot and killed in the shooting and the injured deputies and civilians were taken to hospitals.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office identified the fallen deputy as Zackari Parrish.

Zackari Parrish was a father of 2 children, was married, and had only worked at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for 7 months after transferring from Castle Rock Police Department.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the gunman was shot and is believed to be dead and is “no longer a threat.”

United States of America President Donald Trump posted a tweet regarding today’s shooting saying, “My deepest condolences to the victims of the terrible shooting in Douglas County @DCSheriff, and their families. We love our police and law enforcement – God Bless them all! #LESM“.

**** ZachNews sends our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the family and friends of all of the people we loss in 2017. ****

** ZachNews wishes everybody a joyful New Year 2018. **

 

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