Police dog mourned by Plymouth police officers

Those who have suffered the loss of a pet often describe it as if they lost a member of the family. For a Plymouth police officer, losing his dog meant losing his partner. Kaiser, a member of Plymouth’s K-9 team, was recently diagnosed with a severe kidney disease, according to the Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation’s Facebook page. The dog was placed into retirement when the disease began to take a toll on him. The officer in charge of Kaiser ultimately made what he calls the “heart-wrenching” decision to have the dog put down after seeking the advice of a veterinarian, trainer, and family members. Continue Reading

For sale in NYC: Fridge with morbid history

It’s a fridge big enough for a family of four. New York’s Office of General Services has turned to eBay in an attempt to sell off a huge, steel morgue refrigerator now located at a Manhattan psychiatric hospital. Bidding on Saturday afternoon was up to $475 for the four-drawer unit, but that price doesn’t include delivery. Buyers have to be willing to remove the fridge themselves from the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. Office of General Services spokeswoman Heather Groll tells the New York Post (http://bit.ly/11htBpM ) that the ad is no hoax. Continue Reading

Rookie firefighter among four dead in Houston blaze

Anne Sullivan was a gifted athlete filled with energy who came out of high school with a focus on being a firefighter. But about a month after graduating from the Houston Fire Department Academy, the 24-year-old was among four firefighters who died while searching for people they thought might be trapped in a blazing Houston motel and restaurant. “She had a lot of energy and had her heart set at that,” her father, Jack Sullivan, said Saturday. Also killed in the collapse during the Friday afternoon fire at the Southwest Inn were: Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, an 11-year veteran of the department; Engineer Operator Robert Bebee, 41, who joined the department almost 12 years ago; and Firefighter Robert Garner, 29, who joined the department 12 1/2 years ago. The Houston Fire Department said 14 firefighters were taken to the hospital Friday. Continue Reading

Injury count in Okla. tornadoes, storms tops 75

A hospital official in Oklahoma City says more than 75 people were injured during a burst of severe storms and tornadoes on Friday night. Integris spokeswoman Brooke Cayot said Saturday that the hospital chain had treated 77 people. One remains in critical condition. Five people died during the storm, which struck the Oklahoma City area during rush hour, trapping many people in their cars along Interstate 40. The National Weather Service reported Friday evening that “several” tornadoes rolled across the prairie. Continue Reading

Memorial set for Newtown gunman's mother

A memorial service is planned in New Hampshire on Saturday for Nancy Lanza, whose son shot her to death in their Connecticut home in December before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunning down 20 students and six educators. The service is set for the First Congregational Church in Kingston, where Lanza once lived. Police Chief Donald Briggs said only friends and family are invited. A private funeral attended by about 25 people was held for her there on Dec. 20, less than a week after her son’s Dec. Continue Reading

Florida gets its money's worth on education spending, according to report

Florida gets a decent bang for its buck when it comes to education spending, according to a review of U.S. Census data by a watchdog group. Despite being ranked 42nd out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in per pupil spending for elementary and secondary education, the Sunshine State gets good marks for its K-12 system, according to FloridaWatchdog.org. In 2011, the state spent $8,887 per student, well below the national average of $10,560. Yet Education Week, a national research nonprofit, ranked Florida sixth in education quality and student progress last year. It got a failing grade in one category: per pupil spending, an indication that Education Week seems to equate dollars and results. Continue Reading

Some Wash. police dogs re-trained to avoid smelling marijuana

When Dusty, a 19-month-old black Labrador, walked past a pipe full of marijuana during a recent police search of a house, he was doing exactly what his handler hoped. The newest drug-sniffing dog on the police force in Bremerton, near Seattle, is one of a few police dogs in Washington state that are not trained to point out pot during searches. Other police departments are considering or in the midst of re-training their dogs to ignore pot as well, part of the new reality in a state where voters last fall legalized marijuana use. “We wanted to train our dog on what was truly illegal substances, that would be heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine,” said Dusty’s handler, Officer Duke Roessel, who added that Dusty nabbed five pounds of meth during that recent search. Police departments in Bremerton, Bellevue and Seattle, as well as the Washington State Patrol, have either put the dogs through pot desensitization training or plan not to train them for marijuana detection. Continue Reading

Damage assessment to begin after fatal Okla. storm

Emergency officials are preparing to survey tornado damage again this morning following the second major fatal storm to strike the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in several days. Law enforcement officers and Red Cross damage assessment workers planned to head out at dawn to areas the tornadoes struck in the city and its suburbs. Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said early Saturday that she had no word of additional fatalities beyond the five reported Friday night. Among them were a mother and baby. Hospital officials say about 50 people were hurt. Continue Reading

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Oklahoma Struck Again by Tornadoes

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Emergency officials are preparing to survey tornado damage again this morning following the second major fatal storm to strike the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in several days.  

Law enforcement officers and Red Cross damage assessment workers planned to head out at dawn to areas the tornadoes struck in the city and its suburbs. Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said early Saturday that she had no word of additional fatalities beyond the five reported Friday night. Among them were a mother and baby. Hospital officials say about 50 people were hurt. Continue Reading