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Stranger spends days in water to find couple's lost engagement ring

A good Samaritan with a metal detector helped a couple recover a ring that was accidentally dropped into a Missouri pond earlier this month in a marriage proposal gone awry.

>> Read more trending news

A video of the proposal went viral after Seth Dixon got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend of four years, Ruth Salas, on a wooden bridge over Kansas City’s Loose Park Pond, The Kansas City Star reported. In video posted on social media, Dixon can be seen opening the box that held the engagement ring, and then watching in horror as the ring pops out of the box and slides between the slats of the bridge they stood on.

Photographer Staci Dabney said in a Facebook post that the couple’s friends grabbed goggles and jumped in the water to help find the ring, without luck.

The video was seen by thousands of people across the internet, including Michael Long, of Springfield.

"I had a metal detector,” Long told KMBC. “I just thought it would just be nice to get up there, help a random couple out and find the ring before someone else found it.”

Long told the news station that over the course of two days and hours in the water equipped with little more than the metal detector, a pair of goggles and a bucket filled with rocks to weigh him down, he found 25 nails, a toy car and the couple’s engagement ring.

“First thing I did was jump out of the pond and I’m running to the people around me and I was like, ‘Do you think this thing is real?’” Long told the Star. “It’s a shock, like, ‘Did I really just find this thing?’”

Dixon thanked Long on Wednesday in a Facebook post.

“We truly appreciate you going out of your way to find our ring and returning it to us,” Dixon said. “Many people searched for the ring, but you are the one who found it. We appreciate your service!”

The couple was in Los Angeles when the ring was recovered. 

Dixon said he and Salas believed they were in town to film a segment for 20/20, but were surprised when they were instead brought on for a redo of their engagement on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

“Even with them knowing everything, they still decided to bless us with a new ring,” Dixon said. “After the show, we again mentioned the ring situation. They again said they wanted us to keep the new ring! All of the staff at ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ have been AMAZING and we are so thankful for them!”

Dixon said the couple plans to marry on Oct. 21.

Fallen sailor's return home moves airplane passengers to tears

The touching moment a sailor’s body was taken to home her family moved an airplane full of passengers to tears as they watched the emotional scene unfold.

>> Watch the video here

The U.S. Navy Aviation Boatswains Mate Handler on board the plane was Brooke Newton, 25, who died in San Diego on Aug. 30, according to an obituary published in the Edmond Sun.

>> Read more trending news

Mike Helms, who was on the plane, said that when the craft touched down, the pilot asked passengers to remain on board while the fallen hero was removed.

They were at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City on Thursday night when Helms wrote on Facebook, “This moment hit me hard for some reason. I couldn’t hold back tears. As I looked around the plane, I was hoping nobody would see my moment of weakness … But to my surprise, damn near everyone on the plane was crying.”

>> See the post here

When Helms and the rest of the passengers looked out the window, they watched as Newton’s family was given the casket containing their daughter’s body.

24-pound cat gets new home, help to slim down after Irma

A sweet -- and very large -- feline could be classified as a Hurricane Irma victim, but instead she’ll probably become famous as she goes viral. 

Faye, weighing in at a whopping 24 pounds, was dropped off at the Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, Florida, and was put up for adoption Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Facebook post about the cat went up Tuesday night and was shared more than 400 times by Wednesday. 

By Wednesday night, Faye had found a new home. 

Officials at the Jacksonville Humane Society wrote on Facebook that Faye’s new owner and her daughter drove two hours to adopt the cat. 

“Faye’s new mom was first in line when the doors opened,” the post read. “She will be the only pet in the home and will get lots and lots of love. They have promised to send pictures, too.”

According to the shelter, the 12-year-old cat is an attention hound and needs a loving home where her new owners will help her cut back on food and treats. 

“Faye loves attention and likes when you scratch right above her nubby tail,” shelter workers wrote in a post. “She will need a loving home to help her lose weight at a slow and steady pace outlined by our veterinarian.”

Faye was brought in after Hurricane Irma, but her owner contacted them before the storm for help, so shelter officials aren’t totally blaming the storm.

Those interested in adopting other pets at the North Florida shelter can visit the Jacksonville Humane Society website

Officers’ ‘It’-themed photo takes ‘hot cop’ challenge to scary new level

As law enforcement agencies across the country continued to post “hot cop” photos this week in attempts to best one another, one California police department upped its game to a spooky level.

The Lincoln Police Department on Friday posted a photo to Facebook that meshed the “hot cop” challenge started by Gainesville, Florida, officers during Hurricane Irma and the wildly successful big screen version of novelist Stephen King’s “It.” 

The photo shows four of its officers standing on a street, one of the officers is reaching down to the pavement. On the asphalt is a line of tasty-looking doughnuts leading to a nearby drainage culvert.

In the culvert is someone dressed as the villain in “It,” Pennywise the Clown. Nearby floats one of Pennywise’s trademark red balloons. 

The photo caption reads, “Ok, Gainesville had the ‘hot cops’ and Loudon had the ‘cop on a bucket,’ so the Lincoln (CA) Police Department decided to join the fun.”

“Clown: ‘Hey guys, I have donuts down here!’”

As the officer reaches for the first in the line of doughnuts, a colleague tries to pull him to clown-free safety.

As of Wednesday, the photo had been shared nearly 200,000 times and garnered about 171,000 reactions, all positive. The image also earned some jokes from commenters.

“But, like, is the clown hot?” one woman asked.

“Looks like a trap,” another commenter said. 

“With sprinkles!” one man added. 

“But why did they put perfectly good donuts on the ground?” another woman asked.

“Donut go down there!” one commenter warned. 

>> Read more trending news

The photo from the Lincoln police officers is the latest in a string of pictures challenging a selfie posted by Gainesville officers earlier this month as they prepared for a 12-hour shift at the height of Hurricane Irma. The photo, posted on Facebook, had commenters praising the officers’ looks and offering to be arrested to get closer to the men. 

The Gainesville photo was removed from Facebook after one of the officers, Officer Michael Hamill, came under fire for alleged anti-Semitic posts on his personal Facebook page. He has been suspended while the department investigates the claims. 

In the days since the Gainesville photo went viral, however, departments across the country have offered their own photos of their finest. On Tuesday, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in southeast Louisiana posted a photo of their finest looking K-9 officers.

“K-9s Hoss, Baretta and Mako wanted in on the #HotCop competition, but they hope to start a new hashtag: #HotDogs!” the caption read. 

In another post, Loudon, Tennessee, police officers pose for the camera. One particularly short officer stands on a bucket.

“Loudon Police Department Adam Squad. We ain’t pretty, but we get the job done,” the post reads.

The challenge has become so popular since the post by the Gainesville officers that it has spawned a Facebook page of its own, Hot Cop Challenge. The page had just over 1,000 followers as of Wednesday. 

Starbucks thief plans to sue man who stopped him, police say 

A California man who allegedly tried to hold up a Starbucks barista at gunpoint, now plans to sue the customer who tried to stop him.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities said Ryan Flores, 30, attempted to rob a Starbucks in Fresno in July, but 58-year-old Cregg Jerri picked up a chair and hit Flores in the back with it. The two got into a violent scuffle, and both sustained injuries. Now the Flores family says their son plans on suing Jerri for excessive force, according to YourCentralValley.

Flores is in jail and faces a felony attempted robbery charge. His mother, Pamela Chimienti, said she doesn’t condone her son robbing the store, but argued that Jerri should not have attacked her son the way he did.

The video of the attempted robbery and ensuing struggle went viral. It’s difficult to see exactly what happens as the two men tangle, but investigators said Flores stabbed Jerri in the neck. Jerri then managed to get control of the knife and used it to stab Flores multiple times.

>> Related Police nab a wanted bank robber who was disguised as a surgeon

Chimienti said her son had 17 stab wounds.

“The guy, in my opinion, went from a Good Samaritan to a vigilante,” she said. “Stabbing somebody that many times, it doesn’t take that many stab wounds to get somebody to succumb to you.”

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said it’s “ludicrous” that Jerri could face a lawsuit for trying to stop an armed robbery and getting stabbed in the neck.

Legal analyst Charles Magill told YourCentralValley that Jerri has little to worry about.

“Good luck finding an attorney that wants to represent a young robber who’s going to be convicted of robbery,” Magill said. “That’s not going to sell very well to the jury.”

>> Related: Watch the heroic way UPS workers shut down an armed robbery happening in broad daylight

Flores is being held on a $155,000 bail and is expected back in court next month.

Navy hospital employee accused of mishandling newborn babies: 'Sorry for offending'

Employees at Florida's Naval Hospital Jacksonville who reportedly posted a viral video of newborn babies “dancing” will likely face criminal charges.

>> Watch the news report here

The newborns were referred as “mini Satans” by the employees. 

When the employees posted the pictures of the baby’s face, that alone is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

>> On Navy hospital apologizes for staff's 'inappropriate' photos of newborns

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson says the employees could be charged with more than a HIPPA violation. Carson said he believes this is a case of child abuse.

In the video, rap music from 50 Cent can be heard in the background as a staff member from Naval Hospital Jacksonville is seen making a newborn baby dance to the music. 

>> Watch the clip here

The woman who sent Action News Jax the Snapchat video also sent text messages detailing a conversation between her and the U.S. Navy employee.

The employee said: "We were being stupid and bored. Sorry for offending.”

But some parents were angry over the video. 

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

“That baby could have been seriously injured … all because she wanted to be popular on social media,” parent Regina Wortmann said. 

A photo was also posted showing a staff member making an obscene hand gesture and saying that was how she felt about the “mini Satans.” 

"She'll receive demerits and be punished in some way," Carson said.

Naval Hospital Jacksonville posted an apology via Facebook, calling the posts “outrageous.” 

>> Navy hospital apologizes for staff's 'inappropriate' photos of newborns

“We have identified the staff members involved,” the hospital said. “They have removed from patient care and they will be handled by the legal system and military justice.” 

Carson says the incident could be very costly. 

>> Read more trending news

“It’s clearly a HIPPA violation and probably the U.S. Navy and their medical system at NAS Jax can be sued over this,” Carson said. 

Action News Jax contacted the hospital for more information. Officials sent the station an email saying the public information officer is “attempting to respond to all requests in a timely matter.” 

>> Watch another news report here

Navy hospital apologizes for staff's 'inappropriate' photos of newborns

A picture of staff members inappropriately handling a newborn at Florida’s Naval Hospital Jacksonville has gone viral, and the hospital said the staff members involved in the incident will face legal action.

>> Read more trending news

Naval Hospital Jacksonville officials said that they’re aware of a video that was posted to social media and appears to show a nurse inappropriately handling a newborn.

The hospital responded with a statement on Facebook that garnered thousands of shares. 

A photo of the incident appears to show staff inappropriately gesturing to a newborn and calling the infant “Satan.”

The photo is captioned, “How I currently feel about these mini Satans."

The hospital called the images outrageous, unacceptable and incredibly unprofessional. Naval Hospital Jacksonville released a statement that reads in part, “We have identified the staff members involved. They have been removed from patient care and they will be handled by the legal system and military justice.”

The hospital said it is still notifying involved parties.


Heartbroken dad shares viral message after 'horrific' bullying of special-needs son

A heartbroken dad is speaking out against bullying after his 7-year-old son with special needs told him what was going on at school.

Dan Bezzant of Idaho posted a now-viral plea on Facebook asking parents to educate their children. His son, Jackson, 7, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. The condition affects the development of his bones and facial tissue. It has also left him deaf and has affected his eyesight, Inside Edition reports.

>> See the Facebook post here

He said kids at his son’s school bully him relentlessly because he’s different.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Teen notices classmates bullying student, goes out of his way to cheer him up 

“My heart is in pieces right now … my soul feels like it’s ripping from my chest,” Bezzant wrote on Facebook. “This beautiful young man my son Jackson has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance like I’ve never witnessed.”

Bezzant told Inside Edition he sat in his car and cried after his son told him about what other kids did to him at school.

“He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school. He talks about suicide…he’s not quite 8! He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words,” Bezzant wrote.

>> Read more trending news

He asked parents to teach their kids about children with special needs.

Bezzant wrote, “Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man. … [Jackson has] endured horrific surgery and has several more in the coming years.”

Bezzant’s post went viral and has been shared more than 51,000 times. He hopes attitudes change toward people who look different.

“This shouldn’t be happening … to anyone,” wrote Bezzant.

Teen throws fries instead of cap in McDonald’s-themed senior photo shoot

A high school student was looking to add some flavor to her senior photos, so she used her favorite fast-food chain for inspiration.

>> Read more trending news

Mikayla Cleckler, 17, of Mississippi, is almost “McDone” with high school and instead of sending her cap flying, she threw McDonald’s fries, according to PopSugar

Jana Cooley, Mikayla’s cousin who took the photos, thought the fast-food restaurant was the perfect spot since Mikayla eats there at least once a week, Inside Edition reported. 

“She texted me and asked if I would mind taking her senior pictures, and I responded, 'You know we're taking these at McDonald's, right?’” Cooley told Pop Sugar. “She is obsessed with their buttermilk chicken sandwiches and just knowing the type of person she is, we wouldn't be doing the world justice if we didn't incorporate a little humor.”

The photos were taken in July, but have recently started to go viral.

The pictures will be featured in Mikayla’s school yearbook and on her graduation invites.

“We just wanted something different from everyone else’s, something to look back on and laugh,” Cleckler told Inside Edition. “My friends thought the photos were hilarious.”

Read more at PopSugar and Inside Edition

Woman's complaint about 'insensitive' Hobby Lobby decoration goes viral

A Facebook complaint left on Hobby Lobby’s page is making waves on social media, as the complaint alleged that selling “raw cotton decor” is racially insensitive.

>> Read more trending news 

Daniell Rider of Killeen, Texas, posted a photo on Facebook Thursday that has been shared nearly 15,000 times and reacted to more than 70,000 times.

“This decor is wrong on so many levels. There is nothing decorative about raw cotton, a commodity which was gained at the expense of African-American slaves,” Rider wrote on Facebook. 

“A little sensitivity goes a long way,” she urged Hobby Lobby. “Please remove this ‘decor.’”

The overwhelming majority of reactions to the post were laughing emojis, and many commenters called the complaint “Ridiculous,” while others asked “Really?!”

Many commenters said their ancestors had picked cotton too, despite their not being black.

“There were plenty of white cotton pickers also,” one Facebook user wrote.

“This is utterly ridiculous! I am Caucasian American and my ancestors picked just as much cotton as anyone else,” another person wrote.  

Others wrote cheeky responses.

“I guess in the name of sensitivity, I should burn all of my cotton clothing,” one man wrote.

Hobby Lobby did not respond to the post as of Monday afternoon.

‘Be kind to your neighbor': Woman reunites with man who gave her last generator as Irma neared

The man who selflessly gave up one of the last generators available to a woman in distress got to meet her again after the storm. 

>> Read more trending news

Ramon Santiago and Pam Brekke met and hugged again at the upholstery business where Brekke works.

Both were emotional about the millions of people touched by what happened when they crossed paths at a Lowe’s in Orlando.

>> RELATED: Read: Lowe's customer gives last generator to fellow shopper

“The anxiety of the storm just hit me,” said Brekke.

As Hurricane Irma churned toward Florida, Brekke broke down in tears when the last generator went to the person in front of her in line.

Her concern centered mostly on her father-in-law, Richard Robinson, who she said is like a father to her.

Robinson, an 87-year-old Korean War veteran, has congestive heart failure and depends on oxygen at night.

Santiago didn’t know all those details when he insisted Brekke take his generator.

In Spanish, he said seeing her tears was enough for him to act.

Santiago’s family did not lose power long enough to use the generator Lowe’s gave him for free when his act of generosity went viral.

At Brekke’s home, the lights stayed on and the generator Santiago gave her is still in the box.

They are relieved and proud of their roles in a moment that moved so many.

“Be kind to your neighbor. That’s what God wants us to do,” said Brekke. “We showed there is still goodness and love in the world.” 

7 things to know about Kenneka Jenkins, whose body was found in a hotel freezer

This story has been updated to reflect new details in the Kenneka Jenkins case.

The mysterious death of Kenneka Jenkins, 19, who was found dead in the freezer of a suburban hotel, has sparked national outcry and questions about the circumstances surrounding her death.

>> Read more trending news

The teenager left her home for a party Sept. 8, according to the Chicago Tribune. After her mother, Tereasa Martin, demanded hotel staff search for her daughter, Jenkins’ body was found in the hotel freezer of Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois.

Here is everything we know so far about the tragic death of Kenneka Jenkins. 

1. Police said Kenneka walked herself into the freezer where her body was found the morning of Sept. 10.

Kenneka Jenkins was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m. Sunday. Police informed Martin and other family members after 1 a.m. Sunday that Kenneka’s body was found in a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza, according to the Tribune. Police told Martin that her daughter was inebriated and likely stumbled into the freezer, which was not being used to store food, on her own. 

Andrew Holmes, a longtime Chicago anti-violence activist, told the Tribune that local detectives allowed him to review the hotel footage from the Crowne Plaza Wednesday. The video shows what the police originally reported --Jenkins walked herself into the hotel’s freezer, according to Holmes. 

Holmes said the video shows Jenkins waiting in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza while her friends apparently went up to the room where they had earlier partied to retrieve some possessions. On her own, Jenkins takes the elevator to a lower level, wanders around and opens doors in an seemingly disoriented manner. She then, according to Homes, opens two doors in a kitchen area and enters the walk-in freezer. The doors close behind her.

"The important part is we all wanted to know: Did anybody call her down there?" he said. "Did anybody force her down there? Was there anybody on the other side of the room when she got down there? And the answer to that is no."

RELATED: Employee finds deceased coworker in restaurant freezer

2. On Friday, the family denied Holmes’ account and said the video does not show Jenkins walking into the hotel freezer.

Friday morning, an attorney for Kenneka Jenkins’ family told the Tribune they had not received any video evidence from Rosemont police that shows the the 19-year-old entering a hotel walk-in freezer alone despite police officials, announcing Thursday they would show Tereasa Martin extensive hotel footage. Family attorney Larry Rogers Jr. said the family had only been given “snippets” from the surveillance footage.

“The family has not been provided any video or other evidence of Kenneka Jenkins walking into a freezer,” Larry Rogers Jr. said in a statement. “Serious questions remain as to how she ended up in a Crowne Plaza Hotel freezer and why it took a day and a half for the hotel to find Kenneka.”

During a protest at the hotel Thursday night, Martin also said she had not seen surveillance footage and that Holmes’ account of the video footage was false. 

3. Police announced Monday they are investigating the viral Facebook video that allegedly contains footage of Jenkins.

Police are reviewing video on social media that appears to show Jenkins in a room on the ninth-floor of the Crowne Plaza before she disappeared over the weekend, according to the Tribune.

The video, which has been viewed more than 5 million times, features a woman smoking in mirrorer sunglasses periodically talking on the phone or to the camera. Viewers of the Facebook Live believe that, at about the 3-minute mark, a scream can be heard. It also appears Jenkins is reflected in the woman’s glasses on the other side of the hotel room.

"They've looked at it and continue to look at it and all the other social media videos and posts," Gary Mack, spokesman for the village of Rosemont, told the Tribune. "They are leaving no stone unturned as far as trying to corral everyone they can and talk to them and interview them about what happened and what was going on that night."

4. The Crowne Plaza has offered to pay for Kenneka Jenkins’ funeral.

According to the Tribune, a spokesman for the Crowne Plaza said Thursday that the hotel is willing to cover the costs of Jenkins' funeral.

"Our hearts go out to Kenneka's mother, her family and friends," said spokesman Glenn Harston. "We hope covering the funeral costs provides a small bit of relief for them."

5. Her mother had been searching for her daughter since early Saturday morning.

Kenneka Jenkins left her house around 11:30 p.m. Friday for a bowling party, according to what she told her mother. Jenkins’ friends called Tereasa Martin around 4 a.m., Sept. 9, to report they had not been able locate Jenkins. The friends left with Jenkins’ phone and in the car Martin lent her daughter for the night.

Martin said she headed to the hotel to search for her daughter at 5 a.m. Saturday, but without a missing persons report, hotel staff refused to search for Jenkins. It wasn’t until around 3 or 4 p.m. police began reviewing video footage that led to discovering Jenkins. Martin and her family visited the hotel three times Saturday to find her. 

6. Her mother, Tereasa Martin, is contesting the police report that Kenneka walked herself into the freezer.

Martin has questioned the validity of the police’s conclusion on her daughter’s death. If her daughter was drunk, she said, she would have had a hard time opening the freezer door on her own.

"Those were double steel doors. She didn't just pop them open," Martin said.

Martin was angry about what she said was hotel workers' lack of urgency in the face of her pleas for help finding her daughter Saturday morning, directing her to the police rather than immediately reviewing hotel footage. The unusual circumstances have ignited huge interest on social media with many observers blaming police and Jenkins’ friends.

7. A cause of death hasn’t been determined.

Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Sunday, but it wasn't immediately clear whether foul play was suspected, according to Becky Schlikerman, spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office.

Martin is convinced that the delay in investigating her daughter’s death could have made a difference. It’s not clear who found Jenkins or if there were any signs of trauma.

"If they had taken me seriously and checked right away, they could have found my daughter much sooner and she might have been alive," Martin said.

Georgia teacher who asked students to turn Trump shirts inside out: 'I was concerned'

A high school teacher is on leave after an incident involving President Donald Trump T-shirts.

>> Read more trending news

The incident happened in August at River Ridge High School in Woodstock.

Turning Point, a nonprofit conservative group, obtained cellphone video and shared it with WSB-TV.

The video shows math teacher Lyn Orletsky telling students they need to turn their “Make America Great Again” T-shirts inside-out.

"I was concerned about all my students' comfort in that class," Orletsky said. 

Orletsky said she was trying to maintain an orderly classroom and was concerned the T-shirts' slogan could cause some discomfort, particularly after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

"The whole 'Make America Great Again' slogan was really hijacked by a lot of hate groups," Orletsky said. 

She insists her decision had nothing to do with politics. 

"I explained to them, 'Support your president. That's great. It's fine to have a President Trump T-shirt," she said. "I never had any intentions of it being political at all. I care about my students and I want them to feel safe and comfortable," she said. 

Video of the incident has gone viral and Orletsky said she's received death threats that the sheriff's office is investigating. 

"I have gotten hundreds of hate mails for simply trying to make my classroom a safe environment for all my students," she said. 

An online petition calling for her resignation has received more than 1,100 signatures. Orletsky said she's also received a lot of support and that's giving her strength. 

"It's just a sad situation. I just want to teach,' she said. 

The school's principal sent a letter to parents saying Orletsky was no longer in the classroom, but a school district spokesperson would not elaborate.

Knoxville, Tennessee says it has hot cops too in buff badge battle

First it was Gainesville, Florida. Then it was Sarasota police. Now Knoxville, Tennessee is getting into the hot cop fray.

>> Read more trending news 

Over the weekend, photos from Gainesville of its hottest, er, finest boys in blue started going viral.

Sarasota Police Department answered the call, with a photo of its own.

So, Knoxville put up the photo of its five best (looking) officers (and yes we’re counting the K-9 officer), challenging those on social media to leave a comment and then make a donation in the name of either Gainesville or Knoxville to help Hurricane Irma victims in Florida.

As of Thursday morning, the photo had more than 13,000 comments, many NSFW.

Other comments are more like bad pickup lines.

Some are sarcastically doubting that the boys in blue are really cops and wondering who gets to choose which officers are featured.

#RescueBae: Man becomes hero and a heartthrob in Harvey’s floodwaters

In the tragedy of floods from Hurricane Harvey, people from all over the region emerged to rescue others from flooded homes and to provide safety and a hot meal. As survivors flooded social media with posts about the amazing volunteers who were carrying the city forward, one man in particular got a bit of attention.

As Raz Halili snapped selfies of his rescue efforts, the photos started to go viral, accompanied by the tag #RescueBae.

>> Read more trending news

On Aug. 30, Halili and his cousin Gezim took a boat and jet ski out into the floodwaters to rescue stranded storm survivors, traveling to Texas cities Port Arthur, Dickinson and Friendswood to help people in need.

While many assumed that he was with the Cajun Navy -- a grassroots group of volunteers that assists with hurricane rescue, according to CNN -- Halili is actually from Kemah, Texas. Since he runs his family’s oyster business, Prestige Oysters in San Leon, Texas, he knows his way around a boat.

The son of an Albanian immigrant, Halili said he acted out of thanks for the life his family has found in America.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

KTRK reported that Port Arthur, Texas, resident Ariel Davis was one of the women who helped make Halili’s photos go viral. She said that when she first saw a photo, sent to her by a friend, she knew she needed to see more.

“One of my friends was letting me know that she got rescued from a fine Cajun Navy guy,” Davis said. “She said she has a picture of him,” I said, ‘Girl. You have to send me the picture.’”

Since taking his boat into the floodwaters, Halili has found himself labeled both a hero and a heartthrob.

Teacher who compared Trump slogan to swastika no longer in classroom

A Cherokee County high school teacher who told students they couldn’t wear a “Make America Great Again” T-shirt during class last week is no longer teaching the math class, the principal said Friday.

Lyn Orletsky was seen on a viral video telling at least two River Ridge High School students that wearing the slogan made popular by President Donald Trump was like wearing a swastika.

The school district quickly apologized and said while disciplinary action against Orletsky wouldn’t be disclosed, the students weren’t in trouble.

MORE: Teacher ‘wrong’ to tell student he can’t wear Trump shirt  

“Her actions were wrong, as the ‘Make America Great Again’ shirts worn by the students are not a violation of our school district dress code,” Cherokee County Schools spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said at the time.

Orletsky asked the students to turn their shirts inside out for the duration of her class, according to a petition at

RELATED: The making of a Trump voter: Lance Toland

“This type of ignorance should not be tolerated in our community and goes against the ethics that we as Americans come to expect,” the petition, which had 625 signatures as of Monday, stated. 

River Ridge High School Principal Darrell Herring sent the parents of Orletsky’s students a letter Friday, announcing she was not teaching their children, “effective immediately.” 

Herring told parents the school assigned a substitute teacher and would continue to search for a new, permanent math teacher.

The school system would not say if Orletsky was fired.

“We can’t discuss ongoing administrative investigations or disciplinary action,” a statement said. “When a teacher resigns or is recommended by the Superintendent for termination, it is added to a School Board meeting agenda, which is a public record. The agenda can be amended at any time.”

ESPN apologizes after Jemele Hill calls Trump a 'white supremacist'

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill may find herself in hot water with the network after she called President Donald Trump a "white supremacist" on Twitter.

"Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists," she wrote Monday. "The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it's of no threat to you. Well, it's a threat to me."

>> Read more trending news

She added: "Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period."

Her tweets quickly went viral. Read her full remarks below:

The network released an apology, which was shared by ESPN PR on Twitter:

“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN,” the statement read. “We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”

>> Read the statement here

Read more here. 

After Irma: What’s OPEN and CLOSED

This list will be updated as information becomes available.


  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be closed all week.
  • Broward County Public Schools will be closed through Friday and hopes to reopen on Monday, pending the restoration of power.
  • Monroe County schools will be closed through at least Friday. Their reopening date has yet to be determined.
  • Palm Beach County School District will be closed until further notice.
  • Pembroke Pines Charter Schools will resume classes on Monday.
  • Archdiocese of Miami has announced all elementary and high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties will be closed until further notice.
  • Belen Jesuit Preparatory School will be closed until further notice.
  • American Heritage School at the Plantation and Boca Delray campuses plan to reopen on Monday.
  • Miami Country Day School will resume on Monday.
  • Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West will be closed through Monday.
  • Ransom Everglades School will reopen Monday. There will be no classes, activities or campus entry while the school is closed.
  • Scheck Hillel Community School will be opened to faculty and staff on Friday. School will resume for students on Monday. All after-school afternoon and evening programs through Friday have been cancelled.
  • Pine Crest Preparatory School’s Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses will remain closed through Friday. School officials hope to reopen on Monday depending on power restoration.
  • Emergency Education Institute is closed until further notice.
  • Gulliver Schools will reopen on Monday. For more information, click here.
  • Rhema Word Christian Academy is closed until further notice.
  • St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Montessori School, Key Biscayne is closed until further notice.
  • Gladeview Christian School is closed until further notice.
  • The Cushman School in Miami will reopen Monday.


  • Miami Dade College will remain closed until further notice. All special events scheduled for this period have been cancelled.
  • Florida International University cancelled all classes, including online classes until further notice. The Green Library opened Tuesday with valid FIU I.D. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The University of Miami cancelled classes at their Coral Gables, Rosenstiel and Medical campuses until Monday. All other activities were also cancelled through that date.
  • The University of Miami Medical Campus is starting to resume normal operations. All employees should be prepared to return to campus as early as Wednesday, unless they have a personal emergency and have notified their supervisor. All courses, clerkships and rotations for students have been cancelled until Monday.
  • Saint Thomas University has cancelled classes through Friday and hope to resume normal scheduling on Monday. Faculty and staff can return to work at noon on Thursday.
  • Nova Southeastern University is working to reopen all campuses in Florida and Puerto Rico on Monday.
  • Barry University have suspended normal operations until further notice. Classes at all locations have been cancelled and will hopefully resume on Monday.
  • Broward College classes and normal business operations will be closed until further notice.
  • Carlos Albizu University is working to reopen on either Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Lynn University is closed until further notice.
  • West Coast University’s Miami Campus is closed until further notice.
  • Johnson & Wales University, has cancelled classes until Monday, Sept 18.
  • Florida Atlantic University has cancelled classes until Monday, Sept. 18. Jupiter and Boca Raton residential students can begin returning to their residence halls at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Essential personnel are to report to their respective campuses Monday and Tuesday. All FAU faculty and staff are to report for their normal schedules on Thursday.
  • Florida Polytechnic University has suspended classes. The university will remain closed until Tuesday morning, at the earliest.
  • Florida Memorial University will be closed until further notice.

Hospitals & Health Clinics

  • Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point and Broward Health Coral Springs resumed normal operations, Monday, Sept. 11. All other Broward Health facilities will reopen Tuesday.
  • The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital emergency department and trauma center is open, but the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital cancelled all minor procedures and elective surgeries through the duration of the storm. Surgeries scheduled for Thursday are on as scheduled. Both the hospital’s West Bird and Palm Beach Gardens urgent care centers will be open, Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Mercy Hospital has reopened. Family members of patients at Mercy Hospital can receive updates of transfer locations by calling 844-674-7431.
  • Community Health of South Florida Inc. will close all of its 11 health centers Thursday and Friday. The Doris Ison Health Center will remain open for walk-in, urgent care, crisis stabilization unit and pharmacy services.
  • All Jackson Health Systems hospitals and emergency rooms are open and operational. Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center, North Dade Health Center, Prevention, Education & Treatment (PET) Center, and Rosie Lee Wesley Health Center will remain closed on Tuesday due to power outages.
  • Baptist Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital are open and operating on normal schedules at this time. Fishermen’s Community Hospital and Mariners Hospital are closed. Some Baptist Urgent Care Centers and Diagnostic Imaging Centers are closed. To find out which ones are open, click here.
  • Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital Pembroke, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar are operational. All hospitals within Memorial Healthcare System remain open for emergency services. For more information about closures and cancellations, click here.
  • All three of the Keys’ hospitals are closed.
  • MD Now Urgent Care Centers is working to reopen their locations. For a list of open locations, click here.
  • Cleveland Clinic Florida’s 24-hour emergency department, located at 3100 Weston Road in Weston, will remain open before, during and after the storm.
  • Holy Cross Hospital has reopened some locations. For more information, click here.
  • UHealth is opening outpatient clinics on a limited basis to patients with acute illnesses, needing chemotherapy or radiation. All affected patients are being contacted.

Cities and Areas

  • The City of Miami Beach will reopen, Tuesday, at 8 a.m. All causeways onto the beach will be open so that residents can return home.
  • The City of Sunny Isles Beach will be allowed to go back to their home at noon.
  • All roads leading to Monroe County have been closed.

Government Buildings and Meetings

  • All state offices will be closed through Monday by order of Gov. Rick Scott
  • Monroe County closed all of its government offices until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade Courts and Clerk of Courts’ offices will be closed through Friday. Bond hearings are still taking place and start at 9 a.m. at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, located at 1351 NW 12th St.
  • Miami-Dade County offices will be closed through Monday Sept. 18. Essential employees are aiding the recovery. Others should contact their supervisors.
  • Broward County’s government offices, including Port Everglades administration offices, will be closed on Monday.
  • Broward Clerk of Courts’ office will be closed Wednesday. Thursday’s operations have yet to be determined.
  • Doral Government Center will be closed to the public until further notice.
  • Social Security offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties will be closed until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will be closed through Monday.
  • All City of Miami Beach garages are now open for residents to park their cars during the storm. For a list, click here.
  • Miami Beach City Hall will reopen Wednesday.
  • Margate City Hall will be closed until further notice.
  • The Florida Department of Corrections cancelled weekend visitation at all institutions on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Broward County Animal Shelter will open Wednesday for admissions. Adoption services will resume later in the week.
  • Broward County has reopened several library locations with limited services. For a list of open locations, click here.
  • City of North Miami administrative offices will be closed until further notice.
  • The North Miami Public Library will close until further notice.
  • City of Miramar Public Works & Utilities Residents Forums scheduled for Sept. 12 and Sep. 19 will be rescheduled.
  • Plantation City offices are closed until further notice.
  • Port Everglades will reopen pending Coast Guard approval.
  • Key Biscayne Village Offices and Community Center will be closed Tuesday.
  • Hallandale Beach City Hall will reopen on Tuesday.
  • Hialeah City facilities, programs, and events remain cancelled until further notice.
  • Pembroke Pines City Hall, Charles F. Dodge City Center, administrative buildings and the Carl Shechter Southwest Focal Point Community Center will resume normal operations on Wednesday.


  • U.S. Postal Service delivery and retail operations in South Florida, as well as drop shipment acceptance, have been suspended until further notice. Post offices within the 3-digit zip codes of 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 340 and 349 are suspending retail operations. For more information, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (274-8777).


  • Ocean Rescue lifeguards will be protecting Fort Lauderdale Beach beginning Tuesday
  • Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier is closed to the public until further notice.
  • The City of Miami Beach will reopen, Tuesday, at 8 a.m. All causeways onto the beach will be open so that residents can return home.

Malls, Shopping Centers and Supermarkets

  • Sawgrass Mills Mall will be reopen Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Miami International Mall will reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • Dadeland Mall will reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • Shops at Merrick Park will reopen Tuesday at noon.
  • Southland Mall will be closed until further notice.
  • The Falls will reopen, Tuesday at noon until 5 p.m.
  • Due to Hurricane Irma’s impact on Florida, some Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club facilities will close or adjust hours of operation. For more information, click here.
  • Aventura Mall will reopen Tuesday morning, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Miami-Dade County is working with food stores to bring them back online as quickly as possible. County residents can search for open stores near them by clicking here.
  • Brickell City Centre will reopen on Wednesday.

Parks & Museums

  • Monroe County parks are closed until further notice.
  • Most Broward County parks will remain closed.
  • Big Cypress National Preserve is closed until further notice.
  • Biscayne National Park will be closed until further notice.
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami and Verde restaurant will be closed through Wednesday.
  • The City of Doral closed all parks until further notice.
  • Jungle Island took severe damage and will remain closed until further notice.
  • The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has suspended operations until further notice.
  • The Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center and Batchelor Wildlife Center in Coconut Grove is closed until further notice.
  • Miami Seaquarium is closed until further notice.
  • Zoo Miami will be closed until further notice.
  • Doral parks are closed until further notice.
  • Disney World plans to reopen Tuesday after cleaning up.


  • The Miami International Auto Show has been postponed to an unknown future date after originally being set for Saturday.
  • The Miami Dolphins’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not be played in Miami; will be moved to Nov 19.
  • The BSO Shred-a-Thon scheduled for Saturday at the Charles F. Dodge City Center has been cancelled.
  • Pembroke Pines Mayor Angelo Castillo’s HOA meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. has been cancelled.
  • The Archdiocese of Miami’s celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Charity scheduled for Friday has been postponed.
  • The e-UNI’TEA Virtual Town Hall Meeting scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled.
  • Adrienne Arsht Center’s ArtsLaunch2017 was cancelled after originally being scheduled for Saturday.
  • The 9/11 Observance to have taken place on Monday at the Pembroke Pines Memorial Park has been cancelled.
  • The University of Miami’s football game scheduled for Saturday at Arkansas State has been cancelled.
  • The Paramore show scheduled for Friday at the Fillmore Miami Beach has been postponed until Dec. 6.
  • Performances of Disney on Ice scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the BB&T Center have been cancelled. Tickets will be refunded.

Trash and Bulk Collection

  • The City of Pembroke Pines have resumed regular scheduled trash pick-up on Tuesday. Recycling has been suspended until Monday.
  • City of North Miami trash and bulk pick-up has been suspended until further notice.
  • City of Fort Lauderdale will resume limited residential solid waste trash collection on Tuesday. Crews will only pick up trash inside the black garbage cart. Other items will not be picked up. Recycling pick up is still suspended.
  • The City of Coral Springs’ solid waste collection will resume on Tuesday. Bulk and Recycling has been suspended until further notice.
  • Monroe County and the City of Key West waste collection has been suspended until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade County residential and commercial waste collection will resume on Tuesday. Recycling has been suspended until Sept. 18.
  • The City of Miami has suspended trash pickup until further notice. The Mini-Dump Facility located at 1290 NW 20th Street will re-open Tuesday at 7am only for City of Miami Residents. (Proof of residency required)
  • Regular trash collection will continue in Hallandale Beach on Tuesday.
  • Garbage pick-up in Miramar will resume on Tuesday. Bulk Pick-up and recycling has been suspended until further notice.
  • Normal garbage and recycling will resume collections for Broward Municipal Services District on Tuesday. Officials want residents to separate bulk waste from vegetable waste at the curb.
  • Miami Beach resident garbage pickup resumed Tuesday and will resume normal pickup days.
  • Trash collection in Wilton Manors resumed Tuesday morning.


  • Miami-Dade Transit:
    • Metrorail began limited service at noon on Tuesday. Full Metrorail service is expected to begin on Wednesday.
      • Those who left cars in Metrorail garages for protection during Irma are asked to remove them now.
    • Metrobus began limited service at noon on Tuesday with 16 routes. More route may be added. Full service is expected to begin Friday. To find the routes in service, call 311.
    • Metromover has been cancelled until further notice.
  • Broward County Transit will resume bus service on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice. Express service to and from Miami will also operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. TOPS/Paratransit service will also resume service and will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. TOPS customers with pre-scheduled trips are asked to call 866-682-2258 to confirm their trip.
  • Doral trolley services have been suspended until further notice.
  • Tri-Rail has suspended services until further notice.
  • Mini Bus Service in Hallandale Beach will resume on Tuesday.
  • Miami Beach trolleys began normal operations Tuesday and will run until 10 p.m. The Metrobus will resume Wednesday



  • Port Everglades has resumed daytime operations.
  • PortMiami will open Tuesday, but will be closed to marine traffic at least until 4 p.m. For more information, click here.


  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened at 4 a.m., Tuesday and is currently operating at about 50 percent capacity. Check with your airlines for any changes.
  • Miami International Airport has opened with a limited number of flights on Tuesday.
  • Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport is now open.
  • Miami Executive Airport is open, but the FAA tower is currently closed for damage assessment. Flights are operating with pilot-to-pilot communication.
  • Miami-Homestead General Aviation Airport is now open, but the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport remains closed.
  • Key West International Airport, Florida Keys Marathon Airport and Naval Air Station Key West are all operational, but only for emergency response flights. The airports already have begun to receive emergency supplies and other emergency resources.

Ride-sharing services

  • Uber services have been suspended in the Keys as of Thursday, Sept. 7. Services have resumed in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Nightly operations have been suspended in some areas to accommodate curfews. For more information, click here.

Florida Pizza Hut threatened to punish employees evacuating for Hurricane Irma 

A Florida Pizza Hut memo about Hurricane Irma has gone viral. 

According to the New York Daily News, a Jacksonville Pizza Hut manager, sent out a memo that read: “#1 priority is the safety and security of our team.” 

The post went on to list strict rules about evacuations and returning to work. 

>> Read more trending news 

“If evacuating, you will have a 24-hour period before storm 'grace period' to not be scheduled," the letter stated. “You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event!”

The memo went on to read that employees, “MUST return within 72 hours” and “failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call/no show and documentation will be issued.”

>> Related: Florida attorney: You could be fired for skipping work during a storm

That’s the part that really irked social media users. 

Pizza Hut released the following statement: “We absolutely do not have a policy that dictates when team members can leave or return from a disaster, and the manager who posted this letter did not follow company guidelines. We can also confirm that the local franchise operator has addressed this situation with the manager involved.”

>> Related: Pizza Hut workers deliver food to Harvey victims via kayak

Read more at the New York Daily News

Video showing campus police officer seizing cash from man's wallet causes outrage

A University of California, Berkeley, police officer taking the cash out of a hot dog vendor's wallet has caused outrage in the community

>> Read more trending news

An alum took cellphone video of the campus police officer citing a street food vendor for not having a proper license. The video, taken after Saturday's Cal football game, also shows the officer going through the street vendor's wallet and taking out his cash.

KTVU reports that Cal alum, Martin Flores, asked, "Are you going to take his hard-earned money?"

The officer responds, “Yup.”

Flores then says, "People can drink on campus on football games and no ticket, but a hard-working man, selling hot dogs, earning a living, gets his money taken away and a ticket."

The officers said that the street vendor didn't have the proper permit for selling food. 

"That's not right," Flores repeatedly says in the back of the video. 

The video has gone viral on Twitter. 

The street vendor told Flores his name was Juan. Flores told KTVU he was buying hot dogs when the officer came up, and he took out his cellphone. 

A food vendor permit costs $240 in Berkeley, KTVU reports, and requires a lot of paperwork.

University of California at Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said on Monday that the university is investigating what happened. He said that the university has instructed its officers to monitor illegal vending outside the venues. 

"This action has been motivated at least in part by issues of public health, the interests of local small businesses and even human trafficking," Biddy told KTVU. 

He also said the university's practice is to issue warnings before writing a citation. 

UC Berkeley police said they have a right to seize money if there is an arrest, or in this case, a citation. 

Students told KTVU that they wished officers were focusing on robberies and larcenies instead of vendors. They have started a petition to remove the police officer from the UC Berkeley Campus Police force. 

Flores decided to start a GoFundMe for Juan. So far, it's raised more than $51,000. 

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