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Hospital Worker Who Handled Ebola Samples Is on Cruise Ship

Hospital Worker Who Handled Ebola Samples Is on Cruise Ship

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Dallas health care worker who handled clinical specimens from an Ebola-infected patient is on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, with the worker self-quarantined and being monitored for signs of infection, the State Department said in a statement.The unidentified female worker departed on a cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, Oct. 12 and was out of the country before being notified of active monitoring required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the government statement.The monitoring was established as two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, tested positive for Ebola.The hospital worker on the Carnival Magic cruise ship did not have direct contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan, but may have had contact with his clinical specimens, authorities said. The employee, who has not been publicly identified, has not had a fever or demonstrated any symptoms of illness, authorities said.“The worker has voluntarily remained in the cabin and the State Department and cruise line are working to bring the worker back to the U.S. out of an abundance of caution,” the Department of State said in the release.

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Carnival Cruise Line released a statement Friday acknowledging the situation, stating that the hospital employee is deemed to be "very low risk" to contract the deadly virus."We are in close contact with the CDC and at this time it has been determined that the appropriate course of action is to simply keep the guest in isolation on board," Carnival said in a statement.Pham arrived in Maryland Thursday to receive treatment at the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.Meanwhile, Vinson is at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, listed in stable condition, her relatives said.“Amber is a respected professional and has always had a strong passion for nursing,” a statement from her family says. “She followed all of the protocols necessary when treating a patient in Dallas, and right now, she’s trusting in her doctors and nurses as she is now the patient.”Federal officials say Vinson may have had Ebola symptoms Oct. 10, the day she flew on a passenger plane from Dallas to Cleveland. As a result, passengers on her Oct. 10 flight will also be monitored, authorities announced.

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LA Schools Superintendent Quits over Tech Problems

LA Schools Superintendent Quits over Tech Problems

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Embattled Los Angeles Schools Superintendent John Deasy stepped down Thursday over two bold technology projects that failed to take flight.Deasy was the driving force behind a $1.3 billion iPad initiative that screeched to a sudden halt last summer when it was alleged that he and others had links to Apple and Pearson, the suppliers for the iPads' curriculum materials. The program is now under investigation.Meanwhile, another project called MisSIS, a $130 million student record system, didn't get off the ground either. As a result, students at one high school were left in academic limbo for weeks this fall before they eventually got their class assignments.Another issue that may have compelled Deasy to quit was his battle with the teacher's union over his support of a court ruling that effectively did away with tenure in the state.In his resignation letter, Deasy chose to focus on his accomplishments since being hired in 2011, citing improved graduation and attendance in Los Angeles schools and higher math and English scores.

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NTSB Launches Team to Investigate Arkansas Train Crash

NTSB Launches Team to Investigate Arkansas Train Crash

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(WINSLOW, Ark.) -- The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to open an investigation into a train crash that occurred in northwest Arkansas on Thursday.According to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, a passenger train and a freight train collided, injuring 44 people. Five of those injured were deemed "critical."The NTSB said at a Thursday-evening briefing that one of the trains stalled on the tracks, and the second, dispatched to rescue the first train, collided with it instead.

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Nurse With Ebola Jokes With Physician Before Leaving Dallas Hospital

Nurse With Ebola Jokes With Physician Before Leaving Dallas Hospital

Courtesy Pham Family(DALLAS) -- One of the nurses infected with the Ebola virus after treating another Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas arrived at the National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Thursday night, where she will receive further treatment.

Nina Pham, the first of two nurses to contract Ebola in the United States, joked with her physician before beginning her trip to the National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda.Dr. Gary Weinstein recorded his conversation with Pham, 26, before she left Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas."Thanks for getting well. Thanks for being part of the volunteer team," Weinstein told Pham. "We're really proud of you.""Come to Maryland, everybody," she said.Pham contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. She was diagnosed Sunday.Duncan, a Liberian national, became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States Sept. 30. He died on Oct. 8.Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital requested that Pham be moved to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center, according to a statement from the NIH."She will receive state-of-the-art care in this high-level containment facility, which is one of a small number of such facilities in the United States," according to the statement. "The unit staff is trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola."

Pham asked the hospital to release a statement on her behalf, saying that she is “so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, my coworkers and complete strangers."

"I feel very blessed, and have gained strength from their support. I appreciate everything that my coworkers have done to care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. I’m doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented coworkers," Pham's statement continued.The Dallas hospital asked to move Pham because the Ebola situation left it short-staffed, the hospital said in a statement."With many of the medical professionals who would normally staff the intensive care unit sidelined for continuous monitoring, it is in the best interest of Nina, hospital employees, nurses, physicians and the community to give the hospital an opportunity to prepare for whatever comes next," the statement said.Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said the Bethesda isolation facility where Pham is headed has only two beds."She will occupy one of them,” Fauci said.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said the move would help the hospital deal with any other new patients and to carefully monitor the 50 health care workers from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who might have been exposed to Ebola and need to be carefully monitored.Another nurse who treated Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola Wednesday. Amber Vinson, 29, arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Tuesday morning with a fever and was diagnosed with Ebola in the early hours of Wednesday morning. She was relocated to Emory University Hospital's isolation unit Wednesday night.Earlier this week, Pham's and Vinson's co-workers accused the hospital of sloppy protocols and failing to train and equip them properly to handle Duncan, leaving them vulnerable to Ebola. They released a statement through the National Nurses' Union."Nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available, at a time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting which produces a lot of contagious fluids," the statement reads.The hospital has insisted it complied with safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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New Apple and Google Products Could Be Public Safety Hazard, FBI Chief Warns

New Apple and Google Products Could Be Public Safety Hazard, FBI Chief Warns

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The latest Apple technology on your iPhone could mean that murders could go unsolved and kidnapped children might not be rescued, the head of the FBI warned Thursday."We're seeing more and more cases where we believe significant evidence resides on a phone or a laptop, but we can't crack the password," FBI Director Jim Comey said during a speech in Washington. "If this becomes the norm...justice may be denied."Specifically, Comey said he is "deeply concerned" about what's known as "going dark" -- operating systems being developed by companies such as Apple and Google that automatically encrypt information on their devices. And that means even the companies themselves won't be able to unlock phones, laptops and other devices so law enforcement can access emails, photos or other evidence that could be crucial to a case, according to Comey.It "has created a significant public safety problem," particularly when it comes to investigating crime and stopping terrorist attacks, he said."Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out," Comey said. "And the more we as a society rely on these devices, the more important they are to law enforcement and public safety officials."Comey, however, didn’t place full blame with companies like Apple and Google for creating devices with such encryption. They were "responding to what they perceive is a market demand" from the general public, which has grown "mistrustful of government" in the wake of Edward Snowden's disclosures of secret government surveillance.Encryption "is a marketing pitch," Comey said. "But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at all levels. Sophisticated criminals will come to count on these means of evading detection. It's the equivalent of a closet that can't be opened. A safe that can't be cracked. And my question is, at what cost?"Comey said the public has come to believe "a fair number of misconceptions" about what information the government collects and how it's collected."Some believe that the FBI has these phenomenal capabilities to access any information at any time," he said. "It may be true in the movies or on TV. It is simply not the case in real life."In real life, he said, the government's collection activities are executed "with clear guidance and strict oversight," and with a federal judge's approval.Asked about Comey’s remarks, Google said its emerging products will provide "added security" to users "while giving law enforcement appropriate access when presented with a warrant.""Encryption is simply the 21st century method of protecting personal documents," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "[And] while we won't be able to provide encryption keys to unlock phone data directly, there are still a number of avenues to obtain data through legal channels."One possible way to still obtain a user's data is through “the cloud” -- but a user has to be uploading information to it for that to be effective. Data on the phone itself, however, cannot be unencrypted by even Google or other companies, one business insider said.Accordingly, Comey insisted that even if a judge gives the government a green light to access certain information or communications, "we often lack the technical ability to do so."Privacy advocates in Washington objected to Comey’s remarks, with the American Civil Liberties Union calling them “wrong” and the Electronic Privacy Information Center calling them “surprising” and “disturbing.”The American Civil Liberties Union said law enforcement can do its job while also respecting Americans’ privacy rights, noting that U.S. law “explicitly” gives companies the right to add completely secure encryption into their devices.“[A]ny effort by the FBI to weaken encryption leaves our highly personal information and our business information vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments and criminals,” Laura Murphy with the ACLU in Washington said in a statement. “We applaud tech leaders like Apple and Google that are unwilling to weaken security for everyone to allow the government yet another tool in its already vast surveillance arsenal.”Similarly, in a message to fellow privacy advocates after Comey’s remarks, the head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center emphasized that law enforcement now “has many more tools than it did 20 years ago,” particularly with help from the National Security Agency, Snowden’s former employer.Nevertheless, the FBI director said he hopes to start a national conversation about the matter so that the FBI and other law enforcement have the tools "we need to do the job you have entrusted us to do," namely "keep every American safe from crime and terrorism."He urged the public to debate whether U.S. law should require technology companies to build lawful intercept capabilities into their devices."We aren't seeking to expand our authority to intercept communications. We are struggling to keep up with changing technology," Comey said."If a suspected criminal is in his car, and he switches from cellular coverage to Wi-Fi, we may be out of luck," Comey added. "If he switches from one app to another, or from cellular voice service to a voice or messaging app, we may lose him. What if he has a kidnapped child in his car? We may not have the capability to quickly switch lawful surveillance between devices, methods and networks. The bad guys know this. They're taking advantage of it every day."Comey cited several real-world examples to illustrate what's at stake, including a case fully adjudicated this year involving a known sex offender in Louisiana who enticed a 12-year-old boy to meet him and then killed the boy. The suspect tried to alter and delete evidence on his phone, but authorities were able to access the content and prosecute him. He was sentenced to death in April.Asked by ABC News whether he knew of any real-world cases where someone was rescued from danger but might not have been had Apple or Google devices blocked law enforcement access, Comey said he did not know of any but added, "Logic tells me there are going to be cases just like that."Comey’s remarks came hours before Apple announced a slate of new products and software at an event at its corporate campus in Cupertino, California.Apple did not immediately respond to emails from ABC News seeking comment for this article.

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Ahead of Halloween, TSA Asks Passengers to Check-In Fake Weaponry

Ahead of Halloween, TSA Asks Passengers to Check-In Fake Weaponry

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This Halloween, the Transportation Security Administration asks that you leave your pitchfork at home. Or at the very least, put it in your checked luggage.That's because fake weaponry -- including pretend grenades, chainsaws, machetes, axes, swords and "other realistic weapons"--  are not allowed in carry-on luggage.In a post Wednesday, Bob Burns of the TSA Blog Team writes, "Most replica weapons can be transported in your checked baggage, but it’s never OK to pack anything that looks like (to include but not limited to) explosives such as grenades, land mines, rocket launchers, shells and bombs. Even if it’s a replica, anything resembling an explosive is treated as the real deal until the explosives experts can prove otherwise, which often leads to delayed flights or baggage."But what about costumes?The TSA tells ABC News that costumes, as long as they are treated as any clothing would be (for example, jacket or shoe removal before screening) are fine to fly. But no masks will be allowed at security checkpoints, as agents need to verify the photo matches the passenger when checking ID and boarding pass. For the same reason, face paint won't fly.

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Four States Have Suspended Use of Controversial Guardrail

Four States Have Suspended Use of Controversial Guardrail

iStock/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Virginia has become the fourth state to halt the use of a controversial guardrail system that it says was never approved for use on its roadways and is now at the center of a contentious safety lawsuit.A letter from Virginia’s State Construction Engineer in the Virginia Department of Transportation to its area engineers says that after a version of the guardrail system was approved for use in 2000, the guardrail maker, Trinity Industries, changed the design of the guardrail in 2005, including reducing the width of a piece in the guardrail’s end terminal from five inches to four, and “did not notify the Department of the modification.”“Due to this modification, any Trinity ET-Plus terminals with 4" channels are not, and have never been, approved for use in Virginia,” says the letter, obtained by ABC News. “Effective immediately, on any contract that includes installing Alternate Breakaway Cable Terminal (GR-9), if the Contractor is planning to use Trinity’s ET-Plus that has 4" channels, that material is not approved for use and is not to be used.”The letter follows another from the VDOT, this one from Oct. 10 and directed at the Texas-based Trinity Industries, that criticized the company for making “undisclosed modifications to the ET-Plus in 2005” and offering the company an ultimatum: Prove through crash tests that that modified system is safe by the end of next week, or the guardrails will not be used on Virginia roadways. The more recent letter to the Virginia contractors stipulates that those who have already purchased the ET-Plus system for new projects can wait until a “short time after” Oct. 24 to see if they end up approved for use by the VDOT.The 2005 design change to the guardrail end terminal, which was not disclosed to the federal government at the time, was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September following allegations from crash victims that the modifications made the safety devices more dangerous, contributing to severed limbs and deaths in auto accidents. Specifically, the victims allege that when a vehicle hits the front of the modified guardrail, rather than absorbing the impact and ribboning outwards, the guardrail “locks up” and spears right through the car and its occupants.Prior to the Virginia order, Massachusetts, Missouri and Nevada each announced they were halting the use of ET-Plus while they investigate further.The president of Trinity Highway Products, Gregory Mitchell, said Thursday that the states' stances were "based on an administrative error."Previously, Trinity admitted it “inadvertently omitted” the design documents that would have notified the government of the change in 2005. The company says it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity of the ET-Plus system.” The company also notes that the Federal Highway Administration has repeatedly accepted the ET-Plus system for eligibility on the nation’s highways.Josh Harman, a competitor of Trinity’s, is currently suing the company in Texas, alleging that Trinity defrauded the government by not disclosing the design changes. A damage expert called by the plaintiff told the court Wednesday that should the jury decide it was fraud, the damages would be at least $175 million to the federal government, which reimburses states for installing the guardrails.Mitchell, who testified in his company's defense Thursday, declined to answer additional questions posed by ABC News outside the courtroom Wednesday.Also on Wednesday, the court saw crash test video that showed a different configuration of the ET-Plus system, which the company said was “experimental,” repeatedly failing when hit by small passenger cars. The video was never shared with government safety officials.Harman’s team argued that since the experimental configuration still used the four-inch end terminal, it showed the flaws in that piece, which is used on roads across the country. In a statement to ABC News late Wednesday, Trinity argued the version of the guardrail shown in the crash test video, which it described as a “flared ET,” was not the same as the ET-Plus system and never made it on the road.“The experimental testing of the flared end terminal conducted by TTI was purely a research and development project and was never submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for acceptance. By introducing this research and development activity and suggesting that the testing was tied to the testing of the ET-Plus, Mr. Harman continues to try to establish a negative image of Trinity to the jury,” a representative for Trinity said in a statement to ABC News late Wednesday. “By presenting sensational videos of the flared end terminal testing, Mr. Harman is simply distorting the facts. The flared end terminal was never manufactured, sold or installed on the nation's highways.”More recently, when questions were raised over the ET-Plus system in 2012, Trinity turned over to the federal government videos of other crash tests it had done on the ET-Plus system in 2005 and 2010, which the company says show the guardrails functioning properly.

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Second Ebola Nurse to Be Moved Out of Dallas Hospital

Second Ebola Nurse to Be Moved Out of Dallas Hospital

The Pham Family(DALLAS) -- Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola in the United States, will be transferred from Dallas to the National Institutes for Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, tonight, federal officials told ABC News.Pham, 26, contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. She was diagnosed on Sunday at the Dallas hospital. Duncan, a Liberian national, became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States on Sept. 30. He died on Oct. 8.Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital requested that Pham be moved to the Special Clinical Studies Unit of the NIH Clinical Center, according to a statement from the NIH."She will receive state-of-the-art care in this high-level containment facility, which is one of a small number of such facilities in the United States," according to the statement. "The unit staff is trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola."Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said the Bethesda isolation facility where Pham is headed has only two beds."She will occupy one of them,” Fauci said.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said the move would help the hospital deal with any other new patients and to carefully monitor the 50 health care workers from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who might have been exposed to Ebola and need to be carefully monitored.On Wednesday, another nurse who treated Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola. Amber Vinson, 29, arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Tuesday morning with a fever and was diagnosed with Ebola in the early hours of Wednesday morning. She was relocated to Emory University Hospital's isolation unit Wednesday night.Earlier this week, Pham's and Vinson's coworkers accused the hospital of sloppy protocols and failing to train and equip them properly to handle Duncan, leaving them vulnerable to Ebola. They released a statement through the National Nurses' Union."Nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available, at a time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting which produces a lot of contagious fluids," the statement reads.The hospital has insisted they complied with safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Dallas Nurse with Ebola Visited Bridal Shop in Ohio

Dallas Nurse with Ebola Visited Bridal Shop in Ohio

Akron Public Schools(DALLAS) -- The Dallas nurse who flew to Ohio before being diagnosed with Ebola visited a bridal shop along with seven bridesmaids, the store confirmed to ABC News Thursday.Coming Attractions Bridal and Formal in Akron is now closed, but owner Anna Younker said Amber Vinson, 29, now in isolation in Atlanta, was at the shop on Saturday so her friends could get measured and look at bridesmaid dresses.Vinson, who bought her own wedding dress at the store last summer, wasn't showing any symptoms and was nice, calm and soft-spoken, Younker recalled.A sales worker at the bridal shop noticed Vinson's photo on the news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Younker and her workers not to worry in a series of phone calls, explaining that the woman was not contagious during her visit.However, county health officials suggested they clean the store with regular household products, Younker said.As a result, she closed the bridal shop on Thursday.This comes as public health officials in Ohio retraced Vinson's steps. Vinson spent most of her time with her family near Akron, after flying there from Texas, Summit County Public Health officials said Thursday morning during a news conference.Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees -- below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- before boarding a passenger flight on Monday to return to Dallas.The officials said that Vinson had not visited restaurants, grocery stores or football games while in Ohio.

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Iowa Police Pull over Couple in Labor

Iowa Police Pull over Couple in Labor

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When police in Iowa saw a car barreling down a highway early Tuesday morning, they pursued it with sirens blaring and had to go so far as to throw spikes on the road to halt the car.The couple inside the car, driving 30 mph above the speed limit, called 911 themselves to report the police officers pursuing them.The man behind the wheel, Ben Kohnen, told the 911 operator he was racing his wife, Rachel, to the hospital to deliver the couple’s fourth child.“I did not want him to stop,” said Rachel, who was the first to call 911. “I did not want to have a baby in the car.”Ben Kohnen took over the 911 call for his wife after the operator failed to understand Rachel’s frantic call.“Okay, I can’t…you need to calm down because I can’t understand what you’re saying,” the 911 operator said to Rachel.“Ma’am, we are heading to the hospital,” Ben said after taking the phone from his wife. “My wife is having a baby and it’s coming out.”Moments later, police laid the tire spikes on the road ahead of the Kohnens’ car, causing the car’s tires to pop.Police ordered the couple to the ground, and then changed their course of action once they realized the situation.“Once they figured out I was pregnant and very much in labor, they all responded in kind and really appropriately,” Rachel said of police.Police escorted the couple to the hospital where Rachel gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Hazel.

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Polo Mogul John Goodman’s Girlfriend Confronted with Hospital Records

Polo Mogul John Goodman’s Girlfriend Confronted with Hospital Records

iStock/Thinkstock(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- The girlfriend of polo mogul John Goodman was recalled to the stand in a Florida courtroom and forced to answer questions about newly-revealed medical documents that contradicted her previous testimony.Goodman crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson, 23, sending the Hyundai into a canal in Wellington, Florida, in 2010. Wilson, a recent college grad, died in the accident.Three hours after the crash, Goodman’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.177, or more than twice the legal limit, according to prosecutors.Goodman's girlfriend Heather Hutchins -- whom Goodman unsuccessfully tried to adopt in 2011 to purportedly protect his wealth -- previously stated in court that she drove Goodman to the emergency room the night after the crash because he was dazed and disoriented.The state refuted that testimony with a medical document stating that Goodman’s complaint was chest pain, not head pain. Also, according to the medical records, she took Goodman to the hospital three days after the crash, not one after as she had previously stated. Hutchins was dismissive when presented with the new information.“I may not remember the day, but I definitely remember taking him to the ER,” she said in court.The nurse who drew Goodman’s blood also faced cross-examination, defending herself amid charges from Goodman’s lawyers that she may have mishandled his blood sample. The defense grilled Cecelia Betts after she admitted that she didn’t use the needle provided with the testing kit.Betts said she followed proper procedures and that no one has questioned her choice of needles during her two-plus decades as a nurse.Sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo Safford took the stand to discuss taking Goodman back to the crash site.“The odor of an alcoholic beverage was coming out of his pores, like he was sweating it out,” Safford said.Goodman has pleaded not guilty. He was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but the conviction was thrown out because of juror misconduct.

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Mystery Surrounds Deaths of NJ Hospital Executive, Wife in Arson Fire

Mystery Surrounds Deaths of NJ Hospital Executive, Wife in Arson Fire

iStock/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP, N.J.) -- Investigators in New Jersey still haven't identified the cause of death for a hospital executive and his wife who died Sept. 28 after a fire was intentionally set inside their home, authorities said.Audio from a neighbor’s 911 call released this week reflects the confusion surrounding the deaths of John Sheridan Jr., 72, and his wife Joyce, 69.A neighbor in Montgomery Township, Somerset County, reported noises, “like somebody tapped on the window.” Investigators believe that those sounds were not someone trying to escape but were caused by the fire.The husband and wife, who were married for 47 years, were found unconscious by firefighters in the home’s second-floor master bedroom.

Joyce was a retired schoolteacher, while John was the president and CEO of Camden-based Cooper University Health Care, one of the state’s large hospitals.While the fire was ruled intentional, authorities told ABC News they’re still waiting for lab results, hoping to understand how the Sheridans died.The investigation is “very complex,” an investigator said.More than 800 mourners -- including Gov. Chris Christie, a family friend -- attended an Oct. 7 memorial service for the couple.

Camden County Assemblyman Lou Greenwald has expressed surprise and sadness about their deaths. “We don’t know what happened. All I knew is we lost a wonderful public servant,” he said.The couple’s four sons and three grandchildren remain devastated by the situation.“The death of our parents has left a hole in our hearts and our family that can never be filled,” the statement reads. “We cannot fathom, much less explain, the circumstances of their passing.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Called CDC Before Flight, Official Says

Nurse Who Contracted Ebola Called CDC Before Flight, Official Says

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A Dallas nurse who treated an Ebola patient contacted federal health officials before boarding a passenger flight Monday due to a slightly elevated temperature, but was allowed to board the flight because she was not exhibiting additional symptoms of Ebola, ABC News has learned.Amber Vinson’s temperature was 99.5 degrees – below the 100.4 reading for a fever, according to a federal official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fever is one of the symptoms of Ebola. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. She was not asked to avoid boarding the flight.CDC officials believe that Vinson was not exhibiting further symptoms on the Oct. 13 flight.“The patient was not showing any other symptoms while on board the plane – no vomiting or diarrhea. The only symptom Amber was showing was the fever,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told ABC News.Airline officials concurred, stating that Vinson’s only symptom at the time was the slightly elevated temperature.Vinson’s temperature continued to rise after the plane landed, authorities said. By late Tuesday, she was placed in isolation, with tests confirming her diagnosis as the second health care worker at a Texas hospital to contract Ebola and CDC workers scrambling to contact passengers who traveled beside Vinson.The nurse was flown Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the facility that successfully treated two missionaries who were diagnosed with Ebola while performing aid work in Africa, Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol. A third individual, an unidentified World Health Organization worker, was admitted to Emory on Sept. 9.Following the diagnosis, the airline and other organizations are taking extra precautions. Frontier Airlines placed six crew members – two pilots and four flight attendants – on paid leave for 21 days “out of an abundance of caution,” CEO David Siegel said in a statement.“This was over and above CDC guidance that stated that our flight crews were safe to fly,” Siegel said.The jet that carried Vinson and 131 others to Texas is in a hanger in Denver, the airline said, ready for its fourth cleaning. The plane’s seat covers and carpet were removed around the area where Vinson was sitting, and the environmental filters were replaced, the airline said. Cleanings were also scheduled at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.Additionally, Ebola screenings begin Thursday at four new airports: Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.Extra precautions are also being taken for people who shared flights with Vinson. Three Texas schools – North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary and the Belton Early Childhood School – will be closed Thursday after two students were on Flight 1143 Tuesday, school officials announced.Two Cleveland schools, Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School, will also be closed Thursday. A staff member there flew on a Frontier Airline plane that may have carried Vinson to Texas the previous day, school officials said.Employees from the Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth on an Oct. 10 flight with Vinson were placed on paid leave.Additionally, the military advised a Texas family to remain in isolation for 21 days – the length of time it could take for symptoms to appear – after a military member stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Ft. Worth, Texas traveled on the same Frontier Airlines flight as Vinson.“No members of this local family are exhibiting any symptoms and are being isolated purely as a precautionary measure,” authorities with the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District, where one of the family members is a student, said in a statement.Speculation, frustration and concern follow the diagnoses of Vinson and co-worker Nina Pham, 26, who also contracted Ebola while caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8.The causes of the latest Ebola cases remain unclear, but they reveal lapses in federal and local Ebola protocols. During a Wednesday news conference, CDC Director Thomas Frieden conceded that Vinson "should not have traveled on a commercial airline."When Vinson first traveled to Ohio, there had been no reported cases from health workers in Dallas, Frieden said. However, once Dallas nurse Nina Pharm tested positive, Vinson should not have been using public transportation, he said."Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline," Frieden said."From this moment forward, we will ensure that no individual monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement," he said, referring to non-public transportation, such as a personal car or chartered flight.President Obama echoed those sentiments in a Wednesday speech, acknowledging shortcomings of the federal response to Dallas and vowing that his administration would respond in a “much more aggressive way” to cases of Ebola."We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step through what needs to be done," he said.Procedures at the Texas hospital where Duncan was treated – and Pham and Vinson work – will face attention from lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Thursday. Dr. Daniel Varga from Texas Health Resources is scheduled to deliver prepared remarks to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and investigations.The hospital “made some mistakes,” Varga admits. Duncan was initially incorrectly diagnosed, he says.“A lot is being said about what may or may not have occurred to cause Ms. Pham to contract Ebola,” Varga says in his remarks. “She is known as an extremely skilled nurse, and she was using full protective measures under the CDC protocols, so we don’t yet know precisely how or when she was infected. But it’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime. We are poring over records and observations, and doing all we can to find the answers.”The CDC and Texas Health Dallas are doing a thorough analysis of how the exposure occurred, Varga said. Following Duncan’s diagnosis, the hospital system has changed its screening process, with additional focus on travel history, Varga said.Brantly has not been asked to donate blood to Vinson. The doctor – who contracted Ebola while caring for sick patients in Liberia – donated platelets to patients Ashoka Mukpo, Dr. Richard Sacra and Pham after beating the virus. But he couldn’t donate blood to Duncan because their blood types didn’t match.Mukpo, a journalist and aid worker who contracted the disease while in Liberia, expressed support for the two nurses.“Wishing for a speedy recovery for those two Dallas nurses,” he wrote on Twitter. “This thing is not easy but you're both going to make it. Thanks for your bravery.”Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to recent figures by the World Health Organization.

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Threatened Feminist Cancels College Appearance, Citing Concealed Weapons Allowance

Threatened Feminist Cancels College Appearance, Citing Concealed Weapons Allowance

Image Source Pink/Thinkstock(LOGAN, Utah) -- An avowed feminist blogger openly critical of the portrayal of women in video games cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University Tuesday night because of the school's policy that allows people with the proper permits to carry concealed firearms.Anita Sarkeesian tweeted she feared for her safety after receiving "multiple specific threats made stating intent to kill me & feminists at USU."Although Sarkeesian says she's received death threats before, she felt compelled to cancel her appearance because "police wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event. Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah's open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches."The Salt Lake Tribune reported that an email sent to the USU threatened "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if Sarkeesian showed up.On Wednesday, the school said it would have provided extra security personnel and not permitted backpacks inside the auditorium where Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak. However, a spokesperson added that it would not question her decision to back out.Meanwhile, Sarkeesian said the incident would not discourage her from continuing to speak out. "The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women," she argued.

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Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives at Emory

Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives at Emory

Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A Dallas health care worker found to be infected with Ebola was transferred Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after she became the second person to contract the disease while working in the Dallas facility.Amber Vinson, 29, was one of the nurses who was very involved with the care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola at the Dallas hospital.

Her transfer came as the ability of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and any local hospital to handle the disease has been called into question. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that some of the makeshift protective measures that health care workers at the Dallas hospital were taking increased "the risk of contamination.""By putting on more layers...it becomes much harder to put them on and much harder to take them off," he said in a Wednesday press conference."Some health care workers [were] putting on three or four layers of protective equipment in the belief that this would be more protective," he said, adding that some were using tape to close parts of their gear."We see a lot of variability in the use of protective equipment," Frieden said.Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to exhibit Ebola symptoms in the U.S. and who is now referred to as the "index patient," was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before returning days later in an ambulance after his symptoms had progressed.The nurses' union at the Dallas hospital have detailed what they claim were violations of the CDC's safety protocols, including a lack of proper protective wear to overall ignorance on how the disease spreads. The union said Duncan's contaminated and highly contagious blood test was sent through the hospital's standard testing system, potentially infecting others.Two new Ebola infections at the Dallas hospital have highlighted concerns over whether hospitals are prepared to handle the lethal virus or if all Ebola patients should be sent to specialized facilities."I think it is too much to expect a hospital can become an Ebola treatment unit simply by reading guidelines," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's medical correspondent and a former CDC director.One question that has been raised is why Duncan was not transported from Dallas to one of the two other hospitals with specialized isolation units -- one in Omaha, Nebraska, and the other at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia -- which have successfully treated Ebola patients.No health care workers at the Omaha or Atlanta facilities have reported infections after treating three Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital and Ashoka Mukpo, the American reporter currently in treatment at Nebraska Medical Center."I feel very strongly that the approach that has been taken is wrong. Patients with Ebola should be treated in special facilities that have been training to take care of patients with deadly contagious diseases," Besser said."Given that patients from Liberia have been safely transported to these units, it should be possible to safely transport patients to these units from any hospital in America," he said.Prior to announcing the transfer of one of the health care workers, Frieden said that the CDC's protocol moving forward would be to dispatch emergency response teams to any hospital where there is an infected patient. From there, they said the team may decide to send the patients to a different facility, but that is not the first step.Frieden and other officials have warned that there is a real possibility that more health care workers were infected during their treatment of Duncan. On Tuesday, Frieden said that 76 people could have been exposed to Duncan after his second visit to the hospital.“It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press conference Wednesday.

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Marriage Licenses Issued to Same-Sex Couples in Idaho

Marriage Licenses Issued to Same-Sex Couples in Idaho

Ivonne Wierink/Hemera/Thinkstock(BOISE, Idaho) -- Same-sex couples in Idaho began receiving marriage licenses on Wednesday, after a federal appeals court ordered the state to issue licenses to same-sex couples.The Idaho Statesman reports that Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden ended their opposition to the appeals court ruling on Tuesday. The appeals court had overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages on Oct. 7. However, the following day, Gov. Otter appealed to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to stay the ruling. Kennedy initially issued the stay, preventing the appeals court ruling from going into effect until the state could determine a course of action, the Statesman reports. After receiving arguments from attorneys from both the same-sex marriage attorneys and the state, the Supreme Court lifted the stay.Gov. Otter said on Monday that he would continue to challenge the order. On Tuesday, however, he issued a new statement, according to the Statesman, that said while he still felt "the federal courts are mistaken in abandoning the sanctity of traditional marriage and in undermining the will of Idaho voters and each state's right to define marriage," he would respect the rule of law. Also on Tuesday, Wasden instructed all of the state's counties to comply beginning Wednesday morning.

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High School Football Player Charged With Rape Quits Team

High School Football Player Charged With Rape Quits Team

iStock/Thinkstock(HOQUIAM, Wash.) -- A high school football player accused of rape has decided to quit the team despite school officials defending his right to play, saying he is "innocent until proven guilty," his attorney told ABC News Wednesday.Tyler Smith, 18, was arrested last month and faces two counts of rape from an incident alleged to have happened during the summer, and another in 2012, according to court documents."He's not going to play for the rest of the year," Smith's attorney Scott Campbell said. "You show up at practice, there's a news truck there. It's something he and his family decided.""He felt like it was a distraction for his team and the school and he didn't want that," Campbell said.Hoquiam High School and the district's superintendent were allowing Smith to stay on as the team's defensive tackle, despite outrage from other students' parents, ABC affiliate KOMO reported. Hoquiam School District Superintendent Mike Parker said he backed the coach's decision to let Smith play."We felt that he's innocent until proven guilty," Parker told the station. "As bad as the crime might be, as repulsive as the crime might be, we're trusting that the court system will sort that out for us."Smith is accused of raping one girl this past summer and another victim in 2012. The teen admitted to police that one of the victims said no, but stated, "Yeah, but I thought she was saying 'no' for pleasure and not to stop having sex," according to the charging documents.Smith declined an interview with ABC News through his attorney.Smith pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last month. He is due back in court on Oct. 27 and his trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.His case comes as professional and college football players are also in the spotlight for abuse allegations.

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Second Ebola Nurse Flew to Cleveland to Prepare for Her Wedding

Second Ebola Nurse Flew to Cleveland to Prepare for Her Wedding

Akron Public Schools(CLEVELAND) -- The Dallas nurse who traveled to Ohio before being diagnosed with Ebola had flown to Cleveland to prepare for her wedding, Cleveland officials said Wednesday.Amber Vinson, 29, a nurse at the Dallas hospital where an Ebola patient died, was identified Wednesday as the second health care worker at the hospital to contract the deadly disease."She flew into Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. She came in to visit her mother and her mother’s fiance," said Toinette Parrilla, director of Cleveland Department of Public Health.Vinson stayed at her relatives' home while visiting Ohio and those relatives are employees of Kent State University, the school said in a statement."She did not step foot on our campus," Kent State President Beverly Warren said in a statement.Vinson arrived in Cleveland on Friday, Oct. 10, and returned to Dallas on the evening of Monday, Oct. 13. She was diagnosed with a fever, which is considered to be the first symptom of the disease, on Tuesday Oct. 14. She was tested and her diagnosis was confirmed late Tuesday.The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention addressed the fact that while she was not ordered into protective custody by the time she traveled, he did suggest that it was a mistake for her to do so."Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline," CDC Director Tom Frieden said Wednesday.The CDC reiterated, however, that they released her flight data out of an abundance of caution since she would not be contagious until she began showing symptoms.Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday morning that she was dealing with her diagnosis "with grit and grace."Vinson will be transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Emory successfully treated both missionaries who were the first two Americans to be diagnosed with Ebola, Dr. Kent Brantley and nurse Nancy Writebol. They are also treating a third individual, a World Health Organization worker who has never been identified, who was admitted to Emory on Sept. 9.

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Denver Police Warn Parents About Pot-Laced Candy Ahead of Halloween

Denver Police Warn Parents About Pot-Laced Candy Ahead of Halloween

Hemera/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Denver Police are warning parents to be on the lookout for pot-laced candy this Halloween -- even releasing a video to show parents how similar pot-laced Sour Patch Kids candies, gummy candies and gum drops can look like the real thing.“A kid is not going to be able to tell the difference,” said Denver Police spokesman Ron Hackett. “My daughter is 7 years old. She could care less if it’s growing mold. She’s going to eat it.”The video shown by police features Patrick Johnson, the owner of the Urban Dispensary, who explains why parents need to be vigilant about monitoring what candy their children get."Edibles account for somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of our gross sales here in the shop," Johnson says in the video. "There’s really no way to tell the difference between candy that is infused and candy that's not."Johnson advises parents to check candy brands and throw out any suspicious or unknown brands after their child goes trick-or-treating.Dr. G. Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency room doctor at the Children's Hospital of Colorado in Denver, told ABC News he's worried about the first Halloween since recreational marijuana dispensaries have been widely accessible in Colorado."In our emergency department in the past couple years, we’ve seen an increase of kids with edible exposures," Wang said. "Halloween hasn’t happened yet. It is one of those things that we are concerned about and keeping our eyes open for."Police also have been concerned that kids might be able to sneak a few pieces of pot-laced candy that parents may have intended for themselves, Hackett said.“We kind of wanted to get ahead of anything coming out like that,” Hackett said. “We found that the adults were being irresponsible with them. They were taking them incorrectly and taking more than they should.”

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Previously Undisclosed Video Shows Highway Guardrail Failing in Crash Tests

Previously Undisclosed Video Shows Highway Guardrail Failing in Crash Tests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- During dramatic court testimony Wednesday, the end terminal of a guard rail system was shown repeatedly failing in crash test videos that were never turned over to the U.S. government.The videos, produced between 2005 and 2006 by Texas-based guardrail maker Trinity Industries, show cars ramming into what a company executive said was an “experimental” configuration of its ET-Plus guardrail system.In five tests done with small passenger cars, plaintiffs in the case against Trinity say that rather than absorbing the impact as the guardrail is designed to do, the metal structures failed, in two cases causing the car to roll over and in another apparently impaling the vehicle.The ET-Plus system was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September that looked into allegations that slight changes to the guardrail end terminal made in 2005 without the government’s knowledge made the guardrails hazardous if hit from the front. Rather than buckling and ribboning out to absorb the impact of the vehicle, in some crashes the guardrail locked up and sliced straight through the car, severing motorists’ limbs.According to an internal Trinity email obtained by ABC News, one change, reducing a piece of metal in the guardrail head piece from five inches to four, would also save the company $2 per guardrail -- some $50,000 per year.In testimony Tuesday, Trinity Industries Vice President of International Sales Brian Smith stressed that while the crash tests shown in the video Wednesday were done with the modified four-inch ET-Plus, they were only part of a research and development project that focused on what they say was a different way to install the guardrail -- a change that never went into production. Trinity maintains that because the project was never marketed or submitted to the government for approval, it was not necessary to turn the crash test video over to the Federal Highway Administration.Plaintiffs say the tests show the modified end terminal failing, as motorists have alleged has happened in the real world with the four-inch ET Plus terminals on the road today.Trinity told ABC News for a previous report it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity of the ET-Plus System” that is on the roads and noted that the Federal Highway Administration has repeatedly accepted the non-experimental ET-Plus System for eligibility on the nation’s highways. The company says design changes featured in the ABC News investigation were made to enhance performance of the ET-Plus and not to save money.When questions were raised by the FHWA about the modified guardrails, Trinity turned over videos of other crash tests it had done on the system in 2005 and 2010, which the company says show the guardrails functioning properly.Still, on Tuesday Virginia became the fourth state to raise questions about the safety of the modified guardrail, following Missouri, Massachusetts and Nevada, which all have suspended use of the new guardrail while they conduct further safety reviews.In response to the announcements from Massachusetts and Missouri, Trinity stated it intends to work with the state departments of transportation to ensure they are "accurately informed regarding our product." Trinity has appealed Nevada’s decision.

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