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Texas woman sentenced to jail for trying to take 40 conchs from Key West waters

A Texas woman has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and a $500 fine for trying to take 40 queen conchs out of Key West, Florida, and home to Dallas.

>> Read more trending news 

Diana Fiscal-Gonzalez pleaded no contest on July 13 to second-degree misdemeanor charges related to removing the state-protected mollusks from ocean waters, according to Florida Keys News

Fiscal-Gonzalez, 30, apologized to the judge and said she didn’t know that removing conchs from Florida waters was illegal, the newspaper reported

After receiving a tip, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission caught the woman hosing down three plastic containers full of the conchs on July 13 and arrested her. She said she planned to clean the mollusks and give them away as gifts, according to local news reports.

The agency said the conchs were returned to the water and most were still alive, Florida Keys News reported.

Fiscal-Gonzalez is scheduled to begin her 15-day jail stint on Aug. 10.

Mother charged for allegedly allowing two men to rape her toddler

A mother in Independence, Missouri is facing child abuse charges after she admitted to taking her 2 year-old daughter to a home where two men allegedly raped the child.

>> Read more trending news

According to KSHB, Azzie Watson was charged with three counts of abuse or neglect and one count of child endangerment.

On June 29, police in Kansas City were called to a hospital to investigate a report of a rape, according to WDAF.

Police were then given a recording made by Watson’s boyfriend, Charles Green, in which Watson admits to repeatedly taking her daughter to a house and watching two men rape her daughter. In the recording, she says that her daughter was raped about five times.

Watson later changed her story, claiming that she lied about the incidents because was scared of Green, according to court documents obtained by WDAF

The 2-year-old has tested positive for an STD and meth was also found in the child’s system, police say.

Green admitted to smoking meth with Watson while children were present. He also faces two counts of child endangerment.

Early dinners don’t just help fight body fat — they may lower cancer risk, study finds

Consuming your calories earlier in the day rather than later has been known to boost weight loss and fight body fat.

>> Read more trending news 

And new research published Tuesday in the International Journal of Cancer suggests eating your last meal before 9 p.m. — or at least two hours before bed — may also lower risk of breast and prostate cancers.

Researchers in Spain conducted a population-based case-control study between 2008-2013 and followed 621 individuals with prostate cancer; 1,205 with breast cancer; 872 males without cancer and 1,321 females without cancer. The two latter groups made up the control group.

>> Related: These 9 healthy-sounding foods have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut

Previous research has also shown an association between breast/prostate cancer risk and night-shift work and an individual’s sleep-wake cycle, lead author Manolis Kogevinas told CNN. But no night-shift workers were included in the study.

“We assessed whether timing of meals is associated with breast and prostate cancer risk taking into account lifestyle and chronotype, a characteristic correlating with preference for morning or evening activity,” Kogevinas and his team wrote in the study.

>> Related: Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

Each participant was interviewed about their eating patterns (including timing of meals), sleep patterns, chronotype and completed a “Food Frequency Questionnaire.” Researchers also measured participants’ adherence to global cancer prevention recommendations.


According to the study, participants sleeping two or more hours after dinner had a 20 percent lower risk of developing prostate or breast cancer combined compared to subjects sleeping immediately after dinner.

>> Related: FDA approves Lilly pill for common advanced breast cancer

Researchers observed a similar difference when participants ate dinner before 9 p.m. and when they ate after 10 p.m.

Those who were more likely to adhere to cancer prevention recommendations, as well as “morning people” also had lower risk of developing breast or prostate cancer.

>> Related: Men’s testosterone levels influenced by where they grow up, study suggests

“The present study suggests that changes in timing of circadian controlled activities in sleep or diet that are less extreme than those observed in night shift work, are associated with long term health effects increasing the risk of the most prevalent cancers worldwide,” study authors concluded.

>> Related: Work the night shift? You may be at higher risk of obesity, study says

“The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about a quarter to a third of the commonest cancers are attributable to excess body weight, physical inactivity and poor diet, making these the most common causes of cancers after smoking,” they added. “If timing is proven to be a significant modifier of these effects then it would be important to also define eating and sleep time as one of the recommendations.”

>> Related: Here's what these Atlanta dietitians eat for dinner


The self-reported assessment of food consumption was retrospective, which authors noted may have limitations. Another limitation of the study: small variability in meal timing, which may affect precision.

Kidnapped baby burned, dies from his injuries, police searching for suspects

Police in Natchitoches, Louisiana, are searching for those responsible for killing a baby Monday night in a horrendous act of brutality.

>> Read more trending news 

Authorities were called to a trailer park just after 9 p.m. over a missing 6-month-old infant, who had disappeared from his home after two strangers showed up at the door, according to KSLA-TV.

Police said a woman at the residence opened her door and was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance.

KSLA reported the woman ran from the attackers and when she returned, the baby was gone.

Just over an hour later, investigators responded to a call about a fire and found a baby with “obvious burns over his body,” according to the news station.

>> Related: DNA test solves 1988 cold case rape, murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, suspect arrested

The baby later died from his injuries. Police are still investigating and haven’t made any arrests. 

Teacher sentenced to 2 years in prison for firing gun in classroom

Authorities said mental health treatment was an important consideration in plea negotiations with a Dalton, Georgia, teacher who barricaded himself inside his classroom in February and fired a handgun.

>> Read more trending news

Randal Davidson pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing damage to property, carrying a gun on the campus and disrupting school operations. He apologized in court for his role in creating panic at Dalton High School during the incident, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen

No one was seriously hurt, but the Feb. 28 incident forced evacuations and sent panicked students running through the halls. One student suffered an ankle injury in the commotion.

Davidson, a former social studies teacher, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by eight years on probation.

His attorney, Richard Murray, said Davidson, 53, came to school that day intending to kill himself “in the place he felt loved,” the Daily Citizen reported.

“He did not mean to hurt those kids,” Murray told a judge during sentencing Tuesday. “But he was so absorbed in his own depression and his own mental illness that he just wasn't considering them. Yes, he is responsible for his actions, but there are mitigating factors."

A history of mental illness, severe financial pressure and the recent death of his father contributed to Davidson’s plans, Murray said.

Who Is Randal Davidson, Teacher Who Allegedly Fired Shot In Class (Dalton Public Schools)

Davidson had previously been hospitalized three times after authorities responded to calls about worrisome behavior, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. School officials were aware of those incidents and “were confident that Mr. Davidson was fit,” a spokesman for the district told The AJC. 

Investigators believe Davidson’s goal that day was likely to be killed by police, “an act sometimes described as ‘suicide by cop,’” District Attorney Bert Poston said in a statement.

Poston said he met with faculty and staf membersf, students and parents at the high school, about 91 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, before deciding on the terms of the plea deal. The case involved nearly 2,000 victims, all of whom were given an opportunity to have their voice heard over a series of meetings.

Ultimately, the victims felt prison time was warranted, but it was important that Dalton seek mental health treatment at his own expense, the Daily Citizen reported. 

“All parties were in agreement about the final terms of the plea agreement and (the school’s principal) spoke at sentencing in support of the agreement,” Poston said

The February incident unnerved a community already on edge in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier that month.

School officials were first notified before third period that day, when some students arrived for Davidson’s class and he would not let them in the room, Dalton police spokesman Bruce Frazier said. 

The students told Principal Steve Bartoo. When he went to the door and used his key to try to open it, Davidson forcibly closed it on him, Frazier said. Davidson warned Bartoo he had a gun. Then the principal heard a gunshot.

The bullet went through a window and outside.

“Not knowing where the shot was aimed or if more were to follow, Bartoo retreated and put the school on immediate security lockdown,” Poston said. “Once authorities were notified and first responders were en route, Bartoo ordered an evacuation of the school starting with the classrooms nearest to Davidson’s.”

After about 30 to 45 minutes, authorities got Davidson to surrender.

Under the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, the Daily Citizen reported. 

Davidson can’t have contact with current Dalton High students and he won’t be allowed on any school property as conditions of his sentence.

Pit bull shot, killed by veteran after attacking service dog at Florida animal clinic, police say

An Army veteran shot and killed a pit bull that was attacking his service dog at a Nassau County animal clinic, WJAX reports.

A witness told officers that James Strickland, a 70-year-old Army veteran with a concealed carry license, was holding his service dog back from a pit bull that was trying to attack it at the Fernandina Beach Animal Clinic.

>> Read more trending news 

Witnesses said the service dog was restrained and Strickland was holding it back as two people tried to pull the pit bull away.

Officers said as the dogs were momentarily separated, Strickland told the pit bull's handler twice that he would shoot the animal if it could not be restrained.

According to police, the pit bull broke free from its handlers and again attacked Strickland’s dog.

Strickland fired twice at the pit bull from very close range with a .38 caliber handgun, officers said.

According to witnesses, Strickland never pointed the weapon at any person, nor were any individuals in harm’s way when he discharged his firearm. 

Strickland's dog was not seriously hurt but did suffer visible scratches. 

Strickland’s dog is a Weimaraner named Betty Boop and is a VA service animal.

The pit bull, named Dozer, died at the scene, WJAX reports.

The dog’s primary owner Althea Brown was not at the scene, police said.

The pit bull was reportedly taken to the animal clinic for ringworm treatment by Mouhamadou Moustapha Ba and Courtney Scott, who also claimed to own the dog.

Scott said the pit bull slipped out of its collar as it was being put in their vehicle. 

Florida Statutes 767.03 provides for defense in killing a dog if it is believed that the attacking dog is intent on killing a domestic animal or livestock. 

Strickland told police he felt strongly that this attack would be fatal for his dog, officers said.

At this time, it is not believed that the pit bull has ever been declared dangerous, police said.

Ford recalling 550,000 Fusions, Escapes because vehicles could unexpectedly roll away

The Ford Motor Co. issued two safety recalls Wednesday affecting 550,000 Fusions and Escapes that could suddenly roll away when parked, the company said in a press release.

>> Read more trending news 

Ford believes that a faulty shifter cable bushing is responsible for the problem in 2013-16 model year vehicles and said it will replace the bushing for free.

In the meantime, Ford is urging owners to use the parking brake to make sure the vehicle is secure when parked.

“If the parking brake is not applied, a degraded shifter cable bushing that detaches from the transmission could result in unintended vehicle movement, increasing the risk of injury or crash,” the company said in a statement.

>> Related: Toyota recalling 645,000 vehicles because airbags might not inflate

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the malfunctioning part.

How to know if your child is overweight

It's easy to fall in love with your child's chubby cheeks and pudgy legs. But by the age of 2, if your toddler is heavier than the other children of the same age, it's possible that he or she may be overweight. 

>> Read more trending news 

How can you tell the difference between normal baby fat and an actual weight problem? Here's the skinny on excessive weight and obesity in children:

Is my child overweight? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best indicator. BMI is a measurement of someone's body fat based on his or her height and weight. A child at a normal or healthy weight should fall between the fifth and 85th percentiles for children of the same age and gender. If your kid's BMI is at or above the 85th percentile, then he or she is overweight. BMI scores in the 95th percentile are considered obese.

You can use a BMI calculator, such as the one on the KidsHealth website, to find out your kid's BMI. All you have to do is enter age, gender, height and weight and the tool will give you the BMI and a chart showing the percentile.

What to do if your child has a high BMI

KidsHealth noted that a high BMI is not always a sign of trouble. There are certain times when a child might gain weight -- during a growth spurt, for example -- and the BMI will go up temporarily. That's why most doctors track these numbers over time. It's important to see if there's a consistent trend.

Most pediatricians start keeping track of your child's weight around the age of 2. If you're worried that your little one might be at risk, bring it up during your next visit.

How to manage your child's weight

Being overweight can lead to quite a few problems for your little one. Overweight or obese children often end up with other health issues and they can carry their weight struggles into adulthood. The CDC noted that “children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their average weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem.”

So what can you do to keep your kid healthy? Parents Magazine offered the following recommendations:

  • Avoid foods that are high in starch: Starchy foods can quickly dissolve into glucose, so switching to foods high in protein can make a big difference.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index: A food's glycemic index will tell you how fast that item's carbohydrates will turn into glucose. The lower the index number, the longer your child will likely feel full.
  • Add protein to meals and snacks: Healthy fruits and vegetables can make a world of difference if you're trying to cut unhealthy snacks and sides from your kid's diet.
  • Watch out for highly processed foods: These choices are usually not as healthy as natural foods.
  • Make healthy eating a family affair: Nobody likes to feel singled out. Pushing the whole family toward healthier eating habits can benefit everyone and avoid making your child feel uncomfortable at the dinner table.

FDA asks: Is almond milk or soy milk really even milk?

In a blow to plant-based milk enthusiasts, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Tuesday announced a crackdown on “standards of identity” for non-dairy milks.

>> Read more trending news

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I will confess,” Gottlieb said in a keynote address at Politico’s Pro Summit, citing the FDA’s standards that reference milk as coming from a lactating animal.

“[These] are basically regulations that define recipes for how products need to be manufactured in order to call themselves, for example, ketchup. How many tomatoes do you need to actually call something ‘ketchup?’” he said.

Today, there are a variety of plant-based “milks” on the market, including soy, almond and coconut milks, not to mention multiple dairy alternatives.

Cow’s milk and soy milk contain about 8g of protein per cup, whereas almond, coconut and rice milk contain only 0-1g of protein per cup.

Here are some key differences in calories, protein and more among the five, composed by

  • Dairy milk: 110 calories; 2.5g fat (1.5g sat fat); 8g protein; 12g carbohydrate; 12g sugar; 0g fiber
  • Soy milk: 110 calories; 4.5g fat (0.5g sat fat); 8g protein; 9g carbohydrate; 6g sugar; 2g fiber
  • Almond milk: 30 calories; 0g fat (0g sat fat); 1g protein; 1g carbohydrate; 0g sugar; 1g fiber
  • Coconut milk: 45 calories; 4.5g fat (4g sat fat); 0g protein; 1g carbohydrate; <1g sugar; 0g fiber
  • Rice milk: 120 calories; 2.5g fat (0g sat fat); 1g protein; 23g carbohydrate; 10g sugar; 0g fiber

The National Milk Producers Federation “welcomed Gottlieb’s recognition today that the labeling practices of many plant-based dairy imitators violate long-standing federal standards,” NMPF spokesman Chris Galen said in a statement, according to ABC News.

“The move would be a major boon for dairy groups, which have been struggling amid dropping prices and global oversupply,” Politico reported. “The industry has petitioned FDA to enforce marketing standards for milk, but the agency has not previously addressed the issue.”

Gottlieb said the plan to redefine the rules for milk products is going to take some time and lawsuits against the agency are expected, because “if you open our standard of identity, it talks about a lactating animal but if you open a dictionary, it talks about a milk coming from a lactating animal or a nut,” he said.

Read FDA’s milk guidance documents and regulatory information.

Atlanta students take home top prizes at Harvard University debate competition

A high school student from Atlanta took home the top prize at a prestigious international debate competition at Harvard University over the weekend. 

Jordan Thomas, who attends Grady High School, took home first place at the annual Harvard Debate Council tournament, where scholars from all over the world come together to debate social and political issues. 

Thomas was one of a group of 25 African-American students from Atlanta who were selected this year to attend the tournament through the inaugural year of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project. The Atlanta-based initiative was created to recruit, train and sponsor minority students to participate in the annual program at the Ivy League university. 

>> Read more trending news 

The group didn't just participate -- they excelled. 

In addition to Thomas' win, two out of the four teams participating made it to the semi-final round -- beating out hundreds of other students. 

"Our kids dominated the competition," Diversity Project creator Brandon Fleming told WSB. "Of our 12 teams, 10 advanced past preliminary rounds."

Fleming, a Harvard assistant debate coach and a former teacher at Ron Clark Academy, said he created the Diversity Project because he saw so few African-Americans represented at the competition. 

For its first year, the Diversity Project had more than 150 applicants in Atlanta, out of which 25 were selected. Most of the students -- chosen from 16 high schools across Atlanta -- had little experience with debate. 

The young students spent eight months learning public speaking, analysis, critical thinking and debate skills before attending the two-week summer intensive program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their tuition, travel and board were fully funded through corporate sponsors including Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola and the Art Institute of Atlanta. 

Thomas said in a news release that he was thrilled to bring first place back to Atlanta.

“To bring the championship back to Atlanta was the most satisfying feeling, and to walk onto the campus of one of the most elite universities in the world and meet personal and council goals, brings a unique and new satisfaction that I’ve never experienced,” Thomas said in a statement.

Thomas said he was also happy to be able to challenge stereotypes and represent his city.

“Being a young, middle class, black, public school student from the South created a stigma that automatically set me back in comparison to the competition, most of who were international students or from preparatory schools in the Northeast,” Thomas said. “But I was determined to represent my city and my story. I wanted people to see where I came from and how I could keep up with them.

Applications for the 2019 Harvard Debate Council open Aug. 15. More than 350 nominations have already been submitted. 

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