Thursday, March 23, 2017

Anatomy teacher accused of ‘sexual contact’ with student smiles for mugshot

Police in Lockhart, Texas said a 27-year-old anatomy teacher at Lockhart High School, “engaged in sexual contact” with a 17-year-old male student. Fowlkes turned herself in after the Lockhart Police Department issued her arrest warrant Monday (3/20). And in a move some might consider unusual, she was smiling broadly for her mug shot. But her attorney explained why: “You’ve got a young lady who was arrested on the statement of a 17-year-old kid with no corroborating evidence. This isn’t a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught. When everything’s fleshed out, it won’t be as it appears.” Investigators were notified March 10th by a school administrator of the alleged inappropriate relationship. Police said the male student was in contact with her in person and through messages. The teacher bonded out the same day she turned herself in was suspended by the Lockhart Independent School District where she’s worked since 2014. (KXAN TV)


Pepsi is pulling its products from Philly stores because of the city’s ‘soda tax’

PepsiCo is halting sales of its six-packs and two-liter bottles in Philadelphia, citing the city’s controversial “soda tax.” In January, the city implemented its new soda tax, which added 1.5 cents per ounce. It should be noted, too, that the tax is imposed on all “sugary drinks,” and to include those that are artificially sweetened. Naturally, that cost is being passed to the consumers, though Democrats are accusing beverage companies of “gouging” their customers in hopes of frustrating them about the cost. But the reality is, without increasing the sticker price, the company would have to swallow the cost. So instead of dealing with all this mess, Pepsi has just decided to cut its losses. PepsiCo made headlines recently when they announced to lay off 80 to 100 employees over the next several months. On top of that news, Pepsi’s chief competitor, Coca-Cola, claims it will focus on smaller beverage sizes because that’s what consumers want. All of this is bad news for Philly administrators because the sugary tax is a way to raise revenue for the city’s universal pre-K program. The tax was predicted to bring in about $91 million per year, but declining soda sales in Philly have actually caused overall tax receipts  in Philadelphia to plummet. (WPVI TV)


What happens when a male student is told to ‘tolerate’ changing in locker room in front of girl who identifies as boy?

A Pennsylvania high school junior student is suing his school district after he said he was told by an administrator to “tolerate” changing in a locker room in front of girl who identifies as male. The plaintiff alleged in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that he was standing in his underwear while changing into gym clothes for physical education class last fall and “suddenly realized there was a member of the opposite sex changing with him in the locker room, who was at the time wearing nothing but shorts and a bra.” The lawsuit says the plaintiff “quickly put his clothes on and left the locker room.” After gym class, the plaintiff said he and other classmates informed assistant principal E. Wayne Foley about the encounter — but Foley replied that students who identify with the opposite sex could choose what locker room and bathroom to use, and physical sex didn’t matter, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff asked Foley if there was anything he could do to protect him in this circumstance, but the lawsuit indicates Foley said no and to “tolerate” it and make it as “natural” as possible. The lawsuit adds that the plaintiff “experienced embarrassment and humiliation, both in terms of being viewed and viewing a student of the opposite sex in a state of undress and because of the stigmatization and criticism he received from other students and adults, fueled by the administration’s policy and actions. He also fears the future embarrassment of meeting students of the opposite sex in the bathroom when simply relieving himself. He now avoids using the restroom during the school day because of the ongoing risk of having his privacy violated.” The Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement the plaintiff and his parents are suing Boyertown Area School District for sexual harassment and violation of his personal privacy. (KYW-TV)


AT&T, Verizon Suspend YouTube Ads Over Hate-Speech Videos

The crisis for Google over advertisers boycotting YouTube because of ads placed next to hate-speech videos that first set off a storm in the U.K. has now crossed to the U.S. as AT&T announced it will not advertise on YouTube until there is a guarantee that YouTube has fixed the problem. In a statement by AT&T: “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

However, they aren’t alone as Verizon also said it has pulled ads from YouTube and Google’s non-search ad networks over the issue. “We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively. Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future,” Verizon said in a statement. AT&T and Verizon are two of the biggest advertisers in the U.S. (Variety)


Arkansas boy gets to meet Oregon dog with same rare skin disorder

A dog from Oregon and a little boy from Arkansas who share a rare skin disorder are hoping to meet in real life. Rowdy, a lab who lives with his owners in Canby, Ore., was born with all black fur. Three years ago, his owners noticed white spots throughout his body. It turned out they aren’t just cute spots. Rowdy has a rare skin disorder called Vitiligo.“The skin will develop a patch of pink or white, but it will lighten the skin in that area,” the owner said. More than 2,000 miles away in Searcy, Arkansas, a young boy named Carter Blanchard was diagnosed with the same condition. “Carter was diagnosed and got Vitiligo the exact same month and year that rowdy did,” the boys mother said. She said her son struggled on a daily basis with every new spot that appeared on his face. “I used to pick up Carter from school from kindergarten and first grade, and the first thing he would say is that he hates his face and hates his skin,” she said. Then, she found pictures of Rowdy on Facebook. “I read that Rowdy had Vitiligo and I was blown away, and when I showed Carter he was so excited to see a dog that was famous for his Vitiligo,” she said. Carter, 8, and Rowdy, 13, have kept a close digital friendship for years. “[Rowdy] really changed the way he saw his own skin. It wasn’t a problem anymore. So ever since then, we have been keeping in touch,” the mother said. Across the miles and the years, the two have tackled vitiligo together. The two connected through spots and in life, hoping for a chance to meet. The two families are working to raise enough money to fly Carter to Oregon to meet Rowdy. Rowdy’s Owner also hopes to bring other kids like Carter to meet Rowdy while they still can. (If you want to help, a GoFundMe is now set up.) (KATU TV)


Experts begin first renovations of Jesus’ tomb in 200 years

A team of experts has begun the first renovations in over 200 years at the site where Christians believe Jesus was buried. The work that began Monday (3/20) is the first of its kind since 1810, and was made possible by a rare accord among Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Armenians, who are responsible for maintaining separate sections of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and who jealously guard their domains. In 2008, an argument between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks erupted into a brawl. This time, the clergymen have put aside their differences — a reflection of the dire need for the repairs. Last year, Israeli police briefly shut down the building after antiquities experts deemed it unsafe, prompting the Christian denominations to join forces. (Fox News)


Texas Senate passes two anti-abortion bills

The Texas Senate passed two anti-abortion bills. One would prevent parents from suing their doctor if their baby is born with a disability. Supporters say this is needed because the way the law is now, doctors feel pressured to tell women about medical issues with the fetus and recommend an abortion. That’s because if they don’t present parents with all their options, the doctor can be sued in what’s called “wrongful birth” lawsuits, but critics say if it passes, this new bill could lead pro-life doctors to lie to pregnant women about the health of their fetus, since they’d no longer be open to legal action. The second bill would ban a common process used for second-trimester abortions. Supporters say the process is “barbaric.” Critics are worried this will limit options for women. The bills still have to go to a vote in the House. (Texas Tribune)


It’s a Thirsty Thursday! (or is it “Thors Day”?)

*National Puppy Day
*National Chia Day
*National Tamale Day
*Near Miss Day
*OK Day
*World Meteorological Day

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