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National

    A rescue is underway at SeaWorld San Diego after a skyride malfunctioned Monday night, initially stranding nine adults and seven children – including an infant. >> See a photo from the scene here >> Read more trending news  As of 10:30 p.m. PST, crews had rescued 14 people from the Bayside Skyride, which stalled when heavy winds 'tripped a circuit breaker' more than three hours earlier, KSWB reported. Two people were still trapped on the ride's gondolas, the San Diego Fire Department said. >> See the tweet here KSWB said some of the gondolas were over Mission Bay when the ride stopped working. Those trapped were 'lowered by harnesses & rescued by [San Diego Lifeguards] boats,' the Fire Department tweeted. Read more here.
  • Nearly a year to the day after West Virginia teachers went on strike that launched a national 'Red4Ed' movement, they're doing it again. Unions have called a statewide walkout Tuesday over complicated education legislation that they view as lacking their input and as retaliation for last year's strike. How long this one goes on will be a day-to-day decision, leaders of three unions for teachers and school service workers said at a news conference Monday. 'We are left with no other choice,' said Fred Albert, president of the American Federation of Teachers' West Virginia chapter. The 2018 walkout launched the national movement that included strikes in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington state, and more recently, Los Angeles and Denver. Teachers in Oakland, California, have authorized a strike starting Thursday. Now the movement has come full circle. Nearly all of West Virginia's 55 counties called off public school classes Tuesday. The unions have said lawmakers never asked for their insight into what has become a rushed process in the Senate, which narrowly passed an amended bill Monday night. It now goes back to the House of Delegates. West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said based on the Senate's actions, 'it appears that they are more interested in listening to the outside interests than they are the educators across West Virginia. 'We will work as closely as we can to get a resolution, but at this point, there doesn't seem to be a resolution.' One sticking point has been a provision to create the state's first charter schools, which the unions believe would erode traditional public education but bill advocates say would give parents more school choices. Charter school laws have been enacted in 43 other states and Washington, D.C. The Senate version would allow for up to seven charter schools statewide and provide for up to 1,000 education savings accounts for parents to pay for private school. The accounts would be for special needs students and those who have been bullied. The House version does not call for such savings accounts and would limit charter schools to one each in Cabell and Kanawha counties. Among other things, the Senate removed an earlier clause that would invalidate the entire legislation if any part is struck down. Senate President Mitch Carmichael said the bill found a middle ground and has 'great provisions.' It would give teachers additional 5 percent pay raises on top of 5 percent raises they received after last year's strike. Carmichael said the bill's goal is 'getting our education system out of the doldrums.' 'Why would anyone want to stand in the status quo and stay in the past?' he said.
  • The country's last undecided congressional election was marred by falsified signatures, disappearing documents and blank ballots that were filled in by people hired by the Republican candidate, North Carolina elections officials said. The state elections board could decide as early as Tuesday whether possibly criminal ballot fraud was unfortunate but tolerable, or whether to order a new election in the 9th congressional district. A political operative hired by Republican Mark Harris led 'a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme' in last year's general election in rural Bladen and Robeson counties, which are part of the congressional district, state elections director Kim Strach said Monday. The operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., was called to testify Monday, but his attorney refused to put him on the stand without legal protection against prosecution for events he described. The board refused. The first of what could be a days-long hearing produced Dowless' workers testifying that they sometimes filled in votes on unfinished, unsealed mail-in ballots. But there was scant evidence that Harris knew about it or even benefited. Harris narrowly leads Democrat Dan McCready in unofficial results. But the race wasn't certified in November after rumors of Dowless' operating focusing on mail-in ballots. The elections board is expected to either declare a winner or order a new election after the hearing. Dowless was hired to produce votes for Harris and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVickers, but his methods last year included paying people to visit potential voters who had received absentee ballots and getting them to hand over those ballots, whether completed or not, Dowless worker Lisa Britt testified. It's illegal in North Carolina for anyone other than a guardian or close family member to handle a voter's ballot because of the risk that it could be altered before being counted. While Dowless and Harris' main campaign consultant were in constant contact, she didn't have any indication Harris knew about the operation, Britt said. 'I think Mr. Harris was completely clueless as to what was going on,' Britt said. Britt testified she collected about three dozen sometimes unfinished ballots and handed them to Dowless, who kept them at his home and office for days or longer before they were turned in, said Britt, whose mother was formerly married to Dowless. While the congressional and sheriff's races were almost always marked by voters who turned in unsealed ballots, Britt said she would fill in down-ballot local races — favoring Republicans — to prevent local elections board workers from suspecting Dowless' activities. In one case, Britt said she picked up the completed ballot of an elderly black woman. A week later, she was told to return the woman's ballot after a local black empowerment group complained to Dowless that she was a voter they'd recruited. Britt said she could not explain why Dowless still have the ballot in his possession rather than turning it in to the local elections board. Dowless paid local people like Britt $125 for every 50 mail-in ballots they collected in Bladen and Robeson counties and turned in to him, Strach said. The operation's scope allowed Dowless to collect nearly $84,000 in consulting fees over five months leading into last year's general election, said Strach, adding that in addition to reviewing financial and phone records, investigators questioned 142 voters in the south-central North Carolina counties. Four of the five members on the elections board — composed of three Democrats and two Republicans — would need to agree a new election is necessary. If that doesn't happen, McCready's lawyers said state officials should send their findings to the Democrat-dominated U.S. House and let it decide whether Harris should be seated — arguing that the U.S. Constitution gives the House authority over the elections and qualifications of its members. ___ Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio .
  • The owner of a Greenwood beer shop is dealing with thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs after burglars backed a truck into her store overnight. >> Read more trending news  The owner of the A1 Hop Shop said she was alerted by the alarm company at about 1:40 a.m. on Monday. The owner said she thinks the burglars were after the ATM, but they failed to remove it and left empty-handed. Still, the business has about $10,000 worth of damage to its front door and four windows. Luckily, the owner has video of at least one of the suspects and the truck that smashed into her business.
  • Police say more than a dozen people are trapped on a ride at SeaWorld in San Diego. San Diego police tell FOX5 News that around six gondolas stopped functioning Monday night after a big gust of wind tripped a circuit breaker on 'Bayside Skyride.' Authorities estimate that between 15 and 30 people are trapped, some of them in gondolas suspended above water. The National Weather Service says it was about 49 degrees in San Diego at the time. Officials with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department are working to rescue passengers.
  • Authorities in western Michigan are investigating the shooting deaths of a mother and her three young daughters who were found at a home in Kent County Monday afternoon, according to news reports  >> Read more trending news  While Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said investigators have not confirmed the identities of the victims, family members have now come forward. Relatives said the victims were Alanah Moore, 2, Cassidy Graham, 6, and Kyrie Graham, according to WOOD-TV. The children’s mother, who was also found dead, was identified by family members as Aubrianne Moore. 'Very sad. Very, very sad,' LaJoye-Young said to reporters at the scene. 'It's been very difficult for our investigators and I'm sure it is for the community as well,' she said. 'Certainly, a horrific thing to be called to and my heart goes out to the families involved here and we're certainly going to do everything we can to bring this to resolution.' The sheriff also said authorities do not believe there’s any threat to the public, WILX reported. WOOD reported that investigators think the children were killed at a different location than the home where their bodies were found. Authorities told reporters there’s a second crime scene that they haven’t found yet. >> Trending: Sheriff warns ‘lock your doors, load your guns,’ get ‘biting, barking dog’ as he suspends services While the sheriff would not confirm the deaths were a murder-suicide, family members told reporters that Moore had a history of mental illness and that they believe she killed the children, then herself, according to WOOD.
  • More than a decade after the Southern Baptist Convention rejected the idea of creating a database of ministers credibly accused of sexual abuse, leaders said on Monday night the possibility is on the table. The denomination already was looking at how it could better respond to abuse when two Texas newspapers published an investigation last week that detailed hundreds of cases of abuse in its churches. Those revelations added a sense of urgency to a meeting of the SBC's executive committee on Monday night, where President J.D. Greear reported on the progress of a sexual assault advisory committee. With 15 million members and over 47,000 churches, the Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination. But the SBC's structure as a voluntary association of autonomous churches has hindered past efforts at fighting sexual abuse. At the denomination's annual meeting in 2008, the executive committee said local church autonomy made it impossible to implement a database of abusers, an idea that survivors and their supporters had been advocating. Critics accused the denomination of using the structure as an excuse not to act. But on Monday, Greear said Southern Baptists needed to 'repent of appealing to autonomy as a cover-up for lack of accountability.' He said the advisory group was studying the possibility of a database but that the subject is complicated. 'Just because we are not announcing any plans regarding a database tonight does not mean that we are not doing everything we can to evaluate it as an option,' he said. Greear also said the denomination should kick out churches that show 'wanton disregard for sexual abuse and for caring for the survivors' and suggested an investigation of 10 churches that have been identified in media reports as covering up abuse. The Nashville-based denomination already kicks out churches that affirm homosexuality or call female pastors. Greear, who is a pastor at The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, said if there had been news stories of Southern Baptist churches performing gay weddings, the denomination would take action 'because our position is clear. 'We must make it clear that our position on abuse is not up for debate.' He said a constitutional amendment is already in the works. The emotional meeting began with a personal appeal from the executive committee Chairman Mike Stone, a pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia. Stone showed a photograph of himself as a young boy on screens in the auditorium as he told the members of the committee, with his voice quavering at times, that he was abused as a boy, although not in a Southern Baptist church. 'That boy needs you to take the next steps in confronting this evil,' he said. 'He's asking you to take bigger and bolder steps than you've ever taken in the past.
  • Attorneys for 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett say there are no plans for him to meet with Chicago detectives Monday for a follow-up interview about his reported assault. Anne Kavanagh is a spokeswoman for Smollett's lawyers. She says in an emailed statement that his lawyers 'will keep an active dialogue with Chicago police on his behalf.' Smollett reported last month that he was physically attacked by two men who yelled homophobic and racial slurs. He said they also yelled he was in 'MAGA Country,' an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan. Police said Saturday that the investigation had 'shifted' after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them without charges. Police say they've requested a follow-up interview with Smollett. Smollett's lawyers say the actor feels 'victimized' by reports that he played a role in the assault. ___ Check out the AP's complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.
  • A Mexican man detained by Border Patrol for illegal re-entry died Monday at a hospital in Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Andrew Meehan says the 45-year-old man was initially apprehended Feb. 2 and requested medical attention. He was taken to a medical center and later cleared to return to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station. The next day, he requested medical attention again and was taken to a hospital where he stayed until he died Monday. Meehan says the official cause of death is not yet known, but the medical center diagnosed him with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure when he was admitted. The death is under investigation.
  • Fighting the flu might be tougher this year because this year's strain is more difficult for doctors and parents to pinpoint.  >> Read more trending news  The Type A flu strain seems to be a particular anomaly that's troubling local doctors. They say they're seeing some patients test positive for the strain with only a fever and no other symptoms, making both diagnosis and knowing when to isolate your child more difficult.  It's never a good time to come down with the flu, but some families say its impacting their plans for February vacation.  'I want to take them to the Children's Museum, I want to take them to like a trampoline park, but Target is as far as I go. I do mobile pickup so I don't have to stay in there for too long,' parent Jessica Becker said.  >> Related: Everything you need to know about the 2018-2019 flu season Doctor Lester Hartman of Westwood/Mansfield Pediatrics says unfortunately, we had a late flu season and the height of it seems to be happening this week. He said he has diagnosed 10 cases just this past weekend and this year's Type A strain is more difficult to diagnose.  'It looks like the cold, and suddenly you have the flu,' said Hartman.  He says the Type A flu and the high fevers that come with it may seem to come out of nowhere for families because unlike in previous years, so far this strain doesn't come with the classic cough or other symptoms.  'It's a little different because no body aches, minimal headaches as well,' said Hartman.  His advice to families this vacation week is to be smart about taking your kids out. 'For a child without complex medical needs and who is not immune suppressed I still think as long as you bring hand sanitizer, you try to avoid touching your face, hands, nose, eyes,' said Hartman. 'But I think kids should still have some fun, even though the season is here.' >> Trending: 4 people, including 3 children, shot to death in western Michigan home Hartman says if fever persists beyond five to seven days, or if a fever goes away and then comes back 48 hours later, you should bring your child back to the doctor to be checked for pneumonia.