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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A drone video appears to show a man poking a manatee from a boat, starting several of them, and then getting a high five from someone with him. The video was shared on the Facebook page of See Through Canoe. WFLA reports it happened near the Gandy Bridge in the Tampa area. (App users tap here to see video) Specifically, the video shows a man in a red jacket using a pole to reach out and touch a manatee.  The manatee appears to get scared along with the others and quickly swim away from the surface.  Anyone familiar with manatees knows they are normally slow and docile; seeing them startle and swim quickly is an unusual sight.  “After the boater startled the manatees, the large aggregation of manatees left the area they were resting in just moments before,” See Through Canoe wrote on their Facebook post.  “Most of them eventually came back.” The group said they shared the video with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before posting it. Disturbing a manatee is a state and federal offense.    Manatees are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Specials Act of 1973.  In Florida, they are protected by the Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978.
  • An Alabama bank manager who convinced an elderly customer to trust him with her money -- and then stole almost $315,000 from her -- was sentenced Friday to serve just over three years in federal prison. Montreal Holley, 28, of Montgomery, was handed a 37-month sentence for theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank employee, court records show. Holley, who faced up to 30 years in prison prior to his November plea, will be on supervised probation for three years upon his release. Holley was also ordered to undergo mental health counseling while in prison and to pay more than $125,000 in restitution to Regions Bank, where he worked. According to court documents, the judge recommended he serve his sentence at the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery. “This case is upsetting in many ways, and it serves as a reminder that criminals are targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” Louis Franklin, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, said in a statement, according to WSFA in Montgomery. “Holley selected his victim because of her advanced age and illness.” The woman died shortly after the investigation into Holley’s actions was launched in 2018. Franklin said the investigation began not long after he became a branch manager for Regions in May 2018. According to Franklin’s statement, Holley had convinced the elderly customer that she could trust only him to handle her money. Within months, he had drained nearly $315,000 from her accounts, WSFA reported. Holley used cashier’s checks and wire transfers to empty the woman’s accounts and issued a debit card for one account, using it to make cash withdrawals from an ATM. According to statements made during his sentencing, Holley used the stolen funds to pay off loans in his name, as well as in the names of his wife, girlfriend and other family members. Court documents show that in one instance, in December 2018, he used a cashier’s check to withdraw $23,266 from the woman’s bank account. He used the money to pay off a car loan, the documents say. WSFA reported that the loan was for a car his girlfriend drove. “He thought he would get away with stealing her money because no one would notice,” Franklin said, according to the news station. “Fortunately, Regions Bank discovered the suspicious activity in her account.” Officials said Holley returned $188,000 of the stolen money after he was caught. The restitution he is ordered to pay is the remaining portion of what was stolen, according to federal court records. Court documents show that Holley’s cooperation with the investigation played a role in the length of his sentence. He decided early on to plead guilty and waived indictment. Two Jeeps were seized by the U.S. Secret Service during the investigation, the records show. “The government agrees to seek restoration of any proceeds from the sale of those vehicles and to apply any such funds toward any restitution order imposed on the defendant,” Holley’s plea agreement states. Patrick Davis, special Agent in charge with the Secret Service, said in a statement that bank investigators should be commended. “Their quick response and thorough investigative support stopped this defendant from further financially exploiting the elderly victim in this case,” Davis said, according to the news station.
  • Two companies are teaming up bring neighbors and neighborhoods back together.  H&R Block is partnering with social media network Nextdoor  for the Make Every Block Better campaign. There is a nationwide search going on right now to identify community projects in need of financial support. News 96.5 WDBO spoke with H&R Block’s senior vice president of U.S. retail Karen Orosco about the campaign. “We know that when neighbors and people come together they form lasting relationships by working on projects that help their neighborhood and their community  be a better place to live and to play and to get to know each other,” said Orosco. This Spring, the campaign will choose ten projects across the U.S. where H&R Block and Nextdoor will help to fund.  The winners will be selected in April. To submit a project for your community, click HERE.
  • A 19-year-old Arkansas man is accused of attempting to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon on Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. According to court documents from the Eastern District of Virginia, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, of Fayetteville, was expected to make an appearance in federal court Tuesday afternoon, the release said. If convicted, officials said, Richardson faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years, WUSA reported. According to court documents, Pentagon police said Richardson tried to blow up an active-duty service member’s Land Rover at about 10:55 a.m. Monday, the television station reported. The officer said a Pentagon police officer saw Richardson in the north parking lot, striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the Land Rover’s gas tank, the news release said. According to the release, Richardson told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself.' When the officer attempted to detain him, Richardson ran across the parking lot and onto a highway, where surveillance cameras subsequently revealed the man jumping over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Richardson was later found by authorities near Arlington House, according to the news release. According to court documents, officers searched Richardson and allegedly found a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents from his arrest around Saturday for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.
  • An 11-year-old Idaho girl who accompanied her grandfather to a legislative hearing on gun laws Monday did so armed with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. Bailey Nielsen carried the weapon slung over her shoulder. According to The Associated Press, she remained silent as her grandfather, Charles Nielsen, addressed the legislative committee before him. “Bailey is carrying a loaded AR-15,” Nielsen said, according to the AP. “People live in fear, terrified of that which they do not understand. She’s been shooting since she was 5 years old. She got her first deer with this weapon at 9. She carries it responsibly. She knows how not to put her finger on the trigger. We live in fear in a society that is fed fear on a daily basis.” The AP reported that lawmakers had no reaction to the loaded weapon and asked Nielsen no questions when he was done speaking. The hearing the Nielsens attended dealt with a proposed law that would allow out-of-state visitors who have legal concealed handguns to carry them within city limits in Idaho. A law that was implemented last summer allows Idaho residents 18 and older to carry a concealed handgun within city limits without a permit or training. The proposed legislation would extend that right to all legal U.S. residents and U.S. military members. “When they come to Idaho, they should be able to carry concealed, because they carry responsibly,” Nielsen told the panel, according to the AP. “They’re law-abiding citizens. It’s the criminal we have to worry about.” Republican state Rep. Christy Zito, who proposed the bill, argued that the law would make clear the state gun laws and allow people to better defend themselves if necessary. She cited having to pull a weapon of her own when two men approached her vehicle with her daughter sitting inside. “I stand here before you today as a mother and grandmother who has had to use a firearm to defend their child,” Zito said, the AP reported. “Even though I didn't have to pull the trigger, just the fact that they could see it, and they knew that I had it, was the determining factor.” Bailey Nielsen’s appearance before the committee, which was captured in a photograph showing the AR-15 slung over her shoulder, caused outrage among gun safety advocates. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spoke out on social media. “This is the kind of extremism we are up against. The AR-15 was loaded,” the Facebook post read. Followers of the organization chimed in. One woman pointed out that an AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. “(I) grew up in a family of hunters in northern Minnesota,” the woman wrote. “No self-respecting hunter uses this. These weapons were created for the destruction of people, nature and property. In other words, war.” “If this is legal, God help Idaho,” a man wrote. “I’ll never go there.” Another commenter wrote that a federal age limit needs to be set for carrying a weapon. Not all who saw the image were against the girl being allowed to carry the rifle. “I’d rather have her around if something ever happened than any of you professional victims,” one man wrote. On Twitter, one man responded to a news story about the Nielsens by saying guns in public used to be the norm. “Years ago, there were far more guns and far less shootings,” the man tweeted. “Guns are not the problem. Progressive indoctrination is the problem.” Others on social media wondered how the girl was able to get a loaded assault rifle into the building. One woman wrote that she was not allowed to attend a city council meeting without turning over her pocket knife as she passed through a metal detector. Multiple people wrote about how they weren’t allowed to take cellphones into court. The AP reported that it is not unusual to see weapons in the Idaho Statehouse, where some lawmakers carry concealed weapons of their own. Handguns and the occasional long gun also make appearances when gun legislation is on the table. The bill being debated Monday was ultimately sent on to the House for review, the news agency said.

Washington Insider

  • After taking a shellacking on Saturday from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Nevada Caucuses, the other candidates in the Democratic Party race for President hit South Carolina on Monday with little time left to slow the front runner in the Democratic Party battle for the White House, trying to find a formula to propel their campaigns at a critical time in the race. 'I know you're hearing on TV a lot, 'Bernie can't win,'' Sanders told a Monday night dinner hosted by the South Carolina state Democratic Party, as he opened his final week of campaigning. 'Don't believe everything you hear,' Sanders said, as a Tuesday night debate loomed in Charleston. The candidate given the best chance to stop Sanders in the Palmetto State would seem to be former Vice President Joe Biden, who rallied with supporters at the College of Charleston on Monday night. Biden said nothing about Sanders, but made clear to his audience at the College of Charleston that a lot is on the line this week. 'You in fact are likely to determine who the next President will be,' Biden said. 'And it all starts in South Carolina.' Biden spent no time on his Democratic colleagues, instead focusing all of his ire on President Donald Trump. 'This President has done more to destroy the essence of who we are as a nation than any President in history,' Biden said. Biden did not have Charleston to himself, as candidates were either speaking to the state party dinner, or holding their own rallies across town. 'Hello Charleston!' Elizabeth Warren said at her own rally, as the Massachusetts Democrat stuck with the roots of her stump speech, and focused on her many plans for 'structural change.' 'It is time for a wealth tax in America,' Warren said to cheers, as she told the crowd to remember, 'the first $50 million is 'free and clear.'' Wrapping up her speech, Warren almost seemed to plead with her audience to drum up support for her on Saturday, as she tries to find a way forward through Super Tuesday. 'This is our moment,' Warren said. 'Vote for me - but more - get in this fight.' On Sunday in Arlington, Virginia, Pete Buttigieg drew 7,000 people to an outdoor football stadium, with hundreds more forced to listen from outside the gates. But it was a much smaller audience which greeted the Indiana mayor at an event in North Charleston on Monday evening, as Buttigieg made his pitch for votes in Saturday's primary. Polls have consistently shown Buttigieg struggling to break into double digits in the Palmetto State - as the Buttigieg schedule also has him traveling to other states this week, with Super Tuesday looming on March 3. While last week's debate saw the knives get sharpened for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it could be Sanders who is in for the biggest challenge on Tuesday night. 'I am absolutely confident that no matter who wins, we are going to unite,' Sanders said. 'Donald Trump is a one term President,' the independent Senator from Vermont added.