Flu widespread across US for third straight week

Flu widespread across US for third straight week

Flu is widespread in every state except Hawaii, and 39 states reported high flu traffic for doctors last week, up from 32.

In Wisconsin and neighboring Iowa and Michigan, flu activity was on the low end of the high level, with traffic in Wisconsin highest in the northern half of the state, according to the state Department of Health Services.

At this rate, by the end of the season, somewhere around 34 million Americans will have gotten sick from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Some good news: Hospital stays and deaths from the flu among the elderly so far haven’t been as high as in some other recent flu seasons. However, hospitalization rates for people 50 to 64 baby boomers, mostly has been unusually high, CDC officials said in the report, which covers the week ending Jan. 20.

This year’s flu shot targets the strains that are making Americans sick, mostly the H3N2 flu virus. But exactly how well it is working won’t be known until next month. It’s the same main bug from last winter, when the flu season wasn’t so bad. It’s not clear why this season with the same bug is worse, some experts said.

“That’s the kicker. This virus really doesn’t look that different from what we saw last year,” said Richard Webby, a flu researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

It may be that many of the people getting sick this year managed to avoid infection last year. Or there may be some change in the virus that hasn’t been detected yet, said the CDC’s Dr. Dan Jernigan, in a call with reporters Friday.

Based on patterns from past seasons, it’s likely the flu season will start to wane soon, experts say. There are some places, like California, where the season already seems to be easing, CDC officials said.

“If I was a betting man, I’d put money on it going down,” Webby said. “But I’ve lost money on bets before.”

The season usually peaks in February, but this season started early and took off in December.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness. It can cause a miserable but relatively mild illness in many people, but a more severe illness in others. Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications. In a bad season, there as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu.
Flu widespread across US for third straight week

Former Virginia Tech student was allowed to have gun

Former Virginia Tech student was allowed to have gun

CHRISTIANSBURG The former Virginia Tech student whose arrest on a weapons charge this week stirred campus fears was allowed to have a rifle he just couldnt connect it to a high capacity magazine.

A search warrant filed in the case of Yunsong Zhao, a 19 year old from China, explained where the former freshman allegedly ran afoul of a firearms law.

The warrant, one of three filed to search Zhaos dormitory room and two vehicles, explained that Zhao kept a Bushmaster XM 15 rifle in the student gun lockers at Techs Public Safety Building. On Jan. 22, police were informed that Zhao had bought a 30 round magazine.

It is not illegal for Zhao to own the two separate items, the search warrant said. If Zhao inserts a 30 [round] magazine into the rifle (changing the status of the rifle to assault firearm) is when it becomes illegal for him to possess due to his Student Visa status.

Zhao was arrested Monday on a weapons charge. The formal description of the offense was knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting an assault firearm while not being a citizen of the United States or while not being lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States. A Class 6 felony, it carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The warrants outlined the sequence of events that led to Zhaos arrest.

On Friday, they said, Zhao checked out his rifle from the student gun locker and went to a shooting range in the Jefferson National Forest north of Blacksburg. Virginia Tech police had received information on Thursday about Zhaos purchase of the rifle. When Zhao retrieved the gun from the locker, Blacksburg police were notified and a detective watched as Zhao inserted the magazine into the rifle and fired. The officer continued watching as Zhao put the firearm and magazine in the trunk of his vehicle and left.

According to the warrants, police searched Zhaos dorm room in Techs Cochrane Hall, his 2003 red Ford F 150 that was at the Foxridge apartment complex, and a 2011 blue and silver Ford Crown Victoria that was parked on campus. Officers took nothing, according to the warrants.

The timeline given in the warrants a Jan. 22 notification about the magazine purchase, a Thursday notice about the rifle, and the shooting range visit on Friday conflicted with the arrest warrant and online court records that gave the date of Zhaos alleged offense as Jan. 19.

On Monday, Tech police Chief Kevin Foust put a statement on Facebook that did not name Zhao but said a student had been arrested on a firearms violation after a lengthy investigation.

Foust said that while there had been rumors of an on campus weapons stockpile and warnings that students should avoid large lecture classes, police had found no evidence this rumor is accurate.

On Tuesday, the university underlined Fousts comments with another statement saying Zhaos arrest followed several weeks of investigation.

At no time during this investigation did police believe there was any threat to our community, nor is there one now, Techs Tuesday statement said.

Zhaos attorney, Jason Wolfrey of Christiansburg, said Wednesday that there was never any danger to the community. He said that the evidence in the case will be explored further at a bond hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Former Virginia Tech student was allowed to have gun

For Saturday

For Saturday

We can see more than more than a dozen majestic domestic and international sailing ships, including the official Tall Ships of the City of Los Angeles: Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson and The Twin Brigantines at the Tall Ships Festival in San Pedro. Lane Victory will also be open for tours with your tall ships ticket. The Port of Los Angeles is just one of three West Coast ports to host the Tall Ships this summer.

At the Port of Los Angeles, see the globally famous Rubber Duck art installation and only the second North American city to do so. The Duck project is the creative effort of internationally renowned artist Florentijn Hofman from The Netherlands. Hofman’s Duck has also appeared in Australia, Taiwan, China, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and Pittsburgh. At 40 feet tall, Rubber Duck is bigger than a sail on a great sailboat, and is kept tethered to a heavy round barge to keep from blowing away. Just as with all works of art in a museum, people are not to touch it. Souvenir replicas will be available for purchase.

Loads of family friendly entertainment and activities will pack the port during the Tall Ships Festival. Visitors can hear an eclectic taste of musical genres such as rock, jazz, Sea Shanty, Latin, Mexican, Big Band, Country and dance. If a slew of great musicisn’tenough, afew Tall Ship’s sails will be creatively used as gigantic movie screens showing entertaining flicks throughout the duration of the festival.

Educational and children’s activities include cannon demonstrations, authentic privateer encampment, real sword fighting with live steel, knot tying, weapon demonstrations and sail training with real tall ship rigging. Youth visitors can also try their hand at creating one of a kind treasures and handmade creations with projects lead by the Port of Los Angeles’s own, Crafted. In addition,
For Saturday
local, regional, and national crafters will be on hand showcasing a wide variety of hand made creations including maritime themed artwork.

At the 2014 Wings Over Camarillo Air Show at Camarillo Airport is the only Ventura County air show this year.

Meet Chuck Aaron of Westlake Village, one of the few pilots to fly the Red Bull Helicopter upside down, who will be joined by National Air Racing veteran and aerobatic pilot Vicky Benzing and 60 other experienced pilots to thrill the crowds. on Saturday and Sunday. To start the air show, parachutists will jump out of a transport plane at 8,000 feet above the airport and glide down over the crowd below. Afterwards, the show will feature single aircraft demonstrations and aerobatic flying, formation flying, high speed runs down the fly zone, plus vivid descriptions, the history of the flying aircraft and their pilots over the PA systems.

In addition to the air show, the whole day is packed with family fun, entertainment, food booths, a variety of vendors and other ground displays to see before the flying starts. FREE programs will be distributed at the gates listing daily activities and maps of the event areas.

Hot rod lovers will want to visit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum’s Gallery Of Speed. It focuses on four historical, generational, and transitional aspects of hot rodding history as well as America’s affection for the automobile. This exhibition features cars, life sculptures, historical video and interactive displays. Make sure to check out the newly renovated gift shop to pick something up for your hot rod enthusiast.

Hot Rod aficionados will also want to check out the Twilight Cruise Nights presented by Prolong Super Lubricants at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. This monthly eventallows hundreds of hot rods, classic cars and even a few vintage race cars to converge for a day with family and friends. Cruise Nights are FREE and open to the public and cruisers. Festivities include music, food vendors, and more. All proceeds benefit the museum, a non profit 501(c)(3) organization.
For Saturday

Four deaths reported in Lake County related to snow removal

Four deaths reported in Lake County related to snow removal

HAMMOND Small children sloppily constructed igloos and snowslides against homes on the side streets of central Hammond on Saturday only to watch their hard work later collapse.

Armed with shovels and ice scrapers, two teenage girls cleaned off their mothers car on 170th Street and shoveled out snow from beneath her tires.

Theyre digging me out so we can all get to church tomorrow, Traci Nixon said, smiling from her front door as her bundled up daughters Naja, 15, and Daja, 14, scraped and shoveled in the streets.

The city of LaPorte received 11 inches, while Dyer saw 10.5 inches, Valparaiso 8 and Gary a reported 12, according to preliminary figures from the NWS.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until noon Sunday,
Four deaths reported in Lake County related to snow removal
with the NWS predicting another 2 to 5 inches of snowfall across portions of Northwest Indiana.

4 people have died removing snow

At least four people have died since the start of the storm Thursday while shoveling, plowing or using snowblowers, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said. Their ages ranged from 51 to 72, according to Frey.

A 70 year old Crown Point man was pronounced dead at Franciscan Health in Dyer on Saturday after he was out removing snow. A 51 year old person from Crown point died in their home after coming inside from shoveling snow.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said he had no weather related deaths to report, as of Saturday afternoon. The LaPorte County Coroner did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year, according to the National Safety Council.

A photo of Lake Station Police Chief Dave Johnson and his Assistant Chief Jerry Baldazo shoveling an elderly residents home circulated on social media over the weekend. By Saturday afternoon, the photo had been shared more than 200 times and garnered at least 600 likes.

Mary Wantuck, of Lake Station, who snapped the photo, said she was proud of the Lake Station police and their hard work.

Johnson said he and Baldazo responded to a call Friday in the 4500 block of Riverpool Road from an elderly resident who was severely snowed in. Thats when Johnson,
Four deaths reported in Lake County related to snow removal
Baldazo and another neighbor picked up shovels and began digging her out.

Former Christiansburg planning commissioner remembered for advocacy

Former Christiansburg planning commissioner remembered for advocacy

A native of Montana, Dorsett came to the New River Valley with her parents in the 1960s when her dad, sociologist and former minister James Dorsett, took a teaching job at Virginia Tech.

Meghan Dorsett earned degrees from Tech, Hollins and Missouri State University. During a hiatus from Virginia, Dorsett taught writing, political rhetoric and literature at Southwest Missouri State University and ran a Montana based graphics company.

Eventually she made her way back to Southwest Virginia, where she worked as comprehensive planner for Montgomery County from 1999 to 2008. The plan, which guides zoning and development, was adopted by the county Board of Supervisors in 2004.

She was dedicated to the details of her job, and had a great listening ear when it came to listening to Board members and citizens concerns and questions, and then providing them with the needed or requested information, longtime Supervisor Mary Biggs wrote in an email. She loved Montgomery County and her community.

She also cared deeply about public participation in government, according to Niki King Jones, a former Roanoke Times reporter, who covered Dorsetts development of the comprehensive plan. After leaving journalism, King Jones studied urban planning herself.

She was a tremendously thoughtful planner, King Jones said of Dorsett. Being from the community, she cared about it, and she developed meaningful ways for the public to register their concerns in the public planning process. She was also an expert on the challenges that face small, rural communities.

Dorsett developed a series of planning guides for small places that lack the resources to hire professional planners, according to King Jones.

After her fathers death, Dorsett inherited the Cambria Depot, a historic passenger rail station, which the family bought and renovated in the 1980s. Dorsetts mother, Helen, also bought the Cambria Emporium, an antiques store across the street, and set up a company to run it, Lindstrom said. Dorsett, with help from Lindstrom, continued to run both. The couple established a toy and book store at the depot.

She thought that reading was very important, Lindstrom said of her wife. And she loved kids.

Every child 12 or under who visited the depot could receive a free book, and Dorsett insisted on carrying the best quality toys she could find and selling them at the lowest possible price we could afford, Lindstrom said.

Dorsett loved to talk with customers and friends who would stop by the depot. Her most important legacy is not one grand accomplishment, Lindstrom said, but the interactions she had with people on a daily basis. She took the time to talk but also to listen.

Dorsett, like her parents before her, became passionate about Cambria. In 2010, she ran for mayor of Christiansburg and then got scared that she might win. Her goal was not elected office, Lindstrom said, but to bring attention to severe flooding problems in the historic area that once was the center of passenger rail in the county.

She didnt become mayor, but Dorsett was appointed to the Christiansburg Planning Commission in 2010, stepping down in 2014. She also served on the towns Central Business Advisory Committee, according to Christiansburg spokeswoman Melissa Demmitt.

She participated in politics at the state level, too. Dorsett was co director of communications for the League of Women Voters and edited the organizations monthly newsletter.

While she ran against one Christiansburg mayor, Dorsett befriended another, calling herself his unofficial campaign manager.

We argued and fought and eventually became good friends, Mayor Mike Barber said.

Dorsett once joked with the mayor that he did pretty good in the election, considering he campaigned from his easy chair, Barber said. He chuckled at the recollection.

Dorsett made a difference for her community, Barber said. She was a devout advocate for Cambria.

Lindstrom said she will work to keep the depot and the emporium open. She also hopes to continue repairs and restoration work on the historic buildings. Shortly before she died, Dorsett expressed regret that she would not live long enough to finish them.

A celebration of Dorsetts life will be held in the spring, Lindstrom said. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made either to the Cambria Depot building fund or to help defray Dorsetts medical and funeral expenses. Donations can be made at the depot: 630 Depot St. NE, Christiansburg, VA 24073.
Former Christiansburg planning commissioner remembered for advocacy

Focus Shorts Funding Recipients Announced

Focus Shorts Funding Recipients Announced

The Focus Shorts scheme required filmmakers to submit applications for projects of up to ten minutes in length which featured strong and original storytelling, with visual flair and production values appropriate to the big screen.

Calls will be written and directed by Kate Dolan (Little Doll) and produced by Aoife Kelly. The film paints a portrait of sexual predator who gets off on intimidating young women but then becomes the victim after choosing to terrorise two women who are also on the hunt. Women shouldn be afraid to walk the streets at night, and this film is a response to that fear that every woman has. People that intimidate you are often very weak and it about finding the strength to say No, I am not afraid of you. I think the film will resonate with a lot of people, and myself and my producer (Aoife Kelly) are really excited to get started.

The films that have been funded are all really diverse, which is great to see. It also brilliant to see the Film Board nurturing young voices that are coming up in the industry and not just seasoned filmmakers. A chance like this for me now means a lot.”

Tattoo will be be written and directed by Ian Power (The Guarantee) and produced by Eoghan Ryan. According to Ryan, the film tells the story of Holocaust survivor working in a New York funeral home who discovers she is caring for the body of a Nazi SS Officer. Me Swimming to be written by Ailbhe Keogan (Run Jump), directed by Claire Dix (We Are Moving) and produced by Roisin Geraghty.

Me Swimming] raises questions we hope we never have to answer in real life, although modern statistics suggest far too many of us will indeed be faced with unbearably difficult choices project] sees a son coming to terms with his mother dementia in a purposefully thought provoking way. Traveller will be written and directed by Steve Kenny (Coil) and produced by Collie McCarthy. The film follows a To The Future obsessed traveller boy as he strives to finish building his own Delorian replica from an old banger and bits of scrap before his family is evicted from their halting site. Kenny film paints a picture about creativity, discrimination and the importance of family.
Focus Shorts Funding Recipients Announced

Formula 1

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Australian GP practice text audio Live coverage of the first practice session of the season in Melbourne Australia, where we get the first indication of who is on top.

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Testing over, where do F1 teams stand? Between them the teams have done nearly enough laps to circumnavigate the globe.

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Novelty, buzz and familiar conflicts as F1’s new era begins This season marks the true beginning of the Liberty Media era of F1. How are the new owners being received so far, and what plans are in place to change the sport?

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Why has Hamilton deleted his social media posts? Andrew Benson explores how the fallout from Lewis Hamilton’s video post at Christmas may not go away even if his social media posts have.
Formula 1

For victims of fatal crash

For victims of fatal crash

When Dane Custer was small, maybe 8 years old, his father gave him a $5 guitar he bought at a garage sale.

The family lived in Hamilton, Illinois, then, a town of less than 3,000 people on the banks of the Mississippi River. The guitar was beat up, so they brought it over to Meister’s Music Store, where Jack Meister, the owner, had a look at it.

Dane Custer didn’t care what it looked like, or even how it sounded. All he cared about was learning to play it. So Meister restrung the guitar, Custer took a lesson about five minutes,” his mother said and then taught himself the chords, well enough that eventually he earned a music scholarship to college.

had a beautiful gift,” his mother said.

Custer, who moved to Manatee County about 18 months ago, carried that gift with him until early Monday morning when he was killed in a single vehicle, high speed crash on University Parkway near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

Also killed were Wesley C. McCurley and Michael P. Duffy, both of Sarasota. Thomas Bentley of Sarasota, who was ejected from the 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis, suffered some broken ribs and a possible concussion and was released from Sarasota Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon, according to his Facebook page.

The four friends involved in the crash all were 21 years old. Bentley turned 21 Monday, and they were out celebrating his birthday, Kristi Custer said.

McCurley had just turned 21 last Thursday, and to celebrate his birthday the four took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, said Troy Nicholas, a friend of the theirs.

can’t believe it was 21 years ago tonight that my lil dude, Wesley McCurley, came into my world,” McCurley’s father, Rick, posted on Facebook on his birthday. will always be my 1 man.”

Investigators say they may never know how fast the car was traveling when McCurley, the driver, lost control, due to the fact that the vehicle was split in half. Sarasota Police Department spokeswoman Genevieve Judge said toxicology reports from the medical examiner’s office aren’t expected to be complete for several days.

Rhiannon Johnson, who had known Duffy since middle school and graduated with him at Lakewood Ranch High, had trouble processing the enormity of the tragedy. Tuesday afternoon found her visiting the unmarked crash site.

need to get closure. I have to see it for myself,
For victims of fatal crash
Johnson, 21, said. still don’t believe it. small gesture

This marked the second time Johnson grieved the loss of a former Lakewood Ranch classmate. She knew Brett Wagner and Josh Rogers, both 18, who were killed when their truck collided with a car on State Road 64 on Christmas Night in 2011.

On Tuesday Johnson followed the tire tracks that covered the length of a football field through the University Parkway median, where the car hit three trees before coming to a halt. She was silent as she inspected the glass still embedded in the bark of the three scarred oaks.

used to give (Duffy) a ride to school and he used to make fun of my Toyota Corolla,” Johnson said. he was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. He was really, really popular and everybody loved him. year old Ben Hyde used virtually identical quotes to describe McCurley. was a kind, talented and respectful musician. And all he talked about was his music, said Hyde, a Sarasota High student. looked up to him as a person. I’m still in shock I still can’t believe it. 20 year old Chase Vickers of Bradenton, McCurley’s enduring legacy will be the impact of a small gesture.

Vickers didn’t know McCurley well. They met in August 2014, at McCurley’s garage, which the metal music drummer called the Jam Clinic. The last time Vickers saw him was at a concert at The Orpheum in Tampa.

Born blind, Vickers said he bonded during their first conversation. told me he looked up to me as a drummer after hearing me play on his kit for about a minute, Vickers said via email. like Wes inspire me to live every day like it’s our last, surround yourself with people who you love and who love you, and never take anything for granted.

from now on, every time I go to practice, play a show, or even just listen to metal, Wes will always be right there jamming out with me in spirit, as he is every day. about music’

Custer grew up in Illinois and moved in with his parents, Dan and Kristi, about 18 months ago in Manatee County. Dane had a brother, Drake, who is 10 years older and Kristi Custer remembers being told she and her husband could not have another child after Drake.

Then along came Dane.

was my little giggle from God,” she said.

He grew up playing guitar, keyboards and the tuba. He sang as well, and earned a scholarship to study music production and communications at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. After he moved to Manatee County he began taking classes at State College of Florida.

Inside Custer’s spotless bedroom on Tuesday were the reminders of how much he loved music and how diversified his tastes were. A replica of a 1976 tour poster for the rock band The Who was on his wall, Hall and Oates was on his stereo, and a box of vinyl records was on the floor. He loved classic rock, his mother said, but also had a fondness for jazz.

Kristi Custer said. was always about music.”

He worked at Guitar Center Sarasota, which is where he met Bentley, one of his many friends.

wanted the world to be filled with love,” his mother said. goal for everyone was to find their definition of happiness.”

Kristi Custer is still coming to grips with the loss of her son and says it is too early to think about a memorial service.

On Tuesday she stood in the middle of her living room and silently watched a video on her cell phone. It was of her son when he was a senior in high school in 2012. He was sitting in a chair on a stage in the school auditorium, playing an acoustic guitar in front of his classmates without a tinge of nervousness.
For victims of fatal crash

Four decades on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall

Four decades on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall

1974: The Downtown Boulder Association explores possibilities of a Pearl Street Mall. Early plans envision underground parking beneath the mall.

February 1975: A plan for a four block Pearl Street Mall is accepted by the Boulder City Council. It does not include underground parking.

Aug. 6, 1977: The Pearl Street Mall then officially known as the Downtown Boulder Mall opens with a crowd rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and a ribbon cutting by Mayor Frank Buchanan.

September 1977: Plans are announced for $50,000 mall restrooms, with a city staffer saying, “This is not going to be your standard concrete block crapper.”

1979: Strife erupts between what reports term “street people” and other mall visitors, and a poll finds that people don’t feel safe on the mall in the evening due to harassment by panhandlers.

1980: The Downtown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Department of Housing and Urban Development gives Boulder its Honor Award for its Downtown Revitalization Project Design.

1981: Mall sales tax revenues decline.

October 1982: About 15,000 people attend the Halloween Mall Crawl and 26 are arrested for investigation of inciting a riot. The cleanup costs $7,500.

December 1985: The Blue Note closes.1983: Stricter rules regulating street performers are put in place.

1984: The mall hosts a celebration marking the 1984 Olympic cycling medals won by hometown hero Davis Phinney and his wife, Connie Carpenter Phinney.

August 1987: The mall celebrates its 10th birthday with a 50 foot cake replica of the mall, which was expected to feed about 4,000.

1987: Halloween BYO drinking is banned; celebrants must buy their alcohol at a restaurant or bar.

1988: The Art Cinema movie venue,
Four decades on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall
which had opened in 1965 with the cult film to be “Mondo Cane,” closes.

December 1988: First Lights of December Parade is held.

1989: The Halloween Mall Crawl attracts 40,000 revelers and causes $50,000 in damages.

1993: The 13th Street Bikeway is completed, despite protests about the loss of parking spaces.

August 1995: A candlelight memorial is held for the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia.

1997: The “Downtown Boulder Mall” was formally changed to the “Pearl Street Mall.”

1999: The New York Delicatessen, famous as the eatery favored by TV’s “Mork and Mindy,” closes.

2000: The mall prepares for arrival of FlatIron Crossing, with merchants working on marketing and maintenance program to keep shoppers downtown.

2001: The Family Gathering Area in the 1200 block is refurbished, with the original gravel surface replaced with a soft surfacing material and ADA access improvements. Also, a new $350,000 bathroom facility features piped in music and hidden plumbing features, to deter vandals.

June 2002: The pop jet fountain in the 1300 block of the mall is completed. This is part of extensive renovation that year costing $4 million and including the removal of a bus shelter and installation of new animal sculptures.

September 2002: The “weeping” rock and three granite split rocks on the 1100 block are installed shortly after the mall’s 25th anniversary.

May 2004: Sales tax revenue for the mall in May shows a 0.6 percent increase over the same period the previous year,
Four decades on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall
indicating continued health in the wake of FlatIron Crossing’s arrival in neighboring Broomfield.

October 2006: It is reported that the 300 plus police citations issued by officers in the mall during that summer were double the total for the same period in 2004.

Former detective testifies that Baltimore Police gun unit was tipped off to investigations into its misconduct

Former detective testifies that Baltimore Police gun unit was tipped off to investigations into its misconduct

Shawn Whiting had large stacks of cash spread throughout his bedroom when Baltimore police came crashing in one morning in January 2014: $8,000 from his job as a house painter and nearly $16,000 he acknowledged was from selling cocaine.

But when Whiting received a letter after his arrest outlining how much had been seized, it showed just $7,650. Whiting immediately called the internal affairs unit to report the theft.

Four years later, Detective Marcus Taylor is on trial for that robbery and four others, charged with Detective Daniel Hersl with being part of a racketeering conspiracy as members of the police department’s Gun Trace Task Force.

Earlier, Detective Maurice Ward another task force member, who has pleaded guilty in the case testified that Taylor found the money in Whiting’s closet, asked Ward to “look out for him” and they split $3,000.

Whiting’s contacts with internal affairs add to the list of instances in which people tried to report the corrupt officers for misconduct to no avail.

The second day of trial for Taylor and Hersl brought a raft of new disclosures, including that police recovered a replica gun from the glove box of Taylor’s vehicle after his arrest last year. The gun, shown to jurors, is nearly indistinguishable from Taylor’s service pistol.

Ward said the unit’s supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, instructed the officers to carry replica guns to plant if they found themselves in a jam.

Prosecutors previously said that the officers were tipped off to an investigation into their unit. Ward said Thursday that Taylor had a “source” in internal affairs who informed them that their overtime was being investigated and their phones and vehicles were being tracked. He also said that Jenkins told them that a sergeant named Ryan Guinn had informed Jenkins that federal agents investigating two of their colleagues had visited him.

Guinn, a former member of the task force who has not been charged with a crime, has come up previously in connection with the federal investigation of the officers. In 2010, he took part in an arrest in which federal prosecutors say drugs were planted on a man who fled and got into a fatal crash. He was suspended after the allegations arose in November, but reinstated a couple of weeks later.

Former Commissioner Kevin Davis, in an interview earlier this year, said he had spoken with the FBI about Guinn, who is assigned to the training academy, and was “absolutely confident that there are no administrative sanctions to pursue against” him. But it was not clear whether he knew about the allegation that Guinn might have tipped off the officers.

The officers also are charged with theft of overtime for hours they did not work.

Dombrowski continues to serve as the head of the Police Department’s internal affairs unit. Smith said: “There are currently active internal investigations into anyone who may have enabled any members of the Gun Trace Task Force and their criminal actions.”

Smith did not elaborate on whether the department had taken any new actions against officers whose names have come up during the trial.

Detective Maurice Ward, one of the Gun Trace Task Force officers who has pleaded guilty to his role in a racketeering conspiracy, took the stand Tuesday on the first day of trial for two of his co defendants and laid out a wide array of astonishing corruption he said the officers took part in.

.

Ward is one of four officers charged in the federal case who have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify against their colleagues. Ward’s testimony Tuesday outlined astonishing misconduct: He said the officers stole thousands of dollars and drugs, used illegal GPS tracking devices to track targets, pretended to be federal agents, and profiled certain vehicles and people.

Ward testified about additional misconduct Thursday, saying he and Taylor once conducted a “trash run” on a home in preparation for obtaining a search warrant. They found marijuana residue in the target’s trash, but realized the trash can belonged to another resident. They proceeded anyway, submitting an affidavit for a search warrant falsely claiming the drugs had been found in the target’s trash can.

Though Ward had been charged only with robberies dating back to 2014, he has testified that he had been stealing money and lying on paperwork for far longer.

“For the better part of a decade, professionally, you’ve been lying?” asked Taylor’s defense attorney, Christopher Nieto.

“Yes, sir,” Ward responded.

Defense attorneys worked to poke holes in Ward’s account, and question his motives. Nieto expressed disbelief at Ward’s account of discarding $20,000 in stolen money along a wooded path behind his home. Ward testified that he was uncomfortable having such a large amount of stolen funds.

“You just took a bag of $20,000, dumped it out on a path, and walked away?” Nieto asked.

“Pretty much,” Ward said.

The defense attorneys also sought to paint a Baltimore Police Department in turmoil following the 2015 riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, with overtime pay flowing unchecked to those who were willing to work hard to quell the violence.

They call to their sergeant, Wayne Jenkins, who instructs the group not to touch anything and to keep the camera rolling he wanted this one done.”What really happened? A lot of officers said, ‘I don’t want to get involved.’ Is that fair to say?” Hersl’s attorney, William Purpura, asked Ward, referring to morale in the agency.
Former detective testifies that Baltimore Police gun unit was tipped off to investigations into its misconduct