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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania

Former Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th Democrat to enter White House race

Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., became the latest Democrat to challenge President Trump’s seat in the Oval Office when he declared on Sunday he’s running for president.

Sestak, a retired Navy admiral who represented Pennsylvania’s 7th District from 2007 to 2011, becomes the 25th candidate among the primary field of Democrats.

“What Americans most want today is someone who is accountable to them, above self, above party, above any special interest… a president who has the depth of global experience to restore America’s leadership in the world to protect our American Dream at home… and one who is trusted to restructure policies where too many see only the growth of inequity not of the economy,” Sestak said in a video released on his campaign website.

Westlake Legal Group Joe-Sestak-GettyImages-519295852 Former Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th Democrat to enter White House race fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 3b8cbbfb-30cb-5db3-88d5-56de86a3da59

Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., declared that he’s running for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, File)

He added: “I want to be that president who serves the American people the way they deserve to be served.”

Sestak acknowledged he was entering the race both as a latecomer in an already crowded field and as an underdog compared to big names such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. He also would be absent from the stage in the Democrats’ first debates this week.

The former congressman said his reason for announcing his White House bid now was that he’d been supporting his daughter in her fight against brain cancer.

“[M]y announcement may be later than others for the honor of seeking the presidency. The decision to delay was so I would be there with Alex, our daughter, as the brain cancer she had courageously beaten at four years old returned this past year,” he said. “But, with her same team of medical heroes, she has again overcome the single-digit odds.”

DEMOCRATS AIM THEIR FIRE AT TRUMP IN SOUTH CAROLINA, VIE FOR FRONTRUNNER STATUS

Westlake Legal Group Joe-Sestak-GettyImages-106432097 Former Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th Democrat to enter White House race fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 3b8cbbfb-30cb-5db3-88d5-56de86a3da59

During his time in Congress, Joe Sestak chafed many top Democrats. (Jeff Fusco/Getty Images, File)

In his relatively short campaign announcement, Sestak laid out two main objectives he wanted to tackle: battling climate change and “putting an end to an illiberal world order’s injustices, from China’s control of the 5G network to Russian interference in democratic elections.”

During his time in Congress, Sestak chafed many top Democrats for challenging longtime incumbents. He twice ran – and lost – for one of Pennsylvania’s Senate seats.

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In 2009, he launched a primary challenge to then-Sen. Arlen Specter, who had switched parties to run as a Democrat. Despite efforts by the Obama White House and other top Democrats to get him to bail out of the race, Sestak refused – ultimately beating Specter in the primary in 2010, but losing to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election.

Sestak launched another Senate bid in 2016 but lost in the primary to former Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty, who received an endorsement from then-President Obama and a large infusion of cash from outside liberal groups. McGinty ultimately lost to Toomey in the general election.

Westlake Legal Group Joe-Sestak-GettyImages-519295852 Former Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th Democrat to enter White House race fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 3b8cbbfb-30cb-5db3-88d5-56de86a3da59   Westlake Legal Group Joe-Sestak-GettyImages-519295852 Former Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th Democrat to enter White House race fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/cory-booker fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 3b8cbbfb-30cb-5db3-88d5-56de86a3da59

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PA man alleges he was ambushed at same Dominican Republic resort as Delaware woman

Westlake Legal Group Majestic-Elegance-Punta-Cana PA man alleges he was ambushed at same Dominican Republic resort as Delaware woman Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/travel/general/travel-safety fox-news/travel fox news fnc/world fnc article 99113583-560c-5378-9913-fd69ae9296c6

A Pennsylvania man raised allegations earlier week that he was ambushed while on vacation at the same Dominican Republic resort where a Delaware woman claimed she was attacked and beaten by a hotel employee.

Robert Walker, of New Castle, told WPXI he traveled earlier this year to the Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana and, while walking back to his hotel room from the casino, he was jumped from behind by two robbers.

“I just started swinging, I am going nuts and they fled,” he said. “I go back to my room and I have a knot the size of a baseball and was concussed for a few days.”

DOMINICAN TOURISM OFFICIALS DOWNPLAY SPATE OF AMERICAN TOURIST DEATHS IN CARIBBEAN NATION

Walker said the assault occurred around the same time Tammy Lawrence-Daley said she was assaulted for hours inside a maintenance closet in late January. She alleged the attacker was wearing a resort uniform.

The Wilmington, Del., woman went public with the alleged assault on Facebook, posting gruesome photos of her injuries and sparking questions about the resort’s handling of the investigation and the safety of tourists at the hotel.

Dominican authorities said there were inconsistencies in her account of the alleged assault and said Lawrence-Daley refused to file a local police report. The hotel said earlier this month that the Delaware woman went public with her story after it refused her demand for $2.2 million.

A lawyer for Lawrence-Daley later accused the hotel of blaming the victim.

DOMINICAN TOURISM OFFICIAL VOWS ‘DISCIPLINARY ACTION’ IF US TOURIST DEATH PROBE FINDS NEGLIGENCE

In the case of Walker, he told WPXI that he went to hotel officials to report the alleged assault and that it “fell on deaf ears.”

“I am most upset with the hotel resort. I told them what happened, it fell on deaf ears,” he said.

It was not clear in the WPXI article if Walker filed a report with police in Punta Cana.

A spokeswoman for Majestic Elegance resort did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment Saturday.

Carmen Barcelo told the PhillyVoice on Friday that management at the hotel was unaware of the incident until Walker spoke to the media. She said an investigation into the incident has started.

Walker’s allegations come amid a recent spate of deaths of American tourists to the Dominican Republic and the shooting of ex-MLB star David Ortiz in the island’s capital. These incidents have triggered questions about the safety of tourists in the Caribbean island.

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On Friday, Francisco Javier Garcia, the minister of tourism, appeared to downplay the deaths and castigate the media for turning the nine fatalities into “an avalanche of death.”

In a later interview with Fox News, Garcia insisted the deaths were of natural causes but vowed any “disciplinary actions” would be taken if there was any negligence on the part of the resorts that led to the deaths.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Llorente, Ryan Gaydos and Alexandra Deabler contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Majestic-Elegance-Punta-Cana PA man alleges he was ambushed at same Dominican Republic resort as Delaware woman Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/travel/general/travel-safety fox-news/travel fox news fnc/world fnc article 99113583-560c-5378-9913-fd69ae9296c6   Westlake Legal Group Majestic-Elegance-Punta-Cana PA man alleges he was ambushed at same Dominican Republic resort as Delaware woman Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/dominican-republic fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/travel/general/travel-safety fox-news/travel fox news fnc/world fnc article 99113583-560c-5378-9913-fd69ae9296c6

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Massive explosion at gas refinery in Philadelphia: reports

Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Massive explosion at gas refinery in Philadelphia: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio b40c7794-b7e6-5dcf-8039-867e791f6471 article

A massive fireball lit up the night sky in South Philadelphia early Friday in what was apparently an explosion at a local gas refinery. Early reports gave the location as 31st Street and Passyunk Avenue, not far from the city’s sports complex.

Officials in Philadelphia confirmed that the early morning fire started at the 150-year-old Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, but could not offer further details.

Reports of the fire began spreading on social media shortly after 4 a.m. Friday.

BUILDING ‘LEVELED’ IN EXPLOSION THAT ROCKS CHICAGO SUBURB

KYW-TV reported that the refinery has its own fire brigade. No injuries have been disclosed at this time. The cause of the fire was still unclear.

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Road closures as a result of the blast included a stretch of Interstate 76 from University Avenue to the Walt Whitman Bridge as well as the Platt Bridge, Penrose Avenue and 26th Street, Philadelphia’s FOX 29 reported.

Four SEPTA transit routes have been diverted because of the fire.

The complex produced 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Philadelphia Energy Solutions says the oil refining complex is the largest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Massive explosion at gas refinery in Philadelphia: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio b40c7794-b7e6-5dcf-8039-867e791f6471 article   Westlake Legal Group c65b811b-crime-scene-iStock Massive explosion at gas refinery in Philadelphia: reports fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio b40c7794-b7e6-5dcf-8039-867e791f6471 article

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Philadelphia police union calls commissioner ‘irresponsible’ amid investigation into alleged racist, anti-Muslim social media posts

The head of Philadelphia’s police union has accused the city’s police commissioner of being “premature and irresponsible” with comments about expecting officers to be fired over alleged racist and anti-Muslim social media posts.

“Our officers are entitled to due process just like any other citizen.” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said in a statement calling for “a complete investigation into officer’s social media use.”

Commissioner Richard Ross’ announced Wednesday that 72 officers have been placed on administrative duty as the department conducts an internal investigation on the matter. Ross said he believes “several dozen” of the officers will be disciplined and expects at least some to be fired.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Ross Philadelphia police union calls commissioner ‘irresponsible’ amid investigation into alleged racist, anti-Muslim social media posts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article 0b249fe8-537e-5b73-bed5-46e162d9eff7

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross speaks with members of the media during a news conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday. (AP)

“I am not prepared to tell you at this point who’s being disciplined and how many may be terminated, but I can tell you with a degree of certainty there are some people who will meet with that fate,” Ross said Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA’S FIRST OPENLY GAY DEPUTY SHERIFF FOUND DEAD AT HIS DESK IN APPARENT SUICIDE

The alleged posts were discovered after a team of researchers spent two years looking into the Facebook accounts of police officers across the country. The researchers said they found posts from officers bashing immigrants and Muslims, promoting racist stereotypes, identifying with right-wing militia groups and, especially, glorifying police brutality. All the posts were public.

The union also said its members will be interviewed promptly after being notified that they are being investigated and will return to duty after their interviews.

“It is sad that the investigators with the ‘social justice’ group chose to ignore all the good work done regularly by our officers,” the union said in a statement posted on its website. “During this difficult climate in which police officers are constantly under attack, the FOP will continue to support you.”

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Investigators are looking into approximately 3,100 individual posts from the officers, according to Fox 29. The Philadelphia Police Department will hire an independent law firm to determine whether or not each officer’s posts are protected First Amendment speech, it added.

“We’ve talked about, from the outset, how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are, and they will undeniably impact police-community relations,” Ross said. The department also announced new racial sensitivity training for officers and is considering revisions to its social media policies.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Ross Philadelphia police union calls commissioner ‘irresponsible’ amid investigation into alleged racist, anti-Muslim social media posts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article 0b249fe8-537e-5b73-bed5-46e162d9eff7   Westlake Legal Group Richard-Ross Philadelphia police union calls commissioner ‘irresponsible’ amid investigation into alleged racist, anti-Muslim social media posts fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article 0b249fe8-537e-5b73-bed5-46e162d9eff7

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Philadelphia’s first openly gay deputy sheriff found dead at his desk in apparent suicide

Philadelphia’s first openly gay Deputy Sheriff committed suicide at his desk from an apparent gunshot wound on Friday, just before the city’s weekend of pride celebrations were set to begin.

Dante Austin, 27, was found dead at his desk at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s office. An official cause of death is awaiting confirmation from the local Medical Examiner’s office.

Austin was an Army veteran who also served as the department’s first LGBTQ community liaison and was known as a “fierce advocate.” He was set to be promoted to the position of sergeant next month, according to CBS Philly.

Sheriff Jewell Williams reflected on Austin’s service with the Philadelphia Police Department, which he joined in 2013, and called his death “a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community.”

“Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody,” Williams said.

Westlake Legal Group Dante-Austin-FB Philadelphia's first openly gay deputy sheriff found dead at his desk in apparent suicide fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article Anna Hopkins 9eeaca1a-5064-5d5e-9728-231d89154511

TEXAS POLICE CHIEF’S BODY FOUND AFTER BEING KNOCKED OVERBOARD BY LARGE WAVE

“He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017.”

The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs also issued a statement in the wake of Austin’s death, describing his significant impact on the community in Philadelphia.

“Dante worked tirelessly, always, to lift up the most marginalized among us, to secure safety and protection for the most vulnerable, and to serve his community with unparalleled dedication and a warmth and generosity that moved so many of us,” it read.

“Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all. As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected and saved lives.”

NEW YORK CITY POLICE SEEK TO IDENTIFY MAN WITH DISTINCTIVE TATTOOS FOUND DEAD IN WATER

The rainbow pride flag at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office was lowered to half-staff to honor his memory on Friday, and the one at City Hall will do the same.

The William Way LGBT Community Center hosted an informal gathering on Friday with food, drinks and peer counselors to help those coping with the loss.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please ask for help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK. You can also text “talk” to 741-741.

Westlake Legal Group Dante-Austin-FB Philadelphia's first openly gay deputy sheriff found dead at his desk in apparent suicide fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article Anna Hopkins 9eeaca1a-5064-5d5e-9728-231d89154511   Westlake Legal Group Dante-Austin-FB Philadelphia's first openly gay deputy sheriff found dead at his desk in apparent suicide fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox news fnc/us fnc article Anna Hopkins 9eeaca1a-5064-5d5e-9728-231d89154511

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Pennsylvania woman, 51, died in similar circumstances as three American tourists at Dominican resort a year ago

The family of a Pennsylvania woman who was vacationing in the Dominican Republic last year says she died in her room at a resort that is part of a popular hotel chain where the deaths of three other U.S. tourists last month are under investigation.

Relatives of Yvette Monique Sport, 51, told Fox29 Philadelphia she was visiting the popular tourist spot last June, and stayed at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana. They say that Sport had a drink from the mini bar inside her room, later went to bed, and never woke up.

The report of Sport’s death comes on the heels of the known deaths of three U.S. tourists in five days that occurred in their rooms at hotels owned by the Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts group.

Her death certificate listed “heart attack” as the cause.

DOMINICAN RESORT CLAIMS US TOURIST WENT PUBLIC WITH ASSAULT ALLEGATION AFTER IT REFUSED HER DEMAND FOR $2.2 MILLION

“She was 51 years of age, relatively healthy, no reason for her to go on vacation and die so suddenly,” her sister, Felecia Nieves, told FOX 29.

The details of her actions preceding her death are identical to that of Miranda Schaup-Werner of Allentown, Penn., who collapsed and died on May 25 after having a drink from the room mini bar. Five days later, on May 30, another couple, Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day were found dead in their room.

Westlake Legal Group Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-2 Pennsylvania woman, 51, died in similar circumstances as three American tourists at Dominican resort a year ago fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ba494c12-8249-5580-b0ca-6810591d86be article

Relatives of Yvette Monique Sport, 51, said she was visiting the popular tourist spot last June, and stayed at the Bahia Principe Resort in Punta Cana. They say that Sport had a drink from the mini bar inside her room, later went to bed, and never woke up. (Bahia Principe Hotels)

Schaup died at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville, Holmes and Day died at the adjacent Bahia Principe La Romana.

“It makes me question at this point is this cause of death even true,” Nieves said.

Sport was vacationing there with her fiancé, Howard Taltoan, and their friends.

PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN DIED AT SAME DOMINICAN RESORT COMPLEX FIVE DAYS BEFORE MARYLAND COUPLE IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES

“We were promised within three months that we would receive a toxicology report to this day, which is almost a year now we’ve got nothing,” Nieves said.

“I think the State Department needs to step in and investigate these deaths something is not right,” Taltoan said.

Referring to other deaths at hotels in the same chain, Nieves said: “It makes me question at this point is this cause of death even true?”

MARYLAND COUPLE FOUND DEAD IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HOTEL ROOM

The report noted that U.S. federal data show that in 2018, 13 American deaths were reported in the Dominican Republican. It did not include Sport’s death because it was declared by Dominican authorities to have been caused by natural causes.

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Fox News asked the Bahia Principe group on Tuesday if other Americans have died on its properties in the last two years. They have not yet responded.

Westlake Legal Group Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-2 Pennsylvania woman, 51, died in similar circumstances as three American tourists at Dominican resort a year ago fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ba494c12-8249-5580-b0ca-6810591d86be article   Westlake Legal Group Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-2 Pennsylvania woman, 51, died in similar circumstances as three American tourists at Dominican resort a year ago fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc Elizabeth Llorente ba494c12-8249-5580-b0ca-6810591d86be article

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Tornadoes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey catch many in the danger zone off-guard

Tornadoes bore down on the western edge of New Jersey and the eastern edge of Pennsylvania this week, leaving some residents prepared for the worst, while others were caught off guard.

“Shepard Smith Reporting” producer Julia Palmer recounted how a large tree triggered damage Wednesday when it crashed to the ground in front of her home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, while she and her family tried to stay safe.

“My mom said the sky first turned pitch black and then dark green and she couldn’t see anything out the window, and that’s when she heard what sounded like a freight train and ran in the basement,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group Storm-1 Tornadoes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey catch many in the danger zone off-guard Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/disasters/tornado fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/us fnc article 689092d4-f97c-59a8-b370-6faa88823481

Many people on the East Coast are unaccustomed to such storms and not conditioned to hear or heed warnings. (Julia Palmer)

The tree fell inches from her home. “It knocked down our flag pole that hangs off our front porch. Power lines shredded, and one of our neighbors’ houses got knocked off of its foundation. And, we’re still without power, and… it could take a week” for the electricity to return, she said.

10 DEADLIEST U.S. TORNADOES ON RECORD

tornado hit near the border of Lehigh and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania at around 3:15 p.m. that day.

Many people on the East Coast had been unaccustomed to such storms and not conditioned to hear or heed warnings.

A survey team from the National Weather Service determined a twister caused storm damage in Stanhope, N.J., on Tuesday night. The team had yet to determine specifics about its strength and path.

New Jersey gets a handful of tornadoes per year on average. Two twisters hit New York City on one day in 2012, but only about 60 had hit the area in the 50 years before that, according to the National Weather Service.

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Tuesday’s tornado damaged Lenape Valley Regional High School’s facade and ripped up a softball dugout, depositing the roof on its side on the ground in Stanhope. Toppled trees and power lines left most residents without electricity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Storm-3 Tornadoes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey catch many in the danger zone off-guard Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/disasters/tornado fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/us fnc article 689092d4-f97c-59a8-b370-6faa88823481   Westlake Legal Group Storm-3 Tornadoes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey catch many in the danger zone off-guard Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/disasters/tornado fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/us fnc article 689092d4-f97c-59a8-b370-6faa88823481

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Pennsylvania mom avoids jail time after son dies from drinking drug-laced breast milk

A Pennsylvania mother whose 10-month-old son was killed by drugs in her breast milk will not serve jail time after agreeing to a plea deal, police said Thursday.

Samantha Jones, 31, of New Britain Township, pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter, admitting she had taken drugs prior to breastfeeding her baby last spring, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

She was originally charged with homicide.

“I never wanted this to happen. I loved my little boy more than anything,” Jones said during her sentencing, according to the press release. “I loved him, and I have to live with this every day.”

PARENTS OF TEEN GIRLS HARASSED BY BRIAN SIMS RAISE OVER $100G FOR PHILLY PRO-LIFE ORG

Police responded to Jones’ home on April 2, 2018 where officers found the 10-month-old in cardiac arrest. Medical examiners concluded her son died after ingesting a mix of amphetamine, methamphetamine and methadone.

Westlake Legal Group samantha_jones Pennsylvania mom avoids jail time after son dies from drinking drug-laced breast milk fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 3373f007-3785-529e-8a1c-6cc88c415f62

Samantha Jones admitted to taking drugs before breastfeeding her 10-month old son who later died from cardiac arrest due to a deadly mix of amphetamine, methamphetamine and methadone. (Bucks County District Attorney’s Office)

Jones was legally prescribed methadone, a drug that alone is not considered unsafe for breastfeeding mothers and their babies, to help combat her narcotic addiction, the press release stated. Prosecutors argued that Jones had relapsed on drugs and failed to ask for help in caring for her newborn son.

“Samantha was in control of this situation,” Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy said. “She was in charge of a defenseless baby. He relied on her for everything, and it’s because of her actions that he’s not here today.”

Defense asked for leniency, arguing that people battling addiction are not in their normal states of mind. Jones told responding officers that she had switched to bottle formula but decided to breastfeed her son when he woke up crying at 3 a.m., People reported.

“She just said she was so tired that she didn’t have the energy to go downstairs and make a bottle,” New Britain Township Detective Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cummins testified during a preliminary hearing last year.

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She said her husband prepared a bottle for her son three hours later and then left for work. At that time, Jones fed the baby the bottle formula and fell back asleep. When she woke up again, Jones noticed her son was “distressed” and called for help. Officials said the formula bottles tested negative for drugs.

A judge sentenced Jones to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service working with parents or expectant mothers struggling with addition.

Westlake Legal Group samantha_jones Pennsylvania mom avoids jail time after son dies from drinking drug-laced breast milk fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 3373f007-3785-529e-8a1c-6cc88c415f62   Westlake Legal Group samantha_jones Pennsylvania mom avoids jail time after son dies from drinking drug-laced breast milk fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace article 3373f007-3785-529e-8a1c-6cc88c415f62

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Pennsylvania man convicted in 2018 death of former Playboy model: report

Westlake Legal Group pennsylvania-man-convicted-in-2018-death-of-former-playboy-model-report Pennsylvania man convicted in 2018 death of former Playboy model: report fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Elizabeth Zwirz article 1e01196f-4232-5682-a50d-e1ba26cff17b

A jury reportedly found a Pennsylvania man guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday in the 2018 death of a former Playboy model.

Jonathan Wesley Harris, 31, was convicted of killing Christina Carlin-Kraft, 38, in August, the New York Post said. Harris had reportedly entered a not guilty plea.

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During the trial, county Detective Todd Richard testified that Harris allegedly admitted to the crime, The Mercury reported.

Harris allegedly claimed to authorities that he and Kraft engaged in intercourse before tensions flared between them over payment for cocaine. Their dispute became physical and at one point, Harris allegedly “began choking her,” The Mercury reported.

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“I never meant for this girl to die. When I left the apartment she was not dead. I would do anything to take this back,” Harris allegedly told authorities.

Westlake Legal Group Christina-Carlin-Kraft-IG-Joathan-Wesley Pennsylvania man convicted in 2018 death of former Playboy model: report fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Elizabeth Zwirz article 1e01196f-4232-5682-a50d-e1ba26cff17b   Westlake Legal Group Christina-Carlin-Kraft-IG-Joathan-Wesley Pennsylvania man convicted in 2018 death of former Playboy model: report fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Elizabeth Zwirz article 1e01196f-4232-5682-a50d-e1ba26cff17b

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Philadelphia’s move toward decriminalizing drug possession: smart or dangerous?

Westlake Legal Group philadelphias-move-toward-decriminalizing-drug-possession-smart-or-dangerous Philadelphia's move toward decriminalizing drug possession: smart or dangerous? fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox news fnc/us fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 27a480a9-7d77-53c9-a5d0-e3aa2969282f
Westlake Legal Group smoking_pot_istock Philadelphia's move toward decriminalizing drug possession: smart or dangerous? fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox news fnc/us fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 27a480a9-7d77-53c9-a5d0-e3aa2969282f

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says that the city is moving toward the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of drugs,  on the grounds that often medical treatment – and not criminal charges – is the right solution.

On “Fox & Friends” Thursday, host Brian Kilmeade asked if Philadelphia puts the plan in place, becoming the first city in the nation with such a policy, would it be the right approach, or would it amount to “a free pass on possession, too easy on crime?”

Luke Niforators, chief of staff at the non-profit Smart Approaches to Marijana, or SMART, told Kilmeade he saw more harm than good in the Philadelphia plan.

“Obviously we don’t want to give people records,” Niforators said. “But by the same token, having these policies make drug use seem like it’s no big deal and is sending the wrong message to our country and [younger] generation.”

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“These policies say…this is more of a medical, not really a criminal, problem. They are missing the point. It’s not either/or, we can do both,” Niforators said. “There are the drug courts. We have ways to address treatment and drug issues medically while also discouraging use and having our criminal laws.”

In a recent interview with “Axios on HBO,” Krasner said that diverting people found with small amounts of drugs to treatment or community service rather than jail ultimately would be the most fair and beneficial approach for both the user and the rest of society. In 2014, Philadelphia became the first major city in the nation to pass an ordinance allowing people with less than 30 grams, which is less an ounce, of marijuana to get just a $25 ticket.

“We are talking about people who are using drugs,” Krasner said. “The vast majority of them suffering from addiction. I do not see value in convicting people like that.”

Michael C. Barnes, chairman of the not-for-profit Center for U.S. Policy, and former counsel in the White House drug policy office under President George W. Bush, agrees with Krasner.

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“This is not just decriminalization, this program would be pre-arrest diversion for people who are nonviolent or who have mental health or substance abuse disorders,” Barnes said on “Fox & Friends.” “What this means is cops on the street who actually know mental illness and substance abuse better than anybody else…have the discretion, based on their experience, to divert somebody to treatment. The crime remains the same….if it were somebody who has also committed some violent crime or is not in need of treatment.”

“We still reserve the right to file charges and sent the person to the criminal justice system,” Barnes said.

Niforators, however, remained unconvinced.

“Obviously we should have [treatment] programs,” Niforators said. “The concern on the other side…is that if we don’t have some sort of stick in place, people are going to think that drug use is no big deal…Sending a message that this is just a medical problem is not the right way to go. We have to let the public know that [drug use] should be discouraged.”

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