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US retail sales soared 1.6% in March

Westlake Legal Group us-retail-sales-soared-1-6-in-march US retail sales soared 1.6% in March JOSH BOAK fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 812b64fd-a1e9-5624-8520-95a3be30f867

U.S. retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, as spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing jumped.

The Commerce Department says that sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from February, the strongest increase since September 2017.

The gains mark a sharp rebound from a lackluster period of sales dating back to December. It’s a sign that the healthy job market has likely made consumers more eager to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth.

Sales at gas stations climbed 3.5% in March, while spending at auto dealers jumped 3.1%. Clothiers reported a 2% gain and furniture stores enjoyed a 1.7% bump.

Excluding autos and gas, retail sales increased by a still solid 0.9%.

During the past year, retail spending has grown 3.6%.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-59445555760d4c0e95a1f87c94a28c59 US retail sales soared 1.6% in March JOSH BOAK fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 812b64fd-a1e9-5624-8520-95a3be30f867   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-59445555760d4c0e95a1f87c94a28c59 US retail sales soared 1.6% in March JOSH BOAK fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 812b64fd-a1e9-5624-8520-95a3be30f867

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Analysis: Kim, returning to military optics, turns up heat

Westlake Legal Group analysis-kim-returning-to-military-optics-turns-up-heat Analysis: Kim, returning to military optics, turns up heat fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press article aa62db7a-b4fc-5fab-8b1d-39a6373a6d60
Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f87e2718c052486e9d0ea5b5f498a907-1 Analysis: Kim, returning to military optics, turns up heat fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press article aa62db7a-b4fc-5fab-8b1d-39a6373a6d60

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is cautiously turning up the heat after his unsuccessful summit with President Trump in Hanoi two months ago.

Returning to military optics for the first time in five months, Kim on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to an Air Force base to inspect fighter combat readiness and followed that up the next day by supervising the test of what the North’s official media described ominously but ambiguously — and without any photos or video — as a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”

The military-related posturing comes after Kim expressed deep disappointment earlier this month with what the North claims was an inflexible, “gangster-like” demands by the U.S. in Hanoi.

It also comes amid reports that Kim may hold his first summit with Putin next week in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.

Putin has been something of an outsider over the past year as Kim has held multiple summits with the leaders of China, the United States and South Korea. But he could provide important political cover or economic aid for Pyongyang — and a potential headache for Trump — if he chooses to play a bigger role.

Though Kim claims he still has a good personal relationship with the U.S. president, he and senior North Korean officials have shown increasing frustration with Trump’s top advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.

“The Hanoi summit gives us a lesson that whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results even from the point close to success,” Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the American desk at the North’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying on Thursday. “I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but (some) other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

In an address to the Supreme People’s Assembly, the North’s version of parliament, Kim gave the U.S. until the end of the year to come up with a more mutually acceptable negotiation strategy.

For Pyongyang, that would mean lifting the sanctions it has imposed against the North over its development of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Kim indicated, however, that he would in the meantime maintain his self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches and he appears to be standing by that vow.

U.S. military officials said they did not detect any significant missile launches on Wednesday and the North’s description of the “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon” suggested it might have instead been an anti-tank guided missile or other short-range system.

If so, it was likely intended to be a response to recent military drills by U.S. and South Korea.

Just before the reports of the weapon test, a North-run propaganda website said the drills fuel “the mood for a fight and risks of war.”

Washington and Seoul have renamed and scaled back their joint maneuvers since early last year, when the South hosted the Winter Olympics. They have continued that policy since Kim’s first summit with Trump, in June last year, but the North claims even the smaller versions run counter to the spirit of dialogue.

Since Hanoi, Kim and senior North Korean officials have also been openly critical of South Korea and efforts by President Moon Jae-in to play the role of middleman, saying he has adhered too closely to his American allies and dragged his feet on inter-Korean projects that would provide the North with crucial investment to build its sagging infrastructure.

Moon has expressed an eagerness to engage with the North on such projects, but Washington wants it to stick to sanctions.

North and South Korean leaders have met three times and Moon has said he is ready to meet again at any time. Trump has also suggested he wants a third summit. But there are growing worries that the progress could be killed by mismatched demands between Washington and Pyongyang over sanctions relief and disarmament.

Washington says it won’t allow the North’s desired sanctions relief until the nation commits to verifiably relinquishing his nuclear facilities, weapons and missiles. Kim has shown no signs that he’s willing to give away an arsenal he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

___

Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @EricTalmadge

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f87e2718c052486e9d0ea5b5f498a907-1 Analysis: Kim, returning to military optics, turns up heat fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press article aa62db7a-b4fc-5fab-8b1d-39a6373a6d60   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f87e2718c052486e9d0ea5b5f498a907-1 Analysis: Kim, returning to military optics, turns up heat fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world fox-news/us fnc/world fnc ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press article aa62db7a-b4fc-5fab-8b1d-39a6373a6d60

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Group: Americas saw greatest deterioration of press freedom

Westlake Legal Group group-americas-saw-greatest-deterioration-of-press-freedom Group: Americas saw greatest deterioration of press freedom LUIS ALONSO LUGO fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 0c4c3bf1-0a1a-5317-874f-1fd3c084c037

The Americas saw the greatest deterioration in press freedom of any part of the world during the last year, a press advocacy group said Thursday.

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders shows that Nicaragua fell 24 places from the previous year’s list due to attacks on journalists covering protests against President Daniel Ortega. Some journalists fled abroad, fearing they might be jailed on terrorism charges.

El Salvador saw the region’s second steepest fall — 15 places — because journalists suffered armed attacks, harassment and intimidation by politicians, according to the report.

There were also poor performances in Venezuela, Brazil, United States and Mexico. The latter is one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media, with at least 10 journalists slain in 2018.

The press group registered a record number of arbitrary arrests and cases of violence by the authorities in Venezuela, and many journalists left that country to avoid retribution.

The report said that never before in the United States have journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security companies for protection. An armed man walked into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and killed four journalists and another employee last June.

The situation in the Americas reflects a global trend in which the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists continues to decline, given the hostility expressed by political leaders.

“If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly toward a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” said the group’s secretary-general, Christophe Deloire.

Costa Rica continues to be the best-ranked country of the Americas by far, with a 10th place among 180 countries evaluated. Cuba is at the other end of the hemispheric spectrum.

The World Press Freedom Index assesses six separate benchmarks and assigns each country a score calculated from answers to a questionnaire in 20 languages that is completed by experts around the world.

Norway is ranked first for the third consecutive year and Turkmenistan replaced North Korea in last place.

___

Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-4f45a7ac451042f58dbffa89cb1f91b9 Group: Americas saw greatest deterioration of press freedom LUIS ALONSO LUGO fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 0c4c3bf1-0a1a-5317-874f-1fd3c084c037   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-4f45a7ac451042f58dbffa89cb1f91b9 Group: Americas saw greatest deterioration of press freedom LUIS ALONSO LUGO fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 0c4c3bf1-0a1a-5317-874f-1fd3c084c037

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Karl Rove calls Pelosi’s claim ‘everything is at stake’ in 2020 election ‘over the top’

Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-calls-pelosis-claim-everything-is-at-stake-in-2020-election-over-the-top Karl Rove calls Pelosi’s claim ‘everything is at stake’ in 2020 election ‘over the top’ Talia Kaplan fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 522fcbba-a2b3-5117-8e22-dd1dc98e4953
Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove calls Pelosi’s claim ‘everything is at stake’ in 2020 election ‘over the top’ Talia Kaplan fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 522fcbba-a2b3-5117-8e22-dd1dc98e4953

Former Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush Karl Rove said Wednesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that “everything is at stake” in the 2020 election  was “over the top.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNN Tuesday, “Everything is at stake in this election. The Constitution of the United States, with the president who is trying to usurp the power of the legislative branch of government, the environment in which we live.”

“A little bit over the top. Almost semi-hysterical,” Rove, who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush from 2005 until 2007, said on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday in response to Pelosi’s remarks the day before. “You know, The Constitution is at stake, the role of Congress is at stake, our very environment is at stake and it (looks) a little bit sort of unhinged.”

PELOSI SAYS DEMS UNTAINTED BY ANTI-SEMITISM SLAMS AMID OMAR-TRUMP FUED

He added, “On the other hand, it plays into the environment (in) which we find ourselves. Democrats do have a little bit of leeway in saying things are really, really bad even if they sound a little over the top.”

Rove then cited statistics saying, “If you take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of all recent polls, 37.7 percent think the country is going in the right direction and 56.1 (percent) think the country is seriously off on the wrong track.”

He added, “That’s sort of the same dynamic that people had in 2016 when they wanted change and the Democrats are trying to position themselves as the party of change for the 2020 presidential election.”

On “America’s Newsroom,” Rove, a Fox News contributor, also weighed in on Thursday’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated Russia report.

MUELLER PROBE HAS COST TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $25 MILLION, SPENDING REPORT REVEALS

Last month, Mueller submitted his almost 400-page report to the Justice Department for review by the attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a letter to Congress, Attorney General Bill Barr relayed some of the primary findings of the report, stating the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.

Barr said he identified four areas of the report that he believed should be redacted, including grand jury material and information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods.

“We don’t know how much is going to be redacted but let’s be clear, no matter how little the redaction is, short of no redactions at all, this is going to be the opening of the next chapter in which the Democrats on the Hill are going to say ‘you know what? We’re not going to agree that there’s no collusion and we’re certainly not going to agree there is no obstruction unless you totally give us an unredacted version of the Mueller report,” Rove said.

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“So this is merely the beginning of act two. We had act one. It lasted two years. Donald Trump was guilty of collusion with the Russians. That got blown up. Now we’re going to be turning to the obstruction issue and unless and until they (Democrats) have what they want, which is (a) totally unredacted version, you can count on the Democrats continuing to raise questions about it.”

He added, “I think the American people are getting tired of all of this and this isn’t a constructive way for the Democrats to move.”

Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove calls Pelosi’s claim ‘everything is at stake’ in 2020 election ‘over the top’ Talia Kaplan fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 522fcbba-a2b3-5117-8e22-dd1dc98e4953   Westlake Legal Group karl-rove-Getty Karl Rove calls Pelosi’s claim ‘everything is at stake’ in 2020 election ‘over the top’ Talia Kaplan fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 522fcbba-a2b3-5117-8e22-dd1dc98e4953

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New Hampshire man facing deportation denied pardon

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news New Hampshire man facing deportation denied pardon HOLLY RAMER fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/us fnc/us fnc d8bb5ad2-b72c-582e-a427-64a250cfa186 Associated Press article

A New Hampshire auto shop owner facing deportation to Lebanon for crimes committed 14 years ago has been denied a pardon that would have allowed him to remain in the country.

Alain Ata, 34, came to the U.S. with his family at age 10. He spent several years in prison for a pair of burglaries in December 2004. Since then he has opened an auto shop in Manchester. He takes care of his elderly parents and is engaged to be married. He told Gov. Chris Sununu and the governor’s Executive Council last week that he is an honest man with a good heart who has been punished enough for mistakes in his youth.

But the five-member council denied his request Wednesday on a vote of 3-1. Councilor Russell Prescott, a Republican, abstained from voting in protest over the council’s refusal to delay the vote by several weeks so he could gather more information. Prescott said earlier in the meeting that he supported the pardon.

“It’s hard to get things right all the time,” he said. “I believe he has paid his debt to society.”

While Ata’s request comes at a time when the Trump administration has been cracking down on illegal immigration, federal immigration officials started deportation proceedings in his case years ago. Ata’s lawyer said he essentially has remained on “immigration probation” because Lebanon officials haven’t submitted the necessary paperwork yet.

Councilor Andru Volinsky, a Democrat, said that while U.S. immigration policies have many shortcomings, Ata was undeserving of a pardon because of his behavior since leaving prison, including causing serious injury in a drunken driving crash and violating a domestic violence protective order by contacting an ex-girlfriend and mother of his child. According to a county prosecutor, that woman’s stepfather was the victim of one of the burglaries.

Ata declined to speak to reporters after the vote, saying only “thank you.” During his hearing last week, he asked for a second chance, and said he lives in fear of losing everything he has worked so hard to achieve.

“If I were to be deported I would be torn from everything I love, the business I built, my daughter and my fiancée who means the world to me. I wouldn’t be here to support my family and I would end up in a country I left as a 10-year-old,” he said. “A country where I have no friends, no family and a grim future.”

His sister broke down in tears as she described the prospect of her brother being sent back to a war-torn, poverty-stricken country. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory saying U.S. citizens should reconsider or avoid travel to certain areas of Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping and outbreaks of violence.

“My brother will have zero chance at survival,” Della Khoury said.”

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US trade deficit narrows to $49.4 billion in February

Westlake Legal Group us-trade-deficit-narrows-to-49-4-billion-in-february US trade deficit narrows to $49.4 billion in February PAUL WISEMAN fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 5299e45d-43ef-5202-b62a-0afa5bd9fd35

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the second straight month in February, and the politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed.

The Commerce Department says the gap between the goods and services that the United States sells and what it buys from the rest of the world dropped 3.4% to $49.4 billion in February, the lowest since June. Exports climbed 1.1% to $209.7 billion. Imports rose 0.2% to $259.1 billion.

The goods deficit with China dropped 28.2% to $24.8 billion. Exports to China rose 18.2% to $8.4 billion. Imports from China fell 20.2% to $33.2 billion.

President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports in a fight over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and forces foreign firms to turn over trade secrets.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-ae0bb45921934eba9d8c2e1155a49876 US trade deficit narrows to $49.4 billion in February PAUL WISEMAN fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 5299e45d-43ef-5202-b62a-0afa5bd9fd35   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-ae0bb45921934eba9d8c2e1155a49876 US trade deficit narrows to $49.4 billion in February PAUL WISEMAN fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 5299e45d-43ef-5202-b62a-0afa5bd9fd35

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Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

Westlake Legal Group fashion-capital-new-york-considers-banning-sale-of-fur Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur fox-news/us fnc/us fnc DAVID KLEPPER and DAVID R. MARTIN Associated Press article aa4bc0c2-028f-5da7-8bdc-30204a793de2

A burgeoning movement to outlaw fur is seeking to make its biggest statement yet in the fashion mecca of New York City.

Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city. This, in a town where such garments were once common and style-setters including Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joe Namath and Sean “Diddy” Combs have all rocked furs over the years.

A similar measure would impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with farmed fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur.

If it passes, New York would become the third major American city with such a ban. San Francisco’s ban is taking effect this year, and Los Angeles’ will take effect in 2021.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-850983d1b2204b208eac453df28f85d5 Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur fox-news/us fnc/us fnc DAVID KLEPPER and DAVID R. MARTIN Associated Press article aa4bc0c2-028f-5da7-8bdc-30204a793de2   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-850983d1b2204b208eac453df28f85d5 Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur fox-news/us fnc/us fnc DAVID KLEPPER and DAVID R. MARTIN Associated Press article aa4bc0c2-028f-5da7-8bdc-30204a793de2

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California city tests universal basic income program ahead of 2020

Westlake Legal Group MONEY California city tests universal basic income program ahead of 2020 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4328a3c9-39b1-5a30-abfd-2b9661710ecc

The city of Stockton, Calif., which launched a universal basic income pilot program earlier this year, will listen to stories from a select group of recipients of the no-strings-attached cash by the end of April, adding tangible anecdotes to the national political conversation on income inequality ahead of 2020.

NEW JERSEY’S LARGEST CITY PLANS TO TEST UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME PROGRAM

The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, a pilot program on universal basic income, launched in February, the Los Angeles Times reported.  Over 100 residents from the city’s lower-income neighborhoods will be administered $500 a month via debit cards for the next year and a half. The money comes without any restrictions, such as requiring recipients to be employed or maintain sobriety.

Head of Stockton’s program, Sukhi Samra, told the Los Angeles Times that 25 participants dubbed “storytellers” will offer their experiences on how the extra monthly cash has contributed to their lives. While data from the program’s research findings won’t be available until 2021, Samra expects anecdotes to resonate more with voters who could hear the potential effects of their political decisions.

Stockton became the first to move ahead on a universal income pilot, as other U.S. cities, including Newark, NJ and Chicago, consider similar programs that would deal out monthly payments to struggling residents. Programs in Canada and Finland were scrapped for being unstainable.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Stockton received $1 million in initial funding for the $3.1 million program from the Silicon-Valley-based organization The Economic Security Project. Further research should reveal how basic income programs could be sustained by local or federal governments on a more permanent basic.

Fox News’ Brook Singman contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group MONEY California city tests universal basic income program ahead of 2020 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4328a3c9-39b1-5a30-abfd-2b9661710ecc   Westlake Legal Group MONEY California city tests universal basic income program ahead of 2020 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/kamala-harris fox news fnc/politics fnc Danielle Wallace article 4328a3c9-39b1-5a30-abfd-2b9661710ecc

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Florida woman breaks back, foot after jumping off pier to rescue boy from riptide: report

Westlake Legal Group florida-woman-breaks-back-foot-after-jumping-off-pier-to-rescue-boy-from-riptide-report Florida woman breaks back, foot after jumping off pier to rescue boy from riptide: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article Ann Schmidt 698c8690-4de2-5225-a22e-04fdbdc2c23c

A woman reportedly broke her back and her foot when she jumped into the water to rescue a boy who was struggling against a rip current in Florida on Saturday.

Hanna Pignato reportedly heard the boy’s mother screaming while working as a waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack in Daytona Beach, Fla.

FLORIDA DAD WHO THREW 5-YEAR-OLD GIRL OFF TAMPA BAY BRIDGE CONVICTED, SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON

The 19-year-old decided to step in to help and quickly jumped off the pier where the restaurant is located.

“I surf and I swim, so I thought, I can get to that kid,” Pignato told Fox 35 Orlando. “I don’t even remember taking off my shoes and then I just jumped.”

However, a sandbar was right below the pier where Pignato jumped. She landed on a spot that had less than 3 feet of water and she broke her foot and her back immediately.

She told the outlet she felt “excruciating pain, excruciating pressure, agony,” but she still tried to swim to the boy.

“I wasn’t gonna give up but I knew I wasn’t going to save him at that point, which really broke my heart and I was just broken hearted,” she said.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by her friends, Pignato swam towards the boy until she saw someone else rescue him. She had to be rescued out of the water herself before she was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The GoFundMe page said she fractured her lower back in three places and broke the top of her right foot and her right heel.

FLORIDA TEEN ARRESTED AFTER VIDEO SHOWS HIM WRESTLING FAKE ALLIGATOR IN MALL

According to the page, Pignato doesn’t have insurance and lives in a third-story apartment without access to an elevator, so she will be spending the next few months at home and won’t be able to work.

“She has an amazing support system and is overwhelmingly appreciative of everyone who has been, and will be there for her. Thank you infinitely,” the page said.

Pignato told Fox 35 Orlando that she’s been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement she’s had.

“So many people are reaching out to me, from all over, and I didn’t think that just trying to help somebody, I would get so much love, that’s not what I was trying to do, I was just trying to help him,” she told the outlet.

Westlake Legal Group Hanna-Pignato Florida woman breaks back, foot after jumping off pier to rescue boy from riptide: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article Ann Schmidt 698c8690-4de2-5225-a22e-04fdbdc2c23c   Westlake Legal Group Hanna-Pignato Florida woman breaks back, foot after jumping off pier to rescue boy from riptide: report fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article Ann Schmidt 698c8690-4de2-5225-a22e-04fdbdc2c23c

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Family says funeral home may have dumped father’s cremains

Westlake Legal Group family-says-funeral-home-may-have-dumped-fathers-cremains Family says funeral home may have dumped father's cremains TERRY SPENCER and JOSHUA REPLOGLE fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 29ae62c5-846e-55a4-be14-e33488272d67

For six years, the family of Robert Nero Sr. thought his ashes sat in an urn on his widow’s mantle. But the family recently learned that ashes and a metal disk identifying them as his were found dumped in bushes at a West Palm Beach YWCA and now they don’t know what to believe.

Sitting beside the bronze urn in their lawyer’s office Tuesday, Nero’s widow, Corene, and his daughter, Gloria Nero Rolle, demanded to know if the ashes inside are Nero’s or someone else’s. They say they haven’t gotten answers from Stevens Brothers Funeral Home, which handled the cremation.

“I am sitting here with someone else’s ashes and my father’s were in the bushes,” Rolle said crying, her mother sitting quietly but stoically next to her. “All I want is my father’s ashes back and (make it so) whoever these belong to can get their remains.”

A man who answered the phone at Stevens Brothers told The Associated Press the Neroes have the proper ashes. He declined to give his name or make further comment.

The state’s Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services said in a statement Tuesday that it has just learned of the allegations, but added “they are horrifying and we take this very seriously.”

Rolle and the family’s attorney, Greg Francis, said after Nero, a farmworker, died at 73 in 2013, his son, Robert Nero Jr., hired Stevens Brothers to arrange his cremation. Rolle said her brother then spent weeks getting the ashes back from the mortuary, going there almost daily before he finally received them. They were placed in Corene Nero’s home. The son died the following year and was buried by Stevens Brothers, his sister said.

The mystery began March 25 when a West Palm Beach YWCA worker, Scott Manochi, found piles of ashes and two metal identification discs from a crematorium as he cleared brush along a fence. He called police.

According to a police report, officers contacted the crematorium, which said its records showed one set of ashes belonged to Nero and the other to Mary Brown, who died in 2009. Her family has not been located. The crematorium told officers it had handled their bodies for Stevens Brothers, which had picked up the ashes shortly after the deaths.

Officers called Stevens Brothers, which sent employee Willie Watts to collect the ashes from the bushes. Police learned Watts also does grounds work for the YWCA.

When an AP reporter asked Watts by phone Tuesday about the ashes, he replied, “I don’t know nothing about it.” When read the police report, Watts laughed and declined to comment.

Miami Dade College mortuary science professor Joseph Finocchiaro said it’s unlikely the ashes could have been outdoors for long — rain and wind would have scattered them.

West Palm Beach Sgt. David Lefont said investigators don’t believe a crime was committed — Florida law doesn’t prohibit the dumping of ashes on private property.

The Neros learned about the ashes’ discovery when contacted by local television stations. Rolle said she at first refused to believe that the YWCA ashes could be her father’s. But as the likely reality set in, she broke down.

“I went and sat down for a couple hours until I could get myself together,” Rolle said.

Finocchiaro said when a funeral home picks up a body, a wristband is attached and every time the body changes hands the accompanying paperwork is supposed to be checked to make sure the identification matches. Redundant identification is often also attached to the coffin or other container.

At the crematorium, a metal disk like the one found with the ashes is created, he said. That disk accompanies the ashes through every step from the crematorium to the mortuary to the family, he said.

“From start to finish, you should be able to draw a line all the way back,” he said.

He said the cremation process almost always destroys the body’s DNA, so attempting to identify the cremains in the Nero family’s urn is an extreme longshot.

Rolle said she understands she’ll probably never know for sure what happened to her father, but she needs to try.

“We all love him and we are doing everything we can to get him back,” Rolle said.

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This version corrects the spelling of Lefont.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-efb3d7a5140d474da83e800ef8cc1487 Family says funeral home may have dumped father's cremains TERRY SPENCER and JOSHUA REPLOGLE fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 29ae62c5-846e-55a4-be14-e33488272d67   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-efb3d7a5140d474da83e800ef8cc1487 Family says funeral home may have dumped father's cremains TERRY SPENCER and JOSHUA REPLOGLE fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 29ae62c5-846e-55a4-be14-e33488272d67

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