All Evacuations Lifted In California’s Maria Fire

(Ventura, CA-AP) — All evacuation orders are being lifted in California’s Maria Fire. That fire is now 30 percent contained after burning about 10-thousand acres.

The weather conditions helped firefighters as winds died down and there was low relative humidity. Only two structures have been destroyed in the Ventura County fire. About 11-thousand residents were told to flee their homes before being allowed to return Saturday afternoon.

 

Jimmy Carter Sunday School

(Plains, GA-AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter is going to teach Sunday School at his church in Georgia despite suffering a second fall this month. Maranatha Baptist Church initially said Carter would not be able to, but announced today that Carter said he “feels well enough to teach.”

Carter was hospitalized last week after falling and fracturing his pelvis. He fell in his home earlier this month and hit his head, which required stitches and left the former president with a black eye.

The following day, Carter and his wife Rosalynn volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity build in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ice Trae Hits Orlando Up For 39 As The Hawks Start The Season Off Undefeated

(Atlanta, GA) – The Atlanta Hawks got off to a pretty good start that saw Ice Trae break some records along the way in Detroit for the season opener.  The youngster scored the most points in a Hawks’ season opener since Dominique Wilkins in 1986. The magic number 38…Trae-mazing to say the least.
But could the Hawks take that 1-0 record and boost it to 2-0. Fans were certainly ready for it as State Farm Arena was pretty much full.
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Opening night, Trae Young had 25 points in the first half and it looked as if he was on his way to another stellar night racking up a quick 13 points in just 13 minutes of play, with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
Offense looked smooth minus some senseless turnovers that Atlanta was surely hoping wouldn’t come back to haunt them. Good ball movement helped them find some easy buckets down low and one thing about this young Hawks’ team, once they get rolling their chemistry is tough to break-through. Quick baskets by De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Heurter, Jabari Parker and Cam Reddish helped push Atlanta up 46-42 with 3 minutes left in the 1st half.
Trae Young would return with 2:30 left in the first half and you have to keep your eyes on him or you might miss something. He ended the first half with 17 points playing just 18 minutes, the only Hawk in double digits after 2 quarters.
For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Markelle Fultz would all end the first half with 10 points each.  But it wouldn’t be enough to grab the lead as the Magic went into halftime 2 down – 52-50.
2ND HALF
Trae Young added 7 quick points as the 2nd half got underway, but a series of fouls kept giving Orlando opportunities to inch closer. Alex Len had 3 but made up for it hitting a seismic 3 from the left corner that helped the Hawks stretch it out a little bit more; but Orlando quietly moved within 4, 64-60 with 6:30 to play in the 3rd quarter.
If the Hawks were getting comfortable, Jabari Parker made sure to spark things up taking up some real estate down low and dunking on quite a few folks but a bad touch foul matched with some good acting skills by Aaron Gordon made it a 2-point game real quick. 70-68. Atlanta managed to end the 3rd quarter up 77-75, so all is fair in love and basketball.
In the 4th quarter, Batman and Robin got started as Trae lobbed one up to John Collins who jammed it in. But for every point the Hawks scored, the refs found a foul to give to Orlando and before you knew it, the Magic had the lead 80-79.
At this point, the Hawks had 20 personal fouls and 14 turnovers and that cloud was starting to form. When the home team only hits the line for 9 free throws and the visiting team has 24 + , that could certainly steal your joy and the game. 6:42 left to play and the Magic had a 5 point lead. 90-85.
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Coach Pierce brought in his young boys, Young, Collins, Bembry and Parker with vet Vince Carter to regroup.  Carter’s first basket would pull Atlanta within 3, 90-87 and after an offensive charge by Orlando, there was a chance to make a move. Trae Young pulls up from the belt-line draining a 3 and tying it all up 90-90.

Carter’s leadership would prove to be pivotal.  And the fact that Trae Young doesn’t see anyone on the court is that kind of fierceness that will get you through the storm. With just a couple of minutes left, Atlanta forced a big turnover that would see Trae Young lob a high three that hit the glass and found its way in.

Post game, Vince said he was watching it come down and thought if it hits the back of the rim it’ll bounce back out to him.  But luck was on their side this time, after being on the other side of Victory several other times, and the Hawks will take it how it comes.

As for Trae, who finished the game with 39, he’s never been afraid of the big moments and said he wanted to get off to a more powerful start in his second season in the NBA. Looks like he’s doing just that.  And Coach Pierce wasn’t to upset about the fouls.  He said anytime you can get 60 in the paint, you can live with it. Final Score 103-99.
Up next, the Hawks will host the 76ers on Monday while the Magic will visit the Raptors.

Not Guilty Plea To ‘Recorded’ Fraternity Rape

(West Lafayette, IN-AP) – A college student from Jackson, New Jersey is pleading not guilty to an accusation of rape, despite having recorded an encounter on his cellphone.

The alleged incident took place in Indiana between 18-year-old Sigma Tau Gamma pledge Richard Chan and his female accuser. Police say that Chan, a Purdue University student, was intoxicated on October 19th when he followed the woman into a bathroom at an off-campus fraternity party and committed the act.

He’s been suspended from the university and banned from campus, and his fraternity has been suspended as well. His trial is set for January.

Joker” Movie Now Highest Grossing R-Rated Film Ever

(AP) – “Joker” is now the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. The film about a troubled man who turns to a life of violent crime has pulled in about 788-million dollars at box offices around the globe.

That surpasses the previous record-holder “Deadpool,” and the film’s star Ryan Reynolds tweeted a congratulations to “Joker.”

The movie is still far behind “The Passion of the Christ” for the highest-grossing R-rated film domestically.

Obama, Clinton Offer Tributes To Late Congressman Cummings

(Baltimore, MD-AP) – Two former presidents are heaping praise on the late Congressman Elijah Cummings. Speaking at Cummings’ funeral in Baltimore, Barack Obama said Cummings’ life validated “what is possible in life.” He noted that Cummings was a kind and compassionate man of “dogged determination.” Obama said Cummings’ commitment to justice and the rights of others would “never waiver.” He stressed that Cummings was a man of “noble and good heart.” Bill Clinton called Cummings the “real deal.”

Clinton said, no matter how hard he fought and how passionately he argued, Cummings tried to “treat everybody the way he wanted to be treated.” The veteran Maryland Democrat chaired the powerful House Oversight Committee and was one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Cummings lived the American dream and wanted everyone else to have that opportunity. Pelosi noted the bipartisan tributes that have poured in since Cummings’ death last week at the age of 68.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Cummings a great man, a moral leader and a friend. She said Cummings was a fierce champion for truth and justice. Clinton also noted that Cummings “led from his soul.”

America Loses A Political Icon: Representative Elijah E. Cummings Dead At 68

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a sharecropper’s son who rose to become a civil rights champion and the chairman of one of the U.S. House committees leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, died Thursday of complications from longstanding health problems. He was 68.

Cummings was a formidable orator who advocated for the poor in his black-majority district , which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore and more well-to-do suburbs.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led investigations of the president’s government dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to Trump’s family members serving in the White House.

Trump criticized the Democrat’s district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” The comments came weeks after Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his calls for Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “broken and crime-infested countries.”

Cummings replied that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.

“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said.

On Thursday, Trump ordered flags at the White House, military bases and other federal buildings to be flown at half-staff through Friday to honor Cummings. He also tweeted his “condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see firsthand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader.” The tweet made no reference to past feuds.

Former President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential bid counted Cummings as an early supporter, said he and his wife, Michelle, were “heartbroken” by the loss of their friend.

“As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy, but also the necessity of good people stewarding it,” Obama said in a statement, describing Cummings as “steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives.”

In a joint statement, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also praised Cummings’ leadership of the committee “in finding facts, exposing fictions, and demanding that our government be accountable.”

Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis said that with Cummings’ death, Americans “have lost a great leader at a time of crisis in our democracy.”

“When this nation needed him most, he became a moral voice ‘crying in the wilderness,’ and his words and actions called a reluctant nation to conscience,” the Georgia Democrat said in a statement.

Cummings’ career spanned decades in Maryland politics. He rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a 1996 special election to replace Kweisi Mfume, who left to lead the NAACP.

By 2016, Cummings was the senior Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, which he said was “nothing more than a taxpayer-funded effort to bring harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Throughout his career, Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He believed in much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, such as needle exchange programs to reduce the spread of AIDS.

A key figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry , Cummings had hoped to return to Congress within about a week after a medical procedure for which he didn’t offer details. He’d previously been treated for heart and knee issues.

Cummings’ committee, authorized to investigate virtually any part of the federal government, is one of three conducting the House impeachment probe of Trump. Cummings was among the three chairmen to sign a letter seeking documents into whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the family of Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden, the former vice president. The committees have issued subpoenas of witnesses after the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment probe and have jointly been meeting behind closed doors to hear testimony.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a veteran Democrat from New York, will for now take over leadership of the House oversight committee, according to a senior Democratic leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the decision publicly.

Separately, Cummings led an effort to gain access to Trump’s financial records. His committee subpoenaed records from Mazars USA, an accounting firm that provided services to Trump. The panel demanded documents from 2011 to 2018 as it probed Trump’s reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled the records must be turned over.

Cummings’ office said he died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and constituents began mourning soon after.

His widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of Maryland’s Democratic Party, said in a statement: “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”

Cummings was born Jan. 18, 1951. In grade school, a counselor told Cummings he was too slow to learn and spoke poorly, and would never fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer.

“I was devastated,” Cummings told The Associated Press in 1996, shortly before winning his seat in Congress. “My whole life changed. I became very determined.”

It steeled Cummings to prove that counselor wrong. He became not only a lawyer, but one of the most powerful orators in the statehouse, where he entered office in 1983. He rose to become the first black House speaker pro tem. He would begin his comments slowly, developing his theme and raising the emotional heat until it became like a sermon from the pulpit.

Cummings was quick to note the differences between Congress and the Maryland General Assembly, which has long been controlled by Democrats.

“After coming from the state where, basically, you had a lot of people working together, it’s clear that the lines are drawn here,” Cummings said shortly after entering Congress in 1996.

Cummings began his long push for civil rights at age 11, when he helped integrate a swimming pool in Baltimore. This year, during a speech to the American Bar Association in April, Cummings recalled how he and other black children organized protests with help from their recreation leader and the NAACP.

Every day for a week, when the children tried to get into the pool, they were spit upon, threatened and called names, Cummings said; he said he was cut by a bottle thrown from an angry crowd.

“The experience transformed my entire life,” he said.

While serving in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1983 to 1996, Cummings pushed for a ban on alcohol and tobacco ads on inner-city billboards in Baltimore, leading to the first such prohibition in a large U.S. city.

Cummings then chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 2003 to 2004, employing a hard-charging, explore-every-option style to put the group in the national spotlight.

He cruised to big victories in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, which had elected Maryland’s first black congressman, Parren Mitchell, in 1970.

In 2015, when the death of black Baltimore resident Freddie Gray sparked the city’s worst riots in decades, Cummings carried a bullhorn in the streets and urged crowds to go home and respect a curfew. He spoke at Gray’s funeral, asking lawmakers in the church to stand up to show Gray’s mother they would seek justice.

“I want justice, oceans of it. I want fairness, rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want,” Cummings said, quoting from the Bible.

___

Witte reported from Annapolis. Associated Press Writer Alan Fram contributed from Washington.

 

BREAKING: Mulvaney Appears To Confirm Military Aid Held Up Over Requests To Investigate Democrats

(Washington, DC) – Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is appearing to confirm that the Trump Administration withheld military aid to Ukraine partly over a request to open an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory of the DNC server.

He said it was one of three conditions for the release of the money.

Mulvaney said politics always influences policy. House Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry over President Trump asking Ukraine’s president for favors, including that nation’s involvement in the 2016 election and looking into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

President Trump has said there was no quid pro quo. Mulvaney, however, said this is business as usual in foreign policy.

Graham Warns Turkey Against Moving Into Northern Syria, While Other Republicans Condemn Trump’s Decision To Withdraw As Well

(Washington, DC-AP) – Senator Lindsey Graham is warning Turkey about moving troops into northern Syria. The South Carolina Republican said Turkey would face “sanctions from hell” by Congress.

He noted that sanctions would be wide, deep and devastating. There are growing concerns about Turkey plotting movements into northern Syria since President Trump announced plans to remove U.S. troops from the war-torn region. Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And Both of Alaska’s senators are joining with other Republicans in Congress to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria. S

enator Lisa Murkowski called the move “abrupt and unsettling,” saying that it betrays U.S. alliances with Kurdish forces and give ISIS an opportunity to grow again. Senator Dan Sullivan said the President’s decision will lead to a power vacuum that could be filled by “Russian and Iranian proxies.”

Arrest In Guyger Trial Witness Murder

(Dallas, TX) — Three suspects are being identified in connection with the killing of a man who testified against a former Dallas cop. Police say Jacquerious and Michael Mitchell and Thaddeous Green were involved in last Friday’s death of Joshua Brown.

Deputy Chief Avery Moore says Jacquerious Mitchell is in custody in the hospital while the other suspects are believed to be in Louisiana. He says, Jacquerious claims that is was  drug deal gone bad and that when he arrived Brown told him to get back in the car and shot him in the chest. He alleges that two more shots were heard after that implying that Brown was hit.

Joshua-Brown Officials say a big stash of marijuana was found inside Joshua Brown’s apartment after he was shot to death last Friday.

Joshua Brown was a witness during Amber Guyger’s murder trial last month. Guyger was given ten years in prison for killing Botham Jean  inside his apartment last year.

Brown was scheduled to testify in a civil suit against the Dallas Police Department this week.

Police say Brown’s death had noting to do with the Guyger trial and criticized community activists for passing along rumors suggesting otherwise.

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