WWII Veteran honored with a Quilt of Valor


Almost 270,000 Veterans have received one of the quilts since the organization started in 2003.

Fort Smith veteran Marvin Thomas received a Quilt of Valor Friday (Feb. 26) for his service in World War II.  

“I’m surprised, that’s for sure,” Thomas said. “I love it, and I’ll have many years, I hope to appreciate it.” 

The River Valley Stars Quilts of Valor presented Thomas with the quilt through the window because of COVID-19 restrictions at Methodist Village. The group makes quilts for veterans who have been touched by war.  

“As a quilter myself, I know the hours and love that went into making that quilt, and I appreciate it so much, and I appreciate the honor that has been given to him by the awarding of this quilt,” Suzanne McPherson said.  

Thomas’s daughter, Suzanne McPherson, says her dad, who is almost 99, was supposed to be awarded the quilt almost a year ago, the same week that visitation stopped because of the pandemic, so she’s happy he was finally able to be presented it. 

“My grandfather served in World War I, my father and uncle served in World War II, my mother was a Rosie the Riveter, and so I’m just so proud of what they sacrificed for our country,” she said. 

Since Quilts of Valor was founded in 2003, they have quilted and presented quilts to 269,000 veterans in the U.S. and several other countries. Every quilt is personalized with the veteran’s name and the branch of service they served in, and each quilt is different. Sue Anderson helped make the quilt and said it’s very special for her to present these quilts to veterans because several of her family members were also in the service. 

“It’s an emotional thing because some of them say I’ve never had anyone say thank you to me, so it’s very meaningful to them and to us, she said. “It just reinforces what we are doing.”

If you would like to nominate a veteran to receive a Quilt of Valor or donate to the non-profit, you can click here.

RELATED: WWII Veteran Honored With Quilt Of Valor In Fort Smith

RELATED: Captain Tom Moore, UK veteran who walked for COVID-19 research, dies at 100



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104-yo without running water for a week after storm


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A winter storm caused chaos across southeast Texas and damaged hundreds of homes across the Houston area.

Pastor R.C. Stearns with Living Water International Apostolic Ministries said he’s received calls from seniors all over the Houston area including 104-year-old Bertha Mack and her family.

Mack said she was left without running water for about a week because of the freezing temperatures.

SEE ALSO: President Joe Biden visits Houston to survey winter storm damage and COVID-19 vaccination site

“All my water was out,” said Mack. “It was just chaos.”

Mack’s pipes have been fixed thanks to help from Mayor Turner, AMS Plumbing, and the Joseph House Community Outreach Center.

After surveying her property, Stearns said the pipes revealed other damage in the home. He said experts are seeing similar instances all over town.

He’s asking the community to step up and help them as they work to improve seniors’ homes in their community.

SEE ALSO: Houston mother of 4 spends savings for hotel after home was destroyed

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Families across the Houston area are scrambling to find shelter after a catastrophic winter storm destroyed what they once knew as home.

Follow Steve Campion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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Shoe repairman found dead under overpass


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Cat stuck in tree for days rescued


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11-year-old girl finds parents dead home from Covid


Family members say both had tested positive for COVID-19 and were showing symptoms of the virus shortly before being found dead

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Along Glen Bay Drive in Mehlville, there are lots of heavy hearts.

“It’s really a terrible, tragic thing,” said Chuck Duy.

Duy cannot believe what happened to his neighbors.

St. Louis County police say last Thursday morning the husband and wife were found dead in their bed.

Police say both were in their 40s and both died of COVID-19.

“Supposedly she had gone to the hospital. They thought she had a stroke, but I guess it was due to COVID,” Duy said.

Duy said he spoke with a family member of the south St. Louis County couple.

“She tested positive, but they sent her home and then her husband meanwhile was home with a positive test for COVID, so they both were quarantined downstairs in their bedroom in their basement,” added Duy.

Neighbors also say the couple’s 11-year-old daughter, their only child, made the tragic discovery.

“To lose both parents at one time you know for an 11-year-old, it’s really tragic. Last year at Christmas time they came down to our door and gave us cookies. They were just the nicest people. We are praying for the girl and their family,” said Duy.

Neighbors say the family moved into the neighborhood last August.

RELATED: Missouri to activate next vaccine tier on March 15

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday that the next tier in its COVID-19 vaccine plan will open in the state on Monday, March 15.

Missouri’s Phase 1B-Tier 3 will make the vaccine available to an additional 550,000 Missourians.

Gov. Parson said Tier 3 includes an important part of the state’s population, including “workers in many of the industries we depend on to keep our everyday lives operating normally.”

Phase 1B-Tier 3 focuses on vaccinating what the state classifies as its “critical infrastructure”. It includes teachers, childcare providers, grocery store employees and those who work in the food and agriculture industries.

Phase 1B-Tier 3 includes:

  • Education: Teachers, faculty and staff in public, private and nonprofit preK-12
  • Childcare: Faculty and staff in a DHSS or DSS-licensed facility providing basic care to children 
  • Communications sector: Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that provide communications services 
  • Dams sector: Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that provide services in the dams sector related to critical water retention and control services
  • Energy sector: Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that provide energy services, regardless of the energy source 
  • Food/Agriculture sector I: Employees of certain food production and processing facilities and related operations, prioritizing mass food production, distribution, transportation, wholesale and retail sales, including grocery and convenience stores where groceries are sold; includes veterinary services 
  • Government: Elected officials in any branch of government at the state, county and/or municipal levels required for the continuity of government; members of the judiciary at the federal, state and/or local levels required for the continuity of government; employees designated by the federal government that fall within the state’s vaccine allocation responsibilities; other designated government personnel required for the continuity of government. 
  • Information technology sector: Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that provide IT services
  • Nuclear reactors, materials and waste sector: Employees at public, private or nonprofit organizations that work in this sector
  • Transportation systems sector: Employees in the transportation systems sector including aviation, highway and motor carriers, maritime transportation systems, mass transit and passenger rail, pipeline systems, freight rail and postal shipping 
  • Water and wastewater systems sector: Employees at public, private and/or nonprofit organizations that provide drinking or wastewater services



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14-year-old falls from local roofing job, OSHA issues major fines



CLEVELAND, OH — OSHA just announced today major fines against two local roofing companies. One incident involves a 14-year-old boy falling from a roof.

5 On Your Side Investigators obtained doorbell video from across the street of a roofing job on Pebble Court in Berea on December 17, 2020. In the video, you can see roofers from Double M Roofing & Construction on top of a condo. All of a sudden, the boy slipped and fell 20 feet to the driveway below.

Workers called 9-1-1. “A guy on a roofing crew just fell off of a roof,” can be heard from the recorded call. “He’s unconscious. He’s unresponsive in a driveway.”

With EMS on the way, the caller described the injuries. “There is blood on the ground next to his mouth…not very much, just a small, little bit,” said the caller. “He is wheezing. His breathing is very labored… non-responsive.”

“Roofing work is…one of the most dangerous construction jobs in the country,” said Howie Eberts who is the Area Director of the OSHA Office in Cleveland. He told us teens are not supposed to be on roofing jobs at all.

“It was horrible, especially right before Christmas. I felt so bad,” said Eberts. “My thoughts and prayers go out to this 14-year-old and their family.”

Eberts told us the boy had significant head trauma and brain injuries. Then, at the site of the accident, Eberts said police and EMS noticed workers trying to cover up the fact that they were not wearing safety devices.

“They were putting on their fall protection after the fact,” said Eberts. “So, that was disturbing to us as well.”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, two weeks later, OSHA said it did another inspection of Double M Roofing & Construction, and workers were still not wearing fall protection gear.

“Even though the company was aware of the fall and the requirement for fall protection, and had all the fall protection equipment, they refused to use it,” Eberts said.

OSHA fined Double M Roofing & Construction based out of West Farmington nearly $75,000 for these incidents.

We have reached out to the company and its owner Melvin Schmucker. We have not heard back yet. The company has three weeks to respond to the fines and make any disputes.

Meanwhile, OSHA also announced it fined another roofing company owner Ivan Lowky from ILS Construction in Hartville nearly $120,000 for not using fall protection equipment during a November 2020 job in Canton. OSHA reported it’s the sixth violation since 2012 for Lowky, who’s racked up more than $300,000 in fines. OSHA told us Lowky hasn’t made one payment on any of the violations.



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Female officer makes history



PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Philadelphia Police Officer Meika Bell has become the first female to ever join the Central Service Detail unit, which focuses on helping the city’s most vulnerable.

“It’s a big deal,” said Officer Bell.

She is one month into her new post and feels she’s already making a difference on the streets alongside her all-male squad.

“Females can relate to me more, so they are more able to express their needs and wants as opposed to a male,” she said.

The needs include shelter and food, but sometimes even personal matters, and that’s not lost on Bell or her unit.

“There are just as many homeless females as there are males,” said Sgt. Eric Brooks. “(Bell) is very personable. She gets along really well with certain ones that we’ve had. I sense they feel more comfortable talking to her.”

The unit uses a social service approach as opposed to enforcement.

An estimated 400 people sleep on the streets in Center City every night. It’s a statistic only compounded by the pandemic.

Bell is a registered nurse and uses her medical background when responding to service calls.

While she’s the first in this detail, Bell hopes she won’t be the last.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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Early release coming for 3,500 prisoners


— The state prison system agreed to release at least 3,500 people over the next six months in a lawsuit settlement struck Thursday.

At least 1,500 people will get out within 90 days, according to a joint motion filed Thursday in a case filed last year over prison conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. The rest would follow over the following three months.

This is in addition to regular releases as people finish their sentences, and the state said it would hit the target through a combination of sentence credits to lower minimum sentences and early releases for non-violent offenders through programs that amount to supervised parole.

That includes the “Extended Limits of Confinement” program, which was implemented months into the pandemic. To date, about 1,000 inmates have taken advantage, leaving prison facilities early.

The prison system said in a news release laying out some of the settlement details that, to be eligible for that program, inmates would still have to meet various criteria, most of which require a projected release date this year.

Anthony Covington, Raleigh peeping

For nearly a year, the state Department of Public Safety has said it’s doing what it can to keep the virus from spreading in state prisons. Advocates never felt the state did enough, and a Superior Court judge overseeing their lawsuit agreed at times, appointing an expert at one point in the case to advise him how best to shift state prison policy.

This settlement will eventually bring that lawsuit to a close. Judge Vincent Rozier signed off on the details Thursday, but the state must carry through on the deal before the lawsuit is officially dropped.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case along with the North Carolina NAACP and other partners, called the releases “unprecedented” and one of the largest releases in the country achieved via COVID-19 litigation efforts.

Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the state NAACP, called it a historic settlement and “a step forward after nearly a year of advocating for the human lives of our neighbors who, in too many cases, have been treated as disposable.”

In addition to the early releases, the settlement requires the state to keep or add various pandemic protocols:

  • Biweekly testing of all prison staff who come near incarcerated people
  • Routine sample testing for inmates
  • Testing of anyone who shows COVID-19 symptoms, followed by contact tracing and testing of people who came in close contact with those who tested positive
  • A new anonymous tip system for inmates, dedicated to COVID-19 prevention measures
  • Incentive packages for inmates who take the vaccine
  • Continued isolation of confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • Adequate masks and other protective equipment for inmates and others
  • Prison transfer protocols that require quarantines in most cases so the virus isn’t transmitted prison to prison

The reduction of 3,500 inmates would be about a 12 percent drop in the prison’s current population, which is about 28,700 people. That itself is a low mark for North Carolina prison population since 1994.



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14-year-old boy killed in house fire


State fire investigators on Friday tentatively identified a 14-year boy killed in a house fire in Camden.The fire was reported early Thursday morning.The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office said when crews arrived, they found two adults injured and learned the teen was missing.The adults, who have not been identified, remained hospitalized Friday morning, officials said.The fire marshal’s office said the teen, tentatively identified as Theodore Hedstrom, was found inside the home. Officials said DNA will be used to confirm the identity.Investigators said the fire started in the front right corner of the home where the teen was sleeping. Officials said work was done in the past week on a service panel near where he was sleeping and they are looking into whether that was a contributing factor in the fire.”So the service panel is located right in this right front corner, and that’s where the boy was sleeping. And so that’s where you have the heat source and the smoke and all those issues that fire causes, in close proximity to where he was. We don’t think he moved. We think he was there sleeping, and he just stayed there,” Lt. Troy Gardner said. Hedstrom was a student at Camden Hills Regional High School, and a classmate said everyone loved him.”You don’t know how much time you have with people and you got to make sure you reach out to people and show them that you care,” junior Elisa Libby said.The fire remains under investigation, but they believe it was accidental.

State fire investigators on Friday tentatively identified a 14-year boy killed in a house fire in Camden.

The fire was reported early Thursday morning.

The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office said when crews arrived, they found two adults injured and learned the teen was missing.

The adults, who have not been identified, remained hospitalized Friday morning, officials said.

The fire marshal’s office said the teen, tentatively identified as Theodore Hedstrom, was found inside the home. Officials said DNA will be used to confirm the identity.

Investigators said the fire started in the front right corner of the home where the teen was sleeping.

Officials said work was done in the past week on a service panel near where he was sleeping and they are looking into whether that was a contributing factor in the fire.

“So the service panel is located right in this right front corner, and that’s where the boy was sleeping. And so that’s where you have the heat source and the smoke and all those issues that fire causes, in close proximity to where he was. We don’t think he moved. We think he was there sleeping, and he just stayed there,” Lt. Troy Gardner said.

Hedstrom was a student at Camden Hills Regional High School, and a classmate said everyone loved him.

“You don’t know how much time you have with people and you got to make sure you reach out to people and show them that you care,” junior Elisa Libby said.

The fire remains under investigation, but they believe it was accidental.



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