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    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Chipper Jones says this spring will be wide open for the Atlanta Braves. 'Guys need to know that this team and this organization are tired of the last few years,' the former Braves star after Monday's first full-squad workout. 'We're a very proud organization. We went through a rough offseason with the changing of the (front office), but ... there's definitely a change in attitude. You see it in the way the coaching staff is putting together spring training.' The 45-year-old Jones was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility this winter. His 19-year career, all with Atlanta, ended in 2012 and nearly coincided with the Braves' run of 14 straight division titles. They come into 2018 on a streak of four straight losing seasons, including last year's 72-90 mark. In his role as a special assistant, the star third baseman is hoping that competition for positions might spark a revival. 'It's a free-for-all,' Jones said. 'There are a few people who had big league jobs last year who need to come in here and play for their spot.' Jones' assessment might apply to almost any player except first baseman Freddie Freeman and Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte. There is also competition for two spots in the rotation after the Braves traded for right-hander Brandon McCarthy. 'It's a little bit about change,' manager Brian Snitker said. 'It's a different camp, a young camp.' Snitker's immediate concern is getting ready for exhibition games this weekend after just a handful of workouts. 'We probably did more than we normally would (on the first day),' he said. 'I don't care how good a shape they're in, it still takes a lot to get used to and you're going to get sore. That's just part of the process. We started live (batting practice) already today, which we have to do to prepare for the games. We're kind of amping things up a bit quicker than normal.' Much of the spring focus will be on prospects, starting with 20-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuna. 'He's as good a prospect as I've seen,' Jones said. 'You've got your cornerstone guy in Freddie, and it's going to be interesting to see if (Acuna) can continue to develop as the second guy.' In camp as a non-roster player, Acuna is a long-shot to make the opening day roster. But after trading Matt Kemp to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that brought in McCarthy, the Braves have only four roster outfielders - Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Lane Adams and Preston Tucker. 'The first day of spring training is like the first day of school,' Jones said. 'You get to see all the guys again and the guys out here have something to prove. But there's really only a couple spots where you can say the team is cemented. Everywhere else is a free-for-all and I think that makes for a competitive camp. We'll see how the young guys respond to it.' NOTES: Veteran relief Peter Moylan was set to rejoin the Braves, according to reports. The 38-year-old right-hander, who pitched 79 times for Kansas City, will join Atlanta for a third time pending a physical. Moylan pitched for the Braves from 2006 through 2012 and again in 2015.
  • The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local): 7 p.m. Darrell Wallace Jr. sobbed in his mother's arms after he posted the best finish for a black driver in the Daytona 500. Wallace was runner-up to winner Austin Dillon, and the emotion of the achievement hit the rookie driver inside the track's media center. Wallace, the son of a black mother and a white father, cried with his mother and then with his sister on the stage. Desiree Wallace told her son how much she loved him, and sister Brittany, who gave her kid brother his nickname 'Bubba,' told her brother how proud she was of him. Wallace was second in the famed No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports. Wallace was the first black driver to start the Daytona 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. Scott was 13th in the 1966 race, the previous best finish for a black driver at Daytona. ___ 6:35 p.m. Austin Dillon put the No. 3 back in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon won in the car number made famous by Dale Earnhardt and won 17 years to the day that the Hall of the Fame driver was killed in a last-lap accident at NASCAR's famed track. Dillon also won in the 3 two decades after Earnhardt's lone victory in the Daytona 500. 'It was so awesome to take the 3 car back to victory lane,' Dillon said. 'This is for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and all those Senior fans.' Dillon even replicated the slide Earnhardt did in 1998 and did a burnout in the shape of a 3 in the infield grass. Darrell Wallace Jr. finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher. ___ 6:20 p.m. 'The Big One' happened late in the Daytona 500. Ryan Blaney spun defending race winner Kurt Busch with two laps to go in regulation, settling off a 12-car melee that included several top contenders. Pole-sitter Alex Bowman, defending series champion Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Darrell Wallace Jr., Brendan Gaughan, AJ Allmendinger, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Matt DiBenedetto also were caught up in the crash. ___ 6:10 p.m. William Byron spun for the second time in the Daytona 500, adding to Hendrick Motorsports' woes. Byron spun in Turn 4 with 10 to go in 'The Great American Race,' bringing out the caution flag and setting up a shootout for the final laps. Two of Byron's teammates, seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott, already were knocked out of the 500-mile race. Byron had damage all around his No. 24 Chevrolet and was several laps down when the race restarted. Ryan Blaney is leading, following by Martin Truex Jr. ___ 5:06 p.m. Ryan Blaney won the second stage of the season-opening Daytona 500. Blaney led a single-file parade for the final few laps in the segment and took the checkered flag ahead of Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Michael McDowell and Darrell Wallace Jr. The bigger story was all the contenders knocked out before the final stage. Former series champions Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are out. So is Danica Patrick, whose NASCAR finale ended prematurely. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones also were knocked out in crashes. It was an even worse showing for Hendrick Motorsports, which lost Johnson and Chase Elliott. Hendrick teammate and rookie William Byron also was involved in a crash. ___ 4:45 p.m. Danica Patrick, Chase Elliott and former Cup Series champions Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have crashed in the Daytona 500. Patrick, Elliott, Keselowski and Harvick are done for the day. For Patrick, it prematurely ends her NASCAR finale. The Daytona 500 was Patrick's last stock-car race. With 96 laps remaining, leader Ryan Blaney seemed to make a move to block Elliott on the backstretch. Elliott and Keselowski got together and started sliding across the track. Elliott hit the outside wall hard and started spinning into traffic. Three other cars were involved, including the second accident for defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. ___ 4 p.m. Two-time Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson has been wrecked out of the Daytona 500. Johnson was collected in a nine-car accident that involved half of Joe Gibbs Racing and half of Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson was wrecked along with Hendrick teammate William Byron, while Gibbs drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez were part of the scum. The accident started when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tried to block Ryan Blaney as they raced to the end of the first stage. Contact between the two cars sent Stenhouse shooting up the track, but he was able to save his Ford and avoid crashing. Drivers tried to avoid Stenhouse and it triggered the accident that ended Johnson's day. Johnson had a horrible Speedweeks. He had accidents in all three races at Daytona. Kurt Busch won the first stage of the race under caution. ___ 3:50 p.m. Kyle Busch has brought out a caution after 50 laps of the Daytona 500. Busch had a tire problem at the start of the race that put him one lap down. Roughly 20 laps after the tire problem, Busch spun and the back of his Toyota hit the Daytona International Speedway wall. Busch had to go to pit road for repairs. It's been a bad start to the race for Joe Gibbs Racing's two stars. Busch had his issues, and Denny Hamlin missed his pit stall during his first stop and was penalized a lap. But, while Busch was on pit road for his repairs, his older brother Kurt assumed the lead of the race. Kurt Busch is the defending Daytona 500 winner. ___ 3 p.m. Peyton Manning, with his hands firmly gripping the steering wheel at the '10 and 2' positions, has led the one of the youngest Daytona 500 fields in history to the green flag. Manning had just 20 minutes of practice on the high-banked Daytona International Speedway and seemed overwhelmed as he navigated the track. A NASCAR official in the passenger seat helped guide the wheel as Manning drove through the turn. 'I've been upright and on my back, but I've never been sideways,' Manning joked to the Fox Sports broadcasting booth. He also noted that pole-sitter Alex Bowman was in position to pass Manning in the pace car. When Jeff Gordon asked Manning if he wanted to stay on the track for a few laps, Manning said he'd prefer to stay in his lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave a raucous command to start the engines, and Fox analyst Darrell Waltrip opened the race by saying 'Danica Sue, this is for you, Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!' Danica Patrick is retiring from NASCAR after the Daytona 500. ___ 1 p.m. NASCAR recognized Danica Patrick in the pre-race driver meeting in honor of her final Daytona 500. Patrick is retiring from NASCAR after Sunday's race, and from racing altogether after the Indianapolis 500 in May. As NASCAR executive Steve O'Donnell went through the list of honorees and dignitaries at the Daytona 500, he included Patrick. O'Donnell thanked her for her contributions to motorsports and asked her fellow drivers to applaud Patrick. Patrick is the only woman to start the Daytona 500 from the pole, lead laps in the race and is the highest-finishing female driver in the 60 years of the race. At the end of the driver meeting, she exited the tent alone, head high and focused. She kept a steely straight-ahead glare and showed no emotion. ___ 1 p.m. Peyton Manning walked the red carpet at the Daytona 500 after a brief practice as pace car driver for 'The Great American Race.' Manning was trailed by his son, Marshall, and the two posed alongside the Harley J. Earl trophy. When asked how much time he had in the pace car, Manning said 'not much. About 20 minutes.' Manning had the cap of a Sharpie pen in his mouth as he signed autographs while walking into the pre-race driver meeting. He also said he was rooting for pole-sitter Alex Bowman, who is sponsored by Manning-endorsed Nationwide. Manning is the bigger of the NFL MVP's at Sunday's race. The five-time MVP quarterback was in an official capacity, while two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers is at the race as the boyfriend of Danica Patrick. Rodgers has yet to publicly comment on the new relationship or his time in Daytona. He arrived Wednesday and watched Patrick compete in a qualifying race from atop her pit box Thursday night. ___ 12:45 p.m. Chipper Jones is ready to take his cuts at Daytona. Jones served as the honorary race official at 'The Great American Race.' Jones is a big NASCAR fan and autographed some baseball bats for driver Chase Elliott. Jones was a long-time fan of Jeff Gordon and said he was still cheering for the No. 24 car. That ride now belongs to 20-year-old William Byron. Jones said the Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990s loved NASCAR. Unlike some Daytona 500 celebrities who know little about NASCAR, Jones talked about the photo finish at the Xfinity Series race and his excitement at meeting the drivers. Jones hit 468 career home runs and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last month in his first year of eligibility. ___ 12:15 p.m. Charlize Theron is cheering for Danica Patrick in her final NASCAR race. Theron is the honorary starter for the Daytona 500 and will wave the green flag to start the race. Theron said it was 'special' to attend Patrick's finale. Patrick is the only female driver to win a pole and lead laps at the Daytona 500. 'As a woman, that just seems pretty incredible,' Theron said. 'For me to be able to witness her last race, that feels very special. The girl in me is secretly obviously cheering for her. I just love that even my kids were just impressed that girl was racing cars today, too.' Theron also busted on 'Italian Job' co-star Mark Wahlberg for puking during driver training for the movie. She also laughed as she recalled a trip to Daytona as a teen where she got drunk and then went skydiving. ___ 11:40 a.m. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has an official role in his first Daytona 500 as a retired race-car driver. The two-time Daytona 500 winner is the grand marshal for Sunday's season-opening race, and once his duties are complete, Earnhardt plans to watch 'The Great American Race' from atop the pit box of pole-sitter Alex Bowman. Bowman replaced Earnhardt in the No. 88 Chevrolet following Earnhardt's retirement at the end of last season. The one thing Earnhardt doesn't plan on doing is offering any advice to Bowman. He said it's way too late in the preparation process for Earnhardt to offer any wisdom. Earnhardt, meanwhile, chose a T-shirt depicting his late father at the 1987 Daytona 500 for his grand marshal duties. ___ 11:30 a.m. Four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will be rooting for Bubba Wallace in the Daytona 500. Wallace is the first black driver since 1969 to start the Daytona 500. Hamilton followed Wallace on Twitter hours before Sunday's race and then sent a message to the driver on the social-media site. 'Wishing you the absolute best today in your race. Smash it!!' Hamilton posted. Hamilton is mixed race and the first and only black driver to race in Formula One. ___ More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org
  • Complete Braves coverage on myajc.com Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast will televise eight spring training games next month. Fox Sports Southeast will televise Braves vs. Yankees on March 2, and Fox Sports South will televise the Braves and Yankees at SunTrust Park on March 26. Here are the six other televised games: - March 11 at Tigers, 1 p.m. (FSSO) - March 17 vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m. (FSSE) - March 21 vs. Tigers, 6 p.m. (FSSO) - March 23 vs. Tigers, 1 p.m. (FSSE) - March 24 vs. Yankees, 1 p.m. (FSSE) - March 25 at Tigers, 1 p.m. (FSSO)
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Catcher Chris Stewart has agreed to $575,000, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves. The 35-year-old hit .183 in 51 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. He is a seven-year major league veteran. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos announced the roster addition after the Braves' first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. 'This is a depth move, an insurance move,' general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Wednesday before the first spring training workout Stewart will back up catchers Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. 'He's on a big league, non-guaranteed deal,' Anthopoulos said. 'We'll see how he looks in camp. If something happens in the next six weeks, it gives us another option.' ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Brandon McCarthy figures his slider needs some work this spring. The last one he threw didn't end up where he expected. 'I gave up a game-winning home run in the World Series on it,' McCarthy said Wednesday before his first organized spring workout with the Atlanta Braves. 'So I really want to get back to work on it. I need the time and the reps to really get it under control and be effective with it.' George Springer hit a two-run homer off McCarthy's slider in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the World Series, a game the Houston Astros won 7-6 at Dodger Stadium. It was the last game the 34-year-old right-hander pitched for Los Angeles Dodgers, who threw him into a five-player trade with the Braves for Matt Kemp. 'The way things ended last year is really a letdown, but it was still great to go through the whole experience. It's something you'd like to get past as the season goes along,' said McCarthy, who will be pitching for his seventh major league team. 'There's a little bit of a change mentally,' he said. 'When you're going to the Dodgers camp, the talk is: 'We're going back to the World Series.' That obviously changes a little bit here, where you're a part of something that's building, part of something new. You try not to look at it negatively.' McCarthy has 182 major league starts, including 16 with the Dodgers last season, and is one of three pitchers the Braves have penciled into their rotation as spring training begins. The others are Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz. After that the Braves have a lot of decisions to make in the next six weeks. 'We've got a couple spots open. There's going to be competition,' manager Brian Snitker said. 'A lot of these guys don't have baseball cards yet. We still want to see what they can do year to year.' Among those competing for the other two spots are veteran left-hander Scott Kazmir, who came in the same December trade with McCarthy, and four young pitchers who started games for Atlanta last season - left-handers Luiz Gohara, Sean Newcomb and Max Fried, and right-hander Lucas Sims. Newcomb, Fried and Sims will also be in competition for relief spots. 'The bullpen's pretty open, although there are going to be frontrunners based on what they've done in the past,' new general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. Snitker reported a good first day. 'We got a lot done in a short period of time,' he said. 'The one guy (Grant Dayton, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery) is rehabbing. Other than that everybody was here. Everybody is healthy.' NOTES: The Braves agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with catcher Chris Stewart, who will back up Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. Stewart played in 51 games with Pittsburgh last season. . . . The Braves have a game scheduled against the New York Mets on Feb. 23, only the fifth day after the full squad reports. 'It concerns me a little bit, not so much the pitchers as position players,' Snitker said. 'I know guys come to camp in shape and ready to go, but still, when it comes to baseball activity you have to assume that they didn't do anything.
  • DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones will serve as an honorary race official for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. As part of his race-day duties, Jones will be introduced at the drivers' meeting, take a lap around Daytona International Speedway in a parade car and participate in question-and-answer sessions with fans. A native of nearby Pierson, Jones was voted into the Cooperstown class last month in his first year of eligibility. The eight-time all-star and 1999 National League MVP led the Atlanta Braves to three World Series appearances, including the 1995 championship. Jones completes a list of Daytona 500 celebrities that includes Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (honorary starter), retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning (honorary pace-car driver), retired NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. (grand marshal), country group Rascal Flatts (infield concert) and Navy Band Southeast (national anthem). ___ More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org
  • No longer the emotional wreck he was on that special day in December, Jack Morris settled into a director's chair inside the Baseball Hall of Fame's Plaque Gallery, a satisfied smile creasing his face. 'You walk into this room and it's like the Holy Grail,' Morris said Tuesday after touring baseball's shrine for the first time in preparation for his induction this summer. 'It's what baseball dreams are made of for every kid. Now, I get to be a part of that group. It's overwhelming. 'I don't know what to think or say. It's hard to put words around it right now. It's so special.' The long wait for the 62-year-old Morris ended in December when he and former Detroit Tigers teammate Alan Trammell were selected for induction by a committee that considered older players and executives. They will be enshrined July 29 along with Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman, who were elected in January by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. 'I began to wonder, but I never gave up hope,' said Morris, who was accompanied by his wife, Jennifer, and 13-year-old son Miles. 'Quite honestly, I realized early on that my best chance might be on the veterans committee, even though the history prior to ... this year wasn't all that positive. It worked out.' The road to Cooperstown for Morris was like few others. He retired after the 1994 season and appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2000. Year after year he slowly rose in the voting, receiving around 20 percent of the ballots in the early years up to 67.7 percent in 2013, 42 votes shy of the required 75 percent. That total decreased slightly the next year, his final time to be considered by the writers, and confounded Morris. 'It was a learning experience,' he said. 'The most frustrating thing for me — I got back-to-back-to-back phone calls from some writers and one year they'd say, 'Well, I voted for you this year.' And the next year they'd say, 'I didn't vote for you this year.' And I asked them, did I lose some games? Was there something that happened that I'm not aware of? 'No, I just didn't think you were as good as the guys that were brought in.' OK.' Morris said he hung up the phone wondering if those writers were just looking for a reaction from his frustration. 'It was another lesson learned,' he said. 'You can't control any of that. You just have to accept it. Time proved it. Now I'm here and it doesn't seem to matter how I got here. I'm finally here.' Selected by the Detroit Tigers on the fifth round of the 1976 draft after starring at Brigham Young University, Morris played 14 years for the Tigers, two for Toronto, and one each for Cleveland and Minnesota, his home state. The right-hander made 527 starts in his 18 seasons in the major leagues, finishing with a record of 254-186 and an earned-run average of 3.90, the highest of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame, and pitched 3,824 innings with 2,478 strikeouts. Perhaps most importantly, at least in the mind of a guy who always took pride in his toughness on the mound, Morris registered 175 complete games. During a 12-year span, he went the distance 154 times, averaging 12.8 complete games per season and only once dipping below 10. He also threw four more complete games in the postseason during that stretch, none better than the final one for the Minnesota Twins — a 10-inning masterpiece shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. 'I was torn between old-school technology and the modern metrics, and modern metrics weren't favorable to me,' said Morris, a member of four World Series champions. 'When I came up, the starting pitcher's job was to win the game, number one, and finish the game, number two. I was kind of the last of a dying breed — old school baseball, finish the game. 'I've always held the understanding of what I did and what it meant to the teams that I helped win. I could only do what I could do, and I thought I did a pretty good job of it.' ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball ___ Kekis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Greek1947
  • Former Atlanta Braves star Andruw Jones will be among five players and coaches inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame Feb. 16. Joining Jones in the 2018 induction will be former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, former Falcons running back Gerald Riggs, former Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton and former Georgia Tech basketball coach Whack Hyder. This year’s induction class will raise the number of Atlanta Sports Hall of Famers to 74. Previous honorees include Hank Aaron, Bobby Cox and Dominique Wilkins. The induction ceremony will take place at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta. This article was written by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

News

  • The woman accused of screaming at a mother and her baby on a Delta flight last week has now been punished at work. >> Watch the video here According to Fox News, Susan Peirez, who claimed to work for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the incident, has been suspended from her job with the New York state government. >> DOT reveals which airlines ranked highest for complaints in 2017 “State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally,” said Ronni Reich, a spokesperson for the New York State Council of the Arts, where Peirez works. “We were notified of this situation and have commenced an investigation. This employee has been removed from the office and placed on leave until further notice and until the inquiry is resolved.” >> On Rare.us: Woman kicked off Delta flight for complaining about baby Mother Marissa Rundell captured the incident on camera, and the video quickly made its rounds on the internet. The footage shows an annoyed Peirez complaining about having to sit next to a “crying baby” on the plane even though it doesn’t appear the child was crying at the time. When a flight attendant informed her that she couldn’t change seats, she threatened to have the employee fired and was soon removed from the flight.  >> WATCH: United Airlines plane loses engine cover on way to Honolulu, makes emergency landing Delta responded in a statement, saying Peirez’s actions and behavior failed to meet the airline’s standards for passengers: >> Read more trending news  'We ask that customers embrace civility and respect one another when flying Delta,' the statement said. 'This customer’s behavior toward a fellow customer on a flight from New York to Syracuse was not in keeping with those standards. We appreciate our Endeavor Air flight attendant’s commitment to Delta’s core values and apologize to the other customers on board Flight 4017 who experienced the disturbance.
  • Latest updates, results, photo galleries and stories from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • A Minnesota man listening to emergency dispatch audio learned that his wife, a 911 dispatcher, was killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver as she headed for work, the Star Tribune reported. >> Read more trending news Jenna L. Bixby, 30, died Saturday night in the head-on crash in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, authorities said. Her husband, Daniel Bixby, was listening to the audio that first reported the crash, according to Andrew Williams, who heads two Twin Cities scanner monitoring groups online, the Star Tribune reported. The crash was reported at 8 p.m. Two hours later, State Patrol troopers contacted Daniel Bixby and confirmed that his wife had died. “A few of us were listening at the same time last night and messaging back and forth,” Williams told the Star Tribune. “Maybe two hours later, Dan sent a message on the board that troopers came and told him it was his wife. Yeah, it’s tough.” The wrong-way driver was identified as retired minister Richard J. Shaka, 72, of Blaine. He was in critical condition, authorities said. Troopers said alcohol consumption by Shaka appears to have been a factor in the collision. Jenna Bixby worked the past 3½ years as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Minneapolis, according to city records. “Minneapolis’ Emergency Communications staff work day and night to keep people safe,” Mayor Jacob Frey said Sunday. “As a 911 dispatcher, that’s what Jenna Bixby did for years -- and what she was on her way to do at City Hall when her life was tragically taken late last night.” Shaka taught at North Central University in Minneapolis in the Bible and Theology Department from 1996 until he retired in 2011. Shaka also founded a Twin Cities nonprofit organization that builds orphanages and youth centers in his native Sierra Leone, the Star Tribune reported.
  • A substitute teacher at Western Guilford Middle School, in Guilford County, North Carolina, was fired after a video surfaced of him body-slamming a student. The student, Jose Escudero, told WGHP that the altercation started because of a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. >> Read more trending news  Jose said the teacher took the box, throwing it into a sink, WGHP reported. The 12-year-old said he waited until end of class to ask for the chocolate to be returned. Jose said he put them in his bag and the substitute teacher tried to grab the candy, WGHP reported.  Jose said the teacher then grabbed him and held him against the wall before throwing him over his shoulder to the ground. The student said he had bruises on his elbow, shoulder and back. Jose’s mother shared the video of Jose falling to the floor on Facebook saying she wants justice. Guilford County Schools spokeswoman Tina Firesheets told WGHP that the teacher is no longer a district employee. The Escuderos told WGHP that they’re looking into legal action against both the school and teacher, whose name has not been released. WSOCTV.COM contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on the deadly Florida high school shooting (all times local): 1:50 p.m. A group of students who survived the Florida school shooting have started their 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws. The students left Coral Springs on Tuesday afternoon and expect to arrive in Tallahassee in the evening. They plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature. The fate of the new restrictions is unclear. Lawmakers have rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of the governor's office and the Legislature in 1999. But some in the GOP say they will consider the bills. Wednesday will mark one week since authorities say a former student killed 17 students and faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School. ___ 1:15 p.m. Three buses are preparing to take about 100 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to Tallahassee so that they can pressure state lawmakers to pass more restrictive gun laws. Dozens of reporters and cameras swarmed the students as they prepared to leave. Many of the students wore burgundy T-shirts of the school's colors. They carried sleeping bags, pillows and luggage and hugged their parents as they loaded the bus for the 400-mile journey. Alfonso Calderon is a 16-year-old junior. He says he hopes that the trip will start a conversation between the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott and the students over commonsense laws on guns. ___ (Corrects to three buses instead of two) 12:20 p.m. Students from several Florida high schools have taken to the streets in a show of solidarity with students from a nearby school where 17 students were gunned down in their classrooms on Valentine's Day. Video footage taken from television news helicopter crews showed several dozen students who walked out of West Boca Raton High School on Tuesday morning, apparently bound for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. Many of the students were wearing their backpacks. The distance between the schools is about 11 miles (17 kilometers). Several dozen more students gathered outside Fort Lauderdale High School, holding signs with messages that included 'our blood is on your hands.' On Monday, students at American Heritage High School held a similar protest. Former Stoneman student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. ___ Midnight A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing hundreds of miles across Florida to its capital to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. After arriving late Tuesday, they plan to hold a rally Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward. Chris Grady is a 19-year-old senior on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some 'commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.
  • When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name. >> Read more trending news Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life. Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.” Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist.  Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature.  It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed.  “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.” Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.   In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem. In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today.  Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.” Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later.  When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College.  On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm. Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas.