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Recently, with the help of traffic troopers Mike Haney and Craig Nettleship, the traffic team hosted Tossing for Tots. This was our first annual disc golf tournament. Thanks to the sponsors and players who contributed over $5,000 and 120 toys for metro Atlanta Toys for Tots. To view photos from the event, which was held at J.P. Moseley Park in Stockbridge, click here. We are now gearing up for our big Christmas event, started by Captain Herb years ago. Plan to join us for our live broadcast and motorcycle ride from Fred’s BBQ House in Lithia Springs on Saturday, December 9th! We ask that you bring a new, unwrapped toy, as we support Toys for Tots. More details to be posted soon!

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • As one might expect, we see crash scenes all the time in the WSB Skycopter and via the WSB Jam Cams in our 24-Hour Traffic Center. Knowing what lanes are blocked as the result of a crashfrom a secondhand source is one thing, but seeing how many cars are involved and how bad they’re wrecked, how many first responders are on scene, and what lanes are blocked and for how far help us better assess what is happening. This makes our reports on WSB Radio and TV much more meaningful. One change we have noticed over the past few months has been how much of the roadway responders block. One summer afternoon, a ten-car wreck shut down I-75/southbound south of Northside Drive. HERO units had dozens of cones tapering back from the crash scene, to the Howell Mill Road exit ramp, where they forced traffic off of the freeway. But once the crew at the crash painstakingly dragged the cars one-by-one off to the right, the HERO operators had to spend several agonizing minutes picking up the litany of cones. For many reasons, the closure lasted over an hour, but the number of cones confused us. Since then, the WSB Traffic Team and I have noticed crashes taking longer to clear and a bigger emphasis on putting traffic cones out a certain distance behind the crash. I reached out to GDOT to see if their procedures have changed. “The HERO unit has been continuing to heavily focus on training for our operators and ensuring that correct traffic control is deployed to protect both themselves and additional arriving agencies during an incident,” HERO Manager Jason Josey said via email. “These incidents may end up being small scale, however, HERO operators have to make a very quick initial scene assessment which dictates their response and traffic control deployed.” Long story short, HERO operators make the final call on how many cones they use and how far back they deploy them. Josey said that several factors go into these decisions. First, HERO operators consider which part of the highway a crash is located. For example, crashes on a narrow left shoulder are far more dangerous than ones on a wider right shoulder or exit ramp. Operators also note the speed of oncoming traffic and the physical features of the highway, such as hills or curves. Arguably the biggest determinant in how much traffic control a HERO operator puts in place is simply the severity of the incident. “Severity, from an operator’s perspective, is based on scene assessment, motorist complaints of injury and other characteristics that may not readily show to the eyes of the general motoring public,” Josey explained. There have been more severe incidents of late, Josey said, which prompt these bigger traffic configurations. One increasing danger for HERO operators is distracted driving - vehicles are hitting HERO trucks and sometimes operators more often. Logically, this would lead one to believe that this is why we are seeing more cones at traffic wrecks. Yes and no. “What we stress is immediate and sustained deployment. Yes, distracted drivers have become more of an issue, but that and HERO strikes are not our sole reasoning for our more aggressive approach,” Josey clarified. “For the HERO unit, they treat their training as paramount. So, although no procedures have been changed as of late, what you may be seeing is a continued focus on the details for proper traffic control deployment to keep themselves and other first responders safe.” As motorists or traffic reporters, we are seeing more intricate setups at scenes of traffic crashes. But the procedures or rules, GDOT says, haven’t changed. Instead, they are training their operators to make more cautious decisions and pay even closer attention to their training. As we take this into account, we also need to our part and drive safely around them. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • We lost my father, Peter, on Thursday, Sept. 28. In the few days since, I’ve had some time to reflect on many memories, not the least of which being our days behind the wheel together. Dad didn’t have the greatest driving record and was not the king of car maintenance, but he did offer sage street advice. And we definitely had some, ahem, moments involving the car. The second time that I drove with my learner’s permit was with my dad in the passenger seat in the Rehoboth Baptist Church parking lot, after baseball practice. “I’ve got this,” cocky 15-year-old-me chirped. Dad had to instruct me, after several lurches in our 1986 Sable wagon, that driving with two feet is not the preferred modus operandi. We contemplated this revelation at the Waffle House at the end of the lot. Another time I helped him sprout some long, silver hair, was my making an ill-timed right turn from Briarcliff Road onto Clairmont. Sure, I stopped at the light, but I didn’t necessarily wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic. We made it seemingly unscathed, though I think his right hand print is still on the inside door handle of that 1981 Malibu. Dad woke me up one morning quite upset that I had driven that said Chevy around for an indeterminate amount of time with high temps. “How long has that gauge been on high?!” he exclaimed, as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and tried to form a defense. I have been much better at car maintenance since, religiously getting my oil changed and fluids checked every 3,000 miles. I remember telling Dad how overly cautious my defensive driving instructor was. I thought they were over the top in saying a driver should constantly check all mirrors and blind spots. He raised his eyebrow and brought me right back down to Earth on that. He checked his constantly, he said. Dad: 1,954, Doug: zip. At this point, you probably have my dad pinned down as Red Forman. Not true. He wore shoulder-length hair, a mustache, and a full-brimmed hat. He cranked rock music in the car, where I heard Cake’s “The Distance” the first time. He bought that album for me for my 12th birthday, my first CD. Music in the car with Dad — that opened my mind to a whole new world of art and changed my life. Whether it was 99X or Album 88, my dad helped me discover new, edgy music in the car. And yes, we did also listen to WSB Radio together. He was a big Neal Boortz fan. I wanted to be Dad behind the wheel. Despite his stern caution and sometimes short fuse, he was some mashup of The Bandit and Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel. Yes, he preferred the fast lane, but he taught me to never be the fastest car in that lane. “Let someone else be the rabbit, that’s who the cops get.” I wasn’t very good at that, as I racked up several speeding tickets in my early 20s. I’ve slowed down since, fittingly. Because of his schedule flexibility, Dad was one of the “carpool moms” for my friends and I in middle school. I loved riding around with my friends and my cool father. His demeanor and charming irreverence were outliers and I was one of the few kids not embarrassed to be around their folks in public. His being there made me cooler, and “cool” is currency in those years. No, Dad didn’t teach me to drive a stickshift (I still don’t know how) or how to actually repair the car, but he did set me straight. Whereas my mom spent much more time teaching me the craft, Dad gave me some good resets. But far more importantly, my dad and I have some of our fondest memories behind the wheel. Whether it was seeing him humorously lose his temper, gleefully pump up the volume, write down the directions from my college dorm to WSB, drive my friends and I long distances to academic bowl tournaments, or correct my driving philosophy, nothing will replace our time as a family together on four wheels. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • The proliferation of smartphones in the last 10 years has turned industries sideways and made convenience ubiquitous. But smartphones and traffic often draw a negative connotation, because of distracted driving. While that will likely stay a growing problem for years to come, the city of Atlanta and a Suwanee technology company are finding ways use your smartphone and smart car to make traveling safer. In December 2016, we talked to Renew Atlanta head, Faye DiMassimo, about the city’s grant to make North Avenue a “smart corridor” between Georgia Tech and Ponce City Market. DiMassimo, who also manages Atlanta’s TSPLOST projects, and her team hired Suwanee company Applied Information. Its main role on North Avenue is to make traffic signals communicate with phones and cars. “There’s a box in each of these intersections, connecting the intersection to the cloud and through the cloud, connecting the intersection to the Travel Safely application on your phone,” A.I. President Bryan Mulligan said as he displayed this technology, while driving his autonomous Tesla Model S on this stretch. A piece of Applied Information’s equipment reads the light’s traffic controller and learns the status of the light and the countdown timer for when it changes. This is extremely helpful when a light is obscured or when people are illegally texting at a light, as the Travel Safely App will receive this data and talk to the driver. This also helps autonomous vehicles navigate and make better decisions. Smart signal technology makes traffic safer, but how does it move faster? “They’ve adopted adaptive traffic signals. And what they’re trying to do is get a higher percentage of the lights to be green,” Mulligan explained. Engineers at Georgia Tech study the data this technology produces to see if indeed and how much this connected innovation helps. With more connected technology, data is more precise and traffic planning has a better baseline. The convenience of the Travel Safely App alerting drivers, should simply decrease traffic, by boosting driver awareness, Mulligan said. Commuters will be much more alert when a light turns green, as many pause illegally at lights to check their phones. “If we just save one or two seconds in the light going green, we’ll have created 5-10 percent more capacity on the roadway, without any additional cost.” Both the cities of Atlanta and Marietta are outfitting some firetrucks and firehouses with this smart technology, to increase their response time, without shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to build new firehouses. MARTA is exploring this technology for both its buses and the Atlanta Streetcar, which MARTA will soon begin operating. More green lights, means better service on all fronts. North Avenue also has smart pedestrian signals, so those crossing the street do not have to press a button. And Mulligan revealed that this technology will speak to motorists when they are approaching occupied crosswalks and when cyclists are nearby. A few states are working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop these smart technologies, but Atlanta’s project is groundbreaking, as they are working on a local level with grant money. “What Atlanta has done is seize the initiative of a city that is trying to take control of its own future, by producing some grant money,” Mulligan said adding that this leads businesses in the autonomous technology industry to choose Atlanta. “I can confidently say that Atlanta is leading the nation with the deployment of these smart technologies to attract commerce.” Whether smart lights are communicating with mobile devices or self-driving cars, the North Avenue smart corridor should improve traffic and safety, as more people connect with it. A.I. is beta-testing the app now and both it and the corridor should be in full operation in early 2018. Mulligan explained that the app runs in the background and is fully functional while other apps, like WSB’s Triple Team Traffic Alerts App, also guide drivers. Mulligan said he believes that if the North Avenue corridor is successful, that Atlanta will equip every intersection the same way. Other cities and counties are also exploring the technology. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • A trip on July 1, 2002 to the lake on a small rural road for Jenny Harty and her family of four helped bring the issue of child passenger seat safety in Georgia to the forefront. “[A] logging truck ran the stop sign, ignored the rumble strips and hit the tail end of [an oncoming] SUV. And the SUV lost control, hit us and literally shaved off the left side of our van,” the Johns Creek mother recalled. Harty’s van landed in a deep ravine. While she, her husband, and six-year-old Abby escaped with only minor injuries, five-year-old Madison needed six surgeries to repair her arm. She sat in the hardest hit part of the van. First responders and doctors repeatedly told Harty that Madison’s booster seat absolutely saved both her’s and Abby’s lives. “I thought that the children had to be riding in booster seats. But in the state of Georgia, in fact, the law only went up to age four, when some states had it to age eight, which was the best practice and what was recommended.” Harty thought the old Georgia law was weak. “A seat belt is designed for an adult-sized body,” Harty said. “A young child…is not big enough to ride in just a seat belt only.” A booster seat raises the child, so the seat belt fits them correctly. “Typically what we see happen [when kids are not in booster seats] is kids that are too small for the seat belt are torpedoed out underneath the seat belt.” Police have told Harty numerous times that kids in wrong-sized belts and seats get ejected in crashes. Children easily are the most vulnerable passengers. So after Madison’s surgeries, Harty made child passenger advocacy her mission. She became a car seat technician, a process that requires classes and certification. She contacted a highway safety organization in D.C. to map out a plan for action. Then, in the fall of 2002, she met with her state representative, Mark Burkhalter, about changing the law. “I realized that Madison was the living proof that legislators and parents needed - to show that booster seats save lives.” Harty did not want to wait for the next child to die to prove this. Burkhalter, who now serves on the state transportation board, immediately elected to sponsor the bill, which initially raised Georgia’s booster seat age from four to eight. Current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, then a Georgia state senator, carried Harty’s bill in the state Senate. After some haggling and compromise, the age decreased from eight, to six. The bill passed the state House in 2003, but didn’t get through the Senate until 2004. Madison’s booster seat law went effect July 1, 2004. Opposition to Madison’s Law 14 years ago is not much different from the political climate now. “Representatives and senators were concerned about this being considered government intervention,” Harty said. “They thought that the law went too far in telling people how to parent.” Harty retorted that one of the main tenets of the government is to protect. The climate for child safety at the state capital has seemingly changed some. On the 9th anniversary of the Harty family crash, a tougher booster seat law went into effect, raising the age to eight, unless the kid’s height exceeds 57 inches. Every car or booster seat has specific recommendations and those driving children must follow those. Violators of the law get a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for subsequent ones, and two points added to their license each time. Harty now works doing driver safety advocacy with local law firm Montlick and Associates and is working with the House Study Committee to introduce tougher distracted driving legislation in Georgia in January. She attends safe driving seminars and press conferences, is a board member with AAA, and sometimes Madison joins her at events. Now 20, Madison is a junior in college and is studying education and mass communication. Abby, 21, is now a senior and because of booster seats, they both have full lives ahead of them. The Harty family story is ripe with lessons. They were cautious before the law told them to be. They turned a near-tragedy into a law that is saving young lives. And they have spread their child passenger advocacy into other areas of safe driving. Child Passenger Safety Week just concluded and Harty has a message: “When it comes to car crashes, there are no mulligans. So please buckle up every ride!”
  • Atlanta mostly dodged a bullet dealt in the city’s first-ever inland tropical storm warning. Tropical Storm Irma bore down on Georgia on Sept. 11 and brought wind gusts of 60 mph, heavy rain and, fortunately a wave a preparedness. Fittingly, September is National Preparedness Month. An eerie nervousness hovered over Atlanta the weekend prior to the storm hitting, as forecasts generally agreed Atlanta would get hit with at least some of what was left of Irma. The first winds began to howl (we wish in Jimi Hendrix’s voice) Sunday, when skies were clear as a bell. Rain started falling Monday morning, but there was no rush hour. Schools metro-wide canceled and most people sat out of work. MARTA canceled all service for the first time ever. And Atlantans largely waited out the height of the storm safely inside. “I think Atlanta handled Irma just as well as they could,” Alex Williams, my colleague on the WSB Traffic Team, said. “When it came to planning ahead to keep people off the road, I think we took lessons learned from winter storms and helped apply it to preparing and dealing with Irma before and when it hit.” His sentiments echo the rest of us in the WSB Traffic Center trench. Atlanta traffic saw a major influx of Florida traffic, as Sunshine State residents fled the storm. Then as soon as Irma left Atlanta’s auspices, those same evacuees took to mainly I-75 again to head back home. On Tuesday afternoon, I-75/southbound had over a 2.5-hour delay just between I-285 and Macon. And many sought refuge north of Atlanta and even north of Georgia, so I-75 through Bartow and Cobb Counties, I-285, and the Downtown Connector also felt the extra push. The delays, Williams said, would have been much worse, had schools gone back on Tuesday. “All in all, I don’t think we could have handled it better in preparing for the storm, handing the storm, as well as dealing with the influx of evacuees in the metro. At the same time we wanted people to stay off the roads.” Williams brought up a good point. Both Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged people to delay their return home, as the infrastructure in south Georgia and many parts of Florida just wasn’t ready. Understandably, people were anxious to return home and, save a bit of angst and impatience we saw on social media. Atlantans handled the extra traffic well. After Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry finished surveying the state he said Georgia ended up better off than predicted. “[There were] just isolated areas with trees down with power lines. We had all roadways [that the state maintains] open by Tuesday night, unless power lines were involved,” McMurry told me via email Thursday. “We inspected about 170 bridges in two days and ended up with only three closed in the entire state due to flooding. It was cool seeing HERO’s on I-75 in south Georgia.” McMurry is also proud of GDOT’s new road assistance initiative for outlying areas: CHAMP. There are 20 HEROs and CHAMPs patrolling I-75 from Florida up to Metro Atlanta. He said there were more flat tires than fuel needs. Fuel has been at a premium in south Georgia and especially Florida, but that situation is improving. People in Metro Atlanta should be able to fill-up with ease, but prices remain higher than before. “Although we’re still reeling from the effects of Irma in Metro Atlanta, motorists should begin to see gas prices retreat within the coming weeks,” AAA’s Garrett Townsend said. If you’re looking for a great way to track gas prices, try AAA’s mobile app. As the storm cleanup continues, digest these numbers: DeKalb County 911 had over 4,000 calls in a 12-hour period Monday. Gwinnett PD had over 1,400 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. that day. Hall County 911 continually told WSB that they had too many trees down to count. DeKalb and Hall seemed to be the two hardest hit Metro Atlanta counties, though every metro county had damage of some kind. As we look ahead, power outages would be far less, if Georgia Power and the EMCs would make a greater effort to build lines below ground. The cost would be huge, but the danger of repairing the lines, the live wires themselves and the loss of power makes the effort worth further exploring. Overall, the dip in temperatures took a bite out of Irma’s intensity. Even still, Atlanta had widespread damage and, traffic-wise, weathered the storm of road closures, lights out and extra evacuation traffic fairly well. Irma did not have had our local reporters harnessing themselves to balconies or getting wind-tunneled in driving rain. But if we had treated it as just another storm, traffic would have been much worse and more people likely would have died. We played it right.

News

  • The organ transplant of a 2-year-old boy who was born without a kidney will likely be stalled for months. The reason? His father’s latest arrest. Anthony Dickerson, 26, is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to Gwinnett County jail records. Just this month, he was released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies. But Dickerson promised that his son would be the one thing he did right in his life, the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So when he found out he was a match to donate his kidney to Anthony Jr., he jumped at the chance to help. The family was “hysterical” when they found out the day of the planned surgery Oct. 3 that Emory University Hospital had changed the plan. “They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.” In a letter The AJC obtained from Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months. “We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter. Emory officials refused to answer The AJC’s questions about the decision or its policies, and Gwinnett law enforcement agencies have not responded to requests for comment. Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients.  “Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.” Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor. The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett County jail where Dickerson was being held. “If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28. Even though jail records show Dickerson was released Oct. 2, the child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year. Burgess created a web petition to urge the hospital to allow the surgery sooner. It has garnered more than 18,400 signatures, but Burgess said she doubts the petition will make a difference. A GoFundMe page also was set up with a $1,000 goal. “I’m just taking it day by day,” she said. “That’s all we can do.” In other news:
  • British police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, all made by the same woman. In another blow to the Hollywood titan after he was ejected from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, France's president said Sunday he was working to rescind Weinstein's prestigious Legion of Honor award. In the new British allegations, London's Metropolitan Police force said Sunday that the woman reported being assaulted in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015. The force said officers from its Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Command are investigating. The woman's name has not been made public. The force also did not name Weinstein, in keeping with its policy of not identifying suspects who have not been charged. But it said the allegations involve a man against whom another accusation was made Wednesday. That alleged assault — reported to have taken place in west London during the late 1980s — also is being investigated. British actress Lysette Anthony says she reported to police on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in her west London home in the late 1980s. Anthony, 54, who appears on the British soap opera 'Hollyoaks,' told the Sunday Times newspaper that Weinstein raped her in the late 1980s after showing up at her London home. She said she was left feeling 'disgusted and embarrassed' after the attack. 'It was pathetic, revolting,' she was quoted as saying in a Thursday interview. 'I remember lying in the bath later and crying.' Dozens of women have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the movie mogul in recent days, some dating back decades. Weinstein denies non-consensual sexual activity. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the almost unprecedented step Saturday of revoking Weinstein's membership. It said it did so 'to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.' Weinstein, who backed many British movies including 'Shakespeare in Love' and 'The King's Speech,' also has been suspended by the British film academy. The fallout from the multiplying accusations against Weinstein also reverberated in France on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron said he had 'started the procedures' to revoke Weinstein's Legion of Honor award. Rescinding the honor is rare, although it also happened to another American: disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Weinstein was given the prestigious French award in 2012 by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy after the French film 'The Artist' won multiple Oscars. Weinstein's company produced the film, and he predicted in an interview with The Associated Press at the time that it would augur a new 'golden age' of French cinema. French actresses are among those who have accused Weinstein of sexual wrongdoing, notably during his multiple appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. Macron said he wants to speed up procedures for investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment in France to encourage more women to come forward. ___ Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
  • The Latest on the explosion in Somalia's capital (all times local): 7:30 a.m. Qatar's foreign minister says his country's diplomatic mission in Somalia was hit by the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Twitter early Monday morning: 'The attack on (hashtag)Qatar diplomatic mission in Mogadishu will not deter our support for (hashtag)Somalia's democracy, security and stability.' He did not elaborate. It was unclear if any Qataris were hurt in the blast. Officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Somalia has found itself torn by the boycott by four Arab nations of Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the Somali government's biggest benefactor, while the United Arab Emirates has trained the country's military and launched a high-profile aid appeal this year. Somalia has meanwhile allowed Qatari aircraft to increasingly fly through its airspace as Arab nations have closed theirs off. A Somali state in September broke with Somalia's central government in Mogadishu, saying it backed the boycotting nations. ___ Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ___ 12:45 a.m. Somalia's information minister Abdirahman Osman says the death toll from Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu has risen to 276, with about 300 people injured. It is the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The toll is expected to rise. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. ___ 12:40 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is 'sickened' by the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. Guterres in a tweet Sunday night urged 'unity in the face of terrorism.' Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. Officials fear the death toll will rise. ___ 10:05 p.m. The United States is condemning 'in the strongest terms' the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The State Department statement expresses condolences to victims and wishes a quick recovery for the injured. Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. The U.S. calls the attack 'senseless and cowardly' and says it will stand with Somalia in its fight against extremism. ___ 6:35 p.m. Qatar says its embassy was 'severely damaged' in the deadly truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A foreign ministry statement Sunday says the embassy's charge d'affaires was 'slightly injured in the explosion but he is now in a good health, and the rest of staff are fine.' Saturday's blast killed at least 231 people. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:50 p.m. The United Nations special envoy to Somalia calls the deadly truck bombing in the capital 'revolting' and says an unprecedented number of civilians have been killed. A statement from Michael Keating says: 'I am shocked and appalled by the number of lives that were lost in the bombings and the scale of destruction they caused.' Saturday's blast struck a densely populated neighborhood of Mogadishu. The death toll has risen to 231. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. Keating says the U.N. and African Union are supporting the Somali government's response with 'logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.' ___ 5:45 p.m. The U.S. Africa Command says U.S. forces have not been asked to provide aid following Saturday's deadly attack in Somalia's capital. A U.S. Africa Command spokesman tells The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and 'the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.' A Somali senator says the death toll from the massive truck bomb blast in Mogadishu has risen to 231, with 275 people injured. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:35 p.m. Angry protesters have taken to the streets in Somalia's capital a day after a massive truck bomb killed at least 231 people. The protesters who gathered at the scene of the blast are chanting against the attack, the deadliest ever in the Horn of Africa nation. The government has blamed the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group for what it calls a 'national disaster.' Al-Shabab has not commented but often targets Mogadishu with bombings. ___ 5:20 p.m. A senator says the death toll from a massive truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 231. Abshir Abdi Ahmed says 275 others were injured. He cites doctors at hospitals he has visited in Mogadishu. Saturday's blast is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Many of the bodies in hospital mortuaries are yet to be identified. ___ 3:05 p.m. Local journalists say one freelance journalist was killed in Saturday's massive bombing in Somalia's capital and several were injured. Voice of America says one of its reporters, Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, is among the injured. Police and hospital sources say the death toll from the truck bomb in Mogadishu has risen to 189 in what is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 2:35 p.m. The death toll from a massive explosion in Somalia's capital has risen to 189 with over 200 others injured, police and hospital sources say, making it the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Doctors are struggling to assist hundreds of horrifically wounded victims, with many burnt beyond recognition. Somalia's government has blamed Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 1:25 p.m. The United States is joining the condemnation of Saturday's massive truck bombing in Somalia's capital that left scores dead. A statement by the U.S. mission to Somalia says that 'such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.' The U.S. military this year has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is based in Somalia and often targets Mogadishu. ___ 1:20 p.m. The International Committee of the Red Cross says four volunteers with the Somali Red Crescent Society are among the dead after a huge truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A statement Sunday says 'this figure may rise as there are a number of volunteers still missing.' Security and medical sources say at least 53 people are dead after what Mogadishu residents call the largest explosion they've ever witnessed. Officials have pleaded for blood donations. More than 60 people are injured. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. ___ 10:45 a.m. Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday's truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at hospitals from their wounds. Somalia's government has yet to release the exact death toll from an explosion many called the most powerful they had ever witnessed in Mogadishu. Ambulance sirens still echo across the city as bewildered families wander in the rubble of buildings. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. The al-Shabab extremist group often targets high-profile areas in the capital with bombings.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation (all times EDT): 7:40 p.m. President Donald Trump is using his appearance in front of a conservative think tank to argue the U.S. should celebrate and preserve its history, 'not tear it down.' Trump is pointing to a movement to take down Confederate status as well as other symbols of the country's difficult past. He says, 'Now they're even trying' to take down statues of Christopher Columbus. He asks, 'What's next?' Trump also says young Americans should be taught to honor the flag and national anthem and proudly recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He tells the group, 'You understand that our glorious heritage is the foundation of everything we hope to achieve.' __ 7:25 p.m. President Donald Trump is taking his tax plan sales pitch to the conservative Heritage Foundation. Trump is expected to tell the group's President's Club on Tuesday evening that his plan will be a boon to the economy, resulting in a $4,000 pay raise for the average American. That claim has been met with skepticism from tax experts and Democratic lawmakers who say the administration's math is flawed. Trump is also expected to talk about other issues important to the group, including the Constitution, his appointment of conservative judges, border security and his 'peace through strength' foreign policy approach. That's according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech earlier Tuesday on condition that he not be named.
  • A 19-year-old man from Kerrville, Texas, who is a relative of the boy and was visiting family in Lynnwood, Washington, has been booked into the Snohomish County Jail for first-degree murder of 6-year-old Dayvid Pakko. >> Read more trending news A police statement alleges the 19-year-old admitted to filling a bathtub with water with the intention of drowning Dayvid, then called the boy to the bathroom, picked him up and placed him face-down in the water, and held his head underneath for approximately 30 seconds before Dayvid became still. The statement from police then alleges the 19-year-old left the boy face down in the water for approximately six minutes before he wrapped the boy's body in a blanket and placed him in a cardboard box, which he used to dispose of the body in the nearest garbage dumpster.  'It's a tragic ending to a long search operation,' said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton. Authorities said the body was found about 2 a.m. Tuesday in a dumpster at the Bristol Square Apartment complex on 44th Avenue West. The body was found by officers with the Violent Offenders Task Force. In cases of missing children, the officers, who represent several law enforcement agencies, are deployed to check on registered sex offenders in the area. That's when they found the child's body. Detectives are working on getting a search warrant and are processing the crime scene, where they're expected to be working for several hours.  Once a search warrant is obtained, detectives will go through the apartment building and dumpster for evidence. The boy was reported missing about 5 p.m. Monday. Crews, including 100 volunteers, searched the area of 44th Avenue West between 156th Street and State Route 99, just outside the Lynnwood city limits. According to the Sheriff’s Office and relatives, Dayvid stayed home sick from school Monday.  The boy lives with his mother, who was at work when he disappeared. He was last seen about 2:30 p.m. The Sheriff's Office said Dayvid was under adult supervision while he was at home, but did not say who he was with. The Snohomish County medical examiner will determine the boy's cause of death.
  • Northern California homeowners allege in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. failed to adequately protect its power lines before the region's deadly wildfires, a theory that state investigators are considering as they try to determine the cause. The lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of Santa Rosa homeowners Wayne and Jennifer Harvell says drought-like conditions over the summer put fire dangers 'at an extraordinarily high level,' particularly after heavy winter rains increased vegetation. It says PG&E failed to trim and remove vegetation as it should have. PG&E Corp., the utility's parent company, said Friday that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was investigating its power lines and equipment as a possible cause of the fires that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed 6,000 homes. The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E, would investigate only if state fire investigators determine that that the utility's equipment is suspected as a cause. That could lead to significant fines and penalties. The San Francisco-based utility said it would not speculate on causes of the fire and that it was cooperating with investigators. PG&E says it has told state regulators of seven incidents of damage to its equipment, including downed power lines and broken poles. It did not say whether they may have caused or contributed to the fire. Gerald Singleton, an attorney representing other homeowners and renters, said winds were strong but PG&E should have anticipated them. 'We can't get rid of all possible risks,' he said. 'It really is based on reasonableness — and that is what their duty is.' PG&E shares jumped 7.5 percent, or $4.01, to close at $57.44 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Still, the shares are down 17 percent since Wednesday. Earlier this year, the utility commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked a massive blaze in Northern California that destroyed 549 homes and killed two people. A state fire investigation found the utility and its contractors failed to maintain a gray pine tree that slumped into a power line igniting the September 2015 fire in Amador County. Previously, California regulators fined PG&E $1.6 billion for 2010 natural gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Also Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California wrote the Federal Communications Commission to express concern that the federal government has yet to adopt rules that would require wireless carriers to more precisely target neighborhoods with orders to evacuate. As fires rapidly spread Oct. 8, authorities sought to avoid alarming unaffected residents. 'These emergency services are caught in a bind between notifying individuals in imminent danger and risking mass panic. As a result, these services are compelled to rely on emergency messaging systems with far less reach and far less capacity,' they wrote.