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    The body of a woman who went missing while kayaking on a Troup County lake has been found. Someone called sheriff’s officials about 9 a.m. Monday to say they saw a body in the water, authorities said. Just after noon, the sheriff’s office confirmed the body was that of Maranda Whitten, 24, of Valley, Ala.  “The search for Maranda Whitten has unfortunately been suspended,” sheriff’s Sgt. Stewart Smith said in an emailed statement. “Maranda was found earlier this morning, a victim of an apparent drowning. As standard procedure her body will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be Maranda’s family. We appreciate all those who have gave of their time and resources during this time.” Whitten’s body was found with an extension cord, which was missing from the campground, tied to her ankles, then tied to a large rock, he said. Her death is being treated as a suicide, according to Smith. Whitten was last seen Friday. Officials said she was on a family camping trip at Shaefer Heard Park when she disappeared while kayaking on West Point Lake, which is about 82 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.  “Around 12:30 p.m., some campers saw her kayaking out in the water and shortly after that, a storm came through and around 2:30 her kayak was seen floating into the water with the paddle and the life jacket,' Smith said. Investigators from the sheriff's office, several other agencies and some civilian volunteers searched Saturday and Sunday for Whitten.
  • Fans swarmed the Varsity’s Midtown restaurant Saturday to get 90-cent deals on the iconic chili-dog chain’s 90th anniversary. It was an all-hands-on-deck day for the North Avenue landmark: Members of the family that owns the restaurant directed traffic in the jammed parking lot and had to turn away the overflow. But the family faces bigger tests for the business. One is how to grow it. The other is more basic. “We want the brand to survive all of our generations,” said John Browne, the Varsity’s vice president and husband of one of Varsity founder Frank Gordy’s grandchildren. Another of Gordy’s grandchildren, Gordon Muir, is the Varsity’s president, and a great-grandchild, Ashley Weiser, oversees the chain’s marketing. “We are on generation four,” Browne said. “We are studying how to make this last through generation 10.” » RELATED: Growing up in Athens, the Varsity’s other hometown » RELATED: Photos of the Varsity through the years » RELATED: Podcast makes a visit to the Varsity Some decisions are taking longer than expected. They’ve been contemplating opening a restaurant in Winder for about five years. They’ve considered another in Auburn, Alabama, for maybe a decade. More recently they bought nearly the entire block around their Athens restaurant at the corner of Broad Street and Milledge Avenue and tore down buildings of other businesses that had been there. What will they ultimately use the land for? “We don’t know that yet,” Browne said. “Right now we are planting grass.” “This family is a generational investor,” he said. “We have learned we are better at purchasing and owning land, not developing it. We are just worn-out old hot dog men.” The Varsity, which opened in 1928, is owned by the founder’s daughter and her two surviving biological children. But a bigger group of family members — 22 in all — are convening for a retreat in September to discuss the family business. They had a somewhat similar gathering earlier this year, and they’ve hired a family business consultant to help them as they think about the future of the company. More than two years ago they brought in a consultant to help them survey customers and contemplate potential future restaurant locations.  But they haven’t opened a new stand-alone restaurant since locating one in Dawsonville several years ago. (They also closed one in Alpharetta.) » RELATED: Photo gallery from Saturday’s birthday bash One part of the business will remain constant, Browne said. “We are not changing anything as far as the food.” That continues to be a draw. So does generational customer loyalty, passed down from parents to children. That and 90-cent prices Saturday attracted big crowds to the intown Varsity near Georgia Tech. Hundreds of people stood outside in lines that snaked through the parking lot. One woman said she waited 40 minutes just to get to the threshold of one of the restaurant’s entrances. Cars were backed up along Spring Street. “I’ve been here 33 years,” said Gordon Muir, The Varsity’s president, “and I’ve never seen a line out the door and to the sidewalk.” Another first, he said: They repeatedly had to turn drivers away from the packed parking lot. A vintage firetruck that was part of the planned party had to be turned away initially; there was no room for it. Some customers put in giant orders: 150 to 200 hot dogs each, Muir said. All the Varsity’s stand-alone locations were “very busy,” he said. Pam Aiken made the trek to Midtown from her home in Snellville. “I’ve been coming here since birth almost,” said the 72-year-old, who grew up in Atlanta. It was a top spot as a teenager after movies. Carhops, she said, would jump on the hoods or trunks of customers’ cars and ride them in. The food, Aiken said, “is an acquired taste.” She planned to order her usual: chili steak, onion rings or fries and a P.C. (a cup of plain chocolate milk drizzled over shaved ice, according to The Varsity’s unique lingo). Sonya Ferguson, 59, of Decatur remembered her dad bringing her Varsity meals as a child. She came back Saturday for more. She said she isn’t sure the family who owns The Varsity really wants it to get much bigger, given the potential risks for any business making dramatic changes. Perhaps, she said, “they like it just the way it is.” »THE ACCESSATLANTA PODCAST GOES TO THE VARSITY  At ajc.com/podcasts, check out our weekly accessAtlanta podcast’s visit to the Varsity in advance of the 90th anniversary celebration. Hear interviews with staff and customers and get the story of the beloved fast-food spot’s past, present and future from president Gordon Muir.
  • Manley says family members of the victim told him Delkic was beaten and tortured at a Bosnian prison before immigrating here. He calls the death the senseless.
  • A TSA agent brought smiles to the security line after he showed off his dance moves and competition skills with a young flyer. Joshua McCall noticed a boy was dancing as his family of five was going through security at Newark Liberty International Airport, USA Today reported. The boy then challenged McCall to a dance-off.  The TSA posted the ensuing battle to its Instagram account, where it took off.  >> Read more trending news  New Jersey TSA federal security director Tom Carter said employees accept dancing challenges as long as all passengers are secure, according to the Instagram post, USA Today reported.
  • A firefighter died last week from falling tree debris after thousands of gallons of retardant were dropped on the area where he was helping battle California's largest-ever wildfire, according to a preliminary report from investigators. The summary report by California fire officials says Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was struck by debris on Aug. 13 at the Mendocino Complex Fire. Three other firefighters had minor injuries. Funeral services for the 42-year-old Burchett were held Monday in his home state of Utah. He is survived by a wife and 7-year-old son. The two-paragraph summary calls for an immediate corrective action, saying firefighters must remain clear of areas with overhead hazards during a retardant drop. Paul Grenier, a spokesman for California's firefighting agency, said he couldn't provide more details because the investigation is continuing. That includes disclosing the type of aircraft involved, why the four firefighters were underneath, or even if all four firefighters were from the same unit. 'Eventually that information will be released,' he said, but perhaps not for weeks. 'They're going to get their i's dotted and their t's crossed.' Cliff Allen, president of the union representing state wildland firefighters, said he understood investigators were still conducting interviews, but said fire supervisors should have made sure the firefighters were well clear of the drop zone. 'Operations will contact air attack and say 'We want to concentrate drops in this area of the fire,'' he said. 'It's the job between air attack and operations to make sure the area is clear of personnel or that it's clearly marked where personnel are on the ground.' There also could have been a radio miscommunication or the crew may not have heard or chose to ignore the radio warning, he said, though that's part of what's being investigated. He cautioned that it's not clear from the preliminary report whether the tree was weakened from the fire or from the retardant drop, or if the firefighters were hit by fire retardant slurry, which is a mixture of water, fertilizer and red dye. 'Anytime you're working in trees, you have trees that are fire weakened, then strong winds or water or retardant drops could potentially cause them to fall and possibly injure folks,' he said. 'It's often referred to as 'widow makers.'' Modified DC-10s can drop 12,000 gallons (45,424 liters) of slurry, 12 times the amount carried by the standard smaller air tanker used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It can lay a swath of fire retardant as wide as a football field for as long as a mile. CalFire says the modified 747 can drop 24,000 gallons, double that of the DC-10. It uses a system that can release the slurry under pressure or as gently as falling rain from an altitude as low as 400 feet (122 meters). Lead planes guide in the huge aircraft, showing them where to go and when to start and stop slurry drops.
  • New Zealand’s minister for women rode her bicycle “mostly downhill” to a hospital Sunday to give birth, The New York Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Julie Anne Genter, 38, who is also associate minister for health and transport, posted pictures on social media of herself and her partner, Peter Nunns, enjoying a “beautiful Sunday morning” ride to the hospital, the Times reported. “There wasn’t enough room in the car for the support crew. ... but it also put me in the best possible mood!” Genter wrote on Instagram. Genter, who is 42 weeks pregnant, will become the second government official in New Zealand to give birth this year. Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern gave birth in June, the Times reported. Genter, who was expecting her first child, was scheduled to be induced at an Auckland hospital, the newspaper reported. Genter, who grew up in Los Angeles, emigrated to New Zealand in 2006. She has had two miscarriages, the NZ Herald reported. She is expected to take three months off from Parliament before returning to her post in November, the newspaper reported.
  • Two people are dead after rip currents forced several rescues at a New Hampshire beach. >> Read more trending news  Seven swimmers were pulled from the water at Seabrook Beach, near 131 Ocean Drive, just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Seabrook Police said two of the people were unconscious when they were brought to shore. The beach does not have lifeguards, but lifeguards from nearby Hampton Beach helped pull a man from the water around 12:59 p.m. He was transported to the hospital where he later died. New Hampshire State Police have not released his identity, but said the victim is a 49-year-old Methuen man. 'They were probably three-quarters of a mile out from what I could see,' Rich Ferrara said. 'Pretty intense.' A 47-year-old woman was transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room and was pronounced dead Monday morning. Officials said the two were married. 'I've never seen anything like that, where so many people were in trouble,' Ferrara said Seabrook Police said an officer helped several of the people to shore before helping in the search for the last person, who was unaccounted for at the time. 'One of the police arrived and stripped down, took off his gun belt,' Ferrara said. 'He dove into the water and started swimming out because there were people screaming that there were girls missing.' >> Trending: 14-year-old surfer bitten by shark off North Carolina coast The officer was one of the first to jump in, helping to bring everyone involved to shore. 'He pulled a woman in, she wasn't breathing when he finally got her in,' Linda Farrell said. The Seabrook Fire Department, along with Seabrook Beach Patrol were the main responding agencies in the incident.
  • A Utah woman wasn’t going to let the man she said was trying to record her daughter who trying on clothes in a store’s changing room get away. Police said the woman chased down Jorge Leon-Alfara after witnesses said the 36-year-old man was trying to record the woman’s daughter from a changing room next to the teen at a Rue 21 in Salt Lake City, KSTU reported. The mother recorded the man, and the comments she made to him, as they waited for police.  The woman called him a predator, saying, “This right here is what a predator looks like. I caught this guy underneath my daughter’s stall while she was changing at Rue 21.” She warned Leon-Alfara that she was going to make sure people knew what she said he did, KSTU reported. “Not today, buddy Not today,” the mother said. “I’m going to make sure your face gets out, so that you’re not in any more stalls, looking under little girls dressing.”  The video was uploaded to Facebook where it has been watched millions of times.  Police attribute people being aware of what was happening for being able to arrest Leon-Alfaro who now faces felony charges of voyeurism of a child under 14, KSTU reported. >> Read more trending news   
  • President Donald Trump used a White House event Monday to pay tribute to federal immigration officials, returning to the fight over the U.S. southern border. The president was honoring employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection. The federal agencies have been thrust into the debate over the Trump administration's separation of migrant children from their parents after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. 'We love you, we support you, we will always have your back,' Trump said. He added: 'For America to be a strong nation, we must have strong borders.' Trump has assailed some Democratic lawmakers for seeking to abolish ICE ahead of the November midterm elections. In a letter to state and local leaders, Trump wrote that ICE workers had been subjected to a 'nationwide campaign of smears, insults and attacks' by politicians 'catering to the extreme elements in our society.' Trump has made border security a key part of his message as he tries to maintain Republican control of Congress in the November elections. Before the president arrived, the White House held a panel discussion on immigration with several state and local officials, who pointed to the role that a secure border plays in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking and questioned calls to abolish ICE. Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who has worked closely with the administration on immigration legislation, said he struggled to see the point of eliminating the federal agency, likening it to someone saying, 'I want to get rid of the Marines.' 'I just think it's unconscionable, and frankly, I think it's downright unpatriotic and treasonous,' Perdue said.
  • Shanann Watts’ Facebook profile is one filled with love; love for her family and love for her job.  The pregnant Colorado mother of two was found buried in a shallow grave Thursday, not far from where the bodies of her daughters, Bella, 4, and 3-year-old Celeste, were found hidden inside oil tanks on the property of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the oil and gas exploration company for which their father worked, Weld County court records show.  The court records, obtained by 9News in Denver, also indicated that the victims may have been strangled. Their autopsy results had not been released as of Monday morning.  >> Related story: Shanann Watts, 2 daughters likely strangled, records show Christopher Lee Watts, 33, of Frederick, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with physical evidence in the slayings, which investigators believe took place Monday. That was the day that a friend of Shanann Watts’ reported the mother and daughters missing after she went to the family’s home and found no sign of them. Investigators said the victim’s vehicle and purse were at the house, as were medications for the girls.   In her social media posts, Shanann Watts appeared thrilled to be carrying her third child. In a video she posted June 11, she wore a T-shirt that read, “Oops, we did it again,” her way of telling Chris Watts he was again going to be a father.  In the recording, Chris Watts walks into the room and stops, reading the shirt. He laughs. “I like that shirt,” he says. “Really?” “Really,” his wife responds.  “That’s awesome,” he says. After kissing Shanann Watts, he says, “Guess when you want to, it happens.” Shanann Watts also recorded the moment she told her daughters that “Mommy has a baby in her belly.” Both girls cheer and jump up and down with excitement.  Shanann Watts juggled motherhood with her work as a salesperson for Le-Vel, a health and wellness company that sells nutritional products. Though she and her husband filed for bankruptcy protection a few years ago, her work and his job with Anadarko appeared to rejuvenate the couple’s finances.  Her Facebook feed was dedicated to her family and her work, which allowed for much travel.  “We have qualified for so many amazing trips in two years that we never otherwise would have been able to visit,” she wrote in one post.  Shanann Watts’ brother, Frankie Rzucek, wrote on Facebook Friday that his sister, who he looked up to, was the “hardest working person (he’s) ever known.” In an extensive post describing his only sibling, he revealed that she had lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s body to attack its own organs.  According to WebMD, it also means that any pregnancy is considered high-risk.  “Lupus can complicate pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and preeclampsia, as well as heart problems in the baby,” according to the medical website. “When our family found out she beat all the odds and became pregnant, I can't even explain our excitement,” Rzucek wrote. “Shanann was born to be a mother and help change lives.” He called her a “picture-perfect” mother. “I was blown away when I moved out there and lived with her for a few months after her first-born daughter, Bella (My Bella Bean),” Rzucek wrote. “I was exhausted by just watching my sister. She made being a parent look easy.” Shanann Watts publicly shared many photos of her girls, along with videos. Bella was often the star of the videos, including one in which she sang a song calling her father a hero.  “My Daddy is a hero, he helps me grow up strong,” Bella sings, a shy smile on her face. “He reads me books, he ties my shoes. You’re a hero, through and through. My Daddy, Daddy, I love you.” “I totally just cried!” Shanann Watts wrote in the caption of the video.  In another video, the expectant mother asks Bella how many babies are in her belly.  “Five!” Bella says, grinning. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” a male voice says from off camera.  “That’s a lot of babies,” Shanann Watts says.  Bella, who would kiss her mother’s pregnant stomach each night, giggles as Shanann Watts tells her that she needs to grow up quickly because she’ll need a lot of help with all those babies.  In a June post showing a scrape on Celeste’s forehead, Shanann Watts calls the 3-year-old “one of the toughest kids (she knows).” She says that Celeste and her energy is the reason she started using Thrive, one of the products she sold for Le-Vel.  “Lawd, this kid gives me mini heart attacks on the regular,” Shanann Watts wrote.  In an interview with 9News in Denver the day before his arrest, Chris Watts also described the couple’s children.  “Celeste, she’s just a bottle of energy,” he said. “I call her ‘Rampage’ because she's got two speeds: go, or she’s sleeping. She’s always the troublemaker, she’s always the one, like, jumping off things. Bella, she’s the more calm, cautious, mothering type, and she’s more like me -- she’s more calm. Celeste has definitely got her mom’s personality, where she’s all gung-ho, ready to go.” See Chris Watts’ entire interview with 9News below. In a Father’s Day post accompanied by a photo collage of the family, Shanann Watts praises her husband. “Chris, we are so incredibly blessed to have you! You do so much every day for us and take such great care of us. You are the reason I was brave enough to agree to number 3! From laundry to kids’ showers! You are incredible, and we are so lucky to have you in our life! Happy Father’s Day!” Rzucek wrote that he let his anger toward Chris Watts get the better of him in a previous post, in which he called his brother-in-law a “heartless psychopath” and said he wanted just 30 seconds alone with him.  He said he would never delete or regret his comments, however.  “He stole my whole world and treated them like they were trash,” Rzucek wrote. “I’ve never been so mad, sad, enraged, hurt, heartbroken, lost and shocked in all my life. So forgive me for how I went about it. My sister and nieces meant the absolute world to me. They made me strive to be an even better man. I wanted them to be proud of their uncle.” Rzucek wrote that he could go on for days with memories of his beloved sister, who recently visited family in North Carolina with Bella and Celeste, but instead said he was proud and honored to receive the love and well-wishes of those who will miss Shanann Watts.  He also asked people to pray for Chris Watts’ family, who is also mourning. “I'm trying really hard not to hate him because that's not how we were raised, but I just can't find it in my heart. I really don’t know what to say,” Rzucek wrote. “I just thank God that I got to spend the last six weeks loving, laughing,and enjoying what precious time I had with my sister and nieces that I loved with every inch of my soul.  “I wish I could go back in time and be there to keep you safe from harm. Sorry Uncle couldn't save you.”

News

  • The body of a woman who went missing while kayaking on a Troup County lake has been found. Someone called sheriff’s officials about 9 a.m. Monday to say they saw a body in the water, authorities said. Just after noon, the sheriff’s office confirmed the body was that of Maranda Whitten, 24, of Valley, Ala.  “The search for Maranda Whitten has unfortunately been suspended,” sheriff’s Sgt. Stewart Smith said in an emailed statement. “Maranda was found earlier this morning, a victim of an apparent drowning. As standard procedure her body will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be Maranda’s family. We appreciate all those who have gave of their time and resources during this time.” Whitten’s body was found with an extension cord, which was missing from the campground, tied to her ankles, then tied to a large rock, he said. Her death is being treated as a suicide, according to Smith. Whitten was last seen Friday. Officials said she was on a family camping trip at Shaefer Heard Park when she disappeared while kayaking on West Point Lake, which is about 82 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.  “Around 12:30 p.m., some campers saw her kayaking out in the water and shortly after that, a storm came through and around 2:30 her kayak was seen floating into the water with the paddle and the life jacket,' Smith said. Investigators from the sheriff's office, several other agencies and some civilian volunteers searched Saturday and Sunday for Whitten.
  • Fans swarmed the Varsity’s Midtown restaurant Saturday to get 90-cent deals on the iconic chili-dog chain’s 90th anniversary. It was an all-hands-on-deck day for the North Avenue landmark: Members of the family that owns the restaurant directed traffic in the jammed parking lot and had to turn away the overflow. But the family faces bigger tests for the business. One is how to grow it. The other is more basic. “We want the brand to survive all of our generations,” said John Browne, the Varsity’s vice president and husband of one of Varsity founder Frank Gordy’s grandchildren. Another of Gordy’s grandchildren, Gordon Muir, is the Varsity’s president, and a great-grandchild, Ashley Weiser, oversees the chain’s marketing. “We are on generation four,” Browne said. “We are studying how to make this last through generation 10.” » RELATED: Growing up in Athens, the Varsity’s other hometown » RELATED: Photos of the Varsity through the years » RELATED: Podcast makes a visit to the Varsity Some decisions are taking longer than expected. They’ve been contemplating opening a restaurant in Winder for about five years. They’ve considered another in Auburn, Alabama, for maybe a decade. More recently they bought nearly the entire block around their Athens restaurant at the corner of Broad Street and Milledge Avenue and tore down buildings of other businesses that had been there. What will they ultimately use the land for? “We don’t know that yet,” Browne said. “Right now we are planting grass.” “This family is a generational investor,” he said. “We have learned we are better at purchasing and owning land, not developing it. We are just worn-out old hot dog men.” The Varsity, which opened in 1928, is owned by the founder’s daughter and her two surviving biological children. But a bigger group of family members — 22 in all — are convening for a retreat in September to discuss the family business. They had a somewhat similar gathering earlier this year, and they’ve hired a family business consultant to help them as they think about the future of the company. More than two years ago they brought in a consultant to help them survey customers and contemplate potential future restaurant locations.  But they haven’t opened a new stand-alone restaurant since locating one in Dawsonville several years ago. (They also closed one in Alpharetta.) » RELATED: Photo gallery from Saturday’s birthday bash One part of the business will remain constant, Browne said. “We are not changing anything as far as the food.” That continues to be a draw. So does generational customer loyalty, passed down from parents to children. That and 90-cent prices Saturday attracted big crowds to the intown Varsity near Georgia Tech. Hundreds of people stood outside in lines that snaked through the parking lot. One woman said she waited 40 minutes just to get to the threshold of one of the restaurant’s entrances. Cars were backed up along Spring Street. “I’ve been here 33 years,” said Gordon Muir, The Varsity’s president, “and I’ve never seen a line out the door and to the sidewalk.” Another first, he said: They repeatedly had to turn drivers away from the packed parking lot. A vintage firetruck that was part of the planned party had to be turned away initially; there was no room for it. Some customers put in giant orders: 150 to 200 hot dogs each, Muir said. All the Varsity’s stand-alone locations were “very busy,” he said. Pam Aiken made the trek to Midtown from her home in Snellville. “I’ve been coming here since birth almost,” said the 72-year-old, who grew up in Atlanta. It was a top spot as a teenager after movies. Carhops, she said, would jump on the hoods or trunks of customers’ cars and ride them in. The food, Aiken said, “is an acquired taste.” She planned to order her usual: chili steak, onion rings or fries and a P.C. (a cup of plain chocolate milk drizzled over shaved ice, according to The Varsity’s unique lingo). Sonya Ferguson, 59, of Decatur remembered her dad bringing her Varsity meals as a child. She came back Saturday for more. She said she isn’t sure the family who owns The Varsity really wants it to get much bigger, given the potential risks for any business making dramatic changes. Perhaps, she said, “they like it just the way it is.” »THE ACCESSATLANTA PODCAST GOES TO THE VARSITY  At ajc.com/podcasts, check out our weekly accessAtlanta podcast’s visit to the Varsity in advance of the 90th anniversary celebration. Hear interviews with staff and customers and get the story of the beloved fast-food spot’s past, present and future from president Gordon Muir.
  • A firefighter died last week from falling tree debris after thousands of gallons of retardant were dropped on the area where he was helping battle California's largest-ever wildfire, according to a preliminary report from investigators. The summary report by California fire officials says Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was struck by debris on Aug. 13 at the Mendocino Complex Fire. Three other firefighters had minor injuries. Funeral services for the 42-year-old Burchett were held Monday in his home state of Utah. He is survived by a wife and 7-year-old son. The two-paragraph summary calls for an immediate corrective action, saying firefighters must remain clear of areas with overhead hazards during a retardant drop. Paul Grenier, a spokesman for California's firefighting agency, said he couldn't provide more details because the investigation is continuing. That includes disclosing the type of aircraft involved, why the four firefighters were underneath, or even if all four firefighters were from the same unit. 'Eventually that information will be released,' he said, but perhaps not for weeks. 'They're going to get their i's dotted and their t's crossed.' Cliff Allen, president of the union representing state wildland firefighters, said he understood investigators were still conducting interviews, but said fire supervisors should have made sure the firefighters were well clear of the drop zone. 'Operations will contact air attack and say 'We want to concentrate drops in this area of the fire,'' he said. 'It's the job between air attack and operations to make sure the area is clear of personnel or that it's clearly marked where personnel are on the ground.' There also could have been a radio miscommunication or the crew may not have heard or chose to ignore the radio warning, he said, though that's part of what's being investigated. He cautioned that it's not clear from the preliminary report whether the tree was weakened from the fire or from the retardant drop, or if the firefighters were hit by fire retardant slurry, which is a mixture of water, fertilizer and red dye. 'Anytime you're working in trees, you have trees that are fire weakened, then strong winds or water or retardant drops could potentially cause them to fall and possibly injure folks,' he said. 'It's often referred to as 'widow makers.'' Modified DC-10s can drop 12,000 gallons (45,424 liters) of slurry, 12 times the amount carried by the standard smaller air tanker used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It can lay a swath of fire retardant as wide as a football field for as long as a mile. CalFire says the modified 747 can drop 24,000 gallons, double that of the DC-10. It uses a system that can release the slurry under pressure or as gently as falling rain from an altitude as low as 400 feet (122 meters). Lead planes guide in the huge aircraft, showing them where to go and when to start and stop slurry drops.
  • New Zealand’s minister for women rode her bicycle “mostly downhill” to a hospital Sunday to give birth, The New York Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Julie Anne Genter, 38, who is also associate minister for health and transport, posted pictures on social media of herself and her partner, Peter Nunns, enjoying a “beautiful Sunday morning” ride to the hospital, the Times reported. “There wasn’t enough room in the car for the support crew. ... but it also put me in the best possible mood!” Genter wrote on Instagram. Genter, who is 42 weeks pregnant, will become the second government official in New Zealand to give birth this year. Prime Minister Jacinda Aldern gave birth in June, the Times reported. Genter, who was expecting her first child, was scheduled to be induced at an Auckland hospital, the newspaper reported. Genter, who grew up in Los Angeles, emigrated to New Zealand in 2006. She has had two miscarriages, the NZ Herald reported. She is expected to take three months off from Parliament before returning to her post in November, the newspaper reported.
  • Two people are dead after rip currents forced several rescues at a New Hampshire beach. >> Read more trending news  Seven swimmers were pulled from the water at Seabrook Beach, near 131 Ocean Drive, just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Seabrook Police said two of the people were unconscious when they were brought to shore. The beach does not have lifeguards, but lifeguards from nearby Hampton Beach helped pull a man from the water around 12:59 p.m. He was transported to the hospital where he later died. New Hampshire State Police have not released his identity, but said the victim is a 49-year-old Methuen man. 'They were probably three-quarters of a mile out from what I could see,' Rich Ferrara said. 'Pretty intense.' A 47-year-old woman was transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room and was pronounced dead Monday morning. Officials said the two were married. 'I've never seen anything like that, where so many people were in trouble,' Ferrara said Seabrook Police said an officer helped several of the people to shore before helping in the search for the last person, who was unaccounted for at the time. 'One of the police arrived and stripped down, took off his gun belt,' Ferrara said. 'He dove into the water and started swimming out because there were people screaming that there were girls missing.' >> Trending: 14-year-old surfer bitten by shark off North Carolina coast The officer was one of the first to jump in, helping to bring everyone involved to shore. 'He pulled a woman in, she wasn't breathing when he finally got her in,' Linda Farrell said. The Seabrook Fire Department, along with Seabrook Beach Patrol were the main responding agencies in the incident.
  • A Utah woman wasn’t going to let the man she said was trying to record her daughter who trying on clothes in a store’s changing room get away. Police said the woman chased down Jorge Leon-Alfara after witnesses said the 36-year-old man was trying to record the woman’s daughter from a changing room next to the teen at a Rue 21 in Salt Lake City, KSTU reported. The mother recorded the man, and the comments she made to him, as they waited for police.  The woman called him a predator, saying, “This right here is what a predator looks like. I caught this guy underneath my daughter’s stall while she was changing at Rue 21.” She warned Leon-Alfara that she was going to make sure people knew what she said he did, KSTU reported. “Not today, buddy Not today,” the mother said. “I’m going to make sure your face gets out, so that you’re not in any more stalls, looking under little girls dressing.”  The video was uploaded to Facebook where it has been watched millions of times.  Police attribute people being aware of what was happening for being able to arrest Leon-Alfaro who now faces felony charges of voyeurism of a child under 14, KSTU reported. >> Read more trending news