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Privacy Policy
Last Updated: August 4, 2014

Thank you for visiting this website, which is operated by an Affiliate of Cox Media Group, LLC (“CMG”). This site is one of a network of ad-supported sites operated by Affiliates of CMG each of which also operates a local newspaper, a local television station or a local radio station (each a “CMG Affiliate Site” and, collectively, the “CMG Network of Sites”). Each CMG Affiliate Site has adopted this privacy statement to the extent applicable. “Affiliate” means a company controlling, controlled by or under common control with another company.

This privacy statement is provided by the CMG Affiliate that operates this website (“we,” “us” or “our”) to explain the ways in which we collect information from you through your use of this site and any services offered through this website and any of our applications or mobile applications (collectively, the “Service”), and the ways that we and the other CMG Affiliate Sites may use that information. This privacy statement does not apply to any information you may provide to us through other means; for example, at a live event, via mail, or via telephone. Please read this privacy statement carefully so that you understand our online privacy practices. By using our Service, you agree that your use, and any dispute over our online privacy practices, is governed by this privacy statement and our visitor agreement. If you have questions regarding privacy issues, please contact us at privacy@coxinc.com.

YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS

California law allows California residents, once a year and free of charge, to request information about certain types of personal information (if any) that a business has disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes in the prior calendar year. However, under the law, we are not required to provide this information as long as we: (1) notify you of that you have the right to prevent disclosure of personal information, and (2) provide you with a cost-free means to exercise that right. As noted in this Privacy Statement, we require California residents to opt-in to activities where we would share their personal information with third parties for those third parties’ direct marketing purposes. If you are a California resident and you would like to prevent disclosure of your personal information for use in direct marketing by a third party, do not opt-in to participate in these activities. If you are a California resident, and you have opted in to one of these activities, but you later decide that you would like to prevent our disclosure of your personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes, please contact us.

TYPES OF INFORMATION WE COLLECT

Overview. The information we gather generally falls into one of two categories: (1) information (for example, your name and address) that you voluntarily supply when you register with our Service, initiate transactions on or through the Service (such as buying products or services through the Service), or when you participate in the features we offer through the Service (such as comments posted on a blog, discussion group, or other social networking features on the Service), and (2) information gathered on usage patterns and preferences as visitors navigate through our Service. In some cases, one of our agents or Affiliates may collect the information on our behalf. Third party Service Providers (as defined below) that provide all or some of the services available through this Service also may be gathering the same kinds of information.

Registration Information. To make use of certain features available through this Service (such as to receive email newsletters, to post a classified ad, or to participate in some social networking features) you may need to register and to provide certain information as part of the registration process. (If permitted by this Service, you may be able to bypass some of the steps within the registration process by using your user name and password associated with your account on certain specified social networking sites when you register for our Service, but you will still have to complete the registration process after entering that information.) We or our Service Providers may also ask for information from you if you buy products or services or conduct other transactions via our Service. (We may ask, for example, for your name, email address, sex, age, zip code or credit card number, and we might request information on your interest in sports, personal finance, the performing arts, and the like.) The information you supply will help us to offer you more personalized features, to tailor our Service to your interests and make them more useful to you, and also may be used in the processing of e-commerce transactions. In addition, our Service Providers may provide us with additional personal information about you that you provide to them through your separate accounts with them as described in their own privacy statements.

The more you tell us about yourself, the more value we can offer you. Supplying such information is entirely voluntary. But if you don't supply the information we request, we may be unable to provide you with services we make available to other users of our Service. For instance, we can't send you email alerting you to a new service we're offering, or breaking news that may interest you, if you don't tell us what you're interested in and give us your email address.

Contests and Other Promotions. From time to time, we may offer contests, sweepstakes or other promotions via our Service. If you enter one of these contests, sweepstakes or promotions, you'll have to provide information about yourself (such as your name, address, telephone number and email address) so that we can administer and operate the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion (including contacting you if you win, fulfilling a prize, and publishing a winners’ list). If you don't want us to collect the information requested in the registration form or to provide it to any of our Affiliates, Service Providers and co-sponsor(s) as described below, please do not enter the contest, sweepstakes or promotion.

Email Newsletters. We may also offer you the opportunity to subscribe to email newsletters that we make available through the Service. If you have opted to receive a particular newsletter, you may always unsubscribe later if you decide not to receive further mailings of the newsletter from us. See "Opting In/Opting Out" below.

Cookies. To help make our sites more responsive to the needs and interests of our visitors, we keep track of the pages visited by our users by placing a cookie, a small entry in a text file, on your hard drive. Our advertisers and Service Providers may also assign their own cookies to your browser, which is a process that we don't control.

We use cookies to help us tailor our site to your needs and to deliver a better, more personalized service. For example, we may use cookies to personalize the ads you see on our Service or to avoid showing you the same ad repeatedly during a single visit. In addition, we may use cookies to track the pages on our Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites visited by our users. We may also use cookies to measure site performance and/or advertising performance. We can build a better Service if we know which pages our users are visiting and how often. You can manage your browser’s cookie setting through the “options” menu on most commercially available web browsers, including options to set your browser to notify you before accepting a cookie or to disable cookies entirely. Of course, if you set your browser not to accept cookies, you may not be able to take advantage of the personalized features enjoyed by other users of our Service.

Web Beacons. Our Service may contain electronic images (called "single-pixel GIFs" or "web beacons") or other tools that allow us and our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors and, where necessary, our advertisers to count users who have visited particular pages of this Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites or applications, or to access certain cookies. We may use these tools and other technologies to recognize which the links visitors click and to track how users respond to ads we place on third-party sites or applications. These features may also be included in our email newsletters so that we can learn which messages have been opened and acted upon. In combination with cookies, these web beacons allow us (and/or our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors, or advertisers) to track the number of users who view particular pages and to fine tune the advertising messages delivered to users of this Service and other websites and applications. We may use "clickstream" data collected using web beacons and cookies to help us tailor promotional content, including such content in email messages and on landing pages, to the perceived interests of our users. Advertising networks with which we are affiliated and third-party advertising services that we use may also use web beacons on our Service to gather similar anonymous "clickstream" information, which is used to fine tune advertising messages delivered to our visitors and visitors to other websites.

Browser Level Information and IP Addresses. Our web servers automatically collect limited information about your computer configuration or your mobile device when you use our Service, including the type of browser software you use, the operating system you're running, the resolution of your computer monitor or mobile device, the website that referred you, the type of device you’re using, and your IP address. (Your IP address is a numerical address that is used by computers and mobile devices connected to the Internet to identify your computer or mobile device so that data (such as the web pages you want to view) can be transmitted to you. We also use IP address information for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. Your IP address alone does not tell us who you are.) We use this information to deliver our web pages to you upon request, to tailor our Service (including ads distributed through our Service) to the interests of our users, and to measure traffic within our Service.

Social Networks. When you use the social networking features on our Service, you may be asked to log in to a social network using your social network credentials (for example, your Facebook user ID). When you log in, we may collect information about you (including personal information) from that social network. In addition, when you use one of the social network sharing tools available on our Service, the social network operating the tool may collect information about you based on such use. The social network’s use of that information will be subject to its own privacy policy, which may be different from ours.

Non-Personally Identifying Information. This website uses Google Analytics to help analyze how users use the site. Google Analytics is a web analysis service provided by Google. Google utilizes the data collected to track and examine the use of www.massport.com, to prepare reports on its activities and share them with other Google services. Google may use the data collected to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network. Google Analytics features implemented on this site include Display Advertising (Demographics and Interest Reporting).  We use data from Google's Interest-based advertising or 3rd-party audience data (such as age, gender and interests) with Google Analytics only to maintain this site’s functionality, responsiveness and improve content.  CMG uses the Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting feature to identify trends in the usage of its website which may be published in reports for internal use.  Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics regarding your visits to this site is restricted by the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  You may opt-out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising and customer Display Network ads using Ads Settings.

The Google Analytics tool uses “cookies” which are text files placed on your computer, to collect standard internet log information and visitor behavior information in an anonymous form. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including IP address) is transmitted to Google. This information is then used to evaluate visitors’ use of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity. At any time, you may choose to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking with the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. 

Information You Post. Please remember that anything you post to any message boards, discussion or comment areas, or social networking services on our Service can be seen, collected, and used by anyone who has access to that board, area, or social networking service. We cannot control how your postings may be used by third parties with such access.

Statistical Information. Much of the information we collect is in the form of aggregated statistics, such as the traffic that visits various pages within our Service, and the habits and preferences of our audience. Such aggregated information does not include any information that would identify you personally. We may use such aggregated information and disclose it to any third parties as we see fit.

Mobile Applications and Location-Based Information. Our Service may have the ability to use your geographic location to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. If you choose to enable our Service to use your location information, then that information will be stored and used to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. Also, when you use a mobile device or browser to access our Service, then your device and/or your browser may automatically collect and/or transmit your device’s unique identifier, IP address, location information, device make/model, wireless provider, and related information to us and our Service Providers. We and our Service Providers may use this information to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location.

 

Data Collected in Connection with Ad Serving and Targeting. We use third-party Service Providers, such as ad networks, to serve advertising to you when you use our Service or use other sites or applications. These Service Providers may use information about your activities while you navigate through and use this Service and other web sites and applications (and that the Service Providers collect through cookies) to provide you with advertisements about products and services that they think may be of interest to you. The information used by these Service Providers for these purposes generally does not identify you personally (in other words, the Service Providers are not usually using your name, address, email address, or phone number for these purposes, although they may use your IP address, your geographic location, or your device’s unique identifier). You can learn more about such data collection practices, and/or opt out of any use by our Service Providers’ of cookies to tailor advertising to your interests, by visiting aboutads.info.

CMG’s Adherence to Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. CMG adheres to the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising of the Digital Advertising Alliance. To learn more about the Principles and your choices when it comes to the use of online behavioral advertising data by advertisers and ad servers across the Internet, visit aboutads.info.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

Why We Collect Information From You. Like any business, it's important for us to know our customers -- their needs, their likes, what they want and expect from us. Unlike most businesses, however, we deliver a valuable product to our customers without asking for anything in return. Since we make most of this Service available without charge to you, we rely heavily on advertisers to produce the income necessary to operate our Service. Advertisers are like most people: They expect something in return for the money they spend. They want to know how many people will see their ad and how often our users are looking at their ads on our Service -- in other words, how effective their ad is likely to be. So it's important that we be able to tell advertisers who our audience is. Except as expressly set forth in this privacy statement, we will not provide, sell or rent to any third party any personally identifying information that we collect from you through your use of this Service.

Advertisers. Without your permission, we will not share the personally-identifying information you provide when registering on our Service with advertisers. We may, however, take the information you provide and aggregate it with data from all the other people that use this Service and associated services. Then we will use that pool of information to inform our advertisers about our audience without identifying you personally.

Service Providers. All or portions of our Service may be provided or supported by our third-party service providers ("Service Providers"), and we may share any of the information that we collect from you through our Service (e.g., anonymous information collected through cookies on your browser, information you submit to us to enter a contest, sweepstakes or promotion offered through the Service, etc.) with such Service Providers. In the event we offer services through this Service such as chat, email newsletters, email services, online classifieds and/or similar services, such services may be made available through cooperative arrangements with providers that specialize in operating such services. In some instances, our Service Providers will have the same access to your information as we do. Their use of the information will be subject to the terms of their respective privacy policies.

Contest Co-Sponsors. If you enter any contest, sweepstakes or other promotion that we make available through this Service, we may share the information you submit to us with the co-sponsor(s) of the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion. We will identify any co-sponsor(s) in the official rules for the promotion.

Our Affiliates. We may share any of the information that we collect from you (including anonymous information and personally identifying information that you may provide) with the other CMG Affiliate Sites within the CMG Network of Sites so that we and they can provide you with products and services that may be of interest to you.

Sites to Which We Link. Our Service includes links to plenty of other websites, and provides access to products and services offered by third parties, whose privacy policies we don't control. When you access another site or purchase products or services or conduct other transactions through their sites, use of any information you provide is governed by the privacy statement of the operator of the site you're visiting or the provider of such products or services.

Other Disclosures. We reserve the right to release information about users of our Service when release is necessary or appropriate to comply with law, to enforce this privacy statement or our visitor agreement, or to protect the rights, property or safety of users of our Service, the public, our customers, or our company and its employees, agents, partners and Affiliates. As our business grows, we may buy or sell various assets. In the unlikely event that we merge with another entity or otherwise transfer substantially all of our assets to another entity (including, without limitation, to one of our Affiliates as part of an internal reorganization), information collected from this Service would be among the transferred assets.

SHOPPING

When you purchase products and/or services through our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain information, including your contact details (such as your name, address, telephone and email), and your billing information (such as your credit card number and the date that your card expires). We may also ask you to provide additional information such as unique identifiers (such as your date of birth), and registration information (login name and password).

We will use the information you provide us to process your transaction and to contact you regarding your purchase if necessary. We will share this information with our Service Providers to the extent necessary to facilitate your purchase (for purposes such as customer service, verification, fulfillment and billing purposes). We will not sell or rent your personal billing information to any third party. We may share non-financial information with our Service Providers in accordance with this privacy statement.

OPTING IN/OPTING OUT

In certain places on this Service (for example, when registering as a user of this Service, managing your account, shopping, or participating in activities like promotional contests), we may ask you to consent to the sharing of your information with third parties with which we have business relationships. If you provide such consent (for example, by checking a box or by some other means), we will make your information available to such third parties as described in the consent form so that they, we, or both may contact you directly regarding special offers, promotions, products or services that may be of interest to you.

If you register with this Service, you will have the opportunity to review or update the information you have provided us at any time. You also have the option of deleting all information except for your email address. If you would like to completely deactivate your account, please contact us. Please note, however, that if you deactivate your account, you will not receive any newsletters from us and you will not be able to participate in any of our sweepstakes or contests. Also, even if you deactivate your account, you still need to go through a separate process to unsubscribe from any SMS alerts you previously signed up to receive. You can unsubscribe from these alerts by using the “STOP” function within those messages. You agree that, subject to applicable law, we may use your information to contact you for customer service, to inform you of important changes or additions to our Service or the services offered over our Service and to send you administrative notices or any communications relevant to your use of our Service.

If you have subscribed to one of our email newsletters, you will always have the opportunity to unsubscribe from future mailings (for example, by clicking on an unsubscribe link in an email newsletter or by modifying your account settings on our Service).

If you have submitted your information on a page provided in conjunction with one of our Service Providers, the information you submit may be jointly maintained by us and the Service Provider. If you decide to opt out of our Service, you may also need to contact the Service Provider separately to request the Service Provider to remove your information from its database.

DATA SECURITY

All information gathered through our Service is stored within database(s) operated by us or by a Service Provider on our behalf. We and/or our Service Providers secure the personally identifying information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. For e-commerce transactions where you provide sensitive financial data (e.g., credit card information) to us via this Service, we transmit your billing information using encryption. Encryption scrambles your credit card number and personal information. However, no security system is impenetrable. We cannot guarantee the security of our database, nor can we guarantee that information you supply won't be intercepted while being transmitted to us over the Internet.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILDREN'S PRIVACY

This Service is not directed at children under the age of 13, and we won't knowingly allow anyone under age 13 to register with our Service or to provide any other personally identifying information. If you’re under 13, please do not provide us with any personally identifying information about yourself (such as your name, your email address or your phone number). If we become aware that we have collected any personally identifying information from a user under the age of 13, we will remove such information from our records as soon as possible.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY STATEMENT

We may change the terms of this privacy statement or introduce new terms and conditions from time to time, in which case we will post an updated version of this privacy statement on this Service and will update the “Last Updated” date above to reflect the date the changes take effect. By continuing to use this Service after we post any such changes, you accept this privacy statement, as modified.

News

  • We’ve heard this song before, but it seems genuine that KISS’ upcoming “End of the Road World Tour” will be exactly that. The band announced the decision to pack up the pyro after a performance on Wednesday’s finale of “America’s Got Talent.” 'All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who've filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years. This will be the ultimate celebration for those who've seen us and a last chance for those who haven't. KISS Army, we're saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we'll go out the same way we came in... Unapologetic and Unstoppable,' the band said in a statement. >> Read more trending news  KISS hasn’t yet announced dates for this final run, but will update fans in the next few weeks on www.kissonline.com.  In 2000-01, KISS embarked on “The Farewell Tour,” which, in fairness, turned out to be the final tour with the original lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. But the band returned in 2003 for a co-headlining tour with Aerosmith and has remained steady road warriors. The band’s current members are Stanley, Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. Read more here.
  • Janelle Ortiz dreamed of becoming famous. Melissa Ramirez imagined a day when the street wasn't home and drugs not her preoccupation. Claudine Luera just ached to see her children do better than she had. All of these women, bound by difficulties in life, met an eerily similar death: They were shot in the head and left on rural Texas roadsides, allegedly by a Border Patrol agent who has been described as a serial killer. Relatives of the dead are now grieving for loved ones who, they say, were more than the troubles they endured. 'They had families. They were loved. They were someone. They were human,' said Colette Mireles, a sister of Luera. The suspect's motive remains unknown. Authorities said the three women and a fourth woman, Guiselda Alicia Cantu, whose name was released Wednesday, were sex workers, and that Border Patrol supervisor Juan David Ortiz knew some of them. Each lived a life littered with hardship. Gracie Perez remembered her sister-in-law, 29-year-old Ramirez, telling her she was raped when she was 13. She dropped out of high school, experienced depression and eventually began living on the streets. Her five children were left in the care of others. She struggled with a drug habit. Despite all of that, her relatives remembered someone always trying to make others laugh. Ramirez liked pulling up funny videos on YouTube, devouring whatever food was before her and enjoying TV at full blast as she fell asleep on the couch. Perez said her sister-in-law frequently returned home to her mother's house, where two of her children live, typically staying a few days, vowing to get off drugs and improve her life before returning to the streets. 'She wanted to be a better mom, a better person,' Perez said. 'She didn't want to be running the streets anymore.' Janelle Ortiz, 28, envisioned a future where her personality and gift for talking with nearly anyone transformed her into someone famous. Rosenda Ortiz, her younger sister, remembered the difficult childhood they shared, with them constantly being thrust into new homes. She said her sister was strong and had a big heart, always asking what others needed. Rosenda Ortiz hoped that one day she'd be able to get a home of her own and invite her sister to come live with her. 'He was not known as a prostitute or a sex worker,' she said, using pronouns she knows her transgender sister would have chided her for. 'He was just a human being like the other victims. He was just living his life.' Mireles last talked to her 42-year-old sister two days before her body was found. She was 'over the moon' upon hearing that one of her sons was doing well in school and was already ironing out plans for prom with his girlfriend. As children, the sisters were at each other's throats. But Mireles marveled at her sister's ability to smile through her pain, even as her life spiraled downward the past few years. She always knew she might get a call with news of Luera's death, but she figured it would be an overdose. To hear she was found shot, clinging to life on the side of the road, was harrowing. The suspect told police that Luera questioned him about being the last person to have seen Ramirez before her death, authorities said. Mireles takes some comfort thinking of her sister's bravery in confronting him. 'My sister was feisty, so I'm sure she put up a hell of a fight,' she said. Joey Tellez, the attorney for the 35-year-old suspect, released a statement saying he would not be commenting on the case. Ortiz is a Navy veteran who had been in the Border Patrol about 10 years. Back at the modest home Ramirez frequented, an American flag is tied to a front window of a faded green trailer, and toys are strewn across the yard. Her mother, Maria Cristina Benevidez, steps haltingly as she places a photo of her daughter beside the wooden box that holds her ashes, hanging rosary beads and a gold cross necklace from the frame. Roosters are crowing, a Chihuahua named Mia is barking and Benevidez stands solemnly, her head bowed. Two weeks before Ramirez was found, she sat at the kitchen table in this home and shared a frightening premonition. 'I'm going to get killed. I'm going to be dead in less than a month,' her brother Cesar Ramirez remembered his sister saying. 'Stop saying nonsense,' he said his mother responded. 'Stop saying those stupid things.' She persisted, insisting she would be shot in the head. 'They're going to kill me. They're going to kill me,' she said. Ramirez was drunk, her sister-in-law said, and she didn't offer any more details of her vision. Later, Perez said, her sister-in-law pressed her to join her for a night of partying. Ramirez called her over and over, but she didn't answer. Now, she thinks she should have done something more, and she's haunted by Ramirez's parting words. 'This is the last time you're going to see me,' she warned. ___ Sedensky reported from New York.
  • A staple of summer — swarms of bugs — seems to be a thing of the past. And that's got scientists worried. Pesky mosquitoes, disease-carrying ticks, crop-munching aphids and cockroaches are doing just fine. But the more beneficial flying insects of summer — native bees, moths, butterflies, ladybugs, lovebugs, mayflies and fireflies — appear to be less abundant. Scientists think something is amiss, but they can't be certain: In the past, they didn't systematically count the population of flying insects, so they can't make a proper comparison to today. Nevertheless, they're pretty sure across the globe there are fewer insects that are crucial to as much as 80 percent of what we eat. Yes, some insects are pests. But they also pollinate plants, are a key link in the food chain and help decompose life. 'You have total ecosystem collapse if you lose your insects. How much worse can it get than that?' said University of Delaware entomologist Doug Tallamy. If they disappeared, 'the world would start to rot.' He noted Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson once called bugs: 'The little things that run the world.' The 89-year-old Wilson recalled that he once frolicked in a 'Washington alive with insects, especially butterflies.' Now, 'the flying insects are virtually gone.' It hit home last year when he drove from suburban Boston to Vermont and decided to count how many bugs hit his windshield. The result: A single moth. WINDSHIELD TEST The un-scientific experiment is called the windshield test. Wilson recommends everyday people do it themselves to see. Baby Boomers will probably notice the difference, Tallamy said. Several scientists have conducted their own tests with windshields, car grilles and headlights, and most notice few squashed bugs. Researchers are quick to point out that such exercises aren't good scientific experiments, since they don't include control groups or make comparisons with past results. (Today's cars also are more aerodynamic, so bugs are more likely to slip past them and live to buzz about it.) Still, there are signs of decline. Research has shown dwindling individual species in specific places, including lightning bugs, moths and bumblebees. One study estimated a 14 percent decline in ladybugs in the United States and Canada from 1987 to 2006. University of Florida urban entomologist Philip Koehler said he's seen a recent decrease in lovebugs — insects that fly connected and coated Florida's windshields in the 1970s and 1980s. This year, he said, 'was kind of disappointing, I thought.' University of Nevada, Reno, researcher Lee Dyer and his colleagues have been looking at insects at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica since 1991. There's a big insect trap sheet under black light that decades ago would be covered with bugs. Now, 'there's no insects on that sheet,' he said. But there's not much research looking at all flying insects in big areas. THE EVIDENCE Last year, a study that found an 82 percent mid-summer decline in the number and weight of bugs captured in traps in 63 nature preserves in Germany compared with 27 years earlier. It was one of the few, if only, broad studies. Scientists say similar comparisons can't be done elsewhere, because similar bug counts weren't done decades ago. 'We don't know how much we're losing if we don't know how much we have,' said University of Hawaii entomologist Helen Spafford. The lack of older data makes it 'unclear to what degree we're experiencing an arthropocalypse,' said University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum. Individual studies aren't convincing in themselves, 'but the sheer accumulated weight of evidence seems to be shifting' to show a problem, she said. After the German study, countries started asking if they have similar problems, said ecologist Toke Thomas Hoye of Aarhus University in Denmark. He studied flies in a few spots in remote Greenland and noticed an 80 percent drop in numbers since 1996. 'It's clearly not a German thing,' said University of Connecticut entomologist David Wagner, who has chronicled declines in moth populations in the northeastern United States. 'We just need to find out how widespread the phenomenon is.' THE SUSPECTS Most scientists say lots of factors, not just one, caused the apparent decline in flying insects. Suspects include habitat loss, insecticide use, the killing of native weeds, single-crop agriculture, invasive species, light pollution, highway traffic and climate change. 'It's death by a thousand cuts, and that's really bad news,' Wagner said. To Tallamy, two causes stand out: Humans' war on weeds and vast farmland planted with the same few crops. Weeds and native plants are what bugs eat and where they live, Tallamy said. Milkweeds, crucial to the beautiful monarch butterfly, are dwindling fast. Manicured lawns in the United States are so prevalent that, added together, they are as big as New England, he said. Those landscapes are 'essentially dead zones,' he said. Light pollution is another big problem for species such as moths and fireflies, bug experts said. Insects are attracted to brightness, where they become easy prey and expend energy they should be using to get food, Tallamy said. Jesse Barber of Boise State is in the middle of a study of fireflies and other insects at Grand Teton National Park. He said he notices a distinct connection between light pollution and dwindling populations. 'We're hitting insects during the day, we're hitting them at night,' Tallamy said. 'We're hitting them just about everywhere.' Lawns, light pollution and bug-massacring highway traffic are associated where people congregate. But Danish scientist Hoye found a noticeable drop in muscid flies in Greenland 300 miles (500 kilometers) from civilization. His studies linked declines to warmer temperatures. Other scientists say human-caused climate change may play a role, albeit small. RESTORING HABITAT Governments are trying to improve the situation. Maryland is in a three-year experiment to see if planting bee-friendly native wildflowers helps. University of Maryland entomology researcher Lisa Kuder says the usual close-crop 'turf is basically like a desert' that doesn't attract flying insects. She found an improvement — 70 different species and records for bees — in the areas where flowers are allowed to grow wild and natural alongside roads. The trouble is that it is so close to roadways that Tallamy fears that the plants become 'ecological traps where you're drawing insects in and they're all squashed by cars.' Still, Tallamy remains hopeful. In 2000, he moved into this rural area between Philadelphia and Baltimore and made his 10-acre patch all native plants, creating a playground for bugs. Now he has 861 species of moths and 54 species of breeding birds that feed on insects. Wagner, of the University of Connecticut, spends his summers teaching middle schoolers in a camp to look for insects, like he did decades ago. They have a hard time finding the cocoons he used to see regularly. 'The kids I'm teaching right now are going to think that scarce insects are the rule,' Wagner said. 'They're not realizing that there could be an ecological disaster on the horizon.' ___ Associated Press video journalist Federica Narancio contributed to this report. Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears . His work can be found here . ___ The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • As South Carolina rivers overflowed from Florence's torrential rain, deputies taking two women to a mental health facility drove into floodwaters that engulfed their van and trapped the women inside, officials said Wednesday. The two deputies worked to free the women, who were being transported Tuesday night as part of a court order, but were not able to save them from the back of the van, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson told reporters. 'I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out,' Thompson said. Rescue crews needed about 45 minutes to find the van, which was underwater at that point, and plucked the Horry County deputies from the roof, the sheriff said. Officials said the van was in Marion County near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water state officials are watching closely after Florence. Because of darkness, responders decided trying to retrieve the women's bodies from the van Tuesday night wasn't safe. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist. At nearly 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered. Thompson identified the women as Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43. Earlier Wednesday, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson had identified Newton with a different last name. Thompson told reporters that deputies appear to have driven around a barrier blocking the road but the investigation is ongoing. 'It hasn't been confirmed to me that they did, but here's my question: There's barriers there. It could be assumed that he did,' Thompson said Wednesday. Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions. 'If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?' he said. 'People need to know exactly how it happened. It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place.' The incident has spawned investigations by the State Law Enforcement Division and Highway Patrol. Thompson said he has also begun an internal investigation and put the deputies involved — Joshua Bishop and Stephen Flood — on administrative leave. A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Flood told a reporter he didn't want to talk to anyone. There was no answer at a number listed for Bishop. Thompson said he did not think the women were in restraints in the back of the van, noting that restraints are used for combative patients 'and I understand they were not.' The women had been involuntarily committed by a physician, authorities said. Under South Carolina law, people who have been certified by a physician as posing an imminent risk of harm to themselves by virtue of mental illness and are the subject of an involuntary emergency admission must be transported by law enforcement to whichever designated hospital has agreed to admit them, according to officials with the state's Department of Mental Health. According to statute, the documents authorizing the admission require 'a law enforcement officer, preferably in civilian clothes and preferably with crisis intervention training, to take into custody and transport the person to the hospital designated by the certification.' The sheriff said his agency acts as a courier in such situations, to follow a judge's wishes. Neither woman has an arrest record in South Carolina, according to documents obtained from state police. Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems. Newton had posted on her Facebook page that she previously had been hospitalized for mental illness. She posted multiple times about her struggles. ___ AP photographer Gerald Herbert in Conway and AP writer Jeffrey Collins in Columbia contributed to this report. ___ Kinnard can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard .
  • Foreign government hackers continue to target the personal email accounts of U.S. senators and their aides — and the Senate's security office has refused to defend them, a lawmaker says. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a Wednesday letter to Senate leaders that his office discovered that 'at least one major technology company' has warned an unspecified number of senators and aides that their personal email accounts were 'targeted by foreign government hackers.' Similar methods were employed by Russian military agents who leaked the contents of private email inboxes to influence the 2016 elections. Wyden did not specify the timing of the notifications, but a Senate staffer said they occurred 'in the last few weeks or months.' The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. But the senator said the Office of the Sergeant at Arms , which oversees Senate security, informed legislators and staffers that it has no authority to help secure personal, rather than official, accounts. 'This must change,' Wyden wrote in the letter. 'The November election grows ever closer, Russia continues its attacks on our democracy, and the Senate simply does not have the luxury of further delays.' A spokeswoman for the security office said it would have no comment. Wyden has proposed legislation that would allow the security office to offer digital protection for personal accounts and devices, the same way it does with official ones. His letter did not provide additional details of the attempts to pry into the lawmakers' digital lives, including whether lawmakers of both parties are still being targeted. Google and Microsoft, which offer popular private email accounts, declined to comment. The Wyden letter cites previous Associated Press reporting on the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear and how it targeted the personal accounts of congressional aides between 2015 and 2016. The group's prolific cyberspying targeted the Gmail accounts of current and former Senate staffers, including Robert Zarate, now national security adviser to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Jason Thielman, chief of staff to Montana Sen. Steve Daines, the AP found. The same group also spent the second half of 2017 laying digital traps intended to look like portals where Senate officials enter their work email credentials, the Tokyo-based cybersecurity firm TrendMicro has reported. Microsoft seized some of those traps, and in September 2017 apparently thwarted an attempt to steal login credentials of a policy aide to Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill , the Daily Beast discovered in July. Last month, Microsoft made news again when it seized several internet domains linked to Fancy Bear , including two apparently aimed at conservative think tanks in Washington. Such incidents 'only scratch the surface' of advanced cyberthreats faced by U.S. officials in the administration and Congress, according to Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University. Rid made the statement in a letter to Wyden last week . 'The personal accounts of senators and their staff are high-value, low-hanging targets,' Rid wrote. 'No rules, no regulations, no funding streams, no mandatory training, no systematic security support is available to secure these resources.' Attempts to breach such accounts were a major feature of the yearlong AP investigation into Fancy Bear that identified hundreds of senior officials and politicians — including former secretaries of state, top generals and intelligence chiefs — whose Gmail accounts were targeted. The Kremlin is by no means the only source of worry, said Matt Tait, a University of Texas cybersecurity fellow and former British intelligence official. 'There are lots of countries that are interested in what legislators are thinking, what they're doing, how to influence them, and it's not just for purposes of dumping their information online,' Tait said. In an April 12 letter released by Wyden's office, Adm. Michael Rogers — then director of the National Security Agency — acknowledged that personal accounts of senior government officials 'remain prime targets for exploitation' and said that officials at the NSA and Department for Homeland Security were discussing ways to better protect them. The NSA and DHS declined to offer further details. Guarding personal accounts is a complex, many-layered challenge. Rid believes tech companies have a sudden responsibility to nudge high-profile political targets into better digital hygiene. He said he did not believe much as been done, although Facebook announced a pilot program Monday to help political campaigns protect their accounts, including monitoring for potential hacking threats for those that sign up. Boosting protection in the Senate could begin with the distribution of small chip-based security devices such as the YubiKey, which are already used in many secure corporate and government environments, Tait said. Such keys supplement passwords to authenticate legitimate users, potentially frustrating distant hackers. Cybersecurity experts also recommend them for high-value cyber-espionage targets including human rights workers and journalists. 'In an ideal world, the Sergeant at Arms could just have a pile of YubiKeys,' said Tait. 'When legislators or staff come in they can (get) a quick cybersecurity briefing and pick up a couple of these for their personal accounts and their official accounts.' ___ Bajak reported from Boston. Satter reported from London.
  • Authorities said they still don't know why an employee at a Wisconsin software company went to his office with a pistol and extra ammunition and began firing on his colleagues, seriously injuring several, before he was fatally shot by police. Middleton Police Chief Chuck Foulke said the shooting happened Wednesday morning at WTS Paradigm. Officers were alerted to an active-shooter situation at 10:26 a.m. and arrived to find a man armed with a semi-automatic pistol and extra ammunition. The man fired at officers before he was shot, and he later died at a Madison hospital. Foulke said four officers fired their weapons within eight minutes of getting the call, preventing more bloodshed. 'I think a lot less people were injured or killed because police officers went in and neutralized the shooter,' Foulke said. Foulke released few details about the suspect: that he was an employee of WTS Paradigm and lived in nearby Madison. The chief said he didn't know if victims were targeted, adding that investigators were following all leads. 'We have reason to believe the suspect was heavily armed with a lot of extra ammunition, a lot of extra magazines,' Foulke said. Judy Lahmers, a business analyst at WTS Paradigm, said she was working at her desk when she heard what sounded 'like somebody was dropping boards on the ground, really loud.' Lahmers said she ran out of the building and hid behind a car. She said the building's glass entrance door was shattered. 'I'm not looking back, I'm running as fast as I can. You just wonder, 'Do you hide or do you run?'' she told The Associated Press. She said she knew one co-worker had been grazed by a bullet but was OK. She didn't have any other information about the shooting but said it was 'totally unexpected. We're all software people. We have a good group.' WTS Paradigm Marketing Manager Ryan Mayrand said in a statement Wednesday evening that the company was 'shocked and heartbroken' and was working to set up counseling for workers. He asked the media to respect the privacy of the workers, particularly those who were among the victims. University Hospital in Madison confirmed Wednesday evening that it was still treating three victims from the shooting, saying one was in critical condition and two were in serious condition. Police conducted a secondary search of the office building after the shooting to ensure there were no more victims or suspects — and officers discovered some people still hiding in the building, which also houses Esker Software. Gabe Geib, a customer advocate at Esker Software, said he was working at his desk when he heard what 'sounded like claps.' He said he then saw people running away from the building at 'full sprint.' 'We knew at that point that something was going down. A ton of people were running across the street right in front of us,' he said. Geib said he and his colleagues were still huddled in their cafeteria, away from windows, more than an hour after the shooting. Jeff Greene, who also works at Esker, said police told those gathered in the cafeteria to go to a nearby hotel to make a statement about what they saw. Three yellow school buses full of more than 100 people, including witnesses, were unloaded at a hotel about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the office building. Some people hugged as they were reunited with loved ones. Others stopped to pet a dog that had been brought by someone picking up a worker. WTS Paradigm makes software for the building products industry. A Wisconsin State Journal profile from 2014 listed company employment at about 145 employees and noted the company was looking to move to a larger location at the time. The company's website was down Wednesday. A shopping center next to the building was temporarily put on lockdown at the direction of police. Middleton is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Milwaukee. ___ Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, and Amy Forliti and Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis contributed to this report.