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24 Jan 06:38

Hello Eight

07 Nov 02:41

Explosion critically injures 1 at pumpkin flinging contest

by wtopstaff

BRIDGEVILLE, Del. (AP) — A 39-year-old woman suffered critical injuries Sunday after a cannon used to launch pumpkins into the air exploded at a large outdoor competition, Delaware State Police said.

A 56-year-old man was also hurt with non-life threatening injuries. Both had been struck by debris from the explosion.

The incident occurred at the Punkin Chunkin Contest in Bridgeville, which is about 30 miles south of Dover. The competition involves dozens of contestants launching pumpkins from homemade contraptions, many of which are air-powered with long cannons and hauled on the back of trucks.

Police are still investigating what happened. For unknown reasons, they said a trap door where pumpkins are loaded into the cannon “separated upon the launch of the pumpkin.” The door and other parts were blown into the air before striking the woman in the head and face.

Spectator David Aronson, 52, of Falls Church, Virginia, said he was about 25 yards behind the cannon when it exploded. He said a piece blew off the launcher that was the size of a car door.

“It arcs down on this woman who is running away as it hits her,” he said.

Aronson said the woman appeared motionless as people gathered around her. A short time later, the competition’s announcer asked the crowd to pray as she was flown to a hospital. The announcer then said the contest was over, Aronson said.

Aronson said organizers tried to take precautions by using nets and placing spectators 25 yards away from the pumpkin launchers.

Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale of the Delaware State Police said the woman and man who were injured were not among the crowd of spectators but among the launchers. He said they were observing the event but declined to elaborate.

Punkin Chunkin dates back to 1986. It had been canceled for the past two years because of problems finding insurance.

In 2014, a Sussex County farmer had stopped making his property available for the contest because a volunteer was injured in an ATV accident and filed a lawsuit. The suit was later dismissed. Organizers for the 2016 contest said an insurance policy was in place to protect the landowner.

The post Explosion critically injures 1 at pumpkin flinging contest appeared first on WTOP.

10 Sep 01:03

Why Do Purple Skittles Taste Different Outside The U.S.?

by Mary Beth Quirk

The idea that purple Skittles could taste like anything other than grape is not one familiar to folks who are used chomping on the candies in the U.S. — what else could it possibly be, after all, with that color? But outside the U.S., the purple part of the rainbow tastes completely different.

Purple skittles in the United Kingdom and Australia get their flavor inspiration from the blackcurrant, a berry that’s dark in hue and has more of a sweet and tarty tang to it than grapes, Atlas Obscura points out. It makes sense, as blackcurrant is a flavor that’s not very popular stateside, while the berry and its juice are found in many products, from cordials to tea.

Things might’ve been different if the U.S. government hadn’t outlawed growing blackcurrant shrubs in the early 20th century because the plant was spreading white pine blister rust, a fungus that destroys wood.

As of the 1960s, the federal ban is no more, so you could grow blackcurrant bushes in your backyard, if you wanted (and if your state allows it). But in the meantime, Americans just don’t have a taste for the berries like they do in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

So what does it taste like? When sweetened, the fruit tastes like a cross between a blueberry and cranberry, Atlas Obscura explains.

“People consistently love the flavor, but they just didn’t grow up with [blackcurrants],” one berry farmer told the site. “They do have a stronger taste than the American palate is used to.”

Why the Purple Skittle Tastes Different Outside America [Atlas Obscura]

19 Aug 12:48

Manassas' First Career Firefighter Retires -

Manassas' First Career Firefighter Retires
MANASSA, VA - After an impressive 52-year career in fire services, Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Wade C. House is retiring. He was the first career firefighter in the Manassas Volunteer Fire Station, serving as a career member with Prince William County ...

19 Aug 12:47

Man Arrested in Deadly Manassas House Fire - NBC4 Washington

NBC4 Washington

Man Arrested in Deadly Manassas House Fire
NBC4 Washington
Prince William County police said 35-year-old Noe Antonio Nolasco Amaya intentionally set fire to a house in the 10300 block of Lomond Drive on July 31. After the fire was discovered, Amaya was found walking nearby suffering from burn injuries, police ...
Va. man charged in fire that left 2 men, 4 dogs
Manassas' First Career Firefighter
UPDATED: Man charged with arson in fatal Manassas area fireInside NoVA

all 5 news articles »
19 Aug 02:17

Petsmart Opens New Spa-Themed Prototype Store

by Laura Northrup

If you were to ask my dog what she wants out of her experience at the groomer, “no bath” and “no haircut” would probably be at the top of her list. She would be less interested in a more spa-like entrance with a concierge desk and free coffee beverages for humans. In a prototype store on New York’s Long Island, the big-box pet store is experimenting with a new store that focuses on pet services in a more fancy manner.

What customers will see when they walk in will be a concierge-style counter with bakery-style trays of fresh dog treats. The new store will be less than half the size of a normal Petsmart, and feature a small retail area with the more upscale, “natural” pet foods that the chain sells.

The store has self-serve dog wash stations, a useful feature close to the beach on Long Island, where the store is located. It also has a grooming salon and a Banfield animal hospital, common features for standard Petsmart stores.

“Like any spa, our Pet Spa store is intended to provide the amenities and comforts to enhance one’s lifestyle, but this time with your pet,” the company’s chief experience officer said in a statement.

The spa-like experience will probably be more relaxing for owners than for pets, but they are the ones holding the wallets. Petsmart’s plan is to offer an “enhanced pet lifestyle customer experience” and bring ideas that work well at this store to the rest of the chain.

18 Aug 15:55

Make Ice Cream Cones Out of Rice Krispies Treats for Instant Happiness

by Claire Lower on Skillet, shared by Alan Henry to Lifehacker

Few things make me happier than cereal that is held together by a mixture of butter and marshmallows, but cereal that is held together by a mixture of butter and marshmallows and also filled with ice cream is definitely one of them.


18 Aug 15:32

Franklin County man given jail time for starving horses

by wtopstaff

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (AP) — A Hardy man who had several malnourished horses on his property has been ordered to serve 20 days in jail.

Media organizations report 63-year-old Michael W. Cabbler pleaded guilty Tuesday in Franklin County Circuit Court to seven counts of animal cruelty.

The charges stemmed from a February inspection of Cabbler’s property. Animal control officers said they found Cabbler’s emaciated horses eating bark off trees, while two others were discovered stuck inside a barn, wading in mud and manure.

Cabbler testified he had been feeding the horses and had taken in the horses from other owners who hadn’t wanted them.

In addition to jail time, Cabbler forfeited any claim to the horses and cannot own any animals for five years.

The post Franklin County man given jail time for starving horses appeared first on WTOP.

18 Aug 02:49

Army to remove horses from Louisiana’s Fort Polk

by wtopstaff

FORT POLK, La. (AP) — The Army plans to remove hundreds of horses from Fort Polk in Louisiana.

An estimated 700 to 750 wild horses roam training lands on and around Fort Polk in the west central part of the state. The fate of the horses has been the subject of debate since the Army proposed removing them about a year ago. Army officials say the animals represent a safety hazard. Advocates have argued they should be left alone.

The Town Talk reports ( the Army will catch and corral 10-30 horses at a time. The plan calls for the horses first to offered to animal welfare groups for their adoption program. If animal welfare groups do not take the horses, the Army will offer them to any citizen, and if that fails, the horses will be transported to a livestock auction for sale.


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk,

The post Army to remove horses from Louisiana’s Fort Polk appeared first on WTOP.

18 Aug 02:46

US flags ordered removed from upstate New York fire trucks

by wtopstaff

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — Fire commissioners in upstate New York have ordered a department to take American flags off its trucks, sparking a heated online debate.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports ( ) the flags were removed Tuesday from the Arlington Fire District trucks in the town of Poughkeepsie following Monday’s order.

Arlington Fire Commissioners Board Chairman Jim Beretta tells the newspaper the majority of the board saw the flags as a “liability during normal operations for our people and other motorists.”

The Journal reports the flags were recently put up at the request of the union. Fire Chief Tory Gallante says he’s “very disappointed” with the order.

The newspaper says some online commenters are outraged by the decision. Others believe the mounted flags violated U.S. flag code.

The post US flags ordered removed from upstate New York fire trucks appeared first on WTOP.

18 Aug 01:24

Naval Academy announces death of goat mascot, Bill 35

by wtopstaff

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Academy has announced the death of its goat mascot, Bill 35.

The academy said Wednesday that the Angora goat had a history of medical problems, which manifested soon after the school acquired him last year. The school says the 2-and-a-half-year-old goat suffered from idiopathic edema and related disorders, which appeared to have been caused by chronic kidney weakness.

The academy says the goat was taken on Tuesday to a veterinary facility in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, for treatment and was euthanized.

Navy has three other goats, including Bill 36, who is the brother of Bill 35. He will become the new mascot.

The mascot appears at home football games and the Army-Navy game. It is sometimes targeted for kidnapping in the days leading up to the storied rivalry.

The post Naval Academy announces death of goat mascot, Bill 35 appeared first on WTOP.

18 Aug 01:19

Fairfax County Adopt a Pet - Washington Post

Washington Post

Fairfax County Adopt a Pet
Washington Post
Zomboy, a handsome 6-year-old neutered domestic shorthair, is available for adoption from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Jax, a gentle 1-year-old, 100-pound neutered Anatolian shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix, center, is available for adoption to a ...

and more »
16 Aug 21:49

Webcam whale research buoyed by viewers around the world

by wtopstaff

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The underwater webcam attached to Hayley Shephard’s boat captures what at first appear to be green glowing orbs as she motors through an estuary in remote Canada. Then the orbs come into focus, revealing some of the more than 3,000 beluga whales that gather near that western part of Hudson Bay each summer.

The white whales, which resemble oversized dolphins, nuzzle and clown for the camera. They feel the lens with their teeth and blow bubbles at it. Sometimes they swim upside down for a better view.

That’s what Stephen Petersen, head of conservation and research for Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo, and his wife, biologist Meg Hainstock, are looking for. Only when the whales turn upside down can the researchers determine their sex, which they need as they study the animals’ social structure and behavior.

The webcam’s viewers across the globe are helping, too.

Its creators — Bozeman, Montana-based Polar Bears International and, a project of the Annenberg Foundation — included a “snapshot” feature that allows viewers to take still shots of the feed. Petersen and Hainstock hope the result will be a trove of photographs of individual whales that will help them catalog the population as they try to answer questions about the animals’ behavior.

For example, why do certain whales of a similar age and sex consistently gather at certain times or locations? What function do Hudson Bay’s estuaries serve for these animals? Do beluga whales have a matriarchal social structure? Do certain whale groups’ low numbers have a long-term effect on the rest of the population, such as the case with the population in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, which is struggling as compared to the healthy Hudson Bay population?

“As far as I know, there’s no other investigation of beluga from under the water on this scale,” Petersen said. “A lot of the stuff that’s been done before is from observers on top of the water. It doesn’t really give us a good sense — belugas don’t spend a lot of time on top of the water.” and Polar Bears International have used similar crowdsourcing technology to monitor polar bears’ annual migration in Hudson Bay. Researchers hope years of viewers taking snapshots will provide them with images that can help assess the bears’ health and reproductive rates.

Other scientists are increasingly using crowdsourcing to raise money for research or perform tasks that would be too costly or time-consuming to be performed by a team of researchers. One of the most well-known projects is by the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, whose software has been downloaded by millions of users and allows researchers to use the data-processing power of those computers in the institute’s search for alien life in space.

“In general, there is a growing interest in using citizen science projects to raise awareness and support scientific research,” said Krista Wright, executive director of Polar Bears International.

For the beluga whale project, Petersen said viewers are instructed on how to identify males from females, and are then asked to take snapshots when the whales flip over and their sex is in view of the camera. The photographs are tagged male or female and uploaded to a database that will help identify individual whales and their locations.

Operators switched on the cameras July 15 and have since averaged about 2,500 viewers a day, according to spokesman Mike Gasbara.

The researchers hope that after this season ends in August, they will have a catalog of individual whales that can be tracked in subsequent years, along with the locations where different groups are gathering to find if any patterns emerge.

Understanding the beluga whales is important because their ecosystem soon may be altered with the effects of climate change, Gasbara said. Less Arctic ice could bring threats to the beluga in the form of killer whales and increased boat traffic and pollution, he said.

“I think because we’re right at the beginning of this, any information that we get on social structure is going to be informative for other locations,” Petersen said.

Back on the surface in Canada’s Hudson Bay, ghostlike humps emerge as more whales are drawn to Shepherd’s 10-foot inflatable boat. She pilots the vessel slowly around the estuary for four hours a day over the short northern summer, sometimes narrating her observations to web viewers.

“It’s important to know that we ultimately are visitors and we are in their territory,” Shepherd said. “Them approaching the boat, following the boat — it’s all their doing. We don’t need to run up to them and ride along.”

Occasionally, one of the whales will slap the water with its tail and soak her.

“Sometimes I feel like they’ve adopted me into their pod,” Shephard said.

The post Webcam whale research buoyed by viewers around the world appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 21:16

Deputies: Man fatally drags dog behind truck for miles

by wtopstaff

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man has been arrested after deputies say he dragged his dog for miles behind his truck, killing the animal.

Edmonson County Deputy Jordan Jones told WBKO-TV ( ) on Thursday that Calvin Dennis of Grayson County is facing an animal torturing charge, along with DUI and drug charges.

Deputies say Dennis had been in an argument when he sped away from a parking lot with his dog attached to the back of his truck. The sight prompted authorities and drivers to follow him.

Authorities say Dennis eventually dragged his dog for 15 to 20 miles.

Deputies say Dennis admitted to authorities that he had taken prescription pills and methamphetamine and had forgotten his dog was tied to the hitch of his truck.


Information from: WBKO-TV,

The post Deputies: Man fatally drags dog behind truck for miles appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 20:18

Heat wave causes fish kill in the District

by Nick Iannelli

WASHINGTON — The sickening odor of dead fish drifted through the heavy, humid air Tuesday morning at the Constitution Gardens pond in D.C. where the recent oppressive heat wave caused a significant fish kill, according to the National Park Service.

Crews carrying skimmers worked to clear numerous fish carcasses from the pond, which is about 3 feet deep.

“Because the pond is so shallow, the water temperature can rise dramatically in a relatively short amount of time,” said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst.

“We certainly suspect that the water temperature rose above the tolerance level of the fish that are in there.”

Hot weather also promotes the growth of algae which can lead to less oxygen in the water.

“The last time this occurred on a scale this large was 2013,” Litterst said.

The National Park Service is working on plans to redevelop that pond which sits near the World War II Memorial. The agency wants to improve the long term water quality by making the pond 12 feet deep and installation aeration rings to help with oxygen flow, among other things.

“As we move to implement the rehab of Constitution Gardens in the coming years, hopefully, that will take care of some of these problems,” said Litterst.

The post Heat wave causes fish kill in the District appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 12:01

Two Reasons Target Is Having Trouble Selling Groceries

by Chris Morran

Following the crash of the housing market nearly ten years ago, some big box stores that had previously only dabbled in groceries started to give over more floor space to fresh and frozen foods. Walmart shoppers took to the idea of buying their food in the same store they purchase their TV, cleaning supplies, underwear, sporting goods, and just about anything else. Across the parking lot at Target, things aren’t as rosy.

Target sells around $18.5 billion in groceries a year, which may sound huge until you realize that it’s only around one-fifth of the company’s total annual revenue. Meanwhile, more than half of Walmart’s yearly revenue comes from groceries.

The Wall Street Journal recently took a look at Target’s fresh food woes and its efforts to course correct. Here are just a couple of the important takeaways:

1. Shoppers Just Don’t Visit That Frequently
While Target has many regular shoppers, they may not be regular enough to keep fresh meat and vegetables from spoiling.

One Target customer explains to the Journal that she shops at the store once or twice a month to purchase things like cleaning supplies and home décor, and she may pick up an odd food item here or there, but adds that “I don’t go out of my way to do grocery shopping at Target because there are so many other specialty stores.”

Data from Nielsen shows that shoppers favor traditional groceries over big box retailers regardless of whether they are buying a week’s worth of groceries or just doing some quick shopping to fill in the gaps. Meanwhile, it appears that Costco and other wholesale clubs are increasingly becoming a destination for shoppers looking to stock up their pantry, fridge, and freezer with food.

In 2015, Target’s chief operating officer acknowledged this outsider status: “We’re not really special and we’re not a full grocery. And so we’re sitting in the middle of no man’s land.”

2. Unwillingness To Invest
Target actually got into the grocery business more than 20 years ago when it opened its first SuperTarget. However, these mega-format stores with complete supermarkets only account for a fraction of all Target locations.

In fact, Target is increasingly looking toward smaller-footprint stores, where you can’t have rows up rows of groceries to choose from.

According to the Journal, previous disappointments in groceries have left the Target board of directors gun-shy about investing capital to improve this aspect of the business.

Which is problematic because Target’s supply chain has long been set up to handle transportation and distribution of home goods and non-perishable food items. If the company wants to better control the supply chain for fresh food, it will likely need to either go the route of Walmart and invest more money into systemic improvements, or pay more to a third-party provider.

16 Aug 03:47

10 miniature horses rescued; owners unable to care for them

by wtopstaff

DALTON, N.H. (AP) — Ten miniature horses have been removed from a New Hampshire property where authorities say they had been living in unsafe conditions.

The New Hampshire SPCA and the state police received a complaint about animal cruelty and took the horses on Sunday from a property in Dalton. Officials say the owners had become overwhelmed and unable to properly care for the tiny horses, which they voluntarily surrendered.

The horses range in age from 1 year to 16 years old. Their conditions vary.

SPCA officials will test the horses for parasites and diseases, treat any conditions and provide vaccinations and dental care. The organization is based in Stratham and is seeking help from the public in paying for the cost of helping the horses.

The post 10 miniature horses rescued; owners unable to care for them appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 03:08

All’s well that ends well for dog rescued from 30-foot hole

by wtopstaff

PERRYMAN, Md. (AP) — First responders in Maryland have rescued a St. Bernard that was trapped at the bottom of a well.

Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS spokesman Rich Gardiner tells local media the technical rescue team was called just before 5 p.m. Sunday after the dog, Mabel, fell into a 30-foot deep dry well in Perryman.

Fire crews were able to hoist Mabel out of the well by 6 p.m. Gardiner says Mabel wasn’t seriously injured and was seen running in circles after she was rescued.

He says Mabel will be taken to a veterinarian to be checked out.

The post All’s well that ends well for dog rescued from 30-foot hole appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 03:05

Va. Goodyear plant confirms 4th fatality in 1 year

by wtopstaff

DANVILLE, Va. (AP) — Goodyear has confirmed that an employee died in an industrial accident at its Danville plant.

Media outlets report that the employee who died Friday morning has been identified as William “Billy” Scheier of Halifax. He was in his late 40s.

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry spokesman Ron Graham says the incident has been classified as an industrial accident. He says the department has six months to investigate the incident and issue citations if there are violations.

The incident Friday marked the fourth worker death in one year at the Danville Goodyear plant.

Goodyear is facing three violations and a $17,000 fine from 56-year-old Jeanie Strader’s death last year. Two other deaths are still being investigated — those of 54-year-old Kevin Edmonds in March and 52-year-old Greg Cooper in April.

The post Va. Goodyear plant confirms 4th fatality in 1 year appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 03:01

Virginia officer cleared in killing man who shot police dog

by wtopstaff

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A prosecutor in Virginia says he has cleared a police officer of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of a man who killed a police dog and pointed his gun at officers.

In a report released Monday, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory Underwood wrote that officers arrived at Keith Richardson’s house in January because he put a gun to his wife’s head and threatened to kill her.

A standoff ensued between Richardson and police. Underwood said Richardson exited his house after police deployed tear gas but refused to drop his gun and surrender.

Police sent a K-9 named Krijger to subdue Richardson but he shot the dog, and raised his gun toward police. Underwood said officer Vincent Tocco shot Richardson with a rifle from the turret of an armed police vehicle.

The post Virginia officer cleared in killing man who shot police dog appeared first on WTOP.

16 Aug 02:56

Undercover Bust Nets 27 Arrests in Xanax Drug Ring: Prince William Police -

Undercover Bust Nets 27 Arrests in Xanax Drug Ring: Prince William Police
Gainesville doctor, Dr. Craig Charles Krause, is among those charged in the illegal distribution, according to Prince William County Police. By Skip Wood (Patch Staff) - August 15, 2016 1:20 pm ET. Undercover Bust Nets 27 Arrests in Xanax Drug Ring ...
Prince William County community calendarWashington Post

all 9 news articles »
16 Aug 02:56

5-year-old girl dies in fatal crash along I-66 near Haymarket - The ... - Washington Post


5-year-old girl dies in fatal crash along I-66 near Haymarket - The ...
Washington Post
A 5-year-old girl died in a four-vehicle crash on I-66 that authorities said was caused by a chain reaction Monday morning, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman ...
5-Year-Old Girl Killed in Violent Crash Along I-66W in Haymarket ...NBC4 Washington
Fatal crash closes I-66 westbound near Haymarket | WTOPWTOP
5-year-old killed in chain-reaction crash on
Inside NoVA
all 10 news articles »
14 Aug 17:20

Man gets 4 years in prison for setting dog on fire

by wtopstaff

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man has been sentenced to four years in prison for setting his family’s dog house on fire in suburban Atlanta while the dog was inside.

WSB-TV reports ( a Cobb County jury convicted 23-year-old Caleb Lanier of felony animal cruelty and another charge for intentionally burning the female pit dog. He was sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors said Lanier used a torch to attack his brother’s dog before sealing it in a dog house and setting it on fire in May 2015. Veterinarian Regan Burford, who first treated the animal, testified in court about the abuse and torture the dog endured.

Burford eventually adopted the dog and nursed it to recovery.

Prosecutors wanted Lanier jailed for eight years, but the judge cut that in half, sending him to prison for four years.


Information from: WSB-TV,

The post Man gets 4 years in prison for setting dog on fire appeared first on WTOP.

14 Aug 17:14

NYC police find woman, 22 dogs living in filthy Mercedes SUV

by wtopstaff

NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities in New York City say they’ve rescued 22 dogs that were living with their owner in filthy conditions inside a Mercedes-Benz SUV.

New York Police Department officers alerted by a concerned citizen earlier this week found the 54-year-old woman and the dogs living inside the vehicle in the Bronx.

Authorities say a 4-year-old German shepherd named Bruno and 21 puppies were living in filth and needed medical attention when officers found them. Investigators say they believe the dogs lived their entire lives inside the SUV.

Two rescue groups are caring for the dogs. It’s unclear when they will be available for adoption.

The dogs’ owner was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The post NYC police find woman, 22 dogs living in filthy Mercedes SUV appeared first on WTOP.

14 Aug 00:15

Style Encore resale store opens in Manassas - Inside NoVA

Style Encore resale store opens in Manassas
Inside NoVA
With a focus on savvy fashion and shopping smart, the new Style Encore store has opened at 9716 Liberia Ave., Manassas. Designed by women, for women, Style Encore is part of a national resale chain that specializes in clothing and accessories.

13 Aug 23:28

Learn About Your Local Elections Now So You Don't Fake It In the Voting Booth

by Justin Pot

The presidential race is just one of dozens on the ballot this November. The House and Senate are up for grabs, and there are local elections for everything from school boards to judges. Your vote is likely to make a difference at these levels, and the results are more likely to affect your life directly. Don’t wait until election day to sort it all out.


13 Aug 20:16

Use Leftover Pickle Juice to Make Amazing Bread

by Claire Lower on Skillet, shared by Alan Henry to Lifehacker

Pickle juice is a magical liquid that can be used to jazz up potato salad, brine meat, and even add a salty punch to cocktails, but it also makes a pretty fantastic loaf of bread.


13 Aug 15:10

With Reynolds gone, Navy depends on Tago Smith to run option

by wtopstaff

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — To no one’s surprise, the very first question asked of Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo at media day involved replacing quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

Reynolds was a rare four-year starter who set a slew of school and NCAA records running Navy’s triple-option offense. A sixth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens, Reynolds is currently trying to make it in the NFL as a slot receiver and returner.

Senior Tago Smith has the unenviable task of replacing one of the best football players in the storied history of the Naval Academy. Perhaps only John Cartwright, who succeeded Hall of Famer Roger Staubach as Navy’s starting quarterback in 1965, would understand what Smith is going through.

“Obviously, Keenan was a really good football player, a big part of our program. But we’re excited about Tago,” Niumatalolo said. “This is his time and he’s paid the price.”

Smith, a product of Fayetteville, Georgia, has played in 18 games with two starts during his career. In 2014, when Reynolds could not go against Texas State due to a knee injury, Smith rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a pair of TDs. Smith started again later that season versus Virginia Military Institute and accounted for 106 yards and two touchdowns in a convincing victory.

Reynolds was healthy throughout the 2015 season, so Smith mostly saw time toward the end of games that had already been decided. The exception came against Notre Dame, when Smith was thrust into action after Reynolds left the game to get x-rays on his knee.

Smith promptly led Navy on two touchdown drives to close the first half, showing superb command of the option attack.

“What makes me feel good is that Tago is 2-0 as a starter,” Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper said. “I always go back to the fact we two-platoon in practice. The starter and the backup get the same amount of reps. To me, Tago’s played a lot of football and seen a lot of looks. He’s going to be able to get us into the right play and get the ball to the right person.”


As always, Air Force and Army are the most important games. Navy must sweep its service academy rivals in order to capture the coveted Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the 11th time since 2003.

The matchup with the Falcons, which always comes in early October, has often been a barometer for the Midshipmen. This year’s contest will be held in Colorado Springs, where Navy fell in 2010 and 2014. Navy is seeking a 15th straight victory over archrival Army.

October matchups two weeks apart against Houston and Memphis figure to determine whether Navy wins the West Division and earns a berth in the American Athletic Conference championship game.


Navy has posted winning records in 12 of the last 13 seasons and figures to do so again in 2016. The game against Notre Dame is set for Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 5. It would be a surprise if Navy did not continue its service academy dominance and reclaim the CIC Trophy for the second straight season. An 8-4 regular season record seems about right for the Mids. The Midshipmen are contractually obligated to appear in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, if eligible.


Championship Subdivision member Fordham visits Annapolis on Sept. 3. Fordham finished second in the Patriot League in 2015. The Rams boast a dynamic running back in Chase Edmonds, who rushed for 1,648 yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago.

The post With Reynolds gone, Navy depends on Tago Smith to run option appeared first on WTOP.

13 Aug 15:04

Investigators search for owner who left puppy in Md. street

by Mike Murillo

WASHINGTON — The search is on for the person who left a puppy in a crate in the middle of a street in Germantown, Maryland. Someone found the white and black puppy, a pit bull mix named “Rascal,” in the overnight hours on Staten Court on August 4.

The 6-month-old dog was significantly underweight, covered in lacerations and his own feces and urine, according to Katherine Zenzano with Montgomery County Animal Services.

“It’s absolutely just very disheartening and saddening that there are people in the public that would do something like this to an animal,” Zenzano said.

Animal Services is caring for the animal as investigators search for its owner. The hope is pictures of the dog may lead to the owner who faces a list animal cruelty charges, they said. Those charges could result in fines and jail time for the owner.

Zenzano said the puppy, now called “Rascal,” is recovering. The puppy will be put up for adoption after the investigation.

“He’s a sweetheart and going to be a beautiful dog for somebody,” Zenzano said.

Anyone able to help investigators find the dog’s owner is asked to call Animal Services investigator Angel Ricketts at 240-773-5922.

The post Investigators search for owner who left puppy in Md. street appeared first on WTOP.

13 Aug 12:36

Ruby Tuesday Closing 95 Underperforming Restaurants

by Ashlee Kieler

Diners across the country will have one fewer salad bar to peruse with their lunch or dinner, as Ruby Tuesday announced it will close nearly 100 restaurants by the end of the year. 

Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday revealed in its fourth quarter report on Thursday that it will close 95 underperforming locations by the end of the year as part of a “Fresh Start Initiative.”

While the company hasn’t identified which of its 724 restaurants will be closed, it said the decision was made after a comprehensive review of its corporate-owned restaurant portfolio.

Performance at the targeted locations was not meeting exceptions, the company said.

In all, the company said Thursday that its revenue declined 5.9% during the 2016 fiscal year, with same-store sales declining 3.7% over the previous year.

The locations are expected to cease operations by September. Full-time and part-time employees impacted by closures will be offered positions in nearby restaurants where possible, the company said.

“The decision to close restaurants is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our organization,” JJ Buettgen, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of the chain, said in a statement.

The company believes that its Fresh Start plan will ultimately create long-term value for shareholders.

Under the plan, the company says it will attract more women and young families, as well as increasing visits from our current Ruby Tuesday guests.

“We believe we can return to positive same-restaurant sales, expand restaurant level margins, and increase operating profit,” Buettgen said.

[via The Indianapolis Star]