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Zookeeper killed by tiger was leaving zoo for new job

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Stacey Konwiser, the zookeeper killed Friday by a tiger at the Palm Beach Zoo, had worked there for three years but was planning to leave. She had taken a job with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to zoo officials.

“Konwiser had recently accepted a position with the FDA, looking at long-term career progression to get into U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. We were in the process of crafting another position to retain her,” Palm Beach Zoo General Curator Jan Steele said in a written statement Saturday morning.

>>Tiger kills handler at Florida zoo

The male Malayan tiger that killed Konwiser remains at the Palm Beach Zoo and is recovering from the tranquilizer administered after the encounter, zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said at a news conference Saturday.

Carter declined to say which of the zoo’s three male Malayan tigers killed Konwiser, known as the “tiger whisperer.”

>>More on Konwiser, the tiger whisperer

The zoo will be closed through the weekend and remains under active investigation by West Palm Beach police as well as OSHA and the FWC, Carter said. The zoo is not commenting on whether Konwiser was alone in the tiger’s “night house” when the attack took place.

Carter also would not say whether the tiger exhibit will remain open at the zoo or if they will euthanize the tiger.

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Funeral arrangements are being made and the zoo is working with Konwiser’s family to set up a fund in her memory, Carter said.

An animal rights group is calling for federal authorities to impose the maximum penalties on the Palm Beach Zoo following the death of the zookeeper.

The details on how Konwiser died are still a matter of speculation. She was in the tiger’s enclosed area, dubbed the “night house,” that is not visible to the public when the bite occurred. Zoo officials initially said Konwiser had done nothing wrong, but it remains unknown if she was having direct contact with the 300-pound male tiger or if the area somehow was breached by the tiger.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund called upon the OSHA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expedite its investigation and impose a penalty that would “ensure an end to these preventable deaths in zoos.” The group has previously called upon OSHA to enact specific standards governing workplace safety for employees who work with dangerous wild animals.

“As long as employees are allowed to work in dangerously close proximity to tigers, elephants, and other dangerous animals, a significant risk of serious injury or death persists,” a statement from the group read.

The animal rights group says Konwiser’s death could have been prevented with appropriate safety measures. The group headquartered near San Francisco focuses on litigation to stop animal abuse — whether it involves companion animals, factory farming or the entertainment business.

Since 1990 there have been at least 24 deaths—and 265 injuries—caused by captive big cats in the United States resulting in the deaths of over 128 big cats—many of whom were endangered species, the group stated.

Wind-damaged Young’s Jersey Dairy cow moooooves back to iconic sign

This one is a mooooving tale.

On Friday, Jersey Girl — Young’s Jersey Dairy’s famous cow statue — was placed back on the sign she was blown from during heavy winds April 2.

Fans were relieved when the fiberglass cow was returned to her throne using a special crane during a celebration Friday evening at the dairy farm near Yellow Springs.

The cow-raising went off without a hitch — except for the moment a screw was lost.

About 25 people witnessed the event up close, while many others captured the action with their phones as they drove past the dairy along U.S. 68.

Young’s CEO Dan Young said he knew there would be a lot of interest in the cow, but he was truly blown away by the public response after the storm damage.

He encouraged his staff to use their imaginations to keep fans updated.

“They got creative and really silly, he said.”

Young’s Marketing Manager Angela Rayner said maintenance workers Bill Whittaker and Chuck Fagan doctored the cow.

Whittaker was able to fabricate replacements or repair all the missing or broken parts. He created a paint to match Jersey’s color.

Together, the three employees worked to share on social media funny photos and updates about the cow’s condition and recovery under the care of “Cow Specialists Bill and Chuck,” who donned face masks and pretended to give the Jersey Girl statue milk through an IV, for example.

The cow had been on its sign for 40 years, but not uninterrupted, Rayner explained.

 

”She’s taken down every three to five years for routine painting and maintenance,” Rayner said.

But the storm marked the first time nature caused the cow to fall.

Its tail, hoof, horn and ear were broken. The ear has not been found.

About 100 fans took photos with the cow statue Thursday before it was to be returned to its rightful place.

Many others made comments about the cow on social media.

A few even came out to the dairy to watch the cow return to its resting spot.

Makayla and Wyatt Anderkin, ages 8 and 7 of Springfield, could not pass up the opportunity to see the cow re-installed and attended Friday’s event along with their mother, Babette.

They had been watching the saga unfold on Facebook — from Jersey’s spa day to the time she met Young’s other cows on a walker.

“It got a massage,” Makayla said.

Bob Evans to shut down Riverside restaurant

The Bob Evans Restaurant at 1929 Harshman Road near Stebbins High School in Riverside will close permanently at 3 p.m. April 23, Angela M. Payne, Bob Evans’ corporate communications manager confirmed today, April 14.

“Closing a restaurant is always a difficult decision,” Payne said. “The Harshman Road location is one of our lower-volume restaurants in the area, which contributed to the necessary decision to close.

“Whenever we close a restaurant, we do our best to assist impacted employees by offering positions in nearby restaurants where possible. We were pleased to offer all 44 non-management employees transfers to nearby locations.”

No other Dayton-area closings have been announced, Payne said.

In May 2015, the New Albany, Ohio-based restaurant chain closed 17 restaurants as part of a cost-cutting move, although all 17 were located outside Ohio.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Bob Evans closes 17 restaurants (May 2015)

One dead, several injured in hazmat situation near University of Texas campus

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Austin firefighters responding to a hazardous materials call found a man thought to be in his 20s dead in anapartment Wednesday afternoon. It was unclear if the victim is a University of Texas student, firefighters said.

Paramedics took two people to University Medical Center Brackenridge in connection with the incident at 21 Pearl Apartments in West Campus near 21st and Pearl streets. Three others were treated at the scene, Austin Fire Division Chief Palmer Buck said.

Firefighters responded to the hazardous materials call at about 3:22 p.m. They found the man in cardiac arrest and attempted to resuscitate him, Buck said. Firefighters also found indications of hydrogen sulfide inside the apartment.

Buck said the first firefighters found a “warning sign” outside of the victim’s apartment but Buck did not elaborate further.

The manner and cause of death of the man will be determined by the Travis County medical examiner’s office.

Residents of the apartment building, mostly UT students, have remained outside of the building for about an hour.

At 4:30 p.m., Pearl Street remained closed from 21st to 23rd streets, officials said.

Taste of Greene County crowns more than 30 winners

A little cold can't keep the foodies away.

Despite the weather, about 1,500 people attended the 19th Annual Taste of Greene County on Sunday, April 10, at Wright State's Nutter Center. The event showcased the culinary offerings of two dozen restaurants, bakers and caterers.

“We had a great variety of restaurants, and options of items to sample,” said Dawn Mader, operations manager for Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to the restaurants, we had great volunteers who helped make the event a success.”

The annual tasting provides an opportunity to sample items from local restaurants, and it gives restaurants an opportunity to try out new dishes.

Ele Cake Company debuted three new cakes, which they plan to offer in the future. The Holiday Inn in Fairborn won Best Entrée with Fish Tacos. “They have a newly renovated restaurant, and recently completed hotel renovations," Mader said.

Taste of Greene County was presented by the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce, Greene Memorial Hospital, Soin Medical Center and Kosins Tents & Events.

Mader said the date for next year’s Taste of Greene County will be announced this summer.

Here are the winners of Sunday’s event:

Best Beverage: 1st place, Smoothie King; 2nd place, City Barbeque; 3rd place, McAlister's Deli 

Best Breakfast: 1st place, IHOP; 2nd place, Bob Evans; 3rd place, Mimi's Cafe

Best Appetizer: 1st place, Bar Louie; 2nd place, Giovanni's Fairborn; 3rd place, The Oilerie Dayton

Best Soup/Salad: 1st place, Packy's Sports Bar and Restaurant; 2nd place, Giovanni's Fairborn; 3rd place, Bravo Cucina Italiana

Best Sandwich: 1st place, Dibella's Subs; 2nd place, McAlister's Deli; 3rd place, City Barbeque 

Best International Cuisine: 1st place, Bravo Cucina Italiana; 2nd place, Giovanni's Fairborn; 3rd place, Jeet India Restaurant

Best Entree: 1st place, Holiday Inn Dayton Fairborn; 2nd place, bd's Mongolian Grill; 3rd place, Chicago Gyros and Dogs

Best Dessert: 1st place, Ele Cake Company; 2nd place; Cake, Hope, and Love; 3rd place, Giovanni's Fairborn

People's Choice: 1st place, Giovanni's Fairborn; tied for 2nd place, Bravo Cucina Italiana and McAlister's Deli 

Best Decorated Booth: 1st place- McAlister's Deli, City Barbeque, Cake, Hope, and Love

Sponsors Choice Award: City Barbeque

High winds take down dairy's cow statue

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Damages are widespread this evening after high winds knocked down trees across the area.

At Young’s Jersey Dairy, the famous cow statue that sits atop the restaurant’s sign was blown down, according to a post on the dairy’s Facebook page.

The restaurant reports that after 40 years of being on the sign, the cow survived the ordeal and repairs will get underway on Monday. Near Young’s Jersey Dairy, a large tree fell across U.S. 68, blocking traffic in both directions.

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It was not the only damage caused by strong winds Saturday.

Reports also indicate that part of a roof blew off a building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

A National Weather Service employee reported that a semitrailer was blown over and overturned on Interstate 75 in Shelby County, near exit 99. This happened around 6:20 p.m.

In Huber Heights, large trees fell on two houses, with downed trees knocking out the entire power grid in the city. A tree that fell on a house on San Juan Court in Huber Heights caused extensive damage.

At University of Dayton Arena, a large tent in place for a winter guard tournament at the facility, was blown over.

At a Shell gas station, a roof over the pumps toppled around 7 p.m.

In South Charleston, a barn collapsed today due to high winds in the 10000 block of Chenowith Road.

Trees are blocking roadways in all parts of the region, including Dayton, Trotwood, Miamisburg, Brookville, Jefferson Township, German Township, and multiple power lines have been taken down by felled trees and branches, leading to thousands of power outages.

People post political comments on Facebook for 'self-affirmation,' study says

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Growing tired of the endless Bernie memes or Trump posts on your Facebook feed?

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A set of studies have found the reason why your social media connections feel the need to post their views.

The Huffington Post reports that a Harvard study found that sharing personal beliefs or feelings on social media works as a release for people because it rewards them for letting something out rather than keeping it in. “Expressing beliefs that are important to you functions as a self-affirmation,” psychology professor Joshua Hart of Union College told The Huffington Post. “It reminds you of the values that are central to your identity, and this gives you a psychological boost.”

A study by the Pew Research Center found that the people posting their opinions on social media are “less likely to share their opinions in face-to-face settings” because people are more likely to feel safer giving out their retorts when behind a computer screen rather than in person. “They’re expressing themselves in a forum where they’re likely to get a reaction, whether it’s the one they want or not,” Hart told The Huffington Post.

Hart said most people who post are also looking for the approval of others and “become more confident in their beliefs” when more people like, retweet or comment on the post. The Huffington Post said that there is not very much difference between Republicans, Democrats and independents regarding the number of posts with the leading posts on your own feed most likely factoring in based on your location.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

Sneaker collection sparks SWAT situation

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A sneaker collection was at the center of a three-hour standoff with Pittsburgh police Saturday.

Two juvenile suspects allegedly tried to steal a large number of tennis shoes from a home in Lawrenceville. 

Police responded to the scene just after 6:30 p.m. 

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Police entered the home and didn’t find any additional suspects, although they originally thought two more suspects were inside. The incident ended around 9 p.m.

Nobody inside the house was injured. 

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