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Memorial Day sign at Kansas restaurant goes viral 

For Memorial Day, it was the perfect sign of respect.

The photo of a sandwich board outside Mayberry’s Bar & Grill in the northern Kansas city of Washington that pays tribute to the American servicemen who have lost their lives fighting for their country has gone viral. 

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“We have 619,300 reasons to be closed on Monday,” is written in chalk on the sign, referring to U.S. service deaths from World War I, World War II and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The sign was the idea of Mayberry’s employee Kelly Ray, the Wichita Eagle reported. Ray moved from Missouri to northern Kansas earlier this year, and he brought a sign he made while working at a previous restaurant. Mayberry’s would be closed on Sunday and on Memorial Day, but the sign posted outside the restaurant would be photographed and shared across social media. By late Sunday it had been shared more than 109,000 times.

“I just love the message,” Ray told the Wichita Eagle on Sunday. “You don’t have to like our president or like some of the things our government is doing, but you sure better respect those who have laid down their lives for us to be able to live here.”

According to official U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs numbers, and depending on how deaths are calculated, the sign totals are not completely accurate, but the message is still relevant.

Ray told KWCH that many patrons have thanked him for putting up the sign. One veteran thanked him in person, but Ray, who is the restaurant’s manager and chef, stopped him.

“I said, ‘No, thank you,’” Ray told KWCH. “You guys are the reason we’re here and we appreciate that.

“He said ‘Damn shame more people don’t think like that,’” Ray said.

Ray said the idea for the sign was formed when he worked at a Missouri restaurant.

“I mentioned to the owner that we should be closed for Memorial Day, and he said, ‘I can’t think of one good reason why we would do that, because people are going to be out and they’ll want to eat,’ ” Ray told the Wichita Eagle. “I saw a post on Facebook with the number of people who have died in our wars, so I basically just put that on a sign and showed it to him.”

The owner closed the restaurant.

“People talk about Memorial Day being the start of summer and that sort of thing,” Ray told the newspaper. “But what it’s really about is those people who died. I hope people think about them.”

Police warn pet owners after finding drugged dog treats

A resident found pieces of hot dogs and beef sticks stuffed with ibuprofen, which can be fatal to dogs. 

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Police searched and cleaned the area in which the tainted treats were found, the Scott County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Service dog missing after lawn mower hits tie-down

A guide dog for the blind that was recently matched with its handler disappeared shortly after going into service. 

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Brinkley, a yellow Labrador retriever that was trained through Leader Dogs for the Blind, ran off after getting scared by a lawn mower that hit her tie-down, according to WJRT. Brinkley started working 10 days earlier.

Jackie McKeon recently finished a 26-day training with Brinkley before taking her home. 

Pitcher strikes out every batter in perfect game

A softball pitcher completed a perfect game, striking out every batter she faced Friday. 

Mia Fiaeta, a sophomore at Cedar Grove High School in New Jersey, struck out the 21 batters she faced in a 4-0 victory, according to the North Jersey Record.

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"I've never witnessed anything like that before," Cedar Grove head coach Nicole Velardi told The Record. "She really held it together. We didn't realize until the last inning that she was doing it."

In her last appearance, Fiaeta struck out all 15 batters she faced. She has thrown 321 strikeouts this season, according to the North Jersey Record.

The win puts the Panthers in the finals of their playoff tournament. They play again Tuesday.

South Korea calls emergency meeting after latest North Korea missile test

North Korea has conducted a successful ballistic missile test, firing a projectile into the Sea of Japan early Monday morning, CNBC and other media report, citing South Korea’s Yonhap news network.

Three previous similar tests happened a week ago.

The latest missile test is at least the eighth such test this year alone. North Korea has been working on new anti-aircraft weaponry as well, according to Reuters.

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The Korea Herald reports that South Koreans scrambled in response, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in assembling an emergency meeting of the country’s security council.

The test comes during a period of heightened tensions with North Korea.

This morning, in an interview on “Face the Nation”, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said a war with North Korea would be “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetime” and a “catastrophic war if this turns into a combat.”

Postal truck crash sends boxes of medical supplies into creek

The Washington State Patrol is asking the public to report any shipping packages found along Peshastin Creek after a postal truck crashed and sent its load into the water body.

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Around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, a Postal Express truck was involved in a collision six miles southeast of Leavenworth. Brian Moore , a spokesman with the Washington State Patrol, sent out a tweet with information about the crash.

The State Patrol said most of the contents are harmless medical supplies, but some packages could pose a risk if unsealed. As water levels recede, more packages could become exposed.

SpaceX rocket test sparks Florida brush fire, officials say

A SpaceX static rocket fire test ignited a brush fire in the Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The rocket test-firing occurred early Sunday afternoon on launch pad 39A, SpaceX said in a tweet.

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Fish and Wildlife officials said the blaze is 2 acres at this time on a small island near the launch pad. 

Firefighters are using a helicopter to drop water on the fire, officials said. 

SpaceX conducted the test in preparation for the company's commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station slated for Thursday at 5:55 p.m., NASA said.

USLaunchReport shot video of the static fire test.

Woman charged for paying minor up to $300 for sex encounters, police say

A Florida woman is facing charges, accused of paying a child under the age of 15 up to $300 for sexual encounters.

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Suspect Rebecca McGraw, 38, was arrested on Thursday and is facing five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor under the age of 15, Port St. Lucie police said. 

Investigators said McGraw admitted to at least five sexual acts with the victim.

She remained in the St. Lucie County Jail on Saturday on a $125,000 bail.

The age of sexual consent in Florida is 18. No one under the age of 16 can give consent under any circumstances, according to Florida statutes.

Authorities arrested McGraw after detectives followed up on prior allegations of child abuse and sexual molestation of a child by an adult.

>> Related: Child sex abuse case surfaces after girl looks up porn at school, police say

McGraw was an assistant manager at an apartment complex in Port St. Lucie when the sexual offenses allegedly occurred with a child living at the complex, police said. She would allowed the child to use her debit and credit cards, and to drive her vehicle unaccompanied, investigators said.

 

Sen. Tim Kaine’s son charged for role in pro Trump rally riot

 

Former Democratic vice presidential candidate US Sen. Tim Kaine’s son is facing charges for his alleged role in a riot that broke out at a pro Trump rally in Minnesota earlier this year.

Linwood Michael Kaine, 24, whose father, Sen. Tim Kaine, (D-VA), was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election, was charged on Friday with three misdemeanor counts, including fleeing police on foot, concealing his identity and obstructing the legal process with force. He was initially facing second-degree riot charges.

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The “announcement of misdemeanor charges against Sen. Kaine’s son contains no suggestion that he engaged in disruptive behavior while at the rally, but are instead focused on his actions as he was arrested after he left,” Kaine’s spokeswoman, Miryam Lipper, said in a statement.

“Tim and Anne support their son and hope the matter is resolved soon,” Lipper said.

The charges stem from an incident on March 4 at the state Capitol in St. Paul when a group of 125 protesters wearing all black — with some covering their faces — stormed a Trump rally. Demonstrators tossed a smoke bomb into the crowd of about 400, sprayed pepper spray and blew whistles and air-horns, inciting a riot. They scattered as police arrived, but Kaine was caught. Seven others were also charged for their participation in the chaos.

>> Related: US sen. Tim Kaine’s son arrested at Trump rally

“When people seek to prevent others who are peacefully assembled from making their voices heard, it threatens the very foundation of our democracy,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.

 

Missing woman lost at sea still puzzling authorities, husband questioned in disappearance

On Tuesday night, a neighbor watched out the window of her condo west of the city as official-looking men wearing powder-blue latex gloves searched Lewis Bennett’s car and questioned him as he stood nearby.

Neighbors say they last saw Isabella Hellmann weeks before Bennett, her newlywed husband, says he left with her on a two-week romantic sailing jaunt through the Tropics — one that ended with Bennett being rescued at sea and Hellman missing.

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Bennett said his catamaran struck something while he slept and that he came topside to find the boat sinking and no trace of his new wife — a 41-year-old real estate broker, his wife of just three months and the mother of the couple’s 9-month-old daughter.

The Coast Guard and the FBI both have confirmed they are jointly conducting a “missing person investigation” into Hellmann’s disappearance.

The Palm Beach Post has been unable to reach Bennett, 40, a dual British-Australian citizen with few ties to Florida and an enigmatic past. Hellmann’s family spoke briefly at the start of a Coast Guard search that would cover four days and 6,600 miles, an area nearly three times the size of Palm Beach County. Since then, relatives have declined to speak with The Post.

>> Related: Husband to start own search for wife presumed missing at sea

What happened in those evening hours on the high seas, about 70 miles southeast of Key West, remains, in large part, a mystery. Authorities do know some details, but haven’t yet revealed them. They’re remaining silent about other pieces of the puzzling disppearance.

On May 17, the night before the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search, neighbor David Mayer said last week he approached Bennett to express his concern and sympathy.

“He said, ‘Yeah. I’m going to be leaving for England. I’ve got to move on with my life,’ ” Mayer recalled. “I said, ‘What about the baby?’ He stopped and said, “Oh. I guess I’ve got to take her with me, too.’”

Read more here.

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