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Florida man hid cameras in room rented to students, police say

A man in Miami Beach, Florida, landed in jail Tuesday night after he was accused of hiding cameras in a room he rented out to foreign students. 

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According to Miami Beach police, the students found the room on a Craigslist ad posted by Winston Vargas, 45. 

The day after they moved in, the students found three portable clocks in the bathroom with a hidden camera and video card inside, according to NBC Miami

The students then called police. And once officers showed up, Vargas told the students he would refund their rent money if they did not prosecute him, the police report states.

But when questioned about the cameras by police, Vargas said "a man from England placed them there," NBC Miami reports. 

Vargas remains in Miami-Dade jail on charges of video voyeurism and is being held on a $5,000 bond.

Read more at 

Serial robber targeting Waffle House customers in Georgia

Waffle House restaurants in Coweta, Fayette and Clayton counties south of Atlanta were targeted by what police are calling a serial robber.

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A man with a gun recently robbed several metro area Waffle House locations, first holding up customers and then demanding cash from the register, according to WSB-TV.

Fayetteville police spokesman Lt. Mike Whitlow said two Coweta locations were hit Monday and Tuesday.

Police told the station they want to catch the suspect before an armed customer is attacked.

“Eventually this is going to escalate, and this is going to get worse,” Whitlow said.

If a customer is robbed, Whitlow said they should, “Do what they tell you. Be a good witness.”

Girl sparks friendship with lonely man at grocery store, helps him heal after losing wife

Norah Wood, 4, just happened to say hello to 82-year-old Dan Petersen in a grocery store one afternoon. The two have been inseparable ever since.

“Something in her recognized something he needed,” mom Tara Wood told Hot Topics. “It’s magical.”

Little Norah was celebrating her fourth birthday on Sept. 28. After preschool, she and her mom stopped in at a grocery store near their Augusta, Georgia home to pick up some cupcakes.

Norah, riding in the shopping cart, spotted an elderly man, and before her mother could stop her, she stood up in the cart.

“She said, ‘Hi old person! It’s my birthday today!'” said Wood.

At first, Wood was embarrassed.

“He wasn’t warm and fuzzy looking at all,” said Wood. “But then, his expression softened. He asked, ‘How old are you today?'”

After chatting for a few seconds, they went their separate ways. Then, Norah suddenly decided she wanted to take a picture with the man.

They found him a few aisles down, and Wood asked for his permission to snap a picture.

“He said, ‘You want to take a photo with me?'” recalled Wood. “His face lit up. He looked like a completely different person.”

After snapping a few photos, Wood learned his named is Dan Petersen.

Norah thanked “Mr. Dan,” and his response brought Wood to tears.

“His little lip was quivering. He said, ‘Miss Norah, you made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time,'” recalled Wood.

That evening, Wood posted a photo of the encounter to her Facebook page.

Soon, a woman who knows Petersen personally reached out to her on social media to thank her for what her daughter did for Petersen.

“She said when his wife died back in March, he sunk into a depression,” said Wood. “She said, 'That’s the first time I’ve seen that man smile since his wife died.'”

Wood was able to get Petersen’s phone number and called him.

When Petersen picked up the phone, Wood said, “He just burst into tears. He said, ‘I haven’t stopped thinking about that little girl. She just inspired me.'”

Wood asked if she and Norah could pick him up for lunch that week.

“He said, ‘That would be wonderful,'” said Wood. “He asked if we could come to his house and see his greenhouse.”

When Wood arrived with Norah at his small ranch house, she almost didn’t recognize him.

“He cleaned up. He got a haircut. He shaved. He had on aftershave,” said Wood. “It was like he had Jennifer Lawrence coming to pick him up!”

Petersen chatted with Norah like they were old friends. He set out crayons and paper for her and asked her to draw him some pictures.

“He had been so lonely,” said Wood. “We covered 30 years of stuff. He was just ping-ponging around. He’s had a fascinating life. He’s had some tragedy in his life. He was just so grateful to have someone listen to him. The whole time, Norah was just curled up in his lap like she’s known him forever.”

Since then, Norah and her mom have been visiting Petersen regularly. Norah helped Petersen celebrate his 82nd birthday last week with balloons, cake and gifts.

“They’re so childlike. They get along so well,” said Petersen.

Sometimes, Norah and her mother will drop by unexpectedly, giving him a call when they’re on their way to his house.

“He’s always waiting at the door for us,” said Wood.

Wood said she’s touched that her daughter has befriended someone who needed love.

“I feel lucky to be the one to watch it happen,” said Wood. “It’s magical.”

Couple with last name Trump say drivers are upset over their license plate

A Tualatin, Oregon, couple never thought their last name on their license plate would make their lives miserable during this year’s election.

KATU reported that Brian Trump ordered a license plate with "Trump" written on it nine years ago;  he thought it’d be easier to be called that, since there a lot of people with the name Ryan and Brian around town. He told KATU that people at work call him Trump.

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Never in his wildest dreams did he think Donald Trump would ever become a presidential candidate years later.

Trump said drivers on the road started doing terrible things to him over a year ago.

"It took me a minute to figure out. I didn’t cut this person off. (I) used my blinker. I’m not like driving crazy," Trump told KATU. "Someone goes, ‘You’re not a Trump supporter are you?’ And I was like, ‘It’s my last name!'"

While some people have liked the license plate, Trump said it’s mostly gotten negative reactions.

"I’ve gotten a couple of thumbs up," Trump said. "But it’s generally the vulgar language, mean looks, flipping you off -- that kind of thing has unfortunately been a lot more common."

"Even if I was a die-hard Trump supporter, why should there be potential threats of violence or vulgar language?" he went on to say. "Try to treat everyone how you would want to be treated. It’s pretty simple. I mean, you might have a difference of opinion with someone, but it doesn’t mean you got to be rude or aggressive."

His wife, who also has a "Trump" plate, said she was approached by men several times.

"You have three grown men yelling at a woman alone in her car, it’s kind of scary, you know?" Trump told KATU. "You don’t want something to happen."

Brian Trump said he and his wife have no intentions on changing their plates or their last name. 

"I'm sticking with it. I'm not going to let someone bully me out of my plate."

Trump said he’s getting a graphic to put in the window to let drivers know that his last name is Trump, and the plates aren’t politically related at all.

School audit finds bus drivers using buses for personal use in Ohio

An internal audit of Dayton Public Schools’ operations department in Dayton, Ohio, revealed that employees are misusing district vehicles and taking inappropriately long lunches.

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Internal Auditor Randall Harper reported Wednesday that seven of 18 bus drivers checked had taken their bus off-route for personal use, three of them 20 times or more in 2015-16.

Harper said once when the transportation director was out, he decided to randomly check and within 30 minutes, found five buses parked at drivers’ homes or other places they weren’t supposed to be.

“Because it is difficult to monitor the vast fleet of DPS vehicles throughout the district with limited supervision resources, it is recommended that GPS units be installed on all DPS vehicles,” Harper said.

Harper also recommended the district hire more bus drivers, so supervisors could handle their regular responsibilities rather than driving buses. And he called for clear communication that personal use of DPS vehicles is prohibited and will lead to disciplinary actions.

Harper said in a five-week period, he did 44 observations at the maintenance division, where work rules call for employees to take a 30-minute lunch. He said in 22 of those 44 cases, employees took lunches of 43 minutes or more, up to a maximum of 87 minutes.

School board President Adil Baguirov said while Harper’s reports reveal unpleasant things, it’s a good thing that the district finds them, addresses them promptly, and is transparent with taxpayer money.

Family carving party goes wrong when girl gets head stuck in pumpkin

What appears to be a family pumpkin-carving session took a bizarre turn when a girl decided to put her head inside the opening of her freshly carved pumpkin.

Rachel Ralphs appears to have just finished removing the innards of her pumpkin when she commented on how large the hole was in her pumpkin:

"Isn't it so cute? I could like fit my head in it."

Her mother, Kristy Ralphs, recorded what happened next, and uploaded it to YouTube.

Near the end of the video, Rachel's father is summoned to the scene and he suggests calling the fire department.

Rachel apparently is freed from the pumpkin in a follow-up video.

Rachel's father can be heard asking why she put her head in the pumpkin, to which she replied, "I just thought it would be funny."

Florida employer asks thousands of workers to vote for Trump

Timeshare mogul and Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel sent an email to all of his 15,000 employees calling this the most important election of our lifetime and saying his employees should vote forDonald Trump for president, according to WFTV.

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Siegel told WFTV that it’s just his "advice" and that his employees should vote for who they think is best for their family and future. Siegel said he wanted his employees to know that he believes Trump will be best for the company and the country.

"George W. won by 537 votes. You know, this could be another close election; maybe my employees can make the difference. I hope so,” Siegel said.

"David Siegel has evolved here. He's learned from his experience from his last letter. He's not making threats now, he's offering advice,” said WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong.

Siegel warned employees four years ago that people could lose their jobs if President Obama was re-elected.

There’s nothing to prevent private business owners from offering advice on who to vote for, according to WFTV.

"I'm not coercing anybody. I’m just putting out the facts as I see them. If they have respect for me like I think they do, they'll vote for Trump,” Siegel said.

Obama speech and long golf weekend with Tiger Woods costs $3.6 million

If you’ve ever wondered how much it costs taxpayers when presidents go on golfing getaways, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has come up with a pretty clear answer: a bundle.

The GAO released a report Wednesday saying that it costs about $3.6 million in February 2013 for President Obama to travel to Chicago for a speech and then hit the Treasure Coast in Florida for a long golfing weekend. Among his golfing partners was Tiger Woods.

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The GAO looked into the matter after being asked to do so by Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is not exactly the president’s biggest fan in Washington.

The president had recently given his first State of the Union Address of his second term in 2013 when he headed for Chicago and Hyde Park Academy, where he talked about his economic proposals. Afterward, he flew to Palm Beach for a golfing vacation.

The GAO found that the trips, from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18 cost the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security about $3.6 million. That excludes some costs, such as salaries and benefits of civilian and military personnel traveling with the president.

The use of military aircraft to support presidential travel began with President Franklin Roosevelt, the GAO said in its report to Barrasso. So that’s not necessarily anything new.

The cost of presidential travel - particularly vacation travel - has long been a political bone of contention. Typically whichever political party is out of power rails against it, and whichever party is in power defends it.

The conservative group Judicial Watch reported in July that it had added up almost $80 million in travel by Obama and his family since the president took office in 2009.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, “President Obama’s travel is a scandal. It’s about his abuse of the office and his abuse of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”

What is Dia de los Muertos and when is it celebrated?

It’s not quite Halloween, despite its outward appearance. And, while the dead are involved in Dia de los Muertos, it’s in anything but a macabre way.

Don’t be fooled by the faces painted to look like skulls, or the altars full of food drink for the spirits.

This celebration of the dead comes with a dose of family, not spooks.

Dia de los Muertos is a tradition in Mexico that is being celebrated more often in the United States. The celebration, which begins late on Oct. 31, brings families together to celebrate their departed loved ones with feasts, altars, decorations and visits to the cemetery.

Here’s a look at the two-day celebration.

What is Dia de los Muertos?

Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of deceased loved ones. It is believed that the gates of heaven are opened every year late on Oct. 31, and the spirits of deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours.

Nov. 2 is when the spirits of deceased adults join their families.

How did it start?

The celebration is centuries old. It was begun in Mexico and is widely celebrated there still. Dia de los Muertos is a blend of Aztec celebrations honoring the dead and Spanish Catholic beliefs.  

How is it celebrated?

The observance of Dia de los Muertos is elaborate. Altars are constructed and decorated with candles, flowers, food and drink. Toys are left for deceased children, and cigarettes and mescal, an alcoholic beverage similar to tequila, are left for deceased adults.

To finish the altar, or ofrendas, skulls made of sugar and decorated with frosting are put into place. The sugar skulls are often purchased at open-air markets.

The altars and accompanying feasts can be expensive, but celebrants sacrifice and save to put on the annual celebrations to honor their departed loved ones.  

The celebrations begin in the home, but by the afternoon of Nov.2, the festivities move to the cemetery, where family members clean graves, listen to music and talk about the dead.

In some places, there are street parties or citywide festivals.

What are sugar skulls?

Sugar skulls are made from molds and decorated with frosting. They are placed on the altars in the homes of those celebrating Dia de los Muertos. Sometimes the skulls are eaten, but more often they are used as decorations for altars.

Sugar art is believed to have been brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century.  

Where is it celebrated?

The Day of the Dead is celebrated in many Latin American countries in addition to Mexico.

When is it?    

Dia de los Muertos begins on Nov. 1 and ends on Nov. 2.

Sources: Mexican Sugar;;

Deputies: Gun found in woman's backpack at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Authorities arrested a woman Wednesday after sheriff's deputies said they found a gun in her backpack at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

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The gun was discovered during a check of the woman's bag at the theme park's front gate, according to authorities.

Baleigh Turner, 23, of Mobile, Alabama, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm, a third-degree felony, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

>> Related: Man arrested after trying to sneak gun into Epcot, deputies say

According to an arrest affidavit, Turner said she had a valid permit to carry. However, deputies in Mobile County, Alabama, said her permit expired last January.

Turner is being held on $2,000 bail.

It was the second time this week that a person was arrested after trying to take a gun into a Disney property, according to deputies.

Authorities arrested Michael Langston, 61, of New Orleans, on Monday after he attempted to get a .380 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun into Walt Disney World's Epcot Theme Park, deputies said.

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