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Teen accused of murdering mother with help of two friends

A 15-year-old and his friend drugged, strangled and stabbed his mother to death at a home in Maine, according to court documents.

>> Read more trending news

Kimberly Mironovas, 47, was found stabbed and strangled to death at her home in Litchfield, Maine, early on Sunday morning. 

Police say the woman, originally from Ashland, Massachusetts, was killed by her son and his 15-year-old friend. 

A third teenager, a 13-year-old friend, allegedly helped plan the murder.

According to prosecutors, the 13-year-old came up with a plan to kill Mironovas by crushing prescription pills and mixing them into a glass of wine, but court documents show the boys' attempt to secretly mix in the pills failed.

Mironovas’ son and his friend entered her bedroom wearing gloves and armed with a knife early Sunday morning, according to prosecutors.

Mironovas was found shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, and police say she had been strangled and stabbed in the neck.

All three boys were arraigned at a juvenile court in Maine on Monday.

The 15-year-old suspects were charged with one count each of murder, and all three were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit murder.

Mironovas and her son had moved to Maine from their home in Ashland, Massachusetts, where former neighbors told Boston 25 News they hope her son gets help. 

"She was a quiet person," said Jim, a former neighbor. "I think her son was troubled a little bit, she had him in a special school."

Mironovas moved from Ashland to Maine about a year ago to attend cosmetology school.

Authorities continue to investigate the case.

Florida city says homeowners can’t have house painted like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’

A Florida couple is fighting their city over the painting of their house.

Nancy Nemhauser and her husband Lubomir Jastrzebski had painted a wall that rings their property. They had permission to paint it from city officials. They had the plan to paint it as a mural for their son, who has autism. They hoped that if he was lost, it would be a beacon, or at least a landmark, to help him find his way home, the “Today” show reported

But after the mural was done, the family got a ticket from the city saying that the paint was graffiti and that it must match the house. The city then said that the paint scheme was a sign, and a code violation in a residential area, WFTV reported.

>> Read more trending news 

So instead of covering up the painting, they took the Van Gogh tribute a step further and painted the entire house so the wall and home would match as they were told to do, “Today” reported.

But the city didn’t agree with what they did and has fined them more than $10,000 for the paint scheme. A local magistrate ruled in February that the city could fine the couple, WFTV reported. The fines were stopped at the end of February after a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against Mount Dora, WFTV reported.

But the family is now turning the tables on the city, suing the local government in federal court, saying their right to freedom of expression is being violated, “Today” reported.

"There's art on other homes, other buildings in the city, in the residential district as well, so why are we being chastised for ours when we did what we were told we had to do to keep the wall that our son loves," Nemhauser told WFTV.

The city did not respond to “Today’s” request for comment on the suit, but said in February that leaders are trying to “preserve the residential character of our neighborhoods.” They added that the house could be a distraction to drivers.

Both sides are trying to settle, but whether the painting will have to be covered has not been determined. But the family says they’re ready to stand up for their rights.

Reaction to the mural is split -- some love it, others don’t.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Ilka Zuijderland-Varnes told “Today.” “I think it’s art, and we’re an artsy town, and it should stay.”

But another resident, Tammy Swan Bacon, said she doesn’t like it, but says the city should not make the family take it down, “Today” reported.

City officials said in February that the city is also considering putting a lien on the property to "motivate" the homeowners to remove the mural, WFTV.com.

Study: Even mild head injuries increase risk of Parkinson's disease

Even mild head injuries dramatically increase an individual's risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a new large-scale study on veterans.

>> Read more trending news

The new research, published this month in the academic journal Neurology, looked at data collected from 325,870 former members of the U.S. military ranging from 31 to 65 years of age. Researchers discovered that individuals who experienced a concussion at some point during their lives were 56 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who had never been knocked out, had not experienced an altered state of consciousness or had not had amnesia for up to 24 hours.

More severe brain trauma made the risk of contracting the disease later in life even more likely. Veterans with a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury saw an 83 percent increased risk.

"This is not the first study to show that even mild traumatic brain injury increases the risk for Parkinson's disease. But we were able to study every single veteran across the U.S. who had been diagnosed at a Veterans Affairs hospital, so this is the highest level of evidence we have so far that this association is real," Dr. Raquel Gardner, the study's lead author, who works for the San Francisco Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, told Reuters.

Kristine Yaffe, another author of the study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the VA, said that most of the former soldiers who were diagnosed with Parkinson's actually got their head injuries during civilian life.

"While the participants had all served in the active military, many if not most of the traumatic brain injuries had been acquired during civilian life," she explained. 

But overall, the number of veterans who were diagnosed with Parkinson's was quite small. Only one in 212 veterans who had experienced a concussion developed the disease. The rate was slightly higher, at one in 134 among those who reported a more serious moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Michael Silver, an assistant professor at Emory University's Department of Neurology who was not involved in the research, called the data "robust."

"This has been a controversial issue but most studies that have looked at this have found a correlation between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the subsequent development of Parkinson's disease. This is of course a difficult topic to study since if you would like to start with a cohort of patients that have suffered TBI, you have to wait and track a subject for years," Silver said.

"With this robust VA data, specifically the fact that the system reliably codes for TBIs, we are able to put the pieces together years later," he said.

Although Silver said the study was well done and controlled for many factors, he suggested a longer follow-up on patients would have made the research more helpful.

"I would have liked a longer follow-up on the subjects since the average age was only 48, and the usual age of onset for Parkinson's disease is in the sixties," he said. "This is an intriguing study and as we gather more data going forward, can make more conclusive links between TBI and Parkinson's disease."

Parkinson's is the most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's. Risk of the disease increases with age, from about 1 percent at age 60 to around 4 percent at 80.

Silver said that as of now, doctors don't have a way of intervening to prevent Parkinson's. He said that he recommends a "healthy diet and exercise" to patients who have experienced head trauma, as previous studies suggest this could reduce the risk of dementia (which Parkinson's can lead to).

The authors of the study have similar advice for individuals concerned about developing Parkinson's later in life. Gardner told CNN that a healthy diet, regular exercise and keeping medical conditions under control are the best ways to avoid any neurodegenerative disease.

"If anyone is worried, do a little bit better to live more healthily," she said.

Read the new study at n.neurology.org.

Broken-heart syndrome: Can you die from a broken heart?

Can you die from a broken heart?

At times in life, the stress of the loss of a loved one or a devastating medical diagnosis can sure make you think that. But is there a physiological link between heartbreak and a heart that’s “broken?”

>> Read more trending news

Doctors say there is, and they even have a name for it -- takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or “broken-heart syndrome.”

The symptoms come on suddenly and are often confused with a heart attack. People who have suffered the loss of a loved one are often affected.

A doctor in Texas suggested Monday that former president George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized a day after the funeral for his wife, Barbara, could be suffering from the syndrome.

A spokesman said Bush had an infection that traveled to his bloodstream but that he appeared to be improving. Bush is in intensive care at a Houston hospital.

What is takotsubo cardiomyopathy and will it kill you? Here’s a look at the syndrome.

What is it?Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart’s main pumping chamber – the left ventricle.What causes the weakening of the chamber?It’s believed that after a stressful event – such as losing a loved one, being in an accident or experiencing a natural disaster – the release of a large number of stress hormones (such as adrenaline) causes a disruption in the heart’s ability to properly pump blood. That disruption weakens the left ventricle and causes it to balloon out as the heart beats.Is it a heart attack?Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is not a heart attack. A heart attack happens when a blockage in the arteries of the heart interrupts blood flow, causing tissue to be damaged or destroyed.Can it kill you?Yes, you can die from takotsubo cardiomyopathy, generally as a result of arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, but that rarely happens. In fact, most people recover from the condition within a few weeks to a month.Some people believe the takotsubo cardiomyopathy may have contributed to the death of actress Debbie Reynolds, who died in December 2016, a day after her daughter, actress and author Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack. Debbie Reynolds’ cause of death was listed as an intracerebral hemorrhage or a stroke.What are the symptoms?The symptoms mimic a heart attack – chest pain and shortness of breath after severe stress. An electrocardiogram can show abnormalities that look like a heart attack, but with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, there will be no evidence of coronary artery obstruction that would cause a heart attack.Tests will show abnormal movements and ballooning of the left ventricle.Who generally suffers from broken-heart syndrome?Overwhelmingly, it is a condition from which women suffer. According to a Harvard Medical School report, research shows women account for 90 percent of the cases diagnosed. The women in that study were between the ages of 58 and 75.How is it treated?Doctors usually prescribe medications such as diuretics (“water pills”), beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. They often prescribe aspirin, as well.What does the name mean?Takotsubo syndrome is named after a type of fishing pot used by Japanese fishermen. The pot is used to trap an octopus.The name comes from images of the heart following an occurrence of takotsubo. The ballooning of the left ventricle causes the heart to take on a shape similar to the fishing pot.Japanese doctors are credited with discovering the condition. It has only recently been recognized in the United States, according to the Harvard report.

Truckload of cans and bottles meant for fundraiser stolen

Two boys in Maine collecting cans for their local radio station's cancer research fundraiser were robbed of their stash over the weekend, according to a report

Bryce and Riley Deshaies are seasoned recyclers as they have been participating in the fundraiser for 8 years, according to their mother. 

This past year, the pair collected almost 200,000 cans and bottles -- a little under $10,000 worth -- according to News Center Maine.

But on Sunday, the boys' mother discovered someone had gotten into the trailer storing their recyclables and stolen about half the stash, which was meant for the annual Cans for a Cure Campaign sponsored by a Portland radio station. 

If you want to support the boys' cause, you can donate to the campaign here:

Cans For A CurePo Box 412Parsonsfield, Maine 04047

5-year-old claims teacher taped mouth, tossed lunch

A little boy from Michigan says his teachers put tape over his mouth and threw away his lunch and he says he was told not to tell anyone about what happened.

Abdul Dannaoui said it happened back on March 26 at Highview Elementary School, WXYZ reported.

He said it didn’t happen only once either. Abdul told his parents and WXYZ that he has been prevented from eating lunch and his snack up to 10 times. 

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m emotionally heartbroken. Disappointed. That’s his second home. That’s how they treat a child with asthma?” his mother Hoda said to WXYZ.

School officials told WXYZ that the taping incident happened at Great Start Readiness Program at Cherry Hill Baptist Church and that it was a substitute teacher assistant who scotch-taped Abdul’s mouth shut. The person no longer works at the school.

The Dannaouis have filed a police report and are considering legal action against the district, WXYZ reported.

They say a second adult was in the room at the time. That teacher is still working for the district. The family’s attorney, Nabih Ayad, told WXYZ, “One of the teachers was discharged. But, they kept the other teacher who said don’t tell your mom or dad, and even gave him a bracelet to entice him not to tell anyone.”

Abdul is changing schools after the incident.

Amazon now offers in-car package delivery

Can’t wait until you get home to open that package you ordered? You’re in luck: Amazon announced Tuesday that it is now offering in-car package delivery.

 >> Read more trending news 

Victim pays IRS impostor $4,000 in iTunes gift cards

A victim of a common scam was too embarrassed to go on camera, but his mother, Lisa Thomas, was not. She wanted others to know his story.

Like usual with this con, an alleged scammer called, said he was an IRS official, told the victim he owed money, and threatened to arrest him if he didn’t pay right away.

“They wanted him to go to Target and purchase iTunes gift cards. $4,000 worth. $100 each,” Thomas told WSOC.

And he did. “Because he heard jail. I’m going to jail,” she said. “He has learned a valuable, costly, very expensive lesson.”

>> Read more trending news 

Viewers tell WSOC almost daily that an IRS imposter calls. WSOC called the alleged scammer back. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Jason Stoogenke: “Obviously you’re not with the IRS.”

Stoogenke: “How much money are you trying to scam out of people?”

Caller: “Just $8,000 sir.”

Stoogenke: “So you’re trying to scam $8,000? You’re admitting that to me right now?”

Caller: “uh huh. Uh huh.”

Stoogenke: “I’m a TV news reporter and I’m going to put you on the air.”

Stoogenke: “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Caller: “Go [expletive] yourself.”

Stoogenke: “Maybe you should stop scamming people.”

Caller: “No. Why should I?” 

Stoogenke: “Honestly, how often does this work?” 

Caller hangs up.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says victims in the state lost $85,930 to this scam since this time last year. 

The IRS will not call you, threaten to arrest you, and ask you to pay over the phone using any kind of gift card or prepaid debit card.

#YetiCoolerChallenge: NRA supporters are blowing up their Yeti products to protest company

Over the weekend, the National Rifle Association sent an email to its members saying Austin, Texas-based Yeti had “suddenly, without prior notice” indicated it no longer wished to do business with the NRA Foundation, according to reports

>> NRA: Yeti won't do business with us

“That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike,” the email read, in part. “In fact, Yeti should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs.”

The statement prompted a lot of backlash from Yeti owners who support the NRA. 

Later Monday, Yeti released a statement saying that the NRA’s claims are “inaccurate” and that the company is “unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment.”

>> Read more trending news 

That didn’t stop people from destroying their Yeti products in protest, however.

Dubbed the #YetiCoolerChallenge, the earliest video we could find on YouTube was shared on April 22, and it features a Yeti tumbler being crushed in a vise.

Other videos included creative means of Yeti destruction like filling up a cooler with tannerite and shooting it with a rifle, or just shooting a tumbler with a revolver:

 

As expected, folks on Twitter had all sorts of opinions:

To give you an idea of what’s in one of those coolers, by the way, here’s a YouTube video from “What’s Inside?” where they cut a Yeti cooler in half:

Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure

Southwest Airlines said it canceled about 40 flights Sunday as it inspects engine fan blades in the wake of an engine failure last week that led to one passenger’s death.

>> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight

That’s about 1 percent of Dallas-based Southwest’s daily schedule of nearly 4,000 flights. The airline encouraged passengers to check their flight status. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day due to the inspections,” Southwest said in a written statement.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has the same type of engines on the Boeing 737s in its fleet and is also adding ultrasonic inspections of the engines, but said it doesn’t expect any operational impact to customers.

>> Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest Airlines flight?

Both airlines last week, in advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s official release of an emergency airworthiness directive, said they would accelerate the inspections.

The FAA on Friday issued the anticipated directive requiring airlines to inspect fan blades on certain engines within 20 days. The directive draws from information gathered in the investigation of Southwest’s engine failure last Tuesday. The FAA said the inspection requirement is estimated to affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.

>> Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest flight showed evidence of “metal fatigue,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That engine model is on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s, which make up the vast majority of Southwest’s fleet.

>> Read more trending news 

Delta has a fleet of about 185 Boeing 737s with the engines, out of a fleet of more than 800 planes of various types.

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