Woman accused of making 6-year-old child guard parking spot as she shopped

A Marathon woman was arrested Thursday on a child neglect charge, a week after she made a 6-year-old child guard her parking spot as she shopped nearby, authorities said.

The incident was reported about 10 p.m. Dec. 7 in the parking lot of the 240 Sombrero Road housing complex.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said Elda Solis, 47, left the young girl sitting on a chair to guard her parking spot while she went to Publix.

Herrin said the Sheriff’s Office received information about the incident the following day.

When deputies confronted Solis about the accusations, she admitted it was true, Herrin said.

Investigators interviewed the child, who they said told them that this was not the first time Solis had her hold a parking spot.

Solis was arrested Thursday on a warrant.

Herrin said Florida law prohibits authorities from releasing any further details that might identify the victim in this case.

 

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Miami terminates city's red light camera program

The days of the "eye in the sky" catching Miami drivers from running red lights will soon be a thing of the past.

Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to end the city's red light camera program.

The contract with American Traffic Solutions will be terminated, leaving the company 60 days to wrap up operations in the city, according to the Miami Herald.

During his campaign, newly-elected Mayor Francis Suarez promised to eliminate the cameras.

"These red-light cameras are essentially another tax, one that the residents of my district cannot afford," said Commissioner Manolo Reyes. "I thank my colleagues and Mayor Francis Suarez for their support."

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Long Key Bridge closed at mile marker 47 after crash involving tanker

The Long Key Bridge was shut down at mile marker 47 Thursday afternoon after a crash involving a tanker, Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies said.

The crash, which led to a 1,000-gallon fuel spill, was reported about 2:30 p.m. 

Authorities said both lanes could be blocked for up to two hours as authorities work to clear the scene.

Serious injuries were reported after the crash, but authorities did not immediately say how many people were injured. 

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
 

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Walmart is letting workers get paid whenever they want

Walmart is teaming up with Silicon Valley to make payday come early for its employees.

The company announced a new "Instapay" service for its 1.4 million workers. The service will allow Walmart workers to access, before payday, half of the wages they have already earned. They can withdraw that pay whenever they'd like to.

Instapay is part of a personal finance app called Even, which lets hourly and salaried workers plan ahead for bills, make savings goals and helps them figure out how much is okay for them to spend. Financial tech company PayActiv is also collaborating on Walmart's Instapay service.

The Even app connects directly to a worker's checking account, prepaid account or Walmart Associate Paycard, and links to Walmart's payroll systems.

"We're investing to give our people financial tools that help provide more stability in their lives, which we believe will empower them to be all they can be when they are at work serving our customers," said Jacqui Canney, Walmart's chief "people" officer, in a prepared statement.

Walmart is footing the bill for the app, including the "Instapay" feature, which workers can use up to eight times for free — an allotment that rolls over annually if it is unused. After that, employees pay $3 a pay period to access earned wages, according to PayActiv founder and CEO Safwan Shah.

According to Shah, the fees pay for the cost of transferring money on demand, which is more expensive than lump sum paychecks every two weeks.

The financial assistance comes at a time when Walmart associates are working in overdrive.

The company announced in September it would not be hiring holiday workers, but rather upping the hours for existing workers.

For part-time employees, additional hours could increase total pay more than an increase in hourly pay.

Walmart raised its minimum pay for most employees to $10 an hour in 2015, and the average pay for its full-time workers is now $13 an hour.

Part-time workers are paid about $10 an hour on average, $2.75 more than federal minimum wage.

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Cow escapes church nativity scene twice

A cow has been making a scene of its own in Philadelphia, twice escaping a church nativity display, KOCO reported.

Storming the cow escaped the Old First Reformed Church of Christ and ended up on an interstate Thursday, KOCO reported.

Police rounded up the large animal, boxing it in using their vehicles and walking it off the interstate to return it to the church, KOCO reported.

It didn't take long for Storming to break out again, according to KOCO.

The cow was found on the fourth floor of a parking garage before it was taken back to the nativity scene, KOCO reported.

Philadelphia police officials tweeted about the incident:

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Refinery29 laying off 34 employees, citing 'turbulent moment'

Staff cuts are coming to Refinery29, the news and media site focused on young women.

Thirty-four people are losing their jobs, according to a memo sent to staff Thursday. The cuts cover about 7% of the workforce.

Co-founders Philippe von Borrie and Justin Stefano cited "the challenges and tough decisions that come with adapting to this turbulent moment in time."

"As a leadership team, we must ensure the enduring success and influence of Refinery29 in the years ahead," they wrote in the memo, which was provided to CNNMoney. "And, in this particular moment that means tightening our belt in order to invest in the future."

Refinery29 is the latest site to trim staff in a tough business environment for digital media outlets.

HuffPost and Vocativ, a tech news site, laid off dozens of people in June. And in August, the news site Mic cut 25 employees so it could shift resources to video.

BuzzFeed announced last month that it would lay off roughly 100 employees in the United States. The cuts hit sales and marketing, along with staffers in the British news and business teams.

The Refinery29 co-founders, Von Borrie and Stefano, said the company wants to focus on "growth engines," including long-form scripted and unscripted video. They also mentioned the company's live entertainment division and R29 Intelligence, a research and data engine.

"In the coming years, we will continue our evolution from a digital advertising company to a diversified media company that shows up in original video content, TV, films, social, books, products and live entertainment," the co-founders wrote.

The memo was first reported Thursday morning by Business Insider.

Refinery29 calls itself the "leading digital media company focused on women," and last year touted an audience of 27 million monthly visitors.

Turner led a $45 million round of funding for Refinery29 last year "to fuel development of original video content," the companies said at the time. (CNN is part of Turner, which is a division of Time Warner.)

Hadley Strecker, a spokeswoman for Refinery29, insisted to CNNMoney that the company has "a strong editorial-based leadership team in place," despite the void left after the departure of the outlet's editorial director late last year.

"As such, Refinery29 has no plans for a search to fill the role of editorial director," she said.

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Rubio a 'no' on tax bill unless he gets child tax credit

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, told congressional leadership that he will not support the latest version of the GOP tax bill if the legislation doesn't make the child tax credit more generous.

"I've been pretty consistent in my communications on this issue and that is I want us to see the refundable portion of the child tax credit increased from its current number," Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday. "If it stays at $1,100, I'm a 'no.' Let's hope it doesn't."

Rubio is a potential problem as the Senate GOP prepares to bring a tax bill to the floor for a vote next week.

Republican leaders are working with an already thin majority in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two votes and already Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, voted against the last version of the bill. Corker said Wednesday he still maintained many of the same concerns from his last vote with the most recent version of the bill.

"Senator Rubio has consistently communicated to the Senate tax negotiators that his vote on final passage would depend on whether the refundability of the Child Tax Credit was increased in a meaningful way," Olivia Perez-Cubas, an aide to Rubio, told CNN in a statement Thursday.

Rubio — along with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah — has been working for months to make the child tax credit more refundable, something the senators argue will help lower-income Americans, but so far their efforts haven't convinced leaders who are trying to craft a tax bill that still meets Senate rules and doesn't cost more than $1.5 trillion. What Lee and Rubio are asking for is expensive, but Rubio has publicly expressed frustration that GOP leaders were willing to increase the corporate tax rate to 21% to pay for lowering the top tax rate for individuals, but not for helping lower-income people with children.

Lee is undecided right now on the tax bill, according to an aide.

"Sen. Lee is undecided on the bill in its current forms," spokesman Conn Carroll told CNN in a statement. "Sen. Lee continues to work to make the CTC as beneficial as possible to American working families."

The White House said Thursday they would continue working with Rubio on the child tax credit, but insisted they'd already made substantial progress on the topic as negotiators finalize a tax deal.

"We think he should be very exited about the progress made on that front," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

She said the White House was "very proud" of the work they'd already accomplished with the Florida Republican, calling it "historic movement."

Sanders couldn't say whether Trump had spoken recently with Rubio about tax reform, and said the White House expected tax reform to pass before the end of the year.

Another complicating factor is that two Republican senators John McCain of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi are dealing with ongoing health issues.

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Believe it or not, Florida drivers ranked 2nd best in U.S.

Florida has the best drivers.

Florida has the worst drivers.

All the proclamations are enough to make your head spin, which is fine as long as it's not while you're behind the wheel.

But now there's yet another survey that claims drivers in the Sunshine State are the second best in the entire country. 

Yes, the same drivers who mastered the technique of cutting off others on I-95, changing lanes without signaling and offering up obscene gestures are considered to be the gold standard of vehicular piloting in 2017.

QuoteWizard came up with the most recent rankings which were based on accidents, speeding tickets, DUI's, citations and fatalities.

According to the rankings, Florida performed well in every category except fatalities, where the state ranks… gulp… 21st worst.

Only Rhode Island fared better than Florida, and for them it was a back-to-back championship, having won in 2016.  

The worst in the country was none other than California, followed by Minnesota and Utah.

So go out and celebrate, Florida drivers. You're No. 2… until you use your skills and drive Rhode Island off the road and out of the competition.

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Man accused of robbing Taco Bell employees at gunpoint through drive-thru window

A South Florida man was arrested Thursday shortly after he robbed a Taco Bell at gunpoint through a drive-thru window, authorities said.

The armed robbery was reported just after 12:30 p.m. at the Taco Bell at 1717 E. Sample Road in Pompano Beach.

According to an arrest report, Javaris Sheppard, 25, pointed a gun at the manager and ordered him to open the cash registers.

Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies said Sheppard got away with three cash drawers and a safe that was later recovered.

During the robbery, Sheppard pointed the handgun at four employees and threatened to shoot them all if they did not cooperate with unlocking the cash drawers and safe, authorities said.

The manager later identified Sheppard to detectives as the armed robber.

Records show that Sheppard is a convicted felon, who had been released from prison on June 1.

Sheppard is not authorized to be in possession of a firearm. 

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Creek Fire Update v2 12-14-17 (Creek Fire Wildfire)

Incident UpdateDate: 12/14/2017 Fire Information Line: 626-574-5208 STATUS Incident Start Date: 12/05/2017 Incident Start Time: 3:44 AM Incident Type: Wildland Fire Cause: Under Investigation Incident Location: 4 miles East of Sylmar Acreage: 15,619 Containment: 98% Expected Containment: 12/23/2017 Injuries: 3 Structures Threatened: 2,500 Residence Destroyed: 60 Other Structures Destroyed: 63 Residence Damaged: 55 Other Structures Damaged: 26 RESOURCES Engines: 17 Water Tenders: 1 Helicopters: 2 Air Tankers: Hand Crews: 2 Dozers: 3 Other: 35 Total Personnel: 166 Incident Management: Angeles National Forest, Type 3 Incident Management Team Cooperating Agencies: Los Angeles Fire, Los Angeles County Fire, CAL FIRE, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Cal Trans, Los Angeles County Public Health, Los Angeles County Public Works, Southern California Edison, Red Cross, Los Angeles County Animal Control, Los Angeles…
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