Charlotte Rae from ‘Facts of Life’ dies at 92
A spokesman for Charlotte Rae, who played a wise and caring housemother to a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom “The Facts of Life,” says the actress has died. She was 92.
Spokesman Harlan Boll said Rae died Sunday at her Los Angeles home. A cause of death was not immediately provided.
Rae originated the character of Edna Garrett in 1978 during the first season of NBC’s comedy “Diff’rent Strokes,” then took Mrs. Garrett with her for the spinoff “The Facts of Life,” which premiered the following season. Initially set at a girls’ boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons, though Rae left after its seventh year.
Her many stage roles include that of Mammy Yokum, created by her for the 1956 Broadway musical “Li’l Abner.”
5 killed when small plane crashes in California parking lot
SANTA ANA, Calif.
Five people on board a small airplane were killed, but nobody on the ground was hurt when the twin-engine Cessna crashed Sunday in a Southern California parking lot, authorities said.
The pilot of the Cessna 414 declared an emergency before crashing about a mile from John Wayne Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said.
The plane was heading to the airport southeast of Los Angeles when it came down and struck an unoccupied parked car in the lot of a Staples store and a CVS pharmacy, said Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi. There was no fire, and nobody on the ground was hurt, he said.
Photos from the scene showed the plane upright but on its belly. Several roads surrounding the shopping center and the South Coast Plaza mall across the street were closed.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, Salac said.
Freight train derailment blocks tracks; no injuries
Four cars from a freight train derailed in Pittsburgh, sending containers tumbling down a hillside onto light rail tracks below, but no injuries have been reported, authorities said.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Jim Glass said the cars derailed on the South Side of Pittsburgh near Station Square shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, and no hazardous materials were involved.
Containers from the derailed cars slid down the hillside onto or near the light rail Port Authority tracks, said Adam Brandolph of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Brandolph says there has been “extensive damage” that likely will take a long time to repair. Light rail service at the station was suspended.
The cause of the derailment is under investigation. Glass said two divisions of a contract company that specializes in re-railing cars and derailment cleanup were at the site along with two additional excavators.
Deputies seek armed teen who held up boy’s lemonade stand
Deputies in North Carolina say they’re seeking a teenager who robbed a 9-year-old’s lemonade stand at gunpoint.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that the stickup happened near a traffic roundabout in Monroe, about 30 miles southeast of Charlotte.
Deputies say the young drink vendor reported that a male teenager with a camouflage hat and black shirt placed a black handgun to the boy’s stomach Saturday, demanded money and then fled on foot.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Underwood tells The Charlotte Observer less than $20 in cash was stolen.
Authorities found a camouflage hat, a black BB handgun and a stolen metal tin in some nearby woods. Deputies believe the suspect left a bicycle in the brush for his getaway.
Amazon removes Nazi-themed items after complaints
Amazon says it has removed items with Nazi or white supremacist symbols from its website after criticism from advocacy groups.
An Amazon executive said the company blocked the accounts of some retailers and might suspend them.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota complained to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last month. The company’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, responded to Ellison, telling him that Amazon prohibits listing products that promote or glorify hatred, violence or intolerance.
A spokeswoman for Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. declined to comment further Sunday.
In early July, the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy highlighted Amazon listings including swastika pendants, baby onesies with burning cross logos and a costume that makes the wearer look like he has been lynched – the model appears to be a black man.
The groups said that Amazon’s “weak and inadequately enforced” policies allowed racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic groups to generate money and spread their ideas.
Ellison, who is deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, asked Bezos how much money Amazon made from selling material including books published by hate groups since 2015, and whether it would destroy such merchandise at its warehouses.
Huseman said Amazon “makes a significant investment” in enforcing seller policies, including automated tools to scan listings and automatically removing those that violate its policies.
The executive said Amazon was preventing the sale of the items in question and was in the process of removing them from fulfillment centers.
Utility worker killed near Northern California wildfire
A utility worker was killed near a Northern California wildfire as crews working in sweltering conditions battled multiple blazes, including twin fires that exploded in size and forced hundreds more to evacuate rural communities, officials said Sunday.
The Pacific Gas and Electric employee was fatally injured in a vehicle-related accident Saturday on the western edge of the Carr Fire in Shasta County, said utility spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin. Jairus Ayeta, who was in his 20s, worked as an apprentice lineman and was part of a PG&E crew working in “dangerous terrain” to restore power, she said.
Ayeta is the seventh person to die in the immense blaze that has been burning for two weeks near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft continue battling the flames about 100 miles south of the Oregon state line. Two firefighters and four residents, including two children, were also killed. The fire was more than 40 percent contained Sunday.
Reward for missing University of Iowa student hits $260,000
The reward for the safe return of a missing University of Iowa student has ballooned to $260,000.
Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa said Sunday that relatives of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts believe she’s alive but has potentially been kidnapped. Spokesman Greg Willey says the family hopes the reward money will lead to her return.
Tibbetts went missing July 18 from her small hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa.
Investigators are being tight-lipped about the case, saying holding back basic details may help solve it. That includes saying whether they believe Tibbetts returned home from a jog the evening she went missing.
Willey says Crime Stoppers will protect the anonymity of tipsters who call in or submit tips online. He says the organization has shared more than 200 anonymous tips with law enforcement since Monday.
Message led to discovery of 11 kids in New Mexico compound
A message that people were starving, believed to come from someone inside a makeshift compound in rural northern New Mexico, led to the discovery of 11 children living in filthy conditions.
Taos County Sheriff’s officials said Saturday the children ranging in age from 1 to 15 were removed from the compound in the small community of Amalia – 145 miles northeast of Albuquerque and in an isolated high-desert area near the New Mexico-Colorado border. They were then turned over to state child-welfare workers.
Two men were arrested during the search. Siraj Wahhaj was detained on an outstanding warrant in Georgia alleging child abduction. Lucas Morten was jailed on suspicion of harboring a fugitive, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.