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Florida alpaca dies after motorist feeds it Doritos, Cheese Nips, peanuts

A Florida animal hospital announced the death of a beloved community alpaca Saturday on Facebook.

>> See the Facebook post here

Creekside Animal Hospital in Fleming Island wrote: "It is with a heavy heart that we want to inform our clients and friends at [Swimming Pen Creek Elementary] that our youngest alpaca that was born out on the shared field over a year ago has passed away."

According to the post, a man in a blue car is responsible for the death of the alpaca.

>> Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, to hang up skis in Florida

The animal hospital said he would dump food onto the field multiple times a week and that they had spoken to him multiple times.

Most recently, he left three boxes of animal crackers, a large bag of Doritos, two boxes of Cheese Nips and two bags of whole peanuts, the animal hospital said.

The animal hospital said the man "leaves the litter behind every single time and we clean it up."

The post said this was the first time peanuts were dumped, and the youngest alpaca overindulged.

>> Read more trending news 

The hospital said it did everything they could for him, even a blood transfusion from his father, but the young alpaca died nonetheless. 

The animal hospital said it "worked on him for 36 hours and just couldn't bring him back."

Employees with the animal hospital said they are now in fear for the rest of the herd, including the goats.

They said they will likely be moving them to a new location because they have no way to protect them from the man with the blue car. 

– Visit ActionNewsJax.com for the latest on this developing story.

5 things every parent should know about immunization

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences.

>> On AJC.com: What you need to know about mumps

With all of the talk out there about the pros and cons of getting your child immunized, here are five things you need to know about how the process works and why doctors recommend it:

What is immunization? 

The World Health Organization defines immunization as the process that makes a person immune or resistant to an infectious disease. The most common way to achieve this is by giving the person a vaccine. Over the past 200 or so years, doctors have been able to use vaccines to fight diseases that used to kill millions of people, including young children, every year.

How does immunization work? 

Vaccines are usually given through a needle injection, though Verywell noted there are some that can be given through the mouth or the nose.

According to WebMD, once a vaccine enters the body, it helps the immune system develop antibodies that fight the virus or bacteria that causes that specific illness. (The process can take a few weeks, so your child won't instantly become immune.) The next time your child runs into that virus or bacteria, his body will have the tools it needs to fight off the illness.

Does my child really need to be vaccinated?

If you plan to enroll your child in a daycare or school, there may be minimum vaccination requirements before they can get started. According to he National Vaccine Information Center, exceptions can be made based on certain medical or religious grounds, but an application is required.

If you don't have any medical or religious concerns, vaccines are strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control to help slow the progress of infections. When more people get vaccinated against a certain disease, outbreaks can be prevented because the germs won't be able to travel as fast through the population. This is called community immunity.

>> Read more trending news 

Which vaccines are recommended for kids?

The CDC website lists 16 potentially harmful diseases that their recommended vaccines can protect against. Those diseases are:

Each vaccine should be taken during a specific age range, so be sure to talk to your child's doctor to find out the right time to bring them in for their shots.

What are the risks involved with vaccines?

KidsHealth says the most common reactions to vaccines are fever and redness, swelling and soreness where the shot was given. In rare cases, patients have had seizures or severe allergic reactions. If you're concerned about side effects, Parents Magazine has some tips for easing the sting and making your child's first immunization experience as comfortable as possible.

If you have questions about vaccines or side effects, it's best to talk to your child's doctor.

'Sexist' quote removed from Texas school wall after social media backlash

A Texas school has removed a controversial quote from one of its walls after it sparked complaints on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Houston Chronicle, the quote, which read, "The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman," had been on display above a row of lockers at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The words are "commonly attributed to Sydney Biddle Barrows," aka the "Mayflower Madam," who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in the 1980s, USA Today reported.

A photo of the quote made the rounds on social media Friday.

"This is the wall at Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD," Twitter user Lisa Beckman wrote, according to USA Today. "It's perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. It's sexist, mysogonistic (sic), and discriminatory! I'm horrified." 

>> See the tweet here

Beckman's tweet quickly went viral, with nearly 9,000 shares and 23,000 likes by Sunday morning.

KTRK reported Saturday that the quote had been taken down.

"Please be advised that the quote on the wall of Gregory Lincoln PK-5 Education Center has been removed," the Houston Independent School District said in a statement. "Overnight, the wall decal letters were taken down, the wall was floated out, and new slab of drywall was installed and painted."

School board member Diana Davila tweeted a photo of the blank wall Saturday.

"This was removed last night," she wrote. "Thanks to the people who brought it to our attention."

>> See the tweet here

Boy dying from leukemia wants racing stickers for his casket

A terminally ill Iowa boy who wants to decorate his casket with racing stickers is asking the public for help.

According to the Des Moines Register, Caleb Hammond, 11, of Oskaloosa, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017. After months of unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments, a bone marrow transplant and medical scares, including a week in a medically induced coma with heart failure symptoms, he and his family recently decided to stop treating his illness and spend time together, the newspaper reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Now Caleb, a racing fan who loves to visit Southern Iowa Speedway, has a final request: for the public to send him racing stickers.

"We're trying to decorate his casket," his uncle, Chris Playle, told the Register.

Meanwhile, Team Kids With Cancer 46-7 made one of Caleb's dreams come true by getting him behind the wheel of a hobby stock race car. He drove in a six-lap race Saturday, the Register reported.

>> See the family's Facebook post about the event here

If you'd like to send Caleb a sticker, you can mail it to 314 N. J St., Oskaloosa, IA 52577. You can also donate to his family's GoFundMe campaign here.

Read more here.

Mom saves 2 kids moments before toy jeep bursts into flames

A battery-powered toy jeep burst into flames just moments after kids had been playing with it, a Massachusetts mom says.

>> Watch the news report here

Michelle Kline said she bought the SportRax Awesome XL for her 3-year-old, Quincy, and his little sister, Nellie, but never expected it to pose such a danger to her family.

"Part of the reason we bought the jeep that we bought was because the weight was ... I think it was 105 pounds the company told us it was rated for," she said. "It was four-wheel drive."

>> Georgia dad dies saving daughter, 4, from oncoming car, family says

Kline said her two children were driving up the neighbor's lawn when smoke began to pour out from under the hood. That's when she pulled them out of the toy car without thinking twice. 

"They were buckled in, and they are both little, so neither of them could have gotten themselves out," Kline said.

As soon as the kids were safe, the jeep went up in flames, burning for several more minutes.

"It was alarming how quickly it went up. It went from a little bit of smoke to a full-on fire within, like, two minutes; that was the scary thing," Kline said.

North Andover Fire Chief Bill McCarthy said the fire appeared to be related to the toy's battery, but figuring out the exact cause of the fire may be nearly impossible. 

>> Read more trending news 

"The mother did a good job of noticing something was wrong," McCarthy said. "We notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the Fire Marshal’s Office just to see if they’ve had something similar."

As for the kids, Kline said they don't seem to be bothered about losing their toy, but she said she has no plans to replace it.

"That’s sort of the bigger thing: You don't want this to happen to someone else," Kline said.

Staples manager fired after accusing woman pregnant with twins of shoplifting

Staples said in a statement Monday that it has fired the manager who assumed an expecting mother had shoplifted at one of its stores in North Carolina.

>> Watch the news report here

Shirell Bates told WSOC-TV that she now regrets leaving her home on Friday for back-to-school shopping at the Pineville store.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Pregnant Staples shopper says she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting, hiding items under shirt

"Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don't need,” Bates said.

Bates said she learned that the manager was fired on social media.

Bates said a police officer asked her if she was shoplifting while she was checking out of the store.

"Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates said. “He asked what was under my shirt.”

Bates is pregnant with twins.

"Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, 'Twins,’” Bates said. “I'm 34 weeks with twins. I'm having a boy and a girl."

Bates said the officer didn’t believe her the first time, and he asked her again.

"At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I'm just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said.

Pineville police said a Staples manager approached the officer and asked him to speak with Bates because the manager believed Bates may have been “concealing merchandise.”

>> More on WSOCTV.com: Manager at North Carolina Staples fired after accusing pregnant woman of shoplifting

"When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, 'In the past, we've had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said.

Staples issued the following statement:

“On Friday at our Pineville location a Staples’ manager mistakenly assumed a customer was shoplifting and reported this assumption to a police officer visiting the store. The police officer questioned the customer and quickly confirmed there was no theft. Based on the outcome, Staples’ issued a full refund to the customer.

Staples has since conducted a full investigation into the matter, and determined that the manager in question did not follow correct protocol and also failed to adhere to our existing policy on how to interact with our customers. As a result of this finding, the manager has been terminated and Staples has apologized to the customer. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our stores, and work with our associates to foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer as that was not the case in this instance.”

Bates said she planned to contact Staples' corporate office and possibly seek legal action.

"You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that."

>> Read more trending news 

Staples said Monday that the manager did not follow the correct protocol and did not adhere to the company's policy on interacting with customers.

The company said it has since apologized to Bates.

Bates said she would like Staples to provide sensitivity training for all employees.

She also hopes Staples improves its communication with customers who submit formal complaints.

Police investigating after sex offender allegedly got phone numbers, texted children

Police in Michigan are warning parents after a sex offender was able to get the phone numbers of two children through unknown means.

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: Police initially said the phone numbers were obtained through the online game Roblox. In an update Friday, authorities said investigators were unable to determine how the numbers were obtained.

In a statement, officials with Roblox said the entertainment platform “supports imaginative play in a safe, supportive environment.”

“We can assure you that we take safety on our platform seriously and have features and processes in place to protect our community from sharing personally identifiable information,”  the statement said. 

Among other measures, the company uses automated technology to monitor and “when appropriate filter” the communication between users. The company also has restrictions surrounding what users under 13 years old can share.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Mom alarmed about gaming site after 7-year-old's virtual character sexually assaulted

Original report: According to the Marshall Police Department's Facebook page and WWMT, a "concerned parent" contacted authorities after the children, who are 9 and 10, began receiving text messages "from an unknown subject." Police described the conversations as "non-offensive and short," WWMT reported.

>> On WSBTV.com: Are your kids safe? Predators reaching children through online games

"Officers researched the number that was contacting the children and discovered it belonged to a subject on parole and who is also on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry," the department posted Saturday. "The suspect was arrested by local parole agents for the offense."

>> See the post here

Police also issued the following warning:

>> Read more trending news 

"Popular online cell phone games such as 'Roblox' and 'Minecraft,' when played online in public mode, allow other players to obtain personal information from each other," the department wrote. "Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s online use of games, who they are speaking with, and the dangers of speaking with unknown subjects."

Read more here or here.

21 Savage provides free school supplies to over 2,500 students

More than 2,500 people lined up in the Georgia heat last week to share in the generosity of 21 Savage.

>> Man shot at back-to-school event attended by rapper 21 Savage

The Atlanta rapper hosted his third annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive” on Aug. 5 to benefit students from DeKalb County Schools. The event, which last year attracted about 700 people, outfitted students in grades K-12 with backpacks, shoes, uniforms and school supplies.

Kids and their families snaked along the sidewalk of the 285 Flea Mart off Glenwood Road in a shopping center the lanky “Whole Lot” rapper, 25, said he used to hang around as a teen. Many of the beneficiaries also received free haircuts and food from tents stationed in the parking lot.

It was a scene that made 21 Savage quietly proud.

>> Read more trending news 

“I might rap about a lot of stuff, but that’s just a reflection of what I’ve been through,” he said while seated in his manager’s truck a few feet away from the throng of fans. “In real life, everything I do, I want to bring everybody together. I want to give back to the community, help the kids, get them uniforms, books, book bags, everything they need ... just do better. That’s where it starts, the kids.”

U.S. Rep. Henry "Hank" Johnson, D-Georgia, and his wife, DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, also attended to check out the scene.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The event and supplies were funded by 21 Savage and his Leading By Example Foundation. Other sponsors included City National Bank, Spotify, Epic Records and 10:22 p.m. Records.

During a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” 21 Savage launched a “Bank Account” campaign to help young adults learn financial responsibility and donated $1,000 to 21 kids in partnership with the nonprofit organization Get Schooled.

Read more here.

Parents say airline never notified them about unaccompanied children's diverted flight

Two parents in Orlando are upset after they say their children were stranded in Atlanta without their knowledge while the children were flying as unaccompanied minors on a Frontier Airlines flight from Iowa.

They say no one contacted them after the plane carrying their children was diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport due to weather and that Denver-based Frontier should have called them to ask if it was okay to drive the children to a hotel before they decided to make that move.

>> Read more trending news

Etta, age 7, and Carter, age 9, were flying July 22 from a visit to see their grandparents in Des Moines, Iowa, back home to Orlando, scheduled to arrive at 10:46 p.m. 

But storms in Orlando caused a ground stop, and the flight diverted to Atlanta late at night.

The children stayed at a hotel with an airline worker and shared a room with four other children. It was the children’s first flight without their parents.

The incident highlights what can go wrong when children fly unaccompanied -- even on a nonstop route -- if a flight is diverted to an unfamiliar city.

While the Frontier flight diverted to Atlanta, sometimes flights get diverted to an airport in a small town where the airline may not even have staff.

“This was the first year I said okay, they’re old enough to fly on their own, they know their phone number, they know their address,” said Etta and Carter’s mother Jennifer Ignash. But when the flight got diverted, “it was like, okay, panic.”

Frontier charges a $110 unaccompanied minor fee per child and does not allow unaccompanied minors on connecting flights.

The airline said in keeping with its policy, “the children were attended to at all times by a Frontier supervisor, placed in a hotel room overnight, and provided with food. Our records show that the children were in contact with their mother before being transported to the hotel and with their father the following morning before leaving on the continued flight. We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”

Ignash, who was waiting at the Orlando airport for her children that night, said multiple flights were diverted from Orlando, and “when that happens, it’s just a madhouse.” She got word that the children’s flight was diverted, and tried calling Frontier’s customer service line but says they couldn’t get her information about her children.

Ignash says she didn’t get a call from a Frontier employee until the next morning.

But an older unaccompanied minor on the flight let the children use his cell phone to call and text their parents.

“Without that child, we would have had zero idea where our kids were,” Ignash said.

Ignash says an employee using a personal vehicle took the children to a hotel, where six kids from the flight stayed in adjoining hotel rooms. The parents say they do not know who the employee was who drove the children or stayed with them in the hotel room.

“We never gave approval for that to happen,” Etta and Carter’s father, Chad Gray, said.

Alan Armstrong, an Atlanta aviation attorney Gray contacted, said he thinks there should be procedures and personnel at the airport to handle the problem.

“They just make it up as they go along,” Armstrong said.

Ignash said if parents decide to let their children fly as an unaccompanied minor, they should “understand what the airline’s policy and procedure is and get a direct contact.”

Gray said the worst part was not knowing what was happening.

“It was a bunch of circumstances that came into play all at the same time. I just don’t think Frontier is prepared to handle all those at once,” Gray said. “You like to minimize the risk that your kids have and you want to protect them. And not having any control over the process whatsoever, I think, is really, really frustrating.”

WSBTV.com contributed to this report.

Don't touch seal pups, officials say after man brings one to hotel room

They look so cute and so tempting to touch, but the harbor seal pups you see on beaches in Washington state aren’t for petting and they don’t need your help; in fact, your help can hurt or worse — even kill.

>> Watch the news report here

“This is pretty common; we see it all the time. Every year, we get these orphaned animals in that have had some sort of human disturbance,” said Jeff Brown, a wildlife naturalist at PAWS in Lynnwood.

PAWS staff members say what’s far less common is what happened to a baby seal transported to PAWS in mid-June at only a few days old.

>> What is red tide? Inside the toxic phenomenon destroying Florida’s marine life

A man spotted the pup on the beach in Ocean Shores, picked him up, took the animal back to his hotel room and called for help later that night.

“[This seal] did come in with some injuries and he did have some metabolic imbalances because of probably being away from mom for so long and being in the hotel room where he couldn’t get the nourishment he needed. So he is lucky that he pulled through,” said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, a PAWS veterinarian who worked to rehabilitate the seal.

Other seals who faced human interference haven’t been as lucky; a pup had to be euthanized after someone used a shopping bag to carry it off a beach in Westport two years ago.

Last summer, people crowded around a pup in Edmonds until Seal Sitters — volunteers trained to monitor the condition of our local seal pups — intervened. They tag the animals and often put a barrier around them to minimize disturbances.

“When a seal is hauled out, or comes out of the water, it may look orphaned but it can be there for up to 24 hours without seeing mom so that’s when we have those issues, when people think it’s been orphaned but it’s not,” Brown said.

Your touch, however, is what could cause the mother to abandon her pup.

>> Read more trending news 

So you’re welcome to take in the view from afar, and maybe you’ll even see PAWS’ success story swimming around Grays Harbor; he’ll be released Tuesday.

“We’re really excited. It was a little touch-and-go in the beginning; he had some wounds over his back and those metabolic imbalances that were concerning. But after a couple of weeks in care, he hit his stride and took off and has been putting on weight and eating really well, so yeah, we’re excited,” Rosenhagen said.

Experts say you should always stay at least 100 yards away from a seal on the beach, keep your dogs on a leash, and call NOAA at 866-767-6114 if you are concerned the animal is in distress.

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