New XFL league reveals teams and logos

XFL Football Commissioner Oliver Luck talks to reporters before introducing former NFL football quarterback Jim Zorn as the head coach for Seattle's XFL football team, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Seattle. The team will begin play in 2020. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The XFL officially announced team names and unveiled its logos Wednesday ahead of the league’s expected inaugural season in 2020.

Here’s the complete list of nicknames after the cities were selected in December:

1. Dallas Renegades

2. D.C. Defenders

3. Houston Roughnecks

4. Los Angeles Wildcats

5. New York Guardians

6. Seattle Dragons

7. St. Louis BattleHawks

8. Tampa Bay Vipers

Vince McMahon is making his second attempt to build a successful professional football league after the original XFL lasted a single season in 2001.

The new XFL is less based on gimmicks and more focused on a fast, simple product that can become a developmental proving ground for NFL hopefuls while still filling the void left by college football and the NFL in late winter and early spring.

McMahon, who’s best known as the chairman of WWE, is also taking more of a backseat role in the lead-up to the league’s revival. He’s allowed Commissioner Oliver Luck, a former NFL quarterback and NCAA executive, to handle most of the front-facing duties.

“Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football,” McMahon said in a June 2018 statement. “His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”

Meanwhile, the XFL kicked off its recruitment last week by signing quarterback Landry Jones, a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, to its first player contract.

“We’re excited to welcome Landry to the XFL as our first player and first quarterback,” Luck said. “He’s an accomplished athlete with outstanding college credentials and pro experience, and his heart and desire to play football epitomizes the type of individual we want in the XFL.”

The XFL is scheduled to hold its player draft in October, with head coaches selecting quarterbacks first before filling out the rest of their rosters. Further details will be released at a later date.

Play is set to begin Feb. 8, 2020—one week after Super Bowl LIV concludes the NFL season.

Pentagon ‘very carefully’ watching China, it’s ‘No. 1 priority,’ Defense Secretary Mark Esper tells Fox News

China is the Pentagon’s “number one priority,” and the United States is watching Beijing “very carefully” in order to safeguard America, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

In his first interview since he was confirmed as Pentagon chief in July, Esper told Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin that China has engaged in the “greatest theft of intellectual property in human history” and is also expanding its military to “push the United States out of [the Indo-Pacific] theater.”

“China is the number one priority for this department. It’s outlined in the National Defense Strategy, why we think it’s a long-term strategic competitor and one that is pursuing a maximization campaign, if you will, throughout the Indo-Pacific Theater, whether it’s politically, economically, or militarily,” he told Griffin. “They are clearly professionalizing and expanding the capacity and capabilities of the military in order to push the United States out of that theater.”

“They’ve studied us, and they’ve learned about how we employ weapons; they’ve learned about our doctrine,” Esper added. “And so, that is something that we watch very carefully.”

Esper, a former Army lieutenant colonel, graduated from West Point in 1986 – the same class as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – and spent 10 years on active duty, followed by 11 years in the Army National Guard and Reserve. He brings military, defense and national security experience to the table, and touts a “good relationship” with President Trump.

MARK ESPER SWORN IN AS NEW SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

In his wide-ranging interview, Esper also spoke about deterring Russia’s nuclear ambitions, protecting American elections from foreign hackers, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and Iran funding its “illicit activities.”

Esper noted what he described as the coming shift from “low-intensity conflict that lasts 18 years,” referring to the war in Afghanistan, to “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.”

“That means modernizing the force with advanced capabilities, A.I.-based, hypersonics, robotics, directed energy and updating our doctrine — doing all those things will be critical for us to deter a conflict in the future,” he said.

Esper described China’s theft of intellectual property as a “big, big problem.”

CHINA COULD WIN MILITARY CONFLICT IN INDO-PACIFIC REGION EVEN ‘BEFORE AMERICA CAN RESPOND,’ THINK TANK WARNS

“It’s a state-run organized effort to go after technologies, whether they are defense or non-defense technologies, to go up against other — all other types of intellectual property, even commercial goods,” he explained. “So, it really requires enforcement. And this is where […] I applaud the president for pushing back against China and all their trade activities that are outside the bounds of what should be expected.”

In addition to safeguarding intellectual property, Esper said the U.S. needs to modernize its nuclear stockpile.

“Our strategic forces are a key deterrent to nuclear war. I think a strong, reliable, capable, ready deterrent is really what prevents nuclear war from happening in the first place,” he pointed out.

PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA ‘WILL REACT ACCORDINGLY’ AFTER US MISSILE TESTS

Esper noted the Russians were “clearly […] trying to expand their strategic nuclear arsenal […] to deal with the United States.”

“And so, as people talk about a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — that’s why we say, look, if there’s going to be an extension of New START, then we need to make sure we include all of these new weapons that […] Russia is pursuing,” he stressed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his country would develop short- and intermediate-range land-launched nuclear missiles if it got word the United States had started building such weapons.

PUTIN THREATENS TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR MISSILES IF UNITED STATES DOES

“Right now,” Esper said, “Russia has possible nuclear-tipped […] INF-range cruise missiles facing [Europe] — that’s not a good thing.”

When it came to Russian hacking, Esper said the U.S. will see “continued malign Russian cyber activity.”

“We will see North Korean cyber activity and Chinese cyber activity,” he went on. “But I will say, we built exquisite capabilities ourselves under Cyber Command. And I think it’s one of the reasons why, between our capabilities and between the authorities granted to us by President Trump in the last year or so, we had little problems with 2018 elections.”

“[We] will continue to apply all of our capabilities and all of our authorities to make sure that we — our elections — are protected and that the integrity of our democracy is unquestionable,” Esper noted.

SPACE COMMAND TO LAUNCH AUG. 29 AS TRUMP’S ‘SPACE FORCE’ TAKES SHAPE

The defense secretary also talked about President Trump’s proposed Space Force, and why it was needed – he pointed to nations like Russia and China, “probably more so China,” which are turning space into a “war-fighting domain.”

“Ten years ago, space was a place — the heavens upon which we looked down upon the Earth and figured out what was going to be the weather in Iowa, or we could survey our adversaries,” he explained.

But, since then, China and Russia have been working to overtake U.S. systems in space and threaten not only the U.S. military but the country’s economy and commerce, as well, Esper said.

“We want to be able to develop a space force that would build the space capabilities in a coherent […] fashion, but, at the same time, have a Space Command that would be responsible for the space war-fight,” he said.

NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN EXPRESSES ‘GREAT SATISFACTION’ OVER LATEST WEAPONS TESTS

The Pentagon chief also told Fox News he applauded the president’s approach to North Korea, saying diplomacy was the way to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula “in a verifiable, complete, and irreversible way.”

Griffin later asked Esper about former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned from his post in December after disagreeing with the president about the possibility of pulling troops from Syria.

“That was his red line,” Griffin said. “What is your red line?”

“So look, what I said is my issue with any person I ever worked for was, I would never do anything that is either illegal, immoral or unethical. And, I don’t believe the president’s going to ask me to do any one of those three,” Esper said.

Griffin also asked Esper about a moniker in his West Point yearbook.

“In your yearbook, they call you Troop. Why’d they call you Troop?” she asked. Mattis famously had the nicknames “Mad Dog,” “Warrior Wonk” and “Chaos.”

“Because I was really, really committed to military service and being in infantry, and that was kind of a nickname I inherited by a couple friends,” Esper said.

Griffin also asked Esper if anything kept him up at night and referenced claims by Trump that nothing keeps him up at night.

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“Is that true for you?” she asked.

“Yes,” Esper answered. “Nothing keeps me up at night because I think we’re defended by the best military in history.”

PG&E seeks state help to pay wildfire victims

Troubled utility company PG&E is asking the California Legislature to let it borrow money without paying taxes so it can compensate victims of a devastating wildfire caused by its equipment.

The utility is facing up to $30 billion in potential damages from lawsuits stemming from recent wildfires, including one last year that killed 86 people and destroyed much of the town of Paradise, Calif.

The proposed bill authored by Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) would let the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank issue tax-exempt bonds on behalf of PG&E, borrowing against the company’s future profits. Shareholders would pay off the bonds, not customers. Taxpayers would not have to pay off the bonds if the shareholders default.

“Very simply, is this is a mechanism for the owners of the utility to be able to pick up 100% of the cost for their fires,” Mayes said. “It cannot be considered a bailout, there is no ratepayer money there, no government money that is there. This is 100% shareholders.”

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But the proposal has stalled in the Democratic-controlled Legislature, where lawmakers are wary of any perception of helping the utility company blamed for starting last year’s deadly fire.

Lawmakers have about three weeks left to pass legislation before adjourning for the year. Because the bill was filed so late, it could not come up for a vote without permission from the Senate’s Democratic leadership. A spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said the Senate Rules Committee has not decided if the bill will move forward.

PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson was at the state Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the proposal with lawmakers. Johnson characterized the bill as “a pay up bill,” according to comments provided by the company.

“This is PG&E saying we’re accountable for this, we want to resolve these claims and we want to pay up,” he said. “So I think it ought to be viewed as the PG&E accountability bill.”

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But others view the bill as a way to protect PG&E shareholders from a proposal by Elliott Management Corp. that would give it nearly full control of the company. If lawmakers approve the proposal, it would give shareholders more leverage to resist the proposal from Elliott, a hedge fund.

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), whose district includes the town of Paradise, said the proposal is not necessary for wildfire victims to get paid. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law earlier this year that creates a fund of up to $21 billion that will help utility companies pay out claims for future wildfires.

But to take advantage of it, PG&E would have to emerge from its bankruptcy proceedings and settle its pending lawsuits from homeowners, insurance companies and local governments by next June 30.

“I don’t think it can be denied that one of the significant motivations for PG&E is that it helps their restructuring plan,” Gallagher said. “I’m very skeptical whenever it comes to anything that PG&E is asking you for.”

Mayes said the intent was not to pick sides, but to make sure PG&E customers don’t have to pay for the wildfires started by the company’s equipment.

“If there is a bailout, it’s the owners of the company that are bailing themselves out,” Mayes said. “To me, that’s what this is all about. It makes perfect sense.”

The root of learning: McKinley students get hands-on gardening experience through Agriculture Academy

An elementary school is a place where a lot of growing takes place — young minds learn something new each day, students develop and mature mentally and sometimes even plants, fruits and vegetables are harvested after a strong season.

Tucked behind McKinley Elementary School’s classrooms is a fully functioning garden where students learn everything from loosening soil to making a delicious meal from the fruits and vegetables grown. There are even five egg laying chickens clucking around their coop. 

It’s all part of the Bakersfield City School District Extended Learning Program’s After School Academies, which is having its formal launch this school year across 42 school sites. Implementation of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities has been the result of a previous year-long planning with all stakeholders in the district and community partners, such as the Buena Vista Edible Schoolyard, said Deanna Clarke, director of Extended Learning.

“We knew we wanted to go into this next phase, but we weren’t sure how it was going to look like,” she said. “(Buena Vista was) really instrumental in opening everything to us — all their employees, Grimm Foundation employees. They came over and started looking at the land that we have and working with our staff …They helped design the whole garden.”

The goal is to employ a project-based learning approach that more closely aligns with what students will experience in college and the workforce.

Two academies were implemented the previous school year: an Agriculture Academy at McKinley Elementary School and a STEAM Academy at Fremont Elementary School. McKinley also held its first summer academy this year. 

Around 300 students from transitional kindergarten/kindergarten to sixth grade participate in the Agriculture Academy at McKinley. Lorie Morris, academy program specialist, has developed a schedule where kids take part in the agricultural experience in the garden, participate in a STEM lab and learn about kitchen nutrition for three hours once a week after school.

“It’s just so neat,” she said.

On Wednesday, first and second graders took turns moving through the three learning sections and getting their hands dirty in the process. 

One group was focused on learning how to properly work with soil. Garden educator Mia Castillo demonstrated techniques to loosen soil so that it’s fluffy, rather than packing it harshly into a planting tray where the seed would suffocate. 

Those students later planted seeds and watered them with the help of garden educator Jesse Sanchez, and now anxiously await the first signs of life to emerge from the soil.

At full harvest 40 types of fruits and vegetables are grown at the garden. 

“I like that we get to plant,” said second grader Ella Mercado. “I ate a red pepper and wanted to plant it (at home).” 

Many students come home from the academy with hopes of having a garden in their backyard. Second grader Jayvin Wallace, who participated in last year’s and this summer’s academies, said his grandmother has a garden and has planted with her. He now wants to have one for himself.

“I want to plant watermelons,” he said. 

Farm to table specialist Dana Johnson said elementary-aged children are the best to teach because they come in as natural born scientists.

“A scientist is someone who wants to inquire and learn and they just absorb it,” she said. “They start with a question and finish with an answer. It’s joyful.”

She also added students learn about failure, such as when crops don’t grow well and when seeds don’t germinate. 

“Does that mean we’re bad farmers? No, it just means we plant more,” she said.

McKinley Elementary will also be adding a kitchen this year where students can learn how to prepare food, set up dinner tables, demonstrate proper dining etiquette and more. 

The school will also be holding its first farmer’s market in November to coincide with the kitchen opening.

Lifelong lessons are learned from the academy, and McKinley Principal Rona Chacon-Mellon said the entire culture on campus has changed.

“The pride that the kids have in this school and trying different things that they normally wouldn’t try. I remember in particular a little first grader last year who would have never tried a radish or chives or any of that,” she said. “His father talked to us about how he only ate chicken nuggets or McDonald’s, and now he goes into a grocery store and picks out vegetables and wants to try out kale.”

Other academies in the district will focus on topics such as environmental and physical science, robotics, coding, music engineering, kinetic art, dance, film and more.

Jeffrey Epstein arranged for sex with 18-year-old while on work release from jail: lawsuit

Jeffrey Epstein had sex with an 18-year-old woman inside the headquarters of a nonprofit while on work release from Florida jail — as plainclothed sheriff’s deputies stood guard outside — one of three new lawsuits filed Tuesday in New York against the late financier’s estate alleges.

A woman identified only as Kaitlyn Doe claims she flew to West Palm Beach, Fla., in October 2008 shortly after her 18th birthday to work for Epstein’s new nonprofit, the Florida Science Foundation.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN LAWSUIT: PRINCE ANDREW AT MANSION DURING VICTIM’S 1ST VISIT, EPSTEIN’S ‘CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND’

Once she arrived, she was allegedly coerced into performing sex acts for Epstein, sometimes alone and sometimes with another young woman, inside the offices of the non-profit, all while he was on work release, the lawsuit says.

“Jeffrey Epstein, through his brazen and powerful organization, was quite literally able to commit federal sex trafficking offenses at his work release office, during his jail sentence,” according to the lawsuit.

“Jeffrey Epstein, through his brazen and powerful organization, was quite literally able to commit federal sex trafficking offenses at his work release office, during his jail sentence.” 

— Kaitlyn Doe lawsuit

At the time, Epstein was serving an 18-month prison sentence at the Palm Beach County Jail after pleading guilty to state prostitution charges. As part of the plea agreement, Epstein also registered as a sex offender and paid victims financial settlements, the Sun Sentinel of South Florida reported.

About three months into his sentence, Epstein was granted permission from Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to leave jail for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week on work release at his nonprofit, the Palm Beach Post reported. Epstein paid off-duty Palm Beach sheriff’s deputies dressed in suits to stand guard outside the office while he was inside.

The deputies were supposed to take detailed logs of who entered and exited the office while Epstein was there. Those records were destroyed years after Epstein finished his sentence as per Florida public record laws, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The Florida Science Foundation was created about seven months before Epstein accepted his plea deal and was dissolved two months after his sentence ended.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered a state investigation to be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and its handling of Epstein’s work release. The sheriff’s office is not named as a defendant in Kaitlyn Doe’s suit.

Kaitlyn Doe claims she first met Epstein in New York City when she was 17 and suffering from an eating disorder as well as other medical ailments. Epstein allegedly promised to pay for “expensive necessary surgeries” to treat her, the Miami Herald reported.

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Kaitlyn claims she was coerced into performing sex acts for Epstein while she was still 17 and a virgin at his New York City mansion. She also claims she was flown to Epstein’s compound in the U.S. Virgin Islands where she was coerced into having sex with him. The sexual relationship continued until 2014, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit also alleges Epstein forced Kaitlyn to marry another woman so that that woman could remain in the United States even though she was not a U.S. citizen. That woman allegedly helped recruit young women for Epstein to have sex with.

Hundreds of demonstrators in Hong Kong are getting protest tattoos

An umbrella. A bauhinia flower. A bleeding eye.

These icons have taken on new significance in the Hong Kong protests — and now, a number of demonstrators are getting them inked onto their bodies.

The pro-democracy movement, which is heading towards its 12th consecutive weekend, has inspired a wave of protest art. Posters, banners and flyers have offered protesters a way to spread their message, appeal to international audiences and satirize the embattled government and police force.

Tattoos are the next step, illustrating the demonstrators’ creativity and dogged commitment to the movement. While last weekend’s protests were largely peaceful, violence over the past two months has escalated on both sides.

One local tattoo artist, who asked not to be named for fear of backlash, offered free Hong Kong-themed tattoos throughout July. Designs included the bauhinia flower featured on the territory’s emblem and flag, and two cleverly arranged Chinese characters that mean either “Hong Kong” or “add oil” — a local rallying cry — depending on which direction they’re facing.

The tattooist estimates that about 100 people took up his offer. Some, he said, were simply attracted by the free tattoo, but others got inked as a symbol of their dedication to the movement. One client told him he wanted to commemorate the event, and pass the story on to his children.

Another image that has gained notoriety among demonstrators is that of a bloody eye or eye patch, which spread rapidly after a female protester’s eye was badly injured on August 11. Protesters claim she was shot with a projectile by police, and the incident sparked huge outrage. The next day, thousands occupied the city’s international airport wearing eye patches and holding posters and signs depicting the injury. Police say they are still investigating the incident.

The image has also inspired tattoos. One striking design, posted on Instagram by Hong Kong-based tattoo artist Rich Phipson, shows an eye, drawn in thick black lines, a drop of blood falling from the pupil.

Tattoo artist Zada Lam is quickly becoming known for his geometric designs of bauhinia flowers and umbrellas, which first became a significant protest symbol during the 2014 Umbrella Movement. The pro-democracy “Umbrella Revolution” was the largest protest movement Hong Kong had seen at the time, and shut down parts of the city for months.

Umbrellas have continued as a protest staple in recent months, often acting as shields against tear gas and riot police.

Yellow umbrellas have become particularly ubiquitous with the pro-democracy movement, appearing on posters, social media and public mosaics of Post-It notes, nicknamed Lennon walls.

Lam estimates that over 100 people have been tattooed with his protest-themed designs, which he also offered for free in the months of June and July.

“Some of the clients are getting (the tattoos) for the same reason I offered them — they want to memorialize this moment and everything they witnessed,” Lam said in a phone interview. “This tattoo can help them remember the Hong Kong of today, the things that have happened. They want to express how much they love Hong Kong, love this place.”

Protesters have chosen a range of other designs, from Chinese script tattoos reading “Never give up” to tattoos of the protective hard hats worn at protests. One 21-year-old, Rachel Lam, even got a tattoo of a girl in a gas mask with tear gas floating around her — a reference to the copious amounts of the gas fired by police this summer.

A tattoo of a gas mask and tear gas in Hong Kong.

A tattoo of a gas mask and tear gas in Hong Kong. Credit: Cattoys.tattoo/Instagram

“This tattoo represents the dream that I had, which I will never forget,” Lam told CNN in an Instagram message, adding that she has been hit with tear gas at recent protests.

Tattoos have long been taboo in Hong Kong, as they were closely associated with organized crime groups known as triads. However, in recent years perceptions shifted as tattoos became more popular.

There’s a growing number of tattoo artists in the city, and a distinctly whimsical local style has emerged.

The protest-themed tattoos act as public statements of dedication and belief — particularly striking in a time when most demonstrators are trying to conceal their identities.

Many wear face masks and goggles to obscure their faces at protests, and are wary of being identified by cameras or by other tracking methods. This fear of being caught has ramped up as authorities have cracked down and made hundreds of arrests — but the permanence of the tattoos will forever connect protesters with the movement.

Watch: A quiet sanctuary in sleepless Hong Kong

Zada Lam said that aside from offering people a way to express their beliefs, the protest tattoos are a reminder of community, and of the hundreds of thousands who have marched all throughout the summer.

“You can remember how many people stood together. I think it’s a positive thing, to make people realize — you’re not alone. Everyone’s beside you, everyone’s supporting everybody. This is what my clients and I think,” he said.

Young students and teenagers have become the face of the movement — they are often on the front lines at protests, and are figureheads in political parties like Demosisto. Many of those getting protest tattoos appear to be young — but the artists spoken to by CNN also report having clients from other demographics and corners of society, a sign of how widespread support for the movement is.

Some clients are well into middle age — in their 40s and 50s — according to Zada Lam. Some even work for Hong Kong’s government, which protesters accuse of inaction and bullheadedness. These government employees feel less able than young people to be on the front lines, so they take a stance by getting tattoos, he said.

On Lam’s Instagram page, the tattooist shares anonymous messages from Hong Kong protesters in captions next to defiant tattoos.

One such message reads, “Hong Kongers, keep on going and strive hard!” Another reads, “Everyone, don’t give up on your dreams and goals.”

Memorial held for CHP officer slain by gunman

Hundreds of law enforcement colleagues joined family and friends Tuesday in mourning a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer who was gunned down during a traffic stop last week.

The throng filled Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, where Officer Andre Moye Jr.’s badge was presented to his widow, Sara.

Moye’s dreams came true when he graduated from the CHP academy in 2017 and the following year when he completed the CHP’s difficult motorcycle course, said his commander, Capt. John Tyler.

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“Andre was a hardworking motor officer, one of the highest performers in the squad, and a great beat partner,” Tyler said. “He provided a high level of service to the public and consistently took impaired drivers off the street.”

It was the second funeral for a CHP officer in the region in less than five months. Sgt. Daniel Licon, 53, was struck and killed during a traffic stop in April, and it was Moye who arrested that driver on suspicion of drunken driving.

“That was an enormous responsibility for him, but he gladly did it very humbly,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said.

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A private burial was to follow the memorial service.

Moye, 34, was filling out paperwork to impound Aaron Luther’s pickup truck Aug. 12 when Luther, who was outside the vehicle and not restrained, pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Moye was fatally wounded but called for help. Two responding officers were shot in the legs while frightened motorists ducked for cover from dozens of flying bullets. Luther, 49, was killed. The wounded officers were expected to recover.

Luther was paroled from state prison in 2004 after serving about 10 years of a 12-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder with an enhancement for the use of a firearm, first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Court records show Luther also was arrested in 2007 on felony assault charges and took a no-contest plea deal that sentenced him to 90 days in jail. He also was charged with multiple felonies in San Bernardino County and pleaded no contest in 2010 to assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Southern California News Group.

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As a felon, Luther was not supposed to have a gun.

Incoming BC students, families attend convocation to ease fears

Students aren’t the only ones scared about going off to college. Often times it’s their parents who are even more nervous about the little birds leaving the nest. 

To mitigate that fear, Bakersfield College invited both students and parents to its New Student Convocation Tuesday to learn more about what is available at the college before the first day of school Monday.

Several student clubs and resource centers set up booths on campus to recruit new members or to explain what is available to students and parents, Bridge to BC Director Kimberly Bligh explained.

“We wanted to get families here and see what their students will experience,” she said. “Most times parents have the most fear about their child going to college and not the student.”

Other activities included a scavenger hunt with prizes for the first 17 students to complete it, free dinner and a big welcome from President Sonya Christian, Bligh and other college officials. Parents, students and faculty members recited an oath to each other, promising to give it their all the next few years.

“I’m trying to get involved, meet new people and get my questions answered,” said Melisa Hernandez, who wants to pursue early childhood education, when asked why she decided to attend the convocation. As she toured several booths available, she said she did not find a club that stuck out to her, but she was not going to give up.

Her goal for her first year at college is to develop better habits. 

“I need to do homework on time, study more — because you don’t really have to study in high school — and try not to procrastinate,” she said.

Evelyn Verdejo, a music and theater major, said she is most looking forward to pushing herself academically and having people get to know the person she most wants to be: an entertainer. 

“I want people to support what I do with singing and acting,” she said. “I also didn’t graduate with honors or achievements in high school, so I want to do it here.”

For many of the parents who attended the convocation, they were excited to see what their children would be diving into next week. Bill and Yumiko Devine said their son, Kaih, is their third child attending college, so while they generally know what to expect, they are still going through a new experience.

“This is a new adventure. He’s doing a college sport which our two daughters didn’t do, so he’s taking his own route to success,” Bill Devine said.

Kaih Devine will be on the swim team, and he hopes to get close with his teammates. “And maintain your grades,” his father added, with a laugh. 

This summer, incoming students got a chance to participate in the college’s Bridge to BC program, which Bligh described as a one-day “get ready for college bootcamp.” Students had the opportunity to interact with peers, student and faculty mentors to learn more about the transition from high school to college, participate in hands-on activities, discuss ways to overcome college barriers and talk about the road to success.

Having the convocation available is just another way to ensure a successful start to the school year, according to Bligh.

“This is an amazing thing, it’s the highlight of the year for me,” she said. “I know how scared they can be … and my goal was to create an event so that everyone in the family can join in on the adventure that they’ll have the next few years.”

Disneyland honors woman’s free admission pass from 1985

(CNN) — A lot of things have changed at Disneyland since 1985.

For starters, Captain Jack Sparrow is now the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and you can buy and drink alcohol inside Oga’s Cantina.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Canadian woman Tamia Richardson’s love for Disney.

In August 2019, the park honored visitor Richardson’s free entry pass from 1985. Although decades have passed since Richardson received the pass, she was allowed in without so much as a surcharge.

Tamia Richardson, center, enjoys her trip to Disneyland in August 2019.

Tamia Richardson, center, enjoys her trip to Disneyland in August 2019.

Disneyland Resort

Richardson, who lives in the Edmonton suburb of Sherwood Park, Alberta, was planning a girls’ trip to Disneyland with her mother, aunt, and daughters Mia and Maren when she found the coupon.

The mom of two first visited Disneyland in 1985 when she was 14 years old. That was also the year that Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, celebrated its 30th birthday.

“As part of the 30th Anniversary, Disneyland featured the Gift Giver Extraordinaire, which gave out prizes to every 30th guest,” a Disney spokesperson explains to CNN Travel. “Tamia won a pass to use for a return visit. She kept the pass for 30 years and used it today for admission.”

“Disney’s big in our family,” says Kent Richardson, Tamia’s husband, who has been keeping the home fires warm back in Canada. “They’re having the time of their lives.”

Richardson's first visit to the park was in 1985.

Richardson’s first visit to the park was in 1985.

Disneyland Resort

Still, not every old pass or ticket that you find buried in the attic will necessarily be honored at the House of Mouse.

Passes that are confirmed not to be copies and that do not have expiration dates will be accepted for entrance into Disney parks, while “A B C D E” tickets (used for admission to individual rides or attractions) are not good for general admittance.

In the past, some Disney staffers have reportedly used a “Book of Life” if they needed to verify a particular pass.

Burned body found in dry lake bed in Joshua Tree

A burned body was found last week in a dry lake bed in Joshua Tree.

A caller contacted authorities Friday after discovering the body in a dry lake bed near Sunway Road and Rosehedge Avenue.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives are working to identify the man as well as find any witnesses.

No further details were available Monday.