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Video: Orlando's fastest, tallest and longest new roller coaster

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SeaWorld whetted the appetite of thrill-seekers this week with the unveiling of a custom-built Mako lead car that will whisk guests through Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.

Mako, a 200-foot-tall coaster, is expected to open in time for the summer tourist rush. Its features include a top speed of 73 mph and 4,760 feet of track -- nearly a mile long. The coaster and surrounding area will be themed to a shark environment, providing a learning experience along with extreme thrills.

The sleek design of the car was inspired by the real Mako, one of the fastest species of shark. The new ride will be considered a "hypercoaster," meaning riders will experience a weightless feeling as the Mako zooms through hills and tight turns.

Features of the coaster train announced Tuesday include:

• The custom car, which was designed as a collaborative effort between SeaWorld's animal experts and ride engineers. Its authentic features include five gills on each side, correct eye placement and a hydro-dynamic look.

• Speedy wheels made of a special compound that reduces friction, providing a smooth ride from start to finish.

• Upper-body mobility for guests, who will be held down by only a lap guard on their lower body, allowing for plenty of "airtime."

• A total of 21 cars -- three trains of seven cars each.

A 2-acre area of the park will be themed around sharks, including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, themed gift shops, shark and shipwreck decor, and educational experiences, according to WFTV. Guests in the Shark Realm will feel like they’re underwater among a school of sharks that have taken over a shipwrecked reef.

SeaWorld is pushing thrill rides in an attempt to recover from a decline in attendance in the wake of the documentary film Blackfish, which caused controversy over the treatment of the park's whales. The park also faces stiff competition for tourist dollars from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

With the addition of Mako, the theme park says it will have five thrill rides: three distinctly different intense coasters, plus two family coasters, WFTV reported.

But an educational element will remain: In the plaza of the shark-themed land, guests will learn about the impact of humans and why the animals are critical to the environment.

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who was part of the Apollo 14 space crew that flew to the moon in 1971, died late Thursday in West Palm Beach, according to his family.

Mitchell, 85, lived in suburban Lake Worth and died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. Thursday, his daughter, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell told The Palm Beach Post.

Mitchell’s ex-wife, Anita Mitchell, is a former Republican Party chairman for Palm Beach County and is currently former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s Palm Beach County campaign chairman.

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Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the moon. He was part of a three-man crew, with Alan Shepard Jr. and Stuart Roosa, who took part in the Apollo 14 space mission. It was the eighth manned mission in the United States Apollo program and they became the third ever to land on the moon. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on the mission.

Apollo 14 launched just over 45 years ago, on Jan. 31, 1971. The nine-day mission ended Feb. 9 when the crew landed in the South Pacific Ocean.

Unlike other astronauts who tend to live reclusive lives, Mitchell remained in the public eye.

In 2011, he turned over the camera he took to the moon to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against him in that same year, saying he stole the camera. Mitchell denied the allegations and said if it wasn’t for him, the camera would have never made it back to Earth.

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Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1930 but considered his hometown Artesia, N.M., near Roswell. Mitchell was open about his views on the paranormal and psychic, and he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which sponsors research into the nature of consciousness, or studying the unexplained. In his 1996 memoir, “The Way of the Explorer,” he described the experience on his return to Earth as life-changing.

“What I experienced during that three-day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity,” he said.

CDC: Expect to see more Zika cases in U.S.

The United States will see an increasing number of travel-related cases of the Zika virus, as the epidemic that is ravaging Brazil continues to spread, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Among them will likely be pregnant women, the population most vulnerable to the devastating affects of the virus.

>>Related: The CDC says pregnant women should not travel to these countries

“I wish we knew more about Zika today, I wish we could do more about Zika today,” said CDC Directer Tom Frieden in a morning press conference. “It’s a new phenomenon.”

Frieden said the U.S. should “expect a lot more travel related cases” as the weeks and months go by. This of particular concern as mosquito season approaches across the Deep South. The virus is spread by two kinds of mosquitoes typically found in the region.

Frieden offered his strongest comments yet about the link between the insect-borne virus and the birth defect, microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and cognitive problems. He said tests on fetal brain tissue have showed the presence of the virus, but it’s unclear at what point in a pregnancy a fetus can be infected with Zika.

In the coming months, as children are born to women who may have traveled to the affected Caribbean and South American regions early in their pregnancies, more cases of microcephaly will likely appear in other countries, he said.

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“We’re not aware of any other mosquito-borne disease with such devastating outcomes” of birth defects, Frieden said. “It’s scary for women who are pregnant or are considering pregnancy.”

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday, the CDC is now advising any man who has travel to one of the affected countries, to use condoms during all sexual encounters with their pregnant partner for the duration of the pregnancy. Either wear a latex condom during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or abstain from sex completely, the new guidelines suggest.

On Friday the agency recommended any pregnant woman who has traveled to one if the affected countries be tested for the presence of the virus between two to 12 weeks of her return home. And no pregnant woman should travel to any of the affected countries while she is pregnant.

While women who think they may have been exposed to the virus should get tested, Frieden admitted that testing kits for the virus are in short supply and will not be available at the offices of most health care providers.

“Not everyone who wants a test will be able to get it but we’re working as fast as we can,” Frieden said. “We’re rolling out test kits to distribute.”

Pregnant women will be first to receive them.

The CDC already has teams of epidemiologists in Brazil working with doctors there. More CDC teams are going next week and will be deployed to other areas where the disease is taking hold.

Several news outlets reported on Friday that Brazilian researchers, where the outbreak began, have found traces of the virus not only in semen, but urine and saliva. Frieden said he had not yet seen that research and was cautious about the report.

“We have no data to support urine or saliva,” transmission at this point, Frieden said.

The virus departs the blood within a week leaving antibodies to the virus. Because only one in five people have symptoms of the virus, tests try to detect those antibodies to determine exposure. Researchers have yet to determine how long it persists in semen.

Apart from condoms and abstinence, Frieden said the best way to protect against the disease is to avoid mosquito bites. And as temperatures and mosquito populations rise, municipalities will have to examine their mosquito abatement policies, he added.

Study: Mood lighting helping to save endangered sea turtles

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The key to helping the endangered sea turtle population in Florida may be the right lighting.

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In a new study by University of Central Florida biology professor John Weishampel, he found that bright lights “can deter a female from returning to her nesting site,” which in turn limits the amount of eggs being laid each year, TakePart reported. The findings, which were discovered in conjunction with his son’s high school project, found that mood lighting could help with bringing female turtles back.

“Sea turtle populations are doing pretty well in Florida, and it may be due in part to our coastal management (of light pollution),” Weishampel told TakePart. “It shows we affect turtles’ nesting, but at the same time, we’ve been successful at reducing that effect."

Weishamel and his son, Zachary, examined satellite imagery of artificial light along the beaches and found that light rules from local governments helped to “crack down on beachfront light pollutions in the early 1990s” and that has led to more success stories with 14,152 nests being recorded last fall, up from 6,023 nests in 2011.

“Florida’s coastlines are getting darker, and that’s a good thing, not just for sea turtles but for other organisms,” Weishamel told TakePart.

Palm Beach County was the first county in Florida to have a lighting ordinance because of the high nesting density in the area, which is higher than most other Florida counties, said marine conservationist Kirt Rusenko with the City of Boca Raton.

In the study, Jupiter Island, Florida was identified as an area with high nighttime light levels while Rusenko mentioned that the city of Boca Raton’s levels are going down.

Read more at TakePart.

New Hampshire recap: John Kasich's gamble pays off

This story originally published Feb. 3.

Editor’s note: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who hasn’t lost an election since his bid to lead Ohio State University student government in 1973, is closing in on the biggest bet of his political life as he tries to win over Republican presidential primary voters. 

On Monday, Feb. 1 — the day he finished eighth in Iowa’s Republican caucus — Kasich kicked off an eight-day stretch of campaigning in New Hampshire. On Tuesday, Feb. 9, he finished second to Donald Trump, securing a major win in the lead-up to the GOP nomination process.

Here is the back story. 

—-

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kasich and New Day for America, the super PAC backing him, are banking on a dicey strategy to skip Iowa and invest heavily in New Hampshire in the hopes that a solid finish will catapult him into the limelight and bring in campaign cash. It’s a strategy that has worked for some in the past and been fatal for others, such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who placed sixth in Iowa and then came in fourth in New Hampshire after being the national front-runner.

“We will know on the morning of the 10th (of February) whether we are a story and it’s really going to be whether you’re saying ‘Oh, my goodness, this guy Kasich, we sort of counted him out.’ … And all of sudden you folks (in the media) will be forced to shift a little bit of your attention away from the Trumper. You might have to talk about John Kasich,” Kasich told CNN. Watch Kasich here on CNN.

Bypassing Iowa, and performing poorly in Monday’s caucuses, could hurt Kasich’s momentum in New Hampshire because voters will likely consider the Iowa results in deciding who to support, said Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Cedarville University Center for Political Studies.

“There is a very real bandwagon effect when it comes to presidential primaries,” Smith said. “People like to be associated with the winning candidate, the successful candidate.”

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Selling the candidate

Kasich, 63, entered the race in July, qualified for all seven GOP debates, earned the endorsements of the Boston Globe, New York Times and several New Hampshire newspapers, and held nearly 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire and raised $7.6 million, outside the millions raised by New Day For America. Kasich’s narrative is that he is an experienced executive who knows how to manage government, balance budgets, fix problems, cut taxes and help those in need. He tells voters on the trail that there is the establishment lane, the outsider lane and the Kasich lane.

The race in New Hampshire is still unsettled since six out of 1o Republicans there said they have not made up their minds, according to a recent CNN/WMUR poll.

New Hampshire’s primary process, in which voters cast ordinary ballots, offers the candidates a more straightforward sprint toward victory than Iowa. But undeclared voters, who make up the largest bloc in New Hampshire, can vote in either party’s primary, infusing the race with an added level of uncertainty.

Several polls show Kasich in second place behind reality TV star Donald Trump, who finished second in Iowa behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. But Kasich’s grasp on second place could be in jeopardy if U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s strong third-place showing in Iowa gives him momentum and campaign money in New Hampshire, said University of Dayton political scientist Dan Birdsong.

“If, and admittedly this is a big if, Rubio can ride the momentum from Iowa into New Hampshire, he could put a dent in Trump’s support but he will likely take some support away from candidates like Kasich and (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie,” Birdsong said.

He added: “The only thing that should pull Rubio down is his lack of experience. Republicans are so upset with the ‘novice’ in the White House, are they really willingly to put another one in? This has been the puzzle for me. Rubio’s speech from Monday night was almost a carbon copy for the 2008 Barack Obama Iowa speech. Partisanship can be blinding.

“If Kasich wants to break Rubio’s momentum he must make the next week and the rest of the campaign about experience vs. inexperience. Although a Rubio-Kasich or Kasich-Rubio ticket could make for an interesting General Election.”

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The Trump alternative

Smith said Rubio’s third-place finish in Iowa “probably made it difficult for Jeb Bush to do anything.”

Smith said if Rubio wins or places second in New Hampshire that could make him “the clear Trump alternative,” which wouldn’t bode well for Kaisch.

Kasich is getting some help from the home team, with as many as 200 people already campaigning for him, a number which could double next week, said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

“We will knock on doors, make phone calls and talk to voters, help him organize rallies and town halls and various things that he’s doing to help win voters over and help him get his message out there,” Borges said.

Borges, and spokeswoman Brittany Warner, and state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, are headed to New Hampshire this week and former Centerville Mayor Mark Kingseed is already there. State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, just returned from campaigning for the governor.

“The folks here are so tuned in and involved in the primary,” said Kingseed. “I think they take their duty very seriously here knowing that they have a huge influence on who the president is going to be.”

Antani, a Kasich delegate, said it is exciting to have an Ohioan in the presidential race and he’s looking forward to talking to voters in New Hampshire.

“Getting out the vote is crucial. This is probably going to be the important weekend of the campaign because if he can get a solid second place it will vault him into the other primary states and therefore give him the national exposure he needs in order to win,” Antani said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Think Iowa is all cornfields and caucuses? Think again.

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When Newsy asked an Iowa resident how many overalls he owned, the answer was surprising.

 

"Rough estimate would be zero," the local man responded.

 

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So, it turns out not all Iowans are farmers — just many of the ones you see interviewed on TV.

 

In fact, fewer than 5 percent of Iowans farm.

 

Manufacturing and financial services contribute more to the state's economy than farming.

 

So there's obviously more to Iowa than its reputation as the state with the most pigs in captivity.

 

But at first glance, Iowa doesn't exactly look like America.

 

"It doesn't represent the rest of the country," said Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC. "Too white. Too evangelical. Too rural." 

 

That's the thing people are criticizing most about the state: It's a poor representation of the country, and yet its caucuses get to go first.

 

Compare Iowa's demographics to the rest of the country's: Non-Hispanic whites make up 87 percent of the state, blacks just over 3 percent and Hispanics 5 percent. Those numbers are significantly lower than the national average.

 

It may not be racially representative of the country, but consider a few facts:

 

The oldest mosque in North America is in Cedar Rapids. 

 

Iowa has the nation's highest literacy rate.

 

Plus, the state has had a significant growth in diversity. Iowa's Hispanic population grew by 100 percent in the past 15 years. The state's Asian and black populations are slow-growing — but still growing.

 

And when it comes to politics, it's tough to criticize Iowa's "representative-ness." It's current two U.S. senators are Republicans, but the state voted for President Barack Obama in the past two elections. It's competitive for both parties, and that's more than a lot of states on the coasts or in the Deep South can say.

 

Perhaps there's more to Iowa than some would have you think.

School lunches: Here’s what your kids will be eating if this bill passes

A bipartisan Senate agreement expected to be voted on Wednesday will include some changes to the meals your children will be offered at school, and it may be changes that would bring them to the table.

The bill, which is expected to be passed by the full Senate, will offer more flexibility to the nations nearly 100,000 public schools as it eases requirements on the use of whole grains and delays a deadline to cut the level of sodium in school lunches.

The legislation has grown out of complaints by some schools that the requirements for their meals – changed in 2012 with the support of first lady Michelle Obama – are burdensome and that children are not eating the food.

To qualify for federal reimbursements for free and reduced-cost meals, schools are required to meet federal government nutrition guidelines. The guidelines set in 2012 imposed limits on the amount of fats, calories, sugar and sodium that meals could include.

Many schools balked at the standards, saying children would not eat the healthier options. Wednesday’s vote comes after a bill that would have allowed schools to opt out of the program entirely failed in 2014.

Per the bill, the Agriculture Department would be required to revised the whole grain and sodium standards for meals within 90 days of its passage.

Here’s how the legislation would change what school lunchrooms are serving:

Grains: Currently, all grains served in public schools must be whole grains, meaning the food made from grain must have been made using 100 percent of the original grain kernel. The new legislation requires that 80 percent  of the grains used be whole grain or more than half whole grain. (Currently, schools may request waivers from the whole grain requirement.)

Salt: The implementation of stricter standards for the amount of sodium in school meals would be delayed until 2019 under the new legislation. The bill would also fund a study into the benefits of lowering salt levels in school meals.

Waste: The problem of waste is a big one in school lunches. Under the new legislation, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be tasked with coming up with a way to reduce what is not eaten by students – particularly fruits and vegetables. Children are currently required to take the food on the lunch line, but many toss them without touching a bite.

Summer programs: More money would be allocated for summer feeding programs – where school lunchrooms offer meals for children who qualify.

Georgia Supreme Court must decide the value of a dog

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Lola was a little hound of questionable pedigree who slept like a human, her head on the pillow and her body under the covers. She was jealous of laptop computers because she was a lap dog.

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The mixed-breed dachshund was 8 years old when she died of renal failure. Lola’s owners allege that a popular Atlanta dog kennel gave Lola medication she wasn’t supposed to receive, ultimately leading to her death. The owners have sued, and that’s why this sad case with its very thorny question will come before the Georgia's highest court on Tuesday.

What is the value of a dog?

Barking Hound Village kennel denies that it is responsible for Lola’s death. And in filings before the Georgia Supreme Court, the kennel argues that pets are property and plaintiffs may only recover the market value of their property before it was destroyed.

For this reason, Elizabeth and Bob Monyak should be barred from receiving damages for any alleged negligence that might have caused Lola’s death, the kennel said. The Monyaks paid nothing for Lola when they rescued her from a shelter and she had no market value at the time of her death. In essence, the kennel says, Lola was a worthless piece of property.

But the Monyaks said they spent $67,000 on veterinary and related expenses, including regular dialysis treatments, trying to keep their dog alive, and their suit seeks to recover that sum. They also argue that Lola’s market value isn’t the point.

“Their position is that a dog is like a toaster,” Elizabeth Monyak said. “When you break it, you throw it away and get a new one. A dog is indeed property under the law, but it’s a different kind of property.”

Both Elizabeth Monyak and her husband are attorneys. She works for the State Attorney General’s Office. He specializes in defending medical malpractice and product liability lawsuits and will argue Lola’s case before the justices on Tuesday.

Barking Hound Village, with five locations in metro Atlanta, was founded by David York, a pioneer in the upscale doggie day care and boarding business.

Joel McKie, the company’s lawyer, said Barking Hound Village cares deeply about dogs entrusted to its care and has procedural safeguards to ensure they are safe and happy during their stay.

“We are certainly sympathetic to the (Monyaks) for the loss of their beloved dog, Lola,” McKie said. “However, (Barking Hound Village) did nothing to cause or contribute to the dog’s renal failure.”

The case has attracted national attention, with veterinary and kennel organizations asking the state high court to adopt Barking Hound Village’s legal position.

If juries are allowed to consider a lost pet’s sentimental value and medical expenses paid by its owners, the costs for kennels and veterinary care will rise, groups such as the American Kennel Club, the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.

“Concerns over expanded liability may cause some services, such as free clinics for spaying and neutering, to close,” the groups said. “Shelters, rescues and other services may no longer afford to take in dogs and other pets. Fewer people will get pets, leaving more pets abandoned in shelters to die.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed its own brief in support of the Monyaks’ position. It cited industry studies showing U.S. pet owners spent a collective $58 billion on their animals in 2014, including $4.8 billion on pet grooming and boarding.

“It is hypocritical for these businesses, including (Barking Hound Village), to exploit the value of the human-companion bond, while simultaneously arguing that the same should be unrecoverable when that bond is wrongfully – and even intentionally – severed,” the defense fund said.

Michael Wells, a University of Georgia law school professor specializing in tort and insurance law, said he believes pet dogs have value beyond their market value. The same goes for other properties, like a treasured family photo.

“I assume (the Monyaks) paid a substantial amount of money to the kennel to take care of their dog,” Wells said. “To then say the dog has no market value doesn’t seem to square with the commitment the kennel made and the money it made from the transaction itself.”

In 2005, the Monyaks had a Labrador retriever named Callie. But their oldest daughter, Suzanne, then 10, wanted a dog of her own.

Elizabeth Monyak said she finally agreed, but only if they adopted a relatively mature, smaller dog. Suzanne found Lola, then 2 years old, on a pet finder website and the family adopted her from the Small Dog Rescue and Humane Society in front of a pet store in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

In 2012, the Monyaks decided to take their three children on a family vacation to France and boarded Lola and Callie in “The Inn,” a Barking Hound Village kennel. At that time, Callie had been prescribed Rimadyl, an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. It is the Monyaks’ contention that the kennel incorrectly gave the Rimadyl to Lola, instead of to Callie, during the time they were boarded there.

In court motions, the Monyaks allege that Barking Hound Village knew that a medication error had occurred during Lola’s stay, and the kennel then covered it up by destroying evidence and withholding critical information.

Barking Hound Village denies any wrongdoing and said when the Monyaks picked up their dogs on June 7, 2012, both Lola and Callie appeared to be normal. “(There) is no competent evidence that the dachshund was ever incorrectly medicated,” the kennel said in a court filing.

The family immediately noticed something was wrong with Lola, Elizabeth Monyak said. Normally a voracious eater, she had little appetite. Lola then began trembling, vomiting and experiencing severe pain.

Within days, Lola’s vet determined the dachshund was suffering from acute kidney failure, with the likely culprit being overdoses of Rimadyl. The vet also told the Monyaks he had recently received a phone call from someone at Barking Hound Village, who told him that the prescription for Lola had run out of pills, court filings say. This was odd, the vet said, because he had not prescribed Lola any pills, except those for routine heart-worm medication.

Ultimately, vets recommended that Lola be transferred to the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital because there was no facility in Georgia that could provide the necessary dialysis. The treatments were intermittently successful and Lola was able to return home for extended periods.

“Her kidney was never fully repaired, but there were times when she was doing well,” Monyak said.

In March 2013, the Florida clinic called with bad news: Lola’s kidney was failing again and no longer responding to treatment. Before the family could drive down and return Lola to her Atlanta home one last time, the clinic called to say she had died.

In addition to recovering their expenses for Lola’s treatment, the Monyaks also want a jury to consider evidence that demonstrates Lola’s value to their family.

“She was a smart, fun dog that gave us a lot of enjoyment,” Elizabeth Monyak said.

In court filings, Barking Hound Village’s lawyers contend there are court precedents dating back more than a century that said any recovery of damages for injured or lost animals should be decided by market value, not sentimental value.

“The purchase price of the dachshund was zero dollars, the rescue dog never generated revenue and nothing occurred during the Monyaks’ ownership of the dog that would have increased her market value,” the company’s filing said. “The mixed-breed dachshund had no special training or unique characteristics other than that of ‘family dog.’”

Gun rights groups to stage mock mass shooting at UT

Gun rights groups say they will conduct a mock mass shooting this weekend at the University of Texas campus as they try to end gun-free zones.

The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, said Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com.

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“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons.

He said the group was not seeking any sort of permit for the event from Austin or UT. University officials were not immediately available for comment.

“Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them,’ he said. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.”

Asked if he was worried the demonstration, which will be preceded by a walk through Austin with loaded weapons might appear in bad taste following the mass shootings in San Bernardino and Paris, Short said: “Not at all. People were able to be murdered people because no one was armed.”

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Loaded weapons are currently not allowed on UT campus, but that will change next August when the new campus carry law goes into effect. The law will allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns into dorms, classrooms and other public university buildings, though universities may draft some campus-specific rules that may include limited gun-free zones.

Critics of the law have urged UT to take a highly restrictive approach, prompting the pushback from gun rights groups.

“We want criminals to fear the public being armed,” Short said. “An armed society is a polite society.”

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“We love freedom and we’re trying to make more freedom,” he said.

The organizers of Gun Free UT, an organization supported by thousands of UT students and faculty that aims to keep guns out of the UT campus, were not immediately available for comment.

Man chokes to death while eating birthday dinner

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A man celebrating his 57th birthday at Ted’s Montana Grill in Estero, Florida died after choking on a bison steak.

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Christopher Russ went with his landlord and her father to the restaurant looking for a steak dinner, the News-Press reports. Francine Ryan, Russ’ landlord, told the News-Press that when she realized Russ was choking she began hitting Russ’ back while another man gave him the Heimlich. When that wasn’t working, she said she began to perform CPR on him before the medics arrived.

“When he turned blue and gray … you just know. I knew there was nothing you could do,” she said.

She said Russ had mentioned being “given a clean bill of health” from the doctor the month before. “I’m afraid now to eat,” Ryan said. “I’m going to be very careful."

Read more at the News-Press.

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