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Giant spoon erected in front of pharmaceutical company to protest opioid addiction

A giant spoon was left in front of a pharmaceutical company in protest by a Connecticut artist.

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The 800-pound, 11-foot-long steel spoon symbolizes a much heavier burden for two artists.

"A symbol of the negative emotion I felt of the opioid addiction of my brother, Danny," Westwood native Domenic Esposito said. "For the last 14 years, we have been dealing with it.”

Esposito traveled to Connecticut to work with art gallery owner Fernando Alvarez to make the sculpture, and then move it to the front of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut.

“I’ve gotten a lot of tweets and messages about this," Esposito said. "Everyone knows what the missing spoon is who has family members that were affected by this.”

Earlier in June, Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Purdue on behalf of the state.

The lawsuit accuses the maker of oxycontin of illegally promoting the use of opioids and misrepresenting the risks of addiction and death connected to the drug.

It was the first lawsuit that also names the drug maker's executives and directors.

Purdue has denied the allegations and released a statement on the protest.

“We share the protestors’ concern about the opioid crisis, and respect their right to peacefully express themselves," the protest said.

Gallery owner Fernando Alvarez said the crimes are never punished, and changes need to occur.

"No one ever goes to jail for these things and that’s why the epidemic continues to happen," Alvarez said. "We are talking about real lives.”

Alvarez ended up in handcuffs on Friday for a minor charge of obstructing free passage. 

City workers using heavy equipment hauled away the giant spoon, but the two men hope the weight of the message stays.

The spoon will become a part of the exhibit at the Alvarez Gallery in Stamford.

12-year-old's invention for detecting plastics in oceans getting national recognition

A 12-year-old girl from Andover, Massachusetts, is getting a big prize and national recognition for her invention to clean up the world's oceans.

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Anna Du is one of 10 finalists for the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work on an invention that detects microplastics in bodies of water without disturbing plants or animals.

"One day when I was at Boston Harbor, I noticed there was a lot of plastics on the sand," Du said. "I tried picking some up, but there seemed to be so many more, and it just seemed impossible to clean it all up."

Du, a lover of marine animals, decided to take action.

She began work on an underwater device that uses infrared light to detect harmful microplastics in the ocean.

Her invention is now gaining national attention as a finalist in the challenge.

As a finalist, Du will get a chance to work with one of 3M's scientists to take her invention from detecting plastic in her backyard, to detecting it in the world's oceans.

"Science has always been a big part of my life," Du said. "I'm super excited to make something that can actually help the world."

Du wants to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study marine-related science.

She and the other nine finalists will take part in the final competition in October at the 3M Innovation Center in Saint Paul.

Men use blanket to attack woman inside department store, police say

Police in Georgia are searching for two men who beat and shoved a woman to the floor inside a popular department store in Gwinnett County. 

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The victim told police that the men threw a blanket over her head and then attacked her inside a Ross department store on Stone Mountain Highway.

Dina Bingham said she was shopping on May 12 when she felt a blanket over her head. She said two men started shaking her and shoving her around.

Gwinnett police released a surveillance photo of the two suspects, with one carrying a blanket they used in the alleged attack. 

Bingham said she fought back and forced the men to run out of the store.

"I can't get into the mind of a criminal, I don't know but what I do know is the store could have handled it differently,” Bingham said.

After this experience, Bingham said there needs to be protections in place for shoppers. 

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call police.

This is how much coffee can keep your heart healthy, study says

Scientists believe coffee has several benefits, including protection against liver disease and diabetes. It also may be able to protect your heart, according to a new report.

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Researchers from health institutions in Germany recently conducted a study, published in the PLOS Biology journal, to explore the link between coffee and heart health.

To do so, they used data from a previous study that examined 400,000 people. They also observed caffeinated mice as well as human tissues doused in caffeine. 

They found that caffeine helps a special regulatory protein called p27 travel to the mitochondria, an organelle in cells that produce energy.

The protein was found in the mitochondria of several of the major cells in the heart and helped enhance the function of the mitochondria. It also aided in the protection of the cardiovascular cells.

“In these cells, mitochondrial p27 promoted migration of endothelial cells, protected heart muscle cells from cell death, and triggered the conversion of fibroblasts into cells containing contractile fibers - all crucial for repair of heart muscle after myocardial infarction,” the authors explained.

Upon further investigation, they determined that four cups of coffee can trigger those chain of events that keep your heart from damage. 

“Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine," the team said, "one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle. These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population.” 

This isn’t the first study that has uncovered a positive link between caffeine and heart health. 

Earlier this year, researchers in Austria published a study that assessed the data of more than 360,000 people with heart issues. They discovered that caffeine may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that causes an irregular heartbeat.

Sally Yates to lead Minneapolis ketamine investigation

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is headed to Minneapolis.

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Yates has been hired by the city of Minneapolis to lead the investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department encouraged Hennepin County medical responders to sedate people with the powerful drug ketamine.

A city report obtained by KARE 11 found that in several cases, patients had to be revived after receiving the drug. The Office of Police Conduct Review found 62 recorded ketamine injections in response to Minneapolis police calls in 2017. In 2012, the recorded number of ketamine injections was three, KARE 11 reported.

Yates will conduct an independent review, focusing on the communication between the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County medical responders, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced in a news release.

9,000 barrels of bourbon crash to ground during Kentucky distillery collapse

A building collapse at the Barton 1792 distillery in Kentucky Friday morning caused thousands of barrels of bourbon to crash to the ground.

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Emergency officials told WLKY that approximately 9,000 barrels of bourbon were affected. The building houses about 20,000 barrels.

There were no injuries, The Courier-Journal in Louisville reported.

Officials were assessing the damage and attempting to determine whether any of the bourbon leaked into the ground or nearby water sources, WLKY reported. Officials have not determined a cause for the collapse. Crews worked to secure the building to prevent further damage.

A barrel can hold 53 gallons of bourbon and weigh about 550 pounds, WLKY noted. 

The Barton 1792 distillery is owned by the Sazerac company, which is based in New Orleans, The Courier-Journal reported.

WATCH: Woman walks away after car goes airborne, slams into gas station

A Mississippi woman was able to walk away Thursday after she lost control of her car, sending it airborne and crashing into a gas station, narrowly missing the gas pumps.

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The woman was not able to avoid the law, however.

Shelby Lynne May was behind the wheel, the Rankin County Sheriff's Office told Mississippi News Now. A surveillance camera at the Marathon gas station in Flowood recorded the dramatic accident, which shows the car barreling off the road toward the gas station, running into a sign, going airborne and then flipping around to land against a gas pump.

The surveillance video posted by Mississippi News Now shows May walking away from the car, with a bystander steadying her by the arm.

The Sheriff's Office told Mississippi News Now that May was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. 

Keytruda: 4 things to know about the drug that cured Jimmy Carter

In late 2015, Former President Jimmy Carter announced he was cancer-free after using a new drug, called Keytruda.

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1. What is it?

The drug is known chemically as pembrolizumab.

“It’s technically called a checkpoint inhibitor," Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, said. "It’s one of several drugs available over the past several years that have been effective in treating melanoma by harnessing the body’s own ability to fight the cancer cells to find the cancer cells and destroy them,” he said.

2. How does it work?

“What Keytruda and similar drugs do is wake up the immune system and allow the immune system to recognize that these cancer cells are not normal and foreign so go after them,” Lichtenfeld said.

3. Origin of the drug

The drug is made by Merck and was approved in September 2014 when the company sold $55 million worth of it in a few months. This year, Merck has already sold more than $352 million worth of the drug.

Merck said they’ve already sold more than $400 million of Keytruda since the FDA approved it in 2014. A representative said, "While advanced melanoma has historically been considered difficult to treat, recently there have been several advances that have been restoring hope for patients with this devastating disease as well as their physicians."

Research for the drug Carter received started decades ago, Litchtenfeld said.

4. It's effective for more than one type of cancer

Carter told the world he had four spots of melanoma on his brain and Litchtenfeld says his doctors gave him the drug to control the disease.

The drug can be used for more than just melanoma, however.

“What’s interesting is they are not only effective in treating melanoma, they have turned out to be effective for other cancers and recently been approved in treatment in lung, stomach, neck and other cancers,” said Lichtenfeld about the drug used.

Click here to learn more about the drug.

Man who allegedly owes $30k in child support admonished by sheriff on Facebook

At first glance, a Facebook post from the Gwinnett County sheriff’s office in Georgia seems normal.

“Our deputies are looking for 40-year-old Michael Glenn Hovis, who's wanted by police for probation violation,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.

Around the third sentence, things take a turn, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

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“We're certain that his children will appreciate any information you can provide to help us find him since they want to eat and keep a roof over their heads,” officials said.

According to the sheriff’s office, Hovis owes more than $30,000 in child support, too.

After asking those with information about Hovis’ whereabouts to call the sheriff’s office, authorities address him directly.

“Mr. Hovis,” the sheriff’s office said, “if you see this post, you should consider turning yourself in. It's never too late to start doing the right thing.”

Jimmy Carter: What to know about the former president and humanitarian

President Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States, from 1977 to 1981, but before that, he was the 76th governor of Georgia and a member of the Georgia State Senate. 

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Although he’s had a lengthy career in politics, Carter has  worked as a diplomat and humanitarian. He’s also authored dozens of books.

Here are some things to know about President Carter.

Naval Academy graduate

Carter graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, at the top of his class in 1946. He started a Navy career soon after, spending five years on submarine duty.

Related: Photos: Jimmy Carter through the years

Father of four

Carter married Rosalynn Smith, who became Rosalynn Carter, in 1946, soon after graduating from high school. They had four children: Jack Carter, born in 1947; James Carter, born in 1950; Donnel Carter, born in 1952; and Amy Carter, born in 1967.

Photos: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's 70-year marriage

Rebuilt family’s peanut warehouse

In his hometown of Plains, Georgia, Carter’s parents, Earl and Lillian Carter, owned a peanut farm, warehouse and store. When Earl Carter died of cancer in 1953, Carter resigned from the Navy, came back home and worked to rebuild the business. Despite a drought in 1954 and a boycott against integration, Carter made the business profitable by 1959.

Related: How Jimmy Carter changed the world

Devoted to humanitarianism

The Carter Center opened in 1986, and its mission, in partnership with Emory University in Atlanta, is to resolve conflicts and improve human health through a commitment to human rights. Part of that work led Carter to be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Cancer survivor

Carter was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in August 2015. While teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, he said he had surgery on a mass on his liver and had radiation treatment on four melanoma spots in his brain.

Despite the diagnosis, Carter remained active in his humanitarian work, helping build a Habitat for Humanity house in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Related: Carter: Cancer is gone

By December 2015, Carter said, “My most recent MRI brain scan did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones.”

In May 2016, Carter Center director of communications Deanna Congileo confirmed that Carter did not need any more treatments but would “continue scans and resume treatment if necessary.” 

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