Girl Scouts lobby to right a wrong
Hundreds of Girl Scouts from across Georgia gathered inside the state Capitol last week, offering cookies and smiles as they sought to convince lawmakers to get their founder’s name affixed to a Savannah bridge that bears the name of a white segregationist. Rep. Ron Stephens said he recently learned the state legislature and the Department of Transportation never officially named the bridge for Gov. Eugene Talmadge. Buoyed by this technicality, the Savannah Republican introduced a bill to officially name the bridge after Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah more than a century ago. Backed by their national organization, the Georgia scouts’ campaign began after Savannah’s city council in September unanimously asked state lawmakers to strip Talmadge’s name from the bridge. For Girl Scout Zora Felix, who is 13 and black, the issue is obvious. The fact that the bridge honors a segregationist is "shocking, she said, adding: "2017-18 has been the year for girls and empowerment. What better way to honor this than by naming the bridge after the founder of the Girl Scouts?
Grand Canyon helicopter crash ‘horrible’; 4 rescued, 3 dead
Four survivors of a deadly tour helicopter crash onto the jagged rocks of the Grand Canyon were being treated at a Nevada hospital on Sunday while crews tackled difficult terrain in a remote area to try to recover the bodies of three other people. Six passengers and a pilot were on board the Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters chopper when it crashed under unknown circumstances Saturday on the Hualapai Nation’s land near Quartermaster Canyon. A witness said he saw flames and black smoke, heard explosions and saw victims who were bleeding and badly burned. Windy conditions, darkness, the remoteness of the area and the rugged terrain made it difficult to reach the helicopter’s wreckage, Hualapai Nation police Chief Francis Bradley said. Rescue crews had to be flown in, walk to the crash site and use night vision goggles, he said. The survivors were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital by around 2 a.m. Sunday, Bradley said. The identities of victims weren’t immediately released.
Shooting victims’ names released
A man killed his parents, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother in a weekend shooting spree before ending his own life, state police said Sunday. Trooper William Petry on Sunday released the victims’ names and their relationships with the presumed shooter, Joseph Nickell. Nickell’s parents, James and Arlene Nickell, were gunned down Saturday at a residence in Flatgap, and Joseph Nickell’s girlfriend, Lindsey Vanhoose, and her mother, Patricia Vanhoose, later were fatally shot at an apartment in nearby Paintsville, Petry said in a statement. Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said Joseph Nickell’s body also was found at the apartment in what authorities described as a murder-suicide. "This has been a horrific murder spree," Price said on Facebook on Saturday. "... There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen." The statement didn’t specify ages or give a motive for the shootings, which remain under investigation.
Man accused of killing cops had been reported for domestic abuse
Police in a Columbus suburb had previously gone to the home where a man fatally shot two officers — for three domestic disputes, incident reports show, but no arrests were made. Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were killed Saturday while responding to a 911 hang-up call. Suspect Quentin Smith, 30, was shot by the Westerville officers and taken to a hospital Saturday, a city spokeswoman said. 911 calls released by Westerville provide some details about what happened at the townhome where Smith lives with wife Candace Smith and a young daughter. In one 911 call, Candace Smith pleads for help because her daughter is still inside: "Please help, he shot the police officers." Westerville police have provided few details other than saying Joering and Morelli were shot upon entering the residence. Columbus police are investigating. Westerville police had gone to the townhome three times since September. Joering’s and Morelli’s names aren’t listed on previous calls. One report says Candace Smith sought a protection order after Quentin Smith forced himself on her. Another says she told officers that her husband had threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself if she left him. She said he carried a gun despite being a convicted felon. Shortly after Candace Smith spoke at the station that day in November, police visited when Quentin Smith called to say his wife had locked him out. They were told to stay in separate areas of the home. — tbt* wires