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US News Headlines

    More than 5.9 million people worldwide – including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Thursday, May 28, continue below:  Montana gates to Yellowstone park opening Monday Update 8:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Montana’s three entrances to Yellowstone National Park will reopen to visitors Monday, as the state moves to its second phase of restarting the economy after shutdowns because of the coronavirus. Parts of Glacier National Park could open in mid-June, Gov. Steve Bullock added Thursday, but a specific day has not been set. The West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City entrances to Yellowstone will open two weeks after Wyoming’s entrances near Cody and Jackson. The park, famous for its geysers and bison, remains open for day use only. No overnight accommodations are available, and large tour buses aren’t allowed yet, park Superintendent Cam Sholly said. Park employees won’t be policing visitors’ compliance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks, Sholly said Thursday. “We have to have the respect of the public to adhere to health guidelines,” he said. The opening of Yellowstone remains a gradual one. Limited overnight facilities, such as cabins and campgrounds, will begin reopening later in June, Sholly said. The Montana gates will reopen at 10 a.m. Monday. Hurricane season to be challenging amid pandemic Update 7:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Emergency management officials briefed President Donald Trump Thursday about the challenges of preparing for what is expected to be an above-average hurricane season amidst a coronavirus pandemic. During an Oval Office meeting, officials reported that the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have 13 to 19 named storms and six to 10 of those storms could develop into hurricanes. Vice President Mike Pence says that when people are displaced by tropical storms or hurricanes, they are used to congregating at local schools or gyms. He says there will be “different challenges now” and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided recommendations to local and state officials on how to respond to natural disasters during a pandemic. Recommendations include encouraging evacuees to plan on staying with friends and families rather than end up in shelters. In a NY state of mind, Guetta readies virus relief concert Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 28: When hundreds of artists started singing from their living rooms when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Grammy-winning DJ-producer David Guetta still wanted to perform in front of a live audience. So the hitmaker set up shop in front of a 205-foot pool at the Icon Brickell in downtown Miami, performing for 90 minutes as 8,000 locals danced along from their balconies during the feel-good moment last month. Now, he’s launching his second United At Home event at an undisclosed location in New York on Saturday to connect with fans and raise money for health care workers and virus relief efforts. “A lot of artists, especially DJs, were doing performances from their bedrooms. I felt like that was a little bit frustrating. I really wanted to feel like I have a crowd,” Guetta said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “So, I had the idea of doing this in the middle of towers and people were on the balconies and that was absolutely amazing.” Job losses continue to mount in US despite reopenings Update 5:50 p.m. EDT May 28: The coronavirus crisis threw at least 2.1 million Americans out of work last week despite the gradual reopening of businesses around the country, stoking fears Thursday that the scourge is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy. Amid a few glimmers of hope, most of the latest economic news from around the globe was likewise grim, as some of the world’s most populous countries continued to report rising infections and deaths. The confirmed U.S. death toll topped 100,000, the highest in the world, on Wednesday. The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. There were some encouraging signs: The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. But the number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment is still extraordinarily high by historical standards, and that suggests businesses are failing or permanently downsizing, not just laying off people until the crisis can pass, economists warn. “That is the kind of economic destruction you cannot quickly put back in the bottle,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. Mitch McConnell says wearing masks is important Update 4:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday preached the importance of wearing masks in public as the nation’s economy reopens from the “cataclysmic” damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. During a tour of hospitals in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican leader stressed wearing masks in public and following social distancing guidelines. “There should be no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” McConnell said during an appearance Thursday in Owensboro. “And even among age groups that are least likely to either contract this disease or die from it, you could be a carrier. So I think what we all need to do is say, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility not only for myself but for others.’” McConnell, who is in his late 70s and is in the midst of his own re-election campaign, has worn masks at his appearances. On Thursday, he stuffed the face covering into his coat jacket to speak, then donned it again afterward. President Donald Trump has refused to wear face coverings. Manw coronavirus epidemic, some two weeks ago. The country has been gradually lifting virus restrictions as the number of new cases fell to none or one or two daily. Ohio to allow for outdoor visitations at some assisted living facilities Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio on Thursday announced that, beginning next month, assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities in the state will be allowed to resume outdoor visitations, WHIO-TV reported. The governor also announced guidance for county fairs and said he plans to release information about the reopening of amusement parks and zoos next week, according to WHIO-TV. >> Read more on WHIO.com Florida’s Pulse nightclub holding virtual ceremony to remember victims of 2016 mass shooting Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials said Thursday that Pulse nightclub will hold its annual ceremony to remember the 49 people killed at the club in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings online next month due to the coronavirus pandemic, WFTV reported. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. local time June 12 on Facebook and YouTube, according to WFTV. The ceremony will also honor survivors of the shooting and first responders. >> Read more on WFTV.com Businesses to face fines of $10K or more if they violate Washington state’s Safe Start plan Update 3 p.m. EDT May 28: Businesses in Washington that stay open or operate in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order and Safe Start plan could face fines of $10,000 or more, KIRO-TV reported, citing new emergency rules filed Wednesday by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The rules allow the Department of Labor & Industries to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is “purposely defying the phased-in approach and, as a result, putting their workers at risk,” officials said. >> Read more on KIRO7.com 2020 Boston Marathon canceled Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston announced Thursday that the Boston Marathon has been canceled for this year, WFXT reported. The mayor had previously announced that the marathon would be postponed until September 14, according to WFXT. However, he said Thursday that it “became increasingly clear” that the planned date was no longer feasible. Instead, organizers plan to hold a virtual marathon, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com NY Gov. Cuomo to issue executive order allowing businesses to deny service to maskless customers Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that he plans to issue an executive order allowing businesses to deny service to customers who decline to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “We are giving the store owners the right to say, ‘If you are not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,’” Cuomo said during a news conference. “That store owner has the right to protect himself.” 1,261 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 1,261 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 157,815. On social media, the governor noted that the number of new cases, new deaths and hospitalized patients reported statewide continued to fall. However, he urged people to continue to practice social distancing measures. “We’re not out of the woods,” he wrote. Officials also reported 66 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,401 people have died statewide of COVID-19. Coronavirus restrictions eased on Long Island, continued in New York City Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 28: The easing of some coronavirus restrictions Wednesday on Long Island left New York City as the only part of the hardest-hit U.S. state that has yet to begin the process of reopening the economy. The sprawling suburbs of Nassau and Suffolk counties, where the virus has killed at least 4,000 people, won approval Tuesday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to gradually restart construction, manufacturing, agriculture and retail activity two months after nonessential business ceased. The Democratic governor also lobbied President Donald Trump in Washington for help with massive New York City transportation projects — including train tunnels, a subway expansion and an airport rail link — and accused top Republicans who oppose more aid of “abusing” states, such as New York, that suffered heavy coronavirus losses. The projects require some federal funding or approval. Cuomo said he and the Republican president, who are often at odds, will talk again next week. 1,887 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 28: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,887 new coronavirus infections Thursday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 269,127. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,837 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. 74 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 74 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number of new fatal cases reported one day earlier was also 74. The governor said Thursday at a news conference that key indicators of the coronavirus pandemic continued to fall across the board. “The total number of hospitalizations are down. The rolling total is down,” Cuomo said. “The change in intubations -- the number of people put on ventilators -- is down, and that’s good.” COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina reach single-day high for second straight day Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 28: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of hospitalizations connected to the coronavirus pandemic for a second straight day Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 708 people were hospitalized due to severe complications associated with the novel coronavirus. Officials said that 29% of the state’s 19,048 in-patient beds and 22% percent of its 3,223 intensive care unit beds remained open Thursday. Officials have reported 25,412 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. Nearly 830 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections, WSOC-TV reported. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com Study: 5-day course of remdesivir as effective at treating COVID-19 as 10-day course Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 28: A study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine found no major differences between the recoveries of COVID-19 patients who took a five-day course of remdesivir and patients who took a 10-day course of the experimental drug. Dr. Francisco Marty, an associate physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, worked on the study, according to WFXT. “People were counting on 10 days of treatment per patient for the supply that’s available,” Marty told WFXT. “Now I think with confidence we can say, five days is enough, so now you have twice as many treatment courses.” >> Read more on Boston25News.com Sen. Tim Kaine says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies Update 11 a.m. EDT May 28: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Thursday that he and his wife, Anne, have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Kaine said he tested positive earlier this year for the flu but that even after getting medication to treat the illness, his symptoms lingered. At the end of March, Kaine said he 'experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to the unusually high spring pollen count.” He and his wife spoke to their health care providers in early April after she also began to feel ill. “They thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus,” Kaine said. “Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free.' He said he and his wife got positive results from a coronavirus antibody test this month. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide,” he said. 'So we will keep following CDC guideline s —hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.” 86 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 28: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 86 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 8,492. Bowser also announced eight more people between the ages of 37 and 96 had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 453. Wall Street opens modestly higher, extending recent gains Update 10 a.m. EDT May 28: Stocks are opening slightly higher Thursday on Wall Street, extending recent gains that brought the S&P 500 back above 3,000 for the first time since March. The benchmark index was up about 0.1% in the first few minutes of trading Thursday. Health care companies and makers of consumer products were among the biggest winners in early trading. The modest gains came even as more dire reports on the economy came in, including another 2.1 million claims for unemployment benefits. Twitter fell as President Donald Trump prepared to sign an executive aimed at curbing liability protections for social media companies. Trump shares sympathies after more than 100,000 Americans die of COVID-19 Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 28: President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to remember the more than 100,000 Americans who have died after contracting coronavirus infections. The president called the death toll “a very sad milestone.” “To all of the families (and) friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy (and) love for everything that these great people stood for (and) represent,” Trump wrote. “God be with you!” The United States has lost more people to the coronavirus pandemic than any other country in the world. Health officials in the country with the second-most number of fatal COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom, said Wednesday that 37,460 people have died of the viral infection. 41 million Americans have lost jobs since virus hit Update 8:40 a.m. EDT May 28: Roughly 2.1 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a sign that companies are still slashing jobs in the face of a deep recession even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. About 41 million people have now applied for aid since the virus outbreak intensified in March, though not all of them are still unemployed. The Labor Department’s report Thursday includes a count of all the people now receiving unemployment aid: 21 million. That is a rough measure of the number of unemployed Americans. The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists expect it will near 20% in May. LA sues wellness company, alleging ‘sophisticated’ fraud via ‘at-home’ COVID-19 testing kits Update 7:29 a.m. EDT May 28: The city of Los Angeles is suing Wellness Matrix Group for what it called a “sophisticated” and “wide ranging” scheme to defraud people concerned about their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, NPR reported. The suit contends the California-based company sold “at-home” coronavirus tests it claimed falsely were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company also sold a supposedly coronavirus-killing “virucide,” claiming that the product could 'build a force field around your event or even spray your entire city,” NPR reported. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer accused the company of “shockingly deceptive conduct” that included attaching “false government registration numbers to these products and fabricated phony scientific studies and white papers to substantiate their false claims,” the news outlet reported. NBA eyes ‘bubble’ to house select family members when season resumes Update 6:58 a.m. EDT May 28: The National Basketball Association and its players’ association are working to craft a plan that will allow select family members to stay in a “bubble” with the teams once the season resumes. The bubble refers to a proposed enclosed environment in which all dwellers live, practice and play games, CNN reported. The discussions come days after the network confirmed the league and players’ association are in talks with Disney to hold the rest of the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. Google alerts nearly 2K users hackers posing as WHO targeted them in April Update 6:22 a.m. EDT May 28: Google sent 1,755 warnings to users who were targeted by government-backed hackers in April, according to a Wednesday blog post. The majority of the hacking and phishing schemes Google detected preyed on public fear of the novel coronavirus and lured users into disclosing personal information. The ruses included the creation of spoof email accounts purporting to be the World Health Organization. The ploys typically asked users to sign up for coronavirus updates, but the goal was to mine the information provided for passwords and other private data, The Washington Post reported. Business leaders in the United States, Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus and the United Kingdom were the most common targets of the phishing campaigns, the company said in its post. South Korea closing public facilities in Seoul in bid to stop potential COVID-19 outbreak Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 28: Beginning Friday, South Korea will close all public facilities in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area following detection of a novel coronavirus cluster at a logistics center near the South Korean capital, CNN reported. Specifically, government-operated parks and retreat facilities as well as art galleries, museum and theaters will be shuttered until June 14, with all government-hosted events either postponed or canceled, the network reported citing Health Minister Park Neung-hoo. Meanwhile, Park also advised private businesses to follow suit and said residents should refrain from going outdoors or hosting public gatherings until June 14. To date, South Korea has confirmed 11,344 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 269 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The nation recorded Wednesday its highest spike in new infections since April 5 with 79 new cases, 54 of which have been linked to a logistics center in Bucheon, located about 25 miles from Seoul. To date, 82 cases have been linked to the logistics center cluster, CNN reported. Global coronavirus deaths surpass 356K, worldwide cases top 5.7M Update 4:51 a.m. EDT May 28: The global count of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 5.7 million early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,707,163 people worldwide, resulting in at least 356,042 deaths.  Brazil records more than 20K coronavirus cases, 1K deaths in a single day Update 3:47 a.m. EDT May 28: Brazil added another 1,086 coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours bringing its nationwide death toll to 25,598, the nation’s health ministry reported Wednesday. The latest figures, which added 20,599 new cases in one day, bring Brazil’s total number of confirmed infections to 411,821, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Brazil trails only the United States for the most confirmed cases. American Airlines slashing management, support staff by 30% Update 2:16 a.m. EDT May 28: The ongoing stress caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the airline industry with one of the United States’ largest carriers telling employees Wednesday that steeper cuts yet are on the way. Elise Eberwein, American Airlines executive vice president of people and global engagement, said in a letter to employees that “fleet retirement accelerations are underway, and we will fly roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer — mostly widebodies — than we had originally planned.” “Additionally, running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner,” Eberwein added. According to The Washington Post, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline had already reduced its carrying capacity and nearly 39,000 employees have taken either voluntary leave or early retirement. Meanwhile, Eberwein asked any willing employees to leave their jobs voluntarily by June 10, but she also noted that if voluntary departures do not result in the needed 30% reduction in staff, layoffs will be the next step, the Post reported. “There is no doubt this is going to be a painful time for all, especially for our departing colleagues, who have given American Airlines their all and are leaving through no fault of their own,” Eberwein wrote in the letter. “They deserve our respect and gratitude.” US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths climb past 100K Update 12:44 a.m. EDT May 28: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,699,933 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 100,442 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 364,965 cases and 29,484 deaths and New Jersey with 156,628 cases and 11,339 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,220 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,547, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 114,306. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 101,807 cases, resulting in 3,919 deaths • Pennsylvania: 73,557 cases, resulting in 5,265 deaths • Texas: 58,542 cases, resulting in 1,581 deaths • Michigan: 55,608 cases, resulting in 5,334 deaths • Florida: 52,634 cases, resulting in 2,319 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,369 and Arizona with 17,318; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,623; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,252; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Florida man was charged with providing material support to the Islamic State after trying to acquire firearms and targeting 'busy beaches' for a possible terror attack, federal prosecutors said. Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari, 23, had negotiated with an undercover FBI employee to purchase a variety of guns and silencers, including an AK-47-style rifle allegedly to be used in an attack. He was arrested Sunday after taking possession of the weapons. “We are grateful for the hard work and swift action by our law enforcement partners and concerned citizens during this investigation,” U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said in a statement. “Their coordination and cooperation in this matter allowed us to interrupt a serious threat, without harm to anyone.” Al-Azhari was charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, prosecutors said in a complaint filed Tuesday. The charge carries a potential 20-year prison term. Al-Azhari scouted a number of Tampa-area locations, including “busy beaches,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. Al-Azhari, who admired the shooter who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016, also went to Orlando, where he visited the site of the shooting. “I don’t want to take four or five, no. I want to take at least 50,” Al-Azhari said on a recording, according to the affidavit. “You know like, brother Omar Mateen in Orlando did. He took 49 with him.” He also allegedly rehearsed what he would say when carrying out an attack, some of which was intercepted by electronic surveillance May 16: “Know America. Today is your emergency. Today we kill from you guys like you killed from us,” he is heard saying, according to the affidavit. “This is a revenge for Muslims.” A key to the case was an eBay transaction in which Al-Hazhari purchased weapons parts from someone in Texas. The package was halted by the U.S. Postal Service and eBay flagged the purchase. The seller then provided FBI agents with details about the deal and the Postal Service seized the package. Al-Azhari's lawyer said the charges unfairly portray his client as a terrorist. “The allegations misunderstand both the law and the evidence,” the public defender, Samuel Landes, said. “I’m thankful that in this country everyone enjoys a presumption of innocence, and I look forward to Mr. Al-Azhari’s day in court before a jury of his peers.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A waiter working on Memorial Day was surprised to get a $2,000 tip. Armando Garcia, a server at Los Cucos Mexican Cafe, was given the gracious gratuity on a $64 check, KVVU reported. 'I couldn't believe it,' Garcia told KVVU. 'It's been tough for everyone, for me. It's been a relief, I'm just thankful for it.' Garcia thought it was a mistake, but there was a note written on the receipt that read: 'Stay safe, thank you for your great service. Hope this helps. Love, the Lopez Brothers.' The Lopez Brothers are dancers and have millions of subscribers on TikTok, KVVU reported.
  • Police on Long Island have added another link in a chain of 11 unsolved Gilgo Beach killings believed to be the work of a serial killer. Using genetic genealogy, Suffolk County police investigators have identified one of the slain women, initially dubbed “Jane Doe No. 6,” as Valerie Mack, police officials said Thursday. Mack’s identification comes 20 years after she vanished. Mack, a Craigslist escort who lived and worked in Philadelphia, was 24 years old when she was last seen in the spring or summer of 2000 in the area of Port Republic, New Jersey. Her partial remains were found in Manorville that November and near Cedar Beach in 2011. Mack was never reported missing, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a video statement. “It is our hope that our efforts bring some sense of closure and peace to Valerie’s family,” Hart said. Watch the entire video statement here. Police officials called Mack’s identification a “giant leap forward in the investigation.” “Valerie Mack’s identification represents progress in this investigation, but there is much work left to do,” Hart said. “As detectives continue to relentlessly pursue leads related to her murder, we ask members of the public, friends, family, and associates of Valerie Mack to provide whatever information they have about her and the circumstances which may have led to her death.” Mack was among 11 victims whose remains were found scattered along a stretch of beach on Long Island. The gruesome discovery was made as authorities searched for Shannan Gilbert, a 24-year-old Craigslist escort who vanished May 1, 2010, after running from a client’s home in the Oak Beach community. Gilbert’s remains were ultimately found Dec. 13, 2011, in a marsh in Oak Beach. Hart said her agency worked with the FBI and utilized advances in DNA technology, particularly genetic genealogy, to narrow down an identity for “Jane Doe No. 6,” as well as the two remaining unidentified Suffolk County victims. A genealogy profile was established for Jane Doe and homicide detectives and federal agents used data from that profile to seek leads in areas of New Jersey to which she may have had ties. They spoke to potential relatives of the victim and obtained DNA samples, which ultimately led to Mack’s identification. “Our goal was, and continues to be, bringing justice to the victims and to their families,” Hart said. Chilling discoveries The chilling discoveries began with the disappearance of Gilbert. “During the months that followed her disappearance, canine officers incorporated training exercises into searches of the area surrounding Gilbert’s last known location,” officials said on GilgoNews.com, a site devoted to the unsolved murders. “During one exercise, on Dec. 11, 2010, a set of skeletal remains was discovered in an area near Gilgo Beach off Ocean Parkway. “The remains located would later be identified as Melissa Barthelemy.” Two days later, the remains of three more Craigslist escorts were found nearby, spaced about 500 feet apart from one another, according to police. Those women were subsequently identified as Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello. All four women were reported missing between July 2007 and September 2010. Brainard-Barnes, 25, had last been seen in New York City in June 2007 and Barthelemy, 24, had been reported missing in July 2009 in the Bronx. Waterman, 22, had last been seen in early June 2010 at a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, New York, and Costello, 27, had vanished after leaving her North Babylon home in early September 2010, authorities said. >> Read more trending news A fifth set of partial remains belonging to Jessica Taylor were found several miles east of where the first four women, designated the “Gilgo Four,” were found. Suffolk County officials said some of Taylor’s remains had been found nearly eight years earlier in Manorville, in a wooded area on the northwest corner of Halsey Manor Road and the Long Island Expressway. “The female’s head and hands were severed and missing,” authorities said. “Additional remains of Taylor were discovered on March 29, 2011, along Ocean Parkway during the search for Shannan Gilbert.” Three more sets of remains – including those of Mack – were found April 4, 2011, during the Gilbert search. Like those of Taylor, Mack’s remains were partial. Part of her body had been found by hunters in a wooded area off Halsey Manor Road in November 2000, three years before the majority of Taylor’s remains were found in the same area. Searchers who found Mack’s remains in April 2011 also found the remains of an unidentified toddler nearby, as well as those of an unidentified Asian man. Investigators hope that genetic genealogy can help solve their identities, as well. “One week later, while searching further west along Ocean Parkway in Nassau County, two additional sets of skeletonized remains were found approximately 7 miles away from the discovery on April 4,” police officials said. “One set is believed to be the mother of the toddler found a week earlier. The other set of partial remains was linked through DNA analysis to remains found in Davis Park on Fire Island in 1996.” All 11 murders remain unsolved. NBC News reported in January that Hart said Gilbert’s killing did not fit the pattern of the other 10 but that investigators were not ruling out the possibility that all the victims were killed by the same person.
  • The Boston Marathon will not be held this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday afternoon. Walsh announced earlier this year that the marathon would be postponed until Sept. 14 amid coronavirus mitigation measures, but he said it “became increasingly clear” that the date would not be feasible. A virtual Boston Marathon will be held in its place this year, the Boston Athletic Association announced. All participants who were originally registered for the April 20 event will be offered a full refund of their entry fee associated with the race and will have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative to the 124th Boston Marathon, which can be run any time from Sept. 7–14. Participants in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2-mile distance within a six-hour time period and provide proof of timing to the B.A.A. All athletes who complete the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant T-shirt, medal and runner’s bib. “Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the B.A.A. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.” More than 30,000 people run the Boston Marathon each year, and millions of others come into town to participate in the festivities. Travel is planned months if not a year in advance. Walsh said running the marathon without spectators “was never discussed.” The hundreds of businesses along the parade route spend months preparing for the marathon in April and also count on the more than $200 million the race brings to the greater Boston area. Countless events -- sporting and otherwise -- have been canceled or postponed this month as response times to the disease’s spread have lagged across the country.
  • A 28-year-old woman who said a 21-month-old toddler pulled a 4-month-old girl off of a changing table and onto the floor has been charged in the baby’s beating death, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. Deputies said they were called at about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday to Samantha Mariel Angeles-De La Rosa’s home near Bartow, where the baby was found unresponsive with bruises on her body, head and face. They said the child was pronounced dead about an hour later at Winter Haven Hospital. Detectives said Angeles-De La Rosa told them several different versions of the story, including that the toddler had been rough with the baby in the past, using toys to hit her in the face. An autopsy revealed that the baby had a fractured skull, which produced a brain bleed and contusions on the outside of the brain. Dr. Stephen Nelson, the medical examiner, said that such injuries were caused by blunt force trauma and could not be caused by a 2-3 foot fall onto carpet. He said the girl also had two healing rib fractures and a healing fracture on her left arm. Nelson said the force was not consistent with an accident and injuries were caused by intentional force. He said the cause of the victim’s death was blunt force head trauma and the manner of death is homicide. Detectives said they interviewed Angeles-De La Rosa after receiving the autopsy results, and she told them she had recently pulled the baby out of the car seat too forcefully, causing the baby's arm to get caught in the seat belt. They said she also told them that in recent weeks, she got mad and squeezed the baby around her abdomen, causing her to cry. Investigators said she continued to blame the baby's death on the toddler pulling the baby off of a changing table. They said Angeles-De La Rosa later admitted that the morning of the incident, she began to change the baby's diaper, but the baby would not stop crying. Detectives said she told them that she immediately began thinking about “how overwhelmed she is in life.” They said Angeles-De La Rosa told them that when the baby began crying, she also began to cry, and 'lost it in a split second.' Angeles-De La Rosa said she grabbed the baby by the shoulders and twice struck the girl's head 'hard' against the wooden frame of the changing table. 'There is absolutely no excuse to hurt a baby. We will hold this woman accountable for her actions,' Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. 'If anyone caring for a child is feeling overwhelmed or out of control, please seek help from family, friends, clergy or a social services agency. Get help.' Angeles-De La Rosa was booked into the Polk County Jail on Wednesday on one count of second-degree murder and two counts aggravated child abuse. She is being held without bail and has a hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Deputies said Angeles-De La Rosa was previously arrested in 2016 for driving without a valid driver's license and in 2019 for battery. They did not release the victim’s name or say how Angeles-De La Rosa knew her.
  • On the afternoon of May 28, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead announced that the school will begin gradually reopening in three phases. The reopening will begin on June 15. Below is the email sent to faculty and staff: Throughout the University of Georgia’s response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, we have remained focused on the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. This commitment has never wavered, and it remains a guiding tenet as we prepare to enact a carefully planned and measured reopening of our campuses. The gradual reopening will occur over three phases and will commence on Monday, June 15. UGA’s preliminary plan has been developed over the past month, as nine working groups have researched and developed recommendations which have now been submitted to the University System of Georgia (USG) for approval. These recommendations comply with Executive Orders and directives from the Governor’s Office, and reflect guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the USG. Phase 1, beginning on June 15, applies primarily to essential staff and supervisors, and their presence on campus should continue to be limited in accordance with guidance from the GDPH for social distancing and control of group sizes. A staggered or rotating weekly schedule is still recommended, and the continuing use of teleworking in conjunction with on-campus work remains appropriate, encouraged, and preferred to achieve social distancing. The primary task of those returning in Phase 1 will be to prepare our campuses for the continued safe return of even more members of the University community in Phase 2, ultimately culminating in the full Phase 3 return of faculty, staff, and students in August for the Fall Semester. We will soon launch a comprehensive educational campaign to ensure that all members of the community are aware of the many safety precautions being taken by the University, are knowledgeable of the resources available to them, and understand their own responsibility as individuals to abide by the guidelines issued by the GDPH, CDC, USG, and UGA to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 coronavirus. Each and every one of us will have a critical role to play as we work together to protect the health and safety of every member of the Bulldog Nation. It will be up to vice presidents, deans, department heads, and directors to determine over the next two weeks those supervisors (including administrative faculty) who should return to campus in order to ensure the work environment they oversee and manage is compliant with health and safety guidelines. Those faculty and staff previously defined as essential and who have been working on campus during the period of reduced operations should continue to do so. In addition, staff members who perform mission critical/time-sensitive functions, as determined by their supervisor, and who need to work onsite also can return. Staff members who need to support supervisors or personnel with mission critical/time-sensitive work also can return to campus. Please note that no employee should return to campus until they are notified by their unit that they can do so. UGA’s health and medical experts have played a key role in the development of our plans, and they will continue to take a leadership role as our plans are continually adapted in response to the evolving COVID‑19 pandemic. In particular, Dr. Marsha Davis, Dean of the College of Public Health; Dr. Lisa Nolan, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Shelley Nuss, Campus Dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership; and Dr. Garth Russo, Executive Director of the University Health Center, are helping to refine protocols for screening, monitoring, notification, and isolation; coordinate plans for contact tracing with the GDPH; and explore options for COVID‑19 testing. The diligent efforts of all of our working group members and chairs to develop plans for our safe return to campus in a gradual, phased manner are greatly appreciated. We are also grateful for the hundreds of University employees who continue to keep essential operations running and work to clean, disinfect, and prepare our campuses. Their work includes the use of enhanced disinfection techniques and more frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. These efforts will help all of us to feel safe and reassured upon our return to campus. We appreciate your continued efforts to adapt to the ever-changing and uncertain conditions of the pandemic. We are doing everything within our power to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all of us to live, work, and learn. Your ongoing support and cooperation will be essential for our efforts to succeed.
  • Some of the 175,000 temporary workers Amazon hired to fill the need because of the coronavirus pandemic will be offered full-time jobs, the company announced. Amazon will hire 125,000 of the 175,000 people hired to meet the demand on a full-time basis, The Wall Street Journal reported. Some of the employees were hired after being laid off due to the pandemic. Job offers will be handed out next month, Tech Crunch reported. The jobs will come with benefits and will be at the company’s locations across the country, CBS News reported. All may not stay with Amazon though. “Some may choose to return back to their pre-Covid job and others may choose to stay at Amazon in seasonal roles or part-time roles,” company officials said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news came before the country’s unemployment numbers were released Thursday. According to CNBC, there were more than 40.8 million claims for unemployment benefits over the past 10 weeks. The unemployment rate is expected to be around 20% by the end of May, according to the news outlet.
  • It’s been quite the year for teachers across the country. But imagine dealing with a pandemic during your first year teaching, and then on top of that, being diagnosed with cancer. That’s what Wil Loesel, a math teacher at Albemarle Road Middle School, went through this school year. While helping his students solve problems, he’s fighting a battle of his own -- non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Loesel told WSOC-TV he was diagnosed shortly after the pandemic hit. He said he could have taken a leave of absence, but he decided to continue teaching his students. “If I go on and leave, I am leaving them to figure it out and that is not fair to them and teaching is a responsibility and something I enjoy,” he said.
  • One person is in critical condition from stab wounds and two others were arrested after a five-hour standoff with police Wednesday morning. Asheville police responded to a call around 3:40 a.m. about a stabbing. They found a victim suffering from life-threatening injuries out front of an apartment. The victim, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital and is in critical condition, officials said. Police found Donald Eugene Lory Jr. had barricaded himself inside an apartment unit. After five hours of negotiations, Lory, 54, surrendered without further incident. He was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflict serious injury. Lory asked for a hospital evaluation, WLOS reported. A woman who was also inside, Julia Crystal Cavaliere, 41, was arrested and charged with resist, delay, and obstruction, police said.

Local News

  • On the afternoon of May 28, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead announced that the school will begin gradually reopening in three phases. The reopening will begin on June 15. Below is the email sent to faculty and staff: Throughout the University of Georgia’s response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, we have remained focused on the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. This commitment has never wavered, and it remains a guiding tenet as we prepare to enact a carefully planned and measured reopening of our campuses. The gradual reopening will occur over three phases and will commence on Monday, June 15. UGA’s preliminary plan has been developed over the past month, as nine working groups have researched and developed recommendations which have now been submitted to the University System of Georgia (USG) for approval. These recommendations comply with Executive Orders and directives from the Governor’s Office, and reflect guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the USG. Phase 1, beginning on June 15, applies primarily to essential staff and supervisors, and their presence on campus should continue to be limited in accordance with guidance from the GDPH for social distancing and control of group sizes. A staggered or rotating weekly schedule is still recommended, and the continuing use of teleworking in conjunction with on-campus work remains appropriate, encouraged, and preferred to achieve social distancing. The primary task of those returning in Phase 1 will be to prepare our campuses for the continued safe return of even more members of the University community in Phase 2, ultimately culminating in the full Phase 3 return of faculty, staff, and students in August for the Fall Semester. We will soon launch a comprehensive educational campaign to ensure that all members of the community are aware of the many safety precautions being taken by the University, are knowledgeable of the resources available to them, and understand their own responsibility as individuals to abide by the guidelines issued by the GDPH, CDC, USG, and UGA to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 coronavirus. Each and every one of us will have a critical role to play as we work together to protect the health and safety of every member of the Bulldog Nation. It will be up to vice presidents, deans, department heads, and directors to determine over the next two weeks those supervisors (including administrative faculty) who should return to campus in order to ensure the work environment they oversee and manage is compliant with health and safety guidelines. Those faculty and staff previously defined as essential and who have been working on campus during the period of reduced operations should continue to do so. In addition, staff members who perform mission critical/time-sensitive functions, as determined by their supervisor, and who need to work onsite also can return. Staff members who need to support supervisors or personnel with mission critical/time-sensitive work also can return to campus. Please note that no employee should return to campus until they are notified by their unit that they can do so. UGA’s health and medical experts have played a key role in the development of our plans, and they will continue to take a leadership role as our plans are continually adapted in response to the evolving COVID‑19 pandemic. In particular, Dr. Marsha Davis, Dean of the College of Public Health; Dr. Lisa Nolan, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Shelley Nuss, Campus Dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership; and Dr. Garth Russo, Executive Director of the University Health Center, are helping to refine protocols for screening, monitoring, notification, and isolation; coordinate plans for contact tracing with the GDPH; and explore options for COVID‑19 testing. The diligent efforts of all of our working group members and chairs to develop plans for our safe return to campus in a gradual, phased manner are greatly appreciated. We are also grateful for the hundreds of University employees who continue to keep essential operations running and work to clean, disinfect, and prepare our campuses. Their work includes the use of enhanced disinfection techniques and more frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. These efforts will help all of us to feel safe and reassured upon our return to campus. We appreciate your continued efforts to adapt to the ever-changing and uncertain conditions of the pandemic. We are doing everything within our power to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all of us to live, work, and learn. Your ongoing support and cooperation will be essential for our efforts to succeed.
  • The Clarke County School District schedules five hearings on the District’s proposed budget, which will be funded by a millage rate that is expected to remain unchanged. The Clarke County School Board has given tentative approval to a $164 million school district spending plan. Hearings will be held on June 9 and June 16. Budget adoption is scheduled for June 25.  From the Clarke Co School District website... The Clarke County Board of Education gave tentative approval to the fiscal year 2021 budget of $164,080,447 on May 21, 2020, based on the continuance of the tentative millage rate of 20 mills. Due to the district’s millage rate being higher than the rollback rate (the rate that would be used to produce the same amount of taxes collected last year), the hearing schedule is detailed below, as required by state law. There is an expected increase of 5.47 percent for property taxes levied in 2020. While the millage rate for the school district is to remain at the tentative 20 mills, this estimate would, in effect, increase overall collection by 1.086 mills. All meetings will be held using video conferencing through the website http://www.zoom.us (see meeting IDs and passwords below). Written comments can be emailed to palmerli@clarke.k12.ga.us prior to the meetings. These meetings can also be accessed by calling 646-876-9923 and using the meeting IDs provided for the respective time. Each year, the assessed value for the taxable property in Athens-Clarke County is recalculated, and the board of tax assessors is required by law to reassess values based on fair market value. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $86.88, and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $250,000 is approximately $108.60. The Board of Education is scheduled to give final approval to the proposed budget and millage rate at a called board meeting on June 25, 2020, at 6 p.m. 
  • The University of North Georgia has reached what it says is a major construction milestone with the completion of work on domes that will shelter two new telescopes at North Georgia Astronomical Observatory. 'This is a major milestone because the facility looks and feels like a professional observatory,' said Adam Strzemienski, assistant director of facilities for capital planning and sustainability. 'This building will accomplish the instructional, research and community education goals of the project.' The installation indicated construction on the new state-of-the-art facility is near an end. The project is set to be complete in late July .
  • We’re letting you know that Thursday will be another rainy day but the chance for scattered storms is going up. Severe Weather Team 2 has been tracking the rain throughout the week on Channel 2 Action News. And more is coming today. We’re tracking the wet weather LIVE throughout the morning on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that an upper level low is continuing to spin to our west, and this will spread more rain and scattered storms to north Georgia. [DOWNLOAD: Severe Weather Team 2 Weather App for storm alerts in your neighborhood] Here’s what you need to know: Rain will continue throughout the morning. Chance increases for an scattered storms in the afternoon. Storms could produce periods of heavy rain, lightning and hail.
  • The Hall County Sheriff’s Office says it is still looking for the cause of death for a woman whose body was found in a mobile home that burned last fall: Brenda Autry was 59 years old. A blaze burned her house trailer in Hall County last October 1. The state Fire Marshal’s Office says there is still no determination on what started the fire.  From the AJC, October 1 2019… A woman was killed early Tuesday when a mobile home caught on fire in Hall County, authorities said. Firefighters responded to the 2500 block of Lee Land Road shortly after 1 a.m., Hall County fire spokesman Zach Brackett said. They discovered a single-wide trailer engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished by about 6 a.m., but 59-year-old Brenda Autry was found dead inside, Brackett said.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis has received clearance to take part in games after undergoing an MRI one year after his emergency brain surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the positive results of the MRI on Thursday. Mathis had been cleared to go through practices since last November, and Smart said indicated he would be a full participant in spring football drills before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all collegiate sports activity on March 12. RELATED: Mind Game, how UGA's D'Wan Mathis is overcoming brain surgery UGA does not typically tackle its quarterbacks to the ground in practices. The Bulldogs go full speed and 'thud,' players wrapped up without being taken to the ground to avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital last May after the UGA medical staff, led by director of sports medicine Ron Courson, diagnosed his symptoms as life threatening. 'The honest truth, waking up in a hospital bed, and seeing my parents, and seeing how my head looked and everything, man, it was humbling,' Mathis, whose skull surgery involved a metal plate secured by screws, said following the Sugar Bowl. 'I was like, wow you are so blessed, be thankful that you are still here.' Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, stated simply that 'Georgia saved my son's life.' The comeback D'Wan was in the ICU unit for days following the surgery and lost more than 20 pounds after his skull was cut open to remove the life-threatening cyst. It took months for him to gain back his weight and strength but Mathis was determined to return to practice. By November and into the bowl season, Mathis was working out with a modified helmet and running the scout team, earning the praise and confidence of Georgia coach Kirby Smart throughout the offseason. 'D'Wan's been scout-team quarterback the last couple of weeks now and has done a tremendous job,' Smart said last November. 'He helped with the Bo Nix scout team stuff. He's able to simulate some of these guys we've played, so that has been a big bonus for us.' Smart indicated during a virtual G-Day Game telecast last month that Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman had not yet clinched the starting job. RELATED: Kirby says we don't really know what we have at QB' ' You evaluate our quarterbacks, and you look at it and you say I've got a guy who had a major surgery, I got a guy that just came out of high school, I've got a guy that's been a No. 2 last year, Stetson, and then I have a transfer from Wake that we don't know a lot about, as far as in our system,' Smart said. 'So we have a lot of unknowns at that position.' QB competition Smart's assessment of the QB competition wasn't much different on Thursday, just hours before USC transfer J.T. Daniels announced his commitment to Georgia. 'W e don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players,' Smart said. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle.' RELATED: Smart says there's going to be a good QB competition' More than once source close to the team told DawgNation that Mathis was throwing the ball equally well if not better than Newman in the team's voluntary workouts outside of the supervised winter conditioning. Mathis ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds in high school and his running skills and athleticism were on display in the 2018 G-Day Game Mathis was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards in the game and caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' Investing in Georgia Mathis made his commitment to Georgia quarterbacking duties clear when he chose to stay in Athens after on-campus activity was suspended. Mathis applied for and was granted a special exemption. It provided insight into the trust he has built with Courson and the UGA medical staff, and his comfort in living in Athens. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis said in a March 28 interview. 'Georgia could have given up on my son, but instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' But now Daniels is in play, and there are suspicious the UGA quarterback room may have reached its tipping point. If Daniels receives a waiver for immediate eligibility its hard to imagine four quarterbacks getting repetitions as Georgia competes for a national championship this season. Freshman Carson Beck is also expected to be in the mix, along with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Mathis was Ohio State's quarterback of choice in the 2019 signing class before Justin Fields jolted Georgia by transferring from the Bulldogs' program following his freshman season. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis shares signing day story, Ohio State denied interest in Justin Fields Mathis determined the Buckeyes were not being forthcoming in December of 2018 when they said they were not recruiting Fields, and he chose to trust in Georgia, signing and enrolling in January of 2019. It remains to be seen how Mathis' future will play out, but the Oak Park, Mich., product is once again healthy and ready to compete full-go on the football field. The post Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for game action after MRI appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS USC quarterback JT Daniels announced on his Twitter account on Thursday he has committed to play football at Georgia. THANK YOU USC Excited for the future #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/ewfhBG3ved JT Daniels (@jtdaniels06) May 28, 2020 Daniels, a redshirt sophomore, has been in the transfer portal since April 16 and will need to be granted a waiver if he is to have immediate eligibility with the Bulldogs. Georgia football enters the 2020 season with a championship caliber defense but plenty of questions on offense with the departure of three-year starter Jake Fromm, 1,000-yard rusher D'Andre Swift and three starting offensive linemen. Daniels entered last season as the Trojans starting quarterback before suffering a torn ACL in the opening game against Fresno State after opening the contest 25-of-34 passing for 215 yards with a TD and an interception. In a manner similar to how Fromm replaced Jacob Eason in 2017, freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis replaced him and ran away with the job, earning FWAA Freshman All-American honors. Many felt Daniels might return to USC after the NCAA shelved the one-time transfer proposal last week, but the former 6-foot-3, 210-pounder out of Mater Dei High School has apparent chosen a route that will take him through Athens. Smart indicated on Thursday that he's still not settled on the Georgia offense, even with Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman in the program since January. 'We don't even know the threshold of some of our players,' Smart said on Thursday. 'We didn't get to go through spring ball with some of the positions to see what they can handle.' The Bulldogs figure to find out sooner than later, with players returning to campus to start voluntary workouts on June 8, and football activity expected to start in mid-July. The post BREAKING: Georgia football gets commitment from USC transfer quarterback JT Daniels appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart provided a detailed look into the new normal for college football on Thursday. The Bulldogs' fifth-year head coach explained how things are going to be 'a lot different' for Georgia players from the time they return to campus on account of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put sports on hold dating back to March 12. The Bulldogs will arrive back on campus at the start of June after the SEC approved a June 8 start date for voluntary workouts. RELATED: 3 things to look for, what's next for college football after return 'We're going to bring them back prior to June 8 so they can get a medical workup,' Smart said, referring to the UGA protocol put in place by director of sports medicine Ron Courson. 'They've got to have an extensive physical, they've got to have COVID tests.' Some players, Smart said, could be screened and tested before they arrive back on campus. The big what if?' Smart acknowledged Georgia obviously has to be prepared in the event a player, or players, test positive for COVID-19 after arriving back on the UGA campus. 'Each guy will have the option of if they want to go back home if they test positive, or we have a quarantine policy that we're able to put guys into should they test positive,' Smart said on the Zoom call. 'We've also got the ability if it happens during a workout period that we'll have contact tracing. Guys that have worked out together, those groups will stay the same, and we'll be aware of those guys.' Smart said players will be educated throughout the resocialization period. 'It's not going to be the normal, where I walk in, and I go to my locker, and I can workout, and then I shower it's going to be completely different,' Smart said, referring to state guidelines that mandate social distancing and restrictions on group gatherings. New normal Georgia football players will notice immediately things have changed drastically since their winter workout sessions concluded. 'They will come in and do a light workout initially, because we want to bring them back slowly,' Smart said. 'They will work out in smaller groups. Twentyor so guys to a group. Then, of the 20 that come in, they'll be subdivided into groups of seven. 'So you're looking at a 7-person rotation in a 12,000 square foot weight room and they will be spaced out.' Smart said a cleaning crew come through after each group session of players. The areas from the indoor football facility and into the weight room will be scoured and disinfected. 'There will be one door in, one door out,' Smart said. 'And we won't be using the locker room.' The Georgia coaching staff has been working in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on a rotational basis the past few weeks. 'There's less time in the office, and we've been alternating how many guys are in the office, with offense and defense separated,' Smart said. 'There's a lot of protocol there that's been instituted from our university for a safety standpoint. There has been cleaning crews after and before we're in here.' Safety trumps finances Smart debunked any notion that student-athletes are being brought back on campus prematurely on account of financial pressures. 'I certainly think that fiscally and financially it's going to benefit if there is a football season, but that has nothing to do with the decisions that go into it medically,' Smart said. RELATED: SEC task force provides blue print for safe return to campus 'A lot of people have said, Well, the SEC has had to come back really strong with comeback dates and return to sports, and they've had this protocol to allow us to play football,' he said. 'But every decision that's made at the SEC level, I can assure you, is made by infectious disease people. It's based on information about the safety and well-being of the student-athletes.' Smart said parents and players feel the workout environments UGA can provide are safer than those in the athletes' hometowns. 'Wherever it is they are working out, at a local local high school or a local gym that has opened back up is that environment is any more safe than one that is professionally cleaned, monitored and taken care of by our staff?' he said. 'Most of the kids we talked to, they are more comfortable saying, If I'm going to workout, than I'm gong to do it there.' Smart made it clear his staff will see to it that the Georgia players come into the workouts with both eyes wide open. 'I promise you there's some of our players don't feel vulnerable, they feel like they're not vulnerable because of what they have heard, or because they think they have super powers,' Smart said. 'So we're going to educate our guys to be safe and make good decisions and we're going to have education sessions even when they get back to give us the best opportunity to have a season.' DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors unanimously approves NIL compensation The post Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS P.J. Horne wasn't looking for promises from Tom Crean when he spoke with him about transferring into the Georgia basketball program. 'We just talked about me coming in and having an opportunity to compete,' Horne, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, told DawgNation. 'Right now, I just want to play the game and compete.' The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Horne played post for a Hokies' team that went 16-16 last season. RELATED: How Tom Crean is building another winner at Georgia It's likely UGA will look to Horne to help guard the rim and rebound after junior Rayshaun Hammonds opted to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft. Hammonds was Georgia's leading rebounder with 7.4 per game and second-leading scorer with 12.9 points per outing. Hammonds and Horne faced off in a 2017 Georgia High School State Championship Game in addition to playing AAU basketball together. Horne sheepishly said his Tift County team beat Hammonds' Norcross squad, 'but neither of us played real well in that game.' Rome (Ga.) High School principal Eric Holland, who coached Horne at Tift County, explained why Georgia basketball fans should be excited. 'P.J. is a kid of very few words and a lot of action, you'll see that,' Holland said. 'It's the invisible things that make people great. It's his work ethic, his leadership, the way he treats people, the way he communicates, and he's just the consummate teammate 'It seemed like every coach was calling me about him, we had at least 40 calls.' Horne averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Hokies last season. He also ranked second on his team with 21 blocked shots. Georgia brings back 6-8, 220-pound sophomore Toumani Camara, who averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, improving as his freshman season progressed. But the Bulldogs have little else in the way of rebounders or rim protectors at this time. Holland said it doesn't matter where Crean wants Horne to play. 'P.J. is very flexible,' Holland said. 'He's adaptable, he doesn't complain about anything.' Horne, whose transfer was triggered by a desire to be closer to home amid the coronavirus pandemic, said he watched film on Georgia before finalizing his decision to play for the Bulldogs. 'I saw a young team that has room for growth and has a lot of talent,' Horne said. 'It's a team that has a lot of guys that can do different things on the floor.' Crean, entering this third year as the Georgia basketball coach, has explained that is by design. 'We want to get this team to the point where you have to guard all five guys past the 3-point line, and if you're not guarding one of them, it's because you can't guard him inside,' Crean said. 'For us to win in this league, there's a lot of different ways, but you've got to stop people on one end, you can't give up easy baskets with your turnovers, and you have to have the combination of getting layups, getting fouled and getting 3-point shots.' Horne improved his shooting range last season. After making 1-of-4 attempts his sophomore season, Horne was 45-of-129 (.349) last season. That would have ranked second on the UGA team among players that attempted more than 20 threes, Hammonds setting the bar at 35 percent on 36-of-103 shooting beyond the 3-point arc. Georgia ranked 322nd out of 350 Division I teams in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage as a team an even 30 percent. Only Missouri and Texas A&M were worse in the SEC. But with a new batch of players coming in Georgia will sign at least six and maybe seven Crean will surely be hoping his team's fortunes will change. Crean's Indiana teams had the best 3-point shooting percent among major college teams during his 10 years leading the Hoosiers. Horne said he likes what he sees coming back on the team. 'They have competitive players,' Horne said. 'I look at it as a huge opportunity. I feel like we have a good chance of competing in the SEC and getting to the NCAA tournament.' Georgia coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean opens up, tells all on UGA basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss The post Transfer center P.J. Horne has NCAA tourney goals for Georgia basketball appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Marquis Groves-Killebrew told DawgNation earlier that this month that he felt like he was a No. 1 priority for the 2022 class for the Georgia Bulldogs. That now seems very fitting. Groves-Killebrew committed to Georgia on Wednesday evening. It means that the former No. 1 priority is now the No. 1 commitment for UGA in the 2022 recruiting cycle. The impressive rising junior cornerback is now at Brookwood High School. The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback already ranks as the nation's No. 10 CB and the No. 64 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle on 247Sports. It has been a busy month for the Kentucky native when it comes to commitments. Groves-Killebrew also committed to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl out in Texas earlier this week. Blessed to be invited and 100% COMMITTED to the 2022 All American Bowl ! /// @Mansell247 @ErikRichardsUSA @rlacey23 @tballardqbcoach @TWithJay pic.twitter.com/1cuQIY27DA Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) May 21, 2020 Want to get quickly up to speed on the newest Georgia commit? Here you go: He will list the following members of his family as current or former professional football players. NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith (he is a cousin on his father's side) Former Texas LB Robert Killebrew (his uncle won a national title with the Longhorns) NFL WR DeVante Parker (the former first-round pick is a cousin on his mother's side) 'I've got a whole bunch of athletes in my family,' he said. Georgia offered him back in November. WOW!! After a great conversation with @CoachCwarren I'm blessed to receive a offer from the University of Georgia ! #GoDawgs @KirbySmartUGA @CarterRamsFB @coach_SB21 @Coach_FredM @tballardqbcoach @TWithJay pic.twitter.com/5qLx61RWKO Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) November 9, 2019 Charlton Warren has been the primary recruiter for the Bulldogs. 'I'm the number one priority for them in Georgia to keep me in the state for my class,' Groves-Killebrew told DawgNation earlier this month. Noted Atlanta-area DB trainer Justin Miller has been working with him since he was in the eighth grade. Miller was a second-round draft pick by the New York Jets back in 2005. 'I think he has all the attributes to be an elite CB for a very long time,' Miller said. The main thing Miller stressed was how much the young Grayson High Ram likes to compete. 'A mindset of win-at-all-costs and always up for the challenge of covering the best WR,' Miller said. Check out some of his reel from his sophomore season in 2019. Big on big @_UnderTheRadar_ pic.twitter.com/hFTxvB7nM1 Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) September 14, 2019 Special talent @qfromtheville 1% #SFSP pic.twitter.com/whKXog7m4C Oliver Davis II (@I_Am_OD3) April 11, 2020 Georgia adds Groves-Killebrew to the board over competition from Clemson, LSU, Oregon, Tennessee and a strong home state tie to the Kentucky Wildcats. 'The recruiters see me as somebody they can move all over the secondary,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'Mainly as a guy who can play everywhere.' What does he like best about the Bulldogs right now? 'I would say the atmosphere really,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'Everything really. I really love Georgia for real. That's one of my top schools.' Georgia offered him after a game last season. 'They offered me like a week after I played Marietta High School,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'I played against Marietta and I gave up zero catches. Do you know Arik Gilbert? I guarded him the whole game and I gave up zero catches against him that night.' That impressed Georgia. As it should. It looks like the Bulldogs can still pull an elite recruit out of Gwinnett County after all. Groves-Killebrew recently transferred to Brookwood from Grayson High School. 'I like the location there with Georgia,' he said earlier this month. 'It is right up the street for me. I live on Athens Highway. So Georgia is right there for me.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA HEDGES: The rival national programs between UGA and another No. 1 class Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit Dylan Fairchild: Elite O-line target includes UGA among his top six schools What exactly are these virtual recruiting visits like right now? The post BREAKING: Georgia football adds an anchor 2022 commit in CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew appeared first on DawgNation.