The principal of Profile Junior-Senior High School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire was moved to tears when the senior class announced that they had a surprise for her: They were giving her the $8,000 they had saved for their class trip to help her in her fight against cancer. Days earlier, Courtney Vashaw had informed the student body that she had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and would be receiving treatment. Local news station WMUR was on-hand to capture the scene. The senior class treasurer told the news outlet, “She's just very caring, very selfless, and we wanted to be selfless, too” ... Discuss
All domestic violence charges against NFL star Ray Rice have been dropped in an extremely rare deal. From ESPN:
The pretrial intervention program offered to Ray Rice in the assault case involving his wife was granted in less than 1 percent of all domestic violence assault cases from 2010-13 that were resolved, according to New Jersey Judiciary data obtained Friday by "Outside the Lines."
A security video from an Atlantic City casino showed Rice brutally punching out his then-fiancee and then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator in February of last year. He was later charged with a count of simple assault and aggravated assault-bodily injury in the third degree causing bodily harm. The simple assault charge was dropped. Rice was recently granted “pretrial intervention” (PTI) even though the program—which lets defendants not be convicted if they take part in court-ordered requirements—is supposed to involve only non-violent, victimless crimes ... Discuss
With a 32-15 vote, lawmakers in Nebraska voted to repeal the use of the death penalty in the state. Even though Gov. Pete Ricketts has said that he will veto their measure, which would replace death sentences with life prison terms, the legislature likely has enough support to override his veto. There are currently 11 men on death row in Nebraska, though the state hasn't executed an inmate since 1997. The repeal would prevent state officials from being able to carry out their death sentences. One of the lawmakers who has been a leader in getting the death penalty abolished in his state, Omaha’s Sen. Ernie Chambers, told Omaha.com, “We got the state out of the killing business today” ... Discuss
A concerning new study published this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has found that in the last 20 years, the suicide rate among young black children—ages 5-11—has almost doubled. At the same time, the number of suicides among young white children has dropped. Though incidents of suicide among children at such a young age are extremely uncommon, the numbers surprised and alarmed researchers, as noted in a report in The New York Times. Though the cause for the shift was unclear, according to The Times, research “offered a few possible explanations for the difference, including that black children are more likely to be exposed to violence and traumatic stress, and that black children are more likely to experience an early onset of puberty, which can increase the risk of depression and impulsive aggression” ... Discuss
The man at the center of the Serial podcast has a chance at freedom. The legal team for Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of his classmate and ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee 15 years ago, has been granted the permission to petition courts for “post-conviction relief,” and possibly the ability to have a new witness testify on his behalf. A similar request was rejected last year. The judge ruled to allow the petition following the filing of an affidavit of a former classmate of the couple, Asia McClain, who—as podcast listeners know—said that she saw Syed at the school’s library at the same time that police say Lee was murdered. From here, the Baltimore City Circuit Court must agree to take up the petition. The court could potentially reduce Syed’s sentence or ever overturn his conviction ... Discuss