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Boston Expands Security Efforts in Preparation for Monday's Marathon


Andrew Burton/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Police are ramping up security for Monday's Boston Marathon in the wake of last year's bombings.

Four-thousand police officers and 500 undercover plain-clothes detectives will be staged from the start line to the finish line.

Kurt Schwartz, Massachusetts' Undersecretary for Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said every section of the 26.2 mile race will be watched by cameras, which will be monitored in an underground, high-tech command center.

"A lot of eyes," Schwartz told ABC News. "They're all watching the public, watching the crowds, trying to detect suspicious behavior, trying to manage areas that just get too crowded… We have expanded across the board."

The command center will also be communicating in real-time with other offices across eight nearby cities and towns along the marathon path.

"We'll be looking for somebody who just doesn't feel right," Boston's new police commissioner Bill Evans said. "The characteristics – a lot of our officers, during their training, [are] looking at the characteristics of someone who might be carrying explosives."

Beyond just watching, Schwartz said security officials will be tailoring their tactical security on the ground throughout the day of the marathon based on what the surveillance cameras and officers on the scene are seeing.

Evans told ABC News that though security will be tight, it won't be overwhelming for runners or attendees.

"I don't want it to be an armed camp where people are going to be intimidated by the police presence," he said.

Evans' men got a trial run last week when an alleged hoaxer dropped two bags near the finish line of the marathon, in a similar manner to how the real explosives were planted last year. Authorities reacted quickly and destroyed the ultimately harmless objects.

"It was a nice drill," Evans said. "It just got us on our toes a little earlier… But I think we did a super job. We did what we were trained to do."

Authorities suspect last year's bombing was carried out by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, two brothers from Dagestan who lived in the U.S. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police days after the explosions. Dzhokhar was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the bombing. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

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Snowmobilers Escape Uninjured After Moose Encounter in Maine


iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Maine) -- A run-in with an angry moose ended without injury for a pair of New Hampshire snowmobilers, but they say that the incident has changed how they think about wildlife.

Janis and Bob Powell saw the moose while snowmobiling outside Jackson, Maine, on Friday. They followed it on a trail for a few minutes, but it then came to halt.

"His fur was standing up, his ears were back, his head went low and [we] definitely knew something was up," Janis Powell said.

The moose stomped toward her husband, forcing him to duck behind his snowmobile.

"The only thing I could think of what I had to put between myself and the moose, and unfortunately that was just the snowmobile," Bob Powell said.

The moose charged again and Bob Powell ran to his wife's snowmobile, narrowly missing a headbutt from the animal.

Janis Powell then fired a warning shot into the air.

"I knew what size gun I had and that I might make it even more angry," she said.

But the moose then trotted off. Neither it nor the Powells were injured.

"We both have a new appreciated for moose and wildlife in general and will definitely be keeping more of a distance," Janis Powell said.

She added that they've seen moose on the trails before but the animals typically are scared off.

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Florida Sinkhole Filled After Threatening Two Homes


Courtesy Casey Messer/Helicon Property Restoration (ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A 50-foot deep sinkhole has been filled after it threatened two homes at a Florida retirement community.

Residents had to be evacuated after the ground opened up Saturday between two houses at a community called The Villages, north of Orlando.

Workers spent all Saturday night filling the hole with sand and cement to stop it from spreading.

Project manager Rich Kay said this was "by far the most extreme" sinkhole he has seen.

No injuries were reported.

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Twelve-Year-Old Dies on Boy Scout Camping Trip in Washington State


Education Images/UIG via Getty Images(SHELTON, Wash.) -- A 12-year-old boy was killed by a rolling log while camping with his Boy Scout troop in Washington State Saturday.

The troop had been hiking in the Olympic National Forest, a remote area about 40 miles north of Shelton, Washington.  

According to Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Nole, the boys were trying to roll a large log into a lake when the victim's jacket got stuck to the trunk. The log rolled over the boy, causing him to suffer a deadly head injury.

The Sheriff's Deputy says it took search and rescue teams about three hours to reach the scene by foot as bad weather prevented officials from sending a helicopter airlift.

The victim's father was among the four adults and ten scouts on the trip.

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Meth Lab Found in Million-Dollar Lake-Front Home, Cops Say


iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- Police in Ohio say they have found materials to create a meth lab at a million-dollar lakefront home near Cleveland.

According to the Loraine County Sheriff's department, they found materials and equipment used to produce methamphetamine at Madhu Dutta's home located in Sheffield Lake, Ohio.

Members of the Loraine County Drug Task Force arrested Madhu Dutta, 52, at the scene. They said they also found three handguns and 11 shotguns at the home. The guns were being checked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to see if they are legal, police said.

Dutta allegedly had compiled equipment and materials to make a more complex meth lab called a thionyl/chloride method lab, the first known lab of its kind in the state, according to police.

Dennis Cavanaugh, chief deputy of the Loraine County Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force, said that they initially had reports about Dutta in August 2013. After launching an investigation, investigators issued a search warrant on Wednesday to search the premises. During the search they found chemicals and equipment that would be used to produce meth, he said.

Cavanaugh said Dutta's home was on lakefront property in an affluent area and according to property records Dutta bought his home for $1,125,000 last year.

Neighbors speaking to ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV in northeast Ohio said they were shocked by the arrest.

"It's very unexpected," one unidentified neighbor told WEWS-TV. "You don't expect that at all."

"Around the lake the properties are expensive," Cavanaugh said. "I don't care where you are in this county or the state, you never know when anything like this is going to happen."

Dutta is facing two counts of illegal processing and assembling chemicals and one count of permitting drug abuse. He is due in court on April 24 and his bond was set at $100,000.

Dutta issued a plea of not guilty during an arraignment hearing, according to court records.

It is not clear whether he has obtained a lawyer.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Lucky Woman Buying Lottery Ticket Narrowly Escapes Truck Crash


iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A woman buying a lottery ticket at a Chicago convenience store came within inches of being crushed by a pickup truck that crashed into the store.

The Ford pickup hit two other cars in the intersection Friday before crashing through the front of the Farmers Food Basket, pinning the woman — who was buying lottery tickets from a machine — up against the wall, ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago reported.

She escaped with minor injuries.

The woman had been standing where the pickup truck landed just a second before, witnesses said.

The woman wasn't the only one Lady Luck smiled on. The store manager also would have been right in the truck's path, but but he stepped away from his normal position a few minutes earlier to help a customer.

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Vermont Stunt Pilot Parachutes Out of Plane Before Fiery Crash


iStock/Thinkstock(BURLINGTON, Vt.) -- A veteran stunt pilot is thankful to be alive after surviving a fiery plane crash by parachuting out of the aircraft just before it crashed onto an interstate near Burlington, Vermont.

Dan Marcotte, an airplane mechanic who has also worked as a stunt pilot for 10 years, was flying the single-engine plane when "something catastrophically broke and interfered with the controls."

"I'm fortunate and my family is fortunate that I'm here," he said.

Marcotte said that at some point a loud explosion ripped through the plane and debris pulled the canopy off it.

Although Marcotte was able to escape with minor injuries, he needed help from rescuers after he became stuck in trees about a mile from the wreckage.

"[I] wasn't hurt a bit, may have a couple of bruises on my shins," said Marcotte. "Most of us in the industry do expect things like this would happen so we prepare for it."

On Marcotte's Facebook page for Dan Marcotte Airshows, a post updated fans on his condition.

"As you can see from pictures Dan spent some time hanging out in a tree (which was a welcomed place to 'land' after missing a grid of power lines in the immediate area," read the post. "Practice High, Know your Egress Routine, Fly Safe, and NEVER GIVE UP!"

In spite of the fiery crash on the interstate no drivers were hurt, said Vermont State Police.

Marcotte said the crash won't deter him from getting back into a cockpit.

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Memorial Service Marks 19th Anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing


Universal Images Group via Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- A remembrance ceremony was held Saturday morning in honor of the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The deadly bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people and injured nearly 700.

Governor Mary Fallin, who was lieutenant governor at the time of the bombing, offered an upbeat message at Saturday's memorial.

"It was an attack that could have easily crippled our city. It could have easily crippled our state. It could have left our people hopeless but it did not," Fallin said. "We worked together. We comforted each other. We rebuilt and today we are a more prosperous city and a stronger state."

Mayor Mick Cornett also spoke at the ceremony, during which he talked about the site's great significance.

"Geographically it is in the center of country, the center of the state, the center of the city but I would maintain this is the heart of our country," Cornett said, "As I travel I continually meet people who have visited our memorial and they want to tell me how much their lives were changed just by a simple visit to this place."

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Seven-Alarm Fire Destroys Homes at Jersey Shore


Courtesy @MATTOCNJ(SEA ISLE CITY, N.J.) -- A 7-alarm fire Friday destroyed at least three oceanfront homes in a Jersey Shore town still recovering from Super Storm Sandy.

Large clouds of black smoke could be seen for miles before the fire in Sea Isle City, N.J. was brought under control.

Firefighters say high winds may have fueled the blaze.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

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Man in Custody After Shooting Threat at Los Angeles Times Building


FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles police say they have a man in custody after reports of a shooting threat at the downtown Los Angeles Times building Friday night.

A man who worked for a business which rents space in the building reportedly threatened another worker.

Lonnie Benson with the Los Angeles Police said, "We did find the-- the employee, who allegedly threatened another employee, and we took him into custody without incident. He did not have a gun on him."

Police say the man they took into custody is in his 20's.

Police inside kept sweeping but found no threat.

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Great Outdoors: Free Entrance to National Parks


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Looking for something fun to do outdoors this holiday weekend? Head to a national park -- for free!

The president has once again deemed all national parks free and open to the public this weekend in honor of National Parks Week.

In addition to free entrance, during National Parks week from April 19-27, visitors can partake in special events and programs, as well as National Junior Ranger Day on April 26.

According to National Park Services, 133 of the nation’s 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee, including Grand Canyon, Denali, Yellowstone, Shenandoah and the Statue of Liberty.

The U.S. National Park systems covers more than 84 million acres and includes every state.

In 2013, U.S. state parks saw more than 273 million visitors, with Golden Gate seeing the most visitors last year.

Other days you can grab free park entrance include: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day weekend, National Park Service Birthday on Aug. 25, Sept. 27 for National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. Or in the words of Obama: “I encourage all Americans to visit their National Parks and be reminded of these unique blessings we share as a Nation.”

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Kansas City Highway Shooting Suspect Charged with 18 Felonies


Kansas City Police Department(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The man suspected of shooting at cars as they traveled on Kansas City, Mo., highways in recent weeks has been identified and charged with 18 felonies, authorities announced Friday.

Mohammad Whitaker, 27, is accused of shooting into at least nine cars, injuring two of the drivers, in incidents dating to the beginning of March.

Kansas City prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a press conference that police first realized there might be a serial shooter on the loose on April 7 when an analyst with the police department pointed it out. The department quickly mobilized an investigation involving other area police departments, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Witness reports helped point police toward Whitaker, whom they surveilled during the last week, authorities said.

Police arrested Whitaker Thursday night in Grandview, Mo., using SWAT teams to surround his house before taking him into custody.

Whitaker is charged with two class A felonies for shooting and injuring someone in a car, seven class B felonies for shooting into cars, and nine charges of armed criminal action. He is being held on $1 million cash bond.

Baker said she is confident that Whitaker is the only person responsible for the shootings that set Kansas City drivers' nerves on edge.

"Residents are safe...we have a person in custody," Police Chief Darryl Forté said after the arrest.

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Obama Presents Navy Football with Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Naval Academy ended their season 9-4, a solid feat for any team, but their bigger accomplishment: taking home the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

And Friday, President Obama presented the team with the trophy for the second time in two years and 9th time in the past 11 years.

“This is a team that also had a knack for getting the job done under some pretty tough circumstances,” Obama said.

“And you kept on rolling through the games that really mattered.  In the snow, you beat Army for the 12th time in a row — they’re starting to feel bad about this,” he joked. “You went on to beat Middle Tennessee State to win your first bowl game since 2009.”

The trophy represents the winner of the triangular series of military academies. Last fall Navy won the game against the Army 34-7 and Air force 28-10, securing the trophy Obama said “weighs about as much as I do.”

The game against the Air Force was in jeopardy last season as the government shutdown loomed. Obama commented that the Secretary of Defense “stepped in, gave the green light -- which tells you how important it was.”

In addition to praising their on-the-field accomplishments the President commended their off-the-field dedication.

“What’s more impressive is the fact that for these outstanding young men, football isn’t even the main thing,” Obama said before outlining the players grueling schedules, that start with 6:00 am training followed by classes and practices, that doesn’t relent until 8 pm when players are free to study.

“It’s about learning to be a good football player, but more importantly, it’s about learning how to be a good leader and to be a good man,” he said. ”And that’s what these outstanding Americans are and will continue to be.”

Fourteen of the midshipman will be commissioned at the end of the school year as officers in the Navy, eight will become officers in the Marine Corp and one will become a Naval aviator officer.

The President also commented on the recent death of football player Will McKamey, the 19-year old freshman running back.

“Two busloads of classmates and teammates made the eight-hour trip to Knoxville to attend his funeral, as did Coach Ken.  I understand your motto for this season is “I Will” in memory of him,” he said. “And that’s what camaraderie is all about:  Honor.  Courage.  Commitment.  That’s what makes the Midshipmen so strong.  And that’s why I’m so proud to serve as your Commander-in-Chief — not only — in fact, not primarily because of what you’ve done on the football field, but because of your dedication to each other and your service to America.”

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High School Students Sacrifice Cellphones for Kid with Leukemia


iStock/Thinkstock (BELLERICA, Mass.) -- When the varsity hockey team at Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Mass., was brainstorming ways to help a young pee-wee hockey player with leukemia, they came up with the typical fundraising ideas like a 5-K race.

Then, one of their teammate’s father, Glen Corbett, came up with an idea that would both affect the teens and be a surefire way to get adults to donate money: take away the teens’ cellphones.

More than 100 students at Billerica Memorial Thursday handed their cellphones over to police officers who will keep them in a safety box for 30 days to raise money for “Celling Out for Leukemia.”

“It’s unbelievable,” said Corbett, whose son, Brian, is a sophomore.  “Phones are still coming in.  The kids know they’re paying it forward.”

Corbett’s son and his teammates first got to know the 12-year-old for whom they are raising money, Ian Candee, through the town’s local hockey association.  When they learned of his battle with leukemia, they made Ian an honorary captain of the school’s varsity team and had him to throw out the puck at a game.

“He’s awesome,” Corbett said of Ian.  “I told the kids, ‘Let’s do this so he’s back here in two years.’”

Ian was at the high school Thursday for the “Celling Out” kickoff as students signed a permission slip and handed their phones over to the Billerica Police Department, who will keep them in a safety box at police headquarters until May 16.

With the extra time the kids will have on their hands with no phones to Facebook, tweet and SnapChat, they are asked to get family, friends and businesses to sponsor them for each day they are without a phone.

“People are just blown away that a kid would give up their phone for a day, much less  30 days,” Corbett said.  “Kids are turning in huge donations of $1,400, $2,500, as much as $3,000.”

The hockey team hopes to raise at least $120,000 in the next 30 days.  Corbett plans to meet with the Candee family, who have two other kids in addition to Ian, to determine how the money will be donated.

The Dana Farber Children’s Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, where Ian is being treated, could be a potential recipient, or the funds could all go to the Candee family to help defray expenses.

“I’m going to see where they are and how they want us to donate the money,” Corbett said.

While most of the students were expectedly apprehensive about losing their phone for 30 days, Corbett says he heard from some teens who quietly said they were excited for the chance to disconnect.

“I had one member of the girls’ hockey team text me and say, ‘Mr. C., I can’t wait to give my phone up.  No one can reach me for 30 days,’” Corbett said.

“We’re going to have the kids keep a journal of what it’s like without their phones,” he said.  “Maybe it’ll be a relief.”


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NJ Mumps Victims Were Vaccinated, Officials Say


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An outbreak of mumps among New Jersey college students has highlighted the “weak sister” in the MMR vaccine.

At least eight students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken have contracted the contagious virus despite having received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, according to the college.

“All Stevens’ students are required to have full vaccinations before attending the University,” the college said in a statement, adding that “outbreaks of mumps have occurred in vaccinated populations before.”

More than 95 percent of the people who receive a single dose of MMR develop some immunity to all three viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the mumps portion of the shot is only 88 percent effective in preventing the disease.

“Of the three vaccines that are given together, mumps is what we might call ‘the weak sister,’” said Dr. William Schaffner, and infectious disease expert and chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “We really do expect vaccines to be perfect and, of course, they aren’t perfect. Medical science provides us with vaccines that have different degrees of effectiveness, approaching but never reaching perfection.”

“When you are vaccinated [against mumps], the illness you get is much milder,” Schaffner added.

The MMR vaccine is 99 percent effective against the measles and 90 percent effective against rubella, according to the CDC.

Stevens’ students suspected of having mumps were “isolated” and then sent home, according to the college.

“There have been no reports of newly symptomatic cases since the initial cases last week,” the college said.

Symptoms of mumps such as fever, aches and swollen glands can take more than two weeks to appear. And while most mumps sufferers recover after a week or two, the disease can cause serious complications like inflammation of the testicles, ovaries and brain as well as deafness, according to the CDC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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