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An end to snow days? Some schools continue instruction online amid winter weather

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Is the traditional snow day coming to an end?

While many school districts gave students and staff the day off amid winter weather Tuesday, others continued with remote instruction or posted student assignments online.

The districts said technology and practices implemented since the start of the pandemic have made it easier for instruction to continue outside of traditional classrooms.

“We have learned through this pandemic that we can use technology,” Kenston Local Schools Superintendent Nancy Santilli said.

In an evolution of school-issued “blizzard bags,” instead of completely giving students the day off, Kenston teachers posted assignments online for students to access and complete. Each student in the district has a school-issued tablet device.

The district, which has offered in-person instruction for all but two weeks since the start of this school year, opted against full remote instruction Tuesday.

“We did feel as though it needed to be a little bit lighter day and that students should have some fun,” she said.

Santilli said remote work is an important life skill for students to learn, and the district is cautious about meeting the state requirement for instructional hours.

“We feel it’s in the best interest of our students to continue with their academics, and we don’t want to necessarily have to extend the school year which would impact our families further,” she said.

The North Ridgeville City Schools also posted online assignments for students.

“I think the pandemic opened our eyes and our willingness to do things that I don’t know that we normally would have done, including this,” superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio said.

She said she was torn between allowing kids to enjoy a traditional snow day and maintaining instructional hours to meet state guidelines. She said the district started its school year late as it developed its pandemic instructional plan, and school days have been shortened.

“I don’t want to put us in a situation where we need to extend the school year into June when it’s sunny and beautiful,” she said.

Ramsey-Caserio said she not want to require teachers to drive to school buildings in snowy conditions to conduct remote instruction.

However, South Euclid Lyndhurst Schools and Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District each instituted a remote learning day Tuesday, with students required to log on for online instruction led by teachers.

The move prompted some backlash on the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Facebook page from people calling for traditional snow days.

“How are teachers and staff supposed to make it to the buildings?” one commenter wrote. Another said snow days are “something for everyone to be excited about during this crazy time.”

Will traditional snow days resume after the pandemic? Santilli said she expects teachers will continue to post assignments on snow days going forward.

Ramsey-Caserio said traditional snow days may return, but it’s too soon to say for sure whether snow day assignments may continue.

“I don’t want to be a fun sponge,” she said.

**Check out snow footage of downtown Cleveland in the video below.**

Officials searching for person who abandoned puppy in freezing rain

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WJW) — Officials are investigating after a puppy was abandoned in the freezing rain Monday night.

According to the Mahoning County Dog Warden, the puppy was found on the northside of Youngstown around 6 p.m. He had been left in a crate with the word “free” written on the side.

The dog, who was brought to the shelter by police, is currently unavailable for adoption. The dog warden is asking citizens to refrain from calling about him at this time. They will post on social media if/when he is available.

Meantime, anyone with information about the dog or the person(s) responsible for leaving him in the freezing rain is asked to contact the Mahoning County Dog Warden at 330-740-2205 or via email ssabol@mahoningcountyoh.org.

Mayor Suarez credits declining COVID-19 infections to increased mask-wearing in South Florida amid vaccine shortage

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New coronavirus infections are trending downward across South Florida, but as the vaccine rollout ramps up, supply is still an issue.

“I think it’s a social faux pas if someone doesn’t have one on,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez about mask-wearing.

Suarez believes South Florida is serious when it comes to combating COVID-19.

He credits those who live in Miami and the tri-county area for the drop in COVID cases by wearing masks and other measures like social distancing.

“We’re seeing all of the major metrics go down. Hospitalizations hopefully in the next few days will go below 800. At their worst moment they were at 2,300,” Suarez said.

On Tuesday, the state reported 6,200 new cases of the virus and a positivity rate of 6.6%.

The state also reported that 29,000 people have been killed by the virus to date.

Miami’s mobile vaccine unit continues to make its way across the city. It recently stopped by the Jose Marti Plaza Residences in Little Havana.

“I think being my age and everything else I understood that everybody at this age is doing it and that’s why I wanted to do it, just in case,” said vaccine recipient Odenia Beasley.

In Fort Lauderdale, a vaccination site at Snyder Park came to a pause due to thunderstorms in the area.

The city saying the site will stay open late to accommodate as many people as possible.

“It is our duty. It is our duty to help those in need,” said Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes.

At Miami City Hall Tuesday, several commissioners announced a $14 million housing relief effort.

The goal is to keep families in their homes who have faced financial struggles directly related to COVID-19.

In the meantime, Suarez said the city is talking about creating new vaccination sites. That way they can hit the ground running when supplies increase.

“Those are all discussions that we’ve had, but there’s nothing that’s concretized that I can tell you that we’re ready to announce,” Suarez said.

Police reveal identity of subject shot, killed during shooting outside SW Miami-Dade bank

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Police have revealed the identity of the subject killed during a shooting outside of a Southwest Miami-Dade Bank.

Miami-Dade Police identified 16-year-old Nimikae Clark as the fatally wounded subject of the Saturday night shooting in the area of Southwest 137th Avenue and Kendall Drive.

Authorities said the robbery victim was at a drive-thru BB&T ATM when he was approached by Clark.

After a confrontation, shots were fired by both the accused robber and victim, but Clark was fatally wounded. A second subject was spotted fleeing the scene.

If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $5,000 reward.

Man jumps into lake while running from police at Miami Lakes golf course

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A subject has been stopped by police but not before he jumped into a lake to try to flee the authorities.

The man had jumped into a lake at a Miami Lakes golf course.

7SkyForce HD shows police surrounding the lake at around 7 a.m., Tuesday morning.

Authorities talked to the man, who eventually got out of the body of water.

He was arrested on the scene.

It’s unclear why police were after him.

AMBER Alert issued for 1-year-old Florida girl inside stolen SUV

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VALRICO, Fla. (WSVN) — An AMBER Alert has been issued for a 1-year-old girl who was inside an SUV that was reported stolen.

The search is on for 1-year-old Tinnley West.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tinnley was inside an SUV that was reported stolen around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

HCSO said Tinnley was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a white rainbow, tan pants with rainbows and one sandal.

The SUV is described as a silver/white 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan with the Florida tag WBR587.

If you have any information on Tinnley’s whereabouts, call 813-247-8000 or call 911.

PHOTOS: Snow day for Nashville Zoo animals

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Workers at the Nashville Zoo are working hard to keep all their animals safe in the winter weather.

  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo
  • PHOTO: Nashville Zoo

As wintry conditions leave behind plenty of snow and cold temperatures, some animals are out and about enjoying the winter wonderland. The zoo’s red panda and bears could be seen playing in the snow Tuesday. 

The Nashville Zoo remains closed through at least Wednesday, due to ice. For the zoo’s latest hours, click here.  

CSUB inducting 5 alumni in virtual Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Cal State Bakersfield is holding its annual Alumni Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday. 

The virtual ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 and will air on KGET 17 News in addition to being livestreamed on Facebook pages and YouTube channels. This year, there are five alumni who will be inducted: 

  • Mary Barlow, superintendent of Kern County Superintendent of Schools 
  • Raji Brar, businesswoman and philanthropist 
  • Jeremy Gunn, Stanford University soccer coach 
  • Clark Jensen, nonprofit entrepreneur 
  • John Means, vice chancellor at the Kern Community College District

For links to the streamed ceremony, register here. Donations to the CSUB Alumni Association of $50 will be recognized with the donor’s name listed on the Alumni Hall of Fame section of the association’s website.

Man arrested on gun charges in Desert Star Motel raid pleads not guilty

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man arrested during last month’s raid by local and federal authorities on the Desert Star Motel pleaded not guilty Tuesday to gun charges.

Curtis Moore, 43, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from possessing a firearm, according to court records. He’s next due in Kern County Superior Court March 17.

Moore and two others were taken into custody Jan. 22 after a years-long investigation into alleged prostitution and human trafficking at the motel culminated with officers serving a search warrant on the property. Jatinbhai Bhakta, 29, the Union Avenue motel’s owner, and Roy Drees, 45, its general manager, have each pleaded not guilty in federal court to use of facilities of interstate commerce in aid of a racketeering enterprise.

It’s alleged Bhakta allowed and profited from prostitution occurring on his property, charging inflated rates to pimps who then placed women in the motel’s rooms, where they would stay for a day or two, or longer, before being replaced. Some of those working as prostitutes were underage, authorities said.

Kern County Sheriff’s Office looking for missing 14-year-old

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a teen who has been missing since January.

The department said 14-year-old Caidance Williams was last seen on Jan. 20. She is described as being white, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair, hazel eyes and having scars on her left cheek and her right index finger.

It is not known what she was wearing at the time of her disappearance, according to KCSO.

Anyone with information on Caidance’s location is urged to call the department at 661-861-3110.