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Mexican president wants work visas, citizenship for farmers


MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he will ask U.S. President Joe Biden to give work visas to Mexican farmers who participate in a government tree-planting program. López Obrador said Monday that would help regulate migration. He also wants the United States to grant citizenship to the farmers after they have spent three years rotating into the U.S. on six-month work visas. López Obrador says he will broach the proposal at climate change talks later this week. López Obrador says Mexico’s contribution to fighting climate change involves renovating old hydroelectric plants as well as the program that pays farmers to plant fruit and timber trees.

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Colombia peace court alarmed over killings of former rebels


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s postwar reconciliation tribunal says violence against former guerrilla fighters and community leaders is increasing in rural areas and jeopardizing its attempts to investigate crimes that took place during the country’s six-decades civil conflict. On Monday the tribunal’s president said that at least 276 former rebels have been killed since laying down their weapons in December 2016 and that 900 community leaders have been slain as well. His statement says the violence in jeopardizing the court’s effort to report on crimes committed during the conflict that killed an estimated 260,000 people.

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Gaetz, Greene flaunt new paths to power, testing GOP leaders


WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are presenting top House Republicans with a test of how to handle a new breed of Trump-era, social media-savvy firebrands. Both have attracted more public attention lately than most junior lawmakers, and much of it hasn’t been positive. That’s confronting House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy with questions about whether the two hard-right provocateurs might hurt the GOP’s goal of capturing House control in next year’s elections. Party leaders have to reckon what to do about the two, if anything, and what impact any action would have on their supporters. 

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Shawnee Mission School District to begin in-school COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday


OLATHE, Kan. — The Johnson County Health Department has been working with school districts in the county to come up with a plan to vaccinate students.

The health department said Monday afternoon that since school staff have been vaccinated, it’s time to take the next step and vaccinate as many students age 16 and older as possible.

The vaccination process will look very different depending on which school district your students attend, according to the Johnson County Health Department.

Shawnee Mission schools will be vaccinating students during school hours starting Tuesday.

The district said it had more than 800 students express interest in receiving the vaccine. In a statement, the district said it has clinics scheduled at nine locations across the district through Friday.

“This is completely voluntary,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, epidemiologist with the health department, said. “Families were asked last week if they would be interested in this. And then on Friday, they received an email with a consent form for that to be done during school hours.”

Other school districts won’t take that same approach.

“Other school districts have opted not to run clinics on their own,” Holzschuh said. “With the number of vaccine appointments that are available in the community both at our sites at Children’s Mercy as well as our hospital partners and pharmacies, we opted to just move forward with providing information to families throughout Johnson County about the various vaccine opportunities.”

If you did not receive information from your child’s school about vaccines, that information can be found on the Johnson County Health Department’s site. Information is also available in Spanish. Children’s Mercy Hospital also has vaccination clinics coming up in the next few weeks.

Keep in mind that each teenager will receive a Pfizer vaccine because that’s the only vaccine that has Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA to be given to children as young as 16.

Johnson County plans new approach with smaller vaccination clinics


OLATHE, Kan. — The Johnson County Health Department plans to shift away from mass vaccination clinics where thousands of people receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a single day.

Last week it vaccinated 3,120 people in one day at its Lenexa location.

As more people become vaccinated, the health department said there are a large number of appointments still available. Those aren’t always being filled, even though appointments can be scheduled online.

In a week or two, the health department said it will reveal a more detailed plan about it’s approach in the future. The plan will include smaller clinics and targeted conversations with people who may be vaccine hesitant.

“We are going to be working with churches, going to be working with other organizations in the community and ensuring that those who need to be vaccinated are vaccinated. We are asking schools, junior colleges, colleges,” Dr. Sanmi Areola, Director of the Johnson County Health Department, said during a Facebook Live Monday afternoon.

The health department said the approach will be determined by what the public wants. If vaccine appointments are filled quickly at the county’s mass vaccination site in Lenexa, that site will remain open longer. If they go unfilled, the county will pivot to a different plan.

“While the need for mass vaccination clinics may not be as important as he was three, four weeks ago, there’s a lot of activities going on that we want to be clear to be sure that people understand that,” Areola said. “But there are there are appointments that are open, and people can get vaccinated right now. And the plan continues for next week.”

The health department said its goal is to vaccinate as many people as it can while making it as convenient as possible for people in Johnson County to get a vaccine.

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Suspect in Kristin Smart’s disappearance pleads not guilty to murder charge


SAN PEDRO, Calif. (CNS) – A San Pedro resident pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering his former Cal Poly San Luis Obispo classmate Kristin Smart, who was last seen walking back to the college dormitories from an off-campus party nearly 25 years ago.

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office shows suspect Paul Flores who was arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, for the murder of Kristin Smart. Flores, the longtime suspect in the 25-year-old disappearance of the California college student was arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, on suspicion of murder, and his father was booked in jail as an accessory to the crime. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Paul Ruben Flores — who had long been described as a “prime suspect” by authorities — was arrested last Tuesday at his home in San Pedro and charged a day later with killing the 19-year-old freshman, whose body has not been found.

The criminal complaint alleges that the now 44-year-old defendant killed Smart on May 25, 1996, while he was “engaged in the commission of, or attempting to commit, the crime of rape.”

His attorney argued that there was little new evidence in the case and questioned the timing of the arrest, while Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle called the new evidence from multiple searches “substantial.”

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig B. Van Rooyen ordered that Flores be held without bail, citing serious public safety  and flight risk concerns.

Rooyen specifically addressed a recent California Supreme Court ruling in a case involving defendant Kenneth Humphrey that limits pretrial detention.

In Flores’ case, the judge said there is “clear and convincing evidence” that no less restrictive means exist to protect the public from the possibility that Flores could seriously injure someone else.

A bail review hearing was set for Wednesday for Flores’ 80-year-old father, Ruben Ricardo Flores, who pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of being an accessory to the fact.

The judge indicated his intent to set affordable bail and potentially allow the senior Flores to be subject to electronic monitoring, given his lifetime lack of a criminal record.

The older man’s attorney argued that if his client, who he said recently underwent triple-bypass heart surgery, stayed much longer in jail, he might end up dying there.

“He’s a medical nightmare for the jail,” attorney Harold Mesick said, after detailing the older man’s service in the U.S. Navy and as a reserve officer for the Redondo Beach Police Department.

The Arroyo Grande resident, who was arrested at his home simultaneously with when his son was taken into custody, is accused of helping to conceal Smart’s body after she was killed, according to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow.

“We certainly believe that Mr. (Paul) Flores’ dorm room was the crime scene,” the prosecutor said last week, noting that the young woman from Stockton was last seen alive “close to the dorms.”

She was seen walking back to her dorm with the younger Flores — both were then 19-year-old college freshmen — at about 2 a.m. that day, authorities said. She was reported missing three days later.

Though her body has not been found, prosecutors carefully reviewed the case and concluded they have “enough evidence to go forward and prosecute both Mr. Paul Flores and Ruben Flores,” Dow said.

The district attorney noted that investigators are requesting information from the public “about this case or other potential crimes believed to have been perpetrated by Paul Ruben Flores, including assaults or other acts.”

Investigators “do have evidence in this case that leads us to conclude that there very well may be additional victims in the Southern California area,” Dow said last week, noting that the younger Flores was “known to frequent bars in the San Pedro area.”

“At this point we’re concerned about sexual assault,” he said, noting that the complaint includes a statement that the prosecution intends to use “evidence of other sexual crimes in this prosecution.”

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office shows Ruben Flores, 80, who was arrested in connection to the murder of college student Kristin Smart at his Arroyo Grande home on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

He declined to talk about how Smart was killed, saying that is something prosecutors will address in court.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said investigators served search warrants at the younger Flores’ home and simultaneously at the residences of his mother, father and sister, in February 2020, telling reporters last week that “physical evidence recovered during these searches led to the service of (an) additional search warrant at Paul Flores’ residence in April last year.”

“During the search warrant, detectives recovered evidence related to the murder of Kristin Smart,” the sheriff said, adding that “additional evidence related to the Smart investigation” was discovered last month when a search warrant was served at Ruben Flores’ home.

A San Luis Obispo County judge subsequently signed arrest warrants for the father and son, along with two additional search warrants, the sheriff said.

“Since I came into office in 2011, we have served over 41 search warrants on this case, done physical searches of 16 different locations … a complete re-examination of every physical item seized, submission of 37 items of evidence from the early days of the case for modern DNA testing, recovery of 193 items of physical evidence, new physical evidence,” the sheriff told reporters. ” We’ve conducted approximately 137 person-to-person interviews and in addition completed over 500 additional police reports.”

He vowed that investigators will “continue to focus on finding her remains regardless of any court action,” adding that they know it’s an “important issue with the family.”

In a statement released after the scheduled arraignment was postponed last Thursday, the Smart family said, “Make no mistake we have begun the final quest to bring justice for Kristin. We know we are in good hands with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, and we will wait patiently for the process to commence.”

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

Reservations needed when Cedar Point reopens this season


**Watch above: Check out how Cedar Point roller coasters are built.**

SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) — Roller coaster aficionados must make reservations to enter Cedar Point when the amusement park begins its 2021 season.

Opening to the public on May 14, the top thrill park says it plans to continue with reduced capacity, just like last season.

The new riverboat ride, Snake River Expedition, is scheduled to open May 29.

Cedar Point Shores Waterpark is also coming back this year, also scheduled to open on May 29, and people will have to reserve spots there as well. You can find a full calendar for both parks right here.

Cedar Point is sharing more details regarding reservations and updated health guidelines on April 26.

I-Team: $500,000 bond set for suspect in shooting outside Cedar Point Sports Center


SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) — Bond was set at $500,000 for a Euclid man facing an attempted murder charge in connection with a shooting that took place outside of a youth basketball tournament.

Mario Lacy Sr. appeared in Sandusky Municipal Court Monday to face the charge. He entered a not guilty plea and is scheduled to return to court next week.

Police say Lacy is a youth basketball coach and was attending a tournament at the Cedar Point Sports Center Saturday.

“The victim was also attending the tournament,” said Sgt. Kevin Youskievicz. “We don’t know what caused this argument. We are told an argument started inside the facility and it was carried outside to the parking lot.”

Sandusky Police Chief Jared Oliver said once the suspect and victim were outside, an altercation took place. Lacy is then accused of firing shots at the victim.

The victim was struck in the hip area and taken to the hospital. Police say the victim remained hospitalized Monday, but his injuries are not life threatening.

Lacy left the scene following the shooting. Police body camera video released to the Fox 8 I-Team shows an officer pulling over the vehicle Lacy was driving. 

He told officers he had four children with him in the vehicle.

He was arrested a short time later.

Detectives are continuing to investigate.

“This is very unusual for something like this to happen there,” Oliver said. “It’s a very nice facility and we haven’t had anything like this happen there in the past.”

Police investigate off-campus incident involving Walsh Jesuit High School students


SILVER LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – The Silver Lake Police Department is investigating an incident at a home in the village on March 27 involving students from Walsh Jesuit High School and other schools.

In a press release Monday, the department said it was notified of the incident on March 29 and “immediately began an investigation that is still ongoing.”

Following the incident, Walsh Jesuit High School sent an email to families to inform them of the police investigation.

“Recently, students from Walsh Jesuit and other schools were at a home. While there, the actions of some have caused serious concern and are being investigated by both the local police and our school,” the email said.

“As always, we ask that you allow the deans and others to fully investigate. This investigation is still ongoing, so please do not jump to conclusions or spread rumors about this incident. As in all student discipline issues, each student’s actions are reviewed and handled in a confidential manner, in accordance with our Student/Parent Handbook.”

Walsh Jesuit High School President Karl Ertle said Monday that the investigation is “a police matter at this point” and the school has “very few details.”

Silver Lake Police said the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office and the City of Cuyahoga Falls Prosecutor’s Office is assisting with the investigation. The department said no incident reports are currently available related to the investigation.