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Retired Florida judge celebrates 87th birthday by swimming from Alcatraz to SF 

A retired Florida circuit judge celebrated his 87th birthday by swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco’s Aquatic Park, KGO reported.

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Bob Beach navigated the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay in 46 minutes on Tuesday, averaging 67 strokes per minute.

“Water has been a big part of my life,” Beach told KGO. 

Beach grew up in Santa Monica, California, and put himself through the University of Tampa by working in a Tampa strip club, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2008. He graduated from the Stetson College of Law in 1958. He took up swimming in his 30s after quitting chain-smoking cold turkey.

“Swimming makes you emotionally very tranquil,” Beach told KGO.

Swimming from the site of the infamous prison was not lost on the former judge.

“When I send those guys away, I can tell them I relate to them,” he told KGO.

Beach is no stranger to strenuous athletic endeavors. He also hiked up Mount Kilimanjaro and did a parachute jump in Africa. His next swim is scheduled to be under the Golden Gate Bridge, KGO reported.

Beach retired as a circuit court judge in Pinellas County, Florida, in 1993. He said his birthday swim was exhilarating.

“To say that you swam from Alcatraz on your 87th birthday and you made it. Are you kidding me?” Beach told KGO. “I’ll never have a birthday like this.”

Police: Minnesota man arrested for threatening Social Security employees

A Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday after threatening employees at a Social Security office, KAAL reported.

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According to Capt. John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department, Leonard Booth, 26, walked into the Social Security office at 10:15 a.m. and complained that he was unable to receive benefits. Booth began “acting erratically” and threatened employees with bodily harm, Sherwin told KAAL.

Sherwin was arrested by police and taken to the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center, KAAL reported. During the booking process, Sherwin said officers found Booth in possession of less than a gram of cocaine.

Booth is facing a felony terroristic threats charge and a fifth-degree controlled substance charge, KAAL reported.

Dozens of crawdads crawl through New Mexico neighborhood

New Mexico residents were surprised Thursday morning to see dozens of crawdads walking down an Albuquerque street, KRQE reported.

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As Albert Valdez left his home on a stormy morning, he observed a strange scene at the end of his driveway.

“As I got out of my truck, there was a crawdad walking down the middle of the street,” Valdez told KRQE. “(And) as I walked around, I saw crawdads walking all over the street.”

Valdez grabbed a bucket and began collecting the crayfish, KRQE reported. He then deposited them in a drainage ditch, giving the animals a source of water.

Albuquerque officials and spokesmen from the Game and Fish Commission told KRQE they were unable to explain why there were so many crawdads wandering through the streets.

Michigan teen charged with embezzling thousands from Kroger store

A Michigan teenager was charged with embezzlement after police said she stole thousands of dollars from a Kroger store, WTVG reported.

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According to a news release from Dundee village manager Dave Uhl, 18-year-old Chenoa Nestor worked at a Kroger in the town. Documents show that Kroger’s management discovered that Nestor embezzled $6,856.51 while working in the store’s cash registers during the past week, WTVG reported.

Kroger officials investigated the incident and called police. Nestor talked with police and reportedly confessed to the crime, WTVG reported. She was booked into the Monroe County Jail on embezzlement charges and was arraigned. She was later released on bond, WTVG reported.

Oklahoma man cleans Tulsa streets to ‘right his wrongs’

A homeless man in Oklahoma is cleaning the streets of Tulsa in order to “right his wrongs,” according to police.

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Officer Popsey Floyd posted the story about Brian Freeman, aka Cleaner, on his Facebook page Wednesday.

Floyd said that officers observed a line of trash bags on a Tulsa street and tracked down Freeman on Wednesday.

Freeman told an officer that he is trying to set a good example for his son and wants to work rather than panhandle.

AMA calls skinny repeal toxic

The American Medical Association, the biggest organization representing U.S. doctors, blasted a “skinny repeal” option unveiled in the U.S. Senate Thursday night.

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“Action is needed to address problems in the individual insurance market, but the so-called ‘skinny’ bill is a toxic prescription that would make matters worse,” said David O. Barbe, the association’s president.

The plan would remove the penalty for individuals and employers to obtain coverage and remove a medical devices tax. That might come as welcome news for those who don’t want the government forcing them to buy insurance, but the practical effect is likely 15 million people will drop out of coverage and premiums for those remaining will rise 20 percent, the Congressional Budget Office projected.

“The skinny bill as policy is a disaster,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud.”

Senate leadership had to contend with opposition from groups from AARP to AMA.

“Eliminating the individual mandate will lead to adverse selection, triggering higher premiums and further destabilizing the individual market,” AMA’s Barbe said. “The stated goal was to advance policies to lower premiums, but the ‘skinny’ bill would do the exact opposite, harming patients across the country.

“Further, the bill would result in millions more Americans without health insurance coverage.

“Again, we urge Senators to oppose the ‘skinny’ bill and to pivot to a bipartisan effort, working through appropriate committees of jurisdiction and regular order to fix problems and gaps in current law to enable Americans to obtain quality, affordable health insurance.”

20-year-old tries to steal police car with officer still inside

City police have arrested a 20-year-old man listed as a student at Eckerd College in St. Petersberg who they say tried to steal a running police car from the Fort Pierce Police Station — with the officer still inside.

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According to a department report, Aaron Rodriguez III told officers he tried to steal the car July 17 so he could have a ride home.

He approached the passenger side of the car and shook the rear and front door handles. The officer then got out of his car and Rodriguez ran through the parking lot and hid behind another vehicle.

Officers took two cellphones, a portable speaker, $20 and a small pipe with marijuana residue from Rodriguez after he was detained.

Rodriguez was taken to the St. Lucie County Jail and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, loitering and possession of drug equipment. He remained in custody Thursday afternoon, with his bail set at $15,875.

Prince William completes last day on air ambulance team

Prince William had a full day of work on his last day as an air ambulance pilot.

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On Thursday, the Duke of Cambridge said goodbye to the career he loved so much to free up his time to devote to his royal duties.

According to the royals’ official website, William reported to work for his night shift and attended the shift change briefings per usual before joining his team for a photo.

On his last day, the East Anglian Air Ambulance tweeted their thanks to the Duke.

“William has been an integral part of the EAAA team. He’s a fantastic pilot, a much loved & valued member of the crew,” the EAAA wrote.

Kensington Palace documented William’s final helicopter checks on his last day on the job with a video on Twitter.

Prince William began piloting operational missions in July 2015 after joining the EAAA in March 2015. He has reportedly been based at the Cambridge Airport throughout his service as part of a team of doctors, paramedics and pilots. The helicopters William piloted can reach patients in the region within 25 minutes and provide treatment as soon as possible.

In a recent interview with the Eastern Daily Press, William opened up about his last day on the job.

I wanted to say thank you to my colleagues, team mates and the people of East Anglia, who I have been so proud to serve. Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances. As part of the team, I have been invited into people’s homes to share moments of extreme emotion, from relief that we have given someone a fighting chance, to profound grief. I have watched as incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics have saved people’s lives. These experiences have instilled in me a profound respect for the men and women who serve in our emergency services, which I hope to continue to champion even as I leave the profession. I am hugely grateful for having had this experience.

Prince William previously opened up about the “sad, dark” memories from his time as a pilot.

“There are some very sad, dark moments, and we talk about it a lot. But it’s hard. You try not to take it away with you, but it can be quite difficult,” he said.

He revealed that to get through the tough times, he and his colleagues would often talk it out and “banter” after a call.

“If you share the same, in some cases, sad incidents, then if you can get over it together by being able to talk about it in the future. Being a close team, you come away with a collective way of dealing with it together, and it helps you move on to whatever you’ve got to do next,” he said.

William’s last day on the job comes just months after he and his wife the Duchess Cambridge Kate Middleton, announced they would be moving to Kensington Palace in London from their home in Norfolk.

New Tesla model due out Friday

Electric car maker Tesla is expected to launch its relatively affordable $35,000 Model 3 Friday.

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It’s not just another sedan, auto industry observers are saying. It’s the California automaker’s bid to boost sales and invade territory long held by General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and others.

“Tesla has much to celebrate with the delivery of the first Model 3s, but the high-profile electric car maker faces a challenge like never before,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for car marketplace Autotrader, said in a statement. “The Model 3 is intended to be high volume — a first for Tesla. It is aimed at the core of the vehicle market in terms of price.”

The Model 3 will face stiff competition, Krebs added.

Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said the new model may be the key to Tesla’s success or failure.

“Tesla is still a halo, lifestyle brand to many consumers, so the Model 3 represents the first time the brand is within reach,” Anand said. “Will the Model 3 meet lofty expectations? Can production continue without hiccups, unlike with the Model X?”

If the Model 3, along with the Chevrolet Bolt, meets or beats expectations, it could be “the early steps toward an electric future in automotive.”

The launch is happening at a time when the government of the United Kingdom recently pledged that it will ban vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines by the year 2040, following similar declarations by France and Norway.

Marine dog with cancer gets a hero’s goodbye

When Cena the military service dog was reunited with his first handler, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey DeYoung, it was an emotional moment. The two had been separated for over three years without the chance to say goodbye. When Cena returned from Afghanistan, DeYoung took the dog in.

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On Wednesday, the Marine said goodbye to his friend who was there with him when he lost seven friends in three weeks to enemies in the Middle East. A large crowd of people came out to honor the 10-year-old black Labrador as DeYoung took him to be put down, Michigan Live reports. After he passed, DeYoung carried out a coffin draped in an American flag and carrying the body of his companion.

Cena was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer and DeYoung made the decision to put him down.

On Tuesday, DeYoung wrote a Facebook post explaining the situation and saying goodbye to his friend. The Marine wrote “[Cena] has blessed my life with love and admiration, happiness and strength. Because of him I got to have a family.”

In a tear-jerking goodbye, he closed with “goodnight my friend, goodbye my brother. May you rest your head tonight knowing how loved you are and how dearly you will be missed.”

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