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ESPN will not air national anthem before Monday Night Football

ESPN will not air the national anthem before Monday Night Football games, network officials said Friday. 

>> Read more trending news 

"We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don't think that will change this year,” network president Jimmy Pitaro told Axios. “Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem."

The network aired the national anthem three times last season, a moment of silence after the Houston hurricane and the Las Vegas shooting as well as at the Dallas vs. Arizona game, Axios reported

The national anthem has intertwined sports with politics after Colin Kaepernick started kneeling two years ago to protest racial inequalities in the United States during performances of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Numerous other athletes in the NFL as well as other sports have also taken up the practice since then. Creating further political hay of the issue, President Donald Trump has tweeted multiple times about it.

Restaurant receives backlash for hanging pride flag on storefront

A restaurant owner in Dorchester, Massachusetts, received a one-star review on Yelp for having a pride flag hanging outside his establishment.

>> Read more trending news

Born in Italy, Nino Barbalace's American dream was to obtain U.S. citizenship and open up his own restaurant. 

Barbalace eventually achieved both dreams, and now calls Zia Gianna on Dorchester Avenue his home. Having put his heart and soul into the restaurant, Barbalace offers up food made with love and a welcoming environment for all, an inclusive place open for anyone. 

However, a Yelp post with a one-start review of Zia Gianna caught his eye one day.

"I saw one star and I said, 'wow, what happened?'" said Barbalace. 

In the review, the person said, in part, "well, that flag says all when you delve deeper and see the real customer base here."

The post went on to say "it's clearly geared and catered only to those who rally behind the rainbow flag."

"It was personal," said Barbalace. "If you go to a place and you’re not happy with the food or the service, I understand that if I made a mistake because we all make mistakes. This is a restaurant, not politics."

Upset by what was written, customers rallied around Barbalace.

"We thought we were beyond that at this point," said Tiffany Andrade, a customer.

Andrade specifically came to the cafe Friday to show her support.

"Luckily we live in the land of the free and people are entitled to their own opinion, but I do think it’s something to understand that we are an open community and there are people who come from all different countries and all different backgrounds and we should be welcoming of everyone," said Andrade. 

Barbalace responded by sharing a post on the restaurant's Facebook page, saying:

"All are welcome at Zia Gianna, even this gentleman. We'd love to show him some kindness from the LGBTQ community because love always wins."

The Yelp post has since been taken down, but the flag will remain on the establishment’s front window. 

Barbalace says they don't always have to agree, but his doors are always open if that person wants to give him a second chance.

"I'm here to serve the food. If he is hungry, he is welcome to come here," said Barbalace

Vultures a swooping menace at university in Virginia

A flock of unwanted guests have joined the student body at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, and the unruly bunch are causing a lot of damage.

>> Read more trending news 

Unfortunately for university officials, the troublemakers can't be expelled. A university office building has become home to a group of vultures. "They're big, they're scary, we want them to leave," CNU External Relations Director Tom Kramer told WAVY.

The birds arrived about a month ago, Kramer said, and they've started to attack cars. The vultures seem to like the rubber and foam strips that can be found on windshield wipers, WAVY reported. Some school employees have had to file insurance claims because of the damage the birds have done to their vehicles.

While no attacks on humans has been reported yet, some university staff have reported the birds swooping close to their heads.

Getting rid of the vultures won't be easy, because the birds are protected by law, WAVY reported. The university has hired a wildlife control expert and is getting creative in ways to encourage the birds to find a new home. In addition to owl decoys and spinners, time might be the best solution of all. Vultures migrate like many other birds, and university officials are hopeful that they will leave the campus soon.

Pizza delivery leads to discovery of woman’s decomposing body

Police in New Hampshire are investigating the death of an elderly woman whose body was discovered when the woman’s adult son had a pizza delivered to their home.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the woman, identified by neighbors as Florence Cotter, of Salem, was found dead around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Her son, Gary Cotter, had to be removed from the home through a hole that first responders busted through an exterior wall. 

Salem police Capt. Joel Dolan told the Union Leader that a pizza delivery man called police for a welfare check after he attempted to deliver a pizza and Gary Cotter asked him to slide the pizza in through a window instead of approaching the door. Dolan told the newspaper that the delivery man could see hoarding conditions inside the home -- and Florence Cotter’s body lying on the floor.

The odor of decay could also be detected near the home Wednesday, the Union Leader said

A neighbor, Pam Avallone, told the newspaper her daughter had been home when police arrived and had watched as officers with a megaphone tried for two hours to get Gary Cotter to leave the house. 

First responders ultimately busted through the wall below a window.

“They had a really hard time getting him out,” Avallone told the newspaper

Avallone said she had not seen Florence Cotter for a couple of years. Other neighbors told the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Massachusetts, that they has seen her outside the home earlier this year.

“We thought we saw her earlier this summer on our way to the beach,” Tony Difruscia told the Eagle-Tribune. “It was a hot day and we remember questioning why an older woman like that was outside weeding.”

>> Read more trending news

Another neighbor, Joe Bolis, told the Union Leader that he had been delivering the Cotters’ mail and mowing their lawn for a while. He said he had also been bringing groceries to Gary Cotter through a window for about a year because Cotter had an infection in his legs. 

“He’s been sick for a while,” Bolis, 80, said.

He said Florence Cotter, who was in her 80s, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. 

The death investigation is being conducted by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the state police’s Major Crime Unit and the Salem Police Department, a statement on the attorney general’s website said.

Aretha Franklin’s funeral will be four-day event

A day after the death of legendary singer Aretha Franklin, details are emerging about official plans to celebrate her life.

The musician died at age 76 in her home in Detroit. She had been battling pancreatic cancer.

>> Read more trending news 

WDIV reported that the funeral for Franklin will be a four-day event. Her body will lie in repose at Charles H. Wright Museum for African American History in Detroit for a viewing open to the public Aug. 28 and 29.

Related: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy

The Detroit News reported that publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said Franklin will lie in state from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the museum.

A private funeral for close family and friends will be Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple, according to WDIV. Her body is being held at Swanson Funeral Home, which is also handling funeral arrangements, according to Detroit Free Press.

Related: ‘Thank you, Aretha’: Fans, friends remember the ‘Queen of Soul

Organizers are also working to decide on a venue for a musical tribute to Franklin with major musicians.

Franklin will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, where her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin; brother Cecil Franklin; sisters Carolyn Franklin and Erma Franklin; and nephew, Thomas Garrett are entombed.

Police arrest ‘Hellcat’ driver caught on Facebook driving nearly 200 mph

A 22-year-old North Carolina driver has been charged with street racing and reckless driving after authorities say he reached speeds of 198 mph.

William Jefferson was speeding on U.S. 1 near the Triangle Expressway in Wake County last month, WTVD reported.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Highway Patrol, somebody sent a seven-minute YouTube clip shared on Facebook as part of a complaint, The News & Observer reported.

“It’s one reason why I don't want my kids on the roads late at night,” Maryanne McAdams told WTVD. “I don't have a driver yet -- we're about a year away, but it's that kind of stuff that makes me really nervous.”

The video shows Jefferson in his Dodge Challenger “Hellcat,” allegedly driving nearly 130 mph over the speed limit on U.S. 1, WTVD found. The video also shows Jefferson take the car over 100 mph in a 40 mph zone, police said.

“I don't think that road is particularly dangerous but anybody going 198 mph and it's going to be particularly dangerous," McAdams told WTVD. “It's really a miracle that nobody was hurt or killed in that.”

Prosecutors have asked for permission to examine Jefferson’s cellphone. A search warrant was returned to the Wake County clerk’s office Wednesday, The News & Observer reported.

Jefferson is expected back in court in September.

The rise of synthetic marijuana | Your Daily Pitch

The rise of synthetic marijuana | Your Daily Pitch

Drunken dad goes to wrong school for son, police say

An intoxicated parent went to two different schools attempting to pick up his son, prompting lockdown drills on the second day of school, police said. 

>> Read more trending news 

The man was turned away at Grandview Middle School, then drove to Sagewood Elementary but was turned away by the principal in the parking lot, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said, KETV reported

“He blew a .320, which is four times over the legal limit,” Capt. Wayne Hudson told KETV.

The man, who has not been identified, was charged with aggravated DUI, KETV reported

Health officials reveal what caused over 650 Chipotle customers to get sick

At least 647 people that fell ill after eating at an Ohio Chipotle last month now have answers -- their illnesses were caused by a foodborne disease resulting from food being stored at unsafe temperatures.

>> Read more trending news 

After local lab tests on food and stool samples came back negative for any potential pathogens, the Delaware County Health District sent more samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be tested.

While the food samples tested negative for C. perfringens bacteria, the stool samples revealed the toxin that C. perfringens forms in the gastrointestinal tract. C. perfringens occurs when foods aren’t kept at the correct temperatures.

>>Related: Chipotle illnesses reach more than 700, draw additional lawsuits

The CDC will continue to test the samples to narrow down the results to a specific food item that may have caused the illnesses.

In a health inspection July 31, the Chipotle restaurant corrected one critical and one noncritical violation related to pinto beans and lettuce not being kept at correct temperatures. The restaurant threw all of its food away as well before reopening, said Traci Whittaker, spokeswoman for the Delaware County Health District.

There haven’t been any issues reported since the corrections, but more than 700 inquiries were made to the Delaware County Health District about illnesses, and the district then identified 647 people who self-reported gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming food from the Chipotle on Sawmill Parkway between July 26 and July 30.

“This investigation included countless hours of phone calls and interviews along with multiple inspections. We are also appreciative of our community for being very cooperative during this investigation and for understanding our work in protecting the public’s health,” said Delaware County health commissioner Shelia Hiddleson.

Chipotle field leadership also is retraining all restaurant employees nationwide, said Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill.

5 indicted on arson charges after posting video on social media, prosecutors say

Five metro Atlanta men who prosecutors say got drunk, set a fire at a vacant home and posted a video of their exploits have been indicted on arson charges.

>> Read more trending news

The April 19 fire burned the Sharpsburg home to the ground and posed a threat to the surrounding woods, a Coweta County fire official said. Prosecutors accused the men of walking away as the flames grew.

A Coweta County grand jury recently charged all five — Collin Landon Gwinn, 20, Bryan Thomas Libourel, 18, Stone Lloyd Matheson, 19, and Brandon Andrew Nino, 20, all of Newnan, and Lanier Daniel Brooking, 19, of Sharpsburg — with first-degree arson, first-degree arson of lands and second-degree criminal damage to property.

They are now preparing for trial. Libourel, Matheson and Nino remain in the county jail, while Brooking and Gwinn were released on bond.

All five were arrested later the same day after investigators with the Coweta County fire department were tipped off to a cellphone video circulating on social media. 

In the video, the men can be seen inside the home in the 500 block of McIntosh Trail, damaging windows with a chair, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol before setting a couch on fire in the living room, according to an incident report previously obtained by AJC.com

>> On AJC.com: Cops: 5 men got drunk, set home on fire, posted it on social media

Deputies said the men can be heard cheering as the flames grew to an estimated 15 feet. Then, according to the report, they left the scene. 

A fire break was necessary to prevent the blaze from spreading and damaging nearby homes, deputies said. 

The grand jury charged in the indictments that Gwinn, Libourel, Matheson, Nino and Brooking acted “under such circumstances that it was reasonably foreseeable that human life was endangered.”

A developer owned the home and no one was living there at the time, WSBTV reported.

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