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North Florida Teen Who Lost Part of Leg After Shark Attack Continues Recovery After Hospital Release




A North Florida teen faces a long road to recovery months after she survived a shark attack.

Addison Bethea, who lost part of her leg in the June 30 incident, is back home from the hospital and on the mend.

Before the 17-year-old left Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare’s rehabilitation center earlier this month, front-line workers who took care of her gave her a round of applause.

Bethea has come a long way since the attack. The teen was hunting for scallops in the water near Keaton Beach in Florida’s Panhandle when a shark described by her family as nine feet long swam up and bit her.

“I didn’t really know exactly what to do, but I knew that with sharks, you’re supposed to punch them in the nose to get them off of you, and I couldn’t get around to punch it in the nose,” she said, “so then I just started socking it in the face, and then I poked its eyes, and then I tried to latch it off of me with my fingers, and it bit my hand.”

Bethea’s brother, Rhett Willingham, said he heard his sibling scream for help.

“Well, we were actually swimming side by side when it happened, and I heard her, like, make a noise, like something scared her, and I sat up and looked and didn’t see her,” he said, “and then she came up in the water, and I saw the shark and the blood and all that.”

That is when Willingham, who’s a firefighter and emergency medical technician, swam over and got the shark off.

“There was another boat that pulled up, like right next to us, to get her, so [a boater] helped me load her in the boat, and then we put the tourniquet on her and then got her back to land as soon as as possible,” he said.

Addison was taken to a Tallahassee hospital when she had to undergo a partial amputation surgery for her leg.

The hospital later posted updates like her first steps after surgery.

Now that she’s back home, Bethea said she’s grateful her brother was there to save her life.

“He’s always been kind of like a hero to me. Ever since we were little, he’s always been there, and I don’t really expect anything less of him, to be honest,” she said. “Like, anytime I was in trouble, he would get me out. He promised me.”

Willingham says he’s happy to see his sister’s positivity.

“It’s definitely not something I ever expected to watch, but seeing her now and how positive she is, is good to see,” he said.

Bethea’s family said they are planning to continue her outpatient rehabilitation, as well as home healthcare services.

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California Gets More Rain and Snow, but Dry Days Are Ahead




LOS ANGELES (AP) — More rain and snow fell during the weekend in storm-battered California, making travel dangerous and prompting evacuation warnings over flooding concerns along a swollen river near Sacramento.

Bands of gusty thunderstorms started Saturday in the north and spread south, with yet another atmospheric river storm following close behind Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

Up to two inches (5 cm) of rain was predicted for the saturated Sacramento Valley, where residents of semi-rural Wilton and surrounding communities were warned to prepare to leave if the Cosumnes River continued to rise. The warning was downgraded from an evacuation order Sunday afternoon.

Gusts and up to 3 feet (91 cm) of snow were expected in the Sierra Nevada, where the weather service warned of hazardous driving conditions. Interstate 80, a key highway from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe ski resorts, reopened after being closed most of Saturday because of slick roads and snow.

The University of California Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Sunday morning that it received 21.5 inches (54 centimeters) of snow in 24 hours. Its snowpack of about 10 feet (3 meters) was expected to grow several more feet by Monday.

A backcountry avalanche warning was issued for the central Sierra, including the greater Lake Tahoe area, through Monday.

The California Highway Patrol rescued three people whose car slid off a rain-slicked road and ended up teetering at the edge of a cliff in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Friday. The occupants of the car “were scared for their lives and were in disbelief” when they were pulled safely from the car as the vehicle’s front end hung precariously over the cliff’s edge, the highway patrol said in a statement.

“We cannot stress this enough. Please ONLY drive if it’s necessary,” the statement said.

Just to the south in Santa Cruz County, the tiny community of Felton Grove along the San Lorenzo River was under an evacuation warning.

The swollen Salinas River swamped farmland in Monterey County. To the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Saturday to take stock of problems and warn of still more possible danger.

“We’re not done,” Newsom said. He urged people to be vigilant about safety for a few more days, when the last of a parade of nine atmospheric rivers was expected to move through.

Several roads, including State Route 99, were closed because of flooding Sunday in San Joaquin County.

In Southern California, winter storm warnings and advisories were in place for mountain areas, where many roads remained impassable because of mud and rock slides. Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Castaic in northern Los Angeles County were closed indefinitely after a hillside collapsed.

Downtown Los Angeles set a rainfall record Saturday with 1.82 inches (4.6 cm), the weather service said.

The series of storms has dumped rain and snow on California since late December, cutting power to thousands, swamping roads, unleashing debris flows, and triggering landslides.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts in affected areas.

At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remained missing after being swept out of his mother’s car by floodwaters in San Luis Obispo County.

Dry days are in this week’s forecast for California starting on Tuesday.

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After Dallas Zoo Leopard Escape, Cut Found in Monkey Habitat




DALLAS (AP) — Police investigating after a clouded leopard escaped her enclosure at the Dallas Zoo say a cutting tool was used to intentionally make an opening in the fence of the small cat’s habitat, and a similar cut was found at a habitat for small monkeys.

Dallas police said Saturday evening that they did not know if the two incidents were related. None of the langur monkeys escaped and none appeared to be harmed.

On Friday, arriving zoo workers discovered that a clouded leopard named Nova was missing from her habitat. A daylong search ensued, during which the zoo was closed while staff and police combed the 100-acre (40-hectare) grounds. She was discovered by late afternoon near her habitat.

After it was determined that Nova wasn’t injured, the zoo said that she spent Saturday with her sister, Luna, in their habitat, “perched up on a high branch while oh-so-many guests stopped by to wish her well.”

Police and zoo officials have said they have reviewed surveillance footage but would not say what it showed or whether there were potential suspects.

Animals have escaped enclosures from the Dallas Zoo before. Most notably was in 2004, when a 340-pound (154-kilogram) gorilla named Jabari jumped over a wall and went on a 40-minute rampage that injured three people before police shot and killed the animal.


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Davie Honors MLK’s Legacy With Poetry Readings, Live Performances




A South Florida community came together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Town of Davie hosted its annual celebration at the Pine Island Multipurpose Center’s gymnasium, Sunday afternoon.

The ceremony featured a poetry contest, live performances and refreshments.

Town of Davie Mayor Judy Paul and town councilmembers also spoke at the event.

Sunday would have been King’s 94th birthday.


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