People also are talking about another hat thrown in the Democratic ring and a murder story falling apart in Baltimore.
Teen who defied anti-vax mom will testify to Congress
Ethan Lindenberger will testify Tuesday in front of a Senate committee on preventable disease outbreaks and the misinformation that causes them.
But it was just a couple months ago that he hadn’t had a single vaccination. His mother wouldn’t allow it.
“I grew up in an [anti-vaccination] household, my mom didn’t believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society, and believes that they cause autism, brain damage and other complications. This has been largely debunked by the scientific community,” Lindenberger said in a YouTube video on Saturday.
So, when he turned 18 a few months ago, Lindenberger began getting vaccinated and has finally gotten caught up on all his shots.
In a Reddit post in November, the Ohio teen shared his story hoping for advice and information on where he could get vaccinated.
“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme… I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive,” Lindenberger wrote in the post.
He later posted an update, saying that he had made an appointment.
“My mom was especially angry but my dad said because I’m 18 he doesn’t care that much. Although my moms (sic) trying to convince me to not do it and saying I don’t care about her, I know that this is something I need to do regardless.”
“I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others,” he said in early February. “My parents are very happy that I’m continuing to express that the importance of a vaccine is beyond just me and other people, and I’m glad to share that story.”
This week, Lindenberger will stand in front of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, in a hearing, titled”Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?”
He will speak alongside two professors of pediatrics and epidemiology; the Washington state secretary of health; and the president and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation.
American Airlines apologizes for kicking woman, baby off flight
American Airlines apologized to a South Carolina woman and her toddler son for booting them off a flight because of their rare, genetic skin condition.
Jordan Flake said after an airline employee asked about her rash, she and her son, Jackson, were kicked off a plane bound for South Carolina.
In a Facebook post, Flake said the employee asked if she had a letter from her doctor saying it was okay for her to fly.
Flake told the employee she had a genetic skin condition called ichthyosis. It is a skin disorder that slows the skin’s natural shedding process, resulting in dry and scaling skin, according to Mayo Clinic. The airline told Flake she and her son had to deplane.
“He apologized but (said) we wouldn’t be able to fly and we had to get off the plane,” Flake added. “The pilot seemed OK with it, but the flight attendant rudely said (without even acknowledging me) ‘well she doesn’t have a letter from a doctor, so …”
Flake said the employee was “very helpful and mad about the situation,” but couldn’t help her stay on the flight or retrieve her checked luggage.
The mother, who shares the skin condition with her 1-year-old son, said she’s “never been so humiliated in my life.” She also noted that the incident coincidentally took place on Rare Disease Day.
In a statement to USA Today, the airline apologized. “Our goal at American Airlines is to create a welcoming environment for all of our customers,” the company said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to Ms. Flake and her son for the experience they had Thursday, and our team has begun an investigation into the matter.”
Police: Husband, not panhandler, killed woman in Baltimore
A Maryland woman whose death last year was blamed on an attack by a panhandler was actually killed by her husband and his adult daughter, police said Sunday.
Keith Smith, 52, had told police that his wife, Jacquelyn, an engineer from Harford County, was trying to give money to a panhandler at a traffic light when she was robbed and fatally stabbed.
Her death attracted national attention and prompted many to regard panhandlers warily. Even Oprah Winfrey, whose early career included several years covering Baltimore news, commented that she would “think twice” about giving to panhandlers after reading about Jacquelyn’s death.
But at a news conference Sunday, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the panhandler story is not true. He announced first-degree murder charges against Keith Smith and his daughter, Valeria Smith, 28.
Both were arrested in Harlingen, Texas, near the Mexico border. Harrison said the two were preparing to leave the country.
Harrison did not explain at the brief news conference what specific roles police attribute to Keith and Valeria Smith, nor did he articulate a possible motive. He said at the news conference that the concocted story took advantage of negative perceptions of Baltimore crime and credited detectives for their work in solving the crime.
When Jacquelyn’s Dec. 1 death was initially reported, police said she lowered her car’s front passenger side window to give $10 to a young woman who appeared to be holding a swaddled infant and a cardboard sign reading: “Please help me feed my baby.” It was then that a man supposedly approached the car and struggled to take her wallet. He then supposedly stabbed her and ran off along with the female panhandler.
After his wife died, Keith Smith gave numerous media interviews and lobbied the city to pass legislation to ban panhandling at city intersections. He said he wanted the law to be named for his wife.
Winter twister kills at least 23 in Alabama
A tornado roared into southeast Alabama and killed at least 23 people and injured several others Sunday, part of a severe storm system that caused catastrophic damage and unleashed other tornadoes around the Southeast.
“Unfortunately our toll, as far as fatalities, does stand at 23 at the current time,” Lee County…
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