National News

One dead, four missing after luxury fishing charter boat sinks off the coast of Alaska

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(SITKA, Alaska) -- The Coast Guard is searching for four missing people after a luxury charter fishing boat sank off the coast of Alaska.

Rescuers located one deceased individual near the vessel partially submerged near a small island close to Sitka, Alaska.

Kingfisher Charters, a Sitka-based company that operates all-inclusive fishing trips, reported the missing vessel to the Coast Guard on Sunday evening. The vessel was last seen on Sunday afternoon near Kruzof Island, less than 10 miles from the small rocky island where the ship was found, according to the Coast Guard.

“We’re working quickly to locate the unaccounted-for individuals,” Coast Guard Commanding Duty Officer Trevor Layman said, citing multiple “unknowns” involved in the search.

Kingfisher Charters offers all-inclusive fishing packages and operates guided trips on 30-foot power boats that can carry up to six anglers on a boat, according to the company website.

The Coast Guard did not immediately provide information about the missing fisherman.

Kingfisher Charters did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The Sitka Fire Department and nearby vessels are assisting the Coast Guard in the search efforts. The Sitka Fire Department declined to comment on the search, referring all questions to the Coast Guard.

Sitka often attracts anglers from across the United States for its king salmon and halibut fishing – both currently in season. Located in Alaska’s Southeast panhandle, Sitka has over 8,000 residents across Baranof Island.

ABC News' Jenna Harrison contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Two inmates escape from Mississippi jail weeks after four others broke out from same facility

Hinds County Sheriff's Office

(HINDS COUNTY, Miss.) -- Two inmates allegedly escaped from a Mississippi jail on Monday, just weeks after four others broke out from the same facility.

Michael Lewis and Joseph Spring were both found missing during Monday morning’s headcount at the Raymond Detention Center, according to the sheriff's office in Hinds County, which encompasses Jackson.

It was not immediately clear how they escaped. The sheriff's office said there was a "breach in the facility."

Weeks earlier, on April 21, four other men broke out of the same jail by escaping through the roof. Two of those detainees were apprehended, one was killed in a shootout with law enforcement and the fourth was found dead in a car in New Orleans.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Eighth person rescued from partial building collapse in Iowa, no deaths reported

georgeclerk/Getty Images

(DAVENPORT, Iowa) -- An eighth person was rescued overnight from a partial apartment building collapse in Davenport, Iowa, officials said, adding that no one appears to be missing.

More than a dozen people self-evacuated when the six-story residential and commercial building partially collapsed on Sunday afternoon, Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said.

"It felt like there was an earthquake, or somebody had rammed a bulldozer into the building," Linnea Hoover, a building resident and journalist at ABC Davenport affiliate WQAD, told ABC News.

"I can't describe the shaking. It felt like the ground was going to fall out from under me," Hoover said.

Seven people were rescued from the site on Sunday and the eighth victim was extracted overnight, officials said Monday morning. That victim is recovering at a hospital in unknown condition, officials said.

No deaths have been confirmed and there's no credible information that anyone is missing, officials said.

Hoover said she saw rubble, smoke and dust in the stairwell as she evacuated the building.

Once outside, she said she saw people running and screaming.

The cause of the collapse is unknown, officials said.

The building remains unstable and residents aren't allowed back inside, according to the city.

The building is set to be demolished on Tuesday morning, city officials said.

ABC News' Alex Perez, Andy Fies and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Teen dies, another injured in shooting outside Atlanta high school following graduation party: Police

kali9/Getty Images

(ATLANTA) -- A teenager was shot and killed early Sunday morning outside an Atlanta high school after a confrontation that began at a graduation party, according to police.

The Atlanta Police Department said it responded to calls about multiple people shot at 2:27 a.m. near Benjamin E. Mays High School.

Upon arriving at the scene, authorities said they discovered a 16-year-old who was critically injured. She was transported to the hospital and succumbed to her injuries, police said.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed to ABC News that Breasia Powell was killed in the incident.

A 16-year-old boy also checked himself into the hospital with a gunshot wound from the same incident, police said. He's currently in stable condition.

Powell was scheduled to begin working for the City of Atlanta on Tuesday as a participant in their youth employment program, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during a news conference Sunday.

Atlanta Public Schools Police handed the investigation over to Atlanta Police Homicide, authorities and the school district said.

The Atlanta Homicide Department said it has reason to believe those involved were also high school-aged. There is also a $10,000 Crime Stoppers reward related to information about the shooting.

Dickens said he graduated from Benjamin E. Mays High School and has an intimate connection with its community.

Dickens went on to say students should be able to enjoy a "fun, enjoyable, safe summer" without violence. He said he hopes students make conscious and quality decisions while encouraging guardians to stay involved in their children's whereabouts.

Dr. Lisa Herring, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, said the district will continue to offer employment resources and mental health services to students and their families.

"We recognize that this impact creates trauma," Herring said.

The district offers free telehealth and counseling services for all students. Benjamin E. Mays High will have on-sight crisis teams Tuesday for teachers and parents who may need to identify resources for the summer months, according to the district.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ralph Yarl raises money for traumatic brain injuries following wrong house shooting

Chase Castor/Getty Images

(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) -- Ralph Yarl, the teenager who was shot in the head when he mistakenly went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings, is set to attend a walk/run event in Overland Park, Kansas on Memorial Day to help raise money for traumatic brain injuries.

Yarl is expected to participate in the “Going the Distance for Brain Injury” event, which takes place on Monday morning and features a 10K, 5k and 1.5 mile walk and an event for kids. Yarl suffered from his own traumatic brain injury following the shooting last month.

Yarl's aunt, Faith Spoonmore, told ABC News in an interview on Friday that the shooting, which occurred on April 13, has taken a toll on her nephew both physically and emotionally.

“It makes it very real. You know, it's one thing when you see it on the news and you hear about it when it comes into your house,” she said.

Spoonmore said that Yarl, who was shot in the neighborhood where he lived, is not ready to live at home again and has been living with Spoonmore and her family.

“Ralph is currently living with me. He's been with me since the event. He is not comfortable going back to that area,” she said. “He is not comfortable going back to his house, his home … which is so unfortunate because he had a lot of great memories in that home.”

Spoonmore said that Yarl has been suffering from migraines since the shooting, which has limited his ability to play his favorite musical instruments – the clarinet and the bassoon.

“Now you see him and he's by himself,” Spoonmore said. “But he's not doing the things that he loves to do and it's like he's a shell. And that's the problem, is that there is something that is missing within him.”

Ralph Yarl was shot on the evening of April 13 in Kansas City, Missouri, after he accidentally went to the wrong address to pick up his siblings, according to police. He was 16 at the time of the shooting, but celebrated his 17th birthday earlier this month.

Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white man, was charged with one count of felony assault in the first-degree and one count of armed criminal action, also a felony, Clay County prosecuting attorney Zachary Thompson said during a press conference on April 17.

Lester pleaded not guilty and was released on April 18 on a $200,000 bond.

According to ABC affiliate in Kansas City, KMBC, Lester’s attorney Steve Salmon filed a motion last week to have the case sealed, arguing that the media attention has created a “bias” against his client.

“I think it’s important for his right to get a fair trial,” Salmon told reporters following the hearing.

Lester's next court hearing is set for June 1.

Spoonmore said she hopes the shooting “does not stop [Ralph] from seeing the good in people,” and that the event on Monday shows him the support he is getting from the community.

“It would just be great just for Ralph to see all those people who have been pouring up a lot of love into him... there's still so much love in this community,” she said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Escaped Ohio inmate convicted of double murder found dead: Marshals

James Lee and Bradley Gillespie in photos released by police. -- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

(CLEVELAND) -- One of the two inmates who escaped from an Ohio prison has been found dead, authorities said.

Bradley Gillespie's body was recovered in the Ohio River, the U.S. Marshals Services in Cleveland tweeted Sunday. The second inmate had been captured on Wednesday, authorities said.

The Allen County Sheriff's Office warned residents on Tuesday to "be aware and use caution" after the two men escaped from the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima.

The inmates were identified by the sheriff's office as Gillespie, 50, and James Lee, 47.

Lee was captured in Henderson, Kentucky, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Gillespie was convicted of murdering a man and woman in 2016 and was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction online records.

Lee was convicted in 2021 of charges including burglary, safecracking and breaking and entering and was serving at least 20 years in prison, state records show.

Lee was first discovered missing during a prisoner count at 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. An emergency count of all prisoners determined that Gillespie was also missing, state police said.

The two men were last observed on surveillance video inside the facility at 8:41 a.m. on Monday, state police said.

The men were believed to be in a red Mercury Capri that was stolen in Auglaize County, Ohio, according to state police.

The vehicle was located by police officers in Henderson, Kentucky, Wednesday shortly after 3 a.m. local time. Police attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled before crashing into a fence, Henderson police said.

The inmates then fled on foot, Henderson police said. Lee was "immediately" taken into custody but Gillespie was not apprehended, police said. A shoe believed to have been worn by Gillespie was found two blocks from the location of the vehicle.

Henderson police asked residents to review any home surveillance they may have since Wednesday at 3:17 a.m.

Multiple county, state and federal agencies were involved in the manhunt. Police K-9s, water vessels, helicopters and drones have been used in the search, police said.

The U.S. Marshals Service, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Allen County Sheriff's Office were offering up to a $21,000 reward for information that led to Gillespie's capture.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is also conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gunman at large after 3 people shot at Seattle casino

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(SEATTLE) -- A search was underway Sunday for a gunman who shot three people at a casino in Seattle, according to police.

The shooting unfolded at the Roxbury Lanes Casino in southwest Seattle just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, the Seattle Police Department said.

Officers responded to reports of multiple people shot at the casino and bowling alley and upon arrival discovered three victims suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.

The injured people were taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. A hospital official told ABC affiliate station KOMO that the victims are two men and a woman.

The gunman entered the casino and immediately opened fire without warning, police said.

Investigators working to identify the gunman and determine motive for the shooting, officials said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

3 dead, 5 injured as biker gang shootout erupts in Red River, New Mexico

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(RED ROCK, N.M.) -- Three people were killed and five others were injured when a shootout erupted between two outlaw biker gangs at the annual Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally in New Mexico, police said.

As tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts converged on the Taos County resort town for the annual event and live music festival, members of the Bandidos and Water Dog biker gangs got into a fight in which multiple rounds of gunfire were traded between the two groups, New Mexico State Police Chief Tim Johnson said at a news conference Sunday morning.

Johnson said all eight people shot in the episode, including those killed, were members of the two biker gangs.

"I'll apologize initially to the law abiding citizens that came to Red River to have a good Memorial Day Weekend, not the gangbangers that are ruining it for all of them, but for everyone there will be zero tolerance from this point forward," Johnson said, adding that even people caught jay walking will be subject to arrest. "This is not going to happen again this weekend because we're not going to allow it."

As many as 28,000 bikers were expected to arrive in Red River this weekend for the 41st annual motorcycle rally.

The shooting erupted around 5 p.m. Saturday on Main Street on the east side of Red River when a confrontation occurred between members of the two biker gangs, Johnson said.

He said the fight was apparently over a photograph members of one of the gangs took with another outlaw biker gang in Albuquerque a few days ago.

"That spilled over to here, where they ran into each other again and a confrontation started. It started with words initially, then it turned into a fight, which then turned to shots fired," Johnson said.

Killed in the shootout were two members of the Bandidos Johnson identified as Anthony Silva, 26, of Los Lunas, New Mexico, and Damian Breaux, 46, of Socorro, New Mexico. Also killed was Randy Sanchez, 46, of Albuquerque, a member of the Water Dogs, Johnson said.

Johnson said Jacob Castillo, 30, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a member of the Water Dogs, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Castillo was wounded in the incident and remained in a hospital on Sunday.

Two other members of the Bandidos who wounded in the shooting, Matthew Jackson, 39, of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Garcia, 41, were also arrested on charges that Johnson said were "somewhat unrelated" to the shootings. Jackson was taken into custody on a charge of unlawful carrying of a firearm inside a liquor establishment, and Garcia was arrested on a charge of possessing cocaine, Johnson said.

After being treated at a local hospital, Garcia and Johnson were booked at the Taos County Detention Center.

Three other biker gang members -- ages 53, 31 and 43 -- were wounded in the shooting and remained hospitalized Sunday, Johnson said. Their conditions were not released.

One of the wounded men was airlifted to a Denver hospital, according to the chief.

Johnson asked anyone who witnessed the gunfight or has video of it contact police investigators immediately.

At least 32 State Police officers and a number of other law enforcement officers from different agencies were already on patrol in Red River when the shooting broke out, Johnson said.

He said that on Friday, the New Mexico State Police received information from the Texas Department of Public Safety that 400 to 500 members of the Bandidos biker gang were riding from Texas to Red River.

Four days ago, two members of the Bandidos biker gang were arrested on charges stemming from a drive-by shooting in Lubbock, Texas, in which a member of the Mongols biker gang was targeted, authorities said.

"In early in April, I believe there was two shootouts, one in Oklahoma City, and another one in Dallas involving Bandidos," Johnson said.

Johnson said that as long as members of the biker gangs remain in town, he could not guarantee everyone attending the motorcycle rally will be safe.

Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun said that based on a recommendation from the State Police, the city is encouraging most businesses in the city to remain closed for the remainder of the holiday weekend.

"We do realize that we have a town full of people that still need to eat and be taken care of. So, the ones who would open will be taking extra caution to make sure they keep everybody safe," Calhoun said.

Officials in nearby Taos put in place an emergency curfew beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday. All alcohol sales were to be stopped during the emergency proclamation, which was posted on the town's Facebook page.

The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the State Police with the investigation.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dramatic footage shows shootout between bus driver, passenger

Charlotte Area Transit System

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Newly released surveillance footage shows a dramatic shootout between a North Carolina public bus driver and passenger while the bus was in motion.

The shooting occurred on May 18 on a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus, after the passenger asked the driver to get off between stops near the Steele Creek Premium Outlet Mall, the transportation agency said.

During an approximately two-minute exchange, the passenger, identified by authorities as 22-year-old Omarri Shariff Tobias -- can be heard saying, "I dare you. I dare you to touch me. I'm going to pop your a--," in the footage, released Friday by CATS.

Tobias then walks away and can be seen pulling a firearm out of his jacket pocket, as two other passengers are visible seated on the bus, before moving back towards the front door of the bus and turning to face the driver.

The driver, identified by CATS as David Fullard, then pulls out his own firearm and both exchange rapid gunfire. CATS said it has been unable to determine who fired first. Multiple bullet holes can be seen in a transparent partition that separates the driver from passengers.

The driver then stopped the bus and left his seat as Tobias crawled his way toward the rear of the bus. The two bystander passengers had also quickly moved to the rear of the bus during the exchange of gunfire.

The driver continued to fire his gun after the initial exchange, the video shows. While standing in the aisle, he fired toward the rear of the bus where Tobias was ducking for cover. After Tobias and another bystander were able to open the rear door and exit, Fullard exited from the bus' front door and fired at Tobias again, CATS said.

Both men were struck by gunfire in the shooting -- the driver in the arm and the passenger in the abdomen -- and transported to a local hospital, CATS said. Both are expected to recover from their injuries, the agency said.

One of the bystanders could be seen tumbling to the ground as Tobias exited the bus, though both bystanders were unharmed in the incident, CATS said.

Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to the scene and confiscated both firearms, police said.

CATS interim CEO Brent Cagle called the incident a "tragic expression of the gun violence in our community."

"We will not be able to solve this problem on our own. However, CATS is committed to doing what we can to address this with our partners at CMPD, and our partners at RATP Dev who employ and manage our bus operators," Cagle said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tobias has since been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries, communicating threats and carrying a concealed firearm, police said. He is currently detained at the Mecklenburg County jail, online inmate records show. It is unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has not yet announced whether charges will be brought against Fullard, who has been fired, CATS said.

Fullard was an employee of RATP Dev/Transit Management, which does not allow employees to carry weapons while working, CATS said.

Fullard's attorney said he had the gun because he didn't feel safe on the job, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported.

CATS said it also determined that Fullard did not follow standard safety protocols, including de-escalation, during the altercation.

"Ninety-nine percent of CATS transit happens without any operator needing to engage emergency protocols. In this case, the operator did not leverage any," CATS said, noting that Fullard could have just let the passenger off the bus between the stops in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Family of man fatally shot by Walgreens security guard files $25M wrongful death lawsuit

San Francisco District Attorney's Office

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The family of a man fatally shot by a security guard in a San Francisco Walgreens last month during an apparent shoplifting altercation has filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit.

Banko Brown, 24, died on April 27 following an altercation with the guard, police said. The guard, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, has not been charged in the shooting.

Attorneys for Banko's parents announced Friday they have filed a civil lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court against Walgreens, Anthony and Kingdom Group Protective Services, which provides security for Walgreens and employs Anthony.

"Deadly force was not the way to handle this," civil rights attorney John Burris told reporters during a Friday press briefing, calling it a "petty theft situation."

"You're talking about taking a person's life in connection with $15, $14," Burris said.

The lawsuit claims that Walgreens and Kingdom Group Protective Services have encouraged their armed security officers to use force to detain suspected shoplifters.

"Walgreens is responsible," Burris said. "It's Banko's blood that's on their heart and on their conscious and on their hands."

A Walgreens spokesperson told ABC News they are not commenting on the lawsuit. ABC News has reached out to Kingdom Group Protective Services.

A Walgreens spokesperson previously told ABC News: "We are offering condolences to the victim's family during this difficult time. The safety of our patients, customers and team members is our top priority, and violence of any kind will not be tolerated in our stores."

A spokesperson for Kingdom Group Protective Services told ABC News previously that it is "fully cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of this extremely unfortunate incident and are deeply saddened by the loss of Banko Brown’s life. At this time, we are not permitted to comment further."

ABC News was unable to reach Anthony for comment.

The incident took place at a Walgreens in downtown San Francisco on April 27 just after 6:30 p.m. PT, according to the police report. The surveillance video, which does not have sound, purportedly shows Brown attempting to leave the store without paying for a bag full of items. The on-duty and lawfully armed security guard, Anthony, stops Brown then the two engage in a struggle. The two struggle for less than a minute until Anthony pins Brown to the ground, as shoppers continue to enter and exit the store.

The video then purportedly shows Anthony letting go of Brown, who picks up the bag and heads for the exit. Brown turns around and walks backward out the door then appears to step toward Anthony. Anthony lifts his gun and fires a single shot, striking Brown in the chest. Brown falls to the ground just outside the store.

In an interview with police, Anthony said he told Brown to "put the items back" but that Brown "refused" and was "aggressive." Anthony said he went to take the items but that Brown fought to keep them and repeatedly threatened to stab him as a struggle ensued. Police said a knife was not found on Brown.

Attorneys for Brown's family also pushed back against claims that Brown threatened to stab the guard, saying Friday that witnesses have not corroborated that.

Brown, who struggled with homelessness, worked as a community organizer for the Young Women's Freedom Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides support for young women and transgender youth across California.

In seeking at least $25 million in damages, Burris said they want the lawsuit to send a message that "the value of a human life cannot be diminished because of their station in life, who they are."

"This was a young person, 24 years old, whose life was taken unnecessarily so," Burris said.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against the security guard, citing insufficient evidence that Anthony was not acting in lawful self-defense.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta this week agreed to review the district attorney's office's decision this week to see whether it was an "abuse of discretion," ABC San Francisco station KGO reported.

Brown's parents are calling for murder charges against the guard.

"I would like him to go to prison for life," Brown's mother, Kevinisha Henderson, told "Good Morning America."

Brown's funeral service was held Thursday, a month after he was killed.

"[I'm] in a state of shock, it's still hard to believe," Henderson said. "It's very hard for me."

ABC News' Morgan Winsor and Tenzin Shakya contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Basketball coach found dead in park nearly week after going missing: Police

Delray Beach Police Department

(DELRAY BEACH, Fla.) -- A missing youth basketball coach in Florida was found dead nearly a week after police said he was last seen going for a run.

Makuach Yak, 31, was found dead Friday evening inside the Delray Oaks Natural Area, a park in Delray Beach, Florida, local authorities said.

"Right now, it appears his death is not criminal in nature," the Delray Beach Police Department said in a social media post.

The medical examiner will determine Yak's cause of death, and the investigation remains open, police said.

Yak, a youth basketball coach from Delray Beach, was supposed to coach on May 20 but was nowhere to be found, his friend and business partner, Tate VanRoekel, told ABC West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF.

Home security footage shared with WPBF recorded Yak in his front yard around 6:30 a.m. that day in a purple shirt and black shorts, the station reported.

VanRoekel told WPBF that Yak's wallet, keys, cellphone and Apple Watch were "all on the counter, just sitting there."

In the days since he was reported missing, friends and family have held search parties throughout Delray Beach, a city on Florida's east coast located between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

Friends also spread the word through a Facebook group, Missing: Find Coach Yak.

"We ask that you pray for his family and all who loved him. We are devastated," the group posted on Friday.

Yak, a native of South Sudan who was also known by the name Paul, coached youth basketball in the South Florida region. He competed in cross country at Augustana University in South Dakota and once had ambitions to compete in the Olympics, according to a 2018 Des Moines Register profile of the runner.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

The nation's top teachers share their biggest challenges: Burnout, student mental health and more

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Top teachers across the country say they face major hurdles in the classroom -- including staffing shortages, the pinch of low pay and addressing students' mental health -- many of which stem from closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent ABC News survey found.

"I think teachers are just the fabric of our communities," Rebecka Peterson, the 2023 educator of the year, told ABC News earlier this year. "And I think we have to think of big and small ways that we can wrap our arms around teachers and remind them how important they are to us individually and to us as communities."

For this story, ABC News solicited responses from each state teacher of the year winner to see what they viewed as the greatest current challenge facing educators.

Thirty-five out of the 55 teachers answered and the rest elected not to participate, according to a spokesperson for the Council of Chief State School Officers, which runs the state teacher of the year program.

The issues that the group highlighted include navigating advancements in technology, teaching larger class sizes and more.

The two most common answers were meeting students' social, emotional and academic needs and solving the staffing shortage.

Despite emerging cultural flashpoints in the classroom like instruction on LGBTQ topics, book bans and the appropriateness of discussing critical race theory, the teachers instead pointed to student mental health, low pay and burnout as causes for concern.

Iowa's teacher of the year, Krystal Colbert, described the latter as a "real" and "recognizable" crisis that deserves more attention.

Meeting students where they are

Nine respondents said what deserves the most attention is how to reach students who may be struggling amid broader emotional challenges, whether it's what they called a youth mental health crisis or trauma brought on by the pandemic.

Maine's Matt Bernstein believes it's time to maximize this moment.

"Meeting the needs of all students is a responsibility that educators are proud to take on, but it is challenging and takes a lot of work, energy, and dedication," Bernstein, a professional learning coach, wrote in the survey.

He and other educators stressed how cultivating relationships is also a solution for a problem they described as largely created by social isolation and distance learning when schools shuttered three years ago to limit the health risks of COVID-19.

"By building solid relationships and comprehensively investing in education, we have a better chance of ensuring that every student can achieve their full potential and contribute to the success of our society," wrote Alabama fifth-grade teacher Reggie LeDon White.

Washington, D.C.'s Jermar Rountree, a health and physical education teacher and 2023 national finalist, explained that kids also need movement, which will help them handle their emotions.

"We as teachers need the support to be able to handle the traumatic experiences that our students are coming to school with," Rountree wrote "Teachers are constantly swimming upstream to meet students where they are, but after the pandemic we do not even know where to begin. However, one place to start would be to prepare our new teachers on what to expect and how they can be severely helpful to our veteran teachers. Giving all teachers the tools to be successful increases the [professional] lifespan of a teacher 2 times over."

Teachers have to accommodate students not only in their lessons but in all aspects of life, according to Stephane Camacho Concepcion, a Guam elementary school teacher.

"Educators have to be able to be counselors, social workers, and etc to ensure that they [children] have all they need to have a successful academic journey," she wrote.

Recruiting and retaining teachers

According to experts, education departments, agencies and associations, 42 states and territories report ongoing shortages this school year.

Seven teacher of the year respondents -- from rural Alaska to New Jersey -- indicated they're feeling that strain.

"Shortages have always been fairly normal, but the past few years have seen the shortages drastically increase," wrote Alaska first-grade teacher Harlee Harvey, a 2023 national finalist. "This provides issues for several reasons. First, students are without highly qualified teachers in their classrooms, which will negatively impact the quality of instruction. Second, it puts an additional burden on teachers and paraeducators who have stayed, increasing the stress of their jobs and the likelihood that they will step away from our schools as well," she added.

Arizona's Ty White, who teaches high school chemistry, explained that the "massive" shortage is more pronounced in rural districts in the U.S., especially for aspiring educators.

"Since most university driven teaching programs are located in larger cities, many teachers aren't familiar with rural communities to begin with," White wrote. "When these new teachers start job searching and find rural job postings, they are often less attractive because in states with Local Education Agency control, salaries are not competitive with larger communities."

In New Jersey, where state officials have said special education, science and math teachers are in high demand, Christine Girtain called for better funding practices that would help instructors earn more amid the shortage.

The National Education Association (NEA) found that teachers make thousands less than they did a decade ago when adjusted for inflation. The average salary of classroom teachers declined by an estimated 6.4% over the past decade, according to NEA data.

"Teachers should not have to work 2nd & 3rd jobs to afford to live," Girtain, a high school science teacher and director of authentic science research, wrote. "We need larger nationwide investment in funding education and paying teachers a living wage."

School safety

Two respondents included school safety in their answers to this survey. Still, recent fears of gun violence also has other teachers on edge.

Melissa Collins said learning loss was this nation's greatest education challenge. But in the wake of the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, Collins said she hopes the massacre prompts legislators to pass more gun reform.

"I don't have a hand to carry a gun," the state's teacher of the year told "Good Morning America" in March. "My hands are full because I am carrying our future leaders."

Respecting the profession

Respect remains a major challenge facing public educators, too, the surveyed teachers said.

Rebecka Peterson, this year's national teacher of the year, aims to use her platform to share positive messages about education. But recently she told ABC News that many teachers still feel they aren't valued as much as they should be.

"What every teacher says when I ask them the recruit and retain [question], right, they come back to respecting and appreciating the profession," Peterson said last month before being honored with a crystal apple at the White House.

Most teachers in Peterson's cohort agree: The lack of appreciation is undeserving of the job.

"In any other profession, professionals are treated with respect and dignity," Kentucky sixth-grade English Language Arts teacher Mandy Perez wrote in the ABC News survey. "We deserve to be treated with the same importance and value," she wrote.

Tara Hughes believes respecting education could even improve working conditions for teachers. "Uplifting the education profession and retaining teachers will lead to smaller class sizes, resulting in higher student engagement, the ability to meet academic and social-emotional needs, and a decrease in teacher burnout," Hughes, who teaches Pre-K in New Mexico, wrote.

Working with the community to respect and prioritize students' needs is at the top of Missouri English teacher Christina Andrade Melly's agenda.

"Public education is a public good - we have to respect it and invest in it for our students to thrive," Melly wrote, adding, "All of us want our students to be successful, and we must remember how to work together towards that goal."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Board game designers aim to make tackling climate change fun

Richard Reininger

(NEW YORK) -- Board games like Monopoly, Clue and The Game of Life are iconic in many Americans' lives and in pop culture. Now some designers are exploring a wider range of topics, including how to use games to spark discussion about bigger issues.

One of those games, Daybreak, is set to launch this spring after years of development to tackle one of the most complex topics of all, how to bring the world together to combat climate change.

"The game started from a conversation on what could we do about climate change as game designers," game designer Matteo Menapace told ABC News. "We felt we can use games to talk about climate change, to model this big problem in a way that is playable, that is understandable by players and in a way that gives people agency over their choices."

In Daybreak, players take on the role of world powers like the United States, European Union and China and have to negotiate ways to achieve drawdown, which is the point when greenhouse gas emissions are reduced enough to prevent temperatures from continuing to rise. Instead of playing against each other players work together to win against the game, but the whole group will lose if any player has too many communities in crisis from the impacts of climate change.

Designers Menapace and Matt Leacock, who also designed the game Pandemic, said they were overwhelmed by all the problems associated with climate change at first, but wanted to use their skills to help do something about it.

They said the game became a way for them, and they hope for players as well, to process their feelings about climate change and better understand the possible solutions.

"I think that just watching it kind of play out through the dynamics of the game made it also easier to kind of understand and get my arms around and feel better about. So it was a very positive thing for me to develop it. And I'm kind of hoping that people who play the game will have a similar experience," Leacock said.

Board games surged in popularity in recent years, with a 33% increase in sales in the first year of the pandemic, according to market research firm Circana. Several independently designed games like Cascadia and Wingspan have taken on nature-related themes and have been recognized with multiple design awards.

But even with the gains in popularity, it actually isn't the first time board games have been used to help players interact with or learn more about nature.

Sherri Sheu curated an exhibit at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia focused on environmental board games. Sheu's work as a historian focuses on environmental history and she said there are clear parallels between what you see in games from decades like the 1960s and 70s and the conversation about environmental issues going on at the time.

"I think most people tend to think of board games as fun family entertainment. As things that we're just we play on a Saturday night with our friends or we're playing at home with our families and usually we're thinking more about, more in terms of who's cheating at Monopoly than we're thinking about what we're learning from these games," Sheu said.

"But what we discovered is actually that game makers and game designers have just been fascinated by environmental issues and have made a lot of games about environmental issues over the last 50 years," Sheu said.

She said some of those games, like Litterbug a children's game that teaches about the consequences of littering or Clean Water, a game created after the passage of the Clean Water Act, came at a time in the 1970s when people were becoming a lot more politically engaged and aware of environmental issues.

"These board games really serve as a way of both harnessing this really strong energy that people are having about protecting the environment, that they want to get out there, that they want to do something about it, and also showing that these issues can often be quite complex," she told ABC News.

Adam Procter, a professor at the University of Southampton's Winchester School of Art who teaches game design, said he sees a similar energy in his students today who come to work with him because of his focus on using gameplay to tackle difficult topics.

Procter and his students helped test Daybreak. In those sessions, he said he noticed that even losing the game sparked conversations that relate to climate solutions in the real world.

"Afterwards, the conversation about what they think they should do better and that .. they want to play like almost straight away again, too, because they suddenly realize 'oh okay, we need to collaborate on this. We should definitely have done more of that. I think we need to invest in this technology or these things'," Procter told ABC News.

"And so the conversation after the game is really interesting because they certainly are having conversations about the climate crisis, which is not just, it's not a topic you just want to bring up," Procter said.

Leacock and Menapace said that despite the serious nature of the subject matter, the game had to be fun. And that in addition to providing a fun experience with friends and family, the game can help people navigate the anxiety and sense of overwhelm that's often connected to climate change.

Leacock said the game provides a safe space to talk about climate-related topics and they also plan to include links to resources to learn about the real world equivalents of the scenarios in the game.

"You're seeing that you can actually make a difference or that people, society can make a difference. So you're less likely to be caught up in a feeling of doom and that can feel pretty empowering," he said.

Daybreak will be shipped to people who pre-ordered it in June and is expected to be available online and in stores later this spring.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Feds charge climate protesters for allegedly defacing Edgar Degas exhibit at National Gallery of Art

Nick Ansell/PA Images via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Two members of a climate activist group were arrested and charged Friday for allegedly defacing an art exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., during a protest last month.

Timothy Martin of North Carolina, and Joanna Smith of New York, both 53, surrendered to authorities after they were indicted on conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and injury to a National Gallery of Art exhibit, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

On April 27, the pair, members of climate activist group Declare Emergency, allegedly entered the gallery and threw red and black paint on the case of the Edgar Degas sculpture "Little Danger Aged Fourteen," according to prosecutors.

The pair then sat in front of the defaced exhibit with the paint still on their hands and posed for photos, which were later posted on Declare Emergency's site, investigators said.

"The conspiracy specifically targeted the Little Dancer based on her fragility," the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Martin and Smith's alleged actions caused approximately $2,400 in damage and the exhibit was removed from public display for 10 days so that it could be repaired.

Attorney information for the defendants wasn't immediately available.

Other protesters who were involved in the museum defacing haven't been named or charged.

If convicted, Martin and Smith face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

A few days before the museum incident, Declare Emergency shut down a section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, causing heavy traffic jams around Washington, D.C.

Museums and art exhibits have become a growing target for climate activists around the world in the last couple of months.

In October, climate activists threw soup over Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" in London's National Gallery to protest fossil fuel extraction.

In November, two climate activists were arrested after they tried to glue themselves to Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in an Oslo, Norway, museum.

Later that month, protesters from threw a black oily liquid on Gustav Klimt's painting "Tod und Leben" at the Leopold museum in Vienna, Austria, before gluing their hands to the frame.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Player faints during LSU Tigers’ national title celebration at the White House

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The LSU Tigers women's basketball team’s national championship celebration at the White House on Friday was marked by a scary moment when a player fainted during the event.

Sa'Myah Smith, a freshman forward, seemed to signal she was in distress before she collapsed. The event paused for several moments while medical staff attended to her,

Eventually, applause broke out when Smith was helped to a chair and wheeled out of the event. Later on, head coach Kim Mulkey assured the crowd she was alright and more embarrassed than anything.

"That's not the first time that's happened," President Joe Biden said. "Not to her but to a lot of folks standing on that stage."

Aside from the scare, the event also saw some mending of fences between team co-captain Angel Reese and Dr. Jill Biden.

The tiff began after the first lady suggested she would invite both LSU and the team it defeated to the White House. Reese called that a "joke" and suggested that she would not come to the White House before ultimately agreeing to attend.

Reese helped present jerseys to the Bidens and gave them hugs.

"Watching you was pure magic," the first lady said of the team’s performance in the NCAA championship. "The way you pass, like you can read each other's thoughts. The air crackling with the electricity of that connection. The crowd seemed to breath with one breath. Our hearts racing to the rhythm of each thump of the ball."

"Every basket was pure joy, and I kept thinking about how far women's sports have come," she continued.

The president also gave Reese a shout out in his remarks, saying he "wasn't surprised" when she was named the most outstanding player.

"You know, you made it more expensive for people to come. The cost of tickets went up 10 times. 10 times. And more than the men's games," Biden said to laughter.

Present at the event were two top debt ceiling negotiators and Louisiana natives: Rep. Garret Graves and Office of Budget and Management Director Shalanda Young. Both took a break from ongoing talks to commemorate the team.

"She's now helping lead the critical budget talks we're in the middle of now. But she said, 'I'm not - I'm leaving the talks to be here,'" Biden said of Young in what was his only reference to the budget talks during the event.

The Tigers dominated the Iowa Hawkeyes to win their first basketball title in school history.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Media One Radio Group is always looking to grow our Marketing team!  For more information on full-time, part-time and out of home opportunities visit our Employment Section - here!

Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 29, 2023

Ohio man dies in drowning on Chautauqua Lake last Friday... An Ohio man has died in an apparent boating accident on Chautauqua Lake near Bemus Point.  Sheriff's Department's Marine Divis...

Read More