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Former AP photographer Peter Cosgrove dies at age 84

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Peter Cosgrove, a former Associated Press photographer in Florida who covered more than 100 space shuttle launches, the Elian Gonzalez saga, and the presidential recount, has died. He died of a heart attack in his sleep on Saturday in Orlando, Florida at the age of 84.

During a journalism career that spanned almost 50 years, the last eight years as a staffer with The Associated Press, Cosgrove covered President Nixon's meeting with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu at Midway and four Apollo moon-mission crew recoveries at sea. He was aboard the USS Hornet when the first moonwalkers, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and pilot Michael Collins, returned to Earth and were picked up in the Pacific by the aircraft carrier in 1969.

He also covered two of NASA's greatest tragedies while reporting from Cape Canaveral, Florida - the Challenger explosion and the demise of the space shuttle Columbia.

"Pete was a legend at the Cape for his space program coverage as well as a mentor to many photographers in the Sunshine State," AP director of photography David Ake wrote AP photographers on Tuesday.

Cosgrove was known for his calmness and clear-headedness when mayhem was breaking out around him. He was with protesters outside the home of Elian Gonzalez's relatives in Miami's Little Havana in 2000 when federal authorities arrived in pre-dawn hours to take away the 6-year-old Cuban boy and reunite him with his father. Inside the home, AP photographer Alan Diaz had captured images of an armed and helmeted federal agent seizing the boy from a bedroom. When Diaz exited the home amid pepper spray and mace, he sat down on the front steps, a bit in a daze. Cosgrove yelled to him, "'Alan, the disk,'" said Joe Skipper, a Reuters photographer who often covered the same stories with Cosgrove.

Cosgrove grabbed the disk from Diaz and ran with it to nearby editors who would transmit the images from inside the house around the world. The iconic photo of a terrified-looking Elian won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize.

Cosgrove's distinguishing characteristics were his kindness and generosity to his colleagues and competitors, whether it was sneaking away from a media vigil outside the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 presidential recount to buy hot coffee for other photographers or his habit of grabbing sodas from the media room at Jacksonville Jaguar games to give to security guards as he made his way to the field.

A native of Brooklyn, Cosgrove started in the news business in 1957, shortly after his discharge from the Navy, when he took a job as a telephoto engineer with United Press International in New York. In 1962, he transferred to Cleveland where he covered the hometown parade for John Glenn after the astronaut became the first man to orbit the earth. Cosgrove then transferred to New Jersey, where he was the wire service's chief telephoto engineer and a photographer.

He worked for UPI in Miami and Tampa before he was laid off from the wire service in 1991.

He freelanced for the AP in Florida until he was hired as a staffer in the Orlando office in 1997. During his time there, he was meticulous in preparing for any assignment, whether it was covering the Orlando Magic or working on a feature story. He retired in 2005.

"He would always research," said Phil Sandlin, former AP photo editor for Florida, who also worked with Cosgrove at UPI. "He was so into knowing what he was going out to shoot and knowing what would make a good picture."

Cosgrove is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

Jaguars hire Dom Capers as senior defensive assistant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Former NFL head coach Dom Capers has joined Jacksonville's coaching staff as senior defensive assistant, returning to the Jaguars two decades after his first stint with the team.

The team says Capers will work closely with defensive coordinator Todd Wash and the other assistants on that side of the ball.

Capers served as Jacksonville's defensive coordinator from 1999-2000 under current executive Tom Coughlin.

Capers was the head coach of two NFL expansion teams - the Carolina Panthers (1995-98) and the Houston Texans (2002-05). Most recently, he served as Green Bay's defensive coordinator (2009-17). He was out of the league last season, but spent countless time at Jacksonville's practice facility.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says Capers "has career experiences and accomplishments that will benefit our coaches and our players. He adds a unique perspective and veteran presence that will be valuable assets to immediately help us."

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Texas girl is first child in U.S. to receive heart implant

A 4-year-old Texas girl became the first child in the United States -- and second in the world -- to receive an implant that will keep her heart pumping, KHOU reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Kateyln Hickman received the Jarvik 2015 Ventricular Assistant Device, tailored specifically for children 4 and younger suffering from heart failure, the television station reported.

“The only real therapy we have for a patient like her is to do a transplant, but we have to be able to get her there safely,” Jeff Dreyer, medical director of heart failure, cardiomyopathy and cardiac transplantation at Texas Children's Hospital, told KHOU.

The implant, which uses an AA battery, pumps oxygenated blood out of the heart. Iki Adachi, who also works at the Texas Children’s Hospital, has called results of the implant “so dramatic.”

“These patients are really, really sick before operation,” Adachi told KHOU. “I was particularly happy, because the family was super happy, seeing their kids doing really well.”

Florida to ban dumping blood off beaches to lure sharks

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida is preparing a new statewide ban on the practice by fishermen along the state's iconic beaches of dumping bloody fish guts into the ocean to lure sharks closer to shore - and possibly closer to swimmers and waders.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was expected later this month to finalize a ban on "chumming" when fishing for any species from the beach. The technique - often used for sharks - involves scattering blood, oil and pieces of ground-up fish to produce a slick carried on the current or tide to lure predators closer to baited hooks.

"Personally, I would strongly prefer to not be in the water where folks are ringing the dinner bell for the ocean's ultimate predator," said Debbie Salamone, whose Achilles tendon was severed by a shark bite while wading 50 feet off the Cape Canaveral National Seashore in 2004. She has since become a shark conservation advocate: "It's really good to be clear that sharks do not want to eat people."

The new regulation would ban placing chum in the water for fishing and defines chum as fish, fish parts or other animal products intended to attract marine wildlife.

The commission scheduled its final public hearing on the matter for Wednesday in Gainesville, but its professional staff has already recommended that it formally approve the chumming ban that same day. It also was expected to require a new annual permit at no cost to shark fishermen on beaches, releasing some species immediately without taking them out of the water and using non-stainless steel circle hooks.

All the new rules would take effect July 1.

Some fishermen complained that the ban threatens long-held traditions and penalizes anglers who don't own or can't afford to fish for sharks using boats, where it would remain lawful to chum the waters even close to shore.

Daniel Rodriguez of Melbourne has a deep passion for shark fishing, he said. His largest catch from the beach, a 13-foot hammerhead, is one of his proudest accomplishments.

Rodriguez urged the state to be careful about new rules or restrictions on anglers.

"I ask that you tread lightly with your rules and fees," Rodriguez wrote to the commission. "The ability to enjoy the fishing tradition including shark fishing should be affordable and accessible to everyone."

Scientists said catching sharks from beaches - regardless whether there is chum present - can permanently damage sharks. David Shiffman, a shark conservation biologist at Simon Fraser University, said shore-based fishing gives sharks increased "angling stress."

Angling stress - what fishermen often call "the fight" - can kill a shark even if you release it while fishing onshore, Shiffman said. Catching sharks on the beach is particularly dangerous for the shark, he said. As it is dragged onshore for a catch-and-release, it receives micro-abrasions and loses the buoyancy its organs need to function. He opposes chumming from beaches.

"You probably shouldn't dump gallons and gallons of chum right next to a bunch of tourists on their beach vacation," Shiffman said.

Enforcing the new ban could be difficult along Florida's 663 miles of shoreline. Shiffman proposed reserving some beaches just for shark fishing.

Henry Lewis, a marine biology junior at the University of South Florida, estimated that he has caught more than 100 sharks from the beach. There is no better thrill than the buzz of his fishing line in the late hours of the night, he said.

"Time stands still for a second," Lewis said. "It's pure adrenaline."

A marine biology junior at the University of South Florida, Lewis tries to fish at Venice Beach at least once a week, he said.

Lewis said he sees no problem banning chum. He uses bloody fish like Spanish mackerel to bait his sharks, he said. The largest shark he ever caught was a 9-foot bull shark, 100 feet from the shore.

Lewis said is concerned how the ban will be enforced. He asked what might happen if he throws a filleted fish into the ocean he had no intention to keep.

"Will that count as chumming?" Lewis asked. "It's pretty unclear."

The director of the Center for Shark Research at the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory, Robert Hueter, said the chumming ban could have a noticeable impact on shark populations in Florida. While the change won't happen overnight, populations should benefit over time, he said.

Hueter said it's a myth that sharks can smell a drop of blood from a mile away, but large amounts of chum in a small area can attract a shark's attention.

"There's so much social media attention on this kind of fishing. Everybody drags the sharks up on the beach and gets a picture posted on Instagram or Facebook or wherever," Hueter said. "It's causing the education of the masses about shark conservation to run in the wrong direction."

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This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

Virginia suspends 2 dentists for allegedly trading drugs for dental work

The licenses of two Virginia dentists were suspended by the Virginia Board of Dentistry for alleged drug infractions in exchange for dental work, WTKR reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Gary Hartman and Arnold Joseph Berger, of Virginia Beach, were ordered to stop practicing dentistry, the television station reported. Hartman’s license was suspended Dec. 20, 2018, while Berger’s license was suspended Feb. 1. 

According to the summary of suspension, Hartman is accused of prescribing more than 46,000 hydrocodone pills, more than 20,000 Soma pills and nearly 8,000 oxycodone pills to patients he had not seen or who did not need the large dosages they were prescribed. Hartman is also accused of prescribing doses of Vicodin, tramadol, sleeping pills and anxiety medications to patients, according to the Board of Dentistry.

One patient reported to the Drug Enforcement Agency that Hartman traded dental work for pain pills, fixing teeth or giving treatment without insurance in exchange for filling a prescription the dentist wrote and turning the pills over to him.

Investigators said Berger not only filled prescriptions for Hartman, but also illegally prescribed opioids to his patients and his wife, according to Board of Dentistry documents.

The Board of Dentistry said Hartman’s hearing for the suspension of his license is set for May, WTKR reported. Berger’s was scheduled for March but will be continued, the television station reported.

What is the USGS and what does it do?

Unless there is a major earthquake, you may not pay much attention to the United States Geological Survey.

>> Read more trending news 

But when the earth shakes, it’s the USGS that provides important initial information on where the damage occurred and how big the quake was. 

However, while that is a very important function of the agency, it's only part of the mission of the USGS, or the Survey, as it is commonly called.

The agency, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, also provides “reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life,” according to the agency’s website.

To study and catalog the country’s resources, the USGS employs a broad array of sciences, including biology, geography, geology and hydrology. 

Created on March 3, 1879, the USGS’s original mission was "classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain.” The Survey was immediately tasked with the exploration and inventory of new lands the U.S. government had acquired through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Mexican–American War in 1848. 

The agency also produces various publications in which its research is reported and runs the United States Geological Survey Library. The USGS employs more than 8,600 people across the United States.

Related stories:

15 things you may not know about earthquakes

What is the strongest earthquake to hit the US?

What should you do if you are caught in an earthquake?

What are the 10 deadliest earthquakes in recorded history?

How likely will the ‘big one’ occur in our lifetime? 

New earthquake simulations show how the 'big one' could shake the Pacific Northwest

Building an emergency disaster kit can be easy and cheap, here's how

Florida statue commemorating iconic WWII victory vandalized with '#MeToo' graffiti

An iconic statue depicting the moment a sailor kissed a nurse at the end of World War II was vandalized less than two days after the sailor in the famous photo died at age 95.

Officers with the Sarasota Police Department got a call of someone spraying "#MeToo" on the Unconditional Surrender Statue. The statue shows the moment George Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman in Times Square on V-J Day.

Officers found "#MeToo" in red on the left leg of the nurse.

>> Read more trending news 

Officers were unable to find any cans of spray paint or any surveillance images of the incident.

>>Read: ‘Kissing Sailor' from iconic Life magazine photo dies

The vandalism caused $1,000 in damages due to the large area the graffiti covers.

The city tweeted hours later that the graffiti had been removed.

The incident comes only two days after Mendonsa died two days shy of his 96th birthday. Friedman died in 2016.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to Supreme Court bench for first time since cancer surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has returned to her bench eight weeks after undergoing lung cancer surgery.

>> Read more trending news 

NPR reported that the 85-year-old underwent a pulmonary lobectomy Dec. 21 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The surgery removed two malignant growths on her left lung, according to court officials.

No further evidence of cancer was found on her lungs.

Related: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg released from hospital after cancer surgery

The Associated Press reported Ginsberg returned to the Supreme Court building Friday for the justices’ private conference. She came back to the bench for the first time Tuesday, wearing her black robe and ornamental collar.

CNBC reported that Ginsberg participated in the court’s cases while she was away, unprecedented for a justice. NPR reported she was also walking more than a mile a day and working with her trainer twice a week, according to friends.

Offroaders use their driving skills to get first responders to work during storms

They’re used to driving in almost any conditions, and their vehicles are equipped to do the job, now an offroad Jeep club is switching gears and is coming to the aid of those who are normally there to help.

Midwest Krawlers, based in Kansas City, Missouri, are helping medical professionals and other first responders get to work as snow moves into the city, KMBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

They’re offering the rides to police officers, firefighters, nurses and doctors for free when there is ice and snow coating roads, according to KMBC.

One driver, Katie Abraham, said two of her copilots on one trip -- both NICU nurses -- were a little scared about the condition of the roads.

“The one girl grabbed onto the net inside the car and I was like, ‘It’s fine. We’ll get traction again in just a second,’” Abraham told KMBC.

Abraham said her four-wheel drive Toyota 4Runner has tires that are made for the weather, with a 5 out of 5 rating for snow. It is also equipped with the gear needed to get out of any terrain, the television station reported

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