Yawning. We all do it and yet there's no set explanation for why we do it. Just as mysterious is that the act of yawning seems to be contagious. A new study looking at that issue has found that age might be a factor. (Via Blip.TV)
The study, one of the largest ever to focus on contagious yawning, was published online at PLOS ONE, and found that young people are more apt to "catch" a yawn than older people.
328 participants were asked to watch a three-minute video of people yawning and to keep track of how many times they yawned. Of the 328 participants, 222 contagiously yawned. (Via YouTube /AsapSCIENCE)
While past research has linked empathy, time of day, and intelligence to yawning, the Duke University researchers found no such links.
USA Today spoke with one researcher not involved in the study who has found that "contagious yawning is most common among family members, followed by friends, acquaintances and then strangers."
But what benefits could there possibly be from studying yawning?
Referring to autism and schizophrenia, a press release for the study said.
As to why we actually yawn? Various heories exist, but one of the most widely held says yawning cools the brain.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 23:29:55 -0400
Thousands of people lined the streets of uptown for the 18th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Groups from all over Charlotte participated, and everyone was wearing their green.
Families Channel 9 talked to said it was the perfect way to start the weekend.
“[I] was impressed, Charlotte put on a good show. It was fun,” said one parade goer.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center had a St. Patrick’s Day party as well, and held its fourth annual Green River Revival.
USNWC workers turned the water green, and the center also had a Color Me Green 5k and live music.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 22:25:41 -0400
Family and friends of fallen U.S. Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp turned out to renovate a home for his wife and sons.
Crisp was shot and killed in the hunt for murder suspect Troy Whisnant last Wednesday.
Officer Crisp was working on a home at a farm he had just purchased. The property is located in West Marion County and has a view of the mountains. He was finishing up work on a mobile home where his family would stay while they built their home nearby.
About 30 people who knew Crisp, and deputies from McDowell County, helped complete the project. They worked on roofing and plumbing to get the mobile home ready for Crisp’s widow, Amanda, and their two sons.
Jason’s brother-in-law said the turnout is a tribute to the U.S. Forest Ranger, and what the ranger did for others.
“I never really knew the extent of what kind of man he was until [it] happened, unfortunately, I knew he was a good man, but since this happened and the last few days, there's been so many people [who have] come up and tell stories of how he's helped them, he would help people at church, he would help people if they needed him in any situation whatsoever,” said Rick Hensley.
Deputies say that was how he chose to live his life, and how he chose to sacrifice it.
Crisp was working on the plumbing last Wednesday when he got the call to open a gate on forest service land. He arrived with his search and rescue dog, Maros, and began looking for the suspect. According to authorities he was ambushed by Whisnant and lost his life.
Volunteers on Saturday said they appreciated the good weather so they could get as much work done as possible to complete the project in two weeks.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 21:24:13 -0400
Apple didn't take the moral high road on this one. The company has added a section to its App Store called “Sharing Selfies.”
And you guessed it — it's chock-full of apps that enable users to share those wonderful self portraits everyone just loves to see!
Snapchat makes an appearance, of course. The app allows you to send photos or videos that “self-destruct” after a preset period of time.
Close-up is also included. This app reminds you to take a picture of your face everyday, as it slowly builds “a daily photo journal for your face.” You can then create a time-lapse video or GIF of the journal.
And then there's Frontback, an app that enables the front- and back-facing camera while taking a photo and stitches them together for a unique look.
Plus several more. The Sharing Selfies section is available on the front page of the App Store on both the desktop and iDevice.
Of course, a move like this one doesn't come without criticism. Gizmodo's headline starts off “God Help Us,” and the writer sarcastically says: “Just in case you were feeling a little too happy with humanity, here's something to change your tune.”
And Mat Smith of Engadget keeps it simple: “Not the app store section we needed, but the app store section we deserved,” referencing the famous selfie snapped by Ellen and the gang at the Oscars.
Then again, CNET sees the move as a sort of endorsement from the Cupertino company, writing, “… the selfie phenomenon appears to have won a certain measure of legitimacy from Apple.”
Either way, it's a smart move by the company. Drawing on the popularity of the selfie, Apple offers up free and paid apps that selfie-snapping users will inevitably download.
But a warning to viewers — sure, Apple's making it that much easier to snap selfies alone or with friends, but as Gizmodo reports, selfies could be dangerous. According to a California lice expert, there's been a “huge increase of lice in teens this year.”
The expert blames the infestation on teens sticking their heads together to snap selfies. So download those selfie apps at your own risk ... or just stick to single-person selfies.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 20:04:31 -0400
Officers are out looking for drunk drivers this weekend. They want to prevent accidents during the dangerous holiday weekend. Like New Year’s Eve, many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend in a bar. People Channel 9 spoke with in Uptown already had plans in place to get home safely.
“In Charlotte with Uber, taxis….and everything else that is out there, you should be able to get a ride home period,” Zachary Gantt said.
Officers agree, but they know some people will try to break the law.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 269 people were killed by drunk drivers on St Patrick’s days from 2007-2011.
And officers see those tragedies firsthand.
“Once you go knock on someone's door at 3 in the morning to tell them that their father, son, mother or daughter is never coming home as a result of an impaired driving collision, then it really makes you dedicated, makes you want to get these people off the road,” Sgt. Jesse Wood said.
Police arrested 11 people for DWI at a Wilkinson Boulevard checkpoint Friday night.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 19:37:56 -0400
A woman’s lawsuit against Cleveland County could go to trial before the end of the year.
Travis Kidd, 24, was an employee at the landfill when a trash compactor hit and killed him in 2010.
Since then his family has been pushing for legal action, seeking wrongful death damages and a full explanation.
The North Carolina Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision to throw out the case.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:50:51 -0400
Investigators in Hickory say a masked man held up a gas station clerk on Friday night across the street from an elementary school.
The clerk at Propst Superette on Section House Road was not injured and told officers the man was carrying a gun. He said the man walked in and demanded money. The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Hickory police responded to the call with a K9, who picked up the suspect’s scent but lost it.
Investigators do not have a good description of the suspect.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:43:56 -0400
Police in Hickory said four people kicked in a hotel room door and robbed the people inside on Thursday.
Investigators say Charles Hill Jr., Frantina Love, Ketjuan Moss and Keon Scott knew who they were looking for at the Days Inn on Fairgrove Church Road.
Police say they got away with someone’s purse and cash, but were captured at a nearby restaurant.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:14:03 -0400
Orange County deputies said five teenagers were transported to the hospital from a packed party on Bluebrook Drive near Goldenrod Road in Winter Park late Friday night.
Neighbors told WFTV they saw teenagers being put on gurneys and said many people bolted from the party when deputies arrived.
“This is a nice neighborhood. It is weird to see this happen,” said neighbor Ignacio Burneo. “I saw a few teenagers being pulled out in ambulances.”
Deputies said when they arrived at the home close to 100 teenagers were inside, and the teenagers that were taken to the hospital were between 15 and 17 years old.
They said there were two that were transported in critical condition and they said some of the teens were mixing the anti-anxiety drug Xanex with alcohol.
“I don’t think that people understand that underaged drinking is a big epidemic right now,” neighbor Holli Ayers said.
Steve Miller, whose daughter hosted the party, told Channel 9’s Anthony DiLorenzo that he was sleeping during the party.
Miller’s 16-year-old daughter wound up in the hospital.
“If my daughter told me they were going to have alcohol I wouldn’t have permitted it,” Miller said. “I didn’t see any drugs.”
The teens told police they didn’t know alcohol would be at the party and no adults were there as deputies arrived.
“We found five teenagers who appeared to have overdosed on alcohol and we are not sure of what type of drug right now,” said Lt. Paul Hopkins with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
WFTV learned narcotics detectives also tested for synthetic drug use using instant test kits.
Early results came back negative.
“I don’t know what Molly is. The police were saying that and I’m going, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” Miller said.
A case worker with the Department of Children and Families was called in to investigate but at this point none of Miller’s children will be removed.
“I’ve got six children. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone’s children,” Miller said.
No charges have been filed and all of the teenagers are expected to be OK.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 17:18:08 -0400
There are less than two weeks before the March 31 deadline to enroll for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Some local organizations hosted their last massive enrollment event on Saturday at the Children and Family Services Building.
After Saturday’s mass enrollment, local health enrollment centers will be shifting to smaller events across Mecklenburg County until March 31. Participating centers in the past three months have included Get Covered America, Med-Link of Mecklenburg, Care Ring, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, NC MedAssist, CW Williams Community Health Center and the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released numbers this past week showing that 91 percent of the 200,546 North Carolinians who enrolled in quality health coverage as of March 1 through the Health Insurance Marketplace qualified for financial help to pay for their premiums.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, six in 10 Americans eligible for the Marketplace can find a plan for $100 or less per month. For information about future enrollment, call 1-855-733-3711.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 17:16:10 -0400
Imagine walking into a house and smelling a cupcake. The sweet aroma would probably lure you to the kitchen. Now imagine walking into that kitchen but instead of smelling the cupcakes, you smell sugar, flour, and eggs.
You have now put yourself in the mind of K9 Storm, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever.
Storm is the first canine officer for the Salisbury VA Medical Center. She is a narcotics dog who is also capable of human tracking. As illustrated by the cupcake analogy, Storm is exceptional at differentiating scents. Officer Jonathan Smith said if she was given someone’s scarf, she could pick the person out of a lineup because of her ability to distinguish smells.
Storm was recently called in to find a patient who had left his ward without his needed oxygen. Cpl. Travis Nellis is Storm’s canine handler and an officer for the Salisbury VAMC.
Nellis described how the patient had left Building 2, but had forgotten his oxygen. It was 15 degrees outside and the patient was not wearing warm clothing.
“We gave [Storm] a pillowcase he had used to get his scent. She went to the elevator and we checked every floor, then went outside and we later found him in Building 6. That was the first time that she had a ‘live’ track and to be honest, we were amazed at how she found the veteran because there are 1,500 people around here,” Nellis said.
One of the main reasons Storm was brought to the Salisbury VA was for her tracking capability; her ability to find a person in a short amount of time can be crucial depending on the condition of the patient.
Storm started at the Salisbury VA in January, just after turning 2. She came from a trainer in Mocksville, who got her when she was 9 months old.
“Storm is the first police animal for the Salisbury VAMC and there are only nine canine officers in VA nationwide,” Nellis said.
Storm and Nellis train for about an hour each day. They have to complete eight hours of training each month: four in narcotics and four in human tracking. Nellis says they try to double or triple that.
Storm not only trains and works with Nellis, she also goes home with him.
“We have some other animals at my house, but they get along well, although my chickens probably don’t like her,” Nellis joked. “The other dogs and the kids love her.”
Nellis said he has to separate the work and play environment for Storm because she does want love and attention. He explained that Storm works for praise, so if she receives too much of it in her off time it may not mean as much when she goes to work. Nellis maintains a happy balance.
Storm is also mixing in well with the public, making regular rounds around the hospital to visit patients.
“The patients love her, so it’s good for her and them to help break the mundane. She pretty much loves everybody and they love her, so we’re not just the bad guys to some people,” Nellis said.
People at the Salisbury VA know her, and Police Chief Jason Harrington gave his take on how Storm fits in.
“We are an environment of care here at the VA – that’s a big focus in patient-centered care. Policing in a VA system is defined as 95 percent customer service and 5 percent law enforcement. We do a lot more public service - like directions and act as a helping hand. She is definitely an asset as far as community policing and she enhances our environment of care,” Harrington said.
Officer Storm may live the life of a working dog, but Nellis said at the end of the day it’s worth it.
“Her primary search and narcotic skills are good, but when it comes down to it, she’s here to save veteran’s lives -- that’s what she’s here for,” he said.
To learn more about the Salisbury VA and services they offer for veterans, click here.
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Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 16:54:44 -0400
Family members of Kilah Davenport will be holding a candlelight vigil for her Sunday night. It will be at 8 p.m. at the Forty Rod Roadhouse in Mint Hill.
Four-year-old Kilah died this week after she started having trouble breathing.
Last month her stepfather was convicted of child abuse for severely beating her.
Her family also said a memorial service for the little girl will be held next Saturday.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 16:34:57 -0400
Police said they were questioning family members who were inside a Northwest Charlotte home when a man was shot and killed on Saturday.
“I saw several cop cars. I had to go in and out to try to get around,” said Denise Finch.
People in the neighborhood on Elliott Drive woke up to find detectives investigating the death of 28-year- old Jamario Jackson.
“I was shocked, I was shocked, because honestly since I moved here it's a quiet neighborhood,” said Amanda Campbell.
Officers said they responded to a domestic violence call at the house around 3:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found Jackson’s body inside. Detectives spent the day interviewing several family members they said were inside during the shooting, but so far they haven’t made any arrests.
One woman who stopped by the house said her sister and the victim lived in the house together and had a rocky relationship, but police haven’t confirmed that.
"It's really sad you don't want to see things like this in your neighborhood and don't want families to have to deal with things like this,” said Will Delaney.
Officers said the district attorney was investigating and would decide whether charges would be filed in the case.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334- 1600.
Check with wsoctv.com for updates about this story.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 15:33:39 -0400
A federal judge in Nashville ruled to recognize the marriage of three same-sex couples in Tennessee Friday. This comes after the couples filed a lawsuit asking the state to reconsider its ban on gay marriage.
"Judge Aleta Trauger issued a preliminary injunction against the state, saying it can not enforce Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriages." (Via WTVF)
"Now Friday's ruling did not say Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, however, the judge in this particular case believes the U.S. Constitution does protect the rights of same-sex couples." (Via WSMV)
In the order Trauger wrote, "At this point all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs' marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history." (Via USA Today)
The ruling only applies to the three couples, all of whom were married while living in New York or California and later moved to Tennessee. WATE talked to one of the couples involved in the lawsuit who are expecting their first child.
"All of the protections and rights that any married spouse would have over their child. So it means an incredible amount to me that we can go into the hospital without me having to worry about having those rights in place."
The couple says they hope this is a step in the direction of overturning Tennessee's ban altogether — something that has some of the state's conservative lawmakers on edge.
In a statement Republican Sen. Mike Bell said, "I am saddened that a federal judge has chosen to, at least in a narrow way, overturn the will of over 81 percent of the people of the state of Tennessee who voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I am hoping that the higher courts — which I am assuming this will be appealed — will overturn this activist judge’s ruling." (Via The Tennessean | Tennessee General Assembly)
The Los Angeles Times points out Tennessee is just one of the many states battling to overturn same-sex marriage bans. Last week four Indiana same-sex couples sued for recognition.
The ruling is being reviewed by the Tennessee Attorney General's office, which could ultimately overturn it. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. currently allow same-sex marriage.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 15:02:43 -0400
The man accused of plowing into a group of people at the South By Southwest festival has been charged.
"A man suspected of drunken driving is charged with capital murder in the deaths of two people at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas." (Via NBC)
KCEN reports police attempted to pull over 21-year-old Rashad Owens around 12:30 a.m. Thursday for not having his vehicle's headlights on, but Owens allegedly took off. (Via KCEN)
â€‹"Police say Owens sped up as he drove through the crowd on Red River Street then got out of the car and ran." (Via KHOU)
According to KSAT, the police affidavit states Owens admitted to seeing flashing lights in his rearview mirror, but he was scared to pull over because there are warrants out for his arrest and he did not want to go to jail.
The Daily Texan reports Owens allegedly injured 23 people and killed two others, 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr and 27-year-old Jamie West. The police affidavit reads, â€‹"Victims were reported to have been flying everywhere as they were being struck by the Honda."
According to KXAN, Owens was allegedly driving under the influence. "Police say Owens took a breath test and blew a .114. The legal limit in Texas is .08."
The Austin American-Statesman reports this would not be Owens' first DUI. "Public records show Owens pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2011."
According to KVUE, Owens' penalty is not yet clear. "A judge set Owens' bail at $3 million. Even if the the district attorney's office does not pursue the death penalty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison."
WFAA says six people are still in the hospital.
"Tonight we know Deandre Tatum is still listed in critical (condition) in the ICU. His girlfriend, Kartisha Davis, is listed in good condition."
KVUE added there is a long legal process facing Owens due to the large number of victims and witnesses involved in the incident.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 15:02:43 -0400
As the search area widens for Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which disappeared a week ago, Malaysia's prime minister said Saturday he believes someone on board purposefully altered the plane's flight path.
According to CNN, Malaysian military radar indicates the plane made unusual changes in altitude and direction, and investigators believe communications systems were shut off manually by someone on board.
"A data link that transmits messages about the jets performance and engines shut down. And so did the transponders, which send controllers detailed information about the plane's speed, altitude and position." (Via CBS)
That information led Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak to tell reporters: "This movement is consistent with deliberate action on the plane." (Via Euronews)
The New York Times reports the search has now become a criminal inquiry. Investigators are still unsure why the plane would've changed course but have continually said they're keeping all possibilities open.
Najib also said at the press conference the search has now moved from the South China Sea to two different zones: Central Asia, as far north as Kazakhstanâ€‹, and the southern Indian Ocean.
The New York Times reports, "That conclusion was based on a final signal from the plane picked up on satellite at 8:11 a.m. on March 8, nearly seven hours after ground control lost contact with the jet."
According to The Wall Street Journal, authorities will begin refocusing attention on the passengers and crew members and earlier this week NASA said it will help in the search effort by analyzing satellite images to find possible crash sites.
Najib said there are currently 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft involved in the search of the missing flight.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 15:02:36 -0400
Orange County deputies arrested a man they said threatened his neighbor with a grenade.
Deputies said the victim was upset that their neighbor Timothy Bare, 32, refused to turn his music down around 10 p.m. Friday at the Harbour Beach condos.
The victim said he asked Bare to turn down his music several times, and at one point Bare produced a hand grenade and threatened to throw it in the victim’s apartment.
Investigators found the grenade inside Bare’s home but said Bare was very intoxicated and could not confirm if the device was live or inert.
After some evacuations, officers with the sheriff’s office Hazardous Device Team recovered the grenade.
Though the bottom of the grenade was hollowed out, it still could not be determined if it was active.
“Though the grenade could not explode, it still had a possible live fuse inside, which was a danger,” said Lt. Paul Hopkins with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The grenade will be destroyed by the Hazardous Device Team.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 12:01:23 -0400
An upstate New York school district is responding after one of its kindergarten students was sent to the wrong school Wednesday.
Five-year-old Janeya Nevins was not on the right school bus or at the right school in Schenectady, spending the whole day in a first-grade classroom at the wrong school without anybody noticing something was wrong. (Via WNYT)
When Janeya didn't show up at the school she normally attends, her mom didn't get a call home. According to WTEN, the school district says Janeya "misled" school staff members by pretending to be a new student.
Janeya's mom, Patricia Rodruiguez, told WRGB how she felt about what the district had to say.
"If a 5-year-old can mislead so many adults, that says a lot. ... Whoever made that comment just said a lot about the school district, and I don't mean in a good way."
Rodriguez does admit, though, that she accidentally let her daughter go on the wrong bus, but added she recognized the substitute driver from another time she sent Janeya to school.
And in response to what happened, the Schenectady City School District released a statement Thursday.
The superintendent said: "While the student did impersonate another student, which didn't raise any red flags, the situation has brought to light some other serious issues that need to be addressed on our end." That includes improving communication between the school and parents when a student doesn't show up. â€‹(Via Schenectady City School District)
After the incident, the district says it's looking at a plan to require students to carry photo IDs, as well trying to find a way to make bus routes clearer. WNYT reports Janeya's mom is considering possible legal action.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 08:43:27 -0400
A Navy veteran, who was probably best known as the kissing sailor in the famous World War II photograph, has passed away.
"A sailor who was identified as 86-year-old Glenn McDuffie was caught in mid-kiss in Times Square in that photo take by a LIFE magazine photographer. It was August of 1945." â€‹(Via WOAI)
CTV says LIFE magazine never ran a caption with the photograph detailing the identities of the sailor or the nurse.
But six years ago, Daily Mail reports a forensic expert was able to positively identify McDuffie in the photograph by matching his facial structure with the man's in the photograph.
McDuffie claimed he was in the process of changing trains when he learned the Japanese had surrendered on August 14, 1945. BBC says he ran out into the street and that's when he saw the nurse.
"She was standing out there in the middle of the street and she turned around and did like that, and I swear I went over there and kissed her."
McDuffie's daughter said the only reason her father ever revealed himself as the sailor in the photograph is because other men had come forward claiming to be the person in the picture. She told NBC her father wanted to tell his story before he passed away.
"When he realized how many people were touched by the photo, it humbled him."
Time says McDuffie spent his time after the war playing semi-pro basketball and working for the Postal Service.
McDuffie passed away March 9 of natural causes. He is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 08:40:12 -0400
â€‹With two days to the event, another high-profile guest is boycotting the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade due to its anti-gay policies.
The Boston Beer Company, the main sponsor of the parade, announced Friday it is pulling its sponsorship after parade organizers repeatedly refused to allow LGBTQ groups to identify themselves as such while marching. (Via Boston.com)
The company, which brews Samuel Adams, said in a statement: "We were hopeful an agreement could be reached. ... However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible."
The announcement comes after the maker of Sam Adams began getting flak for its sponsorship, even leading to Club Café, an area gay bar, pulling the beer from its taps. The owner, Frank Ribaudo, scolded the company for its parade partnership.
"I was in the Navy, I fought in Vietnam, I've lots of friends who've been in the military that have fought for this country, and for us to be treated like second-class citizens ... " (Via NECN)
It's all a culmination of clashes between parade organizers South Boston Allied War Veterans Council and equality group MassEquality, which have made headlines in the past few weeks.
The council originally lifted the 20-year ban on participation by gay rights groups after prodding by MassEquality and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. One organizer told the Los Angeles Times MassEquality members would be allowed to march "with a 'Happy St. Patrick's Day' sign. That's it. It's a day of celebration, not demonstration." But MassEquality was unsatisfied, joining a boycott of the parade by Walsh and Rep. Stephen Lynch, one of the state's House members. (Via WHDH)
Despite the criticism, the South Boston Parade's website defended its decision, posting a press release saying: "We will not allow anyone to express harmful or inappropriate messages. This was a decision we made for the good of this parade." (Via Southbostonparade.org)
It's not the first dust-up for the embattled 2014 parade. In September, city officials quarreled over hosting duties of the event's annual morning breakfast, before choosing Haitian-American State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. She'll be the first-ever non-Irishman to host the meal. (Via The Boston Globe, State of Massachusetts)
And even after pulling its sponsorship, the Boston Beer Company still plans to participate in the breakfast Sunday morning.
Published: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 05:27:15 -0400