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In battle for the White House, watch out for underdogs

In the battle for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., some candidates get put in the "it's probably not happening for you, buddy" category. 

"As much as I like Carly Fiorina, she's got a real uphill battle in the presidential campaign," Mary Kissel from The Wall Street Journal said on "Varney & Co.

"A lot of people say well, Bernie Sanders, good ideas, nice guy, but he can't defeat Republicans," Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a recent interview

But history shows us no candidate can be counted out of the running, and you don't have to look very far to find examples. 

>> Read more trending stories

Just take these two guys right here — John Edwards in 2004 and Rick Santorum in 2012. 

Santorum was definitely a long-shot candidate, but right when people started to push him aside, he saw a huge late surge. It started when he won the very important Iowa caucuses. (Video via Rick Santorum

"Game on," were Santorum's first words in his victory speech after the surprising win.

He went on to win caucuses in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota and more even into late March, all while pulling the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, further to the right, which hurt him in the general election against President Obama. (Video via Rick SantorumCNN

In '04, Edwards surprised many when he pulled ahead of front-runner Howard Dean with a second-place finish in Iowa. (Video via John Edwards

"The people of Iowa tonight confirm they believe in a positive, uplifting vision to change America," Edwards said after placing behind John Kerry in 2004. 

Edwards went on to win the South Carolina primary but could never edge out eventual nominee John Kerry. He was able to turn that momentum into a VP slot in the general election though. (Video via John Edwards

So to you front-runners, always remember... 

"Objects in your mirror, may be closer than they appear," Edwards said after the Wisconsin primary in 2004. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Lee Rosevere / CC BY NC 4.0.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:23:07 -0400

What exactly does NASA use its Earth sciences money for?

NASA makes a lot of headlines for the outward exploration it does, and rightly so. But it also spends a lot of time looking at Earth. (Video via NASA)

The pale blue dot is so important to NASA, it gets its own category on the agency website next to those for the International Space Station and NASA’s Mars initiatives.

But earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an annual budget that slashed NASA’s Earth sciences funds by 25 percent.

>> Read more trending stories

It calls for NASA to get $1.45 billion toward Earth sciences in 2016. (Video via NASA)

With this money, NASA will keep running its fleet of 20 Earth-facing satellites, and continue the development of another 10 for the years ahead. (Video via NASA)

The data from these orbiters informs a constant stream of research studies and other analysis — on everything from rainfall and ice reserves to hurricane behaviors and emissions tracking.

A six-month analysis to show the effects of this year’s rainfall so far? Thank the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite constellation. (Video via NASA)

Drought and wildfire tracking in California? That’s GRACE, and instruments aboard the Aqua satellite

Flood prediction tools to improve safety and minimize economic damage come from GPM satellites. 

And researchers even use these eyes in orbit to help predict the movements of endangered whales.

Keeping all of these going is a high priority for NASA administration. In April and May when the House was weighing its cuts, NASA head Charles Bolden said for all the exploration NASA spearheads to other planets, "none is more important than the one on which we live." (Video via NASA)

The whales probably agree. (Video via National Geographic)

This video includes images from Getty Images and music by Frenic / CC BY 3.0.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:21:42 -0400

Clinton super PAC gains traction, still dwarfed by Bush

It's probably not too surprising that the super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton has had some big donors, and a filing from the Federal Election Commission Friday showed just how big. 

The super PAC, Priorities USA Action, has brought in about $15.6 million in the first half of 2015. In the last month of June alone, the campaign received eight separate $1 million checks.

Media mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, donated $2 million to the super PAC. (Video via Brookings Institution)

>> Read more trending stories

It also received $1 million checks from director Steven Spielberg, George Soros and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

It appears Clinton's PAC has only spent about $1.5 million of that so far. 

Clinton's campaign still faces some concern that her fundraising mechanisms are lagging behind her Republican competitors. 

Clinton's other super PACs have done some re-organizing in recent months, which has alleviated some of that concern. (Video via Hilary for America)

But she still has a lot of catching up to do. A super PAC supporting Jeb Bush has pulled in a whopping $103 million already this year. (Video via Jeb 2016)

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:21:38 -0400

Confederate flag supporters gather in Monroe

Dozens of Confederate flag supporters rallied Saturday afternoon at the historic courthouse in downtown Monroe.
This was the latest in a series of rallies after South Carolina state leaders voted to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds in June.
Floyd Marsh said the Confederate flag is about history, not hate.
“It's all about heritage and history,” Marsh said. “It's not (about) hate and we're here peaceful to just show our flags and people that died for it.”

Those against the Confederate flag marched this week in Raleigh as part of Moral Monday.


Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:13:58 -0400

FBI raids a Gaston County home and business

FBI agents raided a home and business Saturday in Gaston County.
Channel 9 first reported FBI agents searching Capones Parlor off Wilkinson Boulevard in Belmont.

PHOTOS: FBI raids a Gaston Co. home & business
Officials were seen walking in and out of the shop and talking with people inside of the business  at about 2:45 p.m.

Channel 9 received information at about 4 p.m. that FBI agents were also searching a home on Rankin Avenue in Mount Holly.


The two cases were connected but wouldn’t say who or what they were looking for and why, FBI agents said.
Channel 9 reached out to the owner of home after learning the house was a rental property. The owner said the home is leased to the owner of the tattoo parlor. 
It’s unclear if any arrests have been made in the case.
Channel 9 will continue to follow developments in this case and provide updates on air and online at 

LINK: Alexa Ashwell on Twitter

Return to this story and watch Eyewitness News at 10 and 11 p.m. for updates. 


Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 14:48:32 -0400

Reports: Cecil the lion's brother, Jericho, may have been killed

There may be a sad new development related to Cecil the lion, according to CNN.

There are conflicting reports that Cecil's brother, Jericho, has been illegally killed by a hunter, the network reports.

>> Read more trending stories 

Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, reportedly confirmed the news to CNN.

Rodrigues told USA Today, "I'm very disappointed, I'm heartbroken. It's just too much." 

However, international news sources claim the reports are false, and that Jericho is alive and well.

Cecil’s death, at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer has provoked an international outrage. Zimbabwe is seeking the extradition of Palmer on accusations that he and others illegally hunted the lion, which was protected.

The identity of the hunter who allegedly killed Jericho has not been released yet.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 14:47:34 -0400

Monroe protesters hold pro-Confederate flag rally

Confederate flag supporters held a rally in Union County Saturday.
People congregated at the old historic courthouse in downtown Monroe.
The rally was the latest in a series of rallies after South Carolina state leaders voted to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds in July.                
Supporters said the flag is a show of heritage and not hate.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 14:09:35 -0400

Man rolls underneath moving train in wild, dangerous stunt

A man who was caught on video rolling underneath a moving train could face charges.

While he was stopped at the railroad crossing, local business owner Cesar Renteria used his cellphone to capture video of the unidentified man performing his dangerous stunt.

>> Read more trending stories 

When the man realizes he’s being filmed, he approaches the driver and they have a brief, angry exchange.

The man then returns to the moving train, where he makes it all the way under the train, which was moving at approximately 40 mph. He runs away from the scene.

Union Pacific authorities told KHOU that the man could be ticketed for reckless behavior. Spokesman Jeff DeGraff said the video was “very tough to watch” and says one wrong move by the man could have possibly derailed the train.

Witnesses claim this is not the first time the man has attempted his train stunts.



Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 13:46:58 -0400

Study: Coffee is good for your brain

A study found possible links between coffee intake and improvement of cognitive abilities in seniors, CBS News reports via Healthday.

The risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) seemed to decrease for people “who consistently drank about one or two cups of coffee per day,” according to Healthday. Overall, however, researchers found that "older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee as well as coffee drinkers who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI" compared to coffee drinkers who kept their intake consistent and moderate.

So how does coffee effect neurological health? Authors of the study believe that the caffeine in coffee protects the brain from “the buildup of amyloid protein plaques, long linked to Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers also found that moderate coffee drinking may help an older brain by increasing insulin sensitivity thereby "decreasing the risk for type 2 diabetes." 

>> Read more trending stories

Dr. Vincenzo Solfrizz, who led the study, noted more research would be needed to support the theory that coffee can combat mental decline.

“Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged … so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” the Italian reseachers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, said to Healthday.

Read more at 

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 13:41:33 -0400

Officials: Shooting on Independence Boulevard in causes crash

Two people were shot while driving on Independence Boulevard Saturday, officials said.
Someone shot into a Ford Expedition that was on Independence Boulevard between Sharon Amity and Albemarle Road, according to police.

IMAGES: 2 shot on Independence Boulevard

The two people in the Ford were both shot. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.
Another car crashed into the back of the Ford after the shooting and that driver was taken to the hospital.
All victims are expected to recover, officials said.
People who walk, shop and drive in the area were outraged.
“Certainly uncomfortable that that's something that could happen in open traffic, open highway,” said Shari Alston.

Officers said they were still investigating whether the shooting was random or if those in the SUV were targeted. 


Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 12:09:23 -0400

Australian official calls cats ‘tsunamis of violence and death’

Forget about dogs. Cats in Australia have a new public enemy No. 1.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that cats are, “Tsunamis of violence and death for Australia's native species."

>> Read more trending stories 

Hunt has been leading the movement to save Australia’s wildlife with a plan to destroy up to 2 million feral cats throughout the country by 2020.

Hunt claims there are approximately 20 million feral cats in Australia. Since cats were introduced to Australia two centuries ago, more than 10 percent of native species have been wiped out, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation report.

In addition, Australian cities are being encouraged to adopt 24-hour curfews for domestic cats. While difficult to enforce, owners who do not comply could face fines.

Actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot and PETA have spoken out against Australia’s plan to reduce and contain the cat population.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 11:55:11 -0400

Online fundraising tops $400,000 for missing Florida boys

An online fund to pay for private searches for two Tequesta boys missing at sea 24 topped $400,000 Saturday.

The GoFundMe webpage started by the families of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, had raised more than $401,000 as of 6 p.m. Saturday.

More than 4,200 people had donated to the campaign, which had a goal of $450,000. The biggest contribution, $25,000, came from Yeti Coolers, a company that makes portable food-storage devices.

Events throughout the Jupiter-Tequesta area Saturday raised money to pay for the searches as well, including one at Pinder’s Seafood & Marketplace that brought more than 30 people to its North Dixie Highway store .

“We wouldn’t have this turnout if it wasn’t for the hope,” said Kelly Powers, the store manager and bookkeeper. “This turnout has been amazing. We want to raise as much money as possible. Every single dollar matters.”

>> Read more trending stories

The Stephanos and Cohen families were seeking pilots with helicopters and airplanes who could search off North Carolina and South Carolina through Sunday, two days after the Coast Guard suspended its search for the boys.

Coast Guard crews had covered nearly 50,000 square nautical miles from Jupiter to the North Carolina coast when it suspended its search at sunset Friday.

Visitors to Pinder’s on Saturday bought T-shirts for $20 apiece bearing the Twitter hashtag “#FishAustinandPerry” along with stickers, koozies and hats to raise money to help find the boys who disappeard July 24.

The clothing will remain on sale until stock runs out, and the money will be delivered to a representative of the families Monday, Powers said.

Norieta Stephanos, a cousin of Austin, also plans a “dress fundraiser” Sunday at Dress to Dazzle, her Stuart clothing store, to help raise money for the private searches. The store on Southeast Ocean Boulevard will sell all its dresses for $100 apiece from noon to 4 p.m. and then donate all proceeds to the GoFundMe account.

“We can only follow so many leads online, so I figured, ‘I don’t have a boat or a plane — but I do have dresses,’ ” Stephanos said.

Stephanos said she has raised more than $4,00o online in recent days, including purchases from people from as far away as New Zealand who want to contribute to the search effort.

Through a social-media post, the Stephanos and Cohen families on Saturday also asked divers to be on the lookout for fishing gear that the boys may have had on their 19-foot boat the day they went missing.

The gear included Shimano Tiagra 6500 fishing rods.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 10:57:38 -0400

Best tech on the cheap for back to school

Technology is needed for students heading back to class, but you don't want to spend too much on something that may be lost sooner than that math book. 

CNET has come up with a list of the best bets for under $50. 

Here are their reporters' top five types of tech.

The Misfit Flash has a range of prices from $27.99 to $49.99. It is a fitness tracker that works with both Android phones and iPhones. 

>>Read CNET's full review of the Misfit Flash

Panasonic RP-HTX7 headphones help block out sound and keep your music private. They come in a variety of colors and start at $34.36.

>>Read CNET's full review of Panasonic's RP-HTX headphones

The Logitech X100 Bluetooth speaker comes in various colors and the CNet testers said it has a good sound for not a lot of money. They cost between $36.88 and $49.00. 

>>See CNET's full review of the Logitech X100 speaker here.

Tylt Energi 2k is a standard USB changer that can have a second life as a battery pack. It sports fold-away prongs. When a device is plugged in, it charges that first, but will then charge its internal battery when your device is full. All that comes in the box is the charger. No cable is included. The price starts at $27.54.

>>See CNET's complete list of Best Tech for under $50

The Logitech K480 Bluetooth keyboard will let you use your iPad, iPhone or any other tablet or phone with Bluetooth as a computer. If you have a long message to type and the screen keyboard is too small, connect and toggle between three devices on this keyboard. It even sports a slot that will work as a stand for your device. It comes in cheaper than many Bluetooth keyboard cases at only $34.95.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 10:00:00 -0400

Owner claims puppy stolen at knifepoint on train

An 8-month-old puppy and its owner had a frightening experience after the dog was reportedly stolen at knifepoint on a Chicago train.

The black-and-white puppy was in a pink carrier when it was reported stolen from its owner while aboard a CTA train, WGN reports.

>> Read more trending stories  

Witnesses on the same train line reported that two men came aboard their car, trying to sell a puppy in a pink carrier for $500.

According to People, flight attendant Christopher Abair says he offered the man $100, which was all the cash he had available, but the man refused, saying the dog was a “special breed.”

When there were no interested buyers, the man holding the puppy threw it to the ground, causing the puppy to yelp, and the men fled, according to witnesses.

Authorities are reviewing surveillance tape for more information on the suspects.



Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:36:27 -0400

Gastonia house fire causes $150K in damages

Firefighters responded to a fire at a Gastonia home early Saturday morning.

The fire started at the two-story home on Black Oak Drive at about 4:20 a.m. There was heavy fire at the back of the home and in the attic.

The residents were out of town, officials said.

The Gastonia Fire Department, Union Road Volunteer Fire Department and Lowell Fire Department responded with 30 people. Fire crews got the fire under control in about 20 minutes and no one was hurt.

Officials said the fire caused about $150,000 in damages.

Watch video Gastonia FD took of the fire

The Gastonia Fire Department Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:33:45 -0400

Spider showcases the art of mating calls on video

What’s tiny and terrifying except for when it’s furry, colored like a zebra and literally always sporting a “headlights” look? (Via The Verge)

A peacock spider. Specifically, a Maratus personatus Peacock spider.

While insects aren’t generally associated with cute, the mating dance this one particular spider does most certainly is.

The Western Australian spider was caught on camera trying to charm a female spider. It seems as if the dance works until the 1:19 mark when the spider plays hard to get and eventually decides to flee.

Still, the effort is worth applauding.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:03:05 -0400

Teen accused of stealing car outside Hickory YMCA

A teenager was arrested in connection with a car theft that happened Monday at the Hickory YMCA.

Our partners at the Hickory Daily Record report that Victoria Gallagher, 17, faces several charges including one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

The owner of the car spotted her stolen car on Thursday and called Hickory police.

Gallagher is in jail under a $7,500 secured bond.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 08:22:51 -0400

Authorities ID victim in fatal Rock Hill motorcycle wreck

A motorcycle accident left one person dead in Rock Hill on Friday.

Authorities said Craig Helms of Rock Hill ran off the road and hit a ditch on Twin Lakes Road around 4:30 p.m.

Helms was thrown from the motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet.

The crash is under investigation.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 07:58:41 -0400

Is optional standardized testing improving diversity on campuses?

College-entry exams have been a staple in the college admissions process.

But it hasn't always been that way, and their future seems uncertain as more selective colleges try to improve diversity by making those exams optional.

Starting today, standardized test scores wouldn't be required from most undergraduate applicants at George Washington University. The policy is meant to "broaden access for ... students of color, first-generation students and students from low-income households." (Video via George Washington University) The university is part of a trend in college admissions to go test-optional or test-flexible.

Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, a non-profit that advocates for test-optional admissions, listed some of the reasons colleges and universities are making the switch.

"There's been lots of research done on what happens when you drop SAT and ACT requirements in the admissions process and quite uniformly, schools find no dilution of their academic talent, but are at at a significant increase in diversity of all sorts. Race, gender, income, academic interest. ... By getting rid of the requirements they open the door to kids who are otherwise very talented and can succeed in college if given the chance," Schaeffer said.

Test-optional admissions may not be the cure-all for recruiting and graduating a more diverse student body, however. (Video via Wake Forest University)

One study suggests that test-optional admissions could simply replace reliance on test scores with reliance on things like Advanced Placement Courses and Extracurricular activities, which students at under-resourced high schools might not have access to. (Video via College Board) A reporter at Quartz pointed out test-optional policies to increase socio-economic diversity aren't necessarily being met with increased financial aid. (Video Via The White House)

Critics have also suggested admissions offices could have incentives to adopt test-optional policies that have nothing to do with fairness for students. (Video via Wake Forest University) For instance, if only high-scoring students submit their scores, a college’s average SAT score can increase. This method of reporting inflates the average without considering the students who applied, but didn't submit scores. (Video via Scantron Corporation)

Adopting a test-optional approach could increase the number of applications a school gets, including applications from underrepresented students, helping it appear more selective. (Video via The Common Application) Still, that doesn't necessarily mean these colleges are retaining and graduating the low-income students and students of color they are encouraging to apply. (Video via WXYZ)

Interestingly, while more universities go test-optional to solve their diversity problem, the test itself is changing to tackle the same issue. The makers of the SAT have acknowledged some of the exam's flaws in anticipation of a 2016 redesign. (Video via College Board)

"I am here today because the College Board stands at another pivotal moment. ... We must certainly ask ourselves if we are, individually or as a group, doing all we can to advance equity and excellence," said David Coleman, president of the College Board.

We'll have to wait to see how the new SAT will affect students. The redesign is scheduled for March of 2016. (Video via College Board)

And the same goes for test-optional policies. It may take some time before we see best practices emerge and are able to gauge how they really affect students. (Video via College Board)

This video includes music from Little Glass Men / CC BY 4.0.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 07:55:10 -0400

Mooresville man accused of sexually assaulting minors

A Mooresville man has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting two young girls.

John Nichols faces six counts of indecent liberties with a child, according to our partners at the Mooresville Tribune. His bond is set at $200,000.

The sheriff's office special victims unit began an investigation after the two girls reported they were sexually assaulted by Nichols.

Authorities said the assaults happened between April and July.

Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2015 07:48:41 -0400