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iStock/Thinkstock(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) -- A New Mexico middle-school student is in critical condition and three others were injured after a lightning strike.

The lightning strike happened Tuesday at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces in the southern part of the state. The school’s eighth-grade football team was practicing after school ended when it became overcast and started to drizzle, said Jo Galvan, director of communications for Las Cruces Public Schools.

The group started walking toward the school when lightning struck a nearby tree, sending several students and coaches falling to the ground, likely the lightning grounding itself, Galvan said.

Three 13-year-old boys and one coach were injured, Galvan said, with a parent and a coach performing CPR on the critically injured boy.

Kelly Duke, marketing director of Mountain View Regional Medical Center, confirmed to ABC News that the players and coach were taken to the hospital, with the critically injured boy later transferred to University Medical Center, listed in critical but stable condition.

The other two students were listed in stable condition, Duke said. The coach’s injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Counselors and district school physiologists will be at the school Wednesday to speak with students, Galvan said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Unlike Monday night's chaos that led to the arrests of 78 people and injuries to four police officers, the situation Tuesday night in Ferguson, Missouri, was relatively calm, albeit with tension still in the air.

There appeared to be fewer people on the street protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, amid a still-heavy presence of local cops, Missouri Highway Patrol and National Guard. For the most part, the marches were orderly in stark contrast to the clashes that have cast a poor light on both law enforcement and some of the demonstrators.

Late in the night, several arrests were made after water bottles were tossed at police.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will meet Wednesday with investigators from the Justice Department and FBI for an update on their findings on Brown's death, which came at the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

At some point, Holder will determine whether civil rights laws were violated.

The prosecutor's office in St. Louis County, which has jurisdiction in the case, could begin hearing evidence against Wilson as soon as Wednesday to determine if he will be charged in the shooting.

In other developments, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued a message Wednesday that lists three main objectives.

First and foremost, Nixon says that the residents of Ferguson must be protected from "increasingly violent instigators" who use "bricks and guns and Molotov cocktails" against police, a reference to nightly clashes.

Nixon also promised that "a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued" against objections to keeping St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch on the case. Some said that McCulloch has biases in favor of the police.

Lastly, Nixon said that "once we have achieved peace in Ferguson and justice for the family of Michael Brown, we must remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been lost, mending what has been broken, and healing the wounds we have endured."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Bertie has been around longer than any of his fellow tenants. He moved in on Dec. 16, 1958, back when The Donna Reed Show was on TV and Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House.  He’s fathered 29 offspring, despite having only two mates. And oh yeah, Bertie is a hippopotamus at the Denver Zoo.

This week -- Thursday, to be exact -- the zoo will celebrate his 58th birthday.

“He’s a star,” says zoo veterinarian Diana Boon. “A lot of people come here just to visit him.”

In January, Bertie unwittingly became the oldest hippopotamus in North America -- and maybe the world -- after a hippo named Blackie was euthanized at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Blackie was believed to be 59.


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In the wild, hippos can live to be about 30 to 40 years old. In captivity, they generally live another 10 years. Bertie has so far defied those numbers, though his keepers say he’s moving a bit slower these days.

“We see geriatric problems, some arthritis in the legs, some stiffness getting up and moving around. He’s also got some dental issues,” says Boon. “But for his age, he’s surprisingly doing very well.”

Bertie gets regular medication for his aching joints. He spends a lot of time in the water, which his keepers say helps alleviate the pressure of carrying around a roughly 5,000-pound frame.

Zookeeper Lisa Parrish helps with a daily regimen to clean out the clumps of hay that get stuck in Bertie’s mouth, where they could cause sores and lead to infection.

“Open Bertie,” Parrish instructs with a hand motion.

Bertie patiently exposes his giant teeth while resting his head at the edge of his outdoor pool, as Parrish uses giant forceps to do the job.

“You don’t necessarily want to stick your hands in a hippo’s mouth,” Parrish says.

When she’s done, Parrish grabs a container filled with grain mixed with medicine, tossing the contents into Bertie’s mouth.

“You’re a good boy Bert,” Parrish tells him. “We always wonder if this is going to be his last birthday, but luckily he’s been doing really good.”

Bertie was a 1,200 pound 2-year-old living at New York’s Central Park Zoo in 1958. That year, Denver zoo supporters Arthur and Helen Johnson bought him at an auction for $2,450 plus tax, and arranged to have him shipped to Denver.

One of Bertie’s 29 hippo offspring, Mahali, also lives at the Denver Zoo. Parrish says father and his 11-year-old son have to be kept in separate enclosures.

“They do not get along,” says Parrish. “Hippos are very territorial.”

In the wild, the hippopotamus population has declined about 20 percent in the last decade to around 125,000 to 150,000 individuals, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. There has been an especially drastic drop in numbers -- around 95 percent by WCS estimates -- in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to civil war and poaching of ivory teeth and tusks.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The police officer accused of fatally shooting Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo. earlier this month has been interviewed by local investigators and will be given the chance to testify before a grand jury.

A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, Edward Magee, said on Tuesday that the St. Louis County Prosecutor will try to begin presenting evidence to the grand jury on Wednesday. That decision remains dependant on witness availability.

In addition to the local investigation, a federal investigation remains ongoing into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown that has prompted days of protests, as well as clashes between police and protesters.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to visit Ferguson on Wednesday, with Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. joining him. Holder wrote an op-ed published in Tuesday's St. Louis Post Dispatch ahead of his arrival, saying that "hundreds" have already been investigated as part of the FBI and Department of Justice investigation.

Holder also called for an end to the violence that has marred protests repeatedly over the last week. "Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority -- and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson, they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice," Holder wrote. He also added that violence interrupts the, "deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance."

As of Tuesday night, the Missouri National Guard will remain in Ferguson, once again operating under the command of the Missouri Highway Patrol to provide protection for the Unified Command Center.

Also announced on Tuesday was the funeral for Michael Brown, which will take place on Monday, August 25.

Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement on the ongoing tension on Tuesday, calling the shooting a "tragedy," while echoing Holder's calls for peace. Officers, Nixon said, have tried to, "protect the public, while at the same time preserving citizens' rights to express their anger peacefully." Once peace is achieved, "a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued," against the officer, Nixon said.

Perhaps more important, Nixon said, once peace and justice are achieved, "we must remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been lost, mending what has been broken, and healing the wounds we have endured."

In his statement, Nixon also declined to ask McCulloch to recuse himself from the investigation despite some residents claiming the prosecutor has biases in favor of police.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Heavy rain in Arizona has flooded streets and one major freeway, stranding cars and trapping drivers and passengers.

One dramatic rescue in Sun City West was caught on the camera by ABC affiliate KNXV.

In the video, a white minivan was swamped on a main street in Sun City West. The fast-moving stream had submerged the minivan to its hood.

One rescue worker from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office approached the vehicle with nothing in his hands but a stick. He didn’t have a security belt tied to his waist, only his co-worker pulling him from behind, just in case he lost his balance.

The rescue worker slowly approached the minivan, hitting the front window repeatedly with a stick and eventually breaking it. He tried to open the passenger door, but the water pressure from the flooding made it difficult to pop the door open.

After finally sliding open the door, he got inside the minivan and pulled out an elderly woman. Wrapping her arms around the worker's neck, the woman appeared to be struggling with the muddy road.

As soon as the two rescue workers brought the woman to safety, the flood fully covered the minivan’s hood.

The two rescue workers brought the woman to a neighbor’s garage and sat her down on a chair. A neighbor offered the woman towels to keep her warm.

The several inches of rainfall in less than an hour caused havoc during the morning commute for commuters in the state.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio





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