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11-year-old graduates Florida college 

When William Maillis was 2-years-old, he learned simple mathematical equations. At 4 he was on to algebra.

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He was declared a genius when he was 5 by an Ohio State University psychologist. At 9, he graduated high school.

Maillis, now 11, turned the tassel on his mortarboard Saturday as he graduated with his associates degree from St. Petersburg College. He plans to start on his bachelor’s degree next month at the University of South Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reported

His goal is to have his Ph.D. at 18.

"I want to be an astrophysicist," Maillis told BayNews9. "I want to prove to the world that God does exist through science."

World War II veteran awarded Prisoner of War medal after 73 years 

During World War II, Ralph G. Rumsey of Woodstock was a prisoner of war in Germany for six months. After struggling with his wartime experiences for 73 years, he’s been awarded a Prisoner of War Medal, gaining the recognition he thought might never come. 

At 96, Rumsey said he’s finally feeling some sense of closure.

He’s not satisfied yet, however; now, he wants to put the focus on other veterans.

“I always wanted to be able to help veterans,” Rumsey said. He hopes to support other veterans in tackling the issues they face, particularly psychological issues.

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Rumsey himself has struggled for decades with feeling a horrible itching sensation that he believes was caused by his time as a prisoner, when his bed and clothes were filled with bugs.

Despite his vivid memories of the war, his family said he never talks about it. Until two years ago, no one in his family knew that Rumsey had been a prisoner of war, according to his wife Ruby.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson helped Rumsey secure the medal, and Isakson presented it to him at a special ceremony for his friends and family.

One of Rumsey’s friends, Christine Maza, was crucial in helping Rumsey get the medal. She met him when she was a hospice volunteer several years ago, and one day while taking him to the VA, she noticed a poster advertising the medal.

“He was so excited,” she recalled. Maza helped him submit the paperwork, but when it stalled at the VA, she called Isakson’s office, remembering how he had helped her father, also a veteran. Isakson made it happen, she said.

“I’m just happy that Ralph is finally getting what is long overdue,” Maza continued. “He’s just been sinking. This really revived him.”

Rumsey’s stepdaughter, Jean Thomas, also believes that the medal will help Rumsey psychologically. “I’m so happy for him and pleased,” she commented.

At the ceremony, Rumsey was in high spirits, eager to share stories of his experiences in the war, both good and bad. Though he remembers the bug infestation in the prison clearly, he also recalled the way Paris lit up at night in; the days he spent there after he was released.

When Isakson walked into the room, Rumsey joked that Isakson was a “youngster” compared to him. 

With a laugh, Isakson agreed. “I’ve only been here 73 years, you’re 96!”

As Rumsey received the medal, many of his friends and family shed tears.

“Thank you for putting up with the Germans for a couple of months in captivity, but in the end, you won and they lost, and that’s all that matters,” Isakson told Rumsey.

Georgia inmates in solitary confinement at 'grave risk of harm,' expert says

Craig Haney, hired to assess conditions in the solitary confinement unit at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, has visited some of the nation’s most dangerous prisons, but nothing could prepare him for what he witnessed on the E Wing.

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The atmosphere was “as chaotic and out-of-control as any such unit I have seen in decades of conducting such evaluations,” he wrote. “When I entered this housing unit I was met with a cacophony of prisoner screams and cries for help. The noise was deafening and there was the smell of smoke in the air, as if someone had set a fire sometime earlier in the day.”

Such “draconian”conditions at the Jackson prison’s special management unit, which houses up to 192 prisoners, have created some of the most “psychologically traumatized” inmates he’s ever assessed, Haney wrote in a blistering report, released this week in its entirety.

“They are at grave risk of harm,” he said. “That psychological harm may be irreversible and even fatal.”

A spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections declined comment, citing pending litigation.

Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, specializes in the psychological effects of imprisonment and consequences of solitary confinement. He was hired by the Southern Center for Human Rights, a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, after a prisoner filed a federal lawsuit claiming inhumane treatment within the GDC isolation unit. Similar suits from three other prisoners followed.

At every turn, the solitary unit — created to house the prison’s most dangerous and destructive inmates— exceeds the deprivation seen in similar solitary or “Supermax” facilities, Haney said. They are not only deprived of physical contact, but verbal communication is virtually impossible, the report found. Even visual contact is fleeting, as prisoners are confined by solid metal doors instead of bars. Even the small “windows,” on the cell doors and in the rear of the cell, are covered by thick metal sheets.

Prisoners can’t see out; natural air and sunlight can’t seep in.

“The prisoners are in essence hermetically sealed inside their cells for the extended periods in which they are confined there,” Haney reported.

Conditions throughout the unit were “unusually severe,” said Haney. Prisoners are locked in their 7 x 13.5-feet cells for all but five hours a week, when they are allowed outside exercise time.

Those five hours are divided into two sessions and spent within a caged outdoor cell, paved with concrete and surrounded by institutional facilities — more industrial than natural, Haney notes.

“Dangerously” high level of mentally ill prisoners in isolation

Housing just one mentally ill prisoner within the solitary unit would be problematic, Haney said.

At GDC, 70 of the 180 prisoners currently in isolation qualify as mentally ill.

“I do not believe there is any possible justification for housing such a high number of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement, especially not in a unit as harsh and severe as the Georgia SMU.”

And that’s not including prisoners in the unit who Haney, after reviewing the medical records of all 180 inmates, said exhibited serious mental problems. Two such prisoners committed suicide in 2017, he concludes. (Specific information about the prisoners is redacted.)

One, incarcerated since 2002, had an unstable childhood and was in need of mental help, his father wrote on a social history questionnaire. A mental health referral form from 2009 stated the prisoner had reported hearing voices for more than a year and had a history of treatment for anxiety, depression and multiple personalities. In 2015, he was moved to the special management unit.

He eventually hung himself with a sheet tied to a lighting fixture. His body was “stiff and cold … suggesting that officers had not checked on him in some time,” Haney wrote.

Prisoners with such pre-existing conditions “are likely to suffer greatly and deteriorate badly in solitary confinement,” the report states. “When their suffering and deterioration is ignored and they are retained in these dangerously harsh and deprived conditions, the consequences can be fatal.”

The solitary trap

The isolation unit is supposed to operate within an incentive system; getting out is dependent on the prisoners’ behavior.

But Haney’s report found that malfunctions in the Tier III program used at GDC are often just as responsible for keeping prisoners in solitary for exceedingly long periods. The requirements for advancement out of the unit are often unrealistic and dispensed arbitrarily, Haney said.

A lack of bed space is another persistent problem, according to the report. The unit’s chief of security, Dwain Williams, corroborated this in a deposition, testifying that prisoners are often held in more restrictive quarters because the facility can’t find room elsewhere.

“Thus, prisoners often languish at the lowest and most deprived level in the system (and the levels at which they are at most risk of harm) not because of their behavior but because the prison cannot house them where they are supposed to be,” Haney wrote.

Prisoners told Haney they often did not know what they needed to do to advance out of solitary confinement.

“I’ve been here almost two years,” said one prisoner, whose name was redacted. “I don’t know how to get out. It’s supposed to be a six-month program but nobody has a release date. You only have a start date.”

Typically prisoners spend a staggering three to four years in isolation at GDC; nearly 20 percent of the inmates had been retained for six years or more.

Haney said since 2010 it’s become increasingly difficult to win transfer out of solitary.

“Instead, once there, it looks as if prisoners are hard-pressed to secure their release,” he said.

Nowhere is it worse than the E Wing, the most restrictive portion of the special management unit. Most suffer from poor mental health.

Prisoners told Haney they are kept in their cells virtually around the clock, for weeks or months on end.

“We never get out of our cells,” one prisoner said. “We are caged in. They don’t even want to take us to shower.”

Haney described a palpable sense of hopelessness pervading through the E wing.

“We are just desperate, so we yell and scream for help,” another prisoner told him. “They ignore us or they beat us up.”

The report detailed four cases in which prisoners were battling serious mental health issues.

“Each man reported suffering greatly in this environment and manifested symptoms associated with psychological trauma and stress and the psychopathological effects of isolation,” Haney wrote. “None appear to have received the kind of in-depth mental health treatment that their serious psychiatric histories and conditions appeared to require.”

Study: Doctors give patients only seconds to explain reason for visit before interrupting

Have you ever felt rushed during a doctor’s visit? Most physicians don’t give their patients adequate time to explain the reason for their visit, according to a new study. 

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Researchers from the University of Florida, Gainesville, recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, to explore clinical encounters between doctors and their patients.

To do so, they assessed the initial few minutes of consultations between 112 patients and their medical practitioners between 2008 and 2015. The encounters they reviewed were videotaped in various clinics in the United States.

>> Heart attack sufferers more likely to survive if doctor is away, study says

The scientists observed whether doctors invited patients to set the agenda with questions such as “What can I do for you?” They also took notes on whether patients were interrupted while answering questions and in what manner.

After analyzing the results, they found that 36 percent of patients were able to set the agenda. However, they were interrupted 11 seconds on average after beginning their statements. Those who were not interrupted finished speaking after about six seconds. 

>> Medical errors kill almost as many as heart disease, doctors say

They said primary care doctors allowed more time than specialists as specialists generally know the purpose of a visit. 

“If done respectfully and with the patient’s best interest in mind, interruptions to the patient’s discourse may clarify or focus the conversation, and thus benefit patients,” co-author Singh Ospina said in a statement. “Yet, it seems rather unlikely that an interruption, even to clarify or focus, could be beneficial at the early stage in the encounter.”

>> Doctor burnout can cause major medical errors, study finds

While they are unclear why doctors don’t allow patients to speak longer, they believe time constraints, not enough training on how to communicate with patients and burnout may be factors. 

The scientists now hope to further explore their investigations on the ultimate experience of doctor visits and the outcomes. 

“Our results suggest that we are far from achieving patient-centered care,” she says. 

Officer killed by suspected drunken driver during funeral escort, Dallas police say

A 32-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department died early Saturday after he was hit by a suspected drunken driver during a funeral escort, authorities said.

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Senior Cpl. Earl “Jamie” Givens died early Saturday while he and other officers were escorting the body of Senior Cpl. Tyrone Andrews from Laurel Land Funeral Home to East Texas, police said. Andrews died of cancer, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Givens was stopped Saturday morning with his motorcycle’s emergency lights on when he was struck by a fast-moving Kia Sportage, authorities said. Givens, who was assigned to DPD’s traffic unit in 2012, was blocking traffic to an Interstate 20 on-ramp when he was hit, according to police. 

Givens’ fellow officers rendered aid to him before the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department arrived at the scene. However, police said, he was pronounced dead after he was taken to the Baylor University Medical Center.

The driver of the Kia Sportage, whose name was not released, struck a concrete divider and stopped, according to officials. The 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Authorities continue to investigate the incident.

Dallas police Chief Renee Hall asked for the public’s prayers Saturday during a news conference.

“Keep the Givens family in your prayers,” she said. “Keep the Dallas Police Department in your prayers. Keep the city of Dallas in your prayers.”

Police search for man accused of sucker-punching a customer at Walmart

Police are searching for a person of interest in an assault at a Georgia Walmart where a man said he was sucker-punched.

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The shopper said the person of interest approached him in an aisle at the Covington Walmart and asked if he was “looking for something with sugar” before striking him from behind, according to the police incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The person of interest allegedly struck the shopper a few more times before leaving the store along with another man, the report said.

Covington police released a picture of the man on their Facebook page, along with a photo of someone described as the person of interest’s friend. The person of interest wore a white shirt, and the “friend” had on a red shirt.

The two were seen leaving in a blue Chrysler 300 about midnight July 13, police said.

Men accused of stealing $8M in rare books, items from Pittsburgh library

Two men are facing charges of stealing or damaging more than $8 million in rare books and materials from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh over more than two decades.

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Investigators on Friday charged Greg Priore and John Schulman with the crimes, alleging the two men worked together to remove the items from the Oliver Room. 

According to the criminal complaint, Priore worked as the manager and sole archivist of the library's Oliver Room, which houses rare books and items, for 25 years before being fired in June 2017. Schulman is the co-owner of Caliban Book Shop in Oakland, which specializes in rare books.

>> On WPXI.com: Oakland library investigating multimillion-dollar theft of rare collection

The Oliver Room closed more than a year ago once authorities discovered the thefts.

Priore first contacted Schulman about the scheme in the late 1990s, according to the criminal complaint. Priore allegedly told police he made between $500 and $3,000 for items he stole and gave to Schulman to sell.

At one point, Priore allegedly told investigators, "I should have never done this. I loved that room, my whole working life, and greed came over me. I did it, but Schulman spurred me on."

Carnegie Library spokesperson Suzanne Thinnes released a statement to WPXI news reporter Aaron Martin

We are grateful the investigation into the Oliver Room theft has resulted in arrests, however we are deeply disappointed that at the center of this case are two people who had close, long standing relationships with the Library. We look forward to the appropriate individuals being held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We will continue to cooperate with the DA’s office and deeply appreciate their efforts to recover the stolen materials. The District Attorney will release information as appropriate as the case progresses through legal proceedings. We would like to thank our community for their support throughout this lengthy and complex investigation. We have been asked not to comment further until legal proceedings are complete. 

Both Priore and Schulman are facing numerous charges including theft and conspiracy.

Officers responding to noise complaint end up in dance-off with kids

Barnstable police officers found themselves in an unexpected competition on Thursday while responding to a noise complaint.

The department posted a video on their Facebook page of an impromptu dance-off that the officers had with children after responding to the complaint on Spring Street in Hyannis.

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Raphael Morales sent in the video. He said a noise complaint had been sent in to police as he was teaching the kids about a viral dance to the song "In My Feelings" by Drake. 

The officers eventually got called again, and when they drove by 15 minutes later, Morales said the dance-off challenge was put on the table.

The initial challenge then led to the officers challenging the kids, with ice cream as a reward.

Toddler drowns in babysitter's pool, twin brother hospitalized, deputies say

A young girl drowned and her twin brother was hospitalized Friday after they were found in a swimming pool while staying with a babysitter in Tennessee, according to Knox County sheriff’s deputies.

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The children, who were identified only as nearly 2-year-old twins, were staying at a home on Fox Lonas Road in West Knox County when the incident happened, deputies said. Their babysitter told authorities that she began to look for the twins after another child arrived at her home around 10 a.m. Friday.

She said she found them in the deep end of a swimming pool, deputies said.

First responders attempted to revive the children and rushed them to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in critical condition, WBIR reported.

Deputies said the girl was pronounced dead at the hospital. The boy was on life support Friday.

Authorities are investigating the incident.

Marine son stationed overseas surprises firefighter father for his birthday

A Marine stationed in Norway traveled around the globe to surprise his father in South Carolina on his birthday.

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The two reunited in an emotional moment at Friday’s celebration for Perry Clanton, an assistant volunteer fire chief, in Lancaster, South Carolina. Family and friends gathered for the occasion at the Buford Fire and Rescue building.

Clanton thought he was doing an interview with WSOCTV, but instead, his son, Cpl. Matthew Clanton walked into the room.

“I’m so proud of him, to have him home,” Perry Clanton said. “No one told me anyone would be here. (It) truly is a gift.”

Perry Clanton was also honored for his work in the community with diabetes. His father-in-law died from complications of diabetes a few years ago, and Clanton was diagnosed with diabetes in 2015. He lost more than 100 pounds to get healthy and urged others to do the same.

>> See more on WSOCTV.com

“He's always been there for me,” Matthew Clanton said. “If this is one thing I can do for him, to be here for him, he’s one of my big heroes that I look up to.”

Matthew Clanton gave his father a plaque, with a proclamation calling the day “Perry Clanton Day."

“When you finally reach that moment, get diabetes managed, you want to share that,” Perry Clanton said.

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