“I have traveled down here to show the family that there is hope for making this right,” Pointer said. From a room in the Asociación Maya on 16th and Mission streets in San Francisco, Góngora Pat’s other supporters, including his brother and two cousins, watched via videoconference.Pointer presented the case as an international tragedy, adding that Góngora Pat was an undocumented immigrant laborer who nonetheless should have had the protection of human rights. “If the city and county of San Francisco could take his labor, then the least they could do is to respect his human rights,” he said.He also presented evidence from an autopsy showing that Góngora Pat had injuries on his right side, indicating, the lawyer said, that he never faced or lunged at the officers, and that the bullets entered from above. This demonstrates, he argued, that the victim was likely seated or had fallen to the ground by the time he was shot. Witnesses who spoke to reporters after the shooting said Góngora Pat had been sitting when the officers arrived, though a police statement given after the incident says Góngora Pat lunged at the officers with the knife when they arrived. In a partial video of the incident that does not show Góngora Pat, officers can be heard shouting at him to “put it down.”What they should have done, Pointer argued, is implement crisis intervention training and create time, distance and a rapport with the suspect. That’s not what happened in Góngora Pat’s case, David Elliott Lewis, a crisis intervention trainer for the police, told Mission Local in May. Instead the confrontation lasted only 22 seconds. Lewis told Mission Local in May that the handling of Góngora was “a total disaster.”Reporters in Mexico wanted to know whether the officers are still on duty, whether there had been similar cases in San Francisco, whether Pointer saw the incident as a case of racial bias, and whether the officers were white. “They’re not black and they’re not Latino,” he said, and added that “bias plays into” police behavior in San Francisco, though he stopped short of characterizing the officers as racist.A year-long inquiry into the police department found significant disparities in how racial minorities are treated by the SFPD. The case is likely to take a year or two to advance to a trial, Pointer said, at which point he hopes to effect systemic policy change within the department as well as win damages for the family.Góngora Pat’s widow, Fidelia del Carmen, as well as his sister-in-law Isabel and three adult children, tearfully asked for justice for her slain husband. Activists then presented the family with a quilt made by San Francisco-based supporters. “This is not a San Francisco story, this is an international story,” Pointer said. Activists and a lawyer representing police shooting victim Luis Góngora Pat joined his wife and children at a press conference in Mexico Thursday morning to emphasize the trans-national significance of the shooting.Officers responding to a call about a man swinging a knife arrived on Shotwell Street near 19th Street on April 7 of this year and confronted Góngora Pat, a homeless man who spoke Maya and some Spanish but little English. Within 30 seconds of exiting their car, Officers Nate Steger and Michael Mellone had fired several beanbag rounds and seven bullets at Góngora Pat, partial video of the incident shows. Six of the bullets struck and fatally injured him.Both officers remain on duty, and Góngora Pat’s family has filed a civil suit against the city of San Francisco and the two officers alleging the man’s human rights were violated. The officers fired after Góngora Pat lunged at them with the knife, then-police-chief Greg Suhr said after the shooting.Adriana Camarena, an organizer and lawyer who has supported the causes of several families of police shooting victims, joined Adante Pointer, the San Francisco attorney representing Góngora Pat’s family, and several other activists in traveling to Mérida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán. There, they addressed reporters and members of the public alongside Góngora Pat’s widow, Fidelia del Carmen, and his children, cousins, and niece. 0% Tags: police • police shooting Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
The night before her daughter disappeared, an ominous vision came to Josefina De León. She dreamed of a cradle, similar to the one her oldest child, Cinthya, had slept in when she was a baby, plummeting from the sky. Disturbed, she jolted awake and roused her partner, Cruz Sanchez, who was asleep at her side. He told her he was experiencing a disconcerting dream of his own—a black suitcase, suspended in air, slowly descending a staircase. De León would later come to identify these dreams as premonitions, but as the couple lay in the darkness, they could ascribe no meaning to them and eventually drifted back to sleep. When De León awoke the following morning, she instinctively reached for her BlackBerry on the nightstand. She expected a message from Cinthya, who was then 25 years old and lived by herself in a different part of town, letting her know she’d made it home safely after going to a party with friends. But there was none. For the moment, De León put any concerns out of mind. As she did each Sunday, she prepared for a family gathering at her modest white stucco house, located beside an unpaved road on the southern outskirts of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which shares a 250-mile border with Texas. De León was a 44-year-old social worker in the state’s Integral Family Development office, assisting senior citizens and orphans. She has a toothy smile, dark reddish hair that she often wears in a ponytail, and a soothing voice deepened by years of smoking. Around eleven that morning, she sat down to a spread of barbacoa tacos with Sanchez and her seven-year-old daughter. Soon, her seventeen-year-old son arrived with a friend. De León was mildly annoyed by Cinthya’s absence, but as the hours passed, her irritation turned to worry.It was April 2012, and all across northern Mexico, drug cartels were waging a brutal war for control over smuggling routes into the U.S. The state of Tamaulipas, with its elongated border that stretches from Nuevo Laredo to the Gulf of Mexico, was one of the most embattled territories. Cartels had so thoroughly corrupted the municipal police in Tamaulipas that the Mexican government would soon purge the force’s ranks and shut down its offices, leaving the military to try and maintain some semblance of peace. Cinthya had witnessed the violence up close. As a clerk in the Tamaulipas attorney general’s office, which investigated murders and disappearances, she had traveled to various towns along the Texas border in the aftermath of a massacre. She had comforted victims’ families. And when she returned, she’d told her mother about the historic villages decimated by the drug war. To De León, such stories had once sounded like something out of a movie. But now, in Victoria, two hours south of the border, cartel operations had become an ever-present threat. Before leaving their homes, residents checked social media for word of violent outbreaks, and few traveled anywhere after dark. Ciudad Victoria.Photograph by Encarni Pindado That spring she unexpectedly got a call from Mariana Rodríguez Mier, then the undersecretary of the Tamaulipas office of human rights. Mier offered her a job as a social worker at the Attention to Victims office. Because of De León’s courage in searching for her daughter, she had become well-known among other victims’ families, and Mier told her that those experiences would make her a stronger advocate. De León was unconvinced. She felt that she had lost the capacity to attend to the needs of others. She was also acquainted with the state’s office of human rights through her former job, and she had little patience for its inefficiencies. Sanchez, though, convinced her that the best way to help other victims was from inside the government. Eventually, in June 2014, she agreed. On a typical day, she would interview victims’ families (they were often still dazed and thus struggled to recall pertinent details) and take inventory of their needs. She would then explain their legal right to government assistance. For some, that meant help finding work. For others, it meant medical attention, legal assistance, or scholarships for children of the deceased. Exposure to the pain of other victims was sometimes unbearable. “I had to be strong to keep from crying,” she said. And though all of the cases were traumatic, she found the disappearances especially unsettling. For those families, like hers, the unknown meant that any sense of closure was elusive. Yet she also discovered a support network in the form of other families that had taken it upon themselves to search for loved ones. One day at the office she met and struck up a friendship with Miriam Rodríguez, whose fourteen-year-old daughter, Karen, had been kidnapped in 2012. Afterward, Rodríguez became a vocal critic of government inaction and a prominent activist who organized other victims’ families to help look for the disappeared. She formed a group called San Fernando Collective for the Disappeared. In 2014, somewhat miraculously, she unearthed human remains in a clandestine grave in San Fernando, and DNA testing later confirmed that it belonged to Karen. She also fed information to investigators that helped lead to the arrest of nine people linked to Karen’s murder.By early 2015, several other women across Tamaulipas had begun organizing victims’ collectives. They were each made up of dozens of members, many of whom had met while visiting De León’s office. One such collective was started by Graciela Pérez Rodríguez. In 2012 her thirteen-year-old daughter (a U.S. citizen) was traveling home from Houston with her uncle and three cousins when they vanished in southern Tamaulipas. Pérez named her collective Milynali, after her daughter. Each collective had its own priorities, depending on its leader. Some led search parties, but most focused on lobbying the government to more aggressively investigate and prosecute disappearances. Members also assisted each other in smaller ways—offering emotional support and delivering meals during especially difficult times. At the end of 2016, De León was fired from her job at the Attention to Victims office. She was told that it was unhealthy to allow the trauma of others to perpetuate her own suffering, though she suspects she was being punished for backing the collectives, which frequently protested the failings of the government. (Officials at the victims office did not respond to a request for comment.) De León wasted no time in launching her own group, a nonprofit called the Network of the Disappeared, and opened a small office in Victoria. Because of her experience in the victims office, she knew how to help other victims navigate government bureaucracy. Word spread, and soon her client list numbered in the hundreds. She partnered with a team of psychologists, a social worker, and an attorney. “Being able to help allowed me to continue living,” De León said.Parents of the disappeared cleaning a memorial in La Loma Park.Photograph by Encarni PindadoA few months later, though, she received devastating news. On May 10, 2017, Miriam Rodríguez left her office around 10 p.m. and drove home. After she stepped out of her car, a team of assassins approached from across the street and shot her multiple times from close range. Her husband was upstairs in their apartment, and by the time he raced outside, the gunmen were gone. Her death made international headlines. Amnesty International released a statement saying that Mexico had become “a very dangerous place for those who are bravely dedicating their lives to the search for the disappeared. The nightmare which they face not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their relatives and the dangers they face while carrying out their work, which they undertake due to the negligent response from the authorities, are alarming.”Federal officials in Mexico faced mounting outrage from the public. Fearing that other leaders of the collectives were also being targeted by cartels, officials whisked De León and others to Mexico City, where they were placed in hiding for several months. Some members of the collectives, consumed by paranoia and fear, abandoned the cause; for others, the loss of Rodríguez strengthened their resolve. De León never wavered. When she returned to Victoria, she did as she had always done. She kept searching.One of the biggest achievements of the collectives came at the close of that year, when the General Law on Disappearance entered into force. In addition to establishing a special prosecutor on disappearances, this new legislation created a commission responsible for developing a national forensics mechanism, a DNA database, and a plan to search for the missing. De León herself was chosen by the state congress to advise the commission. The obstacles to this endeavor, however, remain formidable. Few are actually willing to challenge the cartels, and there are insufficient resources to effectively respond to the sheer volume of cases. Meanwhile, the violence in Mexico has only escalated. There were 33,000 homicides in Mexico in 2018, the highest number since the government began publishing the data, in 1997, and a 15 percent increase from the year prior. When he took office in December 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador launched a truth commission to investigate the 2014 disappearance of 43 students at a teachers’ college in southwestern Mexico—one of the country’s most infamous unsolved crimes. Yet De León and other members of the collectives are skeptical. After decades of corruption, distrust of the government remains high.De León continues to gather information about the missing from her clients and her network of sources sprinkled across Tamaulipas, including many anonymous tipsters she’s cultivated over the years. She then shares her findings with investigators. Since founding her nonprofit, she has collaborated with authorities to help unearth some two dozen clandestine graves, each containing multiple victims. Many of those searches have been conducted in partnership with a team from the Tamaulipas attorney general’s office, consisting of forensic experts, a pair of search dogs and their handlers, and a few armed guards. Why am I seeing this? Raymundo Aguilar, a parent of the disappeared who volunteers ad De León’s nonprofit.Photograph by Encarni Pindado The State of Texas(Daily)A daily digest of Texas news, plus the latest from Texas Monthly Portraits of the disappeared at De León’s nonprofit.Photograph by Encarni Pindado You’ve read your last free article This Week in Texas(Weekly)The best stories from Texas Monthly Sign Up The day after Cinthya’s disappearance, De León told her boss she would need the day off. She drove to see Cinthya’s colleagues at the attorney general’s office. She hoped they would be galvanized to help find one of their own. Instead, De León was directed to seek help from the poorly funded Attention to Victims office, where a staff of three was tasked with attending to the needs of thousands of victims. (De León’s experience was typical of other victims. According to Human Rights Watch, “Prosecutors and police routinely neglect to take basic investigative steps to identify those responsible for enforced disappearances.”) Exasperated, she decided to search for Cinthya herself. It wasn’t unusual for Cinthya to visit Barretal, a farming village roughly forty minutes north of Victoria. She went there sometimes to play in pickup soccer matches. With little else to go on, De León figured Barretal was as good a place as any to start looking. She called Sanchez, who picked her up in a well-used Ford Ranger he’d borrowed from his job tending farms and ranches surrounding the city. De León then called her son and asked him to prepare supper for his little sister. The couple drove past the ranches and citrus groves north of Victoria. The Sierra Madre Oriental rose to the west. They stopped at every roadside gas station and town plaza on the way to Barretal, showing strangers a photograph of Cinthya and describing her Smurf-blue Chevy Monza. But no one had seen her. By the time they reached Barretal, it was past 8 p.m., and the streets were abandoned. De León and Cruz reluctantly decided to return home.The next day De León called her employer and asked for a leave of absence; Sanchez did the same. They spent the afternoon preparing for several days on the road, packing clothes, hats, boots, gasoline canisters, shovels, machetes, water, and canned tuna and sardines into the borrowed truck. They were determined to scour the towns and ranches surrounding Victoria, hunting for any leads on Cinthya’s whereabouts. The farther they traveled, the more devastation they saw. Burned-out cars littered highways and country roads. Entire villages and ranches, which cartel groups often seized in order to set up temporary camps, lay abandoned. In the rural stretches between towns, De León and Sanchez made frequent stops to sort through the detritus of abandoned narco camps: empty liquor bottles, soiled clothing, oil drums that had been used to burn victims to ash. So as not to raise suspicion, they pretended to forage for pequin peppers. They returned home only when their food and supplies ran low.En route to a search with De León.Photograph by Encarni PindadoA month passed without any signs of Cinthya. De León took out a $500 loan from her employer, and that carried them for a few weeks. Then she got a second mortgage on her house and bought two used pickup trucks. Not long after, one of the trucks was stolen on the outskirts of a small village north of Victoria called Conejos. She and Sanchez stopped into a store to ask for directions. When they walked back outside, the truck was gone. A few weeks later, they were driving a barren stretch of road near the tiny hamlet of San Carlos, about seventy miles north of Victoria, when they were stopped and surrounded by a group of heavily armed men who searched the vehicle and demanded to know what had brought them to such a remote location. The couple claimed to be lost. “One man fired his rifle at the ground and we ran,” De León said. Thorns tore at their skin as they fled through the dense scrub. “All we could hear was laughing that sounded like screaming hyenas.” They spent the night hiding amid mesquite trees. The next morning, they followed a column of smoke on the horizon to the burned husk that had been their truck. There were other close calls. While trying to search the northern reaches of the Sierra Madre Oriental, where De León had heard a cartel maintained several hideouts, they were almost caught in a gunfight between the military and a gang known as Columna Armada General Pedro José Méndez, which had recently infiltrated the area. De León and Sanchez sped back toward Victoria, and they were nearly run off the road as a caravan of pickup trucks and sedans spilled onto the highway from surrounding ranches. Men with rifles protruding from open windows were racing to join the fight. According to social media, scores died in the ensuing fracas. “To walk through this door, you enter a world you never imagined existed,” De León said. “I realized that my daughter might become one more number among thousands.”The anxiety took a toll on her. De León rarely ate, and she’d become gaunt. But she refused to give up searching. Sign up for free access Left:Portraits of the disappeared at De León’s nonprofit.Photograph by Encarni PindadoRight:Raymundo Aguilar, a parent of the disappeared who volunteers ad De León’s nonprofit.Photograph by Encarni Pindado Enter your email address I agree to the terms and conditions. De León was surprised when, the evening before, Cinthya had told her she planned to go out with friends. They were sitting together on De León’s second-floor balcony, staring out at the city lights below. De León tried to dissuade her. She was just nineteen when Cinthya was born, and sometimes it felt as though they had grown up together. They were best friends. But Cinthya was also fiercely independent. She promised that she would be careful. De León with a picture of Cinthya.Photograph by Encarni Pindado First Name By 1 p.m. on Sunday, De León still hadn’t heard from Cinthya, so she began calling her daughter’s friends. The few who answered told De León that Cinthya had left the party at about 6 a.m. and dropped off a friend at a gas station northwest of town. Only one person had spoken with Cinthya after that. He told De León that Cinthya had called him that morning and told him she’d been in a fender bender. It wasn’t serious, she assured him, but she sounded rattled. She cut the conversation short, supposedly to call her mother. De León pressed for more details, but all he could offer was a vague suggestion that perhaps the accident had occurred on Highway 85, north of town. De León dialed the highway patrol and hospitals across the city, but there was no sign of Cinthya. It was evening by then, and for the first time she allowed herself to consider the possibility that her daughter had had a run-in with the cartel. She didn’t sleep that night. She wouldn’t sleep again for days.Among victims of the disappeared, there is a common refrain: all of Mexico is a clandestine grave. Since 2006, more than 37,000 disappearances have been reported across the country, though most experts believe the actual number is much higher. And there have been far more disappearances in Tamaulipas than in any other Mexican state. While it accounts for merely 3 percent of Mexico’s population, Tamaulipas has recorded nearly 20 percent of the country’s disappearances during that stretch. The state currently has roughly seven thousand cases on file, according to Irving Barrios Mojica, Tamaulipas’s attorney general, though he claims that number is imprecise. A proper accounting “is very difficult to assess,” he says, pointing to various obstacles. Many victims’ families file cases in multiple jurisdictions, while others don’t report the missing at all because they’re fearful of cartel retaliation or distrustful of police. The state’s biggest blessing, its proximity to the U.S., is also its curse. Tamaulipas shares sixteen ports of entry with Texas, ranging from the industrial cities of Matamoros and Reynosa to the massive border crossing in Nuevo Laredo. More than $1.5 billion in legal trade—everything from car parts to avocados—crosses the U.S.-Mexico border every day, and roughly half of that goes through Tamaulipas. Much of the state’s economy is based on agriculture and manufacturing, but illicit trade has long been at least as profitable. During Prohibition, Juan Nepomuceno Guerra, considered the godfather of the Gulf Cartel, smuggled whiskey into Texas. Over the following decades, he cultivated relationships with Mexican politicians to protect his criminal enterprise.In the late eighties, when the Drug Enforcement Agency clamped down on Caribbean smuggling routes used to funnel cocaine from Colombia into the U.S., Mexico’s cartels, including the Gulf Cartel, seized on the opportunity, leveraging their marijuana smuggling networks and forging lucrative partnerships with their Colombian counterparts. As a result, cartels reaped unprecedented profits and began competing more fiercely with one another. To protect its turf in Tamaulipas, the Gulf Cartel created an enforcement arm in the late nineties made up of former members of Mexican Special Forces units. They called themselves Los Zetas.In 2006, shortly after President Felipe Calderón took office, he kept a campaign promise by dispatching soldiers and federal police to take on the narcos. Meanwhile, the U.S. hired thousands of federal agents and built hundreds of miles of border wall to try and crack down on the drug trade. But these efforts did little to stem the flow of drugs and instead provoked the modern era of ultraviolent cartel warfare. In Tamaulipas, the Gulf Cartel turned to the back roads connecting the state’s ranches and farming villages to maintain their operations. Local residents and visitors using those same roads were unwittingly caught up in the fray. Many were tortured, killed, and disposed of in remote locations. The problem grew even worse in 2010, when the Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel, inciting a sort of civil war. To the average citizen like De León, the criminal underworld had been largely invisible up until that point. Now some of the worst atrocities were carried out in full view of the public. In one of the most notorious incidents, the 2011 San Fernando massacre, 193 people were kidnapped and killed while traveling on public buses on a federal highway in northern Tamaulipas. By the time Cinthya went missing, in 2012, the bloodshed had permeated the entire state, including Victoria, the capital. Subscribe Already a subscriber? Login or link your subscription. Hope you enjoyed your free ride. To get back in the saddle, subscribe! Yet each April 22, the anniversary of Cinthya’s disappearance, De León searches alone. This year, after escorting a client to the victim services office and wrapping up a few clerical duties at her office, she drove her 2008 Nissan Sentra outside of the city around 3 p.m. The temperature was in the mid-nineties, which passes for spring in this part of Tamaulipas. When she reached a bus stop near the area where she suspected Cinthya had gotten into a fender bender the morning of her disappearance, she pulled over and strolled through the surrounding scrub, her gaze fixed on the ground. “You need to look at the surroundings, pay close attention to the smells, the vegetation,” De León said. “If a body is at the point of bursting, the ground rises. If a lot of time has passed, the ground sinks.”She paced the area for hours. She still has yet to find any evidence of Cinthya.De León arrived back home just past 8 p.m. She had dinner with Sanchez and her younger daughter, who’s now a teenager. She didn’t say much. And then she retreated to her second-floor balcony, where she last spoke with Cinthya. She often sits there after dark, staring out at the city lights, dreaming that her daughter will somehow find her way home. This night was no different. She stayed there for hours, smoking Pall Mall Lights and listening to the cars in the distance, their muffled sounds fading into the night. Aaron Nelsen is a freelance writer and former border correspondent for the San Antonio Express-News.This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Patron Saint of the Disappeared.” Subscribe today. For nearly two years, De León continued in this way. She quit her job to commit to the search full time, and she increasingly turned to social media, a useful channel by which to monitor the pulse of organized crime, yet one fraught with rumors and conspiracy theories. She also monitored various websites maintained by cartel members who sometimes spoke in coded language but were just as often brazen when describing misdeeds.On February 8, 2014, she received a direct message on Twitter from someone claiming to be a friend of Cinthya’s former boyfriend. He said he’d heard that Cinthya had been snatched off the street by mistake and taken to a ranch along with other young women abducted by the cartel. He promised to use his friendship with a low-ranking gang member at the ranch to find out whatever he could. But when he responded a few days later, his message was abrupt: Cinthya had been “eliminated,” he wrote, and her remains had been scattered. De León pleaded for information about the ranch, but he was evasive about its name, location, and anything else she could trace. He then cut off communication entirely. De León had known that Cinthya’s survival was unlikely, but she’d harbored some hope of finding her. Now she fell into a deep depression. For weeks she refused to leave the house. She rarely changed clothes. She cried often and barely spoke to anyone. She couldn’t be certain that the Twitter messages were credible, but she often reread them for hidden meaning. “I abandoned myself,” she said. “I wanted to die.” Never Miss a StorySign up for Texas Monthly’s State of Texas newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox daily. Editor’s Desk(Monthly)A message from the editors at Texas Monthly Subscribe now, or to get 10 days of free access, sign up with your email. Cancel anytime. If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. Leave them blank to get signed up. Last Name
SUPER League are delighted to announce that Heinz BIG Soup, one of the UK’s most recognisable consumer brands, has extended its partnership with Super League for the 2013 season.Heinz BIG Soup is already an established presence within Rugby League and this latest agreement sees the brand featuring prominently on matchday perimeter advertising hoardings and on the sleeves of all 14 Super League clubs’ playing jerseys, as well as adorning Super League’s match balls.The partnership will also be used to support the expansion of the Heinz BIG brand, with a range of Frozen Ready Meals which were launched back in September 2012.Heinz BIG Soup has outlined its commitment this year to maximising awareness of Rugby League outside of the sport’s traditional strongholds and plans a series of exciting experiential and national media campaigns involving some of Super League’s most talented stars to help engage new supporters.Innovative media tie-ups with talkSPORT, the UK’s biggest national commercial sports radio station, and Sport, the most-read sport magazine in the UK with a weekly circulation of more than 300,000, will support Super League’s own plans to grow the game.The commitment to the professional game is also underpinned by Heinz BIG Soup’s continuing support of the development of the sport at the grassroots level with another season of investment in the National Youth League.RFL Commercial Director James Mercer said: “We are very pleased to have Heinz BIG Soup on board for 2013 in what promises to be an extraordinary year for Super League and Rugby League in general.“There is already a huge awareness of Heinz BIG within Rugby League following their successful association with Super League through the ‘BIG Soup’ brand in 2012 and we are confident that we will see that awareness enhanced further in 2013.“We have built a strong relationship with Heinz BIG Soup since they first got involved and we look forward to working closely with them to strengthen that partnership during the next year.”Chris Nunn, Senior Brand Manager, Heinz BIG Soup added: “After a successful year of sponsorship in 2012, Heinz BIG Soup is looking forward to being a proud supporter of the Super League 2013 season during such a special year for the sport.“We have been working hard over the winter break to make sure that we bring Super League fans a full-on Heinz BIG Soup experience for 2013, including signing national media partnerships and a BIG new and interactive campaign which will be launched with some well-known Super League faces in February – watch this space!”
ON the day the new First Utility Super League season kicks off, talkSPORT – the world’s biggest sports radio station – and talkSPORT 2 – the new national 24-hour sports radio station which launches on the March 15 – have announced a ground-breaking deal to broadcast more than 100 Super League games over the next two years.As official broadcast partner of the First Utility Super League, talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will dedicate more programming to the sport than any other national radio station. In addition to live Super League and Dacia World Club Series fixtures, dedicated magazine programming like the Robbie Hunter Paul Show will give fans of the 13-man code everything they want.The partnership with the First Utility Super League is the first of the rights deals that have been secured for talkSPORT 2 to be announced. The station, which is part of the UTV Media portfolio of brands, will concentrate on coverage of live sport, including rugby league, cricket, tennis, rugby union, golf, football and horseracing, plus some US sport, and will offer a range of specialised magazine programming that hasn’t had a home on national commercial radio before.Mike Bovill, Managing Editor of talkSPORT 2, said: “To secure live rights for the First Utility Super League is a huge coup for talkSPORT 2, providing fans of rugby league with a real reason to listen. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to offer more coverage of Super League than any other national UK station – making us the destination for live commentaries and magazine shows.”Blake Solly, General Manager of First Utility Super League, said: “talkSPORT is one of the best in the business at broadcasting live sport and we are delighted to have agreed a deal which will guarantee rugby fans across the country more than 100 live Super League games over the next two years.“Rugby League is a fantastic sport that I am sure the listeners of talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will enjoy week in, week out during the season.”
KEIRON Cunningham paid tribute to the fans in his press conference following the 38-34 win over Leeds Rhinos.“The crowd were immense for us tonight,” he said. “It was the style of game they enjoy; a bit free flowing and plenty of points and I thought they brought us home in crucial areas. Kyle Amor’s try … we had them pinned down in their area and he got off his line with the wind behind him from the fans and put Zak (Hardaker) in a bad spot.“They were immense and it meant as much to us and it did to them to get the victory tonight.”He continued: “It was some game for sure. It was definitely one for the cameras and one for the fans … and to be fair we could have quite easily come away with nothing. But you can’t be critical when as a team you keep fighting and working hard. Ok, we didn’t want to play defence and just play offense, but we were pretty good at it!“It was an emotional night. Jonny and Percy (Mark Percival), getting them back was important, but especially Jonny. I have been there for a long period with him and we have a close affiliation.“To hear the Saints fans in full roar as he went over meant a lot to me as it meant a lot for the fans to see him again in Saints shirt. I also saw how much it meant to Jonny at the end of the game too.“He kept going. He hasn’t played for 14 months and we rolled him in different positions too to freshen his legs. He did a great job and had an influence on the game from start to finish.“It is scary where he could take us as a team. We will take it week by week with him though as we will with all the players. Joe (Greenwood) and Til (Atelea Vea) did a solid job. We lost Matty Dawson at half time which meant Louie heading into the centres but I thought Morgan Knowles did a good job in the middle too.“It wasn’t the best defensive display but we will take the two points.”KC was also pleased with his side’s start.“It is something we have focused on all week,” he added. “At Headingley we gifted them 16 points without a breath. We started big against a team that have been playing well and got a good win over Hull FC last week. We got that 10 point buffer but couldn’t seem to shake them off. It was cat and mouse.“Leeds are a great attacking side and Rob Burrow was running around like he had spiders on him! Brian Mc should be proud of how they kept going for him whilst down on numbers.”
(Photo: MGN Online) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police responded to three separate shootings Sunday. Officers say while several homes and cars were damaged, no one was serious injured.Garrett Grinnell (Photo: WPD)Officers responded to the 140 block of Edgewater Lane around 8:10 a.m. when a resident reported finding bullet holes in his truck and house. A few hours earlier a neighbor, Garrett Grinnell, 21, called 911 to report he shot off part of his pinky finger but was being taken to the hospital. Police say Grinnell and the neighbor had been in a heated argument a few weeks earlier. Grinnell admitted to shooting a couple rounds after consuming pills and marijuana. Police charged him with discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, damage to personal property and discharging a firearm within the city limits.- Advertisement – Officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert around 2:45 p.m. that several shots had been fired in the 1200 block of South 12th Street. Officers discovered multiple occupied houses had been hit, but people in the area said they had not seen anything. The investigation continues.Around 8 p.m. officers responded to the 200 block of Gores Row after getting a ShotSpotter notification. Officers found a vehicle with a bullet hole. Again, citizens in the area said they had not seen anything. The investigation is ongoing.Anyone with information is asked to contact WPD at (910) 343-3600 or use Text A Tip.
From Monday through Friday members of the Junior League of Wilmington will each wear one black dress for 5 days to demonstrate the effects of poverty.Members say the money raised through the Little Black Dress Initiative will allow them to improve the community through partnerships with community organizations.For more information about the Little Black Dress Initiative or to donate to the campaign, click here. Little Black Dress Initiative is taking place February 19 – 23, 2018 (Photo: Junior League of Wilmington) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Junior League of Wilmington kicked off its Little Black Dress Initiative on Monday.The campaign hopes to raise awareness of the challenges facing the nearly 40,000 people in New Hanover county who live in poverty. – Advertisement –
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A $1 million bond.That’s what district attorneys Jon and Ben David want for those arrested for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.- Advertisement – “If you are pedaling poison for profit in the five county region, you need to know that the cost of business just went up dramatically,” Ben said.They held a news conference Tuesday morning on the Battleship North Carolina to discuss their approach to crackdown on the opioid epidemic.“We are going to continue to serve and protect those struggling in the grips of addiction,” Ben said.Related Article: Wilmington oral surgeon charged for allegedly sexually abusing patientsThe two brothers are unapologetic to criminals, who they say are the reason one person dies every week in the five counties they cover.“For every dealer of heroin and/or carfentanil, we are going to be requesting a one million dollar bond as a new policy in the fifth and thirteenth districts. That’s the five county area,” Ben said.Jon David says this battle is multi-faceted.“The opioid crisis is nothing short of a public health emergency in the Cape Fear,” Jon David said. “We’re trying to save lives today.”The men will request a $1 million bond when they arrest, who they call “poison pushers.”They want officers to target that drug specifically.“The cost of business is going up today.”The Davids say they have spoken with the sheriffs of Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, Pender and New Hanover counties, as well as police chiefs and the head of the FBI Task Force to help with this initiative.“It’s very frustrating to see them get out of jail quickly after we’ve spent days, weeks, months investigating crimes that they’re associated with or involved in,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said.“These dealers are very dangerous individuals so on our end, hey if we can ask for a higher bond then great. As far as all the technical areas, the judges, the magistrates, they can decide that but we just wanted the community to know this is a problem,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said.There are 40 people of current pending cases in New Hanover County who are out on bond. The district attorneys say it will cause a short term population increase at the jails but it’s maximizing a resource. They want to focus on career criminals.“We don’t know always the lives we save by these initiatives,” Ben said.They are looking at how to keep them in custody before trial and will look at the jail numbers a year from now.Jon David says right now dealers are getting bonds they can easily handle. The goal is to keep them in custody. He said he met with every magistrate in Bladen and Columbus counties, and they are on notice.Judges will have to determine the motivation after the initial $1 million secured bond.The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released a statement, saying it is unconstitutional to keep people locked in jail before they have been found guilty.
“It’s just a place where they can be their self and they don’t have to explain,” Monica Caison with the Cue Center for Missing Persons said.It is the national missing person’s conference held each year in Wilmington, but Monica Caison with the Cue Center for Missing Persons says it is about much more than just the missing.“We want to impact the people who have never had a missing person,” Caison said. “We want to educate those who may end up with a missing person, but at the same time we want to comfort and bring comfort to those who do have a missing person.”Related Article: Witness photos lead to ID of downtown Wilmington hit-and-run suspectCaison said when a loved one goes missing, the family often does not know where to turn.“They are confused,” Caison said. “They make the report. They get angry, because they don’t think things are moving fast enough or don’t think nothing is going on at all.”Caison said this is a place for them to get answers.“They hear first hand from law enforcement the things that they do behind the scenes that they can’t put out there in the public,” Caison said. “Sometimes families can educate theirself through these conferences and train their law enforcement. Go back and tell their law enforcement what they’ve learned and say, ‘Hey, can you try this in my case?’”It is also a place where she said they can finally relax a little.“They can actually laugh out loud at a joke if they want to and they don’t have to feel guilty for it, because the person telling the joke has a missing loved one too,” Caison said. “Does that make sense?”It makes sense to the 350 people who make the list.“We have to cap it off at 350,” Caison said. “Every year we turn about 70 or more away. It’s sad that we’re inundated every year with the calls all around the country wanting to come.”There is one event that is open to the entire community. It is the candlelight vigil along Wilmington’s riverfront on Saturday.“We hand out the national symbols which is the teddy bear and white roses,” Caison said.Caison said they also unveil a wall with hundreds of photos of missing people and there is something extra special for those who are attending the conference.“Our conference attendees get bused in from the conference with a police escort,” Caison said. “It’s awesome. They just feel honored from the minute that they get ready to leave for the vigil.”Caison said they also honor some of the families who have found their missing loved one.“Because they’ve sat in that audience before and now it’s their turn to get up to the podium and speak and say, ‘I’m done. You know? It’s over for me and still continue to have hope that your loved one will be found.”The candlelight vigil is open to anyone. It is this Saturday at Wilmington’s riverfront park starting at 8 pm. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This weekend, hundreds of families from around the country will come to the Port City for the only missing persons conference of its kind in the US.While it can be very emotional, it can also be very helpful, not only for the families, but also the agencies who are involved with an unsolved case.- Advertisement –
“I am disappointed that I was not renominated during the primary. I have felt that I am serving on the Board of Education as a public servant and as my dad used to say, as a public servant you serve at the will of the public. And they decide whether or not you stay on the service or not,” Higgins said.Higgins was first elected in 1994. He said he does not understand why voters wanted him out.“For whatever reason whether it’s low turn out or there’s something that I did that disappointed people, clearly people have lost faith in my ability,” Higgins said.Related Article: Hearing scheduled for Lewis Hatcher’s injunctionHiggins said he wishes the board the best. Bill Rivenbark, the newcomer who received more votes than any of the school board incumbents said he’s excited and already has issues he wants to work on.“Some of the things I would like to change is a communication problem I think we have with the board, between the board and the county commissioners, the state representatives, and federal. I mean that’s where we get all our money from,” Rivenbark said.Rivenbark now advances to the general election, but still has kind words for his one-time opponent.“Ed, you know, no matter what anybody thinks about anybody Ed has served on there for 25 years I think and he’s owed a thanks and I appreciate everything he did,” Rivenbark said.The other along with Rivenbark are three other incumbents Bruce Shell, Don Hayes and Janice Cavenaugh. NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Change is coming to the New Hanover County School Board after last night’s election results. A newcomer will advance to the general election after taking the spot of a longtime board member. For the first time in 24 years New Hanover County Board Chairman Ed Higgins will not advance to the general election.- Advertisement –