Cincinnati implements new 911 system after death of Ohio teen

The death of a 16-year-old who was pinned and suffocated in his own minivan has prompted Cincinnati officials to implement a 911 system that makes it easier to find people during emergencies.

Smart911 allows participants to create a “safety profile” where they submit information such as their home and work address, phone numbers and medical information, all of which is available to dispatchers and first responders.

The implementation announced by city officials Thursday comes after the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush, who died April 10 after calling 911 twice. Plush called police when he became trapped in the third-row folding seat of his minivan in the parking lot at a private school in Cincinnati. In audio released by police, Kyle told dispatchers, “I probably don’t have much time left. Tell my mom I love her, if I die.”

Kyle had been leaving school for a tennis match, trying to get equipment from the back of the Honda Odyssey he was driving, when the rear bench seat pinned him.

Officers searched for the van for 14 minutes, but were unable to find it. Kyle’s body was found almost six hours later after his father used a phone-locating app to find the van in the school parking lot.

A preliminary autopsy ruled Kyle died of “asphyxia due to chest compression.” In other words, he suffocated because something limited the expansion of his chest and lungs and he couldn’t breathe.

Speaking at a news conference, Kyle’s mother, Jill Plush, said the “awareness of Smart911 is an exciting step toward improvement of emergency communication system in Cincinnati.”

“We miss Kyle every minute of every day,” she said. “As a mother who has experienced tremendous loss, I urge you to go to Smart911.com and sign up right now. Do not do it only for yourself, but make sure your elderly parents and grown children also sign up.”

Councilwoman Amy Murray said since Kyle’s death, the members of the Plush family “have been our partners like no other.”

“The memory of Kyle keeps us going,” Murray said. “We want no other family to have to go through that.”

More than 1,500 municipalities across the country use Smart911, according to a city news release.

“Now, fire crews can arrive at the scene of fire knowing how many people live in a residence and the location of bedrooms. EMS teams can have detailed information about a person’s allergies or prescriptions they’re taking. Police can have immediate access to a photo of a missing person in seconds rather than minutes or hours,” city officials said in a news release.

Smart911’s website states that when people usually dial 911 from a cell phone, dispatchers have “very little information to help you” that includes a phone number and only a “general sense” of location.

Crab meat from Venezuela may be contaminated, FDA says

The US Food and Drug Administration is advising people to avoid eating fresh crab meat from Venezuela because of potential contamination by bacteria.

As of Thursday, 12 cases have been reported of people sickened by the bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the FDA said in a news release.

Eight cases were reported in Maryland, two in Louisiana and one each in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, with four people requiring hospitalization, the news release said. People reported becoming ill between April 1 and July 3.

“Most people infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus develop diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever and stomach pain,” the FDA said. “Diarrhea tends to be watery and occasionally bloody.”

People dining out or purchasing crab meat at a grocery should ask where the product came from, the FDA said. The crab meat is often found in plastic tubs and marked as “pre-cooked,” the FDA said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the crab meat looks and smells normal.

Restaurants and groceries should dispose of any crab meat from Venezuela, the FDA said. If a consumer or a store doesn’t know the origin of the crab meat, they should throw it out, the CDC said.

Children under age 5, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable, the FDA said.

The FDA, the CDC and state and local agencies are investigating the outbreak.

Toddler dies after left inside parked car for hours in Pembroke Pines, police say

A 17-month-old toddler who was in a parked vehicle for hours died Friday afternoon, according to the  Pembroke Pines Police Department. 

The Pembroke Pines Fire Department personnel, who responded to where the vehicle was parked on the 2200 block of North University Drive, attempted to save the child’s life. 

“Regrettably, CPR life-saving efforts and Fire Rescue transport did not prevent an unfortunate tragedy,” Sgt. Adam Feiner wrote in a statement. 

Police officers responded about 5 p.m., and detectives were still investigating the incident some four hours later. 

Democratic lawmaker regrets call for ‘Purple Heart’ for Strzok

A Democratic congressman who said Thursday that embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok deserves a Purple Heart medal for his testimony at a contentious congressional hearing walked back those comments Friday in an interview on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

“I regret using the term ‘Purple Heart.’ I used it metaphorically, not literally. I never thought literally it should be given to Agent Strzok,” Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee told CNN’s Ana Cabrera.

During Strzok’s nearly 10 hours of congressional testimony Thursday, where he faced criticism and scrutiny from Republicans over anti-Trump text messages he had exchanged with then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Cohen had said to him: “If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one.”

The Purple Heart is given to US service members who are wounded or killed in combat. The Department of Veterans Affairs has described it as “one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to members of the US armed forces” and “the nation’s oldest military award.”

In Friday’s interview, Cohen also praised the FBI and investigators working on the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein earlier announced an indictment of 12 Russian nationals in connection with the investigation.

“They are strong units defending America, and these indictments prove it once again,” Cohen said.

WeWork is banning meat

WeWork is going meat-free and taking every one of its employees with it.

The startup cited environmental concerns in announcing its immediate company-wide ban on meat. In an email sent Thursday, WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey told his 6,000 or so employees the company will no longer serve meat at employee events or reimburse them for meals that include red meat, poultry and pork.

It’s a bold move for the real estate behemoth believed to be worth $20 billion — and the most assertive in a series of recent steps large companies have taken to promote sustainability.

“These actions sharpen, or reaffirm, a company’s identity in the broader political culture,” said Forrest Briscoe, professor of management and organization at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. “And as long as there are stakeholders who approve, then they can also make a plausible business case for such actions.”

New York-based WeWork, which operates in more than 20 countries, offers tiered pricing plans for coworking spaces that can run more than $1,000 a month. Its selling point is “community,” and the company prides itself on helping set the culture for the entrepreneurs and businesses that use its facilities.

While it’s not unusual for companies to take measures that they deem to help with environmental sustainability, they’ve been limited in measure. American Airlines and Starbucks recently announced plans to ban plastic straws because they contribute to ocean pollution and endanger marine life.

Others have adopted more extreme measures. Failed startup Juicero reportedly required employees to eat only at vegan restaurants while traveling if they wanted to be reimbursed. Employees at the smart drug startup Nootrobox engage in intermittent fasting each Tuesday.

McKelvey notes in his email — obtained by CNN — that WeWork can save “an estimated 16.7 billion gallons of water, 445.1 million pounds (201.9 million kg) of CO2 emissions, and over 15 million animals by 2023 by eliminating meat at our events.”

The policy takes effect immediately, which means employees won’t see burgers, hot dogs, or other carnivorous options at the company’s upcoming annual ‘Summer Camp’ gathering.

“In just the three days we are together, we estimate that we can save more than 10,000 animals,” he wrote in the email. “The team has worked hard to create a sustainable, plentiful, and delicious menu.”

That may not go over well with employees who want to help the planet but see nothing wrong with biting into a grilled steak or carnitas burrito.

“On one hand, given the altruistic motives expressed, it’s a positive step to want to do something to improve the environment,” said Cindy Schipani, who teaches business law at University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “On the other hand, the company is cutting back on an employee benefit, and those employees who do not subscribe to a meat-free diet may become disgruntled.”

Fed is ready to keep raising rates

A rising dollar. Escalating trade tensions. And way too low unemployment.

These are just a handful of factors in the Federal Reserve’s semi-annual report to Congress on the US economy that could reshape the central bank’s calculus in the coming years.

Any surprising twist could snag the Fed’s plans to continue to gradually raise rates this year and next, as it moves toward a more normal policy a decade after the financial crisis.

The Fed has raised its key interest rate twice this year, most recently in June. It penciled in two more rate hikes this year and three more in 2019.

And for now central bankers believe the American economy is robust enough to stay on course.

But policymakers under Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s leadership also made clear in their 63-page report that the path of future rate hikes was subject to “considerable uncertainty,” citing trade tensions and a declining unemployment rate that could cause the economy to overheat.

Powell is scheduled to appear next week before the House and Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In his first interview as chairman, Powell said there was great uncertainty about how President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policy could affect the Fed’s plans.

“We don’t know. It’s very hard to sit here today and say which way that’s going,” he said in an interview on the American Public Radio’s “Marketplace” radio program on Thursday.

Lower trade barriers would be a “good thing for our economy,” Powell said. But if the trade war escalates, “then, yes, that could be a negative for our economy.”

In its report, Fed officials expressed concern the economy could grow more slowly than forecast because of the Trump administration’s trade stance. They also said they were worried that developments in Europe, such as rocky Brexit negotiations and Italy’s political woes, could dampen the global outlook.

Some officials also feared inflation may notch up higher as the nation’s unemployment continues to fall.

Despite the Fed’s cautionary report, policymakers are pretty upbeat about the economy this year.

In 2018, the labor market has continued to strengthen. Inflation has finally hit the Fed’s target for a healthy economy. And the economy has grown strong, in large part because of the Trump administration’s recent tax cuts.

“I sleep pretty well on the economy right now,” Powell said in the “Marketplace” interview.

Even so, forecasting how trade disputes will play out will make Powell’s job trickier in the months ahead.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this week did little to shed light on the administration’s strategy to end the trade war, and when a deal might be struck with China and other trading partners.

The Trump administration is preparing yet another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion. And it has already imposed a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of China’s exports. Beijing has retailed in kind.

Mnuchin tried to reassure Democrats and Republicans that the administration wouldn’t pursue measures that would undermine the goal of 3% annual economic growth.

The American economy grew at a rate of 2.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

“I assure you that we are not going to do anything to jeopardize the great growth of the economy, although I recognize there are certain areas, in certain markets that have been targeted that we need to be careful and sensitive to,” Mnuchin said Thursday at a House hearing.