Austin, Texas, residents heed call to reduce water use during crisis
The outlook in Austin on Tuesday afternoon was far improved, as citizens heeded a call to cut consumption by at least 15%. Plants were producing more treated water than was being consumed and reservoirs were refilling, officials said at a briefing.
"The good news is that you heard us and it's working," said City Manager Spencer Cronk. "But we are asking you to keep your water conservation efforts."
City leaders said Monday in a statement that emergency conservation was required. A boil-water advisory remained in effect Tuesday, as the city works to filter "much higher levels of debris, silt, and mud" from the Highland Lakes.
But leaders now say the problem may be resolved in days, rather than weeks, as initially feared.
Outdoor water use has been prohibited, officials said, and violators may be reported to the city's 311 hotline.
Officials urged residents to forgo watering their lawns and washing their cars. Mayor Steve Adler said the community has pulled together. "That's one of the reasons why I love living in this city," he said.
'We want to do our part'
Businesses, especially restaurants, coffee shops and bars, have been hit hard by the boil-water advisory.
Preparing food and keeping facilities -- and employees' hands -- clean is tedious work, said Corona Coffee Company owner Naiman Rigby, who plans to close early to help save water.
"We want to do our part," he told CNN.
Rigby also has been giving bottled water to postal workers and teachers who come in, he said.
University of Texas-Austin student Benjamin Cohen said campus water fountains have been covered with trash bags. He and his roommates are using bottled water, as well as boiling and refrigerating tap water. They've also turned off their ice maker and aren't doing laundry or running the dishwasher.
"We don't want to use excess water," he said, "and also want to make sure the water we use is safe."
Nearby San Antonio also stepped in to help, sending a 5,000-gallon tanker full of clean water to help Austin residents, officials there said.
More rain forecast
It all comes as the Austin area is set for more rain.
Hurricane Willa, due to make landfall Tuesday in Central Mexico, is expected to bring 2 to 4 inches of rain to the area through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The rain could aggravate already saturated grounds and swollen rivers but is not expected to produce widespread flooding.
This mom called police after getting racist messages. That may have prevented a school shooting
She didn't know the white man who had messaged her -- she lives in New Jersey, and he appeared to live in Kentucky -- but he had a gun in his profile photo, so she decided to call police in Kentucky and report him.
"I was in shock, I was disgusted, I was angry and hurt," Bull said.
Little did Bull know that her call, and a follow-up police investigation, prevented what police say could have been a mass tragedy.
On Thursday, after speaking with Bull, Kentucky State Police went to interview Dylan Jarrell, the Lawrenceburg man who allegedly messaged her. Police say they found him backing out of the driveway with a firearm, a collection of ammo, a Kevlar vest and a detailed plan to attack local schools.
"This young man had it in his mind to go to schools and create havoc," state Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said. "He had the tools necessary, the intent necessary, and the only thing that stood between him and evil -- between him in a school doing evil -- was law enforcement."
Jarrell, 21, was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening and one count of harassing communications, police said.
His public defender, Amy Robertson, would not comment on the specifics of the allegations.
"These cases are very complex and often have many sides to them. It is not uncommon for it to take a long time for all the facts to come out," Robertson said. "I ask that you not jump to any conclusions and give me time to do my job."
Questioned over alleged threats to a school
Police said they found evidence of a "credible and imminent threat" to nearby Shelby and Anderson County schools.
Authorities said they obtained a search warrant for Jarrell's home and electronic devices. Jarrell's internet history included a search for how to carry out a school shooting, police said, and the FBI questioned him in May over social media threats to a school in Tennessee.
Kentucky State Police said Jarrell had more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a 100-round high capacity magazine and a detailed plan of attack. There may be additional charges, Sanders said.
Court records indicate Jarrell was arraigned Monday and entered a not guilty plea with Robertson. His bond was set at $50,000.
Jarrell is being held at the Shelby County Detention Center and has a preliminary hearing in Anderson County scheduled for November 1, according to court records.
'I didn't know what he was capable of'
Before she called police, Bull posted a screen grab of the racist message on Facebook.
"Anyone who thinks racism doesn't exist, this is what I woke up to in my inbox this morning," she said in her post. "Let's share this and make this guy famous please."
She tried to message Jarrell but he had blocked her, she said. With help from her friends she was able to find him and call police -- first in her hometown and then in Kentucky.
Now, days later, Bull's Facebook page is full of messages of praise, thanking her for preventing what could have been a tragedy.
"People are reaching out and calling me a hero and calling me a guardian angel, but I was just being a mom," she said. "I was just being a mom who wanted to protect her kids."
As a precautionary measure, Anderson County Schools were closed on October 19, and Shelby County Public Schools suspended activities at Shelby County High School, too.
On the Anderson County Schools website, officials thanked security officials and first responders "who eliminated a threat to AC students and staff, worked countless, tireless hours to ensure our safety and humbly take no credit for their heroic actions."
At a press conference, Sanders thanked Trooper Josh Satterly, a "humble, dedicated trooper" who took Bull's report and followed up with other agencies to investigate.
Bull said she is grateful that Satterly validated her concerns, despite her suspicion that her call would lead nowhere.
"I thought, 'they're not gonna care about my three black kids from New Jersey,' and this community genuinely did care about my kids," she said.
"If you see something, say something -- I never took that as seriously as I do now, and now I know that it matters," she said.
"I didn't know what he was capable of."
Explosive device found near home of billionaire investor George Soros
Bedford police say they received a call about 3:45 p.m. Monday reporting a suspicious package found in a mailbox. The package appeared to be an explosive device, police said.
An employee had opened the parcel. The employee placed the package in a wooded area and called police, according to a news release.
Soros was not at his estate at the time, two law enforcement sources said. One of the sources described the package as small and said it consisted of a PVC pipe with an "energetic" material and a powdery substance.
The package did not detonate on its own, the law enforcement source said. The Westchester County bomb squad responded to the scene, said Bedford Police Chief Melvin Padilla.
The case has been turned over to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
A spokesman for Soros declined to comment.
$1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs Tuesday night
Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing is for a jackpot estimated at $1.6 billion, which would be the nation's largest ever.
That's the value if the winner or winners select annuity payments. The one-time cash option is estimated at $905 million -- still nothing to sneeze at.
The current US lottery jackpot record is $1.586 billion, split by three winning Powerball tickets in January 2016.
And speaking of Powerball: That game's next drawing is Wednesday, for an estimated jackpot of $620 million.
That puts the jackpots for the nation's two largest lotteries at more than $2.2 billion.
"It's hard to overstate how exciting this is -- but now it's really getting fun," Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Group and director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming, said over the weekend.
Mega Millions has already smashed its own jackpot record, which was $656 million, shared by winners in three states in March 2012.
The nation's largest lottery jackpots have rolled for a few months.
No one has won the Mega Millions jackpot since July 24 when 11 co-workers in California split $543 million.
Powerball has climbed since there was a winner in New York on August 11.
Each Powerball or Mega Millions ticket is $2. The games are played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the US Virgin Islands. Powerball also is played in Puerto Rico.
Sheriff seeks 2,000 volunteers in search for missing girl -- that's two-thirds of the town's population
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald on Monday asked for 2,000 volunteers to help authorities in an expanded routine search of the area around the crime scene Tuesday for possible evidence in the investigation into Jayme Closs' disappearance. The teenager vanished early October 15 and her parents were found fatally shot in their home near the city of Barron in northwestern Wisconsin. Barron, a city of less 3 square miles, has a population of about 3,300, according to US Census figures.
Monday's call for volunteers is 10 times the number of volunteers the sheriff sought last week. Fitzgerald said more people are needed to help search a bigger area.
The sheriff also released photos of two "vehicles of interest" captured on surveillance footage near the Closs home during the killings.
The first vehicle is likely a red or orange 2008-2014 Dodge Challenger, Fitzgerald said. The second vehicle is likely either a black 2006-2010 Ford Edge or a black 2004-2010 Acura MDX, he said.
"These are vehicles of interest only," the sheriff said.
Fitzgerald said authorities don't know what license plates were on the vehicles.
Authorities have said a mysterious 911 call led deputies to discover Jayme's parents -- James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 -- had been shot dead at the family's home. No gun was found at the scene, according to Fitzgerald.
An Amber Alert was issued for Jayme on the day she disappeared, and the FBI has added her to its online list of kidnapped or missing people.
On the 911 call, no one on the line talked to the dispatcher, but a disturbance was heard, authorities said. The dispatcher "could hear a lot of yelling" during the 911 call, which was "pinged" to the Closs home, according to a dispatch log the Barron County Sheriff's Office released Friday. When the dispatcher called the number back, a voice mail greeting indicated the phone belonged to Denise Closs.
A responding officer arrived to find "the door has been kicked in," according to the log. The family's dog was there at the home when deputies arrived.
The log does not indicate who made the 911 call or who was yelling or what was said.
More than 1,300 tips have come since Jayme's disappearance. More than 1,100 of those tips have been investigated and closed, Fitzgerald said.
On Monday, people gathered at Barron High School football stadium for an event called "A Gathering of Hope," organized by the school district. Jayme was a dancer and cross-country runner at Riverview Middle School in the district.
The evening was an attempt to heal. There was music, prayer and candlelight.
Ron Mathews, the senior pastor at First Lutheran Church in Barron, said they intentionally called the event, "A Gathering of Hope."
Hope, he said, moves people "beyond despair, fear and anxiety." "Hope is the sure presence of peace in the midst of grief and deep sadness," he said.