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latest news Student death from overdose of fentanyl pills on campus prompts action

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Latest News Student Death From Overdose Of Fentanyl Pills On Campus Prompts Action
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Melanie Ramos, a 15-year-old student who died of a drug overdose this week at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood, loved to travel, dreamed of one day joining the military and was best friends with her sisters.

‘Full of life’ is how one family member described her – and as far as they know Melanie was not using drugs.

“You can tell when a child is struggling all over the place. They isolate themselves and don’t want to be social, not even with their family members, but that wasn’t the case here,” Gladys said. Manriques, a family member who spoke on their behalf, “She was very respectful and made sure to let her mother know where she was at all times.”

On Friday, Melanie’s family – and an entire school community – were in shock over the girl’s death. The teenager and a friend allegedly bought pills containing the deadly fentanyl from a 15-year-old boy on campus who was arrested for manslaughter. Melanie’s body was found in a school bathroom, a shocking breach in the shelter schools are supposed to provide and a young death that shines a spotlight on Los Angeles’ explosive fentanyl pill crisis.

“I think we failed in many directions,” Manriques said. “This pill is a poison. I call it the devil’s pill, and it’s going to continue unless you start breaking the chain.

In the process, the city’s top leaders – Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and Superintendent of Schools. Alberto Carvalho – promised urgent action as law enforcement officials on the ground bluntly described the massive and dangerous influx of drugs.

Johann Hervert, 18, the cousin of Melanie Ramos, sits next to a memorial to her on the steps outside Bernstein High School.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

“A pill kills,” said LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza, who oversees the Gang and Narcotics Division, adding that the term “containing fentanyl” is a weak misnomer. “It’s fentanyl pure and simple. It’s not laced with fentanyl… We get hundreds, maybe thousands of pills a day; 10,000 pills every other day, that’s not unusual” for drugs that are cheap to make and transport and “pushed hard by drug dealers and cartels.”

“Tell your kids: You can’t tell if drugs contain fentanyl by look, taste, smell or feel,” Garcetti said. “A dealer can be a friend or a so-called friend or classmate. They may not even know what substance they are supplying.

Moore promised quick justice in the distribution chain.

“These were students selling to students,” Moore said, “and we’re looking for people who are just using them for their access to this campus.” He said raising public awareness — leading to prevention — is the best strategy, but it would also help bring school policing to campus.

Carvalho said that at least in the short term, he will step up security on the Bernstein campus, which is also home to two other schools. He also wants to double down on the school system’s existing public awareness campaign and work with public and private entities to provide more activities and safe spaces for students.

Amid their grief, Melanie’s family expressed their anger on Friday, saying the school system had failed to protect students – and “our Melanie must be the example”.

Melanie’s 15-year-old friend also overdosed and was hospitalized. Melanie thought she got Percocet, a risky addictive opioid in itself that doctors prescribe to help with moderate to severe pain, police said.

In addition to the 15-year-old suspect, a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of selling narcotics for allegedly selling pills near Lexington Park. Tuesday to a third student, a 17-year-old boy from Hollywood High School. The identities of the arrested boys have not been released as they are minors. They are students at Apex Academy, a charter school on the Bernstein campus.

Police say a fourth female student overdosed in the park, but her identity is not known.

It’s “surprising” that this happens on a campus, where safety is expected, but these pills can be easily obtained and taken anywhere, said Dr. Gary Tsai, director of prevention and drug control for the county health department. , which issued an alert on Thursday about the growing danger of illicit pills.

“Somebody can take that in any context, can’t they?” said Tsai. “Could be a school bathroom, a library bathroom. Maybe a church bathroom. And that’s the scary part. And it’s a risk for someone who has never [before] used as a drug in their lives.

In 2021, according to the alert, fentanyl was identified in approximately 77% of adolescent drug overdose deaths nationwide, and data from 2015 showed that more than 80% of drug overdose deaths among teenagers aged 15 to 19 were unintentional.

“Fentanyl and methamphetamine-related overdose deaths increased in Los Angeles County even before the pandemic and continue to rise at an alarming rate,” the alert notes.

The deadly impact of illicit pills can be profound, with fentanyl being 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social media has made drug dealers more accessible to drug addicts and teens looking for something to ease their anxiety and think they’re getting prescription drugs, public health and law enforcement experts say. ‘order.

Pupils leaving school on Friday afternoon – amid a makeshift memorial to Melanie – said some teachers spoke briefly about the danger of drugs, but there was no concerted education campaign and widespread on campus since the incident.

Stephany Ramirez, a ninth-grade student at the STEM Academy of Hollywood, also on the Bernstein campus, said her teachers spoke to students about Melanie’s death and asked them what they thought.

“In one of my classes today, we were doing stations and one of the areas of the station was what needed to be done to make it stop,” she said.

Maria Agueda, Stephany’s mother, said the district contacted parents, telling them they would warn students about the dangers of drug use. Agueda said she supports police bringing in dogs and conducting random, unannounced drug searches on campus.

Naomi Corado, a ninth grader, said teachers told students this week to be careful of drugs. The school has postponed an assembly originally scheduled for Friday to next week due to Melanie’s passing, Naomi said. She thinks the district plans to tackle drug use at the next assembly.

Naomi’s mother, Norma Arteaga, said she was worried about what was happening on campus.

“I want more security so the kids don’t bring drugs,” she said in Spanish.

LA Unified offers substance abuse education at all levels, said Timothy Kordic, project advisor for health education programs in the district’s Instruction Division. And the materials have been updated specifically to include the risks of fentanyl in what district specialists believe is an age-appropriate way.

The district’s approach combines providing information with teaching and rehearsing life skills, such as resisting peer pressure. That’s about eight to 16 hours of classes per year, Kordic said.

Additionally, high school students must take a semester-long health course — which covers the subject — as a condition of graduation.

While there is always a need to update and revise what is taught, Kordic said, helpful additional measures could include improved training for teachers, more direct outreach to parents, and the creation of more peer groups. peers.

Apex spokesperson Glenn Gritzner said the school takes potential drug abuse seriously, including conducting random searches and providing a low student-advisor ratio that “allows us to connect personally with each student and their family. He said a local non-profit organization trained students and staff to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose, and staff members were trained in how to administer naloxone, a potentially life-saving drug to treat overdoses.

Melanie’s family – amid their anger and grief – are asking for more.

“I am angry that these children got their hands on these pills and decided to distribute them at school knowing what it can do to someone. … There is someone who is linked to them and someone who hired them,” Manriques said. “We want [the district] to consider us. Don’t let us just read what we see on the news. I think we deserve to be informed. I think they can do better on that. We have a million unanswered questions.

Melanie’s mother is too upset to speak publicly, Manriques said – and the girl’s sisters are “devastated”.

“How do you tell a 7-year-old girl that her sister isn’t coming home anymore? she asked. Family members helped Melanie’s mother break the news of her death to the girl’s sisters.

“Hearing him cry for almost an hour is really painful,” Manriques said.

The family have set up a GoFundMe page to help them with day-to-day expenses while grieving. By Friday night, over $7,000 of their $10,000 goal had been raised.

Johann Hervert, Melanie’s cousin and a ninth grade student at Bernstein, was with Melanie every morning on the way to school. Now, he says, he is afraid of the campus and feels lonely.

“I want the school to keep a better eye on everyone here because you never know who might be bringing drugs to school,” he said in Spanish.

Alvaro Montano, 19, graduated two years ago and had been Melanie’s friend since they were children. He wants to be remembered not as the girl who died of an overdose, but “as a happy person,” he said. “He was a very nice and sweet person and I think we deserve justice for what happened.”

Chey Payne, a ninth grader, said Bernstein High was in mourning.

“It’s been sad,” she said Friday morning. “Some of our teachers are sad, some are just trying to get over it.” Chey said drugs were already a problem in middle school; but now that she’s in high school, more and more students are overdosing.

“You have to learn to say no,” she says. “You have to be careful because the world is a dangerous place.”

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Vikings bring back linebacker Ryan Connelly on practice squad

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Vikings Bring Back Linebacker Ryan Connelly On Practice Squad
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It was an eventful week for Ryan Connelly.

The Vikings on Thursday signed the linebacker to the practice squad. That came after Connelly, an Eden Prairie native, was activated off the physical unable to perform list Tuesday and then waived Wednesday. He rejoined the Vikings immediately after clearing waivers.

Connelly, in his fourth NFL season, first joined the Vikings in 2020 after being waived by the New York Giants. He got into 14 games in 2020 and 12 in 2021 for Minnesota before suffering a torn ACL last December.

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Youth is served: Heat’s Nikola Jovic still awaiting his . . . high school final exam

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Youth Is Served: Heat’s Nikola Jovic Still Awaiting His . . . High School Final Exam
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Nikola Jovic had the Miami Heat locker room abuzz after Thursday night’s 109-80 exhibition victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, and for more than the first-round pick out of Serbia closing with 10 rebounds and five assists.

Instead, it was the reaction to what coach Erik Spoelstra had revealed moments earlier about the skilled 6-foot-10 19-year-old.

“He’s extremely unique,” Spoelstra said, before turning his attention to Friday night’s exhibition against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. “And he’s so young. To put it in perspective, he’s still waiting to do his final exam to graduate from high school, and doing that over Zoom.”

Wait? What?

That essentially was the reaction from teammates, once Spoelstra’s revelation circulated.

Backup center Dewayne Dedmon was taken aback, with the 33-year-old big man incredulous about a teammate young enough to have yet to complete high school.

Jovic: “I was supposed to finish it this summer.”

Dedmon: “Supposed to?”

Jovic: “I’m finishing.”

Dedmon: “So you not even graduated high school?”

Jovic: “I’m finishing it right now.”

Dedmon: “And you in the NBA?”

Jovic: “Yeah.”

Dedmon: “You know you can’t go from high school to the pros?”

Jovic: “You can do it from Europe.”

Dedmon: “Apparently.”

With that, head shaking, Dedmon headed for the team bus, leaving his Serbian teammate to explain.

“They were doing it when I was doing the draft workouts,” he said of his high-school finals while he was working in Miami ahead of the June draft, “so I didn’t have time, especially because of the time difference.”

There will, Jovic said, be a diploma.

“It’s not that hard,” he said of his lone remaining test. “I need to take it. I don’t have time to take it right now.”

But he has reason to make sure it is completed sooner rather than later.

“My mom,” he said, “she wants me to finish school.”

While the NBA draft rule is written with high school in mind, it actually requires a player to be at least 19 in his draft year. Jovic was born June 9, 2003.

“As soon as I get some time, I’ll do it,” he said, having been in Miami since August preparing for his inaugural NBA season after playing professionally in Europe, “as soon as I get in contact with my teachers and stuff. Like I said, the time difference.”

And there will be more.

“I”m really glad I’m finishing it now,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing something else after this, some college or something.”

All of which made his comments about his first NBA road game all the more fascinating.

“In high school, I used to go home and watch some of those guys on TV or on YouTube,” he said, “and to play against them is different.”

As in this year in high school.

To Spoelstra, it is a whole new world with the lithe 205-pound No. 27 pick.

“We’ve had a lot of different developmental projects over the years,” he said. “He’s a little bit of a unique one. We haven’t had a European so young. But his skill set is unique. Because of his size, he’s really just starting his weight lifting program with us for the last six weeks. So we won’t even see the benefit of that until next summer.

“But his ability to handle, to shoot, to put the ball on the floor, he’s a really good passer. That’s probably, at this point, his best skill. And he’s developing all the rest of it.”

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N.D. man pleads guilty to murder charges in deliberate Minnesota crash that killed 2 teens

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N.d. Man Pleads Guilty To Murder Charges In Deliberate Minnesota Crash That Killed 2 Teens
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A Grand Forks, N.D., man pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder for the deaths of two teenagers in a head-on crash that occurred last year in northeastern Minnesota.

Valentin Mendoza IV, 21, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the third degree — perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind. He used the Norgaard plea, which is used when the defendant has no recollection of the event.

Mendoza maintained not-guilty pleas for the four other charges: two counts of second-degree murder — with intent (not premediated), and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide — operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, Mendoza will be sentenced to 180 months for one charge and 150 months for the other. He will serve the sentences consecutively, for a total of 330 months, or 27.5 years.

According to an affidavit in the case, around 3:08 p.m. June 17, 2021, the East Grand Forks Police Department was dispatched to a two-vehicle head-on collision. The crash occurred on Highway 220, about a mile north of Polk County Road 19 in Polk County, Minn.

Mendoza was located in a red 2004 Ford Ranger pickup with severe damage on the front driver’s side; the vehicle was tipped over onto the passenger’s side. Police noted the speedometer was locked at 75 miles per hour and the posted speed limit for that location is 45 miles per hour. Mendoza was transported to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

The other vehicle was a white 2007 GMC Envoy, which also had severe damage to the front driver’s side. The speedometer was locked at 65 miles per hour. Two male juveniles were identified; both were unresponsive and severely injured, according to the affidavit. The two boys were removed from the vehicle and transported to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

At the hospital, the Minnesota State Police spoke to Mendoza’s mother, who said Mendoza was bipolar and had a history of making “suicidal comments.” According to the affidavit, Mendoza’s mother received a call from his girlfriend that day, stating Mendoza sent her a Snapchat video at 3:05 p.m. In the video, Mendoza was driving and said he was going to take his own life.

After analyzing the scene of the collision, Minnesota state trooper Adam Rochlin determined the Envoy had been traveling southbound on Highway 220 and the pickup was traveling northbound at the time of the crash. The roadway was noted as straight and flat, marked with a yellow center line, dry and clear of defects or damage.

“There were no tire or brake marks near the point of impact of the collision,” the affidavit says. The pickup crossed the center line and struck the Envoy head-on.

On June 23, 2021, one of the juveniles died from his injuries after being removed from life support. On June 29, 2021, the other juvenile died from his injuries.

Mendoza’s sentencing is scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

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Amy Klobuchar confirms she’ll see fourth Senate term in 2024

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Amy Klobuchar Confirms She’ll See Fourth Senate Term In 2024
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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota’s senior senator, says she plans to seek a fourth term in two years.

A Klobuchar spokeswoman confirmed the Democrat’s intentions in a statement to the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis-based newspaper reported on Thursday.

“As the Senator has made clear, she loves her job serving the people of Minnesota and is planning on running for re-election,” spokeswoman Jane Meyer said in a statement, which followed a recent Politico article noting the large number of Democratic-held Senate seats on the ballot in 2024.

Klobuchar ran an unsuccessful campaign for president in 2020. With President Joe Biden planning to seek re-election in 2024, Klobuchar will back him, Meyer confirmed to the Minneapolis newspaper.

The 62-year-old senator was first elected to the Senate in 2006. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, she previously served as the Hennepin County attorney.

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‘I’m coming back. Give me some time’: Ben Simmons, Nets preach patience after ugly loss to Heat

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‘I’m Coming Back. Give Me Some Time’: Ben Simmons, Nets Preach Patience After Ugly Loss To Heat
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As fans slowly filed out of the Barclays Center after the Nets’ second consecutive preseason blowout loss to an Eastern Conference playoff opponent — this time a 109-80 defeat to the Miami Heat after Monday’s 19-point thumping from the shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers — the in-arena DJ played an all-too familiar tune.

“Don’t worry. Be happy.”

It’s easy to worry after Thursday’s poor performance, a game two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant said he “didn’t like anything” about except the team leaving with no injured players. Poor defense and offensive miscues aside, Ben Simmons’ unwillingness to attack the basket underscored the Nets’ inability to take care of the basketball or generate quality offense against one of the NBA’s premier defenses.

Especially in a game both Kyrie Irving (paternity leave) and Joe Harris (sore ankle) watched from the sidelines.

Simmons, however, said there are some things he isn’t yet comfortable doing — like “getting to the rim, getting hit and hitting” other players — because he’s only a few months removed from offseason back surgery. He is confident, and so are his teammates and his head coach, about a  return to a more aggressive version of himself as he shakes off the rust associated with 480 days away from NBA basketball and works to get into a better place after getting a microdiscectomy to alleviate the pain stemming from the herniated disk he suffered after the trade to Brooklyn.

“It’s been a year,” Simmons said after posting four points, four assists and 10 rebounds to go with six turnovers on the night. “I’m coming back. Give me some time.”

Still, there were some plays that raised eyebrows more than others.

Simmons, for example, had a 10-inch height advantage on Heat guard Kyle Lowry and had the mismatch with a one-on-one on the high post. Instead of looking to power to the rim against the smaller opponent, he threw the ball back out to Durant on the perimeter.

When Durant immediately gave the ball back to Simmons — a sign for Simmons to take advantage of the mismatch and get to the rim — Simmons took one dribble towards the paint and shoveled a pass to Royce O’Neale on the opposite wing.

O’Neale, a capable marksman, missed the lightly contested three.

Then there were the back-to-back turnovers with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter.

Reserve lead guard Edmond Sumner threw an entry pass to Simmons, who posted up Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler on the baseline. Sumner then cut along the baseline behind Simmons to the rim, and Simmons floated a pass over his head under the basket.

The pass was tipped away and intercepted, leading to a Miami fast break.

On the very next possession, Simmons advanced the ball up the floor against second-year two-way signing Marcus Garrett. Markieff Morris screened Garrett at the three-point line and Simmons pushed within two feet of the foul line.

And then he flung a pass to O’Neale in the left wing. This time, Garrett was in position and made a play to get possession of the ball.

Some of Simmons’ passes were predictable because Simmons didn’t — and doesn’t — look to score often. Durant said the team “definitely” wants Simmons “to be more aggressive and look to score, especially if he’s got a small wing in the post,” and when he “has an advantage going downhill in transition.”

But he also knows how long of a layoff it’s been for Simmons and that Thursday only marked his second game back.

“I think he’s just finding his rhythm again. He hasn’t played in a long time, and to throw you back up in there with the game going fast?” Durant said. “You can play pickup all you want, but once you put someone in the game, all that stuff goes out the window.

“So, he’s getting his legs, (a) quick move here and he’s figuring it out. It’s only going to get better from here.”

Simmons admitted there needs to be more of a balance for when he looks to set his teammates up for shots versus when he looks to score on his own.

“Looking at the box score, I took three shots, which is definitely not enough,” he said. “Obviously offensively, I want to get to the post more, get some more touches down low, be more aggressive, get to the rim, get to the free throw line, which I didn’t do tonight.”

Nets head coach Steve Nash said he expects Simmons to grow in his aggression putting pressure on the rim. He also, rightfully, noted Irving and Harris’ absences put more pressure on Simmons to create by taking two floor spacers off the court.

“He’s gonna get more attempts. Right now obviously it’s a little clunky for us,” Nash said. “Ben will be fine. He’ll improve, he’s gonna get better every night, and he’s gonna be an engine for us and a big part of what we do. So I’m not really worried about him, but it is a process.

“He hasn’t played for a long time and he’s also assimilating to a new group. That takes time, it’s not gonna be perfect, and it probably won’t be any time soon. But if we can keep improving every day that’s all we ask for.”

Two preseason games isn’t full cause to be worried, but the Nets — other than glimpses of unrealized potential — haven’t given fans much to be happy about, either.

Durant finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor but showed some frustration when he accidentally threw the ball away attempting to get the ball to O’Neale, kicking off a Heat fast break and putting them on the line.

Nash warned things would look ugly early as the Nets adjust to both new rotations and new schemes, and ugly described their loss to the Heat on Thursday. It’s only preseason, but the same can be said for the two other Eastern Conference contenders who have blown the cap off the Barclays Center.

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JKSSB Final Selection List-cum-Allocation of Cadres & Departments for remaining Class-IV Posts

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JKSSB Final Selection List-cum-Allocation of Cadres & Departments for remaining Class-IV Posts

JKSSB Final Selection List-cum-Allocation of Cadres & Departments for remaining Class-IV Posts under the provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Appointment to Class-IV (Special Recruitment) Rules, 2020, advertised vide Notification No. 01 of 2020 dated 26.06.2020.

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