Franklin County crews performing water rescue after flash flood strands car

Franklin County crews are currently performing a water rescue after a car became stranded, according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

The NWS says the car was stranded on Hopkins Road in Rocky Mount after flash flooding Thursday afternoon.

This is a developing story. Stay with WSLS 10 as we find out more information.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

High schoolers stranded in ocean pray for help, are rescued by boat named ‘Amen’

Two teenagers were enjoying their senior skip day on a Florida beach, when they suddenly found themselves stranded in the ocean, praying for help, according to WSMV.

Tyler Smith and Heather Brown, both 17, go to Christ’s Church Academy in Jacksonville. The pair have been friends since the fourth grade.

On April 18, the duo was swimming off a beach near St. Augustine when they were swept out to sea by a strong current. The teens fought the waves for two hours, and then began to pray.

“I cried out, ‘If you really have a plan for us, like, come on. Just bring something,'” Smith said.

Just a few minutes later, a boat named “The Amen” came to their rescue after the crew heard the teens’ desperate screams.

“I started swimming towards it. I was like, ‘I’m going to get this boat. Just stay here. I’m going to get this boat. We are going to live,'” Brown said.

Eric Wagner, the captain of The Amen, gave them lifejackets and pulled the teens on board because they were too weak to climb the ladder onto the boat.

“When things calmed, we escorted them to a cabin,” Wagner said in a statement published on the school’s Facebook page. “He told me that no matter what direction they swam, they kept going out. Exhausted and near the end, the boy told me he called out for God’s help. Then, we showed up. I told them the name of the vessel and that’s when they started to cry.”

“The young couple was gracious and grateful to us and to God. It was the latter all along,” he continued.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

WVU freshman arrested, charged with making terroristic threats

West Virginia University police arrested a student who they say made terroristic threats.

Police arrested Cheickna Kagnassy, a freshman pre-business major from Columbia, Maryland, at his residence Wednesday evening in Vandalia Hall, according to Deputy Chief Phil Scott.

Kagnassy had spoken of carrying out a “shooting spree,” then committing suicide, Scott said a concerned citizen reported to police.

Scott said no weapons were found at Kagnassy’s residence.

Kagnassy was taken to North Central Regional Jail for arraignment, with bond set at $75,000, and is not to be on campus property if he is released, Scott said.

“Our number one concern is always the safety of the university community, and this provides an example of the system working exactly the way it should,” Chief W.P. Chedester said. “Someone saw something and said something. We investigated and found sufficient reason to take action, all within less than 24 hours.”

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

Texas may stop people from using food stamps to buy soda, junk food

Texas may limit what those using food stamps can spend them on.

H.B. No. 4364 is looking to ban people from using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to buy certain food and drinks.

Energy drinks, sweetened beverages, candy, potato or corn chips and cookies are among the items specifically listed in the bill that would be banned.

Don’t worry, coffee lovers.

The bill explicitly states that “coffee or any substantially coffee-based beverage” is not included in the ban.

Virginia’s SNAP doesn’t contain these types of restrictions, but there are some.

Items that cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits in Virginia include:

Prepared hot foods in grocery stores
Any prepared food hot or cold, sold and meant to be eaten at the store
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
Cleaning products, paper products, toiletries and cooking utensils
Pet foods
Items for food preservation, such as canning jars and lids, freezer containers or food wrapping paper
Medicines, vitamins or minerals
Items for gardening, such as fertilizer and peat moss

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

Man convicted of shooting crossbow during Pulaski road rage incident

A local man has been found guilty of shooting a crossbow at another car during a road rage incident.

The Roanoke Times reports that the jury in Pulaski handed down its verdict Wednesday. It recommended that Glen McNeal Grubb spend six years behind bars.

Authorities said Grubb chased a Ford F-150 in his fiancee’s Pontiac Grand Am early last year. Her two daughters, then ages 4 and 6, were in the back.

Authorities said the cars pursued each other down twisting, narrow roads in western Virginia. Grubb fired the crossbow out his window while driving. It struck the metal just to left of the Ford pickup’s rear cab window.

The jury acquitted Grubb of trying to murder the driver of the pickup. A judge will sentence him in August.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

How young is too young to leave your kids home alone?

How young is too young to leave your kids home alone? It’s a tough question that every parent has a different answer for.

When is it safe?

“Childcare sometimes becomes the area that families choose to save money on, but in the long term, it might be something that costs more by trying to save a few dollars,” said Don Goss, Child Protective Services supervisor.

What are the laws?

“In Virginia, there is no law that specifies a specific minimum age where children can be self-supervised or left alone at home,” Goss said.

Andrea Carter, a mother of three, says she thinks under the age of 10 is a bit young, and her comfort zone falls beyond that.

“Now that they are getting closer to that age, we definitely do observe them to see if we think they will be ready and we have that right as their parents to say, ‘No, you’re not,'” Carter said.

Thursday on 10 News at 6 p.m., hear why parents say they struggle with the decision, and what experts say about the right age to leave your kids home alone.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

Round Town: strawberries and cartoons

Here are some of the events happening Round Town.

Community School’s Strawberry Festival

Elmwood Park, Roanoke
Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy plenty of sweet treats, including strawberry shortcake, sundaes, berries and cream and chocolate dipped strawberries.

Schoolhouse Rock Live

Jefferson Center, Roanoke
Thursday through Sunday
The popular Saturday morning cartoons that taught kids history, grammar, math and more come to the stage.
Admission starts at $15.

Race for the Cure

Rivers Edge, Roanoke
Saturday 9 a.m.
Money raised benefits Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge.

International Festival

Riverfront Park, Lynchburg
Rain location, City Armory
Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There’s a parade of nations, food, music, dance and more.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

Virginia woman charged with starving dog to death, locking it in bedroom

A 21-year-old Virginia woman is facing felony animal cruelty charges in Alabama, NBC12 reports.

Ryanne Gilbert is accused of starving a dog to death and leaving it locked in a bedroom in her apartment in Alabama.

Court documents show Gilbert is from Aylett but was living in Tuscaloosa, near the University of Alabama.

Tuscaloosa Police say on March 27, officers were called to Gilbert’s apartment because of a foul odor. They entered the apartment with a maintenance person and found a dead dog on the floor in a bedroom.

Investigators say “the animal was clearly malnourished and died of starvation. There was another dog located locked in a cage in the apartment, as well as a cat.” Animal control believes the dog has been deprived of food for an extended period of time and had possibly died 3-4 days before authorities entered the apartment.

The other two animals survived and were taken to the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter.

On March 28, a warrant for Gilbert’s arrest was issued. On April 2, she was arrested in Hanover County, after the sheriff’s office was notified that Gilbert would be in the area visiting someone.

According to online records, Gilbert was held in the Pamunkey Regional Jail for three weeks and bonded out on April 24. Two days later, Tuscaloosa police say she surrendered to law enforcement and was held on a $15,000 bond.

Documents show she was evicted from her Tuscaloosa apartment on April 1 and was ordered to pay $200-plus court costs.

Gilbert is scheduled to appear in Hanover County court on May 2.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

How to keep yourself safe from password hackers, once and for all

In the famous folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” the way to get to the treasure in a cave is to utter the password “open sesame,” which causes the mouth of the cave to open.

If the tale applied to modern-day passwords, the cave would probably require a special symbol and a number in order to access the treasure.

Oh, and a few months later, you’d need to change the password.

Such is life in this day and age, but strict password requirements do make sense, considering the hacking and data breaches we’ve seen in recent years.

With Thursday marking World Password Day, here’s a look at some of the most “hackable” passwords, and tips to make sure you come up with a secure one that won’t get cracked.

Most hackable passwords

According to an article on CNN, a survey was conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom to determine common passwords belonging to accounts worldwide that had been breached.

The survey found the most common passwords fell into these categories.

Names: Ashley and Michael
A certain NFL team: The Dallas Cowboys
A day of the week: Sunday
A month in the year: August
Musical artist: Blink 182
Fictional character: Superman

Here were the 10 most common passwords that were easiest to hack, according to the survey:

1. 123456
2. 123456789
3. qwerty
4. password
5. 111111
6. 12345678
7. abc123
8. 1234567
9. password1
10. 12345

Tips for secure passwords

So, what are the best ways to ensure a hacker isn’t finding your figurative “treasure in a cave?”

Here are some tips to make sure you have secure passwords, according to

1. Longer is better

Oftentimes, coming up with a password that is 12 to 15 characters is best. Thieves have a much easier time hacking shorter passwords, so don’t shy away from making yours long.

2. Make it unique

Make it a password that has to do with something personal about you — something random that only you will likely know.

3. Don’t bunch up special characters

Adding special characters to the end or beginning of your password negates their usefulness. Instead, spread out those special characters in the middle of your password.

4. Use different passwords for different accounts

If hackers end up figuring out your password for one account, odds are, they’ll try that one to get into others. As much of a pain as it can be to remember multiple passwords, it’s the safest option when you’re dealing with multiple accounts.

5. Another layer of protection helps

Passwords sometimes aren’t enough, so it’s never a bad idea to use two-layer authentication for extra security.

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS

Live like Darian: What if one teen’s simple acts of kindness could change the world?

Darian Locklear will be remembered as many things: bright, warm, kind, athletic and beautiful. But she was shy, too. Or as her mother phrased it with a laugh, “just a little socially awkward.” Even as a teenager, Darian was uncomfortable doing things like ordering at a restaurant.

And that’s why, following Darian’s death — the 16-year-old from Metro Detroit was killed in a car crash on Feb. 6, 2018, en route to hockey practice with a friend — Darian’s mother, Regina Locklear, was more than a little surprised when other teenagers started coming forward, contacting her with stories and fond memories to share about their beloved confidant and classmate.

The stories

The first girl who got in touch with Regina wanted to share an emotional experience about a particularly vulnerable time in her life: Years ago, the girl said, she had been ousted by her inner circle in middle school. She went from a large group of friends to no friends, and the only person who would talk to her, was Darian.

Regina was incredibly touched. She had no idea.

When Regina posted some of these details on her Facebook page — with the girl’s blessing, of course — a similar story surfaced, this time, via text message.

Regina received a message from a man she used to work with about 25 years ago, saying his daughter goes to the same high school that Darian attended, and apparently, the two girls knew one another.

About two weeks before Darian died, as the story goes, the man found a suicide note in his daughter’s bedroom. The family knew the teen was being bullied, but they didn’t know it was happening to such a serious extent. When they called a family meeting to talk about it, the girl confirmed that yes: “things had gotten bad enough to where she didn’t want to be here anymore,” as Regina said.

But one of the reasons the teen survived this tumultuous period, was thanks to Darian, the girl’s dad said to Regina.

“The girls didn’t even hang out outside of (school),” Regina said. “(But Darian) took her in and helped her. She coached and kind of mentored her through it. Darian never mentioned any of this.”

And then in another chance encounter, another former co-worker of Regina’s started chatting with the boy behind the counter at a local pizza restaurant, when it came up — in a rather roundabout way — that they were both familiar with the Locklear family.

When Darian’s name was mentioned, the boy lit up, recalling how when he was in the fourth or fifth grade, he’d sometimes sit at a lunch table by himself. But whenever that would happen, he said, Darian would get all her friends to come over, and they’d join him.

Fast-forward to today, the same young man now attends church regularly with the Locklears, after Regina came up to the pizza shop to meet him. He was even baptized this past February, and he’d never been a regular churchgoer before.

There was another teen who told Regina she had been sexually assaulted by a boy from school, and when she came forward, no one believed her, not even her friends. Darian was the only person at school who would talk to her, and she was forever grateful for that compassion. Darian’s kindness had gotten her through a very dark time.

The stories like these are plentiful.

Darian didn’t become best friends with everyone she encountered, but she was kind — every day. She listened to people. And she touched people, in ways that her family might have never known about otherwise.

A mother’s love, a mother’s faith

To talk to Regina is to talk to a survivor. Although she says the family is doing OK these days, you can sometimes hear the grief in her voice, like a bumpy road she’s still trying to figure out how to navigate.

It’s more than understandable.

After all, it’s only been a little more than a year that she’s had to learn how to live without her only daughter.

“I mean, we’re able get out of bed every day,” Regina said. “We’re at peace. Peace is an OK work to use. We have our moments and our days when it’s difficult. But we have that outlook where you have to pick yourself up and keep going.”

Regina wrote about her experience, of opening her door and standing face to face with two state troopers, as they delivered the news that Darian had passed.

“It was 10 o’clock at night, and they asked if they could come in,” Regina wrote. “They then asked if Darian Locklear was our daughter. The last thing I recall them saying was, ‘She was in an accident, and I’m sorry, but she didn’t make it.’ I literally crumbled to the floor screaming, ‘NO!’ And then I just remember screaming, ‘Oh my God, what do I do? I don’t know what to do.’ Over and over and over again. My head was spinning. This could not be happening. To us. To HER … But it was. In the days to come, we would plan the funeral and bury our youngest child, our precious daughter, Darian. … We stumbled around like zombies for months. I don’t know how I got out of bed in the days following the accident. I wasn’t sure how I would go on without her. It was my worst nightmare — the thing I prayed about every night. ‘God, please keep my kids safe and healthy.'”

In the wake of the accident, in trying to make sense of everything — how this could have happened, the grief, how the family would move on — the Locklears leaned on their faith. As Regina put it, she and her husband had always been believers, but life kind of got in the way, as it does sometimes.

“Darian played hockey, my son played hockey, we both worked and we were unbelievably busy,” Regina said. “We barely had time for dinner together.”

But in their time of need, the day after the accident, Regina’s sister-in-law, who’s very strong in her faith, came over to the Locklear home, accompanied by the pastors from her church.

Regina recalls sitting with everyone on the family’s living room floor when she became fixated on one thing in particular.

“My biggest concern, or worry, other than, ‘How am I going to survive this?’ is, I wanted to know (Darian’s) soul was in heaven,” Regina said.

The group talked it over, about how Darian had attended Spring Hill, a Christian camp in Northern Michigan, when she was 11 or 12, and how she’d been exposed to a Christian upbringing, even if the family didn’t attend church regularly.

“It was easy to convince me, or all of us, that she was in a good place, and that she was with Jesus,” Regina said. “That perspective really made me want to be closer to God and Jesus, because then I’d be closer to her.”

People had been sending books to the family about losing a child, or how to cope with unimaginable grief. Regina said she probably read 15 of them in about two months. She was desperate for answers, and she needed to know why. Why did this happen?

So the family started attending church every week. At one point, their group swelled to about 20 to 25 people, and it felt good, she said.

“Every weekend, there’d be a connection and something we could relate to,” Regina said. “We left feeling uplifted. I don’t know how we survived those first few months. It’s a big blur.”

Regina returned to her job after only two weeks, and said she walked around like a zombie for probably four to six months. She had to give a big presentation about a month after Darian’s death, and apparently, it went really well, according to her former co-workers.

“I don’t even remember it,” Regina said. “I’m not superhuman or an ice princess. I just have to believe that it’s God giving me, and us, the strength.”

The bracelets

As time went on, Regina and other loved ones decided to do “a modest little thing” to honor Darian and keep her memory alive, as Regina put it.

Those quiet acts of kindness from Darian really seemed to resonate with people.

So the group had rubber bracelets made, with one side reading, “Kindness is beautiful” and the other side displaying the words “Fly high, Darian.”

Regina said she, along with others, handed the bracelets out to Darian’s friends at first, and they were tasked with giving out a bracelet to anyone caught performing a kind act, along with an extra one, to help spread the positive message.

Within hours, the teens had distributed all the bracelets, and they started posting photos to social media. From there, the concept took off. Regina’s first order of 300 bracelets was gone in a matter of days.

They’ve since been mailed across the country, to states including Colorado, Oregon, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona. People really do want to live like Darian.

It’s often teachers and principals who’ve read Darian’s story online or who have seen the social media posts, who want the bracelets for their own communities.

Maybe the group was on to something.

A community to lean on

Regina’s former company, Cooper Standard Automotive, wanted to do something special following Darian’s death, so it organized the construction of a playground in her honor, which was built at a shelter for women and children who have lived through domestic violence.

A fundraising account attached to the funeral website raised about $40,000, and the company matched that number. About 35 people — some family and friends, and some employees — built the playground in a single day, braving “every kind of weather you could imagine.” It was therapeutic, in a way.

From there, Darian’s loved ones continued full speed ahead, keeping busy with various fundraisers to promote her message of kindness.

At one 5K event, “Darian’s Kindness Warriors” gathered more than 100 participants and raised more than $14,000 in a matter of weeks.

Now, in fact, this coming weekend, there’s Dash for Darian — a 5K for Kindness, which will raise money for the Darian Locklear Kindness Scholarship.

And that’s not to mention a three-on-three hockey tournament, a Skate for Darian event and several other good causes. The funds raised go toward the aforementioned kindness scholarship, which will soon be awarded to one or two students who’ve proven that they “live kindness” every day.

There’s another scholarship as well, intended for girls in Michigan who want to play hockey but struggle to afford the expensive sport. This year, five girls received about $13,000 to put toward expenses.

Darian played hockey starting at the age of 7, first with the boys, then with the girls in an AAA league. She went on to win three state championships and even a national championship.

The kindness talks

As for Regina, these days, she’s still adjusting to her “new normal.” It helps to stay busy with “kindness talks,” as they’re called. They started last spring because of a fourth-grade teacher who told her students all about Darian, and the children were enthralled by her, as Regina said. They all wrote essays about what it means to be kind, the teacher recorded them, and then at the end, they all yelled, “Fly high, Darian!”

The teacher reached out to Regina and explained how much it would mean to the kids if she paid the classroom a visit.

So she went. The students wanted to know all about her daughter — all her favorites, and they wanted to hear exactly what she was like.

This school year, Regina is back at it, spreading Darian’s kindness, and explaining to the children how little daily acts can add up to make a big difference.

Online: The Darian Locklear Project

“I try to be interactive with the kids, and get them to talk about times when they’ve been kind,” Regina said. “It’s evolved now. I have a kindness quiz. It gets them to talk. We say like, ‘Have any of you ever been bullied? Have you witnessed it? Have you stepped in?’ They’re so into it. A handful of kids already had their Darian bracelets. They were bragging about how they got them.”

Darian’s memory

Like most parents, Regina loves to talk about her kids. You can tell they’re the light of her life. She has a son, too, who’s now in his second year of college, studying at the University of Michigan. Trever is 20. Darian would have been a high school senior this year. You can tell how proud Regina is, of both of her kids.

Some people don’t know how to broach the subject of Darian’s passing, Regina said, adding that sometimes, it can be awkward or “weird” when it’s clearly the elephant in the room, but no one should be scared to bring her up. It’s not as if Regina will somehow forget, and you’ll be the one to remind her.

She loves sharing stories about her sweet girl.

And speaking of stories, Regina has one more, or at least, that’s what she promised during this interview, with a laugh. It’s a good one.

“When my son was a senior in high school, we still weren’t (attending church regularly),” Regina said, diving in. “But I wanted my kids to get baptized, and my son said, ‘Why would I get baptized? I don’t even know if I believe in God.'”

Regina and her husband were dumbfounded. They didn’t know he felt that way.

“He came to church willingly,” Regina said. “He didn’t say much, but apparently, he wasn’t buying into it. We were devastated, like, ‘What do you mean, you don’t believe?'”

Trever was 17 years old at the time.

As Regina tells it, they eventually moved on. Life went on.

But then came the week of Darian’s funeral, and leading up to the service, the Locklears were trying to pick a song to play. They were struggling to come up with one.

Eventually, Trever found something online: “Believe,” by Brooks & Dunn. He showed it to his mom, who hadn’t forgotten their previous serious conversation about faith.

Regina listened to the lyrics carefully, and finally asked, “Does this mean you believe?” It seemed that that’s perhaps what Trever was implying, but she didn’t want to assume.

But the song clearly had an impact on him, and Regina could see that.

“He turned up and his eyes were full of tears,” she said. “And he said, ‘Mom, I just have to believe I’m going to see her again.'”

A wave of relief washed over Regina’s body.

“(Now) he’s a super strong believer. It was a 100% turnaround, all because he wants to see his sister again. Whatever the motivation is, that’s OK. He does believe that his sister died to save his soul, and a lot of other souls. A lot of people have come to (their faith) that never would have, ever, if this hadn’t have happened. She is an angel for so many people.”

The story of a girl

Everyone should have five minutes to chat with Regina. In her, you might hear your own mom, a friend or an aunt. You might hear yourself. It doesn’t take long to figure out where Darian must have learned how to be so kind and warm.

Regina spoke about how others have had to deal with unimaginable losses too, and she knows her family isn’t alone. They’re not the only ones who’ve had to navigate unbelievable grief. Even in the accident, Darian wasn’t the only one in the car that day. Julianna Ward-Brown, a fellow high school junior, was also killed. She’s survived by just as many loved ones.

But for today, this is Darian’s story: about how the kindness of one girl has the potential to spread worldwide. About one family, saved by their faith.

The kindness message is simple, but it resonates with people.

“This was not something I would have ever expected from her,” Regina said. “We never knew she was that person who’d be there for all those girls.

“Yes, our lives are 100% different from what they were before. We are not the same people. (Darian’s passing) was life-changing. Of course, I’d choose to have my daughter back 100,000%, but at least there’s some good that’s come out of it.”

from News | WSLS
via News | WSLS