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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Looking for something fun to do outdoors this holiday weekend? Head to a national park -- for free!

The president has once again deemed all national parks free and open to the public this weekend in honor of National Parks Week.

In addition to free entrance, during National Parks week from April 19-27, visitors can partake in special events and programs, as well as National Junior Ranger Day on April 26.

According to National Park Services, 133 of the nation’s 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee, including Grand Canyon, Denali, Yellowstone, Shenandoah and the Statue of Liberty.

The U.S. National Park systems covers more than 84 million acres and includes every state.

In 2013, U.S. state parks saw more than 273 million visitors, with Golden Gate seeing the most visitors last year.

Other days you can grab free park entrance include: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day weekend, National Park Service Birthday on Aug. 25, Sept. 27 for National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. Or in the words of Obama: “I encourage all Americans to visit their National Parks and be reminded of these unique blessings we share as a Nation.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Scott Olson/Getty Images(FLINT, Mich.) -- When a couple of fast food restaurant workers got no response over the microphone at their drive-thru station they rushed outside to find a driver in cardiac arrest. They pulled him out of his vehicle and gave him life-saving CPR.

The customer returned to the Burger King in Flint, Mich., Wednesday to thank his rescuers and applaud them.

Assistant Manager Lidia Rodriguez, 26, was working the drive-thru when Howard Turner Jr., 46, pulled up to the speaker on March 29. Rodriguez heard nothing from the other end and knew something was wrong.

“I go toward my back room where I can see out to my speaker and I’m like, ‘If you’re okay, raise your hand’ and I didn’t get no response,” Rodriguez told ABC’s Michigan affiliate, WJRT.

Rodriguez and a co-worker, Kelseigh Valdez, a member of a volunteer paramedic program, rushed outside to Turner.

They pulled Turner out of his car, and Rodriguez called 911 while Valdez performed CPR.

The two saved Turner’s life.

“I feel like I’m going to be connected with them forever. They were just like my angels, right at the time,” Turner said.

Mobile Medical Response, a non-profit organization that provides emergency medical services to counties across Michigan, presented both women with lifesaving awards on Wednesday, but they also had a surprise for Valdez.

Valdez, 18, originally from Oregon, moved to Flint to participate in a volunteer paramedic program. MMR gave her a scholarship to become a professional paramedic. Valdez was shocked to see her dreams come to fruition.

“I knew it was going to happen at some point in my life, just not at Burger King,” she said.

The scholarship award came as a surprise to everybody. “I got all teary eyed when it happened,” said Donna Bennett, the Burger King manager.

“Oh my God, I am so proud of both of them. I don’t know if I could have ever done anything like that. I would have probably just panicked,” Bennett told ABC News.

“I thought what they did was great,” Bennett added.

Turner does not recall the women pulling him out of his car, but he is forever grateful. “Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here and I know that for a fact,” Turner said.

Bennett said incorporating CPR training for employees is something she and her owner will likely discuss for the future.


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Naval Academy ended their season 9-4, a solid feat for any team, but their bigger accomplishment: taking home the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

And Friday, President Obama presented the team with the trophy for the second time in two years and 9th time in the past 11 years.

“This is a team that also had a knack for getting the job done under some pretty tough circumstances,” Obama said.

“And you kept on rolling through the games that really mattered.  In the snow, you beat Army for the 12th time in a row — they’re starting to feel bad about this,” he joked. “You went on to beat Middle Tennessee State to win your first bowl game since 2009.”

The trophy represents the winner of the triangular series of military academies. Last fall Navy won the game against the Army 34-7 and Air force 28-10, securing the trophy Obama said “weighs about as much as I do.”

The game against the Air Force was in jeopardy last season as the government shutdown loomed. Obama commented that the Secretary of Defense “stepped in, gave the green light -- which tells you how important it was.”

In addition to praising their on-the-field accomplishments the President commended their off-the-field dedication.

“What’s more impressive is the fact that for these outstanding young men, football isn’t even the main thing,” Obama said before outlining the players grueling schedules, that start with 6:00 am training followed by classes and practices, that doesn’t relent until 8 pm when players are free to study.

“It’s about learning to be a good football player, but more importantly, it’s about learning how to be a good leader and to be a good man,” he said. ”And that’s what these outstanding Americans are and will continue to be.”

Fourteen of the midshipman will be commissioned at the end of the school year as officers in the Navy, eight will become officers in the Marine Corp and one will become a Naval aviator officer.

The President also commented on the recent death of football player Will McKamey, the 19-year old freshman running back.

“Two busloads of classmates and teammates made the eight-hour trip to Knoxville to attend his funeral, as did Coach Ken.  I understand your motto for this season is “I Will” in memory of him,” he said. “And that’s what camaraderie is all about:  Honor.  Courage.  Commitment.  That’s what makes the Midshipmen so strong.  And that’s why I’m so proud to serve as your Commander-in-Chief — not only — in fact, not primarily because of what you’ve done on the football field, but because of your dedication to each other and your service to America.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


iStock/Thinkstock (BELLERICA, Mass.) -- When the varsity hockey team at Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Mass., was brainstorming ways to help a young pee-wee hockey player with leukemia, they came up with the typical fundraising ideas like a 5-K race.

Then, one of their teammate’s father, Glen Corbett, came up with an idea that would both affect the teens and be a surefire way to get adults to donate money: take away the teens’ cellphones.

More than 100 students at Billerica Memorial Thursday handed their cellphones over to police officers who will keep them in a safety box for 30 days to raise money for “Celling Out for Leukemia.”

“It’s unbelievable,” said Corbett, whose son, Brian, is a sophomore.  “Phones are still coming in.  The kids know they’re paying it forward.”

Corbett’s son and his teammates first got to know the 12-year-old for whom they are raising money, Ian Candee, through the town’s local hockey association.  When they learned of his battle with leukemia, they made Ian an honorary captain of the school’s varsity team and had him to throw out the puck at a game.

“He’s awesome,” Corbett said of Ian.  “I told the kids, ‘Let’s do this so he’s back here in two years.’”

Ian was at the high school Thursday for the “Celling Out” kickoff as students signed a permission slip and handed their phones over to the Billerica Police Department, who will keep them in a safety box at police headquarters until May 16.

With the extra time the kids will have on their hands with no phones to Facebook, tweet and SnapChat, they are asked to get family, friends and businesses to sponsor them for each day they are without a phone.

“People are just blown away that a kid would give up their phone for a day, much less  30 days,” Corbett said.  “Kids are turning in huge donations of $1,400, $2,500, as much as $3,000.”

The hockey team hopes to raise at least $120,000 in the next 30 days.  Corbett plans to meet with the Candee family, who have two other kids in addition to Ian, to determine how the money will be donated.

The Dana Farber Children’s Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, where Ian is being treated, could be a potential recipient, or the funds could all go to the Candee family to help defray expenses.

“I’m going to see where they are and how they want us to donate the money,” Corbett said.

While most of the students were expectedly apprehensive about losing their phone for 30 days, Corbett says he heard from some teens who quietly said they were excited for the chance to disconnect.

“I had one member of the girls’ hockey team text me and say, ‘Mr. C., I can’t wait to give my phone up.  No one can reach me for 30 days,’” Corbett said.

“We’re going to have the kids keep a journal of what it’s like without their phones,” he said.  “Maybe it’ll be a relief.”


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Kansas City Police Department(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The man suspected of shooting at cars as they traveled on Kansas City, Mo., highways in recent weeks has been identified and charged with 18 felonies, authorities announced Friday.

Mohammad Whitaker, 27, is accused of shooting into at least nine cars, injuring two of the drivers, in incidents dating to the beginning of March.

Kansas City prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a press conference that police first realized there might be a serial shooter on the loose on April 7 when an analyst with the police department pointed it out. The department quickly mobilized an investigation involving other area police departments, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Witness reports helped point police toward Whitaker, whom they surveilled during the last week, authorities said.

Police arrested Whitaker Thursday night in Grandview, Mo., using SWAT teams to surround his house before taking him into custody.

Whitaker is charged with two class A felonies for shooting and injuring someone in a car, seven class B felonies for shooting into cars, and nine charges of armed criminal action. He is being held on $1 million cash bond.

Baker said she is confident that Whitaker is the only person responsible for the shootings that set Kansas City drivers' nerves on edge.

"Residents are safe...we have a person in custody," Police Chief Darryl Forté said after the arrest.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio





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