SEE IT! ‘All of a sudden, everyone was gone’: Indiana high school stage collapses during show, at least 12 injured

At least 12 people were injured, one critically, when the stage at an Indiana high school collapsed Thursday night during the musical "American Pie III," swallowing dozens of cast members as they jumped in unison, Westfield police said. Terrifying video shows the moment the Westfield High School auditorium stage gave way as a Journey solo was transformed when more than 20 clapping and stomping performers swarmed in to the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believin." “When all the performers rushed the stage, I saw the floor was starting to bow a little bit and I stepped to the left and the stage collapsed," senior Blake Rice, guitarist and band leader, told RTV. "I saw 20-30 of my friends fall in.” That's when the platform beneath them dropped out and the young performers fell in, according to video shot by an onlooker and shared on social media. "We have some seriously injured people," Westfield Fire Department Chief Joe Lyons told The Indianapolis Star. "Not one hospital is going to be able to handle this many patients." An auditorium packed with 1,000 people in the small community, about 30 miles north of Indianapolis, watched in horror as the teenagers disappeared into a pit that was a stage moments earlier. "All of a sudden, everyone was gone," one stunned parent told RTV. Parents and teachers rushed the stage to aid the teenaged performers once confusion gave way to alarm. Emergency responders were called at 10:30 p.m. local time. One of the performers who fell in said he couldn’t believe what happened and that some of his cast mates were trapped under wood debris. Up to 70 students took part in the play. “So thankful my son (guitarist in vid) is ok, but just feel sick for the whole #WHSAmericanPie family :(,” tweeted Sara Camden, the mom who shot the dramatic video from the second row. Ambulances took the injured to three Continue Reading

Brianna Fraser plays in first Jordan Brand Classic girls All-American game

The timing was perfect for Brianna Fraser. Not only was the Jordan Brand Classic played in Brooklyn again on Friday night, but it included a girls All-American game for the first time, too. So, the city’s best high school basketball player got to play her final high school game right in her home borough. “It means a whole lot for me to come here and represent for Brooklyn,” Fraser said after her East team won, 76-75, at Barclays Center on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Stephanie Watts of North Carolina. “I was able to show NYC what I could do.” The city was already well aware of what Fraser could do after she led South Shore to the PSAL city championship this past season. The 6-3 forward also earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland. Fraser said playing in the All-American game gave her a chance to test herself against the caliber of players she will face in college. And she did well, scoring 7 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 23 minutes. She also had three steals. “All of these players are signed and they’re going to schools that I’m going to be playing against,” Fraser said. “It gave me the chance to see how they play. I’m playing with them and against them, so that’s a great opportunity as well. My confidence is boosted because now I know I can play with All Americans.” After the game, Fraser, her mother, Conwin, as well as other family members and South Shore coach Anwar Gladden, watched the boys Regional and All-American games from the Daily News’ suite at Barclays Center. “It was fun,” she said. “It’s the first-ever Jordan Classic for girls, so I’m really happy we won.” CITY KIDS: Three boys from New York City played in the Jordan Regional game: Jessie Govan and Desure Buie of PSAL champion Wings Academy, and Matt Ryan of Iona Prep. Govan and Ryan’s ‘away Continue Reading

Double standard! Why are the Red Sox hailed as geniuses for all the insane spending this offseason?

TAMPA — It is really quite amazing how the Red Sox, after winning the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes for $63 million, are taking bows and being hailed for investing heavily in their farm system, even though they don’t know what position the unproven 19-year-old Cuban prodigy is going to play any more than they know where their other $72.5 million Cuban import, Rusney Castillo, is going to play this season. All told, the Red Sox spent $265 million this winter on Moncada, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and the contract of Wade Miley, whom they acquired in a trade, in contrast to the $438 million the Yankees spent last winter on Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Only the Yankees, who were labeled as cheapskates in some quarters for bowing out of the Moncada bidding at $25 million, were chided for grossly overpaying for Beltran, Ellsbury and McCann, and said to be “insane” and “desperate” for giving $155 million to a pitcher, in Tanaka, who had never thrown a pitch in the major leagues. So what’s with the double standard? The Red Sox, who, incredibly, are still trying to convince people they are not like the Yankees, are instead proclaimed as geniuses for all their spending, while the Yankees, whenever they spend big, are gluttonous over-reachers — and then “cheapskates” by those same critics when they restrain themselves from spending $200 million on Max Scherzer, $75 million on James Shields or $60 million on Moncada. But just what did the Red Sox wrought for all their spending? “We do our best to quantify risk. It’s difficult to do because predicting performance of players is an imperfect science,” said Red Sox owner John Henry after the Moncada signing. “But you do your analysis and look at all the other factors.” Say what? Let’s start with the $88 million for Ramirez. Talk about Continue Reading

‘They can all come’: More than 300 slave fishermen rescued from Indonesian island

BENJINA, Indonesia — At first the men filtered in by twos and threes, hearing whispers of a possible rescue. Then, as the news rippled around the island, hundreds of weathered former and current slaves with long, greasy hair and tattoos streamed from their trawlers, down the hills, even out of the jungle, running toward what they had only dreamed of for years: Freedom. "I will go see my parents. They haven't heard from me, and I haven't heard from them since I left," said Win Win Ko, 42, beaming, his smile showing missing teeth. The captain on his fishing boat had kicked out four teeth with his military boots, he said, because Win was not moving fish fast enough from the deck to the hold below. The Burmese men were among hundreds of migrant workers revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been lured or tricked into leaving their countries and forced into catching fish for consumers around the world, including the United States. In response to the AP's findings, Indonesian government officials visited the island village of Benjina on Friday and found brutal conditions, down to an "enforcer" paid to beat men up. They offered immediate evacuation. The officials first gave the invitation for protection just to a small group of men who talked openly about their abuse. But then Asep Burhanuddin, director general of Indonesia's Marine Resources and Fisheries Surveillance, said everybody was welcome, including those hiding in the forest because they were too scared to go out. "They can all come," he said. "We don't want to leave a single person behind." About 320 men took up the offer. Even as a downpour started, some dashed through the rain. They sprinted back to their boats, jumped over the rails and threw themselves through windows. They stuffed their meager belongings into plastic bags, small suitcases and day packs, and rushed back to the dock, not wanting to be left behind. A small boat going from trawler to trawler to Continue Reading

Christ the King beats South Shore, 71-67, in state Federation girls basketball semifinals despite 46 points from Vikings All-American Brianna Fraser

ALBANY - South Shore’s Brianna Fraser had a record-breaking day against Christ the King. It didn’t matter. In Friday’s state Federation 'AA' semifinals at SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany, Christ the King was able to overcome Fraser's record-setting, 46-point performance and find a way to win, 71-67. “That’s just a great player,” Christ the King coach Bob Mackey said of Fraser. “We hung in, we didn’t quit, but was definitely a tough outing.” The old ‘AA’ Federation record for points in a game was set by Murry Bergtraum’s Epiphany Prince, who scored 38 points in a 2004 game at the Federation tournament. Michelle Blot from ‘A’ team Colonie held the overall record with 43 points in a game, which was set in 2001. “I was feeling it, I don’t follow points or anything, so I just play and have my head in the game, a disappointed Fraser said with her head down. “I appreciate it though, I’m now finding this out so I think that’s a great thing to accomplish.” After a close first quarter that saw the Royals take a slight 16-14 lead, Fraser took over the game in the second quarter, scoring 18 in a row at one point, to give the Vikings a 29-24 lead at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, Christ the King was beginning to make a comeback and closed the gap to 46-41, but Fraser, who will now head to the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago, was fouled with 0.2 seconds left in the quarter while chucking up a ‘Hail-Mary’ shot from 75  feet away. The basket missed, but it sent Fraser to the line, and she made all three free throw attempts. That made Mackey start thinking how he was going to get a ride home, but as one final attempt to slow down the All-American, he assigned his junior Dominique Toussaint to guard Fraser. It worked, as Fraser was held to just 10 points in the final frame, but seemed to Continue Reading

Mitt Romney: Bracket Guru — failed GOP presidential candidate correctly picked Duke, Wisconsin, all ‘Final Four’ teams in NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament

Mitt Romney may be bad at running for President, but he’s apparently amazing at picking his NCAA bracket. The failed 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential candidate picked Wisconsin and Duke to make it to the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in his “Tournament Challenge” bracket. He also correctly picked all four of the teams that advanced to the tournament’s “Final Four” round, as well as six of the eight teams that advanced to the tournament’s “Elite Eight” round. Romney’s picks, provided first to The Huffington Post, were good enough, as of Monday morning, to put the former Massachusetts governor’s bracket in the 99.98th percentile of all 11.57 million brackets in the ESPN competition. Romney has picked Duke to beat Wisconsin in Monday night’s championship game. He will be in attendance at the game. By contrast, President Obama, who famously announces his bracket each year in a televised “Barack-etology” special on ESPN, is only in the 40th percentile in ESPN’s challenge, having picked Kentucky, which lost to Wisconsin Saturday night, to win it all. Continue Reading

Rangers trade shows team is all in for Stanley Cup run right now, reminiscent of ‘94

Henrik Lundqvist turned 33 years-old on Monday, reason enough for Glen Sather to pull the trigger on a deal that screams for a Stanley Cup this spring; that mortgages two more pieces of the future. To get Keith Yandle, Sather gave up a swift 19-year-old right wing, Anthony Duclair, who might have lighted the Garden for years, who owns the potential to be a transcendent, Haitian-Canadian star, a cross-over attraction. Sather also gave up what likely will become his fourth consecutive, first-round pick in the draft, no small deal. In exchange, the Ranger president got back an offensive defenseman, Keith Yandle, with a plus-minus of minus-32, on a lousy team, with 66 recorded giveaways. So yes, this is a big gamble, a huge roll of the dice, an all-in transaction by Sather that is based, in part, on the fact that Lundqvist is 33, Rick Nash and Dan Girardi are 30, and Marty St. Louis turns 40 this spring. It all makes sense, though, if you watched the Rangers dominate Nashville, 4-1, Monday night at the Garden. The Rangers right now may be the best team in the NHL, even better than the Isles, and the time very clearly is now. The Rangers have some young stars, too. Their captain, Ryan McDonagh, is still 25 and they’ve wisely re-signed Mats Zuccarello, 27. But everybody knows how you win the Stanley Cup. You win it with a top, experienced goaltender, not with Cam Talbot – as solid as he was again Monday, while Lundqvist sat with an injured blood vessel. “You want to have the opportunity to win the big prize,” Alain Vigneault said. “There might be sacrifices to be made for the future. The way our team is built, with the goaltender we have, it’s safe to say we’re in the window to compete.” We’ve seen this sort of thing before with the Rangers, when it worked as well as these things can work. Back in 1994, Mike Keenan wanted to get bigger, Continue Reading

Blue Bell Creameries recalls all of its products over possible listeria contamination

Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily recalled all of its products after tests revealed that more of its frozen treats may contain listeria linked to the deaths of three people and the illnesses of seven others, the company announced Monday night. Officials at the Texas-based company expanded its earlier clawback to all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks after samples from half-gallons containers of its chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream also showed the bacteria that causes listeriosis, according to the company. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention connected the company’s products with listeria, which poses serious risks to pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems, after 10 people have been hospitalized in Texas, Kansas, Arizona and Oklahoma, according to the agency. The CDC is currently conducting a "complex and ongoing multistate outbreak investigation of listeriosis illnesses occurring over several years," agency officials noted in a release on Tuesday. The company will resume distribution of its products “soon on a limited basis once it is confident in the safety of its product,” the company's announcement says. All Blue Bell goods will go through a so-called “test and hold” process that mandates bacteria-free sampling for every single one of them before they are released for sale to the public in the future. Customers who bought Blue Bell products at supermarkets, convenience stores, retail outlets and in food service accounts in 23 states and in international locations should return them for a full refund, company officials said. “We’re committed to doing the 100% right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse said in a Continue Reading

Kanye West tweets support for Tidal after removing all Twitter references to Jay Z’s music service

The Tidal has turned. Kanye West is once again promoting his pal Jay Z’s new music service Tidal, after making headlines for scrubbing his Twitter account of all references to it. “The love of music is louder than words,” he tweeted Wednesday night. It was a change of tune for Yeezus, considering that he initially deleted all references to Tidal, including removing the service’s logo as his Twitter avatar. West was one of the many music superstars, along with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna and Nicki Minaj, who attended Tidal’s star-studded launch last month, which is why it didn’t go unnoticed when he removed his original tweets promoting the service. It was unclear why the rapper deleted the messages, but the removal did coincide with news of Tidal's middling launch; it dropped out of iTunes’s Top 700 most-downloaded apps chart this week. Perhaps West’s change of heart has to do with reports that Jay Z and Beyoncé plan to release a joint album exclusively on Tidal, a move that could bolster the flailing company. Continue Reading

‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ star Fredrik Eklund on his secrets to success and new tell-all book

He could sell ice to the Eskimos — and a $20 million penthouse to J-Lo. And now he wants to teach you the tricks. “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Fredrik Eklund, the city’s number one residential broker, has put out a part-memoir/part-business-manual/all-fabulous book that he hopes will inspire and, more important, entertain. “I’ve done New York,” Eklund told the Daily News about his book, “The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone,” out Tuesday. “I’ve seen and done so many amazing and rewarding things — and I wanted to put all that in a book and send it off and see what happens. It’s a message in a bottle.” In “The Sell,” Eklund spills some of the trade secrets that helped him rise from a Swedish start-up failure to a New York City powerbroker so beloved and talented that he’s closed deals with Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez and Leonardo DiCaprio. In 10 years, he’s sold $3.5 billion in New York real estate. And Eklund’s main secret is no secret at all: Be yourself. "When you're new to a workplace, the biggest mistake you can make is copying the people around you or other people in the industry rather than being the authentic you,” Eklund says. “Be the unique, crazy eccentric you that your friends and family love and people will gravitate towards you and trust you." What does that mean when you’re Fredrik Eklund? “Jump out in the middle of Fifth Ave., stop traffic and scream, ‘I love New York!’” Eklund may be famous for selling multi-million dollar pads, but the book — a cross between an autobiography and a guide to being a business executive — is remarkably accessible and a good read for anyone with ambition in a city fueled by it. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in,” Eklund said. “After Continue Reading