Vandals damage City Park’s Storyland, Carousel Garden, write racial slurs on rides

Surveillance cameras captured images of the vandals in the act.

NEW ORLEANS — Vandals broke into City Park’s Storyland and Carousel Gardens, breaking windows, damaging the carousel, and writing racial slurs on the rides.

Photos from City Park show broken glass, graffiti and tails ripped from carousel horses. Officials say it also looks like someone stabbed the antique band organ and one of the carousel horses with a screwdriver.

The racially-charged graffiti includes the N-word and the phrase “Hitler Salute.”

Images of the two vandals were captured by security cameras set up after their first break-in. City Park officials say the names “Alex” and “Justin A” were written on items in the park and shoe prints were left on the carousel doors where they were kicked in.

City Park’s Storyland received a big renovation in 2019, adding new exhibits. The carousel is more than a century old and is on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.

“This hurts my heart. The Carousel and Storyland are such traditional iconic parts of the Park. The Carousel is over 100 years old. To have them survive Katrina only to then be disrespected in this way is a true travesty. The people of New Orleans love City Park and we’re so grateful to them. It’s sad to see a few people destroy so much,” says Bob Becker, City Park CEO.

City Park is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact City Park Chief Operations Officer, Rob DeViney at 504-419-2832.

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Kitchen fire causes minimal damage to Hazleton home |

Hazleton firefighters made quick work of an accidental kitchen fire Tuesday afternoon.

They were called to 163 S. Wyoming St. for the flames and found smoke coming from inside the half duplex upon arrival, Fire Chief Donald Leshko said. The home is close to the intersection of East Birch Street.

The mother was cooking when the fire happened, called 911 and quickly got her children outside who were taking classes online at home through a local school, he said.

“Mom saw the fire, shut the stove off and got the kids out.”

“They knew what to do,” the chief continued.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, finding it began on a stove top and also found a melted bottle of cooking oil nearby. They also removed the stove top and took it outside and ventilated the home.

No injuries were reported and firefighters kept the fire contained to the kitchen. The woman living there said she would contact the landlord so repairs could be made.

Leshko said though accidents happen, always remember to be attentive while cooking and keep the area around the oven and stove clear.

— Amanda Christman

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Trump campaign paying to repair damage to White House grounds from RNC events

The Trump campaign is footing the bill for sod replacement needed on the White House grounds after various Republican National Convention events held there last month damaged parts of the South Lawn and Rose Garden, a senior campaign official told NBC News on Tuesday.

The amount to repair the landscape is unknown, but a White House official said it is not completely uncommon across administrations after major events take place on the complex lawns for repairs to be done.

The White House also confirmed the payment in a statement.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers. Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told NBC News.

However, the campaign paying the costs could draw the ire of ethics officials, who previously raised serious objections to a political convention featuring several government officials, including the president and vice president, being held at the White House. Under a federal law known as the Hatch Act, government employees are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities and using government resources for political campaigning.

The Rose Garden underwent extensive renovations just prior to first lady Melania Trump’s speech. The first lady worked for months with historians, horticulturists, and others to restore the Rose Garden to its original 1962 design for her speech.

There were more than 1,500 people gathered on the White House grounds during President Donald Trump’s nomination acceptance speech, which required heavy equipment for large-scale production, including staging and lights.

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White House lawn being re-sod after convention damage

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is paying to replace sod on the White House South Lawn and Rose Garden after damage to the greenery late last month from large crowds and heavy equipment used for Republican National Convention festivities, White House and campaign officials said Tuesday.

Trump’s unprecedented decision to stage overtly political events on public property – which drew complaints that the Trumps were using “the people’s house” for personal gain – continues to reverberate nearly two weeks later as work crews re-sod grass and make other repairs.

On Aug. 27, Trump delivered his address formally accepting the Republican nomination on the South Lawn before an estimated 1,500 supporters seated on chairs. The president spoke from an enormous stage built in front of the South Portico of the White House. It was flanked by massive television screens and illuminated by scores of hulking spotlights – all particularly heavy equipment to position on grass.

Two nights earlier, first lady Melania Trump delivered her convention address in the newly reconstructed Rose Garden, with dozens of supporters seated in chairs. Turf was laid atop the grass as a protective measure, according to one White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because aides were not authorized to discuss some details.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds.”

A Trump campaign official confirmed that the sod replacement was being paid for with campaign funds.

The construction underway includes other repairs and improvements that were already in the planning stages or under consideration, said a White House official.

CNN first reported some aspects of the Rose Garden work.

The work has been ongoing for several days and has interrupted the regular rhythms at the White House. The president has been transported to Joint Base Andrews in a motorcade recently rather than by helicopter because Marine One cannot land on the South Lawn during the construction and repairs.

In addition, White House staff members have kept journalists covering events there from seeing the work underway in the Rose Garden and the South Lawn by using alternate venues. The president typically holds outdoor news conferences in the Rose Garden, but he held Monday’s gathering with reporters instead on the North Portico of the White House. It was the first time in recent memory that the president staged a news conference on the front steps of the residence facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Trump campaign and Melania Trump’s office declined to comment on the record. The National Park Service did not respond to requests for comment.

Officials did not detail how much the repairs would cost.

A White House official said that it was not uncommon in this administration, as well as previous ones, to undertake repairs to the South Lawn after large events, such as the annual Easter Egg Roll or Fourth of July fireworks.

But the current construction highlights

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White House lawn, Rose Garden being re-sod after damage from GOP convention

On Aug. 27, Trump delivered his address formally accepting the Republican nomination on the South Lawn before an estimated 1,500 supporters seated on chairs. The president spoke from an enormous stage built in front of the South Portico of the White House. It was flanked by massive television screens and illuminated by scores of hulking spotlights — all particularly heavy equipment to position on grass.

Two nights earlier, first lady Melania Trump delivered her convention address in the newly reconstructed Rose Garden, with dozens of supporters seated in chairs. Turf was laid atop the grass as a protective measure, according to one White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because aides were not authorized to discuss some details.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds.”

A Trump campaign official confirmed that the sod replacement was being paid for with campaign funds.

The construction underway includes other repairs and improvements that were already in the planning stages or under consideration, said a White House official.

The work has been ongoing for several days and has interrupted the regular rhythms at the White House. The president has been transported to Joint Base Andrews for recent flights via motorcade rather than by helicopter because Marine One cannot land on the South Lawn during the construction and repairs.

In addition, White House staff have kept journalists covering events there from seeing the work underway in the Rose Garden and South Lawn by using alternate venues. The president typically holds outdoor news conferences in the Rose Garden, but he held Monday’s gathering with reporters instead on the North Portico of the White House. It was the first time in recent memory that the president staged a news conference on the front steps of the residence facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Trump campaign and Melania Trump’s office declined to comment on the record. The National Park Service did not respond to requests for comment.

Officials did not detail how much the repairs would cost.

A White House official said that it was not uncommon in this administration, as well as previous ones, to undertake repairs to the South Lawn following large events, such as the annual Easter Egg Roll or Fourth of July fireworks.

But the current construction highlights the blatant manner in which Trump used the trappings of the presidency for purely political purposes in staging the Republican convention at the White House — a move that outraged government ethics experts, as well as many Democrats.

In August, Melania Trump unveiled the redesigned Rose Garden, which was panned by some critics. The first lady took on the Rose Garden renovation as a personal project, along with revamping the White House tennis pavilion.

Lisa Rein contributed to this report.

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