Trending News Monday: Eddie Merlot’s, Disney, Six Flags and a Royal Baby

From amusement park problems to a new prince, today we’re covering the trending local, national and international stories.

LOCAL NEWS: IDENTITY THIEF DASHES TO DISNEY

Roughly 6 months ago, Joe Flacco, after winning the Super Bowl, uttered the words, “I am going to Disney World!” Well, over this same 6 month time span, Alexander Pera allegedly uttered those same words… 15 times.

Pera, manager of the popular restaurant Eddie Merlot’s in Lincolnshire was able to obtain information from 50 of his fellow employees and customers to scam away $50,000 to finance visits to the most magical place on earth.

The story only gets weirder. About a week before the arrest was made, the Lincolnshire Police Department held a public seminar titled, “Scams, Fraud and Identity Theft Seminar.” Members of the police department and the State’s Attorney General Office were featured at the event held at, of all places, Eddie Merlot’s in Lincolnshire.

Our Space Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Resort in FloridaLike any business dealing with negative media attention, Eddie Merlot’s went into crisis management mode, first posting a statement on its Facebook Page, reading, “We hate this situation and are fully cooperating with authorities. If anyone believes they were a victim, they should go straight to the police.” The second prong of their crisis control strategy was to begin providing compensation to those whose identities were stolen. Bruce Kraus, director of operations at Eddie Merlot’s, told Fox News the restaurant is going “above and beyond to rectify the issue with any affected patron.”

It looks as if Eddie Merlot’s implemented strategy has gotten them ahead of the problem. This was imperative because if they were counting on Disney to take some of the blame, they would have been stuck holding the bag, as Disney has decided to take the this-problem-is-not-big-enough-for-us-to-acknowledge approach.

Isn’t Disney as much to blame as Eddie Merlot’s? After all, didn’t Disney allow an alleged criminal to roam its child-ridden park grounds 15 times? This clearly should be a safety concern. It’s a good thing Disney got rid of Disney Dollars because, as the Lincolnshire police point out, Pera used gift cards to fund his purchases in order to hide his identity. This seems too easy to get away with and makes Disney look a little too eager to accept Pera’s form of payment. Additionally, why wasn’t Disney on the look-out for Pera? After all, he was arrested for the same thing almost 5 years ago. The charges were dropped but, as the old saying goes, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

 

NATIONAL NEWS: WOMAN DIES ON ROLLER COASTER
By Cassandra Bremer

Our Space Texas Giant sign

A day of adventure at Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington, Texas turned deadly Friday night as a woman fell from the park’s Texas Giant coaster.

Rosy Esparza boarded the world’s tallest steel hybrid roller coaster with her son Friday evening.  Carmen Brown, a witness waiting in line behind Esparza,  reported to the Dallas Morning News that Esparza expressed concern that she was not properly fastened into the roller coaster to a park employee; however, the employee states “As long as you heard it click, you’re fine.” When the roller coaster returned, Esparza’s seat was empty.

Six Flags immediately released a tweet stressing safety being the park’s top priority and later released a statement to KTVT:

“We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening, an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant. Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.”

Esparza was remembered on social media over the weekend by loved ones, witnesses and strangers. Her son, Amado Esparza, posted, “something that I will always have as a memory of you is that you loved adventures,” on Facebook.

As police determined there was no foul play, the accident is being investigated by Six Flags. A German roller coaster manufacturer sent personnel to inspect the Texas Giant.

The ride will remain closed until the cause of the accident is identified and the roller coaster passes safety inspections.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS: KATE MIDDLETON GIVES BIRTH
By Cassandra Bremer

The third heir to the British throne is a boy.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital earlier today after Middleton went into early stages of labor. As Queen Elizabeth II awaited the announcement of the birth of her first great-grand child, the world was waiting with her– watching their twitter feeds (except those who used a royalist filter).

Although his name is not yet known (and might not be for some time), His Royal Highness Prince [Name] of Cambridge was born at 4:24 p.m. (Greenwich Mean Time), weighing 8 lbs., 6 oz.

Cover Photo Source: By Carfax2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 1: By ShajiA  Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Source 2: By Chris Hagerman from St Louis, MO, US [CC-BY-2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Anthony is a Junior Executive at SJG. He is currently pursuing a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Science and Multiculturalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During his free time, Anthony likes to keep tab on the day’s news and drink way too much coffee.
Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.