Couple accused of taking 3 kids returned to Connecticut

WATERBURY, Conn. — Authorities say a mother and her boyfriend accused of taking the woman’s three children during a supervised visit are back in Connecticut.

Waterbury Police Lt. David Silverio says Crystal McGrath and Lester Joy were extradited on Friday from Texas. They were taken into custody earlier this month in Mazatlan, Mexico, where the three children were found safe.

Authorities say McGrath, the children’s noncustodial mother, took them out a side door of a Waterbury’s McDonald’s in February during a visit supervised by the state Department of Children and Families.

Silverio says McGrath and Joy are being held on $500,000 bail pending their arraignment on charges of custodial interference and risk of injury. It’s unclear if they have attorneys.

The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law March 30, 2019 Off

Police accuse Wisconsin man of starving cows on family farm

NORRIE, Wis. — A 19-year-old central Wisconsin man has been charged with intentionally starving cows on his family’s farm.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports prosecutors charged Joshua Litze Friday with two counts of intentionally failing to provide food to animals, four counts of failing to timely dispose of an animal carcass and one count of bail jumping.

The complaint says a Marathon County sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of cattle in the road near a farm in Norrie, about 25 miles (40.23 kilometres) east of Wausau. The officer found cows with bones protruding from their sides and at least four carcasses of dead cows.

Authorities say Litzke was supposed to be taking care of nearly 30 cows while his father was out of town.

It wasn’t clear if Litzke has a lawyer.

The Associated Press

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Ontario Opioid Epidemic Plunges Children’s Aid Societies Into Crisis

Prescription pills containing oxycodone and acetaminophen are shown in Toronto in this 2017 stock photo. Children's aid societies in Ontario say they are caring for more and more kids whose parents have an opioid addiction or have died of an overdose.

Kim Streich-Poser has tried to reduce her staff with early retirement offers, but most of them are too dedicated to their work to take the bait.

“We’ve got people who are very, very committed to working with some of the most vulnerable children and families in our community,” the executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma told HuffPost Canada.

“They develop relationships with those people.”

So she’s had to cut costs the hard way. Streich-Poser, who is based in Sault Ste. Marie, says she’s given layoff notices to six of her 141 employees and is negotiating other “displacements” with their union. She’ll also close Algoma’s office in Hornepayne, Ont. and reduce two full-service district offices in Wawa and Blind River into small satellite offices with one employee each.

“We can’t afford to have more workers there,” she said.

The Children’s Aid Society of Algoma services a 49,000-square-kilometre swath of northern Ontario that stretches from Elliot Lake in the east to Pukaskwa National Park in the west.

Employees investigate allegations of child abuse, place children in foster care and work with birth parents so that they can provide a safe home for their kids.

The Children's Aid Society of Algoma services the entire district.

Algoma’s society had already lost about 10 staff through attrition and early retirement before the director had to start layoffs.

“It’s left the remaining staff to sort of pick up the pieces,” adoption worker Lee-Ann Pettenuzzo told HuffPost. She’s also president of the local chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

She said she worries about what will happen to her co-worker left alone in Wawa.

“How is one worker going to cover this area? How is she going to meet the needs of the children?” Pettenuzzo asked.

How is one worker going to cover this area? How is she going to meet the needs of the children?Lee-Ann Pettenuzzo

“When you are talking child welfare, for her to be dealing with whatever crisis she’s dealing with and then not be able to debrief with anybody …”

Pettenuzzo trailed off.

“These are really emotional jobs.”

All of Algoma’s funding comes from the Ontario government. Over the past two years, their funding has decreased as Algoma transferred cases to Nogdawindamin Family & Community Services, an Indigenous-led child wellbeing agency.

But the rate of new kids needing care is going up, partially because more parents in northern Ontario are becoming addicted to opioids or dying of overdoses. So even though Nogdawindamin took over 66 cases, the number of kids Algoma is responsible for only decreased by 22.

A Children's Aid Society of Algoma office is seen here in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The disproportionate cut in funding threw the children’s aid society into a “significant financial crisis,” Streich-Poser said.

This is happening in multiple areas of Ontario that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. And workers say layoffs will force children’s aid societies to work crisis-to-crisis rather than focus on their mandate, which is to support birth parents so that they can be reunited with their children.

More than 600 Ontarians died of opioid overdoses in the first six months of 2018, according to numbers released Monday by Public Health Ontario. And there were 6,688 opioid-related emergency department visits in the province, up from 5,909 during the same time frame the year before.

Sault Ste. Marie, the largest community in Algoma with a population of 13,600, had Ontario’s third-highest rate of hospitalizations for opioid poisonings in 2017, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Program for kids with special needs cut

One of the casualties of Algoma’s cuts was an intervention program for foster children with special needs. All five workers who ran the program, which Pettenuzzo said was for children who may have behavioural issues or had pre-natal exposure to drugs and alcohol, lost their jobs last week.

If Algoma can’t find extra services to help those kids in the north, they may be sent to live with foster families in southern Ontario, Pettenuzzo said.

“How do you reunify a family when the children aren’t even in the area?” she said.

The kids in that program developed “tight relationships” with Algoma workers.

“When we aren’t that consistent person because now we have to move them, who are they connecting with? Who do they learn to trust?” she asked.

“If kids don’t know that they matter, they’re hopeless.”

26 children’s aid workers laid off in Brantford

Ontario’s highest rate of hospitalizations for opioid poisonings is in Brantford, a city in southwestern Ontario with more than 134,000 residents.

The director of Brantford’s children’s aid society, Brant Family and Children’s Services (BFACS), recently laid off 26 employees.

“My first job is to keep kids safe,” BFACS executive director Andy Koster said. “You can see now with the layoffs, that’s jeopardizing my role.”

The day before he spoke with HuffPost, two more children came into BFACS’s care because of opioid overdoses in separate homes.

The stress on our staff trying to deal with this is horrendous.Andy Koster

“That’s how real it is to our staff,” he said.

“The stress on our staff trying to deal with this is horrendous. They never quite know what they’re going to find.”

BFACS has also transferred a number of cases to an Indigenous-led organization. But Koster says his agency has dozens more children in its care than it did this time last year because of the drug epidemic.

In the last year and a half, 22 of the children in BFACS’s care have lost parents to overdoses, Koster said.

On top of that, the province notified children’s aid societies in the fall that they would have to cover 75 per cent of the cost of subsidies for parents who adopt kids or take permanent custody. Agencies were expecting to cover only 25 per cent.

In the 2017/2018 year, subsidies cost BFACS $195,000. This year, that cost was $671,000. For Algoma, the cost soared from about $60,000 to more than $200,000. The government did not provide any funding to help cover these costs.

More from HuffPost Canada:

“It’s impossible that you could have planned that,” Koster said.

He said the province needs to change its funding formula for children’s aid societies.

“We just want to get through this fiscal year and start into the next … I’m worried about my staff, but I’m worried just as much or more about the kids and families that they serve,” he said.

“We’re the last hope for some of these kids.”

The Progressive Conservative minister responsible for children’s services, Lisa MacLeod, was asked about the situation during question period at Queen’s Park last Monday.

NDP MPP Sandy Shaw quoted Koster, who said that when governments cut child welfare services, children end up living in violent and neglectful conditions and some ultimately die.

MacLeod said her government is proud that Indigenous agencies are taking cases and blamed BFACS for not managing its money properly.

Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod stands in the legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto on March 26, 2019.

“What that member opposite is suggesting is that the 18 per cent of Indigenous youth who are going to a customary care model in an Indigenous-led children’s aid society don’t deserve the funding that is required for them to get the services that they need,” MacLeod said.

“This children’s aid society has refused to look after its fiscal house and get its services in order as we transition. This is not new.”

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services did not respond to HuffPost’s questions despite multiple requests over the course of two weeks.

Koster stressed that he supports and respects Ogwadeni:deo, the agency that took over jurisdiction for children who live on the Six Nations reserve.

The issue is that children who are abused anywhere … should get the proper services.Andy Koster

“We’ve always supported and had a great respect for Indigenous child welfare. That’s not the issue,” he said. “The issue is that children who are abused anywhere … should get the proper services.”

He said he appreciates that this government didn’t design the funding formula imposed on agencies as they transferred cases to Indigenous-led agencies.

“But they have an opportunity to fix it.”

Pettenuzzo, the adoption worker in Algoma, said the government simply doesn’t understand what it takes to do child protection work properly and how the long drives up north make it more difficult to be there for families.

“We shouldn’t have to service foster homes in Elliot Lake from an office in Sault Ste. Marie because of funding,” she said.

“Unless Lisa MacLeod has driven from Toronto to the Manitoba border, she has no idea.”

With a file from The Canadian Press

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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

Trump threatens to shut Mexico border – ‘not kidding around’

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Threatening drastic action against Mexico, President Donald Trump declared Friday he is likely to shut down America’s southern border next week unless Mexican authorities immediately halt all illegal immigration. Such a severe move could hit the economies of both countries, but the president emphasized, “I am not kidding around.”

“It could mean all trade” with Mexico, Trump said when questioned by reporters in Florida. “We will close it for a long time.”

Trump has been promising for more than two years to build a long, impenetrable wall along the border to stop illegal immigration, though Congress has been reluctant to provide the money he needs. In the meantime, he has repeatedly threatened to close the border, but this time, with a new surge of migrants heading north , he gave a definite timetable.

A substantial closure could have an especially heavy impact on cross-border communities from San Diego to South Texas, as well as supermarkets that sell Mexican produce, factories that rely on imported parts, and other businesses across the U.S.

The U.S. and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be “an unmitigated economic debacle” that would threaten 5 million American jobs.

___

UK faces new Brexit crisis after lawmakers reject May’s deal

LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers on Friday rejected the government’s Brexit deal for a third time, leaving the U.K. facing the stark prospect of a chaotic departure from the European Union in just two weeks, with political leaders in turmoil and the country ill-prepared for the shock.

It’s either that, or a long delay to the country’s exit from the EU. The alternatives are dwindling.

The House of Commons voted 344-286 against the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU, rebuffing her plea to “put aside self and party” and deliver the Brexit that Britons voted for.

Amid business warnings that a no-deal Brexit could mean crippling tariffs, border gridlock and shortages of goods, a visibly frustrated May said the vote had “grave” implications.

“The legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12 April — in just 14 days’ time,” she said. “This is not enough time to agree, legislate for and ratify a deal, and yet the House has been clear it will not permit leaving without a deal. And so we will have to agree an alternative way forward.”

___

Financial pressure mounts to fix Boeing’s troubled jetliner

Boeing is facing mounting pressure to roll out a software update on its bestselling plane in time for airlines to use the jets during the peak summer travel season.

Company engineers and test pilots are working to fix anti-stall technology on the Boeing 737 Max that is suspected to have played a role in two deadly crashes in the last six months.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that investigators have determined that the flight-control system on an Ethiopian Airlines jet automatically activated before the aircraft plunged into the ground on March 10.

The preliminary conclusion was based on information from the aircraft’s data and voice recorders and indicates a link between that accident and an earlier Lion Air crash in Indonesia, the newspaper said. Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on the report.

Also on Friday, The New York Times reported that the Ethiopian jet’s data recorder yielded evidence that a sensor incorrectly triggered the anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. Once activated, the MCAS forced the plane into a dive and ultimately a crash that killed everyone on board, the newspaper said.

___

2 similar death row cases, 2 different Supreme Court rulings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Death row inmates Patrick Murphy and Domineque Ray each turned to courts recently with a similar plea: Halt my execution if the state won’t let a spiritual adviser of my faith accompany me into the execution chamber.

Both cases wound up at the Supreme Court. And while the justices overrode a lower court and allowed Ray’s execution to go forward in Alabama in February, they gave Murphy, a Texas inmate, a temporary reprieve Thursday night.

What the justices wrote suggests the opposite results came down to one thing: timing. Ray, a Muslim, didn’t ask to be joined by his spiritual adviser soon enough, while Murphy, a Buddhist, did.

Spencer Hahn, one of Ray’s attorneys, said in a telephone interview Friday that he hoped his client had helped bring attention to the fact some inmates are treated differently when it comes to religious advisers in the execution chamber.

“I’d like to think Mr. Ray’s death was not in vain,” he said.

___

Oklahoma ex-senator David Boren accused of sexual misconduct

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former University of Oklahoma student alleges he was touched and kissed inappropriately by former university President David Boren on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for the onetime governor and senator.

The allegations by Jess Eddy, now 29, appear to be at the centre of an investigation being conducted for the university by Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms, into whether Boren sexually harassed male subordinates. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has also opened an investigation.

Boren, now 77, has denied any inappropriate conduct in statements released by his attorneys, who have confirmed the Jones Day investigation. Boren was a Democratic governor in the 1970s before serving in the U.S. Senate for more than 15 years. He was OU president from 1994 until stepping down last year and has been married to his second wife for more than 40 years. He has denied requests to be interviewed, citing poor health.

Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said Eddy’s newest account of his encounter with Boren, which he detailed in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, contradicts previous statements he gave to Jones Day investigators and to Brewster. In those earlier statements, he said he was not aware of any inappropriate behaviour.

Eddy’s latest allegations were first reported Tuesday by the online news site NonDoc.

___

Ocasio-Cortez can’t run, but she’s a big part of 2020 race

WASHINGTON (AP) — AOC could stand for “All Over the Campaign.”

For better or worse, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known ubiquitously by her initials, is a big part of the 2020 race for the White House more than five years before she’s even old enough to run for the nation’s highest office. Democrats want her endorsement. They’re being asked to answer for her Green New Deal. And President Donald Trump’s supporters are ready for her.

“AOC sucks!” they chanted in battleground Michigan as the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., riled up the crowd on Thursday. It wasn’t the most descriptive Trump-era branding — think of the president’s “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, coined to evoke trust issues about her during the 2016 campaign. But the episode left little doubt that this former bartender from the Bronx, a self-described Democratic socialist, is the new villain for Trump’s base of supporters.

Just three months into her new life in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez, 29, is already a coveted influencer Democratic national politics. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called her “the future of our party.” All six senators aiming to replace Trump co-sponsored the Green New Deal she has championed to rein in climate change. And though Ocasio-Cortez is a protégé of one such hopeful, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, she’s taking meetings with others. This week, it was lunch with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“We had labneh,” a creamy cheese made from yogurt, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed via Twitter.

___

Snapshot of extinction: Fossils show day of killer asteroid

WASHINGTON (AP) — New research released Friday captures a fossilized snapshot of the day nearly 66 million years ago when an asteroid smacked Earth, fire rained from the sky and the ground shook far worse than any modern earthquake.

It was the day that nearly all life on Earth went extinct, including the dinosaurs.

The researchers say they found evidence in North Dakota of the asteroid hit in Mexico, including fish with hot glass in their gills from flaming debris that showered back down on Earth. They also reported the discovery of charred trees, evidence of an inland tsunami and melted amber.

Separately, University of Amsterdam’s Jan Smit disclosed that he and his colleagues even found dinosaur footsteps from just before their demise.

Smit said the footprints — one from a plant-eating hadrosaur and the other of a meat eater, maybe a small Tyrannosaurus Rex — is “definite proof that the dinosaurs were alive and kicking at the time of impact … They were running around, chasing each other” when they were swamped.

___

Jackson, Nicks enter hall with encouragement for women

NEW YORK (AP) — Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson both accepted their honours on Friday by calling for other women to join them.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Jackson said. “In 2020, induct more women.”

They joined a quintet of British bands in the hall. Two of Radiohead’s five members picked up trophies, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers and the Cure’s Robert Smith’s proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday.

Def Leppard and the Zombies were also inducted.

Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.

___

TIPPING OFF: Zion back for Duke rematch with Virginia Tech

Zion Williamson is back for a rematch in the Sweet 16 against one of the four teams the Blue Devils lost to this year.

Duke gets Virginia Tech on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament, a team that beat the Blue Devils in February. That game was played without Duke’s flying freshman, and R.J. Barrett played sick.

Virginia Tech has victories against Duke in each of the past three seasons, and won’t be intimidated by the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.

“I don’t think we’re excited for the moment,” Virginia Tech point guard Justin Robinson said. “I think it’s just another game for us. And I think we’re going to be ready for whatever is going to come for us to end the game.”

The rematch in the East Region semifinals will certainly have a different feel.

___

AP FACT CHECK: Trump misrepresents a migrant child’s death

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is misrepresenting the circumstances of a 7-year-old migrant girl’s death as he seeks to steer any potential blame for it away from his administration.

Trump, after mockingly painting asylum seekers as a “con job” in a rally the previous night, asserted on Friday that Jakelin Caal Maquin was given no water by her father during their trek to a remote border area and that the dad acknowledged blame for his daughter’s death on Dec. 8. Those assertions are not supported by the record.

TRUMP: “I think that it’s been very well stated that we’ve done a fantastic job. The father gave the child no water for a long period of time – he actually admitted blame.” — to reporters Friday.

THE FACTS: An autopsy report released Friday found that Guatemalan girl died of a bacterial infection just more than a day after being apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s office said traces of streptococcus bacteria were found in Jakelin’s lungs, adrenal gland, liver, and spleen, and she experienced a “rapidly progressive infection” that led to the failure of multiple organs.

Neither the autopsy report, nor accounts at the time by Customs and Border Protection , spoke of dehydration. And through family lawyers, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz said after his girl’s death that he made sure she had food and water as they travelled through Mexico.

The Associated Press

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2019 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony – Show

2019 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show

NEW YORK — Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson both accepted their honours on Friday by calling for other women to join them.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Jackson said. “In 2020, induct more women.”

They joined a quintet of British bands in the hall. Two of Radiohead’s five members picked up trophies, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers and the Cure’s Robert Smith’s proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday.

Def Leppard and the Zombies were also inducted.

Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.

“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”

Harry Styles performs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in New York City on Friday, March 29, 2019.

She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough “Control” album and most of her vast catalogue, to stand in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for recognition, as well as booster Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” and Don Cornelius of “Soul Train,” along with stage choreographers.

There was some potential for awkward vibes Friday, since the event was being filmed to air on HBO on April 27. HBO angered the Jackson family this winter for showing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” about two men who alleged Michael Jackson abused them when they were boys. Jackson never mentioned Michael specifically in her remarks but thanked her brothers, and he was shown on screen with the rest of the family.

Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.

Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already a member of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men — including all four Beatles members — to have been honoured twice by the rock hall for the different stages of their career.

Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.

“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”

During her four-song set, she brought onstage a cape she bought in 1983 to prove to her “very frugal” late mother that it was still in good shape, and worth its $3,000 price tag. Don Henley joined her to sing “Leather and Lace,” while Harry Styles filled in for the late Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”

Inductee Robert Smith (left) of The Cure performs at the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album “Kid A” was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct their business.

“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien were only band members on hand to accept, so the band didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall.

But both spoke highly of the honour.

“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big (expletive) deal and it feels like it. … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”

The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, the Cure has a legacy of pop hits, and performed three of them at Barclays, “I Will Always Love You,” ”Just Like Heaven“ and ”Boys Don’t Cry.“

Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers.

“It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”

His inductee, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, recalled ridiculing the rock hall in past years because he couldn’t believe the Cure wasn’t in. When he got the call that the band was in, he said “I was never so happy eating my words as I was that day.”

Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits “Love is the Drug,” ”More Than This“ and ”Avalon.“ (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).

Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.

“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.

The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. “We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honour,” he said.

Def Leppard sold tons of records, back when musicians used to do that, with a heavy metal sound sheened to pop perfection on songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Queen’s Brian May will induct them.

The Zombies, from rock ’n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits “Time of the Season,” ”Tell Her No“ and ”She’s Not There.“

Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been nominated in the past but the honour had eluded them.

“To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”

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