ORLANDO, Fla. — After their son was killed by an alligator at a Walt Disney World resort last year, Matt and Melissa Graves decided they do not want other families to have to bury their children.

They launched the Lane Thomas Foundation, named for their son, which is helping the families of children who need organ transplants at two hospitals in Nebraska, where they live. The foundation officially launched its website Wednesday.

“We promised him at his wake — we would turn this tragedy into good for many families,” Matt Graves said Wednesday, speaking haltingly at a news conference in Omaha. “Lane loved children, and it was important to Melissa and me to select a mission where we could try to prevent other parents from knowing the pain of losing a child.”

Melissa Graves dried tears from her eyes while her husband spoke.

So far, the foundation has given funds to 16 families to help with non-medical expenses. That could be paying rent or household bills, buying food, or paying expenses for families traveling to Omaha for surgery. They are working with two hospitals — Nebraska Medicine and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.

“Our goal is for them not to worry about anything other than getting their child healthy,” Matt Graves said.

The family also wants to encourage more parents to consider pediatric organ donation if they ever lose their children at a young age.

“We believe there isn’t a better way to honor a child than by saving others,” Matt Graves said.

The foundation uses the boy’s first and middle names because of the way he would introduce himself to people — “I’m Lane Thomas, I’m 2.”

The Graves family was staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa during their 2016 vacation. An alligator grabbed Lane while he was playing on a beach near the Seven Seas Lagoon at the resort June 14. Matt Graves rushed into the water and tried to get the boy away from the alligator, but the animal got away. Lane’s body was found 16 hours later and his death was ruled an accident.

—Orlando Sentinel


Young Thug arrested, accused of having 4 types of drugs and tons of cash

ATLANTA — Atlanta rapper Young Thug was arrested over the weekend in DeKalb County after police said they found him and two other men in a car with drugs and nearly $50,000 in cash.

The artist, whose real name is Jeffrey Lamar Williams, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of Xanax, codeine and ecstasy, along with co-defendant Cedric Jones. They were also charged with possession of guns while breaking drug laws.

The arrests were Sunday in Brookhaven. City police pulled over a 2016 Mercedes-Benz Maybach after suspecting that its tint was too dark, according to a police report.

Williams and Jones were arrested after the search of the car, as was the third man on a misdemeanor traffic charge.

“I will do everything that is lawful and ethical to clear Mr. Williams of this false allegation,” said Brian Steel, the rapper’s attorney.

Williams, known professionally for an unconventional delivery and collaborations with big names like Gucci Mane, remained in jail Wednesday afternoon.

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Titus passes on Nevada Senate race

WASHINGTON — Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus has decided not to challenge GOP Sen. Dean Heller next year, lowering the likelihood of a Democratic primary for the Senate race.

“After careful consideration I have decided that I can better serve the people of Nevada as dean of the House delegation than as a freshman senator, so I will be running for re-election in District 1,” Titus said in a statement to the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas.

Titus had been weighing a Senate run even after Rep. Jacky Rosen announced she would challenge Heller. Democrats coalesced around Rosen as a top recruit for the seat, but Titus was still considering a run.

Democrats are eyeing Nevada as a pickup opportunity though they are largely on defense in 2018. Heller has faced criticism from the left and right for waffling on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian has launched a primary challenge. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Tossup.

Titus was first elected to represent the 3rd District in 2008, but lost re-election in 2010 to Republican Joe Heck. In 2012, Titus successfully ran in the 1st District and was easily re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

—CQ-Roll Call

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