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Jacksonville man dies while trimming tree

Police say a 68-year-old Jacksonville man fell to his death from a tree he was trimming in his yard. The Florida Times-Union (http://bit.ly/13y3CzG ) reports the man had returned home from a funeral on Tuesday and was found dead in his yard a short time later by family members returning ...

This undated photo provided by the Ohio House of Representatives shows Rep. Jim Buchy. he Ohio House is expected to consider a bill that would shield the names of companies that provide the state with lethal injection drugs. Buchy is one of the bills sponsors. The bill is among several the House planned to vote on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 as lawmakers finish work for the two-year legislative session. The Senate passed it last week. (AP Photo/Ohio House of Representatives)

Ohio House to consider lethal injection drug bill

The names of companies that provide Ohio with lethal injection drugs would be shielded under a proposal the state House is poised to vote on Wednesday. Some lawmakers have said the bill is needed to restart executions in the state. But prosecutors who want a condemned child killer executed in ...

Family: Gross kept in touch, didn't grow angry in Cuba

Alan Gross has called himself a "trusting fool" for going to Cuba in the first place. But family and friends described him with other words: gregarious, outgoing, and a wiz at picking up and playing any musical instrument. Gross, 65, was freed from prison Wednesday as part of an agreement ...

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2012 file photo provided by James L. Berenthal, jailed American Alan Gross poses for a photo during a visit by Rabbi Elie Abadie and U.S. lawyer James L. Berenthal at Finlay military hospital as he serves a prison sentence in Havana, Cuba. AP sources: American Alan Gross released from Cuba after 5 years in prison.  (AP Photo/James L. Berenthal, File)

AP sources: US, Cuba seek to normalize relations

The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American ...

Texas man sentenced to death in revenge plot

A former justice of the peace in North Texas was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing a district attorney's wife in what prosecutors described as a revenge plot that left three people dead. Eric Williams was convicted Dec. 4 of capital murder in the 2013 death of Cynthia McLelland, who ...

Colorado teen to get 10 years for killing father

A 14-year-old Colorado boy will spend 10 years behind bars after pleading guilty to killing his father and trying to conceal the slaying for six days by keeping the body at home and telling the man's employer he was sick. The boy entered the plea Tuesday and will be sentenced ...

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2012 file photo, a car sits in front of the New England Compounding in Framingham, Mass. Two co-founders and 12 other former employees of the company were arrested at their homes Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy were blamed  for a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people across the country.  (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

14 arrested, charged in meningitis outbreak

Fourteen owners or employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide and was traced to tainted drug injections. Barry Cadden, a co-founder of the New England Compounding Center, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist who was in ...

1 dead in Orlando apartment fire

Firefighters say one man is dead following a fire at an apartment building in Orlando. The fire broke out early Wednesday. WESH (http://bit.ly/1wgQSIM ) reports the man became trapped in the fire and was found dead on the building's second floor. An arson investigator is at the scene. No further ...

Among change, gift of jewels for Salvation Army

In one of its famous red kettles in South Florida, the Salvation Army has received a gift worth more than a little bit of change: an emerald and diamond necklace. On Tuesday afternoon, the agency received a call directing bell ringers to check a kettle in Doral, a Miami suburb. ...

A surfer rides a wave at Blacks Beach, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in San Diego. A new storm dumped more rain on already waterlogged parts California Tuesday, bringing large surf with it to Southern California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Fresh rain in Southern California causes mudslide

The latest storm in a string of wet weather hammered Southern California overnight, unleashing heavy rain and triggering a mudslide that blocked a freeway and stranded motorists early Wednesday. Flash flood watches remained in effect for many areas as the system moved inland after bringing fierce thunderstorms to the greater ...

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2014 file photo, cars enter Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 released another round of data leaks, including ominous threats against the premiere of Sony Pictures' film "The Interview," in which the group references the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

NYC premiere of Rogen film canceled as threats fly

The blow that the hacking attack has dealt Sony is spreading beyond the entertainment corporation itself to theater chains and movie goers alike. And the financial toll is adding up too. Threats of violence against movie theaters. The New York premiere of "The Interview" canceled. Leaks of thousands more private ...

File - In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. The revelation that Cleveland police officials didn’t review the checkered history of a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy highlights what some describe as an unnerving truth about policing -- there’s no universal standard for how deeply a department should dig into its recruits’ pasts. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)

Expert: Killing shows strict police vetting needed

The discovery that a Cleveland officer who shot and killed a 12-year-old boy last month had washed out at another police force highlights what some experts call an unnerving truth about policing: Departments don't always dig deeply enough into recruits' pasts. Cleveland police officials didn't learn until after the Nov. ...

Columbia announces 14 winners of duPont prizes

Investigative reports, historical series and two documentaries are among the 14 winning entries in this year's Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honoring work in broadcast, digital and documentary journalism. Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism announced the winners on Wednesday. Among the winners is Netflix. The streaming service won for a ...

Military airships getting a Baltimore-area test

The U.S. military is testing a new cruise-missile defense system by launching a blimp-like airship at Aberdeen Proving Ground near Baltimore. Reporters in the region are getting their first look Wednesday at JLENS, short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System. When fully deployed this winter, ...

FBI names Rodriguez to head its NY office

The FBI has named Diego G. Rodriguez as the assistant director in charge of its New York field office. He succeeds George Venizelos (veh-nih-ZAY'-lohs), who's retiring. Rodriguez had served as special agent in charge of the Dallas field office since 2012. Before joining the FBI, the St. John's University graduate ...

Body of paddleboarder found off Sanibel Island

The body of a missing 19-year-old paddleboarder has been found in southwest Florida. Police say the body of 19-year-old Chad Winter was found Tuesday about 300 feet offshore in 10 feet of water. The News Press of Fort Myers (http://newspr.es/1AnIFBA ) reports Winters was from Woodstock, Illinois, and was vacationing ...

Charges filed in 3 Virginia Beach sex assault cold cases

Virginia Beach police have charged suspects in three separate sexual assaults that occurred in the late 1980s. Fifty-two-year-old Julian Romaro of Salem, North Carolina, is charged with rape in connection with the sexual assault of a woman on May 24, 1988. Fifty-four-year-old Benjamin James Madonia of Lake City, Florida, is ...

1 Lucky Money winner gets $2 million

One "Lucky Money" ticket won a $2 million jackpot. Lottery officials said Wednesday the winning ticket was purchased in Fort Lauderdale. Four tickets matched 4-of-4 numbers, winning $4,418.50; 76 won $508.50 for picking 3-of-4 plus the Lucky Ball number; 1,199 tickets won $95.50 each for picking 3-of-4; 2,169 tickets won ...

2 Fantasy 5 players win $103,780.40 jackpot

Two "Fantasy 5" players have selected all five winning numbers to win a jackpot of $103,780.40. The winning tickets were purchased in North Miami and Mulberry. The Florida Lottery said Wednesday that 284 tickets matching four numbers won $117.50 each. Another 8,718 tickets matching three numbers won $10.50 each and ...

In this May 4, 2011, file photo, author and cartoonist Norman Bridwell poses for a portrait at Scholastic headquarters in New York. Bridwell, creator of the popular “Clifford the Big Red Dog” series of children’s books, which was later turned into a PBS TV show, died Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, on Martha’s Vinyard in Massachusetts. He was 86. 

Notable deaths in 2014

A look at some of the people in the public eye whom we lost in 2014.

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