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    A widely shared Facebook post shows a lone prayer closet remaining on the site of a home where an EF4 tornado ripped through in Alabama. Earlier in March, a tornado carved a path across Lee County, Alabama destroying homes and ripping up trees.  Only a few buildings and homes were able to make it, including a local grandmother’s prayer closet. According to 11 Alive, Chaplain Jason Smith was out with Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Team and noticed the prayer closet.   In his Facebook post, he reports the entire family who lived there survived. “Listen to me please,” he wrote in the post.  “I just left a family who survived the tornado in this house and the only left standing is this closet.  It’s the grandmother’s prayer closet, and the whole family survived.  Are you kiddin me!!! My God is awesome!!! Shout somebody! --Jason--” As of this article, the two-week old post has been shared over 96 thousand times and garnered more than 62 thousand likes.
  • As spring training neared its conclusion, a reporter mentioned to Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez that Max Scherzer was not precisely on schedule to start on opening day. 'He's going to be lined up,' Martinez said with a laugh. 'Come Thursday at 1:05, he'll be on the mound.' Of course he will. Scherzer is, after all, one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and runner-up last season. So it makes perfect sense that when Washington hosts the NL East rival New York Mets this week, Scherzer will take on the pitcher who topped him in the NL voting, Jacob deGrom. 'It definitely has its prestige,' Scherzer said. 'It's symbolic. It's an honor to get the ball in that situation.' That's because even in this data-driven age in baseball, when analytics and analysis are supposed to be replacing 'gut feel' and sentiment when it comes to making any and all decisions, granting an opening day start to a particular pitcher because of his status rather than his statistics is something of a remnant of a bygone era. So what if your team, say, is facing an all-righty lineup? If a right-hander seems like the proper guy to send out there for Game 1, managers tend to do it. 'There's still a hierarchy on your pitching staff. And certainly when you have established, veteran guys, it still matters to them,' said Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who will use Justin Verlander on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays and 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. 'It also matters to your team. People want to name guys 'aces.'' The choice is often an obvious one, such as for Mets-Nationals and Astros-Rays. Other times, though, it can get complicated, and this year is no exception. Take the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their natural pick would Clayton Kershaw, but the lefty is beginning the season on the injured list. Walker Buehler and Rich Hill were ruled out, too. So the World Series runners-up the past two years are going with Hyun-Jin Ryu against Zach Greinke, an easier pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sometimes, there's not a bevy of optimal options. Coming off a 115-loss season, the Baltimore Orioles planned to go with Alex Cobb to face the New York Yankees on Thursday, before the righty had groin soreness in his final exhibition tuneup Sunday. Cobb was 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA in 2018. Fact is, Baltimore's top two other starters — 'top' being relative, of course — also each took at least 15 Ls a year ago. Yankees manager Aaron Boone counters with Masahiro Tanaka, because Luis Severino is sidelined with right shoulder inflammation. It'll be Tanaka's fourth start in the past five opening days for New York, which went 0-3 in his others. 'Obviously, if you're given the opportunity to pitch on that day, you want to go out and do your best,' Tanaka said through a translator. 'If you look back, I don't think I've necessarily been good on opening days.' Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais went away from tradition for his team's opener against the Oakland Athletics in Japan last week, bypassing Felix Hernandez, who had made 10 consecutive Game 1 starts, the longest active streak in the majors and surpassed by only four pitchers in history (Hall of Famer Jack Morris holds the record of 14 in a row). Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, boasts a 1.53 ERA in opening day appearances but struggled this spring, to the tune of a 15.95 ERA. 'We try to take as much of the emotion out of it as you can,' Servais said, 'and do what's best for our ballclub.' Still, King Felix did not hide his displeasure at giving up a slot he'd held for a full decade. Instead, Marco Gonzalez and Yusei Kikuchi started for Seattle in the two overseas games that officially got the season going. As much as getting that initial pitching assignment clearly counts for something to many, Houston's Hinch knows the next 161 games are equally valuable in the standings. 'We should continue to make it a big deal to start on opening day,' Hinch said. 'And we should make it a bigger deal to take your 33, 34 starts and go wire-to-wire.' ___ AP Sports Writer Jake Seiner in Peoria, Arizona, contributed to this report. ___ Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • A College Park resident thought he heard a burglar, but it turned out to be bears.   The latest bear sighting happened Monday morning on Rio Grande Avenue near Lake Silver Elementary School.   Channel 9 reporter Racquel Asa found out that bears are coming out of hibernation and they are hungry. The resident said he saw a bear and a cub looking for their next meal outside his home.    “Got the camera out and was able to catch that picture of that one bear in the neighbor’s driveway, and then I could hear another knocking over a trash can down the street,” resident Bob Butterfield said. TRENDING NOW: Woman stabbed, man shot to death in Orange County neighborhood Avocado recall: Listeria risk prompts voluntary recall in 6 states Hot air balloon stolen in Indiana found at The Villages Balloon Fest Coast Guard seizes 27,000 pounds of cocaine Butterfield called police, but it wasn’t the first time College Park has had a bear encounter.   In May 2018, a bear was caught napping in a tree just 2 1/2 miles from Butterfield's home.   Florida Fish and Wildlife said Florida is a week into heightened bear activity. Bears are trying to eat the calories they lost during the colder months, the FWC said.   The FWC said there have a total of nine sightings in the last five years; four have been around the Lake Ivanhoe area while five were in the vicinity between Orange Blossom Trail and Interstate 4.   Monday morning's sighting was a warning for Spencer Fromange and his family, who just moved to Vollege Park two weeks ago.   “I got to call my mom and tell her to not do anything at night,” Fromange said.   FWC said these are ways to make trashcans harder for bears to get into, aside from buying one that is bear resistant:   - Trash cans: Keep trash secured until the morning of trash pickup.  Use commercially manufactured bear-resistant trash cans  by contacting your local waste service provider to request one. If the provider will not supply them, verify it will service one and then contact your local home improvement store to special order a can.   - Consider bear-resistant dumpsters rather than multiple individual cans in communities whenever possible. Dumpsters are easier to secure than individual containers and may represent a significant cost-savings to residents.    - Modify your trash can to make it more difficult for bears to access.  The modified can must be sturdy enough that it will not collapse when an adult black bear stands on it, and the lid must be rigid and unbending.   - If you have contracted waste service, first verify that your provider is willing to service a modified can. You must ask permission to modify a can provided by a waste provider.   - Secure non-bear-resistant trash cans until the morning of trash pickup in a location inaccessible by bears. *NOTE: Keeping garbage secure is the No. 1 way to reduce bear activity in your community.   DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD 
  • Environmental groups and women from Alaska and Louisiana say the Environmental Protection Agency has dragged its heels on issuing rules for oil spill dispersants, and they're ready to sue to demand them. They say dispersants such as Corexit, used during the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills, were more toxic to people and the environment than oil alone but, nearly four years after taking public comments about such rules, the agency hasn't acted. 'We depend on feeding our families from the ocean. We need the ocean to be a clean environment for our animals,' Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, a plaintiff from Alaska, said in a telephone interview. With the Trump administration considering an oil and gas lease sale in Alaska's Beaufort Sea, she said, people fear both spills and dispersants. The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on a letter sent Monday to Administrator Andrew Wheeler that says they'll sue unless the agency acts within 60 days. The letter is a legally required step before filing suit under the Clean Water Act. This lawsuit would be filed in Washington, said Jack Siddoway, a third-year law student in the University of California-Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic. The clinic is representing Ahtuangaruak (ah-TOON-gah-rook), who lives in the Inupiat village of Nuiqsut (noo-IK-sut); Kindra Arnesen of Buras (BYOO-ruhs), Louisiana; Alaska Community Action on Toxics; Cook Inletkeeper, also from Alaska; and Earth Island Institute's ALERT project, which is based in Berkeley. Arnesen said the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill off Louisiana severely damaged her family's commercial fishing business. She also blames it for migraines, lesions, rashes and respiratory problems that she, her husband and their two children still have. 'One reason the oil companies like Corexit is because it causes the oil to sink and makes the water look clear, when in fact it's actually increasing the toxicity,' she said in a news release for the law clinic. The EPA's oil spill response guidelines haven't been updated since 1994 to reflect research on dispersant effects after the Exxon Valdez broke open on rocks in Prince William Sound in 1989 and BP's Gulf of Mexico spill, according to the notice of intent to sue. 'Given the history of offshore oil drilling, it is simply a matter of when — not if — a devastating oil spill will occur,' the letter states. The public comment period on dispersants ended April 22, 2015, Siddoway said in a telephone interview. He said he had made a freedom of information request about what EPA has done since April 2015 to further the rulemaking. 'That has been delayed due to the government shutdown, and we're still waiting for a response,' he said. He said revision of oil spill guidelines is listed as a long-term action on 'the unified agenda, a semi-yearly kind of laundry list that EPA's working on.' But that's nothing new, he said: 'It's been there in various forms since 2001, even before the rulemaking was put into play.' The current EPA rules let companies 'essentially do whatever they want when it comes to dispersant,' Siddoway said. If the agency sets rules continuing that policy, he said, the rules themselves can be challenged. 'Right now we can't make a challenge to substance ... because the rule is still pending,' he said.
  • Legislation raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 for Floridians to possess tobacco or vaping products has cleared a state Senate committee. The Senate Health Policy Committee voted in favor of the measure Monday. In addition to raising the minimum age to 21, the bill also prevents sale of tobacco and vaping products in vending machines and substitutes non-criminal fines for criminal penalties for those who sell or provide these products to underage people. Supporters say the measure would align Florida's age limit for alcohol, tobacco and vaping and would help prevent younger adults from getting these products. Opponents object to placing new restrictions on legal-age adults and say vaping can help many people quit smoking riskier tobacco. The bill moves to a pair of other Senate committees.
  • The winning numbers in Monday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 3 Midday' game were: 3-6-8 (three, six, eight)
  • These Florida lotteries were drawn Monday: Estimated jackpot: $57 million 8-4 (eight, four) 3-6-8 (three, six, eight) 4-1-7-2 (four, one, seven, two) 7-0-5-8-5 (seven, zero, five, eight, five) Estimated jackpot: $750 million
  • The winning numbers in Monday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 5 Midday' game were: 7-0-5-8-5 (seven, zero, five, eight, five)
  • The winning numbers in Monday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 2 Midday' game were: 8-4 (eight, four)
  • The winning numbers in Monday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 4 Midday' game were: 4-1-7-2 (four, one, seven, two)