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    Christmas parties, work potlucks and family get-togethers mean a lot of baking in the coming weeks. If you’re tempted to lick the bowl after mixing cake batter or dig into that raw cookie dough, however, you need to resist. Consuming unbaked food that is supposed to be cooked can make you sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kids also can get sick from handling raw dough used for crafts, the CDC says. Most people know that eating raw eggs can contain salmonella, which can cause illness if the eggs aren’t cooked properly. >> Read more trending news  The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses. Bacteria aren’t lurking only in eggs, though. Flour, which is usually a raw product, usually isn’t treated for germs like E. coli. The CDC reported an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour made 63 people sick in 2016. Some E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, bloodstream infections and other illnesses. “Raw flour is a raw product, and it doesn’t go through any heat treatment before you get it,” Benjamin Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, told SELF Magazine in 2017. “You should treat that flour like you’re handling raw meat.” It doesn’t mean you can never eat raw cookie dough. Dough that is commercially produced to be edible is safe.  The CDC suggests the following safe practices to avoid getting ill: Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments. Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts. Bake or cook raw dough and batter, such as cookie dough and cake mix, before eating. Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time. Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix. Do not use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream.Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria. Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to eat foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily. Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked. Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough:Wash your hands with running water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces that they have touched. Wash bowls, utensils, countertops and other surfaces with warm, soapy water.
  • They have become known as the Angels of Paradise. But there is nothing ethereal about them. They are online sleuths who know how to find people, and they have been putting their skills to use in the aftermath of California's catastrophic wildfire. In the dark days that followed the Nov. 8 inferno, the deadliest in California history, social media filled with posts from people trying to contact loved ones from the Paradise area. Panic spread as the magnitude of destruction came into focus: At least 85 dead. Nearly 14,000 homes destroyed. From across the U.S., people posted names of aunts, uncles, foster parents, distant relatives and long-lost friends or acquaintances and asked, 'Does anyone know if they are safe?' Nancy Collins knew she could help. A mother of two and a 911 dispatcher, Collins volunteers as a 'search angel,' someone who helps adoptees find their biological parents. She knows her way around public records and how to track people down. She offered her services to the administrator of a newly created Facebook page, 'Camp Fire Missing Persons, Paradise CA,' after noticing panicked posts were piling up. 'I said, 'I have a bunch of genealogy friends, and we can help,' said Collins, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and formed a team of eight 'angels' from around the country and one in Canada, all of whom volunteer with a group called Search Squad . 'The rest was history.' Working on laptops from their living room sofas, home offices and kitchen counters, they communicated in online chat groups and divvied up hundreds of posts. They used public databases to find property deeds, court records and bankruptcy filings, and logged onto people-finding sites like Ancestry.com, BeenVerified.com, the online White Pages and others. They looked for cellphone numbers and email addresses and names of friends, relatives, neighbors and associates who might have clues. In the four weeks since the fire started, the search angels have connected nearly 250 people with the relatives and friends they were searching for. They are one of several missing persons groups that sprung up on Facebook with the intention of helping strangers in a time of need, harnessing the power of social media and dogged investigative work. 'I reached out to the angels, and they really are angels,' said Delisa Gaeta, 55, who was concerned about her foster father, whom she hadn't seen in years. 'I threw a lifeline out there, and they grabbed hold of it and reeled it in. They just made it happen.' At first, Gaeta didn't know if her foster father, Dale Wingett, had made it out of his Paradise home alive. Authorities had no information on him, and after two weeks of trying to contact him, she was losing hope. Then she saw his picture in a local newspaper at a Thanksgiving dinner for survivors in the Northern California city of Redding. Gaeta desperately wanted to speak to Wingett and see if he needed help. 'It became a group project,' said Dawn Kosmakos, a search angel who lives in Martinez, in the San Francisco Bay Area. 'It was like, 'OK, girls. Let's find him!' They alerted the sheriff's office, did online searches and tried calling family and a property management company, Collins said. They found out Wingett had left Redding and was heading about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south, to the city of Willows. 'We called every hotel in Willows and said, 'If he checks in, can you give him this message?'' said Collins, and that's how they found him. Wingett got the message, called them back, got Gaeta's number and called her. They have since emailed and spoken several times. For Wingett, the connection brought happiness at a time of great loss. 'We have had really moving talks,' said Wingett, contacted by phone at a hotel in Sutter Creek. 'She told me that even though I was her foster father, to her I was her father. That hit me pretty strongly.' Gaeta says she has peace of mind after weeks of sleepless nights. 'I am so grateful to the work of these women,' said Gaeta, who lives in the Bay Area city of Santa Clara. 'They gave me the best Christmas gift.' Diana Sauer, 39, feels a similar sense of gratitude and wonder for the work of the angels, who use methods for finding people that many don't know exist. 'I owe them everything,' said Sauer, who lives in the San Francisco area but grew up in Paradise and was worried about her father's best friend, Russell Anderson. 'I don't think I would have found him without them.' Anderson is 70 and lived simply, she said, with no cellphone or internet. 'It made him one of those very difficult people to find,' said Sauer, who knew Anderson had no children but was close with his ex-wife's daughter, Charmaine. Sauer did not know Charmaine's last name, but the angels found her. 'They ended up finding Charmaine's marriage record, then they found birth records showing she had children. They found her children on Facebook and asked, 'Do you know Russell, and is he with you?'' The answer was yes. She spoke to Anderson on the phone for 40 minutes, and caught him up on her life, her marriage, her own children. They hadn't spoken in 15 years. 'It was a very sweet conversation between two people that love each other and haven't seen each other in a long time.' Several people that Collins' group tracked down appeared on the official list of people unaccounted for after the fire. That list, managed by the Butte County Sheriff's Office, is down to six names from a high of 1,300 last month. Sheriff Kory Honea acknowledged the work of Facebook groups in the effort but said his agency wasn't coordinating with them or using their resources, primarily because it was so swamped with other work. 'If the Facebook group knows that (people) are safe, they should call us and let us know. There's no way my staff can check the myriad of Facebook pages,' Honea told The Associated Press. Collins said when her team located a 'missing' person who was on the official list, they emailed the sheriff's office and also told friends and family of those found to contact the sheriff's office to have their names removed. Susie Elliot, 63, tried to get official information about her cousin in Paradise, Dee Riley, but called the sheriff's office and got repeated busy signals. For over two weeks, Elliot, who lives in San Dimas, near Los Angeles, checked everywhere she could think of for Riley. She contacted the Red Cross, which was running shelters for fire evacuees, and it had no record of Riley so directed her to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, where she couldn't get through. She learned Riley's house burned down and started getting anxious. Then she did a Google search using words like, 'missing people in Paradise,' and found the Facebook group. On Nov. 27, Elliot posted a message to the group saying she couldn't find her cousin. Within minutes, Kosmakos was on the case. Kosmakos, a stay-at-home mom and part-time administrative assistant, said she found Riley's cellphone number after a few quick online searches. 'By 3 p.m. the next day, I was in touch with my cousin,' said Elliot, who learned her cousin was safe and was renting an apartment near Sacramento. 'I couldn't believe they found her in less than 24 hours,' Elliot said. The angels say they all have personal reasons for doing the work they do. 'I was in a foster home myself. I really don't have much family,' said Collins. 'So, for me, I get joy connecting others to their family.
  • The 'Fearless Girl' statue that inspired millions with a message of female empowerment has a new permanent home in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The statue was removed on Nov. 27 from its spot opposite Wall Street's 'Charging Bull' and unveiled at its new location Monday. The hands-on-hips bronze statue was intended as a temporary display when the Boston-based State Street Global Advisors installed it in March 2017 to encourage corporations to put more women on their boards. Tourists flocked to a traffic island for selfies with the 4-foot (130-centimeter) bronze celebrity. City officials said the crowds were causing a traffic hazard. The bull will join the Fearless Girl at a later date.
  • About 200 firefighters worked Monday to extinguish a massive five-alarm blaze at a Philadelphia apartment building, WPVI reported early Monday. >> Read more trending news  Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 10: Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said the fire was contained Friday morning. “Under control doesn't mean that the fire is out, it just means the fire has been contained to the area in which it's burning,” he said. The blaze was contained six hours after firefighters were called to an apartment complex near the intersection of 63rd and Jefferson streets around 2:15 a.m. At least two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, KYW-TV reported. Original report: Officials said the fire broke out about 2:15 a.m. at the Overbrook Gardens apartments, according to KYW-TV. At least two firefighters suffered minor injuries, authorities said.  About 50 people have been displaced by the fire, WPVI reported. WPVI’s Jeannette Reyes tweeted just before 7 a.m. that fire officials said they are “nowhere near done” battling the blaze and can’t get inside the building because it may collapse.  Read more here or here.
  • Parents of small children, take note. Skip Hop announced last week that it is recalling more than 32,000 of its Tuo convertible high chairs over potential fall and injury risks. According to the recall notice, 'the legs on the high chair can detach from the seat.'  >> Infant ibuprofen sold at Walmart, CVS, Family Dollar recalled The company said it has received 17 reports of the chairs' legs detaching, but 'no injuries have been reported,' the notice said. >> Read more trending news  The recalled high chairs, which can be converted into toddler chairs, are 'charcoal gray or silver/white with clouds fabric' and 'have a reversible seat pad, removable tray, five-point harness, beachwood foot rest and legs.' They were sold at Babies ”R” Us, Buy Buy Baby, Target, Kohl's, Dillards, Amazon, SkipHop.com and other children's retailers from June 2017 to December 2018. The affected products include the following: Style No. 304200 (charcoal gray) with date codes HH5/2017, HH6/2017, HH7/2017, HH8/2017, HH9/2017, HH092717, HH030518, HH05182018, HH05312018; Style No. 304201 (silver/white with clouds) with date codes HH092917, HH010518. If you have one of the recalled chairs, please stop using it immediately. Customers can get a full refund or e-gift card from Skip Hop by calling 1-888-282-4674 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday or by visiting SkipHop.com and clicking on 'Recalls.' Read the complete recall notice here.
  • A 15-year-old Pennsylvania boy was killed in New Castle after a gun in the hand of a 19-year-old discharged, according to police.  >> Watch the news report here Police were dispatched to the 400 block of Liberty Street around 1:36 a.m. Saturday for an unresponsive male. When they arrived, officers saw Zach Mulford, 15, lying on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound. A friend of Mulford was still on scene and attempted CPR, but Mulford died from his injuries. Police said Mulford and his friend went to a residence to hang out with other friends. When they knocked on the door, 19-year-old Kyle Harris opened the door holding a gun.  >> Read more trending news  When Harris realized who was knocking, he lowered his gun and let them both in, police said. As Harris removed the magazine from the gun and began to clear the chamber, the weapon discharged and a bullet struck Mulford. Harris fled before officers arrived. Police said he subsequently turned himself in and provided a matching statement to a witness at the scene.  He also showed officers where the gun was. Police said it was stolen. Harris is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and receiving stolen property. Mulford's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. Zach’s mother, Stacy Mulford, held back tears as she spoke about him with Channel 11, saying she just wanted people to know that Zach was a good kid. “He’d get so excited and he’d just be so happy because he was getting to do something with his hands and build it. He just loved it,” she said. “This is hard. He had his future planned out and now he doesn’t have his future anymore.”
  • A lingering storm kept dumping immobilizing snow, sleet or freezing rain across five southern states, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. Authorities urged people to stay home Monday in areas where driving was dangerous. Accidents on snow-covered interstates caused major delays Sunday, hundreds of flights were canceled and drivers in North Carolina and Virginia got stuck in snow or lost control on icy patches. But the commuters' nightmare provided pre-winter thrills for kids and the young at heart, who were able to go sledding and build snowmen in places that don't often see so much of the white stuff. The National Weather Service said a 'prolonged period of snow' began late Saturday and would last until Monday in the region, with the heaviest snow in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. Some areas of North Carolina and Virginia saw more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow by Sunday afternoon. More than 300,000 power outages were reported across the region, with North Carolina bearing the brunt of it, and nearly 270,000 remained without power Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us. South Carolina and Virginia, along with parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, also saw outages. Police in North Carolina and Virginia said they'd responded to hundreds of snow-related traffic accidents as of Sunday afternoon, as cars, trucks and tractor-trailers all struggled with the snow and ice. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper strongly urged residents to stay off the roads, asking drivers not to put lives of first responders needlessly at risk. Cooper said emergency crews, including the National Guard, worked overnight to clear traffic accidents on major roadways. 'Stay put if you can,' Cooper said Sunday. 'Wrap a few presents, decorate the tree, watch some football.' Five members of a dive team searched the Neuse River in Kinston, North Carolina, for a missing driver Sunday after a tractor-trailer ran off a road and into the river, WRAL-TV reported . Police just outside of Charlotte said a driver died when a tree fell on a moving vehicle. Some found that walking was a more reliable means of transportation as the roads were blanketed with a wintry mix. On Sunday, Tervante Wilkerson trudged through blowing snow up Old NC 98 in Wake Forest, North Carolina, to walk across town to see his two young children. Still, he made light of the situation, saying: 'It's definitely a Kodak moment in Wake Forest.' In Greensboro, a few restaurants were open Sunday night for NFL games despite as much as one foot (.3 meters) of snow falling on the city, according to the News & Record. 'We've got some nice homemade chicken soup, some tacos and we've got beer,' Greg Munning, owner of Taqueria el Azteca, told the newspaper. 'We're just hanging out and chilling and watching the Panthers game.' The Roanoke, Virginia, area saw 10 or more inches (25 cm) of snow. And it came down so fast that some people couldn't keep up with their snow shovels, such as Adam Thompson, who was working on the walkway to his house. 'That's funny,' he told The Roanoke Times. 'I just shoveled that part and it's already covered in snow again.' Governors and local officials in several states declared emergencies ahead of the storm crossing several Southern states, which hit portions of North Carolina and Virginia particularly hard. Virginia State Police said Interstate 81 in far southwest Virginia was particularly dangerous, with snow coming down faster Sunday afternoon than crews could clear it. Police said several tractor-trailers slid off the highway. Officials warned residents to prepare emergency kits and stay off roads in impacted areas. Several schools districts in North Carolina and Virginia announced they'll be closed Monday. 'Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts,' said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the country, said American Airlines reduced its operations, with more than 1,000 flights canceled on Sunday. American Airlines also issued a travel alert for nine airports throughout the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Virginia, meaning passengers may be able to change travel plans without a fee. Travelers were advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport. Cancellations were reported on flights from as far as the Midwest.
  • Five children are dead after a fire broke out at a home in Youngstown, Ohio, late Sunday, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WFMJ, firefighters responded to 434 Parkcliffe Ave. after a neighbor reported the fire about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The children’s mother, who jumped from a window to escape the blaze, said five children were trapped inside, authorities said.  >> Read more trending news  Three children were removed from the home but later died at a nearby hospital, rescuers said. The two other children died inside the house, WKBN reported. Fire officials said the children ranged from 1 to 9 years old. The two youngest were twins, according to WKBN. The mother and one firefighter were hospitalized for injuries, WKBN reported. Another firefighter was hurt and treated at the scene, officials said. Officials don’t know yet what caused the blaze but said foul play is unlikely, WKBN reported. Read more here or here.
  • Massachusetts firefighter Christopher Roy, 36, died after battling a multi-alarm fire in Worcester on Sunday morning, the Worcester Fire Department announced.  >> Watch the news report here A multi-alarm blaze broke out Sunday morning on Lowell Street in Worcester, prompting responses from the city’s fire department, as well as the fire rescue teams from Auburn and Millbury.  During the long attempt to put out the flames, Roy became trapped inside the building with four other firefighters after the situation deteriorated rapidly. All five firefighters escaped the blaze through ladders, with Roy and one other being transported to the hospital. Roy later succumbed to his injuries. The other firefighter is in stable condition, according to Worcester FD.  “On behalf of the entire city of Worcester, I want to offer condolences to the Roy family, Chief Lavoie and the entire Worcester Fire Department,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus. “I would ask the media to respect the privacy of the family and firefighters during this difficult time.” >> On Boston25News.com: Support pours in for fallen Worcester firefighter Roy was a member of the Webster Square Fire Station Ladder 4 Group 3. He had been a part of the fire department for two and a half years at the time of his death. He leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter, his parents and a brother. He was a resident of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.  “This is a sad day for the Worcester Fire Department and the City of Worcester,” said Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty. Crews had been at the scene for several hours, with the fire breaking out around 4 a.m. and continuing well into the morning.  'Fire crews were heroic in their efforts to rescue their colleagues under extreme conditions.’' Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. 'Every person on the fire-ground gave 110 percent to try to rescue the firefighters who were in danger.' The Red Cross was also on hand helping around a dozen victims of the fire who escaped the blaze. The cold weather made things additionally difficult for those on the scene, with the low temperatures causing water from the firetrucks to freeze on the street. The building is a former house that was converted into apartments. The city assessor’s website lists the building at 10,000 square feet.  The tragic incident comes seven years and one day after Worcester firefighter Jon Davies lost his life battling a structure fire on Arlington Street in 2011. The building Davies was searching collapsed on him while he was looking for a reported victim. The Worcester Fire Department memorialized Davies in a tweet Saturday recognizing the anniversary. Last Monday was the 19-year anniversary of the death of six Worcester firefighters, who died battling flames in a cold storage warehouse on Dec. 3, 1999. The six men were Lt. Thomas Spencer and Lt. James Lyons, and firefighters Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey and Joseph McGuirk. 'This is a difficult day for the Worcester Fire Department and particularly painful as this is the week we remember and mourn the passing of Worcester Firefighter Jon Davies and the six who perished in the Cold Storage Warehouse fire,' Lavoie said. Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents Massachusetts’ 2nd District – which includes Worcester – issued a statement shortly after the announcement of Roy's death: >> Read more trending news  'I am deeply saddened to learn that Firefighter Christopher Roy passed away this morning. December is already a difficult month for the Worcester Fire Department, and this tragedy only adds to the grief we feel for heroes like Christopher who have been taken from us too soon. His family, friends, and fellow firefighters are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.' Gov. Charlie Baker shared his sentiments as well, sending his thoughts and prayers to Roy's family and friends via Twitter.  Investigators were working late into the evening on Sunday, where a part of Lowell Street was still blocked off by 9 p.m. as the investigation continued. Oscar Moquete, who lives on the first floor of the apartment building, says the fire started in the basement at around 4 a.m., but it quickly escalated to five alarms. 'Everybody got out safely, we lost everything, you know,' said Moquete.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
  • A man convicted of first-degree murder for driving his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia faces 20 years to life in prison as jurors reconvene to consider his punishment. The panel that convicted James Alex Fields Jr. will hear more evidence Monday and then recommend a sentence to Judge Richard Moore. Fields was convicted Friday of killing Heather Heyer during last year's 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, organized to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. The 21-year-old Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, also was found guilty of injuring dozens of others by driving into a crowd of people who were marching peacefully after the rally.