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    Whole Foods has made a major announcement: The company is ending its Rewards Pilot Program and digital coupons. The change comes to customers on May 2. The company made the announcement this week. All rewards must be redeemed and digital coupons used by May 1 or be lost. Any other benefits, including unused rewards, will not roll over to other accounts, Whole Foods said in its online announcement. The change also affects the Whole Body Benefits and 365 Rewards programs that are offered in stores, the “Today“ show reported. >> Read more trending news  Amazon bought the grocery store chain in 2017 and announced then that “Amazon Prime will become Whole Food Market’s customer rewards program, providing Prime members with special savings and other in-store benefits,” “Today” reported. Whole Foods has recently offered discounts for Prime members, used Prime Now for grocery delivery and given 5 percent cash back to customers who use an Amazon Prime Rewards credit card, The Verge reported.
  • A police cruiser camera caught footage of a house explosion in Texas after the driver of a car lost control and hit the house and struck a gas line on April 7. >> Read more trending news The newly released dash-cam footage from the Hurst Police Department captured the exact moment when the house burst into flames, sending police officers scrambling for their lives. Officer Travis Hiser was walking toward the scene of the crash when the house exploded. The blast injured three people, one critically. Alejandro Enriquez-Castro, 35, of Hurst, the driver of the car, was arrested and charged with not having a driver’s license, The Dallas Morning News reported. Hiser was treated at a local hospital and released, and another officer escaped with minor injuries, the Morning News reported. A mother, father and their adult son were inside the home at the time of the crash and explosion. Officers could hear screaming in the house and breached a back door to rescue the family from the wreckage, according to the Hurst Police Department. The woman was found severely injured and buried in rubble. The son was treated and released from the hospital, while both the mother and father are being treated for serious burn injuries, according to police. 'It happened so quick, and so fluid, and so fast,' Corporal Ryan Tooker told KXAS. 'It was more of just react, it was more of life-saving, than it was train on tactics or things of that nature.'  'There was definitely some divine intervention that was reaching down and slowing those vehicles down from making scene and then taking a finger and pushing me away from the house and the path that I went,” Hiser told KXAS. “Otherwise, I would have been up on the wall and it would have exploded completely into my face.”
  • A gopher tortoise covered with red spray paint and concrete was discovered near Montverde, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Wednesday in a Facebook post. A pair of good Samaritans spotted the tortoise, which had concrete on its shell and limbs, in the middle of County Road 455 and took it to a wildlife rehabilitation center, officials said. 'It is both illegal and very harmful to the health of a gopher tortoise to apply man-made substances, such as paint or concrete, to any part of their body or shell,' the post said. Gopher tortoises are protected because they're considered a threatened species in Florida. Read: Lake County man dug up gopher tortoises to eat them, deputies say Read: 65-year-old woman has had pet tortoise 56 years 'Removing paint and concrete from gopher tortoises without harming it is a challenging process that causes the animal stress,' the post said. 'Applying substances like paint on tortoises can inhibit their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, has the potential to cause respiratory problems and can lead to harmful chemicals being absorbed into their bloodstream.' >> Read more trending news  Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call FWC at 888-404-3922 or email the agency at tip@myfwc.com. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward. Click here to read more information about gopher tortoises. Read: California tortoise with cracked shell gets $4K repair
  • Investigators in northeast Florida said an officer with the New Smyrna Beach Police Department was meeting women in public parks while he was on duty. >> Read more trending news Officer Beau Estrada resigned in January while the internal investigation into his activities was going on. Investigators got a tip from a citizen who claimed he saw the officer having sex on the job, so they began following Estrada to different parks. They said they discovered Estrada was meeting women at a park, which prompted the investigation.  When investigators started following him while he was on duty, they captured photos of him meeting and kissing women.  One day, they observed him meeting three different women at three different parks while on duty. None of them was his wife.  One of the women told investigators she had sex with Estrada while he was on duty. They said Estrada admitted to meeting women, but denied having sex with them while on the clock. During another incident, investigators found Estrada neglected to take a domestic violence report on a case in which a man was seen bleeding from his left eye. Around the same time as the call, Estrada's body camera video showed him texting two different women, investigators said.  Estrada resigned before the investigations into the incidents were complete A police lieutenant released a statement saying the New Smyrna Beach Police Department, “Take(s) incidents like this seriously, and Estrada's actions don't reflect the majority of great work done by others in the department every day.”
  • When it comes to diabetes, the numbers are staggering -- 30 million Americans are estimated to be living with the disease, 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States and about 25 percent of those patients don’t know they have the disease. Those numbers caught the attention of some Harvard students who came up with an easy way for people to track their blood sugar levels. >> Read more trending news  It’s an app called Checkmate Diabetes. Harvard graduate student Michael Heisterkamp is part of the team developing the app and is also a diabetes patient.  “You need to check 4-5 times a day, up to eight times a day, depending on what your doctor recommends, and that can be a bit of a grind,' Heisterkamp said. All those tests are essential for a person with diabetes because they need to make sure they’re in a safe range. Dr. Jason Sloane, an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said ‘the biggest problem is, once complications hit, it’s very hard to reverse them.” Harvard senior Emi Gonzales got the idea for the app when there was a guest speaker in a class. “He had lost his leg and was about to lose his other leg,' Gonzales said. 'And I talked to some more people with diabetes and this just seemed like a situation that needed fixing.” The app makes a game out of tracking blood sugar levels, creating competitions within a person’s network.  “If you have a scoring system and someone is doing better than you, pushing you, you know you want to get to first right,' Gonzales said. Checkmate Diabetes also offers the ability to connect with other patients. Soon, they’ll start adding prizes. Sloan, who has consulted with the budding entrepreneurs, said gamification has been shown to work for health care. He believes this approach can get people to pay attention to diabetes earlier.  “It has the potential to change things dramatically,” Sloan said. “Convincing young people, from my experience, has been very difficult. Even from a personal perspective, one of the last things I wanted to pay attention to was my blood sugar.” Dr. Sloan said earlier interventions can reduce serious complications like kidney failure, amputations, and heart disease later in life. Checkmate Diabetes is free to download.
  • A California woman chasing her dog in a San Diego shopping center was killed Tuesday after she was hit by an armored truck, KNSD reported.  >> Read more trending news Mikaela Jones was chasing her dog, who had gotten away from her, at the La Jolla Village Shopping Center when she was hit, according to the San Diego Police Department. Tuesday was Jones’ 22nd birthday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner. Shortly after 5 p.m., a Garda armored truck was making a right turn when it hit Jones, dragging her a short distance, KSWB reported. The woman's boyfriend, Hunter Chenier, said he saw the accident. 'This (Garda) truck comes around the corner kind of fast and she was worried about the dog so she was waving her arms and then the truck just kind of slammed her and she went under the front and back wheels,' Chenier said. 'I ran up to her and was just making sure she was talking and she was talking, so that was a good sign.' Jones was taken to a hospital to be treated for major trauma, police said. She later died of her injuries, KNSD reported. The driver of the armored truck, whose name was not released, remained at the scene and was cooperative with the investigation, KSWB reported. Alcohol was not suspected as a factor in the collision, police said.
  • Former “Dance Moms” reality TV star and Pittsburgh native Abby Lee Miller has been diagnosed with cancer. People Magazine is reporting Miller has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a day after undergoing emergency spinal surgery. >> Read more trending news  Doctor’s originally thought she had a severe infection. Miller is not out of the woods from the surgery yet and doctors said she plans to start chemotherapy and radiation soon. Miller was recently transferred from federal prison to a reentry center in March. She had been serving her sentence at a medium security prison in Victorville, California. Miller was sentenced a year and a day in prison for bankruptcy fraud. Investigators said Miller brought nearly $120,000 in Australian currency into the United States and not reporting it.
  • She was supposed to be the connection between residents and emergency services, but instead of speaking to callers to the Harris County 911 center, she hung up on them. Creshanda Williams found out this week she will be spending time in jail and on probation for not dispatching help. Williams was found guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls, KTRK reported. The investigation of Williams’ calls started after Jim Moten said he dialed 911 after seeing two vehicles speeding. He thought his call was dropped after 45 seconds. The call wasn’t dropped, he was hung up on. Court documents said that Williams was the person who answered Moten’s call and hung up, saying “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.” >> Read more trending news  Court documents said that Williams had an abnormally large number of what are called “short calls,” or calls that last less than 20 seconds. The documents stated that “thousands of short calls have been attributed to the defendant from October 2015 through March 2016,” KTRK reported. Williams worked for the 911 call center for a year and a half, the Houston Chronicle reported. The calls she received ranged from robberies to homicides in addition to speeding cars, KHOU reported. Williams allegedly told investigators that she hung up on calls because she didn’t want to talk to anyone. Williams has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months probation, the Chronicle reported. Her supervisor had been placed on a year of internal probation, officials said last year, the Chronicle reported.
  • A Michigan woman put some of her children in a suitcase and placed them next to the garbage at the road, then fled before Child Protective Services personnel arrived, WEYI reported. >> Read more trending news The incident took place in Flint shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, Flint Police said. Police came to the residence to assist CPS officials, who were coming to take custody of the children. It was not clear whether four or five children were involved, but the youngest was 11 months old, WEYI reported. Police said the woman stuffed at least one child on a suitcase and brought the luggage to the curb. She ran away from the scene, but police caught her, WEYI reported. She was taken to a hospital, as were all of the children.
  • An undercover author said working in an Amazon fulfillment center is like 'a prison,' where workers were urinating in bottles because they did not have enough time to go to the bathroom.  >> Read more trending news James Bloodworth, as part of his book 'Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain,' spent almost a month in 2016 working as a 'picker' at a fulfillment center in Rugeley, England, where he retrieved items for delivery. In addition to his undercover work at Amazon, Bloodworth also took jobs in social care, at a call center, at a building site and even as an Uber driver to research how people cope at their workplace.  According to Bloodworth, Amazon fulfillment workers had to meet high productivity targets that were feasible only if they ran around the warehouse. Running around the warehouse is something Amazon does not allow for safety reasons. 'The job itself is really bad,' Bloodworth told Business Insider. 'I've worked in warehouses before, but this was nothing like I had experienced. You don't have proper breaks — by the time you get to the canteen, you only have 15 or 20 minutes for lunch, in a 10½-hour working day. You don't have time to eat properly to get a drink. 'You have to go through security when you leave the warehouse, and that adds five minutes. It's like an airport — belt off, watch off. The atmosphere is what I imagine a prison feels like. You felt like you were walking on eggshells.' Bloodworth's claim that workers were so busy that they had to urinate in bottles sparked widespread outrage on social media on Monday. Bloodworth told The Sun, a news company in the UK, that 'workers often didn't take a break to go to the toilet because they were too sparse to get to quickly and they feared punishment for missing productivity targets. So they peed in bottles instead.' 'If you're on the top floor, you know it will take five minutes to go the toilet, and all the time you're being admonished for taking too much idle time,' Bloodworth said.  Bloodworth explained how he came across a bottle of urine while searching for items on an upper floor of the warehouse. 'One day I'm walking down the aisle, and I go to pick up an item, and there's a bottle of straw-colored water on the shelf. And at first I thought, 'Oh, what's that?'' he said. 'And then it was very obvious what it was. And there was a pool of water next to it. It struck me — it was so obvious why someone would do that.' According to Business Insider, Amazon said that it doesn't time warehouse workers' toilet breaks and that it ensures they can reach the bathrooms easily. Amazon responded in a statement to Business Insider, saying that “We don't recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings.” The book can be found on Amazon’s website.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A suspect hiding from Pasco County deputies in a swamp after a high-speed chase was arrested covered in slobbery kisses instead of a bite from their K9.  The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office after they say Paul Daniel Smith, 34, resisted arrest and battered a deputy. He took off in a Ford F150.  Deputy Marc Lane spotted the vehicle on US 41 and went after him.  Smith eventually stopped and ran into a heavily wooded, swampy area. With the help of their K9 bloodhound Knox, deputies tracked Smith down through the swamp, finding him stuck in thick mud with water up to his neck. “Stop resisting,” the deputies can be heard saying in the video posted to Facebook. (Facebook) As they try to get Smith out of the mud, instead of biting, Knox covers his face in wet, doggy kisses. Knox’s specialty is finding people, from missing children to wanted men. Smith is facing several charges including aggravated assault and violation of probation. As for Knox, he’s been rewarded for a job well done with his favorite treat: cheese.
  • Have you seen this guy? (tweet) Orlando police need your help in identifying the man who is suspected of attacking an elderly gentleman in the parking lot of the Lake Fredrica Shopping Center on Semoran Boulevard and Lake Margaret Drive. Witnesses say the suspect, a man in his 20s, stood in front of the car of the victim and blocked him from being able to drive away. When the elderly victim got out to confront him, the suspect punched him once, knocking the victim out cold. 'One punch that was all it took,” witness Jennifer Pola tells WKMG. “He hit him dead in the temple, boom. He was out for at least two minutes.' When police arrived, they found the victim, a man in his 60s, on the ground and bleeding.  Pola says the attack was completely unprovoked.  Several witnesses went after the suspect but he got in a vehicle and drove away. They managed to snap a clear photo of him before he took off. Anyone with information is asked to call Orlando police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
  • The head of the Capitol Hill office which deals with workplace harassment cases said Wednesday that she still does not have the power to reveal the names of lawmakers who used taxpayer dollars to pay legal harassment settlements, drawing sharp rebukes from members of both parties on a House spending panel, as lawmakers in both the House and Senate expressed growing frustration about the matter. “The transparency issue is revolting,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “It is absolutely unacceptable that we continue to let members who abuse their employees hide.” At a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee, Susan Grundmann, the head of the Congressional Office of Compliance, said that workplace settlements which involve lawmakers, often include non-disclosure agreements, precluding any publicity. “Most settlement agreements – in fact all that I have seen – contain non-disclosure clauses in them,” said Grundmann. “Those are not by our doing.” In my opening statement to @LegBranch_OOC Executive Director Susan Grundmann, I emphasize the need for Congress to remedy workplace harassment on Capitol Hill. How can we expect others to follow our example if we're not willing to acknowledge and address this problem? pic.twitter.com/AHKtaPHVy9 — Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) April 18, 2018 Pressed sharply by both parties at a hearing where she asked for a nine percent budget increase to help deal with harassment training and case reviews, Grundmann made clear there was no plan to reveal the names of members who had engaged in such settlements in the past. “No, I think we are prohibited from under the law – in terms of the strict confidentiality that adheres to each one of our processes, and the non-disclosure agreements, we cannot disclose who they are,” Grundmann added. Grundmann said new reporting standards approved by the House would reveal every six months which offices had some type of legal settlements – and she also said that if a lawmaker agreed to a workplace settlement, taxpayers would pay the bill up front – and then have that member of Congress reimburse Uncle Sam within 90 days. So far, the House and Senate have not finalized an agreement on legislation to set new standards for transparency on workplace settlements involving lawmaker offices, as one leading Democrat today again demanded action by that chamber. “The Senate has no more excuses,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The Senate has no more excuses. We must pass these reforms before our next recess. Members of BOTH parties, men and women, agree that it’s time to act. https://t.co/vSr7sew5KN — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 19, 2018 Back in Wednesday’s House hearing, lawmakers did not like to hear that while reforms in the House would publicly name the lawmaker and/or a top staffer if they were involved in harassment of other staffers, a Senate reform plan would not be as sweeping. “So, if a Chief of Staff engages in that conduct, or anyone else that isn’t the member, then their conduct is not disclosed?” Wasserman Schultz asked. “That’s correct,” replied Grundmann. “That’s absolutely unacceptable,” the Florida Democrat said. The hearing came days after the resignation of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who had taxpayers foot the bill for an $84,000 settlement with a former office employee – Farenthold had promised to pay that money, but now that he is gone, it seems unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, Grundmann denied press reports in recent weeks that any personal information about sexual harassment or workplace abuses in Congressional offices was left on unsecured computer servers. “We have not been hacked. We have never stored our data on an unsecured server,” as Grundmann said their computer precautions had been described by officials as “Fort Knox.” “Fort Knox doesn’t talk about their cyber security,” she added, offering to brief members in private about the issue
  • U.S. marshals have erected billboards in multiple states as they continue to search for a Minnesota grandmother, gambling addict and alleged killer who is suspected in two homicides, including that of a woman she allegedly killed to assume her identity.  Lois Riess, 56, was last seen April 8 in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas, following what is believed to be a multistate homicide case. She is sought on murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, of Bradenton, who was found shot to death April 9 in a condominium in which she was staying in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.  Riess, who Minnesota law enforcement officers dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling, is also a person of interest in the killing of her husband, David Riess, who was found shot to death March 23 on the couple’s worm farm in Blooming Prairie. In each shooting, the victim had been dead for several days when the body was found. Authorities also believe Lois Riess used the same weapon in both cases. >> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday updated the search for Riess to major status and announced a $5,000 reward for her capture. Another $1,000 in reward money is being made available by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.   John Kinsey, a deputy U.S. marshal in Florida, told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis that the billboards are going up in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona.  “Unfortunately, there have been no further sightings,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune. “She blends in real well. She is an average, 56-year-old white female walking around, and that is part of the problem.” >> Read more trending news Florida investigators have said Riess killed Hutchinson, 59, for her identity. The women, who were strangers before Riess befriended Hutchinson, bore a striking resemblance to one another.  Surveillance footage from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, located two blocks from Hutchinson’ condo at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, shows Riess smiling and chatting with a blonde woman in a hat who Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have identified as Hutchinson.  Hutchinson’s cousin on Monday posted an image from the surveillance footage to Facebook, side by side with an undated image of Hutchinson wearing that same hat as in the footage.  Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators believe Hutchinson was killed on or around April 5, when the surveillance footage at the bar was shot.  Lee County officials also on Tuesday released several snippets of surveillance video, including one piece that shows Riess, wearing the same blue shirt seen in the bar video, calmly walking away from Marina Village toward the parking lot. She is seen on another video driving away in Hutchinson’s white 2005 Acura TL. Hutchinson’s keys, identification, cash and credit cards were also missing when her body was found. The News-Press in Fort Myers reported Tuesday that sometime after Hutchinson’s death, Riess went to a Wells Fargo branch there and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the slain woman’s account.  See the original footage of Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson, obtained by the News-Press, below. Riess was next spotted in Ocala, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers, where more surveillance footage released Tuesday shows her driving up to a Hilton hotel in Hutchinson’s stolen car and checking in as a guest. Again, she is wearing the blue top seen in previous videos, as well as a light-colored fedora-style hat with a black band. Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials told the News-Press that Riess stayed in the hotel the nights of April 6 and 7.  Riess used Hutchinson’s identity to check into the hotel around 8 p.m. on April 6. She also used the victim’s identification to withdraw another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account at an Ocala bank.  “She’s confident, doesn’t look over her shoulder, like she’s not hiding anything,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune of Riess’ demeanor in the videos. “She was very nonchalant.” >> Related story: New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture The fugitive was next spotted in the stolen Acura in Louisiana, where an attempt to get $200 at a gas station failed, the News-Press said.  Kinsey said Riess was also spotted on surveillance images April 7 and 8 in casinos in Louisiana.  “She went from casino to casino to make money, or because she is addicted to it,” Kinsey said. “She is consumed by it.” The final definite sighting of Riess was the following day, April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexico border.  Mexican authorities are aware of the search for Riess and are keeping an eye out for her, or anyone using Hutchinson’s identification, at the border, the News-Press reported. A Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said she would have to show identification to cross, but there is no guarantee she would not be able to slip through. The last confirmed sighting of Riess or the stolen car was the day before Hutchinson’s body was found -- and before she was even linked to that homicide.  The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds.  The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA.  Riess has been on the run since mid-March, when she is suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their rural worm farm before stealing $11,000 from his personal and business accounts. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found him after his business partner reported that he had not been seen or heard from in several weeks.   Lois Riess was nowhere to be found, but investigators learned she visited a casino in Iowa on her way out of the Midwest, investigators said. She is charged with grand theft in connection with her husband’s slaying.  Dodge County investigators are also anticipated to file murder charges against her sometime this week.  Riess was initially linked to Hutchinson’s slaying, in part, because her family’s white Cadillac Escalade, which she was believed to be driving after her husband’s murder, was found abandoned in a county park in Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press reported.  Court records in Minnesota also show that Riess, who was named guardian of her disabled sister in 2012, stole more than $78,000 from her before being caught three years later.  Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources.  “She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”
  • On hold for months, President Donald Trump’s pick to head NASA was finally given the green light by a pair of GOP Senators, as the Senate voted 50-48 to overcome a possible filibuster, and advance the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA. A final vote to confirm Bridenstine’s nomination could come as early as Thursday in the full Senate. The key votes came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – Flake initially voted to filibuster Bridenstine, but after an extended wait, returned to change his vote for the final margin of victory. It wasn’t immediately clear why Flake – and then Rubio – had changed course on the President’s NASA nominee, as Bridenstine supporters had spent months trying to squeeze out a final vote in support of the President’s choice, who faced determined opposition from Democrats. Before the vote, Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the decision of the Florida Republican, who had repeatedly rebuffed the calls of fellow GOP lawmakers to support Bridenstine, a more conservative House GOP lawmaker who has not hesitated to make waves during his time on Capitol Hill. Sen Marco Rubio votes 'Yes' on cloture for Bridenstine – after months of opposing his nomination — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 18, 2018 Just before the vote, Bridenstine’s leading Democratic critic in the Senate wasn’t backing away from his stern criticism of the three-term Republican Congressman from Oklahoma. “The NASA Administrator should be a consummate space professional,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in a speech on the Senate floor. “That’s what this Senator wants – a space professional – not a politician,” Nelson added. “Senators on both sides of the aisles have expressed doubts – both publicly and privately to me – about his qualifications for the job,” said Nelson, who was the only Senator to address the matter before the vote on cloture, a procedure to end debate in the Senate. Since Bridenstine was nominated for NASA Administrator in September, Rubio had sided with Nelson and other Democrats, raising questions about Bridenstine’s ability to run a federal agency in a nonpartisan manner. But that suddenly changed this week – and GOP leaders quickly moved to take the Bridenstine vote, moving the President a step closer to having his choice in the job as NASA chief. The procedural vote on Bridenstine’s nomination almost went awry, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted “No,” leaving the vote tied at 49-49. Ordinarily, the Vice President would be brought in to break the tie, but Vice President Mike Pence was in Florida with President Trump, hosting the Japanese Prime Minister. After a wait of over a half hour, Flake returned to the floor and voted “Yes,” allowing the Senate to force an end to debate.