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The Latest National News

    A California mother of two died during childbirth last week while acting as a surrogate for another family, according to multiple reports. Community members came together to support the family of Michelle Reaves after she died Thursday, according to KGTV and a GoFundMe campaign set up to support Reaves’ family. Jamie Herwehe, a close family friend of Reaves', launched the GoFundMe campaign last week, with donations slated to go toward covering funeral costs and supporting Reaves’ husband and children, CNN reported. “For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michelle, she will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote on the campaign page. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.” Herwehe said Reaves was acting for the second time as a surrogate for a family when 'one complication led to the next.' She died during childbirth, but Herwehe said the baby she was carrying survived. 'I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,' Herwehe wrote. 'No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.' Reaves was survived by her husband and their children, Gage and Monroe, Herwehe said.
  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.
  • Officials have euthanized a mountain lion that attacked a toddler on a trail at a California park, Orange County officials said. According to CNN and the Desert Sun, the attack happened after 4 p.m. local time Monday as a family visited Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. “The mountain lion came out of somewhere and grabbed the 3-year-old by the neck and dragged him a short distance,” Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority told the Desert Sun. The child’s father then sprang into action, hurling a backpack at the mountain lion, Bommarito said. The animal set the boy free and went for the backpack before climbing a tree, the outlets reported. After the family fled to safety, the boy was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Orange County deputies said the boy is “OK,” the Desert Sun reported. Officials euthanized the cougar with permission from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A suspect is still on the loose after shooting at a house and killing a 10-year-old Memphis, Tennessee, boy playing outside Sunday. That 10-year-old was identified as Jadon Knox. WHBQ spoke to Jadon’s aunt, Twanda, who said the family wants justice. “Jadon was the life of our family. Very, very funny. He loves to keep everyone laughing,” Twanda said. A friend of Jadon’s said they were sitting on a front porch when someone pulled in front of the house and began firing. “This is murder. You killed him. You took his life. He was only 10. His life had not even started,” said Twanda. This investigation is still ongoing. If you have any information about this shooting, call Memphis police at 528-CASH. A GoFundMe has been started to help the family with Jadon’s funeral arrangements, according to the GoFundMe page. If you would like to donate, click here. A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Josephine and Carnes.
  • Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a woman and a 1-month-old baby are safe after a man broke into a home and forced them into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The man is in custody, according to police. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Update 12:32 p.m. EST Jan 20: According to police, Wani Thomas broke into the home early Monday and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, WSOC-TV reported. Authorities said Livermore and the child were found safe around 8 a.m., the television station reported. In a Facebook post, Fayetteville police said Wani Thomas was in custody and would be processed at the Cumberland County Detention Center. Original report: Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a man broke into a home and forced a woman and a 1-month-old boy into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Wani Thomas broke into a home on Tangerine Drive and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, police said. Authorities are currently searching for all three. Thomas is considered armed and dangerous and last seen wearing a brown jacket with blue jeans. Livermore, 20, was last seen wearing gray pants, a brown shirt and a camouflage jacket. Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at (910) 676-2597 or Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.
  • McKenzie Adams was 9 years old when she took her own life on Dec. 3, 2018, in her Linden, Alabama, home. A federal lawsuit filed Thursday by her family alleges that administrators and teachers at her elementary school, U.S. Jones Elementary in Demopolis, failed to protect her from incessant bullying. Demopolis is located in west Alabama, about 60 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa. “(The defendants) exhibited deliberate and blatant indifference to the wrongful persistent bullying and harassment, rife with racial and gender-based slurs, imparted upon McKenzie by a boy who was her classmate,” the lawsuit states. Linden and Demopolis police officials investigated the allegations of bullying in the wake of McKenzie’s hanging death but said they could not find the evidence to back up the family’s claims. The school also denied the allegations that bullying had been reported to administrators by the girl or her family. “We have concluded our internal investigation to the allegations of bullying which led to this senseless death. There have been no findings of any reports of bullying by either the student or family,” a Dec. 11, 2018, statement from the school district said, according to the Tuscaloosa News. “The findings of this internal investigation are consistent with the results of the investigation of the Linden Police Department at this point in time.” McKenzie’s family begged police to reopen the investigation. Her mother and grandmother are adamant that the bullying was reported to school officials multiple times. “Her case deserves a second look,” her weeping mother, Jasmine Adams, said at a news conference last January, according to WBRC in Birmingham. “There are things that could have been missed on the first go-round. And I just feel she deserves a second look at her case.” Hundreds of mourners attended the girl’s funeral, which was held in the gymnasium of her school. According to the News, a wreath of flowers spelling out “You are loved, little one” stood near her white casket. McKenzie, who family members said hoped to be a scientist when she grew up, wore a silver tiara as she was laid to rest. McKenzie’s mother and grandmother, Janice Adams, filed Thursday’s lawsuit on behalf of the girl, whose death made national headlines. Named in the lawsuit are the school, the Demopolis school system, Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, then-U.S. Jones principal Tori Infinger, then-assistant principal Tracy Stewart and fourth-grade teacher Gloria Mims. Infinger resigned in April 2019, according to the Demopolis Times. It was not immediately clear Friday where Stewart is currently employed, but Mims remains listed as a teacher on the U.S. Jones website. “The Demopolis City Board of Education has only recently learned of a lawsuit filed against them on behalf of McKenzie Adams,” the school system’s attorney, Alex Braswell, said in a statement obtained by WSFA in Montgomery. “While we are not permitted to discuss pending litigation, the Demopolis Board of Education can say that we look forward to defending this case and dispelling the allegations made therein.” ‘Tell it to the wall because I do not want to hear it’ The lawsuit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, alleges that McKenzie, who was enrolled at U.S. Jones Elementary for the 2018-2019 school year, was “targeted and taunted” by a white 9-year-old in her class, who called her the N-word and an “ugly a** bit**.” The abuse took place both in the classroom and in the school gym, her family claims. “According to information and belief, on Oct. 24, 2018, (the boy) passed a note to McKenzie in which he called her a “bit**” while in the classroom of defendant Mims,” the lawsuit states. He also used sexually explicit terms in the note. The Adams family believes the abuse stemmed from the fact that McKenzie went to and from school with a white friend and the friend’s mother. McKenzie wrote in her diary Nov. 5, 2018, that two boys at school had been bullying her, the suit alleges. “Upon information and belief, on the date of her death, Dec. 3, 2018, (the boy) told McKenzie to kill herself, told her that she was better off dead, and instructed her on the manner to take her own life,” the lawsuit says. McKenzie’s mother and grandmother say Mims, who was McKenzie’s math teacher at the time of her death, was aware but “deliberately indifferent” to the bullying taking place. Janice Adams, the girl’s grandmother, attempted in August 2018 to set up a meeting with Mims to discuss the ongoing abuse. “Plaintiff Janice Adams never received a return call from Mims,” the suit states. She tried again in September to set up a meeting to discuss the abuse and what it was doing to McKenzie’s “state of mind.” “On Oct. 1, 2018, she received a generic notice that there was no need for a parent-teacher conference,” the lawsuit says. Progress reports came out that month, and McKenzie’s report indicated she was failing math, the class Mims taught. Ordinarily, her family told media outlets, McKenzie excelled in math. “Plaintiff Janice Adams was aware that McKenzie was struggling in the course due to emotional challenges resulting from the bullying and harassment that McKenzie was experiencing in her class,” the complaint said. “Concerned about McKenzie’s state of mind, plaintiff Janice Adams went to Mims’ classroom on Oct. 12, 2018, to request a meeting with Mims. “At that time, Plaintiff Janice Adams identified (the alleged bully), informed Mims that McKenzie was being bullied by him, and asked that the school address the bullying. Plaintiff Janice Adams left her contact information for a follow-up meeting. Mims failed to call her back.” The lawsuit states that Infinger was present for the meeting and was made aware of the supposed bullying going on in Mims’ classroom. Janice Adams claims the principal failed to act. On Oct. 24, Mims obtained the harassing note the boy passed McKenzie in class. Mims contacted the girl’s grandmother and told her that, instead of disciplining the boy, McKenzie would be disciplined for responding to the bullying, the lawsuit states. Talking to law enforcement officials later, Mims admitted that there were two boys, including the one indicated in the lawsuit, who “bothered” everyone in the class, the court document says. Mims told police the boy was “often jumping around and striking other children.” She called him a “clown” and said the boy was always in trouble. Despite his behavior, the lawsuit alleges, no action was taken to discipline the boy for his harassment of McKenzie. McKenzie complained to the teacher multiple times about the bullying. “Upon information and belief, on numerous occasions, Mims instructed McKenzie to ‘tell it to the wall because I do not want to hear it,’” the lawsuit states. Read the entire federal lawsuit filed on behalf of McKenzie Adams below.  The lawsuit alleges that Mims admitted to law enforcement that she was aware that the boy was engaged in conduct defined as bullying by Demopolis City Schools, that he specifically targeted McKenzie and that McKenzie’s family was concerned about the emotional impact the bullying had on the girl. “Upon information and belief, Mims was aware that one risk factor for suicidal ideation was bullying,” the suit says. The complaint states that Mims violated school and district policy by failing to notify Infinger, the principal, or the central office of the first instance of bullying. She also failed to inform them of the continual bullying and failed to take action on her own to stop the harassment, the document says. “Defendant’s deliberate indifference created a dangerous environment and barred McKenzie’s access to a safe learning environment. As the direct result of Mims’ conduct, McKenzie committed suicide,” the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit also blames Infinger’s lack of action for the girl’s death. It states she had actual knowledge of the behavior toward McKenzie and failed to train teachers and administrators on gender- and race-specific bullying. Stewart is named in the lawsuit because McKenzie’s family alleges that Mims gave the harassing note of Oct. 24, 2018, to the assistant principal and she did nothing to stop the bullying. “Stewart contacted McKenzie’s family on Oct. 25, 2018, regarding the note,” the lawsuit states. “At that time, plaintiff Janice Adams informed Stewart that McKenzie was being bullied and had been bullied since the commencement of the school year.” Stewart informed Adams that McKenzie would be punished for responding to the note. It was not clear in the filing what the girl’s response was. “Following the phone call with plaintiff Janice Adams, Stewart spoke on a three-way phone call with plaintiff Janice Adams and McKenzie’s mother, plaintiff Jasmine Adams, to discuss McKenzie’s discipline regarding the note,” according to the lawsuit. “Plaintiff Jasmine Adams expressed concern about the bullying, the harassment and the fact that McKenzie was being disciplined by U.S. Jones.” The distraught mother informed Stewart that she planned to contact the State Department about the persistent bullying and harassment. “Stewart asked plaintiff Jasmine Adams not to contact the State Department and stated that U.S. Jones would handle the matter,” the suit says. “However, U.S. Jones did not handle the matter.” The lawsuit alleges that the school system did not adhere to state and federal anti-bullying measures. It claims that all the defendants named in the complaint had participated in the Jason Flatt Suicide Prevention Program, a program by The Jason Foundation designed to provide professional development for teachers and youth workers so they can better identify children at risk for suicide. The foundation was created in 1997 by Clark Flatt after his 16-year-old son, Jason Flatt, died by suicide. The lawsuit also claims the school and district failed to comply with the Jamari Terrell Williams Bullying Prevention Act, which AL.com reported was enacted to strengthen the state’s 2009 anti-harassment law. The act requires schools to define, control, report and stop bullying. The act is named after 10-year-old Jamari Williams, a gifted Montgomery dancer and honor roll student who took his own life Oct. 11, 2017, after being bullied for “being different,” according to the website for a foundation set up in his name. The federal lawsuit in McKenzie’s death accuses the district of violating Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on gender, as well as Title VI, which prohibits discrimination based on race. The lawsuit also accuses the school system of denying Adams equal protection under the 14th Amendment. It asks for compensatory damages “in an amount that will fully compensate McKenzie and her family for all they suffered” and such punitive damages that would “properly punish them for the constitutional, statutory and common law violations perpetrated upon McKenzie as alleged herein, in an amount that will serve as a deterrent to defendants and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.” Since McKenzie’s death, her aunt, Eddwina Harris, has been working to kickstart an anti-bullying organization called the McKenzie Foundation. A GoFundMe page set up to collect donations has raised $12,830 of its $20,000 goal. A large portion of the work of the McKenzie Foundation appears to be public speaking on the dangers of bullying. “If you knew your child was at a place where there was a ticking time bomb, you would come and get them out,” Eddwina Harris told the News following her niece’s funeral. “The time is now to get them out of a dangerous situation.” As for the national publicity McKenzie’s death received, Harris said she believed it would do some good in the wake of tragedy. “It’s touching that one little 9-year-old girl has changed the lives and minds of so many people and it’s going to stick with us for the rest of our lives,” she said.
  • Despite claims of zero casualties during Iran’s missile attack earlier this month on two Iraqi airbases housing American troops, nearly one dozen U.S. service members were injured during the assault, multiple news outlets reported. According to a statement issued by U.S. Central Command in the region on Thursday, “several (U.S. troops) were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” USA Today reported. The Hill reported the U.S. troops were airlifted to Kuwait and Germany for treatment of traumatic brain injuries and further testing. In a national address delivered the morning after the attack, President Donald Trump said, “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.' Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years, where he mocked U.S. officials as “American clowns” and said France, Germany and the United Kingdom cannot be trusted because they are “lackeys” of the United States, CNN reported. According to The Associated Press, Iran fired a total of 15 ballistic missiles on Jan. 8 at U.S. military and coalition forces, 10 of which struck the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province, four of which missed their targets and one of which struck a base in Irbil in Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region. Iranian officials have confirmed the Jan. 8 strikes were in retaliation for a targeted drone strike five days prior that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Read more here and here.
  • Six days of intensive searching for a missing California woman who suffers from dementia ended Wednesday with her joyous rescue from a snowbound SUV. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, a helicopter spotted the Toyota 4Runner Paula Beth James, 68, had been driving before she vanished. The vehicle was buried in snow. “She was awake and conscious. And she looked at them, and she said, ‘I’m very cold, I hope you brought a blanket,’” Laura Powell, James’ stepdaughter, told KTXL. James was last seen on the evening of Jan. 9 in Oroville, Calif., prompting the Butte County Sheriff’s Office to issue a “silver alert,” The Washington Post reported. Her family told KTXL James stayed warm by covering herself in floor mats and running the vehicle’s heat occasionally but still developed frostbite and was dehydrated when she was located. The search for James employed the use of helicopters, snowmobiles and other methods over the course of roughly 100 hours, the Post reported. Read more here and here.
  • An Arkansas murder case shrouded in mystery took another sharp turn Tuesday as the woman accused of killing former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith last summer was charged with trying to have Collins-Smith’s ex-husband and three others, including a judge and a prosecutor, killed from behind bars. Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 49, of Pocahontas, is charged with two counts of solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence, court records show. O’Donnell, a former campaign aide and one of Collins-Smith’s closest friends, is also charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the 57-year-old businesswoman and former lawmaker’s death. O’Donnell is being held in the Jackson County Jail. Collins-Smith was elected to the Arkansas House as a Democrat in 2011, but switched parties less than a year later, The Washington Post reported. After a four-year term in the House, she was elected as a Republican state senator in 2014 and served a single term. Prior to their 2018 divorce, she and her ex-husband, retired 3rd Judicial Circuit Judge Philip Smith, also owned a Days Inn together, the Post reported. They sold the hotel as part of the split. O’Donnell served as a witness on Collins-Smith’s behalf in the couple’s divorce proceedings, which were described as acrimonious and bitter, the newspaper said. “We are sickened and upset that someone so close to Linda would be involved in such a terrible, heartless crime,” Collins-Smith’s family said in a statement following O’Donnell’s initial arrest in June. According to a probable cause affidavit filed this week and obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, O’Donnell’s cellmate told Jackson County authorities that O’Donnell was trying to hire her and another inmate to kill Smith. The alleged solicitation took place between June 15 and Dec. 1, the document says. “Ms. (Shana) Hembrey advised that O’Donnell wanted the death of Phil Smith to look like a suicide,” the affidavit states. Phil Smith’s new wife, Mary Smith, was also to die as part of the plot, according to court documents. The women said O’Donnell wanted them to pack some of Mary Smith’s belongings in a bag so it would look like she was in the process of leaving her husband. They were to either shoot or hang Phil Smith to make the situation look like a murder-suicide, the document alleges. The second inmate, Cassandra Geoffrion, turned over to detectives several handwritten notes from O’Donnell, including a “suicide note” O’Donnell allegedly gave her Nov. 5. O’Donnell wanted the note planted at the scene, Geoffrion said. Surveillance footage from inside the jail shows O’Donnell passing what appear to be notes to Geoffrion the night of Nov. 5, authorities say. The suicide note was meant to clear O’Donnell’s name so “charges would be dropped off her,” according to the affidavit. Click here to read the entire affidavit on the murder-for-hire plot, courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. O’Donnell also wanted the women to travel to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, where her car is impounded, and “blow it up to destroy any evidence that may be in the vehicle,” the document says. “Ms. Geoffrion stated that she would never do what Ms. O’Donnell has asked, however she is concerned that someone else, a more gullible individual, may do what O’Donnell is asking,” the affidavit states. A third inmate, Rebecca Landrum, also came forward and told investigators that O’Donnell approached her several times about killing not only Phil Smith, but also prosecutor Henry Boyce and Circuit Judge Harold Erwin. Both have previously been involved in the murder case against O’Donnell, but CBS News reported that both recused themselves last summer. Because Phil Smith is a retired 3rd Judicial Circuit judge, all of the judges on that circuit recused themselves from the criminal case against O’Donnell, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Arkansas Chief Justice Dan Kemp assigned a retired judge from a different circuit to hear the case. Phil Smith’s retirement was forced in December 2017 by the Arkansas’ Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, which was investigating his improper use of court equipment during his divorce proceedings. According to a letter of reprimand, he agreed to step down from the bench and never again work as a judge. Landrum told detectives O’Donnell claimed Phil Smith had set her up for his ex-wife’s killing. O’Donnell also claimed that the police had “planted stuff in her trunk,” the most recent affidavit states. All three women told investigators O’Donnell planned to pay them with a bag of gold and silver Phil Smith supposedly had in his home. They were to take the bag with them when they left following the killings. “Ms. O’Donnell told Ms. Landrum that the last time Linda (Collins-Smith) had the gold and silver appraised, it was worth between $20,000 and $30,000,” the affidavit says. Public divorce records obtained by the Post show that Collins-Smith and her ex-husband were arguing over about $28,000 in gold and silver coins stashed somewhere. Inmate Melissa Duede told authorities she not only heard the solicitation of Landrum, but that O’Donnell also asked her to get her boyfriend to kill Smith and Boyce. O’Donnell asked Landrum if she knew “some Mexican people” willing to kill Smith, Duede told police. “Landrum stated, ‘Yeah, I could see about it,’” the affidavit says. O’Donnell then gave Landrum a list of names and the personal information of those she wanted dead, the affidavit says. O’Donnell’s defense attorney, Lee Short, told the Democrat-Gazette that the new allegations against his client are “outlandish,” and he accused the four women who came forward of doing so to broker lighter sentences for themselves. “Having handled high-profile homicides before, this happens in almost every single one of them,” Short told the newspaper. O’Donnell’s arrest for Collins-Smith’s slaying garnered national headlines in June, when the former senator’s body was found outside her home in Pocahontas. According to the arrest affidavit in the murder case, Collins-Smith’s son called 911 June 4 after he and his grandfather went to the house to look for his mother, who had last been seen alive on May 28. “Mr. Smith stated that they found a body. He believed the body was his mother’s,” the affidavit says. “He said the body was wrapped in a blanket under a tarp in the driveway.” Arkansas State Police crime scene technicians found that the body, which was in an advanced state of decomposition, had been moved from inside the house to where it was found under the tarp. The medical examiner determined that Collins-Smith died of multiple stab wounds. The arrest affidavit indicates that O’Donnell was seen on video at Collins-Smith’s house May 28, the day she vanished, removing security cameras from inside the former senator’s home. All other details of the evidence against O’Donnell were redacted from the affidavit released to the public. O’Donnell’s fiancé, Tim Loggains, said in a statement Tuesday that his “family’s faith in Becky is unwavering,” according to ABC7 in Little Rock. “We cannot imagine the evidence will actually substantiate these allegations,” Loggains said. “The allegations defy believability. I won’t even comment on the informant’s extensive criminal history but instead will wait to see if the state produces credible evidence at trial.” The Arkansas Times reported that Collins-Smith’s family issued a statement on the new charges through Ken Yang, who worked as communications director for the late former senator. In the statement, the family thanked the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas State Police for their vigilance and quick response to the new allegations. “We have full faith that the investigators acted on solid evidence supporting these charges and not just on a whim,” the statement said. “We appreciate the transparency shown by all agencies involved in this matter. “These newest charges further cement in our minds that the police have arrested the right person. Rebecca O’Donnell’s threats are being treated very seriously but have not deterred our faith in what we are committed to -- justice for Linda.”

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A lot of listeners to News 96.5 WDBO have been calling the newsroom and using the open mic feature in our app to ask about smoke all over Orange and southern Seminole County on Tuesday afternoon. According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, there’s a 1400 acre prescribed burn happening within the Lake Apopka North Shore, west of Lake Level Canal road.   “The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems,” SJRWMD said. Orange County Fire and Rescue tweeted there are also two burns on the east side of Orange County at 528 and 520, as well as 528 and Dallas. (App users tap here to see tweet) Our meteorologist George Waldenberger says the winds today are driving the smoke over Orlando. (App users tap here to see tweet) Waldenberger later tweeted an aerial view of the smoke: (Tweet)
  • Lucky's Market will close all but ONE of its stores in Florida. It was confirmed by the Sun Sentinel Tuesday morning.  All five stores in Central Florida will close including the Colonial Landing shop that opened 8 months ago.  The only location to survive will be the store in Melbourne.  After an unfavorable portfolio review last year, Kroger pulled out its investment.  Lucky’s hasn’t made a public statement yet but the closures would effect 2,500 employees.
  • A California mother of two died during childbirth last week while acting as a surrogate for another family, according to multiple reports. Community members came together to support the family of Michelle Reaves after she died Thursday, according to KGTV and a GoFundMe campaign set up to support Reaves’ family. Jamie Herwehe, a close family friend of Reaves', launched the GoFundMe campaign last week, with donations slated to go toward covering funeral costs and supporting Reaves’ husband and children, CNN reported. “For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michelle, she will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote on the campaign page. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.” Herwehe said Reaves was acting for the second time as a surrogate for a family when 'one complication led to the next.' She died during childbirth, but Herwehe said the baby she was carrying survived. 'I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,' Herwehe wrote. 'No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.' Reaves was survived by her husband and their children, Gage and Monroe, Herwehe said.
  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.

Washington Insider

  • Facing opposition from within Republican ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an amended rules proposal on Tuesday to govern the start of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, most significantly giving more time for House prosecutors and the President's lawyers to make their opening arguments. The changes came after a lunch meeting of GOP Senators, where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and others expressed reservations about the idea of forcing each side to cram 24 hours of opening arguments into just two days. 'She and others raised concerns about the 24 hrs of opening statements in 2 days,' a spokeswoman for Collins told reporters. Along with that change, McConnell backed off a provision which would not allow evidence from the House impeachment investigation to be put in the record without a vote of the Senate. The changes were made as House prosecutors and the President's legal team made their first extended statements of the Trump impeachment trial. 'Why should this trial be any different than any other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn't,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he made the case that the Senate rules would not pass muster in a regular courtroom. 'This idea that we should ignore what has taken place over the last three years is outrageous,' said Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, who joined White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in arguing against the impeachment charges. 'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,' Cipollone said, in one of the first direct jabs of the impeachment trial. “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” Cipollone added. While there were GOP differences on the rules package offered by Republican leaders, GOP Senators stuck together on the first substantive vote of the impeachment trial, defeating an effort by Democrats to subpoena certain materials from the White House. The first vote was 53-47 to block an amendment offered by the Democratic Leader, Sen. Schumer.  It was straight along party lines. A second vote along party lines blocked a call by Democrats to subpoena documents from the State Department. Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.