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Man puts bag of marijuana in wrong mailbox, police say

A marijuana mistake was made in Massachusetts after a mother discovered a bag of pot in her mailbox.

>> Read more trending news 

Woburn police said they are treating it as a crime: illegal distribution, but this mother is just happy her kids didn't find the bag first. 

Laurel Brown Collins said she doesn't know the first thing about marijuana; she doesn't smoke it and doesn't have any in the house.

"I don't even know how much you're allowed to have," Collins said.

But she knows what it looks like. So when she discovered a bag in her mailbox Wednesday, she called police right away. Investigators believe someone left 18 grams of pot in the wrong mailbox.

"I think there is potentially other drug activity in the neighborhood. To have a drug dealer do that in the middle of the day and at a mailbox that is clearly labeled with not his customer's name, uh, is kind of ballsy," Collins said. 

The person who put the bag of marijuana in Collins' mailbox probably didn't realize there was a camera right above it. The camera got a pretty good look at who dropped the bag off; someone in a black jacket and hat. 

Collins said she has never seen this person before and doesn't know if he has made drop-offs on her street before. 

"It may just lead me to believe that he's also not that bright if he can't read the name of where he's dropping," Collins said. 

What worries her the most, though, is what could have happened to her 19-year-old son Andrew who has autism and lives at home. 

"There's a significant concern he would have opened it and ingested it, certainly would have gotten the effects of it," Collins said. "Andrew, again, would not have known what it was and it could have caused him harm.”

Deputies arrest 4 for running unlicensed 'sexual encounter center' at Florida home 

Four central Florida residents are accused of operating an unlicensed “sexual encounter center” and bottle club out of a Tampa-area residence without the required licenses, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Arrested Saturday by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were James Cutter Sr., 70; James Cutter Jr., 44; Denise Falsetti, 62; and Mariya Gladushevskaya, 32, the newspaper reported.

According to deputies, they witnessed people paying money to enter the house in the Tampa suburb of Brandon with liquor between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12, the Times reported, citing an arrest report.

Deputies also witnessed patrons "having sexual relations and displaying nudity," the newspaper reported.

Each was released from the Hillsborough County jail after posting $500 bail, according to arrest records.

Iowa man built bomb in sushi restaurant to prove point, police say

An Iowa man built a potentially deadly device while dining at a sushi restaurant to prove a point: that he did not believe bomb threats were being taken seriously, KCCI reported.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Des Moines police, Ivory Lee Washington, 40, constructed the improvised explosive device Tuesday while at Akebono 515 just to see if anyone would stop him, the Des Moines Register reported.

"He said his motive was frustration that people in our society don't care about safety," Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told the newspaper. “And he was making a point that he could construct a device in public without anyone calling the police."

Washington is charged with possession of explosive or incendiary material with intent. He is being held on a $25,000 bond and is due in court Jan. 25, the Register reported.

The restaurant’s owner, Nam Tran, told KCCI the situation was unexpected and said he had “no idea” there was a bomb in the building.

“(Washington) kept wandering around different tables,” Tran told the television station. “(He would) go to the electric outlet and plug in some device, a phone jack or something, and go up to the bar a few times and ask to throw some trash away.”

Washington actually called police on himself, KCCI reported. A bomb squad entered the restaurant, removed the device and determined it was legitimate, the television station reported. Washington then was taken into custody.

“We tested it to see it if would explode. It did,” Parizek said.

Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffrey surprises 2nd-graders who wrote him letters

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was devastated after a critical dropped pass was intercepted in the NFC divisional game last weekend, ending the defending Super Bowl champions’ playoff hopes.

>> Read more trending news 

However, words of encouragement from second-graders in a suburban Philadelphia school prompted Jeffrey to visit the students, WPVI reported.

One of those students, 8-year-old Abigail Johnson, wrote a heartwarming letter that went viral after her father tweeted it. She told Jeffrey, "I am a huge Eagles fan. When I watched the play last night I was crying."

"I think you are an awesome player no matter what. It takes a lot of practice and courage to catch a ball," Abigail wrote.

Jeffrey visited Alli Morris’ class of second-graders at Sarah Starkweather Elementary School in West Chester to thank the students, WPVI reported. Morris had told her students that they would try to connect to Jeffrey through FaceTime, but instead surprised them as Jeffrey walked into the classroom, ESPN reported.

The students serenaded Jeffrey with a chorus of the Eagles’ fight song, WPVI reported.

"We talked about empathy and kindness and kind of talking about how Alshon might feel," Morris told the television station. "We wanted to boost him up after a tough loss."

BuzzFeed report says President Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress

A media report published late Thursday night claims President Donald Trump instructed his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about details of plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier cited two federal law enforcement officials in the Buzzfeed News story.

>> Read more trending news

The BuzzFeed report has not yet been corroborated.

Rudy Giuliani, The personal attorney to President Donald Trump, dismissed the report responding with:

“If you believe Cohen I can get you a good all cash deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Cohen is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7, a little more than a month after the Democrats took the House majority.

Update 4:14 a.m. EST Jan. 18: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, tweeted that it is about time for special counsel Robert Mueller “to show his cards.”

Update, 1:13 a.m. EST Jan. 18: Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted that if the BuzzFeed report is true -- “and proof must be examined” -- then Congress must initiate impeachment hearings.

Update, 12:34 a.m. EST, Jan. 18: Democratic leaders demanded an investigation in the wake of a BuzzFeed report that President Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen, his former attorney, to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, The Washington Post  reported. 

The BuzzFeed story has not been corroborated.

“The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date,” tweeted Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.”

“If the @Buzzfeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached," tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lyle Menendez confirms he and brother were pictured on basketball card

Lyle Menendez confirmed that he and his brother, Erik Menendez, who were convicted in their murder of their parents, appeared in the background of a 1990-91 Hoops basketball card of Mark Jackson that went viral last month, the Daily Mail confirmed. 

>> Read more trending news 

In an interview with DailyMailTV, the convicted murderer said he wouldn’t mind owning the card, which was seemingly worthless for years until a Reddit user spotted the brothers sitting courtside in the photo of Jackson, the New York Knicks’ point guard. The post went viral and the the value of the card jumped dramatically, although current eBay listings place it in the $15 to $30 range.

>> 1990 basketball card appears to show Menendez brothers

“I’d love to have the card, but it seems like they’re getting snapped up pretty quickly,” Menendez, 50, told the Daily Mail. “So, I probably won’t get one.”

Lyle Menendez and Erik Menendez, who turned 48 on Nov. 27, are serving life sentences without parole after fatally shooting Jose and Mary “Kitty” Menendez on Aug. 20, 1989. The brothers were convicted of their parents’ murders in 1996.

Both men are currently serving time at the R.J. Correctional Facility in San Diego, according to CBS News.The Reddit entry echoed an Aug. 9 Instagram post by jgold50, a self-described “collector of random things, mostly mortality subject matter.”

Sports Collectors Daily ran the nearly four-minute interview with Lyle Menendez on DailyMailTV, and parts of the discussion centered around the basketball card.

“At first I just said ‘Oh wow,’ you know it’s just a little emotional.” Lyle Menendez told DailyMailTV. “It was one of the last times with Erik and I, free together.”

Britain’s Prince Philip fine after car accident that injured two others

Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth and the father and grandfather of two future kings, Prince Charles and Prince William, respectively, was involved in a car accident Thursday afternoon (local time) in Norfolk near the queen’s Sandringham estate, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

The prince, 97, was driving a Land Rover, which overturned during a collision with another car, but the Duke of Edinburgh walked away unscathed, the BBC reported.

A witness told the BBC that the duke was “very, very shocked,” but he was not injured and did not need medical treatment.

Two women in the other vehicle did need treatment for minor injuries. They were treated and released from a local hospital.

Both drivers were given breath tests to check for alcohol and both tested negative.

>> Trending: Prince William, Kate startled after water squirted at them by runner

The queen and Prince Philip have been staying at Sandringham since Christmas. The duke still drives at 97 and some say only the queen could convince him to hand over his keys.

Police looking for help in identifying bones of small boy found in duffel bag on hiking trail

 

Police in San Diego, California, have teamed up with the Center for Missing & Exploited Children and are hoping somebody recognizes a drawing of a small boy.

>> Read more trending news 

The child’s skeletal remains were found close to a hiking trail near a Rancho Bernardo park in 2004, according to KSWB-TV.

Authorities are still trying to identify the boy, who they believe was 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old at the time of his death, KSWB reported.

Two hikers found his remains inside a duffel bag along with red warmup pants, gray-tan socks, a blue vest and two sweatshirts, the station reported.

>> Trending: Emotional support alligator visits senior home, is just like a dog, owner says

The Center for Missing & Exploited Children created a facial reconstruction of what the boy might have looked like. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Diego Police Department.

 

Government shutdown: Trump says he's canceled delegation’s trip to Davos

The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 continues as a stalemate between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders over his demand for more than $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> Read more trending news

Update 10:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: 

President Donald Trump has canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has nixed his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.

Update 3:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17:  An overseas trip that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set leave for on Thursday, before Trump abruptly announced he had pulled military travel support for the trip, was intended to show appreciation for American troops abroad, Pelosi’s spokesman said.

In a letter sent Thursday to Pelosi’s office, the president said a Congressional Delegation, or CODEL, that Pelosi had planned was canceled amid the ongoing government shutdown. Trump said the CODEL intended to make stops in Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the speaker planned to stop in Brussels, as required to give the pilot time to rest, and meet with top NATO commanders before continuing on to Afghanistan. He said the trip did not include any stops in Egypt.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security briefings from those front lines,” Hammill said. “The president traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL (Congressional Deligation) led by Rep. (Lee) Zeldin.”

Update 2:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump on Thursday pulled military travel support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of a planned trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Pelosi had planned to leave for a bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip, also known as a CODEL, later Thursday, CNN reported.

According to the news network, Trump has “the authority to direct the Department of Defense to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters.”

However, CNN noted that it was not immediately clear whether the Defense Department was notified of the cancellation ahead of time.

The cancellation came one day after Pelosi asked Trump to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump said Thursday that he's postponing a trip planned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

>> From Cox Media Group’s National Content Desk: In escalating shutdown fight, Trump cancels plane for Pelosi overseas trip

"It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown," the president said. "Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative."

Trump addressed the letter to Pelosi’s office one day after she asked him to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed several bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall.

Update 1:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: The State Department ordered U.S. diplomats in Washington and at embassies around the world to return to work starting next week, saying in a message to employees that they will be paid despite the shutdown.

It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it had taken steps to "make available additional funds to pay the salaries of its employees, including those affected by the current lapse."

“Employees will  be paid for work performed beginning on or after January 20,” the notice, from Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd, said. “Beyond (that pay period), we will review balances and available legal authorities to try to cover future pay periods.”

Officials noted that employees would not be paid for work done between Dec. 22, when the partial government shutdown started, and Jan. 20 until after the shutdown ends.

Department officials said they were taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming efforts "to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people." 

Officials added that the department's leadership was "deeply concerned" about the financial hardships employees are facing.

Update 12:45 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump signed a bill Wednesday that requires the government to compensate federal workers affected by the ongoing shutdown for wages lost, work performed or leave used during the shutdown.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 passed in the House last week. It requires that employees be compensated “on the earliest date possible after the lapse ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.”

Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 16: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that despite the partial government shutdown, federal officials are prepared to deal with issues that might arise when Trump delivers his State of the Union address later this month.

“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Her comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president to delay the address, scheduled January 29, due to security concerns as the shutdown dragged into its 26th day.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: TSA: “Financial limitations” causing airport screeners not to show up for work

Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 16: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked Trump to delay his State of the Union address, which is expected later this month, as the partial government shutdown continues.

>> Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union amid shutdown

“Given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in a letter sent Wednesday.

Update 1:41 p.m. EST Jan. 15: A federal judge has denied a request from unionized federal employees who filed a lawsuit requiring the government pay air traffic controllers who are working without pay during the shutdown, CNN reported.

>> FDA restarts inspections during shutdown, inspectors working without pay

Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 14: A group of federal employees who was ordered to work without pay amid the ongoing shutdown filed suit last week against the government, comparing their situations to involuntary servitude and accusing Trump and other officials of violating the 13th Amendment, according to The Washington Post.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday by four federal workers from Texas and West Virginia who are employed by the departments of Justice, Agriculture and Transportation, attorneys said the workers could face discipline or removal if they failed to continue working despite the fact that they were not getting paid during the shutdown. The Post reported the lawsuit also accused officials of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

>> Atlanta airport security lines more than an hour long amid federal shutdown

“Our plaintiffs find themselves in the exact same boat as virtually every other furloughed federal employee: bills to pay and no income to pay them,” the workers' attorney, Michael Kator, told the Post. “As this drags on, their situation will become more and more dire.”

The partial government shutdown entered its 24th day Monday, making it the longest in history. The second-longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in the mid-90s, during President Bill Clinton's time in office.

Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 14: Trump railed against Democrats on Monday morning as the partial government shutdown entered its 24th day.

"I've been waiting all weekend," Trump wrote Monday in a tweet. "Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!"

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed six bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall.

"The package presented yesterday by Democratic leaders can only be seen as a time wasting act," he said on Jan. 3.

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump said Friday that it would be easy for him to declare a national emergency to get a wall along the country’s southern border built, but that he has no plans to do so.

“I’m not going to do it so fast,” the president said during a discussion about border security with state, local and community leaders at the White House. “This is something that Congress can do.”

Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump said Thursday he will not travel later this month to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

The president was scheduled to leave for the trip Jan. 21.

“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!” 

Last year, a brief government shutdown threatened to derail his trip to Davos, where he asserted that his "America First" agenda can go hand-in-hand with global cooperation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the U.S. delegation to the annual Davos event, which courts high-profile businesspeople and political figures and other elites. Other members of the Cabinet are scheduled to attend as well as Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump will travel Thursday to Texas to visit the southern border after negotiations to end the partial government shut down crumbled.

The president walked out of discussions Wednesday with Congressional leaders after Democrats again refused to approve of $5.7 billion of funding for his border wall.

“The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins!” Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter.

The president is set to travel to McAllen on Thursday, where he plans to visit a border patrol station for a roundtable on immigration and border security.

Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The president walked out of discussions with leaders in the House and Senate on Wednesday amid the ongoing government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whether she would agree to fund his border wall and that he walked out of the meeting when she answered in the negative.

“He said, ‘If I open up the government, you won’t do what I want,’” Schumer said.

The president wrote on Twitter that the meeting was “a total waste of time.”

“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier?” he wrote. “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are standing beside the president Wednesday as the debate over border wall funding continues.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their party lunch Wednesday afternoon.

“The Republicans are unified,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “We want border security. We want safety for our country.”

The president accused Democrats of blocking funding for the wall, “because I won the presidency and they think they can try and hurt us.” Democrats have called the proposed wall costly, ineffective and "immoral" and say Trump's "manufacturing a crisis."

Trump and Pence are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House.

Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Trump said Wednesday that his border wall has "tremendous Republican support” ahead of a meeting with GOP lawmakers as the shutdown drags into its 19th day.

"I think we're going to win,” Trump said. “We need border security, very simple.”

In response to a reporter’s question about how long the president would be willing to let the shutdown last in order to secure funding for the wall, Trump said, “whatever it takes.”

Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 9: During a bill signing at the White House on Wednesday, the president pushed again for funding of his border wall, arguing that human trafficking can’t be stopped without it.

"As long as we have a border that is not secure, we're going to suffer the consequences of that," Trump said.

The president brushed off critics who have said a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be ineffective to address immigration issues.

“They say a wall is a medieval solution, that’s true,” Trump said. “It worked then, it works even better now”

Democrats have called Trump's promised wall costly, ineffective and "immoral" and say he's "manufacturing a crisis."

The bill Trump signed is designed to enhance an annual State Department report that measures global efforts to eliminate human trafficking.

Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 9: Officials will hold a series of meetings Wednesday in an attempt to end the government shutdown that began 19 days ago, according to Politico.

The president, Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will meet Wednesday afternoon with Senate Republicans for their party lunch, the news site reported. Then, at 3 p.m., the president will meet with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House, Poliltico reported, noting it will mark “the third such bipartisan meeting in a week’s time.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning that Trump is still considering the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built.

"(It's) something we're still looking at, something that's certainly still on the table," she said, according to Bloomberg News. "The best solution is to be able to work with Congress to get this done."

The president did not mention the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built Tuesday night, during his first address from the Oval Office. He wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter, “we MUST fix our Southern Border!”

Trump is scheduled to visit the border Thursday.

Update 10:50 p.m. EST Jan. 8: In his first ever televised Oval Office address, President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his border wall Tuesday night, blaming illegal immigration for the scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. 

Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to “fear, not facts” and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.

He argued for spending some $5.7 billion for a border wall on both security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid the extended shutdown.

He will visit the Mexican border in person on Thursday.

Update 8:07 p.m. EST Jan. 8: The New York Times is reporting that Trump will not declare a national emergency this evening in order to circumvent Congress to get funds to build the wall. According to the times, “administration officials who had seen a draft copy of his speech said the president was not preparing to do so.”

Update 10:45 a.m. EST Jan. 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver the Democratic response to Trump's planned prime time address, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Update 1:50 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump said he plans to address the nation Tuesday night as Democrats continue to stand firm on their refusal to fund the president’s border wall.

“I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security  crisis on our Southern Border Tuesday night at 9 P.M. Eastern,” Trump said Monday afternoon in a tweet.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump to visit Mexican border as White House pushes for security funding

The announcement came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump plans to visit the southern border on Thursday.

Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump on Thursday will visit the southern border amid the ongoing shutdown impasse, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Update 9:10 a.m. EST Jan. 7: The partial government shutdown entered its 17th day Monday with no end in sight despite meetings over the weekend meant to help bring the shutdown to a close, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump said Friday that he’s considering using his executive authority to get a wall built on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely,” Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it.”

The president spoke with reporters Friday after meeting with congressional leaders amid the ongoing budget impasse. He said he’s designated a team to meet over the weekend with lawmakers to resolve the standoff. 

Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: At a news conference Friday, Trump confirmed he told congressional leaders that he would be willing to allow the government shut down to continue for months or years if Democrats refuse to fund his border wall.

“I don’t think (the government will remain closed that long) but I am prepared,” Trump said. “I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days.”

Trump met with top leaders from the House and Senate on Friday morning to discuss the ongoing partial government shutdown and his demand for $5.6 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump: Shutdown could go ‘months or even years’ in border wall dispute

The president said Friday’s meeting was “very, very productive,” though top Democrats told reporters after the meeting that little was accomplished.

“How do you define progress in a meeting?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked reporters after the meeting. “When you have a better understanding of each other’s position? When you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s the judgement, we made some progress.”

Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Top Democrats said a meeting with Trump aimed at bringing the ongoing partial government shutdown to an end was contentious on Friday, with neither side willing to budge in the ongoing battle over funding for a border wall.

“We told the president we needed the government open," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting. "He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time -- months or even years."

Update 9:20 a.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump is set to meet Friday morning with congressional leaders, though it was not clear whether the meeting would help bring to an end the partial government shutdown that began nearly two weeks ago.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m., will include newly sworn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders from the House and Senate, NPR reported

House Democrats approved of a spending bill Thursday to re-open the government, prompting a veto threat from Trump.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump threatens vetoes as House passes bills to end partial shutdown

“If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a veto threat against the plans passed by House Democrats in the opening hours of the 116th Congress, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Update 11:45 p.m. EST Jan. 3: House Democrats have approved a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. 

The largely party-line votes by the new Democratic majority came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room to pledge a continued fight for his signature campaign promise. 

The Democratic package to end the shutdown includes a bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Feb. 8 as bipartisan talks continue. 

It was approved, 239-192.

Update 11:15 p.m. EST Jan. 2: President Donald Trump said he remains “ready and willing” to work with Democrats to pass a government spending bill even as he refuses to budge over funding for his long-promised border wall. 

Trump tweeted “Let’s get it done!” as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight.

Trump has invited the group back for a follow-up session Friday, the day after Nancy Pelosi is expected to become speaker of the House.

Earlier, they met Trump at the White House Wednesday for a briefing on border security.

The session did not yield any breakthroughs according to The Associated Press, and Democrats said they remained committed to introducing the legislation Thursday. The administration has so far rejected the plan, which does not include funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Schumer said Trump could not provide a “good answer” for opposing the bills. He added that Trump and Republicans “are now feeling the heat.”

Update 9:30 a.m. EST Jan. 2: Congressional leaders are expected to attend a briefing on border security Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown continues, The Associated Press reported.

Among the lawmakers expected to attend the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to the AP. Top incoming House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also expected to attend.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m., The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper noted that few, if any, compromises are likely to be offered at the session, which comes one day before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 1: Trump has invited congressional leaders to a border security briefing scheduled for Wednesday. The Associated Press reported the top two Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate have been invited. Other possible attendees and agenda have not been released.

The White House has not commented on the apparent invitations, the AP reported.

Update 12:35 p.m. EST Dec. 28: Trump threatened Friday to close the southern U.S. border if Democrats continued to refuse to fund his border wall.

“We build a Wall or we close the Southern Border,” he said in a series of tweets Friday morning.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Friday that Trump had canceled his plans for New Year’s Eve in light of the ongoing shutdown. Still, Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, told The Associated Press on Friday that Democrats won’t fund the president’s “immoral, ineffective expensive wall.”

“While we await the President’s public proposal, Democrats have made it clear that, under a House Democratic Majority, we will vote swiftly to re-open government on Day One,” Hammill said.

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 27: The partial government shutdown that started Saturday is expected to last into the new year. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement obtained Thursday by C-SPAN that no votes were expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week as the shutdown continues.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday showed 47 percent of Americans hold Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, despite the president’s assertion that Democrats are at fault.

The poll found 33 percent of adults blame Democrats in Congress.

In a pair of tweet Thursday, the president accused Democrats of “obstruction of the needed Wall.”

Update: 3:35 p.m. EST Dec. 25: President Trump spoke to members of the five branches of the U.S. military via video conference Tuesday, sending them his well-wishes before discussing the partial government shutdown and the country's need for a wall: 

“I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it."

Update 3:50 p.m. EST Dec. 23: Incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that the shutdown could continue into the next year.

“It is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said.

Update 3:55 p.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate does not estimate a vote on a deal to end the partial government shutdown until next Thursday at the earliest, tweeted Jamie Dupree, Cox Media Group Washington correspondent.

The Senate Cloakroom, a Twitter account for the Republican side of the Senate floor, tweeted the following schedule for the Senate: “Following today’s session, the Senate will convene on Monday, December 24th at 11:00 am for a Pro Forma Session. Following the Pro Forma Session, we will next convene at 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 27th and consider business if a deal has been reached on government funding”

President Trump has been active on Twitter today, saying he’s in the White House today “working hard,” and reaffirming his support for tough border security.

“I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time, based on getting out of endless & costly foreign wars & also based on Strong Borders which will keep our Country safe. We fight for the borders of other countries, but we won’t fight for the borders of our own!” the President tweeted.

Update 3:00 p.m. EST Dec. 22: White House officials are warning that the government shutdown will last through the holidays, as Trump is not relenting on his demand, tweeted New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers. "We have continued to put forth what we think is an important expectation ... which is $5 billion in border security," a senior White House official told reporters, according to Rogers’ tweet.

Update 12:30 p.m. EST Dec. 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an update on government funding negotiations. He said a procedural agreement was made to “create space” to allow discussions between Senate Democrats and White House. There will be no votes until Trump and Senate Democrats reach an agreement.

Update 9:06 a.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate is expected to meet today at noon to see if they can hammer out an agreement that President Trump will sign.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told press Friday night that “constructive talks are underway," for such an agreement, reported CNN.

If any new deal is announced, lawmakers would be given 24 hours notice to return to Washington for a vote.

Update 1:31 a.m. EST Dec. 22: In a joint statement released shortly after the partial government shutdown went into effect, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y,) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were critical of President Donald Trump and called the government closures the “Trump shutdown.”

"President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted," Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement. “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security -- not the president’s ineffective and expensive wall.

“If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January.”

Update 10:45 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With a partial government shutdown expected at midnight, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney instructed agencies to plan for a shutdown.

Mulvaney says in a memo for government executives that “we are hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration” but that employees should report to work when scheduled to “undertake orderly shutdown activities.”

Update 8:19 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The Senate adjourned without a deal on spending, just after 8 p.m. Friday evening ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday.

Senators expect to return at noon Saturday as talks continue.

Update 7:09 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The House adjourned Friday evening and will return Saturday at noon which will likely trigger a partial shutdown.

Update 5:55 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With just over 6 hours left until the midnight deadline, Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote advanced the 47-47 tally after a marathon, five-hour voting session in the Senate that dragged on as senators rushed back to Washington.

The move doesn’t immediately end the threat of a partial federal shutdown, but it kick-starts negotiations as Congress tries to find a resolution to Trump’s demand for the wall.

Senators say they won’t vote on a final bill to fund the government until Trump and congressional leaders all agree to a deal.

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 21: Trump spoke with reporters before signing a criminal justice reform bill Friday. 

"It's possible that we'll have a shutdown,” the president said. “I think the chances are probably very good because I don't think Democrats care so much about maybe this issue, but this is a very big issue”

The Republican-led House approved funding Thursday for Trump's border wall and sent the bill to the Senate.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: With impasse over wall funding, federal workers gear up for shutdown

Senators are holding a procedural vote Thursday afternoon to determine whether to move forward with the bill.

During a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer last week, Trump said he’d shut down the government if lawmakers failed to secure $5 billion in funding for a wall to span the U.S.-Mexico border.

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government,” Trump said. “I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown

Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 21: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the officials plan to discuss “the funding bill and the importance of border security” at 10:30 a.m.

The president insisted on Twitter Friday morning that, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”

Ten days earlier, Trump said during a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown

Original report: A potential government shutdown looms and President Donald Trump is tweeting, saying that if a spending plan isn’t passed and signed by midnight, it will be the Democrats fault when the government closes.

On Thursday night, after a meeting between House Republicans and the president, the House passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for Trump’s border wall. 

>>From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: With Friday night deadline, funding fight shifts to Senate

The vote was 217-185, CNN reported.

The bill is in the hands of the Senate whose members have to act on it before the midnight deadline or the government closes. 

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Shutdown chances jump as Trump demands money for his border wall

Washington watchers believe the bill will not pass because of the money earmarked for the wall, CNN reported

Democrats have said they will not support the money for the border and both sides of the Senate aisle are needed if the spending plan is to pass.

>> Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check, SNAP, WIC?

In a series of morning tweets by the President, he placed the blame on Democrats if the government shuts down.

The president said he would not sign the Senate-backed spending bill that does not include money for the border wall. The Senate plan would grant funding to keep the government operating until Feb. 8, The Washington Post reported

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Megyn Kelly jokes about her unemployment on way to jury duty

Former “Today” host Megyn Kelly laughed off her unemployment in a social media post Thursday morning as she was heading to jury duty in New York.

>> Read more trending news 

“About to begin jury duty this morning. Slightly concerned about the effectiveness of the ‘I’m far too busy’ excuse this time,” the former host of “Megyn Kelly Today” posted on Twitter.

Kelly, 48, doesn’t have to worry about missing a paycheck if she is picked for the jury. She recently settled with NBC for the remainder of her three-year, $69 million contract, meaning she’ll receive about $30 million.

>> Related: Megyn Kelly has first NBC assignment: interviewing Vladimir Putin in June

She was removed from her show in October after backlash over her defense of the use of “blackface” and the network let her go shortly after.

Honor student suspended for unintentionally using counterfeit money in school lunch line

A 12-year-old honor student was suspended for 10 days after he unintentionally used counterfeit money to pay for his lunch at a Henry County middle school in McDonough, Georgia, according to WSB-TV

>> Read more trending news

Now the parents of Christian Philon are trying to clear their son’s name.

WSB-TV reported Christian handed a cashier at McDonough’s Austin Road Middle School a $20 bill last Thursday. His father had given him the money from change he received at a fast-food restaurant.

“I’ve never handled counterfeit money,” Earvin Philon said. “I don't know what it looks like. ... There was no way when I gave it to my son that he knew it was counterfeit.”

Christian, a straight-A student and athlete, said he learned the money was fake when the cashier marked the bill with a counterfeit pen.

“I was confused on how the money was counterfeit and how my parents received it,” he said.

Christian said as much when he was sent to an assistant principal’s office.

“They said, 'You possessed it, so you're going to have to pay for it,'” he said.

The payment? In-school suspension.

His parents filed a police report about unknowingly receiving the counterfeit bill. They thought that would convince school officials to reverse their decision. It did not. The code of conduct prohibits possession of counterfeit currency, regardless of the circumstance. At a disciplinary hearing Wednesday, a panel upheld the suspension. 

"The whole process,” Christian said, “has been unfair.”

His parents said they will appeal their son's punishment

5-year-old girl abducted, assaulted outside elementary school to lure sister into fight, police say

A Memphis, Tennessee, family is demanding answers from elementary school officials after teens abducted a 5-year-old girl from in front of the school. 

>> Read more trending news

According to a report from Memphis police, the incident happened at Dunbar Elementary School Wednesday afternoon.

A video recorded by a witness shows one of the teens punching the 5-year-old in the face. Later, it escalated into a fight outside the Melrose High School football stadium. 

The girl’s family wants to know how she was taken from right in front of the school by complete strangers.

According to police, a minor sent the video to the little girl’s sister on Facebook. In the message, she threatened to hurt the 5-year-old if the sister didn’t meet her for a fight outside the football stadium.

The fight involved several teens and an adult, after the little girl’s sister told police she went to the stadium to meet the suspects. 

The victim was seen in the video getting hit and kicked by several people, while her 5-year-old sister was crying on the side of the road.

The victim’s aunt, Shavita Payne, told police that when she arrived, she tried to get everyone off her niece. But she was then attacked too. 

Payne and her nieces eventually left. 

Payne said she thought everything was over. However, she said the girls came back and vandalized their home off Enterprise Avenue – breaking a few windows. 

Payne told investigators the girls were trying to fight her niece for the second time.

Memphis police are investigating the incident as an assault and abduction. 

No arrests have been made yet. 

A spokesperson with Shelby County Schools said school officials are reviewing its after-school procedures to make sure students get home safely.

“Dunbar Elementary is an all walking/pickup school and, due to its close proximity to Melrose High, students routinely walk home with their older siblings, relatives and friends. This incident is extremely concerning, and we’ve reported it to all appropriate authorities, so it can be investigated. Additionally, school staff is reviewing all after-school procedures to ensure students are always dismissed safely.”

Uber drivers learn how to spot sex trafficking victims ahead of Super Bowl

Uber drivers are learning how to spot victims of sex trafficking before Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news

Experts said Atlanta is the No. 1 place in the country for sex trafficking and it’s a $290 million a year business.

WSB-TV was given access to the training and talked with drivers in Atlanta. He also learned some very helpful tips that could help victims in trouble.

"Sometimes your instincts kick in and you’re, like, 'What do I do?'" said Marni Perrymond, who has been driving for Uber for four years.

On Thursday, Perrymond and 70 other drivers learned how to spot a potential sex trafficking victim.

Deborah Richardson is executive director of the International Human Trafficking Institute. 

She said big events like the Super Bowl only make matters worse for victims. 

“Whenever you have lots of people coming in with disposable income, you are going to have human trafficking,” Richardson said. "Trafficking victims are not often dressed appropriately for the season or the time of day."

She said there is a sense of fear, particularly with young women, because they know the least little thing could make their trafficker angry and they could be punished.

She said even if someone says hello or asks them a direct question, they usually don’t respond.

Richardson said if you see something that looks out of place, you can call 888-373-7888 or text 233733.

What is the Planetary Health diet and how can it help save the planet?

Our current food production and consumption habits are doomed to “exacerbate risks to people and planet,” according to a landmark study published in The Lancet this week. But if we make a radical change — as in, cut our sugar and red meat by half and double our vegetable, fruit and nut consumption — we could potentially prevent up to 11.6 million avoidable deaths per year without hurting our home.

>> Read more trending news 

The new research comes from a group of 37 scientists from around the globe, all of whom are part of the EAT-Lancet commission. 

According to EATforum.org, “food systems are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions” and are “the main user of fresh water, a leading driver of biodiversity loss, land-use change and cause eutrophication or dead zones in lakes and coastal areas.” Unhealthy diets offer harmful effects of their own. They’re “the leading risk factor for disease worldwide, causing rapidly growing rates of Non-communicable-Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers.” World hunger is yet another challenge.

>> Related: 2018 was the hottest year on record for Earth’s oceans

But despite evidence showing the way we eat and produce food is indeed damaging our planet and exacerbating disease, there isn’t a scientific consensus on what a healthy diet is, how food production can be sustainable and whether healthy diets can meet the demands of sustainability. That’s where the 37 scientists come in.

The researchers used the “best available evidence,” including randomized trials, massive cohort studies and controlled feeding studies to come up with what they’re calling the “planetary health diet.”

>> Related: Al Gore to offer Atlanta training for climate activists

“To have any chance of feeding 10 billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries, we must adopt a healthy diet, slash food waste, and invest in technologies that reduce environmental impacts,” co-author Johan Rockstrom of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact Research told Phys.org. According to researchers, the Earth can only handle up to 10 billion people. And without the global adaptation of the diet, the planet may not be able to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. 

“It is about behavioral change. It's about technologies. It's about policies. It's about regulations. But we know how to do this,” Rockstrom said.

The new diet provides “governments, producers and individuals with an evidence-based starting point to work together to transform our food systems and cultures,” Howard Frumkin, head of UK biomedical research charity the Wellcome Trust's Our Planet Our Health program, which funded the research, told CNN.

>> Related: We have 12 years left to act on climate change, UN warns

Here’s what you need to know about the new diet:

What is it?

The planetary diet, or the flexitarian diet, doesn’t mean you’ll have to get rid of all the meat and dairy in your life.

“If we were just minimising greenhouse gases we'd say everyone be vegan,” researcher Walter Willet said. But according to him, a vegan diet wasn’t necessarily the healthiest option.

For meat-lovers, though, this will still mean making significant adjustments and relying on nuts and legumes for protein instead. 

Essentially, Willet said, “global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

>> Related: What is the Paris climate agreement? 9 things you should know

Is the diet healthy for all ages?

According to the study, the meal plan is meant for people over the age of 2.

How many calories?

Researchers recommend people consume 2,500 calories per day on the diet.

>> Related: Climate change will internally displace 143 million people by 2050, scientists warn

Here’s what a day on the diet might allow:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork): 14 g
  • Chicken: 29 g
  • Fish: 28 g
  • Whole grains: 232 g
  • Starchy vegetables: 50 g
  • Dairy: 250 g
  • Eggs: 13 g
  • Vegetables: 300 g
  • Fruits: 200 g
  • Legumes: 75 g
  • Sugar: 31 g
  • Oils: 50 g

» RELATED: How climate change could cause 26,000 more US suicides by 2050

According to researchers, what could happen if everyone around the globe adopted the diet?

  • Up to 11.6 million premature deaths could be avoided every year, as researchers believe the diet will reduce chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • We could also prevent severe environmental degradation by minimizing impacts on biodiversity and following the set targets of the Paris Agreement (keeping global warming below 35.6 degrees fahrenheit; aiming for 34.7 degrees).

>> Related: Hog heaven? Healthy livestock the heartbeat of sustainable meat

How realistic is this global adaptation?

“It is doable but it will take nothing less than global agricultural revolution,” according to Rockstrom.

For populations dependent on animal protein or populations suffering from malnutrition and inadequate plant sources, adopting a planetary diet will prove especially challenging. Local conditions must be taken into account.

Welcome Trust senior science lead Modi Mwatsama told CNN that at the world’s current level of food production, the diet isn’t achievable “unless there are structural changes, such as subsidies that move away from meat production, and environmental changes, such as limits on how much fertilizer can be used.”

>> Related: World hunger worsens as war, climate shocks hit food access

Researchers’ five strategies to push for this radical shift:

  1. International and national commitment toward a healthy diet based on the aforementioned recommendations
  2. Reorienting of agriculture and fishing priorities from high quantity production to producing a diverse array of healthy foods 
  3. Call for an agricultural revolution driven by sustainability though improved fertilizer and water use; enhancing biodiversity; recycling phosphorous; and more
  4. Strong governance of the world’s land and oceans, from providing regional subsidies; restoring and reforesting lands; protecting intact ecosystems and sustainably expanding aquaculture
  5. Reduction of food loss during production as well as food waste at consumption levels

Man angry over wait for McDonald’s French fries throws hot coffee at worker, report says

South Carolina authorities have arrested a man accused of throwing hot coffee in the face of a young McDonald’s worker in Camden last month after he became angry over a delay in his French fries order.

>> Read more trending news 

Police issued a warrant for Joshua Emery Noel on Jan. 11 and said Noel turned himself in Tuesday, according to WISTV.

Noel was arrested and jailed on a $7,500 bond, WIS reported.

>> Related: Florida man attacks McDonald's employees in dispute over straws, police say

He’s facing second-degree assault and battery charges over the incident, which was captured on McDonald’s drive-thru window security camera.

The worker was just 16 years old. 

States warn money about to run out for food stamps during government shutdown

As the government shutdown enters its record 27th day, families across the country are fighting to make ends meet.

>> Read more trending news 

Some local families are already battling with anxiety about how they're going to put food on the table, while desperately hoping for the shutdown to end.

My concern is what will we eat? What will the children eat?” asked Cynthia Hayes, a parent of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools student. “Paycheck to paycheck and that’s the worst.”

Families already in need are facing another challenge during the shutdown. Money for February will be loaded onto EBT cards in the next few days, at least two weeks earlier than usual, but still has to last through the end of February.

>> Related: Government shutdown: Trump says he's canceled upcoming Pelosi trip

“The food stamps help me a great deal,” Hayes said. “We do fine with bread and water but the children they ain't having none of that."

In North Carolina, there are more than 650,000 households receiving food stamps under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Recipients are being told to budget the money and plan ahead because if the government shutdown isn’t resolved soon, officials say there may not be any money for SNAP benefits in March.

>> Related: School system will reduce lunch menus due to shutdown

“What are they going to do when they run out?” Hayes asked. “I’m just praying and hoping that things resolve very quickly because we’re in for hell.”

Sherri Miller, a school social worker at Thomasboro Academy, said the majority of families she serves receive some type of government aid.

“At this school, 90 or better, we’re completely free lunch school,” she said.

Miller said she stocks her office with uniforms and supplies to help.

>> Related: Government shutdown could affect Super Bowl ads, travel

“Most of my families have been evicted. They have had some kind of major setback,” she said.

Miller said a number of parents tell her the shutdown is hitting them hard.

“How am I going to make it next month? What does this mean for me and my household?” Miller said.

Thomasboro Academy has a food pantry available for families, and Miller said free lunch will not stop.

The Department of Health and Human Services says that despite the partial government shutdown, people can still apply for food stamps online.

>> Related: Trump administration moves to tighten work requirements for food stamps

“The funds are there, they will be there and we have so much community involvement that it is not a concern,” Miller said.

Emotional support alligator visits senior home, is just like a dog, owner says

Joie Henney’s emotional support animal is a head turner. Meet Wally the alligator.

>> Read more trending news 

Wally is around 3 years old, about 4 ½ feet long, with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and large eyes. He likes to hang out on the couch and rumple a perfectly made bed, Henney told the York Daily Record recently.

Henney said Wally is like a dog who wants to be loved and petted. And, in fact that’s what the former host of “Joie Henney’s Outdoors,” a hunting and fishing show on ESPN from 1989 until 2000, told residents at the Glatfelter Community Center in York County during a visit there with Wally.

Henney said Wally is a pretty mellow alligator who likes people -- and not as a potential food source.

Curiosity eventually go the best of folks at the assisted living center, including staffers, and they soon crowded around the gator and its handler.

>> Trending: Giant gator interrupts golf match, strolls through links like a regular player

“I’m not scared of snakes,” one woman told the Record, “but that thing has a lot of teeth.”

Henney said the alligator particularly liked the top of his head rubbed and that his eyes close like a dog’s when the top of his head is patted.

He helped rescue the gator when it was young, about 14 months old, after Florida condo developers threatened to kill alligators that lived on land they wanted to build on, the newspaper reported.

Henney said he always liked alligators, so he agreed to take Wally from a friend who was involved with the rescue.

He said he realized that Wally could be an emotional support animal and he decided to pursue that avenue. 

And it seemed the seniors at the facility loved the visit from Wally. 

When Wally isn’t engaged in emotional support activities he likes to hang out with Henney’s other gator, Scrappy, in a 300-gallon pond Henney built for the alligators in his living room.

>> Trending: 9-foot alligator pulled from sewer in Florida, scares neighbors

Henney also told the Record that Wally loves to watch TV and that his some of his favorite foods are rats and chicken.

Paramedic bitten by patient blames Detroit police

A paramedic in Detroit who was recently bitten by a patient while responding to a call is blaming his injury on insufficient police backup.

>> Read more trending news

Early on Jan. 8, police were called to a domestic disturbance at a Detroit home, The Detroit News reported. A 17-year-old girl had gotten into a fight with her family and climbed onto the roof, said Detroit police Cmdr. DeShawne Sims.

Officers were able to talk the girl down from the roof. While officers and paramedics tried to get the girl on a gurney she became combative, Sims said.

That’s when the girl bit paramedic Daniel Joseph on the wrist and also bit an officer. Police said in a press conference Friday that once the girl became combative, more units were called.

Joseph was off duty because of the injury for at least a few days, WJBK-TV reported. He posted a picture of the injury to his Facebook page, along with criticism of Detroit police.

"Police on scene didn't maintain control of her or the scene," he wrote on Facebook. "This is what happens when police runs continue to get pawned off on EMS."

The Detroit Police Department held a press conference on Friday to respond to Joseph’s claims in the post.

"That statement couldn't be further from the truth," Sims said at the press conference. "We were there together; our people were injured just like they were injured."

Mike Nevin, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association union, says Joseph’s situation is indicative of a larger public safety problem in the city.

"This is just more spin to try to make it sound like Detroit's public safety isn't broken,” Nevin told The Detroit News of Detroit PD’s response to Joseph. “The issue is that the police didn't control the scene properly. Sometimes you need more than two officers on a scene."

A spokesman for the mayor told WXYZ-TV there is no staffing problem in Detroit. Sims said the Jan. 8 incident remains under investigation.

The 17-year-old girl was charged with assault and resisting officers.

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