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Photos: Inside $550K Lion Gate Estate, whimsical home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars

In the market for a whimsical $550,000 home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars and statues lurking around every corner? No? You'll still want to check out the now-viral listing for Detroit's Lion Gate Estate. Trust us.

Spring 2018: 5 things to know about the vernal equinox

Spring is finally here with the arrival of the vernal equinox, as determined by people who base their seasons on the Earth’s position relative to the sun and stars. Here are five things to know:

1. What is it? During the vernal equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and the northern and southern hemispheres get exactly the same amount of rays. Night and day are almost equal length.

>> Spring 2018: What’s the difference between meteorological spring and astronomical spring?

2. What does equinox mean? The Earth spins on a tilted axis, which means its northern and southern hemispheres trade places in receiving more light as it orbits the sun. The axis is not inclined toward or away from the sun at the equinox, which is derived from the Latin words for equal (aequus) and night (nox).

3. Why is it important? For ancient societies, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes marked when winter turned to spring and when summer turned to fall, respectively, and helped people track time-sensitive things, such as when to plant crops.

>> Read more trending news 

4. Didn’t spring start already? Meteorological spring started March 1. Forecasters like to start the season on the first day of March because they prefer a calendar in which each season starts on the same day every year. It helps with record keeping, among other reasons. But the Earth, sun and stars don’t quite conform to the Gregorian calendar – thus the vernal equinox doesn’t fall on the same day every year.

5. What's next? The summer solstice is June 21, but meteorological summer begins a few weeks earlier on June 1.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Ohio lawmaker's bill to name Labrador retriever state dog gets 'ruff' response from PETA

Ohio State Rep. Jeff Rezabek wants to name the Labrador retriever as the official state dog, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would rather that the American mutt get the special designation.

>> PHOTOS: Official state dogs

PETA, an animal rights group with 6.5 million members, fired off a letter to Rezabek, R-Clayton, to tell him that his well-intentioned legislation could end up hurting Labradors.

>> Read more trending news 

Puppy mills would cash in on the demand, while Ohio’s animal shelters would see an uptick in Labradors when new owners discover that they’re expensive, time-consuming and in need of training, according to PETA.

>> On Patio pooch? Bills would let restaurants decide whether to allow dogs

“The last thing that Ohio’s already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a written release. “If Ohioans’ hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.”

>> On Vicious dogs: Ohio moves to change laws on dog owners

Rezabek introduced the Labrador bill earlier this month, and it has yet to receive a hearing. He said he had not yet seen the letter from PETA.

Claire's mall jewelry chain files for bankruptcy

Claire’s Stores Inc., a fashion accessories chain, has filed for bankruptcy.

>> Read more trending news 

The retailer and its affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The move could help with Claire’s $2 billion debt load. “Claire’s is growing, not shrinking, its business. The company expects its concessions business to grow by more than 4,000 stores in 2018,” the company said in a statement.

>> On Toys ‘R’ Us reportedly preparing to close all stores

Apollo paid more than $3 billion to acquire Claire’s from Rowland Schaefer, and began expanding the business, adding about 350 stores from 2010 to 2013. Claire’s expects to reduce debt by about $1.9 billion, after reaching an agreement with creditors including Elliott Management Corp. and Monarch Alternative Capital, which will give the company some $575 million in new capital.

>> On Jewelry store company expects to close 200 stores

Claire’s isn’t the only retailer to file bankruptcy recentlyToys ‘R’ Us also filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate all of its stores in the U.S. Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 in September 2017. The retailer was $5 billion in debt as of April 29. At the time of bankruptcy, the company said it would close about one-fifth of its store locations. Closing sales are expected to conclude in April.

Many students misbehaved this St. Patrick's Day, university president says

University of Dayton students who ignored orders and acted out against police during St. Patrick’s Day activities Saturday were called out in a letter sent this morning from University President Eric F. Spina to the student body.

>> Read more trending news

“Today I am deeply disappointed in the behavior of many of you. I witnessed groups of students assault police officers, shoot fireworks into crowds, and put themselves and their friends in danger,” Spina wrote. 

Police responded to the report of a large crowd that had gathered on Lowes Street. Bottles, rocks and firecrackers were reportedly thrown at officers, which forced them to retreat. Additional officers from the UD and Dayton police departments were called. By 6:30 p.m., police dressed in riot gear cleared the streets and ordered students to go inside their homes.

“The large gatherings that block streets, the disregard for the safety of others, and the disrespect for the police who were there to keep people safe in no way constitutes community,” Spina’s letter reads. “This police response was appropriate and necessary because this behavior presented significant danger to the safety of students and police.

One person was hurt by a thrown object during the police action on Saturday, according to the university.

Dayton officers dressed in riot gear and holding shields were also struck by thrown objects, but no injuries were reported, according to UD spokeswoman Cilla Shindell.

Shindell said there were a few other minor injuries, “a few misdemeanor arrests and student disciplinary referrals” reported during the day, but full reports were not immediately available.

Some minor damage to university property — lawns and landscaping — was reported and a few private vehicles were reportedly damaged during the day, Shindell said.

“No one has been arrested as yet for activities related to dispersing the crowd,” she said.

Shindell said, in terms of how police respond to large disturbances such as what happened on Lowes Street, each situation is assessed for the best response.

“In general, it is good practice to get everyone off the street as peacefully as possible and keep them out of harm’s way until the street is cleared,” Shindell said. “This helps police identify those who are involved in disorderly behavior and those who are not. After the street was clear, police went to each of the houses to let them encourage those who were not residents to leave the property and let residents know they were free to leave their houses.”

Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States

Constance Petot didn't think twice about the push button starter on her car until it almost killed her and her toddler last Valentine's Day.

>> Read more trending news

"He just went completely limp in my arms. It's the most terrifying moment in my entire life," said Petot.

The busy mom was ending her work day with a conference call as she was pulling into the garage of her parents' Florida home, where she was staying.

"As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door," Petot said. "And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button."

The mistake sent carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, flooding through their home as she got 13-month-old Parker ready for bed.

The car was still on after Petot left the garage.

"My son woke up around 12:30 a.m. and was screaming," Petot recalls.

She got out of bed to pick him up.

Petot thinks her son, Parker, may have had a headache because she now knows the level of carbon monoxide at the time was high enough to have killed them within about 20 minutes.

"Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there," Petot said. "And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on."

A WSB-TV investigation has tracked more than two dozen injuries and deaths around the country connected to cars with keyless ignitions being left on, with families left wondering how this could happen.

Cars with keyless ignition have no key and are designed to start with the push of a button. But it is also easier to forget to turn off the car.

The family of Bill Thomason and Eugenia (Woo) Thomason say the couple likely never realized their mistake. Their Toyota Avalon ran inside their closed garage for 32 hours as they slept.

"We know that they went to bed that night and didn't wake up the next morning," said Will Thomason, who now lives in Atlanta.

His brother Dave Thomason also lives in the metro area, and they both rushed to Greenville, South Carolina, to get to their parents, but it was too late.

"By the time they were found they were essentially brain dead," said Will Thomason. "You can't prepare for something like this."

The sons say the active retirees had just renewed their wedding vows after 50 years and adored their five grandchildren, who they won't get to see grow up.

"Oh, it's been just absolutely terrible," said Dave Thomason. "We all know that people can get killed in car accidents due to different things, but a car sitting alone, basically doing nothing but running?"

The brothers said their pain is worsened by the number of times they've now heard the same story, with reported deaths and injuries connected to running cars around the country.

The Thomason family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, which has already settled with several of the other families.

"Hell yeah, that makes me angry. I mean, we've lost our parents," said Will Thomason.

"Nobody is in the car, it's been running for however long. The car should have an automatic cutoff. I mean, to me that's a very easy fix," said Dave Thomason.

Records show since 2011 the federal government has been studying the need for an external alert to be placed on cars that have button ignitions, but has yet to require car companies to do anything to include an external alert.

"There's probably 25 other things that car makers do ... for safety. Well, this is a life and death safety thing and it seems to me that this is an easy thing for them to address, and they aren't addressing it," Will Thomason said.

WSB-TV tested more than a dozen of the most popular cars to see what happens when you leave them running and walk away with the key fob.

Most of the cars had a dashboard display that notes that the key fob has left the vehicle. Some even emit a low interior sound, similar to the one that reminds drivers to fasten their seat belts. 

However, if a driver has left the vehicle, he or she wouldn't see that display or hear that warning. Very few of the cars made an exterior noise.

The loudest warning came from the Chevy Impala, which utilizes the car's horn.

Petot didn't hear the three low beeps her car made and she's lived with the guilt ever since.

"I absolutely take responsibility for what happened," she said. "And I think that it could happen to anybody."

But she said the price for being distracted or forgetful should not be death.

"We were incredibly lucky. We absolutely wouldn't be here," Petot said while watching Parker play in their new Marietta home. "He is definitely my little hero Valentine."

Petot said the day they moved in to their new home she purchased carbon monoxide detectors for each of the rooms.

Country music personality Hazel Smith has died at the age of 83

There are many who have played a part in the landscape of country music, many who have added their talents to the tapestry of the music genre that has had an impact on so many lives. many who have affected the history of Nashville and country music and many who have left us sooner than we would have liked.

>> Read more trending news 

One of those people is Hazel Smith.

According to “The Tennessean,” the longtime Nashville media personality passed away at her home on March 18 following “a period of declining health.” She was 83.

Declaring herself country music’s mother hen, Hazel was a fixture on Nashville’s Music Row for decades. She was a journalist when female journalists weren’t a common thing. She was also a songwriter, a publicist, a cookbook author and a television personality as host of CMT’s “Southern Fried Flicks.”

>> Related: Country treasure Willie Nelson releases new video for a song we all can relate to

Yet, one of her most meaningful and lasting contributions to country music is the fact that she coined the term “outlaw music” while she was working as a publicist back in the early 1970s for the Glaser Brothers’ Hillbilly Central office and studio.

“Now, it doesn’t say this in mine or any other dictionary I’ve seen, but it said that ‘outlaw’ meant virtually living on the outside of the written law,” Hazel told “The Nashville Scene” in 1997, as reported on by “The Tennessean.” “It just made sense to me, because [record producers] Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were doing marvelous music, but this was another step in another direction.”

Soon after the news of her death was released, many in the country music community headed to their social media accounts to express their sadness over the news, including producer Buddy Cannon.

>> Related: Thomas Rhett’s little one couldn’t be more adorable in this picture

Very sorry to hear of the passing of Hazel Smith,” Buddy said.

Hazel was a wonderful lady who was a great friend to many of us. She was a colorful, tell it like she saw it kind of a person, and you never had to wonder about her stand on something. Willie Nelson credits Hazel with connecting the term ‘outlaw music’ with himself, Waylon, Tompall [Glaser] and all the musical renegades that broke out of the Nashville music factory prison back in the 1970s. We all loved Hazel, and her presence will not soon be forgotten. Rest easy Hazel Smith,” Cannon said.

Latest Austin explosion has experts tweaking bomber profile

Law enforcement and others seeking clues into the mind of what now appears to be a serial bomber say the latest explosive incident on Sunday night, the city’s fourth over 17 days, provided more trail crumbs than definitive signposts pointing toward a potential suspect.

>> Read more trending news 

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley has said preliminary indications are that the newest bomb is similar enough in construction to be connected to the previous three. That doesn’t necessarily mean all were manufactured and planted by the same person.

But if that does turn out to be the case, experts said, the latest attack would slightly alter their profile of the serial bomber’s methods and motive.

Police on Monday said it appears as though a trip wire was used to trigger the latest blast in Southwest Austin, revealing two new important pieces of information about the bomber.

>> Related: Austin bombings: What we know about the bomber’s habits

The first is that the new form of detonation indicates the person making the explosive has a higher level of skill or sophistication, said Fred Milanowski, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ special agent in charge of the Houston field division.

The earlier bombs, which were hidden in packages, appear to have been detonated by movement devices, which would complete a circuit when the package was lifted or tilted, experts said. The latest incident means that investigators now must contemplate a bomber capable of using multiple methods to start an explosion, perhaps even by timer or remote control.

>> Related: Unabomber: TV shows, movies and books about Ted Kaczynski 

A trip wire, which typically works by stringing a taut string across a pathway, detonates a bomb when a person pushes into it. Stringing a wire across or near a route used by multiple people could introduce a new element of randomness to the attacks, said James R. Fitzgerald, a former FBI profiler who worked on the Unabomber case.

Employing a detonating device that doesn’t target any particular person would indicate a dangerous capriciousness and callousness, he said — the bomber “wants to strike out at some perceived wrong, and anyone 

>> Related: ‘Serial bomber' suspected in Austin explosions, police say: live updates 

By mixing his targets — from specific people who receive a package on their porch to anyone who stumbles by — the bomber could be trying to spread general fear and unease throughout the city, Fitzgerald said.

Or he might be purposefully trying to distract from his real intention.

>> Related: BACKGROUND: Bombs in Austin attacks constructed from readily available materials

That was the case when, in December 1989, an Atlanta attorney named Robert Robertson was killed when he opened a brown package he received at home. Investigators at first thought his death was connected to a virtually identical fatal bomb detonated at the house of federal Judge Robert Vance two days earlier. But they later learned Walter Moody had killed Robertson as misdirection.

Read more here.

Confessed Parkland school shooter’s brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

The brother of confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday afternoon for trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Parkland, according to the Broward County Sheriff’ Office. 

>> Read more trending news 

Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to the arrest report. 

The sheriff’s office said he rode his skateboard through the campus, passing all locked doors and gates. Deputies said he was previously warned by school officials to stay away from the campus. 

The sheriff’s office said Zachary Cruz has no connections to Broward County at this time. Before the shootings, he lived with his brother and family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a Lantana-area mobile home. 

>> Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail after the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead. 

After the fatal shootings, Zachary Cruz was put under a mental-health evaluation. He told investigators that as he drove home with Deschamps after he heard about the shootings he said, "I don't want to be alive. I don't want to deal with this stuff."

>> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims 

He has denied wanting either to kill or harm himself. 

Priscilla Presley shares new details about Elvis Presley’s final days

Elvis Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, candidly opens up about the King of Rock-'n'-Roll’s final years, and his painful drug addiction, during the debut of “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” at SXSW.

>> Read more trending news 

Elvis Presley may have passed away more than 40 years ago, but the life that he lived continues to fascinate people across the globe.

As fans know, during his final years, Elvis was deeply addicted to prescription drugs. His ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, is now opening up about the unfortunate addiction that sadly led to the late musical icon’s tragic death in 1977.

>> Related: Things get personal in the Lisa Marie Presley bankruptcy saga

According to Fox News, Priscilla, who helped produce a documentary that honors the King called “Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” spoke about her ex-husband’s issue with substance abuse during the movie’s debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, on March 14.

It was difficult for all of us. We certainly didn’t see it coming,” she said of Elvis’ unfortunate passing at the age of 42. “But we certainly saw the journey he was taking.”

She also added, “People go, ‘Well, why didn’t anyone do anything?’ Well, that’s not true. People there in the inner group did, but you did not tell Elvis Presley what to do. You did not. I mean, you’d be out of there faster than a scratched cat. They would try and no way. He knew what he was doing.”

Elvis and Priscilla met in 1959 while he was serving in the U.S. Army. During the candid discussion at SXSW, Priscilla also noted that he started taking pills when he was stationed in Germany.

>> Related: Priscilla Presley divulges a detail about Elvis Presley that will shock you

“They gave them to the soldiers over there to keep them awake,” she said. “He was on guard at that time. He had maneuvers that he had to do late at night, so the pills were given to the guys, and that’s how he started. And if you take a sleeping pill, you have to do something to get yourself awake … He was in unchartered territory, he truly was, and he did this and tried to do this alone.”

Fans can learn more about the late star in “Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” The documentary, which chronicles his creative journey from early childhood through his final recording session, held in the famous Jungle Room of his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, premieres April 14 on HBO.

Alert mail carrier saves man’s life in Georgia

A Georgia mail carrier is being credited with saving a man’s life.

>> Read more trending news

Amanda Nalley said her suspicion about uncollected mail led her to check with a neighbor and then call 911.

"I left his mail on the door knob. Tuesday, when I came back, I knew something was wrong because the mail hadn't been picked up," Nalley said.

Nalley, who has delivered mail on the same route for 13 years, told WSB-TV that one of her customers, Rodney Garner, looked forward to her arrival every day and usually waved out the window.

When she realized that Garner had not greeted her or answered his door for two days, she worried something may have happened to him.

And she was right.

Forsyth County sheriff's deputies and EMTs found the 84-year-old man barely conscious on the floor of his bedroom.

They believe he had been in the same location for two days.

"They said he might have had a heart attack or seizure. He was not responding well. His eyes were open a little bit. They said if he had been there another hour he would have passed away," Nalley said.

He said he had slipped while cleaning the floor in house. 

"I just hit the floor and that was it," Garner said.

He said that the staff at Northside Hospital Forsyth was taking good care of him and he looked forward to thanking Nalley in person for all her help.

"I appreciated that. A man that won't appreciate somebody for saving his life, that's pretty darn sorry," Garner said.

Nalley said she was only doing her job.

"I love my job. I love my customers. Whatever I can do, I just do it," Nalley said.

WATCH: Elderly woman drives mobility scooter onto busy freeway scaring drivers

A harrowing Facebook video has gone viral on social media. 

>> Read more trending news 

A woman, who appears to be in her 70s or 80s, was seen driving a mobility scooter onto a dangerous Memphis highway Friday evening around 7 p.m. The terrifying incident was recorded live on Facebook

The video was being filmed as a cry for help. Facebook user, Towanna Murphy, asked her friends to please share the information with police as she followed the woman onto Interstate 55.

"Whoever is watching this video, please call 9-1-1, so we can get this lady where she's going," Murphy said.

The video ended with a Memphis police officer working to assist the woman off of the scooter, but she refused to comply. 

>> Related: WATCH: Baby elephant takes tourist on roll through mud. It’s hysterical!

Police were eventually able to help the woman to safety.

Serial bomber Eric Rudolph targeted Olympics, gay club, abortion clinics

As federal, state and local authorities in Texas deal with a string of deadly bombings in Austin, residents in Alabama and Georgia are reminded of a similar terror that arrived under the name of Eric Robert Rudolph.

Rudolph’s reign of terror began at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, where the 1996 Olympic Summer Games were underway. Revelers were enjoying the festive atmosphere when, around 1:20 a.m. on July 27, an explosion rocked the park.

Two people died and another 110 were injured.

Related: ‘Serial bomber’ suspected in Austin explosions, police say

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the 20th anniversary of the bombing that security guard Richard Jewell, who was having trouble with rowdy college kids, went for backup and found Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Tom Davis. When they returned to the area where the kids had been, Jewell spotted an abandoned backpack.

Bomb specialists they called in to deal with the backpack took a look -- and ordered them to evacuate the area immediately, the Journal-Constitution reported. Jewell, Davis and other law enforcement officers cleared the area, including a nearby TV camera tower.

That’s when the bomb exploded.

“It was just a huge explosion,” Davis told the Journal-Constitution in 2016. “A very loud explosion and a lot of heat. It forced me to the ground. I just saw people laying everywhere, many of them screaming and hurt severely.”

Davis was one of the more than 100 who were injured by shrapnel from the bomb. Nearby, he could see the body of Alice Hawthorne, a 44-year-old mother from Albany who had traveled to Atlanta with her daughter to see the games. 

The second person who died that night was Melih Uzunyol, a Turkish journalist who suffered a fatal heart attack as he rushed to the scene, the Journal-Constitution reported

Jewell, who is now considered a hero for saving the lives of more than two dozen people, was initially considered a suspect in the case. Though he was cleared about three months after the bombing, the cloud of suspicion hung over his head until Rudolph’s arrest.

Jewell died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 44.

Rudolph, who years later issued a detailed manifesto outlining his anti-abortion, anti-gay beliefs, next bombed an abortion clinic in January 1997 in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. About a month later, he bombed an Atlanta lesbian bar, the Otherside Lounge, injuring five of the patrons there. 

In both of those bombings, Rudolph had planted secondary bombs timed to detonate after police and emergency personnel had arrived, the New York Times reported at the time. In the Sandy Springs bombing at Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services, it was the second bomb that injured six people, including detectives and reporters covering the first explosion. 

Police investigating the bombing at the Otherside Lounge found the second bomb in a backpack in the parking lot, the Times reported. The Atlanta Police Department’s bomb squad used a robot to detonate the device. 

Rhonda Armstrong, a bartender at the club, told the Times a few days after the bombing that patrons at first thought someone had shot a woman there.

“She rolled her sleeve up and had a spike nail through her arm,” Armstrong told the newspaper

All of Rudolph’s bombs were similar in that they used nails and other shrapnel to maim and kill his victims.

Related: For investigators, a race to decode hidden messages in Austin bombings

His final bombing took place Jan. 29, 1998, at New Woman All Women Health Care in Birmingham, where he left a FedEx box packed with dynamite and nails in some bushes near the entrance. As nurse Emily Lyons arrived for work around 7:30 a.m. that morning, she and clinic security guard Robert “Sandy” Sanderson -- also an off-duty Birmingham police officer -- spotted the package. 

As soon as Sanderson touched the package, it exploded, sending shrapnel through his body and killing him instantly, according to Lyons survived the blast, but lost an eye and was left with chronic injuries and pain. 

The bombing was the first fatal bombing of an abortion clinic in the United States.

It was in Birmingham that Rudolph finally slipped up. He used a remote device to detonate the bomb, watching from a distance the explosion that killed Sanderson and maimed Lyons.

A University of Alabama in Birmingham student who felt his dormitory shake from the blast ran outside. That alert pre-med student, Jermaine Hughes, noticed the sort of odd behavior that, decades later, would help federal investigators pin down the Boston Marathon bombers.

As everyone within blocks of the explosion ran toward the devastation, Rudolph walked in the opposite direction. 

Suspicious, Hughes jumped into his car and drove around Rudolph, who was on foot, to get a good look at his face. Then he ran into a nearby McDonald’s and called police, the Los Angeles Times reported

Jeff Tickal, a lawyer in Birmingham from Opelika, was there eating breakfast when he heard Hughes urging the dispatcher to send help. When he also spotted Rudolph, Tickal began following him. 

Seeing Rudolph disappear into some woods, Tickal got in his own car and began looking for the suspicious man. By happenstance, he found the road where Rudolph had hidden his truck and watched as Rudolph emerged from the woods.

Tickal followed him when he drove away, writing Rudolph’s license plate number on his coffee cup from breakfast, the Los Angeles Times reported. He pulled up beside Rudolph at a light and got a look at his face. 

When the light turned green, Rudolph drove on and Tickal sought out a police officer. By that time, Hughes had also spotted Rudolph behind the wheel and jotted down the truck’s license plate number on an envelope he had in his car.

The combined actions of Tickal and Hughes gave a name to the bomber. 

>> Read more trending news

Richard D. Schwein Jr., who in 2014 retired from the FBI as the special agent in charge of the Birmingham division, told in 2013 that identifying Rudolph underscored the importance of those witnesses. 

“This kid saw Rudolph as an anomaly, much like (in) the Boston bombings,” Schwein said. “Everybody else was going in one direction; this guy was going in another direction. Everybody else was kind of in a panic and he was calm. And the witness thought right away, ‘This has got to be the bomber,’ and followed him.”

Law enforcement descended on Rudolph’s North Carolina home, but he was nowhere to be found. He was soon on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, but it would be another five years before the avid outdoorsman and survivalist, who vanished in the mountains, would be captured. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was ultimately a small-town police officer who brought one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history to an end. Jeff Postell, a 21-year-old rookie on the Murphy, North Carolina, police force was on patrol around 3 a.m. May 31, 2003, when he spotted a man rummaging for food in a dumpster behind a grocery store.

Though the man, later identified as Rudolph, tried to hide, he was taken into custody.

Rudolph pleaded guilty to all four bombings in April 2005 to avoid the death penalty, the New York Times reported. He was sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole. 

He remained unrepentant for his actions and, in a statement before the court, called his violent acts against abortion providers a “moral duty.”

“As I go to a prison cell for a lifetime, I know that ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,’” Rudolph said, quoting scripture

Birmingham clinic bombing survivor Emily Lyons called Rudolph a coward.

“I have more guts in my broken little finger than you have in your whole body,” Lyons said, according to the New York Times

Rudolph is housed at the Florence Supermax federal prison in Colorado, sometimes called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” He self-published his autobiography, “Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant,” with help from his brother in 2013. 

Rudolph is unable to receive any proceeds or otherwise benefit from his crimes. 

Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say

That water bottle you just purchased is likely contaminated with microplastic particles, according to a new investigation from researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia and journalism organization Orb Media.

>> Read more trending news 

Through an analysis of 259 water bottles from 11 brands sold across nine countries, including the United States, scientists found 93 percent were contaminated with an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water. That’s twice the amount of contamination typically found in tap water.

Major brand names such as Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino were among the water bottles tested.

>> Related: Do you need 8 glasses of water per day? 6 myths and truths about drinking water

"In this study, 65 percent of the particles we found were actually fragments and not fibers," lead researcher Sherri Mason told AFP.

According to the research, the plastic debris found in the water bottles included polypropylene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make bottle caps. The particles are likely a result of the industrial bottling and plastic packaging process.

But the effects of these chemicals on human health, scientists say, are still unclear. 

“As much as 90% of ingested plastic could pass through a human body, but some of it may end up lodged in the gut, or traveling through the lymphatic system, according to research by the European Food Safety Authority,” Time reported.

>> Related: Considering the water diet? Here’s what you need to know 

Previous research has linked synthetic chemicals often found in plastic to “certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,” Mason said, prompting calls for further studies on the possible health implications of plastics pollution.

Limited edition Crystal Ball Frappuccino in Starbucks’ future

Remember the limited edition, pink-and-blue, cotton-candy-colored Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks?

Its colors, which changed with the twirl of a straw, made it an instant hit on Instagram. It was followed by the Dragon Frappuccino, sparked by creative baristas who were out of ingredients to make the elusive Unicorn, and the Zombie Frappuccino around Halloween.

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Starbucks may be at it again. 

According to shops and workers, a new creation, known as the Crystal Ball Frappuccino, will be available on Thursday, March 22, and will only be on the menu for four days, or as long as supplies last, according to Business Insider.

Teen Vogue reported that like the Unicorn Frap, Starbuck’s latest creation will also be optimized to make a stir on Instagram. Though the look and taste is not yet known, Business Insider reported the cream-based drink will utilize peach flavors.

According to baristas who couldn’t wait to experiment and post their photos to Instagram, the Crystal Ball Frappucino appears to include marbled turquoise hues with whipped cream and a crunchy, crystal-like topping.

No matter what the flavor, the look is sure to be eye-catching.

Whether another social media whirlwind is in Starbucks’ future has yet to be revealed.

Want to lose weight? Give your breakfast an energy boost, study says

Changing up your breakfast menu to include more high-energy foods may help you lose weight, improve your diabetes and decrease the need for insulin.

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That’s according to new research from Israel recently published in the medical journal the Endocrine Society. Scientists followed 11 women and 18 men with obesity and Type 2 diabetes for three months.

During the study, the participants were randomly assigned to consume one of two weight-loss diets. Each diet contained the same daily calorie intake.

>> Related: Is a slice of pizza for breakfast healthier than a bowl of cereal?

Participants in the first group (Bdiet) ate three meals: a large breakfast, medium-sized lunch and small dinner. Those in the second group (6Mdiet) consumed six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day, a diet often recommended for traditional diabetes management and weight loss.

Researchers examined participants’ overall glucose levels for 14 days at baseline, during the first two weeks on a diet and at the end of the study.

After three months, they found that participants in the Bdiet group lost 11 pounds. Those in the 6Mdiet group actually averaged a 3-pound gain after three months.

>> On The truth about the Quick Weight Loss program

Researchers also noted that members of the Bdiet group needed significantly less insulin and had significantly fewer carbohydrate cravings compared to the 6Mdiet group.

Additionally, just two weeks into the study, the scientists noticed a significant reduction of overall glycemia on the Bdiet when participants had nearly the same weight as at baseline. This suggested that “a diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss,” lead study author Daniela Jakubowicz, a professor of medicine at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, said in a news release.

>> Related: These are the best diets for 2018

"This study shows that, in obese insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients, a diet with three meals per day, consisting of a big breakfast, average lunch and small dinner, had many rapid and positive effects compared to the traditional diet with six small meals evenly distributed throughout the day: better weight loss, less hunger and better diabetes control while using less insulin," Jakubowicz said.

"The hour of the day — when you eat and how frequently you eat — is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat," she added. "Our body metabolism changes throughout the day. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening."

>> On The questions you were too afraid to ask about healthy eating

In 2016, Jakubowicz and her team of researchers also concluded that a large whey protein breakfast may help people manage Type 2 diabetes.

“The whey protein diet significantly suppresses the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin.’ A whey protein drink is easily prepared and provides the advantages of a high-protein breakfast on weight loss, reduction of hunger, glucose spikes and HbA1c,” Jakubowicz said.

Other items to include in a high-energy breakfast, according to Harvard Health: high-fiber, whole-grain cereals and breads, steel-cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt or salmon. 

Austin bombings Q&A: What are the distinctive traits of a serial bomber?

What would make a person create a bomb, set it to go off then deliver it to a victim?

A variety of things, according to a forensic psychiatrist who has studied some of the worst killers society has ever seen. 

According to Dr. Michael Welner, a leading forensic psychiatrist and chairman of The Forensic Panel, a person (almost always a male) who would set a bomb to kill someone is interested in “spectacle through destruction,” hoping that news cameras are rolling following the explosion.

>> Read more trending news

Welner is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is the developer of the Depravity Standard ( ), which delineates traits of the worst of murderers. The Forensic Panel is a practice that works on complex homicides around the United States.

We asked Welner to explain the influences behind what may drive a serial bomber and the traits most common to bombers. 

Q: Are there traits common to serial bombers?

A: Male, detail-oriented, motivated by spectacle through destruction as opposed to merely destructiveness. He takes pride in abilities and planning, is socially isolated and quiet, and feels himself as unsuccessful in intimacy. He has a keen awareness of media and its tendencies in reporting.

>>Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Q: Have you seen anything in the coverage of these bombings that would be helpful in identifying the bomber?

A: The most important aspect of coverage is to enlist the community to be vigilant and to watch their communities, film with their smart phones to capture the out-of-the-ordinary, and to report what is suspicious. Serial violent offenders are often identified by tips from people who spotted something or someone who does not add up. 

Also, the more vigilant a community is to catching such a perpetrator, the harder it is for such an offender to attack without being identified. And the serial bomber does not want to be caught. It is best to keep the focus on the initiatives and collectiveness of a community to work together.

<<Police confirm trip wire used in fourth bomb that injured 2

Q: A different bomb trigger – a tripwire – was used in the bombing on Sunday night. The first three attacks involved suspicious packages left on doorsteps. The bomb in the package that exploded Sunday was left on the side of a road. Would a bomber “stick to his script” and not change the way he delivered bombs, or would you be concerned that there was a “copycat: bomber who put the latest bomb by the side of the road?

A: Both are possibilities. … Historically, a serial bomber with a passion and training in explosives will be able to shift methods to take advantage of materials available and opportunities to offend without being caught. 

Q: Police said the bomber is trying to “send a message.” Do serial bombers want to send a message generally, or are they only interested in destruction and murder?

A: Bombers create a spectacle to draw attention. They may be motivated to draw attention to themselves and their power to hold a community in fear, or may attach to a cause to draw attention to it. The key point is that a spectacle killer is destructively motivated even before the crimes begin, but attaches to a cause that he thinks justifies violence.

Q: The first victims were African American and Hispanic. Do you think the bomber is targeting only those groups? Is that something a serial bomber generally does, or are victims randomly chosen? 

A: Those who have chosen to bomb, pick targets for their own reasons. The rationale may or may not make sense to the rest of us. But it makes sense to them. If ethnicities are targeted, it may be driven by a desire to instigate violent race conflict, as Joseph Paul Franklin (a serial killer who, in addition to murdering several people, also shot and wounded businessman Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt) told me he intended when I interviewed him. Likewise, since spectacle murderers are attempting to manipulate the media as much as anything, the bomber and whomever is assisting him may be attempting to manipulate a news cycle by staging violence that inflames racial divisions, or what some call a “false flag.” 

How vulnerable is the U.S. power grid to a cyberattack? 5 things to know

When the Trump administration announced new and tougher sanctions on Russia last week, officials also said the sanctions were, in part, punishment for attempted Russian cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, including the United States’ power grid.

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Over the past several years, hackers have targeted a Vermont utility, power grids in Ukraine and Ireland, a nuclear power plant in the U.S. and U.S. energy companies, according to news reports.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority reported Monday that it was hacked.

>> Related: Researchers: Hackers develop highly customizable cyberweapon aimed at electric grids

The U.S. electrical grid is highly complex with some 3,300 utility companies that work together to deliver power through 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The nation also has 55,000 electrical substations and 5.5 million miles of distribution lines that power millions of homes and businesses, according to a report last year.

Just how vulnerable is the U.S. to a cyberattack on its critical infrastructure, like the power grid?

>> Related: The 2017 Russian sanctions bill: What does it do; what is Russia’s response; will Trump sign it?

In April of 2017, the Council on Foreign Relations released a report on the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid. Because of the importance of electricity to the smooth functioning of society and because of the critical nature of power to the 16 sectors of the U.S economy that make up what’s considered critical infrastructure, a significant attack on the grid could cause serious damage in the U.S., if it were to happen. “Any of the system’s principal elements – power generation, transmission or distribution – could be targeted for a cyberattack,” the agency said.

 Here are 5 things to know:

1- The U.S. power grid has long been considered a target for a major cyberattack; however “carrying out a cyberattack that successfully disrupts grid operations would be extremely difficult, but not impossible,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ report.

 2- The U.S. power grid was built for “reliability and safety” and is fairly easy to defend. During winter weather or a hurricane for example, U.S. power crews are good at anticipating problems and can generally move away from computers to manual operations, cyber security expert Robert M. Lee said in an interview with Scientific American magazine.

>> Related: Hackers target European businesses, banks, services in new cyberattacks

3- Because of computer technology and the growing interconnectedness of the digital landscape, and because returning to manual operations is growing more difficult, Lee said that there is cause for concern. “Our adversaries are getting much more aggressive. They’re learning a lot about our industrial systems, not just from a computer technology standpoint but from an industrial engineering standpoint, thinking about how to disrupt or maybe even destroy equipment. That’s where you start reaching some particularly alarming scenarios,” Lee told Scientific American.

4- The director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael Rogers, in testimony before Congress in 2014, said that China and a few other countries likely had the capability to shut down the U.S. power grid. “Rapid digitization combined with low levels of investment in cybersecurity and a weak regulatory regime suggest that the U.S. power system is as vulnerable - if not more vulnerable - to a cyberattack as systems in other parts of the world,” officials with the Council on Foreign Relations said.

>> Related: Homeland Security investigating after massive cyber attacks take down sites across the internet

5- A cyberattack on the U.S. electric grid could cause power losses in large parts of the United States that could last days or up to several weeks in some places, and it would cause a substantial economic impact, the Council on Foreign Relations reported. The report found the U.S. needs to work to put in place measures to prevent a cyberattack on the power grid, and to find ways to lessen the potentially catastrophic impact should one occur.


Woman’s $12,000 bee sting bill shows how high emergency room costs have climbed

How can a two-hour treatment for a bee sting end up costing a patient $12,000? Prices can soar when the patient goes through a barrage of tests and insurance doesn’t cover the bill, but Sylvia Rosas’ case is shining a light on the cost of health care in the country.

It all started with a simple bee sting in her yard in Florida. Rosas had allergic reactions to stings in the past, but didn’t have an EpiPen, so she went to the emergency room, CNN Money reported. Several doctors looked at her sting and ordered blood tests and an EKG to ensure she wouldn’t have a reaction. The visit, which took less than two hours, happened to be at an out-of-network hospital, so her insurance wouldn’t cover it. Rosas had to pay the bill out of pocket.

Now, she’s second-guessing when she needs to see a doctor so she won’t wind up with the bill later.

>> Read more trending news 

Rick Brown found himself in a similar financial situation, CNN Money reported.

He twisted his ankle. After trying to treat it at home to no avail, he went to his local emergency room, on his own crutches, and was seen by a physician assistant. Brown had an X-ray done on him and was given a splint and a prescription, with a suggestion to see a specialist for the fracture. 

He was billed $2,600 for the ER visit. Then, he received a separate bill for $5,700 from the doctor’s office. Insurance paid half of the ER bill, but denied the doctor’s charges because the person who saw him was out-of-network.

Brown said that if he would have known that the bill wouldn’t be covered, he would have waited a few days longer to see someone else.

Officials with the Health Care Cost Institute say ER visits cost an average of $1,917 in 2016. That’s more than 31 percent higher than it did four years before.

The amount billed by the hospital usually covers the facility fee and some tests and services, CNN Money reported. But it usually doesn’t include the cost patients incur for actually seeing a doctor, which is usually billed separately.

The big question is: Why does it cost so much?

Emergency rooms are seeing more patients, and those patients have severe medical problems.

People with cuts and fevers will more likely go to urgent care locations. Patients with chest pain and those suffering from asthma attacks are seen in emergency rooms, and those conditions are more expensive to treat, CNN Money reported.

Emergency rooms also have access to expensive equipment, like CT scans and MRIs.

So where does that leave patients who need care, but don’t want to gamble with their finances?

First, experts told CNN Money that patients don’t need to sign paperwork with the ER that promises to pay in full just to be seen. Federal law says ERs have to screen and stabilize anyone who comes in.

Second, if you’re stuck with a bill, speak with the health care providers. Prices can be negotiable, CNN Money reported. A professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University found that hospitals mark up some services as much as 340 percent more than Medicare allowances.

“Prices are highly fluctuant and often negotiable,” Martin Makary told CNN Money. “As with new cars, people are not expected to pay the sticker price.” 

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