Adopted Woman Whose Family Thought She Was Dead Reunites with Siblings 60 Years Later: ‘I Feel Whole’

For decades, Sylvia Kewer’s family thought she was dead.

Kewer, who was adopted as a toddler, grew up in Emporia, Virginia, believing she was an only child. All of that changed in August when she learned she has four half-siblings.

“ was saying her whole life she didn’t know what she was. She kept saying, ‘What am I?’ ” Kewer’s daughter, Natalie Graves Tucker, tells PEOPLE.

“Here she is thinking she’s alone all these years and doesn’t know her story … She’s always been a loner and here she has four siblings with children and grandchildren!”

On Nov. 11, Kewer met her half-siblings (and dozens of other family members) at a sweet reunion in Abingdon. Tucker rented a home for the family where they had a cookout and shared old photographs.

“It was a culmination of pictures and conversations and emails that we’ve had with the family over the past few months. It was exciting,” Tucker says. “They just opened their arms with love and so it couldn’t have happened any better. I couldn’t have planned it any better.”

Kewer spent a day and half with her newfound siblings: Billy Ray, 63, Nancy Goode-O’Donnell, 69, Ralph Duff and Curtis Duff, 72.

Tucker says the reunion left her mother feeling loved, she recalls Kewer saying: “I feel whole, reborn, refreshed and stronger than ever.”

A Family Journey

The siblings’ reunion was months in the making, and it all began with a DNA test on Ancestry.com. Tucker and Kewer submitted tests and soon learned that their DNA matched that of several other people — including Ray’s son.

“When I told her that her brother wanted to FaceTime her, she was just like, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ ” Tucker tells PEOPLE. “It’s just so amazing for her. She’s like there’s no longer a question mark. ‘I know who I am and I know what I am.’ ”

Tucker, Ray and Kewer began communicating and, over the next few months, Tucker says she received Facebook messages from cousins, nieces, nephews and more, all eager to attend the cookout Tucker had planned for the family’s reunion.

As the family met and exchanged stories at the rental home from Crooked Cabin Properties, they began to piece together Kewer’s story.

Many of the siblings went their separate ways as children, one was raised by a grandmother, another by their father, and others were adopted. Kewer’s four half-siblings had long known about each other, and reunited at their mother’s funeral in the ’80s.

However, Kewer, born Dorothy Mae Goode, was the mystery.

“Billy found and everybody kept saying, ‘I guess Dorothy was dead,” Tucker tells PEOPLE. “My mom only remembers an orphanage and she remembers my grandparents coming to get her.”

A Fresh Start

Now that Kewer has found her family, she never plans to let them go. Tucker says the siblings exchanged phone numbers, noting that Kewer talks to her half-sister Nancy almost every day.

“There is talk about having another get together next year in the spring or the summer,” Tucker tells PEOPLE. “Everybody wants to get together next year.”

Sneak Peek of Family Portrait: Ben & Daniel’s Road to Adoption

She adds of her mother: “Now that she has everybody’s information, she definitely plans to connect with everybody.”

With the reunion, Tucker says a special bond was formed between Kewer and Nancy.

“Her and her sister just stuck together like glue when they were there,” Tucker tells PEOPLE.


PEOPLE.com

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Woman Who Sabotaged Fiancé’s Kayak Sentenced to 4 Years — But Could Be Released Next Month

Angelika Graswald, the New York woman who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the drowning death of her fiancé as they kayaked on the Hudson River in 2015, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months to four years in state prison, her attorney confirms to PEOPLE.

Graswald had faced murder charges in the death of Vincent Viafore, 46, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in July. 

Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale, previously told PEOPLE he expects her to be home as early as next month due to time served since her arrest in April of 2015.

At the sentencing, Viafore’s sister, Laura Rice, told Judge Robert Freehill that she thinks of her brother’s “last moments alive…and I visualize him trying to survive hypothermia in the freezing cold river, confused and not understanding why the woman who said she loved him and wanted to marry him did nothing to help him,” reports the Poughkeepsie Journal

Viafore drowned on April 19, 2015 in the Hudson River after his kayak capsized in rough seas and windy conditions. He and Graswald were kayaking back to the mainland from an afternoon on Bannerman Island, an island in the Hudson River in Dutchess County. 

Ten days later, Graswald was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after police said she told them she removed a plug from the kayak to destabilize it and had taken a connector off the paddle. 

Once Viafore was in the river, prosecutors said Graswald pulled Viafore’s paddle away from him as he fought for his life, then waited until he had drowned before calling 911.

The motive was $ 250,000 in life insurance policies, prosecutors said.

In her plea deal to the reduced charges, Graswald admitted she knew that the locking clip to Viaforte’s kayak paddle was missing, that he was not wearing a life vest or a wet suit, and that the waters in the Hudson River were dangerously cold and rough at the time.

But it was Graswald’s lack of urgency in seeking help for Viafore after he entered the freezing April waters that Judge Freehill said led to Viafore’s death.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter. 

“It was the immediate act of your being in your kayak and Vincent floundering in the water, and you taking no action to help him,” Freehill said, according to the Times-Herald Record.

Graswald has long maintained her innocence regarding the murder charges. In a statement her attorney released after the sentencing hearing, Graswald said: “I am not a murderer. I’ve said that from the beginning. If I could do anything to bring Vince back, I would.”

Graswald is a native of Latvia, and Viafore’s family wants Graswald deported after she finishes her sentence — a sentence they feel is far too short, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports.

In an interview with reporters after the hearing, Viafore’s mother, Mary Ann Viafore, told reporters that “justice was not served for my son. Four years for taking someone’s life? No way.”


PEOPLE.com

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PEOPLE Explains: Michelle Carter Faces Up to 20 Years for Urging Boyfriend Via Texts to Kill Himself

Today Michelle Carter will learn whether her encouragement of her 18-year-old boyfriend’s 2014 suicide will result in leniency or a long time behind bars.

Carter, then 17, was convicted in June of involuntary manslaughter for urging Conrad Roy III, 18, through texts and phone conversations to kill himself, even as the young man who battled depression told her he wanted to abandon his plan.

Now 20, Carter faces up to 20 years in prison.

Here are six things to know about the case.

1. Conrad Died of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Roy, from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, was known to his friends as a “funny, flirty” athlete who’d recently earned his sea captain’s license and dreamed of taking over his family’s marine towing and salvage business. But he also struggled with anxiety and depression and had previously attempted suicide.

On July 13, 2014, authorities found Roy’s body in his pickup truck, in a parking lot where, the night before, he had attached a hose to a portable generator to fill the cab with the carbon monoxide that killed him.

2. Michelle Carter Implored Roy to Go Through with His Suicide

Investigators soon discovered a series of text messages — eventually more than 1,000, according to prosecutors — sent in the week prior to Roy’s death and exchanged between him and Carter, who said that she was his girlfriend.

Among those were ones from her that stated: “You always say you’re gonna do it, but you never do. I just want to make sure tonight is the real thing,” “You just have to do it” and “It’s painless and quick.”

Police also found Carter’s subsequent written admission to a friend in which she recalled a phone call with Roy, who had exited his truck as it filled with toxic fumes. He told her that he was scared and didn’t want to abandon his family.

“Get back in,” Carter said she told him.

3. Her Lawyer Said She Shouldn’t Have Faced Criminal Charges

Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, doesn’t dispute that his client texted Roy — but he has said the messages were not criminal and did not rise to the level of manslaughter.

“A lot of what has been reported thus far is that Michelle Carter always wanted to endorse Conrad Roy’s plan to kill himself,” he previously told PEOPLE. “For weeks prior to agreeing to his plan, she tried to talk him out of it, and he tried to get her to commit suicide with him.”

Cataldo argued before Carter’s trial that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which allowed the manslaughter charge to proceed, wrongly expanded the crime’s definition to include an alleged killer who was not present at the scene.

He said the court also overlooked that Carter had previously tried to convince Roy not to kill himself.

“It is in the various text messages that she tells him that he should get help and go to McLean Hospital,” a psychiatric facility where Carter had also once been a patient, Cataldo told PEOPLE.

But, he said, Roy “rejected that, stating that she doesn’t understand that he just wants to die. And this was about three weeks prior to him killing himself.”

Cataldo also tried to dismiss the charge against Carter by arguing her texts were free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, ruling that “it was apparent that the defendant understood the repercussions of her role in the victim’s death. Prior to his death, the defendant sought to have the victim delete the text messages between the two.”

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

4. Carter Told a Friend, ‘His Death Was My Fault’

Carter and Roy met several years before his suicide while on separate vacations to Florida; Carter was the granddaughter of a Roy family friend.

Though they lived about an hour apart — Roy in Fairhaven and Carter in Plainville, Massachusetts — the two stayed in touch through calls, emails and texts, Roy’s family and friends have said.

According to police, on July 10, 2014, three days before Roy was found dead, Carter began texting and emailing others and claiming that Roy was missing when she knew otherwise.

Investigators suspect this was part of a larger plot.

As stated in a police affidavit, “It is believed that Carter acted in this way because she was planning to continue to encourage Conrad to take his own life, so as a result she was beginning to put together a plan to get sympathy from her friends, which was evident because at this point she already started explaining that it’s her fault that Conrad is dead, even though he was still alive and speaking and texting with her regularly.”

On the day of Roy’s suicide, Carter texted a friend that “he just called me and there was a loud noise like a motor and I heard moaning like someone was in pain and he wouldn’t answer when I said his name I stayed on the phone for like 20 mins and that’s all I heard.”

She would later write to that same friend, apparently referring to Roy: “His death was my fault … he got out of the car, and I told him to get back in … because I knew he would do it all over again the next day.”

5. The Case Raised Complicated Legal Questions

Carter waived her right to a jury trial and placed her fate in the hands of a judge in Massachusetts’ Bristol County Juvenile Court.

Legal scholars watched closely as her case unfolded, and debated whether it was appropriate to bring criminal charges against someone for words and not actions.

“Prosecutors will have to prove that Carter Conrad Roy to kill himself and essentially caused his death,” Daniel Medwed, a law and criminal justice professor at Northeastern University, told The Washington Post ahead of the trial. “Defense lawyers are going to argue that he’s had suicidal tendencies predating their relationship. They’re going to emphasize that he was alone in his car, that ultimately it was his decision.”

He added, “She knew he was suicidal, but did she know that he was going to go through with it?”

6. The Judge Found Fault With Carter’s Failure to Intervene in Roy’s Final Moments

In his June ruling that found Carter guilty after a six-day trial, Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz zeroed in on Roy’s last moments, when he expressed his fears to Carter while his pickup filled with carbon monoxide.

“She Mr. Roy to get back into the truck, well-knowing of all of the feelings that he exchanged with her: his ambiguities, his fears, his concerns,” the judge said.

“She did nothing. She did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family,” Moniz said of Carter. “Finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction : ‘Get out of the truck.’”

During Carter’s trial, a psychiatrist testified that antidepressants prescribed to her before Roy died may have impeded her ability to empathize with others and make sound decisions. The judge said he did not find that credible.

After Roy’s body was discovered, Carter texted a friend to confess her role.

“I could have stopped it,” she wrote. “I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I told him to get back in.”

Suicide Prevention: What to Know

Experts say some common warning signs of suicide include discussing a desire to die or feeling anxious or hopeless, like a burden, or trapped or in pain; withdrawing from others; extreme mood swings, including anger and recklessness; and abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little).

Many suicides have multiple causes and are not triggered by one event, according to experts, who underline that suicidal crises can be overcome with help. Where mental illness is a factor, it can be treated.

Reaching out to those in need is a simple and effective preventative measure, experts say.

If you or someone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, texting the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or seeking help from a professional.


PEOPLE.com

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John McCain Tells PEOPLE How He Survived His 5 Years as a POW: ‘Faith in God, My Fellow Prisoners, and My Country’

Whether or not you agree with John McCain’s politics, there’s one thing about the 80-year-old Arizona lawmaker—who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer—that seems indisputable: the man is tough as nails.

The former Navy pilot is often described as a “war hero” in the media on account of the horrors he braved after his A-4 Skyhawk was shot down in October 1967 during a bombing run over Hanoi and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese.

But the story of his capture and his five and a half years he spent fighting for his life and defying his captors in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” prison camp are even more inspiring when you hear the gritty details of what McCain endured—and his account of how he managed to survive.

“The plane was gyrating violently and heading straight down, very fast, at about 500 knots,” McCain told PEOPLE during a lengthy interview in 1992 on the back porch of his home in Arizona, describing the hellish moments that elapsed after a surface-to-air missile blasted the wing off his jet.

It was his 23rd bombing mission over Hanoi and the 30-year-old lieutenant commander knew his only hope of survival was to bail out of the burning, doomed aircraft as it plummeted straight toward the ground. “When I ejected, the pressure flailed my arms back and that’s what broke my arms,” he recalled. “My knee obviously hit something on the way out and I ended up breaking my leg, too.”

His parachute opened and, as fate would have it, he drifted down into a lake in the middle of the city he’d been sent to bomb. “When they pulled me up on the bank, lots and lots of people started coming around,” he said. “They were pretty steamed, which is understandable since we’d just finished bombing the place. They bayoneted me in the foot and the crotch and were spitting at me, hollering and shouting.”

A group of soldiers finally arrived as locals were in the midst of beating him with a rifle butt, dumped him onto a stretcher, which was loaded on the back of a truck. He was eventually driven to the massive prison complex built by the French in 1945 where numerous American pilots were tortured and interrogated during the Vietnam War.

‘They got nothing out of me’

“They left me on the floor of a cell for four days, during which time I lapsed in and out of consciousness,” McCain said. “Their policy was that they wouldn’t provide any medical treatment unless you gave them military information. I would only give them my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. And so, after about four days on the floor of the cell, they got nothing out of me because I kept passing out.”

His captors eventually took him to a run-down hospital and operated on his knee, cutting most of his ligaments and cartilage, and placing his right arm in a chest cast. “The important thing they gave me was blood, ” he said. “I was in shock and they gave me transfusions, which gave me strength. But I wasn’t well-treated by the guards, who ate all my food and I slowly started getting worse.”

One afternoon, one of his interrogators appeared in his room and said, “‘The doctors tell me you aren’t getting well.’ I told him the only way I’d survive is if they put me in with some Americans,” he recalled. “That night they took me out of the hospital and put me in a cell with two other prisoners. Those two guys took care of me.”

After six months, the badly-injured flyer was able to walk with crutches—which inadvertently made life worse for him. “Letting them see I could walk was a mistake on my part,” he said. “They put me in solitary confinement for more than two years after that.”

McCain’s windowless ten-foot-by-ten-foot cell had a sheet metal roof that was transformed into a scorching oven in Hanoi’s sweltering summer heat. By mid-1968, his father was named commander of all U.S. Forces in Vietnam and his captors offered to send him home. Despite his desperation, McCain realized the gesture was purely a ploy meant to demoralize his fellow prisoners. After a bit of soul searching, he told the Vietnamese he was staying put and refused to leave the prison.

“They were astounded that I would refuse,” he said. “I’m not downplaying how difficult that decision was for me, but I did it because I thought I could survive—even though I was in pretty bad shape. But our code of conduct clearly states, ‘You do not accept parole. Sick and injured prisoners must be released first and others are to be released only by order of capture.”

Life got even more difficult after he spurned their offer. “After I refused to go home, they treated me pretty badly,” recalled McCain, who by then had begun suffering from dysentery and was being beaten every two hours in order to get him to sign confessions and make audio recording trashing America. “That was a pretty tough period. They were going after me pretty hard.”

In order to keep his sanity, McCain, like other POWs, took great risks tapping out messages to fellow prisoners on the prison walls. When caught, he paid a heavy price with additional beatings and removal to even worse prison camps. “I was put in another prison we called ‘The Plantation,’” he recalls. “And for seven or eight months I was sent to a really crummy prison outside of Hanoi for punishment that was known as ‘Skid Row.’”

‘Three things kept me going’

Despite the lack of food, recurring dysentery, his various injuries, and the uncertainty of when his next beating might occur, McCain managed to stay alive. “Three things kept me going,” he said. “Faith in God, faith in my fellow prisoners and faith in my country.

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan McCain Makes Emotional Tribute to Her Father While Fiercely Batting Back Twitter Trolls

Of his five and a half years in captivity, one event that has remained forever etched in McCain’s mind, he says, occurred in December 1972 when U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers roared over Hanoi and other parts of the country, and began dropping over 20,000 tons of explosives. “That’s when we knew one of two things,” he said. “Either we weren’t going to get out of there at all, or the war was reaching its conclusion.”

When he was finally released in March 1973, McCain earned the dubious distinction of being the most injured pilot to have survived the North Vietnamese prison camps. The ordeal, he insisted, didn’t impact him the way it did so many other former POWs from the Vietnam War. By 1982, he’d begun his political career and won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Unlike some, I was fortunate that I was able to put it all behind me when I came home,” he said. “People ask me how long did it take to readjust? It took me about 45 minutes. I never had a nightmare or a flashback or anything like that. I know a lot of my friends were not so fortunate, who never fully came back from that experience. But I did.”

His physical injuries are another matter. Asked if he still suffered pain from his various broken bones, McCain, whose injuries left him unable to raise his arms above his head, just shrugged. “Probably my shoulder hurts me more than my knee does,” he said. “I’ve definitely got some arthritis from the damage that was done. But I can get around fairly well. And I can always tell when it’s going to rain.”

With that, he flashed a mischievous grin and, in what seems ironic given the climate in Washington, D.C., of late, replied: “Luckily, in my line of work, there’s not a lot of heavy lifting.”


PEOPLE.com

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Survivor of the ‘Son of Sam’ Speaks Out 41 Years Later: ‘I’m One of the Luckiest Guys in the World’

On the evening of Oct. 23, 1976, David Berkowitz — the self-proclaimed “Son of Sam,” who killed six people in eight shootings in New York City over nearly two years — was in Flushing, Queens, and he was on the prowl.

That same evening, 20-year-old Carl Denaro was sitting in a car with Rosemary Keenan, 18. The two were kissing when, all of a sudden, the car’s windows shattered.

Berkowitz had struck again.

Keenan sustained only cuts from the broken glass, but Denaro was shot five times and doctors had to use a metal plate to replace a part of his skull, which was shattered by the bullets.

On the 40th anniversary of the end of Berkowitz’s spree, Denaro, now 61, tells PEOPLE he is doing fine physically — and he understands how rare that is to say as one of the Son of Sam’s victims.

“I have some limited vision but no other negative effects from being shot that night,” he says. “I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until my 30s. When you’re 20, you’re invincible. It took 10 years before I understood the severity of what had happened.”

• For more on the Son of Sam case then and now, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. 

Denaro’s story will be part of a new documentary special on Berkowitz airing Aug. 5 on Investigation Discovery, Son of Sam: The Hunt For a Killer, which is exclusively previewed above.

Speaking to PEOPLE about his brush with the notorious murderer decades ago, Denaro says that early reports about being attacked tarnished his reputation — and he says he doesn’t actually believe Berkowitz pulled the trigger.

“The cops thought I was shot during a drug deal,” Denaro explains. “I smoked weed, but I never sold drugs. They accused me of being a drug-dealer, so I was victimized twice: by the cops and when I was shot.”

All these years later, Denaro says he’s done extensive research on Berkowitz and the shooting that changed his life forever. From what he has read and heard, he says, he thinks it was a woman who shot him that night.

“I believe other people were involved,” Denaro says. “He had help, and I am not alone in thinking this. Berkowitz in an interview comes right out and says he did not shoot Carl Denaro and claims that it was woman.”

Now 64, Berkowitz is serving six consecutive terms of 25 years-to-life after pleading guilty to the shootings in 1978.

N.Y.C. investigators tell PEOPLE they are sure it was him — and him alone — who carried out the attacks to which he confessed and which terrorized the city through the scorching summer of ’77.

“There was never any doubt in anybody’s mind that he was the killer,” says retired N.Y.C. police Capt. Joe Borrelli.

Denaro reached out to Berkowitz himself, he says, writing him letters in prison. A meeting had been arranged several years ago, but Berkowitz backed out at the last moment. Denaro says he’s fine living the rest of his life without that conversation.

“I don’t have a need to talk to him, and I don’t see any upside to meeting with him,” he says. “An apology from him would be a hollow apology, anyway.”


PEOPLE.com

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Selena Gomez Turns 25: See Her Cutest Candid Looks Over the Years

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Kris Van Assche Reflects on 10 Years at Dior Homme

PARIS — As he prepares to celebrate his 10th anniversary at the helm of Dior Homme, Kris Van Assche is basking in a new sense of freedom.
Having succeeded his former boss Hedi Slimane in the job, the Belgian designer initially focused on refining the razor-sharp tailoring that made the brand a favorite with celebrities from David Beckham to John Legend. In parallel, he channeled the edgy club culture of his youth into his eponymous label.
Two years ago, Van Assche shuttered his own line because — in his own words — juggling the two “was really no fun anymore.” Since then, he has been injecting more of his personal affinity with streetwear into the Dior aesthetic, bringing back a sense of youthful energy with show sets including a skatepark and a funfair.
With this change of direction — reflected in the brand’s fall 2017 advertising campaign starring Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan and American actor Lucas Hedges — Van Assche believes that Dior can speak to more than one type of customer.
“People like to put things in boxes. Men dress in a certain way, they like to belong to a certain group, whether it’s music or sports or a social group — of bankers,

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A Kentucky Teen Vanishes from Her Family’s Driveway — Years Later, a Relative Is Accused

In September 1999, 17-year-old Jessica Dishon apparently vanished from the driveway of her family’s home in Sheperdsville, Kentucky, and left only a few things behind in her car: a shoe, her purse, her backpack and her cell phone — with the number “9” dialed.

Dishon’s body was reportedly found more than two weeks later at a nearby dumping ground. Authorities said she had been beaten, strangled and “violently sexually assaulted,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Though a neighbor was identified as a suspect and charged in her death, a judge declared a mistrial and the charge was later dismissed, the Courier-Journal reports.

Answers remained elusive for years. But beginning in 2013, the case gained momentum, until authorities revealed the killer was a relative: her uncle Stanley Dishon.

In January 2015, Stanley Dishon reportedly entered an Alford plea to a lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter in her death, and records show he remains behind bars. (An Alford plea is a kind of guilty plea in which the defendant maintains his innocence.)

The case’s twists and turns will be featured in Thursday night’s episode of Cold Case Files on A&E.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

“The murder of Jessica Dishon is particularly terrifying because it exposes the greatest fears of any parent,” says Ari Mark, president of the series’ production company, AMPLE.

“One, maybe the law can’t protect your children; and two, maybe your kids aren’t even safe in their own homes.”

In an exclusive clip from the episode, Dishon’s father, Mike Dishon, recounts the family’s distress in the aftermath of her disappearance.

“It was kind of hard to come back home when Jessica was still missing,” he says. “We couldn’t sleep.”

Mike also recounts a moment when he thought his son had heard Jessica near their home, calling for help.

“So I run in my bedroom, I got my gun and out the door I went,” he says. “I went to find her.”

Cold Case Files airs Thursday (10 p.m. ET) on A&E.


PEOPLE.com

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After 46 Years, Yoko Ono Is Finally Credited For Co-Writing ‘Imagine’

After 46 years, Yoko Ono is finally receiving the credit she deserves. The iconic multidisciplinary artist was officially credited as a co-writer of the 1971 song “Imagine,” currently attributed to Ono’s deceased husband, John Lennon. 

The news was announced Wednesday at a meeting of the National Music Publishers Association by its CEO, David Israelite. He also bestowed “Imagine” with the Centennial Song award. 

“While things may have been different in 1971, today I am glad to say things have changed,” Israelite said. “So tonight it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later and recognize Yoko Ono as a co-writer of the NMPA centennial song ‘Imagine,’ and to present Yoko Ono with this well-deserved credit.”

He then played an archival interview, in which Lennon explains that the song would not exist without Ono. “[Imagine] should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song,” he said. “Because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book. There’s a whole pile of pieces about ‘imagine this’ and ‘imagine that.’”

Seven years before “Imagine,” Ono self-published Grapefruit, a little gem of a book, unruly and quiet at once, filled with strange wishes and demands. “Imagine your body spreading rapidly all over the world like thin tissue,” one line reads. “Imagine cutting out one part of the tissue.” 

Sean Lennon accompanied his mother, Ono, who uses a wheelchair, onstage to accept the Centennial Song award. According to Lennon, the artist welled up with tears upon hearing the announcement. Onstage, Ono said her waning health has heightened her appreciation of the song and imbued her with a magnified esteem for being alive, Variety reported.

“This is the best time of my life,” she said, to applause.

Congratulations, Yoko. It’s about time. 

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Michelle Obama Reveals Barack Wore The Same Tuxedo For 8 Years

Barack Obama has emerged as an unlikely style icon of late thanks to his off-duty cool dad style. But there’s one thing about his wardrobe you may have missed over the course of his presidency: He’s a bonafide outfit repeater.

At least when it comes to state dinner garb, that is. Michelle Obama spoke at Apple’s developer’s conference in San Jose, California on Tuesday, and revealed that while the world scrutinized her state dinner gowns, her husband got away with wearing the same exact tuxedo and shoes over and over and over again during their eight years in the White House.

“This is the unfair thing,” she said. “You talk about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, no matter what we do, he puts on that same tux. Now, people take pictures of the shoes I wear, the bracelets, the necklace ― They didn’t comment that for eight years he wore that same tux.”

There is no denying the disparity in coverage between the two Obamas and their fashion choices. To this day, people hang on every last detail of the former first lady’s wardrobe (and with good reason: She’s a great dresser). And yet, we’re just now learning about her husband’s repeat habit. Makes you think about the standards to which men and women are held when it comes to dressing for work, eh?

The president reveled in his repeat glory, Obama told Apple exec Lisa Jackson during the interview.

“He was proud of it too,” she said. “He’s like, ‘Mm, I’m ready. I’m ready in 10 minutes. Mm, how long did it take you?’ And I’m like, ‘Get out of here.’”

But no matter how long (or how short) the president took to get ready, there was always a little bit of room for improvement. Obama explained the story behind a viral 2015 photo in which she’s adjusting her husband’s bow tie. 

“When the president from the visiting country and their spouse is coming is we greet them at the north portico,” she explained. “We were standing there waiting for the cars to roll in, and I was bored, so I sort of thought, ‘Let me make sure my husband looks good.’”

 We love this outfit-repeating, relatable power couple more every day. 

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Kenneth Cole: Staying Woke After All These Years

Kenneth Cole gave his brand a social conscience long before it was fashionable. Four years after he established Kenneth Cole Productions in 1982 as a footwear company, he made a major statement to support AIDS research with an iconic campaign/PSA shot by Annie Leibovitz featuring major models such as Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova, Beverly Johnson, Andie MacDowell and young children with the tagline “For the future of our children…Support the American Foundation for AIDS Research. We do.”
Cole has been involved with amfAR ever since, becoming the organization’s chairman in 2004. AIDS and HIV remain one of his key causes, but others include homelessness — Cole is a founding board member of Help USA, chaired by his wife, Maria Cuomo Cole — and the rebuilding of Haiti following the devastating earthquake that hit in 2010.
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Sarah Palin Slams Kathy Griffin: She’s ‘Mercilessly Attacked Children for Years’

Sarah Palin doesn’t feel any sympathy towards Kathy Griffin.

The 53-year-old former politician, who served as the governor of Alaska from 2006 until resigning in 2009 and was the Republican party vice presidential nominee in the 2008 election, wrote an impassioned Facebook post on Friday slamming the comedian.

Her words come after Griffin, 56, gave a tearful press conference earlier in the dayapologizing again for holding up a decapitated head of President Donald Trump in a gag gone wrong and claiming the 70-year-old former businessman and his family were “bullying” her and “trying to ruin life forever.”

“I don’t think I will have a career after this,” she said while crying, adding that the Trumps’ alleged bullying has led to her being vilified, receiving death threats and losing work. “I’m going to be honest, he broke me.”

Palin’s advice to Griffin? “Suck it up, Cupcake.”

“Kathy’s crocodile tears at her publicity-seeking press conference today mean nothing to mothers who’ve witnessed the ramifications her sick acts have had on precious children,” Palin claimed. “And today Kathy claims SHE is the victim!”

Calling Griffin’s statements “ridiculously self-serving,” Palin said she was biting her tongue to not say what she’d actually tell Griffin to her face — a decision of restraint she said she was doing “on behalf of Melania Trump and other mothers who’ve tried to protect our children from Kathy’s soulless vile attacks.”

But Palin did explain the own personal harassment she said she received from Griffin — including a 2010 episode of the comedian’s Bravo reality show My Life on the D-List in which Griffin traveled to Wasilla, Alaska, met up with 26-year-old daughter Bristol’s baby-daddy Levi Johnston, and knocked on the politician’s door to invite her to her comedy show.

While Palin wasn’t there, Griffin did leave a note. “Dear Palins who are 18 years old or older (mostly Sarah),” she wrote. “I’m doing a funny comedy show on Friday night at the Anchorage Performing Arts Centre. Come see me. I’ll even comp you or at least a two-for. xoxo, Kathy Griffin.”

“You can’t do nicer than that,” Griffin added before leaving the note at Palin’s doorstep.

The bit — the consistent sort of joke Griffin would showcase on her Emmy-winning program — was not funny to Palin.

“When this ‘celebrity’ (who ‘celebrates’ her, btw?) traveled all the way to Wasilla and actually knocked on my home’s door to personally humiliate my kids again, I knew she was deranged,” Palin wrote on Facebook.

She also called out an interview Griffin did with the The Hollywood Reporter in January 2011, in which she made it her New Year’s resolution to make fun of Palin’s then-16-year-old daughter Willow.

“I’ve already gone for Sarah, Todd and Bristol obviously,” Griffin said. “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down. In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin.”

Once again, Palin wasn’t laughing. “The liberal ‘star’ had attacked my teenage daughters for so long – first Bristol then, inexplicably, giddily announced she would ‘go directly after Willow Palin’ despite Willow’s young age and innocence in doing anything to earn the wrath of this attacker.”

Griffin’s photo stunt has already cost her multiple gigs, including her job hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve special and a sponsorship with the company Squatty Potty.


PEOPLE.com

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Uber inadvertently underpaid New York City drivers for over two years

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Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump’s Presidency ‘Feels Like Dog Years’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) outlined her priorities for fighting President Donald Trump’s administration as she stopped by the “Tonight Show” to promote her new book

“We need to keep a focus on what he actually does, what he is doing to working families across this country,” Warren said on Tuesday’s show. “He’s been there for 100 days. I swear, it feels like dog years. You know? Like he’s been there forever!”

Warren’s new book is called This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle To Save America’s Middle Class, and battles were a regular topic during her interview with Jimmy Fallon.

The senator also discussed her experience demonstrating in the Women’s March on Washington this year, and how seeing a young girl on top of a man’s shoulders had a big impact on her.

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

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14 Movies We’re Thrilled To See At This Year’s Tribeca Film Festival

Spring doesn’t last long in New York City, but with it comes the Tribeca Film Festival. Kicking off Wednesday and continuing through April 30, this year marks the 16th iteration of Robert De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal’s gala, founded to help revive downtown Manhattan after 9/11.

Tribeca’s television and virtual-reality lineups are a cut above most other festivals. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” will premiere this week, and Ken Burns’ Vietnam War documentary series and the new season of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” are on tap for next week, as well as a slew of other titles. Additionally, the “Godfather” and “Reservoir Dogs” casts will reunite for anniversary retrospectives, and a handful of fascinating duos will sit down to discuss their craft, including Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks, Noah Baumbach and Dustin Hoffman, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, and Barbra Streisand and Robert Rodriguez

Along the way, The Huffington Post will provide ongoing coverage of Tribeca’s buzziest movies, shows and events. It all starts with the opening-night premiere of the new Clive Davis documentary, followed by a concert featuring Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, Jennifer Hudson, Dionne Warwick and Earth, Wind & Fire. Here’s a handful of titles that are on our radar over the next two weeks.

See the full Tribeca Film Festival lineup here.

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64 Years After Prom, High School Sweethearts Reunite And Marry

Six decades after going to prom together, two high school sweethearts are finally getting their shared happy ending. 

Joyce Kevorkian and Jim Bowman dated their junior and senior years of high school in Illinois in the early 1950s, then went their separate ways for college. They each met spouses at college, and each had long, happy marriages before they were widowed. 

Then something unexpected happened. Bowman, who lives in Springfield, Illinois, called up his former flame and asked her to help plan their high school reunion. One phone call lead to another ― and another. And another, said Kevorkian’s granddaughter, Anna Harris, who shared their wedding photo on Twitter. 

Eventually, Bowman decided to come visit. 

“My grandma had been very sad since my grandpa passed away five years ago, but when she started talking to Jim, she turned back into her old self,” Harris told The Huffington Post. “When I’d call her up, she had a lot of things she wanted to tell me about her life ― she had things to look forward to again.”  

That list of things to look forward to included planning a wedding. On April 1, the two 81-year-olds tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at Holy Cross Village in South Bend, Indiana. 

“It was a really heartwarming ceremony,” said Harris. “The best man and maid of honor (me!) gave little speeches and then the two lovebirds left for their honeymoon.” 

Since the reunion, Harris said her grandma is back to her usual, giggly self. 

“It’s almost like she is 17 again. When Jim proposed, she didn’t hesitate one bit and she has been so, so happy ever since,” Harris told HuffPost. “To me, Jim isn’t really replacing my grandpa, he’s giving me my grandma back.”

H/T Love What Matters

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Madonna’s Waited Almost 30 Years To Drag Pepsi. This Is Her Moment.

Let’s say it all together now: P-E-T-T-Y.

Since everyone else has been dragging Pepsi and Kendall Jenner on social media for the company’s cringeworthy ad, the queen bee Madonna decided to weigh in on the controversy with some choice shade and a bit of a history lesson. 

First, let’s start off with the shade, because this is Madonna, after all, and no one can do it like she can. Shortly after Pepsi decided to pull the ad and apologize to Jenner (instead of everyone who was offended), the pop star made her allegiance with soda’s rival brand, Coca-Cola, crystal clear.

On Wednesday, Madonna shared a throwback photo of herself at the 1999 Grammy Awards carrying a Coke, captioning the shot with a single gold medal emoji. She even zoomed in on the can in another photo to drive her point home. 

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

Considering the severe lack of judgement that led to the creation of Jenner’s TV spot, it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t Pepsi’s first rodeo with an ad gone wrong. No, like most things in this industry, Madonna did it first. 

Once upon a time, the singer scored a $ 5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi at the peak of her career in January 1989 and appeared in her own ad for the soft drink.

The two-minute commercial featuring her hit “Like A Prayer” was pulled months later amid controversy surrounding the song’s music video, which received widespread criticism from Catholic groups. The video featured plenty of religious imagery like burning crosses, stigmata and the singer getting down with a black saint. 

Even the Vatican got involved, reportedly describing the video as blasphemy and calling for a boycott of Pepsi, prompting the company to scrap the ad and terminate Madonna’s contract. However, she did get to keep the $ 5 million.

That’s why Madonna drew comparisons between Pepsi’s handling of her own ad and Jenner’s on Wednesday in the aftermath of the the brand’s most recent debacle. 

“When you wake up and realize that Shit just really doesn’t make sense!” she captioned a clip from the commercial. “Side Note: My Pepsi commercial was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint,” adding the hashtags #chosen and #ironic. 

Remember, everyone: Karma’s a bitch, just like Madonna.

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Nike’s New Air VaporMax Is a Sneaker 30 Years in the Making

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These Guys Spent Years Editing All Of ‘Breaking Bad’ Into A 2-Hour Movie

For everyone out there who’s thinking of watching (or rewatching) the entirety of “Breaking Bad” but doesn’t want to commit to five whole seasons, you’re in luck. 

Filmmakers Lucas Stoll and Gaylor Morestin have worked tirelessly to edit all 62 episodes of the AMC show into a single, two-hour movie.

Stoll and Morestin called their feat “a study project that became an all-consuming passion.”

“It’s not a fan-film, hitting the highlights of show in a home-made homage,” they wrote on Vimeo, “but rather a re-imagining of the underlying concept itself, lending itself to full feature-length treatment. An alternative ‘Breaking Bad,’ to be viewed with fresh eyes.”

The story of Walter White’s rise and fall ― from cancer-stricken high school teacher to drug kingpin ― is basically all there, but of course, two hours couldn’t possibly capture every nuance and detail included in the full series. 

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‘100 Years Of Black Fashion’ Is About So Much More Than Clothes

This is unlike the hundreds of other “100 years of…” videos you’ve seen before.

Buzzfeed Yellow released “100 Years Of Black American Fashion” on Monday, marking the close of Black History Month. The video features some of our most beloved and popular trends, showing how black fashion evolved since the 1920s with iconic styles inspired by jazz, Motown and hip-hop.

It also provides a look back through black history in this country using the lens of fashion.

Consider the 1940s, when black soldiers were “often given more labor-intensive service roles based on the belief that they were unfit to serve as officers,” the video says, or the late 1950s-60s, when civil rights activists were given more “credence” for dressing in their “Sunday best.” 

Today, the Black Lives Matter movement is deeply steeped in fashion, including political statements printed on clothing andr hoodies worn in honor of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed five years ago this week. 

The fashion is something to admire, but the history matters most. 

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Commanding Photos Chronicle 20 Years Of Protests In New York

Donald Trump’s presidency has fueled a surge of new activists, eager to defend the rights of immigrants, Muslims, women, children, LGBTQ individuals and all who feel threatened by the current administration. Protests have sprung up in cities across the nation since his inauguration, demonstrating that power exists not just in the White House but on the streets.

Images of marches, rallies and demonstrations of all kinds are, today, relentlessly documented and shared on social media, endowing ephemeral happenings with permanent, material form. Yet long before the internet, protests were still part of the fabric of American democracy, and devoted photojournalists ensured that activist uprisings were not easily forgotten. The main difference, however, is that most of these pre-internet photos remain largely unseen. 

An exhibition titled “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” on view at the Bronx Documentary Center honors the legacy of protest photography in New York, zooming in on the years between 1980 and 2000. The show, featuring the work of 37 independent photojournalists, is co-curated by Meg Handler, former photo editor of The Village Voice; historian Tamar Carroll, author of Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty and Feminist Activism; and Michael Kamber, founder of the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC).

The exhibition picks up in 1980, when New Yorkers were grappling with economic upheaval, shifting demographics, the AIDS crisis, the culture wars, environmental unease, and the ongoing struggle for equal rights. Many of the issues precipitating these images ― from police brutality to gentrification to a woman’s right to choose ― are still being fought out in the streets today. 

“Whose Streets?” features snapshots from a variety of moments, causes and perspectives. The photograph above, for example, shot by Ricky Flores in Brooklyn in 1990, depicts a crowd of predominantly white men deriding a black protest. The demonstration occurred after Bensonhurst resident Keith Mondello, a white man, was acquitted of murder after shooting 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins, who was black.

Hawkins had gone to the mostly Italian Brooklyn neighborhood to look at a used car, and was attacked and shot to death by a mob of eight white men. Although Mondello was considered the ringleader of the group, he did not fire the fatal shot, and thus was convicted only on lesser counts. Black protesters took to the streets in defiance of the verdict, and the photo depicts white Bensonhurst residents mocking the demonstrators, with one man holding a watermelon above his head. 

Nina Berman’s 1989 photo above depicts pro-choice protestors as they stormed the Brooklyn Bridge on July 3, 1989. The march occurred just after the Supreme Court ruled to “uphold a Missouri state ban on the use of public employees and facilities for performing abortions,” reversing elements of Roe v. Wade. Police arrested 24 pro-choice advocates that day, including activist Mary Lou Greenberg, marking a crucial moment in the battle for reproductive rights.

Certain elements of the featured photos distinguish them from the more contemporary crop scattered across various social media feeds and timelines. The style of police uniforms, outdated haircuts, the overwhelming lack of smartphones being brandished in the air. Yet, for the most part, these scenes could just as well be taking place today, when the majority of social injustices plaguing our country are just as prevalent as they were over 30 years ago. 

For the many people today still learning how to incorporate acts of resistance into their daily lives, head to the Bronx Documentary Center to see how people have been showing up and speaking out for decades. The photographs depict anger, resolution, hope and solidarity, written on the faces and bodies of countless individuals whose names often go unrecognized. The images, however, will ensure they’re not forgotten. 

“Whose Streets? Our Streets! New York City: 1980–2000” is on view at the Bronx Documentary Center until March 5, 2017.

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Colette Fêtes 20 Years with Installation, Product Collaborations

FUN AND GAMES: Colette is out to have some fun for its 20th anniversary. The landmark Paris retailer will celebrate with an immersive installation at Les Arts Décoratifs and a series of 20 exclusive collaborative products, most of them extremely limited editions.
Colette has teamed with Brooklyn-based design firm Snarkitecture to bring its The Beach installation, which features an enclosure filled with 300,000 recyclable plastic balls, to the Paris museum, just around the corner from the Rue Saint-Honoré store, from March 21 to 25.
Product collaborations, meanwhile, play on Colette’s blue dot logo. They include beauty products like a color-changing blue lip and cheek balm by Edward Bess; sneakers by Nike, Converse x Club75, or Joshua Sander & Smiley; and shoes by Dr. Martens. Also in the lineup are a polka dot top by Maud Heline, a CD compiled by Pedro Winter, as well as toys, jewelry, accessories and gadgets.

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Razzie awards: Which film was the year’s worst?

A film criticising Hillary Clinton and superhero ensemble Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were tied for the most Razzie awards this year.
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Stephen Colbert Summarizes This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Movies, Based Solely On Their Posters

Stephen Colbert admits to not watching the movies that are nominated for Best Picture at the 89th annual Academy Awards.

So for Friday’s broadcast of the “Late Show,” he got into the Oscars spirit by summarizing each of the contenders ― based solely on what he’d seen on their promotional posters.

Turns out “Lion” is literally about two lovers from the wrong sides of the tracks. (Well, according to Colbert, anyways).

Check out the full segment above and see the full list of Oscar nominations here.

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In a Walt Whitman Novel, Lost for 165 Years, Clues to ‘Leaves of Grass’

A digital sleuth has discovered an anonymously published 1852 serial novel by the poet, which survived in only a single copy of an obscure newspaper.
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Woolly mammoth embryo ‘two years away’

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10 Hollywood Couples Reveal the Secrets to Keeping Their Marriages Strong After More Than 20 Years

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Regis Philbin Says ‘Very Offended’ Kelly Ripa Hasn’t Spoken To Him In Years

Picture it this way: You’ve stayed in better contact with that guy from high school who you pretended not to know in the Whole Foods checkout line than Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa have since the glory days of “Live!”

The pair hosted the morning show together for more than a decade, but in a new interview with Larry King, Philbin reveals that their famous friendship didn’t survive his exit. 

“She got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her,” Philbin said of Ripa. “I was leaving because I was getting older and that wasn’t right for me anymore.”

“She took it personal?” King asked. 

“Yeah, I think so,” Philbin replied.

Philbin was conspicuously absent from Ripa’s 15th anniversary celebration in February 2016, which drew a host of famous faces to the studio in her honor. According to Philbin, the show has “never once” asked him to return since he left in 2011, even for a day of guest hosting. In fact, the veteran presenter revealed last year that he hasn’t seen or spoken with Ripa since.

When King asked if he and Ripa keep in touch these days, Philbin admitted, “Not really, no.”

Despite the fracture in their friendship, Philbin still has a taste for TV. The 85 year-old says he misses the thrill of hosting live television and would consider returning if the situation was right. 

“I don’t know. How often would it be? Would it be every night? Every day?” Philbin said. “I do miss it. There are times when I really miss it and wish I’d never stopped. But, you know, I just figured it was time to let go.”

Ripa hosts “Live!” solo with a revolving door of guest co-hosts ever since Michael Strahan’s controversial exit in 2016. The former football star reportedly negotiated his departure without informing Ripa. Although Strahan claims the two are “friends” now, we’ll always remember his final week on “Live!” when Ripa ruthlessly shaded him in front of an audience of millions. 

Note to all future co-hosts: Kelly Ripa is not the one to mess with. 

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SoHo Kids Stretch Lace Hem Leggings 4-6 Years Size – Red

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SoHo Kids Stretch Lace Hem Leggings 4-6 Years Size – Red. Special Return Policy applies on this productReturn for refund (original purchase price only, shipping and handling is NOT refundable): 30 days from the Invoice date. Return for replacement: No replacement is offered15% restocking fee may applyFor more detail, please refer to Special Return Policy

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Killer of singer’s ex-wife named 41 years on

More than four decades after the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley was raped and killed, officials have named her suspected killer.
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Nearly 41 Years Later, Cold Case Murder of Righteous Brothers Singer’s Ex-Wife Finally Solved

The 1976 murder of Karen Klaas, the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers‘ singer Bill Medley, has finally been solved according to multiple reports — though the public will have to wait until Monday to find out just who did it.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigators announced Friday that they’ve scheduled a press conference for Jan. 30 where they will finally reveal who killed the Hermosa Beach mother of two, The Daily Breeze reported.

Authorities said the case was solved through the use of “familial DNA” which helped identify the killer, the Associated Press reported. It’s a controversial technique that allows investigators to search law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of suspects.

It is unclear whether any arrest has been made in the case, the AP reported.

Monday marks the 41st anniversary of the crime that would lead to Klaas’ death.

She was attacked on Jan. 30, 1976 as she returned home from dropping off her 4-year-old child at day care, CBS Los Angeles reported. The attacker strangled, beat, and raped her, authorities said. Neighbors found her in her home when they could not contact her. She died several days later. Klaas was 32.

Two witnesses described a shaggy-haired, bearded man in a trench coat and blue jeans leaving Klaas’ house — but the suspect was never found. Divorced from Medley and remarried, her husband was ruled out as a suspect, CBS L.A. reported.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Monday’s press conference is expected to be attended by members of Klaas’ family.

Medley and Klaas (then Karen O’Grady) married in 1964, and divorced in 1970. They have one son together, Darrin, born in 1965.


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Bed-blocking patient evicted after two years ‘did not want to stay’

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Samsung posts highest profits in 3 years despite Note7 debacle

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Huppert named year’s best in surprise twist

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‘The Evenings,’ a Dutch Classic, Arrives in English. It Only Took 70 Years.

A translation of a novel by Gerard Reve that centers on a young clerk has invited recent comparisons to books like “The Catcher in the Rye.”
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Jimmy Kimmel Vows To Grab ‘Pumpkin’ President Donald Trump ‘By The Guts’ For The Next 4 Years

Jimmy Kimmel has shared his plan of action for Donald Trump’s presidency.

The late night host said that since Trump is now president, people were asking if he would “continue to make fun of the most powerful man on earth.”

“And the answer is, ‘Yeah, of course,’” he revealed Friday.

“I’ve not had it easy, for the last eight years I’ve been forced to make jokes about the First Lady’s vegetable garden,” Kimmel said. “You think I’m not going to grab this pumpkin by the guts and shake it until the seeds pop out? You’re damn right I am.”

Check out the full segment above.

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Hallelujah! Gorillaz back after five years

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Critic’s Notebook: Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books

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‘Greatest Show On Earth’ Shutting Down After 146 Years

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is permanently closing “The Greatest Show on Earth” in May after 146 years entertaining millions of Americans.

The iconic razzmatazz under the big top was felled by dropping attendance, high operating costs, fickle public tastes and battles with animal rights activists. 

“I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May of this year,” circus CEO Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment said in a statement.

“The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make. We are extremely grateful to the millions of families who have made Ringling Bros. part of their lives for generations.”

Last year, the circus retired its elephants to its conservation farm in Florida amid continuing protests about animals in the show. But once the elephants were gone, the demand for tickets dropped even more dramatically, according to Feld.

Company officials told workers Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami.

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses that will perform 30 shows between now and May. Stops will include Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

It’s been a long, colorful road of clowns, trapeze artists in sparkly spandex, dancing elephants and surly tigers. Phineas Taylor Barnum went on the road in the mid-1800s with his traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities, and the five Ringling brothers began performing juggling acts and skits from their home base in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1884. They merged in 1919 to tour together as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The Ringling family ran the circus until 1967 then sold it to Feld Entertainment.

Technology brought competition from movies and TV, video games and the internet, and animal activists and members of the public became increasingly concerned about treatment of the animals on the road and in the acts.

“The competitor in many ways is time,” Feld told The Associated Press, adding that transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks — such as providing a traveling school for performers’ children — are throwbacks to another era that couldn’t compete with modern fare. “It’s a different model that we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you’ve got all these things working against it.”

The Felds say their existing animals — lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes. Feld’s daughter, Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld, said the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.

Feld Entertainment will also continue to produce its other, profitable, shows— Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live — and will attempt to place some circus workers in those operations.

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated that the Ringling brothers began performing in Wisconsin in 1984. They began in 1884.

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A Letter To My High School Years

I walked through my old high school today. It was kind of like playing an old video game where you suddenly remember the levels and maps and bosses along the way. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’ve been playing Modern Warfare Remastered like a fiend lately.

I’m halfway through my first season as a wrestling coach at my old high school, and I see myself in all the boys on the team. I see my anger in their mannerisms when something doesn’t go right in a match. I see myself in their eyes as they dart around nervously before a match. And I see myself in their chatter when they get rowdy in the back of the bus listening to “Last Resort” by Papa Roach (horribly depressing song by the way).

It’s a mirror, you know. Their t-shirts in 20-degree weather and buzz cuts and wide eyes before matches. The back-and-forth banter about whether a move is legal or not against the sounds of rubber shoes stubbing into the mat.

They are alive. They are here. They’re perfectly in the moment. Boys being boys.

I remember those days. The days when I was scared to death of walking into the cafeteria, fearful I’d have nobody to sit with. The days where everything seemed like the end of the world. The days where every experience was new and I met freedom for the first time.

There’s so much pain in these memories. There was hardly a day without any drama. From the two-a-days of Freshman year football to the sun-soaked evenings of my last semester. Because I was experiencing so many things for the first time, I reacted accordingly. Pure ecstasy for the good stuff and frightful horror for the other.

I learned there had to be limits on what I could feel. I’ve hardly burned as bright since.

Maybe that’s a sad thing, but I’ve protected myself from a lot of pain by doing that. Maybe that’s why I’m caught up walking down the halls of my old high school. Because it reminds me of a distant time when I was alive, and here, and burning brighter than the sun on a summer day.

I’m just a shadow of myself, now.

High school. This is my ode to you. To those wacky teachers with the long hair and corny one-liners. To the arrogant kids who played lacrosse and paired long Nike socks with dirty vans. To the former heartthrobs and homecoming queens who currently spend their time wandering around Fed Hill. To those wonderful friday night lights and the crowds that would flock like moths to them. To the togas, and the dances, and those people in the back who used to shout “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of their lungs near the end of the night.

To the kids who weren’t seen by anyone. To the teachers who pulled me aside just to know if I was okay. To the old gym with the light dangling from the ceiling during wrestling matches. To my coaches who are still there years later. To the girl with the locker next to me who was beautiful but ugly on the inside. To that piece of wood, or plastic, or whatever the hell it is that has my name on it way up near the ceiling in the gym.

To a scared, but brave boy just trying to figure it all out.

These are my words for you.

So here I am, walking these halls yet again. There’s the cafeteria. There’s my German Teacher’s room. There’s where I used to watch my girlfriend sing for Chorus.

The memories haunt me, or comfort me, depending on how I look.

Through it all they’re just reminding me of how I used to be. And for a second, if only for a moment, I am that scared, brave boy all over again.

Like what you read? Find more of Tom’s writing at The Post-Grad Survival Guide. You can also follow him on Instagram, or give his Facebook page a like to keep up with what he’s doing. You can also follow him on Twitter, Youtube, or Vimeo, as well as cut out the middle-man to read his blog.

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New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep

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By A. E. Colas, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, January 9, 2017

New Year’s resolutions are a great idea. You say to yourself, “It’s going to be different this year — I’m ready for a change!” We’re now a week into the new year and you’re finding yourself falling back into old patterns and nothing new is happening. Well ZEALnyc understands your dilemma and we’re offering some very simple ideas that can still get your 2017 off to a terrific start.

Resolution 1: In 2017, I’d like to dress better.

2017-01-06-1483736846-5505049-bfdatFIT.png

Head on over to The Museum at FIT (the downtown fashion institute) and see Black Fashion Designers, an exhibit that will give you just the inspiration you need. This exhibition, which is curated by Ariele Elia and Elizabeth Way, may also keep you from making some mistakes in judgement before hitting the post holiday sales. The exhibition runs through May 16th. For more information click here.

Resolution 2: This year, I should really learn something more about New York City.

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Through February 26, you can learn about the city’s role in creating a place for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities during the 20th century. The Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit Gay Gotham explains how much of the work in the arts of the United States we accept as classic examples today were created by these visionaries who also just happened to be non-heterosexual. For more information click here.

Resolution 3: I want learn how artists make work that is relevant to the world around them.

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In the 1970’s many artists chose to focus exclusively on social issues of the day. The Studio Museum in Harlem has a powerful exhibit called Circa 1970 displaying these pieces in various media. Consider how this past year has looked in terms of artistic achievement and compare it to that earlier time. The exhibition runs through March 5, and if you haven’t been before, it affords a great opportunity to take in this museum, founded in 1968 “…for the dynamic exchange of ideas about art and society.” The Studio Museum in Harlem is on 125th Street, just east of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. For more information click here.

Resolution 4: I should waste less and recycle more.

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Through April 16, see how designers and business owners handle the issues of waste and reuse at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse shows that through innovative thinking and practice, waste at all levels of production can be reduced to near zero. It will definitely help you remember to take your own worn out textiles to the recycle locations at farmers’ markets around the city. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is on Fifth Avenue at 91st Street. For more information click here.

Resolution 5: I want to appreciate the finer things in life.

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Visit the Frick Collection’s exhibit of Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court through February 19 and marvel at the skills used to create objects that decorated the court residences of the kings of France. Then go home and look at your chipped Ikea furniture. For more information click here.

Resolution 6: I need to do more to support conservation issues.

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Anybody can go scuba diving and see coral reefs in all their glory. But it takes a creative mind to actually make a coral reef replica (in crochet, no less) and get it displayed in a museum. Visit the Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle to see Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEAS and admire the craftsmanship. This exhibition, a product of sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Institute for Figuring, runs through January 22. For more information click here. Then text a few bucks to a reputable conservation charity.

Resolution 7: I should travel.

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Then start your journey at The Rubin Museum of Art and their exhibit Masterworks of Himalayan Art. Among other things, you can go on a virtual pilgrimage to Mount Wutai, a sacred site in Buddhist teaching, located in Northern China. Start a bank account for travel with automatic deposits from your paycheck. The Rubin Museum of Art is off Seventh Avenue at 17th Street. This exhibition runs through February 6. For more information click here.

Resolution 8: I want to learn from the best.

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Take a trip out to Queens to see the exhibit Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image. The memorabilia from childhood to his work on such classic films as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Gangs of New York, to name just a few, is impressive and gives insight into the creative process of this giant of American cinema. After you’re done, go see his new film Silence. The museum is at 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria, and is easily accessible by the R/M and N/W subway lines. The exhibition runs through April 23. For more information click here.
_______________________________

A. E. Colas, a Contributing Writer for ZEALnyc, writes about art and museum exhibits, as well as lifestyle features.

For more features from ZEALnyc read:

PROTOTYPE –a ‘Visionary’ Festival Begins Today

With an Eye for the Icon-Oscar Abolafia is a Cognescenti of the Camera

‘Exhibitionism–The Rolling Stones’ is a ‘rocker’s Nirvana’

Catch them before they’re gone — shows that are closing soon

For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

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Arts – The Huffington Post
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George H.W. Bush And Barbara Bush Celebrate 72 Years Of Marriage

Happy anniversary to George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush!

The former president, 92, and former first lady celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary on Friday. They are the longest-married couple in presidential history, followed by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who married in 1946. 

The couple tied the knot on Jan. 6, 1945 in Rye, New York while George was home on leave from the Navy during World War II. They went on to have six children ― four sons including George, Jeb, Neil and Marvin and two daughters Dorothy and Robin, who died at age three of leukemia. 

The couple’s story first began in 1941 when they met at a Christmas dance in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

In a 1994 love letter, George wrote to his beloved wife, “I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I’m even happier today. You give me joy that few men know. I’ve climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”

May this year be the couple’s happiest one yet! 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that John and Abigail Adams had the second longest marriage in presidential history; that distinction goes to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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TV Ratings: CBS Commands the Same Viewership as 16 Years Ago — With a Catch

Thirty-five days. That’s how long it takes for broadcast networks to gather the kind of crowds that they used to grab in a single night. Case in point: 16 years ago, “Everybody Loves Raymond” was drawing 20.81 million people to CBS on the night it aired. In the fall of 2016, “The Big Bang Theory”… Read more »

Variety

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Take a Look Back at Matt Lauer’s First Day Co-Anchoring the Today Show 20 Years Ago

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Talk about a #FlashbackFriday!

Matt Lauer celebrated his 20th anniversary as co-anchor of the Today show on Friday — and in honor of the big day, viewers got a chance to rewind the clock and take a look back at the journalist’s first day on the job on January 6, 1997.

In the clip, Lauer takes the desk with his first NBC co-anchor Katie Couric, live from studio 1A at Rockefeller Plaza as fans cheered happily with signs outside.

“And welcome to Today on this Monday morning. A very special Monday morning for our friend Matt Lauer,” said Couric. “You want to hear it again? One more time, let’s hear it.”

“This is Today, with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer … and Matt Lauer,” the announcer repeated as the set laughed.

“It feels strange,” Lauer confessed. “A friend of mine said: ‘No matter how many times you’ve been in that seat in the past — and it’s been like 150 times — it will be different on Monday morning.’ And he was right. A couple of times during the show just remind me to breathe. That would help me.”

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Couric asked him if he slept alright over the weekend leading up to his first day, and Lauer revealed he started feeling the nerves on Friday after his predecessor Bryant Gumbel‘s final show.

“I wasn’t nervous until Friday — and I want to say I’m looking forward to working with you,” Lauer told Couric. “Friday did make me nervous. I hope you had a chance to see Friday’s show. It was a fitting tribute to Bryant who richly deserves it and it started to get me a little bit nervous.”

“I talked to Bryant over the weekend a couple of times. He was coming down from the emotion of the day,” he added. “He also helped me calm my nerves. So Bryant, if you’re watching, thanks for that, and go back to bed — you’ve earned the extra sleep.”

Lauer, now 59, began working with NBC in the early 90s, filling in as a newsreader on the Today show when needed before joining as a full-time anchor in 1994. He was officially named co-anchor in 1997, working alongside Couric, after Gumbel stepped down.

And the throwback footage isn’t the only way the network celebrated the special anniversary: They also brought along Lauer’s longtime co-host Savannah Guthrie, who is currently on maternity leave, to surprise him.

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“Matt, you know this, but I’ve looked up to you all my life, because you’re so old,” Guthrie joked. “I just want to say, we adore you … One of the things that is so wonderful about you is that from the second I walked in here, one of the things I noticed is that Matt knows every single person’s first name and last name. He knows the name of their dog. He knows how their mother is doing.”


PEOPLE.com

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How to Help Children Make the Best New Year’s Resolutions

Success at keeping resolutions is more critical for children than for adults. Parents can help by keeping goals realistic and setting out steps to achieve them.
WSJ.com: Lifestyle

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A Realistic Guide to Joining a Gym After New Year’s

No matter how much the regulars complain.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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How to Clean Vomit, Wine, and Every Other New Year’s Eve Mess

Our resident Clean Person has you covered.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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5 Ways to Dress for a New Year’s Eve Out on the Town

Yes, it is possible to look good at the club. And the folks past the velvet rope will be glad you did.

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Disney Was 2016’s Box Office Champ, With ‘Rogue One’ Winning New Year’s Weekend

As 2016 came to a close, the year’s box office statistics were cemented: Disney reigned supreme. 

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” maintained the No. 1 spot. Its estimated $ 50 million New Year’s weekend intake brings the movie’s total domestic grosses to about $ 439 million, making it the second-highest-grossing release of 2016. The inaugural stand-alone “Star Wars” installment is second in yearly receipts only to the summer sequel “Finding Dory,” another Disney offering.

It’s largely thanks to the Mouse House that 2016’s overall grosses topped 2015’s by 2 percent. The record-setting $ 11.37 billion in North American ticket sales defies the many Hollywood sequels that underperformed. Disney boasts seven of the year’s 15 highest-grossing films. (The others are “Captain America: Civil War,” “The Jungle Book,” “Zootopia,” “Doctor Strange” and “Moana.”) Collectively, Disney made a whopping $ 1 billion more than the second-most-lucrative studio, Warner Bros., which released “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Despite an impressive year on paper, the number of people going to high-profile franchise installments compared to the lower-budgeted films that once drove the box office has grown even more divided. Of 2016’s 30 highest-grossing movies, only four are live-action originals: “Central Intelligence,” “Sully,” “Bad Moms” and “Arrival.” But this weekend offered a couple of exceptions, most notably “Fences” (which came in No. 5) and “La La Land” (No. 7). The former, directed by and starring Denzel Washington, collected $ 10.1 million in 2,301 theaters. “La La Land,” an Oscar front-runner starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, accumulated about $ 9.5 million in 750 locations, making it the year’s most successful limited release. The Damien Chazelle-directed musical is on track to have pocketed a dazzling $ 37 million in total by the end of Monday. 

Also hitting the Top 10 as 2016 turned into 2017: the animated jukebox musical “Sing” (No. 2), the underperforming Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt vehicle “Passengers” (No. 3), Disney’s “Moana” (No. 4), the comedy “Why Him?” (No. 6) and the video-game adaptation “Assassin’s Creed” (No. 8). As of Sunday’s estimates, “Manchester by the Sea,” “Collateral Beauty” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” are competing for the final two spots.

As is the tendency during the holidays, when Oscar season is in full force, the specialty box office lit up. “Hidden Figures” made a splash on 25 screens, bringing its cumulative grosses to roughly $ 2.5 million, ahead of the race dramedy’s Jan. 6 wide release. The other big winner was “20th Century Women,” the Annette Bening vehicle that enjoyed a $ 29,000-per-screen average in four theaters. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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If People Were Honest At New Year’s Eve Parties

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those of us who look forward to New Year’s Eve and those who know the night will inevitably end in disappointment. 

If you fall into the latter camp, you’ll appreciate the College Humor video above. In the sketch, guests wander around a house party and say exactly what’s on their mind. 

“I had to come to this party because everything I actually wanted to do was way too expensive,” one guest explains to the host as he walks in. 

“Also, you’re out of alcohol and it’s only 10 p.m.,” another dude says to her. “Sounds like your problem!” 

Yeah, we’re staying home this year. 

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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Mariah Carey’s mike malfunctions mar NY New Year’s show

Mariah Carey performs during New Year's Eve celebrations in New York's Times Square on December 31, 2016Mariah Carey surely must be hoping that her 2017 goes better than 2016 ended. The pop music superstar endured what can only be described as a massive technical meltdown during her New Year's Eve performance late Saturday — a fiasco witnessed by thousands in New York's Times Square and millions more across the United States.



Entertainment News Headlines — Yahoo! News

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Gunman Kills Dozens in Istanbul New Year’s Nightclub Attack

At least 39 people are believed to be dead and 69 more are being treated in hospital after a gunman opened fire on revellers ringing in the New Year at a nightclub in Turkey’s Istanbul last night. 15 or more foreign nationals are among the dead, Turkey’s Suleyman Soylu has said, adding that police are… Read more »

Variety

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Trump to Throw Glitzy New Year’s Eve Celebration

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump will ring in the New Year with 800 guests, including Sylvester Stallone and Quincy Jones at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on Saturday night, according to Sean Spicer, incoming White House press secretary.
Spicer, who briefed reporters Friday morning, said soon-to-be First Lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, are expected to attend the glitzy celebration, which will include a cocktail party, dinner and dancing until 1:00 a.m. Sunday. The decor is being provided by Jose Graterol Designs and the band for the night is Party on the Moon. Spicer said the event is sold out.
Stallone, who was reportedly approached by Republican allies of Trump about a prominent arts-related position earlier this month, indicated in mid-December he was “flattered” to be under consideration as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, but not interested.
He suggested he would be “more effective by bringing national attention to returning military personnel in an effort to find gainful employment, suitable housing and financial assistance.”
The New Year’s eve celebration promises to dazzle, especially under the discerning eye of Graterol who has decorated the grand ballroom of Mar-a-Lago on past occasions.
Mar-a-Lago, which is Spanish for “Sea-to-Lake,”was built as the winter

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TOP NEW YEAR’S RESOLU-SHUNS: The People’s Guide.

2017 is finally here. Thank goodness 2016 is finally over. No matter who you supported, the election was brutal, scandalous and seemed to consume any and all news coverage in 2016. The only time we seemed to get a break from it was when yet another celebrity was taken from us. It just seemed like a train wreck of endless tragedy up until the very end of the year. Speaking of celebrities-has anyone checked on Betty White and Keith Richards? We need an update on their vitals-STAT!

In light of a ridiculously tough year in 2016 and a new incoming administration, I think it might be time to lighten up a little and give ourselves a little bit of a break.

We all love Christmas, but some of us can tend to get a little carried away with it. Some of our traditions may not make the most sense, but it is what it is:

First thing we need to do is get those holiday decorations down. If you have a family to help, a hearty team effort can get the job done fairly quickly. If you live alone, your 17 cats staring at you condescendingly will inspire you eventually to remove the festive fodder from your residence. Of course, some of us may need to rid ourselves of more than a dead tree…

Of course, lighter fluid and a match will always do the trick if you don’t mind living in your car until the insurance pays. I don’t recommend this, but to each his own.

For some, removing decorations immediately after the holidays may be a more difficult task than for the rest of us.

Now that the decorations are out of the way or at least unplugged if you leave them up all year, let’s move on to those onerous New Year’s Resolutions. This year, we need some positivity so let’s set some attainable goals.

1) NO GOALS: One sure fire way to avoid failing our New Year’s Resolutions is by not setting any. This is my favorite way to go about it, but unfortunately it leaves us nothing to brag about on Facebook. Social Media showmanship and validation from people that barely care about us seems all the rage these days, so let’s set some doable targets:

2) SURVIVAL GOALS: I think one of the greatest achievements we can accomplish in 2017 is to simply survive it. Lots of folks didn’t make it through 2016, so in 2017 survival seems like a rational goal. Of course, you could just stay in bed and never go outside. Staying indoors while limiting my interactions with people is my favorite way to survive 2017 but there’s that money thing, mean people that want rent-oh, and family. Whatever you do, if you can still fog a mirror by January 1, 2018-you’re winning!

3) HEALTH GOALS: Some of us like to set health goals. Your health is important, but let’s not get carried away.

For me, a gym membership is just a great way to pay a fat tax. I take my walk of shame once a year to renew my membership and pick up my new membership card which I flash to the do-gooders throughout the year to let them know that I may be tubby, but I’m trying. You may want to take a look at some of these places people are calling ‘gyms’ now. I’ve found a few ‘gyms’ that offer free wifi, free coffee, free cable and even pizza and bagels on certain days for as little as $ 10.00 a month! Seriously people? Is this a resort or a gym? That sounds like a health plan I can live with! This is my type of workout:

The only negative to a gym membership is the cost and that you’ll have to deal with the die hards that actually use the equipment-bless their hearts. Other than dealing with the crazy folks that are actually sweating in the gym, it’s really not a bad deal!
If you are not a people person or the cost of the gym membership is too much, you can always buy a Fitbit…all the cool kids are doing it! For me a Fitbit is just a measure of disappointment because I can barely walk 10,000 steps in a week-let alone a day. Don’t worry though, where there’s a will-there’s a way:

Going on a diet can be a good thing and a lot of people try it. Of course there are a plethora of fads to try, so enjoy torturing yourself with these less than civil methods. I love the names they give these diets- ‘South Beach’, ‘Whole 30’ or the ‘Paleo’ Diet. I think it’s interesting to note there are no Paleolithic people alive today, so the diet they were on must not have been too fantastic. I’m pretty sure a Paleolithic Neanderthal alive today would eat a steady stream of doughnuts, cupcakes & pie-so yeah, I’ll try your silly diet. Maybe I’ll consider this diet more the next time I want to wear a burlap sack, grunt, poop in the woods, start a fire with sticks, drag people around by their hair after clubbing them to death and live a miserable life in general. After all, the most effective diet is death.

4) SCREEN GOALS: Many people want to spend less time in front of computer screens and more time outside. All I have to say about that is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Have you seen outside recently? There are people out there! It’s scary! Seriously, this is a great goal and I think you could accomplish this for 24 hours…maybe if you’re sleeping for least 12 of those 24 hours.

Either way, good luck with staying off your phone. If you’re in denial and think it’s still possible, you’re probably the one that calls instead of texts and leaves lengthy voicemail messages-it’s ok though, we still love you. The rest of us want to set attainable goals, and this clearly is not attainable.

5) RELATIONSHIP GOALS: Some folks like to set their dating goals rather high.

Congrats if you can attain those lofty ambitions, but I’d recommend something more reasonable. For starters, let’s try to find somewhere to ring in the New Year instead of our mother’s basement this time around….

Maybe you can meet some new people to talk with that have different opinions than the cats in your mom’s basement. Who knows-whether it’s you or the liquid courage talking, your chances of finding a date increase exponentially when you’re not alone in a basement. If you’re not looking for a serious relationship, it’s always nice to have some friends other than a herd of feral, feisty felines. This may require putting your phone down and speaking to a real life human every once in a while. I know, I know-it’s a dreadful thought, but eventually you might get enough friends to establish a squad who would love to sit in the basement and stare at their phones in silence with you. Wherever you go, just check before you go to make sure they have the following things to ensure you’ll have a good time:

A. Free WiFi
B. Cheetos
C. Your favorite beverage
D. A charger for your phone
E. A dog to pet and chill with because sometimes people are stupid

Whatever you decide to do, please have a safe and Happy New Year! Love others, put a smile on that face and give 2017 all you’ve got!

Celebratory Pro Tip: If you think you may not be able to control your intake of ‘festivities’, it would probably be a good idea to leave the cameras at home…

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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NBA New Year’s resolutions for 2017 (Yahoo Sports)

Houston Rockets fan Justin Keller adjusts his New Year’s party hat before a Dec. 31, 2011, game against the Atlanta Hawks. (AP/Dave Einsel)

What New Year’s resolution would you like to see the NBA, or NBA teams, stick to in 2017?



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Make a Healthy Lifestyle Your New Year’s Resolution

The American Medical Association offers seven goals to get you started
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17 New Year’s Eve Weddings That Are Cause For Celebration

Toss the confetti, pop the champagne and grab a festive hat ― it’s time for a New Year’s Eve wedding! 

Below, 17 photos of couples who rang in the new year with a damn good party and lots and lots of love. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Couple Married 63 Years Dies Hours Apart: ‘I Know They Are Together’

After 63 years of marriage, Dolores and Trent Winstead of Nashville, Tennessee just couldn’t bear to be apart. 

On Dec. 9 at around 9 p.m., Dolores, 83, died after suffering a brain aneurysm; the following afternoon at 4 p.m., Trent, 88, died after his heart had weakened from kidney failure.

“I know they are together and happy for eternity, and that is a comfort to me,” the couple’s daughter Sheryl Winstead told Today. “But I never in a million years dreamed I would walk out of the hospital without either one of them.”

The pair would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in January.

When Trent was hospitalized at St. Thomas West earlier this month for kidney failure, Dolores was seemingly in good health. One day at the hospital, she appeared to have fallen asleep in a chair at Trent’s bedside after complaining of a bad headache. It wasn’t until Sheryl tried to wake her up and couldn’t that the family realized something was wrong. Nurses tried to revive Dolores but her brain activity was gone after the aneurysm, according to the Washington Post. They hooked her up to a ventilator and eventually moved her and Trent into the same room. 

For their final hours together, the couple held hands as they laid in beds side by side.

The couple has two kids, three grandkids and eight great-grandkids. Their son Eddie was the one who told Trent that Dolores had died. 

“I had to lean down next to him, and just kind of tell him, ‘Mom has passed,’” Eddie told ABC affiliate WKRN. “When that happened, it was kind of like his whole spirit just changed.”

He continued, “I told him, I said, ‘Dad, if you want to go be with Mom, that’s quite alright with Sheryl and I.’”

Losing both Trent and Dolores in such a short span of time was undoubtedly difficult for the family, but knowing the couple didn’t have to live long without one another brought them some comfort. 

“It’s like God made their travel arrangements and they went together,” Sheryl told WKRN. “It’s just really sweet.”

Watch the video above for more on their story. 

H/T The Washington Post

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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What are you doing on New Year’s Eve? We’ve got some ideas….

2016-12-27-1482852139-4267122-TimesSqCover.png

By Mercedes Vizcaino, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, December 29, 2016

As the holiday season winds down, you’re left with the proverbial question: ‘What am I doing for New Year’s?’ Many people find themselves reflecting on the past year’s events and decide to stay in, some want to party like it’s 1999 and visit opulent clubs, while others may be looking to explore new adventures that would provide them with an epic, end-of-year glorious time. We have pulled together a list of happenings and events that will be occurring all over the city, which we’re hoping will motivate you to celebrate – all at your own pace (and budget). You may enjoy a midnight race through Central Park, join jubilant themed cruises and rooftop parties with breathtaking views, attend concerts at St. John the Divine and Lincoln Center, or even find yourself jiving at a jazz club in lower Manhattan. There is sure to be something here that will satisfy every New Year’s Eve dream you’ve ever had–so start planning NOW!

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Times Square

The quintessential New Year’s Eve celebration is back at Times Square as millions of revelers will come out to see the famous Ball Drop. Musical headliners Gavin DeGraw and Rachel Platten will be performing their hit songs “I Don’t Want To Be” and “Fight Song” for the live Commercial-Free Webcast and TV Pool Feed. Joining the singers for this stellar evening is platinum-selling producer, rapper and songwriter, Silentó and the inaugural New Year, New Voices selection Jojo Abot. The webcast and livestream will begin with the Ball Raising at 6pm EST; live musical performances, behind-the-scenes stories, and star-studded interviews as anticipation builds towards the midnight countdown of the famous Ball Drop. For more information, click here.

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Prospect Park; photo: Andrew Gardner

Fireworks at Prospect Park

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Prospect Park Alliance have teamed up to celebrate Prospect Park’s 150th Anniversary at Grand Army Plaza. Starting at 11pm, live entertainment will fill Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park and attendees will witness the grand fireworks display with views from the north end of the Park’s East and West Drives. Now in its 37th year, the event is free to the public. For more information, click here.

Fashion Avenue News Magazine Free New Year’s Party

Join Fashion Avenue News Magazine for their 6th annual one-of-a-kind New Year’s event featuring two fashion shows, a live DJ and renowned independent fashion designers, models and artists. Here’s your chance to dress up in your finest duds and party with industry insiders. Special guest, model, Avadora Mimouni will be in attendance. Event organizer and Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Avenue News Magazine, Sofia Davis, says: “We are the friendliest people in the fashion industry and it’s a way for us to give back to those that cannot afford the big-ticket prices for New Year’s Eve events.” For more information and tickets, click here.

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Photo courtesy of NYRR

NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park

Get your fitness resolution off to a great start with New York Road Runner’s 38th Midnight Run event in Central Park. At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, fireworks and running devotees of all ages will set off the New Year with a bang! This is the first year the NYRR Midnight Run will be a scored race and award credit towards the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Runners and guests will partake in pre- and post-race dancing, snacks, and live music. Participants in the race will vie for a prize purse of $ 2,000. For more information and to register or volunteer, click here.

Phish at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve

If celebrating the New Year by listening to your favorite psychedelic-rock band amongst 20,000 strangers is your cup of tea, then look no further. Phish will be performing their bluegrass, rock and folk music-influenced hits for their fans to enjoy on New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden. For tickets and concert info, click here.

New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve Concert

Tony-award winning and Metropolitan Opera baritone Paulo Szot and multiple Grammy-award winner mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will join the New York Philharmonic orchestra with their rendition of classic Broadway musicals. Songs on the program include, “The Rain in Spain” from Lerner & Loew’s My Fair Lady, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. The orchestra will perform Four Dance Episodes from Copland’s Rodeo, J. Strauss II’s On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Rodger’s Carousel Waltz, and Loew’s Embassy Waltz. For more information and tickets, click here.

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The Metropolitan Opera’s New Year’s Eve Gala

Come see the premiere of Bartlett Sher’s production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera. Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo sing the title roles; Gianandrea Noseda conducts. The performance is followed by dinner, dancing and fireworks on the Mercedes T. Bass Grand Tier. Tickets start at $ 1,000. For more information for Gala tickets click here; for tickets to attend the performance only click here.

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Parisian Follies; photo Mark Shelby Perry

Dances of Vice: Parisian Follies New Year’s Eve Grande Spectacle

This extravagant review offers a blend of Parisian delights, from opera to vaudeville and can-can girls, all within the palatial walls of Brooklyn’s famed the Grand Prospect Hall. As the clock strikes midnight, patrons will witness playful Rococo and Belle Époque entertainment with a dash of decadence from postwar Paris in tribute to the splendid history of infamous cabaret halls, including Folie Bergére, Moulin Rouge and Casino de Paris. Dress your best, eat French cuisine and brace yourself for a night of unbridled fun! Tickets start at $ 75. For more information, click here.

The Standard Hotel / Highline New Year’s Eve Events

Does facing the New York Skyline in every direction you’re standing appeal to you? If you answered yes, then that’s one of the benefits of ringing in the New Year at the Standard Hotel for their black-tie affair. Spend December 31st at The Top of the Standard with Gladys Knight and count down the New Year with The Empress of Soul as she performs a special set for the evening. If you prefer to have your favorite house and disco songs spun on the ones and twos, then check out internationally acclaimed DJ, Danny Krivit at The Standard Hotel’s Le Bain club. For more information and tickets, click here.

The McKittrick Masquerade: A New Year’s Eve Bohemian Soirée

The McKittrick Hotel, home of the immersive theatre show Sleep No More, is a bohemian-inspired soirée complete with live pop-up theatrical performances, scenic installations and open bar all night long. On New Year’s Eve, guests are required to arrive in costumes inspired by iconic films – all gold, black, white, or red for the McKittrick Masquerade. Tickets start at $ 225. For more information and tickets, click here.

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Monarch Rooftop & Indoor Lounge

Perched 18 floors above Midtown Manhattan, this expansive 5,000 square foot of outdoor and indoor space with incredible views of the adjacent Empire State Building and city skyline will leave you in awe. There will be a DJ to spin tunes from 9pm – 4am, doors open at 8pm. For more information and tickets, click here.

New Year’s Eve Cruises

If sailing around the New York harbor for New Year’s sounds thrilling, then check out Cruise New Year’s Eve sensational “New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dance Cruise” Tickets start at $ 150. Boarding begins at 9:30pm and docks from the SkyPort Marina. For more information, click here.

If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to relive the Roaring Twenties, then the Great Gatsby Cruise will fulfill your fantasies with open bar and Twenties-themed attire, setting sail from Pier 36. For more information and tickets, click here.

Nightclub / Cabaret

Watch Sandra Bernhard ring in the New (with shows all week leading up to the big night) at Joe’s Pub in her new “Feel the Bernhard” show. The unapologetic comedienne is ready to take no prisoners and pulls no punches with her latest foray. For more info and tickets, click here.

If you’re in the mood for comedy then check out Charles Busch’s New Year’s Eve Show at Feinstein’s/54 Below at 7pm. The drag legend combines hilarious personal reminiscence, character sketches and superb storytelling through song. For more information and tickets, click here. Following Busch’s magnetic performance is Annaleigh Ashford’s New Year’s Magic Show at 11pm. Tony Award-winner, Annaleigh Ashform will delight audiences with her eclectic mix of songs, stories, and impressive magic tricks. For more details and tickets, click here.

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Charles Busch at Feinstein’s / 54 Below

Singer/Songwriter Steve Tyrell is back with his resident holiday season at Café Carlyle performing his classic hits on New Year’s Eve. For more info and tickets, click here.

Master organist Dr. Lonnie Smith will be at the Jazz Standard with a New Year’s Eve performance showcasing his talents for blending ballads and climactic songs. For more information click here.

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Concert for Peace at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984, The Concert for Peace has become the Cathedral’s most celebrated event. On its 32nd season, the concert will feature special guests Judy Collins, soprano Jamet Pittman performing “This Little Light of Mine” and Jason Robert Brown singing “To Build a Home” from the musical The Bridges of Madison County. The celebration culminates with the light of thousands of candles held aloft by audience members. There are a limited number of general admission tickets free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, tickets start at $ 40. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
______________________________

Mercedes Vizcaino, a Contributing Writer with ZEALnyc, writes about lifestyle and cultural events in and around New York City.

More features from ZEALnyc:

Holiday Wishes and New Year’s Resolutions (and what we’re looking forward to next year!)

NYC Offers a Multitude of Movie Theaters for Your Holiday Viewing Pleasure

Finding your inner Olaf at all the NYC area ice skating rinks

For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

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Children’s Fun & Educational Gift Bundle – Ages 6-12 Years [5 Piece] No. dbund-6-12-8453

Children’s Fun & Educational Gift Bundle – Ages 6-12 Years [5 Piece] No. dbund-6-12-8453


Children’s Gift Bundle – Ages 6-12 [5 Piece] – Crayola 3D Glow Board Disney Toy Story 3 – Crayola Storm Trooper Art Case Toy – Eden Toys Teddy Bear Red Bow 18 – The Best Book of Early People Hardcover Book – The Best of She-Ra DVD Animated DVD Movie – Gift Bundle Includes The Following: – Crayola 3D Glow Board Disney Toy Story 3 – Let your child’s imagination soar with their favorite Toy Story 3 Characters as they create awesome effects with this 3-D glowboard! Included Animation sheets make special effects with flip motion, and you can download additional sheets and tracing pages at crayola.com. Designs can be drawn or traced onto two different layers to create 3-D effects which can be viewed with 3-D glasses (included). Control switched light either layer or you can flash between the two! Flip down stand on frame lets you display your designs, and reusable surface cleans easily with damp cloth or paper towel. 6 included glow markers store easily in frame. Ages 6+, 3AA batteries required, not included. – UPC: 071662070274 – Crayola Storm Trooper Art Case Toy – Crayola and Star Wars in a cool Millennium Falcon Art Case! Perfect art set for the older child; collectible item for any Star Wars enthusiast! – UPC: 071662068738 – Eden Toys Teddy Bear Red Bow 18 – Super soft and cuddly teddy bear. For all ages. – UPC: – The Best Book of Early People Hardcover Book – Children are very curious about who their prehistoric ancestors were, how they lived, and what they may have looked like, and The Best Book of Early People by Margaret Hynes and Mike White is just the source to satisfy emerging anthropologists. Children will learn how early families survived, hunted, gathered into primitive settlements, began to use tools, and invented farming techniques. Step-by-step illustrations and captions explore ancient villages and the work of the scientists who find and catalog their discoveries. – ISBN: 0753455773 – The Best of She-Ra DVD Animated DVD

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U.S. Retailers on Pace for Best Holiday Season in Years

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Wedding Ring Lost on Christmas Tree Farm 15 Years Ago Returned to Recently Widowed Man

David Penner’s wife of 42 years died three months ago, but a “miracle” Christmas surprise is bringing him much-needed comfort this holiday season.

More than 15 years ago, the 68-year-old Great Meadows, New Jersey, native lost his wedding ring at Wyckoff’s Tree Farm in White Township. A return visit to locate the band soon after proved fruitless — and Penner figured he’d lost it forever.

That is until December 2, when the grieving husband was reunited with the long-lost ring, inscribed with the date of his marriage — July 20, 1974 — and the words, “To David. Love, Nancy.”

“This was a piece come back to me, in her absence,” he told NJ.com of his late wife Nancy, who died on September 30 at the age of 67.

Third-generation tree farmer John Wyckoff was riding his tractor in April when he noticed something glittering in the soil. After sifting through the dirt, he came upon a gold wedding ring with the detailed inscription. Wyckoff approached a local New Jersey newspaper to get the word out and a video posted to NJ.com in December went viral.

“I got probably about half a dozen emails of people trying to give me leads. One was right on,” Wyckoff told NJ.com.

Penner was ecstatic when he heard about the found item. He immediately dug up his wedding certificate and drove to Wyckoff’s Tree Farm.

“I thought it was a miracle,” he said.

Penner is now wearing his wedding ring for the first time since he lost it 15 years ago. He never got a new one, because he felt nothing could replace the original.

“We had each other, that was the main thing,” he told NJ.com.


PEOPLE.com

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This Husband And Wife Recreated Their Wedding Photos After 42 Years

Conrad and Louise Gonzales were married in 1974. Forty-two years later, the couple recreated their wedding photos ― and they look even more in love now than they did back then. 

In a BuzzFeed video posted Monday, Conrad and Louise recount their decades-long love story, from when they first met in a high school accounting class, to their first date touring a college in Pasadena, California, to their July 6, 1974 wedding day and some of the relationship hurdles they hit later on.  

While prepping for the anniversary photo shoot, the couple leafed through their wedding album, reminiscing about the big day all those years ago

“It also reminds me how blessed I am that after 42 years I’m still with my wife,” Conrad said after seeing the photos side-by-side. “I thank God that he allowed me to find this woman and enjoy a lifetime together.” 

Watch the heartwarming video above. 

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‘Doctor Who’ Does New York In This Year’s Christmas Special

Doctor Who” is going stateside this Christmas.

The BBC released an action-packed trailer for the sci-fi series’ holiday episode, titled The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” on Friday.

The teaser is only 30 seconds long but does appear to show Peter Capaldi’s titular character teaming up with an investigative reporter and a figure known as “The Ghost” to save Manhattan from brain-swapping aliens.

The episode airs in the U.S. via BBC America on Dec. 25. Check out the full trailer above.

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Original Madame Butterfly in Milan, 112 years later

Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly was first presented in 1904 and has since become one of the world's most popular operasMilan (AFP) – Milan's La Scala opens its 2016-17 season Wednesday with a performance of Madame Butterfly in its original version for the first time since the famous opera's controversial 1904 premiere.



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Taking Breast Cancer Prevention Drug Beyond 5 Years May Not Raise Survival

Study found women who continued with letrozole did experience other benefits, however
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Taelo: The Early Years

Taelo: The Early Years


Long ago when the first people were migrating to into the Americas much was unknown and a mystery. A boy with extra ordinary talent and capability selects the claw of an eagle and becomes Taelo (Ta Low). An eagle, lets out a joyous scream and plucks the claw from Taelo’s upstretched hand. He is joined by his cousin Golden Hawk. The two boys are cousins born on the same day. They are inseparable and face many adventurous challenges. The Eagle’s scream is heard each time Taelo and Golden Hawk face a new challenge. Together they herd salmon, talk to cave bears, fly with lions, face a mad saber tooth tiger, hunt the buffalo and the mastodon. They bring luck to the Elk Clan. Taelo and Golden Hawk support their mothers as they bravely face the threat of the Others. The Others are on the verge of starving. Burley Bear of the Others is rough with White Swan mother of Taelo and is knock out by Taelo. Taelo is heralded when the Other, who have been waiting for the warrior of the eagle, realize he is the one they have been waiting for. The Others are short of food, their current camp is not fit for the upcoming winter weather. Taelo organizes the search for a better camp and sends out hunting parties to find food. A contrite Burley Bear, befriends both Taelo and Golden Hawk and becomes their guardian and companion. Taelo, Golden Hawk and Burley bear become inseparable friends. This unusual bond between the Others, and the new people is reinforced when the three are inducted into manhood at the same time in both clans. A few of the young women of the Elk Clan learn that the women of the Other all participate in the hunt. White Swan makes sure all the young women end up on the same team as Taelo. This team is led by Small Otter because the elders do not yet believe in Taelo. Broken Spear the seer of the Others warns Taelo of a mad presence that will attack him. This threat must be faced and when in the water the way out is to go down. This has no meaning b

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How Blue Turned to Green: Blue Man Group at 25 Years

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Pusha T on His Adidas Sneakers and Why the Next Four Years Will Be ‘an Uphill Battle’

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A Stolen Corvette Was Just Returned to Its Owner…40 Years Later

Bad news: It was found with a family who had owned it for the last 20 years.

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Grammy Awards Expected to Return to New York City in 2018 for First Time in Fifteen Years

The Grammy Awards are eyeing a return to New York City in 2018, according to a report from the New York Times on Tuesday morning. This would be the first time the Big Apple hosted the awards show since 2003. The decision to hold the 60th annual awards on the East Coast at Madison Square Garden… Read more »

Variety

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The Latte Years

The Latte Years


At twenty-four Philippa Moore is overweight, unhappily married, and still living in her hometown of Hobart, Tasmania. After a wake-up call in a department-store changing room, Phil suddenly realises that she is on the wrong path. With determination she starts to shed the kilos, and makes a confronting discovery: she is in charge of her own life. Starting over again in Melbourne, she launches an award-winning health and fitness blog, Skinny Latte, and finds the courage to leave her marriage. She then sets out on an international odyssey, travelling the length and breadth of North America and throwing herself into every new experience she encounters. An intuitive friend predicts that true love is in her future but, still scarred from her failed relationship, she can scarcely bring herself to believe it. When she arrives in London, though, she finds the life she has always been looking for, coming to realise that excuses for not doing the things you dream of doing are just that: excuses. The Latte Years is the brave story of a life restarted, of the battles still to be won once the ‘after’ photo has been taken. Told with humour, insight and a great deal of coffee, it shows that we have the power to change anything, and inspires us to live our best, most authentic life. Philippa Moore is a writer, editor and award-winning blogger who has held a lifelong fascination with language and stories. Her writing has been published widely and she also hosts a popular podcast, Book Ends, featuring interviews with leading contemporary writers. She was the author of the award-winning health and fitness blog, Skinny Latte Strikes Back, which was one of the UK’s most popular health and fitness blogs. Philippa now lives in North London with her husband Tom and many pairs of running shoes.

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50 Years Ago, Truman Capote Hosted the Best Party Ever

The guests wore black tie and couture dresses. But with its unlikely mix of attendees, the Black and White Ball helped to break down the old order.
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My Journey Through The Amazon With The Team Of ‘Years Of Living Dangerously’

Over the course of ten days in June 2016, I traveled to the Brazilian Amazon to film an episode for “Years Of Living Dangerously,” the National Geographic documentary series about climate change. You can watch my full story on Wednesday, November 16th at 10 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.

June 1: Cristalino Eco-Lodge, Cristalino State Park, Mato Grosso State, Brazil

Today was not my typical workday. It was over 95 degrees, humid, and I was following a man holding a machete that I had never met into the jungle. My outfit included padded shin guards to protect me from snakebites. As I walked, the former miner-turned-environmentalist guide named Francisco was giving me a quick safety briefing: don’t veer off the path, don’t go in the nearby river with open cuts and don’t feed the monkeys, no matter how cute. “Why can’t I swim with open cuts?” I asked. “Because open cuts can get infected and because the cuts also attract piranhas.he explained. No, this was definitely not my typical workday.

Where was I? I was walking through a dense forest on the Cristalino Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon. The guide at the front of our group, the one wielding a machete, was helping to clear our path of low-hanging vines, thorny branches and fallen logs. Suddenly, he stopped. “I want to show you something,” he said, as he guided me towards an absolutely massive tree that six or more adults could encircle. “This tree is about 800 years old,” he tells me. “It has lived through more of the world than any of us ever will.”

Our destination was a 165-foot tall observation tower that allowed me to climb up through the forest’s layers, past the canopy, for a bird’s-eye view of this small piece of the Amazon. Until now, I had been so focused on the beauty of our hike – and on avoiding snakes – that I hadn’t focused on my fear of heights. The tower is sturdy, but it vibrated and shook a little as I slowly made my way to the top. As I climbed, it helped to focus on the fact that someone was waiting for me up there, a renowned Brazilian scientist named Antonio Nobre who I’ve been a fan of and wanted to meet for some time. 

Even if you live in New York, you are benefiting indirectly from the invisible functions the Amazon performs to sustain the Earth.
Brazilian scientist Antonio Nobre

Once I made it to the top of the tower, I looked around and saw mist coming up through the trees. I heard the amazing sounds of the forest; the Macaws along with lots of other kinds of birds I’d never seen before flew over me. It was breathtaking! It’s easy to feel entirely remote up there and surreally disconnected from the rest of the world beyond the tree line. Yet, Nobre explained how misguided – and ultimately damaging – that type of thinking can be. He pointed out how the things that happen here significantly impact the rest of the world.

He explained to me that, “Even if you live in New York, you are benefiting indirectly from the invisible functions the Amazon performs to sustain the Earth. There are all of these invisible systems that are critical to the environment and have an immense impact. The forest is providing all of these crucial services to us for free; we don’t have to pay for them. We gain the benefits, but because they are invisible, we unfortunately tend not to value them as much as we should.” 

He explained that one of the functions of the rainforest is to be the  “lungs of the world,” absorbing greenhouse gases. In addition, the forest absorbs groundwater through its roots and releases it in invisible streams – what Antonio called flying rivers – that help in cooling the Earth’s atmosphere. “When they do this,” he says, “same way as when you’re sweating then cool down, trees cool down the surface. They’re like air conditioners.”

“If you lose the Amazon,”he told me, “you lose a critical function of the rainforest that moderates the world’s climate by pumping and filtering ― cleaning and breathing for the entire planet.”

June 3: Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso State, Brazil

I now had a better idea of just how much is at stake in the fight to protect the Amazon. Next up was to find out what’s driving its destruction. Especially because I had heard that after decades of decline, overall rates of Amazon deforestation are on the rise again.

To learn more, I went to nearby Alta Floresta, or “High Forest,” a city that was covered with trees when founded in 1976, but now, sadly, is almost entirely deforested. In the past, the government encouraged people to come to the Amazon and exploit it. The city’s progression from a forested area to a deforested one in the 1980s and ‘90s made it notable, albeit in a negative way. The nickname reflects its high deforestation rates: “Falta Floresta” or “Lacking Forest.” Alta Floresta’s story, I discovered, is not unique in this region, and even as some have made efforts to reforest some of its cleared areas, newer cities and towns are driving deforestation around it.

To get a better sense of why this is happening, I met with Paulo Adario, the Brazilian director of Greenpeace’s Amazon program, who took me up in a small plane to fly over the region. This perspective was different from Cristalino, where I’d gotten the impression that the forest stretched on forever. As we moved further and further away from the reserve’s borders, I realized how mistaken I was in my impression of an infinite forest; the landscape below was a mosaic of large cleared areas cut out of the forest. The extent of this devastation was heartbreaking.

Adario told me that we were actually in the middle of the “Arc of Deforestation,” a crescent shaped belt of largely deforested land that passes through Brazil’s northern Mato Grosso and southern Pará states where nearly half the world’s tropical deforestation takes place. Protected areas like Cristalino and indigenous reserves like the nearby Xingu National Park represented some of the most effective buffers against encroaching deforestation, though even they are not immune to illegal activity on their lands. What is driving these trends? “People don’t deforest because they hate trees,” Adario told me. “They deforest because they can make money.” There are many causes: mining, logging, infrastructure projects like roads and mega-dams to name a few. What is the number one reason for deforestation in Brazil? Adario pointed out of the plane’s window to some white blobs: Cattle. “They are responsible for 65 percent of all deforestation in the Amazon…and 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” he told me.

I had a flashback to my family’s dinner table growing up in Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil. Eating meats and especially beef. They were a central part of our daily meal routine. Meat is still a staple in Brazilians’ diet and around the world. On this trip I have learned we cannot continue to eat the same way. If we don’t make changes, the future generations won’t have the same abundance of natural resources.

June 5: Novo Progresso, Pará State, Brazil

Being with Adario in Alta Floresta revealed how much we already know about what’s driving deforestation in the Amazon and endangering our climate. The flyover showed we also know where the worst destruction is taking place, both legally and illegally. Unfortunately, deforestation is back on the rise. The logical next question is why can’t we stop it?

To find out more, I’ve crossed the border from Mato Grosso State to neighboring Pará to visit a place that many consider the prime example of Brazil’s “Wild West” – a frontier town called Novo Progresso or “New Progress,” which was elevated to the category of Municipality  only in 1991. The city is located on the roadside of BR-163. This roadway is of fundamental importance for the flow of Brazilian production. It is right at the edge of the rain forest’s borders. Novo Progresso, which has about 25,000 inhabitants, appears to have many legalized timber companies in its surrounding areas. As we drove along BR-163, I saw many of them on both sides of the road. I don’t understand how that is even possible – how can they authorize the operation of timber companies inside of protected areas?

Business in remote Novo Progresso, a place I’d never heard of, seems to be booming. Given what I’m seeing, the industries driving the growth are the same ones Adario said are placing the most pressure on this irreplaceable forest. In the battle to save the Amazon, it is clear that Novo Progresso is on the front lines, divided between those whose living depends on exploiting the forest and those whose living revolves around defending it.

I went to meet one of the defenders of the rainforest. We turned off the city’s main road and onto a dusty side street; we stopped in front of a single-story building with a guarded perimeter. We had arrived at the local outpost of Brazil’s environmental police, IBAMA. Inside, there were several armed men dressed in camouflage lounging on wooden benches. I was one of very few women there, but not for long. I was told that the “Blonde Devil” was to arrive soon. It appeared she was coming straight from a raid on an illegal logging camp.

Maria Luiza Souza, known by those she chases as the “Blonde Devil,” is a senior IBAMA official in charge of surveillance operations for the region. Her accomplished reputation precedes her. Her success has not only earned her notoriety and her nickname, it has also shockingly earned her a price on her head. Bravely, despite the repeated threats to her life, Souza refuses to back down.

“Why is it so hard to stop illegal deforestation, especially when we often know where it’s happening?” I asked her.

“We are blind during the rainy season in the Amazon,” she told me. “Why; because it’s too cloudy for the satellites to capture quality images of the forest.  During this period, the deforestation runs rampant.” She explained, “That even when armed with good imaging, the remoteness of many Amazon locations means it can take hours, or even days, for law enforcement officials to arrive on site. This can give criminals a sufficient head start to do their damage and disappear without getting caught.”

“There is no accountability,” Souza continued. “Criminals see that they can profit from crimes without big consequences… so they continue them… [and] there’s still demand. There’s a market for buying illegal cattle… and illegal timber from the Amazon. As long as there’s [cheap] supply, people will buy it.”

“I first came to Novo Progresso in 2007 and nothing has improved in this city. Nothing,” Souza replies. “The environmental crimes don’t improve the city, they don’t improve living conditions in Novo Progresso. Nothing stays for the community. They are plundering the Amazon [and] Novo Progresso has not developed at all. It should be called Novo Regresso,” she finished.

Despite the fact that IBAMA needs more resources to cover the vast territory, it was clear that Souza and her IBAMA team continue doing critical work to reduce the region’s criminal activity and defend the Amazon from illegal destruction. It was clear after speaking with her that IBAMA enforces the laws put in place by the government but would benefit from the additional support of more environmental police. There are two other points to be considered in this fight:  law enforcement needs to hold criminals accountable and there needs to be policy incentives to promote less destructive industries overall.

Brazil’s economy is struggling and its government is under fire. As a result, budgets are being slashed and compromises are being made.

June 7: Brasilia, Federal District

I arrived from the Amazon to Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, triggering a bit of culture shock. After days of high heat and higher humidity, dirt roads and lush forests, the city’s dry savanna climate, famous modernist architecture and sweeping boulevards felt like an entirely different world.

It is a tense time for my country. Brazil’s economy is struggling and its government is under fire. As a result, budgets are being slashed and compromises are being made in an effort to restore short-term growth and national stability. The country is at a crossroads for how to move forward and jumpstart its economy once again. What does this all mean for the Amazon? As we drove by the beautiful architecture of Brasilia and the National Congress buildings, I wondered how many of the country’s political leaders have visited the rainforest.

To find out more, I arranged to meet with Senator Katia Abreu from the state of Tocantins, a major player in the negotiation of the country’s new forest code. A rancher herself, she is the former president of Brazil’s Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock as well as the country’s former Minister of Agriculture, a role she held until just three weeks before my arrival.

Brazil made a commitment at COP21, in Paris, to halt all illegal deforestation by 2030. Given that the forest is under siege now and it’s only 2016, this seems a long way off, so I ask her: “Why wait until 2030? Why not now?”

“Because you need tools to reduce deforestation,” she told me. “It is not the case that you say ‘stop’ and suddenly, with a magic wand, everything stops…we fight against it every day. We made a promise for 2020, and now a new promise for 2030. It is a promise we are striving to keep.”

I told her that I saw a lot of clear land and that I was shocked with the size of the devastation. I asked her if it is possible for Brazil to grow without having to cut more trees. She says yes, but then she explained “Brazil carries a huge responsibility on its shoulders.” Abreu continued telling me that the Food and Agriculture Organization expect Brazil to increase its production 40 percent by 2050 ― more than any other country ― to feed the world’s growing population.   “Meats and soy are the most important products in our commercial balance,” she told me. “In general, not only the meat industry but all segments of agriculture, of Brazilian agribusiness, have saved Brazil in this [economic] crisis…”

I learned agriculture is important for Brazil and more soy will be needed to feed more cattle to combat world hunger. How can the expansion in production be managed so that it will put less pressure on Brazil’s forests and not endanger the indigenous and riverside communities that live and depend on the rainforest?

June 8: Memorial of Indigenous Peoples, Brasilia, Federal District

The Memorial of Indigenous Peoples in Brasilia is a round, spiral structure that the famed architect Oscar Niemeyer created from inspiration he found in the traditional village structures of the Yanomami Indians in Brazil’s north. The memorial is a symbolic tribute to Brazil’s diversity and wealth of indigenous cultures. Today, the memorial serves as a grave reminder of the highest stakes possible in the fight to protect the Amazon ― human stakes.

I walked slowly past the memorial’s displays of indigenous artifacts as I spoke with Sonia Guajajara, the national coordinator of Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples. She is a key spokeswoman for the country’s indigenous movement.

“Look Gisele,” she told me, “here in Brazil, we live under enormous pressure from the development model that’s been adopted. It’s based on the expansion of agribusiness, the planting of crops like soy, and on animal agriculture that uses huge expanses of pasture to raise livestock… Everything is in the name of increasing production to expand the economy, not considering the lives and the social rights of the people living there.”

The perception throughout Brazil that indigenous and environmental interests can’t be aligned with national economic goals has elevated tensions between indigenous communities, activists, loggers and ranchers in the Amazon to deadly levels.

Last year, Sonia’s indigenous territory, Arariboia, suffered from a forest fire that burned more than half of its 413,000 hectares. It was a massively destructive blaze – and it may have been arson. Ninety percent of Brazil’s forest fires are caused by human actions, intentionally set in areas of conflict to force people to vacate protected land.

“We are living in a moment of great global transformation,” says Sonia, “where all those who do not incorporate themselves into this system are seen as an inconvenience and embarrassment because of our age-old and harmonious relationship with nature, where land is a sacred good and not merchandise, where rivers represent life, and the forest is our protector. In the name of economic development, all of this is threatened.”

As a self-described “conscious citizen,” Sonia says her mission is to get people to care about the Amazon, indigenous people and their rights. This made me think about my own role as a conscious citizen. How can I inspire others to care – and do – more to help the incredible people I’ve met and places I’ve seen here? I want to show that environmental conservation does not slow or impede economic development and that we need to find sustainable ways to use the forest’s richness without destroying it.

We cannot pretend it isn’t happening and that we have nothing to do with it.

June 10: Boston, Massachusetts

Back with my family and friends in Boston, I have so much on my mind. I have been humbled by the opportunity to have this experience and learn so much. I wanted to tell them about the Amazon’s overwhelming importance to the earth and the beauty. Before this trip, I would have focused on the physical beauty, its rich biodiversity, describing the colors, sounds, foliage and animals that I was fortunate enough to witness. Beauty is so often thought of as only something visible. I realized that the Amazon forest goes much beyond its physical beauty. There are invisible treasures, the interconnected systems, like Nobre’s flying rivers that give life to all other treasures. Everything I’ve learned on this trip to the Amazon further affirms my central belief, that we – and everything around us – are connected. Just as the Amazon rainforest is connected with the world’s climate, the foods we choose to eat connect back to it and its long-term sustainability, too. Every choice we make has consequences and we are the only ones responsible for them and the only ones who can change them. We cannot pretend it isn’t happening and that we have nothing to do with it.

I recall something Sonia Guajajara said in Brasilia, “people think that because they are living in the United States, in Europe, or on any other continent, they believe they are separate, that they have nothing to do with what happens here [in Brazil]. The world is round, isn’t it? It spins. What happens here happens to everyone. The importance of having the forest preserved, conserved, is that it is going to benefit everybody.”

If we willingly ignore how interconnected we are, the Amazon’s incredible treasures will disappear and so, too, will life as we know it.

We can’t let that happen.

Gisele Bündchen is a Brazilian-born model and Ambassador for the UN Environmental Program, who can next be seen as a correspondent for the National Geographic documentary series Years of Living Dangerously on Wednesday, November 16th at 10 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.

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