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U.S. marshal killed, officers wounded while serving warrant in Pennsylvania

A deputy U.S. marshal was killed and two police officers were injured Thursday morning when authorities said they were shot while serving a search warrant, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Former U.S. Navy officers face negligent homicide charges in collisions

The U.S. Navy has announced that five officers, including two commanders, will face negligent homicide charges connected to separate incidents involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain that cost 17 sailors their lives.

>> Watch the news report here

A Navy spokesman, Capt. Greg Hicks, said the charges, which also include dereliction of duty and endangering a ship, will be presented to what the military calls an Article 32 hearing to determine whether the accused are taken to trial in a court-martial.

The disciplinary actions were decided by Adm. Frank Caldwell and are the latest in a series of moves the Navy has made in the aftermath of the deadly collisions, which investigators concluded were avoidable. It fired several top leaders, including the commander of the 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, and several other senior commanders in the Pacific.

>> Read more trending news 

The Navy said it is filing at least three charges against four officers of the Fitzgerald, including the commanding officer, who was Cmdr. Bryce Benson at the time. Benson suffered a head injury in the collision and was airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Yokosuka, Japan. A Navy investigation found that Benson left the ship’s bridge before the collision. Also facing charges are two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade, whose names were not disclosed. The Navy said all four face criminal charges, including negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and endangering a ship.

Fewer officers from the McCain are being charged. The Navy said the ship’s commander at the time, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, is being charged with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and endangering a ship. A chief petty officer, whose name was not disclosed, faces a charge of dereliction of duty.

In a statement, Hicks said the announcement of charges Tuesday is “not intended to and does not reflect a determination of guilt or innocence related to any offenses. All individuals alleged to have committed misconduct are entitled to a presumption of innocence.”

In June, the 7th Fleet notified families of the seven sailors who drowned after a 29,060-ton container ship called the ACX Crystal collided with the USS Fitzgerald.

The Navy identified the deceased then as Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Va.; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego, Calif.; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Conn.; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, Calif.; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Md; Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.

Divers found the missing sailors after they were able to gain access to parts of the USS Fitzgerald that were damaged in the collision.

Two months later, the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided, killing 10 U.S. sailors.

The deceased in that incident: Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, Amazonia, Mo.; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, El Paso; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, Gaithersburg, Md.; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, Cable, Ohio; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Manchester, Md.; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Suffield, Conn.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, Killeen, Tex.; Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, Decatur, Ill.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class, Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Cherry Hill, N.J.

The Navy dismissed three-star commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin in August after “los[ing] confidence in his ability to command.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

>> Read more trending news 

“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

'Girther' conspiracy hits social media as critics question Trump's height, weight

On Tuesday, White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson appeared before the press to give the details of President Donald Trump’s latest physical. According to Jackson — who was appointed by former President Barack Obama — the president is in great health, but some critics wasted no time casting doubt on Jackson’s analysis.

>> On Rare.us: Steve Bannon just cut a deal with Robert Mueller, reports say — here’s what we know

Most of the results were pretty straightforward. Trump aced a cognitive exam and has benefited from not drinking or smoking his entire life, Jackson said. The doctor said he is going to try to put the president on a diet but joked that the commander-in-chief might just live to be 200. At one point in the briefing, Jackson said Trump weighs 239 pounds and stands 6-foot-3. That puts his body mass index at 29.9. (You’re considered obese if your BMI hits 30.) But not everybody bought that last statistic.

>> Read more trending news 

More than a few people pointed to a photo of Trump standing side-by-side with Obama, who is 6-foot-1, and the men appear to be the same height.

There were also dozens of people who pointed to athletes with the same dimensions as Trump.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes even termed the doctor doubters “girthers” — a stab at the “birther” conspiracy theorists who insisted that Obama was not born in the United States.

On Wednesday morning, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough also cast doubts on the results that Jackson gave to the press. At one point in his segment, Scarborough said, “All I can tell you is this: If that’s what 239 pounds looks like, I would weigh 170 pounds. So yes, I have great respect for people who – great respect for this doctor, but if that’s what 6-foot-3, 239 pounds looks like, that’s a shock to me.”

Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

Neighbors described the reportedly nightmarish situation at the Turpin home, where parents David and Louise allegedly kept their 13 children shackled to their beds and malnourished, as seeming like a “cult.”

Former neighbors said the children were made to march around for hours in the middle of the night, they told the New York Post.

A man named Mike, who did not want to give his full name and was a neighbor of the Turpins when they lived in Murrieta, California, told the Post, “I thought they were like a cult. They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth.”

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Mike said he would arrive home late from his job at a hospital and see the children marching through the upstairs rooms of the Turpin home between midnight and 3 a.m.

David and Louis Turpin were arrested Sunday in their Perris, California, home after one of their daughters called police for help, saying she had managed to escape the house with a cellphone. When police arrived, they reportedly found the siblings, ages 2 to 29, living in squalor and looking very thin, with several of the kids shackled to furniture.

Mike said his wife, Myrna, called the family “clones,” saying the Turpins all spoke “robotically, in a monotone and at the same” time during the few occasions on which Myrna interacted with them at a local grocer.

However, Mike told the Post that he and Myrna never called the police because they didn’t see anything that suggested they needed to. They just thought the parents were a bit odd.

Mike, as well former neighbors from when the Turpins owned a farm in Rio Vista, Texas — which the family left due to foreclosure — remarked on the amount of trash that the family accumulated.

“I ended up calling the police because of the trash and everything that was left there,” said former Texas neighbor Randy McClain. “There was a brand new pickup truck covered in [trash] — a whole truck bed full and overflowing to the ground with trash: diapers, Spam cans, potted meat cans, just overflowing.”

The Daily Mail got access to the Turpin’s Perris backyard and found a Disney-themed fountain situated in a messy yard in which “piles of metal pipes could be seen strewn around, along with a rusty set of metal garden furniture and some diaper boxes.”

>> Read more trending news 

Through the screen door, the Daily Mail spied piles of clutter, including what appear to be stacked books, within the house.

Neighbor Leticia Gomez, 45, who lives directly behind the Turpin home, told the Daily Mail that she wasn’t aware there were any kids in the house. She described the Turpins’ garden as unkempt and “scruffy.”

Another neighbor, Andria Valdez, said she did know there were children living in the home and that she had seen them before. She joked that the Turpins reminded her of the vampire family in the “Twilight” books and movies, because they were “really, really pale” and “only came out at night.”

Trump White House exposé ‘Fire and Fury’ could be TV series

“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” could be adapted from a book to a TV series.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rights to the controversial Michael Wolff exposé of the Trump White House has been purchased by Endeavor Content for TV and film. Endeavor Content was created in 2017 as talent agency WME and talent management company IMG combined its film financing and scripted TV sales operations into one banner.

THR reported that Endeavor Content will start shopping the TV series adaptation, as a network is not yet attached to the project.

>> Read more trending news 

“Fire and Fury” was written based on Wolff’s access to the Trump White House, and includes details from over 18 months of conversations with Trump and senior staff members. Some claims in the book include that Trump didn’t expect or want to win the 2016 election, he was upset that A-list celebrities didn’t come to his inauguration, he couldn’t get through a lesson on the U.S. Constitution and media mogul Rupert Murdoch called him an “idiot.”

Related: 10 stunning claims about Trump White House from ‘Fire and Fury’

Other claims say Trump eats fast food out of fear of being poisoned, Trump’s daughter Ivanka has goals of running for president, and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn was aware of potential conflicts of interest with Russian ties.

The claims in the book have been denied by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who referred to the book as “complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip.”

Interest in the book grew when news from the book was leaked, and authorized excerpts were published soon after. The publication of the book was moved from Jan. 9 to Jan. 5 as the White House attempted to stop its release, and within two days of sales, “Fire and Fury” debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. THR reported that according to the book’s publisher, Henry Holt, more than 1.4 million hardcover copies were ordered and 700,000 copies have been shipped to date.

Super blue blood moon eclipse: What you need to know

super blue blood moon? Yes!

It is happening on the last day of this month. A blue moon typically gets its name when it occurs as the second of two full moons in one calendar month.

>> ‘Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

But something very special will happen to the moon on this date. The full moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow during the early morning of Jan. 31 to give us a total lunar eclipse. During the time of the total eclipse, the moon will appear reddish in color, which is where it gets to be called a “blood moon.” Totality, when the moon will be entirely inside the Earth’s dark umbral shadow, will last a bit more than 1 1/4 hours.

The Jan. 31 full moon is also the third in a series of three straight full moon supermoons – that is, super-close full moons. It’s the first of two blue moons in 2018. So it’s not just a lunar eclipse, or a blue moon, or a supermoon. It’s all three – a super blue moon eclipse.

Is it the first blue moon total eclipse in 150 years in America.

>> Read more trending news 

The eclipse will get underway at 6:48 a.m. EST/3:48 a.m. PST Jan. 31. You’ll have to be up high with a good view of the western horizon to see the eclipse when it is total, as the moon will be setting as the eclipse reaches totality.

Those in the western United States will be able to view the full eclipse. But don’t let the setting moon stop you from getting to see a good part of the eclipse. It still should be a neat sight early in the morning if skies are clear and it is not too cold.

– Eric Elwell is WHIO-TV's chief meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky

Another meteor may have lit up the sky late Wednesday.

>> Click here to watch

Several reports have come into WHIO-TV's newsroom of a bright flash that shot across the sky just before midnight Thursday. People from Englewood, Ohio; Marysville, Ohio; and Randolph County, Indiana, have said they saw the bright flash, with some saying it was bright blue or blue-green.

>> WATCH: Meteor spotted in Ohio, Michigan, Canada

The American Meteor Society received several reports of a meteor in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky.

>> Read more trending news 

A meteor also was spotted in Ohio, Michigan and Canada late Tuesday.

'Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

monster space rock classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" is headed toward Earth.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 – which at 0.7 miles is wider than the tallest building in the U.S. (New York's One World Trade Center) stacked on top of itself – is predicted to miss our planet, according to Metro. However, it will pass relatively close in terms of outer space.

>> On AJC.com: NASA: Asteroid could destroy Earth in 22nd century

NASA classifies any space object surpassing 459 feet wide and passing within 4,660,000 miles of Earth as "hazardous," according to a 2013 report on the space agency's website. There are about 1,000 such known space objects monitored by NASA.

This asteroid is more than eight times wider than the minimum (3,696 feet) and will pass within just over half the minimum distance (2,615,128 miles) to our planet.

>> Read more trending news 

For a reference point, the moon orbits Earth at a distance of about 238,855 miles.

The giant asteroid is expected to "narrowly" miss our planet on Feb. 4, whizzing past us at a whopping 67,000 miles per hour. It will be the biggest and fastest space object to fly near Earth this year, according to The Daily Star.

Georgia sheriff: I don't care if you're from Wisconsin or need beer, stay home

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close.

>> Is it safe to eat snow? Here's why you really shouldn't

State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties affected by winter weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

Although the weather’s no joke, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office brought some humor to its Facebook page on what many found to be a frustrating snow day.

>> 5 things you won’t want to leave in a freezing car

“I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home,” one post read.

In another post, the office noted the multiple morning crashes due to the inclement weather. “Body shops and wrecker companies just love y’all.”

More from the Sheriff’s Office:

>> On AJC.com: How to prepare your family, home and car for hazardous weather

While most readers lauded the sheriff’s office for its jokes, some found the announcements to be disrespectful.

“Government entity at its finest. Oconee, be respectful! We all feel what you are saying, however, some of the things you are saying are offense considering you are a government office and serving the public (those stupid beer and cigarette runners). Thank you!” commenter Wendi Turpen Hood wrote.

>> Read more trending news 

Another commenter, Nikki Giamarino, noted some serious implications of bad weather.

“My employer called off work. But what about people who’s employer didn’t? What about single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs due to absence? I wish the world was a kinder place,” she wrote.

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta snow 2018: Twitter erupts in memes, jokes and snowy scenes

This isn’t the first time the Oconee Sheriff’s Office has garnered attention for its humor.

Following Georgia’s win against Auburn last month, the office wrote, “Show proof you graduated from Auburn and we will discount your speeding tickets by 5 miles per hour,” the post said. “Y'all have had enough of a beating today.”

In August, before the total solar eclipse, Oconee Sheriff Scott Berry warned residents to prepare for the end of the world. “It’s very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it,” he wrote.

Wells Fargo customers find accounts drained by mistaken double charges

Some Wells Fargo customers found their bank accounts drained to zero Wednesday when some sort of glitch caused their online bill payments to be processed twice.

>> Read more trending news

Numerous customers -- so many that Wells Fargo’s customer service phone lines were jammed Wednesday night -- were discovering that recent payments they had made using the bank’s online Bill Pay system had been deducted twice from their checking accounts.

In some cases, that sent customers’ balances to zero -- or below zero -- and triggered the possibility of overdraft protection fees. Some customers received email notices telling them that they now had no money in their checking accounts.

Customers who waited out the hour-plus wait to reach a customer service representative Wednesday night were being told that their accounts would be fixed overnight. By Thursday morning, some customers did report seeing their accounts restored to normal.

“We are aware of the online Bill Pay situation which was caused by an internal processing error,” Wells Fargo communications manager Hilary O’Byrne said in a statement late Wednesday. “We are currently working to correct it, and there is no action required for impacted customers at this time. Any fees or charges that may have been incurred as a result of this error will be taken care of. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

O’Byrne declined to say how many customers were affected or to describe how the double charges occurred.

In the meantime, customers took to social media to share their shock and frustration over not being able to access the money that should have been in their checking accounts.

Suspect sought after stealing SUV, abandoning children on freezing roads

Authorities in Clayton County, Georgia, are searching for the person they say stole an SUV with two children inside from a gas station Wednesday before abandoning them in below-freezing temperatures on major roadways.

>> Read more trending news

One-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport were found miles apart after mother Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox was stolen about 5 p.m. from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said. 

Precious Wilmer left the girls in the car with the engine running near a gas pump while she went inside the convenience store, Marbury said. 

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat. 

Shortly into the search, Georgia State University police Chief Josephy Spillane found Arya walking down the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, Clayton County polcie said. 

After roughly two hours, baby Ava was found in the middle of South Fulton Parkway still strapped in her car seat. 

Marbury said WSB-TV photojournalist Brian Ferguson led police to her after he saw an objecting sitting in the road on his way to cover the scene. 

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. Metro Atlanta temperatures were in the 20s, but with winds reaching 20 mph, it felt like they were in the single digits, WSB-TV reported

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s stolen SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

No description of the suspect has been released. 

Dog found covered in icicles, sores, needs forever home

A firefighter was driving home from work when he saw a dog in the middle of the road. While many drivers honked their horns and continued past the dog, the firefighter, Justin Luttrell, stopped. 

>> Read more trending news  

“She was freezing, shaking and terrified -- it was written all over her face with her tail tucked between her legs,” Lutrell said in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Before I left work I checked the weather. It was -1 with wind chill. I pulled over to try and pick her up.”

Lutrell said the dog was nearly hit by cars. He used cooked chicken and lunch meat to get her close and he finally caught up to the dog a fourth of a mile down the road.

“She had icicles hanging off of her with multiple sores on her body and looked anorexic,” Lutrell said in the post. “Not knowing if she’d bite me or if she had rabies, etc., I picked her up and put her in the back seat of my truck.”

Lutrell said he drove to an Animal Emergency Center in Memphis, where he was told the dog was heartworm negative, didn’t appear spayed and did not have a microchip.

Lutrell made the public post in hopes of getting the dog adopted.

“She is extremely sweet and will be needing a home,” he wrote. “Please share this to find this sweetheart a good loving home and keep her off the streets.”

Police: Man with ‘ornate umbrella’ thought to be rifle causes hospital lockdown

A hospital in Washington state was locked down Wednesday morning after police say a doctor saw a man with what was believed to be a rifle inside the facility. The image was caught on a surveillance camera.

Kirkland, Washington, police Officer Cody Mann said officers searched the EvergreenHealth Medical Center room by room. The hospital released a surveillance image of the man on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

After the man saw an image of himself on social media, he contacted authorities, Kirkland police spokeswoman Tiffany Trombley said.

“The person we were looking for observed himself on social media and he was able to contact us and let us know  that ‘I am the person you are looking for. The item that you guys think is a rifle is actually an ornate umbrella,” Trombley said.

The report initially came in as a suspicious person that may have had a rifle, but police were unsure if it was actually a rifle that was seen until the surveillance image was available.

Those inside the hospital sheltered in place until the word was given that there was no threat. The lockdown was lifted by 10:10 a.m. local time, the hospital said.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashes into tree after helping car stuck in snow

It could be said that former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has some of the best driving skills ever, having made a living out of going more than 200 miles an hour on some of our country’s toughest racetracks.

Yet, with snow involved, Earnhardt got into some trouble while trying to help other people stuck in the weather.

>> Read more trending news 

“(North Carolina) stay off the roads today/tonight. Five minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree,” Dale shared on his Twitter page on Wednesday shortly after stopping to help some stranded travelers on the road. “All good. Probably just needs a new alignment,” he added.

Fans were were thankful Earnhardt was OK, but the tweet didn’t come without some NASCAR jokes. 

“Jr. did you attempt to turn right? Gets ya every time,” one Twitter user said.

Earnhardt’s accident comes a day after the former NASCAR driver, voted the sport’s most popular driver for 15 consecutive years, announced the day before that he would be covering the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in the coming weeks as part of his new deal as a contributor to NBC Sports.

Unfortunately, Dale Jr. was not the only driver to find himself in harm’s way thanks to the snow, as NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez found himself stuck in the snow on the side of the road in his sports car Wednesday.

Michael Waltrip decided to drive in snowy conditions in North Carolina, and appeared to do so safely in his Ford and later in his Toyota Tundra.

Driver Kevin Harvick thought better of it, making the decision to stay in and enjoy the snow off the main roads.

Ann Curry speaks out about Matt Lauer sexual harassment allegations in new interview

Ann Curry has remained tight-lipped since the news broke of Matt Lauer’s alleged sexual misconduct, but she spoke about the scandal on “CBS This Morning.”

The 61-year-old journalist and producer appeared on the program Wednesday to discuss her new PBS docuseries “We’ll Meet Again” and she was asked to speak on the scandal surrounding her disgraced former co-anchor. Curry admitted that she was “not surprised” by the scandal.

>> Read more trending news 

“Do you believe that Matt Lauer abused his power?” asked Norah O’Donnell.

“You know, I’m trying to do no harm in these conversations. I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations,” Curry responded. When asked to explain further, Curry struggled to articulate her response.

“That means that … see, now, I’m walking down that road. I’m trying not to hurt people, and I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated. I never did anything wrong to be publicly humiliated, and I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to somebody else,” Curry said. “But I can say that, because you’re asking me a very direct question, I can say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it would be surprising if someone said that they didn’t see that.”

She continued, “It was verbal sexual harassment,” before being cut off.

When Curry left NBC’s “Today” in June 2012, it was widely speculated that Lauer was the catalyst for her exit. A fan favorite, it came as a surprise to audiences when Curry broke the news of her exit amid tears, as she was considered one of the top stars at NBC and could have been poised to take over a bigger role on the show. The unexpected departure is likely the public humiliation she was referring to.

Related: Matt Lauer fired over allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior

The Emmy award winner also spoke with People as part of her press tour for her upcoming show. She discussed the aftermath of being pushed off “Today.”

“It hurt like hell,” she told the publication. “It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true. I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself.”

“CBS This Morning” dealt with its own scandal when co-anchor Charlie Rose was fired in November for allegedly making “unwanted sexual advances” towards several women, including, “lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

Related: Charlie Rose fired from CBS amid sexual harassment allegations; PBS cuts ties with newsman

Anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell denounced their former co-anchor over the accusations.

“It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forward, and I think that they should continue to do so,” O’Donnell said on the broadcast following the news. “This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive, and I’ve been doing a lot of listening, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Woman accused of killing father, encasing body in concrete for weeks

In William Mussack’s final text conversation with his son on Dec. 7, the Colorado man relayed a chilling fear: he believed his daughter may have poisoned his food. 

“William described the feeling of being drugged and falling asleep in a recliner chair for 15 hours,” an arrest affidavit obtained by KDVR in Denver read. “He recalled taking a bite from a hamburger, and the hamburger was still on the end table with one bite taken out of it when he awoke.”

Mussack, 69, told his son, Brian Mussack, that his daughter, Dayna Michele Jennings, gave him the hamburger. The day after that discussion, William Mussack vanished. 

Five weeks later, Mussack’s body was found encased in concrete in the crawl space of his Federal Heights home. Jennings, 44, is charged with first-degree murder with extreme indifference and is being held without bond in the Adams County Jail.

>> Read more trending news

The investigation into Mussack’s disappearance began on Dec. 28, when his brother, Robert Mussack, called the Federal Heights Police Department to request that officers do a welfare check on his brother, whom he had not heard from in several weeks, the affidavit read. It ended in investigators’ grisly discovery on Jan. 10.

Jennings, who was being questioned at the Police Department while a search warrant was executed at her father’s house, admitted to detectives that she poured concrete in the crawl space of the home. Her admissions and cooperation would soon end, however. 

“When Dayna was confronted with the information that investigators on scene were breaking up the concrete in the crawl space, she stated that she wished to speak with a lawyer,” the affidavit read. “At this time, the interview was ended.”

Robert Mussack and other family members and friends told detectives that it was not like William Mussack to go days or weeks without speaking to his loved ones. The last time any of them heard from him was Dec. 8, the day after he told his son about the suspicious hamburger. 

When an officer went to Mussack’s home to check on him on Dec. 28, Jennings told them her father no longer lived there and that she, too, had not seen him in several weeks.

Nothing at the home seemed amiss, so the officer left.

The following day, an officer once again went to the home after speaking to both Robert and Brian Mussack. Brian Mussack told investigators that, prior to that final Dec. 7 text conversation, he ordinarily heard from his father daily.

The concerned son told police officers he believed his sister knew where their father was, but was not telling anyone, according to the affidavit. Family members and William Mussack’s girlfriend all told investigators that the lack of communication was out of character for him, and that he always kept his cellphone with him.

Jennings claimed her father had forgotten his cellphone at the house before leaving on a mountain trip with his girlfriend. The girlfriend told police officers, however, that she last heard from Mussack on Dec. 8, when he agreed to go to a Christmas party with her the following day. 

Despite telling her to RSVP for him, he failed to show up at the party and she was never able to reach him again, the court document read. 

When the officer went inside Mussack’s house on the second visit, on Dec. 29, he noticed a bad smell he described as the smell of “sewage and something rotting,” the affidavit said. When Jennings allowed him to look around, the officer noticed that Mussack’s bed, located in the basement, was covered in women’s clothing and looked as though it hadn’t been used in weeks.

The officer paid a third visit to the home on Dec. 30, at which time Jennings refused to allow him inside. 

Family members received text messages from Mussack’s phone after police began searching for him, but investigators trying to locate the phone through the missing man’s cell service said the phone “pinged” from the area of his home -- even after his daughter claimed he’d stopped by, picked up the phone and some money and left again. 

Brian Mussack also told police officers that his sister sent him text messages claiming that that their father had been abusive toward her and that he couldn’t afford to make his house payment. Family and friends said Mussack was a mild-mannered man who was very frugal and had plenty of money set aside for his retirement.

Despite Jennings’ claims that her father no longer lived there, the house remained in William Mussack’s name, the affidavit said. Three vehicles registered to Mussack were in the driveway.

When a concerned friend texted Jennings on Jan. 5 asking about her father, Jennings responded that her father was in Arizona, “enjoying the sun,” the document said. Mussack’s family said he did not know anyone in Arizona. 

Further investigation showed that someone had been using Mussack’s bank account after he disappeared. Several items were purchased for Jennings from Amazon and a $500 check written to her was cashed on Dec. 29. 

A Wells Fargo branch manager told police that the signature on the check did not match Mussack’s signature, which the bank had on file. 

Jennings’ first husband, Joel Jennings, told police that his ex-wife “adored” her father, but that he believed she might have killed Mussack because it was not like his former father-in-law to disappear and not contact his family, the affidavit read. He described Dayna Jennings as “impulsive and irrational at times” and said her relationships with family members and friends were “intense and unstable.”

Joel Jennings also said that, during a visit to the house on Dec. 31, he saw flooring and carpet that his ex-wife had apparently pulled up and disposed of. Investigators learned that she ordered multiple dumpsters that were delivered to the home and parked out front for several days in December.  

Jennings told investigators that his ex-wife’s massage business, her sole source of income, folded in November. On her business website, The Good Massage, Dayna Jennings wrote on Dec. 1 that she was taking personal leave for a few months “to tend to family and personal needs.”

Joel Jennings told detectives that Dayna Jennings’ second husband, Chris Newton, also moved out of the Mussack home, where they were living together, in November.  Newton reportedly remarried Dec. 9, the day after Mussack was last heard from, the affidavit said

Ellen Pompeo returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for two more seasons, earning $20 million

Meredith Grey is here to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital — for at least two more seasons.

Deadline reported that the star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Ellen Pompeo, has signed on to continue her role for another two years. She’ll also be permanently adding the title of “producer” to her credits on the series, while also being bumped to executive producer on the forthcoming firefighter spinoff series.

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In addition to growing her resume, Pompeo stands to rake in $575,000 per episode, which comes to $20 million a year, making her the highest-paid actress on a primetime TV drama. The show already holds the title of ABC’s highest-rated series.

Pompeo’s pay wasn’t a given, however. Like many women, she had to fight to be paid adequately, particularly compared to her male counterparts.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the actress said she’s now comfortable asking to be paid what she’s worth.

“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age,” Pompeo said.

“For me, Patrick (Dempsey) leaving the show (in 2015) was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me: ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick,’ which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the No. 1. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: ‘Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy?’You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.’”

Pompeo said that once series creator Shonda Rhimes became more successful and had more control, it brushed off on her and allowed her to have more say in her own career.

“ (Shonda) got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power. Now, what did that look like? It looked like her letting me be the highest-paid woman on television, letting me be a producer on this show, letting me be a co-executive producer on the spinoff and signing off on the deal that the studio gave me, which is unprecedented.”

While Pompeo is excited to keep the show going, she makes no promises about when it will eventually end.

“I’ve been saying since season one, ‘We have two more years.’ This show, it’s taking on a life of its own, and who knows? We take it season by season,really,” she told Deadline.

Pompeo added, “You never think TV shows are going to go this long. Of course not, never, and especially me, I don’t ever assume things like that. I assume tomorrow everyone’s going to hate us. You got to try. You got to stay humble.”

“I’m extremely proud of the show and everyone that has worked on it in the past, everybody who’s here now,” she said, sharing that she’ll definitely let her children — Stella, 8; Sienna, 3; and Eli, 1, with husband Chris Ivery — watch when they’re old enough.

“It’s the beginning of a movement, and it’s so special to me for so many reasons. So I certainly hope they watch every episode twice,”  Pompeo said.

Study says people would rather hang out with their dogs than friends

A new study says that most dog owners would rather spend time with their pup than their friends.

Fox News reported that a study of 2,000 dog owners conducted by smart dog collar company Link AKC says more than half prefer their pet over pals. Owners said they sometimes skip out on social events to be with their dog.

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Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they spoke to their dog like they would a friend. Single dog owners were twice as likely to talk to their pet about relationship problems. Eighty percent of owners said it’s a deal breaker if their partner didn’t like their dog.

The study found that six in 10 pet owners said their dog takes care of them in some way, with many saying their pet helped them get through a breakup or death of a loved one. 

Sixty-two percent of the pet owners surveyed said their dogs helped get them out the house at least twice a day for a walk and more than two-thirds said their dog helps them exercise more regularly.

“The physical benefits of dog ownership are often the first that come to mind, but we’ve found the emotional and mental health benefits of having a furry companion are just as impactful,” Link AKC chief marketing officer Herbie Calves told Fox News. “People consider their dogs members of their family and are looking for ways to connect and interact with them on a deeper level.”

The survey supports Calves’ claim. Fifty-five percent say unconditional love and constant companionship is among the biggest benefit of dog ownership.

“Dog ownership is a great responsibility but also comes with great physical, emotional and mental benefits,” Calves said.

Baby found abandoned on airport bathroom changing table

Authorities are trying to find the person who abandoned a baby in an airport bathroom. 

Police at Tucson International Airport are now combing through surveillance footage, trying to find out who left the a newborn baby boy on a woman’s bathroom changing table Sunday, AZCentral reported.

Not only are they trying to find the mother of the baby to find out what happened, but also to find out if she needs help.

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The newborn was only hours old and was in good health, Tucson Police spokeswoman Jessie Butler told AZCentral.

The baby was clean and swaddled, KMSB reported.

Arizona is a state that offers Safe Haven for babies, meaning they can be dropped off at specific locations like staffed fire stations, hospitals and churches. Parents can be anonymous but they have to answer questions about the baby and its health, KMSB reportedAccording to the Safe Haven law, babies can be up to three days old.

Since the program started in 2001, 40 babies have been taken in by Safe Haven, KMSB reported.

An airport is not listed among the legal locations, but there was a fire station nearby, AZCentral reported.

If found, the mother could face charges after police investigate why she left the baby.

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