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Mom shares heartbreaking photo after daughter dies from heroin overdose

The American opioid epidemic claimed another victim Monday

>> Watch the news report here

The mother of 22-year-old Elaina Towery shared a gut-wrenching photograph of her clutching her daughter just moments before she was taken off life support at a Detroit hospital.

>> See the photo here

Elaina reportedly died due to an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. She fell into a coma on Thursday.

Cheryl Towery, 49, told WJBK that her daughter had been battling addiction for seven years.

“She’s my only daughter, my best friend,” Cheryl said. “She was supposed to start her new job today; now she’s on life support.”

>> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight

She told WJBK that her daughter and a friend had stopped at a Detroit Burger King last week. Elaina went inside to use the restroom. After about 20 to 25 minutes, her friend thought it was odd that she had not returned. Shortly afterward, a Burger King employee found Elaina unconscious on the bathroom floor.

Only moments earlier, Cheryl said, she had received a text message saying her daughter would be home soon.

“By 6 p.m., 6:30, 7, I finally got a message on Facebook,” Cheryl said.

>> How heroin changes our brains and more things to know about the drug

She said her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest.

Elaina had survived five previous overdoses and visits to five different treatment centers, Cheryl said.

“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room,” Cheryl said. “Because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her.”

She said her daughter’s addiction began in 2010, when she started to abuse prescription drugs to deal with an abusive boyfriend. That boyfriend, who was convicted of domestic abuse and other crimes, is also the father of Elaina’s 5-year-old son, Christopher. She gave up her son due to her addiction, Cheryl said.

Cheryl believes Elaina giving up her baby contributed to her addiction problems. She was also working as a prostitute, Cheryl told WJBK.

“[She was] beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin,” Cheryl said.

>> Read more trending news

Cheryl said she made the decision remove Elaina from life support on Monday after it became clear that her daughter's vital organs were failing and that there was no brain activity.

“I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people need to be locked up,” she said.

Read more here.

Report: Aetna in talks with Apple to provide Apple watches to millions of customers

A partnership between Apple and Aetna could bring Apple watches to the insurance company’s more than 20 million customers, according to a report. 

>> Read more trending news 

The two companies held private meetings Thursday and Friday in southern California to discuss options for such a move, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.Aetna already offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program and to individuals with Aetna plans under “select large employers.”

According to CNBC, Aetna is negotiating with Apple to try to provide a plan in which its 23 million members could receive an Apple watch for free or at a discounted price.

The perk would benefit both Aetna, which has increased efforts to get its members more health-conscious, and Apple, which has begun to promote health and fitness-tracking as a primary use for the Apple watch.

Apple, which reportedly surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling wearable fitness tracker, may have plans to develop its watch to better cater to wearers with chronic diseases, making the gadget even more desirable and multifunctioning, CNBC reported.

An unnamed source told CNBC that Aetna is pushing to have the plan developed by early next year.

Read more at CNBC.

More than 900 active hate groups in the U.S., report says

There are hundreds of hate groups across the country, according to a new report that monitors hate groups and extremists in the U.S. 

>> Read more trending news

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are nearly 1,000 active hate groups in the country. 

The SPLC's report features a map detailing more than 900 hate groups actively operating in the U.S. 

Here are the states with the highest and lowest numbers of hate groups, according to the SPLC: 

Highest

  • California - 79
  • Florida - 63
  • Texas - 55
  • New York - 47
  • Virginia - 42

Lowest

  • Wyoming - 2
  • New Mexico - 2
  • Vermont - 1
  • North Dakota - 1
  • Rhode Island - 1

The report says in 2016, there were 130 Ku Klux Klan groups and 193 black separatist groups active nationwide.

In 2011, the groups peaked at more than 1,000 active hate groups before decreasing to 784 in 2014. Last year's 917 was part of an increase.

The SPLC says the list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Groups that appear in the center of states represent statewide groups.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.

This report comes after Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, while counter-protesting during a “Unite the Right” rally organized by white supremacist groups.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count related to leaving the scene of where he is accused of plowing into the counterprotesters

Here's why you might want to stop using smiley faces in emails

Think you’re being nice when you add a smiley face to the end of your email? According to one study, you could be conveying something else. 

>> Read more trending news 

The new study, titled the “The Dark Side of a Smiley,” examines the “effects of smiling emoticons on virtual first impressions.”

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that, contrary to popular belief, virtual smiley faces are not a suitable replacement for an in-person smile.

In fact, “smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” the researchers found. 

The study, which involved 549 participants from 29 countries, tested three experiments to gather findings. 

One experiment revealed that when the gender of the email sender was unknown, recipients assumed it was a woman if the sender used a smiley face. This finding did not correlate with participants’ conclusions with friendliness or competence.

Another experiment found that not only do recipients of professional emails with smiley faces generally view senders as less competent, they’re also less willing to share important information with the sender. When considering two emails that are exactly the same with the only difference being that one includes a smiley face, the one without the emoticon is more commonly effective.

“The study ... found that when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley,” said Dr. Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. “We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing.”

Although using smiley faces in professional emails could hinder communication in the workplace with new or unknown contacts and coworkers, the practice is more acceptable and less harmful when used with workplace buddies.

“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” Glikson said.  “For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.”

The concise conclusion? 

“In formal business emails, a smiley is not a smile,” Glikson said.

WATCH: Church holds service themed after 2 Chainz’s Pink Trap House

Atlanta’s most talked-about temporary landmark just made its way back into the spotlight — on the sanctuary stage of the dReam Center Church of Atlanta, that is.

>> 2 Chainz creates Atlanta's latest landmark

In an effort to “Make the Church Relevant Again,” church leaders took a marketing tip from Atlanta-based hip-hop star 2 Chainz himself and decorated their sanctuary with a miniature Pink Trap House, a pink stove and a pink toy car.

>> 2 Chainz forced to postpone tour after injury

The church shared its one-of-a-kind service led by Bishop William Murphy on Facebook Live and as of Monday morning, the post has garnered nearly 30,000 views.

>> Watch the clip here

Viewers and attendees alike lauded Bishop’s and the dReam Center Church’s unique way of attracting the youth for its Sunday service.

And 2 Chainz himself took to Instagram to praise the service, writing, “I think it’s dope to be used by God in different ways.”

>> See the post here

2 Chainz’ Pink Trap House, a flipped home at 1530 Howell Mill painted pink to mimic his album’s cover art, was a hot Instagram spot last month.

>> 2 Chainz Pink Trap House offers free HIV testing

The artist, currently performing in a pink wheelchair after breaking his leg on tour, initially used the venue to host a listening party to promote his project with actress and writer Issa Rae, “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.” 

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta's newest landmark takes social media by storm thanks to 2 Chainz

But the house was also used as a site for free HIV testing and for a “Trap Church” event hosted by Street Groomers, a neighborhood watch group and local faith leaders such as Michael Wortham, minister of young adults at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

>> Read more trending news

While the Pink Trap House lease was up July 7, it seems marketing genius 2 Chainz is still making an impact around town.

Bodybuilder dies in accident while doing backflip

An African bodybuilder who attempted a backflip during a competition over the weekend and landed on his head has died due to the injuries he suffered, the New York Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

A disturbing video of the incident shows Sifiso Lungelo Thabete, 23, hyping up a crowd as he walks onto the mat at a competition. He attempted a backflip but didn’t fully rotate, and he landed on his head. The crowd, as heard in the video, wasn’t sure what to make of what happened as the bodybuilder lay on the mat, motionless.

A moment later, people rushed to his aid as it became apparent something was wrong. It was later discovered that Thabete had broken his neck after awkwardly landing on his head.

Body Building South Africa chief Wayne Price told South Africa’s News24 that the backflip was Thabathe’s “signature” move.

“We suspect, because he was wearing socks this time, that he slipped or didn’t get enough momentum and landed horribly on his head,” Price said, according to The Washington Post.

Muscle Evolution, a South African bodybuilding magazine, said the bodybuilding community was shocked and saddened by the news of Thabete’s death.

According to the magazine, Thabete was an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness junior world champion in the up-to-165-pound category who had recently won an event at the IFBB Muscle Mulisha Grand Prix in July.

Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight

A Boston cardiologist saved a passenger who passed out after a believed overdose 30,000 feet in the air.

>> Watch the news report here

Dr. Anil Punjabi was about to fall asleep on his flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Friday when he heard the Spirit Airlines attendant shouting for a doctor.

Other passengers alerted the crew when a woman a few rows back had been in the bathroom for a long time. When she got back, she was turning grey and slumped over, and passengers noticed she didn't have a pulse. Punjabi said he was working with an OBGYN nurse also on the flight to give her mouth-to-mouth CPR when they discovered a needle hidden in her bra.

"We were down on the ground within 25 minutes, but at that time she was completely unresponsive,” Punjabi said.

For those 25 minutes, the crew, Punjabi, the nurse and an EMT trainee all worked to keep the woman alive.

The situation is putting a spotlight on the gravity of the opioid epidemic in Boston.

It’s also raising serious concerns for Punjabi about whether action should be taken by airlines across the U.S. to prevent this from happening again. Punjabi and the crew kept the woman alive until the plane was on the ground 25 minutes later, but in other situations, that may not be possible, he said.

>> Read more trending news

"You need to talk to your union, you need to talk to Spirit, you need to talk to the company. I said the one thing you need to get in your med kit is Narcan,” Punjabi said.

Helen Tederous, the spokesperson for Buffalo Niagara International Airport, said a Boston flight bound for Minneapolis made an emergency landing in Buffalo on Friday night, and a woman was taken to the hospital for an overdose.

Needles are allowed on flights, but must be declared and screened through TSA. Click here for more information.

– WFXT has reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment on the incident and has not yet heard back.

School under fire after PTSA offers students ‘front of lunch line’ passes for $100

Students and parents in Lakeland, Florida, were gearing up for another school year when they received a letter from Lawton Chiles Middle Academy saying that for $100, students would be able to skip the lunch line. Some parents were outraged at the letter and felt that it was promoting elitism.

>> Watch the news report here

The letter asked for donations from the families, but the school claims that it was a mistake and never meant to be sent out. Principal Brian Andrews told WBRC, “Nobody’s a second-class citizen here. ... This definitely hits home for me, and I am very upset about it.”

>> Read more trending news

The Parent Teacher Student Association took the blame for the letter, saying that it was a “clerical error” and that no such program will be implemented this school year. They claimed that the piece was accidentally put in the orientation packets and noted that Andrews never signed off on the documents. In a statement to WFTS, the PTSA wrote:

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

"This Family and Business Sponsorship program was explored but we decided not to implement. Due to a clerical error, the form was inadvertently included in the Orientation packets. Our families have been notified this program is not being offered."

According to the its Facebook page, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy is a public school.

Not ready for kids? New at-home fertility test gives women better data on eggs, fertility timeline 

Afton Vechery, formerly of 23AndMe, and Carly Leahy, former executive at Uber, want to make women’s reproductive data accessible, affordable and simpler to comprehend.

» RELATED: Mid-life mothering: risky or rewarding? 

Their new venture Modern Fertility, which launched Wednesday, is the first comprehensive at-home fertility test focused on giving women the most accurate data about their reproductive timeline.

» RELATED: 72-year-old woman gives birth to her first child 

Its main target is young women who want a family someday, but not necessarily anytime soon, a trend that has increased among young women over the past few decades.

>> Read more trending news

In fact, according to the Census, in 1976, 68 percent of 29-year-old women had a child. In 2016, only 40 percent did.

And between 2006 and 2010, 7.4 million women (11.9 percent) said they received infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Survey of Family Growth.

» RELATED: Woman, 59, who tried for decades to get pregnant gives birth 

“As we get older, fertility becomes a giant egg-shaped question mark. One second we’re preventing pregnancy and the next second, we’re panicking. It’s an abrupt shift and there’s virtually no information in between,” the Modern Fertility co-founders wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

» RELATED: US teen birth rates just hit an all-time low, CDC says

And the doctors they consulted in their research said women usually wait too long to freeze their eggs.

Both women view this lack of information and of accessibility as a public health issue, Vechery told Forbes.

“Every woman should have this information,” she said.

The new at-home kit features the same laboratory tests available at fertility clinics, but at a better price.

» RELATED: Mobile app designed to prevent pregnancy approved in Europe

According to TechCrunch, comparable kits are priced at more than double Modern Fertility’s pre-order price of $149. For example, Future Family’s kits are about $600 and Everlywell, $400.

After losing son, 'American Ninja Warrior' contestant and wife adopt sick baby from same hospital

A family is sharing their story of heartbreak and joy after losing one son and gaining another.

>> Watch the news report here

Katie and Josh Butler of Nashville, Tennessee, welcomed baby boy Dewey in May 2015. He was born with a rare genetic disorder and lived for only 100 days.

The couple told WLBT that it was a devastating time, but the experience of caring for Dewey perfectly prepared them to care for a baby they later adopted from the same hospital.

After Dewey’s death, a nurse told them about another baby at the hospital who had similar medical issues as Dewey, the “Today” show reports. The nurse said the baby’s family abandoned him.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Katie and Josh fostered and adopted the baby boy, Braxtel. He’s now 2 years old. He relies on a breathing tube to get enough oxygen and communicates with his parents through sign language.

“Caring for Brax has not in any way replaced our loss of Dewey,” Josh told “Today.” “Rather, Braxtel has given us a reason to keep fighting and to keep loving. It would be so easy to lose hope and to be depressed. Even though we tend toward selfishness, Braxtel helps us to remember that our lives are not about us first but putting others first.”

>> Read more trending news

Josh competed on “American Ninja Warrior," where people fell in love with the family’s story.

“Through sharing our story on 'ANW,' we want others to know that there is a purpose to your life, that God has a purpose for you, in the good and especially the bad,” Josh said.

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