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World Emoji Day: Fun symbols celebrated with contests, tributes

Emoji fans, today's your day.

Tourist attractions, businesses and social-media users around the globe Monday are celebrating the fourth annual World Emoji Day, a tribute to everyone's favorite fun symbols.

>> Read more trending news

Is an emoji worth 1,000 words? Maybe not, but the smiley faces and other colorful icons have become a popular form of self-expression.

Officially, there are currently 2,666 emojis, according to the BBC.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

Boy gets surprise from special heroes after no one shows up to his birthday party

After no one in 7-year-old Cole Hittler’s class showed up to his birthday party, he got a special surprise from those touched by his story.

>> Watch the news report here

Hittler is in first grade at Harris Elementary in St. Charles, Missouri. As an infant, he underwent skull surgery. At age 4, he was diagnosed with Apraxia, a speech disorder.

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

Once they heard that no one showed up to Cole’s birthday party, a few people took it upon themselves to plan a surprise birthday party for the little boy. He and his family were picked up in a limousine Sunday afternoon and driven to Dave and Busters with a police escort.

>> Read more trending news

A warm welcome greeted the family, and even Batman, Cole’s favorite superhero, stopped by to wish him a happy birthday.

“It was neat, all of the smiles, because that’s what he deserves,” his mother told KMOV. “He struggles really hard and it’s nice to see some recognition and some happiness on his face.”

Maryland Zoo announces death of giraffe calf Julius

The Maryland Zoo announced the death of Julius, a giraffe calf, on Saturday.

Julius had been in ill health since birth. He was born on June 15 to first-time mother Kesi. The calf never took to nursing and received supplemental feedings from zoo handlers. Julius also had a weakened immune system, which zoo medical staff were unable to stabilize.

>> Read more trending news

Dr. Samantha Sander said the decision to humanely euthanize Julius was made after the calf's health took a "sharp turn downward" overnight, according to a news release from the zoo.

The zoo said a necropsy will be performed to help determine what caused the calf's poor health.

Would you try Burnt Ends Barbecue ice cream?

Barbecue and ice cream, two summer delights, have joined forces at an ice cream shop located in Kansas City.

The Burnt Ends Barbecue flavor begins with a sweet cream base, adds swirls of caramel and barbecue-flavored sauce and is blended with candied burnt end pieces, WDAF reported.

>> Read more trending news

The barbecue-inspired ice cream flavor will make its debut July 16 at Betty Rae's Ice Cream shop, in honor of National Ice Cream Day.

Owner David Friesen told WDAF that the recipe has been a few years in the making. Friesen hoped next to work on a barbecue and chocolate ice cream concoction.

Bridal retailer Alfred Angelo abruptly closes all stores

Bridal retailer Alfred Angelo abruptly closed its stores on Thursday night without notice, leaving many brides and bridesmaids without answers and dresses.

The company has more than 60 stores across the country. After news of the closings broke, brides scrambled to pick up dresses before the stores shut their doors for good at 8 p.m.

As of Friday morning, the company still had not released a statement about the closings.

>> Read more trending news

Competitor David’s Bridal said it would offer 30 percent discounts to brides and 20 percent discounts to bridesmaids left without dresses.

Employees at Alfred Angelo’s corporate office in Delray Beach left the building en masse on Thursday, carrying boxes, plants and other personal belongings, as social media talk swirled that the bridal retailer was closing its doors.  

The scene followed buzz on social media saying that the company, which was founded in 1933, is going out of business. On Twitter and online message boards, anxious brides posted queries and alerts, but few found answers.  

By Thursday afternoon, there were no employees in the company’s Delray corporate office on the fourth floor of a building on Congress Avenue at Linton Boulevard. Some offices still had desks and supplies and framed posters of wedding dresses hung on the walls.  

An employee of another business on the first floor, which faces the main entrance to the building, described seeing a “mass exodus before lunchtime.”  

“Everyone left one by one with cardboard boxes, plants,” said the employee, who asked not to be named. “One of them said it. They were all fired today … It was so bizarre.”  

A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. Employees did not answer the phone at the chain’s store in Broward County. The company’s website said there are more than 800 stores offering Alfred Angelo merchandise.

Anxious brides took to Twitter on Thursday to sound off on the status of their orders and the lack of information coming from the company. Some brides said they had already ordered and paid for dresses, but had yet to receive them.  

“Any other #brides stressed about the #alfredangelo bankruptcy?? @theknot @WeddingWire @brides THIS IS SO MESSED UP,” one woman wrote.

”@AlfredAngelo Will you still be fulfilling orders that were placed months ago?” another person asked.  

“One store location did answer the phone. Sales rep said "we're all basically screwed" & gave me Attorney's office to contact. #alfredangelo,” a third person said.

In a March press release, the company billed itself as “the world’s leading manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of beautifully designed wedding gowns, bridesmaids and social occasion dresses.” The company was founded in 1933, according to its website.

Read more: Alfred Angelo’s corporate office empty amid closure talk

This story has been updated.

Here’s how to get a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for 80 cents Friday

Talk about a sweet deal.

>> Read more trending news

On Friday, Krispy Kreme customers can buy a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts for 80 cents "with the purchase of any dozen at regular menu price," the restaurant chain announced in a news release Monday.

The promotion, offered at participating stores in the United States and Canada, comes as the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company celebrates its 80th anniversary.

>> Krispy Kreme store locator

“The joy created by our Original Glazed doughnut and its secret recipe spans generations, and that is certainly something to celebrate,” Jackie Woodward, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “It’s remarkable that for 80 years, Krispy Kreme’s commitment to delivering world-class doughnuts the Krispy Kreme way – hot, fresh and now – has not changed.”

Learn more here.

Seniors: Get your $10 lifetime pass for National Parks now before price hike

If you’re over 62 years old and love the great outdoors, the time is now to get the deal of a lifetime.

>> Read more trending news

Right now, senior citizens can get a lifetime pass to visit national parks for $10. But that’s going to change on Aug. 28 – with the price rising to $80.

An annual pass will cost them $20, which they can apply to the cost of a lifetime pass at a later point if they decide they want one. Follow this link for the application.

Money raised from the price increase will go to the enhancement of the national parks. There are more than 400 national parks across the country

Here's a Q&A from the National Parks Service on the price increase:

Why is the price of the Senior Pass increasing?The price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass is increasing as result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the US Congress on Dec. 16, 2016.When was the last time the price increased for the Senior Pass? The Senior Pass has been $10 since 1994.How much is it increasing?The lifetime Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80.Why $80?The legislation states that the cost of the lifetime Senior Pass be equal to the cost of the annual America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which is currently $80.

What if a senior citizen is on a fixed budget?

The legislation also establishes an annual Senior Pass for $20. That pass is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Four annual Senior Passes purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass. Additionally, access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free—only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee.What if I have a current Senior Pass?The current passes are lifetime passes and will remain valid.Will the benefits of my Senior Pass change?No. All benefits of the current Senior Pass stay the same.What if my current Senior Pass is lost or stolen?Passes are non-refundable and non-transferable and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.If lost or stolen, a new pass will need to be purchased.Who is eligible for a Senior Pass?US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older are eligible for the Senior Pass.  

Click here to read more.

Man builds 'Blessing Box' food pantry on front lawn to feed the hungry

While taking a human services class at a local community college, Army veteran Roman Espinoza learned that there was a food pantry at the school.

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

Realizing that some adults in class can’t eat every day, he decided to build a “Blessing Box” on his front lawn in Watertown, New York, to help those in need. The box is a miniature food pantry, and people can donate items or take what they need.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Hospital seeks volunteers to cuddle fussy babies born addicted to drugs

“Whether you’re taking or giving, you can just go to the blessing box,” Espinoza told CNN. “There’s not a lock on it — it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Since putting in the initial bit of food himself, he hasn’t had to fill the box up much. People have also started putting in toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo in the box.

“The box itself is for the community and it’s sustained by the community,” he said. “The community, the neighborhood and my block have been really supportive.”

With the success of Espinoza’s box, the idea is starting to spread.

>> Read more trending news

“I’ve gotten a couple of requests from people around town for boxes for their property,” he said. “With any luck, we’ll have a few around town where people can be made aware of them and make use of them.”

Espinoza said he hopes the boxes create an atmosphere of support and generosity in the town.

“Watertown, New York, in the next five years, could be known as the city of blessing boxes,” he said.

Gymboree closing 350 stores after filing for bankruptcy

A children’s clothing retailer is closing hundreds of stores.

>> Click here to find a list of closing stores in your state

Gymboree announced the company will close about 350 across the U.S., and closing sales will begin Tuesday. The company will have more than 900 locations after the stores are shut down. Gymboree also operates Janie and Jack stores and Crazy 8 stores.

>> Children's retailer Gymboree files for bankruptcy

“Today’s announcement represents the next step in the company’s court-supervised financial restructuring as we work to more strongly position the business for long-term growth and success,” said Daniel Griesemer, CEO of Gymboree, in a statement.

>> Read more trending news

The San Francisco-based company says it is seeking to reduce its debt by $900 million. It expects to operate its business and majority of its 1,300 stores during the restructuring.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: RETAIL APOCALYPSE: What's really going on?

Gymboree is the latest retailer to file Chapter 11, close stores or go out of business entirely in 2017. Shoe chain Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy protection in April and The Limited closed all 250 of its remaining stores early this year. Teen retailer Wet Seal in January said it would close its 171 stores.

3-year-old in body cast after jumping at trampoline park

A 3-year-old boy in Tampa, Florida, suffered broken bones and will be in a body cast for the next six weeks from jumping at a trampoline park promoted for toddlers. 

>> Read more trending news

The mother of the boy, Kaitlin Hill, posted on Facebook Friday warning other parents about the dangers of indoor trampoline parks. 

>>Florida mom takes child to meth drug deal at Motel 8

“Colton fell and broke his femur, the strongest bone in his body, while innocently jumping alongside his dad and I,” Hill wrote. 

The facility where her son was injured “specifically advertised ‘Toddler Time’” on trampolines, according to Hill. 

Hill said according to America Academy of Pediatrics and the America Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, children who are under 6 years old “should never use a trampoline.” She wrote the reason is because children still have “fragile bones” that cannot handle the pressure from repetitive jumping. 

>>Florida woman arrested after giving birth to 11-year-old’s child

“We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton's hospital stay,” Hill wrote on Facebook.

So far, Hill’s Facebook post has received more than 200,000 shares and over 50,000 comments. Some Facebook users have canceled their plans to take their children to trampoline parks or have reconsidered buying their kids a trampoline.

“Without knowing, we were about to schedule a birthday party for our grandchild at one of these trampoline indoor facilities. Thanks to you it's been canceled,” one Facebook user, John Guerrero, wrote on Hill’s post.

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