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7th grader paving way for more girls to succeed in math and science

A middle school student in Seattle is trying to pave the way for more girls to succeed in math and science.

Elena Weitz, 12, is a 7th grader at Seattle Country Day School.

>> Read more trending news

She said her goal is to start a nonprofit to get more girls into STEM.

“My favorite subject is science. I just love science,” said Weitz.

This week she and 15 of her classmates got to tour the UW Medicine Stem Cell Labs in South Lake Union.

There they got to meet and see research scientists at work, many of them female.

“This is truly an amazing experience,” said Weitz. “I just hope we can expose as many girls as possible to these kinds of experiences.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up 48 percent of the workforce, but only 24 percent are workers in STEM fields. STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

Research also shows girls tend to lose interest in STEM as they transition from middle to high school.

“I am really excited to see these young girls and how interested they are in the fields,” said UW research scientist Savannah Cook.

Cook’s colleague, Dr. Lil Pabon, said she hopes more young women seek out ways to succeed in science and medicine.

“It’s one of those things that we want to impart this passion that we have,” said Pabon. “They can dream about therapies that can be developed by them in the future.

Florida woman refuses to leave Waffle House, asks to go to jail, police say

Sometimes the Waffle House is so good that you just don’t want to leave.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

According to NWF Daily News, an unnamed 39-year-old Crestview woman argued with a Crestview police officer when he asked her to leave the restaurant. The woman refused to leave the premises, ignoring the officer’s three requests and forcing him to attempt to escort her out.

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Rather than fight the arrest, the woman asked the officer to take her to jail, according to NWF Daily News.

The woman was arrested and charged with trespassing.

Read more at NWF Daily News.

6-year-old left alone on bus for hours

Union City Police have charged two day care workers with reckless conduct after they allegedly left a 6-year-old boy alone on a bus for hours.

>> Read more trending news

The day care owner said policies in place should have prevented this mistake, and that’s why she suspended the two workers, pending an investigation.

“When I realized my son wasn’t there, I thought the worst. All these kids are coming up missing, somebody has my child,” Lavetta Kitt said.

Kitt works late, so she’s been using the 24-hour day care service Step of Faith Christian Academy for nearly two years.

Workers are supposed to pick up her son from school and take him to the center until his mother picks him up.

Kitt showed up Tuesday night to get her son, and he wasn’t there.

She said workers had no idea where he was for three hours, and they told her they never picked him up from school. Kitt filed a missing person report with police.

“It was a scary moment for me,” she said.

The owner found the boy on a bus by himself.

“When she yelled that he was on the van, I literally started crying and walking toward the van,” Kitt said.

Attorney Rudjard Hayes spoke to WSBTV.com about the incident.

“Everybody is concerned first and foremost about the child, and then after that about what happened and why it happened,” Hayes said.

Man arrested after he allegedly stole a 4-year-old’s phone, taunted her father

Mykhal Henderson, 30, of Deltona, Fla., is facing charges after police say he snatched a phone belonging to a 4-year-old girl in his local Wal-Mart.

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A security camera captured a man grabbing a phone from the floor where the the victim, Angelina, says she put it down so she could return movies to a Red Box video machine.

WKMG reported that Nelson Quiles, the father of the girl, says he went into the store to purchase a birthday cake for his son. While they were in the store, Angelina and an uncle went to the Red Box. When Nelson went back to look for the phone, he discovered that it was gone, he says that he texted the phone, and the suspected thief responded. Quiles explained that the phone belonged to a “4-year-old” and received a response reportedly saying “The Wal-Mart floor said I can have it.”

Henderson left the store with an order that he’d purchased online, and authorities used that transaction to identify him. Later, they managed to apprehend him in a traffic stop and charged him with petty theft.

Shark washes up on street after cyclone in real-life ‘Sharknado’

Australian emergency officials warned residents not to play in floodwaters after Cyclone Debbie hit the Queensland coast.

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And they had good reason after they published photos of a dead bull shark that washed up on a storm-flooded street, CNN reported.

The first responders who are credited with taking the photos were checking flooded roads in Ayr, Queensland, after the storm was over.

Emergency officials warned locals to stay out of the water after video surfaced of people playing in the flooded streets. Some even surfed in the water left behind after the storm, CNN reported.

TSA screener fired after woman gets loaded gun through airport security

WSB-TV has confirmed that the Transportation Security Administration fired a screener who missed a loaded handgun in a passenger’s carry-on bag Sunday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

According to an Atlanta police incident report, Katrina Jackson, of Hoover, Alabama, discovered the handgun as she checked her purse for her passport at the gate.

“There’s one thing if you’re missing something suspicious. This was a handgun, so this is a big deal that this got through the TSA screening process,” security expert Brent Brown said.

>> Watch the news report here

Jackson told police about the gun, and officers showed up at the gate to confiscate her gun and her bag.

Jackson told them that she had a permit to carry from Alabama but did not have it with her.

Police arrested her. She is charged with unlawful possession of a handgun.

“I mean, she violated the law, so we have consequences,” passenger Melissa Monroe said.

A TSA spokesperson sent the following statement: “This egregious mistake was unacceptable and the officer, who was still a probationary employee, was immediately and permanently separated from federal service.”

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According to TSA, a screener’s probationary period lasts two years.

“We don’t know who else might have gotten through. This one person fortunately turned around and reported herself, but how many of these types of things get through all the time?” Brown said.

WSB-TV’s Aaron Diamant learned that TSA screeners detected 198 guns at Atlanta’s airport in 2016, more than any other U.S. airport.

Screeners have found 48 guns so far this year, including seven during the same week that the screener missed Jackson’s gun.

“This is a crazy world we live in, so, you know, things happen, and if it’s our time, it’s our time. But they’re doing a good job. I think they’re doing a good job,” passenger Tiffany Clinton said.

WSB-TV was unable to contact Jackson. The Clayton County solicitor general is handling her case.

Christian school principal arrested on child porn charges

A principal at a Christian school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is facing child porn charges.

Jeff Goss is the principal at the Christian Education Alliance in west Tulsa.

Goss was arrested Tuesday morning by federal officials after they reportedly caught Goss using an online application to view child pornography.

>> Watch the news report here

Authorities said the application lets people enter chat rooms and share videos, pictures and more.

Agents from Phoenix said Goss showed his face in the chat room, and they were able to track his IP address.

Goss reportedly confessed to using the app at least five times.

>> Read more trending news

Agents said he preferred children ages 10 to 12 and did not care if they were girls or boys. Goss allegedly told officers that he primarily teaches children ages 12 and 13.

School officials said they did not find out about the allegations against Goss until FOX23.com called them. They said he did not show up to work Wednesday.

The station confirmed that he is in the Tulsa County Jail.

The school's website says that it has served home-school families for more than 20 years.

Florida woman allegedly faked pregnancy, tricked adoption agency for money

A Florida woman previously convicted of prostitution allegedly used an adoption center to gain financial support for months until she encountered one bump along the way: There was no baby. 

In October, Rebecca Freeman, 41, of Bradenton, told the Family Creations adoption center that she was pregnant and that she wanted to put her baby up for adoption, according to the Bradenton Herald. She provided them with a urine sample, which tested positive, and they asked that she get an ultrasound, the Herald reported.

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Over five months, Freeman received checks from the agency for her rent, health and comfort care items, the Herald reported. 

However, as time passed, Freeman failed to get an ultrasound, which alarmed the agency, according to the Herald. 

The center then discovered Freeman was arrested March 2.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Her medical intake from the jail noted that she was last pregnant in 2014, got her period two weeks prior to her arrest and the pregnancy urine test was negative, the Herald reported. 

Freeman was charged with adoption fraud on Thursday. She was already on probation after being convicted of grand theft, fraudulent use of credit cards and uttering a forged instrument.

Read more at the Bradenton Herald.

Man reportedly bites head off puppy, hits girlfriend

A domestic dispute between a boyfriend and girlfriend in Puerto Rico reportedly led to the brutal death of the woman’s Chihuahua

According to the BBC, Luis Arroyo, 40, killed the 2-month-old puppy by biting off its head on Feb. 4 in the mountain town of Lares. 

>> Read more trending news

Arroyo, who was unemployed, had been living with his 38-year-old girlfriend for six months when he punched her and decapitated her puppy, the report said.

He pleaded guilty to charges of domestic abuse and animal abuse, and was sentenced to seven years in prison, the BBC reported.

Arroyo is also required to pay a $3,000 fine relating to the case, according to the BBC.

Read more here.

Marathons linked to short-term kidney injury in new study

With the days ticking down to the 121st Boston Marathon, a new study from Yale University might give some runners pause about lacing up.

The study found that in a sample of healthy long-distance runners, more than 80 percent showed signs of acute kidney injury right after a marathon.

“We know that bouts of acute kidney injury in the hospital, such bouts of injury are not good. But the case may be completely different for healthy people,” lead author Dr. Chirag Parikh told Fox25Boston.com.

>> Watch the news report here 

The signs of kidney injury only last a few days, but the concern is that it might lead to long-term problems for long-distance runners.

“If somebody's running several marathons, over time, maybe it can lead to cumulative damage,” Parikh said.

Even the most experienced marathon runners know a race of 26.2 miles is no picnic.

“I've never finished one and said, oh, I feel great,” said one runner on a training run Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

But the study raises special concerns for runners who may have pre-existing kidney issues they might not know about – especially if they're tackling a difficult course like Boston.

“We're kind of running downhill, flat and then you're up and down in the hills. So that puts a strain on the body,” Shane O’Hara from Marathon Sports said.

The study reinforces a simple rule many runners know all too well.

“Some of them run marathons without drinking fluids properly and they need to stay hydrated,” 2017 Boston Marathon entrant Christopher Battoo said.

Runners are taking the information in stride, but it won’t stop them from competing.

“Even knowing this study, I'm still going to run. It's something I love to do,” 2017 Boston Marathon entrant Meagan Kelly said.

'Bathroom bill': North Carolina lawmakers announce deal on HB2 standoff

North Carolina leaders reached an agreement Wednesday on the repeal of House Bill 2, popularly known as the "bathroom bill," lawmakers said.

>> Read more trending news

Sources told WSOC-TV earlier in the day that Gov. Roy Cooper reached a deal with Republican leadership to repeal HB2.

"I support the House Bill 2 repeal compromise that will be introduced tomorrow,” Cooper said in a statement sent out late Wednesday. “It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation."

>> Watch the news report here

Republicans and Democrats spent several hours Wednesday in closed-door meetings. 

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore addressed reporters Wednesday night saying there was an agreement, but did not take any questions.

Details of the agreement were not immediately available.

The new bill, HB142, will be voted on Thursday.

HB2 blocks expansion of LGBT rights in local ordinances and requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

The NCAA has said North Carolina won't be considered for championships from 2018 to 2022 unless HB2 is changed. The group has said site decisions would begin getting made this week.

– Visit WSOCTV.com for the latest on this story.

George Clooney talks about helping Amal with her pregnancy, potential names

George Clooney made the rounds at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Tuesday to promote his upcoming movie, “Suburbicon.” A lot of red carpet chatter led him to use that time to share some details about his wife, lawyer Amal Clooney’s, pregnancy.

She is reportedly expecting twins.

>> Read more trending news

Clooney joked with Entertainment Tonight about the two names he has picked out for his kids.

“My wife says I can’t name them Casa and Amigos. That’s the one thing I’m not allowed to do,” he said, joking that he considered naming the twins after his tequila company, Casamigos.

“It was just a thought. I mean, you know, it’s a family business,” he joked.

Clooney told E News the parents-to-be have not picked out names yet.

“I've had friends pick out names around their parents and then it becomes...whatever name you pick they're like, ‘Oh, I don't like that. That guy's a prime minister… Can't name her Susan. You remember your Aunt Susan?’”

“I didn't know that we'd have kids,” he told E News. “I was very happy that we were going to get married, and then (a pregnancy) seemed like the next step."

Clooney said Amal Clooney is “doing really great.” 

“She is amazing,” he told Extra. “I don’t have anything to do. There is nothing I can do to help but make tea and stuff.”

The Clooneys are expecting their twins, a boy and a girl, in June. Shortly after the pregnancy news broke, Clooney’s mom, Nina Clooney, shared details about the twins to Vogue.

“It will be one of each! Yes, a boy and a girl. That’s what I’ve been told,” Nina Clooney said. “How marvelous! My husband and I are extremely excited.”

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

Human waste found in Coca-Cola cans in Northern Ireland

A Coca-Cola factory in Northern Ireland halted production last week after human waste was discovered in its soda cans, The Guardian reported. 

>> Florida man walking on beach finds bale of marijuana

Now police are investigating how this could have happened at the Hellenic Bottling Company. 

>> Read more trending news

The company said none of the contaminated products made it onto store shelves and they impounded the contaminated cans, according to The Guardian. They noticed the problem when machines at the plant became clogged.

“The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures,” Coca-Cola said in a statement. 

>> Study: 10,000 steps might not be enough for healthy life“This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale.”

Read more at The Guardian

Ohio stepfather, son deploying overseas on same day

A Huber Heights family with strong military ties will send two members into a combat zone

Ellie Carr said Wednesday her husband and son, both members of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, are preparing to deploy Saturday to Afghanistan and Iraq. 

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Ellie Carr’s husband, 1st Sgt. Robert Carr — expected to be promoted to the rank of sergeant major this week — will head to Afghanistan, while her son, Pfc. Dustin McReynolds, will take off for Iraq. Both will be gone for a year.

“We found out first my husband was deploying to Afghanistan,” Ellie Carr said.

She said her son enlisted in 2016 and completed basic training in January -- this will be his first deployment.

“It worried me a little bit at the time because I really didn’t want … my son being so new in the military, I was worried about him,” Ellie Carr said.

Ellie Carr said some of that worry has since subsided after meeting her son’s chain of command.

“They’re a great group of people; I’m thrilled he’s going with them,” she said.

During the next year, Ellie Carr said she’ll be going through major life changes as well.

She quit her job of 10 years working in logistics to enroll full-time in nursing school. She said it’s been a dream of hers.

“This will definitely keep me busy,” Ellie Carr said. “It’s just going to be me and my dog,” Lexi, a miniature Australian Shepherd.

Robert Carr, who previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, and McReynolds are just two of more than 2 million military service members who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

“It makes me proud,” Ellie Carr said.

She said her family has a strong military history. Her father, who recently died, retired from the Army after 25 years, she said.

“It was natural,” she said, of her son joining the military. “If you’ve never been around it, it’s different. Military families are unique.”

Ellie Carr said holidays will be the toughest part of her husband and son deploying, especially because her immediate family is out of state.

Come Saturday, “The emotions are going to be running crazy. I’ve been trying to be strong,” Ellie Carr said.

The family plans to Skype and write letters to stay in contact. And Ellie Carr said her son will be getting plenty of deliveries of Airheads and Zebra Cakes.

Ivanka Trump will take official White House role as the assistant to the president

After ethics questions were raised about the nature of her role in the White House, Ivanka Trump will officially become an employee of the federal government and will work as the “assistant to the president” for no pay.

>> Read more trending news

Last week, reports came out suggesting the first daughter would be getting a White House office, security clearance and government-issued phone as an informal adviser without an official job title. Concerns over the unidentified description of her role and potential conflicts of interest prompted Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) to send a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.

RELATED: Ivanka Trump shared the sweetest message for her youngest baby in honor of his first birthday

“Ms. Trump’s increasing, albeit unspecified, White House role, her potential conflicts of interest, and her commitment to voluntarily comply with relevant ethics and conflict of interest laws have resulted in substantial confusion,” the letter read.

In response, Ivanka Trump provided a statement obtained by The New York Times, in which she addresses the confusion and announced her new position.

“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” she said. “Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”

The White House also addressed the news, with a spokeswoman for President Trump saying, “We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president. Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”

Video captures terrifying Washington state home invasion robbery

The Sheriff's office in Snohomish County, Washington, is asking for the public's help to identify two men who robbed an Everett woman on Wednesday morning in her own home.

According to police, the men broke into the home by kicking in the doors.

>> Read more trending news 

Once inside, the two confronted the victim and ripped off her jewelry.

Anyone with information is asked to call at 425-388-5258.

Here’s how to use Twitter's updated mute feature to prevent spoilers for your favorite shows

A new Twitter feature allows users to mute words, phrases and hashtags from view on timelines and in notifications, and it could mean a way out of having your favorite shows spoiled.

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USA Today reported that the social-media company announced the tool as a way to prevent abuse, but the ability to avoid show spoilers appears to come as an additional benefit. That initial feature only applied to user’s notifications, so a user could see offensive content -- or spoilers of a show or movie -- on their timeline and across Twitter.

The new mute allows users to stop certain words, phrases, emojis, usernames and hashtags from appearing in their Twitter feeds and can be adjusted for specific time periods: 24 hours, seven days, 30 days or forever.

The only catch is that those muted items will still appear in a Twitter search.

Here’s how to mute hashtags on the Twitter app for iPhone’s iOS and Android:

  1. Go to the notifications tab and tap the gear icon.
  2. Tap muted words.
  3. On iOS, tap “add.” For Android, tap the “plus” icon.
  4. One at a time, add the word, phrase, emoji or hashtag you would like to mute.
  5. Choose to enable the mute feature in notifications, your timeline or both.
  6. Select whether the muted items pertain to anyone on Twitter to only people you don’t follow.
  7. Choose how long you want the items to be muted and tap save.

More information on how to edit or unmute items and how to enable the feature on Twitter’s mobile site and desktop is at Twitter’s support website.

Texas van crash kills 12, including church members

Twelve people were killed and three others were injured Wednesday when a pickup collided head-on with a van carrying 14 senior members of a New Braunfels, Texas, church on a two-lane highway north of Uvalde, authorities said.

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The crash happened 75 miles west of San Antonio, said Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

It was unclear if the lone occupant of the pickup was among the dead or how many of the dead were among the 14 aboard the church van, Hein said. Information was unavailable on the extent of injuries for the other three people, who were taken to a hospital.

The cause of the crash hasn’t been determined, Hein said.

The collision happened at a major curve in the highway, according to the Uvalde Leader-News. That newspaper also reported that a woman said she called law enforcement about reckless driving involving one of the vehicles, but authorities didn’t arrive before the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating.

The van was carrying members of First Baptist New Braunfels who were returning from the Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center in Leakey, about 9 miles north of the crash site. They had just finished a three-day retreat that included singing and Bible study.

As the church learned of the crash Wednesday afternoon, it canceled its activities that evening and said the sanctuary would be open for prayer and support.

A statement on the church’s Facebook page said it hadn’t received any official details from authorities, but the church was “ministering to family members to help them deal with this tragedy.”

Counselors will be at the church Thursday to offer support, according to the Facebook post.

“If you’re a Christian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church family,” the Facebook post said.

In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said he and his wife, Cecilia, extend their “deepest condolences to the victims and the families of those involved in today’s tragic event.” He said they are “saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected.”

Premature baby hippo Fiona packing on pounds, weighing in at 116 pounds 

Fiona, the baby hippo born six-weeks early at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens in January and 25 pounds underweight, is making great progress and gaining weight, tipping the scales at 116 pounds Wednesday morning.

>> Read more trending news

The zoo is preparing to gradually introduce 2-month-old Fiona to her parents as she gets a little bigger. She caught a glimpse of her parents in their outdoor habitat this week, and can now hear and smell them.

“She isn’t quite ready to venture out herself, but is getting familiar with the look and smell of the great outdoors,” the zoo said on its website.

Fiona could weigh as much as 3,500 pounds one day, the average weight of an adult Nile hippo, which is so strong it can crush a crocodile with its jaws and sharp teeth, according to the zoo.

The hippo was born on Jan. 24 and was the first Nile hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years.

 

Boy bitten by rattlesnake after mistaking it for toy

A 5-year-old boy is recovering at a hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake in DeBary, Florida. 

>> Read more trending news

Volusia County investigators said Tampa resident Elijah Vaughn, 5, and his family were at a relative's house on Fort Florida Point Road on Saturday after leaving a funeral. 

Vaughn and his mother went outside so the boy could play on the jungle gym in the yard, deputies said. 

When Vaughn approached the jungle gym, he walked underneath the platform and saw what he thought was a toy snake. 

As the boy reached for the snake, it bit him on the right index finger, according to a police report. His mother rushed Vaughn to meet with deputies and he was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital, where he received anti-venom treatment, investigators said.

Vaughn was then taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. 

Officials said the boy's swelling had not spread down his arm and was primarily on his hand and wrist. 

The snake, believed to be a pygmy rattlesnake, was caught and killed.

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