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  • Oprah Winfrey to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oprah Winfrey will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at January’s Golden Globes.

    Morgan Freeman made the announcement for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association during its broadcast of the “Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special” Wednesday on NBC.

    HFPA President Meher Tatna called Winfrey “one of the most respected and admired figures today” and “one of the most influential women of our time” in a statement Wednesday.

    The DeMille Award is given annually to an “individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” Past recipients include Freeman, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball. Winfrey will receive the award during the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Jan. 7, 2018. Copyright © The […]
  • EPA chemical safety nominee drops out amid strong opposition

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn his nomination after bipartisan opposition made his Senate confirmation unlikely.

    A White House official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Michael Dourson has removed his name from consideration to serve as head of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

    The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. North Carolina’s two Republican senators said last month they would vote against Dourson’s nomination after the AP and other media outlets detailed his past work as a toxicologist hired to defend major chemical companies. Senate Democrats are united in […]
  • Kentucky lawmaker facing assault allegations kills himself

    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in Kentucky facing sexual assault allegations has killed himself.

    Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell says Rep. Dan Johnson shot himself Wednesday on a bridge in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Tinnell confirmed the death to WDRB-TV in Louisville.

    The 57-year-old Johnson was elected to the state legislature in 2016. On Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an account from a woman saying Johnson sexually assaulted her in the basement of his home in 2013. Louisville police investigated the matter but closed the case and did not file charges.

    Johnson told reporters Tuesday the accusations were “totally false.” He posted a message on Facebook Monday night saying that PTSD was “is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. It has won this life, BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME.” Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material […]
  • Director of Colorado pension fund dies snorkeling in Hawaii

    DENVER (AP) — The executive director of the board that oversees Colorado’s public employee pension fund died while snorkeling in Hawaii.

    Public Employees’ Retirement Association spokeswoman Katie Kaufmanis says 56-year-old Gregory Smith died Tuesday while vacationing with family and friends in Maui.

    Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto says Smith was found face-down and unresponsive in the water.

    Bystanders brought him to the shore, and emergency responders could not revive him. An autopsy is planned. Smith worked at PERA for more than 15 years, including five years as its executive director. Six chief officers and the PERA executive team will continue to run daily operations at the association. It provides retirement benefits to […]
  • Scott Air Force Base official under sexual misconduct probe

    BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Scott Air Force Base officials say a commander who was ousted from his job this week is being investigated for sexual misconduct.

    A news release from the Illinois base says details about the investigation of Colonel John Howard won’t be released while it’s happening “to ensure the integrity of the process.” The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will head the investigation.

    Howard was relieved of command Monday by a general who said he’d lost faith in his leadership. The next day, officials announced his transfer the United States Transportation Command. But 18th Air Force spokesman Capt. Ryan DeCamp told The (Belleville) News-Democrat Wednesday that the transfer was rescinded and Howard’s status hasn’t yet been determined. Howard […]
  • Fox News host Jeanine Pirro sued for defamation

    NEW YORK (AP) — A civil rights activist is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, claiming she defamed him while discussing a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement that was later dismissed.

    The lawsuit states that DeRay McKesson was falsely arrested in 2016 while attending a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in which a police officer was struck in the face with a rock and seriously injured.

    The officer sued the Black Lives Matter movement and McKesson for his injuries.

    After the officer’s lawsuit was dismissed, Pirro “made a series of outrageously false and defamatory statements about Mr. McKesson, including that he directed someone to hit the police officer in the face with a rock,” McKesson’s lawsuit said. Pirro’s statements, which were made during an appearance on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends,” were […]
  • Report: 3 women accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of rape

    NEW YORK (AP) — Three women have told the New York Times that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them, the latest in a cascade of serious allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in entertainment, media, politics and elsewhere.

    Simmons vehemently denied what he called “these horrific accusations,” saying in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that “all of my relations have been consensual.”

    The allegations reported by the Times Wednesday stem from the 1980s and 1990s. One woman, Drew Dixon, said Simmons assaulted her in his downtown apartment in 1995, when she was an executive at Def Jam Recordings, reporting to Simmons. She quit Def Jam soon after, she told the Times, saying, “I was broken.” Through his […]
  • California lawmaker faces claims his hugs were inappropriate

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California Democratic state senator known for greeting people with hugs is now facing allegations that his behavior made women he worked with uncomfortable.

    Sen. Bob Hertzberg’s penchant for hugging is so well known he has nicknames such as “Hugsberg” and “Huggy Bear.” As an Assemblyman, he once handed out pins reading “I was hugged by Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg.”

    But three women who have or still work in the Legislature told the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday that his hugs crossed into inappropriate territory. Their comments came as the California Legislature deals with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, which already prompted two Assembly Democrats to resign. Hertzberg spokeswoman Katie Hanzlik said he will now be […]
  • Regents approve Arizona State coach Herm Edwards’ contract

    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The state Board of Regents has approved a multi-year contract for new Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards.

    Under the deal approved Wednesday, the regents say Edwards’ initial salary will be $2 million with a $250,000 increase after each year of service. Edwards’ contract will run through Dec. 31, 2022.

    The 63-year-old former NFL coach and ESPN analyst was hired by Arizona State on Dec. 3.

    Edwards hasn’t coached since 2008 after being fired by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and has not coached in college since serving as a San Jose State assistant in 1989. The Sun Devils fired coach Todd Graham after six seasons on Nov. 26 and wanted to move quickly with the early signing period for high […]
  • Study: Loss of water in drought caused Sierra Nevada to rise

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Loss of water from rocks during drought caused California’s Sierra Nevada to rise nearly an inch (2.5 centimeters) in height from October 2011 to October 2015, according to a new NASA study made public Wednesday.

    The study also found that in the following two years of increased snow and rain, the rocks in the range regained about half as much water as was lost during the drought and the return of the weight caused the height of the mountains to fall about half an inch (1.3 centimeters).

    “This suggests that the solid Earth has a greater capacity to store water than previously thought,” study leader Donald Argus of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement Wednesday. The water at issue is inside cracks within fractured rocks and is not the water that runs off mountains to supply cities […]
  • Court: New Orleans judges have conflict in setting fines

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge says state criminal court judges in New Orleans have a conflict of interest because they rely on fines and fees for court funding — raising legitimate concerns over whether the court’s financial needs might affect decisions on whether low-income defendants are able to pay.

    U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance also ruled Wednesday that judges have violated defendants’ rights by failing to make inquiries on their ability to pay.

    Her ruling came in a lawsuit in which defendants accused the court of running what amounts to a “debtor’s prison.” Bill Quigley, a lawyer for the defendants said the ruling could affect courts throughout Louisiana. An attorney for the judges didn’t immediately return a call for comment Wednesday night. Vance did not issue an order […]
  • Louisville files counterclaim to Rick Pitino lawsuit

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The University of Louisville has filed a counterclaim to former basketball coach Rick Pitino’s lawsuit and is seeking monetary damages from vacated games and bonuses.

    WDRB-TV reports the university alleges negligence and “wrongful conduct” by Pitino has tarnished the school’s reputation.

    The lawsuit noted that the NCAA ordered the school to return money it received for some basketball tournaments. The counterclaim filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court said the school also wants any bonuses and other compensation “wrongly paid” to Pitino for the tournament appearances.

    The counterclaim was filed as part of Pitino’s breach of contract lawsuit against the U of L Athletic Association for $38.7 million. Pitino’s lawyers argue there is nothing in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in September that ties Pitino to any improper activities. ___ Information from: WDRB-TV, Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights […]
  • Fire captain: Ghost Ship defendant said no one lived there

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A fire department captain says one of the men charged in a warehouse fire in California that killed 36 people told him no one lived in the building.

    KPIX-TV reports that Oakland Fire Capt. George Freelen testified he believed Derick Almena during a September 2014 visit.

    Freelen spoke at a court hearing on Tuesday to determine whether Almena and a second man, Max Harris, will face trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in the Dec. 2, 2016 fire at the Oakland warehouse.

    The warehouse had been illegally converted into living space. Prosecutors say the men deceived the building’s owner, police and fire officials about people living there. The two have pleaded not guilty. Freelen said he reported his concerns about potential fire danger at the warehouse to fire inspectors. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. […]
  • Mistrial in case of girl raped while mom smoked meth nearby

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A mistrial has been declared in the case of three men accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl at a Utah home while her mother was in the garage smoking methamphetamine.

    Court officials said Thursday that only about one-third of potential jurors showed up, making the pool of jurors too small.

    The trial was expected to start this week for Larson RonDeau, Jerry Flatlip and Randall Flatlip.

    They have all pleaded not guilty to child rape and sodomy charges. Prosecutors say the men took the girl to a back room in March while she was sleeping on a couch in rural Uintah County, which borders Colorado. The men had been staying in the house. Lawyers for the men have questioned the account […]
  • Families blame state in veterans home Legionnaires’ outbreak

    QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Eleven families are suing the state for negligence saying a fatal Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2015 and continued problems at a western Illinois veterans’ home were preventable.

    The families, who spoke to Chicago’s WBEZ , are seeking changes to the state-run Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where the outbreak two years ago killed 12 and sickened dozens more. Despite pledges from Gov. Bruce Rauner to fix the problem, about half a dozen new Legionnaires’ cases since then.

    “When’s it going to stop?” said Jana Casper, a daughter of World War II veteran Gerald Kuhn, who died in the 2015 outbreak. “How many more people are going to have to die before they can get to the bottom of what’s causing it?” Rauner, a Republican who took office in 2015, said in a […]