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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Health officials in Texas are investigating a suspected case of 2019 novel coronavirus, the deadly new virus that’s killed more than a dozen people and sickened hundreds more in China. Authorities said the patient in Texas, who was not identified, traveled recently from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. The patient 'met the criteria for coronavirus testing and is being kept isolated at home, while the precautionary testing is done,' according to the Brazos County Health District. If confirmed, the case would mark at least the second in the U.S. since reports of the coronavirus first surfaced last month in Wuhan, according to The Associated Press. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first American case of the deadly coronavirus strain had been confirmed in Washington state. Health officials believe the virus can spread from person-to-person, though it remained unclear Thursday just how easily the virus spread. Officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers. The Brazos County Health District released the following recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus: Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • The cold weather we've felt over the past few days has manatees searching for warmer waters. Hundreds of sea cows are floating around the constant 72 degree spring water at Blue Spring State Park. Non-profit Save the Manatee operates two live cameras at the park, one above-water and one below-water. Manatees are at risk of suffering from cold stress if the water they're in drops below 68 degrees. You can see more live webcams at various Florida state parks here. Heads up for all manatee enthusiasts: Save the Manatee is holding a manatee festival this weekend at Blue Spring State Park!
  • Jim Lehrer, the debate moderator and journalist who co-founded “PBS NewsHour” and spent the next 36 years anchoring the show has died, PBS announced Thursday. He was 85. PBS officials said Lehrer died “peacefully in his sleep at his home” Thursday in Washington, according to the network and The New York Times. “With heavy hearts we report the death of PBS NewsHour co-founder Jim Lehrer at age 85,” employees of news show wrote Thursday afternoon in a tweet. “A giant in journalism, his tenacity and dedication to simply delivering the news remain the core of our work.” Lehrer retired in 2011, 36 years after he and his friend Robert MacNeil co-founded “PBS NewsHour,' according to CNN. The show, then called “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” was the only hour-long national news broadcast to air nightly in the country at the time of its debut. “I’m heartbroken at the loss of someone who was central to my professional life, a mentor to me and someone whose friendship I’ve cherished for decades,” Judy Woodruff, who in 2013 succeeded Lehrer on the anchor desk at PBS NewsHour,” said in a statement. “I’ve looked up to him as the standard for fair, probing and thoughtful journalism and I know countless others who feel the same way.” Tributes poured in from colleagues and watchers alike, including from Fox News’ Bret Baier, who called Lehrer “an inspiration to a whole generation of political journalists— including this one.' Dan Rather said “few approached their work with more equanimity and integrity than Jim Lehrer.” And Jake Tapper of CNN called Lehrer “a wonderful man and a superb journalist.” Lehrer was best known for his anchoring work, but he also moderated a dozen presidential debates and wrote several novels four plays and three memoirs, according to The New York Times. Prior to joining PBS, Lehrer worked as a reporter for Dallas public television station KERO, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times-Herald and the National Public Affairs Center for Television. Lehrer was born May 19, 1934. He attended Victoria College in Texas before studying journalism at the University of Missouri. He served for three years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, according to PBS. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Kate Staples; his daughters Jamie, Lucy and Amanda and six grandchildren. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Pennsylvania woman has been charged with the extreme neglect of her son, who was hospitalized in October weighing 26 pounds. The boy is 16 years old. Elisabet Estrada, 41, of Chambersburg, is charged with aggravated assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, Franklin County court records show. She remained in the county jail Thursday, unable to post her $25,000 bond. Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing for some readers.  The Chambersburg Public Opinion reported that Chambersburg police officers were called to the family’s home early on the morning of Oct. 24 to help caseworkers with Franklin County Children and Youth Services. Estrada’s 16-year-old son had been admitted to Penn State Hershey Medical Center in a state of extreme malnourishment the night before. He was hospitalized after Estrada took him there for genetic testing, CBS21 in Harrisburg reported. An endocrinologist told police the boy was suffering from “psychosocial dwarfism,” meaning his condition was due to a lack of proper nutrition. Estrada’s three other children “appeared to be in good general health,” an affidavit in the case states, according to the Public Opinion. CBS21 reported that one of the boy’s siblings is a 16-year-old girl, though the station did not say if the pair are twins. The document alleges that the teen was “very frail, gaunt, ribs extremely evident and ravenously hungry.” He “laid in bed in the fetal position in a way that appeared as though he didn't have the ability to stretch out in his bed.” Investigators wrote in the affidavit that the boy “ruminated his food” at the hospital -- he ate the food, threw it up and then ate it again. Police described the boy’s actions as eating as though he couldn’t get enough food at home, the newspaper reported. According to the Mayo Clinic, the precise cause of rumination syndrome is unclear, but it can be related to a number of issues, including developmental disabilities in children or an increase in abdominal pressure. “Rumination syndrome is more likely to occur in people with anxiety, depression or other psychiatric disorders,” the Mayo Clinic website says. The disorder can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, esophageal damage and other problems. The court records allege that Estrada had not used any therapy or early intervention for her son since 2005, when he was 3 years old. Police officials said the boy is developmentally delayed and nonverbal. Fox43 in York reported that Estrada told police her son, who was born in December 2002, weighed 6 pounds at birth. At the time of his last medical visit, in January 2005, he weighed 22 pounds. When he was next seen by a doctor 14 years later, he weighed only 3 pounds more, the court records show. The affidavit indicates the teen was seen at a walk-in clinic in February 2019, at which point he weighed 34 pounds, Fox43 said. His weight had dropped by about 5 pounds in April, when he was seen at Penn State Hershey. It was unclear if Children and Youth Services became involved in the boy’s case during his April visit to the hospital. The Public Opinion reported that Estrada railed in October at the genetics specialist treating her son, insisting that he “has no medical issues that require hospitalization,” the court records show. She “voiced anger” at the specialist and, saying she “did everything” for her son, said she did not understand why she could not treat him at home. She also could not comprehend why she had no say when he was admitted immediately into acute care at the hospital, the newspaper reported. The boy gained 2.2 pounds during his first two days of treatment, the court records show. Upon his discharge after about two months of treatment, he weighed 45 pounds. He had also grown taller while under the hospital’s care. The police investigation showed that Estrada did not have a primary care provider for the boy. She claimed the boy received medical care through Early Intervention Services, March of Dimes, Keystone Peds and Penn State Hershey, the Public Opinion reported. She home-schooled her children, and it appeared the teen “had limited interaction outside of the mother and three other children,” the affidavit says. A specialist with Penn State Hershey was consulted by police on Jan. 13, CBS21 reported. The doctor offered the opinion that the boy’s emaciated condition was caused by malnutrition and medical neglect -- and that his mother was to blame. Estrada “failed to seek appropriate medical care from an early age until he was 16 years of age and failed to appropriately feed him,” the affidavit says. Estrada was jailed on the charges Friday. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week. The whereabouts of her other three children were not publicly disclosed.
  • Michelle Carter walked out of the Bristol County House of Correction just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday after she was released more than three months early from her 15-month sentence. Her case drew international attention and became the subject of a popular documentary after she was convicted for urging her boyfriend to kill himself. But behind the walls of this prison, Carter’s life has been relatively routine since she arrived in February of last year. Carter was sentenced to 15 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for sending text messages urging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself. He died by suicide in 2014. “She really actually was a model inmate. She got involved in various programs: hospitality, culinary, the service aid program. She was involved in the kitchen working as kitchen help, got involved in the recovery program, so she was very busy,” said Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgsen. Hodgsen said Carter’s ability to stay busy means she’s getting out early. “She’s earned her good time through those programs, and she’ll be released tomorrow sometime after 9 o’clock,” Hodgsen said Wednesday. Carter, now 23 years old, will remain on probation for five years after she’s released. Often, inmates with high-profile cases can be a challenge in correctional facilities. But Hodgsen said they did not have issues with Carter. “We didn’t really have many concerns in regard to her other than making sure her mental health state was good coming in and that it maintained its health condition until she was released and that seemed to go well,” Hodgsen said. Roy’s family says they are trying not to focus on Carter but on a passing a bill called Conrad’s Law, which would make it illegal to coerce someone who you know is vulnerable into suicide. The bill calls for a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Washington Insider

  • While Republican Senators continue to wave off the case presented by House Democrats in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, the GOP is expressing concern that the impeachment battle may have a negative impact on a group of Senators who are already in tough re-election battles in 2020. 'The entire process is not to remove the President from office, it's simply to remove certain Republican Senators,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), as he rattled off a series of states where polls show incumbent Republicans with struggling poll ratings. 'Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, Maine, and Arizona - this is absolutely an opportunity for them to over take the Senate,' Scott told reporters during a break in the Trump impeachment trial. Polling shows that GOP Senators from three of those states - Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona - have some of the worst approval/disapproval ratings in the country. Back in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) - already in hot water for her decision to support Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh - is now seeing a prime Democratic rival, Maine House Speaker Sarah Gideon, zeroing in on her votes in the Trump impeachment trial. While Collins is facing tough votes in the Trump trial, Gideon has been back in Maine firing away at the Maine Republican. “Senator Collins voted with Mitch McConnell to block witnesses and evidence from the impeachment trial,” Gideon said. 'She (Collins) has proven that she has won tough races in the past, but this will be her most difficult re-election,' said Nathan Gonzales, an elections analyst with Roll Call, told C-SPAN earlier this week.