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National News

    Arkansas lawmakers will consider exempting college sporting events from a new state law that greatly expands where concealed handguns are allowed. The Arkansas Senate was expected to take up a proposal Thursday to add the exemption to a new state law allowing concealed handguns at colleges, government buildings, some bars and even the state Capitol. The measure signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday allows people to carry in the locations if they complete eight hours of active-shooter training. The sports exemption was added to a bill aimed at other concerns about the new law. That bill would exempt the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the state hospital from the gun rights expansion. The law as-is would let guns into Razorback Stadium while umbrellas remain banned.
  • An Arkansas animal refuge has an animal that may be a bit confused as to her species. Moonpie, a baby miniature cow, lives with a dozen dogs, and she thinks that they’re her friends, The Dodo reported. >> Read more trending news Before she found her home at Rocky Ridge Refuge, a animal shelter for animals with special needs, she was for sale at auction. A friend of sanctuary owner Janice Wolf saw Moonpie and knew she’d be the perfect fit at Rocky Ridge. When Moonpie got to her new home, she was too young to live outside with other rescue cows. Moonpie ended up moving into Wolf’s bedroom, and she’s been there for more than six weeks, living alongside Wolf’s rescue dogs, The Dodo reported. A deaf white terrier named Spackle has become attached to Moonpie, protecting her and bonding with the bovine. Other dogs in the pack help clean Moonpie as if she was one of their puppies. Moonpie is also picking up some canine habits, including waiting to go out to relieve herself. For more on Rocky Ridge Refuge, including Moonpie and the other rescues living there, visit the sanctuary’s Facebook page.
  • A New York man threw his girlfriend’s dog from the balcony of a seventh-floor apartment last week during an argument in Queens, killing the 12-year-old pug, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending stories New York police told WPIX that Yuk Cheung, 35, threw his girlfriend’s dog from an apartment building on 40th Road on Friday. The dog fell about 70 feet to its death, the news station reported. Police arrested Cheung on Tuesday, according to records from the New York City Department of Correction. Cheung’s girlfriend told police that the couple argued after she asked him “why he keeps coming back” to her apartment, according to the New York Post. Authorities charged Cheung with animal cruelty and possession of a controlled substance. He remained jailed Thursday.
  • Shipping containers full of foreign coal ash are coming into the United States through the Port of Virginia. That irritates some lawmakers, since Virginia is among many states struggling to dispose of this industrial waste from coal-fired power plants. Critics call it a missed opportunity, because coal ash is used in everything from roads to concrete to wallboard. Environmentalists want more recycling of the ash disposed of in 1,100 dumps around the country. Most of it remains near aging coal plants, where it could potentially contaminate water. Why would companies import coal ash from countries including China and Poland? Blame the nation's shift away from coal. The switch to other electricity sources is reducing the availability of freshly produced coal ash, so industries that need it have begun looking elsewhere.
  • An American tourist was among four people who were killed when a man plowed through several people on London’s Westminster Bridge on Wednesday before attacking a police officer who was guarding Parliament. >> Read more trending stories The terror attack claimed the life of Utah resident Kurt W. Cochran, family members said in a statement. Cochran was visiting London with his wife, Melissa, to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They were expected back in the United States on Thursday. Melissa Cochran suffered what family members described as “serious injuries” in the attack. “We express our gratitude to the emergency and medical personnel who have cared for them and ask for your prayers on behalf of Melissa and our family,” the family’s statement said. “Kurt will be greatly missed, and we ask for privacy as our family mourns and as Melissa recovers from her injuries.” Family members told KSTU that the couple was on a “dream vacation” and spent time in Germany and Austria before arriving in London. “Our family is heartbroken,” the family statement said. “Kurt was a good man and a loving husband.” London metropolitan police said four people died in the London terror attack, including Cochran, the unidentified assailant and Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran of the London metropolitan police force who was killed as he was protecting Parliament. The fourth victim was identified by The Guardian as Aysha Frade, 43, a mother of two who taught Spanish at DLD College in London. Police said they have arrested eight people in connection with the attack. They continued to investigate on Thursday.
  • A Tulsa parent is speaking out after she says her daughter had a birth control implant embedded into her arm during a trip from school. >> Read more trending news  Miracle Foster says her parental rights were violated. It all started when her 16-year-old daughter attended a Youth Services of Tulsa lecture about sex education at Langston Hughes Academy. After one of the sessions, the teen and other girls reportedly said they wanted to learn more, and the school arranged for Youth Services of Tulsa to pick them up and take them to a clinic. Rodney L. Clark, the school's principal, says he called Foster to get permission to allow her daughter to go on the trip before they left. Foster says that her daughter then received a three-year Norplant implant at the clinic without her parental consent. Representatives from Youth Services of Tulsa say they do not have to tell a parent about any contraceptives given to minors. Title X federal guidelines allows for teens as young as 12 to receive various forms of contraceptives without a parent's consent. They also said they merely inform and transport teens to the clinics of their choice. They are not involved in the conversations between the teens and the physicians at theses clinics. Foster told FOX23 that she feels that she and her daughter should have had the opportunity to discuss what's best for her.  Clark released a statement Wednesday:  'This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.
  • President Donald Trump has used his traditional pipeline to the people to help gain support for his plan to abolish Obamacare. >> Read more trending news  Hours before the vote is set to begin, Trump posted a video that spells out what he says were lies given to the American people when the Affordable Care Act went into existence while not explaining what his proposed American Health Care Act, or AHCA, does. Trump also encourages people to call lawmakers to show their support of AHCA. NBC News reported that he does not have enough votes to pass the AHCA, but negotiations went into the night. The House is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday. 
  • Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue on Thursday sought to reassure farm-state senators in both parties who are fearful about the impact of President Donald Trump's proposed deep cuts to farm programs, promising to promote agricultural trade and create jobs in the struggling industry. At his confirmation hearing, the former Georgia governor stressed bipartisanship, reaching out to Democrats who have complained about Trump's lack of experience in agriculture and his proposed 21 percent cut to the farm budget. 'In Georgia, agriculture is one area where Democrats and Republicans consistently reached across the aisle and work together,' Perdue said. He told Republican and Democratic senators concerned about Trump's trade agenda that 'trade is really the answer' for farmers dealing with low crop prices and said he would be a 'tenacious advocate and fighter' for rural America when dealing with the White House and other agencies. Perdue, 70, would be the first Southerner in the post for more than two decades. His rural roots — he is a farmer's son and has owned several agricultural companies — and his conciliatory tone have already won him support from some Democrats, including Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, who said after the hearing that she will vote to confirm Perdue. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., has also said she will vote for him. But both women brought up concerns in the hearing, with Stabenow saying 'it's clear that rural America has been an afterthought' in the Trump administration. Stabenow said many rural communities are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. 'Especially during these times of low prices for agriculture and uncertainty around budget, trade and immigration, we need the next secretary to be an unapologetic advocate for all of rural America,' she said. Farm-state Republicans have also criticized the proposed budget cuts and have been wary of the president's opposition of some trade agreements, as trade is a major economic driver in the agricultural industry. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said at the hearing that producers need a market for their goods, and 'during this critical time, the importance of trade for the agriculture industry cannot be overstated.' Perdue noted a growing middle class around the world that is hungry for U.S. products. 'Food is a noble thing to trade,' Perdue said, adding that he would 'continue to tirelessly advocate that within the administration.' Trump has harshly criticized some international trade deals, saying they have killed American jobs. But farmers who make more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture. Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said Perdue's pro-trade comments were 'music to the ears of Montana farmers and ranchers.' Perdue also said he would work with the agriculture industry to create jobs and support landowners in their efforts to conserve farmland in a sustainable way. USDA is also responsible for nutrition programs, and congressional Republicans have signaled a willingness to trim the $70 billion food stamp program. Perdue signaled he may be supportive of those efforts, saying 'we hope we can do that even more efficiently and effectively than we have.' One of Perdue's main responsibilities will be working with Congress on a new five-year farm bill, and he pledged to help senators sustain popular crop insurance programs and fix what they see as problems with government dairy programs. Perdue was the last of Trump's Cabinet nominees to be chosen, and his nomination was delayed for weeks as the administration prepared his ethics paperwork. Perdue eventually said he would step down from several companies bearing his name to avoid conflicts of interest. Roberts said the committee will soon schedule a vote on Perdue's nomination, and it would then go to the floor. He and Trump's choice for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, are two of the final nominees for Trump's Cabinet still pending in the Senate. Acosta was nominated in February after the withdrawal of the original nominee, Andrew Puzder.
  • A 90-year-old great-grandmother has knitted thousands of hats for babies and has no plans to stop any time soon. >> Read more trending news Over the last eight years, Barbara Lowe has knitted 2,100 hats.  “That’s a lot of hats. That’s a lot of babies,” she told WOIO. The hats that Lowe makes are sent to newborns at nearby Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, where they help keep babies warm during their most vulnerable time. “We want everyone to go outside with a hat on, certainly a newborn,” Mary Bartos, a registered nurse at Hillcrest, told WOIO.  Lowe maintains a strict schedule and says the activity keeps her agile. “Age is just a number, and you’ve got to keep busy. You just can’t sit and crawl in a corner. You’ve got to keep moving, got to keep doing,” she said. Lowe pays for all the supplies herself. To read more and learn how you can donate to Lowe’s yarn fund, visit WOIO.
  • A statement from the Mormon church issued on behalf of relatives says a Utah man was among those killed in a London attack and his wife was seriously injured. Kurt W. Cochran and his wife, Melissa, were on the last day of a special European trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary when the deadly attack played out in the heart of London. The woman remains hospitalized. An attacker plowed an SUV into pedestrians Wednesday on London's Westminster Bridge, killing two and wounding dozens, and then stabbed police officer Keith Palmer inside the gates of Parliament. The assailant was shot dead by armed officers. The church says the Utah couple were also visiting the woman's parents, who are serving as Mormon missionaries in London. Her family in a statement made by her brother, Clint Payne, said they were heartbroken. 'Kurt was a good man and a loving husband to our sister and daughter, Melissa,' the statement said. The family said he would be greatly missed and thanked emergency and medical crews. They also asked for prayers and privacy. The couple were initially scheduled to return on Thursday to the U.S. from their vacation. ___ Ho reported from Las Vegas.
  • A Tulsa parent is speaking out after she says her daughter had a birth control implant embedded into her arm during a trip from school. >> Read more trending news  Miracle Foster says her parental rights were violated. It all started when her 16-year-old daughter attended a Youth Services of Tulsa lecture about sex education at Langston Hughes Academy. After one of the sessions, the teen and other girls reportedly said they wanted to learn more, and the school arranged for Youth Services of Tulsa to pick them up and take them to a clinic. Rodney L. Clark, the school's principal, says he called Foster to get permission to allow her daughter to go on the trip before they left. Foster says that her daughter then received a three-year Norplant implant at the clinic without her parental consent. Representatives from Youth Services of Tulsa say they do not have to tell a parent about any contraceptives given to minors. Title X federal guidelines allows for teens as young as 12 to receive various forms of contraceptives without a parent's consent. They also said they merely inform and transport teens to the clinics of their choice. They are not involved in the conversations between the teens and the physicians at theses clinics. Foster told FOX23 that she feels that she and her daughter should have had the opportunity to discuss what's best for her.  Clark released a statement Wednesday:  'This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.
  • President Donald Trump has used his traditional pipeline to the people to help gain support for his plan to abolish Obamacare. >> Read more trending news  Hours before the vote is set to begin, Trump posted a video that spells out what he says were lies given to the American people when the Affordable Care Act went into existence while not explaining what his proposed American Health Care Act, or AHCA, does. Trump also encourages people to call lawmakers to show their support of AHCA. NBC News reported that he does not have enough votes to pass the AHCA, but negotiations went into the night. The House is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday. 
  • Police responded to a call of a domestic fight with a gun around 1:30 a.m. near Pine and Yale. When officers arrived, the suspect charged one of the cops and bit him on the hand. The officer was treated with a tetanus shot but is otherwise OK. KRMG news has learned officers were forced to tase Manuel Garcia-Perez before taking him into custody.  The victim allegedly declined to cooperate as a victim of domestic violence and refused to press charges. Garcia-Perez was arrested and jailed on complaints of assault on police and obstruction.
  • In a last minute bid to thread the needle between more conservative and more moderate Republicans, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders in the House are still hoping to bring a health care overhaul bill to a vote today, as they try to find a magic legislative formula that will produce a final agreement acceptable to a bare majority of Republican members. Here’s where things stand. 1. Republicans still seem short on votes. Despite a full day of arm twisting and closed door meetings that stretched late into Wednesday night, the President seemed no closer to a majority in the House – in fact, the numbers seemed to go the wrong way yesterday, as several more moderate Republicans like Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) announced they could not support the bill. “We gave our word that we would repeal and replace it,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) of Obamacare. “This bill does not go far enough.” Yoho – a Freedom Caucus member – though said he was open to a last minute deal, but that remained elusive as the sun came up on Thursday. President Trump is set to meet with Freedom Caucus members just before lunch at the White House. Believe ldrshp lost more votes today (Dent, LoBiondo, David Young, Dan Donovan) than they gained (Steve King, Barletta) – at least publicly — Erica Werner (@ericawerner) March 23, 2017 2. For some the negotiations just don’t matter. As we have seen on major legislation in recent years, there are a small group of Republicans who just aren’t going to get to a “Yes” vote under the current direction of negotiations. “We promised to repeal Obamacare and improve health care for Americans. This bill does neither,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who is a certain “No” vote. Even as members of the House Freedom Caucus met into the night on Wednesday, it was obvious that some in that group, like Amash, would not get on board with the final product – and on their own, they have more than enough votes to sink this GOP bill if they withhold their support. This was a tweet from the group’s spokeswoman. BREAKING: more than 25 Freedom Caucus 'No's' on AHCA — group says 'start over' — Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) March 22, 2017 3. There is no groundswell of support back home. One peculiar situation about the GOP drive on health care is that they are not only taking flak from Democrats, but also from conservative groups who don’t like the direction of the bill – and that combination is bringing a distinct message from back home, as well as groups that watch GOP lawmakers like a hawk. “Unfortunately, even with recently submitted changes, the American Health Care Act has too many ObamaCare-like flaws,” the conservative group Freedom Works said in a statement. Other groups like the Heritage Foundation have been openly working to stop the bill as well – and lawmakers say the folks back home have made quite clear their dislike for the bill. Rep Walter Jones R-NC on calls/emails from his district about GOP health care bill: 4 were in favor, 800 against — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 23, 2017 4. What late changes are being considered to the GOP bill? There was a lot of talk on Wednesday night of major alterations to the bill, some of which might not even survive tight Senate rules dealing with budget reconciliation. The work mainly centered on re-writing the definition of “Essential Health Benefits” in the Obama health law, to allow insurance companies to offer more limited – and therefore less expensive for consumers. Here is the EHB list in current law – these can be modified administratively by the Trump Administration and the Secretary of Health and Human Services; but a number of Republican lawmakers want them changed in law. That most likely will take 60 votes in the Senate. 5. Wait – the EHB change takes 60 votes in the Senate? The logical question to ask is – if you can’t change the Essential Health Benefits in a budget reconciliation bill, because it will get knocked out in the Senate, why put that in this House bill? Well, it may be the only way to get the bill out of the House with enough votes, and send it over to the Senate. Republicans were already engaged in public lobbying of the Senate Parliamentarian, who has the job of ruling on specific provisions of reconciliation bills, as they tried to argue in public that she might change her mind on the matter. Behind the scenes, it wasn’t really apparent that anything had changed along these lines, but the GOP hope was that if EHB changes were included in the bill, the provision could get through the House and just be knocked out in the Senate, without destroying the underlying measure. BREAKING: Mike Lee says parliamentarian told him it may be possible to repeal Obamacare regs via reconciliation https://t.co/OqxadhUbAu — Philip Klein (@philipaklein) March 22, 2017 6. Will the vote be Thursday or later? Republicans were ready to give themselves several days of wiggle room on the health care matter, as the House was expected to approve a measure that allows the GOP to quickly bring a final health care deal to the floor for a vote, any time over the next four days – through Monday. So, there could be a showdown vote on health care today, tomorrow, over the weekend, or early next week. Basically, if Republicans and the White House think they’ve got the votes, then they will rush to the House floor to push that through. “We have not cut the deal, yet,” Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) acknowledged late on Wednesday night in the House Rules Committee. Republicans have said they will vote Thursday on their plan to overhaul Obamacare, but no vote is scheduled https://t.co/R7KtadKwh3 pic.twitter.com/9H5Ior3DvC — CBS News (@CBSNews) March 23, 2017 7. GOP ready to repeat the Nancy Pelosi 2010 quote. Republicans love to talk up the out-of-context quote from then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010, when she said the Congress would just have to pass a health care bill in order to see what was in it. If you really research the quote, you see she wasn’t saying that, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP from throwing it in her face for the past seven years. Now, Democrats are delighting in watching the GOP maybe doing the same thing. With major changes being looked at last night, it was not clear as the day began what exactly the Republicans would be voting on – and it was possible that no cost estimate, or insurance coverage estimate details would be ready for when lawmakers did vote in the House. With no CBO score, the full effect of eliminating essential health benefits won't be known to House lawmakers before they vote #votingblind — Noam Levey (@NoamLevey) March 23, 2017 Stay tuned – it could be a very interesting day in the House.
  • Why did a Texas teacher accused of having an improper relationship with a student smile in her mugshot? Her lawyer has offered an explanation. According to Dallas-Fort Worth's KXAS, Jason Nassour, attorney for Lockhart High School anatomy teacher Sarah Fowlkes, said she was grinning because she's innocent. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot  'This isn't a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught,' Nassour told KXAS. 'When everything's fleshed out, it won't be as it appears.' Lockhart police began investigating the incident March 10 after a school administrator reported that 'an educator at the school may be having an inappropriate relationship with a currently enrolled student,' according to the arrest affidavit. A 17-year-old student claimed that Fowlkes, 27, touched his genitals and that he 'made contact with the defendant's breasts,' the affidavit said. >> See the affidavit here Fowlkes was arrested on a charge of 'improper relationship between educator and student,' police said. The school district also suspended Fowlkes, The Austin American-Statesman reported. 'Lockhart parents entrust their children to us every day, and it is something we do not take lightly,' Lockhart Superintendent Susan Bohn said in a statement, the American-Statesman reported. 'The district does not and will not tolerate any improper communication or contact between a teacher and child.' Bohn also alerted parents about the arrest and suspension in an email, the American-Statesman reported. >> On Statesman.com: Lockhart High teacher accused of improper relationship with student Nassour told KXAS that Fowlkes 'was arrested on the statement of a 17-year-old kid with no corroborating evidence.' >> Read more trending news According to the American-Statesman, Fowlkes, who taught anatomy and physiology and environmental systems at Lockhart High, previously taught science and social studies at Plum Creek Elementary School. The Houston Chronicle, citing Fowlkes' social media accounts, reported that she has been married since 2013.