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National News

    Three weeks after giving birth to Gaston County's first baby of 2019, a woman is accused of using the same vehicle to sell drugs. >> Read more trending news  Jessica Killian, 32, was arrested Tuesday morning at the Econo Lodge on Broadcast Street with 36 grams of meth that police believe she planned to sell, according to the Gaston Gazette. Police said she had baggies and scales inside her 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, which she not only used to run her drug operation, but to give birth to her son, Atom Bomb. >> Related: Mother delivers baby in car on side of interstate in Cleveland County] Killian delivered Atom Bomb in the front of her car New Year’s Day on the side of Interstate 85 near Kings Mountain with the help of her boyfriend. Just three weeks after giving birth, Killian was charged with felony counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession with the intent to manufacture, sell and deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. She also has pending drug charges from December for possessing and manufacturing drugs. >> Trending: Jurors convict dad in under an hour in baby's diaper rash death It's not clear who has custody of her newborn baby.
  • General Mills has issued a recall for 5-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour over fears of potential salmonella contamination. >> Read more trending news  The possible presence of the bacteria was discovered during sampling of the 5-pound bags, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The recall only affects the one flour product and is focused on bags with the “better if used by date” of April 20, 2020. “Food safety is our top priority, and though we have not had any confirmed illnesses, we are voluntarily recalling this specific lot of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour to prevent potential illnesses,' the president of General Mills’ Meals and Baking Division, Jim Murphy, said in a statement. 'This recall does not involve any other flour products, and we are continuing to educate consumers that flour is not a 'ready to eat' ingredient. Anything you make with flour must be cooked or baked before eating,' Murphy said. >> Related: Johnsonville ground pork patties recalled over possible rubber contamination Salmonella can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare cases, it can cause more severe illnesses, according to the FDA.  
  • A former prison guard trainee who recently moved to Florida from Indiana killed five people during a standoff at a small town bank before surrendering to a SWAT team that stormed the building, police said. Investigators said Zephen Xaver, 21, called police from inside the SunTrust Bank branch Wednesday to report that he had opened fire. He barricaded himself inside and when negotiations failed, the SWAT team burst in, capturing Xaver and discovering the bodies, police said. Investigators did not offer a possible motive, and a police spokesman said he did not know if the attack began as a robbery. The victims were not immediately identified. Late Wednesday, police investigators still swarmed the bank, which sits between a hotel and a hair salon located in a business district of U.S. 27. The four-lane highway passes through farming communities and small towns as it connects South Florida and central Florida. Sebring, with 10,000 residents, is known internationally for its annual 12 Hours of Sebring endurance auto race that draws world-class drivers. 'Today's been a tragic day in our community,' Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said during a news conference. 'We've suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime.' He said more information would be released at a Thursday morning press conference. Florida Department of Corrections records show that Xaver was hired as a trainee prison guard at Avon Park Correctional Institution on Nov. 2 and resigned Jan. 9. No disciplinary issues were reported. Public records and neighbors said Xaver had arrived in Sebring last fall with his mother, living in a non-descript pre-fabricated home about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) from the bank. No one answered the door Wednesday night after police finished searching the home. Public records and neighbors say he and his mother moved to Sebring in the fall from Plymouth, Indiana, a town south of Notre Dame University. John Larose, who lives next door, said Xaver kept to himself, but he could hear him playing and yelling at video games in the middle of the night. Xaver briefly was an online student of Salt Lake City-based Stevens-Henager College. A spokeswoman for the college, Sherrie Martin, confirmed that Xaver was enrolled from September 2018 until December, when he withdrew. Gov. Ron DeSantis was in the region for an infrastructure tour and traveled to Sebring after the shooting. He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would assist Sebring police and the Highlands County sheriff's office. 'Obviously, this is an individual who needs to face very swift and exacting justice,' DeSantis said of the suspect. SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers released a statement saying the bank was 'working with officials and dedicating ourselves to fully addressing the needs of all the individuals and families involved.' The bank's 'entire team mourns this terrible loss,' he said. ___ David Fischer contributed to this report from Miami.
  • As the U.S. Senate prepared to cast votes for the first time on Thursday to end the partial government shutdown which began before Christmas, the two parties remained defiantly at odds in Congress over how best to resolve the impasse over the President’s call to fund a wall along the Mexican border, as lawmakers predicted the two plans being voted on in the Senate would both fail to get the necessary 60 votes to advance. “Open up the government, and then let’s talk,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, summing up the main hurdle between the two parties after almost five weeks, as Democrats won’t negotiate until the government is fully funded, while Republicans refuse to fund shuttered agencies until they get a deal on border security. “It’s just pure politics,” said brand new Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who accused Democratic leaders of being in favor of doing nothing on border security. Meanwhile, back home, the stories were piling up of federal workers who were in financial difficulty, along with businesses who were feeling the pinch of the shutdown. Hey @realDonaldTrump, we are an American-owned company and we want to distribute a new beer, but the shutdown includes the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau… so we currently can't move forward. Please help. The people want the beer. #beer2020 — Prairie Artisan Ales (@prairieales) January 7, 2019 The first vote the Senate will take Thursday is on a bill which would fund all operations of the federal government, and include the immigration changes proposed on Saturday by President Donald Trump. “I think the President’s plan is a reasonable one,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “And that’s why I plan to support it.” “You don’t have to agree on everything in it – but he did put something new on the table,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), as Republicans decried another round of votes in the House on plans from Democrats to fund the government. “It’s one more pointless exercise,” Cole said – the House will vote Thursday on one more plan to fund the government, this time through February 28; that will make 10 funding bills sent to the Senate. “Ten times now the House of Representatives has done our job and voted, without preconditions, to end the shutdown and reopen the government,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The latest vote came as hundreds of federal workers who have been furloughed from their jobs rallied in Senate office buildings on Wednesday, as they homemade signs written on paper plates. “Feed my family,” read one. “ENOUGH,” said another. “Do your job,” was one more. The one wildcard on Thursday is on the second vote which Senators will take, on a Democratic plan which combines money for disaster aid with funding for the government through February 8 – some Democrats hoped that a number of GOP Senators would vote for that plan, possibly seeing it as a way to end the deadlock, and pay federal employees who haven’t seen a check since late December. “We always hold out hope,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), as the House and Senate seemed ready to go home on Thursday afternoon without any resolution to the border funding impasse, likely sending it into a sixth week, by far the longest shutdown ever for the federal government. If that does happen, 800,000 federal workers would miss a second paycheck on Friday, as the Senate is not expected to get 60 votes for either of the two plans being voted on Thursday afternoon.
  • The man Florida authorities said opened fire at a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, Florida, on Wednesday, killing at least five people, was arrested at the scene and taken into custody. >> Read more trending news  He was identified as 21-year-old Zephen Xaver. So far there’s little information about him or a motive for the attack. Here’s what we know so far about the suspect: -Xaver lives in Sebring, which is about 80 miles south of Orlando. - He is a former Florida Department of Corrections officer. Xaver was hired as a prison guard in November 2018 at the Avon Park Correctional Institution and resigned in early January, according to The Washington Post. “He had no discipline while employed with the department,” Florida Corrections Department spokesman Patrick Manderfield said, the Post reported. -He moved to Florida from Plymouth, Indiana, according to news reports, but it’s unclear exactly when he moved to Sebring.  >> Related: 5 people killed when gunman opens fire in Florida bank -Xaver kept a low profile on social media. A Facebook page he apparently started while living in Indiana showed he had nine friends and a single photo of himself. The page also had just two posts, both from 2016, and one of them was an image of the grim reaper. That page has since been taken down. - When he was taken into custody, he appeared to be wearing a T-shirt that depicted the Four Housemen of the Apocalypse. -It’s unclear what kinds of guns Xaver allegedly used in the shooting or how he got them.
  • Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who spearheaded the 1990s investigation into President Bill Clinton, urged public trust in the checks and balances established for holding presidential administrations accountable, saying Wednesday that the system remains widely underappreciated. Starr's comments came ahead of a public lecture he delivered at the University of New Mexico School of Law. In his talk, he detailed more than a century of investigations involving the executive branch that have included the Watergate scandal, Starr's own four-year Whitewater probe and special counsel Robert Mueller's look now into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia. The lecture was titled 'Investigating the President, Now and Then,' with Starr — who remains a controversial figure — saying every investigation in the country's history has been politicized, and suggesting that the divided views of Mueller's probe are nothing new. 'Investigations will be targeted with the charge of being politicized. But it doesn't mean that it's so,' Kenn said in an interview with The Associated Press. Two decades ago, Starr presented a report to Congress that that led to Clinton's impeachment by the House on accusations the former president lied under oath and obstructed justice. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate. Starr's lecture at UNM was originally expected to take place in October, before the law school postponed it. The university cited timing as a reason for postponing the talk. In selecting Starr for the lecture, the law school cited his decades-long legal career, which has included stints as a U.S. solicitor general and federal circuit court judge in Washington, D.C. He also is a former president and chancellor of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he still lives. He left Baylor in 2016 amid a scandal over the school's handling of sexual assault accusations against football players. Starr said his resignation was the result of the university's board of regents seeking to place the school under new leadership following the scandal, not because he was accused of hiding or failing to act on information. Starr said he left the post with a clear conscience.
  • St. Bernards are known as a hearty breed originally used as work dogs in the Swiss-Italian Alps and that breeding became apparent this week when an escaped St. Bernand was found alive, albeit not quite so hearty, after 17 days lost outside in the frigid Minnesota cold. >> Read more trending news  Old Lady, as she’s called, was found Monday in Zimmerman after escaping from her foster family on Jan. 4. The 10-year-old dog was discovered in the woods cold and shivering and in “rough shape,” according to the animal rescue group Ruff Start Rescue. “We have had search parties, signs, phone calls, and so many people out looking for this poor girl,” rescue officials said in a Facebook post. >> Trending: Euthanized puppy at shelter doesn’t die; ‘miracle dog’ now heading to new home “It's a miracle! She's safe and back in the care of RSR.” Old Lady is already feeling much better, RSR officials said, and is now heading to her “foster to adopt” home. 
  • A family in Kent, Washington, is demanding answers after they say a fifth-grade student with autism was purposefully locked out of school by the principal. The principal of Springbrook Elementary, Ashli Short, has now been placed on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation, according to the Kent School District. >> Read more trending news Lovine Montgomery says there’s no excuse for what her 11-year-old grandson endured on Dec. 14, 2018. Surveillance cameras from the school captured the fifth-grader wandering outside the school for 15 minutes. It appears staff members are refusing to let him in. One teacher even escorts him back outside when he tries to walk in with other students after recess. After a few minutes, he’s seen walking up to a classroom. The teacher inside goes to the window and closes the blinds in front of him. Montgomery couldn’t believe her eyes. “Every time I watch this video it breaks my heart,” she said. KIRO-TV asked the Kent School District about the case, but officials could not discuss the investigation. However, Montgomery says this was the result of the principal feeling she was in “imminent danger” after escorting her grandson and his classmate back to their special needs classroom, earlier that day. According to family members, the child asked to use the bathroom, which as a special needs student, he should have access to anytime. The principal allegedly refused to let him go, so he tried to pass her. Surveillance video shows the principal take a step back, but it doesn’t appear there’s any immediate threat. The child gives up and goes out the back door. “That’s when she locked him out,” Montgomery said. Video shows the 11-year-old repeatedly trying to open doors to get back inside the school. The child seems calm but confused. At one point, he wanders into the parking lot with no supervision. He even tries to open the front office door, but he’s locked out. The family says the principal made an announcement on the PA system, ordering all staff to keep the child outside. “This is his school where they are supposed to keep him safe,” Montgomery said, “and they intentionally locked him outside.” After about 15 minutes, another student eventually let him back inside the school. The child was suspended for two days, according to family. His mother, Javohn Perry, wants answers about the way her son was treated. “Imagine how my son was feeling? This is bullying,” she said. She is now taking her son out of Springbrook Elementary with the hopes of finding a school that’s more accommodating of his needs. “Our No. 1 priority during this time is the continued excellent education and the safety of all students at Springbrook Elementary,” according to the Kent School District.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered preparations for a second summit with President Donald Trump, saying he'll 'wait with patience and in good faith' to work toward a common goal, the North's state media reported Thursday. Despite Kim's determination for another meeting with Trump, the two remain at odds over fundamental issues. Experts say a major sticking point is what denuclearization steps Kim should take to move forward stalled nuclear diplomacy and what rewards Trump should provide to push Kim to take those measures. The Korean Central News Agency said Kim received a letter from Trump from a North Korean envoy who met the U.S. president in Washington last week. After meeting with Kim's envoy, top lieutenant Kim Yong Chol, Trump said that he and Kim Jong Un will probably meet around the end of February but did not say exactly when and where the summit would take place. Thursday's report said Kim expressed satisfaction over his envoy's meeting with Trump and spoke highly of the U.S. president for 'expressing his unusual determination and will for the settlement of the issue with a great interest in the second summit.' 'We will wait with patience and in good faith and, together with the U.S., advance step by step toward the goal to be reached by the two countries,' Kim was quoted as saying. Kim also 'set forth tasks and orientation for making good technical preparations for the second (North Korea)-U.S. summit high on the agenda,' according to KCNA. Nuclear diplomacy has been stuck since Kim and Trump met in Singapore last June for their first summit, which ended with a vague denuclearization pledge by Kim that his government had previously used when it called for the withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea. A summit accord also stated that the United States and North Korea will commit to establishing new relations and join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. The strongest step Kim could promise to take for a second summit may be abandoning his long-range missile program targeting the U.S. mainland. That step, if realized, would trigger a strong backlash from many in South Korea and Japan, which are still placed in the striking distance of North Korea's short- and medium-range missiles. In return, Kim is seeking to get U.N. sanctions on his government lifted and better relations with the United States to try to revive his country's moribund economy to pave the way for a prolonged rule by his family, experts say. North Korea observers say Vietnam is likely a venue for a second summit but there has been no official confirmation. The nuclear diplomacy has replaced fears of war caused by Kim's series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests in 2017 that were followed by his exchanges of crude insults and threats of total destruction with Trump. Kim has so far suspended nuclear and missile tests, dismantled North Korea's nuclear testing site and parts of its rocket engine test facility and took conciliatory measures like releasing American detainees. The North now says it's time for the U.S. to come up with reciprocal measures. But satellite footage indicate North Korea is still running its main nuclear complex, raising a question on why it's producing nuclear materials if it is truly committed to denuclearization. U.S. officials want North Korea to take more significant steps such as a declared accounting of its nuclear weapons program for future inspections. The North has rejected that, saying such a declaration would be like providing coordinates for U.S. military strikes on its nuclear facilities.
  • A former Republican lawmaker in Kentucky who lost his state House seat by one vote in November could get a second chance thanks to the state's GOP majority. A board of nine state lawmakers voted 6-3 Wednesday to recount the votes in Kentucky House District 13. All six Republicans on the panel voted for the recount, while three Democrats voted 'no.' Johnson got 6,318 votes on Election Day, but Democrat Jim Glenn got 6,319 votes. In some states, an outcome that close would trigger an automatic recount. But in Kentucky, a state law says candidates in state legislative races can appeal to the House of Representatives. That means a Republican-dominated chamber could decide if a Democrat can keep his seat. 'The full House is the final arbiter of who wins an election in the House and who is a member of the House,' said Republican state Rep. Jason Petrie, the chairman of the legislative panel that ordered the recount. Democrats condemned the decision, with House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins saying it 'sets a terrible precedent.' Glenn, who attended Wednesday's hearing, said it may cause voters to 'question the election process altogether.' 'I watch Chicago Bears play football. They lost 16 to 15. They didn't replay the game. The game's over,' Glenn said. Johnson contested the election in November. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives appointed a nine-member board to hear the contest. Members were selected by a random drawing of the House clerk, resulting in six Republicans and three Democrats. Republicans control 61 of the 100 House seats. The board will issue a report but the final decision on who gets the seat is up to the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Glenn has been sworn in and assigned to legislative committees. Kentucky law requires the loser of an election contest to pay for it. Glenn's attorney, Anna Whites, estimated a recount would cost as much as $40,000. Glenn told the board Wednesday he could not afford that. 'My wife died of cancer. I ate through $4,000 a week trying to keep her alive,' Glenn said. Johnson, who didn't attend the hearing, agreed through his lawyer that he would pay for the cost of the recount regardless of the outcome. Previously, Johnson has said the state Republican Party was helping him pay for his legal expenses. 'I don't anticipate that being a problem,' Johnson said by phone Wednesday. 'Making sure a count is 100 percent accurate, I don't know how anyone would have a problem with that,' Johnson also said. The winner could be decided by 17 unopened absentee ballots. On election day, those ballots were unanimously rejected by the Daviess County Board of Elections, which includes Republicans and Democrats. Johnson's lawyer, Cory Skolnick, said those ballots should be opened and counted. Most were rejected because the ballots were missing a signature or mailed in the incorrect envelope. Skolnick noted at least six people voted in person that day without signing the precinct voting roster as required by state law. If those votes were counted, Skolnick said, these absentee ballots should be counted, too. Johnson's lawyer, Anna Whites, rejected that argument. Voting in person is different than voting by mail, she said, because election workers can see you. She said absentee voting rules are needed to prevent fraud. 'This is not, 'Let's count every vote,'' Whites said. 'This is, 'Let's recognize every valid vote has already been counted.'' In ordering the recount, the board did not direct local election officials to open and count the disputed absentee ballots. But those ballots will be reviewed a second time by the local election board. Whether they are counted 'will be their determination,' Petrie said. Complicating the issue, Petrie ordered a Kentucky State Police officer to retrieve the unopened absentee ballots earlier this month from a locked box in the Daviess County Clerk's office. The officer put the ballots in a safe in the House Clerk's office. Whites argued it is impossible to tell if those ballots have not been altered. But the officer who moved the ballots told lawmakers they haven't been opened or changed.
  • As the U.S. Senate prepared to cast votes for the first time on Thursday to end the partial government shutdown which began before Christmas, the two parties remained defiantly at odds in Congress over how best to resolve the impasse over the President’s call to fund a wall along the Mexican border, as lawmakers predicted the two plans being voted on in the Senate would both fail to get the necessary 60 votes to advance. “Open up the government, and then let’s talk,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, summing up the main hurdle between the two parties after almost five weeks, as Democrats won’t negotiate until the government is fully funded, while Republicans refuse to fund shuttered agencies until they get a deal on border security. “It’s just pure politics,” said brand new Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who accused Democratic leaders of being in favor of doing nothing on border security. Meanwhile, back home, the stories were piling up of federal workers who were in financial difficulty, along with businesses who were feeling the pinch of the shutdown. Hey @realDonaldTrump, we are an American-owned company and we want to distribute a new beer, but the shutdown includes the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau… so we currently can't move forward. Please help. The people want the beer. #beer2020 — Prairie Artisan Ales (@prairieales) January 7, 2019 The first vote the Senate will take Thursday is on a bill which would fund all operations of the federal government, and include the immigration changes proposed on Saturday by President Donald Trump. “I think the President’s plan is a reasonable one,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “And that’s why I plan to support it.” “You don’t have to agree on everything in it – but he did put something new on the table,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), as Republicans decried another round of votes in the House on plans from Democrats to fund the government. “It’s one more pointless exercise,” Cole said – the House will vote Thursday on one more plan to fund the government, this time through February 28; that will make 10 funding bills sent to the Senate. “Ten times now the House of Representatives has done our job and voted, without preconditions, to end the shutdown and reopen the government,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The latest vote came as hundreds of federal workers who have been furloughed from their jobs rallied in Senate office buildings on Wednesday, as they homemade signs written on paper plates. “Feed my family,” read one. “ENOUGH,” said another. “Do your job,” was one more. The one wildcard on Thursday is on the second vote which Senators will take, on a Democratic plan which combines money for disaster aid with funding for the government through February 8 – some Democrats hoped that a number of GOP Senators would vote for that plan, possibly seeing it as a way to end the deadlock, and pay federal employees who haven’t seen a check since late December. “We always hold out hope,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), as the House and Senate seemed ready to go home on Thursday afternoon without any resolution to the border funding impasse, likely sending it into a sixth week, by far the longest shutdown ever for the federal government. If that does happen, 800,000 federal workers would miss a second paycheck on Friday, as the Senate is not expected to get 60 votes for either of the two plans being voted on Thursday afternoon.
  • The website Glassdoor.com has ranked the 50 best jobs in America, and it's not JUST about money, although salary is definitely one factor. The other two criteria are job satisfaction and the number of open jobs in each category. Jobs in the IT and medical fields dominate the list. We counted 14 of the 50 that are computer related. 8 are in the medical field. The top 3 jobs on the list are Data Engineer, Nursing Manager, and Marketing Manager. In fact, the word 'manager' shows up 23 times, so you might want to try to get some management experience along the way in your career. You can see the full list here.
  • Oklahoma Kevin Stitt stopped by Broken Arrow High School Wednesday morning to announce that the 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is a finalist for 2019 National Teacher of the Year. Donna Gradel is a science teacher. Under Gradel’s instruction, Broken Arrow students designed a way for Kenyan orphans to produce fish food for one-twelfth the current cost. “I constantly encourage them to dream big and make a difference in the world,” Gradel said. “They know our classroom is a safe, caring place to imagine and not be afraid to fail.” One of the four finalists will be named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year this spring by a national selection committee.  The winner will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.  
  • Moments after announcing that the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is one of four finalists to become National Teacher of the Year, Governor Kevin Stitt let it slip that he has plans to combine the cabinet positions of Secretary of State and Secretary of Education into one post. The man who will fill that post, Gov. Stitt told KRMG, is current Secretary of State Michael Rogers, a former Broken Arrow Representative who was appointed to his current position last November. Stitt was asked by a reporter how he plans to deal with the Oklahoma Department of Education under his administration, since it has its own elected official - State Superintendent of Public Education Joy Hofmeister. “It’s a little different of an agency since it’s directly elected by the people, and so my idea is just to spend a lot of time with her (Hofmeister), ask her what she needs, continue to meet with the teachers myself on the ground, see what they need, give her the resources that they need. “My Secretary of State is also my Secretary of State and Education, uh so we haven’t released that yet - I guess I released that just now,” Stitt said Wednesday. He went on to say “it was so important to me not have kind of another barrier between having a Secretary of Education, so that’s why I have my Secretary of State and Education, so we can just bring Joy Hofmeister in close, just to give her the tools that she needs.” Thursday, the Governor’s expected to sign his first executive orders, which sources in his office tell us will deal with his proposed realignment of state agencies. 
  • In an escalating personal confrontation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told President Donald Trump on Wednesday that he would not be allowed to give his scheduled State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of Congress until a partial government shutdown has ended, an option that the President said would be ‘very sad’ for the nation. “I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” the Speaker wrote in a letter to the President, as she said the House would not approve a resolution authorizing a speech by Mr. Trump in the House chamber at this time. Pelosi’s response came several hours after the President had sent his own letter to the Speaker, making clear that he planned to show up to speak to lawmakers on January 29. “It would be so very sad our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” the President wrote. BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the US House will not pass a resolution for the State of the Union until the government is reopened https://t.co/U2x43V9U1S pic.twitter.com/DXl4y2rTof — CNN International (@cnni) January 23, 2019 President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019 The dueling letters came amid the increasingly bitter debate over the longest government funding lapse in modern history, which seems likely to block paychecks again on Friday for some 800,000 federal workers. “I’m not surprised,” the President said during a White House photo opportunity when asked about the Speaker’s response. “It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized.” In the halls of Congress, GOP lawmakers saw no reason why the President shouldn’t be allowed to speak to the nation from the House chamber. “He asked me yesterday what I thought about that,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). “I think he ought to come, I think he ought to give the State of the Union.” Democrats saw something different. “My instinct is that this exchange of letters is an intentional distraction from the fact that people are about to miss their second paycheck and the economy is slowing down,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). The first missed paycheck for most federal workers was on January 11; the next one will be this Friday.