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Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, family says 

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications, the family for the legendary rock star said Friday. 

>> Read more trending news

Petty, who suffered emphysema, knee problems and more recently a fractured hip, was prescribed various pain medications including Fentanyl patches, his family said. 

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” his family wrote on Facebook

The family called Petty’s Oct. 2 death an unfortunate accident. 

“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

‘Ramp of Mystery’ in middle of nowhere was drone test site

If you search on Google Maps for “Ramp of Mystery,” a curious Southeast Austin landmark appears. It’s a concrete structure that leads to nowhere, sitting in an overgrown field.

>> Read more trending news

It’s a steep ramp with too much of an incline to walk up easily. To the side, an aging and precarious set of wooden steps goes up to the top, where the path that led to the ramp leads to nothing -- just a steep dropoff over a short boundary and lots of graffiti all around the structure.

The ramp has been the subject of lots of online speculation, especially since it became the subject of a Reddit thread in late 2016. Was it part of an old military project, this  thing off an office park at 6900 Metropolis Drive? A structure that once connected to a shipping dock? A base for gravel dumping? A piece of a road that once connected to East Ben White Boulevard? What was this thing?

Adam van Alderwerelt, an Austin lighting designer and video engineer, became a bit obsessed with the ramp after volunteering at a nearby building that housed evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.

“Nobody at the shelter even knew what it was,” he said. “I only saw it because it was on Google Maps when I was looking for directions to and from the shelter.”

Van Alderwerelt shot a YouTube video, “What is South Austin’s Ramp of Mystery??” 

“I thought, let’s bring some awareness to this thing,” van Alderwerelt said. “It’s a hidden oddity of Austin.”

The buzz around this curious structure prompted a reader to ask our Austin Answered project: “Please tell us about the Ramp of Mystery in South Austin; Google it!”

We did. But the ramp didn’t divulge its origin so easily. Visits to the Austin History Center to study old aerial photographs of the area proved inconclusive, except to show that it probably didn’t originate before the early 1980s. A wide call on social media for any local insight on the landmark yielded a few leads, but nothing concrete, so to speak. The current owners of the lot, Zydeco Development Corporation, said by phone they didn’t know what the ramp was for or why it was built.

A request to Lockheed Martin, which owned a facility in the area that opened to much fanfare in the 1980s, was unsuccessful. The company checked but was unable to find records related to the ramp or its purpose.

But leave it to a historian to crack the case.

Austin history buff Lanny Ottosen tracked down names on an old document related to the property he found at the Austin History Center. One of those names was Frank Niendorff, who for many years ran Commercial Industrial Properties Co. (also known as NAI Austin).

Niendorff, who spent two years brokering the property deal to bring Lockheed Missiles and Space to Austin (for one year, the identity of the buyer was a secret even to him), remembered the ramp well.

“There’s nothing mysterious about the ramp,” he said this week by phone, “When Lockheed first came here, they were working on developing a government contract for a drone. This was when drones were first imagined. This was a drone that would be launched from a ramp.”

The program, called “Aquila,” involved hydraulic catapults to launch the drone and a net that would catch the unmanned aerial vehicles. The drones would be used to provide laser guidance for weapons systems.

The San Diego Air and Space Museum has archive footage on YouTube of what appears to be such a system.

Despite the work Lockheed did with the drone project on that ramp, Niendorff said, the government bid was unsuccessful.

“They spent millions of dollars trying to get this contract, building prototypes,” he said. “Ultimately, Lockheed ended up building other things at that facility, including concrete bunker bombs.” 

Kenneth Ross, a spokesman for Lockheed, said that as far as the ramp goes, Niendorff appears to have the right information.

“The info you’ve discovered gives us confidence that you have the right story,” Ross wrote in an email.

When informed of the drone-based answer to the question he’d been asking, van Alderwerelt said by phone Friday, “That’s amazing! I never would have thought of that.”

How an Ohio woman lost 125 pounds

New Year’s resolutions can begin in any month of the year. August 2015 is when a success story started for Springboro resident Christina Littleton.

>> Read more trending news

Although athletic and thin during her younger years, her father’s passing from pancreatic cancer in 1999 left her reeling emotionally. She gained a lot of weight, met her husband, Jason, got married, got pregnant, and gained more weight.

“The summer of 2015 I was having too much fun, and eating too much. In August I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘Who is this person?’” said Littleton, who weighed 284 pounds at that point. “I was determined that I was going to do this, so I took a picture of myself.”

The wedding photographer had been going to Weight Watchers on and off before, but this time she stuck with her weekly meetings at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springboro. One and a half years later, she was down 115 pounds. It took her almost eight months to lose that last 10 pounds. The 5-foot-6-inch woman is now a fit and toned 159.

“Your main goal is to go in and lose weight. But there are things that you gain,” said Littleton, whose daughter, Ava, will be 11 next month. “Going through the journey I’ve learned to change my mindset. Before, I would secretly pick myself apart in the mirror. I didn’t want Ava to see that.”

She’d been very active when she was younger, with tennis, softball and running.

“So now I’m back to that side of me; being competitive. Developing more confidence in myself and taking more risks in my personal and professional life,” said Littleton, 40. “I completed a half-marathon in Nashville last year.”

She is teaching one weekly spin class, which will soon become two at the Coffman YMCA. In honor of her father, she participates in the 5K PanCan Run (fighting to end pancreatic cancer) in Kettering every year. She also runs on the treadmill.

The weight loss has an added bonus of giving her more energy to last through those long days with her camera equipment.

“I would be on my feet for hours; 12 hours from start to finish to photograph a wedding. I remember taking 800 milligrams of Motrin, and then again in the middle of the day just to get through it,” Littleton said. “And now I work out before a wedding.”

One of the reasons she has succeeded this time is her husband, who has always been supportive.

“There are so many programs out there, and just find one that works for you. Just create new habits,” Littleton said. “Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, you reach for an apple instead. You need to re-train your brain in the way you eat.”

In addition to her running and spin classes, she varies her workout sessions. She lifts weights, powers through a TRX core-based workout and does PiYo, a fast-paced yoga.

Lauren MacDonald, the instructor of the Weight Watcher’s group that Littleton has been attending, has a story of her own. She lost 110 pounds on the program, reaching her goal in 2012. She had some good words to say about her star pupil.

“She has done a amazing job. She’s stuck with it. A lot of people come and go, but she’s very motivational and inspirational to others,” said MacDonald, a Miamisburg resident who also works as a teacher.

MacDonald’s classes run twice a week at the Covenant Presbyterian Church at 415 N. Main St., Springboro. There’s an 8 a.m. meeting on Saturdays and a 6 p.m. meeting on Mondays.

Deputies: Florida man tries to order burrito from bank, gets charged with DUI

Police in Florida arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after authorities said he attempted to order a burrito from a Bank of America after confusing it for a Taco Bell, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Records from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office show authorities arrested Douglas Jon Francisco, 28, on Wednesday.

The manager of the Bank of America branch on Mariner Boulevard in Spring Hill, Martin Claussen, called authorities Wednesday afternoon after he said he found a blue Hyundai in the bank’s drive-up bank lane with a man who appeared to be passed out inside, WTSP reported.

Claussen said he had to bang on the car window several times before Francisco awoke, according to the Tampa Bay Times. When Francisco saw the bank manager, deputies said he tried to order a burrito.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

Claussen told Francisco that he was not at a Taco Bell and Francisco drove the Hyundai to the bank’s front parking lot, according to the Times. Deputies said he was in the front parking lot, the car still idling, when authorities arrived.

In an arrest report, a deputy wrote that Francisco “made several statements that were differing from reality” and denied asking Claussen for a burrito. Deputies said his responses during a field sobriety test “were slow in a way that was consistent with someone on prescription narcotics,” WTSP reported. He was given a drug test, the results of which were pending.

During a search of the Hyundai, deputies said they found prescription medication that had been made out in Francisco’s name, according to the Times.

Jail records show Francisco was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and released Thursday afternoon on a $500 bond.

L’Oreal features first hijab-wearing model in major hair campaign, sparking controversy online

L’Oreal Paris made history when it featured model Amena Khan in its new hair product campaign.

Khan, a British beauty blogger, model and co-founder of Ardere Cosmetics, is the first hijab-wearing model to star in a hair campaign for a major international brand.

>> Read more trending news 

She revealed the video campaign to her more than 570,000 Instagram followers last week, calling it a “game changing” project. 

On Twitter, L’Oreal and Khan received their share of praise and backlash. 

In an interview with Vogue UK published Sunday, Khan lauded the European brand for its commitment to inclusion. “They're literally putting a girl in a headscarf — whose hair you can't see — in a hair campaign ... because what they're really valuing through the campaign is the voices that we have,” Khan said.

Related: Muslim women support Nike as backlash over sports hijab sparks #BoycottNike

"You have to wonder – why is it presumed that women that don't show their hair don't look after it?" she said. "The opposite of that would be that everyone that does show their hair only looks after it for the sake of showing it to others. And that mindset strips us of our autonomy and our sense of independence. Hair is a big part of self-care.”

On Twitter, L’Oreal and Khan received their share of praise and backlash

The campaign reignited a controversial discussion about the hijab, with many arguing that the garment promotes oppression of women.

Last March, when Nike announced its new sports hijab, many Muslim women defended their choice to wear the hijab.

Muslim feminist Hanna Yusuf has also addressed critics of the hijab in the past and said that wearing hers is a feminist statement. 

“In a world where a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more empowering than rejecting that notion?” she said in a video for The Guardian.

But, Yusuf said, her concern with the hijab being unfairly portrayed as oppression is not a denial of the fact that some women are forced to wear it in some parts of the world.

Related: Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad’s new Barbie doll is the first to wear a hijab

Still, some users felt that including a hijab-wearing model to promote hair products was “#pointless” or was just the company's attempt to make a statement.

Khan was also criticized for some of her previous tweets, in which she referred to Israel as a “sinister state.” Those tweets have since been deleted.

For reference, President Donald Trump recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an action that the United Nations voted to condemn.

For decades, the U.S. has remained silent on the issue, amid warnings from world leaders concerned that such a declaration “could inflame tensions in the volatile Mideast,” The New York Times reported. The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, for their capital.

Doctors urge residents not to ignore flu symptoms following Florida man's death

Friends and loved ones are mourning the loss of an Orlando man who his family said died after he caught the flu.

>> Read more trending news

There have been least two other flu-related deaths, both of which were children, in the state this flu season.

Doctors said the symptoms of the flu can get very serious very quickly, which is why it's critical for people to pay attention to the signs and immediately contact a doctor.

Over the last week, hundreds of people have been packing medical offices to get treatment for the flu.

Loved ones are now grieving the loss of 58-year-old Joe Morrison, a man who they say was a doting father and a former Orlando area news photographer.

Morrison's family said he got the flu last week and died within 48 hours.

Dr. Richard Elloway, a family medicine physician with Centra Care, did not personally treat Morrison but has treated many flu patients.

He said in severe cases, the flu can quickly become deadly.

"Whenever I diagnose the flu, it's generally like a punch in the face. Just hits you really strong," Elloway said. 

The Florida Department of Health said that of the two children in Florida who have died from the flu this winter, one had not been vaccinated and had underlying factors.

Elloway said the people most at risk of dying from the flu or its complications are people who can't fight it off as easily as healthier people.

"Generally, the people that die from the flu are either very, very young or very, very old. It's the people who don't have the immune systems necessarily to take care of the virus," he said.

Elloway said Centra Care has been packed in recent weeks with patients showing up with the flu.

Centra Care says last week it hit a record high of 874 cases in Orlando.

Elloway urges people not to ignore any warning signs if they already have the flu.

"Showing up at a doctor's office 24 to 48 hours into your symptoms, we can diagnose it and treat it," he said.

Health officials said even though the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, it’s still the best way to protect yourself.

Did Chris Christie attempt to skip Newark’s security checkpoint despite not being governor?

Despite no longer being in office Chris Christie tried to enter Newark Liberty International Airport via a special entrance, the Port Authority said.

Port Authority officials said Christie, who was traveling with his New Jersey State Police-provided security detail, tried to go through what WCBS described as a special access area Thursday morning.

It is located near an exit of a restricted area, USA Today reported

>> Read more trending news 

A Port Authority officer told Christie that he did not have access to the special area, then escorted him to the regular area with the rest of the passengers waiting to travel.

Christie is said to have cooperated with instructions.

However, Christie said that is not what happened at all, saying that his trying to enter a non-approved area was false reporting, WCBS reported.

He said via Twitter that he and his security detail were escorted to one entrance by a port authority officer, and that a Transportation Security Administration officer told both the Port Authority and the state police officers that he was to use a different entrance.

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman delivers statement victim against Larry Nassar

One after one, gymnasts and other victims of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom over the past week to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma he inflicted on them as children.

Nassar has pleaded guilty to molesting girls with his hands at his Michigan State University office, his home and a Lansing-area gymnastics club, often while their parents were in the room. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

>> Read more trending news 

Victims, often referred to as survivors in the court room, described experiencing “searing pain” during the assaults and having feelings of shame and embarrassment. They said it had changed their life trajectories — affecting relationships, causing them to be distrustful and leading to depression, suicidal thoughts, anger and anxiety about whether they should have spoken up sooner.

Prosecutors are seeking at least 40 years in prison for Nassar, who has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman have said they, too, were victims.

Related: Gabby Douglas accuses team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse

Raisman said Monday she would not attend the sentencing, but later changed her mind.

“I will not be attending the sentencing because it is too traumatic for me,” Raisman tweeted. “My impact letter will be read in court in front of Nassar. I support the brave survivors. We are all in this together.”

CNN reported that Raisman read her victim impact letter in court Friday in front of Nassar.

“I didn't think I would be here today. I was scared and nervous. It wasn't until I started watching the impact statements from the other brave survivors that I realized I, too, needed to be here,” Raisman said, according to BuzzFeed News. “Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over so long a period of time, are now a force and you are nothing?” 

Raisman praised fellow survivors and called on USA Gymnastics CEO Kerry Perry to take responsibility for the organization, which Raisman said was “rotting from the inside.”

“A word of advice: Continuing to issue statements of empty promises thinking that will pacify us will no longer work,” Raisman said. 

Nassar admitted in November that he digitally penetrated 10 girls, mostly under the guise of treatment, between 1998 and 2015. As part of plea deals in two adjacent Michigan counties, he said his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls’ consent.

Related: Simone Biles latest gymnast to claim team doctor sexually abused her

The criminal cases followed reports last year in The Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving him and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse.

Photos offer glimpse into former Texas home of parents accused of abusing 13 children

David and Louise Turpin, the California couple who were charged with torture and child abuse after authorities accused them of holding their 13 children captive in dire conditions, previously lived in Texas, several news outlets have reported.

>> Read more trending news

ABC News reported Thursday that it had acquired pictures from inside the family’s former Texas home, near Fort Worth. The pictures were submitted by the home’s current owner, who took the pictures after he bought the foreclosed property about 18 years ago.

The pictures, which can be seen here, show stained carpets and walls. The current owner told ABC it required an “extensive cleanup” and that he and his wife “believed that the previous occupants destroyed the house because it was being foreclosed on.”

The anonymous owner also told ABC that feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a prosecutor in the case said the Turpins limited their children to one shower a year and one meal a day. 

Delta passenger bitten by emotional support dog couldn't escape, attorney says

The man mauled by an emotional support dog on a Delta Air Lines flight in Atlanta was attacked twice and could not escape because he was in a window seat, his attorney said Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

The passenger, Marlin Jackson, of Daphne, Alabama, had facial wounds requiring 28 stitches, according to attorney J. Ross Massey, of Birmingham law firm Alexander Shunnarah & Associates.

“It is troubling that an airline would allow a dog of such substantial size to ride in a passenger’s lap without a muzzle,” Massey said in a written statement. “Especially considering the dog and its owner were assigned a middle seat despite Delta Air Lines’ policies that call for the re-accommodation of larger animals.”

Jackson boarded the San Diego-bound flight on Sunday and went to the window seat. Passenger Ronald Kevin Mundy Jr. was already in the middle seat with his dog in his lap, according to the law firm.

“According to witnesses the approximately 50-pound dog growled at Mr. Jackson soon after he took his seat,” according to the firm’s statement.

“We expect airlines to follow procedures as required and verify any dogs travelling unrestrained in open cabin are trained for handling the large crowds and enclosed environments encountered on board an airplane,” Massey said in the statement.

“The dog continued to act in a strange manner as Mr. Jackson attempted to buckle his seatbelt. The growling increased and the dog lunged for Mr. Jackson’s face. The dog began biting Mr. Jackson, who could not escape due to his position against the plane’s window,” according to the firm’s account.

“The dog was pulled away but broke free from Mr. Mundy’s grasp and attacked Mr. Jackson a second time … The attacks reportedly lasted 30 seconds and resulted in profuse bleeding from severe lacerations to Mr. Jackson’s face, including a puncture through the lip and gum.”

Jackson was taken by ambulance to an emergency room for treatment, then took a later flight to San Diego, according to Delta. He plans to consult a plastic surgeon, the law firm said.

The firm is seeking information on Delta’s “compliance with policies for unrestrained larger animals within a plane’s cabin and the verification process of their emotional support animal training requirements.”

Delta declined to comment on the law firm’s statement.

The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to accommodate service or emotional support animals, within certain guidelines.

Delta’s website says, “A kennel is not required for emotional support animals if they are fully trained and meet the same requirements as a service animal.”

Efforts to reach Mundy, who was not charged, have been unsuccessful. A police report said Mundy was a military service member who “advised that the dog was issued to him for support.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is seeking details about the incident. The DOT says airlines cannot require that service and support animals be carried in a kennel unless there is “a safety-related reason to do so.”Warning: Graphic images below:

Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99.

Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars.

>> Read more trending news

Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month.

The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99.

>> Related: Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

The e-commerce company did not give a reason for the price increase.

Delta tightens restrictions on emotional support animals

Traveling with an “emotional support animal” on a Delta flight is about to get a little trickier.

>> Read more trending news

Emotional support animals in special vests have become a more common sight around airports and on flights in recent years. But in the wake of a horrific mauling of a passenger by another traveler’s emotional support dog on a Delta plane l­­­ast year, the airline is changing its policy.

Starting March 1, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines plans to require passengers traveling with emotional support animals to submit a “confirmation of animal training” form signed by the passenger indicating the animal can behave, along with proof of health or vaccinations submitted online 48 hours in advance of their flight. The new rules are in addition to the current requirement of a letter from a doctor or licensed mental health professional.

Texas judge interrupts jury, says God told him defendant is not guilty

Comal County judge said God told him to intervene in jury deliberations to sway jurors to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Buda woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex.

>> Read more trending news

Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption but defended his actions by telling them, “When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” according to the Herald-Zeitung, in New Braunfels.

The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.

Robison, who also presides in Hays County, did not respond to a message left with his court coordinator, Steve Thomas, who said the case is pending.

The Herald-Zeitung reported that Robison recused himself before the trial’s sentencing phase and was replaced by Judge Gary Steele. The defendant’s attorney asked for a mistrial but was denied.

Robison’s actions could trigger an investigation from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has disciplined Robison in the past.

In 2011, the commission slapped Robison with a private reprimand for improperly jailing a Caldwell County grandfather who had called him a fool for a ruling Robison made in a child custody case involving the man’s granddaughter.

The reprimand, the commission’s harshest form of rebuke, said Robison “exceeded the scope of his authority and failed to comply with the law” by jailing the man for contempt of court without a hearing or advance notice of the charge.

White supremacists responsible for most extremist killings in 2017, ADL says

Far-right extremists – particularly white supremacists – were responsible for more than half of the deaths attributed to extremists in the United States last year, according to a report issued this week by the Anti-Defamation League.

>> Read more trending news

Twenty of the 34 extremist-related killings in 2017 were carried out by far-right extremists, more than double the number that group was responsible for in 2016, according to the ADL’s annual report on extremist-related killings in America. 

Eighteen of those 20 deaths were caused by white supremacists, according to the ADL.

The incidents noted by the ADL included the August 2017 death of Heather Heyer, 32, who was protesting a rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, when authorities said she was mowed down by a vehicle driven by James Alex Fields, 20.

>> Related: 3 dead, 35 injured after 'Unite the Right' rally sparks violence in Charlottesville

“We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a news release.

The deadliest incident of last year, however, was carried out by an Islamic extremist. Eight people died in October when a man identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, plowed a pickup truck into bicyclists and pedestrians on a path in New York City.

>> Related: Who is Sayfullo Saipov, New York City terror attack suspect?

Including the October killings, a total of nine deaths were attributed to Islamic extremists, according to the ADL. Black nationalists were responsible for five of the killings reported in 2017, according to the ADL.

“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” Greenblatt said. “We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year -- one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville -- and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”

The ADL urged officials to “use their bully pulpit to speak out against racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry at every opportunity” to mitigate the extremist threat. The ADL also recommended that federal and state officials create programs to help those trying to leave extremist movements and to “thwart (the) recruitment of disaffected or alienated Americans.”

Read the full report from the ADL

Texas boy battles brain infection doctors say was caused by flu

Witten Ramirez is fighting for his life after doctors said he contracted a brain infection caused by the flu.

Witten’s mother, Desiree, said that the whole family had the flu last week, but the 8-year-old had it worse than the others, KXAS reported.

She said he was sleeping too much and stumbled when he walked.

>> Read more trending news 

To be safe, Desiree took him to the emergency room, thinking that he might be having a reaction to medication. 

Instead, testing found that somehow the flu had caused an infection in his brain, which was attacking the part of the brain that controls movement.

Witten now cannot walk, sit, stand or talk, Desiree told KXAS.

Neurologists said the infection is called cerebellitis, an inflammatory process that can be a complication from the flu in rare cases with no risk factors.

“You can have otherwise seemingly healthy individuals whose bodies handle flu in such a way to lead to a neurologic complication, which is why we spend so much time focusing on prevention,” Dr. Benjamin Greenberg told KXAS.

Prevention, Greenberg said, is the flu vaccine.

Witten’s mother said her son didn’t get a flu shot this year as he had in previous years.

Children can recover from cerebellitis, but doing so will involve rehabilitation, which is already planned for Witten, KXAS reported

Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West’s newborn daughter named Chicago

She has a name.

Days after announcing the birth of their third child, Kim Kardashian has shared that she and her husband, rapper Kanye West, have named their daughter Chicago West.

On Tuesday, Kardashian West confirmed the Monday birth of Chicago on her official website.

>> Read more trending news 

“Kanye and I are happy to announce the arrival of our healthy, beautiful baby girl,” she said in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care. North and Saint are especially thrilled to welcome their baby sister.”

Chicago West was born Jan. 15 at 12:47 a.m. PT and weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces. She joins big brother Saint West, 2, and big sister North West, 4.

According to a tweet from the new mom of three, Chicago will go by the name Chi, pronounced “Shy,” as in the abbreviated name of the city.

It was confirmed in September that the celebrity couple were expecting a third child via gestational carrier.

People reported that Kardashian West, 37, said her decision to hire a gestational surrogate came after her two high-risk pregnancies.

“I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy,” she said on her website Thursday. “Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn’t safe for my — or the baby’s — health to carry on my own.”

“After exploring many options, Kanye and I decided to use a gestational carrier. Although I have used the term surrogate in the past, a gestational carrier is actually the technical term for a woman who carries a baby that she has no biological relationship to.

“A traditional surrogate donates her egg, is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm and then carries the baby to term. Since we implanted my fertilized egg in our gestational carrier, our baby is biologically mine and Kanye’s. You can either choose someone that you know or you can go through an agency, like Kanye and I did.

“I’m so grateful for modern technology and that this is even possible,” Kardashian West wrote. “It’s not for everyone, but I absolutely love my gestational carrier and this was the best experience I’ve ever had. Our gestational carrier gave us the greatest gift one could give.”

13-year-old dies trying to save disabled dad from fire, father also killed

A 13-year-old Oklahoma boy perished in a house fire Wednesday morning as he tried unsuccessfully to save his disabled father from the flames and smoke.

The boy and his father, James Cummins, 60, were in their rural Love County home when the fire broke out. According to the Daily Ardmoreite, space heaters may have started the blaze. 

Officials with the Oklahoma Fire Marshal’s Office told the newspaper that the family had electricity at the time of the fire, but their propane for the double-wide mobile home’s heating system had run out. The boy’s mother and a sibling had left to buy more, and the family was using three space heaters to heat the home while they were gone.

Love County deputies and firefighters responded to the fire, but were unable to get inside due to debris and the fire’s intensity, Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham told the Ardmoreite

“Family members stated the father was paralyzed, so the boy went to help him get out, and they both succumbed to smoke inhalation,” Grisham said

Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the living room, but the extent of the damage made it impossible to say for sure if the space heaters caused the blaze, or if the fire was electrical in nature. 

>> Read more trending news

Judah Shepard, an investigator with the Fire Marshal’s Office, said precautions should be taken any time a space heater is used.

“They need to be at least 3 feet from any combustible material and not operated while plugged into an extension cord,” Shepard said

About 25,000 house fires in the United States each year are attributed to space heaters, according to Consumer Reports. An average of 300 people die as a result of those fires. 

The majority of those fires are caused when the heaters are placed too close to curtains, bedding or upholstered furniture. 

Aside from keeping a heater at least 3 feet away from combustibles, the publication recommends always using a heater that carries a safety certification. Certified heaters have labels with the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL label from Intertek or certification from CSA International. 

A portable heater should also have shut-off features, such as a sensor to shut the heater off if it overheats and a switch to shut it off if it is tipped over. 

The heater should be placed on a hard, level surface and it should be kept away from children and pets. It should be turned off when the user leaves the room or goes to bed, and the home should have working smoke detectors.

Vladimir Putin takes dip in freezing water to observe Epiphany

Russian President Vladimir Putin submerged himself in freezing water in celebration of Epiphany, a holiday in Orthodox Christianity that celebrates Jesus’ baptism.

The Associated Press reported that Russian TV stations and reporters were present as cameras caught Putin dunking and crossing himself in Lake Seliger in the northwestern region of Russia. The lake was frozen and a hole was cut into it so that Putin could take part in the tradition.

>> Read more trending news 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the temperature of the water was 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to The Washington Post, the tradition involves a ceremony that purifies the spirit. Although Peskov said Putin has taken part in the tradition in the past, Friday was the first time he did so publicly. The publication said the fanfare may have been an effort to appeal to religious voters as Russia’s presidential election is in March.

More than 500,000 Russians dipped themselves into man-made or natural pools of water across the country to mark the observance of Epiphany, according to Russia’s Channel One TV network. Unlike the West, where the day, known as Three Kings’ Day in the United States, is celebrated Jan. 6, Russians observe on Jan. 19, following the Gregorian calendar.

Flu virus spread by breathing, study finds

Most people believe that the influenza virus is spread through the coughs and sneezes of infected people, but new research published Thursday suggests that the flu virus is spread more easily than previously thought.

>> Read more trending news

Medical professionals believe that the virus is spread most often by “droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But researchers studying how the virus spreads recently found large amounts of the virus in the breath of people suffering from the flu, according to the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health.

>> Related: Influenza surveillance map: Where is the flu in my state? 

The researchers -- from the University of Maryland, San Jose State University, Missouri Western State University and the University of California, Berkeley -- published their findings Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found that flu cases contaminated the air around them with infectious virus just by breathing, without coughing or sneezing,” said Donald Milton, professor of environmental health in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and lead researcher for the study.

Milton and his team examined the virus content in the breath of 142 people who were diagnosed with flu as they were breathing normally, speaking, coughing and sneezing. Researchers found that a majority of those who participated in the study had enough of the infectious virus in just their regular, exhaled breath to possibly infect another person.

A review of the data collected from the coughs and sneezes of infected participants showed that neither action appeared to have a large impact on whether or not the virus was spread.

>> Related: 11 things parents need to know about the flu, the vaccine, how long kids need to stay out of school  

“People with flu generate infectious aerosols (tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for a long time), even when they are not coughing and especially during the first days of illness,” Milton said.

The study’s authors said the results highlighted how necessary it is for people who have the flu to stay at home.

>> Related: What is the H3N2 flu and how bad is flu season this year? 

“The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu,” said Sheryl Ehrman, the dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State University. “Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus.”

Prince William debuts new haircut, people suggest beard

Prince William debuted a lower haircut while visiting Evelina London Children's Hospital on Thursday.

The heir apparent to the British throne has been visibly losing his hair for years, and it appears this new, very low cut is the 35-year-old’s way of embracing it.

>> Read more trending news 

E! News reported that the royal was supporting the Step Into Health program that works to employ veterans in the National Health Service. According to a report from the British tabloid The Sun, the cut was done after William got advice from wife Kate Middleton’s hair stylist, Richard Ward. Joey Wheeler, who works with Ward, did the cut for 180 pounds, or $250, according to the tabloid.

Twitter users had mixed reactions to William’s new look, and some suggested he grow a beard.

In the past, William and his family have joked about his hair loss. After the birth of his son, William told the press outside St. Mary’s Hospital that George had “way more hair than me, thank God!”

The Dutchess of Cambridge joked about her husband's lack of hair while watching a sheepshearing demonstration in Australia in 2014.

“The prince was interested in the alpaca, and as I showed it to them, the princess said he should put it on his head,” farmer Lyn Crejan said, according to People. “She said, ‘You need it more than me,’ and pointed to his head and he laughed.”

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