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19-year-old ‘genius’ to graduate college early, plans to be astronaut

In May, Ronald McCullough Jr. will graduate college at the same age most students are still early underclassmen. 

>> Read more trending news

But doing things ahead of schedule is not unusual for the 19-year-old, whose genius-level intelligence allowed him to skip second grade and graduate from Maynard Jackson High School at 15, according to a news release. 

McCullough enrolled in Clark Atlanta University at 16, and will soon graduate with honors with a bachelor’s degree in biology. 

Yet, he said, he doesn’t consider himself a genius.

“I was placed in a setting for my love of learning to manifest,” McCullough said in a release. “Much was expected of me and there was little room for disappointment.”

Postgraduate engineering programs, including those at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of Hawaii have tried to recruit the “future astronaut,” the release said. 

McCullough, whose mother graduated from the former Clark College, plans to enroll in the biological/agricultural engineering program at A&T.

Woman says she was recorded while in changing room at Pennsylvania Macy’s

A woman has a warning for people who use the changing rooms at a Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, mall.

Heather Lapinski said that while she was trying on bathing suits at Macy’s in the Mall at Robinson, she noticed a cellphone under the door. She grabbed it, but a man’s hand grabbed it back. 

>> Read more trending news

By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone.

“I got ahold of it and a man's hand came down and grabbed it. I couldn’t scream. I was in so much shock,” Lapinski said. “I was crying. I didn't have my top on (and) I’m not running out completely naked.”

By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone.

Lapinski described the man as having a medium build and balding in the front of his head.

She said she hopes that someone recognizes the man before he does it again.

“I want someone to say, ‘I know him.’ He can't keep going back and keep doing this to women. I’m going to be traumatized for the rest of my life,” she said. “When I go to bed, I toss and turn thinking about his face.”

Both Macy’s and the Mall at Robinson said in statements about the matter that the safety of customers is a top priority. They could not confirm whether other incidents were previously reported.

Mistaken release of hundreds of medical records in NC under scrutiny

A North Carolina county could be in major violation of HIPAA laws after mistakenly releasing hundreds of patients’ private medical records to a Charlotte TV station that was investigating a medical story.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, was enacted in 1996 to ensure patient privacy rights.

>> Read more trending news

Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio revealed Tuesday afternoon that the county mistakenly released the private medical records of some 1,200 patients to the media. The county attorney confirmed patient health information was compromised. 

"I'm absolutely speechless with anger at how something like this could happen," Diorio said.

Channel 9 had requested public records related to the county's failure to notify nearly 200 women about abnormal Pap smear results. 

While WSOC-TV received that information Monday, the county also mistakenly included detailed medical history about hundreds of patients. The information included an Excel spreadsheets documenting the patients’ full names, addresses and dates of visits. 

For some patients it also included a detailed description of why they visited and what services they received.

Diorio said the information should not have been in spreadsheets in the email and the practice of putting medical information in Excel sheets will end immediately.

Diorio said she believes the release is a category 2 HIPAA violation with a minimum fine of $1,000 per violation up to $50,000.

A county worker collected the records Tuesday morning from WSOC. 

“We do everything we can to protect the personal information for all of our patients,” Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said. “In this particular instance, the checks and balances were not completely followed and we had a lapse."

Diorio said an IT staffer mistakenly included the information in the public records request. She also said no one checked the file before it was released.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

“This was a person who works in our IT security area so it’s not as if everybody has access to this information,” she said.

It’s unclear if the hundreds of patients will be notified about the information leak. Diorio is planning to discuss the next steps with the county attorney on Tuesday.


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This new Macbook feature will make it easier to fall asleep at night

On Monday, Apple rolled out the macOS 10.12.4 update — its fourth major update for Sierra since the operating system was released last September.

» RELATED: Apple unveils new version of the iPad, new red iPhone; will be on sale this week

The feature garnering the most excitement in the tech community is the arrival of Night Shift, which aims to enhance your sleep cycle by reducing the amount of blue light that appears on your screen.

>> Read more trending news

According to Night Shift’s support page, studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. 

Night Shift is Apple’s response to the downloadable f.lux app that does the same — “makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.”

» RELATED: Why police are warning iPhone users to stop saying ‘108’ to Siri

Now, Mac users won’t have to install the additional app to use the feature.

A member of the f.lux team, however, said in a forum that Apple’s feature doesn’t actually reduce very much alerting blue light and that f.lux remains the better option of the two.

According to MacRumors, Night Shift is compatible with 2012 and newer Macs, so it won't work on older machines. 

The feature was also first introduced in iOS devices with the iOS 9.3 update.

Here’s how to install Night Shift on your Mac:

  1. Make sure you install the latest software updates.
  2. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  3. From the dropdown menu, select System Preferences.
  4. Choose the Displays icon.
  5. Of the three tabs (Display, Color, and Night Shift), choose Night Shift. Here, you can also adjust the color temperature settings.
  6. From the Schedule option, choose either Sunset to Sunrise or Custom.

The Sunset or Sunrise option uses your local sunset and sunrise times to turn Night Shift on automatically each night when the sun sets and then turn off when the sun rises.

The Custom option allows you to choose a specific start and end time for Night Shift to turn on.

» RELATED: iPhone 8 leak confirms wireless charging, but reveals Apple’s expensive secrets

Other quick ways to turn Night Shift on:

  • Ask Siri.
  • Use the Notification Center (three bulleted lines icon at the top right of your screen) and toggle to turn Night Shift on or off.


Tennessee day care at which child was kidnapped closes for good

Days after a child was kidnapped from Elite Academy Inc., the Memphis, Tennessee, day care has closed its doors for good.

>> Read more trending news

A Department of Human Services spokesperson said an investigation into the day care is ongoing, but the owner voluntarily shut down the business. The closure is permanent.

Related: Mother speaks out after 7-month-old is kidnapped from day care

On Thursday, 7-month-old A’Laleh Fentress was checked out from her day care by 18-year-old Mya Lakes. Lakes is charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and child abuse/neglect. Her bail is $100,000.

A’Laleh’s mother said Lakes saw her name on a document at the day care and used it to check out the child.

The 7-month-old’s mother called police from the day care when she came to pick her baby up that evening. A’Laleh was later found safe at Annie’s Place in Frayser.

Related: Memphis day care at center of kidnapping had no previous violations

Elite Academy Inc. has been inspected by the DHS at least eight times since it opened in August 2016. According to the government database, the day care was never cited for violations.

Police: Bus driver set to take kids on field trip was high on marijuana

Authorities arrested a school bus driver Tuesday after he allegedly drove a bus while high on marijuana.

>> Read more trending news

Officers were called Tuesday morning to Chelmsford High School in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, after students reported smelling a strange odor on the school bus they had boarded for a field trip. The students notified a teacher, who contacted the Chelmsford Police Department. The students were taken off the bus.

Officers determined that the bus driver, 63-year-old Ali Mahfuz, was high on marijuana. Mahfuz was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, operating negligently as to endanger and reckless endangerment.

Before arriving at Chelmsford High School, Mahfuz drove a route for Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsborough.

Mahfuz is employed by North Reading Transportation Inc. The company is cooperating with the investigation.

Chelmsford police Chief James Spinney praised the students for speaking up.

"I cannot overstate the role played by the students today in ensuring their safety on the roads," Spinney said. "They knew something was not right, and they spoke up right away, alerting school administrators. I commend these students for their role in stopping a dangerous situation from unfolding."

Mahfuz is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Lowell District Court.

Facebook has never looked more like Snapchat

While imitation probably isn’t the sincerest form of flattery among competing tech companies, Facebook’s new Snapchat-like app updates are an obvious hat tip to Snapchat’s years-old features.

>> Read more trending stories

Facebook announced the new updates Tuesday morning: a camera filled with effects and filters, short visual “Stories” and disappearing messages.

“The way people create content is changing to be from text to photos and videos,” Connor Hayes, product manager for Facebook stories, told The Verge. “This is in turn changing the way they’re sharing with one another and interacting online ... something that Snapchat has really pioneered.”

In 2013, Facebook tried and failed to strike a deal to buy Snapchat for $3 billion.

>> Related: What is WhatsApp? 5 things to know about the popular messaging app

And since then, it has cloned some of Snapchat's most popular features in an all-out effort to maintain dominance in the arena of photo and video communication.

While Snapchat has half the number of daily active users of Facebook-owned Instagram's 300 million audience, Facebook has noticed its “surging popularity” among younger users, CNN reported.

Here’s more on the new Snapchat-like features rolling out Tuesday on iOS and Android:

Camera effects

Similar to Snapchat’s camera filters feature, Facebook’s will pack dozens of effects (think glitter beards and sloth hats) and interactive features, including “reactive effects” such as falling snow.


Facebook replicated Snapchat's Stories format for Instagram in August and on Tuesday announced a similar release in its main mobile app. 

Users have options to share multiple media as a “visual collection” (or Story) to appear on top of Facebook’s news feed or on their timelines.

Similar to Snapchat and Instagram, the Stories will disappear in 24 hours.


Users will also be able to share their visual compilations directly to an individual or group of Facebook users if they choose to — part of the app’s new “Direct” feature.

Like Snapchat, when you send a photo or video via Direct, your friends will be able to view it once, replay it or reply. After the conversation ends, the content is no longer visible.

Boy bitten by rattlesnake after mistaking it for toy

A 5-year-old boy is recovering at a hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake in DeBary, Florida. 

>> Read more trending news

Volusia County investigators said Tampa resident Elijah Vaughn, 5, and his family were at a relative's house on Fort Florida Point Road on Saturday after leaving a funeral. 

Vaughn and his mother went outside so the boy could play on the jungle gym in the yard, deputies said. 

When Vaughn approached the jungle gym, he walked underneath the platform and saw what he thought was a toy snake. 

As the boy reached for the snake, it bit him on the right index finger, according to a police report. His mother rushed Vaughn to meet with deputies and he was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital, where he received anti-venom treatment, investigators said.

Vaughn was then taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. 

Officials said the boy's swelling had not spread down his arm and was primarily on his hand and wrist. 

The snake, believed to be a pygmy rattlesnake, was caught and killed.

Florida woman tried to impregnate woman smuggled from Mexico, fed her only beans

A Florida woman pleaded guilty on Monday to smuggling a Mexican woman into the country for forced labor.

>> Read more trending news 

The victim said Esthela Clark told her she would pay her to be a pregnancy surrogate.

Clark was arrested in 2015.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Clark paid so-called coyotes $3,000 to smuggle the woman over.

The criminal complaint said Clark kept the woman captive at an apartment for about two years.

Investigators said Clark tried to artificially inseminate the woman with semen from her boyfriend’s used condoms with a syringe on the dining room floor.

When it didn’t work, Clark began beating her, the victim said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the victim lost 65 pounds after Clark limited her diet exclusively to beans.

The criminal complaint said Clark isolated the victim from her family and child in Mexico and tried to collect from her family the thousands she paid the “coyotes” to smuggle the victim, with interest.

Investigators said Clark also forced the Mexican woman to clean her home and work at various local businesses, then hand over the cash.

A member of Celebration Church rescued the victim, taking her in and calling police.

Clark was also indicted for a human trafficking charge after the victim said Clark forced her to have sex with multiple men, but that charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.

“We stand by those allegations,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman William Daniels.

Clark could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

Bogus doctor gets 10 years for injecting toxic substances into patients

A Florida woman accused of injecting Fix-a-Flat, cement, silicone, mineral oil and Super Glue into the buttocks of women in to try to enhance their figures was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison over a death resulting from the toxic mix, according to local media reports.  

The 2012 death of Shatarka Nuby, 31, was dubbed the “toxic tush” case. O’Neal Morris, 31, served nearly a year in prison on charges of practicing medicine without a license after it was discovered she illegally injected toxic substances to enhance women's buttocks, leaving many scarred for life.

>> Read more trending news

Morris, who police say was born a man, but identifies as a woman, pleaded for mercy before a Broward County judge. 

"I have never, ever, or would dare ever to inject, or have injected any human with any type of unknown substance, such as Super Glue, cement, Fix-a-Flat, concrete, nothing that comes from Home Depot, nothing that comes out of any hardware store," Morris said.

Related: ‘Toxic tush doctor’ facing steep prison time if convicted in death

Nuby’s family members appeared in court asking for justice. 

"What you took from me, that was a precious jewel," said Nuby’s mother, Sherri Pitts.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

A plea deal called for a sentence of up to 15 years. The judge decided to sentence Morris to 10 years in state prison, followed by five years of probation along with restitution, local media reported. 

Over her attorney’s arguments, the judge ordered Morris to serve time in a men’s prison because Florida law doesn't make exemptions for transgender inmates.

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