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Queen's Brian May fighting 'persistent illness'

Hildi Brooks contributed to this report.

Queen singer and guitarist Brian May has revealed that he is fighting a "persistent illness which is destroying (his) energy and (his) will."

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May was set to perform 11 candlelight concerts before Christmas with Kerry Ellis but wrote on his website that he would be unable to go on with the plan.

"I'm gutted to have to pull out -- I hate letting our loyal fans down," May wrote. "But the advice I have had is that I must take time off to heal, rather than go out on tour again and risk 'falling down on the job,' which would be much worse."

May wrote that he "agonized over" the decision to pull out of the concerts, but he doesn't feel "confident to perform the scheduled shows to the standard" his fans expect. 

"I got myself in a very depleted state and have taken the decision now to clear my diary of everything until the end of the year," he wrote. "I'm leaving today on a big steel bird to spend some time recharging in a safe place. Need to turn off the phones and media for a while ... I have to get away and prioritize healing."

May thanked his fans for their support and well wishes, and his site offered "a consolation for disappointed fans" in the form of a newly recorded studio album by May and Ellis, which is scheduled for release in March.

May, who founded Queen with Freddie Mercury in 1970, underwent tests in 2014 to find out if he had prostate cancer, but doctors cleared him of the disease weeks after the biopsy was completed.

May also has a doctorate in astrophysics. 

Airline wins right to weigh passengers before flights to prevent crashes

An American airline was recently granted the right to weight its passengers in an effort to distribute weight evenly across plane cabins and to save fuel, The Guardian reported.

>> Read more trending stories  

Hawaiian Airlines faced backlash earlier this month when customers said a policy to weigh travelers was discriminatory. Critics' complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation were turned down, a spokesman told The Associated Press last week.

Hawaiian Airlines began the policy when it noticed its flights from Honolulu to Pago Pago in American Samoa were burning more fuel than expected.

In an effort to discover why flights between the areas required more fuel than projected, the airline asked customers to participate in a voluntary six-month survey in which passengers were weighed before boarding.

The findings? 

Passengers and their carry-on bags were 30 pounds heavier than anticipated.

So the airline did away with preassigned seating and began weighing travelers at the Honolulu and Pago Pago airports at check-in to place people on planes in a way that more evenly distributes weight across cabins.  

"This action resulted from the recognition that over time, our fuel burn on Pago Pago (PPG) flights was consistently much higher than projected, indicating that our weight assumptions were inaccurate," Hawaiian Airlines communications director Alison Croyle told Fox News. "We review weights on any flight within our route network that demonstrates such a discrepancy." 

But some customers found the practice offensive, claiming that the move was discriminatory as it only applied to the Pago Pago flight, which caters to mostly passengers of Samoan descent.

"What they're saying is Samoans are obese," Atimua Mig told the Associated Press at Honolulu International Airport on Oct. 10.

"That's an entirely incorrect assumption," said Jon Snook, Hawaiian Airline's chief operating officer. 

Snook said the airline chose to reorganize distribution of passengers instead of limiting how many seats could be sold, which would have increased ticket prices.

As a part of the effort to evenly distribute weight across planes on flights, Hawaiian Airlines is aiming to leave one seat vacant on each row or to place a child in a row with two adults.

Hawaiian Airlines isn't the first to enact a weight-based policy. 

In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline to charge passengers by weight.

"What makes airplanes work is weight," then, Samoa Air chief executive Chris Langton told CNN. "We are not selling seats, we are selling weight."

According to the CIA world fact book, information from 2007 and 2008 show American Samoa as having the highest rate of adult obesity in the world. The top nine countries on the list are Pacific islands. 

"Hawaiian (Airlines) is saying that, 'Yes, it is a safety issue,' but, you know, weight distribution," Avamua Dave Haleck, an American Samoan who filed a complaint with the DOT, told Radio New Zealand. "So have we been flying unsafe for all these years?"

At least 7 dead after tour bus collides with semi-truck in California

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

At least seven people were killed Sunday morning when a tour bus and a semi-truck crashed on a freeway near Palm Springs, California, The Associated Press reported. The crash occurred on westbound Interstate 10 around 5 a.m.

At least 25 bus passengers were taken to area hospitals, according to the AP.

Varying reports listed the number of people killed as ranging from seven to 13.

"At this time, we know that there are multiple fatalities. We can't give an amount because that number is going to change," California Highway Patrol Officer Stephanie Hamilton said Sunday morning. "There are approximately 31 passengers on the bus that were transported with minor to serious injuries."

Firefighters used ladders to reach into the bus' windows to pull out victims. They used chainsaws to gain entry into the front of the bus, The Desert Sun reported.

Photos show the front of the bus pushed into the semi-truck's trailer.

"The intrusion into the bus compartment is significant," Hamilton said.

The bus, identified as a USA Holiday bus, crashed into the big rig's trailer. USA Holiday is known for transporting people from Los Angeles to Southern California casinos, according to The Desert Sun. 

Tow trucks attempted to lift the bus from the semi and to pull the semi forward, away from the bus.

"The whole front of the bus up to about the second or third row of seats was completely crushed into the left rear side of the semi truck," a witness told The Desert Sun. "By the time I got there, there were at least a dozen firefighters climbing into the passenger bus, pulling people out."

The driver of the big rig was not injured, KWWL reported.

Rich Ramhoff, director of marketing at Desert Regional Medical Center, said that of the 14 patients the hospital received, five victims are in critical condition, three are in serious condition and six had minor injuries. He told The Desert Sun that in his six years at the hospital, this was the largest number of victims he'd seen from a single incident.

Lee Rice, of the Eisenhower Medical Center, said that the Rancho Mirage hospital received 11 adult patients, all with minor injuries.

Victims were also transported to John F. Kennedy Hospital in Indio, California.

The California Highway Patrol said all westbound lanes of the highway are closed and traffic is being diverted. CHP officials estimate the freeway could be closed until 4 p.m.

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Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg team up for cooking show on VH1

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg will star in a cooking show that will debut Nov. 7  on VH1.

>> Read more trending stories  

The 45-year-old rapper and the 75-year-old business woman and television personality will team up to bring viewers the "most ridiculous dinner party" in "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party."

Can you guess what @SnoopDogg and @marthastewart48 are up to today? Hint: 🍴 #MarthaAndSnoop @VH1 A photo posted by Martha Stewart (@marthastewart) on Sep 10, 2016 at 2:01pm PDT <script async defer src="//"></script>

Other celebrities that will appear on the show include rapper 50 Cent, Keke Palmer, DJ Khaled, Robin Thicke and Bella Thorne, according to VH1.

A photo posted by DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) on Sep 11, 2016 at 4:01pm PDT

The program will show Snoop and Stewart crafting and serving food and drinks with the help of their guests. They'll also give tips on how to host a successful dinner party.

"My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back," Snoop said in a statement. "We're gonna be cooking, drinking and having a good time with our exclusive friends."

Snoop and Stewart, an unlikely duo, have appeared together on ABC's "100,000 Pyramid" and Comedy Central's "Roast of Justin Beiber," and the rapper has been a recurring guest on Stewart's long-running talk show.

"At our dinner party, we will exemplify America's fascination with food, entertaining and celebrity," Stewart said, noting that "Dinner Party" "will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way."

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Woman's blog acknowledges how common miscarriages are

To commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, celebrated on Oct. 15, a woman by the name of Rachel Lewis published a series of stories on her blog called The Lewis Note.

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The photos that accompany each of her posts all feature an "I am 1 in 4" watermark.

Posted by Rachel Enyeart Lewis on Thursday, October 13, 2016

The reason for this, as it is explained by Lewis, is to raise awareness that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage.

"I wanted to bring awareness to the fact that when you see normal, beautiful, successful women, you're also seeing people who are struggling with the loss of a child," Lewis said. "Giving a voice, a name and a face to pregnancy loss is one of the most meaningful contributions I feel I can make in this world."

Each of the women featured on the 34-year-old's blog are women who have lost babies.

Lewis kicked off the project with her own words, "I am your friend. Your coworker. Your barista. Your accountant. Your personal trainer."

While each woman featured on the blog has a different perspective, they share a common struggle: They were each forced to mourn a child they’ve never had a chance to meet.

"You see me at the grocery store with my kids," Lewis wrote. "My baby swaddled up to my chest, my two older kids hanging off the cart I push around. You comment on how full my arms are. I smile on the outside. On the inside, I cringe."

Lewis' blog has gained much attention online since its launch for raising awareness of a struggle that impacts so many women around the world.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); = id;  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> I love seeing my beautiful mama friends here.  They are all amazing (and there were so many more moms I could have featured!) I am #1in4 #October15 #PregnancyandInfantLossAwareness #silentnomorePosted by Rachel Enyeart Lewis on Thursday, October 13, 2016

In wake of national anthem protests, school honors police, first responders in pregame ceremony

Nearly every day, there are headlines about high schoolers, college students, singers and professional athletes taking a knee or sitting out during a pregame performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner.”

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Middletown police celebrationPosted by The Asbury Park Press on Friday, October 21, 2016

>> Watch the video here

These protests have come after Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, refused to stand during the national anthem for this year’s NFL games. Kaepernick, and those who have followed in his footsteps, wish to open a dialogue about racism in the United States, specifically the number of high-profile police shootings of African-Americans.

On Friday night in Middletown, New Jersey, students, teachers, parents and residents came together to turn the pregame ceremony into something a little different before a football game between Middletown High School South and rival Toms River North.

The pregame ceremony included a mammoth tribute to police officers, firefighters, military and other first responders. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“There’s too much violence going on,” Carmine Babino told the Asbury Park Press.

“I didn’t grow up in that, and I don’t want them to grow up in that,” he said of his children.

Hundreds of local officers came together to march on the field. Linden police Officer Angel Padilla, who helped capture bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahimi, was given an award. Bagpipes played, people cheered and an American flag was unfurled on the field.

Despite the good tidings of the event, the American Civil Liberties Union believed that it set a frightening precedent.

“The statements made by the deputy police chief and the event’s ostentatious show of power send an ominous, frightening message: that, as an official stance, law enforcement will not tolerate expressions acknowledging our nation’s history of unequal treatment and systematic oppression,” Jasmine Crenshaw, ACLU-NJ organizer, said.

>> Read more trending stories

Prior to the game, Middletown Deputy Police Chief Steve Dollinger had condemned those who protest the national anthem.

“It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger said, according to the Asbury Park Press.

“It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”

Celebrities, athletes react as Cubs clinch first pennant since 1945

The Chicago Cubs on Saturday clinched their first National League pennant in 71 years, beating the Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS. Next stop: The World Series, where the Cubs will face the Cleveland Indians.

>> Sheen offers to throw out first pitch at World Series

>> Cubs' comeback: Social media reacts to Chicago's dramatic NLDS win

After the historic win, celebrities and athletes took to Twitter to celebrate. 

>> Click here or scroll down to see what people were saying

>> Read more trending stories

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Newly released fast version of Queen classic will rock you

Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is a legendary sports ballad played in arenas around the world but you have probably never heard the song like this.

The band recorded a rapid fire, almost punk version of the song during a 1977 session for DJ John Peel.

>> Read more trending stories

Now, the song and 24 other songs from those BBC recordings will be released in a two-disc compilation called “Queen on Air” Nov. 4.

While the band played this version frequently live, this is the only time the group played the song in a studio, according to Rolling Stone.

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6 months later, skepticism, rumors abound with grisly 'massacre' of Ohio family still unsolved

Six months later, these wooded hills are holding tight to their secrets.

Neighbors say it’s much quieter on Union Hill Road than it was when Chris Rhoden Sr. and his family raised fighting roosters, bred dogs and salvaged cars for sale. Chris Jr. would tear up and down the road on a four-wheeler.

The mobile homes where the father and son and six members of their family were found shot to death April 22 are warehoused, along with dozens of vehicles, at a chemical plant outside nearby Waverly.

>> Read more trending stories

Free-standing porches mark the spots where the homes were towed from three properties deep in the hills, now shaded by scarlet and burgundy leaves. Barbed wire and “no trespassing” signs block the driveways. A playground, rusted boat, boarded-up barns and car parts spot the yards. Someone planted small American flags and solar-powered lights, one for each victim.

Six months later, no one has been arrested for what Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called a “cold-blooded, calculated massacre.”

Rumors far outnumber official information coming from an ongoing investigation.

Family members and their neighbors pray for justice, but many are losing hope. Residents of Piketon and Waverly quietly shake their heads when asked if they think the crime will be solved.

Leonard Manley, whose daughter and three grandchildren were among those killed, said he thinks they’ll find the killers “one of these days.”

“It may not be in my lifetime,” said Manley, 65. “I got five, 10 years maybe to live.”

Manley keeps a photo collage of the victims: Chris Sr. and his ex-wife Dana Rhoden; their three children, Hanna, Chris Jr., and Frankie; Frankie’s girlfriend Hannah Gilley; and Chris Sr.’s brother Kenneth and cousin Gary.

They were shot a total of 32 times, mostly in the head. Manley said his daughter Dana was shot in the head five times.

“It’s more like a hate crime than anything,” he said of the barbaric nature of the killings.

But three children were left alive — ages 3, 6 months and 4 days. Manley said one was found covered in blood because he was nursing when his mother was murdered.

A fourth surviving child was staying elsewhere that night. Some of the children remain in protective custody.

Plenty of rumors

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader’s confirmation last week that he believes someone from Pike County is behind the slayings came as little surprise to those who knew the family.

“Whoever done it had to know the dogs,” said Manley, who lives a half-mile from the nearest crime scene. He said Chris Sr. had a vicious pit bull named Chance that even he wouldn’t go near without Dana or Chris around.

“I guarantee if anyone pulled up to his garage and took a step on the concrete where the wire (invisible fence) wasn’t, I’ll tell you he’d been bit,” Manley said.

Manley said he has received more information from the media than from the Sheriff’s Office or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. And the hills are full of rumors: that this was about a road rage incident, a child custody battle, a dispute over a demolition derby car, a drug deal gone bad, and on and on.

Manley doesn’t know what to believe. Authorities have refused to dispel even the most farfetched claims.

Manley said even his son and daughter — Dana’s brother and sister — were suspects, which Manley said was offensive because his children were close and Dana and her big brother had a “special relationship.”

“If they asked me what they asked my daughter and my son I’d come across the desk and I’d beat the hell out of one of them,” he said. “They asked them how much someone paid them to kill that family.”

Manley said if he knew who did it, “the sheriff wouldn’t have to worry about it.”

‘Bigger than that’

Initial reports that investigators found a large marijuana grow operation at the crime scene fueled speculation that Mexican drug cartels could be involved, considering the apparent sophistication of the crime and prior reports that Mexican organized crime was previously active in the area.

But Reader put that to rest for the first time in an interview with Cincinnati television station WCPO.

“With the nature of the investigation, and the things that’s been revealed while conducting the investigation, there would be no indication to me as to any type of Mexican drug cartel being involved,” he said. “It wasn’t because they had a couple little indoor grows, wasn’t because there was just a couple of cars on the property that may have been stolen. It’s much bigger than that.”

DeWine’s office would only say that there were at least two killers and at least one of them was familiar with the property.

The attorney general’s office also provided statistics on what has become one of the largest criminal investigation in state history. It has included more than 150 interviews, more than 100 pieces of evidence submitted for testing, roughly 90 office staffers working on the case at some point, and more than 700 tips to chase down.

‘Locked and loaded’

Meanwhile, Manley and others say they sleep with firearms within reach, ready to defend their homes if someone kicks in a door or breaks a window.

“I’m locked and loaded in there about seven times,” said Brian Distel, who lives next door to Bobby Jo Manley in a cluster of trailers known as Camp Creek. Bobby Jo first found the bodies and called 911.

“I try to keep an eye out for her too,” he said.

Luke Rhoden, whose father was Kenneth, was stoic about whether his family was still in danger. He doubts the killers will come back.

As for whether the killers will be brought to justice, he said: “I think eventually, yeah. But soon? Probably not. If someone knows anything, they’re too scared to come forward.”

Pessimism, politics

At the edge of nearby Piketon, diners at the Riverside Restaurant enjoyed fried eggs and burgers on Texas toast on Wednesday. Waitress Amanda Kinsley said the shootings were “the big talk for a good while,” but now it rarely comes up in conversation.

Whoever did it, “I think they’re long gone,” she said.

Likewise at Ritchie’s BBQ, bar patrons could all describe in detail exactly where they were when they heard of the horrific crime. But that late April day gradually has faded from conversation.

“I don’t think it’s gonna get solved,” bartender Heather Colesinger said, noting the revelation that the killer may be someone local follows numerous other claims that turned out to be false.

“Next week, it’ll be the Mafia or something,” she said.

The yards and fields of Piketon, Waverly and the rest of Pike County are peppered with political signs, many supporting Reader, but also for his Republican challenger Delbert Slusher.

Amid this campaign, a former Waverly police officer and sheriff’s deputy has printed a tabloid that circulates across the county. It accuses Reader of criminal acts. Reader denies the accusations.

DeWine also faces pressure to end the investigation with an arrest, as he plans a run for the Ohio governor’s mansion in 2018.

And costs are growing. Pike County officials are trying to get help from the state to cover the tab for moving and storing the evidence: $135,000 and growing.

Help stalled

The ongoing investigation also has frozen assistance usually available to families and survivors of violent crime.

Some of the victims had life insurance, but Manley said investigators are holding up autopsies and other reports needed to apply. Similar problems are stalling applications for victim’s compensation from the state.

The inheritance process is stalled in probate court because the family’s property is being held as evidence. Some speculate it will all be kept by the county as drug forfeiture, though one family member said they were told it won’t. It’s unclear when the property will be released; the storage lease is good through mid-May.

Manley said he hopes to auction off his daughter’s belongings, including 15 cars in her name.

“Whenever it’s all said and done, the four grandchildren are going to get all of it,” he said.

Manley said a woman came to him claiming she was a friend of his daughter and raised money selling balloons and other things, but he said he found out a week ago that she pocketed the cash.

A dispute among family members forced GoFundMe to refund $8,220 raised to pay for the funeral for Dana and her children, he said.

‘Somebody knows’

Manley credits the congregation of the Union Hill Church, about a mile from the Union Hill crime scene, for support, including paying off the expenses of burying his daughter and grandchildren.

Dana, Chris and their three kids share a grave site on a rolling hill overlooking the Scioto River Valley. A hand-painted rock on Dana’s grave is the only tombstone. But the ground is covered with solar-powered angel and cross lights, silk flowers, photos, a Keystone Light beer can, deer antler and other remembrances.

Pastor Phil Fulton of Union Hill Church said the community is concerned that the slayings may never be solved. Faith in law enforcement is low, he said, but they try to help each other.

“We’re hoping for somebody to just come up and say, ‘We have some evidence,’” he said. “That’s been my prayer. Somebody knows. We know that.”

Boy with Down syndrome scores touchdown

Sixth-grader Grant Pearson didn’t expect to take the field, much less score a touchdown.

The honorary football team captain for the Waynesville Middle School Spartans wears a jersey and goes to all the home and away games. It was no different for the game on Saturday against Bellbrook Middle School. That is, until Grant was sent onto the gridiron after the first quarter. He received the ball around the 50-yard-line and took it all the way to the end zone.

“Did you see how fast he was? He took off,” coach Tim Sizer said. “I think he outran all his blockers. It was beautiful. We’re so happy that he did it.”

>> Read more trending stories

It’s no secret that Grant, who has Down syndrome, is “a fanatic about sports,” as his father, Jim Pearson said. “And to see him out here with his friends and running down the field … it’s just heartwarming."

Wayne Local Schools earlier in the week reached out to Bellbrook about giving Grant a field experience, to which it readily agreed, Sizer said.

“It was about more than just a football game,” the coach said.

The Saturday football game also happens to fall in the middle of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

“He was having the time of his life,” said his mother, Janet Pearson. “It was just a thrill for him to do that. That was really cool.”

Adult film actress is latest to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct

Adult film performer and director Jessica Drake on Saturday became the latest woman to accuse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

Drake, who was represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, said Trump came on to her in 2006 after a golf tournament in Florida.

“Ten years ago, I was working for Wicked Pictures, an adult film company, at a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe,” Drake said.

>> Read more trending stories

“I was at Wicked’s booth when I met Donald Trump in the celebrity gift room early in the morning before he teed off. He flirted with me and invited me to walk along the golf course with him, which I did. During that time, he asked me for my phone number, which I gave to him. Later that evening, he invited me to his room. I said I didn’t feel right going alone, so two other women came with me.”

Drake said, Trump came on to her and another woman, kissed them without their permission, and then inquired about their lives as adult film stars.

“In the penthouse suite, I met Donald again,” Drake told the media.

“When we entered the room, he grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission. He was wearing pajamas. A bodyguard was also present. He asked me about details on my job as an adult film star, about shooting porn, and he also asked us about our personal relationships and whether we were married or single.”

Drake said that the whole ordeal felt like an interview and lasted about 45 minutes.

After they left, Drake says Trump called her and asked her to come back to his room. When she declined that invitation, a Trump associate reportedly offered her $10,000 presumably to sleep with the Republican nominee.

“I was then told Mr. Trump would allow me to use his private jet only if I accepted his private invitation,” Drake added.

Drake called Trump a “sexual assault apologist.”

“Collectively, his words and his actions are a huge testament to his character, that of uncontrollable entitlement, misogyny and a sexual assault apologist,” Drake said.

“This is not acceptable behavior for anyone, much less a presidential candidate. I realize that in the situation I may be but a tiny grain of sand, but clearly, this is an enormous speech. I am not looking for monetary compensation.”

Allred, who represents several other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, made a parallel between Trump’s actions and those that Drake experiences in her profession.

“Consent is required, in her occupation … . Consent seems to be missing for Mr. Trump,” she said.

Trump has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

"This story is totally false and ridiculous," according to a campaign news release. "The picture is one of thousands taken out of respect for people asking to have their picture taken with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her. This is just another attempt by the Clinton campaign to defame a candidate who just today is number one in three different polls. Anyone who would pay thugs to incite violence at a rally against American citizens, as was released on video, will stop at nothing. Just another example of the Clinton campaign trying to rig the election."

10,000 California soldiers must repay enlistment bonus

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Facing a troop shortage and in the midst of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, California Guard officials offered bonuses of $15,000 or more for soldiers to re-enlist during the height of the country’s global war on terror.

Now the government is asking about 10,000 troops for the money back. If they refuse, they could face stiffer penalties, including interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens.

The government has recovered about $22 million so far.

"At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price," Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California Guard, told the Los Angeles Times. "We'd be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can't do it. We'd be breaking the law."

A 2010 investigation discovered that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were wrongly given to soldiers in the California Guard. The audit found that there was widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials in order to meet enlistment goals.

 California Guard officials said they are helping soldiers and veterans file appeals to erase debts but it's a long process and there's no guarantee they'll win.

Boy, 3, dies in fire with dog huddled next to him

Neighbors saw the flames and heard the screams.

Spokane Fire Department personnel discovered the grisly and emotional scene.

A 3-year-old boy who died in a fire Friday was found huddled with his dog and teddy bear by his side.

“They died together,” Brian Schaeffer, the department's assistant fire chief, told The Spokesman-Review.

>> Read more trending stories

Two adults in the home were able to rescue three other children from the conflagration. Neighbors pulled a water hose across the street to try to suppress the flames. The fire was so hot it melted the metal frame on the boy’s bed.

“It melted everything,” Schaeffer said. “There was no way to survive that.”

The smoke detector at the home did not have a battery, fire officials said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Spokane police are investigating the child’s death.

Florida driver straps riding lawn mower to car roof

A photo posted to Twitter shows a riding lawn mower strapped to the top of a car traveling down I-10 in Florida on Saturday.

T.K. Waters, assistant chief with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said he took the photo on westbound I-10 near Pensacola.

>> Read more trending stories

The riding lawn mower was strapped to the top of a Saturn.

He posted it with the caption "#unbelieveable."

Several people said the driver should be arrested.

Florida teen in wheelchair tries to stand when American flag passes by

Arek Trenholm may have spina bifida, but that didn’t stop the Florida teenager from standing as the American flag passed by him, making it the first time he’s tried to stand in seven years.

In a photo snapped by his professional photographer uncle Myron Leggett, Trenholm, 16, can be seen propping himself up on his wheelchair in the upright position as the junior ROTC color guard approaches with the Stars and Stripes during a local high school’s homecoming parade.

>> Read more trending stories

Leggett posted the photo on Facebook, and his caption was a call-out of sorts to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others who have knelt during the national anthem as a sign of protest.

“He’s making that effort, where so many that have legs, that could stand, are sitting or kneeling,” Legget told WOFL. “And not using their ‘well legs’ to stand and respect those who have fought and died for our flag and for our country.”

Grandmother opens fire in Walmart parking lot after losing custody battle

A North Carolina grandmother who reportedly lost custody of a 2-year-old child, completely lost her cool and opened fire in a Walmart parking lot on Thursday afternoon, police say.

Police say a judge had turned over custody of the child to the father instead of the grandmother earlier that morning, according to Fox 8. The father went to meet the grandmother in the parking lot to take custody of the child, but that’s when the grandmother began to shoot, police said.

>> Read more trending stories

The only person injured during the parking lot gunfire, which happened around 3 p.m., was the grandmother. Police say she shot herself in the foot by accident then drove away.

According to FOX 8, the grandmother was later identified as 42-year-old Sheila Marie Nougier.

Nougier faces charges that include two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of assault by pointing a gun, one count of injury to personal property and one count of discharging a firearm within the city limits, the station reported.

She is being treated at a hospital for her injuries.

Teacher berates boy after not standing for Pledge of Allegiance

A 12-year-old student in Florida claims he was scolded by his teacher when he did not stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. 

“I don’t believe in standing up for it, because there’s more than one religion,” sixth grader Mark Dawson said to WFLA. “I believe in more than one religion and more than one nation."

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Dawson attends Liberty Middle School in Hillsborough County, where the school district's policy states that students do not have to take part in the pledge, "as long as they don't get in the way of other students who want to say it," WFLA reports. 

Dawson said  that after his teacher yelled at him, she then told him to leave the classroom. A school spokesperson said to WFLA that the teacher "was in the wrong" and allegedly did not know about the school policy. 

Dawson's family members told WFLA that they might sue the school district for infringing on the boy's rights, according to WFLA. 

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Truckers box in suspected drunken driver until cops arrive

Alert truck drivers took action when they noticed a car weaving across an Oregon highway Tuesday night.

The truck drivers helped keep traffic behind them to prevent anyone from getting near the erratic driver.

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When the erratic driver came to a stop, stumbled out of his vehicle and urinated on the road, the truckers moved their vehicles to block him in until police arrived, according to KGW.

Philip Ramirez, 25, was arrested for DUI and disorderly conduct, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Report: Family cat killed with bow and arrow

A pet cat was killed by an arrow in Florida this week, and it's not the first time that it's happened to this family.

"That was my baby," said Sarah Trump.

The Nassau County woman wants to find the person who killed her cat.

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"Just the fact that nothing is going to get done. It's just infuriating. Because it's not just an animal," Trump said.

Trump said it was the third family cat that was killed. 

Officials with Animal Control and the Nassau County Sheriff's Office said there isn't anything they can do. 

Trump found her cat, Silas, Tuesday near her driveway with an arrow sticking out of him. She believes the same person shot and killed two other family cats over the last three years. 

When Rae Carruth is set free, son he ordered dead may be at prison gates

A former Carolina Panthers player sentenced to prison for ordering the murder of his pregnant girlfriend is set to be released in 2018, and anchor Erica Bryant learned that the son he wanted dead will be there when he walks out of prison.

Chancellor Lee Adams, 16, is the son of Cherica Adams and former Panthers player Rae Carruth.

Chancellor has been raised by his grandmother, Saundra Adams, and she told Bryant Friday that they want to try to be there in two years when Carruth is released from prison.

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Chancellor said soon she and Adams plan to start to reach out to Carruth, first by mail. She hopes that Carruth will respond to her letters favorably and agree to a meeting and to spending some time with Chancellor when he gets out.

She said if the response is not favorable, or if there is no response at all, she and Chancellor will still be there for Carruth's exit, standing among what will likely be a crowd.

Chancellor is an excellent student and works tirelessly at his physical therapy, which helps with his cerebral palsy. The cerebral palsy is the result of Chancellor having been deprived of oxygen in the womb after his mother was shot and killed in a murder plot planned by Carruth.

That plot was also meant to kill Chancellor, but he survived and is thriving.

Adams said her hope is that one day all three of them can share a ministry together, speaking to groups about the power of forgiveness.

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