National Toy Hall Of Fame To Induct Class Of 2017

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A new group of toys is set to be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in New York, where they will have a permanent place alongside previous honorees including the dollhouse, jump rope and Radio Flyer wagon.

The hall located inside the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester will announce the Class of 2017 on Thursday.

The annual inductees are chosen on the advice of historians and educators following a process that begins with nominations from the public.

magic 8 ball National Toy Hall Of Fame To Induct Class Of 2017

(credit: Mattel)

To make the hall of fame, toys must have inspired creative play across generations.

This year’s finalists are: the board games Risk and Clue, the Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox cars, My Little Pony, the paper airplane, PEZ candy dispenser, play food, sand, Transformers, the card game Uno and Wiffle ball.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Walmart To Offer Black Friday Deals Early On Its Website

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Walmart hopes to tempt shoppers with online deals before Black Friday.

It’s beginning some online deals Thursday and plans to offer most of its Black Friday deals online starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Stores will be open all day on Thanksgiving with the deals available there at 6 p.m.

Walmart is also adding a color-coded map of store departments on its circulars that it hopes will make it easier for customers to find items.

Retailers are trying to strike the right balance between online and in-store deals as shoppers take advantage of both.

Target also plans to offer Black Friday deals online starting Thanksgiving morning, but its stores won’t open until 6 p.m. Best Buy stores will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open until 1 a.m. Friday.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Astros’ Jose Altuve Awarded MLB Players Choice Award

NEW YORK (AP) – Houston second baseman Jose Altuve was voted outstanding player for the second straight season in Players Choice Awards balloting by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was selected Marvin Miller Man of the Year, given to the player who most inspires other players through on-field performances and contributions to his community. Rizzo was treated for limited state classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008 and in 2012 founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research and supports the families of children with cancer.

Altuve, who led the Astros to their first World Series championship, also was voted outstanding AL player for the second straight year. He hit .346 and won his third AL batting title in four years. Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was the outstanding NL player, leading the major leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs.

Washington right-hander Max Scherzer was picked as the outstanding NL pitcher, going 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and an NL-leading 268 strikeouts. Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber was the AL’s outstanding pitcher with an 18-4 record and big league-best 2.25 ERA.

New York outfielder Aaron Judge was the top AL rookie, setting a major league rookie record with 52 homers. Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger was the top NL rookie, hitting an NL rookie record 39 homers after his late April debut.

Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas were the top comeback players. After shoulder, wrist, thumb, foot, hamstring and oblique injuries, the 33-year-old Zimmerman hit .303 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs, earning his first All-Star Game selection since 2009. The 29-year-old Moustakas returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in May 2016 and hit .272 with 38 homers and 85 RBIs.

Balloting among big league players took place on Sept. 19 and results were announced Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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8 Children Among Those Killed In Church Massacre

LA VERNIA, Texas (AP) — By the time Paul Brunner rolled up in his ambulance to the worst mass shooting in Texas history, the First Baptist Church was a chaotic triage scene. Parents cried and kids screamed, and nearly all the victims appeared to have been hit more than once.

Two of the first four patients the burly volunteer medic loaded into ambulances were children.

“Our inclination is to protect children. The thing is, that wasn’t his inclination,” Brunner said, referring to the gunman. “He wasn’t separating going, ‘I’m not going to hurt the kids. I’m going to go after whatever adults wronged me.‘”

When gunfire tore through the church in tiny Sutherland Springs, killing more than two dozen, the bullets claimed eight children and teenagers who were sitting through Sunday services with their families. It was the largest number of children killed in a mass shooting since 20 died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Like that massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the fact that the assailant slaughtered defenseless children compounded the anguish. Nearby schools quickly added grief counselors.

The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a turbulent and violent past that included a court-martial while serving in the Air Force on charges that he assaulted his then-wife and hit her child hard enough to fracture the boy’s skull. Kelley, who had a rifle and left behind at least 15 empty magazines holding 30 rounds each, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.

Investigators have said the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic dispute involving Kelley and his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended services at the church but was not present on Sunday.

gettyimages 871059014 8 Children Among Those Killed In Church Massacre

Crosses stand in a field on the edge of town to honor the 26 victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 6, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

One couple who survived the attack, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez, said Kelley went aisle by aisle through the pews and shot crying children at point-blank range.

Authorities put the death count at 26, including the unborn baby of one of the slain women and the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor.

“There were just so many babies in there. It was a church. It was families,” said Torie McCallum, the former sister-in-law of Crystal Holcombe, the pregnant woman. “Watching them take person after person after person out was so heartbreaking.”

McCallum is also a volunteer medic in nearby Floresville who spent 12 hours at the scene Sunday. She identified Crystal and her three dead children — 11-year-old Emily, 13-year-old Greg and 9-year-old Megan.

Another of Crystal’s children, 7-year-old Evelyn, ran out of the church to a neighbor’s house. She suffered a head contusion, which McCallum thinks may have been caused by her head hitting a pew.

The kids were smart and liked church. Their father died six years earlier, but McCallum was relieved when John Holcombe entered the picture and helped raise them as his own.

They called him Dad and thrived in the 4-H Club. Emily liked archery while Greg, Evelyn and Megan did karate. Crystal homeschooled the children, and the girls sang in church, where the family got a kick out of how their different voices harmonized.

McCallum said the kids were excited for a new sibling and decided that the baby’s name, whether a boy or girl, should be Billy Bob Wigglebottom — which they found hilarious.

The official list of those killed released by Texas authorities Wednesday included Carlin Brite “Billy Bob” Holcombe.

By Wednesday, an online fundraiser had collected more $72,000 for the family.

“To see seasoned FBI agents and seasoned paramedics and seasoned law enforcement officers, when you see their eyes red, I feel so awful for all of the people who responded to that scene. Because they should never have to see anything like that, especially with so many children,” McCallum said.

One of the wounded children, 5-year-old Ryland Ward, was hit multiple times and opened his eyes at the hospital Tuesday for the first time since the shooting, said Leslie Ward, the boy’s aunt.

“Seeing the children that were killed. It’s one thing to see an adult, but to see a 5-year-old, that’s tough,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said.

Alison Gould, 17, returned Wednesday to the church where she had waited hours on Sunday for word about her best friend, 16-year-old Haley Krueger. She got the news she feared later that night.

“I am trying my best to cope. I want to see her really bad, and it’s kind of hard because I know that I can’t,” Gould said. “Me and her mom keep thinking that maybe she’s in the hospital, and they just identified her wrong. We’re trying really hard.”

Brunner, chief of the ambulance service in nearby La Vernia, had been at lunch with his own family when he heard about the shooting.

“You had parents screaming about their kids. They got stuff in front of them that they never imagined they would see in their life,” Brunner said. “Not really a war zone, because at least people in a war know they’re in the middle of a war. This is just hard to describe.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Uber Whistleblower Susan Fowler Gets Deal To Release Her Memoir

NEW YORK (AP) – The former Uber employee whose revelations of harassment helped lead to the ouster of the company’s CEO has a book deal.

Viking told The Associated Press on Thursday that it had acquired a memoir by Susan Fowler. The book is currently untitled and a release date has not yet been determined. Fowler is an engineer based in the Bay Area who in February detailed how she was propositioned by her boss at Uber and her complaints to human resources were ignored. After outside investigations were conducted, including one by former Attorney General Eric Holder, CEO Travis Kalanick and more than a dozen other Uber officials were pushed out.

“Fowler will expose the systemic flaws rampant in the startup culture through her shocking and galvanizing personal story of working as a junior engineer at the most valuable startup in the history of Silicon Valley, and the previously unreported details of what happened after she went public with the harassment and discrimination she faced there,” Viking announced. “Her bottom-up view of what it’s really like to be a female, entry-level employee inside this major driver of the American economy will offer crucial insight into how all women — not just those at the top — can navigate challenging work environments … “

Fowler added in a statement that she hoped her story would “inspire others to tell their own.” She is the author of two previous books, on computer programming, and editor-in-chief of the quarterly publication Increment.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Study Finds More LGBTQ Characters Appearing In TV Shows

LOS ANGELES (AP) – TV series are including more LGBTQ characters and adding gender-nonconforming ones, but there’s a need for richer, more complex stories about them, according to the media advocacy group GLAAD.

LGBTQ depictions increased in the current season across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms, the group’s annual Where We Are on TV study released Thursday found.

Shows contributing to the change include NBC’s reboot of “Will & Grace” and “The Deuce” on HBO.

“While we’re pleased to see numbers on the rise, consideration of how LGBTQ characters are woven into story lines and whose stories are making it to screen is crucial for judging progress of the industry. And there is still work to be done,” Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s entertainment research and analysis director, said in a statement.

Of the 901 characters set to appear regularly on prime-time network series in the 2017-18 season, 6.4 percent are identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender or queer.

That’s the biggest percentage on network shows found in the study’s 22 years, topping last year’s record-high of 4.8 percent. The numbers also are up on cable and streaming platform series, although the study found fewer depictions of LGBTQ characters of color on streaming as well as broadcast.

For the first time, GLAAD counted “non-binary” characters — those that don’t identify strictly as male or female. It found four non-binary characters across all TV platforms, including actor Asia Kate Dillon’s Taylor Mason on Showtime’s “Billions.”

gettyimages 680099216 Study Finds More LGBTQ Characters Appearing In TV Shows

Asia Kate Dillon attends the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on May 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

The study also looked at how women fare on TV and found it wanting.

While women make up an estimated 51 percent of the U.S. population, they’re 43 percent of the regularly appearing characters on broadcast TV — a 1 percent drop from last season, GLAAD said.

Among regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on broadcast networks, lesbian representation rose to 24 percent on broadcast and 21 percent on cable, both representing a 7 percent increase after the 2016-17 season in which a number of lesbian or bisexual female characters were killed.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Elliott Keeps Quiet Amid More Legal Limbo Over Suspension

FRISCO (AP) – Ezekiel Elliott skipped his weekly media session Wednesday because of more legal limbo in the star Dallas Cowboys running back’s fight over the NFL’s six-game suspension on alleged domestic violence.

The difference this week is that Elliott, the NFL’s second-leading rusher, was with his teammates. That wasn’t the case early last week when the 22-year-old was suspended until Friday after a judge rejected his request for a second injunction.

The third legal reprieve came in an emergency stay two days before the Cowboys beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Now Elliott seeks a longer-lasting injunction from a three-judge panel that will hear his case Thursday in New York.

A ruling could come before Sunday, when Dallas (5-3), on a three-game winning streak with significant contributions from Elliott, visits defending NFC champion Atlanta (4-4).

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show Wednesday he believed Elliott was planning to attend the hearing. If so, it will be with the blessing of coach Jason Garrett.

Elliott attended the hearing in New York last week after which U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla rejected all the arguments of his legal team in reinstating the suspension levied by Commissioner Roger Goodell in August.

The suspension followed the NFL’s yearlong investigation after prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, cited conflicting evidence when declining to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State. The allegations stemmed from incidents in the summer of 2016.

“Again, we’re going to focus on what we can control in that situation,” Garrett said earlier this week. “Zeke has done a really good job of that. Until someone tells us otherwise, we’ll proceed accordingly.”

Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing as a rookie last season, has been suspended briefly twice as the case has taken twists and turns in courtrooms from Texas to Louisiana to New York. He missed a day at the facility in mid-October, and three more last week.

The saga hasn’t affected Elliott on the field lately. He had three straight 100-yard games, the latter pair starting a two-game winning streak. In a 28-17 win against the Chiefs on Sunday, he scored the go-ahead touchdown in the second half and finished with 93 yards.

Over the past month, Elliott has climbed the NFL rushing chart and now trails this year’s dynamic rookie, Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt, by 7 yards. Elliott has 793 yards and is tied with Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams for the league lead in touchdowns rushing with seven.

“I’ve continued to say, we’re going to run our offense regardless of who’s in,” said quarterback Dak Prescott, who shared a remarkable debut season with Elliott and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

“I’m sure if the quarterback changes we’re going to run the exact same offense that we run. So for the most part it’s about coming in and controlling the things that we can control, giving a great effort and just studying the game plan for any running back or any receiver, being ready to go for Sunday.”

If Elliott loses the latest ruling, his legal options are likely to be near an end. He would miss all but the last two games of the regular season, just as the Cowboys were emerging as a playoff contender a year after the surprising rookie duo carried them to the top seed in the NFC at 13-3.

“It’s just doing whatever I can to get the best out of these other guys,” Prescott said. “For the situation with Zeke, it’s exactly that. I’m going to do the best I can to get the most out of him when he’s here and make sure he’s in a good place and (has) a good attitude when he’s not.”

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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