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iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) -- A 14-year-old girl was allegedly stabbed by a fellow student at a high school assembly in Oklahoma, according to local officials.

The victim was stabbed repeatedly in the upper back, head, arm and wrist on Thursday while she was in the auditorium on the first day of school at Luther High School in Luther, near Oklahoma City, according to the Luther Fire Department.

"The Luther High School Staff did a great job with assisting the victim and keeping her calm," the fire department said.

The girl, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital, where she is stable, Sgt. Tony Walker of the Luther Police Department told ABC News on Friday.

The unidentified suspect, a 14-year-old boy who is in ninth-grade, was immediately taken into custody and is being held at a juvenile facility, Walker said.

The motive is unknown, Walker said.

Luther Public Schools wrote on Facebook, "There was an incident at the High School Assembly this morning at the Auditorium. The situation is under control, all students are safe."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(PHOENIX) -- A 13-year-old Arizona boy who miraculously survived being struck by lightning says he's now waiting for his "powers" to kick in.

Josiah Wiedman was walking home through a park in Phoenix with a friend when he said a jolt of lightning launched him in the air.

"As we were walking, I got struck ... sending me 9 feet into the air, making me bounce on my head and then flip over to my back," the boy told ABC News. "All I remember is just a little bit of heat -- but barely."

The majority of what he said he remembers from the incident is from what others have told him.

"I really don't remember what happened, but I [have] people telling me what happened," he said. "I was skateboarding and [it happened] just like that."

His mom, Krista Wiedman, told ABC News that two girls who know Josiah ran to their home and "were weeping at the front door" when they told her what happened. The concerned mother immediately called his dad and rushed to the park.

"My son was unresponsive with a medical team surrounding him. At that time, all I could do was drop to my knees and begin to pray," she said.

His father, William Wiedman, hailed a bystander who performed CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene for his son's survival.

"It amazes me that a lot of people stepped in," the father said. "For Cory [Cieszynsky] to be inside his house and to hear this and investigate and run outside and run to my son's aid, he's an angel and I can't thank him enough."

Cieszynsky even checked in on Josiah at the hospital, William Wiedman said.

But after the heroic rescue, William Wiedman wasn't sure his son would make it.

"The first initial report said that Josiah was not going to survive," he said.

Doctors placed Josiah, who suffered a fractured skull and concussion, into a drug-induced coma for three days. The teen shocked everyone with a speedy recovery.

"I couldn't believe it," Krista Wiedman said. "My son should've been dead on the spot."

Javier Tapia, who was with Josiah, was also struck but had only minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital.

Josiah said the experience has give him a new lease on life.

"I'm going to try to live my life a bit more because I know it can end at any time," Josiah said.

Krista called her son her "Superman," but the teen said he's just waiting for those superhero powers to kick in.

"I haven't felt my powers yet but I will soon," he said.


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The 18-year-old woman who pushed her teenage friend off a 60-foot Washington state bridge, leaving her with multiple injuries, said she didn't consider the consequences beforehand.

"She wanted to jump and she was scared and she had asked me to give her a push, and I didn't think about the consequences,” Taylor Smith said in an exclusive interview Friday on ABC News’ "Good Morning America" with co-anchor Michael Strahan.

“I thought she would be fine.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Maricopa County Sheriff(PHOENIX) -- When Melvin Harris' 16-year-old daughter told him a strange man followed her into the bathroom of an Arizona convenience store and tried to force his way into her stall, his fatherly instinct kicked in and he took matters into his own hands, his fiancée told ABC News on Thursday.

When Harris' frightened daughter told him what happened inside the QuikTrip convenience store in Phoenix he confronted the man, Leon Armstrong, 26, and ended up beating him in a gravel area outside the store, police said.

The encounter left Armstrong dead and Harris in jail on a second-degree murder charge.

"I don't feel like he did anything wrong. He was doing what any father would do," Harris' fiancée, Diana Jackson, told ABC News. "I don't think his intentions were for the man to die. Not at all."

The incident unfolded around 11 p.m. on Aug. 2, after Harris picked his daughter and her friends up from work.

"She wanted to get a fountain drink and she wanted to use the restroom," Jackson said of the couple's daughter.

Harris told Phoenix police that Armstrong approached his car as he waited outside the QuikTrip and panhandled change from him, then went inside the store, according to court records.

Moments later, Harris' daughter came out of the store and told him a man followed her into the restroom, according to the court papers.

"Melvin went into the business and told a security guard he needed to handle the situation, or he would do it himself," according to the court document. "Security told him they would handle the situation."

Harris went back to his car and started to drive away, but then saw Armstrong and confronted him, court documents showed.

"According to witnesses, Melvin approached the victim and punched him in the face causing the victim to fall. Witnesses described the victim as snoring and moaning while on the ground," the court records say. "Melvin then, while standing over the victim, struck the victim in the face several more time and also kicked and stopped [sic] on him."

He then got into his car and drove away, the records said.

Police obtained a detailed description of Harris' car from video surveillance footage and tracked down the man at his home, which is near the convenience store, and detained him for questioning.

"During the interview, he admitted to punching the victim in the face but said it was only because the victim swung at him first, striking him near the neck and shoulder area," according to court records. "After hitting the victim, the victim fell to the ground and curled up into a ball. Melvin denied recalling any further strikes to the victim while he was down on the ground."

Harris was initially arrested on suspicion of felony aggravated assault. The charges were upped to second-degree murder after Armstrong died on Aug. 7.

Police said Armstrong suffered swelling to the brain and a nasal fracture in the confrontation with Harris.

"I understand you want to defend your daughter; I totally get that. I have kids myself. But the way [Harris] went about it was totally wrong," Armstrong's sister, Ashley Armstrong, told ABC affiliate station KNXV-TV in Phoenix.

Armstrong suffered from drug addiction and mental illness, and had been living on the streets of Phoenix, his step-grandmother, Marie Armstrong, told KNXV.

"We did not know where Leon was for days," Marie Armstrong said, adding that the family learned he was in the hospital from police.

"He didn't just get kicked in the head once, twice, maybe three times," she said. "His brain was so beat up that he could not breathe.

She said she does not believe that Armstrong was out to harm Harris' daughter.

"I really seriously in my heart believe that he was confused in the bathroom," Marie Armstrong said.

But Jackson said her daughter was terrified by the incident and believes that Harris was trying to attack her.

"She feels guilty," Jackson told ABC News. "That's what she kept saying. She wishes she had never told [Harris] to take her to that store."

She described Harris as an "awesome" father and "really a family man," who has seven other children and two grandchildren.

"I just think murder shouldn't be an option as a charge," Jackson said.

Harris has not entered a plea. He is expected in court for arraignment on Friday, court records showed.

Harris' court appointed attorney has not commented on the case.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A Phoenix officer and a suspect accused of opening fire on that officer both were listed in critical condition Thursday night, police said.

Police have not identified the officer or the suspect.

The officer was attempting a traffic stop around 8 p.m. local time near the intersection of Cactus and Cave Creek roads when the suspect fired two shots, witnesses told police.

"I don't know how many times he was shot," a police spokesperson said, referring to the officer. "Don't know anything about the suspect."

The officer had been on the force for about a year, the spokesperson said.

"It's one of those things that we say a lot -- we don't know what’s going to happen when you put on the uniform that night," the spokesperson added. "You come to work, and you hope for the best."

The officer was fired on after leaving his police cruiser to approach the suspect's halted vehicle, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said later at the hospital.

"In my opinion, I believed he was ambushed," Williams said. "The suspect is in surgery, and our officer is being watched."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Jamie Sumner(BEAVER CREEK, Colo.) -- A worker at the skating rink at Beaver Creek, Colorado, made the day of a little boy and a vacation for a family.

And he did it by "not treating Charlie special."

Charlie Sumner has cerebral palsy and was a "medically complex" infant, his mom Jamie Sumner told "Good Morning America." He had a trach and the family couldn't leave the house much.

"It was isolating," said his mom, the author of "Unbound," a book about motherhood and special needs.

Today, Charlie -- now 6 -- uses a wheelchair to get around. The family had attempted the Beaver Creek vacation once before with Charlie and his younger brother and sister, but it "was a disaster," Sumner told "GMA."

This vacation though, was the "best family vacation ever," for the Sumners from Nashville, Tennessee, in part because of the help of perfect stranger.

"Charlie hiked with us in a hiking backpack, we took the train in Leadville, made sure he got to do everything," his mom said. "But the ice skating, that was the one thing I could not think of a way to make work."

His younger brother and sister, now 4, had been "begging" to go ice skating, Sumner said. Her husband, Jody, plays in an ice hockey league, so he wanted to skate too.

At first, it was a situation all too familiar to the family: together, but separate.

"When we go to the park, I'll take Charlie on a walk in his wheelchair on the path while Jody climbs on the monkey bars with the twins," Sumner said.

Charlie and his mom watched the rest of the family from the side. The ice rink worker, whom the family knows only as Richard, was helping Jody with the twins on the ice.

But Charlie wanted to skate too. "Charlie kept pointing to ice," Sumner said.

"Richard came over and said 'want to take him out on the ice?' I wasn't prepared, I didn't think it was an option," Sumner said.

While many people often comment on Charlie being "cute," Sumner explained, they "very rarely offer to be hands on."

"This guy just did it," she said. "He did not treat Charlie special. He treated him like everyone else, just the way he did with his brother and sister."

Sumner attached grippers to her shoes and out on the ice they went. Jody took over, using all his hockey training to give Charlie the fun he deserved.

"Charlie loved it," she said. "He loves to go fast, which he did, he loves to spin around, which he did."

And now, simply because a stranger treated a child with a disability like any other child, the family has a new activity they can do together.

They won't be waiting until next year's trip to Beaver Creek for it either.

"We're going to do it at the indoor rink here," Sumner said. "It's going to be family night."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There were 75 damaging storm reports on Thursday, with tornadoes reported in Illinois, Kansas and Iowa.

Radar estimates showed more than 5 inches of rain fell just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, over just a few hours, flooding streets and stalling cars.

Strong winds -- with gusts of 60 to 70 mph -- damaged parts of Kansas and Alabama, where a tent collapsed and injured a dozen folks. Trees were uprooted throughout the Plains and Midwest.

The storm system responsible for that is moving east this morning, nearing the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes.

Strong to severe storms are expected later this afternoon throughout the Northeast, from Pennsylvania all the way to Vermont. Damaging wind, hail and isolated tornadoes are all possible.

By Saturday, the cold front likely will make its way to the coast, continuing the threat of heavy rain and storms from Washington up to Boston.

Flash flooding is possible is several regions over the next 48 hours, with more than 3 inches possible locally.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(DENVER) -- Colorado investigators believe they have found the bodies of two young girls whose father is accused of killing them, officials said.

Chris Watts was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the killing of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and two young daughters, Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4, were reported missing Monday by a family friend, according to police in Frederick, about 35 miles north of Denver.

A body believed to be Shanann Watts has been recovered, officials said Thursday.

Evidence technicians from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Frederick Police Department located two more bodies Thursday "in close proximity" to the body that investigators "strongly believe" is Shanann Watts', the Town of Frederick announced in a statement.

Authorities have a "strong reason to believe" that the two bodies found are Celeste and Bella, officials added.

Chris Watts, 33, was booked on three counts each of first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He is being held without bond and is set to return to court on Tuesday, reported ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV. Watts did not enter a plea

The father initially spoke out to the media when his family went missing.

Prosecutors said in court they believe the victims were killed in the family’s home, KMGH-TV reported.

"I'm pissed, raged, miserable," Shanann Watts' brother, Frankie Rzucek, told ABC News.

"I just want to know why," he wrote on Facebook. "My precious family my one and only sibling, my sister Shanann, 2 adorable nieces Bella and Celeste and her soon to be found out unborn son Niko."

"May Satan have mercy on his soul," Rzucek wrote.

Family friends who stood by the husband said they were shocked to hear of his arrest.

Chris Watts had initially told reporters that his wife, 34, disappeared without a trace, leaving her purse and keys at home.

"When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here," he told KMGH-TV Tuesday. "My kids are my life. ... I mean, those smiles light up my life."

Friends who spoke with Chris Watts after his family's disappearance said the only thing missing in the house was his daughter's treasured baby blanket.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(REDDING, Calif.) -- Instead of anger and hate, the couple who accidentally started the deadly Carr Fire in Redding, California, has been getting flooded with messages of love and support from the very community devastated by the fire.

When Rachel Pilli heard that it was a couple whose trailer’s flat tire caused the fire igniting sparks she thought about how awful they must be feeling and started to pray for them.

While at church this past Sunday, Pilli overheard a firefighter she knew talking about the same couple, who happened to be his mother’s neighbors, so she asked him to bring them a card from her.

But when she got home that night she thought her friends might be interested in doing the same, so she posted her idea in a private Facebook group, comprised of mostly mothers.

“I personally know someone whose mom is a neighbor to the man whose trailer accident led to #CarrFire," she wrote. "Many of us have been praying for this man (81 yr old). I learned that his wife is blaming herself for the #CarrFire, because she asked him to take the trailer in the first place. She has been crying day and night on her couch."

She went on to write: “Do you think we can love on them and break off the shame/guilt that the enemy is trying to cover her in? Would you like to send her a card? If so, please drop it to me."

When Pilli saw the overwhelming response she received, she was in tears.

“I was crying reading the comments, the comments were just filled with compassion and grace,” Pilli told ABC News.

Her friend, Hope Seth, who's the founder of a Facebook page called “Carr Fire Stories,” re-posted the request asking for positive messages, and within a few days hundreds of comments poured in.

Seth, a mother of four kids, said she created to page to “collect, preserve and share our communities’ experiences from the fire,” and she wanted to use that platform to help garner comfort and support for the couple.

The post received over 600 comments, almost all of them sending the same message: It was an accident, and it wasn’t your fault.

People from all over the country showed their support and empathy, from those who have lived through other fires, to those who faced similar troubles with their RVs -- even those who lost everything in the Carr Fire.

“I live in Redding and my family was affected by the fire in varying degrees," one resident wrote. "I want you to know that I have not heard anyone blame you and we certainly do not.”

Another resident who lost their home also wrote a sweet comment.

“We would in no way blame those folks," the resident wrote. "No one could have ever guessed it, no blame here, not at all.”

Seth printed out the comments and brought them along with a bouquet of flowers donated by her friend to Care Net Pregnancy Center where Pilli serves as the executive director.

“We had over 650 cards, printed messages and packages in less than 48 hours and more are still coming,” Pilli said.

The mail went out for delivery Wednesday and they're hoping the couple will receive it by next week.

The Carr Fire started on July 23 and has burned more than 200,000 acres causing 7 deaths, including 3 firefighters, according to the National Park Service.

Officials have not yet released the names of the couple.

Though it has become one of the most destructive fires in California history, so many stories of kindness and courage similar to this one emerged from the tragedy, Seth said.

“It’s been beautiful to see hope and stories of heroes that other people don’t see,” Seth added.

In the wake of the fire, there have been heroes like the firefighters who left handwritten notes at residents’ homes and took care of their gardens and animals, Seth recalled.

Pilli, too, is in awe of their community’s reactions.

“It really demonstrates the compassion and kindness of our communities," Pilli said.

"This fire has forced us to look into each other’s eyes," Pilli added, "and discover the human kindness in us."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Weld County Sheriff(DENVER) -- After Chris Watts' pregnant wife and two young daughters were reported missing in their Colorado town Monday, his friends, Nick and Amanda Thayer, rushed to his side.

Watts even spent Tuesday night at the Thayers' home -- before Watts was arrested on Wednesday, accused of killing his wife, Shanann Watts, and the couple's daughters, Celeste, 3, and Bella, 4.

"We feel so stupid... trusting him to stay the night in the same house as our daughter," Nick Thayer told ABC News on Thursday, overcome with emotion. "I'll never let that go."

"In the 48-to-72 hours we were with him ... he was his normal self," Amanda Thayer added. "He never once cried."

Chris Watts had initially told reporters that his wife, 34, disappeared without a trace, leaving her purse and keys at home.

"When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here," Chris Watts told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV Tuesday. "My kids are my life. ... I mean, those smiles light up my life."

Nick Thayer said he and his wife spent Tuesday at the Watts' home, helping their friend through ideas on how to find his missing wife and daughters. Nick Thayer said it didn't cross their minds to ask Watts if he was involved.

"He fooled us. And I'm so sorry. We just thought we were doing the right thing by being a good friend," Nick Thayer said. "We were duped."

"It doesn't make sense. And that's why we were there with him because all the times we were with him it was nothing but love," he said, adding that Watts was a "hands-on dad."

"He and Shanann were always hugging, kissing and smiling. They were just a picture of in love," added Amanda Thayer. "I want to know why."

"She was an amazing person," Amanda Thayer said of Shanann Watts. "She uplifted everyone around her. She listened to your thoughts, your concerns, your life. And never judged you. She gave you great advice."

A body believed to be Shanann Watts has been recovered, officials said Thursday.

Authorities have a "strong reason to believe" they know where the girls' bodies are and recovery efforts are underway, officials added.

Chris Watts, 33, has been booked on three counts each of first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

"The suspect is presumed innocent until otherwise proven guilty in the court of law," Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said at a news conference Thursday.

Authorities have declined to comment on a potential motive.

"Our role now is to do everything we can to determine exactly what occurred and assist in filing the thorough case," added Colorado Bureau of Investigation director John Camper.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Tech. Sgt.Gregory Solman/California National Guard(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) -- As wildfires rage across the state, about 1,000 California National Guard soldiers are supporting response efforts, providing unique military capabilities to contain the fires.

Massive wildfires, including the Mendocino Complex Fire and Carr Fire, currently cover about 760,000 acres of California -- the size of the state of Rhode Island or 60 times the size of the island of Manhattan, California National Guard officials said on Wednesday.

Guardsmen are using 22 aircraft to help civil authorities fight the fires, including the MQ-9 Reaper, a remotely piloted drone that can fly up to 24 hours each day.

The Reaper maps the behavior of a fire in real time, recording thermal imagery that can be analyzed and shared with California Fire chiefs.

While it can't fly during certain wind conditions, the Reaper isn't hindered by heavy smoke that can affect piloted aircraft.

The drone's infrared capability allows it to "see through" smoke that could otherwise hinder visual sight.

While the California National Guard regularly assists in wildfire response, one its top leaders told reporters on Wednesday that the scale of this year's fires is "extraordinary." “These fires are getting bigger. They’re burning more erratically," Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, the deputy adjutant general for the California Guard, said at a Pentagon briefing.

He credited dry fields from a lack of snowfall as a major contributor to the scale of this year's fires. Beevers estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the state's worst fires are now contained.

In addition to aviation and airlift capabilities, the National Guard conducts medical evacuations, as well as assists with transportation and security needs.

The states of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have mobilized Guardsmen to support wildfire response operations in their states.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A former Baltimore police officer caught on video repeatedly punching a man while on duty has pleaded not guilty to assault and misconduct charges.

Arthur Williams, 25, appeared in-person for his initial court hearing on Wednesday after turning himself in the night before. A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ordered for him to be released from jail until his trial on Oct. 23.

Prosecutors argued that he should be locked up without bail, according to ABC Baltimore affiliate WMAR. Williams, earlier this week, was indicted on charges of first- and second-degree assault and misconduct in office after video surfaced that showed him beating a man and throwing him to the ground.

The victim, 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier, was hospitalized after the attack for a fractured jaw and broken ribs. His attorney objected to the former officer's release on Wednesday and said he should be considered a threat to the community and the police force.

Williams' lawyer rejected those claims, describing his client as a family man, a mentor and a Marine with a clean record. He says the video of the altercation only tells part of the story.

 "This is a man who is a spectacular person ... he had received three different awards when he was at the police academy. No history of violence during his time as a police officer," Williams' attorney, Thomas Maronick, told reporters on Wednesday. "This is someone who has done a lot of good for a lot of people, and obviously the video and the perception of what the public has is a different one then what the facts will show."

"Arthur is not a threat to anyone in the community," he added. "He looks very much forward to his day in court, his chance to tell his side of the story, and I think that is what we’re going to be able to do."

Williams, a Baltimore native, resigned from the police department on Aug. 12. A second officer seen in the video has been placed on administrative duties, according to the police department, which is withholding that man's identity. The second officer has not been charged.

The Baltimore State's Attorney Office indicted Williams on Tuesday over his Aug. 11 confrontation with McGrier, which the office said unfolded before "community onlookers."

"It is important that the community knows there is one standard of justice, no matter your sex, race, religion or occupation," State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement announcing the charges. "Police Officers are sworn to protect and serve and when that oath is taken for granted and an abuse of that power is evident, we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This is an integral part to rebuilding trust in our criminal justice system."

Williams and another officer were patrolling an area near the 2500 block of Monument Street when he approached McGrier and asked for identification, according to the police department. The encounter "escalated" when McGrier refused.

McGrier was arrested but wasn't charged with a crime.

"My preliminary review of the public video is extremely disappointing. I don't think there was any room for the activity that I saw, and it's extremely disappointing,” Baltimore Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said at a Monday press conference. "The repeated head strikes are disturbing, the manner in which it was done, the attempt to take this individual to the ground was very post-the head strikes."

"This situation," he added, "shows us another deficiency in our training that we can learn from."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than 300 newspapers plan on publishing editorials on Thursday pushing back against President Donald Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric against news media.

“This dirty war on the free press must end,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Boston Globe's editorial page deputy managing editor said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “It calls for urgent action by those committed to free speech and the free press to stand against a White House and its allies who are bent on eroding a pillar of an informed democracy.”

The Boston Globe first proposed a coordinated response by editorial boards nationwide last week as the president continues to rail against so-called “fake news” media organizations with claims that the press covers him unfairly.

Publications ranging from the New York Times to smaller regional publications such as the South Bend Tribune are part of the initiative.

“We’re not your enemy. We just want to help make this community stronger. There’s nothing fake about that…,” the South Bend paper's editorial read and listed the staffers who are part of and report on the community.

"Christian Sheckler’s investigative reporting on Elkhart County’s criminal justice system revealed how poor policing led two men to spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, and how prosecutors continued to double down even in the face of new evidence. His work shed new light on a stark example of injustice," the editorial read.

"Christian is not your enemy. He calls himself a “fact-finder,” whose work is meant to “reveal what the truth is.”

Since his inauguration, President Trump has characterized major news organizations as “the enemy of the people”. In a tweet on Thursday, Trump repeated the claim and declared "THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!"

"Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news," the president said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention last month. "Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

First amendment experts have raised concerns over the president’s tone toward the media and worry about the possibility of violence towards the press.

“Because of the power of his authority, just by the nature of the office, [Trump] needs to really consider whether his language has a negative impact on the press,” David Kaye, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, told ABC News. “At the end of the day, we rely on the press to keep tabs with what’s going on in the government.”

“We should really understand this not just as an attack on specific journalists or outlets but as an attack on the public’s right to know what the government is doing,” Kaye said.

The publisher of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, said in a statement to ABC News that he told the president during a meeting with the president last month that his language towards the media is “divisive" and "increasingly dangerous.”

“I told him that although the phrase 'fake news' is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists 'the enemy of the people.' I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence,” Sulzberger said.

The president said he had “a very good and interesting meeting at the White House” with Sulzberger in a tweet.

Last month, a CNN correspondent who was representing a number of networks as a "pool reporter" was “dis-invited” from covering an official White House event after she shouted out what the administration called “inappropriate” questions to the president about his former lawyer Michael Cohen and about a White House invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House Correspondents' Association condemned the administration's action.

"This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand," WHCA President Olivier Knox said.

Papers participating in the effort say the editorials are a way to collectively voice the significance of the freedom of the press.

“Our words will differ," Pritchard said in her statement. "But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming.”

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(DETROIT) -- Aretha Franklin, the pastor's daughter who became the undisputed Queen of Soul over a career that spanned more than five decades, has died of advanced pancreatic cancer, ABC News has confirmed.

"It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul," read a statement from her rep.

"Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds," the statement continued.

“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

Franklin's health had been a concern for the past few years, causing a spate of concert cancellations.  In 2017, she appeared alarmingly thin but claimed it was a side effect of an unspecified medication. After announcing she was retiring from the road in 2017, Franklin still scheduled shows for 2018 but in March, she was ordered by her doctors to cancel all shows and rest for two months.  Despite rumors of serious health problems, she's never publicly spoken about her ailments.

Merely saying that Franklin was one of the greatest vocalists of all time hardly seems adequate to describe her influence and impact -- her voice was officially declared a natural resource by her home state of Michigan.  In 2015, President Barack Obama said of Franklin: "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll -- the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope."

Franklin started her music career early, singing gospel music as a child at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father, C.L. Franklin, was minister.  In 1960, at the age of 18, she signed to Columbia Records and experienced some success, especially on the R&B charts.  But it wasn't until 1967, when she signed to Atlantic Records, that her career really took off. 

For Atlantic, Franklin recorded-now classics "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," which helped her cross over to the pop charts.  She won her first Grammy in 1968, the same year she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.  She'd eventually go on to win a total of 20 Grammys, including special Grammys awarded outside of competition, and chart more than 73 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

Franklin was also part of the civil rights movement of the sixties and has been called "the voice of Black America."  Having met Martin Luther King Jr. through her father, himself a noted civil rights leader, she sang at events with Dr. King and her signature hit,  "Respect," became a civil rights anthem.  When King was assassinated in 1968, Franklin performed "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at his funeral.

Aretha's hits continued through the '70s but she left Atlantic records in 1979, signing to Clive Davis' label, Arista, in 1980.  That same year, she made her unforgettable appearance as a waitress in The Blues Brothers.  Her 1982 album, Jump to It, returned her to the pop charts for the first time in six years.  She remained with Arista for more than 20 years, racking up hits like "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Freeway of Love" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." In 1987, she was the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

During this time, Aretha also started recording duets with younger artists, including Eurythmics, Whitney Houston, Michael McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Elton John and George Michael, the latter with whom she scored the 1987 #1 smash duet "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me."  

In 1994, Franklin received the Kennedy Center Honors, at the time the youngest person to be so honored. That same year, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  She was also the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among countless other awards.

While Franklin's musical output covered rock, soul, pop, R&B and gospel, in 1998 she proved she really could sing anything by belting out the operatic aria "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammy Awards, filling in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti.

Over the past 15 years, Franklin performed at a number of high-profile events.  In 2006, she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XL in Detroit with Aaron Neville and Dr. John.  She performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inauguration, where her fanciful hat received nearly as much attention as her vocal performance.

Franklin continued to release albums throughout the 2000s, including a 2014 album that featured her singing songs by other female artists including Adele, Barbra Streisand and Alicia Keys.  Her version of "Rolling in the Deep" gave her her 100th charted song on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Recently, Franklin had spoken of an album she'd been working on with Stevie Wonder, and early in 2018, it was announced that Jennifer Hudson would portray her in a biopic.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Project Recover(KISKA, Alaska) -- Some 75 years after an explosion from a Japanese mine ripped through the USS Abner Read, a team of scientists says they've discovered the missing stern hundreds of feet beneath the waves off the Alaskan Island of Kiska.

"This is a significant discovery that will shed light on this little-known episode in our history," retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, acting undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said in a statement. "It's important to honor these U.S. Navy sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation."

It was about 1:50 a.m. on Aug. 18, 1943, when the Japanese blast tore apart the American destroyer.

The ship's 75-foot stern, along with 71 sailors, disappeared into waters off the remote island of Kiska. Amazingly, the rest of the Abner Read survived.

The crew had kept its hull watertight until two nearby U.S. Navy ships could tow the destroyer back to port. Within months, the Abner Read was deployed back to the Pacific during a critical period of World War II.

It was used until November 1944, when a Japanese dive bomber destroyed the ship in a kamikaze attack during the battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, considered one of the largest naval confrontations of the war.

The discovery was made by the research team at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the University of Delaware, which was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Exploration and Research. They partnered with four U.S. Navy sailors from the Naval Special Warfare Group.

The effort also was supported by Project Recover, a public-private partnership working to find the final underwater resting places of Americans missing in action since WWII.

The team made the discovery July 17 during a mission to document the battle off Kiska. Sonar mounted to the side of a research ship identified the target before a remotely operated vehicle captured live video that confirmed that the Abner Read's stern indeed was below, now covered in sea life.

"There was no doubt," said expedition leader Eric Terrill, an oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and co-founder of Project Recover. "We could clearly see the broken stern, the gun and rudder control, all consistent with the historical documents."

According to the researchers, the Kiska mission was the first to thoroughly explore the underwater battlefield where as many as 7,200 Japanese forces occupied the Aleutian islands from June 1942 to mid-August 1943.

According to Naval History and Heritage Command, there are often war graves near sites like that of the Abner Read that are considered the final resting place for sailors who lost their lives at sea.

"We take our responsibility to protect those wrecks seriously," said the command's director Sam Cox. "They're the last resting place of American sailors."

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