'Sesame Street' welcomes Julia, new character with autism

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 2:27 AM

This image released by Sesame Workshop shows Julia, a new autistic muppet character debuting on the 47th Season of

A character with autism is joining Elmo, Big Bird and the other familiar faces on "Sesame Street."

The iconic children's show, which airs on PBS and HBO, will introduce a new Muppet, Julia, to TV audiences April 10, according to The Associated Press.

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Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" offered a closer look at Julia, who has appeared online and in print as part of Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children" initiative since 2015.

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"It's important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like," Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism, told "60 Minutes."

Host Lesley Stahl met Julia and spoke to Elmo and Big Bird about their new friend.

"Hi, Julia," Stahl said to the red-headed Muppet, who remained quiet – the same reaction she'll have when meeting Big Bird in her upcoming debut episode.

"I thought that maybe she didn't like me," Big Bird told Stahl.

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"Yeah, but you know, we had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird – it's just that Julia has autism, so sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things," Elmo said.

Julia also will struggle with loud noises and make up a game with her new friends.

 "They decide to play tag together, but Julia's so excited that she's jumping up and down," writer Christine Ferraro told Stahl. "That's a thing that can be typical of some kids with autism. And then it turns into a game where they're all jumping like her. So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is." 

School superintendent warns parents about '13 Reasons Why' series

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 6:49 PM
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 6:50 PM

This image released by Netflix shows Katherine Langford in a scene from the series,

In one of the nation’s largest school districts, the superintendent is warning parents of a “dangerous trend” among students after they watched the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” 

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The series, released March 31 on Netflix, tells the fictional story of the suicide of a 17-year-old girl who leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she said were partially responsible for her death. 

Robert Avossa of the Palm Beach County School District in Florida sent a letter home to parents Friday detailing why he is so concerned.

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Ja Rule’s ‘luxury’ island music festival turns into ‘disaster tent city,’ attendees say

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 1:11 PM

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Ja Rule attends the City Harvest's 23rd Annual Evening Of Practical Magic at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 25, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for City Harvest)
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for City Harvest

Ja Rule’s now-postponed ultra-luxurious Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, is being called a “complete disaster” with headlining bands pulling out of the celebrity-endorsed event.

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Some attendees called the event a “disaster tent city” where “mass chaos (reigned).”

The luxury music festival created by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland was supposed to bring an opulent party to the Bahamas April 28-30. Tickets started at $4,000 and went all the way up to 12-person VIP package for $250,000. Supposedly on tap: private beaches and tunes from Blink-182, Major Lazer, the G.O.O.D. Music crew, Migos, Lil Yachty and more.

However, the now-”fully postponed” festival immediately ran into a host of difficulties, according to Fader, with reported non-fun things including:

  • Delayed flights
  • Lost luggage
  • Lack of food
  • Half-built tents
  • Blink-182 pulling out on Thursday night
  • Canceled flights for those not already on the island where the festival was to be held

Attendees took to social media late Thursday disappointed and disgruntled about the lack of organization.

Chip Gaines of HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' sued by former business partners

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 3:12 PM

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19:  Chip Gaines attends The Build Series to discuss

“Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines have made a name brand for themselves on their HGTV program in which they renovate old homes and redecorate them. But two old business partners of Chip’s have filed a suit against him alleging fraud.

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According to documents, Chip Gaines bought out John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, two former owners, of their realty company, Magnolia Real Estate Company, days before their show “Fixer Upper” was picked up of by HGTV, KWTX reported. The show makes many references to ventures featuring the word “magnolia.”

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The 24-page suit was filed Wednesday at the state district court in Waco, Texas.

“Lewis and Clark were equal partners with Gaines in founding the Magnolia Real Estate Company in 2007,” KWTX reported.

Gaines bought each partners’ share for $2,500.

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“With this insider information in hand, Chip Gaines convinced plaintiffs to sell their membership interests in Magnolia Realty quickly to him before a public announcement that ‘Fixer Upper’ was picked up by HGTV,” the suite claims.

>> Related: Chip Gaines of 'Fixer Upper' asks for 'respect' after report on church's anti-gay stance

Since the launch of the show, the Magnolia name has been integrated into nearly all of their projects, including a magazine titled “The Magnolia Journal” and Magnolia House, a bed and breakfast.

“We are confident that these claims will be found to be meritless, and it is disappointing to see people try to take advantage of the hard work and success of Chip and Joanna Gaines,” Gaines’ attorney told Fox News.

>> Related: These “Fixer Upper” selfies are everything you love about Chip and Joanna Gaines

Disney’s ‘Miracle’ star Michael Mantenuto dies at 35 from apparent suicide

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 5:47 PM

Former Disney film actor and Army Special Forces member Michael Mantenuto was found dead Monday, according to TMZ

Mantenuto, 35, was found dead in a car in Des Moines, Washington, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to TMZ.

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A former University of Maine hockey player who landed a key role in the Disney biopic, “Miracle,” about the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team, Mantenuto appeared in two other films, “Dirtbags” in 2006 and “Surfer, Dude” in 2008. He later enlisted in the Army.

Col. Guillaume Beaurpere, the commander of Mantenuto’s Special Forces unit, confirmed his death on Facebook.