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Teen meets American soldier who saved her from Saddam Hussein

Published: Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 7:10 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 7:10 PM

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A Mill Creek High School student in Gwinnett County says she owes her life, and her graduation, to a stranger she's met only twice: Once as an infant in Iraq and then again Thursday afternoon.  

The year was 1996. Awaz Barwari had found herself on Saddam Hussein's kill list. The U.S. agreed to get her out of Iraq. But as she and her then-baby Lava arrived at the border, Awaz was told she could go, but her baby, whose name wasn't on the list, had to stay behind.  

Then, soldier Greg Peppin took baby Lava in his arms and announced she had a new name.  

"I said, 'My name is Greg, so if the baby's name is Greg it's got to be a relative and that means she can go,'" Peppin said. 

Mom and baby ultimately made it to the Atlanta suburbs where Lava would rise through the Gwinnett County school system.  

Peppin went on to become Vice President of Boeing International.   

The families never saw each other again, but as Lava planned her graduation, she decided she had to track Peppin down. 

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“It was the first story I ever heard. She's always told me about the man who saved my life,” Lava told WSB-TV’s Tony Thomas.

“The day I got Lava's email was one of those signature days that kind of make your life worthwhile,” Peppin said.  

And a reunion 18 years in the making finally happened Thursday between Peppin and “Baby Lava.”  

“I'm happy you tracked me down. I wouldn't miss this for the world,” Peppin told Lava.

At Lava's graduation Thursday night, that man who saved her life planned to be there, too.

"It was worth it… it was! Absolutely," Peppin said.

Eyelashes freeze, thermometer breaks as -62°C temperatures hit world's coldest village

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:22 AM

In this photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, Anastasia Gruzdeva poses for selfie as the Temperature dropped to about -50 degrees (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) in Yakutsk, Russia. Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia have dropped to near-record lows, plunging to -67 degrees Centigrade (-88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. (sakhalife.ru photo via AP)
Anastasia Gruzdeva/AP
In this photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, Anastasia Gruzdeva poses for selfie as the Temperature dropped to about -50 degrees (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) in Yakutsk, Russia. Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia have dropped to near-record lows, plunging to -67 degrees Centigrade (-88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. (sakhalife.ru photo via AP)(Anastasia Gruzdeva/AP)

As Americans continue to brave the winter weather, photos from a remote village in Russia might make them count their blessings that it’s not worse.

>> Here are 16 tips for keeping you, your pets and home safe in the cold

According to the experts, Oymyakon in Siberia is the world’s coldest permanently inhabited area. Recent temperatures came in at a bone-chilling -62°C, or -79.6°F.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

In fact, it was so cold that the town’s thermometer broke.

A few pictures have indicated that bundling up is no match for the weather.

Despite this, the weather certainly hasn’t deterred the adventurous.

>> Read more trending news 

It would seem that besides the thermometer, schools are the only other thing truly feeling the effects of the cold temperatures.

(H/T Twitter)

How To Prepare For Winter Weather

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Flu outbreak forces an entire school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes for rest of week

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 1:33 AM

Universal Vaccine Could Work On Viruses, End Annual Flu Shots

An entire Oklahoma school district canceled classes Wednesday through Friday after schools reported excessive flu absences among much of the staff.

>> Read more trending news 

Morris Public Schools said Monday's absences were at 20 percent, and Tuesday's were at more than 30 percent.

Basketball teams will continue competition in the county tournament.

Wrestlers will need to contact the coach about scheduled meets.

The district asks that ill students stay home when school resumes.

The Reason the Flu Shot Didn’t Work Half the Time During Last Year’s Flu Season

Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead with apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:06 AM

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 28:  Quarterback Tyler Hilinski #3 of the Washington State Cougars looks to make a pass in the second half of the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats won 58-37.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Tyler Hilinski #3 of the Washington State Cougars looks to make a pass in the second half of the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats won 58-37. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)(Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Police in Pullman, Washington, say officers have found Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinkski dead Tuesday in an apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

>> Read more trending news

At about 4:30 p.m., officers responded to an apartment to check on the welfare of a football player who did not show up for practice earlier in the day. 

When officers arrived, they found Hilinkski, 21, deceased with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 

Police said a rifle was recovered next to Hilinski and a note was found. 

Washington State president Kirk Schulz tweeted, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hilinski family.”

Former Washington State linebackers coach Roy Manning, who recently left for a position at UCLA, tweeted , “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. My heart is beyond saddened. Please pray for the family and all of us affected!”

Hilinski, from Claremont, Calif., recently finished his redshirt sophomore season for the Cougars.

He started in place of Senior Luke Falk in the Cougars loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl. 

Hilinski played 11 games in his Cougars career, passing for 1,149 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hilinski was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Haitians under protected status call on administration to process work permits

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:47 PM

Haitian and American flags(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Haitian and American flags(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thousands of Haitians living in Central Florida said they're just days away from being forced out of their jobs.

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Many of those worried are workers at Disney World.

They were granted Temporary Protected Status after an earthquake devastated their country in 2010.

They’re now finding out their jobs are in limbo, because their work authorizations are about to expire and new applications aren't being processed.

The change affects more than 500 workers at Disney, many of whom have families and homes in Central Florida.

In October, dozens of Haitians marched through the streets of Pine Hills, calling on the Trump administration to renew their TPS.

Many were facing the possibility of being forced to leave the country before the administration extended TPS until July of 2019 for more than 50,000 Haitians living and working in the U.S.

But now, they're facing another dilemma.

Wilna Destin has lived in Orlando 18 years.

She's married with two children and she has no idea what will happen next week when her and her husband's work authorization permits expire.

"That hurts, you know. It hurts your family,” she said.

TPS workers in Central Florida said they've learned the administration is not even processing their work authorization applications, which they need to stay employed.

Sano Leger, a union representative, said it affects workers all through the tourist corridor.

"Most of those big hotels, they have people who have TPS working in there,” he said.

The Disney unions are planning a rally Thursday afternoon outside the crossroads entrance to Disney to bring attention to their dilemma and to demand that the Trump administration allow Haitian TPS holders to work.