Service dog joins college graduate during ceremony

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 4:59 AM

WATCH: Service Dog Joins College Graduate During Ceremony

A college graduate in Texas walked the stage to receive her diploma on Saturday, accompanied by the service dog who served as her inspiration.

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Taylor Dearman graduated from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and she celebrated her milestone with Skittles, a dog she met while in Georgia, KRIS reported.

They were paired together almost four years ago when Dearman began experiencing anxiety, depression and seizures. Because of that, Dearman had been forced to drop out of Texas A&M -Corpus Christi, where she had been studying nursing. She moved to Georgia to be close to her parents, and when she applied for a service dog, Skittles came into her life.

“It was so bad that I had to quit school and take a year off,” Dearman told Inside Edition. “With (Skittles) I haven’t had a seizure.” 

The dog also became an inspiration.

“It kind of, ya know, really pushed me to become an educator because every day I got to educate someone about having a dog," Dearman told KRIS. “Others had commented ‘You're not disabled, you aren't in a wheelchair.' and (she) said, 'Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean there's (not) something that could be wrong.’”

Skittles also has accompanied Dearman to her student teaching courses.

"My students, they get to learn about her every single day. And I'm teaching, and I'm doing what I love and I get to inspire our future, which is amazing," Dearman told KRIS.

Now that she's graduated, Dearman plans to pursue a job as a fifth-grade reading teacher, KRIS reported.

Pulse Trial: Police body cam, surveillance video allowed in trial of alleged gunman’s wife

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

A view of the Pulse Nightclub sign on June 21, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. A shooter killed 49 people and injured at least 100 in a shooting rampage on June 12, 2016.
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images
A view of the Pulse Nightclub sign on June 21, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. A shooter killed 49 people and injured at least 100 in a shooting rampage on June 12, 2016.(Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

A federal judge ruled Tuesday on what evidence will and will not be allowed in the Noor Salman trial.

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Salman is the wife of Omar Mateen, who authorities have said killed 49 people and injured more than 100 at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. Mateen was killed by police the night of the shooting.

Noor Salman is the wife of alleged Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Authorities believe she knew about the attack that killed 49 and did nothing to stop it.(Facebook/ WFTV.com)

Prosecutors believe Salman knew about the planned attack, came up with a cover story and did nothing to stop the shooting.

Salman faces charges of aiding a former terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.
Judge Paul Byron ruled evidence that involves police body-camera video and surveillance video from inside the nightclub will be allowed in court.

>> Related: Who is Noor (Salman) Mateen, wife of Orlando mass shooter?

The surveillance video shows Mateen walking around the club with a gun.

The evidence also included cellphone video inside a restroom where Mateen fired at several victims and survivors. In the video, multiple rounds of rapid gunfire can be heard. 

Body-camera video from officers showed law enforcement outside of the club giving medical attention to gunshot victims.

Byron ruled last week that a terrorism expert will be allowed to testify about Mateen’s Facebook posts on the Islamic State group.

>> Related: Pulse trial: Terrorism expert allowed to testify

A psychologist has also been allowed to testify.

Salman’s trial is set to begin March 1.

No more free checking for Bank of America customers with low balances

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:42 PM

Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers.

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The bank is now requiring customers to keep more money in their accounts to avoid a $12 monthly fee.

A national petition on change.org has more than 52,000 signatures from people begging the bank not to end its free checking accounts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bank switched its e-banking customers into the new accounts this month.

E-checking, which launched in 2010, had a monthly fee of $8.95, but customers could avoid the fee by using online banking and not using a teller.

Now, those customers will have to pay a $12 monthly fee unless they maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or make a direct deposit of $250 or more.

Jessica Wassman said her boyfriend just learned about Bank of America’s plan to end its e-checking accounts and transfer those customers to core checking accounts.

"It did seem a little unfair,” Wassman said. “If you don't make a certain amount of money, you get penalized for it. It was a little insulting. The cost of living is going up, but poverty is still big and people can't afford simple things.”

Economist John Connaughton said checking accounts cost banks money and, with the economy improving, said customers can expect higher bank fees.

"When you start to see 4 percent unemployment, those are the types of things that happen,” Connaughton said.

Country music star, actress Lari White dead at 52 after battle with cancer

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:19 PM

Lari White performs a tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, not pictured, during the ASCAP Film and Television music awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. 
Matt Sayles/AP
Lari White performs a tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, not pictured, during the ASCAP Film and Television music awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. (Matt Sayles/AP)

The multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician and actress Lari White has died.

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The artist was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in late 2017. White first broke the news in a blog post on Artist Works, telling readers that she had already endured pneumonia, surgery and was dealing with pain management. A Caring Bridge page was then established by her family to keep family, fans and friends posted on her progress. Unfortunately, treatment, which included trying two new chemotherapy drugs, was unsuccessful, and on Jan. 23, White succumbed to the disease at the age of 52.

In one of the most recent posts on the Caring Bridge page, White’s mother wrote, “There is so much I could say about Lari, but multitudes of you have said it already. God gave us a very special gift when he sent this incredible baby to a young, inexperienced … and frightened … couple … But in spite of this, we loved her with all our hearts. From the beginning, we knew that she was ‘something else’ … wise and funny, intelligent and super-talented … so loving, kind and compassionate … with a heart as big as all of heaven. I have never known a person who did not love her and respect her, as evidenced by the great outpouring of love and concern of so many people. Every role she has played in life has been superb, and most of all, her role as mother. We are blessed to be her family. [Husband] Chuck [Cannon] and their three children are blessed to have her as wife and mother. Thank you, God, for Lari!”

>> Related: Country artist’s mother talks about daughter’s illness taking tragic turn

White earned Nashville’s attention in 1988 when she was named a winner in the reality competition show “You Can Be a Star,” a show that also helped launch the career of Trisha Yearwood.

She went on to release her first album, “Lead Me Not,” in 1993 and quickly established herself as a respected songwriter and singer with a sweet, but incredibly soulful, voice. Her sophomore album, “Wishes,” went on to produce three hit singles, including “That’s My Baby,” “Now I Know” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).” A 1997 duet with Travis Tritt, “Helping Me Get Over You,” cracked the Top 20 on “Billboard’s” Hot Country Songs chart.

In 1996, and then again in 1998, White became a Grammy winner for her contributions to “Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel” and “Amazing Grace 2.” She won a third Grammy in 1999 for her involvement on the soundtrack for the movie “The Apostle,” which featured June Carter Cash and Billy Joe Shaver. Lari performed the traditional hymn “There is Power in the Blood” for the collection.

>> Related: Country star’s tribute to her dying artist friend will move you to tears

The star also had success as one of the few female producers working in country music. She produced Toby Keith’s 2006 album, “White Trash With Money,” and co-produced four songs on Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little” album in 2004.

White gained big screen recognition when she appeared in the 2000 film “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks. She also went on to appear in the 2010 Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow movie, “Country Strong.” In addition, she appeared on the stage in the Broadway musical “Ring of Fire.”

Married to fellow hit songwriter Chuck Cannon (“I Love the Way You Love Me,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!”), White was the mother of three children–M’Kenzy, Kyra and Jaxon. White and Cannon co-wrote “I Will Not Say Goodbye” with songwriter Vicky McGehee, which became a Top 40 hit for Dany Gokey. Sadly, the song was inspired by the untimely passing of a dear friend’s 14-year-old son.

Man with tattooed face wanted for climbing in unlocked window, assaulting woman

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 9:01 PM

Domestic assault suspect Michael Mann is wanted by Cincinnati authorities.
Crimestoppers Cincinnati
Domestic assault suspect Michael Mann is wanted by Cincinnati authorities.(Crimestoppers Cincinnati)

Ohio authorities are searching for a man with distinctive tattoos covering his face and neck, who is  accused of climbing through an unlocked window at a Cincinnati home and assaulting a woman.

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Michael Mann, 34, is wanted for aggravated burglary and domestic violence.

According to police reports, Mann entered the woman's Cincinnati home and slapped and choked her. Police said he has a history of domestic violence and drug charges.

The latest incident involving Mann and the victim, who he has a child with, happened on Jan. 9.

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.