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5 things to know about Matt Lauer

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 @ 9:48 AM

What You Need to Know: Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer was fired from NBC’s “Today” show after one of his colleagues complained that the 59-year-old television journalist engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, network officials announced Wednesday.

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In a memo sent to staff, NBC News chairman Andy Lack said the allegation was the first made against Lauer in his more than 20 years at NBC News. However, Lack said company officials “were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Here are five things to know about Lauer:

Lauer was born in New York City on Dec. 30, 1957.

Lauer’s father, Robert, was an executive for a bicycle company while his mother, Marylyn, was a homemaker, according to a report from People magazine.

>> Related: Here’s how 'TODAY' addressed the news of Matt Lauer’s firing from the show

He has one sister, April Lauer Stone.

Lauer attended Ohio University.

He left the school without his degree when the last class he needed wasn’t offered in the spring of 1979, according to a 1997 Ohio University article. He returned nearly 20 years later to finish his degree.

Lauer began his journalism career in 1979.

He worked as a producer for WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia, according to Lauer’s “Today” show biography, which has been taken down since his firing. By 1989, he had moved on to hosting a three-hour interview program, “9 Broadcast Plaza” in New York. He hosted the show until 1991.

Lauer also hosted multiple weekly information and talk shows in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond.

Lauer joined the “Today” show as a news anchor in 1994.

Lauer worked as co-anchor of WNBC’s early morning and early evening newscasts from September 1992 to September 1996, according to Lauer’s “Today” show biography.

In this April 21, 2016, file photo, Matt Lauer, co-host of the NBC "Today" television program, appears on set in Rockefeller Plaza, in New York. NBC News announced Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, that Lauer was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior." (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)(Richard Drew/AP)

He started appearing on the “Today” show as a substitute news anchor in 1993 and joined the show as a permanent news anchor in 1994. Three years later, he was made the show’s co-anchor.

Lauer married Dutch model Annette Roque in 1998.

The couple met on a blind date one year earlier, according to People magazine. It was the second marriage for Lauer, who was previously married to TV producer Nancy Alspaugh.

Lauer and Roque have three children, two sons and a daughter.

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'National School Walkout’: Everything you need to know about Friday’s event

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

Thousands of students across the country are set to walk out of class on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

More than 2,500 groups have signed up for the “National School Walkout,” a student-led protest aimed at bolstering the discussion about gun-control measures.

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Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore who started a Change.org petition suggesting the walkout, said keeping the momentum of the national “March for Our Lives” movement strong was important to her and that, “Our generation is demanding change and won't be ignored or swept under the rug." 

March for Our Lives grew out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting.

Murdock told National Public Radio that the protest is “not conservative or liberal. It is just about making sure our children don't get harmed in school and we don't live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear. I think we're all sick of it. That's why we're doing this."

Murdock goes to a Connecticut high school about 20 minutes away from where Sandy Hook Elementary School once stood. The Newtown, Connecticut, school was the site of a mass shooting in 2012 where 26 people – mostly 6- and 7-year-old children – were killed.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s National School Walkout.

When is the National School Walkout?

The walkout is set for Friday and starts at 10 a.m.

What is the walkout about?

Students are protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence,” according to the National School Walkout website. They are asking lawmakers to support:

  • Legislation to strengthen background checks.
  • Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others. 
  • Bans on bump stocks.
  • Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15.

What will happen?

Students across the country will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time and pause for 13 seconds of silence – one second for everyone killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

After that, organizers are encouraging students not to go back to school, but to stay out the entire day. They are telling students to hold rallies and letter-writing campaigns or other activities around the day.

How do you participate?

Since organizers are suggesting that students walkout of school for the day, the event is geared more toward high school students. More than 2,500 schools in the United States have registered their intention to participate in the walkout. Not all groups registered are high schools. 

Organizers have compiled a guide with suggestions for activities and a link to resources including legal rights and safety tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)(Allen G. Breed/AP)

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Barbara Bush funeral set to begin Friday in Houston

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 11:19 PM

Biography of Barbara Pierce Bush

Barbara Bush’s funeral arrangements are set for this weekend in Houston.

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The public is invited to pay their respects at a public viewing for the matriarch of the Bush family from noon until midnight on Friday at St. Martin’s  Church.

The private funeral service for the former first lady is set for Saturday at the Second Baptist Church in Houston. Attendance at the service is by invitation only.

Related: Former first lady Barbara Bush dead at 92

President Donald Trump has ordered flags at the White House and on public and federal property around the United States flown at half staff this weekend in honor of Barbara Bush.

>> Related: Condolences pouring in for Barbara Bush, ‘she had grit and grace, brains and beauty’

She’ll be laid to rest in College Station, Texas, next to her daughter, Robin, who died at the age of 4, according to an interview the Bushes did with CNN”s Larry King in 2004.

Barbara Bush Through The Years

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Former first lady Barbara Bush dead at 92

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 7:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 7:48 PM

Biography of Barbara Pierce Bush

Former first lady Barbara Bush has died at her home in Texas at the age of 92.

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The news came after a family spokesman said April 15 that Bush would not be seek further medical treatment following a number of hospitalizations. Family spokesman Jim McGrath said the former first lady would “instead focus in comfort care.”

McGrath did not specify the illness or sickness that led to Bush’s decision. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Related: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Bush was hospitalized early last year when her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, was admitted for treatment of a case of viral bronchitis.

Related: George H.W. Bush discharged from hospital after pneumonia diagnosis

The Bushes had six children, including former President George W. Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Robin Bush, who died as a child.

Barbara Bush was born June 8, 1925 in New York City.

Related: Photos: Barbara Bush through the years

She married George H.W. Bush in 1945, making theirs the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. Barbara Bush supported her husband throughout his political career, including his time as a congressional representative from Texas, as vice president and as the 41st president of the United States.

Former first lady Barbara Bush pictured in 2017. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Barbara Bush founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989 with the goal of empowering families through literacy.

Bush is survived by her husband, George H.W. Bush, five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

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Beyoncé Mass to be held at San Francisco cathedral

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

Beyonce Five Fast Facts

A San Francisco church will hold a Mass devoted to the music and accomplishments of Beyoncé.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Grace Cathedral Church’s The Vine will host the event.

“Come to The Vine SF to sing your Beyoncé favorites and discover how her art opens a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females,”  the Grace Cathedral event page reads.

The Vine a service offered by the Episcopal cathedral that has contemporary worship and progressive theology. It meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the cathedral.

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“In this year where there’s been so much conversation about the role of women and communities of color, we felt a need to lift up the voices that the church has traditionally suppressed,” Rev. Jude Harmon, The Vine’s founding pastor, told the Chronicle. “The beauty of Beyoncé’s music is she explores those themes in an idiom that is accessible to everyone. We can use it as a conversation starter. That’s what it’s designed to be.”

Related: PHOTOS: Beyonce through the years

The Beyoncé Mass was planned before the singer’s history-making set Saturday at Coachella in Indio, California, Harmon said. The mass is part of a three-part series hosted by The Vine called “Speaking Truth: The Power of Story in Community.” It will have music and scripture readings by women of color, and a sermon by Rev. Yolanda Norton. Norton is an assistant professor of the Old Testament at the San Francisco Theological Seminary and teaches a class called “Beyoncé and the Bible,” the Chronicle reported.

Related: Photos: Beyonce performs at Coachella

“I know there are people who will say using Beyoncé is just a cheap way of trying to get people in the church,” Harmon said. “But Jesus used very provocative images in the stories he would tell to incite people to ask hard questions about their own religious assumptions. He regularly provoked. We’re following in the way of Jesus.”

The Beyoncé Mass will be April 25. More information can be found at the Grace Cathedral website.

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