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Chelsie Lacny

Pia Zadora, Z-list actress, arrested for domestic battery

Wait, Pia who?

Pia Zadora, a singer-actress well past her prime, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of domestic battery and coercion. The incident began when Zadora, 61, attempted to impose a bedtime on her son.

Her son was playing in the yard with her step-son and husband, Michael Jeffries, a Las Vegas police detective. Zadora wanted her son to come inside and go to bed, and when he refused she allegedly sprayed him and his step-brother with a hose.

As her step-son and husband attempted to calm her down, she proceeded to scratch and punch both of them. Her son later tried to dial 911, but Zadora tried to take the phone away from him, choking him in the process.

When the police arrived at the home, the whole family reportedly prevented him from answering the door. This resulted in a police stakeout of the house that lasted six hours.

The police finally arrested Zadora around 11 A.M. on Sunday, and she was released after posting $4,000 bail.

Pia Zadora began her career as a child actress on Broadway. In 1982 she was an actress worth knowing; she starred in Butterfly, and won a Golden Globe Award as New Star of the Year. After her film career never took off, she tried her hand at music. She had a relatively successful career as a singer, but she hasn’t come out with anything new in quite some time.

Zadora has been married to her third husband, Michael Jeffries, since 2005.

Frank Lautenberg, United States senator from New Jersey, dead at 89

The five-term senator from New Jersey passed away from complications of viral pneumonia

Frank Lautenberg, five-term United States senator from New Jersey, died early Monday morning from complications of viral pneumonia. He was 89.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, spent the last few years of his life battling a number of health problems. In 2010, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He went through treatments and made a full recovery, but the past few months found Lautenberg dealing with other health issues that kept him from fulfilling his duties as senator. The flu kept him from attending a vote on Jan. 1 of this year, and leg pains followed, resulting in more missed votes. In May a tribute was held honoring him for his contributions to the Jewish community. Lautenberg was unable to attend due to a chest cold.

Frank Lautenberg’s death leaves an open seat in the Senate, and a successor will be appointed by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican. He will likely replace the late senator with a Republican, because Christie often disagreed with Lautenberg’s political beliefs.

“We had some good fights over our time,” Christie said. “I think the best way to describe Frank Lautenberg and the way he would probably want to be described to all of you today is as a fighter. Senator Lautenberg fought for the things he believed in and sometimes he just fought because he liked to.”

Lautenberg had a very successful legislative career since first being elected to office in 1982. He served three terms before announcing his retirement in 2000, but that didn’t last long. Lautenberg ran again in 2002 when Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli dropped out of the race at the last minute. He was re-elected in 2008, but earlier this year he announced he would not run for another term.

Over the course of his time in office, Frank Lautenberg spent much of his time fighting the alcohol and tobacco industries; he wrote the law that banned smoking on commercial airlines in 1989, as well as the law that set the national minimum drinking age at 21 in 1984. He was also a gun control advocate, and tried to increase spending on transportation and the environment.

“He improved the lives of countless Americans with his commitment to our nation’s health and safety, from improving our public transportation to protecting citizens from gun violence to ensuring that members of our military and their families get the care they deserve,” said President Barack Obama in a statement.

Frank Lautenberg was the last World War II veteran remaining in the Senate. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; six children; and 13 grandchildren.

Jean Stapleton, award-winning television actress, dies at age 90

The “All in the Family” star changed television, and will be missed by many

Jean Stapleton, best known for her memorable role as Edith Bunker in the hit television series All in the Family, passed away on Friday of natural causes. She was 90.

Jean Stapleton’s career—and her life—was a long one, although she will always be recognized for her role in All in the Family. The sitcom ran from 1971 to 1979, and it won four consecutive Emmys Awards for outstanding comedy series. Stapleton was able to snag a few Emmys for herself in 1971, 1972 and 1978 for her role as Edith Bunker.

All in the Family was a comedy, but at the time it was groundbreaking for the issues it presented about the changing way of life in America. Brilliantly played by Stapleton, Edith Bunker was the submissive and long-suffering wife of Archie Bunker. Archie, played by the late Carroll O’Connor, was the “lovable bigot” of the show, bullying Edith and the other members of the household. He constantly called Edith a “dingbat,” but she never shared his prejudices. As the show progressed, Edith became the voice of reason to Archie, and a role model for women everywhere. Jean Stapleton was the one who really brought Edith to life, and transformed the way television portrayed political issues.

“The benign, compassionate presence she developed made my egregious churl bearable,” O’Connor wrote about Stapleton in his 1998 autobiography.  

Jean Stapleton’s career did not begin or end with All in the Family. She got her start on Broadway in 1953 with a part in the play In the Summer House, and continued with theater performances until she landed her big television gig. After All in the Family, she continued to make appearances in plays, television shows, and movies. In 1982 she received two more Emmy nominations for her roles in the CBS miniseries Eleanor, First Lady of the World and the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire. She retired in 2002.

Jean Stapleton lived a long, lustrous life, and she will be missed by many. 

“Jean was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing,” said Rob Reiner, who played Edith’s son-in-law, about her passing. “Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

“No one gave more profound ‘How to be a Human Being’ lessons than Jean Stapleton,” said series creator Norman Lear. “Goodbye Edith, darling.”

Jean Stapleton’s husband, William Putch, died in 1983, but she is survived by two children. Her son, John Putch, is an actor and television director, and her daughter, Pamela Putch, has also dabbled in some acting and television producing. 

Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, Carl Young dead after second round of tornadoes sweeps through Oklahoma

Friends, family, and the scientific community mourn the loss of three memorable storm chasers

Tim Samaras, 55, was killed on Friday as another round of tornadoes swept through Oklahoma. A well-known and respected storm chaser, he was out with his son Paul Samaras, 24, and their colleague Carl Young, 45, in El Reno trying to research and document the storm. All three were later found dead.  

Tim Samaras was found in his car with his seat belt still on. His son and his partner were both ripped from the car by the storm. One of them was found a half a mile away.

Tim Samaras was in the field of tornado science for more than 25 years. He met Carl Young at a meteorological conference, and the two have chased more than 125 tornadoes together since 2003.

Tim Samaras’ main priority was always safety, as it should be for any storm chaser. He was known for being one of the safest chasers in the industry, and he would never want to put anyone in harm’s way. It was just bad luck that he and his team were out on Friday.

“Out of all storm chasers he doesn’t take chances, he’s the one that puts the probes in the path of the tornado to learn more about them,” ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee said of Samaras. “He is not, you know, a young gun running around making bad decisions person, so I am so sad and shocked, it is such a loss for the community.”

Samaras was a ground-breaking researcher in his field. He constructed his own probes to measure atmospheric variables within a tornado, and one of his probes measured a record pressure drop inside a tornado. He also built a probe with cameras that could look inside a tornado. He founded and ran TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes Experiment), a scientific field research program of which Carl Young was a part. The goal of the program is to improve forecasts and increase warning times for when a tornado is going to strike, decreasing the death tolls. Samaras also starred in the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers until it was cancelled in 2012.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” the Discovery Channel said in a statement.

National Geographic funded much of Samaras’ research, including the field work he was doing the day he died. “Though we sometimes take it for granted, Tim’s death is a stark reminder of the risks encountered regularly by the men and women who work for us,” Executive Vice President, of the National Geographic Society, Terry Garcia, said in a statement. “This is an enormous loss for his family, his wide circle of friends and colleagues and National Geographic.”

Indeed, it was a sad loss for not only the weather and storm chasing community, but for anybody who might have benefited from his life’s work. At least we all know that these three men died doing what they loved and were passionate about.

Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young were three out of 13 dead as a result of this recent disaster, and the search for missing still continues.

Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman, will not run for a fifth term

Michele Bachmann announced her decision via YouTube video on Wednesday

            Michele Bachmann released a video Wednesday announcing her decision not to run for a fifth term as the representative of Minnesota’s 6th district.

            While her reason for not running again was not specified, her speech was littered with several statements that are worth mentioning.

            “I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual that I defeated last year, who recently announced that he is once again running,” she stated. While there is no way of knowing this for sure, this pretentious statement seems ridiculous, especially when looking at the facts of last year’s election. Her opposition, Democrat Jim Graves, not only had less time to organize his campaign, but also had much less money to spend; Bachmann outspent him 12-1, and she still only managed to defeat him by 1 percentage point. A recent poll showed Graves at 47 percent, just slightly above Bachmann’s 45 percent. It’s true, the polls are biased and these percentages are well within the margin of error, but the race would still be a tough one for Bachmann to win, especially based on last year’s near-loss.

            “And rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign,” she goes on to say. Currently, Michele Bachmann is being investigated for misuse of funds during her presidential campaign. She has had far too much negative press in recent months because of this, and it’s hard to believe that this wouldn’t affect her campaign in a bad way. The inquisitions could likely be her downfall during another campaign.

            Further, Michele Bachmann her speech continues to include a rail of criticism against the Obama Administration. “My core of conviction on these principal issues and more will continue, in a steadfast manner, during the remainder of my term and beyond,” she said. “On so many issues, we’re clearly on the wrong track.” What’s baffling is that someone who ran for the presidency of the United States, and who has the chance to run (and a semi-decent chance of winning) for another term in Congress, would back down from the opportunity when she clearly has such strong opinions about the future of the country. One would think that running for a fifth term would be the best way that she could present her ideas and elicit the change that she so desires.  

            “I fully anticipate the mainstream liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision not to seek a fifth term. Since I was first elected to Congress many years ago, they always seem to attempt to find a dishonest way to disparage me,” she said. Unfortunately, Bachmann has become infamous for her uneducated and untrue remarks, so it seems that she has become quite used to disparaging herself.

            Overall, her announcement was a huge shock to everyone, as Michele had already started heavily campaigning for the next election, but there is no doubt that the shock was a good one for the Republican Party and the nation as a whole. Now all that remains to be seen is who will take her place as representative, and what she will do now that she is not holding office. Only time will tell.

Chicago Blackhawks defeat Detroit Red Wings in OT

Chicago wins series against Detroit after a thrilling OT goal

            The Chicago Blackhawks are one step closer to the Stanley Cup after their dramatic win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal led the Blackhawks to victory after coming out of a 3-1 deficit earlier in the series.

            The game was a nail-biter for the team and fans alike. The Blackhawks started off with a lead in the second period, but the Red Wings came back by tying the score at the beginning of the third period. A potential game-winning goal by Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson was disallowed less than two minutes before the end of the third period; a roughing penalty sent the Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad and Red Wings’ Kyle Quincey to the penalty box for the rest of the period.

            The pressure was on, but Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews encouraged his teammates at the end of regulation. In overtime, the Wings fought hard, but the Hawks fought back harder to win the series. Just over three minutes into overtime, Seabrook scored the winning goal and sent Blackhawks fans everywhere into a frenzy of excitement.

“That was an emotional game,” Toews said. “The guys poured everything out there. It’s an amazing feeling to win something like that.”

Even after that win, the Chicago Blackhawks have a long road ahead of them to the Stanley Cup. Next up, they will be facing a series against the Los Angeles Kings that kicks of this coming Saturday at the United Center. The Blackhawks took two out of three games against the Kings during the regular season, but everything is up in the air for the postseason. The Kings won the Stanley Cup last year, and they are motivated to win two consecutive years, the first since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. The Blackhawks are first in the league currently, and they want to keep the momentum going after their exciting win against the Red Wings.

“We know we’re only halfway to where we want to go but to win a series like that is huge for our confidence and huge for everyone in this room to believe in what we can do,” Toews said. “That’s a heck of a way to win a series.”

The first game in the series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings is scheduled for Saturday, June 1 at 4 p.m. CST. 

Two and a Half Men plans to introduce a young woman to the cast

Half-man Angus T. Jones plans to leave, and will be replaced by Charlie Harper’s daughter

Two and a Half Men will encounter another major casting change when Angus T. Jones leaves next season. Jones, the half-man of the show, is going to be replaced by a young woman.

Two and a Half Men, which could now be retitled Two Men and a Lady, has already dealt with one major casting change in the recent past. In 2011, after Charlie Sheen left the show amidst an internet tirade and public scandal, CBS was forced to find a second leading-man to replace him. The solution was simple: Sheen’s character was killed off, and Ashton Kutcher stepped in to play Walden Schmidt, a computer millionaire who became Alan Harper’s new roommate.

The viewership for Two and a Half Men has dwindled slowly but steadily since Sheen left the show. While it was renewed for a 10th season, the future is unclear for the once-dominating sitcom. Charlie Sheen’s public battle with the show’s writer, Chuck Lorre, caused bad publicity in 2011, and Angus T. Jones continued this streak last year after posting a video criticizing the show’s writing. The video went viral and Jones made headlines. While his discontent may be publicly known, Jones’ reason for departure was not specified.

While the young woman who will be filling in his shoes has not been announced, the storyline is fairly straightforward. A woman will appear as Charlie Harper’s long-lost daughter. She will move in with Alan Harper and Walden Schmidt, and continue as a series regular.

            Some would say that Two and a Half Men is not the same after Charlie Sheen left, while others would argue that Ashton Kutcher is doing what he can to make the show a success.  The departure of Angus T. Jones could be the last straw, or the entrance of a fresh-faced young woman to the cast could boost the show’s viewership in the same way it spiked after Charlie Sheen left. Still, if this casting change doesn’t work, it might be time for CBS to drop Two and a Half Men once and for all.

Brian Urlacher announces retirement from NFL

After a stunning career with the Chicago Bears, Brian Urlacher decides to move on

 

Brian Urlacher, former linebacker for the Chicago Bears, announced his retirement on Wednesday.  This decision came three days before the player’s 35th birthday, and just two months after Urlacher and the Bears split up over a contract dispute.

            “After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Brian Urlacher wrote. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards.”

            This statement accurately reflects Urlacher’s most recent seasons with the Bears. The 2011 season ended with Urlacher spraining his MCL, leading to a knee surgery that kept him off the field the entire 2012 preseason. Brian Urlacher was on a limited practice schedule through much of his last season, and a hamstring injury in Week 13 ended his season—and ultimately his career—for good.

            Earlier in the spring, the Chicago Bears and Brian Urlacher made an attempt to negotiate a new contract. Despite a mutual desire for another season together, an agreement could not be made. The Bears’ offer of $2 million for one more season was not a sufficient compromise for Urlacher, who demanded a two-year, $11.5 million contract.

            While Brian Urlacher was initially angry with the Bears’ handling of the negotiation, he came to terms with the situation and took some time to evaluate his options.  He spent his first two months as a free agent scoping out the field, but the outlook for Urlacher was bleak. “The Bears offered me the contract they offered me and that was probably the best contract I was going to get from anywhere,” he said. “And I’m not going to put my body through what it goes through for what the offer was.”

            While Brian Urlacher might be leaving the NFL on a sour note, he hangs up his Bears jersey with pride. “I decided I didn’t want to play for anybody else,” Urlacher told The Dan Patrick Show. “I still have a ton of respect for the Bears. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I played 13 years for one of the best franchises in NFL history. I’m very proud of that, and I’m happy I won’t have to wear another jersey.”

Urlacher’s incredible career with the Bears included being named NFL defensive rookie of the year after his first season, defensive player of the year for the 2005 season and eight Pro Bowls. His stellar track record has likely already snagged him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At nearly 35-years-old, Brian Urlacher is past his prime, and retirement could not have come at a better time. “It’s nice to have it behind me now and go onto the next stage of my life, whatever that may be,” he says. “I thought it was time.” 

Suicide at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris leads to evacuation of 1,500

Far-right political activist shoots himself at the altar of the Notre Dame Cathedral

 

A suicide at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday led to the evacuation of 1,500 visitors. A man placed a note on the altar and then, without warning, shot himself in the head.

This is the first suicide that the Notre Dame Cathedral has seen in decades, according to the cathedral’s rector, Monsignor Patrick Jacquin. He recalls a few people jumping from the cathedral’s twin towers, but this is the first time that he has ever heard of someone committing suicide at the altar.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s dramatic, it’s shocking,” Jacquin stated of the suicide. 

The man who committed the suicide at the Notre Dame Cathedral was Dominique Venner. At age 78, he is a well-known historian and far-right activist. He is known in France for his political essays and his former membership in the Secret Army Organization (OAS), which opposed Algerian independence in the 1960s.

Venner was also openly opposed to the same-sex marriage bill that was passed on Saturday, legalizing gay marriage in France. His last blog post on Tuesday contained scathing criticism of the bill.

While the suicide at the cathedral may appear to be politically motivated, the contents of the note Venner left at the altar were not disclosed.

An evacuation of this magnitude is rare for the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is one of France’s most popular landmarks, attracting more than 13 million visitors a year. The landmark is currently celebrating its 850th year.

This suicide comes right on the heels of a suicide that occurred last week, when a man shot himself in front of young children at a school in central Paris.

Zach Sobiech, YouTube Sensation, Dies of Cancer at 18

Zach Sobiech inspired millions with his song “Clouds”

Zach Sobiech, 18, died Monday after losing his fight with cancer. His song “Clouds,” a farewell message to his loved ones, has touched millions of YouTube viewers since it was first posted in December.

“With heavy hearts, we are saddened to share that Zach Sobiech passed away this morning,” the Children’s Cancer Research Fund announced on its website. “Zach was at home and at peace with those he loved most.”

Sobiech, who celebrated his 18th birthday earlier this month, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, at the age of 14. Last May, after running out of treatment options, Sobiech was given a year to live. With the bleak prognosis in mind, he wrote “Clouds” as a way to cope and say goodbye to his friends and family. The video quickly went viral, and his story gained support all over the world.   

“Our family has been blessed not only by his amazing presence in our lives, but also by the love and support of our family and friends and by so many people in the community,” Sobiech’s family said in a statement. “In particular we’d like to thank those people who listened with their hearts and helped Zach bring his message and his music to the world.”

As the one-year mark loomed closer, the amount of encouragement Sobiech received was astounding. Celebrities were eager to pay tribute to him and support his cause. Ashley Tisdale, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Sarah Bareilles, The Lumineers, Phillip Phillips and others were featured in a music video singing Sobiech’s song to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancers.

Sobiech’s family also started the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund to raise money for cancer research. The disease is so rare that it has not received major funding through other efforts, but this newly-founded fund and the popularity of Sobiech’s music could help change that.

“Because of Zach, his family’s support, and the donations of thousands in his name, kids with osteosarcoma will have better outcomes in the future,” the Children’s Cancer Research Fun wrote in its statement. “This was a source of comfort to Zach in his last days, and will provide comfort to his family going forward.”

Even after his death, Zach Sobiech’s life will go on in the form of his inspiration through music. “And maybe someday I’ll see you again,” Zach sings. “We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end.”