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Sara Hall

Likes: Good (read: bad) puns, puppies, embarrassing pop music, burritos, idolizing Beyoncé and Tina Fey
Dislikes: Squirrels, typos, socks with sandals (and other unforgivable fashion mistakes)

Sara hasn’t always been a journalist — unless you count that time she put out a newspaper in the third grade about her dog. Still, she’s been making up for lost time ever since she began attending Eastern Illinois University and started writing for The Daily Eastern News. When people ask her why she wants to be a writer, she tells them it’s because she genuinely enjoys journalism and everything that goes with it (which is true, but let’s be real, she not-so-secretly wouldn’t mind just being Carrie Bradshaw for the rest of her life). In the fall, you’ll find her where she really belongs: as online editor, blogging and tweeting like it’s her job — because hey, it actually is (thank God).

Supreme Court approves controversial measure in Arizona law

Many worry the measure will lead to racial profiling

The Supreme Court has rejected key parts of an Arizona law that attempted to deter illegal immigration, but still allowed a controversial measure that allows police to check immigration status while enforcing other laws.

The Supreme Court’s 5-2 ruling allows the federal government to maintain authority of the set immigration policy and laws. This move is undoubtedly going to be a conversation piece in the upcoming presidential election this year.

“The national government has significant power to regulate immigration,” Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law.”

The controversial Supreme Court measure — a provision that lets police check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if the officer has reasonable suspect that the person is in the United States illegally – is being questioned.

“There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced,” Kennedy said in regards to the Supreme Court decision. He also added Arizona authorities must still comply with federal law.

Opponents of this Arizona law say the provision will lead to racial profiling. President Barack Obama also expressed concern over police having the power to check a person’s immigration status.

“No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” Obama said. “Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the court’s decision recognizes.”

Still Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared the Supreme Court ruling a success for her state, as she said the “heart” of the law can now be implemented “in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”

10-year-old girl locked in closet found weighing 32 pounds

Girl had two other sisters who were “spoiled”

A 10-year-old girl was found in a closet on Friday in Kansas City after her mother had locked her in for a prolonged period of time, leaving her to become malnourished. When found, the girl weighed 32 pounds.

Officers were tipped off about the girl on Friday by a call from a child abuse hotline. The 10-year-old girl locked in the closet was then removed from the public housing home and brought to an ambulance.

The 10-year-old girl locked in the closet was reportedly reeking of urine when she was found. She was seen wearing a soiled white, toddler-sized shirt and no shoes.

The mother of the 10-year-old girl locked in the closet faces charges of assault, child abuse and child endangerment in Jackson County Circuit Court. The mother’s identity has not yet been released.

Neighbors said they were not even aware of the 10-year-old girl locked in the closet’s existence.

“We are all still shocked,” neighbor Aishah Coppage, 28, told AP Sunday. “We never knew there was a third child.”

The 10-year-old-girl locked in the closet also had two sisters, ages 2 and 8, who were reportedly well taken care of. In an interview with the Associated Press, Coppage described them as clean, happy and even “spoiled.”

“You could never assume anything was going on from the way they looked,” she said. “They seemed spoiled to me because I never saw them get disciplined. It seemed like they didn’t want for nothing.”

The closet in which the girl was believed to be locked in was backed up to Coppage’s stairwell. Coppage said she never heard anything suspicious, such as cries for help or pounding on the walls, but also said music was often playing from the neighboring apartment.

According to the probable cause statement, the mother of the girl told police that she didn’t let her leave the house because she knew she is malnourished and would “get in trouble if someone saw her.”

Mansur, the prosecutor’s spokesman, said the mother of the 10-year-old girl locked in the closet hasn’t said why she particularly singled out the oldest girl.

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Ann Curry to get cut as NBC host for $10 million deal

Curry has been an anchor since 1997

Gossip is swirling that Ann Curry is on her way out at NBC’s The Today Show – and at a hefty price.

Sources are saying NBC will try to push Ann Curry out even sooner than they originally planned by paying her $10 million as compensation

Ann Curry may leave as early as this week, the sources said. Other reports say Curry will be removed from her spot before the network’s coverage of the Olympics, which begins next month.

Still, Ann Curry most likely won’t be leaving 30 Rock forever, as she is expected to transfer back to her real passion, foreign reporting.

NBC still has not commented on the matter, and they still have not even acknowledged of Curry’s departure from the show.

Ann Curry herself has not commented either and continues appearing on the show as if nothing is happening.

Some are suggesting NBC still does not have a replacement lined up to take Curry’s place.

The Today Show was once the morning ratings leader, but it has recently slipped into a tie with its competitor, Good Morning America, over the last year.

The Ladies’ Home Journal recently released experts from a previous interview with Curry scheduled for an August release that said she finds it hard to not take questions of her performance on the show personally.

“You worry, am I not good enough?” Curry said in the interview with the magazine. “Am I not what people need? Am I asking the right questions. When people say negative things or speculate, you can’t help but feel hurt.”

Ann Curry began anchoring in 1997.

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Snooki says she was scared to tell her father about pregnancy

Snooki revealing pregnant life in new spin-off show

Snooki doesn’t really seem like the type of person who gets scared by exposure.

As someone who put her partying lifestyle on display for the whole world to see on the infamous MTV show Jersey Shore, one would assume Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, 24, wouldn’t be nervous about leaking intimate details of her life.

Still, when the former party girl discovered she was pregnant, she said she was afraid to release the information, but not to the press, to someone more personal –  her father.

“Oh, I was scared to tell my dad, of course!” Snooki said in an interview with People Magazine.  “[My dad] is excited now. I think [my parents] are more excited than we are. I’m their only child, and this is going to be their [first] grandchild.”

Snooki said her family is now completely behind her pregnancy, supporting her every step of the way.

As with anything Snooki does, it wouldn’t be real news unless she aired it for the world to see.

To let people see every detail of her pregnancy, Snooki is starring in a new MTV reality show.

Snooki and her Jersey Shore costar Jenni “JWOWW” Farley, 26, currently star in the spin-off reality show, which premiered on June 21, titled Snooki and Jwoww.

The show follows the duo as they move into a two-bedroom firehouse in Jersey City and deal with real-world events.

Snooki said although she was pregnant, she wanted to take the opportunity to live with her best friend while she still had the chance. She said she also wanted fans to know the best friends are just like normal people.

 “We’re real. We wanted to show our fans that we’re relatable and go through ups and downs,” she told Show Tracker. “At the end of the day, we’re just like everybody else.”

Snooki, who is having a boy with fiancé Jionni Lavalle, is due in September.

The Newsroom premieres to mixed reviews

HBO show is all about morals

The first episode of The Newsroom, a new HBO drama by Aaron Sorkin, premiered on Sunday, and like any new show, it is getting mixed reviews.

The Newsroom, which is set during the real events of 2010, is being panned by critics and viewers for being too media-critical, saying the show often tries to address bias, but in the process, veers from its focus.

The Newsroom, set in the fictional newsroom Atlantic Cable News, shows the unfolding of the BP oil spill on April 20, 2010 and tries to be as moral as possible in the characters’ reports of the story.

However, in doing so, Sorkin tried to use these reports of the event to relay how it could have been better reported, veering from the actual truth, something, in which the characters of the show pride themselves.

This was also typical of the political drama The West Wing, another show Sorkin directed that showed how America could have been better governed.

Also, in the episode, anchorman Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, encounters a blonde woman at a New Year’s party. McAvoy is usually shown in a work setting – including a Howard Beale-esque meltdown.

When McAvoy isn’t on the job, the show shows him flirting with the blonde, whom is revealed to be a gossip columnist. McAvoy does not approve of her career path at all, saying “I would have more respect for you if you were a heroin dealer!”

The Newsroom is all about pushing morals, and only time will tell if the show will continue with this theme.

The Newsroom airs on HBO at 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Alex Trebek recovering from mild heart attack

Trebek’s heart attack on Saturday is his second in four years

Alex Trebek, host of the popular game show Jeopardy!, is expected to make a full recovery after experiencing a mild heart attack on Saturday.

The host, 71, was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday and was reported to be resting on Sunday.

Alex Trebek is expected to be stable enough for the start of the 29th season of Jeopardy!, which begins in July, Paula Askanas, a Sony Television spokeswoman, told the Associated Press on Sunday.

“Trebek is in good spirits and is currently under observation and undergoing further testing,” Sony Pictures Television said.

Alex Trebek also suffered a heart attack in December 2007, but he was back on the set of the show within weeks.

Alex Trebek had another health scare last July when he chased a burglar out of his hotel room and, in the process, snapped his Achilles tendon. He then remained in a cast for six weeks.

Jeopardy! won a Daytime Emmy award for best game show on Saturday.

Alex Trebek has won five Daytime Emmy awards for best game show host (once in a tie with Bob Barker of The Price Is Right).

Alex Trebek has also hosted other game shows in the United States and his native country, Canada, including shows Pitfall and High Rollers.

Alex Trebek has been reported telling Chris Wallace of Fox News that he plans on staying on Jeopardy! for three more years, rounding out three decades on the show.

“A lot of people have been telling me: ‘Alex, you’ve got to go for at least 30. At least do two more,’ ” he said. “So that has a nice ring to it: Put in your 30, and go help people.”

Bristol Palin brings drama on new reality TV show

Show chronicles her life as volunteer, mother

Bristol Palin is back with a new batch of drama.

Bristol Palin, the daughter of infamous former vice president candidate Sarah Palin, now has her own reality television show, Life’s a Tripp. The show is named after her three-year-old son with Levi Johnston, who is no longer involved in Bristol Palin’s life.

Even in the first episode, Bristol Palin did not disappoint fans looking for conflict. In the episode, she is seen in a heated debate at a Los Angeles bar in which she defends her mom against a man’s verbal attacks.

After Bristol Palin rode a mechanical bull, a man started making vulgar remarks.

“Did you ride Levi like that?” the man said. “Your mother’s a whore.” He then continued on by saying Bristol Palin’s mother was “the devil.”

More profanities are thrown about between the two until Bristol Palin exits and calls her friend in Alaska, telling him she wants to go home.

Bristol Palin’s sister, Willow, who was helping Bristol at the time, decided to fly home at the end of the episode.

The show, featured on Lifetime, also shows Bristol Palin as a summer volunteer in Los Angeles while she also cares for 3-year-old Tripp.

Life’s a Tripp is not Bristol Palin’s first run-in with camera crews. She was formerly featured on the TLC program Sarah Palin’s Alaska, as well as reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, on which she finished in third place.

Drinking during pregnancy: Is it really OK?

Recent study says moderate drinking during pregnancy could be safe

Drinking while pregnant – could it actually be OK?

According to a recent study, it could be, as long as it is done in moderation.

While the idea of drinking during pregnancy usually shocks people and is considered taboo, a new study from Denmark is saying otherwise.

The study is reporting 5-year-old children whose mothers drank low to moderate levels of alcohol during early pregnancy showed no negative effects.

The level for low to moderate alcohol consumption as deemed by the study is said to be between one and eight drinks per week.

Any drinking during pregnancy that exceeded the study’s standard of moderate alcohol consumption was, however, associated with negative health effects, mainly a lower attention span.

Still, experts who examined the research say they’re not about to change the current recommendations for drinking during pregnancy.

Still, health professionals aren’t convinced drinking during pregnancy is actually acceptable.

Dr. Jacquelyn Bertrand, a child psychologist and senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, reacted negatively to the news, saying in an interview with the New York Daily News that, “It’s not worth the risk.” 

The study analyzed gathered data from more than 1,600 women in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

They ranked the levels of drinking during pregnancy into three categories: low (one to four drinks each week), moderate (five to eight drinks) and high (nine of more drinks). Binge drinking was also included and was defined as having five or more drinks during a single occasion.

To assess the effects of drinking during pregnancy, the women’s children underwent tests at age 5 to assess their thinking skills, IQ and attention spans.

The study showed low to moderate drinking during pregnancy, including binge drinking, had no significant effect on brain development in the children.

High levels of drinking during pregnancy, however, did show negative effects in the aforementioned testing areas.

The study on drinking during pregnancy was published on June 20 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

First look at Angelina Joile as Maleficent proves to be chilling sight

Oscar winner Joile starring in dark fairy tale movie set for 2014 release

Angelina Joile is making headlines once again – this time for her role in Maleficent.

Photos of Oscar winner Joile on the set of the movie show her dressed in the complete Maleficent costume, horns and all.

Maleficent, directed by Robert Stromsberg, is set to revolve around a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and the villainous character for which the movie is named.

Maleficent will show viewers how the sorceress goes from practicing the dark arts to becoming a full-fledged evildoer.

Angelina Joile announced her role in Maleficent in February at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“I haven’t acted in two years, and I haven’t done anything else since this [‘Land of Blood and Honey’]. The next thing I am looking at is a Disney movie,” she said.

Aside from Angelina Joile, other big-name stars set to star in Maleficent, including Elle Fanning, Imedla Staunton, Sam Riley, Juno Temple and Miranda Riley.

The 3-D movie is set to be released on March 14, 2014.

Check out a photo of Joile in the Maleficent costume here.

Summer solstice falls one day earlier than normal

This year’s leap year is cause for earlier summer for Northern Hemisphere

Summer solstice is coming a day early this year, marking June 20 as the official first day of summer.

Because 2012 is a leap year, the summer solstice, commonly known as the longest day of the year, is falling a day early in order to stay in sync with the calendar year for the Northern Hemisphere.

This means today, the North Pole is tipped more towards the sun than any other day of the year.

The exact opposite is true for the Southern Hemisphere, where the winter solstice is beginning today.

Mark Hammergren, an astronomer for Chicago’s Adler Planitarium, said in an interview with National Geographic that despite what people may think, the tilt of the Earth has more influence on the seasons than our planet’s distance to the sun.

“During the Northern Hemisphere summer, we’re actually farthest from the sun,” Hammergren said.

Summer solstice is viewed in a different way than it used to be in the past.

Cultures used to rely very heavily on the summer solstice.

A buried Maya city in Guatemala had buildings that were designed to align with the sun during the summer solstice.

Ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramids so the sun would set exactly between the two Pyramids on the summer solstice.

Summer solstice also used to be celebrated by pagans as a day of healing. Later, it became more associated with agriculture, as it was the turning point in the growing season.

Still, Hammergren said today’s culture pays less attention to the importance of summer solstice and just recognize it as the beginning of a new season.

“Ancient cultures and some modern religions pay very, very close attention to certain natural alignments … and there’s a lot of mysticism and special supernatural significance attached to them,” he said. “The fact that we don’t pay attention to that stuff as much anymore, I think, is a rational thing.”