National News

Chapel of Love lost to fire that ravaged city in Smokies

By JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The wildfires that killed 14 people and tore through Gatlinburg also stole an iconic venue from this city at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains whose nickname is "the wedding capital of the South." All that remains of ...

Governor Joe Piscopo? Comedian eyes run in New Jersey

By MICHAEL CATALINI, Associated Press NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Joe Piscopo's Frank Sinatra impression, made famous from his days on "Saturday Night Live," has gotten an update. It's no longer "New York, New York," but "NJ, NJ," the actor, standup comic and potential 2017 Republican ...

ConAgra to finalize plea deal in tainted peanut butter case

By RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Food giant ConAgra faces a court hearing to finalize an $11.2 million settlement — including the largest criminal fine ever in a U.S. food safety case — to resolve federal charges in a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds who ...

NYPD seeks cure for gun violence with data-driven cases

By TOM HAYS, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Even as homicide rates have climbed in other American cities, New York City is again on pace to have a near-record low number of shootings, and police are partly crediting refined tactics that include collecting more data and forensic evidence ...

Advocates call Alabama execution an ‘avoidable disaster’

By KIM CHANDLER and KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — Defenders of a condemned inmate in Alabama are calling his execution an "avoidable disaster," but the state prison commissioner says there was no visible evidence that he suffered during a lethal injection. Death ...

As 114th Congress limped to a close, uncertainty is ahead

By ERICA WERNER, AP Congressional Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — The 114th Congress has limped to a close, two years of partisan acrimony punctuated by the occasional burst of bipartisan deal-making in the waning days of Barack Obama's presidency. Ahead is uncertainty, as the GOP ...

Obama orders review of election-season hacking

By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review of election-season cyberattacks, including the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign and raised fresh concerns about Russia's meddling ...

Teen charged with murder in attack at troubled-youth ranch

By BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An Arizona teenager was charged with aggravated murder Friday in the brutal slaying of a worker at a southern Utah ranch for troubled teens. Clay Brewer, 17, attacked the man from behind with a weapon when he came to check on a ...

VMI leader defends coloring as stress reliever for cadets

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — The leader of Virginia Military Institute is defending a program that offers coloring as a way for cadets to ease stress amid widespread attention on social media. Superintendent J.H. Binford Peay III said in a statement Wednesday that VMI's "stress busters" program, ...

Dakota Access pipeline court battle to linger into new year

By BLAKE NICHOLSON, Associated Press BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal court battle over whether the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline can finish the $3.8 billion project will linger at least into the first couple months of the new year. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners ...

Man convicted of shooting 2 officers during Ferguson protest

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury has convicted a man of shooting two police officers during a 2015 protest in Ferguson amid fallout over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown months earlier. The officers were shot in March 2015 during one of many ...

Biden urges Canada to fight climate change despite Trump

By ROB GILLIES, Associated Press OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Outgoing U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Canadian leaders Friday to continue to treat efforts to combat climate change urgently despite the incoming administration of Donald Trump. Biden told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ...

McConnell to coal-state Dems: Accept 4-month deal for miners

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Coal-state Democrats who are threatening a government shutdown over health benefits for retired miners should "take yes for answer" and stop stalling a short-term spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday. One ...

House approves bill on Calif. drought, Flint water

By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed a wide-ranging bill to authorize water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in Flint drinking water and $558 million to provide relief to drought-stricken California. The $10 billion ...

Pizza shop gunman says he regrets how handled the situation

By JONATHAN DREW and TOM FOREMAN Jr., Associated Press SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — The man accused of firing an assault rifle inside a Washington restaurant said he regrets how he handled the situation but refused to completely dismiss the false online claims involving a child sex ring that ...

Investigators to look at electrical system in Oakland fire

By PAUL ELIAS and SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Federal officials investigating a fire that killed 36 people during a party at an Oakland warehouse plan to bring in engineers to examine the building's electrical system, as they try to pinpoint the cause of a ...

Southern drought relents but not over, despite recent rains

By JEFF MARTIN, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Recent showers and storms across much of the South have eased the severe drought in the region, but experts say it wasn't enough to make up for months of dry conditions before the rain finally fell. More rain is needed before the demise ...

Lawyer: FBI agent who shot at Michigan officer felt paranoid

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A lawyer for an FBI agent arrested in western Michigan for firing his gun at a police officer outside a fitness club says the agent was feeling paranoid and only vaguely recalls what happened. No one was injured in the shooting early Tuesday at the Planet Fitness ...

Christmas tree farmer returns wedding band lost 15 years ago

WHITE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A Christmas tree farmer has found and returned a wedding ring a New Jersey man lost roughly 15 years ago. David Penner says his wedding band slipped off his finger during a visit to Wyckoff's Tree Farm in White Township with his wife years ago. Penner thought ...

Florida authorities identify man killed by deputy in lake

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida have identified a man who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy after he beat the deputy with an oar in a lake. Sgt. Fred Jones of the Lake County Sheriff's Office tells local news outlets that 49-year-old Wayne Donald Dorsey was the ...