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Gift cards expire as Toys R Us store liquidation sales continue

If you haven’t redeemed your Toys R Us gift cards, get to your nearest store ASAP.

The April 21 expiration date also applies to the company’s Endless Earnings eGift Cards for customers who earned rewards from baby registry purchases.

Liquidations sales began at Toys R Us stores nationwide as early as March 23.

At that time, customers who participated in the company’s various rewards programs were no longer able to earn rewards or obtain rewards that had not already been issued. 

Earlier this week, some customers complained that they were not able to redeem Toys R Us gift cards because of computer glitches. A company spokesperson said they were not aware of any widespread issues that prevented customers from cashing in their gift cards. 

On March 29, the company shuttered its website, leaving customers only the option of shopping at the brick-and-mortar stores. 

While the most popular toy items at stores have probably been sold, anyone who has not used up their gift cards is advised to do so. All stores are expected to be fully liquidated by June. All merchandise sold during the liquidation is final sale. 

Customers who have questions about products, warranties or rewards can reach the Customer Service Department at 800-TOYSRUS or 800-869-7787 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. EDT.

Woman robbed while in line for offering in church

A Memphis woman said that while she was in line to put in her offering in at a South Memphis church, someone stole her wallet out of her purse.

>> Read more trending news

Police are investigating the incident.

Shirley Williams said the church was the last place she thought anything would be stolen from her.

"Because we were in church, I just can't believe anyone would do that,” Williams said.

Williams said someone bumped her from behind while she was in the offering line at a midweek service at the Temple of Deliverance Church on Tuesday night.

Williams said she never really thought anything of it until she noticed that her purse had been unzipped. Then she realized her wallet was gone. Williams said the church allowed her to search in the area in which she was sitting and other areas in the church for her wallet.

"I searched everywhere. We went back to the church and we just couldn't find it anywhere,” Williams said.

Williams said she’s retired and is living on a fixed income. She said all of her insurance cards and things she needed to go about her everyday life were in her wallet. 

"It was just upsetting because it happened in church,” Williams said.

She said she’s certain she didn’t misplace her wallet anywhere and she’s not going to allow this incident to keep her from going to her church.

"I'm praying for forgiveness for them and for them to change their life,” Williams said.

We located several surveillance cameras around the church, but it has not yet been confirmed whether the incident was caught on any of them.

WHBQ did call and leave a message at the church, but our phone call has not been returned.

Memphis police said they have no suspect information at this time.

Boy's wallet lost behind lockers at pool found 46 years later

A wallet lost in 1972 has been found by a work crew in Wenatchee who is updating part of the Wentachee, Washington, pool facility.

>> Read more trending news

Wenatchee World says the wallet, owned by Harry LaRue, contains some family pictures, and a Boy Scout Card. The World says it estimates that LaRue was about 10 when he lost the wallet and that he lived in East Wenatchee.

The wallet was found behind the boys’ lockers at the city pool by a city crew who was updating the changing room.

A reporter from the World tried to find LaRue, but has been unable to.

After seeing the World's Facebook post, someone who knows a man by the same name said she contacted him and he was calling the city, who has the wallet. 

KIRO 7 is asking the Wenatchee World to verify if the man is the same person who lost the wallet years ago.

E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”

Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

>> Read more trending news 

At least 31 people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.

The affected states include

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington

No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.

If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.

People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.

DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.

To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

Mother says preschool banned daughter, other students from using term ‘best friend’

A Georgetown, Massachusetts, preschool is causing controversy by banning students from using the term “best friend.”

WFTXT reported that mother Christine Hartwell said she is outraged after a teacher at Pentucket Workshop Preschool told her 4-year-old daughter she couldn’t call one of her classmates her “best friend.”

The preschool defends its stance, saying banning the term promotes inclusion in the classroom, while Hartwell said it can end up having a negative affect on her daughter.

“How do you police a 4-year-old from expressing their feelings?” Hartwell told WFXT. “It’s outrageous. It’s silly (and) it hurts.”

>> Read more trending news 

Hartwell said she first learned of the ban after her daughter Julia came home from school one day acting differently. Julia told her mother she was upset because her teacher told her she couldn't call one of her classmates her best friend.

“When I asked her what was wrong, she said she was really sad about what her teacher did that day,” Hartwell said.

Hartwell said her daughter is now hesitant to call anyone her best friend, adding that she and her husband went to the director at Pentucket Workshop to find out more about the policy. Hartwell said it’s not spelled out in the school handbook.

The preschool sent a letter to the Hartwell family in response to the issue, saying they’ve done research on the pros and cons of using the term best friend, and that they’ll continue to discourage children from using it in group settings.

“It has been our experience (which spans decades) that the use of the term ‘best friend,’ even when used in a loving way, can lead other children to feel excluded (...) which can ultimately lead to the formation of ‘cliques’ and ‘outsiders,’” the letter said in part.

Hartwell said having a best friend allow a child to feel more secure at school, and she is removing Julia from the preschool to find a new one where her daughter can still call someone her best friend.

“I want her to be able to express her thoughts and feelings in a healthy way, as children should,” said Hartwell.

The school said it has no comment on the issue.

Woman steals identity via social media to land job with 6-figure salary

A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary.

Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges. 

Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman’s LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. NOLA.com reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland.

White also used the other woman’s Social Security number and driver’s license number when applying for the job, the news release said

She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary. 

>> Read more trending news

Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

“That’s not this person,” prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. “This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.”

Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it. 

Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016. 

Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site. 

A look at White’s real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone’s identity, the news release said

White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account.

She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation. 

Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said

White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods. 

Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received. 

Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release

“We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief,” the prosecutor said. 

Immunotherapy plus chemo doubles lung cancer survival, study says

Chemotherapy and radiation are common treatments for lung cancer. However, immunotherapy may be able to help double a patient’s survival, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from New York University’s Perlmutter Cancer Center recently conducted a study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, to determine which treatments were most effective for those newly diagnosed with lung cancer.

To do so, they examined 616 people with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer from 118 international sites. The participants did not have genetic changes in the EGFR or ALK genes, which have both been linked to the rapid reproduction of cells. 

>> Related: Healing process after breast cancer surgery could cause cancer to spread in mice, study says

About 400 of the subjects underwent pembrolizumab, a form of immunotherapy that helps destroy cancer cells; platinum therapy, a procedure that uses cell damaging agents; and pemetrexed, a chemotherapy drug that targets the lungs. The other 200 only received platinum therapy and pemetrexed with a saline placebo. 

After analyzing the results, they found the risk of death was reduced by 51 percent for those treated with pembrolizumab, platinum therapy and pemetrexed, compared with those who only got chemo. Furthermore, those with the combined therapy also had a 48 percent decreased chance of progression or death. 

>> Related: Groundbreaking 'cancer vaccine' set for human trials by the end of the year

Suresh Ramalingam, deputy director at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the finding is “very important” as “it moves the milestone forward.”

“This study shows that by combining the two treatments, you can maximize or even improve patient outcomes. From that standpoint, it does shift the treatment approach to lung cancer in a positive way,” said Ramalingam, who was not a part of the trial.

By using both approaches together, doctors can create a multiplying effect. During chemotherapy, cells die and leave behind protein. Immunotherapy activates the immune system, aiding its ability to kill any remaining cancer cells.

>> Related: New cancer 'vaccine' completely wipes out tumors in mice -- human trials are on way

The NYU researchers did note there are severe side effects to the combination treatment, including nausea, anemia, fatigue and an increased risk of acute kidney injury. 

However, Ramalingam believes the trial gives experts the ammunition to test the approach in many other cancers. He also said there are several ways to treat different types of the disease, and people should understand that some tumors may need to be tackled differently.

For example, he recently led a separate, large clinical trial that targeted lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation, unlike the NYU analysts. As a result of his findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the use of a lung cancer pill called Tagrisso to those with the EGFR gene.

>> Related: Pharmaceutical company touts 'breakthrough' cancer treatment

While it was initially only used for individuals whose lung cancer worsened after treatment with other EGFR therapies, Ramalingam and his team proved the medication almost doubled the survival outcome for newly diagnosed lung cancer patients with the EGFR mutation. In fact, it resulted in better outcomes than chemotherapy and immunotherapy. 

“Given all these exciting advances that there are in lung cancer, patients should not settle for what’s been told,” Ramlingam recommended. “Basically get a second option or go to a major center that specializes in lung cancer to make sure they’re getting the cutting-edge treatment options that are out there.”

Tips for celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Disney's Animal Kingdom

On Earth Day, April 22, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th anniversary with entertainment, parties, and educational experiences for a limited time.

Party for the Planet

It wouldn’t be a milestone celebration without a party, and all 500 acres of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive with a wild party that includes animal encounters, activities, and special desserts the Party for the Planet celebration that will take place from April 22 until May 5.

During the two-week celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals at thepark.

Take a Peek Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Rafiki’s Planet Watch has long been a favorite of guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and during the 20th anniversary it will take center stage. 

After boarding the antique train you will make your way to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues, and for the rest of the year you will also get a ‘backstage experience’ with animal experts around animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

A New Show Debuts

On April 22 a new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film, will make its debut.

Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug and park guests will encounter exotic birds from around the world in a free-flying show, multiple times a day.

Special Anniversary Photo Opportunities

Disney Photopass photographers will have a specially branded oversized picture frame to celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary, as well as ones that will help the “Reverse the Decline” initiative to help protect 10 threatened animal species. Recently the program has been credited with the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at the park.

The Wilderness Must be Explored…Caw, Caw, Roar

The popular park scavenger hunt centered around “Up”’s Wilderness Explorer will have a new, limited-edition badge to earn through fact-finding challenges.

The Wilderness Explorer Program is one of the free experiences available at Walt Disney World.

Dine with Animal Experts

If learning about animals is your passion, six different Tiffins Talks offer intimate dining experiences with specialty food and beverages that complement the topics shared by animal and conservation experts.

You can find more information on the Tiffins Talks here.

Merchandise & Treats

It wouldn’t be a celebration at Walt Disney World without commemorative merchandise, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th anniversary is no exception!

The merchandise offered will include t-shirts, hats, pins, Alex and Ani bangles, 2 styles of Disney Dooney & Bourke purses, a limited edition banshee for adoption in Pandora, and more.

In addition the merchandise there is also a special-edition print that was created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and he will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited. 

There are going to be two celebratory cupcakes, a Tree of Life Cupcake will be available at Creature Comforts and Flame Tree Barbecue, and an Earth Day Cupcake will be available at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus.

On the savory side, there are delicious plant-based burger offerings at Nomad Lounge and Restaurantosaurus. Nomad Lounge will offer Impossible Burger Sliders with tomato chutney and smoked onion on a brioche bun and served with yucca fries. At Restaurantosaurus, you’ll find an Impossible Burger with avocado and tomato on a brioche bun.

Tiffins will offer a limited-time 20th Anniversary Chef’s Lunch Tasting Menu. Served daily from 11:30am to 3:30pm, this 3-course tasting menu celebrates the cuisines of Africa, Asia, and South America. Walk-ups are welcome!

All of these offerings will be available during Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through May 5.

Can't make the celebration in person?

If you want to experience the 20th Anniversary moment during Sunday's Celebration, the Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming the #DisneyAnimalKingdom20 ceremony starting at 10:15 am EST!

Wild Adventures Before an Incredible Summer

All of these wild adventures help kick off an ‘Incredible Summer’ at Walt Disney World that includes a new celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! 

Donald and his friends from Ducktales will premiere a ‘dino-tastic’ celebration Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. as Donald celebrates his discovery that bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more.

Make sure to follow @icFloridaEvents on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and fun that Central Florida has to offer. And to use the #icFloridaInsider when you post for a chance to be featured!

Related video: 

Watch live: Corpse flower ready to bloom

A rose by any other name, in this case Rosie, would smell as sweet. That’s the saying right? Well when it comes to the flower about to open at the Cox Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion of the Tucson Botanical Gardens it won’t be a sweet smell that Rosie’s visitors will notice when it blossoms. It will be a pungent one. 

Rosie is a corpse flower that could open at any moment. 

>> Read more trending news 

Corpse flowers are known for the massive, beautiful flower that gives off a not so beautiful smell -- but that of a rotting corpse.

YurView.com is offering live, up-to-the moment updates of Rosie’s bloom and is even offering a livestream of the waiting game.

Technically, a corpse flower is called Amorphophallus titanum, and is one of the world’s largest and rarest flowers. 

The entire process of a bloom can take a decade, with the flower lasting only 24-36 hours. 

Because of how rare of an event of a corpse flower blooming, people are booking flights to see the big reveal in person, according to Yurview.com. The Cox Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion of the Tucson Botanical Gardens is also getting a hand with the crush of people expected to pay her a visit with the Chicago Botanic Garden lending the garden in Tucson educational interpretive signs for visitors. Botanists from Chicago’s garden also sent pollen from its corpse flowers, Sumatra and Sunshine, to help pollinate Rosie. Michael Madsen is in charge of tracking Rosie’s progression, by taking temperature measurements and then will help spread the pollen at the perfect time. Then it will be a waiting game to see if it was successful.

Rosie’s about 9 years old, about 3 feet tall and came from the University of California Fullerton. It is her first time to flower.

 

When is Barbara Bush’s funeral?

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

>> Read more trending news 

A public viewing for the former first lady was held on Friday, where approximately 2,500 mourners paid their respects.

The private funeral service for Bush is set for Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Attendance at the service is by invitation only. The Rector of St. Martin's will preside over the service along with the chaplain of St. Ann's Episcopal from Kennebunkport, Maine.

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 at the Bush Library 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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