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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

 

   Fire investigators still aren't sure what sparked an early morning home fire Monday that killed two Berkeley children and injured their parents.  
   Authorities say Stephen and Cheronna Towns escaped their burning home with their eight month old daughter by climbing out a bedroom window.  The couple was unable to reach their two young sons, 4 year old Stephen Junior and 3 year old Isiah.  Both boys died.  Their parents are hospitalized with burns and other injuries.  The baby wasn't hurt.  
   Stephen Towns is half of the gospel hip hop duo, Forever.  Because of his love of music, friends are organizing a benefit concert for the family.  In the mean time, they've set up an online fundraiser at  https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/9hG5b 
 
 
   WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is applauding a University of Missouri football player's decision to announce that he is gay, with President Barack Obama's spokesman, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden all portraying him as a courageous and inspirational athlete.
   Biden and the first lady took to Twitter on Monday to comment on Michael Sam, the all-American college player who declared publicly on Sunday that he is gay. Mrs. Obama says she "couldn't be prouder" of Sam's courage, both on and off the field.
   The tweet was signed "-mo," which is how the White House marks messages personally sent by the first lady.
   "Your courage is an inspiration to all of us," Biden said. The message was signed "-VP," which designates that the vice president sent it personally.
   Sam could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. He's scheduled to participate in the league's weeklong scouting camp, where potential draftees are evaluated, later this month in Indianapolis. He is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.
   White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president "shares the sentiments expressed by the first lady and the vice president and so many others in marveling at his courage and congratulating him on the decisions he's made, on the support he's had from his team and wishing him well in the future, including in professional football."
   Carney said Sam's announcement should not affect his standing on the NFL draft and that his abilities should be measured by his performance.
   "And in this case, his performance has been exceptional," Carney said.
 

Student buried by Utah avalanche dies at hospital

Monday, 10 February 2014 03:38 Published in National News
   AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) — Authorities say a Brigham Young University student who was buried by an avalanche while snowshoeing in Utah has died.
   The Utah County sheriff's office says in a statement Sunday that Ashleigh Cox of Colorado Springs, Colo., died after being taken off life support Sunday afternoon.
   She had been caught in a slide on Saturday in American Fork Canyon, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City. Officials say an avalanche fell 50 feet and carried the 21-year-old Cox into a creek, burying her in the water.
   Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon says witnesses couldn't dig her out and she was stuck under the snow for about 40 minutes. She wasn't breathing and had no pulse, but Cannon says medical staffers were able to revive her.
   Cannon says The Utah Avalanche Center says there is high avalanche danger in the mountains of northern and central Utah. It reported 14 slides on Saturday alone.

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