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Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games.

>> Read more trending news 

The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown. 

ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.

>> Watch the news report here

There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.

Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday

Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue. 

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.

"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.

For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.

"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.

With no one to run it, AFN is off the air. 

>> John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.

Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.

Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.

However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats. 

Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.

"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.

Read more here.

John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

Grammy and Oscar-winning singer John Legend is claiming that President Donald Trump and his team’s alleged racism are behind the government shutdown.

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Legend, who has vocally criticized Trump Sr. and Jr. both in the past, tweeted the following just after midnight Saturday:

“The reason the government shutdown is that Trump and his team have an ideological commitment to allowing fewer black and brown people into the country #TrumpShutdown #TrumpIsARacist,” Legend tweeted.

>> Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

Legend has called Trump a racist before.

Most recently, Legend tweeted on Jan. 11 that Trump is “a racist” and “has been for his entire public life.”

That came in response to vulgar remarks Trump allegedly made about immigrants from African countries.

In April, Legend said he thinks that Trump is a “terrible president.”

“He’s manifestly unqualified, not curious, not good at legislating or doing anything that his job requires. He doesn’t have any depth about any subject,” he said. “And he’s also using the office of the presidency as a way to make money for himself with his businesses, so he’s corrupt.”

“I can’t say anything nice about the guy. I think he’s one of the worst people I’ve encountered in public life,” he added.

As early as December 2016 in an interview with Rolling Stone, Legend made the same accusation.

>> Read more trending news 

When asked for his response to a Trump presidency, Legend said: “He’s been consistent about being a racist and about a couple of other things, but he’s also been wildly inconsistent and lied a lot. So we truly don’t know how he’s gonna govern.”

Legend added: “We haven’t seen anyone like him before. It’s a very kind of different world now, knowing that someone’s going to possibly dismantle a lot of what Obama accomplished. I don’t know where we’re going to go.”

Legend went on to say he believes it is his role as an artist to “tell the truth and reflect what’s going on.”

“We just have to be vigilant and get through this, and then hopefully it’ll be over soon,” he said.

Boy, 12, dies from flu-like symptoms in Michigan

12-year-old boy from Michigan who vomited during dinner one night, went to an urgent care facility the next night and had a flu test come back negative tragically died the very next morning.

>> Read more trending news

Michael Messenger’s family can’t believe how quickly their world was turned upside-down, losing a son and a brother who had been so full of life in just a matter of days.

The timeline of Messenger’s symptoms, evaluation and death has his mother Jessica Decent-Doll urging other parents not to wait if they see signs of flu.

“Don’t wait, it’s all I can say. This flu or whatever is going around this year is unbelievably dangerous,” she told the Times Herald.

Messenger vomited during dinner Jan. 9, was taken to an urgent care the next evening where he was cleared for flu and administered anti-nausea medication and was found unresponsive at home in bed the morning of Jan. 11.

An hour and a half later, he was declared dead at a hospital.

Decent-Doll said her son’s vital signs were deemed normal at the urgent care center and that the family was advised to give him fluids.

By 9:15 a.m. Thursday, it was clear Messenger’s life was in grave danger.

“I ran upstairs, and I sat with him, and I tried to get him to respond to me, but there was no response, nothing,” Decent-Doll said. “It’s indescribable, it really is.”

The grieving mother said that her son had just gotten a flu shot in December and that he “never stopped, ever. He loved science. He loved his family.”

Kristen Ervinck started a GoFundMe to help the grieving family:"Mikey was so full of life and so energetic he lit up the room with his smile," it read.

The GoFundMe raised more than $12,000 as of Saturday. At least 30 children have lost their lives to the disease this flu season.

Michael Messenger's funeral was Thursday. His family is still waiting for the results of his autopsy.

Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

The federal government shutdown led President Donald Trump to cancel plans to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office at a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

As of Saturday evening, the fundraiser was still set to go on with presidential son Eric Trump and his wife, Lara Trump, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel as headliners. About 100 donors were expected Saturday night, with their contributions going to the RNC and Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Eric and Lara Trump and McDaniel also spoke to about 100 local Republican activists in West Palm Beach on Saturday morning, urging them to work to preserve the GOP’s imperiled majorities in the House and Senate.

“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly, 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump told the Republican group at the West Palm Beach Marriott. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that and I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”

President Trump had planned to visit Mar-a-Lago on Friday for the 12th time since taking office. But he remained in Washington as congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a spending agreement to keep the government running past midnight.

After Friday’s cancellation, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump trip to Palm Beach on Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory for an arrival after 2 p.m. Saturday, but rescinded it by mid-afternoon. The latest FAA notification indicated no presidential travel planned to Palm Beach County this weekend.

“No plans to go to Florida while there is a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an email Saturday morning.

Brian Ballard, the Tallahassee lobbyist who was Florida finance chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign, came to Palm Beach for Saturday’s event and said he understood the president’s choice to remain in Washington.

“I think it was the right decision. I haven’t talked to anyone that’s down here for the event that doesn’t agree,” Ballard said. “We’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary sometime soon.”

Trump supporters, who regularly gather near Southern Boulevard and Flagler Drive to cheer the president’s motorcade as it passes, showed up in Trump’s absence, numbering about 25 at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s the one-year anniversary of President Trump and the mainstream media is ignoring all of his accomplishments. All they want to talk about is the government shutdown over DACA and illegal immigration,” said Lamarre Notargiacomo of Vero Beach, who held an “Eliminate Sanctuary Cities” sign.

Most Senate Democrats voted against a spending bill to keep the government running for four weeks because the legislation did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation about 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.

Another group of Trump supporters gathered a few blocks away near the garishly decorated “Trumpmobile” and other vehicles adorned with pro-Trump messages. That group left for Palm Beach to drive by an anti-Trump demonstration that police said drew 600 to 700 protesters.

Staff writer Chelsea Todaro contributed to this story.

Girl, 9, unknowingly hands out THC-laced candy to classmates, school says

A 9-year-old girl unwittingly ate, and handed out to other classmates, THC-laced candy, school officials said. 

>> Read more trending news

The girl brought the candies to school last Thursday and said she could not see; another girl ate them and started to feel dizzy, Albuquerque School of Excellence Dean of Elementary School Students Kristy Del Curto told KRQE

“We noticed the student who initially brought the edible to our school was acting strange. She started saying she couldn’t see,” Del Curto said.

Three students shared one gummy and the student who handed it out had three or four pieces, Del Curto said. 

Paramedics were called and monitored the students, who eventually recovered. 

The student who brought them to school did not know they were medicinal, THC-laced gummies, Del Curto said.

“As marijuana becomes legal in each state, it’s going to become more and more of an issue, I believe,” Del Curto said.

Man shot in leg during drug deal outside Walmart, police say

Police are looking for the suspect who shot a man during a drug deal around 3 p.m. Saturday in a Walmart parking lot.

>> Read more trending news

According to Sgt. Brandon McCroskey of the Fairfield Township police, the suspect shot the victim in the leg during a drug deal while the victim was in his vehicle. The victim then accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and a cart corral.

The suspect fled the scene on foot. Police believe the suspect was picked up by the same vehicle that dropped him off: a red 2007 Toyota Camry reported stolen Friday. 

The victim, who is in his late teens, was taken to the West Chester Hospital. His injuries are not life threatening, McCroskey said.

According to McCroskey, the suspect is in his late teens to early 20s with a goatee.

The incident remains under investigation.

Jim Rodford, bassist for The Kinks, dead at 76

Jim Rodford, bassist for popular rock band The Kinks from 1978 to 1996, has died at 76, according to the band.

>> Read more trending news

The Kinks, whose hits include “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Victoria” and “Waterloo Sunset,” made the announcement Saturday on its official social media accounts.

“It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away – he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford,” the band said on Twitter.

Founding member Dave Davies also expressed his sorrow over Rodford’s “sudden loss.”

“I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion – strange – great friend great musician great man – he was an integral part of the Kinks later years RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.

Although Rodford did not play for the band when they burst onto the scene in the ’60s, he was credited by Davies as being an integral part of “The Kinks” in their later years. Rodford would later return to the band The Zombies.

Three people hit by train since its debut last week

For the third time in the week since the Brightline train started its service from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, a person has been hit by the passenger train, according to Fort Lauderdale police.

>> Read more trending news

Detective Tracy Figone, public information officer for the police department, said a pedestrian attempted to cross the train tracks at Northeast Third Avenue and North Flagler Drive when the gates were down. The person’s injuries are not life-threatening, according to Figone.

Four people have been hit and killed by Brightline trains since it started testing service. 

Friday night, a Brightline spokesperson reiterated the message from a press conference earlier that day: Safety.

“Today, we joined with partners in South Florida to stress our top priority - safety. Incidents like these can be avoided and train warnings need to be treated exactly like red lights, stop signs and crosswalks,” the spokesperson said.

On Friday, Brightline officials announced newly planned safety and public education initiatives in the wake of two fatal accidents in the last week.

On Wednesday, 51-year-old Jeffrey King was hit and killed by a northbound Brightline train when he pedaled his bicycle around the gates near the Florida East Coast Railway crossing about 4:30 p.m. on Ocean Avenue. Last Friday, 32-year-old Melissa Lavell was hit and killed near the intersection of Northeast Sixth Avenue in Boynton Beach. Witnesses told police she attempted to beat the train when the gates were down.

An 18-year-old who jumped in front of the train while it was making  a test run in July was ruled a suicide, officials said. The November death of a woman on the tracks was ruled an accident.

During the press conference, Brightline’s President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard said they plan to implement electronic signs as well as put employees at busy intersections as extra warnings of passing trains.

“We offer our deepest sympathy to those affected by the recent incidents,” Goddard said at a news conference to announce the new safety measures. “The fact that these incidents are completely avoidable is what makes them so tragic.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida group raffles off rifle to benefit children's program

An assault rifle is a prize in a raffle to raise money for programs to help disadvantaged children.

>> Read more trending news

Channel 9 found out that phone calls to buy tickets for the raffle go to three Central Florida county jails.

The flyer advertising the raffle was created by the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency.

It advertises a chance to win an AR-15 rifle. There are phone numbers on the flyer to buy $20 tickets.

Every one of the numbers directs the caller to someone's desk at the Orange, Seminole and Osceola County jails.

Some were perplexed by the offer.

“Probably a good value, but it’s very bizarre and counterintuitive,” said Andrew Shure.

Information on the raffle to win the $1,200 gun was tweeted by the St. Cloud police.

The local Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency chapter said the $6,800 or so raised would be used for community projects, like buying gifts for underprivileged children.

“They could raffle off a car or something other than a gun. That doesn’t make sense to raffle off a gun,” said Laura Stephenson.

Officials in Orange and Seminole counties seemed surprised that calls for information about the AR-15 raffle were going to county jail offices.

There is an asterisk on the flyer that said the winner must comply with applicable laws and background checks.

A member of this organization said that they won't really be handing over a rifle to the winner, but instead a certificate they can use to pick up the gun.

Researchers find meteorites from Michigan meteor

Researchers with the American Meteor Society found two meteorites just days after a meteor lit up the sky across part of Michigan, according to a tweet from AMS.

>> Read more trending news

“We are happy and excited to report, two meteorites from the Jan. 16th fall have been found in Michigan,” the Thursday tweet said. “Congratulations to Robert Ward and Larry Atkins on the first two reported finds.”

A group from Longway Planetarium and the Farmington Community Stargazer also recovered a meteorite and planned to share more details about its discovery, according to WDIV.

The meteorites were found near Charlotte, Michigan and near Whitmore Lake, according to WDIV. The AMS received more than 650 reports of a fireball from people in Michigan, Ohio and Canada.

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