November 17, 2019

Ashleigh Bentz wants to make sure every child has a toy that looks just like them.

The Springfield, Missouri, resident was born without a fibula in her right leg, and was also missing bones in her foot and two toes. When she was 2, her leg was amputated and she was fitted with a prosthetic. "I played kickball, sometimes my leg would fall off during kickball, but that's just it," she told KY3.

Bentz is now a certified prosthetic assistant, and wants to make sure that kids who have had limbs amputated don't feel left out. She launched a fundraiser and used the $2,500 in donations to purchase 600 Barbie dolls that either have prosthetics or use a wheelchair. "For there to be a gift that a kid could potentially pick out that looks just like them, that's big," Bentz said.

The dolls have been given to Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, and officials there said they have enough dolls to pass out for several years. Bentz hopes there will soon be a male doll, for full inclusion. Catherine Garcia

12:49 a.m.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran, has emerged as a serious contender to be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.

Duckworth is a "highly decorated woman," former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the Post, and the Biden team is taking a close look at her. Biden has promised to choose a woman as his running mate, and said he would reveal his pick by Aug. 1.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) have all been vetted, the Post reports, and many Biden allies view Harris as the favorite. Some people with knowledge of the matter told the Post that while Duckworth is a strong choice, they don't believe she'll ultimately be selected.

Duckworth is of Thai Chinese descent, and in the wake of the anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, many people are pushing Biden to choose a Black woman as his running mate. During an interview on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Duckworth said Black female voters are "a key to the victory for Democrats" and she is certain Biden "will pick the right person to be next to him as he digs this country out of the mess that Donald Trump has put us in."

Republicans are ready to pounce on Biden's eventual running mate, the Post reports, as many believe this person will be an easier target than Biden. Dan Eberhart, an oil executive and one of President Trump's donors, told the Post the GOP is "more likely than ever to hammer the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Biden is boxed in by the progressives in the party — he has to pick a woman and someone who is relatively far to the left of himself. That's going to provide natural openings for the campaign to draw contrasts." Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

The Florida Department of Health has issued a warning to residents of Hillsborough County after a person there contracted Naegleria fowleri, a single-cell amoeba that infects the brain and is usually fatal.

Infections are rare — between 2009 and 2018, only 34 cases were reported in the United States, with most in the South, the BBC reports. In Florida, there have been just 37 cases reported since 1962. Typically found in warm freshwater, the amoeba enters the body through the nose. It cannot be passed from person to person.

The Department of Health did not say where the infection was contracted or the patient's condition, but did advise residents to avoid getting water from taps, lakes, rivers, ponds, and canals up their noses. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and a stiff neck, and officials said anyone who believes they have been infected should "seek medical attention right away, as the disease progresses rapidly."

Infections are more likely in July, August, and September, when the water is warmer, but health officials don't want people to worry too much, reminding residents that the "disease is rare and effective prevention strategies can allow for a safe and relaxing summer swim season." Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

Nick Cordero, the Tony-nominated actor who starred in Bullets Over Broadway, Waitress, Rock of Ages, and A Bronx Tale: The Musical, died Sunday in Los Angeles after battling the coronavirus for several months. He was 41.

Cordero's wife, Amanda Kloots, shared on Instagram that her husband died "surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this Earth."

Cordero was hospitalized in late March after doctors thought he had pneumonia, and Kloots kept fans updated on his condition via Instagram. While in the intensive care unit, his right leg was amputated and he was put in a medically induced coma. He also lost 65 pounds and suffered two mini-strokes. Earlier this month, Kloots told CBS This Morning that Cordero would "most likely" need a double lung transplant in order to "live the kind of life that I know my husband would want to live."

The Canadian-born Cordero made his Broadway debut in 2012 in Rock of Ages, and was nominated for a Tony in 2014 for his role as Cheech in Bullets Over Broadway. He also appeared on several television shows, including a stint on Blue Bloods as Victor Lugo. In addition to Kloots, Cordero is survived by his young son, Elvis. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

More than 230 scientists from 32 countries are asking the World Health Organization to address growing evidence that the coronavirus can spread indoors via aerosols that float in the air, The New York Times reports.

The WHO has maintained that the coronavirus is primarily spread by infected people who sneeze and cough, with their large respiratory droplets falling to the ground quickly. In its most recent guidance, the WHO said airborne transmission of the virus is only possible after medical procedures that produce aerosols. The scientists disagree, writing in a soon-to-be-published open letter that smaller exhaled particles can infect people, and the WHO's recommendations should be revised.

Multiple scientists told the Times that while they appreciate the WHO's work and attempts to educate the public, the United Nations health agency is slow and risk-averse to updating recommendations. Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO's technical lead on infection control, told the Times the organization stated "several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence. There is a strong debate on this." Read more at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

President Trump will hold an outdoor rally in New Hampshire next Saturday, with his campaign saying on Sunday it will pass out face masks and hand sanitizer to attendees.

The rally will take place at Portsmouth International Airport. In June, Trump held his first campaign event in months at Tulsa's BOK Center. About 6,000 people showed up, a smaller-than-expected crowd. Hogan Gidley, Trump 2020's national press secretary, said in a statement the campaign is looking forward to "so many freedom-loving patriots" coming to the New Hampshire rally and "celebrating America."

The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the country, and Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, told Reuters the rally will "only further highlight the chaos" Trump has caused in his "woefully inadequate" handling of the pandemic. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, the developers behind the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, announced on Sunday they are canceling the $8 billion project.

The natural gas pipeline was set to go from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina. The project was first announced in 2014, with the developers saying they wanted the pipeline operational by 2018, but it was delayed due to environmental groups filing several legal challenges over permits.

Supporters said the pipeline would create manufacturing and construction jobs, while environmentalists and land owners argued it would destroy Appalachian forests. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Forest Service did have the authority to give the developers a key permit, but in a statement on Sunday, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said there is still an "unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays," making the project "too uncertain to justify investing more shareholder capital." Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2020

President Trump has a penchant for tagging his political opponents with simple, but biting nicknames. The one he chose for his presumptive Democratic presidential challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, doesn't seem to have landed like those in the past, however, Axios reports.

It's well-known Trump refers to Biden as "sleepy Joe," but so far, at least judging by Google search trends, voters apparently don't associate the moniker with Biden all that much. Trump dubbed his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, as "crooked" Hillary, which prompted far more searches than "sleepy Joe." As analysts noted, there are likely several reasons for this. Regardless, it could be a small, but telling data point that shows Trump's patented insults may not have the same affect in 2020 now that the novelty has worn off.

Of course, it could just be that "sleepy" isn't particularly evocative, which is perhaps why the Trump campaign has recently starting trying out "corrupt Joe Biden." Read more at Axios. Tim O'Donnell

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