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    Golden dragons, giant green crickets, and glowing pandas are lighting up the night sky in Arcadia.

    The Moonlight Forest lantern festival has taken over the LA Arboretum Wednesdays and Thursdays until Jan. 6, 2019.

    The arboretum is offering free admission for all first responders of the Woolsey and Camp Fires into the tranquil venue, which includes botanical gardens, lantern installations, live performances, and tasteful food trucks. 

    Refresh this page to see an updated video from the venue, or follow along live via @NBCLA on social media.



    Photo Credit: LA Arboretum and Botanical Garden

    Moonlight Forest FestivalMoonlight Forest Festival

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    Opening day is filled with anticipation in Running Springs. Jonathan Gonzalez reports for Today in LA on Friday Dec. 14, 2018.


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    Family members of a Miami woman whose body was found when she didn’t return from a vacation in Costa Rica now say they believe more people were involved in her death.

    On a Facebook page that was created during the search for 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak, who had failed to return from a trip for her birthday, family members say sources close to the investigation have told them forensic results have investigators believing more people were involved.

    “In fact, the doubt extends to that there may be up 3 or 4 possible people involved,” the family wrote in a message Thursday night. “We have been saying this since day 1. This was organized by more than one person as soon as Carla booked the place.”

    A security guard at the Airbnb where Stefaniak had been staying, Bismark Espinosa Martinez, has been arrested in connection with the case.

    Sister station Telemundo 51 reached out to officials in Costa Rica, who said information on the case is "confidential."

    Stefaniak was traveling with her sister-in-law when she was last heard from by her family on Nov. 27; she was scheduled to fly home the next day. While her sister-in-law flew home early, Stefaniak stayed but told friends it was “pretty sketchy” at the resort.

    A partially buried body was found in the woods near that resort close to a week later, which was identified by Stefaniak’s father. An autopsy revealed that Stefaniak suffered a blunt force wound to the head and cuts on the neck and arms.

    Family members brought Stefaniak’s ashes back to Tampa, where she lived after moving to America in 2000 from her native Venezuela for 12 years before moving to South Florida.



    Photo Credit: Mario Caicedo

    Carla Stefaniak, of South Florida, went missing while vacationing in Costa Rica. The 36-year-old was last heard from around 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. She didn't show up for her 1 p.m. flight home on Nov. 28.Carla Stefaniak, of South Florida, went missing while vacationing in Costa Rica. The 36-year-old was last heard from around 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. She didn't show up for her 1 p.m. flight home on Nov. 28.

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    A delivery person making the rounds in Dublin this week was captured on video hurling an Amazon package from a home's front yard onto the porch, and it turns out it wasn't an isolated incident.

    Shawn Mowry was expecting a Christmas present for his 5-year-old son to be delivered this week, but he wasn't expecting what he saw when he played back the footage on his Nest surveillance camera Wednesday.

    An unidentified man is seen in the video delivering an Amazon package via air mail.

    "When it did come, I heard this pop-pop sound, and I was just sitting on the couch," Mowry said. "I had no idea what it was."

    Mowry reviewed the Nest video and couldn't believe what he saw. He called his wife.

    "I was like, you're not going to believe this, you've got to see this," he said.

    When Mowry looked at the video one more time, he realized the same thing happened to his next-door neighbor.

    "I don't know if he's having a bad day; there could be a story behind what's happening with him," neighbor Nancy Polcyn said. "But still, if there was something in those packages, they would not have been able to hold up to that."

    Neither of the items was damaged.

    Amazon released a statement Thursday: "This does not reflect the standards we have for delivery partners. This individual is no longer delivering Amazon packages, and we’re in touch with the customer to make things right."

    "You know, it doesn't feel good," Mowry said. "But at the same time, I have to ask myself: Do you really want someone like that delivering a package? Especially around the holidays. There's a lot of kids stuff being delivered around the holidays so that's got to be a concern."

    Mowry said Amazon gave him a $25 gift card too.

    Ultimately, he said he just doesn't want his or any other packages delivered that way again.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shawn Mowry

    A screen shot of home surveillance video showing a delivery driver throwing an Amazon package from a home's front yard onto the porch.A screen shot of home surveillance video showing a delivery driver throwing an Amazon package from a home's front yard onto the porch.

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    Butte County officials on Thursday released the exact locations people were killed.

    Most of the victims died in the town of Paradise.

    Authorities also released the circumstances surrounding the deaths. Officials say of the 53 victims identified so far, 32 died inside a home.

    Eleven people died under a vehicle and another at a hospital, officials said.

    A total of 86 people died in the so-called Camp Fire, which is now California's most destructive and deadliest wildfire in its recorded history.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 15: An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity the Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise charring over 140,000 acres, killing at least 56 people and destroying over 8,500 homes and businesses. The fire is currently at 40 percent containment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 15: An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity the Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise charring over 140,000 acres, killing at least 56 people and destroying over 8,500 homes and businesses. The fire is currently at 40 percent containment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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    Nowadays, the necessity of using words such as "nigh" isn't extremely high, especially when there are other terms we can easily go to, such as "near" or "almost here."

    But dropping a few sassy "nighs" shouldn't engender sighs nor whys, not when it comes to "The Nutcracker," a story, and production, that hails from an age when elegance, pomp, and, yes, more formal words were all the rage.

    So we tell you this: The time is very, very nigh for this Christmastime ballet, the sparkly story of a girl named Clara, an enchanted nutcracker, and a host of enchanting characters from enchanting lands.

    "Timeless" isn't quite as rarely heard as "nigh," and it definitely applies here: "The Nutcracker" is as necessary a top-tier yuletide tradition as cocoa and carols.

    Where, though, to find the sugarplum-scented Tchaikovsky ballet? There are several choices around Southern California, and, yes, the time is nigher than nigh, so best board your sleigh at once.

    The Long Beach Ballet will present seven performances over five select December days, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Long Beach Terrace Theater.

    The Los Angeles Ballet's charming take on the magical tale is currently leaping around town right now, with visits to Redondo Beach and UCLA's Royce Hall just ahead.

    The American Contemporary Ballet may be festively found at California Plaza, in DTLA, on a few December days. "The Nutcracker Suite" is an hourlong "immersive" take on the classic.

    The LA Youth Ballet will summon that seasonal sweetness at The Alex Theatre in Glendale on the weekend ahead of Christmas, for four performances only.

    And the Inland Pacific Ballet still has visits to Riverside and Claremont coming up, with a special "Nutty Nutcracker" spin on the Friday nights of each visit. Details and dates are here.

    Are there more Nutcrackers to be found, 'round the Golden State? Indeed: The productions are nearly as plentiful as snowflakes. Check your local troupe and see if they're Nutcrackering this season.



    Photo Credit: Long Beach Ballet

    Dance for the Long Beach Terrace Theater, beginning on Dec. 15, 2018, for the Long Beach Ballet's elegant rendition of Dance for the Long Beach Terrace Theater, beginning on Dec. 15, 2018, for the Long Beach Ballet's elegant rendition of "The Nutcracker."

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    A Honduran woman and her son with Down Syndrome were granted entry into the United States after making a claim for political asylum at the border.

    María Luisa Cáceres and her son Javi joined the migrant caravan with the dream of a better life removed from violence in their home country of Honduras.

    Maria says that her journey through Mexico was very difficult because Javi fainted repeatedly.

    "During the road my child fainted many times, but thank God the ambulance helped me and they took him to the hospitals," said Maria, who despite all the difficulties, never gave up and encouraged Javi to keep walking.

    Maria remembers she was discriminated against several times because of Javi’s disability and because he didn’t have a father.

    "When my son was born, the one who was my partner renounced us and I was left alone with Javi 2 days old," María told Telemundo 20.

    Maria had to assume the responsibilities of both mother and father with Javi and her three other children. She says it’s Javi's innocent kisses that inspire her to get up every day and fight for the welfare of her entire family.

    "He gives me strength with the hugs he gives me, my child is very affectionate," said Maria.

    She also feels very grateful to the family that gave her shelter in her home in City Heights, where she shares a room with Javi. There she says she feels like part of a family.

    "I do not want to return for everything I've gone through, but I start thinking about my other children, my mother who is sick and my brothers who stayed in Honduras and I feel very sad," María said while Javi dried the tears from her eyes.

    Both were turned over to the authorities at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and three days later, they were released from the Otay Mesa Detention Center. Maria was given a GPS device that they put on her right ankle.

    Maria's case was special, given that she was given priority by her son's condition. Despite the sadness that seizes her, she says that she will continue to fight to help her entire family in Honduras and other children who, like Javi, have been rejected and even abandoned by their parents.

    If you would like to give a donation to this and other migrant families you can do so through the Minority Humanitarian Foundation.


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    It was a day of tributes for Ray Chavez, who was the oldest living veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor before his death on Nov. 21.

    Photo Credit: Calvin Pearce/NBC 7

    It was a day of tributes for Ray Chavez, who was the oldest living veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor before his death on Nov. 21.It was a day of tributes for Ray Chavez, who was the oldest living veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor before his death on Nov. 21.

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    If you were tasked with performing the Peanuts dance, from the famous "A Charlie Brown Christmas" scene, would you wonder which character to emulate?

    Because, truth: Some of the Peanuts kids, in the 1965 special, are sort of hopping, and bobbing their heads, while other animated tots throw their hands in the air, energetically.

    Whatever your preferred Peanuts-inspired dance style is, best start to boogie, for a Christmastime Peanuts tradition is here, or, rather, one that is very specific to Costa Mesa.

    Specific and highly treasured, that is.

    It's the Snoopy House we speak of, and if you grew up in the area, or have visited Costa Mesa in December since the late 1960s, you likely know this large-scale, highly colorful display, one that finds its adorable inspiration in the whimsically philosophical world created by Charles Schulz.

    The display has been seen at Costa Mesa City Hall since 2011, which is exactly where it will shine again, starting on the evening of Friday, Dec. 14.

    The Snoopy House's final night for 2018 is Sunday, Dec. 23, and the hours each evening will run from 5:30 to 9 o'clock.

    Lines can and do form, so don your mittens, and bring a buddy, and, for sure, your camera, too, for Santa will be there from 7 to 9 p.m. each night. And those pics with Santa? Totally free, like the event itself.

    Look also for live music and treats to buy, too.

    The family that originated this local charmer had encountered "difficult financial times," making its annual presentation unfeasible several years back. Jim Jordan, who was inspired to create the sizable holiday favorite in the mid-'60s, didn't want to see his happy-making display come to an end.

    This is where the City of Costa Mesa gamely stepped in, in 2011, to continue a tradition that so many kids around the region grew up loving.

    Kids, and, yes, adults, too.

    Don't miss this one, if you're a Peanuts person, if you like community-minded sights that have ably weathered the ups and downs of life, or if you're just seeking a sweet and free seasonal outing with the family. 



    Photo Credit: City of Costa Mesa

    The mega Peanuts-cute display began at an area home in 1966, but you can now find it at Costa Mesa City Hall from Dec. 14 through 23, 2018.The mega Peanuts-cute display began at an area home in 1966, but you can now find it at Costa Mesa City Hall from Dec. 14 through 23, 2018.

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    A funeral procession fit for an American hero traveled through the streets of San Diego Thursday in honor of the late Ray Chavez, who was the oldest veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Chavez died peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 21. He was 106. 

    A day of tributes to the Navy sailor began with a funeral procession made of Patriot Guard Riders, a nonprofit group that works with the family of lost veterans and service members. The group of motorcycle riders led Chavez' casket from a funeral home to St. Michael's Catholic Church, where his funeral service was held.

    During the service, family members and close friends spoke about the passing of the great man they knew.
    "

    During the service, family members and close friends spoke about the passing of the great man they knew.

    "Uncle was just an amazing man. He was a hard worker," Summer Serrano, Chavez's great-niece said. "He worked until he was 96 years old and he didn't think he could pass a driving test so that's why he stopped working."

    She said he was a humble, loving family man.

    "He always planned our family reunions just to keep us together and that is why the extended family is here today," she said.

    Chavez has a shoulder injury that made it painful to raise his hand above his shoulder but that didn't stop home from saluting the color guard when he threw out the first pitch at a Padres game in 2015, his nephew said.

    "Halfway through the song, he started losing his grip. He couldn't hold his salute," the nephew said. "So he took his good arm in hand and held his arm up to finish his salute. That is the kind of a man Uncle Ray was."

    On the way to the church, the procession passed a Poway Fire Department house, which had a sprawling American Flag raised above the route in honor of Chavez. 

    Upon arrival, the admiring public stood on the sidelines, at attention, as a military honor guard carried the flag-draped casket into the church, where a private ceremony was held for loved ones. 

    Sean Thompson, who was Chavez's trainer for the past five years, said he trained Chavez twice a week for five years and became a close friend to Chavez.

    "In just 6 short months he had put on 20 pounds of pure muscle," Thompson said. "He was now walking without the need of a walker and barely using a cane. Away went his wheelchair for daily use, and away went my notion that at some point you're too old to better yourself."

    Thompson served as one of Chavez's pallbearer Thursday. He recalled a time where someone asked Chavez why he was stilling carrying his cane. "He quickly responded, 'To keep all the women off me,'" Thompson said.

    One Patriot Guard Rider described the importance of being part of Chavez' funeral ceremony. 

    "It’s hard to say if one veteran is more special than another. Because of his age, he was the oldest surviving member of the Pearl Harbor attack, so that in itself was pretty special," the rider, who goes by "Dr. Fix It" said. 

    Students from St. Michael's School, which belongs to the parish where the funeral mass took place, lined the street with flags as the procession left the church. Chavez spoke to the students at the school about his Pearl Harbor experience on Veterans Day.

    "It was such an honor to be there and to experience his stories and to serve at his funeral," said Daniel Gemmingeen, an eighth-grader at St. Michael who served as one of the altar servers for Chavez's funeral service.

    The procession's second leg, from the church to Miramar National Cemetery, where Chavez will be buried, began around 11:30 a.m. 

    Chavez served missions on a minesweeper and attack transport ship and responded to Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

    Chavez did not often share stories about the attack on Pearl Harbor but, on one occasion, the sailor recalled being called to active duty as one of the most important memories of his life.

    "War. Being in right in the middle of it," Chavez said. "It was quite a surprise. I saw everything. Smoke and fire."

    Chavez's daughter, U.S. Navy veteran Kathleen Chavez, said he had not wanted to reflect on his WWII experience until recently because, really, he was a bit shy. Kathleen is grateful, however, that Chavez was able to share his story in recent years.

    "To hear those stories not just from a teacher to hear them from somebody who actually experienced those things is very moving," said Valeria Slocomb, a seventh-grader at St. Michael's. "It is very special."

    As the oldest living veteran of the attack, Chavez flew to Honolulu to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in December 2016. He was accompanied by his daughter and escorted by San Diego firefighter Mitch Mendler and retired New York firefighter Joe Torillo, a survivor of the 9/11 attacks.

    In July 2015, Chavez reunited with Jim Downing, 102, in San Diego more than 74 years after they served together in the military. Together, the duo reflected on their unbreakable bond.

    Last March, the Poway resident celebrated his 105th birthday with a solid workout at his gym. A couple of days later, a big party was held for him on the flight deck aboard USS Midway Museum.

    Stu Hedley, president of the local chapter of Pearl Harbor survivors, said with Chavez’ passing, there are only 10 Pearl Harbor survivors remaining.



    Photo Credit: Calvin Pearce/NBC 7

    School students stood along the route of the procession to show their respect.School students stood along the route of the procession to show their respect.

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    Facebook revealed on Friday that a bug in its platform may have allowed third-party apps to have access to a broad range of user photos, including pictures that users uploaded to Facebook but did not share.

    Facebook said in a statement on its website that the bug may have affected 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps between Sept. 13 and Sept. 25. The company did not say when it discovered the issue.

    “When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline,” Facebook wrote. “In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post. For example, if someone uploads a photo to Facebook but doesn't finish posting it - maybe because they've lost reception or walked into a meeting - we store a copy of that photo so the person has it when they come back to the app to complete their post." 

    The social media company said it will put out tools next week for the app developers to see which users were impacted by the bug, and it will help those developers delete the exposed photos.

    Facebook said it will also notify its users who were potentially affected with a Facebook alert. It also encouraged people to visit the Help Center to see if they or apps they use were affected.



    Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP, File

    In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla.In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla.

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    Inside the leaky, desolate confines of the building recently named New Jersey's saddest mall, only one tenant remains.

    And not just any tenant. Petal, a life-size elephant made completely out of fiberglass, served as a memorable fixture of the Burlington Center Mall for the past 30 years.

    Now, she’s facing eviction from the only place she has called home.

    The local sculptor who designed and created the fountain elephant decades ago, Zenos Frudakis, says he’s gone on to complete more than 100 large pieces around the world. (Close to home, and perhaps most controversially notable, he also designed the Frank Rizzo statue. "I didn't vote for him," Frudakis said.)

    But it’s clear that Petal holds a special place in his heart.

    "The elephant was my first big piece,” he said. "I did it when I was still a student. ... It’s like my firstborn."

    The elephant fountain was originally commissioned by Stockton Strawbridge, the scion of the Strawbridge and Clothier retail empire. Strawbridge had just returned from Africa and wanted children to be as thrilled by the elephants as he was.

    Petal measures 11 feet high and 8 feet wide, 12 feet from front to back, and carries a full-size child on her back. Her informal name, Petal, comes from her real-life model at the Philadelphia Zoo.

    Petal made her debut at the Burlington Center Mall in the summer of 1982. When the mall opened, it was anchored by Sears, Strawbridge’s (now Macy’s), and JCPenney’s among its 100 stores and restaurants. But 30 years later, it began to struggle.

    In 2007, an incident of gang violence leading to temporary mall closures left some residents uncertain about its safety, NJ.com reported. In 2017, an Advance Media ranking of New Jersey’s malls called Burlington Center "rundown and deserted", placing it dead last. And finally, in January 2018, frozen pipes burst, damaging the fire alarm system and leading to officials’ decision to close the mall earlier than its previously scheduled shutdown in March, the South Jersey Courier Post reported.

    Google reviewers call Burlington Mall a “ghost town” and an “asphalt wasteland,” although it isn’t the only one struggling to compete with the convenience of online shopping and the lure of to-door delivery. The American mall itself is dying; according to a 2017 report published in Fortune, 1 out of every 4 malls is projected to close by 2022

    The plan is to demolish the shopping center. But even though the mall can’t be saved, Frudakis insists the elephant can be.

    “A public work of art like Petal should find a home where it can be enjoyed,” Frudakis Studio spokesman John Xuereb said. “A public work that brought so much joy to so many people deserves to have another life.”

    The mall's owners, Moonbeam Capital Investments, are willing to donate the sculpture to any organization for free, providing that they're willing to move it, according to the studio. 

    The artist hopes somewhere like a non-profit organization, a zoo or a hospital can continue to enjoy Petal. But while several parties have expressed interest in adopting the parentless pachyderm, none have committed to take her.

    That might be because of the cost of the fountain’s removal and installation, which Frudakis hopes to cover with a GoFundMe page. Petal has multiple fans, the studio said, who call her every week hoping to hear about the fate of their friend.

    “Some of them came as children to see the sculpture, and have children of their own now,” Frudakis added.

    For now, Petal’s still waiting in the now-defunct Burlington Center Mall. She’ll be there, Xuereb says, until she can be moved, either to a temporary or a permanent new home.



    Photo Credit: Dan Farrell/NBC10
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Petal, a statue at the vacant Burlington County Mall in New Jersey, is desperately searching for a new home.Petal, a statue at the vacant Burlington County Mall in New Jersey, is desperately searching for a new home.

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    A top secret U.S. military assessment found that North Korea is still evading U.N. sanctions by transferring oil at sea, and that a coalition of U.S.-led forces deployed to disrupt the movements has failed to dent the overall number of illegal transfers, three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence told NBC News

    The finding underscores the Trump administration's struggle to maintain economic pressure on North Korea amid a diplomatic bid to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile arsenal. The smuggled fuel provides a crucial lifeline for the regime's economy and armed forces. 

    The U.S. Pacific Command assessment, labeled "Top Secret," found that the presence of warships and surveillance aircraft deployed by an eight-nation coalition since September has forced North Korea to adjust its tactics at sea, including transferring oil farther away from the Korean Peninsula and often in other countries' territorial waters. 

    The White House and the State Department declined requests for comment. Click here for NBC News' full report.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Jan. 20, 2017, image released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, surveillance aircraft spots a Dominican-flagged Yuk Tung oil tanker after it transferred fuel to the North Korean-registered Rye Song tanker in the open South China Sea.In this Jan. 20, 2017, image released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, surveillance aircraft spots a Dominican-flagged Yuk Tung oil tanker after it transferred fuel to the North Korean-registered Rye Song tanker in the open South China Sea.

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    The new experience-based destination is now departing for fantastical places and unreal adventures, at Westfield Century City.

    Photo Credit: Dreamscape

    Dreamscape Immersive, a new VR destination, debuts at Westfield Century City on Friday, Dec. 14.Dreamscape Immersive, a new VR destination, debuts at Westfield Century City on Friday, Dec. 14.

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    The U.S. Department of Education said Thursday it is cancelling $150 million in students loans connected to for-profit colleges, complying with a court order that essentially forced the Obama-era move to go through, NBC News reported.

    The discharge of loans affects about 15,000 students who went to colleges that shuttered between Nov. 1, 2013 and Dec. 4, 2018, including Corinthian Colleges, Inc.

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had canceled memos imposing tougher rules on for-profit colleges and student loan debt, but lost a challenge brought by states including California.

    The office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee, said more than 100,000 students have outstanding claims. Murray said in a statement that, "it's disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges."



    Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File

    In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Md.In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Md.

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    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he does not want to be White House chief of staff, just hours after multiple reports said he was President Donald Trump's leading choice for the job.

    "It's an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House Chief of Staff," Christie said in a statement obtained by NBC News, first provided to The New York Times. "However, I have told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post."

    Christie met with Trump Thursday night about the White House chief of staff job and was considered a "top contender" for the role, sources told NBC News earlier Friday.

    Christie's candidacy was being boosted both publicly and privately by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a source told NBC.

    Axios and Bloomberg also reported Friday that Christie was a top contender, and a Washington Post reporter tweeted that the paper was about to report the same thing when his statement landed. 

    Christie, one of the most unpopular governors in recent American history, was nonetheless an outspoken supporter of the president's, and for a time led his transition team.

    At one point he was also considered to be in the running for attorney general. 

    But analysts questioned whether Christie could actually fit in the administration given his history with the president's son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner.

    In 2005, as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Christie put Kushner's father in prison on tax and other charges. 



    Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP, File

    This Oct. 26, 2017, file photo shows then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington after attending a speech by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on the opioid crisis.This Oct. 26, 2017, file photo shows then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington after attending a speech by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on the opioid crisis.

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    The 76th Golden Globes' menu will offer more gluten free options this year.

    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

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    Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in October of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, will be sentenced on Jan. 18, a judge said Friday. 

    The sentencing date followed a ruling denying motions for a new trial and to set aside a jury's verdict in the case.

    Van Dyke appeared before Judge Vincent Gaughan for the second time since his conviction in a trial that captured the nation. He wore a prison-issued jumpsuit and a Department of Corrections windbreaker as he stood in open court.

    Lawyers for both sides argued their positions on a motion filed by Van Dyke's defense seeking to set aside the jury's verdict convicting him of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. 

    The judge denied that request. 

    Attorneys then argued motions for a new trial, which was also denied by Gaughan. 

    The ex-Chicago officer made his first post-trial appearance in October, but no sentencing date was set. Instead, Van Dyke's defense filed two new motions - one requesting a new trial and the other asking that the judge set aside the jury's verdict in his case. 

    Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald

    The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.

    Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.

    Van Dyke's attorneys have maintained the Chicago officer was wrongly charged, saying he was acting within the law when he shot the teen, who at the time was an armed felon fleeing a crime scene.

    They have vowed to continue fighting the decision.

    Not long after his conviction, Van Dyke was transferred to the Rock Island County Jail in far northwestern Illinois, one of 45 jail detainees who are being kept outside of Cook County.

    The move was for security reasons, not due to any health concerns, a spokesman for the Cook County sheriff's office said, adding that Van Dyke was a high-profile case for whom more security was deemed appropriate. 

    Second-degree murder carries a four- to 20-year prison sentence, but can also result in four years of probation instead of prison. Aggravated battery carries a six- to 30-year sentence, 85 percent of which must be served.


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    Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs is open for the season. Jonathan Gonzalez reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.


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    Professionals are warning parents that they should talk to their kids as a new viral challenge spreads across social media and puts children in potential danger.

    The "Momo Challenge" is an online cyberbullying game targeting young kids and teenagers through Facebook and WhatsApp. It threatens children with violence if they don't commit potentially dangerous activities.

    Children who participate in the challenge are first sent a message with a photo of a woman with bulging eyes, an elongated face and a large, contorted smile.

    Accompanying the photo is a message that directs children to commit various acts - some simple, some more violent - and show photographic proof of those acts or risk being harmed.

    NBC10 spoke to one young New Jersey boy who was sent the photo by a classmate.

    "Momo stabs you with a knife when you're sleeping at night," said the boy, who is not being identified by NBC10 because of his age.

    The game has reportedly been linked to suicides in other countries but authorities have not offered proof of that connection.

    In New Jersey, the Cape May Police Department posted a Facebook message to parents warning that, "This 'game' is believed to be a way for people to hack accounts and is psychologically manipulative towards kids and teens."

    Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist, says parents should take preemptive action and gently ask their younger children if they know about the challenge.

    "Say something like, 'There's some scary things that pop up on phones and tablets, and if you ever see something like that, come get me,'" Walls said.

    When it comes to older kids, Walls said it's not realistic for parents to threaten to take their phones away, but they should have an open dialogue with their children.

    Parents should let those older kids know that the challenge is cyberbullying, it's potentially dangerous and that they're trusting their kids to let them know what's going on.

    "Especially as kids get older and they're teenagers, they want some of that autonomy and they deserve some of that autonomy as long as they can show you they're responsible enough," Wells said.


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