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    A Ramona man doesn’t need Rudolph to guide his truck because he has 2,600 lights to get the job done.

    Tony Wilson decorates his sleigh-with-wheels every year, spreading holiday cheer wherever he goes.

    “It just makes people smile when they see this go,” Wilson told NBC 7.

    The decorating process takes roughly 22 hours in total, he said.

    Wilson starts at his truck’s tailgate and runs the lights around. He uses miniature light clips and suction cups to hold everything in place.

    After the holiday lights are wrapped around his 2018 Ford F-150, he carefully aligns them in neat rows.

    The lights aren’t powered by Christmas magic, but rather a 500 W portable power inverter to keep the show on the road.

    Wilson started decorating his ride in 2006 when his church hosted a "Light of Life" contest. He decorated his boat with holiday lights, pulling it with his truck.

    Back then, he said he only slightly outlined his truck with lights.

    Wilson won the contest, sparking his lighting legacy to life.

    The church only held the contest for a few years. Wilson joked they stopped because he kept winning.

    Over the past 12 years, Wilson’s design evolved. He started adding lights to the doors in 2017.

    The Ramona resident parks his truck in his front yard, plugs it in, and creates a show-stopping display.

    He said he also likes to ride around town and see people’s reactions.

    One day, Wilson was at a store and someone came up to him and said, “Your decorations give me a fuzzy and warm feeling inside, and I appreciate you.”

    The compliments follow the bright truck; even some National City police officers stop by for a picture this year.

    At the start of the new year, Wilson takes down the decorations, though this process is much quicker than his set-up, only lasting about an hour and a half.

    “I don’t like taking them down,” he told NBC 7.

    He said he does his annual lighting tradition for the people.



    Photo Credit: Tony Wilson
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    A Massachusetts woman fatally shot by her estranged husband as she was heading to work Wednesday told a friend the night before she was killed that she was afraid of what he might do to her, officials said.

    A judge ordered 55-year-old Emilio Matarazzo, of Peabody, to be held without bail during his arraignment Thursday on a murder charge in connection with the slaying of Ersilia Cataldo Matarazzo of Everett.

    Prosecutors said in court Thursday that Emilio spoke to his son on the phone about 10 minutes after the shooting, telling him, "What is done is done."

    The night before she died, prosecutors said Ersilia told a friend she was afraid of what Emilio might do to her.

    Prosecutors said Ersilia told her family last month that Emilio had been violent with her, at one point strangling her. He also reportedly showed up at a holiday party earlier this month at the church where Ersilia worked and caused a scene, refusing to leave.

    Ersilia recently turned 50 and prosecutors said that for her birthday, Emilio sent her a $20,000 check in an attempt to win her back. But she mailed the check back to him.

    Emilio Matarazzo reportedly turned himself in to Everett police about two hours after he allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife. Prosecutors said when officers asked Emilio how it was going, he replied, "Not good."

    Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said Everett officers responded to a home on Central Avenue after receiving a call around 8:40 a.m. for a report of shots fired. When police arrived, they found Ersilia Matarazzo's body inside a car in the home's driveway with multiple gunshot wounds.

    A neighbor said she heard four gunshots followed by screams.

    "After the four gunshots, I heard screaming. A woman screaming," she said.

    The couple was in the process of getting divorced, and Emilio Matarazzo was licensed to carry a firearm, according to Ryan. There was neither a previous court history nor a restraining order filed between the two, Ryan added.

    Ersilia Cataldo Matarazzo appeared to have been on her way to work at St. Anthony's Church, where she had worked for about 20 years, according to Everett police. She had a large extended family in the city of Everett and was the mayor's second cousin. She had served on the school committee and board of registrars and was currently serving on the city's board of assessors.

    Those who knew Ersilia Matarazzo, a mother of three, are at a loss for words.

    "This has been a difficult loss, not only for our family, but for the entire community," her aunt, Maureen Dipierro, said Thursday. "We all loved Ersilia very much. She touched a lot of lives around her."

    "I don't even know what to think," said one woman who was in the Everett High School band with Ersilia. "[Ersilia was] quiet, nice. Just a nice, nice person."

    Everett Police Chief Steve Mazzie said Ersilia Matarazzo was a "well-known, well-liked, well-respected" member of the community with deep roots in the city just north of Boston.

    "She’s an angel now, but she was taken far too soon," Ersilia Matarazzo's former high school classmate said.

    It's unknown if Emilio Matarazzo has an attorney.

    The investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing.

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support.



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

    Left: Ersilia Cataldo Matarazzo; Right: Emilio MatarazzoLeft: Ersilia Cataldo Matarazzo; Right: Emilio Matarazzo

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    Undocumented immigrants seeking asylum in the United States may now be told to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed, according to a new U.S. policy to which Mexico has agreed.

    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained the new process in remarks to Congress Thursday, saying undocumented immigrants without the proper documentation will have to await approval to come into the U.S. until they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge. 

    "They will not be able to disappear into the U.S.," Nielsen said of those asking the U.S. for protection due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group.

    "They will have to wait for approval to come into the United States. If they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge, they will be welcomed into America. If they are not, they will be removed to their home countries."

    Neilsen said that Mexican officials have agreed to this policy change and the decision was a historic one for the country, which has traditionally refused to accept the return of any migrants who aren't Mexican.

    Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said Thursday the move is a temporary, humanitarian measure. The country will offer visas for those seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay on Mexican soil and apply for work and other government protections.

    Under current policy, people eligible for asylum may be permitted to remain in the U.S. and file for asylum within one year of their arrival. 

    Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the agency has experienced a 121 percent increase in the number of asylum seekers at ports of entry across the U.S. 

    Almost 93,000 claims were processed by the CBP in the fiscal year 2018, a spokesperson told NBC 7 San Diego. 

    Applicants currently may be released into the U.S., often with ankle monitors, while their cases wind through an overwhelmed system of immigration courts.

    Jackie Wasiluk with CBP Public Affairs said the port of entry facilities were not designed to hold hundreds of people at a time while they seek asylum. She added that the agency is also charged with monitoring trade and travel and keeping illicit goods and drugs from crossing into the U.S.

    Judges granted asylum in 21 percent of their cases in the 2018 fiscal year, according to the Associated Press.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC News

    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained how Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained how "out of control" the situation has become at the border.

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    Opening your marvelous maw and letting out lyrics you've known for most of your life? 

    Beyond a-ok in the car. Traditionally done in the shower. And absolutely expected at karaoke night, down at your local pub.

    But doing just that, from a seat in Walt Disney Concert Hall? A seat that's definitely not on the stage? And you yourself aren't featured in the program?

    An usher is going to immediately speak with you, understandably, while your companions or nearest row neighbors will likely utter a low "shush." 

    Be not shushed, however, on the weekend before Christmas, for there are four, yes, four fabulous and festive opportunities to croon in a loud, proud, and quite aloud manner at the famous performance venue.

    Even from your seat, and not the stage.

    Up on Saturday, Dec. 22? It's the popular Holiday Sing-along, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 in the afternoon. The Walt Disney Concert Hall's ginormous pipe organ will be in merry use, and a jazz combo will lend oomph, and a choir shall be on hand to help lead the tinsel-draped tunes.

    And then on Sunday, Dec. 23? Think snow, snow, snowwww, and think singing along with 1954's "White Christmas," which will screen at 3 p.m. and 8 that evening. There'll be gratis cocoa, too, beforehand at BP Hall. (Do arrive early for that, as this is a "while supplies last" kind of deal.)

    When will you next be invited to sing in the celebrated-everywhere venue?

    There are two answers to that question.

    One route? Keep working on your stagecraft, your next album, and your high C, if you're hoping to hit the hall on tour one day.

    Or just hang tight, for the sparkliest season of the year, and the rare and beloved holiday-themed sing-alongs, which, yes, invite audience members to warble, with gusto, inside of the best-known cultural buildings around.



    Photo Credit: "White Christmas"

    Yep, you can warble along with Yep, you can warble along with "White Christmas" like you starred in it. So do so, at Walt Disney Concert Hall in DTLA, on Sunday, Dec. 23, at the matinee or evening screening.

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    The mayor of an Alaskan town and her elderly mother were killed after they were struck by a tour bus near the National Mall in downtown D.C. Wednesday night, police say.

    The crash happened just before 10 p.m. near the National Archives building at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The Eyre bus was making a left turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue when it struck Monica Adams Carlson and her mother, 85-year-old Cora Louise Adams, as they were in the crosswalk, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

    Both women were taken to the hospital, where they died of their injuries. 

    Carlson, 61, was the mayor of Skagway, Alaska, a town about 100 miles north of  Juneau with a population of about 1,100 people. Carlson was a write-in candidate who was elected to a 2-year term in 2017, according to the town's radio station KHNS-FM. 

    Carlson's mother was a resident of the lakeside town of Elbe in Washington state.

    [[503237721, C]]

    Video from Wednesday's scene showed a tour bus parked on the street near a large area that was taped off by police.

    Several police cruisers had their lights on and officers could be seen stepping inside the bus.

    No further information about the crash has been released. 

    Eyre Bus, Tour & Travel, the company that operates the tour bus, released a statement expressing their sympathy to the family. 

    "We are cooperating fully with authorities in the investigation of this incident. Eyre places the safe transportation of our customers as well as those we share the road with as our number one priority." the statement went on to say. 

    It's not clear whether the traffic lights were red or green at the time. Police are reviewing traffic camera video, and the driver of the bus is cooperating with their investigation. 

    Police say the crash was very similar to an incident that claimed the lives of two woman on Feb. 14, 2007. The woman were hit and killed by a Metrobus in the same intersection. Metro settled a lawsuit with one of the victim's husbands for more than $2 million. DDOT added a left-turn lane and left-turn arrow to the intersection following the crash. 

    [[503238811, C]]



    Photo Credit: KHNS-FM
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    Monica Adams Carlson was the mayor of Skagway, Alaska, a town about 100 miles north of Juneau with a population of about 1,100 people.Monica Adams Carlson was the mayor of Skagway, Alaska, a town about 100 miles north of Juneau with a population of about 1,100 people.

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    More than a hundred public figures have been accused of sexual misconduct since allegations against Harvey Weinstein first surfaced. The allegations have hit nearly every industry from entertainment to media to the corporate arena, as each person who's stepped forward has emboldened other victims to share their stories.


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

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    Pictured: Kylie Jenner, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas.Pictured: Kylie Jenner, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas.

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    As President Donald Trump struggles to get funding for his wall along the southern border, a wounded veteran is trying to crowdsource money himself — and it's rapidly gaining stream, though it's got a long way to go until it gets to its $1 billion goal.

    The "We The People Will Fund The Wall" campaign on GoFundMe had raised more than $5.5 million as of Thursday and was gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars by the hour as the president continues to press Congress to fund his signature campaign promise.

    The GoFundMe campaign is led by Brian Kolfage, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who lost three limbs in an explosion in Iraq in 2004.

    "If we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians," he wrote.

    The page collects donations through GoFundMe but also lists an address for Kolfage where people can send checks, made payable to GoFund The Wall. The page attempts to answer several questions about the project's trustworthiness, including whether it's a scam — Kolfage asserts he uses his real name and information, so he's accountable. It meets GoFundMe's terms of service, a spokesman said.

    The page also says that organizers are contacting the Trump administration to secure a place where the money can be sent when the goal is reached and cites private donations for a recent restoration of the Washington Monument as precedent. The White House did immediately respond to a request for comment.

    "We will hold all funds and not release a single penny until we have all legal aspects covered to ensure our money goes only to the wall," the GoFundMe page says, adding that all the money would be refunded "if we don't reach our goal or come significantly close."

    Kolfage hasn't responded to a request for an interview, but he told The Washington Post that his campaign was "giving the people the power."

    A Facebook page touted on the GoFundMe as the campaign's official one stopped working on Thursday. NBC has reached out to Facebook for comment, but has yet to receive a reply.

    Kolfage has previously had activity banned on Facebook. According to a post he wrote on the Right Wing News website in October, Facebook took down the outlet's verified page, which Kolfage managed, as part of a crackdown on disinformation ahead of the midterm elections. He called it a "malicious coordinated" attack on what he and others have fought for.

    Kolfage lost his legs and part of his right arm in a mortar explosion while serving as an airman in Iraq. He received a Purple Heart and, after he began giving back to the community, the Wounded Warrior Project's George C. Lang award for courage.

    He attended the 2012 State of the Union address with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who the year before called him a friend and an inspiration in her recovery from being shot in the head.

    Trump has been seeking $5 billion for his border wall in this year's budget, which only allocates $1.3 billion for it. He's threatened to shut down the government, whose funding runs out Friday night, and called Republicans to the White House Thursday for crisis talks on a bill that would keep the government funded through the first week of February.

    The money Kolfage has raised so far on GoFundMe is less than 1 percent of the campaign's goal, Kolfage wrote on the page, though giving has sped up as it's gotten more news coverage.

    He wrote that he's trying to have GoFundMe raise the maximum goal of $1 billion and calculated that, "If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall." That would be total over $5 billion, enough to cover a year of the funding Trump is seeking.

    The Better Business Bureau recommends that people hoping to assess whether a GoFundMe campaign is a scam or not reach out to GoFundMe on this site or the organizer themselves through the envelope next to their name. Anyone can report the campaign as well.

    Charity Navigator, which evaluates nonprofits, suggests several ways to learn more about fundraisers.



    Photo Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images, File

    This Oct. 5, 2017, file photo shows prototype sections of a border wall between Mexico and the United States under construction near Tijuana, Mexico.This Oct. 5, 2017, file photo shows prototype sections of a border wall between Mexico and the United States under construction near Tijuana, Mexico.

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    House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that President Donald Trump would not sign a bill that would fund the government into February because it did not include funding for his border wall. Ryan said he is going back to the House to work with members on a bill that the president would sign.


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  • 12/20/18--12:03: Pet of the Week: Butter

  • Meet Butter, the pet of the week for Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.

    Butter is a 5-month-old male mixed breed puppy. He's a total sweetheart and very playful. He gets along well with his two kennel mates and loves to lay in your arms and give kisses. As with all puppies, he will need training. 

    ID: A1830455

    West Valley Center
    20655 Plummer Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311
    (818) 756-9325 (center)



    Photo Credit: West Valley Animal Shelter

    Butter is the pet of the week for Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.Butter is the pet of the week for Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.

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    A Texas grandmother who used a box cutter to fight off a pair of robbers at her Subway restaurant may have a new title: Houston's Toughest Abuela.

    Recently released video of the Sept. 22 robbery at a Subway on Westheimer Road shows two men in hoodies jump over the sandwich franchise's counter and confront 44-year-old Guadalupe Rojas, KPRC-TV reported. Rojas grabbed a box cutter and held her ground, refusing to turn over any cash.

    Security video shows one of the men grabbing a pan and striking Rojas over the head before punching her repeatedly. The station reported Rojas, who stands 4 feet, 9 inches tall, slashed one of the robbers.

    According to KPRC, Houston police are searching for the men in the video.

    "[The attack] taught me that I had to defend my family, because that is how I feel, that Subway is my family," said Rojas, who has worked at the restaurant for six years.

    "I was shocked to see my mom in that way," Aurelia Mejia told KPRC. Her sister, Edith, said they were both "super proud" of the grandmother of nine.

    The report said Rojas did not receive a raise for her actions, but she did receive more hours.



    Photo Credit: KRPC/NBC DFW

    Guadalupe Rojas, grandmother to nine, stood her ground against a pair of robbers inside a Houston Subway restaurant in September.Guadalupe Rojas, grandmother to nine, stood her ground against a pair of robbers inside a Houston Subway restaurant in September.

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    It's often said that exercise and fresh air are perfect antidotes to stress, and anyone who has ever stepped out for a walk, or time in the mountains, can likely attest to this widely shared assertion.

    Santa Claus clearly ascribes to getting some movement in, and breathing that mountain air, for at the peak of his pre-holiday push the Jolly Old Elf is wisely taking a few hours off.

    Why? He does so to stretch a leg, hobnob with holiday revelers, and enjoy the snowy scene at Southern California's higher elevation play spots.

    Which means this: Mr. Kringle'll be calling upon the slopes of Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs and Snow Summit at Big Bear Mountain Resort just ahead of Christmas.

    Look for the superstar to be on and near the slopes at Snow Valley on the afternoons of Dec. 22 and 23. He'll also stop by Snow Summit on the afternoon of Dec. 22, and you don't need to ponder how Mr. Claus will be in two places at once.

    He's clearly magic, as everyone knows.

    The cost to say hello and maybe snap a Santa-style selfie with the famous deliverer of delight? Totally free.

    The cost to ski, ride, or engage in another activity on your own? You'll want to check out the prices at both Snow Valley and Snow Summit.

    The chance you'll see Santa Claus on skis? You just might, be he'll also be savoring some slope-adjacent relaxing, too, the better to take snaps with his fans.

    Christmas is almost here, and no one should let that famous stress build up. Santa knows, and he's taking some time to unwind, before his flight around the planet, at both Snow Valley and Snow Summit.



    Photo Credit: Snow Valley and Snow Summit

    Look for Kris Kringle, slopeside, at Snow Valley on Dec. 22 and 23, and at Snow Valley near Big Bear on Dec. 22.Look for Kris Kringle, slopeside, at Snow Valley on Dec. 22 and 23, and at Snow Valley near Big Bear on Dec. 22.

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    President Donald Trump again pushed for funding for his proposed border wall to be included in a spending bill that would keep the government from shutting down this weekend. Trump told lawmakers earlier he would not sign the stopgap bill without funding for his border wall with Mexico, which he has been promising to build since his presidential campaign.


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    Prepping for Christmas right now?

    Are you baking several different cookies or cakes, all to keep various family factions knee-deep in dessert-based delights at the big holiday dinner?

    Then you likely know what it is like to place almond slice after almond slice on a linzer torte or peppermint crumble after peppermint crumble atop a chocolate pie.

    It's slow and careful work, but you're a pro, and you know that when the confection is done baking, you'll eye a true work of art.

    You might also think of the famous floats of the Rose Parade when you see your perfectly pretty cake. After all, the elaborately festooned vehicles have been carefully covered in small decorations, too, but of the floral sort.

    But all of those petals and seeds and leaves and buds don't appear on the floats at the wave of a wand; rather, a cadre of creative and committed volunteers be-petal them each year, as December winds down.

    If this has long been on your bucket list, to venture to Pasadena, for a morning, a day, or a weekend, all to volunteer to help decorate a float, here's where to start: The Tournament of Roses roster that includes a number of commercial float builders and self-built float organizations.

    Places like Phoenix Decorating Co. and the Downey Rose Float Association may be found on this page, along with several other groups and businesses.

    There are a few things to keep in mind, like whether there's a minimum-age requirement, so do ask, if you need to, when you inquire as to whether volunteers are needed, and when.

    Also? There shall be waiver signing.

    Also? It's good to remember that "... float decorating can be messy and you may get glue, paint, and/or dirt on your shoes and clothing." Yep. Truth.

    Also? You'll totally keep your eyes peeled on the first of January for the float you worked on, and the section that was your focus, and you'll surely and understandably brag about it to all within earshot.

    Ready? Feeling bucket-list-y? Want to be a part of a local-but-known-everywhere tradition that has a rosy root in three centuries?

    Begin here.

    And we weren't joshing about that "three centuries" bit: The world-famous procession will again roll, in much the same way as it has done since 1890, on New Year's Day.



    Photo Credit: Tournament of Roses

    Spend one or two of December's final days adding glorious detail to a Rose Parade float. The famous procession rolls on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.Spend one or two of December's final days adding glorious detail to a Rose Parade float. The famous procession rolls on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

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    The Los Angeles Police Department announced a major bust Thursday, netting $20 million worth of drugs, along with weapons and cash.

    The LAPD held a news conference detailing the bust Thursday afternoon.

    Capt. Marc Reina said LAPD Central Area narcotics officers made the bust in the 800 block of San Julian Street in downtown LA, which included AR15 rifles, $150,000 in cash, and concentrated cannabis oil.

    The total amount of drugs, mainly hash oil, totalled a street value of $19,664,000, Reina said.

    In photos released by Reina, large bags of marijuana, jars of the so-called honey oil, a money counting machine, and other lab equipment could be seen.

    A 24-year-old LA resident was arrested in the bust after a community member complained to police. Three others were arrested for working there. They were also LA residents, whose ages range 24-27. Reina said it was likely used as a processing facility for retail and wholesale honey oil.



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

    The LAPD announced a $20 million drug bust Thursday Dec. 20, 2018.The LAPD announced a $20 million drug bust Thursday Dec. 20, 2018.

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    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will step down at the end of February, according to a resignation letter he hand-delivered to President Donald Trump Thursday, a day after Trump overruled his advice against pulling troops out of Syria.

    Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump's administration, will leave by the end of February after two tumultuous years struggling to soften and moderate the president's hardline and sometimes sharply changing policies.

    In the letter, Mattis wrote of differences with the president on maintaining alliances, advancing an international order and using American power for a common defense. China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model at the expense of the United States and its allies, he wrote.

    "We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances," Mattis wrote.

    Trump has the right to a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with his on "these and other subjects," he wrote.

    His departure was immediately lamented by foreign policy hands and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who viewed the retired Marine general as a sober voice of experience in the ear of a president who had never held political office or served in the military. Even Trump allies expressed fear over Mattis' decision to quit, believing him to be an important moderating force on the president.

    "Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter," Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted. "It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries."

    Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said that she was "shaken" by the news.

    "I am shaken by the news because of the patriot that General Mattis is," she said. "I think that everybody in the country should read his letter of resignation. It’s a letter of great patriotism, great respect for the president but also a statement of his values."

    The president tweeted in announcing Mattis' departure, which he characterized as a retirement, that a new defense secretary "will be named shortly."

    "During Jim's tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment," he wrote. "General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations."

    Trump said Wednesday that the United States had beaten ISIS in Syria, but experts and former officials disagreed. They warned that Trump's surprise decision to withdraw troops from Syria would be seen as a victory for Russia and Iran and a betrayal of Kurdish and Arab forces fighting a seven-year war against the Damascus regime.

    Mattis met with the president Thursday afternoon to tell him he would be resigning and deliver the letter, a Defense Department spokesman said. A senior White House official told NBC News Mattis and the president had differences of opinion over some issues over the last few months but did not know whether Syria had specifically come up. 

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said earlier Thursday that Mattis had told him that this was not the time to leave Syria, and that "a replay of Iraq was very likely." Graham, who called the decision to remove troops from Syria an Obama-like mistake, had urged Trump to follow military advice in the fight against ISIS.

    Of Mattis, he tweeted Thursday, "He has been in the fight against radical Islam for decades and provided sound and military ethical advice to President Trump."

    Mattis and Trump had clashed over a number of international decisions. He defended the Iran nuclear deal just as Trump pulled out of it and was at odds with the president’s opposition to U.S. military exercises with South Korea in a concession to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

    Mattis, 68, is a Marine Corps general who retired in 2013 after serving as the head of the U.S. Central Command.

    He has a reputation as a battle-hardened, tough-talking Marine who was entrusted with some of the most challenging commands in the U.S. military. 

    Mattis was only the second retired general to serve as defense secretary, the first being George C. Marshall in 1950-51 during the Korean War. Marshall was a much different figure, having previously served as U.S. secretary of state and playing a key role in creating closer ties with Western Europe after World War II.

    Although his record in combat and his credentials as a senior commander are widely admired, Mattis had little experience in the diplomatic aspects of the job of secretary of defense upon taking the position.

    Born in Pullman, Washington, Mattis enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969, later earning a history degree from Central Washington University. He was commissioned as an officer in 1972. As a lieutenant colonel, Mattis led an assault battalion into Kuwait during the first U.S. war with Iraq in 1991.

    As head of the Central Command from 2010 until his retirement in 2013, he was in charge of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The Associated Press contributed to this article.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    In this file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.In this file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

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    A San Diego County city is the third-safest city in California and one of the 40 safest cities in the nation, but the officers who patrol it say there’s still a lot of work to be done.

    Some people outside of Chula Vista would be shocked to learn that it’s one of the safest cities in the state.

    Snooky Rico owns Rico’s on Third and says the Chula Vista Police Department calls her more often than she calls them.

    “We’ve never had any issues, to be honest with you,” Rico said.

    Outsiders may think her city isn’t safe but it’s not true, according to a new report from WalletHub.

    “I always take it a little bit personal because I know it’s not true,” she said.

    WalletHub says Chula Vista is the third-safest city in California and 39th-safest in the United States.

    CVPD Captain Phil Collum says the ranking is complimentary of the city’s law enforcement and its residents.

    “I believe it reflects really well on the entire community because the police doesn’t do this alone,” Captain Collum said.

    Collum says he’s proud of the ranking, but he’s not ready to rest on his laurels.

    “Our police department has not been able to meet our standards for responding to crimes in a rapid manner,” he admitted.

    Though the city is safe, Collum says the department doesn’t have enough officers to quickly respond to all of its calls, or to follow through with investigations.

    The city is working on easing that burden. More tax money is earmarked to hire more than 30 officers over the next five years.


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    A former Coronado firefighter was arrested in La Mesa this month on child molestation charges after pleading no contest to similar allegations to an incident that occurred in Hawaii.

    Mark Raymond Price, 56, is accused of sexually abusing a child in San Diego in 2013 and 2015 and sexually abusing the same child while on vacation in Hawaii last year, according to court documents and Kauai prosecutor Justin Kollar. 

    A city of Coronado spokesperson confirmed to NBC 7 that Price used to be a firefighter with their department but has not worked for them since June. The spokesperson would not specify the circumstances under which Price left the department. 

    The victim, who will not be identified due to the nature of the accusations, came forward in Hawaii, leading to the first charge against Price. 

    In Kauai court, Price pleaded no contest to one charge of sexual assault in the second degree. He will be sentenced on March 31 and faces up to 10 years in prison, Kollar said. 

    "It’s a classic case of abuse of a child, is what it comes down to for us," Kollar said. "These types of cases are the ones that really shake us as people, and as parents, and as citizens to think that somebody who’s in a position of trust and authority would do this to someone that is supposed to be able to look up them for trust and support"

    When the Kauai deputy attorney's office was made aware of the charge against Price, they notified San Diego officials to conduct their own investigation, which resulted in four charges being filed against Price in San Diego. 

    Last Thursday, Price pleaded not guilty to one felony count of sex acts with a child under 10 years old and three felony counts of lewd acts on a child. Price will next be in San Diego Court on Jan. 15.

    The alleged sex acts occurred on at least two occasions in San Diego, one between May and Sept. 2013 and one in 2015, according to a complaint obtained by NBC 7. 

    Price was arrested by La Mesa police on Dec. 12 and was being held at the George Bailey Detention Facility on $500,000 bail. 

    In court, a judge ordered Price to stay away from and end all communications with the victim.

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FILEFILE

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    Severe loneliness may be particularly high at three stages in an adult’s life, a study done by UC San Diego found.

    The research found that moderate to severe loneliness persisted across an adult's life, but was particularly high during the late-20s, mid-50s and late-80s.

    Wisdom may be the cure, UC San Diego researchers said.

    Veronica McFarland had to overcome her feelings of sadness and loneliness following a stroke she had two years ago.

    “I now have aphasia,” McFarland said. “I have a tough time getting my words out.”

    Throughout her recovery, she said she dealt with feelings of depression and loneliness.

    And according to researchers, she’s not alone.

    The research sampled San Diego adults from their late 20s up to 101 years old and found that moderate to severe loneliness persisted across an adult's life, but was particularly high during the late-20s, mid-50s and late-80s.

    Approximately 75 percent of those surveyed reported feeling moderate to serious loneliness, researchers found.

    Previous studies found loneliness rates of 17 to 57 percent, so it's up by much more this year.

    People who are wiser are less lonely, researchers said. Wisdom was explained as having empathy, compassion and being self-reflective, even spiritual.

    These are all characteristics which McFarland said she's gained through her new journey, which now includes going to nursing school.

    “Forget about yourself and think about ways of giving back that's what helped me,” she said. “Finding something that you’re passionate about is the key.”

    McFarland credits her husband and her training as a U.S. Marine with giving her the strength to focus on her recovery.

    Keep in mind, the study sampled people who do not have dementia or suffer from mental illness, cancer or heart disease.

    The study was published Dec. 18 in the online issue of International Psychogeriatrics. 


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    An Escondido woman caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting almost two years ago would have forgiven her killer, her husband said Thursday after the gunman's sentencing.

    Dionicio Torrez, who was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder along with a number of special allegations, will spend the rest of his life in prison, a judge ordered Thursday. 

    Torrez was a documented gang member when he opened fire on Grand Avenue in Escondido in March 2017. Police said the shooting happened after a rival gang member wrote graffiti on the defendant's "turf."

    One of the stray bullets killed Catherine Kennedy as she was driving home from church.

    Kennedy volunteered at St. Timothy’s parish with the youth ministry program and had just been involved in a confirmation class.

    The stray bullet from the shooting struck Kennedy in the head and she lost control, crashing her vehicle into another. 

    "The tragedy of this is how much Cathy had spent her life trying to make the world a better place, in contrast to this gang violence that is just tearing at our society and killing people," her husband, Kevin Kennedy told NBC 7 on Thursday.

    Kevin Kennedy was at the sentencing hearing inside the courtroom in Vista along with other family members as well as relatives of the defendant.

    The victim's brother-in-law said there were no winners in this case, only losers.

    After the hearing, the judge said he hopes both families would find peace.

    A 16-year-old friend of Torrez who was also convicted of criminal charges in the case was sentenced to 480 days in juvenile custody. 



    Photo Credit: NBC 7
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    Donicio Torrez shown at his sentencing hearing on Dec. 20, 2018.Donicio Torrez shown at his sentencing hearing on Dec. 20, 2018.

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