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Organization to honor slave who taught Jack Daniel to make whiskey

You may be familiar with the name Jack Daniel. But what do you know about Nathan “Nearest” Green, the slave who taught him how to make whiskey? One organization wants to educate the masses, and it’s paying tribute to him in a variety of ways. 

>> Read more trending news

Best-selling author Fawn Weaver recently launched the Nearest Green Foundation, a group that will honor Green’s contributions to the alcohol industry. 

Weaver thought of the idea after learning about him from a 2016 New York Times article that outlined Green’s relationship with Dan Call, the owner of a Lynchburg, Tennessee, whiskey distillery where Green was assigned to and worked, and Jack Daniel, Call’s neighbor who initially did chores at the factory.

» RELATED: Jack Daniel's truck overturns in Atlanta; driver charged

Once Daniel showed an interest in distilling, Call instructed Green, "the best whiskey maker” he knew, to train Daniel, and Call eventually passed the distillery on to him. 

"The idea that there were positive stories out there of whites' and blacks' working side by side, through and beyond the Civil War, resonated with me," Weaver said in a press release. "I liked the story of Jack Daniel, but Nearest Green's story and the community at large really stayed with me."

Now she has big plans for the organization. Weaver and her husband have already purchased the 313-acre farm where Call’s distillery was located. And she hopes to recognize him by creating a memorial park and opening a museum in Lynchburg that will highlight the history of Tennessee whiskey. 

But that’s not all. Weaver also wants to rename a local street to Nearest Green Way, publish a book chronicling Green’s life and launch a scholarship fund for his direct descendants. Later this month, she will release Uncle Nearest 1856, a Tennessee-crafted whiskey to celebrate Green. 

»RELATED: Jack Daniel's introduces coffee product 

"When I met with the descendants of George Green, the son most known for helping his father, Nearest, and Jack Daniel in the whiskey business, I asked them what they thought was the best way to honor Nearest,” Weaver said. “Their response was, 'No one owes us anything. We know that. But putting his name on a bottle, letting people know what he did, would be great.'" 

»RELATED: Jack Daniel's embraces a hidden ingredient: Help from a slave

Adobe to finally kick Flash to the curb

Are you a frequent user of Adobe’s Flash? If so, it will be time to say goodbye soon, because the company announced that it will get rid of the program by the end of 2020. 

» RELATED: Google launches SOS alerts in Maps and Search to help users during a crisis

The corporation broke the news this week, revealing that its partners - Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc and Mozilla Corporation - will phase out support for Flash over the next three years. 

>> Read more trending news

In 2020, Adobe will no longer release updates and browsers will no longer support it. 

The decision comes after Flash’s usage begin to dwindle in 2010 after Apple decided not to use it for iPhones. Since then, more modern applications were created, and Flash continued to suffer. 

» RELATED: Microsoft Paint to be depreciated in next Windows release, could be removed in future

To prepare for the shift, companies are encouraging their developers to work with other programs. 

Flash first launched more than 20 years ago, and many developers used it as a way to create a variety of applications, such as video games, that were able to run on several web browsers.

» RELATED: The new Google Maps tracker will ruin your lies about being late 

Despite the end of Flash, its creators are still proud of its impact. 

“Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era,” Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe Creative Cloud, told Reuters. “In fact, we think the opportunity for Adobe is greater in a post-Flash world.”

71-year-old woman takes dog to national park to scatter husband's ashes, ends up stranded for 6 days 

After six days of being stranded in Olympic National Park, 71-year-old Sajean Geer and her Chihuahua-terrier mix dog, Yoda, were rescued by a Coast Guard aircrew

>> Read more trending news

Rescuers found the pair around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Both were fatigued and thirsty, but otherwise reported to be in good health. Geer was taken to the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, where she was treated and released.

Geer's husband died several months ago. She had scattered half of his ashes in Hawaii and wanted to scatter the other half in his favorite spot in the park -- Obstruction Point.

Geer, of Port Angeles, Washington, said she drove up a dirt road and planned on scattering the ashes and then leaving right away, but after locating the area to scatter her husband's ashes, she realized she was lost and couldn't find her way back to the road.

“I couldn't find the car, I couldn't find the road, and I got really disoriented,” she said.

She said she was upset with herself because she is an experienced hiker, but she knew she wasn't prepared to be in the park for an extended period of time since she had brought her dog with her, was only wearing a Hawaiian shirt and did not have cellphone service.

>> Related: Seniors: Get your $10 lifetime pass for National Parks now before price hike

Geer also said she did not tell anyone where she was going since she didn't intend on being on an extended hike.

A close friend in Hawaii couldn't get in touch with Geer, so she then notified Geer's brother, who called police.

Geer said she spent the first day trying to find her way out of the park, but didn't have any luck. She then made a shelter for herself and Yoda, who helped keep her warm.

She ate pine needles and bugs and descended a steep ravine a few times a day to get water from a stream.

Geer said she is a voracious reader and a few years ago, she read a number of books on survival, which she said helped her immensely in her predicament.

She said she maintained a positive attitude throughout the ordeal and when she eventually heard a helicopter, she stood on a log to wave the crew to her location.

Woman warns others after being burned in face while blowing out candle

A woman in Texas who suffered severe facial burns after blowing out a scented candle is sharing her story to warn others.

Ashley Brawley told NBC DFW that when she attempted to blow out a vanilla-scented, three-wick candle from Bath & Body Works Sunday, the flames blew up in her face. Brawley suffered first- and second-degree burns to her face, according to her husband's Facebook post.

(The post has since been removed.)

>> Read more trending stories

Cody Brawley removed the burning candle from the house and sprayed it with a hose, which he said caused the candle jar to explode. Cody said his wife is recovering, but she wanted to share her story to warn others that the candles may be defective.

Some Facebook commenters took Ashley to task for attempting to blow out the candle, instead of covering it with a lid or using a candle snuffer. She said the flames were approximately six inches high, so placing a lid on it would have been difficult. Other people questioned if she let the candle burn too long, but she said the candle was burning for a little over three hours, and the candle instructions say to burn the candle no longer than four hours.

NBC DFW found several reports of similar incidents with three-wick candles on, the government's safety product website, including one incident report that said the candle's flames soared nearly a foot high.

Bath & Body Works said in a statement that the company is looking into Ashley's complaint, but that all of its candle products go through extensive safety testing and meet all government standards.

Anderson Cooper on Kathy Griffin: ‘I think she’ll bounce back’

Things between Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper are going well, according to the CNN night-side host. 

>> Read more trending news 

Cooper recently sat down with Andy Cohen and opened up about his friendship with his former CNN New Year’s Eve co-host after her recent scandal involving a photo of a beheaded President Donald Trump that lead to her dismissal from the network.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin says she was bullied by Trump family, claims Trump is ‘personally trying to ruin’ her life

“Yeah, we’re still friends,” he said when asked about their relationship. “Look, I said what I said ... I didn’t think what she said was appropriate.

“I wish her the best. I hope she bounces back. She’s incredibly funny, and a lot of people love her, and I think she’ll bounce back from this.”

“I do, too,” Cohen said.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin interviewed by Secret Service

After sharing the photos, Griffin faced serious backlash from many critics, including supporters of the president, first lady Melania Trump and Cooper.

“For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in,” he said in June following the scandal. “It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”

Soon after, Griffin issued an apology and asked for forgiveness. She has been keeping a low profile in the last two months.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin tour dates scrapped amid uproar over Trump bloody head photo

These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump said transgender people will be barred from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity.”

» RELATED: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military 

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he wrote.

In 2015, the National Center for Transgender Equality estimated 15,000 trans people served in the U.S. military.

>> Read more trending news

The Pentagon ended the ban on transgender people in the military last year, placing the United States in the company of at least 18 other countries that allow trans people to serve in their militaries, according to a 2014 report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

» RELATED: QUIZ: How well do you know transgender Americans? 

Researchers behind the “LGBT Military Personnel: a Strategic Vision for Inclusion” report analyzed policies regarding LGBT inclusion in more than 100 countries and ranked them based on four principles: admission, tolerance, exclusion and persecution — each determined by a total of 19 different indicators, including transgender personnel.

Here are 18 countries that allow trans military personnel, according to the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies report:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bolivia
  5. Canada
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia
  9. Finland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Israel
  13. Netherlands
  14. New Zealand
  15. Norway
  16. Spain
  17. Sweden
  18. United Kingdom

» RELATED: Trump breaks tradition, doesn't recognize LGBT Pride Month

But even in those countries that researchers found inclusive to trans military members, several have set specific policies regarding trans personnel.

For example, in the United Kingdom, trans individuals should have finished transitioning before they serve.

It’s similar in Belgium, where policies state a person must undergo surgery and sterilization for the military to recognize their identified gender.

Australia’s Air Force, on the other hand, offers assistance in transitioning.

Read the full report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

Large electronics will have to be screened under new TSA carry-on policy

Passengers traveling through America’s airports will have to separate large electronics from their carry-on baggage under new screening procedures announced Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration.

>> Read more trending 

Travelers will be required to remove electronics that are larger than a cellphone from carry-on baggage so the electronics can undergo X-ray screening in an effort aimed at upgrading the nation’s aviation security, officials said. The change does not apply to passengers who are part of the TSA Precheck program.

“It is critical for (the) TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” acting TSA administrator Huban Gowadia said in a news release. “By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats.”

The security change was announced after it was tested in 10 airports, including Boston’s Logan International Airport, Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The measure will be rolled out to the rest of the nation’s airfields in the coming months.

Officials said the strengthened screening policy might lead to additional baggage checks for passengers, but the TSA said it has found ways to speed the process up through “more targeted measures.”

The change does not affect what can be brought through a checkpoint.

Wednesday’s announcement came weeks after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said flights coming into the United States would be required to conduct enhanced screening of electronic devices and passengers.

Officials announced in March that large personal electronic devices had been restricted at 10 airports in Africa and the Middle East due to security concerns. The restrictions have since been lifted.

Drone carrying cellphone, marijuana crashes in prison yard

A drone that crashed into the yard at Washington State Prison was loaded with cellphones, tobacco, oxycodone and marijuana, a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

A growing problem, drones have become the newest way inmates have used to get contraband that can be sold to other prisoners for a significant profit.

Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath said the drone crashed to the ground at the prison near Davisboro in east Georgia around 10:45 p.m. Monday. She said it was carrying four Samsung Galaxy J1 cellphones, 7.8 ounces of tobacco spilt between two baggies, a USB charger cable, a pound of marijuana divided into 16 individual bags and 31 C-230 oxycodone pills along with some broken piece of pills.

The state prison system has struggled for decades to stop contraband from getting to inmates, but they admitted prisoners are constantly finding ways to skirt any systems put in place to thwart them.

Tobacco is not allowed in Georgia prisons, so inmates sell it to each other for a significant mark up, and there is a market in the cell blocks for drugs as well.

There also is a demand for cellphones as prisoners use them to continue their criminal activities while still locked up. 

Between July 1, 2016, and the end of June this year, officers seized 9,379 cellphones from inmates and visitors at all 67 Georgia correctional facilities, which include secure prisons and lower-level facilities. 

The most common way inmates get such banned items is by paying correctional officers to smuggle them in or getting their friends and relatives to throw packages over perimeter fences. Unmanned drones are a relatively new approach.

For the most part, prison administrators only know that a drone has come and gone because pieces of packages dropped from the sky are found stuck in fences or in prison yards. 

Still, in 2013, four people were arrested in Morgan, Georgia, after they used a drone to carry two pounds of tobacco, a cellphone and binoculars to the yard at Calhoun State Prison. 

RELATED: Inmates break out, then back in

One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested in Maine

Maine saw its first “creepy clown” sighting of the year on Tuesday when residents reported a machete-wielding man in a clown mask near their neighborhood.

WCSH in Portland reported that 911 dispatchers got multiple calls around 6 p.m. Tuesday from residents in Hollis, who reported that the man was walking near a convenience store before running off into a wooded area. 

Maine State Police troopers searched the woods for about an hour before the man emerged from the trees in Waterboro, more than 10 miles southwest of Hollis. A state police spokesman told WCSH that the man was identified as Corey Berry, 31, of Hollis.

Troopers who arrested Berry determined that the machete was duct-taped to the sleeve of his shirt where an amputated arm used to be, the news station reported. 

>> Read more trending news

Berry, who troopers said was very intoxicated, told the troopers he was attempting to play a prank in the vein of previous “creepy clown” sightings. 

He was charged with criminal threatening and released from the York County Jail on $200 bond, WCSH reported

What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity." 

Trump, in a series of tweets, cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption” as the reason he plans to ban transgender people from service.

What is a transgender person, the classification the president referenced, and what is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

What is transgender?

First, the difference between sex and gender is important to note. Gender is an internal sense of being male or female and is based on societal or cultural definitions of masculine or feminine. Sex refers to differences in chromosomes, hormones and external and internal sex organs. 

A person whose sense of identity does not correspond with their birth sex – for instance, a man who, despite having male genitalia, feels he is a woman – is considered transgender. Often, transgender people say they feel they were born in the wrong body.

What is transsexual?

A transsexual is a person who feels he or she belongs to the opposide sex, and physically transitions from male to female or vice versa. The transsexual person may use hormones or other medications to suppress or enhance characteristics of the opposite sex – such as facial hair, or more developed breasts.

Some transsexuals choose to have gender reassignment surgery – or surgery where a person's physical sexual characteristics are changed by surgery or hormone treatment.

Gender reassignment surgery, presumably the cost Trump was referring to in the tweets, averages around $140,450 to transition from male to female, and $124,400 to transition from female to male, according to the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery. Those prices include hospital stays, anesthesia and other costs associated with surgery.

Sources: American Psychological Association; The Associated Press; The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery





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