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    In the behind-the-scenes drama of who's up and who's down in Donald Trump's White House, chief of staff Reince Priebus is playing a starring role. Priebus, a genial Midwesterner with deep ties to the Republican establishment that Trump toppled, has faced questions about his future since the day he set foot in the White House. And the focus on him is intensifying following Trump's failure to get enough GOP lawmakers to support a White House-backed health care bill, an embarrassing blow for the new president. There's blame to spare for the health care debacle at both the White House and on Capitol Hill. But Priebus is a particularly rich target, given that his value to Trump is tied to his relationships with GOP lawmakers, many of whom were elected during his six years as chairman of the Republican National Committee. 'Reince doesn't have a magic wand,' said Henry Barbour, a friend and Republican national committeeman. 'He doesn't have an ability to make people do what they don't want to do — and he doesn't want to.' Priebus' standing in the White House has broad implications for Trump's agenda. Beyond Vice President Mike Pence, he represents the president's most direct link the traditional underpinnings of the Republican Party and is the buffer between the fiery nationalists and the more liberal New Yorkers who also occupy top White House jobs. Trump has voiced confidence in Priebus in recent conversations with associates, including after House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the health care bill off the floor Friday, and White House officials say the two men appear have developed a comfortable relationship. During the Republican primary, Priebus, 45, often remarked to colleagues that he spoke with Trump more than any of the other 17 GOP candidates. The president likes to make good-natured digs at Priebus in public remarks, joking about his 'crazy name' and telling a meeting of auto industry executives that his chief of staff might end up running a car company someday. For laughs, Trump will sometimes recount a tense exchange with Priebus at one of the campaign's lowest moments: the release of a video in which Trump is heard making predatory comments about women. During an emergency campaign meeting, Priebus told Trump he should either drop out of the race or risk dragging down Republican candidates across the country. Steve Bannon, Trump's senior adviser, said it's not Priebus' grim — and ultimately inaccurate — warning that stuck with the president. It's the fact that Priebus showed up at all, given the intense pressure at the time for Republican leaders to abandon the party's nominee. 'Reince had the courage to get on a train in Washington, D.C., go to Penn Station, go to Trump Tower and come to the meeting,' Bannon said. 'That's courage.' Bannon, who was also considered for the chief of staff job, has grown unexpectedly close to Priebus and has distanced himself from the criticism by Breitbart News, the far-right website Bannon ran before joining Trump's campaign. 'They've got their heroes, they've got their villains, it's never going to change,' Bannon said of Breitbart. He vouched for Priebus' populist credentials, saying, 'When left to his own devices, he's not really that establishment.' Priebus inspires intense loyalty among those who worked with him at the RNC, several of whom followed him to the White House, including press secretary Sean Spicer. They describe him as a workhorse who is determined to unite the disparate factions of Trump advisers. 'He wants input, he wants buy-in, he wants people to feel like they're part of the process,' said Katie Walsh, who worked alongside Priebus at the RNC and is now deputy chief of staff at the White House. But one White House official said Priebus' approach backfired early in the administration, leaving the impression that he was a pushover who didn't have full control of the staff. His style has also created uncertainty on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers sometimes get conflicting messages from top White House officials, including during the health care debate and on a tax overhaul. A GOP leadership aide said Priebus himself appears to be less involved in shaping the details of Trump's agenda and more focused on trying to get White House officials on the same page. The aide was among about a dozen White House officials, Trump associates and congressional aides who spoke about Priebus, some on the condition of anonymity in order to disclose private conversations. Priebus is said to be sensitive to the criticism that has sprouted up about him, particularly when it's focused on his competency and management of the West Wing. That's created a mild sense of paranoia among his allies, according to another White House official, leading them to respond in outsized ways, both privately and publicly. 'He's somebody that always hears footsteps,' the official said of Priebus. He's had to adjust the traditional role of chief of staff to fit a highly unconventional president. Unlike many of his predecessors, Priebus spends much of his day by Trump's side and typically sits in on his meetings with CEOs and other outside visitors. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's White House counselor, said that's a function of a president who can make decisions in those meetings that the chief of staff needs to know. 'This is a president that allows a lot of access,' Conway said. For Priebus, she said, 'it requires a lot more physical presence.' Priebus supporters say he has moved to tighten the reins in the West Wing in recent weeks, leading crisper discussions in his daily 8 a.m. staff meeting and taking a tougher line with those who veer from the day's plans. 'Reince has been on a learning curve in the executive branch, he's never been there,' said Chris Ruddy, a friend of Trump's and among those who have been publicly critical of Priebus. 'There's a settling in that's taken place.' ___ Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC
  • One day after approving the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas, NFL owners got busy passing several rules changes and adopting resolutions they believe will speed the game and enhance player safety. Most notable Tuesday was the change in handling officiating of video replays. Referees will now watch replays on the field using tablets, eliminating 'going under the hood' to the watch on television monitors. League officiating chief Dean Blandino and his staff in New York will make the final decisions on those calls, with input from the referee, who in the past was the ultimate arbiter after consulting with league headquarters. 'And I think that's important to remember, we're not taking the referee out of the equation,' Blandino has said. 'The referee will still be involved, the referee will still give input, but will no longer have the final say.' Also at the league meetings owners extended bringing touchbacks out to the 25-yard line for another year; eliminating 'leapers' trying to block field goals or extra points; added protections for defenseless receivers running their routes; and made permanent the rule disqualifying a player who is penalized twice in a game for specific unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Other actions taken Tuesday included: —Crackback blocks by a backfield player who goes in motion are now banned. —Creating an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for committing multiple fouls during the same down with the purpose of manipulating the game clock. —Allowing teams to interview or hire an employee of another team during the season if the other team consents. —Modified some bylaws regarding bringing draft-eligible players to clubs' facilities; changed procedures for returning a player to the active ranks from lists such as physically unable to perform, non-football injury or non-football illness. The leaper rule clearly falls under the category of enhancing player safety, competition committee chairman Rich McKay said last week. 'I would say it's going to go as far as it needs to from a player safety standpoint,' said McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. 'We're not going to put players in a position in which we think there is an unreasonable risk of injury. 'When we met with the NFLPA it was a rule that certainly caught their attention and they favored it right from the outset given what they felt like was a danger to the player, to the leaper and the risk of injury.' Owners also were considering whether to allow players and coaches to use the Microsoft Surface tablets for video on the sidelines — they are limited to still photos now; eliminating the summer cutdown to 75 players, making for one cut at the end of the preseason; allowing unlimited coaches' challenges and expanding what calls can be challenged; and reducing the length of overtime games from 15 minutes to 10 during the regular season. ___ For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Wagoner County Deputy Nick Mahoney said Tuesday that Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, 21, of Oologah was arrested on three first-degree murder and three first-degree burglary warrants and was jailed without bond after going to police and saying she had information about the shooting at a home just east of the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. 'It was determined she had driven these individuals to the house and dropped them off with the intent to burglarize the residence,' Mahoney said. He said he did not know whether Rodriguez had an attorney. Oklahoma law allows a person to be charged with murder if they take part in a crime in which people are killed, even if the person does not take part in the slaying. Oklahoma also is one of 24 states which have laws allowing citizens to shoot someone if they believe the person threatens their safety, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Mahoney said the homeowner's 23-year-old son used an AR-15 rifle to shoot the three Monday afternoon after they broke through a glass door in the rear of the home. Their names were not released, but Mahoney said two of the dead were 16 or 17 years old and the third was 18 or 19. The three were found wearing masks and gloves and dressed in black clothing. Brass knuckles and a knife were found among their possessions, he said. 'It looks like self-defense from the preliminary investigation, but that's all speculative,' Mahoney said. 'There's some speculation as to whether or not that (Stand Your Ground) law applies in this case, the simple answer is I don't know.' Police sometimes make a recommendation to the prosecutor on whether or not to file charges, but Mahoney said he did not know if investigators will do that in this case. Mahoney said the homeowner was not in the residence at the time of the shooting and that authorities were called to the home by the son shortly after the shooting.
  • Retired star gymnasts testified before Congress on Tuesday that they were sexually abused by a former USA Gymnastics doctor and recommended a bill that requires tougher sex-abuse reporting for Olympic sports. Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, and three-time national champion rhythmic gymnast Jessica Howard recounted their experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They told the committee of their abuses by Dr. Larry Nassar, who is in jail without bond in Michigan and also faces federal child pornography charges. 'USA Gymnastics failed its most basic responsibility to protect the athletes under its care,' Dantzscher said through tears. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is co-sponsoring a bill that requires organizations overseeing Olympic sports to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement or child-welfare authorities. The bill and proposed changes to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act come in the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal that led to the resignation of USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny. 'They failed to take action against coaches, trainers and other adults who abused children,' Dantzscher said. 'And they allowed Dr. Nassar to abuse young women and girls for more than 20 years.' Penny is a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by Dantzscher, who has accused Nassar of sexual abuse. Dominique Moceanu, a 1996 gold medalist, described a 'culture of fear, intimidation and humiliation, established by Bela and Marta Karolyi.' The legendary coaches are named in Dantzscher's civil lawsuit for physical abuse. U.S. Olympic Committee official Rick Adams and Stafford County (Va.) Commonwealth's Attorney Eric Olsen also testified. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the committee chairman, criticized USA Gymnastics for declining to testify. Moceanu, now an advocate, spoke about emotional and verbal abuse during her time with USA Gymnastics. She said there is an 'urgent need' to change the culture of the organization. Howard said, 'It has become glaringly obvious that USA Gymnastics has not done nearly enough to protect athletes from any form of abuse.' Feinstein, who has been critical of USA Gymnastics' handling of the sex-abuse scandal, said she met two months ago with former gymnasts who were abused as teenagers and carried the trauma with them as adults. Dantzscher and Howard said they didn't realize as teenagers that Nassar had abused them. 'Dr. Nassar acted as the good guy, supporting me emotionally and promising me relief from the pain,' Howard said. 'Now I know that in actuality he expertly abused me under the guise of 'treatment.'' Nassar also was the doctor for Michigan State University's gymnastics team. He's been charged with sexually assaulting young gymnasts in the Lansing area and faces lawsuits from dozens of former athletes. He has denied wrongdoing. As part of the proposed legislation, governing bodies under the USOC umbrella would be required to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement and train employees on how to handle situations. The statute of limitations for victims to sue their abusers would be extended. 'Young athletes should not have to fear victimization from coaches, doctors and other officials,' Feinstein said at a news conference after the hearing. Retired gymnast Jeanette Antolin said at the news conference she was sexually abused by her first coach. She praised the proposed legislation, saying 'for so long we felt like we had no voice.' ___ This story has been corrected to show Nassar in jail without bond and also faces federal charge of child pornography.
  • A Russian billionaire close to President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he is willing to take part in U.S. congressional hearings to discuss his past business relationship with President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Last week, The Associated Press reported that Manafort had written aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska in 2005, proposing to do work for Deripaska that would 'benefit the Putin Government.' The story was based on interviews with people familiar with Deripaska's business dealings with Manafort and documents obtained by the AP, including strategy memoranda, contracts and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. In a quarter-page advertisement in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, Deripaska said he was 'ready to take part in any hearings conducted in the US Congress on this subject in order to defend my reputation and name.' Manafort signed a $10 million contract in 2006 that laid out a four-country communications and political strategy intended to support Deripaska's company and undermine anti-Russian political movements. Payments continued until at least 2009, seven years before Manafort joined and led Trump's 2016 campaign, according to people familiar with the relationship. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the business arrangement openly. In his newspaper ads responding to the AP's story, Deripaska said he never signed 'a $10 million contract 'to greatly benefit the Putin Government' with Paul Manafort.' 'I have never made any commitments or contracts with the obligation or purpose to covertly promote or advance 'Putin's Government' interests anywhere in the world,' Deripaska wrote. The AP's story said that Manafort wrote a strategy memo proposing that the work he would do for Deripaska would 'benefit the Putin Government,' not that the contract contained that language. 'This AP Exclusive report falls into the negative context of current US-Russian relations and causes fresh unfair and unjustified concerns and alarm in the US Congress about Russian involvement in US domestic affairs,' Deripaska's ad says. The AP stands by its reporting, spokeswoman Lauren Easton said. The revelations about Manafort come as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations, and they appear to guarantee that Manafort will be sought as a key witness in upcoming hearings. He has volunteered to appear. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort's ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed. Deripaska is one of Russia's wealthiest men. He amassed his fortune under Putin and has bought assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin's interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described him as 'among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis' and 'a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin's trips abroad.' A spokesman for Manafort has confirmed that Manafort worked for Deripaska representing him on business and personal matters, but has denied that the work involved 'representing Russia's political interests.' White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last week that Trump was not aware of Manafort's work for Deripaska a decade ago. The AP reported last week that Manafort proposed an ambitious political strategy in a June 2005 memo that was based on work he had done in Ukraine. Manafort described how his plan could be used to influence politics, business deals and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to the benefit of the Russian government. 'We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,' Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, 'will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.' Manafort wrote that the plan would bolster the legitimacy of governments friendly to Putin and undercut anti-Russian figures through political influence campaigns, nonprofit front groups and media operations. The $10 million contract Manafort signed in 2006 outlined the political and communications activities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia in more detail, but the AP noted last week that the work actually performed is unclear. Manafort and Deripaska had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands court. The dispute involved a nearly $19 million investment that Manafort was orchestrating for Deripaska in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska's representatives. In the filing, Deripaska accused Manafort and his associates of taking the money and then failing to respond to his queries about how the funds had been used. Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska's representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the presidential nomination, Deripaska's representatives said they would no longer discuss the case. Last week, Deripaska wrote in a statement to the AP that 'there was an agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment consulting services related to business interests of Mr. Deripaska, which now is a subject to legal claims.' ___ Submit reporting tips to The Associated Press: https://www.ap.org/tips
  • American Indian tribes fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline said Tuesday that the pumping of oil into the pipe under their water source is a blow, but it doesn't end their legal battle. Industry groups say the imminent flow of oil through the pipeline is good news for energy and infrastructure. The comments come after Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners said Monday that it has placed oil in a section of the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir that's upstream from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. It was the final piece of construction for a pipeline that will carry crude from western North Dakota's Bakken oil fields 1,200 miles (1930 kilometers) through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point near Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline should be fully operational in about three weeks, according to company spokeswoman Vicki Granado. 'We need to build pipelines, roads, rail and transmission lines to grow our economy and secure our nation's energy future,' North Dakota Republican U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said. Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier said Sioux tribes in the Dakotas still believe they ultimately will persuade a judge to shut down the pipeline that they maintain threatens cultural sites, drinking water and religion. 'My people are here today because we have survived in the face of the worst kind of challenges,' he said. 'The fact that oil is flowing under our life-giving waters is a blow, but it hasn't broken us.' Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault called oil under the lake 'a setback, and a frightening one at that.' But he and Phillip Ellis, spokesman for the Earthjustice environmental law nonprofit, which is representing that tribe, said they are confident in the court case. 'The flow of oil under Lake Oahe is a temporary reminder of the pain this pipeline has perpetrated to those that have stood with Standing Rock and the devastation it has wreaked on sacred tribal sites, but hope remains,' Ellis said. ETP maintains the pipeline is safe and disputes the tribes' claims. The legal battle isn't confined to the Dakotas. In Iowa, the state chapter of the Sierra Club and a group of landowners are appealing a lawsuit challenging the pipeline to the Iowa Supreme Court. The crux of that dispute is whether the pipeline benefits the public in that state and whether the government was right to allow ETP to use eminent domain to obtain land for the project. 'Resistance is more than just the Lake Oahe crossing,' said environmental lawyer Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network and chairwoman of the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club. ETP wrapped up construction on the pipeline this month after receiving permission from the U.S. government in February for the Lake Oahe work, which had been held up several months by protests and the legal dispute. The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the Missouri River for the government, rescinded a planned environmental study that President Barack Obama's administration had ordered and gave ETP permission to complete the pipeline at the urging of President Donald Trump. 'This is a public triumph for President Trump and his commitment to support U.S energy and economic development,' said Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, made up of agriculture, business and labor entities that benefit from Midwest infrastructure projects. Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, a trade group that represents nearly 500 energy companies including ETP, said the pipeline will 'have a significant impact on Bakken transportation going forward.' North Dakota is the second-biggest oil producer in the U.S., after Texas. At capacity, the pipeline will be able to transport half of the state's daily oil production of about 1 million barrels. Once the oil reaches Patoka, Illinois, it will be pumped into an existing pipeline that will take it to terminals in Texas, according to Granado, the ETP spokeswoman. ETP has said in court documents that it has long-term transportation contracts with nine companies to ship oil through the pipeline. It could move enough oil to fill 500 or more railroad cars each day, according to the company. It is generally cheaper to move oil by pipeline than by rail, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. ___ Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake
  •   Darlene Cates, who played the housebound mother in the 1993 film 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape,' has died. Cates died in her sleep Sunday morning at her home in Forney, Texas, according to her son-in-law, David Morgan. She was 69.   Cates was cast in the film as the morbidly obese mother of Johnny Depp, in the title role, and his younger brother, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. She had been spotted by the film's screenwriter, Peter Hedges, while appearing on the 'Sally Jessy Raphael' talk show, where she discussed her struggles with her weight. The film, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, won acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of a troubled but loving family in a small Iowa town. Cates later appeared on episodes of the series 'Picket Fences' and 'Touched By an Angel.
  • President Donald Trump's move to roll back Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing climate change comes as the coal industry is reeling from job losses, bankruptcies, pollution restrictions and growing competition from natural gas, wind and solar. Trump on Tuesday ordered a review of the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce emissions from coal power plants, and the lifting of a moratorium on the sale of coal mining leases on federal lands. Here's a look at how the moves will affect the coal industry: AN INDUSTRY IN DECLINE Trump's move to support coal mining is unlikely to spur a quick turnaround in the industry. Experts say coal's biggest problem isn't a shortage of the fuel to dig or even climate change regulations but cheap and abundant natural gas. Gas prices dropped as advances in drilling such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, greatly increased the amount of gas on the market. For many utilities, that's made gas a more attractive fuel than coal. Meanwhile, companies have gotten more efficient at extracting coal, meaning fewer workers are needed to dig a given amount of fuel. Mountaintop removal mining, in which hilltops in Appalachia are blasted off with explosives to expose coal seams, is less expensive and more automated than underground mining. So are the massive strip mines developed since the 1970s in Wyoming and Montana, where conveyor belts move coal for miles across the open landscape to load onto trains. U.S. coal production fell to 739 million tons last year, the lowest level in almost four decades. From 2011 through 2016, the coal mining industry lost about 60,000 jobs, leaving just over 77,000 miners, according to preliminary Labor Department data that excludes mine office workers. Coal's share of the U.S. power market has dwindled from more than 50 percent last decade to about 32 percent last year. Gas and renewables have both made gains, and hundreds of coal-burning power plants have been retired or are scheduled to shut down soon — trends over which Trump has limited influence. Utilities 'are not going to flip on a dime and say now it's time to start building a whole bunch of coal plants because there's a Trump administration,' said Brian Murray, director of environmental economics at Duke University's Nicholas Institute. SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZE COAL? The Obama administration blocked the sale of new coal leases on federal lands in January 2016 to determine if the government's coal program was shortchanging taxpayers and exacerbating climate change by effectively subsidizing coal. In some cases, coal companies bought leases for as little as 1 cent per ton under a program that's supposed to be competitive but often involves just a single bidder. The royalties these companies pay to the government on each ton of coal mined have remained unchanged since 1976. Under the moratorium, the Obama administration was considering raising royalty rates as much as 50 percent. Trump has put that idea on hold. On Feb. 16, the new president overturned a rule that blocked coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams, a low-cost disposal method used in mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Collectively, Trump's recent orders have put the brakes on Obama-era actions that would have made it more costly for companies to get coal from public lands and for utilities to burn the fuel. WESTERN RESERVES About 40 percent of coal produced in the U.S. comes from federal land in Western states. Companies operating in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, the nation's dominant coal region, control enough reserves to last 20 years. Even before the moratorium, many mining companies were going bankrupt. They have delayed their plans to lease tracts holding 1.5 billion tons of coal, including on public lands not covered by the moratorium, according to Interior Department records reviewed by The Associated Press. That's enough fuel to run the nation's coal-fired power plants for two years at current consumption rates. The eight-state Appalachian region once dominated coal mining but now accounts for less than 25 percent of production after hundreds of mines there closed. Mines in the Midwest and South also have seen declines. THE CARBON BALANCE Lease applications blocked by the Obama moratorium involved more than 1.8 billion tons of coal from two dozen mines. Burning that coal would unleash an estimated 3.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide. That's equivalent to a year of emissions from 700 million cars. And that is just a small portion of the federal government's coal reserves. Environmentalists say keeping those reserves in the ground is crucial to the global effort to minimize climate change. Cloud Peak Energy CEO Colin Marshall described Trump's executive orders on coal as an important step toward lifting the 'punitive and ill-conceived' regulations under President Barack Obama. The moratorium had blocked the company's applications to lease more than 200 million tons of coal in Montana. Yet Marshall said more will be needed from Congress for the industry to survive long term, such as investments in so-called clean coal programs under which utilities could capture carbon from burning coal to keep it out of the atmosphere. ___ Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at https://twitter.com/matthewbrownap
  • The senior guard was the only unanimous selection to the 2016-17 AP All-America team Tuesday, receiving all first-team votes from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. 'I love the kid and I think he knows how I feel about him, but I've never been more proud — not that he's won a postseason award — but he's done everything that he's supposed to do,' Kansas coach Bill Self said. 'He's been a great teammate, he's been tough as nails, he's worked his butt off, he's loved by everyone in the academic departments, graduated, and to see him reap these benefits after putting in so much time is an unbelievable honor.' The rest of the All-America team includes guards Josh Hart of Villanova and Lonzo Ball of UCLA, plus forwards Caleb Swanigan of Purdue and Justin Jackson of North Carolina. Votes were based on the regular season and conference tournaments. Mason averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range. 'My goals were always just to be successful as a team, do whatever I can do to make sure we're successful and really change it at the defensive end and get after it,' Mason said. 'Yeah, that's pretty cool to see my name alongside those great KU players, it means a lot to me, but nothing would be possible without my teammates and coaching staff.' Mason is the first All-American from Kansas since Thomas Robinson in 2012. Hart, a senior who was key to Villanova's 2016 national championship, averaged 18.9 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Wildcats. He received 62 first-team votes. 'It was definitely a goal,' Hart said of the All-America recognition. 'Now that it happened, it's humbling. A great honor. I've got to thank everyone that voted for me.' Coach Jay Wright called Hart 'the perfect combination of talent, hard work, intelligence and humility.' 'He never let any single year's accomplishment deter him from getting better,' Wright said. 'I think he's one of the most complete basketball players in the country.' The sophomore Swanigan led the nation with 26 double-doubles and was the only player in Division I to average 18 points (18.5) and 12 rebounds (12.6) while shooting 53.4 percent, 43.1 percent on 3s. 'He's a very knowledgeable guy, now he's been through it in terms of experience, understanding scouting reports and those types of things,' Purdue coach Matt Painter said. 'He really gets it. I think he really separated himself from a lot of people with the consistent play.' Ball, who has already declared for the NBA draft, took the country by storm as a freshman. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists while putting UCLA back on the national map in a hurry. He received 54 first-team votes. Coach Steve Alford called Ball 'very deserving of the recognition.' 'He's been special for us all year,' Alford said. 'He's been an incredible teammate, and everything that he's done has been contagious throughout our team.' The last All-American from UCLA was freshman Kevin Love in 2008. Jackson, who received 24 first-team votes, helped lead the Tar Heels to a second straight Final Four. The junior averaged 18.1 points and 4.6 rebounds this season. 'He's a better player overall,' North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. 'He's better defensively, better rebounder, he can score the basket and he's just had a year for us. 'He's been the leader of our team on the court, on the stat sheet. I couldn't be happier for him because he's really got it the old-fashioned way,' Williams said. 'He's worked, he's put in the sweat.' Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga led the second team and was joined by fellow juniors Dillon Brooks of Oregon and Johnathan Motley of Baylor, sophomore Luke Kennard of Duke and freshman Malik Monk of Kentucky. The third team included freshmen Josh Jackson of Kansas, Markelle Fultz of Washington and Lauri Markkanen of Arizona, junior Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame and sophomore Ethan Happ of Wisconsin. There has been at least one unanimous All-America pick the last four seasons. ___ For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Berlin police say suspects used a wheelbarrow to make off with a 100-kilogram (221-pound) gold coin worth millions. Police said Tuesday at least two burglars broke into the Bode Museum early Monday morning using a ladder to climb up to a window from elevated railway tracks running alongside the building. The thieves grabbed the 'Big Maple Leaf' coin, on loan to the museum's coin collection, loaded it onto the wheelbarrow, then carted it out of the building and along the tracks across the Spree river before descending into a park on a rope and fleeing in a getaway car. Police say the three-centimeter (1.2-inch) thick coin, with a diameter of 53 centimeters (20.9 inches) and worth some $4.5 million for the gold alone, was likely damaged in the theft.

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  • Seven children and a school bus driver have been taken to the hospital after they reported feeling sick. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue says 20-025 children said they didn’t feel well. Seven were transported to the hospital as a precaution, but all are said to be in good condition.  The children and driver were on a school bus in the Hogan’s Creek area. JFRD suspected carbon monoxide, but when they tested there was nothing abnormal at the scene.  This is a developing story that will be updated in to the evening.
  • Days after a child was kidnapped from Elite Academy Inc., the Memphis, Tennessee, day care has closed its doors for good. >> Read more trending news A Department of Human Services spokesperson said an investigation into the day care is ongoing, but the owner voluntarily shut down the business. The closure is permanent. Related: Mother speaks out after 7-month-old is kidnapped from day care On Thursday, 7-month-old A’Laleh Fentress was checked out from her day care by 18-year-old Mya Lakes. Lakes is charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and child abuse/neglect. Her bail is $100,000. A’Laleh’s mother said Lakes saw her name on a document at the day care and used it to check out the child. The 7-month-old’s mother called police from the day care when she came to pick her baby up that evening. A’Laleh was later found safe at Annie’s Place in Frayser. Related: Memphis day care at center of kidnapping had no previous violations Elite Academy Inc. has been inspected by the DHS at least eight times since it opened in August 2016. According to the government database, the day care was never cited for violations.
  • Nearly 9 months after a shooting in Northwest Jacksonville claimed the lives of Demetrius Robinson, 31, and Jennie Hawley, 34, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has made an arrest.   Gerrod Wilson, 23, is now in police custody after the Criminal Apprehension Unit located him Monday.   Wilson is charged with murder and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon in connection to the July 1st, 2016 shooting on Dekle Avenue.  Wilson's girlfriend, Charity Coleman, 24, was also arrested and she's charged for being an accessory after the fact, which is a first degree felony charge.   JSO says Coleman was arrested for that same offense back in February, when detectives say they discovered she was harboring Wilson in her apartment.   We’re told the arrests were a collaborative effort involving everyone from patrol and enforcement to the Department of Investigations and Homeland Security.
  • At the request of four Democrats in the Congress, the Government Accountability Office has agreed to formally review how much money the feds spend, and what security precautions are taken, when President Donald Trump takes a weekend away at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. The request for a GAO review came from three Democratic Senators and one House member – the GAO says it will “review security and site-related travel expenses related to the President’s stays outside the White House at Mar-a-Lago. The lawmakers who made the request were Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). On 2/16, @RepCummings @SenWarren @SenWhitehouse & I wrote @USGAO & asked they review Mar-a-Lago security procedures & taxpayer funded travel — Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) March 28, 2017 This is not new territory for the GAO, which from time to time is asked by one party or the other to review the costs of travel. When the White House was under the control of Democrats, Republicans a few years ago were the ones asking about costs – as they had the GAO look at a February 15-18, 2013 trip made by President Barack Obama. In that review, the GAO estimated that an official speech in Illinois, followed by a golf weekend in Florida, cost about $3.6 million. This GAO report will look at more than just the cost of the weekend trips to Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, as it will also review security matters there. (CBSMiami/AP) — A government watchdog will investigate the taxpayer-funded travel costs of President Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-lago. — Liz Quirantes (@lizquirantes) March 28, 2017 Democrats raised those concerns during a trip that Mr. Trump took with the Japanese Prime Minister, when the two men were seen with aides in a public dining area, speaking about a developing national security issue with regards to North Korea. One question from the four Democrats centers on whether those who are at the Trump club have gone through normal security and clearance procedures, including any foreign nationals who might be there. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has downplayed the costs of the Mar-a-Lago visits, saying that’s ‘part of being President.’ “That is a vast reach,” Spicer told one reporter, who cast the question of the cost of the Mar-a-Lago visits, versus proposed cuts in the federal budget. Before he became President, Mr. Trump often criticized his predecessor for taking weekend golf trips to Florida and other parts of the country. While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016 The GAO will now be in charge of determining how much Mr. Trump’s own weekend getaways are costing taxpayers.
  • No injuries have been reported, but the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating in Oceanway, after officers found what appears to be meth, as well as meth materials.  We're told officers were are a home off Starratt Road serving a narcotics warrant when the discovery was made.   5 people are being questioned, but so far no word of any arrests.   WOKV will continue to update this story, as details come in.

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