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National Govt & Politics
Volunteer power during shutdown: “We’ve got to help take care of our [National] park.” 
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Volunteer power during shutdown: “We’ve got to help take care of our [National] park.” 

Volunteer power during shutdown: “We’ve got to help take care of our [National] park.” 
Someone's soggy, long-lost football was among the garbage collected along the Chattahoochee River Tuesday morning. Photo: Jennifer Brett

Volunteer power during shutdown: “We’ve got to help take care of our [National] park.” 

If the partial government shutdown continues much longer, a local conservancy group will likely organize volunteer teams to go out and pick up trash.  

There's not yet a serious problem of trash over-flowing containers along and inside the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. But that could soon change says Sally Bethea, board president of the Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy (CPC). 

"With no end in sight for this shutdown we've got to help take care of our park,” Bethea tells WSB Radio. 

The CPC works with the National Parks Service to assist in programs and volunteers for the CRNRA.  

Over the past week, the Conservancy has been assessing all 15 park units within the Rec Area - which stretches 48 miles from Buford Dam to the city of Atlanta. Two of the most popular sites within the National Recreation Area are Paces Mill and Cochran Shoals.      

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trash

In the days since the shutdown began, there have been individuals who have taken it upon themselves to clean up areas where they hike. Bethea says her group has already lent support to local hiker groups in the trash collection effort, but a more organized effort could soon be forthcoming. "We'll be finishing our assessment here in the next couple of days and seeing where we need to really allocate volunteers to help,” says Bethea. "We'll assume that there will be more cleanups going on in the next week and certainly if this lasts into February, we'll be working very hard." 

WSB Radio
On January 9, 2019, the visitor's center parking lot at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park remains closed during the partial government shutdown.
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Kennesaw Battlefield park

Photo Credit: WSB Radio
On January 9, 2019, the visitor's center parking lot at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park remains closed during the partial government shutdown.

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is not the only recreation tract in metro Atlanta affected by the gridlock in Washington D.C. In Cobb County, access to the visitor’s center parking lot at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is closed. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports trash cans in that park have been sealed-off. And one handwritten sign left behind reads: “The government is currently shut down. To keep our park beautiful, PLEASE TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU.”

Bethea understands the emotional tug by many who make park and recreation area visits part of their routine – to pitch in to help. "This is one of the areas in which people do get emotional about this shutdown, is not being able to access some of their parks." 

Bethea’s message to anyone using the parks and rec areas: “Do the right thing. Leave no trace. That means take everything out of the park except your footprints."

As for what is – or is not happening in D.C. "Hopefully the shutdown will end soon. It's...it's sad." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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News

  • A new survey says the efforts of stay-at-home parents are worth a $162,581 annual salary. >> Read more trending news Earlier this week, Salary.com released a report detailing just how much the work of full-time parents would equate to in terms of real-world salaries. The report was done by selecting a handful of jobs that reflect a 'day in the in the life of a Mom” and calculating the sum with the site’s Salary Wizard tool. Some of the jobs considered in the analysis were: academic advisor, coach, dietitian, event planner, executive housekeeper, janitor, judge, psychologist, photographer, plumber and staff nurse. The survey also took into account that most stay-at-home parents put in more than 90 hours of work per week, the report said. From all the combined factors, analysts determined the medium annual salary of a stay-at-home parent in 2018 should be $162,581.00 -- a nearly 5 percent increase since the site’s 2017 calculations.
  • The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 continues as a stalemate between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders over his demand for more than $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. >> Read more trending news Update 2:10 p.m. EST Jan. 18: The Office of Management and Budget released a memo Friday barring Congressional delegations from using aircraft paid for with taxpayer money amid the ongoing shutdown. The memo, from Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought, was released one day after Trump abruptly pulled military air support for a planned Congressional delegation that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” Vought said in the memo. “Nor will any funds be appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses without his express written approval.” Pelosi told reporters Friday that lawmakers had planned to continue their planned trip to Afghanistan after it was scrapped by Trump’s announcement. 'We had the prerogative to travel commercially and we made plans to do that until the administration then leaked that we were traveling commercially and that endangers us,” she said. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Jan. 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she canceled plans to travel to Afghanistan after Trump pulled military travel support for the trip one day earlier and shared that she planned to visit a war zone. Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said Thursday that the House speaker planned to travel with a Congressional delegation to Belgium and then Afghanistan to visit troops on the front lines. Trump pulled military air support for the trip one day after Pelosi asked him to postponed his State of the Union address, scheduled to take place on Jan. 29, in light of the ongoing shutdown. The president also cited the shutdown and suggested that lawmakers could make the trip on a commercial airline.  Hammill said Friday that Pelosi and the rest of the delegation were prepared to fly commercially but he said the plan was axed after the Trump administration “leaked the commercial travel plans.” “In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” Hammill said. Update 10:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: President Donald Trump has canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has nixed his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown. Update 3:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17:  An overseas trip that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set leave for on Thursday, before Trump abruptly announced he had pulled military travel support for the trip, was intended to show appreciation for American troops abroad, Pelosi’s spokesman said. In a letter sent Thursday to Pelosi’s office, the president said a Congressional Delegation, or CODEL, that Pelosi had planned was canceled amid the ongoing government shutdown. Trump said the CODEL intended to make stops in Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan. Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the speaker planned to stop in Brussels, as required to give the pilot time to rest, and meet with top NATO commanders before continuing on to Afghanistan. He said the trip did not include any stops in Egypt. “The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security briefings from those front lines,” Hammill said. “The president traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL (Congressional Deligation) led by Rep. (Lee) Zeldin.” Update 2:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump on Thursday pulled military travel support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of a planned trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. Pelosi had planned to leave for a bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip, also known as a CODEL, later Thursday, CNN reported. According to the news network, Trump has “the authority to direct the Department of Defense to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters.” However, CNN noted that it was not immediately clear whether the Defense Department was notified of the cancellation ahead of time. The cancellation came one day after Pelosi asked Trump to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown. Update 2:25 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump said Thursday that he's postponing a trip planned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan amid the ongoing partial government shutdown. >> From Cox Media Group’s National Content Desk: In escalating shutdown fight, Trump cancels plane for Pelosi overseas trip 'It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown,' the president said. 'Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.' Trump addressed the letter to Pelosi’s office one day after she asked him to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown. The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed several bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall. Update 1:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: The State Department ordered U.S. diplomats in Washington and at embassies around the world to return to work starting next week, saying in a message to employees that they will be paid despite the shutdown. It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it had taken steps to 'make available additional funds to pay the salaries of its employees, including those affected by the current lapse.' “Employees will  be paid for work performed beginning on or after January 20,” the notice, from Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd, said. “Beyond (that pay period), we will review balances and available legal authorities to try to cover future pay periods.” Officials noted that employees would not be paid for work done between Dec. 22, when the partial government shutdown started, and Jan. 20 until after the shutdown ends. Department officials said they were taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming efforts 'to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people.'  Officials added that the department's leadership was 'deeply concerned' about the financial hardships employees are facing. Update 12:45 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump signed a bill Wednesday that requires the government to compensate federal workers affected by the ongoing shutdown for wages lost, work performed or leave used during the shutdown. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 passed in the House last week. It requires that employees be compensated “on the earliest date possible after the lapse ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.” Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 16: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that despite the partial government shutdown, federal officials are prepared to deal with issues that might arise when Trump delivers his State of the Union address later this month. “The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen said in a statement posted on Twitter. Her comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president to delay the address, scheduled January 29, due to security concerns as the shutdown dragged into its 26th day. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: TSA: “Financial limitations” causing airport screeners not to show up for work Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 16: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked Trump to delay his State of the Union address, which is expected later this month, as the partial government shutdown continues. >> Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union amid shutdown “Given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in a letter sent Wednesday. Update 1:41 p.m. EST Jan. 15: A federal judge has denied a request from unionized federal employees who filed a lawsuit requiring the government pay air traffic controllers who are working without pay during the shutdown, CNN reported. >> FDA restarts inspections during shutdown, inspectors working without pay Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 14: A group of federal employees who was ordered to work without pay amid the ongoing shutdown filed suit last week against the government, comparing their situations to involuntary servitude and accusing Trump and other officials of violating the 13th Amendment, according to The Washington Post. In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday by four federal workers from Texas and West Virginia who are employed by the departments of Justice, Agriculture and Transportation, attorneys said the workers could face discipline or removal if they failed to continue working despite the fact that they were not getting paid during the shutdown. The Post reported the lawsuit also accused officials of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. >> Atlanta airport security lines more than an hour long amid federal shutdown “Our plaintiffs find themselves in the exact same boat as virtually every other furloughed federal employee: bills to pay and no income to pay them,” the workers' attorney, Michael Kator, told the Post. “As this drags on, their situation will become more and more dire.” The partial government shutdown entered its 24th day Monday, making it the longest in history. The second-longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in the mid-90s, during President Bill Clinton's time in office. Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 14: Trump railed against Democrats on Monday morning as the partial government shutdown entered its 24th day. 'I've been waiting all weekend,' Trump wrote Monday in a tweet. 'Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!' The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed six bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall. 'The package presented yesterday by Democratic leaders can only be seen as a time wasting act,' he said on Jan. 3. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump said Friday that it would be easy for him to declare a national emergency to get a wall along the country’s southern border built, but that he has no plans to do so. “I’m not going to do it so fast,” the president said during a discussion about border security with state, local and community leaders at the White House. “This is something that Congress can do.” Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump said Thursday he will not travel later this month to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum amid the ongoing partial government shutdown. The president was scheduled to leave for the trip Jan. 21. “Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!”  Last year, a brief government shutdown threatened to derail his trip to Davos, where he asserted that his 'America First' agenda can go hand-in-hand with global cooperation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the U.S. delegation to the annual Davos event, which courts high-profile businesspeople and political figures and other elites. Other members of the Cabinet are scheduled to attend as well as Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump will travel Thursday to Texas to visit the southern border after negotiations to end the partial government shut down crumbled. The president walked out of discussions Wednesday with Congressional leaders after Democrats again refused to approve of $5.7 billion of funding for his border wall. “The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins!” Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter. The president is set to travel to McAllen on Thursday, where he plans to visit a border patrol station for a roundtable on immigration and border security. Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The president walked out of discussions with leaders in the House and Senate on Wednesday amid the ongoing government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whether she would agree to fund his border wall and that he walked out of the meeting when she answered in the negative. “He said, ‘If I open up the government, you won’t do what I want,’” Schumer said. The president wrote on Twitter that the meeting was “a total waste of time.” “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier?” he wrote. “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are standing beside the president Wednesday as the debate over border wall funding continues. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their party lunch Wednesday afternoon. “The Republicans are unified,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “We want border security. We want safety for our country.” The president accused Democrats of blocking funding for the wall, “because I won the presidency and they think they can try and hurt us.” Democrats have called the proposed wall costly, ineffective and 'immoral' and say Trump's 'manufacturing a crisis.' Trump and Pence are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House. Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Trump said Wednesday that his border wall has 'tremendous Republican support” ahead of a meeting with GOP lawmakers as the shutdown drags into its 19th day. 'I think we're going to win,” Trump said. “We need border security, very simple.” In response to a reporter’s question about how long the president would be willing to let the shutdown last in order to secure funding for the wall, Trump said, “whatever it takes.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 9: During a bill signing at the White House on Wednesday, the president pushed again for funding of his border wall, arguing that human trafficking can’t be stopped without it. 'As long as we have a border that is not secure, we're going to suffer the consequences of that,' Trump said. The president brushed off critics who have said a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be ineffective to address immigration issues. “They say a wall is a medieval solution, that’s true,” Trump said. “It worked then, it works even better now” Democrats have called Trump's promised wall costly, ineffective and 'immoral' and say he's 'manufacturing a crisis.' The bill Trump signed is designed to enhance an annual State Department report that measures global efforts to eliminate human trafficking. Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 9: Officials will hold a series of meetings Wednesday in an attempt to end the government shutdown that began 19 days ago, according to Politico. The president, Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will meet Wednesday afternoon with Senate Republicans for their party lunch, the news site reported. Then, at 3 p.m., the president will meet with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House, Poliltico reported, noting it will mark “the third such bipartisan meeting in a week’s time.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning that Trump is still considering the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built. '(It's) something we're still looking at, something that's certainly still on the table,' she said, according to Bloomberg News. 'The best solution is to be able to work with Congress to get this done.' The president did not mention the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built Tuesday night, during his first address from the Oval Office. He wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter, “we MUST fix our Southern Border!” Trump is scheduled to visit the border Thursday. Update 10:50 p.m. EST Jan. 8: In his first ever televised Oval Office address, President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his border wall Tuesday night, blaming illegal immigration for the scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S.  Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to “fear, not facts” and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain. He argued for spending some $5.7 billion for a border wall on both security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid the extended shutdown. He will visit the Mexican border in person on Thursday. Update 8:07 p.m. EST Jan. 8: The New York Times is reporting that Trump will not declare a national emergency this evening in order to circumvent Congress to get funds to build the wall. According to the times, “administration officials who had seen a draft copy of his speech said the president was not preparing to do so.” Update 10:45 a.m. EST Jan. 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver the Democratic response to Trump's planned prime time address, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. Update 1:50 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump said he plans to address the nation Tuesday night as Democrats continue to stand firm on their refusal to fund the president’s border wall. “I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security  crisis on our Southern Border Tuesday night at 9 P.M. Eastern,” Trump said Monday afternoon in a tweet. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump to visit Mexican border as White House pushes for security funding The announcement came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump plans to visit the southern border on Thursday. Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump on Thursday will visit the southern border amid the ongoing shutdown impasse, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Jan. 7: The partial government shutdown entered its 17th day Monday with no end in sight despite meetings over the weekend meant to help bring the shutdown to a close, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. Update 3:30 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump said Friday that he’s considering using his executive authority to get a wall built on the U.S.-Mexico border. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely,” Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it.” The president spoke with reporters Friday after meeting with congressional leaders amid the ongoing budget impasse. He said he’s designated a team to meet over the weekend with lawmakers to resolve the standoff.  Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: At a news conference Friday, Trump confirmed he told congressional leaders that he would be willing to allow the government shut down to continue for months or years if Democrats refuse to fund his border wall. “I don’t think (the government will remain closed that long) but I am prepared,” Trump said. “I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days.” Trump met with top leaders from the House and Senate on Friday morning to discuss the ongoing partial government shutdown and his demand for $5.6 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump: Shutdown could go ‘months or even years’ in border wall dispute The president said Friday’s meeting was “very, very productive,” though top Democrats told reporters after the meeting that little was accomplished. “How do you define progress in a meeting?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked reporters after the meeting. “When you have a better understanding of each other’s position? When you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s the judgement, we made some progress.” Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Top Democrats said a meeting with Trump aimed at bringing the ongoing partial government shutdown to an end was contentious on Friday, with neither side willing to budge in the ongoing battle over funding for a border wall. “We told the president we needed the government open,' Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting. 'He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time -- months or even years.' Update 9:20 a.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump is set to meet Friday morning with congressional leaders, though it was not clear whether the meeting would help bring to an end the partial government shutdown that began nearly two weeks ago. The meeting, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m., will include newly sworn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders from the House and Senate, NPR reported.  House Democrats approved of a spending bill Thursday to re-open the government, prompting a veto threat from Trump. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump threatens vetoes as House passes bills to end partial shutdown “If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a veto threat against the plans passed by House Democrats in the opening hours of the 116th Congress, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. Update 11:45 p.m. EST Jan. 3: House Democrats have approved a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.  The largely party-line votes by the new Democratic majority came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room to pledge a continued fight for his signature campaign promise.  The Democratic package to end the shutdown includes a bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Feb. 8 as bipartisan talks continue.  It was approved, 239-192. Update 11:15 p.m. EST Jan. 2: President Donald Trump said he remains “ready and willing” to work with Democrats to pass a government spending bill even as he refuses to budge over funding for his long-promised border wall.  Trump tweeted “Let’s get it done!” as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight. Trump has invited the group back for a follow-up session Friday, the day after Nancy Pelosi is expected to become speaker of the House. Earlier, they met Trump at the White House Wednesday for a briefing on border security. The session did not yield any breakthroughs according to The Associated Press, and Democrats said they remained committed to introducing the legislation Thursday. The administration has so far rejected the plan, which does not include funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Schumer said Trump could not provide a “good answer” for opposing the bills. He added that Trump and Republicans “are now feeling the heat.” Update 9:30 a.m. EST Jan. 2: Congressional leaders are expected to attend a briefing on border security Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown continues, The Associated Press reported. Among the lawmakers expected to attend the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to the AP. Top incoming House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also expected to attend. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m., The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper noted that few, if any, compromises are likely to be offered at the session, which comes one day before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 1: Trump has invited congressional leaders to a border security briefing scheduled for Wednesday. The Associated Press reported the top two Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate have been invited. Other possible attendees and agenda have not been released. The White House has not commented on the apparent invitations, the AP reported. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Dec. 28: Trump threatened Friday to close the southern U.S. border if Democrats continued to refuse to fund his border wall. “We build a Wall or we close the Southern Border,” he said in a series of tweets Friday morning. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Friday that Trump had canceled his plans for New Year’s Eve in light of the ongoing shutdown. Still, Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, told The Associated Press on Friday that Democrats won’t fund the president’s “immoral, ineffective expensive wall.” “While we await the President’s public proposal, Democrats have made it clear that, under a House Democratic Majority, we will vote swiftly to re-open government on Day One,” Hammill said. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 27: The partial government shutdown that started Saturday is expected to last into the new year.  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement obtained Thursday by C-SPAN that no votes were expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week as the shutdown continues. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday showed 47 percent of Americans hold Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, despite the president’s assertion that Democrats are at fault. The poll found 33 percent of adults blame Democrats in Congress. In a pair of tweet Thursday, the president accused Democrats of “obstruction of the needed Wall.” Update: 3:35 p.m. EST Dec. 25: President Trump spoke to members of the five branches of the U.S. military via video conference Tuesday, sending them his well-wishes before discussing the partial government shutdown and the country's need for a wall:  “I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it.' Update 3:50 p.m. EST Dec. 23: Incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that the shutdown could continue into the next year. “It is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said. Update 3:55 p.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate does not estimate a vote on a deal to end the partial government shutdown until next Thursday at the earliest, tweeted Jamie Dupree, Cox Media Group Washington correspondent. The Senate Cloakroom, a Twitter account for the Republican side of the Senate floor, tweeted the following schedule for the Senate: “Following today’s session, the Senate will convene on Monday, December 24th at 11:00 am for a Pro Forma Session. Following the Pro Forma Session, we will next convene at 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 27th and consider business if a deal has been reached on government funding” President Trump has been active on Twitter today, saying he’s in the White House today “working hard,” and reaffirming his support for tough border security. “I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time, based on getting out of endless & costly foreign wars & also based on Strong Borders which will keep our Country safe. We fight for the borders of other countries, but we won’t fight for the borders of our own!” the President tweeted. Update 3:00 p.m. EST Dec. 22: White House officials are warning that the government shutdown will last through the holidays, as Trump is not relenting on his demand, tweeted New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers. 'We have continued to put forth what we think is an important expectation ... which is $5 billion in border security,' a senior White House official told reporters, according to Rogers’ tweet. Update 12:30 p.m. EST Dec. 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an update on government funding negotiations. He said a procedural agreement was made to “create space” to allow discussions between Senate Democrats and White House. There will be no votes until Trump and Senate Democrats reach an agreement. Update 9:06 a.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate is expected to meet today at noon to see if they can hammer out an agreement that President Trump will sign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told press Friday night that “constructive talks are underway,' for such an agreement, reported CNN. If any new deal is announced, lawmakers would be given 24 hours notice to return to Washington for a vote. Update 1:31 a.m. EST Dec. 22: In a joint statement released shortly after the partial government shutdown went into effect, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y,) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were critical of President Donald Trump and called the government closures the “Trump shutdown.” 'President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted,' Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement. “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security -- not the president’s ineffective and expensive wall. “If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January.” Update 10:45 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With a partial government shutdown expected at midnight, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney instructed agencies to plan for a shutdown. Mulvaney says in a memo for government executives that “we are hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration” but that employees should report to work when scheduled to “undertake orderly shutdown activities.” Update 8:19 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The Senate adjourned without a deal on spending, just after 8 p.m. Friday evening ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday. Senators expect to return at noon Saturday as talks continue. Update 7:09 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The House adjourned Friday evening and will return Saturday at noon which will likely trigger a partial shutdown. Update 5:55 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With just over 6 hours left until the midnight deadline, Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote advanced the 47-47 tally after a marathon, five-hour voting session in the Senate that dragged on as senators rushed back to Washington. The move doesn’t immediately end the threat of a partial federal shutdown, but it kick-starts negotiations as Congress tries to find a resolution to Trump’s demand for the wall. Senators say they won’t vote on a final bill to fund the government until Trump and congressional leaders all agree to a deal. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 21: Trump spoke with reporters before signing a criminal justice reform bill Friday.  'It's possible that we'll have a shutdown,” the president said. “I think the chances are probably very good because I don't think Democrats care so much about maybe this issue, but this is a very big issue” The Republican-led House approved funding Thursday for Trump's border wall and sent the bill to the Senate. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: With impasse over wall funding, federal workers gear up for shutdown Senators are holding a procedural vote Thursday afternoon to determine whether to move forward with the bill. During a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer last week, Trump said he’d shut down the government if lawmakers failed to secure $5 billion in funding for a wall to span the U.S.-Mexico border. “If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government,” Trump said. “I’m going to shut it down for border security.” >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 21: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the officials plan to discuss “the funding bill and the importance of border security” at 10:30 a.m. The president insisted on Twitter Friday morning that, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” Ten days earlier, Trump said during a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.” >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown Original report: A potential government shutdown looms and President Donald Trump is tweeting, saying that if a spending plan isn’t passed and signed by midnight, it will be the Democrats fault when the government closes. On Thursday night, after a meeting between House Republicans and the president, the House passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for Trump’s border wall.  >>From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: With Friday night deadline, funding fight shifts to Senate The vote was 217-185, CNN reported. The bill is in the hands of the Senate whose members have to act on it before the midnight deadline or the government closes.  >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Shutdown chances jump as Trump demands money for his border wall Washington watchers believe the bill will not pass because of the money earmarked for the wall, CNN reported.  Democrats have said they will not support the money for the border and both sides of the Senate aisle are needed if the spending plan is to pass. >> Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check, SNAP, WIC? In a series of morning tweets by the President, he placed the blame on Democrats if the government shuts down. The president said he would not sign the Senate-backed spending bill that does not include money for the border wall. The Senate plan would grant funding to keep the government operating until Feb. 8, The Washington Post reported.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man in Newton, Massachusetts, was arrested after police say he stole one of the city's sand trucks. According to Newton Police, a call came in just after 6 a.m. for a stolen white Ford pickup truck with a sander attached to it that was owned by the City of Newton. Police say a town worker reported the stolen truck after he had stopped at the Knotty Pine Restaurant and came outside to find the truck had been taken. >> Read more trending news  As a “be on the lookout” was put out for the truck, another town worker alerted police they saw the truck crashed into a utility pole in the area of 1970 Beacon Street in Newton. As they were investigating the crash, police found a man nearby looking disheveled and asking where the train station was. A brief investigation led to the man's arrest. Michael Carter, 30, of Dorchester was arrested and charged with larceny of a motor vehicle as well as other charges. Inside the truck, police found a credit card registered to a resident of Woodbine Terrace, who was not Michael Carter. Authorities found Carter had broken into that person's car and taken their credit card. While looking into his arrest, police found outstanding warrants for Carter's arrest. He is expected to be arraigned later on Friday in Newton District Court. Police also continue to investigate several other car break-ins in the area where the credit card was taken from. At this time, Carter is not being charged with those break-ins.
  • Fifteen people have been charged in an investigation of how Flint's water became contaminated with lead in 2014-15 and a related outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. Seven people have pleaded no contest to misdemeanors in deals that will leave them without a criminal record. — Michael Prysby, Stephen Busch, Liane Shekter Smith, Adam Rosenthal, all from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. — Mike Glasgow and Daugherty 'Duffy' Johnson, who both worked for the city of Flint. — Corinne Miller of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Charges are pending against eight people: — Nick Lyon, former director of the state health department. Involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office. — Dr. Eden Wells, former Michigan chief medical executive. Involuntary manslaughter, obstructing justice, lying, misconduct in office. — Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott of the state health department. Misconduct in office, conspiracy. — Patrick Cook of the Department of Environmental Quality. Misconduct in office, conspiracy. — Gerald Ambrose, former Flint emergency manager. Conspiracy, misconduct in office, false pretenses. — Darnell Earley, former Flint emergency manager. Involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, misconduct in office. — Howard Croft, former director of Flint public works. Involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy.
  • Homicide investigators in California have finally put a name to a young woman found brutally slain near Anaheim more than 31 years ago.  The remains of Tracey Coreen Hobson, 20, of Anaheim, were positively identified Tuesday, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The identification was made using DNA technology and forensic odontology. “Forensic genealogy has provided a new tool for investigators to work cases from a different angle to bring closure to families,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “We will never stop investigating these types of cases and seeking justice for victims of crime.” A passerby stumbled upon Hobson’s skeletal remains Aug. 30, 1987, in a grassy area about 50 feet off Santa Ana Canyon Road in unincorporated Anaheim, Sheriff’s Office officials said. The body, which investigators believe had been in that location for about two months, was found with no identification and the only items recovered in the area were a length of cord and a red handkerchief. >> Read more trending news Hobson had been stabbed in the torso and her hands had been removed, authorities said in a news release. Clumps of her blonde hair were found at the scene.   Extensive investigation -- including Orange County’s first clay model facial reconstruction -- failed to either identify the victim or determine who killed her and, despite periodic reviews of the case, it went cold, the news release said.  The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Forensic Services was able to extract DNA from the remains in May 2005, at which time it was uploaded to national and California databases of missing people. The sample was compared to that of several possible candidates over the years, but no match was found.  Investigators again tried to identify the victim in 2017 by developing new images of the woman in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, and the National Missing and Unidentified Person System, also known as NamUs. Still, Hobson remained unidentified, authorities said.  It wasn’t until August 2018 that investigators decided to try investigative genealogy, the breakthrough technique that has helped solve several cases, including that of the notorious Golden State Killer. They partnered with the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit, volunteer-run forensic genealogy group that works to identify victims of crime who have gone nameless for years.  Since its inception in 2017, the organization has positively identified six men and women.  The DNA Doe Project tentatively identified Hobson on Nov. 14, after obtaining DNA believed to be from a family member and matching it to the sample taken from her remains, the news release said. Odontology, or the study of her teeth and bite pattern, confirmed the match.  Hobson’s family has been notified of the identification, authorities said.  DNA Doe Project officials thanked the Sheriff’s Department for entrusting them with the case, which was called Anaheim Jane Doe before Hobson was identified. They also thanked the NCMEC and NamUs for their help, as well as the experts and lab workers who worked to bring closure to Hobson’s loved ones.  “Our condolences go out to Tracey’s family,” a statement on the group’s Facebook page read. Sheriff’s Department investigators are now focusing on the last months of Hobson’s life in an effort to find her killer. Anyone with information on her or the case is asked to contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS, or 855-847-6227, or visit the Crime Stoppers website at occrimestoppers.org. 
  • Nearly one year after the brother of popular Atlanta music producer Drumma Boy was shot and killed, the FBI has made an arrest in the case. Syranard Eugene Watson, 28, was captured Friday morning in Gwinnett County on a charge of felony murder in connection with the Feb. 10, 2018, shooting death of Ferrell Miles. The FBI identified Watson as a suspect in the case weeks after the deadly shooting outside of House of Fresh, Drumma Boy’s northwest Atlanta clothing boutique. The federal agency released Watson’s picture last March, hoping someone would recognize him.. TRENDING STORIES: Georgia police officer arrested on charges of sexual exploitation of children   FBI searching for suspects who violently kidnapped 2 people at Midtown apartment One of the best barbecue restaurants in US is right here in Atlanta, report says It was a Crime Stoppers tip that gave agents the break they needed in the case, FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said. That tip led authorities to a residence in the 1200 block of Thorncliff Court in Lawrenceville, where Watson was taken into custody. According to police, Watson shot Miles several times following an argument outside of the clothing store in the 1700 block of Howell Mill Road. Witnesses told police he sped from the scene in a black sedan. Miles, 48, of Atlanta, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died from his injuries. In an Instagram post shortly after the deadly shooting, Drumma Boy wrote: “I lost the first person I ever looked up (to) in life ... the first person I ever wanted to be like ... my big blood-brother.”