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Photos: Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 9

Presidents Day 2018: When is it and how did the holiday get started?

To many Americans, Presidents Day means retail sales and discounts or even a day off, if they’re lucky. But what is the holiday really about?

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Even before then, Washington was revered as one of the most important figures in American history and his birthday became a perennial day of remembrance, according to History.com.

Sen. Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the federal holiday, and in 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. Initially, the holiday, called “Washington’s Birthday,” only applied to the District of Columbia. But in 1885, the celebration expanded to include the entire country.

Over the years, some states adopted the holiday to celebrate either Washington or former presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

The day is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” but it became popularly known as Presidents Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to help the nation’s workers enjoy more three-day weekends.

It was the first holiday to celebrate the life of an individual American. The next would be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which was signed into law in 1983.

Today, Presidents Day is considered a day to celebrate all American presidents, past and present. Around the country, patriotic and historical groups hold events and celebrations and schools often teach students about the accomplishments of American presidents.

Last year, however, thousands of protesters across the country used their Monday off to protest President Donald Trump in “Not My Presidents Day” rallies.

“While we acknowledge that Donald Trump holds the current title, the policies he’s trying to put in place are not the beliefs shared by the majority of the people,” Nova Calise, one of the organizers of the New York event, told USA Today.

Transgender wrestler will defend state title in Texas

A transgender wrestler from Texas will be defending the Class 6A girls championship at next week’s state tournament, WFAA reported.

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On Saturday, Mack Beggs, 18, of Euless Trinity will compete for a 6A Region II tournament title, which will determine bracket seeding for the state tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class advance.

Last year, a parent filed a lawsuit to prevent Beggs from wrestling in the female division.

Beggs began transitioning from female to male a few years ago by using testosterone, which was the reason the lawsuit was filed, WFAA reported. But according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, it is not a banned substance since it comes from a physician.

A state law passed in 2016 says that athletes must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificates, WFAA reported.

The state wrestling tournament will be in Cypress next week. Beggs is 29-0 this season and hopes to defend the state title he won last year.

Beggs is considering a men’s wrestling scholarship in college and is hoping to schedule a time for his “top surgery” by a doctor in Plano, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

"I know it's going to happen," Beggs told the Morning News "But if I stress about it too much, then I'm going to stress about it, so I'm just going with the flow."

Kentucky second-grader with Down syndrome qualifies for regional spelling bee

A Kentucky girl with Down syndrome qualified for a regional spelling bee, WLKY reported.

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Sosie Smith, a second-grader at Christian Academy of Louisville's Providence School, qualified after winning the bee in her class, with “joyous” the word that gave her the championship. She will compete in a regional event next week, WLKY reported.

Sosie’s mother, Tara Smith, told WLKY that her daughter has always loved words and reading.

"My job as a mom is to find those little gifts and accentuate them and try to bring them out as best as I can," she said.

Smith told WLKY that she hopes Sosie's story will encourage other special-needs children.

"She keeps hitting these milestones and exceeding my expectations," Smith said. "I just hope to open their eyes a little bit and enlighten them that the capabilities are there."

Texas school marshals allowed to carry guns on campus

Officials in two school districts in Texas believe they have a deterrent for incidents like this week’s shooting at Parkland High School in Florida. Selected employees are allowed to carry guns on campus, WFAA reported.

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The Argyle Independent School District implemented the rule in 2014, and the Keene Independent School District followed suit the following year.

Teachers packing heat is possible thanks to the passage of the Protection of Texas Children Law that was passed in 2013. The law permits districts to create “school marshals” for campuses, WFAA reported. The marshals must submit to extensive active shooter and firearms training with the state and must undergo a mental health evaluation, WFAA reported. Marshals must renew their licenses every two years.

>> Photos: Remembering Parkland Florida school shooting victims

Signs outside schools in the Argyle and Keene districts warn visitors that staff members are armed, WFAA reported.

Keene Superintendent Ricky Stephens said creating school marshals was needed.

“Administrators and teachers are going to be the first ones who arrive, so do you want them to arrive with a pencil or a pistol?” Stephens told WFAA.

According to the law, weapons must be in a safe -- or on the marshal at all times, WFAA reported.

New York dad emerges from 61-day coma

The last thing Robert Crain remembered was visiting the emergency room to have his nagging cough checked out.

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That was on Oct. 3, 2017. Sixty-one days later, the 47-year-old woke from a medically induced coma. And on Feb. 14, 2018, he was discharged from Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.

"For me, it just seemed like I woke up from a nap,'' Crain told Syracuse.com. "Then I realized I missed Thanksgiving and Christmas and all that time with my family."

Crain’s lungs and kidneys had shut down in October. He lost 50 pounds during his time in the hospital and now must use a cane to walk, Syracuse.com reported.

“It was awful,” said Crain’s wife of 10 years, Marcela Crain. “My brain heard them say he wasn't doing well and wasn't improving, but my heart wouldn't accept it. I went to the chapel every day at the hospital and prayed, and my daughter and I prayed every night.”

Robert Crain was kept alive by a heart/lung bypass machine, spending more time on it than any other patient in the hospital’s history, Syracuse.com reported.

Crain said he remembered nothing from Oct. 3 until Jan. 8. His doctors pulled him out of his coma gradually. When he came to, Crain said he was “stunned” when a nurse told him what day it was, Syracuse.com reported.

Robert Crain’s recovery and discharge from the hospital was a banner day for his wife and their 8-year-old daughter, Isabella. 

"This is the most amazing, special day,'' Marcela Crain said. “Never give up hope. I always believed he would come back to me."

Marcela Crain said the family put Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas on hold, refusing to celebrate it without Robert. She told Syracuse.com the family would celebrate all three holidays into a single day when he is stronger.

Man who falsely claimed to represent Migos, scammed Emory University indicted

A man who claimed to be a booker for musicians including Migos, Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert is facing federal fraud charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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Octaveon Woods, 26, of Decatur, Illinois, was indicted on money laundering and wire fraud charges Feb. 6.

Woods allegedly operated companies, including Global Talent Agency and GTA Bookings, which claimed to represent “dozens of famous musicians, comedians and other artists,” the Justice Department said. Woods had no relationship to any of the artists his companies claimed to represent, U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said. 

Emory University paid $37,500 to Global Talent Agency in early 2017, under the impression that they were booking Migos for its annual Dooley’s Week celebration. Two weeks before the scheduled concert, Emory’s Student Planning Council learned they had been victims of fraud, and that Migos would not be performing. The university was able to book rapper Ty Dolla Sign at the last minute, paying at least $85,000.

Emory is not the only school that was allegedly duped by Woods. The University of Missouri “and other victims” paid Woods’ companies to book artists for concerts and festivals, the Justice Department said. 

Woods received $66,250 in total for the fake bookings, a federal indictment says. That means Emory’s $37,500 payment accounted for more than half of Woods’ money. The U.S. Department of Education is also investigating the case.

Once Woods’ companies received the money, Woods would launder the funds by transferring them to other accounts and withdrawing them as cash, the Justice Department said.

Woods has pleaded not guilty and posted $10,000 bond on Feb. 13. 

'Thoughts and prayers' check goes viral on Facebook

A Facebook post with a picture of a check without any money has gone viral on Facebook.

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Fern Malila, from Michigan, posted the picture Thursday afternoon.

The post is a picture of a letter and the check to Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman -- which has “thoughts and prayers” written where the money amount should be.

"Dear Rep. Bergman," the letter begins. "Since you and your colleagues in Congress seem to feel that this is the solution to mass murder, please accept this contribution."

As of Friday afternoon, the photo had been shared more than 65,000 times.

It was posted in response to a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida Wednesday afternoon that left 17 people dead. 

Twin babies found dead in suitcase on side of a ditch

Arkansas authorities are investigating the discovery of the bodies of twin babies found in a suitcase in Cross County in the eastern part of the state.

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The infants were found Friday afternoon around 1:45 p.m. on Crossroad 602.

The unidentified bodies were inside a purple suitcase on the side of a ditch. 

The investigation is ongoing, and no suspect information has been released. 

>> Related: Florida school shooting heroes: 3 coaches, teachers gave lives for students

The Cross County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying the babies.

Chemicals in nonstick pans could be causing weight gain, study says

Nonstick pans were created to make cooking a little easier. However, they may be causing more harm than good, because they have been linked to weight gain, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from Harvard University recently conducted a study, published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine, to determine how using the cookware can interfere with weight loss. 

To do so, they examined 621 overweight individuals who participated in a six-month weight loss plan. After 18 months, they found that the dieters had gained back nearly half the weight they lost. 

>> Related: Lack of sunlight in the winter could cause weight gain

Upon further investigation, they discovered that people with the highest levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), especially women, had gained the most weight. PFAS are man-made chemicals used to make products more stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick, and they are found on pots, pans and some fast food wrappers. 

“These findings suggest that environmental chemicals may play a role in the current obesity epidemic. Given the persistence of these PFAS in the environment and the human body, their potential adverse effects remain a public health concern,” the researchers wrote.

While scientists aren’t exactly sure why PFAS could cause weight gain, they noted that people with higher levels of PFAS also had a lower resting metabolic rate. In other words, they were burning fewer calories throughout the day while doing normal activities.

>> Related: Why you're not losing weight, even though you're trying

Researchers said they now hope to continue their investigations to better understand the underlying “link between PFAS exposure and weight regulation in humans.”

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