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Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.

Starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional will also be needed.

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All of the documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before flight departure, Alaska Airlines said.

Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy said, "We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals."

The airline reported at least 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on its planes daily.

The airline said passengers can obtain the necessary documents on alaskaair.com beginning April 30.

The policy changes do not apply to traditional service animals, Alaska Airlines said.

Learn more here.

Investigators: Man intentionally set fire that killed 24 horses

A man is in jail on suspicion of arson charges after a fire ripped through a stable and killed two dozen horses, Clayton County officials said Wednesday.

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Jonathan Espinoza-Vasquez, 23, is accused of intentionally setting fire on April 4 to a horse barn on Noah's Ark Road in Jonesboro in an act of domestic retaliation, killing 24 horses and injuring one more, authorities said.

Espinoza-Vasquez told police that he didn't set the barn on fire, but investigators said his cellphone records proved he did.

Police said there were photos on Espinoza-Vasquez’s cellphone tagged with GPS locations less than a mile from where the fire took place on the night of the incident.

Investigators also said the owners of the horses have a daughter who has a child with Espinoza-Vasquez.

Authorities said someone in the horse owner's family assaulted a relative of Espinoza-Vasquez’s and that Espinoza-Vasquez retaliated by killing the horses. Officials said he might have had help.

“We believe there were some other members with him at the time,” Clayton County fire Chief David Vazquez said. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and those members we’re going to aggressively investigate and we’re going to bring them to justice as well.”

Neighbors said the fire was very large. 

“We looked across the street, and it was a big blaze, huge blaze,” neighbor Karla Rosemond said.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture requires that stables have a readily accessible fire extinguisher, but there are no requirements for sprinklers or smoke detectors.

Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

Two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the coffee shop’s manager called 911 to report them for trespassing spoke publicly for the first time Thursday.

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Police detained the men after Starbucks employees said the pair was denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that they were arrested while waiting to meet with a potential business partner at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. They said they arrived 10 minutes early for their scheduled 4:45 p.m. meeting. A manager called 911 to report that the men were refusing to leave at 4:37 p.m., according to “Good Morning America.”

Robinson said he didn’t believe officers were at the coffee shop for him and Nelson when he first spotted them last week. Nelson said it became apparent when the officers asked them to leave.

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

“There was no question of, you know, was there a problem here between you guys and a manager? You know, what happened?” Nelson told “Good Morning America.”

The men said they were not read their Miranda rights before they were handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. A bystander recorded footage of the arrests that was later posted on social media, sparking criticism and raising questions of racial bias.

>> Related: Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

“This is something that has been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” Nelson said. “It’s not just a black people thing, this is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this … true change.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz apologized Wednesday morning for the incident in an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

>> Related: Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. 

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide May 29 for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias. Company officials said nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process.

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Johnson said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.

Prince Estate releases original version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’ unseen rehearsal footage

The original version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is now available for fan consumption.

The song, which was a successful single Sinéad O’Connor released in 1990, was recorded by Prince in 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his longtime engineer, Susan Rogers.

Prince composed, arranged and performed the ballad in its entirety, with the aid of backing vocals from Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson. Eric Leeds plays sax on the original track as well.

>> Read more trending news 

The song is being released to digital retailers and as 7-inch vinyl singles in picture disc and standard black vinyl formats through the Prince Estate and Warner Bros. Records.

From April 19 to April 25, the estate is also bringing back the online pop-up store PrinceHitNRun.com, where the picture disc and other limited edition Prince merchandise will be sold. The black vinyl version will be released to physical retailers on May 25.

The track is accompanied by a video featuring Prince & The Revolution rehearsing their choreography in the same warehouse in the summer of 1984.

Prince fans can also check out the new Prince Estate website, where fans can share their love of the iconic artist, who died on April 21, 2016.

Listen to Prince’s original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in the video above or at one of the steaming services at this link.

No criminal charges filed in Prince's 2016 overdose death, prosecutor says

Authorities have declined to press criminal charges against anyone in the 2016 overdose death of musical icon Prince, saying Thursday that investigators were unable to determine where the artist got the fentanyl that killed him.

>> Read more trending news

>> READ MORE: Charges could be announced in Prince opioid investigation two years after his death | Prince died of fentanyl overdose, autopsy report released | Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation | Photos: Prince through the years | MORE

Cops save suicidal teen, tell her 'nothing’s that bad'

Police officers in Columbus could be considered heroes after they rushed to save a teen from jumping off a bridge. 

The rescue happened on March 20, but the video of the rescue was released this week.

The body camera video shows Kenneth Kropp and Anthony Sebastiano grabbing the girl by the arms before two other officers help pull her over the railing to the safe side of the bridge, WSYX reported.

Once she is on the ground, they try talking to her and comfort her. 

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You can hear them tell the unidentified teen to calm down and that she's going to be alright, before reminding her that "nothing's that bad.

Kropp told WSYX that he takes calls personally. 

“When I’m heading to a run, regardless what it is, I always think ‘that’s my brother, my sister, my family’ -- it’s somebody and absolutely I imagined, ‘What if it was my child?’”

Police posted the video to the department’s Facebook page, saying that her family arrived before medics did and she was taken to a local hospital. 

They also posted a phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential support for people in distress.

‘Scandal’ finale: What time, what channel, what happens to Olivia

Mellie’s in the White House. Rowan is talking to his dinosaur. Cyrus, who has killed his way to the vice presidency, is perched like a vulture waiting to take a seat behind a desk in the Oval Office.

Jake has just lost his mind.

If the names are not familiar to you, we’re guessing being a gladiator is not on your bucket list.

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The ABC series “Scandal” comes to an end Thursday after seven years of chronicling the rise and fall of Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington). Pope is a “fixer” in Washington, D.C., jumping in to make “awkward situations” come out right – or go away, as the case may be.

Shondra Rhimes created the show that quickly became a hit, and viewers were often surprised at the twists and turns the series took – from killing off favorite characters to revealing a black-ops group that runs the government.

In last week’s episode, Oliva is set up for a final reckoning as she is called to testify about her deeds and misdeeds of the past years. From a trailer released by ABC, it appears she will have some company in the end, as most all of the show’s major characters are seated at a table in front of a group of congressmen ready to talk.

“She started out as the character that we knew who very much believed in this power and how important this particular kind of power was, and molding it and being a part of it,” Rhimes told Variety. “We watched her, like everybody else, become completely corrupted by it and make all the same mistakes that everybody else makes to get what she wants from it. Then we watched her hopefully fight her way back from it.” 

Or, as Olivia put it: “This is bigger than us,” Olivia said. “This is about the country. This is about patriotism: the end of politics, the beginning of leadership. It all has to come down, no matter the cost . . . We are not the heroes of this story. We are the villains. This is your chance to be a hero. This is positive change.”

Rhimes, when asked about any “cultural risks involved with a black female antihero,” told The New York Times, “I’m smiling because I wasn’t thinking of her that way. For me, writing Olivia Pope as the lead meant she got to be the lead and the lead is everything. She’s the love interest, she’s mean, she’s kind, she’s flawed, she’s brilliant at her job. She makes mistakes. Equality is getting to be as screwed up and as messed up as all of the other leads on television.”

Will the Olivia get her comeuppance, or come out on the other side unscathed? You’ll have to tune in.

“Scandal” finale

What time: The episode airs at 10 p.m. ET

What channel: “Scandal” airs on ABC.

Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams engaged to pastor Chad Johnson

Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams is getting married.

The 37-year-old singer is engaged to pastor Chad Johnson, 40, after a year of dating.

Williams and Johnson opened up to People about their love story, which began in March 2017 at a spiritual retreat hosted by Elevate International.

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Johnson, founder of Elevate International, led the retreat in Arizona and said he and Williams were in “very similar places on a personal level.”

“I was in a horrible, dark place,” Williams said. “I just needed to go somewhere where I could get a message of hope and restoration, rejuvenation — get connected to God.”

“Michelle was coming off the heels of a really bad relationship, and I was just in a place of despair as well,” Johnson, a professional sports chaplain who has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers and L.A. Dodgers, said.

The two kept in touch after the retreat and progressed from texts to FaceTime calls.

“We spent almost three months without even seeing each other, just building a strong foundation on the phone and through FaceTime,” Johnson told People. “It was really built on friendship and communication.”

The two went on their first date at a wedding in the Dominican Republic, had their first kiss and decided to date officially.

“I told her, ‘I’ve been looking. I don’t want to look anymore. I’m done. My search is over,’” Johnson said.

A year to the day Johnson first reached out to Williams -- on March 21 -- the two got engaged. Johnson proposed with a 5-carat ring and a video of himself with members of Williams’ family.

“I started weeping and wailing when I see all these special people,” Williams said. “Towards the end of the video, something in my head said, ‘Pull yourself together! He’s about to propose! Stop all this crying!’”

Williams said she was drawn to her now-fiance because she could be herself with him, adding that Johnson calls her by her first name.

“My first name is Tenitra; my middle name is Michelle. I felt like I could be Tenitra; just ratchet, I didn’t have to have on any makeup, if I had to have on my hair bonnet — he just made me feel very safe in being myself,” she said.

The two plan on having a wedding this summer.

“It’s gonna be … think James Bond-meets-’Midsummer Night’s Dream’ — with a little hood in it,” Williams said. “It’s gonna be very traditional. We’re doing black-tie. We want it to be small and intimate and very private.”

Find out more about Johnson’s proposal and the couple’s love story at People.com.

Waffle House is selling beer for first time ever

It's as much a part of Georgia as a peach, a peanut or even Coke. It's Waffle House.

The first Waffle House opened in Avondale Estates in 1955, the company is headquartered in Norcross and there are about 400 Waffle House restaurants in the state. Some highway exits even have two Waffle Houses.

But there was a first for Waffle House on Monday night. The second location at SunTrust Park opened. And when it did, it became the first Waffle House to sell beer.

That's right, in addition to some hashbrowns, patrons can order up a cold adult beverage.

That's actually all the restaurant sells; hashbrowns and drinks. There's the cheesesteak melt hashbrown bowl, grilled chicken melt hashbrown bowl, a regular order of hashbrowns along with water, sodas and beer.

Miller Light and Coors Light are the beers the Waffle House offers. There is another Waffle House location in SunTrust Park that features a larger menu.

Wash that next order of smothered and covered hashbrowns down with a frosty brew on an upcoming trip to see the Atlanta Braves play.

RELATED: See more Things 2 Do around Atlanta

‘Angry badger’ forces doors to close at 500-year-old castle tunnel, tourist spot

A castle in Scotland has lasted for 500 years but the property is apparently no match for an angry badger. Yes, you’ve read that right. An angry badger shut down tourist access to a tunnel at Craignethan Castle, the BBC reported.  

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Officials allowed the public access to the rest of the 5-century-old building but the tunnel was closed not only for people’s safety, but also for the badger’s, officials told the BBC.

The badger apparently did some damage to the masonry of the castle before it left the building either Friday night or Saturday morning on its own accord.

The animal left after castle staff members tried cat food and honey to coax it out, the Guardian reported.

Castle staff members who run the property’s Twitter account had a little online fun, posting a GIF image of dancing badgers when they announced the tunnel’s closing.

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