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Longtime Steelers Linebacker James Harrison Retires


NFL via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Linebacker James Harrison will retire from the NFL.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year made the announcement on his Facebook page Saturday.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today," Harrison posted. "My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career.

"My love for the game isn't strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school."

Harrison joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002 as a undrafted free agent out of Akron. The five-time Pro Bowler proceeded to play the next 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, where he was part of two Super Bowl winning teams.

Harrison was released by the Steelers following the 2012 season and played last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harrison had one of the least productive years of his career in Cincinnati. He played in 15 games, recording 30 tackles and two sacks.

The Bengals cut Harrison in March and the 36-year-old had been trying to find another team to play for before finally deciding to announce his retirement.

Harrison finishes his 11 year NFL career playing in 146 regular season games, compiling 647 tackles, 66 sacks, 29 forced fumbles and six interceptions.

 

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Police ID Likely Homicide Victim Without Finding a Body


iStock/Thinkstock(AUBURN, Wash.) -- Police have identified the victim of a likely homicide that has puzzled them for two weeks since a federal agent stumbled on a pile of ripped up flooring covered in blood by the side of a road in Auburn, Wash.

Commander Mike Hirman of the Auburn Police Department said authorities have confirmed that blood on the material is from 30-year-old Brandon Zomalt.

Hirman said police believe it is likely that Zomalt was killed in a homicide, although without a body or further evidence they cannot confirm anything.

"Obviously it's difficult to know, we have to go based on some assumptions," Hirman said. "[Due to] the amount of blood and some bone fragments, we're investigating it as a homicide.

The case started on Aug. 13, when an off-duty federal agent driving home saw a small fire about 20 feet from the road. After the agent pulled over to stop the fire, another man nearby got into a dark SUV and fled the area.

The agent was unable to catch up or identify the subject. When the agent returned to the scene he found ripped up flooring, carpet and clothing in the pile. All of the debris was covered in blood.

Since then, police have been searching for clues about who the victim or perpetrator could be. Hirman said police were able to identify Zomalt from the State Combined DNA Index System. Zomalt appeared to be from Puyallup, Wash., which is south of Auburn, Hirman said.

According to police, Zomalt had a lengthy criminal history including arrests on suspicion of first-degree assault, harassment and domestic abuse. Police said Zomalt did not have a steady address and had been living with family and friends.

He has not been seen since before Aug. 13. Police are asking anyone with information to call a tip line at 253-288-7403. The suspect is described as being a possible mixed-race male with a slender build and short dark hair and approximately 5' 8" to 5' 10" tall. He was driving a dark SUV, when last seen.

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Why Jessa Duggar Wants to Plan Out Her First Kiss With Ben Seewald


TLC(NEW YORK) -- Like her sister Jill, Jessa Duggar is waiting for her wedding to have her first kiss with her fiancé.

To say they're excited would be an understatement.

"We're really looking forward to the first kiss!" she told ABC News. "We're talking about it -- what if we miss or mess up? We're gonna have to plan this out or something!"

Duggar, 21, announced her engagement to Ben Seewald, 19, earlier this month. It will be documented on 19 Kids & Counting, her family's reality TV show, which premieres on Sept. 2 at 9/8 p.m. CT on TLC. Fans will also get to see Duggar plan her wedding, which she promises will differ from her Jill's nuptials this past June. 

"The guest list is pretty big, but not as big as my sisters" she said. "My list is a little smaller [than Jill's was], but then Ben's guest list is bigger Derick's. It will be another Duggar-sized wedding!"

The reality TV star said that she and her future husband hope to tie the knot this fall or winter. They've already begun thinking about their color scheme (no, nothing has been chosen yet) and who they'd like to tap to be their bridesmaids and groomsmen (yes, their families will be involved).

However, both Duggar and Seewald are focused on making sure that their wedding is cost efficient and are considering re-using Jill's decorations and flower girl dresses.

"We're gonna go really simple with a lot of our food and even flowers and that type of stuff. People spend so much on flowers, it’s outrageous!" Duggar said. "I'll go to the grocery and buy flowers! I don't know how many flowers we'll have in nature if it's cold outside but I was like, 'How about we just go pick [some]?'"

"We want to have a nice wedding that everyone will enjoy but at the same time, we'd like to push our budget more toward our honeymoon because that’s our time together," added Seewald, who said that TLC will also document some of their getaway. "That’s our first few weeks together."

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Locust Swarm Descends Upon Madagascar's Capital


iStock/Thinkstock(ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar) -- A swarm of millions of locusts descended upon Madagascar's capital of Antananarivo on Thursday, slowing traffic and blotting out the skies over the city.

Fully-formed clouds of the insects, which have plagued the African nation for more than two years, whizzed through the city's streets after an urban heat wave attracted the bugs away from their usual rural surroundings.

"It reminds us of the 10 plagues of Egypt," said Ronald Miller, a missionary working in Madagascar with his family.

The current plague began in April 2012, leading to a national disaster declaration in Madagascar in November of that year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The island nation's government announced a three-year emergency plan in September 2013, when the locusts threatened food security of more than 13 million people, almost 60 percent of Madagascar's population.

FAO officer Annie Monard told Voice of America that the locust swarms in the city were caused by unusually high temperatures, not a new surge in the pest population. So far, the FAO and Madagascar's government have succeeded in controlling the pests in over 4,600 square miles of agricultural land. Madagascar's emergency plan will continue until 2016 and is expected to cost more than $41 million.

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California Passes Plastic Bag Ban


iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make California the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.

State lawmakers okayed the bill Friday after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.

The measure makes plastic bags illegal statewide at grocery stores and large pharmacies. It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge $0.10 each for paper and reusable plastic.

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Kraft Recalls 8,000 Cases of American Singles Cheese Slices


Kraft News Center(NEW YORK) -- Kraft is voluntarily recalling 8,000 cases of its American Singles cheese slices.

The company says a supplier did not store an ingredient according to the company's temperature standards which could lead to premature spoilage and food borne illness. The packages have "Best When Used By" dates of February 20, 2015 and February 21, 2015.

There have been no reports of illness.

Consumers who return the recalled Kraft cheese slices will receive full refunds.

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Why a Former Letter Carrier Says Drones Will Never Replace Postal Workers


Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google, Amazon and Domino's Pizza are big fans. The FAA is feeling it out. But one person clearly not a part of "Team Drone" is Matty Rose, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired mail carrier.

Google announced Wednesday that it tested drone delivery of items like dog treats, vaccines and candy to farmers in Australia. Though companies like the search giant are figuring out the legalities of FAA rules regarding commercial drone use, the realities of food and product deliveries by small aircraft appear to be closer than ever before.

Though no companies have declared they will replace mail delivery, Rose says you can count him out of the fan club if they ever decide to do so when it comes to packages and letters.

"I don’t think letter carriers can be replaced. Everything else can be automated or bar-coded to every state for the same price," he said. "But somebody has to deliver it."

A former union officer for the National Association of Letter Carriers, Rose delivered mail for more than 12 years in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami, after his military service in 1966. He is now the president of Nalcrest Trustees, a 500-unit retirement community in Central Florida for former letter carriers.

"The Postal Service is part of the fabric of this nation," said Darleen Reid, a spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service. "Postal employees make a difference in every community across the country."

Here are some of the reasons mail carriers may be better than drones:

1. Drones can't cheer up lonely residents.

"Everybody’s working and busy these days, but in most neighborhoods, especially with people who are seniors, letter carriers are sometimes the only people they get to meet during the course of the day," Rose said. "Letter carriers keep an eye on the elderly and the neighborhood.

2. Mail carriers have saved lives.


"Letter carriers are saving people’s lives and they can stop crimes," he said.

Exhibit A: One mailman in Akron, Ohio, Keith McVey, is credited with saving three lives, including saving a drowning girl from a lake, helping a teen who jumped off a bridge on a snowy day and performing CPR on an unconscious man.

Reid said that in 2013 the Postal Service recognized 262 "employee heroes."

3. Drones can't be Santa Claus.


Since 1912, postal employees, charities and individual and corporate volunteers have helped children and families in need experience the magic of the holiday season by answering letters to Santa.

4. Mail carriers won't drop packages on your head.


"A drone could hover over your head. I don’t know if people would trust drones," whereas many Americans would prefer the "personal touch" of a letter carrier, said Rose. "Something about delivering a letter is special. Look at what we have now. Drones dropping packages on your head. You certainly don’t want that."

5. Your postal worker knows everything about you, hopefully, in a good way.


"The letter carrier knows everything about you: the kind of mail you get, your hobbies, magazines and who you’re fooling around with," Rose said.

6. Drones can't hold food drives.


Reid said the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers held the largest one-day food drive in the nation. In 2013, more than one million pounds of food were collected. More than one billion pounds of food have been collected since the drive began in 1993.

7. Postal service workers will take a dog bite for you.


Medical expenses from dog attacks cost the Postal Service more than $1.4 million last year, based on data through June 2013. Each year in May, the Postal Service supports National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The campaign raises awareness concerning animal attacks. Last year, 4,734 postal employees were attacked in more than 2,200 cities.

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