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Superheroes stage holiday shopping spree at Target 

Christmas shoppers can usually find superheroes on toy shelves at Target. But, here’s a twist: shoppers at a Kansas City area Target discovered superheroes shopping for toys at Target.

>> Read more trending news

Iron Man, Thor, Supergirl, Snow White and Captain America were among the comic book heroes shopping for kids Sunday night at the Target in Mission, Kansas, The Kansas City Star reported.

Armed with $17,000 in donations collected by Elite Comics in Overland Park, the superheroes picked out toys that will be given to kids staying at Children's’ Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, the Star reported.

“It means a lot,” said Captain America, also known as Jerry Holtorf of Overland Park.

Holtorf’s parents battled cancer. In his trips to the hospital, he said he saw children in their own fights against the disease. He wanted to help make the kids’ Christmas a happier time.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate in age,” Holtorf said. “What (my parents) were going through in their room, a 6- or 7-year-old was going through in the next room and it breaks your heart.”

The caped crusaders summoned a rental trailer to cart away their packages, bound for children in the hospital. And if anyone wants to join the crusade, there are still opportunities ahead.

“We’re not done,” said Elite Comics owner William Binderup, who added that he will be accepting new, unwrapped toys through Dec. 22.

Not a fan: Hilarious Santa photo shows baby pleading for ‘help’ in sign language

Kerry Spencer has an annual Christmas tradition that brings a smile to the faces of her family members, and this year, the public is getting in on the laughs.

Spencer, of Parkton, Maryland, every year shares a photo of her son, Samuel, sitting on Santa’s lap at a mall in Provo, Utah. What’s unique about Samuel’s visit with Santa 12 years ago is that he wasn’t crying, and he wasn’t telling the big guy what he wanted for Christmas.

“We taught our baby sign language,” Spencer wrote in a Dec. 5 Twitter post. “This is the sign for ‘help.’ You’re welcome.”

In the photo, a very authentic-looking Santa smiles for the camera while a solemn-looking, 1-year-old Samuel averts his eyes. His chubby little toddler hands are making the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “help,” or as close to it as he can get.

Mashable reported that Spencer, whose Facebook profile states that she is a faculty member at Stevenson University, taught both of her children ASL.

“We taught both our kids baby sign (language) because they can sign before they talk and it is so very useful to be able to communicate with your baby,” Spencer said. 

Spencer said she shares the photo each year on Facebook, but this year, her friend, author Mette Harrison, asked her to tweet it so she could retweet it to her own followers.

As of Monday morning, the tweet had more than 25,000 likes and had been shared close to 6,700 times. 

Some of the reactions to the photo were nearly as funny as the photo itself. 

“Wonder what my son was trying to say,” one Twitter user wrote above a photo of a little boy showing Santa his middle finger, with Santa looking on with great interest.

“Something boss. I can tell,” Spencer responded.

“This is how I signed ‘help,” another woman wrote, sharing a photo of herself as a child, screaming on Santa’s lap and desperately trying to get away.

“That works, too,” Spencer wrote.

Other commenters pointed out that Samuel’s technique wasn’t quite right. 

“It’s ASL baby sign,” Spencer wrote in response. “Like with spoken language, certain words are ‘mispronounced’ by babies learning them.”

She posted an image of the ASL sign for comparison. 

Overall, people found the photo as hilarious as Spencer and her family do. Samuel, now 13, even got in on the Twitter action.

“I happen to be the baby in this photo,” he tweeted. “You may direct all likes and follows to me now.”

“You’re a big boy now,” his mom responded.

“You got that right, Hun,” Samuel wrote. 

Spencer said the entire family laughs at the photo each year.

“Posting it is one of our favorite family traditions,” she said, according to Mashable

Police: Florida couple left child living alone in trailer for months

A Florida couple has been arrested after police said they rented a trailer and left a child there alone for months, police said.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said that the boy, whose age was not released, was left at the trailer for about two months until Jennifer Nichols and Joshua Sanders were arrested in November, The Pensacola News Journal reported.

>> Read more trending news

The woman who leased the trailer to Nichols and Sanders said they made the rental agreement in September, but she told the Sheriff’s Office of the alleged neglect when it became obvious that only the child lived in the residence.

The woman said she tried to care for the child, but told the couple that they either had to move into the trailer or move the child to a place where he would be cared for.

The landlord said that Sanders told her that it was not a problem as long as the rent was paid, The Journal News reported.

The child told police that the couple would leave him a small amount of money and a few meals. He wasn’t able to contact them.

The boy was also not attending school and had several cases with Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), but no caseworkers could be named. He has since been removed from the trailer and placed in DCF custody, The Journal News reported

Nichols and Sanders were both being held at the Escambia County Jail.

Chef Mario Batali leaves 'The Chew' amid sexual harassment allegations

Chef Mario Batali is stepping down as co-host of ABC’s cooking and lifestyle show “The Chew” after being accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching women, USA Today reported.

>> Read more trending news

Multiple anonymous women alleged in a story by food-trade publication Eater New York that Batali had groped their breasts or buttocks, amid other allegations.

Batali apologized and pledged to try and “regain” the “respect and trust” of his fans, family and business associates.

“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” Batali said. “Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.

“That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group — which services about two dozen restaurants owned by Batali, Joe Bastianich and others — confirmed that Batali “will step away from the company's operations,” USA Today reported.

“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from ‘The Chew’ while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” ABC said in a statement. “ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”

Batali has been one of four co-anchors of “The Chew” since its inception in 2011, Variety reported. He also recently signed a deal with Food Network to produce new episodes of his cooking series “Molto Mario” for the first time since 2005. Food Network had no comment on the status of that project, Variety reported.

4-year-old Chicago boy reads 100 books in one day

Reading is fundamental for a 4-year-old Chicago boy. It’s a lot of fun, too.

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Caleb Green staged a reading marathon Saturday, completing 100 books, WLS reported. Every time he finished 10 books, including his favorites about dogs and Ninja Turtles, he did a little dance.

Caleb’s parents decided to stream his book binge on Facebook Live and received several thousand views, WLS reported.

“I like to read, and I want to read some more like my sister,” Caleb told WLS.

According to the Reading Is Fundamental website, 34 percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn how to read.

Caleb is already honing those skills. When he told his parents about his goal, they hunted through their bookshelves. When they came up short, friends came by with more books, WLS reported.

“I was like, ‘100, son? That's a lot of books,” said Caleb’s father, Sylus Green. “So at first, I had the gut reaction to talk him down a little bit, but he was like, ‘No, I want to read 100.’” 

Sylus Green said his son is an inspiration.

“I learned to just dream bigger and I am going to set unrealistic goals for myself this coming year and I'm going to be inspired by Caleb to not quit on him and just push through it,” Sylus Green said.

Caleb continues to set goals for himself.

“I want to be a basketball player. When I am 22, I want to be an astronaut and when I'm 23, I want to be a Ninja Turtle,” he told WLS.

NTSB investigators to bring forward more than 50 safety recommendations from El Faro sinking probe

More than two years after their investigation in to the sinking of cargo ship El Faro began, the National Transportation Safety Board is poised to release their recommendations on how to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

The NTSB has compiled more than 50 proposed recommendations as a result of their investigation, which has totaled some 30,500 hours and $5.6 million. They’re also produced more than 70 findings connected to the sinking- all of which face a vote by the Board on Tuesday. While the exact recommendations won’t be disclosed until the meeting, the NTSB says they deal with the Captain’s actions, currency of weather information, bridge team management, company oversight, damage control plans, and survival craft suitability. 

FULL COVERAGE: The sinking of El Faro

33 people on board El Faro died when the ship went down in Hurricane Joaquin, while traveling from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. 

GALLERY: Tributes to the El Faro crew

Tuesday’s NTSB meeting will be carried out slightly different than others, because of the volume of information being discussed. Generally, Chairmen of the NTSB groups studying various aspects of transportation incidents will present their reports, and then the Managing Director will read all of the findings, recommendations, and the probable cause of the incident- on which the Board will vote. For Tuesday’s meeting on the sinking of El Faro, findings and recommendations will be presented throughout the Group Chairman’s reports. Probable cause will still be read at the end by the Managing Director. 

The NTSB is making the changes in order to make the meeting easier to follow and more concise. Regardless, the NTSB tells WOKV the meeting is expected to last all day. 

It also may take a little longer than the standard allotment of up to ten days to produce the NTSB’s Final Report after the meeting. That report will have the accident synopsis, as well as what the Board approves. 

From there, the NTSB will advocate for the implementation of their recommendations, as they do with all other cases. What the Board votes on are recommendations, not actual changes. The recommendations could be issued to government entities, industry leaders, professional organizations, manufacturers, or any number of other groups- whoever the NTSB believes is most directly responsible for or able to implement change. 

FULL COVERAGE: In-depth on the NTSB Group Chairman Factual Reports

Because the NTSB is not a regulatory agency, there will not be any blame or liability addressed, or recommendations of penalties for any violations of law or regulations. Instead, they issue these recommendations in an effort to prevent more transportation incidents and save lives. 

El Faro sank in Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, killing all 33 people on board. The ship took on water and faced engineering issues- including a loss of propulsion- because of the resulting list and efforts to balance the ship out. Cargo is also believed to have been breaking free and shifting both above and below deck, although parties involved dispute the severity and, ultimately, impact that had on the sinking. While the final moments captured by the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder- or black box- capture the Captain calling to abandon ship, investigators don’t believe the lifeboats ever launched. 

AUDIO: El Faro’s Master describes ‘marine emergency’

The NTSB conducted three missions to locate and recover that VDR- it was found on the second mission, but couldn’t be brought up until a third trip, which included deploying specialized salvage equipment. From that VDR, the NTSB produced the longest transcript it has ever assembled, which detailed about 26 hours of audio captured from the bridge. There was other data recovered in the device as well, including location and meteorological conditions. 

The NTSB Group Chairmen’s reports have been released gradually throughout the course of the investigation. WOKV has gone through each in detail to learn the various factors involved in areas like engineering, survival, and human performance. During Tuesday’s meeting, those reports will be expanded on, and the Board will vote on the recommendations surfacing from that investigative work. 

While the NTSB is operating independently at this point and has conducted their own interviews and investigative work since the sinking, they also fully participated in three, two-week hearing sessions conducted in Jacksonville by a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation that also probed the sinking. The MBI released its Report of Investigation on October 1, two years after the sinking. The Coast Guard Commandant is currently reviewing the ROI to determine which of the MBI’s recommendations he concurs with and which he does not. From there, the Commandant will order change in areas he controls through the Coast Guard and create plans to achieve the recommendations that require collaborations with other government entities or groups. 

The MBI’s process was also outside of the standard for this investigation- generally the ROI is not public until after the Commandant issues his Final Action Memo. The MBI wanted to promote transparency and provide the public information before that, with no set timeline for when the FAM will be released. 

VOYAGE DATA RECORDER: El Faro’s final hours

The MBI’s work is different than the NTSB in a number of ways, including that they can make recommendations on penalties, and did, in fact, recommended civil penalty action against El Faro’s owner and operator. The MBI Board Chair further confirmed that they would have recommended a negligence complaint against the ship Master’s credentials, had he survived. 

The NTSB has not waited for their investigation to be complete to issue recommendations. With the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, the NTSB issued several recommendations from their ongoing work on the El Faro sinking, which they believed would be important for promoting the safety of mariners at sea during the storm season. 

WOKV will follow Tuesday’s meeting as the findings, recommendations, and probable cause are discussed and ultimately voted on. Get developing details on Twitter.

Man puts 14-foot-tall “A Christmas Story” leg lamp in front yard

Forget hanging lights or setting up other traditional decorations like Santa, or a manger scene, one homeowner decided to take a more cinematic approach to holiday decor.

A 14-foot-tall “A Christmas Story” leg lamp. 

"Nothing says Christmas like the soft glow of electric sex,” creator Tom Gross told ABC News, quoting a line from the film.

>> Read more trending news

He used scrap items from around the house including a pool cue, Christmas lights, a volleyball net and old curtains to create the authentic look.

It is less “fra-gee-lay” than last year’s version, but Gross has had to replace the lamp shade twice because of strong winds. 

"This one is more durable," he said. "People either realize what it is and freak out, or don't know why I have a leg in my yard. If they get it, they throw the flashers on and get out of the car and have a picture taken with it. It is really awesome to see people enjoy it that much."

What You Need to Know: Donny Osmond

What You Need to Know: Donny Osmond

Jane Fonda reunites with ‘favorite ex-husband’ Ted Turner for her 80th birthday bash

Jane Fonda was joined by her “favorite ex-husband” Ted Turner and friends to celebrate her 80th birthday at The Whitley in Atlanta Saturday night. 

James Taylor and Carole King performed and then helped Jane blow out candles. 

>> Read more trending news

Other famous friends at the “Eight Decades of Jane” celebration included including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Catherine Keener, playwright Eve Ensler and Spanx founder Sarah Blakely. 

Fonda’s son, Troy Garity, was also among the 228 guests.

The Associated Press reported that the event recognized Fonda’s achievements throughout her life and also raised $1.3 million for Fonda’s Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential foundation, which she created in 1995.

More information on the event and Fonda’s GCAPP foundation can be found at myAJC.com.

Saudi Arabia ends 35-year ban on movie theaters

A night at the movies will soon become a reality for citizens of Saudi Arabia, as the country is lifting a ban that has been in effect for more than 35 years, CNN reported Monday.

>> Read more trending news

Early next year, commercial movie theaters will be granted licenses, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement. It expects the first cinemas to open their doors in March.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.

The government hopes that opening movie theaters will spark economic growth and create more job opportunities, while providing Saudis with more entertainment options, CNN reported.

There are few entertainment attractions in Saudi Arabia. Many of its citizens visit neighboring countries for vacations and leisure time, CNN reported, and the Saudi government wants more of those people to spend their money at home.

The Ministry of Culture said it plans to have 300 cinemas with more than 2000 screens by 2030, CNN reported. The movies need to be subtitled in Arabic, and censorship of nudity is likely, CNN reported.

Novo Cinemas, based in the United Arab Emirates, is already considering the opportunity.

"We are absolutely studying our options to enter the Saudi market ... it's an important market," CEO Debbie Kristiansen told CNN.

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