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BLI with WBAB @ Bayshore Blood Drive 9/8

Florida school district: Students must have permission to kneel during national anthem

Orange County school district officials in Florida said students must have parents’ permission to kneel during the national anthem at sporting events, WFTV reported.

The issue has been making national headlines since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of social injustice.

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Some athletes are starting to follow national players’ lead on the issue, although none did at a football game  Thursday night in Orlando between Evans and Jones high schools.

Several school districts said it has not happened in central Florida, but a southwest Florida school district said students needed written permission to kneel.

Orange County Public Schools officials said it has interpreted state law to treat the national anthem like the Pledge of Allegiance.

District officials said they like the policy on the Pledge of Allegiance, students may kneel if they have permission in the form of a letter from a parent.

“I have to stay neutral, but whatever they do, I’m going to support them. That’s really between that individual and their family,” Jones High School football coach Elijah Williams said.

A school district spokesman said that if any of the students had kneeled, they would not have gotten in trouble.

Orange County Public Schools said its legal team is still reviewing state law.

Florida statute mentions students should stand for the national anthem, but only mentioned students being excused by a written letter for the Pledge of Allegiance. 

BLI with WBAB @ LI Ducks 9/7

BLI with WBAB @ West Islip Blood Drive 9/6

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Beyoncé helps organize surprise proposal, stops concert during 'Single Ladies'

One of Beyoncé's most well-known lyrics might be: "If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it."

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The 35-year-old singer stopped her concert in St. Louis on Saturday during the popular song "Single Ladies" to allow a concertgoer to do just that -- put a ring on it.

"I think (there's) somebody I need to bring on the stage," Beyoncé said during the song, prompting unsuspecting fans to scream in the hopes that they'd be chosen to join her.

"Is it you?" she teased, pointing to one audience member. "Is it you?" she asked, pointing to another. 

Before long, a man joined Beyonce and her two dancers onstage, and she handed him the microphone.

The man, John Silver, walked toward Ashley Everett, Beyoncé's lead dancer and dance captain, and embraced her.

"I feel like it's only right to come out here in front of my hometown and show you guys what the epitome of a young woman looks like," Silver told the crowd. "I know that you think don't I express my love to you in front of everybody, so I feel like what better time than now to do it in front of (a crowd of people)? ... Will you marry me?"

The couple embraced before being congratulated by Beyoncé.

A photo posted by Ashley Everett (@ashleycmeverett) on Sep 11, 2016 at 10:04am PDT

"Let's see if you can do the choreography after that," she said.

Everett, who took a few moments to collect herself, got back into formation and finished the choreography to "Single Ladies," flashing her new ring while doing the movements.

According to her website, Everett, who dropped out of Julliard to dance on tour with Beyoncé, has danced with the singer for the last 8 years and has also shared the stage with Robin Thicke, Usher, Ciara, Ne-Yo, LaToya Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Tina Turner. 

In honor of this years #VMAs another throwback from #2013 #blurredlines with @robinthicke @pharrell & who can forget @mileycyrus in this performance A photo posted by Ashley Everett (@ashleycmeverett) on Aug 28, 2016 at 8:59am PDT <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

As 'Sully' premieres, passengers of Flight 1549 remain grateful

The movie "Sully" premieres in theaters nationwide Friday night, and the heroic emergency landing has special meaning for Charlotte.

Many of those on board during the "miracle on the Hudson" were headed home to Charlotte that day eight years ago when 155 passengers stood ankle deep in freezing water, perched on the wings of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 as it floated in the Hudson River.

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"I get chills every time I watch this," passenger Vicki Barnhardt said as she watched the movie trailer.

Barnhardt said she's not really sure she even wants to see the movie, because she's not sure how she'll react.

"I was thinking I was going to die and I'd never see my children," Barnhardt said. "You know, those are the things that certainly bring back emotions, which I suspect may happen, or those thoughts and feelings will come back as I watch the movie."

The movie, which stars Tom Hanks, focuses on the pilot, Chesley  "Sully" Sullenberger, who managed to land Flight 1549 safely on the Hudson after bird strikes took out both engines seconds after takeoff.

Passenger Ben Bostic said he can't help but remember the uncertainty he felt that day.

"There was a lot of stuff running through my mind," Bostic said. "That was the most terrifying part of the ordeal. Like, not knowing."

For Bostic, and many others on the plane, the years after "the miracle on the Hudson" have been marked by deep gratitude for second chances at life.

Jim Whitaker is a Charlotte architect who boarded Flight 1549 as a last-minute standby passenger. 

"You realize how thankful you are that, 'Well, I'm alive. My family's still here. I still have my faith,'" Whitaker said.

Whitaker's story includes more than his own survival. Just before impact he clutched to his chest the infant son of the panicked woman sitting next to him.

"Of all the people on that plane, the smallest, most defenseless, the one that needed the most help was the little bitty baby sitting next to me," Whitaker said.

Flight 1549 has left its passengers feeling both blessed and, like the plane itself, scarred, but also changed.

"I take more risks now, I think," Bostic said. "I'm more open to doing a lot of things because you never know how long I've got to be here."

As for Sully, the passengers agreed without hesitation that his actions were heroic and that he, not they, deserves the spotlight of a Hollywood movie.

Flight 1549's lasting legacy may rest most profoundly in the hearts of its survivors.

 "No matter what happens, whether it's this event or anything else, I don't want something to stop me from living the life that I'm meant to live," Barnhardt said.

BLI @ Mother Cabrini 9/4

Syke @ Smithhaven Mazda 9/4

Syke @ Smithtown Toyota 9/3

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