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Photos: Inside $550K Lion Gate Estate, whimsical home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars

In the market for a whimsical $550,000 home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars and statues lurking around every corner? No? You'll still want to check out the now-viral listing for Detroit's Lion Gate Estate. Trust us.

Spring 2018: 5 things to know about the vernal equinox

Spring is finally here with the arrival of the vernal equinox, as determined by people who base their seasons on the Earth’s position relative to the sun and stars. Here are five things to know:

1. What is it? During the vernal equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and the northern and southern hemispheres get exactly the same amount of rays. Night and day are almost equal length.

>> Spring 2018: What’s the difference between meteorological spring and astronomical spring?

2. What does equinox mean? The Earth spins on a tilted axis, which means its northern and southern hemispheres trade places in receiving more light as it orbits the sun. The axis is not inclined toward or away from the sun at the equinox, which is derived from the Latin words for equal (aequus) and night (nox).

3. Why is it important? For ancient societies, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes marked when winter turned to spring and when summer turned to fall, respectively, and helped people track time-sensitive things, such as when to plant crops.

>> Read more trending news 

4. Didn’t spring start already? Meteorological spring started March 1. Forecasters like to start the season on the first day of March because they prefer a calendar in which each season starts on the same day every year. It helps with record keeping, among other reasons. But the Earth, sun and stars don’t quite conform to the Gregorian calendar – thus the vernal equinox doesn’t fall on the same day every year.

5. What's next? The summer solstice is June 21, but meteorological summer begins a few weeks earlier on June 1.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Ohio lawmaker's bill to name Labrador retriever state dog gets 'ruff' response from PETA

Ohio State Rep. Jeff Rezabek wants to name the Labrador retriever as the official state dog, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would rather that the American mutt get the special designation.

>> PHOTOS: Official state dogs

PETA, an animal rights group with 6.5 million members, fired off a letter to Rezabek, R-Clayton, to tell him that his well-intentioned legislation could end up hurting Labradors.

>> Read more trending news 

Puppy mills would cash in on the demand, while Ohio’s animal shelters would see an uptick in Labradors when new owners discover that they’re expensive, time-consuming and in need of training, according to PETA.

>> On Patio pooch? Bills would let restaurants decide whether to allow dogs

“The last thing that Ohio’s already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a written release. “If Ohioans’ hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.”

>> On Vicious dogs: Ohio moves to change laws on dog owners

Rezabek introduced the Labrador bill earlier this month, and it has yet to receive a hearing. He said he had not yet seen the letter from PETA.

Claire's mall jewelry chain files for bankruptcy

Claire’s Stores Inc., a fashion accessories chain, has filed for bankruptcy.

>> Read more trending news 

The retailer and its affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The move could help with Claire’s $2 billion debt load. “Claire’s is growing, not shrinking, its business. The company expects its concessions business to grow by more than 4,000 stores in 2018,” the company said in a statement.

>> On Toys ‘R’ Us reportedly preparing to close all stores

Apollo paid more than $3 billion to acquire Claire’s from Rowland Schaefer, and began expanding the business, adding about 350 stores from 2010 to 2013. Claire’s expects to reduce debt by about $1.9 billion, after reaching an agreement with creditors including Elliott Management Corp. and Monarch Alternative Capital, which will give the company some $575 million in new capital.

>> On Jewelry store company expects to close 200 stores

Claire’s isn’t the only retailer to file bankruptcy recentlyToys ‘R’ Us also filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate all of its stores in the U.S. Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 in September 2017. The retailer was $5 billion in debt as of April 29. At the time of bankruptcy, the company said it would close about one-fifth of its store locations. Closing sales are expected to conclude in April.

Many students misbehaved this St. Patrick's Day, university president says

University of Dayton students who ignored orders and acted out against police during St. Patrick’s Day activities Saturday were called out in a letter sent this morning from University President Eric F. Spina to the student body.

>> Read more trending news

“Today I am deeply disappointed in the behavior of many of you. I witnessed groups of students assault police officers, shoot fireworks into crowds, and put themselves and their friends in danger,” Spina wrote. 

Police responded to the report of a large crowd that had gathered on Lowes Street. Bottles, rocks and firecrackers were reportedly thrown at officers, which forced them to retreat. Additional officers from the UD and Dayton police departments were called. By 6:30 p.m., police dressed in riot gear cleared the streets and ordered students to go inside their homes.

“The large gatherings that block streets, the disregard for the safety of others, and the disrespect for the police who were there to keep people safe in no way constitutes community,” Spina’s letter reads. “This police response was appropriate and necessary because this behavior presented significant danger to the safety of students and police.

One person was hurt by a thrown object during the police action on Saturday, according to the university.

Dayton officers dressed in riot gear and holding shields were also struck by thrown objects, but no injuries were reported, according to UD spokeswoman Cilla Shindell.

Shindell said there were a few other minor injuries, “a few misdemeanor arrests and student disciplinary referrals” reported during the day, but full reports were not immediately available.

Some minor damage to university property — lawns and landscaping — was reported and a few private vehicles were reportedly damaged during the day, Shindell said.

“No one has been arrested as yet for activities related to dispersing the crowd,” she said.

Shindell said, in terms of how police respond to large disturbances such as what happened on Lowes Street, each situation is assessed for the best response.

“In general, it is good practice to get everyone off the street as peacefully as possible and keep them out of harm’s way until the street is cleared,” Shindell said. “This helps police identify those who are involved in disorderly behavior and those who are not. After the street was clear, police went to each of the houses to let them encourage those who were not residents to leave the property and let residents know they were free to leave their houses.”

Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States

Constance Petot didn't think twice about the push button starter on her car until it almost killed her and her toddler last Valentine's Day.

>> Read more trending news

"He just went completely limp in my arms. It's the most terrifying moment in my entire life," said Petot.

The busy mom was ending her work day with a conference call as she was pulling into the garage of her parents' Florida home, where she was staying.

"As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door," Petot said. "And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button."

The mistake sent carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, flooding through their home as she got 13-month-old Parker ready for bed.

The car was still on after Petot left the garage.

"My son woke up around 12:30 a.m. and was screaming," Petot recalls.

She got out of bed to pick him up.

Petot thinks her son, Parker, may have had a headache because she now knows the level of carbon monoxide at the time was high enough to have killed them within about 20 minutes.

"Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there," Petot said. "And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on."

A WSB-TV investigation has tracked more than two dozen injuries and deaths around the country connected to cars with keyless ignitions being left on, with families left wondering how this could happen.

Cars with keyless ignition have no key and are designed to start with the push of a button. But it is also easier to forget to turn off the car.

The family of Bill Thomason and Eugenia (Woo) Thomason say the couple likely never realized their mistake. Their Toyota Avalon ran inside their closed garage for 32 hours as they slept.

"We know that they went to bed that night and didn't wake up the next morning," said Will Thomason, who now lives in Atlanta.

His brother Dave Thomason also lives in the metro area, and they both rushed to Greenville, South Carolina, to get to their parents, but it was too late.

"By the time they were found they were essentially brain dead," said Will Thomason. "You can't prepare for something like this."

The sons say the active retirees had just renewed their wedding vows after 50 years and adored their five grandchildren, who they won't get to see grow up.

"Oh, it's been just absolutely terrible," said Dave Thomason. "We all know that people can get killed in car accidents due to different things, but a car sitting alone, basically doing nothing but running?"

The brothers said their pain is worsened by the number of times they've now heard the same story, with reported deaths and injuries connected to running cars around the country.

The Thomason family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, which has already settled with several of the other families.

"Hell yeah, that makes me angry. I mean, we've lost our parents," said Will Thomason.

"Nobody is in the car, it's been running for however long. The car should have an automatic cutoff. I mean, to me that's a very easy fix," said Dave Thomason.

Records show since 2011 the federal government has been studying the need for an external alert to be placed on cars that have button ignitions, but has yet to require car companies to do anything to include an external alert.

"There's probably 25 other things that car makers do ... for safety. Well, this is a life and death safety thing and it seems to me that this is an easy thing for them to address, and they aren't addressing it," Will Thomason said.

WSB-TV tested more than a dozen of the most popular cars to see what happens when you leave them running and walk away with the key fob.

Most of the cars had a dashboard display that notes that the key fob has left the vehicle. Some even emit a low interior sound, similar to the one that reminds drivers to fasten their seat belts. 

However, if a driver has left the vehicle, he or she wouldn't see that display or hear that warning. Very few of the cars made an exterior noise.

The loudest warning came from the Chevy Impala, which utilizes the car's horn.

Petot didn't hear the three low beeps her car made and she's lived with the guilt ever since.

"I absolutely take responsibility for what happened," she said. "And I think that it could happen to anybody."

But she said the price for being distracted or forgetful should not be death.

"We were incredibly lucky. We absolutely wouldn't be here," Petot said while watching Parker play in their new Marietta home. "He is definitely my little hero Valentine."

Petot said the day they moved in to their new home she purchased carbon monoxide detectors for each of the rooms.

Country music personality Hazel Smith has died at the age of 83

There are many who have played a part in the landscape of country music, many who have added their talents to the tapestry of the music genre that has had an impact on so many lives. many who have affected the history of Nashville and country music and many who have left us sooner than we would have liked.

>> Read more trending news 

One of those people is Hazel Smith.

According to “The Tennessean,” the longtime Nashville media personality passed away at her home on March 18 following “a period of declining health.” She was 83.

Declaring herself country music’s mother hen, Hazel was a fixture on Nashville’s Music Row for decades. She was a journalist when female journalists weren’t a common thing. She was also a songwriter, a publicist, a cookbook author and a television personality as host of CMT’s “Southern Fried Flicks.”

>> Related: Country treasure Willie Nelson releases new video for a song we all can relate to

Yet, one of her most meaningful and lasting contributions to country music is the fact that she coined the term “outlaw music” while she was working as a publicist back in the early 1970s for the Glaser Brothers’ Hillbilly Central office and studio.

“Now, it doesn’t say this in mine or any other dictionary I’ve seen, but it said that ‘outlaw’ meant virtually living on the outside of the written law,” Hazel told “The Nashville Scene” in 1997, as reported on by “The Tennessean.” “It just made sense to me, because [record producers] Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins were doing marvelous music, but this was another step in another direction.”

Soon after the news of her death was released, many in the country music community headed to their social media accounts to express their sadness over the news, including producer Buddy Cannon.

>> Related: Thomas Rhett’s little one couldn’t be more adorable in this picture

Very sorry to hear of the passing of Hazel Smith,” Buddy said.

Hazel was a wonderful lady who was a great friend to many of us. She was a colorful, tell it like she saw it kind of a person, and you never had to wonder about her stand on something. Willie Nelson credits Hazel with connecting the term ‘outlaw music’ with himself, Waylon, Tompall [Glaser] and all the musical renegades that broke out of the Nashville music factory prison back in the 1970s. We all loved Hazel, and her presence will not soon be forgotten. Rest easy Hazel Smith,” Cannon said.

Latest Austin explosion has experts tweaking bomber profile

Law enforcement and others seeking clues into the mind of what now appears to be a serial bomber say the latest explosive incident on Sunday night, the city’s fourth over 17 days, provided more trail crumbs than definitive signposts pointing toward a potential suspect.

>> Read more trending news 

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley has said preliminary indications are that the newest bomb is similar enough in construction to be connected to the previous three. That doesn’t necessarily mean all were manufactured and planted by the same person.

But if that does turn out to be the case, experts said, the latest attack would slightly alter their profile of the serial bomber’s methods and motive.

Police on Monday said it appears as though a trip wire was used to trigger the latest blast in Southwest Austin, revealing two new important pieces of information about the bomber.

>> Related: Austin bombings: What we know about the bomber’s habits

The first is that the new form of detonation indicates the person making the explosive has a higher level of skill or sophistication, said Fred Milanowski, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ special agent in charge of the Houston field division.

The earlier bombs, which were hidden in packages, appear to have been detonated by movement devices, which would complete a circuit when the package was lifted or tilted, experts said. The latest incident means that investigators now must contemplate a bomber capable of using multiple methods to start an explosion, perhaps even by timer or remote control.

>> Related: Unabomber: TV shows, movies and books about Ted Kaczynski 

A trip wire, which typically works by stringing a taut string across a pathway, detonates a bomb when a person pushes into it. Stringing a wire across or near a route used by multiple people could introduce a new element of randomness to the attacks, said James R. Fitzgerald, a former FBI profiler who worked on the Unabomber case.

Employing a detonating device that doesn’t target any particular person would indicate a dangerous capriciousness and callousness, he said — the bomber “wants to strike out at some perceived wrong, and anyone 

>> Related: ‘Serial bomber' suspected in Austin explosions, police say: live updates 

By mixing his targets — from specific people who receive a package on their porch to anyone who stumbles by — the bomber could be trying to spread general fear and unease throughout the city, Fitzgerald said.

Or he might be purposefully trying to distract from his real intention.

>> Related: BACKGROUND: Bombs in Austin attacks constructed from readily available materials

That was the case when, in December 1989, an Atlanta attorney named Robert Robertson was killed when he opened a brown package he received at home. Investigators at first thought his death was connected to a virtually identical fatal bomb detonated at the house of federal Judge Robert Vance two days earlier. But they later learned Walter Moody had killed Robertson as misdirection.

Read more here.

Confessed Parkland school shooter’s brother arrested for allegedly trespassing at Stoneman Douglas

The brother of confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday afternoon for trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Parkland, according to the Broward County Sheriff’ Office. 

>> Read more trending news 

Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to the arrest report. 

The sheriff’s office said he rode his skateboard through the campus, passing all locked doors and gates. Deputies said he was previously warned by school officials to stay away from the campus. 

The sheriff’s office said Zachary Cruz has no connections to Broward County at this time. Before the shootings, he lived with his brother and family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a Lantana-area mobile home. 

>> Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail after the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead. 

After the fatal shootings, Zachary Cruz was put under a mental-health evaluation. He told investigators that as he drove home with Deschamps after he heard about the shootings he said, "I don't want to be alive. I don't want to deal with this stuff."

>> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims 

He has denied wanting either to kill or harm himself. 

Priscilla Presley shares new details about Elvis Presley’s final days

Elvis Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, candidly opens up about the King of Rock-'n'-Roll’s final years, and his painful drug addiction, during the debut of “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” at SXSW.

>> Read more trending news 

Elvis Presley may have passed away more than 40 years ago, but the life that he lived continues to fascinate people across the globe.

As fans know, during his final years, Elvis was deeply addicted to prescription drugs. His ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, is now opening up about the unfortunate addiction that sadly led to the late musical icon’s tragic death in 1977.

>> Related: Things get personal in the Lisa Marie Presley bankruptcy saga

According to Fox News, Priscilla, who helped produce a documentary that honors the King called “Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” spoke about her ex-husband’s issue with substance abuse during the movie’s debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, on March 14.

It was difficult for all of us. We certainly didn’t see it coming,” she said of Elvis’ unfortunate passing at the age of 42. “But we certainly saw the journey he was taking.”

She also added, “People go, ‘Well, why didn’t anyone do anything?’ Well, that’s not true. People there in the inner group did, but you did not tell Elvis Presley what to do. You did not. I mean, you’d be out of there faster than a scratched cat. They would try and no way. He knew what he was doing.”

Elvis and Priscilla met in 1959 while he was serving in the U.S. Army. During the candid discussion at SXSW, Priscilla also noted that he started taking pills when he was stationed in Germany.

>> Related: Priscilla Presley divulges a detail about Elvis Presley that will shock you

“They gave them to the soldiers over there to keep them awake,” she said. “He was on guard at that time. He had maneuvers that he had to do late at night, so the pills were given to the guys, and that’s how he started. And if you take a sleeping pill, you have to do something to get yourself awake … He was in unchartered territory, he truly was, and he did this and tried to do this alone.”

Fans can learn more about the late star in “Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” The documentary, which chronicles his creative journey from early childhood through his final recording session, held in the famous Jungle Room of his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, premieres April 14 on HBO.

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