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At Least 25 Dead In California's Raging Wildfires

Updated at 4:35 a.m. ET Altogether, at least 25 people have died and more than 250,000 people have been driven out of their homes as California was engulfed by five identified fires , from north to south, on Saturday. Strong winds, low humidity, drought and vegetation so dry it has acted like matchsticks have exacerbated the flames. Twenty-three deaths in the north of the state combined with two bodies discovered on Saturday in a residential neighborhood in Malibu, Calif., brought the...

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Rochester, NY – The unlicensed driver who struck and severely injured a Rochester police officer when he suffered a seizure behind the wheel will serve 18 years in prison.

Ed Jones of Rochester was driving a car that clipped Officer Scott McLaughlin at the corner of Main Street and Clinton Avenue. McLaughlin was tossed through the air and suffered severe injuries that left him in a coma. The officer is recovering, but still suffers health problems and hasn't been able to return to work.

Rochester NY – Starting February 5th, Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region will offer the option of medical abortion by the use of the pill known as RU-486.Planned Parenthood President and CEO Carol Love said medical abortion will give women an alternative to surgical abortion.

    Rochester NY – State Assemblyman David Koon said school districts in the 135th Assembly district would lose $ 8.3 million dollars under Governor Pataki's proposed budget. The Penfield School District would take the biggest hit, losing over $2.5 million. Other school districts losing state funding according to Assemblyman Koon includes : Fairport $1.7 million. Webster $1.6 million. Pittsford $1.3 million. East Rochester would lose over $660,000 and Victor would lose $350,000 in state funding.

      Rochester NY – The Rochester Area Community Foundation received a $12.3 million dollar gift from the estate of Nettie Bullis. This is the largest estate gift ever received by the Community Foundation. The money will go towards educational and charitable activities in the Town of Macedon and Wayne County where Bullis grew up.A note of local history : Nettie Bullis's Grandfather was a cousin of Susan B. Anthony.

        Rochester NY – A Steuben County woman was charged with bilking medicaid out of $100,000 by running an illegal private duty nursing service out of her home. Ann Weaver Filkins, from the town of Pulteney, pleaded guilty to charges of Grand Larceny. And promised to make restitution. Filkins is scheduled to be sentenced March 12th. She could face four years in prison.According to the State Attorney General's office, Filkins submitted a number of reimbursement claims from November, 1997 to July 1999.

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          News from NPR

          Michelle Obama's new memoir Becoming, about her life from childhood through the White House years, comes out Tuesday. NPR was provided an exclusive listen Monday to two sections of the audio book, read by Obama herself.

          In the first, Obama focuses on her impressions of Princeton, being a minority there, and college life. "The hope was that all of us would mingle in heterogeneous harmony," she says of the university's vision for the various races. But, she says, the burden was placed on the minority students.

          Note: This story includes graphic imagery and language.

          A mocking tweet from the National Rifle Association has stirred many physicians to post on social media about their tragically frequent experiences treating patients in the aftermath of gun violence.

          This past week there was yet another tragic mass shooting, this time at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Twelve people were killed before the gunman fatally turned the gun on himself. It's an all too common scene.

          More news from NPR

          From the Inclusion Desk

          Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

          As Artists Unlimited, a local theater group that integrates people with and without disabilities, gets ready for its latest production of the Little Mermaid, WXXI's Caitlin Whyte stopped by another rehearsal for a unique part of the play — the fly scenes. She has been following the group as they prepare for their 18th production.

          When I walk into fly rehearsal, just a week before the show debuts, the crew is discussing how to rig Ariel up for her big reveal, turning from mermaid to woman, while in the air.

          It takes a second, but they figure out the scene. The fly crew is a team of dads, most with kids in the play, pulling ropes and securing harnesses to make the underwater scenes more intricate and lifelike.

          Center for Disability Rights

          Rochester's Center for Disability Rights has started sorting through what the organization’s systems advocate Ericka Jones called a "bumpy" Election Day.

          Jones spent the day tracking problems that people with disabilities encountered at polling sites. She said complaints around specially designed voting machines called “ballot-marking devices” came up often.

          New York City Board of Elections

          As candidates and political parties try to get out the vote on Election Day, another group is working to make sure that once people get to their polling place, they have the tools they need to cast a ballot.

          Ericka Jones tracks complaints about polling places that aren’t equipped to help people with disabilities, and tries to find solutions. Jones is the systems advocate at Rochester’s Center for Disability Rights, and she called Election Day “one of the most stressful days” of her year.

          Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

          A new institute at St. John Fisher College will focus on nursing that supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

          Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation donated $5.8 million to the school to create the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing. Tom Golisano donated $5 million and the foundation donated $800,000.

          It is the first of its kind in the country, and will focus on training health care providers to support this population.

          More stories from the Inclusion Desk

          A wide-reaching epidemic

          WXXI, in partnership with public broadcasting stations across New York state, is airing special programming examining the opioid crisis.

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