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Photos: Snow blankets the south

Snow has fallen in areas where they don’t normally get accumulation. Take a look at how they’re dealing with winter weather.

Injured South Carolina officers were ambushed by suspect, sheriff says

York County, South Carolina, authorities are asking the public to keep them in their thoughts and prayers after officials said four law enforcement officers were shot early Tuesday.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On WSOCTV.com: IMAGES: 4 law enforcement officers shot in York County

Three of those officers were ambushed as they searched for a man suspected of beating his wife in the couple's home, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. A fourth officer had been shot earlier in the search.

Trent Faris with the York County Sheriff's Office told WSOC-TV that around 10:10 p.m., deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Farrier Lane, just outside the town of York.

>> Read more trending news 

The incident unfolded in the area of South Paraham Road between Campbell Road and Highway 49.

Faris said the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, was assaulting a woman in the home, but when deputies arrived, he had taken off.

Tolson said McCall ran into the woods after officers arrived, and later, around 1 a.m., shot York County Sgt. Randy Clinton who was chasing him with a police dog.

Clinton was placed in a patrol car by another officer and rushed to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

More resources were called in, including the SWAT team, as deputies continued searching for McCall in the woods.

The sheriff said two hours later, McCall ambushed York County Detective Mike Doty, injuring him critically. He also wounded York County Sgt. Buddy Brown and York City Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings. All three were on the county's SWAT team.

Two of those wounded officers were flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, while the third was taken to CMC by ambulance.

Clinton has been with the Sheriff's Office for 34 years. Tolson said Clinton had not been taken into surgery Tuesday afternoon, but his injuries were non-life-threatening.

Brown has been with the Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He underwent surgery Tuesday, which went well, and he's expected to be OK, according to Tolson.

>> On WSOCTV.com: GoFundMe Recovery Fund for the officers and their families

Doty, who has been with the Sheriff's Office for 12 years, is in very critical condition, and Tolson said Doty is "hanging on to life."

Cummings has been with the police department for three years. His injuries are considered non-life-threatening, according to officials.

SLED officials announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that McCall will likely be charged with three counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.

“Our main concern is for our guys who are in the hospital right now,” Faris said. “We could really use your prayers, and we could really use your thoughts right now for those officers."

Authorities told WSOC-TV that a SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots when it came under fire during the search. The officers on the helicopter were not injured but the helicopter’s rear stabilizer was hit.

Faris said McCall was also shot and taken to CMC in Charlotte with serious injuries. The spot where he was taken into custody is nearly a mile away from the home where McCall lives.

Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said McCall has an arrest from 1994 when he was charged with assault, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

McCall had been assaulting his wife Monday night, according to his father-in-law, who expressed shock to WSOC-TV, saying violence toward police is uncharacteristic for McCall. He said he didn't know of any history of violence between his daughter and son-in-law.

WSOC-TV crews watched as medical helicopters and ambulances arrived at CMC in uptown around 4:30 a.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent its aviation unit to help the York County Sheriff's Office, and CMPD officers blocked the roads so ambulances could get to CMC as quickly as possible.

Neighbors witness the violent encounter 

WSOC-TV viewer who lives on Paraham Road said neighbors were being told to stay inside. Faris said the Sheriff's Office sent a reverse 911 call to local residents to make them aware of the situation.

"I saw individuals carrying automatic weapons up and down the highway,” said neighbor Scott Killian. “I've never seen so many police cars in my life. In fact, I didn't know York County had that many ... but it was an experience you won't forget.”

Killian didn't know at time that officers were frantically searching for McCall in the woods near his backyard. Then Killian said he heard several gunshots.

"The first burst was 'Pow, pow, pow, pow,' such as that. Then just a second it was real automatic, fast. Then it was over with and we didn't know what happened," Killian said.

Now neighbors in the quiet community are left trying to understand why this happened as they pray for the officers to survive. 

White Castle will offer romantic Valentine’s Day package, reservations again

Fast food icon White Castle once again will offer its romantic Valentine’s Day package for those in love, but on a budget.

White Castle is now accepting reservations for its annual Valentine’s Day Dinner and for the first time, the chain is using OpenTable.com, or the reservation app, to allow diners to secure their spot for the traditional dinner with a twist, Cincinnati.com reported.

>> Read more trending news 

This year, like in years past, White Castle will offer its original slider and veggie slider.  To throw love into the meal, it’s also serving up a chocolate-covered strawberry smoothie, a combination of strawberries and vanilla yogurt that is topped with Ghirardelli chocolate sauce. It will also decorate the locations in red and pink balloons, throw tablecloths on the tables and give menus to its guests, Delish reported.

To make a reservation, either use OpenTable or you can call the local numbers listed here.

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey's widow files wrongful death lawsuit against New York hospital

The widow of late Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey is suing the New York City hospital that treated her husband before his death in 2016.

According to Reuters, Cindy Frey filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Mount Sinai Hospital and gastroenterologist Steven Itzkowitz of negligence while treating the musician, who had ulcerative colitis, in late 2015.

>> Read more trending news 

The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that "Frey was rendered sick, sore, lame and disabled" because Itzkowitz and the hospital did not properly diagnose, treat or disclose the risks of treatment to him, Reuters reported.

Frey died Jan. 18, 2016, after suffering "complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia," the band said in a statement at the time. He was 67.

Eagles manager Irving Azoff previously told The Wrap that rheumatoid arthritis medications were partly to blame for Frey's death.

“The colitis and pneumonia were side effects from all the meds,” Azoff said

Cindy Frey is seeking "unspecified damages," Reuters reported.

Read more here.

Eyelashes freeze, thermometer breaks as -62°C temperatures hit world's coldest village

As Americans continue to brave the winter weather, photos from a remote village in Russia might make them count their blessings that it’s not worse.

>> Here are 16 tips for keeping you, your pets and home safe in the cold

According to the experts, Oymyakon in Siberia is the world’s coldest permanently inhabited area. Recent temperatures came in at a bone-chilling -62°C, or -79.6°F.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

In fact, it was so cold that the town’s thermometer broke.

A few pictures have indicated that bundling up is no match for the weather.

Despite this, the weather certainly hasn’t deterred the adventurous.

>> Read more trending news 

It would seem that besides the thermometer, schools are the only other thing truly feeling the effects of the cold temperatures.

(H/T Twitter)

What is bitcoin? What you need to know about cryptocurrency

If you own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be a bad day for you.

The price of bitcoin plunged by 15 percent Tuesday morning, dropping below $12,000 for the first time since Dec. 4. Other cryptocurrencies have also seen price declines, with Ethereum falling by 20 percent and Ripple falling by 33 percent. The plunging prices are a stark difference to the success bitcoin saw last month — hitting a record of nearly $20,000 on Dec. 16.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

As the digital currency bitcoin surges in popularity, curious investors and entrepreneurs alike are watching closely to see what happens with the fluctuating prices. Don’t understand the basics of bitcoin? Here’s what you need to know:

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, or a digital token, that can be sent electronically and directly from peer to peer. There is no physical backing and it is a decentralized currency — meaning it is not controlled by any government or banking entity. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency ever created, and remains the most popular one to date.

“I tell people it’s a digital currency and it’s a program,” said Jad Mubaslat, Wright State University graduate student and founder of BitQuick.co, a bitcoin trading platform. “For the first time in history, it allows anyone anywhere in the world to send any amount of money instantly. Most importantly, it’s without a third party … like a bank or a government. Now, you can truly send your money without somebody telling you what you can or cannot do.”

>> On MyDaytonDailyNews.com: I bought bitcoin. Here’s what I learned

The record of all bitcoin exchanges and transactions are on what is called the blockchain, which is a network of decentralized computers.

How was bitcoin created?

Bitcoin was created by a programmer going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. He communicated only through email and social messaging, and no one truly knows Nakamoto’s identity. He released the software globally in 2009, and now anyone can use and download it.

How do you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

In the U.S., several websites have popped up where you can buy and sell bitcoin online. One of the most popular websites is Coinbase and others include Mubaslat’s BitQuick.coCoindesk.com and bitcoin.com. Investors can also meet with other bitcoin users in person and trade bitcoin via their virtual wallets on their phones. After meeting another bitcoin user through websites like Craigslist or LocalBitcoin.com, a user simply scans a QR code with another person’s wallet to transfer bitcoin.

Some people prefer to buy bitcoin in person or through a bitcoin ATM because the bitcoin transfer over faster than when they buy it online — it can take up to seven days, and sometimes longer, for bitcoin to show up in a virtual wallet after purchasing it online.

Why do some criminals use cryptocurrency for illegal transactions?

Some criminals use bitcoin because users can open a wallet to send and receive bitcoin without giving a name or identity. There is no bank or central authority, like a government, to control this information. Bitcoin also became a popular method for making ransom payments when a computer system is taken over by ransomware.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: How criminals use bitcoin illegally

However, bitcoin is not completely anonymous and transactions can be traced by police through bitcoin trading websites. Other untraceable cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are becoming popular for dark web uses including drug trafficking and human trafficking.

How is the worth of bitcoin decided?

The price — and ultimate worth — of bitcoin fluctuates, and experts are calling the cryptocurrency extremely volatile. The price is determined by open-market bidding on Bitcoin exchanges. The worth of bitcoin could be compared to the way that gold prices fluctuate — in the sense that gold has value because people believe it does.

What exactly is bitcoin mining?

Mining is the process that creates new bitcoins in the blockchain, or network of computers. The bitcoin miners race to process new transactions, and the fastest computers get a chunk of new bitcoin. A miner wins the race about every 10 minutes, which will happen until there are 21 million bitcoins in the world. No new bitcoins will be created after the blockchain has 21 million, which is expected to happen in 2140.

Anyone can set their computer up to mine bitcoin, but programmers with specialized hardware are usually the only ones to win bitcoin now.

Are there any other cryptocurrencies as popular as bitcoin?

Other cryptocurrencies also exist, but bitcoin is the most popular one right now. Other popular cryptocurrency includes Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero. Digital cryptocurrencies are being created for all types of uses like the legal marijuana industry and adult entertainment and sex worker industries.

>> Read more trending news 

What are the legal uses of bitcoin?

Most transactions on the bitcoin network aren’t illegal — it’s typically people buying and selling bitcoin to each other. People in countries with high inflation or unstable governments are putting their money into bitcoin to avoid losing their savings. It’s also used to transfer large sums of money internationally. It is quicker to transfer bitcoin than it is to go through a bank transfer, which can take weeks.

Some businesses also accept bitcoin, including Overstock.com, Wikipedia, backpage.com and Square. For a short time, a franchise of Firehouse Subs in Cincinnati accepted bitcoin. The restaurant, in Clifton, shut down a few years ago. “Firehouse Subs didn’t do very many transactions in bitcoin, but it has generated buzz around the shop,” the Cincinnati Business Courier wrote.

Flu outbreak forces an entire school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes for rest of week

An entire Oklahoma school district canceled classes Wednesday through Friday after schools reported excessive flu absences among much of the staff.

>> Read more trending news 

Morris Public Schools said Monday's absences were at 20 percent, and Tuesday's were at more than 30 percent.

Basketball teams will continue competition in the county tournament.

Wrestlers will need to contact the coach about scheduled meets.

The district asks that ill students stay home when school resumes.

Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead with apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

Police in Pullman, Washington, say officers have found Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski dead Tuesday in an apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

>> Read more trending news

At about 4:30 p.m., officers responded to an apartment to check on the welfare of a football player who did not show up for practice earlier in the day. 

When officers arrived, they found Hilinkski, 21, deceased with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 

Police said a rifle was recovered next to Hilinski and a note was found. 

Washington State president Kirk Schulz tweeted, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hilinski family.”

Former Washington State linebackers coach Roy Manning, who recently left for a position at UCLA, tweeted , “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. My heart is beyond saddened. Please pray for the family and all of us affected!”

Hilinski, from Claremont, Calif., recently finished his redshirt sophomore season for the Cougars.

He started in place of Senior Luke Falk in the Cougars loss to Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl. 

Hilinski played 11 games in his Cougars career, passing for 1,149 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hilinski was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Haitians under protected status call on administration to process work permits

Thousands of Haitians living in Central Florida said they're just days away from being forced out of their jobs.

>> Read more trending news

Many of those worried are workers at Disney World.

They were granted Temporary Protected Status after an earthquake devastated their country in 2010.

They’re now finding out their jobs are in limbo, because their work authorizations are about to expire and new applications aren't being processed.

The change affects more than 500 workers at Disney, many of whom have families and homes in Central Florida.

In October, dozens of Haitians marched through the streets of Pine Hills, calling on the Trump administration to renew their TPS.

Many were facing the possibility of being forced to leave the country before the administration extended TPS until July of 2019 for more than 50,000 Haitians living and working in the U.S.

But now, they're facing another dilemma.

Wilna Destin has lived in Orlando 18 years.

She's married with two children and she has no idea what will happen next week when her and her husband's work authorization permits expire.

"That hurts, you know. It hurts your family,” she said.

TPS workers in Central Florida said they've learned the administration is not even processing their work authorization applications, which they need to stay employed.

Sano Leger, a union representative, said it affects workers all through the tourist corridor.

"Most of those big hotels, they have people who have TPS working in there,” he said.

The Disney unions are planning a rally Thursday afternoon outside the crossroads entrance to Disney to bring attention to their dilemma and to demand that the Trump administration allow Haitian TPS holders to work.

Georgia man who set ex-girlfriend on fire sentenced to life in prison

A Georgia man who poured gasoline on his ex-girlfriend and set her on fire was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole, according to the Clayton County District Attorney’s office. 

>> Read more trending news

Mervin Woodard, 40, was found guilty of multiple felonies in the 2016 crime, which left Melita Curtis in a coma for two weeks. Curtis was burned over 25 percent of her body, but survived the attack. Six months before burning Curtis, Woodard also beat the woman, according to prosecutors. 

In the first incident, Woodard beat Curtis, put a knife to her throat and forced her to drive to an ATM to withdraw $600, the DA’s office said. Curtis told police that Woodard threatened to burn her house down with her inside. 

Then on June 1, 2016, Curtis came home from work and Woodard was waiting for her, prosecutors said. Curtis tried to run, but Woodard pulled her inside, threw gasoline on her and set her on fire, she told investigators. Woodard put out the fire with a plastic sink sprayer, then drove Curtis to Grady Memorial Hospital and dropped her off. Woodard was later found hiding in the woman’s home and was arrested. 

Curtis, a nurse, has been a longtime advocate for domestic violence victims through the Sistah Circle organization. 

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