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The National Weather Service says a likely tornado has destroyed a motel and caused other damage in the Oklahoma City area.

Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman says the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Smith says crews will assess the damage on Sunday to determine the severity.

The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Video at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed. Trailers at a mobile home park adjacent to the motel were also damaged.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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The National Weather Service says a likely tornado has destroyed a motel and caused other damage in the Oklahoma City area.

Meteorologist Rick Smith in Norman says the suspected twister hit El Reno on Saturday night as a powerful storm system rolled through the state. Smith says crews will assess the damage on Sunday to determine the severity.

The American Budget Value Inn was destroyed by the storm. Video at the scene showed emergency crews sifting through the rubble after part of the motel’s second story collapsed. Trailers at a mobile home park adjacent to the motel were also damaged.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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Severe damage, including fatalities, was feared after a fierce tornado struck in El Reno, Okla., on Saturday night, according to reports.

A hotel in the community was “leveled” according to a reporter at the scene representing Oklahoma City’s KWTV-TV.

A local official said an unknown number of fatalities occurred at the site, and that “victims are being pulled from the rubble,” the station.

Multiple people remained unaccounted for, Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV reported.

El Reno is a city of about 16,700 residents, about 29 miles west of Oklahoma City.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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A man who attracted notoriety as the “Barefoot Bandit” has been ordered to complete his probation after requesting that he be allowed to visit friends overseas and accept work outside Washington state as a motivational speaker, according to reports.

Colton Harris-Moore, now 28, claimed that the work would help him pay off more than $1 million in restitution he still owes to victims of his crimes.

Harris-Moore was sentenced in 2012 to more than six years in prison plus three years of supervised probation after being convicted following a string of crimes that included dozens of thefts and burglaries, the smashing of vehicles and the crash-landings of three stolen airplanes.

MAN ALLEGEDLY HIDING DRUGS IN BACKSIDE ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTS HIMSELF IN TESTICLES

His nickname came from the sketches of a bare footprint that he often left behind at the crime scenes, and committed some crimes without wearing shoes or socks, reports said.

In arguing for her client to be relieved early of his probation obligations, attorney Colleen Hartl argued that Harris-Moore is a different person now than he was during his crime spree a decade ago, the Seattle Times reported.

“The ‘Barefoot Bandit’ has not been his identity or reality for over 10 years. The ‘Barefoot Bandit’ is gone,” Hartl wrote, according to court documents.

But U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones, who received Harris-Moore’s request in April, denied it Friday, noting that Harris-Moore had not produced proof that he received any real offers for his services as a motivational speaker, Seattle’s KOMO-TV reported.

Harris-Moore also made his request for travel without informing his probation officer, which should have been the first step, the judge noted, according to the station’s report.

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His crime spree began in 2008 after he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Washington state, and ended in the Bahamas, where he crash-landed a plane that he stole in Indiana, KOMO reported.

“Upon completion of his entire sentence and continued effort to deliver on his promise to make everyone whole, Mr. Harris-Moore can shed the ‘Barefoot Bandit’ moniker and instead be known as Colton Harris-Moore, the role model for having turned his life of challenges into a success story to inspire others,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A man who attracted notoriety as the “Barefoot Bandit” has been ordered to complete his probation after requesting that he be allowed to visit friends overseas and accept work outside Washington state as a motivational speaker, according to reports.

Colton Harris-Moore, now 28, claimed that the work would help him pay off more than $1 million in restitution he still owes to victims of his crimes.

Harris-Moore was sentenced in 2012 to more than six years in prison plus three years of supervised probation after being convicted following a string of crimes that included dozens of thefts and burglaries, the smashing of vehicles and the crash-landings of three stolen airplanes.

MAN ALLEGEDLY HIDING DRUGS IN BACKSIDE ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTS HIMSELF IN TESTICLES

His nickname came from the sketches of a bare footprint that he often left behind at the crime scenes, and committed some crimes without wearing shoes or socks, reports said.

In arguing for her client to be relieved early of his probation obligations, attorney Colleen Hartl argued that Harris-Moore is a different person now than he was during his crime spree a decade ago, the Seattle Times reported.

“The ‘Barefoot Bandit’ has not been his identity or reality for over 10 years. The ‘Barefoot Bandit’ is gone,” Hartl wrote, according to court documents.

But U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones, who received Harris-Moore’s request in April, denied it Friday, noting that Harris-Moore had not produced proof that he received any real offers for his services as a motivational speaker, Seattle’s KOMO-TV reported.

Harris-Moore also made his request for travel without informing his probation officer, which should have been the first step, the judge noted, according to the station’s report.

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His crime spree began in 2008 after he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Washington state, and ended in the Bahamas, where he crash-landed a plane that he stole in Indiana, KOMO reported.

“Upon completion of his entire sentence and continued effort to deliver on his promise to make everyone whole, Mr. Harris-Moore can shed the ‘Barefoot Bandit’ moniker and instead be known as Colton Harris-Moore, the role model for having turned his life of challenges into a success story to inspire others,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Attorneys general from 47 states sent a letter Friday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to forgive more than $1 billion in student loans for disabled veterans.

The letter stated that the Department of Education should establish a program to automatically discharge the loans. Only 9,000 of the 42,000 veterans eligible for loan forgiveness have applied for a discharge. As of April, more than 25,000 veterans were in default.

“As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,” the letter said.

WANT TO HELP OUR MILITARY VETERANS? HERE’S HOW

In this April 10 photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)

In this April 10 photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)

Attorneys general from three territories and the District of Columbia also signed the letter, while those from Texas, Arizona and Alabama did not.

Permanently disabled veterans can have their loans forgiven under federal law, but the process if filled with bureaucratic red tape.

GEICO SKYTYPERS AIR TEAM PAYS TRIBUTE TO ARMED FORCES AHEAD OF MEMORIAL DAY WITH STATUE OF LIBERTY FLYBY

“The current approach is inadequate,” the letter said. “The cost of education for our disabled veterans today is soaring, and it would be of great benefit to those who are burdened by these crushing debts to obtain relief without arduous compliance requirements.”

In a statement, the Education Department said veterans should be fully informed before making decisions about their student loans, Reuters reported. It cited whether it would increase their tax bills or make it harder to obtain education loans in the future as examples.

“While ‘automatic discharge’ may seem like a simple solution, there are long-term impacts we want all veterans to have the chance to consider before their loans are discharged,” the department said.

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The letter said student loan forgiveness for disabled veterans has the support of lawmakers from both parties and from veterans groups.

“We now urge the department to take action to better protect those who once protected the nation,” the letter said. “Our veterans deserve nothing less.”

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A 102-year-old woman facing eviction from her California home of nearly 30 years is getting help from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Los Angeles Times reports Thelma Smith was given until June 30 to move out by landlords who say their daughter needs a place to live.

Los Angeles’ rent control law provides relocation assistance for elderly and disabled.

But Smith, a retired secretary for the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, lives in an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County, just outside the city limits. The law doesn’t apply there.

Schwarzenegger, who knew Smith through his involvement with the charity, called the eviction “heartless.” He tweeted: “Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life.”

A spokesman says Schwarzenegger’s staff has met with Smith to find a solution.

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Grizzly bears are expanding their range in the U.S. Northern Rockies, spreading from remote wilderness into farmland amid a legal fight over proposed hunting.

New government data from grizzly population monitoring show bruins in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho expanded their range by about 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) over the past two years.

They now occupy almost 27,000 square miles (69,000 square kilometers), a range that has grown 34 percent in the past decade.

That means more bears on private lands where they can encounter humans and attack livestock, said Frank van Manen with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Run-ins with bears are happening in agricultural areas where the fearsome animals hadn’t been seen for decades, raising tensions in communities over the grizzly’s status as a federally protected species in the U.S. outside Alaska

PROTECTIONS RESTORED FOR GRIZZLIES; HUNTS BLOCKED

“Not all grizzly bears are livestock killers, but of course it only takes a few to do potentially quite a bit of killing,” van Manen said.

Wyoming and Idaho officials proposed grizzly hunts last year, but they were blocked by a judge’s ruling.

Government attorneys on Friday asked an appeals court to overturn part of that ruling. The case could take months or even years to decide, even as there’s no end in sight to the trend of bears getting into more conflicts at the periphery of their range.

An estimated 700 bears live in the Yellowstone area. Biologists say that’s a conservative figure and doesn’t include grizzlies that are outside a designated monitoring area that’s centered on Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contends the animals no longer need federal protection. State officials say hunting would give them a tool to better manage their numbers, but that it would be limited to sustainable levels.

In his ruling that blocked hunting, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen said in part that officials had not given enough consideration to how lifting protections for Yellowstone bears would affect other grizzly populations in the Rockies.

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The government conceded that point in Friday’s court brief, saying officials already had started working on the topic and would explain the impact that lifting protections would have on other bears.

But U.S. Justice Department attorneys pushed back against the judge’s further contention that a “comprehensive review of the entire listed species” was needed. That would require officials to look more closely at the status of other bear populations, beyond the impacts of a decision to lift protections around Yellowstone.

The attorneys said such a detailed review exceeds what’s required under federal law.

Environmentalists argue that it’s too soon to lift protections first imposed in 1975, especially because conflicts between humans and bears remain a prime cause of bear deaths. Also, Yellowstone bears are isolated from other populations, which has raised questions about their long-term genetic health.

“For us it’s never been a numbers game,” said Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity. “For grizzly bears to really be recovered, we need to see those populations connected.”

A coalition of American Indian tribes wants Congress to protect grizzlies permanently. They say the animals are sacred and play a role in many ceremonies and traditions.

Yellowstone became a refuge for the species last century after hunting and trapping killed off bears across most of their range.

The park remains a grizzly stronghold. But younger, male bears search for territory of their own outside the park, with females soon following behind, van Manen said.

A similar dynamic has played out in Northwestern Montana, home of more than 1,000 grizzlies. The area includes Glacier National Park and the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Bears in recent years have attacked livestock dozens of miles outside those wild areas, on the open plains of central Montana where ranches and cropland occupy the landscape.

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The family of a woman mauled to death by a lion last year while interning at a North Carolina animal preserve is pushing for new safety regulations to prevent similar attacks.

Alex Black, 22, was just 10 days into an unpaid internship last December at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., when she found herself alone with a lion, her aunt Virginia Black told The Associated Press.

“It is possible she saved other lives that day,” Black wrote. Alex Black died after the lion pounced and dragged her back through an open gate into its enclosure.

2 AFRICAN LIONS DIE AT CALIFORNIA ZOOS, OFFICIALS SAY

In this 2018 photo provided by Virginia Black, Alex Black, left, poses for a photo with her aunt Virginia. Alex Black was killed in November 2018 when she came face to face with an escaped lion just 10 days into her unpaid internship at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C. (Virginia Black via AP)

In this 2018 photo provided by Virginia Black, Alex Black, left, poses for a photo with her aunt Virginia. Alex Black was killed in November 2018 when she came face to face with an escaped lion just 10 days into her unpaid internship at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C. (Virginia Black via AP)

Black has urged state lawmakers to require safety drills and law enforcement safety plans at facilities such as the one where her niece was attacked. A recently passed House bill prohibits private ownership of big cats, apes, hyenas and bears. It doesn’t regulate facilities such as the Conservators Center, which falls under the watch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Sanctuaries and zoos where a person has been killed or injured where investigation has revealed a lack of proper safety drills, equipment and protocols should no longer be able to keep dangerous wild animals,” Black wrote.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat, said she introduced an amendment to the bill, but was rebuffed by other lawmakers.

In this Sept. 30, 2017 photo made available by Erik Sommer, the lion Matthai relaxes inside his enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC. Matthai escaped from his enclosure in December 2018, and fatally mauled a 22-year-old Conservators Center intern before he was shot eight times and died. Now the intern's family is supporting legislation in North Carolina that would tighten restrictions on ownership of large carnivorous animals. (Erik Sommers via AP)

In this Sept. 30, 2017 photo made available by Erik Sommer, the lion Matthai relaxes inside his enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC. Matthai escaped from his enclosure in December 2018, and fatally mauled a 22-year-old Conservators Center intern before he was shot eight times and died. Now the intern’s family is supporting legislation in North Carolina that would tighten restrictions on ownership of large carnivorous animals. (Erik Sommers via AP)

“I would’ve loved to see a stronger bill. I did what I could,” she said.

Black was preparing deer meat for the cats when a 14-year-old male lion named Matthai bit her ankle and dragged her into a steel enclosure. No tranquilizer gun was on hand, and the center’s CEO, Douglas Evans, struggled to load it when one was found.

ENDANGERED AFRICAN PAINTED DOG PUP KILLED AT FLORIDA ZOO IN ‘GUILLOTINE DOOR’ ACCIDENT

“When the gentleman tried to assemble the tranquilizer gun, he was reading the instructions,” Black wrote in her letter, citing a witness she wouldn’t identify.

Authorities eventually subdued the lion with three tranquilizer darts and eight gunshots.

A USDA inspection in January found the center has “no non-compliant items.” USDA inspections in 2017 and 2018 found no problems at the facility, according to government reports. A government inspector counted 16 lions among 85 total animals in 2018. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting its own investigation, which is expected to wrap up in June.

In a statement to the AP, the center’s Executive Director, Mindy Stinner, said the animal sanctuary is “confident that if all of its policies and procedures are followed, its guests, staff, and animals are safe.”

In this May 4, 2019 photo, the entrance to The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., is open for visitors. The park re-opened in February 2019 after an intern was mauled to death by a lion that escaped its inclosure in December 2018. ( AP Photo/Amanda Morris)

In this May 4, 2019 photo, the entrance to The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., is open for visitors. The park re-opened in February 2019 after an intern was mauled to death by a lion that escaped its inclosure in December 2018. ( AP Photo/Amanda Morris)

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Dan Ashe, executive director of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said facilities like the Conservator’s Center should obtain AZA accreditation.

“If a facility has dangerous animals, they should hold themselves to high standards and should be held by the government to high standards,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dallas police say a 9-year-old girl was killed and another child was seriously injured after the car they were riding in was hit by a vehicle that had been drag racing.

Police say three cars were racing on a Dallas street Friday night when one of the vehicles hit a Chevrolet Impala with the two children.

The 9-year-old girl, who was in the back seat, was ejected. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Authorities say another child in the back seat and a front passenger are in critical condition. The driver is in good condition.

Police say the driver of the vehicle that hit the Impala was taken into custody after being released from a hospital. The other two drivers involved fled but were later taken into custody.

Charges are pending in the case.

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