Hey, Short Listers: It’s Ashley. And it’s deathly cold out in much of the USA. Please stay safe, and keep your pets OK, too. Here’s today’s biggest news.
Five minutes to frostbite
At least seven deaths have been linked to the historic polar vortex this week as temps plunged below zero and wind chill turned deadly. Among them:
- In Chicago, a man was killed by a snow plow.
- In Milwaukee, a man was found frozen to death in a garage.
- An Iowa college student was found unresponsive outside a campus hall.
- A young Indiana couple died in a car crash.
Chicago tumbled to 21 degrees below zero. Wind chill dropped to 51 below – letting frostbite set in within five minutes. The United States Postal Service halted deliveries in 10 states. Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled, and “there is not enough space for all the homeless suffering out there now,” a Michigan shelter director warned.
A woman left two dogs, Chloe and Sophie, chained outside without food or water as the Iowa cold ramped up last week. Rebecca Woods, 22, was charged with two counts of animal neglect.
And one tip: How often should you start your car to keep it from freezing? Don’t.
Put down the chicken nugget
It’s clucking serious: Tyson Foods recalled around 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets that might be contaminated with rubber. It’s a “Class I” recall, meaning use of the product could cause “serious, adverse health consequences or death.” The nugs in question are panko chicken ones produced on Nov. 26, 2018, with a “best if used by” date of Nov. 26, 2019. The recall comes a day after Perdue Foods recalled 16,000 pounds of chicken nuggets.
And don’t wash those nuggets down with fruit juice. It may contain harmful levels of arsenic, lead and other metals, a study found.
A guy in Florida tried to steal opioids
Here’s the thing:
- He’s now facing felony charges. 🚔
- They were actually laxatives. 💩
Actor says his attackers yelled ‘This is MAGA country’
Chicago police are hunting for assailants who “Empire” star Jussie Smollett says attacked him Tuesday morning in a “possible hate crime.” Sgt. Cindy Guerra told USA TODAY that Smollett said his attackers yelled “This is MAGA country.” Smollett, 36, was approached by two people who punched him in the face, poured a chemical on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, he says. Smollett is black and gay, like his “Empire” character Jamal Lyon. A flood of support from celebrities has followed including from Ellen DeGeneres. Smollett came out on her show in 2015.
- Ariana Grande’s getting grilled for a new hand tattoo that might have a lil’ mistake: It reads “BBQ grill” in Japanese.
- In his new book, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Mike Pence upstaged him — by taking the VP job he wanted.
- Alleged drug lord El Chapo’s trial is in closing arguments. Prosecutors say a “mountain of evidence” proves his guilt.
This Brady prank got deflated
Pittsburgh TV producer Michael Telek tacked on a joke at the end of a news broadcast Monday, a “wink and nod to Steelers fans” who’ve long despised New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In a Super Bowl story on KDKA-TV, he typed “Known Cheater” under Brady’s name in a graphic — a nod to the “Deflategate” scandal that left the quarterback briefly suspended in 2016. Telek’s bosses didn’t laugh. Less than 24 hours later, he was out of a job.
Way more veterans could get free private health care
Nearly four times as many veterans could be eligible for private health care paid for by Veterans Affairs. Under new rules proposed Wednesday, veterans would get private care if they have to wait more than 20 days or drive more than 30 minutes for a VA appointment. Critics say the proposal will drain money from the VA and lead to its privatization. The rules would deliver on a key campaign promise of President Donald Trump.
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want The Short List straight to your inbox? Sign up, and tell your friends.