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    Increase in rattlesnake attack on dogs, Texas vets report

    Veterinarians in some parts of Texas have reported an increase in the number of dogs bitten by rattlesnakes this year, according to media reports. 

    “The snakes are coming out of hibernation, they’re cranky and are more likely to strike when other times they might try to avoid that,” Jim Holcomb of Hill Country Animal Hospital in Austin told KVUE.

    >> Read more trending news

    The story does not offer any specific figures to back the claim.

    If you live in an area that is especially populated by rattlesnakes, some veterinarians recommend the Red Rock Rattlesnake vaccine, which helps dogs develop antibodies that can neutralize rattlesnake venom. 

    Dogs need to be 16 weeks old to receive the vaccine. Although it can help slow the effects of the venom, it is still important to get your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect a rattlesnake bite.

    Related: Texas family’s toilet snake surprise leads to discovery of dozens more

    The Houston Chronicle is reporting that recent hotter-than-usual weather has at least one upside: rattlesnakes rattle more when its warmer, serving as the perfect warning for you and your best friend.

    Boy bitten by rattlesnake after mistaking it for toy

    A 5-year-old boy is recovering at a hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake in DeBary, Florida. 

    >> Read more trending news

    Volusia County investigators said Tampa resident Elijah Vaughn, 5, and his family were at a relative's house on Fort Florida Point Road on Saturday after leaving a funeral. 

    Vaughn and his mother went outside so the boy could play on the jungle gym in the yard, deputies said. 

    When Vaughn approached the jungle gym, he walked underneath the platform and saw what he thought was a toy snake. 

    As the boy reached for the snake, it bit him on the right index finger, according to a police report. His mother rushed Vaughn to meet with deputies and he was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital, where he received anti-venom treatment, investigators said.

    Vaughn was then taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. 

    Officials said the boy's swelling had not spread down his arm and was primarily on his hand and wrist. 

    The snake, believed to be a pygmy rattlesnake, was caught and killed.

    A growing debate: Is vaping hazardous?

    U.S. health officials say the rapidly expanding industry of e-cigarettes and vaping caters to children with a new unhealthy habit, tantalizing them with flavors such as Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream and brands like Devil’s Juice.

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    But those who vape say health officials are just carrying water for the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, which make money from selling cigarettes and products that help people quit smoking.

    Representatives of the vaping industry -- a phenomena in its own right estimated to be worth $10 billion -- said it has been unfairly disparaged and that their nicotine delivery system is far safer than traditional tobacco, pointing to studies in England.

    “This is a revolution,” Ryna Schalk of Wellington, Florida, told The Palm Beach Post. “There are people giving out misinformation about vaping because of Big Government, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Vaping is taking money out of their pocket.”

    Read more about the growing vaping debate at the Palm Beach Post.

    Video of man walking kangaroo on leash in Detroit goes viral

    A Snapchat video of a man walking a kangaroo on a leash down a residential street in Detroit has gone viral.

    Brionna London posted the video to Snapchat and Twitter Monday. The seven-second clip shows a man holding a kangaroo on a leash, setting it on the ground and jogging to keep up with it as it hops down the street.

    G how he get a kangaroo in Detroit pic.twitter.com/DI9OIiT4ee

    — $now (@BrionnaLondon) March 28, 2017 ]]> >> Read more trending news 

    WJBK said a street sign and the Snapchat's location stamp verify the bizarre incident took place in Detroit. Many commenters on social media wondered how a person could obtain a kangaroo.

    The Detroit Free Press confirmed with the Detroit Zoo that no kangaroos were missing from its facility. Several Facebook commenters pointed out that the man in the Snapchat video looks like the man who operates The Exotic Zoo, a Detroit organization that leads exotic animal programs at area schools.

    ‘I wuv you, robot’: Toddler makes new friend in discarded water heater

    A little girl named Rayna is melting hearts around the globe in a short video that shows her loving encounter with a new “robot” friend.

    The YouTube video posted Monday, titled “Rayna meets a ‘robot,’” is just 24 seconds long, but by early Tuesday it had been viewed nearly 665,000 times. In it, the girl walked along a street and saw what she thought was a robot. 

    The “robot” was a discarded water heater awaiting pickup by trash collectors.

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    “Hi, robot,” Rayna said cheerfully, looking up at the top of the heater and into what looked like big, round eyes. “Hi, robot.”

    She wrapped her arms around the heater, glancing back at one point to look at the person filming her.

    “I wuv you, robot,” she said. “I wuv you, robot.”

    Rayna’s ardent love of the water heater faded fast as her attention was drawn to a new friend -- a nearby manhole cover.  

    Watch Rayna’s heartwarming encounter below.

    Entertainment News »

    Elton John to help develop animated 'Technicolor Dreamcoat'

    Elton John is teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to develop an animated adaptation of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

    STX Entertainment chairman Adam Fogelson announced the project Tuesday at CinemaCon, the annual gathering of theater owners and exhibitors.

    The musical, which Rice and Webber created in the late 1960s, is based on the "coat of many colors" story from the Book of Genesis.

    The studio also announced a new animated project from Eddie Murphy about a bull named Bo who wants to be a rodeo clown.

    Movie studios look to young, diverse audiences for growth

    The future of Hollywood movies is in the hands of young and diverse audiences.

    At CinemaCon Tuesday, studio executives and representatives from the National Association of Theater Owners touted the importance of both groups in growing the movie business.

    Walt Disney Studios distribution head Dave Hollis said higher ticket prices helped push the motion picture industry to a record box office total in 2016, even though attendance has remained nearly flat for a decade.

    Industry executives say the focus in the coming years will be on consumers 18 to 39, whose attendance has grown in the past two years, as has that of more diverse audiences.

    Association President and CEO John Fithian said attendance by Asian Americans and African Americans has also increased.

    Review: Guy Clark tribute, more on Rodney Crowell's latest

    Rodney Crowell was headlining a music festival recently, speaking from the stage to a large, admiring audience, when he confessed with a chuckle that songwriter's block sometimes lasts a decade or more.

    At 66, Crowell knows music can be a humbling business, but he has plenty to brag about with "Close Ties."

    It's his first album in more than three years, which might seem like a decade to Crowell, but the set ranks among his best. His character studies are so sharply drawn they fit comfortably next to autobiographical material such as the closing "Nashville 1972," an amusing reminiscence of his early career.

    The centerpiece is "It Ain't Over Yet," a requiem for Crowell's close friend, the late songwriter Guy Clark. It's like sharing family secrets, and to underscore the point Crowell recruits for singing assistance Rosanne Cash, who appears on an album with her ex-husband for the first time in more than 20 years. John Paul White serves as a third lead vocalist, and Mickey Raphael's harp provides a fitting epitaph.

    Elsewhere the arrangements also match the creativity of the lyrics. "East Houston Blues" is the raw Texas kind. "Storm Warning" rocks thanks to a swirl of strings and Steuart Smith's guitar. "I Don't Care Anymore" has Crowell convincingly doing Texas rap on the last verse.

    From start to finish, there's no sign of songwriter's block.

    Ivanka Trump, Education Secretary DeVos promote STEM careers

    Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday exhorted young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, saying those fields will provide the jobs and innovation for the future.

    Their tour of the National Air and Space Museum with a group of middle school students came as the Trump administration proposed further cuts to education and science, drawing harsh criticism from teachers' unions and others.

    Ivanka Trump, a successful entrepreneur who considers herself as a women's rights activist, lamented that women make up 48 percent of America's work force but only 24 percent of STEM professionals.

    "This statistic is showing that we are sadly moving in the wrong direction. Women are increasingly underrepresented in important fields of science, technology, engineering and math," Trump said. "But I dare you to beat these statistics and advance the role of women in STEM fields."

    She said she and her 5-year-old daughter Arabella plan to take a coding class together this summer because "coding truly is the language of the future."

    Astronaut Kay Hire and female researchers at NASA also spoke to the students and DeVos urged the children to follow in their footsteps by studying, working hard and mentoring younger peers.

    "You can do your part to improve the lives of women in the future," DeVos said.

    As she praised the role of women in the American space program, Ivanka Trump also said her father's administration has expanded NASA's space exploration to add Mars as a top objective. But as she spoke, the Trump administration sent Congress a series of "options" for budget cuts, including slashing $3 billion from Education Department, as well as cuts to NASA and the National Institutes of Health.

    The American Federation of Teachers accused the administration of hypocrisy.

    "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Ivanka Trump are feigning an interest in STEM careers with a photo op at the National Air and Space Museum while eliminating all funding for NASA's education programs. This takes chutzpah to a new level," AFT president Randi Weingarten said in a statement. "The next generation of astronauts, scientists, engineers and mathematicians need support, not budget cuts eliminating the very programs being promoted."

    O'Reilly apologizes for jest about Maxine Waters' hair

    Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly apologized Tuesday for saying he had a hard time concentrating on California Rep. Maxine Waters during a speech because he was distracted by her "James Brown wig."

    O'Reilly said that his jest about her hair was dumb. "I apologize," he said in a statement.

    He had made his statement during an appearance earlier on "Fox & Friends," after a clip was shown of the Democratic representative speaking in the House of Representatives. O'Reilly, as he watched, appeared to mouth the words "right on" and give a clenched-fist salute.

    After the clip, he said, "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig." Fox's Ainsley Earhardt defended Waters, saying O'Reilly shouldn't go after a woman's looks.

    O'Reilly also said that Waters, who is black, should have "her own sitcom."

    In his apology, O'Reilly said that "as I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs."