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Djokovic withdraws from Miami Open

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By Anthony Pucik

Allen Kee/ESPN Images(MIAMI) — Another top player will not be on the court for the Miami Open. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic announced that he has withdrawn from the tournament due to a right elbow injury.

He joins No. 1-ranked Andy Murray, who withdrew from the Miami Open on Saturday due to a right elbow injury, and eight-time champion Serena Williams on the women’s side, who is out with a left knee.

Djokovic lost to Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Wednesday. The Miami Open begins on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


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Girl battling cancer granted wish of seeing 'A Dog's Purpose'

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/Thinkstock(VOORHEES, N.J.) — A 12-year-old battling cancer was granted her wish of seeing the inspirational film, “A Dog’s Purpose.” Brooke Mulford also got a visit from the golden retriever who stars in the film.
Mulford has been battling cancer since she was diagnosed on January 5, 2009, which just so happened to be her mother’s 40th birthday.

Amy Mulford, a single mother from Voorhees, New Jersey, initially knew something was wrong with her daughter when she began limping.

“I asked her why she was limping and she said, ‘[Our dog] Bailey jumped up on me and hurt my knee,'” Amy Mulford recalled to ABC News. “It made sense.”

But after a three-hour road trip, Brooke Mulford couldn’t straighten her legs and couldn’t stand when getting out of the car, her mother added. So she was rushed to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed her with stage four neuroblastoma.

Despite six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, two stem cell transplants, and radiation, Brooke Mulford’s cancer spread to her spine, which doctors discovered December 5, 2012, her mother said.

And although her prognosis at times improved, in January it took a turn for the worse. “She had a massive spread throughout her whole body,” Amy Mulford, 48, detailed.

Since having surgery on January 30 to remove a tumor that had grown in her brain, Brooke Mulford has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Mulford said.

“She was admitted for the pain. It was just getting worse and worse,” her mother said. “It’s just about trying to get her comfortable. She’s not been able to walk for three weeks now. She can’t stand anymore.”

Brooke Mulford was granted wish of seeing inspiration film “A Dog’s Purpose” and even got a visit from screenwriter Cathryn Michon and the film’s star dog, Trip.

But Brooke Mulford recently got a break in her painful days after she was granted her wish of seeing “A Dog’s Purpose,” a film adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron’s 2010 novel of a dog who finds his purpose by being reincarnated.

After her mother shared her wish on Facebook, many people contacted the film’s production company, Amblin Entertainment. Still, one of her social media friends, Marcie Aron, was connected to Cathryn Michon, the screenwriter for the film and Cameron’s wife.

The two not only sent a personalized copy of the novel and T-shirts promoting the film, but Michon visited Brooke Mulford in the hospital on March 11.

“Bruce and I admire Brooke for having such grace for all she has had to endure,” she wrote Saturday on Facebook of why she visited the hospital. “She is brave and kind and the world is better for her being in it. That’s why everyone was so inspired to grant her request.”

But there’s more. Brooke Mulford along with her family were able to screen the film complete with movie popcorn.

“She was just so excited,” her mother told ABC News of her daughter’s big day. “We watched the movie and it was so beautiful. She was just so moved by it, we all were.”

And Trip, the golden retriever who stars in the film, along with his handler Jennifer Henderson surprised Brooke Mulford.

“The fact that so many people came together to make this happen for her was just incredible to me,” her mother said. “She’s gone through so much in the last eight years, but really in the last couple months.”

Amy Mulford noted that since her cancer spread, her daughter has suffered from nightmares and panic attacks.

“It’s been really hard to see her that way. She’s in so much pain,” she continued, “and then we get to see this movie that she wanted to see so badly and then to get to meet the dog from the movie … it was the best day we’ve had in so long.

“It’s what my heart needed,” Amy Mulford added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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Blue Jackets clinch playoff spot

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/ThinkStock(NEWARK, N.J.) — One day after the Washington Capitals clinched a spot in the Stanely Cup playoffs, another Metropolitan Division team followed. The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on the road to earn their spot in this year’s playoffs.

It was an unorthodox win for the Blue Jackets, scoring two short-handed goals in the first period, one from Lukas Sedlak and the other from Boone Jenner, and added a penalty shot from Brandon Dubinsky in the second. Jenner added a second goal with the Devils’ net empty in the third period with under two minutes to play.

The Blue Jackets are currently tied for first with the Capitals with 100 points and 11 games to go in the Metropolitan Division, with the Pittsburgh Penguins not far behind with 99 points.

It is the third time the Blue Jackets have made the playoffs in their 17-year history and the first time they’ve made it since 2014.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


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Washington hires Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins as head coach

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By Anthony Pucik

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — Washington University has a new head basketball coach. After firing Lorenzo Romar earlier in the week, the team announced Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins as its next head coach. Sources tell ESPN the deal is for six years.

“I’m extremely excited to welcome Mike and his family to Seattle,” Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen said in a statement. “His résumé and reputation within the basketball community made him stand out to us, but ultimately it was his vision for Washington, his passion for teaching and developing student-athletes and his close alignment with the core values of our institution and department that made it more than clear that he was the right fit for us.”

Hopkins, 47 and a California native, has worked under Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim since 1996, playing basketball for the school as a player. He was named the head coach-in waiting in 2015 for when Boeheim eventually retired.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


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Former teacher may have planned alleged abduction of teen: police

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By Anthony Pucik

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Tenn.) — The Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old former student may have planned the abduction in advance, according to police.

The student, 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas was last seen around 7:30 or 8 a.m. Monday at a Shoney’s restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, where she had been dropped off by a friend, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Her former teacher, Tad Cummins, 50, is allegedly shown on surveillance footage from a gas station near the restaurant at about 8:30 a.m. filling up his silver Nissan Rogue, the car in which authorities believe he is traveling in with the teenager.

Cummins, of Columbia, Tennessee, is wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, authorities said.

He is believed to have two handguns, and Elizabeth is considered to be “in imminent danger,” the state investigative bureau said.

“What scares us about Mr. Cummins is he’s sort given up his life at this point,” Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland told ABC News. “The girl is just 15.”

Rowland said the teacher may have decided to take Elizabeth and leave in the wake of his being spotted earlier this year allegedly kissing the teen student.

Jason Whatley, an attorney for Elizabeth’s father, Anthony Thomas, told media this week that another student saw Cummins kissing Elizabeth on Jan. 24.

Both the Maury County Public Schools and the Maury County Sheriff’s Department investigated the incident.

School officials said in a statement that the health sciences teacher at Culleoka Unit School was initially suspended and then dismissed as a result of the district investigation.

“The district does not tolerate any manner of behavior that is alleged in this incident and will take swift action to remove parties from school campuses who are involved with investigations of this type,” the statement said.

Sheriff Rowland said his department’s investigation of the incident is still pending.

The sheriff said Cummins may have begun plotting to leave with Elizabeth after he was suspended from his teaching job.

“That’s how it started,” Rowland said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also said in a news release that Cummins “potentially planned this abduction prior to Monday.”

He “may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her,” the bureau said.

Sabrina Gallup, a manager at the Shoney’s, where Elizabeth was dropped off Monday morning told ABC News by phone that Thomas had no connection to the restaurant beyond that of a potential customer.

She said the girl’s disappearance has left people in the community of Columbia, Tennessee, unsettled.
“Everyone’s keeping an eye out,” Gallup said. “The entire town is looking out for her right now.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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