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  • Updated 1:02 p.m. ET Dec. 13: Sen. Al Franken said Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith “will make an excellent United States Senator” after she was announced Wednesday as the Democratic congressman’s replacement. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton named Smith as Franken’s replacement after the senator announced his intention to resign. He has not set a date for his resignation. Dayton said Wednesday that Smith will serve a one-year term ending in January 2019. Franken said Smith, who became lieutenant governor in 2015, will “be an effective senator who knows how to work across party lines to get things done for Minnesota.” “I look forward to working with her on ensuring a speedy and seamless transition,” he said. Updated 11:07 a.m. ET Dec. 13: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday that the state’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, will fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Al Franken. Franken announced his intent to resign earlier this month after multiple women came forward to accuse the Democrat of sexual misconduct. In a statement, officials said Smith will serve a one-year term in the Senate before Minnesotans go to the polls to chose Franken’s replacement. Original story: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat of fellow Democrat Al Franken, the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken will resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct Gov. Mark Dayton will announce Smith's appointment at a news conference Wednesday morning, the outlets reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the decision. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken: What happens to his Senate seat if he resigns? Both outlets reported that Smith, 59, also will vie for the seat in the November 2018 special election. The news comes less than one week after Franken announced he'd be resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations. >> Read more trending news  From 2003-2006, Smith, a New Mexico native who has lived in Minnesota since 1984, was vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She also was chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Dayton before becoming lieutenant governor in 2015. – The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • An off-duty Dallas firefighter is accused of killing a pregnant teenager and her unborn child early Wednesday in a crash in nearby Cedar Hill. The unnamed firefighter was driving a Mercedes-Benz south on U.S. Highway 67 around 12:45 a.m. when he rear-ended a Mazda SUV, according to the Dallas Morning News. The driver of the Mazda, Alyssa Pimentel, 18, and her passenger were both ejected by the impact. Pimentel and her unborn child died at the scene, the newspaper reported. Her male passenger, who Pimentel’s father identified as her boyfriend, was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The firefighter and his passenger were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police investigators believe the firefighter was under the influence of alcohol and speeding at the time of the crash.  Pimentel’s father told WFAA-TV that his daughter’s baby boy, whom she planned to name Josiah, was due next month. She had just picked up her boyfriend from work when the crash occurred. The boyfriend has a broken neck, Pimentel’s father told the news station. Pimentel identified her boyfriend on her Facebook page as Isaiah Perez.  >> Read more trending news Pimentel’s father described his daughter as a “sweetheart,” a kind and caring person who would do anything for people.  Family members mourned Pimentel on social media. “I’m going to miss you, my beautiful niece,” Mary Flores Pimentel wrote from Chandler, Arizona. “You will always be in my heart.” KDFW Fox 4 in Dallas reported that the name of the firefighter has yet to be released, but investigators said he faces an intoxication manslaughter charge in Pimentel’s death.
  • Wawa is taking the Jacksonville area by storm.  The gas station chain celebrated two grand openings Dec. 13 in Clay and Duval counties. The stores are now open at 6787 Wilson Blvd. in Jacksonville and 678 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park. Wawa plans to open a third store near St. Johns Town Center next week, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports. Several other stores are planned for the Jacksonville area. Wawa opened its first Florida location in 2012 and has more than 125 stores in the state. According to a Wawa spokesperson, the chain plans to open 25 to 30 Florida stores per year for the next several years.  Wawa is known for its fresh, built-to-order foods, beverages, coffee, fuel services and surcharge-free ATMs. 
  • An employee of a gun range in Texas accidentally shot and killed a patron as he worked on a rifle Tuesday morning, police said.  The patron, Joshua Luke Cummings, 36, of Cypress, had just exited his vehicle in the parking lot of Hot Wells Gun Range when a bullet struck him in the head, KTRK in Houston reported. He was flown to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, where he died. Harris County Sheriff’s Office officials told the news station that an employee was working on a hunting rifle inside the building when it accidentally discharged. “The bullet went through the wall of the small range house and struck a patron who was walking through the parking lot,” Harris County Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland told the news station.  It was not immediately clear why the rifle was loaded while the employee handled it. KTKR reported that homicide investigators were looking into whether it was human error or a gun malfunction that caused the gun to fire.  Cummings’ Facebook page shows that he was the father of three young children. Heartbroken friends said the Cummings children are triplets.  A YouCaring fundraiser page was established to help his wife, Kathleen, and their children. As of noon Wednesday, the page had raised nearly $10,000 of the $25,000 goal.  “Josh Cummings has always been an amazing father, faithful, hardworking husband completely devoted to his faith, family and friends,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Until we meet again, goodbye, our sweet friend.” Hot Wells officials apologized in a statement that they said would be brief because they “simply do not have the words to express the sorrow in (their) hearts.” “For 44 years, we have operated this facility accident-free, yet today, we are shaken by tragedy,” the statement read.  They said that they would have no comment on the details of the accident while the investigation was ongoing.  “We understand that this accident has, and will continue to affect the lives of many,” the statement read. “We ask that our community joins us in prayer for the healing of all parties involved.”
  • UPDATE 5:46 PM: The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office says Camden Cunningham has been found in Jacksonville. No other details are being released at this time. UPDATE 4:23 PM: The FDLE says 5-year-old Camden Cunningham is believed to be only with his mother, Adrienna Jones, 25. They may be traveling in a 1998 Blue Ford Mustang, with the Florida tag number EWTY55. ORIGINAL STORY:  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has issued a missing child alert for 5-year-old Camden Cunningham.  FDLE says he was last seen in the the 5600th block of Nassau Oaks Drive in Callahan, Florida.  They believe Cunningham may be in the company of Adrienna Jones, 25, and James Anderson, 33, and traveling in a silver Kia. Anderson is said to have tattoos on his neck and both arms.  The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is identifying Jones as Cunningham’s mother and Anderson as her boyfriend. Deputies say they could also be in a blue 1998 Mustang with the Florida plate EWTY55. If you have any information about where Cunningham may be, you're urged to contact the Nassau County Sheriff's Office at (904) 225-0331 or call 911. The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office also posted the following message on their Facebook page: “**MISSING CHILD ALERT**  Please be on the lookout for this child:  Missing child from Nassau County: Camden Cunningham, five years old, Blonde hair, brown eyes, height 3 feet, six inches, weight 40 pounds.  Camden Cunningham may be with his Mother Adrienna Rachelle Jones and her boyfriend James Allen Anderson. Jones and Anderson may be driving a Blue 1998 Mustang Florida Plate EWTY55. They may also be in an unknown type of older white car. If seen, please call 911 or contact the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.  ***If you have any information leading to the whereabouts of the missing child, please contact Detective Kelley at (904) 548-4074. If you want to remain anonymous and report a tip, please call the First Coast Crime Stoppers at: 1-866-845-TIPS (8477). You can also leave a tip online at http://www.fccrimestoppers.com .***”

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