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Country music star, actress Lari White dead at 52 after battle with cancer

The multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician and actress Lari White has died.

>> Read more trending news 

The artist was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in late 2017. White first broke the news in a blog post on Artist Works, telling readers that she had already endured pneumonia, surgery and was dealing with pain management. A Caring Bridge page was then established by her family to keep family, fans and friends posted on her progress. Unfortunately, treatment, which included trying two new chemotherapy drugs, was unsuccessful, and on Jan. 23, White succumbed to the disease at the age of 52.

In one of the most recent posts on the Caring Bridge page, White’s mother wrote, “There is so much I could say about Lari, but multitudes of you have said it already. God gave us a very special gift when he sent this incredible baby to a young, inexperienced … and frightened … couple … But in spite of this, we loved her with all our hearts. From the beginning, we knew that she was ‘something else’ … wise and funny, intelligent and super-talented … so loving, kind and compassionate … with a heart as big as all of heaven. I have never known a person who did not love her and respect her, as evidenced by the great outpouring of love and concern of so many people. Every role she has played in life has been superb, and most of all, her role as mother. We are blessed to be her family. [Husband] Chuck [Cannon] and their three children are blessed to have her as wife and mother. Thank you, God, for Lari!”

>> Related: Country artist’s mother talks about daughter’s illness taking tragic turn

White earned Nashville’s attention in 1988 when she was named a winner in the reality competition show “You Can Be a Star,” a show that also helped launch the career of Trisha Yearwood.

She went on to release her first album, “Lead Me Not,” in 1993 and quickly established herself as a respected songwriter and singer with a sweet, but incredibly soulful, voice. Her sophomore album, “Wishes,” went on to produce three hit singles, including “That’s My Baby,” “Now I Know” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).” A 1997 duet with Travis Tritt, “Helping Me Get Over You,” cracked the Top 20 on “Billboard’s” Hot Country Songs chart.

In 1996, and then again in 1998, White became a Grammy winner for her contributions to “Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel” and “Amazing Grace 2.” She won a third Grammy in 1999 for her involvement on the soundtrack for the movie “The Apostle,” which featured June Carter Cash and Billy Joe Shaver. Lari performed the traditional hymn “There is Power in the Blood” for the collection.

>> Related: Country star’s tribute to her dying artist friend will move you to tears

The star also had success as one of the few female producers working in country music. She produced Toby Keith’s 2006 album, “White Trash With Money,” and co-produced four songs on Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little” album in 2004.

White gained big screen recognition when she appeared in the 2000 film “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks. She also went on to appear in the 2010 Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow movie, “Country Strong.” In addition, she appeared on the stage in the Broadway musical “Ring of Fire.”

Married to fellow hit songwriter Chuck Cannon (“I Love the Way You Love Me,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!”), White was the mother of three children–M’Kenzy, Kyra and Jaxon. White and Cannon co-wrote “I Will Not Say Goodbye” with songwriter Vicky McGehee, which became a Top 40 hit for Dany Gokey. Sadly, the song was inspired by the untimely passing of a dear friend’s 14-year-old son.

’Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten shows off fancy $15,500 stove

Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten just took upgrading your appliances to a whole new level.

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The Food Network star and celebrity chef took to social media last week to show off a new, stunning stove that she just added to the kitchen of her Manhattan apartment.

“First day cooking on my new @lacanche_us range – so much fun!! #NYC#newapartment,” she wrote to followers on Jan. 18.

>> Related: Ladies of ‘The View’ pull no punches when addressing feud between Megyn Kelly and Jane Fonda

The very fancy appliance was custom designed for Garten by Lacanche, a French-owned family business that makes about 50 stoves per year for American customers. According to PEOPLE, Garten went for the “Sully” model (which starts at $13,850) and added two burners, costing an additional $825.

The stove takes about four months to design and build and Garten had to pay extra for shipping, of course.

On Jan. 19, Garten shared the first treat she baked using her new oven. Sharing a photo of freshly baked pistachio meringues, she wrote, “First thing out of the oven – gorgeous Pistachio Meringues inspired by my friend Yotam @ottolenghi !!”

In April 2017, Garten opened up about the decision she and husband Jeffery made to not have children.

“We decided not to have children,” she said at the time. “I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to but it was a choice I made very early. I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had. So it’s a choice and that was the choice I made.”

The couple celebrated 49 blissful years of marriage in December.

Police plan to ramp up security at Jackson Browne concert in Florida after threat

There will be increased security during singer-songwriter Jackson Browne’s concert Tuesday evening at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts after a threat was made at a northwest Indiana church known for its progressive stands on racial and social justice issues, the Orlando Police Department said.

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Police said banners with racist and anti-gay messages were discovered Sunday attached to a fence outside the Unitarian Universalist Church in West Lafayette, Indiana, which is about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

The banners were discovered the morning after the church hosted a “Resistance Fair,” which included left-leaning groups that oppose President Donald Trump's agenda.

One banner included a slur against gays and lesbians; the second had slurs against racial minorities, gays and lesbians.

The second one also referenced Browne, while the other included the date Jan. 23 and the message "die Orlando just like Los (sic) Vegas,” referencing Browne’s appearance in Orlando.

The other wording appears to refer to the sniper who opened fire in October from a high-rise hotel in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800 others.

West Lafayette police said they are investigating the incident and have notified the FBI.

Orlando police officials said they are in communication with police in Indiana.

“The safety and security of our guests, colleagues and artists is our highest priority,” Lorri Shaban, spokeswoman for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, said in an emailed statement. “We were made aware of the situation Sunday night and have been working closely with law enforcement to ensure a safe, secure environment for the concert.”

Those who purchased tickets for the concert but don't feel safe may call the venue's box office for a refund, Shaban said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: 2018 Academy Awards nominees

These are the nominees for this year’s Oscars.

OSCAR NOMINATIONS: ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Three Billboards,’  lead nominees

Who will be among the Hollywood elite to vie for this year’s Academy Awards? The nominations were announced Tuesday morning by Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis served as hosts from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Leading the pack was “The Shape of Water” with 13 nominations, including best picture, original screenplay and best director. It was one fewer than the record, according to The Washington Post.

The war movie “Dunkirk” earned eight nominations, including best picture, but it was snubbed in the acting categories, The Washington Post reported.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” received seven nominations, including best picture, leading actress and supporting actor.

The Oscar ceremony will be held on March 4 and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

>> Read more trending news 

Migos producer arrested, accused of driving 125 mph on Georgia freeway

A record label co-owner and producer credited with the speedy success of Atlanta-based Migos is facing charges after his alleged speed behind the wheel caught the attention of Alpharetta, Georgia, police.

>> Watch the news report here

Dashcam video obtained by WSB-TV’s Mike Petchenik shows officers pulling over Pierre “Pee” Thomas last Sunday. Thomas, the chief executive of record label Quality Control, has produced records for rappers such as Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby and Rich the Kid.

The officer "observed a red SUV traveling at a high rate of speed,” said Officer Jason Muenzer. “He noticed the vehicle was going about 100 mph.”

Muenzer said the officer got on Ga. 400 near Old Milton Parkway and began following Thomas north.

“That officer tried to catch up to the vehicle, but he himself got up to about 120, 125 (mph) and even then, the officer noticed the vehicle was pulling away from him.”

Eventually, video shows Thomas pull over off McFarland Parkway in Forsyth County.

He told officers he was heading home from the studio.

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“When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver acted as though he didn’t see the officer,” Muenzer said. “The only excuse he had was he didn’t see the officer and he wanted to get home.”

On the dashcam video, the officer questioned Thomas and his speed.

“What were you doing going that fast, man?” he can be heard asking. “You were pulling away from me. I was doing 120 (mph) just trying to catch up to you. You were pulling away from me.”

Officers would later handcuff Thomas and take him to the North Fulton Jail annex on reckless driving charges.

Police told Petchenik this arrest was just one of a series recently on the busy highway.

“It’s getting old,” Muenzer said. “Those speeds, the slightest crack, the slightest item in the roadway, road debris, you can lose control of your vehicle.”

Thomas’ attorney, Drew Findling, told Petchenik that his client was not impaired and complied with officers.

“We will go to court in the city of Alpharetta and look forward to putting this matter behind him,” Findling said. “We will resolve it in court.”

– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Heath Ledger's sister remembers him 10 years after his death

Heath Ledger’s sister, Kate Ledger, is opening up about how his family is honoring his memory 10 years after his death.

Kate opened up for a rare interview with WHO last week before the 10th anniversary of her brother’s Jan. 22, 2008, death. She told the publication that keeping Ledger’s memory alive in her home has helped her cope with the pain of his death and said she still misses her “soul mate” brother.

“We spoke almost every day regardless of where Heath was in the world or what he was doing,” she recalled. “Our conversations ranged from talking about projects to what we were having for dinner. Nothing was off limits.”

>> Read more trending news 

Now, Kate is trying to share her brother’s legacy with her children.

“Heath is hugely important in the lives of my children,” she said of her two daughters, who are too young to remember their uncle before he died. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t share stories or talk about him. He is very much alive in our house.”

She said that to help her children remember, she often shares some of his films with them, even though it is “especially difficult” for her.

“It’s especially difficult to see his moving images on screen and hear his voice — something which we as a family have had to learn to cope with constantly,” she said. “But it’s a blessing that we have all the images and footage, so that we can share a part of him with our girls.”

Kate said she is regularly in contact with Ledger’s ex, Michelle Williams, and their daughter, Matilda, 12.

“She is an amazing girl and a source of delight to us all,” she told the publication of Matilda.

The Ledger family has memorialized the late actor’s love of filmmaking by creating the Heath Ledger Scholarship, which helps support young Australians who want to work in the industry.

>> Mark Wahlberg donating reshoot fee after pay discrepancy controversy

“Heath himself helped so many of his Aussie actor mates by letting them stay at his house when in L.A.,” she said. “It is with this same generosity we continue the legacy.”

Ledger died after an accidental overdose. He was 28 years old.

Neil Diamond diagnosed with Parkinson’s, retiring from touring

Neil Diamond will retire from touring due to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

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The renowned singer-songwriter announced the news in a statement Monday that said his doctors advised that he cancel the upcoming leg of his 50th anniversary tour set for Australia and New Zealand.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks go out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Diamond turns 77 on Wednesday and, in a bittersweet turn, this weekend will be honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The storied songwriter behind such chestnuts as “Love on the Rocks,” “I Am, I Said,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Heartlight” and dozens more, launched his anniversary tour in April 2017.

>> Related: Grammy Awards 2018: What time, what channel, who is nominated, who will perform 

His most recent non-holiday album, “Melody Road,” was released in 2014.

Megyn Kelly still angry at Jane Fonda, calls her ‘Hanoi Jane’ months after plastic surgery tiff

It seems that neither Megyn Kelly or Jane Fonda has forgotten about that awkward September interview in which Fonda shut Kelly down after the latter asked about possible plastic surgery.

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In the interview, Kelly asked Fonda about aging and plastic surgery when she and Robert Redford were on “Megyn Kelly Today” to promote their film “Our Souls at Night.” Fonda didn’t want to talk about the topic and snapped, “We really want to talk about that now?”

Things never really got back on track after that, and the incident came up again just last week, when Fonda appeared on “TODAY” with her “Grace & Frankie” co-star Lily Tomlin. When Hoda Kotb asked how long the veteran actresses have been friends, Tomlin replied, “Oh, my gosh … I think before your first facelift!”

While Kotb and Savannah Guthrie exploded in a fit of giggles, Fonda was clearly unamused. “Never mind! Never mind!” she said. “Who are you, Megyn Kelly?”

On Monday, Kelly took time out of her show to address the actress’s remarks.

“And, now, a word on Jane Fonda, who appears to be fixated on an exchange I had with her months ago on this show,” Kelly said introducing the clip from September on her show on Monday. “When she first complained, publicly after the program and repeatedly after the program, I chose to say nothing because my general philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business.”

>> Related: After Matt Lauer’s firing, new NBC employee accuses ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ staff

“It’s time to address the ‘poor me’ routine,” Kelly said. She told the audience and TV viewers that Fonda appeared on her show last September to promote a film “about aging.”

“To her credit, she has discussed her cosmetic surgery pretty much everywhere before coming on our show,” Kelly said.

Kelly then played a clip of a previous Fonda “Today Show” appearance discussing her history with plastic surgery, then referenced Fonda’s other interviews on the topic.

“Apparently, when she came here, however, again, to promote her film about aging, I was supposed to discern that this subject was suddenly off limits,” Kelly said. “Look, I gave her the chance to empower other women, young and old, on a subject which she purports to know well, and she rejected it. That’s OK. But I have no regrets about that question, nor am I in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is or is not appropriate.”

The hits kept on coming when Kelly brought up the “outrage” Fonda has caused in the past.

“After all, this is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage. Look at her treatment of our military during the Vietnam War,” Kelly said as the audience cheered. “Many of our veterans still call her ‘Hanoi Jane.'”

Kelly then listed Fonda’s multiple offenses and added, “By the way, she still says she is not proud of America.”

>> Related: Rocker John Mellencamp’s daughter joins cast of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’

It’s unclear if Fonda plans on responding to Kelly’s insults, but Fonda fans responded on Twitter.

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