Al Roker Discusses His Family Traditions For The Holiday Season

Every year Al Roker and his son head out to cut down their own perfect family Christmas tree.

Al Roker is undeniably a busy man, starring every morning on NBC’s Today and often making a second appearance for the nightly news. Recently he covered the 86th lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City, alongside co-anchors Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, and Craig Melvin. As America’s favorite weatherman, he informs the nation about what’s going on “in their neck of the woods” on a daily basis. Despite his busy schedule this time of year, his family is his first priority. Roker recently discussed his own family traditions during the holiday season, according to Today.

When it comes to Christmas, Roker likes everything to be just right. Rather than using an artificial tree or picking one up locally, he enjoys doing the task himself. Every year the news anchor and his son, 16-year-old Nick Roker, take a day to Pinto Ranch Tree Farm in Chatham, New York, to select the perfect Christmas tree for their family home. Once they’ve found the winner, they work together to cut the tree down by hand. Although a slightly messy job, Roker wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I look forward to picking and cutting our #christmastree with Nick every year. The secret is bringing your own saw with a new blade,” Roker posted to Twitter. He included a few photos from the outing, showing the beautiful pine he hand-selected.

This is a tradition that Roker and his son have enjoyed for years, often documenting their experience on social media. After loading up their tree and heading home, they decorated it with Roker’s daughter, 20-year-old Leila, and his wife, Deborah. With holiday tunes playing in the background, he shared a video of himself atop a ladder putting on the finishing touch: an angel tree topper.

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The lighting of the family Christmas tree! (Sorry I am so loud with the countdown! Yikes!) ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) on

Roker isn’t the only Today Show host getting into the holiday spirit. Fifty-four-year-old Hoda Kotb’s Christmas will be extra special this year because of her daughter, Haley Joy, whom she adopted in 2017. Now 1-year-old, Haley is old enough to take her own part in the celebration. Following the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting, Kotb posted a video of her own tree lighting at home with Haley and her partner Joel. The toddler is shown excitedly helping Kotb count down before lighting up the Christmas tree in their New York apartment.

“The lighting of the family Christmas Tree! Sorry I’m so loud with the countdown!” Kotb wrote on Instagram.

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Dog protected ruins of home destroyed by California wildfire for weeks

A dog that survived the catastrophic wildfire in Northern California apparently protected the ruins of his home for almost a month until his owner returned.

Madison was there waiting when Andrea Gaylord was allowed back to check on her burned property in Paradise this week.

Gaylord fled when the Nov. 8 fire broke out and decimated the town of 27,000. An animal rescuer who responded to Gaylord’s request to check on Madison first spotted the male Anatolian shepherd mix several days later.

Shayla Sullivan said the outdoor guard dog was apprehensive and kept his distance. Sullivan left food and water for him regularly until Gaylord got back on Wednesday. She also helped locate Madison’s brother Miguel, another Anatolian shepherd mix that was taken to a shelter 85 miles (135 kilometers) away in the confusing aftermath of the wildfire.

“If (the evacuees) can’t be there I’m going to be and I’m not going to give up on their animal until they can get back in,” Sullivan said.

The dogs reunited Friday when Gaylord came back to the property with Miguel and brought Madison his favourite treat: a box of Wheat Thin crackers.

Gaylord told news station ABC10 she couldn’t ask for a better animal.

“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” she said.

“Their instinctual job is to watch the flocks and we’re part of them,” Gaylord said about her dogs. “It’s a comforting feeling.”

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Lisa Armstrong 'axed from Britain's Got Talent' as working with ex Ant McPartlin had become 'untenable'

The Mirror reports that the make-up artist will no longer be working on the hit reality show since splitting with the award winning presenter.

Lisa, 42, has spent more than ten years working on the programme but will not return to ensure Ant's comeback “goes smoothly with no unnecessary distractions”.

A show insider told the paper: "Although everyone is very fond of Lisa, it was clearly untenable to carry on working together.

“Ant and Dec are two of the most senior people on the show, sometimes these tough decisions have to be made.”

It comes after The Sun exclusively revealed that Ant has been cleared to return to work next month.



Ant and Dec’s comeback as a double act comes after McPartlin took eight months off work after crashing his car in a drink drive incident.

Lisa works full time as a make-up artist on Strictly Come Dancing and heads up the Bafta winning team.

She has also worked on Britain’s Got Talent and for Stephen Mulhern on his new series, In For A Penny.

Lisa is said to have expected the chop and can look forward to her new role on a new makeover TV show.


She will work alongside Kate Middleton’s hairdresser, Richard Ward, and stylist Erica Matthews, whose work has appeared in a number of high fashion publications, including British Vogue.

Insiders told The Sun Online Lisa was the perfect choice for the show, which is still in the development stage.

The Sun Online has contacted Lisa's representatives for comment.


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The ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Episode Titles Are Here & They Sound Pretty Epic

Netflix gave fans of Stranger Things another glimpse into the show’s upcoming season on Sunday, releasing an ominous new trailer showcasing the names of next year’s episodes. The Stranger Things Season 3 episode titles offer just enough information to leave fans even more eager for the show’s return, especially because the finale’s title hints at a battle of epic proportions.

Sunday’s trailer features the names of each of the season’s episodes appearing on screen one by one, as haunting instrumental music plays in the background. The trailer reveals that the season’s eight episodes have the following titles: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” “The Source,” “The Birthday,” “The Bite,” and “The Battle of Starcourt.” After flashing the episodes’ names across the screen, the trailer wraps up with a simple line alluding to what awaits fans next year. "In the summer of 1985, the adventure continues."

As TVLine reported, Sunday’s preview constitutes the second trailer Netflix has released showcasing Stranger Things’ upcoming third season. The original trailer appeared in July and was a feature for the fictional "Starcourt Mall" — one that was full of 1980s culture references. Notably, Starcourt Mall is also mentioned in Sunday’s trailer, seemingly as the location for the season finale’s battle.

Back in October, Digital Spy reported that series co-creator Ross Duffer reflected on the role of Starcourt Mall in the show’s upcoming third season in a book entitled, Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down. Digital Spy reported that Duffer revealed in the book that the mall will give the season a joyful vibe:

However, Duffer also hinted that there will be an especially dark side to Season 3 as well, explaining that the season is somewhat influenced by The Thing, a well-known science fiction story about a parasitic extraterrestrial being. Duffer ruminated on The Thing‘s influence on the show’s forthcoming season — and on the influence of other horror film directors — in the aforementioned book (as reported by Digital Spy):

Stranger Things fans have a lot to look forward to in Season 3, as the series’ latest trailer reveals. Though, unfortunately, they still have to wait awhile to tune in to these new episodes. Netflix revealed back in July that the series won’t make its 2019 debut until summertime. Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of Original Series, explained to Entertainment Tonight that the show’s producers want to take time to ensure that Season 3’s episodes meet their high expectations. "It’s a hand crafted show. The Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy have worked really hard," she said. "They understand the stakes are high. They want to deliver something bigger and better."

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‘KUWTK’: Khloe Struggles With Major Mom Guilt After Leaving True For The 1st Time

The reality of motherhood hits Khloe Kardashian hard on the Dec. 9 finale of ‘KUWTK,’ but luckily, her own mom comes through with the perfect cure!

Khloe Kardashian gets back to work for the first time since giving birth to her daughter, True Thompson, during the Dec. 9 finale of Keeping Up With the Kardashians…and it’s much harder than she expected. The reality star is thrown right back into work with a mini press tour for her Good American athleisure line, which takes her from New York to Seattle. “Good American is definitely one of my other babies, but it’s crazy because all I can do is think about True and wanting to be with her,” Khloe admits. “What am I missing?! And just…everything.”

Even though True is with her dad, Tristan Thompson, during Khoe’s work trip, she admittedly still has a “ton of anxiety” spending a night away from her daughter for the first time. “I feel bad that Khloe is a little bit stressed out right now,” Kris Jenner explains. “She’s figuring out motherhood. It’s hard leaving your first baby. So it’s going to take a little creativity to take her mind off of what she’s left behind at home and on her Good American launch.” Kris has always been very creative, and comes up with the perfect plan to keep Khloe distracted.

The momager sends a special visitor to Khloe’s hotel room in Seattle — Pierre the Mime! Khloe pranked Kris by hiring Pierre to annoy her months before, and she absolutely lights up when he shows up to surprise her. “The fact that instantly when I see Pierre I have a surge of energy…” Khloe gushes. “I really really love this stupid mime! Hanging out with Pierre is honestly just hysterical and I can’t stop laughing. I’m having the best time. This is just the medicine I needed.”

In the end, Khloe admits Pierre kept her attention off being “super anxious” about leaving her daughter. “I just got to laugh and have a really good time,” she says. “It’s just been a really great experience.” Aww!

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Returning Denman Diva makes it a family affair in Wagga

Denman Diva ($4 early) – by Denman out of a Danehill mare – is already a three-time winner from just seven starts, having won two from three fresh. But she hasn’t run since flopping badly as a short-priced favourite back in late autumn.

Family affair: Kayla Nisbet rides Denman Diva today, which is co-trained by her father John.Credit:Karleen Minney.

In fact, you have to go further back to the spring of 2017 when she was last flying through her short-course grades, but setbacks are part of racing, and for that reason she looms as one of the most intriguing runners returning in the Riverina today. Certainly, if a recent close-up trial performance is any indication, Denman Diva looks ready to rediscover her best.

The rusted-on training partnership of Ron Weston and former leading jockey John Nisbet saddle her up at class 3 level in Race 4 over 1000m. And with the latter’s daughter Kayla Nisbet doing the steering, she may just get the first-up ‘‘map’’ to suit.

Drawn in eight, she is likely to get a nice drag across behind the flying last-start Canberra winner Olifants ($4) who has plenty of early speed and will be desperate to find the front.

And with the Tumut-trained sprinter and topweight Cattledog Cod ($4.80) also likely to sit right on the speed from an inside draw, the field could be broken up early allowing Denman Diva to ease across and find early cover somewhere around midfield. If that happens, she’s capable of running the quickest and strongest last 400m.

Certainly the training duo will be hoping she kick-starts their summer bid after a fairly lean spring, although another mare in stable star Perizada campaigned valiantly across the Sydney spring carnivals at group 2 and 3 level.

Elsewhere on today’s Wagga card, fellow Canberra raider Imanacheeva looks well placed to return to the winner’s stall third-up in Race 5, a lower-grade C1 over the ideal mile.

Trained by Rob Potter and ridden by leading Canberra hoop Richard Bensley, Imanacheeva hasn’t missed by much in two runs back against stronger company, and from an inside draw here this journey looks ideal against moderate opposition.

In fact, it could be a big day for Canberra-based trainers, with the talented four-year-old Greyfell a serious chance in Race 7, a Heat of the Wagga Stayers Series over 1800m.

If you forgive his failure at the Sapphire Coast last start, Greyfell scored an explosive win in weaker company three runs back and then was solid in the market behind Appoint Percy in a much stronger Canberra Federal (1600m), the winner having gone on to run a close second in last Friday’s Mudgee Cup, so the form is well franked.

Best bets:
R4 4. Denman Diva
R5 2. Imanacheeva

Best Value:
R6 2. Le Cavalier

Best Bet:
R4 4. Denman Diva

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Nuns misappropriated $500K in school funds, spending some on gambling: Church

Two nuns at a Catholic church in Southern California are suspected of embezzling up to $500,000 in school funds, allegedly using some of the money to go on trips and gamble at casinos, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told ABC News.

The nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, had been “involved in the personal use of a substantial amount” of school funds “over a period of years,” Monsignor Michael Meyers, pastor for the St. James Catholic School in Redondo Beach — about 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles — wrote in a letter to parents on Nov. 28.

The money came from tuition, school fees and donations and was taken while the nuns allegedly made parents believe that the school was operating on a shoestring budget, The Press-Telegram, a Long Beach, California-based newspaper, reported.

School administration noticed the alleged scam after performing financial reviews “in connection with a change in leadership” at the school, Meyers wrote. The half million-dollar figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ worth of bank records and may not include cash transaction, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents at an alumni meeting last week, according to The Press-Telegram.

Both Kreuper, the school principal, and Chang, a teacher, retired earlier this year, according to The Press-Telegram. A standard audit procedure was initiated about six months ago, ahead of Kreuper’s retirement after 28 years of working at the school, the local newspaper reported.

Around that time, school staff noticed that a check made out to the school had been deposited into a different bank account after a family happened to request a copy of the check, according to The Press-Telegram. Kreuper then became “very nervous and very anxious” about the financial review and requested that staff alert records, and Meyers alerted an archdiocese internal auditor performing the review that “something was off,” Meyers said at the alumni meeting.

The auditor later confirmed Meyers’ suspicions, he said at the alumni meeting. In addition, a tip was made to an archdiocese ethics hotline, The Press-Telegram reported.

“They used the account as their personal account,” an attorney for the archdiocese said during the alumni meeting, adding that they had a “pattern” of going on trips and to casinos, according to the local newspaper.

Kreuper allegedly handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees and before handling them over to the bookkeeping for processing, auditors said at the alumni meeting, The Press-Telegram reported. Kreuper would allegedly hold some of the checks and deposit them into a “long forgotten” bank account opened in 1997 that only she and Chang knew about, auditors said. Those checks would then be endorsed with a stamp that read “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School,” according to the local newspaper.

Although Meyers initially wrote in his letter that the Archdiocese did not wish to pursue criminal proceedings, the spokesperson for the archdiocese told ABC News Sunday that it plans on pursuing the matter as a criminal case now that the investigation has deepened. Other staff members at the church were not implicated, Meyers wrote in his letter to parents.

ABC News could not immediately reach a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for comment.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the order to which Kreuper and Chang belong — has agreed to arrange for full restitution of the funds, Meyers said. The order will also impose “appropriate penalties and sanctions” on the sisters, in accordance with the policies of the order, Meyers wrote. ABC News could not immediately reach the order for comment.

The accused nuns feel a “deep remorse” for their actions and are asking for “forgiveness and prayers,” Meyers wrote in his letter to parents.

“They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school,” Meyers wrote in his letter to parents. “Let us pray for our school families and for Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana.”

St. James Catholic School has initiated additional procedures and oversight policies for financial management and reporting responsibilities, Meyers said.

No student or program has “suffered any loss of educational resources, opportunities, or innovations” as a result of the misappropriation of funds, Meyers wrote, emphasizing to parents that their children’s education “has not and will not be affected by these events.”

ABC News could not reach Kreuper or Chang for comment. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.

ABC News’ Frank Elaridi and Lisa Silverstein contributed to this report.

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‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Reigns for Third Week at Sleepy Pre-Holiday Box Office

AceShowbiz
Ralph Breaks the Internet” still maintained its crown on another quiet weekend at box office. The Disney animated movie added an estimated $16.1 million to its domestic gross for a current total of $140.8 million, bringing its worldwide revenue to $258.1 million so far.

The long-awaited sequel to 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph” narrowly beat “The Grinch“, which also stayed on its position at No. 2 with additional $15.2 million in its fifth week, dropping only 15.4% from last week. The Christmas-themed movie has brought in a total of $322.4 million from North American and international markets against its estimated $75 million budget.


The rest of the top six are non-movers, with “Creed II” placing third by adding an estimated $10.3 million to its domestic gross. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is still at No. 4 with approximately $6.8 million, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” rounds out the top five with approximately $6 million.

Meanwhile, “A Star Is Born” and “The Favourite” saw a significant surge in ticket sales, thanks in part to their Golden Globe nominations. The drama musical rose one slot to No. 11 with an estimated $2.5 million (+38.3%) and the biographical drama climbed up from No. 14 to No. 12 with approximately $1.4 million (+33.4%).

The box office saw little competition as there’s no new wide release this weekend. Some of the new limited releases are “Mary Queen of Scots” starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, which debuted at No. 23 with an estimated $200,000, and “Vox Lux“, which entered the chart at No. 25 with approximately $162,252 opening gross. The latter has garnered early Oscar buzz for Natalie Portman‘s performance as a troubled pop star.

Leading up to the Christmas holiday, “Aquaman” is expected to make a huge splash at North American box office after it debuted to an impressive $93.6 million in China. “Adding to the success of ‘Wonder Woman,’ this is a really solid performance and portends big numbers for North America in two weeks when it opens,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.

Dergarabedian adds, “That gives the film a lot of positive momentum. This is a movie, along with ‘Mary Poppins Returns‘ and ‘Bumblebee‘ and other movies, that’s going to give December that boost that a ‘Star Wars’ movie would give us.”

Top Ten Movies at Weekend Box Office for Dec.07-Dec. 09:

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Meryl Streep Set to Become First Time Grandmother

AceShowbiz
Meryl Streep is reportedly set to become a grandmother for the first time.

The triple Oscar winner’s daughter, “The Good Wife” actress Mamie Gummer, is pregnant, reports Us Weekly.


Mamie, who starred opposite Meryl in 2015 musical flick “Ricki and the Flash“, has been engaged to screenwriter Mehar Sethi since August.

It will mark the 35-year-old’s second marriage; she was previously wed to “In the Heart of the Sea” actor Benjamin Walker from 2011 to 2013. Benjamin has since gone on to marry 26-year-old British actress Kaya Scodelario, and they welcomed their first child in November 2016.

Meryl, 69, and husband of 40 years Don Gummer also share children Henry, 39, Grace, 32, and 27-year-old Louisa.

Talking about her upbringing, Mamie previously shed light on what it was like growing up with such a famous mum.

“Her priority was being our mother, not being a celebrity, and it certainly wasn’t like we had Warren Beatty to the house every Thursday!” she laughed to the Daily Mail. “I think one of the smartest things my parents did for us was to move to the country when we were small, so we weren’t completely consumed by New York or Los Angeles.”

“We did live in LA for a while, but my parents didn’t like it – the film industry’s influence can be overpowering, and mum wanted us to know that being famous isn’t the most important thing in life. We had a very normal family life.”

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