Chicago Tribune Owner Plans To Acquire Rival Sun-Times

Chicago Tribune parent company Tronc announced plans Monday to purchase the Chicago Sun-Times, a deal which would bring the two biggest newspapers in the third-largest U.S. city under a single owner.

Tronc ? formerly Tribune Publishing ? promised in a statement that it would preserve the Sun-Times? ?independent voice? if it completes an acquisition of Wrapports Holdings, which owns the Sun-Times and other media assets, such as The Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly. Tronc, which also owns several major newspapers outside Chicago, including the Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun, sent a letter of intent to buy Wrapports if no other bidder comes forward by June 1. Tronc?s chairman, Michael Ferro, was the majority shareholder of Wrapports before he took control of Tribune Publishing a year ago.

A deal that would have been unthinkable when newspapers were huge profit generators is emblematic of the industry?s sagging fortunes. Some major U.S. cities have long been left with a single daily newspaper, and others, like Chicago, could see two longtime rivals join together in an attempt to stay afloat. 

Tim Knight, president of the TroncX division of Tronc, said in a statement that the acquisition would be the ?latest in almost a decade of transactions between the owners of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times,? adding that the rivals have previously forged agreements over distribution and printing operations. The Sun-Times newsroom would remain independent if a deal goes through, the Tronc announcement said. 

Still, the potential sale raises antitrust concerns, and the Justice Department announced Monday it will investigate the plan and monitor ?whether any other viable buyer expresses interest.?

The possibility of Tronc expanding its portfolio comes several months after giant newspaper chain Gannett dropped its long-running bid to buy the publishing company last year. 

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‘Bachelor’ Stars Ben Higgins And Lauren Bushnell Split After Over A Year Together

Sadly, another ?Bachelor? couple has ended their engagement. 

Ben Higgins, who starred on Season 20 of the ABC franchise, has officially called it quits with his fiancée, Lauren Bushnell, according to People. The two shared a statement on their split: 

It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways. We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time.

Cue lots of tears.

Higgins and Bushnell got engaged ahead of the season premiere of ?The Bachelor? Season 20 in January 2016. Although they had to keep their relationship a secret while the season played out on the air, it was pretty clear that Higgins had a special bond with Bushnell right from the beginning. She beat out runner-up ? and future Bachelorette ? JoJo Fletcher for his heart and a Neil Lane diamond ring. 

Rumors of a split have been floating around for months, but Higgins shot down any speculation with an Instagram post in February. 

In October 2016, the couple revealed they were in couples therapy, with Higgins telling People at the time, ?We?re not the perfect couple. Far from it! But we are trying really hard, and we love each other a lot … ?Bachelor? or not, our life is not easy to navigate. We have our struggles. But we won?t give up. And for every argument, we?re stronger for it.?

The pair, who debuted their own reality series, ?Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?,? on Freeform in October, moved in together last April in Denver, Colorado. (Clearly, the show won?t be back for a Season 2, but at least we still have the Ferguson twins!) 

Bushnell, who?s now a lifestyle blogger, hasn?t posted a photo of Higgins in a month. The former Bachelor, however, just shared a picture of his former love last week, writing, ?Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin Luther King Jr.? @laurenbushnell continues to spread love while some feel it is their responsibility to spread hate, she is a light in this world. Proud of my gal, @laurenbushnell got me .?

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101-Year-Old Sets Record As World’s Oldest Skydiver

A 101-year-old thrill seeker in the United Kingdom landed in the record books on Saturday when he became the world?s oldest tandem skydiver.

Verdun Hayes completed his jump from an airplane 15,000 feet above the ground in Devon, England, at the age of 101 years and 37 days young.

?Beautiful,? he told the BBC. ?I?d do it again tomorrow. I would, truthfully. It?s lovely.?

Canadian Armand Gendreau previously held the record with his June 2013 jump from 10,000 feet in the Quebec area. He was 101 and three days old at the time, according to CNN.

Hayes said he got the idea to skydive around the time he turned 90 years old, but his wife wouldn?t let him. She has since died, according to The Guardian.

Hayes, a World War II veteran, took his first jump last year to celebrate his centenarian birthday.

?A lot of people ask me how I?ve lived so long,? he told The Telegraph. ?I?d say, ?Just keep breathing!??

Hayes made this year?s jump to raise money for the Royal British Legion, a veterans support group. Ten members of his family also made leaps as part of the event. 

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There’s A Nursery That Takes Care Of Hundreds Of Adorable Kittens

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Newborn felines are some of the cuddliest members of the animal kingdom. But their diminutive stature?and the level of TLC they need to survive?makes them extra vulnerable, too. That’s why the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) Kitten Nursery, the first of its kind in the U.S., cares exclusively for fragile fuzz balls.

Very young kittens, even healthy ones, require almost round-the-clock attention: They have to be fed roughly every three hours and need help regulating their body temperature. “Not all shelters have the resources, so kittens are euthanized in droves,” says Gary Weitzman, SDHS president and CEO. “They’re one of the most at-risk animal populations nationwide.” The kitten nursery opened in 2009 to help remedy that. In 2016 alone, it cared for?and eventually adopted out?nearly 3,500 very young cats.

During “kitten season”?from March to mid-November, when cats give birth?the nursery, run by 20 staffers and about 200 volunteers, is open 24 hours a day. Though the group’s life-saving efforts are Herculean, its tools are anything but. “We brush their backs with toothbrushes,” says Weitzman, “because it simulates the roughness of their mother’s tongue.” Nap time means dozing inside Easter baskets or child-size travel neck pillows. The young felines may be more demanding than other SDHS residents, but staffers don’t mind. Says Weitzman, “Nobody complains about working in the nursery.”

 

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‘New Girl’ Squeezes Out One More Season On Fox

It looks like the ?New Girl? gang will be back at the loft for a few more months.

Variety reports that Fox has renewed the sitcom for a seventh and final season. According to sources, the season will consist of only eight episodes. 

The series, which stars Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone, started off strong when it premiered in 2011 but recently experienced a dip in the ratings. And at the end of the sixth season, some fans were wondering if the season finale would be the series finale.

Last month, on the eve of the final episode of Season 6, Johnson told HuffPost that he didn?t know what Fox had planned for ?New Girl,? but that he hoped longtime fans would enjoy the way the series ends, whenever that might be. 

?What I really in my heart believe, I just want the core fan base, the people who love the show, I want them to be happy. And I don?t actually know what that ending is,? he said, adding, ?I just want this TV show to end in a way so that the people who have committed six years of their lives to it, who have cared about it ? I don?t want to let them down.?

There are plenty of storylines to explore down the line with (spoiler alert!) CeCe and Schmidt?s baby news and the romantic way things ended for Jess and Nick. We?re also keeping our fingers crossed for one more ?True American? drinking game. 

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