Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. More cold, snow slamming Rockies to Carolinas
A nasty winter storm is carrying snow from the Rocky Mountains to the beaches of the Carolinas, with a messy commute also in store for parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Meanwhile, cold records across the Northeast and Midwest continue to tumble thanks to a bitter blast of Arctic cold still lingering from the weekend. Newark, New Jersey, hit a low of 2 degrees on Tuesday, smashing the previous record set 79 years ago and making it the coldest Feb. 24 since records began. Records also fell in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Another chilly blast is already brewing north of the Canadian border and is likely to plunge much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation into a fresh freeze by Thursday. Read more in NEWS.
2. VA secretary apologizes for misstating military record
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday after he was caught on camera falsely saying he served in the military special forces. The VA website says McDonald is an Army veteran, although he served with the 82nd Airborne Division — not the special forces. The White House issued a statement Monday saying, "We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he's doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation's veterans." Read more in NEWS.
3. Hospitalized college students shine spotlight on Molly
Four Wesleyan University students remained hospitalized Monday over the apparent use of the drug Molly. In total, 12 people had been taken to the hospital on Sunday after taking the refined form of Ecstasy the night before. Molly, meanwhile, might remain a mystery to some Americans, although millions are believed to have used one form of it recreationally, experts say. Read more in HEALTH.
4. Las Vegas attack that killed mom wasn’t road rage: husband
The suspect in the fatal shooting of a Las Vegas mother of four appeared in court for the first time Monday as his lawyers argued the shooting was not a case of road rage. The husband of slain nurse Tammy Meyers seemed near tears as he vowed to return for each of Erich Nowsch's hearings. Nowsch's lawyers, brothers Conrad and Augustus Claus, said the case had been incorrectly labeled as a "road rage" incident, but they didn't offer a different account of the Feb. 12 attack, which began with a traffic altercation and ended with an exchange of gunfire in which 44-year-old Meyers was killed outside her home. Read more in NEWS.
5. Recreational marijuana now legal in Alaska
After Alaska voters in November approved the use of recreational marijuana, the ballot measure officially kicked in Tuesday. Smoking in private places is legal, but the measure has left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out. The initiative bans smoking in public, but doesn't define what that means, and lawmakers left the question to the alcohol regulatory board, which planned to meet early Tuesday to discuss an emergency response. Read more in NEWS.
6. Mother of four wins North Carolina Powerball
Sometimes dreams come true. Marie Holmes, a 26-year-old single mother of four, officially claimed North Carolina's Powerball winnings worth $188 million on Monday. She shared an overall $564 million jackpot with a winner from Texas, who has not come forward, and a winner from Puerto Rico, who was allowed to stay anonymous. Holmes said at a ceremony that she's happy that she'll be able to give her children what they need — but she will still tell them "no" despite that family's windfall. Read more in NEWS.
And now this ...
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly, the stars of the Oscar-nominated film "The Imitation Game," are calling for the pardon of 49,000 gay men convicted under Britain's anti-gay laws in the 1900s. One of those men was computing pioneer Alan Turing, the subject of "The Imitation Game".