Children Playing in the Woods Find Body of Missing Teacher After Her Suicide

A missing elementary school teacher in Maine who vanished from her home early last week was found dead on Friday afternoon after killing herself.

Via People:

Children who were playing in the woods near the home of Kristin Westra discovered her remains, according to authorities.

An autopsy performed over the weekend determined Westra, 47, died by suicide, according to a statement from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

The body of the mother of two, who disappeared overnight from her home late on Sept. 30 or early Oct. 1, was located deep in the woods behind her house in North Yarmouth.

According to her husband, Jay Westra, he and Kristin went to bed about 8 p.m. on Sunday. But Kristin, a teacher at Chebeague Island School, was gone when Jay awoke on Monday — leaving behind her phone, car and keys. Jay reported her missing soon after.

Authorities had been searching for Kristin ever since, using drones and a number of canine units.

Kristin’s relatives reportedly said that she was dealing with some anxiety and stress before going missing, but, “the thought of her doing this to her family is completely out of the norm,” her brother, Eric Rohrbach, told ABC News.

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Cardi B Speaks on Her ‘Breaking Point’ with Nicki Minaj in ‘W’ Magazine

In the mag, she revealed what transpired leading up to the moment she attempted to fight Nicki Minaj at the Harper’s Bazaar ‘Icons’ party earlier his year.

Photograph by Mickalene Thomas; Styled by Kollin Carter. W Magazine.

“For a while now she’s been taking a lot of shots at me,” she said of Minaj, jiggling her leg. “I spoke to her twice before, and we came to an understanding. But she kept it going.” Her breaking point came when she saw that Minaj had liked, and then unliked, a tweet disparaging Cardi’s mothering skills, something Minaj has denied. “I was going to make millions off my Bruno Mars tour, and I sacrificed that to stay with my daughter,” Cardi went on. “I love my daughter. I’m a good-ass fucking mom. So for somebody that don’t have a child to like that comment? So many people want to say that party wasn’t the time or the place, but I’m not going to catch another artist in the grocery store or down the block.”

You can read more from her interview by clicking here.

Sears is Preparing To File Bankruptcy

Hedgie Eddie Lampert may be preparing to cut his losses on Sears Holdings just prior to a huge debt payment due next week.

The long-troubled iconic retailer has been working with M-III Partners to prepare what may appear to be a prepackaged bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this week, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

M-III Partners has been working the past couple of weeks at Sears Holdings’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., people familiar with the situation told the Journal.

Sears has a $134 million debt payment due this coming Monday and it doesn’t look like they will be able to pay the debt.

Lampert — Sears’ and Kmart’s chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor — is reportedly looking for a larger ­restructuring than just anteing up more cash to bail out the cash-strapped retailers.

The hedge-fund billionaire is looking to cut more than $1 billion from Sears’ $5.5 billion debt, unload another $1.5 billion worth of real estate and sell $1.75 billion in assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand, according to the Journal report.

On Tuesday, Sears brought in corporate-restructuring pro Alan Carr as a director.

He currently runs a restructuring-advisory firm and previously worked as a restructuring lawyer at Skadden, Arps, according to the report.

Sears and Kmart have lost more than $11 billion since 2011, and their annual sales have dropped nearly 60 percent in that period to $16.7 billion, according to the report.

Sears, once the world’s largest retailer, has struggled in the face of declining foot traffic in its stores.

Starbucks To Kick in For Babysitting While Baristas Serve Coffee!

Starbucks Corp. will now offer subsidized childcare for all of its U.S. employees. The new benefit, a partnership with childcare provider Care.com Inc., will provide 10 subsidized backup daycare days for parents for instances when regular care falls through. In-home backup childcare will cost $1 an hour or $2 an hour after the 4th child. Care at a daycare center will cost $5 per day.

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Credit: Getty Images

“We felt like it was important to make this accessible,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks. “We wanted to have as low a possible cost.” Unlike some of Starbucks’s other benefits, which require employees to work 20 hours before they can access them, Care@Work is available to more than 180,000 U.S. employees, regardless of how much they work.

This is awesome because parents pay almost as much for childcare as they do for rent, and when it falls through or there’s an unexpected day off from school or daycare, a parent either has to stay home or scramble to find a solution that may result in having to quit the job due to inconvenience. Subsidized childcare is a rare benefit. Only 2 percent of more than 3,000 employers surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2018 say they help employees pay for childcare fees. Only 4 percent offer backup child care services. All companies should offer help with childcare or even offer an onsite daycare service. With the way society is moving and more families working, its best companies go ahead and invest more into the job security of their employees by helping them to stay at work.

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Credit: Getty Images

Retailers and restaurants have been trying to improve their perks to retain employees amid a very tight labor market. Amazon.com Inc. just announced it’s boosting wages to $15 an hour in November for its current and seasonal workers. In January, Starbucks committed to spend $250 million on new employee benefits, including a pay boost for domestic workers after the federal tax overhaul.

 

 

Author/ Actress Briana Cole Offers 5 Helpful Tips for Starting out in your Acting Career

It’s Time To Act Right!

Briana Cole is a published author and young emerging actress. The Atlanta native is a proud mother of two. Her motto and ultimate drive towards success is a famous quote from Mae West: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

“When I write novels, I am bringing moments to life through my character development, plots and narrative flow. When I am acting (whether in film or theater), I am bringing someone else’s characters to life through my physical actions, my performance. In both mediums, I am on a journey, pursuing what I enjoy while learning and applying my knowledge and experiences along the way.”

A dual creative, Briana Cole, known as the “lit drama queen’ is a featured new voice with Dafina/Kensington and an actress appearing in the upcoming season of TV One’s docu-series, Fatal Attraction. Here she offers some tips to those with acting aspirations, who are just getting their feet wet.

Develop additional skills. Take a dance class, learn to speak another language, learn to ride a motor vehicle. All of these special skills will certainly set you apart and looks great on your acting resume. I signed up for a Combat and Weapons Training for Actors class where we will learn basic hand-to-hand combat (slaps, punches, etc) as well as weapon handling (how to draw/hold a gun, etc). This type of training gives me a significant advantage over other actors.

Invest in a Professional Head shot. Even your best selfie won’t land you the audition. Nothing screams unprofessional more than an unfocused photo, selfie, or group photo where you have cropped your friends out. Do some research and find a cost-effective photographer in your area that specializes in head shot photography. Often times, students are more than willing to assist because they are looking to build up their own portfolio. Acting is a very competitive industry and when directors are getting inundated with submissions for their roles, they are weeding through quickly. If a casting director doesn’t think you’re serious enough to invest in your career with a professional photo, they will find someone else.

Master your video audition. Video auditions are recorded auditions which can really expand your opportunities. Typically, the casting director sends you instructions on creating and submitting the footage, along with your lines (or sides). You can either self-tape at home or in a professional studio. However, make sure you have good lighting, a good quality camera, your lines memorized, and a reader, or someone off-camera to read any other lines from the script, if necessary. This allows for you to remain in character while acting and reacting in the entire scene. I booked the lead role for TV One’s Fatal Attraction solely off of my video audition.

Be determined not desperate. The acting and modeling industry is a prime breeding ground for scammers. Don’t be so eager to “make it” that you find yourself conned out of money or worse, in some kind of danger. The age-old slogan still holds true: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Network with actors, specifically. The value of networking with other actors comes in handy and can help weed out scams.  At the end of the day, our journeys are all different and you can very well pull a Pamela Anderson and end up discovered without a single head shot or acting class. However, it’s good to adequately equip yourself. Above all, believe in yourself and keep pursuing your passion because you have something that needs to be shared.

Briana Cole is a featured new voice with Dafina/Kensington for her upcoming novel, The Wives We Play, publishing in January 2019.

Follow her on Social Media:

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @bcoleauthor &  www.brianacole.com

Circle of Sisters’ Delivered a Day of Unity, Entertainment & Sisterhood

Daytime EMMY AWARD nominated talk show host Wendy Williams, Bobby Brown, Devon Franklin, Rev.  Al Sharpton, David & Tamela Mann, EnVogue, Naturi Naughton, Cynthia Erivo, Kenya Moore & Remy Ma – were all  upfront, candid and informative!

Photography Credit: Hayden Greene
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Wendy Williams

New York, NY (September 30, 2018) – The Annual Circle of Sisters EXPO closed with the highest number of attendees, 40,000, to date at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, Saturday, September 29, 2018.

“We are amazed each year and this year was no different – more celebrities, attendees, shopping opportunities and simply a stupendous Saturday for all. Every year, we commit to making Circle of Sisters bigger and better than before. This year was beyond all expectations,” says Charlie Morgan, Senior Vice President/Market Manager WBLS/WLIB. “From the panel discussions to the music performances, star-studded gospel concert and vendor marketplace, Circle of Sisters was a success. It was truly memorable event for the community.”

Hayden Greene - The Manns
David & Tamela Mann

Circle of Sisters remains the largest EXPO in New York City celebrating and uniting women of color. Highlights of the day included Daytime EMMY AWARD nominated talk show host Wendy Williams returning giving a keynote, a special Ask Wendy segment and receiving special recognition from WBLS/WLIB and a proclamation presented by Ingrid Martin-Lewis, Senior Advisor to the Brooklyn Borough President, Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

Singer and entrepreneur Bobby Brown kicked off the day and shared his thoughts with an up close and personal interview with WBLS’s very own Déjà Vu and iconic R&B group EnVogue and the amazing Vivian Green rocked the performance stage with an amazing performance.

Hayden Greene - Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown

The day was filled with today’s hottest celebrities from the stage and screen – actors, performers and music artists. From TONY Award-Winning Cynthia Erivo to Power’s Naturi Naughton to R&B singer and Real Housewife of Atlanta’s Kenya Moore as well as renowned preacher, author, producer Devon Franklin and our favorite couple David and Tamela Mann — all gave the community ‘honest and real’ conversation. From relationship advice to delving into the State of Black America, rap artist Remy Ma joined Rev. Al Sharpton, WBLS’ Raqiyah Mays and Ann Tripp to set a framework for the community.

Hayden Greene - Remy Ma
Remy Ma

The 2018 EXPO also featured a sold-out Metro PCS Gospel Explosion, with performances today’s leading gospel artists Bebe Winans, Byron Cage, Koryn Hawthorne, Charles Jenkins, Brian Courtney Wilson and Maranda Curtis.

Hayden Greene -Charreah Jackson Kenya Moore and Devon Franklin
Charreah Jackson, Kenya Moore, Devon Franklin
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EnVogue

This year topics on sisterhood, relationships and social advocacy were front row, not to mention hundreds of vendors selling everything imaginable — all under one umbrella allowed for a New York City “must-do” experience.

A Few Quotes from Panel Discussions

#BlackGirlMagic

Don’t take no for an answer. Believe in yourself and have your own personal value—that’s how you will last in this industry for a long time.” – EnVogue

“To have black girl magic, it’s really recognizing that magic that’s in yourself first.” – Naturi Naughton

“Don’t let the brown [skin], don’t let the dark eyes, don’t let the natural hair stop you.” – Bernice Holmes

State of Black America: How to Make Our Voices Heard in this Political Climate

“None of us would have existed had it not been the backbone of our black women. Black women stood up and brought us back every time. We have got to be involved. We have to be sensitive to where we are—where we are with our voting rights, where we are with health care, where we are with gender rights?”  – Al Sharpton

“When I first began, my main objective was to just be good at rapping … but as time goes by, you start to realize that people are actually listening to you and you have things you want to say outside of music.” – Remy Ma

“It’s not easy. There’s not a short-term solution to handle things. You have to get into the trenches, you have to raise your voice as loud as you can even if sometimes you don’t understand what you’re fighting.” – Ashley G. Sharpton

Dating, Marriage, Love & The Internet: How to Make it All Work

“There’s too much of a stigma put on how you meet a person. God may use online dating more than he may use the church to bring you the right person because people can hide in church … find the person, however God brings them to you.” DeVon Franklin

“The worst mistake you can make is to get married before you know yourself.” Charreah K. Jackson

“The most important thing [about online dating] is honesty. You have to be honest” Kenya Moore

Living in The Gospel

“Let’s stop talking about what God can do and walk in what you can do. We should come to the table with everything he’s given us and let’s challenge each other in the church, so that we can use our skills, our talents for God to multiply that through obedience.” Dr. Stacie NC Grant

“We have to forgive debts for our debts to be forgiven. That’s the only way.” Brian Courtney Wilson

“You have to have time for God” Maranda Curtis

Circle of Sisters (COS) is the largest expo for women of color in New York City with more than 40,000 attendees. Produced and hosted by WBLS-FM/WLIB – AM and Emmis Communications, COS hosts a variety of panel discussions, seminars, gospel concert in addition to nearly 300 vendors and small businesses selling unique items and services. The EXPO is accented by an avalanche of captivating elements in which participants can attend informative and empowering panel discussions led by authors, field experts, political figures and some of the biggest names in entertainment.

 

 

 

SPONSORS

AARP, Army, AT&T, BLK APP by Match.com, HealthFirst, Major World, McDonalds, MetroPCS, MetroPlus Health Plan and Spectrum

 

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Rock the Vote for “Lexi,” Semi-Finalist in the Sally Beauty Cultivate Competition

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DMV’s own Lexi is a semi-finalist in the Sally Beauty Cultivate Competition. At age thirteen, this young entrepreneur is making major moves in the beauty industry!

Child author Lexi P. is a creative and adventurous tweenpreneur with a big imagination and even bigger hair. She is an honor-roll student who loves to serve her community. She is an active Girl Scout member who eagerly mentors younger girls in her troop. Lexi has a passion for writing and saw the need to share her personal lessons about learning to love herself. In her debut book, Curly Girls Love Your Curls, Lexi did just that. The book received such positive response from young girls across the globe, this inspired Lexi to create the hair care line “Curlanista” designed to help girls’ curls pop non-stop! –Curlanistas.com.  She shared a positive message about how loving your natural hair reinforces the importance of self-esteem. Her second book, The Ice Cream Talk: Loving The Skin You’re In, expands the topic of self-love even more. This bright young author is a strong believer in following your dreams and believing in yourself. Through what she is envisioning as a series of children’s books, Lexi P. plans on sharing with the world her many adventures and life-lessons.

In 2017 she was selected by Verizon to be featured in their #Weneedmore initiative which exposes youth to careers in STEM and entrepreneurship. In Lexi’s public service announcement with Verizon she shared her story on being a kidpreneur. Lexi uses her platform to inspire other kids to follow their dreams.  Since then Lexi has been invited to speak at schools and other forums inspiring other kids to pursue their goals.

Lexi now needs your help to push her amazing brand further. Cast your vote for Lexi’s Curlanista hair-care. The winner will receive a $25,000 business grant, mentorship and product placement in Sally Beauty Supply store!

Vote for Lexi “CURLANISTAS” Today! 

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Photographer Paul Greene

Purchase Curly Girls Love Your Curls! 

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Photographer Paul Greene

 

Be sure to check out her website by clicking Here!

 

Stephen Curry Takes a Shot at Producing for Hollywood

Steph Curry Variety Cover Story
Credit: MATTHIAS CLAMER FOR VARIETY

Stephen Curry, 30, is stepping into a new playing field which consists of producing films!

Via Variety:

His focus is no longer divided now that his wife, Ayesha, is weeks away from delivering their third child and first son, Canon W. Jack Curry. “I actually thought the baby was going to be here yesterday,” he says, nervously patting the mobile phone inside the pocket of his UnderArmour sweatpants. “It was kind of a false alarm. But I’m on alert right now.”

Fatherhood isn’t the only matter far from the basketball court that’s getting more of Curry’s attention today. The afternoon will take him to offices he keeps in Oakland for another new feature of his postseason: development meetings. He announced in April that he was getting into the entertainment business by way of a wide-ranging dealbetween the production company he had formed, Unanimous Media, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The All-Star guard sat down with Variety to talk at length about the details of his new venture, including several films already in development — just one part of an ambitious partnership that aims to extend as far as video games, virtual reality and consumer products. But films and TV are the focus of the deal, with concentrations in three core areas: faith, family and sports.

When Curry saw a few years ago what Lebron James and other athletes were starting to do in the entertainment space, he was intrigued. He turned to Jeron Smith, a former Nike brand manager and White House deputy director of digital strategy during the Obama administration, for guidance.

“As we talked about what he wanted to do with his brand and where he wanted to go, he landed on this North Star: Stephen wants to inspire as many people as possible,” says Smith. “There’s no more effective way to touch broad audiences and inspire as many people than with the sharing and dissemination of content globally.”

Credit: MATTHIAS CLAMER FOR VARIETY

Serena Williams Has Not Spent a Single Day Apart From Daughter Olympia Since Her Birth

Serena Williams has been very busy being a mom.

The tennis star, 36, revealed on Twitter Wednesday that she has not spent a single day apart from her daughter Olympia since giving birth to her on Sept. 1, 2017.

“319 days since I gave birth to this amazing baby @OlympiaOhanian I’ve spent 319 of those days with her,” Williams said, adding, “I’m so fortunate.”

The mother of one also shared an adorable photo of 10-month-old Olympia sound asleep on her chest during a plane ride.

A mother’s job is a full time duty so its beautiful that she is doing everything to balance the quality time with her daughter and her career.