DENVER (AP) — Ben Higgins, the most recent star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” announced Friday he had abandoned a campaign for public office in Colorado, just two days after filing the required paperwork to run.
Higgins planned to run as a Republican for a Denver state House district that is overwhelmingly Democratic. He filed paperwork to do so Wednesday.
In a statement from Disney-ABC Television Group, Higgins said that “due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to move forward as a candidate.”
“Despite my best efforts to pursue this opportunity in good faith, I recently received information that has made such a pursuit unworkable,” Higgins said.
Higgins was to face Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon, who was recently sentenced to one year probation after pleading guilty to drunken driving in March. Pabon came under fire to resign after police this week released a video of the traffic stop that shows him asking a police officer to call the city attorney or his supervisor before he was arrested.
Higgins appeared last year on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” This year, he was star of “The Bachelor” and lives in northwest Denver with his fiancee, Lauren Bushnell. The two have a new show airing this fall, “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After.”
Dustin Olson, a campaign consultant to Higgins, suggested in a prepared statement that Higgins’ decision wasn’t a strictly political one, but he didn’t elaborate.
“Ben and our team are incredibly disappointed,” Olson said. “Between support from our friends in the Republican Party, building a talented campaign team, and lining up financial support, we were ready to kick off the campaign with huge announcement rally next week.”
ABC-Disney and Colorado’s Republican Party didn’t immediately have comment on the announcement.
Higgins had planned to run on a small-government platform that emphasized advocating for affordable housing and small businesses.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeff Gordon always expected to be at this weekend’s Brickyard 400.
The tricky part was figuring out his role.
One week after Gordon asked his publicist to delay a long-planned announcement that he would drive the pace car before a race he won five times, the four-time Cup champion returned to the 2.5-mile oval as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s replacement and the top attraction in Sunday’s race.
“When (team owner) Rick (Hendrick) said to me, ‘Are you coming to Indianapolis?’ I said ‘Yes I am. I am coming on Saturday,'” Gordon said. “He said, ‘Well, you better bring your uniform.'”
The improbable comeback takes place just a short drive away from his childhood home of Pittsboro, Indiana, and eight months after his official retirement.
He’s back for only one reason: Earnhardt continues to battle concussion-like symptoms and has not yet been cleared by doctors to climb back into the car.
When Earnhardt took himself out of the No. 88 last weekend, Hendrick contacted his long-time star who was vacationing in France. Gordon agreed to pinch-hit when he returned. Gordon then texted publicist Jon Edwards, who contacted the speedway 15 minutes before the scheduled announcement.
For the Rainbow Warrior, this week’s pace has been every bit as frantic.
He flew to New York on Tuesday, then hopped on Hendrick’s plane, bound for North Carolina as Earnhardt was seeing doctors in Pittsburgh.
After landing in Charlotte, Gordon was whisked to team headquarters for a seat fitting. On Wednesday, the day it was announced Earnhardt would miss two more races, Gordon had a physical, applied for driver’s credentials and met with crew chief Greg Ives. Gordon spent the rest of the week watching Go-Pro videos, researching data and working in the simulator before practicing Friday. Qualifying will be held Saturday.
When he arrived at the track Friday, throngs of fans lined up to catch one more glimpse of Gordon.
“This is certainly the last thing I thought was going to happen, but I knew it was Indianapolis,” Gordon said. “I didn’t think about it. I felt like if there was one place that I was capable of doing it, it would be here.”
How much can be expected from a 44-year-old driver who will make his season debut at one of the series’ fastest tracks and on one of the season’s hottest weekends? The heat index is expected to hit triple digits Sunday.
“All I can tell you is that I have done everything I possibly can over the last three days to get ready for this race the best way that I can,” he said.
Gordon is the only five-time Brickyard winner and can become the first driver to ever win six times at Indy.
He’s not eligible to make the Chase — even with a win — because he hasn’t competed in enough races. But if the No. 88 car makes NASCAR’s playoffs and Earnhardt is not cleared to drive, Hendrick could keep Gordon, who kept the door open to running more races if needed.
Earnhardt’s recovery appears to be progressing, though.
“Today is the 1st day in many that I sensed improvement,” he wrote Friday on Twitter. “Seen small gains during my physical therapy as well. Light at the end of the tunnel.”
Earnhardt also missed two races in 2012 with a concussion, causing some concern about the future plans of the series’ most popular driver. Hendrick said he has discussed a contract extension beyond next season but would rather see Earnhardt focus on getting healthy right now.
Until then, other drivers expect Gordon to be an immediate factor.
“He could win it (Sunday) and surprise us,” defending winner Kyle Busch said. “I think realistically, he’ll be top 10.”
It’s not the first time Gordon was approached this season about making a return, either.
He also said he was asked to fill in for the injured Tony Stewart in February at Daytona. Gordon, who was with Stewart when he was injured riding an off-road vehicle, declined the invite because of his commitment to work on Fox Sports’ broadcast.
“I would have been all for it,” Stewart said with a smile. “I mean the least he could have done is, he broke my back, the least he could have done is drive for me.”
Gordon also acknowledged it will be strange to race against Chase Elliott, who took over in Gordon’s familiar No. 24 car after the 2015 season finale at Homestead.
But for now, he’ll put the pace-car driving duties on hold as he tries to win for the 94th time in his career.
“Really, this is just me helping out the organization,” Gordon said. “We will see what happens on Sunday.”
A line of water bottles that contain high levels of lead are among this week’s recalled consumer products.
Here’s a closer look:
DETAILS: Five styles of kids’ insulated water bottles with printed graphics sold at L.L. Bean retail stores, online at www.llbean.com and in L.L. Bean catalogues from July 2015 through May 2016. The bottles are 13.5 ounces capacity with the following color prints: Dino Bones, Flower Power, Orange Grid camo, Purple Tie Dye Butterfly and Robo Shark. The item identification number 297684 is printed on a sticker on the bottom of the bottle. Also printed on the sticker are “PO#844” and “BB2D2-LLB-R45-0413.”
WHY: The lead solder at the exterior base of the bottle contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.
INCIDENTS: None reported.
HOW MANY: About 6,700.
FOR MORE: Call L.L. Bean at 800-555-9717 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or visit www.llbean.com and click on “Recall & Safety Info” at the bottom of the page for more information.
BRACELETS AND NECKLACES
DETAILS: Silver heart bracelets and sweet charm necklaces for children sold at Things Remembered stores nationwide and online at www.thingsremembered.com from February 2015 through June 2016. The 6-inch, silver-plated bracelets have 10 silver hearts and circle links, a lobster claw clasp, and one silver heart-shaped charm. The necklaces are gold plated on a 13-inch box chain with a 2-inch extender, a lobster claw closure and three charms — a pink ice cream cone, a pink crystal cupcake and a gold-plated tag with “SWEET” engraved.
WHY: The clear surface coating on the bracelets and necklaces contain lead in excess of the allowable limit. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.
INCIDENTS: None reported.
HOW MANY: About 6,700 bracelets and 3,300 necklaces in the U.S. Also, 300 bracelets and 100 necklaces in Canada.
FOR MORE: Call Things Remembered toll-free at 866-902-4438 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thingsremembered.com and click on “Product Recalls” under “Company Information” at the bottom of the page for more information.
DETAILS: 2010-2012 Cannondale Bad Boy and Bad Girl commuter bicycles. They were sold in black. Only bicycles with date codes beginning with P, Q and RB through RL are included in this recall. The date code is located on the bottom of the bicycle fork. The frame is matte black. A Cannondale decal can be found on the downtube.
WHY: The bicycle’s fork axle can crack, posing a fall hazard.
INCIDENTS: The firm has received 30 reports of the bicycle’s fork axle cracking, including a report of a fall that resulted in a concussion and bruising.
HOW MANY: About 3,100 from June 2010 through December 2014.
FOR MORE: Call Cannondale at 800-245-3872 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, by email at email@example.com or online at www.cannondale.com and click on Safety Notices and Recalls at the bottom of the main page for more information.
CROSSBOW COCKING DEVICES
DETAILS: This recall involves rope-cocking devices shipped by Crosman Corp. with Centerpoint Sniper 370 crossbows with serial numbers beginning with “015.” The serial number is printed on the right side of the crossbow above the trigger. The Centerpoint Sniper 370 crossbow has a camouflaged stock and measures 36.5 inches long. The rope-cocking device is a rope with a black plastic “T” shaped handle at each end. A pair of black plastic tabbed hooks are connected to the rope. The rope-cocking device measures 45 inches from handle to handle. The words “CENTERPOINT” and “SNIPER 370” are printed on the crossbow’s frame.
WHY: Tabs on the hooks attaching the rope-cocking device to the crossbow string can bind as the device is pulled back, causing the hooks to break and the rope to recoil, posing a risk of injury, including laceration.
INCIDENTS: Crosman has received three reports of broken hooks on the rope cocking device, including one report of a facial laceration.
HOW MANY: About 1,400.
FOR MORE: Contact Crosman Corp. toll-free at 866-583-7340 any time or online at www.crosman.com and click on “Important Safety Notice” at the bottom of the page for more information.
DETAILS: This recall involves Nu Skin Epoch mist diffusers. The diffuser is a plastic bowl with a glass lid and bamboo trim ring, used to diffuse essential oils. “Nu Skin” is engraved in the bamboo on the side of the product. The white and tan diffusers are 6.5 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches in height. The recalled lot numbers are PZ11351, PZ17051, PZ21551, PZ03151 and PZ03451. The lot number is printed on the white plastic on the bottom of the product.
WHY: Mold can develop on the product, posing a health risk to individuals with compromised immune systems, damaged lungs or an allergy to mold.
INCIDENTS: None reported.
HOW MANY: About 44,000 in the U.S. and about 4,800 in Canada and 400 in Mexico.
FOR MORE: Call Nu Skin at 888-238-9465 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.nuskin.com, select United States, click the Contact link at the bottom of the page and then click on “Epoch Mist Bamboo Diffuser Recall” for more information.
VIDEO BABY MONITORS
DETAILS: This recall involves Lorex Care ‘N’ Share video baby monitors. The model numbers included in this recall are WL3520, WL4320 and WL3401. The model numbers are printed on the back panel of the monitor. The monitors were sold in bundles with cameras. The monitors contain a blue lithium polymer battery and measure about 4 inches tall by 5 inches wide. The monitors have a white plastic back and either a white or black border. “LOREX” or “The Lorex Baby” is printed below the monitor screen.
WHY: The video monitor’s batteries can overheat, swell and expand and cause the battery cover to open or come off. This can expose hot batteries, posing a burn hazard to consumers.
INCIDENTS: The firm has received 488 reports of batteries overheating and expanding; about 140 reports involved the swelling of the battery pack, causing its plastic casing to open or come off. No injuries have been reported.
HOW MANY: About 26,000 in the U.S. and 8,000 in Canada.
FOR MORE: Contact Lorex toll-free at 844-265-7388 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.lorextechnology.com and click on “Lorex Baby monitor safety alert and recall” for more information.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on a patrol car video showing a white Austin, Texas, police officer violently throwing a black woman to the ground during a traffic stop (all times local):
A black woman violently thrown to the ground by a white Austin, Texas, police officer during a traffic stop for speeding says she is grateful the city’s police chief has apologized.
Breaion King said Friday she feels the U.S. must come together after newly released patrol car video of her 2015 arrest again raised nationwide tension over police treatment of black people.
Another white officer told King while driving her to jail that black people have “violent tendencies.” That officer went on to tell the elementary school teacher that whites are justifiably afraid because of black violence.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says he is “disgusted” by the comments and has put both officers on desk duty pending an internal investigation.
Prosecutors have also opened a criminal investigation against the officer who threw King to the ground.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled Dylann Roof’s attorney does not have to explain publicly why she wants to keep some evidence out of Roof’s Charleston church shooting trial.
Assistant U.S. Public Defender Sarah Gannett wants to block admission of videos, transcripts and other documents affecting Roof’s constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and self-incrimination.
Gannett asked the court’s permission to file the motion under seal, saying to make it public could affect the court’s ability seat an impartial jury in Roof’s trial in November.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued an order Thursday saying the motion could be filed under seal and asked prosecutors to respond the same way.
Roof faces the death penalty in the shootings of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The origin of “Pokemon Go” is as peculiar as any of the Voltorbs or Snorlaxes that players track and capture in the surprise hit game.
Its hybrid DNA flows from a digital mapping pioneer’s fascination with the world around him, Google’s affinity for offbeat ideas, Nintendo’s comeback quest and a 20-year-old menagerie of animated monsters so popular that it spawned a company just to be its talent agency.
Then all it took was a prank to hatch a mobile video game that has turned into a cultural phenomenon.
APRIL FOOL, POKEMON
Google unwittingly planted the seed for “Pokemon Go” two years ago in one of the many April Fools’ Day jokes the internet company is famous for. In a mischievous 2014 post, Google announced a new training tool, created in conjunction with Pokemon and Nintendo, for hunting Pokemon using Google Maps. Its goal, the company said, was to hire the world’s best Pokemon Master — because it valued technically savvy risk takers who can “navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures.”
The enthusiastic reaction to Google’s fake “Pokemon Challenge” video resonated within Niantic Labs, a little-known startup that had been incubating within the company — particularly with its founder John Hanke.
MAPS AS A LURE
Hanke was at Google because he’d sold it a digital mapping startup called Keyhole in 2004, providing the 3-D satellite imagery used in Google Earth. He’d overseen a number of maps-related projects until 2010, when he hit upon the idea of using maps to lure people outdoors to explore neighborhoods, see notable places and discover new places to eat, drink or just hang out.
With the goal of building mobile apps and games that encouraged “adventures on foot with others,” Hanke named Niantic after a grounded whaling vessel grounded during the San Francisco Gold Rush of 1849 and converted to a storage building. The remains of the original ship were later found buried near a current San Francisco landmark, the Transamerica Pyramid.
The Niantic name is a reminder that “there is lot of cool stuff beneath the surface of things,” Hanke told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview. A Niantic spokesman said Hanke was too busy working on “Pokemon Go” to comment for this story.
Hanke was ready to found his own independent startup until Google co-founder Larry Page persuaded him he could keep Niantic within the internet’s most powerful company.
In 2014, Niantic set out to turn Google’s Pokemon joke into a breakthrough for augmented reality — a still-nascent field that involves layering digital images onto homes, offices, streets, parks and other real-life settings.
In the case of “Pokemon Go,” this involves smartphone cameras and GPS technology that can project cute and creepy “pocket monsters,” or Pokemon, into the real world, at least as viewed through a phone’s screen.
It helped that Niantic had already built a technological foundation for “Pokemon Go” via an earlier mobile game called “Ingress.” The science-fiction game requires players to visit real-world landmarks and other locations to acquire weapons and gear necessary to gain points, acquire territory and battle an opposing faction.
“Ingress” has been downloaded more than 12 million times. It has such a devoted following that Hanke spent a week in Japan earlier this month to attend a live “Ingress” event in Tokyo — just as the rest of his team was struggling to keep up with the intense demand for “Pokemon Go.”
INGRESS TO POKEMON
Niantic’s negotiations for the rights to use the Pokemon characters got a boost from the fact that Pokemon Co. CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara was himself a fan of “Ingress.” Ishihara’s company, originally named Pokemon Center, manages a sprawling franchise that included games, TV shows and movies — essentially the entire cultural sensation created by childhood insect collector Satoshi Tajiri in conjunction with Nintendo.
Nintendo, meanwhile, had fallen on hard times. Just one month after Google’s Pokemon video, the Japanese video-game maker reported its third yearly operating loss in a row as its lackluster Wii U console cratered.
Not only had it failed to recreate the success of its groundbreaking Wii game system, Nintendo had missed almost every opportunity to jump on new gaming trends. It was particularly resistant to the idea of developing or licensing video games for smartphones.
“Pokemon Go” offered a potential way out of its hole. Nintendo still owns the trademark to all the characters and retains a 32 percent stake in Pokemon Co. Similar-sized stakes are held by Game Freak, a company created by Pokemon creator Tajiri, and Creatures Inc., launched by Ishihara.
GOOGLE LETS GO
The final piece in the “Pokemon Go” puzzle fell into place last August, when Google reorganized itself as a holding company called Alphabet that would in turn own a collection of independent subsidiaries — from large ones like Google itself to tiny ones like Niantic.
But Niantic quickly broke free of Google in order to explore opportunities with companies that might be reluctant to partner directly with the search giant, said long-time technology analyst Rob Enderle. “There are a lot of companies out there that are afraid of Google,” he said.
In addition, Google hasn’t demonstrated much prowess in video games, according to Forrester Research analyst Julie Ask. That makes it even more unlikely Nintendo would entrust one of its most valuable properties to a U.S. company solely owned by Google or its parent.
Niantic laid out its plans for “Pokemon Go” last September, and the following month Google, Nintendo and Pokemon agreed to invest $20 million , with a promise to put up another $10 million if an undisclosed set of goals were met.
Pokemon Co. says the additional investment hasn’t been made yet, even though it looks Niantic is hitting all its targets with the precision of a Pokemon Master.
Associated Press writers Yuri Kageyama and Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo contributed to this story.