Facebook group helps tornado survivors find keepsakes


Morning Rundown

Kids as young as 5 months among those killed in deadly storm: While rescue efforts continued Monday after a swarm of tornadoes tore through communities in the South and the Midwest over the weekend, 88 people across five states were confirmed dead. In Kentucky, which was hit the hardest by at least five tornadoes between Friday and Saturday, Gov. Andy Beshear said there are at least 74 confirmed fatalities, and that number is expected to rise. Beshear, who has two relatives among the dead, fought back tears as he revealed the age range of the victims to be 5 months to 86 years old. Six of the victims are younger than 18. "I don't think anyone could have predicted something as devastating as this," Beshear said. At least 300 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been deployed across the state to help local authorities remove debris, and search for survivors and victims. On Monday, some Kentuckians came forward to share how they survived the storm. Some said they huddled in basements, and put laundry baskets and blankets over their heads to protect themselves when the twisters closed in. Those who were working at a candle factory in Mayfield,

Kentucky, said some were trapped under a water fountain. "This is the worst thing I've ever had to go through," one resident said. Amid the devastation, Beshear said that he is trying to stay positive. "We are still hoping for miracles," he said. "We are finding people and every single moment is incredible.

"WHO says omicron spreads faster and vaccines are less effective against it: As data from Johns Hopkins University confirmed 50 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on Monday, the World Health Organization said in a technical brief that the omicron variant appears to have a "growth advantage" over the delta variant. "It is spreading faster than the delta variant in South Africa where delta circulation was low, but also appears to spread more quickly than the delta variant in other countries where the incidence of delta is high, such as in the United Kingdom," the WHO said. "It is likely that omicron will outpace the delta variant where community transmission occurs." It's unclear how severe omicron is compared to delta, but the WHO noted that omicron's spike protein suggests that vaccines may be less effective against it. Meanwhile, amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, California reinstated an indoor mask mandate from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. Restaurants in the city of Philadelphia are also requiring proof of vaccination beginning Jan. 3.

Kim Kardashian says she passed California's 'baby bar' exam: Kim Kardashian told her 269 million Instagram followers Monday that she passed California's "baby bar" exam on the fourth try. The entrepreneur and "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star broke the good news with a glamorous picture posted to social media. "I am really proud of the woman looking back today," she wrote. "I failed this exam 3 times in 2 years, but I got back up each time and studied harder and tried again until I did it!!!" The First-Year Law Students' Examination helps assess the preparation of lawyers-to-be for a given state's bar exam. Kardashian, who didn't take the traditional law school route, said that in California, law students need to take two bar exams and the first exam has a harder pass rate. She said her dad, famed O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian, "would be so proud" of her and she told others in the same boat to never give up. "Set your mind to it and get it done because it feels soooooo good once you get to the other side!" she wrote.

Facebook group helps tornado survivors find keepsakes from miles away: When a tornado "completely flattened" Lara Beth Wynn's home in Princeton, Kentucky, she said the only salvageable item that was found at the site of her home was a pillow with a photo of someone's grandfather. She posted a photo of the pillow on a Facebook page, Quad State Tornado Found Items, that was created in the wake of the tornadoes, and heard from Shelly Groves, a resident of nearby Benton, Kentucky, whose stepfather, Frank Brown, was the owner of the pillow. Finding the pillow meant a lot to Brown, who told "GMA" that the pillow was made after his father-in-law passed away in 2019. Thanks to social media, some have been reunited with important keepsakes that were swept away in the storm. But many are still looking for photos, Christmas presents, handmade quilts, awards, marriage certificates and even Social Security cards in the rubble. Brown, who said feels lucky to be alive, hopes people will get the chance to find their belongings like him. "If there's any way you can get it back to them, I believe they'd be greatly appreciative," he said. "It might be the only memory they have of a certain event or certain person."