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TODAY Show reports,

When the fifth-grade basketball squad known as the Central Illinois Xpress racks up another win as the only girls team in its all-boys league, tears are often shed.

“After we beat them, some of the boys cried,” point guard Anne Rupnik told Dylan Dreyer on TODAY Tuesday. “We didn’t really like them crying. We just wanted to win, but we don’t want to see them cry.”

Profiled by The New York Times, the Xpress are 8-2 in their intramural league based in Springfield, Illinois, with a team of nine girls who are 10 and 11 years old. The team plays under the direction of coach Tariq Toran, who is an assistant coach for a local Division III men’s college team and previously served as an assistant for a semi-pro men’s basketball team. Toran’s daughter, Kaleah, 10, is a member of the team, which Toran coaches just like he does when working with adult men.

grils bball


TODAY Show reports,

In November 2011, TODAY aired a Jeff Rossen hidden-camera investigation that revealed some locksmiths charging hundred of dollars for a simple job. Three years later, the Rossen Reports team set up the same scenario to see if things had changed.

Hidden cameras were installed at a suburban house in West Hempstead, New York. As in the 2011 investigation, a licensed locksmith installed simple locks on the home’s door, which he said any real locksmith would be able to pick easily. Posing as a homeowner locked out of their house in the rain, a TODAY producer summoned several locksmiths to the home,

Rather than picking the lock, the first locksmith drilled through it right away. He was happy to sell the faux homeowner a new one for $170. Afterward, when Rossen revealed himself and asked why the locksmith hadn’t tried to pick the lock first, he replied: “Because it was an emergency.”

The next locksmith also pulled out his drill, and ruined another lock. His price tag: $210. “Are you trying to rip this woman off?” Rossen asked him afterward.

“No I’m not. I cannot pick that lock,” the locksmith replied before speeding off.

In fact, nearly every locksmith who came charged more than $200. The last one tried to shimmy the door open without trying to pick the lock, then pulled out his drill. He charged a whopping $415.

“The lady is outside in pouring rain; you think I’m going to stand for half an hour trying to pick the lock?” the final locksmith asked Rossen afterward. “In the rain? ”

“You think it takes about half an hour to pick the lock?” Rossen replied. “We’re going to have our expert show you.”

pick lock


TODAY Show reports,

Esaw Snipes-Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, dismissed the apology of the police officer who placed her husband in a fatal chokehold, telling TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie it came far too late.

“The time to apologize or have any remorse, like I said yesterday, would have been when my husband was screaming he couldn’t breathe,” she told Guthrie on Thursday, the morning after a New York grand jury decided against indicting police officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Garner’s husband, 43, was unarmed when he died last July shortly after Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. The entire confrontation was captured on video.

On Wednesday, thousands took to the streets of New York City — as well as cities across the country — protesting the grand jury’s decision, bringing traffic to a standstill and shutting down major highways. However, no major violence was reported, unlike the looting and arson that broke out barely a week ago in Ferguson, Missouri, following a grand jury there that failed to indict a police officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown last August.

Esaw Snipes-Garner, who was joined by MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton during the interview, also spoke about:

    • Her reaction upon hearing the jury’s decision: “I started bawling. I started crying because it’s not fair. It’s not fair. What did they not see? How could they possibly not indict?” she said. “I felt hopeless, I felt like there was not another corner to turn, like there was nothing for me to fight for.”

    • Her lack of faith in the local legal system: “From the beginning I had no faith in Staten Island prosecuting anybody from Staten Island,” she said. “I just didn’t have any type of encouragement. I felt no remorse, no compassion — anything — from Staten Island, besides the people.”

    • Sharpton said legal changes need to be made to ensure that authorities do not get preferential treatment when investigated: “Most cops are not bad but bad cops have got to be adjudicated outside of just local prosecutors.”

all and garner

TODAY Show reports,

A former employee of NBC Entertainment who says he worked for Bill Cosby has come forward to claim he regularly brought young women to Cosby’s dressing room. He also says he was asked to send money to multiple women over the years.

Frank Scotti claims that as Cosby’s right-hand man, it was once his job to guard the door after bringing young women to Cosby’s dressing room in Brooklyn, but that he doesn’t know what went on behind closed doors.

“I felt like a pimp,” Scotti, 90, told Kate Snow in an interview that aired on TODAY Monday. “Every time he had somebody I had to watch, I had the girl stay there. I felt dirty.”

“It appears that his story is pure speculation so that he can get his 15 minutes of fame,” Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, told NBC News.

Scotti also claims he was asked by Cosby to send money to various women, sometimes thousands of dollars a month, and that he has come forward to speak out in their defense.

“I just felt, you know, he’s not the person I thought he was,” Scotti said.

Cosby has never been charged with a crime, but 18 women have now publicly accused the comedy legend of sexual assault or attempted assault. The actor has always denied allegations of assault.Some of the facts claimed by Cosby’s accusers about situations that occurred decades ago have sometimes been conflicting or inconsistent. Still, many of the women tell similar stories all these years later.

cosby emplyee

Today Show reports,

Tessanne Chin may have won season five of “The Voice,” but that doesn’t mean she’s closed off to advice. In fact, as she told TODAY, when her hero Celine Dion offered a suggestion, she immediately took it to heart: “Wait to have children.”


Today Show reports,

One day software engineer Patrick McConlogue was walking to work in New York City when he decided to make an unorthodox offer to a homeless man.

He approached Leo Grand, who lives on the streets, and gave him a choice: $100, or a laptop and the opportunity to learn how to write computer code. Along with the second choice McConlogue pledged to spend an hour a day for two months teaching Grand a valuable job skill.

“I came to an immediate decision,’’ Grand told TODAY Monday. “The hundred dollars will last you for a short time. Learning how to code will last you for a lifetime.”

So McConlogue, 23, bought Grand, 37, a laptop and three textbooks, and began teaching him the language of computers. It was a lifeline for Grand, a computer lover who said he’s been sleeping in shelters for two years since the rent at his former apartment shot up and he was evicted.

Grand has proven to be an apt student under McConlogue’s tutelage. “The speed at which I’m going through these lessons is insane,’’ McConlogue told TODAY. “We barely cover things twice. His memory is really, really good.”

The lessons are going so well, in fact, that Grand is working on a free app designed to promote carpooling to combat global warming. He hopes to land a job and a place to live soon, while helping defy stereotypes about the homeless.

“All homeless people are mentally ill, lazy, unintelligent — that’s the stigma,’’ he said. “It doesn’t really matter [about] your living arrangements as long as you’ve got the mindset to do it and the will.”

“You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day,’’ McConlogue said. “You teach a man to fish, and you watch him change the world.”

Today Show reports,

Weeks after the FAA relaxed rules to allow the use of personal electronic devices during all phases of flight — a running list of which airlines are allowing gate-to-gate use is here — the FCC is getting in on the cellphone plane party and considering letting passengers talk and text across the whole country.

“…the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

The public reaction was swift and overwhelmingly negative. Some passengers said they would consider changing their airline loyalty if their go-to carrier decided to allow in-flight calls.

“100 percent. I’m a frequent flier on one particular airline but if they made that change I would consider making that change for sure,” a passenger at Washington-Dulles told TODAY.

When the TODAY show asked, “Should the FCC allow cellphone calls on planes?” 96 percent of responding viewers using the hashtag #orangeroom said “NO.”

Today Show reports,

After spending nearly 10 years in prison for second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, Ryan Ferguson is a free man.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Ferguson told Savannah Guthrie in his first live interview since leaving prison on TODAY Wednesday. “Seeing the light come out and the sun come up, it’s pretty incredible.”

Ferguson, who said Wednesday he hadn’t slept since his release, told Guthrie his new life of freedom is “beyond my comprehension.”

“When I finally realized it was actually over it was incredible relief because I was afraid,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what going to happen next. They don’t really tell you a whole lot. It was a sensation like no other, and seeing my family right there and hugging them, and knowing that we were going to go home together, it was amazing.”

“It’s the best feeling ever,” said Ferguson’s father, Bill. “We just feel like we rescued him from the pits of despair.”

Ferguson was convicted in 2005 for the beating and strangling of newspaper editor Kent Heitholt on Halloween night in 2001 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. On Nov. 5, the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated Ferguson’s murder conviction, with Judge Cynthia Martin ruling that Ferguson did not receive a fair trial and that “his verdict is not worthy of confidence.”

The appeals court ordered that Ferguson, 29, be released if prosecutors did not file notice of a retrial within 15 days. On Tuesday, prosecutors announced they will not retry Ferguson and that all charges are dropped.

‘Today Show’ announced today that Savannah Guthrie is the new co-anchor of TODAY. She also serves as TODAY’s chief legal analyst and is now officially part of the team with Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales Monday, July 9.

R. Kelly is suffering complications from throat surgery and is canceling  promotional appearances for his new album and memoir.

Kelly’s rep says

the singer was on his way to New York on Wednesday morning when he became ill and returned to Chicago for medical treatment. Kelly had surgery last year to treat an abscess on his vocal cords.

His new album, “Write Me Back,” and his memoir, “Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me,” in stores now.

We will keep you posted on when he will be back in action.