Hurricane Ian left tiny Pine Island shattered – but these residents aren't leaving. Alec Baldwin reaches settlement with family of cinematographer killed on "Rust" set. And who is the fattest bear of them all? It's Fat Bear Week.
👋 Hello! Laura Davis here. It's Wednesday. Hope you're having a good week. Let's get to the news!
But first, this cockroach could be a lifesaver. Don't worry, it's not a real cockroach. It's a cyborg – which somehow makes it sound worse. Anyway, researchers in Japan are working on remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches they hope can help find survivors after earthquakes. Check it out.
On devastated Pine Island, everyone should probably leave. They aren’t.
Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida's Pine Island with 150 mph winds, snapping telephone poles and trees, ripping roofs from homes, and tumbling mobile homes and RVs. Access to the mainland is available only by boat. Residents are now facing hard choices. Those whose homes survived face a long crawl back to normal. Some lost their homes entirely. And businesses won't reopen until they rebuild, and even then, will the tourists come back? How the people of Pine Island are dealing with the aftermath.
Photos: Hurricane Ian's path of destruction leaves Pine Island in shambles.
Migrants are helping to rebuild Florida – but they might not get paid for it.
The last moments of Hurricane Ian's victims, told in grim details.
This Florida woman survived her 'biggest mistake' in Hurricane Ian. Why experts say many others didn't.
Biden, DeSantis meet to assess Hurricane Ian recovery
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to storm-ravaged areas of Florida on Wednesday to assess the recovery and meet with families. Biden surveyed the destruction by helicopter, then met with Gov. Ron DeSantis for public remarks to discuss the storm's aftermath. Ian, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S., also is expected to be one of the costliest. The death toll – which stands at 72 – will likely rise as search-and-rescue efforts continue. More updates.
Settlement reached in 'Rust' shooting lawsuit
Alec Baldwin and the production company behind the troubled Western film "Rust" have reached a settlement in the lawsuit filed by the family of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on set last fall. As part of the settlement announced Wednesday, her husband, Matthew Hutchins, will serve as an executive producer on the movie, which will resume production in January. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and the Santa Fe district attorney's office indicated the agreement would have no bearing on the criminal case.
Alec Baldwin case: What's going on with the police investigation?
What everyone's talking about
Marion Cotillard chops hair in protest of Iranian Mahsa Amini's death.
Angelina Jolie says Brad Pitt 'choked' one of their kids, hit one in the face.
Biden, Trump, DeSantis: A 2022 hurricane previews the 2024 election.
Fed rate hikes: What will and won't become more affordable?
Love on the high seas: What it's like to find love on a cruise ship.
Poppin' virtual tags: Put $20 in your PayPal and hit up Goodwill's new online thrift store.
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Putin claims nuclear plant as Russian military struggles
Ownership of the beleaguered Zaporizhzhia power plant was claimed by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, hours after he signed laws annexing four regions of Ukraine. The plant – Europe's largest nuclear facility – has been the focus of deep global concern. Both sides blame each other for bombings that have damaged parts of the plant and threaten to trigger a catastrophe, international nuclear experts warn. The plant's Ukrainian director was kidnapped Friday and released this week by Russian forces who occupy the facility. Ukrainian workers continue to operate the plant, which halted power generation last month. More from Ukraine.
Armed guards going door-to-door: A look at how Russia staged an election to annex Ukraine.
'Rent-a-banks' are replacing payday loans – with triple-digit interest rates
For millions of low-income Americans who need a loan, "rent-a-banks" are eager to provide. And consumer watchdog groups are sounding the alarm. This unsecured debt, which means it doesn't require collateral like houses or cars, can include lump-sum loans or lines of credit. At triple-digit interest rates. Lenders say they are providing cash to borrowers in need who can't turn to traditional banks because they have low credit scores and are considered high risk. But critics say borrowers are often worse off after they get the loans. Keep reading.
📬 Hit with high rates? We're taking a deeper look into these loans, and we want to hear from you.
'We are going to have encounters': Coyote found in California school bathroom.
Google settles for $85M in privacy suit over 'deceptive' location tracking.
Fan who caught Aaron Judge's record-breaking 62nd home run isn't sure what he’ll do with it.
Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward refused to answer questions before Jan. 6 committee.
Purdue student killed in residence hall, police say; roommate in custody.
FBI investigating after US Border Patrol fatally shoots Mexican man in El Paso.
South Korea-US missile drill malfunctions after successful North Korea launch.
🌤 What's the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.
May the bulkiest bear win
It's time for another election – but this one is the most wholesome of them all. In honor of Fat Bear Week, the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska is sponsoring a March Madness-style bracket, inviting the public to vote on who they think is the heaviest bear of them all. A total of 12 of some of the biggest bears along the Brooks River are competing for the title. But no fat-shaming, please! It's essential for bears to gain weight this time of year. With winter around the corner, hibernation means they won't be eating for a while. Ready to meet the bears? Check out the chonky contenders here.
Fat Bear Week isn't just fun and games. For these animals, it's 'all about survival.'
Test your bear knowledge: While they gorge on salmon, dig in to our bear trivia.
A break from the news
☝️ Bookmark this: How to clean a carpet or rug with baking soda.
🤖 Which is the best robot vacuum? Our expert weighs in.
🐾 Get their tails wagging: The best dog gifts for dogs, dog moms and dads.
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden in Florida, Hurricane Ian, Alec Baldwin 'Rust,' Fat Bear Week, Ukraine. Wednesday's news.