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Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

Couples looking for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day don’t need to book a table at a fancy, high-priced restaurant. For the 11th year, Waffle House is taking reservations.

>> Read more trending news

Waffle House? 

“I would kill you if you took me there for Valentine’s Day,” my wife said, narrowing her eyes and casting them toward the living room couch.

OK, it’s not for everyone, but Waffle House takes its Valentine’s Day dinners seriously. At 170 locations across 17 states across the Northeast, South, Midwest and as far west as Texas, Waffle House will dress up its restaurants with candlelights, tablecloths and flowers. 

"A perfect Valentine's dinner consists of soft music, great food and a welcoming atmosphere," Walt Ehmer, Waffle House CEO, said in a news release. "And we have all three waiting for those who are ready."

>> Waffle House to host romantic Valentine’s Day dinner

Waffle House began its Valentine’s Day tradition in 2008 at its location in Johns Creek, Georgia. Ehmer said the concept is growing every year.

“It’s really a bucket-list experience,” he said in the release.

So, if Bert’s ChiliAlice’s Iced Tea and Waffle House’s traditional fare of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and hash browns make you dewy-eyed and sentimental, now is the time to make reservations.

. So, go ahead and scrap the box of chocolates you were planning on buying, make a reservation at Waffle House, and serve your sweetheart Papa Joe’s pork chop, Bert’s Chili, or the cheesesteak omelet of their dreams.

Here is the full list of locations.

WATCH: Choir students sing national anthem from all floors of Kentucky hotel, wowing guests

A man woke up to a lot of commotion in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency in Louisville, Kentucky, days ago, but when he realized that the “noise” was actually a stunning rendition of the national anthem, he made sure to have his camera rolling.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: No players knelt during the Super Bowl national anthem

Garrett Mager soon learned that the Kentucky State Choir Finals were to explain for all of the youthful voices collected in one place.

He said that he witnessed a “proud #American moment tonight” when he heard the performance live, and it seems many others who watched Mager’s video agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Not only has the video been shared more than 600,000 times since Wednesday, Feb. 7, it’s also been watched more than 24 million times.

>> Read more trending news 

“Had a proud #American moment tonight. Woke up in my hotel hearing a lot of noise outside in the lobby. I went out and found this. The Kentucky State Choir Finals schools are all staying at my hotel,” Mager wrote on Facebook. “They decided to sing the National Anthem together on every single floor. #Amazing.”

The comments on Facebook were overwhelmingly positive, with many saying the performance brought tears to their eyes and gave them chills.

>> On Rare.us: Pink nails National Anthem despite flu diagnosis

Others echoed Mager’s thoughts, saying they were proud to be an American.

WKYT reported that the performance is an annual tradition and that more than 650 students took part.

Ginger Zee of 'Good Morning America' welcomes baby boy

Congratulations are in order for “Good Morning America’s” Ginger Zee, who just welcomed her second child – a baby boy – with husband Ben Aaron.

>> On Rare.us: Omarosa goes to war with Robin Roberts after being called out on live TV

The meteorologist gave fans a first look at her bundle of joy Saturday when she shared a photo of her newborn’s feet.

“8lbs 7oz, 21.5,'” she captioned the post, adding three blue heart emojis.

>> See the post here

>> On Rare.us: Ginger Zee revealed the startling amount of weight she lost during 'Dancing with the Stars'

On Friday evening, just one day after appearing at the Red Dress / Go Red For Women Fashion Show in New York City, Zee announced the news on Twitter with a photo of her oldest son Adrian, writing, “Scrubbed in, delivered a healthy baby boy and got a cookie to celebrate. It’s been a good day.”

>> See the post here

Zee announced her pregnancy in August while she was delivering the national weather forecast.

>> Read more trending news 

“This is the breaking news part. There’s a lesser-known visual phenomenon that’s about to happen on our maps only for the next five months,” she teased viewers at the time while the southwest and southeast portions of the country were highlighted on the screen behind her. “These areas are going to have a shadow from my belly because I’m pregnant.”

On Thursday, her “GMA” costars threw her an on-air baby shower to celebrate and to shower the happy mom with lots of love.

Internet cat community mourns death of Oskar the Blind Cat

Oskar the Blind Cat, who touched and entertained people around the world, has died. He was six years old.

Oskar’s death was sudden, his owners reported Monday on their social media channels. The cause of death was likely heart failure. Oskar showed no signs of illness before his death. 

>> Read more trending news 

Oskar was born in May 2011 on a farm in Iowa. He was born with a severe form of microphthalmia, a genetic condition which prevented his eyes from fully developing. Oskar was adopted the same year by Mick and Bethany Szydlowski, a couple in Nebraska who began to chronicle life with a blind cat on social media. The couple have another cat, Klaus, a former stray who quickly became Oskar's sidekick. A YouTube video of Oskar playing with the air from a hair dryer went viral, launching him into internet stardom.

In addition to sharing the antics of Oskar and Klaus, the Szydlowskis use social media to promote adoptions of special needs animals across the country. The couple and both cats moved to Seattle in 2012.An outpouring of condolences from other internet cat celebrities and their owners followed the news of his death.

People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves

How a person talks and types can tell you a lot about their mental health.

» RELATED: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

According to new research published in the journal “Clinical Psychological Science,” certain language may help identify whether someone is suffering from depression.

For their study, the researchers conducted a computerized text analysis of 63 internet forums including more than 6,400 members in total.

>> Read more trending news 

They hypothesized that individuals in “anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation” forums would have a “more black and white view of the world,” study author Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi wrote in an academic article. The researchers believed this view of the world would manifest itself in absolutist language, using words such as "always," “nothing” or “completely.”

» RELATED: When love isn’t enough: A daughter’s suicide leaves a grieving father searching for answers

When compared to 19 control forums, Al-Mosaiwi wrote that that the prevalence of such absolutist words was approximately 50 percent greater in anxiety and depression forums, and approximately 80 percent greater for suicidal ideation forums.

In addition to absolutist language, the scientists found that those with symptoms of depression used significantly more first person singular pronouns, such as “me,” “myself” and “I.” They used significantly fewer second and third person pronouns − “they,” “them” or “she.”

» RELATED: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame? 

“This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others,” Al-Mosaiwi wrote. “Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words.”

That doesn’t mean everyone who uses the language associated with depression is actually depressed. Researchers note it’s how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering.

But the new findings are a testament to using machine learning to help identify mental health problems. According to Al-Mosaiwi, researchers have already started using computerization to study specific subcategories of perfectionism, self-esteem issues and social anxiety.

» RELATED: Perfectionism is a major issue for millennials and their mental health, study says 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year −that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. And according to recent data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

More resources:

Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families

Suicide prevention resources for teens

Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss

More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Atlanta Mood Support: DBSA Metro Atlanta

Love chocolate? Cadbury is hiring 4 taste testers

If you love chocolate -- really love chocolate -- a job listing by Cadbury owner Mondelēz International looks like a sweet deal.

>> Read more trending news

The company is looking for four people as taste testers for its latest chocolate products, Birmingham Live reported.

Mondelēz International is seeking candidates to sample Cadbury, along with products like Oreo. Also, the taste testers will pass judgment on cocoa drinks, Birmingham Live reported.

This is not a job that takes up 40 hours. Testers will spend eight hours a week sampling chocolate so they do not suffer “palate fatigue.”

Last year, Mondelēz International hired one taste tester after receiving 6,000 applications, Birmingham Live reported.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 16. For details, visit the Mondelēz International website.

Cafe manager tells breastfeeding mom to cover up

An Apopka restaurant is facing social media backlash Wednesday after one of its managers told a mother who was breastfeeding her baby to cover up.

Manager Bridget Tarassenko told WFTV investigative reporter Karla Ray she didn’t know that a state law allows women to breastfeed almost anywhere.

>>> Read the Florida statute here <<< 

Mother Amber Wilkie told Eyewitness News that in late January, she ordered enough food for her toddler and middle school-age child, but her 8-month-old, Savannah, needed to eat too.

>> Read more trending news 

"I was getting ready to feed her because she was hungry. It had been a couple of hours," Wilkie said. 

Wilkie said she started breastfeeding Savannah uncovered in the restaurant, which she said she's always done.

"It's purely natural to breastfeed a baby," Wilkie said. 

>>> Read other 9 Investigates stories <<<

Natural or not, Tarassenko told WFTV that she had never seen someone openly breastfeeding in her restaurant before. 

“I didn’t know how to react to it. I wanted to protect her privacy because I had other customers in there as well. I asked her to cover up, and the next day I was being harassed on social media,” Tarassenko said.

Many of the posts 9 Investigates found online pointed out the Florida law, which states, "A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be." 

"You can breastfeed your baby anytime, anywhere you need to, covered or uncovered; that is state law," Wilkie said.

Meet Lucas, first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome

The world has a new Gerber Baby. 

Meet Lucas, the 1-year-old baby from Dalton, Georgia, who is now the face of Gerber, USAToday reported. He’s also the first company “spokesbaby” with Down syndrome, the “Today” show reported

>> Read more trending news 

Lucas’ mom Courtney Warren told “Today” that she entered her son’s photo on a whim, using Gerber’s hashtag on Instagram. The family found out that Lucas had beaten 140,000 other kids to win the title of 2018 Gerber Baby, “Today” reported.

Gerber’s CEO and president, Bill Partyka, said, “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby. This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”

Lucas’ mom hopes that people see more than his disability.

“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” Warren told “Today.” “He’s got an awesome personality and he goes through the milestones of every child ... We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability.”

Being named 2018 Gerber Baby isn’t the only honor bestowed on Lucas. He also will receive $50,000 that his parents hope to use for his education, Time magazine reported.

When can you go back to work or school if you have the flu?

While battling the flu, your body needs couch time to rest and recover. After a few days, maybe you are getting very bored with daytime TV and eager to get back into your routine.

But colds and the flu are very contagious and it’s important not to rush going back to school and work.

This year is a particularly harsh flu season. 

Here’s some guidelines on how long you should stay home:

How long to stay to home 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol. You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.

Check with your child's daycare or school before sending your child back. Many have rules and it’s generally at least a full day after they don't have any fever without medication.

How long is a person with the flu contagious?

In general, about a week. People with the flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. However, children and people with weakened immune systems can infect others for longer periods of time, especially if they still have symptoms.

What should you do while while sick: 

Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a face mask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.

MORE: How to protect your family from the flu at school, work

MORE: Have the flu? Atlanta archbishop advises ill Catholics to skip Mass

MORE: 8 things you need to know about this year’s really bad flu season   

READ: The agony of ER waits: Flu season is making them worse 

READ: Father of Coweta teen who died of flu asks, “Why?”

Group of North Carolina coworkers wins $200K Powerball prize

A tradition of playing Powerball together led a group of 10 North Carolina coworkers to a $200,000 lottery win.

“We’ve been playing the Powerball every week for the last three years,” Ronald Lute of Lincolnton said. “We each pitch in $10 and get our tickets.”

>> Read more trending news 

On Jan. 20, Lute stopped by Bob’s Superette in Lincolnton and got tickets for him and his fellow Ethan Allen employees, WSOC reported.

[PAST COVERAGE: Caldwell Co. woman wins lottery twice in one day]

Dale Hedrick of Newton was the first one to realize they had a winning ticket.

“I checked my phone Sunday morning,” Hedrick said. “I just kept looking at the numbers. I looked at them so many times, I memorized them.”

Hedrick immediately called Lute to tell him, but he didn’t answer, so he called Anthony Rowe of Conover instead. 

“I couldn’t believe we actually won something after playing all these years,” Rowe said.

Eric Dellinger of Lincoln was the last to find out. He didn’t learn about the win until three days later. 

“I was on vacation,” Dellinger explained. “I didn’t answer my phone because I thought it was work. I couldn’t believe it when I finally found out. It’s exciting.”

Dennis Setzer Jr. of Sherrills Ford, Roger Smith from Lincoln, Matthew Hedrick from Catawba, Randy Jones from Lincolnton, Randy Heavner from Lincolnton and Johnny Moss from Newton are the other co-workers who won.

The group claimed their prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, WSOC reported.

After required state and federal tax withholdings, they each took home $14,100. They all said they plan to save the money or use it to pay bills.

The winning ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. It matched the numbers on the four white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. Because the ticket had the $1 Power Play feature, the prize quadrupled to $200,000 when the 4X multiplier was drawn.

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