Today in History: Feb. 14

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Today is Thursday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2019. There are 320 days left in the year. This is Valentine’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman identified as a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing 17 people in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years earlier.

On this date:

In 1663, New France (Canada) became a royal province under King Louis XIV.

In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.

In 1903, the Department of Commerce and Labor was established. (It was divided into separate departments of Commerce and Labor in 1913.)

In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.

In 1913, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was born in Brazil, Ind.; college football coach Woody Hayes was born in Clifton, Ohio; sports broadcaster Mel Allen was born in Birmingham, Ala.

In 1929, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone’s gang were gunned down.

In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.

In 1876, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. (The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.)

In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.

In 1984, 6-year-old Stormie Jones became the world’s first heart-liver transplant recipient at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (she lived until November, 1990).

In 2013, double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa; he was later convicted of murder and is serving a 13-year prison term. American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.

In 2017, a former store clerk was convicted in New York of murder in one of the nation’s most haunting missing-child cases, nearly 38 years after 6-year-old Etan Patz (AY’-tahn payts) disappeared while on the way to a school bus stop.

Ten years ago: Savoring his first big victory in Congress, President Barack Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to celebrate the just-passed $787 billion economic stimulus bill as a “major milestone on our road to recovery.” Jazz drummer Louie Bellson, who’d performed with Duke Ellington and Bellson’s late wife, Pearl Bailey, died in Los Angeles at age 84.

Five years ago: Drawing a link between climate change and California’s drought, President Barack Obama said the U.S. had to stop thinking of water as a “zero-sum” game and needed to do a better job of figuring out how to make sure everyone’s water needs were satisfied. An attempt by the United Auto Workers to organize employees at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, fell short in a 712-626 vote. Jim Fregosi, a former All-Star who’d won more than 1,000 games as a manager for four teams, died in Miami at age 71.

One year ago: Stormy Daniels’ manager said the porn star now believed she was free to discuss what she said was a sexual encounter with Donald Trump; she believed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had invalidated a non-disclosure agreement. After initially appearing to cast doubt on allegations that former aide Rob Porter had abused two ex-wives, Trump declared that he was “totally opposed to domestic violence.” South African president Jacob Zuma, whose tenure had been marked by scandals, resigned after being ordered to do so by his party, the African National Congress.

Today’s Birthdays: TV personality Hugh Downs is 98. Actor Andrew Prine is 83. Country singer Razzy Bailey is 80. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is 77. Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 76. Movie director Alan Parker is 75. Journalist Carl Bernstein is 75. Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is 72. TV personality Pat O’Brien is 71. Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) is 71. Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (doo-SAY’) (Beausoleil) is 68. Actor Ken Wahl is 62. Opera singer Renee Fleming is 60. Actress Meg Tilly is 59. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 59. Singer-producer Dwayne Wiggins is 58. Actress Sakina Jaffey is 57. Actor Enrico Colantoni is 56. Actor Zach Galligan is 55. Actor Valente Rodriguez is 55. Rock musician Ricky Wolking (The Nixons) is 53. Former tennis player Manuela Maleeva is 52. Actor Simon Pegg is 49. Rock musician Kevin Baldes (Lit) is 47. Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) is 47. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 47. Actress Danai Gurira is 41. Actor Matt Barr is 35. Actress Stephanie Leonidas is 35. Actor Jake Lacy is 33. Actress Tiffany Thornton is 33. Actor Brett Dier is 29. Actor Freddie Highmore is 27.

Thought for Today: “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” — P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975).

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