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Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli loves his job. WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood meets him backstage in his dressing room to find out what makes Bruno tick.

The kids at the Academy of Our Lady High School in Marrero found out on Friday that American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson will perform a private concert for the students!

The school won State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive national contest to promote safe driving.

The students got the most people to make a safe-driving commitment as part of the contest.

The school will also take home $100,000! Congratulations!

See below for the news release from the State Farm “Celebrate My Drive” campaign:

Marrero’s ‘Academy of Our Lady’ is Big National Winner in State Farm Contest
New Orleans area high school wins $100,000 grant & Kelly Clarkson concert

New Orleans, LA– Marrero has something extra to celebrate this season thanks to thousands of safe driver commitments made in support of the Academy of Our Lady high school through the Celebrate My Drive® program created by State Farm. The CMD program is awarding grants based on the number of safe driving commitments online made during the contest period, October 18-26. Over 6,300,000 safe driving commitments were made in support of over 3,500 schools throughout the US and Canada.

One hundred schools are receiving grants of either $25,000 or $100,000.  Academy of Our Lady finished #1 in the small school division nationally. That translates into a $100,000 grant, and a private concert for the school by grammy award winner, Kelly Clarkson.  One school in the large school division will also receive a Clarkson concert.  The “win” for the Academy was announced at a school spirit assembly on Friday. The list of all 100 winning schools will be released by State Farm on December 9.

State Farm’s Vice President-Agency for Louisiana, Mark Cockerham, said, “State Farm is extremely proud of the Academy of Our Lady’s efforts to generate excitement among students, faculty, and the entire community to make safe driving commitments and have positive conversations about teen driver safety. It has really paid off for them in a big way.”

In addition to collecting commitments to be safe drivers, the Celebrate My Drive program recognizes a very important and joyous occasion in the life of young people – learning to drive! Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and a teen’s first year on the road is the most dangerous. Using research as a guide, State Farm® is approaching teen driver safety, a winnable public health battle, by engaging teens while they learn to drive in a supportive and positive way.

To stimulate more safe driving conversations, State Farm specified that 10% of these funds are to be used to support ongoing teen driver safety efforts. The need for more awareness around auto safety is supported in the report on distracted driving State Farm released this month. The July, 2013, survey of nearly 1000 motorists shines a light on a growing safety concern: people accessing the internet while driving.  Five years of data show a significant increase in the use of mobile web services while driving.

“Smartphones have introduced another set of distractions for drivers,” said State Farm regional spokesperson, Gary Stephenson. “The dramatic increase in technology, with multiple apps and services represents a significant problem when mixed with driving.  And it’s no longer a problem with just youthful drivers.  Older driver distraction using these devices has increased greatly in recent years as well. We believe the Celebrate My Drive effort has also been positive for older drivers who made safety commitments supporting the school.”

State Farm is using Celebrate My Drive as a tool to amplify the conversation around the importance of education related to teen driver safety.  State Farm agents held more than 800 teen driving safety events between Oct. 18th and Oct. 26th. These community celebrations focused on safe driving habits, emphasizing the benefits of safe choices as teens celebrate the freedom that comes with getting a drivers’ license.

Stephenson added, “State Farm believes that every commitment made in the contest, whether for a winning school or not, helped raise awareness of safe driving practices for the person making that entry. That makes it a win-win for everyone”.

State Farm is the largest insurer of autos in Louisiana, and in the nation.

About Celebrate My Drive:

Celebrate My Drive® is a different approach to a leading public health risk.  Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and a teen’s first year on the road is the most dangerous. Using research as a guide, State Farm is approaching teen driver safety, a winnable public health battle, by engaging teens while they learn to drive in a supportive and positive way.  It’s a community celebration of safe driving habits emphasizing the benefits of safe choices as teens celebrate the freedom that comes with getting a drivers’ license. Learn more about the initiative at www.celebratemydrive.com.

About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood takes you to Hollywood and behind the scenes at ABC’s sitcom “The Neighbors” where the neighbors are from out-of-this world.

Psychic and spiritual healer Sylvia Browne has died.

She was a leader in the paranormal world for decades, appearing on numerous shows including Montel Williams, Unsolved Mysteries and even News with a Twist.

WGNO’s reporter Kenny Lopez asked about the end of the world, President Obama’s re-election chances, and the Saints’ Super Bowl chances (click here to see the video).

She said Obama would be re-elected, that the world would not end, and the Saints would go to the Super Bowl in 2013. We’re hoping she was just a year off on that last one.

Things you never knew about the late night TV host. WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood heads to Hollyood to talk….to the king of talk.

WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood heads to Hollywood to chat with Maria Menounos of TV’s EXTRA.

From the Big Easy to the Big Apple…a Broadway star who grew up in New Orleans is making it big in the Tony award-winning musical, ‘Kinky Boots’.

News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez found out what makes a boot …kinky?

Don’t think because Joey Taranto is a Broadway star in the Big Apple that he doesn’t miss where he came from.

“I do miss New Orleans.  I miss gumbo, my family–especially my family, Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, and I miss Abita Amber.”

New Orleans is in him.

“I certainly had to go to speech therapy to get rid of my accent.  I can’t talk like that on Broadway,”  Taranto said.

He plays a drag queen angel in the 2013’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical, ‘Kinky Boots’.

“I’m in drag, 8 shows a week.  I wear pounds of make-up and six-inch high heels.”

Dancing in those kinky boots isn’t easy.

“Oh man, it’s not for the weak of heart.  My dad went to the show and said, ‘Son, you got nice legs’.  I said that I get them from my mama.”

The high-heeled hit was written by Harvey Fierstein.  The music score is by Cyndi Lauper.  Talk about pressure, he auditioned in front of Ms. Lauper.  He didn’t have anything to worry about.  Lauper sent a voice message to News with a Twist talking about Taranto’s talents.

“I want to give a shout out to Joey Taranto.  Working with him has been such a pleasure.  He’s so awesome when he sings ‘In this Corner’.  The rafters shake in the theater,”  Lauper said.

There’s no better feeling than stepping out on stage for Taranto.

“I wish I could bottle up that feeling and sell it.  I think I’d be a multi-millionaire.  The great thing about achieving dreams is it lets you dream bigger,”  he said.

Taranto said what makes a kinky boot is the size of the heel and you can’t go wrong with red high-heeled boots.

The higher the heel, the kinkier the boot and the bigger the dream, the greater the satisfaction.

“If you come to New York to see the show, please come by and say that you’re from New Orleans.  I will hug your neck.  I’m just so grateful for the opportunity.”

This Broadway performer is currently working on music for a rock album.  He also said he’d love to break into TV.  ‘American Horror Story, which is filmed in New Orleans would be a dream gig.

For more information about ‘Kinky Boots':  kinkybootsthemusical.com

News with a Twist
11/11/13

The Governor’s Wife got cancelled … are you surprised?

No, I haven’t watched an episode of “The Governor’s Wife,” and now it looks like I never will.

Apparently, a show about a crooked ex-governor, who has no skins on the wall (except being a convicted felon) wasn’t good TV.  Imagine that. I’m not too shocked. When national figure Sarah Palin’s show didn’t get past the first four episodes, did you really expect Edwin Edwards to?

The dopey show reveals to America what we already knew: Edwards is joke.  A criminal-minded little man who has so few real accomplishments. A man who was governor of this state for four terms and has absolutely nothing to show for it.  Well, let me correct myself, WE have nothing to show for it.

This looks like it’s the last stand of Edwin Edwards.  The last time we all have to be embarrassed by this joker.  The ratings were absolutely terrible for his TV show and now, like the Governor’s fame and power, it’s gone, cancelled.

Dismal job as governor.  Dismal ratings on TV.  Did you honestly expect anything else from the Edwin Edwards?

Justin Bieber posted some pictures of himself spray painting a wall in Brazil, but there was one picture in particular that’s raising some eyebrows:

Some folks say this image – a gorilla in jewelry – is a racist caricature.

Do you agree? Join the conversation on our Facebook page (and see some more pictures of Justin as an artist below):

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