And then there were two?
January 3, 2017

With the death of Sister Frances Carr, the number of Shakers living in the U.S. is down to two.

Carr, 89, died due to cancer Monday at the Shaker community of Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, surrounded by friends and her nieces. Before she died, Carr said she was hopeful more people would join the Shakers; remaining member Brother Arnold Hadd, 60, said some people have come to Sabbathday Lake in recent years, but they decided not to stay. "Every day the prayers go up that we will get people to come, that we get competent vocations," he told The Associated Press. "It's a calling from God."

Members of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming fled persecution in England, settling in upstate New York in 1747 (critics dubbed them the "Shaking Quakers" because of the way they worshiped at the time). They believe in pacifism, communal ownership, celibacy, and gender equality, and are credited with creating the flat-bottom broom and circular saw. Before the Civil War, there were more than 5,000 followers in 18 communities across 10 states, but the numbers gradually dwindled due to the celibacy of members and the decision to stop accepting orphans into the fold. Now, the only Shaker community is Sabbathday Lake, home to Hadd and 78-year-old Sister June Carpenter. Catherine Garcia

January 8, 2016

There's an outside chance the next Democratic debate could just be a face-off between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. NBC, the host of the next Democratic debate slated for Jan. 17, announced its criteria for candidates to make the stage Friday and, as it stands, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley just barely makes the cut.

NBC's criteria requires that candidates have a polling average of 5 percent nationally or in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, where the debate is being hosted. Right now, O'Malley is polling right at 5 percent in Iowa, but he nowhere near makes the mark in the other states or nationally. If his poll numbers in Iowa were to drop, he likely would not qualify.

An NBC executive has since told CNN that it would round up from "a 4.5 percent if necessary" and that the network expects all three candidates will be onstage, a sentiment shared by Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Sanders' campaign also expressed support for O'Malley's inclusion. "Bernie thinks Gov. O'Malley should be in the debate," a Sanders spokesperson said. "Fair is fair."

The debate marks the Democratic Party's fourth of the election season and its last before 2016 voting begins Feb. 1 with the Iowa caucuses. Both Clinton and Sanders easily made the cut. Becca Stanek

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