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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Delaware County Residents Still Waiting For Power After Irene

Some Delaware County Residents Still Waiting For Power After Irene

WALLINGFORD, Pa. (CBS) – Peco says it is working to restore power today to the majority of its remaining blacked-out customers — but some people aren’t holding their breath as they survey the damage left by Hurricane Irene.

For example, forget about driving — or even walking — down Wilder Road in Wallingford (photo).

“The tree hit the wires and knocked them down,” says resident Ida, who hasn’t had electricity since the storm passed through Saturday night.

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Nutter Looks Back, And Forward, At Philadelphia’s Crime Fighting Efforts

Nutter Looks Back, And Forward, At Philadelphia’s Crime Fighting Efforts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Mayor Nutter today unveiled a five-year crimefighting strategy that includes closer ties between police and the community.

While looking ahead, the mayor also checked the rearview mirror, looking at midyear crime statistics comparing 2011 to the previous four years.

He notes that when he took office in 2008, bringing police commissioner Charles Ramsey on board from DC, there were 6,638 officers in the department and they planned to hire 400 more over two years.

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Philadelphia Police Officer Surrenders To Face Rape Charges

Philadelphia Police Officer Surrenders To Face Rape Charges

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia police officer has been charged with rape after allegedly assaulting a woman in the back of a squad car.

A 32-year-old woman claims she was waiting for a bus at 52nd and Market Streets, when she spotted a police officer and flagged him down for a ride.

The officer, identified by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, was 27-year-old Keith Corley, a four-year veteran of the force.

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Venus Williams pulls out of US Open with illness

Venus Williams pulls out of US Open with illness

AP Photo
Venus Williams, of the United States, pumps her first after defeating Vesna Dolonts, of Russia, 6-4, 6-3 during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Venus Williams pulled out of the U.S. Open shortly before her second-round match Wednesday, saying she was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.

The 31-year-old American, the champion at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, played her first match in two months Monday, when she beat Vesna Dolonts 6-4, 6-3 in the first round. Williams was supposed to face 22nd-seeded Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday.

Williams had cited a virus when withdrawing from hard-court tuneup tournaments between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

"I enjoyed playing my first match here, and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to," Williams said in a statement released by the tournament. "I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon."

According to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation website, the disease is a chronic autoimmune illness in which people's white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Common symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth. As many as 4 million Americans have the disease.

Williams arrived at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday hours before her match was scheduled to begin and tried warming up by hitting balls.

When Williams left the site shortly before 5 p.m., wearing a white sweater and purple shorts, she was asked by reporters whether she would say anything. She smiled and waved and shook her head to indicate, "No," then climbed into the back of a tournament transportation car and rode away.

"All of us came with the full expectation she'd be playing today. She was geared up to play her match," said Williams' agent, Carlos Fleming.

"I just hope she's OK," Fleming added, "and I hope she's healthy and going to be fine."

Despite having won seven Grand Slam singles titles, Williams was unseeded at the U.S. Open because her ranking has fallen to 36th after a year of little action. Since reaching the semifinals at last year's U.S. Open, Williams has played only 11 matches, and the WTA projects that her ranking will slide out of the top 100.

Her younger sister Serena, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, is scheduled to play her second-round match Thursday.

After her victory Monday, Venus Williams was asked about the illness that caused her to skip tournaments this summer. She said that night she had been diagnosed, but wouldn't say with what.

"It was just energy-sucking, and I just couldn't play pro tennis," she said Monday. "It was disappointing, because I had huge plans for this summer, of course, to improve my ranking. To miss out on all those points was definitely devastating. Just to miss so much time off tour was just disheartening. But I'm just really excited to be back."

Lisicki said she saw Venus Williams on the practice courts and in the locker room and expected to play their match - until the tournament referee passed along the news of the withdrawal.

"She's a tough girl, and I think she'll come back. You know, it would be unfortunate if she couldn't," Lisicki said. "Serena and Venus both are amazing players, and it's nice to have them in the women's sport. I hope she comes back."

NYPD monitored where Muslims ate, shopped, prayed

NYPD monitored where Muslims ate, shopped, prayed

AP Photo
In this Aug. 18, 2011 photo, people pass below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which is above a mosque on Fulton St., in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York. Working with the CIA, the New York Police Department maintained a list of “ancestries of interest” and dispatched undercover officers to monitor Muslim businesses and social groups, according to new documents that offer a rare glimpse inside an intelligence program the NYPD insists doesn't exist.

NEW YORK (AP) -- From an office on the Brooklyn waterfront in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York Police Department officials and a veteran CIA officer built an intelligence-gathering program with an ambitious goal: to map the region's ethnic communities and dispatch teams of undercover officers to keep tabs on where Muslims shopped, ate and prayed.

The program was known as the Demographics Unit and, though the NYPD denies its existence, the squad maintained a long list of "ancestries of interest" and received daily reports on life in Muslim neighborhoods, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The documents offer a rare glimpse into an intelligence program shaped and steered by a CIA officer. It was an unusual partnership, one that occasionally blurred the line between domestic and foreign spying. The CIA is prohibited from gathering intelligence inside the U.S.

Undercover police officers, known as rakers, visited Islamic bookstores and cafes, businesses and clubs. Police looked for businesses that attracted certain minorities, such as taxi companies hiring Pakistanis. They were told to monitor current events, keep an eye on community bulletin boards inside houses of worship and look for "hot spots" of trouble.

The Demographics Unit, a team of 16 officers speaking at least five languages, is the only squad of its kind known to be operating in the country.

Using census information and government databases, the NYPD mapped ethnic neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Rakers then visited local businesses, chatting up store owners to determine their ethnicity and gauge their sentiment, the documents show. They played cricket and eavesdropped in the city's ethnic cafes and clubs.

When the CIA would launch drone attacks in Pakistan, the NYPD would dispatch rakers to Pakistani neighborhoods to listen for angry rhetoric and anti-American comments, current and former officials involved in the program said.

The rakers were looking for indicators of terrorism and criminal activity, the documents show, but they also kept their eyes peeled for other common neighborhood sites such as religious schools and community centers.

The focus was on a list of 28 countries that, along with "American Black Muslim," were considered "ancestries of interest." Nearly all were Muslim countries.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that the NYPD does not take religion into account in its policing. The inclusion of American black Muslims on the list of ancestries of interest suggests that religion was at least a consideration. On Wednesday, Bloomberg's office referred questions to the police department.

How law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, can stay ahead of Islamic terrorists without using racial profiling techniques has been hotly debated since 9/11. Singling out minorities for extra scrutiny without evidence of wrongdoing has been criticized as discriminatory. Not focusing on Muslim neighborhoods has been equally criticized as political correctness run amok. The documents describe how the nation's largest police force has come down on that issue.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department only follows leads and does not simply trawl communities.

"We do not employ undercovers or confidential informants unless there is information indicating the possibility of unlawful activity," Browne wrote in an email to the AP.

That issue has legal significance. The NYPD says it follows the same guidelines as the FBI, which cannot use undercover agents to monitor communities without first receiving an allegation or indication of criminal activity.

Before The Associated Press revealed the existence of the Demographics Unit last week, Browne said neither the Demographics Unit nor the term "rakers" exist. Both are contained in the documents obtained by the AP.

An NYPD presentation, delivered inside the department, described the mission and makeup of the Demographics Unit. And a police memorandum from 2006 described an NYPD supervisor rebuking an undercover detective for not doing a good enough job reporting on community events and "rhetoric heard in cafes and hotspot locations."

At least one lawyer inside the police department has raised concerns about the Demographics Unit, current and former officials told the AP. Because of those concerns, the officials said, the information gathered from the unit is kept on a computer at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, not in the department's normal intelligence database. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the intelligence programs.

The AP independently authenticated the NYPD presentation through an interview with an official who sat through it and by reviewing electronic data embedded in the file. A former official who had not seen the presentation said the content of the presentation was correct. For the internal memo, the AP verified the names and locations mentioned in the document, and the content is consistent with a program described by numerous current and former officials.

In the two years following the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD Intelligence Division had an unusual partnership with Lawrence Sanchez, a respected veteran CIA officer who was dispatched to New York. Officials said he was instrumental in creating programs such as the Demographics Unit and met regularly with unit supervisors to guide the effort, all while on the CIA's payroll.

Both the NYPD and CIA have said the agency is not involved in domestic spying. A U.S. official familiar with the NYPD-CIA partnership described Sanchez's time in New York as a unique assignment created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

After a two-year CIA rotation in New York, Sanchez took a leave of absence, came off the agency's payroll and became the NYPD's second-ranking intelligence official. He formally left the agency in 2007 and stayed with the NYPD until last year.

Recently, the CIA dispatched another officer to work in the Intelligence Division as an assistant to Deputy Commissioner David Cohen. Officials described the assignment as a management sabbatical and said the officer's job is much different from what Sanchez was doing. Police and the CIA said it's the kind of counterterrorism collaboration Americans expect.

The NYPD Intelligence Division has unquestionably been essential to the city's best counterterrorism successes, including the thwarted plot to bomb the subway system in 2004. Undercover officers also helped lead to the guilty plea of two men arrested on their way to receive terrorism training in Somalia.

"We throw 1,200 police officers into the fight every day to make sure the same people or similarly inspired people who killed 3,000 New Yorkers a decade ago don't come back and do it again," Browne said earlier this month when asked about the NYPD's intelligence tactics.

Rep. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat who represents much of Brooklyn and sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the NYPD can protect the city without singling out specific ethnic and religious groups. She joined Muslim organizations in calling for a Justice Department investigation into the NYPD Intelligence Division. The department said it would review the request for an investigation.

Clarke acknowledged that the 2001 terrorist attacks made Americans more willing to accept aggressive tactics, particularly involving Muslims. But she said Americans would be outraged if police infiltrated Baptist churches looking for evangelical Christian extremists.

"There were those who, during World War II, said, `Good, I'm glad they're interning all the Japanese-Americans who are living here,'" Clarke said. "But we look back on that period with disdain."

A Gadhafi son vows no surrender to Libyan rebels

A Gadhafi son vows no surrender to Libyan rebels

AP Photo
Libyan muslims pray in Green Square, renamed Martyr's Square, during the morning Eid prayer, marking the end of Ramadan and to celebrate victory over embattled Moammar Gadhafi, inTripoli, Libya, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Two men claiming to be Moammar Gadhafi's sons made conflicting appeals from hiding Wednesday night, with one of them calling for talks with rebel leaders and the other urging the regime's loyalists to fight to the death.

The dueling messages reflected the growing turmoil in Gadhafi's inner circle on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of his rise to power. This year, the dictator is a fugitive from opposition fighters who have seized most of the country in a six-month civil war. Now, they say they're hot on his trail.

The rebels are pooling tips about Moammar Gadhafi's whereabouts from captured regime fighters and others, and believe he is most likely no longer in Tripoli, said Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the rebels' military chief in the capital.

Rebel forces have been advancing toward three regime strongholds: the town of Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, as well as the towns of Bani Walid and Sabha, the latter hundreds of miles south of the capital of Tripoli.

There has been speculation that Gadhafi is hiding in one of them.

In telephone calls to Arab TV stations within minutes of each other Wednesday night, two men claiming to be Gadhafi's sons sent messages to the Libyan people.

A man identifying himself as Seif al-Islam Gadhafi urged his father's supporters to fight the rebels "day and night." He told the Syrian-based Al-Rai TV station that residents of Bani Walid agreed that "we are going to die on our land."

He said NATO carried out several airstrikes in Bani Walid that killed people.

"All move right now," said Seif al-Islam, once considered the moderate face of the Gadhafi regime and the leader's heir apparent.

"Attack the rats," he said, referring to the rebels.

He said he was calling from a suburb of Tripoli and that his father "is fine."

The caller dismissed comments by Belhaj that another Gadhafi son, al-Saadi, was negotiating the terms of his surrender. Seif al-Islam said his brother was under pressure, in part out of concern for his family.

In a separate phone call to the Al-Arabiya TV station, a man identifying himself as al-Saadi said he was ready to negotiate with the rebels to stop the bloodshed. Rebel leaders have repeatedly said they won't negotiate until Gadhafi is gone.

Al-Saadi said he spoke for his father and regime military commanders in calling for talks. He said that the rebels could lead Libya.

"We don't mind. We are all Libyans," he said. "We have no problem to give them power."

The voice of Seif al-Islam - who was reportedly captured by the rebels earlier this month only to turn up free and defiant in Tripoli - was easily recognizable, but al-Saadi's was more difficult to confirm.

"The regime is dying," said rebel council spokesman Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga, reacting to the two statements. "Gadhafi's family is trying to find an exit."

"They only have to surrender completely to the rebels and we will offer them a fair trial. We won't hold negotiations with them over anything," he added.

Ghoga told The Associated Press later Wednesday that the rebels learned two days ago that Gadhafi and his sons Seif al-Islam and al-Saadi were in Bani Walid, but now he doesn't know their whereabouts.

Hassan al-Saghir, a rebel official who oversees an area that includes the southern city of Sabha, repeated an ultimatum for Gadhafi's supporters to surrender by Saturday but said there were no signs of that.

"I think they still think they are able to control the south," he said. "It is a desperate attempt and it will not last long."

Earlier, Belhaj said al-Saadi called him Tuesday to negotiate the terms of his surrender. Belhaj said he told al-Saadi he would be turned over to Libyan legal authorities after he turns himself in.

"We told him, 'Don't fear for your life. We will guarantee your rights as a human being, and will deal with you humanely,'" said Belhaj, speaking at his headquarters at an air base in Tripoli.

Asked by Al-Arabiya if he was offering to surrender, al-Saadi said: "If my surrender will put an end to the bloodshed, I will do that."

Also Wednesday, two Sabha-area rebel officials said the son of Gadhafi's intelligence chief was killed in fighting last week. Mohammed Ouydat, a rebel spokesman for Sabha, said the intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, one of Gadhafi's closest allies, has set up a tent in Sabha to greet mourners after the death of his son, Mohammed.

The younger al-Senoussi and Gadhafi's son Khamis were killed in a clash with rebels on their way to Bani Walid, Ouydat said. There have been conflicting claims about Khamis' fate and neither report could be independently confirmed.

Gadhafi's eight adult children have played influential roles in Libya, from commanding an elite military unit to controlling the oil sector. Al-Saadi, 38, headed the Libyan Football Federation, and at one point played in Italy's professional league but spent most of his time on the bench.

Gadhafi's wife, Safiya, sons Mohammed and Hannibal, and daughter Aisha fled to Algeria on Monday. Aisha gave birth to her fourth child Tuesday in Algeria.

Wednesday was the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Libyans marked it by weeping at the graves of those killed in the civil war, then celebrated their newfound freedom with morning prayers and joyous chants.

Men in their finest white robes and gold-striped vests knelt in neat prayer rows in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square, the plaza formerly known as Green Square, where Gadhafi supporters massed nightly during the uprising.

The prayer leader urged the crowd not to seek retribution. "No to revenge, yes to the law that rules between us and those who killed our brothers," he said. "Let there be forgiveness and mercy among us."

Women in black robes ululated, rebel fighters fired guns in the air and people burst into spontaneous chants of "Hold your head high, Libya is free!"

On Sept. 1, 1969, the 27-year-old Gadhafi emerged as leader of a group of military officers who overthrew the monarchy of King Idris. Gadhafi took undisputed power and became a symbol of anti-Western defiance in a Third World recently liberated from its European colonial rulers. A brutal dictator, his regime was unchallenged until the last months of his rule.

Sixty world leaders and top-level envoys will meet Thursday in Paris on Libya's future. The gathering is likely to focus on unfreezing billions in Libyan funds held abroad and reconciling differences over how to deal with the new Libya. The lessons of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and years of insurgent violence there will loom large.

French officials say leaders of Libya's interim National Transitional Council, the main rebel group, are "completely aware of the lessons" from the Iraq war and have emphasized reconciliation in an effort to avoid the kind of revenge killings that spilled so much Iraqi blood.

"We are going to turn the page of the dictatorship and the fighting, and open a new era of cooperation with democratic Libya," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told French diplomats.

Obama, Boehner spar on timing of big jobs speech

Obama, Boehner spar on timing of big jobs speech

AP Photo
President Barack Obama gestures after a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, where he urged Congress to pass a federal highway bill.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a sudden political shoving match, President Barack Obama asked Congress to convene an extraordinary joint session next Wednesday to hear his much-anticipated proposals to put jobless Americans back to work but House Speaker John Boehner balked and told the president he ought to wait and speak a day later.

If Obama gets his way, his speech will upstage a Republican presidential debate scheduled for the same time. If Boehner prevails, the president's address could conflict with the opening game of the National Football League season.

There was no immediate resolution to the sparring match.

Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for a prime time slot on Sept. 7, giving him a grand stage for a televised address and putting him face to face with Republican lawmakers who have bitterly opposed his agenda and vow to vote down any new spending he might propose.

His appearance also would be a political poke in the eye at GOP presidential candidates who are to gather for a campaign debate in Simi Valley, Calif., at the same hour as the president's speech.

Usually, presidential requests to address Congress are routinely granted after discussions between the White House and lawmakers. But Boehner, in his formal reply, said that the House would not return until the day Obama wanted to speak and that logistical and parliamentary issues might be an obstacle. The House and the Senate each would have to adopt a resolution to allow a joint session for the president.

Boehner's letter did not mention the Republican debate on Wednesday or Thursday night's televised opening NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. But the political gamesmanship was clear.

Tweeted GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich: "From one Speaker to another...nicely done John. "

Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, had no objection to Obama's request. "Senator Reid welcomes President Obama to address Congress any day of the week," said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman.

Obama is expected to lay out proposals to increase hiring with a blend of tax incentives for business and government spending for public works projects. With July unemployment at 9.1 percent and the economy in a dangerously sluggish recovery, Obama's plan has consequences for millions of Americans and for his own political prospects. The president has made clear he will ask for extensions of a payroll tax cut for workers and jobless benefits for the unemployed. Those two elements would cost about $175 billion.

"It is our responsibility to find bipartisan solutions to help grow our economy, and if we are willing to put country before party, I am confident we can do just that," Obama wrote Wednesday in a letter to Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The high-profile address illustrates how, in a divided, highly partisan Washington atmosphere, Obama wants to portray himself as the pacesetter for the national agenda.

The White House request came on the same day Obama issued an appeal to Congress to renew legislation to fund highways and air travel that he said would protect a million jobs. The law at issue expires Sept. 30. A Senate proposal would last two years and cost $109 billion, while the House is considering a six-year bill that could cut spending from current levels.

The White House said Obama also has directed the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development to identify up to three high-priority projects each that would create jobs and that already have a source of money, to more quickly add jobs.

White House officials say all details of the president's address have not been decided.

Among those that are under consideration are tax credits for businesses that expand their payrolls. The president has proposed a similar effort totaling $33 billion before. The White House also is looking at a school construction and renovation plan of up to $50 billion.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus criticized Obama for seeking to schedule his address at the same time as a Republican presidential debate in the Reagan Library in California.

In a message posted on the Twitter social network, Priebus said: "BarackObama request to give jobs speech the same night as GOP Presidential debate is further proof this WH is all politics all the time."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the overlapping was a coincidence.

"Obviously, one debate of many that's on one channel of many was not enough reason not to have the speech at the time that we decided to have it," Carney said.

The one-upmanship has possible benefits for the president, overshadowing a debate that is to serve as the first test for Republican front-runner Rick Perry, the Texas governor, alongside his GOP opponents.

"The most immediate gain is he deflates a very big Republican balloon, which is that debate," said Ross Baker, a congressional expert at Rutgers University. "It also imprints this with the kind of gravity that even a prime speech would not have. There is a ceremonial aspect to it that underscores the symbolic power of the presidency."

Joint sessions of Congress are typically reserved for presidential State of the Union addresses. But Obama also spoke to a joint session in September 2009 to press Congress to pass health care legislation. That speech, however, did not prompt quick action. A final bill did not pass Congress until March of 2010.

Using a joint session of Congress as a forum also places a hot spotlight on Obama's address and sets high and risky expectations for his jobs plan.

"The risks are you are upping the ante, and it's going to invite the response," said Patrick Griffin, former White House legislative director under President Bill Clinton. "All the action is in the reaction."

Or, as Baker said: "If you're going to set a table for a state banquet, you better have a pretty elaborate meal."

Obama and White House officials say he intends to propose measures that should receive bipartisan support because they contain ideas embraced by both parties. He has also issued an overt threat to take his case directly to the public if Congress does not act.

"If they see one side not willing to work with the other to move the country forward, then that's what elections are all about," Obama said in an interview with talk radio host Tom Joyner this week. "So we're going to be in a struggle for probably the next 16, 17 months."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roy Halladay Carries Phillies Over Reds 9-0

Roy Halladay Carries Phillies Over Reds 9-0

(credit: Robbins/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI -- Roy Halladay allowed a pair of hits in seven innings and drove in three runs with the second double of his career on Tuesday night, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 9-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Halladay (16-5) gave up Brandon Phillips’ leadoff single in the first inning, then dominated the team he no-hit in the playoffs last season. His bases-loaded double in the sixth inning off Bronson Arroyo (8-11) made it 6-0.

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Body Found Burning In A Delaware County Park

Body Found Burning In A Delaware County Park

UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) - Workers checking for damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene yesterday discovered a man’s burning body in a Delaware County park.

Police say the workers were looking for downed trees when they saw what they thought was a brush fire on Monday afternoon at Hautman Park in Upper Providence Township. They soon realized it was a body that was ablaze.

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Former House Speaker Perzel To Plead Guilty In Corruption Case

Former House Speaker Perzel To Plead Guilty In Corruption Case

(File photo of former House Speaker John Perzel. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(File photo of former House Speaker John Perzel.)

HARRISBURG (CBS) -Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel of Philadelphia has decided to plead guilty just days before the scheduled start of his corruption trial in Harrisburg.

The charges against John Perzel and several others associated with the state House Republican caucus are part of the investigation more broadly known as “Bonusgate” because it began with a probe of legislative staffers allegedly being given bonuses for campaign work.

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3 On Your Side: Emergency Homeowner Loans

3 On Your Side: Emergency Homeowner Loans

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Time is quickly ticking away for some Pennsylvania families who may be at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us about money that is available to help out, but you have to act fast!

$105 million dollars was made available several months ago to Pennsylvania residents through HUD’s Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program. The program allowed homeowners to borrow up to $50,000 interest free to assist with mortgage principal, interest, insurance and taxes. But the loans will only be made available for a few more days.

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Worker Swept Into Manhole In Mercer County Floodwaters, Rescue Efforts Underway

Worker Swept Into Manhole In Mercer County Floodwaters, Rescue Efforts Underway

LAWRENCE, N.J. (CBS) – A search is underway in Mercer County, New Jersey after a landscaper fell into a drainage pipe and was swept into a canal.

According to reports, the incident took place on Bakers Basin Road near the Raritan Canal in Lawrence Township, just after 2 p.m.

Landscapers were working to clear standing floodwater from the area and removed a manhole cover. As the water was being sucked down by the manhole, one of the workers was pulled into the drainage pipe and subsequently trapped in the sewage system.

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North Philadelphia Woman Mauled To Death By Family Dogs

North Philadelphia Woman Mauled To Death By Family Dogs

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police are investigating an incident in which a woman was allegedly mauled to death by her own dogs in North Philadelphia.

According to police, the victim’s husband called 911 at about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday evening to say that he came home to find the family’s dogs attacking his wife in the 400 block of West Carey Street.

Police responded to the residence and secured the family’s five pit-bulls in one room.

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Parents seek answers for son's concussion, suicide

Parents seek answers for son's concussion, suicide

AP Photo
Michelle Trenum, left, and her husband Gil Trenum, pose next to photos of their son, Austin Trenum, at their Nokesville, Va., home, in this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Austin Trenum's bed remains half-made, the way a typical teenager would leave it. On a nearby shelf is his scarred black helmet, the one he was wearing when he tackled the quarterback near the sidelines during Brentsville High's game against Handley some 11 months ago. Austin's mouthpiece remains tucked neatly in the face mask, ready to be taken out for the next play.

NOKESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Austin Trenum's bed remains half-made, the way a typical teenager would leave it. On a shelf is his scarred black helmet, the one he was wearing when he tackled the quarterback near the sidelines during Brentsville High's game against Handley some 11 months ago. Austin's mouthpiece remains tucked neatly in the face mask, ready to be taken out for the next play.

For Austin, there was no next play.

Downstairs in the Trenum home, in the living room to the left of the television, is a memorial in photographs to the 17-year-old college-bound senior who wore No. 43 in football, No. 14 in lacrosse, all sorts of crazy hats when he felt like it, a "fro-hawk" of curly hair, and a pair of women's sunglasses on a lark one day while riding back from the beach.

Austin's final play left him with a concussion. Two days later, with the rest of the family downstairs in the house, he went up to his room and hanged himself.

To the grieving parents, there is no doubt that one caused the other. Shortly after his death, Gil and Michelle Trenum made the difficult decision to donate Austin's brain for research. Seated around their dining table, they told their son's story, hoping his death can leave a legacy for others of lessons learned - that concussions still aren't taken as seriously as they should be; that athletes, parents, coaches, trainers and even emergency room workers are often ill-informed as to how to treat them; that more of a culture change is needed in a sport in which blows to the head are considered badges of honor.

"I grew up in a football culture," Michelle Trenum said. "I'm from Texas, and my father went to college on a football scholarship, and we have three boys that were all playing football. We referred to 'getting your bell rung,' 'getting the snot knocked out of you,' those types of things. I never realized they were traumatic brain injuries. I thought as long as you were getting up, you were OK."

"If our son did not have a concussion, he would be here right now," she added, fighting back tears. "Actually, he wouldn't be here, he would be in a dorm room."

Concussion awareness in sports is on the rise. The NFL has done an about-face in recent seasons, instituting return-to-play rules and other strict guidelines after years of being accused of not taking the issue seriously. Hearings have been held on Capitol Hill. Only four months before Austin's death, the football world was stunned by the suicide of University of Pennsylvania co-captain Owen Thomas, who was found to have a brain disease that could have been caused by repeated head blows to the head.

But the full trove of medical knowledge has yet to filter down to the high school level, and it wasn't there on the night Austin was injured. His parents took their groggy son to the emergency room - Friday night is already one of the worst times to go to the hospital - and were told to watch for bleeding symptoms and to make sure their son had 24 hours of restful activity.

So he watched game film the next day. He went fishing with a friend in the afternoon. He went to a concert with his girlfriend that evening. He texted. He played video games. On Sunday, he was doing homework. He planned to go to his girlfriend's house later to watch the Redskins game. All of which seemed suitably restful.

But he also missed a routine turn while driving a car near the home. He couldn't remember something obvious while talking to his friend while fishing. He woke up early Sunday and went downstairs to play video games, something totally out of character for him. He had also mentioned that he had been getting a "football headache" after every game, something he hadn't told his parents before. They did know that Austin, who played linebacker and fullback, had at least one concussion the previous season, and probably two others that fit symptoms he had described.

For seemingly no reason at all, Austin went upstairs Sunday afternoon and never returned. Afterward, it wasn't hard to connect the dots. He had no history of depression. Nor does his family. He was well liked at school. He was in the top 6 percent of his class and a shoo-in for James Madison University. He was making plans. All the soul-searching for answers led to only one.

"It was literally out of the blue," Michelle Trenum said. "There was nothing in his life, in his character, in his emotions that would have ever - we know it was a concussion."

The Trenums received a call from Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, where there is a bank of about 70 brains that have been donated for study, many from athletes and military veterans. It offered a chance for some answers.

"It was somebody who thought we had a valid point," Michelle Trenum said. "I worried about my baby. It was very hard. He was an organ donor as well, and that was hard. But I thought I really want to know."

The CSTE found that Austin had a multifocal axonal injury - structural damage to the brain. Among the areas affected was the portion of the brain that affects judgment and impulse control. The doctors can't say for sure why Austin killed himself, but there is strong circumstantial evidence.

"We know that a concussion can be followed with depression," said Dr. Robert Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery and co-director of the center. "And depression can be serious enough that hospitalization is required in a small number of cases. We also know that in his brain there were structural abnormalities - and (we are) clearly very concerned that there was cause and effect because of that. Do I know it with 100 percent certainty? No. Can I put what percent certainty I know it at? No. Do I think it's more likely that not? Yes."

The Trenums had their answer. Now they want to share it with others.

"It was scientific validation for what we knew," Michelle Trenum said. "But it was an agonizing gift to be given that information because you realize there's other parents out there that have unanswered questions and they've lost loved ones, too. It's what you do with that. That's why, with Austin, we would like his legacy to be that other people were helped, that other parents don't have to go through this, that other teammates realize when a teammate has a traumatic brain injury, they realize it and bring it to the attention of the coach."

The Trenums also learned how their son's concussion should have been treated. Someone with symptoms as serious as Austin's should have rest with virtually no brain stimulation at all. No watching game film. No fishing. No concerts. No video games. No texting. No television. It should be that way for as long as the symptoms last, even if it means days of inactivity.

"If it was my son again," Gil Trenum said, "if he got another concussion, he would be just laying down on the couch."

Gil Trenum is a member of the Prince William County School Board. He is wearing two plastic bracelets, orange from Austin's senior class and yellow from the lacrosse team, in his son's memory. He worked to get new guidelines implemented for all athletes at the county's schools. New return-to-play criteria. Concussion training for trainers. A seminar that includes an eye-opening video, with attendance mandatory for students and their parents as a prerequisite for participating in any sport, not just football.

"I do want Prince William County to lead the way on that," Gil Trenum said. "I think we can set the standard."

And, along with that standard, would come the hoped-for culture change. The Trenums haven't disavowed football - their youngest son still plays the sport - but they say it's time for athletes, parents and coaches everywhere to realize that a concussion is a brain injury that needs serious, informed treatment.

Before it becomes a life-or-death issue.

"Car seats are a good example," Gil Trenum said. "When I was a baby and came home from the hospital, my mom rode in the front seat of the car, holding me in her arms, no seat belt. That was the way things were done then. Now we've got technology changes. We've got procedural changes. We've got cultural changes. People would be shocked if you did that now."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Victorino’s HR Leads Phillies Over Reds 3-2

Victorino’s HR Leads Phillies Over Reds 3-2

(credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI (AP) – Shane Victorino hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning Monday night, and Cole Hamels was solid in his return from the disabled list, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Victorino snapped an 0-for-11 slump with his homer off right-hander Homer Bailey (7-6), improving the Phillies to 4-1 against Cincinnati this season.

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President Issues Emergency Declaration For Pennsylvania

President Issues Emergency Declaration For Pennsylvania

(credit: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Obama has issued an emergency declaration for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts stemming from Hurricane Irene.

The action Monday night authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide help to save lives and protect property and public health and safety in 13 counties. They are Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

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Hurricane Irene Local Death Toll Rising

Hurricane Irene Local Death Toll Rising

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The number of deaths related to Hurricane Irene continues to rise.

On Sunday, Whitemarsh Police and emergency responders discovered 64-year-old Patricia O’Neill’s vehicle in the Wissahickon Creek during the day while looking for victims stranded in flood waters.

Earlier that day, concerned family members of O’Neill, of East Norriton, alerted police department that she did not make it to work. According to authorities, O’Neill told her family she was heading to work at the Flourtown Shopping Center and left her apartment at about 2 a.m.

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Eagles Give QB Vick A $100 Million, Six-Year Deal

Eagles Give QB Vick A $100 Million, Six-Year Deal

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – Michael Vick is really back on top now.

Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed on a six-year contract on Monday that again makes the Pro Bowl quarterback one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press the deal is worth $100 million, including about $40 million guaranteed. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t released.

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Gadhafi's wife, 3 children flee to Algeria

Gadhafi's wife, 3 children flee to Algeria

AP Photo
Smoke rises from a pickup truck driven by two pro-Gadhafi soldiers on a reconnaissance mission that came under fire by Libyan rebels on the front line, 86 miles (138 kilometers) from Sirte, Libya, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011. The car was destroyed and the two loyalist soldiers were captured, injuring one, after trying to escape. Rebels have been converging from the east and west on Sirte, 250 miles east of Tripoli, preparing to battle Gadhafi loyalists.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Moammar Gadhafi's wife and three of his children fled Libya to neighboring Algeria on Monday, firm evidence that the longtime leader has lost his grip on the country.

Gadhafi's whereabouts were still unknown and rebels are worried that if he remains in Libya, it will stoke more violence. In Washington, the Obama administration said it has no indication Gadhafi has left the country.

Rebels also said one of Gadhafi's other sons, elite military commander Khamis, was probably killed in battle.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Gadhafi's wife Safia, his sons Hannibal and Mohammed, and his daughter Aisha entered the country across the land border. It said Algerian authorities have informed the United Nations Secretary General, the president of the U.N. Security Council, and the head of the Libyan rebels transitional leadership council.

Ahmed Jibril, an aide to rebel National Transitional Council head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said officials would "demand that Algerian authorities hand them over to Libya to be tried before Libyan courts."

Gadhafi's children played important roles in Libya's military and economic life. Hannibal headed the maritime transport company; Mohammed the national Olympic committee. Aisha, a lawyer, helped in the defense of toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the trial that led to his hanging.

Ahmed Bani, military spokesman of the council, said he was not surprised to hear Algeria welcomed Gadhafi's relatives. Throughout the six-month Libyan uprising, rebels have accused Algeria of providing Gadhafi with mercenaries to repress the revolt.

Over the weekend, the Egyptian news agency MENA, quoting unidentified rebel fighters, reported that six armored Mercedes sedans, possibly carrying Gadhafi's sons or other top regime figures, had crossed the border at the southwestern Libyan town of Ghadamis into Algeria. Algeria's Foreign Ministry had denied that report.

Bani said Monday that rebel forces may have killed Khamis Gadhafi in a clash Saturday. Rebel clashed with a military convoy near the town of Tarhouna, 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli, destroying two vehicles in the convoy. The bodies in the cars were burned beyond recognition, he said, but captured soldiers said they were Khamis Gadhafi's bodyguards.

"We are sure he is dead," Col. Boujela Issawi, the rebel commander of Tarhouna, told AP. But then he cast some doubt, saying it was possible Gadhafi's son was pulled alive from the car and taken to Bani Walid, a contested interior area.

Col. Abdullah Hussein, a former pilot in the Libyan airforce who is part of the rebels' command center in Tarhouna, said that "we heard from Bani Walid that he (Khamis) died in the hospital there."

Asked how they knew this, since Bani Walid is still under regime control, he said: "We have some people there."

It was possible this was psychological warfare. The rebels claimed to have captured Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, a key figure, only to have him turn up the next day and talk to reporters.

Rebel leaders have started to set up a new government in the capital Tripoli after their fighters drove Gadhafi's defenders out over the past week. Gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown, however, and people close to him have claimed he is still in the country and leading a fight to hold onto power.

"Gadhafi is still capable of doing something awful in the last moments," rebel leader Abdul-Jalil told NATO officials earlier Monday in Qatar.

The focus of concern is Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, his last major stronghold in the country. The town, 250 miles east of Tripoli, is heavily militarized and shows no signs yet of surrendering even though rebels say they are trying to negotiate a bloodless takeover.

There was some fighting Monday on the eastern and western approaches to Sirte. Some have speculated that Gadhafi and other senior regime figures may have fled there.

A NATO officer, who asked not to be identified because of alliance rules, said there was fighting 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Sirte. He said there are still clashes around Sirte, Bani Walid south of Misrata and Sebha further south.

Taking Sirte will mean getting past entrances that are reportedly mined and an elite military unit. Gadhafi's tribe is the most powerful in the city. Libyans familiar with the coastal city on which Gadhafi has lavished building projects say its first line of defense is a heavily fortified area called the al-Wadi al-Ahmar, 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the east.

The rebels asked NATO Monday to keep up pressure on remnants of Gadhafi's regime.

"Even after the fighting ends, we still need logistical and military support from NATO," Abdul-Jalil said in Qatar. NATO has been bombing Gadhafi's forces since March under a United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians.

In Tripoli, rebel leaders were struggling with widespread shortages of water, fuel and electricity.

Some residents filled containers with drinking water from large trucks. One of the water truck drivers, Ramzi Abu Shabaan, said the shortages were a small price to pay. "I don't care if we go without water for two months even - frizz-head is gone - it's worth it," using a commonly used derogatory nickname for Gadhafi.

Traffic was heavy Monday and long lines formed at gas stations. Shops selling clothes, shoes and toys opened for the first time since Aug. 20, when rebels stormed the city and fought Gadhafi forces in the streets for control.

Children accompanied their mothers and fathers into shops to pick clothes and toys for this week's Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"This will be the happiest Eid we celebrate," said Munira Omar, 30 who bought her two daughters hair clips and dresses.

In other developments, the chairman of the African Union on Monday accused Libyan rebels of indiscriminately killing black people because they have confused innocent migrant workers with Gadhafi's mercenaries.

Gadhafi had recruited fighters from further south on the continent, but many sub-Saharan Africans are in the country as laborers.

National Transitional Council spokesman Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga denied the AU claims.

"These allegations have been made during the early days of the revolution. This never took place."

Survivors and human rights groups have said Gadhafi loyalists retreating from Tripoli after decades of brutal rule killed scores of detainees and arbitrarily shot civilians over the past week.

Council spokesman Ghoga said his representatives have collected names in cities rebels have liberated, resulting in a list of some 50,000 people rounded up by the Gadhafi regime since the uprising began six months ago. He said rebels freed 10,000 from prisons, leaving at least 40,000 unaccounted for.

In the capital, members of the National Transitional Council announced further steps to becoming an effective government. Suleiman Mahmoud al-Obeidi, the rebels' deputy military chief, announced the formation of a 17-member committee to represent the 30 or local military councils he said had been set up in the country's west.

The war was fought by disparate, local groups with only loose coordination. Bringing all local councils and rebel brigades under the council's leadership remains a challenge.

France said Monday it was dispatching a team of diplomats to reopen the French embassy there and see how France can aid the city. The European Union also was seizing a foothold in Tripoli. Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international aid, said Monday the EU has opened a humanitarian office to help distribute medical and other emergency aid in the Libyan capital.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Wreaks Havoc In Darby

Hurricane Irene Wreaks Havoc In Darby

DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — The borough of Darby was one of the hardest hit areas. Many who live along the flood-prone Darby Creek in Delaware County were forced to evacuate as Hurricane Irene began bearing down.

Residents have been through this so many times, it seems like flooding concerns surface almost every time it rains.

“Trash cans floating by. Neighbors running for cover,” said Anthony, who is in a power wheelchair.

In his first encounter with the rapidly rising waterway, he got stuck.

“I wised up this time. I used my head. I was able to get my family out and myself as well,” he added.

Christie: 1 NJ Death Attributed To Irene

Christie: 1 NJ Death Attributed To Irene

EWING, N.J. (AP) – Gov. Chris Christie says one person in New Jersey has died as a result of Hurricane Irene.

At a news conference Sunday, Christie reported a second death. He said a Princeton firefighter had died during a swift water rescue. But a spokeswoman later said he was given inaccurate information and the firefighter is alive and in critical condition.

New Jersey State Police say a woman who called authorities for help from her car on a flooded road early Sunday morning in Salem County was found dead in the vehicle about eight hours later.

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PennDOT: 38 Bridges In Philadelphia Region Remain Closed Due To Hurricane Irene

PennDOT: 38 Bridges In Philadelphia Region Remain Closed Due To Hurricane Irene

Mainstreet (Manayunk) - (credit: @TheSeanTucker)

Mainstreet (Manayunk)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced that 38 bridges in the Philadelphia region will remain closed temporarily due to flood waters from Hurricane Irene. PennDOT officials will wait for waters to recede and crews can inspect them for storm damage.

BUCKS COUNTY (17 total)

Second Street Pike over Neshaminy Creek In Northampton Township
Worthington Mill over Neshaminy Creek In Wrightstown Township
Richboro Road over Neshaminy Creek in Northampton Township
Buck Road over Neshaminy Creek in Newtown Township
Brownsville Road over Neshaminy Creek in Lower Southampton Township

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Powell says Cheney taking 'cheap shots' in book

Powell says Cheney taking 'cheap shots' in book

AP Photo
In this photo released by CBS, Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, speaks on CBS's "Face the Nation” in Washington Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. Powell took issue with Cheney's book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," which is set for release Tuesday. He said Cheney’s book took "cheap shots" at him as well as others in the administration.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday dismissed as "cheap shots" the criticism leveled at him and others in Vice President Dick Cheney's memoir.

It was the latest volley in a clash that stretches back to their first years in the George W. Bush administration.

Powell went so far as to say that if Cheney's staff and others in Bush's White House had been as forthcoming as the State Department in the case involving CIA operative Valerie Plame, the indictment and conviction of Cheney's friend and former chief of staff never would have happened.

Powell made the remarks Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" ahead of the Tuesday release of Cheney's book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir." Cheney said in an earlier NBC interview that the book would cause "heads to explode" in Washington, a description Powell said he expected from a supermarket tabloid and not a former vice president.

"My head isn't exploding. I haven't noticed any other heads exploding in Washington," Powell said. "From what I've read in the newspapers and seen on television it's essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago."

Cheney and Powell had numerous disagreements in the administration, particularly over policy toward Iraq and the run-up to the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led forces. Still, Powell termed "nonsense" Cheney's description of how Powell went outside with his criticism of administration policies.

Powell also suggested that Cheney wrongly took credit for Powell's resignation from the State Department in 2004; Powell said he had always planned to serve only four years. He labeled as "almost condescending" the tone of Cheney's criticism of Condoleezza Rice, who succeeded him as secretary of state.

"Mr. Cheney has had a long and distinguished career and I hope in his book that's what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush," Powell said.

On the Plame matter, Powell said Cheney tries to "lay it all off" on Powell and Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under Powell.

Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI during its investigation into who leaked to the news media that Plame, the wife of a former ambassador critical of the Bush administration, worked for the CIA.

Powell said that when Armitage realized he was the anonymous source cited by syndicated columnist Robert Novak in an article that revealed Plame's CIA connection, Armitage contacted Powell and they spoke to the Justice Department and the FBI for the probe ordered by Bush.

"If the White House and the operatives in the White House - on Mr. Cheney's staff and elsewhere in the White House - had been as forthcoming with the FBI as Mr. Armitage was, this problem would not have reached the dimensions that it reached," Powell said.

Instead, Powell said, the FBI continued for two more months trying to find out what had happened in the White House and that a special counsel ended up conducting a two-year probe of what he called a "mess."

Irene cleanup could take days along East Coast

Irene cleanup could take days along East Coast

AP Photo
A flooded road is seen in Hatteras Island, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011after Hurricane Irene swept through the area Saturday cutting the roadway in five locations. Irene caused more than 4.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast to reportedly lose power over the weekend, and at least 11 deaths were blamed on the storm.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- With Irene gone, cleanup crews began pumping water out of soggy subway tunnels, fixing traffic lights in the nation's capital and clearing debris from hundreds of roads as the East Coast readied for the workweek. While early indications were that the damage was not as bad as feared, it will be days before things get back to normal in many places.

More than 4 million homes and businesses along the coast still did not have power Sunday. Roads were impassable because of high water, fallen trees and downed power lines. And while the full extent of the damage was not known, early estimates put it in the billions of dollars.

Up and down the coast, the images were the same: Siding peeled from houses; boats torn from moorings and thrown ashore; massive trees ripped from the ground; and cars submerged beneath flood waters. In the hardest-hit areas, pockets of about 20 homes were destroyed.

For many, though, the storm was more inconvenience than calamity.

In Ocean City, Md., Charlie Koetzle ignored evacuation orders and went to the boardwalk before dawn in his swim trunks and flip-flops, saying he always wanted to see a hurricane. Asked about damage, he mentioned a sign that blew down.

"The beach is still here, and there is lots of it," he said. "I don't think it was as bad as they said it was going to be."

Some cell phone networks were knocked out in coastal North Carolina and Virginia, and regulators warned more towers could go silent as backup batteries and generators run dry. At least 125,000 people were without landline service.

Irene bruised the Caribbean and touched nearly every state on the Eastern Seaboard as it moved toward Canada. The storm brought torrential rains and powerful winds, stretching 300 miles from the center at one point.

Irene made landfall in the U.S. on Saturday morning over North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. By Sunday, it was reduced to a tropical storm near New York.

In the Northeast, flooding was still a major threat after a rainy August soaked the ground. Rivers swelled over banks, and forecasters warned it could be days before rivers crest as runoff makes its way into creeks and streams.

Flood waters were rising across New Jersey, closing side streets and major highways including the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 295. In Essex County, authorities used a five-ton truck to ferry people away from their homes as the Passaic River neared its expected crest Sunday night. In Massachusetts, the National Guard was helping people evacuate from low-lying areas.

The Monday morning commute into Manhattan and Washington promised to be a headache. It wasn't clear when the New York subways - which carry 5 million people on an average weekday - would be running again after an unprecedented shutdown. And in Washington, the Metro was running but outages knocked more than 150 stoplights out in the Baltimore-Washington area. There was so much confusion that Maryland State Police declared it the most serious hazard of the day.

Irene brought six inches to a foot of rain to many places along the East Coast. In one eastern North Carolina neighborhood, two dozen homes were destroyed by flooding, and officials feared more damage could be uncovered there. Along the shore of Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn., another 20 homes were destroyed by the Irene's surf, many reduced to a pile of rubble.

The lone road connecting the remote North Carolina barrier islands known as the Outer Banks to the mainland was washed out, making it difficult for emergency crews to know exactly what happened there. About 2,500 people on Hatteras Island were cut off, and authorities sent a ferry Sunday full of supply trucks carrying food, water and generators. Cell service was spotty, and cars were out on the roads, making it tough for highway crews.

The possibility of days or even weeks without electricity was a dangerous prospect for some.

Pat Dillon, who lives in a nursing home in Milford, Conn., was scared about what would happen if the power didn't come back on soon. Dillon is a diabetic who uses an electric wheelchair. Her insulin will spoil without refrigeration and she won't be able to get around if she can't charge the wheelchair soon.

"What if we're without power for days?" she said.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Philadelphia Already Has Had Wettest Month In History

Philadelphia Already Has Had Wettest Month In History

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Hurricane Irene is barreling up the eastern seaboard toward a Philadelphia that has already seen the wettest month in recorded history, breaking a century-old record.

The National Weather Service said Friday that the .61 inches of rain that fell at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday raised the August rainfall total to 13.61 inches.

That broke the previous August record of 12.10 inches — which was set back in 1911.

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Hurricane Evacuation Centers In Pennsylvania

Hurricane Evacuation Centers In Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The American Red Cross will be opening up emergency shelters in Pennsylvania beginning at 8 p.m.

Roxborough High School (Pet-friendly)
6498 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19128-2599

Abraham Lincoln High School (Pet-friendly)
3201 Ryan Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136-4399

Bartram High School (Pet-friendly)
2401 South 67th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19142-2298

Showalter Science and Discovery
200 Commerce Dr.
Chester Township, PA 19014

Downingtown East High School (Pet-friendly)
50 Devon Drive
Exton, PA 19341-1783
* Open at 7 p.m. *

Avon Grove High School
257. State Road
West Grove, PA
* Open at 7 p.m. *

East Norriton Middle School
330 Roland Drive
Norristown, PA 19401

Pottstown Senior High School (Pet-friendly)
750 North Washington Street
Pottstown, PA 19464

Cheltenham High School (Pet-friendly)
500 Rices Mill Road
Wyncote, PA 19095-1998

Mayor’s Office: ‘Use Common Sense,’ Leave Flood-Prone Areas

Mayor’s Office: ‘Use Common Sense,’ Leave Flood-Prone Areas

(Credit: Timothy McLaughlin)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Here in Philadelphia, officials continue to monitor the approach of Hurricane Irene.

Most at risk are city residents in flood prone areas along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, in Southwest and Northeast Philadelphia, and in Manayunk and East Falls.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison says common sense should prevail, “We’re hoping people will use their brains, use common sense and get out of places that are traditionally flooded and don’t put our first responders in jeopardy.”

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Irene makes landfall in N.C.; 4 deaths reported

Irene makes landfall in N.C.; 4 deaths reported

A stranded sailboat founders in the surf along the Willoughby Spit area of Norfolk, Va. as Hurricane Irene hits Norfolk, Va., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. The live-aboard couple attempted to outrun the storm and got caught up in the high surf and wind. They were rescued by local fire and rescue personnel.

Major developments:

  • Paramedics in Nash County, N.C. say a man was killed outside his home by a tree limb blown down by Hurricane Irene. a driver in Pitt County perished when his car struck a tree on the side of a road Saturday morning. State Highway Patrol officials say they were investigating the fatal wreck and were not sure if it was storm-related. A falling tree limb killed a third man in Nash County, N.C. An 11-year-old boy died in Newport News, Va., after a tree fell on an apartment complex, reports CBS affiliate WTKR.
  • Wind and rain have knocked out power to more than 791,840 customers in North Carolina and Virginia.
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned New Yorkers that public transportation might not be available until late Monday afternoon. Power may also be cut in lower Manhattan due to lines being stored underground. Tropical storm winds and rain are expected to begin striking New York City beginning Saturday evening.
  • More than 2 million people have been told to evacuate to safer places, and New York City ordered the nation's biggest subway system shut down for the first time because of a natural disaster.
  • According to Red Cross spokesperson Kate Meier, more than 13,000 people stayed in nearly 150 Red Cross shelters across six states Friday night. More shelters are opening today.
  • CBS News' Carter Yang reports that airlines have canceled 8,337 flights through Monday, and that number is expected to rise. N.Y.C. airports are shutting down for arrivals at noon Saturday, with last departures expected this evening at 10 p.m. Philadelphia's airport is shutting down tonight at 6 p.m. Circumstances at each airport will determine when flights will resume

Transit Nightmare: Irene Snarls Transportation In Philadelphia And South Jersey

Transit Nightmare: Irene Snarls Transportation In Philadelphia And South Jersey

(Credit: Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hurricane Irene is effecting transportation throughout the area.

Philadelphia International Airport has thousands of flight cancellations, especially with the New York airports closed. Southwest Airlines suspend service Saturday afternoon.

U.S. Airways has canceled all of Sunday’s flights to and from Philadelphia.

U.S. Airways spokesman Todd Lemacher says today will have normal operations, “We are planning to operate a full schedule today, Saturday, including our transatlantic departures to Europe. But, effective tomorrow, all operations will be shut down and we’re actually taking the aircraft out of Philadelphia.”

For full story go to:

Rowan University Houses Hurricane Evacuees, Moves Back Start Date For Fall Semester

Rowan University Houses Hurricane Evacuees, Moves Back Start Date For Fall Semester

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rowan University is feeling the impact of Hurricane Irene on many fronts. Not only is the university housing evacuees, it has now moved back the date that school starts for the semester.

Rowan has become a temporary shelter for more than 1,200 people. Evacuees are staying in the Esby Gym and Recreation Center. They will remain on campus through the storm.

The Red Cross is also on site with more than 50 volunteers providing assistance.

For full story go to:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Community Cancellations — Saturday, August 27th

Community Cancellations — Saturday, August 27th

CBS Philly has received the following community cancellations for Saturday, August 27th, 2011. (Items are listed alphabetically by the name of the sponsoring organization.)

If an event you are interested in is not mentioned here, you may want to contact the sponsoring organization for more information.

For full story go to:

Deadly casino attack shocks Mexicans

Deadly casino attack shocks Mexicans

AP Photo
A soldier stands guard outside the Casino Royale after a deadly assault that killed at least 52 people in Monterrey, Mexico, Friday Aug, 26, 2011. Mexican officials say a group of at least eight assailants poured gasoline inside the casino on Thursday, trapping dozens of people inside.

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) -- Mexicans have endured plenty of horrific crimes during their country's bloody five-year war against drug gangs: bodies hanging from overpasses, beheadings, mass slayings of migrants and gunfights on crowded steets.

The torching of the casino that killed at least 52 people on Thursday, however, was a shocking new low for many.

In a nationally televised speech, an angry President Felipe Calderon declared three days of mourning on Friday and labeled the attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey the worst against civilians in the nation's recent history.

"We are not confronting common criminals," he said. "We are facing true terrorists who have gone beyond all limits."

The attack was different than others in recent years in that the victims weren't cartel foot soldiers or migrants resisting forced recruitment by gangs. They were part of the middle class, working or gambling in an affluent part of a city that was once considered one of Mexico's safest.

"The media impact that this has is greater, because we're talking about an attack on a civilian population of a certain income," said Jorge Chabat, an expert in safety and drug trafficking at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics. "Because who was there was from the middle class, the upper middle class of an important city in Mexico."

As the country took in the grisly details of the attack, some said a new, macabre milestone had been reached in a conflict that's claimed nearly 40,000 people since Calderon launched his drug offensive in December 2006. Calderon urged his people to unite against the cartels.

"Today, Mexico is upset and saddened and we have to transform this sadness and this grief into courage and valor to face ... these criminals," said Calderon, who did not say whether his government would alter its offensive against the cartels.

Calderon announced he is sending more federal forces to the city of 1 million people.

Hours later, he appeared in front of the burned-out casino and held a silent, minute-long vigil.

A surveillance tape showed eight or nine men arriving in four cars at the casino and setting fire to the building within minutes. The gunmen had ordered people to leave before setting the fire, but many fled further inside.

Officials said they likely died quickly, the majority from smoke inhalation.

In the streets around the casino on Friday, people said the latest violence deepened their sense of vulnerability. In recent years, the city has been ensnared in a turf battle between the Gulf cartel and its offshoot, the Zetas, and is on track for record levels of killings this year.

The casino was attacked twice before. In May, gunmen strafed it from the outside. Last month, gunmen killed 20 people at a bar.

"What happened last night was the limit," said a man nursing a Coke at a hamburger stand across from the city's morgue, where families streamed in all night to identify bodies. Like many people, he refused to give his name out of fear.

"We don't know how to protect ourselves or whom we're talking to," he said. "We don't have security right now."

The attack has resonated in Mexico because many of the victims were from the middle class, so far mostly untouched by violence, Chabat said.

Other attacks have claimed more victims - a mass grave uncovered last year had the bodies of 72 migrants - but the beheadings, dismemberings and other everyday horrors have mostly touched people in lower economic classes, Chabat said.

Thirty-five of the casino victims were women and 10 men, authorities said, an indication at the popularity of the games among women who came to play bingo or slots in the afternoons. The gender of the other seven couldn't be determined.

Civil protection and the state Attorney General's Office are investigating whether the casino had adequate safety measures and emergency exits. There were conflicting accounts from survivors that exit doors to the parking area were locked.

So far, authorities have failed to establish communication with the legal representatives and owners of the casino. They released the name of the company as Vallarta Attractions and Emotions and CYMSA Corp.

Firefighters entering the building to control the fire found 16 bodies of people who apparently tried to take refuge from the gunmen near the emergency exits and became trapped by flames and smoke, authorities said. Others were found in offices and bathrooms.

Jorge Camacho Rincon, civil protection director for the state of Nuevo Leon, where the casino is located, said gunmen had attacked casinos before but have never set fires. When people ran to hide, they reacted appropriately, he said.

"They sought places to protect themselves from firearms," he said. "They went running to closed areas."

Most were found clutching cell phones in their hands, a law-enforcement official who wasn't authorized to be quoted by name told The Associated Press.

Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora said in a press conference Friday that authorities were already looking for those responsible. Calderon offered a $2.4 million reward for information leading to the capture of the assailants, the same amount they give for the arrest of top drug lords.

Nuevo Leon state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza told Imagen Informativa radio that police have found three of the cars used by the assailants. He said the vehicles had been reported stolen.

The victims, including 10 injured, were either clients or employees of the casino.

Miguel Angel Loera of Monterrey had left his job as a chef at a nearby casino for an interview at the Casino Royale. A colleague last saw Loera a little more than an hour before the attack. His family went searching when he didn't come home.

"He never was late arriving home," said his brother, Juan Loera, 65, who waited with other brothers outside the morgue. On Friday, authorities told them they found Loera's identification on one of the bodies, but Juan Loera said the face was too burned to recognize.

Sonia de la Pena was a regular, playing bingo with her friends several afternoons a week, her son, Francisco Tamayo, said. He still had no word of her whereabouts Friday.

Rodrigo Medina, Nuevo Leon's governor, said the state would cover the funerals for 12 victims whose families could not afford them.

Across the state, residents were in shock. Several in Monterrey said they had no way to even process what happened.

A woman who worked across the street from the casino, and who identified herself only as Lucy, said she watched six armed men flee the casino and then saw smoke billow from the building.

For her, it was the worst moment so far in Mexico's war against organized crime.

"It means more fear, more terror, more lack of safety," she said. "There is no control."

"It's a revelation, proof that they are going to do what they want when they want in the hour that they want," she said.

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