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Monday, December 31, 2012

Children Ring In The New Year A Little Early At The Please Touch Museum


Children Ring In The New Year A Little Early At The Please Touch Museum

(Credit: Monaghan/KYW Newsradio)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some young revelers got to ring in the New Year at noon on Monday at the Please Touch Museum.

For parents, the annual New Year’s Eve celebration is a great way to give the little ones the experience of ringing in the New Year without having a tired child the next day.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


Finally, a "fiscal cliff" breakthrough

Finally, a "fiscal cliff" breakthrough


President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. The president said it appears that an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is "in sight," but says it's not yet complete and work continues.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. The president said it appears that an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is "in sight," but says it's not yet complete and work continues.

Most of the world is counting down to a midnight New Year's celebration while Congress continues to watch the clock and count down to another deadline, despite the efforts of lawmakers to avert the "fiscal cliff."

Those efforts are inching closer to the midnight deadline, but leaders from both parties indicate that a deal is within reach.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Reid among 7 NFL coaches sacked in firing frenzy

Reid among 7 NFL coaches sacked in firing frenzy
 
AP Photo
FILE - Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, N.J. Reid has been fired after 14 seasons coaching the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles made the announcement Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Quite a day for NFL sacks.

Seven coaches and five general managers were fired Monday in a flurry of pink slips that were delivered the day after the regular-season ended.

There could be more, but so far the sent-packing scorecard looks like this:
Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Lovie Smith in Chicago, and Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, all coaches who took teams to the Super Bowl, Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.

Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach - San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and in New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.

Reid was the longest tenured of the coaches, removed after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 - a loss to New England.

Smith spent nine seasons with the Bears, leading them to the 2007 Super Bowl - a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Turner has now been fired as head coach by three teams. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09, but didn't make the postseason the last three years.

"Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning," Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement.

Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons, including taking the Cardinals to a Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh after the 2008 season. He had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, and has one year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract. GM Rod Graves had been with Arizona for 16 years, nine in his current position. A 5-11 record after a 4-0 start cost him and Whisenhunt their jobs.

Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills; Shurmur after two; and Crennel had one full season with the Chiefs.

Reid took over a 3-13 Eagles team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.

He led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a trip to the NFL title game. But the team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season's 8-8 finish, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year. Instead, it was even worse. The Eagles finished 4-12.

"When you have a season like that, it's embarrassing. It's personally crushing to me and it's terrible," Lurie said at a news conference. He said he respects Reid and plans to stay friends with him, "but, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction."

Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change - the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.

"Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do," Browns CEO Joe Banner said. " On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships."

Crennel took over with three games left in the 2011 season after GM Scott Pioli fired Todd Haley. Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft as a result of having one of the worst seasons in its 53-year history. The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired.

"I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.
Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, compiled a 16-32 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, never doing better than 6-10.

"This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for," Gailey said.

Smith and the Bears went 10-6 this season and just missed a playoff spot. But Chicago started 7-1 and has struggled to put together a productive offense throughout Smith's tenure. His record was 81-63 with the 
Bears, and he took them to one Super Bowl loss and to one NFC championship game defeat.

Receiver and kick return standout Devin Hester was bitter about Smith's firing.

"The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted," Hester said as he cleared out his locker. "The majority of you all wanted him out. As players we wanted him in. I guess the fans - the false fans - outruled us. I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches I've ever been around."

The fired GMs included Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets; Gene Smith of the Jaguars; A.J. Smith of the Chargers and Tom Heckert of the Browns and Graves of Arizona.

"You hope that those guys that obviously were victims of black Monday land on their feet," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "You've got guys that have been to Super Bowls and won championship games and all of a sudden they've forgot how to coach, I guess."


Chavez suffers new complications in cancer fight

Chavez suffers new complications in cancer fight 

AP Photo
A mural represents the eyes of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Chavez is confronting "new complications" due to a respiratory infection nearly three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery, his Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday evening in Cuba as he visited the ailing leader for the first time since his operation.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez's new complications after cancer surgery prompted his closest allies to call for Venezuelans to pray for him on Monday, presenting an increasingly bleak outlook and prompting growing speculation about whether the ailing leader has much longer to live.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro looked weary and spoke with a solemn expression as he announced in a televised address from Havana on Sunday that Chavez now confronts "new complications" due to a respiratory infection nearly three weeks after his operation. He described Chavez's condition as delicate.

The streets of Caracas were abuzz on Monday with talk of Chavez's increasingly tough fight, while the news topped the front pages of the country's newspapers.

"He's history now," said Cesar Amaro, a street vendor selling newspapers and snacks at a kiosk in downtown Caracas. He motioned to a daily on the rack showing side-by-side photos of Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, and said politics will now turn to them.

Amaro said he expects a new election soon to replace Chavez. "For an illness like the one the president has, his days are numbered now," he said matter-of-factly.

In Bolivar Plaza in downtown Caracas, Chavez's supporters strummed guitars and read poetry in his honor on New Year's Eve. They sang along with a recording of the president belting out the national anthem.
About 300 people filled a Caracas church for a Mass to pray for Chavez.

"This country would be terrible without Chavez. He's the president of the poor," said Josefa Carvajal, a 75-year-old former maid who sat in the pews. "They say the president is very sick. I believe he's going to get better."

The president's aides held a Mass at the presidential palace, while government officials urged Venezuelans to keep their president in their prayers.

Political analyst Ricardo Sucre said the outlook for Chavez appears grim, saying Maduro's body language during his televised appearance spoke volumes.

"Everything suggests Chavez's health situation hasn't evolved as hoped," Sucre said. He said Maduro likely remained in Havana to keep close watch on how Chavez's condition develops.

"These hours should be key to having a more definitive prognosis of Chavez's health, and as a consequence make the corresponding political decisions according to the constitution," Sucre said.

Sucre and other Venezuelans said it seems increasingly unlikely that Chavez would be able to be sworn in as scheduled on Jan. 10.

The Venezuelan leader has not been seen or heard from since undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery Dec. 11, and government officials have said he might not return in time for his inauguration for a new six-year term.

If Chavez dies or is unable to continue in office, the Venezuelan Constitution says that a new election should be held within 30 days.

Before his operation, Chavez acknowledged he faced risks and designated Maduro as his successor, telling supporters they should vote for the vice president if a new presidential election were necessary.

Chavez said at the time that his cancer had come back despite previous surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He has been fighting an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer since June 2011.

Maduro said on Sunday that he had met with Chavez. "We greeted each other and he himself referred to these complications," Maduro said, reading from a prepared statement.

"The president gave us precise instructions so that, after finishing the visit, we would tell the (Venezuelan) people about his current health condition," Maduro said. "President Chavez's state of health continues to be delicate, with complications that are being attended to, in a process not without risks."

Maduro was seated alongside Chavez's eldest daughter, Rosa, and son-in-law Jorge Arreaza, as well as Attorney General Cilia Flores. He held up a copy of a newspaper confirming that his message was recorded on Sunday.

"Thanks to his physical and spiritual strength, Comandante Chavez is facing this difficult situation," Maduro said.

Maduro said he had met various times with Chavez's medical team and relatives. He said he would remain in Havana "for the coming hours" but didn't specify how long.

Maduro, who arrived in Havana on Saturday for the sudden and unexpected trip, is the highest-ranking Venezuelan official to see Chavez since the surgery in Cuba, where the president's mentor Fidel Castro has reportedly made regular visits to check on him.

Before flying to Cuba, Maduro said that Energy Minister Hector Navarro would be in charge of government affairs in the meantime.

"The situation does not look good. The fact that Maduro himself would go to Cuba, leaving Hector Navarro in charge only seems understandable if Chavez's health is precarious," said David Smilde, a University of Georgia sociologist and analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America think tank.

Smilde said that Maduro probably made the trip "to be able to talk to Chavez himself and perhaps to talk to the Castros and other Cuban advisers about how to navigate the possibility of Chavez not being able to be sworn in on Jan. 10."

"Mentioning twice in his nationally televised speech that Chavez has suffered new complications only reinforces the appearance that the situation is serious," Smilde said.

Medical experts say that it's common for patients who have undergone major surgeries to suffer respiratory infections and that how a patient fares can vary widely from a quick recovery in a couple of days to a fight for life on a respirator.

Maduro's latest update differed markedly from a week ago, when he had said he received a phone call from the president and that Chavez was up and walking.

The vice president spoke on Sunday below a picture of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, the inspiration of Chavez's leftist Bolivarian Revolution movement.

Maduro said that Chavez had sent year-end greetings to his homeland and a "warm hug to the boys and girls of Venezuela."

The vice president expressed faith that Chavez would "successfully fight this new battle." He concluded his message saying: "Long live Chavez."

On the streets of Caracas, images of Chavez smiling and saluting are emblazoned on campaign signs and murals. One newly painted mural reads: "Be strong, Chavez."

State television played video of Chavez campaigning for re-election, including a speech when he shouted: "I am a nation!"

A new government sign atop a high-rise apartment complex reads: "YOU ALSO ARE CHAVEZ."

Chavez has been in office since 1999 and was re-elected in October, three months after he had announced that his latest tests showed he was cancer-free.

Opposition politicians have criticized a lack of detailed information about Chavez's condition, and last week repeated their demands for a full medical report.

Information Minister Ernesto Villegas defended the government's handling of the situation, saying during a televised panel discussion on Sunday night that Chavez "has told the truth in his worst moments" throughout his presidency.

He also referred to a new surge of rumors about Chavez's condition and called for respect for the president and his family.

Chavez's daughter Maria, who has been with the president since his surgery, said in a message on her Twitter account: "Thank you people of Venezuela. Thank you people of the world. You and your love have always been our greatest strength! God is with us! We love you!"

Chavez's son-in-law Jorge Arreaza, who is the government's science minister and has been with the president in Cuba, urged Venezuelans in a Twitter message Monday night not to believe "bad-intentioned rumors" circulating online. "President Chavez has spent the day calm and stable, accompanied by his children," Arreaza said in the message.

Some who stood in the Caracas plaza on Monday night held pictures of the president. Speaking to the crowd, lawmaker Earle Herrera said that Chavez "is continuing to fight the battle he has to fight."

"He's an undefeated president, and he'll continue to be undefeated," he said.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Embarrassing Loss To Giants Likely End To Reid Era


Embarrassing Loss To Giants Likely End To Reid Era














East Rutherford, NJ (CBS)—For a brief flicker, it jettisoned us back to better times, to an onside kick 12 years ago that started a season on a sweltering September Dallas afternoon and began one of the greatest runs in Eagles’ history.

Reality returned quickly.

To the end of a season, to a frigid New York afternoon, closing one of the most dismal seasons in Eagles’ history.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


'The Hobbit' stays atop box office for third week



'The Hobbit' stays atop box office for third week 

AP Photo
FILE - This publicity file photo released by Warner Bros., shows the character Gollum voiced by Andy Serkis in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and capping a record-setting $10.8 billion year in moviegoing.

The Warner Bros. fantasy epic from director Peter Jackson, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, made nearly $33 million this weekend, according to Sunday studio estimates, despite serious competition from some much-anticipated newcomers. It's now made a whopping $686.7 million worldwide and $222.7 million domestically alone.

Two big holiday movies - and potential Academy Awards contenders - also had strong openings. Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti Western-blaxploitation mash-up "Django Unchained" came in second place for the weekend with $30.7 million. The Weinstein Co. revenge comedy, starring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the Civil War South and Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter who frees him and then makes him his partner, has earned $64 million since its Christmas Day opening.

And in third place with $28 million was the sweeping, all-singing "Les Miserables," based on the international musical sensation and the Victor Hugo novel of strife and uprising in 19th century France. The Universal Pictures film, with a cast of A-list actors singing live on camera led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe has made $67.5 million domestically and $116.2 worldwide since debuting on Christmas.

Additionally, the smash-hit James Bond adventure "Skyfall" has now made $1 billion internationally to become the most successful film yet in the 50-year franchise, Sony Pictures announced Sunday. The film stars Daniel Craig for the third time as the iconic British superspy.

"This is a great final weekend of the year," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "How perfect to end this year on such a strong note with the top five films performing incredibly well."

The week's other new wide release, the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy "Parental Guidance" from 20th Century Fox, made $14.8 million over the weekend for fourth place and $29.6 million total since opening on Christmas.

Dergarabedian described the holding power of "The Hobbit" in its third week as "just amazing." Jackson shot the film, the first of three prequels to his massively successful "Lord of the Rings" series, in 48 frames per second - double the normal frame rate - for a crisper, more detailed image. It's also available in the usual 24 frames per second and both 2-D and 3-D projections.

"I think people are catching up with the movie. Maybe they're seeing it in multiple formats," he said. "I think it's just a big epic that feels like a great way to end the moviegoing year. There's momentum there with this movie."

"Django Unchained" is just as much of an epic in its own stylishly violent way that's quintessentially Tarantino. Erik Lomis, The Weinstein Co.'s president of theatrical distribution, said the opening exceeded the studio's expectations.

"We're thrilled with it, clearly. We knew it was extremely competitive at Christmas, particularly when you look at the start `Les Miz' got. We were sort of resigned to being behind them. The fact that we were able to overtake them over the weekend was just great," Lomis said. "Taking nothing away from their number, it's a tribute to the playability of `Django.'"

"Les Miserables" went into its opening weekend with nearly $40 million in North American grosses, including $18.2 on Christmas Day. That's the second-best opening ever on the holiday following "Sherlock Holmes," which made $24.9 million on Christmas 2009. Tom Hooper, in a follow-up to his Oscar-winner "The King's Speech," directs an enormous, ambitious take on the beloved musical which has earned a CinemaScore of 
"A" from audiences and "A-plus" from women.

Nikki Rocco, Universal's head of distribution, said the debut for "Les Miserables" also beat the studio's expectations.

"That $18.2 million Christmas Day opening - people were shocked ... This is a musical!" she said. "Once people see it, they talk about how fabulous it is."

It all adds up to a record-setting year at the movies, beating the previous annual record of $10.6 billion set in 2009. Dergarabedian pointed out that the hits came scattered throughout the year, not just during the summer blockbuster season or prestige-picture time at the end. "Contraband," "Safe House" and "The Vow" all performed well early on, but then when the big movies came, they were huge. "The Avengers" had the biggest opening ever with $207.4 million in May. The raunchy comedy "Ted" and comic-book behemoth "The Dark Knight Rises" both found enormous audiences. And Paul Thomas Anderson's challenging drama "The Master" shattered records in September when it opened on five screens in New York and Los Angeles with $736,311, for a staggering per-screen average of $147,262.

"We were able to get this record without scratching and clawing to a record," he said.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $32.9 million ($106.5 million international).
2."Django Unchained," $30.7 million.
3."Les Miserables," $28 million ($38.3 million international).
4."Parental Guidance," $14.8 million ($7 million international).
5."Jack Reacher," $14 million ($18.1 million).
6."This Is 40," $13.2 million.
7."Lincoln," $7.5 million.
8."The Guilt Trip," $6.7 million.
9."Monsters, Inc. 3-D," $6.4 million.
10."Rise of the Guardians," $4.9 million ($11.6 million).
---
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1."The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $106.5 million.
2."Life of Pi," $39.2 million.
3."Les Miserables," $38.3 million.
4."Wreck-It Ralph," $20.4 million.
5."Jack Reacher," $18.1 million.
6."Rise of the Guardians," $11.6 million.
7."Parental Guidance," $7 million.
8."The Tower," $6.6 million.
9."Pitch Perfect," $6.2 million.
10."De L'autre Cote Du Periph," $4 million.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Update: Shooter Identified In Gloucester Township Police Department Shooting


Update: Shooter Identified In Gloucester Township Police Department Shooting















GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ (CBS) – New details have emerged about a Friday morning shooting at the Gloucester Township police station, including the identity of the shooter.


Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle held a press conference on the incident on Friday afternoon, calling the actions of police “heroic.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Code Blue Issued For Delaware Valley Counties

Code Blue Issued For Delaware Valley Counties













  
MT. HOLLY, N.J. (CBS) – Officials have issued a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency in Burlington and Montgomery Counties.

The Code Blue goes into effect for Burlington County, New Jersey at 7 p.m. Thursday evening and lasts until 9 a.m. Friday morning.

Individuals in Burlington County can call 856-234-8888 or 866-234-5006 for a list of shelters.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

3 Arrested After Woman Reports Being Kidnapped, Raped During Terrifying Ordeal On Christmas

3 Arrested After Woman Reports Being Kidnapped, Raped During Terrifying Ordeal On Christmas


(Credit: Upper Darby PD)
Upper Darby PD

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Instead of a merry Christmas at home with her family and friends, one woman had the worst holiday of her life this year.

According to police in Upper Darby, the victim was sitting in her Jeep Cherokee in the parking lot of George’s Water Ice at Grace and Marshall Roads on Christmas night. She was allegedly waiting for her boyfriend to come out of a nearby bar when three men, one of whom was armed, forced their way inside her car.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Bush family quiet about ex-president's condition

Bush family quiet about ex-president's condition 

AP Photo
FILE - In a Tuesday, June 12, 2012 file photo, former President George H.W. Bush, and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, arrive for the premiere of HBO's new documentary on his life near the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said Wednesday, Dec. 26. 2012 that doctors at the Houston hospital where Bush has been treated for a month remain “cautiously optimistic” that he will recover. Still, no discharge date has been set, and McGrath says that doctors are being cautious because at Bush’s age “sometimes issues crop up that are beyond anybody’s ability to discern or foretell.”

HOUSTON (AP) -- Former President George H.W. Bush's family sought privacy and provided no new details Thursday about his medical condition, a day after his spokesman said he's in intensive care after being hospitalized for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said he would put out another statement "when events warrant it," citing the family's right to and desire for privacy.

Bush, 88, entered Methodist Hospital in Houston on Nov. 23 for treatment of what McGrath has described as a "stubborn" cough. He had spent about a week there earlier in November for treatment of the same condition.

It was hoped Bush would be well enough to spend Christmas at home. But while his cough improved, he developed a persistent fever. McGrath disclosed Wednesday that Bush, the oldest living former president, had been transferred to the intensive care unit Sunday and his condition was downgraded to "guarded."

"He needs to rally," McGrath said. "We continue to be cautiously optimistic."

The former president has had visits from family and friends, including longtime friend James Baker II, his former Secretary of State. Bush's daughter, Dorothy, arrived Wednesday from her home in Bethesda, Md. Other visitors have included his sons George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.

Bush and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush had served two terms as Ronald Reagan's vice president when he was elected in 1988 to succeed Reagan. Four years later, after a term highlighted by the success of the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait, he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton amid voters' concerns about the economy.

Bush was a naval aviator in World War II - at one point the youngest in the Navy - and was shot down over the Pacific. He's skydived on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House, most recently when he turned 85.

He left New England for an oil business job in West Texas in 1948. He's also been a Republican congressman from Texas, U.S. ambassador to China and CIA director.

Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson's disease that forced him in recent years to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair for mobility.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Police union seeks more help for Newtown officers



Police union seeks more help for Newtown officers 

AP Photo
From left, Town of Ridgefield, Conn., Det. Durling, and Town of Greenwich, Conn., Officer Rivera stand near a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. Regional police agencies arrived in Newtown to relieve the local police force for the Christmas holiday.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Some of the police officers who responded to the school shooting in Newtown are so traumatized they haven't been working, but they have to use sick time and could soon be at risk of going without a paycheck, a union official said Wednesday.

The union, Council 15 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is seeking more generous assistance in talks with the town's insurer. It is also reaching out to lawmakers and the governor's office with proposals to modify state law and expand workers' compensation benefits for officers who witness horrific crime scenes.

"The insurer for the town has taken a position that these officers are entitled to only what the statute allows. Unfortunately for these officers, the statute doesn't allow any benefits," said Eric Brown, an attorney for the union, which represents nearly 4,000 officers around Connecticut.

A gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators. The gunman, who had also killed his mother that morning, committed suicide as police arrived.

Brown said that the number of officers "critically affected" by the tragedy is below 15 and that a small number of them are not currently working.

A spokesman for Newtown police, Lt. George Sinko, said the officers are generally holding up well.

"A couple of them are taking it harder than some of the other ones," he said. "The things that the officers had to experience underscores the need to support them in every way possible."

Officials with the town's insurer, the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Authorities say the victims were shot with a high-powered, military-style rifle loaded with ammunition designed to inflict maximum damage. All the victims had been shot at least twice, the medical examiner said, and as many as 11 times. Two victims were pronounced dead at a hospital, while all others died in the school.

In the past, advocates have pushed to change the statutes on workers' compensation, which currently include provisions for officers who suffer mental impairment as the result of using or being subjected to deadly force - but not for those who witness crime scenes with mass casualties.

Concerns about the potential cost to cities and towns have been an obstacle, but the issue is likely to resurface in the next legislation session, said state Rep. Stephen Dargan, a West Haven Democrat who is co-chairman of the legislature's public safety committee.

"We don't want it to be used in an abusive way, but the circumstances are so horrific in Newtown. We need to protect those first responders and give them all the help we can give them," he said.

Firefighters who responded to the scene at Sandy Hook also have described struggling with feelings of frustration and anguish, but said they were grateful they were spared from witnessing the scene that greeted police inside the school.

Brown said outside agencies have been meeting demands for counseling services, but it will be important to ensure support is in place over the long term. The officers who are not working also could use up available sick time by early January, he said.

"The emotional loads they're carrying far exceed anything they could imagine," Brown said.

Police have yet to offer a possible motive for gunman Adam Lanza's rampage.

Expansive memorials throughout the small New England town have become gathering points for residents and visitors alike. A steady stream of well-wishers have taken pictures, dropped off toys and fought back tears at a huge sidewalk memorial in the center of Newtown's Sandy Hook section that is filled with stuffed animals, poems, flowers, posters and cards.

Newtown officials plan to convert into a memorial the countless mementos paying tribute to the schoolhouse victims. Thousands of flowers, letters, signs, photos, candles, teddy bears and other items at sites around town will be turned into soil and blocks to be used in a memorial, The News Times in nearby Danbury reported.


Bush spokesman says ex-president's fever rising

Bush spokesman says ex-president's fever rising 

AP Photo
FILE - In a Tuesday, June 12, 2012 file photo, former President George H.W. Bush, and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, arrive for the premiere of HBO's new documentary on his life near the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said Wednesday, Dec. 26. 2012 that doctors at the Houston hospital where Bush has been treated for a month remain “cautiously optimistic” that he will recover. Still, no discharge date has been set, and McGrath says that doctors are being cautious because at Bush’s age “sometimes issues crop up that are beyond anybody’s ability to discern or foretell.”

HOUSTON (AP) -- A "stubborn" fever that kept former President George H.W. Bush in a hospital over Christmas has gotten worse, and doctors have put him on a liquids-only diet, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, had said earlier in the day that the fever had gone away, but he later corrected himself.

"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath told The Associated Press. 

"It's a stubborn fever that won't go away."

Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston have run tests and are treating the fever with Tylenol, but they still haven't nailed down a cause, McGrath said. Doctors also have put Bush on a liquid diet, though McGrath could not say why.

The bronchitis-like cough that initially brought Bush to the hospital on Nov. 23 has improved, McGrath said. 

The 88-year-old is now coughing about once a day, he said.

Bush was visited on Christmas by his wife, Barbara, his son, Neil, and Neil's wife, Maria, and a grandson, McGrath said. Bush's daughter, Dorothy, will arrive Wednesday in Houston from Bethesda, Md. The 41st president has also been visited twice by his sons, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.

Bush and his wife live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The former president was a naval aviator in World War II - at one point the youngest in the Navy - and was shot down over the Pacific. He achieved notoriety in retirement for skydiving on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House in 1992.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

46 Cases Of Fungal Meningitis Now Reported In New Jersey

46 Cases Of Fungal Meningitis Now Reported In New Jersey















TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey health officials say 46 cases of fungal meningitis have now been reported in the state.

The cases, five confirmed and 41 considered probable, are linked to a recalled, potentially tainted steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Nationally, officials say more than 600 cases have been reported in 19 states, including 39 deaths.

State health officials say no one in New Jersey has died from the illness. Twelve patients remain hospitalized, and all of those sickened continue to recover.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Friday, December 21, 2012

Camden Man Charged With Murdering Woman 6 Years After She Testified Against Him


Camden Man Charged With Murdering Woman 6 Years After She Testified Against Him














WOODBURY, N.J. (CBS) — A 60-year-old Camden, NJ man is under arrest today, charged with Monday’s stabbing death of a woman inside her apartment in Woodbury.

Prosecutors in Gloucester County say Richard Santiago was picked up Wednesday and now is accused of murdering 54-year-old Ramona Johnstone.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/
Seeking an outlet, Olympian turned to double life 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 1999, file photo, Suzy Hamilton reacts after winning the women's 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:13.96 at the USA Championships athletics meet in Atlanta. he three-time Olympian has admitted leading a double life as an escort. She apologized Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, after a report by The Smoking Gun website said she had been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas.

Her image could hardly have been better: Athletic. A knockout. All-American. So accomplished and so wholesome that Disneyland hired her for speaking engagements, the Big Ten named an award after her and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association made her their pitchwoman.

Yet something troubled Suzy Favor Hamilton. The former track star out of Wisconsin, whose speed and talent took her to seven national championships and three Olympics, ultimately dealt with her demons by stealing away to live a life as a highly paid prostitute.

An "escape," she called it, that was really a way of masking an American Dream coming unhinged - a real-life tragedy that undercut the myth that success, wealth and fame is a surefire path to happiness.

"I do not expect people to understand," Favor Hamilton said in a frenzied burst of tweets after details about her secret life became public Thursday in a report on The Smoking Gun website. "But the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression."

Stanley Teitelbaum, a psychologist who wrote the book "Athletes Who Indulge Their Dark Side," said it's not so difficult to understand. After retiring, and spending most of her life trying to live up to a certain ideal and getting her highs from the adrenaline rush of elite, competitive sports, day-to-day life in the civilian world can seem boring.

"You've got to think of an emotional outlet, maybe in her case, a nonconventional outlet, a way of getting high by somehow being a bad girl in contrast to her image of an upstanding, Olympic athlete," Teitelbaum said.

In an interview earlier this year with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Favor Hamilton said she dealt with anxiety, an eating disorder and struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Kylie, now 7. But, she told the newspaper, "I feel better than I've ever felt."

At the time of the interview, it turned out, she was doubling as "Kelly Lundy," a $600-an-hour call girl for an escort service based in Las Vegas.

Apparently, it wasn't for the money. In the Journal Sentinel profile, Favor Hamilton said she gave upward of 60 motivational speeches each year and ran a successful realty firm, in addition to doing appearances for Disney and the Rock `n' Roll Marathon series. The Smoking Gun reported that a check through public records showed she lived in a $600,000 house in the Madison suburb of Shorewood Hills and that neither she nor her husband, Mark, had any outward signs of financial difficulties.

Some homes in Shorewood Hills back onto university property.

On Friday, there was no answer at the front door of her house - a sizeable, split-level home at the end of a cul de sac where a hurdle emblazoned with the word "Wisconsin" sits, snow covered, alongside the driveway.

A neighbor, Bob Lynch, who used to coach boxing at Wisconsin, said he used to see Favor Hamilton, her husband and daughter walking around the neighborhood and "they looked like a solid, little family."

"She's really successful," Lynch said. "Madison's a small town that way. If you were a sports hero at the university, you could do well in business."

Neither Favor Hamilton nor her husband, Mark Hamilton, was at their real estate office Friday, which was closing for the Christmas holiday.

In the wake of the news, Disney canceled an upcoming appearance by Favor Hamilton, the Orange County Register reported. The Big Ten conference, which hands out the Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year Award to honor an athlete who won 23 conference and nine NCAA titles, had no comment Friday. A spokesman for the UW athletic department also declined comment.

A walk around the campus in Madison paints a compelling picture of the revered status she still holds at Wisconsin.

Inside the Kohl Center, where the Wisconsin basketball team plays, Favor Hamilton is remembered on a long wall near the entrance commemorating "great moments in athletics history," which also includes Heisman winner Ron Dayne and other UW greats.

In another area, where the trophy awarded to her as the 1989-1990 Collegiate Woman of the Year is on display, a plaque beneath it reads, "There's only one Suzy." Favor Hamilton is also singled out on the university's website describing the displays, describing her as "incomparable."

But when Favor Hamilton was in school, according to two people who knew her then, she was generally regarded as shy and unassuming. Despite that, she had ways of grabbing attention that now have an odd resonance. She was sporadically injured and unable to practice on the track, so to get her cardio work in, she would swim laps in the pool while the men's team was practicing. While one-piece suits were the norm for women training in an athletic environment, Favor Hamilton would peel off into a head-turning, two-piece bikini.

It wasn't the last time Favor Hamilton would garner attention for her looks during a career that spanned three Olympics.

She had modeling contracts and was did a photo shoot for the Suzy Favor Hamilton 1997 calendar, which labels her as a "Three-time Olympian ... and more."

In 2000, she starred in a Nike commercial that's a send-up of horror movies. Dressed in a sports bra and running shorts, Favor Hamilton is stalked through the woods by a chainsaw-wielding zombie, but escapes by simply outrunning him. Message: "Why sport? You'll live longer."

The commercial ran the same year as her last appearance at the Olympics.

She ran at those games to honor her brother, Dan, who committed suicide in 1999. In the 1500-meter final, Favor Hamilton was leading the race with 200 meters to go. But with runners starting to pass her, she told the Journal Sentinel she intentionally fell down, ashamed she couldn't win a medal to honor her brother.

"Coming around that corner the anxiety gripped me so bad," she said. "It told my brain, `Just fall. That's the easiest solution. Just fall, and this all will go away.' That was the only way out.'"

In an interview with The Smoking Gun about her double life, Favor Hamilton said that as a world-class runner she started to believe she was invincible and brought up Tiger Woods, saying, "I mean, he's the biggest athlete ever. He obviously thought he could never get caught."

Though Woods and Favor Hamilton experienced far different levels of success and fame, Teitelbaum, the psychologist, said their experiences aren't so far removed.

"There's the sense of entitlement, grandiosity, the idea you can do whatever you want without worrying about consequences," he said. "She needed to have some way to express some other side of herself that didn't feel as clean or wonderful or upstanding as she appeared to be."

While living the secret life, though, Favor Hamilton couldn't fight the temptation to tell some of her clients who she really was. She believes one of those clients eventually "outed" her - and now her alias is no longer a secret.

"Doing something like that adds to the sense of the drama," Teitelbaum said. "And there's always a self-destructive component. Whether it's based on shame or guilt, it seems like, ultimately, these people find a way to self-destruct."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Mexico, New Agers hope Dec. 21 brings new era

In Mexico, New Agers hope Dec. 21 brings new era 

AP Photo
A Mayan dancer performs at the Xcaret Eco Theme Park on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. Amid a worldwide frenzy of advertisers and new-agers preparing for a Maya apocalypse, one group is approaching Dec. 21 with calm and equanimity, the people whose ancestors supposedly made the prediction in the first place.

MERIDA, Mexico (AP) -- Doomsday hour is here, at least in much of the world, and so still are we.
According to legend, the ancient Mayans' long-count calendar ends at midnight Thursday, ushering in the end of the world.

Didn't happen.

"This is not the end of the world. This is the beginning of the new world," Star Johnsen-Moser, an American seer, said at a gathering of hundreds of spiritualists at a convention center in the Yucatan city of Merida, an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

"It is most important that we hold a positive, beautiful reality for ourselves and our planet. ... Fear is out of place."

As the appointed time came and went in several parts of the world, there was no sign of the apocalypse.
Indeed, the social network Imgur posted photos of clocks turning midnight in the Asia-Pacific region with messages such as: "The world has not ended. Sincerely, New Zealand."

In Merida, the celebration of the cosmic dawn opened inauspiciously, with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honor the calendar's conclusion.

Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that fell from the ceremonial brazier onto the stage.

Still, Lemus was convinced that it was a good start, as he was joined by about 1,000 other shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis.

"It is a cosmic dawn," Lemus declared. "We will recover the ability to communicate telepathically and levitate objects ... like our ancestors did."

Celebrants later held their arms in the air in a salute to the Thursday morning sun.

"The galactic bridge has been established," intoned spiritual leader Alberto Arribalzaga. "At this moment, spirals of light are entering the center of your head ... generating powerful vortexes that cover the planet."

Despite all the ritual and banter, few here actually believed the world would end Friday; the summit was scheduled to run through Sunday. Instead, participants said they were here to celebrate the birth of a new age.

A Mexican Indian seer who calls himself Ac Tah, and who has traveled around Mexico erecting small pyramids he calls "neurological circuits," said he holds high hopes for Friday.

"We are preparing ourselves to receive a huge magnetic field straight from the center of the galaxy," he said.
Terry Kvasnik, 32, a stunt man from Manchester, England, said his motto for the day was "be in love, don't be in fear." As to which ceremony he would attend on Friday, he said with a smile, "I'm going to be in the happiest place I can."

At dozens of booths set up in the convention hall, visitors could have their auras photographed with "Chi" light, get a shamanic cleansing or buy sandals, herbs and whole-grain baked goods. Cleansing usually involves having copal incense waved around one's body.

Visitors could also learn the art of "healing drumming" with a Mexican Otomi Indian master, Dabadi Thaayroyadi, who said his slender hand-held drums are made with prayers embedded inside. The drums emit "an intelligent energy" that can heal emotional, physical and social ailments, he said.

During the opening ceremony, participants chanted mantras to the blazing Yucatan sun, which quickly burned the fair-skinned crowd.

Violeta Simarro, a secretary from Perpignan, France, taking shelter under an awning, noted that the new age won't necessarily be easy.

"It will be a little difficult at first, because the world will need a complete `nettoyage' (cleansing), because there are so many bad things," she said.

Not all seers endorsed the celebration. Mexico's self-styled "brujo mayor," or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, warned followers to stay away from gatherings on Friday. "We have to beware of mass psychosis" that could lead to stampedes or "mass suicides, of the kind we've seen before," he said.

"If you get 1,000 people in one spot and somebody yells `Fire!' watch out," Vazquez Alba said. "The best thing is to stay at home, at work, in school, and at some point do a relaxation exercise."

Others saw the gathering as a model for the coming age.

Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions mingled amiably with the Mexican hosts.

"This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one," said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. "No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion."

Gabriel Romero, a Los-Angeles based practitioner of crystal skull channeling, was so sure it wasn't the end of the world that he planned a welcome ceremony for the new age at dawn on Saturday, when he would erect a stele, a stone monument used by the Mayans to commemorate important dates or events.

The Maya, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns. Some anthropologists believe the 13th baktun ends Dec. 21. Still, archaeologists have uncovered Mayan glyphs that refer to dates far, far in the future, long beyond Dec. 21.
Yucatan Gov. Rolando Zapata, whose state is home to Mexico's largest Mayan population and has benefited from a boom in tourism, said he, too, felt the good vibes.

"We believe that the beginning of a new baktun means the beginning of a new era, and we're receiving it with great optimism," Zapata said.

He said thousands of tourists and spiritualists are expected for Friday's once-in-5,125-years event. "All the flights to the city are completely full," Zapata said.

The Yucatan state government has even invited a scientist to speak about the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to debunk the idea it could produce world-ending rogue particles, a concept popularized by author Steve Alten in his recent book "Phobos, Mayan Fear."

Alten suggests the rogue particles - "tiny black holes" - could unleash earthquakes that might cause a huge tsunami, but acknowledges that linking such events to Dec. 21 "is author's license."

"It's science fiction theory, I'm a science fiction writer," he told The Associated Press.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, however, has listed a number of odd subatomic phenomena - "magnetic monopoles," "vacuum bubbles" and "strangelets" - that could play a role in the next apocalypse scare.

All of it amused Deyanira de Alvarez, a tourist from Mexico City, as she snapped a photo of the countdown clock mounted in the Merida international airport showing just over two days left to "the galactic alignment."
"My grandmother says that people have been talking about (the world ending) ever since she was a little girl," De Alvarez said. "And look, grandma is still here."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Phila. Pair Will Be Tried For First-Degree Murder in Beating Death of 5-Year-Old

Phila. Pair Will Be Tried For First-Degree Murder in Beating Death of 5-Year-Old

 
(Christian Patrick and LaShay Patterson.  Photos from Phila. PD)
Christian Patrick and LaShay Patterson.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia couple has been ordered held for trial on first-degree murder charges in the death of the woman’s five-year-old son, who was abused so badly that authorities say there was no part of him that wasn’t injured.

Even sanitized, the facts are disturbing.

LaShay Patterson and Christian Patrick say they were home-schooling little Dashawn Harris, and in statements allegedly made to police they admitted routinely beating and torturing him for not performing.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newsman's disappearance largely kept secret

Newsman's disappearance largely kept secret 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Monday, May 18, 2009 file photo, Richard Engel attends the Peabody Awards held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. More than a dozen heavily armed gunmen kidnapped and held NBC's chief foreign correspondent Engel and several colleagues for five days inside Syria, keeping them blindfolded and tied up before they finally escaped unharmed during a firefight between their captors and anti-regime rebels, Engel said Tuesday.

NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC was able to keep the abduction of chief Middle East correspondent Richard Engel in Syria largely a secret until he escaped late Monday because it persuaded some of this country's most prominent news organizations to hold back on the story.

Otherwise, the disappearance of Engel - probably the most high-profile international television reporter on a U.S. network - would have been big news.

Engel and three colleagues, producers Ghazi Balkiz and Aziz Akyavas and photographer John Kooistra, escaped during a firefight between rebels and their captors, forces sympathetic to the Syrian government. The journalists were dragged from their cars, kept bound and blindfolded and threatened with death.

NBC said it did not know what had happened to the men until after their escape. The first sign of trouble came last Thursday, when Engel did not check back with his office at an agreed-upon time.

The Associated Press learned of Engel's disappearance independently and was asked to keep the news quiet upon contacting NBC, said John Daniszewski, the AP's vice president and senior managing editor.

"A general principle of our reporting is that we don't want to write stories that are going to endanger the lives of the people that we are writing about," Daniszewski said. The first few days after an abduction are often crucial to securing the captive's release.

In any case, he said, the AP never had enough information to report to its standards. "The fragmentary information we did receive was not solid or sourced in a way we could use. We had no actual news to report until they got out on Tuesday and NBC went public with the story," he said.

CBS News also said that it had honored NBC's request, but a spokeswoman declined to discuss it. ABC, Fox News and CNN were also contacted by NBC.

CNN, in an editor's note affixed to a website story on Engel's escape, noted NBC's request. CNN said it complied to allow fact-finding and negotiations to free the captors before it became a worldwide story.

"Hostage negotiators say that once the global spotlight is on the missing, the hostages' value soars, making it much harder to negotiate their freedom," CNN said.

For similar reasons, the AP did not report its own news several years ago when a photographer was kidnapped in the Gaza Strip, securing his release within a day. In one celebrated case of secrecy, The New York Times withheld news that reporter David Rohde was kidnapped while trying to make contact with a Taliban commander in Afghanistan. Rohde escaped after seven months in captivity.

It wasn't clear whether Engel's abductors knew what they had at the time. That knowledge, CNN argued, could have greatly complicated any negotiations. In this case, the captors did not make any ransom demands during the time he was missing.

This isn't simply a professional courtesy; the AP has withheld news involving overseas contractors in the past, Daniszewski said. For similar reasons, the organization does not reveal details of military or police actions it learns about beforehand if the news will put people at risk, and doesn't write about leaders heading into war zones until they are safely there.

Still, it's not a decision lightly taken by news organizations. "The obligation of journalists is to report information, not withhold it, except in exceptional circumstances," said Robert Steele, a journalism ethics professor at DePauw University.

The news that Engel was missing was first reported Monday by Turkish journalists who had heard about Akyavas' involvement, and was picked up by the U.S. website Gawker.com. In explaining why the news was reported, Gawker's John Cook wrote that no one had told him of a specific or even general threat to Engel's safety.

"I would not have written a post if someone had told me that there was a reasonable or even remote suspicion that anything specific would happen if I wrote the post," Cook wrote.

He also noted that China's Xinhua News Agency and the Breitbart website had also reported on Engel's disappearance. Breitbart's John Nolte attached a note to his report saying that he wasn't even aware of any news embargo until after hearing that Engel had been released.

The news was also tweeted by a small number of journalists, apparently unaware of the embargo request.

Whether a disappearance has become widely known could influence a decision by AP on whether to withhold the news, Daniszewski said. In this case, it wasn't clear that it had been widely circulated, he said.


Monday, December 17, 2012

1 of 2 Brothers Nabbed in Septa Elevated Train Shooting


1 of 2 Brothers Nabbed in Septa Elevated Train Shooting
 
(Eric Early.  Photo from Phila. PD)
Eric Early.


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police confirm that they have picked up one of two brothers who were allegedly involved in last week’s shooting on a SEPTA elevated train in West Philadelphia.

Police say the younger brother, 16-year-old Eric Early, was being questioned at Southwest Detectives and was expected to be charged.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/


Neighbor took 6 young survivors into his home Neighbor took 6 young survivors into his home

Neighbor took 6 young survivors into his home

AP Photo
Gene Rosen becomes emotional as he describes, in an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, that after Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he took in six students who were sitting at the end of his driveway who had just run from the school to escape the deadly massacre. Rosen ran upstairs and grabbed an armful of stuffed animals he kept there. He gave those to the children, along with some fruit juice and sat with them as two of the students described seeing their teacher being shot.

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Gene Rosen had just finished feeding his cats and was heading from his home near Sandy Hook Elementary school to a diner Friday morning when he saw six small children sitting in a neat semicircle at the end of his driveway.

A school bus driver was standing over them, telling them things would be all right. It was about 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman.

"We can't go back to school," one little boy told Rosen. "Our teacher is dead. Mrs. Soto; we don't have a teacher."

Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist, took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys, listened to their stories and called their frantic parents.

Rosen said he had heard the staccato sound of gunfire about 15 minutes earlier but dismissed it as an obnoxious hunter in the nearby woods.

"I had no idea what had happened," Rosen said. "I couldn't take that in."

He walked the children past his small goldfish pond with its running waterfall, and the garden he made with his two grandchildren, into the small yellow house he shares with his wife.

He ran upstairs and grabbed an armful of stuffed animals. He gave those to the children, along with some fruit juice, and sat with them as the two boys described seeing their teacher being shot.

Victoria Soto, 27, was a first-grade teacher killed when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into her classroom. It wasn't clear how the children escaped harm, but there have been reports that Soto hid some of her students from the approaching gunman. The six who turned up at Rosen's home did apparently have to run past her body to safety.

"They said he had a big gun and a little gun," said Rosen, who didn't want to discuss other details the children shared.

Rosen called the children's parents, using cellphone numbers obtained from the school bus company, and they came and retrieved their children.

One little girl, he said, spent the entire ordeal clutching a small stuffed Dalmatian to her chest and staring out the window looking for her mommy.

And one little boy brought them all a moment of levity.

"This little boy turns around, and composes himself, and he looks at me like he had just removed himself from the carnage and he says, `Just saying, your house is very small,'" Rosen said. "I wanted to tell him, `I love you. I love you.'"

Rosen said Sandy Hook had always been a place of joy for him. He taught his 8-year-old grandson to ride his bike in the school parking lot and took his 4-year-old granddaughter to use the swings.

"I thought today how life has changed, how that ground has been marred, how that school has been desecrated," he said.

He said it wasn't his training as a psychologist that helped him that day - it was being a grandparent.

A couple of hours after the last child left, a knock came on his door. It was a frantic mother who had heard that some children had taken refuge there. She was looking for her little boy.

"Her face looked frozen in terror," Rosen said, breaking down in tears.

"She thought maybe a miracle from God would have the child at my house," he said. Later, "I looked at the casualty list ... and his name was on it."


Friday, December 14, 2012

Guardian Angels Join Hunt For West Philadelphia ‘El’ Shooters

 

Guardian Angels Join Hunt For West Philadelphia ‘El’ Shooters

















PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police say the two suspects in Wednesday night’s shooting on a Septa elevated train  in West Philadelphia are 18-year-old brothers, Matthew and Eric Early.

And now the Guardian Angels, the neighborhood volunteer patrol and crimefighting group, has joined in the search for the suspects.

Three members of the Guardian Angels arrived late this morning at 46th and Market Streets, near the station where the shooting occurred, and began posting “wanted” signs with photos of the suspects.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Police: Teens Shot Western Pa. Woman After She Reportedly Told Them To ‘Get A Job’

Police: Teens Shot Western Pa. Woman After She Reportedly Told Them To ‘Get A Job’














BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (AP) — Three teens charged in the fatal shooting of a western Pennsylvania woman targeted her after she told them to “get a job” when she saw them trying to bum a cigarette off her boyfriend, police said.

Beaver Falls police have charged 14-year-olds Todavia Cleckley and Marcus Velasquez and 13-year-old Kyle Goosby Jr. with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide and other charges in Saturday’s shooting of Kayla Peterson, 22. She was shot at about 3:30 p.m. that day and died in a Pittsburgh hospital two hours later.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Lawsuit claims A&E's 'Storage Wars' show is rigged

Lawsuit claims A&E's 'Storage Wars' show is rigged 

AP Photo
This 2011 photo released by A&E shows Dave Hester in front of the Rags to Riches thrift store in Costa Mesa, Calif. Hester sued A&E Television Networks on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, claiming he was fired from the show after complaining that producers had planted valuable items in some of the lockers featured on the reality series.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Some of the valuables found hidden in abandoned lockers on A&E's "Storage Wars" have been added by producers to deceive viewers, a former cast member of the show claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

David Hester's suit claims producers have added a BMW Mini and newspapers chronicling Elvis Presley's death to lockers in order to build drama for the show and that his complaints about the practices led to his firing.

Hester is seeking more than $750,000 in his wrongful termination, breach of contract and unfair business practices lawsuit. A&E Television Network declined comment, citing the pending lawsuit.

"Storage Wars" follows buyers who bid for abandoned storage lockers hoping to find valuables tucked inside.

"A&E regularly plants valuable items or memorabilia," the lawsuit states. Hester's suit claims he was fired from participating in the series' fourth season after expressing concerns that manipulating the storage lockers for the sake of the show was illegal.

He claims that producers stopped adding items to his units after his initial complaints but continued the practice for other series participants. The lawsuit alleges entire units have been staged and the practice may violate a federal law intended to prevent viewers from being deceived when watching a show involving intellectual skills.

"Storage Wars" depicts buyers having only a few moments to look into an abandoned unit before deciding on whether to bid on it at auction. The lawsuit claims some of the auction footage on the show is staged.

Hester, known as "The Mogul" on the show, has been buying abandoned storage units and re-selling their contents for 26 years, according to the suit.

Nielsen Co. has ranked "Storage Wars" among cable television's top-ranked shows several times since its 2010 debut.


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