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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Joe Frazier’s Gym Gets Historic Status

Joe Frazier’s Gym Gets Historic Status PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia gym where former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier lived and trained has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation officials say they were notified Tuesday of the designation by the National Park Service. They say it will help protect the building and commemorate Frazier’s legacy. Frazier converted the three-story north Philadelphia building into a gym in 1968. He lived upstairs and trained downstairs. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

12th Annual Free Comic Book Day This Weekend

12th Annual Free Comic Book Day This Weekend PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – From zombies to a sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. There’s something for everyone at Free Comic Book Saturday on May 4th. KYW’s John McDevitt reports. Sponge Bob Square Pants, Superman, and The Walking Dead are just some of the free comics that will be available at more than 2,000 stores participating in the 12th Annual Free Comic Book Day. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

New Jersey Couple Indicted On Charges Of ‘Unimaginable Cruelty’ Toward Adopted Children

New Jersey Couple Indicted On Charges Of ‘Unimaginable Cruelty’ Toward Adopted Children MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (CBS) – A United States Army major and his wife are facing charges for the alleged abuse of their three adopted children, including one who died in May 2008. A 17-count indictment released Tuesday charges Army Maj. John Jackson, and his wife, Carolyn, with neglect, abuse, cruelty, and torture. The couple, who live in Mount Holly, are behind bars. From about August 2005 until April 23, 2010, Carolyn Jackson, 35, and John E. Jackson, 37, formerly of the Picatinny Arsenal Installation in Morris County, NJ reportedly abused the three juveniles by breaking their bones, denying them medical attention and withholding water and force-feeding them hot sauce. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

George Zimmerman won't seek immunity hearing

George Zimmerman won't seek immunity hearing SANFORD, Florida (AP) -- The former neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting a Florida teenager told a judge Tuesday that he agrees with his defense attorneys' decision not to seek an immunity hearing under the state's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law. Under questioning from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, George Zimmerman repeatedly said "yes" to a series of questions asking if he was aware he was giving up the right to a hearing before his second-degree murder trial in June. A judge would have sole discretion in an immunity hearing to decide if Zimmerman is exempt from culpability in the shooting. A jury would make the determination in the murder trial. "After consultation with my counsel, yes, your honor," Zimmerman said. The judge had set aside two weeks at the end of April for an immunity hearing should Zimmerman want one. Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, told Nelson during a hearing in March that he wouldn't need those days. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda filed a motion last week asking that Zimmerman make clear his intentions on whether he wanted the hearing. O'Mara, told the judge Tuesday there was nothing in the law that required the immunity hearing to take place before Zimmerman's trial and could be requested after prosecutors have presented their case. "We'd much rather have the jury address the issue of criminal liability or lack thereof," O'Mara said. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense. Martin was fatally shot in February 2012 during a fight with Zimmerman in a Sanford gated community. O'Mara also wanted the court to unseal details on a civil settlement Martin's parents received from Zimmerman's homeowner's association. O'Mara contended the settlement could influence the testimony of Martin's parents, if they are called as witnesses. The judge said defense attorneys and prosecutors could see full copies of the settlement but the public would only be able to see a version from which some information has been removed. Daryl Parks, one of the Martin family's attorneys, said afterward that any attempt by the defense to use information from the recent civil settlement was "smoke and mirrors." "It is just wrong to suggest that Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton wanted their son to be killed so they could get a confidential financial settlement," he said. "It is just so unfair to this family." O'Mara denied he was making that suggestion but said anything that goes toward witness bias should be available for a jury to explore during trial to decide whether those testifying are credible. Nelson rejected a request by O'Mara to find fault with prosecutors for what the defense attorney described as violations in providing discovery evidence to them. O'Mara said that prosecutors' failure to disclose evidence in a timely manner had caused his team "hours and hours of work." The judge said she would hold a hearing after the trial to determine if prosecutors should have to pay for some costs that O'Mara said he incurred because of the alleged discovery problems.

Monday, April 29, 2013

2 Charged In Murder Of Overbrook High School Student

2 Charged In Murder Of Overbrook High School Student PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two men have been charged in the murder of Bernard Scott, a 17-year-old Overbrook High School student who was shot and killed in a playground right across the street from the school. The shooting happened April 11th at about 3:45 p.m. at Tustin Playground located near 59th Street and Lancaster Avenue (see related story). On April 11, 20-year-old Jaquan Jordan of Philadelphia was arrested and charged with Weapons Violations in connection with the shooting. On Monday, charges were upgraded and Jordan was charged in connection with the murder of Scott. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

NJ Sex Assault Conviction Tossed Over Law Wording

NJ Sex Assault Conviction Tossed Over Law Wording TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man serving prison time for aggravated sexual assault will get a new sentence after the state Supreme Court tossed his conviction over the wording of the law. Eric Rangel was convicted of the first-degree crime and other offenses stemming from a 2007 attack on an 18-year-old woman in Lake Hiawatha in which the victim suffered fractures and bruises to her face. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Lawyer details Jackson's struggle with drugs

Lawyer details Jackson's struggle with drugs LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's struggle against drug addiction was put on display Monday during opening statements at his mother's wrongful death case against concert promoter AEG Live. Competing portraits of Jackson emerged during the first hours of the trial, with Katherine Jackson's attorney acknowledging the pop star's drug problems while also trying to show he was a caring son and father. AEG's attorney Marvin S. Putnam said, however, that the singer's guarded private life meant the company was unaware that he was using the powerful anesthetic propofol. "The truth is, Michael Jackson fooled everyone," Putnam said. "He made sure that no one, nobody, knew his deepest darkest secrets." A jury of six men and six women will determine whether AEG should pay Jackson's mother and three children after his 2009 death from an overdose of propofol. Millions and possibly billions of dollars in damages are at stake in the case that opened with private photos and video clips of Jackson dancing. "This case is about personal choices," Putnam said about Jackson's decision to be treated by physician Conrad Murray. "Also, it was about his personal responsibility. There's no question that Michael Jackson's death was a terrible tragedy. "I believe the evidence will show it was not a tragedy of AEG Live's making," Putnam said as he ended his opening statement. Testimony will begin Tuesday. Katherine Jackson's attorney, Brian Panish, said AEG created a conflict of interest for Murray and forced him to choose between a large payday and Jackson's care. He told the jury AEG was feeling competitive pressures and wanted the Jackson tour to work at all costs. "They didn't care who got lost in the wash," Panish told the jury. Panish played a song that Jackson wrote for his three children, and a note the singer had written for his mother that brought tears to her eyes as she sat in court. Katherine Jackson sued AEG Live in September 2010, claiming it failed to properly investigate Murray before allowing him to serve as Jackson's doctor as he prepared for his "This Is It" shows. She is also suing on behalf of her son's three children - Prince, Paris and Blanket. AEG denies it hired Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death. AEG's attorneys have said the company could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to the singer's death at age 50. Panish told jurors that AEG executives ignored warning signs about Jackson's health and were motivated to push the singer and his doctor to improve their own financial fortunes. "We're not looking for any sympathy," Panish said. "We're looking for truth and justice." With Jackson's mother, brother Randy and sister Rebbie seated in the front row of the courtroom, jurors were shown numerous slides and several scribbled notes. A couple of jurors nodded when the lawyer referenced Jackson's achievements, including successful concert tours and a Super Bowl performance. Katherine Jackson dabbed her eyes after Panish read a note that her son wrote to her, detailing his feelings about her. "All my success has been based on the fact that I wanted to make my mother proud," the singer's note said, "to win her smile of approval." The personal touches came after Panish spent the first half of his presentation detailing Jackson's struggles with prescription drug abuse throughout the last half of his life. He also showed jurors numerous emails sent between AEG executives concerning Jackson's health and their concerns that he wouldn't be able to perform 50 planned concerts in London. Putnam recounted the chaotic days following Jackson's death as investigators and the public tried to figure out how the singer died unexpectedly. He urged jurors to remember that propofol killed Jackson. "One thing became very, very clear," Putnam said. "While the world may not have heard of propofol, Mr. Jackson certainly had. The evidence is going to show you that he had been using that drug for years and years." Putnam told jurors that AEG executives were in the dark about Jackson's propofol use. "How could they have known?" the lawyer asked. He said jurors will hear from Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, who would tell them that Jackson used the anesthetic in the 1990s. "Mr. Jackson got very, very, good at hiding his addiction," Putnam said. "He didn't let anyone see it. Not his staff, not his children. This was the private Michael Jackson." He said physician-patient confidentiality kept Jackson's reliance on propofol from becoming publicly known. That extended to Murray as well. "He couldn't tell anyone about the propofol use," Putnam said of the former cardiologist. Panish, however, said AEG saw the Jackson shows as a way to make a lot of money and better compete with Live Nation Entertainment Inc. He displayed a March 2009 email sent before a news conference featuring Jackson, in which AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips wrote to Tim Leiweke, the former CEO of AEG'S parent company, that Jackson was drunk and refusing to address fans. "This is the scariest thing I have ever seen," Phillips wrote Leiweke. "He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it's show time. He's scared to death." Panish said Jackson's behavior was just one of several warning signs the company ignored before the death. He told the panel that they would be the ones to assign liability for Jackson's death, but they should look at AEG's actions and not focus on Jackson's issues. "Michael paid the ultimate price. He died," Panish said. "Michael has taken responsibility."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Howard’s Big Hit Leads Hamels, Phillies Over Mets

Howard’s Big Hit Leads Hamels, Phillies Over Mets NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Howard snapped a seventh-inning tie with a pinch-hit double, Cole Hamels earned his first win of the season and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of a crucial Mets error to beat New York 5-1 on Sunday and finish a three-game sweep. Freddy Galvis homered, Chase Utley had an RBI single and Hamels (1-3) overcame six walks, which matched his career high. The left-hander held the Mets to two hits and struck out eight over six innings in his fourth consecutive solid outing. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Local Singer Takes Stance Against Bullying During Concert At High School In South Philadelphia

Local Singer Takes Stance Against Bullying During Concert At High School In South Philadelphia PHILADLEPHIA (CBS) - A group of local performers will get together to take a stance against bullying during a family friendly concert at a South Philadelphia high school Saturday night. The concert is called “Philly Pop Invasion.” One of the singers is South Philly’s own Felicia Punzo who will perform her song “I’m Just A Kid” which is about her own experiences with being bullied. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Student Leadership Project Works With Kids To Create Culture Of Learning

Student Leadership Project Works With Kids To Create Culture Of Learning PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two teachers are taking a new approach to changing school culture and it appears to be working. The method teaches students, not teachers to take the lead. Paul Dean and Bobby Erzen started the Student Leadership Project after completing their commitment to Teach for America. After graduating college in 2008, the duo spent time teaching in inner city schools in New Orleans, and while there, learned there was a major problem with school culture. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Program Takes Middle School Students Through Consequences Of Gun Violence

Program Takes Middle School Students Through Consequences Of Gun Violence PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dr. Amy Goldberg, Temple Hospital’s chief of trauma and surgical critical care, stood in the hospital’s emergency room and held up a blunt-looking metal tool so 20 boys, 8th graders from Finletter, could see it. “We take an instrument like this, lift up on the breast bone and actually cut straight across it,” she explained. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Friday, April 26, 2013

12-Year-Old Struck By Car In Kingsessing

12-Year-Old Struck By Car In Kingsessing PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A 12-year-old child was hospitalized after they were struck by a car in Kingsessing on Friday night. The incident happened at about 7:45 p.m. on the 5100 block of Kingsessing Avenue. Officials say the child was struck by a car while riding their bike. The child suffered leg and arm injuries and was transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There is no word on the victim’s condition. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fire Crews Battle Blaze In North Philadelphia

Fire Crews Battle Blaze In North Philadelphia PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fire crews battled a home fire in North Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. The fire broke out around 5 p.m. on the 1700 block of North Bailey Street in North Philadelphia. According to fire officials, crews arrived to a home with heavy smoke coming from the second floor. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pa. Police Chief Accused Of Having Sex With Crime Victim

Pa. Police Chief Accused Of Having Sex With Crime Victim SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A northeastern Pennsylvania police chief was arrested Wednesday on witness intimidation and obstruction charges after authorities say he had sex with an alleged victim in a criminal case and told her not to tell anyone. Scott Township Police Chief James Romano, 42, was arrested by agents of the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Daughter Of Philadelphia Mayor Assaulted During Track Meet

Daughter Of Philadelphia Mayor Assaulted During Track Meet PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eyewitness News has learned Olivia Nutter, the daughter of Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, was assaulted during a track meet. Sources say it happened in the 1100 block of East Sedgewick in Germantown on Thursday. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Delaware House Approves Gay Marriage Bill

Delaware House Approves Gay Marriage Bill DOVER, Del. (AP) — The state House on Tuesday narrowly approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in Delaware, barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The measure cleared the House on a 23-to-18 vote and now goes to the Senate, where supporters and opponents expect another close vote. Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the Democrat-led legislature. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Police: Couple And 8-Month-Old Son Carjacked In Radnor Township

Police: Couple And 8-Month-Old Son Carjacked In Radnor Township RADNOR Twp., Pa., (CBS) – Police are searching for two men they say carjacked a family in Radnor Township on Monday night. Radnor Township Police say the armed men stole a vehicle with three people inside, including an 8-month-old boy. The incident happened at about 9:50 p.m. in the parking lot outside of the Micro Center computer store, located on the 500 block of E. Lancaster Avenue in the St. David’s section. Police say the family had just left the computer store. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Charged In Boston Marathon Bombings

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Charged In Boston Marathon Bombings BOSTON (AP/CBS) - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally charged Monday in the Boston Marathon bombings. A magistrate judge went to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to conduct the initial court appearance in front of Tsarnaev, 19, who is under heavy guard in serious condition with gunshot wounds to his throat and leg. The throat wound has left him unable to speak, so he’s responding to questions in writing. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Security Tightened At Penn Relays

Security Tightened At Penn Relays PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Penn Relays are only days away, but Boston is still on everyone’s mind. “The events of that day have shaken all of us to some degree,” said Dave Johnson, Director of the Penn Relays, in a press conference leading up to the three day track and field meet. More than 20,000 athletes and 100,000 fans will pack Franklin Field to watch the historic meet. In light of Boston, crowds should be ready for extra security. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Man In Custody After Reports Of Suspicious Person Inside Visitor Center Garage

Man In Custody After Reports Of Suspicious Person Inside Visitor Center Garage PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Visitor’s Center on Independence Mall closed for a short period of time this afternoon while police investigated a suspicious man. Authorities say a man wearing a full camouflage suit inside the Visitor’s Center quickly drew the attention of police. Philadelphia police lieutenant Joe McGarrey says they caught up with him inside a vehicle in the underground parking garage. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thousands Turn Out For 3rd Annual Science Carnival On Ben Franklin Parkway

Thousands Turn Out For 3rd Annual Science Carnival On Ben Franklin Parkway PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands of people turned out Saturday for the 3rd annual Science Carnival on the Ben Franklin Parkway. KYW’s Molly Daly was there. Under a blue sky dotted with cumulus clouds — well, it is a science festival after all — families could visit more than 150 interactive exhibits, ranging from a look at a robot’s innards, to meeting live animals, to testing a crime scene for forensic evidence. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, April 18, 2013

‘Massive Layoffs’ Loom As Philadelphia School District Attempts To Fill $300M Budget Hole

‘Massive Layoffs’ Loom As Philadelphia School District Attempts To Fill $300M Budget Hole PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The school district says “massive layoffs” and program cuts loom if it doesn’t fill its $300 million budget hole. No art. No extracurricular activities. No interscholastic sports. Schools superintendent William Hite says if the district doesn’t get $304 million in extra revenue from the city and state and concessions from unions, deep cuts will be made. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Marchers Urge Corbett To Accept Federal Funds to Expand Medicaid

Marchers Urge Corbett To Accept Federal Funds to Expand Medicaid PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local grassroot organizations and politicians, hoping to put pressure on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, took to the streets of Philadelphia today to make their case. About 100 protesters marched from Philadelphia City Hall to Corbett’s regional office at Broad and Walnut Streets, demanding that he agree to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 700,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Man charged in letters case described as troubled

Man charged in letters case described as troubled OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- A Mississippi man charged with sending ricin-laced letters to the president and other officials was described Thursday as a good father, a quiet neighbor and an entertainer who impersonated Elvis at parties. Other accounts show a man who spiraled into emotional turmoil trying to get attention for his claims of uncovering a conspiracy to sell body parts on the black market. Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, wrote numerous Web posts over the past several years describing the event that he said "changed my life forever": the chance discovery of body parts and organs wrapped in plastic in small refrigerator at a hospital where he worked as a janitor more than a decade ago. He tried to talk to officials and get the word out online, but he thought he was being railroaded by the government. Authorities say the efforts culminated in letters sent to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a judge in Mississippi. "Maybe I have your attention now even if that means someone must die," the letters read, according to an FBI affidavit. "He is bipolar, and the only thing I can say is he wasn't on his medicine," his ex-wife, Laura Curtis, told The Associated Press. Jim Waide, an attorney for the Curtis family, said Paul Kevin Curtis was prescribed medication three years ago. "When he is on his medication, he is terrific, he's nice, he's functional," Waide said. "When he's off his medication, that's when there's a problem." Waide represented Curtis in a lawsuit he filed in August 2000 against North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, where he had worked from 1998 until he was fired in 2000. Waide said he withdrew from the case because Curtis didn't trust him. The suit, claiming employment discrimination, was dismissed. "He thought I was conspiring against him," Waide said. "He thinks everybody is out to get him." Curtis made a brief court appearance Thursday, wearing shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt. Attorney Christi R. McCoy said he "maintains 100 percent" that he is innocent. He did not enter pleas to the two federal charges against him. He is due back in court Friday afternoon. In several letters to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, and other officials, Curtis said he was writing a novel about black-market body parts called "Missing Pieces." Curtis also posted similar language on his Facebook page. The documents indicate Curtis had been distrustful of the government for years. In 2007, Curtis' ex-wife called police in Booneville to report that her husband was extremely delusional, anti-government and felt the government was spying on him with drones. Laura Curtis said that she doesn't believe the allegations about her ex-husband. "He just likes to speak out," she said. "What they say he did is so unlike him, it's unreal," she added. "Until I hear him say he did it, I would not, ... I could not believe it." During their 10-year marriage, the couple lived in Booneville in north Mississippi. Curtis said she moved to a house next door after the split. Her ex-husband moved to Birmingham but eventually back to Mississippi, most recently the small town of Corinth, where he was arrested Wednesday. Laura Curtis said he would visit their four children - ages, 8, 16, 18 and 20 - almost every day. He recently bought his youngest child a bicycle But others say Curtis' behavior was often erratic. Tupelo attorney David Daniels said Curtis was in a show he helped organize about 10 years ago. Daniels said was sitting in his vehicle one night after rehearsal when Curtis walked up. "He started beating on the windows and screaming and hollering," Daniels said. "I thought he was kidding, but he was serious. He was throwing a fit like I've never seen a grown man throw before." Daniels said Curtis was holding a beer bottle and threatening him with it. Daniels said he pointed the pistol he kept in his car: "I told him, `If you try to hit me with that bottle, Kevin, I'm going to shoot you.'" But he said Curtis stayed by the vehicle for as long as 15 minutes. "He was screaming and ranting and raving about body parts being sold," Daniels said. Daniels eventually filed simple assault charges and he said the judge who handled the case was Sadie Holland - one of the three people who received a letter suspected of containing ricin, according to authorities. Records show she sentenced Daniels to six months in the county jail. Daniels was an assistant district attorney at the time. "He launched a smear campaign against me, saying I attacked him and tried to shoot him," Daniels said Thursday. "It made my life miserable for almost two years, having to deal with this guy," he said. On Thursday, North Mississippi Medical Center confirmed Curtis' employment and said in a statement he was not terminated in response to allegations about the facility. Under the name Kevin Curtis, multiple online posts describe the conspiracy Curtis claimed to uncover when working there. The posts say the conspiracy began when he "discovered a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts & organs wrapped in plastic in the morgue of the largest non-metropolitan health care organization in the United States of America." The hospital's statement says it works with an agency that specializes in harvesting organs and tissue from donors, and then immediately transports those organs for donation. The hospital says it does not receive payment for the donated organs. In one post, Curtis said he sent letters to Wicker and other politicians. "I never heard a word from anyone. I even ran into Roger Wicker several different times while performing at special banquets and fundraisers in northeast, Mississippi but he seemed very nervous while speaking with me and would make a fast exit to the door when I engaged in conversation ... " Wicker said Thursday in Washington that he had met Curtis when he was working as Elvis at a party Wicker and his wife helped throw for an engaged couple about 10 years ago. Wicker called him "quite entertaining" but said: "My impression is that since that time he's had mental issues and perhaps is not as stable as he was back then." Early Thursday evening, the FBI said lab tests confirmed the presence of ricin in the letters mailed to Obama and Wicker. At least a dozen armed officers wearing gas masks and hazardous-material suits went into Curtis' home Thursday evening in Corinth. There was no immediate word on what they found inside. Police had blocked off the home with crime-scene tape since Wednesday's arrest. No neighbors have been evacuated. Raymond Zilinskas, a chemical and biological weapons expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, called the process to make ricin elaborate. He said it would not be difficult to create a low-concentration version using instructions from the Internet, but a finer and more concentrated version would require laboratory equipment and expertise. Laura Curtis said she doesn't think her ex-husband has the knowledge required to make ricin. She said he collects a monthly disability check, and she did not know where he would get ricin. She said she cried when she heard about the arrest. "It's more sinking in today, because you see the longer picture," Curtis said. "It's just me and the kids."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FBI: Mississippi Man Arrested, Accused In Ricin Letters

FBI: Mississippi Man Arrested, Accused In Ricin Letters OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man was arrested Wednesday, accused of sending letters to President Barack Obama and a senator that tested positive for the poisonous ricin and set the nation’s capital on edge a day after the Boston Marathon bombings. FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested at 5:15 p.m. at his apartment in Corinth, near the Tennessee state line about 100 miles east of Memphis. It wasn’t immediately known where he was being held. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Records: Ex-official's wife says husband shot DA

Records: Ex-official's wife says husband shot DA KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) -- In a surprising twist, the wife of a jailed former justice of the peace was charged Wednesday with capital murder after authorities say she confessed to helping her husband kill two North Texas prosecutors who aggressively secured a theft conviction against him. The overnight arrest and charge against Kim Lene Williams is the latest turn in an investigation that had recently focused on Eric Williams after authorities searched his home and a nearby storage facility stocked with guns. An arrest affidavit alleges she told investigators Tuesday that her husband shot and killed Kaufman County assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse in January and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife last month. The affidavit does not specify what role she played in the killings. Investigators said they would not release further details until briefing the victims' families. Eric Williams, 46, who has not yet been charged in the slayings, remained jailed on a $3 million bond Wednesday on a charge of making a terroristic threat. Kim Williams, 46, was being held on a $10 million bond. "I don't think anyone could have written a novel that would play out like this," said Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood. He said county employees were relieved the case was moving forward but also were shocked by the recent developments. McLelland and Hasse prosecuted Eric Williams last year for theft of three computer monitors from a county building. Williams was convicted, sentenced to probation and lost his law license and his elected position as justice of the peace - a judge who handles mostly administrative duties. McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead March 30 in their home, two months after Hasse was gunned down near the county courthouse. Wood said the DA told him after Hasse was killed that he believed Eric Williams was behind the attack but acknowledged he had little evidence to support his suspicion. The officer who signed the affidavit, sheriff's Sgt. Matt Woodall, said he had learned from other officers and county employees that Hasse and McLelland both believed Williams blamed them for the loss of his job. The prosecutors carried handguns after the trial because they thought he was "a threat to their personal safety," Woodall wrote. Eric Williams was arrested Saturday on allegations he sent an email to authorities - one day after the McLellands' bodies were discovered - implying there would be another attack if authorities didn't respond to various demands. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation previously said authorities were trying to build a case against Eric Williams in the prosecutors' slayings. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation. The official said ballistics experts were testing at least 20 weapons found in a storage locker under Eric Williams' name at a facility near Dallas. A Ford Crown Victoria similar to one recorded in the McLellands' neighborhood around the time the couple was killed was parked at the storage facility, the official said. A message left with an attorney who had been representing Eric Williams was not returned Wednesday. Jail records did not list an attorney for Kim Williams. While Eric Williams was well known in town as a family lawyer and later as a justice of the peace, county officials and neighbors said Kim Williams was rarely seen around Kaufman. The county judge said he met her only once, briefly, at a swearing-in ceremony for public officials. A local attorney, Steve Hulme, said he knew Eric Williams' wife had health issues and called her arrest "just shocking." Richard Mohundro, a next-door neighbor, said Kim Williams used to visit him and talk on his front porch. "I actually had many more conversations with Kim ... than I ever did with him," Mohundro said. "She is in bad health and hasn't been outside much in the last two years." Kim Williams testified at the sentencing phase of her husband's theft case last spring, calling him "a loving man" and contradicting the image presented in trial testimony indicating he made death threats against a former girlfriend and a local attorney. She said she suffers from several illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. She said her husband was her sole caregiver as well as the caregiver for her two ailing parents. "He wouldn't do anything to hurt anybody," she testified, according to a story from the Forney Post. "I'm standing by him 100 percent." Eric Williams has said that after the McLellands' deaths and after Hasse was gunned down Jan. 31, he submitted to gunshot residue tests and turned over his cellphone. Two other people have been arrested for making terroristic threats during the investigation into the slayings, but authorities said they had no connection to the deaths.

Gun control loses: No expanded background checks

Gun control loses: No expanded background checks WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats scuttled the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades Wednesday, rejecting tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on assault weapons as they spurned pleas from families of victims of last winter's school massacre in Newtown, Conn. "This effort isn't over," President Barack Obama vowed at the White House moments after the defeat on one of his top domestic priorities. Surrounded by Newtown relatives, he said opponents of the legislation in both parties "caved to the pressure" of special interests. A ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines also fell in a series of showdown votes four months after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary. A bid to loosen restrictions on concealed weapons carried across state lines was rejected, as well. That last vote marked a rare defeat for the National Rifle Association on a day it generally triumphed over Obama, gun control advocates and many of the individuals whose lives have been affected by mass shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere. Some of them watched from the spectator galleries above the Senate floor. "Shame on you," shouted one, Patricia Maisch, who was present two years ago when a gunman in Tucson, Ariz., killed six and wounded 13 others, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Vice President Joe Biden gaveled the Senate back into order after the breach of decorum. Gun control advocates, including Obama, had voiced high hopes for significant action after the Newtown shootings. But the lineup of possible legislation gradually dwindled to a focus on background checks, and in the end even that could not win Senate passage. Chances in the Republican-controlled House had seemed even slimmer. By agreement of Senate leaders, a 60-vote majority was required for approval of any of the provisions brought to a vote. The vote on the background check was 54-46, well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats voted to reject the plan. The proposed ban on assault weapons commanded 40 votes; the bid to block sales of high capacity ammunition clips drew 46. The NRA-backed proposal on concealed carry permits got 57. In the hours before the key vote on background checks, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., bluntly accused the National Rifle Association of making false claims about the expansion of background checks that he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., were backing. "Where I come from in West Virginia, I don't know how to put the words any plainer than this: That is a lie. That is simply a lie," he said, accusing the organization of telling its supporters that friends, neighbors and some family members would need federal permission to transfer ownership of firearms to one another. The NRA did not respond immediately to the charge, but issued a statement after the vote that restated the claim. The proposal "would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution," said a statement from Chris Cox, a top lobbyist for the group. Said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, "Expanded background checks would not have prevented Newtown. Criminals do not submit to background checks." Even before the votes, the administration signaled the day's events would not be the last word on an issue that Democratic leaders shied away from for nearly two decades until Obama picked up on it after the Newtown shootings. Biden's presence was a purely symbolic move since each proposal required a 60-vote majority to pass and he would not be called upon to break any ties. Democratic aides said in advance the issue would be brought back to the Senate in the future, giving gun control supporters more time to win over converts to change the outcome. Obama, standing near Giffords and relatives of other shooting victims, said at the White House public opinion was strongly behind expanded background checks. Despite that, opponents of the legislation were "worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money" at the next election, he said. "So all in all this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," he added. The day's key test concerned the background checks, designed to prevent criminals and the seriously mentally ill from purchasing firearms. Under current law, checks are required only when guns are purchased from federally licensed firearms dealers. The proposal by Manchin and Toomey called for extending the requirement to other sales at gun shows and on the Internet. On the vote, Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana joined Pryor and Heitkamp in voting against the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a supporter of the plan, switched his vote to the prevailing "no" side to permit him to call for a revote in the future. Begich, Pryor and Baucus are all seeking re-election next year. In an indication of the intensity of the feelings on the issue, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group, swiftly announced it would run ads contrasting their votes with polls showing overwhelming popular support for gun curbs. Among Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona and Toomey sided with Democrats. Numerous polls in recent months have shown support for enhanced gun control measures, including background checks, though it may be weakening. An Associated Press-GfK poll this month showed that 49 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, down from 58 percent in January. In that recent survey, 38 percent said they want the laws to remain the same and 10 percent want them eased. Obama has made enactment of greater curbs a priority on his domestic agenda in the months since the massacre at Newtown, making several trips outside Washington to try and build support. Last week, he traveled to Connecticut, and he invited several parents to fly back to Washington with him aboard Air Force One so they could personally lobby lawmakers. To an unusual degree for professional politicians, some senators said afterward that they had not wanted to meet with the mothers and fathers of the dead, or said it was difficult to look at photographs that the parents carried of their young children, now dead. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said before Wednesday's vote, "I think that in some cases, the president has used them as props, and that disappoints me." Without referring to Paul by name, Obama rebutted him firmly. "Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue?" he said. At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said some of them had met earlier in the day with lawmakers, who he said should "consider who they're representing. "Ninety percent of the American people support expanded background checks," he said. The NRA told lawmakers it intended to keep track of how the votes were cast, and consider them in making decisions about its efforts in the midterm elections for Congress next year. An opposing group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said it would do likewise. The NRA has a long track record in electoral politics, and is viewed by lawmakers in both political parties as unusually effective. Bloomberg's organization has yet to be tested. In the AP-GfK poll, among independents, support for stricter gun laws dipped from 60 percent in January to 40 percent now. About three-fourths of Democrats supported them then and now, while backing among Republicans for looser laws about doubled to 19 percent. The survey was conducted from April 11-15 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Calif. bullying victim, 13, commits suicide

Calif. bullying victim, 13, commits suicide PALMDALE, California A missing 13-year-old California boy who committed suicide was reportedly a bullying victim. Middle school student Nigel Hardy shot himself Monday after allegedly being bullied at school. The teenager was reported missing around 9:15 a.m. Monday, according to detectives from the sheriff's Palmdale Station. The boy, who was a cheerleader at Hillview Middle School, became “despondent” when he was temporarily suspended from the campus last week after fighting with another student. Hardy’s father found a suicide note from his son and also discovered his firearm was missing. The young boy was found dead Monday night in Kern County with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1 Dead, Major Delays Following Crash On I-495 In New Castle, Del.

1 Dead, Major Delays Following Crash On I-495 In New Castle, Del. NEW CASTLE, Del., (CBS) – One person is dead following a multi-vehicle accident on I-495 in Delaware on Tuesday. The accident happened at about 3:30 p.m. on I-495 southbound at Edgemoor Road. Chopper 3 HD was over the scene as Delaware State Police responded to the crash. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Super voice gone: Pat Summerall dead at 82

Super voice gone: Pat Summerall dead at 82 DALLAS (AP) -- Pat Summerall was the calm alongside John Madden's storm. Over four decades, Summerall described some of the biggest games in America in his deep, resonant voice. Simple, spare, he delivered the details on 16 Super Bowls, the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament with a simple, understated style that was the perfect complement for the "booms!" and "bangs!" of Madden, his football partner for the last half of the NFL player-turned-broadcaster's career. Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, said University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton, speaking on behalf of Summerall's wife, Cheri. "Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years," Madden said in a statement. "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be." His final play-by-play words beside Madden were succinct, of course, as he called the game-ending field goal of the Super Bowl for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17. "It's right down the pipe. Adam Vinatieri. No time on the clock. And the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable," Summerall said. Sparse, exciting, perfect. A flawless summation without distracting from the reaction viewers could see on the screen. At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that complemented the boisterous former Oakland Raiders coach so well. As former teammate and broadcaster Frank Gifford put it in an accompanying video tribute: "America is very comfortable with Pat Summerall." Summerall played 10 NFL seasons from 1952 to 1961 with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, but it was in his second career that he became a voice familiar to generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL. "Pat was a friend of nearly 40 years," CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist said. "He was a master of restraint in his commentary, an example for all of us. He was also one of the great storytellers who ever spoke into a microphone." Summerall started doing NFL games for CBS in 1964, and became a play-by-play guy 10 years later. He was also part of coverage of the PGA Tour, including the Masters from 1968-94, and U.S. Open tennis. When CBS lost its NFL deal after the 1993 season, Summerall switched to Fox to keep calling NFL games with Madden. Summerall had hoped to keep working with CBS for other events like the Masters, but network executives saw it otherwise. At the time, CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz said he was "very saddened" that Summerall didn't get to leave CBS under his own terms. "Pat Summerall was a hero to me," Nantz said Tuesday. "I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him. I was his understudy for 10 years. He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster." A recovering alcoholic, Summerall had a liver transplant in April 2004. The lifesaving surgery was necessary even after 12 years of sobriety. After an intervention involving, among others, former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, former CBS Sports President Peter Lund and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beaman, Summerall checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in April 1992. "I had no intention of quitting, I was having too good a time," Summerall said in a 2000 Associated Press story. "The prescribed stay at Betty Ford is 28 days. They kept me 33 because I was so angry at the people who did the intervention, the first five days didn't do me any good." Summerall received the liver of a 13-year-old junior high football player from Arkansas who died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. Summerall had an emotional meeting with the teenager's family the following year. "He always had a joke," Madden said Tuesday. "Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He was something very special." Summerall often shared his testimony with Christian groups and told his story when speaking before other organizations. In his 2006 book, "Summerall: On and Off The Air," he frankly discussed his personal struggles and professional successes. Long before broadcasting Super Bowl games, 16 for television and 10 more for radio - in fact, before there was even a Super Bowl - Summerall played a role in what is known in football circles as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 NFL championship. The Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in the NFL's first-ever overtime game. "Pat Summerall was one of the best friends and greatest contributors that the NFL has known," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "His majestic voice was treasured by millions of NFL fans for more than four decades. It is a sad day in the NFL." Born George Allen Summerall on May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., he was an all-state prep football and basketball player there, and lettered in baseball and tennis. He played college football at Arkansas before going to the NFL. After breaking his arm in the preseason as a rookie for Detroit, Summerall played five years for the Chicago Cardinals before four seasons with the Giants. While he was also a defensive back, Summerall was primarily a kicker, making 100 field goals and 256 of 265 extra points in his career. "Pat will always be a great Giant," team president John Mara said Tuesday. "He was one of my father's favorites, and his game-winning kick in the snow against the Browns in 1958 is one of the most memorable plays in our franchise's history." When asked about his fondest NFL memories during a May 2009 interview with the AP, Summerall said there were things that stood out as a player and broadcaster. "You always remember the days as a player. I was in four championship games before there was a Super Bowl, so I remember those very well," he said. "Broadcasting, I remember the last (Super Bowl) I did. Of course, I remember that. I remember the first one most vividly than any of the rest." Summerall was part of the CBS broadcast of the inaugural Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967. After working the first half in the broadcast booth, he switched places with Gifford at halftime and was a sideline reporter during the second half. "To look at the Coliseum that day and see that there were like 40,000 empty seats and the most expensive ticket was $12, it's incredible to realize what was going on and what it's grown to over the years," he said during the 2009 AP interview. "It's sort of staggering to me." Summerall, who spent his final years in the Dallas area, living in Southlake, was a member of the North Texas Super Bowl host committee for the game played there in February 2011 in the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium that opened in 2009. "He was royalty in the broadcast booth," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "There is no question that Pat broadcast more Dallas games on CBS and FOX than any other man, and this is a great loss for thousands of Cowboys fans who spent their Sunday afternoons in the living room with Pat." Summerall became a play-by-play announcer in 1974, and it was strictly by accident. He was working with Jack Buck, and CBS boss Bob Wussler thought the two commentators sounded too much alike. Summerall told Wussler that if a change was going to be made that he'd like to do play-by-play, and the following Sunday that's what Summerall was doing. After his final game with Madden, Summerall remained a full-time broadcaster for Fox one more season, doing primarily Dallas Cowboys games during the 2002 season. He decided to step down the following year when he realized he would spend most of the season away from home. Summerall did a handful of NFL games for Fox and ESPN the next few seasons. He did play-by-play for Fox's broadcast of the Cotton Bowl's games from 2007-10, then for the bowl's 75th anniversary in January 2011 conducted interviews as part of the pregame show and game broadcast. He also had voiceovers that were part of Masters broadcasts for CBS and game broadcasts on NFL Network. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sources: Collins Will Not Return As Sixers Head Coach Next Season

Sources: Collins Will Not Return As Sixers Head Coach Next Season PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doug Collins is out as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Sources confirm to Eyewitness News/CBS Philly that Collins has informed the team that he will not return next season. 94WIP’s Howard Eskin reports that Collins and the Sixers are working out a settlement that will allow Collins to leave the head coach position after the season. Collins would remain with the team in some capacity, but would be allowed to work on television as an analyst, but not for another NBA team. Eskin reports that settlement should be completed on Monday night. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Philadelphia Police, Area Transit Systems Heighten Security Following Boston Marathon Explosions

Philadelphia Police, Area Transit Systems Heighten Security Following Boston Marathon Explosions PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference Monday night to discuss public safety in the city of Philadelphia. “Philadelphia is at a heightened level of security at this point,” said Nutter. Philadelphia police in coordination with Amtrak, SEPTA, Parks & Recreation Department, and the U.S. National Park Service are all on heightened alert. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Gun background check deal in jeopardy in Senate

Gun background check deal in jeopardy in Senate WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan proposal to expand background checks to more gun buyers seems in jeopardy as more Republican senators are expressing opposition to the proposal, perhaps even enough to derail it. But there is plenty of time for both sides to change lawmakers' minds. As of Monday evening, senators were saying the vote appears likely late this week, rather than midweek as top Democrats hoped. A delay would give both sides more time to line up support. Out of 16 GOP senators who voted last week to start debating gun control legislation, eight say they will oppose a background check compromise between a Democratic and a GOP senator. Two others say they are leaning against it. Gun control advocates will need support from some of those GOP senators to prevail. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below. A bipartisan proposal to expand background checks to more gun buyers is in jeopardy. The pool of potential Republican votes that Democrats will need to push the measure through the Senate has dwindled, and President Barack Obama was calling lawmakers Monday as both sides hunted support for a nail-biting showdown vote expected this week. At stake is what has become the heart of this year's gun control drive in response to December's killing of children and staff at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Supporters consider a broadening of the buyers subjected to background checks to be the most effective step lawmakers can take, and Obama urged near universal checks in the plan he unveiled in January. "This is America," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who spoke on the Senate floor as did Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., promoting the background check compromise they reached last week and on which the chamber will vote. "This is about can we make a difference, can we change something." Sixteen Republicans voted last week to reject an effort by conservatives that would have blocked the Senate from even considering a broad bill restricting firearms. With that debate now underway, Democrats hope to win enough supporters from this group to gain passage of the first amendment to that bill - the compromise between Manchin and Toomey - though more narrowly than Obama had hoped. So far, seven Republican senators from that group have said they will oppose the Manchin-Toomey plan and one is leaning against it. Combined with the 31 senators who voted against debating the overall gun bill last week, that brings potential opponents of expanding background checks to 39 - just two fewer than opponents will need to sink the legislation. "The Toomey-Manchin proposal, while well-intentioned, is not a solution to illegal gun violence. We already have major holes in the current" background check system, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday in a written statement. Graham was among the 16 who voted to allow the debate to begin. Opponents say expanded checks would violate the Constitution's right to bear arms and would be ignored by criminals. They are forcing supporters of the background check plan to win 60 of the Senate's 100 votes, a high hurdle. Fifty Democrats and two Democratic-leaning senators voted last week to begin debate. If all of them support the Manchin-Toomey plan - which is not guaranteed - they will still need eight additional votes. So far, three Republicans who backed beginning debate have said they will vote for the Manchin-Toomey plan: Toomey and Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine. A fourth, John McCain of Arizona, said he is strongly inclined to do so. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., missed last week's vote after saying he was suffering from muscle weakness, but spokesman Caley Gray said he hopes to be in the Senate for votes this week. Two Democrats, both facing re-election next year in GOP-leaning states, voted against beginning the gun control debate last week: Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Spokesman Devon Kearns said that Begich is still reviewing the amendment, while aides to Pryor did not immediately return emails and a phone call. Background checks, designed to keep guns from criminals and the seriously mentally ill, are currently required only for sales handled by the nation's roughly 55,000 licensed gun dealers. The Manchin-Toomey measure would extend that to sales at commercial venues like gun shows and online, while exempting other transactions like those between relatives and friends. "There's no debate that that's not an infringement of the Second Amendment" right to bear arms, Toomey said. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the gun legislation was "an absolute priority" and said Obama has been contacting senators, though he declined to say which ones. But Carney said the vote would be "a difficult challenge." He said that because the Senate had voted last week to begin debating the measure "does not mean we have gotten to where we need to be, which is passage of legislation that is commonsense and that will reduce gun violence in America." The White House originally had hoped for much more, including a ban on military-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The National Rifle Association said it was running an ad on cable television's Sportsman Channel and online criticizing Mayors Against Illegal Guns for running an ad showing a man holding a gun unsafely as he describes his support for expanded background checks. "Is it possible he's an actor?" the ad asks, just before showing the NRA's "Stand and Fight" slogan. Some relatives of the victims of the Connecticut families are planning a return trip to Capitol Hill this week to meet with senators they weren't able to visit on their lobbying trip last week. That trip was partly credited with helping move the Senate to debate the gun bill. Also scheduled to be lobbying lawmakers this week are former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut. She was severely wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz. The Manchin-Toomey deal also would expand some firearms rights, easing some restrictions on transporting guns across state lines and protecting sellers from lawsuits if buyers pass a background check but later use a gun in a crime. The compromise is an amendment to broader gun control legislation to strengthen laws against illegal gun trafficking and to slightly increase school security aid.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comedian Kevin Hart Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI

Comedian Kevin Hart Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say comedian Kevin Hart has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his black Mercedes nearly collided with a tanker trunk on a Southern California freeway. California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs says Hart appeared intoxicated when he was pulled over before dawn Sunday on Highway 101 in Los Angeles. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Friday, April 12, 2013

Police: Man Shot, Killed While Sitting In Car In Kingsessing

Police: Man Shot, Killed While Sitting In Car In Kingsessing PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A 44-year-old man is dead following a shooting in the Kingsessing section on Friday night. The incident happened at about 5:12 p.m. on the 1200 block of South 52nd Street. Philadelphia Police say the victim was shot multiple times while sitting in a car. He was pronounced dead at the scene. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Groundbreaking improv comic Jonathan Winters dies

Groundbreaking improv comic Jonathan Winters dies LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jonathan Winters, the cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, has died. He was 87. The Ohio native died Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes, said Joe Petro III, a longtime friend. He was surrounded by family and friends. Winters was a pioneer of improvisational standup comedy, with an exceptional gift for mimicry, a grab bag of eccentric personalities and a bottomless reservoir of creative energy. Facial contortions, sound effects, tall tales - all could be used in a matter of seconds to get a laugh. "Jonathan Winters was the worthy custodian of a sparkling and childish comedic genius. He did God's work. I was lucky 2 know him," Carrey tweeted on Friday. On Jack Paar's television show in 1964, Winters was handed a foot-long stick and he swiftly became a fisherman, violinist, lion tamer, canoeist, U.N. diplomat, bullfighter, flutist, delusional psychiatric patient, British headmaster and Bing Crosby's golf club. "As a kid, I always wanted to be lots of things," he told U.S. News & World Report in 1988. "I was a Walter Mitty type. I wanted to be in the French Foreign Legion, a detective, a doctor, a test pilot with a scarf, a fisherman who hauled in a tremendous marlin after a 12-hour fight." The humor most often was based in reality - his characters Maude Frickert and Elwood P. Suggins, for example, were based on people Winters knew growing up in Ohio. A devotee of Groucho Marx and Laurel and Hardy, Winters and his free-for-all brand of humor inspired Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin, among many others. But Williams and Carrey are his best-known followers. "First he was my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend. I'll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha," Williams said in a statement Friday. Williams helped introduce Winters to new fans in 1981 as the son of Williams' goofball alien and his earthling wife in the final season of ABC's "Mork and Mindy." The two often strayed from the script. "The best stuff was before the cameras were on, when he was open and free to create," Williams once said. "Jonathan would just blow the doors off." Carson, meanwhile, lifted Winters' Maude Frickert character almost intact for the long-running Aunt Blabby character he portrayed on "The Tonight Show." "Beyond funny. He invented a new category of comedic genius," comedian Albert Brooks tweeted Friday. In other Twitter posts, Richard Lewis called Winters "the greatest improvisational comedian of all time" and Roseanne Barr added "a genius has vacated this realm." Winters' only Emmy was for best-supporting actor for playing Randy Quaid's father in the sitcom "Davis Rules" (1991). He was nominated again in 2003 as outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for an appearance on "Life With Bonnie." He also won two Grammys: One for his work on "The Little Prince" album in 1975 and another for his "Crank Calls" comedy album in 1996. "I knew him for 55 years and he's always been silly, every moment of his life," veteran announcer Gary Owens, who collaborated with Winters on four comedy albums, recalled warmly Friday in an interview with the AP. He spoke by phone with him just two days ago, Owens said, and although frail, Winters still broke into a routine in which he was being pecked in the head by a pet peregrine falcon he claimed to keep by his bed. Winters received the Kennedy Center's second Mark Twain Prize for Humor in 1999, a year after Richard Pryor. In later years, he was sought out for his changeling voice, and he contributed to numerous cartoons and animated films. He played three characters in the "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" movie in 2000. The Internet Movie Database website credits him as the voice of Papa in the forthcoming "The Smurfs 2" film. He continued to work almost to the end of his life, and to influence new generations of comics. "No him, no me. No MOST of us, comedy-wise," comic Patton Oswalt tweeted Friday. Winters made television history in 1956 when RCA broadcast the first public demonstration of color videotape on "The Jonathan Winters Show." The comedian quickly realized the possibilities, author David Hajdu wrote in The New York Times in 2006. He soon used video technology "to appear as two characters, bantering back and forth, seemingly in the studio at the same time. You could say he invented the video stunt." Winters was born Nov. 11, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio. Growing up during the Depression as an only child whose parents divorced when he was 7, he spent a lot of time entertaining himself. Winters, who battled alcoholism in his younger years, described his father as an alcoholic. But he found a comedic mentor in his mother, radio personality Alice Bahman. "She was very fast. Whatever humor I've inherited I'd have to give credit to her," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2000. Winters joined the Marines at 17 and served two years in the South Pacific. He returned to study at the Dayton Art Institute, helping him develop keen observational skills. At one point, he won a talent contest (and the first prize of a watch) by doing impressions of movie stars. After stints as a radio disc jockey and TV host in Ohio from 1950-53, he left for New York, where he found early work doing impressions of John Wayne, Cary Grant, Marx and James Cagney, among others. One night after a show, an older man sweeping up told him he wasn't breaking any new ground by mimicking the rich or famous. "He said, `What's the matter with those characters in Ohio? I'll bet there are some far-out dudes that you grew up with back in Ohio,'" Winters told the Orange County Register in 1997. Two days later, he cooked up one of his most famous characters: the hard-drinking, dirty old woman Maude Frickert, modeled in part on his own mother and an aunt. Appearances on Paar's show and others followed and Winters soon had a following. Before long, he was struggling with depression and drinking. "I became a robot," Winters told TV critics in 2000. "I almost lost my sense of humor ... I had a breakdown and I turned myself in (to a mental hospital). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do." Winters was hospitalized for eight months in the early 1960s. It's a topic he rarely addressed and never dwelled on. "If you make a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year and you're talking to the blue-collar guy who's a farmer 200 miles south of Topeka, he's looking up and saying, `That bastard makes (all that money) and he's crying about being a manic depressive?'" Winters said. When he got out, there was a role as a slow-witted character waiting in the 1963 ensemble film "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." "I finally opened up and realized I was in charge," Winters told PBS interviewers for 2000's "Jonathan Winters: On the Loose." `'Improvisation is about taking chances, and I was ready to take chances." Roles in other movies followed, as did TV shows, including his own. While show business kept Winters busy, the former art school student was also a painter and writer. His paintings and sketches were often filled with humor. "I find painting a much slower process than comedy, where you can go a mile a minute verbally and hope to God that some of the people out there understand you," he said in the 1988 U.S. News and World Report interview. "I don't paint every day. I'm not that motivated. I don't do anything the same every day. Discipline is tough for a guy who is a rebel." Among his books is a collection of short stories called "Winters' Tales" (1987). "I've done for the most part pretty much what I intended - I ended up doing comedy, writing and painting," he told U.S. News. "I've had a ball. And as I get older, I just become an older kid." Winters' wife, Eileen, died in 2009. He is survived by two children, Lucinda Winters and Jay Winters.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fallen Philadelphia Fire Captain Remembered

Fallen Philadelphia Fire Captain Remembered PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hundreds started gathering Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects to fallen Philadelphia Fire Captain Michael Goodwin. Captain Goodwin, a veteran of 29 years, died Saturday while battling a fire in the city’s Queen Village neighborhood. (see related story). On Wednesday, hundreds gathered to pay their respects at the first of two viewings held at John F. Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ceremony at One-Year Anniversary of Firefighter Deaths Draws Fresh Emotions

Ceremony at One-Year Anniversary of Firefighter Deaths Draws Fresh Emotions PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia firefighters, remembering two colleagues killed a year ago and a third lost just last weekend, today heard from a woman who more than shares their pain. At a memorial on the one-year anniversary of the Kensington warehouse fire that killed Lt. Robert Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney (see related story), Neary’s widow Diane thanked God and the brotherhood of firefighters for the strength to carry on. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, April 8, 2013

New County Police Officers Begin Training On Camden City Streets

New County Police Officers Begin Training On Camden City Streets CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – Officers from the new Camden County police department that will replace the Camden City police force have begun training on the city streets. Two dozen officers from the Camden County Metro Division are now learning from former Camden City officers who know the streets, says Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Girl next door Annette Funicello dies at 70

Girl next door Annette Funicello dies at 70 AP Photo FILE - In this 1963 file photo, singer Frankie Avalon and actress Annette Funicello are seen on Malibu Beach during filming of "Beach Party," in California in 1963. Walt Disney Co. says, Monday, April 8, 2013, that former "Mouseketeer" Funicello, also known for her beach movies with Avalon, has died at age 70. NEW YORK (AP) -- She was the first crush for a generation of boys, the perfect playmate for a generation of girls. Annette Funicello, who became a child star as a cute-as-a-button Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, ruled among baby boomers, who tuned in every weekday afternoon to watch her on their flickering black-and-white television sets. Then they shed their mouse ears, as Annette did when she teamed up with Frankie Avalon during the `60s in a string of frothy, fun-in-the-sun movies with titles like "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." Decades later, she endeared herself to baby boomers all over again after she announced in 1992 that she had multiple sclerosis and began grappling with the slow, degenerative effects with remarkably good cheer and faith. Funicello died on Monday at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, Calif., of complications from MS, the Walt Disney Co. said. She was 70 and had dropped from public view years ago. "She really had a tough existence," Avalon told The Associated Press. "It's like losing a family member. I'm devastated but I'm not surprised." Avalon said that when they were working together, she never realized how beloved she was. "She would say, `Really?' She was so bashful about it. She was an amazing girl," he recalled. The pretty, dark-haired Funicello was 13 when she gained fame on "The Mickey Mouse Club," a kids' variety show that consisted of stories, songs and dance routines. It ran on ABC from 1955 to 1959. Cast after Walt Disney saw her at a dance recital, she appeared in the Mouseketeer uniform of mouse ears, a pleated skirt and a turtleneck sweater emblazoned with her first name, and captivated young viewers with her wholesome, girl-next-door appeal. She became the most popular Mouseketeer, receiving 8,000 fan letters a month, 10 times more than any of the 23 other young performers. "It was a happy time. They were wonderful times," she recalled in a TV interview as an adult - and she might just as well have been speaking for her "Mickey Mouse Club" audience. Singer and composer Paul Anka, the one-time teen idol who briefly dated Funicello when they were on the concert circuit in the late 1950s, said that like seemingly every young American male of the time, he was in love with her. "She was just the girl next door and they were drawn just to her," Anka said. "She had that thing. She had the it, and there was just no stopping it." They eventually drifted apart, but during the time they were together, he said, Disney tried to end their relationship, resulting in one of Anka's biggest hits, "Puppy Love." "The Disney crowd, and understandably so, didn't want her too involved at too young an age," Anka told the AP. "We had our professional careers and what have you, and they continued to tell her it was a puppy love, and marriage should not be in question. And I wrote about it." When "The Mickey Mouse Club" ended, Funicello was the only cast member to remain under contract to the studio. She appeared in such Disney movies as "Johnny Tremain," "The Shaggy Dog," "The Horsemasters," "Babes in Toyland," "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" and "The Monkey's Uncle." She also became a recording star, singing on 15 albums and hit singles such as "Tall Paul" and "Pineapple Princess." Outgrowing the kid roles by the early `60s, Annette teamed with Avalon in a series of movies for American-International, the first film company to exploit the burgeoning teen market. The filmmakers weren't aiming for art, and never stumbled across it. As Halliwell's Film Guide says of "Beach Party": "Quite tolerable in itself, it started an excruciating trend." The films had songs, cameos by older stars and some laughs. The 1965 "Beach Blanket Bingo," for example, featured subplots involving a mermaid, a motorcycle gang and a skydiving school run by Don Rickles, and comic touches by silent film star Buster Keaton. Among the other titles: "Muscle Beach Party," "Bikini Beach," "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" and "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine." The beach films featured ample youthful skin. But not Funicello's. She remembered in 1987: "Mr. Disney said to me one day, `Annette, I have a favor to ask of you. I know all the girls are wearing bikinis, but you have an image to uphold. I would appreciate it if you would wear a one-piece suit.' I did, and I never regretted it." The shift in teen tastes begun by the Beatles in 1964 and Funicello's first marriage the following year pretty much killed off the beach-movie genre. After that, she had no interest in edgier, more "adult" roles. "People are more interested in changing my image than I am," she said in an interview. Scripts were sent to her, and "I read the first 10 pages and I'm a prostitute or a doper, and I fold them up and send them back." In the 1970s, she made commercials for Skippy peanut butter, appearing with her real-life children. She and Avalon were reunited in the 1987 movie "Back to the Beach," in which Lori Loughlin played their daughter. Funicello was "kind and down-to-earth," Loughlin told the AP. "She was truly the embodiment of the friendly, all-American girl that we all loved to watch in the beach movies." It was during the filming of "Back to the Beach" that Funicello noticed she had trouble walking - the first insidious sign of MS. She gradually lost control of her legs. Fearing people might think she was drunk, she went public with her condition in 1992. She wrote of her triumphs and struggles in her 1994 autobiography, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" - the title taken from a Disney song. In 1995, she appeared briefly in a television docudrama based on her book. And she spoke openly about the degenerative effects of MS. "My equilibrium is no more; it's just progressively getting worse," she said. "But I thank God I just didn't wake up one morning and not be able to walk. You learn to live with it. You learn to live with anything, you really do." Kathy Lennon, who was one of the singing Lennon Sisters and became friends with Funicello after appearing on "The Mickey Mouse Club," said she and Funicello stayed in touch until a few years ago, when Lennon made her usual call to wish the actress a happy birthday and learned that MS had robbed her of her ability to speak. "Annie's just not talking now," Lennon recalled Funicello's husband saying. Funicello was born Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica, N.Y., and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 4. She began taking dance lessons, and she won a beauty contest at 9. Then came her discovery by Disney. Funicello's devotion to Walt Disney remained throughout her life. "He was the dearest, kindest person, and truly was like a second father to me," she said. "He was a kid at heart." Asked about revisionist biographies that have portrayed Disney in a negative light, she said: "I don't know what went on in the conference rooms. I know what I saw. And he was wonderful." In 1965, Funicello married her agent, Jack Gilardi, and they had three children, Gina, Jack and Jason. The couple divorced 18 years later, and in 1986 she married Glen Holt, a harness racehorse trainer. After her film career ended, she devoted herself to her family. "We are so sorry to lose Mother," her children said in a statement. "She is no longer suffering anymore and is now dancing in heaven."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letter To The Editor Of Phila. Front Page News: Prophet Muhammad - A Messenger of Peace - From Taseer Bhatti

Letter To The Editor Of Phila. Front Page News: Prophet Muhammad - A Messenger of Peace - From Taseer Bhatti Rogue elements of society have portrayed the Prophet Muhammad’s character and message in a negative manner. In response to this defamation, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has launched the first ever nationwide Muhammad Messenger of Peace (MMOP) campaign to illustrate what the Prophet Muhammad actually taught. This open house event promotes peaceful dialogue among all Americans. When we discuss with civility, we follow the example of the great Godly men of history – Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, and Muhammad. These kinds of discussions place a sense of camaraderie among people and thus strengthen our society. This is what the MMOP campaign is all about, so please join us. Visit www.muslimsforpeace.org/events/phi-upenn/ to register for the event taking place in Philadelphia on April 10th.

Fire Captain Killed, Firefighter Injured In Queen Village Blaze

Fire Captain Killed, Firefighter Injured In Queen Village Blaze tationed at Ladiladelphia Fire Department) PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fire captain has died and another firefighter was injured while battling a three-alarm fire in South Philadelphia. The blaze broke out shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday inside a fabric store along the 700 block of South 4th Street in the city’s Queen Village neighborhood. The flames quickly spread to the apartments above in the four-story building. 53-year-old Captain Michael Goodwin (below) was killed in a fall when a third floor roof collapsed. Goodwin was a 29-year veteran firefighter stationed at Ladder 27. For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Dropouts: Discouraged Americans leave labor force AP Photo FILE - This Friday, March 29, 2013 file photo shows a help wanted sign at a barber shop in Richmond, Va. U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months and a sharp retreat after a period of strong hiring. Many discouraged Americans are giving up the job hunt for school, retirement and disability. WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up. She'd already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn't land anything else, either - not even a job interview at a telephone call center. Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she'll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis. "I'm not proud of it," says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. "The only way I'm able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on." Baebler's frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they've given up on the job market. Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks. It isn't supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market. Instead, the number of Americans in the labor force - those who have a job or are looking for one - fell by nearly half a million people from February to March, the government said Friday. And the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force - what's called the participation rate - fell to 63.3 percent last month. It's the lowest such figure since May 1979. The falling participation rate tarnished the only apparent good news in the jobs report the Labor Department released Friday: The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 in February. People without a job who stop looking for one are no longer counted as unemployed. That's why the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in March despite weak hiring. If the 496,000 who left the labor force last month had still been looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would have risen to 7.9 percent in March. "Unemployment dropped for all the wrong reasons," says Craig Alexander, chief economist with TD Bank Financial Group. "It dropped because more workers stopped looking for jobs. It signaled less confidence and optimism that there are jobs out there." The participation rate peaked at 67.3 percent in 2000, reflecting an influx of women into the work force. It's been falling steadily ever since. Part of the drop reflects the baby boom generation's gradual move into retirement. But such demographics aren't the whole answer. Even Americans of prime working age - 25 to 54 years old - are dropping out of the workforce. Their participation rate fell to 81.1 percent last month, tied with November for the lowest since December 1984. "It's the lack of job opportunities - the lack of demand for workers - that is keeping these workers from working or seeking work," says Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute. The Labor Department says there are still more than three unemployed people for every job opening. Cynthia Marriott gave up her job search after an interview in October for a position as a hotel concierge. "They never said no," she says. "They just never called me back." Her husband hasn't worked full time since 2006. She cashed out her 401(k) after being laid off from a job at a Los Angeles entertainment publicity firm in 2009. The couple owes thousands in taxes for that withdrawal. They have no health insurance. She got the maximum 99 weeks' of unemployment benefits then allowed in California and then moved to Atlanta. Now she is looking to receive federal disability benefits for a lung condition that she said leaves her weak and unable to work a full day. The application is pending a medical review. "I feel like I have no choice," says Marriott, 47. "It's just really sad and frightening" During the peak of her job search, Marriott was filling out 10 applications a day. She applied for jobs she felt overqualified for, such as those at Home Depot and Petco but never heard back. Eventually, the disappointment and fatigue got to her. "I just wanted a job," she says. "I couldn't really go on anymore looking for a job." Young people are leaving the job market, too. The participation rate for Americans ages 20 to 24 hit a 41-year low 69.6 percent last year before bouncing back a bit. Many young people have enrolled in community colleges and universities. That's one reason a record 63 percent of adults ages 25 to 29 have spent at least some time in college, according to the Pew Research Center. Older Americans are returning to school, too. Doug Damato, who lives in Asheville, N.C., lost his job as an installer at a utility company in February 2012. He stopped looking for work last fall, when he began taking classes in mechanical engineering at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Next week, Damato, 40, will accept an academic award for earning top grades. But one obstacle has emerged: Under a recent change in state law, his unemployment benefits will now end July 1, six months earlier than he expected. He's planning to work nights, if possible, to support himself once the benefits run out. Dropping out of school is "out of the question," he said, given the time he has already put into the program. "I don't want a handout," he says. "I'm trying to better myself." Many older Americans who lost their jobs are finding refuge in Social Security's disability program. Nearly 8.9 million Americans are receiving disability checks, up 1.3 million from when the recession ended in June 2009. Natasha Baebler's journey out of the labor force and onto the disability rolls began when she lost her job serving disabled students and staff members at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in February 2012. For six months, she sought jobs in her field, brandishing master's degrees in social education and counseling. No luck. Then she just started looking for anything. Still, she had no takers. "I chose to stop and take a step back for a while ... After you've seen that amount of rejection," she says, "you start thinking, `What's going to make this time any different?' "

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Two Rutgers players defend fired coach Rice

Two Rutgers players defend fired coach Rice 

AP Photo
En esta combinación de imágenes tomada de un video de ESPN, el técnico del equipo masculino de baloncesto de Rutgers, Mike Rice, patea, empuja y arroja pelotas a sus jugadores durante prácticas en Piscataway, Nueva Jersey. Rice fue despedido pero siguen las consecuencias del caso después que un grupo de profesores exigió la renuncia del presidente de la universidad
 
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Two Rutgers basketball players on Mike Rice's team say the fired coach wasn't the abusive tyrant he appears to be on a widely viewed video that ultimately cost him his job.


"You can't let those individual moments define what he was," junior forward Wally Judge said during a telephone interview Thursday. "In my past two years, me being an older guy and being under other coaches, I have grown from the moment I stepped in these doors, not only as a player but also as a person because of how he has treated me."

Sophomore forward Austin Johnson agreed.

"He did a lot for us off the court, academically, socially," he said during a separate telephone conversation. "I have to say I enjoyed my time, even it was an emotional rollercoaster."

Rice was fired Wednesday, the day after a video aired on ESPN showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.

"I feel if people had a chance to see the other portions of practice, or had been at practice, their judgment would not be as severe," Johnson said. "I am not saying what he did wasn't wrong, because I do believe it was wrong. But it is also tough because it was a highlight reel of his worst moments.

"I never expected for this to escalate as fast as it did," Johnson said. "We have to deal with this and it's new for a lot of the younger guys."

Judge believes some of those moments come across worse on camera than they really were.

"Honestly, a lot of the things that have been seen have been taken out of context. A lot of things that aren't seen are when we grab him and kid around," Judge said. "Like I said before, when people ask me why did I play for him, I told them `He's a players' coach.'

"Mike was almost like a big brother. He would get on the floor with us and go through drills with us. He made it fun. When you have a big brother-type of figure, you know you can play around like that. I have grabbed Mike and put him in a headlock and we joke around and kid. That was the type of relationship he built with his players."

Eric Murdock, former director of player development at Rutgers, put together the video that showed clips of several different practices over three years. In November, he showed it to athletic director Tim Pernetti. The following month, Rice was suspended three games for improper conduct, fined $75,000 and required to take anger management classes.

Like the two Rutgers players, Pitt guard Travon Woodall also defended Rice, who recruited him when he was an assistant coach there.

"They are going at my man Mike Rice too hard," Woodall tweeted. "He's the reason I came to Pitt."

Woodall later added Rice is "not the only coach to put his hands on a player, or talk the way he did."

Murdock played in the NBA and was viewed in the program as someone who could mentor players. His contract was not renewed.

"I have a lot of respect for him. When he was here, he was somebody I would talk to because he knew of my aspirations for playing at the next level and he was a guy who had done it," Judge said. "He was a great guy to talk to. As far as this situation goes, I understand everything that is going on; I can't necessarily be mad at him, but it's been blown out of proportion. There are certain ways of going about things and this wasn't the way."

Rice left Pitt to coach at Robert Morris before landing at Rutgers, where his record was 44-51 over three seasons. He posted a 16-38 mark in the Big East, after going 73-31 in three seasons at Robert Morris. The Scarlet Knights went 15-16 this season and 5-13 in the league.

Rice's assistant, Jimmy Martelli, who was with him at Robert Morris, resigned Thursday.

Judge, meantime, insisted Rice wasn't a "villain."

"He wasn't a guy we hated or despised," Judge said. "After practice, we would all go in the locker room and laugh. It was never a sad face or a hung head. What he did was he separated the court and he separated life. When we were on the court, we were on the court and locked in. That's why you see so many intense moments because he was so locked in on turning this program around. When we got in the locker room we were a family. We laughed."

Johnson hopes Rutgers' next coach can bring success to a program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1991.

"I feel like winning solves everything," he said. "If we can get someone in and change the culture, I feel like all this stuff will be forgotten."

Said Judge: "We don't want a white-collar, clean-cut guy. We want somebody who understands us and will push us every day, like Rice did."



AP PHOTOS: King assassination 45 years later

AP PHOTOS: King assassination 45 years later

AP Photo
Coretta Scott King, and her four children view the body of her husband, slain civil rights activist leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta, Ga., on April 7, 1968. The children are, from left, Yolanda, 12, Bernice, 5, Martin III, 11, and Dexter 7. The civil rights leader was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel when he was killed by a rifle bullet on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the killing and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He died in prison in 1998.


The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis 45 years ago on April 4, 1968, triggered spasms of both grief and violence.

As the nation's cities smoldered and police searched for the killer, civil rights activists and politicians joined the King family in mourning the loss of the 39-year-old minister.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pa. Ambulance Firm, Owners Plead Guilty In Fraud Case

Pa. Ambulance Firm, Owners Plead Guilty In Fraud Case
 
(Credit: Thinkstock)


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia ambulance company and its top two officials have pleaded guilty to federal charges in a scheme that prosecutors said cost the Medicare and Medicaid programs more than $2.5 million in improper payments.

MedEx Ambulance Inc. of Feasterville and its owners, Aleksandr and Sergey Zagorodny, were each charged with 41 counts of health care fraud, false statements, wire fraud and conspiracy. Authorities said Tuesday that sentencing is scheduled July 2.

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

Two South Jersey Mothers Spread Awareness of Autism’s Challenges

Two South Jersey Mothers Spread Awareness of Autism’s Challenges

(Debbie Schmidt, left, and Christy Carlson at an outing at Campbell's Field, in Camden.  Photo provided)
Debbie Schmidt, left, and Christy Carlson at an outing
at Campbell’s Field, in Camden.
 
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Today is World Autism Day.  But autism is always on the minds of two New Jersey moms who are now taking their message statewide, and beyond.

Debbie Schmidt and Christy Carlson both have kids on the autism spectrum, and together they founded the Cherry Hill-based organization Just 2 Moms, to push for awareness and acceptance of this widespread but varied condition.

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

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    FPN/VSP® reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Website and/or Services (or any part thereof) with or without notice to you. You agree that neither FPN/VSP® nor its affiliates shall be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Website and/or Services.

    You agree to indemnify and hold harmless FPN/VSP®, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, legal representatives, agents, successors and assigns, from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, causes of action and other proceedings arising from or concerning your use of the Services (collectively, "Claims") and to reimburse them on demand for any losses, costs, judgments, fees, fines and other expenses they incur (including attorneys' fees and litigation costs) as a result of any Claims.

    The Website is © 2009 by VSP®, or its designers. All rights reserved. Your rights with respect to use of the Website and Services are governed by the Terms and all applicable laws, including but not limited to intellectual property laws.

    Any contact information for troops overseas and/or soldiers at home provided to you by FPN/VSP® is specifically and solely for your individual use in connection with the services provide by Van Stone Productions Foundation VSP.

    FPN/VSP® soldiers contact information for any other purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, copying and/or storing by any means (manually, electronically, mechanically, or otherwise) not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP is strictly prohibited. Additionally, use of FPN/VSP® contact information for any solicitation or recruiting purpose, or any other private, commercial, political, or religious mailing, or any other form of communication not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP® is strictly prohibited.