Recently in National News Category

Wolf hunting continues, but is limited

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Wolf hunting is nearing an end and may be limited near Yellowstone Park, news sources report.

In the first hunting season, quotas across the upper mid-west were nearly reached in the initial six weeks. The DNR's goal was to reduce the wolf population by a percentage. Debate begins on whether or not dogs can be used to hunt the wolves, "No other state in the union that has a wolf hunt uses dogs," attorney Carl Sinderband said. The DNR and hunting groups argued that the use of dogs would be vital to the hunt's success, ABC 2 reports.

Trapping season is around the corner, "we know that trappers are likely to be more successful than hunters so we expect to see a fair number of wolves taken through trapping," Steve Merchant, the DNR's wildlife population and regulation program manager said. Trappers aren't tied to a specific location, making them more successful, The Associated Press reports.

Wolves traveling just outside Yellowstone Park have been killed, including five wearing tracking collars for scientific research, the biologist for the park's wolf program Dan Stahler said. Montana wildlife commissioner Shane Colton suggested closing trapping or setting strict quotas, a commission meeting will be held Monday. "We don't want to close any area off if we don't have to. But if we keep losing collared wolves ... management becomes difficult," Colton said. "We want to do this first trapping season right," The Missoulian reports.

CSU grad student shot and killed by campus police

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A Calif. State University grad student at San Bernardino was shot and killed by campus police Dec. 8, news sources report.

On the evening of Dec. 8 campus police responded to a disturbance call at a dormitory across the street from the school. The subject, a 38-year-old male, was in the hallway of his dorm when contact he made contact with campus police. "The altercation became physical and the subject became violent," San Bernardino City Police Lt. Paul Williams said. "Sometime during that, that officers feared for their safety. They discharged a weapon, striking the subject," The Examiner reports.

The student was identified as Bartholomew Williams, who was in the common area around the University Village dorm in the 1500 block area of West Northpark Boulevard. Williams was shot in the torso and declared dead at the scene. An officer was taken to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries from the altercation, NBC 4 Southern California News reports.

The San Bernardino Police department is investigating the instances leading to the shooting, Fox News reports.

Toddler's death prompts investigation

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A toddler died while visiting his father in Virginia last month prompting the investigation of the deaths of the man's mother and onetime girlfriend, news sources report.

Price McLeod Rams, fifteen-months, died within the unsupervised three-hour visit with his father, Joaquin S. Rams of Manassas. This is the third death involving J. Rams, leading police to investigate the 2008 suicide of his mother and 2003 shooting resulting in the death of Shawn K. Mason, his ex-girlfriend, MercuryNews reports.

J. Rams was not supposed to be allowed unsupervised visits, ordered by a Maryland judge. Prince Rams' mother Hera McLeod, fought to protect her son and prevent the unsupervised visits, but the system failed to protect the boy, McLeod said. Rams has not been charged with a crime and the cause of the boy's death is yet to be determined authorities said, Fox News reports.

Ram's mother, Alma Collins, was found dead in 2008 and her death was ruled as a suicide. Her son Joseph Velez said it made no sense that his mother killed herself. "My mother in her life never had a history of depression," Velez said. Velez described his half brother Rams as a "monster," explaining Rams' violent behavior even as a young child, MercuryNews reports.

NYPD officer becomes a viral hit with an act of kindness

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A New York Police officer that helped a barefooted homeless man in a random act of kindness in Times Square has become a viral sensation, news sources report.

Arizona tourist Jennifer Foster witnessed Officer Larry DePrimo giving the barefooted homeless man thermal socks and a new pair of all-weather boots on the cold Nov. 14 night. "The officer said, 'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you.' ... I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life," Foster said, CBS News reported.

DePrimo purchased the $100 pair of boots, which the manager offered his employee discount, for $75 at a nearby Sketchers shoe after the homeless man told DePrimo that he had never had a pair of shoes. He "smiled from ear to ear," DePrimo said. "It was like you gave him a million dollars," Fox News reported.

Fed-up San Francisco eyes public nudity ban

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The anything-goes mentality of San Francisco may change with a new public nudity ban, news sources report.

A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, if city lawmakers pass the ban, it would be illegal for anyone over the age of five to expose their genitals publicly, with exceptions to parades and festivals under city permit. Activists filed a federal lawsuit against the city Wednesday looking for a temporary restraining order, providing the court enough time to determine case merits, ABC News reports.

Supervisor Scott Wiener feels compelled to act after complaints were made about naked men gathering in a small Castro plaza, who sometimes walk the streets. His persuasion lead colleagues to pass a law requiring the use of a cloth between public seats and bare rears last year. However, the complaints continue, Fox News reports.

Christina DiEdoardo is the representing attorney for the nudist group and claims that the goal of the lawsuit is to stop a "fatally overbroad" legislation that would infringe on the First Amendment rights of the nudists'. The ban would establish a $100 fine for violating and would increase for additional offenses within a year, Mercury News reports.

Veterans killed in train crash during parade

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A freight train crashed into a parade float filled with wounded veterans Thursday, killing four veterans and wounding 16 others, news sources report.

The parade float crossed onto the railroad tracks after warning signals went off, investigators said. It was the second flatbed truck of two floats carrying the veterans in Midland, Texas. Some people on the float tried to jump off before the train collided with it, witness said. The military instincts of the veterans kicked into gear as they treated wounded individuals, Fox News reports.

The four veterans that died had served the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. They survived the harsh war of gunshots, explosions, and grenade attacks. They were scheduled to go on a hunting trip and spend the weekend with fellow veterans. Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Stouffer, 37; Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47; and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, will be remembered by family, friends, and the country, ABC News reports.

Investigators are verifying that organizers had proper permits for the parade, and that there were no mechanical malfunctions such as truck breaks or the freight train breaks. Also using a sight test to determine the visibility the train engineer had prior to the crash, Seattle PI reports.

House explosion destroys neighborhood and kills two

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A house explosion killed two people, injured several others, leveled two homes, destroyed over two dozen others and forced the entire neighborhood to evacuate Saturday night in south Indianapolis, news sources report.

The blast shattered windows, destroyed walls and could be felt and heard at least three miles away. An estimated 31 homes were damaged to the point of needing to be demolished, officials said. Seven people were taken to the hospital after the explosion and fire and were treated for injuries, Deputy Fire Chief Kenny Bacon said, CBS News reports.

"It was like a war zone," Whitney Pflanzer told the Indianapolis Star. "It was silent after that. And it was dark and dusty, and I thought it was a nightmare - it was a nightmare." Pflanzer and her husband ware laying in bed when the explosion occurred, blowing out their windows and collapsed their ceiling, Los Angeles Times reports.

Yellow tags marked moderately damaged homes where residents were allowed back to retrieve pets, medicine and other items if escorted by a firefighter. Most people were not allowed back into their homes, and their houses were marked with red tags, USA Today reports.

Marijuana legalization passes in two states

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Legalization of recreational marijuana was passed in Colorado and Washington Tuesday, news sources report.

Voters passed the legalization of recreational marijuana and the Colorado's Proposition 64 allows for the possession and business sale of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21. However, the federal law still bans its use, OTUS News reports.

"This is a complicated process, but we intend to follow through," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly." The legalization could lead to a Supreme Court v. federal government battle, CNN Money reports.

Over $1.2 million were provided in contributions and loans by the Marijuana Policy Project, backing the Amendment 64, state records show. The financial aid and political muscle backs the medical-marijuana and legalization campaigns nationwide, the ReporterHerald reports.

Former Chicopee teacher pleads guilty on rape charges

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A former High School teacher in Springfield, Mass. was charged with raping a 15-year-old student, news sources report.

Donald Cushing, 60, of Chicopee, pleaded guilty in Hampden Superior Court on Monday to five counts of rape and abuse of a child and five counts of dissemination obscene matter to a minor, The Republican Massachusetts reports.

The 15-year-old girl told police that she and Cushing exchanged cell phone numbers, and they began calling and texting each other every day. In April into May "things got very serious," the girl said. They had sexual intercourse on the floor of the classroom closet "three or four times," she said. In March and May, Cushing had texted images of his genitalia to the girl, she later told police. Family members found sexual text messages in the girl's phone Tuesday, Private Officer News reports.

Cushing has been sentenced to eight to ten years in state prison and will be on probation for ten years under nine special conditions including: No contact with the victim and her family; no unsupervised contact with children under 16 with the exception of family members; and successful completion of sex offender treatment, The Republican reports.

The action taken by the school and police personnel "reflects our zero tolerance policy for this type of incident," Chicopee Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said, Private Officer News reports.

'Super Storm' Hurricane Sandy approaches East Coast

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Already responsible for deaths in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy rips toward the East Coast carrying the potential to become a powerful hybrid storm, news sources report.

Heavy damage and at least 58 deaths were the result of Hurricane Sandy hitting the Caribbean. It is expected to hit the East Coast near Delaware by Tuesday, colliding with two winter weather systems while it moves inland. The result being "a hybrid monster storm," CBS News reports.

The aggression of the storm is suspected to hit states from New York to the Carolinas where intense rains, gale-force winds, flooding, snow, high seas, and power outages are expected. Hurricane Sandy extending inland through Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland and potentially all the way to the Ohio Valley, Los Angeles Times reports.

With wind strength is up to 75 miles per hour, "it's threatening to be one of the worst storms to hit the Northeast in decades," chief meteorologist Al Roker said. Water-level rise is a huge concern since the storm is traveling over hundreds of miles and piling up water. "The surge could be devastating when it finally comes on shore," weather specialist Carl Parker said and NBC News reports.

Hurricane Sandy is in rival with Hurricane Irene for one of the worst storms on record for the East Coast. Irene caused over $15 billion in damage, and experts said that Sandy could be stronger and wider than Irene and meteorology director Jeff Masters of Weather Underground said it could also be as big or bigger than the worst East Coast storm on record, the Long Island Express of 1938, which is responsible for the deaths of nearly 800 people, CBS News reports.

People along the coast were told to prepare for the hurricane and for days with out electricity. Precautions have been taken and flood prone areas have been advised to evacuate, CBS News reports.

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