December 8, 2008

Two planes collide in Florida, four killed

According to USA Today, two small planes collided outside of Fort Lauderdale over the Florida Everglades over the weekend, as searches began early Sunday as four passengers are presumed dead.

The Denver Post identified one possible victim as Brian Sax, 37, a Colorado businessman from Basalt, Co., who, according to family, was one of the pilots for one of the ill-fated planes.

Both aircraft, which took off at similar times, were both carrying two passengers aboard, each had one pilot instructing another student during flight training programs that both pilots were involved in.

According to the Broward County Sheriff's department, the pilots were operating under Visual Flight Rules, which insist that the pilots maintain distance from aircraft and operate without any air-traffic assistance.

Sax also has a flight school back in Colorado. Aspen Aero Flight school, which Sax opened along with his wife, Christy, who also operates a local resteraunt.

November 19, 2008

Wild dogs kill gazzelles at Jackson Zoo

According to the Clarion Ledger, officials from the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, Miss. reported that two dama gazelles were killed by feral dogs late Tuesday night.

The juvenile gazelles, at the time of the incident, were in a quarantine pen having just been received, ten days earlier, from the Memphis Zoo in exchange for an adult gazelle.

However, the pen was inadequate in keeping the wild dogs from the enclosure, which, according to Chris Mims, Jackson Zoo's director of marketing, is by design. The quarantine is only to keep the animals in, not to keep other animals out, Mims added.

According to WAPT 16 in Jackson, Zoo officials located a dog on Wednesday in an undeveloped area of the zoo. The dog, a labrador-mix, is believed to be one of the animals involved in the attack.

The Jackson Zoo has reported five incidents over the past 30 days involving wild dogs. As officials remain puzzled as to how the animals were able to enter the zoo unnoticed.

Animal control has been contacted, as the zoo looks to resolve the recurring issue, as it has become a legitimate problem for staff and the animals that reside within the zoo's various enclosures.

November 11, 2008

Mars lander out of commission

The Phoenix Mars lander, after ceasing to deliver reports for over a week, is presumed dead, according to the New York Times.

“At this time, we’re pretty convinced that the vehicle is no longer available for us to use,? said Barry Goldstein, the project manager. “We’re actually ceasing operations, declaring an end to mission operations at this point.?

The lander has fallen dead as the result of the coming Martian winter with it's increasingly lower temperatures and reduction of solar exposure, which powers the lander through exterior solar panerls.

Phoenix sent it's last message on Nov. 2nd it would seem, as NASA officials deemed it unlikely that any more transmissions would be recieved. Thus, culminating the $475 million, which is being declared a success, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"This is an Irish wake rather than a funeral," he said during a briefing with reporters at NASA headquarters in Washington.

The Phoenix lander, which first grounded on Mars' surface May 25th, has been collecting data with regards to the plausibility of Mars supporting simple organisms.

NASA will likely try to re-initiate the lander when the Martian winter subsides, with the hopes that the lander' can recharge it's batteries. However, the mission already went past it's expected timetable, so anything past the already collected data would be extraneous.

November 9, 2008

Boy, 8, fatally shoots two men, father

Arizona police, who charged an eight-year-old boy with two counts of premeditated murder Saturday, are looking at the possibility that the boy was abused, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The boy, who shot and killed his father and another man with a .22 caliber rifle, will be psychologically reviewed this week and abuse will be taken into consideration.

"I'm not accusing anybody of anything at this point," he said Saturday. "But we're certainly going to look at the abuse part of this. He's 8 years old. He just doesn't decide one day that he's going to shoot his father and shoot his father's friend for no reason. Something led up to this."

The boy's father Vincent Romero, 29,and his friend, Timothy Romans, 39, both lived together with the juvenile and both worked for the same construction outfit, prior to being killed, according to the Washington Post.

Arizona law states that anyone older than eight-years-old can be charged as an adult, but police officials acknowledge that it is highly unlikely.

"We're going to use every avenue of the law that's available to us, but we're also looking at the human side," St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said.

St. John's, which was shocked by the news, is a small suburb 168 miles northeast of Phoenix, with a population of 4,000.

Currently, the boy sits in custody and was visited by his biological mother who came in from Mississippi.

'He's scared,'' he said. ''He's trying to be tough, but he's scared.'',arizona-boy-kills-father-shoot110808.article

November 3, 2008

Boy fatally shot while trick-or-treating

A twelve-year-old boy was shot and killed by an ex-convict firing an assault rifle from his residence Friday evening while trick-or-treating.

Quentin Patrick, 22, is accused of killing T.J. Darrisaw, 12, after the boy approached the home on Halloween. Darrisaw, accompanied by his father and brother, who were hospitalized but later released, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to CNN.

Patrick was taken into custody, according to the New York Times, and charged with murder with three counts of assault and battery with the intent to kill. Another woman was taken into custody after police caught her fleeing the scene.

The woman was later identified as Erika Pee, 19, and was spending the evening with Patrick with her infant child.

The family was returning from a Halloween celebration in downtown Sumter, South Carolina when they traveled to Patrick's home, stating that the front porch light was on.

The children were dressed in Halloween masks as the father trailed the trick-or-treaters, while Darrisaw's mother was driving behind them.

October 26, 2008

Arkansas newscaster dies after brutal attack

Little Rock television newscaster, Anne Pressley, 26, succumbed to her injuries on Saturday, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Pressley, who was hospitalized the past five days, was attacked in her home and brutally beaten during a suspected robbery earlier in the week.

Pressley, who was a morning anchor for KATV channel 7, was pronounced dead a little after 7:00pm on Saturday, as Pressley's family looked on.

“We are profoundly saddened to tell you that our dear Annehas lost her struggle for life,? Pressly’s parents, Guy and Patti Cannady, said in a statement through a St. Vincent Medical Center spokesman.

Although, the Pressley family did share some optimism, according to the New York Times:

“It was our hope, as was yours, that Anne would overcome the injuries inflicted upon her in the brutal attack at her home. We were with her in her last moments, and although our hearts are broken, we are at the same time comforted by our faith knowing that Anne is now with our heavenly father.?

Pressley was found by her mother after wake-up calls to Pressley were not answered on Tuesday morning.

Local police stated that Pressley suffered trauma to her head, neck, and face, according to the New York Times.

Pressley's credit card was used at a local service station just after the attack.

October 19, 2008

Las Vegas boy found safe

Cole Puffinburger, the six-year-old Las Vegas boy who was abducted Wednesday, was found late Saturday night in a NE Las Vegas suburb.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas boy was found and taken to a local hospital as a precaution, and later returned to his father.

FBI investigators arrested Puffinburger's grandfather, Clemons Fred Tinnemeyer, 51. Officials said Tinnemeyer stole millions of dollars from a Mexican drug-trafficking syndicate. The kidnapping of Puffinburger is believed to be in retaliation for the robbery by Tinnemeyer, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The Grandfather's link with Mexican drug dealers has resulted in police officials interviewing the young Puffinburger boy to obtain any information on the individuals involved in the kidnapping, according to the Washington Post.

"We're speaking with the boy today. I know he's being interviewed by law enforcement, and we'll probably get a better idea of where he's been," FBI spokesman David Staretz said Sunday.,0,4403706.story

October 13, 2008

Conneticut court approves same-sex marriage by 4-3 vote

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Friday, ruling that lesser measures, such as civil unions, go against efforts for full equality, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We therefore agree with the plaintiffs that 'maintaining a second-class citizen status for same-sex couples by excluding them from the institution of civil marriage' " violates constitutional guarantees of equality, the state court said.

The court voted 4 to 3 to approve gay marriage, which ends the legal efforts of eight same-sex marriage couples who sued the state four years ago after being denied marriage licenses.

Connecticut become just the third state to allow same-sex marriages, with California and Massachusetts.

However, California citizens will have the opportunity to rescind their states' same-sex policy in a ballot measure vote set for next month, according to USAToday. The gay marriage ban, if it fails in California, would be the first instance in U.S. history that a state approved same-sex marriages by popular vote.

One of the couples involved in the Connecticut lawsuits spoke about their feelings on the ruling.

"I can't believe it. We're thrilled; we're absolutely overjoyed. We're finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married," said plaintiff Janet Peck of Colchester. "We've always dreamed of being married," she said. "Even though we were lesbians and didn't know if that would ever come true, we always dreamed of it," according to USAToday.,0,2054796.story

October 1, 2008

Bloomberg challenges term-limit rule, looks for re-election

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to the Washington Post, is likely to announce, as early as Thursday, plans to revise term-limit law, which would allow the mayor to seek a third term in office.

Bloomberg, who is set to leave office at the end of next year, is expected to cite the looming financial crisis and increasing economic instability as adequate conditions for term-limit law revision, according to the Washington Post.

In the past, Bloomberg has supported term-limits, but has seemed to waver as of late, according to the Washington Post. Bloomberg still carries a high-approval rating and infamous term-limit supporter Ronald Lauder recently characterized Bloomberg's experience, potentially honed for a third term, as "invaluable."

However, Bloomberg, who faced New York's economic issues after 9/11, is up against an equally sizeable challenge, according to the New York Times.

“I would say it’s a bigger economic challenge for him than Sept. 11,? said John Tepper Marlin, chief economist for the New York City comptroller’s office from 1992 to 2006.

“It’s not just New York City — it’s a whole system in trouble. Yet it’s our residents and our workers who will be affected.?

The decision of whether to allow for a revision to term-limit law is likely to be left to the New York City Council, according to the Washington Post.

Although voters supported a term-limit referendum, the city council can overturn the law by a majority vote. A vote that council members said they would likely support if Bloomberg declared his intentions to run for re-election.

According to the Washington Post, the city council's control is being seen as a departure from normative democracy by undermining voters.

"It's just plain wrong to overturn the will of the voters by legislation," said Gene Russianoff, senior attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group. "We're supposed to be a government of laws, not of men. It's supposed to be what's good for New York, not what's good for Michael Bloomberg."

September 29, 2008

4 killed in helicopter crash in suburban Maryland

A Maryland State Police medevac helicopter crashed early Sunday morning, killing four passengers during a transport of traffic accident victims from an earlier crash, according to CNN.

The helicopter crashed early Sunday morning, killing four of the five passengers on board, according to Col. Terrence Sheridan of the Maryland State Police.

Helicopter pilot Stephen Bunker, 59; Trooper 1st Class Mickey Lippy, 34; Tanya Mallard, 39, a medical technician; patient Ashley Younger, 17, were identified by police as those killed in Sundays crash.

Patient Jordan Wells, 18, was the lone survivor of the crash and was hospitalized in serious condition, according to Sheridan.

The medevac was responding to a Charles County, Maryland, car crash involving Younger and Wells, according to CNN. The helicopter went down in a wooded suburban community en route to Prince George's Hospital, according to Sheridan.

Helicopter pilot Bunker radioed that he was going back to Andrews Air Force Base, just before midnight, to dodge inclement weather, CNN reports, Shortly after the helicopter lost radio contact and ambulances were sent to Andrews Air Force Base to meet the helicopter and transfer the patients to a trauma center.

The helicopter never landed at Andrews Air Force Base and authorities began a two-hour search before finding the helicopter wreckage at Walker Mill Regional Park, according to CNN.

"This is a devastating tragedy," Sheridan said. "We have had crashes before but never with four dead. This is the worst."

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland State Aviation Command received criticism from a recent state legislative audit for failing to document maintenance costs for its 12 twin-engine helicopters, nine of which are over 18 years old.

However, the last fatal medevac crash was in 1986 during heavy fog in West Baltimore. The helicopter involved in Sundays crash had just received an inspection on Wednesday, according to Sheridan.

The state police have vigorously defended the Maryland State Aviation Command, according to the Baltimore Sun. The state audit noted the "impeccable" record of the state's aviation command.

However, due to budget cuts, it is likely that a three-year plan to replace the medevac helicopters will be cut, according to the Baltimore Sun.,0,2710754.story

September 22, 2008

South Dakota takes second-aim on abortion

According to, South Dakota is planning to place an anti-abortion referendum on their November ballot. The result, if passed, would be the prohibition of all abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest, or imminent danger to the mother's health.

South Dakota is becoming notorious for their state's efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade legislation. The November referendum will be the second effort since 2006 to ban abortions within the state.

The first effort was a 2006 bill which outlawed abortions within the state. However, a state-voted referendum overturned the bill by a vote of 56% to 44%. According to, the main contention from voters was the stringency of the bill - the legislation, unlike the proposed bill, allotted no exceptions to the ban.

Although, many say the letter of the law isn't clear to the average voter. "We need to help people understand that the exceptions are very complicated -- this is still a total ban," says Jan Nicolay, co-chairwoman of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. reports, the bill proposal is 2,400 words defining the intricacies of the law. However, the summation that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot is only 249 words and critics suggest an "over-simplified" version.

Tiffany Campbell, a South Dakota resident and conservative, stated her concern over the rigidity of the proposed law due to her own experiences, according to the Washington Post.

Campbell was carrying twins, months into her pregnancy, when doctors discovered that the twins were relying on one heart. Doctors advised that if both children were carried to term then both would die, but that if the weaker fetus was aborted then the stronger one would likely survive.

"I was not going to bury two of my babies," Campbell remembers. "If I can intervene and save one of my babies, I'm going to do it."

Campbell successfully delivered her son, Brady, who is now 18 months old. However, Campbell is upset that the proposed legislation, titled Initiated Measure 11, will keep other mothers from making a similar choice.

South Dakota, according to, has been searching for an avenue to challenge the Supreme Court Ruling on Roe v. Wade. This new legislation, if passed, could create such a case within the State Supreme Court and then be set before the national Supreme Court, where a conservative panel may lean toward a pro-life stance.

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