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April 19, 2009

Driver Faces Charges in Death of 5 Children

The driver of a car that fell into a bayou in Houston Saturday, killing 5 children, may face charges, according to police.

Around 5 p.m., Chanton Jenkins, 32, lost control of a Lincoln Town Car, causing it to fall down an embankment into the Greens Bayou near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to a report from the New York Times.

Jenkins, another man and a 10 year-old girl were able to escape the car. Two young girls, Carrington Jenkins, 1, and Hallie Jenkins, 4, and three boys, Devin Jenkins, 4, Malik Barlow, 7, and Drenton Thompson, 11, did not escape.

Houston police have announced the recovery of all bodies, except Hallie Jenkins, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Chanton Jenkins, father of four of the children, reportedly showed signs of being drunk and failed a sobriety test at the scene of the crash, John Cannon, a spokesman for Houston police, told the New York Times.

The other man in the car, Chanton Jenkins’ brother, told police that Jenkins was reaching for a cell phone when he lost control of the car.

Cannon announced that police expect to file at lest four counts of intoxication manslaughter Sunday against Jenkins, according to the Houston Chronicle report.

Tracy Easley, mother of Carrington and Hallie, told the Houston Chronicle that she was the one who called Jenkins on the cell phone.

“It was a freak accident,” she told the Houston Chronicle, “We were talking on the phone and he was like ‘dang,’ and I assumed he dropped the phone.”

After the conversation, Easley said she went to the site of the accident and when she was stopped by police, she knew there had been an accident.

April 12, 2009

Most Lotteries See Declining Sales in Tough Economic Times

State lotteries are reporting declining sales as tough economic times have resulted in many people cutting back on gambling expenses.

David Gale of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries told the USA Today that the current economic conditions are the most likely reason that many state lotteries have seen a decrease in sales.

The USA Today reports that according to a 2008 Gallop Poll, half of Americans purchase lottery tickets, whether it is scratch-off tickets or numbers games. They spend nearly $60 billion resulting in an $18 million profit for local governments. The profit is generally used for education, transit and other services.

Some of the steeper declines include: California, down 5 percent; Florida, down 7 percent; Indiana, down 10 percent; Iowa, down 4 percent and Kansas, down 4 percent.

Kathryn Bensborn, executive director of the State Lottery Commission of Indiana, told the USA Today that lottery is viewed as entertainment, thus making the lottery expendable in a consumer’s viewpoint.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Lottery, told the USA Today that gas prices have also been an issue. More people are using mass transit and not going to gas stations where lottery tickets are most commonly purchased.

Not all state lotteries are reporting declines. The Minnesota Lottery has reported a 6 percent increase in sales in the past year.

March 29, 2009

Man Kills 8, Injures 3 in North Carolina nursing home shooting

A gunman shot and killed eight people and injured three more in a shooting Sunday at a North Carolina nursing home.

Police said that Robert Stewart killed eight people Sunday morning at Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, N.C., including seven residents and one nurse. He is also accused of injuring three more people, including Justin Garner, the 25-year-old police office who first confronted him.

Police have indicated that no motive is initially known. They said that Stewart is not a resident or employee of the nursing home and it is not believed that he is related to any of the residents there, according to a report from Fox News.

Maureen Kruger, the country district attorney, said the victims were residents Tessie Garner, 88; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jessie Musser, 88; Bessie Hendrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise Decker, 98; and nurse Jerry Avant Jr., 39.

Authorities believe that Avant was shot attempting to stop the gunman, his sister, Frances Green, told the New York Times.

“He just lay down his life to protect the residents and employees there,” Green told the New York Times, “Unfortunately he lost his life. But he was a hero.”

Authorities have scheduled a news conference for Monday morning, in which they will release any new information.

March 8, 2009

Illinois pastor killed in church shooting

An Illinois pastor was killed at the beginning of service Sunday when a gunman walked in and shot him.

An unnamed gunman walked into First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill., around 8 a.m. Sunday and shot and killed Fred Winters, the pastor. He then pulled out a knife and a group of parishioners tackled him, according to police.

The New York Times reports that the gunman entered the Church at the beginning of service and confronted the pastor. After a brief conversation between the two men, the gunman pulled out his .45-caliber gun and shot the pastor four times, first hitting the pastor’s bible.

After he shot the pastor, his gun jammed and he then pulled out the knife. After he and a group of parishioners struggled over the knife, the gunman was severely injured. Two parishioners were injured, although their injuries were not serious.

St. Louis University Hospital spokeswoman Laura Keller told CNN that the hospital received three patients. One was dead on arrival, another was in the operating room, and the third was the suspect. The suspect’s condition was not known at the time.

The suspect is a 27-year-old resident of Troy, Ill. Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent told CNN that it was not clear if the pastor knew the suspect.

None of the parishioners knew who the suspect was, according to The New York Times report.

February 22, 2009

11-year-old boy allegedly kills father’s pregnant girlfriend

Pennsylvania State police arrested an 11-year-old boy Saturday they believe has killed his father’s pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child.

The boy, Jordan Brown, is accused of shooting of shooting Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, in the back of the head while she was asleep in her bed, immediately killing her and her unborn baby boy, who died of oxygen deprivation, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Houk was the live-in girlfriend of Brown’s father, Christopher Brown. Her pregnancy was near to term.

Brown left for school after he allegedly shot Houk. According to the Huffington Post, he initially reported to investigators that he had seen a suspicious-looking black truck on the property.

Police began to suspect Brown after that lead turned up empty.

Houk’s 7-year-old daughter reported to investigators that she saw Brown with a shotgun in his hand and heard a loud bang.

The police found a 20-guage youth model handgun in Brown’s room.

Police have charged Brown as an adult for the murder.

Friends told the Associated Press that Houk had problems with Brown in the past, according to the Huffington Post.

“There was an issue with jealousy. He told my son stuff. He actually told my son that he wanted to do that to her,” said Jason Kraner, 34, Houk’s brother-in-law.

February 15, 2009

Crew saw significant ice before Buffalo plane crash

A report filed Friday said that the crew of the commuter plane that crashed in suburban Buffalo, N.Y. noticed significant ice buildup on the plane’s wings and windshield before the crash.

Officials of the National Board of Transportation stopped short of ruling that as the cause of the plane crash, but noted that ice buildup has been the cause of many other plane crashes in the past, according to the Associated Press.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 took off from Newark, N.J. Thursday night on the way to Buffalo. The plane crashed in Clarence, N.Y., six miles away from the Buffalo airport. The crash killed all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. The plane crashed on a house, and two other people were able to escape the house.

Investigators suspect that ice may have been the cause of the crash. According to William Voss, a former official of the Federal Aviation Administration, that ice or a mechanical failure were the likely cause of the crash.

After the crash Thursday, at least two other pilots reported ice developing on their wings.

February 6, 2009

Kmart latest to issue recall over peanuts

Sears Holding Corp. issued a voluntary recall of bakery products Friday at its Super Kmart stores due to the possibility of salmonella poisoning.
Sears said that certain products supplied to Super Kmarts by Hickory Harvey Foods may have been made at a plant contaminated with salmonella, according to a report by the Associated Press published in the Star Tribune.
No one has alerted Kmart to any illnesses that have been linked to these products, which include: a single layer peanut butter cake, a single layer caramel apple cake, individual filled and variety doughnuts, individual regular doughnuts and “Mix or Match? 12-count doughnuts.
Kmart recommends that people do not eat the food and advises them that the product can be returned for a full refund.
The recall by Kmart is just the latest in a long line of recalls of peanut-related products since a salmonella outbreak was blamed on the Peanut Corp. of America. At least 575 people in 43 states have become ill from the outbreak.
According to the Associated Press, more than 1,300 foods have been recalled from this outbreak.

February 1, 2009

Kentucky National Guard called up in response to ice storm

Governor Steve Beshear had called up more of the Kentucky National Guard Sunday to assist in the recovery of an ice storm that has left most of the start without power, according to the Washington Post.
From the East Coast to the Midwest, over 600,000 people have been left without power, including homes and businesses. Many people have struggled to obtain fuel for cars, heating oil and electrical generators.
The 3,000 soldiers that Beshear has called up added to the 1,600 guardsmen already in Kentucky has resulted in the largest call up in the history of the state. According to MSNBC, the guardsmen will distribute food and water, remove debris and provide security in evacuated areas.
People in rural areas are unable to leave their homes because there is too much debris for them to drive and they have no phone service, leaving them unable to call for help. The National Guard will go door-to-door to check on people in rural ares to ensure that they are healthy.
“We’re concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their homes and we need the manpower in some of the rural areas to go door-to-door…and make sure they are okay,? said Beshear in the Washington Post.
42 deaths have already been blamed on the ice storm.