December 7, 2008

Wal-Mart Employee Killed in Black Friday Rush

CNN reported that a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death Nov. 28 by a crowd of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors at a Long Island store, police said.

The Seattle Times reported that the victim, Dimytai Damour, 34, died by asphyxiation.

"This was utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning," Nassau County police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming said.

According to Fleming, "several minutes" passed before others were able to reach Damour and attempt to help him. When police arrived, Fleming said the officers were also "jostled and pushed."

Damour was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A cellphone video of the incident has been placed on Youtube. The video shows a police officer crouching by the victim man near the entrance of the Wal-Mart. Shoppers can be seen peering through the glass, some making jokes and laughing at the situation.

November 23, 2008

Opposition to California's Prop 8

According to CNN, California's Supreme Court said last week that it will hear the appeal of a challenge to the measure outlawing same-sex marriage, Proposition 8.

The court said in a written statement that they will not implement or enforce the law until the appeal has been decided.

The measure, known as Prop 8, earned 52.5 percent of the vote in California in the November 4 elections.

California had previously been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since May, after a state Supreme Court had legalized the unions.

Soon after the proposition's passage, thousands of protesters filled the streets Los Angeles and other major cities in protest.

Protesters gathered in Sacramento Sunday to rally against the proposition and gain support to fight for rights if the appeal does not pass, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Although numbers were smaller than the predictions of 10,000, over 5,000 people gathered in the lawn in front of the Capitol, waving homemade signs with messages like "What's so scary about our love?" as vendors walked through the crowds, selling buttons and flags.

More than 100,000 people have agreed to carry petitions for a new ballot measure, said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, one of the leaders of the "No on Prop. 8" effort.

November 16, 2008

Missing Marine Arrested

According to the AP, a Marine accused of faking his own disappearance to avoid service in Iraq has been arrested in Washington state.

Lance Hering, 23, was arrested at the Port Angeles airport Sunday, police said. Hering is being held on a warrant for contempt of court on a burglary charge and a Marine Corps warrant for desertion.

A Denver Post report reveals that Hering's father, Lloyd Hering, was also arrested. His father faces a misdemeanor charge of aiding and abetting a criminal.

Hering, a lance corporal and Iraq war veteran, was on leave from California's Camp Pendleton when he disappeared in 2006.

At the time, Steve Powers, a friend of the Marine, told authorities Hering fell in the Eldorado Canyon in Colorado. More than 600 people were involved in an extensive search for Hering.

Powers later admitted it was a hoax.

November 9, 2008

Men Plead Not Guilty

Two me pleaded not guilty Thursday to conspiracy and firearms charges in what authorities have described as a plot to assassinate President-elect Barack Obama, the Washington Post reported.

Daniel G. Cowart, 20, of Tennessee, and Paul M. Schlesselman, 18, of Arkansas, are currently being held without bail in a Tennessee prison. The men, thought to be affiliated with the white supremacy movement, were arrested last month.

Both men could face over a decade behind bars if convicted for involvement in the alleged conspiracy.

Cowart and Schlesselman had planned to steal weapons, attack a predominately African American school and then assault Obama at a rally, while wearing white top hats and tails, federal agent Brian Weaks said in a sworn statement.

Though not operational, Government officials said the plot raised alarms about the possibility for violent threats against Obama.

As the AP reported earlier, Weaks, told a Memphis court last month, after the arrests, that the pair had met over the Internet through a mutual friend and soon began talking about murder.

The men had discussed "going on a 'killing spree' that included killing 88 people and beheading 14 African Americans," Weaks said.

November 2, 2008

Skeletal Remains found near Fossett crash site

According to CNN, two large bones and a driver's license with adventurer Steve Fossett's name were found Wednesday, near the site where Fossett's plane crashed in eastern California.

The bones appear to be human, and DNA testing will determine whether they belonged to Fossett, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said.

"We talked to the family and advised them that we possibly, most likely, found the remains of J. Stephen Fossett," Anderson said.

Animal chew marks were found on the driver's license and the shoes, Anderson said, indicated that animals may have moved the body.

Along with the bones and ID card, searchers found a pair of shoes and a $100 bill Anderson said.

The discovery site was a little more than a half-mile from where Fossett's plane wreckage was found on Oct. 1 in a remote area of the Sierra Nevadas. Fossett, famous for his record-setting adventures, was last seen on Sept. 3, 2007, when he took flew out of Minden, Nevada.

The site is also about a quarter-mile from where a hiker reported finding aviation identification cards with Fossett's name and $1,000 in cash in late September, Anderson said.

The Los Angeles Times also reported this story, offering a few more details.

The large bones were discovered by sheriff's deputies and volunteers who searched Wednesday in what authorities said was their last attempt to find additional clues to Fossett's disappearance before winter. Authorities have no released what bones were found.

Preston Morrow, 43, an employee at a sporting goods store in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., is the hiker who found several identification cards and 10 $100 bills in late Sept. He was walking with his dog in Red's Meadow at the time.

October 26, 2008

Mexico Police Capture Drug Suspect

CNN reported that U.S. authorities confirmed Sunday that Mexican authorities have arrested a reputed senior member of a major Tijuana-based drug cartel after a shootout.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix was arrested Saturday at a Tijuana, Mexico, residence, Special Agent Eileen Zeidler of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said.

Zeidler said authorities received a tip on the location of Arellano-Felix. No other details have been released.

A LA Times story stated that the arrest operation involved more than 100 federal and state police officers and soldiers, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

Arellano-Felix was one of the "last wanted members of the powerful and brutal trafficking organization."

Arellano-Felix was flown to Mexico City after his arrest, and U.S. authorities will seek his extradition.

Officials say the Arellano-Felix family inherited the Tijuana cartel from Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo in 1989 after his arrest for drug trafficking. The cartel grew into one of Mexico's most powerful organized crime groups by smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix was the last remaining brother who actively participated in the cartel.

"He was the last of the brothers. This was another significant blow to what's left of the Arellano Felix organization," Zeidler said.

Today, the cartel is fractured into two sides, one side run by Eduardo Garcia Simental and another headed by Eduardo Arellano-Felix's nephew, Fernando Sanchez Arellano.

This division has lead to brutal fighting, accounting for nearly all the violence in Tijuana, according to the DEA. More than 400 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Tijuana this year.

Official believe that while Eduardo Arellano-Felix was not the head of the cartel, his nephew sought his advice.

Brushfire Burns Near Getty Museum

A wildfire near Los Angeles burned 100 acres of brush and grass near the world-famous Getty art museum, fire officials said.

There were no injuries or damages reported in relation to the brushfire that started two miles from the museum around 12:30 a.m.

Nearby Interstate 405 was closed for about four hours but reopened for morning rush hour. Despite the freeways reopening, traffic was still congested as drivers sought ways around the fire.

400 firefighters were brought in the help contain the blaze.

The firefighters worked to seven hours for before the fire was declared knocked down at 8:16 a.m., Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said. Crews were expected to stay near the museum, Myers said.

The Getty Museum is located approximately 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

The New York Times later reported Friday that a brushfire was fully contained.

October 19, 2008

Kidnapped Las Vegas Boy Found

The Las Vegas police department announced Sunday that a 6-year-old boy, who had been abducted Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been found safe, CNN reported.

While CNN simply reported that the boy, Cole Puffinburger was found wandering on a sidewalk on the city's east side, the AP elaborated on the story with the information that he was found after he approached a bus driver and asked for a ride home.

"I'm just glad he's safe," Robert Puffinburger, Cole's father, said at a news conference. "I can't wait to see him!"

Cole was kidnapped Wednesday. Three armed men (two according to the AP report) tied up his mother and her fiance and rifled through the home, taking the boy after finding no money, police said.

Police say the men who kidnapped Cole were drug dealers trying to send a message to Cole's grandfather, Clemons F. Tinnemeyer.

October 12, 2008

Fire Burns Forest North of Los Angeles

A forest fire burned 750 acres north of Los Angeles on Sunday, threatening an animal sanctuary and homes , CNN reported.

The fire started around 2 a.m. in the Angeles National Forest, approximately 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to fire officials. Approximately 400 firefighters were on the scene.

The fire has been 10% contained, Mike Freeman, the Los Angeles County fire chief, said.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that two residences and three mobile homes were destroyed along with a garage and three outbuildings.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea said about 1,200 people were evacuated as the fire approached the city limits.

The fire also threatened a near-by animal sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. Wildlife Waystation is a nonprofit agency that cares for over 400 animals, including lions, bears and deer. Some animals have been evacuated incase winds cause the fire to switch direction.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

October 5, 2008

Frozen Chicken Dinners Lead to Salmonella Poisoning

32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning after failing to properly cook frozen chicken dinners, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a health warning, citing frozen dishes in which the chicken is raw, but breaded or pre-browned. These dishes which appear to be cooked include "chicken cordon bleu," "chicken Kiev," or other varieties of stuffed chicken breasts.

The warning as issued on Friday after Minnesota officials discovered the link between the chicken dinners and salmonella illnesses in Minnesota and the additional 11 states.

A Star Tribune report on the Minnesota illnesses provides further details on the salmonella outbreak.

Since July, 14 cases of salmonella have been linked to the frozen chicken entrees, the Minnesota Department of Health said. All 14 have recovered.

The chicken products in questions were made by Milford Valley Farms, who has been linked to six salmonella outbreaks in the state since 1998, the Health Department said.

Kirk Smith, a supervisor of the foodborne disease unit, urged consumers to avoid using microwaves to cook raw poultry.

In Minnesota, most brands of the affected products no longer say the products are microwaveable.

September 28, 2008

Ted Kennedy suffers mild seizure

A short report on the hospitalization of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) on Friday was posted Saturday by the Washington Post.

Kennedy was taken by ambulance to a hospital near his Cape Cod vacation home after suffering a mild seizure. As reported by the Boston Globe, authorities had received an emergency 911 call at 5:12 p.m. from the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Barnstable police Sergeant Ben Baxter, said.

The seizure was attributed to a change in medications, Kennedy's office in Washington said in a statement.

Kennedy returned home a few hours after being admitted to the hospital. He reportedly planned to watch the presidential debates that evening.

Kennedy had a previous seizure in May and underwent surgery in June for a malignant brain tumor.An anonymous associate of Kennedy's said that doctors told Kennedy that seizures will become more common as he battles the brain tumor.

The Globe report further elaborated on the story by including the views of a medical professional-

"It is not uncommon for patients with brain cancer to suffer seizures intermittently, said Dr. Deepa Subramaniam, director of the Brain Tumor Center at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

"Even for those patients whose tumors have been completely taken out, you still have an area of their brain that remains abnormal for the rest of their lifetime," Subramaniam said."

September 21, 2008

Abortion restriction up for vote in S. Dakota

On Nov. 4, South Dakota ballot's will include a proposal banning most abortions in the state, the UPI reported.

Citing an article from the Washington Post, the article states that votes will be vote for the second time on this issue since 2006.

If the proposal known as Measure 11 is passed, all abortions would be banned expect those in cases of rape, incest and in some cases where the health and life of the woman is in danger.

Supporters of Measure 11 say they hope to prevent more than 700 abortions a year and they also hope such a law would produce a case to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Measure 11 supporter Leslee Unruh called the proposal "urgent for the babies who are aborted."

On the other hand, Dr. Marvin Buehner, a physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, said the law "would amount to a total ban" on abortion.

September 14, 2008

Destruction in Texas

The Washington Postt reported that those in the Texas Gulf Coast area have begun to assess the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike.

Ike’s 110-mph winds and heavy rains left heavy damage across the eastern coast of Texas. Though storm surges were smaller than predicted, the storm washed away homes and left as many as 2 million people without power.

According to a report from CNN, Ike is believed to have caused 13 deaths as of Sunday evening, three of the deaths in Galveston County, Texas.

As a result of flooding, power outages, and widespread debris, Houston has enacted a weeklong curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Looting was also cited as another reason for the curfew enactment.