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Monday
Feb072011

Mark Kelly Resumes Training for Endeavour's Final Mission

Photo Courtesy - NASA [dot] gov(HOUSTON) -- Astronaut Mark Kelly resumed training Monday in preparation to command space shuttle Endeavour when it takes off for its final mission in April.

Kelly decided he would leave the side of his wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, last Friday after tending to her throughout every step of her recovery.  Giffords has been hospitalized since Jan. 8, when she was shot in the head during a shooting rampage in front of a Tucson grocery store.

"I am looking forward to rejoining my STS-134 crew members and finishing our training for the mission," Kelly said.  "We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station and complete the other objectives of the flight.  I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew."

The space shuttle will take off for a 14-day mission to the International Space Station on April 19, in what could be Kelly's last flight in space.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

400 Ticketholders Locked Out of Seats at Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- It was a glorious night for fans of the green and gold -- unless you were one of more than 1,200 ticketholders to get booted from your seats at the Super Bowl.

"We drove from Green Bay, Wisconsin, through bad, bad weather to get here and we can't get in.  They're holding them like animals outside of that gate.  Like cows," said one female ticketholder.

The fire marshal deemed four sections of temporary seating unsafe.  The NFL found new seats for 850 of the fans, but 400 were locked out.  All were promised a refund of three times the ticket value, but for some no price was worth the chance to witness the championship.

"But we have this letter refunding our money back which we don't care about.  We just want our seats," said another ticket holder.

The NFL apologized, saying "The safety of fans attending the Super Bowl was paramount in making the decision...We will conduct a full review of this matter."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Tucson Victim's Fiancée Calls for Reduced Bullets in Magazine

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nearly one month after she lost her fiancé Gabe Zimmerman to a bullet in a Tucson, Arizona parking lot, Kelly O'Brien called on the Arizona state legislature to pass a bill that would reduce the amount of bullets in a magazine to 10.

“I absolutely support it.  Most people own hand guns for self-defense and there is nothing you can do with 10 bullets that you can do with 30,” she told ABC News in an exclusive interview.  “And it is so sad to see 19 people gunned down in just 15 seconds by one of these extended capacity clips.”

When asked if she thought passing that law would limit constitutional rights under the Second Amendment, O’Brien compared it to free speech and yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, saying that “everything within reason should have limits.”

“As you know Jared was stopped when he ran out of bullets.  And I believe, even if not Gabe, other people could have been saved that day,” O’Brien said.  “And absolutely more people could have not had the injury and stuff that they had to sustain.”

O’Brien couldn’t help but smile during the interview when she saw the photos of Zimmerman, who was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ director of outreach.  The couple had been together for 22 months and were planning a spring wedding in Tucson in 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Jumbo Jets Nearly Collide Outside New York City

Photo Courtesy - ABC News | WFAA-TV(NEW YORK) -- A packed American Airlines jumbo jet and two military C-17 cargo planes avoided catastrophe after they were mistakenly sent to the same altitude by controllers at New York's Air Traffic Control Center. The planes -- both closing in on 22,000 feet -- came less than a mile from each other horizontally, and 200 feet vertically. A collision alarm in the cockpit of the American Airlines Boeing 777 sounded, warning pilots to descend. They did, averting a possible collision.

The close call occurred at 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, about 80 miles southeast of New York City. The incident is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The American flight, with 259 passengers and crew, had taken off from New York's JFK airport, bound for Brazil. According to the NTSB, the jet was flying in a southeast direction. The two U.S. Air Force C-17s were flying northwest, toward McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Aviation sources tell ABC News that the controller directing the C-17s asked the controller handling the American flight to hold the flight at 20,000 feet, but that controller was busy with another jet and missed the request.

As both planes headed to 22,000 feet, the C-17 controller realized what was happening and again asked the other controller to stop the American Airlines flight from climbing. He then directed the military pilots to hold at 22,000 feet. But the other controller, hearing that instruction, thought the 22,000 altitude instruction was for the American flight -- and sent the Boeing jet to 22,000 feet as well.

"The impact of a breakdown in communication can be very serious," said former air traffic control manager and safety consultant Dick Marakovits. "In this circumstance, technology stepped in within the aircraft and saved the day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Feb072011

New Orleans Population Shrinks By a Third In 10 Years

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- New Orleans may always hold the nickname "The Big Easy," but its population isn't quite as big as it was 10 years ago.

The population in New Orleans shrunk by nearly 30 percent in 10 years according to new data released last week.  Much of that loss was attributed to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina which devastated the city in 2005.

The U.S. Census Bureau released local 2010 Census data, which revealed New Orleans's population stood at 343,829 people in 2010.  Ten years earlier, the city's population sat at 484,674 people, reflecting a 29.1 percent change in the population.

This drop in New Orleans' population size is credited to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive and costly natural disaster in the history of the United States.

"It's obviously a smaller city," Allison Plyer, chief demographer for the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, said.  "That drop was very much expected.  Obviously, Katrina had a huge impact."

Known for its rich traditions from cultivating the foundations of jazz music to the lively atmosphere and history of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, the city endured the worst of the 2005 storm.  Nearly 80 percent of its population fled the city to safer locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, but it remains unclear how many of these evacuees eventually returned to New Orleans.

Before Katrina hit, the city's racial composition was overwhelmingly black with over 67 percent of the population identifying themselves as black or African American in the 2000 census.  In 2010, this percentage dropped to 60, with the city losing 119,000 people who identified themselves as black or African American in 2010 while New Orleans saw an influx in its Hispanic population.

In addition to the change in the cultural landscape of the city, the housing sector took a noticeable hit from the storm as well.  Prior to Katrina, only 12.5 percent of housing units were unoccupied, according to 2000 census data, but the 2010 census revealed the occupancy number declined with 25 percent of housing units listed as unoccupied.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Teen Allegedly Dismembered Mother, Stored Body in Freezer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles mom who was dismembered and her body parts found in her own freezer was afraid of the teenage son who has been charged with murder, according to neighbors. Moises Meraz-Espinoza, 18, allegedly stored his mother's chopped-up body parts in the family freezer for a week before walking into a Huntington Park police station and turning himself in on Friday.

Epifanio Hernandez, the apartment's landlord, told ABC News that he spoke with the teen hours before he went to police to confess the chilling murder. For days Meraz-Espinoza shooed away nosey neighbors, including the landlord who wanted to enter the apartment to install a new sink.

After police investigated and removed the refrigerator and freezer as part of the investigation, Hernandez entered the apartment.

"There was blood still in the shower and on the floor. A lot of blood," he said.

Hernandez said the teen and his mother "had problems."

"She was afraid of him," the landlord said. "The neighbors said they would fight. They had problems because he would go out at night. People were worried something might happen."

Authorities have yet to identify the body, said Lt. Cheryl McWillie of the L.A. County Corner's Office, and would not comment until they had done so. But Lt. Brian Elia of the Coroner's Department told Britain's Daily Mail, "The body does appear to have been dismembered to some extent."

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff said Meraz-Espinoza had been arrested for "murder in connection with the death of an individual discovered in the freezer of a Maywood apartment Friday."

Meraz-Espinoza has yet to be arraigned and is being held without bail, police said. He does not have a lawyer at this time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Dozens Sickened, 8 Hospitalized After Colo. Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GUNNISON, Colo.) -- Eight people have been hospitalized in serious condition after a carbon monoxide poisoning during a youth hockey tournament Sunday in Gunnison, Colo., reports local ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV.

According to a hospital press release, 54 adults, teens and children suffered some degree of exposure while at the local ice rink.

Randy Phelps, chief executive officer at Gunnison Valley Health Hospital, said of the eight victims transported, two were sent to Denver for hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment. The chamber is designed to reduce carbon monoxide levels and restore oxygen levels as quickly as possible.

It is not yet known how the leak may have been caused.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Amtrak, N.J. Senators Plan New Tunnel Across the Hudson

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRENTON, N.J.) --  Amtrak executives and New Jersey senators Monday will announce a plan to build a new, trans-Hudson tunnel after a similar plan was not approved by Gov. Chris Christie last year, reports The Star-Ledger.

The tunnel, known as the Gateway, would be similar to the ARC Tunnel Christie turned down last year, but would have connections to new tracks at Penn Station. The previous plan was criticized for its lack of connections to other transportation hubs in Manhattan.
 
"I’m in my late 60s, and I was just hoping and praying I’d see the day when there would be another Hudson River tunnel," New Jersey transportation expert Martin E. Robins told The Star-Ledger. "My hopes have been rekindled."

Before the project can go forward, however, officials will have to figure out a way to pay for the $10 billion tunnel. Amtrack is also expected to ask for federal funding to conduct a study on the plan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

One Dead, Eleven Wounded in Ohio Frat House Shooting

Photo Courtesy - WYTV Youngstown(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) -- One person is dead and 11 were wounded after someone opened fire at a Youngstown State University fraternity, police said.

The shooting happened early Sunday, and Youngstown, Ohio, police said they are still investigating.

"It was a frat party that was going on," Youngstown Police Department Lt. Franklin Palmer said.

No arrests have been made, but at least one suspect has been identified, Palmer said.

According to YSU officials, the man who was killed, identified by the Mahoning County coroner's office as 25-year-old Jamail E. Johnson, and at least six of the wounded were students at the school.

Johnson was shot in the head and legs, the coroner's office said.

School officials said police believe that even though there has been no arrest, there is no further threat to the university's students, faculty or staff.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Military Tries to Dispel Fears About Gulf Seafood

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It's been almost ten months since the BP oil spill and consumers remain skittish about eating seafood caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an effort to help Americans get over their fears, the Pentagon is promoting various Gulf products at 72 base commissaries along the East Coast.  Currently, the Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCa, sells to military personnel, reservists, retirees and their families.

The Gulf products now sold by DeCa include fish, shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, jambalaya and shrimp etouffee.

Industries operating in the Gulf region are grateful for the government assistance, given the amount of trepidation felt by consumers after the largest accidental oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

While extensive testing has shown that Gulf seafood is safe to eat, many American still believe it's toxic due to the oil emitted from the deepwater well and the chemicals used to clean up the spill.

Sales have dropped off sharply since the April 20 explosion on an offshore rig that led to the spill, with a recent survey finding that 70 percent of people are still nervous about eating Gulf seafood.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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