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Wednesday
Feb092011

Father Reconnects with Daughter Kidnapped as Baby

Carlina White pictured with her daughter. Photo Courtesy - Family of Carlina White(NEW YORK) -- The father of the woman known as Carlina White, who was kidnapped as a baby 23 years ago, says his relationship with his daughter is slowly growing since their miraculous reunion.

"I know it's going to take time, so I'm willing to put in that time," Carl Tyson said.  "In this relationship, you can't push nothing.  There's 23 years I can't get back.  Everything has to start from here and work its way."

Tyson said he and his daughter, who was kidnapped from a New York hospital, text each other every day and talk by phone every few days.

"We text in the morning, say good morning," Tyson said.  "Every couple of days, [I say] I want to hear your voice."

Tyson said his daughter, who currently lives in Atlanta, recently received her birth certificate.  He said his daughter's actual birth name is Carlina Renee Tyson, not Carlina White.

Tyson's description of his relationship with his daughter differs from the relationship Joy White, Carlina's mother, says she has with her daughter.  White and Tyson are no longer a couple.

Appearing on NBC's Today show Tuesday, Joy White said she and her daughter rarely talk and are like strangers. 

Ann Pettway, the woman who Carlina White has called mom for most of her life, confessed to kidnapping the child when she surrendered to authorities in January.  Pettway remains in custody, and the announcement of whether a grand jury would return a federal kidnapping indictment against her has been deferred for another two weeks.

"I hope she gets 23 years. She took 23 from me," Tyson said. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Mother Charged in Baby's Death 53 Years Later 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SHEBOYGAN, Wisc.) -- For 50 years, James Klokow had believed what his mother told him -- that he was responsible for his baby sister's death. Since he was three, Klokow said, he believed that his crying distracted mother Ruby Klokow from looking after his seven-month-old sister, Jeaneen. If not for him, he was told his whole life, his mother would have kept the infant from falling off a sofa, smashing her skull and dying instantly.

Now a different story has emerged and his mother, 74, is sitting in a Wisconsin jail, awaiting trial for allegedly killing her daughter in 1957.

"James Klokow has spent his like thinking: 'I was responsible. My mother always told me Jeaneen died because I was fussy.' He finally realized he wasn't at fault," Sheboygan, Wis., District Attorney Joe DeCecco said Tuesday.

After watching a television show about cold cases in 2008, James Klokow went to police and asked them to reopen the investigation into his sister's death.

"This wasn't an easy investigation," DeCecco said. "It was very complicated. It was 1957, for crying out loud. All the records were gone, most of the witnesses were gone. One of the original detectives was still alive but couldn't remember the case.

The two-year investigation led to a trove of additional abuse allegations, the exhumation of Jeaneen's remains, questions surrounding the death of another of Ruby Klokow's young children and an alleged confession.

Two doctors exhumed and examined the body last year. Their report concluded that the baby died of "abusive head injuries" that resulted in a brain hemorrhage. The medical examiners found the injuries were "not consistent with a 16-inch fall from a davenport [sofa] onto a rug covering a hardwood floor, as was originally reported."

With mounting evidence, police went to confront Ruby Klokow. Detectives interviewed the woman at her Sheboygan home last month.

"Ruby initially stated that she had done nothing to hurt Jeaneen, that Jeaneen must have fall off the davenport while Ruby was upstairs with James," the criminal complaint reads. But, after questioning, "Ruby stated that Jeaneen didn't fall off the couch [and] that she may have been 'a little rough' with Jeaneen."

"Ruby stated she may have took Jeaneen out of the buggy and 'may' have dropped her to the hardwood floor. When asked if her actions caused something to happen to Jeaneen, Ruby stated, 'Yeah.'"

Another one of Ruby Klokow's children -- a son -- also died in infancy. Police have exhumed that child's body as well. But she has denied killing the boy. Through the prosecutor, James Klokow declined to be interviewed.

Ruby was arrested Tuesday and bond was set at $10,000. She will appear in court again Thursday for a preliminary hearing and will likely be arraigned the next day.

Her lawyer, Kirk Obear, who took her case pro bono, said he does not believe the prosecution has a case.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

First Lady To Celebrate One Year of Her Child Nutrition Campaign

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of first lady Michelle Obama’s flagship issue: the "Let’s Move!" campaign to combat child obesity. Mrs. Obama will declare Wednesday that over the course of the year the “first signs of a fundamental shift in how we live and eat” have been seen due to the progress of her initiative.

The first lady will travel to Alpharetta, Georgia to give a speech at the North Point Community Church, one of the largest non-denominational evangelical churches in America, also hosted by Ray of Hope Christian Church. The first lady’s office is saying that tomorrow’s speech will be highly “personal” in tone, as the first lady will share how this issue has affected her as a parent.

In excerpts released before the speech from the first lady’s office, Mrs. Obama will call the day a celebration, noting that the anniversary of the initiatives brings some progress in child nutrition and eating habits in her eyes.

“We’re here to celebrate a new conversation in this country about the health and well-being of our children,” Mrs. Obama will say. “And over this past year, we’ve seen the first signs of a fundamental shift in how we live and eat. We’ve seen changes at every level of our society -- from classrooms, to boardrooms, to the halls of Congress.”

Mrs. Obama is expected to talk about the road going forward with the anti-obesity campaign and the role Americans can play.

The first lady will deliver the speech before parents, members of both congregations, local faith and community leaders, and supporters of the "Let’s Move!" campaign.  Beforehand Mrs. Obama will visit the Burgee Peterson Academy, a local Atlanta school, to “highlight how the school is working with children to promote healthy eating.”

The first lady’s office is pulling out all the stops to mark the anniversary, including Mrs. Obama’s live appearance on the Today show and Live! with Regis and Kelly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Medal of Honor Recipient Sal Giunta To Leave Military

Photo Courtesy - United States Army(WASHINGTON) -- The only living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War is leaving the U.S. Armed Forces in mid-June.

The Army confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for the bravery he displayed in Afghanistan, has decided to the leave the military.

“It does not surprise me that he made this decision,” said ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, who has spoken with Giunta on several occasions. “I think this was a difficult decision for him. I know he always wanted to continue his education. I know he loves the Army and he loves his fellow soldiers, but in many senses I think he probably realized that as a Medal of Honor recipient...that would be taking up a lot of his time in the Army. It would be highly unlikely they would ever send him back into a war zone.”

Raddatz said that Giunta – who, since being awarded the Honor, has become the face of the war in Afghanistan – loves being a soldier and is modest about his accomplishments.

“I think he is uncomfortable with the spotlight in many ways because he doesn't consider himself a hero,” Raddatz said.

Giunta put himself in danger of enemy fire to rescue two fellow soldiers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Mark Kelly: 'Gabrielle Will Soon Stand By Your Side'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- On the one-month anniversary of the shootings in Tucson, the husband of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords offered an update on his wife's condition and a glimpse into her recovery.
 
In a Facebook post Tuesday, astronaut Mark Kelly reflected on the past month.

"It is hard to believe that only one month has passed since Gabrielle was shot," wrote Kelly. "The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process. There are encouraging signs everyday though. Gabby’s appetite is back and – even though it’s hospital food – she’s enjoying three meals a day."

Kelly thanked the nation for the outpouring of support for Giffords, who suffered a gunshot wound to her head during the January 8 shooting at a Safeway in Tucson, Ariz.

"I want the families of all the other victims and the entire Tucson community to know that Gabrielle will soon stand by your side to mourn this tragedy and learn how we can heal. In the mean time, your prayers are being heard so don’t stop."

Six people were killed and 12 others injured in the shooting that has been called an assassination attempt on Giffords' life.

Kelly, who has been by his wife's side since the shooting, has announced he will command the space shuttle Endeavour when it launches in April. It is unclear if Giffords, who was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Houston on January 21, will be able to attend the April 19 launch at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

President Obama Has Quit Smoking, First Lady Says

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama says her husband has quit smoking.

“Yes, he has,” she said, and “it’s been almost a year.” Mrs. Obama said Tuesday that she didn't know exactly when he quit "because he never smoked a lot" and she never saw him smoke.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last said on Dec. 9 that he hadn’t seen the president smoke in nearly nine months. But Gibbs then was cautious in declaring formally that the president had all-out quit. Asked then if his boss had formally quit smoking, Gibbs hesitated, “For that nine months, yes.  I mean, I don’t -- I’m trying not -- I don’t want to be flip.  I mean, I don’t -- I think the president would be the first one to tell you that it’s a struggle.”

Gibbs then told the story, as he repeated when asked in Tuesday’s White House briefing, that a few White House aides joined the president when he decided to quit, with similar success, he believes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

DOT: No Electronic Sudden Acceleration in Toyotas

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There is no electronic flaw in Toyota vehicles that could cause sudden acceleration, according to a study released Tuesday by the Department of Transportation.

After a 10-month study in conjunction with NASA engineers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced, "We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period."

The only known causes of the "unsafe and unintended" acceleration in Toyotas were mechanical safety flaws involving the "sticking" accelerators and accelerators becoming trapped underneath the vehicles' floor mat, the study said.

In addition to the findings, the NHTSA announced the agency is considering taking several steps to improving driver safety including requiring a brake override system, making "event data recorders" mandatory in all passenger vehicles and researching the placement of the pedals to "reduce pedal misapplication."

In the past two years, Toyota has recalled nearly eight million of its vehicles due to the pedal malfunctions and paid nearly $50 million in civil penalties after an NHTSA investigation into the problem.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Donald Rumsfeld Reveals Saddam Hussein Targeted His Daughters

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described what he called an “awkward” moment in a 2003 national security meeting when he was told that Saddam Hussein was offering a $60 million bounty to kill Rumsfeld’s daughters.

“I was concerned,” Rumsfeld told ABC News on Tuesday. “Of course the president and his family had secret service protection. My family did not. And it was a somewhat awkward moment in the meeting,” he said.

The plot also targeted President George W. Bush’s two daughters, Rumsfeld said, and Bush urged him to take it seriously because the administration had killed Hussein’s sons.

“I made a comment like ‘Thank you’ or something and President Bush looked me in the eye and said ‘You better take this seriously,” he said. “And of course I did take it seriously. But I was also realistic that there was not much one could do about that.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Zuckerberg Gets Restraining Order Against 'Stalker'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg obtained a restraining order against 31-year-old Pradeep Manukonda, claiming he is a threat to Zuckerberg, his sister Randi Zuckerberg, and girlfriend, Priscilla Chan.

In legal papers, Zuckerberg said Manukonda tried to "follow, surveil and contact Mr. Zuckerberg using language threatening his personal safety," the entertainment website TMZ reported. Not only did Manukonda send Zuckerberg Facebook messages, he allegedly sent flowers to his home and went to Facebook's Palo Alto offices to ask Zuckerberg for money, according to TMZ.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Winter Storms Leave Streets Across US Filled with Potholes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Winter storms have brought rain, ice and snow across the U.S. since December, filling streets with potholes and costing drivers hundreds in repairs.

In New York City, repair crews have patched more than 45,000 potholes since the first major snow storm struck the area the day after Christmas.

In Seattle, the city's pothole patrol has already filled in over 6,000 holes this winter, but they still have more to go.

"We currently have a back log of about 200 potholes," said patrol employee Will McMurtry.

Over in Los Angeles, 16,000 potholes have been fixed since rains poured down on the city beginning in December.

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, up to 15 crews a day are working solely to patch up the city's potholes.  The city's Department of Transportation says it's "using a cold temporary patch mix...but it gets the job done it seals the hole."

Drivers who run over potholes could face costly repair fees.  Blown out tires caused by a shallow pothole can cost over $150 to be replaced.  Running over larger potholes could break mufflers and damage suspension systems, costing drivers as much as $500 and $2000, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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