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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Monday
Oct172011

University of Iowa Weighs Adding a Gay Fraternity on Campus

Scott Morgan/Getty Images(IOWA CITY, Iowa) -- The University of Iowa may be the site of the newest chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay and bisexual men, and their straight allies.

The university will gauge student interest in opening a chapter at a meeting Oct. 25, but until then Kelly Jo Karnes, associate director of the university's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, is confident that "all signs say yes, there is interest."

Karnes and her colleagues are encouraged by the success of a Delta Lambda Phi chapter that opened in 2005 at nearby Iowa State University.

"We know, OK, this can work in the Midwest," Karnes said. "We don't need to be in an East Coast or West Coast school to do this."

Opening a chapter of a gay fraternity is part of a larger strategy to expand Greek life on the University of Iowa campus, said Karnes. "We want to make sure we're offering a wide variety of groups," Karnes said. "You don't have to have a cookie-cutter experience in Greek life."

Chris Newman, the executive director of Delta Lambda Phi, said that interest in the gay fraternity has grown. Last year alone, it added eight chapters, increasing the total number from 19 to 27 nationwide. The fraternity has outposts at such schools as New York University, Vanderbilt and the University of Arizona. There's even a "colony" chapter at McGill University in Montreal. While still a small, Delta Lambda Phi is larger than gay fraternity Sigma Phi Beta or Gamma Rho Lambda, a lesbian sorority.

Newman said starting Delta Lambda Phi chapters at Midwestern state schools can be easier than opening them in large urban centers of the Northeast.

"A lot of those Midwestern schools, they are sort of these little liberal centers in typically conservative states, and they have very strong Greek systems because there isn't much else to do when you're in the middle of a cornfield," he said. "We actually struggle in urban areas, because there's no interest -- there are so many other outlets."

For Joe Picini, co-founder of BornLikeThis.org, an LGBTQ support website, gay fraternities might be stronger in rural areas because lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students don't have as many outlets available to them. An alumnus of New York University, Picini was vice president of the campus chapter of Delta Lambda Phi. "In urban settings," he said, "there is already a very strong sense of a gay community."

Schools that don't have gay Greek organizations often offer other social and service opportunities for LGBTQ students. William Atkins, assistant director of Greek life at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, said the school hadn't yet measured student interest in starting a gay fraternity, but that LGBTQ students who were already in Greek organizations worked for the community through Lambda Alliance, a group that recognizes sexual diversity in fraternities and sororities.

An increase in LGBTQ services could be part of a broader movement that recognizes gay marriage and gays serving in the military. "There's a widening conversation in general about the lives of LGBTQ people," said Gabe Javier, the director of the LGBTQ campus center at University of Wisconsin-Madison. And that leads to more resources being provided across the board, from community groups to LGBTQ-focused Greek life.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct172011

Cornel West Arrested at Supreme Court Protest

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Author, professor and social activist Cornel West was arrested on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. while taking part in a group protest against corporate influence in politics.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said that 19 demonstrators were arrested Sunday afternoon when they refused to leave the grounds of the court. West was reportedly among those arrested.

Prior to joining in the protest on the steps of the Supreme Court, West attended the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

A message was posted to West’s official Twitter account around 6:30 p.m. Sunday assuring followers that West was doing well.

“Thanks ALL for your concern. Dr. West is ok. He’ll share his thoughts from today very soon. Stay tuned! #OccupyDC -- Bro,” the Tweet said.

A photo of West, in which he is seen holding a sign quoting Gandhi reading, “Poverty is the worst form of violence” was posted to his Twitter feed late Sunday night.

In addition to teaching at Princeton University, West has written books including Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and often appears as a pundit on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

IndyCar Driver Dan Wheldon Dies in Multi-Car Crash

The car of Dan Wheldon bursts into flames in a 15-car pile up including the during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Robert Laberge/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- A tragic crash at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas Sunday left driver Dan Wheldon dead.  He was 33.

A fiery 15-car crash on turn two of lap 13 sent Wheldon's car airborne, causing fatal injuries for the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner during the season finale race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  

Wheldon was airlifted from the track Sunday afternoon and taken to a nearby hospital.  Just two hours after the the accident, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced the race would not continue, but drivers would honor Wheldon with a five lap salute at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dan Wheldon is the first driver to die in an on-track crash since the 2006 death of Paul Dana, who was killed during a practice run at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Obama Says Country Needs to Listen Again to MLK’s Teachings

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Martin Luther King’s teachings are as relevant as ever, in this day when politics in America have become sharply polarized and people appear to be losing faith in our institutions, President Obama said Sunday at the official dedication of the civil rights leader’s monument on the national mall.

“I know we will overcome,” Obama said, standing next to the memorial, which includes a 30-foot statue of King. “I know there are better days ahead. I know this because of the man towering over us. I know this because all he and his generation endured.”

Obama, the nation’s first black president, told a large crowd that the King memorial is a monument to the collective achievement of the civil rights generation. He said that without King’s work, specifically his “I Have a Dream” speech on the national mall, the country might not have had the courage to overcome segregation and Jim Crow laws.

“Because of Dr. King’s moral imagination, barricades began to fall and bigotry began to fade, and the doors of opportunity swung open for an entire generation,” said Obama, who was 7 years old when King was killed.

The president said he hopes his two daughters take away from the monument a faith in what they can accomplish when they are determined and working for a righteous cause.

“This sculpture, massive and iconic as it is, will remind them of Dr. King’s strength, but to see him only as larger than life would do a disservice to what he taught us about ourselves,” he said.

“He would want them to know that he had setbacks, because they will have setbacks,” Obama said. “It was precisely because Dr. King was a man of flesh and blood and not a figure of stone, that he inspires us so. His life, his story tells us that change can come if you don’t give up.”

The president tried to connect King’s message to the present, sharing what he thinks King would tell Americans.

“At this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed to Dr. King’s teachings,” Obama said.

“If he were alive today, I believe that he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there. That the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company’s unions without vilifying the right to collectively bargain,” he said. “He would want us to know that we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country.”

Obama also reminded the crowd that the progress King helped create did not happen overnight.

“It is right for us to celebrate Dr. King’s marvelous oratory, but it is worth remembering that progress did not come from words alone. Progress was hard,” the president said. “Progress was purchased through enduring the smack of billy clubs and blast of fire hoses. It was built through stays in jail cells. Nights of bomb threats.”

Before his remarks, Obama and his family walked the walls of the monument along with members of King’s family.

Connecting his own legacy to that of King, Obama placed a signed copy of his presidential inauguration address and a signed copy of his 2008 Democratic National Convention speech in Denver into a time capsule at the memorial. Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2008 on the 40th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Hells Angels Officer Steve Tausan Killed at Biking Friend's Funeral

Robert Vos/AFP/Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- A sergeant-at-arms for the motorcycling Hells Angels was shot to death this weekend at a San Jose, Calif., graveyard where thousands were witnessing the burial of another Hells Angels member, gunned down at a Nevada casino in September.

Steve Tausan, 52, a bail bondsman, was killed Saturday.

Tausan had been tried and acquitted in 1997's lethal beating of a Pink Poodle strip club patron.

Although California news outlets have identified Saturday's shooting victim as Tausan, San Jose Police Officer Jose Garcia said his department will not disclose a name until the coroner's autopsy is complete and the victim's family has been officially notified.

Joining the throngs of mourners at Oak Hill Memorial Park Saturday, Tausan was attending the funeral of his longtime friend, Jeffrey "Jetho" Pettigrew, a municipal backhoe operator and president of San Jose's Hell's Angels chapter.

The fatal shots direct at Pettigrew last week sent patrons of John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino running for cover.

"As you can imagine, it was a large crowd. About 4,000 people were at the funeral. We're at square one, asking to the community to come forward" with information that may lead to the shooter, said Garcia.

Tausan had told the San Jose Mercury News that he had received death threats following Pettigrew's Sept. 23 murder, the newspaper reported.

That murder also prompted a state-of-emergency declaration in Sparks, Nev., near Reno, which allows law enforcement and other city officials to commandeer private property.

Police suspect that gang rivalries have fueled the shootings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Missouri National Guard Joins Search for Baby Lisa Irwin

Kansas City Police(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- The Missouri National Guard joined the search Sunday for a missing baby girl in Kansas City who vanished nearly two weeks ago.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon gave the order on Saturday to deploy guard members to assist in the search for 11-month-old Lisa Irwin.

ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams said the move is unique to the search efforts.

"Ordinarily I would say this is just another effort at canvassing particular areas as they have already done in the context of the search but one thing that is kind of unique about this is that they picked a particular day and that is today and they've said it's just going to be a one day search in a specific location so it does make you wonder if they are doing it based off a specific tip," said Abrams.

On Saturday, police searched an abandoned house near Irwin's home but they still have few clues about what happened to her.

Investigators found used diapers and baby wipes in the abandoned home, but police said they have doubts about whether they are connected.

ABC affiliate KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported Saturday that a passerby had looked in the house and alerted police.

The house was near an area where police were already searching for Irwin, who has been missing since Oct. 4, when her parents reported that she disappeared from her bedroom crib.

Kansas City Police Department Capt. Steve Young told KMBC-TV the diapers and wipers were found in the basement. He said crime scene investigators will be brought in, but "It just doesn't fit."

Police also questioned a local handyman in connection with the case, according to KMBC.

The handyman, nicknamed "Jersey" was taken into custody for a felony warrant and was question by authorities because he was seen in Irwin's neighborhood. But police said he was not considered a suspect, KMBC reported.

Baby Lisa has not been seen since Oct. 3.

No suspects have been named to the case and no arrests have been made.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Dewey Bozella: Wrongfully Convicted Man Now Free to Box 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Dewey Bozella wanted just one shot, one chance, to box professionally. Now, at the age of 52, he finally got the chance to step into the ring.

Bozella was one of the oldest persons ever to box in a sanctioned match when he won a unanimous decision over Larry Hopkins at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Saturday night. Bozella fought with a simple message: Don't ever give up.

For more than a quarter century, he had every reason to lose hope, every excuse to give up.

He spent 26 years in New York's infamous Sing Sing prison for a murder he did not commit.

Four times he could have walked out a free man—if only he would have admitted to the crime. Each time he refused, maintaining his innocence.

In boxing, Bozella found salvation.

This most brutal of sports gave Bozella an inner peace, and the strength to carry on. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the hope of having one fight as a free man kept him going.

In October 2009, Bozella was formally cleared. He was finally released from prison and this past summer, he was honored by ESPN as its 2011 Arthur Ashe Award winner for his courage.

Boxer Bernard Hopkins heard Bozella's story, and offered him the chance to fight on the undercard of his championship bout against Chad Dawson at the Staples Center Saturday.

"This is not a charity case," Hopkins told the Los Angeles Times this week. "This man is fulfilling his dream."

For so long, a dream is all Bozella had.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Bozella was 9 years old when he witnessed his father beat his pregnant mother to death. One brother was later stabbed and killed. And another brother was shot in the head. Young Dewey fell into a life of petty crime.

He moved to upstate Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hoping to turn things around. He took up boxing and trained at a gym run by former heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson. He showed promise. But trouble soon came knocking.

In 1983, he was convicted in the brutal killing of a 92-year-old Poughkeepsie woman.

There was no physical evidence tying him to the killing; he said he had been bicycling far from the scene. But two convicts fingered Bozella in return for their own freedom. He received a 20-year sentence.

"Every day I had to ask myself, 'How do I survive this nightmare, Sing Sing,' a place where hate and anger are the order of the day," Bozella told ESPN earlier this year.

"I didn't merely want to survive, I wanted to thrive," he said. "Boxing awakened me. I felt free during my workouts for the first time. I was no longer a prisoner."

In 1990, Bozella won a second trial. As the jury deliberated, the prosecutor offered him a deal: admit guilt, and walk out of prison. Bozella refused. And then the jury convicted him.

"I'd die before I would tell you I did it. I can't, I can't. You are not going to make me say something I didn't do," he told ESPN.

Bozella spent his days in Sing Sing's gym, and his nights earning his GED, and his bachelor's and master's degrees.

He fell in love with a woman who was visiting another inmate, and got married.

"I learned to take myself from the bad position and make it a better position, because if I hold onto it I'm just going to burn with hatred," he said. "If I have to die in prison, that's just the way it is."

Bozella continuously reached out to lawyers and to journalists, and for years he wrote the Innocence Project the exact same letter, week after week, urging them to take up his case. Five years after receiving the first letter, the Innocence Project agreed—only to discover that the police had destroyed all of the physical evidence in the case.

The law firm WilmerHale eventually picked up the case and tracked down the senior lead detective in the case, leading to an astonishing break.

The detective handed over a copy of the case file—the only file he had taken home with him after he retired.

"I had figured someday someone would come knocking on my door," the detective, Arthur Regula, told ESPN. "There were certain things in the case that made me have doubts whether Dewey Bozella was actually involved. I just could never throw it away."

The file revealed that prosecution witnesses had lied, and that another suspect had confessed to the crime—information that had been withheld from Bozella's lawyers all those years.

On Thursday, as Bozella prepared for his first—and he says, only—professional fight, he received a phone call. It was President Obama.

"I heard about your story and wanted to call and say good luck in your first professional fight," Obama told him. "Everything you have accomplished while you were in prison and everything you have been doing since you got out is something that I think all of us are very impressed with."

A short time later, a beaming Bozella spoke to ABC New York station WABC-TV about the dream he harbored all those years.

"My message is, 'To never let fear define who you are, and never let where you came from determine where you are going,''' he said.

"When I was in prison, they were telling me, 'You can't do this, you can't do that, it's never going to happen.' And now look," he said. "It was something I believed in my heart would happen, and now the possibilities are happening."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Vigils Held for Missing Maryland Boy Whose Mother Was Murdered

Hemera/Thinkstock(GERMANTOWN, Md.) -- Teammates, friends and neighbors of a missing Germantown, Md., boy whose mother was beaten to death held vigils Friday night, hoping that 11-year-old William McQuain will be found alive.

The boy has been missing since Sept. 30, and his mother, Jane McQuain, 51, was found Wednesday night, stabbed and beaten to death in their condominium.

McQuain's estranged husband was arrested and charged with her murder, but police have not been able to find William.

"I just want him to come home safe with no injuries," William's teammate Joey Lincoln said. "And if you know where you are please let him come home."

Outside Martin Luther King Middle School in Germantown, youth ministers, classmates and teachers gathered with candles in hand, to pray for the boy's safe return.

"As a mom of three little girls, I think it's very important since Jane has no voice anymore for William, that we be the voice for her and not let him just vanish," ministry leader Brandi Page said.

"I was telling my boys if they were missing I would want people to come out and do the same kind of thing, so I brought them out," church member Darren Petrie said.

Even though Curtis Maurice Lopez, Jane McQuain's estranged husband, was arrested in Charlotte, N.C., just hours after the woman's body was found, police said they still have no clear leads in their search for William McQuain.

The last possible sightings of the 11-year-old, who is described as a light-skinned, bi-racial boy, about 5 feet tall and 85 pounds, were the weekend of Oct. 1-2, police said.

Officials at Martin Luther King Elementary School, where William is a sixth-grader, said he attended and left school on Friday, Sept. 30.

Lopez, 45, was arrested Thursday at a Charlotte, N.C., Econolodge and charged with first-degree murder of his estranged wife, Jane McQuain "on the strength of a Maryland warrant," said Starks, adding that Lopez's arraignment hasn't been scheduled yet.

He was driving the vehicle owned by McQuain, William's mother.

"Our priority, our focus right now, is to locate William McQuain. We were hoping that we find him with Mr. Lopez, and we did not," Thomas Manger, Montgomery County police chief, told ABC's 20/20.

Lopez is an ex-felon, and had been incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct162011

Baby Lisa Irwin Search: Diapers, Wipes Found in Abandoned Home

Kansas City Police(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Investigators searching for a missing 11-month-old baby from Kansas City, Mo., found used diapers and baby wipes in an abandoned home Saturday, but police said they have doubts about whether they are connected.

ABC affiliate KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported that a passerby looked in the house and alerted police.

The house was near an area where police were already searching for Baby Lisa Irwin, who has been missing since Oct. 4, when her parents reported that she disappeared from her bedroom crib.

Kansas City Police Department Capt. Steve Young told KMBC-TV the diapers and wipes were found in the basement. He said crime scene investigators will be brought in, but "It just doesn't fit."

Earlier Saturday, the New York City private investigator hired by an anonymous benefactor to help the search for Baby Lisa said he hopes the $100,000 reward being offered will open up someone’s eyes to the seriousness of the crime.

"Wild Bill" Stanton, a New York City private investigator, said Saturday that the same person who hired him is also offering $100,000 for information resulting in the baby's return.

Baby Lisa has not been seen since Tuesday, Oct. 3. Her father Jeremy Irwin said he returned home from his overnight shift and found his daughter's crib empty, the home's front door unlocked, a window screen busted open and the family's three cell phones gone.

Police officials have not publicly named any suspects. No arrests have been made.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct152011

Baby Lisa Irwin Search: $100,000 Reward Could 'Open Eyes' 

Kansas City Police(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- The New York City private investigator hired by an anonymous benefactor to help the search for Baby Lisa Irwin—the 10-month-old Kansas City, Mo., girl who has been missing for 12 days—said Saturday that he hopes the $100,000 reward being offered will open up someone's eyes.

Police hunting for the little girl said they still have no definitive clues on Baby Lisa's whereabouts. She has been missing since Oct. 3, when her parents reported that she disappeared from her bedroom crib.

There are no new leads in the case, Det. Gary Eastwood, of the Kansas City Police Department's special unit for child victims, reported Saturday.

"Wild Bill" Stanton, a New York City private investigator, said Saturday that the same person who hired him is also offering $100,000 for information resulting in the baby's return.

"I hope this opens up someone's heart or someone's eyes, and they realize this is serious and that we need to get Lisa home safe and sound," Stanton told Good Morning America, while standing outside the home of Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, Lisa's parents.

The FBI scoured the woods near the family's home Friday and used metal detectors to scan their neighborhood.

The family has posted online videos, recorded when Lisa was 3 months old. Signs and pictures of the missing baby also have been displayed outside of her grandparents' home.

"I'd gladly give my life to bring Lisa home safely," Lisa's cousin Mike Lerette  told Good Morning America. "We're hanging in there. Please, please, please keep praying."

Baby Lisa has not been seen since Oct. 3. Her father Jeremy Irwin said he returned home from his overnight shift and found his daughter's crib empty, the home's front door unlocked, a window screen busted open and the family's three cell phones gone.

Bradley has said that she was the last person to see her baby.

Jeremy Irwin's sister, Ashley Irwin, said last week that the family had expected Bradley to be arrested in connection with the baby's disappearance, but she also insisted that Bradley had nothing to do with the baby's disappearance.

Police officials have not publicly named any suspects. No arrests have been made.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio