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Monday
Feb282011

Last American WWI Veteran, Frank Buckles, Dies at 110

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Frank Buckles, America's last living veteran of World War I, died on Sunday. He was 110.

Buckles passed away Sunday at his West Virginia farm, where he lived out the last half-century of his life in relative obscurity until a Pentagon ceremony in March 2008 honored him as the last living veteran to have served in the U.S. military during World War I.

As a 16-year-old Missouri farm boy, Buckles wanted to volunteer for the fight in Europe, but had been turned down by both the Marines and the Navy because he was too young. But he hoodwinked an Army recruiter into believing he was older than he was and he was sent to Europe.

"You lied to get into the Army?" reporters once asked him. "I didn't lie!" he said. "Nobody calls me a liar; I may have increased my age."

As an Army corporal he drove ambulances in the United Kingdom and France. After the armistice, he guarded German POWs and assisted with their transfer back to Germany.

After the war, Buckles would go on to sail the world as a ship's purser before making a fateful decision to take a steady job in the Philippines in 1941. It was there that he was captured by the Japanese and endured 39 months in a notorious Japanese POW camp from which few would emerge.

In his last years Buckles' newfound celebrity saw him heralded as America's last tangible tie to a war that saw nearly five million men take up the uniform to fight. He would even be received in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush.

On Monday, President Obama issued a statement on Buckles' passing, noting that "Frank Buckles lived the American Century."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

Girl Scouts Can't Sell Cookies Outside Founder's House

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAVANNAH, Ga.) -- Girl Scouts have been banned from selling their famous cookies outside the Savannah, Ga., home of Juliette Gordon Low, the woman who founded the organization almost a century ago. 

According to the Savannah Morning News, Brownies and Girl Scouts have been selling their cookies outside the home for years, but the tradition ended when a complaint was filed last year about selling products on public sidewalks.  Peddling on a sidewalk in Savannah is a violation of a city ordinance.

Fran Harold, executive director of the Low house, which is a National Historic Landmark, says it’s a sad situation because tourists visiting the home loved buying cookies from the girls.  City Alderman Van Johnson says Savannah should look into issuing a variance that would allow temporary sales during the Girl Scout cookie season.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

World's Biggest Shoplifters? Couple Named in $5M Safeway Thefts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (file)(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- If the allegations are correct, a pair of thieves in  Portland, Ore. may well be among the world's most prolific shoplifters. Police said they nabbed the sticky-fingered couple for allegedly shoplifting some $5 million of merchandise from Safeway stores.

Safeway worked with authorities to arrest Richard Remington, 52, and Angela Evans, 32, on Feb. 15. The grocery chain claims Remington pulled off 103 thefts that were caught on tape at various Safeway stores while Evans was seen 75 times stealing merchandise.

So determined was Safeway to stop the thefts, they authorized a loss prevention officer to place a tracking device on the couple's van, according to The Oregonian.

Remington and Evans, who had been dating for about six months, allegedly stole about $400,000 of merchandise a year from Safeway over the span of several years, according to an affidavit signed by Charles Mickly, deputy district attorney for Multnomah County in Oregon. The district attorney's office charged the two with 24 counts of theft. They have pleaded not guilty. It wasn't clear if they had a lawyer.

Trent Drucker, a loss prevention officer at Safeway, located Remington's van and placed a tracking device on it. He was then able to review video of the shoplifting and determine that they allegedly drove to pawn shops to sell stolen DVDs.

Not all retailers are able to invest months in capturing individual shoplifters, though this case suggests outsized losses for the supermarket chain.

Shoplifters stole $13.7 billion in merchandise in the U.S. from June 2009 to October 2010, according to the Centre for Retail Research in England. Surveying retailers worldwide, shoplifters cost retailers $107.3 billion in that period. The survey included 1,103 of the largest retailers in 42 countries, with $873.8 billion in combined sales.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb282011

Space Shuttle Discovery Astronauts to Go on Spacewalk

Part of the crew aboard space shuttle Discovery. Photo Courtesy - NASA(HOUSTON) -- Two astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery will venture outside of the International Space Station Monday morning to go on a spacewalk.

Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew will embark on the 6.5-hour spacewalk at 11:18 a.m. ET to perform several tasks, including installing a power extension cable, moving a broken ammonia pump, and installing a camera wedge.  Both astronauts prepped for the assignment by "camping out" the night before in the Quest airlock, where the atmospheric pressure is lowered to help protect them from "the bends," or decompression sickness, once they are out in space.

Discovery docked with the International Space Station on Saturday, where it will remain for a week before returning back to Earth.

The space shuttle's latest flight will be its last one -- it is set to retire after its current mission is over.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Authorities Use Website in Search for 'East Coast Rapist'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.) -- Authorities in four states are intensifying their search efforts for a man known as the "East Coast Rapist," who is suspected of attacking 17 women and girls in Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland since 1997.

At the center of the effort is a website, eastcoastrapist.com, that provides details of the attacks linked to the suspect, the most recent of which involved three girls in Prince William, Va., on Halloween 2009.

Police and the FBI are scheduled to formally announce the launch of the Web site at a news conference Monday. Officials say billboards will also be placed in several areas to alert the public about the search for the rapist. Authorities in Fairfax County are hoping that the renewed campaign will help someone recognize the man suspected of raping four women in the county from 1998 through 2001.

The East Coast Rapist is suspected in attacks on at least 17 women over the past 13 years. All of the attacks occurred at night, near major highways. They began in Maryland, moved into Virginia, then up to Connecticut and Rhode Island and back to Virginia.

Authorities say he stalks and studies his victims, apparently attacking them in neighborhoods he knows well. He knows when they are most vulnerable, like when they are home alone with their children or failed to lock windows or doors, investigators say.

In the Halloween incident, the man attacked and raped two 17-year-old girls at gunpoint while a third was able to text her mother and notify police. The rapist fled the scene as police closed in.

He is described as a 6-foot tall trim black man in his 30s who smokes, has a smooth voice, often wears black hats and camouflage clothing and once had a chipped tooth. The rapist wielded a handgun or a knife in several attacks, a screwdriver and broken bottle in others, and after some assaults he left feces near the crime scene.

In August 2009, law enforcement officials in Virginia began efforts to use familial DNA in the search for the rapist.

This effective yet controversial method identifies suspects through the DNA of a close blood relative who has already been in the criminal justice system after being arrested or convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Trapped 14-Month-Old Rescued From Inside Bank's Vault

Photo Courtesy - WSB-TV Atlanta(CONYERS, Ga.) -- Firefighters worked ferociously for several hours this weekend to free a 14-month-old toddler who had wandered into a Conyers, Ga., bank vault and became trapped.

After pumping oxygen into the air-tight vault at the Wells Fargo bank in Conyers, rescue workers and a safe technician were able to reach the crying toddler, who was trapped for approximately four hours.

According to a spokesman for the Conyers Police Department, the baby and her mother, who are the grandchild and daughter of one of the bank's employees, were inside the premises at the bank's closing time. Soon the toddler began to wander around the bank, and unbeknownst to her mother, walked into the bank's vault.

The vault, which is fitted with a time-lock close, must have shut immediately after the child wandered inside, according to ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Wells Fargo spokesman Jay Lawrence told WSB-TV that the baby was not in any danger. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Freight Train Collision, Derailment Near Tacoma Narrows

Photo Courtesy - KOMO-TV Seattle(UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash.) -- Police in Washington State say more than a dozen freight cars derailed Saturday night after two trains reportedly collided near the Tacoma Narrows.

Hazardous material teams were on the scene of the accident, which occurred along Puget Sound on the BNSF Railway at Chambers Bay Golf Course. The contents of the train cars, however, has not yet been determined.

No one was injured in the derailment. Police say the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Vintage Jet Crashes into Hudson, Pilot Feared Dead

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (file)(KINGSTON, N.Y.) -- Rescue workers fear that the pilot of a vintage military jet that crashed into the Hudson River Saturday may be dead.

ABC News New York affiliate WABC-TV reports that 38-year-old Michael Faraldi was en route to Kingston-Ulster Airport from an airfield in Johnstown, Penn., when he crashed. The British-made BAC 167 Strikemaster reportedly made a low pass at the landing strip before hitting an ice-covered stretch of the Hudson between Albany and New York City.

Rescue workers were unable to locate Faraldi following the crash and a search was suspended late in the evening.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Snafu Costs Sarah Palin's Husband Iron Dog Title

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Problems with his sled likely led to Todd Palin’s defeat in the world's longest snowmobile race, a competition that the husband of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin won three times before.

Todd Palin and his teammate, Eric Quam, lost the Iron Dog, a 2,000-mile race across Alaska, by just 14 minutes.

Palin was forced to stop mid-race to fix the skies on his sled, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The snafu allowed the team of Tyler Huntington and Chris Olds to pass Palin and Quam in the final 100 miles of the race.

Huntington and Olds went on to win the race for the second-straight year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

Shuttle Discovery Docks with International Space Station

Photo Courtesy - NASA TV(HOUSTON) -- “A fairly textbook docking by Commander Steve Lindsey and the STS-133 crew.”
 
That was the word from NASA’s Mission Control in Houston as space shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station at 2:14 p.m. ET Saturday for the 13th and final time.

The shuttle and its crew are scheduled to be there for a week to off-load supplies.

Discovery is set to be retired after the current mission.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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