Francey Freeman has seen the cost of doing business go sky-high. Prices for buying helium to fill balloons and rental tanks at her Balloons Fantastique in Fort Worth have dramatically increased in the past year, because of a worldwide shortage of the lighter-than-air gas.(Snip) Texas is home to the country´s only Federal Helium Reserve, a site outside Amarillo where more than one-third of the world´s helium supply is produced, and the federal government has worked for years to deplete that supply. Congress more than 15 years ago created a law requiring reserve officials to sell off
Donna Kristofak was terrified and letting the court know it. John S. Kristofak, who was her husband for 19 years, had been arrested six months earlier as he chased her in a Wal-Mart parking lot. In his car were a butcher’s knife and what police called “a suicide note.” During a court hearing Oct. 12, Mrs. Kristofak begged a Cobb County judge not to release him from jail. “I fear for my life,” she told Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs, telling the judge that a court-issued order of protection would not stop her crazed ex-spouse.
AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin police officer who helped stop Charles Whitman´s 1966 sniper rampage from atop the University of Texas tower has died. Houston McCoy fired two blasts from his shotgun to bring down Whitman, who killed 16 people during nearly two hours of terror on the UT campus. Wayne Vincent, president of the Austin Police Association, said McCoy died Thursday in the rural West Texas town of Menard. McCoy was 72 and had been battling a terminal illness for the past year. Whitman wounded dozens of others before McCoy and fellow officer Ramiro Martinez
A hero to the environmental movement and a constant thorn in the sides of Republicans and the energy sector, outgoing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson presided over one of the most controversial and dramatic periods in the agency’s history. She made her mark by helping craft new automobile fuel standards, imposing a ban on new coal-fired power plants, and being among the loudest in calling for action to combat climate change. But Ms. Jackson, who announced her resignation Thursday after four years at the helm of the EPA, also sustained several legal defeats
Thousands of dockworkers from Baltimore to Houston are threatening to go on strike Sunday over their pay, a move that could throttle an array of key ports and disrupt commerce at a critical juncture for the economy. Nearly half of the nation’s ocean-bound container traffic runs through the 14 threatened ports on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, and a work stoppage would crimp imports of household goods, clothing and frozen foods, among other items. The biggest hub, in the New York area, handled $208 billion worth of goods last year. A widespread strike
Wall Street is finally waking up to the troubling prospect that lawmakers may not reach a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” before the new year, with stocks swinging dramatically Thursday in response to news from Capitol Hill. Financial markets had been climbing in recent weeks on the expectation that President Obama and the Congress would reach an agreement, adding further momentum to an economy that has been gaining strength. But with the final days trickling away before the year-end deadline, the markets Thursday experienced their greatest volatility since the summer.
Infantryman Josh Odom was seven months into his first tour in Iraq when someone lobbed a grenade over the gate at the combat outpost he guarded. It exploded six feet from the Rockwall native, driving three chunks of shrapnel deep into his right shoulder. One pierced his lung. (Snip) Delays in the processing of disability claims are a familiar problem at the VA, one that federal officials have long vowed to solve. But in fiscal 2012, the average time to complete a VA disability compensation or pension claim
Even as news that Sen. Dianne Feinstein´s (D-CA) "Assault Weapon" ban is really a ban on some of the most popular civilian-owned handguns in the U.S., details of her promised legislation also show that it will require gun owners to register their guns with the government. Feinstein´s legislation does this by banning the import, possession, and transfer of hundreds of different weapons, but making special allowances for gun owners who already own the weapons on the ban list. On first read, the owner of an AR-15,
Washington - Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare. The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion. After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health
Whether they are hunters or the hunted, these cunning animals are all masters of disguise who can fool even the most beady-eyed passer by into believing they are not there. Some hide under lily pads, some dissolve into the bark of a tree while others slip seamlessly into the snow, either to hide from a hungry predator or silently stalk an unwitting prey. But the one thing from which they cannot hide is the all-seeing camera lens of photographer Art Wolfe. He has spent over 35 years roaming the deserts of Africa, the rainforests of South America, the mountains
Gun Control: A different set of gun laws applies to network anchors, but even stranger is a newspaper publishing a map showing not only who has a firearm but also telling predators who doesn´t. It should have been sufficient for the Gannett-owned Journal News, headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., reporting on increased calls for stricter gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn., to have noted that about 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in the Lower Hudson Valley — one of every 23 adults — was licensed to own a handgun.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your stunt is worth a thousand op-eds. In less than one minute of screen time, you demonstrated several things: First, even “banned” magazines are ridiculously easy to acquire. How long did it take your producers to find that magazine? Five minutes? Ten minutes? There are millions upon millions of these cheap and easy-to-manufacture items in circulation, and “banning” them will have exactly the effects you so brilliantly demonstrated on national television. Second, labyrinthine gun-control restrictions serve mainly to instantly (and often
If I were a semiautomatic pistol, I would be getting a complex. What Democrats really hate is semiautomatic rifles, although it isn’t clear exactly why. True, the Sandy Hook killings were carried out with such a weapon, but in the scheme of things, rifles of any sort are rarely used as murder weapons. In 2011, according to the FBI, there were 14,612 victims of homicide in the U.S., down 14.7% from 2007. Of those 14,612, only 323 were murdered with any type of rifle. More than five times as many were killed with knives. More were killed with blunt objects, and more than twice as many were killed
NEW YORK – New York City police say a man has been shoved in front of a subway train and has been killed. Investigators are searching for the woman believed to have pushed him Thursday night in Queens. It´s the second time a man was shoved to his death on subway tracks this month. Ki-Suck Han was pushed in front of a train in Times Square on Dec. 3. A photograph of him moments before the train hit him was published on the cover of the New York Post and caused an uproar. Thursday´s subway killing happened on a platform for the 7 train, which connects Manhattan and Queens.
The decision of a newspaper in New York’s Westchester County to publish an interactive map that allowed readers to discover the names and addresses of owners of legal guns is generally being debated as one about whether the Gannett-owned Journal News showed good judgment. It didn’t, but the problem goes a lot deeper than whether or not a newspaper ought to publicize information that is legally available to the public in this manner. The controversy goes to the heart of the entire discussion about guns in this country. No matter what those behind this stunt say
CHICAGO - The Chicago Teachers Union has sued the nation´s third largest school district, saying Mayor Rahm Emanuel´s campaign to reform or close underperforming public schools discriminates against African-American teachers and staff. The federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday and announced on Thursday is the latest battle with the city since teachers staged a week-long strike in September. It alleges that more than half of the tenured teachers fired in the most recent round of school closings and turnarounds were African American. But blacks make up less than 30 percent of the tenured teaching
A one-day gun buyback event in Los Angeles on Wednesday gathered 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons and a rocket launcher, officials said. The total was nearly 400 more weapons than were collected in a similar buyback earlier this year. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the collection at two locations was so successful that the city ran out of money for supermarket gift cards and got a private donation through the city controller to bolster the pot. The gun buyback was moved up from its usual Mother´s Day date in response to the horrific massacre Dec. 14 that claimed the lives of
If it sometimes seems to you that every single animal and reptile is endangered, you can thank that element of the environmental and animal rights movements that has spent millions to foster this absurd belief. Animals and reptiles, fish and birds, lizards and turtles, all are born in the wild and all are food for other species. Nature doesn’t pick favorites, but thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), humans do. I say “the wild”, but the wild is not some far off place, but rather, for example, it is the vast forested area along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Virginia and beyond. The “wild” has become our
It was five months before the November 6 presidential election when CFP columnist, Northeast Intelligence Network’s Doug Hagmann courageously tried to warn Americans of a deliberate government planned Civil War in an article titled, “The planned re-election of Obama, revolutionary style”. “According to my source, there is talk among the highest levels of the uppermost echelon of the Department of Homeland Security, which he describes as effectively under the control of Barack Hussein Obama. During this call, he said that the DHS is actively preparing for massive social unrest inside the
ABC’s Barbara Walters´ "interview" with the Obamas on Thursday´s Nightline ran much more like a celebrity infomercial. Walters was her usual self, asking questions void of substance and fawning over every detail of the First Family. With the fiscal cliff looming just weeks after the interview originally took place, Walters had no questions on any matter of political significance. She did find time to discuss the family´s dog Bo, pressing Mrs. Obama, "Does he follow you around all day?" and "What is Bo getting for Christmas?" For a reporter, Walters is pretty cozy with the White House,
Indianapolis - Should the IRS be giving billions of dollars in tax credits to illegal immigrants? Many lawmakers say "no" after seeing an Eyewitness News investigation exposing massive fraud involving undocumented workers and child tax credits. Now some illegal immigrants are speaking out to explain why the tax credits are so important, and why Congress should not eliminate them.Salvador Presteguin is a plumber who works long hours. "Seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day," he told Eyewitness News while installing new pipes under a kitchen sink. When Salvador gets home,
Washington - The State Department is closing its embassy in the Central African Republic and ordering its diplomatic team to leave as rebels there continue to advance and violence escalates. U.S. officials said the U.S. ambassador and about 40 others, including a number of Americans, were flown out of Bangui (bahn-GEE´) on a U.S. Air Force C-40 headed to Kenya. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss the evacuation publicly. Rebels have seized at least 10 towns across the sparsely populated north of the impoverished country, and residents in
New York City may drop a giant Waterford crystal ball on New Year’s Eve, but the folks around Brasstown, NC prefer their method – dropping a live possum. “It ain’t the new year until the possum drops” has been the saying around town for the past 19 years – but not anymore. (Snip) “We’re not gonna break no laws.” Logan said he just doesn’t understand all the fuss about using a life possum. For years, they put the critter in a decorated cage and lowered him down at the stroke of midnight. Afterwards, they released the possum into the woods. But PETA argued it was cruel.
Jackie Lee was stunned when he applied for a job at General Electric´s locomotive plant in far north Fort Worth, but was rejected. (Snip) Lee, who has 22 years of experience at American but recently accepted a buyout package to leave that job, applied for a position as a locomotive assembler at the plant, known as GE Manufacturing Solutions. It was no ordinary job interview, he said; at one point, he and other applicants were placed on teams and asked to build things with Legos. The Haslet resident thought he did well in the interview -- his group built an airplane with their toy building blocks -