COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Making steady progress Saturday against the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, crews kept a wary eye on weather that was getting warmer and drier as National Guard troops were deployed to help local police get things back to normal.
"The weather is making progress in a bad direction. Hotter, drier, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds will shift from one direction to another," said Incident Commander Rich Harvey.
The 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire was 45 percent contained by Saturday afternoon. It was one of many burning across the West, including eight in Utah and a fast-growing blaze in Montana that forced residents in several small communities to leave.
About 1,200 personnel and six helicopters were fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, and authorities said they were confident they'd built good fire lines in many areas to stop flames from spreading.
"Crews made progress all around the fire,'" said Harvey, who was cautiously optimistic. "The fire potential is still very, very high. It's extreme and explosive."
Two bodies were found in the ruins of one house, one of almost 350 destroyed in this city 60 miles south of Denver. The victims' names haven't been released. Police Chief Pete Carey said Saturday afternoon the approximately 10 people who had been unaccounted for had now been located.
Police did not expect to discover other victims in the rubble.
More than 150 National Guard soldiers and airmen helped Colorado Springs police staff roadblocks and patrol streets. Carey said Saturday the presence of military personnel will allow his department to resume normal police work in the rest of the city.
About 10,000 people remain evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the fire's peak.
The mood was light as evacuees filtered back into an unscathed neighborhood of winding streets and split-level homes within an easy walk of the burned area.
High school counselor Pat Allen and her husband, Vic Miller, were all smiles less than five minutes after returning to their tri-level home on a quiet cul-de-sac.
"I'm just wanting to kiss the house, dance with the neighbors", Allen said.
Their house didn't smell of smoke. Their electricity was out for two or three days but the popsicles in their freezer didn't melt, she said.
Around the corner, retiree Nina Apsey wandered in search of eight small, solar-powered lights that somebody had taken from her yard during the evacuation.
"I'm assuming it was vandalism," she said.
Prized possessions still piled into the Hyundai sport-utility vehicle in her garage included caribou antlers and antelope and deer head mounts. As flames bore down, she'd also taken a small ceramic cowboy statue. Her late husband taught her how to hunt. He resembled the cowboy, she said.
She wasn't too perturbed about her missing lights because nothing else was touched.
"If that's the worst that happened to me, I'm blessed," she said.
On Sunday people whose homes were burned will be allowed to tour the affected areas. Authorities said some residences would be cordoned off with police tape, and people would not be allowed beyond that point.
The home of Janine Herbertson and her 15-year-old daughter, Tessa Konik, remained unburned amid 150 others that were destroyed, said Herbertson as they ate lunch outside a Red Cross shelter.
Even so, "I'm afraid to go on the tour tomorrow and see our neighborhood in ruins," she said.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire that broke out on June 23, and which so far has cost $8.8 million to battle. Dangerous conditions had kept them from beginning their inquiry.
Among the fires elsewhere in the West:
• Utah: Residents were sifting through the ashes of more than 50 houses destroyed by a central Utah wildfire. Homeowners were allowed to return Saturday to Indianola along Utah's scenic Route 89. In all, eight wildfires are burning across Utah.
• Montana: Authorities in eastern Montana ordered the evacuation of several communities Saturday as the Ash Creek Complex fires, which has burned more than 70 homes this week, consumed another 72 square miles. The blaze grew to 244 square miles overnight.
• Wyoming: A wind-driven wildfire in a sparsely populated area of southeastern Wyoming exploded from eight square miles to nearly 58 square miles in a single day, and an unknown number of structures have burned. About 200 structures were considered threatened.
• Idaho: A fast-moving 1,000-acre wildfire in eastern Idaho that destroyed 66 homes and 29 outbuildings was expected to be contained Saturday. Some 1,000 residents were evacuated; it was unclear when they would be allowed back.
• Colorado: The last evacuees from the High Park Fire in northern Colorado have been allowed to return home as crews get closer to full containment. The 136-square-mile fire killed one resident and destroyed 259 houses, a state record until the fire near Colorado Springs destroyed 346 homes. In western Colorado, the 18-square-mile Pine Ridge Fire was 10 percent contained.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions across the mid-Atlantic region sweltered Saturday in the aftermath of violent storms that pummeled the eastern U.S. with high winds and downed trees, killing at least 13 people and leaving 3 million without power during a heat wave.
Power officials said the outages wouldn't be repaired for several days to a week, likening the damage to a serious hurricane. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia, where Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state had its largest non-hurricane outage in history, as more storms threatened. "This is a very dangerous situation," the governor said.
In West Virginia, 232 Amtrak passengers spent Friday night on a train that was blocked on both sides by trees that fell on the tracks, and they were waiting for buses to pick them up Saturday. And in Illinois, storm damage forced the transfer of dozens of maximum-security, mentally ill prisoners from one prison to another.
In some Virginia suburbs of Washington, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Huge trees fell across streets in Washington, leaving cars crunched up next to them, and onto the fairway at the AT&T National golf tournament in Maryland. Cell phone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water until sewage plants returned to power.
The outages were especially dangerous because they left the region without air conditioning in an oppressive heat. Temperatures soared to highs in the mid-90s in Baltimore and Washington, where it had hit 104 on Friday.
"I've called everybody except for the state police to try to get power going," said Karen Fryer, resident services director at two assisted living facilities in Washington. The facilities had generator power, but needed to go out for portable air conditioning units, and Fryer worried about a few of her 100 residents who needed backup power for portable oxygen.
On Saturday night, the train passengers stranded near rural Prince, W.Va., were waiting for buses to pick them up after they got stuck at 11 p.m. the previous evening, said Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm. Kulm said the train bound from New York to Chicago has power, so lights and air conditioning are working. He says that since it's a long-distance train, it was stocked with food and crew members were able to get to town to buy more.
Kulm says passengers should be on the buses sometime Saturday evening.
About 170 miles to the northeast in Morgantown, W.Va., Jeff and Alice Haney loaded their cart at Lowe's with cases of water, extra flashlights and batteries, and wiring for the generator they hoped would be enough to kick-start their air conditioner. Even if they had to live without cool air, the family had a backup plan.
"We have a pool," Jeff Haney said, "so we'll be OK."
The storm did damage from Indiana to New Jersey, although the bulk of it was in West Virginia, Washington and suburban Virginia and Maryland. At least six of the dead were killed in Virginia, including a 90-year-old woman asleep in bed when a tree slammed into her home. Two young cousins in New Jersey were killed when a tree fell on their tent while camping. Two were killed in Maryland, one in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in Washington.
Illinois corrections officials transferred 78 inmates from a prison in Dixon to the Pontiac Correctional Center after storms Friday night caused significant damage, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano said.
No one was injured, Solano said. Generators are providing power to the prison, which is locked down, confining remaining inmates to their cells.
Utility officials said it could take at least several days to restore power to all customers because of the sheer magnitude of the outages and the destruction. Winds and toppled trees brought down entire power lines, and debris has to be cleared from power stations and other structures. All of that takes time and can't be accomplished with the flip of a switch.
"This is very unfortunate timing," said Myra Oppel, a spokeswoman for Pepco, which reported over 400,000 outages in Washington and its suburbs. "We do understand the hardship that this brings, especially with the heat as intense at is. We will be working around the clock until we get the last customer on."
Especially at risk were children, the sick and the elderly. In Charleston, W.Va., firefighters helped several people using walkers and wheelchairs get to emergency shelters. One of them, David Gunnoe, uses a wheelchair and had to spend the night in the community room of his apartment complex because the power — and his elevator — went out. Rescuers went up five floors to retrieve his medication.
Gunnoe said he was grateful for the air conditioning, but hoped power would be restored so he could go home.
"It doesn't matter if it's under a rock some place. When you get used to a place, it's home," he said.
More than 20 elderly residents at an apartment home in Indianapolis were displaced when the facility lost power due to a downed tree. Most were bused to a Red Cross facility to spend the night, and others who depend on oxygen assistance were given other accommodations, the fire department said.
Others sought refuge in shopping malls, movie theaters and other places where the air conditioning would be turned to "high."
In Richmond, Va., Tracey Phalen relaxed with her teenage son under the shade of a coffee-house umbrella rather than suffer through the stifling heat of her house, which lost power.
"We'll probably go to a movie theater at the top of the day," she said.
Phalen said Hurricane Irene left her home dark for six days last summer, "and this is reminiscent of that," she said.
Others scheduled impromptu "staycations" or took shelter with friends and relatives.
Robert Clements, 28, said he showered by flashlight on Friday night after power went out at his home in Fairfax, Va. The apartment complex where he lives told his fiancee that power wouldn't be back on for at least two days, and she booked a hotel on Saturday.
Clements' fiancee, 27-year-old Ann Marie Tropiano, said she tried to go to the pool, but it was closed because there was no electricity so the pumps weren't working. She figured the electricity would eventually come back on, but she awoke to find her thermostat reading 81 degrees and slowly climbing. Closing the blinds and curtains didn't help.
"It feels like an oven," she said.
At the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md., trees cracked at their trunks crashed onto the 14th hole and onto ropes that had lined the fairways. The third round of play was suspended for several hours Saturday and was closed to volunteers and spectators. Mark Russell, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition, couldn't remember another time that a tour event was closed to fans.
"It's too dangerous out here," Russell said. "There's a lot of huge limbs. There's a lot of debris. It's like a tornado came through here. It's just not safe."
The outages disrupted service for many subscribers to Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest when the storm cut power to some of Amazon Inc.'s operations. The video and photo sharing services took to Twitter and Facebook to update subscribers on the outages. Netflix and Pinterest had restored service by Saturday afternoon.
The storm that whipped through the region Friday night was called a derecho (duh-RAY'-choh) , a straight line wind storm that sweeps over a large area at high speed. It can produce tornado-like damage. The storm, which can pack wind gusts of up to 90 mph, began in the Midwest, passed over the Appalachian Mountains and then drew new strength from a high pressure system as it hit the southeastern U.S., said Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
"It's one of those storms," Jackson said. "It just plows through."
BARBARA W. TUCHMAN used to hike up to a tiny wooden cabin, no larger than 100 square feet, on her Cos Cob estate, to sift through notecards of research and type the history books that would make her famous. She could look across the valley from there and watch the deer gathering on the opposite hill at dusk.
Ms. Tuchman twice won the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the best known historians of the 20th century. Her greatest legacy will always be those books, which have sat on the nightstands of presidents. But this land in Cos Cob, she felt, was another kind of legacy. Near the end of her life, she feared that her three daughters would sell it and she wrote them impassioned letters imploring them to keep it in the family.
It was not to be.
A few years after Ms. Tuchman's husband died, two of her daughters sued the third, attempting to divide the land and sell their portions. The dispute has lasted four years.
Earlier this month, a judge divided the 43.4 acres that remain of the estate. Cos Cob is part of Greenwich and the town plans to buy about two-thirds of the property, while Alma, 56, Ms. Tuchman's youngest daughter, will continue to own and live on the 12.52 acres left. She will likely appeal the ruling.
Barbara Tuchman's father, Maurice Wertheim, a wealthy banker, bought the approximately 120-acre estate in 1912, the same year she was born. She was raised in New York, but spent weekends and summers in Cos Cob riding horses, swimming in the pond and enjoying the natural beauty of the land. Greenwich residents sometimes got to enjoy the property, too. John B. Margenot Jr., a longtime Greenwich resident and former first selectman, said he remembers skating at the Tuchmans' pond with other children.
''They were good about things like that,'' he said.
Ms. Tuchman graduated from Radcliffe College in 1933 and married Dr. Lester Reginald Tuchman, a New York internist, in 1939. Around the end of World War II, the couple moved into a building that held a chicken coop and potting house on the Cos Cob property. The Tuchmans still lived in New York, but went to the house on weekends and during the summer. Their three children rode horses in a ring next to the house and rowed a canoe to an island in the middle of the seven-acre pond for picnics.
Meanwhile, Barbara Tuchman became famous. Her book ''Guns of August,'' about the beginning of World War I, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962. She ''treated herself'' to the writer's cabin with its stone fireplace using the proceeds from one of her books, said Alma Tuchman. When she was deep into a book, she would climb the hill to the cabin at 7 a.m. and stay there for the next 12 hours, save for a trip back to the house for a sandwich, which she would carry back on a tray, Alma Tuchman recalled.
The telegram informing Ms. Tuchman that she had won her first Pulitzer Prize still hangs in her study in the house, next to a picture of former President Jimmy Carter with a note attached assuring Ms. Tuchman that the president was reading her book.
Though the world was lining up at the door, the family became less apt to open the property to members of the community as time went on: ''It wasn't any longer a small-town community,'' Alma Tuchman said.
Late in life, Lester and Barbara Tuchman moved to Cos Cob for good and Ms. Tuchman continued working on her books. She still had a book on the best-seller list when she died in 1989.
While she was still alive, Ms. Tuchman had deeded the property to her daughters to share evenly.
Alma Tuchman retired from her job as a journalist and moved to the property in the late 1980's, but her sisters lived in other parts of the country. Lucy Eisenberg, a retired lawyer, lives in Los Angeles. Another sister, Jessica Mathews, is the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Ms. Eisenberg said she did not want to comment about the property. Ms. Mathews did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Barbara Tuchman insisted nothing be done with the property for 10 years after her death, Alma Tuchman said. She wanted the land to remain in the family's hands because it had given her ''a basic happiness and comfort ever since our establishment here as a family,'' Barbara wrote in a ''letter to my family'' in 1988. In the letter, she specifically warned against selling it to the town to use ''as a park or so-called 'open space.'''
But after the 10 years passed, the dispute began, pitting the sisters against each other. Alma Tuchman wanted to remain living on the land and preserve the entire parcel for the family, but her sisters wanted to claim their own portions, eventually deciding to sell them to the town.
With the sisters unable to resolve differences, Ms. Eisenberg and Ms. Mathews sued Alma Tuchman in October 2000. The case dragged on: The file has five parts and is about six inches thick, its own epic history.
Ms. Eisenberg and her husband, David, have created a trust to control their piece of property. In June 2001, the town of Greenwich entered into an agreement with Ms. Mathews and the Eisenbergs to purchase their share of the property for $8.67 million. In May 2002, the town intervened in the lawsuit to protect its interest.
The decision came back Aug. 4. The judge, David R. Tobin, split the land into two pieces, giving about two-thirds to Ms. Eisenberg and her sister and one-third to Alma Tuchman. Her 12.52-acre portion, which will be maintained as a private estate, is worth $9,525,000, according to Judge Tobin's ruling.
The land given to the two other sisters is 30.74 acres and is worth $18,050,000, the judge said. All of this is subject to appeal. The Eisenbergs and Ms. Mathews have agreed to make a charitable donation to the town to make up the difference between the value of the land and the price they have already negotiated.
Alma Tuchman said she no longer speaks to her two sisters. Barbara Tuchman, she said, would be ''appalled and sickened'' by what happened.
The town has not yet decided what it will do with the land, though it has expressed interest in allowing it to remain undeveloped as open space. The town has already purchased the adjacent Pomerance property, part of Mr. Wertheim's original estate and deeded to another one of his daughters. The town allows the public to use it. The parcel owned by Ms. Mathews and the Eisenberg trust could be added to the Pomerance parcel to create one larger piece of open space.
Jim Lash, the first selectman of Greenwich, said the town planned to review the ruling once it is final and decide what to do. He said he foresees three options for the land: open space, playing fields, or low-income housing.
''There are a number of possibilities there,'' he said last week.
Alma Tuchman, a conservationist who talks about the threatened species on the property and the various kinds of weeds clinging to the trees, is concerned that even if the town decided to keep the land as open space, it won't spend money on maintenance. The Pomerance property has already been overtaken in spots by weeds, and last week garbage and a discarded beer can floated in the pond.
''Over all it's very admirable in concept for the town to spend so much money acquiring open space, but I think it's also irresponsible to acquire land that you cannot take care of, and I think it's clear that the town can't take care of what it already has acquired,'' she said. ''Open space becomes nobody's land and nobody's responsibility.''
Wyndygoul's "manor" house, located at the top of a one-quarter mile uphill drive, was designed by Seton in a style that reflected his unique personal architectural ideals, later carried out in three other houses as well. It combined the styles of American western stucco and stone with British Tudor and was a three-story construction, with low, beamed ceilings, thick walls and wood cornices, a large bay window, and generally simple, somewhat boxy lines.
Circa 1908. "Wyndygoul, home of E.T. Seton." The writer-naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, at his Cos Cob, Connecticut, estate.
Greenwich Time- A man who murdered a former friend's father because he believed the father and son were conspiring against him is back in prison after recently spending 10 days in a halfway house in Bridgeport.
In one of the most shocking killings in town history, former backcountry resident Andrew D. Wilson, now 51, gunned down John Peters on Aug. 5, 1993, while Peters was swimming laps in the pool behind his Ridgeview Avenue home. The 62-year-old Peters was the president of one of the world's largest advertising firms.
Wilson's release to a halfway house in Bridgeport on June 12 alarmed Peters' relatives, who said they were not aware of Wilson's release until after it occurred.
"We were shocked, we were shocked and concerned," a family spokesman said. "We were really relieved that they put him back in prison."
The family member spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for the family's safety.
It is unclear what events led Wilson, who is scheduled to be released from prison in 2014, to be sent to a halfway house, a facility intended to allow convicts to begin the process of reintegrating into society.
In an emailed family statement, relatives expressed their fear of what Wilson, who pleaded guilty to the crime in 1999, might do.
"We are very concerned that Wilson may continue to pose a threat to us and possibly others," the email read. "Before and during the trial, we heard Wilson openly state his intent to kill other members of our family. Wilson was diagnosed as suffering from delusional paranoid schizophrenia, an illness that doesn't just simply go away. We want to know who is going to make the judgment that he is no longer a threat to us or others."
The spokesman said the family was told by experts before the murder that Wilson would not act on his beliefs. They want to ensure another mistake isn't made, the statement said.
Andrius Banevicius, a state Department of Correction spokesman, said Wilson was released to the halfway house on June 12, but was returned to the Bridgeport Correctional Center on June 22. Four days later, he was returned to the Enfield Correctional Institution, where he is serving a 30-year sentence.
"He was returned without prejudice, so he didn't do anything wrong," Banevicius said. "Apparently there had been additional paperwork that had not been properly routed that needed to be reviewed."
Banevicius said he could not identify the paperwork in question.
Attempts to reach the Wilson family were unsuccessful.
After fatal shooting John Peters in 1993, Wilson immediately drove to Greenwich police headquarters and confessed to the killing, of which police were not yet aware.
Wilson, a former friend of Peters' son, Dirk, who served as an usher at the son's wedding, claimed Dirk had brainwashed him and blamed the family for his problems.
His mental condition so alarmed his sister, Julia, that she faxed a 14-page letter to the police departments in Madison, where Wilson was living at the time, and Greenwich on July 19, 1993.
In the letter, Julia Wilson wrote that her brother was dangerous to himself and others and that he had made specific, violent threats against Dirk and John Peters.
In 1995, two years after the killing, Wilson was convicted of murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. A jury rejected his defense of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Two years later, the state's Supreme Court reversed Wilson's conviction and ordered a retrial because a judge improperly instructed jurors on the definition of insanity.
In October 1999, shortly before he was to go to trial a second time, Wilson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Even though he has a 30-year sentence, Wilson will be released no later than March 2014.
Banevicius said under guidelines in place in 1993, prisoners were credited for good behavior.
Wilson could possibly be released even earlier, he said.
On March 16, 2004, the Town of Greenwich agreed to pay $4.5 million to Peters' widow Katrina Peters to settle her claim against the town for negligence in her husband's death.
The agreement came just hours before jurors were to begin deliberating in her lawsuit, which had gone to trial the month before.
NBC- Twenty-six years after a mysterious murder of an unnamed child, Fairfield police may be closed to finding the killer
A baby bundled in bloody white blankets, just hours old, was found by the banks of Lake Mohegan in Fairfield March 14, 1986. The boy was strangled and abandoned, and left for passerby to find. Surrounding Baby Doe were signs of a sinister motive.
Fruit and coins littered the crime scene. Police believed those clues pointed to the Occult. Specifically, a little-known religion called Palo Mayombe, known to ritually use human remains. Researchers involved with the case say Palo Mayombe is a dark offshoot of the Santeria religion. Santeria is a mix of Afro-Caribbean and Catholic faiths.
“The weather was just like this. Cold, rainy,” said Fairfield Police Det. Kerry Dalling. .
The questions remain unanswered: Who killed Baby Doe? And how come no one has ever claimed him?
“It was a baby. It was an innocent child and what was done to him was horrific,” said Dalling.
The killers inflicted terrible wounds on the infant, including facial mutilation and breaking the baby's jaw. Police believe they wanted the child to be found. "Were they trying to send a message? Yes,” said forensic expert Richard Walter. Walter is a founding member of the Vidocq Society, a group of cold case experts sought after by law enforcement around the country to help crack unsolved cases. DNA evidence uncovered in the last two years has breathed new life into the case.
"The murder is not over when the body dies. The murder is over when the perp stops deriving satisfaction from the killing, Walter said. "As a consequence the people unwittingly continue to give evidence, and that's a huge advantage to the investigation if they know how to read them. That’s one of my skills,” he said.
New forensic evidence has narrowed the pool of suspects. Detectives have a DNA profile of the baby. With help from the Vidocq Society, old information has led to fresh leads. While they are careful of what they reveal, investigators are confident they have the killers in their sights.
"We're coming. And we have every intention of solving this case,” said Dalling.
They have a message for the murderers.
"Somebody is going to be knocking on your door,” warned Walter.
Police believe someone in the community knows something about the murder.
“Somebody's got to be the voice for that child,” she said.
(The former bank processing center that once stood where Sym's is now. Police think that a baby found dead at Lake Mohegan in 1986 may have been born in a bathroom stall there.)
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Fairfield Police at 203-254-4840.
“Everybody was down at the pool… and I was gathering all the stuff. We were doing some work on the house and we were living in the guesthouse and I was downstairs sitting at a desk and I heard what sounded like a grand piano fall… in the room above my head,” the Daily Express quoted Streep as saying.
“My first thought was that it was one of the kids… I screamed upstairs and halfway up the stairs the hairs stood up… and I realised no one was home. I searched (the rooms)… and there was nothing out of place, there was nothing in the attic, there was nothing on the roof,” she said.
She had a similar experience again after a few years, when her sculptor husband invited some clients from Japan to stay in the guesthouse.
“They had taken the 22-hour flight and had dinner and fallen asleep… They were so tired… We put them all in the house and the next morning (husband) Don went up to collect them… and there they all were in the living room, dressed, wide awake… They said, ‘Spirit, spirit!” she said.
CT Post- The demolition of the historic General Electric plant on Boston Avenue is nearly complete.
Built by Remington Arms in 1915 to supply munitions to czarist Russian troops, the landmark row of 13 interconnected, five-story buildings was sold to General Electric in 1920 and was officially shut down in 2007. Almost all of the bricks and broken concrete from the structure are being used to fill tunnels and flatten the property for future development, which could include a new Harding High School.
The final section of the GE property during demolition in Bridgeport, Conn. June 25th, 2012. The huge facility was built by the Remington Arms Company between 1915 and 1916, for the production of munitions during World War I
The night before last an employee of Uncle Buck's Laundromat on Stillwater Avenue in Stamford was murdered. My fiancee Joey lived on Stillwater last year. I was over his house all the time, and we did laundry together all the time at Uncle Buck's. I encountered the man that they had killed on a few occasions. He was very lively and passionate, and I could tell he revolved his whole life around his job. It is so incredibly disgusting to me that someone could murder him, without even knowing him at all, just for whatever few bucks they thought they could profit. It's a disgrace. Evil. Disgusting. Just don't know what else to say. It boggles the brain.
I wish that the video cameras were working that night, that they could really tell what had happened. But it seems they weren't, and I hope that the real truth can come out somehow.
PEOPLE: SPEAK OUT!!!
Police: Cameras in Stamford laundromat were not operational during overnight homicide
STAMFORD -- Surveillance cameras at a Stillwater Avenue laundromat where a 50-year-old Stamford man was beaten to death during an apparent robbery were not operational, said police.
Stamford Police Lt. Diedrich Hohn said police have been investigating the death of James "Jimmy" Decrescenzo, of 26 Main St., who police believed died of blunt force trauma. Hohn said that even though the laundromat's cameras were not working, the investigation was not held up.
"We have now found out that the video cameras at Uncle Buck's laundromat were not working, which is unfortunate," said Hohn. "But police are now looking at hours of footage from surveillance cameras of businesses around the area to see if they can see the comings and goings around the area from the hours of 11 p.m. to 1:20 a.m."
The victim's body was discovered at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday inside Uncle Buck's Laundromat, 118 Stillwater Ave. Hohn said the attack occurred sometime between 11 p.m. and the time that the body was discovered,. Hohn said the laundromat closes at 11 p.m. The instrument used in the assault is unknown.
Hohn said the official cause of death will be determined after an autopsy, which was expected to be completed Wednesday. Messages left with the state Medical Examiner's Office on Wednesday were not returned.
"I don't expect anything crazy to come out of the autopsy," said Hohn. "This was a cold-blooded homicide and police are doing everything they can to find the person responsible."
Police do not yet have a suspect or suspects in the homicide. Initial investigation shows evidence of a robbery of the victim and at the business, according to police.
A friend of Decrescenzo's, who preferred to go by just her first name, Joy, said the entire community was shocked by his death.
Decrescenzo had a side business washing other people's laundry at the laundromat, and knew almost everyone in the neighborhood, she said.
"Jimmy was such a kind--hearted person," Joy said Wednesday. "He was so helpful. If you had to do something, he would do your laundry for you. Jimmy was just that kind of guy. He was very well loved in the community."
An employee at Uncle Buck's Laundromat -- which reopened Wednesday after being closed all day Tuesday -- said she is going to miss Decrescenzo very much.
"I saw him every day," said the woman, who preferred to stay anonymous. "He was a good man."
A neighborhood man who was friends with Decrescenzo said he doesn't know anyone who didn't like "Jimmy."
"I can't say one bad thing about Jimmy," said the man, who also preferred to stay anonymous. "He was such a great person. I don't know why this happened."
Hohn echoed the community members' statements, saying it is apparent Decrescenzo was very well liked in the community, and police are now looking for any information from his neighbors or friends that can help the investigation.
"Police have been out canvassing the area, trying to see if anyone has any information on this homicide," said Hohn. "Hopefully someone will come forward with some information, but until then, we will continue to investigate with the information we have."
Decrescenzo's death was the city's third homicide of the year.
Police are asking anyone with information on the homicide to call (203) 977-441
NYPost- A Bronx school bus driver died yesterday from the beating he suffered after he accidentally knocked a side-view mirror from a double-parked car, a spokeswoman for his bus company said.
Juan Delvalle, 65, never regained consciousness after Joey Scott, 30, allegedly punched him twice in the face June 11, said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the Atlantic Express bus company.
He died peacefully at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. “The family had been struggling all week with whether or not to take him off life support,” Daly said..
“The swelling and bleeding in the brain were extensive,” Daly said. “He was hooked up to a ventilator and that was the only reason he could breathe. He never regained consciousness. It was a very, very severe injury.”
Delvalle had asked to not be hooked up to artificial life support.
Once his family gathered last night — some from as far as Colorado and Puerto Rico — doctors turned off the life support machines, and he died at 6:19 p.m.
Delvalle, who'd driven for Atlantic Express for eight years, was driving two middle-school students in his yellow bus on Anthony Avenue near Echo Place when he clipped Scott's illegally-parked Chrysler Sebring.
The passing school bus ripped off the Chrysler's mirror.
In an extreme display of road-rage, Scott lost it and punched the grandfather twice, police said.
Delvalle fell backward and his head struck the pavement. He was rushed to the hospital and never woke up again.
Delvalle's family and friends hope the Bronx DA's charges will charge Scott with homicide, Daly said.
“You don’t lose it over a mirror and you certainly don’t punch a 65-year-old man wearing a uniform who’s got children in his care,” Daly siad.
Scott, who has a long rap sheet, fled the scene. Cops found him at his Tremont apartment, and needed two hours to negotiate his arrest.
Scott remains in custody, unable to post $250,000 cash bond. He has a court date Monday.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Two people have been found dead in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide at the Beverly Hilton, just hours before the Daytime Emmy Awards are being held at the posh hotel, police said Saturday.
Police responding to a report of a shooting late Friday found a man and a woman dead from gunshot wounds in a hotel room, Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said.
Police would give no other details on the two people, their relationship, or the circumstances of the shooting. Police would not comment on whether the deaths were connected to the Emmy awards.
Coroner's officials had yet to begin their investigation, but said they were a man in his late 60s and a woman in her mid-50s.
The luxury hotel was also the site of Whitney Houston's death in February. The singer drowned in the bathtub of her fourth-floor room, just a few hours before she was to attend record executive Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party in the ballroom downstairs.
An HLN spokeswoman, Alison Rudnick, said the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will go on as scheduled. The cable news channel will be broadcasting live the ceremony, which honors the best in soap operas and talk shows.
The hotel also hosts several other annual galas, including the Golden Globe Awards.
Before the Friday shootings, Beverly Hills had just six homicides since 2008. Such rare cases usually draw national attention, as in the death of a Hollywood publicist who was shot while she was driving after a movie premiere in November 2010. Police say Ronni Chasen was killed in an apparent bungled robbery by a career criminal who later killed himself when approached by police.
Advocate- Greenwich resident and (sleezy) lawyer Mickey Sherman and singer and Westport resident Michael Bolton were seen having drinks at The J House on East Putnam Avenue in Greenwich on the night of June 16.
The new boutique hotel, formerly a Howard Johnson, boasts lounges and a wood-burning hearth as well as an outdoor bar, and indoor and outdoor dining at the hotel's restaurant eleven14 Kitchen, led by Chef Francios Kwaku-Dongo, formerly of L'escale at the Delamar in Greenwich.
---------------------------- Michael Bolton is cool but f*ck Micky Sherman! I thought that barnicle was in jail!
ABC- Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of nearly all of the allegations of child sex abuse leveled against him.
After 20 hours of sequestered deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men read 45 "guilty" verdicts late Friday as Sandusky stood and looked at the jury with his left hand in a pocket of his brown sport coat. There were three not-guilty verdicts.
One of the victims -- identified as Victim 6 during the proceedings -- was surrounded by his family and they cried as the verdict was read.
After court was adjourned, the former Penn State defensive coordinator was led in handcuffs to a waiting police car to be taken to the local county jail.
"The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement.
Sandusky likely will be sentenced to life in prison. He faces a maximum sentence of 442 years and will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.
Sandusky's wife, Dottie, looked forward stoically as the counts were read off and her husband repeatedly was found guilty. At one point, dozens of counts in, she started shaking her head.
Sandusky's daughter, Kara, broke down as her dad was handcuffed, and held her hand over her heart as her father walked out of court.
The jury found Sandusky not guilty of three sex abuse crimes, including the alleged rape of Victim 2, the boy assistant coach Mike McQueary said he saw being raped by Sandusky in a Penn State locker room shower in 2001. He was also acquitted of indecent assault on Victim 5, who testified in court, and Victim 8, who was the subject of an eyewitness account from a Penn State janitor.
Sandusky and his lawyers, along with prosecutors, had been summoned to court to hear the verdict. Assembled spectators shouted jeers such as "pervert" as Sandusky and his wife walked into the courthouse lit up by flashbulb bursts.
The crowd of hundreds outside the courthouse let out a cheer as word emerged that Sandusky was guilty.
After the verdict, Attorney General Linda Kelly said the jury believed that Sandusky "calculatingly and with meticulous planning mercilessly preyed" upon his victims.
"The jury here in Bellefonte, Pa., would and did believe a kid," she said, referring to testimony by Sandusky's victims. "I hope this outcome allows the victims to heal and encourages other victims to come forward."
Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said the defense plans to appeal the guilty verdicts, arguing it was not prepared to go to trial as soon as the judge ordered.
"The Sandusky family is very disappointed, obviously, by the verdict of the jury but we respect their verdict," he said. "We had a tidal wave of public opinion against Jerry Sandusky."
He added that Sandusky fully planned to testify in his own defense, but the plan to have him do so was scuttled when the prosecution threatened to have Matt Sandusky, his adopted son, testify as a rebuttal witness that he was molested by his father.
After the verdict, the family of the late Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State head coach who was Sandusky's boss, released a statement.
"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone," it read. "The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."
The two-week trial was remarkable for the graphic tales of abuse that ranged from Sandusky playing tickle monster in the shower to aggressive sex including oral and anal sex on boys as young as 8. At one point, jurors were brought to tears by the testimony of the alleged victims who are now grown men.
The defense scored some points back during week two of the trial by putting Sandusky's wife on the stand and hearing her testify that she never saw anything inappropriate between her husband and children and knew some of the accusers to have behavioral issues. They also poked holes in the stories of two lead investigators on the case by showing that the men told potential victims that others had already come forward claiming Sandusky raped them.
During 30 hours of testimony over two weeks, the jury heard from eight accusers, one eyewitness, a string of character witnesses testifying to Sandusky's character, and members of the police who investigated the case.
Two people the jury did not hear from include Sandusky himself, who waived his right to testify, and Sandusky's adopted son Matt. Matt Sandusky was one of his father's most ardent supporters following Sandusky's November arrest, but contacted prosecutors at the end of last week saying he was, in fact, a victim of his father's abuse and would be willing to testify, sources told ABC News. The prosecution did not put him on the stand, and the revelations about Matt Sandusky's willingness to testify are not known by the jury and will not factor into deliberations.
NORWALK -- The case of a 16-year-old New Canaan girl charged with negligent homicide in the death of a Norwalk jogger this spring was continued Friday morning when a power outage closed the courthouse for the day.
Brianna McEwan, a three-sport athlete at New Canaan High School, is being charged as an adult in the case.
Police say McEwan was looking at the New Canaan High website on her cell phone when she hit jogger Kenneth Dorsey while driving on New Canaan Avenue on March 24.
McEwan, a member of the school's soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams, turned herself over to Norwalk police May 12 after learning there was a warrant for her arrest.
It wasn't immediately clear Friday when her next court date would be.
I love how the only argument I ever hear from coming the defense is that all these people are just looking for money. What a joke.
Yahoo- Just hours after the sex abuse
trial of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky wrapped up on
Thursday, his adopted son revealed that he had been "a victim of Jerry
Sandusky's abuse" and had offered to testify against his father.
It is unclear whether prosecutors were prepared to put Matt Sandusky on the stand. But NBC News
reports that Jerry Sandusky's defense team decided against having the
former coach testify on his own behalf after they learned that
prosecutors planned to call a new witness -- believed to be Matt
Earlier Thursday, the jury of
seven women and five men began their deliberations on the 48 charges
levied against Sundusky. They are sequestered and there have been no
indication when they might deliver a verdict.
Those jurors heard both
Jerry Sandusky's defense attorney and the lead prosecutor in the case
deliver pointed closing arguments. Defense attorney Joe Amendola painted
the former coach as a man victimized by overagressive cops, social
works and even the media. In response, Deputy Attorney General Joseph E.
McGettigan III dismissed the concept that Jerry Sandusky was targeted
by anyone - an idea that would have required dozens of people to
conspire of more than a decade.
"It's not about conspiracies,
it's not about time-travel conspiracies, it's not about people making
financial fortunes," McGettigan said. "… It collapses under itself."
The explosive disclosure that
Matt Sandusky had offered to testify came following the release of a
statement from lawyers Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, who
represent two alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky.
"During the trial, Matt Sandusky
contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a
meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case
that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky's abuse," the statement reads.
"At Matt's request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and
the prosecutors and investigators."
The statement continued: "This
has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us
to convey his request that the media respect his privacy."
Matt Sandusky moved into the Sandusky home when he was 11, having been
involved in Second Mile, the charity for troubled children founded by
Jerry Sandusky in 1977. Prosecutors have said Jerry Sandusky used Second
Mile to find his abuse victims. Earlier in the trial, it was disclosed
that Matt Sandusky's former wife, Jill Jones, sought a restraining order in
2011 to prevent her former father-in-law from hosting sleep-overs with
the couple's three young children.
The Associated Press also reported
that Matt Sandusky attempted to commit suicide in 1995, several months
after he moved into the Sandusky home. Matt Sandusky's biological
mother, Debra Long, has claimed that Jerry Sandusky effectively 'stole'
her son, and told a grand jury considering the charges against the
former coach that Matt was upset about staying with his adoptive father.
NBC- In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer that aired Thursday, Madonna Badger spoke out for the first time about the night she lost her family in a Connecticut house fire on Christmas.
The blaze, which officials believe started from embers that her boyfriend, Michael Borcina, had placed in a paper bag, engulfed her $1.7 million Victorian home in Stamford, Conn., claiming the lives of 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah and 9-year-old Lily, as well as Badger’s parents.
When Badger awoke in bed the night of the fire, choking from the smoke, she did not hear an alarm.
“It was silent,’’ she said. “It was the scariest silence.’’
She climbed out the window. She recalled in harrowing detail her efforts to get back into the house. On her knees on the front porch looking through the windows, she realized she had a decision to make: "The windows were my mom and dad's windows. So I had to decide, 'Do I go in and save them? Or do I go save my children?' And so I ran the other way to save my children."
But scaffolding that had been set up for renovations prevented her from entering.
"I scrambled up the scaffolding to get to Grace's window. And I opened that window and the smoke that hit me, it was just the blackest, like an ocean. There was twirling and there was embers and all kinds of stuff in it. And I kept trying to hold my breath and put my head in...And I couldn't get in."
She saw her boyfriend Borcina fall out the back bedroom window as fire trucks arrived. His eyes, she said, had been burned shut. Still, he shouted to the girls through the windows to jump to him.
Badger never got a glimpse of her girls.
"It was the blackest smoke I've ever seen," she told Lauer. "If I could have seen them, I would have gone in. I mean, it's impossible to describe how it is that you can't go in and save your own children. But I couldn't get through that smoke. I couldn't."
Ten days after the fire, Badger spoke at her daughters' funeral.
Lauer asked what many wondered: How did she find the strength to eulogize her children, so soon after their deaths?
"I don't know," she replied. "I don't know. I think it was all God's grace. I have no idea."
NEW YORK — A convicted California serial killer pleaded not guilty Thursday to murdering two women in New York City in the 1970s, charges lodged just last year after suspicion swirled around him for decades.
Rodney Alcala, a former dating-show contestant who has spent the last 33 years tangling with authorities in a series of trials and overturned convictions, was arraigned Thursday in the deaths of Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover.
Hands and feet shackled, Alcala looked thin and drawn as he said only “not guilty” in a steady voice. He wore an orange jail jumpsuit and long gray hair in ponytail.
He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court Oct. 30.
A former photographer with an IQ said to top 160, Alcala was convicted in 2010 of killing four women and a 12-year-old girl in Southern California in the 1970s. He represented himself, offering a defense that involved showing a clip of his 1978 appearance on “The Dating Game” and playing Arlo Guthrie’s classic 1967 song “Alice’s Restaurant.”
While appealing his death sentence in California, Alcala was indicted last year in New York, partly on evidence that emerged during his California trial, prosecutors said. He was brought to New York on Wednesday on a U.S. Marshals Service plane unsuccessfully fighting his extradition to New York.
Crilley was found strangled with a stocking in her Manhattan apartment in 1971. Hover, a comedy writer and former Hollywood nightclub owner’s daughter who had a degree in biology and was seeking a job as a researcher, was living in Manhattan when she vanished in 1977. Her remains were found the next year in the woods on a suburban estate. Both women were 23.
Alcala had been eyed in Hover’s death for decades and in Crilley’s killing for at least several years. New York Police Department detectives investigating her killing went to California in 2003 with a warrant to interview Alcala and get a dental impression from him.
A forensic dentist later found that a bite mark on Crilley’s body was consistent with Alcala’s impression, a law enforcement official has said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Manhattan district attorney’s cold-case unit also conducted new interviews with more than 100 witnesses.
“After more than three decades, the defendant will finally face the justice system in New York for the murder of two victims,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. “Today’s arraignment brings us a step closer to obtaining justice for Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover.”
Alcala has been behind bars since his 1979 arrest in one of the California killings. Before that arrest, he also served a prison sentence on convictions of furnishing marijuana to a minor and kidnapping and trying to kill an 8-year-old girl.
After his 2010 conviction, California authorities released more than 100 photos, found in his storage locker, of young women and girls. They said they were exploring whether Alcala could be tied to cases in New York and other states.
I made it both on News 12 last evening, and I was featured in the Greenwich Time's article as well!!
My mother made a bootleg video of the News 12 segment!
My mom's volume somehow was screwy on her phone so you have to crank the volume up.
I was very excited about the Greenwich Time article, which quoted my blog numerous times and even included my mother calling the perp a "hideous beast"! Our whole family was delighted that the article was able to be front page news and I just feel so grateful.
A big thank you to David Hennessey of the Greenwich Time, who wrote such an excellent article and thought nicely to mention the blog! =]
Greenwich Time- An enduring symbol of a town resident who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a Pomerance Park memorial bench now sits wrapped in yellow caution tape and missing some of its wooden slats, an apparent victim of vandalism.
The bench, which faces a small pond in the Cos Cob park off Orchard Street, features a plaque that reads, "In loving memory. Joe Lenihan. 9-11-01. He loved coming here with his family. Some people come into our lives, touch our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." Lenihan worked as an executive vice president for a financial services company on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower when terrorists attacked the buildings.
Lt. Kraig Gray, Greenwich Police spokesman, said Monday that the police department is aware of the damage and is considering it a vandalism. Part of the bench's backing was removed sometime over the last few weeks.
Police officers searched the area, but were unable to find the missing piece of bench, Gray said.
Lenihan's wife Ingrid Lenihan, whose family donated the bench to the town, said Monday the family did not know of the incident until they were alerted by Greenwich Time.
The town's Parks and Recreation Department is aware of the damage, she said.
"They already have a work order in to fix it, and it's going to be repaired," she said.
When the bench was being installed, town officials said public property can sometimes be subjected to vandalism, such as youths carving out their initials, she said.
"They kind of warned me," she said. "They said don't be alarmed if something like this happens. I kind of have to look at it that way, or it'll break my heart."
Calls left with the Parks and Recreation department were not returned Monday.
Cos Cob resident and blogger Krystle O'Connor said her mother and sister were walking in the park Thursday when they discovered that a chunk of the bench's backrest was gone, and yellow caution tape had been draped over it.
"We go there almost every day, so I'm sure it wasn't like that for long," O'Connor said, adding that she doesn't know who put the caution tape up.
"It was very precise looking," she said of the damage. "It was strange.
In the months prior to the incident, there had been a chip in the bench in the area that was damaged, she said.
"We were upset just with that," she said.
In her blog, O'Connor said her mother labeled the perpetrator a "hideous beast."
"It is so disgusting that someone would do such a thing," O'Connor wrote. "What a sick person."
O'Connor called on the person or persons who committed the act to come forward.
"It takes just one person to let the proper people know who's responsible for such a disgusting act, and it would clear his or her conscience," she wrote.