<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:50:49 -0600 Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:50:49 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Arrest in School Scissors Stabbing]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:28:03 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/1-23-15-David+Wark+Griffith+Middle+School+scissors+stabbing.JPG

Authorities arrested a 13-year-old boy on Saturday morning in connection with the stabbing death of a boy outside an East Los Angeles middle school, officials said.

LA County Sheriff's deputies arrested the boy at his East LA home between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m., a watch commander with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

It came hours after a 14-year-old boy was stabbed with scissors outside David Wark Griffith Middle School. The boy, whose identity hasn't been released, was attacked at 3:08 p.m. Friday and died at a local hospital, officials said.

He was a student at a nearby high school, according to Los Angeles Unified School District officials; it was unclear if his attacker was a student at either school.

Information about the boy in custody was not immediately available.

Christina Cocca contributed to this report. Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[5 Myths About the Flu Debunked]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:58:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/denver-FLU-460977406.jpg

Flu is widespread across the United States, in a season made even more severe by a disappointing vaccine that's not very effective at battling the predominant strain that's now making people sick.

This year's vaccine is only 23 percent effective because the H3N2 strain of influenza A, a different strain from the one the vaccine protects against, began circulating just after the vaccine was created. When H3N2 is the dominant strain, it can cause more serious illness than other types of flu.

With several weeks of flu season left, here are some myths about the flu, and what you should know about them.

This year’s vaccine isn’t effective, so there’s no point in my getting it now.

Not so, medical professionals say. Even a less effective vaccine can still prevent hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among older people and young children. And it still might protect against strains that are not yet circulating.

I don’t need a flu shot year after year.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you get a vaccine every year even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed. Your immune protection from the vaccination will decline over time.

I’m afraid the flu shot will give me the flu.

A flu shot will not cause the flu because the viruses either have been inactivated and are no longer infectious or were made with no viruses at all. The nasal spray vaccine also won’t give you the flu because the viruses have been weakened.

Even if I do get the flu, it won’t kill me.

Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, senior citizens and those with such chronic conditions as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. On average thousands die each year from the flu, a number that can fluctuate depending on which strain is circulating. The CDC has estimated from a low of 3,000 deaths to a high of 49,000 between the 1976-1977 and 2006-2007 seasons.

There are no effective treatments against the flu.

There are three antiviral drugs approved for treatment: Tamiflu, Relenza and Rapivab.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control

Photo Credit: Denver Post via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rocket Launcher Near CA Freeway]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:19:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/Rocket+Launcher1.jpg

A military rocket launcher was discovered on the side of the I-15 Freeway in Riverside County Thursday afternoon, officials said.

It was unclear who the weapon belonged to, said a Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman. Rocket launchers are illegal to own, though some are occasionally found in California.

Workers clearing brush from the side of the highway in Murrieta found the rocket launcher, according to Patch, which first reported the discovery.

The AT-4 tube had no munitions inside, officials said. Its manufacturer's web page described it as "one of the most successful anti-armour weapons ever developed," effective against armorded vehicles and aircraft.

A rocket launcher was returned to law enforcement at a 2013 gun buyback in Solano County, and officers in 2012 found a rocket launcher while executing a search warrant in Paramount.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA["Charlie Hebdo" Hits US Newsstands]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:08:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Charlie+Hebdo+North+Park.jpg

The magazine at the center of the terror attacks in France two weeks ago is being sold in the United States, including at a newsstand in San Diego. 

The French satirical newspaper hit American newsstands Friday.

NBC News has decided not to show the controversial cover showing the Prophet Mohammed carrying a sign that says in French, "I am Charlie."  Twenty-thousand copies will be offered in the United States, according to LPMI, a distributor of foreign magazines and newspapers in the U-S and Canada.

Copies of Charlie Hebdo got to the North Park newsstand Friday afternoon.  The manager, Ken Gabbara, said it has been flying off the shelves.  He ordered 200 copies and had has already sold half.

Gabbara expects he has enough to get through the weekend and will evaluate to see if he needs to order more on Monday. Gabbara said he is not worried about negative feedback.

“We're doing it for the sake of history. People want a little piece of history," he said. "I carry like over 4,000 magazines in here. There's a lot of things that I agree and disagree with but it's for people's choices. If they want to read about it, we give them the opportunity.”

Bijan Izadi, who purchased a copy of the magazine, said he wanted to read the magazine.

“If you are not able to speak freely and if other people are infringing on that and threatening your life for that reason it's not right," Izadi said.

This shipment of 20,000 to the United States follows a shipment of 300 that made it to major cities like San Francisco and  New York. Copies are sold for $12.99 plus tax.

<![CDATA[Missing 3-Week-Old Girl in SoCal Found Dead, Father Arrested]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:50:36 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/NEWHALL+MISSING.JPG

Sheriff's deputies arrested a man in Southern California Saturday on suspicion of killing his 3-week-old baby, authorities said.

The baby girl's body was found in a car after search-and-rescue crews scoured Santa Clarita Valley for the infant overnight, officials said. Authorities said the father led them to the body.

The infan'ts parents reported her missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at 9:35 p.m. Friday, according to a sheriff's spokeswoman. Deputies responded to the 21300 block of Alder Drive in the Santa Clarita Valley city of Newhall after the parents walked into the sheriff's office to report the disappearance.

Later, sheriff's deputies announced they arrested the 30-year-old father, Matthew Warner, at an 11 a.m. press conference. His attorney information was not immediately available.

Sheriff’s Lt. Holly Francisco said Warner was being booked on suspicion of murder.

The baby was found Saturday at around 7 a.m. in the cab of a pickup truck left at a park-and-ride in the 23600 block of Newhall Avenue, officials said. The cause of the baby's death was unknown.

Warner told investigators, "I think the baby's body is here," leading them to the truck, which had Oregon license plates. The truck

The girl's mother was not arrested but was being held at the station, officials said. She was described as being distraught, and officials said she had called police about an unrelated incident involving Warner earlier in the day on Friday.

Neighbor Aurthor Allen said the community where they live is close, and that he and his girlfriend were searching for the baby Friday night.

"You always hope for the best and pray someone will find the baby or come forward saying 'I have the baby, I'm sorry, she's fine,'" Allen said. "I know this family must be crushed. The community definitely is."

Neighbors who helped in the overnight search for the infant called her discovery heartbreaking.

“It kind of put a shockwave through all of us,” one neighbor said.

People who know the couple said the girl was the parents’ first child.

“It’s my understanding that dad was the one in charge of taking care of the child yesterday. I think mom was at work,” said neighbor Ed Griffin.

The parents told detectives their baby was last seen wearing a Sesame Street diaper and a pink and blue beanie, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's spokeswoman Lt. Brenda Cambra said.

Search-and-rescue teams were requested, as well as K-9 units and air search to assist, in trying to locate the missing infant, officials said.

Officials said early Saturday morning that the parents were at the Sheriff's station, cooperating with the detectives.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at 661-255-1121. 

Oleevia Woo and Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: RMG News ]]>
<![CDATA["Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks Remembered]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:38:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ernie-Banks-Chicago-Cubs.jpg

Ernie Banks is a Chicago legend who touched many lives, both on and off the field. He embodied the spirit of the Chicago Cubs and united fans as an unwavering point of pride for the team.

Fans across the country and in Wrigleyville are mourning the loss of "Mr. Cub," who passed away Friday at the age of 83. Here's what some of his big-name fans are saying.

President Obama and Michelle Obama: "He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV. And in 2013, it was my honor to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his team's behind him, and Mr. Class -- 'Mr. Cub' -- is ready to play two."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "Ernie Banks was more than a baseball player. He was one of Chicago's greatest ambassadors. He loved this city as much as he loved -- and lived for -- the game of baseball. This year, during every Cubs game, you can bet that No. 14 will be watching over his team. And if we're lucky, it'll be a beautiful day for not just one ballgame, but two."

Gov. Bruce Rauner: "Ernie Banks was a trail blazer who helped break down barriers, a veteran who served his country with honor, a respected community leader and the greatest Chicago Cub of all time. While we mourn him here, there's no doubt that up in heaven, 'Mr. Cub' is lacing up his cleats an asking Saint Peter if they can 'play two.'"

Sen. Dick Durbin: "'Mr. Cub' was so much more than a great hitter and Gold Glove fielder. His infectious love for the game of baseball was matched only by his passion for the people of Chicago ... His positive, hopeful Cub view of life filled every room and every baseball diamond he ever touched."

Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs: "Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time. He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known."

John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks: "Ernie was an illuminating superstar who was personable, humble and selfless. He was also the greatest player to ever wear a Cubs uniform. He loved the Cubs, Wrigley Field and the city of Chicago. The Friendly Confines were always a bit friendlier when he was around. I will miss him."

Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State: "I was honored to learn many things from him while I was in the Cubs organization. And I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with him throughout the years in our joint efforts to help others. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to his friends. I was privileged to have played baseball with him, and to call him my friend. Ernie Banks -- Mr. Cub -- will be missed."

Rev. Jesse Jackson: "He was not only a great baseball player, but beyond his talent as a shortstop and eventually a first baseman, was his character, his eternal optimism -- "let's play two today" -- and his personality was a racial bridge builder. He treated all people with dignity and respect. He never stopped reaching out to bridge the racial chasms."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Life and Times of Ernie Banks]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 08:18:58 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ernie_banksP11.jpg Ernie Banks is a baseball legend, the first African American to play for the Chicago Cubs and the first black manager in Major League Baseball. He is known for his skills at bat and in the field, as well as his sunny, positive attitude and love for the game. Click to see pictures from throughout this memorable figure's life.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Stabbed to Death With Scissors]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:51:04 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/1-23-15-David+Wark+Griffith+Middle+School+stabbing+5.JPG

A 14-year-old boy was fatally stabbed with a pair of scissors on the campus of a Southern California middle school Friday afternoon, LAUSD officials said.

An attacker stabbed the boy at 3:08 p.m. in front of David Wark Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles and ran away, said Monica Carazo of LAUSD.

The district first said the victim was 15 years old, but LA sheriff's deputies later said he was 14.

"He's really quiet, he doesn't really like to talk to anybody," the boy's girlfriend told NBC4. "The only one he tells all his problems to is my brother."

The victim was not a student at the school where he was stabbed, but he was a student at nearby Garfield High School, district officials said. The district could not immediately confirm whether the attacker was a student of the school.

The attacker approached the teen and asked him where he was from before stabbing him in the torso, officials said.

The boy died at the hospital, said LA County Sheriff's Sgt. John Sagardia.

Aerial video showed nearly a dozen patrol cars outside the school, where caution tape lined the front steps. Students were held inside the middle school for several hours until police said it was safe to leave.

LASD confirmed in a statement an investigation was underway in the fatal stabbing. Deputies say several witnesses saw the attack since it happened just after school let out.

Additional details were not immediately clear.

Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Close Encounter with Whales]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:44:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Whale+spotting+0122.JPG

A kayaking tour group got quite the treat when they encountered a gray whale and baby just off La Jolla.

The tour, led by an Everyday California guide, came across the whales last Saturday and captured impressive video footage, posting it to YouTube.

Whale watching season is in full swing in San Diego, as there have been a number of sightings over the past few weeks.

The season started in late December, though the first gray whale was spotted off Mission Bay on Dec. 2.

Duke Jarboe, the guide who filmed the whales, said he's seen about 50 blue and gray whales from his kayaks, but nothing like the Saturday encounter.

"Our encounter was pretty unique in that the baby came right up to us and hung out with us," he said. "I've ... only seen them do this one other time and that was Blue Whales."

He said they encountered the whales after paddling two miles off the coast. So far this whale-watching season, Everyday California has seen whales on 85 percent of its trips, Jarboe said.

In the Everyday California video, you can see the two whales come right up to the guide’s paddle boat. You can watch it here:


Photo Credit: You Tube/Everyday California]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Patriots Probe ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:05:33 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/super-bowl-footballs-AP339355819322.jpg

The New England Patriots used footballs that were under-inflated in the first half of Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, evidence so far in the National Football League's investigation has found. 

But the team's footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed to have been properly inflated at the conclusion of the game, the NFL said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The NFL's investigation into the "Deflategate" controversy involving the Patriots is ongoing, and 40 interviews have been conducted so far, including of Patriots personnel, game officials and third parties with relevant information and expertise, the league said. The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss.

The league said it has obtained and is continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. It has also hired an investigatory firm with expertise in forensics to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.

"The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action," the statement said. "We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence."

The league said the Patriots have pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available upon request. In the coming days, the NFL will be conducting interviews, examining video and other forensic evidence, in addition to any relevant physical evidence.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft also issued a statement on Friday, saying that he received a letter from the league on Monday informing him of the investigation. He said he instructed Patriots staff to be "completely cooperative and transparent with the league's investigators." During the three days the investigators were in Foxboro, he said the team provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league's representatives asked to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search.

"It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously," Kraft said. "Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league's investigation."

The NFL began looking into the issue not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game. Deflating a football can change the way it's gripped by a player, or the way it travels through the air.

"Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well," the statement said. "As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly."

No timetable was given by the NFL for when the investigation might be wrapped up.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has denied altering the ball "in any way," saying that he would never break the rules. Coach Bill Belichick said he had "no explanation" for what happened, and like Brady said the first he heard of the entire ordeal was on Monday morning.

The Patriots will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Osentoski]]>
<![CDATA[Ferrets Chew Off Face of 1-Month-Old Child: Police ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:44:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Baby+Eaten+Ferrets+House.PNG

A family's pet ferrets chewed off part of a one-month-old child's face in a "horrific" mauling, police in Delaware County, Pennsylvania tell NBC10.

"This is the most horrific thing I've seen happen to a child 45 years in this town," Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe said Friday.

As many as three ferrets chewed on the baby girl's face as she was buckled into a car seat sitting on the floor at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, inside a home in Darby, Pennsylvania, the police chief said.

"The ferrets did chew the infant's nose, top lip and cheek area. They had eaten that area away," Smythe said.

The girl's mother had gone upstairs when the mauling took place. She heard the baby screaming and when she came back downstairs found a ferret on the child, according to Smythe. The mother threw the animal aside and called for help.

It's unclear how long it took the mother to respond to the child's cries.

"There's a one-month-old laying there and anywhere from one to three animals are eating it while the child is still alive and screaming. Now, how long does it take you to get downstairs to get to your kid," the police chief angrily asked. "You think that much flesh would be gone by the time you get down there?"

The parents, who Smythe said have developmental disabilities, told detectives the ferrets were in a fabric cage, but somehow got out. They were later destroyed and are being testing for rabies.

The girl was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and underwent emergency surgery. Doctors placed two stents in her nose so she could breathe and she is currently listed in stable condition, Smythe said.

NBC10 did speak with the girl's father and he corroborated police's account of the event. He said his daughter will need multiple surgeries to recover from the attack.

Officers that responded to the call were so disturbed by the scene they were unable to sleep last night, the chief said.

The family was living in deplorable conditions and the home, in the 300 block of Poplar Road, is infested with fleas or mites, according to police. There were several other animals in the house including six cats, two dogs and two turtles.

The only food in the home was a jar of peanut butter, can of cranberry and some juice, Smythe said. There was food for the pets, however.

Neighbors said the parents were loving, caring and did not cause trouble.

"I hugged my baby," a neighbor named Danielle said of what she did after hearing about the attack. "It could have been anybody's baby. Everybody played over there."

The family's four other children, all aged 5-years-old or below, have been taken to a relative. They all have some type of special needs, according to Smythe. He would like them be placed in foster care.

Three social service agencies — Delaware County Children & Youth Services, Northwestern Human Services and Elwyn — have been monitoring the family, Smythe said. They are investigating the incident.

Smythe raised questions about how an incident like this could take place in a family that was being investigated.

"It's not that they're bad parents, it's just that the children are not being taken care of," he said.

Smythe has asked the Delaware County District Attorney to approve charges against the parents.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Firefighter Rescues NY Neighbor]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:39:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/farmingville+fire+neighbor+rescue.jpg

A disabled Long Island woman who couldn't move from her bed when a fire broke out in her home was saved by a neighbor who happened to be stepping out for dinner.

Andy Carbone was leaving his Farmingville home when his wife spotted a fire in a nearby house. The former volunteer firefighter kicked in the burning front door and found 72-year-old Carolyn Prince bedridden in the back of the smoky house.

"I said, 'Your house is on fire,' and she said, 'OK, what are we going to do?'" said Carbone. "I said, 'You're coming with me one way or another.'"

Carbone, another neighbor and first responders carried Prince to safety, but not before the father of four used an old fire extinguisher that had been kicking around in his closet for years to douse the flames.

A volunteer firefighter in Massapequa for a decade before moving to Farmingville, Carbone said his old training helped him during the rescue.

Prince was treated for smoke inhalation but escaped serious injury. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in nature.

Ironically, Carbone wasn't even supposed to be at home but when his jury duty finished earlier than expected, his wife told him to come home rather than meet her out for dinner.

"Thank God," said Prince's daughter Wendy Pabon. "Everything happens for a reason."

"It just brought tears to my eyes. It's so amazing that people could be like that," she said.

"He is a true hero," said Pabon.

Carbone, however, would prefer simply to be called a good neighbor.

"Just a neighbor doing the right thing when it meant the most," he said.

<![CDATA[Madoff Defends Late Sons in Email]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:16:37 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_bernard_madoff_st.jpg

In an email sent to NBC News Friday, Bernie Madoff, the man behind one of the most infamous Ponzi schemes in American history, discussed the pain of losing his two sons and refuted claims that they knowingly participated in the scam.

"As difficult as it is for me to live with the pain I have inflicted on so many, there is nothing to compare with the degree of pain I endure with the loss of my son's Mark and Andy," Madoff said.

His son Andrew died in September at age 48 after a long battle with cancer. His son Mark committed suicide in 2010 at age 46 on the second anniversary of his father's arrest.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee seeking to recover money for bilked investors filed an updated lawsuit last summer accusing Madoff's sons of having full knowledge of their father's scheme and using it as their "personal cookie jar" that they tapped through sham loans, fictitious trades and deferred compensation.

"What is still my most important goal is to do everything in my power to protect their legacy," Madoff said of his sons. "Although neither of my son's were ever charged with anything. They were subjected to the completely false and slanderous claims and remarks of the Trustee and the media."

Madoff said his sons were compensated at the same rate as the traders that they managed, disputing Picard's claim that his sons should have known their compensation was unrealistic.

Madoff also defended his sons against several other claims Picard made, including an alleged incriminating email Andrew sent to Mark and loans linking his sons to the scam. Click here to see Madoff's full email.

In a statement to CNBC, Amanda Remus, a spokeswoman for Picard's office, said Madoff's credibility was "highly suspect."

"We stand by our filings, which speak for themselves, and we intend to pursue recoveries against both estates," she said.

Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Starving Pup Found in Suitcase: PD]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:44:37 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pit+bull+found+suitcase.jpg

A malnourished puppy was found inside a suitcase in a Bronx housing development, and police are looking for the person who put him there. 

A passerby at the Melrose Housing Development at 700 Morris Ave. in Morrisania alerted police officers on patrol after discovering the dog in the suitcase Thursday afternoon.

The puppy is a male brown pit bull about a year old, according to police. He was immediately taken to the ASPCA where he's being treated for malnourishment. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[McDonnell’s Law License Suspended]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:10:42 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/454631202.jpg

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board has suspended former Gov. Bob McDonnell's license to practice law, citing his felony public corruption convictions.

The bar said Friday that the suspension takes effect next Thursday. McDonnell was directed to appear before the disciplinary panel on Feb. 20 to show cause why his license should not be further suspended or revoked. However, the former governor is scheduled to report to federal prison on Feb. 9 to begin serving his two-year sentence.

According to the bar, McDonnell's license also was administratively suspended for nonpayment of dues to the organization since Oct. 15.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted of accepting gifts and loans from a vitamin executive in exchange for promoting his products. Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced Feb. 20.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Skymall Fans Unsettled By Bankruptcy ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:43:43 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/skymall1.jpg

Skymall, the in-flight catalog that sells an array of quirky gadgets and goods, could soon be grounded. The parent company that owns the business filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

The Twitter-verse reacted swiftly, with users swapping quips and sharing images of their self-proclaimed favorite products, including the SkyRest Travel Pillow, an NFL-themed shoe wine holder and the Zombie of Montclaire Moores lawn decoration.

"The real victims of Skymall closing are the dogs who need stairs to get on the couch," read one such tweet from user @DanAbramson.

Xhibit Corp filed for Chapter 11 protection in Arizona, and will seek approval to sell off its Skymall brand, according to a document posted Friday on Xhibit Corp's website.

The company said that it hoped to find a buyer.

"We are extremely disappointed in this result and are hopeful that SkyMall and the iconic 'SkyMall' brand find a home to continue to operate as SkyMall has for the last 25 years," said Scott Wiley, CFO and Acting CEO of Xhibit, in a press release included with the document.

Photo Credit: Skymall.com
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<![CDATA[Ravens' Cody Being Investigated]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:41:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Terrence+Cody+157365657.jpg

Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody is under investigation for animal cruelty

The case deals with the death of Cody's dog, an $8,000 bull mastiff from Spain.

The case is being discussed with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.

The team said Friday morning it plans to release Cody after the Super Bowl but didn't give a reason, NBC Sports reports. His one-year contract is set to expire in the spring.

The Ravens selected Cody in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in 57 games over five season but only one in 2014 after having hip surgery in the spring.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Retiring Captain's Last Act: Burning Station's "Horrific" Fire Victim Photos ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:37:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP4407061300.jpg

A retiring fire captain removed decades-old photos of a young 1944 fire victim from the walls of Hartford’s Engine 14 and burned them in his fireplace at home because he disagreed with having the deceased girl’s image “publicly displaced in this horrific manner,” according to sources within the department.

The images in question are of an 8-year-old, identified as Eleanor Cook, one of more than 167 people who died in the massive tent fire at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in July 1944.

Eleanor’s case was shrouded in mystery as investigators worked for decades to match the little girl’s name to her face.

In an email obtained by the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, Capt. William Pond explained his actions to Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas.

“When originally assigned to engine 14 in the summer of 1990 I objected to the naked deceased pictures of Eleanor Cook displayed in the hallway. I objected verbally to every house Captain through my career where my efforts proved fruitless. My first order of business as house Captain was to remove them from display,” he allegedly wrote in the email.

Pond went on to say he worried that someone would hang the photos back up after he retired, “where this poor girls [sic] soul would never rest,” according to the email.

“I removed them today and at my home prayed for peace for Eleanor and burned them in my fireplace. I hope you understand and also the Cook family had no knowledge that there [sic] loved one was publicly displayed in this horrific manor [sic],” Pond allegedly wrote.

Huertas addressed the situation in a statement on Thursday, saying Pond “exercised poor judgment in removing the photos.”

“He has demonstrated a lack of professionalism in his decision to take matters in to his own hands and circumvented the process put forth to better handle the situation,” Huertas wrote.

He added that the photos turned out to be copies with “no intrinsic value,” but said an investigation is ongoing.

Seven hundred people were also injured in the fire, which is remembered as one of the worst fires in United States history.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Punches Girl on Trolley]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:45:14 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SEPTA+Trolley+Assault+Suspect.png

Detectives have released new surveillance video showing a man punching a teenage girl in the face on a Philadelphia trolley earlier this week.

"When I went to go turn around to get my hat, I saw that his fist was balled up as if he was ready to hit me, and he already said that he would hit me," said the victim.

The assault of the 17-year-old girl, named Shay, took place on a Route 15 SEPTA trolley along Girard Avenue on Wednesday morning. She got into an argument with the man after he complained about her bag bumping into him, the girl and police said.

The argument turned violent when the man punched the teen in the face at least twice before fleeing the trolley at 7th and Girard.

Shay suffered severe bruising and a broken nose.

The suspect is described as a 35-year-old man who stands between 5-foot 6-inches and 5-foot 8-inches tall. He has a salt and pepper goatee and was wearing a black skull cap, blue striped shirt, black trench coat and dark jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215.686.TIPS.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[Inmate Vows $88B Suit for "Gross Stupidity" After Cowboys "Stolen" Victory]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:59:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/terry-hendrix.jpg

A prison inmate still reeling from the Dallas Cowboys' playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers has decided to take action to remedy to defeat, announcing intent to sue NFL officials for $88 billion for "gross stupidity" and "the loss of a Super Bowl."

In a hand-written notice, Terrance Hendrix, a 51-year-old inmate at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Colorado, accused the NFL and its officials of "committing fraud" and "gross negligence" when they overturned a potentially game-changing catch. He's seeking $88,987,654,321.88 — Bryant's jersey No. 88 book-ended by digits 9 through 1 — in damages on behalf of the team, its fans and "all people in or and from the sovereign Republic of Texas."

Dez Bryant's catch at the Green Bay 1 yard line on fourth down late in the fourth quarter put the Cowboys in position to take the lead in a game that sent the winner to the NFC Championship Game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged the play, though, and referees overturned the call.

According to the lawsuit, Hendrix stated that referees Dean Blandino and Gene Steratore and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "have stolen a victory from the plaintiff(s) because the Cowboys offense would have perfectly created an 'autobahn' for DeMarco Murray to drive into the end zone for the score and victory." That loss, he writes, constitutes the theft of a Super Bowl committed against the "hearts, minds and souls" of the players, cheerleaders, fans and all Texans.

Hendrix is acting as his own attorney in the case.

Officials with the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL declined to coment.

NBC Owned Television Stations' Esther Katro contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Family Set Fires to Fund "Extravagant Lifestyle" Through $20M in Bogus Insurance Claims: DA]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 07:28:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009309926_1200x675_388015171940.jpg

A Pennsylvania family set fires in their matriarch's home so they could collect more than $20 million in insurance claims, then used the cash float an "excessively extravagant lifestyle" marked by $1.2 million in jewelry and six Ferraris, according to charges announced Thursday by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Claire Risoldi, four members of her Bucks County family and two alleged co-conspirators were hit with several fraud charges on Thursday after a more than year long statewide investigation.

Fire spread through the Risoldis' New Hope home, named "Clairemont" by the woman, three times between June 2009 and October 2013. According to prosecutors, each fire started near a stockpile of highly flammable materials, including hairspray, and the cause was ruled undetermined.

In one case, home surveillance video captured Risoldi leaving the house a minute before smoke appeared and may have been inside when the home was burning, prosecutors said.

The family then would collect insurance money for lost jewelry, art and home treatments.

The attorney general said the family inflated the price tenfold of Romanesque paintings that were destroyed by fire, depicting the Risoldis wearing "flowing robes gazing down from the heavens." They also attempted to file a $2 million claim for damaged window treatments.

Risoldi accused firefighters of stealing more than $10 million in jewelry from "Clairemont" while fighting one of the blazes, Kane said.

"I knew my guys didn't take anything out of the house, but we were accused," said Midway Volunteer Fire Company Chief Hugh Hager.

After collecting the insurance money, the family allegedly used the cash to carry out real estate transactions, buy expensive cars and fund their lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said. More than $7 million in assets seized by the state included $3 million from bank accounts, $1.2 million in jewelry, six Ferraris, two Rolls Royces and a Shelby Cobra.

The grand jury investigation found Risoldi increased coverage for her jewelry from $100,000 to nearly $11 million less than a month before the last fire in October 2013. Kane said jurors also found a pattern of questionable insurance claims by Risoldi spanning some 30 years. In one example, investigators found jewelry the woman said she lost in 1993.

In addition to Claire Risoldi, prosecutors charged her husband, 64-year-old Thomas French; her 43-year-old son, Carl Risoldi; 43-year-old daughter-in-law, Shiela Risoldi; and 48-year-old daughter Carla Risoldi.

Two other men, private investigator Mark Goldman and fabric vendor Richard Holston, were also charged in the scheme.

All seven suspects turned themselves in to prosecutors on Thursday morning and are out on bail.

"It was like a weight lifted off our shoulders," said Hager.

<![CDATA[Man Gets Inked in Exchange for Free Tacos for Life ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:18:56 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/taco-stand.jpg

How far would you go for free tacos?

For one man, the answer will follow him his whole life.

Kris Kimber took up the owner of one Michigan food truck on a unique offer—free tacos for life with a tattoo of the food truck’s logo, according to Flint affiliate NBC25.

The tattoo, which landed a space on Kimber’s back, features Vehicle City Tacos’ initials on Flint’s famous arches and, of course, a taco.

“I don’t mind being a walking billboard. I’m always up for a good laugh,” he told NBC25.

Vehicle City Tacos owner Dan Moilanen says he got the idea from a place in Chicago called Hot Doug’s, which pledges to give anyone with a tattoo of their logo a lifetime supply of hot dogs.

“I think it shows dedication in a lot of ways,” he told NBC25. “It shows to me that they really do want to support a local business and they really do want to help get the word out there and be a part of what we're doing.”

Moilanen is still offering the deal, and expects to see more of his tacos tattooed on bodies around Flint. 

<![CDATA[Biden: Community College Plan a "Gigantic Opportunity"]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:42:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_joe_biden_vice_president_487211325.jpg

Vice President Joe Biden visited Los Angeles on Friday to talk about helping more Americans go to college, three days after President Barack Obama called on Congress to make two years of community college free.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, Obama said he wants two years of college to be "as free and universal in America as high school is today." He also vowed to work with Congress to reduce monthly student loan payments for students already in debt.

"You think 12 years is enough? In the year 2015?" Biden said Friday at West Los Angeles Community College, touting Obama's proposal

The community college plan would benefit an estimated 9 million students each year and cost taxpayers a projected $60 billion over 10 years.

Students would have to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Community colleges would be required to offer programs with credits that can be transferred to four-year colleges and universities or offer in-demand, career-oriented training.

"We have a gigantic opportunity to do a great service not only to our children and our young people and people who need to be retrained, but we have a gigantic opportunity to position the United States of America in a position for the second half of the second decade of this century to lead the world -- this is not hyperbole -- lead the economy of the world for the next 50 years," Biden said.

West Los Angeles College is one of 15 California community colleges that received approval Tuesday to start offering career-oriented bachelor's degrees. The cost of college has become prohibitive for many people who are juggling education, family and work, Biden said

"We're delighted with this visit as we are delighted with the President's announcement," said West Los Angeles College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh. "Colleges fees are not the most pressing need. The cost of living in California, support for students, home care, child care for working mothers, cost of transportation, housing, the difficulty of maintaining a working schedule... those are some of the big questions we hope to raise."

The Republican-controlled Congress is likely to be hesitant to embrace such a high-cost idea. States would have to contribute a quarter of the cost, and it's unclear how many would support the program.

Ninio Fetalvo, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, blasted the community college proposal as yet another burden on taxpayers.

"Delivering empty rhetoric and misleading proposals are hallmarks of Obama's failed presidency, but the reality is Vice President Biden will continue to be a puppet for the president's costly proposals as they continue to refuse to work with Congress to create real solutions," Fetalvo said. "The president and vice president are misleading the American people on their college proposal, claiming it's free, when in reality it costs billions of dollars and taxes the college savings plans of middle-class Americans."

On Saturday, Biden will be in Irvine to deliver the keynote speech at the Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit at the Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road.

He made a surprise visit to a downtown LA diner as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dozens of Dogs Go Missing in Texas]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:21:30 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Wise+County+missing+dog.jpg

More than 40 dogs have vanished from a North Texas county over the past two months, leaving behind no clues in a mystery that's devastated their owners.

"I'm horrified," said Robin Lewis, whose family lost their black Lab, Jack, from their Decatur home in December.

"It's been really difficult trying to explain Jack's gone, and are we ever going to see him again?" said Lewis. "They're heartbroken. I'm heartbroken. My husband's heartbroken."

Jack is just one of dozens of dogs who have vanished in Wise County.

On the very same day Jack disappeared, Decatur Mayor Martin Woodruff lost his daughter's pit bull and Great Dane, who disappeared from Woodruff's fenced-in back yard.

"Police dispatch said after several hours that this is very unusual," said Woodruff.

Lewis agrees.

"I think it's very suspicious that three very large, friendly dogs disappear in the same neighborhood at the exact same time," she said.

Since November, 40 dogs have been reported missing, according to the Wise County sheriff. There's no physical evidence that proves the dogs were taken. Still, neighbors have a growing suspicion that all the missing dogs are not just a coincidence.

"It's really disheartening to think that there are people out here that would do this," said Woodruff.

"It begs the question of where are these dogs going? And who's taking them? And what are they doing with them?" said Lewis.

The Wise County sheriff said investigators don't have any descriptions of possible suspects or their cars. But he said people should be on the lookout for anything that looks unusual that might help bring forward answers.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Car Pulled From Florida Canal Linked to 1978 Missing Persons Case]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:20:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/012215+car+in+sunrise+canal.jpg

A car found in a South Florida canal Thursday is related to a missing persons case that's more than 35 years old, authorities said.

The car was found by South Florida Water Management workers who were dredging the Sunrise canal. Footage showed the rusted car to be partially disintegrated after spending perhaps decades in the water.

No remains were found in the car, but Broward Sheriff's Office officials said it's related to a missing persons case from 1978.

“It opened my eyes and gave me goose bumps,” said Dinorah Perry of the Missing Children International Ministries.

Perry’s organization helps search for missing persons. The car is believed to be a 1969 Dodge Coronet. The same car was believed to be carrying 15-year-old Dana Null and her boyfriend Wade Atchison on October 7, 1978.

The couple was last seen inside a mobile home park where Atchison lived. They went to see the band “Journey” and then came back to his home. Investigators said the couple then got into a violent argument and Wade jumped in the car and took off.

Detectives said Dana took off after him, stopped him, and jumped in the car. The two haven’t been seen or heard from since that night.

“It’s a blessing because someone will get a taste of closure. I’m sure her family never forgot about her and the young man with her. I’m sure his family haven’t forgotten. They just didn’t know where to look,” Perry said.

No remains were found in the car, discovered by the 14100 block of State Road 84, but the Broward Sheriff’s Office said they will continue to search the waterway near where the car was discovered Thursday.

“We just want to make sure there is no other evidence or information this canal is holding that we could possibly give those family members to tell them what happened to their loved ones,”

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Vets Seek to Help Paralyzed Pups Walk Again ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:32:35 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_paralyzeddogs0122001_700x394.jpg

A group of veterinarians in North Carolina is experimenting with new drugs that could help paralyzed pups get back on their paws.

The study, lead by North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Veterinary Hospital's Dr. Natasha Olby, included 19 dogs, NBC News reported. Only three of the dogs showed drastic improvement in bladder control and walking. Some made no response to the treatment at all, while others improved slightly.

"It is absolutely a wonderful moment when you see an animal suddenly take some steps," Obly told NBC News. "It wasn't a miraculous cure, but certainly they had quite a dramatic change in their abilities while they were on the drug that would disappear again when we discontinued the drug.”

One of the drugs Obly used is called 4-Aminopyridine or "4-AP." It is normally used to treat people with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. However, the drug failed to show major results for people with spinal cord injuries, studies show.

As for dogs, Olby says future research will focus on whether it work better for certain types of injuries.

"That's what we're now focusing on, and maybe we will uncover something that will have relevance to humans," she says.

<![CDATA[Adorable Zoo Babies: Bao Bao Plays in Snow]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:45:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZooBabyMonkey_460884560_10_sm.jpg See all the newest arrivals at zoos around the world. Baby lions, tigers and bears step into the spotlight.

Photo Credit: STR/AFP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Brady: "I Didn't Alter the Ball"]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:24:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tom-brady-presser-thumb-AP210855816629.jpg

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he "didn't alter the ball in any way" at a Thurday afternoon press conference amid the "Deflategate" controversy.

"I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules," he said. When a reporter asked if he were a cheater, he said, "I don't believe so."

The NFL is investigating after ESPN reported that the Patriots used under-inflated footballs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Earlier Thursday, Belichick said at a press conference that he had "no explanation" for what happened, and that the first he heard of the controversy was on Monday morning.

Brady told reporters Thursday afternoon that he first heard about the under-inflated balls Monday morning during his regular weekly radio interview. At the time, he said, he laughed, thinking that it was just "sour grapes" on the Colts' behalf. "It ends up being a very serious thing," he said.

"Everyone's obviously trying to figure out what happened," Brady added. "I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening."

The quarterback said he goes through the same process before every game, choosing between 12 and 24 balls to use during the game. He said he did that Sunday night. "When I felt them, they were perfect," he said.

Much like Belichick, Brady said he has no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

"Obviously, I'd like to know what  happened," he said. "In the meantime, I'm going to try to do the best I can to get ready to play against the Seahawks." 

Asked if the controversy might serve as motivation for the Patriots, Brady said "We've got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team's overcome a lot of adversity this year. Sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life."

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games, The Associated Press reported. Belichick said he was unaware of the process for game balls until the accusations were raised.

"I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs," Belichick said. "They know a lot more about it than I do. They're a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero."

Brady reportedly addressed his teammates behind closed doors at Thursday's team meeting. Per teammates, he told them he prefers the football "a certain way." He also told them to stay focused on next Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola]]>