<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:17:25 -0500 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:17:25 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:57:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people via direct contact with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen
  • Objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wife Released in Mayor Shooting]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:40:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/file-bell-gardens-mayor-daniel-crespo-wife-lyvette.jpg

The wife of a Southern California mayor walked free out of a police station Tuesday night after being questioned about the shooting death of her husband of 28 years, sheriff’s officials said.

Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, 45, was gunned down during a domestic dispute at their home in the 6300 block of East Gage Avenue in Bell Gardens (map), according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The mayor punched the couple's 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr., in the face when the teen tried to intervene in the fight between his parents, investigators said. Crespo's 43-year-old wife, Lyvette, then allegedly grabbed a gun and shot the mayor multiple times in his upper body.

The shooting was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Crespo was taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he was pronounced dead. Sources told the NBC4 ITeam a handgun was used to fire three rounds at the mayor, striking him in the torso.

Both the wife and son were questioned at the Bell Gardens police station. Several hours later, sheriff's detectives said the pair had been released and that no arrests had been made.

No further details were released and NBC4 is working to confirm details regarding events that led to the argument and shooting.

Investigators said they planned to present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, which will determine whether criminal charges will be filed. That process could take weeks, sources told the NBC4 ITeam.

Sources told NBC4 the mayor resided at the two-story condominium with his wife, 19-year-old son and 26-year-old daughter, who was not present at the time of the shooting.

"I couldn't believe it - I still can't believe it. I have a sick mom and now my brother is gone," said the mayor's brother, William Crespo. "He loved (his family) more than life. He loved his wife a lot, he always loved his wife."

His killing also stunned neighbors.

“I know him (from) when my kids were little, when they were in trouble all the time and he helped me with them because they don’t have a dad,” said neighbor Margarita Rios.

According to the city’s website, Crespo was a Brooklyn, New York, native who had been married to his high school sweetheart since 1986. After moving to Bell Gardens, he worked as a Los Angeles County deputy probation officer for 15 years. He was elected to the Bell Gardens City Council in 2001.

Bell Gardens is a suburb of about 42,000 residents. It's located roughly 18 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

California state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) called Crespo's death "shocking" and said their "hearts are heavy with grief."

Here is their joint statement:

"As representatives and residents of Bell Gardens, today's tragic news about the passing of our dear friend, Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, is shocking and a tremendous loss for our close knit community. Mayor Crespo was a respected public servant who dedicated his life to protecting and helping others in Southeast Los Angeles and throughout the region. Our hearts are heavy with grief today; and our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. We ask that the public respect the privacy of his family during the impending investigation."

NBC4's Tena Ezzeddine contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: William Crespo]]>
<![CDATA[Infant Hit by Hunter's Stray Bullet Will Be Blind: Family]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:48:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/baby-finger-generic.jpg

The family of a 6-day-old Pennsylvania boy who was wounded by a hunter's stray bullet says the infant is expected to survive, but will be blind.

Stefanie Iverson says her son Shayne's life was spared when the bullet exited through the orbital area -- or eye socket -- of his skull rather than hitting his brain.

The boy's father, Jeremie, was holding the baby on Sept. 25 when the bullet came through a window of the family's home near Saltsburg, about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh, and struck the baby's skull.

Indiana County District Attorney Pat Dougherty says the hunter had an agricultural deer control permit when he fired the shot that wounded the boy about 7 p.m. that day.

The shooting was likely accidental, but questions remain about whether the hunter followed state regulations.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coyote Pup Burned in Fire Released]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:07:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/burned+coyote+edited.jpg

One of the smallest victims of the 2014 San Diego wildfires is back on her feet.

On Tuesday, wildlife workers released a female coyote into the wild after spending the last five months with her.

The pup, known only as Coyote 1732, came to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona in May. The 10-week-old coyote had been severely burned in the Poinsettia Fire.

“Literally her paws were dripping blood after the first bandage change. She just had no top layer of skin on all four of her paw pads,” said Gina Taylor, registered veterinary technician at the wildlife center.

“Her entire coat was just crunchy, singed hair,” she said.

Taylor’s eyes welled up with tears as the coyote bolted from her carrier and into the wild. She described the bittersweet feeling as a mother of a teenager leaving for college.

“I do rehab not for them to be pets, not for them to be put into an exhibit of any sort," she said.

Although it was sad to see her go, Taylor said this coyote belongs in the wild.

“We do not feel like she has any inclination to be around humans,” Taylor said. “The fact that we every day, every other day, every third day had to capture her up to change her bandages, she still never liked it, never liked us, never sought us out for any attention.”

Coyote 1732 was released in Oceanside at an undisclosed location approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Taylor said the coyote will eat squirrels, rabbits, lizards and other small animals now that she’s back in the wild.

“She abruptly got separated from her family unit, and now instinct has to kick in for her,” she said.

A few days after the coyote came to the rehabilitation center, her brother arrived also. Taylor said his burns were so severe, she was surprised he survived the night.

Taylor said the boy, Coyote 1736, will never be healthy enough to go back to the wild. Instead, he will be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Texas.

The Poinsettia Fire burned 600 acres and destroyed 23 homes and apartments in Carlsbad last May.

<![CDATA[Burglars Kill 920 Chickens at Foster Farms: Police]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:57:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/AP500744556968.jpg

Hundreds of chickens were killed after burglars broke into a Foster Farms facility in Caruthers, California, investigators said.

Fresno County police said the unknown suspects in the Sept. 20 burglary pulled back part of the facility's fence, entered a chicken shed, then slaughtered the animals with a golf club or other blunt object.

Foster Farms said the 920 chickens killed were worth about $5,000. Foster Farms is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

It was not immediately clear what, if anything, was stolen from the facility.

Caruthers is about 17 miles southwest of Fresno.

Photo Credit: FILE-AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bankrupt NJ Casino Sells at Auction]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:59:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_revel.jpg

The defunct Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City will reopen as another casino, a spokesman for Brookfield Property Partners parent company said Wednesday, hours after the firm was declared the winning bidder.

"Our expertise is running casino, hotel properties," said Andrew Willis of Brookfield Asset Management, which operates the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas and the Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas.

Revel officials declared Brookfield Property Partners the winning bidder Tuesday after the Toronto-based company upped their offer to $110 million late Tuesday.

Willis declined to discuss specifics about Brookfield's plan for the property, but did share its expectation for "synergies" between its future Atlantic City casino, Las Vegas' Hard Rock and the Atlantis.

The casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, opened in 2012 and closed Sept. 2 after filing for its second bankruptcy in June.

"[Revel] and its advisors determined that Brookfield's bid was the highest and the best bid received," a Revel spokeswoman said in a statement. "The company intends to move forward promptly ... to seek approval of the sale."

The sale hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7.

Revel selected Polo North Country Club Inc. as the backup based on its $95.4 million offer, the statement said.

Brookfield first pledged $94 million and then $98 million as it competed with other bidders, like Polo and a real estate developer -- Glenn Straub, for ownership of the bankrupt casino.

Initially Straub appeared to be the only party interested in acquiring Revel, offering $90 million before the bankruptcy auction was even scheduled.

Ahead of the auction, Straub spoke about his ambitious plan to turn the closed casino into a university that would serve ideally "white and over 21" students  -- apparently Straub's way of describing someone with no financial obligations, Reuters reported.

The auction, which began last Wednesday, was suspended that afternoon due to the approaching Rosh Hashanah holiday. It resumed Tuesday.

The bidding process frustrated Straub, who said he waited around for six hours on Sept. 24, "but nothing happened."

He asked the judge to delay the auction, claiming Revel's attorneys failed to keep a promise to share information about other bids they received. A Revel spokeswoman declined to comment on Straub's complaint.

The court refused to suspend the auction, but a hearing was scheduled on Straub's objection for Oct. 20.

<![CDATA[Jeter on His Career: Never Wanted to Embarrass Parents]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:19:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Derek_Jeter209740927409.jpg

Newly retired New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he avoided scandal and controversy during his storied career because he did not want to humiliate his parents.

“I’ve always had tried to treat people with respect, the way I wanted to be treated,” the 14-time All Star said in a “Today” show interview that aired Wednesday. “I’ve always been very cautious with what I do. I started at a young age and I’ve always had the mentality that I never wanted to embarrass my parents. That fear is still there.”

The final player to wear a single-digit number for the Yankees, Jeter spoke with "Today's" Matt Lauer less than 24 hours after he played his last game at the stadium, which he won with a walk-off single.

“Fifty thousand people. I’ve never been an actor on Broadway, but it feels like you’re on a stage when you play at Yankee stadium,” Jeter said. “And that’s the feeling I’ve always had. To have everyone there standing up, cheering for you and saying thank you, just never want to play another game out there.”

The 40-year-old star shortstop, who received gifts from other ballclubs on his way out, said he was most surprised at the send-off he got from the Yankees' arch rivals at Fenway Park on the last day of his career.

A pregame ceremony honoring the retiring captain produced numerous standing ovations from the Boston crowd. Jeter told Lauer that there were plenty of times when Red Sox fans would “stand and say some things" during his 20 season career. "But it was never an ovation.”

Jeter hit an RBI single at his last at bat at Fenway. The final hit left him with a .310 career batting average, raising it from .30945 to .30951.

The baseball star already has some post-retirement plans. He has launched Jeter Publishing, his imprint with Simon & Schuster and The Players' Tribune, a publishing portal where athlets will be able to share their stories without having to deal with reporters.

"I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer," Jeter said in a statement on the site that posted Wednesday. "I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Jeter told Lauer it feels good so far to be retired.

“It’s funny, because someone had mentioned to me I went from an old man in baseball to a young man in life. And I liked how that sounded. So, I consider myself young again," he said.

One thing he rules out is coming out of retirement.

“I played my last game. That’s one hundred percent,” he assured Lauer.



Photo Credit: Today]]>
<![CDATA[Taxi Drivers Strip Down for Charity]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cab+calendar.jpg

The FDNY's annual calendar of firefighters has long been ogled over, but now there's a new pin-up in town -- and it features taxi drivers.

Now in its second year, the 2015 NYC Taxi Drivers Calendar features three returning "all-stars" and 10 new drivers, and debuts its first husband and wife driving duo. The drivers are depicted in a playful mix of work and leisure that includes puppy playdates and delectable cookie consumption.

Some of the photos from the 2015 calendar are featured in the gallery above.

A portion of the proceeds from each calendar sale go to University Settlement on the Lower East Side, which provides more than 30,000 immigrants and working individuals and families each year with key services like housing, quality education and literacy programs.

Sales from last year's calendar generated more than $40,000 for University Settlement.

This year's calendar is created by freelance creative director Phil Kirkman and his fiancee, photographer Shannon McLaughlin.

Calendars can be purchased here.

Photo Credit: nyctaxicalendar.com]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Injured Outside Six Flags]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:47:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/six+flags+america+traffic.jpg News4's Prince George's County Bureau Chief learned that social media may have played a role in the violence outside Six Flags Saturday night.

Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Liberians in Dallas on Ebola News]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:22:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DFW+Liberian+Church.jpg

Confirmation that a patient at a Dallas hospital is being treated for Ebola after arriving in North Texas from West Africa has alarmed the local Liberian community.

For weeks, NBC 5 has tracked the progress of a local group's efforts to raise money and supplies to help Ebola patients in their native Liberia.

On Tuesday, they learned the virus is now in Dallas.

"We have people going and coming every day, so like I said, this is shocking, because they take all the necessary precautions over there at the airport and even when they get here," said Carolyn Woahloe, head of the local Liberian Nurses Association.

According to the president of the Liberian Community Association of DFW, there are between 5,000 and 10,000 Liberians in North Texas.

Many of them travel back and forth from their home country often.

The president of the LCADFW told NBC 5 he does not personally know the Dallas Ebola patient, but the group is planning an informative meeting to let the public know of the need to seek medical help if anyone had contact with the patient.

"Whoever came in contact with this family of ours, they just don't need to be afraid. They just need to go to the hospital, [and] say, 'Hey, I was there. I greeted him.' Just go get checked out, the family and friends and everyone else who came in contact with him," said Woahloe.

Nine Liberian churches operate in Dallas and Fort Worth, according to LCADFW.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Hernandez Back in Court as Evidence Arguments Continue ]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:47:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/222*120/Hernandez8.jpg

A judge in Fall River, Massachusetts, will continue to hear arguments on an effort by lawyers for Aaron Hernandez to have evidence from the former New England Patriot's cell phone thrown out Wednesday.

Hernandez is due back in court at 9:30 for the second day in an evidence hearing.

Hernandez is charged in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro and has pleaded not guilty.

His defense team has filed a motion to get the case moved from Fall River to either Worcester County or Hampden County.

His lawyers claim the Bristol County jury pool has been "poisoned" by extensive prejudicial pretrial publicity.

Hernandez's trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9, 2015.

Photo Credit: NECN
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<![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:08:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ebola-dallas.jpg

A person who arrived in Dallas from Liberia a week ago tested positive for Ebola Tuesday, becoming the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the potentially deadly virus, the City of Dallas confirmed.

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24. Hospital officials listed him in serious condition Wednesday after previously being listed in critical condition.

Because the patient showed no symptoms of the virus when he arrived in the U.S. Sept. 20, there was no risk to fellow airline passengers, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"We’ve stopped every Ebola outbreak that’s ever occurred in Africa expect for this one," he said. And this one could have been stopped  if we had gotten in there earlier.

The CDC will ensure that the patient will be treated in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading infection, Frieden said. He also said a team is in Dallas to identify anyone the patient might have infected and monitor them for 21 days.

"We will stop Ebola in its tracks in the U.S.," he said.

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson told NBC 5 that they are focused on 12 to 18 people who had close, physical contact with the patient while symptomatic in Dallas. He said about 10 epidemiologists from the county and CDC are investigating the patient's friends and family.

"The number that is on the ground right now to do the contact investigation is adequate," Thompson said. "If that number was to expand, we'd ask for additional resources."

Thompson said medical professionals have tested one of the patient's relatives, but did not say whether it was a "suspected case."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second confirmed case," he said. "We know that several family members had very close physical contact with this patient."

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital tested negative for Ebola, but they will be monitored for symptoms as the incubation period passes, Dallas city officials said. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

"I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden said. "It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member, or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known, but a traditional ambulance crew complement is two. Firetrucks can carry an additional five first responders.

The Ebola diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday after specimens were sent from Presbyterian Hospital to the Texas public health laboratory in Austin, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Tuesday. The Austin lab, which was certified last month to test for Ebola, tested the specimen and sent the sample to the CDC in Atlanta for further confirmation.

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian. On Wednesday morning, the hospital listed the patient's condition as serious.

After receiving the Ebola diagnosis, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness. State and federal health officials said Tuesday there are no other confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola virus in the state, though.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to hold a news conference at noon Wednesday to discuss the Ebola diagnosis.

According to the City of Dallas, the patient moved to Dallas a week ago, but health officials with the CDC said the patient only came to Dallas to visit family. The unidentified man's nationality is not yet known, but NBC 5 confirmed the man is a father who previously lived in the United States. His last known residence was in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

"People have been calling, trying to find out if anybody knows the family," said Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth. "We've been telling people to try to stay away from social gatherings."

Dallas Patient the Fifth Ebola Patient Treated in U.S. This Year

The patient is the fifth person treated for Ebola in the country this year after missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Rick Sacra all contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Brantly and Writebol have fully recovered after they were given experimental drugs and treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in August.  Sacra was treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and was released Sept. 25. He had been working in Liberia on behalf of SIM. The identity and condition of the fourth patient has not been released. It is believed that they are still being treated at Emory Hospital.

Writebol issued a statement Tuesday after learning of the new diagnosis in Dallas on Tuesday.

"We are sad for the family of the patient and pray for recovery to good health," she said. "It is a mercy that the best medical care is available. We also pray for the safety of the medical staff attending to the patient."

How is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease spread through close, direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of a living or dead person who had contracted Ebola. The virus is only contagious when symptoms are present, and it is not spread through the air, through food or water.

Symptoms for Ebola virus involve a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure but the average is eight to 10 days.

If someone exposed to Ebola has not shown symptoms for 21 days they are not expected to develop Ebola.

According to the CDC, recovery from Ebola depends on the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for about 10 years.

The CDC said the United States is well-equipped to manage and treat Ebola and that the chances of an outbreak like the one in West Africa is extremely low.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon Jeff Smith and Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[New Details in Jailed Marine Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:29:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/050214+andrew+tahmooressi.jpg

Two psychiatrists told a Tijuana federal judge Tuesday that an American Marine reservist jailed in Mexico on weapons charges for six months, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs to get treatment in the U.S., according to his attorney Fernando Benitez.

The lawyer filed a motion earlier this month arguing that the Mexican government does not have the resources to treat Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi's PTSD. Since the purpose of Mexican sentencing laws is to rehabilitate prisoners, Benitez argues his client’s case should be thrown out and he should go free.

A psychiatrist for the defense and another for the prosecution evaluated Tahmooressi this week at the El Hongo State Penitentiary, apparently coming to the same conclusion that the veteran's PTSD is an issue, according to Benitez’s posts on Twitter.

“We're not at the finish line, but we've made a huge leap forward. I advise patience and composure. This is evidence, not yet a ruling,” said Benitez in a tweet.

NBC 7 spoke with Tahmooressi’s mother Jill about the new findings.

“I truly hope this is indeed a step forward to bringing Andrew home. We can only wait and see,” she said.

Jill is testifying Wednesday at a U.S. Congressional subcommittee hearing on Tahmooressi's case. TV personality and retired officer Montel Williams will also give testimony on the jailed Marine's behalf.

Tahmooressi, a Florida veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, was in San Diego in March to receive treatment for his PTSD.

His family says on April 1, he took a wrong turn into the San Ysidro Port of Entry and was arrested for having three firearms in his truck. However, Mexican police officials claim Tahmooressi made the same crossing three previous times and would not have gotten lost.

He now faces weapons charges for the U.S.-registered guns.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/freeusmctahmooressifrommexicanjail]]>
<![CDATA[Sperm Bank Mistakenly Sent White Woman Black Donor's Sperm: Suit]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:17:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Vials_generic.jpg

A Downer's Grove sperm bank is reportedly being sued by a white Ohio woman after she was impregnated from vials she says the company mistakenly sent her from a black donor.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Uniontown, Ohio woman gave birth to a mixed-race baby two years ago. The suit claims it's difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise the girl in a small all-white community she describes as "intolerant."

Jennifer Cramblett's lawsuit against Midwest Sperm Bank claims wrongful birth and breach of warranty, and claims she suffered emotional and economic losses, according to the newspaper.

"Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton's future," the Tribune quotes the lawsuit as stating.

The suit claims the error was made because the sperm bank keeps handwritten records, which led to a misread number.

Phone calls to Midwest Sperm Bank and Cramblett's attorney were not immediately returned. 

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[GE Sign Removed From Top of 30 Rock]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:43:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ge+sign+coming+down+30+rock.jpg The city's skyline is changing: workers are in the process of removing the GE signs from the top of 30 Rock. Comcast now owns the majority of NBCUniversal, so the signs are being replaced.]]> <![CDATA[Eric Frein Making Mistakes: Police]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:55:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/197*120/Eric+Frien+Police+Ambush+Manhunt+Pipe+Bomb.JPG

The discovery of two powerful pipe bombs during a massive manhunt in the Pennsylvania woods indicates the fugitive wanted in an ambush on state troopers is stressed out and making mistakes, authorities said as they repeated a call for him to surrender.

The explosives were not deployed, but they were fully functional and capable of causing significant damage, state police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Tuesday.

Officials are convinced the weapons belong to 31-year-old Eric Frein, a self-taught survivalist who has been on the run since Sept. 12. He's charged with killing one trooper and seriously wounding another outside their barracks in Blooming Grove.

The bombs were among several items that Bivens described as being "hastily discarded" by Frein at a campsite in the rugged terrain of the Pocono Mountains. He declined to identify the other objects, but said Frein abandoned them "under pressure" from the dragnet.

Bivens then addressed the suspect directly during a news conference: "You are clearly stressed. You are making significant mistakes."

The disclosure about the bombs comes as deer hunters prepare for bow hunting season to open this weekend. Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said that assuming Frein is not captured overnight, hunting would be closed in the area of the search, which is teeming with hundreds of heavily armed law enforcement officers.

Lau said the exact perimeter of the closure has not been finalized. Hunters have already been asked to keep an eye out for cabins or other structures that look like they've been tampered with or used by Frein.

Officers have found several structures where they think the suspect has stayed, Bivens said, and police also know what Frein is eating and drinking. He noted there had been at least one credible sighting of Frein in the past 24 hours -- from between 75 yards and 100 yards away, and through thick woods.

This probably wasn't Frein's original getaway plan, Bivens said, although he believes the suspect "had prepared to some degree for this possibility." Frein's car was found submerged in a swamp several miles from the barracks a few days after the shooting.

"I think things went wrong with his plan," Bivens said. "I think he at least believed he would have another opportunity to prepare before he went off into the woods, and he didn't get that opportunity."

Authorities say Frein has a vendetta against law enforcement and ambushed two troopers during a shift change. Cpl. Bryon Dickson was killed and Trooper Alex Douglass remains hospitalized with unspecified injuries. Douglass has a long road to recovery, Bivens said.

Dickson wasn't even supposed to work the night of the attack, according to Bivens, but was filling in for another trooper. He said there's no evidence to suggest Frein deliberately targeted the troopers he shot.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Trooper Accidentally Shot Dead]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:33:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/david+kedra+trooper+killed+gun+range+conshohocken.jpg

A Pennsylvania State Trooper died Tuesday evening after he was accidentally shot at a Montgomery County gun range.

Trooper David Kedra, 26, of the Troop K, Skippack station was participating in a training exercise at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Complex in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, around 4:45 p.m. when he was shot.

Officials have not yet revealed what led to the shooting but say a bullet pierced his chest. They also say the shooting was accidental.

A medical helicopter took the trooper from the scene to Temple University Hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

Kedra's body was placed into a hearse and escorted by a police motorcade to the coroner's office on South University Avenue.

Kedra had been a member of the Pennsylvania State Police since June 18, 2012.

"He died serving the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police mourn his loss and extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends," state police officials said in a released statement.

Trooper Kedra is the 96th member of the Pennsylvania State Police to be killed in the line of duty.

Investigators say the shooting appears to be accidental.

The gun range at the training center is normally used by law enforcement and first responders.

<![CDATA[Gravestone Salesman Gambles Away Grieving Families' Burial Money: Cops]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:26:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gravestone+thief+valeriy+sirovsky.jpg

A Newington, Connecticut, man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from grieving families and never delivering the headstones they ordered and paid for.

New Britain police arrested 22-year-old Valeriy Sirovsky, of Newington, the owner of Farmingdale Monument Company in New Britain, after receiving several complaints from family members who had lost their loved ones.

During interviews with police, Sirovsky admitted to having a serious gambling problem and said he had accepted $18,000 for headstones and engraving from 15 clients and could not return the money because of his addiction, according to several arrest warrant applications.

Police received the first complaint about Sirovsky on June 13, when a woman told officers that she paid “Larry Sirovsky” $1,460 for a headstone for her mother in 2013 and he never provided the headstone or returned her calls, police said.

As police started looking into the case, they learned that Sirovsky had never submitted an application to the cemetery review the headstone for the victim’s mother, police said.

On July 18, police received another complaint from a woman who said she and her father paid Sirovsky $2,750 for a headstone for her mother in August 2013, which was never completed.

During one conversation, Sirovsky told the second victim that it was too close to winter for the headstone to be placed at the cemetery and they would have to wait. The victim was never again able to reach him.

Police received a third complaint on Aug. 14 from the attorney representing a woman who had paid Sirovsky $2,044 for a headstone for her husband in November 2013, but never received it. 

On Aug. 29, police took a complaint from another customers who told a similar story.

The customer said she paid Sirovsky $610 in September 2013 to have a headstone engraved. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach him, the victim’s son reached Sirovsky in April, who promised to get the work done by May. It was never completed, according to court documents.

Sirovsky and he met with investigators on July 31. He told them his business did well and he had completed several contracts, but developed a “very bad gambling addiction” in 2013 and it affected his ability to fulfill 15 contracts worth $18,000, according to the arrest warrant application.

Sirovsky worked out of the Paul Shaker Funeral Home in New Britain but was ordered out when customers began calling to complain about missing headstones.

"I let him know we had to get the restitution back, removed the sign from my lawn because it's going to cost me business, and I wanted to make it clear it had nothing to do with the Shaker Funeral Home," explained funeral home director Paul Shaker. "It was strictly the monument company."

Sirovsky has been arrested on four warrants out of New Britain and has been charged with four counts of second-degree larceny.

He was released on a promise to appear and is due in court on Nov. 18.

No one answered the door at Sirovsky's home Tuesday. Information on an attorney for Sirovsky was not immediately available.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/New Britain Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:22:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital has been quarantined, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and has been quarantined according to Centers for Disease Control and Dallas County Health guidelines.

Should the ambulance crew members develop symptoms, investigators will then determine with whom they came into contact and monitor those people for symptoms as well.

The ambulance used to transport the man has been pulled from service at Station 37 in 6700 block of Greenville Avenue.

Chopper 5 showed Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance 37 parked away from all other vehicles at the training center in the 5000 block of Dolphin Road. The ambulance was wrapped in red caution tape and blocked in.

The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known.

The City of Dallas said it has activated the city's Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness after receiving confirmation that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation. The person moved to Dallas from Liberia a week ago.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Accused W.H. Intruder Indicted]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:37:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP183397360031.jpg

The man accused of scaling a security fence and getting into the White House with a knife was indicted on federal and local charges Tuesday, according to federal prosecutors.

Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, is set to appear in federal court Wednesday in Washington.

He was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury after they say he scaled the White House's north perimeter fence, ran across the lawn and entered the presidential mansion on Sept. 19 before agents stopped him.

A District of Columbia grand jury also returned a three-count indictment against Gonzalez Tuesday for unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon, as well as violating two District of Columbia laws: carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or place of business and unlawful possession of ammunition.

After Gonzalez was arrested incident the White House, the U.S. Attorney's Office says he gave consent to search his vehicle, which contained hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete.

The federal charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison. The D.C. charge of carrying a dangerous weapon carries a maximum of five years, and the charge of unlawful possession of ammunition carries up to one year.

President Barack Obama and his family were away at the time of the incident on Sept. 19.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Sandy Hook Playground Started]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/principal17.jpg

Volunteers broke ground Tuesday on the last of the 26 playgrounds dedicated to the students and teachers shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The 26th and final playground will be named for school principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, who bravely ran toward the barrage of bullets and died protecting her students and staff.

Alongside the Where Angels Play Foundation, Hochsprung's two daughters helped to design the playground in Watertown, the community where her four grandchildren live.

One of the many volunteers to help make the project a reality is the father of a young woman who was also killed protecting her young students.

Carlos Soto's 27-year-old daughter, Victoria, was a teacher at Sandy Hook and died shielding her students from gunfire.

He said he was inspired to help after watching the construction of his daughter's playground. Soto charged batteries for the workers on Tuesday and cheered them on.

"From something ugly that happened, something beautiful is coming out of it," Soto said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Oct. 5.

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<![CDATA[Illinois Man Killed When Tire Goes Through Windshield]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:13:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Mark+Bolan.jpg

A 55-year-old Lombard, Illinois, man was killed Monday after a tire flew off an oncoming vehicle on I-90 in Wisconsin and through the windshield of the vehicle he was riding in.

Mark Bolan was traveling to Wisconsin on a fishing trip with his best friend when the crash happened in Dane County. His family said he was killed instantly.

"In a freak accident like this there's no intent involved, maybe some carelessness," Bolan's brother-in-law, Dan Simic, said. "It's hard to blame anybody. It's better not to dwell on vengeance or guilt. It's better just to move forward."

Wisconsin State Patrol said the tire came off an unknown heavy utility truck or trailer heading eastbound on I-90 near Madison as Bolan's car was travelling westbound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

As Bolan's family focuses on funeral plans, his wife says she's in shock.

"I'm aware one moment," Mia Bolan said, "not aware one moment. It's hitting hard."

Bolan grew up in Chicago and graduated from Maine South High School. His family said he often performed improv at ComedySportz and was employed by the restaurant company Lettuce Entertain You. Entertaining was his joy, they said.

"Mark was the life of the party. Gregarious, outgoing, engaging. When he was in the room, it just lit up."

Boland was in the passenger seat, and his friend was behind the wheel when the crash happened. His friend was not injured in the accident.

"What is it going to be like without him?" Mia Bolan said. I can't imagine. It will be scary. It will be scary."

Police are still searching for the driver whose tire struck Bolan.

<![CDATA[Arrest After Miami Mass Shooting]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:45:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tiffanyjohnson2011mugshot.jpg

The manager of a Miami restaurant where 15 people, including children, were shot during a party last weekend was arrested and given a notice to appear in court for allegedly selling liquor without a license.

Agents with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, in coordination with Miami Police, conducted an inspection of The Spot on Monday and found three bottles of liquor behind the bar, officials said. The restaurant only has a license to sell beer and wine.

That prompted the arrest of The Spot's manager, Tiffany Johnson, 31, and notice to appear in court.

Fifteen people were injured, the youngest just 11 years old, in a mass shooting Sunday morning at The Spot, which initially was reported to be a nightclub but is actually licensed as a restaurant.

Neighbors said the adult club had recently started hosting a teen night that was drawing large crowds.

Of the 15 wounded, one student named Trayvon was reported to be in critical but stable condition Monday. The other victims remaining in the hospital were in good condition. Some victims have been released from the hospital.

Lataara Ingram was one of the students who were shot. Friends told NBC 6 that she is a cheerleader at Booker T. Washington High School.

"Every time you see her, she kept to herself," said fellow student Briana Hines. "She doesn't cause any problems. So when I heard she was shot, it was unbelievable. Little Lataara. Innocent Lataara? Wow."

Police said it’s not immediately clear how many shooters were involved or what prompted the violence.

If you have any information about the mass shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Cites Tsarnaev in Motion]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:58:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_aaron_hernandez_miami.jpg

Defense lawyers for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez are citing the high-profile case against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in their motion to have their client's venue changed.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Hernandez's lawyers are seeking to have Hernandez's Bristol County trial moved, arguing that the jury pool has been "poisoned" by prejudicial pretrial publicity. They suggested moving the trial "outside the Boston media market" to Hampden County or Worcester County.

The defense team's primary argument is "a media frenzy, the likes of which have never been seen in recent memory," according to the motion filed by attorney Michael Fee. Twenty-four of the 26 exhibits filed are media accounts, including a search for "Aaron Hernandez" on NECN.com.

Another exhibit filed by Hernandez is Tsarnaev's motion to change venues, which was denied earlier this month.

Fee argues that Tsarnaev was not permitted to change venues from "the large and diverse pool" of about 5 million people, Hernandez only has access to "350,000 to 400,000, if not fewer," potential jurors. Seventy to 80 percent of the pool, Fee says, is "hopelessly biased."

Additionally, Fee says that the media coverage of Hernandez has been more negative than that of Tsarnaev.

"Indeed, the sympathy shown for Tsarnaev in the press, including his portrayal as an impressionable young man under the influence of his Jihadi older brother, is in sharp contrast to the universally pejorative portrayal of Hernandez," he wrote in the motion. "Moreover, this court is acutely aware of the presence of prejudicial publicity in this case, as the danger of prejudice formed the basis for the entry of the so-called "gag order" in February."

The motion also cites the association of negative media attention regarding fellow NFL players, specifically Ray Rice. A Google search of the two men's names was submitted as an exhibit.

"Indeed, the intense media coverage of off-the-field violence by other NFL players is keeping the Hernandez case in the news almost daily and this trend alone, leaving aside other coverage of Hernandez, shows no sign of abating," wrote Fee.

CLICK HERE to see exhibits 1-12.

CLICK HERE to see exhibits 13-26.

CLICK HERE to read the motion.

Hernandez's trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9, 2015.

Also on Tuesday, the defendant was in Fall River Superior Court for a hearing on the defense's bid to have evidence from his cell phone thrown out. The hearing lasted about five hours, and is set to resume on Wednesday.

Stay with NECN for more on this developing story.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI in Maryland]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:03:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_080212_phelps20i.jpg

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI and other charges in Maryland early Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, Phelps pleaded for forgiveness on Twitter, writing, "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility... I am deeply sorry."

Police say Phelps was clocked driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone on southbound Interstate 395 leaving Baltimore.

An officer then followed Phelps' white 2014 Land Rover through the Fort McHenry Tunnel on northbound Interstate 95, said Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Phelps was speeding and crossing double lines in the tunnel, they said.

The officer stopped Phelps just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza. Authorities say he appeared to be under the influence and failed a series of field sobriety tests. Phelps was cooperative during the process, they said.

Phelps was arrested around 1:40 a.m., TMZ first reported. He was charged with DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines, and was later released.

The swimmer posted a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon, apologizing for the incident. "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility," he said in part. "I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."

Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history with 22 medals: 18 gold, two silver and two bronze. He won an unprecedented eight gold medals in eight events at the Beijing Games in 2008, and returned to win four more golds at the London Games in 2012.

The swimmer said after the London Games that he was finished with competitive swimming. But he recently returned to the pool, competing in significant championship events this summer. He has not yet confirmed his plans for the Summer Games in Rio in 2016.

Phelps has been charged with DUI previously. In November 2004, he was stopped by state troopers in Salisbury, Maryland, after failing to stop for a stop sign. He was 19 at the time.

In that case, Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. He was fined $250 and was ordered to serve 18 months probation.

During an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today," Phelps called the event an isolated incident and said he had "let myself down and my family down... I think I let a lot of people in the country down."

Phelps faced further controversy when a photograph surfaced in February 2009 showing him with a water pipe used to smoke tobacco or marijuana.

Phelps publicly apologized and admitted that the image, taken at a student party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic. The brouhaha surrounding the photo resulted in the swimmer losing Kellogg's as a sponsor and a three-month suspension from USA Swimming.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Bear Cornered After 6-Hour Chase]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:20:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/bear+hang.jpg

Animal control officials managed to shoot a bear with a tranquilizer dart after it climbed a tree near a northern New Jersey elementary school, camped out there for a bit and shimmied the 40 feet back down before running off in the opposite direction, leading authorities on a six-hour chase.

Authorities were trying to coax the 301-pound bear down low enough so they could tranquilize it and safely catch it in a net, but the bear apparently came all the way to the ground on its own -- and escaped.

The bear led authorities on a chase through Ridgewood after it climbed about 40 feet up a tree in the front yard of a home near Ridge Elementary School around 9:30 a.m. It ran toward Godwin Avenue and climbed another tree there, then climbed down that one and ran off again before authorities found it nestled in the crook of yet another tree, this time on Lake Street.

The bruin clung to a branch for awhile, but the effect of the tranquilizer dart eventually made it fall into a safety net held by emergency responders. The bear, a male, was not harmed. It will be tagged and marked and driven back to the woods in northwest New Jersey. Authorities said it never behaved aggressively.

No injuries were reported and students in nearby schools were able to go home as scheduled.

An hour before the bear was spotted near the elementary school, sanitation workers reported seeing a bear and two cubs at a leaf dump. Authorities also got a call about a large bear spotted elsewhere in town.

The multiple sightings in Ridgewood come a day after officials at an elementary school in Wayne, a county over, canceled outdoor recess for the second time in two weeks after a bear was spotted wandering through the neighborhood.

Police say the bear in Wayne, believed to be the same one spotted in the area last week, hasn't shown aggressive behavior. It was seen in the woods surrounding the Toys R Us corporate headquarters over the weekend and on various blocks around the Pines Lake neighborhood.

Residents in nearby Oakland have also seen a mother black bear and her cubs walking near houses.

Many homeowners are taking the bears more seriously after Rutgers senior Darsh Patel was killed in a bear attack in West Milford last Sunday, the first fatal bear attack in New Jersey in at least 150 years.

Since the bear hunt in New Jersey began four years ago, the number of bear nuisance complaints have gone down by 43 percent.

But in 2014, the numbers have been going back up, with a 30 percent increase in bear nuisance calls compared to last year. Biologists are still trying to determine why.

Follow Jen Maxfield on Twitter @JenMaxfield4NY 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Brain Injury Erases Wedding Memory]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:07:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/bride+memory+loss.jpg

A Queens couple celebrated a unique wedding anniversary in a Long Island hospital Tuesday, insisting their love helped conquer a near fatal brain hemorrhage.

Tunicia and Raleigh Hall were married in June. A month later, complaining of the worst headache in her life, Tunicia Hall, 43, was taken to the hospital.

She was suffering from what doctors call an "uncommon" type of brain hemorrhage, a form of a stroke that strikes otherwise healthy middle-aged people.

As doctors treated his wife, Raleigh Hall, 50, realized she was losing some of her memory.

At one point, she asked the man she has known for 30 years, "Are we married?”

“I felt like I lost her,” Raleigh Hall remembered.

He covered the walls of his wife’s hospital room with photos of their wedding, in the hope that it would help her remember.

“I was fighting to get her back. Whatever came to mind, I tried," Raleigh Hall said.

Over time, the couple said, Tunicia Hall began to remember.

"The photos drew questions -- when were we married? And she saw something and I believe what she saw was hope," Raleigh Hall said.

Tunicia Hall said the process of recovering her memory was gradual, but she now feels "great" and is in no pain.

The couple marked three months as man and wife at North Shore University hospital in Manhasset, a few floors below the intensive care unit where Raleigh Hall spent weeks at his wife’s bedside.

Hospital staff presented the happy couple with a cake and then offered a toast "to life."

Tunicia Hall's doctor acknowledged that sometimes medical science alone isn’t enough to bring patients back.

“This is a great example of that,” said Dr. Richard Temis. “Patients families are key to recovery.”

"It happens," said Raleigh Hall. "When you see hope, it happens." 

Follow Greg Cergol on Twitter @GREGCERGOL4NY

<![CDATA[Teen Accused of Climbing NYC Skyscraper to Take Photos: NYPD]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:19:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/432-Park-Ave.jpg

A 17-year-old boy has been accused of climbing an under-construction residential tower that, upon completion, will be one of the city's tallest buildings so he could take photos, police say.

The teen is charged with criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment after he allegedly scaled 432 Park Ave. to take photos from atop the residential tower that already looms over the midtown skyline and will stand at 1,398 feet when its finished sometime next year.

Police say the teen was arrested after investigators brought him in for questioning about photos posted this week to his Instagram account that appear to have been taken from atop the tower.

One of the images shows the city draped in low clouds with only the spires of One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building breaking through. In another, the vantage point shifts over the building's edge, showing the city’s streets peeking through the cloud cover. At least two others also appear to have been taken from atop the tower.

On his Instagram account, the teen describes himself as an “urban historian." The account includes dozens of photos taken from dizzying heights across the city, with some shots showing subjects precariously close to building ledges.

Some other photos posted on the account also appear to have been taken from atop the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

The teen’s arrest is the latest in a string of breaches at landmarks across the city this year.

Earlier this year, another teen and four BASE jumpers were arrested after scaling the city’s tallest building, One World Trade Center, in separate incidents

Also earlier this year, a tourist was arrested after allegedly scaling the Brooklyn Bridge to take photo. A pair of German artists claimed to have scaled the span's towers to swap American flags with bleached-white ones. No charges have been filed in that case.

Below is one of the photos that appears to have been taken from atop 432 Park Ave.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cocaine Found in Heels: Officials ]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:21:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cocaine+shoes+jfk.jpg

A woman faces federal narcotics smuggling charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport allegedly found nearly $65,000 worth of cocaine stashed in two pairs of platform shoes and a pocketbook when she arrived there earlier this month.

Customs agents stopped the woman for a routine check after she got off a flight from Jamaica Sept. 19. officers thought two pairs of platform shoes in her luggage seemed unusually heavy and brought her to a private search area, where they pulled apart the shoes and found a white powder that tested positive for cocaine, authorities alleged.

A similar substance was allegedly found in her pocketbook. That substance also tested positive for cocaine, officials said.

The woman was arrested on a charge of importing a controlled substance and turned over to Department of Homeland Security investigators. Authorities later said she would face federal charges.

A total of 3.7 pounds of cocaine worth about $64,000 on the street was recovered.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Losing His Sight Travels to See Northern Lights]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:26:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_northernlightsboy0930_1500x845.jpg Young boy travels to Alaska to view Northern Lights and nature before he goes blind. Blake Essig reports.]]> <![CDATA[CA Plastic Bag Ban Approved]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:23:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday.

The measure, first proposed by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

Moments after Brown signed the measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance called it a “back room deal between grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

The group plans to launch a referendum effort for the November 2016 ballot to repeal the measure.

San Diegan Laura Quinn-Stalker had mixed feelings about the news.

“Although I reuse my plastic bags constantly and will miss that,” she posted to NBC 7’s Facebook page, “I think this is important to do.”

“Won't see a dime saved in my pocket. Now, I have to buy garbage bags,” Oxnard resident Wade Wilson posted.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup.

About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to Give Commencement Address at Vermont College]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:48:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PHI+mumia+abu+jamal+042611.jpg

Prisoner, former death row inmate, author and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal will give the commencement speech at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.

Abu-Jamal, 60, was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Prosecutors later agreed to a life term after a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing, citing flawed jury instructions.

Since his arrest, Abu-Jamal has gained supporters worldwide who claim he is innocent of the crime and the victim of a racist legal system. Those opposing his release, including Faulkner's widow and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, maintain that Abu-Jamal was Faulkner's killer.

Abu-Jamal currently resides at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa. after he was transferred there from death row in 2012.

The college announced Monday that Abu-Jamal, who received his Bachelor of Arts from Goddard in 1996, was selected by the fall 2014 graduating class. Officials at Goddard College say his commencement remarks were prerecorded and will be played along a short video from filmmaker Stephen Vittoria. Vittoria released a documentary on Abu-Jamal titled “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal” in 2012.

“As a reflection of Goddard’s individualized and transformational educational model, our commencements are intimate affairs where each student serves as her or his own valedictorian, and each class chooses its own speaker,” said Goddard College Interim President Bob Kenny. “Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that.”

The commencement ceremony will take place October 5 at the Haybarn Theatre at Goddard College at 123 Pitkin Road in Plainfield, Vermont starting at 4 p.m. 

Goddard College is a liberal arts college with locations in Plainfield Vermont, Port Townsend Washington and Seattle, Washington. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>