Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill
Members of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade climbed two miles up a steep canyon to repair a 26-mile water pipeline.
June 8th, 2012
09:12 PM ET

Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill

Tombstone, Arizona (CNN) – Under an unforgiving desert sun, about 60 determined souls gathered in a high school football field under the banner of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade. They collected shovels and joined a pickup truck caravan across the desert. Then they climbed two miles up a steep, rocky canyon and began to move part of a mountain, one boulder at a time.

Thousands of miles away, in the nation’s capital, Tombstone’s congressman and the city archivist tried to move a bureaucratic mountain, too, during hearings before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Tombstone, as CNN has reported, is in the midst of a court battle with the U.S. Forest Service. At issue is whether Tombstone can take heavy equipment into federally protected wilderness.

Tombstone is trying to repair a 26-mile pipeline that has brought mountain spring water into the city since 1881. The pipeline was damaged during last summer’s Monument Fire and floods that brought mud and boulders crashing down the denuded mountainside.

The city sued the Forest Service in December, accusing the agency of dragging its feet during a state of emergency. The courts have turned down the city’s request for an emergency injunction, and so the battle has entered a new phase in the court of public opinion.

Frustrated with the slow pace of the repairs, Tombstone’s supporters created the nonprofit Tombstone Shovel Brigade a couple of months ago. They are helped by the organizers of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, which used volunteer muscle power to move a boulder and reopen a mountain road on federal wilderness in 2000.

Tombstone has become the poster city for a sweeping resurgence of the Sagebrush Rebellion in some Western states. This time, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory explained, the rebellion is not fueled by oilmen and cattle ranchers.

Instead, local governments are behind the movement to push back against what they say is the federal government’s treatment of them as “submissive subdivisions.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake has introduced H.R. 5971, the Emergency Water Supply Restoration Act, which proposes to set aside Forest Service restrictions against the use of construction equipment during state-declared water emergencies. Flake and Nancy Sosa, the city’s archivist, were among the witnesses who testified Friday.

“The unforeseen consequences of federal laws and regulations threaten to do something outlaws, economic busts, and the Arizona desert couldn’t: Kill the town too tough to die,” Flake said. Tombstone, population 1,400, is a throwback to the Old West and is famous for the 30-second gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which is re-enacted for tourists twice a day.

“Without water, the most precious commodity in the desert, Tombstone will cease to exist,” Sosa said. She told the committee that Tombstone burned to the ground twice before the waterline was built.

CNN will have more on this developing story Saturday.

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Filed under: Arizona • Congress • Courts • Environment • Fire • Flooding • U.S. • Weather
Harvard-bound homeless grad 'overwhelmed' by ovation
Dawn Loggins, 18, at her high school graduation ceremony in Lawndale, North Carolina, on Thursday.
June 8th, 2012
05:09 PM ET

Harvard-bound homeless grad 'overwhelmed' by ovation

Dawn Loggins whose inspirational story of going from homeless to Harvard inspired millions walked across the stage late Thursday at North Carolina's Burns High School to loud cheers.

When her name, Ashley Dawn Loggins, was intoned, it brought down the house. Everyone in the auditorium erupted with enthusiastic yells and whistles. Most rose in a standing ovation to honor the first person from Lawndale, North Carolina, to ever be accepted to Harvard.

A CNN story on Dawn earlier in the day caught like wildfire through social media, with nearly 60,000 people sharing her story on Facebook. Thousands more tweeted Dawn's tale.

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From homeless to Harvard

Dawn Loggins never gave up on her dreams, even when she was homeless. She heads to her dream school, Harvard, this fall.

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Homeless student to go to dream college

CNN's Randi Kay talks to rising freshman Dawn Loggins about graduatnig and realizing her goal of attending Harvard.

As Dawn took in the crowd's applause Thursday, she beamed with pride and accepted the leather-bound folder that housed the diploma she’s worked so hard to get. She then broke down in tears.

“All I could hear were their screams, I couldn’t hear myself think," she said later. "That’s when I got overwhelmed and really emotional. I felt like all my hard work had finally been recognized.”

After shaking hands with school administrators, she went back to her peers, lost in a sea of light blue caps. Outside, she was mobbed by well-wishers.

A man whose granddaughter was in Dawn’s fourth-period class said, “I don’t know what you’re doing honey, but keep doing it because it’s working. And you’re gonna get where you wanna go.”

Dawn had been abandoned by her drug-abusing parents last summer and left to fend for herself her senior year. She worked as a school janitor to make ends meet, and school staff pitched in to help.

“It feels amazing to finally be done and to have worked so hard for this and to finally have achieved it," she said, crying.

Dawn’s family made the ceremony. Her mother, stepfather, grandmother, half-sisters and cousins attended. But it was her brother, Shane, she wanted to see most. He'd helped her throughout her life. “Love ya,” he told her Thursday evening.

Her custodial supervisor, Julie Barrett, said simply: “Congratulations baby! I am so proud of you."

Dawn, 18, plans to take a week off of work. But she’ll be back at Burns High in a week to once again take up her mop and broom as she works through the summer to help pay for college. While Harvard is paying for tuition, room and board, she still has to pay for textbooks, school materials and other living expenses.

She thanked everyone who has reached out to help with donations. She will use the money to set up her nonprofit organization, named Uplift. “There are other students whose situations are worse than mine, and their futures are less certain,” she said. “The only way to get out of poverty is through education.”

For teens in similar situations as hers, Dawn encourages hard work and communication. “I encourage people in poor situations to talk to someone at school, to talk to a guidance counselor, or talk to an administrator, a teacher. Because the school system can help,” she said.

Any contributions can be sent to: Burns High School/Dawn Loggins Fund, 307 E. Stagecoach Trail, Lawndale, NC 28090.

Dawn's story echoes that of another:  In 2007, The Foundation for a Better Life, a Colorado-based group that promotes values through advertisements, started a nationwide "Ambition" billboard campaign.

"From homeless to Harvard. AMBITION. Pass it on," the billboard said.

It featured a photograph of Liz Murray, a once-homeless girl from the Bronx who graduated from Harvard and went on to become an author. Her story was captured in a 2003 Lifetime movie.

The Foundation for a Better Life says Liz's story was to show people that "dedication pays off - and, if there's something that you want in life, you can better yourself and just work for it."

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Filed under: Education • North Carolina
Overheard on CNN.com: If wishes were horses, 'Another' Secretariat would rise
I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but won't be attending the Belmont.
June 8th, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: If wishes were horses, 'Another' Secretariat would rise

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Readers' hopes of witnessing the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years sank when the news broke that I'll Have Another was scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes. We're seeing all kinds of conversation about this horse, and the high-stakes racing world.

'I'll Have Another' scratched from Belmont

Do horses care about winning? Readers started to reminisce about the champion horse Secretariat, which inspired a movie starring Diane Lane.

Susan Barth: "I'm sure the horse could care less ..."

Chicago7: "I disagree with the sentiment that the horse couldn't care less. I think champion racehorses know very well that they're special when they're running. How could anyone doubt that while watching Secretariat shut out the competition at the lengthy Belmont Stakes, pass the finish line and then just keep running at full tilt ... and running ... and running ... and running. He knew all eyes were on him, that everyone was breathless, and that he was doing something extraordinary, and didn't want it to end. I'd call that horse a machine except he had too much heart to reduce him to that. I'm hoping for another Secretariat someday although I know there'll never be another horse like him. I was rooting hard for Smarty Jones and was so sad when he didn't win the Belmont. I feel just like that now – I'll Have Another reminded me of him a lot."

Mwolve: "I don't know about the feeling of having eyes on him, though dogs are definitely known to find joy in performing for their owners and sometimes one up each other, but it is obvious that some horses love to run and run fast. It is not a stretch to think some horses like to out run others. That being said, Secretariat was a bit of a machine. He literally had a lot of heart. He was physically much more gifted, including having a larger heart (literal organ), than any other horse he faced."

Some were hoping to witness a historic moment. FULL POST

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Sports
June 8th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

I'll Have Another scratched from Belmont, ending Triple Crown bid

[Updated at 12:34 p.m. ET] The racehorse I'll Have Another has been scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes, ending its bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, a spokesman for trainer Doug O'Neill confirmed Friday.

Earlier Friday, O'Neill told the "Dan Patrick Show" that I'll Have Another was out, citing swelling in one of the horse's legs.

“I’ll Have Another is officially out of the Belmont," O'Neill told the radio show. "He galloped great yesterday, and in the afternoon he had a little bit of swelling in his left front leg.

“This morning, he looked perfect. I took him out and I just did a little something with him. After training, that swelling came back.

"I had the vet come over. He scanned his left front leg. He’s got the start of tendinitis going on in that front leg, so he’s not 100%. And we ain’t taking any chances."

O'Neill told the show that he didn't know how the horse became injured.

“Pulling him out, it’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment. (I’m) just so disappointed for the horse, obviously, and … the whole team.

News of the withdrawal comes after O'Neill sent the horse out to the Belmont Park track for earlier-than-usual training Friday morning - jogging a half-mile and galloping a mile, starting at 5:30 a.m., according to a New York Racing Association story on the Belmont Stakes website.

Before the withdrawal, the horse's owner, Paul Reddam, told CNN on Friday morning that preparations were going well.

Had the horse won the Belmont, it would have been the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

I'll Have Another won the first two races this year, but wasn't the favorite for either. Before Friday's withdrawal, oddsmakers said the horse was favored to win the Belmont at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.

Since 1990, only seven horses have won the first two legs of the title.

I'll Have Another was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby, which happened in May. The horse competed in the shadow of Bodemeister, which was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.

High stakes, long race at Triple Crown's Belmont

The time leading up to the Belmont Stakes has not been without controversy. A workers strike at Belmont Park was averted this week.

The racetrack's workers, who manage the grounds and put the horses in the gate, have been involved in a contract dispute with the New York Racing Association over wages and health care since 2010.

Also, I'll Have Another's trainer is to begin a 45-day suspension, handed down by the California horse-racing authorities, on July 1.

O'Neill was found responsible for high carbon dioxide levels in 2010 California Del Mar track racer Argenta's blood. However, he was not found guilty of "intentional acts" or any sign that betting was skewed toward Argenta in the race.

Despite that, O'Neill still was able to participate in the Stakes this weekend.

FULL STORY
Judge rejects motions to dismiss in Sandusky case
Jerry Sandusky arrives at court earlier this week.
June 8th, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Judge rejects motions to dismiss in Sandusky case

The judge overseeing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse case denied on Friday defense motions to dismiss the charges in the case.

Sandusky is charged with more than 50 counts of sexual misconduct involving young boys. His lawyers had sought to have the charges dismissed, arguing some were too vague and that there is insufficient evidence on others.

The ruling comes two days after prosecutors and defense attorneys settled on a jury of five men and seven women to hear the case against Sandusky, who has been under house arrest since he was charged with sexually abusing 10 boys, some of whom he met through the charity he created for underprivileged children.

Sandusky, 68, has denied the charges.

Many jurors have Penn State ties

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Filed under: Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Sports
June 8th, 2012
10:36 AM ET

18 rescued in child pornography raids, feds say

Eighteen victims of child pornography were rescued during a nationwide sweep by federal law enforcement agencies, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday.

The sweep, dubbed Operation Orion, resulted in the arrests of 190 individuals, most of which were in the U.S. but included arrests in Argentina, the Philippines, Spain and the United Kingdom, ICE said in a press release. The operation took place from May 1 to May 31.

"Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

Morton said as children begin summer vacations, parents should pay extra attention to how much time they spend on the Internet.

"Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online," Morton said in the statement.

Related stories:

Interpol targets 55 suspects using social network sites for child sex abuse images

Former top FBI agent charged with child porn distribution

2011: 72 charged in online global child porn ring

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Filed under: Crime
Obama: We're investigating classified-info leaks
June 8th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Obama: We're investigating classified-info leaks

[Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET]  The United States will conduct "thorough investigations" into leaks of classfied information, President Barack Obama said Friday in his first public comments on the controversy since several members of Congress called for an independent counsel to investigate.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," Obama said. "It's wrong, and people ... need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how people (around me) approach this office."

The controversy involves, among other things, last week's report in The New York Times that provided classified details of what it described as a U.S cyberattack targeting Iran's nuclear centrifuge program.

Some Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, alleged that the White House must be knowingly involved because of the nature of the leaked information. The White House rejects the accusations. The FBI and the U.S. attorney in Washington are investigating, federal lawmakers have told reporters.

Obama's comments in the White House press briefing room came after he made a statement on the economy, in which he called on Congress to pass all parts of his 2011 jobs plan to counter European economic troubles, which he says threatens a U.S. economic recovery (see below).

[Updated at 10:56 a.m. ET]  President Barack Obama said Congress should adopt all parts of his jobs plan - which he introduced last year - to help counter economic "headwinds" from Europe that he says is holding back a U.S. economic recovery.

He said he appreciated the fact that Congress passed on part of his plan - a payroll tax cut extension. But he called for the passage of the other parts, including bills that would help people refinance their mortgages and give businesses tax breaks for hiring more workers.

Obama’s remarks come a week after a jobs report showed U.S. unemployment in May rose from 8.1% to 8.2%, and that only 69,000 jobs were added last month - the weakest growth in a year.

[Updated at 10:52 a.m. ET] The threat of further economic turmoil in Europe threatens the U.S. economy, President Barack Obama said Friday in urging European leaders to enact plans to stabilize their economies.

Obama said the good news is that European leaders know that "there is a path out of this challenge," including taking actions that would promote economic growth and job creation. He also urged Greece, which is facing a debt crisis, to remain in the euro zone.

Investors around the world have been concerned about Europe's financial difficulties, including fears that Spain, which is in recession, will need to be bailed out by other European nations, and uncertainties about whether Greece will be forced to drop the euro, according to CNNMoney. On Thursday, credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Spain's sovereign debt rating.

The decisions that are required to turn around Europe's finances "are tough, but Europe has the capacity to make them, and they have America’s support," Obama said.

If Europe as a whole goes into recession, that means fewer goods and services that the United States can sell to Europe, Obama said.

"And that is going to have some impact on our recovery," Obama said.

[Updated at 10:37 a.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver a statement about the economy Friday morning, the White House has said.

The president will talk about "the situation in Europe, which continues to pose headwinds to our recovery here at home," the White House said in a statement. The White House said he would begin speaking at about 10:15 a.m., but reporters still were waiting for him in the White House press briefing room at 10:35 a.m.

Obama will urge Congress to pass proposals "to put construction workers back to work upgrading our roads and bridges, teachers back in the classroom educating our kids and police and firefighters back on the job keeping our communities safe," according to the White House.

Obama’s remarks come a week after a jobs report showed U.S. unemployment in May rose from 8.1% to 8.2%, and that only 69,000 jobs were added last month - the weakest growth in a year.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • Politics
June 8th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Friday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

10:15 am ET - White House briefing - The classified leaks scandal, Syria and the economy will likely dominate Press Secretary Jay Carney's briefing with the White House press corps.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics
June 8th, 2012
03:59 AM ET

Manhunt under way for suspect in slayings of twins, elderly babysitter

(CNN) - Alabama authorities warn that a 22-year-old man wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of 9-year-old twins and their elderly babysitter should be considered armed and dangerous.

The warning Thursday by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation came as warrants were issued for the arrest of Deandra Marquis Lee.

"Today, murder warrants were obtained for Lee," the bureau said in a written statement.

The announcement followed news earlier this week that the bodies of the twins, Jordan and Taylor DeJerinett, and 73-year-old Jack Mac Girdner were found on a dirt road near Hayneville, southwest of the capital city of Montgomery, state investigators said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Uncategorized
June 8th, 2012
03:55 AM ET

Judge mulls issue of expert neurologist for accused Fort Hood shooter

(CNN) - A military judge will consider Friday whether the government should pay for an expert neurologist for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the military psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood.

The request is one of several motions the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, will take up during the pre-trial hearing scheduled to begin mid-morning, military officials at the base said.

Hasan faces a possible death penalty when he goes on trial on August 20. The military has charged Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in connection with the November 5, 2009, shootings.

Hasan's court-martial, initially slated to begin in March, has been twice delayed at the request of the defense, which has said it needs more time to review the evidence in the case.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Uncategorized