August 28th, 2013
03:11 AM ET

Girl raped, kills self; rapist gets 30 days

A mother in Montana is outraged that a high school teacher convicted of raping her 14-year-old daughter received only a month in prison - while her daughter took her own life.

"I think this sentence is a joke, a travesty," the mother, Auliea Hanlon, told CNN on Tuesday night, a day after the sentencing.

"People will lose faith in our justice system. I have."

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Filed under: Courts • Justice • Montana • U.S.
May 2nd, 2013
07:08 AM ET

California wildfire burns nearly 3,000 acres

Firefighters continue to battle what has been a fast-growing Southern California wildfire,one that has already consumed more than 2,950 acres.

The spread of the blaze seemed to slow early Thursday morning and crews gained greater containment, now pegged at 35%, according to the state agency Cal Fire.

The Riverside County Fire Department said 425 firefighters were involved in what's being called the Summit Fire. Six air tankers dropped chemical retardants on the flames.

March 15th, 2013
05:10 AM ET

32-year-old man to be adopted

A boyhood wish is finally about to come true. But Maurice Griffin had to wait until he was a man for it to happen.

At age 32, the California man is about to be adopted.

"It has to happen," Griffin said. "I didn't fight for all those years for no reason."

Adopting the burly, muscular, mohawk-sporting man is Lisa Godbold, his one-time foster mother.

"I just feel like this makes it official," Godbold said. "And we don't have to keep explaining it now."

February 18th, 2013
12:09 PM ET

LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss dies

Long-time Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died, the team said in a statement Monday.

Buss, 80, had been suffering from an undisclosed form of cancer. He died at Cedars-Sinai hospital after being hospitalized for much of the past 18 months, the team said.

The team will remain under the ownership of the Buss family, the statement said.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
Giffords gets ovation, president’s embrace on eve of resignation
President Barack Obama embraces U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, before the State of the Union address in the U.S. House on Tuesday.
January 25th, 2012
01:37 AM ET

Giffords gets ovation, president’s embrace on eve of resignation

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a few steps into the House chamber and absorbed a 90-second standing ovation before the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the eve of her resignation to focus on recovering from her shooting last year.

Giffords, escorted by colleagues including her friend U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, smiled and waved as attendees stood and cheered, with some chanting "Gab-by! Gab-by!"

Her husband, retired Navy captain and former astronaut Mark Kelly, smiled as he watched from his seat near first lady Michelle Obama. As President Barack Obama entered a few minutes later, the president paused at Giffords' seat and gave her a long embrace and a kiss on the cheek.

And when she stood during the speech and applauded Obama's lines, the Arizona Democrat was helped to her feet by a Republican and fellow Arizonan, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, who probably wouldn't be standing with Democrats during applause lines otherwise.

"It was the least I could do," Flake told CNN after the address. "It was just an incredible experience to be there with her, particularly after last year, having an empty chair where she should have been. It was just an overwhelming, emotional experience for, I think, all of us."

Colleges ease financial burden through increased grants from endowments
Pomona College draws from its endowment to replace loans with grants for students like Seanna Leath.
September 1st, 2011
08:44 PM ET

Colleges ease financial burden through increased grants from endowments

Seanna Leath grew up poor in Little Rock, Arkansas, dodging evictions and urban violence.

Somehow, she tuned out the chaos well enough to earn outstanding grades in high school. Now the 20-year-old is thriving at California's Pomona College, the sixth-ranked liberal arts school in America, according U.S. News and World Report.

Pomona pays almost all of Leath's $50,000 annual tab for tuition, room and board. Now a junior, Leath still seems in awe of the stately campus of 1,560 students.

"Three years ago I just would not have believed that I would be here," said Leath, a junior who has a double major in psychology and African studies. "I never thought I could go to Pomona and not have huge loans."

While many universities are reporting tuition increases for the 2011-2012 year, prospective students may still be able to find some relief through increased scholarships at some institutions, especially elite private schools with large endowments.

While the cost of college continues to skyrocket, families reported paying 9% less for an education in 2010-2011 than a year ago, according to a Sallie Mae survey.

The savings come from cost-cutting measures such as attending lower-cost colleges, living at home or going to school part-time, according to Sallie Mae. But grants and scholarships played an increasingly important role, covering 33% of college costs in 2010-2011, up from 23% the previous year.


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Filed under: Education
Stories from flood: 'At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up'
Marilyn Nally, 73, has lived on her farm in Charleston, Missouri, for 41 years. It is now submerged in floodwaters.
May 10th, 2011
09:12 PM ET

Stories from flood: 'At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up'

As the slow-moving wall of floodwater makes its way down the Mississippi River, residents in areas that have already been affected by the deluge are beginning to take stock of the damage.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway Monday north of New Orleans in an effort to stem flooding from the rising Mississippi River, which has already affected thousands of people in eight Midwestern and Southern states.

See iReport "Open Story" map of people affected by the floods

The procedure is not a cure-all. Last week, the Corps intentionally breached a levee in Missouri to reduce pressure on other levees, flooding 130,000 acres of agricultural land, over the objection of state officials and some farmers. People in those areas are still struggling in the aftermath of the breach.

They levy was blown up to save the small town of Cairo, Illinois, from rising floodwaters. Now, farm families in nearby Charleston, Missouri, are awash in misery.

Marilyn Nally, a 73-year-old widow, looked at her flooded farmhouse a quarter mile in the distance.

"I’m very sad. At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up,” she said.

Many Charleston residents felt that the Corps should have waited longer before blowing the levy that flooded their fields. Farmers Roy and Ray Dennison looked out across the muddy water and could not see the tops of their wheat crop. The brothers estimate they lost $350,000 in the wheat crop alone.

Vickie Caldwell, hair white with experience and heartache, ignored an evacuation order and stayed in Cairo, which is between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Caldwell was born and raised in the town and raised a daughter and a son here.

Some people joked that Cairo, with a decayed downtown and fewer than 2,500 residents, was not worth saving. Caldwell bristled at such comments.

“I hear it a lot. It makes me feel sad you know. They don’t live here; they don’t know the people here. We’ve got good people here."


Get out of town: Shutdown talk spooks passport-seekers
Martin Cummins and Shannon Sauceda shared a spot in line Friday at the Los Angeles passport agency.
April 8th, 2011
04:32 PM ET

Get out of town: Shutdown talk spooks passport-seekers

The prospect of a federal government shutdown had would-be travelers scrambling to passport offices Friday.

About 50 people were waiting outside the Los Angeles passport agency, one of the nation's busiest, when it opened at 7 a.m., said Howard Joseph, customer service manager there.

Los Angeles resident Martin Cummins was trying to get a replacement passport for a trip to Singapore next week to visit his sister and her family.

"It didn't dawn on me until two days ago that (a government shutdown) could affect me," Cummins said. "I realized I had misplaced my passport, so I turned my house upside down. Now I'm a little nervous about this, but I'm here. Let's hope for the best."