September 9th, 2013
03:58 PM ET

George Zimmerman taken into police custody after incident with wife

George Zimmerman was taken into custody Monday after an apparent domestic altercation with his wife and her father at a home in Lake Mary, Florida, police said.

"As of right now, (George Zimmerman) has been placed in investigative detention," Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

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Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin • Trayvon Martin
Judge accepts BP guilty plea in Gulf oil disaster
January 29th, 2013
01:46 PM ET

Judge accepts BP guilty plea in Gulf oil disaster

A federal judge in Louisiana has accepted a guilty plea from BP for crimes related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including manslaughter charges.

Judge Sarah Vance's judicial assistant Traci Muster could not confirm the terms of the settlement to CNN.

This is a developing story, we'll bring you more details as we get them.

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Filed under: U.S.
November 22nd, 2012
03:30 PM ET

At least two dead in Texas pile-ups involving 100 vehicles

At least two people were killed and an undetermined number injured in Thanksgiving Day pile-ups involving an estimated 100 cars on a foggy stretch of highway in southeast Texas, authorities said.

Officers first received a call mid-morning Thursday indicating there were multiple cars involved on a wreck on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 southwest of Beaumont in Jefferson County.

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Filed under: Texas
November 6th, 2012
12:09 AM ET

A tie for Obama and Romney in nation's first results

The first presidential election results are in - and it's a tie.

President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, each received five votes in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

The town in the state's northeast corner has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960 - but today's tie was the first in its history.

Explainer: What if there's a national tie?

The result was unexpected, said town clerk Dick Erwin. The town has two registered Democrats, three Republicans and five independents.
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Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Politics • U.S.
Zimmerman's wife arrested on perjury charge
June 12th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

Zimmerman's wife arrested on perjury charge

The wife of a Florida man charged with fatally shooting an unarmed teen in February has been arrested on a perjury charge, according to a Florida state attorney's office.

The charge relates to testimony that Shellie Zimmerman (pictured) gave during a bail hearing for her husband, George Zimmerman. Prosecutors contend that Shellie Zimmerman falsely told the court that she and her husband were indigent.

Shellie Zimmerman, 25, was arrested Tuesday, according to Jackie Barnard, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office in the state's Fourth Judicial Circuit. She was released after posting $1,000 bail, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.

George Zimmerman, 28, is a neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, in a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. George Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty.

A Florida judge revoked his bail June 1 after agreeing with prosecutors that he had misrepresented how much money he had. He is expected to ask for a new bail hearing.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
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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FAMU trustees vote 'no confidence' in president
June 7th, 2012
01:56 PM ET

FAMU trustees vote 'no confidence' in president

The Florida A&M Board of Trustees has issued a vote of “no confidence” against FAMU president James Ammons.

The vote was 8-4.

“I hear you loudly and clearly," Ammons said after the vote. "I understand there are measures I have to take, as president of the university, to fix things. And I will fix them."

The vote followed a series of investigations into the university following concerns over the hazing death of a member of the band and drum major Robert Champion. The vote also related to financial audits that resulted from the hazing investigation.

Champion, 26, died last year because of "hemorrhagic shock due to soft tissue hemorrhage, due to blunt force trauma," the Orange County medical examiner said.

More than 2,000 pages of police interviews with witnesses and defendants who were aboard the bus on the day of Champion's death paint a picture of a darkened bus where three band members, including Champion, were hazed.

Witnesses: FAMU drum major beaten with drum mallets in hazing gauntlet

Florida A&M band fraternity charter revoked after hazing investigation 

Opinion: Suspension of FAMU marching band leaves void, hope for better future

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Filed under: Florida
March 19th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Crews search for balloonist who fell from 17,000 feet amid storm

Search-and-rescue teams were conducting an aerial and ground search Monday for a missing hot air balloonist who crashed in Georgia three days earlier.

At least seven helicopters and planes were in the air and more than 100 people were on the ground looking for Ed Ristaino of North Carolina, Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore said.

Teams made up of state patrol officers, forestry units, neighboring sheriff's department personnel, and other volunteers were scouring areas east of Fitzgerald in south-central Georgia, where it is believed the balloon basket went down.

The search was not easy, McLemore said.

"It's majority pines out there with underbrush, some hardwood bottoms, really just a lot of vegetation," he said. "It's more woods than anything - we don't have a lot of open areas."

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'Macho Man' Randy Savage dead after car crash
"Macho Man" Randy Savage at the 2003 movie awards.
May 20th, 2011
02:39 PM ET

'Macho Man' Randy Savage dead after car crash

[Updated at 2:39 p.m.] Pro wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage, 58, was killed Friday morning in Florida when the Jeep he was driving jumped a median and hit a tree, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Savage, whose real name is Randy Poffo, and his wife, 56, who lived in Seminole, Florida, were both in the car, officials said.

An investigation is under way, but a Highway Patrol report said that Ralph Poffo "lost control" of his 2009 Jeep Wrangler for "unknown reasons" as it was traveling westbound on Florida State Route 694 near 113th Street North in Pinellas County. His vehicle "traveled over the raised concrete median divider, crossed the eastbound lanes of SR-694, over the outside curb and collided head-on with a tree," the report said.

His wife was in the passenger seat and was injured, officials said. Officials could not confirm the cause of Poffo's death.

"WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage," the wrestling federation said in a statement. "Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans."

Savage was known for his flashy entertainment in and out of the ring - including his catchphrases "Ooooooh Yeaahhhhh," "Can you dig it?" and his Slim Jim commercials.

"We’re saddened by the loss," ConAgra Foods, who oversees the Slim Jim brand said in a statement. "Randy was a beloved ambassador for the Slim Jim brand for many years and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time."

Bay News 9: 'Macho Man' dies in car crash

Gulf mammal deaths likely far higher than body count, scientists say
A NOAA Fisheries Service graphic illustrates the sharp rise in Gulf of Mexico dolphin deaths that began even before the oil spill.
March 31st, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Gulf mammal deaths likely far higher than body count, scientists say

For every dead dolphin or whale that washes up on Gulf Coast beaches, there may be 50 more that no one ever sees, a new study suggests.

Natural factors and last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico probably have caused thousands more dolphin and whale deaths than have been observed, a team of scientists says in a study published Wednesday by the journal Conservation Letters.

The scientists, led by Rob Williams, said 101 cetacean, or marine mammal, carcasses had been observed in the water or on beaches as of the time of their study.

After analyzing historical data on populations and death rates of 14 species in the northern Gulf, the scientists determined that carcasses are found in only 2% of cetacean deaths.

"Thus, the true death toll could be 50 times the number of carcasses recovered, given no additional information," they write, adding that they don't know what the true figure is.

The scientists urge environmentalists and authorities not to rely solely on observed carcass counts in judging the severity of an event, but to develop standard formulas for more accurate estimates.

Scientists and observers have been alarmed by the high number of dead baby and preterm dolphins that washed ashore in February during the first calving season since the spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service counted 36 infant dolphin strandings in February; there was just one in February 2010, and the 2002-2007 average for February is 2.2. Stranding is the scientific term for marine mammals that end up on land.

NOAA had noticed a rise in cetacean deaths even before the spill which resulted from an April 20 explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers.

"We have been monitoring an increase of dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf since February of 2010," NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Karrie Carnes said.

The numbers of stranded (dead or alive) dolphins and whales are shocking: Against a 2002-07 average of 31.4 for January through March, there were 76 for that period in 2010 and 139 in 2011, according to NOAA.

Scientists aren't jumping to conclusions about what's killing the animals. Similar "unusual mortality events" occur from time to time; the Gulf has seen 13 of them since 1991, said Blair Mase, NOAA's lead marine mammal stranding coordinator. Marine mammals are particularly susceptible to harmful algal blooms, infectious diseases, temperature and environmental changes, and human impact, she said.

"Frankly, it's just too early to tell at this point," Mase said in February. "It's obviously on everyone's radar screen. Everyone's concerned about any impact of the BP oil spill, but we have to be very cautious as to identify any particular cause. We won't know until we have these samples analyzed and be able to identify the source."

November 2nd, 2010
06:54 PM ET

Astronauts cast ballots from space

Three Americans have cast their ballots from the most remote polling station in the solar system the International Space Station, soaring 220 miles above Earth.

Navy Capt. Scott Kelly, U.S. Army Col. Douglas Wheelock and physicist Shannon Walker used a special secure line to the Johnson Space Center, which relayed the votes to the astronauts' respective home counties.

"It's an honor and a privilege to exercise our right as U.S. citizens to vote from the International Space Station," said Kelly, who voted on Sunday.

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Filed under: Elections • Politics • Space
July 28th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

100 days of the BP oil disaster: By the numbers

It's been 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, resulting in an oil spill that has become the nation's worst environmental disaster. Here's how the numbers stack up so far.

Money

  • BP has spent more than $4 billion on response
  • $256 million paid to claimants
  • 82,567 payments have been made to claimants
  • Amount spent does not include the $20 billion escrow fund for claims, the $100 million going to the unemployed rig workers’ fund, or the $500 million establishing the Gulf Coast Research Institute

Oil

  • An estimated 3 to 5.2 million barrels discharged into the Gulf
  • 827,046 barrels collected or flared
  • 265,450 barrels flared in controlled surface burns
  • 825,525 barrels of oily liquid skimmed
  • 1,072,514 gallons of dispersants used

Deployment

  • 24,800 people
  • 4,300 vessels
  • 800 skimmers
  • 114 aircraft
  • 3.41 million feet of boom deployed

CNN.com interactive of the oil disaster