Tuesday's intriguing people
"Racing's a very personal thing, almost a spiritual thing," Leslie Porterfield tells Time magazine.
January 25th, 2011
09:43 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Leslie Porterfield

Porterfield holds the Guinness record as the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle. She drove a motorcycle 232.522 mph on Utah's Bonneville salt flats in 2008.

The Dallas native holds or has held the land speed record in four classes, according to a biography on her website. She'll be appearing at the International Motorcycle Show this weekend in Cleveland.

"To make a good rider," Porterfield told Time magazine during a photo shoot, "It takes somebody who can react to unusual circumstances effectively and stay calm. These bikes are a handful, and they are tough to ride. There is a lack of traction that always comes into effect and sometimes the bike moves around quite a bit and sometimes it can get out from under you pretty fast, so it takes some good calm reactions and a lack of panic when things get a little squirrelly out there on the salt [at Bonneville]."

Some of her records were once held by men. "It's an even playing field," she told Time. "That's one of the things I like about it."

"Racing's a very personal thing, almost a spiritual thing," she said. "It really takes a lot of personal awareness to set the record. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of focus and prep to be able to go that fast. It's definitely not a sport for everyone, and it's definitely not all machine."


Federal jury finds Smart kidnapper guilty
December 10th, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Federal jury finds Smart kidnapper guilty

A federal jury has found a homeless street preacher guilty of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002 and transporting the 14-year-old girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Jurors deliberated for about five hours before announcing the verdict in the case of Brian David Mitchell, 57, court officials said.

Smart, now 23, was the prosecution's star witness. She spent three days on the witness stand after traveling to Utah from Paris, France, where she is on a mission with the Mormon church. Afterwards, she sat with her parents in the front row of the courtroom, watching the trial.


Jury resumes deliberations in Elizabeth Smart case
December 10th, 2010
10:51 AM ET

Jury resumes deliberations in Elizabeth Smart case

The jury resumed deliberations Friday in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, accused of kidnapping 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002, a court spokesman said.

The jurors - who began deliberating Thursday - will decide whether Mitchell, 57, was legally insane when he snatched Smart at knifepoint from her bedroom on June 5, 2002.

Smart testified at the monthlong trial that he led her to a makeshift camp in the canyons above her home, "sealed" her as his spiritual plural wife and raped her.

U.S. District Dale Kimball instructed jurors that in order to acquit Mitchell under the insanity defense, they must determine he was mentally ill and that his illness was so severe it kept him from knowing right from wrong.


Accused Smart kidnapper's trial halted after he collapses
November 30th, 2010
11:31 AM ET

Accused Smart kidnapper's trial halted after he collapses

The federal trial of Brian David Mitchell, charged in connection with the 2002 kidnapping of Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart, was halted Tuesday after Mitchell suffered a medical problem in court, according to CNN affiliate KSTU.

The station posted a picture on its website of Mitchell with an oxygen mask on, sitting on a stretcher as he was being loaded into an ambulance.

Mitchell, as usual, began singing when he was led into the courtroom Tuesday - "O Holy Night," KSTU reported. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball began the proceedings by raising an issue in a note sent from jurors.

As Kimball asked for jurors to be brought in, Mitchell began to wail and dropped to the floor, KSTU said.


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Filed under: Crime • Elizabeth Smart • Utah
November 22nd, 2010
01:13 AM ET

Person of interest named in Utah park ranger shooting

Utah authorities have identified a person of interest in the shooting of a park ranger.

Lance Leeroy Arrellano, 40, is believed to be armed and dangerous and seeking medical attention, said the Grand County Sheriff's Office.

Law enforcement officials use the term "person of interest' when they are seeking to question a person who has not been formally accused of a crime.

Authorities say they are seeking Arrellano in connection with the Friday shooting of ranger Brody Young, who remains in critical but stable condition.


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Filed under: Crime • Utah
November 20th, 2010
04:11 AM ET

Park ranger in critical condition after Utah shooting

A search is under way for a shooter who critically wounded a park ranger in Utah, authorities said early Saturday.


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Filed under: Utah
November 16th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Prosecution rests in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case

Elizabeth Smart has testified she was raped and tied to a tree during her captivity.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the federal kidnapping trial of the self-professed prophet accused of kidnapping Utah teen Elizabeth Smart.


Ten witnesses testified during the government’s case, including Smart, 23, who testified for three days about the ordeal. Brian David Mitchell faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes.

Smart was 14 when she was taken at knifepoint from her bed early on June 5, 2002. She testified that she was led to a primitive mountainside camp, “sealed” in marriage to her captor, raped and tethered between two trees “like an animal.”

She was freed on March 12, 2003, as she, Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, returned from a winter trip to California.


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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Elizabeth Smart • Utah
November 4th, 2010
10:41 AM ET

On the Radar: Smart kidnap trial, Tomas, Mexico deaths

Smart trial opens - Opening statements in the trial of the accused mastermind in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart are expected Thursday. It's been eight years since the Utah teen disappeared from her Salt Lake City bedroom in a crime that shocked the nation.

In 2005, a judge found Brian David Mitchell incompetent to stand trial on state charges, leaving him in custody at a psychiatric hospital. The state case was put on hold when federal authorties stepped in.

Mitchell, 57, is facing federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for improper purposes. Smart, now 22, has talked about her experience while she was held. She was found less than a year after her capture walking in an area near Salt Lake City wearing a wig and sunglasses. Smart is on the list of witnesses who are scheduled to testify.


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Filed under: Elizabeth Smart • Haiti • Hurricanes • Mexico • On the Radar • Utah • Weather
November 2nd, 2010
11:05 PM ET

Republican governors take hold in Pennsylvania, NM

Projections are based on CNN analysis of exit poll data:

Pennsylvania Republican Tom Corbett has defeated Democrat Dan Onorato in the race for governor, CNN projects. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell is term-limited.

New Mexico Republican Susana Martinez has defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in the race for governor, CNN projects. Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson is term-limited.


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Filed under: Alabama • Colorado • Elections • Louisiana • New Mexico • Ohio • Pennsylvania • Politics • Utah • Wyoming
October 10th, 2010
05:35 PM ET

2 park rangers die in plane crash

Rescue workers in Utah have found the wreckage of a small plane that crashed Friday night, killing two park rangers on board.

Becki Bronson, spokeswoman for the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, said the victims were Brent McGinn and Laurie Axelson, who both worked for the Glen Canyon Recreation Park Area.


Filed under: Uncategorized • Utah
September 22nd, 2010
11:45 PM ET

Scientists find new dinosaurs related to Triceratops

Utahceratops gettyi was found in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Fossils of two new species of horned dinosaurs closely related to the Triceratops have been discovered in southern Utah, scientists revealed Wednesday.

The discovery of the new plant-eating species, which are believed to have areas known today as the western United States during the Late Cretaceous Period, was announced Wednesday in the online open-access journal PLoS ONE, produced by the Public Library of Science.

The bigger of the two new dinosaurs, with a skull about 7 feet long, is Utahceratops gettyi, whose name combines the state of origin with ceratops, Greek for “horned face.” The second part of the name honors Mike Getty, paleontology collections manager at the Utah Museum of Natural History and the discoverer of this animal. FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Utah
September 20th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Gov: Utah wildfire suppressed 'in significant fashion'

[Updated 10:15 a.m.] Flames from a Utah wildfire have been suppressed "in significant fashion," Gov. Gary Herbert said Monday, and "today looks very good for us to get this fire out today."

[Updated 7:46 a.m.] About 1,600 homes are directly in the path of a dangerous blaze, and officials in Herriman, Utah, say they're working ferociously to save them.

Unified Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen spoke with Candy Crowley on CNN's "American Morning" and explained how firefighters are actively trying to contain the blaze by creating fire breaks.

Michael Jensen: Luckily for us, the fire has gone down, the winds have lessened, and the temperatures have lowered. We're actively still fighting the fire. We have bulldozers that are out causing - creating fire breaks as well as firefighters laying down foam and water as it approaches homes. So what we're worried about is the winds are going to shift with the morning canyon breezes. And so it's going to push the fire back towards some other homes. And so we're just nervous about that right now.

Candy Crowley: And so is that your biggest worry this morning as you fight to contain this fire, the winds?

Jensen: It is. The winds are what hampered us yesterday. And they're going to switch and have - they're going to blow in the opposite direction this morning. And so we're worried we've got some homes. The fire did some flanking on us last night. And so we're worried that it's going to come back on some homes this morning.


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Filed under: Fire • TV-American Morning • Utah
September 20th, 2010
09:09 AM ET

On the Radar: Wildfire, modified salmon, poverty

Utah wildfire - About 150 firefighters in Herriman, Utah, spent the night trying to outmaneuver flames stoked by powerful winds, while families whose homes they were protecting huddled in a nearby high school, wondering if they would have homes to return to.

The fire that's razed at least four homes consumed about 3,500 acres through the night, Capt. Brad Taylor, the Unified Fire Authority spokesman said at a pre-dawn news conference Monday. Hundreds of homes are in path of fire, according to Unified Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen who spoke with Candy Crowley on CNN's "American Morning."


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Filed under: Fire • Health • On the Radar • Utah
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