New photos of Charles Manson have been released by the California Department of Corrections, one week before his next parole hearing. At the request of CNN, the department provided two photographs of Manson taken in June at the state prison in Corcoran, California. They show Manson, 77, with long, flowing gray hair, long beard and mustache. Photos are taken of prisoners when they are transferred to other prisons or medical facilities or, in the case of Manson, when an inmate’s appearance changes. “He looks a lot different,” department of corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.
The last prison photo of Manson was released three years ago and showed Manson with the top of his head shaved. One distinguishing mark remains in the recent photos, a swastika tattoo on Manson’s forehead. A parole hearing is scheduled April 11 for Manson, who was initially sentenced to death for the 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by a group of his followers as part of what prosecutors said was an attempt to incite a race war. His death sentence was changed to life in prison after California’s death penalty was overturned for a period during the 1970s.
Manson may choose not to attend the hearing. The last time he appeared at his parole hearing was 15 years ago. He has been denied parole 11 times. Manson has not been a model inmate. A prosecutor who handled Manson’s parole hearings told CNN in 2009 that Manson had a “laundry list of violations in prison.” In the past five years, Manson was punished for threatening a peace officer and for possession of a weapon, the latter happening in October when Manson was found with a sharpened pen, Thornton said. Manson received notoriety when he was found to be in possession of a contraband cell phone — twice — the latest in January 2011. That incident is still under investigation. Prison officials said they tracked phone numbers in California, Oregon and Maine.
Anarchy reigned in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Crescent City. A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said. The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations in the shootings, which occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast.
Former Officer Robert Faulcon was sentenced to 65 years in prison, while former Sergeant Kenneth Bowen and Sergeant Robert Gisevius each received 40 years and former Officer Anthony Villavaso received 38 years in prison. Former Sergeant Arthur Kaufman, convicted only of having been involved in the cover-up, received 6 years in prison. “Today is a somber day for the citizens of New Orleans, but also an important day in the search for justice.” said Thomas Perez of the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Civil Rights Division. “The justice system worked in this case because the family members never gave up.”
Lance Madison, the brother of Ronald Madison, who was with him when he was slain by the police, said his life will never be the same. “I never go around the Danziger Bridge anymore, it brings back too many bad memories,” he said in a short statement. Faulcon faced the most time of the defendants. He was found guilty of both the coverup and the shooting. Faulcon was the only one of the former officers found guilty of depriving both Brisette and Madison of their civil rights. Bowen Gisevius, Villavaso were each convicted of conspiracy, deprivation of civil rights and firearms charges, and faced the mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years.
Kaufman, who did not shoot at the victims on the bridge, was convicted for his role perpetuating the cover-up. He was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and fabricating witnesses and faced the least amount of time of the officers, from 10 to 12 years. He was the lone defendant who remained free on bond after the August verdicts. The sentences came after a morning of emotional testimony both in support and against the officers who were convicted in the infamous incident that made national headlines. The emotion of the family statements was nearly matched by the heartfelt pleas by family and co-workers of the officers who testified that the men were brave warriors looking to help and defend the city in a time of chaos following Hurricane Katrina.
Sherrell Johnson, the mother of 17-year-old James Brissette, who was killed in the hail of gunfire, admonished the convicted officers. “You’re actions were harsh, cruel and abusive,” she said. “What happened to your oath to protect and serve? Maybe some day God will forgive you, but I never will.” “These officers shot Ronald down like an animal,” said Ronald Madion’s brother Lance. “You took the life of an angel and ripped my heart out. You lied for so long, I wonder if you even know what the truth is.” Kent Bowen, the father of Kenneth Bowen, who was convicted of deprivation of civil rights and firearms charges, stated that his son never would have fired a weapon at innocent people and that he would only have fired if he feared that he or someone he cared about was in danger.
Lt. Louis Gaydosh, testifying in support of Bowen, said the officer “was a warrior.” “He wanted to rescue people. He wanted to go back to New Orleans East. He wanted to go back to the boats. Please take into consideration the hell we went through.” While Sgt. David Slicho asked Engelhardt to consider the plight of the officers who went to sleep each night and woke up with the sound of gunfire, concerned about the chaos and lack of help. On Aug. 5, 2011, Bowen, Faulcon, Gisevius , Villavaso and Kaufman were found guilty for their respective roles in the fatal shooting in the days after Hurricane Katrina that left Ronald Madison and James Brissette dead and four others injured, after officers responded to the bridge on for a call that police were under fire on the bridge.
Looking at approximately 60 years, Faulcon faces the most time of the defendants. He was found guilty of both the coverup and the shooting. Faulcon was the only one of the former officers found guilty of depriving both Brisette and Madison of their civil rights. Bowen Gisevius, Villavaso were each convicted of conspiracy, deprivation of civil rights and firearms charges, and face the mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years. Kaufman, who did not shoot at the victims on the bridge, was convicted for his role perpetuating the cover-up. He was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and fabricating witnesses and faces the least amount of time of the officers, from 10 to 12 years. He was the lone defendant who remained free on bond after the August verdicts.
Hurricane IKE wrecked Southeast Texas in 2008.
MIAMI, Florida — (DMN/Reuters) – The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be “below average” with 10 tropical storms, four of which will strengthen into hurricanes, Colorado State University forecasters predicted on Wednesday. Two of those will become major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 kph), the team founded by forecasting pioneer William Gray said. In an average year, there are 11 tropical storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during the season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The outlook for a milder 2012 season was based on two main factors. Hurricanes thrive on warm water and the tropical Atlantic has cooled this year, the researchers said. There is also a “fairly high” likelihood that an El Nino effect will develop this summer, they said. El Nino is a warming of surface waters in the tropical Pacific that occurs every four to 12 years and has far-ranging effects around the globe. It creates wind shear that makes it harder for nascent storms to grow into hurricanes in the Atlantic-Caribbean basin. But it can produce drought and crop failure in parts of South Asia and wetter than normal conditions in western coastal areas of South America.
Despite the forecast for a moderate number of storms, Phil Klotzbach of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project said vulnerable coastal residents should take the same hurricane preparations they do every year. “Regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is, it takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season,” he said. There was a 42 percent chance that a major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast this year, compared with a historical average of 52 percent, the researchers said. The forecasters said there was a 24 percent chance a major hurricane would hit the U.S. East Coast, compared with a historical average of 31 percent, and a 24 percent one would hit the Gulf of Mexico coast, compared with an average of 30 percent.
Weather watchers may notice a few small changes when the National Hurricane Center begins issuing its advisories this year. Forecasters made small tweaks to the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity to fix a longstanding problem that arises from rounding. The scale divides hurricanes into five categories based on wind speed measured in 5-knot increments. For public advisories, knots are converted to miles per hour and kilometers per hour, rounded to the nearest 5 mph or 5 kph. That created problems when storms neared the threshold dividing the categories. Because of rounding, it was possible for a storm to fall into Category 4 when measured by knots and Category 3 when measured in miles or kilometers per hour.
To fix that, small adjustments in thresholds were made to categories 3 through 5, while categories 1 and 2 were left unchanged. The change takes effect on May 15 and does not affect categories assigned to hurricanes that occurred previously.
The new scale is:
Category 1: 74-95 mph (64-82 knots, 119-153 kph)
Category 2: 96-110 mph (83-95 knots, 154-177 kph)
Category 3: 111-129 mph (96-112 knots, 178-208 kph)
Category 4: 130-156 mph (113-136 knots, 209-251 kph)
Category 5: 157 mph or higher (137 knots or higher, 252 kph or higher)
ARLINGTON, Texas — (DMN/CBS News) – As may as a dozen tornadoes raked North Texas yesterday afternoon crumbling a wing of a nursing home, peeling roofs from dozens of homes and spiraling big-rig trailers into the air like footballs. More than a dozen injuries were reported. Baseball-sized hail punched holes through car roofs, and a Red Cross spokeswoman warned the breadth of the destruction may not be cleared until well into Wednesday, reports CBS affiliate KTVT in Dallas. The mayors of Arlington and Lancaster declared a state of disaster following the storm strike
Overturned cars left streets unnavigable and flattened trucks clogged highway shoulders. Preliminary estimates were that six to 12 twisters had touched down in North Texas, senior National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Martello said. But firm numbers would only come after survey teams checked damage Wednesday, he said. In suburban Dallas, Lancaster police officer Paul Beck said 10 people were injured, two of them severely. Three people were injured in Arlington, including two residents of a nursing home who were taken to a hospital with minor injuries after swirling winds clipped the building, city assistant fire chief Jim Self said.
“Of course the windows were flying out, and my sister is paralyzed, so I had to get someone to help me get her in a wheelchair to get her out of the room,” said Joy Johnston, who was visiting her 79-year-old sister at the Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “It was terribly loud.” Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport canceled hundreds of flights and diverted others heading its way. Among the most stunning video was an industrial section of Dallas, where rows of empty tractor-trailers crumpled like soda cans littered a parking lot. “The officers were watching the tornadoes form and drop,” Kennedale police Chief Tommy Williams said. “It was pretty active for a while.”
The confirmed tornadoes touched down near Royce City and Silver Springs, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop. April is the peak of the tornado season that runs from March until June. Bishop said Tuesday’s storms suggest that “we’re on pace to be above normal.” Johnston said her sister was taken to the hospital because of her delicate health. Another resident at the nursing home, Louella Curtis, 92, said workers roused her out of bed and put her in the hall. “The hallways were all jammed,” Johnston said. “Everyone was trying to help each other to make a path for others. I’d say everybody was out of their rooms within 20 minutes.”
Most of Dallas was spared the full wrath of the storm. Yet in Lancaster, television helicopters panned over exposed homes without roofs and flattened buildings. Broken sheets of plywood blanketed lawns and covered rooftops. A pastor at one Lancaster church saw debris swirling in the wind, then herded more than 30 children, some as young as newborns, into a windowless room to ride out the storm. Nearby at the church’s school, about 60 more children hid in another windowless room near the women’s bathroom. An entire wall of Cedar Valley Christian Academy wound up being taken out in the storm. Pastor Glenn Young said he didn’t know when the school might re-open. “I’m a little concerned,” Young said. “This is our livelihood.”
Residents could be seen walking down the street with firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after the storm passed. Devlin Norwood said he was at his Lancaster home when he heard the storm sirens. He said he made a quick trip to a nearby store when he saw the funnel-shaped tornado lower, kick up debris and head toward his neighborhood. “I didn’t see any damage until I got back home. We had trees destroyed, fences down, boards down, boards penetrating the roof and the house, shingles damaged,” said Norwood, 50, an accountant and graduate student.
The storm pushed cars into fences and toppled trees. Branches and limbs scattered across lawns and residential streets, and in one driveway, a tow-behind RV was left torn apart and crumpled. “Obviously we’re going to have a lot of assessments to make when this is done,” Dallas County spokeswoman Maria Arita said. American Airlines canceled more than 450 arriving and departing flights at its hub airport by late Tuesday afternoon, and 37 other incoming flights had been diverted to different airports. DFW Airport spokesman David Magana said more than 110 planes were damaged by hail. It wasn’t clear how many belonged to American Airlines, but American and American Eagle had pulled 101 planes out of service for hail-damage inspections. Flights also were canceled at Dallas Love Field, which is a big base for Southwest Airlines. That airline canceled more than 45 flights in and out of the airport by Tuesday evening. Meteorologists said the storms were the result of a slow-moving storm system centered over northern New Mexico.
Tornadoes strand thousands at DFW airport
Airlines cancelled more than 400 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Tuesday as tornadoes rolled through the area, leaving thousands of travelers stranded at the airport. American Airlines, which operates a hub at DFW, canceled nearly all departures for the rest of the evening. At least 40 incoming flights were diverted during the storm. American had canceled more than 230 flights by Tuesday afternoon and others had been diverted to different airports. American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely says the airline also is pulling dozens of planes out of service to inspect them for hail damage.
The Federal Aviation Administration says delays are averaging nearly three hours for the few flights still getting through. Flights also have been canceled at Dallas Love Field, which is a big base for Southwest Airlines. That airline has canceled more than 45 flights in and out of the airport. Love Field spokesman Jose Luis Torres says the airport didn’t suffer any damage. In a press release, DFW airport pointed not only to the storm cells that kept planes on the ground, but also damaging hail. Airlines are reporting that more than 110 aircraft sustained damage from the hail, and airline personnel are assessing the damaged planes one-by-one.
The storm cells arrived at DFW about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Airport staff moved customers away from windows and into interior conference rooms and lounges. The problems at DFW created a ripple effect nationwide. Los Angeles International was reporting delays of up to three hours. Dallas-bound flights were cancelled or significantly delayed from most major cities. The National Weather Service confirmed at least two separate “large and extremely dangerous” tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There were no immediate reports of injuries. In Lancaster, south of Dallas, local television footage showed homes without roofs while other buildings were flattened. Plywood was strewn on the grass and on top of buildings. Residents could be seen walking down the street with firefighters and peering into homes, looking at the damage after the storm passed.
Texans “just glad to be here” after twisters
As many as a dozen tornadoes touched down as violent storms ripped through the Dallas-Fort Worth area Tuesday, leaving widespread damage and destruction in their wake. Incredibly, no deaths were reported, but hundreds of buildings were destroyed or damaged. The storms were moving into the Mississippi Valley Wednesday morning. As the twisters roared across north Texas, their power left even seasoned storm chasers in awe. The force of the mid-afternoon outbreak was extraordinary, enough to suck up and spin back out huge tractor-trailers. “All I could say was, ‘Jesus! Save me from this storm!”‘ one woman recalled. “There was no question. It was coming straight for us,” said one man.
The storms carved a wide path of destruction. Some homes were obliterated in a matter of seconds. “Holy, moly – oh my God!” shrieked one resident of Forney, about 20 miles east of Dallas, as a huge funnel approached. Another one whipped across Lancaster. “It’s amazing that we’re still living,” one woman there said. Three hundred homes in Lancaster were damaged or destroyed. “I was in the house,” said one woman, “and it just sounded like a whole lot of big crackling noise and stuff. …Next thing I know, when we opened the door later on, it was just a big disaster.”
In Arlington, an entire wing of a nursing home came flying off, injuring two, and displacing more than 100. At one school, a tree was left upside down. “You could just hear the walls shake and we just threw ourselves on top of the kids,” one adult said. Hundreds of flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, where unusually large pellets of hail damaged more than 100 planes. In neighborhoods, rescue workers went door-to-door, looking for victims, surveying the damage. Sherry Enoch, was crying as she observed, “It’s hard. But I’m just glad to be here.” Her home was decimated, but she managed to escape alive, along with the three infants for whom she was babysitting. “I went and jumped in the bathtub and put a comforter over us, and that was it,” Enoch says.
Some injuries were reported, but when you see the video of the twisters, it’s surprising it wasn’t worse. Some people we spoke with took cover as one tornado came within feet of carrying them away. They, like so many here, are thankful – and amazed that, given the force and devastation of the outbreak, no lives were lost. “This is material things and it’s sad, but we’re OK and that’s the main part,” one said. Thousands of customers were still without power Tuesday morning. But Wednesday’s weather was expected to be calm.
CBS News, KTVT, WFAA, Fort Worth Star Telegram contributed to this report. Video from CNN
Opening Houston’s Hobby Airport to commercial international flights will create 10,000 jobs, bring 1.6 million more air travelers through Houston annually and inject an additional $1.6 billion a year into the local economy, according to a Southwest Airlines executive who has seen city-commissioned studies on the matter. “We’re asking for an opportunity to invest $100 million in a new building in your city to provide more passengers, 1.6 million a year, a huge economic gain for the city,” Ron Ricks, executive vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer for Southwest Airlines, told the Houston Chronicleeditorial board Tuesday.
City Council is scheduled next month to consider granting Southwest permission to build a customs facility at Hobby so the low-cost carrier can fly to Cancun, Mexico, the Caribbean and other Latin American destinations as far away as Caracas, Venezuela. United Airlines, which flies out of Bush Intercontinental Airport, opposes the plan, arguing that it could siphon off international travelers, reducing the mass of connecting traffic on which Bush-based carriers depend to sustain and expand routes from Houston. United also argues that a second international airport will divert Customs officers, creating longer wait times at Bush.
“Southwest is trying to justify the city abandoning the single-international-airport policy that made IAH one of the world’s premier gateways. The purported economic benefits are taken directly from the city’s draft economic impact study, which we have advised the city is fundamentally flawed,” said United spokeswoman Mary Clark in a statement. “Our own conclusions based on realistic assumptions and data show that dividing the city’s international air service market will cause dramatic, measurable harm to IAH and Houston’s economy.” Houston Airport System Director MArio Diaz is expected to recommend whether Hobby should go global in a report to Mayor Annise Parker on Monday. The recommendation and the city-commissioned studies on the economic impact of the expansion will be made public that same day, the mayor announced in a memo on Tuesday.
Southwest CEO Gary Kellysaid repeatedly at the editorial board meeting that Southwest is not asking for any city investment in the terminal expansion and Customs facility addition to Hobby. The $100 million cost of the project is to be covered by debt backed by Southwest and paid off through ticket surcharges. Clark said Customs waits at IAH are among the worst in the nation. “If Houston can secure additional agents, they should be deployed to address the chronic under-staffing IAH experiences every day,” Clark said. But Ricks asked, “Is Houston going to let 20 Customs agents stand in the way of a $1.6 billion-a-year economic impact? If we can’t solve finding 20 Customs agents in this economy, then Houston, we do have a problem.” Ricks said staffing is covered by a $17.50-per-international passenger fee.
Kelly said he believes Southwest’s entry into the Houston market will drive down prices and increase passengers at both airports. “If you make the air fares affordable, the people will fly – a gigantic increase. We’re arguing to you the pie is going to increase,” Kelly said. Kelly stopped short of saying how much fares would come down. The volatility of fuel prices makes it difficult to forecast what Southwest’s fares would be, he said, but added Southwest has enjoyed 39 straight years of profitability in part through offering cheaper fares than its competitors. “We’re talking about bringing you more flights, more competition, low fares. It’ll create more jobs, over 10,000 jobs is what is predicted,” Kelly said. “What you’ll see will be a significant reduction in fares” if Southwest flies those routes from Houston, Kelly said.
On a purely subjective note, flying Southwest makes me smile. Flying United is something I swore I would never do again (and haven’t) since horrible service in flight several years ago. Simply put in 2012 United ranked # 2 in customer complaints. In fairness I am not sure they could suggest anything I would necessarily agree with but in an economical sense, Southwest’s plan sounds like a no-brainer and Houston should go for it.