David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Elizabeth Edwards Dies After Battle With Cancer

By: David Shepherd (dshepherd@wtwo.com) Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday morning after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

NBC News is reporting, gravely ill with cancer that no longer responded to treatment, Elizabeth Edwards was reportedly not in any pain and was surrounded at home in North Carolina by family and friends, including her estranged husband John Edwards, a former Democratic presidential candidate.

(msnbc.com) — Her death came at 10:15 Tuesday morning, according to a family friend. The scene was described as “very peaceful.”

The friend said, “Elizabeth did not want people to say she lost her battle with cancer.  The battle was about living a good life and that she won.”

Family friends provided to NBC News this statement from the Edwards Family.

“Elizabeth Anania Edwards, mother, author, advocate died today at her home in Chapel Hill, surrounded by her family.

“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but she remains the heart of this family.

NEW INFORMATION:  The White House released a statement Tuesday night on behalf of the President.  It read…

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards.  This afternoon I spoke to Cate Edwards and John Edwards, and offered our family’s condolences.  I came to know and admire Elizabeth over the course of the presidential campaign.  She was a tenacious advocate for fixing our health care system and fighting poverty, and our country has benefited from the voice she gave to the cause of building a society that lifts up all those left behind. 

In her life, Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain.  Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of such adversity would have given up.  But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.”  – President Obama’s Statement on the death of Edwards.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

North Korea Deploys Missiles

CNN is reporting North Korea has deployed surface-to-air missiles on its coast as the United States and South Korea prepare for navy drills Sunday.

 Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula since last week’s North Korean attack against an island in South Korea.

 World leaders have been concerned over the escalating situation in that area as North Korea possesses nuclear weapons.

Some government leaders in South Korea have said the region is at the brink of war.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | 1 Comment

Teen Arrested in Failed Portland Car Bomb Plot

Mohamed Osman Mohamud

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Saturday, November 27, 2010

Federal prosecutors tell NBC News that a Somali-born teen has been arrested for plotting a car bomb attack at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland Friday.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after trying to detonate the dud bomb given to him by undercover agents as part of an anti-terror sting.

Court documents show Mohamud was arrested after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would detonate the explosives at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as thousands were in attendence for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Witnesses tell NBC News Mohamud yelled, “Allahu Akhbar” and tried to kick agents as the arrested him.  He’s charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

If convicted, he could face up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE: Official Says South Korea Attack One Step Closer to Brink of War

By: David Shepherd & News Sources [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo: MSNBC

UPDATE: South Korea’s President, Lee Myung-bak, says “enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that [North Korea] cannot make provocations again,” after Tuesday’s military attack on the South. He said that an “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated.”

Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial shelling that killed 2 South Korean soldiers and wounded others and the death toll may climb, according to NBC News.

The White House said Tuesday, President Barrack Obama was awakened in the early morning hours and given an emergency briefing on the situation. A spokesman for the President says Mr. Obama plans to speak with the South Korean President.

The White House is strongly condemning the attack saying the United States will honor its alliance obligations to the South.

Peter Beck, a research fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations told NBC News, “[the attack] brings us one step closer to the brink of

South Korean TV showing images of homes burning in the wake of the most aggressive military action against the South since the Korean War ended in the 1950's

 war because I don’t think the North would seek war by intention, but war by accident, something spiraling out of control has always been my fear.”

ORIGIONAL STORY: The South Korean island was attacked Tuesday by North Korean artillery shells in one of the most aggressive attacks on the country since the Korean War, NBC News is reporting. The North’s military attack killed 2 South Korean soldiers, wounded 15 others, and set up to 70 houses ablaze, according to South Korean TV YTN.

The news agency is reporting at least 200 shells hit the island of Yeonpyeong. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there. Now, both countries are ready for whatever may come next, vowing to continue to fight if the other doesn’t back down. In Seoul, the South Korean government called the action an “indisputable armed provocation against the Republic of Korea.  Making matters worse, it even indiscriminately fired against civilians. Such actions will never be tolerated.”

The statement says the country “immediately and strongly responded to the provocation in accordance with the rules of engagement”and vowed to “retaliate against any additional acts of provocation in a resolute manner.”

North Korea also issued a statement saying the attacks were in response to an incident that stemmed from South Korean military drills, calling them “war maneuvers for a war of aggression.”

AP / Tentions mounting in South Korea after the attack from the North, which claims to have a strong and growing nuclear weapons program.

In Washington, there are fears of escalation with a U.S. Defense official telling CNN that the “hope is that this is just one isolated incident, not an escalation into a different military posture.”

For decades, North Korea has been a concern on the global front for their nuclear program. North Korea possesses nuclear weapons that may be able to reach as far as the United States. Many fear escalation could bring the two nations closer to the brink of nuclear war.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rare Late November Tornado Touches Down in Illinois, Significant Damage, Injuries

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Monday, November 22, 2010

Photo: Nicole Bradley

Destruction lies in the wake of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped through parts of the Midwest Monday.

Among the hardest hit, northern Illinois, where there were several reports of tornado touchdowns and significant damage.

 News sources are reporting at least three children were hurt in Caledonia, Illinois, when their school

Photo: The Rockford Register-Star

 bus was flipped in the severe storms.  There have been no reports as to the extent of their injuries.

 CNN is reporting Caledonia’s town hall was destroyed when the storms blew through.  Elsewhere in the town, at least one home was completely destroyed and power was knocked out to about 500 residents.  There was significant damage done to several other homes and businesses in that area.

 Severe weather was also reported in Wisconsin where meteorologists from the National Weather Service will have to determine if a tornado touched down there.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Contests: It May Be A Long Election Night

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The “spin machines” are telling voters and candidates this Election Night could be a long one, with so many hotly contested races across the nation.

This election is an important one.  The balance of power in Congress will be decided by the voters today.  But will we know those results tonight?  If candidates mount legal challenges to a result that doesn’t favor them, it could take days or even weeks.

Challenges, re-counts and lawsuits have become a staple part of American politics.  But with so much on the line tonight, anxious voters are hoping to have answers as soon as possible.

NBC News is reporting even if there are no legal challenges or recounts, it’s likely that the results of several contests will not be clear on the morning of November 3rd. And there are plausible scenarios in which the balance of power in the Senate — where Republicans must net 10 seats to regain the majority — is not known for days after Election Day.

One of those hotly contested races is for The Senate in Illinois.  It’s being called one of the tightest contests in America this year.  The

PHOTO: NBC News / Getty Images

 Republican candidate is pulling anywhere between a two-and a three-point lead over his Democratic challenger. 

In some states, results within a few points of each other would trigger an automatic recount.  But under Illinois’ election laws, a candidate can request a recount under certain circumstances but there would be no automatic recount.

As we learned from the Presidential Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, and from many races that followed, a candidate could take results of a recount they don’t like a mount a lengthy legal challenge.

But do the recounts and all of the legal “bumbo jumbo” leave a bad taste in voter’s mouths?  What do you think?  Take the on-line poll.

SoundOFF Web Poll

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | Leave a comment

CNN Reporting: Chicago Gay-Friendly Synagogue Target of Thwarted Terror Attack

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Saturday, October 30, 2010

CNN is reporting a small synagogue dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Chicago was one of the two intended targets of Friday’s thwarted terror attacks against Chicago.

The report comes from the synagogue’s co-president.  He claims the Or Chadash was notified through a rabbi who claimed the word came from authorities.

No one in the Intellegence field or the government has confirmed these claims.  There has been no public release of the exact locations targeted.

CNN reports Chicago FBI spokesman Royden Rice would not confirm or deny that Or Chadash was a target.

“We notified both targets yesterday,” Rice told CNN Saturday. “We always notify potential victims of crime. If they wish to reveal who they are, it’s up to them.”

October 30, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | Leave a comment

Explosives Found In Packages In Route to United States

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Friday, October 29, 2010

NBC News Photo

A terror attack on targets in the United States has been thwarted but law enforcement officials aren’t letting their guard down.

President Barack Obama briefed the country from the White House Press Briefing Room Friday afternoon calling the plot “a credible threat against our country.”

Mr. Obama confirmed earlier reports that packages carrying explosives were found aboard U.S. bound cargo planes in Dubai and the United Kingdom, Friday.

That discovery prompted heightened inspections of cargo plans and trucks in cities across the country.

 Terror officials believe al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the failed attack.  The devices were found in

The President said, “Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen.  We also know that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.”

 Mr. Obama said the packages were being sent to two Jewish places of worship in Chicago. 

 Synagogues in Chicago are now being warned to be on alert.

The President addressing the nation about the thwarted terror attacks on the United States

The President reminded Americans about the threat we live under.  “The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism.”

Following the President’s remarks, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan took the podium to discuss the situation in more detail. He said the devices were “in a form that was designed to try to carry out some kind of attack”.  Clearly, from the initial observation, the initial analysis that was done, the material that was found … was intended to do harm.”

U.S. officials told NBC News the amount of explosives in one of the packages was about five times greater than quantity carried by the would-be Christmas Day bomber. That would make it slightly less than a pound, but that’s a significant amount.

It was unclear how the devices were to be set off.

 FedEx and UPS have suspended receiving shipments from Yemen for “the foreseeable future.”

October 30, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Long Road to Recovery: A Special Report Part 1

A SPECIAL REPORT By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TERRE HAUTE — Reports show Vigo County is in the top 3 counties in Indiana with meth problems.  It’s 6 in the state for alcohol abuse.

But some people no longer want to be part of that statistic. 

We see time and time again the effects drugs and alcohol can have on individuals, their families and their communities.

Some people are getting a new lease on life.  It’s all thanks to the Freebirds residential treatment center in Terre Haute.

Some residents are sentenced to recovery here, others go by choice.  But the outcome and the goal is the same.

“I’ve totally changed,” says resident Scott Williams,  “and as far as I’m concerned, this place has saved my life.”

Freebirds houses, educates and treats people addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“I got out of jail and I just realized I was done with this and I went through rehab,” Williams said.

While in rehab, Williams found out about Freebirds.  His battle with alcohol abuse put a strain on his health and his relationship with his family.

He says, “They want me to come home for visits now.  I just went home last weekend and me and my dad went up to the cabin.  We never did father / son stuff.  I’ve totally changed.”

Stacy Basham discovered she needed a change after years of drug use and jail time.  She got help and now works at the facility, helping others with their battles.

“Because of someone believing in what I had to say this time, instead of going back to the Rockville Correctional Facility, I was sentenced to Freebird.”

Now, Stacy credits God, and help from the Freebirds, for her remarkable recovery.

“[God] knew when I was ready and he put this place right here when I needed it.”

Wiping tears of joy from her face, she added, “Is every day great?  Yeah, it is!”

Now that you’ve read how successful the program is, how do they do it?

Find out Thursday night on NBC 2 News at 11 and right here on the David Shepherd Newsblog.

October 28, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tornadoes & Hurricane Force Winds Rip Through The Midwest

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBC NEWS PHOTO: Storms cause damage to a home near Chicago Tuesday morning.

A powerful storm system is moving through the nation’s mid-section.  A low pressure system is sweeping an intense cold front through the Midwest, with blizzard conditions in the extreme north, destructive winds in the Great Lakes region, and tornadoes from Texas to Kentucky.

In Chicago, forecasters predict the storm could be the most powerful to hit Illinois in over 70 years.

As of Tuesday morning, tornado reports have come in from several states.  In Indiana, tornadoes were reported in Kokomo and Wanatah. 

A roof was ripped off of a home in Peotone, Illinois.  The people were injured there.  Forecasters have not confirmed tornadoes yet, however they will be out soon to survey the area and determine what caused the damage.

More than 62,000 customers were without power in Chicago.  More than 40,000 reportedly lost power in Indiana.

Hurricane-force winds are being reported this afternoon in northern Illinois and Indiana and through the Dakotas.  The eastern Great Lakes are expecting waves to reach 25 feet with fears of beach erosion. 

NBC News is reporting 300 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The National Weather Service said the storm is one of the strongest to hit the region in decades.

“We’re expecting sustained winds on the order of 35 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph throughout the afternoon,” Edward Fenelon, a weather service meteorologist in Romeoville, Ill, told NBC News.  He said the storm’s central pressure is equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.

“This is a very different type of event,” Fenelon said. “But that does give an indication of the magnitude of the winds. This isn’t something you see even every year.”

Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Allsopp tells NBC that the storm could be among the worst to hit Illinois in more than 70 years.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment