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Family celebrates late Christmas after surviving fire

<p>While many people were opening presents Christmas morning, Andrea Serna and her children were in the hospital fighting for their lives.</p> <p>A fire destroyed their duplex in the 2000 block of Jupiter Street on Dec. 13, sending Serna and her two infant daughters to the hospital.</p> <p>More than a month later, everyone is finally out of the hospital and the family gathered Sunday to celebrate a late Christmas.</p> <p>"Christmas is over with but Santa Claus is still here," said Julian Valdez, dressed as Santa, as he handed out presents to his great-nieces. "They were all surprised because they didn't get to see Santa Claus, they were in the hospital."</p> <p>Underneath a modest Christmas tree that the family has kept up throughout the entire ordeal sat dozens of presents donated by complete strangers.</p> <p>"There were a lot of people that saw us on TV and they opened up their hearts," said the children's great, great grandmother Ernestina Rodriguez. "Toys and clothes just poured in. This house was full, this porch was full."</p> <p>Rodriguez's 1-year-old great, great granddaughter, Janessa, was recently released from a Galveston hospital where she received treatment for burns to more than 60 percent of her body. Janessa's 2-year-old big sister, Jaylin, was taken to University Hospital with 30 percent of her body burned. The children's mother and her friend were both taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center with severe burns as well.</p> <p>Rodriguez said the fact that all of them were in her living room opening presents Sunday was a Christmas miracle.</p> <p>"(It means) that somebody up there loves us," she said.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:57:53 GMT

Hoax caller connected to British prime minister

<p>British Prime Minister David Cameron got an unexpected call from someone claiming to be one of the country's top spy chiefs.</p><p>It was one of two hoax calls reported Sunday.</p><p>"In the first instance, a call was made to GCHQ which resulted in the disclosure of a mobile phone number for the Director. The mobile number provided is never used for calls involving classified information," a government spokeswoman said in a statement.</p><p>GCHQ is the acronym for the Government Communications Headquarters, a British intelligence agency.</p><p>"In the second instance, a hoax caller claiming to be the GCHQ director was connected to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax. In neither instance was sensitive information disclosed," the spokeswoman said.</p><p>Following the two incidents, a notice went out to all departments to be on alert for the possibility of more fake calls.</p><p>Authorities are now reviewing procedures to help ensure that such calls are not patched through again, the spokeswoman said.</p>

Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:15:47 GMT

Cops: Man kills co-worker, then himself at NYC Home Depot

<p> An employee at a Home Depot store in Manhattan argued with a co-worker before fatally shooting him and then killing himself on Sunday, police said, sending panicked workers and shoppers rushing to get away from the gunfire.</p><p>The 31-year-old man entered the store on West 23rd Street around 2:45 p.m. He exchanged words with a 38-year-old co-worker in the store's lighting section and then pulled out a gun, shooting the other man in the abdomen and chest, police said. The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.</p><p>The gunman then shot himself in the head, said New York Police Department Capt. Steven Wren. It was unclear what the argument was about, and no identifications were released. A gun was recovered at the scene.</p><p>Wren said about 70 employees were in the store, but no one else was injured.</p><p>Sigourney Rodriguez, who works nearby, was taking a cigarette break when she saw about 100 people running out of the store. "You hear gunshots, you're going to run," she said.</p><p>Rodriguez heard store employees saying, "He's dead, I tell you he's dead."</p><p>The Home Depot, though smaller than a suburban outpost of the chain, is a megastore by Manhattan standards, and popular with many neighborhood residents.</p><p>"This is a beautiful neighborhood and a great store," said Sara Vogeler, who lives on the next block. "We just bought our Christmas lights here not too long ago. It's shocking!"</p><p>Home Depot issued a statement saying, "We're deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are fully cooperating with the authorities on their investigation of what appears to have been an isolated incident."</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:41:59 GMT

Coach K gets 1,000th win as No. 5 Duke tops St. John's

<p> Mike Krzyzewski earned his 1,000th career win Sunday, making him the first NCAA Division I men's coach to reach the milestone, when No. 5 Duke surged past St. John's in the second half for a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden.</p><p>Tyus Jones scored 22 points and the Blue Devils (17-2) went on an 18-2 run down the stretch to put Krzyzewski in four figures on his first try.</p><p>Jahlil Okafor had 17 points and 10 rebounds, combining with Jones and Quinn Cook (17 points) to fuel the decisive spurt after Duke trailed by 10 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.</p><p>When the final horn sounded, Blue Devils players engulfed Krzyzewski in front of their bench, and he received a bear hug from assistant Jeff Capel. Players were given T-shirts that read "1,000 and Kounting."</p><p>"We were so gritty in the last 10 minutes," Krzyzewski said. "It was tough to get involved with 1,000. I was just trying to survive this game, which is how you get to 1,000."</p><p>A public address announcement offered congratulations to Krzyzewski from St. John's, and Duke fans at a packed Garden chanted his name and held aloft "K'' signs.</p><p>"I'm in it right now. I wasn't in it until now," he said. "You know, to see the happiness of my players makes it good. We have to keep it in perspective. It makes us 17-2 and we've got to go to Notre Dame on Wednesday, but for this moment, for basketball, for the game and for this program, we'll enjoy this one right now."</p><p>Sir'Dominic Pointer had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm (13-6), who were looking for a huge win to put on their NCAA tournament resume down the road. They were in position to get it, but got worn down by Duke late and let this one slip away.</p><p>Rysheed Jordan scored 18 points, and Phil Greene IV added 13. Leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison was held to 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting, his third straight subpar performance as he plays through a strained calf.</p><p>No. 1,000 came about 500 miles from the cramped and cozy confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, but Coach K was hardly on unfamiliar soil.</p><p>After all, Madison Square Garden was where he notched win No. 903 against Michigan State in November 2011, breaking the Division I record previously held by his college coach and mentor, Bob Knight.</p><p>Krzyzewski improved to 1,000-308 in a 40-year coaching career that began in 1975 at his alma mater, Army. He is 927-249 in 35 seasons at Duke, guiding the Blue Devils to four NCAA titles and 11 trips to the Final Four.</p><p>By midway through an entertaining first half, the 67-year-old Krzyzewski was on his feet in front of the Duke bench as St. John's erased an 11-point deficit.</p><p>Wearing a blue suit and white sneakers to support Coaches vs. Cancer, Krzyzewski stalked after the officials at the end of the first half to argue that Harrison's buzzer-beating 3-pointer came after the shot clock expired.</p><p>Coach K didn't get the call, and the Red Storm went into the locker room leading 43-39.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:19:00 GMT

Weaker El Nino could mean longer drought across dry Texas

<p> Forecasters say a weaker-than-expected El Nino could mean an even more prolonged drought in parts of Texas that have faced exceptionally dry conditions for more than five years.</p><p>The latest U.S. Climate Prediction Center forecast revises guidance that previously had good news for some drought-stricken areas, The Dallas Morning News reported (http://bit.ly/1yZ3DHN ) on Sunday.</p><p>Instead, reports from Australia that El Nino has lost steam over the Pacific Ocean mean that Texas won't get the rain needed to replenish its natural water reservoirs, forecasters said.</p><p>"We haven't had a good tropical storm through the central part of the state in years," said David Finfrock, chief meteorologist at KXAS-TV in Dallas. "We really need that, or a lot of heavy rain. We're not getting enough to put a dent in these lakes."</p><p>A rainy January has improved soil moisture and set up a good spring wildflower crop, Finfrock said. But there hasn't been enough rainfall for significant runoff to fill depleted lakes, he said.</p><p>There's still some hope that El Nino will provide long-term relief from the drought. But with a drier-than-normal spring expected ahead, water use restrictions could be implemented throughout the driest parts of the state.</p><p>"The southwest part of the state might do pretty well, and from Amarillo to the west in March and April," said Paul Pastelok, senior meteorologist at Accuweather. "But it doesn't look real good for Dallas. It doesn't look good for San Antonio or to the north of Dallas, especially for the north."</p><p>___</p><p>Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:11:10 GMT

Texas man arrested after fleeing to Mexico

<p> A South Texas man who fled to Mexico after allegedly fatally shooting an individual earlier this month has been arrested after returning to the U.S. and turning himself in to authorities.</p><p>The Monitor in McAllen reports (http://bit.ly/1EIAClv ) 29-year-old Juan Carlos Lara Hernandez appeared in court Saturday, a day after he turned himself in to federal officers at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. Police say he had fled to Reynosa, located just across the U.S.-Mexico border from Hidalgo.</p><p>Lara has been charged with capital murder, accused of fatally shooting 24-year-old Jaime Ramos around Jan. 15.</p><p>Police say Lara, who has arrests and convictions for drug-related misdemeanor crimes, has ties to a Mexican drug cartel.</p><p>Lara's bond has been set at $1.5 million. Jail records did not list an attorney for Lara.</p><p>___</p><p>Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:10:12 GMT

Police: Father mistakes son for burglar, shoots him

<p>A Houston man could face charges after mistaking his son for a burglar and shooting him, sending him to the hospital.</p> <p>Police say that when the unidentified man heard what sounded like a burglar in his home at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, he fired at the individual.</p> <p>The person the man fired at turned out to be his son.</p> <p><a adhocenable="false" href="http://bit.ly/1GUlTss" target="_blank">KHOU-TV reports</a> the son suffered a gunshot wound to an eye. He was transported to a Houston hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition.</p> <p>Police say they have taken the father into custody while they investigate the shooting.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:09:15 GMT

Northeast blizzard: What you need to know if you're traveling

<p>The Northeast is bracing for a storm that could throw off travel plans not only on the east coast, but around the nation. </p><p>A potentially "historic and destructive" nor'easter is expected to plow north through New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts -- including New York City and Boston -- starting Monday and could cripple travel in the region. Over the weekend, authorities issued winter storm and blizzard watches and forecasts called for between one and two feet of snow.</p><p>Storm of that size would likely shut down arrivals and departures from important airports, causing a ripple effect. If you're traveling this week, here's what you need to know: </p><p>American Airlines and U.S. Airways: The airlines will let customers flying to or from two dozen Northeast airports rebook reservations made for Monday and Tuesday without a fee. The cities include Albany, Baltimore, Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. More from American. More from U.S. Airways. </p><p>Delta Air Lines: Customers headed to or from airports along the east coast on Monday or Tuesday may rebook flights with no extra fee. More from Delta. </p><p>JetBlue: Customers may rebook travel into or out of certain cities in the Northeast for Monday and Tuesday. More from Jet Blue. </p><p>Southwest Airlines: Customers arriving to or departing from the Washington, D.C. area on Monday may rebook without a fee. Customers in the Northeast may make similar adjustments to their travel plans on for both Monday and Tuesday. More from Southwest.</p><p>Virgin America: Travelers headed into or out of Boston, New York, Newark or Washington airports on Tuesday may change their reservation without fees. More from Virgin America.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:04:53 GMT

Arson investigators called to NW Side shopping center fire

<p>Arson investigators are working to determine the cause of a Sunday afternoon fire at a Northwest Side shopping center.</p> <p>The fire happened around 2:15 p.m. in the 5800 block of Exchange Parkway.</p> <p>Crews said they arrived to find a 20-feet-by-20-feet section of the roof on fire.</p> <p>Property managers said no work was scheduled to be done to the roof Sunday.</p> <p>Fire officials said the cause of the fire is suspicious for that reason.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:55:46 GMT

Man who drove off I-35 identified

<p>The medical examiner's office has identified a man killed when the truck he was driving plunged off Interstate 35 Saturday morning.</p> <p>Calvin Bunton, 27, was driving on I-35 when his truck went off a bridge and landed upside down on Loop 410.</p> <p>The accident happened around 3:30 a.m. near Perrin Beitel Road on the city's Northeast Side.</p> <p>Police said Bunton was trying to exit from I-35 when he lost control and drove off the ramp.</p> <p>Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to cut him from the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.</p> <p>Investigators are working to determine what caused Bunton to lose control of his truck.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:34:57 GMT

Protesters heckle Perry and Christie on immigration issues

<p>Protesters have heckled Republican presidential prospects Rick Perry and Chris Christie over immigration policies during a conservative political forum in Iowa.</p> <p>The former governor of Texas was interrupted during his speech to the Iowa Freedom Forum by six people chanting, "If you become president, will you deport our families?"</p> <p>The six young adults claimed to be children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Police escorted them from the auditorium.</p> <p>Perry opposes offering legal status to people in the U.S. illegally. He praised the U.S. as a place "to be able to stand up and tell our government what we want them to do."</p> <p>Another protester began the same chant during Christie's speech. The governor asked the audience, "Don't they know I'm from New Jersey?"</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:46:01 GMT

Jury awards family $165M in FedEx wrongful death lawsuit

<p>A jury in Santa Fe has awarded an El Paso, Texas family $165 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx.</p> <p>Attorneys for the family of Mariali Venegas and her daughter, who were killed in a June 2011 crash involving a FedEx big rig, told <a href="http://bit.ly/1yWXpIc" target="_blank">KRQE-TV</a> on Friday that the verdict sends a message to FedEx to improve driver training.</p> <p>FedEx spokesman Jack Pfeiffer says the company "respectfully" disagrees with the jury's verdict and plans to explore other options, including appeal.</p> <p>Authorities say the FedEx vehicle slammed into the back of Venegas' pickup truck, which was pulled over on I-10 outside Las Cruces. Venegas was heading to Deming with her 4-year-old daughter and then 19-month-old son, who survived.</p> <p>FedEx driver Elizabeth Quintana also died.</p>

Published: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:44:44 GMT