Blog Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • James Tague, key JFK assassination witness, dies

    The assassin's missed shot left with him a minor injury and a place in history

    A material witness whose testimony contributed to the controversial “magic bullet theory” in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has died.

    James Tague was standing in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza when the shots were fired on Nov. 22, 1963. A bullet presumably meant for Kennedy instead struck a curb near where Tague was standing and sent debris flying into his face.

    “It was just skin-deep, that’s all there was to it,” Tague told Yahoo News three months ago when he was the subject of a video story on the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

    Tague’s daughter, Suanna Holloway, said her father died at his home 70 miles north of Dallas on Friday following a brief illness. He was 77.

    “It happened very fast,” Holloway said. “He was a fantastic father.”

    Tague’s experience at Dealey Plaza ultimately led Warren Commission investigators to conclude that one of the three shots missed and that one of the rounds went through both JFK and Texas Gov. John Connally.

    JFK researcher Debra Conway

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  • Tornadoes, strong thunderstorms threaten East Coast

    Just a week after being buried by snow and ice, a number of states along the East Coast are dealing with the threat of thunderstorms and tornadoes on Friday.

    Severe weather watches and warnings are in play from the Florida Panhandle to Philadelphia, including tornado alerts for Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

    The bumpy weather is a product of a cold front pushing toward the Eastern Seaboard.

    From the National Weather Service:

    A deep supply of moisture flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the cold front is resulting in widespread moderate to heavy rainfall, along with strong thunderstorms. Most locations across the East Coast states should experience a round of rain and embedded thunderstorms lasting for a few hours as the band

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  • Flu season hitting working-age adults hardest

    'In less than a month, he went from the flu to death,' brother says

    At 6 foot 3 and 350 pounds, Tim Allen was an imposing figure. A man’s man, the Texan carved wood for fun and operated heavy construction equipment for a living.

    So it came as a surprise when the flu quickly claimed the 52-year-old’s life in late December.

    “If you looked at Tim, he always seemed like a big bear,” said Randal Allen, his older brother. “You think it takes a lot to bring down a bear, but it doesn't. It takes a little germ. In less than a month, he went from the flu to death.”

    On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this flu season has been particularly bad for young people and middle-aged adults like Tim Allen.

    People between the ages of 18 and 64 have accounted for 61 percent of influenza hospitalizations, the CDC reported. Last flu season, that age group represented only about 35 percent of flu-related hospitalizations.

    Exact numbers aren’t known, but flu deaths are believed to be significantly higher too. The CDC estimates that people ages 25 to

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  • Pileup on icy Pennsylvania Turnpike injures dozens, snarls traffic much of the day

    At least 30 motorists were injured on Friday morning in massive chain-reaction crashes on an icy Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia, according to news reports.

    Traffic along the state's primary east-west highway was snarled for seven hours by a series of accidents involving multiple tractor-trailers and cars, but officials announced that all lanes had reopened by 4 p.m. 

    The crashes resulted in some serious injuries, but no patients are believed to have suffered life-threatening wounds, hospital officials told The Associated Press.

    CBS Philly estimated the number of vehicles involved to be more than 100, including one particular pileup of 75 cars and big rigs.

    “The worst accident I have seen in the 20 years I have been doing this,” traffic reporter Bob Kelly told CBS Philly.

    Images from news

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  • Live blog: Dangerous winter storm wallops South, heads to Northeast

    The massive winter storm that brought dangerous ice and snow to the southern United States on Wednesday is now moving to the Northeast. Hundreds of thousands are without power, and more than a dozen states are under watches and warnings. “This is a storm of historical proportions with potentially catastrophic ... crippling impacts,” the National Weather Service in Atlanta warned Wednesday morning. Yahoo News is live-blogging the latest developments via social media and other sources. Join the conversation and let us know what’s happening where you live.

    Mobile users: Click here to view live coverage

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  • Fake funeral notice scam 'reaches a new low'

    Hackers stole the identity of Eubank Funeral Home to send out fake funeral notices. (screen shot)

    In his line of work, funeral home director Brian Bass has come to expect the occasional juvenile phone prank.

    But the hoax recently perpetrated on the small-town Eubank Funeral Home where Bass works is bigger than any adolescent antics. Cybercriminals hijacked the funeral home’s identity as part of a worldwide email phishing scam.

    For the past month, inboxes across the United States and beyond have been getting funeral notices that appear to be from Eubank Funeral Home in Canton, Texas, 60 miles east of Dallas.

    Without saying who has died, the fake emails invite the recipient to an upcoming “celebration of your friend’s life service” and instruct the recipient to click a link for “more detailed information about the farewell ceremony.”

    “It reaches to people's curiosity and their natural instinct to find out who passed away,” Bass told Yahoo News.

    But instead of going to Eubank’s website, the Better Business Bureau says, the link in the email takes readers to a foreign domain where

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  • Important change for hurricane warnings in 2014

    A common misconception about hurricanes is that wind is your worst enemy.

    “Most people, when they hear hurricane, think wind first and maybe water second,” said Jamie Rhome, storm surge specialist at the National Hurricane Center. “Given the fact that water is killing more people, we’ve got to start thinking water first.”

    On Friday, the National Hurricane Center announced that it will add storm surge maps to text warnings when the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season begins in June.

    The color-coded maps will show geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur and how high water might reach. The maps will be updated every six hours during a threat.

    “A lot of coastal residents, including those vulnerable to storm surge, simply don’t understand storm surge,” Rhome said. “This map is one of several steps aimed at improving communication and better highlighting the risk.”

    Storm surge — an abnormal rise of water pushed onto shore by a hurricane — was the culprit in the three

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  • 1 dead in Purdue University shooting; suspect in custody

    This undated booking photo provided by the Tippecanoe County Jail shows Cody Cousins, who faces preliminary charges of murder for the shooting death of Andrew Boldt, a 21-year-old Purdue University student from West Bend, Wis., inside the school's Electrical Engineering Building, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Tippecanoe County Jail)

    One person was fatally shot on Tuesday inside a classroom at Purdue University, police said.

    Campus Police Chief John Cox told reporters that the gunman was arrested at the scene and apparently targeted his victim.

    The shooting took place at about noon in the electrical engineering building. Police said no one else was injured.

    The Lafayette Journal & Courier reported that Cody Cousins, 23, was being held without bond in connection with the killing. The Purdue Exponent, a campus news website, reported the man killed was a teaching assistant.

    Investigators have not determined how the gunman knew his victim.

    A few students, including Purdue punter Cody Webster, witnessed police capture the suspect.

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  • Security expert: It's not if but when for Sochi Olympics terror attack

    Veteran security consultant Bill Rathburn hopes that he’s wrong about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia, but he has more than a hunch that he’s not.

    “The security threat is higher than it’s ever been in the history of the Olympic Games,” Rathburn told Yahoo News. “In my opinion, it’s not a matter of whether there will be some incident, it’s just a matter of how bad it’s going to be.”

    Rathburn, a former police chief in Los Angeles and Dallas, directed security for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta and served in various planning roles for six other Olympics.

    Rathburn’s biggest concern is with Doku Umarov, described by some as “Russia’s bin Laden.” Six months ago the Chechen rebel leader threatened attacks on civilians in Russia and urged Islamic separatists to use force to disrupt the Olympics, which he described as "satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors."

    Since Umarov’s threat, three suicide bombers have killed more than 40 people and injured more than 100 in Volgograd, a major

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  • Spike in mass shootings creates demand for different police approach

    The school in Newtown. The Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The movie theater in Aurora. America’s angst over shootings in public places is growing, and for good reason.

    According to a study obtained by Yahoo News, rampages like the Washington Navy Yard and Los Angeles airport shootings have tripled in recent years.

    The report, written by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, will be published next week in the “FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,” a training publication for criminal justice professionals.

    Researchers considered only active shootings in public settings where the primary motive appeared to be mass murder and at least one of the victims was unrelated to the suspect. Shootings during crimes such as bank robberies, drug deals, and gang violence were excluded.

    “The rate at which these events occurred went from approximately one event every other month between 2000 and 2008 (5 per year) to more than one a month between 2009 and 2012

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