Posts by Jeff Stacklin

  • The Silicon Valley tycoon who’s paying young people to skip college

    Jeff Stacklin at Yahoo News 2 yrs ago

    After two years at Yale, Dan Friedman made the kind of decision that drives parents bonkers. He dropped out.

    “I loved school; I had a great time,” he says. But the Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel—the co-founder of PayPal and now a venture capitalist—chose Friedman for a two-year, $100,000 fellowship that requires young people to skip college and develop a tech business instead, under the guidance of Thiel’s team.

    Two years later, Friedman’s business, Thinkful Inc., a New York City company that offers customizable technical training, has 10 full-time employees and has raised $1 million in venture capital, some from Thiel’s venture fund.

    The fellowship is intended to encourage bright young people like Friedman to take a risk on their entrepreneurial ideas and avoid racking up student debt. Thiel, who nabbed two degrees from Stanford before forging his career in tech, has rankled some in the academic world for his high-profile skepticism of the worth of a college degree.

    “It was an interesting process,” Hamed said. But “they understand I can always go back” to college.

  • Authorities visited home of Cleveland man accused of holding 3 women captive

    Jeff Stacklin at The Lookout 2 yrs ago

    Updated 4:55 pm ET

    CLEVELAND, Ohio—Police visited the home of Ariel Castro, the man who police say held three young women captive for the past decade, at least once while they were being held inside. But it wasn’t until Monday when one of the women, 27-year old Amanda Berry, managed to escape and phone 911 that officers came and got them to freedom.

    With Ariel Castro, 52, and brothers Pedro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, in custody and awaiting charges, authorities have come under scrutiny for how they missed clues that Berry and two other young women were being kept as prisoners in the rundown home in the city's west side neighborhood.

    Berry, whom police called a hero for breaking out of the house Monday and summoning help, had disappeared in 2003 when she was 16. Michelle Knight went missing in 2002, when she was 20. Gina DeJesus, then 14, was reported missing in 2004.

    Police, along with officials of the Children and Family Services department, visited the house in January 2004 to follow up on a report that Castro, then a bus driver for the Cleveland public schools, had left a child on a bus while he ate lunch.

    “I think she was estranged from her dad,” Witte said.

  • Three women, missing for a decade, found alive

    Jeff Stacklin at The Lookout 2 yrs ago

    Three women who went missing separately about a decade ago, when they were in their teens or early 20s, had been tied up but were found alive Monday in a residential area just south of downtown, and three brothers were arrested, police said.

    One of those arrested is a 52-year-old man, police say. The women were being treated at the hospital. A 6-year-old also was found in the home.

    One of the women, Amanda Berry, was last heard from in 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from the Burger King restaurant where she worked, reported the Cleveland TV station WEWS. She was to turn 17 the day after she disappeared.

    Another of the women, Gina DeJesus, was 14 when she went missing on April 2, 2004. She was walking home from school.

    The third woman, Michelle Knight, 32, had been missing since 2002.

    A recording of the 911 call reveals a frantic Berry calling for police.

    One of the men was transferred to the Cuyahoga County Jail on unrelated charges, while the other was allowed to go free, police said.

  • FBI investigating shooting incident at Tennessee nuclear power plant

    Jeff Stacklin at The Lookout 2 yrs ago

    A gunman took at least two shots at a security officer outside the Watts Bar nuclear power plant in east Tennessee and then escaped in a boat, a spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority said.

    The incident, which is being investigated by the FBI and local police authorities, occurred just before 2 a.m. Sunday. TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said the gunman has not been apprehended.

    FBI officials did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Monday.

    The power plant, which was not damaged during the shooting, was put on an "unusual event” status—the lowest caution level for a facility regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Hopson said. The facility remained on that status through early Sunday afternoon, he said.

    Security at the nuclear plant was not compromised during the incident, he said. The security officer also was not injured.

    “But anytime you have shots taken at a security officer at a nuclear plant, that’s a big issue,” Hopson added.

    Hopson declined to identify the security officer.

  • A year after high school mass shooting, Ohio town still grieves

    Jeff Stacklin at The Lookout 2 yrs ago

    Chardon, Ohio — A few red ribbons, tattered by the elements, still hang on trees along the streets of Chardon, Ohio. To some people in town, the ribbons are a necessary reminder of a shooting spree at Chardon High School a year ago that left three students dead and three others injured.

    On Tuesday, just a day shy of the one-year mark of the tragedy, T.J. Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder and other charges in the Chardon shooting. Prosecutors say Lane fired 10 shots from a .22-caliber pistol at students milling in the school cafeteria the morning of Feb. 27, 2012.

    After a year in which even deadlier mass shootings like those in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., grabbed headlines, it could be easy to overlook the tragedy that shook Chardon, a middle-class community of 5,000 residents about 30 miles east of Cleveland.

    Chardon High School principal Andy Fetchik tried to put an upbeat face on a grim year during a press conference last week.

    “I can assure you, we’re getting better,” Fetchik said. “There’s a lot to be done. We have a strong and compassionate community surrounding us, and we’re getting better every day.”

    One-year mark

    No celebration

    About the red ribbons

  • A remote-controlled device to stop severe headache pain

    Jeff Stacklin at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago

    Most sufferers of brutal migraine and cluster headaches are all too familiar with the warning signs of an approaching attack, but a California biotech company says it has created a device that can potentially stop the crippling pain as easily as flicking a switch. Developed by Autonomic Technologies Inc., the therapy has successfully completed a trial of its technology on European patients with cluster headaches, also known as “suicide” headaches, the Redwood City, Calif., company said Tuesday. The same device is being trialed for use on migraine headache patients in Europe, and the company plans to offer it for patients suffering from cluster and migraine headaches in the United States, too. During trials of the device in Europe, 67 percent of cluster headache patients were relieved of pain within 15 minutes – a far cry from hours or days some people suffer from cluster headaches, which are more severe than migraine headaches. “It’s amazing,” said Dr. Frank Papay, a facial doctor at the Cleveland Clinic who developed the surgical technique to implant the device. Changes in most patients were remarkable, he said. “We could see almost immediately visual changes in the patients...

  • Philippines shootings illustrate worldwide gun violence problem

    Jeff Stacklin at Yahoo News 3 yrs ago

    A shooting rampage that left a pregnant woman, her 3-year-old daughter, and seven others dead on Friday near the capital of the Philippines illustrates that the United States isn’t the only nation facing problems with gun violence.

    The killings happened just three weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn., when a 20-year-old gunman armed with an assault weapon murdered 26 people, including 20 children. As in the U.S., people in the Philippines already were wrestling with the problem of gun violence in their country following the death of a 7-year-old girl, who was hit by a bullet of unknown origin during traditionally noisy celebrations on New Year's Eve.

    There are similarities and differences between both countries’ attitudes and cultural responses to gun violence.

    Despite those numbers, the Philippines has a much higher gun-related homicide rate than the United States.

    Illegal gun ownership and gun trade in the Philippines are also problems.



  • Could the Assad regime be crumbling in Syria?

    Jeff Stacklin at The Envoy 3 yrs ago

    Syria's regime is showing signs that it is weakening, according to reports from newspapers in the United Kingdom and Israel.

    Syrian President Bashar Assad has sought asylum for himself, his family, and associates in Latin America if his regime falls and he is forced to flee Damascus, reported Haaretz, an Israeli daily paper.

    The report indicates that nation's deputy foreign minister met with leaders in Cuba, Ecuador, and Venezuela, and brought personal letters from Assad to local leaders.

    Meanwhile, The Guardian reported Tuesday that former Syrian foreign ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, is traveling to the United States after apparently defecting. Makdissi, the newspaper notes, is the most senior Christian official who hasn't abandoned Assad's regime. He arrived Monday in London, where he previously served in the Syrian embassy.