Team Frisco Makes A Mark On International Children’s Games

FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – The International Children’s Games isn’t something the Town of Frisco had participated in before, but 12 athletes representing the small mountain community and the entire state of Colorado came home with 15 medals.

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“(The town) made this incredible, crazy thing possible for Team Frisco. It’s really awesome,” said Nina Shamberger.

Shamberger is getting used to winning. She started cross-country skiing when she was 2 years old. She’s now 13 and winning races.

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Nina Shamberger (credit: CBS)

In Lake Placid, at the International Children’s Games she won two gold medals and a bronze. However, what she remembers most is the unique experience, unlike other races.

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“There were lots of European countries, but also China and Japan I think,” she said. “It was my first international competition, and there were so many people there. I didn’t speak their language, it was interesting to see how to communicate.”

There were 448 athletes from 33 cities in 14 countries at this year’s event. Team Frisco was smaller in size but near the top in performance.

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“It was really, really fun. I would go back if I had the opportunity, instantly,” said Shamberger.

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The next International Children’s Games is in South Korea in 2021. After the success of this team, Frisco is already planning to send another delegation.

LINK: Lake Placid 2019

‘We Got To Stop’: Good Samaritans Rush To Fiery Crash To Save Drivers

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s a scene that caught Andy Lewis off guard Saturday evening.

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“We were just going on a date night and then we see that, and we’re like, ‘Okay, yeah. We got to stop,’” Lewis told CBS4 of seeing two vehicles on fire on Highway 34 near Weld County Road 17.

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More than just stop, Lewis and his wife rushed over to the crash scene as intense flames poured out of a pair of crunched vehicles.

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Andy Lewis (credit: CBS)

“I was hearing them exploding,” Lewis said. “I was like, ‘It could explode completely at any second.”

Despite the fiery danger, Lewis along with his wife joined a handful of other good Samaritans who stopped to help the drivers involved. One of those strangers told Lewis he had to break open the window of a vehicle to get the unconscious driver out. Lewis didn’t hesitate to jump into action, too.

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“I saw one of the drivers just on the ground, and she’s unconscious and people are tending to her,” he said. “My wife was one of them that was able to tend to her, and I was able to talk to the other driver, too. She was in a state of shock.”

Lewis said he just did what he could to keep that woman calm.

“I didn’t do much, just a simple, ‘Here’s my coat. It’s cold out,’” he said. “I could tell she was shivering.”

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Perhaps it was a small gesture to Lewis, but it was part of a big act of kindness by a group of strangers doing whatever they could to help until first responders from Greeley arrived.

“I’m not a hero or anything,” Lewis told CBS4. “I’m about doing the right thing no matter what. If I were in that situation, I’d hope people would do the same thing for me, too.”

Greeley police are still investigating the crash. One of the victims remains in the hospital.

Family Speaks Out After Gov. Rauner Grants First Posthumous Exoneration In State History

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois made history Tuesday by making things “right” for a wrongfully convicted man who died in prison. Just days before leaving office Gov. Bruce Rauner granted clemency to a man who was wrongfully convicted of a 1981 murder.

Grover Thompson went from taking a nap on a bench to sleeping behind bars for the rest of his life when he was arrested in 1981, and shocking allegations came out against him.

“My Uncle Grover was a very good man,” Thompson’s nephew S.T. Jamison said. “It was so depressing, so chilling. He taught us right from wrong. He was a hard worker. He was extremely funny.”

But police zeroed in on other qualities, and Thompson landed in Menard Correctional Center after reports that a black man stabbed and attempted to rape a white woman. The 46-year-old wasn’t wearing the same clothes as the suspect and had been taking a nap at the time of the attack. Prison wore on Thompson, who ended up in a wheelchair only 12 years after his arrest.

“You can’t help but look at these images and feel sorry for what happened. It truly was injustice,” said retired Carbondale Police Lieutenant Paul Echols.

Echols cracked Thompson’s case while investigating serial killer Tim Krajcir.

“He was offered a deal to avoid the death penalty to tell all, and that’s what he did,” Echols said. “That’s how we got to where we are today.”

But the confession by the real criminal came too late. Thompson died behind bars in 1996.

“Let’s be honest. This wrongful conviction was essentially a death sentence for him,” said John Hanlon with the Illinois Innocence Project. “We found that, not surprisingly, that there were extremely unreliable identification procedures that were utilized that led to Grover Thompson’s arrest.”

Their eight year investigation ended with Grover’s conviction tossed.

“We cannot bring this beautiful man back, whom we love so much, but we can clear his name,” Jamison said. “This is so momentous for me and for my family.”

Rauner initially denied the request in 2015 but changed course as one of his last moves as Illinois’ leader.

Echols, who helped right this wrongful conviction, says he uses Thompson’s case to teach new officers and detectives about where things can go wrong.

The serial killer who confessed to Thompson’s crime never faced time for that one but he’s behind bars for other murders.

 

Orphaned Bears Nursed Back To Health, Moved To Dens In The Wild

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Orphaned bears are getting another chance at life in the wild thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Officers rescued the cubs at different times last year and moved them to a rehabilitation facility in southern Colorado until its time to hibernate.

That is when CPW comes back in.

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“What people don’t understand is this is our passion,” District Manger Cody Wigner said.

The bears are sedated, loaded up and then driven nearly 100 miles to an undisclosed location in the mountains. Wigner and about a half a dozen other wildlife officers are on hand to help.

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“It’s kind of bitter sweet. I guess the sweet part is these cubs are having another chance, the sad part of it is they are orphaned, their mothers died,” he said.

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Once in the mountains the bears are loaded onto sleds, strapped in, their paws tied and eyes covered. Then they are hauled through the snow.

“It’s waking up a little bit, not liking the sled ride too much,” Wigner said while moving one of the cubs down a steep slope.

The destination are handmade artificial dens.

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“We build it so they are able to survive in the winter nice and warm,” Wigner said.

Officers then place each of the nearly 100 lb. bears inside.

“The first one’s head is pointed up, and the other one is kind of pointed up. Just want to make sure their heads are up so they can breathe while they are sedated,” area manager Tim Kroening said.

When the drugs wear off, the hope is the bears continue to hibernate in the den until spring. Ideally, wildlife officers never see them again.

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For Wigner and the rest of the parks and wildlife team, it is not easy work, but it is the job they signed up to do.

“This is our life blood. This is what I enjoy doing the most. Its managing wildlife, helping be their voice and giving them a second chance,” Wigner said.

Chicago Hits Historic Low Teen Birthrate

CHICAGO (CBS) — Teen births have reached a new historic low in Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

In 2016, the most recent year with available data, there were 24.6 births per 1,000 females between 15 and 19. That is a 10.5 percent decline compared to 2015 and a 47 percent decline since 2011.

“Chicago has made a concerted, collaborative effort to help young people plan for the future, make responsible choices and lead successful lives,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “A record low number of teen births means more Chicago teens can focus on their educations, work towards their goals and create better futures for themselves.”

Chicago’s teen birth rate is higher than the national average, but the gap is closing. Chicago’s teen birth rate has declined 70 percent, compared to just 57 percent nationwide.

Declines are across all ethnic groups, with the greatest decline among African American teens, who historically faced the greatest disparities.

According to a release from Emanuel’s office, teen birth rates among African American teens have been cut in half in five years, from 64.2 in 2011 to 32.0 in 2016. African American and Latina teens are still more than five times as likely to experience a birth than white teens.

 

Colorado Farmers Could Be In A Lurch If Shutdown Persists

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Federal employees may be the hardest hit by the government shutdown, but there is growing concern among Colorado farmers. Many of them were able to access federal loans in the month of January, but if the shutdown persists, the much-needed aid will be delayed.

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“Our income comes in a period of three months, right?” Dave Eckhardt of Eckhardt Farms said. “The last few months of the fall and after that, if you didn’t have enough to make any money, you need money to live on so those people that are borrowing money from the FSA, from the federal government, they need access to funds and the shutdown could possibly be a situation where they aren’t able to get those.”

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Dave Eckhardt (credit: CBS)

Eckhardt is a fourth generation farmer and President of the Colorado Growers Association. He is working on setting up the farm for a fifth generation, but says things aren’t getting easier. The shutdown isn’t helping.

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“You know, the last four or five years have been pretty miserable in ag (agriculture), so you hope for a turnaround.”

Eckhardt Farms is fortunate enough it doesn’t have to rely on federal assistance, but he knows others in Colorado do. He says many just don’t want to talk about it.

“You hope from an organizational standpoint we can help them in anyway we can to get through this shutdown. It’s difficult to know everybody’s business not everybody wants to share, you know?”

Eckhardts current concern is with the USDA reporting, or lack thereof. The shutdown means the USDA is not compiling the data which farmers, like Eckhardt, use to determine what to plant for the upcoming season.

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“If there’s going to be a big shift to corn because soybeans have been hit so hard by the tariff situation, obviously more acres in a depressed market doesn’t mean better prices, so you start to look for other crops whether it’s dry beans in our situation or sugar beets or more onions.”

Planting season is just three months away.

“If this thing creeps into March, obviously all of us will have a little more of an effect felt.”

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While he doesn’t anticipate a huge impact for consumers, he says the longer the shutdown, the larger the impact for farmers who are already struggling.

“You know, growers are concerned. Every year that you farm and don’t make money, you farm equity away and as the farming population ages, you’ve got people that probably should be retiring and moving to Arizona or enjoying themselves, but they continue to farm and you worry about everybody finding themselves in a position where you hang on too long.”

Palos Park Police Warn Residents Of Recurring ‘Grandparent Scam’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Palos Park police are warning residents of a recurring “grandparent scam” that has targeted several elderly residents in the past week.

According to police, a Palos Park senior received a call from the Richland County Sheriff in Ohio telling the senior that their grandchildren needed $10,000 after being arrested after a car crash.

The senior did not fall for the scam, but police remind residents that before sending money anywhere in response to an unexpected phone call they should verify that the story is accurate.

 

Federal Employees To Protest Government Shutdown At Airport Wednesday

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some federal employees in Sacramento plan to protest the federal government shutdown Wednesday at the Sacramento International Airport.

The protest is planned for noon on Wednesday by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). It is set to take place in Terminal A of the airport.

READ ALSO: IRS Orders 36,000 Furloughed Employees To Return To Work Without Pay

The AFGE said 40 percent of the federal workforce, about 800,000 employees across the nation, are not getting paid during the partial government shutdown. The organization is putting on the rally to highlight how the shutdown is affecting workers and their families.

AFGE said members who work at TSA, in other agencies, and their allies will be participating in the rally.

The federal government has been in a partial shutdown since midnight on Dec. 28. It is officially the longest shutdown in the nation’s history.

Colorado Woman Who Served With WASPs Passes Away

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado woman who was among one of the first female pilots to fly for the U.S. military during World War II has died. Millicent Young was 96 years old.

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Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII – WASP – Millicent Peterson Young (credit: CBS)

Family members say Young died over the weekend in Colorado Springs. She had chronic lung disease.

Young flew bombers and other war planes as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots — also known as WASPs.

The women piloted planes to make male pilots available for combat service overseas. In 2010, the group was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Tinley Park Firefighters Rescue Dog That Fell Through Ice

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Tinley Park Fire Department saved a dog that fell through the ice in a retention pond Tuesday morning, village officials say.

When firefighters arrived they saw the dog in a hole struggling to escape.

Firefighter Steve Uthe crawled 15 feet across the ice to rescue the dog while other firefighters held him tethered to the shore.

Uthe pulled the dog safely from the water, and it was returned to its owner.