Category Archives: Human Relationships

Holiday Shop Offers Parents, Guardians A Chance To Fulfill Christmas Wishes

DENVER (CBS4) – The Warren Village Holiday Shop came together for families on Saturday at the Park Hill United Methodist Church on Montview Boulevard. Parents and guardians could pick up gifts and toys for their children.

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Tables were stacked with games, books and electronics. For many, the gifts will be the only ones under the tree.

Volunteers were on hand to lend a helping hand.

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“I think Tracy and I feel lucky to enjoy what we get to enjoy, and sometimes we keep that focus on ourselves so it’s nice to turn that focus outward onto other people just to see a difference it make and how much people appreciate it,” said Andy Adamsbaum.

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All items were donated and were free for the families.

Smoke from San Joaquin Valley Prompts Spare the Air Alert for Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Air quality officials have put out a Spare the Air alert for the Bay Area, asking residents not to burn indoors or outdoors due to poor air quality.

Winds are forecast to blow southeast, bringing smoke from the San Joaquin Valley into the Bay Area, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. That will be compounded if residents here light fires.

“Smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces in the region pollutes our air,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district.

The alert bans burning in fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits and other wood-burning devices.

“Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains fine particles and carcinogenic substances that make the air harmful to breathe inside and outside the home,” air quality officials said.

First-time violators will be given the option to take a wood smoke awareness class in lieu of a $100 fine. Fines increase with consecutive violations, officials said.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Governor Orders Release For Inmate Sentenced To Life As Teen

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole for his involvement in a fatal 1995 carjacking as a teenager will be released next year, the state’s outgoing governor ordered Friday.

The order means Curtis Brooks will be released from prison on July 1, with a five-year term of parole. Gov. John Hickenlooper also commuted the sentences of five other prisoners serving life terms without a chance at parole, setting parole eligibility dates ranging from four to 10 years from now.

“It’s our belief that young offenders who have grown into exemplary individuals, and who have clearly learned from their mistakes, should be considered for a second chance,” Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Brooks’ case prompted a several months of legal wrangling over Colorado’s 2016 law on juvenile defendants who received mandatory life sentences, a response to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions deeming those life terms unconstitutional.

A judge was set to consider Brooks’ request for a reduced sentence Monday. But his attorneys believed even the minimum sentence now permitted for a felony murder charge in Colorado would keep Brooks in prison for several years and continued to petition Hickenlooper for clemency.

Hickenlooper in a letter to Brooks, now 39, called him a “prime example of extraordinary rehabilitation.”

“You have taken full accountability for your actions and recognize the mistakes you made in the past,” Hickenlooper wrote. “You are remorseful, and ready to advance to a new phrase of life.”

Brooks told the governor’s staff that he was “humbled, honored and thankful” after learning of the decision, said Hollynd Hoskins, Brooks’ lawyer.

“This is a great day,” Hoskins said Friday. “Curtis wants everyone to know that he will not let them down.”

Brooks was 15 and homeless when the crime happened. His mother, struggling with drug addiction after a release from rehab, kicked him out of her apartment. On April 10, Brooks went to an arcade seeking shelter from a spring blizzard and met three other teenagers who convinced him to help them steal a car.

Brooks later confessed to police that his role was to fire a gun into the air as a distraction. Brooks’ shot did not injure anyone, but a 17-year-old also involved in the robbery shot and killed the car’s owner, 24-year-old Christopher Ramos.

The shooter was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. A 13-year-old spent four years in juvenile detention. A 15-year-old was sentenced to 48 years in prison and received a pardon in 2011 from former Gov. Bill Ritter.

Brooks was charged as an adult and given the mandatory sentence of life without a chance at parole for his felony murder conviction.

Nearly two decades later, a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions ruled those type of sentences represented cruel and unusual punishment for juvenile defendants.

Brooks while jailed earned his GED and began taking college courses, his attorneys have said. A network of supporters formed around him, including a juror from his original trial and his former elementary school principal who has since become a Maryland state senator.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decisions on juvenile sentencing, Colorado lawmakers in 2016 decided that judges could reduce the formerly mandatory life sentences of prisoners sentenced as juveniles.
At least 16 people, including Brooks, had been convicted of felony murder as juveniles, serving life with no chance at release in Colorado’s prisons.

The Colorado Supreme Court in September rejected Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler’s argument that the law gave preferential treatment to Brooks and other prisoners in the same circumstances.

Brauchler did not oppose a reduced sentence for Brooks but said Friday that Hickenlooper’s decision means Brooks will spend less time in prison than the mandatory 30-year minimum set in the 2016 sentencing changes. He also questioned the timing of Hickenlooper’s decision ahead of Monday’s re-sentencing hearing, when the governor’s has had Brooks’ clemency petition for months.

“It makes the court process irrelevant,” Brauchler said. “Why make the defendant, why make the victims, why make the community wait until the day before the hearing?”

By KATHLEEN FOODY, Associated Press

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Chicago Parents Remember Kids Killed By Gunfire On Sandy Hook Shooting Anniversary

CHICAGO (CBS)—Friday marks six years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 26 victims—most of them children.

Hundreds gathered at a church on the South Side of Chicago Friday night to remember the anniversary and loved ones lost to gun violence.

Inside Saint Paul and the Redeemer church in Kenwood, politicians like Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker joined hundreds of others Friday, including heartbroken parents who remembered their children lost in Chicago’s gun violence epidemic.

Vigil Chicago Parents Remember Kids Killed By Gunfire On Sandy Hook Shooting Anniversary

In the center of the church, decorated for Christmas, mothers read a list of hundreds of names of gun violence victims—most of them young people.

The mothers called for action, asking that other moms can avoid the pain of losing a child.

“When a mother loses a child they go to a dark place,” said Gwen Baxter, whose son was killed in 2003. “They are never the same again.”

Another mom who gathered at the church Friday, Alice Norris, said her daughter was an innocent bystander when she was killed in 1993.

“She was sprayed with bullets,” Norris said. “I saw all the bullets and thought, ‘why would someone have a gun that could do that?’”

Elizabeth Ramirez, whose son was killed in 2011, said more needs to be done to prevent gun violence.

For some parents, the pain of losing a child runs even deeper. Delphine Cherry’s daughter was killed by a stray bullet, and then 20 years later her adult son was murdered.

“I had to bury two children,” Cherry said. “People ask me how you do it. I tell them ‘strong’ is the only thing I have left.”

Sen. Kamala Harris Faces Questions Over Former Aide Accused of Sexual Harassment

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Documents reveal U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris was not alerted to certain sexual harassment claims against one of her close advisers while she headed up California’s Department of Justice as Attorney General.

One accused DOJ official, Larry Wallace, was working as a senior aide in Sen. Harris’ Sacramento office when the charge and subsequent $400,000 settlement came to light last week. Wallace immediately resigned and Harris denied knowing about the charge or settlement.

Wallace’s former assistant, Danielle Hartley, served the lawsuit on the DOJ in January 2017, so it appeared that Harris (and Wallace) had moved on to the Senate when the matter was settled in May 2017 by Harris’ replacement, Xavier Becerra. This timeline had helped to explain why Harris didn’t know about the allegations against Wallace, who was the director of the Division of Law Enforcement at the DOJ when the harassment allegedly occurred.

On Friday, Dec. 14, the Sacramento Bee reported, “an intake form from the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office, which oversees discrimination investigations and compliance at the Department of Justice, shows that the department was first notified on Oct. 3, 2016, of Danielle Hartley’s intent to pursue legal action.” According to the Bee, the form lists Wallace as Hartley’s boss and alleges she “experienced discrimination, harassment, retaliation, demotion.”

Harris admits that she should have been told about the claim, telling the Bee, “There’s no question I should have been informed about this. There’s no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed.” While serving as Attorney General, it does not appear that Harris issued any mandate directing the EER&R Office inform her about all harassment and discrimination claims involving high-level officials.

Being left out of the loop is nothing new for Harris. In 2008, when she was San Francisco’s district attorney, her office was accused of defrauding the federal government out of millions in grant funding. Harris said she had no idea there were issues with the grant money, claiming “staff had not told her about it.”

And in 2014, when Harris was the Attorney General, DOJ lawyers used some controversial arguments in a high profile lawsuit over early release for some California prisoners. When asked about the case Harris said she was “shocked” to find out what her own agency had argued.

Prof. Eric Schickler teaches political science at UC Berkeley and says Harris’s political future has not been hurt by the issue of Larry Wallace.

“Assuming this is an isolated incident and assuming Sen. Harris really didn’t know about it, it would be a blip,” he told KPIX.

“But if evidence comes out that she did know about it, that would be a real problem.”

Another potential problem? Harris getting rattled by recent events.

“What does sometimes happen to candidates is you have one kind of stumble and then another and then another and then people start having doubts,” said Prof. Schickler.

“I don’t think we’re at that point with Sen. Harris but that’s something you’d obviously want to look out for.”

He says this whole story shows how “expectations have changed regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. I think in the past politicians could essentially get away with not being as proactive.”

Harris has said she’ll made a decision about whether to run for president over the holidays.

Michelle Obama Meets Youth Leaders, Pitches Memoir In San Jose Visit

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Michelle Obama came to San Jose Friday to promote her new autobiography, “Becoming.” But before her sold-out talk at the SAP Center, Obama spent time with youth leaders at a community center reminding them of her first forays into public service.

The former first lady met the members of Public Allies, a youth leadership nonprofit at the Seven Trees Community Center. Long before she stepped into the national limelight, Mrs. Obama was a co-founder of Public Allies on the south side of Chicago, where she grew up.

“Public Allies was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had,” said Mrs. Obama to assembled group. Public Allies has grown to 25 chapters across the United States, including one based at the San Jose Community Center.

“All around the country I’m running into Ally Alums and they are doing some amazing things.  So the future is bright and the work is powerful,” Mrs. Obama said.

Public Allies prepares young people for government and non-profit careers.

At one point, Mrs. Obama was asked about how to handle failure. “You have to get out of your way and not worry about other people’s
perceptions of your failures, because there are double standards. There is hypocrisy, there are different measures,” she said.

“We still live in an unequal society.”

One participant said she has admired Mrs. Obama since childhood.

“Mrs. Obama is cool handed, very level headed, so being able to reach across borders and across boundaries is something that resonates with me,” said Public Allies member Alysyn Martinez.

There was no public access to the event, but crowds gathered outside the community center.

Violet Martinez strained to see Mrs. Obama in person.

“I don’t know, she just has class and everything she says is positive.  She is a great person to look up to,” Martinez said before Mrs. Obama was whisked away from the event by her Secret Service detail.

Beating At Lockport East High School Likely Drug-Related

CHICAGO (CBS)–CBS 2 has learned that drugs played a major role in the fight that took place here yesterday at Lockport East High School.

Students and parents say there is an ongoing feud between two groups of students and this ugly incident was directly connected to another fight that took place last Friday in the boys bathroom.

The conflict may have involved marijuana.

Now administrators say they do not have any evidence of drug incidents at the school, but they do acknowledge that drugs may have been a trigger in this attack.

Superintendent Todd Wernet said the school employs a resource officer and other school staff to help keep security tight. The school also has 73 security cameras, he said.

“We have a very strong presence in the building,” he said.

There was a strong police presence at the school on Friday because there was talk of retaliation, and social media posts about students bringing guns to school.

About 10 percent of the school’s 2,600 students stayed home today. That’s about 260 students. Those who did attend class say tensions were high.

“Like everyone’s jumpy and whatnot and I don’t know, it’s just weird seeing cops just sitting in the halls and I don’t know it just gets people really amped up,” said student Andrew Lewis. “Not amped up in a way but just like less down–on the down-low, just scared.”

Another student, Devin Moats, also described the atmosphere in the school.

“We weren’t really allowed to be in the hallways,” he said. “It was like a million cops everywhere.”

Moats said the police presence made him feel safer.

Lewis said it’s rare for students to help other students when fights break out.

“I guess with fights people just want to take out their phones and record it,” Lewis said.