Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Today's News, below: the latest on the stranded cruise ship, what the President says about mininum wage, Project Homeless Connect is today, more of us think of pets as family, wrestling will no longer be an Olympic sport, and see the Best in Show from the dog show.

CRUISE SHIP SLOWLY COMING TO SHORE
That dead-in-the-water cruise ship is still at sea. Though now two tug boats are dragging the nearly 900-foot, 14-story Triumph to harbor in Alabama, they're moving at about a jogger's pace, and won't be there till Thursday. Much of the ship's electrical power went down after an engine fire caused widespread malfunctions, including taking out sanitary systems. Now, toilets are backing up and people are sleeping in the halls, or on deck where it's cooler. Carnival says it'll give passengers a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, and a credit for another cruise (if this incident hasn't put them off the whole idea). There are 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members on board.

OBAMA ASKS FOR RAISE IN MINIMUM WAGE, TOUGHER GUN LAWS
President Obama says the economy's made a lot of progress but, "too many people still can't find full-time employment."  In his annual State of the Union address, the President also called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to nine dollars an hour. The Federal Mininum wage is 7.25 an hour. That's what we pay here in Tennessee, though some states have already raised theirs above 9 dollars. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, for example, it's $10.29 an hour, already. 
   Obama also said police chiefs who "are tired of being outgunned" are asking the government's help to get weapons of war off the streets.  In his annual State of the Union address, the President said senators from both parties are working together on tough new laws to stop people from buying guns for resale to criminals.  

PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT IS TODAY (WEDNESDAY)
The Metropolitan Homelessness Commission expects about a thousand people who are homeless to find a way to the State Fairgrounds today for Project Homeless Connect. It's a one-day gathering of people who are volunteering their time to give homeless people dental services, a medical checkup, free shoes, haircuts, housing information and help, a meal, and more. Project Homeless Connect is 9 to 3 today, at the State Fairgrounds, if you know someone who needs the help.

FATE OF "THE CONTRIBUTOR" SALES IN FRANKLIN BEING DEBATED
The fate of "The Contributor" in Franklin is still undecided. The newspaper is sold by the homeless and the proceeds go to the homeless. But, as the law stands, it's illegal to sell anything on a Franklin city right-of-way. City leaders are having to decide whether to change the law to let the Contributor be sold there, and what restrictions to put on the sales if they do. (The options include letting the papers be sold on public sidewalks only, no in-vehicle sales as most are done now, or limiting the time of day or even time of year when sales would be permitted.) City Administrator Eric Stuckey said rumors that the city would ban street vendor sales completely are not true.

HURRICANE SANDY DEADLIEST IN 40 YEARS
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest storm to hit the northeastern United States in the last 40 years. The 72 people who died is the most for a hurricane outside the southern states since 1972's Hurricane Agnes.  The storm caused nearly 50-billion dollars in damage.

TWO LOCAL MEN ACCUSED OF PROSTITUTING UNDERAGE GIRLS
Two local men are facing charges of prostituting underage girls. Police started the investigation last month, after getting a tip that 22 year-old Kareem Wiggins of La Vergne and 26 year-old Robert Wright of Murfreesboro were offering the minors' services online. Their charges include trafficking for commercial sex acts, especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and statutory rape.

REMAINS MAY BE OF ACCUSED COP-KILLER
Southern California authorities say they have found charred human remains in a burned-out cabin where law enforcement officers traded gunfire yesterday with someone they believe was accused cop-killer Christopher Dorner.  Dorner is the former Los Angeles police officer suspected of killing four people, including a Riverside policeman and a sheriff's deputy.

PREDATORS WIN IN OVERTIME IN FRONT OF SELL-OUT CROWD
And apparently Nashville Predators fans are making up for lost time. Now that the strike is over and the Preds are playing again, locals are filling the seats. The Predators just won last night (beating the San Jose Sharks 1 -0) in front of the teams 18th consecutive sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

BEST OF SHOW CHOSEN IN DOG SHOW
The competition is over for this year at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The event's top honor: Best in Show, has gone to a five-year-old Affenpinscher [[ ah-fin-pin-shur ]]... named Banana Joe. SEE PHOTOS from the Show.

MORE DOGS, CATS CONSIDERED FAMILY, BUT FEWER GETTING VETERINARY CARE
A new poll about pets found that more of us think of our dogs and cats as family, but fewer of us are getting medical care for our pets. About 1 in 5 dog owners say they've never taken their dog to the vet, even once. Not for shots, nothing. And 2 in 5 cat owners say they've never, ever taken their cat to the vet. That means a lot of animals running around without proper shots and without being spayed or neutered. That partly explains where all the strays come from.

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE DROPS WRESTLING FROM GAMES
After 2016, the International Olympic Committee says it's decided to drop Wrestling from the Olympic program. They say it's old, it's not as popular as some of the new sports, and they want a spot to add another one without adding more athletes to the overall number of competitors. Some of the sports being considered include rollerblading, rock climbing and wakeboarding. (They have 25 sports already, with more than 10 thousand athletes at the summer games. Snowboarding has been added recently, to the winter games to freshen things up and appeal to more people.)

LADY GAGA CANCELS SHOWS FOR INJURY
The cancellation of four Lady Gaga concerts this week is leaving thousands of disappointed little monsters. She's had to cancel shows because of an injury, saying, "I am completely devastated and heartsick. I've been hiding this injury and pain from my staff for a month, praying it would heal, but after last night's performance, I could not walk."
Her condition is called synovitis, an inflammation that sometimes follows a sprain, strain or injury.
Shows through at least this weekend are cancelled. So far, she's still on for next month in Nashville, and there are still TICKETS AVAILABLE.

FCC INVESTIGATING EMERGENCY ALERTS FOR ZOMBIE ATTACKS
The FCC is investigating Monday night's bizarre incident that led to several broadcast outlets issuing emergency alerts of an impending invasion by zombies.  The FCC believes hackers briefly broke into the Emergency Alert System.

POPE GIVES FINAL ASH WEDNESDAY MASS
Today is Ash Wednesday. Pope Benedict the 16th will deliver the final Ash Wednesday mass of his papacy later today.