By Lisa Maria Garza WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Still healing from multiple broken bones after the force of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant lifted him out of his boots a year ago, one first responder has begun to address the anguish of losing his team members. Volunteer firefighter Robert Payne said there were challenges that went far beyond physical rehabilitation in recovering from the April 17, 2013, blast that killed 15 people, most of them first responders. In many ways, the tiny, central Texas city of West looks much like it did before the fertilizer plant explosion leveled the surrounding neighborhood and injured hundreds. Texas Governor Rick Perry said late Wednesday that the state will award West an additional $4.8 million to repair the city's infrastructure, including water treatment and storage, on top of the $3.2 million in disaster relief already received.
He was part of a 1,000-strong coalition of armed militia-men, cowboys on horseback, gun rights activists and others who rallied to Cliven Bundy's Bunkerville ranch, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, in a stand-off with about a dozen agents from the federal Bureau of Land Management. Citing public safety, the BLM retreated, suspending its operation and even handing back cattle it had already seized. No shots were fired during the stand-off, which Bundy's triumphant supporters swiftly dubbed the "Battle of Bunkerville," but the government's decision to withdraw in the face of armed resistance has alarmed some who worry that it has set a dangerous precedent and emboldened militia groups. "Do laws no longer apply when the radical right no longer agrees?" said Ryan Lenz, a writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors militia group activity.
DENVER (AP) — A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States sharply questioned whether Oklahoma can legally prevent the marriages.
NEW YORK (AP) — The government's latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish. The report counts cases in only 10 states for some of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends. Highlights from Thursday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes.
NEW YORK (AP) — The imam of a London mosque used his influential position in the late 1990s to train and aid terrorists and used the cover of his religion to hide in plain sight, a prosecutor told jurors in his opening statement Thursday before a defense attorney promised that the defendant will explain himself during the trial.
President Barack Obama on Thursday called on the Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which he said was being held back by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. "There is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said at a news conference. The Congress should act. "Right now what's holding us back is House Republican leadership not willing to go ahead and let the process move forward." Obama said there were Republicans in both the House and Senate who know immigration reform "is the right thing to do." "I also know it's hard politics for Republicans because there are some in their base that are very opposed to this," he said.
With the Chicago weather finally getting a little nicer, Chris Anderssen wanted to grill some burgers outside for a group of family and friends. When she got to the meat aisle at her local Jewel-Osco supermarket, a case of sticker shock made her change the menu: extra lean ground beef was $4.99 a pound. Retail beef and pork prices reached all-time highs last month, according to Bill Hahn, agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. That's prompting some consumers to pivot to less expensive protein sources and driving the grocery, packaged food and restaurant industries to adjust portion sizes, tweak their menus and roll out new products in a bid to address higher food costs without driving customers away.