- - Sunday, December 27, 2009


2 children killed in Christmas fire

LOUISVILLE — Fire officials said two children died in a Christmas morning fire that destroyed a house.

Maj. Henry Ott of the Louisville Metro Arson Squad said the children were ages 10 and 12 and that their grandparents were injured in the fire.

Chief Chris Aponte of the Harrods Creek Fire Department said three firefighters were hurt battling the blaze, which was reported through an alarm system just after 4:30 a.m.

Chief Aponte told the Louisville Courier-Journal the children’s parents and grandparents had escaped and were trying to rescue the children when firefighters arrived.

He said the grandfather was reported in intensive care and the grandmother was being evaluated for cuts and smoke inhalation.


Bad weather plagues nation

OMAHA — The treacherous weather that has plagued much of the country for days stranded road and air travelers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas and threatened flooding in parts of the East.

Storms that began dumping as much as a foot of snow in a swath from Texas to the Upper Midwest in the days before Christmas began subsiding, but blowing and drifting snow hampered visibility in many areas.

In Chicago, one of the nation’s busiest travel hubs, snow and ice there in tandem with rain on the East Coast canceled or delayed more than 50 flights.

Flights also were delayed at the three major airports in the New York area, which was under rain and patchy fog. Most delays there were weather-related but were compounded by tightened security after an airplane bombing attempt in Detroit.

Transportation officials closed a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between Goodland, Kan., and Burlington, Colo. Officials also closed interstate highways in Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming, but some reopened as the storm began to abate.

In South Dakota, state troopers assisted 182 people who were stranded in their vehicles or needed help getting through snowy roads, Col. Dan Mosteller said.

The National Weather Service posted a freezing rain advisory through the afternoon Saturday for parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.


Man can’t recover money in divorce

NEW YORK — A judge said a prominent New York City lawyer can’t recover money he paid in a divorce agreement when he believed he and his ex-wife had millions of dollars invested with Bernard Madoff.

Steven Simkin said he gave Laura Blank $6.6 million as her share of marital assets in July 2006 after more than 30 years of marriage. The figure included $2.7 million that was half the value of Mr. Simkin’s Madoff account.

But the account with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities was empty. Madoff later admitted cheating thousands of investors and was imprisoned.

A Manhattan Supreme Court justice ruled Miss Blank didn’t have to “shoulder her share” of the Madoff losses and threw out the case.

Mr. Simkin heads the real estate department at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.


Pastor kills son on Christmas Day

DARBY — Police said a pastor from suburban Philadelphia fatally shot his son during a family gathering on Christmas Day.

Police said Kirk Caldwell killed his 21-year-old son during a domestic dispute while more than a dozen people were at their Darby home on Friday.

Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe said the son, Jordan Caldwell, was involved in a violent confrontation with a woman at the house and that the elder Mr. Caldwell intervened and fired a gun, hitting his son in the chest. He had not been charged as of Friday evening.

Mr. Caldwell, 44, is pastor at End Times Harvest Mission for Christ in Philadelphia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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