TIME health

The 10 Healthiest Places to Live in America

From Honolulu to Plano, Texas, here's where to move for fitness, nutrition and aging well

In a new TIME book, Healthiest Places to Live, we name the best cities for your well-being. The book is now available on newsstands everywhere.

TIME health

Watch Shoppers Smash a Hot Car Window to Free Trapped Toddlers

The mother pleaded with witnesses not to call the police

A group of shoppers in a Katy, Texas, parking lot took it upon themselves to break through the window of hot Jeep on Monday to free children trapped inside.

The children’s mother had left the two young kids, a boy and a girl, locked in the car while she got a haircut, WUSA 9 reports.

“The kids were in there crying,” said Gabriel Del Valle, who shot a cell phone video of the incident. “I mean you would understand. It’s real hot.”

Witnesses said the mother pleaded with all involved not to call the police and said she had made a terrible mistake. The children reportedly appeared unhurt and authorities were not contacted.

[WUSA9]

TIME Immigration

Immigration Activist Jose Vargas Released From Border Detention

Jose Antonio Vargas Arrest Immigration
Jose Antonio Vargas in handcuffs at the airport in McAllen, Texas, on July 15, 2014 United We Dream/Define American

The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist turned activist lacks a U.S. visa

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who became an immigration activist after openly admitting his undocumented status, has been released after he was detained by border-patrol agents at a Texas airport on Tuesday as he attempted to board a flight.

“I’ve been released by Border Patrol,” Vargas said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country. Our daily lives are filled with fear in simple acts such as getting on an airplane to go home to our family.”

A border-patrol spokesperson had earlier confirmed to the Associated Press that Vargas was held after being arrested at the airport in McAllen, Texas, but had no other details.

Vargas, who has a valid Philippine passport but not a U.S. employment visa, announced his undocumented status in a 2011 story in the New York Times Magazine and wrote a cover story for TIME a year later about his experience.

He now travels the country as an activist working to change U.S. immigration laws. On July 10 that work brought him to McAllen, which he visited with a camera crew from his advocacy organization, Define American, to document the shelters housing thousands of unaccompanied children who have fled the escalating violence in their Central American hometowns. Vargas was apparently unaware that the U.S. Border Patrol has a checkpoint set up about 45 minutes outside of the South Texas town.

“I feel stupid. I’ve been traveling around the country, visiting 43 states in like 3 years, and I’ve been flying using my Philippine passport,” Vargas reportedly wrote in a text message sent over the weekend to a Washington Post reporter. “But I’ve never been to the Texas border area. I just figured I could use the passport. But apparently I can’t because border-patrol agents check foreign passports.”

Shortly before his arrest Tuesday, Vargas tweeted that he was attempting to pass through security with a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution and his Philippine passport as his only documentation:

TIME Immigration

Journalist, Activist Detained by US Border Patrol

(McALLEN, Texas) — A prominent immigration activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has lived and worked in the U.S. without legal documentation for years has been detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents at a South Texas airport.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora says Jose Antonio Vargas was in custody Tuesday morning, but he had no other details.

Vargas had been in the border city of McAllen for several days as part of a vigil drawing attention to the plight of unaccompanied immigrant children and families coming into the U.S. illegally.

On Tuesday morning, Vargas tweeted: “About to go thru security at McAllen Airport. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

At the McAllen airport, Border Patrol agents stand beside Transportation Security Administration agents checking documentation, even for domestic flights.

TIME Military

Bowe Bergdahl Returns to Active Duty

U.S. Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
U.S. Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. U.S. Army/Getty Images

Following weeks of recovery abroad and in a Texas outpatient facility

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is returning to active duty, the Army said Monday, after the soldier freed in a swap for Taliban leaders spent three weeks in an outpatient facility.

“Sgt. Bergdahl has completed the final phase of the reintegration process under the control of U.S. Army South and is currently being assigned to U.S. Army North, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston (JBSA),” the Army said. “He will now return to regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission.”

Bergdahl was released after five years in Taliban captivity in May. Many ill and wounded troops are sent back to active duty during recovery, and Army officials are still continuing their probe into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance from his base in Afghanistan. Some soldiers have labeled him a deserter for that.

“The Army investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Bergdahl is still ongoing,” the Army said.

Bergdahl was returned to U.S. custody in exchange for the release of five Taliban leaders detained in Guantánamo Bay, provoking protests from Republicans and other critics of the deal. An Army investigation found he had deliberately left his post in Afghanistan in June 2009.

TIME Houston Shooting

Houston Gunman Demanded to Know Ex-Wife’s Whereabouts

Ronald Lee Haskell
This undated photo released by the Cache County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, July 10, 2014 shows Ronald Lee Haskell. The 33-year-old man is accused of killing four children and two adults in a Houston suburb. AP

The lone survivor of the attack, the slain couple's 15-year-old daughter, suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head. She played dead and called 911 after Ronald Lee Haskell left the house, prosecutors said at a court hearing

(SPRING, Texas) — A man charged with killing four children and their parents forced his way into the family’s suburban Houston home, tied them up and shot them in the back of the head when they refused to tell him where his ex-wife was, authorities said Thursday.

The lone survivor of the attack, the slain couple’s 15-year-old daughter, suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head. She played dead and called 911 after Ronald Lee Haskell left the house, prosecutors said at a court hearing.

A day after the slayings, investigators slowly built a picture of Haskell, who was the couple’s estranged brother-in-law.

The 33-year-old man is accused of killing his ex-wife’s sister, Katie Stay, and her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding them and putting the family face-down on the floor of their home.

Haskell had a handful of previous run-ins with law enforcement in Utah, where he had lived with his wife. Neighbors said Haskell’s marriage was so rocky that Stay went to Utah last fall to help her sister escape the relationship and start a new life in Texas.

Stay “was very instrumental in helping her sister get here so she could have a fresh start. Katie’s a spitfire. She has energy to stand up for what she believes is right and true,” said Verena Beckstrand, a neighbor who choked back tears as she talked about the family.

Haskell had previously been jailed in 2008 in Logan, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City, on charges of assault and domestic violence. His wife told police he dragged her by her hair and struck her in the head in front of their children.

Those charges were later dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to information released Thursday by Logan authorities.

Haskell was also served last year with a protective order from his ex-wife. It was dismissed in October after the couple filed for divorce, online court records show.

By Thursday morning, a small memorial with three candles and a plant had been set up at the front door of the family’s two-story white-brick and brown wood-trimmed home. A couple with a child left a framed photo of the family with the inscription “Faith, Hope, Love.”

“I don’t think any of us will ever be able to see that house the same again,” said Viri Palacios, who lives across the street. “I just want the word to get out they were a really, really good family.”

The father, Stephen Stay, was a real estate broker. The mother was a helpful presence around the neighborhood, planning Halloween and Christmas parties for children, Palacios said.

A few blocks from the home at Lemm Elementary School, Principal Kathy Brown tied multi-colored ribbons around trees in front of the building and encouraged parents to do the same.

“It’s to have positive bright thoughts about the family,” Brown said, noting that two of the slain children had attended school there and a third had graduated from Lemm.

Documents from Thursday’s preliminary court hearing say that the daughter who survived attempted to close the door after telling Haskell her parents were not home. But he allegedly kicked it in. The teen remained in critical condition in a Houston hospital.

In a statement, issued Thursday through the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Katie Stay’s father, Roger Lyon, said his 15-year-old granddaughter “is expected to make a full recovery.”

When the badly wounded daughter contacted authorities, she told them the gunman was planning to shoot other relatives, Harris County Constable Ron Hickman said. Police located Haskell’s car and took him into custody after a three-hour standoff.

“We are grateful for this miracle,” Lyon said in his statement. “We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero.”

Haskell was wearing a FedEx shirt at the time of the attack, but authorities seemed uncertain whether it was a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Hickman initially said Haskell showed up at the Stay home “in the guise of a FedEx driver.”

But he and other officials later declined to say whether Haskell used the uniform to gain access to the home. Hickman said investigators were not sure whether the suspect would have needed a disguise to get in the house, or if the children knew him.

Haskell had once done work for FedEx but not since January, the company said in a statement.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Haskell, who was initially misidentified by authorities as the slain children’s father. Police did not explain the mistake.

A divorce decree issued in February shows Haskell and Melanie Kaye Haskell were married in 2002 in Orange County, California. They separated in June 2013.

A judge granted joint custody of the couple’s four children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, with Haskell’s wife getting primary custody.

At the time of the divorce, Haskell was making $2,300 a month, although the records do not say what kind of work he did. He was ordered to pay $773 per month in child support. His wife was given the house, valued at $190,000, in the small town of Smithfield, Utah, just outside Logan.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office in San Diego County, California, said that Haskell’s mother reported an argument with her son July 2 at her home in San Marcos, California. A statement from the sheriff’s office says at one point Karla Haskell tried to leave the house to call for help, but her son physically restrained her and kept her from leaving. Ronald Haskell finally left after a few hours, and his mother contacted 911, the statement says. She later obtained a restraining order against her son.

That case is still under investigation, according to the statement.

TIME Immigration

Homeland Chief Will Make Case for Obama’s $3.7 Billion Border Request

Jeh Johnson
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Charles Dharapak—AP

Johnson's scheduled appearance Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee comes a day after Obama met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch critic of the president's handling of what Obama has called an "urgent humanitarian situation" at the border.

(WASHINGTON) — In what figures to be a tough sell, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is going to Capitol Hill to make the case for President Barack Obama’s request for $3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of unaccompanied child immigrants that has overwhelmed the Border Patrol in South Texas.

Johnson’s scheduled appearance Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee comes a day after Obama met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch critic of the president’s handling of what Obama has called an “urgent humanitarian situation” at the border.

During his fundraising trip to Texas, Obama also met with faith leaders and other Texas officials to discuss the wave or more than 57,000 children, mostly from Central America, who have been caught crossing the border without their parents since Oct. 1. At the same time, immigration officials have arrested more than 39,000 immigrants, mostly mothers and children, traveling as family groups.

In a preview of what Johnson may hear Thursday from senators, some Republicans made it clear Wednesday that Obama’s budget request would be a hard sell.

“I cannot vote for a provision which will then just perpetuate an unacceptable humanitarian crisis that’s taking place on our southern border,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor, where he was joined by fellow Arizonan Jeff Flake and Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. They took take turns blaming Obama’s policies for causing the border crisis.

In the House, Speaker John Boehner was noncommittal about bringing the spending measure to a vote.

“If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. “And if you look at the president’s request, it’s all more about continuing to deal with the problem.”

Republicans blamed the president’s decision to relax some deportation rules for fueling rumors circulating in Central America that once here, migrant kids would be allowed to stay.

“We’re trying to stop human trafficking. Are we actually increasing it?” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked several Obama administration officials during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations homeland security subcommittee, said she wanted to be careful about approving the president’s emergency spending request.

“What I’m going to be focused on is accountability, who’s in charge, what the plan is, who’s going to be held responsible before we spend, you know, $3.7 billion,” Landrieu said. “So we’ve got a lot more questions to be answered before I think we run too far ahead.”

The president’s emergency budget request includes funding for the Justice Department to hire 40 new immigration judge teams and about $1 billion for immigration enforcement efforts within the Homeland Security Department to help speed removal of immigrant families traveling with children, in addition to about $295 million to support repatriation, reintegration and border security efforts in Central America.

The Justice Department also announced Wednesday that deportation cases involving families and unaccompanied children would be moved to the top of court dockets. That means lower-priority cases will take even longer to wend through a system where there’s a backlog of more than 360,000 deportation cases.

Emerging from the highly anticipated meeting with Perry, Obama said he was open to suggestions from the Texas governor and others that he dispatch National Guard troops to the border but warned that such a solution would only work temporarily. He urged Republicans to grant his emergency spending request so the government will have the resources to put a variety of ideas into action.

“The problem here is not major disagreement,” Obama said in Dallas. “If they’re interested in solving the problem, then this can be solved. If the preference is for politics, then it won’t be solved.”

TIME Crime

Prosecutors: Houston Shooting Suspect First Bound His 6 Victims

Houston Suburban Shooting
Law enforcement officers surround a shooting suspect Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Spring, Texas. Brett Coomer—Houston Chronicle/AP

Updated 12 p.m. E.T. on July 10

Six people died in a shooting Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a home in suburban Houston, authorities said. Four children were among the victims, who prosecutors said had been tied up and shot in the back of the head.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, surrendered after a three-hour standoff with police Wednesday night and was booked Thursday for murder charges.

“It appears this stems from a domestic issue with a breakup in the family from what our witness has told us,” assistant chief deputy constable Mark Herman of the Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office told reporters.

Constable Ron Hickman corrected an earlier report that Haskell was the children’s father, but confirmed he was a relative of the homeowners.

“He came to this location yesterday afternoon … and came under the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt,” Hickman said in a news conference. “[He] gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents. Sometime later the victims were shot in this residence, and we now learned that Mr. Haskell was married to a relative of the residents of this home.”

Two adults and three children were found dead at the crime scene in the suburb of Spring, authorities told TIME. Another child died after being airlifted to a nearby hospital, officials said. A 15-year-old girl survived the melee with bullet fracture to the skull by playing dead. She told police that the shooter planned to target her grandparents next.

The suspect led law enforcement officers and SWAT team members a car chase late Wednesday. They later cornered the suspect before he surrendered several miles away from the scene of the initial shooting. Members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office high-risk operations unit and hostage negotiation team spoke to the man prior to his surrender.

One resident who lives close to the scene of the crime said he was shocked by the tragedy. “I’ve lived here 20 years. It’s a very quiet neighborhood,” Wesley Carr told the Houston Chronicle.

TIME Texas

Six Dead in Shooting at Suburban Houston Home

Houston Suburban Shooting
Neighbors embrace each other following a shooting Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Spring, Texas. Brett Coomer—Houston Chronicle/AP Photo

(SPRING, Texas) — Six people are dead, including four children, after someone opened fire at a home in a normally quiet neighborhood in a northern Houston suburb.

A spokesman for the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office says a woman was wounded. No information was immediately available on identities or how the victims were related.

A Harris County Sheriff’s Office statement says precinct deputy constables were called to the house about 6 p.m. Wednesday and found two adults and three children dead. Another child later died at a hospital.

The wounded woman was able to identify the gunman and direct deputies to him. Those deputies cornered the suspect in a nearby cul-de-sac. That standoff is ongoing.

TIME Immigration

Obama Urges Congress to Approve $4 Billion in Funds for Immigration Crisis

The President declined Governor Perry's request that he visit the border while in Texas: "I'm not interested in photo ops. I'm interested in solving a problem"

+ READ ARTICLE

Updated 6:29 p.m. ET on July 10

President Barack Obama called on Congress to swiftly approve nearly $4 billion in supplemental funding to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southwest border Wednesday, saying lawmakers need to set aside politics to solve the problem.

“Are we more interested in politics, or are we more interested in solving the problem,” Obama said in statement late in the day after a meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry and local faith leaders in Dallas to deal with the months-long crisis.

“What I emphasized to the governor is the problem here is not a major disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem,” Obama said. “The challenge is: Is Congress prepared to act to put the resources in place to get this done?”

Obama described the meeting with Perry, which came about after days of partisan wrangling, as “constructive,” saying “there’s nothing that the governor indicated he’d like to see that I have a philosophical objection to.”

The President said he encouraged Perry to pressure the Texas delegation to support the supplementary request. “If the Texas delegation is prepared to move, we can get this thing done next week,” he said.

House Republicans have called on Obama to use his executive authority to take steps to deal with the surge of illegal immigrants but have not yet indicated whether they will bring the President’s request up for a vote.

Perry, meanwhile, called on Obama to immediately deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to help deal with the crisis and to personally visit the border.

“Five hundred miles south of here in the Rio Grande Valley there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding that has been created by bad public policy, in particular the failure to secure the border,” Perry said in a statement. “Securing the border is attainable, and the President needs to commit the resources necessary to get this done.”

Obama left open the possibility of sending the National Guard if it would help Republicans move on the funding request, but added that the supplemental request is a longer-term solution that should be amenable to both parties, saying the GOP needs to “rediscover the concept of negotiation and compromise.”

The President also offered his most forceful public comments of warning to parents in Central American countries ravaged by poverty and violence who might send their migrant children on the dangerous journey to the U.S.

“Their parents need to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation and it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay,” Obama said, noting he has sent top Administration officials to Central America over the past several weeks. Vice President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday with the Presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to review efforts to dissuade parents from sending their children to the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Thursday that up to 90,000 unaccompanied child immigrants could cross the border before September, burdening immigration agencies who badly need new funding to handle the influx. Johnson cited the highest calculation of immigrant children yet when he appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday afternoon. “We are preparing for a scenario in which the number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border could reach up to 90,000 by the end of fiscal 2014,” Johnson’s testimony reads.

Obama meanwhile defended his decision not to visit the border, saying he’s not “interested in photo ops.”

“There is nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on,” he said. “This is not theater. This is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.”

 

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