TIME local

Chicago Cops Stand in for Missing Fathers at Daddy Daughter Dance

The Chicago Police Department held its first-ever formal “Daddy Daughter Dance” Friday.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing because some people don’t really associate with their fathers,” 13-year-old Brejay Payne. “So once you come out, dressed up, and dance, eat, and play with your father, it’s kind of a nice day.”

But even girls growing up in poverty and violence-ridden areas without fathers got to attend the dance with some special escorts: Chicago Police Department commanders, sergeants and officers who stood in for needed dads. The officers wore their dress blue uniforms to escort the girls, also dressed in formal wear.

The event was organized by Chicago police districts 5, 7 and 9, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, who hope to make it an annual event.

“They actually get to see us to find out that that the police are nothing but people. We just happen to have uniforms on,” Commander Larry Watson told NBC Chicago.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Accident

3 Children Injured in Bounce House Sent Flying by Waterspout

Accidents in inflatable houses have become increasingly common

Three children were injured Monday in Florida when the bounce house they were in was lifted into the air by a waterspout and carried several feet.

The bounce house, which had been secured to a basketball court, flew above a tree line and across four lanes of traffic, according to police in Fort Lauderdale. The children were dumped out of the bounce house onto the sand shortly after it was airborne. Police later confirmed that two of the children had been released from the hospital with minor fractures while the third was being held overnight for observation. The bounce house had been provided for public use as part of a city Memorial Day event and was properly secured, police said.

MORE: Bounce-House Injuries Become an ‘Epidemic’

Bounce-house injuries among children have grown increasingly frequent in recent decades, as it’s become easier for anyone to buy and set up the inflatable structures. In 2010, about 31 kids per day were sent to the emergency room in the U.S. for inflatable-bouncer-related injuries in the U.S.

TIME natural disaster

Mom, Kids Among 12 Missing in Texas and Oklahoma Flash Flood

The father was found 12 miles down the river

Three people were confirmed killed, two in Oklahoma and one in Texas, after severe flash flooding this weekend.

Another 12 are missing, including a mother and her two children.

Laura McComb, daughter Leighton, 4, and son Andrew, 6, haven’t been seen since Sunday, according to WHNT.

They were reportedly staying at a river house in the town of Wimberley, Texas, when a wall of water swept the home and family of four, including husband Jonathan, away.

After being found 12 miles down the river, Jonathan is in the hospital recovering from several broken bones and a collapsed lung.

According to Fox News, the waters rose so quickly in the town that 1,000 people were forced to evacuate and hundreds of homes were destroyed.

“We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs,” Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith told CBS about the town of Wimberley.

In Oklahoma, Capt. Jason Farley drowned after being swept away during a water rescue, the Claremore Fire Department confirmed. He had been a 19-year veteran of the department.

The Blanco River crested above 40 feet, more than triple its flood stage of 13 feet, NPR reports. Rescuers used pontoon boats and a helicopter to pull people out.

This article originally appeared on People.

TIME

Planes Searched at NYC Airport After Unfounded Threats

(NEW YORK) — Authorities say two planes have been searched at New York’s Kennedy Airport after threats were made against the flights.

The FBI says U.S. military jets scrambled Monday morning to escort an Air France flight into the city after an anonymous caller claimed a chemical weapon was aboard the aircraft.

Authorities say the airliner landed safely and a search found no weapons.

They say a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight also was being checked out because of a threat.

The FBI says it believes the same caller made the threats and the airliners were being screened as a precaution.

TIME Accidents

No Reported Spike in Fatalities on New Jersey Turnpike Despite Recent Crashes

Mathematician John Nash died in crash Saturday

The New Jersey Turnpike has made recent headlines for major accidents and fatal crashes, but based on the most recent data, the highway is not any more unsafe than prior years.

On Saturday, the famed mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. who was the subject of the book and movie A Beautiful Mind, died in a car crash with his wife on the New Jersey Turnpike. Almost a year ago, comedian Tracy Morgan was severely injured from a crash on the same turnpike. The expressway has also been troubled by deadly pile-ups.

However, in 2013, the New Jersey Turnpike had the fewest fatal accidents in its over 60 year history, with a rate of nine deaths which was a significant drop from the previous year’s 24 deaths, according to NJ.com. The number of crashes were about the same from previous years.

During 2013, New Jersey had a similar rate of fatal accidents compared to other similarly sized states with cars on the road, according to data from the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS reports that 54% of motor vehicle deaths in 2013 happened in rural areas. Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s road safety organization, shows overall traffic fatalities in the United States for the first half of 2014 dropped about 2.2% from the same period of 2013.

TIME

Cult Killer Convicted in 1985 Dies in Nebraska Prison

He was convicted of killing a five-year-old and a 26-year-old

(TECUMSEH, Neb.) — A man who had spent three decades on Nebraska’s death row for the 1985 cult killings of two people, including a 5-year-old boy, has died in prison, officials said Monday.

Michael Ryan died around 5:45 p.m. Sunday at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institutional in southeast Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said in a news release Monday. Tecumseh prison spokeswoman Jessica Houseman did not have a cause of death but said an autopsy would be performed.

At a hearing in March about legislation to repeal the state’s death penalty, state Sen. Ernie Chambers said Ryan had terminal brain cancer. Houseman would say only that Ryan was being treated for a long-term medical condition.

Ryan was convicted in the torture and killing of 26-year-old James Thimm at a southeast Nebraska farm near Rulo, where Ryan led a cult, and in the beating death of Luke Stice, the 5-year-old son of a cult member. Ryan has been on death row since Sept. 12, 1985.

Over three days, Thimm was beaten, sexually abused, shot, stomped and partially skinned while still alive. His fingertips had been shot off on one hand. Ryan told his followers that he heard the voice of God.

Ryan’s son, Dennis Ryan, and cult member Timothy Haverkamp were sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder in Thimm’s death. Authorities said Dennis Ryan delivered the gunshot that killed Thimm after a month of torture.

The younger Ryan was later released from prison after winning a new trial and being convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Haverkamp was released from his prison in 2009 after serving 23 years of a 10-years-to-life sentence.

TIME Crime

Pressure Cooker in Suspicious Vehicle in Washington Is Destroyed

The vehicle's owner was located and arrested

(WASHINGTON) — A bomb squad safely destroyed a pressure cooker found in a “suspicious” vehicle left unattended Sunday afternoon on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol building and the vehicle’s owner was located and arrested, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman said.

Police Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press that Capitol Police officers on routine patrol spotted the parked, unoccupied vehicle on a street on the mall west of the Capitol around 5 p.m. Sunday.

“Further investigation revealed a pressure cooker, and an odor of gasoline was detected,” Schneider said, adding a Capitol Police bomb squad was called in because the vehicle was deemed “suspicious in nature.”

She said the squad known as the Hazardous Devices Section destroyed “items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker” at about 7:45 p.m. after temporarily closing off the area on the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. She did not immediately identify the other items but said only that “this safe disruption produced a loud ‘bang.'”

Asked by AP if the “disruption” involved controlled detonation of the items, she said that was accurate. She also said that follow-up searching of the vehicle detected “nothing hazardous.” Her email said the suspicious vehicle was investigated during a Memorial Day Concert in Washington though it was unclear how many people were nearby at the time.

She said the bomb squad intervention came after authorities had set up a security perimeter around the site on 3rd Street in the nation’s capital. She said that street was temporarily closed between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue while authorities investigated.

After the pressure cooker was destroyed, she said, police conducted a thorough “hand search” of the vehicle and concluded their investigation by about 8:20 p.m. “with negative results and nothing hazardous found.”

Asked whether police had specifically identified any threat to public safety, Schneider told AP via email: “If we can’t determine whether or not an item is safe/dangerous, we’d have to treat it as dangerous until we determine otherwise.” She added that was “why the items were safely disrupted, out of an abundance of caution.” She didn’t elaborate.

She added that the vehicle owner was located and her statement identified him as Israel Shimeles of the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. The statement said Shimeles was arrested by Capitol Police and charged with “Operating After Revocation” and that he was being processed Sunday evening at the police headquarters building.

It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney. Schneider didn’t elaborate on the charge.

Schneider also said the city’s Metropolitan Police, U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting Capitol Police.

The FBI did not immediately return a call for comment late Sunday.

Authorities have noted that pressure cookers have been used in the past to create explosive devices. Three people were killed and more than 260 others wounded in April 2013 when two pressure-cooker bombs were set off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

TIME weather

Deadly Storms Swamp Plains, Midwest, Force Texans From Homes

"We had the refrigerator in a tree," one resident said

(SAN MARCOS, Texas)—A line of storms stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes dumped record rainfall on parts of the Plains and Midwest, spawning tornadoes and causing major flooding that forced at least 2,000 Texans from their homes.

Three deaths were blamed on the storms Saturday and Sunday, including two in Oklahoma and one in Texas, where a man’s body was recovered from a flooded area along the Blanco River, which rose 26 feet in an hour and created huge piles of debris. The line of storms prompted tornado warnings and watches as far north as Illinois Sunday night, and the weather system was expected to linger over a large swath of the region Monday, putting a damper on some Memorial Day plans.

Among the worst-affected communities were Wimberley and San Marcos, which are in Central Texas along the Blanco River in the increasingly popular corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

“It looks pretty bad out there,” Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith said of Wimberley, where an estimated 350 to 400 homes were destroyed and where three people remained missing late Sunday. “We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs.”

Kristi Wyatt, a spokeswoman for San Marcos, said about 1,000 homes were damaged throughout Hays County, which includes Wimberley and which will be toured Monday by Gov. Greg Abbott. Five San Marcos police cars were washed away and the fire house was flooded. The city imposed a 9 p.m. Sunday curfew that would remain in place overnight.

Rivers swelled so quickly that whole communities awoke Sunday surrounded by water. The Blanco crested above 40 feet — more than triple its flood stage of 13 feet — swamping Interstate 35 and forcing parts of the busy north-south highway to close. Rescuers used pontoon boats and a helicopter to pull people out.

After a surge of mud and water flooded their cottage in Wimberley, John and Valerie Nelson fled through waist-deep waters in darkness early Sunday with transformers sparking and trees crashing around them. The single-story house, which had been Valerie Nelson’s grandmother’s, had been carefully rebuilt on stilts so that it would be able to withstand even the worst flooding.

“I’m absolutely dumbfounded,” said Valerie Nelson, who has owned the property for about 50 years. “I didn’t think the water would ever get that high.”

Hundreds of trees along the Blanco were uprooted or snapped, and they collected in piles of debris that soared 20 feet high.

“We’ve got trees in the rafters,” said Cherri Maley, the property manager of a house whose entire rear portion had collapsed with the flooding, carrying away furniture.

“We had the refrigerator in a tree,” she said. “I think it’s a total loss.”

About 1,000 residents were evacuated from roughly 400 homes near an earthen dam at Lake Lewis, about 50 miles north of Houston. Montgomery County emergency management officials fear the dam could fail due to theflooding. Agency spokeswoman Miranda Hahs said it wasn’t clear when residents would be allowed to return home.

A tornado briefly touched down Sunday in Houston, damaging rooftops, toppling trees, blowing out windows and sending at least two people to a hospital. Fire officials said 10 apartments were heavily damaged and 40 others sustained lesser damage.

Dallas faced severe flooding from the Trinity River, which was expected to crest near 40 feet Monday and lap at the foundations of an industrial park. The Red and Wichita rivers also rose far above flood stage.

In Colorado, a mandatory evacuation notice was issued Sunday for residents in the northeastern city of Sterling, and several counties planned to ask the governor for a disaster declaration. Meanwhile, tornado warnings and watches were issued Sunday night for parts of several states, including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

In northeast Oklahoma late Saturday, Claremore fire Capt. Jason Farley was helping rescue people from floodingwhen he was swept into a drainage ditch. His body was recovered an hour and a half later, his chief said. Meanwhile, a state emergency management official said a 33-year-old woman died in a weather-related traffic crash on Saturday.

This May is already the wettest on record for several Plains cities, with days still to go and more rain on the way. Oklahoma City set a new monthly rainfall total this weekend — 18.2 inches through Saturday, destroying the previous record of 14.5 in 2013. So far this year, Oklahoma City has gotten 27.37 inches of rain. It got only 4.29 inches all of last year.

Forrest Mitchell, a meteorologist at the weather service’s office in Norman, Oklahoma, said it looks like the recent rainfall may officially end the drought that has gripped the region for years, noting that many lakes and reservoirs are full.

TIME Military

The New Head of the U.S. Pacific Command Talks to TIME About the Pivot to Asia and His Asian Roots

SINGAPORE-ASIA-MILITARY-US-CHINA
Roslan Rahman—AFP/Getty Images U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris, left, speaks to journalists during his visit to U.S.S. Spruance (DDG 111), Arleigh Burke–class guided-missile destroyer, docking in Sembawang wharves in Singapore on Jan. 22, 2014

Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. sees his background as an Asian American as useful in helping the U.S. forge better relationships with its allies and other powers

On May 27 Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. becomes the U.S. Navy’s highest-ranking Asian American ever when he assumes leadership of the U.S. Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Harris will be responsible for all military operations in a region stretching from California to the Indian Ocean, and from the Arctic Sea to Antarctica. He takes over at a critical time, as the U.S. “rebalances” to Asia and confronts an erratic and nuclear-armed North Korea and an increasingly powerful and assertive China.

It’s a job that takes Harris, 59, full circle. He was born in Japan to a Navy-enlisted man and Japanese mother, and raised on a subsistence farm in Tennessee. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Harris did postgraduate studies at Harvard, Georgetown and Oxford and spent much of his career as a naval flight officer aboard P-3 patrol planes, including three tours in Japan. Affable, direct and with a confessed weakness for “both kinds of music — country and western,” Harris talks to TIME contributor Kirk Spitzer about taking on one of the most challenging jobs in the U.S. military.

You’ve said that the most important event in your life was World War II, yet you weren’t even born then. What do you mean by that?
My dad had four brothers and all of them served in World War II, mostly in the Navy, in the Pacific theater. In fact, my dad was on the aircraft carrier Lexington just a couple of days before Pearl Harbor. They pulled out O.K., but the Lexington was sunk at the Battle of Coral Sea. Growing up in Tennessee, where he and all his brothers lived, they told sea stories about the war throughout my whole life. So I just knew that I was going to serve in the military.

The other thing is, in this job and living in Hawaii, World War II is all around you. I live in the Nimitz House, which was built for Admiral Husband E. Kimmel. He was in charge on Dec. 7, 1941. So not a day goes by that I don’t remember that one of the primary lessons of World War II is to be ready to fight and win the nation’s wars — and to be ready to fight tonight.

You’ve said that your mother had a great influence on your life. She was born into a wealthy family in Kobe, Japan, but ended up living on a small farm in America. How did that happen, and how much of an influence did she have on you?
I learned a lot from her. She lost her home, her school, members of her family and friends to bombing raids. After surviving that, she had nothing and she went to live with an aunt in Yokohama who helped her get a job on the big American naval base in Yokosuka. My dad was posted in Japan and Korea from 1946 until he retired in 1958. They met sometime in the early 1950s and got married and then I came along and they moved to Tennessee.

My dad bought a subsistence farm, with no running water or electricity. So that was pretty rough. But she adapted, and she adapted with a lot of grace. She became an American citizen in the mid-1970s and she always told me that her proudest moments were voting and jury duty. She was really thrilled that I went to the Naval Academy, of course. She never taught me the Japanese language because we had moved to a tiny town in the South, and she didn’t want me to be any more different than I already was. She wanted me to focus on being an American. But she taught me to be proud of both my Japanese roots and my Southern roots. And she taught me about the Japanese concept of giri, which means duty. I carry this with me to this very day.

You are the first Asian American to reach four-star rank in the Navy and the first to head U.S. Pacific Command. Did you have role models when you were young?
I can tell you that being a Japanese-American kid in Tennessee in the late 1950s and early ’60s, there weren’t a lot of role models out there. So that’s when my mother started telling me about the American nisei soldiers during World War II. They left a segregated nation — to fight for a segregated nation. They had no guarantee that when they got back home the things they had fought for would be returned to them. We’ve come a long way in the past six or seven decades because of them and folks like them who fought for what’s right. Their courage made a great difference in the lives of a whole bunch of people at that time, and even today. I’ve always said that I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I mean it.

Before being named commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in 2013, you worked as a military representative to two Secretaries of State: Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. What did you learn in that job?
I got to visit and meet with leaders from about 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and that’s really important to me in my present job and even more so in my next job. It reinforced something that I already knew, and that is that American leadership matters and it matters greatly to our friends, partners, allies and competitors abroad.

Your appointment as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and more recently as head of Pacific Command, was met with great approval in Japan, but perhaps not so much in China, where there still seems suspicion of all things Japanese. Will it be difficult for you to manage expectations, on both sides?
People know when they look at me that I’m an American first, last and everything in between. I’m only ethnically [Eurasian] or ethnically [half-]Japanese. Protecting American interests is my focus. No doubt, Japan is a great ally of the United States and I do hope that my personal background has helped me enhance our relationship. But I think my background has also helped me forge critical relationships with South Korea, another important ally. My father served in the Korean War and I grew up with a deep appreciation for Korean culture.

And I can tell you that I was warmly received in China when I went there last year to finalize a new agreement among navies of the region to help communications at sea during unplanned encounters. This was an important step forward to help reduce tensions at sea and help avoid miscalculations. I’ve always tried to give China credit when they act in responsible ways that adhere to international law and norms, and enhance stability.

The Obama Administration has talked about an economic, diplomatic and military “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region. Some skeptics wonder if it’s real, or just rhetoric.
Not only is the rebalance real, but the military part is well on its way. We’ve strengthened our security alliances and partnerships throughout the region. The Navy has already brought our newest and most capable platforms to the area, like the P-8 surveillance airplane, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Virginia-class submarine and new amphibious ships like the U.S.S. America. The Marine Corps has brought the V-22 Osprey out here to great effect and we’ll have the Joint Strike Fighter out here soon. The Navy has set a goal of moving 60% of the Navy out here by 2020 and we’re at about 55% in terms of surface ships now. So I can tell you the rebalance is real.

In your new job you’ll be responsible for an immense and diverse region: “From Bollywood to Hollywood, from polar bears to penguins,” as Pacific Command puts it. What are your priorities?
Our war-fighting readiness, our ability to fight tonight, will always be my top priority. We have to be ready for the unexpected. We have to be ready to prevent strategic surprises. When you are responsible for an area that covers half the worlds’ surface, you need friends. So building stronger relationships and working with our allies and partners, to foster a collective to the security challenges — that’s important.

You’ve expressed deep concern about recent Chinese actions, including construction of a string of artificial islands in the South China Sea — a “great wall of sand,” as you put it. Why should the U.S. be concerned?
I have been critical of China for a pattern of provocative actions that they’ve begun in the recent past. Like unilaterally declaring an air-defense identification zone over the East China Sea, parking a mobile oil platform off the Vietnam coast, and their lack of clarity on their outrageous claim — preposterous claim, really — to 90% of the South China Sea. All these examples, I think, are inconsistent with international laws and norms. They make China’s neighbors nervous, it increases tensions in the region, and I think they are destabilizing for peace in the region.

More than $5 trillion — that’s trillion with a t — of shipborne trade passes through the South China Sea annually. Freedom of navigation is critical. That’s why what China is doing in the South China Sea is troubling. They have manufactured land there at a staggering pace just in the last months. They’ve created about 2,000 acres of these man-made islands. That’s equivalent to about 1,500 football fields, if I get my math right, and they’re still going. They’ve also made massive construction projects on artificial islands for what are clearly, in my point of view, military purposes, including large airstrips and ports.

What do you worry about most? What keeps you awake at night?
The greatest threat we face is North Korea. They have an unpredictable leader who is poised, in my view, to attack our allies in South Korea and Japan. He is on a quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them intercontinentally. He kills people around him who disagree with him, and that’s something we should always keep in mind. North Korea keeps me up at night.

TIME Crime

Officials: $1 Million Spent on Medical Care for Jailed Chicago Teen

"This case to me is a perfect example of the failure of the criminal justice system," the jail's executive director said

(CHICAGO) — A talented teenage basketball player unable to post bond on a low-level burglary charge ended up ingesting screws, needles, a 4-inch piece of metal and other objects while behind bars, leading the jail to spend more than $1 million in medical care on him.

Authorities at Cook County Jail told the Chicago Tribune that the case of 17-year-old Lamont Cathey highlights the hazards of institutionalizing impressionable youths, some of whom have mental health issues.

“This case to me is a perfect example of the failure of the criminal justice system,” the jail’s executive director, Cara Smith, told the newspaper. “It’s been a crushingly sad and very frustrating case.”

The newspaper says the sheriff’s office moved the Chicago teen into a newer section of the jail last week and that his condition appears to have improved.

Cathey has been in the jail for 16 months following his arrest for allegedly stealing money from a pizzeria safe, after he couldn’t post a $5,000 cash bond.

It’s only when a plea deal that was supposed to let him attend a boot camp fell through last year that he began swallowing objects. They included a thumbtack, strips of leather and even parts of a medical device he had dismantled.

“He’s literally eating the jail,” Smith said.

He’s been hospitalized two dozen times and had several operations to remove objects from his digestive tract.

Cathey piled up other charges while at the jail, including allegedly shoving a guard. That could mean time in state prison.

Cathey’s brother, Kenneth Barber, said he had never displayed signs of depression before he was jailed. He had been enrolled in an alternative charter high school, where basketball coaches called the 6-foot-8 Cathey “Big Boy.”

His lawyers have said in court filings that he urgently needs psychiatric treatment. That isn’t extraordinary for Cook County Jail, where nearly a quarter of its 8,000 inmates are mentally ill, say jail officials, who have long clamored for more mental-health resources.

“Lamont requires structured, long-term psychiatric residential treatment,” one of the defense filings said.

Cathey had been in trouble before. He was arrested more than a dozen times as a juvenile, though none of those arrests led to convictions.

A cousin, Charles Drake, said Cathey always wanted to do well in life.

“He’s got a good heart,” he said. “He just got some wrong turns.”

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