TIME weather

See Photos From a 1958 Storm that Dumped Six Feet of Snow on New York

This Nor'easter might be big, but LIFE has seen bigger

As the Northeast prepares for the impending Nor’easter as though snow were an altogether new phenomenon, it begins to feel as though many people have let Frozen go a little too much to their heads. The panic is not entirely unfounded—it never hurts to reinforce your rations of Swiss Miss and chicken soup—but this is certainly not Snowmageddon’s first rodeo.

The several feet of snow predicted to blanket the Northeast over the next few days pale in comparison to the 6½ feet that pummeled upstate New York in December 1958. That storm—meteorogically speaking a snowburst as opposed to a blizzard, as it was not accompanied by high winds—left the city of Oswego frozen in time for days. After four days of snowfall, LIFE reported:

Traffic, business and mail had come to a standstill. Police were running milk to snowbound families. In the big digout that followed, the price of snow shovels skyrocketed and the mayor took to dog sled and team to get around town.

The magazine dispatched photographer Carl Mydans to capture the scene. Mydans’ photos, several of which appear above, didn’t end up running. Instead, LIFE ran four pages of reader-submitted photos, describing Oswegians’ response to the storm as one that employed snapping shutters as much as scooping shovels. So avid were the citizens in their documentation that the film supply ran out. “Processing shops were swamped with exposed rolls,” LIFE reported, “as snow scenes began to appear cheek by jowl with last summer’s undeveloped beach pictures.”

The only difference between their response and ours, then, is a hashtag—#Snowmageddon2015 and #blizzardof2015, in case you’re keeping track.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME LGBT

Saks Backtracks in Transgender Discrimination Case

2014 Holiday Shopping Windows - Chicago, Illinois
Chris McKay—Getty Images

The company will no longer argue that transgender people lack legal protections

Luxury retailer Saks & Co. has dropped a controversial legal argument they put forward in December: that there’s no federal law prohibiting the company from discriminating against someone for being transgender.

Leyth Jamal, a former employee who identifies as a transgender woman, is suing Saks for discrimination in Texas. She alleges that she was mistreated by the company and ultimately fired because she is transgender. In response, Saks claimed that Title VII, the portion of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on sex, doesn’t cover transgender people.

On Jan. 26, after public criticism and a legal rebuke from the Department of Justice, Saks withdrew the motion. The change was first reported by Buzzfeed. Saks will continue to contest Jamal’s suit, but will now focus on the merits of her specific claims.

MORE Does Saks Have the Right to Fire a Transgender Employee?

Saks’ original position was contrary to recent federal court rulings and the views of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice. In December 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that all lawyers in the department would be taking the position that transgender discrimination is covered as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII.

In the Justice Department’s motion, officials assert a “strong interest” in the outcome of the case. And their response to Saks’ initial argument is summed up concisely: “Not so.”

TIME weather

Watch Live: New York City Mayor Speaks on Blizzard

Bill de Blasio addresses New Yorkers as state of emergency declared in New York State

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Northeast Hit By Massive Storm

This could be an historic storm

A massive snowstorm hit much of the Northeast Monday and Tuesday, with some areas receiving more than 2 ft of snow, airlines canceling thousands of flights and trains and busses in major cities stopped.

Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more about what happened after the storm, and read more here.

TIME

Man Shoots Himself Outside News Corp. Building in New York

The building houses Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal

(NEW YORK) — Police say a man has apparently shot himself to death outside the News Corp. building in midtown Manhattan.

The 41-year-old man died after the shooting at about 9 a.m. Monday.

Authorities aren’t certain what prompted the shooting, which occurred outside the building that houses Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. The media conglomerate News Corp. is controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

It’s not clear if the man had any ties to News Corp. or if he was just standing outside the building.

A weapon was recovered at the scene, and no one else was injured.

Traffic was snarled in Midtown as police investigated.

TIME weather

Millions Dig in as ‘Crippling’ Winter Blizzard Slams Northeast

"This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before"

A long awaited blizzard of potentially historic proportions began inundating the American northeast on Monday night — turning cities across the region into virtual ghost towns as residents hunkered down indoors.

As the first storm bands moved across the East Coast, snow fell at a rate of 2 to 4 inches an hour at times, according to CNN. Meanwhile, winds exceeding 70 mph lashed the New England coastline.

Cities from Pennsylvania to Maine prepared for snowfalls in excess of two feet. Airlines canceled thousands of flights, public-transportation systems wound down, governors declared states of emergency, and officials said they would institute far-reaching travel bans to keep people off the roads.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said subways and buses in New York City would stop running at 11 p.m. and warned that the situation would be “exponentially worse” by Tuesday morning. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered drivers to be off the roads by 11 p.m.

“This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” de Blasio said.

Boston was bracing for the worst, expecting as much as three feet of snow, compared with about two feet in New York and more than a foot in Philadelphia. By early Monday evening more than 5,000 flights had been canceled in preparation for the storm, including all flights out of Boston Logan Airport starting as early as 7 p.m. Monday.

“This is a top-five historic storm, and we should treat it as such,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said. “This is clearly going to be a really big deal.”

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York each declared states of emergency. Travel restrictions in each state were set to begin Monday evening, when the heaviest snowfall was expected to start.

MORE: Here’s Who Decides if Your Flight Takes Off This Week

The National Weather Service described the storm as “crippling and potentially historic,” and warned of “life-threatening conditions” on roadways. Officials from New York to Boston warned residents to remain indoors if possible.

In New York City, thousands of city workers scrambled to prepare 6,000 miles of roads to operate during the storm. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that travel would be “hazardous” on Monday and Tuesday, and commuter-rail lines were expected to halt service overnight. Cuomo asked city residents to expedite their schedules to avoid evening delays.

All Broadway theater performances scheduled for Monday were canceled, according to an afternoon statement from Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the Broadway League.

MORE: Why Blizzards Turn Us Into Irrational Hoarders at the Grocery Store

In Massachusetts, Baker warned of power outages and a frozen transportation system in his state, where forecasters predicted winds of up to 75 m.p.h.

“People across Massachusetts should presume that roads … will be very hard, if not impossible, to navigate, that power outages are a distinct possibility, and that most forms of public transportation may not be available,” he said.

TIME Qatar

Qatar Has Asked a U.S. Family if They Want Their Daughter’s Alleged Killer Executed

Prince Charles Visits Qatar - Day 2
A general view of the skyline in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 20, 2014 Chris Jackson—Getty Images

They also have the option to pardon him or get financial compensation

A Pennsylvania family is being asked to decide on whether the alleged killer of their daughter should be put to death in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar.

A Kenyan security guard reportedly confessed to murdering English teacher Jennifer Brown, 40, who was found dead in her company apartment in November 2012, Agence France-Presse says.

Qatari authorities have now asked Brown’s family whether they want to pardon the guard, get financial compensation from him, or have him executed.

Brown’s case has languished in Qatar’s courts because of slow witness testimony, eliciting disappointment from her family. An announcement of their decision is expected on March 8.

[AFP]

TIME Crime

Catholics Selected for the Boston Bomber Jury Could Be Going Against Their Faith

Jury Selection Begins For Tsarnaev Trial
Jury selection for the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started on Jan. 5, 2015 at Moakley Federal Court. A jogger runs past police vehicles in front of the courthouse John Tlumacki—Boston Globe/Getty Images

There's a potential clash between jury selection criteria and Catholic teachings

There is a distinct possibility that many of Boston’s 2 million Roman Catholics won’t be able to perform jury service in the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without violating their faith.

The criteria for selecting jurors requires them to be able to sentence the accused to death should that eventuality arise, USA Today reports.

According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, however, the death penalty must not be used if “nonlethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor.”

“It is both ironic and unfortunate that Catholics who understand and embrace this teaching will be systematically excluded from the trial,” the Rev. James Bretzke, professor of moral theology at Boston College, told USA Today.

Read more at USA Today.

TIME poverty

L.A.’s Homeless Camps Are Growing as More People Are Forced Onto the Streets

US-POLITICS-POVERTY-ECONOMY
A man carries his belongings while walking past homeless people sitting amid their belongings on a street in downtown Los Angeles, California, on January 8, 2014. FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

Gentrification and shelter closures are leaving more people without a roof over their heads

Homeless camps in downtown Los Angeles are growing past their original boundaries and spilling over into other areas of the city.

Because of redevelopment of the downtown area, soaring rents, funding cutbacks and the closure of shelters, residents from neighborhoods such as Highland Park and Boyle Heights are being forced into the streets, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In an effort to find out where these people came from, and why, 6,000 volunteers will hit the streets on Tuesday and Thursday to ask the city’s homeless people questions about domestic violence, military service, gender identity and prison history.

The city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, has pledged to get the 3,400 homeless veterans off the streets by the end of 2015.

Read more at Los Angeles Times.

TIME Education

What the New Senate Education Chair Thinks About No Child Left Behind

Lamar Alexander, Patty Murray
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, and the committee's ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, for the committee's hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law. Susan Walsh—AP

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the new chairman of the Senate committee on education, walked into Congress this month with guns a-blazin’.

Twelve years after the passage of George W. Bush’s signature education bill, No Child Left Behind, and eight years after that troubled law was supposed to be revised and updated, the Tennessee Republican says now is the time for its long-neglected makeover.

He plans to take a revised version of the law to the Senate floor by the end of February, with hopes of pushing it through Congress “in the first half of this year.”

What exactly that makeover will look like is now the subject of hot debate on Capitol Hill.

The primary issue at stake is testing. Under No Child Left Behind, students are required to take a raft of standardized exams, each of which are used to assess whether schools are succeeding or failing, and, increasingly, to hold individual teachers accountable for their performance in the classroom.

Critics of No Child Left Behind—and there are lots and lots of them—generally hate the testing mandate. Conservatives and Tea Party activists decry it as “government overreach,” while liberals, local teachers unions and parents lament the reliance on “high-stakes testing.” Even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that too much testing can “rob school buildings of joy.”

So far, Alexander says that while he sees the benefits of aggregating and breaking down federal testing results, “the jury is still out” on whether an updated No Child Left Behind should require federal standardized tests at all, and if they do, whether the government should be barred from imposing consequences on schools with bad test scores.

How Alexander and the Senate education committee ultimately come down on this issue could fundamentally alter the way that public education works in this country.

In a conversation with TIME last week, Alexander offered a peek into what he thinks might come next.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You’ve said you’re not sure how you stand on the testing issue, but what is your thinking at the moment?

The thing that worked with No Child Left Behind is to take tests results, break them down and aggregate them so that we know that children really aren’t being left behind—so you can’t have an overall average for a school that’s pretty good, but still leave all the Latino kids in a ditch somewhere. But what’s increasingly obvious to me is that the biggest failure of No Child Left Behind has been the federal accountability system—the effort to decide in Washington whether schools or teachers are succeeding or failing. That just doesn’t work. But I think the jury’s still out on the tests.

How so?

What I didn’t realize when we started was the large number of tests that are required by state and local governments. [Former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush’s Foundation of Excellence in Education in Florida found that there are between eight and 200 additional tests required by state and local government in Florida. That is a lot more than the 17 tests that No Child Left Behind requires.

So you’re not necessarily opposed to keeping those 17 federally mandated tests?

Dr. [Martin] West at Harvard [who testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee last week] suggested keeping the [17] tests but making the decision about success, failure and accountability part of a state’s system. … Dr. West argues that that’s the real culprit—trying to [design accountability systems] from Washington—and I think that’s a pretty persuasive argument. I mean, it may not be the federal tests so much as letting someone at such great a distance assign so much weight to a single test and such arbitrary consequences to it.

So there may still be a federal testing mandate in a revised No Child Left Behind?

Most of the controversy that exists today is the result of Washington getting involved [in state education policy] over the last six or seven years. People don’t like that. Teachers and their unions do not like being evaluated from Washington, and communities do not like being told what their academic standards are, i.e. Common Core, from Washington. They might adopt it for themselves, but they’re not going to be told what to do. … [Washington’s involvement] actually creates a backlash, making higher standards more difficult to hold onto and teacher evaluation systems more difficult to create because of all the anger. … It’s just not the way you make permanent improvements in 100,000 public schools. The community has to own the change. The teachers in the school have to own the evaluation system and believe it’s fair or it’ll never work.

So keep the federally mandated tests, but leave the consequences portion to the states.

That’s right. That’s what Dr. West argues: you have to have the annual test. You have to disaggregate it. You have to report it, so we know how schools and children and school districts are doing. But after that, it’s up to the states, who spend the money and have the children and take care of them and it’s their responsibility to devise what’s success, what’s failure and [what the] consequences [should be].

You’re saying that Dr. West’s position, but it sounds like you’re pretty sympathetic to it.

The jury’s still out for me. What I know is the biggest failure of No Child Left Behind is the idea that Washington should tell 100,000 public schools and their teachers whether they’re succeeding, whether they’re failing and what the consequences of that should be. That hasn’t worked.

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