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Franklin, Grevers strike USA swim gold; Lochte misses podium

Labels: WRLTHD Sports News


Yannick Agnel dealt another crushing blow to Ryan Lochte and everyone else in the supposed Race of the Century at the London Olympics on Monday.
Missy Franklin restored American swim hopes with a gutty performance in the backstroke.


Matt Grevers kept the gold medals coming for the red, white and blue.


Franklin, a 17-year-old from Colorado and best hope for the U.S. program in the post-Michael Phelps era, bounced back from a semifinal race with just a 13-minute break, rallying to win the 100-meter back for the first gold medal of what figures to be a dazzling career.


Australia’s Emily Seebohm, the top qualifier, led at the turn and was under world-record pace, but Franklin showed a remarkable finishing kick — especially since she had just raced in the semis of the 200 free. With her arms twirling, the 6-foot-1 swimmer passed the Aussie in the final 25 meters and lunged toward the wall for a winning time of 58.33 seconds.


She broke into a big smile but was clearly exhausted, her head dropping back against the wall. Seebohm settled for silver in 58.68 and Japan’s Aya Terakawa took bronze in 58.83.


Agnel showed that his brilliant swim on the Olympic relay was no fluke. The towering Frenchman did it again in the 200 free, leading from start to finish in perhaps the most star-studded race of these games — even without Phelps, who passed up a chance to defend his Olympic title.


That might have been a good move by Phelps. It was hard to see anyone beating Agnel on this night, as he pulled away to win by a full body length in 1 minute, 43.14 seconds. There were gold medalists galore in the field, but no one came close to challenging the Frenchman, who steadily pulled away, looking just as strong at the end as he did at the beginning.


South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan and China’s Sun Yang tied for the silver in 1:44.93. But reigning world champion Lochte, who seemed poised to have a huge Olympics on the opening night of the games, has now put up two disappointing performances. He faded to fourth, missing out on the podium along with world-record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany.


Just when things were looking really grim for the powerful American team — Phelps shut out of the medal in his first London race, the relay loss, Lochte’s disappointments — Franklin came through and Grevers added another gold in rat-a-tat fashion, rallying on the return lap to win the men’s 100 backstroke.


For good measure, Nick Thomas made it a 1-2 finish for the Americans, touching for silver in 52.92. The bronze went to Japan’s Ryosuke Irie in 52.97, while France’s Camille Lacourt, who led at the turn under world-record pace, faded to fourth.


Still, the first three days have produced three gold medals for the French, the most they’ve ever won at the Olympic pool. And there’s still five days to go.

Ryan Lochte may be speedy... but this 16-year-old Chinese girl is even quicker!

By David Williams, Katherine Faulkner and Hugo Gye
Ryan Lochte knocked Olympic icon Michael Phelps off his perch on Saturday with a brilliant performance to win the men's 400m individual medley.

But just minutes later, in the women's version of the event, a 16-year-old Chinese prodigy performed an even more amazing feat as she smashed the world record and left her competitors far behind.

Ye Shiwen posted such a good time that her final 50m was in fact faster than Lochte's performance in the men's event, at just 28.93 seconds.

Her achievement was so unprecedented that it even led some broadcasters to question whether Ye had benefited from underhand practices.

Record breaker: Ye Shiwen knocked five seconds off her personal best and broke the world record by more than a second as she stormed to gold in the 400m individual medley

Record breaker: Ye Shiwen knocked five seconds off her personal best and broke the world record by more than a second as she stormed to gold in the 400m individual medley.

BBC presenter Clare Balding asked former British Olympian Mark Foster, who was in the studio as a pundit: ‘How many questions will there be, Mark, about somebody who can suddenly swim so much faster than she has ever swum before?’

Chinese swimming has previously been tainted by drug scandals – another 16-year-old world champion tested positive for doping last month – but Foster sought to play down any suggestion of cheating.
 
More...

    Disappointment for Phelps again as France beats men's swimming relay team but Dana Vollmer takes America's second gold in the pool with world record
    Ryan Lochte BANNED from showing signature stars and stripes smile on the podium to collect America's first gold medal
    The Dreamy Team! Michelle Obama gets touchy-feely with Kobe Bryant and men's basketball team after rout of France
    Outrage after U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach gets 'sucker punched' in the eye by Colombian opponent at Games
    Shock as top U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber fails to make final after edged out by Olympic teammates
    Benny Hill and bikinis... it's bonkers but brilliant! Beach volleyball hits Horse Guards Parade (and comes with a very strange soundtrack)
    The Royal seal of approval: Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne turn out to support Zara as she makes her Olympic Games debut
    Soccer star Hope Solo will not be disciplined after she attacked commentator Brandi Chastain on Twitter

He said: ‘It was a five-second best time and it was the way she did it as well. Bearing in mind she is 16 years of age, and when you are young you do some big best times… it can be done.’

Miss Balding’s question provoked a storm among BBC viewers on Twitter, with many praising her for daring to even hint at the possibility of cheating, but many criticising her for tainting the Chinese swimmer’s achievement and some even calling for her sacking.

Lakota, others celebrate rare white bison at Conn. farm, name him Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy

GOSHEN, Conn. — Dozens of Native Americans wore the traditional garb of their ancestors, sang songs and beat drums on a western Connecticut farm Saturday in celebration of the birth of one of the world’s rarest animals — a white bison.
The miracle calf was officially named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy at the elaborate ceremony at the Mohawk Bison farm in Goshen in the state’s northwestern hills. It was born June 16 at the farm of fourth-generation farmer Peter Fay.
Many Native Americans consider white bison a symbol of hope and unity; some consider their births sacred events. Experts say white bison are as rare as one in 10 million.
Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy is not an albino, and Fay said DNA testing confirmed the animal’s bloodlines are pure and there was no intermingling with cattle.
Lakota tribe members from South Dakota were among the hundreds of people who gathered at the celebration. Other tribal elders from the Mohawk, Seneca and Cayuga tribes participated.
Crowds patiently waited by the roadside before slowly marching into the pasture and lining up alongside a fence as the ceremony began. Children squeezed up against their parents and peered through the fence.
Some women were dressed in colorful tunics and other items indigenous to Native American culture, including bracelets, feathers and boots. Men also wore traditional costumes. Those leading the ceremony wore plain and small headdresses.
Fay, 53, runs the farm below Mohawk Mountain and invited Native Americans to the event, which also included a feast and talks by tribe elders.
“I’m almost like the calf to them because I’m the caregiver. They’ve been here almost every day, teaching me,” said Fay, who has a herd of bison tattooed on his right shoulder.
Fay attended a sweat lodge ceremony with the elders on Friday night in Cornwall. The nearly two-hour ceremony was a way to repair damage done to their spirits, minds and bodies. It acted as a prayer for a name for the calf to come to them through the spirits.
Saturday’s ceremony was held under an arbor next to a large fire, amid thunder and large dark rain clouds. Marian and Chubb White Mouse, members of the Oglala Lakota tribe in South Dakota, traveled to Goshen from Wanblee, S.D., to lead the ceremony.
Marian White Mouse told the crowd the birth of a white bison is a sign from a prophet, the White Buffalo Calf Woman, who helped them endure times of strife and famine.
“We come with one prayer, one heart and one mind,” she said tearfully. “This is truly a miracle. I hope that this one prayer will keep my people together, keep all of us together.”
Barbara Threecrow, an elder from the Naticoke tribe who lives in Hudson Valley, N.Y., sat holding a sacred Canupa of beaver skin containing a pipe.
“I believe this is an awakening,” Threecrow said. “This is a way of telling people to remember the sacredness of all of life.”

Air Guard set to fly at drone practice range

The Associated Press
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — North Dakota's Air National Guard this fall will begin operating a practice range for drone aircraft, which will give pilots more practical training than they can get from simulators, the unit's commander said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has established blocks of restricted airspace for the training, located up to 10,000 feet above a spot near Camp Grafton South, between Devils Lake and Jamestown. The airspace is above about 9,300 acres of ground area.
Col. Rick Gibney, commander of the 119th Wing of the North Dakota Air National Guard, said he expects flights to begin in late September or early October.
Operators of the Predator drones will be aiming lasers at targets on the ground. The lasers are used on the battlefield to designate targets for guided missiles and bombs.
Predators are capable of flying at high altitudes for long periods for surveillance, and they also can be equipped to carry missiles.
"People may hear airplanes flying above, but there will be no lights visible and no explosions," Gibney told the Grand Forks Herald.
The Predators are based at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. They will be flown from Fargo by the 119th Wing's 30 pilots. Gibney said there initially will be one or two drone flights a week in the restricted space, and the number is likely to increase.
"A lot of it will be dependent on real-world situations," he said.
Pilot groups, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, had fought the proposal to set aside the restricted space. The FAA decided, however, that the impact on private planes would be minimal because the space already is rarely used.
The agency said an average of four flights cut through the area daily, almost all of which are general aviation flights.

Lochte wins 400m IM in blowout; Phelps finishes 4th

Labels: WRLTHD Sports News
By: Paul Newberry, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Ryan Lochte turned his much-anticipated duel with Michael Phelps into a blowout, pulling away to win the Olympic 400-meter individual medley by more than 3 seconds Saturday night. Even more stunning: Phelps didn't win any medal at all.


"It was just a crappy race," Phelps said. "I felt fine the first 200, then I don't know. They just swam a better race than me, a smarter race than me, and were better prepared than me. That's why they're on the medal stand."


After barely qualifying for the evening final in a performance that hinted at trouble ahead, Phelps struggled to a fourth-place finish and was denied his 17th career Olympic medal. When it was done, he could barely pull himself out of the pool.


Lochte took the gold with a time of 4 minutes, 5.18 seconds. Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) settled for silver, while Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:08.94) claimed the bronze — beating Phelps by a fairly comfortable 34-hundredths of a second for the last spot on the podium.


It was the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games, when Phelps was a 15-year-old unknown who qualified in just one event, that he didn't win at least a bronze in an Olympic race. Since then, he was 16-of-16 — 14 golds and two bronzes.


Lochte climbed out of the pool with a big smile, waving to the crowd and looking about a fresh as he did at the start. He had predicted this would be his year and, for the first race of the Olympics at least, he was right on the mark.
"I think I'm kind of in shock right now," he said. As for Phelps, "I know he gave it everything he had. That's all you can ask for."


Phelps was trying to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics. He'll have three more chances at a threepeat before he's done in London, having also won the 200 individual medley, plus the 100 and 200 butterfly, at Athens and Beijing.


But this was shocking, totally out of character for a swimmer who won six gold medals in Athens, then a record eight in Beijing to break Mark Spitz's Olympic record.


Phelps fell behind right from the start in the butterfly, his trademark stroke. From there, it was all Lochte. He stretched his margin in the backstroke and breaststroke, then cruised to the gold in the freestyle, a good three body lengths ahead of the rest of the field.


"It's frustrating, that's all I can say. It's pretty upsetting," Phelps said. "The biggest thing now is to try to look forward. I have a bunch of other races, and hopefully we can finish a lot better than how we started."
China claimed a couple of gold medals on the opening night of swimming at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.


Sixteen-year-old Ye Shiwen set a world record in the women's 400 individual medley — only the third mark to fall 
since high-tech bodysuits were banned at the end of 2009. She won in 4:28.43, breaking the mark of 4:29.45 by Australia's Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games. American Elizabeth Beisel took silver and China's Li Xuanxu grabbed the bronze.


Sun Yang flirted with a world record in the men's 400 freestyle. He took gold in 3:40.14, just off the mark of 3:40.07 by Germany's Paul Biedermann in a rubberized suit three years ago. South Korea's Park Tae-hwan was the silver medalist in 3:42.06, fortunate even to take part after initially being disqualified for a false start in the prelims. The ruling was overturned by governing body FINA a couple of hours later on appeal. Peter Vanderkaay of the U.S. won the bronze in 3:44.69.


Phelps' close call in the morning prelims put him in an already uncustomary position — swimming on the outside in the No. 8 lane. He only had one swimmer next to him and no idea what Lochte and the others in the middle of the pool were doing.


Not that it would have mattered.


"I don't think the lane had anything to do with it," Phelps said. "I just couldn't really put myself in a good spot for that race. It's frustrating for sure. ... It's just really frustrating to start off on a bad note like this."


Phelps still has six more events to swim in London, plenty of time to make up for his dismal start. He remains two behind the most medals won by any Olympian — Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's mark of 18.


Phelps put himself in position to swim another eight events with his performance at the U.S. trials, but he decided to drop the 200-meter freestyle, feeling one less race would give his body a better chance to recover and improve his performance in the other events.


Now, he may be regretting that decision.


The 400 IM was an event he has dominated, but he dropped it from his program after setting a world record in Beijing four years ago (4:03.84), vowing never to swim it again.


He should had stuck with that pledge. Clearly, Phelps didn't leave himself enough time to get back in the kind of shape he needed to win the brutal race, having only brought it back earlier this year.


"I was lucky to get in," he said, referring to his slow time in the morning. "I had a chance to put myself in a spot to start off on a good note and didn't do it."


Lochte gave the Americans their first gold medal of the London Games and put himself in position to fulfill the promise he showed at last year's world championships, where he won five golds and beat Phelps in their two head-to-head meetings.


The friendly rivals have one more showdown in London, in the 200 individual medley. Phelps edged Lochte in that race during the U.S. Olympics trials, but Lochte appears to be on top of his game when it really counts.
About a half-hour after the race, the laid-back Floridian returned to the medal podium to receive the fourth gold medal of his career.


Wearing diamond-studded grillz in his mouth and lime-green sneakers on the feet that powered him through the water faster than anyone else, Lochte strolled around the deck kissing his medal while Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" played over the loudspeaker.


Phelps was nowhere to be found.

DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections

Reuters / Frank Polich
The Department of Homeland Security has ordered masses of riot gear equipment to prepare for potential significant domestic riots at the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and next year’s presidential inauguration.
The DHS submitted a rushed solicitation to the Federal Business Opportunities site on Wednesday, which is a portal for Federal government procurement requisitions over $25,000. The request gave the potential suppliers only one day to submit their proposals and a 15-day delivery requirement to Alexandria, Virginia.

As the brief explains, “the objective of this effort is to procure riot gear to prepare for the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and other future similar activities.”

The total amount ordered is about 150 sets of riot helmets, thigh and groin protectors, hard-shell shin guards and other riot gear.

Specifically, DHS is looking to obtain:
- “147 riot helmets” with “adjustable tactical face shield with liquid seal”
- “147 sets of upper body and shoulder protection”
- “152 sets of thigh and groin protection”
- “147 hard-shell shin guards” with “substantial protection from flying debris, non-ballistic weapons, and blows to the leg” and “optimized protective design for severe riot control or tactical situations.”
- “156 forearm protectors”
- “147 pairs of tactical gloves”

The riot gear will be worn by Federal Protective Service agents who are tasked with protecting property, grounds and buildings owned by the federal government.

The urgency of the order can be explained by the fact that there is a growing anticipation that many demonstrators will travel to the Republican National Convention (RNC), scheduled for August 27-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida, and Democratic National Convention (DNC), planned for September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The RNC itself, for example, will have free speech zones, which will serve as containment quarters for the protesters by not allowing them to leave the designated areas and cause trouble.

Another recent DHS move to gear up was back in March of this year, when it gave the defense contractor ATK a deal to provide the DHS with 450 million .40 caliber hollow-point ammunition over a five year period.

On top of that, the DHS has recently purchased a number of bullet-proof checkpoint booths and hired hundreds of new security guards to protect government buildings.

Dana Vollmer wins Olympic swimming gold for Team USA, sets world record

Dana Vollmer became the first U.S. female swimmer to strike gold in London, dominating the field in the 100 butterfly to finish in 55.98 and set a new world record in the sprint event.
It was the first individual Olympic gold for the 24-year-old from Syracuse. She previously won a relay gold in the 2004 Games in the 4x200 freestyle relay. One year earlier, she underwent surgery to correct an issue that caused her to have a rapid heartbeat.
Vollmer had a disastrous 2008 U.S. trials. She was favored to make the team in multiple events, but finished out of the medals in her four events. In the 50 and 100 freestyle events, she failed to qualify for the finals. The ease with which she won her only individual race at these Olympics is a testament to the mental strides she's made since that poor showing in Omaha.
Silver medalist Lu Ying of China finished nearly one full second behind.
Vollmer will also swim the 4x200 freestyle relay later in the Games.

Gun carrying man ends stabbing spree at Salt Lake grocery store

Reported by: Don Hudson
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people."

Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. "There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms."

Then, before the suspect could find another victim - a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. "A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith's grabbed him."

By the time officers arrived the suspect had been subdued by employees and shoppers. Police had high praise for gun carrying man who ended the hysteria. Lt. Brian Purvis said, "This was a volatile situation that could have gotten worse. We can only assume from what we saw it could have gotten worse. He was definitely in the right place at the right time."

Dozens of other shoppers, who too could have become victims, are also thankful for the gun carrying man. And many, like Danylle Julian, are still in shock from the experience. "Scary actually. Really scary. Five minutes before I walk out to my car. It could have been me."

Police say right now they have no idea what caused the suspect to go on the dangerous rampage. (We will update as soon as we learn new information.)

So far, police have not released the names of the suspect, the victims or the man who pulled the gun. 

London Olympic swimming begins with dramatic start

Associated Press / LONDON –  Michael Phelps almost failed to qualify Saturday for the final in the first of his seven events and Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan was reinstated after first being disqualified in a dramatic opening session of the London Olympics swimming program.


"That one didn't feel too good," Phelps said, after squeaking into the final in the 400-meter individual medley by a seven-hundredths of a second.
Park touched the wall first in his 400 freestyle heat and was surprised by his DQ, saying, "I don't know why" after he walked off the deck.
South Korea appealed to the swimming governing body FINA, which ruled to reinstate Park after reviewing video footage, a FINA official told The Associated Press. The official spoke anonymously because the decision had not been announced publicly yet.
Park and Phelps were not the only surprise of the morning at the Aquatics Centre, where Queen Elizabeth appeared briefly.
Paul Biedermann of Germany, the world record holder for the 200-meter freestyle, failed to make the final.
"That's the Olympics," said Canadian Ryan Cochrane, who barely made the 400 free final. "It's always a surprise, every single heat. You just have to focus on your own race."
Cochrane could miss out on the final later Saturday if Park is reinstated.
In Beijing, Park became South Korea's first swimming gold medalist and then won the world title in Shanghai last year.
Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic champion, won his 400 IM preliminary heat in 4 minutes, 13.33 seconds with a time that was well off his world record of 4:03.84 set four years ago in Beijing, when Phelps won a record eight gold medals.
But it was only good enough to secure the last spot in the evening final, when Phelps will swim in Lane 1 instead of the middle of the pool.
"The only thing that matters is just getting a spot in," he said. "You can't win the gold medal from the morning."
In the 400 IM, Kosuke Hagino of Japan led the way in 4:10.01, a national record. Chad le Clos of South Africa was second at 4:12.24, and Ryan Lochte of the United States advanced in third at 4:12.35.
Phelps' time was just fast enough to keep Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, the silver medalist in Beijing, out of the final. Cseh was ninth overall after leading Phelps during their heat before the American closed on the last lap of freestyle to beat him to the wall.
"I didn't expect those guys to go that fast in their heat," Phelps said. "I was slower this morning than I was four years ago."
Phelps' time in the grueling event that he had vowed not to swim again after Beijing took some of the luster off what was expected to be a showdown between him and Lochte for gold.
"You can't count him out," Lochte said of Phelps. "Even though he just squeaked in eighth, he's a racer. We're going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight."
Lochte, the bronze medalist in Beijing, has won the 400 IM at the last two world championships.
"My first race is always the worst one," he said. "I'm glad I got the cobwebs out."
Dana Vollmer had the fastest qualifying time in the 100 butterfly at 56.25 seconds, setting American and Olympic records, to lead 16 women into the evening semifinals.
"I'm really happy with how fast it was and I think it's only going to get faster," she said. "That's kind of a confidence-booster. I'm ready to go."
Lu Ying of China was second in 57.17 and Australian Alicia Coutts was third at 57.36. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, the world record holder, was fourth at 57.45.
American Claire Donahue moved on in seventh, while British teammates Francesca Hall and Ellen Gandy were eighth and ninth, respectively.
Jess Schipper of Australia, the bronze medalist four years ago, was 24th and missed the semifinals by eight spots.
In the 400 free, Sun Yang of China qualified fastest in 3:45.07. American Peter Vanderkaay was second at 3:45.80, followed by his teammates Conor Dwyer in 3:46.24.
Biedermann washed out for the second straight Olympics. He didn't make it out of the heats in Beijing. He set the world record at the 2009 world meet in Rome at the height of the high-tech body suit craze. Those suits have since been banned.

April Hernandez Castillo guest on Your Voice With Deb & Tam



Dear Friends, 

Please join us tomorrow with our special guest, SAG Award-nominated actress April Hernandez Castillo.  She has appeared in numerous films and television programs, including her breakout performance in the critically acclaimed movie "Freedom Writers" with Hillary Swank; but perhaps her greatest role is as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse.

You will be inspired by her moving personal story of overcoming abuse and and turning adversity into a passion for helping others.  We will talk about how we can all find our voice, never be victimized, and be empowered to make a difference!

Join the conversation as we chat with April and discuss many other topics that affect our everyday lives.  We want to hear from you so call in at: 
877-243-7776.  The show is called "Your Voice" because it is all about you!

You can catch the show every Saturday from 8 am to 10 am MT (that's 7 am to 9 am PT) on KRKS 94.7 FM in Denver or streaming live on  AmericanWomenMedia.com and KRKS.com.
  
Blessings,
Deborah Flora and Tamara Colbert
For more information visit:http://www.americanwomenmedia.com/

Chick-fil-A chief spokesman Don Perry dies unexpectedly

By Tiffany Hsu
July 27, 2012, 12:09 p.m.
Don Perry, head spokesman for Chick-fil-A, has died.

The Atlanta-based company said Perry died "suddenly" Friday morning. Perry, who most recently was vice president of public relations, had worked with the chain for nearly 29 years, according to Chick-fil-A.
“He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him,” the company said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Local news outlets reported that Perry suffered a heart attack.
A spokesman with a third-party public relations company working with Chick-fil-A said he could not confirm the heart attack reports.
[Updated: 12:55 p.m.: "Don was an incredible friend, a consummate PR professional, and was absolutely in love with Chick-fil-A," said Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing at Chick-fil-A, in a statement. "His passing leaves a great hole in my life as well as the lives of everyone who worked with him."]
Last week, Perry helmed the company’s official response to the controversy that erupted after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage.
He sent out a statement that the company’s intent going forward was “to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Chick-fil-A planned on “not proactively being engaged in the dialog” on the issue, Perry wrote in an email with the statement.
The company’s policy, according to the statement he sent, “is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."

Three heroes died in Aurora taking bullets for their girlfriends


Jon Blunk and his girlfriend Jansen Young, whose life was saved when Blunk threw himself on top of her in the hail of gunfire at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

BY JUDITH CROSSON IN AURORA, COLO. KERRY WILLS AND BILL HUTCHINSON / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.

Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.

“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”

She was too distraught to speak more, but her mother called Blunk, 25, who had two young children from a previous relationship, “a gentleman.”

“He was loving, the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with, and ultimately, she’s alive because of this, because he protected her,” Shellie Young said.

She said Blunk, a security guard, had served in the Navy and had recently filled out papers to reenlist with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. “To her, he was a hero anyway because he wanted to serve his country,” she said of her daughter, who was left with shrapnel wounds to her side. “He said that all the time: ‘I was born to serve my country.’”

Jansen Young, 21, said Blunk took her to see Friday’s midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” to celebrate her graduation from veterinarian school. As the black-clad killer burst into the theater and unleashed tear gas and a torrent of indiscriminate gunfire, Blunk selflessly protected his girlfriend.

He pushed Jansen on the ground and under her seat, then threw his body on top of her, the mother said. “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape, which is why he was able to push her down under the seats of the theater,” the mother said. “He pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there.”

Alex Teves pushed his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, to the floor to shield her when bullets began flying in the movie theater and was struck himself. VIA FACEBOOK
She said her daughter instantly fell in love with Blunk when they met at a local mall, where he worked as a security guard. “She just plain fell in love with his good looks,” the mother said. “She walked up and handed him a piece of paper and said, ‘Here’s my number.’”

“She just found it incredible that someone would spend eight years of their life in the Navy.”
Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, 26, of Reno, Nev., said he died fulfilling a lifelong dream. “He always wanted to be a superhero, he’s wanting to save someone or do something greater,” said the mother of Blunk’s kids, Hailey, 4, and Maximus, 2.

Blunk was scheduled to travel to Reno Saturday to see his children and resolve some marital issues, she said. “My daughter can’t comprehend it, and keeps wanting to call him,” said Chantel Blunk. “I try to tell her that her daddy loves her and will always be there.”

Randall Blunk, 47, of Reno, said his son had served in the Navy for more than five years, mostly aboard the Nimitz in the Persian Gulf. “He’s a badass. That’s just how he was. He’s not afraid,” Randall Blunk, who raised his son as a single father, told The News. “I love my boy, I just loved him.”

Jansen Young told her mother she could feel Blunk holding her tight as chaos reigned in the movie theater. She said she heard a woman nearby screaming, “I’ve been shot!” and recalled the “boom, boom, boom” of gunfire and smelling gunpowder.

“There was kind of a break in between each gunshot,” Jansen told the “Today” show. “Every gunshot, I was like, ‘This is it . . . I’m done for.’ Jon gave me one good push against that concrete again and then . . . I didn’t really feel his arms against my back anymore but I knew he was still there.”

When the shooting subsided, she realized Blunk was shot. “I started shaking him and saying, ‘Jon, Jon, we have to go . . . it’s time for us to get out of here,’” she said, adding that she tried to pull Blunk by the shoulder, but he didn’t move.

Equally heroic was the 24-year-old Teves, who hurled his girlfriend to the floor as bullets whizzed through the theater.

“He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet,” said his aunt, Barbara Slivinske, 57. “He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it.”

MATT MCQUINN VIA FACEBOOK
Heroic Matt McQuinn, 26, and his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, who is recovering from a gunshot to her knee.
Samantha Yowler had a similar story of horror and heroism about her boyfriend, Matt McQuinn, whose last living act was to shield her from death. Yowler, 26, survived with a gunshot wound to the knee and is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.

McQuinn’s family credited his quick actions for saving Samantha’s life. Witnesses said he dove on top of his girlfriend as the shooting started and that Samantha’s brother, Nick, who was also in the theater, helped get her out of harm’s way. Nick Yowler was unharmed in the shooting.

“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the McQuinns’ lawyer, Robert Scott, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Matt perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded . . . and went home to be with his maker.”

McQuinn, 27, and Yowler met at a Target store in Springfield, Ohio, where they worked. They transferred to a Target in Aurora last November.

“He was a great outgoing person,” a co-worker at the Colorado Target told The News. “We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”

Co-worker Shelly Aquino said she works closely with Yowler, who was to help her open the store Saturday morning. She said she cried when she opened the store on her own. “This morning was very hard, but I need to work,” Aquino said. She said she last spoke to Yowler Thursday afternoon.

“The last hug we gave each other was on Thursday. She’s a great person, she’s very responsible ... she doesn’t hesitate to help out.”

With Corinne Lestch and Natalie Musumeci
whutchinson@nydailynews.com

The Victims of the Aurora, Colo., Theater Shooting

BY JEFF TRUESDELL AND EVAN LAMBERT
Ever since news broke of the heinous mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., screening of The Dark Knight Rises Friday morning, everyone from President Obama to the film's cast has offered their condolences to those affected by the tragedy. 


Jessica Ghawi was one of the first victims identified, but now a complete list has been released. From the youngest – a 6-year-old girl, whose mother remains in critical condition – to the eldest – a 51-year-old father whose teens escaped the violence – here are their stories. 

Jonathan Blunk
The father of two, Blunk, 26, served five years in the Navy and had planned a trip for the day after the screening to visit his children and estranged wife, Chantel, in Reno, Nev.

A.J. Boik
Eighteen-year-old Boik played lacrosse at Gateway High School in Aurora and worked for the Organo Gold coffee company. Boik's girlfriend and another of his friends attended the screening with him, but they both survived the shooting.

Jesse Childress
Childress, a staff sergeant in the Air Force reserves, had been on active duty with the 310 Force Support Squadron.

Gordon Cowden
At 51, Cowden was the eldest victim. He had taken his two teenagers, who escaped unharmed. His family describes him as a "loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner, Cowden was a true Texas gentleman ... A quick witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing."

Jessica Ghawi
Courtesy Jessica Redfield
The aspiring sports journalist, 24 – whose professional name was Jessica Redfield – had blogged about her brush with fate last month, when she narrowly missed another random shooting at a Toronto mall. "I saw the victims of senseless crime. I saw lives change," she wrote. "I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath."

John Larimer
Naval Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer, 27, had been in the Navy since 2001. "He will be missed by all who knew him," says his commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski.

Micayla Medek
Medek was a student at the Community College of Aurora and was set to graduate in 2015. Under her Facebook's "About" section, she wrote: "I'm a simple, independent girl (sic) who's just trying to get her life together."

Matt McQuinn
McQuinn, a 27-year-old Target store worker, had been protecting girlfriend Samantha Yowler from gunshots when he was hit. Although Yowler was struck in the knee, she is expected to make a full recovery.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan
Courtesy Sullivan Family
Just 6 years old, Veronica was the only child of Ashley Moser and had just recently learned to swim, her aunt Annie Dalton told reporters. Her mother was critically injured.

Alex Sullivan
An employee at the Aurora movie theater, Sullivan's 27th birthday coincided with Friday morning's Dark Knight premiere. He also planned to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with his wife, Cassie, on Sunday.

Alex Teves
A recent graduate of the University of Denver, the 24-year-old Phoenix native had earned his master's degree in counseling psychology.

Rebecca Wingo
A mother of two girls, Wingo, 32, had joined the Air Force after high school and became a translator after mastering Mandarin Chinese. "I hear she died instantly, without pain, however the pain is unbearable," her father, Steve Hernandez, posted on Facebook. "Lord why, why, why???"

Alex Sullivan

Rupert Murdoch steps down from NI boards

By Katherine Rushton, Media, telecoms and technology editor

Rupert Murdoch's grip on UK newspapers is loosening "finger by finger", as he resigns string of directorships.

Rupert Murdoch has resigned as a director of a string of companies behind The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, fuelling expectations that he is preparing to sell the newspaper group.

Companies House filings show that Mr Murdoch stepped down from the boards of the NI Group, Times Newspaper Holdings and News Corp Investments in the UK last week. He also quit a number of News Corp’s US boards, the details of which have yet to be disclosed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

News Corporation played down the significance of the resignations as “nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise prior to the company split”.

The media giant took a similar line when James Murdoch resigned a string of directorships at News International last November, pouring cold water on suggestions that he was walking away from the UK newspaper arm. He quit as chairman three months later.

News Corporation has already said it will split into two separately listed companies, distancing its embattled newspaper and book publishing interests from its rapidly growing film and television operations, which account for nearly 90pc of News Corp’s $4.2bn (£2.7bn) annual revenues.
    Mr Murdoch has repeatedly insisted that he remains committed to the UK newspaper business. He vowed at the time of the announcement to remain a “very active chairman” of the publishing business. But his surprise resignation of directorships on both sides of the Atlantic has raised expectations that he is gearing up to sever all ties with the company.

    Splitting News Corp would also put some much-needed distance between its film and television assets and the newspaper business, whose reputation is threatening the whole News Corp empire.

    Claire Enders at Enders Analysis said Mr Murdoch’s resignations were part of the “slow fade of Rupert and James from the UK” that began last year and will be “complete and permanent”. “The grip of the Murdochs, finger by finger, has been loosened and it’s not in order to return triumphantly. It’s a permanent shift.

    “James and Rupert have decided that they are not welcome in the UK, and they’re right. there is an enforced emotional withdrawal from these assets because they are no longer useful [in terms of influence]," she said.

    Sources close to News Corp say that its executives have discussed the possibility that, after the split, the Murdochs could sell down their stake in the publishing division altogether and use the equity to help fund a leveraged buyout of the film and entertainment division.

    It is unclear whether the business still plans to pursue this course of action, but doing so would allow Mr Murdoch to shake off shareholder pressures and revive a long-held plan eventually to appoint his son James Murdoch as his successor.

    However, some analysts claim that News Corp investors want the Murdochs to buy the publishing assets outright