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Arctic air eases its grip on much of the U.S.
Written by RAY HENRY, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 06:57

ATLANTA (AP) — An arctic blast eased its grip on much of the U.S. on Wednesday, with winds calming and the weather warming slightly a day after record temperatures — some more than a century-old — shattered up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

In Atlanta, where a record low of 6 degrees hit early Tuesday, fountains froze over, a 200-foot Ferris wheel shut down and Southerners had to dig out winter coats, hats and gloves they almost never have to use. It shouldn't take too long to thaw out, though. The forecast Wednesday was sunny and 42 degrees.

In the Midwest and East, where brutal polar air has lingered over the past few days, temperatures climbed but were still expected to be below freezing.

In Indianapolis, Timolyn Johnson-Fitzgerald returned to her home after spending the night in a shelter with her three children because they lost power to their apartment. The water lines were working, but much of the food she bought in preparation for the storm was ruined from a combination of thawing and then freezing during the outage.

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Report: Video describes wrong-airport 747 landing
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 16:09

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One of the pilots of a Boeing 747 that landed at the wrong airport in Kansas in November wasn't sure they were landing at the right place, according a trade publication that obtained a copy of a training video that described what happened.

The training video was produced by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which employed the pilots, and was obtained by Aviation International News. Atlas confirmed the accuracy of the AIN report on Tuesday but declined to provide the video to The Associated Press.

The Atlas pilots were flying a modified Boeing 747 called the "Dreamlifter," used to haul large sections of Boeing's new 787. They were aiming to land at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, which is near a facility that makes portions of the 787. Instead, they landed at Col. James Jabara airport, 9 miles away.

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Travelers spend night on three snowbound Amtrak trains
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 11:25

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of Amtrak passengers who spent the night onboard three trains stranded in snow in northern Illinois have begun to arrive in Chicago, rail line officials said Tuesday morning.

About 300 passengers on two trains that were stuck near Mendota, about 80 miles from Chicago, boarded buses in Princeton for the final leg of their trip, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. They began arriving in downtown Chicago around 7 a.m. Tuesday and more were expected to arrive throughout the morning.

A third train loaded with 217 people spent the night at a BNSF rail yard in Galesburg; they were taking buses for the final 150 miles to Chicago.

The trains — The Southwest Chief from Los Angeles, the Illinois Zephyr from Quincy and the California Zephyr from the San Francisco Bay area — got stuck after 3 p.m. Monday in blowing, drifting snow and ice that Magliari said made the tracks impassable.

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Unemployment benefits bill clears hurdle
Written by DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 16:03

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House-backed legislation to renew jobless benefits unexpectedly cleared an initial Senate hurdle on Tuesday, raising the prospect of a mid-winter compromise to ease the impact of the recession on the long-term unemployed.

"Let's get it done," President Barack Obama exhorted lawmakers at the White House shortly after the vote.

The vote was 60-37 to limit debate on the three-month legislation, with a half-dozen Republicans siding with the Democrats on the test vote.

At the same time, the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said he and his rank and file would seek changes so the bill's $6.4 billion cost would not add to deficits.

Senate Democrats have so far rejected that approach, although there were signs they would eventually yield.

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Six educators plead guilty in Atlanta test cheating scandal
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 07:28

ATLANTA (AP) — Six more indicted Atlanta Public Schools educators have pleaded guilty to their involvement in a standardized test-cheating conspiracy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1lKRehv) reported Monday that former Parks Middle School teacher, Starlette Mitchell, admitted to changing incorrect answers on tests between 2007 and 2009.

Former Venetian Hills Elementary principal, Clarietta Davis, pleaded guilty to making false statements.

Ex-Parks Middle School teacher Kimberly Oden pleaded guilty to obstruction.

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