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Nation

Powell: Hagel is qualified

– Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday defended former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s qualifications to be the next defense secretary.

“I think he gets confirmed,” Powell said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “I think he’s ultimately superbly qualified, based on his overall record, based on his service to the country, based on how he feels about troops and veterans and families.”

Powell, who endorsed Hagel the day President Obama announced his nomination, pushed back against concerns some senators have raised about Hagel’s record on Iraq, Iran and Israel.

“There are people who are very supportive of the state of Israel,” Powell said. “I’m very supportive of the state of Israel. So is Senator Hagel, and you’ll see that in the confirmation hearings, but it doesn’t mean you have to agree with every single position that the Israeli government takes.”

Former director of NASA dies at 91

Dyer Brainerd Holmes, who directed NASA’s manned spaceflight program in the early 1960s and who was instrumental in developing the plan that sent the first astronauts to the moon, died Friday at a hospital in Memphis, Tenn. He was 91.

He had complications from pneumonia, said a stepson, Pierce Ledbetter.

Under Holmes’ short but crucial tenure at NASA, John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth, the Gemini and Apollo manned flight programs were developed, and the basic model for the spacecraft that took Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to the moon was designed.

Former Pulitzer Prize winner dies at 89

Eugene Patterson, a major figure in American journalism and a Pulitzer Prize winner who was known for his courage in standing up for civil rights and opposing racial hostilities while an editor of a newspaper in the Deep South in the 1960s, died Saturday in Florida. He was 89.

A veteran of World War II, Patterson was editor of the Atlanta Constitution in the 1960s while writing a highly influential daily column. He won the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

He was hired in 1968 to be managing editor of the Washington Post, where he spent three years. During his tenure, the paper published the Pentagon Papers, a landmark event in journalism. He later became editor of the St. Petersburg Times.

Siblings reunited after 65 years

An Iowa man has been reunited with his sister 65 years after the siblings were separated in foster care thanks to a 7-year-old friend who searched Facebook.

Clifford Boyson of Davenport met his sister, Betty Billadeau, in person on Saturday. Billadeau drove up from her home in Florissant, Mo., with her daughter and granddaughter for the reunion at a Davenport hotel.

Boyson, 66, and Billadeau, 70, tried to find each other for years without success. They were placed in different foster homes in Chicago when they were children.

Then Eddie Hanzelin, 7, the son of Boyson’s landlord, got involved. Eddie managed to find Billadeau by searching his mom’s Facebook account with Billadeau’s maiden name. He recognized the family resemblance when he saw her picture.

Stand-ins rehearse for inauguration

Joe Biden was more dapper than usual, with a moustache. Barack Obama looked decades too young as “Hail to the Chief” played and he held up his right hand to take the oath of office.

For a select group of U.S. government employees and members of the military, it was the role-play of a lifetime: On Sunday morning, on a stage in front of the Capitol, they stood in for some of the most powerful figures in the world – part of an elaborate dress rehearsal for the 57th presidential inauguration scheduled for Jan. 21.

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