Wednesday, February 24, 2010

360 News Briefs

2 Teens Injured In Colorado Middle School Shooting

A teacher tackled a man armed with a high-powered rifle just after two teenage students were shot Tuesday at a suburban Denver middle school that's just miles from Columbine High School, the site of one of the nation's deadliest school shootings, authorities said.

One male and one female were shot at about 3:30 p.m. outside Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, Jefferson County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. Both students were taken to a nearby hospital and were expected to survive.

Seventh-grade math teacher David Benke, a 6-foot-5 inch former college basketball player who oversees the school's track team, tackled the suspect as he was trying to reload his weapon.

"He was trying to rack another round. He couldn't get another round in before I got to him so I grabbed him," Benke said, recalling that he didn't have time to fear for his life.

Authorities haven't released the victims' names, but say they both had surgery Tuesday evening.

Bus driver Steve Potter said he was about to pull away from the school with a full bus when he heard a loud bang that sounded like an M-80 firecracker. Students screamed when they spotted the man with a rifle, Potter told KMGH-TV.

The suspect's name hasn't been released, but authorities say he's 32 and that he doesn't appear to have any connection to the school. He's expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday morning and may face at least two counts of attempted murder.

The school is about three miles southwest of Columbine High School, where two teens - Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris - killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others before killing themselves in 1999.

The middle school was temporarily locked down with about 30 students in the building. They were eventually taken to a nearby elementary school, where they were to meet up with their parents. Students' parents were alerted through text messages, phone calls and e-mails, Jefferson County Schools spokeswoman Melissa Reeves said.

Poll Shows Less Fear On Health Care Overhaul

With President Obama's health care overhaul in limbo, Americans' fears about its effect on them eased in January, according to a poll released as the president tries to revive sweeping Democratic legislation.

The monthly poll from the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also found that three-fourths of Americans still think it's important that Obama include health care reform in addressing the nation's economic crisis - even if many have misgivings.

"Job numbers continue to lag and nearly a quarter of Americans are still concerned they might lose coverage," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the foundation, a philanthropic and research organization that supports health care reform.

The poll found that the proportion of Americans who said they feared their access to doctors and hospitals would get worse under the Democratic plans dropped to 29 percent, from 33 percent who had expressed such concerns in December. In the January poll fewer than 12 percent said that they thought their access would improve.

Obama's plan - and the Democratic health care bills - would extend coverage to around 95 percent of Americans - up from about 84 percent today. They would require most Americans to carry health insurance, with government help to make premiums more affordable. Insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to people with health problems. New insurance markets would be created for small businesses and people who buy their own coverage, but Americans covered through large employers would not see major changes.

That plan - or something very close to it - appeared to be only a step away from Obama's desk until Jan. 19, when Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Democrats lost their 60-vote Senate majority, and the ability to override Republican objections to the bill. Health care overhaul slipped into congressional limbo, and has been stuck there ever since.

The poll, taken Jan. 3-Jan. 26, coincided with Brown's upset victory and the reversal of the health plan's fortunes. But it was not possible to tell from the data if that led to the shift in public opinion on access to care.

On other measures, pessimists tended to outnumber optimists on health care overhaul.

- Nearly 31 percent said they thought the Democratic bills would make their personal financial situation worse, compared with 10 percent who said it would improve their family budgets.

- Forty-two percent said the nation's fiscal condition would suffer because of the legislation, compared with 26 percent who said it would get better.

- Americans were divided on whether the Democrats' approach would improve overall access to health care around the country, with 35 percent saying it would, and nearly that many disagreeing.

The telephone poll of about 500 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. It also found a slight improvement in consumer confidence in their health insurance coverage and their ability to get the care they need.

Superman's Debut Comic Book Sells In NYC For $1M

A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman sold Monday for $1 million, smashing the previous record price for a comic book.

A 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books, was sold by a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom released their names. The issue features Superman lifting a car on its cover and originally cost 10 cents.

The transaction was conducted by the auction site Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, orchestrated the sale.

Fishler said it transpired minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. He said that the seller was a "well-known individual" in New York with a pedigree collection and that the buyer was a known customer who previously bought an Action Comics No. 1 of lesser grade.

"It's considered by most people as the most important book," said John Dolmayan, a comic book enthusiast and dealer best known as the drummer for the rock band System of a Down. "It kind of ushered in the age of the superheroes."

Dolmayan, who owns Torpedo Comics, last year paid $317,000 for an Action Comics No. 1 issue for a client.

That purchase is considered the "official public record" for a comic book sale, said Mark Zaid, the marketing director for the Comic Book Collecting Association, which was launched Monday. There have been other private sales in the $300,000 to $450,000 range, he said.

Monday's copy fetched a much higher price because it's in better condition. It's rated an 8.0 grade, or very fine, on a scale that goes up to 10.

Dolmayan said he didn't buy this copy but he wishes he could have.

There are only about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence, and only a handful have been rated so highly. It's rarer still for those copies to be made available for sale.

From KMGH-TV; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;

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