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CNN Wire Staff
New York (CNN) - The New York metropolitan area's three major airports all reopened by 6 p.m. Monday, but headaches remained for tens of thousands of stranded passengers and for millions of people still digging out from the huge holiday-week blizzard.
The worst of the storm, which brought blinding snow and wreaked havoc from the Carolinas to Maine, had passed by early Monday evening. Still, the numbers spoke for themselves - over 4,155 flights cancelled, up to 32 inches of snow piling up, and wind gusts maxing out at 80 mph - and spoke to the continued challenges facing emergency personnel, government workers and others trying to return to normal.
"This storm was one of the most challenging storms we've had in a decade or two," New York's LaGuardia Airport General Manager Thomas Bosco said. "We had 25 inches several years ago, but the snow stayed in place. Today the snow piles are drifting."
One runway at LaGuardia opened by 5:45 p.m., said Bosco, though only ten planes were expected to touch down tonight - and not until 7:30 p.m. Two departures were scheduled.
John F. Kennedy Airport, located further south in the same New York City borough of Queens, and Newark Liberty International, in northern New Jersey, opened to incoming and departing traffic at 6 p.m., said Port Authority spokeswoman Sara Joren.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked residents not to dial 911 unless calling about a life-saving emergency, as edgy travelers continue to face difficult weather conditions stemming from the fifth-largest storm in the city's history.
Updated: 9:13 pm
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
A man who gave his name as Marcus cross country skis through snow in New York's Times Square December 27, 2010 after a blizzard dropped 18 to 20 inches of snow in the area. (Photo credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“Still nowhere to park?!"
Londa, New York
""Arriving early, and well prepared for New Year's Eve.”
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) – Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie vowed to end the "birther" controversy surrounding President Obama's nationality once and for all.
Abercrombie, a newly-elected Democrat, told CNN that he will do whatever it takes to prove once and for all that Obama was born in Hawaii.
"We'll do what we can as quickly as we can to make it inevitable that only those who wish the president ill, only the ones with a political agenda, will be the ones doing this kind of thing," Abercrombie said. "The president is entitled to the respect of his office and he's entitled to have his mother and father respected."
Abercrombie, in his first on-camera comments on the matter, said that he has his attorney general and the state's Health Department director looking at what legal avenues can they follow to release more documentation of Obama's birth in 1961.
"As quick as we can we will," Abercrombie said. "This is a transparent state in terms of our communication with one another. This is the Aloha State. We care for each other, we look out for each other, we're family."
In a sign of how politically radioactive the issue is, White House officials would not comment on the remarks by Abercrombie, a former congressman who was sworn in as governor this month.
But the governor made clear in the CNN interview that he will push forward on this matter regardless of whether the White House is privately worried that it may bring more attention to the so-called "birthers" who continue to deny that Obama was born in America – despite evidence showing that he was.
Full story on the 1600 Report blog
CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A week after the body of a 27-year-old woman was found at the home of beer tycoon August Busch IV, Missouri police have released the 911 call from the incident.
"This girl is not waking up," Michael Jung, a home staff employee at the Busch estate, told the operator in the early morning hours of December 19.
"Is she breathing"? the 911 operator asked.
"We don't know," Jung replied. "It's dark. I'm going to get a light to see." The call ended after the operator told Jung that an ambulance had been sent to the property.
Frontenac, Missouri, police officers got the 911 call at 1:12 p.m. December 19, said the town's police chief, Thomas Becker.
Paramedics and police officers arrived eight minutes later to find Adrienne Nicole Martin dead, "with no apparent signs of trauma or other indications of cause of death," Becker said.
Busch's lawyer, Art Margulis, on Friday described Martin as a friend of his client's. Frontenac police have confirmed that Busch was home when Martin died.
"There's absolutely nothing here that would indicate that this occurred under any suspicious circumstances," said Margulis. "It's a tragic death of a ... very nice young lady."
Police in Frontenac, where the home is located, said they are investigating the death with help from the St. Louis County medical examiner. The community of about 3,500 people is 11 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri.
CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The leadership of San Francisco's airport fired back Saturday at critics who had rallied around a commercial pilot who had posted videos online showing what he described as shortcomings in security.
The series of videos featured scenes from inside the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and were narrated by the pilot, who pointed out the contrast between the passengers, who were heavily scrutinized, and airport employees who just passed through a single door.
The footage was posted, and later removed, from the popular video-sharing website YouTube.
"A recent YouTube video, posted by a U.S. airline pilot, presents false and misleading information on SFO's security program," the airport said in a statement. "The video shows a door with a card swipe and suggests that access is gained to the airfield area through this door. In fact, the door shown in the video provides access only to an employee lunchroom."
The pilot who posted the videos requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
"I was trying to bring up the obvious, ludicrous TSA-type of security," he told CNN.
The pilot said he didn't think much about posting his videos online in late November, but that within a matter of days his chief pilot called him to ask him to remove them because they were "stirring a commotion."
In its statement Saturday, the airport defended its practices, stressing that there are variances in the security system based on various factors and that many layers of protection cannot easily be seen.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I went for a long run today. It was snowing a little bit. And now I’m writing a letter to the president. This is what vacations are all about, eh?
Dear Mr. President,
I've been enjoying the days off, and it has been a pleasure having the whole family at home. I know that our elder daughter has been away at Georgia Tech for only a semester and she loves it there, but it feels as if she’s been gone for an eternity. So having her back to visit, as my running partner, for filling in the empty chair at family dinners, and more. . . well, it’s just the best.
Speaking of work, you certainly ended the year on a much higher note than you experienced in the previous twelve months. I was on a radio show the other day and the host asked me something like, "What do you make of these recent victories for the president?"
I said something like, "I think it may mean that the Republican victory in the midterm election is the best thing that has happened to Barack Obama since he won the White House, because it gave him political cover for compromise."
Washington (CNN) - A new political reality hits Washington next week, with the first split Congress since 2002 raising questions about whether the bipartisan cooperation of the recently concluded lame-duck session can continue.
Conventional wisdom says the shift from one party controlling both chambers, as Democrats have done since 2006, to the GOP taking over the House and holding a stronger minority stake in the Senate means increased partisan impasse over the next two years.
But that same conventional wisdom got turned on its head after November 2, when the electoral "shellacking" delivered to President Barack Obama and the Democrats was followed by one of the most productive post-election congressional conclusions in history.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attributed the new bipartisanship of the post-election period to the Republican gains in the November vote.
"There was a responsibility of government that I think the Republicans got in the November elections and they began to understand that responsibility a little bit more in this lame-duck session than they had in the previous, quite frankly, 18 months or so," Gibbs said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Republicans can no longer afford to "simply sit and say no," Gibbs said, referring to the obstructive posture that GOP leaders generally struck in Obama's first two years in office. Instead, he called for Republicans to be part of a constructive conversation, at least in 2011 before the presidential campaign of 2012 really heats up.
Some liberals accused Obama of giving in too easily to Republican demands on some issues, particularly in cutting a deal that extended Bush-era tax cuts to everyone after Obama had campaigned on allowing tax rates of the wealthy to return to higher levels.