Homecoming. A New York man is out of the cold and home safe with his family today after a set of circumstances his mother called nothing short of miraculous. Nicholas Simmons, 20, vanished from his parents’ home in upstate New York on New Year’s Day. His family had no idea what had happened to him until they saw a photo taken in Washington, D.C., by an Associated Press photographer getting shots to highlight the recent cold snap. Simmons and several homeless men had gathered around a heating grate near the National Mall. After the photo appeared on several news websites, Simmons’ parents saw it and recognized their son. Friends who lived in Virginia helped find him in the city while his father drove to the nation’s capital to get him. “If anybody doesn’t believe in divine intervention” after that series of events, “they are not breathing,” Michelle Simmons told The Washington Post.
Brrrrrrr. The cold snap forecasters are blaming on a “polar vortex“ will bring freezing temperatures to every state—except Hawaii—by Tuesday. Today, wind chills will range from 20 to 50 degrees below zero across the Northern Plains and the Midwest, prompting Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis, to make a humorous comparison: “These temperatures that will be out there will be lower than what’s in your freezer.” Twenty-six states are under warnings or watches for severe wind chill, and Florida citrus growers fear the prolonged chill could damage trees already covered in oranges.
Political dropout. Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced today she has abandoned her bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Cheney had hoped to unseat Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.. In a statement, Cheney cited “serious family health issues” as her motivation for dropping out of the race, but her campaign hadn’t gained much traction in the months since she announced her candidacy. Cheney also faced opposition from fellow Republicans in the state who didn’t appreciate her decision to challenge a popular incumbent. Although Cheney had the backing of her father and his political allies, her campaign had caused something of a rift in the family. Cheney has been outspoken about her opposition to same-sex marriage, a position that galled her sister Mary, who is a lesbian. While the sisters traded barbs in the media, their parents admitted they were “pained” to see their children fighting in public.
Jihad Jane jailed. A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced the woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” to 10 years in federal prison for her role in a deadly terror plot. Colleen LaRose, 50, had agreed to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims. The government initially sought a life sentence but asked the judge for leniency after LaRose cooperated with investigators. She has been in jail for four years already.