December 30, 1997 – Almost the last day of the year and, like clockwork, the Eastern Seaboard and the South are blanketed with snow as a Nor’easter slammed through, bringing record rain and snowfall from New England to Georgia; making travel treacherous and staying indoors a necessity. The heavy weight of the snow brought trees and power lines down, causing mass blackouts. While such a storm was commonplace in New England, the South went into a state of shock. While it was beautiful to look at, up to a foot of snow disrupted life across much of the Western half of North Carolina. Most business would either be closed or opening late. State Police were urging people not to travel and especially stay off of secondary roads. Travel conditions weren’t expected to improve for another two days.
Meanwhile, James Ricardo Lipscomb, the brother of James Monroe Lipscomb, who allegedly seized dozens of hostages at a suburban Dallas Day-care center twelve days earlier, staged his own police standoff as he held his estranged common law wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 12 hostage at knife-point. Monroe Lipscomb was in jail after a 30 hour standoff in which 80 adults and children were held held hostage. Police say the two incidents weren’t related – just odd.
More emotional testimony this day as the Oklahoma City Bombing suspect Terry Nichols trial continued. Several jurors cried when wrenching accounts of survivors during the bombing were given. Prosecutors were hoping that, and dozens of other accounts of that day would convince jurors to hand Nichols the death sentence for his role in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in April of 1995.
And a sign of the times – Bethlehem Steel was closing its operations in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, turning its headquarters into a museum. The company was losing money over the past several years and was forced to close. In Miami, the family of slain designer Gianni Versace was in court to prevent the release of autopsy photos to the press. Florida had passed a law allowing autopsy photos to be available after a certain time. The family was outraged and, aside from assaulting the limits of good taste, didn’t see any point in releasing the material.
And that’s just a bit of what went on, this next-to-last-day of 1997, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.