Munchkins get star on Walk of Fame
HOLLYWOOD — This year's inductees to Hollywood's Walk of Fame will include "The Munchkins" from the 1939 motion picture classic "The Wizard of Oz," the Walk of Fame committee announced Wednesday.
Ted Bulthaup, owner of the Hollywood Blvd. Cinema in Woodridge, Ill., has been campaigning for the honor on behalf of his friends, six of the surviving Munchkins, for more than two years.
Mr. Bulthaup called upon his friends in the film community to join the cause, and enlisted the help of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ted Turner, Hugh Hefner, Leonard Maltin and Harvey Weinstein. The Little People of America joined the campaign, along with Roger Baum, grandson of L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books.
Bad weather delays shuttle landing
CAPE CANAVERAL — Bad weather forced NASA yesterday to delay bringing the Space Shuttle Atlantis back to Earth at least until today, the space agency said.
Touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center in central Florida had been targeted for two opportunities yesterday afternoon, but thick cloud cover and rain showers prompted NASA managers to call off both possible landing attempts.
Flight directors decided not to staff the shuttle's backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California yesterday, but both sites will be available for today's landing opportunities. Today's first opportunity will be at Kennedy Space Center at 2:18 p.m., NASA managers said.
Shooting suspect ends standoff
ARCOLA — A man who was wanted in a shooting that wounded a sheriff's deputy and who later took five hostages in a bank surrendered late yesterday, authorities said.
The standoff, which occurred after a 100-mph chase through Illinois farm country, ended peacefully about 7 p.m., Arcola Police Chief Mike Phillip said. The suspect released four hostages unharmed throughout the hourslong standoff at the First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, and came out withthe last one.
Earlier in the day, Chief Deputy Tommy Martin pulled over a stolen van with two men inside. He was shot in the face and torso as he walked up to the vehicle, police said. The injured deputy was able to radio in what happened and tell authorities where the van had been stopped.
When the driver lost control of the vehicle as it careered over railroad tracks, the men abandoned it on foot. Police said one man fled into the nearby bank. The other, a 23-year-old man, was taken into custody immediately.
Fire crew accused of filling pool with hose
KANSAS CITY — Police spotted a fire crew hooking their hose into a hydrant and filling a private swimming pool with water, authorities said.
An internal investigation into Sunday's incident is under way, and the three-person fire crew could face disciplinary action ranging from suspensions to being fired, said Mike Taylor, spokesman for Wyandotte County's Unified Government.
Criminal charges also could be filed, he said.
"Taking water from the hydrant to fill a private swimming pool without paying for it is theft," Mr. Taylor said Wednesday at a press conference.
Mr. Taylor said the resident with the pool will get a bill after the Board of Public Utilities estimates the amount of water taken.
The leader of the crew — a department veteran of more than 20 years who was serving as an acting captain — and the two other firefighters remain on duty during the investigation.
Teacher accused of showing illegal film
PEEKSKILL — He doesn't want to be an ogre about it, but the father of a fifth-grader thinks teachers are wasting time when they show movies in class — and if the film is a bootleg, he says, "That's a really terrible lesson."
Tim Trewhella, 46, said his 10-year-old daughter reported that her class watched the animated movie "Shrek the Third" on Tuesday and recognized it as the fairy-tale hit still showing in theaters.
"A friend hooked me up with it," teacher Lovell Quiroz said, according to the girl.
Peekskill schools Superintendent Judith Johnson issued a statement saying that administrative approval is required before a video is shown in elementary school and that "if a pirated video was shown, it is in violation of district policy." An investigation was under way, the statement said.
Atheists sue over church-linked ranch
BISMARCK — An atheist group says North Dakota officials are using public money to religiously indoctrinate young people at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, according to a federal lawsuit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants a judge to declare a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state and order the government to stop sending children or money to the ranch.
The ranch, affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has three residential facilities for troubled youth and also offers day programs.
About $7 million in federal, state and county money has gone through the Human Services Department to foster care services at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in two years, but the money is not for religious programs, said Carol Olson, executive director of the state Human Services Department.
The government money makes up about 70 percent of the organization's budget, said Gene Kaseman, president of the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Association.
Mothers surrender in children's fire deaths
PITTSBURGH — The mothers of five children killed in a house fire surrendered to police yesterday to face involuntary manslaughter charges for reportedly leaving the youngsters alone while they went to a bar.
Wearing a T-shirt that read "Mommy Loves You" and "God Loves You More," Shakita Mangham, 25, arrived at municipal court early yesterday. Furaha Love, 25, turned herself in at police headquarters a short time later.
Miss Mangham initially told police that she left the children with a baby sitter, but later admitted that she lied, according to a criminal complaint. Miss Love also said later that she knew there was no baby sitter and that the children had been left in the care of two 8-year-olds.
Authorities said the early morning fire June 12 was started by children playing with matches.
Winkler moved to mental facility
SELMER — A woman convicted in the shooting death of her preacher husband was moved from a county jail to a mental health facility, officials said yesterday.
The judge approved the move for Mary Winkler on Wednesday, said Sue Allison, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts. The name and location of the facility were not disclosed.
Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her Church of Christ minister husband, Matthew, in the Selmer parsonage where the family lived.
She was sentenced June 8 to three years, but she will be eligible for probation after serving 210 days and got credit for the 143 days she already spent in jail. That left 67 days, and the judge ruled that 60 of those days could be served in a facility where she could receive mental health treatment.
From wire dispatches and staff reports