- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2007

COLORADO

Priest defrocked, accused of theft

DENVER — The Rev. Donald Armstrong has been defrocked as an Episcopal priest after being accused of stealing nearly $400,000 from Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs.

Bishop Robert O’Neill of the Diocese of Colorado announced the unusually severe sentence yesterday, a month after Mr. Armstrong was found guilty of theft in an ecclesiastical court. The diocese has not pressed charges in civil court.

Mr. Armstrong, who led Grace and St. Stephen’s for 20 years before splitting from the Episcopal Church earlier this year, has said the church no longer holds authority over him.

He now serves as a priest with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a conservative breakaway group. He has refused to relinquish the historic Grace and St. Stephen’s church building, saying it belongs to the congregation.

Mr. Armstrong has denied the theft charges.

FLORIDA

Court upholds lethal injection

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state’s lethal injection procedures are not cruel and unusual, which could clear the way for an execution scheduled for this month.

The justices wrote that “we reject the conclusion that lethal injection as applied in Florida is unconstitutional.” The decision was unanimous.

Lethal injection procedures are under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court has allowed only one execution to be carried out since it agreed in September to hear a case from Kentucky that raises a similar challenge.

Mark Dean Schwab, one of two inmates who sued over the way Florida administers lethal injections to condemned prisoners, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 15. He was convicted in the rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez.

HAWAII

Legislators bail out stalled Superferry

HONOLULU — State lawmakers bailed out Hawaii’s fast new inter-island ferry Wednesday, voting to put it back into service despite worries that it could damage the islands’ fragile environment.

The state House voted 39-11 for an emergency measure saving the Hawaii Superferry, the final obstacle in the way of the 800-passenger, 42-mph ship that has been stalled for two months by protesters and court rulings.

The bill previously passed the Senate and now goes to ferry supporter Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican.

The ferry could resume service from Oahu to Maui and Kauai in about two weeks once Mrs. Lingle signs the bill.

NEBRASKA

Police search for teacher, boy

OMAHA — Authorities were searching yesterday for a 13-year-old boy and a female middle-school teacher thought to be on the run after police began investigating a suspected intimate relationship between the pair.

Kelsey Peterson, 25, a sixth-grade teacher and basketball coach at Lexington Middle School, was placed on administrative leave last week. A judge issued an arrest warrant Monday charging her with kidnapping, child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Authorities thought the two were traveling together in Miss Peterson’s car and police nationwide were notified about them. Court documents said the boy was last seen last Friday.

NEW JERSEY

Ex-mayor admits lies for VA benefits

CAMDEN — The former mayor of Atlantic City pleaded guilty yesterday to lying to enhance his veterans benefits, a crime that played a role in his bizarre three-week disappearance earlier this fall.

Making his first public appearance since leaving office Oct. 10, Robert Levy admitted to falsely claiming to have been awarded two military medals and embellishing his military record to receive more money in disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

NEW YORK

Imus to return to radio next month

NEW YORK — Shock jock Don Imus will return to the airwaves Dec. 3 after eight months of a well-paid hiatus created by a racist and sexist remark that once seemed certain to permanently silence his broadcasting career.

Mr. Imus was fired in April by CBS Radio during a firestorm over the remark he made about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

PENNSYLVANIA

Officer shot in holdup dies

PHILADELPHIA — A police officer shot in the head during a robbery in a doughnut shop died yesterday morning, and his killer remained at large. He was the third city officer shot in the span of four days.

Officer Chuck Cassidy, 54, was shot in the forehead Wednesday at a Dunkin’ Donuts when a hooded robber spun from the counter and fired at him as he walked in the door, an employee said.

TEXAS

Spacewalk planned to fix solar wing

HOUSTON — NASA worked furiously yesterday to plan a spacewalk to fix the ripped solar wing at the International Space Station, hoping to solve the problem before Space Shuttle Discovery undocks.

The agency wanted spacewalking astronauts to tackle the job today but had to push back the outing to tomorrow to give officials on the ground more time to fine-tune the repair plan.

Yesterday, the astronauts aboard the linked shuttle-station put together makeshift minibraces for the torn wing, using short strips of aluminum and tape.

VERMONT

Woman killed in spat with trucker

MONTPELIER — The driver of a semitrailer truck ran over and fatally injured a woman who was trying to stop him from leaving after an argument about his driving, police and the victim’s daughter said Wednesday.

Laurie Bragdon, 45, died at a hospital after she was run over Wednesday afternoon by a truck driven by Delbert Degree, 41, Vermont State Police said. Police said they had not charged anyone but were investigating.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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