- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2008

Four more punished over records search

COLUMBUS, Ohio | Two more senior managers at the Ohio agency where computers were used to dig up information about “Joe the Plumber” have been suspended without pay for their roles in the searches.

Fred Williams, the Department of Job and Family Services’ assistant director, will be placed on two weeks’ unpaid suspension beginning Monday, spokeswoman Scarlett Bouder said Friday. Doug Thompson, the department’s deputy director of child support, is facing a four-week unpaid suspension, also starting Monday.

Two other agency employees — Paul Fraunholtz, the deputy director of family stability, and Judi Cicatiello, the deputy director of unemployment compensation — will receive written reprimands based on conclusions reached Thursday by Ohio’s government watchdog, Ms. Bouder said.

The department’s director, Helen Jones-Kelley, improperly ordered staff to look up records on Joe Wurzelbacher, the Toledo-area man who became a household name in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles said in a report.

Gov. Ted Strickland suspended Mrs. Jones-Kelley without pay for one month.

No charges likely over Obama sign

PORTLAND, Maine | Authorities say no charges are planned against the owner of a store where a sign invited customers to bet on a date when President-elect Barack Obama would be assassinated.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion said Friday that Oak Hill General Store owner Steve Collins denied any knowledge of the “Osama Obama Shotgun Pool” sign.

Sheriff Dion added that the sign was gone when a deputy visited the store in Standish to investigate the report Nov. 7. The sheriff said posting the sign would not necessarily constitute a threat or a terrorizing incident.

Customers liked lack of junk mail

APEX, N.C | Residents along mailman Steve Padgett’s route here say he is their hero for refusing to deliver at least seven years’ worth of junk mail.

Padgett, 58, was given probation this week in federal court for failing to deliver pizza fliers, menu advertisements and store discount notices.

Padgett, who has diabetes and heart problems, said he started burying the junk mail in his yard and hiding it in his garage because he was overwhelmed by the amount of direct advertising mail he was supposed to deliver, said his attorney, noting that no customer on Padgett’s route ever complained of missing the junk mail.

The postman was fired from his job and charged with delaying and destroying U.S. mail.

But when his customers learned of his plight, they rallied, thanking him and calling him a hero for not delivering unwanted mail, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Jet-pack daredevil plans to jump gorge

DENVER | A daredevil hopes to propel himself across a southern Colorado canyon using a jet pack powered by hydrogen peroxide.

Eric Scott tells the Rocky Mountain News for an article published Saturday that he’s never traveled as far as he wants to Monday: 1,500 feet. The Royal Gorge is more than 1,100 feet deep. A bridge spanning it was the site of a deadly stunt in 2003 when a parachute jumper miscalculated and fell.

Mr. Scott works for Denver-based Jet P.I. The company developed a jet pack for stunts and promotions that is based on one developed in the 1960s for the military.

The original one could fly for only about 20 seconds. The new one can go for more than 30 seconds at faster than 70 mph.

Stray bullet nicks two at day-care

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. | Authorities in Michigan say a hunter’s stray bullet has grazed two young boys at a day care near Cheboygan earlier this week.

The Cheboygan County sheriff’s department says a 43-year-old woman fired her rifle at a deer but the bullet penetrated a wall and grazed the boys – ages 3 and 5 – inside Angie’s Country Kids Day Care in Benton Township.

The Petoskey News- Review reported Friday that children were released from a hospital after treatment.

Authorities say the woman was hunting about 400 yards away, and may not have realized there was a day-care center in the area. The county prosecutor’s office is expected to review the case.

Slow-hairdo killer gets 24-year term

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. | A man has been sentenced to prison for fatally shooting a stylist who was taking too long to braid his hair.

Kerry Rendall Wilson of Little Rock was sentenced to 24 years for second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole in six years.

Bill James, Wilson’s lawyer, says his 30-year-old client was high on marijuana dipped in formaldehyde when 39-year-old Henrietta Jones was killed in November 2007. He says one of the woman’s sons actually killed her.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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