- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Ex-cop pleads guilty to 2 bank robberies

RIVERSIDE | A retired police sergeant has pleaded guilty to robbing two banks in holdups that earned him the nickname “The Grandpa Bandit.”

Frank Holder, 62, of Phelan entered pleas to federal charges in Riverside and is free on bond.

A federal prosecutor said Wednesday that Holder is expected to get a three-year sentence and must repay about $4,000.

Holder worked for the Pomona Police Department for 30 years and retired in 2004. He had no criminal record.

FLORIDA

Man helps homeless prepare for jobs

MIAMI | The homeless in Miami are getting a makeover — all in the hopes of finding a job.

Project Vacant Streets is an initiative to get the homeless back on their feet, one job at a time.

The man behind the idea is Frank Kelly, a 32-year-old product director at Johnson & Johnson and motivational speaker.

Each participant undergoes a series of transformations - emotional, professional and physical. The idea is that in less than a month, they gain the confidence to land a job through the acquired skills.

MINNESOTA

Midwest storms cleanup starts

MINNEAPOLIS | Midwestern residents began to clean up after tornadoes and severe storms slammed several states.

No major injuries were reported, but authorities say strong winds tore the roofs off buildings and left residents without power.

The National Weather Service in Davenport, Iowa, confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down Wednesday in northeastern Iowa. Another tornado was confirmed Wednesday night about 30 miles southeast of Minneapolis.

The weather service also is investigating reports of tornadoes in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

In Illinois, at least 19 people were hurt and dozens of homes and businesses destroyed. Officials say one was injured when the wind flipped a car and another was blown off his motorcycle.

NORTH CAROLINA

Child fatally hit after exiting bus

RALEIGH | A 6-year-old North Carolina girl has died after being hit by an SUV driven by an 83-year-old woman.

Police in Raleigh say Ashley Ramos Hernand died when she was hit Wednesday afternoon while crossing the street after getting off the bus from elementary school.

Geraldine Baron Deitz is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and passing a stopped school bus. A message left on an answering machine Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned.

A police report indicated that the driver told police the school bus had not activated all its warning signals. Witnesses, though, told police that the signals and markers were properly activated.

OREGON

Court rejects car seller ethics case

PORTLAND | The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled against a car salesman who said he was fired after complaining about unethical sales practices.

Kevin Lamson argued he was wrongfully discharged after going to his bosses at Crater Lake Motors of Medford to tell them he wanted no part of a sales campaign that he said included deceptive ads and sales practices.

Mr. Lamson sued the dealership and won in trial court.

But the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the decision Thursday and said in a unanimous opinion that there was no evidence Mr. Lamson was fired for reporting the practices.

WISCONSIN

Man ‘freaked out’ in mayor attack

MILWAUKEE | A criminal complaint says a 20-year-old Milwaukee man has admitted that he “freaked out” when he attacked the city’s mayor.

Authorities charged Anthony J. Peters on Thursday with first-degree reckless injury and theft and two misdemeanors. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 36 years behind bars.

According to the complaint, Mr. Peters says he was arguing with his 1-year-old daughter’s grandmother Saturday near the Wisconsin State Fair. Prosecutors say Mayor Tom Barrett responded to the woman’s shouts by trying to call 911. The complaint says Mr. Peters snatched Mr. Barrett’s phone and punched him in the face.

Mr. Peters was expected to appear in court Thursday. Court records didn’t list a defense attorney.

WASHINGTON

Chinese executive pleads in honey case

SEATTLE | A Chinese executive has accepted a plea agreement in an adulterated honey smuggling case in Seattle.

Boa Zhong Zhang appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods into the country by using false statements and to introducing adulterated foods into interstate commerce.

The vice president of Changge Jixiang Bee Products Ltd. in Henan, China, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Nov. 30.

Still facing charges in the case are Chung Po Liu, 68, of Bellevue and Yong Xiang Yan, 60. Mr. Chung is owner of Rainier Cascade and Evergreen Produce, and Mr. Yong is chairman of the Chinese honey company.

Investigators say they mislabeled honey containing three antibiotics as coming from other countries to avoid antidumping tariffs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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