- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

ALASKA

Group to sue EPA over polar bears

ANCHORAGE | An environmental group has given formal notice that it will sue the federal government to protect polar bears from pesticide pollution.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday gave 60-day notice it will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to consider the effects of pesticides on polar bears and their Arctic habitat.

The group said pesticides reach the Arctic through the atmosphere and the ocean, plus the food chain as pesticides are digested but not broken down.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Noblin said the pollutants become concentrated in polar bears, the predator at the top of the food pyramid. She said the contaminants have been linked to suppressed immune function, endocrine disruption and cub mortality.

CALIFORNIA

Ads tout marijuana as budget solution

SAN FRANCISCO | A pro-marijuana group launched a television advertisement Wednesday in California advocating legalization and taxation of the drug to help solve the state’s budget woes.

The 30-second spot, airing Wednesday and funded by the Marijuana Policy Project, features a retired state worker who says state leaders “are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes.”

State lawmakers are bitterly debating how to close a $26.3 billion budget deficit that likely means cuts to state services.

In February, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Bill supporters estimate the state’s pot industry could bring in more than $1 billion in taxes.

CONNECTICUT

Siege suspect hospitalized

HARTFORD | A Connecticut advertising executive taken from his burning home after police say he kidnapped his ex-wife and held her hostage during a 13-hour standoff has been arraigned in his hospital room.

Defense attorney Hugh Keefe said Richard Shenkman’s arraignment was delayed by about a half-hour Wednesday because Mr. Shenkman was heavily medicated and slipping in and out of consciousness. Mr. Shenkman is being treated for smoke inhalation.

Bond was set at $12.5 million on kidnapping and other charges.

Mr. Shenkman is accused of abducting his ex-wife, Nancy Tyler, in Hartford on Tuesday morning and holding her in his South Windsor home.

The standoff ended after midnight, several hours after Ms. Tyler escaped, and as the home was burning to the ground.

He is due in court July 14.

MONTANA

States prepare for wolf hunts

BILLINGS | Montana and Idaho are moving to host the first open gray wolf hunts in the lower 48 states after the animal’s removal from the endangered list across much of the Northern Rockies.

Montana wildlife commissioners voted Wednesday to let hunters throughout the state shoot 75 wolves, or 15 percent of Montana’s population, beginning in mid-September.

In Idaho, commissioners meet later this month to set their quota. A prior plan called for hunting almost 250 wolves.

NEW JERSEY

Man dies in vat of melted chocolate

CAMDEN | A man died after falling into a vat of melted chocolate in a New Jersey processing plant, authorities said.

The Camden County prosecutor’s office identified the victim as Vincent Smith II, 29, of Camden. He was a temporary worker at the Cocoa Services Inc. plant.

The accident happened Wednesday morning as Mr. Smith was loading chocolate into a vat where it’s melted and mixed before being shipped elsewhere to be made into candy.

Prosecutor’s spokesman Jason Laughlin said a co-worker tried to shut off the machine and two others tried to pull Mr. Smith out of the 8-foot-deep vat. He was hit and fatally injured by the agitator that mixes the chocolate.

Cocoa Services hires a second company, Lyons and Sons, to do the mixing.

NEW YORK

Passport returned to Ruth Madoff

NEW YORK | If Ruth Madoff wants to escape public scorn, she is now free to leave the country.

A federal judge on Monday ordered the court system to return Mrs. Madoff’s passport.

She gave up the document in December when she posted bail for her husband, Bernard Madoff. He is serving a 150-year prison term for a giant Ponzi scheme.

Mrs. Madoff has not been charged, but she has been forced to give up all but $2.5 million of her family’s personal fortune.

The confiscated assets included her penthouse apartment in Manhattan.

PENNSYLVANIA

Contractor to plead guilty

PITTSBURGH | A former defense contractor executive from Pennsylvania intends to plead guilty to a kickback scheme after his case is transferred to a federal court in northern Florida.

Court documents filed late Tuesday show prosecutors in Pittsburgh and Florida have signed off on Richard Ianieri’s request to transfer his case.

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh on Monday charged Mr. Ianieri, of Doylestown, with taking $200,000 in kickbacks while he headed Coherent Systems International Corp., a defense contractor with ties to Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat.

Three others who worked for other defense contractors with ties to Mr. Murtha are scheduled for trial later this month in Florida. Coherent is mentioned in that indictment, but no employees are charged.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide