- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 9, 2009

School tells student to skip prom

FINDLAY, Ohio | A Christian school in Ohio said it will suspend a student if he attends a public high school prom with his girlfriend.

Despite the warning, 17-year-old Tyler Frost said he plans to attend Saturday’s dance at Findlay High School, where his girlfriend is a student.

Tyler goes to Heritage Christian School. The fundamentalist Baptist school in northwest Ohio forbids dancing, rock music, hand holding and kissing.

Its principal, Tim England, said Tyler is facing a suspension that would keep him from attending graduation. He is scheduled to receive his diploma May 24.

Tyler’s stepfather, Stephan Johnson, said the school’s rules should not apply outside the classroom.

Couple accused in family shooting

DAYTON, Texas | Authorities said a Texas landowner and his wife shot and critically wounded a man and two young children who were on an off-road jaunt in a sport utility vehicle because they believed the group was trespassing on their property.

Liberty County Chief Deputy Ken DeFoor said Gale Muhs and his wife, Sheila, of Dayton, were jailed on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He said both fired shots from the same gun.

A 7-year-old boy, 5-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man were critically wounded and airlifted to a Houston hospital. The children’s 40-year-old father suffered minor injuries.

Authorities said the SUV was climbing a lakeside levee Thursday evening when the shots were fired.

Firm, ex-officials free in mining case

MISSOULA, Mont. | W.R. Grace & Co. and three former executives have been acquitted of federal charges that accused them of knowingly exposing workers to asbestos.

The Missoula, Mont., jury returned its verdict Friday morning, nearly 11 weeks after hearing opening arguments.

An indictment unsealed four years ago accused W.R. Grace and several of its former officials of knowingly endangering the lives of mine workers and other residents of Libby and ignoring warnings by state agencies to clean up their vermiculite mining operation.

Ex-official gets 24 years for child porn

TAMPA, Fla. | A former spokesman for Florida’s child welfare agency was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison Friday for taking nude photos of teenage boys, including a 16-year-old under the agency’s care.

Al Zimmerman’s arrest prompted a review of hiring policies and personnel files at the Florida Department of Children and Families to make sure every employee has had a criminal background check. The former TV newsman pleaded guilty in January to a charge of producing child pornography. Other charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Zimmerman apologized to the victims and his family.

“I keep hoping I’ll wake up from this, that it’s a bad dream,” he said. “I’ve pretty much destroyed my life.”

U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Zimmerman to 24 years, four months, which was at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines.

Lady Liberty’s crown to reopen July 4

NEW YORK | The Statue of Liberty’s crown, an observation area to which millions of tourists have trekked that was closed after the Sept. 11 terror strikes, will reopen July 4, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday.

Mr. Salazar told the news media that 30 visitors an hour would be allowed up to the crown.

Access to the crown - on a very narrow staircase of 168 steps - was suspended after the terror strikes on U.S. targets.

For now, tourists can climb up to the base of the statue and the lower observation areas of the traditional U.S. symbol of freedom.

The massive copper sculpture by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was designed to mark the 1876 centennial of the Declaration of Independence.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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