- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

ALASKA

Protection sought for ribbon seals

ANCHORAGE | Ribbon seals should be listed as threatened or endangered because global warming is quickly melting sea ice, which the seals depend on for several months each year, two environmental groups said in a lawsuit filed against the federal government in San Francisco on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in December denied a listing under the Endangered Species Act for the seals found off the coasts of Alaska and Russia.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace sued in U.S. District Court, claiming the agency ignored the best science available on global warming.

NOAA spokeswoman Connie Barclay had no comment on the lawsuit.

CALIFORNIA

Aunt: Kidnapped niece ‘remembers all of us’

LOS ANGELES | Jaycee Dugard remembers her family and is enjoying getting to know her younger sister, who was a baby when Miss Dugard was kidnapped 18 years ago, her aunt said Thursday.

Tina Dugard spoke to reporters at the FBI’s Los Angeles office, describing her niece’s reunion with her mother and sister. She said her niece’s daughters, ages 11 and 15, appeared to be bright and educated, even though they did not attend school.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido have pleaded not guilty to kidnap, rape and imprisonment charges related to Jaycee Dugard’s 1991 abduction from South Lake Tahoe. Police said Garrido fathered Miss Dugard’s two daughters and lived with them in a backyard encampment of tents and sheds in Antioch.

Meanwhile, Katherine Callaway Hall, of Nevada, who was abducted and raped in 1976 by Garrido, said Thursday she thinks he deserves the death penalty, although his crimes wouldn’t qualify him.

DELAWARE

Father pleads guilty in international kidnapping

WILMINGTON | A Delaware optometrist who fled to Central America in a motor home with his three young daughters has pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping and bank fraud charges.

David Matusiewicz, 42, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Wilmington to forging his ex-wife’s signature on a home-equity loan in August 2007, then fleeing the country with the cash and the couple’s children.

Matusiewicz had told his ex-wife, with whom he shared custody, that he was taking the girls to Disney World for two weeks.

GEORGIA

Student killed by stray bullet

ATLANTA | One of the nation’s largest historically black academic centers mourned Thursday for a 19-year old student killed by a stray bullet as she walked on campus with friends.

Police said Jasmine Lynn, of Kansas City, Mo., was struck in the chest just after midnight Wednesday when at least six shots were fired during a fight at Clark Atlanta University.

Miss Lynn was a sophomore at Spelman College, one of four adjoining campuses comprising Atlanta University Center along with Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Morehouse College of Medicine.

IDAHO

Court won’t remove pre-Nazi swastika tiles

IDAHO FALLS | Images of red swastikas built into tiles in the early 1920s in the Bonneville County Courthouse won’t be removed during a remodeling of the building, officials said.

The swastikas are at intersections of a much larger geometric pattern comprised of small red, white and black tiles put in place in 1921, well before the rise of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s, the Post Register newspaper said in a story published Thursday.

The courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the tiles are mentioned in the building’s entry on that list.

The swastika was a symbol of good fortune from early Byzantine and Christian civilizations to the Mayan and Navajo people of the Americas and the Hindus and Buddhists, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

However, the symbol is now associated with the Nazi party.

MICHIGAN

Professors strike; school cancels classes

ROCHESTER | A university in suburban Detroit has canceled classes indefinitely because its professors have gone on strike.

Thursday was supposed to be the opening of the fall semester for about 18,000 students at Oakland University. But the Oakland University chapter of the American Association of University Professors authorized a strike Wednesday night.

Contract talks under way for months have failed to produce a deal. Among the issues in the negotiations are pay increases and hiring more faculty.

Oakland University first posted a notice on its Web site early Thursday, saying students should report to class. But it posted a new notice later Thursday morning saying classes were canceled.

NEW JERSEY

Motorcycle tribute to honor Flight 93

NEWARK | Relatives of the victims of Flight 93 — the United Airlines jetliner that crashed in Pennsylvania as passengers wrestled with hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001 — are honoring their loved ones with a cross-country motorcycle ride.

The flight originated in New Jersey and was bound for California when four terrorists hijacked it, and the motorcycle caravan will retrace the flight’s intended path. The caravan left Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday morning at 8:42 a.m. — the same time as the flight — and is to arrive in San Francisco on the eighth anniversary of the attacks.

Thirty-three passengers and seven crew members died on that flight.

NORTH CAROLINA

Man sentenced for Obama threat

STONEVILLE | A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to saying he was going to assassinate President Obama.

The Rockingham County sheriff’s office said Steve Lee Stone, 44, pleaded to charges Wednesday of communicating threats, resisting a public officer and misusing the 911 system. He was sentenced to two 45-day jail terms, which were suspended, and 18 months probation.

Police said Stone called a 911 dispatcher twice from his trailer about five miles south of the Virginia border in late July and said he was going to assassinate the president. He did not identify himself.

Sheriff’s deputies and a Secret Service agent investigated the caller’s identity. Stone was interviewed by deputies at his trailer in Stoneville.

Deputies say Stone became combative during the interview and they were forced to use a stun gun and arrest him.

RHODE ISLAND

State to lay off 1,000 workers

PROVIDENCE | Rhode Island Gov. Donald L. Carcieri said Thursday that he will lay off 1,000 state workers after a judge issued a last-minute ruling blocking him from shutting down the government for a day to save money.

The governor’s announcement came shortly after Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg stopped Mr. Carcieri from forcing about 80 percent of the roughly 13,500-member state work force to stay home without pay Friday. It was supposed to be the first of a dozen shutdown days before July as part of an effort to close a $68 million shortfall in a state budget hammered by surging unemployment and dwindling state tax revenue.

Mr. Carcieri said the layoffs would target those employees hired most recently. It was not clear when the layoffs would begin and which government agencies would be affected.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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