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American Scene

- - Sunday, August 8, 2010

CALIFORNIA

White supremacist eyes school board

RIALTO | A white supremacist is running for a Southern California school board seat.

Dan Schruender, a past president of the California chapter of Aryan Nations, filed nomination papers Monday with the San Bernardino County registrar to run for one of two open seats on the inland Rialto Unified School District.

The 27,500-student district is nearly 76 percent Hispanic and nearly 16 percent black.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schruender announced his campaign on an Aryan Nations blog. He said the group is not behind his candidacy, and he will not allow his ideology to affect his decisions if elected on Nov. 2.

ALASKA

Airliner grounded after hitting eagle

ANCHORAGE | An eagle was sucked into an engine of an Alaska Airlines jet as the aircraft was taking off from a small southeast Alaska town Sunday, causing the flight to be aborted.

Seattle-bound Flight 68 was approaching takeoff speed when the eagle was ingested into the left engine of the Boeing 737-400 shortly after 10 a.m. in Sitka. None of the 134 passengers or five crew members was hurt.

"We were roaring down the runway, and about the time they'd be picking the nose up, we hear a big kaboom," said passenger Bill Shake, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official from Portland, Ore. "It sounded like a flat tire."

Mr. Shake — traveling home after an annual fishing trip — said another in his large group saw two bursts of flames coming from the engine.

The bird collision automatically shut off the plane's engine, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said, adding that the jet braked to a stop about 3,000 feet from the end of the 6,500-foot runway, which ends at the water's edge.

CALIFORNIA

Ousted HP boss settles lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO | Former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd has settled accusations of sexual harassment lodged against him by a female contract worker for HP, a person with knowledge of the case told the Associated Press.

The harassment accusation set off a chain of events that led to the discovery of purportedly falsified expense reports for dinners Mr. Hurd had with the woman and culminated in his forced resignation Friday from the world's largest technology company.

The person familiar with the case told the AP late Saturday that Mr. Hurd agreed to pay the woman, but would not reveal the size of the payment. The deal was reached Thursday. The settlement was between Mr. Hurd and his accuser and did not involve a payment from HP, this person said.

This person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. The nature of the harassment complaint wasn't clear. Mr. Hurd and an attorney representing the woman said the relationship was not sexual.

The woman's attorney, celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, would not describe the purported harassment, identify her client or make her available for an interview.

MARYLAND

Two killed in auto accident

EMMITSBURG | Authorities say two family members have been killed and a third seriously injured when a car plowed into a group gathered on the side of the road after a church service in northern Maryland.

Cpl. Jennifer Bailey of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office says a 63-year-old driver was trying to park her Mercury Mountaineer along the roadway late Sunday morning. She says the car accelerated and backed into the people who were crossing the road in Emmitsburg. The driver also hit two cars.

Cpl. Bailey says 64-year-old Patricia Mauro-Cillo died on the road and 53-year-old John Cillo died sometime after he was taken away. Eighty-nine-year-old Marian Derosa is being treated at Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

Police say no charges have been filed.

MONTANA

Researchers find buffalo-killing site

BROWNING | Archaeologists working on the Blackfeet Indian reservation in northwestern Montana say they have uncovered a vast former hunting complex where bison were chased over a cliff at least 1,000 years ago.

Researchers say the 9-mile-long area contains a well-preserved "drive line" system used to funnel bison to their deaths, along with bison bones and the remnants of campsites with hundreds of tepee rings.

The site is on a remote plateau overlooking the Two Medicine River. Researchers say it could become one of the largest and most significant Blackfeet heritage sites in the region.

NEW MEXICO

Escapees thought to be in Yellowstone

ALBUQUERQUE | The search for two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and their suspected accomplice has turned to the vast Yellowstone National Park area after one of the inmates was linked to a double homicide in New Mexico.

The U.S. Marshals Service said Sunday that information developed within the past two days indicates Tracy Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch may be hiding in portions of the park that span Montana and Wyoming. Officials also think Province has separated from McCluskey and Welch, who are cousins. Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery out of Pima County, Ariz. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm out of Maricopa County, Ariz.

None of the three are known to be expert campers or have wilderness-survival skills, said Thomas Henman, supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Phoenix. "From the start, we believed these individuals would be staying at campgrounds and truck stops and other places like that. This keeps to that pattern," he said.

The manhunt for the three intensified Saturday after forensic evidence linked at least one of the inmates to the badly burned skeletal remains of Linda and Gary Haas, both 61. The Tecumseh, Okla., couple were found in a charred camper Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in Santa Rosa. The couple's pickup truck was found that afternoon 100 miles west in Albuquerque.

ILLINOIS

Police: Fake ad spurs giveaway rush

CHICAGO | A Chicago man is accused of taking family bickering too far by purportedly posting a fake Craigslist ad that said his sister was giving away all her belongings.

Police said the ad triggered a rush of bargain hunters to the Joliet, Ill., home of Paul Grachan's sister, and that she received phone calls from people asking about her things.

A Will County judge last week issued a $3,000 warrant against Mr. Grachan on charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The ad was posted last August.

Mr. Grachan, 37, said he had nothing to do with the ad. He said he has had a feud with his sister and that the two haven't spoken in about a year.

NEW YORK

LCD suppliers fixed prices, Cuomo says

ALBANY | New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has sued several major suppliers of liquid crystal display screens used in computers, televisions and cell phones, claiming consumers paid extra because of price fixing.

The suit filed Friday in state court in Manhattan seeks damages, restitution and civil penalties for actions from 1996 to 2006 by companies in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, plus their U.S. counterparts. It claims the cartel dominated the $70 billion market, that company representatives met regularly and that the scheme cost New Yorkers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Defendants are Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Displays Ltd., LG Display Co. Ltd., AU Optronics Corp., Chi Mei Corp., CMO Japan Co. Ltd., and U.S. affiliates.

OHIO

Ousted critic loses suit against paper

CLEVELAND | An ousted critic who charged that he was removed from his beat because of critical coverage has lost a lawsuit against his newspaper and the Cleveland Orchestra.

A jury ruled Friday in favor of the defense on all three counts in the lawsuit filed by Donald Rosenberg, 56. The orchestra reviewer was removed from his beat at the Plain Dealer in 2008.

The jury ruled in favor of the Musical Arts Association, which runs the orchestra, on charges of defamation and interference with employment and in favor of the newspaper on an age-discrimination charge.

Mr. Rosenberg's attorney, Steve Sindell, said an appeal would be considered.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-NFL player gets 2 years for bribery

SCRANTON | Former NFL offensive lineman Greg Skrepenak has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for accepting a bribe while serving as a county commissioner in northeastern Pennsylvania.

A former Luzerne County commissioner, Skrepenak was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $5,100 in fines and court costs.

Skrepenak, a Democrat, pleaded guilty in January to taking $5,000 in gifts from a developer seeking public financing for a town-house project.

The sentence is below federal sentencing guidelines. Skrepenak's attorney asked for a reduced sentence because his client is a single father with three children.

Skrepenak played six seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the Raiders and Panthers.

TEXAS

IRS won't return to plane-crash site

AUSTIN | An Internal Revenue Service office will not return to the Texas building where a tax protester killed himself by crashing his plane into the structure.

IRS spokeswoman Lea Crusberg said Thursday that the agency has signed a two-year lease on another office space in Austin. She declined to identify the location.

Andrew Joseph Stack III on Feb. 18 flew his single-engine plane into the four-story structure. IRS worker Vernon Hunter also was killed. About 200 IRS employees worked in the building at that time.

The manager of the property, Kevin Kimball, says cleanup of the 64,000-square-foot structure is nearly done and repairs should be finished within six months.

WEST VIRGINIA

Methane gauges cited before blast

CHARLESTON | Federal inspectors cited a Massey Energy subsidiary for failing to recalibrate methane monitors 16 times in the two years before the explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

Kevin Stricklin of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said failing to ensure that explosive gas would be correctly measured is unconscionable.

Methane monitors are emerging as a key piece of evidence in the probe into what caused the April 5 blast.

Investigators plan to evaluate two monitors and a data recorder to see if the monitors had been disabled before the explosion.

Officials with Virginia-based Massey have repeatedly denied shutting the monitors off so crews could keep cutting coal when they encountered pockets of gas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports