- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ALABAMA

Bay of Pigs pilot dies

BIRMINGHAM | An Alabama man who played a role in the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs has died. He was 88.

Retired military pilot Joe Shannon of Birmingham died Tuesday at the age of 88. Son Lewis Shannon said his father had been ill only a short time.

Mr. Shannon once flew for the Alabama National Guard, and he was one of the few surviving American pilots who participated in the failed invasion of Cuba in 1961.

About 1,500 Cuban exiles who were trained under CIA guidance in Guatemala invaded the island in April 1961 trying to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist regime.

CALIFORNIA

Google to sell own mobile phone

MOUNTAIN VIEW | Google Inc. will sell its own mobile phone in an effort to protect its online advertising empire as people increasingly surf the Web on handsets instead of personal computers.

The phone announced Tuesday had been widely anticipated since Google handed out the device, called the Nexus One, to its own employees three weeks ago.

Consumers will be able to buy the Nexus One for $179 if they commit to a two-year service contract with T-Mobile USA. The phone is going on sale Tuesday online.

Google also will offer versions of the Nexus One that will give people the option of selecting the wireless networks of other major carriers. That’s a departure from the way most mobile phones have been sold in the U.S.

The price of these so-called “unlocked” phones will be $529.

FLORIDA

Officials want Crockett document

TAMPA | Officials in Tennessee want a 90-year-old Florida woman to turn over a marriage license application filed by legendary Alamo defender Davy Crockett more than a century ago.

But the woman’s son, Vance Smith, said the document has been in the family for years.

Lura Hinchey, archive director for Jefferson County, Tenn., said the original marriage license application of Crockett and Margaret Elder belongs to the county because it is a permanent record. On Tuesday, Jefferson County officials filed papers in a Tampa-area court seeking its return.

The historic document is in the possession of Margaret V. Smith, whose son said she inherited it.

Mr. Smith said Tennessee officials didn’t ask for the license back until his mother appeared on the TV program “Antiques Roadshow.” On the show, she told an appraiser her uncle, a Crockett fan, saved the 1805 document from being thrown out as a Tennessee courthouse was being cleaned out.

The appraiser estimated the application was worth $25,000 to $50,000.

IDAHO

Man who set fire to co-worker sentenced

POCATELLO | An Idaho man who pleaded guilty to setting his co-worker on fire has been sentenced to five years of probation after the victim forgave him.

The State Journal reports that a letter from the victim convinced 6th District Judge Stephen Dunn that probation, rather than a prison sentence, was the right way to resolve Jeremy Ulrich’s case.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty in November to felony aggravated battery for spraying a co-worker with a caustic solvent, then setting him ablaze with a mini torch.

The victim said in his letter that he no longer thought Ulrich was trying to injure him and that the incident wasn’t the result of malicious intent.

Ulrich was fired after the incident.

MARYLAND

Train hits teen, causes major delays

MIDDLE RIVER | Amtrak said a fatal accident near Baltimore caused delays along the Northeast corridor for much of the day.

Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero said delays continued for several hours after the 9 a.m. Tuesday accident, and some midday trains were canceled. Maryland’s commuter train service was also affected.

Baltimore County police said the 14-year-old victim was struck and killed by a southbound train that hit her from behind as she walked along the tracks on the way to school. Friends and relatives of the victim, Ann Marie Stickel of Middle River, placed a plastic foam cross with a picture of her near the scene of the accident Tuesday afternoon.

MICHIGAN

Chrysler, Ford report double-digit drops

DETROIT | Automakers are glad to see the end of 2009, the worst year for U.S. sales in nearly 30 years.

Ford and Chrysler both saw sharp declines, but each claimed to have momentum going into this year.

Chrysler Group LLC posted its worst sales in 47 years, selling just over 931,000 cars and trucks. It was the first time sales dropped below 1 million since 1962.

But its December sales rose 36 percent over November, a sign of slow and steady progress under the company’s new Italian management. And compared with December of 2008, monthly sales slipped just 4 percent, a far smaller drop than the double-digit declines seen for most of the year.

Ford Motor Co. said full-year sales declined 15 percent, but the company said it posted its first full-year gain in U.S. market share since 1995. It also reported a 33 percent increase in December sales thanks to strong demand for midsize cars like the Ford Fusion, whose sales rose 83 percent. The Ford Escape crossover, meanwhile, rose 75 percent.

NEW YORK

Former NBA star charged with DWI

NEW YORK | Former NBA star Jayson Williams was charged with drunken driving after his sport utility vehicle veered off an exit ramp and struck a tree early Tuesday, police said, the latest legal woe for the troubled ex-player.

Williams, who is awaiting retrial on a manslaughter case in New Jersey, suffered a minor bone fracture in his neck and cuts to his face in the crash, authorities said.

He was in the passenger seat when officers arrived, and he told them someone else had been driving, according to police. But witnesses told police they saw him in the driver’s seat, and officers said no one else was in the car.

The black Mercedes-Benz SUV was exiting FDR Drive at East 20th Street in Manhattan when it veered off the curved exit, authorities said.

Police said it appeared Williams was drinking before the 3:15 a.m. crash. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he refused a breath test, authorities said. Police asked for a warrant to test blood taken by hospital officials for alcohol content.

Police charged him with drunken driving at his hospital bed.

RHODE ISLAND

Funeral rights for gays backed

PROVIDENCE | State lawmakers have voted to give same-sex and unmarried couples the right to plan the funerals of their late partners, overriding a veto by the state’s socially conservative governor.

The General Assembly voted Tuesday by wide margins against the objections of Republican Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, who argued the legislation represented an erosion of traditional marriage.

Lawmakers backed the bill after hearing from Mark Goldberg, who struggled for five weeks to recover the body of his same-sex partner. Rhode Island does not recognize gay marriage, and state officials initially refused to release the body because Mr. Goldberg was not a relative.

The funeral planning rights also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.

Opponents of gay marriage fear the limited rights will lead to a wider recognition of gay unions.

UTAH

Indian canyon art protected by pact

SALT LAKE CITY | An agreement to protect a central Utah canyon rich with ancient American Indian art while allowing for nearby mineral development has been approved.

The unusual pact governing Nine Mile Canyon was signed Tuesday at the Utah Capitol by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and a Colorado natural gas producer.

The deal sets out a list of tasks, including increased efforts to tamp down dust kicked up by trucks in the canyon that some fear hurts thousands of ancient rock paintings and carvings.

VIRGINIA

Color, graphics OK in tobacco ads

RICHMOND | A federal judge has overturned two of the marketing restrictions in the new tobacco law, including a ban on color and graphics in most tobacco advertising.

Several tobacco makers sued in August to block the restrictions, and U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley in Kentucky agreed that two violated tobacco companies’ free speech rights.

Congress could have exempted certain types of colors and images instead of banning all color and graphics in advertising that children might see, Judge McKinley ruled. He also said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can’t bar anyone from saying the agency’s regulation of tobacco makes it safe.

But he upheld most of the new marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise. Judge McKinley’s ruling, recorded Tuesday, also upholds a requirement that warning labels cover half the packaging on each tobacco product.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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