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American Scene

- - Monday, July 12, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Pastor's daughter takes lead role

GARDEN GROVE | Sheila Schuller Coleman has been affirmed as lead pastor at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch, replacing her father Robert H. Schuller.

Mrs. Coleman has played a leading role at the Southern California church during the past year. Her official appointment as lead pastor was announced Sunday at a morning service.

Her 83-year-old father, who has been in the pulpit for 55 years and serves as host of the long-running "Hour of Power" TV show, will not be leaving the church.

He will assume the newly created position of chairman of the church board of directors, known as its consistory, said church spokesman Jim Coleman, who is Mrs. Coleman's husband.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Sheehan cleared of protest charge

Activist Cindy Sheehan has been cleared of a charge stemming from a protest in front the White House.

After a trial in D.C. Superior Court on Monday, Judge Robert E. Morin found Mrs. Sheehan not guilty of crossing a police line during an anti-war protest in March. In court, Mrs. Sheehan wore a white T-shirt printed with an image of a dove and the name of her group, Peace of the Action.

A prosecutor showed a video of demonstrators lying on the White House sidewalk with mock coffins, while Mrs. Sheehan crossed a bicycle rack serving as a police line. U.S. Park Police are heard warning them that their protest permit had been revoked.

Defense attorney Mark Goldstone noted that Mrs. Sheehan spent two days in jail after her arrest. If Mrs. Sheehan had been convicted, she faced fines.

COLORADO

Shooting suspect pleads not guilty

GOLDEN | A 32-year-old man accused of shooting and wounding two students outside their Colorado middle school has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood entered his plea on Monday in Jefferson County District Court. He was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation at the state Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.

Mr. Eastwood faces 15 charges, including attempted first-degree murder in the Feb. 23 shootings outside Deer Creek Middle School in south suburban Denver.

Teachers tackled and restrained Mr. Eastwood until deputies arrived.

Defense attorneys have said they are investigating what role, if any, psychosis and mental illness played in the case.

IDAHO

Transgender woman held in bomb case

PAYETTE | A transgender woman who was at odds with police over how they acknowledged her gender identity in a 2007 traffic citation was arrested in the rigging of what appeared to be four pipe bombs to a propane tank at her home, the torching of her car and then allegedly running naked along a rural highway.

Catherine Carlson, 53, was arrested Sunday after firefighters responding to a report of a fire found pipes made to look like bombs on the porch of her trailer home in Payette, with a note warning of a booby-trap, authorities said.

About 50 homes were evacuated in the southwestern Idaho city when another call came in, reporting a car fire at a storage unit on U.S. Highway 95. The vehicle had been doused in gasoline.

Another call alerted police to a naked woman running down the highway, carrying what also appeared to be a pipe bomb. Police later learned the pipe contained legal documents, not explosives.

Ms. Carlson was being held in Payette County jail on suspicion of use of weapons of mass destruction, arson and indecent exposure.

ILLINOIS

New gun law goes into effect

CHICAGO | Chicago's new gun ordinance is now the law.

The City Council quickly passed the ordinance after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling late last month that invalidated Chicago's handgun ban.

The gun ordinance that went into effect Monday allows Chicagoans to have handguns in their homes for protection but imposes restrictions and regulations.

It permits people to have guns inside their homes but forbids them from taking their firearms outside, even onto the porch, into the yard or the garage.

It also calls for prospective gun owners to take a class and receive firearm training. Chicago residents must leave the city to buy guns because the ordinance prohibits gun sales in the city.

NEW YORK

Questions raised about mosque

NEW YORK | The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said Monday he favors an investigation into the funding of a proposed mosque near ground zero.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Rep. Peter King raised concerns about the sources of funding for the proposed $100 million mosque, just blocks away from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, where nearly 3,000 Americans died at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

"It's a house of worship, but we are at war with al Qaeda," Mr. King told the AP. "I think the 9/11 families have a right to know where the funding comes from; I think there are significant questions."

The mosque is a project of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Institute, which promotes cross-cultural understanding between Islam and the West. Cordoba's director, Imam Faisel Abdul Rauf, has refused to disclose the sources of funding for the mosque and once suggested in a television interview that U.S. policies contributed to the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. King's views differ from those of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who said Monday it would be un-American to investigate the mosque. Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent, has backed the mosque since the project came under development, as do numerous other community and political leaders including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic nominee for governor.

OHIO

Pekar, a comic book writer, dies

CLEVELAND | Harvey Pekar, whose autobiographical comic book series "American Splendor" portrayed his unglamorous life with bone-dry honesty and wit, was found dead at home early Monday, authorities said. He was 70.

The cause of death was not clear, and an autopsy was planned, officials said. Mr. Pekar had prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression, said Michael Cannon, a police captain in suburban Cleveland Heights.

Officers were called to Mr. Pekar's home by his wife about 1 a.m., Mr. Cannon said. His body was found on the floor between a bed and dresser. He had gone to bed around 4:30 p.m. Sunday in good spirits, his wife told police.

Mr. Pekar took a radically different track from the superhero-laden comics that had dominated the industry. He instead specialized in the lives of ordinary people, chronicling his life as a file clerk in Cleveland and his relationship with his third wife, Joyce Brabner. His 1994 graphic novel, "Our Cancer Year," detailed his struggle with lymphoma.

OKLAHOMA

Church where pastor was killed is razed

ANADARKO | Authorities have demolished the Oklahoma church where a pastor was killed in August, and they plan to build a memorial at the site.

The body of Carol Daniels, 61, of Oklahoma City was found Aug. 23 inside Christ Holy Sanctified Church in Anadarko. Her neck and throat had been slashed and she had been stabbed in the chest, back, stomach and hands.

No one has been arrested in her death. The church has been closed since the slaying.

PENNSYLVANIA

NTSB: Duck boat got no response

PHILADELPHIA | In the minutes before a barge rammed into an idled duck boat, dumping more than 30 tourists overboard and leaving two people dead, radio calls from the tourist craft to the tug boat pushing the barge went unanswered, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

The crew of the tug Caribbean Sea included a master, a mate, an engineer and two deck hands, the NTSB said. One mate "exercised his Fifth Amendment right and refused to meet with investigators" over the weekend, it said.

One of the deck hands was also asleep at the time, but it wasn't clear whether he was on the work clock.

The duck boat's mate and a deck hand both said their radio calls to the tug "received no response," the NTSB said. The agency said it also interviewed others aboard different boats who said they "recalled hearing" the duck boat's radio calls.

VIRGINIA

Crewman reburied 60 years later

ARLINGTON | U.S. Navy Ensign Robert Langwell would have been destined for a dark, watery grave if not for the kindness of a fisherman in South Korea who pulled his body from the ocean some 60 years ago.

Thanks to a tip from that same fisherman, family members were able to bury him Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Langwell, a native of Columbus, Ind., died aboard the USS Magpie when the ship hit a mine and exploded off the coast of South Korea on Oct. 1, 1950, months after the start of the Korean War. Twelve soldiers survived; Langwell was one of 20 lost at sea. He was 26.

Days later, his body got tangled in that fisherman's net and was pulled from the sea. Local residents buried him in a shallow grave in Chuksan-ri, South Korea, where he remained for decades.

Two years ago, the fisherman's tip led South Korean officials to search for Langwell's body. In April 2009, they recovered his skeletal remains and an old identification card from a shallow grave three miles from where the ship sank.

A genealogy search led U.S. Navy officials to Brenda Showalter, also of Columbus, Langwell's second cousin.

WASHINGTON

iPhone 4 antenna faulted in test

SEATTLE | Consumer Reports said Monday it will not recommend Apple Inc.'s newest iPhone because of reception problems caused by its antenna design.

After the iPhone 4 went on sale in June, buyers started complaining that holding the gadget a certain way could cause reception to fade and calls to drop.

Apple has said that any phone will lose signal strength when gripped in certain ways. It said the iPhone 4 seems to show a larger drop because it has been using a faulty formula to decide how many signal bars to show.

But Consumer Reports said it tested several phones that use AT&T Inc.'s network, and only the iPhone 4 seemed to have the reception issue.

Apple did not respond to messages seeking comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports