- - Sunday, July 25, 2010

ALASKA

Black bear tasered by police officer

ANCHORAGE | A police officer used his Taser to discourage a small black bear that had gotten into someone’s fish fryer.

Lt. Dave Parker delivered a 30-second burst of 100,000 volts to scare away the bear from a house.

Lt. Parker told the Anchorage Daily News the bear flipped on its back, flailing its feet in the air, growling and crying until it rolled off the porch. He said it shook its head and then quickly bolted away.

He hopes the stun-gun tactic will keep the bear out of further mischief.

CALIFORNIA

Marchers demand mayor’s resignation

BELL | Several hundred angry residents from a modest blue-collar Los Angeles suburb marched Sunday to call for the resignation of the mayor and some city council members in a protest sparked by the sky-high salaries of three recently departed administrators.

The residents of the city of Bell marched to Oscar’s Korner Market and Carniceria, owned by Mayor Oscar Hernandez, then to his home, demanding that he reduce his own six-figure compensation or quit. They then did the same with some members of the city council, with many marchers wearing T-shirts that read “My city is more corrupt than your city.”

“I don’t think they are taking it seriously. And we’re serious,” event organizer and longtime Bell resident Nestor Valencia, 45, told the Los Angeles Times. “They need to resign.”

The protest was organized by the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, a group founded after the Times reported that Bell’s city manager, police chief and assistant city manager were all being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, with city manager Robert Rizzo collecting a check of $787,637. All three resigned Friday.

IOWA

Dam failure causes millions in damage

MONTICELLO | Flooding from the Maquoketa River after the Lake Delhi dam failed has damaged dozens of homes and businesses, causing millions of dollars in damage in Monticello, officials said Sunday.

The Lake Delhi dam in eastern Iowa failed Saturday as rising floodwater from the Maquoketa River ate a 30-foot-wide hole in it. Areas below the dam, including in Hopkinton and Monticello were evacuated.

“It is simply unbelievable. This is unprecedented. We’ve had floods before and we’ve always been able to contain the situation and minimize the damage, but with Mother Nature’s fury … there was no way to do anything about it,” said Mike Willey, president of the board of directors at the Lake Delhi Recreation Association. “There was simply too much water.”

The river crested upstream of the dam at Manchester early Saturday afternoon at 24.53 feet — more than 10 feet above flood stage and well above its 2004 record of 21.66 feet — before it began to slowly recede.

About 50 homes and 20 businesses had major flood damage and the city’s sewer plant had been flooded and shut down.

MASSACHUSETTS

Court nixes appeal by killer who fled

BOSTON | The state’s highest court on Friday rejected an appeal filed by a convicted killer who escaped from a Massachusetts jail and spent 20 years as an activist and poet in Illinois before being sent back to prison in 2005.

Norman Porter Jr. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the 1960s shooting deaths of a store clerk during a robbery and a jail guard. Porter escaped in 1985 and fled to Chicago, where he published a poetry book and was a lecturer at a local church.

Porter argued that he was entitled to an automatic review of his conviction by the state Supreme Judicial Court. In a ruling Friday, the court rejected the argument, because Porter pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Only defendants convicted of first-degree murder are entitled to such reviews.

Porter pleaded guilty in the murders of James Pigott, a 22-year-old store clerk who was fatally shot during a clothing store robbery in Saugus, and David S. Robinson, a Middlesex County jail officer who was shot when Porter and another inmate escaped from jail while awaiting trial for Pigott’s murder.

He received two life sentences. In 1975, Gov. Michael Dukakis commuted his sentence in the Robinson case.

OHIO

Judge: Man can’t form own Indian reservation

LIMA | A man who claimed that his American Indian ancestry makes him exempt from city nuisance laws has been ordered to clean up two homes that have fallen into disrepair.

A judge told William Bowersock he has 30 days to take care of the properties in Lima. The judge rejected Mr. Bowersock’s argument that he seceded from the local government and formed his own Indian reservation, thereby making him exempt from the city’s property code.

Mr. Bowersock said he thinks the city is singling him out and using selective enforcement of property codes to harass him.

Judge Richard Warren said city officials have given Mr. Bowersock years to address the nuisance problem and that the rights of the city and Mr. Bowersock’s neighbors must be protected.

TEXAS

Mummified infant found in attic

AMARILLO | An infant boy’s mummified body has been found stuffed in an ice chest stored in the attic of a Texas Panhandle home, police said.

Amarillo Police Lt. Gary Trupe said renters of the house were installing a ceiling fan when they discovered the body in a small, tightly sealed plastic ice chest on Monday.

Authorities estimate the boy’s age at 3 months to 1 year and that his body was in the attic five or six years. Officers suspect the boy was Miguel Nunez, born in 2003 and missing since 2004. His family lived in the house about the time he disappeared.

The Amarillo Globe-News reports Friday that police are questioning a man in connection with the case.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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