- - Monday, June 21, 2010

ARIZONA

Bus owner fined in fatal crash

PHOENIX | A Los Angeles-based bus line involved in a fatal crash that claimed six lives south of Phoenix in March has been fined by the federal government, and its owner has been charged with safety violations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Monday it has issued a notice of claim charging Tierra Santa Inc. owner Cayetano Martinez with multiple federal motor carrier safety violations.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said the government has worked tirelessly to bring this civil penalty case forward.

The federal government also fined the bus carrier $72,760 as a result of the investigation into the March 5 crash along the westbound Interstate 10 near Sacaton on the Gila River Indian Nation.

DISTRICT

Capitol Dome to get fresh coat of paint

The dome of the Capitol building in Washington is getting a fresh coat of white paint to help protect its cast-iron surface.

Work began Monday to build a scaffolding and hanging platforms for the project.

The Office of the Architect of the Capitol said the project is expected to take five months. The 9-million-pound dome was last painted in 2002. It is inspected each year for any cracks that must be sealed.

Workers will evaluate the dome for a more comprehensive restoration project. Plans call for eventually removing the old paint and repairing or replacing broken ironwork.

The dome was completed in 1866, replacing an earlier version made of copper and wood. Its last major renovation was in 1960.

FLORIDA

John Glenn: Keep space shuttles flying

CAPE CANAVERAL | Mercury astronaut John Glenn wants NASA’s space shuttles to keep flying until a reliable replacement is ready, no matter how long it takes.

Mr. Glenn joined the national debate Monday over America’s future in space and became the latest ex-astronaut to speak out on the matter. He issued a nine-page statement in which he questioned the decision to retire the shuttle fleet and rely on Russia to take astronauts to the International Space Station.

“We have a vehicle here, why throw it away? It’s working well,” the first American to orbit Earth said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

Mr. Glenn, a former Democratic senator from Ohio, said he’s against paying the Russians $55.8 million per person to fly U.S. astronauts to the space station and back. That’s the price for a single ticket starting in 2013; right now, it’s costing NASA $26.3 million and will jump to $51 million next year.

IOWA

Judge: Slaughterhouse manager to get 27 years

DES MOINES | A judge plans to sentence a former manager of an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse to 27 years in prison and $31 million in restitution.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade issued a sentencing memorandum Monday outlining the sentence she will impose on Sholom Rubashkin on Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

A jury found Rubashkin guilty on 86 federal financial fraud charges last fall. He was accused of telling employees to create fake invoices to show the company’s lender it had more money than it really did.

Rubashkin was indicted on the charges after a May 2008 raid at the Postville plant, where 389 illegal immigrants were detained. The plant filed for bankruptcy months later.

Rubashkin attorney Guy Cook said he plans to appeal.

MONTANA

Tornado rips roof off sports arena

BILLINGS | Billings city and Yellowstone County officials declared a state of emergency Monday, a day after the largest tornado to hit the city in more than 50 years peeled the roof off of a sports arena and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Billings Police Sgt. Kevin Iffland said the commissioners gave verbal approval to the declaration Sunday evening, allowing the Montana Army National Guard to help provide security to the city’s most damaged areas overnight.

No deaths or major injuries were reported, other than a person getting struck on the head by a large hailstone.

NEW JERSEY

Charges dropped in patient’s death

FREEHOLD | Prosecutors concluded they didn’t have enough evidence to convict a New Jersey nurse in the death of a patient and on Monday got a judge to dismiss a murder charge against her.

Lorie Hentges, of Brick Township, had been indicted on a murder charge by two separate grand juries investigating the death of a 72-year-old heart patient at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in April 2007.

Authorities alleged she caused Alvin Flamenbaum’s death by administering an unprescribed drug to him.

Monmouth County prosecutor Luis Valentin said the medical and toxicological evidence in the case is complicated and subject to differing interpretation.

NEW YORK

Alleged son of Legion’s priest-founder sues order

NEW YORK | A Mexican man said Monday he is the son of the founder of a once-influential Roman Catholic religious order, and accused his father of repeatedly molesting him.

In a lawsuit, Jose Raul Gonzalez, 30, accused the now-deceased Rev. Marcial Maciel of abuse beginning at age 7. Mr. Gonzalez said Maciel led a double life, explaining his long absences from the family by saying he was a CIA agent and oil executive.

Despite the power the Legionaries of Christ once held with Vatican officials, the Holy See recently concluded that Maciel, the order’s founder, led a life that was “devoid of any scruples” and included molesting young boys.

Mr. Gonzalez said the abuse began when Maciel took him on trips to South America, England and elsewhere. Leaders of the Legion knew for decades that Maciel was a pedophile and did nothing to stop him, Mr. Gonzalez said in his legal claim against the group.

PENNSYLVANIA

USDA-chartered plane crashes into home

LOCK HAVEN | A small plane chartered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture crashed into a home Monday, killing three people aboard and narrowly missing a couple inside the house.

The Cessna 210 was on final approach when it went down west of Lock Haven’s William T. Piper Memorial Airport at about 1 p.m. Monday and struck the house, a utility pole and three vehicles, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

Three people on board were killed, but there were no reports of injuries on the ground, he said.

The plane was owned by a Colorado firm and had been chartered by the USDA, Mr. Peters said. Officials did not know Monday evening where it was coming from, its final destination or whether more than three people were aboard, he said.

TEXAS

Police: Chief’s son killed cop, other man

LANCASTER | Investigators said the 27-year-old son of Dallas Police Chief David Brown is thought to have been the shooter in the death of a suburban police officer and another man.

Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Lupe Valez said David Brown Jr. appears to have shot Jeremy McMillan, 23, and then Officer Craig Shaw when he and others responded to a call of shots fired Sunday night.

The officers returned fire, and Mr. Brown was killed.

Lancaster Police Chief Keith Humphrey has said Officer Shaw was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the small city about 15 miles south of Dallas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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