American Scene

ARIZONA

Ballot measures eyed on immigration

PHOENIX — Initial filings have been made proposing two separate ballot measures on Arizona’s tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration, but there’s no immediate indication that either has enough backing to reach the ballot.

A referendum filing Wednesday proposes a public vote on keeping or repealing the law. An initiative filing Tuesday proposes repealing most of the law, changing one part and temporarily prohibiting legislators from enacting new laws related to immigration status.

Qualifying the referendum for the Nov. 2 ballot requires filing at least 76,682 voter signatures by July 28, while qualifying the initiative requires filing 153,365 voter signatures by July 1.

CALIFORNIA

TV pioneer Linkletter dies at 97 in L.A.

LOS ANGELES — Art Linkletter, who hosted the popular TV shows “People Are Funny” and “House Party” in the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 97.

His son-in-law Art Hershey said Mr. Linkletter died Wednesday at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.

Art Linkletter’s House Party,” one of television’s longest-running variety shows, debuted on radio in 1944 and was seen on CBS-TV from 1952 to 1969.

Though it had many features, the best-known was the daily interviews with schoolchildren.

Mr. Linkletter collected sayings from the children into “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” and it sold in the millions. The book “70 Years of Best-Sellers 1895-1965” ranked “Kids Say the Darndest Things” as the 15th-biggest seller among nonfiction books in that period.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Boy, 13, wins geography bee

An eighth-grader from Florida has won the National Geographic Bee.

Aadith Moorthy, 13, of Palm Harbor, Fla., came out on top Wednesday as 10 boys faced off in a battle of world knowledge for the championship round. He wins a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos to experience geography firsthand.

The finalists beat out nearly 5 million students who took part in state and local competitions to make it to Washington for the bee, hosted by Alex Trebek. Students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and the military competed.

Second-place finisher, Oliver Lucier, 13, of Wakefield, R.I., will take home a $15,000 scholarship. Karthik Mouli, 12, of Boise, Idaho, came in third to win a $10,000 scholarship.

FLORIDA

Space Shuttle Atlantis lands for final time

CAPE CANAVERAL — Space Shuttle Atlantis returned from its final voyage Wednesday, closing out a quarter-century flying career and safely bringing back six astronauts from a successful space station mission.

“Twenty-five years, 32 flights and more than 120 million miles traveled. The legacy of Atlantis now in the history books,” Mission Control’s commentator announced at touchdown.

About 1,200 guests, the maximum number allowed, lined the Kennedy Space Center runway for the conclusion to NASA’s third-to-last shuttle flight. Employees wore white ribbons with the name “Atlantis” and its picture embossed in gold. Even the lead flight directors came in from Houston for the event.

“That was pretty sweet,” Mission Control radioed after Atlantis glided through a clear morning sky. “That was a suiting end to an incredible mission.”

MAINE

11 arrested in college party melee

LEWISTON — An alcohol-fueled party for college seniors to blow off steam turned rowdy early Wednesday, leading to 11 arrests, an officer with a broken leg and student complaints about police overreaction.

The gathering that began late Tuesday was part of a Bates College senior tradition called “return to your freshman dorm.”

Lewiston police were summoned by campus security after some of the 200 to 250 partiers declined to get out of the way of an ambulance that had been called to care for two injured women, police said. Nearly half of the group cleared out, but police said some refused to obey orders.

Officers never resorted to Tasers but used pepper spray after 100 to 150 students refused to disperse, Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere said. He also said at least one officer used a baton.

Students accused police of being overly aggressive.

NEW YORK

‘Leaving Islam?’ bus ads cause stir

NEW YORK — The questions on the ads aren’t subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?

Ads carrying those phrases are appearing on at least 30 New York City buses, paid for by a conservative activist and the organizations she leads.

The activist, Pamela Geller, said the ads are aimed at Muslims who are already contemplating leaving the faith.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the ads don’t violate any of its guidelines. They went up May 14 and are scheduled to come down in a couple of weeks.

Faiza Ali of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said they are a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.

NORTH DAKOTA

Atheist wants ‘ISNOGOD’ plate

BISMARCK — North Dakota transportation officials have turned down a Fargo atheist’s request for a personalized license plate declaring there “ISNOGOD.”

Brian Magee said the state has allowed plates proclaiming “ILOVGOD” and other religious messages. He said North Dakota’s Department of Transportation should accept his plate application, or recall the religious plates it has already given out.

The agency is considering Mr. Magee’s request. Transportation Department policy bars license plate slogans that have obscenities, racial or ethnic slurs and offensive or sexual references.

PENNSYLVANIA

Sleeping woman left on plane 4 hours

PHILADELPHIA — Airline officials are trying to figure out how a sleeping passenger was left aboard a flight for four hours after it landed in Philadelphia.

According to police and the Transportation Security Administration, the passenger didn’t wake up when her United Express flight from Dulles airport outside Washington landed shortly after midnight Tuesday. At about 4 a.m., a cleaning crew found her.

United Airlines said it is working with a regional partner carrier to determine why the plane wasn’t cleared upon landing.

WYOMING

Group: Attacks on rangers on rise

LARAMIE — An environmental group that advocates on behalf of government employees says anti-government rhetoric may have fueled a surge in attacks and threats against law enforcement rangers in national parks last year.

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said it used the Freedom of Information Act to compile a list of 158 threats and attacks against law enforcement rangers in national parks in 2009.

That’s up from 36 tallied in 2008 and the previous high of 111 in 2004.

The group’s executive director, Jeff Ruch, said he’s concerned that anti-government sentiment is partly to blame. He said the National Park Service should do more to track such incidents.

Park Service spokesman David Barna didn’t return messages seeking comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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