- - Sunday, April 24, 2011

COLORADO

FBI names suspect in failed mall bombing

LITTLETON | The FBI on Sunday released a suspect’s name in an attempted bombing at a Colorado mall, saying they were launching a nationwide search for the man thought to have carried out the botched plan on the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.

The FBI said it is looking for 65-year-old Earl Albert Moore in Wednesday’s attempted attack about 2 miles from the school where 13 people were killed 12 years ago.

Authorities said they discovered a pipe bomb and two propane tanks in a hallway of the food court of the Southwest Plaza Mall. The explosives, which did not detonate, were found after a fire in the hallway was reported, prompting an evacuation of the mall. No one was injured.

Moore has an extensive criminal record and should be considered dangerous, federal officials said. Investigators have exhausted all leads locally and have put out an alert to every FBI office the country, FBI spokesman Dave Joly said.

IDAHO

Trapped miner now presumed dead

BOISE | An Idaho miner trapped underground nine days ago most likely was buried when the collapse occurred and is presumed to be dead, mining company officials said Sunday.

Hecla Mining Co. President Phil Baker said that after days of around-the-clock rescue efforts, officials now fear 53-year-old Larry Marek did not survive the collapse inside the Lucky Friday Mine on April 15.

The announcement follows more than a week of efforts to reach Mr. Marek, who was caught in the cave-in more than a mile underground. By Sunday, officials had determined he could not have survived.

“Based on crew observations of the area where the fall of ground occurred and crewmember experience in similar situations, we believe Larry is deceased,” company spokeswoman Stefany Bales said.

She said the rescue mission is now a recovery operation, and that Mr. Marek’s family had been told of the change late Saturday.

ILLINOIS

Nuclear plant to get new spent-fuel facility

CLINTON | The operator of a nuclear power plant in central Illinois says the site is running out of space to put its spent fuel and will break ground by early next year for an aboveground storage facility.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. runs the Clinton Power Station northeast of Springfield. The company says the new storage site would provide adequate space for spent fuel through its licensed operating life of 2026.

A spokesman at the Clinton station told the State Journal-Register of Springfield that storage capacity at the current rate would be reached by the end of 2016.

Chicago-based Exelon is among the world’s biggest operators of nuclear plants, with 10 power plants and 17 reactors in Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Illinois has six of the power plants and 11 reactors.

LOUISIANA

Report: Transocean contributed to Gulf blast

NEW ORLEANS | Flaws in Transocean Ltd.’s emergency training and equipment and a poor safety culture contributed to the deadly Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion that led to the Gulf oil spill, according to a Coast Guard report released Friday.

The report centered on Transocean’s role in the disaster because it owned the rig and was primarily responsible for ensuring its safety, the Coast Guard said. BP PLC owned the well that blew out.

The Coast Guard report also concluded that decisions made by workers aboard the rig “may have affected the explosions or their impact,” such as failing to follow procedures for notifying other crew members about the emergency after the blast.

The report doesn’t explore the root causes of the well blowout, which triggered the explosions that killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. But the Coast Guard said numerous actions by Transocean and the rig’s crew affected their ability to prevent or limit the disaster.

Electrical equipment that may have ignited the explosion was poorly maintained, while gas alarms and automatic shutdown systems were bypassed so that they did not alert the crew, the report said. And rig workers didn’t receive adequate training on how and when to disconnect the rig from the well to avoid an explosion, it said.

MAINE

Request to replace labor mural nixed

BANGOR | A federal judge has denied a request to order the state of Maine to return a mural to the Department of Labor office from which it was removed last month.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ruled Friday that the mural represents government speech because the state commissioned, approved, paid for and owned it. The judge said government speech may say what it wishes, regardless of viewpoint.

Gov. Paul LePage ordered the removal of the 36-foot-long mural, saying it presented a one-sided view of history.

Critics of his action sued, contending that Mr. LePage violated their First Amendment right of access to the artwork.

Maine Attorney General William Schneider applauded Judge Woodcock’s decision, saying the judge correctly found that elected officials can and should express their views.

NEW JERSEY

Koran-burning employee gets lost job back

NEWARK | The New Jersey Transit employee fired for publicly burning pages of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is getting his job back.

A settlement, a copy of which was obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger, shows Derek Fenton will receive $25,000 for pain and suffering when he resumes his $86,110-a-year job. He’ll also receive back pay equal to $331.20 for every day since his firing on Sept. 13, 2010.

The state will also pay $25,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit claiming Mr. Fenton’s right to free expression was violated.

The 40-year-old was not working when he set fire to three pages of the Koran in September in Lower Manhattan to protest a planned Islamic center near ground zero.

NEW YORK

Parade shows off Easter finery

NEW YORK | Bonnets both elegant and zany took center stage at this year’s Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue - along with spirited talk about Christ’s Resurrection and gay marriage.

It was “a real New York spectacle,” said John Leone, a Long Island electrician who came Sunday with his native Ecuadorean wife and two young daughters - and their over-the-top hats.

Victoria Leone, 7, and her 8-year-old sister, Valentina, wore huge white domes, fashioned from pastel Froot Loops and marshmallow Peeps attached to white plaster that had been shaped around a balloon.

Sitting atop Mike Revenaugh’s thrift-shop straw hat was a miniature Ferris wheel filled with Lego figures, on a lawn of fake grass graced by plastic eggs. In his multicolored striped jacket, the 28-year-old graduate student had no plans to attend a religious service. “It’s a little difficult, with this equipment,” he said.

Gay activists stood in front of the cathedral protesting ecclesiastical opposition to same-sex marriage, while honoring those who had lost their lives because of prejudice.

OKLAHOMA

Anonymous donor buys insurance for kangaroo

BROKEN ARROW | An anonymous donor has purchased a $50,000 insurance policy to help an Oklahoma woman keep her pet kangaroo as a therapy pet.

The Broken Arrow City Council is considering an exotic-animal ordinance exemption that would allow Christie Carr to keep the partially paralyzed red kangaroo named Irwin within city limits.

The council could vote May 3 on a proposal that would allow exotic-animal owners to keep their pets if they obtain a newly created permit. The permit would require them to have a liability insurance policy for any injuries inflicted by the animal, certification that the animal has adequate housing for its health and meet all federal and state guidelines for licensing, among other provisions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports