- - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

KENTUCKY

Playing kids set off gas grenade

LOUISVILLE — A tear-gas grenade exploded in a boy’s hand while three children played with it in a southeastern Kentucky home, creating a powdery cloud that sent 20 people to hospitals, authorities said Tuesday.

Injuries included burning eyes, cuts and chemical irritation to the skin, said David McGill, emergency management coordinator in Harlan County. The gas grenade went off Monday evening in a home in the town of Lynch.

The three children were in an upstairs bedroom in their grandmother’s home when they found the Vietnam-era grenade, slightly larger than a baseball, on a shelf, said Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.

When one child pulled the pin, the grenade exploded in his hand, he said. Shrapnel flew and a yellow powdery cloud engulfed the room.

The boy holding the grenade suffered cuts to his hand and face, he said.

His sister was struck above an eye by a grenade spring, he said. The girl was overcome by the chemical, fell and hit her head on a table. She was taken to a hospital where she was in stable condition, he said.

The other child was covered with the powder.

TENNESSEE

Dollywood officials offer refund to lesbian couple

KNOXVILLE — Dollywood officials have offered a refund to a lesbian couple after an employee asked one of the women to turn her T-shirt reading “marriage is so gay” inside-out to avoid offending others during a recent visit to the Tennessee theme park complex.

Park officials were going to meet with the couple in person, but the meeting was called off when Jennifer Tipton and Olivier Odom wanted to bring a representative from Campaign for Southern Equality, a gay-rights organization.

Dollywood park spokesman Pete Owens told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the park didn’t want to meet with the representative, who wasn’t at the park at the time of the incident, so they sent the couple a letter and gave them a refund.

The couple complained after a park worker at Splash Country last month asked Ms. Odom to reverse her shirt to avoid offending other visitors.

Mr. Owens provided the couple with a statement from Dolly Parton, who said she was sorry for any hurt or embarrassment they felt over the incident.

TEXAS

Possible Columbia shuttle part found in lake

NACOGDOCHES — Authorities say a piece of the space shuttle Columbia may have been found in a drought-stricken lake.

The shuttle broke apart and burned in February 2003, killing seven people and scattering shuttle pieces across East Texas.

Nacogdoches police on Monday announced that an item described as about 4 feet in diameter and “full of mud” was recovered from a lake that had seen its water levels drop because of the drought.

Sgt. Greg Sowell says the lower water level has exposed a larger than normal area on the north side of Lake Nacogdoches. He says a large, round object became visible and it’s very possible that the item was part of Columbia.

Police have notified NASA and provided photos. Any shuttle pieces are government property.

WASHINGTON

Indian tribe OKs same-sex marriage

BREMERTON — An American Indian tribe in Washington state has adopted a law recognizing gay marriage.

The Suquamish Tribal Council voted Monday to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples on its reservation near Seattle, at the request of a lesbian tribal member.

The Kitsap Sun reported the new law allows the tribal court to issue a marriage license to two unmarried people, regardless of their sex, if they’re at least 18 years old and at least one of them is enrolled in the tribe

At least one other tribe - the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast - recognizes same-sex marriage. The Coquille was thought to be the first tribe to adopt a law recognizing gay marriages when it did so in 2008. Most tribal law doesn’t address the issue.

The Suquamish Tribe has about 1,000 enrolled members. Its reservation is off the shores of the Puget Sound.

From wire dispatches and staff reports