- - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ARIZONA

10 found guilty in immigration protest

PHOENIX | A judge has found 10 people guilty of misdemeanor charges stemming from a protest last year over Arizona’s controversial immigration law and an immigration crackdown.

Justice of the Peace David Seyer said in his ruling that the state had proved its case against the defendants and found them guilty of disobeying a police officer.

He scheduled their sentencing for Aug. 23.

Judge Seyer could sentence them to up to four months in jail, a fine of up to $700 and two years of probation.

The defendants’ trials were held June 17 and July 8. The judge still has to decide the fate of six more defendants facing the same charge who went on trial Friday and Monday.

FLORIDA

Anthony won’t have to return to Florida

ORLANDO | Casey Anthony can continue her undercover life for now, after a judge ruled Wednesday she does not have to immediately return to Florida to start serving her probation for check fraud.

A hearing on her probation was set for Friday, Judge Belvin Perry said. Ms. Anthony won’t have to show up for that either.

A different judge ordered Ms. Anthony to report to Florida on Thursday for her probation, but the judge later recused himself and turned the case over to Judge Perry, who presided over Ms. Anthony’s murder trial.

Ms. Anthony has been out of the public eye since she was acquitted last month in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. The jury’s decision angered many people online and elsewhere, and threats were made on Ms. Anthony’s life. She vanished after leaving jail July 17.

Ms. Anthony’s attorneys said local authorities would have to provide security if she was forced to return. To back up that claim, they included a flyer in their arguments that showed a doctored photo of Ms. Anthony with a bullet mark on her forehead. Underneath the photo reads in part: “With a forehead that big, the headshot will be easier.”

Ms. Anthony was convicted of lying to detectives, but released because of time served.

GEORGIA

Classmate charged in law grad’s killing

ATLANTA | A 25-year-old Georgia law school graduate was charged with killing a fellow classmate who was discovered dismembered outside the apartment building where they lived, authorities said Wednesday.

Stephen Mark McDaniel was charged late Tuesday with murder in the death of Lauren Giddings, a 27-year-old from Laurel, Md., who was last seen on the evening of June 25. Five days later, police discovered her torso wrapped in plastic in a garbage bin beside her apartment building.

Mr. McDaniel, who was Giddings next-door neighbor, has been in jail for a month on unrelated charges.

“We are happy that the case is moving forward to some type of closure,” said Giddings’ mother, Karen. “I certainly was hoping that there was somebody that Lauren did not know, but that would mean a killer could be walking the streets.”

MINNESOTA

Methodists probe cleric’s same-sex blessings

MINNEAPOLIS | Leaders of the United Methodist Church in Minnesota are investigating whether a Minneapolis pastor violated church policy when he blessed same-sex unions as part of gay-pride festivities in the Twin Cities.

The Rev. Greg Renstrom of New Harmony Methodist Church admitted bestowing blessings on six same-sex couples on June 25 at events in Minneapolis and Blaine. Mr. Renstrom said none took place on Methodist Church property but he realized he might run afoul of denominational rules.

Mr. Renstrom gave advance warning of his plans to Bishop Sally Dyck of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. On Monday, she announced the complaint, which could take up to 45 days to investigate, after which she will either initiate supervisory action or dismiss the complaint.

A conference spokeswoman said Mr. Renstrom will continue to officiate at New Harmony Methodist Church during the investigation.

MISSISSIPPI

Reputed Klansman dies in prison at 76

JACKSON | James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman who was convicted and imprisoned decades after the segregation-era abduction and killing of two young black men in rural Mississippi, has died, a spokesman with federal Bureau of Prisons said.

Seale died Tuesday in Terre Haute, Ind., where he had been serving three life sentences after being convicted in 2007, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross told the Associated Press. He was 76.

Marvin S. Pitt, an executive assistant at the Terre Haute prison, said Wednesday that Seale was taken to a local hospital about 4 a.m. Tuesday after he was found unresponsive. Mr. Pitt said Seale was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m.

Mr. Pitt said Seale’s family was notified of his death. No cause of death was reported.

Seale was convicted of two counts of kidnapping and one of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the 1964 deaths of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, both 19. The two were kidnapped in the woods of southwestern Mississippi near Natchez.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Pickup impounded from dead girl’s home

STEWARTSTOWN | Investigators probing the death of an 11-year-old northern New Hampshire girl hauled away a silver pickup truck from outside her home Wednesday.

Neighbors said the vehicle is typically driven by the girl’s stepfather. While the pickup was on a flatbed outside the house, technicians could be seen examining its undercarriage.

Investigators said Wednesday that they didn’t expect to make any announcements on the progress of their investigation into the death of Celina Cass, whose body was found Monday in the Connecticut River, almost a week after she disappeared.

New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young wouldn’t comment Wednesday on the investigation.

On Tuesday, Miss Young said an autopsy failed to determine how the girl died. She said further toxicology tests and more investigation were needed, but that the death was considered suspicious.

NEW YORK

New Spider-Man is half-black, half-Hispanic

NEW YORK | Marvel Comics Wednesday unveiled a Spider-Man for our time - a half-black, half-Hispanic nerd named Miles Morales.

The new Spidey, who lives in Brooklyn, was revealed in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Fallout Issue 4. He replaces longtime comic-book favorite Peter Parker, who was white, hailed from Queens and was killed in Ultimate Spider-Man Issue 160 in June.

“Going into this, we knew we wanted to make a statement about the 21st century,” said Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso.

“I’m mixed race. My mom is from England; my dad is from Mexico. When [President] Obama was elected, I cried - partly because he was African-American, but largely because of the fact that he was mixed race,” he said.

Like Peter, Miles is a nerdy, awkward working-class kid from the outer boroughs of New York. But Peter was an orphan raised by his aunt and uncle in a traditionally white section of Queens.

Miles’ parents - his mother is black, his father Hispanic - are still alive, live in more racially diverse Brooklyn and play key roles in his story.

OREGON

Tiny town tops in medical marijuana

WILLIAMS | In Oregon, big city Portland has cafes where medical marijuana users smoke pot while singing karaoke.

But it is in the small rural communities of southwestern Oregon where medical marijuana has really taken root.

The Associated Press analyzed the locations of people registered to grow medical marijuana as patients, caregivers or designated growers based on their ZIP codes and found that Williams in Josephine County has the heaviest concentration.

More than 400 of the town’s 2,000 residents, approximately 20 percent of residents, are authorized by the state to grow up to six plants each.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ruling over town’s immigration law vacated

PHILADELPHIA | A federal appeals court has vacated its ruling that declared a northeastern Pennsylvania city’s illegal-immigration law to be unconstitutional, setting the stage for a new round of arguments.

The move by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday was expected after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered it to take another look at Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act.

The appeals court had blocked Hazleton from enforcing regulations that would deny permits to business that hire illegal immigrants and fine landlords who rent to them, saying they usurped the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration.

The Supreme Court threw out the appeals court ruling in June after the justices upheld a similar employer-sanctions law in Arizona.

Officials in Hazleton have argued that illegal immigrants brought drugs, crime and gangs to the city of about 25,000, overwhelming police, schools and hospitals. The city’s 2006 Illegal Immigration Relief Act inspired similar laws around the country, including the one in Arizona.

WASHINGTON

Report: Gates Foundation gave away $2.5 billion in 2010

SEATTLE | The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave away $2.5 billion in 2010, but its CEO acknowledged in its annual report released Wednesday that the world’s largest charitable group isn’t doing a good job making sure recipients know what they’re expected to do.

Part of the problem is how difficult it is to get useful, honest feedback from the organizations that get the grants, foundation head Jeff Raikes said.

“If we can work more effectively with our grantees, that will increase the impact that we aspire to,” Mr. Raikes, a former Microsoft executive, said in a telephone interview before the report was released.

The Gates Foundation, with assets totaling $37.1 billion, is not alone in the problem, said Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, an organization that helps foundations break out of what he calls the “bubble of positivity.”

Such feedback is important because philanthropic organizations can’t turn to the stock market or sales figures to see how they’re performing, Mr. Buchanan said.

The Gates Foundation got its first report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy more than a year ago and has been working to improve its relationship with its grantees, Mr. Raikes said. The center has done similar surveys for about 200 of the nation’s largest charitable foundations in the past eight years and shown them how they compare with each other.

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