- - Sunday, February 27, 2011

CALIFORNIA

County renews gay marriage fight

SAN FRANCISCO | Imperial County has renewed its effort to defend the state’s gay marriage ban in a federal lawsuit.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 thus far have taken the lead in defending the voter-approved law in court, after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to do so.

But the sponsors’ right to keep defending the law recently came under question, threatening the viability of the case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

If successful, the move by Imperial County could salvage the appeal, allowing county officials to step in as the primary defendants if the sponsors are removed. Imperial County officials claim they should be allowed to intervene as defendants, saying they are directly affected by the law because they would be forced to perform gay marriages.

FLORIDA

Photos confirm shuttle damage nil

CAPE CANAVERAL | The astronauts aboard the orbiting shuttle-station complex said Sunday that gearing up for their first spacewalk and accomplishing other chores kept them too busy to pay attention to the Academy Awards back on Earth.

When asked by a TV interviewer, the International Space Station’s skipper said he wasn’t even aware of the celebrity event.

More pressing news was delivered: Mission Control told the six shuttle crewmen that Discovery made it through its final liftoff relatively unscathed, and that no further inspections would be needed before undocking next weekend.

NASA officials had said they did not suspect any damage from a section of insulating foam that broke from the fuel tank and struck Discovery’s belly. At least four pieces of debris came off the tank during Thursday’s launch, though none posed a safety concern.

More than 300 digital photographs snapped from the International Space Station during Discovery’s close approach Saturday confirmed the shuttle’s thermal armor to be free of any serious deformities.

GEORGIA

Scout cookie sales end at founder home

SAVANNAH | Girl Scouts are no longer able to sell their famous cookies outside the historic Savannah home of the woman who founded the organization almost a century ago.

A complaint last year ended the longtime practice of selling the cookies outside the home of Juliette Gordon Low. Peddling on a public sidewalk violates a city ordinance.

The city’s zoning administrator, Randolph Scott, said he investigated the matter and tried to find a solution. A survey shows there is no private space between the house and the sidewalk. A private courtyard on the side of the house blocks an exit.

Local Girl Scout official Jan McKinney said the ban has been an important business lesson for the girls, which is the purpose of the cookie fundraiser.

OHIO

Condo removes Virgin Mary statue

HILLIARD | A woman said her condominium association told her to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary from outside her condo or face a possible $50 fine.

The property manager said Friday that the suburban Columbus condo community has a rule against yard decorations and that other owners also were put on notice about violations.

Lilla Kozlowski got a warning letter two weeks ago about the 3-foot-high statue she’s had since 2000. She told WCMH-TV that neighbors in Hilliard have never complained.

Chris Bortz, the attorney for property manager Towne Properties, said the condo board felt it was time to “clean things up” in the complex. But he said the board is considering whether to make an exception to its no-decorations rule for Miss Kozlowski’s statue.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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