- - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

IOWA

Medal of Honor winner to end Army career

DES MOINES | Medal of Honor recipient and Iowa native Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta will end his Army career to pursue his education, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Giunta has opted not to re-enlist and will leave the Army in mid-June, said Army spokesman George Wright. He and his wife, Jenny, plan to move to Fort Collins, Colo., where he will attend school.

Mr. Wright said he didn’t know what school Staff Sgt. Giunta will attend, but Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University.

Staff Sgt. Giunta is the first living service member from the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor.

MISSOURI

Judge dismisses atheist’s lawsuit over cross grant

ST. LOUIS | A federal judge in Illinois has tossed out a Chicago-area atheist’s quest to force the return of a state grant given to restoration efforts of a southern Illinois cross landmark.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McCuskey, central Illinois’ chief federal jurist, threw out Rob Sherman’s lawsuit Tuesday.

Judge McCuskey accepted the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate David Bernthal, who late last week refused to reconsider his rejection of Mr. Sherman’s lawsuit over the $20,000 grant to the 11-story tall Bald Knob Cross of Peace.

Magistrate Bernthal ruled that the state’s economic-development agency has discretion in how it doles out its money.

NEW YORK

Group’s video targets Planned Parenthood

NEW YORK | A California-based pro-life group that has been waging a campaign against abortion provider Planned Parenthood released a videotape Tuesday that the group says shows an employee at a New York City clinic giving advice to a man posing as a pimp and seeking health services for underage sex workers.

Planned Parenthood of New York City said the videotape does not accurately portray the agency’s practices and that the incident was reported to law enforcement.

Live Action, based in San Jose, Calif., claims the video demonstrates that a clinic employee was willing to help someone who was sexually exploiting minors by doling out advice on testing for sexually transmitted diseases and abortions. Planned Parenthood disputes that.

RHODE ISLAND

Navy employee charged in kickbacks scheme

PROVIDENCE | A civilian employee of the Navy and the founder of a Georgia-based technology services company with more than $120 million in Navy contracts have been charged in a $10 million kickback and bribery scheme, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The scheme dates back more than 10 years and involves inflated invoices and paid work that was never performed, prosecutors said.

Anjan Dutta-Gupta, 58, of Roswell, Ga., and Ralph Mariano, 52, of Arlington, Va., are charged in a criminal complaint with bribery of a public official. They were released on bond after court appearances Monday.

Mr. Dutta-Gupta is founder and president of Georgia-based Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, or ASFT, which has an office in Middletown. Mr. Mariano is a civilian program manager and senior systems engineer for the Naval Sea Systems Command, which prosecutors say accounts for nearly one-fourth of the Navy’s entire budget.

TEXAS

Laura Bush to announce middle school initiative

DALLAS | The George W. Bush Institute is planning to introduce its second big education initiative Wednesday, a program that seeks to improve graduation rates by focusing on middle schools.

Former first lady Laura Bush, set to announce the initiative, “Middle School Matters,” in Houston at Stovall Middle School in the Aldine school district, said research has shown that middle school — sixth through eighth grade — is a crucial time in determining future success.

The program focuses on 11 elements for success, including school leadership, reading interventions, effective teachers, dropout prevention and school, student, family and community support. The Bush Institute’s research team has come up with specific measures that can be taken in the classroom to improve performance in all of these elements.

VERMONT

Lawmakers rethink move to save Pete the Moose

MONTPELIER | Pete the Moose’s pardon may be short-lived after all, now that state lawmakers are being urged to reconsider it — or he may just have to find a new home.

The 700-pound moose became a cause celebre last year after Vermont wildlife officials said he may have to be euthanized to avoid the spread of disease from a northern Vermont game preserve where he lives.

In an eleventh-hour compromise by the Vermont legislature, Big Rack Ridge owner Doug Nelson was allowed in May to keep the deer, moose and elk on his fenced-in, 700-acre captive hunting facility by a measure that designated a “special purpose herd” and gave him ownership of the animals.

The turnabout came after the moose’s plight inspired a “Save Pete the Moose” website, a Facebook page with thousands of fans, about 10,000 YouTube views and a Statehouse rally.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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