- - Thursday, July 7, 2011

CALIFORNIA

Man arrested in theft of Picasso drawing

SAN FRANCISCO — The case of a stolen Picasso has been cracked, and police say it was a New Jersey man who walked into the gallery in downtown San Francisco, snatched the drawing and fled in a taxi.

Police arrested Mark Lugo, 31, of Hoboken, N.J., on Wednesday at an apartment in Napa, and found the artwork stripped from its frame. The 1965 pencil-on-paper drawing, titled “Tete de Femme,” was purchased at a spring auction in New York. It’s worth about a quarter of a million dollars.

Rowland Weinstein, who owns the Weinstein Gallery, said he planned to upgrade the street-level art gallery’s surveillance system. The drawing was displayed under guard at a news conference at the police station on Thursday.

Mr. Lugo faces burglary, grand theft and drug charges and is being held on $5 million bail. He has been in town since July 4 and was visiting friends, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

COLORADO

Leading American Indian rights lawyer Getches dies

BOULDER — David Getches, a leading American Indian rights lawyer and former dean of the University of Colorado School of Law, has died. He was 68.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports that university officials say Mr. Getches died at his home Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. He had stepped down as dean of the law school at the end of June to rejoin the faculty.

Mr. Getches moved to Colorado in 1970 to become the founding executive director of the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund. He also served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources from 1983 to 1987.

Among American Indian rights cases litigated by Mr. Getches, the 1974 United States v. Washington case is cited by the National Congress of American Indians as the leading case on enforcement of tribal treaty rights. That case involved the fishing rights of Northwest tribes granted under treaties signed in the 1800s.

MONTANA

EPA to test air in homes near river crude-oil spill

BILLINGS — The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it will collect indoor air samples from homes downstream of a Yellowstone River oil spill after residents raised concerns about health risks from the tens of thousands of gallons of crude that poured into the waterway.

About 150 people showed up at an EPA meeting Wednesday night with questions about health risks, the duration of the cleanup and whether the oil will permanently damage their livestock or property.

Health officials say symptoms residents have reported - nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath - are likely to ease as the chemicals in the oil evaporate or break down.

Steve Merritt of the EPA said Thursday that contractors for the agency and for Exxon Mobil Corp. will collect the air samples. The Texas-based company operated the pipeline that spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into the river.

Laboratory results from the air testing are expected to take about a week. Mr. Merritt says Exxon Mobil’s contractors will collect duplicate samples so their results can be verified by government scientists.

UTAH

Elizabeth Smart to work as ABC commentator

SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart is taking a job with ABC News as a commentator focusing on missing persons and child abduction cases.

ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend told the Associated Press that the Utah woman who was kidnapped, raped and held captive at age 14 by a Salt Lake City street preacher can provide viewers with a unique perspective on such cases.

Miss Townsend said the deal with Miss Smart, now 23, has been in the works for some time.

She said Miss Smart could be on the air within the next few weeks.

Smart spokesman Chris Thomas said the Brigham Young University music student wants to use the media position to create awareness about cases involving missing children.

In May, Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life without parole in federal prison for Miss Smart’s 2002 abduction.

WYOMING

Park rangers: No search for bear that mauled hiker

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Yellowstone National Park authorities will not try to capture a female grizzly that killed a backcountry hiker because the bruin was trying to defend her cubs when it was surprised by the man, a spokesman said Thursday.

The mauling of Brian Matayoshi, 57, of Torrence, Calif., was a purely defensive act, park spokesman Al Nash said. He added that Yellowstone typically does not try to capture or remove a bear in what he called “a wildlife incident.”

It was the first fatal grizzly attack inside the park in 25 years, but the third in the area in just over a year.

The attack occurred on Wednesday about 1½ miles up a popular backcountry trail and not far from an area that is one of the park’s top attractions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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