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Officials double-check storm death count
MONTGOMERY | Officials in Alabama are counting the number of dead again because they are worried some of the victims might have been counted twice.
The head of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday that getting an accurate count is difficult because some of the bodies are not whole. Currently, officials believe 236 people died in Alabama and 328 people were killed in all. That makes it the deadliest twister outbreak in since the Great Depression.
Emergency management director Art Faulkner says he is not sure when officials might get an accurate count, and they are still searching for possible victims. The largest death toll ever was March 18, 1925, when 747 people were killed in storms in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. In March 1932 in Alabama, 332 people died.
Museum seeks items from raid
“I caught the president’s remarks Sunday night,” said Michael R. Howard, the museum boss and a retired Navy SEAL, “and I had an immediate gut feeling that our SEALs did the operation.”
On Monday morning, Mr. Howard’s suspicions were confirmed.
“Wheels are already turning to see what we can get,” Mr. Howard said. “Hopefully, we’ll get some artifacts quickly. The timing is good because we’ll be moving into our new building soon, which will be a great place to showcase the skills of the nation’s SEAL warriors.”
The museum on North Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce is in the middle of an 8,400-square-foot expansion of the existing 5,000-square-foot facility. Construction on the $800,000 expansion began in March and should be completed by June, Mr. Howard said.
School: No face paint over Osama
DAUPHIN | A Pennsylvania woman took her fifth-grade son out of school for the day after administrators decided his face paint marking the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden was too disruptive for class.
Jennifer Tressler told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg she made the decision Monday after being told Connor had to remove the body art, which depicted a flag, the date of bin Laden’s death and the letters U-S-A.
Central Dauphin School District spokeswoman Shannon Leib said the paint violated the student dress code. Ms. Tressler removed Connor before the Middle Paxton Elementary School principal presented her with the option of having the boy wash his face, Miss Leib said.
An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said the district overreacted. “There’s a difference between discussion and debate, which schools should encourage, and a breakdown of discipline in the classroom,” ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper told the newspaper.
Border station may stay open
MONTPELIER | Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, who last year helped persuade the federal government to close a little-used Vermont border station in Franklin now wants officials to explore options for keeping it open.
The Morses Line Port of Entry, located on the U.S.-Canadian border, was slated for expansion last year by federal officials who planned to seize land from a neighboring dairy farm to make room. The Rainville family, which owns the land, fought the plan and Mr. Leahy took up their cause.
Now, the Vermont Democrat citing overwhelming community support for the station is asking U.S. Customs and Border Protection to consider land swaps by nearby property owners or a smaller renovation that would bring Morses Line up to 21st century security standards without seizing land.
New drugs used in killer’s execution
HUNTSVILLE | A man convicted of raping and strangling a woman in 2001 was executed Tuesday, becoming the state’s first inmate put to death using a new three-drug cocktail.
Cary Kerr, 46, insisted he wasn’t responsible for the crime outside Fort Worth. “I am an innocent man,” he said. “Never trust a court-appointed attorney.”
Judge: U.S. must pay damages in bear attack
SALT LAKE CITY | A federal judge has awarded nearly $2 million to the family of an 11-year-old boy killed by a bear at a campsite in 2007.
The family of Samuel Ives sued the U.S. Forest Service for failing to close the American Fork Canyon campsite in the mountains about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City after the bear attacked another camper.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said the Forest Service had a duty to alert the public the bear was a threat.
Bomb suspect seeks trial delay
SPOKANE | A man charged with planting an unexploded bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Spokane wants a four-month delay in his federal trial for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Defense lawyers said in documents filed Monday that prosecutors intend to present more evidence against defendant Kevin Harpham than the attorneys can process before the current May 31 trial date.
“To date, we have received approximately 3,500 pages of discovery and 13 audio and video CDs,” the documents state.
The material indicates federal prosecutors will be presenting highly technical evidence involving DNA in addition to testimony from computer and explosives experts.
Lawyers for the defendant, who has extensive ties to white supremacist activities, also pointed out he could face life in prison if convicted, so they need ample time to prepare.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said Tuesday that prosecutors do not object to a trial delay.
From wire dispatches and staff reports
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