- - Thursday, April 19, 2012

MONTANA

BILLINGS — The U.S. attorney’s office in Montana has filed federal drug and weapons charges against one of the notorious “mountain men,” a father-and-son duo convicted of kidnapping a world-class athlete in 1984, killing a would-be rescuer and eluding authorities for months.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday says Dan Nichols and two other men were involved in a statewide marijuana distribution ring that netted nearly $1.8 million. Federal marshals are searching for Mr. Nichols.

Authorities issued a warrant for Mr. Nichols’ arrest last month for failing to appear on state drug charges filed last summer.

His father, Don Nichols, convicted of killing a man who tried to rescue former U.S. biathlon star Kari Swenson, remains in prison for the crimes. He has a parole hearing this month.

GEORGIA

HPV causes 26,000 cancers a year, CDC reports

ATLANTA — An estimated 26,000 cancers are caused each year by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Most of the 18,000 new diseases occurred among women in the form of cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina. However, 2,900 cases of anal cancer and 1,500 cases of neck and head cancers, all caused by HPV, were also diagnosed in women, the agency said.

Men had fewer HPV-caused cancers, but in addition to 400 cases of penile cancer and 1,600 cases of anal cancer, men had 5,900 cases of HPV-caused head and neck cancers, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Cervical screenings, HPV vaccinations, condom use and limiting the number of sex partners are recommended ways to prevent HPV-caused cancers, the CDC said.

CALIFORNIA

Science teacher fired for being in porn video

OXNARD — A Southern California science teacher has been fired for performing in a pornographic video.

Oxnard School District trustees voted in closed session Wednesday night to fire Stacie Halas, who taught seventh- and eighth-graders at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School.

She had been on paid administrative leave since her appearance on the video surfaced last month. No students are in the video.

The video, available on adult sex websites, apparently was produced before she became an Oxnard teacher in 2009.

Superintendent Jeff Chancer tells the Ventura County Star that her return to class would be disruptive.

Ms. Halas has 30 days to appeal the decision by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge.

Ms. Halas could not be reached, and the teachers union declined to comment.

OKLAHOMA

Hearing scheduled for man charged in ‘Cathouse’ death

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma judge says prosecutors can seek the death penalty against a former Marine charged with killing four people, including a prostitute featured on HBO’s “Cathouse” series.

District Judge Glenn Jones rejected a request Thursday from David “Hooligan” Tyner to prevent prosecutors from seeking the death penalty when his case goes to trial next month.

Mr. Tyner is charged in the death of Brooke Phillips, who worked at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada. Phillips and three other people were found in a burning home in Oklahoma City. All four had been shot.

Mr. Tyner faces six murder counts because Phillips and another victim were pregnant.

Mr. Tyner has pleaded not guilty. A witness testified at a preliminary hearing that the killings happened because of “a big, stupid situation over money.”

ALABAMA

State bans beer brand because of dirty label name

BIRMINGHAM — You can buy Fat Bastard wine in Alabama, but you will have to go elsewhere for Dirty Bastard beer.

The state alcoholic beverage control agency said Thursday that it has banned Dirty Bastard beer because of profanity on its label. But the maker, Michigan-based Founders Brewing Co., can appeal the decision to the agency’s board.

The state allows the sale of Fat Bastard wine. But board attorney Bob Martin says the brand was approved years ago, and he doesn’t know the circumstances.

Alabama gained notice a few years ago for banning a wine brand that featured a nude nymph on its label. Its decision on the beer is opposed by Free the Hops, a group that advocates for new beer brands in Alabama.

GEORGIA

2011 was the worst for measles in 15 years

ATLANTA — Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, health officials said Thursday.

There were 222 cases of measles, a large jump from the 60 or so seen in a typical year. Most of the cases last year were imported - either by foreign visitors or by U.S. residents who picked up the virus overseas.

U.S. children have been getting vaccinated against the measles for about 50 years. But low vaccination rates in Europe and other places resulted in large outbreaks overseas last year.

So far this year, 27 U.S. cases have been reported and it’s too early to gauge whether 2012 will be as bad as last year. But with large international events such as the London Olympics coming up, health officials are urging everyone - particularly international travelers - to make sure they are fully vaccinated.

MICHIGAN

‘Baby’s momma’ phone call helps police nab suspect

BAY CITY — Thanks to a ringing cellphone with an incoming call from “Baby’s momma,” police in Michigan say they were able to track down a suspected robber.

Investigators in Bay City said a cellphone was found on the ground at a convenience store following a break-in in September. When it rang, officers glanced at the odd caller ID and answered the phone.

The female caller said the phone belonged to Kyle Schmiege but recently had been stolen. During their investigation, police linked Mr. Schmiege to a February 2011 home burglary.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree home invasion. MLive.com reported Wednesday that Schmiege, 20, was sentenced to between 23 months and 15 years in prison, with credit for about four months served.

TEXAS

Sheriff: 3 shot to death at rural ranch cockfight

LA BLANCA — Masked gunmen opened fire at an illegal cockfight in rural South Texas, leaving three people dead and eight wounded, a sheriff says.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino says the gunmen are being sought after the shooting at a ranch near La Blanca early Thursday.

Sheriff Trevino told KRGV-TV that spectators ran into the brush when shots rang out. He says the site had concession stands and bleachers.

Sheriff’s dispatcher Gloria Felix says a concerned person called for help at about 12:15 a.m. and that investigators are trying to determine what prompted the shootings.

Ms. Felix had no details on conditions of the wounded nor how many people were at the cockfight.

La Blanca is about 15 miles northeast of McAllen, close to the border with Mexico.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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