American Scene: Wave of bomb threats leaves campus on edge

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Boy, 7, admits setting fires, including one at a school

JUNEAU — A 7-year-old Juneau boy has admitted setting five fires over a little more than four months, according to fire officials in Alaska’s capital.

Juneau Fire Marshal Dan Jager tells the Juneau Empire that the boy caused about $1,000 in damage by setting fires in restrooms at Harborview Elementary School and the Terry Miller Legislative Building, plus a downtown grass fire and two fires at a Fred Meyer store.

The boy’s name was not released.

“He won’t be going to jail,” Fire Chief Richard Etheridge said, but the case will be forwarded to probation officers at the Johnson Youth Center.

The boy told fire officials during interviews Wednesday that he set the small fires with a lighter he found. There was no immediate indication of why, Marshal Jager said, but the incidents were dangerous.

“He has no idea how big the fires could have gotten,” Marshal Jager said. “He could have gotten hurt, and other people could have been hurt because some of those buildings were occupied. Being that age, I don’t think he understood the magnitude of what could have happened.”


Seattle council protects public breast-feeding

SEATTLE — It’s already against Washington state law to discriminate against public breast-feeding, but the Seattle City Council on Monday specifically made it illegal for businesses and other entities to ask nursing moms to stop, cover up or move to a different location in public areas.

The council unanimously approved a measure that adds a mother’s right to breast-feed her child to a list of protected civil rights, such as race, color, disability and religion - allowing the city’s office of civil rights to enforce the law and educate the public about the issue.

Mayor Mike McGinn will sign the bill into law, his spokesman Aaron Pickus said Monday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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