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American Scene: Chick-fil-A at work puts Dallas cop in coop

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TEXAS

DALLAS — The Dallas Police Department has transferred a sergeant who brought a Chick-fil-A sandwich to work last week, an act that reportedly led to an argument with two lesbian officers, a Dallas TV station reported Wednesday.

After the sergeant brought the sandwich to work on Aug. 1, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, comments were exchanged between him and two officers who are lesbians, reported station KTVT Channel 11, a CBS affiliate.

Chick-Fil-A recently came under fire after the company CEO said he backed the traditional understanding of marriage.

While it is unclear who started the argument and police have launched an investigation into the matter, the Dallas Police Association decried the transfer as effectively taking sides before the investigation.

The association said that before the internal investigation concluded, the sergeant was moved to a midnight shift at the Lew Sterret Justice Center, which the association views as punishment. KTVT did not provide any of the officers' names.

A department spokesperson told KTVT that the issue is not whether the sergeant brought the sandwich into the substation, but whether inappropriate comments were exchanged between him and the two female officers. The association, which represents all three of the officers, said they are getting two versions of the story.

GEORGIA

New swine-flu strain sees more than 150 cases

ATLANTA — Don't pet the pigs.

That's the message state and county fair visitors got Thursday from health officials who reported a five-fold increase of cases of a new strain of swine flu that spreads from pigs to people. Most of the cases are linked to the fairs, where visitors are in close contact with infected pigs.

This flu has mild symptoms and it's not really spreading from person to person.

"This is not a pandemic situation," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But any flu can be a risk for some people, and people should be cautious when they can, he added.

The case count jumped from 29 a week ago to 158 this week, thanks to a wave of new cases in Indiana and Ohio, said Dr. Bresee, the agency's chief of influenza epidemiology.

NEVADA

Drought drives badger to occupy store for hour

SPARKS — A badger that wandered into a retail store in northern Nevada dodged a tranquilizer dart and held authorities at bay for about an hour before the teeth-baring critter was lured into a cage with cat food.

No one was hurt in the standoff at the bottled water/convenience store in a residential neighborhood in Sparks, and the badger was returned to the wild north of Reno, Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said Wednesday.

"Apparently the door was open a bit and this badger just walked in," Mr. Healy told the Associated Press. "Obviously it was pretty hungry because when they put the cat food in the trap, it went right in."

Lingering drought often sends bears and coyotes into urban areas and that could have played a role in the badger's adventure, he said.

"They are a lot more common than people realize up here but they are nocturnal -- they operate at night, and usually not in areas like this," Mr. Healy said. "It's the first one I've ever deal with and I've been here 27 years."

ARIZONA

Psychologist: Giffords gunman still in bad mental shape

PHOENIX — A psychological report released Thursday warned that while Jared Lee Loughner was competent to plead guilty in the Tucson mass shooting, he remained severely mentally ill and his mental condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.

The report was prepared in late April by a federal Bureau of Prisons psychologist who testified in court Tuesday before a judge allowed Loughner to plead guilty in the January 2011 mass shooting.

Psychologist Christina Pietz's report said Loughner's improved condition was due to medication.

But because his condition could "wax and wane, I recommend the court expeditiously address issues related to his situation," Ms. Pietz wrote. "Mr. Loughner is currently competent to proceed. However, because of his fragile mental state, there is no guarantee he will remain competent for an extended time."

Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts under a plea agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison. He is to be sentenced in November for the mass shooting that left six people dead and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others wounded.

TEXAS

Africanized bees sting man more than 300 times

PFLUGERVILLE — A 40-year-old warehouse worker has been stung more than 300 times after accidentally disturbing a massive colony of Africanized bees in Central Texas.

Pflugerville police say the man was in stable condition when he was taken to a hospital after the attack Wednesday. Police say three other people were stung, but not seriously, by the aggressive honeybees.

The worker did not know that the bees had built their hive inside a cabinet that he was trying to move. Beekeeper Keith Huddle, who helped to remove the bees, tells the Austin-American Statesman that the colony contained some 125,000 of the insects and 120 pounds of honeycomb.

PENNSYLVANIA

Avid bowler gets ball built for his ashes

TURTLE CREEK — A Pittsburgh-area bowling fanatic has gotten a Utah company to fashion a bowling ball urn for his ashes.

Forty-eight-year-old Tony Guarino tells KDKA-TV that his wife Stacy called Storm Products of Brigham City, Utah, when he began wondering whether the bowling ball company could make such a container.

Company official Mike Stewart says Storm was "honored" by the request and has since delivered the ball.

Mr. Guarino, of Wilkins Township, is an avid bowler whose only perfect, 300 game was bowled using a Storm ball. But he can no longer bowl because his terminal prostate cancer has spread to his lower back and pelvis.

Mrs. Guarino says the ball urn won't be used for bowling -- it will go into her husband's bowling bag along with a ball his father used.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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