- - Sunday, January 29, 2012

ARIZONA

Candidate barred for English deficit to appeal

YUMA — A city council candidate in Arizona who was barred from running because she doesn’t speak English proficiently is vowing to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Alejandrina Cabrera told the Yuma Sun that she needs to improve her command of English but said her language skills are adequate for serving the border city of San Luis, where Spanish is used as often as English.

Ms. Cabrera said the judge was unjust when he ruled she didn’t satisfy a state law requiring English proficiency for elected officials. Her attorneys say the law doesn’t define proficiency.

The issue came under scrutiny after the mayor asked the court to determine if she had the English skills. An expert testified she didn’t demonstrate proficiency on tests.

Ms. Cabrera says she will keep campaigning during the appeal.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Suspect in slayings expected in court

AIKEN — A 26-year-old man charged with killing a South Carolina officer is expected to appear in court Monday.

Magistrate Judge Tracey Carroll said Sunday that Joshua Tremaine Jones was scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge Monday in Aiken.

Mr. Jones was arrested Saturday after police said he killed his girlfriend in Georgia, then fatally shot a South Carolina officer responding to a report of suspicious activity.

Aiken police Master Cpl. Sandra Rogers died Saturday. She had been with the Aiken public safety department for nearly 28 years.

Police found the body of 21-year-old Cayce Vick in her apartment Saturday after she didn’t show up for work. She had been shot in the head.

Mr. Jones’ father told reporters his son had past run-ins with the law and “was going through some mental problems.”

PENNSYLVANIA

WWII vet gets long-delayed Purple Heart

PITTSBURGH — Nearly 70 years after he earned it, Aaron Narvol has his Purple Heart.

Wounded in the Battle of Okinawa, Mr. Narvol had long deserved the honor but only received it Thursday, on his 93rd birthday.

“I never thought I’d get it,” Mr. Narvol told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of the medal he now refuses to take off. “That there is here to stay.”

Mr. Narvol had tried several times to petition for the medal for the bullet wound he received while trying to save a fellow soldier who had been shot by Japanese snipers, but he failed each time.

Already awarded two bronze stars and a silver star, he told workers at the hospice center where he receives care that he wanted to try again for the Purple Heart.

The hospice contacted Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., who had his staff scour Mr. Narvol’s military records. Mr. Casey’s office believes a postwar name change - from Narvolansky to Narvol - may have complicated earlier attempts to claim the medal.

NEW JERSEY

Synagogue attack suspect is charged with third plot

HACKENSACK — Authorities say a teenager charged in the firebombings of two synagogues plotted a similar attack on a Jewish community center.

Bergen County’s prosecutor says investigators found Molotov cocktails this week in a wooded area near the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. They say they’ve connected the bombs and a bike found in the same area to suspect Anthony Graziano.

Mr. Graziano, 19, was charged this week in firebomb attacks on synagogues in Paramus and Rutherford this month.

He’s now charged with aggravated arson and bias intimidation in connection with the planned attack on the community center.

COLORADO

Denver appeals court upholds military impostor law

DENVER — The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a federal law making it illegal to lie about being a war hero is constitutional and making false statements is not always protected free speech.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the Denver-based court reverses a district judge’s decision that the Stolen Valor Act violates the First Amendment.

Courts in California, Georgia and Missouri have considered similar cases, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court in San Francisco struck down the law on the basis of free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court said in October it would take up the issue of whether the Stolen Valor Act is constitutional.

The Colorado case involves Rick Strandlof, who was arrested after claiming he was wounded in Iraq as a Marine and had received military medals. His lawyers have acknowledged the claims were false.

UTAH

Student charged in school bomb plot

ROY — Authorities on Friday charged an 18-year-old man with possession of a weapon of mass destruction after they say he and another teenager planned to bomb a Utah high school.

Dallin Morgan and a 16-year-old were arrested Wednesday at Roy High School, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, after police were alerted to the plot by a fellow student who received ominous text messages.

“If I tell you one day not to go to school, make damn sure you and … are not there,” the message read, according to court records.

Authorities said the pair had detailed blueprints of the school and had planned to try to steal a plane at a nearby airport after their attack. The students told police they had been learning to fly on a flight simulator program.

Investigators were trying to determine just how close the two suspects were to pulling off an attack they say was inspired by the deadly 1999 Columbine High School shootings.

WASHINGTON

‘Barefoot Bandit’ sentenced to 6 1/2 years

SEATTLE — A federal judge Friday sentenced “Barefoot Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore to 6 1/2 years in prison for his infamous two-year, international crime spree of break-ins and boat and plane thefts that ended in 2010.

Harris-Moore hopscotched his way across the United States, authorities said. He flew a plane stolen in northwestern Washington to the San Juan Islands, stole a pistol in British Columbia and took a plane from Idaho to Washington state, stole a boat in southwestern Washington to go to Oregon, and took a plane in Indiana and flew to the Bahamas, where was arrested.

He earned his nickname because he committed several of the crimes without wearing shoes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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