- - Thursday, May 17, 2012


TIMPSON — A moderate earthquake rattled an area in east Texas near the Louisiana border.

National Earthquake Information Center geophysicist Amy Vaughan says the quake happened at 3:12 a.m. Thursday and had a magnitude of 4.3. It was centered near Timpson.

Shelby County sheriff’s dispatcher Jacob Allen says the only injury reported they had received was of an elderly woman who fell out of her bed and cut her arm. Mr. Allen says the quake caused broken windows and fallen dishes, but no major damage has been reported.

Ms. Vaughan says the quake was felt within 75 miles of its epicenter. She also said the same area was the site of a 3.9 magnitude quake on May 10.


Injured man survives in woods after crash

SAN JOSE — Police in Northern California say they have found an injured man who survived without food or water for a week in a wooded area that authorities had previously searched after his car had rolled over.

San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said Thursday that detectives found the man unconscious Tuesday in a dense thicket of brush and trees below the on- and off-ramps along Highway 101 in south San Jose.

Twenty-five-year-old Michael Sanchez of San Jose is in critical condition at a hospital. He was reported missing after failing to show up for a funeral on May 10.

Mr. Sanchez was last seen on May 8, the same day that investigators say his car was towed after a single-vehicle rollover. Authorities had searched for Mr. Sanchez but couldn’t find him.


NYPD planning changes to stop-and-frisk policy

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department is making changes to officer training and supervision amid an outcry over its stop-and-frisk policy.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn detailing the changes. Ms. Quinn has been a vocal critic of the policy. Last year, more than 600,000 people were stopped, mostly black and Hispanic men.

Commissioner Kelly says the department has reiterated its policy that prohibits racial profiling. A new course details how to conduct a lawful stop. He says more than 1,500 officers are receiving the training, and more will follow.

Ms. Quinn received the letter Thursday, a day after a federal judge gave class-action status to a lawsuit by people who had been stopped. The judge said the department’s attitude was “deeply troubling.”


White-powder case pricey to investigate

DALLAS — Federal authorities say they hope to solve the worst white-powder mailing case in U.S. history because the letters are tying up first responders and costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Amanda McMurrey of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says authorities think the same person has sent nearly 400 letters containing non-toxic powder to locations across the country and abroad from Texas over the past four years.

She says officials have found similarities in the letters and the way they were mailed, but the suspect has proved elusive in part because no fingerprints have been discovered.

Ms. McMurrey says while no one has been harmed, each incident diverts fire department personnel and resources.

Investigators say two suspicious letters reported Thursday aren’t connected to the case.


Phosphorous possible culprit in burning-rocks incident

SAN CLEMENTE — Southern California authorities say phosphorous may have coated beach rocks that caused a woman’s shorts to catch fire, leaving her with severe burns.

Denise Fennessey of the Orange County environmental health division says Thursday that field tests indicated that the substance coating two rocks was phosphorous, but they’ll be sent to a state lab for verification. She also says the flammable chemical could have ignited when exposed to air.

Authorities say the 43-year-old woman’s cargo pants caught fire on Saturday and that she was hospitalized with third-degree burns to her leg. She remains hospitalized Thursday.

The woman’s children had picked up the rocks on San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, which is near the Camp Pendleton Marine base. A spokesman says the base is working with authorities to determine whether any military material might have contaminated the area.


‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse to be visible out west

LOS ANGELES — Millions of people in the western United States and some parts of Asia will get to witness the sun transform into a ring of fire.

The event is an annular solar eclipse. It occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking everything but a bright ring of light.

Early risers in parts of China, Taiwan and Japan may catch a glimpse, weather permitting, around dawn on Monday.

The eclipse will be visible Sunday afternoon over parts of Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Much of the rest of the country will see a partial solar eclipse, but the East Coast will miss out. Some three dozen national parks in the eclipse path are planning special events.

This type of solar eclipse has not been visible in the U.S. since 1994.


135-year sentence in cookout shooting

INDIANAPOLIS — A man convicted of murder in a shooting at an Indianapolis birthday cookout has been sentenced to 135 years in prison.

A Marion County judge ordered the sentence against Damion Martin on Wednesday.

Authorities said two men opened fire at the August 2010 gathering on the city’s near west side, probably in retaliation for a killing a year earlier. The 37-year-old woman hosting the party and a 54-year-old man were killed. Six others were injured.

A jury convicted Martin on two murder counts and other charges.

Another man was acquitted of charges in the attack, and jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on murder charges against a third man.

Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Brienne Delaney told the Indianapolis Star that the office intends to retry Antwan Williams in the case.


Reno air races get OK to continue

RENO — The Reno Air Racing Association has cleared a major hurdle in its bid to continue holding national championship air races this fall.

The future of the 48-year-old competition has been in question since a place crashed at the event in September, killing 11 people and injuring more than 70.

Some insurance questions remain, but the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board of Trustees voted Thursday to renew the necessary permit for at least another year as long as organizers follow all federal safety rules.

That includes any new recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board when it completes its investigation of the fatal crash.

The Reno air races feature planes flying wingtip-to-wingtip around an aerial track, sometimes just 50 feet off the ground at speeds above 500 mph.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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