- - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CARMEL — Officials in Putnam County, N.Y., say they will reject a newspaper’s request to release the names and addresses of residents with pistol permits — a move an open-government advocate calls illegal.

County Clerk Dennis Sant said officials met Wednesday to discuss legal options.

In December, the Journal News published online maps that allow viewers to see the names and addresses of pistol and revolver permit holders in neighboring Westchester and Rockland counties. The newspaper sought the records under the state Freedom of Information Law after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Critics called the publication an invasion of privacy. Some said it could endanger permit holders.


Governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions

STATE COLLEGE — In a bold challenge to the NCAA’s powers, Pennsylvania’s governor claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports’ governing body overstepped its authority and “piled on” when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal.

Gov. Tom Corbett asked a federal judge to throw out the sanctions, which include an unprecedented $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games, arguing that the measures have harmed students and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes.

A small number of top NCAA officials inserted themselves “into an issue they had no authority to police under their own bylaws and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system,” Mr. Corbett said at the news conference.

The case, filed under federal antitrust law, could define just how far the NCAA’s authority extends. Up to now, the federal courts have allowed the organization broad power to protect the integrity of college athletics.

In a statement, the NCAA said the lawsuit has no merit and called it an “affront” to Sandusky’s victims.


School open house held for Sandy Hook students

MONROE — The children who escaped last month’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown have been welcomed with their parents at a school in a neighboring town that was overhauled especially for them.

And their new school is being renamed for their old one.

Newtown Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said Wednesday the change is appropriate because “they are the Sandy Hook family.” She spoke after a private open house for the families at the former Chalk Hill School in Monroe.

It was the students’ first time in a classroom since Dec. 14, when a gunman killed 20 students and six educators after killing his mother. He later took his own life.

Classes resume Thursday. Many police officers were at their new school Wednesday. Monroe Police Lt. Keith White said, “I think right now it has to be the safest school in America.”


Campus given to group to find new owner

BOSTON — The Oklahoma company that tried and failed to give away a former prep school campus in Massachusetts has donated the property to a Christian foundation, which will continue looking for a permanent owner.

The Hobby Lobby craft-store chain, founded and owned by the Green family, on Wednesday announced the donation to the National Christian Foundation, effective Dec. 28.

The announcement came two months after the Greens’ extensive efforts to give away the 217-acre campus in Northfield for free suffered a huge setback when the recipient backed out. The company then turned to the Georgia-based foundation, which has handled donated property from the company previously.

“We had hoped to be able to find a qualified recipient of this property ourselves and made great efforts to do so,” said Les Miller, Hobby Lobby’s real estate analyst.


State trying to make sperm donor pay child support

TOPEKA — A Kansas man who answered an online ad to donate sperm to a lesbian couple is fighting the state’s efforts to force him to pay child support for the girl subsequently conceived through artificial insemination.

Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said Wednesday the agency would not be pursuing payment if the state hadn’t provided more than $6,000 in benefits for the child after the Topeka couple split.

Court records show that the sperm donor, William Marotta, 46, signed an agreement in March 2009 giving up parental rights to the then-couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner. The agreement also absolves Mr. Marotta of financial responsibility. The state contends the agreement isn’t valid.


Jury selection begins in terrorism-finance case

MIAMI — Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of an elderly Muslim cleric and his son on charges they funneled tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban terrorist organization, which has targeted U.S. interests with violence in this country and overseas.

Prospective jurors were handed detailed four-page questionnaires to fill out in the case of Hafiz Khan, 77, and his son, Izhar Khan, 26. The elder Khan was imam at a Miami mosque, and his son held the same post at a mosque in suburban Margate.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support to terrorism. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Charges were dismissed last year against another son, Irfan Khan, against whom prosecutors had far less evidence.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said the trial could last up to nine weeks. He told jurors to pay particular attention to the written questions about their ability to be fair in a terrorism case, which can stoke strong emotions because of U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports