Judge blocks road to save fish
RENO — A federal judge has set aside an agreement between the federal government and county officials over rebuilding a road that conservation groups say threatens a habitat for bull trout, reopening a debate that raged for eight years.
At issue is the legality of the Forest Service giving Elko County a right of way to rebuild South Canyon Road in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which has been at the center of a dispute since a flood washed it out in 1995.
Grand jury indicts serial-killing suspect
BATON ROUGE — Derrick Todd Lee, suspected in the killings of six Louisiana women, was indicted on one murder charge yesterday.
East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors said they will seek three more indictments against Mr. Lee, who was charged in the killing of Charlotte Murray Pace, 22.
Assistant District Attorney John Sinquefield said prosecutors will seek the death penalty. The grand jury issued the indictment the day prosecutors presented their case.
University to close its museum
FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas hopes to save about $340,000 by closing its 130-year-old museum, which holds 7 million specimens and artifacts.
Museum Director Johnnie Gentry and state Sen. Sue Madison said they will fight to keep the museum open. It’s scheduled to close Oct. 31. The museum’s eight employees would be laid off.
Firefighters make progress on blaze
TUCSON — Firefighters in Arizona said yesterday they were gaining the upper hand in their nine-day battle against a giant wildfire that has destroyed at least 250 homes.
“Things are going pretty good at the moment. We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Art Morrison of the U.S. Forest Service in Tucson, adding that the fire was now 25 percent contained, compared with 15 percent a day earlier.
The so-called Aspen Fire has destroyed at least 250 homes and log cabins on a mountainside north and east of Tucson. It had consumed 26,750 acres of forestland by early yesterday.
Runway dedicated at Denver International
DENVER — Officials have dedicated a sixth runway at Denver International Airport, completing the original construction plan eight years after the airport opened.
At 16,000 feet, it is the longest runway in North America and 4,000 feet longer than the other five strips at DIA. Officials hope airlines will use it for nonstop, fully loaded flights from Asia.
Parrot theme park to reopen Saturday
MIAMI — The renamed Parrot Jungle Island, a theme park famous for bicycle-riding parrots, will reopen Saturday.
After 67 years in a neighborhood in southeast Miami-Dade County, the park will move to Watson Island, near downtown.
Park officials hope the new $47 million location, complete with ballroom and banquet facilities, will more than triple annual attendance.
Drug courts found among most successful
COEUR D’ALENE — Idaho’s two original drug courts are among the most successful in the nation, a University of Cincinnati study has determined.
Of 105 drug courts surveyed, only five were rated as successful, including those in Idaho’s Kootenai and Ada counties.
Drug courts offer first-time offenders reduced convictions in exchange for counseling and drug testing.
Officer who sang about crime jailed
CHICAGO — A sheriff’s officer caught on tape zealously singing about stealing ammunition from the department’s firing range was sentenced to the maximum 16 months in prison.
William Jarding, 45, convicted of conspiracy to possess stolen ammunition, was ordered to report to federal prison Sept. 4.
“I can remember the zeal in his voice, the absolute joy he took in committing a crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Netols told U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly at sentencing Tuesday. Jarding was convicted last October.
On the tape, secretly recorded by the FBI in November 1998, Jarding, a Cook County shooting-range instructor at the time, is heard singing a duet with decorated Chicago police Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, whom the FBI was investigating. Miedzianowski, 48, was investigating drug gangs at the time. He was later convicted of running a Miami-to-Chicago cocaine pipeline and sentenced to life in prison.
Tycoon to apologize for causing traffic jam
BANGOR — Billionaire and supermarket magnate Charles Butt plans to run ads in four Maine newspapers apologizing for a 10-hour traffic jam that stranded thousands of motorists when contractors hauled a 50-year-old apple tree to his estate.
Traffic was snarled along U.S. 1A and Route 3 leading to and from Mount Desert Island, which is home to Acadia National Park.
Second image spotted at hospital
MILTON — Two weeks after people began flocking to Milton Hospital to look at an image in a window they say looks like the Virgin Mary, some are seeing another image on the building’s chimney.
Some see a cross. Others say it’s a second image of the Madonna.
“It’s another sign … there is hope for all of us, with all that is going on in the world,” Soraya Rentas told the Boston Globe.
Believers say the image can be seen in the bright red brick, surrounded by soot, about 5 feet from the top of the chimney. The chimney is about 30 yards from the third-floor window where the Madonna was first spotted in condensation caused by a broken seal.
Tens of thousands of people have swarmed to the hospital in recent weeks, prompting hospital officials to request that people visit only between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
State trooper shot in arm
BENTON HARBOR — A Michigan State Police trooper patrolling the city as a response to last week’s rioting was shot in the arm early yesterday, but authorities don’t think the shooting is related to the rioting.
A suspect was also shot in an exchange of gunfire and was arrested, police said. Both men were treated at a hospital for injuries described as non-life-threatening, state police Lt. Mike Risko said. Charges were pending against the suspect.
He said officers were on patrol in the city because of the riots, but said, “I’m pretty sure [the shooting] has nothing to do with the incident” last week. The shooting took place several blocks from the scene of the riots.
Law restricts display of medications
JEFFERSON CITY — Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell has signed into law a bill restricting the retail display and sale of over-the-counter medications that can be used to make the illegal stimulant methamphetamine.
The legislation requires stores to keep medicines with pseudoephedrine as the sole active ingredient behind a counter or within 10 feet of a cashier, or to tag packages with electronic theft devices.
Court allows charges in sex-offense calls
TRENTON — A man who called a 10-year-old girl and persuaded her to touch herself sexually can be charged with sexual assault, even though he never met the girl, a state appellate court has ruled.
The ruling issued Tuesday rejected an appeal by James Maxwell, 52, of North Haledon, who received a 12-year state prison term after he pleaded guilty in April 2001 to aggravated sexual assault and multiple counts of child endangerment. He admitted making obscene phone calls to several young girls between the fall of 1998 and June 1999.
Maxwell never met any of the children, who ranged in age from 8 to 14 and also lived in North Haledon. He found them after reading stories about them in weekly newspapers and was charged under a law that includes a sex act that takes place “upon the actor’s instruction.”
Schools take junk food out of vending machines
NEW YORK — School officials are taking the candy away from New York City’s children.
Starting in September, candy, soda and sweet snacks will be banned from vending machines in the New York education system, the largest in the United States, officials announced at a City Council hearing Tuesday.
In addition, sugar, fat and salt will be trimmed from the 800,000 lunches served daily in schools, the officials said.
The new standards were drawn up in response to an obesity epidemic in city schools, but districts across the United States have been reviewing meals and reducing junk food, even though the machines are an important source of revenue for cash-strapped schools.
Mom faces charges in breast-feeding case
RAVENNA — A husband thinks he should be prosecuted for his wife’s failure to stop driving while she breast-fed their baby on the Ohio Turnpike.
Catherine Nicole Donkers, 29, of suburban Pittsburgh, is to go on trial Aug. 6 on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment, failure to comply with the order of a police officer and several other driving infractions.
Her husband, Brad L. Barnhill, said he wants to be tried instead, citing religious beliefs.
“I’m responsible for what she does, and no one can punish her except me,” said Mr. Barnhill, 46, a minister in the First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty, an organization founded by Christopher Hansen of Henderson, Nev., in the late 1990s.
“That’s a fantasy,” prosecutor Victor V. Vigluicci said Tuesday. “I’ve never heard such a thing.”
Prosecutors dispute convict’s sentence
BELLEFONTE — Prosecutors want a judge to add 24 hours to a drug convict’s sentence.
The extra day would mean that Terry Dale Owen, 37, of State College, would have to serve his time in a state prison rather than in a county lockup.
Owen was sentenced to spend between three years and four years and 364 days in Centre County Prison after his April conviction for manufacturing and possessing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sentencing guidelines call for a three- to five-year prison term, but under Pennsylvania law anyone receiving a five-year sentence must serve it in a state correctional facility.
Prosecutor Karen Kuebler said that Judge David Grine erred when he gave Owen a shorter sentence than called for by guidelines.
Owen, who has Crohn’s disease, said he was growing and using the marijuana for medicinal purposes. He is free on bail while he appeals his conviction.
Report shows police stop more nonwhites
PROVIDENCE — A draft summary of a state report on racial profiling found police are stopping and searching nonwhites in disproportionate numbers.
The summary reports the findings from two years of studies of traffic stops made by police statewide.
The data do not show whether the disparities are justified, but identifies jurisdictions where the differences are not caused by error or by chance.
Localities to share antiterrorism grants
AUSTIN — More than 700 localities in Texas will share $84.2 million to combat terrorism, Gov. Rick Perry has announced.
The money will help communities buy decontamination equipment, hazardous-material suits and other equipment. The grants are funded by Texas’ share of federal homeland-security funding.
The local governments receiving grants represent more than 90 percent of Texas’ population, Mr. Perry said.
Judge says family may bid for Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge cleared the way yesterday for the former owners of the Salt Lake Tribune to make an offer to buy back the newspaper.
But Dean Singleton, the chief executive of MediaNews Group, the corporation that owns the newspaper now, said he’s in no rush to sell it, and he doubts the Tribune’s former owners have the money to buy it.
U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart ordered MediaNews to hear an offer from a group headed by Phil McCarthey, whose family once managed and shared ownership of Utah’s largest newspaper.
Mr. Singleton said he believes the paper is worth $355.5 million. The family disputes that appraisal.
MediaNews bought the paper for $200 million in January 2001 from AT&T Corp, which was the latest in a series of corporate owners.
Escaped convict dies in shootout
SEATTLE — An inmate who escaped using a fake gun made out of cardboard earlier this week got hold of a real gun and died late Tuesday after being shot five times by police, officials said yesterday.
Harold McCord, 36, died after being taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds, several in the chest, a police spokesman said.
Police at the apartment complex where the shootout occurred said McCord, who vowed he would never go back to prison, had threatened to shoot them when they found him.
McCord had been on the run since fleeing a Pierce County courthouse in Tacoma, about 30 miles south of Seattle, Monday, by pulling out a fake handgun and pointing it at the head of a policeman.
One of the eight officers who found McCord was also injured, but was in stable condition with gunshot wounds to the hand and arm.
Lost rings turn up after 50 years
OCONOMOWOC — Tom Snyder lost his high school and college class rings. Today, more than 50 years later, he has both of them back.
His high school ring was found by Jean Neumann, who now lives in a house the Snyder family once called home. Miss Neumann was cleaning some cabinets when the ring, with the initials “TS,” came tumbling down.
Lori Foy, who also lives in a house once occupied by the Snyder family, was moving dirt in her back yard when she found Mr. Snyder’s class ring from the University of Notre Dame.
She cleaned the ring and saw the initials “TS” and “1951” inscribed. She knew Mr. Snyder and his connection to her home, so she didn’t have a hard time figuring out who the ring belonged to. She and a friend gave Mr. Snyder a call.
He has taken both rings to a jeweler to be resized.
From wire dispatches and staff reports.