Monday, May 30, 2005


Judge strikes rules for race-based hiring

MONTGOMERY — A federal judge suspended a race-based hiring and promotion rule that state agencies have been required to follow for 35 years.

A 1970 court ruling said Alabama could not hire or promote a white person from a list of certified applicants if a higher-ranking black was on the list and available. Judge Myron Thompson said the no-bypass rule is no longer appropriate because of changed circumstances in state hiring and promotions.


Pot plants found in tulip garden

BOULDER — A police officer weeded out a pile of marijuana growing alongside some tulips on the Pearl Street Mall.

Officer Mike Pease said he uprooted the pot so nobody could get to it.

“It will be placed into property and evidence and labeled for destruction,” Officer Pease said. “We don’t know who the owner is, so no charges will be brought against anybody.”


Two teens charged in thrill killing

ORLANDO — Two teenagers arrested in the beating to death of a homeless man last week told police that they killed the man because they were bored.

A gang of teens found the 52-year-old man, whose identity was being withheld until relatives could be notified, in a wooded area and beat him in a three-attack series, the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday.

The man died Wednesday of blunt force trauma to the head and body, officials said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Christopher Scamahorn, 14, and Jeffery Spurgeon, 18, were arrested Sunday on charges of first-degree murder. The 18-year-old said they attacked the victim because there was nothing else to do.


School officials cancel sex survey

BLOOMINGTON — Monroe County school administrators canceled plans to survey students about their sexual behavior after parents complained that the questions were too explicit.

The district’s health programs coordinator said the survey will be revised. Officials said they planned the survey last year after parents expressed concern that some middle school students were sexually active.


Bad grades mean no tuition from dad

DES MOINES —The Iowa Court of Appeals says Mark Moore doesn’t have to pay $4,000 a year for his son’s college expenses because of his son’s poor grades.

The court said it took into account the son’s poor performance when considering Mr. Moore’s child-support obligation. It determined that “no good cause exists to justify a postsecondary education subsidy.”


Ex-policeman claims anti-Arab bias

CANTON TOWNSHIP — A former police officer who is a Muslim and of Arab descent says in a lawsuit that he was fired because of his ethnic background and religion.

Hussein Hojeije, 33, also says he was harassed by other officers who routinely made fun of Arab-Americans and Muslims. Officials say Mr. Hojeije was fired because of unsatisfactory performance in a field training program.


Shooting accident kills 4-year-old

TOWER — A 4-year-old boy was fatally wounded when he wandered behind a paper target while family and friends were practicing shooting, authorities said.

Evan Davis Klassen of Chisago City was shot at about 1:45 p.m. Sunday at Lake Vermilion, where a group of about a dozen people had gathered for the Memorial Day weekend.

“They thought they had the kids under control,” said Sgt. James McKenzie of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department.

A 40-year-old man fired a handgun about 30 feet through the target and into the boy, Sgt. McKenzie said.

The sergeant called the shooting “a pretty straightforward accident” and said no charges were likely to be filed. The man’s name and details of his relationship with the boy were not released.


Fired school worker accused in attack

KANSAS CITY — A man recently fired from his job at an elementary school is accused of shooting a state highway patrol trooper nine times after a traffic stop.

Tommy R. Rollins Jr., 26, of Grandview, was charged with assault on a law-enforcement officer and armed criminal action and was being held without bail.

Trooper Brandon Brashear, 27, of Grain Valley, remained hospitalized yesterday in critical but stable condition.

Authorities said Trooper Brashear was shot early Saturday as the trooper got out of his car. He was then chased into the highway median, as the assailant continued to shoot with a 9 mm assault rifle, police said.

Mr. Rollins told reporters Sunday that the shooting “was just temporary insanity”

“The society’s what caused me to do what I did. Just look at the society we live in,” he said.


Police consider surveillance cameras

NEW YORK — Police are considering plans to place hundreds of video cameras throughout the city to help fight crime and combat terrorism, the New York Police Department said yesterday.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly wants to place about 400 surveillance cameras on high-crime and high-traffic streets to record action to be reviewed if a crime occurs in the area, the New York Post reported.


Director resigns amid rare coin scandal

COLUMBUS — The director of Ohio’s workers’ compensation bureau resigned under pressure over the disappearance of at least $10 million worth of rare coins that the agency had bought as an investment.

Gov. Bob Taft announced the departure of James Conrad, saying Friday: “I am outraged, I am angered, I am saddened, and I am sickened.”

The announcement came a day after it was learned that $10 million to $12 million of the state’s $55 million rare coin investment was thought to be missing — more than the previous estimate of $400,000.

State officials said they plan to sue the man hired to manage the coin investments, coin dealer Tom Noe, and seek criminal charges.


Mom hired stripper for son’s birthday

NASHVILLE — A mother faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party.

Anette Pharris, 34, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and involving a minor in obscene acts. The boy’s father, the stripper and two others also face charges.

“I tried to do something special for my son,” Mrs. Pharris said. “It didn’t harm him.”

About 10 people younger than 18 were at the birthday party in September, authorities said.

The mother took photos at the party and tried to have them developed at a nearby drugstore. Drugstore employees notified authorities, police said.

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