- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006

Two plead guilty to dynamite theft

WEATHERFORD, Texas — Two men accused of stealing 103 sticks of dynamite from a rock quarry have pleaded guilty to federal charges and face up to 10 years in prison.

Bryan Newsom, 22, and James Hardin, 18, pleaded guilty Friday to stealing explosives in interstate commerce.

Newsom, Hardin and a third man, Brett Garrett, were accused of taking the explosives Jan. 22 from a locked storage facility at the quarry. A box of blasting caps also was taken.

Newsom remained in custody and Hardin was freed until their sentencing July 14. Investigators say Garrett, 19, confessed during questioning. He is scheduled to go on trial April 10.

Student dies playing ‘choking game’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A student at West Virginia University apparently hanged himself by accident in his dorm room while doing an activity known as the “choking game,” a university spokeswoman said Friday.

A staff member at Dadisman residence hall found the body of 21-year-old Jonathan David Hansen hanging from a cord in his room at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, spokeswoman Becky Lofstead said.

The staff member went to the room after Mr. Hansen’s parents contacted officials at the dorm because they had not heard from him for a couple of days, Miss Lofstead said.

The object of the “choking game” is to deprive the brain of oxygen so one can feel a brief rush when the blood flow returns. The game was responsible for more than 50 deaths last year and eight this year, according to the Stop the Choking Game Web site. It can also cause brain damage, strokes, seizures and retinal damage.

NASA office searched for child pornography

The headquarters office of a senior NASA manager was searched and computer equipment was seized in a child pornography investigation, according to court documents and an online report.

The NASA inspector general’s office served a search warrant Wednesday on the agency headquarters office of James R. Robinson, in-space propulsion technology program executive.

A copy of the search warrant on the Smoking Gun Web site said a filter on NASA’s computer system that searches for flesh-colored tones alerted technicians, who found 189 images of underage child sexual activity on Mr. Robinson’s work computer.

The search warrant also said Mr. Robinson’s computer had been used to send movies of child pornography to an undercover postal inspector.

Teen charges to change clocks

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An industrious teenager is hoping time is money.

Eighteen-year-old Evan Kelso is offering to change every digital clock in a customer’s home or car after all of Indiana goes to daylight-saving time this weekend for the first time in more than 30 years. His fee: $10.

Evan, a senior at Bishop Luers High School, said he came up with the idea as Indiana lawmakers sniped about time zones and daylight-saving time. He said he and his father are always trying to think up new ways to make a little extra cash.

“I just kind of sat there and thought, ‘We got to capitalize on this,’” Evan said.

His offer includes changing the time on microwaves, ovens, answering machines, cars, computers, watches and VCRs. For an extra $1, he’ll also install new batteries.

Judge upholds sexy billboard law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge agrees: Sexy signs have no place near the highway.

The case came before the court when John Haltom, who owns 10 stores that sell lingerie, sex toys and adult videos in six states, filed a lawsuit last year against the attorney general’s office.

He took issue with a law that prohibits most signs for sexually oriented businesses from being posted within a mile of the highway. Any business that devotes more than 10 percent of its display space to sexually oriented merchandise faced the restrictions.

Mr. Haltom said the billboard law is too broad and curtails his right to commercial speech.

But U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner, who has upheld the law in past challenges, disagreed.

He also said that the law bans advertising for a store’s sexually oriented business, not the store itself. A store could still post billboards advertising its non-adult items, if it chose.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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