- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2008


Stolen Jesus statue returned to church

DETROIT | A Detroit woman has found Jesus … in an alley.

The pastor of the Church of the Messiah in the city said its stolen 8-foot Jesus statue was recovered from bushes in an alley about two blocks away.

Patricia Bowers said she notified the church late Wednesday that she had seen the statue the previous day after she had gotten off a bus.

Miss Bowers said she didn’t realize the green-hued, plaster statue had been stolen until seeing news reports Tuesday night.

The Rev. Barry Randolph said the only damage to the statue is a broken hand. The cross it was attached to suffered major damage.


Two climbers scale New York Times building

NEW YORK | A French skyscraper climber nicknamed “Spiderman” scaled the New York Times’ 52-story tower Thursday, unfurling a banner calling attention to global warming before police arrested him at the top.

Alain Robert, 45, climbed the slats covering the Midtown Manhattan building’s facade to hang the banner, which read, “Global warming kills more people than a 9/11 every week.” Charges against Mr. Robert were pending, police said.

Hours later, a second man ascended the building ” a stunt that drew the attention of thousands of onlookers, along with TV cameras that captured the drama in real time. The man, identified later by police as 32-year-old Renaldo Clarke of Brooklyn, was also taken into custody as he reached the top.

“Only in New York. This is why I live in New York,” said 29-year-old Emily Perschetz, who watched the second climber for about 20 minutes.


Charges dropped against Jeffs

KINGMAN | An Arizona judge dropped four of eight charges against Warren Jeffs, even as authorities in Texas looked into whether the polygamist sect leader had relationships with four girls at the West Texas ranch raided in April.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn dismissed the charges at the request of the defense, finding that a state incest law does not apply to the arranged marriages of two teenage girls and their older male relatives.

Judge Conn ruled the law only applies if both participants in the sexual activity are older than 18, and that the law does not apply to half cousins.

In both of the marriages Jeffs is accused of arranging - the girls were under 18 and were their husbands’ half cousins. He was charged with incest as an accomplice.


Teacher threatens student, family

JONESBORO | A high school science teacher has resigned after he threatened to rip out a student’s eyeballs and kill a student’s family, police said.

Travis Heckstall, 34, was arrested after an incident inside his Mount Zion High School classroom. Mr. Heckstall, who police said also threw a chair during the incident, resigned a week and a half later, on the last day of school.

Clayton County police said Mr. Heckstall said he was threatened, and made the statements, which lasted several minutes and included obscenities, to try to maintain control of his classroom.

He is charged with disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats.


Air Force: Moisture caused B-2 crash

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE | The first crash of a B-2 stealth bomber was caused by moisture in sensors, the Air Force said.

The military said Thursday that the moisture created bad readings on the February flight. The flight control computer forced the aircraft to pitch up on takeoff.

The aircraft then stalled and crashed at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. It was on its way to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where the fleet is based.

Both pilots ejected. One suffered a spinal compression fracture.

The Air Force grounded the B-2 fleet but resumed flying the planes in late April.


Governor declares statewide drought

SACRAMENTO | Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a statewide drought after two years of below-average rainfall, low snowmelt runoff and a court-ordered restriction on water transfers.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, warned Wednesday that residents and water managers immediately must cut their water use or face the possibility of rationing next year if there is another dry winter.

He signed an executive order directing the state’s response to unusually dry conditions that are damaging crops, harming water quality and causing extreme fire danger across California. Many communities already require water conservation or rationing.

The statewide drought declaration is the first since 1991, when Gov. Pete Wilson acted in the fifth year of a drought that lasted into 1992.


Man gets 6 months for stadium hoax

NEWARK | A former Wisconsin grocery clerk must serve six months in federal prison for making bogus Internet postings warning of terrorist attacks against NFL stadiums, a judge ruled Thursday.

Federal Judge Jose Linares said Jake Brahm, 22, conducted a “sick” hoax. The judge also ordered Brahm to repay $26,750 incurred in extra security costs at two of the stadiums.

Brahm, of Wauwatosa, Wis., pleaded guilty in February, admitting that he posted false information that so-called dirty bombs would be detonated at seven stadiums having games on Oct. 22, 2006.

Brahm had said the stadiums were in Miami; Atlanta; Seattle; Houston; Oakland, Calif.; Cleveland; and New York City. He admitted that the reference to New York City was intended to indicate Giants Stadium, in East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Jets played the Detroit Lions that day.


Court upholds judge’s removal

ALBANY | New York’s top court has upheld the removal of a Niagara Falls city court judge who jailed 46 people after no one would own up to a cell phone that rang in court.

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded in a November decision that Judge Robert Restaino “snapped” during the March 2005 session. It voted 9-1 for his removal.

The judge was hearing domestic violence cases when the phone rang. He released everyone later that day.

He said he was wrong and under personal stress at the time. He said his record was otherwise unblemished and there would be no similar incidents.

The New York State Court of Appeals on Thursday unanimously upheld his removal. It calls punishing innocent people “inexcusable.”


Steroids dealer found dead

PLANO | A convicted steroids dealer who recently met with NFL security officials and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him was found fatally shot in his home Thursday, police said.

Early Thursday morning, Plano police made a welfare check and found David Jacobs, 35, and Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell, 30, dead. Police said both had been shot.

Police spokesman Rick McDonald said the officers were making a welfare check after relatives of Miss Earhart-Savell expressed concern about her whereabouts.

Plano detectives aren’t releasing any details, Mr. McDonald said.

Jacobs was sentenced to three years probation and fined $25,000 on May 1 after pleading guilty last year in federal court in Dallas to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.


Miner killed by underground vehicle

CHARLESTON | Investigators are trying to determine how a West Virginia coal miner was killed by the locomotive he was driving underground.

Jama Jarrett, a spokesman for the state’s mining agency, said Gary A. Hoffman either fell or jumped from the locomotive Thursday in a mine operated by Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy Inc.

Federal mining spokesman Matthew Faraci said investigators are also looking into whether the locomotive derailed on a grade. The vehicles are used to carry people and equipment around the mine.

Union official Phil Smith said the Robinson Run mine has a good safety record. Mr. Hoffman is the fourth miner killed in the state this year, and the second in a week.


Officials propose topless-fan ban

WAUSAU | Wisconsin fans of high school sports may soon get this message: Show your team spirit, but don’t expose anything else.

The sportsmanship committee of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has recommended banning fans with bare or painted chests from indoor games. The proposal will take effect if a committee of state athletic directors OKs it next week and the association’s Board of Control approves it June 19.

High school students can’t bare their chests in class, so there’s no reason for them to do it at indoor sporting events, Tom Shafranski, assistant director of the association, said Thursday.

Mike Blackburn, associate executive director of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in Indianapolis, said Wisconsin’s proposed ban could be the first in the country.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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