- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Marine acquitted in Iraq detainee's death

CAMP PENDLETON | A military jury on Thursday acquitted a Marine sergeant on charges of murdering an unarmed detainee during battle in Fallujah.

The jury also acquitted Sgt. Ryan Weemer of dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death.

The panel of eight Marines who served in Iraq or Afghanistan received the case Wednesday and deliberated more than four hours.

Sgt. Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison and dishonorable discharge if convicted of murder. The maximum sentence for dereliction is six months in prison and a bad conduct discharge.

COLORADO

Challenge planned of professor's return

BOULDER | The University of Colorado plans to challenge reinstatement efforts by a fired professor who later sued the school over his dismissal.

University spokesman Ken McConnellogue told the Daily Camera newspaper Thursday that it would be a “bad idea” to return Ward Churchill, 61, to campus.

The former University of Colorado at Boulder professor was fired on charges of research misconduct. He said he was dismissed in retaliation for writing an essay that compared some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis.

A Denver jury this month agreed that he was fired for the essays but awarded him only $1 in damages. Mr. Churchill has until May 2 to file a motion for reinstatement.

Mr. Churchill's attorney said the school's plans are “offensive.”

ILLINOIS

Veteran who won Medal of Honor dies

GODFREY | An Illinois man awarded the Medal of Honor after killing nine German soldiers and taking two others captive while wounded during a World War II battle has died.

Russell Dunham was 89 when he died of heart failure Monday at his home in the southwestern Illinois community of Godfrey, Gent Funeral Home in Alton said. He moved there just weeks ago from Jerseyville.

Mr. Dunham won the nation's highest military honor for his heroics during a January 1945 battle near Kaysersberg, France. The Army said Mr. Dunham was shot in the back but managed to fire 175 rounds of carbine ammunition and throw 11 grenades while charging a hill.

MICHIGAN

Schools plan closures, layoffs

DETROIT | The state overseer of the Detroit Public Schools has proposed closing 23 schools and laying off 600 teachers to attack a projected $303 million deficit.

Robert Bobb said at a news conference Thursday some of the laid-off teachers could later return.

He said a final decision on the restructuring plan is expected May 8 and another round of potential school closings will be announced this summer.

The district has 192 schools and about 5,700 teachers.

Mr. Bobb said the district also has requested $200 million in federal stimulus funds for safety, security and structural improvements.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Job fair attracts more than 10,000

MANCHESTER | A higher-than-expected turnout at a New Hampshire job fair has forced organizers to turn away throngs of job seekers.

More than 10,000 people showed up Thursday for the event at Southern New Hampshire University's athletic complex in Manchester. The job fair had been heavily promoted on television, but organizers expected just 5,000 participants.

Traffic was backed up for miles and quickly filled the 3,000-car Mall of New Hampshire parking lot, which was being used as a shuttle-bus pickup hub.

Officials said 1,300 people, many of them dressed in business suits, entered the job fair within the first hour.

PENNSYLVANIA

Historic tower has costly leak

PHILADELPHIA | The price of liberty may be eternal vigilance, but a leaky roof in Independence Hall could cost more than $4 million.

National Park Service officials have set aside $4.3 million to fix the building's leaking tower.

Federal and Philadelphia officials met Thursday to discuss options for repairing the tower, which once housed the famous Liberty Bell. No decision was made.

Park officials said options range from minor repairs to complete rehabilitation. The tower sustained damage as the roof leaked, rusting iron bars that run through wood siding. Work would begin in 2011 and Independence Hall would remain open.

The tower was built in 1828. It replaced the original tower, which dated from 1750.

Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

TEXAS

Peanut plant fined $14.6 million

AUSTIN | The Texas plant owned by a peanut company blamed in a national salmonella outbreak that sickened nearly 700 people has been fined $14.6 million.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday it was fining Plainview Peanut Co. LLC over violations that include unsanitary conditions, product contamination, illnesses linked to peanuts from their plant and operating without a food manufacturers' license.

Plant owner Peanut Corp. of America has been blamed for the outbreak, believed to have caused at least nine deaths. The plant was shut down Feb. 9.

The state agency said it sent a notice of violation Wednesday. Peanut Corp. has filed for bankruptcy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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