- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Bicyclist shot at peace vigil

SALINAS | Police are looking for the person who shot a bicyclist as several dozen people held a peace vigil nearby over the weekend.

About 50 people had gathered in Closter Park in east Salinas on Saturday night to remember those killed by gang violence. As attendees sang songs and shared food, they said shots were fired nearby.

Sgt. Mark Lazzarini said a relative took the 21-year-old victim to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The man told police that the gunman had opened fire from a car.

No one at the vigil was injured.

Salinas has seen a record 29 homicides so far this year. Authorities said all of them are thought to be gang-related.


Probe: Balloon boy parents acted alone

FORT COLLINS | Sheriff’s officials said Richard and Mayumi Heene acted alone when they fabricated a story about their son floating off in a runaway balloon to gain publicity.

Days after the 50-mile balloon chase captivated a global audience in October, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said investigators were examining the possibility of conspirators, which may have included media outlets.

On Monday, two days before the two aspiring reality TV stars were to be sentenced on charges stemming from the stunt, sheriff’s spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said the possibility of co-conspirators was not substantiated.


Officials: Beware holiday toy imports

MIAMI | U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are warning holiday shoppers to stay away from imported toys that might be dangerous for kids or violate copyright laws.

Items intercepted this year so far include black toy guns that could be easily confused for real firearms, yellow toy ducks with lead paint and bright green, frog-shaped lighters without safety mechanisms.

At a news conference in Miami on Monday, customs officials said authorities last year seized more than 1,000 shipments of products that violated either intellectual property rights laws or consumer product safety standards.

Officials said the majority of the seized cargo came from China.


Mother calls police over video games

BOSTON | A frustrated Boston woman called 911 to say she couldn’t get her 14-year-old son to stop playing video games and go to sleep, police said.

Police spokesman Officer Joe Zanoli said Monday the mother called for help about 2:30 a.m. Saturday to say that the teenager also walked around the house and turned on all the lights.

Two officers who responded to the house persuaded the child to obey his mother.

Officer Zanoli said the mother’s 911 call over video game obsession “was a little unusual, but by no means is it surprising - especially in today’s day and age when these kids play video games and computer games.”


3 sentenced in cashier’s slaying

NORTH HAVERHILL | Three friends who played a part in the killing of a developmentally disabled Wal-Mart cashier in New Hampshire are going to prison.

Timothy Smith, Anthony Howe and Amber Talbot pleaded guilty earlier this year conspiracy and second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Gray, 25, of Groton, Vt. Prosecutors said Mr. Gray was killed for taking a romantic interest in Talbot. She was the girlfriend of defendant Michael Robie, who is awaiting sentencing on conspiracy and assault charges.

On Monday, Smith and Howe were sentenced to 40 years to life in prison and Talbot was sentenced to 25 to 50 years.


Plan to develop waterfront OK’d

NEW YORK | A plan to revitalize a bleak stretch of land along Manhattan’s West Side waterfront was approved Monday by the New York City Council, but the project remains without financing and it will likely be many years before any buildings go up.

The City Council approved a rezoning plan for half of the 26-acre rail yards known as Hudson Yards for apartments, hotel space, parks and other development, which is the last step of public approval for the entire project.

The other half was rezoned in 2005, but the developer and the transit agency owner have yet to close on a lease and construction has not begun.


Father: ‘Rain Man’ inspiration dies

SALT LAKE CITY | The man who inspired the title character in the Oscar-winning movie “Rain Man” has died.

Kim Peek was 58. His father, Fran, said Mr. Peek had a major heart attack Saturday morning and was pronounced dead at a hospital in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.

Kim Peek was a savant with a remarkable memory and inspired writer Barry Morrow when he wrote “Rain Man,” the 1988 movie that won four Academy Awards.

Fran Peek said that his son met Mr. Morrow at a convention in the early 1980s and that the writer was taken with Kim Peek’s knack for retaining everything he heard. Mr. Morrow wrote the script, and the movie went on to win Oscars for best film and best actor for Dustin Hoffman.

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