- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009

CALIFORNIA

Suspicious powder slows park opening

ANAHEIM | You expect to find a little magic dust at Disneyland, but not this kind.

Ticket booths at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim were temporarily closed Sunday morning after authorities became alarmed over a suspicious powder stuck to the windows of several booths.

The booths reopened after the substance was determined to be fine-grained sand.

Some guests entered the park when it opened at 8 a.m., but the ticket booths were later shut down while police investigated after cleaning crews spotted the powdery substance. The booths reopened at 9:45 a.m.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video.

GEORGIA

City reopens five closed fire stations

ATLANTA | Five Atlanta fire stations reopened Sunday after Saturday’s shutdown blamed on staff shortages caused by budget cuts.

Fire spokesman Capt. Billy May said the stations reopened at 7 a.m. Sunday.

The city’s Fire Department temporarily closed five stations Saturday because 23 firefighters were on furlough and 18 called in sick, leaving the department understaffed.

HAWAII

State a battleground for civil unions

HONOLULU | The state that adopted the nation’s first “defense of marriage” constitutional amendment a decade ago has now become the latest battleground in the fight for same-sex civil unions.

It would become the fifth state to legalize the alternative to gay marriage if the Democrat-dominated Legislature and Republican governor approve a civil union law. The measure was passed by the state House this month but it now faces the Senate, where a divided committee is to vote Tuesday.

Gov. Linda Lingle has declined to comment on the issue and it’s not clear whether she would veto the bill.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Officers join group backing legalization

EPPING | A small but growing number of New Hampshire law enforcement officers have joined a group that supports legalizing drugs.

The group, called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, says it has 11,000 members in 90 countries. There are 132 members in New Hampshire, including 20 who joined in the past three months.

Epping Police Officer Bradley Jardis joined two years ago. He enforces drug laws while on the job, but off duty, he says drugs should be legal and regulated like alcohol. He says it’s wrong to treat alcoholism as a public health problem but drug addiction as a criminal problem.

Epping Police Chief Gregory Dodge says Officer Jardis has a right to belong to the group though he doesn’t agree with it.

OHIO

Governor’s plane windshield cracks

COLUMBUS | A state-owned airplane carrying Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels made an unscheduled landing in Ohio because the aircraft’s windshield cracked during the flight.

Mr. Daniels on Sunday was flying to Washington for the National Governors Association meeting when the pilot diverted the flight to Ohio’s Port Columbus International Airport.

Mr. Daniels joked about the incident on CBS’ “Face the Nation” during an appearance to discuss the money the states will get under the federal stimulus package.

Mr. Daniels appeared on the show via satellite from a Columbus TV studio. He planned to take a commercial flight to Washington.

PENNSYLVANIA

Warden: Jail no place for suspect, 11

PITTSBURGH | A western Pennsylvania jail warden said he’ll ask a judge to move an 11-year-old boy accused of killing his father’s pregnant girlfriend to a juvenile detention center.

Lawrence County Warden Charles Adamo said Sunday that his 300-inmate jail cannot offer proper long-term care for Jordan Brown, of Wampum. The boy has been in the county jail about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh since early Saturday.

Jordan is charged as an adult with using his own 20-gauge shotgun to kill Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, while she lay in bed Friday morning.

Prosecutors are not discussing a motive, but experts on blended families say it’s not unusual for children to feel anger and fury toward a parent’s new mate.

TEXAS

Indicted judge set to go on trial

HOUSTON | U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent will make judicial history when he enters a courtroom Monday, but it won’t be the kind he’ll want to remember.

Judge Kent, 59, will join the handful of federal judges who have taken part in a trial as a defendant, and he will be the first to face trial on a sex crime charge.

The judge is accused of fondling two female court employees as he tried to force himself on the women and have them perform sex acts.

Jury selection in his trial was set to begin Monday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Judge Kent has pleaded not guilty to five charges related to federal sex crimes and to one purporting obstruction of justice, in which he is accused of lying to an investigative committee.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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