- - Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Would-be robber foiled by bat wielder

BAY MINETTE — Authorities in southern Alabama say a gas station employee used a cricket bat to chase away a would-be robber who brandished a toy gun.

The Baldwin County Sheriff’s office says the suspect entered Bee Gee’s gas station near Bay Minette on Saturday afternoon and tried to use the fake weapon to steal money.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Mike Gaull tells the Press-Register of Mobile that the employee noticed the gun had an orange tip on the barrel and grabbed the cricket bat. The suspect then ran out of the store without any money.

The 22-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery.


Drive into canyon kills driver

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK — Authorities are investigating the death of a man who drove over the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Shannan Marcak says rescue personnel found the vehicle and the body of a male about 600 feet below the South Rim.

The National Park Service is investigating. Ms. Marcak says no additional information was immediately available.

The incident happened about 6 a.m. Monday near the El Tovar Hotel.


Worker killed in shredder

LOS ANGELES — A warehouse worker has died after getting entangled in a cardboard recycling shredder in Los Angeles.

Fire Department spokesman Devin Gales says paramedics found the man’s body still stuck in the machine when they arrived.

The cause of the accident is under investigation and the man’s name has not been released.

The incident occurred in the Lincoln Heights area just after 8 a.m. Monday.


EPA writing rules for mine cleanups

DENVER — The Environmental Protection Agency is developing a rule to guarantee hard-rock mining companies will pay for environmental cleanup at their operations.

The agency said Monday it is working on the details and expects to file a proposed rule by the spring of 2011.

A federal judge in February ordered the EPA to close loopholes that allow companies to get out of paying for costly cleanups by declaring bankruptcy.

The EPA said requirements will ensure hard-rock miners will finance the cleanup but did not release more specifics.

Hard-rock companies mine metals such as copper, gold, iron, lead and uranium as well as nonmetallic, nonfuel materials.


ID process begins in cemetery case

ALSIP — Authorities are beginning the grueling process of trying to identify the people in about 100,000 graves at a suburban Chicago cemetery where four former workers reportedly dug up bodies to resell burial plots.

Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip has been declared a crime scene and closed.

Authorities claim that the former workers dug up at least 300 graves and either dumped the bodies in a vacant lot or double-buried them.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office says it has received more than 7,000 written inquiries about people buried at the cemetery.

The historic black cemetery is also home to the grave of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till. His grave site was not disturbed.


Auction drops Warhol’s Jackson

EAST HAMPTON — A New York art gallery has temporarily removed an Andy Warhol portrait of Michael Jackson from the auction block.

The Vered Gallery in East Hampton says enormous interest prompted the decision. The auction was to close Sunday.

The 30-by-26-inch painting shows a smiling Jackson in a red jacket from his “Thriller” days. Pre-sale estimates ranged anywhere from $1 million to $10 million.

There’s renewed interest in all things Jackson since his death. His albums are back at the top of the charts.

Gallery co-owner Janet Lehr says in a statement she wants to offer the 1984 work to “the greatest number of prospective purchasers.” She did not immediately return inquiries for comment Monday.

The portrait is reportedly owned by a New York collector.


Swim club faces discrimination suit

PHILADELPHIA — A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against a suburban Philadelphia swim club that canceled the pool memberships of dozens of minority children.

The lawsuit claims that the Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley discriminated against the children on the basis of race.

The suit, filed in federal court Friday, demands unspecified damages on behalf of several unnamed children and parents. Two attorneys are seeking class-action status for a group that could number 60 children and 120 parents.

Attorney Brian R. Mildenberg said the swim club has offered to let the children back to the pool, but that he and his clients are moving forward with the suit for now.

The Creative Steps camp had arranged for 65 mostly black and Hispanic children to swim each Monday afternoon at the gated Huntingdon Valley club, which is on a leafy hillside in a village straddling two overwhelmingly white townships.

But after the group arrived June 29, camp director Alethea Wright said, several children reported hearing racial comments and some swim club members pulled their children out of the pool.

The camp’s $1,950 was refunded a few days later.

The president of the swim club’s board of directors, John Duesler, has said the decision was made because there were too many children in the pool and the situation was unsafe, not because of racial concerns.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is investigating.


States want OK to jam phones

COLUMBIA — A Southern prison official says correctional leaders from more than two dozen states have signed a petition asking permission to jam cell-phone signals inside state penitentiaries and thwart inmates’ forbidden phone calls.

South Carolina Corrections Director Jon Ozmint said his petition was filed Monday with the Federal Communications Commission. He said it bears signatures from corrections directors in 25 states and three cities.

Mr. Ozmint says contraband cell phones allow inmates to communicate and plan other crimes. Inmates in several states have been accused of doing just that.

Under current law, however, the FCC can only allow federal agencies not state or local authorities permission to jam cell-phone signals.


Moratorium sought on depleted uranium

SALT LAKE CITY — An environmental group will make its case Tuesday for a moratorium on the disposal of depleted uranium in Utah.

The radioactive waste watchdog group Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah will tell the state’s radiation control board that no more depleted uranium should come into the state until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission finishes studying whether its current rules are adequate.

Meanwhile, EnergySolutions Inc. will tell the board why it believes it can safely dispose of the material at its facility about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Depleted uranium is unique from other low-level radioactive waste because it becomes more radioactive over time. The NRC has said developing new rules for disposing the material could take years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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