- - Thursday, August 26, 2010


Man ‘shocked’ by video arrest

HARTFORD — A Connecticut man arrested on allegations he coached his 8-year-old neighbor to swear and posted a video of it on YouTube says he is shocked the child’s family turned him in to police.

Bridgeport resident Josh Eastman, 34, said Thursday he didn’t encourage the boy to spew profanity and recorded the clip because the boy developed a reputation in the neighborhood for swearing.

Police said Mr. Eastman was charged with impairing the morals of a child after the boy’s mother alerted authorities of a clip titled “Swearing Kid.” Mr. Eastman posted $2,500 bail and is scheduled in court Sept. 8.

Mr. Eastman said his relatives and the boy’s were friendly and he would have removed the video if they had asked.

A police spokesman said the video has been removed.


Residents face fire evacuation

CASCADE — Idaho officials have ordered immediate evacuations of some subdivisions near a golf and ski resort as strong winds fan the flames of a wildfire.

The Valley County sheriff’s office issued a Level 3 evacuation notice Thursday morning for about 100 homes south of the Tamarack Resort. Level 3 means residents are being told to leave their homes.

Authorities are also telling residents with expensive homes closer to the resort to be ready to clear out on a moment’s notice.

So far, the Hurd Creek fire has burned about 550 acres since it was ignited by lightning Saturday. About 700 firefighters are working to contain the blaze.


Lawsuit: Death traumatized boy

ORLANDO — A New Hampshire couple who witnessed a whale kill a trainer at SeaWorld is suing the Orlando theme park, saying their 10-year-old son suffered emotional distress from what he saw.

Suzanne and Todd Connell’s lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks unspecified damages and came a day after the federal job safety agency fined SeaWorld Orlando $75,000 for three violations uncovered during an investigation into Dawn Brancheau’s death.

The killer whale named Tilikium in February grabbed Brancheau’s long hair as she reclined on a cement slab and dragged her into the pool. The cause of death was drowning and traumatic injuries.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs wrote in an e-mail that he couldn’t comment on a pending lawsuit.

“We are in the process of a thorough review of our killer whale program right now and will make any changes that we feel will improve the safety of our staff and guests,” Mr. Jacobs wrote.

The lawsuit from the Connell family describes the scene as workers tried to rescue Brancheau from Tilikum’s mouth.

“There seemed to be no plan as to what to do to save Dawn,” the lawsuit said. “The SeaWorld employees were acting in an unorganized and chaotic manner.”


Coroner IDs body as teen

GREAT BEND — The state attorney general said a severely charred body found on the site of a paving company in central Kansas is that of a 14-year-old girl missing since the weekend.

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said Alicia DeBolt’s body was so severely burned that the coroner had to rely on dental records for identification.

Mr. Six said Thursday that the killing in Great Bend did not appear to be an act of random violence.

Miss DeBolt’s mother told authorities she last saw her daughter around 11 p.m. Saturday when she left for a party with a 19-year-old male friend. She had a midnight curfew.

The family reported Miss DeBolt missing Sunday afternoon, and her body was found behind gravel piles on Tuesday.


Champion ham fetches $1.6 million

LOUISVILLE — Start baking those biscuits and stirring that red-eye gravy. Two donors have pledged a record $1.6 million for Kentucky’s grand champion country ham.

That works out to about $100,000 a pound for 16 pounds of Kentucky’s favorite cured meat.

The auction is the highlight of the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast at the state fair in Louisville.

This year’s winning ham was produced by Broadbent B&B Foods of Kuttawa in western Kentucky.

Bernard Trager, chairman of Republic Bank and Trust, and Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates, owner of Dr. Bizer’s Vision World, contributed $800,000 each Thursday for the ham.

The money and the meat will go to local charities.

The previous record of $1.3 million was set last year.


War planes star in museum redo

NEW ORLEANS — Bombers and torpedo planes will be the stars of the latest expansion of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Construction of the $35 million addition will be formally announced Friday. One of Boeing’s most famous World War II aircraft, the B-17G Flying Fortress heavy bomber, will be a centerpiece of the new exhibit.

The new exhibit will be financed by a $20 million grant through the Department of Defense and $15 million given by the Boeing Co.

The museum was founded in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum and later was designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum. It is privately operated as a nonprofit museum.


Court to get immigration question

OMAHA — A federal judge says the Nebraska Supreme Court should answer a legal question about whether a Nebraska city’s ban on hiring and renting to illegal immigrants is allowed by state law.

U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled late Wednesday on briefs from parties in lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF. Those lawsuits challenging Fremont’s ban have since been combined.

Judge Smith Camp had asked for the briefs last month, saying she wasn’t sure whether the lawsuit should be heard in federal or state court.

Lawyers have until Sept. 1 to craft the language of the question that Judge Smith Camp will present to the Nebraska Supreme Court.


Agency OKs deal on 2 WTC towers

NEW YORK — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey formally approved a deal Thursday with the developer of the World Trade Center site over how to help pay for two towers.

Port Authority chairman Anthony Coscia called the agreement “a major milestone” in the redevelopment of the site.

Stakeholders will share the financial risk in such a way as to protect limited public resources, said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, which owns the site.

Developer Larry Silverstein hailed the agreement as “fantastic news.”

The vote sealed a deal the two sides had tentatively agreed on in March.

It calls for the Port Authority to put up $1 billion to help finance a 64-story building already under construction. The money would only be used if the building doesn’t repay its debt.

The agency also has agreed to provide $600 million backup financing for a 71-story tower, if Mr. Silverstein finds tenants and raises $300 million in cash.

“Downtown has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting mixed-use neighborhoods, offering an unparalleled blend of high-tech office space, retail, residential living and cultural attractions,” Mr. Silverstein said in a statement. “This agreement will ensure that we continue this momentum with a new generation of cutting-edge, green skyscrapers becoming available starting in 2013.”

Plans for a third Silverstein tower are on hold until market conditions improve.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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