- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Kennedy items removed from display

LOS ANGELES | The Los Angeles Police Department apologized Wednesday to the family of Robert F. Kennedy for exhibiting the tie, white shirt and black jacket the senator was wearing when he was assassinated in 1968.

After a complaint from the family, the LAPD removed the items from a display at a homicide investigators conference in Las Vegas.

“This is supposed to be a learning experience,” Police Chief Charlie Beck told the Associated Press. “It wasn’t intended to cause anyone grief or to be prurient or salacious in any way.”



Kennedy was shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Chief Beck said it was the first time the clothing had been on display.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, has viewed the clothing many times and said it contains spots that are likely blood.

GEORGIA

Records: Lobbyist charged with killing husband

A 45-year-old woman, charged with ending a domestic dispute by killing her 26-year-old husband of five days, is a registered lobbyist for a group fighting domestic violence, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Arelisha Bridges was ordered held without bond in the Fulton County Jail. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing later this month on charges of felony murder, murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Officials said Mrs. Bridges claimed she was unemployed, but records show she is a lobbyist for an organization called the National Declaration for Domestic Violence Order; its Web site says the group is pushing legislation to create a database of those convicted of sex crimes or domestic abuse, the newspaper reported.

MICHIGAN

One of GM’s top officials to retire

DETROIT | Bob Lutz, the longtime auto industry executive who led a nearly complete overhaul of General Motors’ lineup, will retire May 1.

Mr. Lutz, 78, confirmed his retirement in an e-mail to the Associated Press on Wednesday.

“My work is done here,” Mr. Lutz wrote from a restaurant in Geneva at the Geneva Motor Show. “The whole organization, top to bottom, now has absolute product superiority as the highest objective which enables all others. So, I can retire in peace.”

Mr. Lutz, GM’s vice chairman and a former U.S. Marine aviator who once crashed his personal helicopter at a Michigan airport, has been responsible for overhauling design at the automaker. He has called the Chevrolet Volt, the gas-electric sedan that can go up to 40 miles on battery power alone, his proudest achievement.

Mr. Lutz also is credited with leading crosstown rival Chrysler Group LLC to great success in the 1990s.

“Nobody had better call this ‘early retirement’!” Mr. Lutz told AP.

MISSISSIPPI

AFA founder resigns as chairman

JACKSON | The Rev. Don Wildmon has resigned as chairman of the American Family Association, which he founded and helped build into a Christian political movement.

AFA said Wednesday that Mr. Wildmon’s resignation follows months of hospitalization, including treatment for encephalitis and cancer of his left eye.

Mr. Wildmon, 72, said his son Tim is expected to lead the ministry.

NEW YORK

Audio: Child directed planes

NEW YORK | A child apparently directed pilots last month from the air-traffic control center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest airports, according to audio clips. The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it was investigating.

“Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic,” the FAA said. “This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees.”

Recordings from mid-February, during a weeklong winter break for many New York schoolchildren, were posted last month on a Web site for air-traffic-control-listening aficionados.

The child can be heard on the tape making five transmissions to pilots preparing for takeoff.

The FAA said the control tower is a highly secure area for air-traffic controllers, supervisory staff and airport employees with a need to be there. FAA spokesman Jim Peters said children of the tower’s employees are allowed to visit but would need to get approval from the FAA first.

The union representing air-traffic controllers condemned the workers’ behavior.

UTAH

Coast Guard helicopter crashes

SALT LAKE CITY | A Coast Guard helicopter crashed Wednesday morning in remote Utah mountains after providing security at the Winter Olympics, and three people were airlifted to local hospitals, officials said.

One person was in critical condition,, and two others were in serious condition, said Sgt. Jeremy Hales of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office. Two others sustained minor injuries and were being brought out with the help of snowmobiles, he said.

The HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was one of two traveling through the area en route to home base in Elizabeth City, N.C., after performing security duty at the Vancouver Games, said Dan Dewell, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s 11th District in Alameda, Calif.

The helicopters made a refueling stop in Salt Lake City, one of several required for the long trip, and were headed to Leadville, Colo., when the crash occurred. The co-pilot used a cell phone to call the other helicopter, Mr. Dewell said.

WASHINGTON

Starbucks lets customers carry guns

SEATTLE | The coffee chain Starbucks Corp. is sticking to its policy of letting customers carry guns where it’s legal and said it does not want to be put in the middle of a larger gun-control debate.

The company’s statement, issued Wednesday, stems from a recent campaign by some gun owners, who have walked into Starbucks and other businesses to test state laws that allow gun owners to carry weapons openly in public places. Gun-control advocates have protested.

The fight began heating up in January in Northern California and has spread to other states and other companies, bolstered by the pro-gun group OpenCarry.org.

Some of the events were spontaneous, with just one or two gun owners walking into a store. Others were organized parades of dozens of gun owners walking into restaurants with their firearms proudly at their sides.

Now, gun-control advocates are protesting the policy. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has launched a petition drive demanding that the company “offer espresso shots, not gunshots” and declare its coffeehouses “gun-free zones.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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