- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Grocery store chain accused of overcharging

LOS ANGELES | The city attorney’s office filed criminal charges Tuesday against the Ralphs supermarket chain and its parent company, Kroger Co., accusing them of overcharging for some goods in Los Angeles.

The city attorney filed 14 counts of false and misleading advertising along with other charges, including false labeling and unlawful computation of value. Both Ralphs and Cincinnati-based Kroger face fines and penalties of up to $256,000.

“We take allegations of this nature very seriously, and we’ll conduct our own investigation and take corrective actions as necessary,” said Meghan Glynn, a spokeswoman for Ralphs and Kroger.

Undercover inspectors visited 14 Ralphs stores across Los Angeles from January to March and found customers were being gouged for prepackaged and weighed products, including fried chicken and salad, city prosecutors said.


Union gives $50,000 for Vietnam Wall grounds

A labor union is pledging $50,000 for upkeep of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial grounds on the Mall.

The Maryland-based International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers announced the gift Tuesday to help care for about 13 acres for the rest of the year.

Last year, the private foundation that built the memorial took over landscaping and maintenance of the site from the National Park Service. Officials said they were moved to act after reading an Associated Press investigative story on the lack of federal money for the Mall despite the need for repairs.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund spent nearly $100,000 last year to repair a broken irrigation system and overhaul the landscaping. The group also plans to restore a bronze sculpture of three soldiers at the memorial.


Woman, 98, to earn master’s degree

HAYS | A Kansas woman who at age 95 became the world’s oldest person to graduate college is about to top that accomplishment three years later.

Nola Ochs, 98, will receive a master’s degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas on Saturday.

Mrs. Ochs, of Jetmore, set a short-lived record in 2007 when she graduated from Fort Hays with a bachelor’s degree. A 96-year-old man in Taiwan broke the record last year.

The Hays Daily News reports that Mrs. Ochs will reclaim top honors Saturday when she receives a master’s degree in liberal studies with a history concentration.


BP: 2nd box to arrive at spill site

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO | A BP spokesman said a second, smaller oil-containment box known as a “top hat” is being brought to the site of a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Spokesman Bill Salvin on Tuesday told Associated Press the box would be lowered to the seafloor, away from the plume. He said undersea robots will position it over the gusher by Thursday.

The box is on a vessel in the containment zone right now. Mr. Salvin said the box won’t be placed over the well right away so engineers can configure it properly and avoid the same kind of ice-crystal buildup that stymied their first attempt at using a larger box.

More than 4 million gallons of oil have spewed from the well since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20. That total could eclipse the Exxon Valdez disaster by Father’s Day.


Man arraigned in officer’s fatal shooting

DETROIT | Authorities charged a suspect Tuesday in the shooting death of a Detroit police officer and wounding of four others.

Jason Gibson was arraigned in a local hospital bed. He is accused of killing 12-year police veteran Brian Huff and shooting the other officers during a May 3 gun battle at a vacant duplex.

Mr. Gibson, 25, who was shot in the buttocks during the exchange of gunfire, is in serious condition at St. John Hospital.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy filed 18 charges against Mr. Gibson.

He faces three murder charges in Officer Huff’s death: first-degree premeditated murder, murder of a peace officer and felony murder. Each carries a sentence of life without parole upon conviction.


Sorority suspended after wild formal

CINCINNATI | Miami University of Ohio has suspended a sorority for a year after a lodge owner complained about damage and unruly behavior at a spring formal, including guests urinating in sinks, men scrambling over the bar for drinks, and couples caught having sex.

The action against the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women chapter followed a letter of complaint from the lodge owner to the southwestern Ohio school about the April 9 event at Lake Lyndsay Lodge.

Pi Beta Phi’s national leadership said it has placed the Miami University chapter on probation “in order to change the culture of the chapter and to ensure it models Pi Beta Phi and Miami University values.”

The suspension means the sorority loses its campus dorm suite, can’t recruit new members and can’t participate as a group in campus activities, Miami spokeswoman Claire Wagner said.


Police: Man attacked women with chain saw

GRANTS PASS | A Medford man used a running chain saw to attack a vehicle with a former girlfriend and two other women inside, one of whom said it was “like a chain-saw massacre.”

The three women were going out Saturday night to celebrate a birthday but first stopped by the home of David W. Stockton, 37, in Medford, after he invited one of them — the former girlfriend — to stop over, police said.

Kristina Hood, 36, of Gold Hill, went inside and came out a short time later talking with a woman who had been inside, apparently another friend of Mr. Stockton’s, said Detective Sgt. Mike Boudreau.

Before Miss Hood could get in behind the driver of the 2010 Toyota RAV4 parked in Mr. Stockton’s driveway, Mr. Stockton got angry and told them to leave, police said. He fired up his Poulan chain saw and ran the 18-inch blade along the passenger side of the small sport utility vehicle, denting and scraping it, then poked the blade through the passenger side front seat window, Sgt. Boudreau said.

Mr. Stockton was still attacking the vehicle with the saw when the women drove off. They stopped a few blocks away to call 911, Sgt. Boudreau said.


Police: Sergeant lied about being shot

PHILADELPHIA | A white city police sergeant made up a story about being shot by a black man while on patrol last month and actually intentionally shot himself for unknown reasons, the city’s police commissioner said Tuesday.

Sgt. Robert Ralston, 46, confessed to making up the story and will have to pay the costs of the massive manhunt that followed, Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said. Sgt. Ralston has been suspended with intent to dismiss but will not face criminal charges because granting immunity was the only way to obtain his confession, Commissioner Ramsey said at a news conference.

The case was especially troubling, Commissioner Ramsey said, because Sgt. Ralston identified his supposed attacker as black. When Sgt. Ralston confessed Tuesday, he said he made the claim so his story would be more believable, Commissioner Ramsey said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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