- - Monday, October 11, 2010


Politics and Prose co-owner dies

Carla Cohen, co-owner of a bookstore that became a city institution and a key stop for writers ranging from Bill Clinton to J.K. Rowling, has died.

Miss Cohen died Monday of cancer of the bile ducts, the Politics and Prose bookstore announced on its website. She was 74 and died at her home in Washington.

A former city planner and congressional aide, Miss Cohen founded the store in 1984 and had run it with co-owner Barbara Meade.

During an era when superstore chains, the Internet and the economy led to the closing of thousands of independent stores, Politics and Prose expanded from a crowded storefront with less than 2,000 square feet to a two-story haven with more than 10,000 square feet, including a downstairs cafe.

In the past quarter century, Politics and Prose has become a key stop for political and literary figures promoting books, from Mr. Clinton and Jimmy Carter to Mrs. Rowling and John Updike. Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are among those expected to stop there this fall.


Microsoft to debut phone software

NEW YORK | Microsoft Corp., after years of declining sales of phones based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile software, is introducing new handsets that will go up against Apple Inc.’s highly popular iPhone and the expanding number of phones running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

The first phone with Windows Phone 7 will be the Samsung Focus, which reaches AT&T Inc. stores Nov. 8 for $200 with a two-year contract requirement, Microsoft said Monday. It will be closely followed by two more phones for AT&T, made by LG Electronics Inc. and HTC Corp., and one for T-Mobile USA, also made by HTC.

In May, Microsoft launched another new phone software package, Kin, only to yank it about two months later in the face of dismal sales. Windows Phone 7 is a different beast, and Microsoft is putting its full weight behind it.

To stand out from the competition, Microsoft has given the software a different look. It is partly based on the aesthetic from the company’s Zune media players. It is centered on “tiles” on the front screen that are supposed to tell the user at a glance about important new information, such as e-mail and Facebook status update.

“We want you to get in, get out and back to your life,” Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer said.


Bullying deaths bring action call

MENTOR | Teachers and administrators confronting the issue of four bullied students who died by their own hands must get involved to end bullying, an attorney for grieving families said Monday.

Some of the student deaths followed bullying that was “incessant, it was constant, and the teachers and the administrators for whatever reason took a hands-off, laissez-faire approach and didn’t get involved and stop this at its inception,” Ken Myers said on NBC’s “Today” show.

The Associated Press recently reported in detail about the deaths of four Mentor High School students between 2006 and 2008. Three were suicides, one an overdose of antidepressants. All four students had been bullied. The district would not comment for the story.

Mentor Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes said in a statement that the strategy to combat bullying includes having elementary school students pledge to stand up to bullies and report them to adults.

“Our anti-bullying programs have been in place before the state mandated anti-bullying programs and policies,” Ms. Hoynes said.

Anti-bullying committees were set up in each school building to identify the causes and deal with potential victims, bystanders and adults, the statement said.

“Throughout the schools, the seriousness of bullying is highlighted in class meetings, rules reviews, parent nights, motivational speakers, and in visible reminders up and down the hallways,” the statement said.


Police dogs smell remains on vehicles

HICKORY | Investigators cast doubt Monday on accounts given by the father and stepmother of a missing 10-year-old whose battles with bone cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids in both ears.

A search warrant revealed Monday that police dogs had detected the smell of human remains on vehicles belonging to the couple. Hours earlier, the police chief said investigators were having trouble finding anyone outside the household who had seen Zahra Clare Baker alive in the past few weeks.

The warrant filed in court didn’t indicate that police found any remains in their search Sunday. It said the dogs detected the smell on a sedan and sport utility vehicle.

The couple had told police they discovered the girl was missing on Saturday and that one of them had seen her sleeping in her room hours earlier. Yet Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said investigators were having difficulty with that account.

“We don’t know the last time anyone saw her,” he said at an afternoon news conference. “We’re having a difficult time establishing a true timeline.”

When the search warrant was filed hours later, police declined to comment further but said Chief Adkins would issue a statement Tuesday morning.

Zahra’s father, Adam Baker, said during a morning TV interview that it was possible his wife could be involved in the disappearance, which was reported after a fire in the home’s yard. Elisa Baker was arrested Sunday on about a dozen charges unrelated to the girl’s disappearance.

Chief Adkins said the father was cooperating with police, but Mrs. Baker wasn’t.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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