- - Thursday, February 3, 2011


Defendant shot in court after attacking judge

GOODWATER | Police in central Alabama say an officer shot and wounded a man who attacked a judge and tried to grab a gun from a spectator in a municipal courtroom.

State Police Trooper Chad Joiner said the wounded man was in court in Goodwater on a domestic violence charge. He was taken by helicopter to a Birmingham hospital, but there was no immediate word on his condition. The officer who shot him was providing security in the courtroom.

Frank Teel, a lawyer in nearby Rockford, said the shooting happened during court at Goodwater City Hall. His brother, Carlton Teel, is a county district judge and was in the building at the time. The judge’s aide suffered powder burns.


PGA waits for greens to thaw in Phoenix

SCOTTSDALE | The Phoenix Open finally began at an unseasonably chilly TPC Scottsdale on Thursday after a four-hour delay because of heavy morning frost.

Although the temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit when the field set off for the opening round from the first and 10th tees, the greens had thawed out and officials were satisfied with conditions.

Temperatures were not expected to rise above 50 degrees for the rest of the day with winds gusting up to 20 mph.

Slugger White, the rules official for the PGA Tour, said a similar weather delay was likely Friday.

“It might be even colder,” Mr. White told reporters. “So we’ll just see. We’ve stopped here before for a frozen green on the first hole, but for this weather …

“I’ve talked to people who grew up here and they’ve never seen it like this.”

Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who lives in Scottsdale, agreed.

“You get cold mornings and you get some frost, but this is a legitimate winter day,” the 2006 U.S. Open champion said after Wednesday’s pro-am competition was canceled because of the freezing conditions.

“There’s a reason why people move here from up north down here in winter, and it’s not for days like this. This is kind of unique.”


Daley says Chicago dealt well with major storm

CHICAGO | Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said the city responded well overall to this week’s blizzard and defended the decision to close Lake Shore Drive.

Mr. Daley said during a Thursday news conference that emergency officials “appropriately” closed the roadway where motorists were stranded for up to 12 hours in the third worst snowstorm in Chicago history. Hundreds of vehicles were abandoned and had to be dug out the next day.

Mr. Daley called that situation a “crisis.”

He said he wouldn’t have done anything different in the city’s storm response.


Hospital workers penalized in breach of athletes’ privacy

IOWA CITY | The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will fire three employees and hand two others unpaid five-day suspensions after an investigation confirmed they inappropriately breached the medical records of hospitalized football players, a spokesman said Thursday.

UI spokesman Tom Moore told the Associated Press that the move “is an indication of our commitment to patient privacy.” He said the breaches have been reported to federal regulators, who can decide whether to seek additional fines and jail time against those involved.

Mr. Moore said the hospital will not release the names of the employees involved or their positions. He said the school was “in the process” of seeking terminations and issuing the suspensions, but he would not elaborate.

The hospital said last week that it was launching an investigation into suspicions about a breach of privacy involving the medical records of 13 Iowa football players who were hospitalized with a rare muscle disorder. Mr. Moore said the investigation confirmed that five people were responsible for the breaches and that the student athletes affected had been notified.


Death-row prisoner’s attorneys cite childhood

COLUMBUS | A death-row inmate who could become the first U.S. prisoner to die from a single dose of a newly adopted barbiturate should be spared execution because his victim’s family never wanted a death sentence, his attorneys told the Ohio Parole Board on Thursday.

Johnnie Baston, who was convicted in the 1994 killing of a Toledo storekeeper, was abandoned as an infant, has never seen his mother and has had only sporadic contact with his father, said Robert Barnhart of the state public defender’s office. As a boy, he would wander the streets with his dog trying to find his mother, he said.

“It is not hard to understand how Johnnie turned from a boy searching for his mother with a dog in tow to a man trying to find family on the streets,” Baston’s attorneys wrote in documents filed with the parole board.

Baston has given differing accounts of the crime and has suggested at one point that he was present but didn’t do the killing. His attorneys say they don’t dispute his conviction.

A three-judge Lucas County panel sentenced Baston to die for shooting Chong Mah, 53, owner of Continental Wigs N’ Things in downtown Toledo.


Fallen Marine’s parents adopt his military dog

SAN ANTONIO | A bomb-sniffing Labrador whose handler was killed in combat has new owners: the family of the fallen U.S. Marine whom the dog loyally obeyed in Afghanistan.

Darrell and Kathy Rusk picked up Eli on Thursday. The 4-year-old military dog was discharged after his handler, Pfc. Colton Rusk, was fatally shot by a Taliban sniper in December.

Military officials say Eli is the second military dog to be adopted by the family of a slain handler.

Eli wagged his tail eagerly upon meeting his new family, who live in Orange Grove, Texas.

The Rusks say they wanted to adopt Eli because their 20-year-old son talked about his best friend constantly, making the dog seem like part of their family.


Another video hits Planned Parenthood

RICHMOND | An anti-abortion group has released a secretly recorded video that purports to show a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute receiving abortion and contraceptive counseling for underage sex workers at a Virginia Planned Parenthood clinic.

The group, Live Action, said the video released Thursday illustrates Richmond Planned Parenthood’s “willingness to aid and abet in the sexual exploitation of minors and young woman.”

Live Action said the shaky video and its soundtrack have been given to law enforcement officials.

Planned Parenthood was preparing a response.

The tape is similar to a video reportedly taken by Live Action on Jan. 13 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Perth Amboy, N.J.


Bulldozer operator killed in mine accident

CAMERON | A bulldozer operator died Thursday in an accident at Consol Energy’s McElroy coal mine in West Virginia, said officials with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Agency spokeswoman Amy Louviere said the operator was pinned between the bulldozer and a water truck. The vehicles are owned by separate contractors, not Consol.

Ms. Louviere said the man was connecting a tow chain to the truck when the dozer rolled backward and pinned him. He was alive when freed, but died before he could be flown to a hospital.

His name was not released.

West Virginia reported its first mining fatality of 2011 last week in Wyoming County.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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