- - Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Giffords to move to Houston center

TUCSON | The family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said it plans to move the wounded congresswoman to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston to begin the next phase of her recovery from a gunshot wound.

On Wednesday, Ms. Giffords stood up and looked out a window of her hospital room as she prepared for the move to begin her intensive mental and physical rehabilitation.

Hospital spokeswoman Janet Stark said Ms. Giffords was able to stand on her feet with assistance from medical staffers Wednesday in another significant milestone of her recovery.

In a statement released by Ms. Giffords’ congressional office, the lawmaker’s husband said she will be moved likely Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston. Doctors say the exact day of the move will depend on Ms. Giffords’ health.

Mark Kelly, who has been married to Ms. Giffords for three years, lives in Houston and is an astronaut.

Ms. Giffords was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the forehead on Jan. 8 as she was meeting with constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson. Police say the suspected gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, shot 18 other people, killing six and wounding 12 more.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Mr. Loughner. He is accused of attempting to assassinate Ms. Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides.

It does not include two murder charges listed in an earlier criminal complaint for the deaths of Ms. Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30, and U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63.

Those are potential death penalty charges. A statement from the U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, said the initial indictment issued by a grand jury in Tucson was just the beginning of federal legal action against the 22-year-old Tucson resident.


Injured astronaut off shuttle flight

CAPE CANAVERAL | An astronaut who crashed his bicycle last weekend won’t be taking part in space shuttle Discovery’s final voyage next month.

Astronaut Timothy Kopra suffered unspecified injuries in the accident Saturday, just 1½ months before Discovery’s planned liftoff. He is recuperating and on indefinite sick leave.

In a rare swap-out Wednesday, NASA removed Mr. Kopra from the crew and added veteran spaceman Stephen Bowen, who flew in May on the most recent shuttle flight. Mr. Bowen will take over Mr. Kopra’s spacewalking duties during the 11-day flight. Mr. Kopra had been designated as the lead spacewalker and was to venture out twice to perform work on the International Space Station.


Former sheriff gets life in prison

BENTON | A federal judge called a disgraced Illinois sheriff “the worst of humanity” Wednesday and sentenced him to life in prison for trafficking marijuana on the job and a foiled plot to have potential witnesses killed.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert sided with prosecutors in deciding that Raymond Martin should be harshly punished, admonishing the longtime sheriff of southern Illinois’ Gallatin County as “nothing but a common thief and thug who disregarded the very laws that you swore to uphold, defend, protect and honor.”

“You could have likely been sheriff until you decided to retire. But no, you couldn’t stand prosperity, and your arrogance, greed and power got the best of you,” Judge Gilbert told Martin, who was booted out of office within days of his conviction in September on all 15 felony counts.


Airman convicted in HIV-exposure case

WICHITA | An Air Force sergeant on Wednesday was convicted of exposing multiple sex partners to HIV at swinger parties and was sentenced to eight years in military prison. He also will be dishonorably discharged.

A court-martial judge found Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez guilty Wednesday of aggravated assault and violating his commander’s order to notify partners about his HIV status and use condoms.

Lt. Col. William Muldoon delivered the sentence after a brief hearing. The airman begged a judge not to discharge him so he could keep his military medical benefits.

Several people who participated in swinger events with Gutierrez and his wife testified this week that they never would have had sex with him had he revealed he was HIV-positive.


Court hears gay dads’ birth-certificate case

NEW ORLEANS | The state of Louisiana is asking a federal appeals court to let it list just one of two adoptive gay parents’ names on their child’s birth certificate.

A full panel of 16 judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in the case of parents Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith. They now live in Florida and adopted their son after he was born in Shreveport in 2005.

Adopted children in Louisiana get birth certificates bearing their new parents’ names. Louisiana contends that because state law lets only married couples or single individuals adopt, only one man’s name may go on the boy’s birth certificate.

A district judge and a three-judge appeal panel have already ruled that Louisiana was wrong.


Effort to reverse cop layoffs rejected

CAMDEN | A New Jersey judge ruled Wednesday that he won’t force Camden to bring back 167 police officers who were laid off earlier in the week.

Superior Court Judge Francis Orlando said Wednesday that the proper place for the complaints is with the Civil Service Commission or an appeals court — not his court.

The layoffs reduced the size of the police force by nearly half in a city that regularly ranks as one of the nation’s most dangerous. Some civilian employees such as dispatchers also were laid off.

Altogether, more than 15 percent of the city’s government employees, including 68 firefighters and about 100 civilians, were laid off as the city tries to fill a huge budget gap brought on by rising costs, decreased tax revenues and diminished aid from the state.


WTOP, 16 other radio stations sold

SALT LAKE CITY | Salt Lake City-based Bonneville International says it is selling 17 radio stations, including WTOP in Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis-based Hubbard Broadcasting Corp.

A Bonneville news release announced the $505 million cash acquisition on Wednesday.

The stations being acquired are in Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati, as well as Washington.

Hubbard Chairman Virginia Morris said the deal will boost Hubbard Radio’s work force by 547 employees. The company currently employs 154 people.

Two Bonneville executives will transition to Hubbard as well.

Hubbard is family-owned corporation. It already owns radio and television stations in Minnesota, New Mexico and New York state.


Bomb at MLK parade deemed sophisticated

SPOKANE | A bomb left along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade was sophisticated, with a remote detonator and the ability to cause many casualties, an official familiar with the case said Wednesday.

The bomb, which was defused without incident on Monday, was the most potentially destructive he had ever seen, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information about the investigation.

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

The FBI received no warnings in advance and does not have a suspect, Mr. Harrill said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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