- - Monday, June 13, 2011


Rapture preacher hit with mild stroke

SAN FRANCISCO — The California radio preacher who predicted the world would end last month was recuperating Monday after suffering a mild stroke, his family and colleagues said.

Doctors have been monitoring the progress of radio host Harold Camping, 89, since he was taken by ambulance from his Alameda home on Thursday.

Mr. Camping’s daughter, Susan Espinoza, said her father was recovering but had not been doing his regular live broadcasts from the threadbare headquarters of Family Radio International, near the Oakland airport.

Mr. Camping’s media empire spent millions of dollars - some of it from donations made by followers - publicizing the evangelist’s rapture prediction over the past seven years.


Mom in school case faces new drug charges

HARTFORD — A homeless single mother accused of illegally enrolling her son in the wrong school district was behind bars Monday, charged with selling crack cocaine and marijuana to undercover officers near another school in that city.

Tanya McDowell, 33, also faces pending drug-sale charges from an arrest last fall, months before she made national headlines when she was charged in April with larceny and stealing education services for her young son.

Ms. McDowell was arraigned Monday on the drug-sale charges in Superior Court in Norwalk, the same city where she is accused of illegally enrolling her son, now 6, in kindergarten last fall under her baby sitter’s address.

She has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree larceny charge in that case, which is pending. Ms. McDowell, who is black, has attracted national attention and support from civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who headlined a rally last week outside the school Ms. McDowell’s son had attended.


Veteran Duckworth resigns from VA post

CHICAGO — Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth has resigned her position.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Monday that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Mrs. Duckworth, 43, submitted her resignation. She lost a close bid for Congress in 2006 to Illinois Republican Pete Roskam. Running for a U.S. House seat still remains an option for her.

Mrs. Duckworth was a helicopter pilot in Iraq when she lost both her legs and partial use of one arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in 2004.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Mrs. Duckworth’s nomination to the Veterans Affairs post in April 2009. She previously was chief of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and served with the Illinois National Guard.


Hole in levee widens to 300 feet

HAMBURG — Federal officials on Monday night said the swollen Missouri River punched a nearly 300-foot hole into a levee near the southwest Iowa town of Hamburg, and powerful floodwaters continued to widen the breach.

It’s one of two levees that ruptured along the river Monday morning, sending torrents of water over rural farmland toward Hamburg and the Missouri resort town of Big Lake.

Officials originally estimated that the levee just south of Hamburg had a 50-foot hole, but it had grown to nearly 300 feet by Monday evening.

Floodwater is expected by Wednesday to reach the top of a secondary levee protecting Hamburg, home to about 1,100 people.


Police: Man killed wife, 2 kids, self

DEXTER — A father angry over being denied access to his children and being legally barred from seeing them went to their home Monday morning and killed them, his estranged wife and then himself.

Investigators can’t say for sure what pushed Steven Lake over the edge, Maine State Police Maj. Gary Wright said, but a relative told the Associated Press that Lake was frustrated by an ongoing custody dispute and particularly upset about having to miss his son’s eighth-grade graduation.

Lake, 37, fatally shot schoolteacher Amy Lake, 38, and their two children, Monica, 12, and Cote, 13, with a shotgun before killing himself Monday morning, Maj. Wright said. Police also found a flammable liquid poured around the inside of the house, but it wasn’t ignited.

A Dexter police officer went to check on Mrs. Lake at 8 a.m. Monday at her tidy two-story red clapboard home on the north shore of Lake Wassookeag when she didn’t show up for work at the Ridge View Community School and when Steven Lake’s car was spotted in her driveway. The officer heard multiple gunshots after pulling into the driveway and called for help.


State House votes to outlaw ‘suicide kits’

SALEM — The Oregon House has voted to make it illegal to assist another person in committing suicide, a move that targets so-called suicide kits that can be bought on the Internet.

The House’s 52-6 vote Monday sends the bill back to the Senate, which unanimously approved it last month but must sign off on changes made in the House.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat, proposed the measure after a 29-year-old Eugene man took his own life with the help of a suicide kit he purchased online for $60.

The bill does not conflict with Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, which allows physician-assisted suicide in certain circumstances. The state says 65 Oregonians took their lives under the law in 2010.

Physician-assisted suicide is also legal in Washington and Montana.


Court: Teens can’t be suspended for Web parodies

PHILADELPHIA — Two teens cannot be disciplined at school for MySpace parodies of their principals created from off-campus computers, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The postings, however lewd or offensive, were not likely to cause significant disruptions at school and are therefore protected under previous Supreme Court case law on student speech, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found.

“Today’s court decision states that you cannot punish students for off-campus speech simply because it offends or criticizes [school officials],” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which represented both students.

However, six judges who dissented in one case said they feared salacious online attacks against school officials would go unpunished.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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