- - Thursday, September 1, 2011


Woman punches bear to save dog

JUNEAU | A woman says she knows it was stupid to punch a black bear in the snout to save her dog.

But Brooke Collins said the attack happened so fast that all she could think about was keeping her dachshund, Fudge, from being killed.

The 22-year-old said Fudge started barking as soon as she let her dogs out Sunday and she saw the bear carrying him like a salmon.

Ms. Collins told the Juneau Empire that she did the first thing she thought of and punched the bear’s face and scooped away her dog when it let go.

The startled bear took off through bushes to a mountain.

Fudge suffered some claw and bite marks, but they weren’t deep.


Grandpa charged with abusive hikes

FLAGSTAFF | An Indiana man is accused of forcing his three young grandsons on brutal hikes at the Grand Canyon, beating them, making them walk on ulcerated blisters, denying them food and water, and pushing them to run up the trail under the intense sun.

Christopher A. Carlson, of Indianapolis, was arrested and charged with child abuse. A complaint filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in Flagstaff says rangers and passers-by reported alleged abuse by Mr. Carlson against the boys, ages 12, 9 and 8.

One of the hikes was 19 miles last weekend, when temperatures reached 108 degrees at Phantom Ranch along the Colorado River, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. A ranger spotted the group with binoculars on a trail and saw Mr. Carlson shoving the eldest boy and whipping him with a rolled-up shirt, authorities said.


Arguments heard on gay troop ban

SAN FRANCISCO | A federal appeals court wrestled Thursday with whether it can declare the military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional when the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is lifted Sept. 20.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard about 45 minutes of arguments from an attorney for the gay-rights group that successfully sued to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a lower court last year, and from a lawyer representing the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Justice attorney said the lower-court ruling should be overturned because the ban’s coming demise has rendered the case moot.

But Dan Woods, an attorney for the Log Cabin Republicans, told the panel that it needs to weigh in on the policy’s civil rights implications because lawmakers or future administrations in Washington could decide at some point to reinstate the ban.


Bus driver pleads not guilty in fatal crash

NEW YORK | The driver of a tour bus sliced end to end by a pole in New York City has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges.

Ophadell Williams was indicted Thursday in Bronx State Supreme Court.

The World Wide Travel bus ran off Interstate 95 at daybreak March 12 as it was returning to Manhattan’s Chinatown from an overnight trip to the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn. The crash killed 15 people, mostly Chinese immigrants, and injured dozens more.

Mr. Williams has maintained that he was alert and awake, and that the crash was touched off when the bus was clipped by a tractor-trailer.


State sells prison to private company

COLUMBUS | A lockup along the shores of Lake Erie has become the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private company.

Lake Erie Correctional Institution in northeastern Ohio’s Ashtabula County is the only one of five state prisons up for sale that will be sold, state officials said Thursday. Corrections Corporation of America will buy it for $72.7 million, more than the $50 million needed from the privatization effort to balance the state’s prison budget.

The four other prisons for sale didn’t generate offers advantageous to taxpayers, state officials said.

CCA, the nation’s largest prison operator, takes control of the Lake Erie facility in Conneaut on Dec. 31, pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the move.


Families to hold service for Flight 93 remains

SHANKSVILLE | Relatives of passengers and crew members who perished on United Airlines Flight 93 will hold a private funeral and reinterment service for unidentified remains at the crash site the day after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Sept. 12 ceremony will take place at what is called the Sacred Ground site in the fields near Shanksville, the rural area southeast of Pittsburgh where the 40 passengers and crew members lost their lives after fighting terrorists for control of the plane.

The Sacred Ground is located within the Flight 93 National Memorial but is closed to the public. Memorial visitors will be able to approach the edge of the crash site but won’t be allowed to enter.

The service will be led by Somerset County coroner Wallace Miller. The remains have been kept in three caskets inside a crypt in the coroner’s care for the past 10 years.



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