- - Sunday, January 8, 2012


Bomb that injured 2 was in paper bag, police say

LAFAYETTE — A bomb that seriously injured two people was left beside their car in a paper bag with their names written on it, police said Sunday.

Allyson Stone, 44, and her husband, Christopher Stone, 59, were hospitalized with burns after the explosion Saturday in Lafayette, a town of 24,000 north of Denver. No other information about the couple or the device had been released.

The couple found the bag as they were preparing to drive to Boulder, and they put it in the car with them, police said. Mr. Stone told investigators it exploded as his wife began to open it after they had driven about a block.

No one has been arrested.

About 20 homes were evacuated as police investigated. Residents were allowed to return about eight hours later when no other explosives were found. Police have said they believe the Stones were the target and that the public wasn’t in danger.

Mrs. Stone received death threats in 2010 after a dog bit her and the case went to court, the Denver Post reported. The dog could have been put down under vicious-animal statutes but was spared. Authorities have said they don’t believe the explosion was related to that incident but hadn’t ruled it out.

3 Air Force cadets charged with sexual assault

AIR FORCE ACADEMY — The Air Force Academy said three cadets have been charged with unrelated sexual assaults, just weeks after the academy released a report showing an increase in such cases from the previous year.

The commanders recommended the charges at this time “due to the near simultaneous completion of each individual investigation,” Col. Tamra Rank, the academy’s vice superintendent, said in a statement.

The cadets -Stephan H. Claxton, Kyle A. Cressy and Robert M. Evenson Jr. - are not incarcerated. Their hometowns were not released. The cadets were not available for comment, academy officials said.

Cadets Claxton and Cressy are attending classes and Cadet Evenson is on casual status, a category usually used for cadets awaiting another assignment.

Hearings are expected by next month.


Gusty, dry winds spark wildfire alerts

LOS ANGELES — Gusty, dry winds have moved into Southern California, increasing the potential for wildfires.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department says it has up to 300 additional employees on standby as the winds bring low humidity and high temperatures - conditions ripe for fast-moving brush fires.

Fire crews are enforcing parking bans on some narrow hillside roads in fire-prone neighborhoods.

The National Weather Service says the offshore winds, which began late Saturday, would continue through late Sunday afternoon, when “red flag” warnings for fire danger are set to expire.

The Weather Service reports gusts exceeding 70 mph in some mountain areas.


48 Catholic schools to close, reorganize

PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia plans to close four Roman Catholic high schools and close or combine 44 elementary schools because of rising costs and low enrollment, the head of the teachers union said Friday.

Association of Catholic Teachers local President Rita Schwartz told the Associated Press that she learned of the closures during a meeting Friday morning with archdiocese officials.

Ms. Schwartz said the archdiocese will close four high schools in June - Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Pendergrast, which share a campus in Drexel Hill, Delaware County; Conwell-Egan in Fairless Hills, Bucks County; and two Philadelphia high schools, West Catholic and St. Hubert.

The recommendations by an archdiocesan task force stem from a yearlong analysis of the struggling Catholic education system, which includes 178 schools in the city and four suburban counties.


Demjanjuk asks judge to reconsider citizenship bid

TOLEDO — Convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk wants a federal judge to reconsider a decision denying his bid to regain his U.S. citizenship.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster rejected the retired autoworker’s citizenship claim late last month, saying Demjanjuk lied about where he was during World War II.

Demjanjuk’s attorney asked the judge Thursday to reconsider the citizenship request, saying he had not seen all the newly discovered documents that could help his cause.

Demjanjuk was convicted by a German court that found he had served as a guard at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Demjanjuk, who is in his 90s, has been in poor health for years and has been in and out of a hospital since his conviction.


12-year-old girl who blogged about cancer dies of brain tumor

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA — A 12-year-old Southern California girl who started a blog and a Facebook page to raise awareness about child cancer has died of a brain tumor.

Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed in March. Her family says her 10-month battle with cancer ended Thursday.

The Orange County Register reported that Jessica was mourned by tens of thousands of people on Facebook.

Jessica began her blog after she became sick, with posts that described her feelings and urged readers to pray for children with cancer.

The seventh-grader always signed off with the acronym “NEGU,” short for “never ever give up.” Jessica and her father, Erik Rees, also started a foundation to raise money for pediatric cancer research.


Bus crash kills two, injures more than 30

MISSOULA — A bus crashed Sunday on an icy interstate highway in southwestern Montana, killing two people and sending more than 30 others to area hospitals, officials said.

The westbound Rimrock Trailways bus crashed on Interstate 90 about a mile west of Clinton, 18 miles southeast of Missoula, shortly after 7 a.m., Dan Ronan of the American Bus Association said.

The crash was one of several reported along that stretch of highway Sunday morning, closing both eastbound and westbound lanes of an 8-mile section of the interstate between Clinton and Turah. It was not clear if there were additional injuries, or how many. Eastbound lanes and one westbound lane reopened Sunday evening.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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