- - Sunday, June 10, 2012


KENNEBUNKPORT — Former President George H.W. Bush was performing ceremonial duties and posing for photos while visiting an aircraft carrier named for him off the Maine coast.

Mr. Bush and his wife, Barbara, along with their son, former President George W. Bush, and other family members flew by helicopter Sunday morning to the USS George H.W. Bush several miles off Kennebunkport, where the Bushes maintain a family compound.

The 1,092-foot ship is the newest carrier in the Navy fleet and is the only one whose namesake is alive.

Mr. Bush was a naval aviator during World War II.

His visit to the ship was two days before his 88th birthday.


Spelling error mars 200 high school diplomas

SPRING CREEK — Students at a northeastern Nevada high school were surprised when they received their diplomas: The word “graduation” was misspelled as “graduataion.”

Spring Creek High School Principal Keith Walz told the Elko Daily Free Press that the misspelling on about 200 diplomas ordered from the Salt Lake City company Jostens was an “inadvertent mistake.”

Jostens spokesman Bryan Durfey acknowledged that the company was responsible for the mistake and said corrected diplomas were being sent by priority mail directly to graduates.

He said the company realizes it isn’t going to be perfect, and its policy is to fix errors immediately.

The school will not be charged for the extra diplomas.

In a similar incident, diplomas at a Maryland high school are being reprinted because they contained a misspelling of the word “program.”


Megachurch pastor denies choking, punching daughter

COLLEGE PARK — Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar is staunchly denying allegations in a police report that he choked and punched his 15-year-old daughter during an argument.

Mr. Dollar addressed the report head-on as he faced his congregation Sunday morning at the World Changers Church in metro Atlanta. The pastor told his flock: “I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested.”

Mr. Dollar was charged with misdemeanor counts of simple battery and cruelty to children after his daughter called 911 Friday. A police report says she told Fayette County deputies that her father choked and punched her. The pastor said they were arguing because he wouldn’t allow his daughter to go to a party.

Mr. Dollar told his congregation Sunday that “all is well in the Dollar household.”


Narrow bridge to get an extreme makeover

MONTPELIER |A historic but narrow Vermont bridge will be updated with a technique that seems like something only a superhero could accomplish: Engineers will cut the 350-foot bridge into two lengthwise pieces, push apart and widen the sides, then put the structure back together.

The project is expected to cost more than double a new bridge across the Winooski River in Richmond, but officials say it’s worth the cost to preserve the historic look.

The Pennsylvania truss bridge was built in 1929. Such bridges are marked by crisscrossing I-beams that form a latticework that creates a steel canopy above the road surface.

The separating, winching and refastening is supposed to take only a day, but it will be a year before traffic is rolling again on the bridge.


Bulger’s girlfriend scheduled for sentencing

BOSTON — The longtime girlfriend of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger faces sentencing in federal court this week for helping Bulger evade authorities for more than 16 years.

Catherine Greig faces a maximum of 15 years when she is sentenced Tuesday. Prosecutors have asked for a 10-year sentence, saying she helped one of the region’s most violent criminals remain a fugitive.

Greig pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. She admitted she used aliases, unlawfully obtained identification documents and repeatedly obtained prescription medication for Bulger by claiming to be his wife.

Greig and Bulger were apprehended last June in Santa Monica, Calif., where they were living in a rent-controlled apartment.

Bulger former head of the Winter Hill Gang, is awaiting trial on charges that he participated in 19 murders.


Police department fires Hasidic Jew over beard

NEW YORK — An Orthodox Jew who was weeks away from becoming a New York City police officer said he was kicked out of the police academy for refusing to trim his beard.

Former recruit Fishel Litzman of Monsey was fired Friday after multiple confrontations with the department over the length of his whiskers, he told the Daily News. Mr. Litzman is Hasidic and believes that cutting his beard is forbidden by God.

New York Police Department rules usually require officers to be clean-shaven. The department makes exceptions for beards kept for religious purposes, but even then allows only 1 millimeter of growth.

“I don’t understand what the problem would be,” Mr. Litzman said.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department’s rules are reasonable and Mr. Litzman was aware of them when he enrolled.

Mr. Litzman was first cited in January for his unkempt beard. He was a month away from receiving his shield when he was fired.

“I always wanted to be a police officer,” said Mr. Litzman, a father of five who speaks Hebrew and Yiddish and was once a paramedic.

His attorney, Nathan Lewin, said the police department knew when Mr. Litzman applied that he would not trim his beard.


Crystal Cathedral now named for Christ

GARDEN GROVE — Southern California’s landmark Crystal Cathedral has been given a new name as the evangelical church transforms into a Catholic church.

The iconic, glass-paned megachurch founded by “Hour of Power” televangelist Robert Schuller was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange last year. On Saturday, Bishop Tod Brown renamed it Christ Cathedral during a priest ordination and named Christopher H. Smith to the top post of the new church.

The Garden Grove cathedral’s name was chosen from more than 4,100 submissions from Catholics all over the world.

Mr. Schuller retired in 2006 after his ministry, which began at a drive-in movie theater, evolved into a global televangelist empire. But after a botched leadership transition to his son, donations began to plummet. In 2010, the Crystal Cathedral sought bankruptcy protection.

The diocese bought the 2,900-seat cathedral and its grounds for $57.7 million. It will have to renovate the cathedral for Catholic worship before services can begin.

Meanwhile, the Crystal Cathedral congregation, which will be moving about a mile away to St. Callistus Catholic Church in June 2013, will have to renovate that church for the “Hour of Power” to be taped there.


Kidney saga takes another grim turn

NEW YORK — Two weeks ago, Roberto Medina’s sister died while undergoing surgery to give him one of her kidneys. Now, the ailing New York City man is leaving the hospital feeling traumatized - again.

Mr. Medina told reporters that he was summoned to Montefiore Medical Center on Wednesday and told that a kidney had been found to replace the one lost in the botched surgery on his sister, Yolanda.

People normally wait years for a transplant, but Mr. Medina said doctors told him he was rushed to the top of a waiting list out of sympathy.

On Friday, he was discharged with bad news: The agency that oversees transplants doesn’t allow people to skip to the head of the line unless it is a medical emergency.

Mr. Medina said he felt “emotionally drowned.”


Police say shots fired in clash over loose bull

CONCORD — Authorities say a New Hampshire man rammed another man’s vehicle with his own and fired shots at the man’s feet in a confrontation over who was responsible for allowing a bull to get loose.

Concord police say resident Brian Downs fired three shots: two into the ground at the other man’s feet and one into the air.

Mr. Downs was arrested Saturday evening on two counts of reckless conduct and one count of criminal threatening. He is being held on $55,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court Monday.

It’s not clear who owns the bull or what happened to it.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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