Girl's suicide after alleged attack troubles town

One evening last Labor Day weekend, 15-year-old Audrie Pott headed to a friend’s house. Unbeknownst to their parents, the girls planned to party. That night Audrie Pott got drunk. She was allegedly sexually assaulted by three boys. A humiliating photo was circulated, her family’s attorney says. Continue Reading

Arizona sheriff's office profiles Latinos, federal judge rules

A federal judge ruled Friday that the office of America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff systematically singled out Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency racially profiles people. The 142-page decision by U.S. District Judge Murray Snow in Phoenix backs up allegations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s critics have made for years that his officers violate the constitutional rights of Latinos in relying on race in their immigration enforcement. Snow, whose ruling came more than eight months after a seven-day, non-jury trial, also ruled Arpaio’s deputies unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over. The ruling represents a victory for those who pushed the lawsuit. They weren’t seeking money damages but rather a declaration that Arpaio’s office engages in racial profiling and an order that requires it to make policy changes. Continue Reading

Parolee indicted in theft of Gold Rush jewelry box

A parolee was indicted by a federal grand jury in the theft of a valuable Gold Rush-era jewelry box from the Oakland Museum of California, authorities said Friday. Andre Taray Franklin, 45, of Oakland was charged Thursday with theft of major artwork and unlawful concealment and disposition of stolen major artwork, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. Franklin is accused of stealing the 19th century gold-encrusted jewelry box valued at more than $800,000 from the museum in January. The box depicts images of early California history and was originally a wedding anniversary gift from a San Francisco pioneer to his wife in the 1800s. The rare artifact is about the size of a small shoebox and weighs about three pounds. Continue Reading

Officials scale back search for abducted Iowa teen

Authorities are scaling back their search for a missing Iowa teenager abducted from a rural school bus stop this week. The state Department of Public Safety says trained law enforcement will narrow their search around Dayton on Saturday for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. Authorities say they’re focusing on terrain that’s difficult to navigate and requires specialized skills and equipment, so citizen volunteers are not needed. Residents are encouraged to check their rural properties for anything suspicious. Police suspect Michael Klunder took Kathlynn and a 12-year-old girl on Monday to a hog confinement building several miles away. Continue Reading

'Unusual condition' seen before Connecticut train collision

The engineer of the commuter train that derailed last week in Connecticut observed an “unusual condition” on the track before the wreck, federal officials said Friday without explaining what the condition was, though they did say repair work was done last month in the area of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has previously ruled out foul play but it has not yet determined a cause of the May 17 crash that injured more than 70 people and disrupted service for days on the railroad used by tens of thousands of commuters north of New York City. But the NTSB did say Friday that a joint bar, used to hold two sections of rail together, had been cracked and repaired last month and that rail sections in the area of the derailment have been shipped to Washington for further examination. Adam Lisberg, an Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman, said the joint bar was replaced. Metro-North railroad is conducting an inspection and inventory of all the joint bars on its main tracks, NTSB said. Continue Reading

Arizona sheriff's office profiles Latinos, federal judge rules

A federal judge ruled Friday that the office of America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff systematically singled out Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency racially profiles people. The 142-page decision by U.S. District Judge Murray Snow in Phoenix backs up allegations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s critics have made for years that his officers violate the constitutional rights of Latinos in relying on race in their immigration enforcement. Snow, whose ruling came more than eight months after a seven-day, non-jury trial, also ruled Arpaio’s deputies unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over. The ruling represents a victory for those who pushed the lawsuit. They weren’t seeking money damages but rather a declaration that Arpaio’s office engages in racial profiling and an order that requires it to make policy changes. Continue Reading

Parolee indicted in theft of Gold Rush jewelry box

A parolee was indicted by a federal grand jury in the theft of a valuable Gold Rush-era jewelry box from the Oakland Museum of California, authorities said Friday. Andre Taray Franklin, 45, of Oakland was charged Thursday with theft of major artwork and unlawful concealment and disposition of stolen major artwork, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. Franklin is accused of stealing the 19th century gold-encrusted jewelry box valued at more than $800,000 from the museum in January. The box depicts images of early California history and was originally a wedding anniversary gift from a San Francisco pioneer to his wife in the 1800s. The rare artifact is about the size of a small shoebox and weighs about three pounds. Continue Reading

Officials scale back search for abducted Iowa teen

Authorities are scaling back their search for a missing Iowa teenager abducted from a rural school bus stop this week. The state Department of Public Safety says trained law enforcement will narrow their search around Dayton on Saturday for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. Authorities say they’re focusing on terrain that’s difficult to navigate and requires specialized skills and equipment, so citizen volunteers are not needed. Residents are encouraged to check their rural properties for anything suspicious. Police suspect Michael Klunder took Kathlynn and a 12-year-old girl on Monday to a hog confinement building several miles away. Continue Reading

'Unusual condition' seen before Connecticut train collision

The engineer of the commuter train that derailed last week in Connecticut observed an “unusual condition” on the track before the wreck, federal officials said Friday without explaining what the condition was, though they did say repair work was done last month in the area of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has previously ruled out foul play but it has not yet determined a cause of the May 17 crash that injured more than 70 people and disrupted service for days on the railroad used by tens of thousands of commuters north of New York City. But the NTSB did say Friday that a joint bar, used to hold two sections of rail together, had been cracked and repaired last month and that rail sections in the area of the derailment have been shipped to Washington for further examination. Adam Lisberg, an Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman, said the joint bar was replaced. Metro-North railroad is conducting an inspection and inventory of all the joint bars on its main tracks, NTSB said. Continue Reading

iowa flood

Iowa’s Federal Disaster Request

Iowa Congressman Dave Lobesack is calling on the President to approve the federal disaster request for 19 Iowa counties, several of them in this area. Governor Branstad says he’s still awaiting an answer from Washington on his request for Des Moines, Lee, Van Buren, Muscatine, Keokuk, Wapello, and 13 other counties to be declared “disasters” from the severe weather and flooding last month. The White House earlier this week declared Illinois counties federal disaster areas. ¬†Among them in our area, were Henderson and McDonough. Warren County applied but didn’t make the cut. Continue Reading