Former executive chef at Virginia governor's mansion indicted on embezzlement charges

The former chef at Virginia’s executive mansion has been indicted on embezzlement charges amid a continuing criminal investigation into his tenure as head of kitchen operations for the governor and first family. Todd Schneider was arrested Thursday on four felony embezzlement counts. The indictments handed up March 20 allege that Schneider embezzled property valued at $200 or more from the state in July, September and December of 2011 and in January of 2012. The indictments contain no further details. The 52-year-old Schneider, now a Sarasota, Fla., resident, turned himself in to the Virginia State Police and was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. Continue Reading

Prosecutors say they are not ready to agree to Holmes guilty plea in theater shooting

Prosecutors in the Colorado theater shooting on Thursday rejected an offer from suspect James Holmes to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and accused defense lawyers of a serious breach of court rules by making the offer public. In a scathing court document, prosecutors said the defense has repeatedly refused to give them the information they need to evaluate the plea offer, so the offer can’t be considered genuine. No plea agreement exists, prosecutors said, and one “is extremely unlikely based on the present information available to the prosecution.” They also said anyone reading news stories about the offer would inevitably conclude “the defendant knows that he is guilty, the defense attorneys know that he is guilty, and that both of them know that he was not criminally insane.” Neither the defense nor the prosecution immediately returned phone calls Thursday. Continue Reading

12 Dead in Damascus University Cafeteria Bombing

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Mortar shells have hit a cafeteria at Damascus University in Syria.  

And according to state media and a Syrian official, at least 12 people have been killed, with 20 others wounded. Rebels began firing shells at the capital earlier this year, and the attacks have become increasingly common in recent weeks. A government-run TV station showed footage of tables and chairs turned upside down, shattered glass and blood on the floor. Continue Reading

U-S Says Nuke-Ready Bombers Complete S. Korean Training

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S military says two nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have completed a training mission in South Korea amid threats from North Korea that include nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul.  

The statement Thursday by U.S. Forces Korea is an unusual confirmation. It follows an earlier U.S. announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills. The U.S. says the B-2 stealth bombers flew from a U.S. air base and dropped munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home. The announcement will likely draw a strong response from Pyongyang. Continue Reading

Warrants Released in Newtown Shooting Reveal Arsenal

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Warrants released in the investigation of the Newtown school shooting reveal that an arsenal of weapons including guns, a gun safe with shotgun shells, a bayonet and several swords were found in the home of the gunman.  

Investigators also found articles on other shootings and a holiday card containing a check made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a firearm, authored by his mother, Nancy Lanza. And investigators found books about living with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, as well as an NRA guide to pistol shooting. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother inside their Newtown home on Dec. Continue Reading

U of IL and Building, Food Service Workers Reach Tentative Deal

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The union representing about 800 building and food service workers who went on strike at the University of Illinois this month says it has reached a tentative deal with the school.  

Adam Rosen is a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union. He said yesterday the union’s bargaining committee recommended that employees approve the four-year offer from the university. A vote is set for today and tomorrow. Continue Reading

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Girl Scout Camp Closure, Sale Proposal on Hold for Now

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A decision on whether to close four Girl Scout camps in eastern Iowa is off the table after heavy community backlash.  

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois announced Wednesday it will not vote on whether to sell the camps in Scott County, Dubuque County, Des Moines County and Allamakee County. Citizens reacted to the possibility of the camps closing by filing an injunction against letting the organization vote on the matter. The group’s board will now meet Thursday for a collaborative work session to review the issue. A new recommendation will later be given. Continue Reading

Woman accused of providing gun used to kill Colorado prisons chief

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents on Wednesday arrested a woman accused of illegally transferring the gun authorities say was used to kill Colorado’s prisons chief. Investigators believe Stevie Marie Vigil, 22, of Commerce City, legally bought the firearm from a licensed dealer in the Denver suburb of Englewood and transferred it to Evan Ebel, who was a felon who couldn’t legally possess a firearm, the CBI said. Ebel is suspected in the shooting deaths of Colorado Department of Corrections head Tom Clements on March 19 and of Nathan Leon, who was shot March 17 while working as a pizza delivery driver in the Denver area. Ebel died after a shootout in Texas last week. El Paso County, Colo., sheriff’s investigators have said the gun Ebel used in the shootout was the same weapon used to kill Clements when he answered the front door of his home. Continue Reading

Washington home catches fire during standoff with shooting suspect

Fire has engulfed at a house on the coast of Washington state where a standoff has been under way since Wednesday with a man suspected of shooting and injuring a police officer. Video from KOMO and KIRO TV showed the home in Hoquiam on Grays Harbor was fully engulfed in flames before dawn Thursday as firefighters arrived. Video also showed police withdrawing a robot that had been used in the standoff. There’s no immediate word on the man who was holed up on the second floor of the home. Police say he shot an officer who attempted to arrest him Wednesday on an outstanding warrant. Continue Reading