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seattlepi.com: U.S. News from the Associated Press





 



Correction: Warehouse Party Fire-Victims story

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 21:06:17 UT

(AP) — In initial versions of a story Dec. 7 profiling victims of the Oakland warehouse fire, The Associated Press, relying on information provided by acquaintances, misidentified the college that Jason McCarty attended. College roommates among Oakland warehouse fire victims A fun-loving computer science graduate and 21-year-old college roommates were among the 36 people killed when fire engulfed a dance party inside an Oakland warehouse (AP) — A fun-loving computer science graduate and 21-year-old college roommates were among the 36 people killed when fire engulfed a dance party inside an Oakland warehouse. From an early age, he impressed friends and neighbors with his drawing skills. McCarty graduated the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, said school spokeswoman Tracy Newman. Jennifer Mendiola was a psychology Ph.D. student who was gaining recognition in the field and had published research a year ago in a prestigious medical journal. Mendiola, who was a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced, died in the devastating Oakland warehouse fire, her sister-in-law Anna Mendiola told the Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/2h7O6Co) on Wednesday. Last year, she co-authored a report for the Journal of Preventive Medicine about the willingness of immigrants from Mexico to get flu vaccines. David Cline, 24, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2015 with degrees in computer science and cognitive science, the university said. Everyone who ever met David knows that his smile and his presence changed every person that was lucky enough to feel his warmth and light. Both women volunteered at KALX-FM, the campus radio station, where another victim of the fire, Chelsea Dolan, was a volunteer DJ. Morris was driven by a deep sense of justice and passion for understanding the world around her, officials with UC Berkeley's media department



Virginia marina fire destroys at least a dozen boats

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:51:41 UT

Fire officials estimate 12 to 15 boats were likely destroyed, Goodman said, along with part of a boat storage structure. The blaze was first reported about 7 a.m. by a neighbor who went to the scene and alerted people staying on their boats, Goodman said. A Henrico County fire boat was trapped by the burning dock and sustained "quite a bit of damage," Goodman said.



Oakland fire exposes rift over naming transgender victims

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:51:16 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Feral Pines proved to be as complex in death as she was in life as friends and family struggled this week to settle on the correct name to remember the victim of the Oakland warehouse party fire killed along with 35 others. [...] her death set off a storm of grief combined with anger, as friends called news media outlets and government officials to insist she should be named and mourned in death as Feral Pines, the name she used with them, illustrating the difficulty of identifying victims who have not officially changed their names. In the wake of the fire, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations have called on media outlets refer to transgender people by the name and gender with which they identify or identified. Proper naming is critical because it validates the way people who have died lived and saw themselves, said Alex Schmider, senior strategist for transgender media with GLAAD, a group that monitors media and advocates for gay, bisexual and transgender people. A legal name and gender change would decide the issue, but people frequently do not have the money or time to embark on the effort, said Sasha Buchert, staff attorney at the Transgender Law Center in Oakland. In California, next of kin decides the name that goes on official reports absent other documentation, said Tiffany Woods, a transgender services consultant who worked with Alameda County Sheriff's Office on the best way to identify those who died in the fire.



Sheriff raids Christian boarding school over abuse concerns

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:48:56 UT

The Alabama Department of Human Resources and law enforcement raided the school in Seminole last weekend, removing 22 boys between the ages of 8 and 17. An attorney for the school called the Blessed Hope Boys Academy says the abuse allegations are baseless, and they believe some kids made up the story.



Dylann Roof laughed during church slaying confession to FBI

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:46:41 UT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dylann Roof wanted the world to know he hated black people and thought they were criminals. In a videotaped confession shown Friday during his death penalty trial, Roof laughed several times and made exaggerated gun motions as he recounted the massacre. Forty-five minutes into the interview, an FBI agent decided to tell him nine people died in the June 17, 2015, shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Roof's lawyers have conceded that he carried out the attack and are concentrating on convincing jurors to spare his life in the second phase of the trial. FBI agents drove to Shelby, North Carolina, where he was arrested with the gun used in the shooting in the backseat of his car. Earlier testimony from survivor Felicia Sanders said Roof sat through the Bible study beside pastor Clementa Pinckney and opened fire as the rest of the group of 12 closed their eyes for a final prayer. Roof, as he has for much of the trial, hardly looked up as the confession played, mostly just shuffling papers in front of him at the defense table. In the confession, Roof said he left bullets in a magazine so that he could kill himself after the slayings but changed his mind when he didn't see any police immediately after the shooting. Martin, a young unarmed black man, was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012.



The Latest: Father of warehouse fire victim visits site

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:46:35 UT

Federal officials investigating the blaze planned to bring in engineers to examine the building's electrical system, as they tried to pinpoint the fire's cause. A benefit concert is scheduled for Wednesday to raise money for victims in the Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people. The East Bay Times reports (http://bit.ly/2hdt8ol ) Alt-rock favorites Primus, ambient-music act Tycho and indie-pop champ Tune-Yards are among the acts set to perform at Oakland United: A Benefit Supporting Oakland Fire Relief. The newspaper says the Dec. 14 benefit concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland also features Boots Riley (The Coup), Dan Deacon, Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Rogue Wave and Thao Nguyen.



School boss: Student has right to wear Confederate clothing

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:45:16 UT

(AP) — A high school student has a right to wear a sweatshirt depicting a Confederate flag even though it upsets a black student and her father, the school superintendent said Friday. Courts have determined school officials can't prevent the student from wearing the sweatshirt unless it's disruptive, Plum Borough School District Superintendent Timothy Glasspool told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/2huyFDn ). In that legal case, students wanted to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, and the court ruled that "Students don't shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates."



No charges for officer who went to wrong home, killed owner

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:44:17 UT

(AP) — A grand jury has decided not to indict a Georgia police officer who went to the wrong house and fatally shot the homeowner. News outlets report a grand jury on Thursday declined to charge Henry County Sgt. Patrick Snook in the death of 63-year-old William David Powell.



Tourists stream back to Gatlinburg, but rebuilding looms

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:36:16 UT

(AP) — Visitors jammed the main roads and sidewalks in Gatlinburg as the tourism city reopened to the public Friday for the first time since wildfires killed 14 people. While the main drag was left intact, the charred remains of homes, vehicles and businesses on side roads served as a reminder of the cleanup and repairs needed in the days ahead. Fire at the Laurel Point Resort torched the indoor pool, covering the water with a thick layer of ashes and debris. An abandoned pickup truck sat burned in a 15-minute parking spot. U.S. Geological Survey technicians installed a rapid deployment gage to alert officials about unusual stream levels or debris flow.



Agency: Drug use should have grounded pilot in balloon wreck

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:33:51 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medical experts say the pilot of a hot-air balloon that crashed in Texas, killing him and 15 others, had medical ailments and was prescribed numerous prescription drugs that should have prevented him from flying. The National Transportation Safety Board was told during a hearing Friday that it appears Alfred "Skip" Nichols was using at least 10 different drugs at the time the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture July 30 near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.



The Latest: Roof says he couldn't look at victims' families

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:25:12 UT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the death penalty trial of Dylann Roof, who is charged with killing nine people during a Bible study in a Charleston church (all times local): Dylann Roof told FBI agents questioning him after nine black people were killed in a Charleston church that he could never tell their families he killed them because of their race. Dylann Roof told FBI agents in his confession to killing nine black church members in Charleston last year the he planned to kill himself but changed his mind when no police officers showed up immediately after the shooting. Dylann Roof told FBI agents in his confession to killing nine black church members in Charleston last year that he had driven by the church before the shooting and asked about worship services. In a video played at his death penalty trial Friday, Roof says he committed the slayings because he said blacks were raping white women and killing each other. The videotaped interview with two FBI agents was shown Friday at Roof's death penalty trial. Lawyers for Dylann Roof are telling the federal judge presiding over his death penalty trial they want to be able to present more evidence about his personality and state of mind. The filing indicates Roof's lawyers want to include evidence that might convince jurors not to seek the death penalty before they have to leave the case.



Hero-astronaut John Glenn to lie in state in Ohio

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:17:54 UT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — American hero-astronaut John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building preceding a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space. The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium is planned for next week; the dates and times were being worked out Friday, said Hank Wilson of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. A U.S. Marine and combat pilot, he also served as a U.S. senator, representing Ohio, for more than two decades. President Barack Obama on Friday ordered flags at federal buildings and on ships around the world flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Glenn's internment. Glenn was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea and served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, among other Washington service. Char Lyn Grujoksi, of Connersville, Indiana, stopped in after spotting a roadside sign for the museum while driving home from Pittsburgh and listening to a radio report on Glenn.



Cops: Ex-chaplain estranged from family kills daughter, self

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:16:14 UT

HEBRON, Maine (AP) — A former university and Air Force chaplain bought a shotgun after completing treatment for substance abuse and drove to the home of his estranged family, where he killed his adult daughter and then himself, police said Friday. Police said Randall spray-painted messages to his family on the walls of five rooms of the house before shooting himself. Claire Randall had recently moved from Rhode Island to stay with her mother and teenage brother. Neither the mother nor brother was home at the time of the shootings, police said.



What we know now about the deadly Oakland warehouse fire

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:11:23 UT

Up to 100 people were at the electronic music party at the warehouse — known as the "Ghost Ship" — when the fire started on the first floor. Former residents said the warehouse was a death trap with few exits, piles of driftwood and a labyrinth of electrical cords. Photos of the interior showed a hodgepodge Bohemian scene of Tibetan prayer flags, Christmas lights and scores of wooden statues of Buddha, the virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, elephants and dragons that sat atop pianos and turntables. The ground floor had RVs and other nooks used as living spaces that were rented out to tenants, while the upstairs had space for concerts. Though there has been no final determination about whether a crime occurred, the district attorney has said potential charges could range from involuntary manslaughter to murder. The warehouse was home to musicians, painters, woodworkers, dancers and other artists who came together to make art and hold dance performances and parties. City and state officials fielded years of complaints about dangerous conditions, drugs, neglected children, trash, thefts and squabbles at the illegally converted warehouse. A firefighter with knowledge of the situation said the warehouse did not appear in a database inspectors use to schedule inspections and may never have been checked for fire hazards. Most recently, Oakland city inspectors received complaints on Nov. 13 about the warehouse being remodeled into residences and on Nov. 14 about an "illegal interior building structure."



Tongass National Forest plan moves to young-growth timber

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:10:03 UT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Plans for managing the nation's largest national forest call for changes in timber harvests that one critic says will be "the demise of the timber industry." The Tongass National Forest released a management plan update Friday that it says emphasizes young-growth timber sales in the forest covering much of southeast Alaska over old-growth timber.



Coca-Cola names Quincey as next CEO, Kent stays as chairman

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 20:00:15 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role next year and be succeeded by the company's No. 2 executive, at a time when people are drinking less sugary soda including its flagship Coke drink. Chief Operating Officer James Quincey, long expected to become the next CEO, will take over leadership of the world's largest beverage maker on May 1, the company said Friday. U.S. sales volume for regular Coke is down 14 percent over the past decade, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest, while Diet Coke's volume is down 29 percent. Last week, Starbucks Corp. said Howard Schultz will step down as CEO next year and stay on as the coffee chain's executive chairman. Analysts at Bernstein were concerned it could signal that Warren Buffett, whose holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is Coca-Cola's largest shareholder, could sell Coke stock.



Man gets 19-45 years in Michigan's 'Baby Kate' disappearance

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:58:30 UT

(AP) — A northern Michigan man convicted of second-degree murder in the disappearance of his 4-month-old daughter is not an "an evil person," a judge said Friday in sentencing him to 19 to 45 years in prison. The girl disappeared five years ago in the Ludington area about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, but her body has never been found. The sentence will run concurrent with the 10- to 15-year sentence the 27-year-old Phillips already was serving for unlawful imprisonment in Kate's disappearance.



Police: Woman backs car into 2-year-old nephew, killing him

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:58:02 UT

Lt. Gregory Staffordsmith told the Asbury Park Press (http://on.app.com/2htrU4z) that the 33-year-old Lakewood woman was preparing to leave her home Thursday and was moving her car to a closer parking spot to load some packages and the toddler. Police say the boy suffered significant head injuries.



Snow, freezing rain hits Northwest

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:57:00 UT

(AP) — A wintry mix of snow, ice and rain showered fear and excitement in much of the Northwest, a region that typically lives under a cloud of mist and drizzle. Some schools canceled classes, while others including Seattle Public Schools have delayed school start time because of the snow. Forecasters expected a couple inches of snow to stick to the ground, followed by freezing rain, heightening concerns about a treacherous commute in the region that does not use salt on slippery roads. On Thursday evening, Portland transit service said on Twitter that two light rail lines were disrupted because of ice on overhead power wires. Some children, unaccustomed to snow, weren't wearing gloves and had only sweatshirts on in temperatures that dipped below freezing — but they didn't let that stop the fun. Portland city government also closed, as did federal court, the zoo and state offices in several counties.



Teen charged with murder in attack at troubled-youth ranch

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:45:00 UT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An Arizona teenager was charged with aggravated murder Friday in the brutal slaying of a worker at a southern Utah ranch for troubled teens. Prosecutors filed eight charges Friday that also include attempted aggravated murder and robbery in the attack. The working cattle ranch says on their website they don't take kids who have shown aggressive, psychotic or suicidal behavior, but do offer to help kids with anger issues. Teens there spend their days in a highly supervised, closely structured program in which they do chores while also doing school work and meeting with counselors and juveniles usually stay for about 100 days. Pictures on the website show teens riding horses, herding cattle, chopping wood and milking cows.



Man convicted of shooting 2 officers during Ferguson protest

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:44:53 UT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury has convicted a man of shooting two police officers during a 2015 protest in Ferguson amid fallout over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown months earlier. The officers were shot after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report critical of Ferguson's criminal justice system and municipal court. A St. Louis County grand jury ruled in November 2014 that there were no grounds for criminal charges against Wilson, who resigned that same month.



Dakota Access pipeline court battle to linger into new year

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:42:52 UT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal court battle over whether the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline can finish the $3.8 billion project will linger at least into the first couple months of the new year. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners last month asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to declare it can legally lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota — the last remaining large chunk of construction on the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois. The Army has declined to give permission due to opposition by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux, who fear any leaks would contaminate drinking water. A coalition of grassroots groups opposing the pipeline issued a statement Friday saying they support a transition to protesting against project investors in communities.



The Latest: Lawyers say execution sedative was ineffective

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:40:52 UT

Alabama uses a three-drug execution protocol with the first drug meant to sedate the inmate, the second to paralyze the lungs and stop breathing and the third to stop the heart. Critics of a lethal injection drug that has been used in problematic executions in several states say Thursday's execution in Alabama provides more evidence that it shouldn't be used to put inmates to death. Smith and other inmates argued in a court case that the drug is an unreliable sedative and could cause them to feel pain, citing its use in problematic executions. Smith was convicted of capital murder in the Nov. 8, 1994, fatal shooting of Huntsville store clerk Casey Wilson.



VMI leader defends coloring as stress reliever for cadets

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:33:09 UT

Superintendent J.H. Binford Peay III said in a statement Wednesday that VMI's "stress busters" program, which includes several activities such as yoga and therapy dogs that are designed to relieve stress before exams, is being inaccurately portrayed. Peay says no coloring books are available or distributed, but a one-page handout with geometric designs that can be colored in is offered.



The Latest: Dakota Access protesters beginning to leave

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:31:02 UT

Harsh wintry weather is forcing some protesters against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline to leave a vast camp in North Dakota. Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault has called for the camp to disband, though Native American rights activist Chase Iron Eyes has implored protesters to stay. A coalition of grassroots groups opposing the pipeline issued a statement Friday saying they support a transition to protesting against project investors. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to grant the company permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. Two Sioux tribes suing over the Dakota Access pipeline say they're willing to put their claims on hold while the Army considers whether to allow the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota.



Man sentenced to 4 years in prison in Texas mosque fire

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:08:49 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — A man has been sentenced to four years in prison for setting fire to the mosque in Texas where he worshipped. Investigators have said there was no evidence of the fire being a hate crime against the Islamic Society of Greater Houston mosque.



Bay St. Louis officials discuss missing money with US

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:06:52 UT

(AP) — Officials in Mississippi have met with agents from the U.S. Justice Department regarding money missing from a city law enforcement fund. The fund, often referred to by Bay St. Louis city officials as the "DOJ forfeiture fund," holds money seized during joint police operations by federal and local law enforcement agencies. Mayor Les Fillingame attended with three city council members, City Attorney Trent Favre, Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam and three DOJ agents.



Sound engineer, attorney among Oakland fire victims

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:06:30 UT

(AP) — A popular sound engineer, a young attorney and a woman described as a visionary were among the people killed in a fire that engulfed a dance party inside an Oakland warehouse. Parker T. Gibbs, chief operating officer at Magnolia Media Productions, said when he'd walk into a rave full of strangers, he'd always spot Clark. Friends say the Santa Rosa native was also a DJ and "standup guy" — always ready to help musicians and fellow DJs. "Usually he'd say, 'Let's play video games,' and then he'd say, 'No, I just want to watch you play,'" she said, sobbing. Robert Janca said Renner made friends feel celebrated and he called Sylvan "his lovely, wildly creative partner." Jonathan Bernbaum, 34, was a well-known visual projection artist whose dramatic light and video shows enhanced the performances of musicians in California and around the world. Born in Berkeley, Bernbaum graduated from Berkeley High School in 2000 and from Brandeis University in 2004, earning highest honors as a history major and minoring in film studies. Loved ones remember his "love of social justice, his razor sharp mind, his debating skills and his creativity as a visual performer," the obituary said. "If you've seen a Knife Party show in the last ¾ years, there's a 99 percent chance you were watching Jon's visuals and know how talented he was," Knife Party musician Rob Swire wrote on Twitter, saying he would miss his good friend. Joey Matlock, 36, also known as Casio, was described by a fellow DJ as a "philosopher of electronic music." John Matlock, the father of Joey Matlock, attended a gathering in Oakland where he quoted a few lines from one of his son's songs called "Share the cup, spare the sword," that said to put others first. From an early age, he impressed friends and neighbors with his drawing skills. Jennifer Mendiola, 35, was a psychology Ph.D. student who was gaining recognition in the field and had published resear



Mississippi officials discuss missing money with US

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 19:02:47 UT

(AP) — Officials in Mississippi have met with agents from the U.S. Justice Department regarding money missing from a Bay St. Louis city law enforcement fund. The fund holds money seized during joint police operations by federal and local law enforcement agencies.



Conspiracy theorists: 'Pizzagate' shooting just a false flag

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 18:56:41 UT

On blogs, YouTube channels and internet radio shows devoted to conspiracy theories, the arrest of Edgar Maddison Welch on Sunday was just the latest "false flag," a term for a cover-up or distraction orchestrated by the government or other powerful figures. According to police, Welch drove to a restaurant called Comet Ping Pong to investigate the "pizzagate" rumors that Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, and other Washington insiders were harboring child sex slaves there. James Fetzer, a longtime conspiracy theorist who also believes the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, told The Associated Press that Welch's visit to the pizzeria was staged to distract the public from the truth of the "pizzagate" allegations. Once a conspiracy theory gains traction, confronting true believers with facts is pointless, said Michael Barkun, a professor emeritus at Syracuse University's Maxwell School and the author of A Culture of Conspiracy: Conspiracy theorists have made similar claims about parents of the 20 children who were killed at Sandy Hook in Newtown Connecticut, in 2012, calling them "crisis actors" pretending to grieve for nonexistent children. Radio host and Trump supporter Alex Jones, a well-known conspiracy theorist, said in a YouTube video Sunday that he believes the claims about powerful Democrats abusing children, but he wasn't convinced Comet Ping Pong had anything to do with it. Conspiracy theories can help believers process genuinely horrific news, such as child sex abuse scandals involving the Catholic Church or Penn State University, said James Broderick, an English professor at New Jersey City University and the co-author of "Web of Conspiracy: A Guide to Conspiracy Theory Sites on the Internet."