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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: U.S. U.S. News from the Associated Press


Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:39:57 UT

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Ten elderly patients died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital. From the perspective of Florida Gov. Rick Scott and relatives of those at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, criminal charges are warranted. But under Florida law, a prosecution might be difficult. Two of three ex-state prosecutors contacted by The Associated Press had doubts as to whether Dr. Jack Michel, the home's owner, or any of his employees will be charged.

Baby whose mother chose giving birth over chemo has died

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:37:24 UT

DETROIT (AP) — A tiny preemie whose gravely ill mother had hoped to save her by shunning chemotherapy during pregnancy has died, a relative said Thursday. Sonya Nelson said her niece, Life Lynn DeKlyen, died Wednesday evening at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Life's mother, Carrie DeKlyen, died Sept. 9, three days after giving birth to her sixth child. Relatives said Life had been doing better than expected after being born prematurely at 1 pound, 4 ounces (567 grams). Nelson told The Associated Press the baby had good and bad days at the hospital, but "took a turn for the worse" this week.

Canadian leader tells UN of plight of indigenous people

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:31:33 UT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest on the U.N. General Assembly meeting (all times local): 1:31 p.m. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used his speech at the U.N. General Assembly to talk about the injustices that indigenous people face in his country. Trudeau said Thursday their experience has been one of "humiliation, neglect, and abuse." It is rare for a Canadian leader to talk about the plight of the country's indigenous people in a global forum. Trudeau says Canada is not a "wonderland," but a work in progress. He says there are indigenous people who don't have safe drinking water or who say goodnight to their children and then hope that the youths don't run away or take their own lives in the night.

Report: Faulty repairs caused fatal Army helicopter crash

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:30:57 UT

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An improperly installed part caused a helicopter to crash in rural Tennessee, killing the two 101st Airborne Division pilots aboard, according to an Army report. A U.S. Army Aircraft Incident Report obtained by USA Today Network-Tennessee says the Apache helicopter, which took off from Fort Campbell in December 2015 on a routine training mission, essentially came apart in midair before crashing to the ground and bursting into flames.

The Latest: 10th patient dies from Florida nursing home

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:26:34 UT

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the deaths of patients at a Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning during Hurricane Irma (all times local): 1:25 p.m. Officials say a 10th patient has died from a Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning during Hurricane Irma. Hollywood police said Thursday in a news release that 94-year-old Martha Murray died Wednesday. They said her death was related to the problems at the facility following Irma. The first eight patients from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died Sept. 13, three days after Irma struck. The ninth died Tuesday. The state has suspended the facility's license while the owners have sued the state to block its actions.

Aquarium releases 3 abandoned seal pups off Rhode Island

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:24:49 UT

MYSTIC, Conn. (AP) — Three seal pups that were apparently abandoned by their parents after birth have been released into the waters off Rhode Island. Officials at Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium say the three harbor seals named Aster, Azalea and Ivy were released Thursday morning in Charlestown, Rhode Island. The aquarium says one of the seals was rescued in early May in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Another was found in Harpswell, Maine, and brought to the aquarium in June. The third was found in East Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and arrived at the aquarium in July. The aquarium says the three seals are now healthy enough to survive on their own. Each is about 4 to 5 months old and weighs around 50 pounds (23 kilograms).

Prosecutors say Texas lawmaker spent $51K on online psychic

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:24:06 UT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas lawmaker spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic, appeared for work at the Capitol apparently impaired by medication and hid a cellphone from investigators, prosecutors said in a court filing this week. Rep. Dawnna Dukes is due to face misdemeanor corruption charges at an Oct. 16 trial. She is accused of giving a taxpayer-funded raise to a legislative aide to cover gas money for shuttling her daughter back and forth from school. The Travis County prosecutors' court filing this week is intended to inform Dukes' attorneys of the allegations against her that will be asserted at trial. Dukes' attorney, Dane Ball, declined to comment on the allegations.

Missouri couple indicted in death of woman's teen daughter

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:23:52 UT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri couple has been indicted in the death of the woman's biological teenage daughter, who spent most of her life with an adoptive family in Minnesota. Thirty-nine-year-old Rebecca Ruud and 31-year-old Robert Peat Jr. were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and an alternative count of child abuse resulting in death in the killing of 16-year-old Savannah Leckie. Investigators say Savannah had started living with Ruud in Theodosia, Missouri, within the last year. Ruud and Peat married last month, on the same day that bone fragments identified as the teen's were found in a burn pile on the couple's rural property. The indictment replaces identical charges filed last month against Ruud.

Montana set to take over deadly asbestos cleanup site

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:20:15 UT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The cleanup of a northwest Montana community where health officials say hundreds of people have been killed by asbestos exposure entered a new phase Thursday as officials begin crafting ways to keep residents safe over the long term. The five-member Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team was scheduled to meet for the first time after being established by the Montana Legislature earlier this year. The advisory team of state and local officials and one citizen selected by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will work with environmental agencies to come up with ways to prevent further exposure to asbestos that remains beneath the soil and in the walls of many houses in the small towns of Libby and Troy.

Irma, now Maria: US Caribbean communities rush to send aid

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:12:01 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — From parties where the price of admission is a donation, to fundraising drives and online wish lists for collecting needed supplies, West Indian communities around the United States are stepping up to get help for the islands of the Caribbean ravaged by the wind and waters of hurricanes Irma and Maria, including those in places in the southern United States that were hit hard themselves. Irma, once the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, wreaked havoc in parts of the region — Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Martin, the U.S.

Court affirms 'Master Bob' murder conviction in Michigan

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:05:01 UT

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the murder conviction of a former Rotary Club president who was accused of arranging his wife's death so he could devote himself to a life of bondage with other women as "Master Bob." The court says the case against Bob Bashara was "straightforward," despite twists and turns before and during trial. Bashara attacked the performance of his attorneys, but the court says he was given a vigorous defense. The 3-0 decision was released Thursday. Bashara's wife, Jane, was strangled by a handyman in their Grosse Pointe Park garage in 2012. Her body was discovered in her Mercedes-Benz in a Detroit alley.

Judge rejects couple's argument for refusing gay customers

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:03:15 UT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a Minnesota couple's lawsuit challenging a state law for the right to refuse to shoot wedding videos for same-sex couples. Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis dismissed Carl and Angel Larsen's case Wednesday. The St. Cloud couple, who own a videography company, Telescope Media Group, sued over a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act that bars discrimination by businesses, the Star Tribune reported. They argued that the law amounted to "a state effort to stamp out expression opposing same-sex marriage," and they sought to post a notice on their company's website that they won't shoot same-sex weddings, based on their religious beliefs.

Lawmaker condemns student video depicting police beheading

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:00:02 UT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin state lawmaker has condemned a college student's video depicting the beheading of a police officer as an attempt to incite violence. The video shows University of Wisconsin-Madison students dressed as officers wearing pig masks, including one leading a black student to a noose made of the U.S. flag. Later, a machete-wielding black student chases the officers before the video cuts to a frame of the student holding a bloody, decapitated pig mask. Republican Sen. Steve Nass calls the video "vile" in a statement Wednesday, saying police and the university should hold the students accountable.

Prime minister of Dominica says at least 15 people are dead, 20 missing on Caribbean island after Hurricane Maria.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:45:31 UT

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (AP) — Prime minister of Dominica says at least 15 people are dead, 20 missing on Caribbean island after Hurricane Maria.

Zoo hopes news gorillas will form 'troop' as in the wild

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:37:43 UT

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has received two female gorillas from other zoos in an effort to create a new troop mirroring those in the wild. Zoo officials say the females are 43-year-old Fredrika (fred-REEK'-uh) from Florida's Zoo Miami and 26-year-old Kebi Moya (KAY'-bee MOY'-uh) from Ohio's Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. They two arrived several months ago and have bonded. They are now getting to know Mokolo (muh-KO'-low), the zoo's 30-year-old male silverback. Zoo officials say the two females were selected based on their social experiences and behaviors to form a social group with Mokolo. The zoo hopes to introduce the troop to the public in the coming weeks.

Illinois court upholds murder conviction of Drew Peterson

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:32:19 UT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The use of hearsay testimony to convict former Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson in the death of his third wife was proper, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday in upholding the conviction. The high court, in a unanimous decision , found that hearsay testimony from Peterson's dead third wife and missing fourth wife did not violate his constitutional right to confront his accusers because of evidence that Peterson killed them to prevent their testimony. The 63-year-old former police sergeant from the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook is serving a 38-year sentence in the 2004 death of ex-wife Kathleen Savio.

Tribes seek voice in nuclear plant cleanup, land restoration

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:20:41 UT

VERNON, Vt. (AP) — Two Native American tribes want a say in the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and the future use of the land, which they say was the site of fishing grounds and settlements for their ancestors. The Elnu Abenaki, based in southern Vermont, last month filed testimony with the state Public Utilities Commission. The tribe wants qualified people to oversee all earth-disturbing activities and it wants to be involved in helping to determine how the land is restored. Northstar Group Services, the demolition company seeking to buy and clean up the plant, has agreed to meet with the Elnu Abenaki next week.

Closing arguments begin in Tennessee woman's kidnap-slaying

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:07:41 UT

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — Closing arguments have begun in the trial of a man charged with killing a Tennessee nursing student who disappeared into the woods behind her rural home more than six years ago. Thursday marks the ninth day of trial for Zachary Adams in Savannah, Tennessee. Adams has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, raping and killing Holly Bobo. She was 20 when she was reported missing from her home in Parsons, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Nashville. Two ginseng hunters found Bobo's remains in woods not far from her family's home in 2014. The jury will begin deliberating after a prosecutor and a defense attorney finish closing arguments. Adams faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

The Latest: Amid unrest, Bannon to appear in St. Louis

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:02:50 UT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on demonstrations following the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer (all times local): 10:50 a.m. President Donald Trump's former chief strategist is scheduled to appear Sunday at a rally in St. Louis, a city still in the midst of protests following the acquittal of a white former police officer in the shooting death of a black man. Protest organizer Cori Bush declined Thursday to speculate whether protesters will gather at Steve Bannon's appearance. Bannon is scheduled to receive an award Sunday from Phyllis Schlafly's Eagles, a spinoff of the conservative think tank Eagle Forum. He is later expected to appear at the organization's "Put America First Rally.

Settlement: Inmates can now receive some handmade drawings

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:01:30 UT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit challenging New Hampshire's prison mail policy, and inmates will now be allowed to receive some handmade drawings. Prison officials had complained that inmates were getting the prescription drug Suboxone smuggled in via heavy, card-stock paper and hidden beneath stamps, stickers or layers of crayon drawings. The drug, which comes in a thin strip, is designed to treat heroin addiction but can also give users a high. The Department of Corrections then banned drawings, post cards and greeting cards.

Protest rally planned in St. Louis for 'white allies'

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:57:10 UT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Another protest is planned for Thursday evening in St. Louis, but this time, the demonstrators are expected to be largely white. Organizers have called a "White Allies Only" rally for 6:30 p.m. at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis. The demonstration is the latest of several since Friday, when a judge acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley, who is white, of first-degree murder in the death of a black man, 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Protest organizer Cori Bush said people of many races are upset and angry about the treatment of blacks in St. Louis. She said the rally will help drive that point home.

Seal with amputated flipper headed to Niagara Falls aquarium

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:52:55 UT

BRIGANTINE, N.J. (AP) — A harbor seal whose rear flipper had to be amputated after being struck by a boat has recovered and is headed to an upstate New York aquarium. New Jersey's Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine has been caring for the seal since it was found wounded on a beach in Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island earlier this year. The young male seal had cuts on its back and its rear flipper was nearly severed, requiring it to be amputated. The injuries make it nearly impossible for the seal to survive in the wild, so center staff arranged to send the animal to the Aquarium of Niagara in Niagara Falls on Friday. There it will join six other seals.

Maine judge to weigh death declaration for missing toddler

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:48:47 UT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine state police say they have uncovered no evidence that a missing toddler is alive after receiving more than a thousand leads about her 2011 disappearance. The toddler's mother, at a Thursday court hearing in Portland, asked that Ayla Reynolds be declared dead. An attorney for Trista Reynolds said the matter is now in a probate judge's hands. A declaration would allow a wrongful death lawsuit against the toddler's father. Ayla, who was 20 months old, was staying with her father, Justin DiPietro, in Waterville when she disappeared in December 2011, triggering a massive search. DiPietro didn't attend Thursday's hearing. The father told police he believes his daughter was abducted.

Tenants to get rent reimbursement for Harvey flooded units

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:44:02 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials are trying to determine how many public housing residents were wrongly told to pay rent this month for homes left uninhabitable by Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Chronicle reports that some residents at the Houston Housing Authority's Clayton Homes complex were told they'd lose their units if they didn't pay. The complex is one of the city's few subsidized developments. Houston Housing Authority President Tory Gunsolley initially said federal rules didn't allow the agency to waive rent, even in a disaster. But a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman later said tenants don't have to pay for uninhabitable units.

NTSB: Sleep apnea, speed cited in NYC-area train crashes

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:43:23 UT

The engineers of two commuter trains that slammed into New York City-area stations in the last year were both suffering from severe sleep apnea and have no memory of the crashes, according to investigative reports and interview transcripts made public Thursday. The National Transportation Safety Board said the common circumstances of the Sept. 29, 2016, New Jersey Transit crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, and the Jan. 4, 2017, Long Island Rail Road crash in Brooklyn warranted combining findings and recommendations in a single investigative report to be released early next year. Neither engineer had been diagnosed with sleep apnea before the crashes, according to the documents.

Texas official uses slur to describe prosecutors, apologizes

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:40:16 UT

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A city official in southern Texas has apologized for using a racial slur to describe two black assistant district attorneys. The Brownsville Herald reports that multiple social media users posted audio clips this week featuring Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar De Leon. The clips recorded him using slurs and derogatory language when referring to two district attorneys working for the Cameron County District Attorney's Office. De Leon says he's "very apologetic" for the profane language. He says the conversation was private and believes the discussion was recorded, edited and released by the person to whom he was speaking.

Feds subpoena docs from co-owners of failed nuclear project

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:37:28 UT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Federal authorities have subpoenaed documents from both companies that abandoned a multi-billion dollar nuclear power construction project in South Carolina, the utilities confirmed Thursday, signaling the first concrete evidence of a federal probe into the failure. In a notice posted on its website, SCANA said that officials were complying with the demand from the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina that the company and its subsidiaries produce documents related to the V.C. Summer project. "The subpoena requires the Company to produce a broad range of documents related to the project," SCANA officials wrote. "The Company intends to cooperate with the government's investigation.

Investigator: Nebraska inmate stabbed 130 times during riot

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:22:00 UT

TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — An investigator says one of two inmates killed during a Nebraska prison riot this year was stabbed more than 130 times. Violence erupted at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in March after inmates took over a housing unit. Police say the uprising was sparked by staff finding 150 pounds of alcohol made by inmates. Inmate Eric Ramos has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of one inmate, Michael Galindo. During a hearing in the case Wednesday, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Neal Trantham said Galindo died as a result of about 130 "sharp-force wounds" and inhaling smoke from a fire. Trantham says as many as 15 inmates attacked Galindo, but Ramos was the primary attacker.

South Korea urges North Korea to abandon nukes, seek talks

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:19:59 UT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Adopting a less confrontational stance than key allies, South Korea's president urged North Korea on Thursday to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue to prevent conflict breaking out on the divided peninsula. President Moon Jae-in voiced support for stronger sanctions in response to the North's recent weapons tests, but his tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's dark warning at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that North Korea would be "totally destroyed" if it attacked. Another U.S. ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed.

Cop on desk after violent arrest of man 'trying to help'

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:18:49 UT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — One of five Pittsburgh officers involved in a violent arrest recorded by a bystander and posted to Facebook has been assigned to desk duty, while the man he punched during the arrest says he was just trying to help police make another arrest. Officer Andrew Jacobs will be on desk duty until the city and the district attorney complete reviews of Tuesday night's arrest of 47-year-old Daniel Adelman, of Ravenna, Ohio, Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday. "Our police officers are trained to de-escalate situations," Peduto said in the statement. "We have zero tolerance for deviation to that standard." The other officers involved are working normally.