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





 



Rural California grapples with 'green rush' of pot growers

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:05:59 UT

COPPEROPOLIS, Calif. (AP) — The four young men had just started their marijuana harvest in rural Northern California when a dozen sheriff's deputies swooped in with guns drawn, arrested them and spent the day chopping down 150 bushy plants with machetes. "I could do this every day if I had the personnel," Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said during the operation near the Sierra foothills town of Copperopolis, about two hours east of San Francisco. Authorities this year have cut down close to 30,000 plants grown without permits in a county that is reconsidering its embrace of marijuana cultivation on the eve of statewide legalization. "There are just so many of them," the sheriff said of the illegal farms. "It's never-ending.



Suspect arrested after Texas trooper killed on the job

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 06:36:12 UT

FAIRFIELD, Texas (AP) — A Texas state trooper was shot and killed during a Thanksgiving traffic stop in East Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement on its Twitter account Thursday night identifying the trooper as Damon Allen, 41. DPS said Allen joined the department in 2002 and was married with three children. The agency also said it will file capital murder charges against Dabrett Black, 32, of Lindale, Texas. Allen was shot and killed before 4 p.m. Thursday during a traffic stop on Interstate 45 near Fairfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Dallas, according to DPS. The department said Allen was shot with a rifle and died at the scene. The suspect then fled.



Stores hope deals, excitement draw shoppers for Black Friday

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:05:52 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Stores are hoping deals and excitement bring shoppers to stores and to their sites for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But Black Friday has morphed from a single day when people got up early to score doorbusters into a whole season of deals, so shoppers may feel less need to be out. Some love the excitement. Others may just check their phones and go back to sleep. But the Thanksgiving weekend, when stores go all-out to attract shoppers, can be an indication of how well they'll do through the season. Some stores saw long lines and crowds as they opened Thursday, and.



Texas trooper killed during traffic stop; suspect in custody

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 04:46:03 UT

FAIRFIELD, Texas (AP) — A Texas state trooper was shot and killed during a traffic stop in East Texas on Thanksgiving. The Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement on its Twitter account Thursday night identifying the trooper as Damon Allen, 41. DPS said Allen joined the department in 2002 and was married with three children. The agency also said it will file capital murder charges against Dabrett Black, 32, of Lindale, Texas. Allen was shot and killed before 4 p.m. Thursday during a traffic stop on Interstate 45 near Fairfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Dallas, according to DPS. The department said Allen was shot with a rifle and died at the scene. The suspect then fled.



The Latest: Texas trooper killed during traffic stop ID'd

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 04:21:43 UT

FAIRFIELD, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the death of a Texas trooper (all times local): 10:15 p.m. The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the trooper who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in East Texas. DPS released a statement on its Twitter page identifying the trooper as 41-year-old Damon Allen. The agency says Allen joined the department in 2002 and was married with three children. The department also says it will file capital murder charges against the suspect, 32-year-old Dabrett Black. He was taken into custody Thursday night in Waller County, more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of where Allen was shot. Authorities say Black is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries following his apprehension.



Fund for helpful homeless man collects more than $280,000

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 04:04:44 UT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A fund set up to raise money for a homeless man who helped a woman when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia has collected more than $280,000. The GoFundMe campaign was started by Bordentown, New Jersey, resident Kate McClure this month after she was stuck along Interstate 95 and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. bought her some gas with his last $20. McClure says she didn't have money to pay him back but she returned to his spot several times in the following days to give him cash, clothes and food. She says she then started the fundraiser hoping to collect $10,000 to cover housing and other expenses for him. McClure says she wishes she "could do more for this selfless man.



Shoppers mobilize on Thanksgiving, as retailers branch out

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 01:28:33 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers are hitting the stores on Thanksgiving as retailers under pressure look for ways to poach shoppers from their rivals. As the holiday shopping season officially kicked off, retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy. But they're also looking beyond economic data and mapping out ways to pick up sales from other retailers as Amazon expands its reach. That can mean opening earlier than rivals on the holidays or even jumping into new product categories. So shoppers may find some surprises: toys and TVs at J.C. Penney, Barbies at Best Buy, kitchen appliances like wine refrigerators at B.J.'s.



Pilot found dead after crash had flown planes his whole life

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:22:05 UT

PITTSFORD, Vt. (AP) — A pilot found dead after a small-plane crash in Vermont has been identified as an 89-year-old Massachusetts man who had been flying planes his entire life. Police say Windsor, Massachusetts, resident Norman L. Baker was the only person on the four-passenger plane, which had been reported missing. Baker had been flying from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Middlebury, Vermont, 125 miles north. The 1966 Cessna plane is believed to have crashed Wednesday in Pittsford, Vermont, 25 miles south of Middlebury. The crash site was discovered Thursday by a landowner walking in a wooded area of his property. Police say the plane was heavily damaged and the pilot was found dead nearby.



Corrections officer severely hurt in Kansas City jail attack

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 23:04:26 UT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A jail inmate in Kansas City, Missouri, has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action after authorities say he attacked a corrections officer, critically injuring him. The Jackson County prosecutor's office says court documents show 20-year-old Johnny R. Dunlap attacked the officer with a plastic cone and other objects Wednesday night at the Jackson County Detention Center. The name of the officer, who is in a hospital as a result of his injuries, hasn't been released. The prosecutor's office says the officer was unconscious during most of the assault and he suffered fractured facial and nasal bones. Prosecutors want Dunlap's bond set at $250,000 for the attack.



Man freed decades after double killing that rocked LA suburb

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 21:56:35 UT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Simi Valley was a sleepy Southern California suburb in 1979, one frequently ranked near the top of surveys of America's safest cities — in large part because hundreds of police officers from nearby Los Angeles lived there. The city, however, was shaken when residents awoke on Nov. 11, 1978, to learn of the slaying of a 24-year-old woman and her 4-year-old son. Rhonda Wicht had been strangled and her son, Donald, smothered in his bed. Wicht's former boyfriend, Craig Richard Coley, was arrested on the same day police found the bodies and eventually convicted. For the next 39 years he steadfastly maintained that he had never killed anyone.



Thanksgiving feasts in Texas cater to refugees, the homeless

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 21:38:54 UT

DALLAS (AP) — Seven years ago, Samira Page and a small group of fellow refugees sat around her table where the guests experienced their first traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, the Iranian native invited about 400 refugees for the meal that has outgrown her home and become an annual event. "For some of these people, this is their first Thanksgiving. We have refugees who have been here less than a month. And we have some who have been here five years," said Page, founder and executive director of Gateway of Grace, a Christian outreach ministry for refugees. The guests at her feast are from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.



Loose pigs wander near interstate in Florida following crash

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 21:02:58 UT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida drivers are being warned to watch out for the possibility of escaped pigs on a busy interstate following a crash between two trucks that let the livestock loose. The Times-Union of Jacksonville reports that two semi-tractor trailer trucks were traveling south on I-95 in northeast Florida just before 4 a.m. when they collided. The Highway Patrol said one of the trucks carrying the pigs veered off the right side of the highway and overturned, spilling the livestock out onto the right shoulder. The second truck continued down the side of the highway and also partially rolled over. No one was injured and all lanes are open after efforts to corral the pigs.



Police: Officer killed man in robbery at gas station store

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:50:52 UT

PELL CITY, Ala. (AP) — Police say an officer fatally shot an armed man during a robbery at an Alabama service station. Pell City Police Chief Paul Irwin told local news media that 32-year-old Jackie Germaine Ragland was killed Thursday morning. Authorities say an officer who was responding to reports of a robbery found the armed suspect to be in the process of robbing the store at a Texaco. Irwin says the suspect ran toward the officer with a gun, prompting the officer to fire his gun and hit the suspect in the upper torso. Ragland was pronounced dead on the scene. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating the incident. Authorities have not released the races of those involved in the shooting.



Inmate taken for hospital treatment recaptured next day

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:34:09 UT

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in Ohio captured a corrections center inmate they say escaped custody after being transported for hospital treatment. Warren County Jail records show 31-year-old Robert Langford was arrested Thursday afternoon, some 17 hours after deputies were called Wednesday night. Deputies say he had escaped custody and ran away from Community Corrections Center staff at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. No details were available immediately on his arrest, within a few miles of the hospital. He was jailed without bond on a charge of escape. No attorney information was listed. It wasn't clear why he was taken to the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman says he hadn't been treated by any hospital staff.



Police documents detail grisly gang slaying in Maryland

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:23:47 UT

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — Police in Maryland say they have charged an alleged MS-13 gang member with first-degree murder in the death of a man stabbed more than 100 times. Montgomery County police say 19-year-old Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego was charged in the death of a man whose body was discovered buried in a park in Wheaton in September. The Post, citing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, said Lopez-Abrego is a citizen of El Salvador and is in the United States illegally. Police documents made public in a court hearing Wednesday and cited by the Washington Post say the victim was decapitated and dismembered. Court papers said the killers cut the victim's heart out and threw it in the grave.



Governor's staffer resigns after sexual misconduct claim

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:49:17 UT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A staff member in Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' office is denying any wrongdoing after being accused of sexual harassment. Johnny Anderson told The Associated Press that he resigned as deputy chief of staff for programs and planning to avoid becoming a "distraction" to the governor. Anderson said he is innocent of any wrongdoing and intends to fight the allegation. He said he is aware of only one claim. No specific allegation has been made public. Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Carbo was quoted by LaPolitics as saying that Anderson stepped down Wednesday. Carbo was quoted as saying that an investigation was continuing and that the governor has "zero tolerance" for sexual harassment.



3 get prison in strangling death of alleged overdose victim

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:11:12 UT

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Three people who pleaded guilty in the death of a man strangled with a pair of jumper cables and dumped over an embankment after an apparent overdose are headed to prison. Authorities say 20-year-old Preston Layfield and 23-year-old Tyler Mirabelli were sentenced Wednesday to 20 to 40 years in prison. The third defendant, 21-year-old Amanda Wayda, was sentenced to 15 to 40 years. Layfield pleaded guilty in August to third-degree murder, while Mirabelli and Wayda each pleaded guilty to third-degree murder as an accomplice. Authorities say the three drove 21-year-old Joshua Rose to Susquehanna County in August 2016 after the apparent overdose, and passed by a hospital. Rose was then strangled and his body was dumped.



Sheriff: Las Vegas shooting gunman fired over 1,100 rounds

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 18:13:35 UT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The top lawman in Las Vegas says the gunman who killed dozens of people at a concert last month fired more than 1,100 rounds. The newly released estimate from Sheriff Joe Lombardo offers more detail about the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Lombardo tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was aware of the previously unreported figure because his department's forensics lab is working with the FBI to process all ballistics evidence. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1 after he shattered windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino and unleashed withering gunfire at the music festival below before killing himself.



TransCanada: Over 24K gallons of oil recovered from spill

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 17:41:53 UT

AMHERST, S.D. (AP) — TransCanada Corp. says it has recovered more than 24,000 gallons of oil from the site of a pipeline leak discovered last week in South Dakota. The company said 24,450 gallons of oil had been recovered as of Wednesday. TransCanada's Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil on agricultural land in Marshall County, South Dakota. The company says there are roughly 170 people on-site working on cleanup and remediation. South Dakota officials don't believe the leak polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems. A TransCanada spokeswoman said Tuesday the cause of the leak won't be known until further investigation.



Auto museum may save McDonald's museum from demolition

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 17:32:49 UT

VOLO, Ill. (AP) — There may be hope for the doomed replica of a historic McDonald's hamburger restaurant after all. Upon hearing that McDonald's plans to demolish its museum in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines next month, the Volo Auto Museum in Lake County is exploring the possibility of picking up the entire structure and parking it at the auto museum. The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald reports that the auto museum has reached out to the burger giant to save the replica of the first McDonald's restaurant. Ray Kroc opened it in Des Plaines in 1955 after he franchised the brand from the original owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald. The auto museum in a Facebook post says it contacted McDonald's Corp.



Christie could be last caught on beach closed to the public

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 17:06:34 UT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Future New Jersey governors couldn't be caught like Gov. Chris Christie enjoying the July Fourth holiday on a state beach while it was closed to the public during a government shutdown under a proposal advancing through the Democrat-led Legislature. A Senate committee recently advanced the bill that would require state parks and beaches to stay open during government shutdowns. The measure already passed the Assembly without any opposition. The bill stems from a three-day government shutdown ahead of the July Fourth holiday when the term-limited governor and lawmakers failed to enact a budget by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.



Lead poisoning deaths up in New Hampshire loons despite law

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 17:05:50 UT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — More than year after New Hampshire passed one of the nation's toughest bans on using lead fishing tackle, loons are still dying from ingesting fishing weights and lures. The 2016 law prohibits the sale and use of lead tackle in the state as part of an effort to revive the state's loon population. But Loon Preservation Committee senior biologist Harry Vogel says eight loons have died this year from lead poisoning, up from two last year. "The day this law was passed, we knew we would continue to see lead-poisoned loons," Vogel said. "As long as Grandpa's old tackle box is in the dusty corner of the garage, some people will just put lead tackle on the line and continue to fish.



Medical transport plane crashes, report of engine fire

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:44:40 UT

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (AP) — A Maine hospital says authorities are investigating after a medical transport plane with a patient, paramedic and nurse crash-landed at the end of a runway. All three passengers and the pilot were taken to the hospital's emergency department for evaluation. Names and conditions of the four people onboard weren't immediately available. Aroostook Medical Center officials said in a news release the plane crashed at the Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque Isle at about 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. The hospital says early reports indicate the plane experienced an engine fire after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport when it lost power and landed short of the runway.



Housing for homeless man who found, returned $10K check

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:29:20 UT

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A homeless man in Connecticut who found a $10,000 check and returned it to its owner because he wanted to "do the right thing" has been rewarded with housing and a job interview. Fox 61 television reports that real estate agent Roberta Hoskie — who lost the check — has arranged for Elmer Alvarez to have a place to live and lined up an interview for him with one of her business partners. A grateful Alvarez was in tears Wednesday as he learned of his latest rewards for returning the check earlier this month. Hoskie had previously offered Alvarez free classes at her real estate school. Hoskie says she was once homeless herself.



Scientific Games: We'll offer to take over NYX if deal fails

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:28:56 UT

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two Las Vegas firms hoping to join forces and become a leader in the as-yet unapproved U.S. sports betting market are trying to outmaneuver a British rival as they scramble for position in what will likely be a multi-billion dollar market. Scientific Games has begun buying stock in NYX Gaming, which it agreed to acquire in September. However, British-based William Hill, which also owns stock in NYX, is threatening to block the deal, and wants to impose restrictions on what the newly merged company could do. On Tuesday, Scientific Games said it will begin a takeover bid for NYX should William Hill succeed in blocking the sale.



New police head appoints No. 2 amid leadership shake-up

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:19:11 UT

BOSTON (AP) — The new head of the Massachusetts State Police has appointed a deputy, shoring up the agency's leadership after a shake-up triggered by revisions to a police report about a judge's daughter. The state police said in a statement Wednesday that Col. Kerry Gilpin has elevated Lt. Col. Barry O'Brien to serve as her second in command. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Gilpin to run the agency after Col. Richard McKeon and his deputy, Francis Hughes, abruptly retired earlier this month. The two stepped aside amid accusations that McKeon ordered a trooper to scrub embarrassing information from a report to protect a judge and his daughter. Gilpin says her office is investigating.



Ex-boarding school students win lawsuit over mistreatment

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:18:35 UT

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge has awarded a default judgment to parents and former students who sued a southeast Iowa boarding school, alleging it used isolation boxes and allowed sexual harassment and abuse. Lee County documents say the owner of Midwest Academy, Ben Trane, and the other entities never responded to the lawsuit filed against them in March 2016. The judge granted the complainants' judgment motion last week. A hearing to establish damages will be held after Trane's criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 12. He's pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child endangerment charges.



Man shot by police leads officers on a high speed chase

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:16:17 UT

UNION, S.C. (AP) — Investigators say a man who was shot by a police officer led other officers on a high-speed chase through two counties in South Carolina. Union County Sheriff David Taylor said 29-year-old James Kershaw eventually pulled over, but deputies had to break his window to take him into custody after he lost a lot of blood. Authorities say Kershaw was shot in the shoulder around 2 a.m. Thursday during a struggle as Spartanburg police officers tried to remove him from a stolen car. He was also wanted on a parole violation. Investigators say Kershaw was able to drive off after being shot. WPSA-TV reports that Kershaw was released from the hospital and is now in the Spartanburg County jail.



US Marshals: Scammers pose as law enforcement officials

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 15:05:44 UT

CINCINNATI (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service is warning of nationwide scams by individuals claiming to be marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials. U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin says victims have lost thousands of dollars to scammers who tell them they failed to report for jury duty or committed other offenses. They often tell victims they can avoid arrest by buying a prepaid debit card and providing the card number to the caller. Tobin's statement says U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit, debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose He urges people across the country to report such phone calls to their local U.S.



Texans displaced by Harvey readjust plans for holiday feast

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:56:35 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — The kitchen where George and Arva Dorsey prepare an 18-dish feast every Thanksgiving has been stripped of everything but its granite countertops, standing on their own with no appliances below. The house they renovated and expanded over three decades has been gutted down to its wooden beams. Almost three months after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, killing more than 80 people and damaging at least 200,000 homes, the Dorseys and other families are celebrating Thanksgiving however they can. "We try to keep our head up, and we know that God is above all," said Arva Dorsey, sitting next to her husband in the dining room where they would have served Thanksgiving dinner.