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





 



Storm damages more than 30 homes in small Texas city

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:53:10 UT

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Authorities say at least 30 homes have been damaged when a severe storm rolled through parts of Texas. A tornado warning after Green Bay's victory over Dallas in an NFC divisional playoff kept some fans and players inside AT&T Stadium for more than hour after the game.



Man stabbed during party at university chancellor's home

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:26:20 UT

Police have not revealed the circumstances surrounding the stabbing or said whether they have any suspects. On Sunday, they urged anyone who attended the house party or has information about what happened to contact investigators.



Central US Ice storm falls short of dire forecasts

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 01:28:52 UT

Much of the region remained under an ice storm warning on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as stretches continued getting pelted by rain, often in areas where temperatures hovered around freezing. In Kansas near Kansas City, two troopers escaped injury when their vehicles were struck while working a crash along northbound Interstate 635. [...] in central Nebraska, authorities believe icy conditions contributed to a fiery crash involving two tractor-trailers shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 80, forcing a three-hour closure of 15 miles of Interstate 80. The Nebraska State Patrol urged motorists to use extra caution as the freezing rain made several roads dangerous to travel. The storm prompted the NFL to move the AFC divisional playoff game in Kansas City between the Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers to Sunday evening to allow more time to treat roads and parking lots at Arrowhead Stadium. Hours before that game, rain that continued falling didn't dampen the tailgating that was in full swing outside of Arrowhead, where a gray tarp covered the field and hot air was being pumped under the tarp to keep the turf warm.



Attorney General Lynch: 'We have always pushed forward'

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:13:20 UT

(AP) — Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her final speech as head of the Justice Department, praised the work of the Obama administration to advance the dream of justice and said worries of difficult days ahead should be a call for action, not despair. The Obama administration this week named the church and other Birmingham civil rights landmarks as a national monument. Lynch praised the work of the Obama administration and the Justice Department fight voting restrictions and prosecute hate crimes and to urge community policing tactics. Lynch said the justice department has when, deemed necessary, investigated law enforcement departments for unconstitutional practices and policies and worked for reforms "because every American deserves to see law enforcement as a guardian, not a threat." Lynch said she recognized the anxiety that some have about what is ahead, referencing Trump without saying his name. [...] I have seen the concerns that the voting booth will be moved out of reach, that our hearts will close along with our borders, that a prayer in a different tongue or posture will place one at deadly risk.



Poodle reunited with owners after crash in eastern Montana

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:14:40 UT

The Miles City Star (http://bit.ly/2jUkc8X) reports that lost dog ads ran in the newspaper and area radio stations asking people to keep an eye out for the dog. More than a week after the crash on Jan. 6, Glendive teacher Charles Phipps spotted him about a half-mile from the crash site and called authorities who managed to get the dog into a patrol car.



Man on FBI's 10 most-wanted list arrested in Texas

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:58:03 UT

Man on FBI's 10 most-wanted list arrested in Texas EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A man placed on the FBI's list of 10 most-wanted fugitives after authorities said he killed two men in Milwaukee was arrested Sunday in Texas, the FBI said. The FBI in El Paso and the El Paso Police Department arrested Strickland early Sunday morning during a traffic stop.



Official: Kids hurt in deadly Baltimore house fire improving

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:44:22 UT

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore fire official says two young children who were injured in a massive house fire last week that killed six of their siblings are improving. Fire Department spokesman Chief Roman Clark said Sunday that the girl and boy, ages 4 and 5, have been upgraded from critical condition to good condition.



Utah State Prison bans just 2 books, both on manipulation

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 22:15:57 UT

Prison officials were concerned they could instruct inmates how to negatively manipulate people, librarian Christie Jensen said. [...] the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prohibits more than 15,000 titles, including a biography of Oprah Winfrey and a collection of Shakespeare's love sonnets, according to Texas Civil Rights Project report. Anna Brower Thomas of the Utah American Civil Liberties Union called the prison's ban on the two titles arbitrary. Sex offenders also are barred from other works, mostly short stories, that could clash with their rehabilitation.



Few Asian-Americans hold top legal jobs, new study says

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:44:41 UT

[...] Asian-American representation on other state courts, the federal bench and among the country's top prosecutors is similarly scant. Liu became a law professor and associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley, before President Barack Obama nominated him in 2010 for a prestigious federal appeals court seat. Two percent of almost 10,300 state trial and appellate court judges who were surveyed were Asian-American. — Asian-Americans were the largest minority group at major law firms but had the highest attrition rates and lowest ratio of partners to associates among all racial groups. The study surveyed more than 600 Asian-American lawyers, and their responses pointed to factors that may serve as barriers. Many respondents said Asian-American attorneys were considered hard-working and responsible, but far fewer said the legal profession associated them with empathy, creativity or assertiveness. Liu encourages law students to develop their confidence and identity through public speaking and "break from what came" before them, though he warns that the weight of stereotypes might not go away.



Eddie Long, megachurch pastor embroiled in scandal, dies

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:14:04 UT

Long died Sunday after battling cancer, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, said in a statement to multiple media outlets. Long was also known for his flamboyant lifestyle, as he flew around the world on a private jet, drove around metro Atlanta in a $350,000 Bentley and lived in a $1.4 million house with six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. Scandal erupted in 2010, when four young men filed lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct, bringing notoriety to his church that reached far beyond its 10,000-seat cathedral at its home base in Lithonia, Georgia, just east of Atlanta. Long's lavish lifestyle was a focal point in the lawsuits, which accused him of seducing the young men into sexual relationships in exchange for trips, clothes and cars.



3 Nevada Democrats want ex-senator statue out of US Capitol

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:13:03 UT

(AP) — Three Democratic congressional representatives are asking state lawmakers to act to remove a statue of former Nevada senator from the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, alleging that he left a "legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia." Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen raised their objections to the statue of former Sen. Patrick McCarran in a letter this week to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford and Assembly Speaker-designate Jason Frierson. Even before his retirement after 34 years in Congress including 10 years as Democratic party leader, Reid's name has been floated for the airport.



The Latest: 11,000 without power in Oklahoma after ice storm

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 20:48:52 UT

A winter storm that brought sleet and freezing rain to parts of the central U.S. has left more than 11,000 electric customers without power in Oklahoma, nearly all in northwest Oklahoma. Lehenbauer said as some power is restored, the ice that's bent tree limbs begins to melt and the limbs snap back into place, sometimes knocking down additional power lines. Pictures of the crash show the trucks on fire along the road, but the Nebraska State Patrol says no one was hurt. Ice accumulations of one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch appear likely, making driving dangerous and threatening to bring down tree limbs and power lines. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Thay Torres-Ocacio of Guymon, Oklahoma, died after the sport utility vehicle in which he was riding went out of control on an overpass and eventually overturned several times. Icy roads Saturday created dangerous conditions and travel headaches for many people who avoided authorities' pleas to stay indoors.



Boston's archbishop joins Vatican office on clergy sex abuse

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 20:25:40 UT

The Vatican's press office announced Saturday that Pope Francis named Cardinal Sean O'Malley the newest member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which enforces church teachings and also judges sex abuse cases. O'Malley was appointed Boston's archbishop in 2003 after Cardinal Bernard Law resigned in the wake of a clerical sex abuse scandal.



Love it or hate it, people have opinions on the circus

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 20:22:37 UT

(AP) — Reaction to news that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was closing after 146 years — from saddened celebrities to elated animal rights advocates — flew as fast as a flying trapeze. The reasons cited for the closure were falling ticket sales, high operating costs, changing public tastes in entertainment — and prolonged battles with animal rights groups. Actress and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson wrote, simply: "It's over!" And Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, claimed victory. Laurice Marier, a 45-year-old entertainment production manager, said she rushed out to buy tickets for the Orlando show on Sunday. Marvin Freeman of Orlando, who bought tickets for Sunday's show, had adored the elephants before they were removed from the show in 2016 following costly years of litigation with animal rights groups. [...] you could be down in the first row and the ground would bounce up and down, you could smell it and say, here they come!



Head of DC National Guard asked to stay through inauguration

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:11:15 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The departing head of the District of Columbia National Guard says he was asked to stay in his job a bit longer after reports that he would leave in the middle of Inauguration Day ceremonies generated negative attention. Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz told The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/2iqYd9t ) for a story published Saturday that President-elect Donald Trump's transition team asked him to continue for a few additional days after initially ordering him to step down just after Trump is sworn in.



Mayor on park wall-sitting ban: 'Sit where you want'

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 18:55:54 UT

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that neighbors packed a meeting four months ago complaining about loitering, homeless people and pot smoking. The walls are popular places to sit at lunchtime, especially in warmer months as benches fill with office workers and area residents.



SC teen abducted as a Florida newborn meets birth parents

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 18:04:28 UT

SC teen abducted as a Florida newborn meets birth parents Kamiyah Mobley met her birth parents on Saturday at the police department in Walterboro, the South Carolina city where she was raised under a false name, multiple media outlets reported. A massive search and thousands of tips produced nothing until DNA evidence proved Mobley's lineage.




Chicago police officer fatally shoots fleeing gunman

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 17:08:54 UT

CHICAGO (AP) — A police officer confronted by a fleeing gunman suspected of shooting three people fatally shot the man early Sunday, Chicago police said. Officers were on routine patrol in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the city's West side when they heard gunshots and began chasing a 34-year-old man, police said. The report found police had violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, including by frequently using excessive force, shooting at people who did not pose imminent threats and using stun guns on others only because they refused to follow commands.



Nowhere left to run away to: The final days of the circus

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 15:40:08 UT

On Saturday, officials of the company that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it will close in May, ending a 146-year run that dates back to a time before automobiles or airplanes or movies, when Ulysses S. Grant was president and minstrel shows were popular entertainment. Costly court battles with animal rights activists that led to an end to elephant acts — and the fact that some people didn't want to see a show without elephants. Some of the early performances were merely zoos on wheels and a few human oddities, but over time, the acts became truly spectacular — attractions like Jumbo, touted as the world's largest elephant. Sprawling companies traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals. Deborah Walk, assistant director of legacy and circus at The Ringling — circus impresario John Ringling's mansion, art and circus collection in Sarasota — said that the circus' impact on small town America is often overlooked. When the circus came to town, kids dreamed of running away to join it and its ever-changing roster of stars: the sad-faced clown, Emmitt Kelly; the daredevil trapeze act, the Flying Wallendas; Gunther Gabel-Williams, blond-maned and fearless in the ring with the big cats. The circus was so important to home-front morale that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Ringling Bros. special permission to use the rails during World War II. Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds. Animal rights activists put pressure on cities where the circus toured. In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year legal battle over allegations that circus employees mistreated elephants. The Feld family, which bought the circus in 1967, has branched out and bought and created other large-scale touring



What you need to know now about the upcoming tax season

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 14:03:24 UT

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, known as the PATH Act, requires the IRS to withhold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. The affected refunds will start being released on Feb. 15 but they may not arrive in bank accounts until the week of Feb. 27, as it will take more time for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds. Anyone filing a tax return with an expired ITIN could experience return processing and refund delays, as well as denial of some tax benefits until the number is renewed. ITINs are used by people who have tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number.



The bald and the bold: Eagles' resurgence comes at a price

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 14:01:36 UT

They have come back so strong that in some areas, they are interfering with efforts to preserve more jeopardized species, such as loons and cormorants, wildlife biologists say. Federal protections mean farmers can do little to keep them away, said Ken Klippen, a poultry scientist and former farmer who heads the National Association of Egg Farmers. Bald eagles were chosen as an American symbol in 1782 and underwent a steep decline in the early and middle 20th century, pushed to the brink of extinction by pesticides, habitat loss and indiscriminate hunting. [...] action came in the form of federal protections, including the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prevents almost everyone from so much as disturbing the birds and still stands today. In Maine, where the breeding population of great cormorants is small and efforts to save them are underway, the bald eagles are a problem, said Chris DeSorbo, director of the raptor program at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland. [...] predation is to be expected because bald eagles are apex predators, said Mark McCollough, an endangered species biologist with the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. The birds are continuing to come back because of protection of wetlands, the increase in water quality and reforestation of farmland, said Geoff LeBaron, a Massachusetts ornithologist and the director of the Audubon Society's annual Christmas bird count event.



Secret WWI telegram holds lessons for today, historians say

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 13:11:38 UT

The message's publication — and Germany's resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare — was the culmination of a series of events that drew the United States into the war. Today, the U.S. intelligence community says Russia hacked Democratic groups during the presidential campaign to help Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. "The greatest strategic threat the U.S. faces is the general ignorance of the past and how the past is with us every day," said David Kohnen, interim executive director at the U.S. Naval War College Museum. Cox focused on how many people refused to accept the telegram's authenticity because it didn't fit with their preconceived notion of reality, which he said is a reminder of the importance of driving misinformation and rumor out of political debate.



What happens between now and Ringling's closure in May?

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 03:23:24 UT

(AP) — The owners of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs are the reasons for closing. A handful will be placed in positions with the company's other shows — it owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, among other things — but most will be out of a job. Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld said the company will help employees with job placement and resumes. In some cases where a circus employee lives on the tour rail car (the circus travels by train), the company will also help with housing relocation.



US midsection grapples with pesky ice storm; more on way

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 02:51:25 UT

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Interstate 40 was closed in two places in western portions of the state because of wrecks, including the jackknifing of several semitrailers in icy conditions in Caddo County. State troopers in Missouri and other affected states were pressing motorists to limit travel to only necessary outings, allowing road crews the space to treat the slippery mess. A slick roadway was suspected in a Missouri wreck Friday that killed a 33-year-old woman whose sport utility vehicle slid on an icy freeway overpass south of St. Louis and struck several trees. The storm's onset prompted the NFL to move the AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and host team the Kansas Chiefs to Sunday evening to allow more time to treat roads and parking lots at Arrowhead Stadium.



The Latest: Man dies after wreck on icy Oklahoma interstate

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 02:21:29 UT

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a man has died after a wreck on Interstate 40 in western Oklahoma. The storm that began hammering the region Friday pressed into Saturday, slowing traffic and forcing cancellations of sporting events and, in Missouri, prison visitations. In Oklahoma, the Highway Patrol says Interstate 40 had to be closed in two places in western portions of the state because of wrecks. States across the nation's midsection are bracing for another round of winter storms expected to add to thick ice that already has glazed roads, grounded flights and prompted class cancellations. The storm that began hammering the southern Plains and Midwest on Friday dumped freezing rain and was suspected in a fatal wreck in Missouri, where long stretches of freeways were ice-covered. In Kansas, the state's National Guard was mobilizing in advance of Saturday's storm, designating roughly 200 guardsmen to patrol key roads and help motorists stranded by icy conditions.



Protests erupt as far-right speaker returns to UC Davis

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 01:15:51 UT

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/2ixVEkb) Yiannopoulos stood on a picnic table Saturday at the campus quad and used a megaphone to decry Friday's cancellation of planned speeches by him and former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. Yiannopoulos then walked through the campus, followed by supporters and a loud group of counter-protesters chanting, No Milo.



Airport shooting highlights nexus between mentally ill, cops

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:53:58 UT

(AP) — Just weeks before a gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale's airport, authorities said he walked into an FBI office in Alaska, telling agents the government was controlling his mind and that he was having terroristic thoughts. "A lot of resources, time and effort are all put into dealing with mentally challenged people and trying to sort through that type of information to find out what's valid," said Pat O'Carroll, former supervisor with the Secret Service and executive director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Law enforcement says each hotline tip and visit is documented, but there is usually no record of whether someone appears to be mentally ill because authorities don't have the expertise to make that determination and don't want to stigmatize people. Law enforcement officials and mental health experts agree the nation's crumbling mental health system has exacerbated the problem, often making officers de facto crisis counselors. Sometimes those suffering with mental illness fixate on law enforcement and government agencies, creating constant intersections between the two. "If the way we responded to heart attacks was to hospitalize people, save their life and discharge them after three or four days with no follow-up care, we'd have a lot of people dying and not recovering and that's in essence what I think we have with our mental health system," said Ron Honberg, senior policy advisor for the advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness.



Protesters across US decry Trump's anti-immigrant stance

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:40:10 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Protesters gathered Saturday to support immigrant rights at rallies around the U.S., denouncing President-elect Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his pledges to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and to crack down on Muslims entering the country. In Chicago, more than 1,000 people poured into a teachers' union hall to support immigrant rights and implore one another to fight for those rights against what they fear will be a hostile Trump administration. Ron Taylor, pastor of a Chicago-area Disciples for Christ Church and executive director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, told the audience there, "Regardless of what happens in the coming days we know that good will conquer evil and we want to say to each and every one of you, you are not alone." The Washington crowd urged Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress not to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, aimed at helping people like Kim who were brought to the country as children. Dr. Bassam Osman, chair and co-founder of The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, elicited one of the loudest cheers from the crowd when he called out the president-elect by name in an opening prayer: "Lord, this land is your land, it is not Trump's land." [...] many immigrants are fearful of the campaign rhetoric but less motivated to protest in the absence of specific actions.



The Latest: Hundreds rally for immigrants in Los Angeles

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:14:42 UT

Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the group is putting the Trump administration on notice "that we're not going to sit idly by while he destroys our community." More than 1,000 people poured into a teachers' union hall in Chicago to support immigrant rights and implore each other to fight for those rights against what they fear will be a hostile Trump administration. The Saturday rally attracted leaders from various religious faiths, ethnic groups and human rights organizations. A standing-room-only crowd has packed a historic African-American church in Washington for one of dozens of rallies around the nation supporting immigrant rights. Speakers denounced President-elect Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and his pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.



Warrants: Teacher shot by Mankato officer was high on drugs

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:45:52 UT

(AP) — Court documents show that investigators suspect a biology teacher from the Twin Cities area was high on multiple drugs when he was fatally shot by a Mankato police officer who responded to a disturbance at a hotel. According to the warrants, a friend, Willard Pierce, told investigators he was with Tuseth at a bar until closing time. While police were en route, the female employee reported that Tuseth removed his shirt, came behind the front desk and started throwing things. According to investigators, officer Gary Schnorenberg, a 30-year veteran, encountered Tuseth in a hallway and, after successfully using a stun gun, was trying to handcuff Tuseth when Tuseth broke free and began hitting and kicking the officer.