Teachers Can Carry Guns in Texas

August 15, 2008


A tiny Texas school district will allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting employees follow certain requirements.

The small community of Harrold in north Texas is a 30-minute drive from the Wilbarger County Sheriff’s Office, leaving students and teachers without protection, said David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District. The lone campus of the 110-student district sits near a heavily traveled highway, which could make it a target, he argued.

“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog,” Thweatt said in a story published Friday on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Web site.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland, Ohio-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.

Trustees approved the policy change last year, and it takes effect when classes begin this month. For employees to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, must be authorized to carry by the district, must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and must use ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricocheting bullets.

Officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change, Thweatt said. The district also has other measures in place to prevent a school shooting, he said.

“The naysayers think [a shooting] won’t happen here. If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them,” Thweatt said.

Texas law outlaws firearms at schools unless specific institutions allow them.

It isn’t clear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall, because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers.

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Woman Who Had Dogs Cloned Linked to Abduction Case in UK

August 15, 2008

A woman who made headlines by having five pups cloned and was linked to an abduction case in England is also wanted in Tennessee on charges she tried to plan a burglary in 2004, a defense attorney and prosecutors there said.

Joyce Bernann McKinney was charged in Carter County with criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failure to appear in court, said attorney David Crockett, who represented her in the Tennessee case. Authorities there said she instructed a 15-year-old boy to break into a house, and Crockett said she needed the money to buy a false leg for a beloved horse.

Crockett said Thursday he hasn’t heard from her since she skipped a court date, but after seeing television coverage of the cloning case, he’s certain she’s the same person known to the world as dog lover Bernann McKinney.

Prosecutors are reviewing charges against the 58-year-old McKinney to decide whether to pursue the case, said Melanie Widener, an assistant district attorney for the county in the northeast part of the state near the North Carolina state line.

“It’ll depend on where she is now, how important the case is, how much it would cost the taxpayers and whether witnesses are still around,” she said.

McKinney declined comment when reached by phone Thursday.

McKinney was arrested in November 2004 in Tennessee in a van with the 15-year-old, according to a Carter County Sheriff’s Department arrest report.

McKinney, then living across the state line in Avery County, N.C., needed money to help her three-legged horse, Crockett said.

“She loved it dearly,” Crockett said. “She was a rather bizarre character, and seems to have a strange circumstance now.”

He recalled that McKinney had two or three dogs in her car when she conferred with him about her case.

“There was a strong aroma about her, and I told her this needed to be taken care of before I went to court with her,” Crockett said.

McKinney made news around the world this summer when she had five pups cloned in South Korea from her beloved pit bull Booger.

She later confirmed she was Joyce McKinney, who in 1977 became a British tabloid sensation over the kidnapping case. She faced charges of unlawful imprisonment after she was accused of abducting a Mormon missionary in England, handcuffing him to a bed and making him her sex slave. She jumped bail and was never brought to justice.

“She is bold to put herself on worldwide television,” Crockett said. “She must know she’s a fugitive in at least one state.”

Article by Joe Edwards

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Woman Jailed After Young Daughter Drove Her to Bar

August 15, 2008

A 35-year-old Texas woman has been jailed after police say she made her 12-year-old daughter drive her to a bar.

Police in Longview say they watched a minivan turn into a driveway without signaling on Wednesday and bump into a home at a low speed. They say the car was driven by Jennifer Lynn Rosenberg’s daughter.

Police say the girl told an officer she had just dropped her mother off at a bar. They say they found Rosenburg at the bar and that she admitted having her daughter drive her there.

Rosenburg remains in the Gregg County Jail on a $2,500 bond. A jail official declined to say whether she had an attorney.

A spokeswoman for Child Protective Services told the Longview News-Journal that the agency is investigating.

*** Above photograph is NOT the above-mentioned 12-year old.

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Cop Sentenced 30 Days For Getting a Phone Number from Woman

August 14, 2008

A former part-time Pennsylvania police officer has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for pulling over a woman while he was off duty – just to give her his phone number. Steven Klinger, 32, was charged with official oppression, or acting outside his authority as an officer.

Police said he used red and blue lights mounted on the dashboard of his pickup truck to pull over a woman in Berwick in eastern Pennsylvania in April 2007. The woman became suspicious when he began asking her if she was married or had a boyfriend, police said.

Klinger was also sentenced Tuesday to three additional days in jail and fined $1,000 for driving drunk in July 2007. Police said he had a blood-alcohol level of .40 percent, five times the legal driving limit.

Klinger last worked for the Dallas Police Department in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is currently unemployed.

He apologized for his actions, and told the judge he had checked into treatment for alcohol abuse.

** The above photo is NOT related to the above story.

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British Man Banned From Seeing Girlfriend Due to Loud Sex

August 14, 2008

A British man has been banned from visiting his girlfriend’s home after neighbors complained about noisy sex, a local government official said Thursday.

Adam Hinton, 32, was barred from getting within 100 meters (110 yards) of his 29-year-old girlfriend Kerry Norris’ apartment by a British court Wednesday, Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman Mike Taggart said.

Residents of Norris’s publicly-owned home had been complaining since 2006 about thumping music, banging headboards, and screamed obscenities, Taggart said. He added that a young child had been traumatized.

“There was a 6-year-old child who was subjected to the sort of obscenities you wouldn’t want a 6-year-old to hear,” Taggart said, adding that Norris also sunbathed naked in her yard in full view of passers-by.

“She is a classic nightmare neighbor,” he said. “There’s a salacious, smutty side to this case. But it’s not about sex, it’s about allowing your neighbors to have a normal decent life without being disturbed.”

Taggart said the city council in the southern English community sought the injunction banning Hinton from the apartment because Norris had ignored a previous court order demanding that she be more quiet.

Last week, Norris was forced to pay 300 pounds (US$560) in fines and court costs for breaking “noise abatement order,” Taggart said.

Neither Norris or Hinton could be located for comment.

Article by Raphael G. Satter

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High Gas Prices Forcing People To Urinate in Bottles

August 8, 2008


Police say there’s been an alarming rise in urine-filled plastic containers found along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon.

A litter crew for the Oregon Department of Transportation picked up an estimated 200-300 urine filled plastic bottles, along the highway, about half of which were found in a short stretch dubbed “Three Mile Hill.”

Police say that drivers – particularly commercial trucks – are typically driving very slowly through the area.

Police think the price of fuel may be causing drivers to travel slower than normal to save fuel while at the same time passing rest areas or truck stops.

Under Oregon law, improperly disposing of human waste is a misdemeanor which can carry a fine of up to $250.

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Marine Ordered to Stand Trial For Killings in Fallujah

August 8, 2008

A Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah, Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland ordered the court-martial of Sgt. Ryan Weemer after finding there was sufficient evidence to send him to trial.

Weemer is one of three current and former Marines accused of breaking rules of engagement and killing four men they had captured after a platoon commander radioed to ask whether the Iraqis were “dead yet.”

A telephone message left by for Weemer’s attorney, Paul Hackett, was not immediately returned.

The killings happened in November 2004 during the invasion of Fallujah, one of the fiercest ground battles of the Iraq war.

The case came to light in 2006, when Weemer volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a polygraph screening that included a question about the most serious crime he had ever committed.

Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., is charged with one count of murder and six counts of dereliction of duty encompassing failure to follow the rules of engagement in Fallujah and failing to follow standard operating procedures for apprehending or treating detainees or civilian prisoners of war.

Helland’s decision to order the court-martial follows an Article 32 hearing, similar to an evidentiary hearing, where prosecutors argued that Weemer, a burly 25-year-old honored with a Purple Heart, should be tried for unpremeditated murder because he knew the rules of engagement forbade harming anyone in his custody.

During the hearing last month, prosecutors played a tape recording of the Secret Service interview where Weemer recounted arguing with his squadmates about what to do with the detainees – all military-age males captured in a house where weapons were also found. The squad was under pressure from the platoon to get moving.

Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. David Griesmer said Weemer next faces arraignment on the charges at Camp Pendleton. A date has not been set.

Weemer’s attorney has put much of the blame on Weemer’s former squad leader, saying Jose Nazario Jr. escalated the situation inside the house by beating one detainee with the butt of a rifle after the weapons cache was found.

Nazario, 27, of Riverside, Calif., has been charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two captives. The former sergeant is scheduled to be tried Aug. 19 in federal court because he has already completed his military service.

Another Marine, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, 26, of New York, is slated to be court-martialed in December on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty for his role in the alleged killings.

Article by Chelsea J. Carter

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