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POSTED January 25, 2012 8:27 p.m.

J.C. PENNEY GETS RID OF HUNDREDS OF SALES: NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney is permanently marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40 percent so shoppers no longer have to wait for sales to get bargains.

Penney said Wednesday that it is getting rid of the hundreds of sales it offers each year in favor of a simpler approach to pricing. Starting on Feb. 1, the retailer is rolling out an "Every Day" pricing strategy with much fewer sales throughout the year.

The plan, the first major move by Apple executive Ron Johnson since he became Penney's CEO in November, is different from Wal-Mart's iconic everyday low pricing. Unlike Wal-Mart, Penney's goal isn't to undercut competitors, but rather to offer customers more predictable pricing.

"Pricing is actually a pretty simple and straightforward thing," Johnson told the Associated Press during an interview ahead of the announcement at the company's Plano, Tex. headquarters. "Customers will not pay literally a penny more than the true value of the product."

Penney's plan comes as stores are struggling to wean Americans off of the profit-busting bargains that they have come to expect in the weak economy. The move is risky, though, because shoppers who love to bargain-hunt may be turned off by the absence of sales.

NM MAN WHO PULLED OWN TOOTH IN JAIL AWARDED $22M” ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal jury has awarded $22 million to a New Mexico man who was kept in solitary confinement for two years and forced to pull his own tooth after being arrested for drunken driving in Dona Ana County.

Civil rights attorney Matt Coyte said the jury awarded Stephen Slevin, 58, the damages Tuesday after a six-day trial in Santa Fe.

Jess Williams, spokesman for Dona Ana County, declined comment other than to say the county plans to appeal.

"We have believe we have strong legal issues to raise with the appeal," he said.

Slevin was arrested while driving through the southern New Mexico county in August 2005. He ended up in solitary confinement because he was suffering from depression and someone checked a box on a form indicating he was suicidal, Coyte said.

Slevin was given some drugs for depression but never saw a mental health professional, Coyte said. He said his client wrote letters for months seeking help, but they were ignored.

2 NM MEN GET PRISON FOR BRANDING MAN WITH SWASTIKA: SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two New Mexico men have been sentenced to prison for branding a swastika on the arm of a developmentally disabled Navajo man.

Federal prosecutors say 27-year-old Paul Beebe and 25-year-old Jesse Sanford, of Farmington, entered Alford pleas in July to federal hate crime charges. Under the plea, a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction but does not admit guilt.

Beebe was sentenced Wednesday to 8 1/2 years in prison followed by three years' supervised release. Sanford was sentenced to five years in prison

The 22-year-old victim had a swastika branded on his arm with a metal coat hanger in April 2010.

GINGRICH VOWS TO ESTABLISH A COLONY ON THE MOON: COCOA, Fla. (AP) — Newt Gingrich is promising to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2020 if he's elected president.

Gingrich, the former House speaker, told an overflow crowd gathered on Florida's space coast Wednesday that he wants to develop a robust commercial space industry in line with the airline boom of the 1930s. He also wants to expand exploration of Mars.

The pronouncements appeared to thrill the crowd of roughly 700 people. Florida's space coast is still suffering from a recent round of federal cuts to the space program.

But how would Gingrich pay for it?

The Republican presidential contender says he wants to offer prizes to help stimulate investment by the private sector.

FAMILY OF US COUPLE MISSING IN WRECK STILL WAITING: WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (AP) — The children of a Minnesota couple missing in the Italian cruise ship disaster say the waiting has become "an extreme test" of their patience.

In a blog posting Wednesday, the children of Jerry and Barbara Heil (hyl) of White Bear Lake, Minn., say they "so badly want Mom and Dad found" so they can be brought home.

Rescuers have found 16 bodies, with 17 people still unaccounted for. The Heil family says it's received no notification that the couple have been found.

DICK TUFELD, VOICE OF 'LOST IN SPACE" ROBOT, DIES: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Tufeld, a radio and TV announcer best known as the voice of the robot in the 1960s television show "Lost in Space," has died. He was 85.

Mt. Sinai Memorial Parks says Tufeld died Sunday at home in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

Tufeld's career included announcing for the 1950s radio show "Space Patrol." He also worked on hundreds of commercials, sports and news programs and TV shows ranging from "Zorro" to "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

However, Tufeld is perhaps best known for voicing the "Lost in Space" robot, whose warnings of "Danger, Will Robinson!" became a catchphrase.

 

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