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POSTED April 10, 2013 10:33 p.m.

DEVICE TO SCARE BIRDS CAUSES GUARD BASE LOCKDOWN: JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — After a report of gunfire, Air National Guard officials locked down a Mississippi base on Wednesday, but the noise thought to be shots turned out to be a device used to scare birds away from an airport runway, authorities said.

The lockdown of the base in Flowood, a Jackson suburb, also prompted Gov. Phil Bryant to return from an event on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It also prompted area law enforcement officers and first responders to rush to the scene.

A Madison police officer assigned to a federal task force was in a car accident on the way to the base, but was not seriously hurt, said Madison's assistant police chief, Robbie Sanders.

Adding to the confusion, the 172nd Airlift Wing had been preparing for a drill this week that would have simulated a gunman on the base.

The unit is near the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and uses the airport's runways.

Tim Powell, a Guard spokesman, said the airport uses a firing mechanism that makes noise to scare away birds.

Birds are hazardous to aircraft. Perhaps the most well-known bird strike in the United States happened in 2009 when a flock of geese brought down US Airways Flight 1549 and the captain safely landed the jet in the Hudson River.

NY, NJ AREA CARDIOLOGIST ADMITS RECORD $19M FRAUD: NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A cardiologist with offices in New York and New Jersey has admitted taking part in a scheme that subjected thousands of patients to unnecessary tests and treatment and resulted in $19 million in bogus bills, what authorities call the largest case of health care fraud ever by a practitioner in either state.

Dr. Jose Katz pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Katz founded Cardio-Med Services LLC and Comprehensive Healthcare & Medical Services.

Prosecutors say he falsely diagnosed most of his Medicare and Medicaid patients with coronary artery disease and debilitating angina so he could treat them unnecessarily. They say he even prescribed treatment in cases in which doing so subjected the patients to risk of injury or death.

Katz is scheduled to be sentenced July 23.

SHERIFF: KNIFE ATTACK AT TEXAS COLLEGE WAS RANDOM:  CYPRESS, Texas (AP) — A man accused of stabbing more than a dozen people at a suburban Houston community college chose his victims at random, authorities said Wednesday, going from one floor to another as he used a razor utility knife to slice people in the neck and face.

Neighbors and the grandmother of Dylan Quick were at a loss to explain the attack on the Lone Star Community College campus in Cypress — an attack that authorities say the 20-year-old had fantasized about for years. All 14 of the people who were injured were expected to recover.

"To me he's just always been a good kid, loving. He's close to his family. He's close to his mother and father," Dolores Quick, his 85-year-old grandmother, said in a telephone interview from her home in Dearborn, Mich. "It's just really torn me up. I'm just so sad for everybody."

She said she doesn't see her grandson on a regular basis, but that she talked to him on the phone every so often.

Officials at the school and people who lived in Quick's middle class neighborhood described him as well-liked and friendly, but also withdrawn.

NJ DINER MANAGER ACCUSED OF PLOTTING KIN'S MURDER: TOTOWA, N.J. (AP) — The manager of a popular New Jersey diner who felt he wasn't getting his fair share of the profits tried to have a hit man kill his uncle, who co-owns the restaurant and a second diner in New York City, authorities said Wednesday.

Georgios Spyropoulos, the 45-year-old manager of the Tick Tock diner in Clifton, asked an undercover trooper posing as a hit man to kill Alexandros Sgourdos and to get rid of the body so it couldn't be found, authorities said.

The 57-year-old uncle also manages the other Tick Tock diner, a popular tourist spot across the street from Penn Station, in Manhattan.

Authorities said Spyropoulos resented the control his uncle exerted over the New Jersey restaurant, which was featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network show, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." They said he also felt his uncle was taking an unfair share of the profits.

"I think it's an understatement to say they weren't close," Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa told a news conference.

Spyropoulos was being held in lieu of $1 million bail on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. A message was left for his attorney.

Chiesa said investigators believe Spyropoulos was motived by greed and wanted to steal a large amount of cash that his uncle kept in a safe.

TEXAS BILL CRIMINALIZING AIRPORT PAT-DOWNS IS BACK: AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A contentious proposal to criminalize excessive touching by agents during airport security pat-downs returned Wednesday to the Texas Legislature, along with concerns that the federal government could ground all flights into and out of the state if it ever becomes law.

The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on a bill by Rep. David Simpson of Longview that would make intentionally touching travelers' private parts by security officials illegal without probable cause.

The tea party Republican introduced a much-ballyhooed measure in 2011 making it illegal for anyone conducting searches to touch travelers' privates, even though clothing, while prohibiting searches considered offensive "to a reasonable person."

That bill passed the full House but died after federal officials threatened to close all Texas airports amid concerns that Transportation Security Administration personnel could face criminal charges just for doing their jobs.

Simpson promised to renew his efforts when the biannual Legislature opened in January, though his new proposal is somewhat softer. It clarifies that security agents must be deliberately touching inappropriately rather than doing so incidentally during pat-downs.

 

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