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POSTED October 2, 2013 9:40 p.m.

THE REAL CAPT. PHILLIPS GETS HERO'S WELCOME IN VT. : WILLISTON, Vt. (AP) — The captain of the American cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates four years ago returned home from sea to another hero's welcome — this time for a sneak peek of the Tom Hanks movie about the ordeal.

"Captain Phillips" got an early screening Tuesday night at a benefit in Richard Phillips' home state of Vermont ahead of its national release in theaters on Oct. 11.

Phillips got a rousing standing ovation after he addressed the packed theater. He said the movie was entertainment but the benefit showing was an opportunity to raise money for a Champlain College scholarship in honor of a 2012 graduate who died. The event also gave him a chance to honor the military and say thanks to his crew and Vermont community, who he said helped him and his family in a time of need.

"The military — they are the true heroes in my story," said Phillips, who was introduced by former Gov. Jim Douglas.

Hanks plays Phillips in Paul Greengrass' docudrama adapted from the captain's memoir about the April 2009 hijacking. The actor kept Phillips' beard and eyeglasses in the movie, but he didn't speak with the merchant ship captain's strong New England accent.

Phillips spent five days as a hostage of Somali pirates on a lifeboat after the Maersk Alabama was hijacked. He was beaten, tied up and threatened before he was rescued days later by U.S. Navy SEALs, who shot three of the pirates.

Before the screening, he said he never felt empathy for the Somali pirates.

MASS. WOMAN CHARGED WITH TAKING SON'S SCOUT MONEY: LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman accused of embezzling from a nonprofit for special needs children is now facing allegations of stealing about $350 her son had raised for his Boy Scout troop.

Lashanta Magnusson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to larceny over $250 and was released on personal recognizance.

Prosecutors say the 35-year-old Tewksbury woman took $349 her son had raised for his troop by selling popcorn and then wrote a check to the Boy Scouts, which bounced.

Magnusson is the former treasurer of the Tewksbury-based Friends of Special Education Kids. Authorities say she was previously charged with using the group's ATM cards for gas, groceries and other personal expenses totaling more than $5,100.

GOVERNMENT  REIMBURSES MAN FOR 'MUTT-ILATED' CURRENCY: HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who painstakingly gathered and reassembled parts of five $100 bills eaten by his golden retriever has been reimbursed by the U.S. Treasury for the "mutt-ilated" currency.

Wayne Klinkel of Helena received a $500 check on Monday, the Independent Record reported.

"It was great to get the check after all the crap I went through," Klinkel, a graphic artist at the newspaper, joked.

His 12-year-old dog, Sundance, downed all but half of one of the bills in December. Sundance, a rescue from a Wyoming animal shelter, snacked on the cash left in the family vehicle while Klinkel and his wife ate at a restaurant, but left a $1 bill untouched. They were on a road trip to visit their daughter in Colorado.

Klinkel carefully picked through the dog's droppings over the next few days to recover parts of the bills and his daughter recovered more when the snow melted in the spring.

Klinkel cleaned and carefully reassembled the bills, put them in plastic bags and sent them to the U.S. Treasury in April with an explanation.

He got a receipt for the bills 10 days later, and didn't hear from the Treasury until he received the check.

BIRTHDAY CAKE ATTACKED IN WASH. COURTHOUSE: KELSO, Wash. (AP) — A woman in Washington state brought her child's birthday cake into a courthouse, thinking that would be safer than leaving it in the car with her dog. She realized her error when a stranger grabbed and ate handfuls of the cake.

The chocolate cake passed through a metal detector and was sitting on a table when it was attacked.

Cake and frosting went flying when a Cowlitz County sheriff's deputy grabbed the cake molester and took him to the ground. Deputies rushed to help Tuesday, only to end up smeared with frosting.

Deputy Joe Connor told KATU-TV that 50-year-old Robert Fredrickson was arrested for investigation of third-degree theft. The Daily News says the man had been on his way to a court appearance.

A local grocery offered to replace the cake.

GROUP FILES SUIT TO STOP BARRED OWL SHOOTING: GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An animal rights group has sued to stop the federal government from killing thousands of barred owls in the Northwest to see if that will help the threatened northern spotted owl turn around its population declines.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., by Friends of Animals.

It claims the plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill 3,600 barred owls violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The group's attorney, Michael Harris, says the act requires that any killing of birds for research must benefit the bird that is killed, and in this case the experiment benefits another bird, the spotted owl.

The agency did not respond to a call for comment due to the government shutdown.

 

BIEBER WON’T BE CHARGED FOR ALLEGED THREAT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Bieber won't face criminal charges for allegedly threatening a neighbor who complained about his driving.

City News Service says Los Angeles County prosecutors decided Wednesday that there's insufficient evidence to charge the pop star.

A neighbor in Bieber's gated Calabasas neighborhood told a sheriff's deputy that Bieber threatened him and spat in his direction when he confronted the 19-year-old about his driving last March.

Prosecutor Alan Yochelson wrote in a document that Bieber's response seemed "immature" but not necessarily criminal.

He also said there's not enough evidence to charge Bieber over a neighbor's complaint that Bieber drove his Ferrari recklessly through the area in May. Yochelson said it's unclear who was at the wheel.

Messages left for Bieber's representative, Melissa Victor, weren't immediately returned Wednesday.

 

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