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NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NATION

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POSTED June 16, 2014 7:58 p.m.

• BOY ACCIDENTALLY HANGS SELF FROM BASKETBALL NET: LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old North Carolina boy is in the hospital after he accidentally hanged himself on a basketball goal in his yard.

A news release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says the boy was outside playing basketball Sunday south of Lincolnton. His grandmother looked outside and saw him hanging from the goal netting. According to deputies, the goal was set about 5 feet off the ground.

Investigators say the boy’s father ran outside, cut away the netting, and began CPR. The boy was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln and then to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

A statement from the sheriff’s office Monday said the boy was in stable condition and alert.

 

• DEPUTY: FLORIDA MAN HID DRUGS UNDER ‘STOMACH FAT:  DELTONA, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida man who weighs about 450 pounds faces multiple charges after sheriff’s deputies say he hid cocaine and 23 grams of marijuana under his “stomach fat.”

According to a new release, a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle Friday after noticing that the passenger wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Officials say 42-year-old Christopher Mitchell told the deputy that he’s too big to wear a seatbelt. The deputy says he requested a drug-detecting dog because Mitchell and the driver appeared nervous. The dog detected the presence of drugs in the vehicle.

In addition to the drugs on Mitchell, deputies say they also found a handgun and $7,000 in cash in the vehicle.

 

• HOT AIR BALLOON PILOT DIES DURING LANDING MISHAP: KIMBERTON, Pa. (AP) — The pilot of a hot air balloon fell from the basket while trying to land in a field near Philadelphia and could not be revived after becoming trapped under it, authorities said Monday.

Jeff Hooten, 47, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died Sunday after the accident in East Pikeland Township, police said. None of the 10 passengers was injured.

Hooten was reaching to grab a rope to deflate the balloon when he fell, according to police Chief James Franciscus. The pilot was dragged after becoming stuck between the basket and the ground, Franciscus said.

People were performing CPR when officers arrived, but Hooten died later at a hospital, according to police.

A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said preliminary information indicated that Hooten fell out when the balloon bounced after a hard landing.

 

• DAD ARRESTED AFTER BABY FOUND CRAWLING ON GA. ROAD: CARLTON, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in northeast Georgia say the father of a 1-year-old girl found crawling along a highway has been charged with child cruelty, reckless conduct and obstruction.

A man driving along Highway 72 in Carlton called 911 after he spotted the girl and put her in his vehicle Friday.

Madison County sheriff’s officials say the girl’s father, 37-year-old Timothy Pickens, approached while deputies were investigating and was arrested after a scuffle.

The girl’s mother told authorities she and her husband left the house and their other children, ages 13, 9 and 5, were supposed to be watching the baby.

 

• WOULD-BE CAT RESCUER ENDS UP NEEDING RESCUE: ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in northwestern Pennsylvania say a woman who tried to rescue a cat from a tree ended up needing a rescue herself.

Firefighters in Erie say they brought a 28-foot ladder to help Tara Dennis get down from the branches on Sunday.

Residents said they heard the feline crying for the past couple of days. It’s not clear who owns the cat.

Dennis says she couldn’t stand by and do nothing. So, she scaled a fence, got on a roof and climbed onto a branch. She reached the animal, which she put in her shirt.

But the 21-year-old got stuck as she tried to come down. A neighbor called 911.

 

• POLICE: DAD KILLS WIFE, 2 KIDS ON FATHER’S DAY: MATOACA, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man shot his wife and their two young children to death on Father’s Day and then killed himself, police said.

Chesterfield County police said in a news release Monday that the night before, Barry C. Jernigan, 35, killed his 30-year-old wife, Renotta; his 9-year-old stepdaughter, Alexis F. Kellas; and 2-year-old son, Seth.

Officers went to check on the family at their home just after 10 p.m. Sunday when they heard gunshots and saw bystanders trying to help the mother and the boy outside, police said.

Barry Jernigan and his stepdaughter were found inside the small, white, ranch-style home with a plastic play set on the front porch and trampoline in the backyard. They and the mother died at the scene. The boy was pronounced dead at a hospital.

On Monday morning, neighbors tried to cope with the tragedy while standing near the house with two cars in the driveway that was surrounded by yellow police tape.

“It saddens me to think, Father’s Day, of all days; (you) go home and shoot your kids, really?” said next-door neighbor Cindy Nguyen, 29, whose husband and brother-in-law tried to help revive Renotta Jernigan. She had stumbled out of the front door Sunday before collapsing on the lawn. 

 

• FAMILY PREPARES TO BURY REMAINS OF KOREAN WAR POW: DRY RIDGE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky family is preparing to bury a Korean War soldier’s remains, which were recently identified through DNA testing.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the remains of Sgt. Paul M. Gordon will return to the U.S. on Tuesday and will be interred Friday at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown.

Gordon joined the Army in 1949. He was sent to Korea, where he died in a prisoner of war camp in 1951 at the age of 20.

Military officials said scientists used DNA from Gordon’s sister and brother to help make the identification.

According to other soldiers, Gordon was captured by the Chinese during a battle and taken to a POW camp, where he died.

 

• PILOT RECOUNTS BAILING FROM DAMAGED SKYDIVER PLANE: ST. LOUIS (AP) — Like in a scene from a James Bond movie, Shawn Kinmartin found himself with fast-dwindling options as he struggled to control a skydiving plane after a jumper’s parachute damaged the aircraft’s tail.

The 21-year-old pilot and college student wrestled the Cessna 182 away from populated areas toward farmland southeast of St. Louis and decided his only hope was bailing out — never mind that it was his first parachute jump ever.

“I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ But I knew it was the right decision,” Kinmartin told The Associated Press by telephone Monday, describing a shaky moment as he climbed out the plane door on Saturday, grabbed a strut and tumbled out at an altitude of more than 2,000 feet.

Kinmartin was being praised Monday for his poise during the ordeal that unfolded on his fifth flight that day with four clients of Fly Free Skydiving, where the son of an aircraft mechanic had worked for a few weeks out of an airport in Missouri’s Crystal City. Ultimately, the plane slammed harmlessly into a corn field, Kinmartin and the jumpers landed safely, and no one was injured.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the plane became disabled after the last skydiver’s auxiliary parachute accidentally deployed as the jumper left the plane. It damaged the portion of the tail section that controls the aircraft’s climb and descent.

 

• COURT STRIKES DOWN CALIFORNIA INITIATIVE LAW: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A divided federal appeals court panel on Monday overturned a California election law that requires sponsors of ballot initiatives to identify themselves on the petitions they circulate for signatures.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that compelling disclosure violates the First Amendment right to anonymous speech.

“The petition-proponent disclosure requirement is unconstitutional,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the 2-1 panel.

The appeals court cited two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that overturned Colorado’s requirement that signature gatherers wear badges and an Ohio law banning anonymous campaign leaflets.

The court said anonymity protects speakers from harassment and focuses voters on the issues rather than personalities. 

 

• ARCHBISHOP SPURNS APPEALS TO SKIP MARRIAGE RALLY: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco said Monday it’s his duty to proclaim “the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife,” even when those views are unpopular.

The comment by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone came in response to a coalition of liberal politicians, fellow clergy and gay-rights leaders who have urged him to skip an upcoming March for Marriage event in Washington,

Cordileone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subcommittee on the promotion and defense of marriage, is a scheduled speaker at Thursday’s march and rally sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and other groups opposed to same-sex marriage.

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