UNIV. OF ND WILL USE FIGHTING SIOUX NICKNAME: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota resumed using its contentious Fighting Sioux nickname Wednesday even though it triggered NCAA sanctions, leaving some fans weary of the seven-year fight over a moniker that critics believe is demeaning.
A law requiring the school to use its longtime nickname and logo, which shows the profile of an American Indian warrior, was repealed eight months after it took effect last year in a bid to help the university avoid NCAA sanctions. But ardent nickname supporters filed petitions with more than 17,000 signatures late Tuesday, demanding that the issue be put to a statewide vote.
As part of that process, the law — which the university, the state Board of Higher Education and local lawmakers oppose — temporarily goes back into effect. An NCAA spokesman said Wednesday that means the school won't host championship events, and its athletes will be barred from wearing uniforms with the nickname or logo in post-season play.
"As soon as that petition was filed last night, the law reverts," University President Robert Kelley told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I don't want to violate the law."
Still, the decision frustrated fans and alumni who have watched the fight drag on since 2005, when the NCAA prodded 19 schools to get rid of American Indian nicknames, logos and mascots that it considered "hostile and abusive" to Indians. The University of North Dakota is the only school left where the issue is in serious dispute.
WASHINGTON STATE LAWMAKERS PASS GAY MARRIAGE BILL: OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state lawmakers voted to approve gay marriage Wednesday, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The action comes a day after a federal appeals court declared California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, saying it was a violation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples.
The Washington House passed the bill on a 55-43 vote. Supporters in the public viewing galleries stood and cheered as many on the Democratic side of the House floor hugged after the vote.
SHERIFF: FACEBOOK SPAT LED TO 2 SHOOTING DEATHS: MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (AP) — A father who was upset after a Tennessee couple deleted his adult daughter as a friend on Facebook has been charged in the shooting deaths of the couple, authorities said Wednesday.
The victims had complained to police that Marvin's Potter's daughter was harassing them after they deleted her as a friend on the social networking site, Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said Wednesday.
Potter, 60, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in last week's slayings of Billy Payne Jr. and his girlfriend, Billie Jean Hayworth. The couple was shot to death in their Mountain City home in the far northeast corner of the state. Their 8-month-old baby was found unharmed in Hayworth's arms.
SEARCH FOR BODIES ON AT SERIAL KILLER'S OLD LAND: SAN ANDREAS (AP) — Investigators are looking for bodies on a property in rural Calaveras County that used to belong to the parents of a convicted serial killer.
Deputies fruitlessly searched the same area in December, and it was unclear what prompted them to return on Wednesday.
Authorities have been engaged in a strange cat-and-mouse game with the death row inmate Wesley Shermantine, who repeatedly has promised but failed to reveal the location of bodies.
Shermantine and his childhood friend Loren Herzog are suspected of murdering up to 25 people during a methamphetamine-fueled spree that lasted until their arrests in 1999.
After Herzog committed suicide last month, Shermantine agreed to say where he buried one of the four people he was convicted of killing.
The Sheriff's Department would not say if Shermantine was at the scene of the new search.