By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Nation news briefs
Placeholder Image

POLICE SAY DRIVER GETS 3 SPEEDING TICKETS IN HOUR: PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Traffic officers along Interstate 84 in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge say a lead-footed driver was in such a hurry to make a court date on a meth possession charge that he racked up $2,000 worth of speeding tickets in an hour.

Police say 34-year-old Jose Romero-Valenzuela of Las Vegas, Nev., was zooming west Wednesday morning and got pulled over three times — first at 105 mph, then at 98 mph and finally at 92 mph.

Police say the last ticket appeared to have an effect. Down the road a bit, a trooper set up watch and clocked him at the limit, 65 mph.

Besides fines and penalties, police say his license could be suspended for up to 90 days if he's found guilty on the citation alleging driving in excess of 100 mph.

Police confirm he was indeed scheduled for a court appearance later Wednesday in Oregon City, south of Portland.

'WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S'-LIKE CASE SUSPECTS SENTENCED: DENVER (AP) — Two men accused of driving their dead friend around the Denver area and running up a bar tab on his account have been sentenced.

Robert Young and Mark Rubinson were given two years of probation in connection with the death of 43-year-old Jeffrey Jarrett. They also must perform community service and pay restitution.

They had pleaded guilty to abusing a corpse, with Young also pleading guilty to identity theft.

Jarrett's family said Thursday the court could not give either defendant the punishment they really deserved.

Authorities said the two went to Jarrett's home in August and found him unresponsive. Instead of calling police, Young and Rubinson put him in a car and went out. They used his credit card to pay for drinks.

Young said he thought Jarrett was drunk, not deceased. Jarrett's death was deemed an accident.

NEW MEXICO MAYOR INDICTED IN BLACKMAIL SCHEME: SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — The newly elected mayor and the city manager of a troubled New Mexico border town have been indicted on charges related to a blackmail scheme involving a secretly recorded video of a mayoral candidate getting a topless lap dance.

The Dona Ana County district attorney's office says a grand jury indicted Sunland Park Mayor Daniel Salinas and Jaime Aguilera on Thursday. Both men are facing charges of extortion and tampering with evidence.

Salinas is free on bond. Aguilera remains in custody.

Salinas was the top vote getter Tuesday. The results will be canvassed Friday. His lawyer says he plans to file court motions that would allow his client to perform mayoral duties, despite the charges.

Salinas was barred from city hall after being accused of trying to force an opponent from the race with the secretly recorded video.

607 CAN CROW ABOUT SETTING ANIMAL-NOSE RECORD: GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A comedy festival in Michigan is pecking away at chicken-themed world records.

In 2011, organizers of Gilda's LaughFest in Grand Rapids set a Guinness World Record for the most rubber chickens tossed — 925.

On Thursday evening, 607 revelers packed a downtown city block and donned chicken beaks, clucking their way to the record for the most people wearing animal noses at a single venue.

Assuming, that is, the folks at Guinness World Records agree.

Organizers said those who braved the 30-degree temperatures wore the beaks for 11 minutes and 39 seconds, eclipsing the 10 minutes mandated by Guinness.

GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT PITT PSYCH CLINIC; 2 DEAD: PITTSBURGH (AP) — A man armed with two semiautomatic handguns entered the lobby of a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday and opened fire, killing one person and wounding several others before he was shot dead, apparently by campus police, the mayor said.

Six people were wounded by the man's gunfire, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. A seventh suffered unspecified injuries but wasn't shot, officials said.

The mayor stopped short of confirming the gunman was fatally shot by at least one University of Pittsburgh police officer who responded. But he confirmed "police acted admirably and did engage in gunfire."

"There's no doubt that their swift response saved lives today," Ravenstahl said.

Shooting witness Gregory Brant said he was in a waiting room on the first floor of the clinic building when pandemonium broke out Thursday afternoon.

"We heard a bunch of yelling, some shooting, people yelling, 'Hide! Hide!" he said. "Everyone's yelling, 'Stay down!'"

Brant, 53, and six other people, including a young girl and her parents, barricaded themselves inside the waiting room. But he said they did not feel safe because there were doors with windows along adjacent walls.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday that he wishes former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had done more after telling university officials about child molestation accusations against one of his assistant coaches.

Corbett also said in an interview with WPVI-TV in Philadelphia that he and his fellow Penn State trustees were right to fire the legendary Paterno last fall even though the coach met his legal obligation to report the allegation against Jerry Sandusky.

"I wish he would have followed up after he made that report," Corbett said Thursday.

A graduate assistant told Paterno in March 2002 that he had witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the university's athletic facilities. Paterno then relayed a version of that story to a Penn State administrator.

FULL TITANIC WRECK SITE IS MAPPED FOR 1ST TIME: SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Researchers have pieced together what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.

Marks on the muddy ocean bottom suggest, for instance, that the stern rotated like a helicopter blade as the ship sank, rather than plunging straight down, researchers told The Associated Press this week.

An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed after striking an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people.

Explorers of the Titanic — which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City — have known for more than 25 years where the bow and stern landed after the vessel struck an iceberg. But previous maps of the floor around the wreckage were incomplete, said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who consulted on the 2010 expedition. Studying the site with old maps was like trying to navigate a dark room with a weak flashlight.

The mapping took place in the summer of 2010 during an expedition to the Titanic led by RMS Titanic Inc., the legal custodian of the wreck, along with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Mass., and the Waitt Institute of La Jolla, Calif.