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

KUTCHER TO PLAY STEVE JOBS IN BIOPIC: LOS ANGELES (AP) — He's already a titan of social media, so it only makes sense that Ashton Kutcher would play the late Apple founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming biography.

Kutcher's publicist confirmed Tuesday that the independent film "Jobs" will begin production in May while he's on hiatus from the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men." Variety first reported the casting news.

The 34-year-old actor, who has over 10 million Twitter followers, will portray Jobs through his rise from hippie to hugely revered technological entrepreneur as the co-founder of Apple. Jobs died last October after a long battle with cancer.

LOOPHOLE IN LAW LET TEEN DRIVE BIG RIG IN CRASH: JORDAN, Minn. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a semi pulling a box trailer converted into a recreational vehicle when the 57,000-pound rig crashed through a guardrail and into a Kansas ravine, killing five of the 18 people on board.

Adam Kerber's driver's license wouldn't have allowed him to drive a commercial vehicle like that because of its weight and because it was carrying more than 15 people. But neither of the restrictions applied because of a loophole in Minnesota state law regarding private RVs.

The thirteen injured in the crash including Kerber, who was still in critical condition Monday. All those injured or killed were friends or members of the Kerber family.

The crash happened about 9 a.m. Sunday as the family returned from an annual motocross vacation in Texas. Their Freightliner cab and Haulmark trailer broke through a guardrail on Interstate 35 in Kansas and plunged into a ravine. Kerber and another teen were the only people wearing seatbelts.

A neighbor familiar with the trailer said he didn't believe it even had seatbelts, which aren't required in Minnesota other than in a vehicle's front seat.


A sheriff in Illinois is turning to kings, queens and rooks to help teach inmates at his jail not to behave like pawns.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart launched a chess program at the county jail in Chicago. The law enforcement officer, known for making unusual moves in the name of justice, hopes inmates can take what they learn from a game that rewards patience and problem-solving and apply it to their own lives.

"We see it day-in and day-out that people want instant gratification and that often individuals do not think before they act," Dart said Monday. "Thoughtless actions will hurt you while playing chess and hurt you more on the street."

TEACHER'S AIDE SAYS SHE'S SUSPENDED OVER FACEBOOK: CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (AP) — A teacher's aide in Michigan says she's been suspended for refusing to allow bosses to see her Facebook page.

Kimberly Hester last year posted a picture of a co-worker's pants around her ankles and a pair of shoes. She says it wasn't done at work.

Hester was a teacher's aide at an elementary school in southwestern Michigan but worked for the intermediate school district that serves Cass County. She says Superintendent Robert Colby asked to see her Facebook page but she declined, asserting privacy.

 Hester got a letter saying the district would "assume the worst and act accordingly."

ONLINE GRAPHIC WARNS OF AL-QAIDA RETURN TO NYC: NEW YORK (AP) — A mock movie poster warns al-Qaida wants to return to New York City, but authorities say there's no evidence of an actual threat.

Investigators learned about the online amateur graphic on Monday. The graphic shows the Manhattan skyline at sunset with "Al Qaeda" in bold type followed by "Coming Soon Again in New York."

Al-Qaida has been blamed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne says an overseas, Arab-language Internet site posted the graphic on its "artwork and design" page. He says the NYPD has been monitoring the site.

INTEREST IN 1940 US CENSUS PARALYZES WEBSITE: NEW YORK (AP) — Interest in the newly released 1940 U.S. census is so great that the government website with the information was nearly paralyzed shortly after the records became available to the public for the first time.

Miriam Kleiman, spokeswoman for the U.S. National Archives, told The Associated Press that the site registered more than 22 million hits in just four hours on Monday, from almost 2 million users. In a tweet posted after 5 p.m. on its official Twitter account, the archives said the website had received 37 million hits since the information was released at 9 a.m.

The government released the records for the first time after 72 years of confidentiality expired.

COUPLE HELD IN STARVING DEATH OF TEXAS BOY, 11: DALLAS (AP) — The father and stepmother of a missing 11-year-old boy were in custody Monday after Dallas police accused them of starving the child to death, perhaps as long as a year ago, by locking him in his bedroom and feeding him "military rations" as punishment, authorities said.

Johnathan Ramsey's father, Aaron Ramsey, and stepmother, Elizabeth Ramsey, were charged with felony injury to a child.

According to police records, Aaron Ramsey confessed to limiting the boy's meals to bread, water and sometimes milk, and confining him to his bedroom in the family's Dallas home. The boy eventually stopped being able to walk and began to eat his own feces, police said.

Johnathan was found lying on the bedroom floor in August, according to the records. Aaron Ramsey told detectives he changed his son into his favorite T-shirt, placed him into a sleeping bag and inserted a dryer sheet to mask the smell of his body, the records said. He eventually left the boy's body in rural Ellis County, south of Dallas, the records said.