The sun goes down near Phoenix as this hot-air balloon does likewise, ending its sortie Friday into the clear desert air.


New Jersey

US: Scam financed $16M in art purchases

NEWARK - The massive trove of artwork arrived in New Jersey last year from Texas on an 18-wheeler - its contents a mystery.

After five days of inventory, the haul proved to be significant: more than 1,100 pieces of art, mostly works by some of the nation's most influential photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston.

By the end of an investigation, authorities had seized more than 2,200 works of art appraised at nearly $16 million.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark announced a Feb. 22 court filing that alleges the artwork was purchased with money collected in a scheme that sold fake credits for renewable energy.

The complaint seeks to force the owner to forfeit the works.


Insurer off the hook over Sandusky crimes

HARRISBURG - The insurance carrier for the children's charity founded by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky doesn't have to cover his criminal or civil legal costs related to acts of child sexual abuse, a judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane said Sandusky was not acting as an employee or executive of The Second Mile when he abused and molested boys.

The judge ruled in favor of Warren, N.J.-based Federal Insurance Co., which had brought the case against Sandusky. The decision related to paying for his lawyers follows the judge's earlier ruling that the insurer wasn't on the hook for judgments against him.


Two strokes of luck save falling toddler

SPOKANE - A toddler who jumped on a bed and bounced out a second-story window was saved Friday by his mother, who leaped behind him, caught his foot and lowered him safely to his grandmother who was having a smoke on the porch below, police said.

The mother was just getting out of the shower when she saw the 14-month-old boy, who had been jumping on the bed, trip on a pillow and fly out the half-open window, Police Communications Director Monique Cotton said. The mother smashed through the window and caught him by a foot as his head bounced on a small roof overhanging the front porch.

The grandmother heard the breaking glass and was in the right place at the right time to catch the baby before the mother fell into some bushes. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of cuts and a shoulder injury, Cotton said.


Judge freezes lottery's disputed $9.5M prize

INDIANAPOLIS - A judge barred the state lottery commission from awarding a $9.5 million prize Friday pending a decision on whether the jackpot should be given to a hairstylist or shared between her and her colleagues.

Seven stylists at Lou's Creative Styles in Indianapolis say the winning Hoosier Lotto ticket for the Feb. 16 drawing was part of an office lottery pool. Christina Shaw insists she bought the ticket for herself.

Marion Superior Court Judge Heather Welch issued a preliminary injunction to stall payment until the legal battle has been resolved.

Wire reports