College boards opt out of campus gun law
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas' two largest university systems voted Thursday to ban faculty and staff members from carrying concealed handguns on campus, joining a growing number of schools in the state opting out of a new law allowing the firearms.
The University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University system boards voted unanimously to opt out of the new law, which leaves the decision on concealed weapons up to colleges and universities. Arkansas Tech University's board also voted to keep concealed weapons off its campuses in Russellville and Ozark.
At least nine other schools around the state have voted to opt out of the guns on campus law, which Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law in March.
ASU's board voted to remain gun-free after the chancellors of its four campuses recommended the system opt out of the new law.
UA System President Donald Bobbitt also recommended its 11 campuses opt out of the gun law after consulting with law enforcement and campus leaders
Prosecutor aids feds in judge investigation
A southwestern Illinois judge was booted Thursday from his docket of hundreds of cases because he's under an unspecified federal investigation apparently aided by the county's top prosecutor.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley said in court motions that he has filed complaints against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial-discipline regulators including the Illinois Supreme Court, citing the probe of the Cook, who has been on the bench since 2007.
Without elaborating about the nature of the investigation, Kelley said his office "has actively assisted in and advanced" it, resulting in federal authorities' raiding Cook's Belleville home and his cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.
That cabin, near the Mississippi River in Pleasant Hill, about 65 miles northwest of St. Louis, was where newly appointed St. Clair County judge Joe Christ, 49, died in March on a reported duck-hunting trip. Circumstances about Christ's death haven't been divulged, though Pike County's coroner told The Associated Press he anticipated closing the death investigation within days.
Teacher convicted of abusing student
WATERLOO - A jury on Friday convicted a former Waterloo teacher of engaging in inappropriate behavior with a student involving spanking and strip video games.
A Black Hawk County jury took less than two hours to determine Larry Twigg, 55, was guilty of five misdemeanor counts of lascivious acts with a minor, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
The jury needed to determine if Twigg's actions were sexual when he coerced a 17-year-old student to do several bizarre acts in 2009 and 2010 to make up for missed class assignments. The acts included having the student climb into a bath at Twigg's home, and Twigg's pouring chocolate syrup, other dessert ingredients and eggs on him.
The student testified that Twigg, a former computer teacher at Waterloo West High School, also spanked him and forced him to play strip video games.
The newspaper reported that Twigg told school administrators he wanted to shake up the student because of his declining grades.
City fails again in try to delay police reform
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge refused to delay implementation of an agreement calling for major reforms of the New Orleans Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan's Friday decision came a day after she rejected the city's request to vacate the agreement it reached last year with the Justice Department
Mayor Mitch Landrieu initially hailed the agreement as a much-needed document to guide reforms. But he now says the city cannot afford the potential costs of the police pact and a separate agreement that Sheriff Marlin Gusman made for reforms of the city-funded jail.
The city is appealing Morgan's refusal to vacate the police agreement. Morgan, in refusing to delay its implementation, said the city hasn't shown that it is likely to win that appeal.
Dearborn pays $300K in missionaries' arrest
DEARBORN - A Detroit suburb paid $300,000 to a group of Christian missionaries arrested in 2010 at an Arab cultural festival.
The Detroit Free Press reported Friday that it learned the previously undisclosed amount of money through a public-records request it filed with Dearborn.
The settlement came with an apology to four members of a group called Acts 17 Apologetics. They said their rights were violated when they were arrested at the Arab International Festival.
They were later acquitted.
The American Freedom Law Center sued the city on behalf of the group.
Dearborn, which has large Arab and Muslim populations, must post an apology on its website for three years and take other steps.
Mayor John O'Reilly said the apology allows the city to move forward.
Students pay tribute to landslide victims
ST. LOUIS PARK - Students at a St. Louis Park elementary school gathered around a makeshift memorial filled with stuffed animals and flowers on Friday as they mourned two classmates who died in a landslide during a field trip to a Mississippi River park.
Meanwhile, the city of St. Paul announced it has hired a civil engineering firm to see if it can determine the cause of the landslide that killed 10-year-old Mohamed Fofana and 9-year-old Haysem Sani and injured two other students.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton attended the tribute to the fourth-grade boys at Peter Hobart Elementary School on Friday, and offered condolences to students, staff and parents.
A-10 from Whiteman clips power lines
WARRENSBURG - A low-flying military jet from a western Missouri Air Force base clipped several power lines, but officials said no injuries were reported.
The Springfield News-Leader reported the A-10 Thunderbolt II jet from Whiteman Air Force Base hit several power lines on Wednesday afternoon.
Danielle Johnston, spokeswoman for the Air Force Reserve's 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman, said the plane hit the power lines near the unincorporated town of Bona, about 30 miles northwest of Springfield where the lines cross the southeast arm of Stockton Lake.
Crews have been working to mark the area with buoys to keep boaters away from submerged power lines.
2 accused of tossing water balloons at cars
LANCASTER- Two 18-year-olds were arrested for tossing water balloons from a car, causing damage to at least three other vehicles.
The Grant County Sheriff's Department said it began receiving calls on Tuesday about objects that were being thrown from a car on Highway 11 in Jamestown and Hazel Green townships.
Officials caught up with the teens and determined they threw more than 80 water balloons at vehicles or pedestrians.
The water balloons caused cracked windshields on three vehicles.
The Associated Press