US probes destruction of rare birds' nest at port

SAN FRANCISCO - The Port of San Francisco is under federal investigation after workers apparently destroyed a rare birds' nest on a crane near Pier 80.

KPIX-TV reported federal Fish and Wildlife authorities are trying to determine whether the workers violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law that makes it illegal to destroy an "active" raptor's nest during mating season.

The nest was the Bay Area home of a pair of rare ospreys, which were once near extinction.

Last year, the port agreed to shut down the crane to allow the ospreys to nest. After about six months, port workers put reflectors and wires on the crane and took other steps to keep the birds from returning.

Potrero Hill naturalist Eddie Bartley says he spotted workers destroying the nest two weeks ago.


State considers honor for shelter dogs, cats

DENVER - Shelter cats and dogs would become Colorado's official state pets under a bill that has won initial approval in the state Senate.

The bill approved Wednesday would give the honorary title to draw attention to adopting cats and dogs. The pet designation comes because Colorado already has an official animal, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Colorado also has a state bird, the lark bunting, and an official fish, the green cutthroat trout.

The pet designation passed on an unrecorded voice vote. Some senators complained that the designation is a distraction from more important matters facing Colorado. But sponsors pointed out that the measure was proposed by schoolchildren and sends a positive message about caring for animals.


Filipino official to mark Bataan Death March

HONOLULU - Veterans Affairs officials say the consul general of the Philippines plans to host a Day of Valor ceremony to honor World War II veterans.

The ceremony on Tuesday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific will honor Filipino and American soldiers.

Officials say the ceremony hosted by Consul General Julius Torres will mark the date when U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced on the Bataan Death March. Nearly 10,000 people died during the 66-mile march.


House-passed bill would legalize switchblades

TOPEKA - The Kansas House has sent Gov. Sam Brownback a bill making it legal to own switchblades and stiletto-type knives.

The vote was 95-26 on Thursday, a day after the measure cleared the Senate.

The Wichita Eagle reported switchblades and stilettos would still be banned at schools, jails and juvenile corrections facilities

Some House Democrats expressed concerns. Jim Ward, a former Wichita prosecutor, said switchblades were banned decades ago because they were used mostly by gangs and criminals. Ward says the potential for harm from the weapons outweighs any good from legalizing them.

But proponents said switchblades can be useful for emergency workers, farmers and others who need to open a knife with one hand while holding something with the other.


Lamborghini for sale; seized from trafficker

RENO - Looking for a fast sports car with low miles?

Sheriff's deputies in Reno may have a deal for you.

A 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo that originally retailed for $180,000 is going up for auction April 23 at a Washoe County sheriff's sale of property seized from a convicted drug trafficker.

Detectives also seized more than $170,000 in cash, a Yamaha motorcycle and a 2006 Mercedes Benz from James Monts in February 2011. He was convicted last year on charges of selling marijuana in Reno, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

The Lamborghini has only 12,000 miles on it. The district attorney's office said in a news release that it has a 5.0-liter engine with 493 base horsepower and goes zero to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds.

new mexico

Vets to be hired to fight wildfires

SANTA FE - New Mexico plans to hire 40 military veterans to serve as firefighters during the upcoming wildfire season as part of a pilot program by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.

The governor said Monday the veterans will be trained and form four crews to fight wildfires across the state.

New Mexico is bracing for a difficult fire season because of lingering drought conditions.

State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said the military veterans will be in addition to about 250 seasonal firefighters the state typically hires. Starting pay is $17.40 an hour, and some firefighting training starts next week.

Ware said crews of military veterans could be assigned to help fight fires outside New Mexico after the wildfire season ends in the state.


House names pecan as state's official pie

AUSTIN - The House has formally named the pecan pie Texas' official state pie.

Wednesday's ceremonial resolution doing so was sponsored by first-year Rep. Marsha Farney, a Republican from Georgetown, north of Austin.

Since it was her first bill, Farney underwent a few minutes of gentle hazing after introducing the measure on the House floor.

One of Farney's colleagues razzed: "Do you have a recipe?" Another wanted to know if she was saying "too bad to the apple pie," which some say is America's official pie.

They also asked for amendments that only Texas pecans be used in pecan pies statewide, and that it formally be declared illegal to include chocolate when baking one.


Ban on cellphone use for young drivers OK'd

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has approved legislation to impose a $25 fine and a ticket on teens who talk on the phone while driving.

The law makes it a misdemeanor for 16- and 17-year-olds to talk and drive.

It would not apply to teens using a phone to reach out to parents or authorities in an emergency situation.

If teens were to violate the rule and receive a ticket, that ticket would not count against them in points on their driver's license.

Opponents of the measure said the regulation would be an unnecessary government overreach and doesn't address other concerns about distracted driving.

The governor's office announced his approval of the measure on Wednesday. The law is set to take effect May 14.

The Associated Press