Inmate's toilet-paper appeal is rejected

CONWAY - A federal appeals court says the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office did not violate the constitutional rights of an inmate by issuing him only one roll of toilet paper per week.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said for-mer Sheriff Karl Byrd and others did not violate the rights of inmate James Stickley, who was held in the county jail for six months in 2010 as he awaited trial.

Stickley sued the sheriff, arguing the jail's policy to issue one roll of toilet paper every Wednesday - and forcing an inmate to do without if he or she ran out - amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights.

The appeals court disagreed, finding that Stickley went without toilet paper for only a "limited time."


$15M loan to replace Chicago water mains

CHICAGO - The city of Chicago is getting a $15 million low-interest loan to help replace aging drinking-water mains and pipes.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Chicago will receive the loan from the state's $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative. That program helps local governments overhaul aging water and sewer plants and replace outdated pipelines.

Chicago will use the money to replace about seven miles of drinking-water pipes, some of which are more than 100 years old. Frequent water-main ruptures have caused water outages, basement flooding and even a sinkhole that an SUV fell into in 2011.

Officials say Chicago's project will support hundreds of jobs. Emanuel said the city has a goal of replacing 88 miles of water mains each year for the next decade.


Nat'l Guard to help with inauguration

JOHNSTON - Soldiers and airmen from the Iowa National Guard have been assigned to help with President Obama's inauguration.

The National Guard announced that about 120 soldiers and airmen will assist federal, state and local agencies with the Monday event. Duties will include transportation and attendee management.

The soldiers and airmen are expected to be on duty for eight days, which includes personnel readiness and travel.

Officials say about 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 25 states and territories will help during the presidential inauguration period.


Man, 53, robbed during online date

MANDEVILLE - Man-deville police say a couple are accused of robbing a 53-year-old man at knifepoint while the victim and one of the suspects were together after arranging a meeting on an online dating website.

The Times-Picayune reported 23-year-old Kasi Lynn Ferguson of Belle Chasse and 22-year-old Blaise Thomas Pertuit of Westwego were arrested and charged with one count each of armed robbery.

Lt. Gerald Sticker said Ferguson and the victim arranged a meeting through the online dating website

Sticker said Ferguson and the victim were sitting in the man's car at about 1 a.m. Sunday when Pertuit arrived and pulled the victim from the car at knifepoint.

He said the couple beat and robbed the victim.

Sticker said police found the victim's watch and camera at Ferguson's home.


US customs agents give boy a new dog

DETROIT - A Canadian boy distraught since the family dog ran off during a U.S. customs check in Detroit is the proud owner of a new pooch.

The Detroit Free Press reported an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection delivered the new dog to 9-year-old Joseph Wilcken.

The Waterloo, Ontario, family's previous dog, Ash, got loose Dec. 21 at the Ambassador Bridge. A customs agent ran down the bridge ramp in pursuit of Ash, followed by Joseph's father, Niels Wilcken.

Joseph's mother, Ana Wilcken, said the new dog - Coco - is the same kind of dog as Ash, a Jack Russell terrier and pug mix.


Man wants tattoo from gang removed

MINNEAPOLIS - A suspected gang member wants to remove his tattoo that prosecutors allege was a threat aimed at a Minneapolis police officer.

But the attorney for Antonio Frasion Jenkins Jr. said the state grant that paid for removal of gang-related body art has run out.

Jenkins appeared in Hennepin County Court Tuesday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported defense lawyer Cindy McCollum told the judge they're exploring ways to remove the homemade tattoo, which shows a person holding a pistol to the mouth of a pig wearing a Minneapolis police uniform.

The pig carries the badge number of an officer whom Jenkins told police he was angry with.

The 20-year-old St. Louis Park man was charged last November with making terroristic threats after a photo of the tattoo was posted on Facebook.


Eagle Scout earns all 134 merit badges

WELDON SPRING - A suburban St. Louis Eagle Scout has achieved a rare distinction - earning every merit badge offered by the Boy Scouts of America.

According to the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, Michael Carter of St. Charles County recently achieved his goal of earning all 134 merit badges. He is believed to be one of six Scouts in the country to do so.

Carter is a senior at Francis Howell High School who began his badge quest about six years ago.

Among the efforts that earned badges: flying a plane, backpacking through the Rocky Mountains and scuba diving.


Ring donation honors Newtown victims

LA CROSSE - A diamond ring dropped into a Salvation Army kettle in La Crosse came with a note attached.

The message said the donation was a random act of kindness to honor the 20 young children and six adults killed by a gunman in Newtown, Conn. The note made special mention of 6-year-old Olivia Engel. She was one of the first-graders killed in a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14.

Salvation Army officials told the La Crosse Tribune the ring, with an estimated value of $325, helped reach the fundraising goal for the first time in four years.

The Facebook page for a national movement, "26 Acts of Kindness" to honor the Newtown victims, had exceeded 99,000 "likes" by Friday.

The Associated Press