March 20, 2018

Around the nation

Prosecutor: Planned school shooting warrants charge

RUTLAND, Vt. — Prosecutors say a Vermont teen had made enough preparations for a planned massacre at his former high school to warrant charges of attempted murder.

A lawyer for 18-year-old Jack Sawyer has asked for the charges to be dismissed, saying that the state’s high court has ruled that a plot to commit a crime does not constitute an attempt.

Prosecutor Rose Kennedy responded with a filing Monday that argued Sawyer progressed from planning a crime to committing one when he took steps such as moving back to Vermont and purchasing a shotgun.

Investigators say Sawyer described detailed plans for a mass shooting at Fair Haven Union High School and wrote about his plot in a diary he titled “Journal of an Active Shooter.”


Church of Scientology launches TV channel

LOS ANGELES — The Church of Scientology launched its own TV channel with a vow that it will be candid about every aspect of the church and its operations but isn’t seeking to preach or convert.

“There’s a lot of talk about us. And we get it,” church leader David Miscavige said in introducing the first night of programming Monday. “People are curious. Well, we want to answer your questions. Because, frankly, whatever you have heard, if you haven’t heard it from us, I can assure you we’re not what you expect.”

Founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the church teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems. It has about 10 million members worldwide.

Scientology is an “expanding and dynamic religion and we’re going to be showing you all of it,” he said, from the “spiritual headquarters” in which he was standing — a Florida-based, corporate-looking building— its churches around the world and a behind- the-scenes look at its management.

The channel also will explore the life and philosophy of Hubbard, whom Miscavige called “a true-to-life genius.”

Locklear mistreated first responders

VENTURA — Heather Locklear has been charged with several counts of battery against first responders who answered a domestic violence call at her Southern California home.

The 56-year-old “Melrose Place” actress was charged Monday with four misdemeanor counts of battery on an officer or emergency personnel, and one misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer.

Sheriff’s officials said Locklear kicked, pushed and shouted at deputies who were answering a report that she had been violent with her boyfriend Feb. 26. No domestic violence charges have been filed.

She’s scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Ventura County Superior Court.


Signature sousaphone is back with band

NEW ORLEANS — A distinctive wraparound tuba that was stolen last month from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans is back.

Creative director and musician Ben Jaffe said he recovered the 12-year-old Italian sousaphone Monday, thanks to a tipster who wished to remain anonymous. He didn’t elaborate on exactly how he got it back.

“We were notified late last week that it’d been spotted,” he said by phone. “It took a few days for us to make all the right connections.”

Tape used to spell out “Preservation Hall, New Orleans” in black-and-white letters is gone from the bell, Jaffe noted. However, he said, the tape had protected the finish under it from 12 years’ wear and tear, so he could still make out the words.

Even without the lettering, he said, the sousaphone would be easy to identify because it is an Italian-made instrument, and a rarity in the U.S.

“I’ve never met another person in the U.S. who uses this make,” he added.

New Mexico

Principal on leave after school threat

CLIFF — A southwestern New Mexico school principal has been placed on leave after authorities say a student made a threat against his school.

Silver Consolidated Schools Superintendent Audie Brown recently placed Cliff Schools principal Dean Spurgeon on administrative leave but declined to give details.

Brown said there’s an ongoing investigation and that there was a threat made to the school.

Grant County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Fermin Lopez confirmed that deputies are looking into a case reported by Cliff Schools after one of their students allegedly made a threat.

Lopez says the student doesn’t attend the school anymore and no charges have been filed.


Survivor says honor victims nonpolitically

WEST LIBERTY — An Ohio teenager wounded in a school shooting last year says he thinks it’s disrespectful to victims of the February massacre in Parkland, Florida, to use that tragedy to further a particular political agenda.

West Liberty-Salem student Logan Cole said in a Facebook video he won’t participate in the Wednesday student walkouts promoted by organizers of the Women’s March.

He says the walkouts are oversimplifying the problem of school violence by advocating more gun control as the solution.

Cole says it’s better to honor the Parkland victims in a nonpolitical way. He is inviting classmates to join him in doing that through a Wednesday memorial service at his school.

The teen accused of wounding Cole and another student has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges including attempted murder.

— The Associated Press

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