National Roundup

New Jersey
Beagle survives 70-foot fall from bridge into river

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A beagle named Brandi survived a 70-foot fall from a New Jersey bridge.
The dog got away from its owner during a walk along the Burlington Riverfront Promenade Friday night.
Bridge officer Rob Bittner saw Brandi walking up the Burlington-Bristol Bridge toward Pennsylvania.
Bittner tells The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill he turned on his emergency lights to slow traffic and followed the dog. Bittner says Brandi was doing fine until she got to the top of the span and her paws felt a steel grate.
The officer says Brandi jumped into the Delaware River as motorists tried to grab her.
The beagle’s owner recovered her and took her to a veterinarian. Brandi was bruised around the abdomen, but didn’t have any broken bones.

Amusement park riders spend 4 hours at 300 feet

BUENA PARK, Calif. (AP) — Twenty riders expecting a short thrill were left dangling at 300 feet for nearly four hours when the Windseeker ride at Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park stalled.
Knott’s said in a statement that the ride, which lifts fun-seekers high over the park with their legs dangling and spins them in a circle, came to a stop when its security system activated at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
TV cameras showed riders sitting calmly as they dangled and the sun set, some casually swinging their legs.
Maintenance workers brought all the riders safely to the ground between 7:30 and 8 p.m., long after the park had closed and night had fallen.
Knott’s says the ride, which also left riders hanging on Sept. 7, will remain closed while the cause is investigated.

Sheriff supports federal limits on owning big cats

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio sheriff who oversaw the response to an exotic animal release is visiting Washington to support a federal bill that would restrict the private ownership and breeding of lions, tigers and other big cats.
The Zanesville Times Recorder reports Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz briefed leaders about what happened when a suicidal big-cat owner released lions, tigers and other exotic animals that were killed by authorities last fall.
Lutz says the legislation would help authorities track the cats and conduct inspections.
The briefing also was expected to include actress and animal activist Tippi Hedren, who’s best known for being terrorized by crows in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Hedren keeps rescued big cats at her California preserve and helped put together the federal legislation.

Driver was not speeding in fatal motorcade crash

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A preliminary report finds no wrongdoing by the driver of a car that struck and killed a Florida police officer escorting President Barack Obama’s motorcade.
The crash report from Florida Highway Patrol was released just before midnight Thursday in the Sept. 9 death of Officer Bruce St. Laurent of the Jupiter Police.
It says St. Laurent moved directly in front of Susan Holloway with the lights on his motorcycle flashing. The report says Holloway was not speeding, not distracted and not suspected of using drugs or alcohol.
Investigators say Holloway slammed on her breaks but couldn’t avoid the crash.
A separate homicide investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is under way and charges against Holloway are still possible.

Final testing under way for supercomputer

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Final testing is being done on a National Center for Atmospheric Research supercomputer on the outskirts of Cheyenne that will be used for climate modeling and other Earth sciences.
Research is expected to begin this fall on the new computer, called Yellowstone, which has enough power to rank among the top dozen or so fastest supercomputers in the world.
The computer will run at a speed of up to 1.5 petaflops, or 1.5 quadrillion operations per second. Put another way: If you counted one number per second, it would take a lot longer than your entire lifetime or anybody else’s to get all the way up to 1.5 quadrillion. Try more than 47 million years.
The roughly $30 million IBM machine fills much of a 153,000-square-foot, custom-built facility.

North Carolina
Federal judge delays LaRoque trial until Feb.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The trial of a former North Carolina state legislator accused of theft and money laundering has been delayed until February.
A federal judge this week signed an order delaying the proposed arraignment and trial of ex-Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston until at least Feb. 12. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard earlier had set the proceedings to begin Oct. 9.
Prosecutors and LaRoque’s defense attorney asked Howard last week to postpone the trial because of the complicated matter of the case and LaRoque’s attorney working on an upcoming trial in state court.
The delay was first reported by The News & Observer of Raleigh.
A grand jury indicted LaRoque in July on eight counts, accusing him of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars loaned to his company through a federal program.

Attorney involved with convicted sheriff disbarred

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A one-time defense attorney in southeastern Kentucky has been permanently disbarred for his participation in a kickback scheme with a now imprisoned former sheriff.
The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday revoked the law license of 55-year-old Ronnie Wayne Reynolds of Whitley County, citing his guilty plea and 27-month prison sentence. Reynolds admitted to paying $57,500 to former Sheriff Lawrence Hodge to have charges against his client reduced to misdemeanors.
As part of the scheme, Hodge would refer people to Reynolds for representation after being arrested.
Hodge pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to commit extortion, distribute drugs and launder money.
Reynolds is scheduled for release from a halfway house in Nashville in February. Hodge is scheduled for release from a federal prison in Ohio in 2024.