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Published July 29, 2006

Mountain defense moved to base

As cool as it is to have a super-secret military command post buried deep in a mountain, the military announced it is virtually closing the NORAD complex that is carved into Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. NORAD, a joint U.S. and Canadian command, was set up in the 1960s to monitor the skies for threats like missiles, aircraft and space objects. They'll keep watching, but now they'll do it from nearby Peterson Air Force Base. Adm. Tim Keating said the government's best intelligence - (go ahead, you can laugh) - "leads us to believe a missile attack from China or Russia is very unlikely." If things heat up, though, Keating said they can move right back in, as the complex will be kept on "warm standby."


Pots become a place to stash pot

When security checkpoints were installed at the front door of City Hall in Wichita, Kan., it caused some changes that no one really anticipated. Seems the potted plants in front of the building have become repositories for things people may not want to take through security. Like bags of marijuana, alcohol, and crack cocaine. And that doesn't address the things people have tried to get through. In the first 39 days of screening, security officers seized 3,457 prohibited items and detained 15 people. "We expected to be busy," said police Capt. Joe Dessenberger. "But not as busy as we've been."


Get rid of these dead birds ... stat!

With dead birds falling from the sky, the emergency room at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., was a little disrupted. "Birds were coming down like dive bombers," said fire Chief Robert Farstad. Turns out, the hospital hired a company to drive off the birds. The strategy: Set out some poison to make a few birds sick, and their distress calls will drive off the rest. But the poison ended up killing more than two dozen birds, which had to be collected by emergency workers. Officials are investigating whether the company improperly mixed the poison.



Neighbor shooting

Paul Hashman, 84, of Elyria, Ohio, was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday for shooting a neighbor in a feud over the construction of a garage. Hashman and Darrell Oskins, 54, began bickering in 1998 when Oskins built a garage that Hashman said was too close to his property. He shot Oskins in 2004, and Oskins spent five months in the hospital.

Swallowed phone

A judge in Independence, Mo., declared a mistrial Friday after a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of a man accused of shoving a cell phone down his girlfriend's throat. Marlon Brando Gill, 24, was charged with assaulting Melinda Abell, 25, during an argument in December. Abell testified that she had been drinking that evening and did not remember how the phone ended up lodged in her throat.

[Last modified July 29, 2006, 02:19:59]

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