Ohio heartbeat bill challenged
COLUMBUS — Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics sued Wednesday to thwart Ohio’s latest and most restrictive abortion law, an anticipated move that’s part of a national anti-abortion strategy to challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The lawsuit is similar to legal fights in several southern states that recently passed similar, or more aggressive, legislation to push the now-conservative-leaning Supreme Court to take up abortion and overturn the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Wednesday’s lawsuit filed in federal court in Columbus by groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights attorneys says banning abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat is unconstitutional and would prohibit nearly all abortions in Ohio, or as many as nine of every 10. A detectable heartbeat can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant. The Ohio law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last month. The lawsuit asks for a temporary and then permanent ban on the law taking effect, and to have it declared unconstitutional.
Near-total abortion ban into law
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s Republican governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. The bill’s sponsors want to give conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to gut abortion rights nationwide, but Democrats and abortion rights advocates criticized the bill as a slap in the face to women voters. “It just completely disregards women and the value of women and their voice. We have once again silenced women on a very personal issue,” said Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, a Birmingham Democrat. Coleman-Madison said she hopes the measure awakens a “sleeping giant” of women voters in the state.
$75 coffee the world’s priciest
SAN FRANCISCO — A California cafe is brewing up what it calls the world’s most expensive coffee — at $75 a cup. Klatch Coffee is serving the exclusive brew, the Elida Natural Geisha 803, at its branches in Southern California and San Francisco. The 803 in the coffee’s name refers to the record-breaking $803 per pound the organic beans sold for at a recent auction after winning the Best of Panama coffee competition, said Bo Thiara, co-owner of the Klatch branch in San Francisco. He calls the annual competition the coffee world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Only 100 pounds of the beans were available for purchase, and most went to Japan, China and Taiwan, Thiara said. Klatch secured 10 pounds and is the only chain in North America to have it. The coffee’s high quality and limited supply set off a bidding war that determined its astronomical price, topping last year’s winning beans that sold for $601 per pound, Thiara said. Klatch describes the coffee as a rare variety of Arabica from Panama that has a floral, tea-like flavor with hints of jasmine and berries. The 10 pounds of beans will produce about 80 cups of coffee, Thiara said.
Search at Diocese of Dallas
DALLAS — Investigators who were “thwarted” during earlier investigations of child sexual abuse by priests on Wednesday searched the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas to obtain evidence of sexual misconduct, according to a police commander and police records. Investigators searched the diocesan headquarters, a storage unit it uses and the offices of a church, police Maj. Max Geron told reporters. “We believe at this point that the execution of the search warrants was wholly appropriate for the furtherance of the investigation at this point,” Geron said. The events began last August with the investigation of Edmundo Paredes , a former priest who is believed to have fled Texas following claims that he abused three teenagers. That investigation resulted in allegations of abuse by others, Geron said. Copies of the warrants refer to the 70-year-old Paredes and four others. All five were named in a report released in January by the diocese that identified former priests credibly accused of sexually assaulting a child. Paredes is suspended from the diocese; the other four are suspended, on leave, retired or removed from the ministry.
Coroner probes death in jail
NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — A coroner says a woman who died in a county jail in Ohio ingested a package containing a yet unknown substance. Coroner Jeff Cameron says it could take six to eight weeks for the completion of toxicology tests to determine what 21-year-old Megan Larrick swallowed last week. Larrick was found unresponsive in her cell Thursday evening at the Tuscarawas County Jail in the northeast Ohio city of New Philadelphia. She had been arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court to address community control sanctions for a misdemeanor conviction. Larrick, of New Philadelphia, was booked into the jail early Thursday. Police officers who took her to jail said she was alert and talkative at the time.
Video shows man shoved off bus
LAS VEGAS — Police in Las Vegas have released security video they say shows a woman shoving a 74-year-old man off a public bus after witnesses say he asked her to be nice to other passengers. The video shows Serge Fournier landing face-first on a sidewalk east of downtown on March 21. He died April 23. The Clark County coroner ruled Fournier’s death a homicide resulting from his injuries. Authorities arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Michelle Bishop on May 6. She has been charged with murder and was freed on $100,000 bail with electronic monitoring pending a preliminary hearing of evidence May 23.
Rescued his family before dying
NEWARK, Ohio — A woman says her nephew died in a house fire in Ohio after rescuing his family from the burning home and going back to search for the family’s blind and deaf dog. Authorities say 24-year-old Carl Aeby Jr. died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the fire Sunday in Hanover Township in Licking County. Fire officials say they saw heavy fire coming from the home when they were called around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and found Aeby’s body inside. Aeby’s aunt, Valarie Hartsough, told The Advocate in Newark that her nephew “died a hero” after getting his wheelchair-bound father and other family members out of the home. They weren’t injured.
Pilot escapes nearly unscathed
NEW YORK — A helicopter crash landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport Wednesday and partially sank, but not before the pilot was able to escape mostly unscathed. The 34-year-old pilot suffered just a minor hand injury after the hard splashdown, which happened just before 2:30 p.m. and was recorded by bystanders who saw the aircraft in trouble and whipped out their mobile phones. No other people were aboard but a dockworker trying to get out of the way of the descending aircraft slipped and injured his wrist, fire and police officials said. The helicopter, a charter aircraft, was hauled out of the water Wednesday afternoon by a marine crane after about 90 minutes in the river. At a news conference, authorities said the pilot had just taken off from the helipad after refueling when something went wrong. “All of a sudden, he felt the helicopter go down,” said Police Department Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes.
Long journey in steel column
SAN DIEGO — Five kittens that stowed away on a 400-mile trip to San Diego are looking for new homes. The San Diego Humane Society says the kittens somehow wound up inside a 60-foot steel column that was trucked from Hayward in the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego. On April 24, construction workers building new Kaiser Permanente medical offices heard meows coming from the column. They tilted the column and the week-old kittens slid out. It’s unclear whether the stowaways came aboard in Hayward of somewhere along the route. The kittens are now in foster care and will be ready for adoption in another couple of months. And they’ve been given appropriate construction names: Crowbar, Rebar, Chisel, Jackhammer and Piper.
Mom threatens SoCal class
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. — A mother has been banned from a Southern California school after she threatened a classroom full of students over the alleged bullying of her daughter. Cellphone video aired Wednesday by KCBS-TV shows a woman confronting a class at Niguel Hills Middle School south of Los Angeles. The woman vows to fight any adult relatives of kids who bully her daughter. The woman tells the students: “If you look at her the wrong way, if you breathe the wrong way, send your mom to me.” The woman, identified as Christian Tinsley, told KABC-TV that she doesn’t regret her act. She said her daughter had been bullied in school and online since the beginning of the year and was sexually harassed last Friday, leading to the suspension of a boy. “Kids are committing suicide every day because they’re getting bullied, and I don’t want that for my daughter,” she said. “And so, what do I do when my daughter’s afraid to go to school?” Principal Tim Reece informed parents in an email Tuesday that the teacher contacted the front office for help and the assistant principal escorted the woman out.
Self-driving vehicle pulled over
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A self-driving shuttle got pulled over by police on its first day carrying passengers on a new Rhode Island route. Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements said an officer pulled over the odd-looking autonomous vehicle because he had never seen one before. “It looked like an oversize golf cart,” Clements said. The vehicle, operated by Michigan-based May Mobility, was dropping off passengers Wednesday morning at Providence’s Olneyville Square when a police cruiser arrived with blinking lights and a siren. It was just hours after the public launch of a state-funded pilot for a shuttle service called “Little Roady.” The shuttle offers free rides on a 12-stop urban loop that links to a train station. Each vehicle holds six people, including an attendant who takes control when the self-driving technology falls short, such as on difficult left turns with oncoming traffic. Clements said the curious police officer had a cordial conversation with the attendant and didn’t issue any tickets or warnings. A co-founder of May Mobility said the pilot is partly about learning how the vehicle can coexist with Providence’s pedestrians, motorists and, yes, police officers. “The officer was curious. That’s something we see and welcome,” said Alisyn Malek, who is also May’s chief operating officer. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to have the dialogue about who are we, why are we out on the street.”
Equipment sparked wildfire
SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. power lines sparked a Northern California blaze that killed 85 people last year, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century, state fire officials said Wednesday. Cal Fire said transmission lines owned and operated by the San Francisco-based utility started the Nov. 8 fire that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The fire wiped out nearly 15,000 homes. Many of those killed were elderly or disabled. The oldest was 99. “Investigators determined there were violations of law,” Cal Fire deputy director Mike Mohler said. He said he hadn’t read the report and didn’t know the nature of the violations. Cal Fire did not release its full investigative report, saying it had been forwarded to the Butte County district attorney’s office, which is considering criminal charges against the utility.
Less fat, more fruit, less risk
For the first time, a large experiment suggests that trimming dietary fat and eating more fruits and vegetables may lower a woman’s risk of dying of breast cancer. The results are notable because they come from a rigorous test involving 49,000 women over two decades rather than other studies that try to draw health conclusions from observations about how people eat. Healthy women who modified their diets for at least eight years and who later developed breast cancer had a 21% lower risk of dying of the disease compared to others who continued to eat as usual. However, that risk was small to start with and diet’s effect was not huge, so it took 20 years for the difference between the groups to appear. The diet change also did not lower the risk of developing breast cancer, which was the study’s main goal. Still, doctors say the results show a way women might improve their odds.
NJ may vote on recreational pot
TRENTON, N.J. — A measure to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey fizzled out Wednesday when the state Senate president said he would instead look to voters next year and will pursue separate bills to expand medical cannabis and wipe clean some criminal records. Democrat Steve Sweeney vowed that adult-use marijuana — supported by fellow Democrats Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin — would become legal, just not now.
This is the latest development as New Jersey sought to become the 11th state to legalize recreational weed since a vote on the measure was postponed in March . Sweeney said at the time that the bill didn’t have enough votes to pass.