Decorated veteran can keep flagpole
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday.
The Sussex Square homeowners' association likewise has agreed to drop threats to take legal action against retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.
The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines.
Neither Barfoot's daughter, Margaret Nicholls, nor homeowners' president Glenn Wilson immediately returned telephone messages.
Dropping the issue effectively ends a request that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday called "silly."
Warner and Sen. Jim Webb, both Virginia Democrats, had rallied behind Barfoot, a World War II veteran.
Inmate executed with just one drug
LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Ohio made history in September when an execution was botched so badly the governor called it off. The state made history again Tuesday, executing an inmate with just one drug for the first time in the United States.
Kenneth Biros, 51, was pronounced dead shortly after one dose of sodium thiopental began flowing into his veins at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. The U.S. Supreme Court had rejected his final appeal two hours earlier.
The mother, sister and brother of Biros' victim, Tami Engstrom, applauded as the warden announced the time of death.
Teenager pleads not guilty in girl's death
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 15-year-old Missouri girl pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing a 9-year-old neighbor who authorities say was slain because the teen wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.
Alyssa Bustamante sat silently as an attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf to first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Oct. 21 death of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante often gazed down — her long bangs covering her eyes, her hands and feet shackled — during a Cole County court hearing that lasted less than a minute.
Authorities say Bustamante plotted Elizabeth's slaying — digging two holes several days in advance — then strangled her without provocation, cut the girl's throat and stabbed her. They say Bustamante led officers to Elizabeth's body in a wooded area near the girls' homes after hundreds of volunteers helped in a two-day search for the missing fourth-grader. The girls lived several houses apart in St. Martins, a small town just west of Jefferson City.
Sentences reduced for 2 convicted spies
MIAMI (AP) — Two former Cuban intelligence officers convicted of spying in the U.S. were handed reduced prison sentences Tuesday after an appeals court ruled their original terms were too severe.
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard accepted an agreement reducing Ramon Labanino's term from life in prison to 30 years behind bars. At a separate hearing hours later, Lenard shaved a little more than a year off Fernando Gonzalez' 19-year sentence.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year had vacated sentences for the men, both 46, who were part of the so-called "Cuban Five" spy ring. A third member of the ring had his life sentence replaced earlier this year with a far lesser prison term.
Hubble spots oldest galaxies yet
WASHINGTON (AP) — The refurbished Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the oldest galaxies yet, scientists reported Tuesday.
A newly installed wide field camera on Hubble this summer captured several thousand never-before-seen galaxies, which were formed 600 million years after the Big Bang. Scientists believe that massive explosion led to the creation of the universe.
The galaxies are about 13 billion light years away. Each light year is about 6 trillion miles.
The image was taken in a region of space that Hubble scanned in 2004. Since the new camera has a near-infared channel, it allows the orbiting telescope to peer deeper into the universe and spot distant galaxies.
The camera was installed in May by NASA spacewalking astronauts as part of a mission to upgrade and repair the aging telescope.
Spilled milk causes Long Island logjam
SYOSSET, N.Y. (AP) — Commuters who cried during a Long Island traffic jam may give pause over the cause: a truck wreck that spilled thousands of gallons of milk.
The massive milk mess closed all the eastbound lanes, and one westbound lane, of the Long Island Expressway for nearly five hours during the Tuesday morning rush hour.
Police said the tractor-trailer had a blowout around 2:40 a.m., jackknifed and caught fire. It also crashed into an unoccupied car that had broken down on the shoulder of the highway.