Thursday, May 10, 2012


MOUNT HOLLY — Jurors in New Jersey have delivered a mixed verdict at the trial of a marijuana activist who lives in California and goes by the name “NJWeedman.”

The panel in Mount Holly on Wednesday convicted Ed Forchion of possession of a pound of pot in the trunk of his car. However, they could not reach a verdict on whether he intended to distribute it.

The 47-year-old moved to Los Angeles several years ago to run a medical marijuana dispensary. He was arrested during a traffic stop in April 2010.

He could not use New Jersey’s medical marijuana law as a defense.

Forchion told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill he was happy he didn’t get thrown in jail while he awaits a retrial for the distribution charge.


Ceremonies statewide mark Confederate Memorial Day

CHARLESTON — Confederate Memorial Day was observed Thursday in South Carolina, the state where the Civil War began.

A holiday to honor Southerners who fell fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War is officially observed in nine states of the Old Confederacy, but they are held at different times of the year.

In the Carolinas, Confederate Memorial Day is May 10th, the day Gen. Stonewall Jackson died in 1863.

In Charleston, events to mark the occasion were scheduled for the Battery, in Washington Park next to City Hall and later in the day at the Confederate Soldiers Ground at Magnolia Cemetery.

State lawmakers got the day off to observe the holiday.


Friedman, Moore to head board of Pulitzer Prize

NEW YORK — Denver Post Editor Gregory Moore and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman have been named co-chairmen of the board that administers the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts.

Columbia University announced Thursday that Mr. Moore and Mr. Friedman had been chosen to lead the 19-member board.

Mr. Moore has been the Post’s editor since going to Denver in June 2002. He joined the newspaper after 16 years at the Boston Globe, the last eight as managing editor.

Mr. Friedman joined the Times in 1981 and has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work there. He has been the paper’s foreign affairs columnist since 1995.

Both have served on the board since 2004. Pulitzer board members serve a maximum of nine years while a chairman serves for only one year.


Environmental activist appealing conviction

DENVER — A federal appeals court in Denver is hearing arguments in the appeal of an environmental activist convicted of disrupting the sale of oil and gas leases of public lands near Utah’s national parks.

The courtroom at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was nearly full Thursday as lawyers presented their cases.

Defense lawyers argue that Tim DeChristopher was wrongly convicted last summer. They say DeChristopher lacked criminal intent and should have been allowed to testify that he was acting in civil disobedience to disrupt an auction he believed was illegal.

Prosecutors say DeChristopher acted in bad faith and his conviction should stand.

The college student bid on nearly $1.7 million in leases he couldn’t pay for while running up prices for others at the auction in 2010.


Teacher faces dismissal over ‘cone of shame’

ZEPHYRHILLS — A Florida high school science teacher faces dismissal amid allegations that she used a “cone of shame” dog collar to discipline students.

Pasco County schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino has recommended firing 47-year-old Laurie Bailey-Cutkomp for putting a dog collar on at least eight of her ninth graders during two days in April.

The collar was reportedly the type used to prevent animals from licking themselves after surgery. “Cone of shame” is a reference to the animated film “Up,” which Ms. Bailey-Cutkomp had previously shown to students.

Zephyrhills High administrators learned of the allegations after seeing the students’ photos on Facebook. Parents tipped off the school.

She has requested a hearing before the school board to appeal the superintendent’s decision. A telephone message left for Ms. Bailey-Cutkomp wasn’t immediately returned.


Man plans year’s stay on uninhabited island

ANCHORAGE — Charles Baird is going off the grid.

The 40-year-old Anchorage man plans to leave May 27 for Latouche Island, where he will live a solitary lifestyle for the next year.

Latouche Island is in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, about 100 miles southwest of the port city of Valdez.

He’s planning to hunt and fish, and pass time by reading some of the several thousand e-books he’s taking with him. The reader will be charged by solar and wind power systems he’ll bring.

He’s also planning to film his adventure, eventually hoping to sell it as a documentary series.

Mr. Baird said the biggest challenge he’ll face will be the isolation.

He’ll also have to deal with the island’s extreme weather, not to mention its large black bear population.


Naked unicyclist charged for distracting drivers

KEMAH — Police said a man arrested in a Southeast Texas city for riding his unicycle in the nude was distracting drivers and creating a hazard.

Kemah police Chief Greg Rikard said 45-year-old Joseph Glynn Farley was not intoxicated or impaired when he was arrested Wednesday on a bridge in the city 20 miles southeast of Houston.

Chief Rikard said Mr. Farley had been falling off the unicycle and into traffic.

Mr. Farley told officers that he liked the feeling of riding without his clothes, which were found at the base of the bridge.

Police charged Mr. Farley, of Clear Lake, with misdemeanor indecent exposure. Bond is set at $1,500. Online jail records did not list an attorney for Mr. Farley.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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