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Fresno, Calif.

Priests booted: The U.S. Episcopal Church has ousted 61 clergy members allied with a bishop who opposed the church’s relaxed stand on homosexuality. The ousted priests and deacons are followers of former Bishop John-David Schofield, whose San Joaquin County diocese seceded from the church in 2007, in protest against the ordination of Gene Robinson, an avowed homosexual, as a bishop in New Hampshire. Schofield was defrocked by the U.S. Episcopal Church, but formed a breakaway denomination affiliated with the Anglican Church in Argentina. The decision to cut ties with the clergy members was “heartbreaking,” said Bishop Jerry Lamb, Schofield’s replacement. “But the fact is, they chose to abandon their relationship with the Episcopal Church.” Schofield maintains he is still an Anglican bishop under the worldwide church.

Ribera, N.M.

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Hoarded dogs rescued: In a scene that veteran police officers called “horrifying,” authorities have rescued about 80 dogs from a mobile home in rural New Mexico. The dogs, said animal control officers, reproduced out of control, and had started to cannibalize one another, leaving the home strewn with filth and body parts. “There is fecal matter caked up in the rooms almost 2 feet high,” said Heather Ferguson of the state’s animal cruelty task force. The dogs were taken to the Santa Fe animal shelter, where the healthiest will be put up for adoption. The hellish scene was discovered when the mobile home’s owner, who was not identified, was hospitalized for a chronic

medical condition.


Zoo train derails: A small train carrying visitors to the Louisville Zoo derailed this week, injuring 22 people, including a 2-month-old boy. The engine and first three cars of the open-air train, which circles the zoo on good-weather days, derailed near the gorilla exhibit, spilling about 30 people onto the sidewalk. One passenger was pinned under the train for more than 30 minutes. The injured were treated at local hospitals and are expected to recover. The train passed a safety inspection in January.

Little Rock, Ark.

Army recruiters shot: A heavily armed 24-year-old man said to be angry about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan killed one soldier and wounded another outside an Army recruiting station this week, authorities said. After a brief car chase, police arrested Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who was carrying several guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Muhammad, a Muslim convert formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe, reportedly told police that he “hated” the military and was upset about U.S. treatment of the Muslim world. The U.S. had put Bledsoe on its terrorist watch list several years ago, after he traveled to Yemen and was jailed for carrying a false Somali passport. Pvt. William Long, 23, died in the attack; Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, was listed in good condition. Authorities said they had no immediate evidence suggesting the assault was part of a wider plot.

Washington, D.C.

Burris embattled: The clouds over embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris are growing darker. Burris, who was appointed to fill President Obama’s seat by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich shortly before Blagojevich was ousted from office on corruption charges, has always insisted he never did anything untoward to win the appointment. But transcripts released by the FBI last week revealed that Burris offered to raise money for Blagojevich during the same conversation in which he expressed an interest in the seat. Burris says he never actually gave any money to Blagojevich, but the new revelation probably dooms his already doubtful political future. He’s already a pariah on Capitol Hill, where colleagues ignore him on the Senate floor and even refuse to eat with him. “His colleagues view a too-close association with him as a kind of contamination,” says political scientist Ross Baker. “He’s a carrier of the pathogen of Blagojevich.”

Statesville, N.C.

Facebook flap: A state judge has been reprimanded for discussing a pending child-custody case on Facebook. After Judge B. Carlton Terry learned during a conference in his chambers in September that both he and a lawyer in the case, Charles Schieck, were members of Facebook, the pair became Facebook “friends” and were soon discussing the case. That was a violation of judicial ethics, the state’s Judicial Standards Commission has ruled, because it is improper for a judge to discuss legal proceedings without both sides’ lawyers present. Terry disqualified himself from the case, and a new trial was ordered.

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