HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Gettysburg (Pa.) National Military Park workers found Civil War-era bullets while cutting up a fallen oak tree, officials say.
The 148-year-old bullets were found in a fallen tree resting on a boulder on Culp’s Hill, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“Culp’s Hill is one of the areas on the Gettysburg Battlefield that saw intense fighting,” said park Superintendent Bob Kirby, adding that finding such bullets nowadays “is a rarity.”
The sections of the tree with bullets will be added to the park’s museum after being treated to remove insects. The rest of the tree will remain on the hill.
Park officials are in the process of restoring the battlefield to the way it looked in 1863, the newspaper said.
PASADENA, Texas, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Charges against a former youth pastor accused of videotaping teenage girls while showering at a Pasadena, Texas, church may not be valid, officials say.
Thomas Jason Fortenberry, 30, was charged Thursday with two counts of improper photography for an incident that allegedly took place Nov. 4, 2007, the Houston Chronicle reported.
However, the Texas statute of limitations says state felonies must be cited within three years of the crime, a time limit that ended in November.
Prosecutors say they are “evaluating the evidence” in the case.
“These are serious accusations,” Roger Bridgwater, the assistant Harris County district attorney, said. “It is incumbent upon us to make sure that we have the necessary evidence and that the charges we file are appropriate.”
Fortenberry is accused of videotaping two 15-year-olds and two 17-year-olds undress and wash honey off themselves after a church game similar to the television show “Fear Factor.” He recently admitted to the older girls that he hid a camera in the shower at the church in Pasadena where the event took place.
When questioned by investigators, Fortenberry only said “he had done things he should not have done,” court records show.
If the case is not dismissed, Fortenberry will face as much as two years in jail.
DALLAS, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A Dallas woman was arrested for allegedly having her 6-year-old daughter repeatedly make video recordings of her having group sex, police say.
The 24-year-old woman was jailed Monday on charges of indecency with a child, which is punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The identities of the mother and child have not been released.
A tip led Dallas police to the woman’s apartment complex Saturday, where officers were told the woman forced her daughter to record her having sex with multiple men at the same time.
In an interview at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, the child “detailed filming and taking photographs” of her mother engaging in the sexual acts, police documents say.
The mother admitted having her daughter record her and “explained that there were three separate incidents involving six men” that her daughter recorded, beginning in March — adding that “it was her idea to have [her daughter] make the recordings with a cellphone video recorder,” the documents said.
Child Protective Services has placed the daughter in foster care and is investigating the matter. This is the second time CPS has been contacted about the mother, the newspaper said.
There had been concerns when the child was born that the woman was using drugs but neither she nor the child tested positive for drugs and the investigation was dropped in 2004.
AURORA, Colo., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Despite increased coverage under the Affordable Care Act, overcrowding may persist in U.S. emergency rooms due to a shortage of doctors, researchers say.
A study by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed expanded health insurance coverage via the Affordable Care Act might not mean better access to medical care.
Senior author Dr. Adit Ginde of the Colorado University School of Medicine and University of Colorado Hospital and co-authors, Paul Cheung and Dr. Jennifer Wiler, analyzed National Health Interview Survey data of approximately 317,000 U.S. adults from 1999 to 2009.
The researchers found people with one or more barriers to primary care are more likely to visit the emergency department.
In addition, barriers to primary care have doubled during the past decade, including limited physician office hours, wait times for appointments, difficulty in getting in touch with a primary care physician’s office to make an appointment and transportation issues, the study said.
“In addition to expanding health insurance coverage, policy makers may need to address the shortage and availability of primary care physicians,” Ginde said in a statement. “Without adequate primary care access, many people will continue to require emergency services and emergency departments will only continue to get busier and more crowded.”
MAGNOLIA, Texas, Aug. 9 (UPI) — As many as 14 Arabian horses died in a stable fire in Magnolia, Texas, officials say.
The fire began around 6 a.m. Tuesday at the Goslin Nix Stables in Magnolia, KHOU-TV, Houston, reported.
Firefighters were able to free 14 other horses from the 5,000 square foot stable.
Some of the surviving horses suffered burns and smoke inhalation, but all were expected to live.
Firefighters from Montgomery County, Magnolia, The Woodlands and Needham volunteer fire departments battled the fire that destroyed the stable and killed 14 horses, each of which are valued between $60,000 and $100,000.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
MULTNOMAH, Wash., Aug. 9 (UPI) — A Washington state outbreak of E. coli in strawberries has caused at least one death and made at least 16 people sick, public health officials say.
Oregon Public Health officials linked the outbreak to Jaquith Strawberry Farm in rural Washington County, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.
The medium-sized farm had sold strawberries to buyers who then distributed them to roadside stands and farmers markets in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill and Clatsop counties. Farm production of the potentially tainted strawberries was halted July 29 and the last of the berries thought to be contaminated with E. coli were sold on August 1.
Of the four people who have been hospitalized due to E. coli, one has died of kidney failure.
The last illness from the bacteria was reported July 29, but as E. coli has a 10 day incubation period before symptoms surface, health officials are expecting a few more cases to be reported.
“We’re likely to see a few more cases trickle in for a bit, but the stuff is gone from the shelves,” Dr. Paul Cieslak of Oregon Public Health said. “If you haven’t become sick by 10 days, you’re not going to.”
William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health, says deer he saw roaming through the fields may have been the source of the outbreak.
“The guy was unlucky enough to have an animal with the wrong bacteria wandering through his fields,” Cieslak said.
TOLEDO, Ohio, Aug. 9 (UPI) — An East Toledo, Ohio, woman died after falling head-first into her city-issued recycling bin, the city coroner said.
Sheila Decoster, 62, died of positional asphyxia after recycling trash outside of her home, the Toledo Blade reported.
Decoster was found Friday evening by her husband Richard Decoster, who was returning home with groceries and did not immediately notice his wife.
“I just happened to look to the left and, honestly, thought it was a dummy,” Decoster said. “I shook her leg and called her name, and I knew she was gone.”
Richard Decoster said his wife had back problems as well as dizzy spells and an aneurism on her brain, which may have contributed to the fall.
Other family members said they were worried the recycling bin was the problem, as it seems Sheila Decoster tried to kick her way out of the 64-gallon bin, but was unsuccessful at tipping it over.
“Could I blame the city because the cans aren’t tippable?” Richard Decoster said. “I don’t know. City liability hasn’t crossed my mind.
“She was always fun-loving, always had kind words for everyone,” he said.
LEWES, England, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A London-area woman was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for killing her two young children after their father broke up with her.
Fiona Donnison, 45, must serve at least 32 years before release, the Daily Express reported. The sentence was handed down in Lewes Crown Court immediately after Donnison was convicted of murder.
Paul Donnison, 48, her ex-partner, was bitter after the sentencing.
“I attended court as often as I was able to, but often felt that it was I that was on trial,” he said. “In addition I had no voice to speak for (the victims) Harry and Elise.”
Investigators said Fiona Donnison smothered the two young children last year at her home in Lightwater in Surrey. She then took the bodies, zipped into carrier bags, to Paul Donnison’s house, planning to make it look like he had killed the children and then himself.
When Paul Donnison did not return home, Fiona Donnison overdosed on sleeping medication and went to a police station.
The couple, married to other people when they first met, had another daughter, Mia, born in 2003, who died of what was determined to be sudden infant death syndrome at 8 months.
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Los Angeles police say they have widened the number of unsolved homicide cases they are reviewing in connection with the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer.
Detectives are looking into 230 cases dating back as far 1976 that may be tied to the killer, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“There’s no telling what we will find,” said one source, who asked not to be named citing the ongoing criminal case.
The expansion began three months ago when LAPD robbery-homicide detectives requested the inclusion of South Los Angeles cases dating to 1976. Previously the number of reviewable cases stood at 60, dating to the early 1980s.
The LAPD is planning on rereleasing 51 photographs of women found in the July 2010 search of Grim Sleeper suspect Lonnie David Franklin Jr.’s home.
Franklin has pleaded not guilty to 10 murders and one attempted murder. Prosecutors announced Monday that they would seek the death penalty against Franklin.
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A study offers the first direct biological evidence that genes and inheritance have a big role in intelligence, a Scottish researcher says.
Researcher Ian Deary of the Center for Cognitive Aging at the University of Edinburgh says previous family and twin studies strongly suggested many characteristics of intelligence are inherited, but no specific genes or gene variants had been linked with such traits.
In the latest study, investigators found many different gene variants with small individual effects are cumulatively involved in human intelligence, WebMD.com reported Tuesday.
Deary and colleagues in Europe and Australia tested the DNA of 3,500 people for genetic variations that were then correlated with the participants’ performance on tests designed to assess two standard measures of intelligence — knowledge and problem solving.
The findings show between 40 percent and 50 percent of the differences in scores among the study participants resulted from specific genetic differences.
“The findings leave a lot of room for environmental influences and for interactions between people’s genes and their environment,” Deary says. “It is a start to understanding the relationship between people’s thinking skills and outcomes in life and to understanding why some people cognitively age better than others.”