Jogger Finds 25 Bricks Of Cocaine On Beach

GALVESTON, Texas, Aug. 3 (UPI) — A jogger found cocaine valued at $2 million in a bag on Galveston Island, Texas, police say.

The jogger discovered the bag at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported. He dragged the bag to his home and discovered it contained 25 bricks of cocaine, packaged in plastic wrap and rubber.

The man recognized the packages as cocaine from television programs and called the police.

Each brick weighed one kilogram (2.2 pounds) and tested positive for cocaine.

Galveston police Capt. Jeff Heyse said the owner of the drugs probably either tossed the bag overboard after sighting a U.S. Coast Guard boat, or the bag was intended to drift to the beach for pickup.

“We’ll never know, unless a body washes up behind it,” Heyse said.

The drugs were being sent to FBI lab to determine a country of origin.

Woman Claims Uncle Was D.B. Cooper

OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 3 (UPI) — An Oklahoma woman says she is convinced her uncle was the notorious jetliner hijacker D.B. Cooper.

Marla Cooper says she is convinced her late uncle, Lynn Doyle Cooper who died in 1999, is the infamous 1971 airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper, ABC News reported Wednesday.

“I’m certain he was my uncle, Lynn Doyle Cooper. Who we called L.D. Cooper,” the woman said, who gave a picture of her uncle and a leather guitar strap he made to the FBI.

Marla Cooper recollected with ABC that when she was 8 years old she overheard a conversation between two of her uncles, including L.D. Cooper, while at her grandmother’s house in Sisters, Ore. She said they were plotting something “mischievous.”

That was Nov. 24, 1971, the day D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727, demanded a $200,000 ransom and a parachute, and jumped off the plane somewhere over Washington state. He was never found and authorities think he died in the jump.

A day later, Marla Cooper uncle returned saying he had been hit by a car.

“My uncle L.D. was wearing a white T-shirt, and he was bloody and bruised and a mess, and I was horrified. I began to cry. My other uncle, who was with L.D., said ‘Marla just shut up and go get your dad.’ I heard my uncle say ‘we did it, our money problems are over, we hijacked an airplane,'” Marla Cooler, who is writing a book on her version of those events, told ABC.

Former FBI profiler Brad Garrett said the FBI will likely look into the life of L.D. Cooper to decipher whether or not the man is the skyjacker.

“Does this guy’s background actually fit someone that could have pulled this off because this guy did have a proficiency in a 727 plane, how low it would fly, how slow it would fly and that you could jump out the back of it,” Garrett said.

The New York Times reported the Oklahoma City woman’s efforts to publish a book has law enforcement officials leery.

The newspaper also said another writer who has a book on D.B. Cooper coming out, Geoffrey Gray, said her story fit a familiar pattern.

“This narrative of the old ‘uncle’ has been told many times,” Gray said.

Texas To Close Historic Prison

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Texas is preparing to close a prison for the first time in its history, a move some thought “would never come,” a state representative said.

The Central Unit in Sugar Land, a deteriorating 102-year-old prison southwest of Houston once featured in the folk song “Midnight Special,” will be vacant by the end of the month, with its 900 convicts relocated to other institutions, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

“Inmates have been relocated to other units. Most of the staff is transferring to other units,” Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said. “After the end of the month, we plan to be out of there.”

A strapped state budget, a drop in convict numbers with falling crime rates and growing utilization of rehabilitation programs has led Texas to join a nationwide trend of closing down expensive prisons.

“From where Texas was just a few short years ago, this is huge,” state Rep. Jerry Madden, chairman of the House Committee on Corrections, said. “There were those who said this day would never come.”

Christian Campus Groups Lose Legal Appeal

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 3 (UPI) — San Diego State University may require student groups, including religious organizations, to have a non-discrimination policy, a federal appeals court ruled.

The three-judge panel rejected an appeal by Alpha Gamma Omega and Alpha Delta Chi, a Christian fraternity and sorority The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

In their ruling Tuesday, the judges returned the case to a lower court for a hearing on whether the university enforces its policy uniformly. They cited evidence that the university recognizes a Catholic group that requires officers to be in “good standing” with the church and an African dramatic society whose officers must be from Africa.

Every Nation Ministries also joined the suit, which also named the Long Beach campus of the California state university system.

“The court upheld a policy that clearly treats Christian groups worse than other groups on campus,” lawyer Jordan Lorence, who represented the plaintiffs, said.

Cargill Recalls 36M Lbs. Of Ground Turkey

MINNETONKA, Minn., Aug. 3 (UPI) — Cargill Inc. said Wednesday it is recalling about 36 million pounds of ground turkey produced at its Arkansas plant linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak.

Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a business unit of Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. in Wichita, Kan., a subsidiary of Cargill Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., said the fresh and frozen ground turkey products were produced at its Springdale, Ark., plant from Feb. 20 until Tuesday.

Cargill said in a release it initiated the recall as a result of its internal investigation, along with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an ongoing U.S. Agriculture Department Food Safety and Inspection Service investigation into multiple cases of Salmonella Heidelberg food poisoning.

The New York Times reported one person in California has died in the outbreak and at least 76 have become sick.

Cargill said it has suspended production of ground turkey products at the Springdale facility until it is able to determine the source of the Salmonella Heidelberg and take corrective actions.

Other turkey products produced at Springdale are not part of the recall, Cargill said, adding no products from its other three U.S. processing plants are involved in the recall.

“While facts continue to be gathered, and currently there is no conclusive answer regarding the source of Salmonella Heidelberg contamination, given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace,” said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business. “Additionally, we have suspended ground turkey production at our Arkansas facility until the source can be pinpointed and actions to address it are taken.

“It is regrettable that people may have become ill from eating one of our ground turkey products and, for anyone who did, we are truly sorry. We go to great lengths to ensure the food we produce is safe and we fully understand that people expect to be able to consume safe food, each serving, every time.”

Consumers are urged to return any opened or unopened packages of ground turkey items listed on Cargill’s Website — www.cargill.com/turkey-recall — to stores where they were purchased for a full refund. Consumers also can call Cargill toll-free at 1-888-812-1646.

Former Rep. Clarence Miller, R-Ohio, Dies

LANCASTER, Ohio, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Clarence Miller, who represented Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for 26 years, has died at age 93.

He died Tuesday at Fairfield Medical Center, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Miller was elected to Congress in 1966, during the Vietnam era, and won 12 more terms. In 1992, he lost a Republican primary after being thrown into the same district with Rep. Bob McEwen, who went on to lose the general election to a future governor, Ted Strickland.

An electrical engineer for Columbia Gas, Miller held several patents. He served as mayor of Lancaster, a small city in southern Ohio, from 1963 to 1967.

In Congress, Miller was known as a fiscal conservative who wanted to cut all spending bills by 5 percent. During the Gulf War in 1991, he was the only member of Congress with a grandson serving in the Middle East.

“For more than 25 years, Clarence served the state of Ohio with great honor in the U.S. House of Representatives,” U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, R-Ohio, said. “His impact on Lancaster even after his time in Congress has been irreplaceable, and he will be deeply missed.”

Miller’s wife, Helen, died in 1987. He is survived by a son and daughter, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

26 Charged With Prescription Fraud

DETROIT, Aug. 3 (UPI) — A Michigan pharmacist who owns 20 drugstores orchestrated a scheme that cost Medicare and Medicaid $60 million, federal prosecutors say.

Babubhai “Bob” Patel, 49, of Canton, 12 pharmacists, four doctors and others were named in an indictment unsealed Tuesday, The Detroit News reported. A total of 26 defendants were named.

Investigators say Patel recruited patients who were willing, in exchange for kickbacks. to participate in fraud.

Medicare and Medicaid were allegedly billed for drugs that were not needed and in some cases not supplied. He allegedly paid kickbacks to doctors who wrote prescriptions “without regard to the medical necessity of those prescriptions and services.”

All the defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Most were also charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including OxyContin, Xanax and a codeine cough syrup.

Rare Crystals Found In Meteorite

TOHOKU, Japan, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Japanese researchers say they found opal-like crystals in a meteor that fell in Canada in 2000, the first extraterrestrial discovery of such unusual crystals.

Reporting the find in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, scientists from Tohoku University said the crystals may have formed in the primordial cloud of dust that produced the sun and planets of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago, an ACS release said Wednesday.

Colloidal crystals such as opals, which form as an orderly array of particles, are of great interest for their potential use in new electronics and optical devices, researcher Katsuo Tsukamoto said.

The formation of colloidal crystals in the so-called Tagish Lake meteorite implies that several significant conditions must have existed when they formed, the researchers said.

“First, a certain amount of solution water must have been present in the meteorite to disperse the colloidal particles,” the journal report said. “The solution water must have been confined in small voids, in which colloidal crystallization takes place.

“These conditions, along with evidence from similar meteorites, suggest that the crystals may have formed 4.6 billion years ago.”

New Sentence For Man Who Raped As Teen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 3 (UPI) — A young man who received a life sentence in Florida for a gang rape he was involved in at the age of 16 was re-sentenced to 60 years Wednesday.

Nathan Walker’s new sentence was required by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that juveniles cannot receive life sentences for crimes other than murder even when tried as adults, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Walker, two other juveniles and a young man were convicted of a brutal 2007 rape at a West Palm Beach housing project.

A 35-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a group of up to nine men, and her 12-year-old son was tortured.

Jakaris Taylor, who also was given a life sentence, is expected to have a new hearing soon. Tommy Poindexter, who was 18 at the time of the crime, was not affected by the Supreme Court ruling, while Avion Lawson, who cooperated with prosecutors, received a 30-year sentence.

Gorilla Euthanized At Louisville Zoo

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 3 (UPI) — A 52-year-old gorilla has been euthanized at a zoo in Kentucky, officials say.

The decision to put down the western lowland gorilla, Timmy, Tuesday came after his health deteriorated over the past few weeks, WOIO-TV in Cleveland reported.

Timmy had been suffering from heart disease, heart arrhythmia and osteoarthritis over the past few years, Louisville Zoo veterinarian Roy Burns said. The gorilla began treatment for his medical issues several months ago.

Timmy was born in the wild Cameroon in 1959 and brought to the Memphis Zoo in 1960. From there he was transferred to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 1966.

In 1991, Timmy was moved to the Bronx Zoo in New York. An animal activist group tried to block this move, citing that taking Timmy away from his infertile mate in Cleveland would harm his health. Nonetheless, a judge approved his move and the gorilla moved to New York City.

At the Bronx Zoo, Timmy produced 13 offspring between 1992 and 2004, whereas he previously had fathered none.

In 2004, Timmy made his last move to the Louisville Zoo.

Western lowland gorillas are labeled as critically endangered in the wild due to the deforestation of their natural habitat, infectious disease outbreaks and poaching.