BOSTON — A federal council recommended Friday that the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior reject a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound, saying it would have “destructive” effects on dozens of nearby historic properties. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation said the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport and the Nantucket Historic District, known for its whaling period architecture, were among the districts whose views would be negatively affected by the Cape Wind project, which would be the country’s first offshore wind farm. It also backed claims by two Wampanoag Indian tribes that Cape Wind would interfere with ancient rituals that require an unblocked view of the horizon.
Nevada: Tea party candidate
Criminal bad check charges were dismissed Friday for a tea party of Nevada candidate seeking to unseat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Scott Ashjian, 46, paid $5,575 to cover a disputed check and prosecution fees before a Las Vegas Justice of the Peace approved withdrawing felony theft and bad check charges, court officials said. Ashjian later said he never bounced the $5,000 business check that was in dispute, and blamed the state Republican party for what he called “trumped up” charges brought by a prosecutor who used to be a county GOP party official.
New Mexico: Sex offenders
A federal judge has barred Albuquerque from enforcing an ordinance that banned sex offenders from using public libraries, saying the law, as written, violated First Amendment rights. The U.S. District judge said she struggled to strike a legal balance in the case, since city officials have a legitimate interest in protecting children from harm, danger and crime, “especially crimes of a sexual nature.” On the other hand, the judge said in a 42-page opinion that sex offenders, “no matter how reviled,” have constitutional rights.
Vermont: Reptile crossing
Future generations of salamanders in one Vermont town are going to be getting some help crossing the road. The Monkton Conservation Commission said it has won a $150,000 state grant to install one or two culverts under a stretch of road to protect salamanders, other amphibians, reptiles and small mammals crossing between a swampy area and the uplands. A reptile expert said the crossing is “one of the most important of the known amphibian crossings in the state.”
California: Cop in bunny suit
Glendale police who used a bunny costume to decoy bad drivers at crosswalks have abandoned the outfit after it made a city councilman hopping mad. An officer wore the Easter outfit on Wednesday in crosswalks. Drivers who didn’t yield to the furry pedestrian were ticketed. But a city councilman harshly criticized the costume, calling it “breathtakingly dangerous” and a poor use of city resources. Police continued the sting on Thursday but the officer wore shorts and a T-shirt.
Somalia: Civilians are killed
At least 20 people were killed Friday after an intense battle between government forces and Islamic insurgents in the Somali capital, medical officials said. A military spokesman said the fighting started when insurgents attacked government soldiers in southern Mogadishu. He said three soldiers were wounded during the fighting. Mogadishu’s ambulance service said at least 15 civilians were killed. The Medina Hospital said five of the wounded brought there died from their wounds.
Japan: Reporter is missing
A freelance Japanese journalist has gone missing in Afghanistan, possibly as the result of a kidnapping, it was learned Friday. According to Japanese government sources, an acquaintance of Kosuke Tsuneoka, 40, of Tokyo, had informed the government that Tsuneoka was not responding to his usual contact methods. Japanese officials are gathering information on the assumption that he has probably been kidnapped, sources said. Local supporters have been holding negotiations for his release, the sources said.
Spain: Tussle in cathedral
A group of Muslims tried to pray inside a Roman Catholic cathedral that was originally a mosque and then scuffled with security guards and police who tried to stop them, a Spanish official said Friday. Two were arrested after the incident Wednesday night in the southern city of Cordoba and a police officer and a cathedral security guard were slightly injured, National Police said. The Great Mosque of Cordoba was built after the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 8th century. The mosque was transformed into a cathedral in 1236.
From Herald news services