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Agents search Nichols’ former home

Mick Brown prepares to pack William Wallace's sword in Stirling, Scotland.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Mick Brown prepares to pack William Wallace's sword in Stirling, Scotland. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington Pursuing information they missed evidence a decade ago, FBI agents searched the former home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and found blasting caps and other explosive materials apparently related to the 1995 attack, officials said Friday.

FBI officials said the material was found buried in a crawl space of the house in Herington, Kan., which wasn’t checked by agents during the numerous searches of the property during the original investigation of Nichols and Timothy McVeigh.

“The information so far indicates the items have been there since prior to the Oklahoma City bombing,” said Agent Gary Johnson.

CEO sentenced for dumping wheat

Miami A federal judge sentenced the chief executive officer of an Iowa shipping company Friday to 33 months in prison for directing the illegal dumping of 442 tons of fuel-contaminated wheat from a freighter into the South China Sea.

Judge Alan Gold also ordered Rick Dean Stickle to pay $60,000 in fines for dumping the oily grain in 1999. Stickle, chairman and CEO at Sabine Transportation Co. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was permitted to remain free on bond pending an expected appeal.

The wheat, intended for distribution by the humanitarian group CARE in Bangladesh, was contaminated by diesel fuel leaking into one of the freighter’s cargo holds. The company asked for permission to dump the grain at sea but was told that doing so violated U.S. law.

Prosecutors said Stickle tried to conceal the crime and obstruct investigators. His company and four other employees pleaded guilty in the case, with the company agreeing to pay $2 million in fines.

Some scoff at T. rex as state dinosaur

Tyrannosaurus rex might have made other dinosaurs tremble in fear, but some South Dakota legislators weren’t impressed by a plan to make the big meat-eater the state dinosaur.

Noting that the triceratops is already honored as the official state fossil, state Sen. Brock Greenfield called Sen. Stan Adelstein’s T. rex campaign “ridiculous” and another example of an out-of-control frenzy of state symbol designation.

“The state sport is now rodeo, even though participation in it isn’t near as great as other sports,” Greenfield said. “We established fry bread as the state bread, even though most people don’t know what it is. They felt compelled to vote for it, because they didn’t want to be seen as racist.”

South Dakota isn’t alone in its fondness for naming obscure symbols. Minnesota has a state muffin, Virginia a state bat, New Mexico a state cookie, Mississippi a state reptile. Proposed legislation would make the jackalope Wyoming’s state mythological creature.

“Having a state sport is not going to bring three more people to South Dakota,” Greenfield said. “It’s one thing to call us the Rushmore state, because that’s what we’re known for. But to establish some of these other things through state law is completely unnecessary.”

Wallace’s sword coming to New York

London One of Scotland’s national treasures, the 5-foot sword wielded by William Wallace, the rebel leader portrayed in the Academy Award-winning film “Braveheart,” left its homeland for the first time in more than 700 years Wednesday.

The double-handed weapon that belonged to Wallace will be the centerpiece of an exhibition at New York”s Grand Central Station during Tartan Day celebrations.

This year marks the 700th anniversary of the execution of Wallace, who led the Scots in their battle to free themselves from English rule. “This is an historic moment. It is the first time in 700 years that a relic of this importance has left these shores,” said Colin O’Brien, a Scottish official accompanying the sword to the United States.

The 6-pound sword was kept at Dumbarton Castle for 600 years. King James IV is said to have paid for it to be given a new hilt in 1505.