April 10, 2005 in Nation/World

Dying WWII vet honored for action

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 
File/Associated Press photo

Poet laureate Ted Kooser is offering a free weekly poem to newspapers.
(Full-size photo)

Rosemead, Calif. A gravely ill World War II veteran who was wounded in the Normandy invasion has been honored with a Bronze Star and other medals more than six decades after he stormed the coast of France.

“I’m bewildered, I’m excited. I’m confused. I’m not used to talking this much,” former Army Pvt. Manuel Lopez Sanchez said Friday. Sanchez, 84, suffers from brain tumors and doctors told him he has about six months to live.

His wife, Amelia, said she sought out the medals after U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., spoke at a senior center and encouraged veterans to come forward to receive overdue awards.

Sanchez, a machine gunner and instructor, was shot in the right shoulder in North Africa and wounded by shrapnel at Normandy, requiring 17 blood transfusions, Solis said.

Poet laureate, winner of Pulitzer, reappointed

Washington Ted Kooser, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for poetry, has been appointed to a second one-year term as the U.S. poet laureate.

The American poet laureate, appointed by the librarian of Congress, does not write poems on public events like his British counterpart, who is appointed for life. He performs a minimum of duties so he can pursue his own ideas to promote poetry.

Kooser’s idea was to offer a free weekly poem to U.S. newspapers. The second poem, Jonathan Greene’s “At the Grave,” was posted Thursday on the program’s Web site, www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

The Library of Congress said 24 newspapers signed up within the first few days of the project. The library gives the poet an office and expects a few readings and lectures in return. Kooser is due to lecture at the library on May 5. He receives a stipend of $35,000 for each term.

Kooser, 65, won the Pulitzer for his most recent collection of original poems, “Delights and Shadows.”

Strip-search filmed, so drug conviction tossed

Indianapolis An appeals court threw out a man’s cocaine conviction because his strip-search was filmed by a camera crew for a television program.

The Indiana Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued Thursday that filming Andra Thompson’s strip-search was “unprofessional and unreasonable.”

During a 2003 sting operation at a motel, officers strip-searched Thompson and found cocaine stuffed between his buttocks. Thompson, 26, of Indianapolis, was convicted of cocaine possession and sentenced to six years in prison in 2004.

Police had given permission for the search to be filmed for an show on cable TV’s Oxygen network called “Women and the Badge.” One of the arresting officers was a woman.

At one point, the camera focused for several seconds on Thompson’s naked posterior while he was bent over in handcuffs.

“Where should the media line be drawn?” Judge Edward Najam wrote. “We will not sanction such conduct, which demeans the suspect and degrades the entire legal process.”

Fire crews respond to smoke, find snake

New Orleans Where there was smoke, there was a 5-foot-long snake. A dead snake, that is.

Workers at the Archdiocese of New Orleans called the Fire Department because they smelled smoke Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters found a smoking transformer and the snake on the ground nearby, burned behind its head, authorities said.

No one knew how the snake got into the Central Business District. Perhaps it climbed the transformer for refuge from the driving rain, one Entergy crew member suggested. Maybe someone released it there, another speculated.

The building was evacuated and power cut so the transformer could be repaired. Some power was restored about 5:30 p.m.


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