August 26, 2008 in Nation/World

Eight escape from county jail


Eight inmates, including a convicted murderer and another man charged with murder, escaped from a county jail by cutting a hole in the roof, authorities said Monday.

Two inmates had been captured by Monday evening. Six remained at large and were considered dangerous, Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said.

The escape was discovered Sunday night when police saw two people in orange jumpsuits running near the jail, Murray said.

“We have a feeling that they have split up and went different ways from finding some of the jumpsuits throughout the city,” Murray said.

The inmates apparently had used handmade instruments to cut the hole in the roof near a skylight, Murray said. They gained access to the roof area by climbing up plumbing pipes in a narrow space behind the wall of a shower unit.

Murray said it appeared some in the group used an evergreen tree near the building to break their falls to reach street level.

Little Rock, Ark.

Ballot item bans gays from adopting

A proposal aimed at effectively banning gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall’s ballot in Arkansas.

The measure would prohibit unmarried couples living together from fostering or adopting children, and Arkansas doesn’t allow gays to marry or recognize gay marriages conducted elsewhere.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels certified the proposed initiated act for the Nov. 4 ballot after verifying that the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee had submitted 85,389 valid signatures of registered voters. Supporters needed to turn in at least 61,974 valid signatures.

“Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers,” Family Council President Jerry Cox said. “We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible.”

The Family Council campaign is a response to a 2006 Arkansas Supreme Court decision striking down a state policy that specifically banned gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents.

The measure faces the threat of a lawsuit from groups who say that it unfairly discriminates against unmarried couples and limits the number of foster and adoptive homes available for children.

From wire reports

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