December 17, 2009 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: First lady: Don’t forget older kids

From Wire Reports
 
Associated Press photo

First lady Michelle Obama talks at a Toys For Tots distribution center in Stafford, Va., Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

Stafford, Va. – First lady Michelle Obama is asking Americans who plan to donate to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program but haven’t yet to choose gifts for 11- to 14-year-olds, an age group for whom she said there was a dearth of gifts this year.

She learned of the shortage Wednesday when she visited Marine Corps Base Quantico’s distribution center in donated warehouse space about a 45-minute drive from the White House. She’d come to drop off about 30 percent of the 500 gifts that White House staffers have donated to the effort so far.

“You look over in those bins and you just sort of think, you know, the little kids, great, but, you know, if you’re 11, you’re still waiting for Santa, and you still want to make sure that they have something in the stocking,” she said.

Sanford censured; impeachment fails

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will not be removed from office, as a state House of Representatives committee decided Wednesday to reprimand – and not impeach – the governor.

The House Judiciary Committee, in an 18-6 vote against the impeachment resolution, determined Sanford had not met the “serious crimes” or “serious misconduct” standard required by the state constitution to remove him from office.

Instead lawmakers approved, after some spirited debate, a formal rebuke of Sanford – known as censure. Sanford, the censure resolution says, abused his power during a 2008 trade trip to Argentina where he engaged in an extramarital affair, was derelict in his duties in secretly leaving the state for five days in June to meet his lover, and misled the public, among other allegations. The censure carries no fine or penalty.

Woman charged with hiding corpse

Wilmington, N.C. – A woman was charged Wednesday with keeping the corpse of her elderly mother in their home for months before the body was discovered in the woman’s bed.

Amy Blanche Stewart, 47, was charged with concealment of death, which is considered a low-level felony in North Carolina, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said.

“There is no question it was known to the family and should have been communicated to law enforcement,” said New Hanover County District Attorney Benjamin R. David.

Stewart was charged one day after police said a 911 caller reported that Blanche Matilda Roth, 87, was unconscious and not breathing.

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