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In brief: Fire victim was safety chief, store Santa

Tue., Dec. 27, 2011

STAMFORD, Conn. – A department store Santa Claus who died with his wife and three grandchildren in a Christmas morning house fire in Connecticut spent a long career trying to prevent danger as safety chief.

A day after fire engulfed his daughter’s upscale house in Stamford, Lomer Johnson was remembered fondly as a stickler for safety by a former boss at Louisville, Ky.-based liquor maker Brown-Forman Corp., where Johnson retired as safety and security director several years ago.

The home’s owner, New York advertising executive Madonna Badger, and Michael Borcina, a contractor working on the home, escaped the blaze, which killed Badger’s parents and her three daughters, police said.

The severely damaged $1.7 million house was torn down after the buildings department determined it was unsafe and ordered it razed, fire Chief Antonio Conte said.

Ex-journalist fights to become lawyer

SAN FRANCISCO – A former journalist who became the subject of a Hollywood movie after he was caught fabricating articles in the late 1990s is fighting to become a lawyer in California over the objections of a state bar committee.

Stephen Glass, whose ethical missteps at the New Republic and other magazines were recounted in the film “Shattered Glass” and an autobiographical novel, has challenged the bar committee’s decision to deny him a license to practice law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

Glass attended law school at Georgetown University and passed California’s bar exam in 2007. His application for an attorney’s license was turned down by the state’s Committee of Bar Examiners, which judged him morally unfit for his new profession.

Man who killed 6, self wore Santa Claus suit

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Police in a quiet Fort Worth suburb worked Monday to piece together a family history after a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit apparently shot six relatives and himself on Christmas.

Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said the shooter showed up in the costume shortly before gunfire erupted and that the family appeared to have been opening Christmas presents. Police responding to a 911 call found four females and three males dead, as well as two handguns.

Eberling said investigators were assembling a “family history,” and that the apartment was leased to a woman with two children, one age 15 and the other either 19 or 20. He would not give other specifics.

Autopsies of the shooter and the victims were being done Monday by the Tarrant County medical examiner, but he said their identities wouldn’t be released until today.

Nativity-scene goat away from manger

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – A goat that apparently didn’t want to be part of a Minnesota Nativity scene headed for greener pastures.

The 3-year-old Angora goat was supposed to have a supporting role at Bethlehem Church in Fergus Falls, but it escaped its leash Saturday afternoon and remained on the lam Monday.

The wayward goat has been spotted several times since it escaped, but police haven’t been able to collar it.


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