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In brief: Troops in gay pride parade applauded

SAN DIEGO – Some of the loudest cheers Saturday at San Diego’s gay pride parade were for active-duty troops marching in military dress, the first time that U.S. service members participated in such an event while in full uniform.

Dozens of soldiers, sailors and Marines marched alongside an old Army truck decorated with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag. They were joined by dozens more military personnel in civilian clothes.

Spectators waved signs reading “Thank you for your service.” A woman held a placard that said: “My gay son is a Naval officer.”

“Today is so important,” said Navy Lt. Brian McKinney, who marched with his civilian partner, Hunter Hammonds. “It’s about putting on my uniform and taking pride in my service, my fellow service-members, my family and myself. It’s something I’m incredibly thankful for.”

In a memorandum sent to all its branches this year, the Defense Department said it was making the allowance for the San Diego event even though its policy generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades.

Homeless stabbing suspect surrenders

LOS ANGELES – A homeless man who authorities suspect stabbed three Los Angeles-area transients while they slept and left behind rambling “death warrants” is believed also to be responsible for two other knife attacks in Santa Barbara, police said Saturday.

Courtney Anthony Robinson, 38, called 911 on Friday evening and surrendered to police about 8:40 p.m. at a Hong Kong Express eatery in the center of Hollywood, said Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith. Robinson was “lucid” and was taken into custody without incident, Smith said.

Sgt. Riley L. Harwood, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department, confirmed that Robinson was being investigated as “a person of interest” in connection with the non-fatal stabbings of two homeless men in separate incidents on June 26 and July 1.

Nation’s cattle herd drastically reduced

WICHITA, Kan. – A widespread drought that’s forcing ranchers to sell off animals has helped shrink the nation’s cattle herd to its smallest number in at least four decades.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that the number of cattle and calves in the United States totaled 97.8 million head as of July 1. That’s 2 percent less than a year ago. Beef cattle numbers were down 3 percent at 30.5 million head counted, while dairy cow numbers remained unchanged at 9.2 million.

Overall, it’s the smallest cattle inventory since the agency began a July count in 1973. NASS now estimates the size of the nation’s herd each January and July.

Zoo euthanizes ailing elephant

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Connie, the Asian elephant transferred this year from the Tucson zoo to the San Diego Zoo with her longtime buddy, Shaba, has been euthanized after an irreversible decline in her health, according to a senior veterinarian at the zoo.

The 45-year-old elephant’s immune and organ systems were rapidly deteriorating.

Connie was euthanized on Thursday when it became apparent that she would be unable to sustain herself.

Sexual abuse victim charged

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A 17-year-old Kentucky girl who was upset by the plea deal reached by a pair of teenagers who sexually assaulted her is now facing a contempt charge for tweeting their names in violation of a court order.

Savannah Dietrich, of Louisville, told the Courier-Journal she is frustrated by what she feels is a lenient deal for her attackers. After posting the names on Twitter, Dietrich wrote, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

The boys’ attorneys have asked a judge to hold Dietrich in contempt.

The contempt charge carries a possible sentence of 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The boys pleaded guilty on June 26 to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism and are to be sentenced next month.

Dietrich said she just needed to stand up for herself. “I’m at the point that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it.”


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