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June 11, 2018

GRADUATION SPEAKER SILENCED

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — Petaluma High School valedictorian Lulabel Seitz never had a chance to drop the mic at her graduation address. School officials silenced the sound system after she veered off a preapproved speech. Seitz said later that she was “unfairly cut off” for trying to address the silencing of victims of sexual assault, something she said she experienced on the campus. The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported that many of the graduates wearing purple and white robes stood up, cheered and chanted “let her speak” as she tried to finish her speech June 2nds. Students also clapped in support and shouted as she returned to her seat in the front row during the ceremony on the school football field. Seitz said she was “appalled” that the school had pulled the plug on her address, though officials said all speakers had been warned the microphone would be muted if they went off message.

CHILDREN IN KENNELS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Tennessee say a woman has been charged with transporting two young children in pet kennels inside her vehicle. News outlets report 62-year-old Leimome Cheeks was charged with two counts of child endangerment. According to a Memphis police affidavit, Cheeks says there was no room inside her vehicle Saturday, so she told the children ages 7 and 8 to get inside the kennels. There were no air conditioning vents in the back of the vehicle and the children told police they became hot. Temperatures in the area reached about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

BAPTIST CHURCH-CATHOLIC JESUS

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A statue of Jesus — that a Baptist church in South Carolina voted to remove because the congregation deemed it too Catholic— has found a new home. The hand-carved, 7-foot statue and accompanying reliefs depicting scenes from Christ’s life have been displayed outside the front entrance of Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington for a decade. But church members voted last month to move it. The Rev. Jeff Wright, the church’s pastor, would not tell The Associated Press when the statue will be taken down but said it is going to another church. Wright said church members meant no harm in the decision, and the attention has turned what was a simple church issue unfairly into a social justice issue. Wright said. “We are removing it to end some confusion. Some people have seen it, guests that have been here and have asked, ‘Why is this on the front of a Baptist Church?’” His letter said: “We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms.”

WEEPING VIRGIN MARY

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Las Cruces Catholic Diocese, the governing body of all Catholic churches in southern New Mexico, is investigating a statue of the Virgin Mary at a Hobbs church that appears to be shedding tears. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports parishioners say recently tears have streamed down the face of the statue at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. The church has since become a destination for travelers to see what many have called a miracle. Bishop Oscar Cantú says the diocese will first try to determine if the tears are a supernatural occurrence. This part of the probe includes laboratory tests of the liquid believed to be tears, eyewitness interviews and scrutiny of possible natural causes, including human tampering.

MOON DUST-LAWSUIT

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Tennessee woman is suing NASA to affirm her ownership of lunar dust she says astronaut Neil Armstrong gave her. The Kansas City Star reports that Laura Murray Cicco filed the federal lawsuit last week seeking to establish her moon dust ownership under the Declaratory Judgment Act of the United States Code. Cicco was 10 when her mother gave her a vial of dust with a note appearing to be from Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon and a friend Cicco’s father. NASA has not tried to claim ownership of the dust, but Cicco filed the lawsuit proactively because the agency’s position is that all lunar material belongs to the nation.

DOG FATALLY STABBED

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A southeast Missouri man is charged with stabbing a dog 11 times out of revenge and leaving the slain dog’s remains on the owner’s doorstep. KFVS-TV reports that 18-year-old Andrew Nipper, of Cape Girardeau, was charged with animal abuse, receiving stolen property and harassment. The police report says he fatally stabbed the dog, named Pepper, last month. The dog’s owner told police that Nipper and her friend had dated. She said she believed the stabbing was in retaliation for calling police after Nipper stalked her friend. Court documents say that law enforcement learned two day after Pepper was killed that Nipper took a selfie with the dog on his phone and sent it to another person.

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