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February 20, 2019

KINDERGARTEN GUN

PITTSBURGH (AP) — School officials in Pittsburgh say a kindergartener was found with a handgun on a school bus.

Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh says the gun was found in the student’s backpack Monday after school was dismissed. The student attends the Pittsburgh Faison K-5 school.

Pugh says another student alerted the bus driver to the weapon, and the gun was removed without incident. She says parents were notified by phone.

Now, Pugh says all students will be required to pass through the school’s metal detectors. Previously, only adult visitors and parents were required to do so.

Pugh says school police are investigating how the student came to possess the gun. She said in an email that “information related to specific charges” wasn’t available.

EX-POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING MALE WITNESSES AND SUSPECTS

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former Philadelphia police officer has been arrested on allegations that he sexually assaulted male witnesses and suspects over more than a decade.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney confirmed that 52-year-old Philip Nordo was arrested yesterday morning.

Authorities allege that Nordo used his position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual encounters. The heavily redacted presentment contains roughly 35 charges related to three victims including rape, stalking and sexual assault.

Nordo was fired in 2017 after an allegation was received that he improperly paid a witness and had fraternized with people connected to criminal conduct.

ARMED WHITE MAN FACES HATE CRIME CHARGE AFTER MLK DAY CONFRONTATION

MIAMI (AP) — An armed white man who got into a traffic confrontation with a group of black teenagers protesting housing inequality on Martin Luther King Day is now facing hate crime charges.

The Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office says in a news release that 51-year-old Mark Bartlett is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice and two firearms counts. The charges are brought under a law allowing enhanced hate crime penalties when a crime is motivated by prejudice.

Cellphone video shows Bartlett carrying a handgun and yelling racial epithets at the teenagers blocking traffic in downtown Miami. Bartlett’s girlfriend was also involved but not charged.

The protest involved potential loss of affordable housing in the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.

SOUTHWEST - LUGGAGE WEIGHT

UNDATED (AP) — Federal officials have told Southwest Airlines to fix the way it calculates the weight of luggage loaded on flights after finding frequent mistakes.

Southwest said yesterday that it made improvements in its methods for calculating weight and the balance of loads during 2018.

The airline says it voluntarily reported the issue to federal safety officials last year, and isn’t facing any enforcement action.

The investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said internal FAA documents show widespread mistakes in calculations and luggage-loading practices that could cause errors when pilots compute their plane’s takeoff weight.

BRITAIN EXTENDS NO-FLY ZONE FOR DRONES

LONDON (AP) — Britain is extending the no-fly zone for drones around airports to 3.1 miles in an attempt to avert disruptions like the December groundings of flights at Gatwick Airport.

The Department for Transport says the zone will widen on March 13 from the current 0.6 miles.

Officials are also working on new legislation to give police more powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said Wednesday that people who fly drones near airports “are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.”

More than 100,000 travelers were stranded or delayed before Christmas after drone sightings near Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport.

U.K. aviation authorities say 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft were reported in 2018, up from 93 in 2017.

OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER IN CHICAGO CHALLENGED

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s lead attorney says the city is pleased a federal judge will expedite hearings on a lawsuit challenging the planned construction of the Obama Presidential Center in a South Side park.

Responding to U.S. District Judge John Blakey’s order yesterday allowing the Protect Our Parks lawsuit to proceed, Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel said he is glad the judge dismissed some of the lawsuit’s claims.

Blakey tossed the plaintiffs’ claim that their First Amendment rights would be violated if tax money is used to construct a building to promote former President Barack Obama’s political interests.

He also found no merit in the plaintiffs’ claim they would suffer because of aesthetic and environmental harm to Jackson Park.

Blakey says his ruling “does not address the true facts of this case.”