BY Wire reports
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 3:57 AM
Sandy Hook parents thank teachers for their actions
MONROE, Conn. - On a tour Wednesday of his daughter's new school, Vinny Alvarez took a moment to thank her third-grade teacher, who protected the class from a rampaging gunman by locking her classroom door and keeping the children in a corner.
Alvarez was one of many Sandy Hook Elementary School parents expressing gratitude to the teachers during an open house at their school in the neighboring town of Monroe, where their children are resuming classes Thursday for the first time since the Dec. 14 shooting that left 20 students and six educators dead.
Alvarez said each student received a gift box with a toy inside and he expressed thanks to the teacher, Courtney Martin, who kept her door locked until it was safe to leave the building.
Newtown Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson announced that the Sandy Hook staff decided that the students' new school, the former Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, would be renamed Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Mom: Boy didn't steal plane in fatal crash
JASPER, Ala. - A teen pilot killed along with two friends in an Alabama plane crash had his own key to the aircraft and had flown it many times, his mother said Wednesday, denying authorities' suggestion that the plane had been taken without permission.
Sherrie Smith said her 17-year-old son Jordan Smith was the one flying the plane that went down in the Alabama woods Tuesday night. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Piper PA 30 crashed less than a mile from the Walker County Airport in Jasper, northwest of Birmingham.
Smith says the owner of the plane had let her son fly it many other times and had given him his own key. She said her son was a high school junior who began flying at an early age and was one test short of earning his private pilot's license.
Walker County Coroner J.C. Poe said the other two people killed in the crash were Brandon Tyler Ary, 19, and Jordan Seth Montgomery, 17.
Sperm donor fighting demand for child support
TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple after answering an online ad is fighting the state's efforts to suddenly force him to pay child support for the now 3-year-old girl, arguing that he and the women signed an agreement waiving all of his parental rights.
The case hinges on the fact that no doctors were used for the artificial insemination. The state argues that because William Marotta didn't work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law, he can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child's biological mother received through public assistance - as well as future child support.
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said that when a single mother seeks benefits for a child, it's routine for the department to try to determine the child's paternity and require the father to make support payments to lessen the potential cost to taxpayers.
Marotta, a 46-year-old Topeka resident, answered an online ad in 2009 from a local couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who said they were seeking a sperm donor. After exchanging emails and meeting, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.
Judge says U.S. can keep mum on targeted killings
NEW YORK - A federal judge has ruled that President Barack Obama's administration doesn't have to publicly disclose its legal justification for the drone attacks and other methods it has used to kill terrorism suspects overseas.
Two New York Times reporters and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a 2011 request under the Freedom of Information Act that sought any documents in which Department of Justice lawyers had discussed the highly classified "targeted-killing" program.
The requests followed a drone strike in Yemen that killed an al-Qaida leader, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who had been born in the U.S. That attack prompted complaints from some law scholars and human rights activists that, away from the battlefield, it was illegal for the U.S. to kill American citizens without a trial.
Those demands for documents were turned down, on the grounds that releasing any details about the program, or even acknowledging that documents on the subject existed, could harm national security.
A woman hugs a child before he boards a bus Wednesday on the first day of classes after an extended break in Newtown, Conn. Children from Sandy Hook Elementary School will return to school Thursday in nearby Monroe. JESSICA HILL/Associated Press