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April 29, 2007

Prison guard caught with pot

A guard for the Oak Park Heights prison was charged Friday with smuggling marijuana into an inmate, the Pioneer Press reported. The woman, officials allege, smuggled in small amounts of the drug on two occasions and also admitted to having an eight-month long relationship with the inmate. The Star Tribune, which picked up the AP's version of the story, said the guard was fired March 2 for violating policies against sexual misconduct between officers and inmates and also for bringing contraband into the prison. The article also said allegation details include the inmate paying her $1000 for each delivery of marijuana.

Big stone wins big bucks

The Minnesota Historical Society received a surprisingly large donation Friday. The donator? An anonymous jewelry collector who paid over $3 million for a 22.66 carat sapphire. The Star Tribune reported Saturday that the sale is the largest for a sapphire on record. Proceeds from the gem, which was originally the stunning centerpiece of a necklace lumber baron James J. Hill purchased for his wife, will benefit the James J. Hill house on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, which is owned by the Historical Society and used for tours highlighting Minnesota's past. The Pioneer Press also covered the story, but chose to pick up the AP version, which also explained that the necklace was purchesed Dec. 24, 1886- possibly as a last minuet Christmas present.

Scotty is beamed up

Kind of a fluff piece, but possibly a growing trend of burial, so to speak. ABC News reported Saturday that James Doohan, famous for his role as Scotty on the "Star Trek" series, was launched into space as part of a private company's endevour to dispose of human remains in space. To clarify, only cremated remains are accepted for the flights. This was the fourth flight for Space Services, Inc. Previous "riders" include "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, controversial 60's icon Timothy Leary and multiple astronauts, along with hundereds of average joes. According to the Toronto Star, Doohan died in 2005 and his remains have patiently waited almost two years to enter space for the first time.

Tamil Tigers continue air strikes

The Times reported Sunday that the Tamil Tigers, a rebel ethnic group in Sri Lanka, carried out its third attack in just over a month yesterday. The air strike targeted fuel depots in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. Meanwhile, thousands of residents were gathered in outdoor venues like parks, hotels and bars to watch the cricket World Cup final on large projector screens. The Sydney Morning Herald also reported on the attack. This report said the city was plunged into darkness after the bombings and people scrambled to get to shelter. Five people were taken to the hospital according to medic reports but no one was killed. According to the Sri Lakan government, bombs dropped on one depot caused minor damage and ones dropped on another depot failed to detonate.

California bridge collapses after fire

The Associated Press reports breaking news of a heavily-trafficed bridge in California's Bay area collapsing after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and erupted into flames early Sunday morning. According to the article in the Boston Globe, the heat from the fire was so intense that it melted part of the freeway, which caused the collapse. The truck driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns. Otherwise, according to the San Francisco Chronicler, no injuries were reported. Transportation officials were working to find alternate routes fit for the heavy traffic flow from two interstates to downtown Oakland.