Mother fakes illness of child to get beanie babies
STILLWATER -- A judge has given a deferred sentence to a woman who made up a story about a young girl dying of leukemia in order to obtain Beanie Babies.
Barbara Shell, 57, of Glencoe plead guilty last week to obtaining money by false pretense.
She was given a two-year deferred sentence, fined $150 and must serve 20 hours of community service. She was also ordered to resign from her position in Glencoe and to attend counseling sessions.
The scam involved approaching store owners where Beanie Babies were sold and showing them a fictitious letter from a 9-year-old girl named Angie who was dying of leukemia.
The letter explained that the girl was in a hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and that her mother was financially strapped and didn't have a place to stay or food to eat.
A Stillwater gift and novelty shop owner wrote a $1,000 check to the fictitious mother, according to an affidavit. The gift shop owner confronted Shell after hearing two customers talking about a woman who made up a story about a girl dying of leukemia in order to obtain Beanie Babies.
NAACP goes after guns, television networks
NEW YORK -- The NAACP announced offensives against TV networks and gun makers Monday, using public relations and the threat of lawsuits to push for more black faces on the tube and fewer guns on the street.
The nation's largest civil rights group decided at its annual meeting to monitor and seek action on the "virtual whitewash" in fall TV programming, a lineup featuring few minority characters.
The group also said it will file a federal suit later this week in New York seeking tough limits on the gun industry.
Both announcements came as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its 90th annual convention.
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said the group's new NAACP Television & Film Industry Diversity Initiative will monitor how well the entertainment industry reflects America's multicultural base.
In addition to calling for congressional and Federal Communication Commission hearings on licensing and ownership of networks, the campaign could lead to lawsuits and boycotts of advertisers, Mfume said.
None of the 27 new comedies and dramas premiering on the top four networks this fall has minorities in a leading role, and few have them in supporting roles either.
Churchgoers use drive-in for summer worship
BARTLESVILLE -- For the past 25 years, these worshipers have come dressed in everything from shorts to pajamas -- not that anyone else in the congregation notices.
These churchgoers don't even have to leave their cars. It's a drive-in, with the sermon piped through AM radio. Horns honk in response to everything from "good morning" to a song worthy of applause.
First United Methodist Church has sponsored this interdenominational service for 25 summers. It typically draws 80 worshippers to the Eastland Shopping Center parking lot during June, July and August.
"We feel that it does serve a purpose, and it is still something that is very unique," said publicity chairwoman Peggy Stevens. "For a lot people, this is the only form of worship they get."
Pastors throughout the Bartlesville area do the preaching. A tent offering coffee and donuts is set up nearby for those who want to venture out of their cars.
The service is ideal for parents with sleepy children, the physically limited and anyone who has a busy summer schedule, Stevens said.
Grant to fund Oklahoma City visual arts center
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A $14 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will allow the Oklahoma City Art Museum to build an 82,000-square-foot visual arts center downtown.
The grant was the largest awarded Monday by the foundation, which also gave grants totaling about $6 million to institutions in Tulsa and Ponca City. In all, the foundation awarded grants totaling $58 million to causes in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nevada.
The art museum's visual arts center will house an educational complex, expanded exhibition space and 11 permanent collection galleries, interactive galleries, archival space, two classrooms, a 250-seat theater, gift store and restaurant.
Husband used hidden camera to reveal abuse
GRESHAM, Ore. -- The husband of a woman recovering from a brain aneurysm used a hidden camera to catch a nurse allegedly sneaking into the patient's room and sexually abusing her in the middle of the night.
Elisa Deaine Peterson, 27, was arrested Friday and charged with sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration. Bail was set at $70,000.
The alleged victim was a patient at the Rest Harbor Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center, recovering from an aneurysm she suffered a year ago.
Her husband suspected something was wrong three weeks ago when he noticed that his 46-year-old wife was getting worse and that she was afraid to be alone or go to sleep at night.
The husband installed a small video camera in her room, and shortly before midnight on June 6, he recorded an incident.
Seven found dead after Atlanta shooting
ATLANTA -- Seven people were found shot to death Monday in an Atlanta home, with the only survivor an 11-year-old boy who hid a closet for hours after he was wounded.
Five adults and two children were found shot to death. The motive for the shootings was unclear, but police were investigating whether one person killed the others and himself.
"The possibility does exist that one of the persons inside, who is also deceased, is responsible for all the shootings and that injury to himself was self-inflicted," Deputy Police Chief C.B. Jackson said.
Officers were called to the scene in the afternoon after the boy, who was shot in the elbow, sought help from neighbors.
Reward offered for child who was traded for crack
BESSEMER, Ala. -- A $5,000 reward was offered Monday for information about a missing 2-year-old girl whose mother told police she traded the child for crack.
Keteria Alexis Blackburn has been missing since February. Her mother, Lasondra Diane Smith, 20, was arrested Friday and charged with child abuse and child abandonment. She was jailed without bail.
Smith said she traded her daughter to someone for crack but can't remember who it was because she was high, sheriff's Deputy Mike Yarbrough said.
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