Indiana fair off to a good start
Grief over a deadly stage collapse gave way to excitement over animal exhibits and deep-fried bubblegum Friday as thousands of people poured into an Indiana State Fair trying to bounce back from its most trying year. Visitors bustled from rides to food stands, with only a few pausing to read the seven names inscribed on a plaque that serves as a memorial to those killed last August when a storm toppled a stage before a scheduled concert by the country duo Sugarland. The strong early attendance was a good sign for fair officials who hope this year's event will help heal emotions and put the fair back on sound financial footing. Revenue and attendance plummeted last year after the stage collapse. Fair officials later made big changes to their safety procedures and changed the organization's management structure. Lawmakers passed a bill requiring state inspections of such temporary structures.
Court, suspect clash over beard
A military judge on Friday once again held the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting suspect in contempt of court for showing up to a pretrial hearing with a beard he had been ordered to shave. Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was fined $1,000 for a second time. Beards are a violation of Army regulations. Hasan's attorneys say he keeps declining to shave because he believes that doing so would violate his Muslim faith. The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, said Hasan would be forcibly shaved before his Aug. 20 trial if he doesn't shave the beard himself. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post.