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Cyanide suspected in a letter sent to White House

Published Mar. 18, 2015

Washington

Cyanide suspected in a letter sent to White House

The Secret Service said Tuesday that an envelope addressed to the White House has tentatively tested positive for cyanide. The letter was received at an off-site mail screening facility Monday. Initial biological testing was negative. The agency said additional testing Tuesday returned a "presumptive positive" for cyanide. The sample has been taken to another facility for further testing. The Secret Service is responsible for President Barack Obama's security. The agency said the investigation into the letter was continuing.

Cheektowaga, N.Y

Strong throwing arm rescues truck driver

The driver of a dump truck that crashed in western New York and became engulfed in flames is crediting a passing motorist with a strong throwing arm for saving his life. Larry Coulter says that he was hauling a load of stones Monday afternoon on the thruway near Buffalo when one of his tires blew, sending his truck into a guardrail and overturning. Coulter says the guardrail punctured the fuel tank, igniting a fire that quickly spread as he was trapped inside the cab. He tried unsuccessfully to kick out the windshield. Motorist Ed Brunner stopped his vehicle and threw stones from the spilled load to crack the windshield enough for Coulter to kick his way free. Brunner then helped the driver escape. Coulter called Brunner "my guardian angel."

Harrisburg, Pa.

Bad fraternity #1: Nude peep show

A Penn State University fraternity was suspended for a year Tuesday after police began investigating allegations that members used a private, invitation-only Facebook page to post photos of nude women, some apparently asleep or passed out. A former member of Kappa Delta Rho at the university tipped police off to the page, telling them in January that it had been used by members to share photos of "unsuspecting victims, drug sales and hazing," according to a copy of a police warrant. Photos accompanying the warrant included images of fully nude and partly clothed women and a scene of a man appearing to grope a woman, her pants partly pulled down. Two other images showed strippers hired by the fraternity for a party.

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Bad fraternity #2: $400,000 rampage

The University of Michigan's Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity has been permanently disbanded by its parent organization for wrecking a northern Michigan resort. About 120 Michigan students, members of Sigma Alpha Mu and women from its sister sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, had gathered at the Treetops ski resort in January. There was damage to 45 rooms, and students destroyed ceiling tiles and exit signs, broke furniture and doors, and urinated on carpeting, photos showed. Damage estimates have climbed to more than $400,000.

Idaho

2,000 snow geese found dead in state

Some 2,000 migrating snow geese have died in recent days in eastern Idaho, likely from a disease that comes on quickly and can kill birds in midflight, wildlife officials say. The geese, known for their distinctive white bodies and black wingtips, were migrating from the Southwest and Mexico to breeding grounds in Alaska. The cause of death likely was avian cholera, which can cause convulsions and erratic flight, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said. It's unclear where the birds picked up the bacteria. "The important thing is to quickly collect as many of the carcasses as possible, to prevent other birds from feeding on the infected birds," said Steve Schmidt, a regional Fish and Game supervisor.

Times wires