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Things to Know in the U.S. for Sept. 14

Katrina Roberge, 14, and dad John Roberge stand in silence Tuesday in Claremont, N.H. A biracial boy was nearly hanged by teens, his family says.
Katrina Roberge, 14, and dad John Roberge stand in silence Tuesday in Claremont, N.H. A biracial boy was nearly hanged by teens, his family says.
Published Sep. 14, 2017

New Hampshire

Town rallies for nearly hanged boy More than 100 people, holding hands and singing We Shall Overcome, gathered at a park to offer support to the family of an 8-year-old biracial boy who was nearly hanged by teenagers. The boy's grandmother said the teens taunted him with racial slurs Aug. 28 in the mostly white town of Claremont and pushed him off a picnic table with a rope around his neck. The boy was treated at a hospital for neck injuries. State authorities are investigating the possible hate crime. Claremont police Chief Mark Chase also said his department was investigating a "serious incident" involving juveniles in which an 8-year-old was hurt but declined to provide details. Town resident Rebecca MacKenzie said she felt compelled to organize the Tuesday evening rally. "Claremonters are good people and, even as good people, we need to face the facts of racial injustice and begin a deep dialogue of how to deal with it in our community," she said. The near hanging has gotten plenty of attention on social media after relatives posted images of his rope burns and details of what they say happened. Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said she was "outraged and sickened." The boy's family did not attend the rally, but several biracial families did from towns around Claremont. People in the crowd listened as religious leaders, city officials and the police chief talked about the attack as a turning point in the community.

Texas

Injured hurricane hawk released

An injured hawk that sought refuge in a Houston taxicab before Harvey made landfall last month has been returned to the wild. Cabdriver William Bruso dubbed the female Cooper's hawk "Harvey the Hurricane Hawk" in online videos. He found her Aug. 25 before the hurricane made landfall that night and took her home. As Harvey's rains fell the next day, Liz Compton of the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition Wildlife Center picked her up. Compton said the hawk couldn't fly because of head trauma, probably from flying into something. After a week and a half of treatment, the hawk was taken to a center near Dallas for exercise before being released. A Plano spokesman said Harvey was released in a park Wednesday.

Man who killed estranged wife, 7 others had drinking problem

Meredith Hight had gathered friends at her suburban Dallas home for a day of grilling and watching football when her estranged husband showed up and opened fire, killing her and seven others before a police officer killed him. Plano police have said an officer Sunday evening saw bodies in the back yard and heard shots. The officer went inside, confronted Spencer Hight, 32, and fatally shot him. Police say the man shot nine people in the home, and seven died there. Another victim died at a hospital. Victims killed were Meredith Hight, 27; Rion Morgan, 31; Anthony "Tony" Cross, 33; Olivia Deffner, 24; James Dunlop, 29; Darryl Hawkins, 22; Myah Bass, 28; and Caleb Edwards, 25. Meredith Hight filed for divorce in July after six years of marriage. The divorce hadn't been finalized. Her mother, Debbie Lane, said Sunday's gathering was the first party Meredith was hosting on her own. Lane said Spencer started out as a loving husband, but the parents noticed something was off. She said they later learned he had a drinking problem, which Spencer's father confirmed. Lane said it wasn't until Meredith filed for divorce that she told her parents Spencer had been violent at least twice, but that she hadn't told the police. Meredith didn't request a restraining order. She wasn't afraid of him, her mother said. Chester Hight, Spencer's father, told the Dallas Morning News the family is living a "nightmare." He said his son told him about the divorce, but he couldn't speculate about their relationship. "They didn't confide in me," he said. "I really liked Meredith, for what it's worth."

Missouri

Teen: Teacher says I'm too busty

A teenager says a high school teacher told her during class that she was too "busty" and "plus-sized women" need to shop at stores that sell larger clothing. The 17-year-old was sent to the Joplin High School office Friday for a dress code violation, Kelsey Anderson's attorney said in a statement Tuesday. The statement said the teacher also said "smaller busted women could get away with more than larger busted women." The Joplin School District said in a statement it doesn't consider staff comments "about students' bodies appropriate" and is investigating whether there was a violation of a policy requiring staff to "maintain courteous and professional relationships with students." Anderson's mother posted a photo on Facebook of what the teen was wearing: a burgundy long-sleeved, laced, V-neck shirt and jeans with ripped knees. "I was mortified by my teacher, of all people, saying something like this in front of my class," Anderson said in a statement released. She added the principal said he "had never heard of me being victimized before" and thus didn't believe her story. Anderson's attorney said in the statement "body shaming isn't something to take lightly," noting suicide rates among teenage girls are on the rise. — tbt* wires

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Senate rejects bipartisan effort to end 9/11 war authorization

Nearly 16 years to the day after Congress first authorized a military response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Senate on Wednesday rejected an effort to repeal the virtual blank check that Congress granted to the president. The debate pitted the Republican Party's ascendant isolationist wing, represented by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, against its old-line interventionists, led by Arizona Sen. John McCain. Paul pressed for the repeal vote, in an alliance with Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. But the effort failed when senators voted 61-36 to set the measure aside. Paul had proposed repealing the declaration in six months, to give lawmakers time to consider a new one. The issue has been around since 2015, when President Barack Obama asked Congress to replace the authorization of military force passed to battle al-Qaida with a new one crafted specifically to take on the Islamic State. But so far Congress has balked, declining to take on the difficult issue even as lawmakers, such as Kaine, insist the legislative branch should reclaim its constitutional duty to declare war.

Washington state

School shooting kills 1, injures 3

A shooter opened fire at a high school in a tiny town Wednesday, killing one student, injuring three others and sending worried parents to the school in a frenzied rush, authorities said. Brian Schaeffer of the Spokane Fire Department told reporters that one child died at Freeman High School in Rockford, south of Spokane, while three injured victims were taken to a hospital and expected to survive. Authorities didn't immediately release their ages. Schaeffer added the shooter was taken into custody. Michael Harper, 15, a sophomore at the school, told the Associated Press the suspect was a classmate who had long been obsessed with past school shootings. Harper said the suspect had brought notes to Freeman High in the beginning of the year, saying he might get killed or jailed and that some students alerted counselors. The shooter came into the school Wednesday carrying a duffel bag, Harper said. He said the shooter had many friends and wasn't bullied. Schaeffer, who didn't release any information about a possible motive or the age of the suspect, said the shooting was especially hard for first responders, many of whom have kids at the school.

After 5th abuse accusation, Seattle mayor says he'll resign

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Tuesday he would resign after announcing in May that he would not seek a second term. Several men have come forward to accuse Murray of sexually abusing them decades ago when they were underage. The announcement came just hours after the Seattle Times published a story with an account by a fifth man — Murray's cousin — who said he had abused him in the 1970s. In a brief statement, the Democrat repeated "the allegations against me are not true." But the 62-year-old added, "it is best for the city if I step aside." Murray is the city's first openly gay mayor and had served in the state Legislature for many years before being elected in 2013. City Council president Bruce Harrell will become mayor upon Murray's resignation, which his office said would be effective Wednesday. An election to replace Murray permanently is already in full swing, with two candidates — Jenny Durkan, a former U.S. attorney and openly lesbian, and Cary Moon, an urban planner, engineer and local activist — vying to replace him in November. His fall could continue to resonate in that race. Murray has endorsed Durkan and, during the primary campaign, Durkan and a majority of the City Council stopped short of saying he should resign. Moon called for Murray to resign four months ago. On Tuesday, Durkan said the time had come and "no official is above the law."