Tornado alarm saves residents from harm; Washington state student charged in threats

June 19
SOUTH DAKOTA
Tornado alarm saves residents from harm

A timely warning allowed an entire South Dakota city to shelter from a tornado that razed dozens of homes and businesses but injured only one or two people in the area, officials said Thursday.

Dedrich Koch, a Jerauld County prosecutor, said everyone was accounted for after the twister hit Wessington Springs just before 8 p.m. Wednesday. A woman and her husband suffered minor injuries when a tornado hit their home near Alpena, about 15 miles east of Wessington Springs, he said Thursday.

Tornado alarms sounded several times, prompting residents to head to the city’s emergency shelter in the basement of the courthouse, Koch said. Ten businesses were damaged, five of them extensively, and at least 25 of 43 houses that were damaged are uninhabitable. The city has a population of about 850.

— Associated Press

WASHINGTON STATE
Student is charged after online threats

A University of Washington student was charged in federal court Thursday with making interstate threats over Web comments pledging to kill women and praising another college student who went on a killing spree in California in May.

Keshav Mukund Bhide, 23, was arrested on suspicion of harassment and cyber-stalking Saturday at his dormitory on the university’s Seattle campus, police said.

Bhide made online comments on YouTube and Google+ that investigators say included praise for California mass shooter Elliot Rodger, police said. Rodger, 22, killed six University of California at Santa Barbara students and wounded 13 other people last month before taking his own life in the college town of Isla Vista. He left behind videos and writings expressing sexual frustration and his plans to kill women.

Bhide posted the comments online between May 31 and June 9, threatening to “cause serious physical injury or death” to women at the University of Washington and to two other women online, the criminal complaint said.

— Reuters

Court rejects L.A. ban on living in cars: A federal appeals court Thursday struck down a 31-year-old Los Angeles law that bars people from living in parked vehicles, saying the vaguely written statute discriminates against the homeless and poor.

New York reaches medical marijuana deal: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and state lawmakers announced a deal Thursday that would allow limited access to medical marijuana and make New York the 23rd U.S. state to offer some availability of the drug for therapeutic purposes. The program, which would bar smoking of marijuana but allow it to be eaten or vaporized, would be regulated by the state’s Department of Health under the deal. The plan still needs approval of the state legislature.

— From news services

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