Slain student's funeral attracts more than 1,000

Sunday, April 25, 2004

NISSWA, Minn. -- More than 1,000 mourners packed a resort lodge and overflowed from two tents for the funeral of slain University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin, who was remembered for her generous heart and infectious spirit. The lodge was one of the few places in northern Minnesota large enough to hold such a crowd. The body of Sjodin, 22, who grew up in nearby Pequot Lakes, was found April 17, five months after she disappeared from a Grand Forks, N.D., shopping mall parking lot.

County spends $273,000 so far on Jackson case

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County has spent $273,000 so far to prosecute Michael Jackson on child molestation charges -- and the bill keeps growing. The amount includes hundreds of court staff hours and overtime for sheriff's deputies, said Jason Stilwell, special projects manager in the county administrator's office. Some of the money comes from money set aside for trials and district attorney's investigations, but the overtime pay is extra. Prosecutors have charged the pop star with seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child. Jackson has pleaded innocent.

Funerals begin for eight victims of Ill. tornado

LASALLE, Ill. -- The tornado that tore through a central Illinois town, killing eight people who had sought refuge in a tavern, also damaged its only funeral home, forcing mourners 10 miles away for the first of the funerals. About 100 people gathered Saturday at a LaSalle church to remember Beverly Wood, 67, who was killed Tuesday in Utica along with her longtime companion. Utica, a close-knit community of less than 1,000 residents, is planning a May 1 memorial service for the eight victims. "It's been devastating," Fred Sims said after Wood's funeral. "But you know what -- the community is really coming together, and that's the beautiful thing."

FCC fines radio station for crank call to Castro

MIAMI -- A radio station that crank-called Cuban President Fidel Castro and broadcast the recording should be fined $4,000, the Federal Communications Commission said. The Spanish-speaking hosts of "The Morning High Jinks" used snippets of an earlier prank involving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to move the call from a receptionist up the chain to Castro in a five-minute broadcast June 17. The hosts of the show on WXDJ-FM, Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos, fed pleasantries to Castro before breaking in and calling him an assassin. The conversation ended after Castro denounced the callers with a stream of vulgarities.

-- From wire reports

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