Nation roundup for October 4
Rare $5 bill may fetch $300,000
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The $5 bill displayed for decades on Charles Fairbanks IV’s wall was long a treasured family heirloom from Alaska. Now, to the surprise of the grandson of a turn-of-a-century vice president, it’s also become a likely treasure trove.
The rare find is expected to fetch as much as $300,000 at auction this month when a Texas auctioneer plans to put it up for bids in Dallas and online as part of the American Numismatic Association National Money Show.
The bill was presented in 1905 to Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks — Theodore Roosevelt’s No. 2 — and was from the First National Bank of Fairbanks, Alaska. The family has had it in their possession ever since and recently decided to auction it off through Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful find,” said Dustin Johnston, director of Heritage’s currency auctions.
Auction officials say the Fairbanks bill that features an image of President Benjamin Harrison is a highlight that’s expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000. The minimum starting bid is $120,000.
Fairbanks always knew the bill was special, at least to his family but the city only learned last year that the uncirculated note’s estimated value had skyrocketed far beyond the estimate of $50,000 to $60,000 set in the mid-1990s.
Detroit’s police chief is suspended
DETROIT (AP) — For the second time in two years, a Detroit police chief is embroiled in a sex scandal.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing suspended Ralph Godbee on Tuesday from his $140,400-a-year job amid allegations that the married chief of police had a sexual relationship with a subordinate.
Godbee, 44, and Angelica Robinson, a 37-year-old internal affairs officer, had been conducting an affair that she said had run its course, according to her attorney, David Robinson.
“There was a sexual relationship between my client and Godbee,” David Robinson said on Tuesday. “She was trying to end the relationship, and Godbee didn’t want to let it go.”
Bing fired Godbee’s predecessor, Warren Evans, in 2010, partly because he was romantically involved with a female officer.
In the more recent case, Angelica Robinson posted a photo of herself with her service weapon in her mouth on the social media site Twitter after learning Godbee was at a weekend police conference with another woman, David Robinson said.
He said Godbee had other officers locate Angelica Robinson and put her under surveillance.
Anchor responds to weight critic
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jennifer Livingston has always rebuffed personal attacks, so when the Wisconsin television anchorwoman got an email from a viewer criticizing her weight, she thought nothing of it.
But then she thought of her daughters and other children who may not have the same emotional shield.
Livingston took the airways Tuesday to respond to the email during a 4-minute segment on WKBT-TV in La Crosse, calling the writer a bully. She urged young viewers not to allow such people to define their self-worth.
She didn’t identify the man, who wrote that he was surprised to see her physical condition hadn’t improved for years. He told her that he hopes she doesn’t consider herself a suitable example for young people, especially girls.
The man who wrote the email, Kenneth Krause, told The Associated Press in an interview that his emails had nothing to do with bullying.
Livingston, who has worked in broadcast journalism since 1997, said at least 1,000 people have posted supportive messages on her Facebook page and even more sent her emails. She said many wrote that they wished someone had stood up for them, including some who said they were bullied years ago “and it still haunts them today.”
“It’s not what this one particular man said to me,” the 37-year-old said in a phone interview from the station. “It’s the reaction that what I am saying back to him and bullies everywhere is impacting me. I am just shocked right now that the words of one journalist in small La Crosse, Wis., can make such a loud roar.”
Livingston said she’s been asked to appear on national morning shows Wednesday.
In his initial email, Krause wrote that “obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make,” then urged Livingston to “reconsider your responsibility to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
They exchanged a few emails, but Livingston said he wouldn’t back down from his opinion that she was a bad role model. Krause, who wouldn’t reveal his profession or age to the AP, said he no longer had the emails.
In her television response, Livingston acknowledged she was overweight but said the man’s words were cruel. Livingston said she could brush off such comments but worried about children who didn’t know how to do the same.
“To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the color of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now: Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.
“Learn from my experience — that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many,” she said on the air.
Her husband, who also is an anchor at the station, originally posted the email Friday on Facebook. Livingston didn’t decide to address it on air until after a few local radio stations did segments on it and about bullying — and she thought about how her three young daughters would eventually face bullies.
“For me, it’s not about him,” she said. “It’s about the culture of emails like his that not only come to us as journalists but to people all over the place and especially to our kids.”
Grass thefts are up amid drought
VAUGHN, N.M. (AP) — Petty crime and burglaries aren’t unusual in New Mexico’s isolated Guadalupe County, but lately Sheriff Michael Lucero has seen thieves steal something a bit unexpected: grass.
With drought drying out grazing land and driving up hay prices, some ranchers in New Mexico have started cutting neighbors’ fences or leaving gates open so their cattle can graze on greener pastures.
Authorities in other drought-stricken states say they’ve seen similar fence cuttings, along with thefts of livestock and other materials as ranchers struggle to stay in business. In some cases, stealing a neighbor’s grass may be the only way for a rancher to feed his livestock, but victims say their livelihood is being threatened too.
“We’ve had around five cases in the past few weeks where someone says his cattle just happened to walk through a gate that just happened to be open or an instance where a fence was clearly cut,” Lucero said. “And I suspect there are more cases, but they aren’t being reported.”
Ranchers from Missouri to Texas and west into New Mexico have sold off huge portions of their herds this year because the worst drought in decades dried up their pastures and they couldn’t afford to buy food for their animals. While grass thefts might seem relatively harmless, ranchers say they threaten the businesses and animals that are left.
“If they don’t have enough grass on the ranch, they have to sell their cattle,” said Leon Porter, a rancher in Corona, N.M., who sold half his herd this year to keep going.
It’s not clear just how many grass thefts have happened since most aren’t reported, and even when they are, most don’t result in arrests, said Myles Culbertson, executive director of the New Mexico Livestock Board.
“It’s extremely hard to make a case. You almost have to have an eyewitness,” he said.
But reports from individual counties show an increase. In Colorado, for example, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has received four reports of hay thefts in two months, the most it has seen in years, spokesman John Schulz said.
“We typically see an isolated case here and there, but nothing like this,” Schulz said.
In one case, Wellington, Colo. rancher Ted Swanson said $5,000 worth of hay was taken from a field over the Labor Day weekend. Swanson said the thieves knew what they were doing because they stole high quality alfalfa from storage and ruined lower quality to get it.
“I felt sort of astounded,” said Swanson, who never had been robbed of hay in 20 years of owning his ranch. “I couldn’t believe it happened.”
The drought hurt hay production as the same time it damaged grazing land, and in some cases, ranchers can’t find or afford hay to replace bales that are stolen. In Texas, for example, an 800-pound bale of hay costs about $150, roughly twice as much as it did at this time last year.
“We sell small, 2-by-3 bales of hay now for around $20,” said Tom Schacht, manager of Parker Feed and Western Supply in Parker, Colo. “Last year, the same bale was around $14. It’s because of the shortage.”
Some farmers in Missouri have tried to deter thieves by painting bales of hay bold colors to help identify stole bales sitting on others’ property.
In Texas and New Mexico, local authorities have asked the U.S. Border Patrol and other federal agencies to help watch for suspicious behavior around ranches, including cattle rustling and grass theft.
“We are seeing a pattern. It’s hard to monitor since we are busy trying to catch DUIs and other crimes, so we need more eyes and ears,” said Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos, whose New Mexico county borders Mexico and sits just west of El Paso, Texas.
Cobos recently unveiled a plan involving a number of local and federal law enforcement agencies in the fight against ranch-related property crimes. His deputies also are taking classes on cattle branding to help identify stolen livestock.
“We see people with cowboy hats transporting cattle and hay all of the time, and we think nothing of it,” Cobos said. “But now if we see them at 3 a.m. in the morning … we have to stop and think: Is there something wrong?”
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