Wildlife officials on Thursday credited a woman with saving her husband's life by clubbing a mountain lion that attacked him while the two...

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Wildlife officials on Thursday credited a woman with saving her husband’s life by clubbing a mountain lion that attacked him while the two were hiking in a California state park.

Jim and Nell Hamm, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month, were hiking in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park when the lion pounced.

After the attack, game wardens closed the park, about 320 miles north of San Francisco, and killed a pair of lions found near the trail where the attack happened. The carcasses were flown to a state forensics lab to determine if either animal mauled the man.

Jim Hamm, 70, was in fair condition at a hospital Thursday.

Shawnee, Kan.

5-year-old takes handgun to school

A 5-year-old boy took an unloaded semiautomatic handgun to school and showed it off to at least one classmate, police said.

School officials in this Kansas City suburb had not decided what disciplinary action would be taken against the kindergartner, but a federal law requires expulsion for students who bring a gun to school, said LeighAnne Neal, a spokeswoman for the Shawnee Mission School District.

Shawnee Police Capt. Ron Copeland said the boy’s father had found the .22-caliber handgun while cleaning out a drawer at home. After he showed it to the child and relayed a message about the dangers of guns, the boy’s mother said to get rid of it.

The child took the unloaded gun to Rhein Benninghoven Elementary School on Wednesday, Copeland said. “When asked why he brought it to school, [the child] told the teacher his mother wanted it out of the house,” he said.

Smithfield, Va.

Firm won’t cage pregnant pigs

The world’s largest supplier of pork, Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, said Thursday that it will require its producers to phase out the practice of keeping pregnant pigs in “gestation crates” — metal and concrete cages that animal-welfare advocates consider one of the most inhumane features of large-scale factory farming.

Activists hailed the decision as a significant improvement in animal welfare. Smithfield officials said the company was responding to concerns voiced by customers such as McDonald’s and several supermarket chains.

While company officials defended the use of the crates — which are so narrow that the animals cannot turn around and some have to lie uncomfortably on their chests — they said their own research had concluded they could be replaced by group pens without any long-term problems or cost increases.


Serial killings: Mark Goudeau, the man accused of being the serial Baseline Killer, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Phoenix to nine murders and scores of other violent crimes.

Campaign: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who earlier this month set up a presidential exploratory committee, formally launched his campaign Thursday.

Seattle Times news services