Share this article

print logo

AROUND THE NATION

Service celebrates life of Etta James

GARDENA, Calif. (AP) -- Etta James was remembered at a service Saturday attended by hundreds of friends, family and fans as a woman who triumphed against all odds to break down cultural and musical barriers in a style that was unfailingly honest.

Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized James, describing her remarkable rise from poverty and pain to become a woman whose music became an enduring anthem for weddings and commercials.

Perhaps most famously, President Obama and the first lady shared their first inaugural ball dance to a version of the song "At Last" sung by Beyonce.

Sharpton opened his remarks by reading a statement from Obama: "Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation's musical heritage."

The Grammy-winning singer died Jan. 20 at age 73 after battling leukemia and other ailments, including dementia.

***

Blood from home of missing tot studied

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Investigators have been analyzing blood found in the basement of a Maine home where a missing toddler was last seen six weeks ago, an official said Saturday.

The blood was found early in the investigation into Ayla Reynolds' disappearance from her father's home in Waterville, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said.

Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, reported her missing Dec. 17. He had put her to bed the night before in the home he shares with his mother and said she wasn't there the next morning. She was 20 months old when she disappeared.

Her mother, Trista Reynolds, lives in Portland.

DiPietro, his mother and a third adult were home the night of Dec. 16, and police have questioned all three, McCausland said.

***

Protesters target Super Bowl Village

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Union members and Occupy protesters from across Indiana marched through Super Bowl Village on Saturday in opposition to the state's proposed right-to-work legislation.

About 75 marchers weaved through crowds at the pregame street fair in downtown Indianapolis in the first of what could be several such protests before next Sunday's big game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The protesters chanted "Occupy the Super Bowl."

Before the march, Occupy Purdue organizer Tithi Bhattacharya, a professor at Purdue University, led a rally in front of the Statehouse.

Most speakers emphasized that while the right-to-work legislation appears likely to pass following Wednesday's House vote approving the bill, that doesn't mean an end to protests as they will urge Gov. Mitch Daniels not to sign it into law.

Supporters of the legislation insist the measure helps create a pro-business climate that attracts employers and jobs. Opponents say it will lead to lower wages and poorer quality jobs.