In the Nation

Alexis Wright, 29, waits at her arraignment in Portland, Maine. She is a fitness instructor in Kennebunk.
Alexis Wright, 29, waits at her arraignment in Portland, Maine. She is a fitness instructor in Kennebunk. (AP)
Posted: October 10, 2012

Prostitution case roils Maine town

KENNEBUNK, Maine - This upscale southern Maine town is known for its ocean beaches, old sea captains' mansions, and the neighboring town of Kennebunkport, home to the Bush family summer compound.

But the talk of the town these days is the arrest of a local fitness instructor who's been charged with running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio and secretly videotaping her encounters. Now the town is on the edge of its seat, waiting for the revelation of which of their friends and neighbors are among her more than 100 alleged johns.

"There's still some of that puritanical New England left around," said Will Bradford, who owns a copy shop in town. "There are places in the world that would laugh at this."

Alexis Wright, 29, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Portland to 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her fitness studio and a nearby one-room office she rented. The man police say was her business partner, 57-year-old Mark Strong Sr., pleaded not guilty to 59 counts of promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy. - AP

Marine lost in '75 is buried in Colo.

DENVER - A Colorado family's years of waiting ended Tuesday when they finally buried a fallen Marine who had been missing since a helicopter crash during the rescue of an American ship crew seized by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge in 1975.

Pfc. James Jacques was laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver on what would have been his 56th birthday. About 50 Vietnam War veterans holding American flags lined a street in the hilltop cemetery.

Jacques, then 18 years old, was on a helicopter that crashed during the rescue of the cargo ship S.S. Mayaguez's crew in May 1975. Of the 26 people aboard the helicopter, 13 were rescued and the other 13 were declared missing, including Jacques.

Jacques' dog tags were found in 1992, but his remains weren't positively identified until this year with new DNA technology, said Air Force Maj. Carie Parker of the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office. - AP

U.S. deaths hit 2.5 million in '11

NEW YORK - U.S. deaths surpassed 2.5 million for the first time last year, reflecting the nation's growing and aging population. The increase of about 45,000 deaths over 2010 was not surprising. The annual number of deaths has been generally rising for decades as the population has swelled.

"If you have an older population, of course you have more deaths," said Qian Cai, a University of Virginia demographer who studies population trends. "That doesn't mean the population is less healthy or less vital."

Before last year, the largest number of deaths was 2.47 million in 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Wednesday. The report found that the rate of deaths per 100,000 people actually dropped to an all-time low in 2011. - AP