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Mayor abandons anti-drug program affiliated with Church of Scientology

LAS CRUCES — The city is immediately ending an anti-drug program aimed at third-graders after it was revealed it was created and bankrolled by the Church of Scientology.

The “Drug-Free Marshal” program, started in late November, had only been presented to five schools but was intended to be promoted eventually among all third-graders in the Las Cruces Public Schools.

Mayor Ken Miyagishima apologized Saturday and said it was not his intention to promote the religion. The mayor said he was approached this summer by Richard Henley, of Foundation for a Drug-Free World, who showed him a pamphlet adorned with the seals of El Paso, Española, the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department and the Horizon City, Texas, and Socorro, Texas, Police Departments and asked if the city would “support eradicating drug use in the community.”

In small type at the bottom, the pamphlet is copyrighted by Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Narconon and Association for Better Living and Education, all Scientology programs.

Guard who killed sword-wielder at Scientology center won’t face charges

A security guard who shot and killed a man wielding samurai swords on the grounds of a Scientology facility in Hollywood will not face criminal charges, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

The decision by prosecutors was in line with the conclusion of Los Angeles police detectives, who determined that the guard, a 64-year-old retired Seal Beach police officer, acted in defense of himself and other guards at the church’s Celebrity Centre.

A former Scientologist, Mario Majorski, 48, died from a single gunshot wound in the Nov. 23 incident. Majorski, a Hollywood native who had moved to Oregon several years ago, had driven a rented convertible onto the church grounds and confronted the guards with swords. According to a prosecutor’s report, Majorski threatened the guards and said “something about revenge.” He dropped one sword and began walking back to his car, but then unsheathed a second sword and said he would kill anyone who tried to arrest him, the report stated. The guard shot him after he made “one last run” with the sword at the guards, according to the report.

Det. Wendi Berndt said security videotape left no doubt that the guard was justified in shooting Majorski.

Scientology guards kill sword-wielding man in LA

A security guard at a Scientology building in Hollywood has shot dead a man brandishing two Samurai swords, apparently a former member of the controversial church.

The unidentified man approached three guards around 1.30pm yesterday in the car park of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, reportedly swinging the weapons and making threatening sounds. Police said he was “close enough to hurt them” when one of the guards shot him, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Terry S. Hara said.

The man, in his forties, was taken to hospital where he died from his wounds.

Surveillance footage confirmed the guards’ claim that they had acted in self-defence, police said. However officers are investigating whether the guard, from a private security firm, was licensed to carry a weapon.

The would-be attacker had a previous relationship with the Church of Scientology though his exact motive is as yet unclear.

The video showed the man pulling up at the building in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand, Mr Hara said.

“The evidence itself, it’s very, very clear,” he continued. “The security officers were defending their safety.”

Scientology’s Money Trail

South Park has ridiculed it, protesters have attacked it, and Germany has tried to outlaw it. Yet the Church of Scientology still operates in 160 countries, with an extremely complex economic model that makes it hard for opponents to go after its finances. Ever since the 1980s, when it faced a potentially lethal class-action lawsuit and intense scrutiny from the U.S. government, the group has reportedly spread its revenues—and its liability—among a vast array of independent trusts, corporations, and nonprofits. All are reportedly tightly controlled by David Miscavige, a second-generation Scientologist who has run the church since the 1986 death of its founder, science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Tax filings from the early 1990s show that the church was earning about $300 million a year back then, but the paper trail disappears after that. The church won tax-exempt status in 1993 and is not required to file annual returns with the I.R.S., so it’s extremely difficult to tell just how much Scientology takes in during a given year. (Groups that don’t have direct ties to the church’s executive branch, or “Mother Church,” as it’s known, often act as separate legal entities and file taxes individually.) We asked a number of sources—ex-Scientologists familiar with the church’s finances—to help us arrive at an estimate of its annual revenue.

Revealed: Scientology’s “Stress Test” Scam

Everyone has seen them at subway stations, street festivals, shopping malls, and even ordinary city sidewalks: a few friendly-looking people sitting at small, folding tables, with colorful electronic contraptions prominently upon them, and lots of hardbound copies of L. Ron Hubbard books. A sign screams out, “FREE STRESS TEST.” Naturally, everyone feels a little stressed out in our modern day, so with a chuckle and a smile, the ordinary citizens passing by may sit down “just to see how this thing works.” It is fun to try out this kind of carnival game. Maybe this gizmo will say something amazingly accurate. Also, it’s free. What could go wrong?

Well, a lot could go wrong, and often does. The people with the gizmos are Scientology cult recruiters; the machines themselves are Scientology “E-Meters,” a primitive sort of lie-detector machine; and the Hubbard books are part of a sales strategy that is elaborately plotted out to the point of being bizarre, especially for an organization that claims to be a religion. No matter who you are, how you feel, or what kind of jiggles and squiggles the E-Meter apparatus makes in response to you, the Scientologists will tell you that your life is in a rather precarious situation, and that the best thing would be for you to come down to the “church” for further interpretation and advice. Let’s make an appointment for you now. What is your name, address, home phone number, work phone number, cell phone number, e-mail address? You need to buy one of these books, too.

What is this “Stress Test” nonsense?

Identity Key For Downtown Clearwater Redevelopment

CLEARWATER – When Brian Beck looks at downtown Clearwater, he sees Denver.

Not Denver 2008, but Denver 20 years ago, before merchants, investors and the city fashioned the “LoDo” district of nightclubs, restaurants and loft-style condominiums from an aging collection of old warehouses.

“You could have bought an entire block of them for $125,000,” Beck said. “Now they go for a million dollars apiece.”

Beck, 49, is one of the people who recently decided to take a chance on downtown Clearwater. In October, he opened Rio Grande Mexican Grille at 528 Cleveland St. in the downtown area called the “Cleveland Street District.”

Beck harbors no illusions that Clearwater, the junior partner in the Tampa metropolitan area, can be Denver, the center of the Mountain West. But he stands by the comparison as the city gains traction in its decades-long quest to redevelop its downtown core.

Even the most optimistic city leaders concede there is a long way to go, especially in an economic downturn, but they say they have a solid plan and a promising start.

Portland’s Church of Scientology Moves to Temporary Quarters

The Church of Scientology of Portland has moved to temporary office space at 1208 SW 13th Ave. The Church leased a total of 16,000 square feet in the Century Building and Century Tower while waiting for renovations to begin on the Stevens Building.

Since 1974, the Church of Scientology has occupied the Western Building located at 709 SW Salmon, which also
houses the well known John Helmer men’s clothing store at the corner of SW Broadway and Salmon Street.

‘We had to find an interim space from which we could serve our congregation while we continued to plan out the restorations for the Stevens Building, ‘stated Gwen Barnard, spokesperson for the church. ‘We knew about six months ago that we needed to move so we started looking to find something suitable and still be in the downtown area.’

The Western Building was put up for sale after the Church purchased the Stevens building in January of this year. The new owner, Doug Goodman, is now doing extensive renovations to the entire building.

‘This temporary space is in a wonderful part of downtown,’ said Executive Director, Rev. Steven Crandell. ‘There are many great restaurants close by like West Café and the Brazil Grill as well as other churches. Plus there is more parking available for our staff and parishioners.’

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