- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Trucker says he was fired for cross dressing

NEW ORLEANS A trucker filed a federal lawsuit against Winn-Dixie Stores yesterday claiming he was wrongly fired after supervisors learned he sometimes dresses as a woman.

"I never expected Winn-Dixie to approve of my personal life or to punish me for it," Peter Oiler said at a news conference. "I just never thought it had any bearing on my job."

Mr. Oiler, whose sex-discrimination lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union's Louisiana chapter, is seeking unspecified damages for lost wages and emotional distress.

A Winn-Dixie spokesman said the company knew about the lawsuit but had no comment.

Liza Minnelli has encephalitis

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Oscar-winning actress, singer and dancer Liza Minnelli is recovering in a hospital after falling seriously ill with viral encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, her doctor said yesterday.

Miss Minnelli, 54, was treated for the disease two weeks ago and had been released from the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Maurice Hanson said. The star of Broadway and Hollywood productions became dehydrated and returned to the hospital a few days ago, he said.

"She was quite sick and was in very serious condition but is now recovering well and we expect to release her in a few days," Dr. Hanson said.

Health official resigns over racial remarks

AUSTIN, Texas The Texas health commissioner resigned yesterday after being accused of making racially insensitive comments to a black former worker.

William "Reyn" Archer III, 46, had taken heavy criticism during the past year from minority groups over comments he made about Hispanics and blacks.

Gov. George W. Bush criticized Mr. Archer last week, calling his comments "inappropriate."

Dr. Demetria Montgomery, an administrator in the department before she was fired last month, had secretly taped a February meeting with Mr. Archer.

On the tape, Mr. Archer can be heard making references to "lynching" and suggesting Dr. Montgomery, who is black, use her brain and "that's what white people do."

Farrakhan requests families give $100

CHICAGO Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a week after his Million Family March in Washington, yesterday asked families and corporations to contribute to a development fund.

"I'm asking our families between now and next Oct. 16 to come up with $100 for the 'Million Family March' economic development fund," Mr. Farrakhan told a news conference at the group's restaurant.

Mr. Farrakhan, whose goal is to build up $1 billion by next October to spend on projects in poor communities, also asked corporations to "tithe" to the fund, threatening boycotts if they do not.

LAPD officer morale plummeting, study says

LOS ANGELES Morale in the Los Angeles Police Department has dipped sharply since the mid-1990s, says a study released yesterday, with officers fearing their careers are on the edge of ruin from frivolous complaints in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots.

The survey by the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles reported that 57 percent of officers said they would leave the 9,100-officer department if they could. About 25 percent said they were burned out.

Department officials were studying the report yesterday and plan to comment when finished, Lt. Horace Frank said.

Computer trouble delays flights

SAN FRANCISCO Scores of outgoing flights were delayed at Northern California and Nevada airports yesterday because of a computer failure.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the failure, which lasted almost six hours, happened during regular maintenance.

The software assigns codes to departing flights, enabling air traffic controllers to track them.

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