- The Washington Times - Friday, June 13, 2003

COLORADO

Women charge harassment at Mint

DENVER — Thirty-two women working at the U.S. Mint in Denver, nearly a third of the facility’s female workers, have signed a complaint claiming sexual harassment and discrimination by male colleagues and supervisors.

The complaint says the women were denied promotions and raises, subjected to sexist comments, treated more favorably if they had sex with some managers, disciplined more harshly than men and discouraged from complaining about the treatment.

The petition was filed with the U.S. Treasury Department, which operates the Mint.

FLORIDA

Prisoners kill guard in escape attempt

PORT CHARLOTTE — A female prison guard was attacked and killed at the Charlotte Correctional Institution in an unsuccessful escape attempt.

Darla Lathrem, 38, died Wednesday night at the maximum-security prison, one of three “closed custody” prisons reserved for the state’s most troublesome inmates.

Miss Lathrem was supervising five inmates putting final touches on a new dormitory when she was attacked. Two of the inmates were injured, and three tried to escape. One of the would-be escapees has been identified as Dwight Eaglin, 27, a former professional boxer serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

ALABAMA

Inmates help foil robbery attempt

DECATUR — Three work-release inmates serving time for buying and receiving stolen goods are being credited with helping foil a robbery attempt at a car dealership.

Calvin Matsey, Barry Hall and Donald Harris said they suspected something was odd when they found hubcaps and stereo equipment next to a hole in a fence separating the Decatur Country Club, where they worked, from Lynn Layton Chevrolet.

Seth Bond and Charles Wilson, both 23, were arrested and charged with auto breaking and entering last week after the inmates spotted them, ran them down, and held them at the golf course until police arrived.

ALASKA

Father, son survive plunge under river ice

FAIRBANKS — A father and son on an arctic rafting expedition survived a plunge under river ice and five days without food or supplies, rescuers said.

Blake Stanfield of Seward and his father, Neil, of Oklahoma City, were found “starving and tired and exhausted” before being flown out of the wilderness early Wednesday by an Army helicopter, said 1st Lt. Wesley Madden, an Army pilot.

The pair lost their supplies Friday when they and their raft were sucked under a large patch of Koyukuk River ice near the Arctic Circle, about 65 miles northeast of the town of Bettles, Lt. Madden said.

CALIFORNIA

Mechanic finds bone in trunk of car

TEMECULA, Calif. — A car mechanic got a shock when he discovered a human jaw bone in the trunk of a car he was repairing.

David Gonzalez said he was clearing out the trunk of a white four-door Saturn to install a spare tire when he uncovered the bone.

“I pulled out a rag in the corner and the jaw bone fell into the wheel well,” Mr. Gonzalez told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Some of the lower teeth were still intact.

Mr. Gonzalez said the find “spooked” him and his colleagues, but he picked up the jawbone with a set of pliers and placed the remains in a crate until authorities arrived.

DELAWARE

Inmates to pay for stamps on letters

DOVER — State prison inmates must pay for stamps and envelopes for all but legal correspondence, the state correction commissioner ruled. He, however, rejected a proposal to require personal mail to be written on postcards.

Indigent inmates are excluded from the new policy.

@Brief.kicker.rule:MICHIGAN

Monitor appointed to oversee Detroit police

DETROIT — A federal monitor will oversee Detroit police after an investigation into civilian shootings found problems with the department’s use of force, officials announced yesterday.

The police department reached two court-enforceable consent decrees with the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins said. One deals with the use of force as well as arrests and detentions; the other with conditions of prisoner confinement.

“We have worked diligently to craft the best possible road map for turning around the Detroit Police Department,” Mr. Collins said.

MONTANA

State may reap big wheat harvest

BILLINGS — The wheat harvest this summer may be the state’s biggest since 1994.

The Montana Agricultural Statistics Service estimates that it will total 64.6 million bushels, more than three times the 21 million bushels that survived withering heat last summer.

The crop has flourished under recent rains.

NEBRASKA

Suspect pleads guilty to bank heist slayings

MADISON — One of four men charged with killing five persons in a bank, including a 29-year-old newlywed hiding under her desk, pleaded guilty yesterday to murder.

Erick Vela’s guilty plea to five counts of first-degree murder, robbery and other charges came as prosecutors prepared for a two-day hearing on defense motions.

Jose Sandoval, Jorge Galindo and Gabriel Rodriguez also face murder charges in the Sept. 26 killings, one of the deadliest bank robberies in U.S. history. Authorities said Mr. Rodriguez served as a lookout while the others shot four bank employees and a customer, each at close range.

NEW JERSEY

Bill seeks to raise stay-in-school age

TRENTON — Assemblywomen Nellie Pou of Passaic and Nilsa Cruz-Perez of Camden are sponsoring a bill that would change the school-leaving age from 16 to 18.

Nearly 13,000 New Jersey students dropped out in the 2000-2001 school year. The largest number were in Essex County, followed by Passaic and Camden counties.

NEW MEXICO

Drought emergency extended in state

SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson declared a drought emergency that made the state eligible for federal financial help and continued an order made by his predecessor, Gov. Gary Johnson last year.

“Despite recent rains, New Mexico continues down a path toward a long-term drought,” Mr. Richardson said Wednesday.

The state reached agreement with Texas in April that allows some water to be released this year from Elephant Butte reservoir in exchange for the right to store that water in upstream, drought-depleted areas.

NORTH CAROLINA

Pink jail sheriff under investigation

CHARLOTTE — The state is investigating a county sheriff who drew national attention for his pink jail cells and paramilitary-style uniforms, the State Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.

The results of the investigation into Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege will be referred to District Attorney Garry Frank, who requested the probe, SBI special agent Frank Brown said.

Mr. Frank would not describe the accusations against Mr. Hege, but he said the probe grew from an investigation of the county’s public buildings and maintenance department director, Ron Richardson, who resigned Jan. 31 after the county government suspended him.

OKLAHOMA

Man fatally shot in fight about goats

OKLAHOMA CITY — He got her goat and she got her gun.

An Eldon, Okla., woman has been arrested for fatally shooting her husband after an argument over who should feed the couple’s goats, police said yesterday.

Authorities charged Pearl Lynne Smith, 47, with first-degree murder in the death of her husband, Thomas Smith, 51. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call at the couple’s rural eastern Oklahoma home Tuesday and found the husband dead, shot once through the chest.

“We were told that what prompted this disagreement was her failure to feed the goats,” Cherokee County Undersheriff Dan Garber said.

Pearl Smith is in jail on $100,000 bail, pending her arraignment today, court officials said. She could face the death penalty if convicted.

PENNSYLVANIA

Officers’ son charged in shooting death

PHILADELPHIA — The teenage son of two Philadelphia police officers has been charged with murder and other offenses in the shooting death of a friend, homicide detectives said yesterday.

Stanley Youmans Jr., 17, was charged with shooting William Rouse III, 17, in the head with a semiautomatic pistol shortly before noon Wednesday in the officers’ Philadelphia home, police said.

Initial indications are that the gun belonged to one of the officers, but it was not a service weapon, Capt. Richard Ross said.

He said the officers had made “painstaking efforts” to secure the gun.

TEXAS

Anti-abortion group settles with university

The University of Houston will eliminate some restrictions on campus speech and pay $93,000 in attorneys’ fees to settle an anti-abortion group’s lawsuit, school officials said Wednesday.

The university will amend its free speech policy by June 30 by allowing exhibits to go up in Butler Plaza, in front of the main library. That location became the center of a legal dispute last year when the university tried to ban 15-foot-tall pictures of dead fetuses.

The university also will eliminate a ban on anonymous leaflets on campus and on students carrying signs or wearing sandwich boards, Benjamin Bull, an attorney for the Pro-Life Cougars student group, told the Houston Chronicle.

WISCONSIN

Nurse may have caught monkeypox from patient

MADISON — A Wisconsin nurse may have contracted monkeypox from a patient in what would be the first known case in the country of the disease spreading from one person to another, officials said yesterday.

Wisconsin state epidemiologist Jeff Davis said health officials are testing tissue specimens to confirm whether the unidentified health care worker is infected with the exotic African virus.

Until now, health officials investigating the weeklong outbreak in the country have said the virus was being spread by pet prairie dogs. But the disease also can be transmitted from one person to another, something that has happened in Africa.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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