- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

GEORGIA
Flag altered to include Confederate symbols
CARTERSVILLE A careful vandal altered Georgia's new state banner flying above the old courthouse in Bartow County, painstakingly adding four Confederate symbols.
The new state flag, adopted in 2001 to shrink the Confederate battle emblem, shows the state seal on a blue field. Under the seal are five small historical Georgia flags, including the 1956 flag dominated by the Confederate cross.
The vandal left the replica of the 1956 flag, but carefully replaced the four other banners with the three national flags of the Confederacy and a Confederate battle flag.
Officials took down the altered flag Sunday.
The vandalism comes amid debate in the legislature over whether Georgians should be allowed to vote on whether to keep the new flag, return to the 1956 flag or pick another design.

MICHIGAN
Singer to help Ford celebrate its birthday
DEARBORN Beyonce Knowles, lead singer of Grammy-winning pop group Destiny's Child, will help Ford Motor Co. celebrate its 100th birthday.
Miss Knowles is among the headliners scheduled to perform in a 40,000-seat venue being constructed for a June 14 party.
The Ford centennial will feature Model T rides and a series of other activities at the grounds of the No. 2 automaker's headquarters in this Detroit suburb.
The June 12-16 celebration will include performances by country music star Toby Keith and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The fete is expected to draw 100,000 visitors.

ARKANSAS
'Choose Life' plate signed into law
LITTLE ROCK Arkansans can spend money to advertise a "Choose Life" message on their cars and support adoption programs in the process under legislation signed by Gov. Mike Huckabee yesterday.
Critics have said the "Choose Life" specialty plate likely would lead to court battles in Arkansas over state involvement with groups that have political or religious agendas. The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday it is considering whether to challenge the law in court on constitutional grounds.
Under the legislation by Rep. Marvin Parks, Greenbrier Republican, vehicle owners would pay the normal registration fee plus a $25 specialty fee and a $10 handling fee for the special plate.
The proceeds would go into a fund for nonprofit groups that counsel pregnant women and encourage adoption.

CALIFORNIA
Tour-bus collision injures 100 passengers
BAKER Two tour buses collided on the main highway between Las Vegas and Southern California, injuring more than 100 passengers, eight critically.
One of the buses rear-ended the other Sunday, authorities said. After the buses stopped, many passengers clambered out of windows.
"The majority of the seats in the bus came loose and were crushing people," said David Shield, 58, who was on the rear bus.
More than 40 people were hospitalized, officials said. The accident 80 miles southwest of Las Vegas shut down southbound Interstate 15 for five hours.
A bus from Hebaragi & Lemi Bus Inc. braked suddenly and struck a car in front of it, Sgt. Stan Clair said.

COLORADO
Eisenhower Tunnel celebrates anniversary
SILVERTHORNE The Eisenhower Tunnel celebrated its 30th anniversary over the weekend, and officials say it remains one of the world's safest roadways.
No fatal accidents have occurred inside the 1.7-mile-long tunnel. All staff are trained in firefighting, and 100 cameras monitor all traffic.
The tunnel has been crucial to the growth of skiing and other tourism in Colorado.

CONNECTICUT
13th victim of fire dies
HARTFORD A 13th victim of last month's nursing-home fire has died, a hospital spokeswoman said Sunday.
Elizabeth Arata, a patient injured in the fire that killed 12 other patients at the Greenwood Health Center, died Saturday, Hartford Hospital spokeswoman Lee Monroe said.
Miss Monroe said she did not know whether Miss Arata's death was related to her injuries sustained in the Feb. 26 blaze.
A 23-year-old patient told police she started the blaze while lying in bed and flicking a lighter, but it has not been determined whether it was an accident or arson.

FLORIDA
Hurricane forecasts extended to five days
MIAMI The government said yesterday its meteorologists will begin issuing five-day hurricane forecasts during the upcoming season, replacing the three-day advisories used since 1964.
The National Weather Service said improved technology will allow accurate, longer-range outlooks for increasingly populated coastal areas.
The new forecast will be useful for those who need more than three days to move themselves and their property, such as the Navy, said James Mahoney, deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

INDIANA
Couple go wild for wedding party
PARKER CITY Eileen Oren's maid of honor was peaceful as a pussycat, but Bob Taylor's best man was one wild cat.
The newlyweds chose tigers as their top cats when they tied the knot Saturday at ME's Zoo, home to 213 animals. The bride owns the zoo about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
During the ceremony before 100 friends and relatives, Bobbi the tiger became agitated and nearly overturned his cage while serving as best man.
The maid of honor, a female tiger named Massai, remained tranquil. Omar, a camel tapped to be the ring-bearer, also performed his duties peacefully.
"Eileen has a real passion for animals, so this style of wedding is exactly her," said Maria Cooper, a seasonal employee at the zoo.

KANSAS
Farmer leaves millions to community fund
SCOTT CITY Few people in this small western Kansas town suspected that Loyal Hoffman was a millionaire.
Mr. Hoffman, a retired farmer, lived modestly. But when he died Feb. 1 at the age of 84, he left the bulk of his estate, more than $2.5 million, to the Scott Community Foundation.
Part of the money will be used for college scholarships while other funds will benefit a local senior citizen group.

MAINE
Restaurant must remove advertising umbrellas
KENNEBUNK A federal judge has ruled that a restaurant must comply with the town code and remove table umbrellas advertising Hebrew National hot dogs.
Brian Bartley, owner of Bartley's Dockside Restaurant, had claimed a town code enforcement officer told him he found the umbrellas "personally offensive" and ordered them removed. Mr. Bartley's attorney said the move smacked of anti-Semitism.
Town officials, however, said Mr. Bartley had failed to comply with an ordinance allowing a maximum of three signs. U.S. District Judge Gene Carter refused to allow Mr. Bartley to display the Hebrew National umbrellas unless he obtained a sign permit.

MASSACHUSETTS
Health chief seeks child drug guidelines
BOSTON Secretary of Health and Human Services Ronald Preston wants to develop guidelines for psychiatric medications for children because of what he calls "haphazard" child prescription patterns.
A few practitioners are prescribing large amounts to young children, he says.
One of nine children ages 6 to 12 enrolled in the state's Medicaid program is taking psychotropic medications, state records show.

MINNESOTA
Mortgage broker discovers he is a prince
EAGAN In Minnesota, Marty Johnson is a mortgage broker and father of two. In Nigeria, he is a prince, next in line to be chief.
Mr. Johnson, 38, was adopted, and over the years he made a few fruitless attempts to find out about his background. Two years ago, his birth mother contacted him.
The Cedar Falls, Iowa, woman said she had fallen for a Nigerian who was studying for a master's degree in education at Northern Iowa University. He had to go home. With that information, Mr. Johnson began to make some contacts in Nigeria. He discovered that his father is one of a line of chiefs who, in the days before central government, were so powerful they could declare war.
Mr. Johnson said he is now regarded openly by the chief and dozens of other relatives as the chief's first-born son.

MISSISSIPPI
Guard officer who ran liquor store to retire
MERIDIAN Lt. Col. Thomas Temple, an officer of the 186th Air Refueling Wing who ran an illegal on-base liquor store, will retire, a spokesman for the state adjutant general said.
An Air Force inspector general's report in December found that the Guard unit's leaders broke several regulations, including falsifying training records, operating an unregulated liquor store and using racial slurs.
The unit was grounded Dec. 24. Its commander was relieved of duty and discharged last month.

MISSOURI
GOP chairman steps down over Iraq rift
COLUMBIA An opponent of war with Iraq stepped down as a county Republican chairman yesterday, saying he couldn't support the "belligerent and reckless language coming from the White House."
Jack Walters had faced an ouster vote today as chairman of the Boone County Republican Committee because of his public anti-war statements.
"If you have to support a war you consider to be unjust to be considered a good Republican, then you can count me out as the Republican chairman," Mr. Walters said.
He informed party members of his resignation plans in a weekend e-mail message. He said he will remain on the committee. Mr. Walters has asserted in public statements that the White House wants to invade Iraq to gain control of oil.

NEBRASKA
Plant supplies beef for soldiers
OMAHA U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait may be accustomed to peasant conditions, but they are eating like kings.
They are feasting on 10-ounce T-bone steaks and 7-ounce beef loins from a small meat-processing plant near downtown Omaha.
Needham Meats has a contract to supply prime cuts of beef for soldiers stationed in the tiny oil country along the Iraqi border.
The plant's workers chop 12-pound slabs into sought-after delmonico steaks, rib-eye rolls and T-bones of various sizes. The steaks are frozen and boxed.

NEW JERSEY
Rutgers University offers mini-M.B.A.
NEW BRUNSWICK Rutgers University is offering a scaled-down version of the master's degree in business administration for those who don't have the time or money for the traditional program.
The mini-M.B.A. hits the highlights in a 12-week course that skips papers and exams. Rutgers designed the $2,495 program for working adults.

NEW MEXICO
Special day proposed to honor space aliens
SANTA FE E.T., phone New Mexico. They may have a little something special for you.
A New Mexico legislator proposed yesterday having the state honor all extraterrestrial beings with a special day that will "celebrate and honor all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors" to New Mexico, the measure reads.
Rep. Dan Foley, a Republican from Roswell, the spot where some say aliens crash-landed more than 50 years ago, said he introduced the legislation to "enhance relationships among all the citizens of the cosmos, known and unknown."
Extraterrestrial Culture Day would be held the second Thursday of February and would honor space travelers from other worlds.

OKLAHOMA
Rep. Lucas hurt in heifer head-butt
OKLAHOMA CITY Rep. Frank D. Lucas lost a tooth and got a small cut on his lip when he butted heads with a 250-pound heifer while putting an identification tag on the animal at his ranch, his spokesman said yesterday.
Mr. Lucas underwent an emergency root canal Sunday after he was injured at his spread near Cheyenne in Oklahoma, spokesman Jim Luetkemeyer said.

OREGON
Trial opens for man accused of killing family
NEWPORT Financial troubles and the shame of being ousted from the Jehovah's Witnesses drove an Oregon man to murder his wife and three young children and dump their bodies along the coast, prosecutors said yesterday as the man's trial began.
Christian Longo has pleaded guilty to killing his wife and youngest daughter but not guilty in the deaths of his two other children. All four bodies were found in December 2001.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Briggs said Longo was distraught over his expulsion from the Jehovah's Witnesses in 2000 for passing nearly $30,000 in bad checks.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Scientists open watch from civil war sub
CHARLESTON Scientists who opened a pocketwatch from the Civil War submarine CSS Hunley found a cloudy crystal and corroded hands, but the information within the ornate timepiece will take them closer to solving riddles about the hand-cranked sub, researchers say.
The scientists said the position of the hands on the gold watch allowed them to narrow the time frame for when it stopped.
The new information may give scholars an answer to the question of how long the Hunley survived after it torpedoed the USS Housatonic at about 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 17, 1864, researchers said at a news conference on Friday.

TENNESSEE
Smokies park starts prescribed burn
TOWNSEND Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials started a 1,034-acre prescribed fire yesterday, the biggest intentional blaze at the park since it adopted a burn policy in 1996.
The fire, about a mile west of Cades Cove, was expected to burn through tomorrow.
The goal of the closely guarded fires is to replicate the role that naturally occurring fires played in shaping the park's biologically diverse ecosystem.
This week's burn is intended to help the recovery of yellow pine in an area where the tree was once the predominant species. The pines are expected to benefit from the sunny openings created by the prescribed burn.

TEXAS
Activist buys home near Bush ranch
DALLAS President Bush has a new neighbor in Crawford, Texas a peace activist who plans to use his house near the president's ranch as a springboard to speak out on issues such as a war with Iraq.
John Wolf, a peace activist from the Dallas area, has completed paperwork to buy a home in Crawford, a town of fewer than 1,000 people. He plans to use the facility as an interfaith peace house that can serve as a base for peace protests near the ranch that Mr. Bush calls the Western White House.

WISCONSIN
Toddler survives fatal car crash
HIXTON A 2-year-old girl who survived a car crash that killed her parents wandered across a freeway and was found in a grove of trees three hours later by authorities who tracked her footprints in the snow.
The girl, Anita Kayachith, was at home with relatives in Minnesota yesterday, three days after the wreck.
"She is doing great. She is wonderful," said Houmpheng Phongsavath, an uncle of one of the victims.
The car was struck by a tractor-trailer that slid on ice and crossed the median of Interstate 94 early Friday, the Wisconsin State Patrol said. The car slid under the truck. The girl's parents, who were from Brooklyn Park, Minn., were killed.

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