- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

ILLINOIS

Gay-rights activists denied Communion

CHICAGO — Parishioners who wore rainbow sashes to Mass in support of homosexuals were denied Communion in Chicago.

Priests at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago refused to give the Eucharist to about 10 people wearing the sashes at Sunday Mass. One priest shook each person’s hand; another made the sign of the cross on their foreheads.

An internal memo from Chicago Cardinal Francis George that became public last week instructed priests not to give Communion to people wearing the sashes, which are worn every year for Pentecost. The memo says the sashes are a symbol of opposition to the church’s doctrine on homosexuality and exploit the Communion ritual.

WEST VIRGINIA

Preservationists protest new Wal-Mart

FAYETTEVILLE — The Fleshman/Clark farm, which some think was a Civil War battlefield as well as a resting place for a few of its casualties, is about to become a new kind of battleground in a contest between preservationists and a developer with his eyes on the dollars a new Wal-Mart will bring.

Fayetteville Town Manager Ralph Davis said the developer has agreed to preserve the cemetery and build what he called “a buffer zone with a fence and $50,000 in landscaping” around it.

Alice Todaro, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, scoffs at the idea.

“How can you have a historic shrine in the middle of a parking lot?” she asked.ARIZONA

Two die in crash of small plane

PHOENIX — A small plane crashed yesterday shortly after takeoff from a suburban airport, killing two persons aboard the craft, authorities said. A pilot spotted the wreckage about seven miles north of Falcon Field Airport in Mesa. The victims were not immediately identified.

There was no immediate word on what caused the accident, said Bruce Nelson, an operations officer for the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities said the plane had taken off from Falcon Field.

CALIFORNIA

Statements to begin in Peterson trial

REDWOOD CITY — With Scott Peterson’s trial set to begin in earnest this week, prosecutors have shown no murder weapon, no cause of death and no direct evidence that flatly proves Mr. Peterson killed his pregnant wife, Laci.

Opening statements in the highly publicized case are scheduled for today. Jury selection lasted 12 weeks and the trial is expected to last an additional five months or more. If convicted, the former fertilizer salesman faces the death penalty or life without parole.

It is not clear what witnesses will be called because the list is sealed and attorneys are working under a sweeping gag order. But it is clear that defense attorney Mark Geragos is working to create reasonable doubt in a case that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer early on described as a “slam dunk” for the prosecution.

Prosecutors plan to call hundreds of witnesses in what legal analysts say is a circumstantial case. Defense attorneys have presented a list of 18 witnesses, according to a prosecution filing last week.

GEORGIA

Beer lovers to get high-alcohol brew

ATLANTA — Beer in Georgia is about to get more kick.

The raising of the maximum beer-alcohol content from 6 percent to 14 percent means a new wave of microbrews and international beers soon will be for sale in the state, giving Georgians options beyond their usual lightweight brews.

In a move supporters billed as a way to promote tourism, lawmakers passed a measure taking effect July 1 to make Georgia the nation’s 42nd state to allow a higher beer-alcohol content. Of the holdouts that still limit beer strength, half are in the South: Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina.

INDIANA

Violent weather leaves nine dead

MARENGO — Residents spent Memorial Day cleaning up and recovering belongings from the wreckage left by a tornado that smashed through town, part of a weekend-long wave of violent weather across the Midwest.

One person was killed in Marengo and eight others died elsewhere, including two killed early yesterday in West Virginia and Tennessee.

The Sunday night twister in Marengo destroyed at least 50 homes, said State Police Sgt. Todd Ringle. The National Weather Service said yesterday it estimated the maximum wind speed in the tornado that hit Marengo at 170 mph.

After generating tornadoes during the weekend, the storm system continued toward the east and south yesterday, producing heavy rain from Louisiana to New England.

More than 4 inches of rain fell in parts of southern West Virginia, and one man drowned in Wyoming County, authorities said. West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency yesterday for Mingo, Logan and Wyoming counties.

Also yesterday, a 7-year-old girl was killed in Giles, Tenn., when high wind collapsed a wall of her home.

IOWA

Albino alligator pink with excitement

DES MOINES — An albino alligator became so excited when he got to Iowa that he turned pink.

Officials at Blank Park Zoo received the 8-foot-long reptile from Florida for an exhibit of albino animals.

“Albino alligators turn pink with excitement as they adjust to their new environment,” said David Allen, the zoo’s director. “We think it’ll settle down by the beginning of the week after a little Iowa relaxation.”

Zoo officials said most of Pinkie’s blush had faded by the weekend, but his face maintained a pink glow.

KENTUCKY

Lawyer accused of overcharging city

BOWLING GREEN — A report for city officials accuses a prominent lawyer of overcharging the city convention center board nearly $300,000 for legal services. It also claims that an additional $247,743 that Steve Catron was to hold for projects is missing.

Mr. Catron, a former president of the Kentucky Bar Association, denied the accusations. He called it a “bookkeeping issue.”

PENNSYLVANIA

Mayor refuses to leave her office

DARBY — A Pennsylvania mayor was holed up in her office at the police station and vowed to stay there until today to prevent a locksmith hired by the Borough Council from locking her out.

The reason for the dispute? The council wants Mayor Paula Brown to move her office blocks away so police equipment can be stored where she is now.

But the mayor said she can’t properly supervise the police from the new location, maintaining that three court orders specify that as her primary responsibility. She said she hopes a court will rule today that she can keep her office where it is.

Meanwhile, a rotating group of the mayor’s supporters has been at the office 24 hours a day since the standoff began.

“I’m trying to make the best of it,” Mrs. Brown said Sunday. “I’m here for a while.”

Council President Janice Davis accused the mayor of abusing her powers and micromanaging the police force.

UTAH

Bus hijacked by man with knife

WESTWATER — A Greyhound bus was hijacked yesterday afternoon by a man with a knife who was captured just west of the Colorado state line, the Utah Highway Patrol said.

About 60 passengers were let out when the man took control of the bus on Interstate 70, patrol spokesman Chris Kramer said. The bus driver remained on board, but later escaped by jumping out, Mr. Kramer said. He did not know whether the bus was moving when the driver jumped.

The hijacker barricaded himself in the bus briefly before he was arrested, Mr. Kramer said.

VERMONT

Concerned citizens rescue ducklings

BURLINGTON — The journey from downtown Burlington to Lake Champlain was fraught with peril for a duck and her 13 ducklings, but a group effort by concerned citizens saved the day.

A mama mallard and her 13 ducklings were strolling from downtown to the bay one afternoon last week when several little ones fell through the slits of a storm drain, plopping into a pool of water formed by the day’s thunderstorms.

“They were peeping away and the mother was quacking back,” said Kyle Church, a computer technician who was one of the first people at the scene.

Mr. Church sprang into action as he and co-worker John Greenia ripped off the sewer grate. Mr. Greenia climbed into the storm drain and fished out as many ducklings as he could.

Jodi Harvey, animal control officer with the Burlington police, arrived to find a crowd around the quacking and peeping birds. Onlooker Krista Lothrop handed Miss Harvey a cardboard box, and the officer held up traffic and put the ducks inside. The ducks then got a lift to the lake in a police cruiser and calmly swam away.

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