- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 27, 2004

ALABAMA

Ex-chief justice to appeal ouster

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s former chief justice said yesterday he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review his ouster from office over his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

“The federal courts open with ‘God save the United States and this honorable court’ and take their oaths ‘so help me God’ and then take away the public acknowledgment of God,” Roy Moore said.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary ousted Mr. Moore from Alabama’s top judicial job in November after he refused to obey a federal judge’s order to remove the monument.

WEST VIRGINIA

Bird returns home after 4 years

PARKERSBURG — Four years after flying away from home, Fred the parakeet has returned to roost — and he still remembers his name.

The bird with the chipped beak has been reunited with his owner, 11-year-old Aaron Edwards of Parkersburg.

Fred flew away when Aaron’s father, Mike Edwards, took him to his used-car lot in Parkersburg.

On Friday, a friend of Mr. Edwards’ saw the parakeet at his Pettyville home. He called the bird by name and it flew down to him.

“What, Fred,” the bird reportedly replied.

CALIFORNIA

Man released in policeman’s death

BERKELEY — Authorities arrested a man in connection with the 1970 slaying of a Berkeley police officer, then abruptly reversed course yesterday and said no charges would be filed.

After a two-year investigation, Berkeley police traveled to Fresno on Monday to arrest Don Juan Warren Graphenreed, 55, on suspicion of murder and conspiracy in the killing of Officer Ronald Tsukamoto.

Police spokesman Joe Okies said Mr. Graphenreed might be charged in the future, but “based on the direction this investigation has taken,” authorities were changing course.

Mr. Okies would not explain what had changed in the case and said the decision was made along with prosecutors. He said more arrests are expected, but would not elaborate.

Officer Tsukamoto, 28, was on the force less than a year when he was fatally shot. Officer Tsukamoto had stopped a motorcyclist for a traffic violation. As the officer talked with the motorcyclist, another man approached, exchanged a few words, then fired two shots — one hitting Officer Tsukamoto in the eye and killing him.

CONNECTICUT

Hartford mayor picks new police chief

HARTFORD — Mayor Eddie Perez picked a retired New York City police official and veteran narcotics detective to be the city’s next police chief.

Patrick Harnett, 61, replaces acting Chief Mark Pawlina, who took over on an interim basis after the resignation of Chief Bruce Marquis. Hartford had a 17 percent increase in violent crime during 2003.

FLORIDA

Coast Guard intercepts 100 Dominicans

MIAMI — One hundred Dominican immigrants were intercepted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday as they tried to reach the nearby island of Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard said yesterday.

The immigrants, 82 men and 18 women, including two pregnant mothers, have been transferred onto a Coast Guard boat from their 35-foot vessel and likely will be repatriated.

GEORGIA

Students ordered held without bail

WINDER — Two 14-year-old students accused of plotting a killing rampage at their middle school were ordered held without bail on Tuesday after a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to support the charges.

Barrow County Juvenile Court Judge Currie Mingledorff’s decision came after a three-hour-plus hearing in Winder, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. The trial is scheduled for June 7.

Prosecutor Jennifer Curry said at the hearing that the boys — identified in court only by their first names, Adam and Joseph — told at least a dozen classmates that they planned to kill a math teacher and anyone who got in their way.

The motive, she said, was revenge for being disciplined by the teacher and bullied by classmates.

ILLINOIS

Lawmakers back shooting of intruders

SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers ignored a veto threat by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and voted to offer greater legal protections for homeowners who shoot intruders despite local ordinances barring handguns.

The legislation was in response to the case of Hale DeMar of Wilmette. He was charged with violating local gun laws after shooting a burglar in his home.

KENTUCKY

Artificial heart implanted in patient

LOUISVILLE — Doctors implanted an AbioCor artificial heart in a critically ill patient this week, the second such surgery this month as the experimental procedure picked up momentum.

The nine-hour surgery was done Monday at Jewish Hospital by a medical team led by Drs. Laman Gray and Rob Dowling. The patient, a man whose name was not released, was in critical but stable condition. The same surgical team implanted an AbioCor in another patient on May 3 at the hospital. That patient remains in critical-but-stable condition.

The device’s maker, Abiomed Inc. of Danvers, Mass., said yesterday that the procedure “went well and without complication.”

LOUISIANA

House rejects ban on low-slung pants

BATON ROUGE — The fashion police won’t be coming to Louisiana.

State lawmakers refused to make it a crime to wear low-slung pants in public that expose “undergarments or … any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttocks or genitals.”

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Derrick Shepherd, brushed aside catcalls and laughs on the House floor to argue that the pants were an example of young men copying prisoners’ attire.

The House voted 54-39 against the bill.

The proposal had called for violators to serve three days of community service and pay a fine of up to $175.

MASSACHUSETTS

Hepatitis C drugs less effective in blacks

BOSTON — A treatment for the liver disease hepatitis C is far less effective among blacks than it is among whites, researchers said yesterday.

According to a study in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Duke University Medical Center found that 52 of 100 non-Hispanic whites showed no evidence of the hepatitis virus in their blood six months after treatment with the combination of peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin.

The response rate was just 19 percent among the 100 black volunteers in the study.

The reason the treatment is less effective in blacks is unknown, and more research is necessary, said Andrew Muir, the study’s chief author.

MICHIGAN

Companies recall brown almonds

DETROIT — Three Michigan nut packagers have issued recalls of natural, raw, whole brown almonds because of possible salmonella contamination.

The recalls were issued by Variety Foods Inc., Thrift Products Co. and Germack Pistachio Co. The companies repackage almonds grown in California for resale in Michigan and other states.

The companies bought the almonds from Paramount Farms Inc. of California. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded a recall of Paramount’s raw almonds to 13 million pounds because of the possibility of salmonella.

The Paramount recall began earlier this month after the FDA received reports that people in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Utah had become ill with salmonella enteritidis, a type of food poisoning.

NEVADA

City launches assault on stench

LAS VEGAS — Something is raising a stink in Las Vegas.

City officials, fearful that the smells emanating from downtown alleys are hampering the area’s economic resurgence, have launched an assault on stench.

The stinky problems involve everything from rotting food to people relieving themselves wherever they please.

Since April, crews from the city’s Rapid Response Team have spent thousands of dollars a week clearing out debris from alleys and spraying them with an odor-eating, enzyme-producing bacteria.

The deodorizing of downtown is scheduled to end July 1.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Ex-boxer jailed for beating officer

LACONIA — A former professional boxer found guilty of beating a Belmont police officer was sentenced to 22 to 65 years in prison.

The sentence of Richard Edson, 36, was based on earlier convictions, including an assault against another officer. He was found guilty last month of punching and kicking Officer Judy Estes when she tried to arrest him.

NEW JERSEY

Animal-rights activists face conspiracy charge

Seven animal-rights activists were arrested yesterday on charges they organized a campaign of intimidation and harassment against a company that tests pharmaceuticals on animals.

Prosecutors said the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA and its followers employed vandalism, stalking, computer hacking and blitzes of e-mail, telephone calls and faxes to put pressure on Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British company that has laboratories in New Jersey.

The conspiracy charge against all the defendants carries up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

NEW MEXICO

Town says no to ‘doggie seat belts’

SANTA FE — Fido may still be able to stick his head out the car window in Santa Fe after all.

The city is rethinking a proposed rewrite of its animal-control ordinance that would have required dogs to wear seat belts in cars.

The city’s public-safety committee voted Monday to strike a section of the proposal that said any animal confined in or on a vehicle shall be restrained to prevent it from reaching outside the vehicle.

Santa Fe city councilors said they were flooded by complaints about the proposed “doggie seat belts” from residents as well as people in other cities.

NEW YORK

‘Last Samurai’ author reported missing

NEW YORK — Novelist Helen DeWitt, who wrote the critically acclaimed “The Last Samurai,” has been reported missing.

Miss DeWitt, 46, was last seen Tuesday morning in the St. George section of Staten Island, police said.

Her landlord reported her missing.

She was still missing yesterday, authorities said.

“The Last Samurai,” published in 2000, is the story of a single mother, Sibylla, and a child prodigy, Ludo, who reads by age 2.

NORTH DAKOTA

Officials promote ethanol-blended fuel

BISMARCK — Officials are promoting a state brand of ethanol-blended fuel called “Go-E.” It was offered to customers at a discounted price of $1.79 per gallon.

State Energy Office manager Kim Christianson says ethanol makes up about 30 percent of fuel sold in the state. The goal is to raise that to 50 percent within three years.

OKLAHOMA

Autistic boy found with mother’s corpse

EDMOND — An autistic boy who missed three days of school was found by his kindergarten teachers at home — watching cartoons and unaware that his mother was dead in the same apartment.

Renee Specht and Sandra Owens became worried when 6-year-old Tremaine Douglas did not show up for class and went to look for him on their lunch break last week. They found the youngster in his underwear in the messy apartment. Authorities think he had been alone for three days, living off cereal and Pop Tarts.

No autopsy was performed on the boy’s mother, Margaret Denise Douglas, 35, but investigators with the Medical Examiner’s Office said she had a long history of heart problems and died of congestive heart failure.

Tremaine, now living with a relative in the Oklahoma City area, has returned to school, officials said.

OREGON

Woman facing deportation pardoned

WILLIAMS — Gov. Ted Kulongoski has pardoned a woman who attracted international attention after she was threatened with deportation because of a 1993 drug conviction for growing marijuana.

Kari Rein, a native of Norway, met with the governor last week and learned of the rare pardon Monday.

She and her husband were convicted of growing six marijuana plants, the first and only time either had been charged with a crime. They each served three years of probation, performed community service and paid a $1,200 fine.

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