- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2005

ARIZONA

Surrogate mom carrying quintuplets

PHOENIX — A woman who agreed to be a surrogate mother for a childless couple is pregnant with quintuplets — all boys — and she has decided not to accept any money because of the expense the parents are facing.

Teresa Anderson, who has four children of her own, expected that being a surrogate for Luisa Gonzalez and her husband, Enrique Moreno, would be equally simple.

“Basically at this point, everything is uncomfortable. They are just very heavy,” Mrs. Anderson, who is in the 31st week of her pregnancy, said yesterday on NBC’s “Today.”

Five embryos were implanted to increase the chance that one would result in a successful pregnancy, she and her obstetrician, Dr. John Elliott, said on “Today” and on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Doctors hope that she can carry the babies 34 weeks before they are delivered by Caesarean section. One has a heart defect that will require immediate surgery.

CALIFORNIA

Woman won’t sue Wendy’s over finger

SAN JOSE — A woman who claimed she scooped up a human finger in her chili at a Wendy’s restaurant has decided not to sue the fast-food chain.

Anna Ayala dropped her claim because it “has caused her great emotional distress and continues to be difficult emotionally,” said her attorney, Jeffrey Janoff.

Mrs. Ayala, 39, claimed that she found the 1-inch-long fingertip on March 22 while dining at a Wendy’s restaurant in San Jose. She later filed a claim with the franchise owner, Fresno-based JEM Management Corp., which her attorney had said was the first step before filing a lawsuit.

Court records show Mrs. Ayala has a history of making legal claims against corporations, including a former employer, General Motors and a fast-food restaurant. She acknowledged that she received a settlement for medical costs several years ago after claiming that her daughter was sickened after eating at a Las Vegas restaurant.

CONNECTICUT

Lawmakers pass civil unions bill

HARTFORD — The state House passed legislation yesterday that would make Connecticut the second state to establish same-sex civil unions and the first to do it without a court order.

Addressing concerns raised by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, the House amended the bill to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Senate, which overwhelmingly approved the bill last week, would need to approve the amended version before it reaches the governor’s desk.

Vermont has approved civil unions and Massachusetts has same-sex “marriage,” but those changes came only after same-sex couples brought lawsuits.

FLORIDA

Everglades resident agrees to sell home

WEST PALM BEACH — A man who fought for years to keep his swampy home in the rural Everglades settled for $4.95 million with the state, which plans to restore the wetlands area.

The deal, approved yesterday by a circuit judge, allows Jesse Hardy to remain on his 160 acres until Nov. 30.

Mr. Hardy the land about 40 miles east of downtown Naples in 1976 and rejected offers to sell the land to the state for years.

LOUISIANA

‘Choose Life’ plates survive challenge

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a challenge to a Louisiana license plate bearing the message “Choose Life,” saying the case amounts to a tax dispute that belongs in state court.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge’s ruling that outlawed not only the Choose Life plates, but also Louisiana’s entire system for approving and issuing car plates with a variety of messages, including salutes to war veterans and entreaties to save the Louisiana black bear.

MICHIGAN

Mayor seeks layoffs to trim city deficit

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick proposed a $2.8 billion budget that would include layoffs of city employees and trim union workers’ pay by 10 percent, and he warned that city services may be cut if an agreement can’t be reached to reduce health care costs.

The cuts are aimed at trimming a budget deficit of more than $300 million that the mayor blamed on the state’s weak economy, rising health care and pension costs, and the city’s shrinking tax base. Some have predicted that the city could end up in receivership.

The 754 job cuts that Mr. Kilpatrick proposed Tuesday would be about 4 percent of the work force of 16,800 people. They would be in addition to 900 job cuts that he announced in January.

NEW JERSEY

Beluga whale swims down Delaware River

TRENTON — A young beluga whale that apparently took a wrong turn and wound up in the Delaware River, 80 miles from the open sea, appeared to be making its way back downstream yesterday.

State officials said the 10- to 12-foot white whale was spotted near Beverly, about eight miles south of the point where it was first spotted at about noon Tuesday at Trenton, where it drew hundreds of camera-toting spectators.

OREGON

Governor backs civil unions law

SALEM — Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said yesterday that he will push for a law allowing homosexual couples in Oregon to form civil unions that would give them many of the rights available to married couples.

Vermont is the first and still the only state to offer civil unions to homosexuals, although the Connecticut House passed a civil unions bill yesterday. Massachusetts has allowed homosexual “marriage” since May.

Mr. Kulongoski’s backing of a civil unions law expands on his announcement in January that he would support legislation extending anti-discrimination protections to homosexuals.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mayoral candidate gives away pillboxes

PITTSBURGH — If the medium is the message, what could Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Bob O’Connor be trying to say by handing out plastic pillboxes bearing his name?

“Just an awareness of the demographics of the most loyal voters in America and in Pittsburgh,” said O’Connor campaign spokesman Dick Skrinjar.

Mr. Skrinjar would not specifically say that Mr. O’Connor is targeting senior citizens in Pittsburgh, where about one in six residents is older than 65. But if he is, the pillboxes are ingenious, one political analyst said.

TEXAS

911 dispatcher punished for joke

WATAUGA — A 911 dispatcher was reprimanded for responding to a mother’s plea for help with an unruly child by saying: “OK. Do you want us to come over to shoot her?”

“I admit what I did. It was stupid, it was inexcusable, and I’m sorry,” dispatcher Mike Forbess said.

The woman, identified only as Lori in yesterday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said she recently phoned authorities after coming home to find her daughters fighting. She told the dispatcher that her 12-year-old had kicked a hole in the door.

Mr. Forbess, a dispatcher at the Watauga Department of Public Safety, told her that he was joking and apologized. But the woman was offended, and Mr. Forbess immediately told his supervisor what happened.

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