- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2005

CONNECTICUT

Graduate teaching assistants strike, want union recognition

NEW HAVEN — Graduate teaching assistants at Yale and Columbia universities kicked off a five-day strike yesterday, an effort organizers hope will force Ivy League administrators to recognize them as a union.

It was the first multicampus strike for Ivy League graduate student teachers, who want health care for family members and a grievance process that would allow student teachers to raise concerns with the universities.

University administrators say the strikes should have minimal effect on classes.

The graduate students have pledged not to teach classes, grade papers or host review sessions this week.

GEORGIA

Fired Habitat founder forms charity for housing group

AMERICUS — Fired Habitat for Humanity International founder Millard Fuller has formed a charity to raise money for the home-building group, despite the possibility of a lawsuit over his use of the Habitat name.

Mr. Fuller announced yesterday that he has raised $1 million for his new group, Building Habitat Inc., which will raise money for local chapters of Habitat for Humanity.

Chris Clarke, Habitat for Humanity’s senior vice president of communications, said last week that Habitat’s trademark lawyer had contacted Mr. Fuller and would “take whatever action is necessary to safeguard our trademark-protected name.”

ALABAMA

Moore shows fundraising ability

MONTGOMERY — The Foundation for Moral Law, where Ten Commandments activist Roy Moore serves as board chairman, raised $1.3 million in donations in its first year.

It is evidence that the ousted Alabama Supreme Court chief justice would not have any trouble financing a campaign for governor, political analysts said. Mr. Moore has not announced those intentions, however.

ARIZONA

Diocese reaches $7 million settlement

TUCSON — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson reportedly has reached a $7 million settlement with a major insurer to pay for sexual-abuse claims.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that insurers will buy out seven insurance policies that covered the diocese with liability protection between 1964 and 1981. The settlement proceeds will be used to pay sex-abuse claims.

CALIFORNIA

SUV vandal gets 8 years in prison

LOS ANGELES — A former CalTech graduate student was sentenced to more than eight years in prison yesterday and ordered to pay $3.5 million for his role in a spree of arson and vandalism that targeted Hummers and other sport utility vehicles.

Rejecting pleas for clemency from William Cottrell, a 24-year-old doctoral candidate in physics at the California Institute of Technology, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner added more time to the sentence after finding that Cottrell was trying to sway consumers with his anti-SUV message.

The slogans Cottrell spray-painted onto vehicles included “Fat Lazy Americans,” “No Respect for Earth” and “SUV — Terrorism.”

Cottrell was convicted in November on seven counts of arson and one count of conspiracy related to a 2003 vandalism and firebombing spree that targeted about 125 large sport utility vehicles.

ILLINOIS

Ear tube surgery safe, study finds

CHICAGO — Children with ear infections so severe that tubes have to be inserted in their ears early in life hear as well as other youngsters by the time they reach their teen years, a study said yesterday.

Inserting tubes to drain the ears, the most common kind of surgery performed on U.S. children, is “safe and useful,” even if it has to be repeated, the report from Finland’s Kuopio University Hospital said.

“Parents should be informed of the long follow-up, of the possible need for repeated [tube] insertion and of potential [problems] that sometimes necessitate surgical intervention,” it said.

The report, published in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, was based on 14 years of study involving 237 children in Finland.

INDIANA

Little Oscar actor dies at 82

MERRILLVILLE — When mourners began singing, “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener” during George Molchan’s funeral, they meant no disrespect.

Mr. Molchan, who died last week at 82, portrayed the meat processor’s spokesman, Little Oscar, for more than three decades, traveling from town to town in the company’s Wienermobile to appear in parades and supermarkets.

The 27-foot-long Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was parked Saturday near Mr. Molchan’s grave at a cemetery in Merrillville, drawing smiles from dozens attending his memorial.

Before priests said the final prayers over Mr. Molchan’s casket, about 50 mourners sang a chorus of the Oscar Mayer jingle.

KENTUCKY

Anti-war groups to protest air show

LOUISVILLE — Some religious and anti-war groups want military planes grounded from an air show that kicks off a city celebration leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

The activists said Monday that the military flyovers along the Ohio River shoreline glamorize war, and are particularly inappropriate while U.S. soldiers are in harm’s way in Iraq.

The air show is a prelude to a massive fireworks show, “Thunder Over Louisville,” that starts the Kentucky Derby Festival — a two-week party that includes a parade and steamboat and hot-air balloon races. Hundreds of thousands of people will line the Kentucky and Indiana shorelines on Saturday for the air show and 30-minute fireworks extravaganza.

NORTH DAKOTA

Legislature approves indoor smoking ban

BISMARCK — The state House approved an indoor smoking ban for restaurants, government buildings and most businesses yesterday.

The legislation is not as strict as many anti-smoking activists wanted and many other states have enacted. It exempts bars and allows motels to offer smoking rooms to customers.

The North Dakota House voted 61-32 to approve the bill. The Senate endorsed the measure last week. It heads to Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican, for final approval, which spokesman Don Canton said is likely.

PENNSYLVANIA

Mom dies saving baby in auto accident

PHILADELPHIA — A teenage mother saved her baby, but was killed by another teen who lost control of her car while learning to drive in a Philadelphia parking lot.

Sarah McGinley, 18, was killed when a 15-year-old plowed through a fence and the car became airborne, landing on the mother after she threw her 1-year-old daughter, Victoria, out of harm’s way, WCAU-TV in Philadelphia reported.

The driver, who did not have a permit and whose father was in the passenger seat, lost control of the car after mistaking the accelerator for the brake, police said.

The district attorney was to consider the case yesterday.

UTAH

Girl’s uncle criticizes police in Smart case

SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart’s uncle has faulted the police investigation into the teenager’s disappearance in a new book.

Tom Smart and co-author Lee Benson say that in August 2002, two months after Elizabeth disappeared, police were alerted by a caller who thought he had spotted Elizabeth at a library.

An officer checked out a homeless man wearing robes and his two female companions, one a girl behind a veil, much like the garb worn by Elizabeth and her accused captors the day they were found in March 2003.

A grand jury charged Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee with kidnapping and sexual assault. Mrs. Barzee, 59, was ruled incompetent to stand trial. Mr. Mitchell, 51, is having his second competency hearing.

WYOMING

Wildfire contained; residents return

FORT WASHAKIE — Firefighters mopped up yesterday after a 500-acre wildfire that burned three miles of river bottom and forced some people to evacuate a small town.

No injuries were reported, but the wind-driven fire destroyed two abandoned buildings, said Fremont County Fire Warden Craig Haslam.

The fire on Sunday burned along the banks of the Little Wind River, which runs by Fort Washakie, a town of 250 on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.

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