- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2005

NEW JERSEY

Flooding spurs evacuations

TRENTON — Flooding forced thousands of people from their homes yesterday in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York and closed the New Jersey Statehouse, and some streams were still rising.

No deaths or injuries were reported after a weekend of torrential rain, but three persons were missing yesterday in eastern New York. New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey estimated that property damage in his state would approach $30 million.

“The Delaware River is calling the shots right now,” said state police Superintendent Col. Joseph “Rick” Fuentes. The river was expected to crest yesterday, but many evacuees were not expected to return home for days.

WASHINGTON

Dozens hurt in derailment

HOME VALLEY — Two persons were admitted to hospitals after an Amtrak train with 115 persons aboard derailed, authorities said.

The train’s four cars were left leaning at a 45-degree angle against an embankment when the engine derailed Sunday morning on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, Amtrak spokeswoman Marcie Golgoski said.

One person was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel hospital in nearby Portland, Ore., said hospital spokesman Will Morton, but he could not reveal the person’s condition. A pregnant woman was admitted to Hood River Memorial Hospital in Hood River, Ore., for observation.

Twenty-four other persons were treated at hospitals and released, and an unknown number of others were treated by medics at the scene.

CALIFORNIA

Read-in staged to save libraries

SALINAS — Several hundred supporters turned out for a 24-hour read-in to help save the libraries in John Steinbeck’s hometown.

Actor Hector Elizondo of the TV hospital drama “Chicago Hope” was among the writers, actors, musicians and activists who read outside Cesar Chavez Library, one of the three libraries scheduled to close because of Salinas budget cuts.

FLORIDA

Project replaces beachlost in hurricanes

DELRAY BEACH — A major beach restoration project began yesterday to replace 428,000 cubic yards of sand lost in two hurricanes, Frances and Jeanne.

Funding for the $4.3 million project will come from federal, state, county and local sources. Crews plan to finish by April 30, before the height of sea turtle nesting season.

GEORGIA

Protest of ID bill marks King’s death

ATLANTA — Saying racism still exists, civil rights activists yesterday marked the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King by denouncing a Georgia measure that would require voters to show a picture ID.

At a wreath-laying ceremony at King’s Atlanta tomb, preachers and members of King’s family criticized the voting bill approved last week by Georgia’s Republican-led legislature as an attempt to suppress minority voting.

“Despite the gains we’ve made toward achieving racial equality, racism still exists,” said King’s widow, Coretta Scott King.

The bill, which Republican sponsors say is intended to prevent voter fraud, still must be signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican.

King was killed by a sniper’s bullet on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., where he had traveled to support striking sanitation workers.

IDAHO

K-9 deputy retires; caught ‘Cowboy’

BOISE — A well-known deputy who has served with the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office for the past seven years has retired. He is a real hound.

K-9 Deputy Basco, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, is best known for his capture of serial killer suspect Michael “Cowboy Mike” Braae in July 2001 after a high-speed chase ended at the Idaho-Oregon line. Braae abandoned his pickup and jumped into the Snake River.

Basco and his handler, Cpl. Paul Maund, hopped a boat to follow Braae. Cpl. Maund attached a towline to the dog and pushed him into the water to chase after the suspect. Basco bit onto Braae’s back, and Cpl. Maund was able to pull the two to shore.

Cpl. Maund said retirement as his pet might not be easy for Basco because he has worked for the sheriff’s office most of his life — tracking missing people, sniffing out narcotics and apprehending suspects.

ILLINOIS

Therapy rivals drugs in depression study

CHICAGO — Psychological therapy and counseling can be just as effective as drugs in the early stages of treating moderate to severe depression, a study released yesterday found, contrary to current practice.

“On the whole, these findings do not support the current American Psychiatric Association guidelines,” which state that most patients at that stage “will require medication,” the report from the University of Pennsylvania said.

Researchers said they looked at 240 moderately to severely depressed patients, some of whom were given drugs and others psychological therapy in weekly and sometimes twice-weekly 50-minute sessions.

After 16 weeks of treatment, 58 percent of the patients had responded to both the drug and therapy treatments, the study said.

KANSAS

Korean War memorial to be dedicated

LAWRENCE — A Korean War memorial will be dedicated this month at the University of Kansas. It features four intertwined cranes, representing the United States, China, North Korea and South Korea.

The 400-pound, 7-foot-tall copper sculpture is called “Korean Cranes Rising” and was created by university design professor Jon Havener.

MASSACHUSETTS

Romney appointee’s duties questioned

BOSTON — A spokesman for Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, says the administration will investigate state Department of Labor Director Angelo Buonopane’s work habits after a report showed the Romney appointee keeps short workdays, takes frequent vacations and has no obvious duties.

Reporters for the Boston Sunday Globe trailed Mr. Buonopane for 19 days during February and March and found he seldom stayed at his office for more than three hours a day. Sometimes, he never showed up at all.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Proposal would crimp independent voters

CONCORD — Independent voters might play a smaller role in New Hampshire’s traditional first-in-the-nation presidential primary in 2008 under a proposal pending in the legislature.

Now independents can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary, then change their registration back to “unaffiliated” before leaving the polling place. The legislative proposal would require anyone voting in a party primary to wait 90 days before changing party affiliation.

NEW MEXICO

Parking is free for hybrid vehicles

ALBUQUERQUE — The state’s largest city is trying to encourage people to drive low-emission hybrid vehicles by offering them free parking at city meters.

The drivers must register with the city to receive an identification sticker to place in the window of their cars. Those cars can park for the maximum time allowed on the meter.

NORTH DAKOTA

Wheat grower admits embezzling

BISMARCK — The former director of two major associations of wheat growers pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling nearly $113,000 and was placed on probation.

Lance Hagen, who headed the North Dakota Grain Growers Association and the U.S. Durum Growers Association, said he stole the money to play the commodities markets.

Judge Robert Wefald put Hagen on probation for two years, fined him $800 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service.

Both organizations said Hagen repaid them in full.

UTAH

Man selling right to pick middle name

UINTAH HIGHLANDS — Matthew Jean Rouse doesn’t like his middle name, and he is letting someone pick a new one.

The 31-year-old father of two is selling the naming right on EBay. The “Buy It Now” price is $8,000. As of early yesterday, there had been a total of 30 bids, with the high bid $2,175.

The winning bidder gets to choose a new middle name for Mr. Rouse, a software engineer.

Mr. Rouse’s middle name was taken from his grandfather, Jean Stelter, with whom he didn’t get along.

His older brother, Bill Rouse, 46, of Mesa, Ariz., bid $1,500 for the name. “Basically, he’s trying to dump our grandfather’s name, and I’m trying to buy it and make it stay as it is,” he said.

VERMONT

Medical researcher admits grant fraud

BURLINGTON — A former medical school professor accused of fabricating research data on menopause, aging and hormone supplements pleaded guilty yesterday to fraudulently obtaining a $542,000 federal grant.

Eric T. Poehlman, 49, could get up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine at sentencing July 18.

The former University of Vermont College of Medicine professor was accused of making up research between 1992 and 2000 to win millions of dollars in grant money from the federal government.

Under a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in an application for a grant on hormone replacement therapy from the National Institutes of Health.

Poehlman also agreed to pay $180,000 to settle a civil complaint.

WEST VIRGINIA

Children try game to lose weight

CHARLESTON — Like many other 11-year-old boys, K.D. Jones loves sports. But at 5 feet, 175 pounds, he found his weight and his asthma an obstacle.

His doctor wanted him to lose 50 pounds, and he is hoping a new health study using a video dance game will help him get down to 125 by the end of summer in time to play football.

K.D. is one of 85 children in an at-home study trying the popular “Dance Dance Revolution” video game to boost their activity. The study is being conducted by West Virginia’s public employees insurance group in hopes it will lead to better health and lower costs.

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