- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 3, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Jackson prosecution highlights phone calls

SANTA MARIA — During the weeks surrounding the broadcast of a damaging documentary about Michael Jackson, his associates apparently made dozens of phone calls to each other, prosecutors showed yesterday in the pop star’s child molestation and conspiracy trial.

The phone records and unexplained testimony about one associate cashing two huge checks on an account shared with Mr. Jackson were offered as the prosecution neared the end of its case.

The jury was not told how the calls support the case, but prosecutors are expected to say in final arguments that they show frantic activity in an effort to stem the damage caused by the “Living With Michael Jackson” documentary.

None of the calls were traceable to Mr. Jackson, 46.

ILLINOIS

Ex-official pleads guilty in trucking scandal

CHICAGO — A former Chicago water department official pleaded guilty yesterday to shaking down construction companies for bribes and campaign contributions in exchange for letting them take part in a $38 million-a-year trucking program.

Gerald Wesolowski, former director of administration, agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation of the Hired Truck Program in exchange for a reduced sentence of about two years.

Wesolowski was the suspected “bag man” for former first Deputy Water Commissioner Donald S. Tomczak, who also has been charged.

KANSAS

Lawmakers approve health care authority

TOPEKA — Legislators have unanimously approved a bill consolidating seven programs under a new, independent Kansas Health Care Policy Authority.

The programs include those providing health coverage for needy Kansans and for state employees. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius called it an important first step in improving health care in the state.

MAINE

Nurse fired; took teen for pregnancy test

PORTLAND — School nurse Lola Charette is challenging her firing from Fort Kent Community High School after taking a teenager to a clinic where she got a pregnancy test and a “morning after” birth-control pill.

Miss Charette maintains she followed the law. School officials said she violated an unwritten policy prohibiting students from leaving school without parental permission.

NEW JERSEY

$1 million reward offered for fugitive

EWING TOWNSHIP — Authorities posted a $1 million reward yesterday for a Black Liberation Army member convicted of fatally shooting a New Jersey state trooper during a traffic stop 32 years ago, and added the woman to the FBI’s domestic-terrorist list.

Joanne Chesimard escaped from a women’s prison in Hunterdon County in 1979, after she was convicted of the 1973 slaying of Trooper Werner Foerster. She made her way to Cuba and was granted political asylum.

New Jersey officials have failed to persuade Cuba to hand over Chesimard, 57, who goes by the name Assata Shakur.

At a press conference yesterday, state Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, state police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes and deputy U.S. Attorney Lee Solomon announced the reward and the addition of Chesimard’s name to the FBI’s domestic-terrorist list.

NEW MEXICO

Weapon turns out to be a burrito

CLOVIS — A 911 call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All this was over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities last week after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped up into Marshall Junior High School.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos. It was wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

The burrito was part of eighth-grader Michael Morrissey’s extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

“I have a new nickname now. It’s Burrito Boy,” Michael said.

NEW YORK

Educator Kenneth Clark dead at 90

WHITE PLAINS — Kenneth B. Clark, an educator and psychologist who spent his life working to aid the education of black children and influenced the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down school segregation, has died at age 90, his son said yesterday.

Hilton Clark said his father died early Sunday morning at his home in Hastings-on-Hudson after a long battle with cancer.

Mr. Clark’s pioneering study on the effects of racial discrimination was cited by the Supreme Court in its historic 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

He was the first black professor to gain tenure at the City University of New York and was a distinguished professor emeritus at City College.

RHODE ISLAND

Leaker to plead guilty to contempt, perjury

PROVIDENCE — A defense attorney was charged yesterday with leaking an FBI surveillance video to a TV reporter, who nearly went to prison for refusing to identify his source.

Joseph Bevilacqua Jr., 55, agreed to plead guilty to contempt and perjury for violating a court order not to release the footage, then lying about it under oath, U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente said.

The video, which showed a mayoral aide taking a bribe, was part of a City Hall corruption investigation that eventually sent Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. and the aide to prison.

Mr. Bevilacqua gave the tape to WJAR reporter Jim Taricani, who aired it in 2001 on the NBC affiliate. The newsman was later found in contempt for refusing to reveal his source and served four months under house arrest before he was released April 9.

UTAH

Governor signs bill, snubbing federal law

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed a measure yesterday defying the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act, despite a warning from the federal education secretary that it could cost $76 million in federal aid.

The legislation, passed during a special session of the Legislature last month, gives Utah’s education standards priority over the federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

“It empowers decision makers in the state education system, where there is conflict with federal law, to choose to follow the state objective first,” said Tim Bridgewater, education deputy for Mr. Huntsman, a Republican.

Utah’s preferred way of measuring student achievement is called U-PASS, or the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students, which compares achievement as students progress from grade to grade.

No Child Left Behind compares the grade-level test scores of students to the students in the same grade level from previous years.

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