- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

ALABAMA

Teen charged in teacher’s death

MOULTON — A 15-year-old boy was charged with murder yesterday in the killing of a teacher who was beaten, robbed and left for dead at the school where she worked.

Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said prosecutors would ask a judge to decide whether the teenager could be tried as an adult in the slaying of Judy Jester.

Miss Jester, 55, died Sunday after being removed from life support. Her skull was cracked in the beating Wednesday.

The teenager, an eighth-grader at Lawrence County High School whose name was not released because of his age, also was charged with burglary and robbery.

Chief McWhorter said investigators think the boy entered the school, where Miss Jester was doing administrative work alone, and beat her unconscious with his fists before rifling through her purse and stealing money.

ALASKA

Heavy fire season costs $56 million

FAIRBANKS — Firefighting agencies have racked up a bill of about $56 million in battling a second consecutive season of widespread, smoking blazes throughout the state.

A record 6.6 million acres burned in 2004, and another 4.6 million acres burned this year. Interior and Kenai Peninsula forests are in prime condition for more large fire seasons, fire managers said.

CONNECTICUT

Archdiocese settles in abuse case

HARTFORD — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford agreed yesterday to pay $22 million to 43 persons who said they were molested by priests.

The reported abuse dates back to the 1960s and involves 14 priests or retired priests.

Parents tried to bring the matter to the attention of Archbishop John Francis Whealon in 1983 but were threatened with legal action by the archdiocese, said Jason Tremont, an attorney for the 43 persons.

A spokesman for the archdiocese, the Rev. John Gatzak, said the settlement will be financed with long-term savings and insurance policies.

ILLINOIS

Eating uncooked soy lowers cholesterol

CHICAGO — Two servings a day of soy protein — such as that found in tofu, soy milk or soy powder — can lower cholesterol levels by as much as 9 percent as long as the soy is uncooked, said a study released yesterday.

Soy-fortified muffins, cereals or nutritional bars in which the soy protein was baked at high temperatures do not provide the benefit, study author James Anderson said.

An 8 percent to 9 percent drop in low-density lipoprotein, the so-called bad cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, can be gained from eating uncooked soy protein in the form of two 12-ounce servings of soy milk daily or two 2-ounce servings of tofu, said Mr. Anderson, a scientist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Mr. Anderson presented his analysis of 57 previous studies on soy protein’s impact on blood cholesterol at a scientific conference on soy being held in Chicago this week.

MINNESOTA

Advocate walks for universal care

WINDOM — Sue Eichstadt, 49, is taking a long walk to advocate for health care coverage for all Minnesotans. The factory worker and mother of four set out on the 154-mile walk Saturday from this southern Minnesota town to the Capitol in St. Paul, where she is expected to arrive Friday.

She is pushing for a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing universal health care.

MISSISSIPPI

Cruise ship moves evacuees

PASCAGOULA — The Carnival Cruise Lines ship that has housed about 1,400 Hurricane Katrina refugees sailed from the coast of Mobile, Ala., to the Port of Pascagoula.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials say the move brings most evacuees closer to home and will help families find more traditional housing. The use of a cruise ship for victims of a major natural disaster was a first for FEMA.

NEBRASKA

State replaces historic seal

LINCOLN — Perhaps the most dedicated state worker in Nebraska history is retiring.

The historic lion’s head state seal, which came on the job in 1867 and has since stamped tens of thousands of state documents, is being replaced by an easier-to-use toggle-hand device.

Secretary of State John Gale, whose office houses the historic seal, announced the retirement Thursday.

The change was needed because the original cast-iron seal, purchased for $25 by the first Legislature, had become brittle and was in danger of breaking, Mr. Gale said. Its water-pump-style arm was loose and later determined to be broken, he said.

The new seal cost $3,560, about 142 times the price of the original.

NEW JERSEY

Woman injured in balloon accident

BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP — A woman helping her husband launch his hot-air balloon here was critically injured Sunday when her leg became caught in a rope. She was pulled into the air and fell through the roof of a barn.

Kathleen J. Long, 53, of Phillipsburg, was in critical condition yesterday at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pa.

It was not clear how Mrs. Long’s leg got caught in the rope. Witnesses say she dangled from the rope for a short time and passed through several treetops before she was knocked off.

She then fell about 50 feet and crashed through the barn roof, officials said.

WISCONSIN

School cancels show amid criticism

MILWAUKEE — A Roman Catholic school is canceling a fashion show by the manufacturer of American Girl dolls and books amid conservative groups’ criticism of a girls organization that receives support from the company.

St. Luke School in Brookfield notified its parents of the decision through bulletins at Masses over the weekend.

Two national groups — the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago and the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. — have raised questions about the American Girl brand and its parent company, Mattel Inc., because of the company’s fundraising for Girls Inc., formerly known as Girls Clubs of America. The American Family Association has called Girls Inc. “a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian advocacy group.”

Money raised through raffle sales at the planned fashion show was to go toward a new playground and a refurbished library at St. Luke School.

American Girl spokeswoman Julie Parks said no other groups have canceled because of the issue, and the company said some groups “have chosen to misconstrue American Girl’s purely altruistic efforts.”

The fashion shows include the company’s popular historic dolls being carried by girls who dress up in the same outfits.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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