- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

INDIANA

Teen speeds home at 142 mph

VALPARAISO — Rushing home so his parents wouldn’t be mad, a teenager managed to get them even angrier: He was clocked going 142 mph along a four-lane highway.

Brandon D. Raap, 16, faces speeding and misdemeanor reckless-driving charges and could have his license suspended, police said.

Sheriff’s deputies stopped Brandon’s Subaru Impreza along a rural stretch of U.S. 30 at 12:40 a.m. Saturday going almost 90 mph faster than the posted 55 mph limit, police said. It might be one of the fastest speeds ever recorded on the northwestern Indiana county’s roads, said Porter County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tim Emmons.

MASSACHUSETTS

Harvard rethinks religion requirement

BOSTON — Harvard University has dropped a proposal that would have required all undergraduates to study religion as part of the biggest overhaul of its curriculum in three decades, the university said yesterday.

Efforts to revamp Harvard’s curriculum, which has been criticized for focusing too narrowly on academic topics instead of real-life issues, have been in the works for three years.

A proposal for a “reason and faith” course requirement, which would have set Harvard apart from many other secular universities and made it unique among its peers in the Ivy League, was made public in a preliminary report in October.

“We have removed ‘reason and faith’ as a distinct category,” a faculty task force said in a revised report, excerpts of which were obtained by Reuters news agency.

The eight-member task force released the report to faculty last week.

MICHIGAN

Frail Kevorkian to be released

LANSING — A frail Jack Kevorkian will be paroled in June after promising he won’t assist in any more suicides, a prison spokesman said yesterday.

Leo Lalonde, the corrections spokesman, would not provide further details.

Kevorkian is serving 10 to 25 years at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, about 100 miles southwest of Detroit, for second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County.

Mr. Youk had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian, who claimed to have assisted in at least 130 deaths in the 1990s, called it a mercy killing.

Kevorkian, 78, has always been eligible for parole on June 1 and now will be released on that date, Mr. Lalonde said.

NEW YORK

Bones discovery halts work on condo tower

NEW YORK — The city halted excavation work at the site of a new Donald Trump condominium tower in SoHo after human bones apparently from a 19th-century church graveyard turned up, officials said yesterday.

The city Buildings Department issued the stop-work order Tuesday after workers spotted the bones.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said Buildings Department officials were meeting with the developer and an archaeologist from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to discuss the next move.

Historic maps show there was a Presbyterian church on a corner of the site, said Julius Schwarz, an executive vice president with the Bayrock Group, managing partner for the developer. He added that the discovery of centuries-old human bones at a construction site is not unusual, saying, “It happens all the time.”

NORTH DAKOTA

$7,000 cash found inside donated goods

GRAND FORKS — Shirley Meagher has worked part time at a thrift store since September and occasionally has found strange objects mixed in with donations.

On Monday, she found a can of soup. On Tuesday, she found nearly $7,000.

“I was sorting through some donations and came across a belt that looked unusual,” she said. “It looked awfully thick.”

Miss Meagher remembered hearing that some belts had zippers so their owners could hide money, so she checked the donated belt a little closer. She found a zipper, opened it and pulled out $100 bills. She contacted her boss, who notified police.

Miss Meagher said she started sorting through other items that arrived with the belt and found more money in a coat.

RHODE ISLAND

Lawsuit filed over yearbook photo

PROVIDENCE — The mother of a high school senior who posed in chain mail with a medieval sword for his yearbook picture has sued after the school rejected the photo because of its “zero tolerance” policy against weapons.

Patrick Agin, 17, belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization that researches and re-creates medieval history. He submitted the photo in September for the Portsmouth High School yearbook.

The school’s principal refused to allow the portrait as Mr. Agin’s official yearbook photo, saying it violated a policy against weapons and violence in schools, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the Rhode Island branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Underweight children returned to couple

COLUMBIA — A couple accused of starving their two adopted children were awarded custody by a Family Court judge yesterday, the parents’ attorney said.

John and Connie Oliver’s children were taken into state custody Sept. 23 after police found the 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother unattended at a church playground in Jonesville.

The girl weighed just 40 pounds at the time, and her brother weighed 45 pounds. The Olivers’ attorney, Doug Brannon, said the youngsters had gained only a few pounds during their nearly three months in state custody.

TEXAS

Agent offers guns to attract home buyers

HOUSTON — A Texas real estate agent looking to add more bang to her business is offering clients in law enforcement a free Glock pistol if they buy a home from her.

Julie Upton, a Houston-area real estate agent, spurned traditional buyer incentives such as free gasoline cards or home-improvement store gift certificates.

Instead, she placed an advertisement offering a pistol with the purchase of any home worth at least $150,000 in the city police department’s monthly publication, Badge & Gun.

The free guns are only for those in law enforcement, said Mrs. Upton, who is married to a police officer.

“We thought it would be a good way to entice other police officers,” she said. “And whether people want the gun or not, it has stirred up a lot of attention.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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