- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

ARIZONA

Inmate sets guard free, ends ordeal

TUCSON — An inmate demanding a transfer to Montana used a homemade shank to hold a prison guard hostage in his cell for six hours before surrendering, authorities said.

Timothy Monk, 34, serving a 97-year prison sentence for kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault, took guard Laurel Kennedy, who was unharmed, hostage late Monday afternoon with the weapon made from a razor and plexiglass.

Monk demanded a transfer from the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson to Montana in exchange for Miss Kennedy’ release, said Bart Graves, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Corrections.

CALIFORNIA

Pentagon sponsoring robotic car contest

LOS ANGELES — Seven months after an unmanned Volkswagen successfully drove itself over the rugged desert, the Pentagon is sponsoring another challenge for self-driving vehicles that can weave through congested city traffic without causing an accident.

The contest, to be held in November 2007, will test the vehicles’ ability to independently carry out a simulated military supply mission in an urban setting in less than six hours.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency created the latest challenge to spur development of vehicles that could be used in the battlefield without any remote control.

FLORIDA

Limo driver jailed for drunken driving

SANFORD — A limousine driver who was accused of drunken driving by the teens she drove to a high school prom was sentenced to 10 days in jail after pleading no contest Monday.

Christina Tomacelli, 50, of Altamonte Springs, also lost her license for a year and must pay $500 in fines and serve 12 months of probation, the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday.

Tomacelli was charged in April 2005 with driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test. She had been driving 10 youths to the Winter Springs High School prom when they got worried about her driving, persuaded her to pull over and grabbed her car keys.

ILLINOIS

Van jumps curb, injures pedestrians

CHICAGO — A van driver jumped a curb at a downtown intersection during the morning rush hour yesterday and struck several pedestrians, injuring two seriously, authorities said.

Four persons were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, two in serious condition with trauma injuries and two in good condition, said Kevin MacGregor, a spokesman for the fire department.

Police said the accident may have been caused when the unidentified driver suffered a heart attack.

MAINE

New fishing limits put in place

PORTLAND — Fishermen in New England began losing additional days of fishing time at sea when new commercial fishing rules went into effect Monday.

The rules include reduced fishing time and strict catch limits to rebuild depleted stocks of cod, yellowtail flounder and other species.

OHIO

Injection problems delay execution

LUCASVILLE — Difficulty in setting up the lethal injection caused a delay of more than an hour yesterday in the execution of a man convicted of killing a gas-station clerk during a series of robberies.

Joseph Lewis Clark, 57, died at 11:26 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to die in November 1984 for killing David Manning.

The execution was set to begin at 10 a.m., but was delayed as the team worked to find a vein in his right arm to administer the injection.

Prisons director Terry Collins said that a vein in Clark’s arm had collapsed and that Clark’s history of drug use could have been a factor.

PENNSYLVANIA

Judge hits legislators on ‘Terri’s Law’

PHILADELPHIA — The Florida judge who presided over the Terri Schiavo case and ruled that her feeding tube should be removed said at a bioethics symposium that lawmakers are ill-equipped to make right-to-die decisions.

Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer, in brief remarks at the University of Pennsylvania on Monday, said 30 state and federal judges painstakingly reviewed the many volumes of testimony and evidence submitted in the divisive case.

But state lawmakers who passed “Terri’s Law” to have her feeding tube reinserted did so with “little to no debate” and with “significant arm-twisting,” he said.

A spokesman for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Russell Schweiss, said yesterday that the legislation went through two days of debate — more than that for any other bill during that legislative session.

TENNESSEE

Former county official sentenced for bribery

CHATTANOOGA — A federal judge sentenced the first government official convicted at trial in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz bribery sting to three years in prison yesterday, heeding a prosecutor’s recommendation to send a message to all public officials.

Former Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton was ordered to report to prison by June 5.

A jury convicted Cotton in February of conspiring with a lobbyist to take bribes totaling $4,750. He faced a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but his sentence was three times as long as that of a state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to taking bribes in the undercover investigation.

WYOMING

Planner wants to build ‘Sinnerville’

GILLETTE — Move over, Sin City. Someone in this town wants to build a community called Sinnerville.

The Campbell County Commission was scheduled to consider the final plan yesterday for the 42-acre subdivision, named for its planner, Jason Sinner. The subdivision’s name, not favored by a few, is expected to be a topic.

“I expect there would be some discussion on that,” said Marilyn Mackey, commission chairwoman, who added that she probably wouldn’t choose to live in a place called Sinnerville. “However, the county really does not regulate the naming of subdivisions unless there’s a conflict with another subdivision.”

Public Works Director Mike Coleman said in November that commissioners were opposed to the name. But Mr. Sinner told the planning commission that he’s proud of his name and of his family, which includes George A. Sinner, who served as governor of North Dakota from 1985 to 1992.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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