- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2006

FLORIDA

Gunman shoots relatives at hospital, killing one

FERNANDINA BEACH — A man shot three of his relatives in a hospital parking lot yesterday, killing one and critically wounding the others before committing suicide outside a nearby school, the county sheriff said.

All four were related by either blood or marriage and apparently had been involved in a domestic dispute, Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves said.

He declined to release details and did not identify the victims or their ages.

School officials said no students or personnel at Emma Love Hardee Elementary School were injured.

NEW YORK

Picasso portrait sells for $95.2 million

NEW YORK — A portrait by Pablo Picasso of the woman who influenced him in the late 1930s and early 1940s sold for $95.2 million, the second-highest amount ever paid for a painting at auction, the auction house Sotheby’s said.

“Dora Maar au chat,” which depicts Picasso’s mistress, went to an anonymous buyer in the room who was competing with telephone bidders during the auction Wednesday.

Its selling price ranked second only to another Picasso piece, “Garcon a la pipe,” which sold at Sotheby’s for more than $104 million in May 2004, the auction house said.

ARIZONA

Officials cut funding to Navajo Head Start

WINDOW ROCK — Federal officials halted funding to one of the nation’s largest American Indian Head Start programs, saying the Navajo Nation failed to perform criminal background checks.

Authorities notified tribal officials in a letter Tuesday that they were prohibited from using money earmarked for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Navajo Head Start officials declined to comment and referred questions to the office of Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.

On Wednesday, Mr. Shirley directed Head Start staff to immediately begin addressing the concerns and said he hopes to meet with federal officials next week to talk about lifting the suspension.

ARKANSAS

Touch-screen units to miss early voting

LITTLE ROCK — Problems with new electronic voting equipment and software mean most counties in Arkansas will have to use paper ballots or old machines for next week’s early voting in primaries.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels said eight of the state’s 75 counties will have functioning touch-screen machines for the early voting. Mr. Daniels said he’s confident all will be ready for primary day on May 23.

INDIANA

Bishop faults school on play performances

SOUTH BEND — Roman Catholic Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has rebuked the new president of the University of Notre Dame for allowing campus performances of “The Vagina Monologues.”

In a nine-page “pastoral letter” last week, Bishop D’Arcy said the Rev. John I. Jenkins’ explanation for the decision lacked “any sense that critical decisions for a Catholic university must be based on truth as revealed by Christ and held by the church” and or “any mention of the essential link between freedom and truth.”

“The Vagina Monologues,” based on discussions with women, includes graphic descriptions of women’s anatomy, homosexuality and orgasms.

Father Jenkins announced April 5 that the school will allow the play and other events that may go against Catholic teachings because universities should promote debate.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans hotels won’t be storm havens

NEW ORLEANS — This hurricane season, don’t count on the city’s hotels for “vertical evacuation” when a major storm makes a beeline for New Orleans.

The hotels, often used as a hurricane haven in the past, will be banning guests and employees from riding out the largest storms, said Bill Langkopp, executive vice president of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association.

“Bringing people into a hotel for safe harbor was OK pre-Katrina. It is no longer acceptable post-Katrina,” said Mr. Langkopp, whose group surveyed its members on their storm plans.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on Aug. 29 and swamped the city, thousands of hotel guests ended up stranded for days in miserable and dangerous conditions.

MASSACHUSETTS

Man convicted in Super Bowl scam

WORCESTER — A man was found guilty in federal court of swindling 41 persons out of a combined $250,000 in an online scam by offering to sell Super Bowl tickets he didn’t have.

Michael Deppe, 21, was convicted of three counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. He faces prison time and may have to make restitution.

NEW YORK

WTC memorial cost tops $1 billion

NEW YORK — Construction costs for the World Trade Center memorial have risen to an estimated $1 billion — twice as much as officials had planned to spend.

Last year, project officials said it would cost $490 million to build the memorial and an adjacent museum, which is slated to take up eight acres of the 16-acre site when it opens in 2009. Preliminary site work began in March.

Contractors this week issued a revised estimate of $1 billion, a person familiar with the figures told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the number had not been publicly announced.

UTAH

Opposition widens to nuke waste storage

SALT LAKE CITY — City officials have joined state leaders in opposing a proposal to store nuclear waste in Utah. Private Fuel Storage wants to store spent nuclear fuel rods on Goshutes’ Skull Valley reservation about 50 miles west of Salt Lake City.

The City Council and mayor approved a resolution that condemns the plan by Private Fuel Storage, a consortium of power utilities.

VERMONT

State recognizes Abenaki Indians

MONTPELIER — Gov. Jim Douglas signed a measure recognizing the state’s Abenaki Indians. A ceremony on the State House steps was celebrated with drums, cheers, song and prayer by about 150 Abenaki, some in native dress.

The tribe had been seeking the recognition for nearly 30 years. Supporters say it will help the Abenaki obtain federal educational grants and sell their crafts.

WEST VIRGINIA

Sago air packs used partially, official says

BUCKHANNON — Tests on air packs recovered from the depths of the Sago Mine show that none of the devices had been used to their full capacity before being discarded by the trapped miners, a federal mine safety official said yesterday.

Though the devices, known as self-rescuers, activated when the 12 men tried them, the tests revealed that the amount of chemicals used to create oxygen varied widely, from 25 percent to 75 percent, said John Urosek, a ventilation specialist with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The revelation, during a third day of hearings into the Jan. 2 explosion, triggered angry questions from the son of Alva Marty Bennett, one of the 11 miners who died during the 41 hours it took rescuers to reach them.

“None of them was used up 100 percent, and that should tell you that … that’s unacceptable,” said Russell Bennett, a coal miner.

It is the job of federal investigators to find out why they were not fully used, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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