- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2007

CALIFORNIA

Bill would ban inefficient bulb

SACRAMENTO — How many people does it take to change a light bulb? In California, the answer could be a majority of the Legislature.

The electricity-wasting incandescent bulb would be banned — replaced by energy efficient compact fluorescents — under a bill that Assemblyman Lloyd Levine plans to introduce.

He says the spiral light sources are so efficient that consumers should be forced to use them. The compact bulbs use one-fourth the electricity spent in an equivalent incandescent.

“Incandescent light bulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications,” said Mr. Levine, Los Angeles Democrat. “It’s time to take a step forward.”

The bulb bill has not made it onto the legislative calendar.

Last year, the Legislature passed a Levine bill that required large supermarkets to recycle plastic bags. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed that bill, but he has not taken a position on the light-bulb proposal.

NEBRASKA

Oil initiative to open ‘terror-free’ station

OMAHA — A group called the Terror-Free Oil Initiative plans to open the nation’s first “terror-free” gas station.

Well, that’s the goal anyway.

The Coral Springs, Fla., group plans to open its first station today in west Omaha, seeking to sell gas that originates only from countries that do not support terrorism and from oil companies that don’t conduct business in the Middle East.

Sinclair Oil Corp., which operates truck stops and gas stations throughout the Midwest and West, will be the initial supplier, said Terror-Free Oil spokesman Joe Kaufman.

Dalton Kehlbeck, a regional manager for Sinclair, said most of the Salt Lake City company’s oil comes from the U.S. or Canada, but some is bought on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where oil from all over the world is traded.

The Terror-Free Oil station is emblazoned with signs calling for the use of non-Middle Eastern oil. Mr. Kaufman said the station will open today, with a grand opening scheduled for Feb. 12.

NEW YORK

Miss USA admits taking cocaine

NEW YORK — Miss USA, who narrowly kept hold of her tiara last month after admitting that she had been boozing it up in New York, says she has taken cocaine.

“I have done cocaine, yeah,” Tara Conner said in an interview to be aired on the NBC network today, excerpts of which were released yesterday. She said making the revelation “gets it off my chest.”

“The more that I get off my chest, the better I feel about myself. It’s not healthy for my recovery to sit here and hold things back,” said Miss Conner, who logged in 31 days at the Caron Foundation rehabilitation center in Wernersville, Pa.

Last month, beauty pageant boss Donald Trump said he would give Miss Conner a second chance to keep the Miss USA crown, despite the 21-year-old’s admissions that she had developed a lifestyle of partying and drinking.

OKLAHOMA

Mother sentenced for child abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY — A woman who professionals said has a rare mental disorder has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison after admitting she injected fecal matter into her infant daughter.

Sarena Sherrard, 31, pleaded guilty Tuesday to child-abuse charges.

Two mental health care providers, who have cared for Sherrard since her arrest in August 2005, testified that she could not resist the urge to harm her daughter. They blamed a disorder known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which parents create or exaggerate injury to a child to bring attention to themselves. The cause is unknown.

Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry Bass said he sentenced Sherrard to one year in prison for each of the 13 times the girl was hospitalized, plus 2 years because the abuse lasted that long.

The girl, now 4, has some hearing loss but has otherwise recovered.

RHODE ISLAND

Ex-senator sentenced for influence-peddling

PROVIDENCE — A once-powerful lawmaker at the center of a corruption scandal was sentenced yesterday to 2 years in federal prison for taking payoffs, and prosecutors said their investigation now includes 14 politicians and companies.

John Celona admitted he abused his position as chairman of a key legislative committee to benefit the drugstore chain CVS Corp., Roger Williams Medical Center and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Prosecutors said the former state senator was paid nearly $320,000 for the favorable treatment.

Celona, 53, pleaded guilty in 2005 to three counts of federal mail fraud, and he cooperated with investigators. He testified as the star witness last fall in a trial that produced convictions of two former hospital executives. He resigned from the General Assembly in March 2004 after questions were raised about his relationship with CVS.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Bill allows abortion with DNA evidence

PIERRE — Legislators introduced a sweeping abortion bill yesterday that supporters hope will lead to a legal challenge of Roe v. Wade.

The measure would allow exceptions for rape and incest with DNA evidence, making it slightly less rigid than a bill passed last year that contained an exception only to save the life of a woman. A petition campaign forced that bill onto the ballot, and voters rejected it in November by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.

Opponents of the legislation said the issue was settled in the November election, and lawmakers should not have revived it.

This year’s bill would allow rape victims to obtain abortions if they report the rapes to police within 50 days. Doctors would have to confirm the report with police and would have to take blood from aborted fetuses and give that information to police for DNA testing. Blood samples from fetuses would have to be provided to police in incest cases, too.

TEXAS

Columnist Ivins dies of breast cancer

AUSTIN — Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died yesterday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.

David Pasztor, managing editor of the Texas Observer, confirmed her death. The writer, who made a living poking fun at Texas politicians, whether they were in her home base of Austin or the White House, revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time.

More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist-toned humor. Miss Ivins’ illness did not seem to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

“I’m sorry to say [cancer] can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person,” she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September, the same month cancer claimed her friend, former Gov. Ann Richards.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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