- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 28, 2007

Illinois GOP lawmaker plans to retire in ‘09

PEORIA, Ill. — Republican Rep. Ray LaHood, who earned a reputation for civility in more than a decade in Congress, said yesterday he plans to retire after his seventh term ends in January 2009.

The prospect of leading an ordinary life after 30 years in politics “is pretty appealing,” said Mr. LaHood, 61.

“I’ve never thought of myself as a career politician,” he said. “I do think there comes a time to move on and do something else and this is the right time for it.”

Mr. LaHood, a former teacher, said he announced his retirement early to give prospective candidates time to start their campaigns. The 18th Congressional District seat has been held for nearly a half-century by just two men — Mr. LaHood and former House Minority Leader Bob Michel. Mr. LaHood was Mr. Michel’s chief of staff before Mr. Michel retired and Mr. LaHood was elected in 1994.

Big Dig supplier guilty, will pay $50 million

BOSTON — A concrete supplier for the Big Dig has agreed to pay $50 million to end civil and criminal investigations into whether it supplied inferior concrete used in the massive highway project, authorities announced yesterday.

Aggregate Industries NE Inc. also agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

Six employees of Aggregate, which supplied concrete used in tunnels and roadways in the Big Dig project, were indicted last year on federal charges that they falsified records to hide the substandard quality of 5,000 truckloads of concrete.

The indictment charged the men with recycling concrete that was too old or already rejected by inspectors and in some cases double-billing for the loads.

Unconscious man wakes, shoots robber

EL DORADO, Ark. — An elderly man beaten unconscious by an assailant wielding a soda can awoke and shot the man during an attempted robbery, police said.

Willie Lee Hill, 93, told police he saw the robber while in his bedroom Wednesday night. Mr. Hill confronted the man and was hit at least 50 times, police said. He was knocked unconscious.

Covered in blood, Mr. Hill regained consciousness a short time later and pulled a .38-caliber handgun on his attacker. The suspect, Douglas B. Williams Jr., saw the gun and charged the man, who fired a bullet that struck Mr. Williams in the throat, police said.

“I got what I deserved,” Mr. Williams, 24, told police when they arrived, officers said.

Doctors sent Mr. Williams to the Louisiana State University Medical Center at Shreveport, where he was listed in critical condition yesterday.

Guardsmen get prison for smuggling cocaine

TUCSON, Ariz. — Three former National Guardsmen ensnared in an FBI sting were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to cocaine smuggling, and one said he hopes to rejoin the military after he gets out.

Demian F. Castillo, a former recruiter at a Tucson Army National Guard armory, was sentenced to 2½ years Wednesday for two drug runs in 2002 in exchange for a $14,000 payoff from what he thought was a Mexican cartel.

Instead of smugglers, he was working for federal agents in the FBI’s undercover Operation Lively Green, which targeted government and other public employees suspected of drug smuggling.

“I was a good soldier who made a couple bad decisions,” the 35-year-old former sergeant first class told a federal judge at his sentencing. “Time will tell if, one day, I can get back in.”

Also sentenced Wednesday on drug smuggling charges were former Guard members Sheldon L. Anderson and Mario Quintana. Anderson was sentenced to 10 months in prison for taking part in a single cocaine run in March 2004. Quintana was sent to prison for two years for running two loads of cocaine in 2002.

Planes at air show collide; pilot killed

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Two planes at an experimental air show collided while landing yesterday, killing at least one of the pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The FAA said the accident with the two P-51 Mustangs happened at 3:17 p.m. after the planes finished a performance at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture show.

P-51 Mustangs are single-seat fighters that were used in World War II.

On Monday, a veteran pilot trying to break a speed record en route to Oshkosh was killed when his small, experimental plane crashed into an apartment building and playground in Switzerland.

From staff reports and wire dispatches