- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

ARIZONAState coin features Canyon, cactusPHOENIX — The design for the Arizona quarter features both the Grand Canyon and another familiar Arizona image: the saguaro cactus.The design, chosen by Gov. Janet Napolitano, includes a “Grand Canyon State” banner across the middle of the quarter, separating the canyon view with a multi-rayed sun above and a saguaro in a desert landscape below.Miss Napolitano’s office disclosed the Democrat’s choice before a scheduled announcement yesterday. The Arizona quarter, 48th in the state-by-state series, will be released next year, followed by Alaska and Hawaii.CALIFORNIAComic Poston dies at 85LOS ANGELES — Tom Poston, the comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit television shows as “Newhart” and “Mork and Mindy,” has died. He was 85.Mr. Poston, who was married to Suzanne Pleshette of “The Bob Newhart Show,” died Monday night at home after a brief illness, Tanner Gibson, a family representative, said yesterday. The nature of his illness was not disclosed.Mr. Poston’s run as a comic bumbler began in the mid-1950s with “The Steve Allen Show,” when Mr. Allen plucked the character actor from the Broadway stage to join an ensemble of eccentrics with whom he would conduct “man-on-the-street” interviews.Mr. Poston’s character was so unnerved by the television cameras that he couldn’t remember who he was. He won an Emmy playing “The Man Who Can’t Remember His Name.”COLORADO15 cadets booted in cheating scandalAIR FORCE ACADEMY — Fifteen cadets were expelled from the Air Force Academy in a cheating scandal, and three others resigned, school commanders said yesterday.Thirteen others were placed on probation.The cadets, all freshmen, either confessed or were found guilty by an honor board of sharing answers to a test of knowledge about the Air Force. Academy officials said the cadets forwarded test answers through an Internet social group and private computer messages.IDAHOWest and Southeast face higher fire riskBOISE — The West and Southeast face an increased wildfire risk this year because of an ongoing drought and a summer expected to be hotter than average, the National Interagency Fire Center reported yesterday.The center identified broad swaths of those regions — including all of Florida — and central Alaska as having increased chances of catching fire.The National Wildland Fire Outlook report predicts the wildfire danger for May through August. It is based on past and expected weather patterns combined with the predicted amount and dryness of fire fuels and their potential to ignite.LOUISIANACity’s schools chief submits resignationNEW ORLEANS — With less than two years at the helm of the city’s beleaguered school system, the state-appointed superintendent announced yesterday that she would step down to focus on her family and new job opportunities.Robin Jarvis said her resignation, effective May 31, was a relief after months under fire to hire teachers and open safe schools in a city slowly recovering from Hurricane Katrina.She is departing as the state turns to the National Guard for help renovating hurricane-damaged schools it will need to accommodate the thousands of new students it expects in the state-run Recovery School District this fall.MISSOURIHusband killers granted paroleJEFFERSON CITY — The state parole board has agreed to release two women from prison a little more than two years after the governor commuted their life sentences for killing abusive husbands.The action was long overdue, an attorney for one of the women said yesterday.Shirley Lute, 76, and Lynda Branch, 54, were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for at least 50 years, but Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, commuted their terms in late 2004, just before he left office. However, the Board of Probation and Parole refused to grant them release, saying that “would depreciate the seriousness” of their crimes. The Supreme Court ordered the board to reconsider, and the panel acted Monday.NEW JERSEYCorzine pays seat-belt fineTRENTON — Gov. Jon Corzine has voluntarily paid a $46 fine for violating state law by not wearing a seat belt during the trip in which a car accident almost killed him, his spokesman said yesterday.Mr. Corzine met with State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, Attorney General Stuart Rabner and two state police investigators yesterday at the governor’s mansion in Princeton to discuss the accident, spokesman Anthony Coley said.As the meeting ended, Mr. Corzine asked Col. Fuentes for a ticket, Mr. Coley said. Col. Fuentes wrote one, and the Democratic governor wrote a check for $46, Mr. Coley said.The check will be sent by overnight mail to a municipal court in Galloway, where the accident happened, Mr. Coley said.NEW YORKMiss America agrees to testify in stingHAUPPAUGE — An undercover sex sting that used Miss America as bait appeared to be in trouble until the beauty queen said yesterday that she changed her mind and agreed to testify against the men she helped arrest.Lauren Nelson, 20, of Lawton, Okla., worked with police in Suffolk County to target would-be Internet sexual predators, taped for an episode of the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”She posed as a teenager and lured men into chatting online and meeting her at a home, where police and crews were waiting. Eleven men were arrested in the sting.Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said Miss Nelson had told prosecutors she did not plan to return to Long Island to testify.OHIOAudiotape released in Kent State shootingKENT — Survivors of the National Guard shooting that killed four Kent State University students during an anti-war rally released an audiotape yesterday that they said includes a military order to fire on the demonstrators.Alan Canfora, 58, one of nine students wounded during the May 4, 1970, shooting, released two versions of a 20-second clip — the original and an amplified version — in which he says a Guard officer issues the command, “Right here. Get set. Point. Fire.” The word “point” is followed by the sound of shots being fired.The clash followed several days of protests against the Vietnam War. Four years later, eight Guardsmen were acquitted of federal civil rights charges.WASHINGTONState names official amphibianOLYMPIA — Thanks to a group of third-graders, Washington state now has an official amphibian: the Pacific chorus frog.Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat wearing a toy frog on her forefinger, signed the bill Monday, bantering with the students from Olympia, who brought the legislation forward as a class project.The students researched amphibians that inhabit Washington, and in a move Kermit would love, they chose the Pacific chorus frog — one that is found in all 39 counties in the state.From wire dispatches and staff reports

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