- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007

MINNESOTA

Superhero delivers Galactic pies

MINNEAPOLIS- Captain Awesome is driving Bob tonight.

Let’s break that down: Dustin Saunders, a delivery guy for Galactic Pizza who dresses for the job in a blue superhero suit complete with red cape and boots, is ferrying pies around south Minneapolis in an electric-powered three-wheeled vehicle that’s been dubbed “Bob.” Other members of the fleet are called “Frank” and “Les.”

If it all sounds slightly ridiculous, that’s Galactic Pizza. This is an establishment that recently sponsored “Richard Simmons Day” (“50 percent off everything if you dress like Richard Simmons”).

But the irreverent approach masks a seriousness of purpose at Galactic Pizza, where the electric delivery cars are just one part of what its owner calls a “values-led company.” Galactic Pizza emphasizes environmental sustainability and protection in its business practices and donates a small portion of its profit to hunger relief and other charities.

PENNSYLVANIA

School bus strikes truck

GLENMOORE - A bus carrying high school students to a band competition plowed into a tractor-trailer early yesterday, injuring about 30 people and closing a highway for hours, authorities said.

The bus driver was critically injured. None of the other injuries was serious, officials said.

The bus rear-ended the tractor-trailer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike as the truck re-entered the travel lanes from a pull-off area, state Trooper Kevin Rathman said. The front of the bus was obliterated.

CALIFORNIA

FBI to probe police conduct at rally

LOS ANGELES — The FBI will open a civil rights inquiry into the Los Angeles Police Department’s actions at an immigration rally where officers cleared a city park by wielding batons and firing 240 rubber bullets, the bureau said yesterday.

The preliminary inquiry seeks to determine “whether the civil rights of protesters taking part in the May 1st immigration rally were violated,” according to an FBI news release.

Police Chief William J. Bratton said earlier yesterday that he planned to meet next week with the head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, Assistant Director in Charge J. Stephen Tidwell, to determine whether clashes Tuesday at MacArthur Park were “something the bureau would become involved with.”

“We’ll share information and make a decision at that time,” Chief Bratton said. “I have no issues with the FBI coming in … and taking a look at it.”

Police investigators plan to review extensive video of the rally, which Chief Bratton said in an appearance on CBS that he was “not happy” when he watched. Rally organizers decried the police behavior as brutal.

GEORGIA

Couple plead guilty to E-Rate fraud

ATLANTA — The former technology director of Atlanta Public Schools, Arthur R. Scott, 47, and his wife, Evelyn, both of Tyrone, pleaded guilty this week in federal district court to fraud charges in a school bribery scheme involving the federal E-Rate program.

Congress created E-Rate in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The program is administered by the Universal Service Co., a nonprofit corporation, under the auspices of the Federal Communications Commission.

It provides funding to economically disadvantaged schools and libraries for telecommunications services, Internet access and communications network infrastructure.

“By cheating the competitive process, these criminals frustrated efforts to help our nation’s economically disadvantaged schoolchildren,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, who heads the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Between May 2001 and February 2003, the Scotts received $323,524 from various vendors who were seeking to do business with the school district, according to a criminal information and plea agreement. It said the couple then deposited nearly $300,000 of the funds into a joint bank account and used them for their personal expenses.

Evelyn Scott worked in Atlanta Public Schools’ Information Services Department.

LOUISIANA

Sunken boats retrieved in marina

NEW ORLEANS — A Florida contractor is fishing for boats that Hurricane Katrina deposited at the bottom of one of the city’s largest marinas.

As many as 200 boats are submerged at Municipal Yacht Harbor. By noon Wednesday, a huge crane had pulled up a half-dozen in a project that could cost up to $1 million.

Resolve Marine Group of Port Everglades, Fla., is expected to finish the job in about a month, said Bruce Hammatt, a state Department of Environmental Quality administrator overseeing the cleanup. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying for 90 percent of the work, with the state picking up the rest.

The city of New Orleans did not ask for help at the marina until last summer, and it has taken until now to complete the environmental assessments and get through the state bidding process, Mr. Hammatt said.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Inmate wins right to kosher diet

CONCORD — A state prison should not take away religious diets from sincerely religious inmates, a federal magistrate said in a case involving an Orthodox Jew.

Inmate Albert Kuperman, who is serving time for sexually molesting a girl younger than 13, was given three prepackaged kosher meals a day and allowed to buy kosher items from the prison canteen. But prison officials took Kuperman off the kosher diet three times after he was caught with non-kosher foods.

Kuperman’s attorneys said that revoking his kosher diet violated his First Amendment right to practice religion, and U.S. Magistrate Judge James Muirhead agreed.

“If a diabetic inmate were placed on a medically appropriate diet and was then caught purchasing a candy bar from the canteen, the prison would not be justified in removing the inmate from his medical diet and forcing him to eat a high-sugar diet for six months for the violation,” Judge Muirhead wrote.

NEW YORK

Imus to sue CBS for contract breach

NEW YORK — Disgraced radio host Don Imus will sue CBS Radio for the huge portion of his $40 million contract that was left unpaid after he was fired for racist and sexist comments, his attorney said yesterday.

Martin Garbus, a First Amendment lawyer, said he plans to file the breach of contract lawsuit by the end of next week.

Mr. Imus, 66, was barely three months into the five-year deal with CBS when he was dismissed April 12 after describing the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” on his nationally syndicated radio program.

Mr. Garbus cited a contract clause where CBS acknowledged that Mr. Imus’ services were “unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial.” The clause said Mr. Imus’ programming was “desired by company and … consistent with company rules and policy,” Mr. Garbus said.

CBS Radio spokeswoman Karen Mateo did not return a call seeking comment.

OHIO

Parents accused of caging boy

TOLEDO — A boy was locked up in a small dog cage when he was being punished and while his father used drugs, and he sometimes had to wear a shock collar, authorities said.

His parents appeared briefly in court yesterday on charges of child endangerment and making or selling drugs in front of the boy, 10, and his 5-year-old brother. The parents’ hearings were continued because neither had an attorney.

Jessica Botzko, 28, and John Westover, 37, were arrested Wednesday, a day after the boys were left alone at home and ran away. They were found on a neighbor’s porch.

The older boy told officers that he left because he was tired of being locked up, police Capt. Ray Carroll said. The cage was less than 2 feet high and 2 feet wide, he said.

Court documents say the 10-year-old boy was shocked repeatedly at the family’s home through a remote-controlled collar meant as a training device for animals.

The boys were in state custody.

OREGON

Divorced couple argue over son’s circumcision

PORTLAND — A divorced couple have gone to court to determine whether their son is to be circumcised after his father’s conversion to Judaism.

The former Medford man wants his 12-year-old son to undergo the surgical procedure, but the boy’s mother opposes it. Oregon courts have sided with the father, who has custody.

“The primary custodial parent is the one that makes the decisions about religion and education and about matters of child-rearing,” said Kathy Graham, associate dean for academic affairs at Willamette University College of Law.

The Oregon Supreme Court has been briefed but has not decided whether to take the case.

In court papers, the father claims the boy gradually concluded that he also wanted to convert to Judaism and understood that it required circumcision.

WYOMING

Anchor failure blamed for climbers’ deaths

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — Two experienced climbers found dead on Grand Teton earlier this week tumbled about 1,500 feet down a steep snowy slope after one of their anchors gave way, a park official said yesterday.

Why the anchor gave way might never be known, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. The anchor could have popped loose, or a rock could have fallen from above and knocked the anchor loose, she said.

Friends of the climbers, Alan Rooney, 38, and Jonathan Morrow, 28, planned two memorial ceremonies for tomorrow.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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